Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gif of the Day


GIRLS.

Posted Without Comment


Why I Use Trigger Warnings

I am very careful about trigger warnings. I warn for just about anything I can think of. You know why?

Because I don't want to trigger people. I don't get what's so hard to understand about this. And yet people keep sending me Tumblr messages and writing articles saying whyyyyyyyy should there be all these trigger warnings?

The real question is whyyyyyyyyy SHOULDN'T THERE BE?

Why would you not try to protect people who have suffered trauma from being triggered by what you say? Why wouldn't you want to avoid unnecessarily hurting someone?

Haven't you ever been close to someone who went through a breakup or suffered a loss? During that grieving process, weren't you careful to avoid speaking the name of the person who died/dumped them because you didn't want to bring up painful memories, because you care about them and don't want them to hurt any more then they have to?

This is the same fucking thing, only instead of grief, it's trauma. Which just means that the reaction to reminders of the event can last a lot longer and be a lot more intense. Panic attacks, visceral flashbacks, subsequent depression, etc. You really want to be responsible for that? You really want to write think pieces online trying to convince other people to be responsible for that?

If you think people with triggers should just stay offline, then fuck you. They already went through a horrific trauma, you want to deny them the entire Internet so that you don't have to feel bad about not taking two seconds to post trigger warnings?

If you think people with triggers need to be exposed to the things that trigger them because it will help them somehow, then fuck you. Are you a mental health professional? Obviously not, because anyone who'd studied psychology knows that the key to exposure therapy is doing it in a safe, controlled environment under the supervision and instruction of a trained therapist. YOUR BLOG IS NOT A SAFE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AND YOU'VE GOT NO QUALIFICATIONS. STOP.

If you think posting trigger warnings restricts free speech somehow, then fuck you. There's no law about it. I'm doing it of my free will.

If you think posting trigger warnings will prevent people from reading things they should read, then fuck you. Trigger warnings often don't deter people from reading something, but allows them to mentally prepare themselves before they read it so that they're not caught off guard. And if they don't want to read something I write because of a trigger warning, fine. That's 100% their choice and I'm happy to give them the information necessary to make that choice. Also, no one needs to read any one piece of literature to have a full life, least of all your shitty favorites that were all written by middle to upper class white cishet men.

If you think posting trigger warnings is pointless because anyone can potentially associate anything with trauma, then fuck you. If someone asks me to post a warning for something specific, I will. For now, I do everything I can think of including those that people have asked for in the past. It still doesn't take me very long and it protects a lot more people than it would if I posted no warnings.

If you think posting trigger warnings is somehow going to make people "weak," then FUCK YOU. PEOPLE WHO HAVE SURVIVED SEVERE TRAUMA ARE STRONGER THAN YOU. THEY HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT EVERY DAY. YOU CAN'T EVEN BE FUCKED TO TAKE FIVE SECONDS TO HELP THEM OUT. WHY ARE YOU SO WEAK THAT YOU CAN'T DEAL WITH THE THOUGHT THAT SOME PEOPLE MIGHT NEED THIS HELP AND HAVE TO WHINE ABOUT IT LIKE AN OVERGROWN BABY. THAT IS SUPER WEAK.

That is why I post trigger warnings. Do not ask about them or complain about them to me again.

Recommended Reading

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, HOMICIDE, ANTI-IMMIGRANT RACISM, GANG VIOLENCE, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN]

I haven't yet written about the crisis going on at the US border, mostly because I don't know what I could say other than the plight of these people are horrible and the people who are using time and energy to stand at the border with signs and scream at them to go to a place that is so horrible they'd risk their lives in a journey of over 1,000 miles to escape it are so awful I can't even wrap my mind around it.

People are not illegal. How can you be so devoid of compassion for other human beings?

The racism is undeniable. They don't view these immigrants as people. But they're hardly even immigrants. They didn't come for jobs. They come because they fear being raped and/or murdered in their home country. They're refugees, plain and simple. They come because if they stay, there's a good chance they'll die.

And many of them are FUCKING CHILDREN THAT CAME ALONE, JESUS CHRIST.

Anyway, if you want to learn more about the situation on a human level, Think Progress interviewed a woman who fled from El Salvador who told her story. Predictably but no less horrifyingly, gangs there are attacking women to control the population, and just because. The violence described is horrific. Very strong trigger warning for general violence against women at the link.

Meet Carolina, Who Brought Her Daughters 1,500 Miles To The U.S. So They Wouldn’t Be Raped

Look At This Awesome Thing: Glass Shard Art

This is just so cool. They're animal statues made out of glass shards all glued together or something.


I'm pretty sure this is Red XIII. Don't try to tell me it's not.

The artist is Marta Klonowska. See more of these here.

Petition Time

[TRIGGER WARNING: TRANSMISOGYNY]

Let us not pretend that feminism doesn't still have a problem with hatred for trans women.

A music festival in Michigan has apparently been excluding trans women for a long time with the bullshit excuse that trans women don't have the same experiences as cis women, because they believe that trans women are "born men." This, of course, is incorrect and general transmisogynistic bullshit.

So here's a petition to tell them to fucking stop:

End Transgender Exclusion from Michfest

We need to always stand up against transmisogyny in feminism. Until we are fully inclusive of every single woman, our movement is not good enough.

No, I Don't Want To Watch That Movie

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, OBJECTIFICATION, TRANSMISOGYNY, FAT HATRED, HOMOPHOBIA]

[SPOILER ALERT: THE DARK KNIGHT]

You know, I've never been that into movies.

There are certain movies that I love, of course, like the original Star Wars trilogy and Lord of the Rings, Pixar movies like Wall-E and goofy comedies like Spaceballs and even the old Adam Sandler movies. As a kid, I watched the Disney movies plenty. But as I got older, it was hard to get me in the mood to watch a movie. Particularly one I'd never seen before. It got even worse in college.

Bored Hermoine
Was that because I was surrounded by pretentious hipsters who watched pretentious hipster movies? At least a little. But even now, out of college, I don't even want to watch the old classics. It took me forever to see The Big Lebowski. I still haven't seen hardly any of those iconic war movies about helicopters going down in Vietnam or whatever. I can't tell you how many times people have said to me, "you've seen [insert popular movie here], right?" And I've had to say no. Then of course, they insist I have to see it.

But I don't want to.

This puzzled me for a long time. The best I could figure, I just had a hard time getting into most movies because it's hard for me to feel connected to a character in only 90 minutes, and that's very important to me. If I don't care about (or at least despise) the main character, I'm not going to like the piece of fiction. And that's 90 minutes down the drain.

But surely a movie that everyone loves would be good enough to get me to care, right? Yet I continue to avoid them. And I'm beginning to figure out why.

They're always disappointing me.

I've been a feminist for almost as long as I can remember, before I even knew what the word meant. I remember being a little girl who was already tired of obligatory romance in movies. I remember resenting that all the women in Disney movies seemed to need rescuing, even if they were strong. I wanted to be the one with the sword. I wanted to do the fighting and rescuing. I remember playing with my toys and creating stories where bumbling men would get kidnapped and women would fight the bad guys to come to their rescue.

Angry Power Puff Girls
I remember watching Power Puff Girls and loving Buttercup. I remember reading Animorphs and quickly declaring my favorite character to be Rachel - the strongest, most ferocious fighter. When I started writing my own stories, I refused to include romance. All the main characters were teenage girls, and leaders were tough women who didn't take any shit.

Okay, I'm just bragging at this point. But it's all true.

I think that the reason I almost never want to watch a new movie, unless someone's taking me to the movie theater for free (parents, not dates), is because they are constantly disappointing me.

