MRAs vs. MRAs (TM): The Difference

Content note: Discussion of sexism and MRA douchebags.

There was a time when I identified as both a feminist and a men’s rights activist. Some people thought that was cool, including many men. Others thought it was contradictory. I didn’t see why then, but I see why now. Hence, I no longer identify as a men’s rights activists, but I am sympathetic to some of their goals, to the extent that they’re compatible with feminism.

For example, I agree that male victims of domestic violence and rape are ignored and vilified. I agree that there is a certain bias in family court against men and, to a certain extent, in our culture’s family life as a whole. I think gender harms men. I feel the child support system as it exists is unfair to noncustodial parents, who tend to be men. I feel that false rape and false abuse allegations are a real problem and they are more common than people admit. I only say this because I experienced this first hand more than once. There was a time when I would have NEVER uttered the words “false” or “allegation” in the same sentence until it happened to me.

That said, there is a huge difference between being sensitive to men’s rights as victims, human beings, family members, employees, etc. and claiming that THEY are the REAL victims of the evil feminists. There’s a difference between claiming that men are ignored and vilified in family courts and victim’s circles and claiming that this NEVER happens to women, that it’s easy for women and they have all the perks. There’s a difference between men and women having an open discussion about false allegations and pretending that false allegations are the majority of allegations and that feminist concerns about rape and DV are a myth. There’s a difference between critiquing woman-centered policies and claiming that they have no right to exist and were never needed. And way too many “MRAs” makes assumptions that fall into the latter categories of each sentence and make the cornerstone of their “activism” a hatred of women rather than solidarity with men or a desire to, you know, just be a good person. Like many SJWs, they want to feel victimized in some way, much like transactivists pretend to be victims of biological women and lesbians.

So what’s the difference? In being involved with RAINN, doing research and having my experiences with “men’s rights issues” and with being falsely accused by another (unstable) woman, I have found that any legitimate male victim or men’s issues advocate will center their activism on the subject at hand. I wish I could find the article, but of course I didn’t save it. It was an article, written by a man, why the majority of assistance goes to women when it comes to domestic violence. He acknowledged the fact that when it comes to government funds, the priority is immediately safety. Women are far more vulnerable than men to physical injury and and are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed because of DV. The majory of victims of spousal homicides are women. Basically, the author acknowledged the need for woman-centered policy and when helping men, he focused on what men can do for themselves or each other. Absolutely not a word of it blamed women or feminism or expected women or feminism to do the work. He even acknowledged how patriarchal gender norms hurt men, as opposed to claiming that they were really matriarchal feminist inventions. Lastly, he called out to men who are able to start the process, being open about DV against men, calling on men’s businesses to create resources for men, etc. It was refreshing.

It was also illuminating.

In my experience, men who are real victims, who are serious about helping victims and helping men, focus on helping men. They do not blame or hate women. They do not see feminism as their enemy. They seek solidarity with feminists at best, or at least don’t bother feminists. To me, these are good men, they are my brothers in the fight for a less gendered and more just world.

They are also the minority of the voices that refer to themselves as MRAs. It’s almost impossible to talk about MRA issues without finding a cesspool of chauvanist pigs that really hate women, that think feminism is the worst thing to happen to modern society, and who believe in strict gender roles. Domestic violence wasn’t an issue when men were men and women were women, staying home, serving men while men ruled. Then there are the women who vouch for them, who honsetly hate women just as much as these men do. I have actually heard a well-known “female” activist online claimed that women ruled over men throughout the whole of human history and that all examples of female oppression were a myth. And she was dead serious. And I was horrified, not just at the misogyny, but at the sheer stupidity. We all know this type. And it is because of this type that I no longer call myself an MRA. However, I continue to hold onto the feminist label. And the men that know me who are MRAs know this and respect this. I have never had a problem with MRAs targeting or harassing me, at least not yet. I think maybe because they know I don’t defer to trolls.

Anyway, there’s my nugget of wisdom/self disclosure for the day. I hope any readers that venture over here find this useful.

Suicide Mission in Oklahoma: A New Low in the Bathroom Wars

You gotta be fucking kidding me.

Another day, another organization that I have to withdraw my support from because they’ve decided to take up All Trans, All the Time instead of the cause that, you know, their actual reason for being. Cue Americans United for Separation of Church and State with this gem here:

http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/posts/2016/5/20/4ooqzmi90squhg1ghy0wbq7ak37f37

You know how reports have surfaced that women are being asked to leave sex-segregated areas to protect the rights of AGPs to get their freak on? Well, transactivists just took it a step further in Oklahoma. Now, women aren’t even allowed to leave…not for comfort, not for modesty, not for equal access, not for safety, and now…not even for religion. Jewish, Christian and Muslim females in Oklahoma are the latest casualties in Trans Warfare. Free speech and free association for women and lesbians were given the shaft long ago,and if the thrill of that violation of boundaries wasn’t enough, they are now going after the religious freedom rights of women AND men from conservative faiths. In a deep red state.

Can you say political suicide? Which would be fine if they weren’t dragging women and LGBs down with them.

