Louise Mensch’s “reality based feminism”: whose reality?

Oh dear. Louise Mensch has been at it again with the Tory feminism. This time, she’s upset about people telling her to check her privilege, displaying a profound lack of understanding of intersectional feminism and the notion of what privilege is and cissexism, all of which she has somehow managed to conflate together because she understands it so little. Also, I think she’s watched The Life of Brian recently. Anyway, for the most part it is the same tedious anti-intersectional twaddle which tends to come from high-profile people who have had their fingers burned by being challenged on some dingleberries they’ve been spouting and lack the basic level of self-reflection to learn from the experience.

However, Louise Mensch has a solution to the problem! She calls for a reality-based feminism, which is basically this:

American feminism gets organised. It sees where power lies, and it mobilises to achieve it. It gets its candidates elected. Feminism here is about running for office, founding a company, becoming COO of Facebook or Yahoo. It is power feminism that realises that actual empowerment for women means getting more money, since money and liberty often equate, and being able to legislate or influence. Hillary Clinton shifted from First Lady to Senator. Before that she was a powerful lawyer.

And by the way, reality-based feminism – where you achieve, try to earn lots of money, run for office, campaign for measurable goals like defeating Sen. Todd Akin – is not a province of Conservative feminism alone. When I think of a true feminist of the left that I admire I think of Stella Creasy MP and her campaign against payday loans. She’s doing something. She ran for office. She got involved in the Labour party. She matters immensely. She will change things.

This is apparently what feminism should be fighting for according to Louise Mensch. The tiny number of high-paid positions which are near-impossible to attain due to material and social circumstances. Forget fighting for not having to live in fucking fear every day, forget fighting to be recognised as a human being, forget fighting for survival. In Louise Mensch’s reality, feminism is about getting a well-paid job, and fighting only battles on the lowest difficulty setting with an easy win guaranteed.

And I suppose it’s good for her that this is the only thing that she needs. Good for her that most of her problem is that people say she’s privileged on the internet, because if that’s her problem, then she really is staggeringly privileged. This privilege has bestowed upon her a staggering lack of empathy and imagination, a lack of any ability to see how impossible her vision is for the vast amount of women.

Louise Mensch thinks that everything she did was entirely her own doing, a shocking degree of egocentrism which most people grow out of by the age of three. There is absolutely no consideration that perhaps she lucked out at the life lottery in order to get where she is. She believes it to be possible to anyone, concluding with a somewhat frightening peek at her ideal future.

The picture at the top is of me at school aged 14. Big glasses, nerdy, feminist, ambitious, idolising Thatcher, and determined to be famous, to be an author, and to be rich. I was at private school my parents couldn’t really afford because I bust my ass and won a 100% academic scholarship. I always believed in myself and I had and have no intention of checking my privilege for anyone. I earned it. I hope the next generation of young women feel the same.

Imagine this future, where women squabble like a flock of pigeons, pecking at the scraps patriarchy chooses to throw us. A future utterly devoid of any solidarity, just women kicking down our sisters, piling their limp forms into a ladder to get that executive position. Imagine a future where we no longer dream of better and hope for better, hope for a change to a society which is inherently oppressive, crying out for an end to capitalism and kyriarchy. We would compete to be the chosen ones and turn a blind eye to continuing violence and horrors, never looking back just ruthlessly making sure that it is never us who are victims. Better someone else. It would be Mad Max in shoulder pads.

And if we won, we would mistakenly believe that somehow we earned it all, which is far better than the truth: we got lucky. If we lost, we would be blamed for our misfortune, our inability to play the game correctly.

It would be quaint, Louise Mensch’s belief that there is a pure meritocracy and that circumstances do not affect it, were it not just the stick that is used to beat us again and again and again.

The current state of affairs has benefited Louise Mensch, and so she does not want to rock the boat and enact any sort of change to the system. This is why she wants to maintain her reality, stubbornly attempting to swat away anyone who reminds her that it a hefty heap of luck supplemented her hard work to get her where she is today. She decries those who are not rooted in her reality.

