TRIGGER WARNING - RAPE, INCEST, MISOGYNY, AND ALL OTHER ISSUES ABORTION-RELATED

After seeing some anti-woman protestors on my former college campus today, seeing them use Nazi imagery and pictures of Pol Pot's Killing Fields to make their disgusting "point," I felt the need to express my rage with the following reasons why I'm Pro-Choice.

1) It's not my business what anyone else does with their body.
2) It's not anyone's business what I do with my body.
3) Savita Halappanavar of Ireland.
4) Beatriz of El Salvador - you can still speak for her.
5) Every woman who has ever died because of a "back alley" abortion.
6) The evidence supporting the idea that the crime rate drops when abortion is legal because wanted children are less likely to grow up in circumstances that lead them to become criminals.
7) Forcing a rape or incest survivor to carry her rapist's baby to term is a way of raping her all over again.
8) In 31 U.S. states, it is legal for a rapist to sue for visitation rights and/or custody of the child he fathered during the rape.  This is horrific on many levels, as it forces the woman to continue to have contact with the person who attacked her, which can be used as a way to leverage her into not pressing charges.  There's also the added horror of a convicted rapist being permitted to have a hand in raising the child to whom he donated genetic material during the attack.
9) The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Forcing a woman to carry a baby to term against her will is involuntary servitude and violates the very Constitution that most conservative assholes seem to worship. Women are human beings, not the property of the state.  Giving women control over their reproductive choices is a form of empowerment.  Conversely, taking away those choices turns women into second-class citizens.
10) Forcing a woman to complete a pregnancy risks her life.  Not to mention that outlawing abortion risks the lives of women who have wanted pregnancies that are non-viable (see 3 and 4).  To those who want to argue that a woman can give the baby up for adoption, there is a lot of evidence that it is more psychologically damaging to give up a baby after giving birth to it than having an abortion.  Yes, a lot of people want to adopt, but that doesn't mean that a pregnant woman should act as their handmaid unless it is 100% HER CHOICE to do so.

Having given the reasons I'm pro-choice, I'd now like to address the arguments against my feelings.

I thought about getting into the philosophical debate of whether or not a fetus is "alive" or should be considered a person, but I realized that it doesn't matter if the fetus is a person.  The woman was here first.  The rights of the born must outweigh the rights of the unborn, otherwise a woman is no longer legally a person the moment the sperm hits the egg.

When does the fetus start to have rights?  A lot of people say, "In the third trimester, once it's theoretically possible for it to survive outside the womb."  Let's examine that.  Under what circumstances would a woman carry a fetus for twenty-eight weeks and then decide she doesn't want it inside of her anymore?  I can't imagine a circumstance, but if a woman is in that position, I don't think that the state has a right to block her.  Do I find the idea of aborting a nearly full-term or full-term fetus horrifying?  Fuck yes! But I believe that the circumstances under which that would be necessary are so rare that they shouldn't even be included in any arguments against abortion.

What about gendercide, i.e. abortion of a female fetus because the parents want a male?  Fix society so that women are considered equal to men, don't deny a woman her right to choose.

Abortion as birth control?  If someone wants to go through the pain of multiple abortions rather than taking birth control, it's their body, their choice.  Especially since birth control, even multiple forms used in conjunction, can fail.  That and, like it or not, abortion IS a form of birth control.

There's also the "one penis, no vote" argument, which I find repugnant simply because NO ONE but the pregnant person gets a vote.  I have a uterus.  Having one doesn't give me more of a right to weigh in on this issue than someone who doesn't have one.

And now we've come to men's rights.  If you are a man and choose to have sex with a woman, you accept that whatever she decides to do after you put her penis close enough to her for your semen to get inside of her is her decision.  You accept child support.  You accept that she may abort a fetus that carries your genetic material.  You accept that it is her body and her decision as to whether she's going to risk her life to bring your child into the world.  If you don't think that's fair, don't have sex.  ANY sex, not merely protected sex.  Even if the woman stops taking her pills or pokes holes in the condoms, you're still choosing to have sex with her.

Which brings me to woman rapists.  They exist and I believe they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  That said, while I don't feel that you should have to pay child support if a woman rapes you, nor do you have the right to force her to have an abortion.  It's still her body in which the fetus is growing.  Is that "fair" when we chemically castrate some pedophiles and rapists?   Is it "fair" for a man to have that genetic link to a child that was conceived against his will?  No, but it's the woman's body in which said child grows, so sorry men, no forced abortions OR forced births, no matter what the circumstances.

