I want queer people to be able to turn on the tv and see themselves.
i want them to be able to watch a shitty romantic comedy with an obvious plot and see themselves, to watch a serious tv show about vampire killing FBI agents and see themselves, to watch a fairytale kid’s movie and see themselves-
i want queer people to count as people outside of shitty, offensive dramas that see queerness as a gate to more drama, something all-defining and life-ruining, written by writers who don’t care enough to learn what’s a stereotype and what’s reality and still want cookies for putting goddamn cardboard cuttouts on their show-
and i want that queerness to be evident and unarguable.
i don’t want shitty backhanded references to a dude’s “friendliness” with his best friend-
i don’t want half-hearted mentions of a main character’s gay friend in an attempt to prove that the character and that the show aren’t homophobic-
I don’t want queerbaiting, that straight viewers can claim was just a joke, because it was, it’s just a joke the show can profit off for “representing” someone they don’t even fucking count as enough of a person to deserve to be treated with respect-
And i want queer ladies and queer dudes and genderqueer queers and i want them to be different races and classes and have different goals and opinions and lifestyles and fashion choices and interests and lives and challenges, because queer people are not one, shitty, poorly done stereotype
I want to count as a fucking person
i want every single queer person to count as a fucking person
a person whose story isn’t a joke, isn’t something to be ashamed of, isn’t something you see once in an afterschool special about not bullying people, until they get “turned straight” or “fixed” or “just hadn’t met the right person” or fucking kill themselves or turn out to be the villain if they “stay queer” because being queer means one has to be ‘punished’ for it-
I want us to fucking count, and i want the media to acknowledge we count.
From Bitch Magazine, a post about 4 new LGBT YA books, including my favorite of the year so far (The Miseducation of Cameron Post) and my own!
I know I talk a lot about (or at least think of myself as talking a lot about but not actually doing it) the fact that I mostly read YA literature when it comes to ~pleasure reading~ but that I have a really tough time buying into a lot of the books because they’re just so… heterosexual and either don’t have any queer characters or reference the fact that they don’t have any with one one-off line that ~excuses the lack thereof (e.g. Delirium, which I know I’ve talked about before as being a book I enjoyed but I kept waiting for the best friend to be in love with the main character and getting really confused when that didn’t happen, and IIRC Article 5 does the same kind of brush-off (or maybe I was just hoping it did because it was set in the kind of ~world where the brush-off could occur~ and I’ve gotten to the point where if there’s a romantic entanglement as any point of the plot or subplot of a novel, if there is literally no reference to non-straight relationships I don’t really feel like finishing it and I did finish Article 5. But that was a while ago, so)) and I just >:( >:( >:(
Anyway this is a really interesting thing to look at and it kind of explains why I’ve had difficulty jiving with a lot of books lately!
That said, I read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray recently and it addressed a lot of the issues I have with recent literature trends in general that I brought up in this post and so yeah recommendation.
Is your latte too hot? Mine was this morning. I was at the bustling Oasis shopping center in Kampala, Uganda, and I took one sip and then spilt it all over me. You know who else has these problems? The local Ugandans that frequent this shop, and make up the majority of it’s clientele.
As Africa stabilizes across the continent, Westerners forget that average daily problems in Europe or North America are not that far off from that of the African middle class. Our smart phones sometimes freeze up. That’s annoying. The DJ is playing shit, so we leave the club.
Which is not to say that there aren’t problems. It’s not to pretend that all of Kampala or Nairobi or Kigali is a paradise of African wealth where the biggest problem is a warm beer. There is real, stark, damaging poverty here. But there is similar poverty in Clichy Sous Bois in Paris. There is similar poverty in Brooklyn. In Chicago. The outskirts of Amsterdam.
The idea that an African can’t have similar issues to those living in London is a mistake. It is a mistake rooted in the idea that Europe is somehow superior or has vast amounts of wealth. In reality, the East African GDP has been steadily on the rise for years, whereas the economic outlook in both North America and Europe have been steadily declining. Angola just gave a loan to their former colonialists, Portugal. Our cities now have thumping clubs, eclectic cuisine and most of these places are owned and invested in by locals.
Stop feeling bad for Africa. It doesn’t need your pity.
