lotesse: (glamazon)
I was thinking, this morning, as one does, about romantic teleology and Charlotte Brontë. (which as I'm writing about Love's Labour's Lost this week is actually rather odd, but I habitually think about Charlotte, so.) Read more... )
lotesse: (glamazon)
Talk around Dylan Farrow's recently-published account of Woody Allen's sexual abuse of her during her childhood is bigtime reinforcing my opposition to marriage, and my belief that it's an institution that should be discarded rather than adapted. The creation of a legal category of family implicitly defines other situations as not-family, when in fact kinship structures are more complex and evolving than "marriage" can account for. There's a lot of chatter right now over whether your mom's long-term boyfriend is your dad or not, with reference not to Dylan but to Soon-Yi Previn, her sister-stepmother, in service of what seems to be the very dodgy claim that if she's only your long-term partner's teenaged daughter it isn't incest or abuse and doesn't establish a pattern of sexual predation on daughter-figures. Because Mia Farrow and Woody Allen never married, the kids are being tacitly denied the protection from parental abuse that we offer marrieds' children. We recognize that the family is a place of intense feeling that can become very unsafe in conflict - but what legal measures we have against familial violence seem kind of distressingly heteronormative. It's a problem that legal relationships and actual relationships don't always match up.

I look at the families around me and I see a lot more going on than mama+daddy+offspring. It's not just that marriage prioritizes reproduction over love, although the current heteroitude of the institution does indicate that - it's that marriage prioritizes sexual partnerships over non-sexual ones, reinforcing the fiction of the nuclear family and denying people the right to name their own kinfolk.

Anyway, I've been having really intense responses to the whole thing - maybe because I connect to the way that it's hard to admit that abuse can come out of cool nontraditional families without seeming to reject them/re-establish the norm as the best and only way. I need to take an MPEG Streamclip hacksaw to Midnight in Paris, the only Woody Allen movie I give a damn about, and cut out all the angsting and nebbitude and subtle misogyny and just keep Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway.
lotesse: (glamazon)
Today in horrible:

Menominee Seventh Grader Suspended for Saying 'I Love You' in her Native Language: this really brings home the importance of language rights, and of keeping conversations about English-centric teaching front and center. It's a point that I try to bring up at some time during semesters when I'm teaching predominantly white native-English-speaking kids written English skills - how different the task would be if you had to learn to express yourself in a language that wasn't the one you heard at home. Shit like this is why I will never penalize a student for use of Black English Vernacular, and why, though I teach grammar skills, they don't make up a huge portion of my grading criteria.

Alan Turing Pardon Denied of the Day: “A posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence. He would have known that his offence was against the law and that he would be prosecuted,” said Lord McNally last week. Well fuck - good to know that standards of morality are unchanging! I had better go find something to wear that properly covers my hair and my ankles. It would only be symbolic justice - it's too late for Turing. But that symbol would MEAN SOMETHING to all the queer people who still have to live in the world right now.

Today in amusing: at uni, written in sidewalk chalk, "bring an athiest to church." Oh how I longed for a piece of red chalk.

Today in wonderful: Prop 8 repealed yay!

eta: Brilliant democratic state senator tacks 'Every Sperm is Sacred' clause to Oklahoma's personhood bill. Bawhaha that's fantastic.
lotesse: (kink_chien)
(at this time of the night?)

first part of some sort of thought-like thing: Fredric Jameson argues that scifi uses "elaborate strategies of misdirection" to allow fiction to address the present. We modern things, he says, can't get to the world around ourselves straightforwardly, because every apparatus of our lives serves to otherwise channel our attention/energy. So we take our world, wrap it up in space ships and warp drives, and fling it out toward Saturn in order to gain enough perspective to see the bloody thing. Which makes a certain amount of sense (corrected typo:sex).

