Sex, Autism, Gaming and Feminisms.

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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.

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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.

Being Amazing.

Finished my assignment. 1600 words in the bag.
Basic sociology concepts and such, will be handed in tomorrow.

– Out

MY STO character Biography


Personal Information:

Name: Samantha Blade
Race:  Human
Gender: Female
Age:  55
Date of Birth: 31793.51 (Mar 10 2354)
Weight: 68 kg
Height:  5’7
Eye Colour: Brown
Hair Colour: Black
Place of Birth: New Providence Colony
Base of Operations: Starbase Valhalla
Marital Status: Unspecified (Suspected to be seeing her First Officer Commander June Melosia.)
Known Relatives:Clarice Renton (Deceased), Gerald Blade (Deceased)
Rank: Captain
Career: Engineering Officer
Ship: USS Albany
Ship Class: Excelsior
Current Assignment: 12th Fleet Engineering Division
Past Assignments:
Lt, U.S.S Sutherland. (Stardate: 53645)
Lt Cmdr/Chief Engineer, U.S.S Sutherland. (Stardate: 54061)
Commander, Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards. (Stardate: 59063)
Captain, U.S.S Albany, formerly Sutherland. (Stardate: 64060)
Admiral, U.S.S Albany & Eta Eridani Engineer and Support Fleet for Starfleet Corps of Engineers. (Stardate: 70647)
Lt, assistant engineer Utopia Planitia. (Stardate: 71808)
Lt Cmdr, 1st year warp theory lecturer Starfleet Academy. (Stardate: 79696)
Commander, Professor of Sheild Dynamics and SIF Engineering: Starfleet Academy. (Stardate: 84571)
Captain, U.S.S Albany-A (Stardate: 86953)
Specialisations:
SIF Theory, Industrial Replication, Borg Tactics and Systems

Major Accomplishments:
Designed and upgraded sheilds for the entire line of Sovereign and Vesta Class starships.
Commanded Support Group for DS K7 and single handeldly enagaged and fought 3 borg cubes resulting in the loss of the starship ‘Albany’

PERSONALITY: Melancholy and Erratic, although at times capabale of asounding feats of engineering brilliance.
HOBBIES/PASTIMES:
Political History
Reconstructing antique cars
Borg Technology
Tea and Cooking

Extended Biographical History:
Her father Gerald Blade was an establishing member of the New Providence colony.Her mother Clarice Renton was Chief Engineer about the Federation Starship Alice, an oberth class starship assigned to the core worlds as a resupply vessel.

They met while the U.S.S. Alice was on route to drop off the colonists and which was used to ferry supplies back and forth.
Over many years they developed a relationship which they maintained long distance while still meeting for months at a time during resupply missions.
After Samantha was born, Clarice decided to move to New Providence to settle permanently and raise her daughter.

Tragically 11 years later the colony would be attacked and destroyed by the borg, both her mother and father were killed along with  nearly all other members of the colony, her mother died while pushing the young Samantha into the only off world transport an ageing supply ship which managed to warp out while still trapped in the gravity well of the planet, due to the amazing talent of a young engineer named Jacob Melosia.

Samantha, alone on the ship was adopted by the captain Donald Rasmussen, a trader and prospector.
She grew up aboard his small ship the S.S. Stanley, during this time she learned the ins and outs of small ships as well as the hardships that come from lack of replicators which had never really worked properly on board the Stanely, which was a nearly 90 year old supply ship in barely working order.
During this time she became close friends with Jacob’s daughter ‘June’ a friendship that would continue when they both decided to attend Starfleet Academy together.
At 17 she decided to leave the Stanley, because although she wanted more with her life she grew increasingly pre-occupied with the fate of her parents and secretly harboured revenge on the ones who destroyed New Providence.
So she joined Starfleet academy to become an Engineer, having spent her formative years aboard a starship she found the environment to be comfortable and knew machines better than people.

However she was not totally saddened because June Melosia her best friend decided to go with her, as the two were nearly inseperable.
She excelled at industrial replication and designing structural integrity field systems, eventually learning the ins and outs of Starship shield mechanics as well as the design and construction of large scale replication systems.

In addition to this she went to tactical training school, and studied the borg heavily. The desire to meet them head on and face the enemies that killed her parents had never waned. Even after seeing the Battle of Wolf 359 on vids did little to stop her bloodlust.After 5 years at Starfleet Academy she was assigned as assistant to the Chief Engineer aboard the U.S.S. Sutherland, a ship that did service in the dominion war and had a long history of being assigned to famous operations.