And yet, by insistent focus on how things cannot change, all she betrays is that she is stagnant, and set in her ways. She is disgusted by dreamers, those of us who see that the system is broken and should not survive, those of us who hope for better. We flow like a small mountain stream, clearer and brighter, while Mensch and her ilk are a set of foetid puddles, unmoving and separate. Will we one day roar into a river, we dreamers? I like to hope so, because I have something Louise Mensch does not: hope and a vision that things can be different.

Lose the lad mags: a round-up and something that’s bugging me

UK Feminista and Object unveiled their latest project earlier this week: telling shops to get rid of lad mags, or it might break equality law, constituting sexual harassment. Now, I’m not particularly convinced by the legal argument, with even the lawyers couching their analysis in “may” rather than “does” constitute sexual harassment or discrimination.

I’m also not particularly convinced by the arguments surrounding objectification of women underpinning it, and have similar reservations to those surrounding the No More Page 3 campaign.

However, I’m late to the party in critiquing Lose the Lad Mags. It looks like others have got there first and made some very good points, so I am going to link to a few things which are worth reading.

Dangerous Dolls: ‘Object’ and Lose the Lads’ Mags (plasticdollheads)
Is it cold outside Kat? (itsjustahobby)
Lose the magging sexism (Squeamish Bikini)

All of these cover many of the problems fairly well: that sexism in magazines are not a problem limited to Nuts and Loaded; that objectification arguments are missing the point by focusing solely on image; that lad mags are a symptom of the problem rather than a cause; that banning something isn’t necessarily the best way forward.

I have another quibble to add. The campaigners have made a statement, as have lawyers involved, but there are voices missing: the voices of women who work in shops where lads’ mags are stocked and feel harassed and discriminated against by being forced to handle them. It is their voices which should be front and central in the Lose the Lad Mags campaigns, not those of spokespeople drafting official press releases.

It is their voices, their needs and wants, that matter.

And I suspect my feelings about this campaign would be very different if it weren’t led by lawyers and professional activists. A group of women who work in retail, gathering together to organise against an employment practice that harms them is a different thing entirely to a top-down campaign organised by groups who exist largely to get rid of lad mags. What it feels like here is instrumentalising some possible concerns that workers may have about an employment rights issue, in order to push an agenda. I say “possibly” here because in all the noise, we haven’t heard the voices of workers who may feel harassed here.

There is a world of difference between people who are most troubled by an issue leading on finding a solution, and an edict about how to solve a problem coming from above. Such top-down organisation is inherently paternalistic, smacking of a perception of knowing what is best for those poor little women. Is this really a pressing employment rights issue for women who work in shops? Maybe. We don’t know, because we’re only hearing from activists and lawyers telling us what they think and how they imagine women working in shops should feel.

What this campaign should look like, if it is indeed a major problem affecting workers, is support. These big organisations should not be leading, but quietly providing resources and a microphone, as it is not their battle. This battle belongs to the women workers who feel harassed and discriminated against, who find themselves in already-precarious retail work with little to do. These issues of workers’ rights are all part of the class struggle. Unfortunately, Lose the Lad Mags has not connected these dots, nor has it provided any solutions:  I do not see any offers from Lose the Lad Mags to help with legal fees, no guidance in organising in the workplace in different ways which might work better–after all, with the cuts to Legal Aid a lawsuit is something potentially-affected women cannot afford.

And it is sad, because these may be women who need help, yet are being treated as little more than pawns, potential mouthpieces to legitimise the campaign.

Things I read this week that I found interesting

I read things. I found them interesting. Show me other interesting things, please.

IC a Muslim (Sam Ambreen)- A very personal piece from Sam on being a woman of colour in the aftermath of a terrorism scare.

straight (Linda Stupart)- Linda takes us on a journey to how she embraced her queer identity.