Essentially, I'm pro-choice under all circumstances, with NO EXCEPTIONS.  Go ahead, come up with a scenario in which you think that abortion shouldn't be allowed and I'll tell you my reasoning for why it should be permitted.  I'll give you a hint: they're ALL going to start with, "It's not my business, nor is it yours." 
This is your trigger warning.

Scroll fast if you need to because I'm not cutting this.

Before this case came about, I'd heard of Steubenville from a lovely older couple (the Enditches from Steubenville, which is how I remember) on a bus tour I took roughly twenty-two years ago.

I didn't know about the football program there or how it was basically the only thing that held the town together.  However, when I heard it, it didn't surprise me because of how utterly beyond the pale OSU fans are.  They riot sometimes when they WIN, :/.

For those of you who are either not in the U.S. or who have been living under a large boulder for the last few months, a young woman of sixteen got drunk at a party last August and was dragged, semi-conscious and unconscious to several locations, where she was sexually assaulted multiple times.  She didn't know she'd been attacked until the next day, when she discovered multiple text posts, pictures, and videos about/of the assaults had been posted online.

Sunday, two football players, Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, were convicted of "digitally penetrating" her. There were at least two dozen other witnesses/possible assailants, but these two were (in my opinion) the sacrificial lambs.  I wonder how good they were on the team?  I wonder how many more players/bystanders actually assaulted this young woman?  These two young men were convicted in juvenile court despite their ages (seventeen and sixteen, which in a lot of cases would have them tried as adults), which means that once they're over twenty-one, their records could be swept clean.  Yes, they have to register as "juvenile sex offenders" and yes, their pictures have been plastered all over the media, (we'll be talking more about the media in a moment), which will hopefully help to save future victims, but they still won't have ADULT criminal records.  This still won't necessarily ruin their lives forever in the same way it's affected the life of their victim, who has been shamed in court and received death threats from two other young women via social media sites.  Ohio's Attorney General is charging those who made the latest threats, but where are the charges against all of those who watched this young women be raped?  Not only that, but made videos in which they were laughing about her being raped.

To be clear, I think that this young woman can overcome this, but she might not.  She might not be able to come back from what they did to her.  Her life might spiral out of control because of the control that was stolen from her that night.  She's a survivor either way, but whether this rules her life forever or she's able to put it behind her, the fault still lies with those who, according to the prosecution, "treated her like a toy."

Where is the outrage?  Oh, that's right.  It's being directed towards the RAPISTS, in that media outlets like CNN think it's a shame that their lives were ruined by all of this. (Here's a petition you can sign to tell them what you think of their coverage of this issue.)  And the fucking Onion predicted all of this two years ago.

So what am I taking away from all of this?  I'm not a person once I get drunk.  Hell, I'm not a person if I'm out after dark alone or forget to lock my door or to set my alarm or am not careful enough with my surroundings or wear pants that are "too tight," a skirt that is "too short," or a burqa that shows "too much ankle."  You see where I'm going with this, right?

We teach men that women are "asking for it."  We teach them that they aren't responsible for their actions and that their "innocent lives" could be ruined by "giving in" to a girl who was too drunk to say no.  We shame rape victims so much that someone made a video called, "Shit Everyone Says To Rape Victims," and I'd heard them all before.

Our society doesn't teach men not to rape. Look at what happened to the woman who dared to suggest that we do so on Fox News - she was vilified and got both rape and death threats. Bullying is a part of it - men are bullied by their peers into going along with behavior that makes them seem "manly" to said peers. Even now, we're telling them to "man up," as though being a man is automatically strong and capable.


However, young men are also bullied by their fathers who bullied them, "Don't be a [misogynistic slur]" if they dare to express their emotions. They are bullied by a society that tells them that they aren't "real men" unless they attract as many women as possible, by any means possible. This is not peer-on-peer bullying. This is bullying at every level, from every angle, every day from the moment these young men are born.


If this is not 100% clear - I'm not excusing their actions, but until the rape culture stops telling women how they can avoid rape instead of telling men not to rape, cases like this will continue to happen.  People are starting to think this way (in Vancouver, an ad campaign entitled "Don't Be That Guy" has helped to reduce sexual assaults there by 10%), but the process is entirely too slow.   Also, the myth of the stranger attack needs to go away. Most women are raped by men they know. The Steubenville survivor even testified that she "thought she could trust" one of her rapists and didn't realize that she couldn't until she saw all of the social media about her attack the next day.

