I could talk about the PE teacher in my town who was asked to resign due to his harassment of female students, who was then hired as a school bus driver for a rural route with both primary and high school students. I could talk about how, from the age of seven, I refused to wear skirts or dresses, and from the time I entered high school at 10 to when I moved at 16 I always wore bike shorts or CCC shorts under my dress, because he was not particularly subtle about the way he looked at us – and those bus steps are high. I could talk about how this was common knowledge and was never denied by any authority figure we ever raised it with, but rather we were just kind of brushed off. I could talk about how, sometimes, I was the last person on my bus in the afternoon and I was never quite sure if something bad would happen to me, even though for a long time I probably couldn’t have articulated what it was that I feared.
I could talk about how I spent ten years of my childhood believing it was perfectly normal and acceptable for a seven year old child to stop wearing her favourite clothes because a grown man she relies on to get to and from school from a relatively remote location gets a thrill from looking up her skirt.
I could talk about the art teacher at my high school who used to run his hands up and down our backs, right along the spot where your bra sits. Considering most of us were fairly new to wearing bras in the first place, this was a decidedly uncomfortable experience. I could talk about how he used to get just a little too close for comfort in the supply room. Nothing overt, nothing nameable – just enough to make you drag someone else along with you if you needed a fresh piece of paper or you ran out of ink. I could talk about how the odd comment or complaint that was made was completely handwaved, that we were told to be very careful about what we were saying, that we could get someone in a lot of trouble by “starting those kinds of rumours”, and did we really want to be responsible for that?
I could talk about the first time I was made to feel ashamed of my body, at twelve or thirteen, getting into a water fight with my stepfather and uncle in the height of summer. I could talk about my grandmother completely flipping out, talking about how disgusting it was, how grown men should be ashamed of the way they were behaving with a girl. I could talk about how she then spent the next few hours trying to convince me I was being somehow victimised, while I was mostly confused about what had taken place – it took me a long time to work it out. I could talk about the unvoiced but ever-present fear for months afterwards that my grandma would bring it up again, that she would bring it up in the wrong place or to the wrong people and that my uncle, a schoolteacher, would suffer for it.
I could talk about how that destroyed what had been a fantastic relationship with my uncle, and how, ten years later, he still won’t hug me at Christmas.
I could talk about being called a frigid bitch and a slut in the same breath in high school. I could talk about multiple instances of sitting in a big group of friends, hearing someone trying to get into someone else’s pants, starting off sweet enough but quickly descending into emotional manipulation and thinly veiled abuse. I could talk about the time I went off with someone willingly enough and being followed by someone I considered a friend, someone who would not leave no matter how many times I said “no”, who only went away when the person I was with said that he “didn’t feel like sharing”.
I could talk about the family friend who always made me feel a little bit off for no discernible reason. The one who if I was left alone in the room with him, I would always find an excuse to leave. The one time I expressed this, I was told I was being a drama queen, and that I needed to grow up and stop being so precious, that one day I was going to have to deal with people I didn’t like and I might as well get used to it. I could talk about how he never did anything untoward, never gave me any specific reason to feel unsafe – but years after I last saw him, when he was found guilty of four historical sexual assault charges, one of rape and three of indecent assault on girls under twelve, I was, for reasons I still don’t entirely understand, completely unsurprised.
I could talk about my boyfriend justifying his rape of me with “you could have fought me off if you really wanted you, you slut”. I could talk about how, when I tried to tell people, I was told I was being a nasty, spiteful, vindictive bitch. I could talk about how selfish it was of me to say such things, that he’d overcome such a hard life and was going to go on and make something of himself, who the hell was I to try and stand in his way?
I could talk about how my response to being raped was to sleep with anyone and everyone because I rationalised that if I never said no, then no one could force me. I could talk about how I have been told time and time again, by people who should know better, that this is a sign that I wasn’t really raped at all.
I could talk about how, when I finally worked up the courage to make a formal complaint of sexual harassment against my boss, I was asked why I had let it continue for so long, and what I had done to make him think his behaviour would be welcomed.
I could talk about how when a much later boss got me completely wasted at my leaving party, to the point where I couldn’t walk, and fucked me in a back alley, he waited until I was sober the next morning to tell me that he had a pregnant wife, because he heard through the grapevine that I was very strict about not sleeping with married people or straight women, and he thought I should “learn my place” and realise that I’m “not such a high and mighty bitch with a moral high ground after all”.
I could talk about these things, but I very rarely do. Since I was seven years old, I have been told that my body is not my own, that my consent is not my own, that my feelings of discomfort are not my own. I have taught myself to suppress my gut instinct upon meeting people. I have been taught to smile, to be polite, to suck it up if I feel unsafe. When I complain, I have been told I’m being irrational, oversensitive, and selfish. The underlying message is, how dare I try and ascertain any kind of control over my own body?
I should talk about it. But I don’t actually know whether I can.
Frankly put. I am a FAKE GEEK GUY. I admit it. I like geek stuff, but I don’t love geek stuff. Not the way most geeks do. I’m an interloper on the geek scene. I’ve seen the movies, but I don’t know the canon. I am not a true fan.
All those things about not really loving the source material and “just watching the movies” or only reading the one book that everyone has read. That—all of that—applies to me.
