imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (wolf)
So I had the pleasure last night - genuine pleasure, I should note - of seeing the recent collection of Disney Pixar shorts. They are, of course, gorgeous: wonderful art in many styles, with beautiful music to accompany them, and cute little stories to make the viewer laugh or cry or go awwwwww as appropriate. I enjoyed myself. But there were two things that rather bothered me.

The first thing was the introduction to the story of John Henry, in which all of the directors and producers who were shown were white. I say this as a white person: John Henry and his tragic triumph are not a white person's story. There should have been some people who were not white involved in the production, and if there were, why weren't they shown?

The second thing was actually the adorable Paperman. It is, in fact, adorable; it is what I think is usually called magical realism, its characters were well-developed despite the lack of words and the brief nature of the short film. But. Our male protagonist is instantly smitten with our female protagonist; that's easy to see. And then he spends the rest of the short thinking about her - wishing to see her again, trying to get her attention, searching for her. But while he's thinking about her, he's not actually thinking of her. We see that when she walks into the office across the way, she's there for some important reason: she's dressed to the nines, she shakes hands with the person in the office and gives them the folder she's been carrying, she sits patiently but nervously while the person reads through the folder. This is important to her, whatever it is. And the male protagonist thinks nothing of trying, desperately, to interrupt this clearly important moment in his life. What impact would it have made on her meeting if a paper airplane had interrupted it? Would she have been judged, however unfairly, because someone chose to hassle her from across the street? It's not an unreasonable assumption that she might have been. But the male protagonist doesn't think of this; he thinks of nothing but that he wants her attention, regardless of what else she is doing at the moment.

That bugged me.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (wolf)
But not all men are like that! Not all men are violent when they are rejected, not all men catcall women, not all men become angry when someone refuses them sex, not all men go shoot up sororities because women won't sleep with them.

Yeah, not all men are like that. But enough men are.

See, that's the thing. It doesn't have to be 'all men' to be a problem. Just like not all sharks are dangerous - we still get out of the water when we see a fin. Not all snakes are poisonous - we still try to avoid getting near them in case of being bitten. Not all raw eggs have salmonella in them - we still cook our eggs to avoid getting ill. Not all of any of those are dangerous - but enough of them are dangerous that we avoid them anyhow!

And it's possible to learn to tell which sharks are dangerous and which are safe to swim with. It's possible to tell which snakes are poisonous and which are safe to handle. The chance of salmonella is small enough that an occasional raw egg probably isn't going to kill you. Violent - or potentially violent - men don't have nice brightly colored stripes on their backs to identify them as dangerous; they don't have clear markings which we can read and be wary of. Sometimes they display clear behavior markers which we can identify; sometimes they don't. The only way to be wary of the men who are dangerous is to be wary of all of them until they prove themselves to be safe.

So yes, women are wary of all men. Because enough men are dangerous that it's the only safe choice.

And those men who don't like that? Well, perhaps they could start doing something about the men who think that catcalling is a fun pastime, that women are required to put out if the man paid for dinner, that 'too drunk to consent' means the sex wasn't rape, that violence is an appropriate reaction to rejection. Perhaps when the best available statistics don't show that four men in every hundred are rapists - and likely to be serial rapists, too - perhaps when every woman out there doesn't have a story about how she or her sister or mother or best friend was violently assaulted, perhaps when walking down the street wearing comfortable clothing is not the catalyst for being obscenely propositioned...perhaps then we can reconsider being wary of all men.

But for right now, enough men are ruining it for all of you.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (wolf)
So I read Captain Awkward, and the DFD thread on Making Light, and Shakesville, and any number of advice columns on and off, because I am fascinated by humans and how and why we do things. One of the big things I see is in the matter of romantic relationships. Someone – usually a woman – will say something like, “My significant other leaves broken glass in the sink,” or, “My significant other pisses in cups and leaves them lying around,” or, “Of course I do all the housework despite working a sixty-hour week because my significant other just can’t do it,” and the thing is, nine times out of ten that significant other is male. And then a whole heck of a lot of other women chime in to say, “Hey, mine does that too, you are not alone!” (or, more hopefully, “My ex did that, and we are no longer together for a reason,”).

