eumelia: (diana disapproves)
I wrote many tweets about Sinead O'Connor's Open Letter to Miley Cyrus, that looking back should have been a proper post.

Here are the tweets I wrote regarding this whole sordid affair.

The more I read Sinead's letter to Miley, the more I see that Sinead is talking specifically about her own personal experience & pain. 1:44pm - 4th of Oct 2013

I don't like what she wrote all that much. I'm pretty sure Miley Cyrus is incredibly isolated & thinks she's revolutionary & edgy. 1:45pm - 4th of Oct 2013

I think Sinead is protective to a fault when it comes to women artists & is blinkered regarding the way public sexual expression doesn't - 1:46pm - 4th of Oct 2013

- have to mean sexual exploitation. Sinead herself has always done what she wanted when it came to sexuality, candidly so. 1:47pm - 4th of Oct 2013

I also think Sinead herself was/is very vulnerable in a way that Miley perhaps isn't. Miley doesn't do anything rebellious. 1:50pm - 4th of Oct 2013

Miley is provocative in the titillating sense, her representation of femininity and beauty are extraordinarily conservative. 1:51pm - 4th of Oct 2013

Add to that her appropriation & objectification of black women's bodies, you have a whole lot of white supremacist entitlement. 1:55pm - 4th of Oct 2013

Sinead could have worded her open letter better than she did. I think Miley Cyrus proves she's an entitled brat. 1:58pm - 4th of Oct 2013

What surprised me the most about Sinead's letter is the fact that there was no mention of Miley's racism. 2:01pm - 4th of Oct 2013

Considering Sinead herself has spoken against racism multiple times in her music & in interviews. 2:01pm - 4th of Oct 2013

Sinead's slut shaming and whorephobia of Miley is wrong. And that lives side by side with Sinead's other points. 2:07pm - 4th of Oct 2013

It's obvious that I love Sinead & disdain Miley. I'm okay with that, I've always loved problematic things & I'll always disdain racists. 2:14pm - 4th of Oct 2013

Not to mention racists who think mocking someone's mental health is fucking hilarious. [TW] Miley Cyrus Mocks Sinead O'Connor: 'Before Amanda Bynes There Was...' 2:15 - 4th of Oct 2013

And that's what I tweeted. Amanda Palmer also wrote an open letter to Sinead about Miley Cyrus, to which I tweeted:

Read Sinead's letter, read Amanda's letter. Still haven't read any white woman "Open Lettering" Miley to quit with her racist shenanigans. 12:45am - 4th of Oct 2013

Why is Miley Cyrus the hub of contention at this point in pop culture? What's she done, other than grow up isolated and entitled to deserve this kind of attention? I resent that I know so much about Cyrus when I have no interest in her music and persona, I really do.

She shouldn't be slut shamed, and Sinead's whorephobia should be accounted for, it disappoints me that Sinead can't find room for sex work and sex workers in her feminist point of view. I also don't think Miley Cyrus represents any kind of real feminism.

Her performance in the VMA awards really brought to a head her callous use of black women's bodies as props and as property, and it also brought to a head that she performs mainly for white women, utterly eschewing a persona that is in any way viable for the (white) male gaze, because if you look at the white men and boys in the audience of that performance, they are incredibly uncomfortable, while the white women and girls are chair dancing to her performance.

Her "sexual awakening" is a cultural moment, the same way Brittany Spears shaving her head was, white girls taking ownership of their bodies and their sexuality in a way that rocks a very unsteady boat of white women's agency in culture.

I think Sinead's own experience and her past railing against the music industry blinker her to the fact that Miley Cyrus is doing whatever the hell she wants in a way that may or may not be harmful to Cyrus, but is harmful to black women.

Miley Cyrus' reaction was heinous and disgusting, mocking Sinead's mental health and breakdown in 2012 is not something I feel is an appropriate reaction to anything.

Both Sinead and Cyrus are problematic is different ways, I don't much care about Cyrus, as she seems not to have a care in the world. I don't really care how she decides to express herself and while Sinead's policing is misguided and wrong, Sinead has been burned badly by an industry she views as evil. Does that excuse Sinead's slut shaming and whorephobia, no it most certainly does not, but I don't think that that position negates the work she's done previously and the care she has with regards to women and the way they are represented in the media.

More and more it seems that other white women are overly concerned with policing Cyrus' sexual expression, whether it's by slut shaming or by saying she has the right to express herself anyway she damn well pleases.

It's a double edged sword trying to talk about this, and it irks me that Cyrus is currently at the epicentre of this, because while yes she does have the right to express herself however she damn pleases, there is such a thing called accountability and she doesn't have an ounce of it.

Maybe that's why I'm willing to continue loving Sinead even as I side-eye her. She's went through actions that rocked the boat and was held accountable at the great personal and professional cost, she kicked up and was burned.

Cyrus kicks down. Therein lies the difference.

Tumblr crosspost
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: (bullshit)
When I was in high school I was slut shamed. A lot.

Whether I was sexually active or not is beside the point, because the boys and girls who bullied me, they weren't the ones who knew my business. I was called "bitch", I was called "whore", I was called "dyke".

I was also called "slut", but that has a different context.

When I was in high school I used to go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A lot.

The word "slut" was bandied around in a positive way, no one was saying it to offend or to shame. No one was saying it in order to see me blush and avert my eyes, just so they would leave me alone.

I remember once I screamed in the middle of the hall way, a loud drawn out scream. I don't remember why I did it, I must have looked insane. People parted around my like the Red sea and I was Moses.

Our most powerful weapon is our voice - Ursula (of The Little Mermaid infamy) obviously taught me well.

I didn't mine being called a slut when I was with my fellow Rocky peeps. Just like I don't mind being called a dyke or queer when I'm with fellow LGBT's.

Context is everything. No word can be reclaimed in full. I can the biggest bitch there ever was, but you don't get to call me one just because you don't like me. Yes, I am bisexual and lesbian, only I get to call myself queer. My sex life in my own and the people I actually have sex with and has no bearing on my morality and character - as such, slut is a word that I get to chose who says it and when and I decide whether I use it or not.