Assault by police (tiredlegs)- Enormous trigger warning for violence. Tiredlegs tells the story of what happened when she reported concerns about sexual assault to the police as a woman with mental health issues.

The bipolar and abortion case (zedkat)- A response to a recent, horrific case in the news, and how it reflects some of zed’s worst fears.

What Do You Desire? (Emily Witt)- A long form piece on BDSM porn and how it is made, and what it all means.

Opinion: I Was A Misogynist Comedian (Michael J Dolan)- Michael was a misogynist comedian. He got better.

Whoremoms – A documentary on Sex Work and the Family Court. (Tanaha Koontz)- A fairly worthy cause for a Kickstarter. Read this story of the experience of a sex worker with the family court system, and donate if you’d like to see it made into a documentary.

On Reverse Cultural Appropriation (my culture is not a trend)- On white people crying reverse cultural appropriation when black people wear suits, and why that’s a nonsense.

Why Do Men Keep Putting Me in the Girlfriend-Zone? (insert literary reference)- A witty antidote to that “friendzone” bollocks.

You can shove your same sex marriage up your arse (riotstarz)- A very lucid critique of same sex marriage.

It’s worse when it’s a woman? (itsjustahobby)- Jem shares a story of women policing other women’s acceptability and ponders why it feels worse.

Corrected (STFU MRAs)- An artistic correction to some liberal bullshit which gets way too much credence.

Nick Ross: Myth Perpetuator (One Woman’s Thoughts)- A speedy response to the latest rape apologist bollocks in the Mail.

On the Swedish “riots” (MegafonenOrten)- All you need to know about what’s going on in Sweden.

The Consent Debate (eumelia)- On the understanding of consent in fandom, and how it’s quite terrible.

Judith Butler explained with cats (Binarythis)- Struggling to understand Judith Butler? Me too. This explanation, with cats, should help.

And finally, 19 cats who just need to check their goddamn privilege.

G4S running rape support. Fuck that shit.

Content note: This post discusses rape and the aftermath

I have written before about why I never reported my rape to the police, and reams about the trail of disgusting fuck-ups the police have displayed in handling of rape. I know that many feel the same way, unable to trust this violent, patriarchal institution to help healing and justice. Yet some do, or at least see going to the police is the best option available. And for some, the police really are helpful. For the rest of us, we look at the police and plot revolution, plot for a day when they are the best option for none as we deal with the entrenched societal problem with rape and let go of models of retributive justice, doing away with this coercive arm of the state.

Getting rid of the police and their role in dealing with the aftermath of rape requires a revolution. It doesn’t require what the state are doing: outsourcing rape support services to G4S. It is reported in the Birmingham Mail that the private security company will be managing sexual assault referral centres in Walsall and Birmingham, where their staff will be present in the centres doing medical assessments and providing advice. The regurgitated press release informs us that survivors will not even have to speak to the police first. Under privatisation, this coded little phrase usually means “because the police will send them there anyway”.

In the context of the state’s continued programme of cutting literally everything that makes life a little more tolerable, they are presenting us with a choice: get nothing for rape support, or have G4S. In a conversation on Twitter last night, I idly wondered which was worse, my own personal thoughts drifting towards it being G4S. A reply from @gherkinette helped put my finger on a lot of the problem: “allowing people to trust you and then fucking up is in my experience worse than no help at all. Others may disagree.”

Once, I told a friend I trusted about the awful things that had happened to me in greater detail than I have ever told anyone else. I was rewarded with a complete lack of sensitivity and unhelpfulness, a nagging sense of not being believed. I am no longer friends with that person, and it was not at all conducive to my own healing process, throwing me into a deep depression and rendering it nearly impossible for me to talk about any of this stuff with reference to my own personal experience. I sometimes beat myself up for putting my trust in that person, even though on a level I know that the fault was theirs and not mine.