And I work in a mostly-female department of a mostly-female organization (librarians: very often female!), and a lot of my patrons are women, and I hear a lot of, “Oh, well, you know how men are,” and what the person means is: they don’t cook, they don’t clean, they don’t do childcare, they don’t do emotional anything, they expect their beer and their dinner and their marital rights and they lift heavy things and kill bugs. Good to have around but not, you know, useful for a whole lot of things, and you certainly can’t expect them to hold up their end of an emotional entanglement; if you want romance you have to pull that weight yourself: just be glad you have one who doesn’t hit you – or at least not much.

And that? That is grade-A prime-cut BULLSHIT. And I wish to dispute it.

First off, you don’t need a man. Nope. It is nice to have a romantic partner if that is something you want in your life, and if you are interested sexually and romantically in men then it is nice to have a man in your life, but for the love of little birdies, just having one is not an accomplishment to be desired, and certainly the attitude of, “Well, this one is crappy to me but at least I have one” – that attitude needs to be taken away in a sack, never to be seen again. So.

Secondly, let’s say you want a man in your life, in the sexual and romantic sense. Let me tell you a thing.

I am married. Have been for just under eight months now, which I grant you isn’t a lot but I lived with my husband for just under four years before we were married, and the pastor who gave us premarital counseling basically said to our faces that marriage was, frankly, not going to change a damn thing about our relationship – that in every way that mattered except the legal, we were already married.

And when someone says to me, “Oh, you know how men are,” and they mean ‘useless violent jackwagon with the emotional intelligence of a small grey rock,’ frankly, I kind of see red. Because that is NOT TRUE of the man I married, and I know for a fact there are more men like him out there.

Let me brag on my husband for a minute, because here are some things which good men do:

• My husband goes shopping with me, after we have made the week’s menus together and looked through the cabinets together and decided what we need.
• My husband makes dinner with me, except on the nights I work late and come home and fall over, when he makes dinner for me, and does it damn well.
• My husband eats dinner with me at our little table, and we talk about anything and everything and laugh our heads off about the weirdest things and discuss philosophical issues and how to rule the world when our grand plans work out and we become evil overlords of the universe.
• My husband does the dishes with me, side by side at the sink chatting about our days or our plans for the week or the story one of us is writing or whatever else happens to come up in conversation.
• My husband semi-regularly scrubbed out the tub (before it started draining properly), and damn it looked nice. Also he does the vacuuming when we clean because I hate that thing.
• My husband tells me if my clothing looks acceptable in public when I ask, because he has a much better eye for color and fit than I ever have, and also he thinks I am beautiful and should wear clothing which looks good on me.
• My husband is warm and snuggly and comes up behind me while I am on the computer to hug me from behind and get his beard caught in my hair like Velcro and laugh at whatever I’ve got up on Tumblr.
• My husband betas my fiction and worldbuilds with me, and I beta for him and worldbuild with him, and both our writing improves.
• My husband plays Diablo III with me and we go kill monsters gleefully and laugh and trade interesting items. And then he quotes the characters at me while we are doing other things so that I fall over laughing.
• My husband explains football to me, very patiently, over and over because I think it is a silly sport and do not understand it but I know he likes it so I don’t mind if the game is on, and sometimes I want to know why everyone is cheering.
• My husband makes really awful puns and laughs at my really awful puns.
• My husband lets me rant about my co-workers or patrons or the computers at work that don’t do what I need them to and hugs me when I am done.
• My husband never tells me I am stupid or ugly or useless, even when my own brain does, but he does tell me I am beautiful and smart and have really good ideas.
• My husband goes dancing with me.
• My husband brings me water and meds when I am sick, and rubs my back, and makes soothing noises. (Especially relevant this week, when I am making horrid hacking noises and snorfling.)

…Look, I could go on for a very long time about what a wonderful man I have married, but the thing is, look at that list. It is a list of ways my husband is kind to me, of ways my husband shares the work of being married with me instead of making me do it on my own, of ways that my husband demonstrates that he cares about me as more than just provider-of-food-and-sexy-times.

And no one, no one, NO ONE DAMMIT, should have to settle for less than someone who cares about them, and is kind to them, and shares the work of the relationship with them.

