Friday, April 27, 2007

I've learned a lot this week.

over the past week I was privileged to see some strong voices come out in support of me - as I may have mentioned, I am deeply humbled.

at the same time, I was also privileged to see some strong voices coming out extremely critical of me. and I am equally humbled.

among other things, I've learned that I can come off a little(or a lot) sarcastic, without even trying. I should work on that.

I've learned that not everyone reads my attempts at civility as attempts at civility. some folks think I'm twofaced, disingenuous, insincere...well, I guess I can't really help that. I don't think outbursts like the one below should be the only way to convince people of one's sincerity.

And even as I write this, there will be folks out there going "Oh, choke on your false humility, you twofaced, disingenuous, insincere..." etc.

To them I say - this is my truth. and I daresay nobody knows my truth better than I do. but if anyone would like to argue the point, please feel free.

As to the Great Wall of Feminism proposed by Stormy and others - frankly, I think this is a bad idea.

Please note, I do not think the people proposing the idea are bad. The people proposing the idea clearly have the common good in mind, and care about Class Woman, and even some individual women, and really really want to stop the insanity so that everyone can go back to feeling safe and healthy and OK again. I am absolutely convinced of their sincerity and desire to Do Good.

but as Robin Morgan once said - "Sisters, this is not the way."

I agree that it's best not to engage with every other blogger who has expressed a distaste for you. I agree that sometimes a retreat back into sanity or so-called "safe space" is the wise and healthy thing to do when you're just not getting anywhere. And I totally agree there's no place for insults, personal attacks, threats, or outing.

But I don't agree that the sort of permanent separation that Stormcloud has proposed will be good for feminism in the long run.

I mean, we could just learn not to insult, attack personally, threaten or out, even while rigorously questioning and examining each other's points of view.

That way, nobody would be limited as to blog content, or comment content. Nobody would have to live with the unpleasant creeping fear that her latest post might possibly be construed as "bashing", and should she take it down? should she rephrase somehow? should she not even consider questioning whatever it was that got her thinking in the first place? did she break the truce?

If I adhere strictly to the "separate rooms" idea, it means I don't even read radfem blogs. so, how am I gonna know whether they're keeping their end of the bargain?

Less dialogue means less learning. less learning is no kind of progress.

does this make me pro-blogwar? I don't think so. it just makes me anti-wall.

The sort-of-sadly-amusing thing is that the folks who are most in need of reading this post are the folks who are supposed to be avoiding me, in the name of "separate rooms". and even if they did, they couldn't comment.

I don't know if I'll be blogging here anymore. I might, I might not. I'm still deeply ambivalent about the whole thing.

was this post "bashing"?

comments are, as always, open and unmodded.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

NOTE: for what it's worth, I do regret losing my temper. I regret even more deeply losing my sense of perspective and for a moment forgetting that all the people I cussed out are people, even for our disagreements, and for that reason alone deserving of more respect than I showed.

I'm still angry with those folks. I'm not going to apologize for that. but maybe instead of "FUCK YOU" I should have said "EXAMINE YOUR BEHAVIOR!" or something.

I can't take the post down - I said what I said, I meant what I said, and I'm accountable for what I said. But I can certainly express some sincere regret for my loss of temper.

In recognition of my blogiversary, here in its entirety is my very first blog post ever, from April 28, 2006:

Greetings -

I've been lurking around the radfemblogosphere for a goodly while, occasionally screwing my courage to the sticking-place to post here or there. Usually what happened next had all the hallmarks of non-consensual public humiliation. (So much for schwesterhof.) Finally today I realized that while my comments may not be especially welcome on other people's blogs, that did not mean I had to suffer in silence.

So here I am.

Don't get the wrong idea. I am not an "amazing new voice." I'm not bucking for a Koufax by any means. I'm just a girl with her handy-dandy pocket Constitution burning a hole in her jeans, a cranky old fat lady who still has a battered old coffee-stained library edition of Sisterhood is Powerful propping up her wobbly sofa leg - and I'm not afraid to use it!

See, I just don't get the sense that this world, this culture, this neverending Waterloo of gender was really what they had in mind, the Florynce Kennedys and Shulamith Firestones and Ti-grace Atkinsons and Roxanne Dunbars of the world. Those piles and piles of radical women's journals cranked out on mimeograph machines and now rotting in landfills from coast to coast did not contain a road map to where we are right now. I really want to know - where did we go wrong? and what can be done to make it right?

