WisCon 40

Jun. 3rd, 2016 08:27 pm
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
I keep reminding myself that I literally attended 0 panels this year, so writing up the con should be easy! Ahaha.

I didn't see everyone I wanted to, and didn't spend enough time with almost anyone, :( I'm sorry about that & hope everyone is understanding that I wasn't out/about as much as usual, due mostly to various chairing duties.
Some of this is due to having my own hotel room for the first time, Friday through Monday this year. When I got emotionally exhausted or sore, I could just lie down and go to sleep. It was heavenly.
I also did my best to focus on hydration. It was hot/humid outdoors most of the time, and I certainly had the a/c on & drying me out in my hotel room.

Overall, I was really struck by how many people came up to me and thanked me for chairing and/or for WisCon still being around. There were a lot of generous compliments flying around WisCon generally this year. Maybe it's an effect of not having attended any panels [lol], or because I skipped last year, but this was the warmest-feeling WisCon in my memory. Maybe it's because I keep knowing more and more people.

I attended big events, in part because I had to speak at them! [Only mundane things trololol]

Opening Ceremonies included some speeches. Katherine Cross, or [twitter.com profile] Quinnae_Moon, spoke about solidarity with hotel employees, talking about how we make WisCon together with them, and that they are not our servants. She also noted that the Concourse Hotel is the only union hotel in the city of Madison, a thing I sometimes forget.
I missed some chunks of Opening Ceremonies due to having to attend to chair!things, but [personal profile] antarcticlust and [twitter.com profile] therotund organized a varied group of people to talk about what WisCon means to them. [personal profile] wild_irises talked about how nobody on the concom ever says, "Wow, we did really great this year; we really landed that." Rather, it's a group of people constantly trying to improve. It was the first real moment since taking a year off the concom and then rejoining and then emergency co-chairing that I really felt, "Oh, yeah; that's why I'm doing all this."

That feeling came back x100 during the speeches given by our three Guests of Honor.

I had to have a firm interaction with someone we had banned the previous evening, and who was demanding to know "why" we had ejected him, etc. At one point during the conversation, he stood up and I took a step back to give him space to do so. "Oh, I'm SORRY! Are you AFRAID?! Am I in your SPACE?" I smiled and told him that I wasn't afraid, but between that and his going downstairs to scream at hotel staff in the lobby made me feel pretty confident that we made the correct choice :p

On Saturday evening, I stopped in at the Vid Party a couple times. I think my favorite premiere [that I saw] was [personal profile] garrideb's "Control," about Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda's comic series Monstress. I've mentioned this series in a couple of reading posts, and through this vid, you can at least appreciate Takeda's fan-fucking-tastic artwork.
I fucking love the song, & need to get the single. I'm meaner than my demons...

I got a fair number of books that I'm excited to read from the dealers' room this year, as well as a Sailor Mars scarf and a nyan-cat tiny tote that fits my iPhone 4S precisely.

I try really hard to push back about the "generational split" narrative that many people have formed about people who recently left the concom vs. those who stayed/joined, because it's not an accurate statement.
That said, there is a fairly significant number of white people, many of whom have attended WisCon for decades, who have been complaining about feeling "unwelcome" in recent years - as WisCon works to become more welcoming to people of color, to transgender and genderqueer identifying folks, etc.
If seeing more people unlike yourself being welcomed makes YOU feel UNwelcome, then that's a you-problem. I think that in the post linked below, Mikki Kendall really hits it on the head when she notes that some people's discomfort straight up comes from experience spaces that are NOT centered on cisgender white people.

In addition to personally being called a mealy-mouthed weasel immediately pre-con, another concom member reports us having been referred to as, "gauletiers." I had to look up that word. What IS it with older white feminists and their World War II metaphors? And what the fuck is the matter with them?

But other people have already blogged about these people's discomfort:
K. Tempest Bradford's On WisCon, and Who Is Allowed to Feel Welcome
Because here’s the thing: 99% of the people I have seen or heard complaining about how WisCon isn’t comfortable for them and WisCon isn’t fun are white people. Not 100%. But 99%. It’s a bunch.

You know what else I’ve noticed about the people making these complaints? A lot of them are cisgender, a lot of them are men, a lot of them are people with privilege along multiple axes. Funny that.

And while it makes me sad at any time for folks to feel excluded, or like a space has been taken away from them, I have to say:

Where were you when this was other people feeling this way?

Where were you when people who are marginalized in nearly every other fandom space and came to WisCon thinking it would be different said they felt uncomfortable, unwelcome, threatened, unsafe?


If you’re uncomfortable now, but weren’t before, then think about that. Really think about it. Consider if you were making people uncomfortable before, even without thought or intention. Consider that you’re feeling left out because, in the course of our claiming a space for ourselves, we made clear to you just how much you or people like you contributed to our pain, our lack of fun, our lack of safety. Ponder the puzzle of how a con dedicated to feminism, populated by many amazing people, somehow ended up being a place where people who weren’t the right color, the right class, the right age, the right level of ability, the right gender presentation felt like they didn’t fully belong. And delve deep into the mystery of how fixing that problem is the thing that’s made you run away.

Mikki Kendall's WisCon 40 Highs, Lows, and What the Actual F*ck?
You might not like what WisCon is becoming now that the people working so hard to make it happen are different from you. You might not like knowing that their first concern isn’t the comfort of people who can’t see them as human or equals. That’s a hard road. It’s your road though, so you walk it. But don’t complain that it “feels unwelcoming” because it is becoming inclusive, and less concerned with the comfort of bigots. With the comfort of people who have been happy to not only excuse abusive behavior, but also to be abusers when it suited them. This isn’t “your” WisCon anymore? Okay. That’s fine, that’s your decision. It’s definitely ours now. We work hard for it every year. You can adapt, evolve and enjoy or you can move the hell on. We probably won’t miss you.

There are some weird, pervasive rumors on Facebook about super low registration numbers this year. I'm not sure where that came from - we had well over 900 memberships, and the GOH Speeches/Dessert Salon was packed to the gills. More to come in future WisCon blog posts/etc., I'm sure.

I don't know what my role on the concom will be this coming year, if anything. Maybe I can re-focus on SF3 Board tasks, picking up things that fell by the wayside while I was off co-chairing. For the moment, I'll continue thinking on it.
laceblade: Hachi of NANA, applying lipstick (NANA: Hachi makeup)
Panelists: The Rotund (m), Jackie Gross, Lillian, Katherine Olson, Courtney Stanton, Trisha J. Wooldridge

Panel Description: Let’s talk about femmes and feminism. Does identifying or presenting as femme make one less of a feminist? Is there a perception that femmes can’t really be feminist? What can we do about that perception? Who are the feminist femmes of the past or present?

Normal disclaimer: This is not verbatim.

[livejournal.com profile] sophy also did a write-up of this panel here.

One panelist is late!
This is a continuation of a panel last year, with some different panelists.

CS: I very much id as femme. Even before I knew what that was. My parents called me high maintenance? There’s a certain way that I need things to be, and I can’t control anything else, but I can control this. Making myself as much of myself as possible is wroth that. So yeah, I’m femme. I wanted to be on this panel b/c I was on the audience last year. I was real sharply enthusiastic about wanting to be on the panel this year for a variety of reasons. I don’t have like, credentials so I’ll pass on to Lillian.

Lillian: I came to femme as a word/identity through queer activism. I never stopped playing dress-up. When I started going through puberty, my body needed to be this thing that was hidden/contained, something that was horrible for everyone around me. Femme and dressup and adornment in privacy of my bedroom because this outlet for me. Now, I’m able to take out into the public & present myself that way. I was not able to do that for a very long time.

TW: I loved the title of this panel, then I read the description. I like having a freedom in my expression, but I like being on this bridge of femme/girly & sticking in things that are not. I do find I get taken more seriously the more feminine/femme I present. I read books, and the books tend to have books like that. Tomboys that love ruffles and sparkles.

JG: I came of a context. I came out as a lesbian and as a femme in short order in the mid 1990s. Lesbian context of butches and femmes. I was lucky b/c I had example of Joan Nestle, I love that book. Exp that none of women in my collective except one particular white woman had a problem with me being femme.
Adornment, whether that was okay. That does not mean that I did not battle with my mother about what I was going to look like. Mother - alcoholism. I couldn’t fit in the cute clothes. Seventeen magazines. I was shopping at Lane Bryant, which meant I was skewing early. Women were the first to tell me I was beautiful. In the collective, they told me I could wear nail polish.
In California, felt I wasn’t femme ENOUGH, not good enough anymore.

KO: I don’t specifically identify as femme or not-femme, not something I generally think about as far as putting a label on myself. I did go a v. conservative Christian school for 12 years. V. specific ideas about the role of women, I’m sure you can guess what those are. First few years of school, girls weren’t even allowed to wear pants.
Became this thing of in order to not be part of what I was supposed to be/according to rules, I had to put anything girly away, and push against it. It became, it is okay to be feminine. Doesn’t mean you’re giving into this particular set of ideals. You can wear a skirt and also not be submissive. It was an interesting journey.

MAK: I do identify as femme. I came to it through fatness, and to queerness through feminist. There’s a through-line for me. From the panel last year, came away with definition of terms.
Problem have with a shorthand. “Girly” is not necessarily “femme.” Femme is not tied to gender. Would like to define these terms that have come out.

JG: femme when I came out - there were butch women who kind of skewed. I hate using the word masculine. Butch weren’t masculine, but a different type of woman. They also had these other things that they liked to do. Kind of woman I liked fell into a specific thing, like oh, that’s what this is.
I brought a button with me I’ve had like 30 years. It says butchy femme. And I was like, that more describes me, athletic. We talk about high femme. If I talk to other black women, there are specific ways we talk about other femme women. I don’t have a specific way to define femme because there’s so many contexts.

TW: Hard time defining terms in general. First learned the term in HS. Part of GLBT alliance. I was a straight femme. In our group, we were throwing around words, we wanted to make all our own definitions.
As I went through HS and college, I lost track of the term. I’d go with butchy femme idea, I do a lot of athletics and hiking and all there, but I like camo that I can bedazzle. Sense of expression - playing with things that are generally attributed to girls and female wardrobe, female style and fashion. Mixing that and playing with it, and enjoying and celebrating that are markers of femme. I’ve always had a hard time finding clothes. I like swishy type stuff. I like riding horses. Plus-size riding clothes is a nightmare. You have specific things and rules if you’re going to show. You’re limited.
What feminism is, that years of unpacking. Idea that all genders, shouldn’t be one better than other. Equal pay regardless of how you identify. Equal advertising, promotion, chance at awards, things like that. That’s where I come for idea of panel.

MAK: Lillian, before you introduce yourself, please tell us about your nail polish, it’s a great color.

Lillian: Fellow fat femme from Southern California have company called Plump Polish. First line named after California fat bloggers. This is not one of them, I was at her house last weekend. Nice wall of nail polishes.
First encountered term in school, let’s learn how to write a research paper about Bibo Binker series, 1950s lesbian pulp series. Very old school breakup of butch and femme in it. I had this little book that said queer theory primer, and I got everything in there. I thought butch and femme were terrible - why imitate heterosexuality?! Coming out when I was 14, I had progressively started dressing, also as I got fatter, more and more masculine. Not butch, though. Butch is also really valuable in the same way femme is valuable in terms of gender expression. Taking markers away from gender, which I guess is how I think of femme, taking skirts and lipsticks and making them not about being a woman. Femme is for anyone. In terms of feminism, v. specific - I mean big umbrella, mostly having problems in terms of being dominated by white cis western mostly straight feminism.

