eumelia: (diese religione)
I was going through tags today, specifically the "spiritual" and "that religion thing" ones.

Because I've been thinking about religion a lot lately.

I was surprised to discover I was still writing about belief in 2010 and actively searching for a an active way of believing in 2008.

I had almost forgotten why I was doing that.

But I remember and I know why, because I am nothing if not overly critical of myself when I think I've been stupid.

Feeling small and insignificant is not a good feeling. Nobody likes it when your life in filled with circumstances and events over which you have little to no control.

Until I was in about 20 years old, I played around with neo-paganism and witchcraft, you all can blame Willow Rosenberg (of Buffy) for that one. My own journey into adulthood was a little too similar to Willow's, but that's a post for another day.

And for a time, looking back at my teenaged years, it was a small rebellion, I think, because I grew up in a secular household and through paganism I could get in touch with the gods and goddesses I preferred.

I think I could qualify the years between 15 and 20, the years I took mythology a little bit too seriously. I learned a lot, but there was a lot of unlearning as well, which is why I don't really regret that phase.

When I was 21 that changed, because I was traumatised and I wasn't getting the support I needed from the people I thought I would be getting it. This is a group of people I was performing magic with, or at least, I allowed myself to think I was - looking back, I had a great need for approval and camaraderie.

During the second Lebanon war I attended an evening with a bunch of New Agers, and we raised energy in the name of something or other in order to keep everyone safe and to make sure that the world wouldn't be scarred by the violence.

Bullshit, of course. I honestly can't remember if the man I helped blow up on the screens happened before or after than evening, but it was probably around that time that it was the beginning of the end, so to speak.

That was the summer of 2006. By the time I had started Uni in 2007, I had a lost a lot of friends over the fact that I was no longer who I used to be.

I honestly can't remember what my thoughts were with regards to divinity or deity, or anything like that, I'm pretty sure that I was clinging to the last vestiges that there might be something bigger, that there might be a scheme to all the crap.

But there isn't and like many others who turn to god, I was looking for comfort.

I'm a little too practical now a days, to turn to fairy tales for that.

There is something sad and poignant in letting go of the old thought processes, that's probably why it took almost four years for me to reach the real conclusion that I have no soul and that there is no god.

That the god in the book of my people as real as the gods in the Odyssey. The ethical bankruptcy that comes from all these fairy tales, once I realised it, made me reject the whole damn thing.

You can't cherry pick the good, any more than you can cherry pick the bad.

I was raised with religion, but not religious. I fully acknowledge that I was raised without a belief in god, but with a huge indoctrination of Jewish identity and sense of persecution for that identity.

It's really easy for me to be a Jewish atheist, but that's just me, because I've gone through a process of letting go. Being Jewish is belonging to a tribe, the way other religions aren't really about, I think that makes the difference.

The Religion Bundle #1
eumelia: (valerie)
Another well known white man whose sexuality has been a source of speculation and assumption for years finally confirmed the "rumours".

I am impressed, because the decision to be unambiguous is not an easy one, especially when the ethics involved may not be exactly what we assume them to be.

When I saw the news that Anderson Cooper had decided to brush off any remaining ambiguity regarding his sexuality, I mentioned it the office. My place of work likes to be up to date and we are a very gay friendly company, in fact the team I work with has the same amount of women as well as men, and three out of the team of eight are queer.

I mentioned it and one of my co-workers said, "about time". This co-worker happens to be straight.

Of course, then, a whole discussion about being when gay people are ready to tell other people, and celebrities who might be "uncomfortable" with their sexuality and a whole slew of other rather trite notions regarding when and why gay celebrities chose to come out.

I'd like to stay on the notion of "about time". This phrasing implies, quite explicitly, that Anderson Cooper should have been out and loud a long time ago. I hadn't really thought about that, despite the fact that if you worked in media, or followed the media, or followed the speculation regarding gay celebrities for whatever reason (me, I like knowing who my people are), you knew who is gay and who isn't, up to a point.

Anderson Cooper decided to be explicit about his sexuality because, as he wrote in his email to Andrew Sullivan:
[...]I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.[...]
Emphasis mine.

Related, when Quinto came out (and I wrote about it on DW and LJ), he made it a moral issue. Which, personally, is my stance on it as well. I make it my business to make sure the people I interact with know who they are talking to. The assumption that I am straight, simply because it doesn't occur to other people that there not everyone is straight (also known as heterosexism), is one that I am confronted in practically every facet of my life.

When Cooper says the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something, he is talking about a requirement mandated by straight society.

To be out is an ethical stand point. But it isn't something LGBT people actually owe straight society to do.

Emily Emanuel of Tiger Beatdown writes about exactly this in a post titled: People in Glass Closets: Anderson Cooper and Straight Responses to Coming Out.

Emanuel discusses the little micro-aggressions well meaning liberals choose to condescend onto queer people when it comes to public people coming out of the closet.

You should read her whole post, but the one thing that resonated with me in this post and every time another celebrity "Casually Come Out" (I don't totally agree with everything that's written here, but that's a post for another day) is this:
[..]when heterosexuals ask, “why does Anderson Cooper have to come out as gay,” I reply: “because you do not have to come out as heterosexual.”

