“You know what else it costs to write about and talk about consent? I’m going to be super real with y’all. It has cost me the vast majority of my relationships with men. Not all at once, but eventually, over time, one by one. It was one sexist joke too many, it was one boundary-crossing-creep-defender over the line. It was the constant microaggressions or the combination of being privileged and defensive about it and unable or unwilling to do any better. Most grew weary of arguing about feminist issues, or about the fact that I wouldn’t let them just win those arguments, even though they usually had no idea what they were talking about. They couldn’t deal with the fact that I won’t allow anyone to say disparaging shit to and about me and mine. Or they won’t or can’t do better after I explain how to do better many many times and finally I have to peace out on them for my own safety. I have at present a tiny handful of guy friends. One I get into arguments with nearly every time we talk. I fear that relationship may go the way of most of my past relationships with subtly sexist men—away, that is to say. Which is really too fucking bad. Because the truth is, I don’t hate men—I hate male privilege. I really like men, shit, I love them actually, some of them. I miss having men friends, but not enough to let the mild misogyny slide. I have got to take care of me and mine. That’s where we clash, because I refuse to just smooth things over, to just let things go. They’re accustomed to deference and I’ve taught myself to drop that habit as best I can.”—Guest Post: On the costs of talking about consent - Consent Culture (via ceeainthereforthat)
“In my favorite passage from The Handmaid’s Tale, figurative language reminds us that Offred’s flesh is and isn’t flesh, and that although her body is controlled by the state, it’s far from a defined, closed system. This brief unhinging of meaning is an act of defiance. And in a world where all you’re allowed is your female body, it also may be a relief.”—I’ve writtenbefore about By Heart, a series at The Atlantic in which authors write short pieces about their favorite passages in literature. This week, our own Edan Lepucki — whose new novel you may have heard about thanks to Stephen Colbert — writes about the metaphors in Margaret Atwood’sThe Handmaid’s Tale. (FYI, Margaret Atwoodwrote a Year in Reading entry for The Millions.)
Being alone in our present society raises an important question about identity and well-being.
How have we arrived, in the relatively prosperous developed world, at least, at a cultural moment which values autonomy, personal freedom, fulfillment and human rights, and above all individualism, more highly than they have ever been valued before in human history, but at the same time these autonomous, free, self-fulfilling individuals are terrified of being alone with themselves?
We live in a society which sees high self-esteem as a proof of well-being, but we do not want to be intimate with this admirable and desirable person.
“I tell people not to be afraid of their fears; because their fears are not there to scare them, they’re there to let them know that something is worth it. Yet I am often afraid. I guess that means in my life, lots of things have been worth it!”—C. JoyBell C. (via observando)
Suddenly her mom’s silence matched Jackie’s own. “Oh, my God,” she murmured in disbelief. “Are you gay?”
"Yeah," Jackie forced herself to say.
After what felt like an eternity, her mom finally responded. “I don’t know what we could have done for God to have given us a fag as a child,” she said before hanging up.
She got a call from her older brother. “He said, ‘Mom and Dad don’t want to talk to you, but I’m supposed to tell you what’s going to happen,’” Jackie recalls. “And he’s like, ‘All your cards are going to be shut off, and Mom and Dad want you to take the car and drop it off at this specific location. Your phone’s going to last for this much longer. They don’t want you coming to the house, and you’re not to contact them. You’re not going to get any money from them. Nothing. And if you don’t return the car, they’re going to report it stolen.’ And I’m just bawling. I hung up on him because I couldn’t handle it.” Her brother was so firm, so matter-of-fact, it was as if they already weren’t family.
Here’s a sure-fire way to know that you hate women: when an incident of intimate partner violence in which a man knocks a woman unconscious gains national attention and every question or comment you think to make has to do with her behavior, you really hate women. Like, despise.
There is no other explanation. There is no “I need all the facts.” There is no excuse. You hate women. Own it.
Now, you probably don’t believe you hate women. You probably honestly think you’re being an objective observer whose only interest is the truth. You are delusional.
We have this problem in our discourse around the most important challenges we face where we feel we have to be “fair to both sides.” But sometimes, one of those sides is subjugation and oppression. If you’re OK with legitimizing that side in the interest of “fairness,” you’re essentially saying you’re OK with oppression as a part of the human condition. That’s some hateful shit.
“Consider this: Lebanon is hosting 1.14 million refugees from Syria, the equivalent of 83 million refugees in the United States — or the combined population of California, Texas, and New York. And what has the United States done to relieve the human burden on Lebanon and Syria’s other neighbors? In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2014, the US admitted a grand total of 63 Syrian refugees.”—US to Syrian Refugees: We’ll Give You Money But Stay Away, Please (via humanrightswatch)
Two other women, also breast cancer survivors, said their husbands left them after they were diagnosed. Both had to have mastectomies (in case anyone doesn’t know, this is the surgical operation to remove one or both breasts).
The first woman said her husband told her that he would rather see her dead than see her lose her breasts. The second woman had her operation and waited all day to be picked up by her husband, who never arrived. By nightfall, one of the nurses offered to give her a ride, and she came home to find the house empty.
Obviously, these are extreme cases of a man’s reaction to his wife’s breast cancer, but this is what I see when I see the “I ♥ Boobies” bracelets. I see love of the body parts, not the person being treated—not the patient, not the victim, not the survivor.
if you’ve recently heard sam smith’s version of “fast car,” which is going around a lot of blogs today (including outofficial)—please, please, please, promise me you will go listen to the original version. it’s not a heartfelt jazz cover about reckless love penned by a white british gay guy. it’s one small but important part of a fucking masterpiece of an album about being a dead broke, young black lesbian struggling to survive in a fucked up, racist country, and yet still daring to believe in love, and revolution, and a better life.
I have absolutely no quibble with discovering great older work through new covers, or even finding room to love both (or many) versions passionately. (I actually really like sam smith’s album, for whatever that’s worth.)
but in this case the history of the album is really, really important. it was this startlingly specific piece of art that still resonated enough with enough people in 1988 that it sold millions of copies and was nominated for an album of the year grammy. (which she didn’t win, though she she did take home three, including best new artist and best female pop vocal performance for “fast car”—which also went to #3 on the billboard hot 100, which is sort of impossible to believe but true.)
this album was one of those “i didn’t know we could do that” moments in my young life, and if you’ve never heard it before, i hope you’ll take the time to listen now. it holds up well. too well.
Yes to all of this, and especially yes to please listen to this album because it and Tracy are among my all time faves, but one small amendment: Tracy Chapman is not necessarily a lesbian. AFAIK, she’s only been romantically linked with women but she’s never described herself as lesbian - she avoids describing her sexuality - so while she’s LGBT+ we don’t know if she’s gay or bi or pan, and I think that’s important to respect.