According to the author, it’s an undue burden on the school to have gender neutral bathrooms AND build separate sex-specific facilities that bar access to transgender students. Except we don’t need to do that. We could keep facilities segregated and ask that people use the bathrooms that are designed for their birth sex. Or we could maintain women’s spaces and turn half of, or all of, men’s spaces into gender neutral options. But that would be too easy.

So you don’t want transgender students to be denied access. Well, hate to break it to you, but people do, in fact, have a right to not like you, not associate with you, and serve purposes that aren’t yours. Are you going to force the black student union to admit Asians because bigotry? Funnel federally funded low income resources to the wealthy because discrimination? That’s where we’re headed with this nonsense. If anyone was still in doubt, transactivists want to turn every last woman, and now man, into a prisoner. We can’t even leave now. We can’t even opt out. We can’t even ask. This is bad.

But wait…there’s good news…followed by terrible news. The religious right has a lot of clout down there and they’re not about to be pissed on like this. There will be an uproar, and it will be volcanic…unbelievably massive, hellacious, Mt. St. Helens volcanic.

The downside? We already know. Feminism and gay rights will be stalled, if we’re lucky, and reversed if not. Our parasitic relationship with T will put us in a position where we are taking the bullet for their excess.

As far as this battle specifically, what could happen? Well, more than likely, patents will take their daughters out of school. If their parents have means, they might have a chance at a decent education by going to private school or being homeschooled. Both of those options can put a serious dent in a family’s material and emotional resources even when said family HAS means. If the family doesn’t have means, the female student may end up with no education at all, and few opportunities to participate in public life. If a girl’s parents opt to homeschool for religious reasons, which is very likely, she will probably get a substandard and biased education, or possibly no education. Not Being in public school anymore, she will no longer have a chance to be exposed to feminists, the gay community, or anyone substantially different from her family, nor ideas other than her own. For an LGB child, or a GNC child, it’s a prisoner from which there is no real reprieve. If the family takes advantage of lack of homeschooling oversight to abuse or neglect their gay or gender variant child, there exists a real threat to the safety of these children.

But who cares, right?

And don’t get me started on the Constitution. Ever heard of the establishment clause? The free exercise clause? Thou shalt not engage in establishment of (transgenderist) religion, or prohibit the free exercise of (non transgenderist) thereof. And what about the 14th amendment…equal protection for born women? Ha! What about the ADA? Shouldn’t that cover psychiatric disability due to sexual trauma, and aren’t psych disabilities entitled to free and reasonable accommodations? Will women be forced to disclose the nature of their condition or the trauma that led to it? Will they be forced to prove that they really need those protections, and denied if they can’t, or won’t?

I think we need to change gears. Women’s rights might be kaput, but the First Amendment still has teeth. Maybe we should petition to have radical feminism declared a religion. Hey, if they can butcher Title IX the way they have, we can do this. After all, unlike transgender as science, radical feminism as religion has some truth to it.

Part II on Feminist Separatism

Earlier in the year, I talked about the validity and necessity of feminist separatism. Talk to feminist separatists and you will get a difference answer from each one as to what that looks like. I already explained what feminist separatism means…but now I want to discuss what it isn’t.

It isn’t a hatred or lack of concern for men any more than it’s being overly concerned with men, liking or loving men, or having sex with men. Feminist separatism means prioritizing women in at least most areas of your life and on fighting for women’s liberation. I would say that feminists that spend a lot of time openly hating men are just as obsessed with men as smitten straight women…just in the opposite direction. In both senses, we are spending entirely too much time on men, their behavior, their feelings, their needs or perceived needs, etc. And it keeps us trapped in a victim mentality and keeps us from coming together as women, solving our own problems, and declaring our emancipation from men. What I see in many areas of feminism is a love-hate relationship, which is neither healthy in my view, nor consensual. To be truly emancipated and separate, I think our goal is to be…indifferent. Willing to take men and their causes, or leave them, on our own terms. Not being beholden to them, nor reflexively rejecting them and theirs.

Some people reading will read this and be like…wait a minute, I am a separatist, I don’t like men, and she’s criticizing me. Don’t I have a right to not like men, to only associate with women, etc? This isn’t about anyone personally. You no more have to justify keeping men out of your life , or focusing solely on women, anymore than I have to justify spending all my time on, say, Star Wars, Muslim culture, or animal rights. It’s my time, my life and I have the right to my priorities, as do you. We need woman-loving women who will prioritize women, and especially lesbians. Good for you!

On the other hand, I have seen feminists (of all stripes-liberal, radical, intersection, third wave, whatever) in many places over the years criticizing straight women, bisexual women, “misguided” lesbians, and women in general for having men in their lives and being concerned about men’s issues. They are seen as handmaidens of the patriarchy and not being truly feminist. I’m not calling out anyone specific, because I’m not here to start a pissing contest with other bloggers, just making a general observation. The thing with me is, I do care a lot about men, individually and as a group. I care about male victims of rape and domestic violence, even on the rare occasions when a woman initiates. I care about the ways that gender is destructive to men, the concerns of working class men, and poor treatment of male prisoners. I care about lots of men’s issues and gender-neutral issues. Not because I am intimately involved with a man that expects this of me. Not because I feel guilty. Not because some jackass MRA with a sense of entitlement and too much time wrote me a foul-mouthed email calling me a misandrist and sending me rape and death threats.