She had hoped this would end well for her.Unfortunately, June was assigned to the Fleet Yards at Utopia Planitia assigned to the construction of starship hulls.
6 months into Samantha’s tour of duty a routine survey missions turned haphazard when faulty navigation systems caused the Sutherland to warp into the centre of an asteroid belt, sustaining massive damage to the warp nacelles.

She managed to reroute power and control fires throughout the ship while helping the Chief Engineer, a Lt Cmdr Daniel Trent in stabilising the warp core and preventing a breech.However, the dithlithium crystal matrix fractured causing the housing to explode and kill Trent, the ship however was saved and a breech averted albeit with major warp core damage and the ship was required to be towed to nearby Deep Space Nine for repairs.

After this she received a field promotion to Lt Cmdr from the Sutherland’s Captain Kestaal the Half Vulcan captain commanding the Sutherland.
She served with distinction if relative obscurity aboard the Sutherland for the next 5 years.The Sutherland’s mission was not particularly impressive. After spending most of the ships early years fighting the Romulans and Engaged in the Dominion War, it had been assigned to astronomical survey  duty, charting gaseous anomalies and star clusters, it seemed whether Samantha went in her career it was further away from conflict with the Borg, or any one for that matter.
At the end of the Sutherland’s Tour of Duty, she was promoted to Commander and assigned to the Utopia Planitia Yards, designing new shield systems for the Sovereign and Vesta Classes as well as to work on the next generation of Shield Systems for federation ships.

It was then that she was reunited with her childhood friend June, who was assigned as her second in command on the project. She had missed June a great deal, and seeing her again made her feel as if she had come home for the first time in many years.
She stayed at Utopia Planitia for another 5 years doing design and retrofitting, during this time she developed EPS taps that would eventually become integrated into the new covariant shield systems being rolled out for front line starships.

It was at this time she was struck amid controversy when she was caught fraternising with a member of her senior command staff, the aforementioned June. While relationships among ship’s crew are considered to be okay, they are frowned upon between high ranking members of command staff, particularly on high level outposts.
If that wasn’t enough,  4 months later on stardate 64142, a member of 8 members of a repair crew were killed by a fatal accident when a plasma conduit exploded while repairing the U.S.S Exeter.She was court martialled and charged with negligence, she was lucky to escape being drummed out of the service entirely.

Demoted to Lt Commander she was re-assigned back the to U.S.S Sutherland, this time again as chief engineer. After losing her command, she was devastated and continued to lose faith in Starfleet.

After 2 more years under the strict tutelage of Captain Kestaal, she would be involved in several minor skirmishes with Klingon’s as well single handedly designing new shield schematics for the U.S.S. Sutherland and carrying out the upgrades mainly in her downtime she was re-promoted to Commander and assigned as Captain Kestaal’s First Officer.
Although she missed her time as chief engineer, she learnt a great deal of lessons in the 3 years that followed.Keeping a low profile and studying intently with the end goal of one day getting assigned to a command on the outer edges of Federation space in the hopes of fighting the borg.

At the end of her 2nd 5 year mission aboard the Sutherland, she was assigned to oversee it’s retrofit and upgrade to ‘Magellan’ Class. As well as being promoted to Captain and given command of the Sutherland, now renamed The U.S.S Albany and assigned to duty providing science and engineering support to Starbase K-7 on the Klingon border.
Her performance was stellar and she quickly shone in this position, completely upgrading replicators for every colony world in the area of the course of 6 and half years, while also defending K-7 against Klingon incursion on a number of occasions.

During this time June had risen to the rank of Commander and finished her tour of duty at Utopia Planitia, as soon as Samantha heard of her availability, she asked her to be her first officer aboard the Albany.

She was at this time briefly promoted to Admiral and given direct command of support ships in the area to provide refit and science duties to the entire sector.
After what seemed an escape from a career fraught with problems and lacklustre performance with only a few significant achievements, which seemed bound for a desk job or teaching position back at the Academy, it was then that the unthinkable happened.

While on route to a small colony on the outer edges of the sector the Albany’s long range sensors detected the unmistakeable presence of a borg ship.
After reporting it to Starfleet Command the Albany was told to hold position and await reinforcements for 24 hours.
With the Borg signal only 9 hours away at maximum warp, Admiral Samantha Blade would disobey Starfleet orders and the protests of her crew and engage the Borg ships.
Her years of seething and blind rage at the destruction of the colony had never receded and over the years she had seen the federation continue to do nothing to take the fight to the Borg.

