highlyeccentric: Androgyny by Yakub Merchant: a woman's legs in fishnets; between them, a mirror reflecting a woman adjusting a wasitcoat (Androgyny)
Fact: I like men.

Generally speaking, men are decent human beings. I do not like all of them, but I don't like all human beings. I know many men who are kind, loving, funny, hard-working, generous, witty, corageous people. I like these men for their particular constellations of personality traits, just as I like the women I like for their particular constellations of personality traits.

I do not like men *despite* their gender )




Here endeth the lesson. And yes, I know that's an outdated piece of seventies lesbian-feminist criticism, but something of that ilk - sometimes older, sometimes newer, comes across my Tumblr dash or my Google Reader every few weeks. Let us not start on things like the time someone told me that the reason I had strong memories of my father reading to me was that I'd internalised the patriarchy, and ridiculous things like that.

Fortunately, many respectable forms of feminism these days do care about men and about masculinity these days. However, it remains a choice that one makes as a feminist, not an automatic assumption. The degree to which any given sub-group or critic cares can vary widely. Thus, "I care about men" is a worthwhile statement to make.

Editorial note: this post, in its Dreamwidth iteration, is a public post. I'm closing comments on the LJ version - feel free to respond using OpenID or anonymous comments (signed w/ names, please) here.
highlyeccentric: XKCD - citation needed (citation needed)
Why is so much 80s feminist criticism so annoying? And 80s lesbian-feminist criticism even more so?

Aaaargh. I do these things to myself on purpose, I know, but aaaack.

*headdesk*
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
Apparently only straight women do the dishes?*

Not to mention the ridiculous stereotyping of what's attractive here. So I want to brighten up my boring housewifely drudgery... let's look at a muscled fireman (dirty) and a muscular guy carrying a baby (clean). Because... men involved in childcare don't have dirty sex? Because OBVIOUSLY there are two kinds of men, Dirty Men and family men? And women want both but can only have one at a time (they have different names. It says so on the dishwashing liquid bottle).

I DON'T EVEN KNOW.

Also, I realise that I'm standing on thin ice here, for someone who reads fuckyeahkarlurban and fuckyeahtomhardy on a daily basis and has watched the bizarre Tyler Shields video in which Zach Quinto gets covered in milk more times than I can count, but nevertheless:

I am uncomfortable with the level of objectification going on here.**

I'm just... going to leave that there, and go remove the labels from my diswashing liquid bottles so that I don't have to be glowered at by an unrealistically-muscled fireman every time I do the dishes for a month.

~

* Or possibly only male-attracted people. I think the presence of the baby in the 'clean' shot suggests this is aimed at stereotype straight women, but I'm sure Morning Fresh wouldn't complain if gay men were more likely to buy their dishwashing liquid as a result.

** Especially the baby, I think. BABIES: they are more than accessories for the female gaze! Not it's not nice and occasionally very attractive to see men being competent with children, but... that's men being competent *with children*, not Man Who Has Been Posed With Baby In Order That Women Find Him Attractive And Buy More Dishwashing Liquid.
highlyeccentric: Ravenclaw: how do you spell "unfuckable" in Latin? (Ravenclaw - unfuckable in latin)
Someone in Scotland has their head screwed on!

Trigger warning: this is a good but possibly confronting anti-rape ad )

This ad is brilliant. I presume its meant for screening on TV, though, and I wonder about the trigger risks for the viewing public? I wonder if that's something they thought of at all? COULD you do a good anti-rape ad without running a significant trigger risk?
highlyeccentric: Manuscript illumination - courtiers throwing snowballs (medieval - everybody snowball)
So, K and I went shopping. The supermarket were playing "Billy Don't Be a Hero" as we finished up. K sings along for a while, and informs me that Billy does not, in fact, come back and marry the protagonist, but dies in battle instead. Which is to be expected from the genre. K debates, with herself, whether or not the song is on the Priscilla Queen of the Desert soundtrack.

On the way home:

K, humming "Billy Don't Be a Hero": It's really about performance... of, oh god, performance of masculinity.
Highly: Yahuh. It's like, are you going to be a man in a homosocial setting (and die!), or in a heteroromantic context?
K: It's like, it's like that GUY, the one who was killing everybody and then he holed up with his wife and all his mates were like "we don't respect you anymore, you're not killing anyone".
Highly, with some trepidation: ... I think you mean Erec.
K: That's the one! Erec et Enide, yeah!
...
Oh god, I shouldn't be ALLOWED.
Highly: Allowed what?
K: ANYTHING. I just analysed the MUSIC IN THE SUPERMARKET in the context of...
Highly, eyeballing her: MY THESIS.
Highly and K, agreed: THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH US.

In other news, this week is budget amnesty week! So I bought two DW paid accounts for a year, and wine, and, uh... paid the fridge bill, with K. That's not actually all that exciting. I *ought* to have more money leftover after liberating my savings, but I really don't. Two DW paid accounts is expensive, though, that's probably why.