CS: For me, femme is not a performance thing, I actually am not super on board with idea of femme as a performance thing. Once performing, possible to perform it wrong. Also, means you’re performing it for other people. Frenchie from Grease, Frenchie messes up her hair at the end, I realized in dying my hair, I did it that color (her mistaken color). It’s part of who I am. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s not my nail polish. But when I’m not wearing nail polish, I am slightly less comfortable than when I am.
I was definitely raised in a household where you do femininity b/c I was raised by an ex-model. It was a thing you did correctly, or not. With a very second wave, judge the sinner/hate the sin. There was a wrong way to be a woman, etc. Finding third wave in college, also has a lot of problems, but one of them isn’t hating your body if it’s exposed. For me, part of femme is more in line with acceptance movement. Like in kink community, I connected with an old friend from high school, and we went to a leather dungeon. I’m in pink satin everything, comfortable. And he said, you’re like a princess top. Same way with fat acceptance, so many other things, it’s part of an identity layer.
Not a thing as starting at naked & adding layers to GET to femme. I’m femme all the time. I’m femme while changing car battery, while cleaning the house, while doing everything.
Other people do interpret it as performance sometimes. Hair gives dudes on the street a thing to comment on all the time. In college, threatened to be kicked out when with my girlfriend, accused of being a breeder because I didn’t look queer.
Feminism is a thing like specifically, so many, mainstream Lean-In style, white heterosexual very US-centric.

MAK: I don’t want to refer to that as feminism. Problematic to short-hand feminism as that. Be specific, but let’s be careful to not make that be the default.

KO: defining femme is a moving target. Louis XIV not considered feminine. High heels and satin, that’s what men wore. Today, wearing that would read as femme. It’s very hard to define, and yet people are defining it quite well.

MAK: In that example, conflate femme and femininity? Unpack that?

KO: I guess. I see femme as coming from the feminine. It does not mean it is female. But, I see femme as straight up as a shortening of feminine. So I don’t see a conflict in putting the two together. To me, femme is a shortening of the word. Not that way for everybody. Don’t see it as necessarily gender based.
If it’s not intersectional, it’s not feminism. Rise in the tide, bring up all the boats. Not just about cis, about any particular race. About all of it working together. Particularly how these things interact.

MAK: Lots of different definitions of femme. You said it’s a moving target, yes. How you came to femme & at what point, is important. There’s historical context for it, but doesn’t seem to be historical acknowledgment particularly within context of feminism as a conversation. Want to throw out idea that in early days of feminist movement, the reaction against the appearance of femme was the reaction against the limiting of the gender roles. Feminist movement in America. We’ll say, the 1950s moving forward.

JG: People riff on now, on WOC, etc. Still 2nd wave women speaking to other 2nd wave women. I grit my teeth and grind really hard at erasing a lot of work that was done by other women who fought with another. I remember sitting in meetings, talking about butch women and femme women not in the room, having them condemned, somehow being less-than because the new world had come.
I rarely caution people now - third wave wouldn’t have happened without those people.

MAK: Resistant about saying feminism about everybody. Historically, it has not been. I reluctantly identify as a feminism, significant problems with movement. Not with concept of important conversations about gender.
Feminism doesn’t own gender conversations even though a lot of feminists do sort of argue that.
I’m just throwing out that we need to be careful with that definition, distracted from reality.
Things we label as second wave. There are historical roots to women being resistant to femme as a presentation. We can’t have conversation about whether feminists can be girly without talking about that. How we have that conversation impacts how we fix it now.
Everyone on panel agrees no, it doesn’t make you less of a feminist.
More to talk about: Well, what do we do about that?

TW: I want to ask a question. I have a hard time distinguishing between femme and feminine. More clarification on that.

JG: For me as a lesbian, v. specific gender presentation within lesbianism. Other people say femme is for everybody - yeah, there are men who present as femme, but v. different set of experiences of how they live in the world, where me - I went to Catholic schools with all girl. Never known women to be people I would hate. I came out as femme, I could do this stuff, & it was okay.
We had a benefit, I said I’d dress up and go on a date with somebody. I had a dress, etc. Katherine lost her mind, said she’s a pawn of the patriarchy.
JG said if I get felt up in a bar, okay. I was doing this for other women, not for men.
How you come to it is coloring 99% of this. Can make the case for coming at it from a grammarian. So much scholarship that people haven’t talked about that actually is about femme women.
Still comes up in cycles. 80s, early 90s: Big things. Suddenly, physical scholarship, could say, “Read this.”
Then died down in mid-1990s, then folks came back as presentation to me, but to THEM it was not.
Now we’re bumping into different things. You’re coming from a queer context as well, religious context is very important. We have decades, different places you’re from. It’s nesting boxes, inside each other & beside each other. Hearing “queer” erases lots of specific history about women, for me.
It all fits, we’re still figuring out where it all fits, together.

MAK: We have to talk about it in order to fit together. Ppl who regard femme as presentation, those who regard it as identity. When you’re involved with different feminists, and people respond negatively, there’s no telling which “femme” they’re responding to. Sometimes it all looks the same. Hair, nail polish, etc. That influences the conversation.

Lillian: My big resistance to making conversation about femmes about women is that I’m not going to speak for people b/c I’m not non-binary, but half of the femmes of my friends are non-binary and don’t want to erase that. I think that’s really important. I should also name that I’m the baby on this panel. I was a child in the third wave.

JG: That is very specific, that’s a full generational shift.

MAK: You don’t get a lot of panels - part of the conversation last year was bounderied by everybody being in the same general age group. Range of age is helpful. Can’t talk about femme in the context of feminism without the age range.

CS: Where “girly” can come in - girly is weird cultural ghetto where society throws things for women and young girls. Women’s history and history of lesbians, anything to do that, just throw it on the heap over there where nobody will look at it. It doesn’t enter into our consciousness. A good language about things that happen. 1977, and then, Bill Clinton? It just jumps. They keep it invisible so they can sell you what they want to sell you. It creates more friction - arguing about who’s doing it correctly, right/wrong way to do it, what’s proper, what’s good, then you end up with in-fighting, and none of it’s supposed to be as valid as activities that guys do.

MAK: Question that what can we do about that perception? When we all come to it from such different places & reacting to it from their own places? What is the practical take-away when we talk about being femme within the feminist context?

KO: Part of it, talking about nail polish line, is there’s a marketing thing. Pink stuff marketed to women with male CEOs, maybe sparkles, sell it to women, b/c they like that shit. Always for a higher price.

MAK: Sometimes I like that pink sparkly shit.

KO: Difference is thrust at us as a marketing thing is an external very cynical, but I kind of looking at the independent businesses starting to own it, what we’re actually excited about. Selling nail polish. This makeup line. Jewelry, or clothing, or whatever it is, from a place of people behind it/selling it aren’t just marketing to you. They’re producing something that means something to them. Commerce based.
As we take it back from the corporate marketing categories, there is some strength to that. It’s not necessarily the most revolutionary thing to suggest, but there is power in turning away from corporate overlord version of girly to what feels genuine and from people who are producing from the heart.

JG: Shopping black-owned businesses. I don’t like pink girly crap. I’d rather buy it from a woman producing it in her own backyard. You’re doing it by yourself, on your own. I like to shop local - Etsy, or near my house. Pinkification of Barbie is fairly recent, happened in the mid-1990s. Pink Barbies, and collector ones. Pink ones are cheaper. Woman in Toys-R-Us - one to play with, and one to collect. Packaging - not this pink less than 5 years ago! Now, it is a solid pink. The AISLE is pink. It’s an ugly pink. The sparkle is higher, not a good sparkle. I had previous version of Barbie for President. Her suit was red, and now it’s a pink suit. How pink is pushed, how girliness is pushed. Then a commercial for Goldilocks - little girls in engineers. They’re cute and girly, and they’re about to build a bomb!
Can we shop/buy for and from one another? I’d like to see us do that. We can have the commerce, that’s awesome. They’re controlling it, it’s theirs.

MAK: Femme supporting femme business kind of situation.

CS: I work in tech sector. When Goldilocks came out, lots of women didn’t like it because, what’s wrong with normal erector set stuff?
I use to nanny and babysit. I’m an only child, but every girl who had brothers, it was important her stuff looked different from her siblings’ stuff. Being able to say, these are MY toys, those are YOURS, etc.
Only issue with Goldilocks - cool to get them for a little boy, too, right? That to me is the thing. I want to celebrate any little kid who wants to get an easy-bake oven, and all that, whatever is not TMNT. It’s easy to find tough little girl outfits and activities. Pipeline that’s encouraged. Women going into STEM. Hard to get the pipeline going the other way. Look at your kid, your kid is really into dressing up and makeup.

TW: Negative perception of feminine/girly. In mainstream, something girly is negative. Work to get rid of negative perception. Not using girly/feminine to denote something negative. Not something less. Conversation needs to be had in the mainstream.

JG: Negative of girly means you don’t like girls at all, whether tomboys or princesses or etc.

MAK: Calling little boys “girls” is as bad as it gets.

JG: Saying “Hey ladies” to boys on a field, etc.

MAK: White women gate keeping feminism. Whether feminine is being performed in the right way. Haven’t talked about femme and class influence your relationship with feminism. We have enough time for questions, but not to have these specific conversations.

[personal profile] raanve: on notion of class and femme. Dolly Parton has a new record out. Dolly’s amazing, I love her. I find it really interesting when talking about somebody like DP, there’s weird blow-back around the way she’s always chosen to visually present herself. From what I understand, the way she’s talked about it in interviews, it’s what she thought was beautiful.

JG: She acknowledges 99% is a constructed image, but that’s natural for her.

[personal profile] raanve: I think she gets, you’ll find people wanting to label that as bimbo, trashy.

KO: She identifies as trashy.

MAK: Want recent Jezebel post about how she’s secretly covered in tattoos. Now she’s a tough badass because there’s another thing associated with her. But her presentation has not changed one bit.

JG: Wife and dad both like Dolly Parton. In all these winching, she provides books for every kid that needs one. She’s a badass. She’s looked like this for years.

[personal profile] raanve: Recent interview: people want to use this to discount me. I know this, and I aim to use it against them and use it to get what I want. She utilizes her trashy bimbo you know….

MAK: Hails back to right way to present as femme. Only certain people allowed to present as femme.

JA: Is that on the class line?

MAK: I think so. Unachievable standards applied to trans women. Women of color beat with stick of, “Well, you can’t meet this beauty standard and you never will.” I think yes, a lot of response to DP is absolutely about that. Reba McIntire as well. Present as femme, come from working class background. Tanya Tucker. They’re pretty but trashy. Why people have to step in and reclaim the whole concept of trashy.

Cynthia G: Lillian: In third iteration, we should have at least one trans woman on the panel. Need to start bringing that in.

MAK: Need to frontload this panel next year.

CG: I have my own feeling about dressing. Back in the eighties/early nineties, Nordstrom was like Cheers for me, everybody knew my name. But I ended up getting out of practice of being/doing that because my job required me not to wear makeup or a dress, not a lot of frilly things. I’m a chemist, shouldn’t wear anything I can’t afford to replace. Now, my job is shifting, I get to do this again, but I’m out of practice. Just saying, even white middle class women like me…

MAK: Skills are required, conversation to be had about the devaluation of those skills. Putting on makeup is hard. Take off glasses to put makeup on?!

JG: Thankful for everyone who does the map training, put the stuff on for you.

CS: I decided I was going to teach my spouse how to do my hair b/c I didn’t want to find a salon. So I thought, I’d teach him. He doesn’t have decades of messing around with friends’ hair. He had a panic attack the first time. There’s bleach, there’s a timer, he’s like, ahhhhhh. He’s fine now. But at the time, he was like, “It’s really hard!” And I was like, “It’s almost like it’s a skillset that people charge money for!”

JG: Elizabeth asked if black guys go to salon with black women. You spend an entire day in a black women’s salon. There’s television, possibly bedding. My father never touched my hair. Most men don’t touch black women’s hair. Almost hyper-active. Even my wife. It’s visceral. Only my stylist can touch it.

Aud/green shirt: Conversation about generational femmes/feminism, class/presentation. Blog post at bookviewcafe.com called “Miley and Sinnead and Amanda and Me.” WisCon 70s feminists versus WisCon 90s feminists. Standing on the shoulders of giants.”
[Here is that post.]

