sonneillonv: (Default)
 I apologize at the outset if I’m not very organized - I keep reminding myself I need to write about this and putting it off because I don’t have the energy.  If enough time goes by I’ll forget it entirely, so I’m going to try to hammer this out now.  Content warnings for homophobia and mention of pedophilia, bestiality, rape and rape culture, racism, etc.

ETA: This rant is dedicated to Jadelyn because she prodded me to actually write it instead of just talking about writing it.

 

When we talk about marriage equality, Conservatives have a set of arguments they bring to the table pretty consistently.  Most of these arguments are fallacious, insulting, or outright ludicrous, but that never seems to occur to them.  Folks on the pro-side find themselves sitting here wondering why on earth a Conservative would think legalizing gay marriage is the first step on a slippery slope toward legalizing bestiality - the two are nothing alike!  Right?  Pedophilia, same thing.  Anti-equality folks say it’s the next step after legalizing gay marriage.  If we let them fuck people of the same gender, they’ll want to fuck children, obviously!  No, wait, how on earth is that obvious?

I’m struck by how, in the face of these arguments, a lot of us seem to be getting upset for the wrong reasons.  Well, okay, not the ‘wrong’ reasons, maybe, but reasons that actually have nothing to do with the point.  We say things like “They’re comparing us to animals, how dehumanizing!” and “They’re perpetuating the stereotype that all gay men are pedophiles!  How disgusting!” but we’re not really looking at the perceived similarities between what anti-equality folks term, ‘abnormal relationships’.  WHY are they lumping these things in the same category?  Why is child abuse the next logical step forward from a loving relationship between two consenting adults?  And why by all that’s holy and good do they not recognize that the difference between a same-gender partner and a child, a dog, a toaster, or even a female spouse in a polygamous marriage where women are treated as property for religious reasons, is the ability to give meaningful consent???  This isn’t hard, for fuck’s sake!  It should be obvious!

There’s a parallel here that explains most of it, in my humble opinion, and it exists within our own pro-equality arguments and rebuttals, but I don’t see the connection being made very often, and that’s the perception of marriage as a property-transfer transaction.  A lot of times, when the anti-equality crowd brings up what they call “Biblical” or “Traditional” marriage, our side is there reminding them that “Biblical Marriage” involves:

Man + Woman

Man + Several Women

Man + Slave Women

Rapist + Victim (as long as she was a virgin, because if she wasn’t a virgin clearly she wanted it, oh, and also only if she was raped out in the country, because if she was raped in the city she would have screamed and fought and someone would have rescued her, so clearly if she was raped in the city she’s an adulteress who secretly wanted it)

Man + Wife + Wife’s Slaves

Man + Dead Brother’s Wife/Wives

Man + Any Virgin Women Who Survive The Conquest of His Enemies And Can Be Claimed By Him As Spoils of War

Funny thing… what do all these versions of Biblical marriage have in common?  Yeah, you guessed it - property and property transfer.  In the case of the rapist marrying his victim, he has to actually pay her father for damaging his property.  The rest of these either involve dowries or slavery, but regardless, ‘property transfer’ is the watchword of the day.  Of course these days we don’t hold with polygamy - in a world where women only outnumber men by 3% and, in first-world countries like the USA, don’t often die in childbirth anymore, we can’t have any one man hogging too MUCH of the property.  That’s just craziness.  We put a stop to that a long time ago, except for isolationist groups of… oh, right.  Extreme fundamentalist Christian sects.  Biblical Marriage.  Uh-huh.

But let’s look at some of the ways other versions of the property transfer model of marriage have translated in our society.  It was only in 1993 (yes, you read that right) that the last state in the USA removed spousal exemption from rape charges, and as of 1999, 33 of 50 states viewed spousal rape as a lesser crime.  That’s within my lifetime, y’all.  That’s fucked up.  Legally, as a culture, we still see sex as something that a woman owes her husband (the legal exemptions are rarely targeted the opposite way, but since men can be raped I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been tried).  If you married him, you owe him sex.  Hell, if you listen to Dan Savage, also a proponent of the transactional model of human sexuality, he thinks you owe sex to a person you’re just dating, and if you don’t deliver you have no excuse to complain when they attempt to cajole, coerce, or manipulate you into it then abandon you if you don’t give in.  We construct men as the hunters and women as the hunted, men as genital archaeologists and women as gatekeepers.  If a man has sex with a woman, he’s won and she’s given it away.  Putting aside for the moment all the heteronormative cissexist assumptions of this model, it has another very glaring flaw - it prioritizes acquiring property and conquering resistance over the meaningful consent of two (or more) people.  If you’ve ‘popped a girl’s cherry’ there is a perception that you OWN some part of her that can never be retrieved.  You ‘took’ her virginity, she ‘gave’ it to you.  A transaction was conducted, and you’ve added to your high-value property.

