I’m not going to take long. Read this first.
I’d like to think most of us would like a media system that either doesn’t take sides as perfectly as possible - that is objective regardless of the pressure of the situation - or takes the side of fairness, justice, and equality every single time.
The above link cites examples of neither.
What we need to get accustomed to, I think, is that the media is not aware of their role as upholders of the status quo. They do not know. They may know what rape culture is, but they’re not in the business of dismantling it, especially when the bottom line is at stake.
So I think the most revolutionary thing to do is not to ask them to apologize. They probably won’t, and I’m sure in less high-profile cases that have been broadcast they did the exact same thing.
The most revolutionary thing to do is to identify the media houses that are part of the rape culture superstructure and call them out on their bullshit early and often - or, if it’s all of them, never back down from calling them all out on their bullshit.
Let people know that we watch the watchmen, and we won’t stop. So when people need to know, ‘was that newscast problematic?’ they can know.
Because if they don’t apologize, then we know that this isn’t something they plan on fixing, only falling neatly into.
There is only a handful of peeves I have when it comes to how we talk about media these days. One of them I happen to stumble across online every once in a while: someone will post a quote from an interview with one author or another, always a man, more often than not a stalwart of one kind or another of genre fiction. I never need to know the author’s name; it’s for the most part unimportant. What is important is whether the journalist will say those ill-fated words, and he always does: “So, tell me, sir, how are so you adept at crafting strong female characters?”
I cringe the moment it happens, every single damn time.
Here’s what I’m confused about:
shouldn’t it be somehow a given that what a woman chooses to do with her own body as it pertains to objectifying media does not negate the fact that it is objectifying, objectifies women more often than it does not, and therefore on a whole perpetuates the idea that women are commodities (or worse still accessories to commodities) for men’s acquisition, admiration, and approval?
Because I feel like a lot of men just don’t get that shit, ya know?
[And I should clarify before someone chews me out: I don’t mean to say that women making whatever decision they want does harm to other women. I mean to say that the decision is still a cog in the machine of objectification of women, and it is so because rather than upend the system, patriarchy still makes these demands of women’s bodies.
Take porn for example: without any formal study done (if there is one that covers anything I talk about with solid statistics, by all means share that shit), it’s probably fair to say that a good portion of women in the pornographic video industry are willing participants, and a portion of them still are women who actually feel a great sense of joy, fulfillment, or even serious engagement with their field.
But porn as a thing is still problematic. It is for the most part catered to the male gaze; what it thinks appeals to such a gaze is often violent and dangerous and inconsiderate; more extreme examples actually simulate abuse, and leaves the more discerning viewer perplexed as to if it is a simulation, making it seriously triggering; and on a whole, unless you have an uncut version that starts or ends with the actors admitting to being willing participants the entire experience is really jarring and upsetting.
That doesn’t mean, I think, that women should not want to be in porn or that women drag feminist progress down by being in porn. It means that their personal decision still has a complex part to play in the discussion of objectifying women.]
I usually don’t want to be so sweepingly harsh about something, and I don’t even know why I care, but can I just say how much Sandri’s comments don’t help?
People have said things like this so many times. If Sandri has so much sway in the vote for the next pontiff, why doesn’t he just push things in the right direction for more female leadership at least for the next generation? We’re already in a generation where at the very least one’s faith being dependent on a spiritual grand poobah to begin with has outlived its usefulness - can Catholicism at least make some kind of forward-facing progress?
A woman can’t even be a priest in the current Catholic inter-political system, and being a priest is essentially the first step to being able to exact any kind of organizational change from within.
But note he never says that they should actively make steps to change this or any of the other limiting roles for women in Catholic organisations. He just says they should think about it.
Just humour this small consideration: whenever Catholics are embroiled in a scandal, it’s by default always a man. So it stands to at least a sliver of statistical reason that their PR can do with the morale boost of turning those tables - especially since the scandals we know the Church most for are probably least likely with women priests, women cardinals, or a woman Pope running the show.
And then there’s this delicious nugget:
Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, from Ghana, who heads the Vatican’s justice and peace department, is seen as a leading African candidate.
“The Church is ready for a black pope but maybe the world is not,” Sandri said. “We are open to anyone as long he is the best prepared, the best qualified, to face a time that is so difficult for the Church and the world.”
So maybe someone in Sandri’s position would do well to stop saying ‘think about it’ and start doing it.
So I keep randomly running into this story about Miss Teen USA contestant from Delaware Melissa King forfeiting her crown because she was in a porn video.
And I keep wondering why it’s news.
Now, mind you, my thoughts on pageants and their rules notwithstanding, if the rules say there is a particular level of comportment expected of its contestants then by all means I am not saying Miss Teen USA is in the wrong. It’s draconian, archaic, stupid, and fuels this news cycle that Miss King is currently trapped in by subtly associating sexuality with lack of discipline or proper conduct, but whatever.
Young women have sex. She was eighteen when she did it, and it’s probably more than likely that she was having protected consensual sex before that even happened. Get over yourselves, people. Her having sex is not news.
She is not a bad, misguided, foolish, or otherwise negative-spectrum person because she had sex.
I really wish we didn’t live in a society that continually argues that people, especially women, especially women of great accomplishment, should be extremely vigilant of their desires to pursue sexual pleasure.