So I can only imagine how fucking awful it must be for a survivor to make the decision to report, and be lumbered with G4S and their enormous scope for fucking up enormously. As a private company, they are far less accountable for errors than the police–who have proved, time and time again to avoid accountability at all costs. What we know of G4S is that it was they who were responsible for a cock-up of such magnitude that the Army had to be called in. That they are famous for running prisons and detention centres for immigrants, hardly a sector known for its sensitivity. That they undertake similar work in Israel and Palestine. And now, that the responsibility for sensitively helping survivors of sexual violence is being placed in their incapable hands, all for the sake of a political agenda.

They have ruined many lives already, and the doors have been thrown open for them to ruin more lives in new, different ways.

It is a repugnant state of affairs that this task is being entrusted to G4S. We need that revolution more than ever.

Dear Aiden Russell

Dear Aiden Russell,

You’re a bellend. A big, throbbing, cheesy bellend. You are a suppurating boil on the arse of humanity, a yellow stain on a white vest on a hot day, an eggy guff on a morning commute.

Also, you are a massive bigot. Yes, I said it. I can almost taste your tears from here, and it’s enough to make me want to gag, tasting as they do of wet dogs and anchovy-brine. You don’t like being called a bigot, do you Aiden? I’ve seen your picture of you whinging about being silenced. It must be hard for you, being dealt the cruel hand of being a massive fucking bigot and also not even having a semblance of a clue.

You see, Aiden, you are a bigot. It’s not silencing you to say that. You are free to go about your day, being a bigot. You can go about ineffectually seeking to deny dignity to queer folk all you like, desperately promoting some sort of right to refuse service to us as you and the handful of other bigots try to unionise to an almost-complete public indifference. You can run your sockpuppet account expressing your pride to be heterosexual: goodness knows, you have nothing else to be proud of. And you can try to blame the fact you’re a bigot on Muslims, because you’re probably a racist, too. Bigotry overlaps, you see, Aiden.

You’re more than welcome to do this, Aiden, because of free speech.

But guess what? We’re more than welcome to call you out on it, because of free speech. And you’re homophobic, Aiden. You’re very, very homophobic. You want to deny rights to people because of their sexual orientation. And you’re allowed to think that, but it makes you an enormous, pulsating ballbag.

And as time passes by, your views are becoming outmoded. More and more people are wising up to the fact that you and your ever-decreasing ilk are chatting shit. Hell, even a lot of bigots have evolved beyond your point, moving instead to more insipid ways of oppressing queer folk. You’d be almost quaint, Aiden, if you weren’t such a rampaging nipple.

For someone who has been silenced, Aiden, you are remarkably loud, and this is because you know you haven’t been. You are just, like others of your kind, terrified of accountability and so therefore casting yourself as a victim.

You wouldn’t know hate if it booted you in the head, straight man.

I do not doubt that you will consider the fact people think you’re a gnawing cockcanoe to be more evidence of silencing, but this betrays just how little you understand what free speech is. It isn’t just for you, you see, Aiden. It’s for us. And it’s what lets us speak out against you. Do you hate free speech, Aiden?

Yours, with contempt,


Guest post: The same Online Wimmin Mob in hardly-even-different packaging

This post is by @jonanamary, who doesn’t have a blog. She’s ace. You lot will like her.

Content note: this post quotes examples of ableism with uncensored slurs. 

I’m in two minds about writing about Peter’s blog post on call-out culture, because my previous encounters with the author have been… bruising, and very unpleasant. Drawing further attention to the piece also seems counter-productive. However, as he has chosen to write about things I have said, but in a distorted and inaccurate way, I feel I have no choice but to engage to some degree – especially as a comment I left on the article setting out my version of events was not published. The piece is also full of logical fallacies which are worth highlighting, and is more of the same old Online Wimmin Mob shit in a hardly-even-different type of packaging; very, very tedious.

Here we go, then. Peter’s words in red.