Aud: Lots on the table for next year. What would it be like to have a presentation of male femme on the panel? I have never actually where there’s a cross-section - gay men, whole conversation within gay male culture, I know. Men who probably identify as femme. It’d be fascinating. Maybe too ambitious for here. Never seen it explicitly addressed.

Aud: Girly has connotation of girls & infantalization of women, but need enormous skillset. Patriarchy takes this thing and assigns them to children.

JG: Have you ever seen Legally Blonde? Elle Woods has knowledge over a lifetime. She knew this knowledge, could tell quality of clothes. Native knowledge that some women build up over time. See it sometimes now in fashion. Things like hair salons, nail polish. Where women gather with each other, it’s very valuable. Women who could do a perm at home without frying their hair.

MAK: Femme apprenticeship. When you grow up outside girly female culture, likely to have missed that.

AUD: That’s what YouTube’s for!

MAK: Yes, have to build those relationships. Feedback for makeup party were from all genders: I never learned this as a child, can you show me?

Anxiety: Can you actually go to the party if you don’t know those things?

CS: My experience. My mom/doing theater as a kid, having people at my house, that’s what it was. My mom, explaining blush, etc. For girls who didn’t have moms in it, showing them to hot roll their hair, etc. If you didn’t have older sisters, or a mom really invested in the Lancome counter like mine was, where else would you learn it?

MAK: Specific references - your mom, Lancome. Cynthia, it was Nordstrom. People have incredibly powerful asscoiations.

AUD: I’m femme curious? As a kid, I was not anti-feminine. I felt pressure, watched commercials for baby dolls, I’d say, “That shit’s dumb.” If I didn’t reject it…
It wasn’t until people read me as a guy, until people stopped expecting me to enjoy femme things.
Now that I’m trying to explore some of these things. Maybe I want to wear eye makeup, I don’t know. I need a magical femme godmother. Not until queer component - didn’t want to be femme just b/c not butch.
Now that pressures’ gone.

JG: Don’t ever be a butch lesbian who wears makeup. They caught so much shit from other lesbians.

AUD: How hard it is to obtain knowledge - it really is true.

JG: If it’s not passed on… I shaved my eyebrows, had to go to my brother.

MAK: I want you to know, I was goth. I shaved my eyebrows off and then shaved them back on with a sharpie.

CS: Used clear nail polish to fix a run. Then went to shave.

AUD: Organic nail polish. Have moms spending half an hour arguing with husbands on the phone who were saying that sons couldn’t wear b/c toxic.

AUD: Addendum: Do nails of straight male brother.

Elizabeth: How many pieces of luggage did you come to WisCon with?

JG: Oh shit. We call it traveling with femmes. Between the two of us, we have enough product to cover the counter. Naamen had a tiny thing for the counter & walked back out of the bathroom. “I don’t know what happened.” Tanya: “I need some makeup,” & we were like, okay!!

MAK: I have like the femme survival kit. Coordinate all of these separates. Having the one eye shadow palette I can’t live without.
Feminism discounts the self-care in femme. That’s a whole panel right there.

CS: My femme inspiration is Lois Lane. Five cute dresses, carry-on, didn’t check luggage.

MAK: Last year, I brought ten changes of dresses. Day clothes, and night clothes.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Sailor Moon: Maiden's Policy)
• What are you currently reading?
Soul Eater, volume 5 - It's been a long time since I read 1-4! While I enjoy some of the character designs, I feel like I'm only here for Maka & Soul, and wholly uninterested in everything/everyone else :/

A Woman Wrapped in Silence - Basically a fanfiction about Mary (mother of Jesus) written in the 1940s, in verse. I've owned this since buying it at St Meinrad while on there on a retreat, in high school, but never got past the first 10 pages or so. I picked it up after attending a mass led by a woman priest. Progress is slow because I can be easily irritated by most poetry.

• What did you recently finish reading?
W.I.T.C.H. graphic novel, volumes 1 & 2 - I still feel about the same toward this as I did while I was in the middle of volume 1. I <3 the art, but feel the writing is a little sub-par? Still unconvinced I'll reread these later, but I'm reserving "putting it in the sell pile" judgment until I read all 8 volumes I've acquired (half from the library).

Shugo Chara-chan, volume 1 - This is a 4-panel comedy manga spun-off from Peach-Pit's Shugo Chara! Its about the guardian characters, mostly gags. It wasn't amusing enough to hold my attention, & I ended up skimming half the volume & returning volumes 2-4 to the library unread.

Basara, volume 8 - This series continues to be pretty great overall. Starting to feel some dread about how certain revelations are going to be handled. I do like its dealing with the realities of power/etc. - examining what characters are going to do once they get what they think they want, how different territories are governing themselves (or being governed) if the aftermath of the apocalypse, etc.

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene - What survives of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene is short, so this book has an introduction & a preface, and after the straight-up translation of the gospel, a line-by-line commentary.
The commentary discusses the idea of the "divine feminine" in the context of Mary revealing this super spiritual scripture, as opposed to the other way I've encountered it in the past ("feminine divinity means subjugating yourself to men").

This gets a little gender essentialist, which happens often when I read women in relation to the Bible.
Example is discussing the Marys hanging out at the Crucifixion - this gets brought up a lot! ONLY THE WOMEN STAYED, etc.
Are men less courageous than women? Perhaps they have less fear of death, but more fear of suffering? There are no simple answers to this. Yet it is worth noting that it is often mostly women who are present in great moments of life such as this, at deathbed and at birth. Husbands and fathers are more often absent. Surely this would not be seen as desertion (of which they are often accused), but rather as an indication of the great difficulty of the masculine mind (and some feminine minds as well) experiences when it feels powerless in the face of suffering that it can neither combat nor alleviate.

...OR it's because women are socialized to be caretakers?? jfc.

After MM has seen the risen Christ & spoken with Him, she goes back to the Apostles to a) tell them about it so that Christianity starts spreading afterward, and b) tells them about all kinds of other mystical stuff. Their immediately reaction is pretty predicable:
Having said all this, Mary became silent;
for it was in silence that the Teacher spoke to her.
Then Andrew began to speak, and said to his brothers:
"Tell me, what do you think of these things she has been telling us?
As for me, I do not believe
that the Teacher would speak like this.
These ideas are too different from what we have known."
And Peter added:
"How is it possible that the Teacher talked
in this manner with a woman
about secrets of which we ourselves are ignorant?
Must we change our customs,
and listen to this woman?"

& then LOL at leaving this gospel out of the Bible. :( :( :(

At some point, the author digresses into this own interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which is a little more expansive than their general interpretation. I'll use my favorite of his - Honor the Sabbath - as an example. The first part = common interpretation, second paragraph = more mind-blowing to me.
You may rest from all your doing, working, and producing. Human beings are not only made for work, but also for repose - that holy repose that is fully savored after good work, not only on the Sabbath, but every day.

On the day of the Sabbath, all human beings will become equal, for there are no more employers and employees. This law is intended to free us from the bounds of another law, that of dominator and dominated. On the Sabbath, there are no more professors and students, no more lords and serfs. There are only the children of God, sons and daughters of the One Light.

WHOA, right?!

The author's reinterpretation of the Beatitudes are a little similarly radical. The Beatitudes = well-loved by many people who ID as Christian & are also compassionate about social justice.
Yeshua is not saying, "Blessed are you, unhappy victims, be happy in your martyrdom." He is saying, "Do not let yourself be stopped by persecution, slander, and all sorts of violence. Use this as a challenge and opportunity for growing in consciousness and love."

While I'm not typically a fan of "hard times are there to make you stronger" interpretations of life, I do like interpretations of the Gospels that are about Jesus saying, "You're better than that, & if you really believe in me, then DO something about it."

Overall, I enjoyed reading this, although the latter half of the book got into philosophical stuff that I'll freely admit I didn't understand. I think I even skimmed some of it.
I have another commentary/analysis/etc. of the Gospel of Mary Magadalene waiting for me at the library, & I'm hoping that it will be a little more accessible to me.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
More manga, & I should starting reading Pantomime by Laura Lam. It's our next [community profile] beer_marmalade book.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Panel Description: At WisCon 36 younger women asked specifically for a discussion which focused on communication between their generation and former generations. Veterans of second-wave feminism talk about the historical context of that wave of feminism in relation to the Civil Rights, Free Speech, Black Power, Anti-Vietnam War and Gay Liberation movements.

Saturday, 4-5:15

Panelists: Debbie Notkin (moderator), Susan Simensky Bietila, Dr. Janice M. Bogstad, Jackie Gross, Angeli Primlani, Roxanne Samer

I arrived late and this is incomplete! When people focused on individual stories, I often lost threads.

This is cut because rape is discussed. )
laceblade: Quinn of Glee, glaring. Bangs, pink ruffled collar, black cardigan. (Glee: Quinn)
• What are you currently reading?
I'm returning to Anna Karenina because the book group discussing it meets again on Sunday. I am woefully behind, & also now freaking out about the cult of domesticity surrounding "reading books in the home of an all-woman group" b/c it seems like this entails "make a dish/appetizer to pass, & it better taste good & be a good idea!" Maybe I'll post extensively on this in its own post -__- (CAN BOOK CLUBS JUST BE ABOUT BOOKS?! I guess food prep/content doesn't make others so anxious.)
I've started carrying around my e-reader. Although I don't care for the translation nearly so much as the Pevear/Volokhonsky one, it's much easier on my back.

I finished up the rest of Part 2, & I still really like Kitty. I wish I had finished it before the last book discussion, because I would have defended her a little better, I think. Especially being surrounded by sick people in Germany, it's like she finds these female mentors & starts to consider NOT getting married & is focused on HERSELF/her desires/etc. Then her dad shows up & everything's out the window.
Regardless, I'm excited to see how her arc progresses.

• What did you recently finish reading?
The Female Man by Joanna Russ. Or, as much of it as I'm going to read, anyway.
It's hard to articulate the way I feel about this book. It's good but not good?! I spent a lot of time flailing around because I couldn't figure out who the fuck was narrating. And sometimes JR would get to the end of a passage & there would be a single sentence that would make the entire previous passage make sense (by identifying the narrator, etc.), and I would be all, "WELL I'M NOT FUCKING REREADING IT NOW!"

I really liked how sometimes Russ would get into a good rhythm, but then she'd generally beat that rhythm to death.
Example of the build-up-and-crush that I liked:
I found Jeannine on the clubhouse porch that evening, looking at the moon. She had run away from her family.
"They only want what's good for you," I said.
She made a face.
"They love you," I said.
A low, strangled sound. She was prodding the porch-rail with her hand.
"I think you ought to go and rejoin them, Jeannine," I said. "Your mother's a wonderful woman who has never raised her voice in anger all the time you've known her. And she brought all of you up and got you all through high school, even though she had to work. Your brother's a firm, steady man who makes a good living for his wife and children, and Eileen wants nothing more in the world than her husband and her little boy and girl. You ought to appreciate them more, Jeannine."
"I know," said Jeannine softly and precisely. Or perhaps she said Oh no.

But then there are two passages following it that do the same thing - "Don't care," said she. Or was it Not fair?" "Not Cal." Ah, hell."
Just one, please!

I don't think that the feminism in this book is "outdated" or etc. There is still anger that resonates with me.
[And some that doesn't. It makes me lol to think of wearing makeup FOR my boyfriend.]
But it is very much a white middle class woman's feminism. The book was critiqued for this when it came out in 1975.

I would very much like to read, "When It Changed," the short story that focuses on the possible Earth-future, Whileaway, where there are no men.

When discussing it in [community profile] beer_marmalade, someone noted that this book is sort of less accessible than feminist theory.

Someone else said that the book sort of disorients you & angers you (in the way it is somewhat confusingly written), which is sort of like life - it's how the protagonist(s) felt.

I think [personal profile] jesse_the_k mentioned Samuel Delany's response, which I can't find online unless it's this:
What does one do with an SF novel like The Female Man, which demands its politics be taken seriously, and presents those politics without naivete or bombast, but rather through a whole host of distancing devices that make it an "epic novel" in almost exactly the way Brecht used the term "epic theater"?

Related link: Review by a member of my book club.