If you want to do something to help those who survive on very little, try investing in it. Instead of buying Tom’s shoes which give away free shoes (and therefore remove jobs from hardworking Africans making shoes) invest in Sole Rebels. A woman-owned Ethiopian based shoe company that pays their workers a livable wage.
Tonight I am going with Ugandan friends and some expats to watch the Poland vs. England match, live on DSTV at my local pub. I will eat grilled tilapia and drink some beer. This is not an extraordinary life here. This is the new Kampala average. This continent is far from perfect. Uganda is far from perfect. But it is getting there, and if you think for one minute Africans do not experience massages, cupcake shops, foam on our coffee, car trouble, banking woes and hangovers after too much fun, you are dead wrong.
It’s not all flies on babies. Welcome to the real Africa.
i get rly impatient with how many books there are that have great premises and then wham bam the actual plot is a love triangle!!!
so here’s a list of the romantic subplots i would ideally like to see in the new release books i read in the near future in order of preference from most wanted to least wanted:
don’t get me wrong there are a lot of books with love triangles that i love i am just so SICK of all of them
i suppose this is as good a time as any to register my complaint that in the first delirium book (i haven’t read the short story companion or the sequel yet b/c i’m still upset about it so idk if this changes but i’m p sure it doesn’t), hana did not end up falling in love with lena and admitting it and having that be a subplot
eta i p much read 98% ya lit so that’s mostly what i’m talking about here
“Yes we have to fight tooth and nail to get whatever scraps of rainbow human rights progress we do achieve and fight even harder to defend it. But we do it because the red states are home to us.
“Why? It’s a red state thang, you wouldn’t understand. We love them more than the average conservafool and have just as much right to live there as the smug faith based information challenged idiots who hate on us and are trying to force us out.. Because we rainbow peeps are part of the diverse mosaic of human life we have the incentive and drive to make our red states the types of places we deserve to live in.”
- Korra isn’t attracted to Bolin, and attraction isn’t something that can be forced. Let me repeat: Attraction can not be forced.
- Bolin wasn’t the only one who got shot down. Korra also ultimately did not get the guy she was interested in. The implication that only men suffer from “friend zoning” (unrequited love or attraction) is ridiculous. Women get rejected too.
- Women don’t owe men dates or sex or a relationship as a reward for their “niceness”. Being nice is basic human decency.
The people in this fandom who are bashing and maligning Korra (calling her a “bitch” or a “slut”) for who she is or who she isn’t attracted to need to think long and hard about what bullshit they’ve internalized.
(And ugh, the asinine quote in the image came from Brotips. Seriously guys, that is not a good tip. It is a red flag for spotting jerks.)
reblogging for commentary
oh my gosh thank you. someone i know needs to see this.
yes good this is what i wanted to happen in response to this post.
thank you thank you for articulating this better than i did
I would hate to be insensitive to people with addictions. I know what it’s like to feel like your body and your head and all of your time has been invaded by something and you can’t control it. I understand what it’s like to have a chronically underestimated mental illness, I know what it’s like to be looked at like you’re just not trying hard enough.
I also know what it’s like to have to live with other people’s addictions, and you live with it forever. While men in my life were drinking themselves literally to death and back to life again, women in my life were calling an ambulance while forcing themselves to think which would be worse. Is it worse to bury him now or have to do this again every day for the rest of my life. And then even when he got better, tiptoeing for another thirty years, losing all your friends, apologizing for him, blaming everything on how it was before he stopped drinking. A process, a process. And even though he hadn’t touched it in twenty years we still all had to watch his heart and lungs rot from all the drinking he did and we all still lost him. His family had to lose him so many times and no one could ever forget addiction.
I never met my maternal grandfather, but I know that he worked in some shops in Pontiac, fought in some wars in the Eastern Hemisphere, drank Pabst Blue Ribbon until all his blood vessels were so weak they burst open and he died but that wasn’t even the worst of it. Sometimes I say “my mother left school because her dad died” but really what I mean is “my mother left school because she had an alcoholic abusive father.” He would say things like, well, we only get Coke a few times a year and you drank the last Coke which means I have to drink beer again and it’s all your fault and she never had shoes or lunch money. I never met him but I lived with him my whole life: in the way my mother lived like everything was impermanent, would work secret shifts in middles of nights so that she could buy me shoes, in the way she would smack me in the face if I talked too white trash ghetto because she was never going back there. My mother never drank, her sisters never drank. My mother never married an alcoholic but both of her sisters did, and she’d come to learn that most men were addicts and that no addicts could be trusted. There were almost no men in my life when I was growing up.
