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 also used to smoke pot to get high.  I don't do either anymore for reasons that are none of your business.  But then, it's not really your business that I did either in the first place.

What's my point here?  I'm just sick and tired of seeing posts floating around that say, "What about all of those women who have horrible periods?  Or bad acne?  Or ovarian cysts?  Are they whores and sluts too?"  Or with marijuana it's, "What about cancer patients?  Or people with glaucoma?"

Who gives a fuck WHY someone is taking medication?  Why does it need to be justified at all?

I took birth control because wanted to fuck and I didn't want to have an unplanned pregnancy.  I used it in addition to other methods because I REALLY didn't want an unplanned pregnancy.  

And again, I smoked weed because I liked the feeling more than I enjoyed the feeling of alcohol.  

But my feelings on these subjects don't count.  Never mind that it's MY body and I wasn't hurting anyone, my reasons for using these drugs aren't as socially acceptable, so I get to be shamed by even those who are ostensibly on "my side" for doing things that are no one's business but mine.  And yes, I do see it as shaming when someone says, "Well, what about those people with legitimate medical conditions who use these drugs?" because it's still playing into the culture that says that doing what one wants with one's own body is not okay unless there's a reason other than pleasure for doing it.

Well, fuck all of you who use this justification.  I liked fucking and being high.  I still like fucking, but I chose to stop using hormonal birth control. 

Because it's my fucking body.  Not yours.  And you don't get to have an opinion about what I do with my body so long as I'm not causing direct harm to you PERSONALLY. 

Oh, and before anyone says something about the Pill being legal and marijuana not being so, in states where the "personhood" bills are being passed, the type of hormonal birth control I was on would become illegal, so there you are.  The only drug that should be illegal is meth because it can endanger a neighborhood simply by making it.  Everything else should be legal and regulated.  Period.
Now you can look like a covergirl with the magic of Photoshop, by Adobé. 

Fake commercial under the cut. )

As someone who has been photoshopped (see icon), I can vouch for both the accuracy of the ad and the unrealistic beauty standards it promotes.
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, :).

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? 
This is the only trigger warning you're getting, because I absolutely REFUSE to cut this.  Scroll fast if you need to.  

Today is the two-year anniversary of his murder and I had no plans to blog about it beyond re-posting this tribute on Facebook.

All of that changed when I went to Hometown Buffet today and saw what shall furthermore be referred to as an "Abortion Bus."  It could have been a converted camper (it had one of those 'over-the-cab' camper-like attachments, but it was painted blood red and so covered in anti-abortion propaganda and PICTURES OF DEAD FETUSES that it was hard to tell for sure).

I went in and complained to the manager of the restaurant, that since it was on private property they shouldn't allow it there.  The manager tried to say it was a "First Amendment" thing and that he didn't want to get involved.  I only wish I hadn't already paid for our food, but we made the decision there and then - we'll never eat there if we see that bus in their parking lot.  I also wrote to Old Country Buffet, telling them exactly how I feel about their managers dismissal of allowing such horrific images to be displayed RIGHT IN FRONT OF A RESTAURANT where people are trying to eat.  I'm also seriously considering NEVER stepping foot in there again, given that their attitude and considering we've been eating there VERY often lately and have probably eaten there an average of once per month for the last fifteen years, that's pretty significant.

It's very, VERY lucky that I didn't know to whom the bus belonged, that I had no clue who they were in the restaurant, because I likely would have confronted them for being pro-slavery assholes.  And yes, I just said fucking SLAVERY.  Forcing a woman to have a baby she doesn't want sounds a lot like turning her into a broodmare and to me, that goes beyond a basic violation of human rights and says 'slavery' to me. 

I have to say, seeing that made me more Pro-Choice than ever, made me even flippantly remark that I'd like to go out and get an abortion just for spite.  Keep in mind, I WANT to have a baby, but with asshats like this trying to FORCE me into it, it makes me less than thrilled about the prospect of ever being pregnant, especially being high-risk and older, which leads to a greater chance that I would need the services of someone like Dr. Tiller.  

If you're reading this and are anti-choice in any way, shape, or form, go fuck yourself.  You can be pro-woman, in the sense that you are in favor of helping pregnant women have more options than just abortion, but if you are in ANY WAY in favor of overturning Roe Vs Wade or restricting a woman's freedom to choose what she may do with HER BODY, stay the fuck away from me and my spaces.   