So if you are someone who wants a man in your life, romance-wise, do not fall for all of the many, many, many lies about ‘how men are’ and ‘you know how it is’ and ‘it’s just the way things work.’ No. There are men in the world who are kind and considerate, who tell awful jokes and hug you when you are sad and make dinner with you and never tell you that you are ugly or stupid or worthless. There are men who marry you after six years together because they want to, none of this who-buys-a-cow-when-milk-is-free bullshit. There are men who choose jewelry for you that is something you like, because they have paid attention to your interests, and buy you Hobbit socks for your birthday, and choose your engagement ring because it hasn’t got any sharp edges and they remember the time you cut yourself on a ring, years ago. There are men who do not make fun of your old teddy that is all flat and worn but you love it so damn much anyway. There are men who lean over and double-check that you’ve taken your pill because you like the outside confirmation, and who geek out about your favorite books with you, and who play computer games with you and never tell you you’re a ‘fake geek girl’ whatever the hell that is.

There are good men out there. My father is one. My husband is one. My husband’s brother, and his father, and on and on and they exist, okay?

If you really want a man in your life, do not settle for any man who will have you. Look for one who will be kind to you, and care for you, and respect your autonomy and your decisions; who will help you do the work of the relationship, and be your friend as well as your lover. Such men exist. Do not settle for less.


Aug. 28th, 2011 07:43 pm
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
Went to see Conan the Barbarian today. It was, as expected, gloriously silly - lots of unrealistic swordfighting and glowering and magical monsters, all very fun - and, to my utter astonishment, it passes the Bechdel test. There are only two named female characters (though, to be fair, there are only about five named characters total), and they have a conversation which is not even a little bit about a man. I am astounded and pleased!

...Also, yay pulpy fantasy fun. Wheee!
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
Note to the world:

When the Ku Klux Klan thinks you have gone too have gone off the deep end and into the shark pit, and maybe should try climbing out now.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [humans] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These words were revolutionary 235 years ago when they were written. They should not be revolutionary now. They should not be anathema now. They should not die, here in the country where they were born.

Oh, my beloved country.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
(As a side note, I’ve been trying to decide what to call my boyfriend on this blog, because obviously I’m not going to use his real name, do I look stupid? and finally settled on calling him my Wolf. And yes, this is possibly related to the pretty pretty icon. Er. My kinks, I has them?)

Anyhow. I was listening to my co-workers at one of my jobs (I have three, kill me now) talking about their respective male significant others, and noticed something a little disturbing. When I talk about my Wolf, in public or in private, it’s usually to mention something good about him – he makes me hot chocolate, he did the dishes, he’s funny, he has better dress sense than I do. When my co-workers talk about their male SOs, it’s often…not as complimentary. They’re insulting, they’re hypochondriacs, they’re hard to get on with, they don’t like my friends…

I find this a little disconcerting, really. I keep wanting to say, If he’s that unpleasant, whyinell are you with him? What good points does this man have? What made you take up with him in the first place?

And then I realized that this is linked to something I’ve ranted about before: the idea that all men are uncommunicative boors, and all women are brainless bimbos, and really they have nothing in common except occasionally sex (and even then the women have to be pressured into it), so just hook up with someone attractive and deal with the fact that you have nothing in common and don’t really like each other. Which is BULLSHIT. But it’s infected so many of us. There’s this idea that if a man wants you – any man – it’s a compliment; that if a man is attractive or rich, or if you’ve been with him for long enough, you should just stay with him because he’s good enough. Who wants an equal? Just go for any available penis!

And…I think that’s utter bullshit. I think we should all – male, female, or other – be pairing up with people who make us happy, who make us feel safe and warm and fuzzy inside, who we can talk to. Who love us, and who we love. And if that means that we don’t go for the first available person with the socially-approved genitalia who makes cow eyes at us, then good! Reach for the sky, people! There are good people out there – I’ve met them, I’ve gone to school with them – and if we’d just…oh, bah. What I’m trying to say is, we shouldn’t settle. None of us. And if our SOs aren’t making us happy, if each time we see them there’s a sense of doom or sadness or tension (that isn’t sexual), then we should feel free – even encouraged – to move on, to find someone who makes us HAPPY.

My Wolf makes me happy, and that is why I am planning on staying with him for the foreseeable future, as long as he’ll have me. I really just wish some of the people around me had the same sort of happiness, and weren’t just settling for…less.