I had two maternal uncles. After their mother died but before their father died, my uncle Jimmy fought in Vietnam. I don’t know what he drank, but I know that he drank it until he shot himself in the head and my other uncle, who was eleven, found him in their garage. Some people argue that addiction and trauma are hereditary. But anyone who has lived in houses of addiction and trauma knows that addiction and trauma are contagious. And my younger uncle still carries his brother’s addiction and trauma.
Addiction is an illness, and we should be compassionate and we should try to help each other heal. But sometimes I think that we only allow the addicted to heal from addiction, that once “sobriety” is claimed, everyone around the addict has to pretend like they’ve never been hurt or abused. Once an addict is healed, we are expected to erase anything from the era of “pre-sobriety.” Only the addict is allowed to talk about their healing process: the people they raped or tried to kill or manipulated or abused or neglected are expected to respectfully keep their mouths shut.
This is how addiction-oriented abuse is perpetuated, all of the weight of trauma is shifted onto the shoulders of the people around an addict, and they aren’t allowed to do anything about it. It’s not always committed with intention on the act of the addict (or the once-addict, or the recovering alcoholic), but sometimes it is. When an addict tries to kill their girlfriend, it is abuse. When a recovering addict says the attempted murder of his girlfriend is irrelevant and she (or anyone) shouldn’t bring it up because he’s “sober now,” it is another act of abuse.
*only if the addict is a man. if the addict is a woman, we don’t very well forgive her, do we?
This post is really good and touches on a lot of the visceral gut-wrenching shit that addiction piles onto “outside” (but usually pathologically, deceptively involved) people. I say this as someone who doesn’t drink because of the things that my father did to me while he was drunk (which for a long time I blamed on alcohol itself, but I’ll get to that in a second) and the way that I viewed alcohol, without fail, as this consistent evil force throughout my formative years (something that I am trying so hard to work through). I have never witnessed healthy alcohol use; my mother raised me and barely ever drinks, and the only other people I’ve known who use it are binge-drinkers or manipulators or those who do slightly off-kilter, creepy things in regards to their ex’s girlfriend when drinking. And I also say this as someone who is currently (helplessly) watching her mother fall apart while her significant other is basically dying from alcohol-induced dementia (after nearly dying at the get-go from quitting alcohol after forty years of heavy daily drinking).
In any case, it is difficult (like, needing-a-lot-of-psychiatric-help-caliber difficult) for me to extricate the destructive power of alcohol from the people themselves who engage in alcohol use, whether healthily or unhealthily. Sometimes I make connections too much, or I don’t make connections at all. I think that RGR is accurate in saying that there is too often a bent towards self-congratulatory manipulation of sobriety in recovery culture. I’ve read my share of books aimed at Double Winner-type people (the term need not necessarily be associated with “alcoholic” + “codependent” but seems to often be viewed that way), and I think it’s worth saying that there is, at least in theoretical terms (in regards to recovery culture, 12-step type things), a clear acknowledgment of the muddled nature between owning up and taking accountability and making amends for past mistakes (and when appropriate, not just mistakes, but: abuse, deception, criminal behavior) but also trying to forge a new life free of harm. And y’know, I think this is territory that Tumblr has tread into a lot in the past: what to do about reform and recovery, what to make of those folks. I know that I’m an utterly huge fuck-up who has suffered from nearly life-ending guilt for the icky things I’ve done (although I think some of that was compounded by someone totally manipulating me into shame and me not even realizing it, but whatever), and Recovery as a concept is something that is important to me for my personal growth, but then there’s Hugo Schwyzer, and fuck that guy.