I am so tired of seeing women being rescued by men. I am so tired of men threatening violence (and implying the threat of sexual violence) upon women to motivate men. I am so tired of seeing women used as decoration. I am so tired of women being sex-shamed. I am so tired of seeing women portrayed as prizes - as objects of conquest. I am so tired of the tropes. So tired of the obligatory heterosexual romance subplots. So tired of seeing the guy get the girl at the end, again and again and again, no matter how shitty he is, because he "kept trying."

Movies are fucking sexist and boring, okay? They're not just sexist, they're predictably sexist. Is the woman going to die? Hell no, of course not, we can't deprive the man of his prize, can we?

You want to know why The Dark Knight is one of my favorite movies of all time? When I saw it the first time in theaters, I remember sitting there sighing and rolling my eyes during the scene where Batman has to rush to save the girl before she gets blown up. I was rolling my eyes because it didn't feel suspenseful. I had seen plenty of super hero movies and the hero aaaaaalways shows up on time to save the damsel. Then, when he showed up at the wrong place, and she actually died? This might sound messed up, but I was ecstatic. It was different! It was a game-changer! Anything could happen now! Granted, she was basically refrigerated, but at least it wasn't at the beginning of the movie so she could be replaced with some other woman he could rescue.

Honestly, probably one of the worst parts of feminism is how boring it seems to make things. It's a lot harder to enjoy fiction when I can pick out the tropes, which of course tears me out of my immersion and reminds me that the writer's just another typical dude with the same power fantasies. I can't watch the college flicks that everyone loves, they're all gross and boring. I can't appreciate those goddamn 50's noir movies when I know that living in the same time period so many men pine for would be shitty for me because I'm a woman.




You know what Kill Bill is? Kill Bill is nothing but a fucked up wank fest, putting a female character through the wringer in the most gratuitously shocking way to motivate her to go about creating a fun spectacle for the male gaze.

I'm sick of it all. But mostly I'm sick of hearing men rave about movies that have such horrific sexual violence that it would leave me hollow-eyed and depressed for the rest of the day. I'm sick of them telling me I just HAVE to see these movies without considering how they might make me feel. I'm sick of the white guys holding up movies that are full of white guys dealing with white guy problems with almost no women of consequence to be seen, and people of color reduced to blurry background characters. I'm sick of homophobic jokes, I'm sick of fat jokes, I'm sick of only seeing trans women used as jokes. I'm sick of them talking about how great these movies are without realizing that they were not made for me. And I'm sick of them acting so very, very shocked when I explain that I'm not interested in all these movies that were not made for me.

I don't like movies because I don't trust them anymore. Movies are boring and disappointing. At least the ones recommended to me by white guys.

Dragons Are Feminist Icons

How's the dragon going, you ask? Why, it's almost finished!


It's amazing what you can do with the pen tool.

I just need to finish the tail and add some more detail to the wings. It's pretty obviously inspired by a rather iconic Skyrim dragon, but I'm not an artist, I'm just a person who knows how to use Adobe Illustrator! Anyway, I'm sure it's different enough to avoid any copyright infringements. Maybe.

I might end up regularly posting images of dragons to remind everyone that dragons are feminist icons. The decision happened on Tumblr quite suddenly and was announced by someone who was not me, and it made all sorts of anti-feminists really mad (which was the goal). Since it worked so well, I want to keep the spirit alive. 

Dragons are feminist icons now. Don't forget.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gif of the Day

So I decided that I'm going to schedule the Gif of the Day at 5 pm every day as my last post of the day so that everyone will know there won't be any more posts that day. That sentence contained a lot of the word "day."

Anyway, gif time!


LOOK AT THIS. LOOK AT THIS LITTLE GUY. LOOK AT THIS LITTLE BLACK FUZZY POTATO WITH EARS AND PAWS AND LITTLE BUTTON EYES. IT'S LIKE "I'M NOT SURE WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO DO RIGHT NOW, AM I SUPPOSED TO PLAY WITH IT?" AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

People Screwing With Richard Dawkins

This has been around for awhile, but it deserves to be brought up again. And again and again and again.


There is nothing about this that is not amazing.

Everyone call Richard Dawkins Dick Dorkins, forever.

(Side note: I'm gonna spend the rest of the day trying to finally finish that dragon drawing, but the Gif of the Day is still coming.)

Guest Post: I Won't Apologize

I got my first guest post submission today! Woo! I'm honestly really surprised that so many people have been participating in this blog so soon after it launched, with all the comments and sharing. I'm really grateful to everyone who has supported me this way, and especially to the person who's shared this piece with me.

To the author: If you want me to put your name on this, or just the first name, or initials or whatever, please email me again. I'm going to leave you anonymous for now, because that's the safest thing to do. Also, I love it! This is very well written and powerful. Well done.

This piece didn't come with a title, so I thought I would just name it "I Won't Apologize." Seems fitting.

And here it is!





I won't apologize.

I won't apologize for wanting to live in a world where I can see people like me on TV, where I can read things written by people like me, about people like me. I won't apologize for wanting to talk to people like me, about people like me. I won't apologize for the assertion that I know a little more about people like me, than someone who isn't like me.

The world today is for men. The wide open spaces are for men. The small hidden corners are for men. The positions of power are (largely) for men, and the voices that are heard are (largely) those of men. The people who are not men that manage to make themselves heard are almost invariably immediately set upon by men, discrediting them, ridiculing them, deriding them because they are not the voices of men. This is the way it is, because this is the way it always has been, and people are notorious for resisting change, especially when change would mean a diversion from a path that benefits them. In short: men are in power, and they are not looking to change that any time soon.

More and more, people who are not men are standing up and realizing that it's okay to want just a little of the freedom and power that men have had all this time, and that they take for granted. People who are not men are starting to speak up and say "Actually, it's not okay for you to make me stand in a corner. Actually, it's not okay for you to take the whole cake, leave me the crumbs, and then tell me I'm greedy and selfish for wondering why the crumbs are all I get. Actually, it's not okay for you to assume that you are welcome in the places that belong to me, when you make it clear that I am not welcome in so many of the places you claim as your own."

Men don't like that. The act of the people who are not men, standing up to claim a portion of the world for themselves, means that there is less world for the men to claim dominion over. And why would they let that happen? It doesn't benefit them.

And I won't apologize for wanting a place where I can talk to people like me, about issues that people like me face. I won't apologize for wanting to have those discussions in an environment where men are not welcome. I spend most of every day living in a world where I'm made to feel unwelcome because I am not a man. It is time that the situation is reversed, even if only in a few small spaces - since inevitably, those few small spaces are all we will be allowed. It is time that men understand a little of what it feels like to not be welcome because of their gender.

Here's where I think the problem lies. Men are resistant to feminism because they are under the misapprehension that feminism is seeking a reversal of roles. Men think we seek to put them in our places, and take their places for our own. Obviously this is an entirely abhorrent concept to most men. They would HATE being treated the way they know they treat us.

What they don't understand is that feminism does not seek to make one group of people higher or more privileged than any other group. Feminism, in its truest form, seeks to make all groups equal. Unfortunately for that to happen, a lot of groundwork has to be laid. It isn't going to happen in a day. We can't just "clean slate" the world and pretend that for hundreds of years, men haven't been making people who are not men live as second class citizens in a world that should be just much ours as it is theirs.

