Red flags

There are some things that people say that immediately ring the alarm bells, and I know that pretty swiftly they’re going to come out with something awful. These little conversational red flags could, hypothetically, possibly lead to something not terrible, but I’ve never seen that happen in action. What follows is a non-exhaustive list of red flags, the things which set off the Shitlord Klaxon. If you say any of these things, chances are I will jump to the worst possible conclusion, and it’s your responsibility to prove me otherwise. Feel free to pop into the comments and add more of your own red flags!

“Females” TERFs and MRAs alike really love referring to women as females. In the case of the former, it’s because they love dehumanising women into just sex organs. In the case of the latter, it’s because they love dehumanising women into just sex organs. Either way, anyone who says “females” doesn’t respect women or see us as human.

“But… but the false accusation rate for rape…” Never appropriate unless the conversation is actually about the false accusation rate for rape, you derailing rape apologist dickmelon.

“I was just trying to play devil’s advocate” Don’t. Seriously. Don’t pretend you just sent me a big long diatribe as some sort of intellectual exercise.

“I’m just trying to debate this” See above. Liberation and oppression are not abstract intellectual exercises.

“I don’t have privilege because [insert something here]” Go away, be quiet, and learn how sometimes you can have privilege over someone else, even when your life sucks.

[wears V mask] Sorry, mate, but you’re probably a rape apologist with pisspoor politics.

“Explain to me exactly why this was an oppressive statement” I’m not your fucking nursemaid. Also, if this is the first thing you say upon being called out rather than an apology, you’re probably a groaning shitbagel.

“You’re being irrational. Let’s be objective” You know what’s really irrational? Clinging to myths which have persisted since time immemorial. Clinging uncritically to your favourite cherry-picked research. Thinking that research is somehow magically neutral. So stop it.

 

Against equality

I am sick of bigots standing in the way of liberation struggles. Whether feminism, anti-racism, advocacy for people with disabilities, queer rights, trans rights and so on, they smirk and they go “Personally, I believe in treating everyone equally, so no special treatment for you”. It’s bullshit, and anyone with a semi-formed analysis can see straight through that nonsense.

They whine and they moan when people demand to be treated like fucking human beings, eliding the fact that oppression exists by pretending that they’re that much of a shit to everyone. And maybe, just maybe, they are that much of a shit to everyone. It doesn’t stop the fact that their behaviour hits some people harder than others, a fact which has never occurred to them, as in their feeble blinkered outlook it’s impossible to understand what it’s like to be anyone else that isn’t a bellowing turd.

I’m sick of hearing about equality from governments, a bunch of self-nominated gatekeepers with no clue whatsoever of what the word actually means. They scrawl something down on a piece of paper and decry any responsibility when it turns out that people are actually shit. The same goes for any organisation with an equality policy. You say the words, and expect them to  become true. This might work in some kinds of magics: the true name of the demon is not “equal opportunities” and no matter how many times you say it, it isn’t going to be banished.

But most of all, I am absolutely fucking sick of activists banging on about equality. It betrays a devastating lack of imagination. From marriage equality to demanding better representation in boardrooms, all that is being requested is to maintain the power structures which bind us, while allowing a few more individuals to become masters.

So what if 50% of women become MPs? The system is still thoroughly broken. We still have gatekeepers, we still have masters. So what if queer people can serve in the military? We still find ourselves in a position wherein arbitrary groups are murdering each other based on an argument between some rich people in a faraway room are having. So what if people from marginalised groups get to be the CEOs? The most of us still toil, alienated from the fruits of our labour while those at the top become ever more powerful.

Fuck equality. I don’t want to be equal to people as utterly fucked as me. I want to be free. I want for us all to be free. I want us to be free from these structures which clip our wings, causing us to live hand to mouth, constraining the way we live and love, scapegoating those who are even more fucked. I want us to be free from being represented, and representing anyone else. I want us to be free to be: to exist in the way we want to without hate, without fear.

I want to be able to want, and to get.

I wonder, sometimes, what it is that people who beg for equality actually want. Do they think it some sort of transitional demand, with liberation as the actual goal? If so, they should know by now that going with cap in hand and begging something small only gets you something smaller. Or are they largely happy with the way things are, comfortable in their privilege if only one or two small tweaks were made? If so, they are complicit.