Heterosexuals do announce their sexuality in public, all the time, of course. Walking down the street holding hands, kissing their lover, wearing wedding rings, clothing and other aesthetic codes. But it is not a movement from unacknowledged to public, it has no risk or social consequences in itself. In his coming out letter, Cooper notes that he didn’t come out because a reporter’s private life shouldn’t matter. Indeed. But part of the point is, being heterosexual isn’t private – it’s public.


When I was younger I lived on the ambiguity, it made me feel safe, I had the privilege of it and I didn't consider it something I needed to do in order to have integrity.

My tune changed as I was burned and my rage coalesced.

Regardless I am no longer ambiguous and that's a choice I made. The fact that I have to make that choice, that it is a staple in the life of LGBT people at all, tells us the demand that is placed on us by straight society and the assumptions that are forced onto us.

The other side of the coin is the demand from LGBT people for ambiguous or speculated celebrities to be upfront about who they are in the name of an agenda to promote LGBT visibility, rights and companies who want to shown as inclusive. A legitimate desire, I am dying for more LGBT representation in the mainstream media.

Still, the demand comes from a place to maintain a binary of making sure and deciding who is In and who is Out. Inside and outside what, I couldn't say.

I think it is a big deal that these celebrities are choosing to be unambiguous. I think we should also start unpacking why it is white men who have successful careers within the mainstream media that are getting the attention. Jodi Foster and Wanda Sykes notwithstanding, why so few celebrity women are coming out in the same manner and why the whole phenomena is so overwhelmingly white.

#2 Entry of the Queer Bundle.
eumelia: (slayer)
Trigger Warning: Frank discussion of sexual harassment, breach of body autonomy and dealing with the above


Last week, on my way to work, I was sexually harassed on the bus. Details regarding the incident and dealing with it under the cut )

ETA: Cutting due to request. I'm sorry any of you were harmed by reading this.
eumelia: (queer rage)
I just worked though my feelings regarding President Obama's statement of marriage equality in the United States by creating fanfic with another non-American fan.

I'm gay and she's straight and we were both... unimpressed. Probably for different reasons. Her country has had marriage equality for over a decade. I live in a country that has no civil marriage for anyone.

Look at that quote.

This is what President Obama said (Via The Atlantic Wire):
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,”


Now look at me.

President Obama has laid out in those few sentences what his opinion about marriage equality is about.

An opinion, that should have no bearing on the law.

No one's opinion should have any bearing on the nature of people's relationship.

Beyond that, he's making it a personal issue, as opposed to a social issue, reiterating the false dichotomy that what matters, is what matters to the people he knows and that the rest will have to find different solution.

When he says - "when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together," - he is giving us the baseline of decent gay people, of worthy gay people. Long term and monogamous who are productive members of society by being reproductive members of society.

And if they're not reproducing, they're out there killing people in far away lands - "when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone," - because now gay people can go out into the world, openly, and kill anyone in the name of Freedom, Liberty and Democracy.

That was sarcasm.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a cruel decree, and its repeal is a good thing (This is not sarcasm).

That doesn't make the draft a tool of progress for gay people. Being able to be visible is a necessary thing, and I don't begrudge that. However, the fact that the fight was focused on this repeal as though it would change the culture of homophobia inherent to an institution based on hierarchy and conservative notions of masculinity, kind of boggles me.

Taking the above into account and once again, marriage equality is placed out there as a prize the second class citizens of America need to aspire to.

I find that notion absolutely abhorrent.

People sexuality, their relationship style, their loyalty to the government and reproductive choices should not be a standard for their humanity.

And their humanity should not be equated with a state contract.

"I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married"

The President's personal opinion has no bearing, whatsoever, on the inherent humanity of gay people, who may or may not be in a relationship.

The fact that his personal opinion is favourable, but he states at the same time that it should be remain a state issue is extremely telling.

Ironically, Obama has been the best President with regards to Trans issues, which is saying something, considering the majority of marriage equality advocates shuffle trans people under the bus when it comes to pushing an agenda. I see it in the States and I see it in my own locale.

And that's why I've been saying gay people throughout.

There is no discussion of the humanity and dignity of bisexual people, or men and women and other genders I couldn't name who are in a relationship that may or may not be romantic. Or who aren't in a relationship at all. There is no discussion of kinship without marriage. There is no discussion of healthcare plans without a spouse. Why is there a moral imperative when it comes to children?

Bottom line.

Obama expressed his personal opinion that marriage is something gay people have to earn. By fighting, tooth and nail.

This is progress?
eumelia: (bullshit)
It feels like these things write themselves, honestly.

I read on twitter that the Livejournal com [livejournal.com profile] ontd posted a link to an article about what Famous Authors Have to Say About Fanfiction.

On the subject matter I can only go, oy; on which I will expand.

But the way I got to this article is interesting in it's own right. Fandom uses social media to interact with itself and with creators has made the audience, more than ever before, an active participant in the culture.