Can you imagine that?  Finding out you were raped (and that multiple bystanders, many of whom were your classmates, stood around ENJOYING your rape as though it was entertainment) via fucking Facebook and Twitter?  Can you imagine having two supposed friends of yours call you a liar and end your friendship because they wanted you to leave the party and you didn't do so, ergo what happened to you was your fault?

I've spoken about this before, but seeing what this sixteen-year-old woman is having to go through, with 18,000 townspeople she's known all her life and thousands more strangers online all acting as though this situation came about because she was drunk and not because those young men are fucking rapists, is making me sick on a level I can't begin to express.

She deserves better.  She deserves to be believed, to be supported, to be cared for, and, above all, to be told it was NOT HER FAULT!  But we don't do that in this country, or apparently any other, if Steig Larson and recent reports out of India are accurate, which I'm certain they are.  And those are only two examples - if anyone knows of a country/culture where rape is considered SOLELY the fault of the rapist, I would certainly love to hear about it, as I could use some good news on this front today.

The worst part - everything I've linked here is the barest tip of an iceberg so huge it could sink a million Titanics.  I could find dozens more links, all telling me that in the eyes of the world, my bodily autonomy is subject to the whims of others.

Society doesn't see me as a person.  I'm going to fight to change that.


ETA: Henry Rollins' commentary is rather similar to mine.
I generally don't do book reviews - the "book review" tag was created for this entry - but in this case I'm making an exception.  Also, you'll notice that this is not so much a review as a comment on the reflections on society that this book has provoked within me. 


Trigger warnings for references to things that happen to women every moment of every day.  )

If you consider yourself a feminist, whether you are male or female, I highly recommend "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."  Not only is it a wonderful murder mystery, but it may provoke deep thoughts as it has for me, :).
Schrödinger’s Rapist  (Or a guy's guide to approaching strange women without being maced.) ~Phaedra Starling

This is a blog post that I've been hearing about for years, but only recently found a link to.  If you are male and have to interact with unknown women at any time for any reason, this applies to you to one degree or another.  Yes, it even applies to you if you're gay, because no woman knows that if you are a stranger, :). 

Obviously, if you're gay, it applies less because you aren't looking for the "relationship" aspect of this interaction, but I think it's important for everyone with male privilege to keep this stuff in mind, regardless of their actual intentions towards women - this is about what sort of image you present to a woman to whom you are a stranger and who isn't aware of your desires, orientation, or anything about you at all other than the fact you're male. 

In truth, I wish I'd had this to link to when I did my "Don't Talk To Strangers" post, because it pretty much exactly mirrors what I was trying to convey, but didn't have the words to express.   

On The ERA

Oct. 1st, 2011 06:12 pm
I've been hearing about the Equal Rights Amendment for most of my life.  My dad was (and I assume, is, though the subject hasn't come up recently) very anti-ERA (big shock to all of you, I know).  From the semi-coherent ramblings he gave me on the subject, I assumed it was a plot to turn women into men (or something equally stupid).  I'd never actually read the text of it until last week and I have to say, it utterly stunned me:

bulletSection 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
bulletSection 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
bulletSection 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
That's it.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. 

It's mind-boggling, stunning, sickening - I really can't put into words how horrified I am that this has been impossible to pass.  

Cut for length and possible triggers for everything associated with anti-feminist thought. )

Why is all of this so difficult?

Why can't I just be a person? 
A PSA for every man I encounter on a daily basis:


When I'm in the grocery store, waiting in line at the bank, going into the bookstore at the same time you are, walking across the parking lot...  Basically, if I'm in public, minding my own business and we've never met before, leave me the fuck alone.


I don't care that you like pink (the color of the shorts I was wearing at the store today) or my hair or my dress or my shoes.


I don't care that you want to know what time it is (a common distraction technique for criminals).


I don't care that we're both waiting in the same line boring and you find me attractive so you want to make small talk on the off chance I'll jump on your dick after knowing you for ten seconds.


Don't fucking talk to me.


I don't know you.  If we don't have friends in common or I'm not at work (where I can make money off of you*), I don't even WANT to know you.


Your speaking to me makes me uncomfortable and also makes me wonder if I need to worry about you doing more than speaking. 


I'm a woman alone.  Respect that my paranoia level is up and if you are truly a good, decent and nice human being, YOU WON'T FUCKING ADD TO MY STRESS by being "friendly" with me, a TOTAL STRANGER.


Just... Leave me the fuck alone.


Thank you for your time and attention.