SLUTwalk has come to Israel and I will march.

Some people disagree with the politics of SLUTwalk, because the word is not reclaimable and the overt sexualisation of some of the marchers is counter productive.

I can't help but think back to what people say about the various Pride marches in my locale and all over the world. With regards to how provocative it is.

To that I can only say, Pride marches are necessary because of that sentiment my dear detractors.

And so long as sex and the having of it with whomever we chose is considered "provocative" and "slutty", and rape continues to be tied to the sex lives of the survivors and victims rather than to the actions of the rapist, these actions are necessary.

Because it doesn't matter what we wear, it doesn't matter what we don't wear. We could walk naked in the street with a neon sign flashing "Willing to Fuck Anyone!" in hot pink and that is still not "asking for it".

It happens to be International Woman's Day.

A friend said she considers this a day of mourning for the feminist struggle and I can't help but agree. IWD is a day in which we go "Yay Women!" and that's important, empowerment is not to underestimated, but who is empowered? And what are we empowering ourselves to be?

Feminism is not just about women, it is about the opening of minds and it is about resistance. Resistance of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, misogyny, modern-colonialism, war and economic terrorism, because they harm the majority of people on the planet.

SLUTwalk may be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but rape is an instrument of war, it is an instrument of terror and so long as it is considered just something else we need to "deal with", resistance to the double standard of gender paradigms is paramount.

Make some noise.

eumelia: (flog it)
My uterus is trying to claw its way out of my body and these past few weeks have been no good, bad, horrible.

I think I'm warranted chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate milk this evening before I go off to make myself a proper supper.

I'm not feeling overwhelmed like I did before. I paid my first utility bill and am feeling mighty grown up, although I think I passes a level when it comes to adulthood regarding what I had to do yesterday.

You'll need a bit of back story and a strong stomach for this story is about plumbing and how it can sometimes become your life.

I'm recounting this, because suffering should be shared and not wallowed.

Some of you may recall the drama of my apartment.

I mentioned two weeks ago, or thereabouts, that the toilets in my flat were leaking and that the washing machine broke by deciding to leak and be an electrical hazard and whatnot.

Well the plumber came and did what plumbers do to fix leaks of this kind... He stuck some silicone goo stuff around the pipes, bid me farewell and left. I, being a first time tenant and overall helpless young bachelor(ette) called my land lady and informed her of the goings on. She said "fine, I'm covering the plumbing issues" and we say goodbye.

The washing machine repair man came, gave me a very expensive diagnosis (we need our washing machine!) and I called the landlady again, to tell her about this and the cost.

The woman blew up on me and flaked on me, telling me that I was inconsiderate and that I and [Sexy!Roommate] have done nothing but complain and did she not put in bay window for us on her own dime and I was utterly flabbergasted.

She told me to get the machine fixed, but it was at our own expense.

I spoke to people afterwards, people being my roommate and my sister who is a lawyer... yeah.

The washing machine was fixed and the guy said to let it run empty to make sure it works.

By this point I was a little rattled and had ranted and wailed to people. It all came to a head when I heard some rustle come from the service balcony. The rustle, as you may have guessed, was a flood of water from the washing machine.

I very bravely didn't cry.

I called the guy again and he returned to fix something he should have tightened before hand. I hope I never have to call a repair man, but if I ever do, I am never calling him again.

The man left and you'll be happy to know I've used the washing machine since then without incident, it's quite nice to have something that was supposed to work... actually work

It was after that, that I thought I could relax and actually use a non-leaky toilet without having to squeegee the floor. Well, nature called and wouldn't you know, the toilet didn't leak, because it was blocked. The water wouldn't go down and the water actually burst through the drainage pipe that is situated, you guessed it, on the service balcony.

At this point, I just wanted my fucking floor to be dry!

Cue the plumber again and me being very harried indeed.

The plumber said I looked like I'd been traumatised. Well, when you've had things go very wrong, very badly, very quickly one tends to get harried.

Once the asshole was done and took what was left of my cash he said to me, in that patronising way men of a certain age speak to women my age, "You know there are bigger problems in the world."

To which I replied before shutting the door in his face: "Yes, but these are mine".

And so, my landlady calls me not long after to inform me that [Sexy!Roommate] and I are no longer allowed to throw toilet paper into the toilet. Because this is what caused the blockage.

My roommate and I were utterly disbelieving, because what? We can't use the toilet the way man and woman intended? Seriously? And so we said "okay" and continued to use the facilities like civilised human beings.

Yesterday morning, nature called as it want to do. The water wouldn't go down. "Motherfuck" is what I said, quite succinct if I do say so myself. Being much poorer than I was and greatly reluctant to call a plumber and/or the landlady, I put on my big girl pants, rubber gloves and said to myself "Mel, you've changed the nappies of toddlers with diarrhoea. This is a piece of cake."

And indeed, toilet paper was the culprit.

I fucking hate this fucking flat.

Being independent is grand, I'm happy to be living on my own with a roommate. I'd be happier if this apartment actually behaved the way it is supposed to and would stop being such a menace to my health. Mental or otherwise.

But hey, at least I have cooking gas! It's supper time!
eumelia: (thinky thoughts)
It feels strange that we're switching the numbers again.

For me the new year really started way back when in September (around Rosh Ha'Shana) and my roommate and I started being proactive about looking for an apartment and registering for classes.

Along with having a nasty PTSD setback around that time it kind of marks that time of year as a start of something - I'm not sure where October and November went to, because all I can remember of October is the family vacation I went on and the fact that I moved out of my parents' home something like two weeks after that.

I'm really enjoying the independence, financial stress and uni woes notwithstanding. I mean, knowing I can handle (not well, but I can do it) multiple failings in an apartment in a somewhat dodgy neighbourhood is certainly nothing to sniff at.