I'm in research mode at prisint, reading about masturbation (in connection with reading/reverie more than strict biopolitics). And contemporary criticism keeps struggling with the repressive hypothesis: the old way of thinking about sex oppression, which was to assume that sexual material was actively suppressed and silenced and excess sexual activity squirted out the top in the form of porn/decadence/whathaveyou. Which the Victorians get way too much of. But they all talk a blue streak about sex - as do we. Repression in that way is manifestly not what we're looking at. The thing about Victorian novels that makes them easy to characterize as repressed is the way they displace sexuality - Jane Eyre comes into Rochester's room in her nightgown and the bed is on fire, and a little later the hawthorn tree is riven by lightning, but there's not a bit where the text actually straight-up tells you that they want to fuck/are fucking. Which looks like repressive eruption, sure, but is also kind of an amazing textual erotic technique. Victorian sexual misdirection is really hot - and it's entirely possible that they knew that, and were doing it ON PURPOSE. So the buttoned-up puritans might actualfax be the most skilled pornographers of all, utilizing a sort of Jamesonian misdirection to successfully write about sex. Like the gorgeous bit in Midnight's Children when Rushdie describes the "indirect kiss" the bollywood lovers give one another on screen: "kiss[ing] - not one another - but things." Which is really hot.

Considering the existence of the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards, this doesn't seem to be something that we liberated luckies are having any great success in. I'd always thought of the eroticism boost of indirection as a sort of positive side effect, the last little bit in Pandora's box that makes it not all horrible - they couldn't write about sex, but at least their novels still managed to be hot. But now I'm wondering if they didn't really have something going on there, something that we've actually kind of lost. Turning over the traditional relationship of past to present a bit - kind of cool & attractive as a concept.
lotesse: (feminism_writtenonthebody)
I owe some back-comments, but as I seem to be getting sick y'all just get linkspam today.

on #yestogayYA, [personal profile] via_ostiense, Just Buy More Books!: a timely critique of systems of capitalism & consumption that underlie this whole imbroglio

at [community profile] chromatics, Four artworks of Sekhmet: because awesome lion-goddesses = never not good

over at The Chronicle, an article on On Shame in Academic Writing

and a bloody fascinating piece on tarot-reading: The Querent


3 Sep 2011 12:38 pm
lotesse: (adipositive_marble)
just a short one!

Do orgasms really make women fall in love? (Unsurprisingly, the answer is no - but the particular pseudoscience being debunked is.)

Page Eight, The Girl in the Cafe, Boardwalk Empire, and the ubiquity of older male fantasies from [personal profile] mswyrr: "It’s like they’ve got these adorable little romance novels in their dear heads that, thanks to their male privilege, can be broadcast as noble, politically aware drama rather than stuck on a supermarket shelf with a gauche cover."

Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race: "There's some pancakes I'm not gonna be able to flip over," Moore says. "But what I say up front is that what whiteness does, as a structure, is to limit your ability to listen to people of color, to hear people of color, to believe people of color. I would encourage people to embrace that as true, and then start to work through it—and to use me as a resource. I'm not trying to villainize anybody."
lotesse: (panopticon)
annajcook at The Pursuit of Harpyness on "The Pressure of Being Expected to Know: Reflections on Sexual Fluidity"

Increasingly, I'm coming to see hetero/homo/bi as a problematic structure. This last semester got me historicizing sexual identity more fully than I had before - and I dunno about these categories. Trans* issues are exploding their usefulness, and they don't seem capable of doing justice to the complexity of lived experiences.
lotesse: (prydain_taran)
... so I just realized that of course the scene that I meant to be smut persistently refused to get properly explicit. I was writing from Taran's point of view. (somehow I think he'd have trouble naming those things to himself - and as a rule I find I don't like writing het sex scenes from male povs, because I worry about how easy it is to objectify the sexualized female body in that context.) Okay, switching to Eilonwy, who has no trouble thinking dirty thoughts or naming her desires.

Also, my sff comp course got approved for next fall!

And in further rambling - okay so I'm kind of having an affair with Mumford & Sons. It's the banjo, I think - my daddy played the banjo when I was a little girl, and I still turn to the recorded sounds of Pete Seeger's banjo when my heart hurts. Banjos are like direct taps into the place where all my happy optimistic feelings are kept. I will never understand the tendency to stereotype them as "hick" instruments without potential for virtuosity - they're such delicate instruments! All little filigree notes slipping together, a full sound composed of tinier noises combined. Am assuming that it's a race thing that slowly changed into a class/region thing. Urgh.
lotesse: (Holmes/Watson)
I found an amazingly terribly book at the uni library. No, seriously. Terrible. Far too bad not to share.