So yeah. I'm glad I read it. I probably won't read it again. I still really liked How to Suppress Women's Writing, though, & wouldn't mind trying her other stuff.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
I'm pretty focused on these right now!
However, I haven't read any Glee fic in a while & I'd really like to.
I also need to get through the first part of Cyteen for April, for [community profile] beer_marmalade. For now, though: All of the Anna Karenina!
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (a thousand nights to change the world)
The General Assembly has become a familiar practice since the growth of Occupy Wall Street. Anarchistic and radically democratic organizing processes have a much longer history, though, including the Zapatistas, the Spanish student movement, and movements in the history of feminism. For WisCon members, a familiar feeling might have bubbled up in watching, reading about, or participating in Occupy: wasn't this a bit like what they did on Le Guin's Anarres, or in DuChamp's Free Zones? This panel will discuss the possible growth of a kind of democracy other than our current party-based political systems, using the ways it has been prefigured and imagined in feminist science fiction to help make sense of radical histories and futures.
Saturday, 10-11:15am
Twitter Hash-Tag: Radical Democracy The tweets have also been Storified.
Panelists: Alexis Lothian (moderator), Timmi Duchamp, Liz Henry, Andrea Hairston

Panelist Liz Henry also live-tweeted the panel, although she tragically did not use the designated hash tag. You can find her tweets at [twitter.com profile] lizhenry

Here's a link to Liz Henry's blog post, including lots more details and references and insights.

[personal profile] laceblade note: The transcription is more complete for people who talk slowly (Timmi), and way less complete for people who talk faster (Alexis, sometimes Andrea). I hope I have recorded things as an accurate representation of the panel, but this is definitely not every word that was said on the panel!

Also, there are some political events/organizations that were mentioned that I have no idea wtf they were. These will be denoted with "?!", lol.

AL: Thank you all so much for coming. It’s early, I appreciate you coming to an intense and what I hope will be exciting and creative panel. I proposed it because I thought it would be amazing to have these three people talking about these things. That was my main goal. Imaging radical democracy and thinking of ways we can imagine politics – more than Republicans and Democrats. What could democrfacy be other than that? Political agencies, actions....what the histories are of these movements.
I want to ask some questions that will solicit conversation. Want to give panelists 40 minutes before questions. Would appreciate holding your questions until they’re opened up.

TD: Hi, in terms of this panel, I would say that for most of my adult life I’ve been torn between intellectual and writing activity and political activism of various types. Always with some group or other, not as a follower but getting involved in individual actions locally. I’ve tried to balance these two and in my writing, if any of you have read my fiction, I address social and political issues all the time. The Marq'ssan Cycle (series of books written by this panelist) as a result of my activism and thinking. Wanted to imagine how we would get to a better place where everyone can flourish. Took me 5 books to do that. I found in writing those books, to my surprise, not an end utopian result, but a process. The books told me that utopia is a process. It’s a political process involving working out problems, collective problems collectively with political dialogue. It is sort of interesting that those books in a way are a culmination of all the thinking I’ve been doing in my exp as an activist but led me to a diff place. I hadn’t realized that. I knew from the organizations that I worked with and my problems with them that my problems were hierarchal. That’s why I didn’t become a full member but just participated in actions, often direct actions. Also things like petition drives, like the ERA. That was disillusioning, the practice of it. Not the goal of carrying it out, but dealing with the National Organization for Women. Put me off that. After that I worked with NARAL, same thing. Very hierarchal and top-heavy. Those of us who did actual work...hired organizers treated like dirt by the board who did all the fundraising. The organization existed to serve the fundraisers. That could put a lot of people off activism. These kinds of experiences do. That’s a part of the whole problem in the US. Bad experiences create low expectations especially with social rollbacks over the last 30 years. Creates political apathy. Political apathy is a response, not just a state of ignoring the world, it’s a state of actual response. It’s not passive even though it looks like passivity. I think what’s important about science fiction is it gives us alternatives that we can’t imagine in the US even though our history is full of tens of thousands of experiments in collective communities. All around the world, all sorts of things going on, all sorts of collective groups. World Social Forum created to make a visible example in visible space of an alternative to DAVOS, the world economic forum. All these groups converge in South America. Puerto Alegre in 2001. Followed the WTO in Seattle, not accidental. At that point that we saw that imagining alternatives had to be outside of natural boundaries. I think the whole game has changed. It’s not just 9/11, it’s globalization. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here, you can see what my interest is.

LH: I’m live-tweeting the panel! I want to talk about some of the activism and process that I’m involved in. I agree with everything said, startingly. Somewhat in my involvement with a hackerspace in San Francisco. Want to talk about anarchist hackerspace – processes and problems. Part of the problem and solution is in narrative structures. As I sometimes talk to journalists at techy conferences or journalist conferences, which I end up as a human diversity machine, I am talking to people who can’t tell the story of Occupy or WikiLeaks or any kind of revolution or anything hackery. They can’t tell a story, don’t know how to understand the story if there’s no hierarchy or leader or puppet master or hero. Riot Girl? The idea that you’re killing rockstars, refusing to become a rockstar, so many people within this many-centered movement refused to be rockstars. They want to make someone the saint, canonized someone because they want to arrest them. Even if they don’t want to arrest someone, they don’t believe that htings could happen that way. I love the Marq'ssan Cycle for teling that story, for telling stories with multiple POVs. Teaching people through telling a difficult story. Demanding the reader engage so deeply as to understand a difficult story. Teling journalists you cannot understand it unless you are with it. You must participate. You are actually sucked in. Want to leave it there and come back to it.

AH: So participatory democracy. Grew up with it in my household. Everybody was a race man or woman. You had to do something, to change, b/c the narrative out there was false. You had to change the narrative. Narrative technology that changes what we want/need. Grwew up with union organizaers, civil rights orgs....I was a scientist. I was a little slower to organizing b/c I was a dreamer but eventually dreams woven in. I dsappointed them, but I'll talk about that tomorrow night [presumably in her Guest of Honor speech]. What I realized was that for me, one who tells the story rules the world. Therefore, we all need to. WE all need to be agents of action, all need to be storytellers. All need to be agents of action in the story.
In the past in the 19th century, Iqbo women in Nigeria had participatory democratic meetings where women spoke. They’d be anarchic or not within any...they were ad hoc. British did not understand them. Women had women’s war. Other people in the region in Nigeria understood Women’s War. Women: Look, this shit sucks, it’s fucked up, your dick is limp. They performed poetry: get your goats out of my grass. Performance in front of the offenders. Poetry/singing/dancing until resolved. We’re all leaving now, taking the babies, you take care of children. Men try to take it back [whater offense they'd given], etc., then resolve.
British thought men didn’t have the women in control, and so they shot at the women. During women’s war, they’d come out with utensils. British shot at them because they thought they’d kill them. It was at the turn of the 20th century. After that, the British told them, "You have to act like Victorian women! You don’t have a say!" (Referencing women's war): Also, could do it naked. Women would strip, run around, do this stuff. The men would be like, "Oh no, they've taken their clothes off, it’s over." The British didn’t understand the conventions/terms. They [the Iqbo] were much more democratic than British. Way of balancing power/making sure all voices were heard. You knew if you did some crap, you might have to face this. Made you reconsider. Called chaotic anarchic process. Functioned beautifully for a long without problems until the intervention of the British who wanted to civilize these savages who didn’t understand. Asked where the chief was. They didn’t have chiefs. Why do we need one? Chiefs imposed on them, women were revolting against the chiefs. Try to tell everyone that story as often as I can. Use those images in my own writing. Current book dealing with one such woman who comes to America. I’m Andrea Hairston, I don’t think I said that (laughter). I write SF/F, I’m a professor, I marched with my mother to March on Washington when I was 11. She got me on the right track.

LH: I'm Liz Henry, WisCon 20 was my first WisCon. I have a lovely book put out by Aqueuduct Press. Feminist anarachist geography. Imaginary geography. Buy my book, it’s awesome!

AL: It says a lot about how much one has to say that intros has become the panel, which I’m happy about. I love WisCon because the conversations we have here are also conversations I have in academic work but they’re jargon and filled with references, and I really appreciate the way we have them here. Couple things I hope we can bring out. Narrative, and what narratives have power/what do we expect? What are ways something else can be imagine? Appreciated Andrea’s example [of the Iqbo] – this is not a new idea. Have existed for so long, actually colonialism empire that has tried to stamp them out. Really specific example, gives us something to work with/draw on. Both Timmi and Liz touched on examples, would you like to take collectivities and tease out how that works and what are some of the important elements of it?

LH: NoiseBridge, hackerspace in San Francisco. Own little movement (hacker spaces) situate them in early Internet culture, pre-web. Then through conference in Berlin every Christmas, CCCC, people there were like, we need to establish a physical space where we can do our stuff. About making things and computer hackery things. Started a Wiki hackerspaces. Popping up instances in different cities. Patterns in software, patterns – not rules or legal structures. Patterns or anti-patterns can lead to institutional structures that are quite flexible. That came from book on architecture that’s an amazing book.

AL: Liz has a essay that explains all this in the WisCon Chronicles.

LH: Oh yeah! This is not a coincidence! NoiseBridge started by people who pooled their money. Co-op but anarchist. One rule, inspired by Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: be excellent to each other. One rule. Leads to some very interesting meetings. Mostly works, has worked for 3 years. We’re one of the largest and radically inclusive hacker spaces. Right now we’re 5,0000 sq ft space in the mission in San Franciscoi between 17th and 18th (?!). Full of junk. Computer junk, electronics drunk, soddering irons, photography dark room, wood shop. Two classrooms. Attracted some revolutionary micologists. Shelves with plastic, people having a meeting who were growing mushrooms. People brewing/distilling. Sewing/crafting there. Acceptable project definition grew very quickly. Salting of the space with kitchen and sewing and things that were signifying....don’t have to prove you’re a computer hacker to come into this space. A lot of it is about do-orcracy. Let’s have a farm/business/etc. Trying to bring in some history of utopian history –

AUD: Louisa May Alcott – her father had a utopian farm/etc.

LH: I’m not a farmer but a lot of our fights...we have constant drama. I edited an issue of the WisCon Chronicles about internet drama. Danah Boyd paper about how people talk about drama. Specifically teenagers on Facebook and how drama has become gendered. It’s what girls do, trivial, gossipy, sort of bad. Dudes shouldn’t engage in drama. NoiseBridge has a public mailing list is drama. Someone used the kitchen…

AH: What do YOU mean by drama? You mean Melodrama.

AL: Wank.

LH: Everyone can see it (the drama). Complicated process sof a relationship in public. Not real but has some inauthenticity despite we’ve grown up mediated thorugh media. It seems natural to me that our relationships are played out in a public sphere. If you think about blog sheets and gossip, happening now. Happening when you’re 12. Happening at hackerpsace. 3-D printers. Launched a weather balloon into space. Main public face is us fighting about who to kick out and where the boundaries are. Always the process. How do we kick out the jerks? Everyone’s fighting, people doing weird guerilla actions that mock everything, making us look bad, shouldn’t you do something awesome? Meanwhile, people are homeless. We have a buzzer or you can read the Wiki and how to get in. Anybody can walk in, we’ll give a tour, you can use all tours. We had to kick out half of Occupy San Francisco. People in squats who had shelters or SROs don’t have access to running water/working kitchen. By making a space in which we’re trying to address one problem, we’re more revolutionary than we realized. Once you’re part of a revolution, you have to fix all the things. It’s very hard, very valuable it takes place in public, documenting what happens. Also really difficult and uncomfortable and don’t know when feds will come shut you down. Wanted to mention books, but can do that in next space.

AL: The drama, the fact that trying to make change is really tortorus, results in fighting and people hating each other, internet culture/drama. What wank and drama and melodrama do and why they might just not be....part of how we negotiate. We have to emerge from it. It does things that other kinds of more carefully planned politics don’t do. Even the most trivial fights can have ripples of effects that are really important to what a community does. Marq'ssan Cycle, learned more about it through reading that. And also through many other works of SF. Love that you brought that together, what you need to do in the hacker psace. How there are so many....that should not be dismissed. Why we should work that.