I cordially invite any and all to chime in with opinions, personal experiences, questions, comments, smart-ass remarks, opposing viewpoints, whatever needs to be said. I do not require commenters to agree with me, defend me, or otherwise blow smoke up my gloriously ample ass. I do require comments to be more or less free of spelling errors, heinous transgressions of grammar, so-called "scare quotes" (get it?) and inter-commenter snark. Disagree all you want, please. Dissent, oppose, negate, disprove, debunk 'til the world looks level - but don't humiliate. I believe firmly that growth can occur through a healthy exchange of ideas - emphasis on the healthy, that's all I ask.

So I should probably throw some content up here to get things rolling. in the meantime, please feel free to say hello.

And many of you did. which was great. I met all sorts of interesting folks, some even in real life. I had some great epiphanies, enjoyed some marvelous meetings-of-the-minds, had some peak experiences (Belledame, Bimbo, I'm looking at you). Opportunities to learn and grow were everywhere. The blogosphere has been very good to me.

I'd like to say thanks to all-a-y'all who contributed to my comments threads, which I'd also like to say gave me great pleasure in all their diversity. Thanks for the challenging of my preconceived notions, the healthy exchange of ideas, the dumb jokes - just, thanks. thanks for making time for me. thanks for expanding my world. thanks.

nonetheless, it has come to my attention that some of my attempts at civility, dignity and respect have been dismissed as "passive aggressive". Some of y'all don't like that.

So, here - have some regular aggressive:


to Witchy, Heart, ChasingMoksha, Delphyne, Pony, Stormy, Gayle, Bea, Sam, Ginmar - you love women, but you hate me. you love women, but you pity me. You love women, but reject me. you love women, but I am beneath contempt. My woman's heart is not bloody enough for you; my woman's mind is not tortured enough for you; my woman's soul is not oozing despair enough for you; my woman's sorrow is not sorrowful enough for you. It's almost like you feel like I deserve all the pain I suffered at the hands of men. It's almost like you feel I don't deserve to be at peace, don't deserve to be among you, speaking my truth.

and anyone who says "no, I get it, I understand you, Heidi" - is somehow stained, tainted, equally beneath contempt. even if they don't feel the same way I do.

shame on y'all. shame.

I never thought I'd say it - hell, I never thought I'd feel it, but you disgust me.

but you don't care. and it's a good thing. if you did, the guilt would lay you flat, and you couldn't do all that good work you do for Class Woman.

I should never have even thought I could create a corner of the blogosphere that would bring people together in an atmosphere of respectful learning and growth. I was a fool. I should have known better.

Shame on me.

Got anything to say? say it now. Last chance.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut died.

according to Yahoo News:

NEW YORK - In books such as "Slaughterhouse-Five," "Cat's Cradle," and "Hocus Pocus," Kurt Vonnegut mixed the bitter and funny with a touch of the profound.

Vonnegut, regarded by many critics as a key influence in shaping 20th-century American literature, died Wednesday at 84. He had suffered brain injuries after a recent fall at his Manhattan home, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

Vonnegut's more than a dozen books, short stories, essays and plays contained elements of social commentary, science fiction and autobiography.

"He was sort of like nobody else," said fellow author Gore Vidal. "Kurt was never dull."

A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view.

He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.

"He was a man who combined a wicked sense of humor and sort of steady moral compass, who was always sort of looking at the big picture of the things that were most important," said Joel Bleifuss, editor of In These Times, a liberal magazine based in Chicago that featured Vonnegut articles.

Some of Vonnegut's books were banned and burned for suspected obscenity. He took on censorship as an active member of the PEN writers' aid group and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The American Humanist Association, which promotes individual freedom, rational thought and scientific skepticism, made him its honorary president.

Vonnegut said the villains in his books were never individuals, but culture, society and history, which he said were making a mess of the planet.

"I like to say that the 51st state is the state of denial," he told The Associated Press in 2005. "It's as though a huge comet were heading for us and nobody wants to talk about it. We're just about to run out of petroleum and there's nothing to replace it."

Despite his commercial success, Vonnegut battled depression throughout his life, and in 1984, he attempted suicide with pills and alcohol, joking later about how he botched the job.

"I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations," Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.

Vonnegut was born on Nov. 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, and studied chemistry at Cornell University before joining the Army. His mother killed herself just before he left for Germany during World War II, where he was quickly taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge. He was being held in Dresden when Allied bombs firebombed the city.