You are not welcome here. 

Srsly?

Mar. 1st, 2011 02:05 am
Unborn Child To 'Testify' On Ohio Abortion Bill

An aide to committee Chairman Lynn Wachtmann said a pregnant woman will be brought before the committee and an ultrasound image of her uterus will be projected onto a screen. The heartbeat of the fetus will be visible in color.

This is the dumbest thing I've seen in the last three days, and as most of you know, I've seen some incredibly stupid shit in the last three days.

Fuck you, Ohio.  And fuck the stupid asshats in the Committee for letting this shit go forward. 

Neigh.

87%

Feb. 22nd, 2011 02:25 am
87% of the counties in the United Fucking States of America lack an abortion provider.

87%

I just...

I give up.

Obviously, the religious extremists in this country have won and I should just accept my fate as a broodmare.

Neigh.

Oh, and I happen to live in one of the 13% of counties that actually has an abortion provider.  That doesn't make me feel anything but numb.

87%

Fuck me sideways.
I've been thinking about abortion a lot lately and something finally crystallized for me regarding the whole debate.  When a woman gets pregnant, there are no guarantees that the fertilized egg will actually become a person.  Miscarriage statistics vary widely, but I've known more than one woman who has had one.  In truth, I've known more women who have had spontaneous abortions than intentional ones.  And even if a woman carries a baby to term, it may still be stillborn, or die soon after birth. 

Bottom line: when a woman gets pregnant, there is no guarantee that a new life will enter this world.  All there is is the potential for new life.
Cut for length. )

Statistics don't matter, though.  All that matters is the pregnant woman and what she wants.  Period.  Her body, her life, her choice, not mine, not yours, NOT EVER.  Your opinion doesn't matter and neither does mine.  The rights of the born outweigh the rights of the unborn, 100% of the time.  Period.

Ohio “Heartbeat” bill could ban abortion just 18 days after conception

Quick show of hands, all you moms out there:

How many of you knew you were pregnant EIGHTEEN FUCKING DAYS after conception?

This is it.  I'm done.  From now on my stance on abortion is as follows:

My body, my choice.  Your body, your choice.  I don't care what you do with your body so long as you don't infringe on my body while you're doing it.  Every woman should have access to an abortion at any point during her pregnancy for any reason she chooses to have it.  PERIOD.  What is growing inside of her isn't alive until it takes a breath outside her body.  Until then, it is a fucking parasite and has ZERO rights that infringe upon the woman who is carrying it.   

No more fucking arguments about when a life becomes a life, because it leads to shit like this.  A life becomes a life when the woman carrying it CHOOSES to bring it into the world and not one moment before.  PERIOD. 

It only becomes a life when it is breathing outside of the woman.  NOT when it could theoretically take a breath.  When it is actually fucking BREATHING

If you don't like my definition of life, fuck off.  Seriously.  Fuck off.  Either I have the right to say what is done with my body AND WHEN or I don't.  If I do, I'm a human being.  If I don't, I'm a broodmare whose only purpose is propagation of the species.  If I don't, I should never be heard from and stay in my house, pumping out child after child with no other thought or reason to exist. 

The moment someone says, "Abortion should ONLY be allowed IF," it turns every woman into a beggar for basic human dignity and respect.  It makes female rights contingent upon what someone else feels is moral.  It takes my body and turns it into a vessel for someone else to fill with whatever they fuck they feel like putting in there.  

Either I'm a person or I'm an incubator.

Try and make me into an incubator.  I fucking dare you. 

Try. 

Back-Alley Abortions in 2011: How Anti-Choice Zealots Force Women to Go to Dangerous Clinics Like Dr. Kermit Gosnell's

I've spoken about reproductive rights before, but always with the understanding that some people out there are Pro-Life.  I haven't been respectful of that position, but I've at least tried not to judge it too hard.

To be clear, my definition of Pro-Life is NOT someone who is against abortion, but against women having the freedom to CHOOSE an abortion.

Everyone is against abortion. EVERYONE. )
This is my line in the sand, friends' list.  I don't mind if you believe that life begins at conception (even though I disagree) and work to give women other options.  I'm 100% in favor of women having the freedom to HAVE THE BABY if that's what they wish to do - reproduction should never be a financial concern, even though it always is, :(.  The issue here is about giving women the freedom to be able to choose what's right for them and what they will be able to live with. 

