matociquala: (spies mfu illya bitch please _ truepenny)
So I read some feminist fitness blogs, like you do. And one of them recently linked to a couple of posts that I'm not going to link to, but the gist of which was that women should not wear "running skirts," or "fitness skirts,"* because it's unfeminist to try to look cute when you work out. That women wearing skirts to work out "creates a sexist atmosphere."

That we can't take ourselves seriously as athletes if we're wearing sparkly ruffles. And that it's okay to mock women who wear them.

To which all I have to say is, "Fuck you, ladies."

If you're policing another woman's clothing, you are a horrible person.

(In fairness, the blog providing the links took exception to the idea that women should police other women's fitness wear, and admitted that if she didn't think women running in skirts looked serious enough, she needed to change her idea of what a serious runner looked like.)

Seriously, it hurts my heart to see women who claim to be feminists policing what other women wear, acting as though the only way to be taken seriously (to take yourself seriously!) as an athlete is to butch out, and blaming women (and how women dress!) for sexist behavior.

Now, I'm pretty butchy. I wear makeup twice a year, and skirts as costume. (They don't feel like real clothes to me.) I don't own a running skirt. I probably wouldn't wear one, because wind resistance. Although leopard print is kinda tempting, I have to admit.

But I'm also a fat girl (by endurance runner standards) who runs and you know what? I run in compression tights, with my belly pudge clearly defined. Gonna police my body for that? Gonna tell me spandex is a privilege and not a right? Maybe I should cover up my thunder thighs with a running skirt! But wait, can't do that, it's too girly!

Can't wear yoga clothes to yoga class; somebody might see my not-stick-thin abdomen.

Oh, wait. I don't care. And yoga clothes are comfortable, and form-fitting means they don't get in my way.

Why are you assuming the woman in question is trying to look cute for men?** Maybe she's trying to look cute for herself. Maybe she's more comfortable with her ass covered up, rather than outlined in skin-tight compression shorts. Maybe her running fantasy is that she's a marathon-winning princess. Maybe she's wearing that orange ruffled skirt because it's fun and outrageous and eyecatching, and she likes the way it clashes violently with her lime green kicks.

This association of things associated with femininity (skirts) as "bad" is a layer of misogyny. It's as simple as that.

If a woman wants to run in a skirt, it's none of your business. If she has dreadlocks down to her ass, it's none of your business. If she wants to run in a padded sports bra? None of your business. No bra at all? Ow, chafing and bouncing, but none of your business. If she wants to run stark naked except for a pair of bright purple Sauconys and an LED safety headband? No business of yours!

If she wants to run in a burqa? Her business. Not yours.

You don't get to police her body. You don't get to police her clothes. This is what feminism means. It means we respect other women's choices.

I believe in feminism. Feminism means that I believe that men should not be infantilized, that they are grown adult people who can make reasoned choices. Which includes not being sexist because a woman (or hell, another dude) is running in a skirt. Feminism means that I believe that femmes are people too, and that wearing lipstick does not make you less of a person. And if you want to go to a bouldering competition in a minidress, more power to you.

Climb hard.

I may have to go buy myself a damned running skirt just to show solidarity.





*These are basically spandex skorts with a compression short underneath.
**And if she is trying to look cute for men, or for a particular men, why is it any of your business?
matociquala: (writing carnival)
Just for the record, [livejournal.com profile] blackholly is right again, as usual.

The "I'm too lazy to click a link" version: it's frankly misogynistic to identify a competent female protagonist as a "Mary Sue" because she's at the center of her story. She's at the center of her story because she's the goddamn protagonist.

Why is The Lord of the Rings about Frodo? Because he's the hobbit with the ring. If a different hobbit had had the ring, the book/trilogy would have been about a different hobbit.

When I pick up a book called The Great Gatsby or Anna Karenina or The World According to Garp, I'm pretty sure that Gatsby/Anna/Garp are going to be central to the narrative. This works for books with titles like The Wind-up Girl and Who Fears Death (a name, if you have not read it) and The Lies of Locke Lamora too. Hey, there's a name or an epithet in the title. Maybe this book is about this person!

So... if you find yourself uncomfortable with a lot of books by female authors, with female protagonists, and identifying a high percentage of those female as "Mary Sues," well... it is possible that the fault lies not in the protagonists, but in the reader*.

Sometimes a book is about a female character because there are female people in the world.

Crazy talk, I know, but there you go.



*This also applies if you find yourself often dismissing books with queer central characters as "slash."** Sometimes books are about gay people because gay people exist.

