I Would Like to Play Videogames With You

Really, I would. I love playing videogames (though I only first picked up a controller about four years ago) and, despite the newness of my gaming geekery, have been some form of geek for basically all my life.

Here’s the thing about being a girl geek–you’re kind of a hot commodity. This is becoming less and less true as girls flock to geek culture in greater numbers (fuck yeah, ladies!) but nonetheless, the fact that in eighth grade my best friend and I wrote a song entitled “Take Back Your Tribble” while writing character sheets on the floor of a hallway at a convention seems to make me a target. Specifically, usually a target of lust.

There is a stereotype that geeky men are all socially awkward and incompetent. As a target of geekboy adulation, I’ve seen this many times, whether it’s being groped while in costume, awkwardly stared at or followed around the game shop (look buddy, if you want to ask me what I’m buying a set of gaming dice for, just do it! I’ll be happy to tell you about my level 12 half-elf rogue, but if you keep standing one row away from wherever I am and breathing heavily, I am going to roll a saving throw to leave), or simply listening to the chortling and exclamations of “huh huh huh, GIIIIRRRRLLL show us yr tits” on xbox Live. But here’s the thing–honest to god, it isn’t all that NORMAL. Geeks can be racist, misogynist, socially awkward, narcissistic, anti-social, jackasses just the same as any other demographic. Just the same as any other demographic, they can be sweet, funny, smart, multi-faceted, generous, caring, and respectful. I’ve seen plenty of each.

The concept of GameCrush just blows my mind.

I think playing videogames together is an AWESOME date (order a pizza and let’s go fragging together; fuck that fancy restaurant and a movie bullshit. I think our ability to succeed in a co-op mission demonstrates our compatibility much better than our ability to sit next to each other in a dark movie theater) but I’m a little weirded out by this concept of paying to play videogames with a girl.

After my remarks the other day about how I don’t actually stand against the sex trade, I know that it seems out of place for me to be creeped out by something that is far tamer and less invasive to a female than the sex trade. But I am a geek just as much as I am a feminist, and the GameCrush concept offends my inner geek.

C’mon people. Must we typecast geeks forever as bumbling basement-dwelling pasty pudgy losers who can’t interact with females on their own? Can we stop just assuming that A) geeks are all boys who are desperate to interface with a real, honest-to-god vagina-owner and B) said geeks are incapable of doing so? Also, why is this a one-way service? Why must guys pay while ladies get paid? Believe me, geek girls can be incredibly shy as well. Some are pasty and pudgy and awkward and live in a basement and can’t talk to boys. It’s true! It’s all true! OH THE HORROR.

Soylent geeks are people!

Seriously. Let’s stop acting like geeks are some fringe part of society, some creepy serial killers, and that they’re just men. Girls don’t need the inducement of money to play videogames, and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if things like GameCrush actually drive a large number of the shy, self-conscious geek girls away from gaming, or at least away from online gaming. Most geek guys don’t need an online service connected to their xbox to help them talk to girls.

Instead of turning girls into commodities in the gaming and geeking world, let’s make them welcome participants. Gaming isn’t about what you look like or what gender you are or how popular you are. Gaming brings people together and forms communities (whether it’s something as small as friendships formed over the D&D table up to something as huge as the PAX and new PAX East conventions (btw, Tycho and Gabe, thanks for PAX East! :D)). Let’s stop segregating those communities. Cutting the group into men-who-pay and girls-who-get-paid automatically forms a division. It reinforces the stereotype that girls can get a free ride from sucker boys just because we have boobs, that guys deserve a girl’s time and attention because they have money, and that geeks are socially incompetent losers who can only get with the opposite sex when there’s money involved.

Geeks, rise up! We are bigger and better than this!

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03/31/2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feminism and the Sex Trade

I am a bit torn on the sex trade. I’ve turned it over in my head many times and it is just yet another example of one of those things that I don’t think I know enough about to really have a definitive stance on. When I was younger, it was an easily concrete black-and-white issue of “sex trade bad!” Since then, though, I’ve grown up and had a lot of experiences that change things, including being friends with a former stripper (she now sells sex toys). As I’ve said time and again, experience is not monolithic, so what she has to say about being a stripper certainly doesn’t necessarily apply to every stripper, but talking to her has certainly opened my eyes.

Anyways, Iceland has banned all strip clubs, and the Guardian is headlining this as “Iceland: The world’s most feminist country.” I have a hard time sitting by and feeling comfortable with that statement.

