Posted: April 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Tags: abuse, community, Feminism, polyamory, rape, relationships, violence
*trigger warning – discussion of rape and other violence*
I have this idea. I’m not sure if it would work, or even be possible, but I’d like to try it out – sadly control groups and experimental groups are lacking.
A little background might help I guess, because what I’m asking for is people’s opinions and ideas as to whether my idea is feasible, whether they’ve seen anything else similar anywhere else, and overall whether I should push this as a form of community engagement.
I’m a member of a polyamorous community in Victoria (Australia). There has been a lot of discussion recently about how to ensure that the community remains safe and what (if any) role the committee of the incorporated organisation play in that. There is clearly a desire for clarity around the committee’s role and what the community can expect – but this isn’t the discussion I want here, this discussion is for my idea of creating a safer community.
If the leaders of a community (whether elected official leaders or other identified leaders) expressed clear opposition to unsafe behaviours and encouraged the community to openly and safely discuss how those unsafe behaviours have affected them personally (with no mention of perpetrators) in their lives, would that create a community were those who engaged in those behaviours would not feel welcome?
That’s nice and complicated, let me break it down to a specific example. If the committee/leaders stated that rape and other sexual crimes are behaviours that are not tolerated in the poly community, and the community was encouraged to have ongoing discussions regarding the effect that rape has had on their lives, without naming he perpetrator because this is the space for those who have experienced rape or other sex crimes, would those who believe that rape is no big deal have their minds changed, and would those who have raped or who will rape be less likely to remain in the community? Could a community be built that does not blame victims for the crimes against them but instead supports them and talks about the damage that silence and victim blaming causes?
We don’t talk about violence against others nearly often enough in the community spaces I inhabit. We do not express our distaste, our displeasure, our repulsion, our abhorrence against what is done by some to others. This culture of silence often means it is easy for people to be unaware of the extent of the harm that violence causes, and also how wide-spread some forms of violence are. If those of my community, who evidently felt safe to do so, stood up and told our stories of violence, those who don’t know would most likely be shocked at how common such things are. I’d want the leaders (elected or generally respected) to be very clear that no one invites crimes to be committed against them and that any form of victim blaming would not be tolerated.
I feel, in an ideal world, that this could work, that a community could start to talk about the harm that violence causes, and make it a very unwelcome environment for those individuals that participate in forms of violence against others – because their viewpoints that their behaviour is ok would be challenged by people who think it is not.
I’d love other opinions on this however.
Posted: April 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Tags: gender, lgbtiq, media, polyamory
From Yessenia at Queereka, “Trans Position” describing transphobia in some women’s spaces, in this case polyamorous women’s spaces:
When I first found the MeetUp.com page of a support group for polyamorous relationships, it seemed perfect. Not only was it tailored to our style, the description explicitly said that it welcomed all women, including “self-identified women.” For two trans-identified people, this sounded perfect, even too good to be true.
After sending the organizer pictures she had requested so she could recognize us at the door, we learned my partner’s self-identification as a woman was trumped by her body. Though she had no problem with a transmasculine female-bodied person entering the group, when the organizer saw my partner’s face, she balked and my partner was informed that she was not welcome. “Self-identified woman” turned out to be “post-operative, hormonally modified, culturally-identified women.” In short, she had better pass as a ciswoman. The organizer defended her decision to bar my partner from the group by arguing that she was making sure people in the group felt ‘safe.’ The crux of this issue is what it means to be a woman and what women-only spaces look like.
Vivienne Chen at the Huffington Post, writes “Poly-Baiting: Why We Need a More Inclusive LGBT Movement“:
The problem is Santorum is right. Did I just say that? (This is where I say things that not everyone in the LGBTQ community agrees with, so my post should not be used as a monolithic representation of LGBTQ activism.)
He’s right in the sense that once we realize it’s stupid to keep any two loving, consenting adults apart, we may start wondering whether it’s equally stupid to keep three or more loving, consenting adults apart. However, he’s totally wrong in assuming that the latter is necessarily a bad thing, and thus deserves to be booed at any opportunity.
An Anonymous Guest-Post at Warren Ellis’s blog. This guest post is from a possibly former member of Anonymous:
Now, what I’m going to talk about isn’t really a tale from the front line, as there wasn’t one. Spike, in his foxhole, getting shelled, trying to stave off terror by finding a way to brew up some tea whilst drawing naked ladies on his copy of the standing orders would doubtless have been extremely envious at that way I could get involved from the comforts of home, or my workplace, or out on the streets of London or the idyllic countryside around East Grinstead, even if that bit did involve hiding up trees in the rain, trying not to laugh as serious looking security heavies beat the bushes below and didn’t think to look up. Despite the relative tameness of this tale in comparison to virtually any and all war stories, Spike Milligan’s books are an inspiration in terms of getting down some of the stories of events you (the generic, Royal ‘you’, that is) were involved in, so here’s the tale of how I played a part in changing the way Anonymous interacted with the media, and the ways in which it did make a difference to a couple of individuals, even if the international impact is much, much harder to assess.
Posted: April 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Tags: body, Feminism, gender, gender roles, medicine, science, WTF
*Warning – the link for the article that I am quoting from below may be considered NSFW*
So what happens when you get a GP and Family Planning Specialist, and a Psychotherapist and Life Coach together to write about sex after giving birth? You end up with this train wreck of an article. Honestly I expected that two such qualified people would be able to write an article that used language that was easily understandable and didn’t read like the two authors were thinking that their 12 year old children might read it.