**If you are a slash fan, and trying to sell a book to your friends, letting them know it has the manlove is different. I'm talking about the "Straight boys need not read this because it has The Ghey in it" reviews. They say more about the reviewer than the book, is all I'm saying.
matociquala: (bad girls firefighters)
Max Barry: TESTIFY!

As I said on twitter, I get more grateful for fathers of daughters every day.
matociquala: (bad girls firefighters)
Max Barry: TESTIFY!

As I said on twitter, I get more grateful for fathers of daughters every day.
matociquala: (bad girls  mae west)
There's an interesting article on Slate about Emily Dickinson's love life.

One of the things I find very revealing about the way the cult of popular myth treats Dickinson is that her poems--some of whicH are frankly erotic, you know--are treated as evidence of choked and thwarted passion, will similar works by male authors--Shakespeare, anyone?--are treated as evidence of complicated passions.

And women poets who did get around are consigned to the second tier of the canon, if they're allowed in at all. Emily squeaks into the top rank on perceived purity; Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dorothy parker can linger down there in the gutter with the drunks.



Right. I need to shower, make myself some breakfast and tea, and do some writing. 133 words on "Mongoose" last night, which is not a lot, but does tend to indicate that my brain might be regenerating.
matociquala: (criminal minds chicks dig geeks)
The real sexism really is in the media's treatment of women, and it's exemplified by the Palin/Clinton thing. Where Clinton--whatever else you think of her--is obviously competent, prepared, and capable of extemporizing a complete unmemorized English sentence, she's demonized as unfeminine and a harpy. (But I like harpies!) Palin, on the other hand, wins points for being fragile and over-made-up and flustered, and the pundits are willing to hand her enormous credit for just not sinking her foot in her own mouth up to the knee, even when it's pretty obvious she's reciting memorized sound bites rather than actually answering the question.

Gov. Palin, I'm sorry, but you don't get to play the "I'm just a girl! Don't hit me!" card when you're running for national office.

It breaks my heart, frankly, that she's been raised to believe that the way women get things done is by looking helpless. It breaks my heart more that there are opinionistas who are willing to back her up on that.
matociquala: (writing softcore nerdporn _ heres_luck)
We can has mass market pub dates! Yay!

If Amazon can be trusted (I always here these things from them first,) the mass-market paperback of A Companion to Wolves goes on sale July 29th. [Mysterious Galaxy order link] This means, if the pattern holds true, it might be turning up in brick and mortar stores any minute now.

Also, it appears that a MMPB edition of Whiskey & Water is in the works for January. Fantastical!

Me, I spent the morning cleaning my apartment and fussing with the under-desk wiring (which appears, dear me, to still need more duct tape). Also, did laundry in preparation for ReaderCon--where I will be doing a talk, a panel, a kaffeeklatch, and a trio of readings--one all me and two with anthologymates. Also hanging around in the bar, playing Mafia, attending the Kirk Poland, gorging myself on the annual pilgrimage to The Summer Shack, and going climbing.

I even subjected the poor cat to the Robot Monster, and have what passes for a clean floor around here. Somehow, I feel like I should have done more, but this is vacation, right? And there will be climbing tonight.

[livejournal.com profile] truepenny and I have been touring the wilds of Connecticut for the past week--we've been to the Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe Houses--apparently the Twain House is hurting for money, currently, if you are looking for a tax deduction--and Bushnell Park, for the carousel and stuff. Yesterday we did the Mystic thing, visiting the aquarium and seaport. Whaling ships! Steller sea lions! Clam rolls! Life is good.

If you think I'm studiously ignoring the latest idiocy from the Department of Health and (in)Human(e) Services... I sent a letter this morning. If you wanted to, you could send an email here.

Not that, you know, these guys listen.

In fannish news, the oh-so-awesome Mr. Wil Wheaton, noted writer and blogger, will be appearing on Criminal Minds. woot!
matociquala: (twain & tesla)
[livejournal.com profile] tammy212 has just said a number of honest and powerful things about women of color and the current state of feminism. They're things that need to be heard, and I agree with them.



Last night on the way to climbing, I nearly hit a wild turkey on Route 17 in Portland. It ran across the road well in front of me, but because my visual recognition sensors insisted on recognizing the silhouette of snaky neck, darting head, long powerful legs ending in heavy claws, tapered body, and stiff, pointed tail as Velociraptor, I disbelieved and--for something like three fourths of a second, failed to hit the brake.

I'm used to seeing photos of turkeys displaying, or (in person) turkeys in flight. Those do not trigger my brain's pattern-matcher to say DINOSAUR! quite so strongly as this did.

I still managed to dodge it, in part because it quickly realized its peril and flew out of the way (wings spread, it no longer was so obviously a feathered dinosaur), but still. Quite the experience.