It always irks me when people try to add the modifier “pro-sex” when I say I’m a feminist (“Oh, you’re a pro-sex feminist!”). First off, what the hell does that even mean? I know feminists who don’t necessarily agree with my views on sex, but they still like having it. It really bothers me that we are adding the “pro-sex” modifier because that means that being anti-sex is somehow the norm for feminists, and the whole anti-sex humorless man-hating hairy bra-burning feminist is a cultural trope I want to destroy. (For the record, my feminist friends are easily among some of the raunchiest, perviest people I know. We have fun.)

So, I dislike this idea that stamping out sexuality is a feminist victory. Stamping out unhealthy sexuality is a feminist victory, but I don’t think that getting rid of every strip club in Iceland is the answer. You can have healthy sex shows. That much I know. I doubt that every strip club is a bastion of empowered, happy, healthy women, but does that mean that getting rid of all of them is a solution? No, probably not.

I’m unfamiliar with Icelandic culture, so I cannot speak to what might play out there. But in the US, it doesn’t seem to me like it’s the presence of strip clubs that’s leading to women being commodified–that is a symptom. So even if all the strip clubs were shut down overnight, the commodification wouldn’t stop. Instead of purchasing access to look at a woman’s body legally, it will go underground, and that’s when it immediately becomes that much more dangerous, particularly for the women involved. Now it’s a lot harder for them to draw the line and say no to customers, because the customer has the leverage of the woman’s illegal activity to hold over her. It will be that much harder to get help from police. When strippers are harassed or raped, they already face a much harder time getting legal help or taken seriously; make them illegal and it will become quite nearly impossible.

You know what would be a feminist victory in my mind? If women could do what they want–be strippers if they want–without it being illegal, without getting judged, shamed, and scorned by the population, and without being blamed for any attacks they suffer. I would love for the same thing to apply to men, as well!

I had a brief discussion recently about why there are so few strip clubs that have men stripping (related: Nevada’s first male prostitute has quit his brothel after over two months, but only 10 clients) and so on. The initial knee-jerk response given was “well, women don’t want to pay to see men naked! Women aren’t wired like that/don’t have the same sex drive as men/aren’t as horny” and so on. I disagree with that. Women have libidos as well, and we like to look at naked men. However, it’s been socially programmed into everyone that women don’t want this and won’t pay for it, and if we do/would, we’re abnormal and inappropriate. So, the market has been neutered, essentially.

So to me, a feminist victory would be equal opportunity sex trade–anyone who wants to strut their stuff can, without recrimination. They will be provided with safe working conditions, health care, vacation time, etc. The social stigma will be removed. Their clients will treat them with respect and appreciation.

Sexuality is powerful, wonderful stuff. The more we make it illegal and shameful, the further we will have to go to achieve a state of healthy, happy sexuality.

P.S. Would you look at that! In the time it took me to write this, Feministing did a write-up that bludgeons mine into the ground. Go check it out!

03/29/2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Reconciling Feminism and, well, Life.

So here’s the thing about being a feminist–it’s, you know, just a thing. It’s another adjective to modify the noun of oneself. It can inform some of the other adjectives that modify oneself (like you can be a writer and a feminist and they can inform each other!) but it doesn’t cancel other things out.

This can lead to some rather irksome tangled messes.

I’ve had a draft entry saved for ages now, and I keep editing it, but I just can’t get it right. The concept is basically “feminism and cosplay.” I’m a fairly active cosplayer, both with the 501st Legion and simply for my own fun at conventions and whatnot. I’m really proud of how much work I put into my costumes and how much their quality and intricacy reflects on me as a craftsman. On the other hand, there’s a whole lot of sexism and objectification in cosplay (full disclosure: I was one of Maxim’s “Sexiest Ladies of Dragon*Con”) and I have to balance my love of cosplay with my feminist politics. After my picture went up on Maxim.com following Dragon*Con 2009, I made a lot of jokes about my feminist card having been revoked. But in all honesty, I was just thrilled that my costume looked good enough out of a sea of 30,000+ people to have caught the attention of the Maxim photographer (who, in fact, was a woman).

It seems like I have to joke about my feminist card a lot. I’m involved in a lot of things outside of just feminism, and while feminism is a foundation of who I am, it doesn’t cancel out anything else of who I am.