Or let’s look at sexual harassment.  Why is it that a woman alone is easily targeted, but a woman walking with a man is usually left alone?  I have personal experience with this, and also the stories of friends who relate how when they were alone they were seen as available, as owing any random male their attention on demand.  But the minute their brother/father/boyfriend showed up, the other males backed off.  A free woman is free game, but a woman with a man is OWNED, is protected, is property.  And you don’t infringe on someone else’s property.  You see, the thing about property is this: property doesn’t need to consent.  Think of how many POC are descended from the rape of slaves, whose consent was not considered necessary, but who had to have permission from their owners to marry or choose their own mates.  Their sexuality was controlled by their owners, and the expectation of the right to that control and the expectation of the right to lesser forms of control, such as the type many women experience today, while not equal, stem from the same source.

So we can see how the property transaction model of marriage, or even just of human relationships, still persists in our society and affects the way we view men, women, and the relationships between them.  How, then, does it affect the way in which we view relationships between men and men, women and women, people who are genderqueer with people who are binary and vice versa, and people who are trans*, either binary or non-binary?  It’s fairly easy to get hold of.  We’ve labeled its manifestations ‘homophobia’ or ‘heterosexism’ but I think their roots lie in the transactional model.  Think for a moment how often oblivious straight couples demand to know “Who’s the woman” in a relationship between two men.  Think about how a gay man is expected to behave effeminately, or a lesbian woman is expected to be butch.  Think about how we insist, as a culture, that queer relationships resemble hetersexual relationships through gender-markers and power-structures.  Someone has to be the ‘man’ and someone has to be the ‘woman’ even if there’s no man, no woman, or neither man nor woman involved in the relationship!  Someone has to top, someone has to bottom.  Someone has to be seme and someone has to be uke, to borrow the egregious stereotypical terms of the yaoi genre, which is so heavily dominated by straight women.  We expect someone to be property and someone else to be the owner, and we don’t know how to handle it if they’re not.

In a culture where the relationship between property and owner as it concerns human beings has been habitually defined by two factors - gender and skin color - a same-sex or non-binary relationship violates tradition.  If two men are fucking, how can one own the other?  They’re both men!  If two women are fucking, who owns them?  Do they imagine NOBODY owns them?  How dare they!  Lesbians are subject to ‘corrective’ rape at an astronomical rate, and you’ll never convince me it has nothing to do with the transactional model, especially for lesbian POC who suffer the majority of that particular breed of violence.  Guess what else is treated like property in our society?  If you guessed ‘children’, who generally aren’t allowed full choices, bodily autonomy, or true independence until they’re considered adults, you’d be right.  You’d also be right if you answered ‘pets’ or ‘livestock’.  Wonder of wonders, those are the very parties anti-equality folks believe we’ll jump to fucking if we’re allowed to fuck someone of the same gender.  It doesn’t occur to them that the slippery slope doesn’t exist because our standard is NOT “relationships that violate the standard (transactional) model”, our standard is “who can give clear, quality consent to being in a relationship?  Well, then, let’s not restrict them!”  To them, the slippery slope exists because if you are allowed to START fucking around with the transactional model, there’s no telling how else you’ll fuck around with the transactional model.  They use polygamy as a bogeyman for their own hang-ups and insecurities, claiming we’ll allow a return to “a time when women were treated like property”, not knowing or perhaps deliberately obfuscating the fact that healthy, egalitarian polyamorous relationships exist and their existence harms no one and destabilizes nothing.  They just know that the idea of making people property scares and disgusts us - it must, because we insist on having bizarre, abnormal relationships where no one is owned, controlled, or trapped in a power imbalance.