And so I won't apologize. In the wide open spaces that are for men, and in the small hidden corners that are for men, I won't apologize for wanting to carve out a place of my own that men can't go, and where I don't have to listen to them telling me how I am allowed to feel, what I should be thinking, and what I am allowed to say. I won't apologize for being tired of having men jump into every conversation I have because years of experience has given them the impression that their thoughts and opinions are not only wanted, but needed - when this is so very much not the case. And I won't apologize for being angry that I have to ask for this when it should be my right as a human being. I won't apologize for being angry every time a conversation with people like me, about people like me, is derailed by a man who thinks he knows better than we do.

Quite the contrary, I think men should apologize for making my request necessary, and for making me feel like there's something wrong with ME for daring to ask.

Look At This Awesome Thing: TransCuba

It's trans visibility time! Photographer and painter Mariette Pathy Allen has been touring the globe to document trans culture in different cultures. Her newest book focuses on the growing community in Cuba, with beautiful photos as well as interviews.


TransCuba Photo


You can see a sampling of the photos here, and the Amazon listing for the book is here. It's discounted from $45 to $32.11. Still kind of expensive, unfortunately. Not that Allen doesn't deserve it, but it can be hard for a group of people that disproportionately suffer from poverty.

Activism idea! If you want to support the trans community and the artist at the same time, I recommend buying the book and donating it to a local organization that supports trans people. The same thing was recommended by Janet Mock, so not really my idea. Her book is also amazing, by the way.

People Hate Women's Boundaries: The Shakesville Story

One of the most important things I learned in therapy was about boundaries. Boundaries are extremely important. They're like the walls between social dimensions, and if you don't respect them, the dimensions bleed into each other causing unimaginable chaos leading every living being to die a horribly painful death.

Okay, technically that was the plot of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but you know what I mean. Boundaries need to be set and respected, and a healthy relationship between oneself and others cannot exist without this.

Unfortunately, men are taught to not respect women's boundaries. It's not even that they're not taught to respect our boundaries. They're specifically encouraged to DISrespect them, to push up against them, or downright walk all over them.



Socialization Strikes Again


When you ask a woman out and she says "no," she's setting a boundary. She's drawing a line in the sand at romantic involvement. If you were to respect that boundary, you would say "okay" and not push the issue. But that's not what happens, is it? Men rarely respect this boundary, which is not surprising. They have this type of disrespect modeled for them time and time again in media. Movie after movie of men refusing to accept no for an answer. Accepting "no" is considered failure, "giving up," un-manly, unacceptable. If you REALLY want a woman, you have to keep trying.

And what is a woman who reinforces these boundaries? Who continues to firmly say "no," or who gets angry when her boundaries are disrespected? Oh, all manner of names, including adjectives like "cold" and "frigid." It's considered cruel for a woman not to "give him a chance." Of course, it's very different when a man rejects a woman. Men's boundaries are to be respected, and a woman who pushes against them is a deviant to be looked down upon.

Whenever women set hard boundaries and insist they be respected, men get upset about it and express that displeasure by going out of their way to walk over said boundaries. Try to tell men that you don't want their opinion on something and they'll flock to you to give their opinions. Tell a street harasser to leave you alone, and at best they'll keep yelling stuff at you.

True story: I once said "no thanks" to a guy who offered me his fortune cookie. He got mad and told me it was rude to decline when someone offers you something, whether you want it or not. I stared at him in disbelief until he left.

And that was over a cookie that had to be at least 30% Styrofoam.



The Shakesville Story


Recently, one of my favorite feminist bloggers - whom I can credit for shaping many of my feminist ideals and teaching me about fat hatred - wrote about a campaign of harassment that has been going on for quite some time, but has recently escalated to include the harassment of her husband, friends, moderators, members of the community, and anyone associated with Shakesville. Melissa McEwan has been ignoring this harassment up until this point, but as she's so invested in protecting people she cares about, including community members, she was compelled to speak out about it.

While I don't agree with absolutely everything she says and does, I owe a lot to her, and there is no excuse for the harassment being thrown at her - let alone her loved ones, some of whom have nothing to do with the blog itself. The harassers excuse their behavior by claiming that they're trying to "protect" people and rescue the community members from themselves, because they apparently view Shakesville as some kind of cult (how you can have a cult entirely online is beyond me) - but that is clearly a lie. They hate Shakesville because of the strict, clear boundaries that she sets and enforces for the space that belongs to her.

True story: Several months ago, I Googled my name for funsies. Among old articles and a Pokemon fanfic I wrote when I was nine, I found my name on a Tumblr blog dedicated to convincing people that Shakesville is a cult. I was disgusted by the find and had to investigate. Turns out they'd take an interaction between myself and Melissa McEwan in the comments section of one of her posts. She'd simply corrected me on something I said that was disrespectful, and I apologized and edited the comment to remove it. That was the end of it. She was gentle in her comment and I respected her enough to comply with the rules she'd set for a blog which she owns.

And some shitty Tumblr blog took that interaction to use as evidence that I was some brainwashed follower who wasn't allowed to speak my mind.

I actually sent them a message explaining that I was Lindsey Weedston and I was not brainwashed, and made the decision to follow her rules of my own volition. I don't know if they ever replied, because I did not particularly want to go back to that blog. The point is that they took the most innocuous interaction to try and spread lies about Melissa and Shakesville, saying she had me brainwashed when all she had actually done was reinforce her boundaries. Because she did that, she was a brainwasher, and because I had respected her boundaries, I was a brainwashee.

Seriously?

I'm sure some of the harassers are not men, because the truth is that no one respects women's boundaries, including other women. We're all taught that women who set boundaries and insist they be respected are bad.

The harassment campaign against Shakesville is a perfect example of this. The main complaint they have about Melissa is that she has an extensive commenting policy and enforces it well. Many of the harassers are people who once commented on her blog, even former community members, who were banned because they refused to follow the rules (i.e., respect her boundaries). The same went for the blog I discovered months ago. They say that this enforcement of the rules she set for a space she owns (I cannot stress that point enough, the blog is HER PROPERTY) is "abusive."

What they really mean is that she told them no, punished them when they failed to take no for an answer, and now they're all mad about it. Because people hate women's boundaries.

In the same way that some of the most vicious violence against women comes from men who are told no, for the same reason so many women are assaulted for shouting back against street harassers, these people are assaulting Melissa's space and attempting to take away her career. When she ignored this, they changed their tactics - harassing the mods, commenters, and even her husband, who is not affiliated with the blog in any way.

As Melissa accurately pointed out, this is an abuser tactic. And no one hates boundaries more than abusers.



This Needs To Stop


I don't know Melissa personally, but I've always had a lot of respect for the way she sets and enforces clear boundaries, and as such has created one of the safest feminist spaces I've ever seen on the Internet. She is certainly the safest of the more well-known feminist writers. That is why I'm taking the time to spread her story and raise awareness about the harassment campaign. I stand by her, and I will strive to be as healthy about my own boundaries as she is about hers. I stand firmly against misogynists and women with internalized misogyny who hate her boundaries and react by attempting to violate them in any way they can think of. They are truly despicable, abusive people, and I have nothing but the deepest contempt for them.

Like refraining from interrupting people, respecting a woman's boundaries is some of the best feminist/ally work you can do. Setting clear boundaries and demanding they be respected is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I say we should all have zero tolerance for those who disrespect anyone's boundaries, especially those of women and people of other oppressed groups. We can start by spreading Melissa's story around.

You can find a detailed post about the harassment campaign against Shakesville here. Please share and stand with Melissa.

Family Court Bias Myth

There are some things that are not myths. Like the gender pay gap! But here is one thing that is not thought of as a myth that actually is, and I want everyone to know about it.