But yeah, I think that there is definitely a dangerous cultural tendency to conflate alcohol with destructive behaviors that (realistically) often complement and insidiously work with alcohol but are truly separate ballgames, and that is totally important to acknowledge. I was doing a lot of reading of The New Codependency the other day while I was at the doctor after getting bitten by a Great Dane (big mouth, small hand, ow), and this is something that the author lays down pretty hard: alcohol is a mask and an antidote for shit, and that shit’s not going to go away when you stop drinking. And I know, I know so many people justify bad behavior on alcohol, but it’s important for me and for everyone to realize that alcohol is not the be-all end-all ultimate enemy here. My father molested me when he was drunk, he did pretty skeezy shit when he was drunk, and for a long time I blamed all of that (when not on myself) on alcohol. I thought that once he got sober (he did), none of that weird stuff would be there anymore. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but the weird stuff is still there, and it’s not going to go away, and I assume that the same would apply for anyone’s destructive behavior when intoxicated. My stepmother is criminally violent, negligent, and abusive when she is drinking, but she’s also an erratic, highly-critical, manipulative worm when she’s sober, too. I hate intoxicants for my own reasons, but the foundation for someone’s abusive behavior is their abusiveness! Not the substances they use.
I think all of this boils down to the fact that our culture doesn’t make any room for survivors, especially female survivors. You wouldn’t think so (or maybe you would), but it is beyond difficult to find any sort of discussion in mainstream culture about Wives of Alcoholics and codependents (when they get the word right) being anything but crabby controllers or pathetic demure whiteboards (probably having something to do with the fact that codependency and that sort of thing is indeed so feminized) when really, how can that not invite a frank discussion on the destructiveness of addiction, that there’s a whole fucking personality disorder that stems from being a “bystander” of addiction? That there’s a whole addiction pretty much in being a “bystander” of addiction? Not to go all pity-me on Tumblr, but it has taken me twenty-one years to get to even some amount of self-reflection and self-improvement after being unable to name for my whole life what the fuck was wrong with me as a result of being raised in an alcoholic — read: unsafe — household. It’s impossible to describe this phenomenon to someone who hasn’t had some experience in being the caretaker, in being the scapegoat and the fall-guy for addiction. I just feel like chunks of my psyche are missing, Swiss cheese-style. And that shouldn’t be downplayed ever.
I am happy, like beyond happy, that there are support groups like CoDA and Al-Anon and ACoA in existence (despite those organizations not being seen as legitimate as “real” recovery groups); I know that there are problems with the 12-step model of recovery, but it’s something, and it’s sometimes a “something” that is all you’ve got when you have no one or nothing but an abusive, addicted parent or husband in your life. Al-Anon was formed in the 1950’s by wives of alcoholics, and I think that that is such an important thing to realize: the power that women took to organize for themselves when a whole goddamn culture was calling them every derogatory name out there for doing what any spouse of an addict eventually begins to do, and the power they took in stepping away and freeing themselves from the burdens of another’s addictions. But I mean, I guess self-organizing in the face of cultural devaluation is kind of the story of every empowering organization out there, isn’t it.
In any case, it is difficult (like, needing-a-lot-of-psychiatric-help-caliber difficult) for me to extricate the destructive power of alcohol from the people themselves who engage in alcohol use, whether healthily or unhealthily.
Ugh, yes, this so much! It is so hard for me, still to this day, to separate “alcohol” from “person.” I’ve manged to separate The Alcoholic from The Father in my mind with regards to my dad, and now I can truly say that I love him, that I miss him, that I wish he would come back into my life. I forgive him for his actions in my childhood. However much progress I have made on this front, my gut reaction/instinct when I see people drinking is to start distancing myself, because I’m afraid they’re going to hurt me.
Not to go all pity-me on Tumblr, but it has taken me twenty-one years to get to even some amount of self-reflection and self-improvement after being unable to name for my whole life what the fuck was wrong with me as a result of being raised in an alcoholic — read: unsafe — household. It’s impossible to describe this phenomenon to someone who hasn’t had some experience in being the caretaker, in being the scapegoat and the fall-guy for addiction. I just feel like chunks of my psyche are missing, Swiss cheese-style. And that shouldn’t be downplayed ever.
This, this, this. ESPECIALLY “chunks of my psyche are missing, Swiss-cheese style.” I feel so maladjusted. So different from my peers. Sometimes I just revert back to this child-like state. There are significant aspects of my psyche that are underdeveloped, and this fact isn’t something to be treated trivially at all.