It’s integrity. It’s solidarity. I can, and do, focus on the unique impact that these issues have on women, and about issues that only pertain to women. But as a gender abolitionist, a pacifist, a progressive, as the kind of decent human being I want to be…I include men in my activism because men, too, are gravely injured by gender (even though women remain the primary victims). They face a lot of the issues that women face, as well as issues that women will never face. I have a father. I will, someday, likely have foster sons. I care about them, as do many other feminist women. My greatest ally as a gender non-conforming kid was my father. My mother demanded a very specific kind of femininity from me, but my father was more than happy to let me be who I was. He was so proud of his daughter, playing with footballs and rubber snakes with the boys, while wearing my frilly dress, my pigtails, and my Mary Janes. He had no problem with my dolls, or my secretive habit of flipping through his tool handbooks. He is a man’s man who loves theatre and classical music. Even though, as a man who has male privilege, he has also been my biggest ally, has a number of feminist views, and has encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be. He took me shopping for men’s clothes when I wanted them. He let me wear makeup and heels when I wanted to. He supported me when I wanted to take automechanics in high school. He is my friend, and I’m not the only woman to be fortunate enough to have a man like that in my life. I genuinely want to help him the way he has helped me. That’s mutual solidarity, not women serving men.

I care about basic human and civil rights that all people benefit from. I defend a man’s right to express misogynistic, politically conservative views as much as I may hate them because I value the First Amendment. I just as much so, if not more so, defend people like Julie Bindel because in addition to respecting her freedom of speech, I believe in her ideas. The thing about rights is, you can’t value rights only for people you like…because it quickly puts you on the defensive the moment a large group of people decides they don’t like you…and tries to vote/protest your rights and protections away. Anyway, I hold the view that there is no such thing as liberation that is gained at someone else’s expense, and that liberation is about more than subjective feelings, more than entitlements, more than theory and definitely, definitely more than purist identity politics. It’s a philosophy of life and meaningful praxis.

This, here, is my separatism. It is a primary, but not exclusive, focus on born women. It’s knowing how the world and its power structures impact women differently, in ways that men do not and cannot. It’s also the freedom to interact with men on my own terms. My interaction with men has nothing to do with my feelings about men as individuals or as a group. It is, to the best of my ability, purely a function of my principles and desires. Detachment is the principle that defines my idea of separatism. And I’m damn proud of it.

Agree? Disagree? Discuss away!

 

A Place for Separatism: Straight Talk About Survivorship Part One

I’m a survivor of trauma and domestic abuse. I’m a survivor of economic hardship. I’m a survivor of a lot of things, many of which are too personal to cover here at this time.

The point is, I am a survivor. I didn’t get here by myself, but a lot of my success has to do with my knowledge and my choices. Throughout my life, I have assisted other people, women and men, to learn that same knowledge and exercise those same choices.

The theme of the day is separatism in survivorship. Meaning, the struggles we have as women are honestly best addressed through a certain degree of separation from men. We as feminists talk about how men need to do more housework and childcare. Men need to respect sexual boundaries. Men need to understand that as primary caregivers, women have difficulty in the workforce that men, who traditionally were breadwinners, do not have. Yes, this is a huge generalization, but my years in the mainstream liberal feminist blogsphere left me with this impression: It’s men’s job to not rape us. It’s men’s job to change. It’s men’s job to stop abusing their privilege over us. And we won’t stop speaking out until it happens.

Friends and sisters, waiting for men to change is a waste of time.

Instead of speaking out, we need to act out. Separatism is acting out. All of my friends that I have assisted in their struggles…were derailed by men. Every. Time. A friend of mine has two young children, her first born at age 20, and two divorces under her belt. She is now dependent on her parents and the state, with no job or education and of course her two children. Her second husband was the man that raped her in high school. I told her to separate from men, at least for the time being. Focus on you and your kids. Learn to stand alone. Stop seeking out and partnering with men in your brokenness because every union you have will be as broken as you (and they) are. I’ve given her this advice a number of times and offered to help and each time, she chooses brokenness.

I’m successful in large part because my life and my survival does not center men. I do not have a boyfriend and don’t want one (I’m not attracted to them anyway). I have a few close male friends and family (total daddy’s girl here) but otherwise I don’t have an interest. Every time I have approached a man for everything, he takes it as an invitation to interact with me sexually, often after my clear and firm REFUSAL. This has had tragic consequences for me in the past. No more. I work in a pink collar job and I survive largely because of overtime. I live my myself and receive help from no one…not my parents, not a partner, and definitely not the state. Remember the state? The same state that is funded and controlled by men, who, as a class, make more money and therefore pay more taxes? Including welfare programs, domestic violence programs, and other programs that are supposed to be women’s salvation? Yeah, how’s that working out? Oh, yeah, it’s NOT. Women continue to be trapped in economic servitude, either by the welfare state or my marriage to men. Women’s very bodies are enslaved by the demand that women bear children for the state (since women often cannot realistically get help unless they have [more] children. But once those children are born, you’re a sponge, a leech, and the state will threaten you with loss of support. Nice.)* That’s by design. I am childless, and that’s a large part of my success. I understand that women who have children (for whatever reason) might not be able to enjoy that same success. That’s why I devote so much of my time and my money assisting women who cannot be totally self sufficient and helping women to avoid common pitfalls (thinking that a pregnancy will help her keep her man, etc.) It’s my goal in life to take in teenage girls in foster care to help them establish independence before they leave the system. Help them survive without men. Help them avoid the pitfall that is pregnancy and parenting as a poor teenager that so many foster teens fall into.