The fact that this year I returned to writing seriously, one slogging word at a time, thanks to several inspiring fandoms - X-Men: First Class, you're a fantastic movie - pity your creators are asses and many of the participants in fandom are a bunch on entitled *mumble mumble*. Hawaii Five-0 who knew I could love something like that, this much and have it be such an inspiration to me. I know, gushing over pop-culture like this is kind of gauche, but who cares right!?

Looking at what I have planned for January it is certainly going to be a busy month, but I can't think of a better way to kick start the year.
eumelia: (bollocks)
Hint: It isn’t a debate.

Trigger Warning: This post is about the narratives of dubious consent, non consent, rape, sexual assault, body autonomy (or lack thereof) in fanfiction and fandom, and what being triggered actually means.

Before I begin to dig into this issue, let me put one thing on the table; the only moral issue about sex between two or more adults is consent. Everything else is a matter of what floats your boat. My kink is not your kink and that’s okay – in fact, it’s great, because in fandom we share and learn and discuss these things to a greater degree of openness and detail that in the “real world”.

So, I read a fic. It is a good fic. It’s not perfect, but very few stories are. Much like life, I must say1.

It is a really good story, which, right off the bat, places the characters in a scenario known in fanfic as dub-con, a short hand of “dubious consent”.

Let me put something else on the table here. In real life, there is no such thing as “dubious consent”. Dub-con is a narrative device, it is a construct of point of view, we see and read the conflict of the person (say, Hermione of “Harry Potter”) whose autonomy has been breached and we know, along with Hermione, that she actually wants this happen, only she’s not sure about why, or how, or some other thing – she just knows, kind of, that she wants this other person (say Snape) to do what he is doing.

Alternately, we have Snape’s pov, he who breaches the aforementioned autonomy and magically (no pun intended) knows that this fine, that Hermione actually wants it. That this is sexy, even if Hermione says “stop” or “no” or says nothing at all.

I use this example from “Harry Potter”, because this type of narrative is so typical in this pairing it is practically a trope. But it is a narrative found in all genres and happenstances of fic, be it het or slash, hurt/comfort or fluff – it is there and frankly, I despair at having to actually talk about this.

In real life dubious consent can’t happen. It cannot. Not because we don’t often feel conflicted about doing something with another person in bed, or because there wasn’t enough communication and the sex ended up being more enjoyable for one of the partners over the other (or others).
It cannot happen in real life, because the narrative in our heads can’t be shared. We can’t know if our partner is conflicted, or not comfortable, unless they tell us. The opposite, of course, is the same.

Dubious consent alleges that Ianto (for instance) can and would fight against Jack’s advances and actions if he really wanted to, this is the context of Ianto being subordinate to Jack in the hierarchy of the “Torchwood” team and their age (putting it lightly). With that in mind, it is likely that this scenario wouldn’t actually be construed by fic authors as an issue of consent because it is happening between two men, in the case of slash.

Consent isn’t about Steve’s (for instance) physical ability to stop Danny from performing fellatio on him. Consent is about the fact that Danny doesn’t care to ask or wait for Steve to actually say what he feels about the idea of it happening at all.

That is the point. The disregard to one’s choice, one’s comfort and one’s own wants (and needs) when it comes to sex is endemic, because the idea that the onus is on the person whose will and autonomy is being violated is simply not true. In the fic I read, there was a clear description of someone wanting to say “No”, but didn’t get a chance to do so, due to the narrative dictating that the “No” or the “Wait a minute” didn’t count because the sex was just that good. Dubious consent hadn’t even been an option here, because this scenario was constructed in order for the inner conflict of “do I or don’t I want this” to be taken as a token resistance as opposed to assertion of free will.

This particular fic isn’t even the only time in “Hawaii Five-0” fandom that this sort of thing has happened. In the name of sexy, how many times have we read Steve or Danny say “wait” or “stop” and have the other guy say “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” or “I know what you want/need” and continue to do what they were doing despite the “No”.

And yes, “wait”, “stop” or even non-responsiveness when action is taking place in sex is a big “NO”.

You cannot know why a person says “stop” or “wait” during sex unless you actually stop or wait. Possibly, this person has a cramp, or you’re digging your knee or elbow somewhere uncomfortable or maybe, you are doing something that is making your partner feel distressed and things need to change.

When you assume that Steve or Hermione can physically/magically prevent Danny or Snape from violating them, you are perpetuating rape culture2.

When you assume that knowing what a character is feeling or thinking when their free will is being disregarded by their sexual partner makes this disregard okay, and when you then normalize this behaviour in your fic, you are perpetuating rape culture.

And in the case in which there is clear non-consent going on when you assume that by removing the word “rape” from the fic magically fixes the disparity in power dynamics and that the violence perpetrated now isn’t sexual or gendered, you are perpetuating rape culture.

This is doubly so, when you don’t warn that these things actually exist in the fic!

It doesn’t make a difference what your intent was, I doubt authors are actively malicious, but when you have a character (major or minor) that is assaulted, whether “live”, or in a flashback or memory, or discussed, that is still a textual description of sexual and/or gendered violence. The assault, whether explicit violence, psychological coercion or disregard to another’s free will, choice and autonomy, is still written down and as such must be warned for, because the words you use are the same.

The thing is I don’t mind that dub-con exists in fic, as it is a fantasy narrative device and everyone has fantasies they wouldn’t want to actually happen in real life. This is why we have role playing and BDSM and actually talking to your partner(s) when it comes to making fantasies come true. In the name of full disclosure, I read fics that have dub-con, non-con and rape scenarios in them, because I like hurt/comfort and angst – I need to be warned for this, not because I have triggers, but because I need to know that these scenarios are going to be handled with the due respect and sensitivity that they deserve.

The respect and sensitivity should be awarded to the readers who do have triggers.

It is no secret that transformative art fandom (fanfic, fanvid, fanart and more) is made of a majority of women and/or female identified people and a significant amount of gender variant people, LGBT men and women, non-white people, disabled people and other social minorities who are all vulnerable to sexual violence, because our humanity and body autonomy is considered inconsequential.