 “1) Are teenage girls really a persecuted minority?” – yes, especially in the context of their musical taste. I’ll leave the explanation to the marvellous, fierce Natalie Zed.

 “3) What in general gives you the god-given right to criticise me in this way, and what response do you expect?” – a response that engaged with the issue raised, rather than dismissing it out of hand, maybe?

(Oh, but maybe I’m just bitter; Peter aka @PME2013 was, after all, rather unwarrantedly nasty to me after the Moore-gate episode, after rather a bizarre conversation in which he insisted that “nannying” does not have gendered or sexist overtones – a point he repeats in this blog, for good measure. What can one say in the face of that level of denial, really?)

Sigh. Continuing:

“It is a feature of the medium that people exchange views, argue, and leave more convinced of their own opinions than before. [He’s universalising – I have had my mind changed on many issues due to great conversations and arguments on Twitter, and I know I am not alone.] Fine, it’s not for me, but I’ve no issue with it. [Clearly, he does, as this whole blog shows.]

“I’m talking instead about people criticising and sometimes attacking others for their use of language and daring to express themselves in the natural terms that people do every day across the country.  I’ve seen it time and time again: people leaping on others and chastising them as if they were small children who had been naughty for the words they have used.” [My emphasis] – the sheer ignorance involved in describing language of any kind as “natural” boggles the mind. If there is anything more constructed, more socially situated than language, I can’t think of it. Language is anything but “natural”, and to describe it as such is either dishonest or depressingly naïve. Is it “natural” when, for example, schoolkids use the term “that’s so gay!” to express distaste – does the term stem from the “natural” inferiority of gay people? Of course not – it reflects a societal attitude that is hostile to non-heterosexual identities.

His denial that “hysterical” or “nannying” aren’t sometimes used in harmful ways is rather sad. Feminists, even we Online Wimmin Mob types, don’t generally object to “hysterical” being used to mean “funny”; we object when it is used to refer to the behaviour of a woman who is deemed to be acting “excessively”. To state it more clearly, I have little problem with the sentence “that comedian I just saw was hysterically funny!”; I have rather a lot of problems with “that female MP’s argument was shrill and hysterical“. Oddly enough, Peter does not address the second meaning of hysterical. Likewise,“I did a nannying job for a Parisian family last summer” = not objectionable; referring to our hypothetical female MP as acting in a “nannying” way is much more problematic, as it calls upon a long history of tropes of smothering, overbearing women, who can easily be dismissed. How is that not sexist?

I saw one person lecturing another recently about the other’s use of “delusional” and “idiot”” – hand up, I was the person he is referring to here, but I – and the other person involved in the original conversation, the fabulous @TheNatFantastic – utterly reject Peter’s characterisation of our interaction as “lecturing”, here. I know that Nat is anti-disablism, so when she used those words, I gently and (in Twitter terms) privately gave her a heads-up via a direct @ (rather than a .@) that only people who follow us both would have seen. (Incidentally, Peter makes a point of noting that I don’t follow him in reference to the “nannying” incident – IIRC I saw his post because someone retweeted it into my TL. My tweet to Nat re “delusional”/”idiot” was not RT’d, so only by going to my Twitter stream could he have seen it. Slightly creepy, huh?)

Anyway. Nat responded quickly, the issue was settled in minutes, and we both moved on with our lives. Except not, because it’s now being dredged up days later and twisted into an example of LANGUAGE POLICING OMGGGG when it was a more-or-less private, and definitely civil exchange that ended swiftly and with no aggression or aggravation on either side. Peter later added a note to his blog, which said: “One asked me to remove this part of the post, or to make clear she was happy to be lectured to.  Fine: she was happy to be told off in public.  Plenty of people aren’t.” – so why keep it as an example when it manifestly is not an example of the kind of interaction he is describing? It’s dishonest. (He also told us off for using Naughty Words; that kind of language policing is totally fine, it seems. As long as it’s him doing it, of course.)