"The firebombing of Dresden explains absolutely nothing about why I write what I write and am what I am," Vonnegut wrote in "Fates Worse Than Death," his 1991 autobiography of sorts.

But he spent 23 years struggling to write about the ordeal, which he survived by huddling with other POW's inside an underground meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five.

The novel that emerged, in which Pvt. Pilgrim is transported from Dresden by time-traveling aliens, was published at the height of the Vietnam War, and solidified his reputation as an iconoclast.

After World War II, he reported for Chicago's City News Bureau, then did public relations for General Electric, a job he loathed. He wrote his first novel, "Player Piano," in 1951, followed by "The Sirens of Titan," "Canary in a Cat House" and "Mother Night," making ends meet by selling Saabs on Cape Cod.

Critics ignored him at first, then denigrated his deliberately bizarre stories and disjointed plots as haphazardly written science fiction. But his novels became cult classics, especially "Cat's Cradle" in 1963, in which scientists create "ice-nine," a crystal that turns water solid and destroys the earth.

He retired from novel writing in his later years, but continued to publish short articles. He had a best-seller in 2005 with "A Man Without a Country," a collection of his nonfiction, including jabs at the Bush administration ("upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography") and the uncertain future of the planet.

He called the book's success "a nice glass of champagne at the end of a life."

Vonnegut, who had homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons in New York, adopted his sister's three young children after she died. He also had three children of his own with his first wife, Jane Marie Cox, and later adopted a daughter, Lily, with his second wife, Krementz.

Vonnegut once said that of all the ways to die, he'd prefer to go out in an airplane crash on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. He often joked about the difficulties of old age.

"When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life; old age is more like a semicolon," Vonnegut told the AP.

"My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I'll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Incurable Hippie is one of those who turns up in people's "thinking blogger" award lists fairly frequently - and for good reason.

She makes you think, no doubt about it.

check out her latest post.

In this post, Incurable Hippie comes to the defense of Charliegrrl, who has, apparently, been getting heaps of grief for her opposition to a certain workshop at the upcoming Ladyfest Leeds, a British feminist conference, which workshop

is to be based around criticising the recent legislation to criminalise the possession of extreme violent porn, and considering if this contributes towards women’s liberation or women’s repression..?

and I think this has to do with the debate surrounding the British restriction on violent pornography.

now, my opinion on matters of british politics do not, and ought not, matter. I'm a fat dumb spoiled American with my own fat dumb spoiled problems. However, in Incurable Hippie's post, it all drills down to this:

However, as a brilliant sum-up of a lot of the issues involved in BDSM sex, 'rape play', pornography, prostitution, lesbian S&M and abusive sex, I must send you on to read, How Orgasm Politics has Hijacked the Women's Movement" by Sheila Jeffreys.

Just because it makes you have an orgasm, doesn't make it ok.
Think about *why* you might have an orgasm that way.
Put it in a political and gendered context. Think.

well, yes ma'am!

as a switch who mostly bottoms, I'm used to doing what I'm told and respecting authoritah and all.

So, off I go to think. some more. on why I'm such a reactionary gender traitor and unenlightened lumpenfraulein and wrecker of the Movement and selfish selfish pervert, off to contemplate how best to do penance for all those selfish selfish orgasms I've so gleefully and heedlessly flung all over the Feminist Landscape, crushing the tender buds of Revolution with every spasm...

(however, I did have to safeword on her exhortation to go slog through Sheila Jeffreys. I'm not that much of a masochist.)

Seriously, I gave it serious thought. as usual. All night. Why am I like this? why am I so sick and defective and bad? Where did I go wrong?

and I came up with the usual answers: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

What makes Incurable Hippie think I haven't thought about it? I've been thinking about it for coming up on twenty five years now. politically, gendered-ly, psychologically, morally, legally, name-your-adverb-ly - I still don't know. That's a lot of sleep lost to tossing and turning in the name of getting right with Feminism.

I know I feel a lot more functional, and make better, more healthy choices, when I'm not obsessing about what a bad person I am. And part of that is accepting what makes me tick, sexually speaking.