But here are some things that have never happened to me. I have never been quizzed about who Data’s evil brother is to prove I like Star Trek. I have never had to justify my place in a midnight line to see Spider-man II by knowing who took up the mantle of Spider-man after Peter Parker’s death. (Peter Parker dies? Really? That’s so sad!) I have never had to explain who Nightwing is in order to participate in a conversation about Batman. (Nightwing is like….Robin on steroids, right?) I have never been asked how battle meditation works in order to voice my opinion that Enterprise shields would probably make a fight with Star Wars technology one sided. (Battle meditation is something that was in that Jedi role playing game, wasn’t it?) I have never had to beat everybody in the room (twice) at Mario Kart to prove I liked video games. I have never had my gender “honorarily” changed by having enough geek interests to be accepted (“you’re one of the guys now”). No one has ever insisted I tell them the difference between a tank and DPS in an MMORPG before allowing me to discuss raiding Molten Core. I have never been dismissed as a faker at a prequel screening because I didn’t know which admiral came out of light speed too close to the planet’s surface in The Empire Strikes Back. I have never been quizzed about Armor Class in order to get past someone who was blocking my path to the back of a game store where my friends were waiting at the tables. I have never been told I’m not a real fan. I have never been shamed for coming to a convention despite my lack of esoteric knowledge. And I have never, ever, EVER been invited to leave a fandom because I didn’t like [whatever it was] enough.
Every one of the things I have listed, I have personally witnessed happen. To women.
That’s not elitism. That’s sexism.
Let me talk to you about books.
Specifically, one book. This book.
This book should be a best seller. This book should be required reading for graduating from high school. Before you get that diploma, you read this book.
This book deals with debunking “Neurosexism,” which is a very fancy term for all of that evolutionary psychology bullshit that people spill about those “brain differences” between boys and girls.
This book debunks such myths as:
- Boys are better at math than girls
- Women make crappy lawyers/business CEOs/etc, as their brains are not cut out for aggression.
- Men make crappy counselors/primary school teachers/primary parents/etc, as their brains are not cut out for empathy.
- MEN ARE BUILT FOR GOING OUT AND HUNTING WHILE WOMEN ARE BUILT FOR STAYING HOME AND BABYMAKING IT’S NOT SEXISM IT’S JUST BIOLOGY
- And many other such myths.
Furthermore, this book covers topics such as:
- Neurosexism and gender perceptions in multiple races (as this is not a singularly white experience, just as the western world isn’t a singularly white experience)
- Sex discrimination in the workplace, and how women are (or, more often, are not) allowed to behave
- How science is used (badly) to support many of these claims
- Experiences of trans people, both through interviews and empirical studies.
AND FINALLY - It is all brilliantly researched, cited, compiled - and it’s easy to read! Cordelia Fine actually manages to be funny while writing this, which I think is important, because it makes all of this information infinitely accessible.
Delusions of Gender has reinforced what Oberlin taught me: The gender binary is stupid and arbitrary, and dangerous. And it is a self-perpetuating bias that needs to be addressed to be overcome.
So adding this to my to-read list.
And it’s currently available on Kindle for $3.34.
I have been meaning to pick this book up FOREVER and it is, indeed, only $3.34 on Kindle today. (I’m trying to cut back on Amazon purchases because of the way they treat publishers and authors and warehouse workers BUT I have only heard great things about this book, and it’s on Kindle sale, so.)
Except if everyone could afford to live like that, who would clean their toilets for minimum wage (or less)? And if everyone should be able to live like this, why are capitalists so reluctant to pay people enough to do so? Oh, yeah. Because then they might not be able to live like that.
A socialist looks at this house and says, “Wow, it sucks that our system is so unequal that some Americans get to live like this while others are crowded in tiny apartments in crime-ridden areas and don’t have to enough to eat. We should change things so everyone’s standard of living is improved, even if that means not as many people get to live in big houses like this.”
A capitalist looks at this house and says, “Everyone should be able to live like this, but I’m not going to do a damn thing to contribute to that ability.”
I fucking love this.
I watched this for like 5 minutes
You guys realize that the length of their stride is indicative of that color’s wavelength right- red being the longest visible and blue one of the shortest.
This is a FANTASTIC visual of wavelength!
The reality is that fat people are often supported in hating their bodies, in starving themselves, in engaging in unsafe exercise, and in seeking out weight loss by any means necessary. A thin person who does these things is considered mentally ill. A fat person who does these things is redeemed by them. This is why our culture has no concept of a fat person who also has an eating disorder. If you’re fat, it’s not an eating disorder — it’s a lifestyle change.
Lesley Kinzel (via curvesahead)
I will always reblog this because it is so so important.
I just want to nail this to every stable surface I can find. I cannot count the amount of times that I’ve seen fat folks being encouraged, cajoled, and even forced into behaviors that would be recognized as disordered eating/exercising patterns in thin folks.
Pretty much everything that’s done on shows like The Biggest Loser would be called out as pro-ana/pro-orthorexia in a thin person. Exercising past the point that it hurts, to the point where you’re throwing up, even injuring yourself? Berating yourself because you didn’t lose ENOUGH weight this week? Constantly talking about how fat is weakness and thinness will make everything better, about how you can’t stand to be your current weight anymore? Emphasis on weight as a sign of how much control, strength, and worth you have? Viewing food as bad, as a temptation to sin? Constant sharing and talking about tips on how to minimize food intake, how to lose weight?
That sounds exactly like every pro-ana/pro-mia blog I’ve ever seen. It’s also what fat people are told we need to be doing to ourselves until we’re thin.
White men make up approximately 36% of the population, but commit 75% of mass shootings. What would be called terrorism by any other skin tone is suddenly some mysterious unnamed disease. We as a society are perfectly happy to further stigmatize mentally ill people, who are far more likely to be victims of violence than commit violence, in the service of protecting white supremacy and male entitlement.
Resubmitting this because the original did not cite the original author, and plagirizing of WoC’s work is a serious and rampant issue. We cannot allow them to do this difficult work without acknowledging the value of their work. If you reblogged, please delete the original and reblog this version.