Interestingly I’ve a real life friend who has been sectioned twice, who has blogged brilliantly on her experiences, in the process no doubt helping and educating many, and who light-heartedly refers to herself as a “loony” on Twitter. I’d love one of the Twaliban to stumble on her by accident one day, and watch her response if they attacked her for her own very deliberate choice of language.” – here Peter shows his ignorance of disablist issues, as well as his ignorance – again – of how language works; he thinks that I, and other “Twitter Twaliban” (not making that up) members, would be upset to see a word that has been used as a slur being reclaimed by a member of the group that it affects. How little he knows; I follow disabled people who happily refer to themselves as “crips” or “mad”, and am not at all shocked by their choice of words. Much as the word “bitch” can be empowering when used by groups of women (e.g. Bitch magazine, or the excellent Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog) or a misogynist slur when shouted at me on the street by a passing stranger, context matters.

 “This is a key thing to remember too: the Twaliban member is frequently taking offence on behalf of unnamed people in a group who might theoretically be hurt if they read the guilty party’s tweet, which contains language that they don’t approve of” – jeeeez, what part of “reinforcing structural forms of oppression” doesn’t he get? The language we use matters; if it didn’t, why bother writing his blog in the first place? Casual use of disablist slurs reinforces society’s constant drumbeat message that disabled people are “less than”; given the demonisation disabled people face from all quarters at the moment, a movement against disablist language seems more vital than ever. How does Peter think societal change is effected, anyway? Oh wait, I forgot; he thinks language choices are “natural” and therefore beyond criticism, but also “a diverse, powerful, creative thing”. :vanishes in a puff of illogic:

 “the point is that intent is highly relevant” – oh lordy. It’s at this point that I think I must throw my hands up in despair. Melissa at Shakesville has a post which could have been tailor-written in response to Peter’s maunderings, so I’ll let her have the last word on that point.

 “I do genuinely think I have the right not to be told off repeatedly for my language, mainly by strangers, when I am hardly tweeting the most offensive content.” – how many times must it be said that “offence” isn’t the problem – oppression is? If Peter tweets in favour of, say, same-sex marriage, this is hugely “offensive” to large numbers of devout religious people who earnestly believe it is against their faith – but I hardly think he’d agree with the idea that he should self-censor his public support for the concept as a result. So why the double standard? “People are scared to speak on a medium that’s all about the free flow of thought and speech.” – well, the free flow of speech that does not challenge Peter or his mates, that is. It all becomes clear!

The final final word goes to my friend Tom, on Peter’s …interesting… use/misuse of logic:

 Was going to go through the whole thing as a logic revision exercise but I lost patience with it. I found:

Naturalistic fallacy (It’s NORMAL for people to use these words so it is OK to do so)

Ad Populum (The majority use these words/are not offended so it is OK to do so)

Fallacy of composition (just because his friend is comfortable with referring to herself as a loony it doesn’t mean that all people with MH issues are going to be comfortable with it)

Poisoning the well/genetic fallacy (Discrediting arguments because they come from twitter)

Ad Hominem (even though he never mentions anyone’s name, the “Twitter Taliban” is nothing more than an attempt at a personal attack)

Improper appeal to authority (his argument that “retard” is a medical term used by WHO doesn’t impact it’s offensiveness/the intent with which it is often used in every day speech)

There are numerous other problems with it, but these are just the fallacies I managed to identify with help from my crib sheet. I probably missed loads because I only skimmed the last half.

Is the same sex marriage bill shit on purpose?

Today our parliament votes and debates on the issue of same sex marriage yet again. Watching the last debate was just slightly better than having a chisel inserted under my toenails to a soundtrack of Enya, so I’m more likely to be watching this today.