LH: All the Occupys ran into that. They had kitchens, and then suddenly people who were mentally ill, they had to embrace everything and was quite difficult.

AL: That was huge – the class division within Occupy. Have to look at it, not shy away.

TD: Little drops of water evaporate in dry atmosphere, need a human environment. Not just all of internal difficulties here but thes efforts are operating in a context in which we have vast problems. We have terrible collective problems and no collective solutions or collective process. These space (occupy, hacker, etc.) are besieged by that context. They can’t address them by themselves. That’s basically the problem. We sort of, what’s happening is more and more people are seeing the horizon of what’s possible but in this current environment, it’s very hard to ...you can hack out a space but you can’t put up walls, antithetical to what you want to do. Of course there’s the narrative. My own experiences were very limited experiences which sprang up in the context of doing activist things. You might not think of this as, well it is a radical democracy. My experience getting arrested during civil disob. My affinity group were a bunch of anarchists. This was in January 1990. But this started in November 1989. We were doing theatre, political theater on streets of Seattle. Someone tried to pick my pocket while I was down on the ground, it was raining, it was cold (laughing), there I was ....(inaudible t ome). One of my fellow activists caught the guy. Anyway, we were doing a series of protests and solidarity with the people of El Salvador. Massive protests, one of them shut down I-5. A lot of people were getting arrested. How to say this, okay, in response to the big crackdown in El Salvador in November 1989, priests were murdered. Experience of getting arrested was fabulous. Oceanic merging with the universe experiences. That’s why a lot of people get into civil disobedience. Part of a group, defying authority just by standing in a crosswalk or in a street, you know. We were all carted off in buses to be processed. We were in plastic handcuffs. A couple people decided they weren’t going to reveal their IDs so they couldn’t be processed. Cops went nuts. They made us sit there in this bus in the parking lot of the police station. They kept sending people higher up in the chain to harangue us. The longer it went on, the more ecstatic and experience it was because I realized they were really getting upset and they were going to have to negotiate to let us go because we were threatening if they didn’t release the 4 who wouldn’t reveal identities, that they’d have to arrest all of us. The police weren’t into mass arrest then. We were singing and talking. One of our members was a woman in her seventies and the handcuffs were really terrible for her, she had arthritis. We had to negotiate with cops to get her cuffs taken off. Then we went home and then we had meetings dealing with what we were going to do about our arrest. We were divided into trial groups. New city attorney determined to stamp out central American protestors, too many protestors, need to teach them a lesson. Decided to press charges and go for jail time and raelly each them a lesson. Of course, the court system was not happy with us. We refused to plea to one charge instead of two, we wouldn’t take their deals, we wanted trials. Boy was I glad to get a trial. One of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. We decided to defend ourselves, not just to not pay a lawyer, but for the experience. To make a statement about theway justice is administered in the United States. They put 18 of us in a group, 3 people had a public defender. One lawyer on the team to make objections and do procedural stuff. Judge saw us and learned 15 of us were [unable to parse this word, sorry], didn’t want anything to do with 15 citizen lawyers. On top of that, not enough room for us to sit at the defense table. Had public defenders at defense table, rest of us in the spectator seats. We’re the defendants and the spectators. Then the judge said you have to elect 2 represntatives to speak for you. I got to be one of them, but this wasn’t a fair thing to do. If you’re a defendant, you should be able to speak for yourself or have your own trial. We were being treated like a mass. I went into judge’s chambers, that was a kick, what the rules were going to be, etc. Then we went back and I sat with my fellow defendants. Every time I wanted to speak, I’d have to stand up and the jury was way up in the front and they were seeing this happening. Spatial arrangements and impositions were making a tremendous effect on them before I made my opening statement telling them why were sitting down in the street. So as it progressed, it turned out I was sort of this thorn in the flesh of the court system running smoothly. Judge...I wanted to call him sir instead of “your honor.” Didn’t want to disrespect him, but didn’t want to suggest he was an elevated creature ruling above us. Respectufl. Any time to identify myself, I would stand up and say, “Linda Duchamp” and then make my statement. By the time we got to the cops, it turned out...I worked out with the judge each of us could cross-examine the cop who had arrested us. The only way the cops could identify us was through the polaroid photographs taken of us. My photograph was standing there, 3 of us, laughing in the camera. One of the charges was that we were a threat to public safety. [laughter] It was a no-brainer how to go about demolishing the city’s case. The judge got so aggravated, and the jury loved it. I would come up through the gate and pass into the public space every time I spoke. It was a spectacle because I was in the audience and it made it clear that people who are on trial are passive objects, don’t have anything to do with the process. For me that was a breakthrough. I think of this as being an example of radical democracy, democratic practice. I was interacting with the jury and I was getting them to think about things, not only the case and what the US government was doing in El Salvador, but the way our system works. For me, because of where we are now, it’s that interface that’s so important. Between context we’re living in and what we’re trying to do.

LH: Interface, I was scribbling that! Utopian communities you’re making and the actual world with the legal system and etc. Always a very uncomfortable interface.

AL: Want to build on this. Story about dramatic reframing of political/judicial theater. Drama, narrative. All of us in some way artists/participants in culture. Think we can do some of that in performance, I like to make remix videos. Talk about art and radical democracy before questions.

AH: Dillusion. Can’t see what’s going on, think we live in the rules and they’re absolute and we think something wrong with anarchists rather than that’s what we need to be doing. What is the world we want and how to act toward it rather than how to keep in the process. Trying to get us to see what we can’t see – that’s a function of art. Some Latin saying, that art is to conceal. I say, art is to reveal – the point is to reveal what you can’t see. What you’ve taken for granted. Facism – trains run on time, etc. Really happy with etc. and anarchists are the problem. We have a really bad narrative for anarchy – chaos, etc. People don’t think ecosystem, biological diversity and sustainable power, but degradation and ruins. Those connections in our brains are fed by narratives. I'm a theater person – I love live theater, I don’t know what’s going to happen, even if you have a script. I know my blocking, audience comes in, audience makes me change. Every moment is alive. Feedback between me and the audience and other actors. Have to respond. All theater is to prepare you to be ready in the moment. That’s what anarchy is about. If you just follow blocking and your lines, that’s not going to work. What am I going to do that keeps me...the audience loves it when you solve the problem, in it for the live moment. Image of anarchy as negative melodrama. Good guys/bad guys. Victor Turner: Social drama is essential to humanity. I’m paraphrasing him. Have to have dramatic process in order to perform the meaning that you want. That’s what drama is. Struggle to have lived experience turn into meaning. That is a slow process. We’re stuck on things needing to be fast. Social drama takes time. Slow money, slow food, I think we need to have slow anarchy. Enough change to develop new processes/ideas. I really fear sometimes the people who don’t want to go through the process. Like, oh my god, it’s life! It’s the ecosystem to use the resources in a way that will listen to the different opinions. It really takes practice to listen to people who don’t agree with you. Really work with, what are they saying, not what do I think they’re saying? Something like Occupy/other movements. Have to learn how to do because ew’ve been in facism.

LH: Love that you’ve brought in theater, it’s lovely. Was thinking about Occupy Oakland, watching the general assembly streaming video, taking notes, someone would stand up to speak and people would tell stories or what was important to them. Sometimes it was wacky or repetitive, and I would just dismiss it. But then I'd pull back and say no, what should I be hearing? This is what's important to them right now.
Books. Books that I want to ... Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (sp?). Exemplifies, takes anarchic process for granted. Aliens who have come in, hung out, anarchists of long standing, interesting. Direct Action by David Graeber (?) – uncomfortable meetings of activits trying to decide wtf to do. Documentation of wtf to do. Kind of like RaceFail. Inability to have difficult conversations about race and gender. Defensive reaction of freak the fuck out. That is actually one of us root crucial problems.
Kevin Carson, independent economic/political thinker. Resilient Communities, society after state capitialism. Libertarian. He’s more of an anarchist really. Huge book, with picture of guy with head up his own ass. Whole-brew industry, how industrial revolution can/will happen again. Factories in our houses. Fabricating technologies. Manufacture stuff on smaller/local scales. Footnotes everything, very long. Have to open your mind to have a long arc of thought. Quite interesting.
Also love marqassan cycle.
Illicit Passage – a book. Alice Nun (sp?). Feminist SF. She’s Tazmanian.
Science fiction of now is mid-apocalypse. Not writing post apocalypse, not first contact with aliens. The aliens are already here and they’re the 1%. They have so much power they’re not comprehensible. They’re our aliens. Tension as a part of ubiquitous surveillance. All of that is important in what science fiction is going to become.

TD: We haven’t had questions, let’s do that.

AL: Sorry for not leaving mor e time for questions. Couldn’t stop them from speaking! Love to hear questions from the audience.

AUD: I do fundraising for Dem Socialist political organization. Talk to people every day about socialism and democracy. Like theater in that every convo is totally unique. We have a myth in this country that democracy and capitalism go together, that they’re inseperable. We can see in outher countries that’s not true. Only industrialized country without socialized health care, our leaders are proud of that. Need to separate the capitialism from political system. Capitalism is a religion, you’re devout, we cannot exist without. Like the occupy movement has done. We believe 1% is totally in control. People who are oscialists still don’t get that we’re the 99% and we can control. The occupy movement doesn’t have focus, needs more structure, needs a superhero, really frustrating, talking to many people every day that still believe that they’re socialists and cpaitialism is the way we’re going to get out of it.

AH: Difference between capitalism and entrepreneurship. A lot of the economy is not in capitalism. We need to distinguish between the two. Idea of sharing the idea/etc. is changing the value of profit is the center of everything...can destroy the entire planet if you make a profit. Not the only way we can economically organize ourselves. Socialism, don’t know what to say. They’re separate. Planned communism not going to kill us. All these mythologies. People haven’t really read Marx. We waste 2/3 of food production. We could feed our entire country almost again with what we waste. Why is it called growth if we’re wasting so much? It’s marketing. They’re controlling the dialogue and putting their frame on it. Growth becomes 1% getting rich and wasting things. Why isn’t diversity and richness and fullness “growth?

LH: Utopian thinking and science fiction, deepening interconnectedness.

AH: Eco-Mind (book). She asked for help, how can we solve thes things. She asked people, how can we come up with things to do? Relationships. Things that can co-evolve. We shouldn’t waste resources, shouldn’t have to pay for cleanup, that should be their cost. Exactly what Occupy is about. Relational ecological results. If left to your own resources, you’ll waste/kill/etc., that’s just not true.

AL: Differences in opinions and etc., changing the narrative will bring it together.

AUD: Comment about journalism. Journalism, you said something about being within the process. Journalism seems to have a mindset that you have to be outside the process documenting what’s going on. It’s not really journalism, what we need are storytellers for this. Because the storytellers can be in the process but the mindset of a journalist kind of limits their ability to get into it. If you get too far into the process, people trash you.

TD: Journalists put into abox. If they stray outside of it, they’re no longer legitimate or credible. What questions they can ask/answer. False objectivity. They’re usually set up a false dichotomy, and they’re both unacceptable.

AL: Example of [twitter.com profile] pennyred Covering current political (?). From the UK, writes for the Independent. Extremely successful now. Modeling a different kind of activist journalism. Also subject to mysoginy/etc.

AUD: Reframing. Struggling with it myself...Couple hundred years ago, broadly speaking, in European and North American society, there was an aristocracy being created. Somebody could own land, peole on that land, etc. Could do what they wanted with that land. Now seems alien/obscure. How could people think that’s the way things had to be? How to see capitalism when you get the right to do something b/c you own it. What does ownership mean and who said you owned it? Seems like we’re at the start of trying to break that down.