The notion that a not insignificant part of your readership will have been through a traumatic experience concerning sexual consent, and sexually based and gendered violence, is not out there!

It is not only a courtesy to warn for this in your header, it will save someone from stumbling into a scenario that will make him or her feel less safe in their own lives, because their hobby and their creative community triggered their trauma.

But in the end, what I find distressing is that people do not recognise what they write for what it is, and in slash fiction it is particularly endemic, due to the fact that this happening between two men. Because rape culture dictates that between men consent isn’t an issue. Because rape culture dictates that men never say “no”. Because rape culture dictates that men can stop the coercion by virtue of being “strong” and physically powerful.

Dear readers, this is bullshit.

As a community of vulnerable people who often place characters we love in painful and violent scenarios that happen in real life to real people in a society that considers our trauma to be exaggerated at best and made up at worst, we have to consider the consequences of our actions and take care of each other.

One of the ways we do this is to know what it is we are writing and to warn accordingly.

1) This post was triggered (no pun intended) by a particular fic and a discussion that followed, but it is not specifically about any one fic. This post is about a trend and a trope that is all too common in H50 fandom and in fandom as a whole, and I am using this fic as a way to exemplify and make clear my points.
Back to text.

2(For a clear and concise definition of what rape culture is I would refer you to Melissa McEwan’s post at Shakesville where she writes:
[…]Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.[…]

Back to text.
eumelia: (Default)
Just this evening, at the Berlin World Track and Field Championships, Caster Semenya of South Africa won the 800 metre distance run.

I saw it on teevee and I was amazed.

She left them all in the dust, a few of the other athletes were utterly bewildered.

Now she faces a gender probe, more info here.
That is, she's going to go under the invasive procedure of "making sure" she's female, because she did too well in her field.

Such is the fate of female athletes who are too successful.

I don't know what how Semenya ID's, nor do I care, however, her appearance is butch... too butch for the comfort of the athletics committee.

Diversity within female "sex" is verboten, obviously.

I'm smelling the misogyny, transphobia, homophobia and racism from here, in my little dusty room.

Maybe one day athletic categories will be divided through comparative abilities, rather than through gender segregation.
eumelia: (Default)
Over the past two weeks I've been mainly following the situation in Iran because, well, everyone else is following it.

I have no qualms about the fact of being a part of the sheeple.

From my own little prism here, I can look at the Israeli and the feminist connection. Not much is being said about the former except with Israel itself which has been a notorious sabre rattler towards Iran for the past, I can't rightly say, but ever since 2006 and Benjamin Netanyahu's reference to Iran=Germany, Year=1938 and Ahmadenijad=Hitler, Iran has been a fairly regular Starman Boogie Man in my perception of current Israeli conciousness.

Israel has been used the same way in Ahmadenijad's rhetoric.

Peas in a pod.

I'll move on to what I actually want to talk about.

This very interesting article breaks down the dynamics of the mainstream media, what is covered, what isn't a why.

Quotes )

Neda has become the Iranian woman who is ALL Iranian Women.

The role and portrayal of women in Iran over the past 10 (now more) days has been covered extensively.
Because it took me a couple of days to join the online "amateur" media brouhaha the first article on the subject about the portrayal of Iranian women in the protests and demonstrations was the Racialicious article So You Think You Want A Revolution (In a Loose Headscarf - I think since Christiane Amanpour the West's perception of Iranian women has been that of modern women in a heinous situation - most likely before Amanpour, but she is certainly a huge figure and symbol of Westernised Iranian woman, which is obviously a plus.
Not to mention Marjane Satrapi, Azar Nafisi and of course Zahra Rahnavard, all of whom are inspirational and modern and less-than-overtly-traditional (some of them outright secular).

And that's what we like to see.

Beautiful women fighting for their right to be free from religious oppression and tyranny.

It's also a romanticism of the violence that is going on there.
Yes, they are taking the punches and they are fierce and they are equal to the men out there in the street.

But it feels like there's an exotification game going on here.
The deaths and violence are tragic and we, watching the News, view them as a form of entertainment.

These women are being looked at. Gazed upon.

Mousavi may be a Reformer, but back in the 80's he wasn't so progressive, could he have changed perhaps, but the Ayatollah regime persists and will probably not be taken down in the near future (though no one suspected the protests and riots to go on for this long).

The mainstream media's obsession with the images of women, I think, beyond making the whole damn thing romantic, makes it beautiful. The image of Neda bloody and bruised and so beautifully mourned and grieved over is the way we should view Iran itself: bloody and beautiful.

That isn't to say I don't admire the women who are going out there everyday, fighting tooth and nail to be heard over the mayhem of their situation.
I do.
I can only hope I have an ounce of their courage.

I'm just saying, be wary of how they are being seen.
Because there is something beyond the headscarf and the blood on Neda's face.

More articles on the subject:
CNN: Iranian women stand up in defiance.
Slate: Woman Power; Regimes that repress the civil and human rights of half their population are inherently unstable..
Feministing: The Women Protesting in Iran.
eumelia: (Default)
In the beginning of June [ profile] cereta wrote a post titled: On Rape and Men (Oh yes, I'm going there), in which she basically lays out what it is that men can do to prevent rape.

Because make no mistake.
Rape is not something that happens.
It is a crime committed upon a victim who is will, almost every time, be a part of a group that is less powerful in the very unequal power dynamic in which we live; that is, women of almost every intersection, queer men, people who are gender variant, children, the elderly, prisoners, etc.

I qualify the above with "almost every time", because straight cis men are also raped and women can assault and molesters as well.

However, the epidemic of Rape as it stands now, makes that a small qualifier.

The culture in which we live, which is that of under reporting of the crime and the derailment of the issue time and time again to:
#1 This is a women's issue you deal with it. (Despite it being done by men)
#2 What about those who are falsely accused of rape. (Despite the fact that it is a crime that is falsly reported no more or no less than any other crime, that is, a minuscule amount compares to the actual crime being committed).

