Friday, January 25, 2008

it's been a bit of a while since I've done an "I'm a bi-sexeee first-amendment-is- hawwwt sexpozzie, hear me roar" type post. I guess I just haven't been particularly inspired in that direction - I mean, haven't I said just about every swinging thing I possibly can on the subject, at least twice? what a yawn. (not that it was so compelling the first time around...)

also, factor in all the warm fuzzy peace-and-harmony maternal hormones that seem to be kicking in with gusto lately, and it makes me kind of bovine and not really into being all aggressive and fighty. No real reason for me to be an instigator, I guess.

(unless, of course, you happen to be living in my house and you finished all the lemon sherbet. in which case, pistols at dawn, motherfucker!)

alas, all good things must come to an end, y'all.

I recently discovered this blog here by a blogger named pisaquaririse - and I have to say that the blogger made a point that really resonated with me:

I am anti-sexy.

Anti ANYTHING that takes a form as sexy or trying to be sexy, or, only-succeeds-when-found-sexy. I am anti use-sexy-to-get-rewards sexy. Anti want-to-be-considered-sexy sexy. Anti want-to-consider-others-as-sexy sexy.

(snippage here, for focus. I suggest you go read the whole thing if you haven't already, for context.)

Sexy is not in your hands. Sexy is the invasive appropriation of each others’ bodies and externalities. Sexy is the lens you are forced to look through. Sexy is the lens your are forced to be seen through.

Sexy is a constant state of against-your-will, without-consent, what’s-yours-is-mine, without-permission.
(emphasis mine)

I don’t need to hear how you feel sexy when you are reading a good book. I don’t need to hear how your so-and-so thinks you’re sexier when you don’t have on make up or haven’t worked out in a little while. Sexy does not care. Sexy is only accounting for the role you play when you ignore your full human capacity. Sexy assumed your role all along. Sexy will still be there when you want out.

I don’t need to hear how you are helping young girls who have otherwise been abused and tortured and slain by patriarchy regain their “sexiness.” Sexy will not help. Sexy entitles our pleasure centers to others.
(again, emphasis mine.) Sexy is the visual rape primaries.

Stop with the Sexy already.

To those caught up in trying to Save the Sexy, reshape The Sexy, regain, reclaim, refresh The Sexy—please, we are feminists—we’ve got enough to do.

To those enslaved by sexy, beaten by sexy, afraid because of sexy, hidden by sexy, appropriated by sexy, employed by sexy, abused by sexy,… my sincerest apologies. We are working on it.

so. here we are.

at least, I've been here - "enslaved by sexy, beaten by sexy, afraid because of sexy," etc. I have. I didn't like it.

Sexy is a constant state of against-your-will, without-consent, what’s-yours-is-mine, without-permission.

that part there? yeah, it sucked. I almost didn't make it out alive. and the whole experience left me with a dislike of artifice, props, "scenes", that occasionally resembles a straight-up fear or revulsion.

I'm not a big fan of sexual manipulation, "flirtyness" in general, so-called "feminine wiles", cosmetics, uncomfortable shoes, binding or itchy clothing, or needless removal of body hair - it's just not my thing, sexpozzie or not.

yeah, the "sexy" game is hijacked, as Ice-T might say. sure. What is commonly held to be "sexy" is often not intimacy, but a burlesque of intimacy.

But here's the problem - I do think that sexual arousal is innate in the human animal. People want to fuck. They just do, as a general rule.

I mean, not every living soul at every minute of every day all around the world at the same time, but in general, the sexual urge is present in Class People. Men, women, people under eighteen, people over eighty, people who look different than me, people people people of all sorts feel that warm tingly feeling and want to engage in sexual activity with others.

And trying to sort out whose sexual urge is acceptable (in this blogger's case, natural? un-messed-with? un-corrupted-by-the-Patriarchy?) and whose sexual urge is unacceptable ("pornified", so to speak, or "patriarchy-fied", maybe) is a fool's errand at best, and damaging at worst.

In other words, I don't think it's a good idea to try to limit what sorts of things are okay to find sexually arousing and what sorts of things aren't okay to find sexually arousing.

in fact, I think that's how we got into this whole mess in the first place.

for one thing, it might not be even possible to "just say no" to sexual arousal. (For some people, I'm sure it is possible to do just that. and more power to them, sure. I've never been successful, myself.) For another thing, the desire to seek out that thing/idea/visual stimulus may increase proportional to the number and intensity of "just say no" messages - the fascination with the abomination, as my old english teacher used to say.

The more forbidden something is, the more delicious and desirable it is, in some cases. There are those who would seek out the forbidden not out of any real desire for it, but just because of its forbidden-ness, just because they like to be weird and out-there and "dirty". (say, for example, me.)