I was thinking about this partially because of the great post about “Fucking While Feminist” over on the Sexist, featuring an interview with the amazingly bad ass Jaclyn Friedman. I like to think of myself as a less awesome version of Jaclyn, and that maybe someday I can slowly approach being closer to her level of awesome. In it, she talks about how, when dating, you kind of have to realize that dudes are usually not going to be at your level of feminism, so it’s finding compatibility and sometimes reconciling what you want in a relationship with your feminism. That makes sense to me.

It’s not just dating, though, for me. I consider myself pretty damn feminist, but a lot of parts of my life it seems like I end up having to be a slightly more moderate feminist, or have to make sacrifices in participating in things that make me happy or, to be honest, even being myself.

However, this bounces off a post from Tiger Beatdown recently about her irritation with the Liz Lemon character on 30 Rock. Now, I don’t watch 30 Rock, so I’m not familiar with the character or anything that she talks about. But I guess sometimes I feel, well, kind of Liz Lemony. It doesn’t help that I am white, educated, decently well-off woman–I’m from like the Betty Friedan pool of feminists. Feminism isn’t the number one most defining attribute that I think of myself by because I don’t need to–I think of feminism as a jumping off point for all the other things that I am. (I don’t know what my most defining thing would be, to be honest, but that’s a personal problem and not for here.) I believe that my entire life is informed by my feminism, but sometimes it’s “diet feminism” or “feminism light” or whatever, because if I’m at 110% all the time, I’ll stop enjoying the things I enjoy.

I fluctuate between feeling like I’m a bad feminist and feeling like it’s okay, because there has to be more to life than just my politics. On the other hand, politics shape our lives.

I don’t know. I’ve had a rather tumultuous week in my personal life, so trying to focus on writing a good blog entry isn’t going too well. I’m sorry about that. But I think there’s definitely something linking those two articles that needs to be looked at, and it has to do with how we live our feminism. Sometimes I think simply being who I am is feminist, but then I get a lot of people constantly asking me “how can you be a feminist and do XYZ?” So, maybe I’m doing it wrong.

One of the really awesome things that I LOVE about feminism is how interconnected it is with EVERYTHING. If you stand for gender equality–the basis of feminism–then you have to stand for all equality. So feminism and racial equality and class equality and all of this stuff ties up together. Everything is important, and interconnected. The drawback, of course, is simply that this means there’s a lot of stuff to think about and be aware of. Yeah, it’s whiny for me to call it a drawback, but there it is–sometimes I can’t live up to the feminist ideal because I just don’t keep it at the forefront of my thoughts and there’s a lot to keep yourself aware of.

Well, this is a little bit of a downer of an entry. Sorry about that. I guess, in conclusion, it’s important to balance feminism and life, without making huge sacrifices in your integrity or happiness. The slippery slope is simply avoiding slowly sliding to the easy way out of letting go of feminism under the guise of balancing.

03/26/2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate women in technology.

Ada Lovelace was a supremely kickass lady back in the 1800s who wrote the first computer program! She based her notes, the early descriptions of software and programming languages, on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine.

Although women are making progress into the sciences and technology, there’s still a huge gap, and women also continue to face a great deal of discrimination and harassment. So take today to celebrate all our achievements, and encourage any kickass ladies you know in these fields and support any young’uns you know who want to pursue their dreams in science and technology!

03/24/2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Ask Me No Secrets, I’ll Tell You No Lies

Tonight is “make dinner from whatever you can find in the pantry/freezer” here at Chateau van der Cake, so this post will be like that too. I’m piecing together this post in a similar way.

For starters, I don’t want to talk about the health care bill. It’s not perfect, so basically no one is happy with it. It tries too hard to make everyone happy, so it’s pretty damn mediocre. Never mind the fact that it still won’t provide abortion coverage. Superb. However, ultimately, I think the best commentary actually comes from 4chan, so have fun with that.

Also, I don’t want to talk about the judge in Ohio who is ordering adolescent girls to undergo a polygraph test as part of their rape trials. But, just like HCR, it’s going on. (It is not, however, a trending topic on Twitter or even showing up at all on my Facebook home page. Notable?) People who have had their houses broken into aren’t being told to take a polygraph. People who have had their identity stolen aren’t being told to take a polygraph. But teenaged girls who were brave enough to report their rapes are. Talk about victimizing the victim. Talk about validating the actions of the rapists and denying the girls their voices. Where does this shit come from?