AH: Degradation of the commons has been going on a long time. In Europe, assault on the commons and then imperialists saying that wehre commons aren’t owned. Who can own the air/water/etc.? You’re crazy/insane but now that’s the reverse. Trademark everything. Humanity has evolved by the commons is a hard idea to get across to people. We need to share and trade and work with the commons. It’s like public education. OMG, can we privatize everything? Hard to get people to review that. Smoking – no longer acceptable to smoke in restaurants/etc., need to move 25 feet away from a building. In this room, the air is all of us, no one person with a cigarette can ruin it. That idea was not easy. But migraine scents, people won’t do that. We as a group of people who have commons can do it. Not impossible. We can move quickly.What is fast? We can make these changes, don’t want to depress people. We have ramps, we didn’t use to have ramps. I’m going to be 60, we’ve seen so many. Watching a vid last night of Occupy. Wonderful to see all over the world images of people who have been changed by things I experienced, and changing other things. Felt the continuum. Didn’t feel despair I feel at home watching the news. Occupy, can go in the street and see. It’s hard but it worked (civil rights movement).

LH: Reminded me I have a whole really good book – Tales from The Freedom Plow – 6 authors. Stories of 52 women involved in civil rights movement in the South. Oral histories, took huge effort to take local activists and not just the famous ones. Had the same problems we’re talking about, so many unreliable narrators.

TD: I'd like to quote an unlikely source for parting words. Augustine of Hippo: Hope has two beautiful daughters, their names are Anger and Courage. Anger that things are the way they are, and Courage to make them the way they ought to be.

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Arya of House Stark)
[personal profile] tim has written a 3-post series about Alice (pseudonym), a trans person repeatedly victimized by sexual advances and bullying while in grad school at Portland State University. Alice took a leave absence; Thomas (the aggressor) has faced no significant consequences; [personal profile] tim has left the program and explains why.

The thing is, though, that both of us had to choose: choose between staying and dealing with conditions that have a disparate impact on minority group members like us -- conditions that mean we have to work that much harder to get the same (or lesser) reward -- or leaving and losing out on one more opportunity. Privileged people don't have to make choices like these. Choice isn't always good: not when either choice you make will be criticized. Stay, and you're criticized for participating in an oppressive system. Leave, and you're criticized for letting the bullies win. You can't win. I hope that no one reading this will conclude that I gave in by leaving or that Alice gave in by staying. That wouldn't be fair, because we're both in a no-win situation.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

There is a fest going on for women characters, or "We Love the Women Fandom Hates," which means people are posting about characters I like.

Why I Love Ashe (from Final Fantasy XII)

Victoria: A Tribute to Tifa Lockhart

Tifa, lying, and the art of self-delusion

A fanmix for 32 women in the Game of Thrones books

A fanmix for 6 women in the Game of Thrones books (Arya, Sansa, Catelyn, Lysa, Daenerys, Cersei)

Sansa Stark fanmix

I'm kind of into fanmixes, lately.
laceblade: Sailor Uranus performing World Shaking attack (animated) (Sailor Moon: World Shaking)
I've always kind of ignored George R. R. Martin because, until a few months ago, I'd never read anything by him. I knew of him as Author Who Hates Fanfiction and Gets Harassed by Readers to Write Faster.

As-you-know-Reader, Martin's epic, A Song of Fire and Ice, is getting turned into an HBO series, starting with Game of Thrones, and will start airing this Sunday.

The New York Times published a review [doesn't Arya look adorable/awesome?!] that basically purported that there is nothing in the series for women to watch - except for the sex, which is apparently thrown in just to make women want to view.
The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

Understandably, fans have had a negative reaction to this review.
An example response is here, and also included are some links to other fan reaction.

But hey! George R. R. Martin decided to respond, too. His post is here. He opens by noting that he doesn't typically respond to negative reviews of his work, thereby setting up the post as Something Special.

But his big reveal is this.
I am not going to get into it myself, except to say
(1) if I am writing "boy fiction," who are all those boys with breasts who keep turning up by the hundreds at my signings and readings?
(2) thank you, geek girls! I love you all.

It's George R. R. Martin's big moment to acknowledge his non-male fans! To thank them for their support! And what does he do?! HE DEFINES THEM BY THEIR BREASTS.

And also refers to them as girls.

But, you know, I've read the goddamn books, so I am not surprised.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Hachi makeup)
ETA: Thanks to the comment from [personal profile] the_future_modernes, editing to note that this was started before Boehner, but surprise! He's trying to take credit (from a woman, of course).

Speaker-designate of the House John Boehner wants to do lots of things that Nancy Pelosi and other Dems did not, or would not, do. Most of these things are not palatable to me. But he's starting by giving women a bathroom that's of equal distance from the floor.

Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) intends to commandeer a swanky office space adjacent to the House floor and build a women's restroom for female lawmakers.

For years, men have had the luxury of using facilities located adjacent to the House floor, just outside the Speaker's lobby. But women have had no such option.

If women need to powder their noses, they must instead go downstairs or to a restroom several halls away from the chamber.

But Boehner wants that to end, and plans to direct the Architect of the Capitol to construct a women's bathroom in the space currently occupied by the House Parliamentarian.

[Source, link goes to TheHill.com, a blog of events taking place at Capitol Hill.]
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Catholic)
A little while ago, I read the book Beyond Anger: On Being a Feminist in the Church, by Carolyn Osiek, R.S.C.J.

The book is about identifying as a feminist while also identifying as a member of the Catholic Church, which, as one might imagine, can cause feelings of anger. It's been a while since I read it, but I at least marked a few favorite passages. I think I'm just going to post them with brief commentary, and leave it at that. Hopefully you all find them as interesting as I did.

After giving examples of why a feminist might be angry in church (only males wear distinctive clothing that sets them off as officially belonging in the sanctuary, language of worship does not seem to include women, etc.), the author says of these moments of realization:
Such an event is a true turning point because it evokes a crisis. Life is not as it was before, and can never be so again. It cannot return to the comfort of denial. One's self image of loyalty and one's experience of oppression come to a screeching collision with one another and seem henceforth incompatible. How can I remain loyal to a person, institution, or tradition that has done this to me? But without that commitment, what do I have left? Who am I? This intense experience of dissonance provokes a predictable reaction.
She goes on to validate anger as an emotion, and then analyzes the destructive power of sexism, and its inherently sinful nature.
Sexism and patriarchalism have worked against both women and men in three ways. The first is to dehumanize women institutionally by disqualifying them on the basis of sex from access to the sacred and to leadership. The second way is to attempt theological justification of the oppression of patriarchalism, so that it would seem to be perpetrated in the name of God. The third way that sexism works against all of us is by promoting a "false consciousness" which permits both oppressor and oppressed to blindly accept and internalize their roles.

The dehumanizing of women is the dehumanizing of men as well, for if women are demoted to second-class citizenship, men are allowed the illusion that they alone are first class, that what is done is God's will, and that it therefore cannot be changed. In this way the Church participates in the structural violence of society against women, a structural violence which implicitly condones and even promotes personal violence against them by casting women as victims of male aggression.

Because we are properly speaking here of sin, "social and ecclesial structural sin," there is a moral conversion that is called for. Patriarchalism is a form of classism, the subjection of one social group to another. It is a hierarchiacal view of human society which makes dominance and submission the operant models of human relationship and renders true mutual presence to one another impossible. Religious patriarchalism further renders a true perception of equality before God just as impossible because social conditioning and the impact of culture are inescapable factors in the formation of religious persons and communities. It puts the ideal of "equal discipleship," which is all women are really asking for, beyond reach. It is a sin against persons as well as against God.


Beyond intellectual conversion there is yet spiritual conversion. Are we as Church being called to a deeper living of the way of Christ by the prophetic voices of women? It is not only a human sense of fairness that calls us to justice, but Christ himself. It is not only our experience and ideals of democracy that calll us to affirm the full human dignity of every person, but the demands of the Gospel as well. Women today are calling the Church to live what it says in this regard. The voice has become part of the ongoing revelation of God to us, as the mystery of that revelation unfolds in history.

She analyzes the power of Bonaventure's quote, "It is for man to act, for woman to suffer."
This belief, or, better, excuse, has provided religious justification for reinforcing the passivity of women by encouraging them not to follow the inspirations of grace but to become more fixated in their inculturated tendencies to self-hatred and self-doubt by seeking out suffering, self-abasement, humiliation, and self-denial as signs of God's favor.
Hence it is not easy to speak of a theology of the cross to women who have experienced this kind of oppression and have rejected it as illegitimate and unhealthy. A consistent position taken in this book is that our religious tradition is redeemable for women, and that its riches are worth recovering. An important and powerful symbol within that tradition is the cross. To abandon the symbol because it has been misused would be once again to turn over the power of interpretation to those who have misused it. Anger at the abuse is justified, but capitulation to the abusers is not. Rather, the symbol needs to be recovered, reclaimed, and reappropriated into a new context where it will no longer aid the cause of oppression and passivity, but the cause of free response to the claims of the Gospel. The cross can become for women a symbol not of victimization and self-hatred, but of creative suffering, actively embraced, which transforms and redeems.

She does describe three phases of the transformation of suffering in three changes; I'd rate myself at #2: mute, pasive acceptance / awareness and articulation of one's suffering, no longer hidden / organization for change.

Osiek most bluntly calls for action thusly:
The role to which women are called today in the Church holds many of the characteristics of the prophetic vocation: to speak and act publicly in the name of God to recall members of the community to their destiny and identity before God; to interpret the signs of the times; to condemn injustice; to keep before the eyes of all the vision of the reign of God in its full purity in the midst of historical compromises.
This book does a great job of validating and giving voice to the same feelings of anger that I have. However, the title lead me to believe that this book would go further into explaining what can be done to be a feminist while still going to Church, how to make the Church a more feminist place to be, etc., and I don't think that I really got that. I'm not sure what I expect from a book in terms of how to move beyond anger to productivity, but I guess I was expecting more than the 13-point list at the end, which included things like "have healthy outlets" and "be realistic." I mean, those are find things to take as advice, but not great for action, in my mind. I'm angry, a book was spent validating my anger, and then it just kind of flickered out.

Although written the year I was born (1986), this book still resonating with me really well. It's starting to creep me out, though, the non-fiction about the oppression of women written at the time of my birth (or before, as mentioned when I blogged about bell hooks not that long ago) says things that validate what I'm feeling right now so well. It's like history's spinning its wheels in a rut, never moving forward, but repeating itself forever. Creepy, and disheartening.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I spent all weekend thinking that the Feministing Fail linkspam at access_fandom is only one post, but it is in fact multiple posts. Head there to read posts on this important discussion.

Unrelated, but related to feminism, is a link I found through [livejournal.com profile] were_duck, to an explanation of 'cis,' and why it should be used.
So, here’s the thing, cis people who have a problem with “cis.” I am going to politely request that you get over it.

Because we do need a label to describe people who are cis gendered, and “cis” is a really good label to use because it is value neutral. “Not trans” carries a whiff of a suggestion that there’s something wrong with being trans, just as “not disabled,” again, suggests that there is something wrong with being a person with disabilities. “Normal,” “real,” “regular,” biological,” “natural,” and so on also carry negative connotations, because that means that trans people are “abnormal,” “not real,” “irregular,” “not biological,” and “not natural.” I would hope that people can see that being called “not real” would be offensive to someone who is trans.

Cis is not being used to divide or separate people. It’s being used as an adjective, to distinguish people with a particular type of gender, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. We have a whole family of words to describe people through various characteristics. Just as I have no problem with being called a “white person” because, uhm, I’m racially white and a person, cis folks shouldn’t be upset by being called “cis people.”
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I should maybe preface this by noting that throughout my life, people have told me that my default expression is not a smile. This may have something to do with constantly being told to SMILE for no reason just because I was a girl (really, have you ever heard a stranger tell a man, "SMILE!"?); it may be because something is usually pissing me off.

No matter what the reason, I tend to make a conscious choice to look this way when I'm walking alone in my neighborhood. I don't live in a particularly rough area of town, but I do live downtown, by myself, in an efficiency apartment.

I came to this apartment after an uncomfortable living situation. So when I moved into my own apartment, I was elated. I felt safe, I felt comfortable, everything was MINE, and nobody would be in my space unless I invited them and they went out of their way to come over.

