A little writing prompt post

Hello readers!

I have been pretty quiet lately compared to usual, but no announcement of blog vacation. I’ve been dealing with anxiety again and I’ve got politics fatigue. Every time I try to write a post about something political I just decide it’s too dreadful and can’t do it. Politics, UGH. Maybe I’ve reached “peak politics.”

However, I did finish reading my introduction to Marx book and I was pleased to find out that I already knew lots about Marxist theory, I just didn’t know I knew it because I’ve never studied it officially, I’ve only picked up bits and pieces here and there. I’d say most of what I know about Marxist theory I’ve learned from feminist writing and Facebook memes. Although it seems obvious that one shouldn’t learn a political theory from memes, I have to say the memes I have been reading have actually done a pretty decent job. Thank you, leftist friends! (Don’t worry, I will still read print books, in case the memes get it wrong.)

Ah, the anxiety. After staying up all night having an anxiety attack last week, I thought the best thing to do would be to go for a nature walk. I did, and you know what, it was great. I walked slowly, and tried to breathe in rhythm with the swaying of the leaves. Several adorable woodland animals came to greet me. I watched a chipmunk filling its cheeks, and I saw a baby bunny that came out of a bush and chewed on some leaves. I saw a bird taking a bath in a puddle. The really good thing about taking the time to look at nature is that you learn to slow down. I always think I have to be busy doing something—either working at my day job, doing household chores, reading political theory, writing, etc. And I always think I have to be fast, efficient, and perfect at everything. It’s hard for me to slow down or do nothing. But I need time to slow down, or else I keep spinning right into an anxiety attack.

What I finally decided to write about today was a Pride writing prompt that someone posted on Facebook. The prompt is this: When did you first become aware of the existence of lesbians?

I think the first time I came across the word lesbian was when my parents gave me a puberty book, and there was one chapter on romantic feelings which had one paragraph on homosexuality. Luckily, it dealt with the subject in a neutral tone, just saying that some people are like this and not making any judgments. I would have been either 10 or 11 at the time.

The first time I came across any mention of homosexuality outside of a book was in the schoolyard at recess. Before I had any idea what the word meant, I heard kids call other kids “faggot.” I just knew this was a terrible thing to call somebody, probably the worst thing you could call somebody, and it seemed to be the equivalent of saying “fuck you.” When someone said this, they meant business. (It was usually boys who said it.) I think I was around 10 when I started hearing the word faggot, and then around 13 I started hearing the word dyke, which seemed to be an insult for a girl you didn’t like. I don’t remember when I found out that “faggot” was actually a pejorative word for a gay man nor when I found out that “dyke” was a pejorative word for lesbian. I was probably in my teens when I found this out.

I definitely met gay men before I met any lesbians. I had a distant relative who is a gay man and I heard my family members talk about him—they felt a little awkward but didn’t reject him. In high school I knew two guys who were dating. They were the first gay people to come out at my high school during the time when I was there. I remember going to a party and they were there, sitting together on the couch, one of them had his arm around the other. Everyone was pretty chill about it. I remember feeling a little bit of shock, just because I had never seen a man put his arm around his boyfriend before. (I say man, but I think we were all 15.) After I got over being surprised I was pretty chill.

The first time I met a lesbian I was in high school and I didn’t know she was a lesbian, but everyone called her crazy. I knew her as “Crazy Kim.” Years later I found out she was a lesbian. I also met a bisexual woman in high school. I remember being at her house once, hoping she would hit on me, but I didn’t have the courage to let her know I was interested. Sadly, she didn’t try anything. 😉

One time when I was a teenager I was at a restaurant with some of my extended family members and when we left the restaurant someone said “Did you see that table full of lesbians?” I really wanted to turn around to look, but it was too late, I couldn’t see any of the restaurant customers from outside. I wished I had seen them, I was curious about what lesbians looked like. I didn’t know how my aunt could tell they were lesbians.

The first time I actually sat and talked with someone who identified as a lesbian while actually knowing she was a lesbian was when I went to a lesbian/bi meetup in university. I was probably 20 or 21, and I was pretty nervous. But it didn’t take very long before “nervous” turned into “interested.”

Feel free to answer the same writing prompt! When did you first learn of the existence of lesbians?

Male art that dehumanises women vs. female art that illuminates the reality of sexual violence and female objectification

Nordic Model Now!

Rae Story reflects on how when male artists create works that dehumanise women it is taken to be a comment on society as a whole, while women’s resulting brutalisation, isolation and objectification is seen as little more than a sideshow. She compares this with the powerful art of Suzzan Blac who mines her own traumatic memories of abuse and prostitution to create a blistering commentary on pornographic, female objectification and paedophile culture.

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Tell Ardrossan Accies RFC to Condemn Actions of Innes Frazer in Sexual Abuse of Lesbian Teenager

Listening to Lesbians

NO

#CondemnRapeCultureArdrossanRFC

On December 17, 2016, Innes Frazer, a rugby player for the Ardrossan Accies RFC, coaxed an 18-year old autistic lesbian into a storage container at Ardrossan Rugby Club in Ayrshire, Scotland.  He kissed the teenager, touched her breasts, exposed himself and forced her to touch him and then told her to lie about what he had done.  This is after Frazer had introduced the young woman to his friends as “the autistic lesbian” and himself as, “the only one who could turn her straight.”  Despite the victim being a lesbian, despite her having said “no”, and despite the judge explicitly stating that Frazer abused a vulnerable teenager for his ‘own sexual gratification’, he cleared him of sexually assaulting her.