The whole debate lays bare a lot of ugly prejudices still rampant in our society. Most obvious–to the point where the normally-oblivious mainstream media and many normally-oblivious politicians have noticed–is the homophobia from the opposition to the bill. They dress up their concerns in the language of protecting the institution of the family or fretting about the relationship with the church, as though a family can only be defined by a very narrow heterosexist standard and the church weren’t just an antediluvian bunch of poorly-dressed ringpieces. Indeed, the prejudice is so naked, I am surprised there are no petitions on change.org to protect our children from seeing its rude bits.

It’s so easy to spot–and argue against–the bigotry of the opposition that the more insidious nonsense coming from supporters of the bill gets overlooked. Supporters of the bill have been gleefully throwing poly people under the bus once again, setting us up as a deviant bogeyman in a common trick used in this sort of discourse.

The bill is also bad news for trans people. Sarah Brown has compiled a non-exhaustive list of some of the myriad problems that the proposed legislation might bring for trans people. At best, it does little to ameliorate the minefield trans people must negotiate in order to win recognition for their relationships. At worst, it makes things actively worse, bestowing a power of veto on a partner’s transition.

For these reasons, I cannot call what is being proposed marriage equality. It is nothing of the sort. Let us call it same sex marriage, for that is what it is.

On top of all of this, there is a growing sense that even those putting the bill forward want it to fail. An amendment was added to the bill–quite possibly a wrecking amendment–to bring in heterosexual civil partnerships. I am fairly indifferent to this amendment, much as I am to the entire law. However, it seems about as harmlessly inconsequential as same sex marriage itself. It has driven those who put the bill forward into a frenzy, actively threatening to pull the bill based on really shaky reasoning: it might cost more money, and nobody wants it anyway. The cost argument looks fairly nonsensical, as if they have just pulled a bunch of numbers out of their arses like a string of magician’s handkerchiefs. Further arguments against this come in the form of crying about how it will damage the institution of marriage. In short, it is all of the same crap which is bandied about in arguments against same sex marriage.

And this is because society has a pretty dreadful attitude to how relationships should look. It lays bare the true function of same sex marriage: as a reward for the same sex couples who have successfully managed to behave in the way society deems appropriate. These lucky few can be welcomed with open arms into what is deemed normal, as they have danced all of the correct steps and followed the designated live script. They are not like those queers, those fags and those dykes and those queens who will not conform. And so the state throws them a little bone because heterosexism is rife and they are relieved to have their prejudices relatively unchallenged.

I have said a thousand times before that I would sooner see the entire institution of marriage crumble to allow us to be truly free to define how we love. I do not believe that this law being debated will do much positive to many, but on the other hand, it is unlikely to actively increase prejudice. There are some–those privileged few who seem to control the discourse–who will claim the battle is won, and good for them. Perhaps this means the rest of us can now fight our battles without our voices drowned out, and reclaim Stonewall from its name profaned by an organisation which gladly sweeps so much of our history under the carpet. Perhaps we can fight to be treated like humans and love as we fucking well please.

So in my own way, I am rooting for this bill to go through as it will piss off some fairly obnoxious people. At the front of my mind, though, is the knowledge that it is not enough. Nowhere near enough.

Things I read this week that I found interesting

Once again, a week happened and I read some things. It was a nice week. I had a birthday in it and so did lots of other people.

Keep on. (Arched Eyebrow)- Militant body positivity that is utterly inspirational from the awesome Bethany.

The Scarlet D: The Accusation of Deviance (Yes Means Yes)- The kink community often try to reclaim words like “pervert” and “deviant”. Here’s an interesting analysis of why this author is uncomfortable with that.

The Power of Language (Red Headed League)- Vic explains why media feminists need to be more careful with the language they use and avoid excluding other women.

On Ink, My Skin, And You.. (Amanda Jones)- On the harassment experienced by a woman with tattoos.

Rape Culture in the Poly World (The Misadventures of Ms M)- Men get creepy to poly women. Mel tells her story.