I don't know any of my neighbors other than a few by sight, but I don't really care to; I'd prefer not to, in fact. My apartment is where I come to be alone, and I kind of love it.

Back to my neighborhood, it's not very bad but it's not ideal. In the fall, there were multiple reports of rapes within three blocks of my apartment. I always carry pepper spray, but I just tend to lean toward anonymity when I can.

So tonight I'm walking home from book club. It's almost 9pm, but it's June 22nd so it's really light outside. A man from my building exits the building, leading a tiny dog on a leash. I smile at the dog and happen to glance up, where my eyes meet with the dude.

"It's good to see you smile," the man says, "You're always frowning."
"Yeah, that's what people say."
"You always look so....MEAN." I'm not really sure how to reply to that, so I don't say anything.
"You'd make a good librarian!" He laughs and walks away.

I probably would make a good librarian, but I was not a huge fan of this exchange.

There's been a lot of discussion about rape on the LiveJournal the last week or so (if you've missed it, there's a summary with links here), and it just makes me think about the gendered difference of how people view things.

When I'm walking alone at night, I'm not thinking about how badly I want to go to bed or how much I want to read some manga; even if I'm talking on my phone to my boyfriend (which I make him do so someone will know exactly where I am), I'm thinking about whether or not someone could hide behind the bush I'm walking by, or how close the people on the sidewalk are to me and whether they look like they might help me if I was in trouble or if they might turn on me.

So yeah, buddy, I'm not going to smile at you or ask you how your night is going or ask you details about your personal life; I'm going to get the fuck inside my own apartment and double-bolt the door.

My friend has suggested that the next time I see this man, I should smile at his dog, and then look at the man and draw my finger across my throat while glaring. BWAHAHA.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
We read this book for my non-genre book club.

In general, this book about Third Wave Feminism promises to analyze what's up with Second vs. Third Waves, criticize popular culture, set an agenda of goals, and essentially do what its title suggests: write a feminist manifesto.

While I found most of the book at least relatively interesting, our book club in general (myself included) disliked it because its structure was so disorganized and we felt that it was too broad to really address issues that we wanted it to address. It was also irritating that the authors continuously name-dropped their close friends/acquaintances/former jobs. For a book that's trying to grab people who might not yet refer to themselves as feminists, it seems to almost go out of its way to make it so that readers cannot identify with the authors.

On the positive side, reading this book got me to buy my first copies of the magazines Bitch and Bust.

I was annoyed because the book constantly made references to (apparently common) feminist texts and people and events who I have never read/heard of. Yeah, it sucks that I was never taught about them in school, but it makes this supposedly introductory text inaccessible to me.

The book did an okay job at addressing issues that affect people of color and people who identify as LGBT. The book made a lot of good points, like Gerda Lerner's note that repeatedly throughout history, women keep learning a feminist history, and then losing it - we keep cycling through the same practices over and over, and must learn our own history to propel our progression.

What pissed me off the most about this book was that every time the authors discussed a feminist who had said anything even remotely positively pro-life, they wrote the woman off as not being a real feminist at all. This is troubling to me for obvious reasons - I am Catholic and pro-life, and I am also a feminist.

To disagree with someone and then tell them that because of their thought process, you have the power to take away their ability to identify as a feminist? Firstly, it's not your power to begin with; secondly, what the hell kind of a feminist are you?

I'd like to reference RaceFail here, because it was a huge, sprawling discussion that took place in public. Constantly throughout RaceFail, people were told, "Dude, you said something racist." The accused would freak out, saying, "I'm not racist! I'm not racist!" and the accuser would say, "I'm not calling you racist; I'm not saying you're not anti-racist; I'm saying that you said/did something racist."

In that example, people doing the calling out were not trying to steal parts of people's identities, not even labeling them as racist people. They were zeroing in on what was said, dissecting it, and trying to teach.

If you want to teach and try to change my mind, go ahead and do that. But slapping me in the face and telling me that I can't be a feminist at all is not going to change my mind: in fact, it'll probably make me hate you just a bit.

On the thread of changing minds, what's up with this strategy, anyway? Don't feminists want allies who get it to be infiltrating everywhere? We should want feminists in government, in churches, occupying spaces and making connections with people in places that most feminists don't want to be in/bother with.

So for someone to try and rob me of part of my identity because we disagree on one issue? I really don't know what to say, except for, "Well, fuck you, too."

I know I had a problem with this in Jessica Valenti's Full Front Feminism, too. One day I'll find current feminist books just for me! :O

Sometimes Necessary Abortion Disclaimer
This post is not actually about the ethics of abortion! If you would like to participate in such a discussion, please host one in your own blog. This post is about identities and the naming of groups and a book I read. Thanks.


Mar. 27th, 2009 01:26 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I have updated my 101 Primer since its original posting two months ago. Nothing has been deleted, but more links have been added (mostly to communities), as well as a new section on "Race and Fandom."

The links to RaceFail posts are by no means even remotely exhaustive, but I tried to pick the ones I thought most appropriate for a 101 primer.

I purchased the following today, for $.50 a piece!

A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly
Fever Season by Barbara Hambly
A Hunger for Home: Louisa May Alcott's Place in American Culture by Sarah Elbert
Toward a Recognition of Androgyny by Carolyn G. Heilbrun
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
Writing and Sexual Difference edited by Elizabeth Abel
The Wounded Woman by Linda Schierse Leonard
Beyond Anger: On Being a Feminist in the Church by Carolyn Osiek, R.S.C.J.

Doesn't that last one sound amazing?! From the back cover:
What happens to a woman who has a deep faith and ardent commitment to her Church, and yet who because of her honesty and openness to truth becomes more and more convinced of the validity of the feminist critique of insitutional religion?

They must undergo a conversion which will transform them. It consists in embracing the cross, not as passive victims, but as free agents capable of sustaining the liberating and redemptive suffering that is necessary in order that their continuing presence in the Church can effect needed changes according to the pattern of the Gospel.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Friend [livejournal.com profile] nylorac15 would like to ask us [me and you LJ friends of mine] what we think of this article from today's Christian Science Monitor from a feminist perspective (or, any other perspective you have to offer).

I have many opinions, but I'll start with the fact that I find it problematic that this "consultant and former presidential speechwriter" only cites one one study in his article (and even then, not very specifically).

If more women had been in charge of things, I'm certain that we could just as easily have entered our current financial crisis. God knows lots of us are greedy jerks, too.

The author takes many behaviors and ascribes them to being biologically ascribed, as opposed to socially constructed. I don't really agree with his sentiment, or would at the least need data to be convinced.

The difference could be evolutionary. Primordial hunters (men) had to make rapid decisions and act on them, right or wrong, but quickly. Chase that bunny! Club that rival! Run away! Gatherers (women), meanwhile, needed an awareness of the larger context – knowing which berry bushes would ripen when, how to keep the kids from clonking each other with rocks, and generally holding the tribe together and getting things done.


His conclusion is hopeful, but is it really related to gender, or to people learning how to be less bastardly?

By example, they will teach us to lead less through positional authority and more through positive influence- with more of a bias toward informed action and a clearer connection between everything we know, and all we have to do.

What do you think?

101 Primer

Jan. 24th, 2009 10:43 am
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
This post is for posterity, and forever under construction. It will be linked to from my profile.
At the moment, is race-heavy in linkage because of current Internet discussions, and rather light on feminist ones. This will be rectified in the future, don't worry.

I made the post mostly for myself: as a resource I can turn back to whenever I need to check myself. I encourage others to use it as well.

My journal is operating under the assumption that everyone who comments in it is beyond the 101 level when it comes to differences in gender, race, hetero-normativity, differently abled people, etc. I assume that you understand that some people benefit from privilege due to the way our society is structured.

"But, Mystickeeper!" you say. "I don't believe you!"
"Well, Jimmy," I say. "Sit your ass down, and read these posts. NO REALLY. Read them."

Privilege is Real

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
Things You Need to Understand #4
A Primer on Privilege: What it is and what it isn't
"Check My What?" On privilege and what we can do about it
Your Science Fiction Twin
Male Privilege

So you've accepted that privilege is real. Congratulations! Please keep reading.

Applying it to Real Life

Derailing for Dummies
How Not to be Insane When Accused of Racism (A Guide for White People)
Why I Hate White Anti-Racists - Because when a white person is accused of racism, their response might be: "But let me tell you about this one time when people of color were prejudiced towards me! I know what racism is all about!" No. You don't.
How to Suppress Discussions of Racism - a tongue-in-cheek piece, but very well thought-out, and points out the absurdities in the ways in which many conversations develop.
Racism = Power + Privilege
By definition, Blacks and other minorities cannot be racist because they do not have insitutional, systemic power. The term Minority doesn’t even refer to a minority of numbers any more (after all, minorities outnumber whites in many places, now), but instead to a minority of power.
Reverse racism does not exist. It just doesn’t.

Sexism = Power + Prejudice
Colour Blindness
(Color)Blindness as a Metaphor to Racism
What Kind of Card is Race?
The Privilege of Politeness
Anti-Racist FAQ
Simplifying the Language of Race: Some Definitions
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Cultural Appropriation 101
Sherman Alexie: How to write the great American Indian novel
How to write about Africa

Race and Fandom

What hurts about race and fandom
You left me outside and now you want in
Do You Even Care About Us?
RaceFail '09: This Hurts Us All
RaceFail, Silence, and Words
On Safe Spaces
The Clue Train

Positive race + fandom
The Remyth Project
[livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust
[livejournal.com profile] fight_derailing
[livejournal.com profile] verb_noire
[livejournal.com profile] iconsofcolor
[livejournal.com profile] ofcolor / People of Color SF Carnivals
Fandom/Kiva OTP!

Bingo Cards

Bingo cards exist because discussions about race and gender and what-have-you happen all the time on the Internet. No really, they do. It might be a huge and epic thing in your journal, but for, say, people of color, these conversations occur with such frequency and predictability, they are able to construct bingo cards of common ways people who benefit from privilege react in conversations that involve their privilege.

The words that fill the bingo cards are statements otherwise known as "made of fail." They take the focus away from the topic at hand (racism in society, appropriation of an oppressed culture by that of a dominant one) and re-shift it to white people and their Great Pain. Do not say these things! Ye will be called out on your shit.

Cultural Appropriation Bingo
White Liberal Bingo
Anti-Feminist Comics Bingo
W*ll Sh*tterly Bingo
Working Class Bingo
No Racism in F/SF Bingo
The 'Feminist' Discussion About Transpeople Bingo
Fat Hate Bingo
Fat Hate Bingo 2
Anti-Feminist Bingo
Cultural Appropriation Bingo

[livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur shows how a game of Bingo is "played" during the events of RaceFail 9000.

What Now?

There's a whole Internet out there! Start here:
Baby-Stepping Away from Racism: A Guide for White People
Becoming Better Allies: Consciousness-Raising for White Fans

[livejournal.com profile] racism_101
[livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite
[livejournal.com profile] ibarw
[livejournal.com profile] ap_racism
[livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking [Membership is closed; do watch and listen.]
[livejournal.com profile] 50books_poc
[livejournal.com profile] 12films_poc
[livejournal.com profile] halfamoon
[livejournal.com profile] 14valentines
[livejournal.com profile] lgbtfest
Pro-Character of Color/Anti-Racism Guide - a massive source of LJ resources! Amazing!
LearningDiversity.com: Online Vignette Exercises for Racial Diversity Training
Racialicious: The intersection of race and pop culture

Credit Where Credit is Due

Very rarely do people on the Internet stumble across a great many articles all on their lonesome. I found many of these links by way of [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong, [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, [livejournal.com profile] shewhohashope, [livejournal.com profile] zvi_likes_tv, and [livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster.

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Abortion Disclaimer!!
If you decide to comment on this post, please focus your thoughts on the topic at hand. The subject of the post is about HOW abortion is discussed, not on the morality of abortion itself. Please keep your personal feelings about whether abortion is right/wrong to your own blog.