I tell you this - if someone had said to me, when I was thirteen or so, "oh, yes, by all means, wanting to engage in sexual behavior while tied to a tree is perfectly normal," I might not have wanted to do it so much. The fact that every sort of sexual behavior I could imagine was labeled bad/wrong/sinful/dirty/weird only increased my desire to engage in it.

I don't think it's a successful strategy to say to folks "that thing/idea/visual stimulus that inspires sexual feelings in you? it's bad and wrong and you should stop." it wasn't successful two thousand years ago - it's not successful now, even if

Frankly, I don't see where "that which is "sexy" is bad because it hurts Women" in the year 2008 is any different, in effect, than "that which is "sexy" is bad because it makes Baby Jesus cry" in the year 1898, or "that which is "sexy" is bad because it is Offensive to God" in the year 1008.

That said, one could certainly make a case for "this is bad FOR ME, because it hurts ME." Going all the way back to the place where I agreed with this blogger, I can certainly say that the relentless pursuit of "sexy" about finished me, where "sexy" equalled "be available to my abusive partner for any reason at any time".

But I think the key there is that my partner was abusive. And I've said time and time again that he'd have been abusive regardless of whether porn was nonexistent or ubiquitous. The concept of "sexy", and the quest for it, did not make him a heinous excuse for a human being. I believe that he just lacked any sense of empathy for other living creatures.

for him, art imitated life, not the other way around. If "sexy" didn't exist as pisaquaririse defines it, my abusive exhusband would have invented it.

This is kind of a crap post (done at the office, in fits and starts, and it shows), but I felt I had to respond more deeply than my comment allowed. I'm sorry, pisaquaririse - you deserve better. I hope to have time to go back and clarify.

in the meantime, comment away.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This morning I woke up and turned on the news.

The first story was that Heath Ledger died. How sad. I'm sure the monde du cinema will never be the same. (seriously.)

The second story was something something meyow meyow meyow Britney Spears blah blah meyow.

The third story was a shortish piece about a psychological condition known as "drunkorexia", wherein young women allegedly go without food for a coupla three days between partying, accomplishing both dramatic weight control and a dangerously hellacious buzz. I guess.

I watched the news for 45 minutes before waddling off to the bus stop. There was not one mention of this intriguing bit of trivia:

Tens of thousands flee Gaza for Egypt

from the Yahoo story -

RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Tens of thousands of Palestinians poured from the Gaza Strip into Egypt Wednesday after masked gunmen with explosives destroyed most of the seven-mile barrier dividing the border town of Rafah.

they blew up a seven-mile-long wall. and we hear nothing, unless we're lucky/privileged enough to be online.

I'm not prepared to discuss the Situation In That Part Of The World. I'm just not. It's a big blogosphere, there's lots of places to discuss it to y'all's heart's content. Feel free - somewhere else. Don't make me mod comments for the first time ever, folks.

I'm saying - I just think it's sad that getting real news is a privilege.

this kind of thing really damages my optimism...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So, here we are at the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. well, a day late. as usual.

(NOTE 1/23/08: apparently I was not late, yay. first time for everything. however, there was some sort of theme of "Blogging for Choice" day of which I was totally unaware. the theme was "Why it's important to vote pro-choice", or something to that effect. I totally missed it. Not that I'd have been able to come with anything any more articulate than what I have. meh.)

As I said last year, there is One True Definitive Statement on Reproductive Freedom which Puts All Others to Shame So I'm Not Even Going To Bother. It's found at What are you still doing here? Go there instead. seriously.

but some of you still may be interested in what I'm on about. well, I can't do anything about that.

If you're the sort of person whose definition of "fun" includes watching horror movies, chewing inedibly hot chili peppers, sticking needles in your eyes and similar masochisms, you may enjoy this link here.

(yeah, I'm being a little uncharitable to the compulsory pregnancy advocates of the world. so sue me.)

I guess I'm feeling a little, um, nostalgic? lately, thanks to a rather peak experience I had over the weekend (which I might possibly blog about one of these days - not tremendously likely as it's wicked personal, but you know, never say never).

But I remember going to one of those "March For Life" things. I found it really challenging to be there, especially carrying a conspicuously pro-choice sign for the few minutes that I had the guts to. (and really, I got in touch with my inner wussbag that day, I tell you what. I learned that I am NOT strong, NOT brave, NOT anything but a giant blob of sensitive nerves and tender feefees. I was really disappointed in myself. Live and learn I guess.)

And now, almost fifteen years later, here I am about to give birth to a child of my own. Woah.

the thing to remember is, the only thing that makes it a "child" and not a "fetus" is that I want to be a mom. nothing else. just that.