You know how everyone assume that women have an unfair advantage in child custody battles? It's not true! Yes, women do get custody more often, but that's only because most of the time, the issue is settled outside of court. Men don't get custody because they don't want it. When they do fight for it, they get custody more often then women. So actually, there is a bias in family courts, but it favors men, not women.

IN YOUR FACE, MRAS.

Just Shut Up


Here's the Tumblr post with all the sources you need.

"There's No REAL Sexism Anymore"



I get a lot of shit from anti-feminists about what constitutes "real" misogyny. "You're not oppressed, women in [insert country with a people of color majority here] are oppressed!" they say. "Women in the US are equal under the law," they say. "All you have to complain about is being called bossy and being whistled at on the street," they say, ignorant of the impact of microaggressions. 

What they're saying is that there's no overt sexism in the US and countries like it anymore. So as intensely frustrating as it is, it's almost gratifying when stories like this come to light:

Shortly after Kathryn Tucker started RedRover, an app that showcases local events for kids, she pitched the idea to an angel investor at a New York tech event. But it didn’t go over well. When she finished her pitch, the investor said he didn’t invest in women. 
When she asked why, he told her. “I don’t like the way women think,” he said. “They haven’t mastered linear thinking.” To prove his point, he explained that his wife could never prioritize her to-do lists properly. And then, as if he was trying to compliment her, he told Tucker she was different. “You’re more male,” he said. 
... 
Rachel Sklar, founder of Change the Ratio, an advocacy group for women in tech, shared the story of an investor who said he doesn’t invest in women he doesn’t find attractive. Another gave women in the audience a tip for pitching VCs: “Wear a wedding ring.”

These stories come from a Wired article entitled "This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like." It looks overt as shit is what it looks like.

Subtle misogyny and microaggressions are still damaging. In fact, there's an extra bit of psychological harm that comes from the lack of support, since a lot of people still think that street harassment and small language differences aren't "real" sexism. But let's not pretend that there aren't plenty of men in positions of power who are clearly, overtly, and maliciously misogynistic.

What's super funny (read: fucking infuriating) is that in the tech industry - or any industry, really - when women complain that they're not given enough space and they're represented badly, one of the go-to responses from sexist men who want to keep it that way is that we should just go out and make our own space. "Go make your own movie, then." "Go start your own video game company then." "Go fund your own multi-million dollar corporation then."

Besides the obvious problem of NOT EVERYONE HAS THE MONEY AND/OR TIME FOR THAT SHIT, here we see an obvious barrier to those women who do. Even when we seek funding to do our own thing, many investors are blatantly sexist.

Now what? Got any other well thought out ideas, assholes? Maybe we should make our own investors?

But for Weinblatt, just as frustrating as being excluded from the “boys club” is being funneled toward the “girls club.” Throughout her fundraising process, she says, investors have repeatedly directed her to other female investors. 

Again, this is "funny," because these game dudes who are basically advocating for industry gender segregation will take any opportunity to scream that gender doesn't matter, why can't we just treat everyone the same?

I don't know, why can't men do that? It's something I've asked myself so many times.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

LOOK AT THIS THING I FOUND

Okay I'm lying, a friend of mine found it and sent it to me. IT'S AMAZING.

It's a webcomic called Manfeels Park. It simply takes ignorant shit men say and pairs it with old-timey drawings. IT'S BRILLIANT.

LOOK.


BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Everyone please go to this website every day, give them so many hits, please. For me.

Recommended Reading

This is something I've read about before but is very important, and I want all my friends and readers to know about it. Black children are suspended far more often than white children for similar offenses. There are studies on this, and this is far from the first story I've heard about this shit.

This is part of what they call the school-to-prison pipeline.

My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3.

Excerpt:

I blamed myself, my past. And I would have continued to blame myself had I not taken the boys to a birthday party for one of JJ’s classmates. At the party, the mothers congregated to talk about everyday parenting things, including preschool. As we talked, I admitted that JJ had been suspended three times. All of the mothers were shocked at the news. 
“JJ?” one mother asked. 
“My son threw something at a kid on purpose and the kid had to be rushed to the hospital,” another parent said. “All I got was a phone call.” 
One after another, white mothers confessed the trouble their children had gotten into. Some of the behavior was similar to JJ’s; some was much worse. 
Most startling: None of their children had been suspended.

Please read the entire thing. Special training desperately needs to be implemented in US schools to counteract this, because this subconscious racism is ruining lives and perpetuating a cycle of poverty, imprisonment, and general feelings of low self-worth in black youth.

Kitties

Okay so my cat was sleeping on the arm of the couch and somehow she ended up like this.


It was pretty adorable and funny so I took a picture. Then later I looked over AND SHE WAS LIKE THIS.


LEELA HOW CAN YOU EVEN SLEEP LIKE THAT?

Breaking: America Needs Way More Feminist Bookstores

I guess this came out nearly three months ago but whatever it's breaking to me.

These Are the Last of America's Dying Feminist Bookstores.

"About twenty years ago, there were well over 100 self-described feminist bookstores in the United States. ... However, that number has plummeted over the years, and as Anjali Enjeti noted recently in Paste Magazine, only around a dozen remain in North America."

This may seem sad at first, but remember, the number of bookstores in general has plummeted over the past couple decades. It's now a lot easier to find feminist spaces, because you can do it online. Plus, you can find a much more diverse range of feminist spaces, including those that don't exclude trans women and women of color!

So all and all I think things are actually better now, but I am bummed that none of these bookstores are in the Seattle area. But if you live elsewhere, check out Paste Magazine's original list.

Gif of the Day

Bighead Never

This was my favorite episode of this show, specifically for this scene.

A Post About Anxiety

I'm going to be doing some talking about mental illness on this blog because it effects me and a lot of the people I love. I've heard that my generation suffers from more reported cases of anxiety and depression than any other before us. That might be because psychology is a relatively new field, but still, that's a lot of anxiety and depression.

When I was 16, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Dysphoric Disorder (mild to moderate depression for a period of a year or more). With therapy and medication, I was able to kick a lot of bad psychological habits, and pretty much overcome my depression. I still have issues with anxiety that regularly affect my life, and of course I still get depressed sometimes, though not often.

The hardest part about my anxiety has been accepting that it will always be a part of my life. It's like a ball and chain that's permanently shackled to my legs, holding me back from things that would be easy for other people. I can do things to strengthen my legs, but getting over those hurdles is going to be tough no matter what.

There's a mentality in our culture that we should be able to just overcome whatever mental illness or issue we might have, as though my anxiety disorder can be cured with some positive thinking and maybe exposure to things that scare me. But the only thing this mentality has gotten me is a lot of frustration and self-loathing. I'm constantly struggling with a cycle of anxiety, where I feel anxious about something, then I feel frustrated that I'm feeling anxious again (and often feel like it's something I shouldn't be anxious about), ignore and/or suppress the feeling, start having insomnia and/or getting really tense and experiencing headaches and other pains, then feel more anxious because I feel like my anxiety is getting worse, plus often depression and self-hatred because it seems like I will never be able to get better.

This cycle will continue, spiraling downward until I finally start doing something about it. And that something is NOT simply exercise or eating right or some combination of vitamins. Those things may help a little, but they are not a cure. Trust me. I've been disappointed time and time again by remedies suggested by people who don't have anxiety.