In other news, the world is conspiring to expose me to Lady Gaga and it makes me want to go clubbing. WHERE IN SYDNEY AM I LIKELY TO FIND AN APPROPRIATE DOOSE OF LADY GAGA?
highlyeccentric: Arthur (BBC Merlin) - text: "SRSLY" (SRSLY)
What's with all the Justin Bieber-bashing, universe? So, the kid's baby-faced and has a high voice and is attractive to fourteen year old girls.

What, exactly, is wrong with that?

All I'm seeing is a fear of and condemnation of young girls' desire. Bad, bad girls! Manifesting - and sharing - your desires! Causing ruckus! Being impolite! Bad girls.

Ok, granted, that was a Miranda Devine article - what else did you *expect*? But it's a blown-up version of the finger-pointing and disapproval evident across the whole media coverage of the Justin ruckus. (For those not in the know, a free JB concert in Sydney was cancelled when the crowd of teens and preteens got out of control - waiting up all night for the star to appear, those with mobile phones were excited by a false twitter rumour that JB had arrived in Sydney early, and the crowd surged, injuring several. The concert was cancelled, and the crowd moved to the Sunrise studio. Efforts seem to have been made to cancel that show as well, but JB insisted on performing one song for his fans. The media then go to town on the hilarity/depravity of these teenage girls and their desire for the effeminate singer and his not-especially-meaningful lyrics.)

Meanwhile, my facebook feed is flooded with guys joining groups with titles like "don't worry Justin Bieber, I used to sing like you - then I turned four". Groups calling to vote him out of their gender, and asking God to exchange Kurt Cobain (dead, manly musician) for Justin Bieber (live, insufficiently manly musician).

Amusingly, all the guys I know who are joining these groups are either:
1. Gay
2. Not especially macho
3. Socially awkward
or
4. All of the above.

So what have we here? On the one hand, adults and the media are uncomfortable with teenage (and pre-teenage) girls manifesting desire (be it sexual or otherwise - believe it or not, a seven-year-old COULD idolise a singer and manifest her desire in ways which are imitative of older girls without *actually* wanting him in the pants - and yet the media persist in acting as if Bieber's pre-teen fans are some weird two-headed breed of predatory sexualised babies). Accordingly, adults, the media, and older teens react by mocking and/or damning the girls in question. This is not new news! It's the Edward Cullen Underpants Conundrum, with a slightly younger target market.

So what, universe? Crowds of (young) women want to look at a man? (Young) women behave in uncouth ways when satisfying their desire for said man? (Young) women make fools of themselves trying to touch this man? (Young) women make this man into an object of their desire, more about fulfilling a need of theirs than any innate quality he has?

SO WHAT? Nothing men haven't been doing to all women for centuries. Millenia.

And on the other hand, we have a group of men - many older than Bieber, some probably his age-peers - slandering him and emasculating him. Now, I don't know if Bieber is known for particularly gender-transgressive behaviour: it's possible he is, I've never seen him perform, but it certainly hasn't featured in the media coverage. Yet the male reaction seems to be trying, violently, to police gender performance.

Whose gender performance, exactly?

Is it Bieber's?

It could be.

But I think it's actually about Bieber's fans. These "febrile, hyperventilating girls" who dare to manifest their desire, and who dare to desire an insufficiently masculine object. I think this outbreak of man-rage on Facebook (and probably other places, too) is part of male desire to shame these girls for not desiring/affirming... well, them. And, if my friends feed is anything to go by, it's not coming from macho men. It's coming from men who themselves aren't achieving an ideal masculine gender performance. It's coming from shy men, gawky men, flamboyant men, gay men: men who are used to not receiving heaps of social approval and accolades for their manliness, and they're lashing out at Bieber because Bieber's fans are too young to have internalised the same codes of masculinity as they have.

Those who feel more secure in themselves resort to mocking the mysterious ways of attraction which lead girls to desire Bieber. Which is really no better.

All this makes me want to buy a Justin Bieber album. Or maybe relive my childhood and lay hands on a Hanson album.
highlyeccentric: I'm in ur history, emphsizin (Wimmenz)
In fact, a rant ABOUT feminists. Not any specific feminists, I've heard this coming from feminists of all stripes and ages and political leanings. It goes something like this:

"How can women say they're not feminists? Don't you realise that without feminism they wouldn't have degrees/the vote/contraception/nice things? Don't you want equality? Without feminism you'd all be crushed by the patriarchy!"

You don't understand women who are Not Feminists? Well, I do. I was one. I *decided* I was not a feminist about two years before I decided that actually, having acquired new political and academic stances, I was a feminist after all. But rather than me babbling about my Not Feminist past, let's just look at that statement for a minute.

"We gave you the vote! We gave you new career opportunities! If it weren't for us, your social position wouldn't be as good as it is now! How can you not be one of us?"