I’m A Trans Woman And I’m Not Interested In Being One of the “Good Ones” (Vivian)- On the pressure to uphold a certain ideal, both from within a community and outside.

Dirty Words: A Probing Analysis of 5000 Call Girl Reviews (John Millward)- An in-depth investigation of language used by punters to describe sex workers. It’s interesting to see some research going on here, although it is not without its limitations.

Effects Of Thinking White People Are “All Like That” (fuckyeahcracker)- Useful to remember. Read this.

A comedian raised over $6,000 to skywrite a joke over LA. Here’s what he wrote. (HappyPlace)- Rather happy-making.

Self-Care Guide for Survivors (Sisters of Resistance)- Such a useful guide to finding out what works for you. Worth bookmarking.

And finally, the police.

Poly means many: Options

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at polymeansmany.com

This month’s Poly Means Many topic is on types of non-monogamy, which means there is a hell of a lot to write about.

In the dominant, monogamous model, there are, generally speaking very few options. In short, you’re either in a relationship with one person or you’re not. The only real workaround is cheating, which is something that never really appealed to me.

So once I quit monogamy, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. I knew, very clearly that monogamy wasn’t for me, but it was hard to find an alternative. I went for “single but hooked up with people” which wasn’t particularly satisfying as I wanted something that wasn’t “a relationship” (the wording used by the mono mainstream to describe only a very specific type of relationship) but was also fulfilling.

And when I discovered poly, a whole gamut of options were available.

I’ve always found it difficult to define polyamory and locate it within the veritable rainbow of non-monogamous options. It’s complicated, and I’m not even going to try here. Non-monogamy is easier: it’s anything but that dominant mono model. My somewhat unrewarding random humps of days gone by therefore fall under the umbrella of non-monogamy, but they were also not poly. Likewise, the rather more rewarding random humps I sometimes entertain are not poly, but very definitely non-monogamous.

Hierarchy is another big deciding factor in exploring your options. The PMM bloggers have explored hierarchy before before I joined, so I may as well weigh in with my thoughts. I’m sure hierarchical relationships–those with, for example, primary and secondary partners–work for some people, but they never worked for me. I’m very resistant to hierarchies, wriggling like a cat on the way to the vet at the mere sniff of structure. I was in a hierarchical relationship once and it made me thoroughly miserable. It didn’t help that those partners repeatedly, apropos of nothing, felt it necessary to continue to remind me I was a “secondary”. Needless to say, that relationship did not last. However, I don’t doubt that this sort of structure is something which works for a lot of people, and I’m happy for anyone who’s found a way of making things work.

With non-monogamy, ultimately anything is possible. All it requires is a bit of imagination and a lot of consensual communication. It also requires a lot of self-examination. What is it that you want?

For me, what I wanted was to be able to love freely, free from the constraints of what was expected and free to follow my heart. I love. I love a lot of people in a lot of different ways, and I found my freedom.

Things I read this week that I found interesting

Confession: I did not read many things this week.

Depression Part Two (Hyperbole and a Half)- A witty, moving illustrated account of Ally Brosh’s personal struggle with depression. I related to it a lot. It’s been all over the internets, but if you haven’t read it yet, go and do it now.

What’s so funny about saying white culture has a problem with abuse?What’s so funny about saying white culture has a problem with abuse? (Ally Fogg)- They do. They really, really do.

Survivor secrets: sexually responding to the abuse (Toranse)- A really important piece, although comes with an enormous content note for child sexual abuse and the psychological effects.

Why Are Feminists Calling the Writer Of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ a Racist? (Danielle Paradis)- White women in talking over women of colour shocker.

The Troubling Viral Trend of the “Hilarious” Black Neighbor (Aisha Harris)- Yeah, it’s pretty prevalent.

And finally, who cares if I don’t have many links this week. KITTEN CAM IS BACK WITH SOME BRAND NEW TINY KITTENS. They are only four days old. And they’re amazing.