The only thing that works is practicing self-love and acceptance. Acceptance of my mental illness. That it's not my fault that I get anxious over little things. It's okay, and I don't need to be "cured" to be happy. I'm not bad for feeling anxious. I'm not bad if I backslide into the anxiety cycle again. I'm not bad if I can't sleep at night because my mind and heart won't stop racing. I'm not bad if I get anxious over little things like calling the Thai food place or getting to a casual social event on time. That's just the way my brain operates. I have an illness, it's not my fault, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I guess this post was inspired by today's featured Tumblr blog. I want to let everyone know about my illness and how it works, but I also want to reach out to those who experience the same thing. I believe you have an anxiety disorder. I believe you when you say it's hard just to call people or go outside. I believe that every day is a battle for you. I believe you when you say you can't, and that you're not just being lazy or weak. I believe you're stronger than most people, because you manage to get through the day with that ball and chain on your legs.

And it's not your fault. You didn't put that ball and chain there. You didn't do anything wrong.

Anyone who wants to talk about their anxiety or any other mental illness will find support here. I don't have formal training, but I will always be here to remind you that I believe you and it's not your fault. You are still an awesome person, mental illness and all.

Featured Tumblr Blog: I Believe You | It's Not Your Fault

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, SEXUAL ABUSE, EATING DISORDERS, MENTAL ILLNESS, CHRONIC ILLNESS, DOMESTIC ABUSE, CHILD ABUSE]

One of the worst things about our patriarchal culture and about rape culture is that women are constantly told that every bad thing that happens to them is their fault. This can be extended to every other oppressed group. If we're assaulted, it's because of the way we were dressed or the place we were or how we walked. If we're sick, it's because of what we consume, regardless of whether we're in a financial situation that allows us to be able to consume healthier things. If we're abused, it's because we stayed with the abuser.

We didn't try hard enough. We didn't fight hard enough. We didn't just snap our fingers to make everything magically better, etc.

Either that, or we just automatically don't believe the victims.

That's why I love "I Believe You | It's Not Your Fault: Notes From Your Big Sister." It's a blog about pure support, acceptance, and love. It exists to counteract the victim-blaming, disbelieving and various other abusive messages constantly thrown at marginalized victims, survivors, and people struggling with illness. A lot of the stories submitted are about sexual assault and abuse, but there are stories about mental illness and eating disorders as well, and probably other illnesses (I haven't read it all yet). But every story has a common theme: explaining to others who suffer from the same thing that the author believes them, and it's not they're fault.

If you need something heartwarming, this is it.

Warning: Many of the stories are triggering. The blog mods post trigger warnings in the tags that show up at the end of each post, so you may want to scroll down and check those out before reading if you have triggers.

Men Proving My Point, Part 1 of Infinity

It's amazing how when I make a big post talking about a specific thing men tend to do that hinders women's progress, I always seem to attract men who prove the point of said post.

Yesterday I talked about tone policing. This morning, I wake up to a gem of a response from a guy who just can't understand why it's misogynistic for someone to derail a discussion about how men stereotype women gamers by complaining that I'm stereotyping gamer dudes.

"I understand perfectly how sexism works. Sexism is basically discrimination, assumption, or marginalization based on gender. Racism is the same but based on race, and so on and so forth. What I fail to see are the following: 
1. How it was sexist? It is literally just “nice job stereotyping”, in response to your stereotyping. Furthermore, that isn’t even the point in the first place. 
2. Do you actually think you are helping? If you’re going to contradict me, then explain why instead of pretending this nonsense is some story or game you are concocting in your head. Don’t smack someone and wait for them to get angry to explain why. If I don’t understand how sexism works, tell me. Ever heard of something called “Educating the Ignorant”? It’s become quite a common pass-time of people who dis-like the ignorant. 
3. Outside of all this I didn’t actually intend to use any ableist terms, in fact I wasn’t even entirely within the knowledge I actually was. As per stated in my last one, could you please tell me before waiting for a response. What terms did I use that are ableist?"

This is from a guy who started off by declaring himself a male feminist. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Let's list all the things wrong with this.
  1. No, he does not understand perfectly how sexism works, for the following reasons:
    • He's a guy, and therefore hasn't experienced sexism himself. 
    •  He listed a poor definition of sexism that does not include anything about power dynamics.
    •  He can't even figure out why "not all men" is misogynistic.
  2. Tone policing - declaring that "I'm not helping" because I didn't respond the way he wanted.
  3. Demanding that I educate him. I will educate men if I choose, but it is not my job to spend my time and energy educating every ignorant fuckwad that comes along. I do this to empower women. Men need to self-educate. They are allowed to ask questions, but if the woman they're asking doesn't want to spend time answering them, they need to back off rather than get hostile. Our decision to help you get educated is a favor, not a requirement.
  4. "Concocting in my head" - There is a long history of men telling women that things that are bothering us are all in our heads, hysterical woman trope, etc.
  5. "If you're going to contradict me" - Oh my god, word choice. HOW DARE YOU CONTRADICT ME, WOMAN.
  6. Acting as though his anger is justified while mine is not. A woman's anger is never justified in our culture, but a man's always is.
  7. Again, demands to be educated, even though Googling a list of ableist terms would be super easy for him.
This guy is an entire Bingo sheet of faux feminist ally bullshit. Do not be like this guy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

IBM Execs Caught Being Blatantly Sexist Assholes, Surprising No One

[TRIGGER WARNING: CISSEXISM]

Another Lindsey did another something awesome. Okay, she spells it funny, but close enough.

This one had the misfortune to sit next to a bunch of IBM executives while they were discussing, out loud, in a public place, why they don't like hiring women. You could say they don't like hiring people who can get pregnant, but these assholes would probably never hire a trans person unless not doing so somehow threatened their vast fortunes. Anyway, Lyndsay decided to tweet about it.

The conversation came down to "Apparently IBM doesn't like hiring young women because they are 'just going to get themselves pregnant again and again and again'."

You can see the highlights of the live-tweet session here. If IBM wants to apologize, they can write it on the tops of these old white dudes' bald heads and send them out of the building in succession after they've been FIRED, otherwise don't even fucking bother.

Yet Another Post About Tone Policing

Since I started this blog and advertising the posts on my Tumblr account, I've been getting a lot of anonymous requests to "calm down" and stop being "so emotional." Part of this is due to the fact that my posts have been quite popular, so that makes me feel good, but DAMN PEOPLE STOP IT.

You Have To Stop
The worst thing about tone policing is that I get it from everyone. Yes, there are the anonymous messages that are blatantly from anti-feminists being all "calm down you [insert misogynistic slur here]" and the ones from anti-feminists who are pretending to be feminists all "I'm a feminist and I think you should calm down you [insert misogynistic slur here]."

But the worst are the ones I get from loved ones that are more gentle and subtle, saying things like "you'll get more allies if you're nice about it" and the old thing about flies and food ingredients (who wants to attract flies, anyway?).

There are a lot of things wrong with this, but here are the two big ones, lined up and published so I can just send people a link when they inevitably spout off those annoying lines.

Firstly, it's wrong. Being calm and nice does not help me get more allies. It might get me "allies." "Allies" meaning men who want to look good to feminists but are really misogynists who expect their every need to be catered to and will hold their allyship hostage any time someone says something they don't like. Do you have any idea how many times I've seen men who proclaim themselves to be allies or feminists advocate for the niceness approach, but the second a feminist is not nice enough to them, they threaten to stop being an ally? They start talking about how feminists "need" male allies to be successful and if they don't act how he wants, he'll take his ally ball and go home.

Did you know that this is a tactic of abusers?

I need "allies" like I need a punch in the crotch. But that's really all I get with niceness. People who have already decided that they're "not feminists" are not going to be persuaded by any amount of niceness. And trust me, I've tried. I've had discussions with friends of friends on Facebook so many times now, where out of consideration for my friend, I've kept it civil, calm, reasonable, fact-based, without strong language or emotion-showing of any kind. But all that happens is that the person gets frustrated because they can't deal with being wrong and they inevitably tell me that I'm what's wrong with feminism and I'm an extremist man-hater who needs to CALM DOWN.