So, to sum up, Conservatives, Traditionalists, and Anti-Equality Bigots in general don’t twig to the consent standard because they are accustomed to a model of marriage that does not involve a consent standard.  I’m not trying to say none of them practice, or care about, consent in their own personal relationships; I’m talking about what they were raised to expect, the implications of the model they were given, and how that influences what they see as ‘natural’ or ‘traditional’.  The thread of Marriage-As-Property-Transfer runs through all the heterosexist and homophobic arguments I commonly hear.  Even folks who mean well fall into that trap.  ”Who’s pitching and who’s catching?” and “Who’s the man in the relationship?” are just further manifestations of how our cissexist, heterosexist, and patriarchal cultural narratives all tie into each other to create a gigantic ball of oppressive crap that we have to work constantly to dig ourselves out from under, otherwise known as ‘intersectionality and why it’s important’.  

Do I think it’s the only objection they have to marriage equality?  No - objections run the gamut from “The Bible says it so I believe it whether or not it makes any sense whatsoever,” to “It’s GROSS therefore it shouldn’t be legal,” and a hundred creative variations in between.  But when you hear the watchwords ‘Biblical’ or ‘Traditional’, remember this is what they’re talking about - marriage as a transaction, in which human property changes hands from one owner to another.  They’re talking about a marriage in which the husband is the head of the house and the wife submits to him, and they’re acknowledging, whether they realize it or not, that that dynamic is automatically subverted when you’re allowed to have two husbands or two wives.

sonneillonv: (Default)
*SIIIIIGH*

Okay, all fictional characters EVER. Repeat after me: When I meet someone new, someone I am sweet on, I do not own THEM, their HISTORY, or their previous romantic relationships. Except insomuch as it informs the anti-STI precautions you take with them, which you should always take anyway, it does not matter how much they dated, fooled around, or were serially monogamous, as long as it was in a consensual and respectful manner. I don't care if a guy was with one girl for ten years or ten girls for a day, if nobody got hurt, you don't get to be jealous of the previous lovers.

And that goes for all genders. SERIOUSLY. People's lives and hearts aren't yours to OWN.
sonneillonv: Invader Zim Quote (Slytherin Doom)
A few days ago we got a letter from Job and Family Services saying our Medicaid coverage would be terminated on 4/30/12 because of non-compliance with the reapplication process. I made a confused phone call to Job and Family Services which basically amounted to, "But we were there two days ago. We brought all our paperwork. We were told we were in good shape with Medicaid and Food Stamps even though we had to opt out of TANF." The very nice woman on the phone said the letter was probably mailed before the appointment - because things are so hectic over there right now, what with 1/3 of their offices being shut down thanks to budget cuts and the remaining case load shuffled onto the other offices who, due to budget cuts, were not allowed to hire more people to deal with the additional work, the mailers can get a little off-schedule and mixed up.

I assured her I totally understood this and I hate our governor John Kasich for his retrofuck worship of Scott Walker, because they're the ones who thought severely slashing the mental health budget was JUST SUCH A SHINY PERFECT IDEA, and I'm not upset with JaFS, I just want to know if we have insurance.

"You're good," she assures me. "You totes have insurance. I'm looking at the notes and the notes say you're in full compliance and you're assigned these benefits."

So that's great, and my husband's burgeoning anxiety attack was averted.

Today my husband went to the store to pick up things. Among these things was his seroquel prescription for the next month. He's already out of pills and a little late getting in because my work schedule was unexpectedly hectic this week, due to my only teller coworker having a family emergency that required me to take his shifts. He gets there, they run his insurance.

Cancelled. You may have noticed it is NOT 4/30/12 yet. My husband's anxiety attack is now three times as severe as the first one.

Seroquel, even the generic kind, is $200 for a month's supply. Because we just had to opt out of TANF, we are operating at a little over $450 in DEFICIT every month. We are pulling from our savings until I get my second job, which, as I pointed out before, will mean working twelve-hour days three days a week. We attempted to donate plasma, but apparently I have superficial veins and Husband's meds change his blood chemistry too much.

Job and Family Services is not in on Saturdays or Sundays. The very earliest I could talk to them would be Monday. They will probably require us to undergo the full reapplication process, including submission of paperwork and appearance at mandatory appointments, which could take at least a week.

Husband is going to start physical withdrawal TOMORROW.

