Monday, February 25, 2013

The Langelan Standard for Good Sex

So you may have gathered that I took a Sexual Harassment class this weekend (an academic class, not a workplace seminar). This little old lady spent a weekend yelling at us on and off about how we could all help solve the problem. One of her more amusing outbursts was about our standard for sex. The debate is always was it forced or consensual. "Get rid of consent!" she said, "Consent is a terrible standard." "The standard should be enthusiasm." She proceded to rant for ten minutes about how if we ever found ourselves in bed with people that weren't enthusiastic we should "get out of that bed." She argued that enthusiastic sex would always be better anyway and I think she's right. Chatting with girlfriends over winter break who complained that with exes they've gotten bored, been watching tv, not cared, waited for it to end, etc, I was really sad for them, but even more now. I was also appalled last semester to hear one of my close friends say she swooned when a guy asked her what she liked. PEOPLE: IF YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN ASKED IF YOU FEEL GOOD/WATCH TV/ARE BORED/HAVEN'T BEEN ASKED IF YOU FEEL SAFE/WAIT FOR IT TO BE OVER, TRY SOMETHING OR SOMEONE NEW! Please. Make your standard for a partner and your standard for yourself enthusiasm, every time.

Who Am I? 24601

I did some reading for a class, Power and Protest, a few weeks ago talking about the development of Creole identity in Latin America during colonization. Creoles were not accepted by Spanish-born colonizers, but no more were they indigenous to the continent. Hence, they would end up a bars together and, essentially, bitch about all the ways greater state power disenfranchised them. Identity, Anderson argued (the reading was a chapter of a book Imagined Communities), comes from exclusion, not inclusion. I don't identify as a woman because I am "woman" but because I am not "man" just as I do not identify as a feminist because I am feminist, but because I am not anti-feminist. And in fact, identity only exists inasmuch as there is an "other." If everyone is similar in one category, there is no need to identify as such. The only people calling for hominids to identify as "human" are people on crusades for us to recognize our sameness, but you don't get anyone running around making their master status (the sociological term for your "most important" identity, in the United States our master status is usually our occupation) "organism" even though we all are. Identity, then, emerges from our difference from others, not our sameness with those who share the identity. This look is, admittedly, kind of depressing. It implies that identity, which I tend to think of as positive, only arises from being excluded, but perhaps it isn't as sad as that. Difference isn't and doesn't have to be exclusion, and maybe the best way of ensuring that is for me, and you, to stop assuming it is.

Who am I?
unitarian universalist
dog person

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Facts, Figures, and Profoundities from Sexual Harassment Class

- Ten percent of American women have quit a job because of harassment.
- Make friends with the homeless men in your neighborhood (women too, but especially men). They are the ones who will hear you when you scream on the street in the middle of the night, and they're more likely to help if you've made friends. Homeless individuals often stop assaults.
- Coors beer donates money to the Klan.
- Harassment is worse in D.C. because it is such a power-driven city.
- Privilege is having blinder on: you don't have to see it if it's never done to you.
- Consent shouldn't be our standard for sex, enthusiasm should be the standard.
- The oppressed always knows the oppressor better than the oppressor knows them.
- We continue to lock up women women to "protect" them from "inevitable" male violence rather than sanctioning men.
- It is a privilege to not have to walk down the street doing constant risk assessment.
- People who need the law the most are those who can least afford it.
- If you need a pro bono lawyer, the local NOW chapter usually knows where to find them.
- People don't change when we call them stupid, they change when they call themselves stupid.
- Being a screaming crazy person does not encourage allies.
- You are far more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone of your own race and socioeconomic status.
- Anger is not a strategy. Anger is a sign you need to do something that works.
- It isn't about men versus women: it's about all of us versus the jackasses.

Monday, February 18, 2013

St. Valentine

I have, at multiple times in my life been in a relationship on Valentine's Day. Interestingly, I have never done anything with that person, and rather, have always gone out to lunch or dinner at a Mexican restaurant with my parents (when I was little I also used to consistently receive pajamas as a gift). My dad always gets me flowers, my mom gets me a card or candy. Last year was my first year away at college and my high school boyfriend and I happened to be dating at the moment (just accept that that is, indeed, the way that sentence must be written to be accurate). He, however, was working (or something) and didn't want to come down to D.C. for the evening. So, my mommy and daddy swooped in and came down to have dinner with me. We went to a restaurant called Tia Queta, which happens to a be a restaurant the two of them used to go to when they were dating. My family is cute like that. I had a delicious meal and got a gift (the board game Betrayal at the House on the Hill) from friends at home. Altogether, one of the best Valentine's Days I've ever had. This year, despite being in the midst of the most stable, loving relationship I hav ever encountered, I had yet another chance to spend a Valentine's Day with my mom and dad at that same restaurant they used to go to. My current boyfriend had class until late in the evening on Valentine's Day and so, yet again, I found myself in a relationship and unoccupied on the day of lovers. I got to eat the same delicious black bean and parmesan dish I ordered last year and visit with my parents who I hadn't seen in a over a month. I know that it is a cheesy tradition and that it inevitably has to come to an end and I move deeper into the world of my own relationships (plus my parents would probably appreciate finally getting one to themselves), but I love it. It is one of the strongest traditions I have with my family. Other things I've been holding on to my whole life have been slipping away for the last few years, mostly holiday traditions, and perhaps it's just me being stubborn, but it makes me sad every time I lose one. I suppose I just need to start some new traditions, and chicken pesto parmesan and a poem certainly seems like a good one. It just always surprises me how bad I am at letting go of the past. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Girly Gone?

I've written before about Girlyman, an incredible, although not well-known, group of talented musicians who let there listeners in to an amazing degree. It's why I loved them. They were people I got to know intimately (well, I suppose music has a habit of doing that). The second you know the whole impetus for a song suddenly that song is the artist wearing his or her heart on their sleeve. Anyway, for better or worse, I've been drawn close to these people who I've only met three or four times. Their music has been a constant in the tumultuous life that is being a teenager: it has followed me through relationships, break ups, uncertainties, jubilation, sadness, and fear. Almost every morning I hop in my car they're playing and I thought they, essentially, always would be.

Girlyman is breaking up now (they refuse to call it that because they assume at some point they will no longer want to be apart, but as far as I'm concerned at that point they will just be getting back together). It feels like my parents are getting divorced (having never had my parents get divorced I am uniquely unqualified to make that statement), not so much in that it is traumatically emotional, I haven't cried over it, but in that something I saw as so concrete and stable appears  to be able to come tumbling down so easily.

Most of me is mad at them, which, reasonably, I have no right to be. I feel betrayed by these four people I have spent less than 15 hours of my life with because they made this silent promise to always be there, for each other, for me, and they're breaking it.