Honestly, the best reaction I've ever gotten with niceness is someone privately saying to me "thanks for explaining that CALMLY, unlike THOSE OTHER PEOPLE." And that's always when it's about issues of race or sexuality or gender identity or wherever else I have privilege. That brings me to my next point.

Telling a person from an oppressed group to calm down about their oppression is oppressive.

Baby Says StopYes, if you've done that, I am saying that it was an oppressive action and in that moment, you were actively oppressing someone. If I get angry comments about this, I'm just going to tell you to calm down so that you can know what it feels like.

Anyway. The fact is that telling the oppressed that they're not allowed to get angry or they're bad for doing so has always been a tactic of oppressors to keep the status quo going. For my liberal friends, it's like how Republicans accuse us of "class warfare" when we have the gall to point out that rich people paying less taxes than the poor is shitty.

You get angry about that, right? And isn't that anger justifiable? Isn't your anger about how conservatives have lied and cheated their way to hijacking the democratic process the thing that spurred you into action, whether it was marching in a protest or signing online petitions or just sharing information with friends?

So why is it okay for you to tell feminists that they shouldn't be angry? That anger "doesn't help"? Anger helped me a whole lot. Anger inspired me to get educated, to become an informed feminist and to strive to educate others. And by "others" I don't actually mean men. I mean other women. I consider the education and inspiration of other women to be my top priority - the best thing I can do. What help are male allies if women themselves aren't liberated of toxic socialization and internalized misogyny?

And what's kept me going? What inspires me to continue to empower other women in the face of harassment and derision and calls to calm down? Anger. There is power in the justified anger of the oppressed about their oppression. People don't bus into the city to march because they're calm. They don't stand up to the opposition's violence out of love. Why do you think that the majority of people who tell me to calm down are anti-feminists? They hate my anger because they know it gives me power. And that power spreads to every woman I touch.

Feeling and expressing my anger is a radical act. It is a radical act for any individual who faces oppression. It is revolutionary. It is resistance. Anyone who tries to stand in the way of that is acting in the interest of the oppressor, and is therefore an oppressor themselves, at least in that moment.

Stop Sign Hits Reporter


Remember that not all anger is the same. Sometimes anger comes from fear, but the anger of the oppressed has nothing to do with that Yoda shit. Sometimes anger can be self-destructive, but the anger of the oppressed is liberating.

I will not calm down about misogyny. I will not calm down about the patriarchy. I will not calm down about rape culture. Not until it's gone. And I'll probably be dead when that happens.

Presenting the Best Headline of All Time

This is the most glorious thing I've seen in a very long time.

Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling


Happy Screaming

The Satanic Temple ... has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy. The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level “informed consent” laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks.

AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YES.

I might have to check out this group. If joining requires conversion to Satanism, I think I can deal with that.

Gif of the Day

Simpsons Condom Dance

Use a condom.

Featured Tumblr Blog: Confused Cats Against Feminism

So there's this awful trend going on called Women Against Feminism, which I could spend all day mocking and explaining why their "reasons" for being against feminism are terrible, but luckily someone has already done this for me.

It's called Confused Cats Against Feminism. It is both a wonderful and adorable way to mock Women Against Feminism with all the seriousness that it deserves. Which is none.

Here are a few gems:






This brilliance was spearheaded by We Hunted the Mammoth, a rather fantastic anti-MRA site that does nothing but keep track of MRA bullshit to make fun of them.

Confused Cats Against Feminism is rather new, but they're posting multiple times per day. Here's hoping that it continues for a good long time.

Creepy Craigslist Time - Professional PUAs?

Like many people, I regularly peruse Craigslist job ads just in case my dream job should present itself somewhere in the writing/editing section, no matter my employment situation. For the most part, the ads are pretty boring and non-controversial. Then I came upon this:

Creepy Craigslist Ad

[Click image for full size]

The text of the ad reads:

Get Paid To Woo Women On OkCupid & Tinder? (work from home)

What if you could get PAID to woo women and get them to respond to your messages?
Believe it or not, this sort of job actually does exist. Our business has been featured all over the media by outlets like FOX, the Today Show and the Washington Post... And we'll pay you to write profiles and messages for our clients while sitting at home in your pajamas. 
Right now we've got part-time opportunities available with eventual full-time potential. If you've got the skills, we'll hire you immediately for this long-term position. 
Think you have the charm, wit and wordsmith skills to join our team? Then send a quick email to HR@virtualdatingassistants.com with "Creative Writer in Seattle" right in the subject line, and we'll tell you more about the most entertaining job in the world.

Buffy is Grossed Out
How I feel right now

So, let me get this straight. This company is paying people to pretend to be other people for their desperate, I'm assuming almost exclusively male clients, in order to trick women into dating/sleeping with them?

And this ad just gets to stay up on Craigslist. It might as well say "Help Men Have Sex With Women Under False Pretenses!" 

You know, I still have people trying to tell me that rape culture doesn't exist or demanding proof of its existence. Then we have this ad. No thought as to whether it's wrong to have an actor play yourself, to have someone else lie and say they're you, to get a woman to date you. This is like some even worse "pick up artist" shit.

Because I am such a dedicated blogger, I actually went to the website to check it out. The headline in big red letters says "GET A GUARANTEED SUPPLY OF NEW DATES." Awesome, so women = supplies. Just awesome.

A chat window popped up after a few seconds to offer me help with my questions. So I decided to find out if these "virtual date assistants" actually pretend to be the client and lie to women online.

According to "Kelly," the answer is yes! That is gross, Kelly!

Let me also point out that this behavior, the actual hiring of actors to pretend to be you to trick women (who you clearly view as objects) into dating you is NOT the practice of a few scattered deviants. It's so common that someone has literally made a successful widespread business of it. Okay? These are not isolated incidents. You can't sit there and pretend like this isn't a big deal.

This is rape culture.

Re: Complaints About Trigger Warnings

Dear Anyone Who Complains About the Fact That I Use Trigger Warnings,

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

HOW CAN YOU BE SO CALLOUS?

HOW DOES MY PROTECTING PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUFFERED SERIOUS TRAUMA DIMINISH YOUR EXPERIENCE IN ANY WAY, AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

DAMN.

Sincerely,

Lindsey Weedston

Friday, July 25, 2014

Men and Their Very Important Opinions

One thing I've observed in my time as a big ol' scary unreasonable feminist is that a lot of men have a difficult time letting go of the idea that their opinions are not always welcome or valuable. That sometimes, they really just need to shut up for awhile. That even if they have opinions, they need not share them.

Shut Up

Sharing this apparently radical idea with men is tantamount to telling a Republican that the government is going to tax their freedom of speech, or something. I've had the most informed, reasonable, sympathetic men who have professed their desire to be male allies be reduced to misogynistic assholes who sound more like MRAs than allies at the simple suggestion that their opinion should be kept to themselves.

What's funny is that these are the exact same liberal men who will recite a dissertation on why people without science degrees shouldn't be allowed on the US National Board of Science because their uniformed, uneducated opinions shouldn't be listened to. They're straight up sign petitions to get them kicked off.

Parks & Rec Mansplaining
Because when it's in their interest, it's perfectly reasonable to say that the opinions of those who don't have experience in an issue are less valuable - or not valuable at all. When in comes to creationism, not all sides of the issue need to be addressed.