Do not negate the fact that Rape happens.

All the time, every day, to - according to current statistics - 1 in 4 women and this is just what is reported.
As I said, this is a crime that is under reported.

One of the foci of [ profile] cereta's post was the fact that we barely hear about the men who do not rape. That is, about the men who are in the presence of a woman who is in a vulnerable position and do not take advantage of this.
Those men, she says and I paraphrase, need to speak up and educate others and tell them that you do not invade another persons body, that drunken consent in not consent, that a woman walking around in a mini-skirt and a plunging neck line is not "asking for it".
That no woman is silently asking to be taken against her will.

Just as an aside: anybody who wants to mention Rape Fantasies will be smacked down. This is not what I'm talking about and has very very little do with the discussion at hand. Keep your thoughts and ideas about Rape Fantasy to an entry in which I discuss sex politics, not here, when I am talking about a crime that is too often relegated to the realm fantasy and disbelief.

The strategy that [ profile] cereta suggests in her post and others in her comments is a bit of a double edged sword. And it suggests a reality which we don't really want to contemplate, because the majority of us (as in women, but people in general) do not want to consider Rape the norm and the avoidance of rape as something special.
Decent human behaviour should be the norm, mentioning how you (a guy in a position of power) were once in a position to violate a girl but didn't, in fact even did your best to make sure she wasn't harmed while she was in this state, shouldn't be an incident worth telling in ones honour.
It should be what every man in that situation would do.

Women have been told, time and time again, don't be a victim. Don't go out late at night. Don't drink too much. Don't accept rides from strangers. Don't do this, don't do that.
Basically, policing our living space in the name of our own protection.
But that's just another way of reducing our lives in general.
Boys should be told, from childhood, as girls are, don't be an aggressor, you do not have the right over someone else's body. Women's bodies are not something you are entitled to.

You get the picture.

I have a story of my own about being in a vulnerable position and was not assaulted. I no longer allow myself to be so intoxicated that I find myself waking up with hazy memories.
I don't feel the need to recount it here because this was over five years ago and it really isn't a story.
But you know, it kinds is, because I was very fortunate.
I may not be so lucky in the future.

This post is only one of many that have been inspired by [ profile] cereta's post - in the comments (of which there are 22 pages) there is a thread with links to other posts on this subject.

It's awfully telling that while this is being spoken about in the feminist blogosphere a South African survey shows that 1 in 4 South African men admit to committing rape. These are just the men who admitted it.
This is very illuminating considering the fact that in March a report about the "corrective rape" of South African Lesbians was published in the Guardian.
Both these articles may be triggering.

Rape and violence are always compounded when it is committed within and upon a population is still recovering from a very long period of oppression, suppression and is basically backlashing against the history of it's own violence.

That's very academic, and is really of no consequence to the victims and survivors of the culture in which they have to live.
So moving on.

It would seem that despite feminism being around since the turn of the 20th century, not much good has been done for women who are still systematically put in the "weak" box.

But we are talking about this.
We are writing the stories and telling them.
We are owning them and trying to get the myths regarding them eradicated.

Once, the articles linked above wouldn't have been stories worth mentioning. They would have been part of that culture.
Once, anyone talking about the systemic culture of rape would have been labelled as crazy, now I think we may be slowly but surely getting somewhere.
So very slowly, but very surely.

That's all about this at this point.
eumelia: (Default)
There is such a ton of information pouring out of [ profile] ontd_political regarding Iran I just can't keep up! The comments are a constant update for me because I'm not following Twitter - yeah, yeah, call me a Luddite.
My Facebook is a stealth one, I'm just not keen on that kind of information sharing, which is what's making this Iran uprising both effective and so bloody dangerous for the people actively twitting and facebooking etc.

The mainstream media is just failing.

I'm mainly following BBC, Al-Jazeera and Ha'aretz and my god, stop looking at this as though this is a game of "Risk" or "Diplomacy" - this ruthless game in which Nations are monoliths and the people who actually make up that society are relegated to spectacles of violence.

Robert Fisk of The Independent wrote a brilliant article Iran's Day of Destiny.

I can't look at the Youtube footage coming out of there, same as the last time I viewed a Youtube video of a demonstration against the Separation Wall I cried for an hour.
And I've been there.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm pretty sure that this isn't going going to harbour the great change for Iran, much as the Iranian people deserve. The regime is too stable and the Mullah's are ruthless as we all know.

Last night I read an article in Ha'aretz that irritated me, because the head of the Mossad - the Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations - Meir Dagan, basically came to the same conclusion as me - that this won't be the great change - but also added this lovely little tidbit about how the Iran Elections affect Israel:
"The reality in Iran is not going to change because of the elections. The world and we already know [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. If the reformist candidate [Mir Hossein] Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element...It is important to remember that he is the one who began Iran's nuclear program when he was prime minister."

'Cause never mind that Ahmadiniejad is a Dictator and that with Mousavi it would have been perhaps easier to actually talk to.
There would, conceivably, been a chance to actually attempt to establish an actual diplomatic relationship with Iran.
But no, their whole national agenda is to Nuke Israel.
Duh, how could I forget.
Oh and of course - their homophobia is worse than ours.

Something tangentially related - Netanayahu's speech of utter emptiness is still making headlines in these parts.
I'd say something constructive regarding him and his "reaching out" - which btw, WHAT?! - but I think my opinions about him, the ministers and the current government in general is widely known.
Basically, him uttering the combination of words "Palestinian", "State" and "Peace" are so devoid of any real meaning that I can say that if he represents the Israeli consensus, we are as empty headed and devoid of any kind of empathy that is rightfully human.
I'm not even going to bother linking to anything he said.

At least in Iran there is some movement.
Israel is stagnating under the perception of Democracy - which is far more complicated here that any other place I've ever heard about.

Keep resisting!

I suppose at some point I will reapply my "real" Facebook and get a Twitter.

I'm a follower.
eumelia: (Default)
So, who would you Marry, Shag or Throw off a cliff?

