Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A few random thoughts . . .

that came up in discussions today.

On aesthetic preferences in sexual attraction:
While it's understandable that a person wants to be left alone in their preferences, I think they should be encouraged to challenge and question those preferences which are so heavily influence by cultural conditioning. It ought to make them feel uncomfortable because that means they're examining the issues they need to, whether they decide to change or not. One CAN, through conscious effort, expand one's opinion of beauty. And even if it's uncomfortable, it's a positive progression.

On “word policing”:
Language shapes our thinking, and if people are allowed to use it unconsciously in harmful ways, they perpetuate harmful thinking. Nothing is lost when we put our foot down and say that using "gay," "lame," or "retarded" as pejoratives is not OK and that we expect others to make the effort to utilize any one of thousands of other adjectives to describe negative situations. Word policing is a necessary component of idea policing and forcing progress.

In the context of body positivity, it means pointing out the problematic nature of using the phrase "tramp stamp" and of using euphemisms for body types such as "fit" or "takes care of oneself" and of conflating weight with health.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fueled By Anger

In response to a private message that seemed somewhat concern-trolling and presumptuous from a generally well-meaning friend:

I’m fueled by a lot of anger at having spent most of my life swallowing the message that I'd have to spend the rest of my life battling my weight in order to be happy, healthy, wealthy, or loved, and so much anger that so many others continue to believe this. I’m really glad to hear that you think I’m preaching to the choir, but I receive enough other feedback to indicate the contrary. There are still men who prove the point of these articles when they comment on them.

Beyond just posting links on my own page and seemingly yelling a lot, I frequently engage in discussion in private groups about weight, health, and beauty with women who haven’t heard it yet and are grateful when they do. (And am also contributing a chapter to an anthology of perspectives on the fat acceptance movement.)

Personally, I’m bored to death of being told I’m physically attractive, especially by men who are often clearly expecting my gratitude for their thinking so. (This is not actually directed at you.) I know I’m conventionally attractive; it’s boring. I didn’t earn it and don’t feel complimented. I don’t want to settle for reaping the benefits of my privilege without a though and I don’t want a world in which women of different sizes, abilities, colors, etc., have to accept that bigotry either.

I can silently work to accept that I will never be a "normal" or a "healthy" weight according to the "experts." Or I can teach and remind everyone that BMI is not an indicator of health and should not be used to make policy, and I can influence the attitudes and opinions around me and ultimately convert everyone I know to the "Yay fitness!" party and not have to hear about diets and weight loss and body shame all around.
I didn’t always know these things or feel this way; I came to them by reading and learning, and others will, too.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Radical inclusion is a bullshit philosophy

A rant:

Radical inclusion is a bullshit philosophy that empowers bullies and criminals. No group is so desperate for membership that it should refuse to protect its members by ousting abusers.

As much as I bitch about my group, my gripes are about the pushback against our leaders' efforts to create safe spaces and anti-harassment policies. From a public relations degree, I am repeatedly disgusted by the burn community's failure to take responsibility and own its shit ethically. And NTP, too, for that matter. Too many people I love have been hurt (read: raped) repeatedly in those communities and only the criminals receive support and protection. Whether community leaders see it or not, their numbers and the quality of their membership suffer by upholding radical inclusion over basic human decency.

Flipside 2012 is the one burn I've attended, though I've been burning solo since '08-'09. I was very offput by the expectation that anyone and everyone deserved to hug me whenever they met me and as they pleased without ever asking.

I refused to partake of any illegal substances because I never have and don't know how I would react, don't know if I could care for myself, and DO NOT trust anyone there to look after me. I had a very good time with vodka, never getting drunk beyond my capacity, though to care for myself.

I was always hyper-vigilant when walking alone and spent more time alone than inserting myself in social situations. This is somewhat what I prefer, but I cannot say how much of my behavior, too, is motivated by distrust for people in general and especially who are stoned out of their gourds.

I carry a small knife on my belt (at burns, camping events, amtgard, etc.) because it's useful for mundane activities and also imparts me some sense of security.

I had a very enjoyable event overall, but it was such that I needed a break from it this year and thought maybe to return next year, or maybe Myschevia, but the medical bill killed that idea. I also feel like it's so much work trying to attend these events, trying to enjoy them, trying to insert myself in a community mostly because so many of my friends do it.

But I've heard too many stories like this, too many regular troublemakers protected, rapists protected, to try any more. It breaks my heart every time I hear of it. I'm beyond done with it. I don't know you closely or well, but I admire you greatly, care for you, and love you, my friend. If all I can do is stand beside you, I'll do that. If I were more involved, if I were more influential, I'd write and debate and rant and rave all day for you, for this, for all of us. That's not the situation, though, and I feel that I can only cut and run to protect myself.