But the second that you say that because he's a man, he can't really understand a feminist issue and should therefore refrain from adding his voice when women are discussing it, it's a violation of his most basic rights and you're comparable to someone who spearheaded genocide.

This, of course, all comes from socialization. Little girls are interrupted more than little boys. In the classroom, boys get more attention and are called on more. Boys who voice their opinion are considered assertive or just "normal," while girls who do the same are considered opinionated or bossy or annoying, etc. All of this sends the message that a man's opinion is more important than a woman's, no matter what the subject.

When you pay attention to mixed-gender group discussions, no matter what the setting, it becomes very apparent. Men have no problem interrupting each other (and women) to assert their opinions or tell their stories. They do it so naturally. Women, however, often will always wait until someone is finished speaking. I myself have almost a complete inability to interrupt people. It made working at a call center rather difficult at times. I'll want to, but there's a massive mental block, as though I feel it's just essentially wrong to interrupt someone. I feel like I should do a poll of men and women to see how many of each gender experiences the same issue. I'm betting that few men do.

Unfortunately, this dynamic does widespread damage to women. It contributes a lot to the glass ceiling and pay gap. It's even a part of rape culture. Why do you think people have such a hard time believing victims?

Shush
If you're a man, and you're feeling defensive and attacked right now, I'm not sorry. I will say that one of the best types of ally work you can do is to fight the urge to give your opinion all the time. Make room for women to speak in all areas of your life, especially in professional settings. Practice keeping quiet and don't interrupt women. Listening skills are actually fantastic! Even better, try encouraging women to share their opinions and shushing other men who interrupt. Support women's opinions against those who dismiss them. Seriously, this is some of the best everyday ally work you can do.

But you'll never be able to if you don't first let go of the idea that your opinion is always important. You can't be an expert on everything. You probably shouldn't be on the National Board of Science either, right?

Recommended Reading

[TRIGGER WARNING: PREGNANCY, DRUG USE]

First I want to say that a lot (a lot) of feminist articles run by me on a daily basis through various social media sites and other blogs. And a lot of those either have too many problematic elements or say the same things that have already been said before in articles I've already read. So if I post something for recommended reading, it means it's good. Really good. I read the whole thing without getting bored or turned off and it said things that really resonate with me.

So in that spirit, here's Esquire's "I Don't Care If You Like It." (Trigger warning for sexual assault of a minor at the link.)

Excerpt:

"These days, law enforcement can comfortably deem a Tennessee mother unfit and jail her for having taken methamphetamine while pregnant. Authorities can condemn—by arrest and the removal of her child to foster care—South Carolina mother Debra Harrell, who allowed her nine-year-old daughter to play at the park while she worked at McDonald’s. It’s such a comfortable pose, gathering around women and deciding what we think of them—hot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful."

That last sentence is so important, I'm going to repeat it.

"It’s such a comfortable pose, gathering around women and deciding what we think of them—hot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful."

YES. It's so natural to judge women and make decisions for them, people don't bat an eye about it. And it becomes that much easier to extend that a little bit, like deciding that corporations should decide whether or not to give people who can get pregnant access to contraceptives.

People Screwing With Richard Dawkins

Part 1 of what will hopefully be a long and frequent series.


ANSWER THE QUESTION RICHARD.

(Note: I am not religious, not am I atheist. I identify as agnostic. I just hate Richard Dawkins.)

Only 59% of Comic Fans Think Harassment is a Problem in the Industry

[TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL ASSAULT, RAPE]

Okay, so the article that published these findings (gendered slur at the link) portrayed the 59% statistic as though it were impressive, but come on. This problem is so rampant and blatant, 59% does not seem at all satisfactory. How can 41% of comic fans and professionals think everything is fine? How deep is the cave that they live in?

Here are some other results:

"Out of all respondents, 59 percent said they felt sexual harassment was a problem in comics and 25 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the industry."

"Thirteen percent reported having unwanted comments of a sexual nature made about them at conventions—and eight percent of people of all genders reported they had been groped, assaulted, or raped at a comic convention."

"People in my survey report being harassed by fans, journalists, publishing employees, and comics creators, so there are issues at every level of the industry."

(Important side note: GROPING IS ASSAULT.)

It's especially gross that media and comic industry professionals are doing it. It means that they're sure they can get away with it, and others who observe their behavior are more likely to think it's okay.

There is some good news, though. A lot of conventions are instituting highly advertised zero tolerance policies about harassment. I'm very proud of my city for what they did this year:

"In April, for example, Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con put up impossible-to-miss posters about the convention’s “zero tolerance policy” toward harassment. Information about how “Cosplay is Not Consent!” was all over their venue, website, and event guide and the convention hosted a panel on preventing harassment (of which I was a participant)."

Now I'm really regretting missing this year's comic con.

Even San Diego Comic Con, which had previously resisted creating an official anti-harassment policy because it might make them look bad if everyone knew how much harassment was going on (can't have that, oh no), finally sent ticket holders an email with a brief but clear zero tolerance harassment policy. Of course, I'm sure that means that dudebro whining will increase by 1000%.

But who cares about them.

I am actually encouraged by this. The more that official authorities in the industry refuse to tolerate any sexual harassment, the more people will begin to see it as unacceptable. Go Seattle.

Gif of the Day

Bubbles Bunny Costume

Captioned: Me on my way to fuck shit up.

Impossible Standards, Breastfeeding Edition

Someone I know very well and love very much recently had a baby. Therefore, the issue of breastfeeding has become a very apparent to her, and to a lesser extent, to me.

In the US, breastfeeding has come to be seen as both mandatory and obscene. And both of these are ridiculous and impossible. I still don't have an intimate understanding of how hard it is to be a parent, but I feel like I understand it quite a bit better than I used to. It seems to me that it's mind-bogglingly difficult even without people constantly flipping out about what you do and don't do with your breasts.

Firstly, since it came to light that there are health benefits to breastfeeding the baby, people treat mothers who don't breastfeed like porno-dealing monsters. This completely ignores the fact that some women don't have breasts at all, whether due to cancer or being born without them. Also, unless you want to try out waking up every 90 minutes to spend a half hour with a tiny human clinging to your chest all night every night, I don't think you should be flapping your mouth hole. But even if you have, don't be judging.

It seems to be remarkably difficult for people to imagine that other individuals have different lives and limitations than they do. Single mothers, for example, would have a very difficult time breastfeeding exclusively compared to mothers with partners. Also, some women produce less breast milk than others and either have to use formula sometimes or let the baby go hungry. Some women don't produce breast milk at all. And some women have any number of any kinds of problems, including poverty, illness (physical or mental), other children, etc etc until the end of the universe that may prevent them from being able to do what you think is best for a baby that isn't yours, so STOP.

And here's where everything stops making sense. People are super intense about the breastfeeding thing to the point where they super judge people who don't breastfeed and treat them like crap, yet at the same time, breastfeeding in public is treated like an obscene act.

Talk about your things you can't win.

This needs to stop yesterday. First of all, no, boobs are not sexual organs. Something that turns you on is not automatically a sexual organ and therefore obscene. Some people are turned on by legs or hair or feet, and we don't require those to be covered up anymore. Breasts are a secondary sex characteristic, in the same way that facial hair and a deepened voice are considered secondary sex characteristics. The only reason women aren't allowed to show their breasts in public in the US is because we arbitrarily decided that they're inherently sexual and therefore obscene. It's 100% pointless.

Enlarged breasts that are capable of producing milk (let's not forget that all people are born with breasts, including cis men) were meant to feed babies. That's all. If you're turned on by breasts, that's a learned reaction. It is not innate. Cultures where breasts are not sexualized exist, and the people in those cultures think we in the US are weird.