Women are not responsible for the actions of men, or the women that enable them. Women as a class, however, are responsible for seeing the pattern and making the choice to break the cycle. I’m not responsible for the actions of the men, or the women, in my life who have done me harm. They and they alone are responsible. But now that I am on the other side, I am responsible for learning about it and choosing how to react to it. As a woman and activist, I am also responsible for using what I know to help others who are still stuck.

So what is the practical takeaway? Do not think that agreeing to stay at home and do the work of homemaking or child care will protect you from being devastated by divorce. Do not agree to raise a child that you are not interested in raising because the man wants it. Don’t expect miracles from a state-funded support system that is funded and controlled by men. In other words, think about what YOU can do on your own and don’t give a shit about what your man wants (if you have one). Any man worth being in your life is willing to be your equal. Do not allow him to make demands of you (change your name after marriage, give up your income, etc.) that he is not willing to make equally. Screw them. Stop seeking relationship with men and focus on yourself and women. If you want relationship with men, wait until you are acting from a place of wholeness and not brokenness, like so many friends before me.

I understand that the bulk of this is directed at straight women who are actively involved with men. If you are a lesbian feminist, your activist dynamics are going to be different and I’m sure active lesbian feminists already know what their priorities are. But for younger lesbian feminists, I offer the following advice. When men makes demands of you, ask yourself what they are willing to do in return. Ask how this benefits *you.* Don’t be swayed by accusations of man-hating. Saying no is not hatred of men. And it’s high time that men as a class learned that.

My personal litmus test is the name change question: I don’t seek marriage to men, but when I meet men and the topic of getting married and having children comes up, I like to ask them: Will you change your name upon marriage or become hyphenated with me? Or can I be the primary breadwinner? Just asking those questions in a joking manner tends to shock and insult them and it’s pretty entertaining to watch. It also tells me the depth of their male privilege and their idea of what marriage means. Your litmus test may be different and if you’re a lesbian, you probably won’t need one. Just be AWARE of what men are really asking and be AWARE, more importantly, of what it means for you.

First responders will always tell you: Take care of yourself first. It’s not just your right, it’s a necessity. And it has never been more necessary for women as a class to take that to heart. It’s not hate. It’s tough love.

 

*I know that most women do not have babies “for the welfare.” There are a few that do, but most women already were pregnant or had children and tried other means of surviving. And if you do have children “for the welfare,” it’s a bad move because the payments and assistance are pitiful and inconsistent. I’m not accusing people of having babies for government payments. My point is that lots of help is not available to women without children, mothers who work but make “too much money,” and women who are not involved with the baby’s father, hence creating the incentive to be attached to men and to bear children. I and other women have horror stories of people at DHS offices telling us we should get pregnant because then we become a priority. It’s a real thing.

Raging Liberal Bias Redux

It has been three years since I posted this and I am, in many respects, a different person with a different life. I was in my early 20s, in college on and off, and living with my parents when I wrote this. However, with the exception of a few details, I still very much agree with what I wrote. It rings even more true in the age of Twitter and Tumblr activism (more like harassment) and I wish more people that identify as liberal would read and take it to heart. Having different political views does NOT make someone else a bad person.

“As I’m sure many of you are aware, a popular fat acceptance blogger is involved in a spat with No Lose and certain bloggers over the issue of racism. Maybe he could have handled the situation with more sensitivity. Maybe he could have taken more time to educate himself. Maybe this, maybe that, maybe not. The issue has been beaten to death elsewhere, so I won’t comment specifically on that here. However, I am noticing some larger patterns in fat discourse and that is what I want to discuss.

I was not blogging at the time, but I was reading when the fracas happened with Junkfood Science. I remember what happened to two bloggers over a post on privilege. Racism is a major topic of discourse, and I keep seeing the same patterns. A small, but extremely vocal group of bloggers consistently takes it upon themselves to be the thought and language police, even when the people they are talking to are the very people they claim to be helping.

We fat activists love talking about diversity as long as it’s the cute kind. We love to talk about diversity of color, diversity of ability, and diversity of sex partner. We love the shiny and the obvious.

I hate to call it “shiny and obvious” because the identities of many of our bloggers are far from shiny and obvious, and the issues we have have dimensions and solutions that are also far from shiny and obvious. When I use that phrase, I mean that we are quick to support those types of diversity and call people out when they fail to do everything they could do. Yet diversity does not just include those differences. It includes more elusive differences like ethnicity, culture, and political ideology. It includes religion. It includes individual human differences from people within the same class.

Because not all black people have the same experiences or the same ideas about society, race, and prejudice. Not all poor people are Democrat. Not all disabled people like “people-first” language or “politically correct” (hate that term!) terminology. The moment we fail to listen to the people themselves, and instead opt to speak for them, we have ceased to be diverse and a movement of the people.

