Sunday, May 13, 2018

No, the sexbots won't save you

Been a while since I visited this site and this article in response to the Toronto mass murder and Ross Douthat's asshat essay is dead on.

Marginalized people who society frequently ridicules and presumes incapable of desiring or of being desired — fat people, disabled people, people of color, trans and queer people — have not created online communities to plot violent revenge against women. It is only white, straight, cisgender men — who are repeatedly told by our culture that theirs are the only desires that matter, that they are entitled to power over other people’s bodies — who react in this way.

Jess Fournier's entire essay can be read here

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Did you fall and hit your head

I've joined a dubious club. I'm now a member of the Head Injury gang. On President's Day weekend while walking home from an exercise class I slipped on some black ice. Technically, it wasn't black, it was clear as glass and coating every outside surface on the morning of Saturday, February 17.

I didn't just fall, I did a Jerry Lewis pratfall. For a millisecond I was airborne floating to the frozen pavement on my back. I have no memory of hitting my head, only sitting up with my ears ringing, my scalp stinging and my ass and legs in someone's driveway.

I was dazed, very tired but nothing else was off. Until the next morning.

I got up at six on Sunday, did some chores, cleaned a bit before the next planned exercise class. But I have no memory of cleaning or doing chores. Nada. Before 11:00 am everything is a black hole. I remember standing in my living room calling my friend for, what she said was, the fifth time in 20 minutes.

At the hospital I fell asleep, on the ER bed, on the CT scan table, etc. I couldn't remember where I worked or my boss's name. I couldn't remember my friend and I visiting a club the evening before.

By Sunday evening 90-percent of my memory had returned. But still to be betrayed by that most vital of organs.

A month on, I still have vertigo/dizzy spells. I still have to sleep at least nine hours a night. I'm still hyper sensitive to light. I still get weird headaches that start behind my eyes and feel like my head is filling with sand.

But still ...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Repeat after me

Rape is not sex
Rape is not sex
Rape is not sex.

Rape is the opposite of sex.

Rape is not a consequence of too much alcohol or too little clothing. No Kevin Spacey, rape is not a predictable end result of any sexual orientation. Rape is not epidemic because we have somehow lost genteel society. Rape is a felony. Rapists are criminals and they should go to prison just like bank robbers or murderers. Rapists do not have a lack of gentlemanly training. This isn't 1805 and it's not about failing to offer a lady a handkerchief at the formal ball.

Rape is an act of violence, not sex. Rapist feel powerful when they attack someone because they tend to feel powerless in their everyday life.

If the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Roy Moore are true, and the evidence is preponderous, neither of them needs counseling or a forceful chat with the HR department. They need to go to prison.

Sorry, Bill Maher, Harvey Weinstein doesn't need to "take better care of himself", lose weight or shave more often so he can "get laid." This is not about getting laid because rape is not about sex.

Rape. Is. Not. Sex.

Rapists are not sexually frustrated. On the contrary, rapists often are married and/or already have partners they are sexually intimate with. Some even have families with children. And, as the research in the eye-opening 2012 documentary The Invisible War showed, the majority of rapists are serial rapists. In criminal psychology, serial rapists have a lot in common with serial murderers. Serial murderers often begin their criminal careers as rapists. Rapists, exactly like serial murderers, look for opportunity, they look for victims who presumably will be easily overcome and subdued; someone small, someone drunk or impaired, someone young and inexperienced in self defense, someone disabled or unable to run or fight, someone alone, probably someone female.

Rape victims do not get raped because they a) went to the wrong party, b) walked down the wrong street, c) got in the wrong car with the wrong friend or d) left their handgun at home. Victims get raped because a rapist rapes them. Period.

Lumping Senator Al Franken or Louis CK in the same box with Weinstein or Moore is idiotic. Neither Franken or CK are felons. They are stupid, they abused their power but they are likely not rapists. The two women who had the unsavory misfortune to witness Louis CK masturbating in front of them were not raped. They were shocked, scared (because women are conditioned to anticipate odd behavior as a prelude to violence) and later, probably furious. But they are not thankfully rape victims.

Again, Weinstein and Moore are criminals. The former has millions, an entertainment empire, power and people to find and arrange rape victims for him. The latter was so pernicious a pedophile and stalker of teenage girls he was permanently banned from an Alabama strip mall by security guards.

Where it gets confusing -- the conjunction between assaulting a 14-year-old girl behind a restaurant and flashing a coworker your penis -- is called Rape Culture. It's a term that often runs in the same sentence as the War on Women. If you think, like most on the political right, that the War on Women is fictitious then you've never heard of the Congo. Or Yugoslavia. Or the Pink Taxis of Puebla. Or ISIS. Or Jyoti Singh. And on and on the list just keeps getting longer.

Men like Louis CK make the mistake of assuming women are just here for their sexual entertainment because Rape Culture has told them over and over for decades that they are. Every time a hot blonde is strewn across the hood of car in a commercial, every time a video game player has the opportunity to "rape" a character in Grand Theft Auto and every single time there's a televised beauty contest, women are objectified. Objects are things, not people. The first step in suppressing any group of people (African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, etc.) is to make them into stereotypes or caricatures and then objects. Then it's okay to rape and kill them because, Rape Culture tells us, they're not really people.

Our current sitting president attempted to dismiss claims he is a rapist by suggesting one of his victims wasn't hot enough. In the past, he's emceed and produced beauty contests. He is currently married to a former model who's primary resume point is her ability to look fuckable, to fit a stereotype, a pornographic caricature, to be a thing. I suspect, in his narcissism and selfishness, our president sees nearly everyone around him as just a thing.

We cannot stop rape until we learn to discern the difference between men behaving badly (Franken and CK) and rapists (Weinstein and Moore). We cannot dismantle Rape Culture until we dismantle the toxic patriarchy which has been telling us for ages that women are not people but simply things to be: won, earned, bought, possessed, impregnated, discarded, stereotyped and scorned (dumb virgin, slut, conniving whore, gold-digging bitch, etc.).

We cannot stop rape until we see women (and alternately LGBT, brown people, immigrants, etc.) as people. We cannot stop rape until we stop dehumanizing people.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Kitty porn

Just in time for the winter solstice.