Seroquel is a class 2 controlled substance in the state of Ohio. Pharmacies, as far as I can tell, are not allowed to do a partial refill on class 2 controlled substances. Otherwise we'd try buying three or four pills and stretching them as far as we could. My understanding of class 2 controlled is that they must be filled exactly as the doctor prescribed them, anything else opens up the pharmacy to lawsuits. I am going there tomorrow to try to bargain with them anyway.

As a reminder, Husband has severe bi-polar disorder NOS (meaning atypical). Seroquel is basically the foundation of his entire med regimen. He cannot have antidepressants because they will trigger a manic phase. He cannot have anti-anxiety meds because they will trigger depression. At this point we are trying to decide which state is the least dangerous, with the possibility of intentionally medicating him onto whichever of his poles he can survive the longest. It's harder than you'd think. Anxiety is not depression, but when he is anxious he self-harms and is actively suicidal. Depression is terrible, severe depression (he's rated at 4x 'normal' severity, whatever the hell that means besides "Shit, you're DEPRESSED"), but the up-side is he is too depressed and listless to get the energy to commit suicide or cut himself. Unfortunately, our son fits into this equation. My husband is the one watching him during the day, and if he's in a haze of total depression or in a self-harming frenzy of anxiety, the boo will suffer. I have no choice - I have to work, because with a little hard work and effort and shiny bootstraps you can totes get ahead in life.

When I say that health care in the US is fucked up and broken, this is what I mean. Republicans and Libertarians accuse progressives of 'whining' about this shit. I am not whining. I am fully fucking enraged. I am ready to go on a fucking bender of destruction and tear the establishment down around their fucking ears. I want my family safe and healthy, damn it. I want my husband to get the fucking meds he needs to live some semblance of a worthwhile life! (Note here: I mean worthwhile TO HIM, since in both his severe BPD phases he becomes convinced life is not worth living.) I want the bigoted, privileged, smug, retrofuck dipshits who push tax cuts for 'job creators' while hacking away at the social safety net and fighting a racist and destructive 'war on drugs' and otherwise refusing to respect the bodily autonomy of anyone other than straight white able-bodied white men to die in a fucking chemical fire. I want to curse them with boils and sores and flesh-eating viruses. I want to see them rot from the inside. And I want to stand there and tell them, "No, you can't get any help, because YOU'RE FUCKING ASSHOLES who set this system into place and NOW YOU GET TO DIE BY IT, YOU WORTHLESS FUCKING SHIT STAIN. MAY YOUR FUCKING KARMA RETURN TO YOU."

But of course I cannot do this because of responsibilities.

So instead I rage on my journal, and on Tumblr.

And while objectively it doesn't do a bit of good, I love y'all for listening.

Fuck this. I need to pray. I need to go pray so hard.
sonneillonv: (Hekate)
What Americans need to realize is that the values that keep the rulers of the United States from doing things like forcing children to fight each other to the death are Christian values. The values that ended the death matches in Rome were Christian values. The values that ended slavery in England were Christian values. And, the values that should be crying out against such violence in movies like THE HUNGER GAMES are Christian values.

The values that led to the Crusades were Christian values. The values that led to the Inquisition were Christian values. The values that led to the Salem Witch Trials were Christian values. The values that led to slavery were Christian values. The values that lead to anti-Islam, anti-Pagan, and anti-GLBT policies and sentiment in local governments, schools, and businesses, are Christian values. The values of those waging an anti-choice war against women are Christian values. The values that cause people to viciously attack transgender people for the heinous crime of existing in public are Christian values. The values that lead to Creationism being taught in schools but no sexual education, therefore putting our children at risk of disease, pregnancy, abuse, and other severe reproductive health problems because they have no information, are Christian values. The values that enabled the cover-up and continuance of the abuse of millions of children in both Catholic and Protestant congregations because men of God should not have to deal with the consequences of their perversions... Christian values.

Do not fucking behave like Christians have the monopoly on morality. Don't try to sell me that bullshit. I will spit it back in your face. Plenty of Christians manage to be wonderful people despite the deity-sanctioned rape, slavery, genocide, and baby-killing in their holy book. Plenty of non-Christians manage to be wonderful people, who are appalled and disgusted by the idea of sentencing children to mortal combat for entertainment purposes, without having to be told to react that way by the Christian deity or by ANY deity. I don't need Hekate, Dionysus, Persephone, or Hermes to stand over my shoulder going, "Now, this is bad, so you must not do this." I can figure that out on my own. Both my cognition and my empathy function just fine without divine intervention.