"But the men will be distracted!"

I couldn't give less of a fuck about that heteronormative excuse if I tried.

Mothers have it hard enough. If breastfeeding is supposed to be so fantastic, then make it easy for them. Leave them the hell alone if they have to do it in public. Don't stare. Don't act all grossed out. Get over yourself and grow up.

And if people really can't handle it, then why, as a certain new mother pointed out to me, aren't there breastfeeding stations all over the place? They should be in every store, in every park, at bus stops, everywhere. It would be so easy to set up. Just a little structure with a curtain and a bench.

You can bet that if cis men produced the breastmilk, there would be breastfeeding stations at every corner. Actually, we wouldn't even need it, probably. Because no one would bother them or call the cops when they had to feed the baby.

People Doing Awesome Things, Ring Splint Edition

I never knew what Ehlers Danlos Syndrome was until I found this thing on Tumblr. The syndrome has many different presentations, but basically it affects the connective tissue of everything in your body. The person who originally posted about this describes it as every cell in the body being floppy, which definitely affects fingers and general fine motor abilities. Splints can help a lot with pain and functioning, so some awesome company decided to make splints that are AWESOME.

Silver Ring Splints

How cool is that? That is so cool, it makes me want to buy some just to wear. I won't though, because it seems disrespectful to people with chronic illness.

Anyway, you can learn more at SilverRingSplint.com

Always remember that there are many people out there with chronic illness. Be considerate to random people out in public, because many of these illnesses are "invisible." You never know. Be cool.

This is the Whiniest Thing You'll Read Today

[TRIGGER WARNING: MENTION OF RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL ABUSE]

Wambulance
I don't know if HuffPo just lets anyone publish stuff on their blog now or how that works. I stopped taking HuffPo seriously a long time ago. But this piece is just so full of WAAAAAAHHHHHH I had to share it.

The title is "I am NOT Cisgendered." WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

As you might expect, it's by a white cis guy. That's right, cis. YOU'RE CIS, DUDE.

The post starts, "I am NOT 'cisgendered.' I reject that label. Why?" Followed by a long diatribe using terms he probably thinks make him sound informed but unfortunately none of it works.

Firstly, cis dude, you don't get to reject that label. You have privilege over trans people. You don't get to decide what that label is.

Let's take a look at some of the whinier parts of this crap.

"If gender isn't binary, if it is fluid and can transgress boundaries, than a binary between cisgender and transgender cannot exist."

You realize that if you erase the cis label using this logic, you're erasing the identities of millions of trans people? Oh wait, I'm sure you don't actually care.

The reality is that a binary exists because it's socially enforced and has been for a very long time in many cultures. Especially the one he lives in. As long as that binary does exist in the minds of a vast number of people, people who transgress that binary or exist outside of it will be oppressed, and people who adhere to that binary will be privileged. As soon as trans and non-binary people stop being erased and constantly shit on (not to mention murdered), we can talk about getting rid of the binary. But that will is not a decision that we cis people get to make.

That binary, and all the trans identities that go along with it, do not get to be magically erased because being called cis makes you a sad white cis man.

"If 'cisgendered' means your gender identity matches the social construct attached to the sex you were assigned at birth, than there cannot be a male gender identity that acts outside those normative social boundaries."

????????????????????? Why?????????????????

"And if you say there is variation on gender identity, but 'cis-' just means you were born with a penis and identify and live as a man, than [sic] you negate the many variations on what it means to 'be a man' or even to 'live as a man.'"

Spoken like a true cis dude who's ignorant of the issue.

"You are imposing your concept of those things onto me, enforcing a binary that is paradoxical." 

WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH MEAN TRANS PEOPLE ARE IMPOSING A LABEL ON ME THAT I DON'T LIKE BECAUSE IT MAKES IT HARDER TO DENY MY PRIVILEGE.

Let me explain something to you, cis dude. People were imposing labels on trans people long before the term "cis" even existed. The real reason that the term cis came into existence was to help identify and describe the group of people who have privilege over trans people. This is extremely necessary if we're ever going to stop the horrid oppression of trans people. So trans people labeled us "cis." It makes things a lot easier for them. Since pretty much everything is hard for them right now, you're going to need to fucking deal, you privileged crapmill.

"Moreover, you are denying the gender fluidity..."

No they're not. The term "genderfluid" exists for a reason.

"Don't tell me that I am somehow normatively gendered for my body when my life experience has led me through periods of deep confusion about my gender identity and living as gender queer."

This is where it gets weird. If this guy identifies as genderqueer, which is an identity that exists under the trans umbrella, why is he complaining about the term "cis"?

"That includes recognizing that as a queer person, I'm automatically not inhabiting the normative roles society has constructed for those with a penis. My behavior, and sexual and romantic attachments aren't normative for 'men.' My intuitiveness isn't normative. My choices of profession haven't been normative. My mode of speech isn't normative."

At this point it becomes clear that he's not genderqueer, he's a gay cis man who doesn't understand anything about the concept of trans or genderqueer or any of the other non-binary genders out there. He doesn't know what he's talking about, he's just all mad.

Just because you don't strictly adhere to the stereotypical gender roles of a man doesn't mean you're not cis. You're trying to redefine what cis is. It's about identity. You identify as male? You're amab? You're cis. If you don't identify as male, you're not. It's pretty simple.

"By imposing the label 'cisgendered' onto me, you do me psychological and intellectual violence."

Oh my god, so much wah. What is intellectual violence, anyway? It confuses him?

"You are telling me, 'check your privilege,' a phrase that has been weaponized and become popular to use in ways that are adolescent and regressive to the discourse."

This kind of wah only comes from privileged people. He's cis.

"It is a phrase that in this context has one purpose -- to invalidate the opinions and silence the voices of those who you disagree with."

"Everyone isn't shutting up and listening to my very important cis opinion and that makes me feel sad!" Classic privileged whining.

Guess what, cis dude. Your opinion is invalid. But don't worry, if you go into pretty much any other space in existence, everyone will listen to what you have to say. BECAUSE YOU HAVE CIS PRIVILEGE.

"It follows a trend of invalidating men's opinions and voices in gender discourse, as though we don't have gender or don't have worthwhile experiences of it."

Is this guy an MRA, too?

"Meanwhile we have to sit and listen as society demands us to be strong and silent, but sensitive and intuitive to the needs of our partners; as news stories and the media identify all men as predators who enjoy and participate in rape culture; as our experiences of sexual abuse and sexual assault are made into jokes and not challenged by anyone -- as opposed to the uproar over rape humor with female victims." 

Apparently, yeah.

"Men who cherish their children suffer exponentially and disproportionately in custody cases."

WRONG.

"Men who don't fit easily within a handful of archetypes are still forced to seek out alternative communities and cohorts, sometimes being alienated from fathers and family members."

LOL THAT MUST BE SO HARD.

Cis Male Tears


"The term 'cis-' has also participated in an increasing hostility toward gay men, and in particular white gay men."

;_;

"Throwing angry and hateful rhetoric -- essentially demanding everyone acknowledge your pain by lashing out -- erases those voices who might otherwise make important contributions to our cause."

"Cis" and "check your privilege" is hateful rhetoric now. Of course, speaking out with justified anger and demanding that the privileged do the necessary work to recognize their internalized prejudice and oppressive beliefs always seems hateful to privileged people. Must be SO HARD.

The final paragraph of this piece is just 100% pure, unadulterated cis white male tears from someone who doesn't understand how privilege works.

White Male Privilege