I don’t want to talk about how we are hurling racist epithets in our nation’s capitol. Bodies remain war zones, whether they are the bodies of women, the bodies of non-whites… God help you if you are both a woman and non-white.

I don’t want to talk about any of this depressing stuff. I want to talk about something cheerful. But the fact of the matter is, this isn’t a really cheerful time. There’s a lot of bright sides to look at, I’m not denying that. But sometimes we have to accept that shit is ugly out there. Looking away and patting ourselves on the back on how far we’ve come won’t change that.

Sure, let’s be happy that HCR passed, but let’s not get complacent just because we were handed a cup of sour milk to go with our stale cookies. Sure, we’ve got milk and cookies, but it’s not exactly a party.

03/22/2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Choosing Fat

It seems like I can’t turn around without someone talking about that woman who has decided to try to gain weight until she’s the fattest woman in the world. (I’m not even going to bother linking to anything; we all know what’s up and I’m pretty sick of reading/listening to people bolster their own self-esteem by comparing themselves to her.)

Jezebel has some interesting reflections today on other women who elect to gain weight intentionally. We’re not talking about people are trying to bulk up a little to keep you from seeing their bones or something, we’re talking intentionally getting fat.

I’ve been rolling this over in my mind for a while, because I think it’s a complex issue.

First off, I definitely see where the fat awareness people are coming from in thinking that this is NOT helping their case. The fat awareness campaigns, as Anna at Jezebel points out, is about people having healthy bodies. Sometimes, for some people, a healthy body includes more “pudge” than our social norms encourage. It’s possible to be active and eat well but still have love handles. The idea that size 12 automatically means unhealthy is well worth countering. However, by intentionally seeking to gain weight, it’s hard to stay healthy.

And you know, I’ll admit–I can be a little size-ist. I’m a size 2 because I eat well and go to the gym and ride my bike a lot. When I don’t, I “balloon” up to a size 4. OH NOES. I mean, I have about eight zillion different body image issues and like a good girl grown in America, I think I’m fat and I obsess and all that, but I don’t know what it’s like to be truly overweight. At my heaviest, I’ve been just shy of a size 8. I really just don’t know what it’s like to be living a healthy lifestyle and yet still get judged as being “a fatty” or “needing to put down the bonbons for once.” Hell, I’ve been on the receiving end of the “woman, would you please eat a sandwich?!” line.

What I’m trying to say is that despite good intentions, I can and do lose sight of the fact that fat–whether true obesity of just our culture’s notion of “fat”–is not necessarily a choice. It’s not something everyone can control. I mean yeah, some people DO get fat because they think getting a diet soda with super-sized McDonald’s lunch and dinner seven days a week is a healthy diet. But that isn’t the norm.

So, you know, having a bunch of people out there purposely trying to gain weight–and going for the fattest woman in the world title, somewhat as a publicity stunt it would appear, because we desperately need the world to think even more that Americans are fat fucks–that’s not helping the people who are healthy and “large.”

On the other hand, I’ve joked before that someday I’m going to totally let myself go and get super fat just so that I can stop dealing with random guys hitting on me in sleazy ways when all I want to do is ride public transit so I can go pick up some groceries or something. But in the end, I am way too well brainwashed to want to stay slim and conventionally attractive in my physique. I don’t worry about whether or not a piercing or tattoo will influence how people see me in quite the same way as I worry about having a second piece of cheesecake. Interesting.

So, there’s part of me that kind of cheers for these ladies for being a pretty brazen kind of cultural rebel. That’s some pretty serious dissent against the dominant paradigm, y’all.

I still don’t know where I stand on this. I still think it’s pretty wild no matter how I view it. Regardless, it’s certain an interesting bit of current events that merits a bit of thinking about.

03/19/2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

On Porn

Porn is a many splendored thing. It comes in all kinds of varieties, it leads to all kinds of reactions in people, and it certainly gets highly politicized no matter what kind of porn it is.

First off, let me just get out there and say that I like porn. I like a wide variety of porn–some of it I watch more for comedic purposes than sexy purposes–and although I don’t usually include porn in my special alone times, that doesn’t stop me from really enjoying it.

So, at first glance, I really enjoyed Monday’s XKCD strip about porn for women:

I actually own a copy of the Porn For Women book. I bought it in college, laughing hysterically all the way to the register.

You guys, the book is a SATIRE.