I was given the choice of three lovely red heads from [ profile] st_aurafina.

Hey there, Red! )

Wanna play?
eumelia: (Default)
I've been trying to find a way to write coherently about this subject for the past couple days, I hope I manage to make my point without confusing the hell out of you, dear readers.

Iran is a religious dictatorship. Ahmadinejad has bad PR. Iran is trying to make itself a power house in the Middle East.
Iran's treatment of women leaves much to be desired.
Ahmadinejad has gone on the record saying that Iran doesn't have homosexuals.
All these are facts.

And you know what? I don't care.
I don't care that there are worse places in the world.
Because if that's the kind of narration Israel is using in order to make itself look better... it kind of sucks.

Israel's Foreign Ministry is overseeing a new public relations campaign in which the gay LGBT community is recruited. This PR campaign is going to be used to discredit Iran through it's human rights violations.

Dude... WTF?

Beyond the callous use of an underprivileged minority in order to publicly discredit a different nation, it's a blatant attempt to deflect Israel's own human rights violations.

I'll be the first to admit, my life as a white, Jewish, able bodied cis-woman of the middle-class* in Israel is pretty good.
And in my little cultural Niche of Tel-Aviv Uni and the City itself, being a Queer isn't so bad.
I mean, I can't really complain about same-sex marriage as there is no such thing as civil marriages or union in Israel.
Sure there are common-law marriages and couples un-interested (or can't due to various issues) in marrying through the religious institutions can sign fiscal agreements or fly to countries in which you can marry though civil ceremonies - hetero couples like Cypres as it is close and cheap, at the moment the only country in which same-sex couples can have their marriage sort of recognised in Israel is Canada.
Very convenient.
There is precedent when it comes to the adoption of kids in same sex families, which again, is encouraging and quite awesome.

I suppose I should point out that the above is basically available to Israeli-Jews.

Being a heterosexual couple made out of an Arab and Jew is difficult enough and life threatening. Being a same-sex couple made out of an Arab and a Jew can be a death sentence... for both parties.
And that's within Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.
There are Palestinian queer organisations like ASWAT, which are awesome, co-founder Rouda Morcos is one of the most inspiring women I've ever had the privilege to meet.
ASWAT criticises both Israeli and Palestinian societies, but the underlying thought is that the Palestinians society as a whole is oppressed and that in order for LGBT rights to be advanced within Palestinian (and the other Arab societies in Israel and the Occupied territories) the Occupation must end.

Is life better for Queers within Israel proper than beyond the Green Line and in our neighbouring countries? Yes, big and resounding, yes, life is better.

However, that just exemplifies the issue of Israel's own complicity in the situation in the West Bank and Gaza.

To target Iran in order to deflect Israel's own crimes is pathetic.
Yes, yes it is.

Especially when the current government will probably do next to nothing to promote LGBT rights within Israel itself, if anything there will probably be the strengthening of the religious establishment over the next couple of years.

*Did I miss anything in the privilege disclosure?
eumelia: (Default)
I've been told by a few of my friends that I'm authentic.

Authenticity is such a mailable idea. What does it mean exactly? That I live up to the ideals I believe in (hardly) or that I live up to the idea that I have of myself.
Or the idea that others have of me.

I don't know.

But it's a hell of a compliment.

[ profile] aesiron had a meme: Comment to this post and I will give you five things I associate you with. Then either elaborate in a reply or in an entry in your journal.

Generally, I'd write a little spiel of my love of those things.
But everybody does that.
So I'm going a different route.
Batman )
Sinead O'Connor )
V For Vendetta )
Gender Politics )
Buffy the Vampire Slayer )

Comment away!
eumelia: (Default)
I've always been a bit of a floater when it came to Activism - it has to do that I haven't actually been politically active for that long - I've mainly been active at the Uni and participated in a few things in which I didn't particularly feel I needed to actually be affiliated.

Well, since the operation on Gaza and the marginalization of the Left in these here parts I've felt the need to find a place in which I could be active and have a firm support network.

This past Sunday a general meeting of Hadash - the Party I voted for if you recall - the agenda of which was the establishment of a New Left. Of course, it was more about the broadening of the message Hadash always spoke, but because they aren't "Zionist" have been marginalised.

Thank you human ingenuity for the Interwebs.

Anyway, Hadash (al-Jabha in Arabic) is an acronym for The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality. Like many Leftist organizations, fronts and movements, it is kind of taken for granted that women are included, that women have something to say.
And on Sunday, at the general meeting, every single one of the women who spoke to the large assembly of over 300 people, said that there is not enough women representation.

So this morning, the first meeting of what may turn into the Hadash Feminist Forum met up. It was really interesting, 'cause there were a few older Hadash members, including former (and legendary) MK Tamar Gozansky and a whole lot of newbies like Moi.

I won't get into the whole meeting as minutes were taken and I actually don't remember everything that was said.
I added my own 0.2 about queer women and their position in the Left and society as whole, because we kept talking about women of colour (Jewish and Arab), working class women, mothers etc.
I felt good about at least raising the issue

What really bugged me though, was when an Anarchist man had some things to say - cut for going off tangent )

It was a productive meeting and we've already arranged to meet other women's movements that are part of the Front and will most likely start getting things done for International Woman Day - 8th of March FYI.

I'm hoping to find an activism base here, because I'd really like to strengthen the parliamentarian Left in these coming months because of blow it took in these election.
Bibi is Prime Minister.
What is the Agnostic/Atheist cry for help and hope and despair?
Oh, the Humanity!
eumelia: (Default)
One of my favourite courses in Uni this year is Intro to Queer Theory.
It's taught by Amalia Ziv, which I've mentioned on this blog before in various contexts, mainly to fangrrl, because she's a queer academic icon [dykon].

One of the requirements of the class is to write and hand in commentary on at least three articles that we are reading throughout the Semester.
I took my time writing these commentaries, because I wasn't sure what to expect from the class and I wanted to see how I managed in the actual class discussions.
I do very well, by the way, if I may brag for just a second. I'm a participant, I always find myself saying something, or responding to something someone else has said.
Amalia knows my name and looks at me when there's a lull in a discussion.
It is quite awesome.

