Whenever I hear someone talking about how it’s wrong to have sex and sexiness in YA novels, what I actually hear is this:
I’m terrified that the first fictional sex a teenage girl encounters might leave her feeling good about herself. I’m terrified that fictional sex might actually make teenage girls think sex can be fun and good, that reading about girls who say no and boys who listen when they say it might give them the confidence to say no, too – or worse still, to realise that boys who don’t listen to ‘no’ aren’t worth it. I’m terrified that YA novels might teach teenage girls the distinction between assault and consensual sex, and give them the courage to speak out about the former while actively seeking the latter. I’m terrified that teenage girls might think seriously about the circumstances under which they might say yes to sex; that they might think about contraception before they need it, and touch themselves in bed at night while fantasising about generous, interesting, beautiful lovers who treat them with consideration and respect. I’m terrified of a generation of teenage girls who aren’t shy or squeamish about asking for cunnilingus when they want it, or about loving more than one person at once, and who don’t feel shame about their arousal. I’m terrified that teenage girls might take control of their sexuality and, in so doing, take that control of them and their bodies away from me.
- 1st May
- 18th April
I think marriage in general is not a healthy institution in our society. If people want civil rights, then that’s what I feel we should be fighting for. Couples, people who are each other’s kin or primary intimacies, a friend who takes care of a friend for 30 years in the same household—all should have basic civil rights. To bring that whole movement for social justice under the rubric of ‘gay marriage’ seems to me just to reinforce patriarchal notions of who is worthy of care and support. It also lets down the gay people who don’t want to be married.
The movement for gay marriage has had a strong push among very class-privileged people, because they are the people with trusts and with property and with health care. If you’re gay, black, poor and you don’t have any access to insurance, the question of whether your partner can be included on your insurance is not just relevant to the health needs of your life. What would be more relevant is national health care!
- 27th March
- 25th March
This is the second post in my series on BDSM and feminism. My challenge to myself was to make a list of 50 reasons why the widespread appreciation of 50 Shades of Grey is not so ideal, despite the fact that I generally think women enjoying sexually explicit material is a good thing. I thought it would be difficult to think of all those things while pointing out new problems every time, not just giving examples. I was wrong. It was really easy.
Trigger warnings for discussions of BDSM, assault, child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and stalking. Also, spoilers through 50 Shades of Grey and the sequels.
Part One: Problematic Treatment of Consent in the books
1. Ignoring consent
2. Reacting to the sentiment “no, I don’t want to have sex with you right now” by threatening to tie the speaker up, taking their clothes off, and… having sex with them.
3. Not treating safewords as important
4. Not treating contracts as important
5. Joking about the importance of safewords and contracts in a D/s relationship
6. Having a partner sign a D/s contract without telling them it isn’t legally binding
7. Not exploring and explaining limits
8. Forcibly preventing a partner from learning about their limits
9. Forcibly preventing a partner from learning about a sexual practice you are encouraging them to engage in
10. Making a romantic relationship dependent on indulging non-mutual kinks
11. Taking sexual advantage of someone who is intoxicated
12. Refusing to allow a partner to masturbate
13. Pushing someone who has never experienced any sexual interest, including maturbation, into a sexual relationship immediately after meeting them
14. Pushing someone who has never experienced any sexual interest, including masturbation, into a kinky sexual relationship immediately after meeting them despite the fact that they have no knowledge about kink
15. Refusing to allow that partner any trustworthy source of knowledge about those kinks other than yourself
16. Forcing a partner to make specific decisions about birth control based on your preferences
TW: rape, abuse.
- 25th March
- 19th March
Alright yes, I’m tired of sitting through this silently. I love MLP but it’s time to address the racefail. And yes racism can manifest itself in something as “harmless” as children programs. That’s where our isms starts you guise. Let’s define whiteness. It’s not white people, but a lot of white people have it (it’s part of white privilege). It’s the essence of racism, of conquering, of invading the land and using it properly, of disregarding all other cultures as weird, of generalizing and isolating from cultures other than white.