The whole thing is done up in cutesy pastels with pretty patterns. The men are dressed in the most WASP-y way possible (when they are wearing clothes–satire or no, goddamn did they get some beautifully built men to take their shirts off and people, I am not complaining!) and the backgrounds of the shots are equally WASP-y. It’s like the white upper middle class and the female stereotype vomited all over the page.

Some of the things the men are shown doing include folding the laundry, making his significant other dinner, or telling her to stay in bed because it’s his turn to go check on the crying child; she needs sleep too.

I showed the book to my mum and she laughed, pointing to the page about checking on the crying child, and lamented, “Oh sweetie, when you were a baby, that would’ve been the most wonderful thing your father could’ve ever done for me.”

This book isn’t about the fact that women don’t like porn about fucking–it’s about the fact that we haven’t hit the point yet where equal housework is an assumed reality. It’s still a FANTASY that after working a 40 hour week–for, as I’ve covered before, less money and less respect than a man, while wearing a perfectly ridiculous outfit–you can come home and NOT be counted on to then do everything around the house.

This is porn for women because the book is all, “Ladies, how fuckin’ rad would it be if we weren’t still dealing with all this inequal division of childcare and labor bullshit?”

You guys, can you imagine how fuckin’ kickass it would be to live in a world where you didn’t have to look a spoof porno book to know that your boyfriend would hand you a slice of cake and sincerely tell you to not worry about your weight?

Don’t get me wrong, I totally know that these guys exist (I’m lucky enough to be friends with and/or have dated some of them, and I know a lot of you probably know them too!), so I’m not saying they don’t exist. What I AM saying is that they’re not common. They’re especially not common in the “cultural majority” or in mainstream culture, which you’ll note that the images in this book are diligently created to resemble.

I don’t fantasize about dudes in suits bringing me flowers. That doesn’t even remotely factor into what gets me going. This book isn’t for your spank bank! It’s dark humor. It’s poking fun at the fact that we live in a world where this is still fantasy.

On the first page, they joke that the book you have in your hands is very incendiary, very dangerous.

Well, in a culture where the least masculine thing in the world would be to drive a minivan or cook your girlfriend dinner and these are all men who are portrayed as shamelessly comfortable and happy to challenge traditional masculinity, I gotta say, that’s a pretty risque book.

*Note: I totally hear a lot of the arguments to the contrary and I get where you guys are coming from. I agree with a lot of them, in fact! But I think it’s worth considering an alternate viewpoint too.

03/18/2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

On Community

A brief thought:

Tonight, I was biking home along Brighton Ave when I noticed a bike laying in the street and a Jeep stopped and honking aggressively. There was a guy standing in front of the Jeep on his cell phone. A few cyclists were stopped nearby, whether a few cars away, on the adjacent sidewalk, or even on the other side of the avenue. I swerved around the Jeep, stopped, and walked my bike back to find out what was going on.

In short, the Jeep had been harassing the cyclist (who had been cycling legally), and it ended with the passenger getting out of the car and throwing the bike into the parallel parking and the driver using his car to hit the cyclist, who ended up standing in front of the Jeep to try to keep him from driving away. The driver was honking and yelling, as was his passenger.

It’s a beautiful day, so there were a lot of cyclists. We were collecting, surrounding the Jeep. The more he honked, the more cyclists stopped and boxed him in. He tried to yell out his window to other drivers to help him out, but then all rolled their eyes and kept going.

Our impromptu bike gang, looking out for a fellow cyclist, kept the Jeep where he was while the cyclist who had been harassed was able to call the police and file a report. Once they had the information and dispatched an officer, we wished the cyclist good luck and dispersed. A community of people who share a common threat came together, without prompting, to protect and help one of their own and do what they could to see justice served.

Why don’t we do this when we see women being harassed? Why do we have this idea that it’s “not our business?”

03/17/2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Breakin’ Hearts and Takin’ Names

Gentlemen, I am here to break hearts and chew gum. And I am all outta gum.

Seriously, though, there is something about a lady who does not return a dude’s feelings. That something is “bitchiness.” Or perhaps “cuntiness” if the dude is feeling particularly vulnerable-ized.

Over at the always super-rad Tiger Beatdown, Sady has done something brave that I am too scared to do–she has watched (500) Days of Summer. Lady deserves a medal or something, because as soon as I heard the smallest description of what that damn movie was about, I knew it would take gunpoint at minimum to make me watch it (although her descriptions of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s handsomeness make a strong case to give it a go). It just screams, “Magic vaginas! Magic vaginas! The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (TM) has gone awry! Somebody hit ctrl+alt+del because we’re getting the relationship blue screen of death!”