ETA: (As a side note to the side note, and in order to demonstrate respect for my partner and fairly good communication skills, and also that I am occasionally an ass, I shall point out that my SO had much rather be referred to as Best Beloved than Wolf, and that therefore, henceforth I will be calling him Best Beloved. I am sure this will thoroughly confuse all...two...people regularly reading this blog. Hi guys! You're awesome!)
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
Law is not equal – cannot be equal – to morality. Law may have intersections with morality; these intersections may be many and prominent; yet law and morality are not the same thing.

A country’s laws are for the purpose of preventing, alleviating, or ameliorating harm to its citizens. The laws can have no other purpose; the law is there to guard and protect the citizens’ mortal frames, because the law can have no bearing on any other aspect of its citizens.

A religion’s morals – a culture’s morals, since cultural morals arise from the morals of the most prominent religion in that culture – are for the purpose of safeguarding the soul, the immortal part of the human animal. This may be done through laws which limit the actions of the mortal body, but those limitations are not the purpose: the purpose is the preservation and salvation of the soul.

It is true that law and morals often intersect. Most great religions, for example, mandate against killing, except in certain circumscribed circumstances; most countries, similarly, mandate against killing, except in certain circumstances. But simply because a law code and a moral code may meet in one, two, or many instances, does not mean that they must be identical.

Let us consider the London Tube map. It has many lines upon it, some of which run alongside each other for several stops, others of which intersect here and there but otherwise go their own ways, still others of which intersect perhaps once or twice and have no other similarities with their neighbors. Let us then imagine a map of the religions of this country – I speak now of the United States, having no other experience to draw on – with the central line being the line of the laws of the land, and all the other lines being the lines of the religions extant in this country. Surely they will almost all intersect at a few stations – Murder, Theft, Perjury, perhaps a few others – but there are stations where the law stands alone, for no religion has considered that station to be important; and other stations where three or four religions meet, and yet the law is nowhere in evidence. And this is how it should be.

The law is not there to legislate morality. That is the job of churches, of religions, of those institutions which concern themselves with the immortal soul. But equally – and equally importantly – the religions are not there to make the laws. The laws must be secular, they must have no favored religion with which they are aligned, or else they will do harm to some portion of the country’s citizenry. If the law begins to legislate morality, it has become a religion, and is no longer doing its job; if religions begin – or continue, the world being what it is – to create laws, they are no longer within their proper sphere.

Let the religions worry about the immortal souls of their congregations, then, each disagreeing with each, as they have done time immemorial. And let the law stand apart from this, legislating only those things which have impact on the mortal bodies of its citizenry, for the purpose of preserving those citizens from harm or alleviating that harm when it has occurred, and have nothing to do with morality.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
Reading The Beauty Myth – very good, very educational, am learning much – and would like to say this to the female population of the world:

The shape your body is? The shape it assumes naturally, the one which all the ads and movies and shows and magazines tell you is ugly? The one with the stretch marks and the saggy boobs and the bulge in the stomach and the wide thighs – or all or none of the above – that body, that shape? It is beautiful. It is a good shape. It is a lovely shape. It is a shape which people of your preferred gender(s) desire, if they’ve any brains at all. It is the shape you ought to have, and there is nothing wrong with it. If you want to lose five pounds because it would make you happy, go for it. If you want to dye your hair because it would please you, have a ball. But if you want to change the shape you are for no reason than that Society, that all-encompassing, all-judging monolith, says that it is the wrong shape? FUCK THAT. It is NOT the wrong shape. It is a good, a lovely, a beautiful, a proper shape. It is a shape you do not need to be ashamed to have. And the shapes of the people around you, each and every one of them is a good shape too. We are each and every and all beautiful, and to any hell that exists with anything that says otherwise.

And so, in the spirit of this, for whatever it’s worth, I make a promise to you – multitudinous, anonymous you, you who I know not at all. When I pass you in the street, when I sit next to you on an airplane, when I stand beside you in line at the grocery store, when I encounter you at any point in my daily life, I will do my darnedest not to judge your appearance. I will not think uncharitable things about it. I will not snicker quietly to myself. I will not make insulting comments. I may disagree with your politics, object to your opinions, disapprove of your religion or job or hobbies – any or all or none of the above – but your shape, the shape you are, whatever that shape may be, is, by all the gods, NONE of my business, except insofar as I should recognize that it is a good shape, a lovely shape, a shape which I have no right nor privilege nor desire to criticize. And I promise to keep that firmly in mind.
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