First Zecora. She’s a zebra in a land of ponies. This is what she looks like. Her first appearance was in Bridle Gossip. This episode is suppose to be about how you shouldn’t spread rumors just because someone s different than you. Well here some classic feminism race fail. Zecora is suppose to represent “Africa”. She has a lovely African accent and a lovely story telling voice. She is name after what the Oromo people used to call zebras. Which is interesting and nice. But she rhymes the entire time and she’s the wise one and generally has this “Wise African” vibe about her. Is this empowering? No. It plays into an old and harmful stereotype that poc are used for knowledge. She also displays other habits and customs that are different from other ponies. This was suppose to help children understand that though she is different she deserves to be treated like everyone else. But this is what the creators of MLP did:
She is presented as just fucking weird with no rhyme or reason to her habits. She is “otherness”
personifiedponified. Is this respectful? No. For those of you who have never seen the rest of the episode, it involves the main characters basically breaking into her home. Tell her she is weird and that they are justified for their rumors cause she’s weird and her culture is scary. She laughs them off as silly ponies. Let me repeat that, they break into her home and disrespect her culture and she laughs it off. She is not sad, mad or even upset about any of this. This puts the expectation that poc when openly disrespected should not be angry, should be understanding and cater to the needs of white people. Is this what you want in your kids show? No.
Let’s talk about Spike. He’s a dragon who from birth was hatched and raised among ponies. He serves as an assistant to Twilight Sparkle. He often struggles with his identity because the ponies have never “studied” or interacted with dragons because they are too scary. He was so distraught about his ignorance about his heritage that he goes off to hang out with other dragons in Dragon Quest.
They are presented as uniformly loud, obnoxious, violent, mean and crude. And after a horrible raid of phoenix eggs. Spike and the ponies have decided that he can be himself (effiminate, nice, kind, generous and amiable). And to top it off he repeats the cycle of uprooting someone from a culture by taking an unhatched pheonix egg. His good attributes come only from being raised among ponies (which can be synonymous with white at this point). Let’s break this down. The creators have presented dragons —a creature culture that has had little interacting with ponies— as harmful, crude, and terrifying. They are also seen as greedy and selfish in Secret of My Excess; in this episode Spike goes through a growth stage where he displays “greediness”, hoarding, and hostility, all characteristics of normally associated with dragons
None of the ponies know why he’s doing this. They think he’s just being “greedy”. However, Spike displays the signs of any predatory animal. They never stopped to considered that his hoarding is meant for jewels which is the main diet of dragons. The hostility could be because dragons deal with, well other dragons who will take their food. A survival technique. But this is reduced to a battles of morals and dragon culture and habits are reduced to just being plain ol’ mean. If you think I’m being excessively intricate you have never seen MLP; it prides itself on consistency and intricacy.
The ponies are considered the opposite , even though they have gone through their own history of crudness and selfishness as seen in Hearth’s Warming Eve. In this episode, the ponies are divided and are, gasp, hateful. But this does not become a defining factor for them. They grow and their society becomes more peaceful.
How come the ponies are allowed to grow but dragons are always seen as terrifying and undiplomatic, and thus not worthy of becoming friends or at least form an acquaintanceship with pony society? How come Spike must give up his dragon heritage (evil, scary) and embrace being a pony (kind, reasonable)? Why was he given as an assitant at birth? Why can he not learn his heritage and still be a part of Ponyville?
Now how does this relate to race? Spike is basically a representation of poc. Uprooted from his culture, he is placed into the dominant culture, denied any knowledge of his heritage, and all his good attributes are claimed to come from the dominant culture. Whiteness has settled quite nicely in MLP, as the ponies are considered “reasonable”, “make use of the land”, and encroach on other
peoples’ creatures land and insult their respective cultures.
I love this show. It was hard to do this, but it is important. It is important to understand how these isms reach our children. It is important to stop this cycle of oppression. I cannot stand to champion this show for being feminist because it is a racist, white feminism. I cannot ignore these messages. Now please, Laren Faust et al., do better.
- 18th January
- 15th January
- 15th January
- 15th January