Even issues of disability or class, while “cute,” popular diversity topics, are more complicated than they appear and most people don’t appreciate this. People with mental impairments-autism, schizophrenia, speech/language impairments, etc.-are very disprivileged and deserve to be part of social justice movements. However, they might not be initiated into white, upper-middle class, liberal blogging culture. They might not be capable of being initiated. People who are lower-middle class and below also will not be initiated into this culture. These people might also not WANT to be initiated because they don’t relate to it. The fact that there IS such a culture as liberal, social justice blogging culture runs counter to my notion of diversity.

Something that I have noticed about some liberals is that they tend to assume that  the whole world operates according to the power dynamics of wealthy, white nations. The acronym of choice is WASP men-white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. If you are one of these WASP men, you are very privileged in the United States and most other white, wealthy nations. However, these aren’t necessarily privileges everywhere. Being Protestant, for example, is very privileged here but not at all in other parts of the world. Fat and social justice activism doesn’t just happen in these countries. It happens in countries where the masculine ideal is very different from ours. It happens in countries where being a Christian is a serious risk to your life. It happens in countries that are mostly white, but where being white and a member of the wrong ethnic group forces you to live in a ghetto. It happens in countries where most people are working class and even in countries with values more conservative than ours. It also happens in white, wealthy nations with ethnic minorities and immigrants.

Another thing I notice is the tendency to throw around the terms “white,” “Caucasian,” and “Anglo-Saxon” around without really knowing what they mean. The term “Caucasian” does not mean “white” and lots of people who we consider people are color are considered “Caucasian” by the census and population researchers. The term “white” refers to a rainbow of skins. Meanwhile, the term “Anglo-Saxon” refers, or should refer, to those of who actually…well…Anglo-Saxon. Not all Caucasians or whites are Anglo-Saxon and to just toss it around in that fashion glosses over huge differences in ethnicity and culture.

You might say I’m splitting hairs here, that what matters is perception. You might not actually be white or Anglo-Saxon, but if you look that way, you are privileged over those that don’t. I would agree with that. Our society prizes certain qualities and if you can “pass,” you have a lot of advantages. I’m saying that it’s more complex than that. What if you are Anglo-Saxon and DON’T look it? What if you have other factors that work against that privilege, like class? What if you come from a different country or culture in which the power dynamics are different from those in the US? If I was Serbian, I might look Anglo-Saxon in the US and benefit from that, but people in certain parts of Eastern Europe might know that I’m Serbian and treat me accordingly. Being “Anglo-Saxon” carries no privilege in that case.

In any case, if we want to pride ourselves on our cultural awareness, it is hugely hypocritical to gloss over ethnic and cultural differences in this way, even if on the surface, it doesn’t seem to matter much.

I’m of a lower class than many prominent fat acceptance bloggers. My political ideology is a lot farther to the right (I’m a moderate with a mixture of liberal and conservative ideas), and my religion isn’t popular in this population either. I have carved out my own safe space on my blog for my religion and politics, but when it comes to class and gender, forget about it. I’m a men’s rights activist as well as a feminist, I don’t identify with modern mainstream feminism, and I’m viewed in the same way as one might view a cockroach in some circles. Despite having known poverty and public assistance, my views of these issues are often not welcome.

Again, I have carved out a safe space for myself and I like a lot of blogs that our community has to offer. If we don’t agree, then we don’t agree. That’s not the issue. The issue is that certain prominent people have taken it upon themselves to be advocates for the disprivileged, to label themselves as culturally aware, and proceed to tell us how we should do social justice. I don’t do it your way. I don’t think like you. I don’t need your approval. When you insist that I fit into your blogging culture and your perception of my own life, then I’M being silenced. In the name of giving me a voice. When you do this to others, you are doing the same thing.

You don’t have to agree with me or change your views. You can choose not to read me. I hope you will still read me, as I still read many of you and enjoy much of your work. All I ask is that you do a better job of seeing us as human beings, not members of monolithic tribes you happen to dislike.

I used to think the same way. I was a teenager, a Socialist, upper-middle class, and a perfect fit for the current blogging culture of fat acceptance. When I grew up and I much lost my cultural and economic privilege, I was confronted with my own prejudices and I eventually left that culture behind. It does not match my life or my identity as I know it, and it’s really racist, classist, and all around prejudiced to insist that we all think the same way, or that we should. And I don’t mean the “all white people benefit from racism and are thus implicitly racist” type of racism. I mean genuinely prejudiced. It’s a denial of the agency of oppressed people and I’m done with it. It took me years to see people that didn’t think like me were actual, fully fleshed out people instead of caricatures. Now I can hardly believe that I used to see anyone that way.

And you know what else happened? I have earned the respect of people MUCH farther to the right than me politically. They see ME as a person. They like me and want to work with me on stuff we have in common. Best of all, we actually have a lot in common.

Fat acceptance should be a safe space for fat people and from fat-related healthism/ableism. It should respect and embrace intersectionality in all its forms. In order to really do that, we need to reconsider what intersectionality is and it’s time that we abandoned our raging liberal bias.”