So, yeah, I thought about it, and I think I'm still a pervert.

but this bit, from her comments, really shit on my breakfast today.

courtesy a commenter named Emma:
Can we also clear up the 'you're attacking a minority sexuality' argument. No we are not, we are attacking ABUSE. There is a difference. If a person (male or female) was regularly being beaten or cut with knives assaulted or nearly strangled and it wasn't in the name of sex, we would say s/he was a victim of domestic violence. We wouldn't blame them for the fact that they didn't leave their partner, but would accept that there are complex psychological reasons why someone may stay in an abusive relationship. So there are complex pscyhological reasons why someone may indulge in BDSM, that doesn't justify it morally. The reason is generally accepted to be a history of previous abuse which leads a person to 'act out' the abuse as a coping mechanism. However this is harmful and prevents the person moving on and recovering. I know 2 women who have been involved in BDSM relationships and they both say that for them it was self harm by proxy. Both had previous histories of self harm.

So to summarise

BDSM is NOT a sexuality
BDSM is NOT 'play'
BDSM is NOT harmless.

So if you think that I personally don't like you because you practice BDSM - you're right, well spotted!

jeez. that hurt. some total stranger doesn't like me because I'm kinky. I mean, I know not everyone in the world is going to be my BestFriendForever, and I can accept that, now that I'm out of middle school - but damn. how can Emma not like me? Emma don't even know me! and unless I told her, she'd never know I was kinky. (like I got some mark of Cain on my forehead or something.)

This bit got under my skin especially:
The reason is generally accepted to be a history of previous abuse which leads a person to 'act out' the abuse as a coping mechanism. However this is harmful and prevents the person moving on and recovering. I know 2 women who have been involved in BDSM relationships and they both say that for them it was self harm by proxy. Both had previous histories of self harm.

ok, so - Emma doesn't like me because I'm kinky. fine. and she thinks that the reason I'm kinky is because I've been abused by others. so because other people fucked with me, Emma doesn't like me? way to blame the victim.

except I'm not a victim. I'm just an average everyday pervert. I don't think I've been abused, therefore I'm a pervert. I think I'm a pervert who happens to have been abused, occasionally. I think I was a pervert first, and worried about it, and deeply concerned about it, and thought it made me bad and defective and sick and DESERVING OF ABUSE because of my defective sick badness.

Strange - as I post this I realize that it was just this same topic that had me wailing and gnashing my teeth last April, which led me to start my blog in the first place.

huh. plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Read my VisualDNA Get your own VisualDNA™

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This is interesting:

The Eritrean government has banned female genital mutilation (FGM), saying the practice was painful and put women at risk of life-threatening health problems.

A government proclamation published on Wednesday said it was illegal for anyone to subject a person to FGM or provide tools to anyone who intended to carry out the practice. Failing to inform authorities on intended plans to subject anyone to FGM also constituted an offence, according to the legal notice.

The government and civil society had in February expressed optimism that efforts to combat FGM were bearing fruit, saying the campaign against the practice had gained support in rural areas where it was most common.

"We do not have the statistics yet, but we have seen a positive response, with even village councils coming up with their own provisional laws with the people's consensus to discourage the practice," Dehab Suleiman, the head of information and research at the National Union of Eritrean Women, told IRIN.

Suleiman said FGM prevalence rates in Eritrea were estimated at 94 percent, but the practice was expected to decline in the near future because an increasing number of parents were choosing not to have their daughters subjected to FGM.

We have seen a positive change

FGM involves the cutting and/or removal of the clitoris and other vaginal tissue, often under unsanitary conditions. It is practised in at least 28 countries globally. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that up to 140 million girls and women around the world have undergone some form of FGM.

It is practised extensively in Africa, and also in parts of the Middle East and among immigrant communities around the world. According to medical experts, it causes physical and psychological complications, as well as heightening the risk of HIV/AIDS when unsterilised instruments are used.

At least 16 African countries have banned the practice, and the Maputo Protocol, an African regional document that prohibits and condemns FGM, came into force in November 2005.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Manly Week!

a week or so ago I asked the question "What is masculinity?" to a resounding chorus of crickets. This week, Veronica's started a most interesting conversation on the very same topic. Check her out!

My husband had a friend once upon a time who was rather obsessed with Manhood, being a successful Man, an attractive Man, a Man who moved comfortably in the world of Men as distinguished from the world of boys.

Antiprince observed, on more than one occasion, that the world of Men is essentially the world of boys, but with neckties.

any thoughts?

check it: Hell's Kitchen

because Rootie rocks my world.

so, yeah - cooking, homemaking, aprons-n-shit. the most popular room at any party is the kitchen. there's a reason for that.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?