Because when a dude finds a lady and determines that her vagina is going to be the vagina to Make Him Good or whatever it is that dudes are lookin’ for in a vagina, it is not okay for the vagina to have other plans. Dude needs to put his penis there, ya dig? That whole “being independent” thing is really gonna cramp his style. Her quirkiness and independent spirit are all well and good–as long as they apply to every part of her life except him. He needs his sexual healing. He needs his lady to prop up his self esteem and give him worth and be his property.

It’s just not okay for a lady to not have feelings or to not be after feelings. Cause us ladies, we are chock full of feelings. Like Old Faithful, we are geysers of feelings. In fact, we’re more like Mount Saint Helen’s, or maybe Vesuvius–we got so many feelings that we lay apocalyptic waste to the landscape with all our messy sloppy emotions. So when we do not provide feelings to the gentlemen who want ’em, then it is highly probable that the planet has stopped spinning on its axis.

People, this is like… Coping skills. For real.

I know so many guys who are so obsessively hung up on some ex, which is part of why I live in fear of ever accidentally seeing (500) Days of Summer. I think I might stab someone.

I had the Really Big Deal Relationship. It lasted about two years, and there was some Serious Motherfuckin’ Drama with the end of it. Guess what? I moved on. Hell, I even occasionally get dinner or drinks with the dude. You know why? Because life doesn’t always pan out. Almost all the time, the people we think are so really ultra mega super duper perfect are actually not all that perfect. We kick back and idealize them and throw them up on a pedestal.

I’ll bet that chick in (500) Days was not the flawless angel that our poor emotive hero thinks she is, kind of like none of my buddy’s exes are the paragons of humanity that they think they are. And what this is, you guys, is creepy. It’s a different kind of objectification–instead of turning a woman into a sex object, it’s turning her into an emotional sponge. A place to put all your problems and neuroses and neediness. It’s denying her any agency or self, because instead of being who she is, she is being what you want her to be.

You guys, it’s creepy. It’s not cute or sweet or flattering when a guy can’t move the fuck on. It’s scary and it’s upsetting.

And then we pile onto this the rage that this idealized heavenly being isn’t responding in the way that you have decided she is supposed to and is instead exhibiting her own personality and independent will. Suddenly she is a bitch and a whore and deserving of being raged against (mind you, all this anger will vanish the second she agrees to once again be his very special Manic Pixie Dream Girl magic vagina of cuteness). This makes me especially uncomfortable because I think there’s a slippery slope toward actual violence against the woman in question. This is where stalking comes from.

As Sady points out near the end, in one of my favorite points, if a female were to behave the way Gordon-Levitt does, the censure against her would be like a tornado armed with knives and brass knuckles. She’d be psychotic and clingy and unable to move on. Because he’s a man, though, he’s simply sensitive and sweet and romantic.

I call bullshit.

Fuck you, double standard. If a lady wants to go ahead and have a sexual relationship without offering herself up emotionally, that’s her prerogative. And any dude who is gonna make himself out like he’s this vulnerable fucking martyr while he puts her on a pedestal and walks around lamenting how positively awful it is that she didn’t give him what he wanted even though she said no from the very beginning–well, he’s a sleazy jackass.

Emotional boundaries: they exist, just like physical boundaries. If you can’t admit that, then Houston, we have a problem.

I’m not saying that getting your heartbroken isn’t okay. We all get clotheslined by our hearts now and again–it’s not the exclusive domain of dudes or ladies or straights or gays or any possible bit of the gender or sexuality or whatever spectrum. However, we’re all responsible for learning how to cope and move on and keep on living. This celebration of the heartbroken man crying over this woman who would be so perfect if only she were the imaginary thing in his head has got to stop because frankly, it’s goddamn ridiculous. Please stop trying to date your imaginary friend. The rest of us left those behind in elementary school, ya know?

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl isn’t actually real, so please stop looking for her and please stop getting angry at every woman who turns out to not be her. Just because we don’t love you back doesn’t mean that we’re whores or bitches or lesbians. (I mean, we might be, but it’s not necessarily for that reason.) There is a chance that, you know, we’re just not that into you.