What I Accept, What I Deny, and Random Facts about your Host

So it’s been some time since I’ve updated a blog regularly. Now that I have a few new followers, I want to go over some 101 stuff for people that have never used my blog before.

  1. I’m really relaxed. My blog isn’t a total free speech zone, but I like to err on the side of letting people speak.
  2. I am an SJW-free zone. Most people here are here because they care about justice, equality, and human dignity on some level. This is not the same as being an SJW, the people you see on Tumblr that ride your ass over your choice in pronouns, Disney movies, or hairstyle.
  3. I don’t expect people to be “nice” all the time, but I do expect logic and reasonably polite discussion. You don’t need to be timid or sickeningly sweet to be appropriate.
  4. I am politically and culturally all over the map. I have some very liberal views, some very conservative views and most of my views are moderate. I use a lot of sources that I, and probably many of you, disagree with. After all, just because they’re not like you doesn’t mean they’re wrong and even if they are, your position is stronger when you hear your enemy’s words straight from the horse’s mouth. I provide validation but I’m not an echo chamber. I feel that if you get all your news and opinion only from radical feminist sources, Jezebel, Buzzfeed, libertarian sources, or any other source, you’re just as indoctrinated as someone who only watches Faux News.
  5. I identify as a feminist, but some people, after reading my writing, would call me not a good feminist or even anti-feminist. So to eliminate confusion, this is my view of feminism. It’s a lens first and an identity second. I use a feminist lens to view my life and the world, but I do not necessarily adhere to all feminist positions (since feminists disagree all the time). As far as I’m concerned, if you agree that women should have all the same legal rights as men, if you exercise those rights and help other women do the same, you’re at least halfway feminist to me. And by women, I do mean members of the XX caste or intersex (NOT trans) equivalents.
  6. Insofar as I am feminist, I am a mixture of all different schools of feminist thought, but I draw mostly on socialist and libertarian feminist thought. I like Wendy McElroy and Cathy Brennan. Gee, living on the edge.
  7. I used to identify as a men’s rights activist, but I learned quickly how many of these men legitimately hate women and feminism and there was no way I was going to suck those dicks (or any dick, for that matter). However, I remain a big fan of Glen Sacks.
  8. I’m Roman Catholic and damn proud of it. I write about religion A LOT. And I’m protective of the Church…A LOT. I love priests and the pope…A LOT. I also love diversity and religious freedom A LOT, so don’t be shy, my non-Catholic peeps.

Oh, and don’t attack me or other posters. If you want to criticize my sources or critique on, say, domestic violence, please do so…with facts and reason. Calling me a woman-hating, rape apologist, dickweed that should die in a tire will get you absolutely nowhere. If that’s all you have, I will be forced to assume you have nothing more substantive to say and can’t challenge me…so…don’t do that please.

Basically I accept most stuff, don’t deny a whole lot, and will post trigger warnings or content notes as appropriate. Just as I want to be comfortable posting, I want my readers to be comfortable reading. Feel free to email me or leave a comment on my contact page if you have any issues.

Welcome, have fun.:)

I just can’t…

These days, I just can’t.

Presumably, people attach themselves to liberal and progressive activism because they value open-mindedness and tolerance. They see it as an intrinsic part of valuing human life. Tolerance meant defending the legal and cultural rights of others to exist. It meant being open to new ideas rather than just accepting the status quo.

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. Being tolerant no longer involves the inclusion and participation of marginalized people’s. It no longer means respecting the right of all people to have their day in court. It means we must celebrate and validate them, and give them a platform, even if doing so violates our goals and boundaries. It means being open to attitudes, behaviors and people whose goal is abuse, exploitation, and erasure. Being open minded no longer means open to ideas that challenge the status quo. It means being open to the status quo and revamped versions thereof as being “revolutionary” when they’re not. And as good liberals, we have to take it up the ass or else risk being labeled a bigot.

And notice that it’s always we who are the bigots. People aren’t called bigots who insist on colonizing our movements and our spaces, being contemptuous of our goals and violating our boundaries. We’re the bigots for not doing a good enough job sucking it and pretending we enjoy it.

You know what else I’m tired of? People ignoring the “social” part of social justice activism and making social movements all about them, their choosy choices, their special snowflake feelings and circumstances. You can’t make, or analyze, social observations without someone whining that they aren’t like that, they don’t experience that, or that you’re somehow not sufficiently inclusive of their totally individual life/categories of oppression. Well, that’s because it’s not about you. Social trends don’t cease to exist, or matter, just because they don’t affect, or reflect on, you. It’s like object constancy, a capacity that infants normally develop within the first few months of life, wherein they learn that objects and people still exist after they’ve left your line of sight. I wish more social activists would learn that.

I’m done being open to violations of my principles. I’m done being tolerant of abuse and exploitation. No more.

In other, related news, I recently reunited with an old childhood friend and she has claimed, for years, that she is fat accepting. Upon probing, however, I realized that she spends a lot of time talking about dieting on her Facebook page. Upon questioning her about it, she still claims to be “radically fat accepting” but she’s the heaviest she’s ever been and she’s not quite comfortable with it.