I don't think we've ever been passive consumers in any way; the whole "water cooler" concept that has been around for decades is proof of that. However, the fact that we have the option of really communicating with artists on a basic conversational level, thereby eliminating the class distinction between those who have access to creators of culture and those who do not (up to a point, just using a computer and the internet is class indicative) is something new.

Not to mention, the audience being creative and transformative in its own right.

We, as the audience, interact with art. It's a basic part of being human. Having, creating and interpreting culture.

Without an audience, the artists have no one to be bitches at.

When I read quotes from the likes of authors whom feel a kind of ownership over their characters because fanfic authors "steal them" and only the "original" authors have the "right" to abuse their characters (as JRR Martin put it) all I can do is sigh, regroup and remember that without me, as a reader, there would be no point to what they created. In an original fashion of course, because every author is never derivative.

I get that this is part of the whole "50 Shades of Grey" issue that seems to be plaguing the mainstream media.

The mainstream media doesn't know how to talk about active audience participation, transformative art (be if fic, art or vid) and it doesn't know how to talk about the fact that no work exists in a vacuum.

If there's something I've learnt in reading about "50 Shades of Grey", is that fandom is a culture and that being fannish is a way to participate in the world that not everyone gets, even if they are big geek or nerd or a reader of derivative fiction like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" or a watcher of shows like "Sherlock".

To read a book and want more than what the author wrote down is not a sign that we do not respect the author. The author, really, is irrelevant, because what we want is to interact with the words on the page. And it's not "the author is dead". They're not dead, but they are outside the work just like the audience.

What they meant and their intent is as optional as our own fannish head-canon.

Word of God is not canon. It exists outside the text, outside the show, behind the scenes.

As such, when articles like the one above writes:
While some authors support, or at least tolerate, the practice, others vehemently oppose it, citing monetary issues as well as feelings of personal violation and another sentiment that roughly translates to “if you were really creative, you’d make up your own characters.”


All I can say is, you do not own a work of art. You deserve to get paid for the work that you've done and I buy books and dvd's because I whole heartedly believe that creative work deserves to be recognised in a way that both credits and supports the creator, you do not have a say in the way I, my fellow fans or anyone else interprets your work, interacts with it or creates through it.

We are equal to you in our importance to the culture.

We also outnumber you.

[Entry #002]
eumelia: (buffy is better)
[Trigger Warning: Frank discussion of rape culture]


It is with a great deal of kismet that I woke up this morning to an image that not only angered me, but haunted me throughout the day.

It wasn't an image of explicit violence.

It wasn't an image of gratuitous sexuality.

It wasn't an image of a war crime, news event or accident.

The image, which you can see under the cut )

It is a depiction of a white, thin, photoshopped woman. Her lips are painted red. Her eyes are covered with black silk blind fold, tied with a bow. Her nudity is heavily implied.

As you can see, this is the cover of this week's Newsweek. The cover article written by Katie Roiphe in which, and I quote Newsweek's tumblr:
[she] examines the submissive yet empowered female in Newsweek. “It is perhaps inconvenient for feminism that the erotic imagination does not submit to politics, or even changing demographics,” she writes.


I don't want to talk about the article though.

What interests me is the image and the accompanying quote: "The fantasy life of working women. Why surrender is a feminist dream".

Because that, my friends, is the face of backlash.

The reduction of womanhood and femininity into an unseeing nude waiting to be opened, unaware that she is even being gazed at - and how! When she is on the cover a mass produced weekly magazine that is available both in hard copy and as a e-mag - is a work of terror.

Pure and simple.

Femininity and women's sexuality is reduced, in this image and in that quote, to this:

Availability.

Woman, no matter who, where and how, is reduced to being available to someone else. That someone else will always and forever be a man.

This image implies that consent is not needed, because look, she's ready and willing for anyone to come and take her and open her up.

How can you tell?

She surrendered, because she can't handle her own power.

Shut the front door.

Here's the thing; Femininity and submission have been cultural peas in a pod for who knows how long. Femininity has been considered lesser, due to it's linkage to submission. Submission has always been associated with powerlessness... when attached to women.

When a man submits, well, he's kinky, isn't he, he's relinquishing his power temporarily.

Women, well, our power is the temporary thing.

Because we can't handle it. Beyond it, because secretly, we don't really want it.

That image is just another symptom of rape culture, because woman; no matter her background, race, ethnicity, sexuality, physical ability, mental capacity, nationality or even if she was born female; is nothing but a body which must avail herself to the desire of the men.

The fact is, that image and quote use kink as a way to yank and ridicule women's agency, autonomy and text based culture from under our feet. It reduces our sexual expression, fantasies, desires, choices and culture to something that, once again, avails us to be sexual objects in the patriarchy controlled public sphere.

Thank you, Newsweek, for slapping half the population across the face. Of course, according to you, we're asking for it, eyes closed and mouth at the ready.

[Entry #001]
eumelia: (diana disapproves)



{Take the 100 Things challenge!}


I've decided to go for bundles, ten posts about ten subjects over the coming months.

My problem, which subjects!? I already have two subjects I can expand on, but still. Dear readers, throw out your subjects, categories, notions and ideas at me! Some of them will probably stick!

Profile

eumelia: (Default)
Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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