I hear there’s a book about that. Sure, it’s targeted at women, but don’t worry, you sweet sensitive dude of emotional in touchness, you can read it too. Cause you’ve got those feelings, so you can relate, right?

03/17/2010. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Rebel Girl, You Are the Queen of My World

So apparently over at the AV Club, there was a list of 17 well-intentioned feminist songs that didn’t quite land correctly. For the most part, I pretty much agree with the list (although I got a little sad when they derided Antiflag’s chorus of “this is what a feminist looks like/this is what a feminist sounds like” because that was one of the things we chanted at the March for Women’s Lives in New York City in 2004). Jezebel did a follow-up list, and I’d say that I agree with some of them.

Here’s a couple of my favorites (though by far not at all an exhaustive list). A lot of these aren’t particularly “anthemy,” and I tend to prefer things that rock a little harder, but these stuck out as some songs that didn’t make the list and might not usually get attention. I left off the “gimmes” like Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Siouxie, and the Epoxies. Not because I don’t love them (I do! I’m listening to Bikini Kill right now!), but rather because I wanted to aim for at least slightly different voices. In no particular order…

Ciara, Like A Boy

Seriously underrated, people. Ciara and her back-up dancers dressed like boys and grabbing their crotches? Solid gold. I get a little hot and bothered every time I see it.

There’s also something to be said for an artist who is generally very formulaic and acceptably pop culture to pull out something like this. Baby, you make my heart beat faster.

Neko Case, Pretty Girls

It’s no secret that I have a big ol’ crush on Neko Case. She’s an incredibly talented musician, but she’s also a conscious citizen of the world. Nobody’s gettin’ Neko Case down.

I had a hard time picking just one song of hers, and ultimately decided on this one because I think it ties in with my post from yesterday. Stop writing off the pretty girls.

Northern State, Vicious Cycle

Northern State always gets such a mixed reception. Some people love them. Some people hate them. Some people think they sound like idiots. Some people rightly point out that the Beastie Boys really didn’t sound much better when they started out, so STFU. What they do well is have fun–the entire Dying in Stereo album is just plain fun. They work in their politics here and there, and “Vicious Cycle” is the most overt.

You gotta respect an all-girl rap group that can seamlessly work in the word “palimpsest.”

Camille, Je Ne Suis Pas Ta Chose

This song veers toward the “scorned lover” category, but I still love it. Camille sings entirely in French, but the refrain (“je ne suis pas ta chose”) translates to “I am not your thing” and she makes reference throughout the song to how she is not just something for this man to put his hands on and play with. I love Camille’s ethereal voice in general, and there’s something satisfying about singing along in a wispy voice to a song with hell of backbone.

Also, any song that demands to be listened to with a glass of red wine is pretty awesome in my book.

Mirah, Monument

This isn’t a directly feminist song, but I think it’s a song that everyone should have in their music library, no matter what their personal taste in music. Again, I like to rock a little harder, but sometimes you just feel small and you want to curl up on the couch under a blanket and whimper. That’s when I listen to this song. It’s like a soft, gentle injection of courage. It’s so smooth and easy that you don’t even realize your insides are getting reinforced while you listen. It’s a pretty great song.

And although I’ve posted this song before, it just needs to go up again…

Yelle, Mon Meilleur Ami

Another French one, I know. And I don’t just love this because her dress just needs a red boutonniere to look like the smiley from Watchmen. I fucking love this song. It is, get this, a love song to her vibrator.

The title, “My best friend,” is the subject of the song–the thing which guarantees infinite pleasure in bed, relieves stress, and can go anywhere with her! The only irritating thing is changing the batteries, of course. Yes, those are all lyrics. This song is goddamn awesome.

Yelle is pretty rad in general, and a lot of her songs carry strong feminist overtones. If you speak French or your up for a bit of translating, I highly recommend her music.

Extra credit: go watch her video for “A Cause Des Garcons” and delight in the dancing toiletries: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDUAnhtt1xM&NR=1 Also? I totally want her sparkly dress from the end. How fantastic is that? On top of all that, the song is about how much we ladies go to ridiculous lengths for dudes, and the crazy things we do, including to each other. Yeah, I’ve got a bit of a trans-Atlantic crush on Yelle. What of it?

Find yourself some music that makes you wanna rock out and then get out there and rock out. Music is fuel, and music makes us dance–and dancing keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. So forth, righteous babes, and take a little time to rock out!

03/16/2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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