Category Archives: Pop Culture

People should be treated as people

I posted this on my VHM Tumblr yesterday, but I felt that this should be talked about more, even though I should definitely stop looking at anything “Far-right,” as it usually just upsets me.

A friend of mine posted the article Don’t Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono On ‘Dancing With the Stars’, a Fox News op-ed about boycotting Dancing With the Stars over Chaz Bono’s participation. I quickly ran through the article and fixed it.

I do have a few more things to say about Dr. Keith Ablow, however, which are vaguely in line with that I said about Rick Santorum a few posts ago-

This article says that Chaz should be treated with empathy, and yet the entire article is about how his even being on television is a threat to the entirety of society, especially the health and mental well-being of children. So to you I say- go look up “empathy,” because you are doing it wrong.

People should be treated as people.

Just saying.

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Elijah Wood as Frodo in Peter Jackson's live-a...
Frodo is judging me - Image via Wikipedia

What was actually written:

“while Glorfindel was able to ease the severity of Frodo‘s cursed wound through mere physical contact and urge his white elf-horse on at high speed with words in his tongue (Noro lim, noro lim, Asfalof!).”

What I read:

“while Glorfindel was able to ease the severity of Frodo’s cursed wound through mere physical contact with his tongue (Noro lim, noro lim, Asfalof!).”

My thoughts:

“I’ve never read THAT particular fanfiction before…”

The problems with “nice guy” syndrome

Richard Dawkins giving a lecture based on his ...
"Freethinking" is not always equal to "understanding." #listenup

(While this could certainly apply to other groups of male-identifying persons and also non-straight persons, I’m going to focus this point on cis-gendered, heterosexual men.)

As somebody who played an instrument in the low brass and was even low brass section leader in marching band for two years, and also as somebody who is aspiring to work in male-dominated industries (web design, academia) I have been lucky enough to meet a variety of men and get to know many different male minds. I would never say that I have a full understanding of the way men think, but I would say that I know some general male traits and actions, and I know what men have said to me. Everything I say in this post is directed at the group of cis-gendered, heterosexual men who identify as “Nice Guys,” and believe me when I say that there are many, many of them.

The “Nice Guy” is not necessarily defined by his actions, which may include being a good listener to the females in his life, “always being there,” and other things that are supposed to set him apart as “better” than the other cis-gendered, heterosexual men that a woman may meet, though these are what a “Nice Guy” would use to define himself. All of these things may seem nice, and they will probably earn him many good, female friends. He just loves women so much, you see. However, once the female he has been “nice” to informs him that she’s not interested in him romantically or sexually, all of this love seems to fall away. Suddenly, she’s a bitch who is obviously going to go bang some asshole instead of you and that makes her stupid and ungrateful.

Why does this happen?

Because, under the surface, Nice Guys are “nice” because it’s their way of trying to attract women. They believe that if they treat a woman “better,” that she will sleep with them, perhaps go out with them, marry them, or any other reward they are seeking. When the woman doesn’t immediately realize how much “better” he is, the man becomes immediately enraged, suddenly assuming that she isn’t smart enough to see that she only likes assholes.

If you don’t see what’s wrong with being a Nice Guy, it’s this: despite your “nice” actions, you are still living under the assumption that how you treat a woman entitles you to some sort of appreciation, or some part of her body. If you haven’t noticed by now, this makes you an asshole, too.

I understand that, for many men, it’s difficult to imagine what makes a woman upset when she gets whistled at/yelled at when walking down the street. “It’s a compliment.” For many men, it’s also difficult to see why getting hit on feels degrading in some circumstances. “It must be so difficult to be wanted.”

Obviously, voicing an interest in another human being isn’t just understandable, it’s essential to our survival. At some point, a person must show interest in another person, and if the second person reciprocates interest then a lot of good can happen. But that doesn’t make all attention good; context is key here. If a person is at a place that signals their availability/desire for finding attraction (e.g.: Speed Dating, an online dating website, a singles mixer, a singles church group, etc.) and they are approached, and then if they voice reciprocal interest, then asking for a date/later meeting time/coffee/etc is perfectly acceptable. If you already know a person and have grown feelings for them, and then present your feelings and they reciprocate, then you probably have the go-ahead to ask for a date/later meeting time/coffee/etc.

