Sex, Autism, Gaming and Feminisms.

Archive for April, 2011

Wretches and Jabberers

I don’t often post other peoples things. But this is seriously important.

Autistics have voices. We Must be allowed to speak. all of us.

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Trying to visualize madness.

There is a loss that you feel at that moment of intersection between realities.
Almost a rebirth, where you cease to be yourself and become a machine of flesh, bone and blood, you feel your heart beating in your chest but you are unsure if it is yours. In your head emotions scream and rage, voices and imagination take root in reality and suddenly your entire sense of self is gone.
Reality Loss.

The self that is held together by rational thought, the concept that one moment actually directly followed another, one action has a consequence that creates a system of interlocking moments that in the end make up our very lives.

The loss of that to the emotional self, the one that doesn’t say anything to you as much as it is you, it doesn’t control you as much as it is a loss of control, a loss of time, space energy and rational thought.

Yes, I have been mad. Doctors have told me so many times that I have this disorder or that, this disease or that malfunction. I am like a clock ticking out of time in rhythm with the heart beat of the universe.
Slipping into madness isn’t something anyone enjoys, it’s not something you choose, it is a reaction, a moment chosen for you by some greater self brought to life by our experiences, emotions and chemical imbalances.

I’ve tried to think how I would describe being mad to people, I never have any real answers.

Madness isn’t logical. It just is.

Sometimes people become mad, some are just born that way.
I don’t know which I am. It has ceased to matter. I am forever placed in a position of debate against my psyche.

Mad is not fun.

 


Sucker Punch: Deeply Problematic

Sucker Punch: Deeply Problematic.

Five women in matching black burlesque attire fighting along side a giant mecha, they are all holding machine gunes.

Zack Snyder the erstwhile director of ‘Sucker Punch’ and  ‘300’ has not been a director I particularly like, while I am a huge fan of ‘exploitation’ cinema, if only because it is so wonderfully flawed ‘Sucker Punch’ has left me cold.

Where do I begin, with the outfits? Maybe, alas I believe that would be to simple a place to start as accusing a male director of turning women into cheesecake is hardly a task.
No, this movie has deeper problems than that.

Sucker Punch opens with a scene of violence and possible sexual abuse by a step father against his two daughters, he kills one of them and the other gets sent to a mental institution.

This young woman, a blonde haired girl named ‘Baby Doll’ from here goes through a series of adventures leading to her escape, she does this by convincing her fellow inmates all other women, to rebel against the guards, the lead therapist (another woman) and the head of the asylum a man named ‘Blue’.

Now, here is where things get murky because as if things were not bad enough, suddenly the mental asylum is for reasons I can’t really explain is imagined as a ‘brothel’ or ‘strip club’ by our protagonist.
Here is where the problem is, ‘Baby Doll’ has been beaten and abused, sent to an asylum for wayward girls and suddenly her mental  escape, her imaginary way to create her own freedom is to imagine she is in a ‘brothel’ in particular, one where women are routinely abused, beaten and killed.
Kept only as slaves.

In this scenario ‘Blue’ is the ruthless owner of the brothel and the therapist is a dance teacher, who tells them that ‘they have all the weapons they need’ which are implied to be their bodies.
She gives a message of strength, while at the same time telling them that to be able to be strong they have to take advantage of the ‘male gaze’.

So she concocts the plan to escape, which involves dancing.
Yes Dancing. They distracted the men with what are implied to be overly sexual dances.
These dances are imagined by the girls as epic battles and adventures, fights against dragons in planes, killing zombies with machine guns in First World War trenches and attacking robots from helicopters over a train in the future.  All the while dressed in burlesque and overly sexualised attire.

Is this the kind of imagination one escapes too when frightened and being abused?, running off idealized male video game fantasy of women in school girl outfits (with lots of crotch shots) fighting monsters.
Oh and on all these imaginary missions (which are actually dances to distract guards and others) who is the person giving them orders and support? A man.

Zack Snyder has claimed this is his vision of female empowerment, and yes while it is good in its message, all it does is point out that the only weapons women have are our bodies.

I won’t really reveal the ending, but I will say this, even has one of our heroes escapes at the end, she gets on the bus only to be stopped by police, suddenly the bus driver intervenes. He is the man who has been giving them orders and briefing them on each of their ‘missions’ in their dance/dream sequences.
It’s a tragic trope; women can’t have their own freedom without help from men.

So sucker punch, for all its hopes and possibilities, just comes off as a deeply problematic cheesecakey romp through male fantasies of what female empowerment might look like.
This movie could have been really fun and interesting; it had promise and an interesting concept.
Instead it’s just more of the same.
Come on Hollywood, it’s time to grow up.


Sex: A Discussion.

Dialogue

(Trigger Warning: Transphobia, sexism, frank discussions of sex and institutional violence.)

As a Trans-Woman who often dates other Trans-Women, I’m often asked.
What is it like for me to have sex?

This is one of those all too personal questions that comes down to the wire depending on how you feel about your own privacy.

There is a certain mythical quality to the collective representations that are The Bodies of Trans People.

Society tends look down on us as freaks if we don’t pass their guidelines for how women should look, or as sultry deceivers only out to undermine patriarchal views of masculinity and enforced heteronormativity, it seems even the news often tells us we deserve anything we get if we choose to violate those bounds.