The article I wrote a commentary for is "Oral History and the Study of Sexuality in the Lesbian Community: Buffalo, New York, 1940-1960" by Madeline Davis and Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy.

A large portion of the article is detailing the unique historiography of the pre-Gay Liberation Lesbian Community, especially the Bar Scene and the Butch-Femme dynamic within the community.
Butch-Femme relationships were the norm of that time and place and what's really great is that all the information comes straight from the women who were a part of that community - hence oral history.

What's really interesting is that the Butch-Femme dynamic (as presented in the article) is part of a working-class community. That the social norms formed the sexual practice of Butch/Femme sexuality.
I'm not sure what my own view on gender are, other than the fact that it is a socially constructed category and that there are many facets and ranges on the various gender expressions. So when I first encountered the idea of Butch/Femme, which is arguably the most known Lesbian stereotype found in various mainstream ideas about how Lesbians behave, I was sure what it was just that.
A stereotype.
The realisation that I was mistaken came long before reading this article (well, not too long, but enough time to not be completely floored by what was written in the article), that Butch and Femme identities weren't just Lesbian women who took on specific roles that replicated Straight ones - I mean, that's such a reduction of the dynamics and relationships!

I'm a bit ashamed of myself for ever thinking that sort of thing.

I think what impressed me the most is the parallel development of this specific Lesbian community in the 1940's and 1950's with mainstream culture. I mean, it's well known that during WW2 women found themselves working and supporting themselves without men. It's really not too far fetched to imagine some of them making the most of this period of time to explore other avenues of sexuality. The War is not mentioned explicitly in the article, though I think it was certainly a factor.
In the 1950's the whole Domestic Goddess ideal and being supportive for the husband. Not to mention that it was probably the most sexually repressed time since the Victorians.
While Straight society was doing their best to have sex for reproductive purposes (this of course merely the ideal of what went on - Kinsey showed things to be quite different) the Lesbian community was all about experimenting with sexuality.
The Lesbian scene was actually an arena of openness and expression.

What really impressed me in the article was the sexual mentor role that Femmes played in the 1940's and how it expanded in the 1950's to older Butches teaching younger Butches proper sexual etiquette.

I think that's something that's really missing from our current modern society.
We're expected to get into bed with a partner and "know" them by virtue of being human - "let nature take its course" - but that that's such bullshit.
I mean, sex is something we have to learn, some part are intuitive, but certainly not all.
I mean, why is intercourse still considered the be all and end all of "proper" sex still, when for half the population (women), having a piece of flesh pressing inside them isn't the highlight.

I think if the conflation between love/sex were actually culturally separated it would be easier for people to find people to teach them how to gain pleasure from their bodies and create pleasure for another.
Basically, if the perception wasn't that people are for gaining sexual gratification, but rather than it is gratifying to be sexual with other people, maybe sex in Western culture wouldn't be so fucked up.

And Lesbian sex would actually be regarded as sex and not, you know, an empty space waiting for a cock.

That ended on a rant didn't it...

Still worth thinking about.

And have a...
Happy Hannukah!
Merry Yule!
And may this long Solstice Night pass quickly and may the days be lengthy.


Light My Candle )
eumelia: (Default)
As mentioned, here is my review of Changeling.

***Obligatory Spoiler Warning***
This entry may contains spoilers of a film currently showing in theaters... don't say I didn't warn you!

As most of my friends, readers, lurkers, voyeurs know; if there's something I love, it's pop-culture. If there's something I absolutely adore, it's pop-culture done right!

"Changeling" is a big Hollywood production. It's a Clint Eastwood film, the screenplay is by J. Michael Straczynski, yes Babylon 5's Straczynski. All great pluses in my mind.
I went to the film without any big expectations other than to be entertained, which I most certainly was, but really, my inner analyst was having a field day with this film and that really has very little to so with who wrote and/or directed it.

It is a movie primarily about identity, in the broadest sense of the word. Read it! You know you want to... )
eumelia: (Default)
Here be Spoilers for The Dark Knight

Finally went to see The Dark Knight for the second time yesterday. (Going again this evening, *squeee*)

A second viewing certainly enables you to see the funny of the movie, of which there were lots, actually. The Joker was so unexpected in this incarnation that I had time, the first time around, to actually enjoy the film - seeing as I was constantly cringing, turning away, feeling slightly nauseous and otherwise speechless and shaken from the tension of the film.

Unlike the first time I saw the movie and was utterly blown away from the philosophical/moral/ethical overtones and utter coolness in the movie, I am able to see where I'd really like Christopher Nolan to improve.

Mainly, to have a female main character (or two or three), that with any luck, won't bloody well die.

With the untimely (and weep worthy - yes I cried, shaddup) demise of Ms. Dawes. There is now ample opportunity to bring in three of the bestest women the DC universe has ever thought of.
Selina Kyle (a.k.a Catwoman), Talia Head (a.k.a Talia Al-Goul) and Dr. Harleen Quinzelle (a.k.a Harley Quinn a.k.a The Harlequin).

Cut for length, no need to eat up your f-lists with my Fannish Ruminations )

If in the end Selina is to be in the third Nolan Batman and her origin is that of a prostitute like Effing Frank Miller wrote I will be severely, utterly disappointed.
Also, if I catch a whiff if Miller anywhere near the Batman movies they can forget my money. I'd rather wait for it to be on television than know that a percentage of my money is lining that sexist, racist, over-rated so-called "writer".

Here are the opinions of other comic books writers of what they'd like to see in the third Nolan Batman movie. All the writers are men by the way, just FYI, of course.
eumelia: (Default)
There was a small conference about Sexual Harassment on Campus.