I picked up Jessica Valenti's Full Frontal Feminism from the library, and wasn't a huge fan. Rants are sometimes cool in blogs, but I guess I expected a higher caliber of analysis, and didn't get it. Of course, there were a couple of quotes in particular that sent me into a fiery rage.

Don't have sex with someone who is anti-choice - They have no respect for your body or your ability to make decisions for yourself.
Where is this "no respect" for a woman's body coming from? Desecration of a body is a serious wrong, and it's exactly what concerns many pro-life people about abortion - this discarding of one body in favor of another. The issue of abortion is weighty and important. I don't think anybody denies this. People who decide to have abortions are not flippant about it, even though they are deeply concerned for their bodies. Likewise, people who decide not to have abortions do not think "Well, I have to have this baby and that's that." Maybe their lives will suck more. It's a serious decision that women grapple with; I think that both the pro-life crowd and the pro-choice crowd can agree on that. Neither choice is easy.

I guess my point is that being pro-life is not about a lack of respect for the female body. Maybe it is for some pro-lifers - we are obviously not all the same. But I would seriously hope that none of you would dare to think that the female body is something I have no respect for, seeing as I occupy one myself. I view pregnant women and the babies they carry like Russian nesting dolls. There isn't just one body to be valued and respected: there are two.

Does this mean that I am not worthwhile enough to have sex with simply because I am pro-life? What a simplistic and awful thing to say!

Remember that anti-choicers, at the heart of it, are just folks who are horrified at the idea of pre-marital sex. They're not the arbiters of morality, just a bunch of folks who think girls should be forever virgins.

I see this all the time, and I find its placement in this book shocking, considering that Valenti spends most of the book deconstructing common straw arguments that people use against feminists, like "All feminists are ugly" and double standards and the like.

Where is her critical thinking here?! At the heart of it, pro-lifers are a bunch of haters who are disgusted by the idea of pre-marital sex, who think that women must always remain virgins?

I just....GAH. Not all of us are blindly shaking our moralistic fingers, okay? I guess I'm just disappointed in the author because she spends the entire book deconstructing statements that are easy to say, but pass your opponent off as a straw person by shaming them. But then she gos and pulls the same bullshit. Supposedly, the book should convince women to be feminists, but if I wasn't already a feminist, I would be so insulted that it wouldn't get me very far.

I am sick of feeling insulted wherever I go. In church, I feel like I'm walking on glass because someone might say something anti-gay that pisses me off, but I feel the exact same way when I'm at Room of One's Own or Wiscon or with feminist friends and people start talking about "those religious people."
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I never know how to mark spoilers for the first volume of a manga series. Because, obviously it spoils the first volume, but it's impossible to talk about the series at all without "giving away" the premise of the series! I choose to un-cut because I think a lot of people on my friendslist will find this interesting, even those who don't normally read manga.

Ichijo Mashiro is a popular boy who plays on his school's kendo team. But the very first pages of this manga show him standing in the shower, staring at the blood from his first period on the ground. "No way," he breathes, but as we read on, we learn that it is way: Ichijo is a boy from the waist up, and a girl from the waist down. He has spent his life behaving as a boy, and kept this secret from everyone he knows.

Until now, anyway. Ichijo is forced by a mysterious teacher to stay after school for a class needed to graduate. In this class, a handful of students interact in a dream world where each of them struggles against their biggest fear, and competes for a key. The students appear to each other as manifestations of their fear. One student has two giant holes in her body: one in her face, and one in her chest; one student has turned into a long, sentient hand. Another walks around in a suit of armor, challenging his classmates for the key. Ichijo appears as he normally would....except that he is wearing a skirt. To his horror, he realizes that this dream world is not just a dream....everyone remembers everything afterward, and because his classmates can see his face, they all now know his secret.

Manga will often use ambiguous gender as a trope, but this is one of the few I've seen that actually shows the protagonist grappling with with different gender identities, and what they mean to him (or her; Ichijo is certainly a "he" in volume 1, but it remains to be seen where his heart will take him). It is clear that right now, Ichijo's view of gender is very warped.

Ichijo says, Guys are stronger. Guys are sturdier. Guys have more freedom. Guys have fewer weaknesses. That's why I want to be a guy. I focused on being like a guy so I would become one. But....when I lost to Sou...I knew it was because I'm a girl. Even though I trained so hard to become strong....I lost to a slacker...because of my body. It's really amazing how distorted everyone can get. ... This body I walk around in is the most distorted thing of all. That's why I didn't turn into anything else in that dream. Because this body is uglier than anything I know.

Of course, this is Ichijo's view of men. In the dream world, he learns that his classmate Kureha was raped on her way home from school at the age of 5. Why is it that men do nothing but hurt? she asks. If only they'd all just die....

Still, despite watching Kureha's nightmare, Ichijo still longs to be a man: I want to become a man with a steady heart. Beautiful and unwavering...I want to be a dignified man.

It will be interesting to see how Ichijo develops throughout the series. To defeat his nightmare, I'm assuming that he will choose one gender over the other. In the first volume, he seeks an open heterosexual relationship with Kureha, but it's clear (from their passionate kiss) that he and Sou have homosexual feelings for one another....or, at least, the feelings will be homosexual if Ichijo remains male.

I enjoyed this volume thoroughly, but unfortunately, it's wildly popular. I think I had this on hold at the library for a month before I got a hold of it. Oh well; future volumes will be something to look forward to.

Look, an online preview!

Questions I have right now: What does it mean to "graduate"? Will Ichijo become accepting of his body, and of what it means to be a strong woman, or will his view of gender remain warped? How come he thinks he has to be a woman to be with Sou, or a man to be with Kureha (who ironically hates men, and considers Ichijo the "only man she can be with," because he's not really a man)?

My all-time anime favorite Revolutionary Girl Utena makes me feel a lot safer. She would have a lot to say to Ichijo's "I wish I could be dignified and strong like a man." Women can be like that, too!

I try to keep track of what manga I consider "safe for kids" because I get a lot of people asking me "What series are okay for my 7-year-old daughter?" It's probably not something I would hand to my 9-year-old niece.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] maevele and [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija for alerting me to recent developments via my LiveJournal friends list.

Okay. So, this one time, Nightshade Press published an anthology of short stories, titled Eclipse One. The mix of authors contained within the anthology was evenly split between men and women. Despite having a number of good (and good-selling) female authors, every name that was on the cover was male. In addition, the marketing package of the cover art was masculine.

Taken from the Wiscon panel description from this year:
The ensuing argument centered around two main points--the publishers felt that, of the authors in the anthology, the names they'd put on the cover were likely to attract the attention of more casual buyers. And because they were in the business of making money, they could not afford to put an "agenda" ahead of anything else. Readers felt that, because no women were given a slot on the cover, the publishers were reinforcing patriarchal assumptions about who sells books, and who doesn't. Some expressed the opinion that the lack of women on the cover was actually likely to deter them from buying the book.

[livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink had a nice write-up of this panel posted in her LiveJournal, here. Of particular note is the concluding thoughts, which mirror my memory of the panel:
The book's sales history: Jeremy said it "sold to expectation," that he's already contracted for Volumes 2 and 3, and that based on the authors already accepted for Volume 2, there will be multiple women on the cover (I forget how many).

The table of contents for Volume Two has been released, and you can see it here, or with more comments accompanying it, here. Every name on that list except for one is a man's name.

So, as spelled out in the Wiscon panel description, there are two sides to the debate. Either it is okay for marketing people to shape their marketing strategy of fiction to reinforce a patriarchy, or it is a good idea for them to acknowledge the diversity in fiction that already exists.

Whatever side of the debate you lie on, there is no excuse for sending a representative (an editor responsible for the decision, no less!) to a feminist convention and have him fucking lie to the entire panel and everyone in the room about what they can expect in the future.

Seriously. WTF.

I now regret not typing up my notes on this panel yet. Perhaps I'll have time to do so tomorrow.

[livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija is actually productive in her post, and has started compiling a list of women writers and/or writers of color.
Let's make it easy for them, shall we?

Here is a convenient post listing current authors of gender and/or color who have been known to write sf and/or fantasy and/or magic realism short stories. Editors, should be uncertain whom to solicit to get fantastic stories that are not by white guys (sorry, white guys!), just check the post and comments here, and then feed the names into google. I am certain that many of the authors will be pleased to hear from you.

One could also email the list to any editors whom one happens to know are putting together anthologies. Just a thought.

Personally, I don't think the problem is simply that the white male editors have absolutely no idea where to look. I mean, it's the Internet age,right? One of the editors was at Wiscon. I don't really know what else we could do, short of a color-by-number instruction guide.

To be clear: What upsets me the most is that an editor for the publishing company came to Wiscon, sat on a panel, and lied. Who does that?

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I'm kind of astounded by how many hits both my blog and LJ have received in the last two days. People of the world, pay attention to this post, too. It is really important to look at how a feminist community responds to such a horrific event.

Pictures of me have now been posted, and excerpts of my blog entry describing the situation have been quoted by the asshats on the SASS forums. I think the most amusing part of reading that thread is their posts of "How long do you think it will take them to find this?" or "Do you think they've figured out we found their Flickr pool yet?" I mean, I know that Internet geek boys love to congratulate themselves for their ability to navigate the Internet, but don't they think that feminist sci-fi geeks might also spend their fair share of time on the Internet? WE ALSO NAVIGATE THE SERIES OF TUBES.

The Angry Black Woman posts: What Rachel Moss Did. If you're confused about WTF is going on, I suggest you begin here. TABW lays it all out for you.

Lesley at Fatshionista posts: A Modest Invitation
Take my picture.

Take it without asking. Take my picture while I’m doing something I love, something that makes me happy. In a place where I can forget that my life often feels like one long activist battle, where I can not feel constantly on my guard, not feel always vulnerable to attack, not feel as though my body is up for debate.

Take my picture, and post it online, in as many high-traffic spaces as you can muster. Identify me if you want. By name, by location, by employer. Surround that picture with vitriolic commentary about my body, my femininity or lack thereof, my perceived sexual habits, my self esteem. Laugh, and laugh, and laugh, that gut-rattling laughter of unmitigated cruelty, that laughter that comes from laughing at people who don’t know you’re laughing at them, who were going about their lives and made a target simply for not falling, unseen, unremarkably, into culturally acceptable slots - people who are targets simply for failing to be invisible.

Take my picture every fucking day for a year. Post it online, and tear me apart. Point out the innumerable imperfections in my shape, my body, my face, my fashion choices, my eating habits, my health. Keep doing it. Do it again, and again, and again. Do it as loud as you can. Do it as often as you can bear it. Be as mean and as ugly and as unabashed as your nature allows.

Do it. Take it. Take my picture and eviscerate me online. It’s just a public, out-loud, communal version of what people do to me inside their heads every single day. It’s happened to me before, online and off. It’ll happen again. It’ll happen every day I leave the house, for the rest of my life.

I am still fat, and I am still not sorry. And nothing you can say, nothing you can post, nothing you can do will change that. No matter how many times you try to humiliate me. No matter how much you want me to hate myself. Because it’s my fucking body. And I don’t owe you a damn thing.

[livejournal.com profile] purplefrog26 was the subject of one of the pictures, and replies quite eloquently in her LJ.
This incident, unfortunately, is not unusual. Fat people hear negative comments, see the disgusted looks, and feel the drawing back of people around them. It’s not a safe world to live in if you are a fat person. We lose our right to privacy. Pictures are taken for amusement. Our shopping carts are examined with the intent to judge our eating habits. Our health status is questioned. We are not treated with respect and dignity by employers, service people, or health care workers. This happens every time we step out of our homes. Unfortunately, these messages can be internalized. So not only do you face the challenges of dealing with society but you tell yourself that you are ugly, worthless and disgusting. So it becomes a radical act when you choose to live your life and love yourself despite the negativity that we swim thorough every day.

I’m not sure what this person’s objective was in posting these pathetic attempts at humor. But I know that they did not change my commitment to living my life joyfully and abundantly. And I prefer pictures to include my face.


laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)

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