My first issue with the article is not the language, but instead the hetero-centrism, that the only people who give birth are women who are in relationships with men (not other women), and secondly that sometimes people who give birth don’t identify as women.
Posted: April 14, 2012 at 12:19 am | Tags: academia, differences, privilege, racism, review, WTF
*Trigger warning for extreme racism*
A peer-reviewed journal by the name of “Personality and Individual Differences”, published a paper in March 2012 titled, “Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals?” (full paper available at link), by two psychologists. The psychology bit is important, because the paper is essentially looking at biology, and there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of qualification in biology that the two authors of the paper have.
I strongly caution you regarding the racism in this paper. It is abhorrent and awful. The commentary below delves a bit into who the authors are, my WTF in relation to the contents of the paper, and how fucked up the whole thing is. The paper is a hard read, and this whole post may be triggering.
Posted: April 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Tags: Feminism, identity
After reading Sleepydumpling’s post at The Fat Heffalump, “To All the Lionesses of the World“, I thought about a few of the minor, but important victories I’ve had at work in the past 6 – 9 months.
The first is actually being introduced/called by my name. Now most of my team refer to me as “Bec”, which doesn’t bother me too much, but a couple of people, after talking about the importance of being able to be identified as I prefer and how that demonstrates respect to me as a person, go out of their way to call me “Rebecca” because that’s something that I prefer to be called.
The other was to not be referred to as a “guy”. Initially the two men (who sit on either side of me), laughed when I pointed out that I wasn’t a guy, and went out of their way as a joke to say “Hello guys and Rebecca”, or “Hello guys and girl”, but now it’s said automatically and without any joke or malice attached.
Both of these things are small, but in the end I feel more respected because things I asked for have been given to me by my colleagues without having to fight about it, without tantrums, and without intolerance.
Posted: April 11, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Tags: bisexuality, body, craft, Feminism, gender roles, pregnancy
Well I’m slowing being poisoned by chocolate, and I’ve been recovering from a bad cold – so have some linkspam while I get my writing mojo back on (I have posts planned on pornography and one on Pell’s appearance on Q&A).
A great article in Salon about being bisexual in a small town in the US, “Rebel girls“:
“We need to talk,” said my mom. I was 14, and this could have meant any number of ominous things. We’d had many “talks” over the years, most of them related to my adolescent misbehavior, which arrived at 12 in particularly worrying form.
We sat together at our breakfast counter, she with a mug of Bengal spice tea, me with a glass of OJ. My mother was, and is, a very pretty woman, with bright blue eyes, skyscraper cheekbones, and an easy laugh. She sipped her tea and took a breath.
“Karen and I aren’t just friends, honey.” Her features tightened, but her eyes met mine, clear and steady. “We’re more than friends.”
“Yeah, I figured that out,” I said.
“Of course!” I gulped. “Jessica and me aren’t just friends, either, you know.”
“I had a feeling about that.” She nodded with a faint smile.
Mine was the most amiable coming out story I knew. If only the experience of my early sex life were so breezy.
N K Jemisin performs her awesome writing magic with “There’s no such thing as a good stereotype“:
The strong female character (SFC) is a stereotype. It’s gone beyond just a trope at this point. It’s ubiquitous; we see this character appear in films, in books, in video games — and because it’s a stereotype, we’ve started to “see” it in real life. Conservatives love Sarah Palin because she shoots things, and Ann Coulter because she thinks women should never ask for help, and should tote guns (and vote the way their husbands tell them). We celebrate images like this one, which has been all over my Facebook feed this week. We warn that the Republican “war on women” will “awaken the sleeping giant” — with violent, threatening language re what will happen when women fight back.
This is a good thing, right? We all know women can be strong. Us women can wield the big guns like the big boys. We can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan; we can do anything, everything, we can work and have babies and cut the cords with our teeth and then still get up and punch a motherfucker in the face with our brains –
– Yeahno. See, that’s the problem with stereotypes. They contain a grain of truth, sure, but the rest is all melodramatic bullshit.
Elisabeth Soep at Boingboing writes about, “The cool new thing with tweens? Sewing“:
Even so, while sewing’s getting more popular and more techie, Luna can’t totally shake the pastime’s old-lady associations among some of her friends. “Most of them think it’s cool because I always make stuff for them for their birthdays,” she says. “But one of my friends, when I say I have sewing on Saturday, so I can’t hang out, she calls me grandma.”
“Young women and girls are reclaiming that image,” says Luna’s mom, Mimi Ito. “They’re making things that are quirky and funky and tied to a punk DIY aesthetic.” Mimi thinks there’s a culture shift going on, even though we still have those old images of what crafting means.
Libby Anne at Love Joy Feminism writes, “My rights as a pregnant woman or the lack thereof“:
Growing up surrounded by people who were anti-abortion, one thing I heard all the time was that all that it would take to make pro-choice people change their mind was for them to get pregnant with a wanted child. They would then see clearly that it was a fetus was a baby, not a ball of tissue, and that it was a person, not just an inconvenience. Weirdly, my experience has been only the opposite.
Posted: April 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Tags: DUFC
Is available at Ariane’s little world, and I’m loving every bit of it. Go over and have a read – two of my pieces from March are there as well as heaps of other fantastic writing from feminists in Australia and New Zealand.