It's a subject that has been hitting the Israeli Blogosphere (both feminist and otherwise) over the past month or so because a very brave Master's student by the name of Ortal Ben-Dayan (אורטל בן דיין) published her experience as a BA student and the affair she had with her Sociology Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Her biting and humour filled article can be read in Hebrew here.

Ms. Ben-Dayan breaks down her experience with this man and contextualizes it within the prism of Ashkenazi Academic Elite and her being a minority woman of colour (she is Mizrahi, specifically of Moroccan descent) and how that affected the unequal balance of power already present within the Professor-Student dynamic.

Ms. Ben-Dayan was one of the four speakers at this little conference and she spoke with dignity and without shame, though she admitted that speaking aloud about her experience is much more embarrassing than just writing about on a social commentary on-line magazine - Ha'Oketz.

All four speakers were excellent and touched on different issues concerning power, identity and the treatment sexual harassment receives in the public and how despite University campus' being considered the same as any other work place under the Sexual Harassment Law in Israel, almost no legal action is done to prevent it. There are no workshops for lecturers, students and campus workers in the subject, when there are supposed to be.
At this point getting a complaint to even be addressed is difficult - there is a hot-line students that have been sexually harassed (women only volunteers) can call, they give counseling and information on what can be done.

But it seems like such a drop in the ocean.

Another great thing about this panel was that three of the women were of colour; two of them Mizrahi Jewish women, one the aformentioned sociology MA student (Ortal Ben-Dayan) and a lawyer (Dr. Yifat Biton); the other (ha! pun) a Palestinian social worker (Ragjda Alnabulsi) and the fourth woman was a Lesbian Ashkenazi women (Dorit Abramovitch).

I was really impressed with what they had to say.

It also brought to my mind all the little sexual harassments I've experienced over the years. I've never been raped or sexually assaulted, but that's because I've been insanely lucky - no more, no less.

All women have been sexually harassed. It's an everyday thing. I've been stripped (by that special gaze) more times than I can count, I've been "accidentally" touched more times than I can remember while I've stood in a crowded bus, train or street. I've been deliberately groped once when I fell asleep on a train. I've been told to smile. I've been told, while working for my father, cleaning his windows, that I'd look really good cleaning your windows. During gym classes I was whistled at and told I had a great rack. After those gym classes my bra strap would be pulled and snapped - my breasts jiggled. I was called bitch, whore, cunt, dyke, etc. etc.
I could go on.
But these are everyday things.
There is no need for anyone to be held accounted for.
eumelia: (Default)
What an interesting story.

On the gut level I thought; fuck that's a brave thing to do.
On the more cognitive level I thought; damn that's clever.
On the student-who-analyzes-everything-she-reads level I thought; well, that's one of the most rebellious, subjective things she could do in that situation.
On the absurd/political level I thought; those men harass her to the extent to which she must bare all, literally and she's reprimanded!?

Just goes to show that sexual harassment is the most normalized crime, there really is nothing wrong with wolf-whistling to a total stranger in the street.
She retaliates to a perceived threat and gets the punishment.

A few prize quotes from the article, just to show a little bit more of the absurd/political side of this:
"She gave the explanation that she had been ... pestered by New Zealand men. She's not an unattractive-looking lady," [Sgt. Peter Masters] said."

Police treated the incident as a one-off.

"She was taken back to the police station and spoken to and told that was
inappropriate (behavior) in New Zealand," [Sgt. Peter Masters] added."

And since this is Ha'aretz, the woman in question is an Israeli tourist.
Take from that what you will.

Feeling linkphobic? Just Follow the cut )
eumelia: (Default)
I'm not going to make it to the May Day march happening in Tel Aviv today and I mentioned it to Mummy, because I share things with Mummy and generally she likes it when I share things her.

She said that May Day is passé. That it doesn't mean anythings anymore. That only old pensioners still want to march and that only the crazy Left factions still choose to march, that they're on the fringe of the political map.
And now that the Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore it's a meaningless communist holiday.
She said that when she lived in South Africa and communism was illegal and she marched in Anti-Apartheid demos on that day it meant something.

Well, it does still mean something.
It's not a "communist" holiday.
The official title for May Day is International Workers Day, or International Workers Rights Day.

In this era; in which temp workers have almost no rights in their work place.

In which the minimum wage in most countries doesn't correlate with the standard of living.

In which the welfare system discriminates against single parent families (usually singe mothers as we know).

In which there are one day strikes where bosses make promises and get the workers back on track but in fact nothing changes.

In which my friend who works as a Barista in a chain doesn't see the point of a union because she isn't going to stay long enough at the job for it to do any good.

In which strikes demanding better pay, better terms, better education are ignored by the government and completely miss the opportunity to show a united front, in Solidarity, for education, higher learning and a future for those who will get a mediocre education.

In which globalisation enables the movement of cheap labour from a "Third World" country to a "Western" country and these workers are used, abused and can barely sustain themselves because they send the majority of their wages back to their families;

In which the lining of ones pocket is more important than the fact that the majority of the peoples pockets are empty.

In which a burgeoning food crisis is immanent and those who grow the food will have nothing left because it will all be taken and distributed all over the world just so "we" won't be without our precious rice.

In which small business, like my Father's pharmacy, have to compete with giant chains and he works so hard to make sure his children want for nothing and works from eight AM to eight PM, being the boss, the worker and the professional.

In which 19(!) families control 34% (maybe more) of the income of Israel's 500 leading companies - Ynet Article.

In this era of exploitation, by-any-means-necessary-profit, "voluntary" over-time, Life Style and unsustainable economics, it is imperative to mark a day, be it a traditional one or a new one, so long as it's international, where those who are exploited, used and have their rights/see their comrades rights being abused move together in solidarity for a better future for everyone.

And to those who say; there has always been exploitation, there has always been inequality, there have always been those who have and those who don't.
I (and I'm sure many others) say: if there is no change, there is only stagnation and the only "always" that comes from that is death.
Um, yeah.
I'm done.

Happy (after)May Day Everyone!


eumelia: (Default)

June 2015

 12345 6

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 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.


-"V for Vendetta"


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