After engaging a single borg cube it managed to drain away all the Albany’s shields as well as leave her crippled in space the Borg boarded the ship and kidnapped 17 members of the crew including the first officer, Commander June Melosia.
After managing to get the warp drive operational while fighting off the remaining Borg, Samantha warped the Albany away to a safe distance, after managing to clear the ship of Borg and getting the shields and weapons back online the Admiral would do the unthinkable. Again.

In a blind rage and loss of perspective she locked out command functions evacuated the bridge and took the brand new, top of the line Magellan Class Starship Albany back into combat with the Borg.

When the ship warped back in the single cube had been joined by two more, leaving the ship facing off against 3 fully operational Borg cubes. Samantha set the ship to autopilot and set a collision course with the cube they had first encountered.
She then used the site to site transporter to beam aboard a runabout and conducted a successful if not foolhardy rescue of her former crew members. Only June had survived, not yet fully assimilated, but her body crawling with Borg nanoprobes.

The Albany with it’s shields this time completely dented and taking heavy fire, the crew on board would evacuate and begin the self destruct countdown.As soon as June was beamed aboard the runabout, Samantha chose to warp out leaving the Albany to her fate.
She returned to Earth and received a summary court martial and demoted to the rank of Lt.June in horror at what she had done returned to Earth where she would begin a series of medical treatments that would save her life, and perhaps allow her to one day return to duty.

At this stage Samantha was shattered, she had seen the folly of what she had done, and all that she had thrown away in an act of spite, revenge and self destruction, it would take her 16 years to work her back up to the rank of captain and she would never again be asked to command a top end front line starship.A brilliant engineer and tactician, her career thrown away for nothing.
She nearly left Starfleet all together.

In 2408 after years of pleading, hoping and desperation, she was finally assigned a new command.She arrived at Utopia Planitia full of hope; desire to rebuild to find a ship worth commanding again.To show her ability as a Starfleet captain and to prove that she had changed.What she got, well…as the shuttle pulled into the shipyards she would approach a huge new Sovereign Class vessel, a truly beautiful ship, a worthy command of any captain. The shuttle continued on, past this ship , and then past 19 others to the back of the naval yard. Where hanging in orbit in the dry dock furthest from the fleet yards was an ageing Excelsior Class. NCC-940319-A U.S.S. Albany.
Aboard this ship she found a ragtag crew of Starfleet misfits and unwanteds a crew of truly dismal reputation, only fit to be commanded by a captain Starfleet afforded the same level of trust.The ‘new’ Albany was horrendous.

An insubordinate female Half Romulan, Half Vulcan tactical officer named Vilelel, with a history of smuggling Romulan ale into federation space.
An ageing Klingon assigned as Chief Engineer, dishonoured, houseless and kicked out of the KDF for turning tail and running during a pivotal battle his name? K’Hugh.
Millard a prototype EMH designed as the beginning of the ‘Vinci’ Series, defective and forever turning himself off and failing basic morality protocols.
He is assisted by T’lim a vulcan medical school Starfleet intern, who’s medical experience is dubious at best.

Ishpi a female Ferengi with rap sheet longer than nearly anyone else in Starfleet, and Samantha began to wonder how she even got into Starfleet.
And then there is Beyol a joined trill and lifelong Starfleet engineer who is assistant to the chief engineer, he probably would have been chief engineer had he not failed Warp Field Mechanics 9 times.

The only bright spot? June Melosia, the only remotely capable among the lot of the, despite being offered her own command asked to serve once more under Captain Samantha Blade as her first officer.

The year is now 2409, and it’s Samantha’s mission to turn this ragtag bunch of misfits and ne’er-do-well’s into a well rounded, competent crew and do their damndest to re-earn Starfleet’s trust and make a name for themselves.
[OOC] I’m new to the fleet but I have a lot of interest in roleplaying, so I will be hanging around here for awhile. As soon as I have the energy I’m going to write up and submit something to March of the 12th.

Airport Ideals.

Airports are strange places, but it took me a little bit of thinking to realise why.
I mean aside from the fact they are manufactured environments.
They are manufactured environments whos sole purpose is to bring people into a country and to help people get acquainted and out into their exciting holiday destinations.

It’s no small irony that every possible square meter of space is leased out to brand name labels.
Hilfiger, McDonalds, FCUK and GAP seem to attack me from every square foot of wall.
They almost upstage the place I’m visiting, becoming the reason you travel as apposed to just another outlet.

It says ‘Look we’re here, The brand that you love, no matter how far you go here we are. Comfort!’

Once you look past the lights and the bustle, it’s really oppressive and designed not so much to get you to buy here but to make you aware that those shops you love exist here as well.
Globalization is eating the world one public space at a time.

PianoAche

Enjoy, I was feeling down today. It’s a bit rubbish. Whatever.