*To everyone who says, "Well, you make money off of men all the time, why don't you like the attention outside of work?" I say, go step on the sharpest Lego you can find.  When I'm alone, not at a social gathering and we have no friends in common, YOU SHOULD NOT BE SPEAKING TO ME UNLESS IT'S TO TELL ME THAT MY HAIR IS ON FIRE (or other equivalent emergency)!


Woman Utters Line Never Previously Recorded In A Police Report

Warning:  This is one of the worst things I've ever read.  Cut for sexual assault triggers. )

This is yet another case of our society needing to get it's head out of its ass where sexual equality is concerned.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but men are human beings, right?  Which means that the following sentence:

plus he is not attracted to the male species.

is incorrect or at the very least, incomplete.  One could say, "He is not attracted to the male OF the species," or, "He is not attracted to the male of the Vulcan species." (Note: I did not see this line in a Star Trek story - Vulcan was just the most ubiquitous alien I could think of.)

However, saying, "plus he is not attracted to the male species."  breaks my brain for one very simple reason:

MEN ARE NOT A DIFFERENT SPECIES!  IT'S MALE GENDER, NOT SPECIES.  

Okay, this started off as a mini-fanficrant and turned into a continuation of my "Am I Third Gendered" post, so, um. Yeah. That happened. I'm still confused, still questioning and still unable to figure out which box to check. The LONG exploration of that confusion is under the cut. Also, I have a strong feeling that some may find parts of this triggery or offensive and for that, I sincerely apologize. This is what my brain spat out. Read at your own risk.  )

I'm feeling frustrated and even more confused than when I started this, so here's where I am for now:

I think that I'm a human being who honestly doesn't care about genitals or gender identity as anything other than an aside to who someone is as a person.  I feel that biology dictates only what we allow it to and that, we as a species need to move past worrying so much about biology if we want to continue truly evolving beyond our animal roots.  
So on facebook I just had to explain to someone why the using the phrase 'man up' to tell someone to do what they need to be doing is sexist.

Seriously.

*headdesk*
I'm going to preface this by saying that I usually LOVE Batman: Brave And The Bold.  It's a cartoon obviously made for both adults and comic book fans and it generally handles adult concepts well.  (A recent episode in which a side character died handled the subject matter extremely well, for example.)

However.

Having just watched the episode where Batwoman (not Batgirl, try to keep up*) persuades Faust to help her switch bodies with Batman, I have to say - it made me a little uncomfortable.  

Cut for spoilers and fail related to gender stereotypes. ) Cut for spoilers and fail related to gender stereotypes. )

In a show that's usually made of win, this all added up to fail, :(.  I have to say that I'm really sad that I'm seeing these same stupid stereotypes being passed on to another generation of kids.  Yes, I know I said that this was aimed at adults, but that episode I mentioned at the beginning where the side character died?  Someone was passing around a blog post where a man was watching it with his 5-year-old son, so kids are watching this.

And learning from it, :(.

*When I first saw the episode synopsis in my DVR, I almost thought it was another 'Invisible Woman' growing up of a character-I'm-not-a-girl-anymore-female-positive-type thing, but no.  In the Marvel Universe, Batwoman and Batgirl are two different people, :(.
 

***I want to apologize in advance for messing up the male/female pronouns right here.  I did my best to keep the characters' actual genders straight when a male was inhabiting a female body and vice versa, but I couldn't think of the proper way to word it in this instance and so there's gender pronoun fail at this point.  My bad, :(.
To all of you out there reading this, I'm not normal.  I'm not neurotypical and I'm on the autism spectrum.  I've always been this way - I just didn't have a name for it until very, very recently.

Before you ask, I'm self-diagnosed.  But if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's fucking Aspergers, m'kay?

Am I bitter?  Little bit.  All my life I've been fucking weird, felt like an outsider and like there was a whole world that I just couldn't understand and I just got to find out that I probably never will.

There's no real treatment for what I have, no magic pill or therapy to make the walls come down and help me to actually understand what most of the population takes for granted.  

I never get to know...  So many fucking things.  I get to feel like I'm on the outside looking in and never really understand...  I'm repeating myself there, but I'm typing this while I'm crying and just...
Holy fuck this is long. Possibly the longest post I've ever put up here that wasn't a story. So long that I don't even know if LJ will take it. And I'm not reading over this before I post it, so there will be typos liekwhoa. Also, non-graphic trigger warning for those who have ever felt like outsiders or like the world could never understand them. Read at your own risk. But you should be doing that already if you're here, so I guess that read if you want to would be more appropriate. )



I have this odd urge to just write "The End," even though it would be abrupt and odd. 

The End.