It's called In Bed With Sherlock Holmes: Sexual Elements in Arthur Conan Doyle's Stories of The Great Detective. It was written by a gentleman with a lovely string of alphabet soup after his name on the title page: Christopher Redmond, B.A., M.A. It's funny, because the book isn't published by an academic press, so the credential-waving just comes off as pathetic. B.A.? Don't knock yourself over patting yourself on the back there, dood. Lots of people have gone to college.

Despite the prose, this book was written in 1984. It reads like something from 1948.

Have some choice passages!

sporking and bad research behind the cut )

FWIW, I've also been reading - and tremendously enjoying - Graham Robb's Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century. Not only does he win my heart right off the bat by giving the diss to some of the more extreme strains of Foucauldian sexual theory, but his book might be the gentlest, sweetest book I've ever read about sexual "deviancy." He goes beyond law and medicine to talk about actual queer lives, in the process re-discovering the fact that queer relationships can involve love as well as sex. It's a heartbreaking book, as all books of its kind are bound to be, but it's also surprisingly romantic.
lotesse: (stargate - a singer must die)
Okay, there's a line where that sort of thing goes from fun into badficland, but still. It's the girly men that I'm looking for. I fetishize and get off on their youth, their physical smallness, their visible and invisible innocence. Their tendency to use words instead of fists. Their ability to speak the language of emotional need. Their understanding of c retaking, and their own need for the same.

Their receptive sexuality, which basically gives you girl-pov hetsex with two guys.

I know that, objectively speaking, Daniel Jackson is a tall, strong man some five to ten years my senior who can more than take care of himself. But for some reason, I want to read about the side of him that's needful, young, sweet, vulnerable. This is one of those things that has more to do with identification than with sexual preference – so it's not that I'm irl attracted to femmy guys, so much as it's the fact that I'm a cis, femmy woman myself.

I think that what I'm really looking for in slash is some foothold for my gender )
lotesse: (feminism - Buffy)
I followed all the conversation a few weeks ago on the female gaze in pornography - link here to Cathexys - with interest, but I couldn't quite figure out how to voice my discomfort with [livejournal.com profile] bradhanon's argument.

But now I have thoughts. Jezebel posted an article this afternoon called Exposed: Are Women Better at Controlling Lust? And while I don't appreciate the evo-psych bs title, the thesis is pretty cool: women look in the same way men do, but they get that you don't act on every impulse. Obvious, yes, but the essay throws in one think that I never see brought up in these debates. That is, that women restrain themselves for - at least - two reasons. The first is societal - women aren't supposed to have desire, blah blah blah.

But the other reason is for purposes of pleasure. The article quotes Emily Maguire as saying "[Girls] learn that yearning for male bodies can be expressed only if those bodies belong to smart, funny boys who are kind to puppies and old people." In other words, hot boys can sometimes hurt you. The best way to enjoy your sexuality is to consider the non-physical merits of your sex partners, at least to some degree. Sleeping with jerks is good for nobody and nothing.

I love this explanation for gendered sexual behavior, because it grants women their sexual agency. It's not that we don't notice the pretty boys. It's that we have standards. Even in one-night-standing, there are some guys that, well, no. Indiscriminate promiscuity tends to be bad for you, but promiscuity with thought is a horse of a different color.

This is the thing I've never understood about guyporn. If it's a hot blonde, they're good. But I can think of a kajillion very very pretty boys, both in real life and in media fandom, that I'm just not that into. Erm, sideways example - after I saw Zack and Miri Make a Porno, I went out at got Knocked Up, which I hadn't seen before, because I was so totally into Seth Rogen's character in Z&M. But I was utterly grossed out by his character in Knocked Up, because he was a repulsive manchild fuckerd. Same guy, same appearance, different character types = different levels of arousal. It's possibly really weird that I just used Seth Rogen as an example of a hot guy, but eh.

I think part of the slash aesthetic lies in the recognition that there are different kinds of sexy, and that responses may - and probably should - vary. Every individual, and every couple, works differently. Doesn't mean they can't all be hot.
lotesse: (Lucy Pevensie)
I wrote most of this in the comments over at [livejournal.com profile] chaos_pockets's place, and I want to post them here for my own reference, to make sure that I can find them again. so: thoughts on Narnia, sex, the Problem of Susan, and Lucy/Caspian )
lotesse: (olivia)
On Fandom's Topic of the Moment:

There's a tension inherent in discourses of queerness and gayness, because gayness is a politicized thing. You need to have a *community* before you can have the power to make things better, to fight for your right to party and so on. You have to have an "us".