Apparently, with balanced neurochemistry comes also LJ-spamming. Sorry 'bout that.
matociquala: (sf sapphire and steel winning)
Her mind was to be his — attached to his own like a small garden-plot to a deer-park.

With thanks to the mighty [livejournal.com profile] commodorified, please to read [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic's excellent essay on How Not To Be That Guy.

It will explain, in painstaking detail, both why I tend to go ballistic on people who are a little pushy with their advice, and also why so many people were very very upset about the OSBP proposal. (If you don't know about that, here's the post I've seen that most successfully, for me, discusses same.)*

Money shot, as [livejournal.com profile] jaylake would say (And yes, I typed that in full consciousness of the irony thereof):

You are never going to eliminate all of the unconscious assumptions that your privilege -- whatever that privilege might be -- has programmed you with. You do not have to devote your entire life to crusading against sexism or racism or ableism any other kind of -ism there is. What makes you not That Guy is recognizing that you have that privilege, that your experience is not everyone's experience, and -- this is the critical part -- not assuming or behaving as though your perspective is the only perspective and anyone who doesn't match it is wrong.

Additional reading:

Los Angeles Times piece on Men Who Explain Things, which explains (hah!) with case studies why exactly it is that sometimes this behavior comes across as condescending or unwelcome. If you are a Man Who Explains Things, go read it. It may produce healing.**

[livejournal.com profile] timjr with a very handy field guide for the geeky boy on How To Talk To Girls At Parties Conventions. (Please don't complain at either me or the nice young man that Men Should Just Know This Stuff. If men just knew this stuff, we wouldn't need to bitch that They Should Just Know This Stuff.)



*(Now if somebody would only write a similar guide for people who would like to teach you how to care for your new piercing/new baby, life would be grand. Get the hell off my lawn!)

**NB: People who explain things in their own LJ/Blog/whatever, or when asked to explain them, are exempt from this categorization. Listening to actual experts talk about what they do is almost always interesting. Even if you don't know a damned thing about it. Having just recently spent hours reading BASE jumping boards and articles, trust me, even the impenetrable bits were interesting.
matociquala: (lion in winter fall is all)
If you don't read anything else I link this month, read [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's post on Received Wisdom.

Especially if you think you're not a feminist.

And now I have to get to the farmer's market. Excelsior!
matociquala: (rengeek kit faustus commodorified)
[livejournal.com profile] pnkrokhockeymom points out that feminism is not about men.

Man, there's a sentiment that could get some airplay.

Civil rights activism is not about white people. Gay rights activism is not about straight people. Ad nauseum.



Also, go look at the original post and the postcard at Feministe.

NB: The part that is about men: male writers? Understanding the naked terror and righteous wrath (conscious and actualized or subliminal and unprocessed) the madonna/whore complex evokes in many western women will help you write better female characters.

Seriously.



Actually, I rather believe I've known a few men who would understand that sentiment, as well.



And now I promise to stop spamming lj and go read a book.
matociquala: (spies sandbaggers sense of occasion)
I have a problem with metrics. Specifically, I have a problem with women being judged "feminist enough" by how they act, in literature as in life.

Which is to say: There is a metric by which female characters may be judged as adequate to the sisterhood or not, and I, personally, find it repulsive. I find it repulsive when applied to real women, too, but I'm here as a writer, so as a writer let me rant.

Which is to say--there's a complex standard for women in fiction. If they're not "womanly" enough, they may be adjudged "men with tits." Or, you know, in a much more valid critique, they may be adjudged persons who do not do any of the maintenance work by which society is, well, maintained. (In a fair world, the adjudger also notes if the men do this stuff, or if they just faff about worldsaving and never have to hold down a day job or take out the trash?***) If they are too "womanly,"* then they are insufficiently feminist.

Yanno? In real life? I know feminists who knit, sew, costume, interior design, wipe baby's asses, clean, and crochet doilies. Many of them also write books, perform research, and run companies. These are human tasks, not women's tasks or men's tasks.

(One of the characters of my own who I consider most personifying a strong woman is an accomplished huswif. She's also a mother and a wife and a consummate manipulator. I don't like her much, mind you, but she's one tough broad.)

My only traditionally feminine skill is cooking, but that's because I was raised by lesbians**. It also means I didn't learn about the baby powder on your thighs in summer trick until I was 21.

I was fucking deprived, man.

The moral of the story?

Write people, man. Not political theories.


* Where, by womanly, we mean--homemaking, comforting, nurturing, etc

**I know at least two lesbians who knit

***Aaron Hotchner takes out the trash. That is why he is The Man.
matociquala: (muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit)
via [livejournal.com profile] jaylake

Stephen Colbert bakes apple pie with Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem. 