It’s not like killing a man. It’s just sex. Being in control of one’s own sexuality is not akin to joining the Dark Side - and it’d be really fucking awesome if we not only didn’t tell people that their position, influence, or visible performances of morality should be more important than their willingness to fulfill a very human, harmless, very awesome desire, but that we didn’t hold women up to an even more unbearably unreasonable standard about that bullshit than men.
And about that whole Miss uPorn thing… gah. Too many words.
So, I’m going to postulate that there is a weird stream of consciousness about privilege, power politics, and progress that runs through Beyoncé’s GQ cover. And I’m going to tell you one time, you’ll probably be really offended by my conclusion. This may be on account of a lot of things: my privilege, my attempts to check it, or just plain inability to be lucid. But follow with me here, maybe.
So this Beyoncé quote from the GQ interview has been been circulating Tumblr, and the note from this poster is of particular interest. It, I would fairly gather, is in the centre of a small brewing wind blowing counter to itself between those who see no contradiction and those who see great contradiction with the notion that a woman of colour can be both feminist and sexualized. All sorts of issues play in the middle of that, which is why these things remain so impressively complex and require many hands at work.
But that idea, silly and unproductive as we may presume it to be - that feminism looks a certain way to be feminism - is a gamebreaker for some, I think.
So I just found out about Ryona - I am a sheltered denizen of the internet, no doubt - and I cannot contain my thoughts on the matter.
I would like to talk a bit, friends, about women, sex, and physical violence and abuse fetishes in media.
The more I think about the post I wrote about giving the spectrum of romantic identities more attention in the media, the more my eyes are opened to how the conversations we have about sex and romance are directed in ways they aren’t so useful in, and away from things they have more in common with.
The only example I can come up with is the Biblical account of David and Jonathan. Even for me, for a great deal of time I thought this was some telling account of homosexuality, but it never occurred to me til now, because of how I was seeing it, that this didn’t make a lot of sense.
I’m interested in both the actual and ideal relationship conduct of cross-orientation allosexuals: people whose romantic and sexual orientations don’t match.
Just to review, cross-orientation sexual identities include but aren’t limited to:
- heteromantic homosexual
- homoromantic heterosexual
- biromantic heterosexual
- biromantic homosexual
- homoromantic bisexual
- heteromantic bisexual
- aromantic heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual
- heteromantic pansexual
- biromantic pansexual
- homoromantic pansexual
- panromantic bisexual, homosexual, or heterosexual
I imagine that the most common practice amongst these allosexuals is to still have conventional romantic-sexual relationships with others because that’s the normative behavior and lifestyle, and perhaps some cross-orientation folks don’t mind being in these functionally normative relationships, even though they’re not actually experiencing one form of attraction to their partners while participating in the relationships.
But there must be some cross-orientation allosexuals who really would prefer to keep their romantic and sexual relationships separate. Who want nonsexual romance and nonromantic sex and to have that separation happen in the most seamless way possible.
I figure the biggest problem for cross-orientation allosexuals is invisibility, like it is for asexuals. If you’re a cross-orientation allosexual person and you meet another allosexual who isn’t—one who just experiences romantic and sexual attraction the same gender or genders—trying to communicate that you’re romantically into them but not sexually into them or vice versa is hella difficult because they just don’t know that such a thing is possible or that cross-orientation sexuality exists. And we live in a culture that says romance doesn’t exist without sex and ongoing sex without romance is the behavior of somebody “afraid of commitment” or “afraid of emotional attachment” or somebody who’s a slut and just wants to have sex with multiple people rather than one person they’re dating.
But in a perfect world, where everyone in society knows that cross-orientation sexuality exists and where everyone is open-minded enough to accept nonsexual romance and nonromantic sex and the coexistence of a sexual partner with a romantic partner who are two different people involved with the same person, would the average cross-orientation allosexual set out to form romantic relationships without sex and sexual relationships without romance and say “fuck it” to combining the two forevermore?
Are there already cross-orientation allosexuals who have managed to form these separate relationships in their lives? How’s it going?
And what about aromantic allosexuals? I’m guessing they’re the cross-orientation types who are most easily demonized, when other allosexuals actually hear about them. What’s an aromantic allosexual’s first choice lifestyle? Regular sex and otherwise no life partner, living alone, having friends? Sex with people they’re attracted to sexually and a nonsexual/nonromantic life partner who’s the emotional center of their lives? For aromantic allosexuals who want a life partner, does gender matter? Do some aromantic allosexuals want more than one partner? A kind of nonromantic polyamory?
I’m a celibate asexual with no romantic identity, but I’m really interested in cross-orientation allosexuals and their experiences and the possibility they represent of a diverse society where nonsexual romance and nonromantic sex are practiced as commonplace, accepted, supported lifestyle choices. I can understand wanting love without sex, and though I don’t desire sex, I have always perfectly understood and supported sex devoid of romance.
I think cross-orientation sexuality needs to become visible. I think it needs to be discussed openly. I think it needs to have a presence in our media. I think cross-orientation allosexuals should be able to separate their romantic relationships from their sexual relationships as they desire, rather than having to settle for romantic-sexual relationships just because those are the norm and most allosexuals don’t think nonsexual romance and nonromantic sex are acceptable.
I just want to live in a world where everybody understands that you can love someone romantically and not feel sexually attracted them, you can want to fuck someone silly but not feel a shred of romantic attraction to them, you can want romantic relationships without sex and sexual relationships without romance, and you don’t need to sexualize a romantic relationship to make it real or romanticize a sexual relationship to make it appropriate.