Or I get angry for people not taking care of me, because I never got a childhood, and in relation, never had someone to take care of me. I never had the carefree feeling, never had the trust established by one’s parents in childhood that is fundamental to a functioning adult life and adult relationships. I get so frustrated sometimes for having to be An Adult all the time because I’ve had to be one since I was little. I long for a childhood that I never had, and never will have. Imagine longing for something that is utterly unattainable no matter what. It’s not a fun feeling. And it’s not something Children of Alcoholics can really “get over,” because we’re, in all aspects of the word, grieving. And this is something that only Children of Alcoholics experience.
Al-Anon was formed in the 1950’s by wives of alcoholics, and I think that that is such an important thing to realize: the power that women took to organize for themselves when a whole goddamn culture was calling them every derogatory name out there for doing what any spouse of an addict eventually begins to do, and the power they took in stepping away and freeing themselves from the burdens of another’s addictions.
Yes, Lois W. and Anne B. are my heroes. <3
soooo this has been in my drafts for three months now and after conversations i had on sunday, monday, and tuesday of this week, i guess i’m finally ready to post it? but i’m not really ready to talk about it here. all the bolded emphasis is mine, though. i have a LOT of thoughts about the subject and i’m willing to share them privately but i’m still not willing to share them publicly (due in no small part to the code of silence surrounding addiction and codependency).
one thing, though (and i’m not going to talk about it in detail here) - something people don’t really talk about is how the system stays in place even during recovery, and how easy it is to fall back into old patterns.
It reminds me of the “bike to work” movement. That is also portrayed as white, but in my city more than half of the people on bike are not white. I was once talking to a white activist who was photographing “bike commuters” and had only pictures of white people with the occasional “black professional” I asked her why she didn’t photograph the delivery people, construction workers etc. … ie. the black and Hispanic and Asian people… and she mumbled something about trying to “improve the image of biking” then admitted that she didn’t really see them as part of the “green movement” since they “probably have no choice” –
I was so mad I wanted to quit working on the project she and I were collaborating on.
So, in the same way when people in a poor neighborhood grow food in their yards … it’s just being poor– but when white people do it they are saving the earth or something." -
i can’t echo this enough. this happened all the time in Los Angeles. I started biking to work and school (18 miles each way to work, 22 each way to school) in 2005 because I was dirt poor and couldn’t even afford a $3 day pass on the Metro. It wasn’t a fashion statement or an attempt to be green. I needed those $3 to eat.
Also applicable to the ways in which race and class shape the discourse around what counts as exercise…
wow it’s time to stop looking in my tracked tags and the comments to the more political posts i read again, because: dear random person, are you fucking kidding me right now? are you seriously victim-blaming a woman for not standing up against the repeated sexual harrassment she’s experienced because, according to you, she’s afraid instead of proud for being a woman? like how are you missing the point so much slkdjfhg. ugh @ your privilege when you say that if she just stood up with the right amount of resistance, she wouldn’t have to deal with all of this and implying that she’s doing this to herself.
though tbh you became irrelevant to me the moment you said “i don’t like feminists,” so.
When Avatar: The Last Airbender came out, i was really amazed that an East Asian character was featured prominently in a kid’s cartoon. Even better, the cartoon was extremely accessible for adults. And even better than that— Aang had friends who were South Asian and Inuit, including two strong women who played equal roles in the story and group.
When I first watched Avatar, I was overwhelmed because I was seeing representation— people who looked like me— far more than I ever had in any Western media (Bruce Lee movies do not count). To give you an idea of how bad it is sometimes, let me just say that even seeing two Asian people in one show is still shocking to me, because we are that poorly represented. Often, growing up in the United States as an Asian American kid means you have to dig and claw your way around just to find a good role model who understands your raced reality and experience of the world. Or, like most of us, you end up half-heartedly following some white celebrity who has never understood what it is like to be Asian American a single day in their life.
Avatar, in contrast, was the first time I had seen a show with no white people, and it wasn’t made in another country. It was from the country I grew up in, the United States, and it was a show that I could finally see myself in. Even more surprising, Avatar eventually went on to prove that there is actually a market for realistic, non-racist, and human portrayals of Asian cultures and peoples.