So we have officially entered the Twilight Zone where radical fat acceptance is inclusive of dieting. Big surprise. I’m done.

The Right To Face Value

I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Basically, it’s a caution against over-analysis, a reminder that sometimes, things really are simple and they really are as they seem. No one likes to be thought of as simple, and we tend to not like it when people make assumptions about us and think about us in stereotype. In a sense, we like to be complicated and be seen as such. I know I do, and I have no shame about that. Sometimes, though, it can be a gift to be taken at face value, and it’s something that I took for granted.

If you are mentally ill, you may know what I’m talking about.

Let’s look at depression and anxiety, common mental health diagnoses that complicate your life and the way people interact with you. Depression and anxiety can be biochemical or situational. Regardless of the cause, anxiety and depression add layers to your life that aren’t immediately visible. That bitter, sarcastic unwillingness to go out with friends could be disguising agoraphobia. That laziness you see in your co-worker could be depression. Mention depression or anxiety and your mind teems with possibilities as to what’s REALLY going on in that crazy ass, mysterious head of yours.

That said, sometimes…a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes, there’s no trick, no hidden motive, no mystery to be solved to the mentally healthy. People with mental health conditions, learning or mental disabilities have the same struggles, emotions, bad days and hissy fits that you do. That seems to get lost in discussions about normalization. There’s this push to destigmatize mental illness and to treat mental patients like any other segment of a population and yet…we are still treated like patients and like less than full adults in every area of our lives.

Some examples:

  • If you want to spend some time alone, someone will always ask what’s wrong in your life to make you want to isolate yourself. Someone else might take it a step further and force you to interact. If you resist, it’s a sign of your advanced state of mental disease. The idea that you might just really want some “me” time, or that you are an introvert who really does prefer being alone, is not entertained.
  • If you express any negative emotion at all, it will be written off as a sign of your illness and instability, a biochemical curiosity, nothing that you need to understand or respect or take seriously.
  • If you do things that aren’t typical for you, or socialize with a different crowd than you normally do, people will assume that it’s because you are lonely or insecure, desperate to fit in, or to not feel. No one will think you have a genuine interest in self-improvement or self-exploration.
  • If you take strong philosophical or political stands, especially as they relate to your condition or life experience, people will view them as attempts at self-justification and rationalization, not as genuine self-expression. They will psycho-mumble-jumble their way out of having to think about what you’re saying. If you challenge them on it, you are being defensive and/or projecting.
  • If you are non-autistic and/or don’t have OCD, you are allowed to have intense, quirky, unusual, or childlike interests. People might even think it’s cute. If you have autism, OCD, or mental retardation, people will assume that your interests are symptoms of your disease, that they’re a detriment to your life and that they must be “managed.” People will force you out of your interests or into interests you don’t like or don’t agree with, and they will use the excuse that they’re trying to mainstream you, normalize you, “help” you to be more age-appropriate and “integrate” into the community better.

Normal people are allowed to have crappy days, to have alone time, to be politically active, to express themselves freely and stand by what they say, even when they’re not pleasant doing so. Normal people are allowed to play with action figures, watch cartoons, read horror novels obsessively, practice the religion (or no religion) of their choice, and make whatever decisions they please without interference or interrogation, and will often be respected or appreciated for it.

People with MI, MR, or other mental disabilities are not allowed any of this. Everything we do is part of a deeper narrative, and a negative one, about our disabilities, our deficits, and what’s wrong with us. We’re not entitled to face value. We’re not entitled to be mundane OR to be special. We’re not entitled to an identity outside of our condition OR to a positive, empowering identity that comes from disability.

Nope. You have to earn it, and you earn it by being something that you’re not, something that you will never able to be.

As for me, I say, “Pass the cigar.”

No, I don’t care about gay marriage.

Notice: Frank use of heterosexist language to make a point.

Excuse the title, but this is the most succinct reply I can think of when hassled by conservative Christians why I can’t be bothered to participate in their culture wars. “Don’t you care about gay marriage?” they ask me.

Because I have a life, I tend to use the simply reply of, “No, I don’t care about gay marriage.”

More specifically, I don’t care about the hype that surrounds gay marriage or the political action taken against it. I don’t care about, nor do I care for, government interference with consensual adult relationships, living arrangements, or sharing of assets. I don’t care about gay marriage. I don’t care about polygamous or polyamorous marriage. I don’t care about straight domestic partnerships. I don’t care about common law marriage or cohabitation or any of these lifestyle choices. More importantly, the government shouldn’t either.

Typically, when confronted with arguments against gay marriage, its proponents argue that gays and lesbians are regular people, with loving partners and children that they care for. They argue that gays and lesbians are born that way. They argue that gays and lesbians aren’t a danger to children. They argue that gays and lesbians pay taxes. They argue that gays and lesbians have good morals and often are religious (not that being religious is a prerequisite for good morals, and that all religious people possess good morals). They argue that gays and lesbians aren’t asking for special rights, just equal rights, and to be left alone. Gays and lesbians have straight family and friends. They are committed and monogamous. Gays and lesbians aren’t going to Hell (which not everyone believes in anyway) and aren’t trying to recruit children. All of these points could be validly argued and I could add plenty more. I won’t be focusing on those. To me, they do not address the heart of the issue.