I sat there in the doctor's office, and said "we probably shouldn't have this baby."

and the doctor said "well, the only thing that should influence your decision is whether you want to be a mom or not."

I want to be a mom, even though we have NO MONEY at all. No retirement plan, no college fund, no 401(k), no savings, no cushion, no equity, no assets, no giant jar full of pennies - right now we're living on hot steaming second helpings of love with a delicious optimism sauce, but still I want to be a mom, so I'm having a baby, not an abortion.

I want to be a mom, even though I'm forty years old and will probably never graduate from college or have more than a marginally-secure, marginally-non-soul-crushing clerical job in the pink-collar ghetto, even though my husband has complicated issues of his own - we will probably never be anyone's definition of "successful", but still I want to be a mom, so I'm having a baby, not an abortion.

I want to be a mom, even though the human race seems hell-bent on destroying itself by next Thursday, under piles of industrial waste and flesh-ripping bullets and whatever other wretched refuse of the Military-Industrial Complex washes up on our teeming shores - I can't imagine in my wildest nightmare what ill wind the next generation will inherit, but still I want to be a mom, I'm having a baby, not an abortion.

I want to be a mom, even though the world is a great steaming heap of shit for thousands of reasons. so, I'm having a baby in three weeks, and not an abortion six months ago.

I want to be a mom because I know that there are others out there like me, and better than me, braver and stronger and even more optimistic than me, whom I can help build a better world, and to whom I can introduce my child as he grows up, and say "hey, Wolfgang - go help them. they're building a better world."

But not everyone feels the way I do. Some folks don't want to be moms. Any of those reasons I listed (and many many more) are excellent reasons for NOT wanting to be a mom, for having an abortion instead of a baby.

I think the compulsory pregnancy advocates ought to be paying more attention to the reasons women give for not carrying a pregnancy to term - the fear of good old fashioned no-shoes, no-coat, starving-in-the-streets style poverty being chief among them, the idea that having a child will WRECK YOUR LIFE FOREVER being another.

For me, Roe v. Wade worked just fine - the decision to have a child was made between A Woman And Her Doctor, as the court's decision indicated. But I am one of the lucky ones, really.

more later, maybe. or maybe not.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Better Med than Dead?

Lots of noise 'round the blogosphere about the relative usefulness (or deadliness) of the medications used in psychiatry. As someone who would not be alive today if it weren't for the tender mercies of Wellbutrin, Zoloft, and other helpful brain-chemicals-in-a-bottle, I'm fairly psychiatry-positive.

Some folks aren't. That's their right, for sure. as it is their right to proclaim their anti-psych-med Good News and spread the gospel of Fresh Air, Sunshine and Vitamins.

And to those folks I'd like to say, with all the passive-aggressive politeness I can muster - Congratulations. You're an inspiration to us all. Now please hold your collective tongues for a moment and hear what the rest of us have to say.

without the meds I took for several years, I'd be dead. I'd have Ceased to Be. I would have joined the Choir Invisibule. I'd be an Ex-Parrot. Get it? I would not be alive to bother you with my stupid opinions. I'd be a headstone, an urn, a dim memory, a fading picture, a line item statistic on someone's Domestic Violence Report.

and, you know, I'm screaming about this from pillar to post around the blogosphere. I'm probably being a great big pest. maybe I oughtn't make an issue of it, but I feel like my experience is not nearly as unique or isolated as some would have me believe. The insinuation that the meds I took were a crutch, or some sort of instant tonic of blissful ignorance, or even the pharmaceutical equivalent of Joo Janta Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses, is insulting.

Before the drugs and therapy, I was numb to life. I didn't care if I lived or died. I thought I deserved all the abuse that my ex could heap on me, and more. Without the self-respect and perspective I regained during my time with the psychiatrist, I would have let my exhusband BEAT ME TO DEATH, and felt nothing.

I don't think that's part of the normal human experience.

Thanks to the healthy chemical brainsoup created by the meds I can feel stuff now. I can feel pain beyond explanation, but also joy beyond measure. I can feel righteous rage, utter black despair and fiery revolutionary anger, but also hope for the future, optimism, and the desire to Make Progress. Although I can see what's miserably wrong with the world, I can also see what's remarkably, beautifully right.

No, I don't know why I was one of the lucky ones, or why the meds that worked for me drive others even further into despair. I don't know whether I wasn't really depressed after all, but simply besieged by The Patriarchy-Industrial Complex or malnourished or what.

I know what I know - I useta not give a shit about what happened to me. Now I do.

I owe it all to the Happy Pills. I'm not ashamed to say it.

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