Outside of traditional media and news reports lies the heavily fetishized version of our bodies depicted by the transsexual pornography industry. In this vision we’re labelled as ‘she-males’, ‘trannys’ and ‘sissies’, once again labelled as imposters, made to show what we ‘really’ are.

There have of course been a few positive depictions of our bodies in pornography, but those are few and far between.

With all these forces seemingly arrayed against us is it possible to have a dialogue about the bodies, sexual identities and practices of Trans people without resorting to fetishization or demonizing.
The answer is of course yes, and relies on the common telling of stories.

The ability to talk about sensitive issues from a place of safety, anonymity and empowerment is key to having this discussion.

Within the feminist community there is an ongoing dialogue about women’s bodies that talks in a positive manner about the lack of presentation of a wide range of bodies in the media, this lesson can be taken up within the trans-feminist community to help discuss these issues.

It’s no huge secret that I as an author was heavily influenced by the Riot Grrl scene of the early 90s, despite attitudes held by some of the women involved, I still find looking back to that era hugely empowering. The radical in your face performances of the time had an effect on popular culture at the time has never really been achieved since.

We can look at what was most important about that era and say with ease that it was the way equality, diversity and voices were shown through art forms.  The wonderful thing about presenting a subject through art is that it will generally leave a lasting impression.

Some of these radical discussions are already happening from the incredibly recent Girl Talk event (which sadly being a country away I did not get to attend) to awesome online projects like Fucking Transwomen.

I believe deep down that trans-women are beautiful, we’re shaped by our personal struggles and histories, beaten down at every turn and yet we survive. Because we must and because we are strong.
We come in all shapes, colours, sizes and sexual preferences. Our stories must be told if we are to ever be treated on our own terms, I firmly believe that they are also the key to escaping the false dichotomy that is ‘passing’.

There is of course the never ending pressure to conform to social expectations of how women should look, as well as the dysphoric feeling brought on by the simple fact of being a transsexual.
That dysphoria has a whole language of its own that needs to be written.

I love my body, despite its flaws it is mine and I would never trade it for another.
I spent so many years to get to this point, and will no longer pander to society by allowing myself to be forced into a position of hatred.

Every Trans-woman will have a different dialogue to bring to the table, and while we will all interface with this issue in varying ways, we are united by a common stance of mutual understanding.

The discussion needs to begin at the basics to define a language of expression, we use words like ‘dysphoria’, ‘cis’, ‘transgender’ and ‘transsexual’, words that are common place for us and yet outside of academic discussion and the feminist community, barely understood.

So it comes back to that question.

What is it like for me to have sex?
How I behave between the sheets is highly dependent on who I’m with, their sexual preferences, feelings on kink and issues of consent.

Before I have sex there is always a discussion of comfort zones, of what is on the table.
What can be touched, what can’t and how.
I have never been comfortable with penetration, so often sex with me comes down to somebody being able to move beyond the power dynamics involved in that act.

Sex is more than just orgasm; it is an act of mutual sharing and passion. To lie in bed and be truly comfortable with a partner is for me a lovely experience. That said I am comfortable enough with other people giving me orgasms, and no I don’t cum like a boy.
That is another myth that needs to be told, hormones make powerful changes to the body and most people have no idea what they are beyond the more obvious external changes.

At the end of the day sex for us is more than just genitals, the assumption that sex has to involve genitals or even penetration is one of the most horrible assumptions placed upon sex by the collective standard of heterosexuality.

There is no one way to have sex, just as there is no one way to love.
We as a community are in a position to be able to have this discussion, to dispel the myths of trans bodies, we just need to do it.

Who is Samantha Razor?
Samantha is a 26 year old trans-woman who studies sociology somewhere in Australia.
She has Aspergers, bipolar and many other labels. In her spare time she writes and plays piano.
She thinks she can change the world.


The Riot Grrl Manifesto

RIOT GRRRL MANIFESTO
By Kathleen Hannah (lead singer of Bikini Kill and feminist activist)

BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways.

BECAUSE we wanna make it easier for girls to see/hear each other’s work so that we can share strategies and criticize-applaud each other.

BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own moanings.

BECAUSE viewing our work as being connected to our girlfriends-politics-real lives is essential if we are gonna figure out how we are doing impacts, reflects, perpetuates, or DISRUPTS the status quo.

BECAUSE we recognize fantasies of Instant Macho Gun Revolution as impractical lies meant to keep us simply dreaming instead of becoming our dreams AND THUS seek to create revolution in our own lives every single day by envisioning and creating alternatives to the bullshit christian capitalist way of doing things.

BECAUSE we want and need to encourage and be encouraged in the face of all our own insecurities, in the face of beergutboyrock that tells us we can’t play our instruments, in the face of “authorities” who say our bands/zines/etc are the worst in the US and

BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to falter under claims that we are reactionary “reverse sexists” AND NOT THE TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS THAT WE KNOW we really are.

BECAUSE we know that life is much more than physical survival and are patently aware that the punk rock “you can do anything” idea is crucial to the coming angry grrrl rock revolution which seeks to save the psychic and cultural lives of girls and women everywhere, according to their own terms, not ours.

BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-heirarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.

BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.

BECAUSE we see fostering and supporting girl scenes and girl artists of all kinds as integral to this process.

BECAUSE we hate capitalism in all its forms and see our main goal as sharing information and staying alive, instead of making profits of being cool according to traditional standards.

BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors.

BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.