However, if you identify as Pro-Life (rather than Pro-Woman, which is how I identify because Pro-Choice has become synonymous with Pro-Abortion), and are someone who actively demonstrates against abortion, who supports politicians who vote against my right to choose and who believes that every pregnancy should end in a baby regardless of the wishes and/or physical and mental well-being of the woman carrying that baby, please defriend me now, as I don't want to be anywhere near you, even virtually. 

Reproductive rights must be absolute and the rights of the born must outweigh the rights of the unborn, 100% of the time.  Otherwise, women are nothing more than broodmares.

Neigh.

WTF, BBC?

Dec. 30th, 2010 09:07 pm
If you haven't heard, the BBC decided to interview a Christian who supports the execution of gays to comment on Sir Elton John's baby with his civil Partner David Furnish.

They are now defending this action, saying that it was required to 'balance' the coverage.

[livejournal.com profile] mercury_phoenix has sent a letter to the BBC in protest and [livejournal.com profile] sparkindarkness  has summed up the WTF far better than I ever could, so all I'm going to say is that having this asshat comment on a gay couple having a baby is offensive, disgusting, homophobic and generally makes me want to stop the planet so that I can get off.  

This is not a question of 'balance', BBC, this is a question of human rights, freedoms, and dignity, three topics that you obviously are as versed in as I am in Sanskrit. 

As everyone who reads this should know, I'm pansexual.  I am attracted to personalities, not physical appearance.  I can appreciate someone whom society tells me is beautiful, but their gender enters into it only as an afterthought.  In addition to this, I don't believe in monogamy.  While I'm very committed to those whom I love, I don't allow jealousy or possessiveness.  Period.  I'm not an object - I'm a human being.  And so are those whom I love and/or have sex with.

There are those who feel that my identity as a human being is immoral, that a person should only love one person of the opposite gender (or only one person, as I am discriminated against by some gay, lesbian and bisexual persons as well for not being monogamous).  People look down on me for being free with my sexuality. 

They tell me that I'm immoral, but they never adequately explain how or why.  Why is it immoral for me to love more than one person?  Hell, so long as everyone practices safe sex (in the interests of public health), why is it immoral for me to fuck every person I feel sexually attracted to?  

Who am I hurting?  So long as I am not an unsafe sex-practicing carrier of disease and make no promises that I can't or won't keep, how does my identity as a human being hurt anyone else?  I'm honest, up-front and completely open with who I am.  

Who am I hurting?  No one.  But there are those who feel that my sex life is their business and that they have a right to control me in the name of a morality to which I don't subscribe.

To me, something is moral if it causes no direct harm to anyone else.  It is moral if everyone is adult and it is consensual.  It is moral if it is honest. 

My identity is moral.  Period. 
Under the cut is an incredibly long exploration of possible reasons why our society sees certain identities as immoral, as well as the possible causes of GLBTQP identities. (WARNING: This will likely be offensive to some of you, but I do have a method to my madness. I hope. If I fail, please let me know how, because I tried really hard not to fail with this post.) There is also an examination of the differences between civilized and uncivilized human beings.  )
So when you tell me that I'm less than human because your 'morality' tells you so, I reject your morality.  I reject your primitive version of civilization.  I reject your identity as an asshat, because again, unless you are a born asshat (i.e., a psychopath), you can choose to be a decent, civilized human being instead.  

I didn't choose my sexual identity, but I did choose my identity as a decent, civilized and ultimately (despite my many, many failings) moral human being.  


ETA: I'm rather glad that I thought of something cool to post about for my 600th entry, :).
A friend linked me to Birth Or Not, which is a site where a couple is taking a vote as to whether or not they should abort their pregnancy.  It is their third pregnancy; the last two ended in miscarriage. 

My friend sent this to me so that I could rant about it and I have to say, my first instinct was, "DO NOT WANT", for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it's none of my business.  It's not.  It is 100% not my business.

However.
Pete and Alisha made it my business when they put up a website asking me to vote on whether or not they should reproduce. )

The rights of the born outweigh the rights of the unborn and my rights and feelings end where your body begins.  Just as your rights and your feelings end where my body begins.

Period.   

ETA 2/7/11: From the site - Voting has been closed. You're votes were herd. We are keeping the baby.

Hopefully, they'll teach him or her how to proofread.
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, :).      


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