A source close to the victim’s family have told Listening 2 Lesbians that the young woman is, “gutted at the verdict” and that “it took everything she had to go…

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Another lesbian feels like a guy

A reader sent me this video and asked for a post about it. It’s a short documentary-style video about a lesbian who identifies as a man and has no plans to transition. Here’s the video:

She says the same thing I’ve heard 100,000 times now from women who identify as men: “Ever since I was small, I always identified more with boys, I always kind of felt more like a boy.”

As is very common in stories of women who identify as men, they turn out to be attracted to women. Gender dysphoria doesn’t just randomly strike random women. A large majority of the women who “feel like a boy” are lesbian or bisexual. This makes it really freakin’ obvious that gender dysphoria in women is often related to the difficulties of being a same-sex-attracted woman in a sexist and heteronormative society.

This particular lesbian who identifies as a man doesn’t plan to transition. This means what she is experiencing is not discomfort with her female body, it’s discomfort with the feminine gender role. She’s okay with being female, she just “isn’t a woman.”

Dear readers, please raise your hand if you feel discomfort regarding the feminine gender role.

When dressing as a woman, Lauren feels like she is in drag and like she is putting on a character. She feels this way as an actress, but she seems to be implying that that’s the way she feels about being a woman all the time. This is also a comment I’ve heard before. Some people think that “being a woman” is an act that has to be performed, involving specific dress, appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns, and behaviors. This is not true. A woman is an adult human female, and the only way to be a woman is to be born female and to grow into an adult. Anyone who is existing in a female body is “being a woman.” It turns out that women can have any kind of mannerisms, appearance, and behavior. We can have any kind of personality and thoughts and feelings. Everyone with a female body is a woman, no matter how she feels or what she wears. There is no acting involved at all.

In the video, Lauren is shown on a bus “manspreading” across her seat. This is probably supposed to display her masculine mannerisms, although she looks like a typical woman and no one would mistake her for a man.

So why does Lauren “feel like a man”? I can tell you right now. Lesbians often grow up feeling different from other women. We are often baffled at straight women’s behavior, and we often identify with the cultural stereotypes assigned to men. These days there is no on-the-ground lesbian community, so there is no way for lesbians to share their feelings with other lesbians and find out that we have similar feelings. Instead there is a “queer” community that is all too eager to label women who aren’t feminine and who vaguely and subjectively “feel different” as not-women. They can be nonbinary, or trans men, or genderqueer, or any other bloody thing. The message is clear: real women are feminine, therefore unfeminine women aren’t women. It’s the same old-school sexism that caused the last two waves of feminism, repackaged as “progressive.”

Here’s the thing: a lesbian is a female homosexual. If you are female, and you are exclusively attracted to females, you are a lesbian. Whatever feelings you have toward yourself are lesbian feelings. If you feel like hot stuff, you walk with a swagger, you like looking at the ladies, you want women to think you’re a stud, you like wearing comfortable clothes, you don’t fit into the same culture as straight women, but identify with men, you’ve always felt “different,” and you don’t meet the dominant cultural idea about what women are, then congratulations! You are a perfectly normal dyke. Your membership card’s in the mail. Welcome to the club.

Our Scarlet Letters

My Only Path to Power

letterT

“Giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman’s frailty and sinful passion.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

A list of reasons for admission into a women’s asylum in 1864 include “ill treatment by husband,” “excessive sexual abuse,” (a little is ok I guess) “desertion by husband,” and “desertion of husband.” When men misbehave, women pay the price. A woman with the misfortune of marrying (or being married off to) an abusive man might be committed regardless of her response to her situation: neither enduring the abuse, nor leaving, nor waiting for him to leave would spare her. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The list of reasons women are killed in “honor killings” include refusing an arranged marriage, refusing marriage in general, and getting raped. When…

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Elevators

There is something that annoys me and I haven’t mentioned it yet because it’s such a very small nuisance that I feel I should just ignore it. But it keeps happening over and over, and now I think I should mention it.

Every single time I’m in an elevator with a man he insists I get off first, no matter who is standing closer to the door. I’m sure men think they’re being nice or polite or accommodating or chivalrous or some other positive thing, but I find this uncomfortable. I use an elevator both at home and at work, and so almost every day I end up in an elevator with a man who says “after you” and waits for me to get off before he does.

I know this is totally a first world problem, but it bothers me because it’s unnecessarily drawing attention to the fact that I’m a woman, which I don’t think should matter at all in a situation where people are getting off an elevator. I feel like it’s treating me differently because of my sex. I know that if I was a guy, other guys would get out of the elevator in order of who is closest to the door first. However, since I am in possession of female reproductive organs, for some reason it’s necessary for me to leave first. Why? Who teaches this to men, and why? I don’t get it.

To me, whoever is closest to the elevator door should get out first regardless of sex, since there is absolutely nothing about anyone’s chromosomes or genitalia that determines the choreography for leaving elevators.

Every time a guy who is closer to the door than I am waits for me to get off first, I feel annoyed, because it’s like he’s saying You’re a woman, and I’m treating you like one!” I just want to be treated like a person, just a regular person, who is part of normal elevator-leaving choreography, and not part of some special category who has to get out first.

So far I’ve never tried to say anything like “No, after you,” or “You’re closer to the door, bro” because (a) I hate talking to people and I use as few words as possible in social situations and (b) he would be totally confused if I refused to get off first and have no idea what my problem was. And to be honest, I would have a hard time explaining why this tiny little thing bothers me so much.

The only way I can explain it is this: I want to be just a person, no more, no less.