...

PS I'm screening comments, 'cause that's just how I'm rolling on this one.

On Bullying

Oct. 1st, 2010 06:26 pm
There have been a lot of posts on my friends' lists lately about bullying and a lot of stories in the news about it, which has forced me to go back to my own childhood and actually think about sharing what I went through.  This part of my youth is separate from every other part.  It's the icing on a very large cake filled with bullshit and it's something that I think about less than most of the other pains from that time. 

I'm going to start generally, because it's the only way I can even begin to find a place to start.

Cut for EPIC!Length.  )

This entry is long, rambling, repetitive, probably incoherent and I feel as though I've strayed from my essential point.  You be the judge.  

As most of you know, I'm a stripper (or exotic dancer, if you prefer).  I've been in the business for eleven years and was married when I got into it.  My husband wasn't the jealous type and my answer to anyone who asks about his feelings on the subject are always that I wouldn't be with anyone who felt that they owned me, nor would I ever date anyone who had a problem with what I do.  My reasons for going into it were complex and in general, none of your business.  I'm not saying that to be rude, merely illustrating a point.  In very few other professions do you regularly have people asking you, "So why did you start doing this?"  My answer is generally, "Because I won the genetic lottery, I like doing it and it makes good money for what I have to do for it."  The first was luck.  The last two are why ANYONE has a job.

Cut for length and subject matter, though really, this journal is adult, so if you're here, you're old enough to read about whatever's under this cut, :). )

tl;dr If we've just met and you want to know more about my job, it's okay to ask, really, but at this point I'm thinking that I'll probably just direct new friends to my dancing tag and if you're still curious about something after reading the posts in it, I'll be happy to enlighten you about anything you want to know, :).  And I know that this post is probably making anyone who was curious think that it's NOT okay to ask, which really isn't my intention, as I don't mind dispelling myths about strippers (no, we're not all supporting loser boyfriends, children, school or a drug habit, nor are we all poor abuse victims with no self-esteem and no other options), but I'd like it if you read what I've already said first and go from there, :).      


I'm a woman.  I was born that way and have never had anything but the most fleeting desire (hmmm, I wonder what it would be like to have a penis; shit, my period really sucks) to be anything other than a woman. 

I have my own thoughts on feminism.  I feel that being a sex worker is the ultimate in feminism, so long as the women involved are given the ultimate power, as they have in every club in which I've worked and as it is when prostitution is legal.

I'm pro-choice (NOT pro-abortion), pro-reproductive rights in every sense (I have a much longer post on this issue that I will eventually share) and against any religion and/or culture that treats women as second-class citizens.

I believe in equal pay for equal work, no glass ceilings and providing reproductive education and HPV vaccines to young women.  

Personally, I'd like to be barefoot and pregnant and a housewife, but this doesn't mean that I think less of women who want to be doctors or have other high-powered careers, especially not since technology is making it easier for those women to have reproductive choices (assuming that they want children at all).  

I'm into freedom of choice for all women everywhere.

But.

I don't speak for all women everywhere.  If I say something stupid or ignorant or hurtful, if I do something stupid or ignorant or hurtful, it shouldn't reflect negatively on my entire gender. 

I am a woman, an individual, a person, a human being.  I am not an entire gender. 

So please remember that when you're speaking to me or about me and say things like, "Women like you..."

There are no other women like me.  While I am not a beautiful and unique snowflake, I am still the only one of me in this world.  

And I should be judged only based on me, not on the genitals that I happened to be born with.

This sort of judgment is also passed on other marginalized persons, from women to GLBT to PoC to the Irish.  It's impossible for an entire group of people to ALL be one thing... other than human, of course.  But the human bit is often lost in the shuffle when people are saying, "Well, if you want 'special rights' you have to expect to all be lumped together."

No one in any of these groups wants any 'special rights'.  Period.  End of argument.

We all simply want equal rights.  Truly equal, not just whatever bones happen to be thrown our way.  

Human beings all wish to have the same freedoms to choose their own destinies that a privileged MINORITY have always had.  It's funny to think of it that way - that the one group that has always had the power is actually the least in numbers and always has been.  

It's up to you to decide who really holds the power in this world - captains of industry, the Church, or simply those who have the most money.  I'm going with the third option myself, but I could be wrong.

And if I am, it's only me that's wrong, not my entire gender.  Or race.  Or creed (or lack of creed).  It's just me.   

I'm a woman, not all women everywhere.

This rant inspired by several conversations, both in rl and online, as well as by the world at large.  And by the letter s. 

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