For me, the heart of the issue is this: Let us assume that all of the accusations ever leveled at the QUILTBAG community are 100% true. Let’s assume that every argument ever leveled against gay marriage was verified, unassailable fact.

So what?

I don’t care if gays and lesbians are diseased. I don’t care if they hate children. I don’t care if they chose to be that way. I don’t care if they pay taxes, attend religious services, have children, are monogamous, or volunteer. I don’t care if they’re morally upstanding. I don’t care if they all have AIDS and harbor secret and perverse sexual fantasies. I don’t care if they identify with mainstream society, want special rights, or wish for the death of heterosexuals. I don’t care if they advocate the destruction of heterosexual marriage. I don’t care if they’re headed for an early grave. I don’t care if they’re headed straight and irreversibly for Hell.

None of the above means that government should interfere with the right of homosexuals to live together, share assets, or engage in a consensual relationship. The government should not interfere with their free speech, free assembly, or free exercise of religion. The government should not promote activities that foster “good moral character”, nor should they promote a particular version of family life. The government should protect rights, maintain law and order, provide for the common welfare and the common defense.  Anything beyond that is beyond the purpose of the government.

Whether you like it or not, a government that controls your assets, living arrangements, and sexual relationships can control whether, when, and how many children you have. This means, for example, that if you don’t want to use birth control and aspire to a large family, the government could take away your right to pursue those choices. A government that controls marriage can control marriage rights. This means that religious political powers can deny marriage benefits and recognition to those outside of the religious majority. A government that controls marriage can take it upon themselves to enforce those controls through violations of privacy and constitutional rights.

I don’t want to live in a country like that.

But what about Christian marriage?

What about Christian marriage? Let’s assume that we all agree that gay marriages by definition cannot be Christian marriages. Again, I ask, “what about Christian marriage?”

Gay marriage is not a threat to Christian marriage. Gay marriage does not cause Christian marriages to end in separation or divorce (another area of life that I don’t want government interference with). Gay marriage doesn’t cause the young, inexperienced, or otherwise unprepared to enter into unions they aren’t able to maintain. Gay marriage doesn’t cause domestic violence or exploitation in Christian marriages. Gay marriage doesn’t cause Christian marriages to suffer economic hardship or to have more children than they can afford. It doesn’t cause Christians to not be able to have the desired children. It doesn’t cause adultery, betrayal, or neglect in Christian marriages. It doesn’t cause Christians to enter into marriage for the wrong reasons. It doesn’t cause immaturity or unrealistic expectations in Christian marriages. None of these marital problems have anything to do with gay marriage and everything to do with the attitudes and behavior of married Christians. If they want to bolster Christian marriage, they themselves need to learn what it is and set an example. They need to create a vision, argue it with facts and reason, and promote it. That’s not the state’s job.

Some people will probably accuse me of being a coward for not publicly standing in favor of Christian values (whatever that means). And that’s just silliness on spades.

I am not the one wielding the power of the state to harass powerless minorities. I am not the one spending large sums of money and manpower undermining civil liberties for my own gain. I’m not the taking the easy way out by begging and bullying the state to do what should be my job as an individual Christian. I actually expect Christians to compete in the marketplace of ideas just like everyone else. I have enough respect and enough faith in the intellect of Christians to believe that they can present a case worthy of public consideration. That they can take the criticism and handle the consequences if they’re wrong.

You could use a lot of words to describe me, but for the time being, coward isn’t one of them.

Hypocrisy: It Burns

While Benedict is no longer our pope, any bishop or cardinal, and apparently our newest pope, Francis, will likely have views similar to his. As such, any one of our current leaders could end up in memes such as the one posted below, which is why I post it here now.

Discostick

I found this on Facebook fairly recently, and it was posted by someone that calls herself a queer diversity and social justice activist.

Hmmm…

A queer activist using homophobic and transphobic language to make a political point?

A diversity activist attacking a minority religion, as well as the national religion of many cultures, including non-Western, non-white cultures like Mexico and the Philippines?

Sounds legit.

Does that even make sense? To be an advocate for sexual minorities, and then use their presentation as a weapon to smear their enemies? Does it make sense to insult a religion and culture that includes hundreds of thousands of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals? Because believe it or not, there ARE gays, bisexuals, and queers that are active in the Catholic Church and I doubt they see you as allies at this point.

Now let’s take a look at the next image, a favorite of many allegedly tolerant people when it comes to sexuality:

virgin shaming

Hypocrisy: It burns.

Yes, let’s us celebrate every form of (consentual, adult) sex imaginable and display our tolerant colors. Unless that person is a virgin by choice. Then they obviously as rabidly gay-hating, old fart religious fanatics and fair game for ridicule.

Supposedly educated, sensitive, intelligent adults should be able to discuss destructive stigmata against sexual minorities, discuss sexuality, discuss a political issue without resorting to juvenile (and prejudiced) cheap shots like this. The people who designed these images, and the people that repost them, could have made their point using humor, satire, or any number of ways without resorting to this. But alas, they did this. And these are the same people that are wagging their fingers at everyone else about tolerance.

Nope. Not buyin’ it.