You know who else uses that line of argument? You know who else says "but look what we did/gave you!" to fob off people who may actually have a problem with their institution, or simply not be interested? Oh yes, that would be our good friends, the Christian churches.

I'm grateful to the early labour movement for winning the eight-hour working day, but that's not why I'm now a (very apathetic uninvolved) union member. I'm very glad that the church in Ireland preserved so many books and so much scholarship during (the erroneously named) Dark Ages, but that doesn't make me a Catholic. And yes, I'm grateful to and proud of the women who worked for the rights I take for granted - the Rose Scotts and Louisa Lawsons and Louisa MacDonalds of this country and other countries - but that didn't stop me from being Not A Feminist, and it certainly isn't why I am a feminist now.

No. The women who fought for the vote fought for the vote for all women. Even the ones who, no doubt, dutifully ticked the boxes their husbands told them to (and still do). The women who achieved all the milestones we have behind us - they achieved them in the name of emancipation for all women, not the empowerment of feminists. And you know the thing about political emancipation? It doesn't come with a burden of debt. It comes with the right to make your own political decisions - or to vague out and make no decisions at all.

Next time you get frustrated with someone who's Not A Feminist, please, think carefully before you imply that she doesn't deserve to enjoy equal rights unless she adopts the same label as you.

BAD THINGS

Dec. 15th, 2009 07:14 pm
highlyeccentric: Steamed broccoli - an image of an angry broccoli floret (steamed)
1. Stephen Conroy has announced that the internet filter will go ahead. According to the SMH:

The blacklist, featuring material such as child sex abuse, sexual violence and instructions on crime, would be compiled using a public complaints mechanism, Government censors and URLs provided by international agencies.


Now, in theory, government censors should be apolitical etc etc blah blah blah public service code of conduct. We all know that could go any which way in practice. BUT AT WHAT POINT IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO RELY ON PUBLIC COMPLAINTS AND 'INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES'?

You know where that leads us? LJ STRIKEOUT. #AMAZONFAIL. YEAH.

Not happy. Plan on writing to Minister Conroy. Can I encourage you to do the same? Sounds boring, but apparently when the original policy was announced, the flood of letters forced his Department to take on a whole slew of temps. Write. Write now. Write over Christmas, when half the public service are away AND YET THEY STILL HAVE TO ANSWER LETTERS WITHIN THE SPECIFIED RESPONSE TIME. Write big letters and small letters, send goddamn Christmas cards, they still have to answer. And answering costs time and money, which are things the government does not have much of.

2. SPEAKING OF LJ. This morning, they announced that in the next code push, they would add a "gender" field to the sign-up page, and make it mandatory to display it on your profile. Said field included no "unspecified" or "other" option. Check out Synecdochic's post on the matter for details. She has since heard from the manager of US operations, and the code was a beta test and will not be pushed live. The gender field will be added to the sigunup page but it doesn't look like they're going to make it mandatory after all.

If they're not going to make it mandatory, this is... good. However, what's also come out of it is something I hadn't realised: all those ugly diet ads on my LJ page, the ones that made me decide to lock it down and migrate to DW? They're targeted at me BECAUSE I HAVE SELECTED FEMALE AS MY GENDER. I have now unspecified my gender and encourage you to do the same.

I quote [personal profile] thingswithwings:

This is pretty much horrifying. I mean, some companies and governments have that kind of policy in place from the getgo, which is one kind of ignorant bullshit, but to have a more open policy and then reduce it to the oppressive binary system later in order to better target ads for weight loss and viagra? I mean, it's a perfect demonstration of how institutions force people into these gendered roles/scripts, then calls them into being as such - "great, you're a woman: now let us tell you how your body isn't attractive enough." This is, right here, how women and men are produced, and in the countries I live in at least, it's part of why women and men are produced (there's money to be made in the manufacturing of gender, in addition to the other paradigms of power that are created/reinforced by that process).


I don't trust LJ any more than a snake in a box. [personal profile] synecdochic has (repeatedly) stated that DW is a queer-friendly, trans-friendly, just-plain-don't-want-to-be-limited-by-my-gender friendly space, and is offering DW codes to anyone negatively affected by LJ's policies. I still have a few codes myself: if you want 'em, let me know.

For now - since LJ have declared that they will not be pushing this code - I will not be making any further changes to my blogging habits. I will think about disabling comments on my fandom journal, and see how that goes over. Sooner or later, I will be disabling comments on this one. I hope later rather than sooner.
highlyeccentric: I'm in ur history, emphsizin (Wimmenz)
Alice, Lucymonster and I are mooching around my house, listening to music and complimenting one another. For reasons unknown, I decided to paint my nails, and then Lucy painted Alice's.

Says Alice, staring at her fingers: This nail polish thing is such an exercise in gender performativity! I almost feel like a real girl now...
Me, holding out a hand to be carefully shaken without disturbing the nail polish: Excellent. It has been an honour to perform gender with you. We should do it again.
*Alice and Amy burst into gales of laughter*
*Lucy looks terrified*

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