If you really believe what you're shilling, I wonder, can you say the same?
sonneillonv: (Default)
I've posted this before, but I think it's worth watching again. This is largely in response to this bit of self-centered idiocy which Personal Failure has already sporked, but I have something to say about it too, and that is that community-sourcing WORKS.

According to these folks, Wikipedia doesn’t exist, and neither do the MILLIONS of online role-playing communities scattered across the internet. Because I want to make something very clear, as someone who has created and modded at least a dozen of those communities in the course of my life – it IS hard work and I do NOT get paid for it. Most of the time it’s an utterly thankless job. I am facilitating a creative storytelling outlet for anywhere from five to thirty people, which requires me not only to design and maintain the website, which is work in and of itself, but also to run interference between all types of personalities, maintain the rules, resolve disputes, and otherwise ensure that a whole lot of very creative, very outside-the-box people are able to work together in constructive ways. “Herding cats” doesn’t even come close to describing it.

It’s also my responsibility to come up with overarching plots, to guide the writers in following those plots, to handle every non-player character with whom interaction is necessary on top of my own characters (that’s a whole hell of a lot of writing, I’ve done less writing in college writing courses), and I have to read everything going on on the community in order to keep up with where each character is and what they are doing, and how this will affect the overall environment. I have to be available to answer questions and address issues pretty much every single hour that I’m home in order for this grand, complex machine to run smoothly. But I don’t get paid for this. I don’t particularly enjoy doing it either, as every time it happens I protest that I don’t want to moderate anymore, and will not moderate ever again, yet invariably it ends up happening again. Usually this is because people dump their communities in my lap when it gets too hard or their interests change to a different game/universe/fandom, and I don’t want to disappoint my friends, who still want to play, so I take up the flag and bravely soldier on.

I often question why I do this job without any reward, and the answer boils down to this: The job needs to get done. I have a community of people who need the behind-the-scenes work to be taken care of so they can make use of this creative outlet. This phenomenon is not unique – Absolute Write, a huge community for writers on the internet, is free and freely maintained. All the wikias ever, which have been so helpful and so on-the-ball collecting interviews, previews, little-known trivia, and screenshots, painstakingly inter-linking all relevant information so that someone like me can come into the Anita Blake fandom knowing absolutely nothing and from the Wiki learn pretty much everything, at least enough to run the community that has recently been dumped into her lap… they aren’t getting paid. Or what about the people who volunteer every day in soup kitchens, food pantries, for Habitat for Humanity, at animal shelters? They see a need and they go fill it. They’re not getting paid. Though being able to spend time with animals may be payment enough for some.

Community-sourced work is a real phenomenon. It’s really happening. It’s not a fluke. When people are supported and encouraged to do work that is fulfilling to them, work gets done. Of course very few people want to be janitors or sewage workers or road-kill collectors, but I suggest that there are plenty of people who WOULD do those jobs if the need was made clear to them, and they were given some kind of support and encouragement for doing so. I currently work at a bank. Salting our sidewalk is not my job – we have someone who plows our parking lot and lays down salt for us. But I go out and salt the sidewalk anyway, even though the salt stinks and it destroys the skin on my hands, because it’s something I can do to help keep our customers safe and because when I do it, my bosses support and encourage me just by noticing I did it and thanking me later. I contributed to a business entity in which we all have vested interest, so my work is appreciated, so I keep doing it. Simple. And the people who think it doesn't work, who propose models like the one proposed in the original article - those people are kind of repulsive to me, because this worldview indicates a breed of selfishness that I just can't really comprehend. Yes, I've worked with classmates who were lazy and checked out of things. Yes, I've resented having to carry the main burden for a group of people. But here's the thing - I resented it because I was forced to work with THAT GROUP OF PEOPLE and I was ALONE in wanting to excel. I think if, by contrast, a small group of us were able to work together to carry the class, and if together we could really work on great ideas, support each other, encourage each other, and appreciate each other's work, then I wouldn't care so much that other people were slacking as long as we were able to succeed. In other words, I don't mind doing all the work if you make the work a good, fulfilling experience.

Anyway, here's the video.

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August 2012

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