"I like feminists!"
matociquala: (lion in winter broken because you're bri)
Secretly, heterosexual women want a stable of attractive, sexy, syncophantic, personalityless men who will fawn upon us and grant our every wish, and then go away and let us beat up the bad guys and impress them.* Also, it wouldn't hurt if they were really good in bed.

Yeah, sorry, guys. I know it's hard to take. I remember how shocked and unsettled I was when I found out that Charlie's Angels wasn't really about female empowerment.

Civilization honestly isn't such a bad idea after all, is it?

*Some of them can also be the bad guys, if they don't mind getting beaten up. It gives us the opportunity to angst pretty and try to save them.

(this comment was triggered by a conversation with [livejournal.com profile] tanaise and [livejournal.com profile] cristalia:)
matociquala: (shrill beatice)
is the dying convulsion of a certain kind of privilege. And as in any case where somebody is having an unfair advantage taken away, many of the ones who have come to rely on that advantage are pretty upset about it, and are going to be bitter about lost dominance

It may take about a hundred years to change society. But no matter how angry many of us are that men will still attempt to assert social and sexual dominance over women in a crude and obvious fashion, the fact of the matter is that a sea-change is underway. And every time somebody says "Hey, that is not okay," and other people back him or her up, we get a little closer to equality.

We do not need to let them cast the argument in their terms. We don't need to convince them; they only marginalize themselves, and while a couple of loud shouters can seem like a roomful, the fact of the matter is that they are not. What's annoying political correctness to some is common decency to others, and more of us are moving into positions of social and political and personal power. We don't need their approval. We don't need the blessing of their power structures. Time to take back the planet.

And man, no wonder they're upset.

When you're used to being in charge, that's gotta sting.

And as Naomi Wolf pointed out a while back, there are more of us than there are of them. So why are we letting them define the terms of debate?

Sing.

You're winning.

*

That's me.

Jul. 17th, 2006 10:03 am
matociquala: (mae west one)
When I was in college, I was fortunate enough to see Maya Angelou speak. My mother drove up to campus to come with me, and I raced back to my dormitory from a night class (I think it was Philosophy 102) to meet her, so fast I gave myself shin splints.

She not only gave a speech, she also read some poetry. Langston Hughes, and "Phenomenal Woman."

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Just in case, as I suspect, a couple of y'all needed to hear that today.
matociquala: (get plastered napoleon & illya)
Somebody is going to Hell for the "It gets the job done" Bacardi rum ad.

Possibly a whole advertising agency full of someone.

Hell. And not a pleasant postmodern Hell, either.

No.

A Hell where you get gang-banged by drunken demons who don't remember your name in the morning.

***
matociquala: (forgiving _ katallen)
Cecilia Fire Thunder, who is the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, is not pleased about recent events in South Dakota.

So, she's trying to start up a Planned Parenthood on the Pine Ridge Reservation. (They will be able to provide abortions, if necessary, because they've got sovereign authority over their own land. However, Planned Parenthood also provides basic reproductive healthcare to people without insurance.)

If you want to mail donations/support to the reservation, you may do so at:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

ATTN: PRESIDENT FIRE THUNDER
PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

Make it clear that the donation is for the Planned Parenthood clinic. At the moment, until further information says otherwise, checks can be made out to Oglala Sioux Tribe.




[livejournal.com profile] nogoodnik offers another suggestion for collective action.

Hi, Bill? Should I wear the red socks, or the black???




On a lighter note, [livejournal.com profile] angevin2 manages to rhyme "atextual" and "heterosexual."

Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Though Orsino's denial may vex you all,
The cure, sad to say, is atextual:
Though he falls for Cesario,
The closing scenario
Lets him say he's still heterosexual.

(more, if you follow the link)



NB to the people who just added me: I don't usually post this much in a day, I promise. Soon, we will return you to your regularly scheduled intermittent muttering about deadlines. In the meantime, please feel free to introduce yourselves. There's some ginger ale in the wet bar, but I think we're out of booze after last week's Anthony Burgess smut party.
 
matociquala: (tick ninjas hedge)
Since Justine has posted it, I guess it's okay to say:

Where I'll be on May 24th.

“A Feminist Utopia in Madison? Global Communities, Science Fiction and Women”
24 May, 2006, 7:30 pm
Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium, 816 State Street.
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Open to the public, free of charge
Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, Karen Joy Fowler, Nalo Hopkinson, Justine Larbalestier (moderator), Meghan McCarron




Go suggest texts for discussion, would you?

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