Either way, I am exasperated by this talk of equality. Don’t ask for equality. Demand liberation. Those who benefit will think us unreasonable, because they are happy profiting from our suffering. And that doesn’t matter a bit. They’ll never give us what we need, no matter how nicely we ask. Grind the fucking master’s house to dust.

Have we really declined so much that self-appointed leaders will settle for scraps and declare victory? We cannot allow this. Let us liberate ourselves from our attachment to equality.

Poly Means Many: Consent, negotiation, and group dynamics

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 PMM topic is “negotiation”, which is so broad I’ll admit to having had trouble with where to start, what with having the material for approximately nineteen sextillion blogposts and a million bajillion conversations swimming round my head. And even though a lot of the PMM bloggers are taking this month off due to IRL things, I really don’t feel like I ought to subject you to every little thought rattling around my brainspace, because you will probably die of boredom before finishing, and my fingers will have worn down to little stubs from all the typing. So, I’m focusing on a small area, one which people have asked me about before, and of which I’ve had both positive and negative experiences.

There has been a hell of a lot of discussion and modelling of consent and negotiation within relationships–however fleeting–between two people, but we don’t talk so much about what happens when there are more than two present. Decades of social psychological research have shown us that weird shit tends to happen in groups of people, and the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts.

So how does negotiation of sex and relationships with several people together work? It’s easiest to look at potential pitfalls here to elucidate what makes things work.

In my experience, one of the biggest problems is that group dynamics can create an environment wherein it is very difficult to say no. When several people are up for sex, and your options are participate or go and wait in the kitchen until they’re finished, one often finds oneself taking the path of least resistance. This has actually happened to me once; I went and sat in the kitchen, that time, and smoked a lot of fags and felt like shit, but there have been other times when I have ended up involved in sex I didn’t want–and, indeed, I cannot say for certain that everyone was as up for a shag as I was, in certain situations before I figured out how to make shit work.

This sort of thing, the nagging concern that someone is just going along with stuff goes way beyond the bedroom.

So how do we solve this sort of problem? First and foremost is, of course, communication which goes beyond saying “I’m not OK”, and into actually checking in with people. This is all useless, though, without striving to make your relationships–of any sort–a safe space. It is not enough to say the words, it is necessary to foster a feeling of trust and security, an idea that it is OK to not be OK with something.

Without this ability to make yourself a safe space, negotiation is never going to work particularly well in any situation. It makes it hard to be honest, and it makes it hard to express non-consent. It stings to hear that no, and sometimes it does feel easier to send someone down to the kitchen, but it is absolutely vital that we make this happen.

From here, it is possible to build an inventory of how the dynamics work, an identification of what makes everyone involved happy, and what doesn’t.

The interesting thing here is that while I was focusing on group dynamics, I realised how much all of this applies when there are just two people present, too. So, I suppose, let’s all buck the hell up and make sure we’re safe.

Things I read this week that I found interesting

Good morning(ish). Here are some things I read this week.

After #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen: So You Want To Be An Ally, Now What? (Mikki Kendall)- A really valuable guide to being an ally, a must read.

Will the UK ever give up on its racist immigration policy? (Wail Qasim)- The definitive article on UK immigration policy.

Boris loves Aussies. Well, certain Aussies anyway… (The Rant Mistress)- Pointing out some hypocrisy in the latest racist shit coming from Tories.

When debate is worse than silence (fearlessknits)- On those times where debate is just awful.

The Protocols of the Elders of Feminism (sometimes it’s just a cigar)- On feminism’s problem with accepting TERfs.

Guilt, choice, and responsibility in the austerity kitchen (Ramona’s blog)- Ramona smashes a common bit of bullshit.

Dear Jamie Oliver… (Miss South)- Absolute evisceration of the bullshit dripping from Jamie Oliver’s fat-tongued mouth.

Consent, Sex Ed and Young People (Bishtraining)- An excellent analysis.

FilmScape (Lindsay McLeod)- A short story documenting a very plausible future.

And finally, I want to get this tattooed on me.