And of course there’s always racist jerks who manage to fuck things up. The Avatar film adaptation was a big disappointment. But I have found the fandom (unlike a lot of other fandoms) to be consistently open and accepting of different people— of strong women, of People of Color as the central focus, and so on.
Now, The Legend of Korra is about to come out and it features a South Asian Woman as the main character. East Asians already struggle with visibility in Western culture, but because of colorism and other prejudices against people with darker skin, South Asians are seen even less than we are, much less South Asian Women who are strong, emotionally warm, and complex.
So I am again amazed at this. I never imagined something like this EVER coming out when I was a kid. Kudos to everyone who has supported this franchise— you are helping little Asian American kids, and adults who were once kids, see their dreams come true.
I know there’s a lot of bamfs who follow me who will dig this post.
A slide from anthropology class that I found quite powerful.
Shocking and disgusting.
Sadly, Undercover Nun is not surprised. Combine it with white vs. non-white, and you’ll have a horrible indictment of the US. May God have mercy on our souls.
P.S. Did you know that the most dangerous period in a woman’s life, the time when she’s most at risk of being murdered, is while she is pregnant?
And my parents tell me feminism is pointless.
Our state puts out a report of DV reports, arrests, and DV-related deaths every year. The number of male-against-female DV-related murders is easily 10x higher and almost exclusively involve the male as the aggressor and almost all the female-against-male murders that are DV-related are self-defense.
Over the past few years, the issue of gay rights in Africa has become particularly heated with presidents, preachers and global petitioners all wading in.
Kenya has been no exception to this trend. Incidents of sexual abuse and ‘corrective rape’ in Nairobi are on the increase and 2010 saw mass attacks against gay men.
Meanwhile, Catholic and Islamic leaders have united in anti-gay campaigns, proclaiming that homosexuality should be “punishable by death”, and Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga recently asserted that all “homosexuals should be arrested and taken to relevant authorities” (although later claimed his comments had been misunderstood). Against this, a number of commentators, human rights groups and Western leaders have been similarly vocal in their condemnation of anti-homosexuality.
Amidst this sound and fury, the makers of Kenya’s teen drama Shuga have been quietly preparing for series two. The second instalment of the show about young adults growing up Nairobi is set to begin on Valentine’s Day and will introduce half a dozen new characters, one of whom – Rayban – is gay.
Early-evening teen fiction may seem a minor irrelevance in the grand battle currently being played out around gay rights. But unpacking the nature of anti-gay sentiment in Kenya and examining the historical emergence of positive gay attitudes in other places suggests that it will not be top-down exertions of power and pressure that engender meaningful change, but the far subtler effects of sensitive grassroots activism, a major part of which may well be shows likeShuga.
Indeed, recent high-level pressure from the UK and US on African governments to recognise gay rights badly misfired. Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, amongst others, responded by directly flying in the face of Western criticism and publicly promising that homosexuality would never be legalised, while the Ugandan government condemned the West’s “bullying mentality” and “patronising, colonial rhetoric”. If anything, Western pressure has galvanised anti-gay sentiment in some areas.
+ when I was at UoN last year I took a class that was basically about the traditional lesbian marriages of yore and it was really interesting. I won’t get into details here because I don’t have my notes + don’t want to put forth false information, but I just wanted to observe that this article made me remember it.
+ “Western-led attempts to pressure Kenya into accepting homosexuality are considered to be colonialist and emasculating in the most profound, private and intimate of ways.”
- this (both in this specific instance and in relation to other practices in Kenya that Western organizations/NGOs/etc are trying to address) is something that apparently not a lot of people realize. I can’t count how many times people have gotten really upset with me after I’ve argued about how the approach Western countries/organizations/what have you take to attempt to change things in non-Western countries is not a good approach, or that it should be changed. But hello, going in and essentially saying “This is wrong, change it” (which unfortunately is how a lot of NGOs/missionaries/etc operate, in my experience) is completely rude, inconsiderate, culturally insensitive, and, yes, a throwback to colonialism. (I would personally argue that you don’t have to completely stop trying, but change your approach. There are appropriate ways and there are inappropriate ways to enter into discourse on cultural practices/beliefs/etc with other cultures. For example, coming into the discussion from a point of cultural understanding/empathy is a good starting point).
+ That said, I personally support gay rights everywhere and applaud Shuga for the introduction of this character.