From my perspective, there are very few other scenarios in which getting hit on doesn’t feel like an invasion, or inappropriate, or rude, or just downright uncalled for. Getting yelled at on the street isn’t fun; it’s frightening, especially if the car circles back to do it again (this has happened to be often), and it’s also giving a clear message of “I’m going to assert my dominance over you and make you out to be a purely sexual object because it’s culturally acceptable for me to do so.” Being listened to/treated “nicely” by a man who gets angry when you turn him down sends the message: “I’ll be nice to you as long as you reward me in the end.”

And, for the record, if a woman spends her time giving a panel about treating women well in the atheist community, then later makes it clear that she is going to bed, this isn’t an invitation for you to ask her to have coffee with you in your room whilst in an elevator. Whatever the intentions, this is still a power play, and it sends the message of: “I’m going to show my interest in you while you’re vulnerable and I have the ability to trap you in an enclosed space with me.” I’m not saying that Elevator Guy had intentions of hurting her, and I can perfectly imagine him thinking of himself as a nice guy, if not a Nice Guy (“I’m so much better because I like her for her brain and not just her body”).

I wish I could call him an Uninformed Guy, but the fact that he attended her panel says that he isn’t uninformed, he’s just clueless. As are many men. Because, for the record, what we need to be fighting for is eliminating all forms of oppression, not just the most extreme forms. Yes, Muslim women being mutilated and stripped of their rights is tragic, and we should be fighting against it. But we should also be fighting against all forms of sexual oppression, even the most clueless forms, the forms that Richard Dawkins himself is perpetuating. I personally don’t understand the paradox of any atheist man viewing himself as oppressed for his (lack of) religious views, and fighting for more awareness- and then having no compassion or understanding for sexually oppressed persons, some of whom live in a society that has a more active role in limiting women, and some of whom live in a society that has made some changes but still has a long way to go. That would be like somebody saying “hey, we have one atheist active congressperson, and also there have been books about atheism that were successful, so we’ve made it and we don’t have to fight anymore.”

My rambling thoughts are rambling, so I will end with: as a cis-gendered heterosexual man, please #listenup. If you want to go from being a Nice Guy to a nice guy, then look at your motivations for how you treat your the females in your life. If you find that your intentions are less than genuine, then congratulations: you’ve listened, and hopefully learned.

Hey, cis-gendered heterosexual males: comment and post any/all ways in which you have ever felt oppressed/objectified by other people in your life, male-identifying, female-identifying, genderqueer, etc. All sexual oppression needs to stop.

Lady Gaga watch: A king with no crown

Apparently my phone will let me make posts like this. We’ll see what happens.

It’s time to write about Lady Gaga again. And I’m not just doing it because the top search that leads to my blog is “latex nun.”

Obviously Lady Gaga’s new single “Judas” is many things- controversial, highly dancable, and borderline genius to name a few. The lyrics can either be read as irreverent, sacreligious, or nonsensical. But the point is: I selfishly claim this song as my personal anthem. Why? A short shory:

I grew up in a church that some would call huge beyond comfort (me) and others would call “medium-sized.” My high school youth group alone consisted of a few hundred people, most of which went to the retreats every year.

I wasn’t so “lucky.”

Which led to an awkward Sunday School experience when there were maybe twenty of us total the Sunday of the retreat, which meant that we all had to meet together. The topic that morning was when one Mary of the Bible washed Jesus‘ feet with her expensive perfume and hair. Judas suggests that she should have sold the perfume and given the money to the poor. Jesus says what was probably his most prophetic and damning statement of all: “there will always be poor.” Basically, Jesus told Judas to chill the fuck out.

“Why did Judas make this suggestion?” We were asked.

“Because he was the treasurer and the money-keeper. He thinks in terms of money,” tiny-me said.

“… Anybody else?”

“Because the Devil told him to?” Spoketh another.

“Yes! It was the Devil controlling Judas!” The speaker announced in a manner more nonsensical than anything Lady Gaga has ever said.

(The short ends in my most bad-ass moment, a moment I will never top again in my life: when asked what Baptists believe in, I answered “money.”)

I’m sure I’ll write more when the video comes out. Until then, I’ll continue to have “Judas” on repeat. And continue to try and solve the mystery of why there is a giant condom flung over that bus chair. You stay classy, Canoga Park.

Why I Am Going to Hell: All that jizz

Peep show window displaying pornographic enter...
Hay gurl haaaay

I’m clearly not stopping that whole “bad pun” titles thing. But if I did, would it truly be me?

(Other potential title: “The other burning bush.”)

It seems like the topic of porn (and delicious, wonderful sex, in a kind-of-related way) has come up a lot in my life lately. A lot of people like to ask me what my opinions of pornography are, probably because I am a woman, and I am a feminist, and I am vaguely interesting to speak to (or something like that). I have some feminist friends (including males, who people forget can be feminists, too) who are staunchly against pornography, feeling that it is deeply against every feminist ideal. I also have many friends, feminist and non-feminist alike, who are not anti-pornography in any way. In fact, my sister and her fiancĂ© met at work- in an “adult bookstore.” In fact, I spent some of the best days while I was eighteen in that bookstore, testing out products and learning about the industry.

Similarly, I do know more than one person who I am close to who has become addicted to pornography. I also know plenty of people who are casual (healthy?) watchers of pornography, and I, of course, know many people who have said that they either have never watched any pornography or have no desire to watch it any more.

Of course, none of this says anything about myself.

(There is TMI information from this moment on, just in case anybody who is my friend in real life or otherwise is incredibly uninterested in learning about my relationship with porn- my intimate relationship, that is.)

Anybody still reading?

Pervert.

Just kidding.

Anyway. As for myself, I think that I would fall into the average category of pornography watchers. That is to say that I am a porn consumer perhaps once a week. Interestingly enough, when I do watch pornography, I generally prefer to watch either the lesbian or gay kind (I told you all that I love the gays!). Additionally, I do enjoy to read erotica, if the mood strikes me, but reading erotica is almost never accompanied by masturbation.

(Anybody skipping that section of intimate details can go ahead and continue reading right about here.)

The one thing that I will say about pornography, my single caveat if you will, is that I feel there should be more regulations in the industry in terms of making every male performer wear a condom.

Anyway.

Clearly, any person who reads, watches, listens to, or otherwise voyeurs upon any kind of fictional erotic scene is a sinner, in the eyes of an Abrahamic tradition‘s text. (Hilarious to me, as Song of Songs/Soloman always came off to me as porn for Jewish people/Christians.) But that’s the thing- I’ve never heard of anybody who has a problem with pornography who isn’t religious or spiritual in some way or another, leading me to think that the only people who find guilt in porn are those who feel, in their body, that is it a “sin.” (That isn’t to say that there aren’t non-religious people who have problems with pornography. If you are such a person, please leave a comment and explain your point of view, because it would be so amazing to hear it.) Personally, when I was still religious, I felt a great deal of guilt when I would read/watch anything pornographic, and so I can understand this viewpoint. I remember once we were supposed to write down our biggest sin, and I wrote down that I read erotica. Only now can I see that exploring these things is an important part of adolescence and, I would even say, a good way to help people learn more about themselves.

Is pornography especially realistic? Not usually. (On a side-note, I would like to say that, in my personal opinion, the average porn user tends to not only watch the pornography that includes positions/acts they would like to try out one day, but that they also watch genres that they would never reenact in real life. For example, I would probably never have sex with a girl, but I have no problem watching two girls have sex.)

Can it demean women? Certainly it can, in the hands of the wrong producer or performer.

But is it fun? Well, isn’t that what it’s supposed to be?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Incognito Window to open. Winky face.