But gender and sex are terribly fluid things, and I think that the more we poke at them the more we find we don't have the slightest idea what we've talking about. Sex and gender intersect. What do you call butch!girls who like femmey boys? Or girls like me, who are into just about everything except really butch guys? Someone gets left outside the tent.

But if everyone's queer then no one is, and political action stalls. It's a tension. Both are right, and we just have to negotiate as best we can. I have no thoughts on Bandom, as I don't like any of the music. Cool name smush, though.

And in Mourning:

Madeleine L'Engle passed today. I loved her books so much as a little girl - they gave me a girl hero who was insecure and lovable and capable and messed up and who got the guy, not because he tolerated her flakiness but because he saw the real her, the one who grew up into a strong, beautiful woman. Meg Murray gave me hope. I wish we could tell more stories about girls like her, with both real strengths and real vulnerabilities. Also, who aren't totally gorgeous underneath their glasses and bad hair.
lotesse: (Default)
Department of Fandom Swallowing Its Tail: the question of whether or not slash is, in fact, gay is going around again. In my most humble opinion, slash is no more gay than it is angsty or all about sex or pesto-flavored, but I’m going to defer to [livejournal.com profile] kattahj, who explains this much better than I ever could.

But I want to jump off of this into some work that I did this past term. I was assistant director/dramaturg for an absolutely fabulous, sexy, wonderful production of “As You Like It.” Gender and performativity and the female experience of the male body were big on my mind. And, oddly enough, I think that I'm doing the same thing with slash that Rosalind does with crossdessing.

If we accept that slash is not really about gayness in and of itself, I think that we can also perhaps say that it’s not really about men, however paradoxical that may seem. IMHO, it’s about the women writing it, and the men are merely the blank canvas, the nearby screen. At least in one view of this drattedly complex thing we do.

Read more... )
lotesse: (Sweet Bess)
I've been thinking about queerness. About what we actually mean by the term "queer."

Queer no longer means homosexual, doesn't just mean BDSM, can apply to non-drag queens. I self-identify as queer. I'm femme to the extreme, submissive but not into being humiliated, and while I've messed around with girls the biggest relationship of my life has been heterosexual, and wonderfully so. So what does it mean when I call myself queer?

If we think about what isn't queer, we're likely to think of being straight. But heterosexuals can be queer.

To me, it all comes down to sellf-awareness. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we're all queer. Each and every one of us. No two people's sexuality is exactly the same. There is no norm to deviate from, and thus no one can be called "normal." Being queer is the sate of being aware of your body, your desires, and your sexuality, and not being afraid to ask for what you want even if it's not being June Cleaver. Or even if it is. But everything you do has to be a choice.

True straight people are the defaulters. They don't look into themselves, don't question who they are. They just take the roles thrown at them from the television and the glossies and the bilboards and the easy listening songs and pinch and squeeze themselves until they fit. Some people may naturally fit into them, and if they choose to be who they really are after thought and introspection, that's a queer act.

Queer means not being able to pigeonhole anymore. It' means not being able to look at a person and say, "Oh, she's straight." Because if that's who she really, truly is, her own claimed sexuality is quite quite queer. You can't divide out the queers by who's got kids, who lives in the city, who has a dog, who goes to the country club, who's a college student. You can't draw lines among queers.

When I say that I am queer, that means that I have looked into myself and found what gives me pleasure. It means that I make my choices based only on who I am as a person, never because society tells me to. It means that I accept myself, and luxuriate in my own unique desires.

I'd hope that someday we can all be queers.
lotesse: (rainbow)

David Steinberg, who is consistently wonderful, excellent, honest, and interesting, writes about his experiences as a student of human sexuality in San Franciso last year, with pictures. And makes me cry. Reading this column made me remember what it was like last Feb. 12. It's easy to forget. Politically we're not doing very well. Bush was re-elected, and in November the Democrats certainly lost more than they gained. It's easy to look at all the hate been thrown around and forget the wonderous nature of that time.

Damn it, we've tasted equality. So many who had waited so long were made so simply, purely happy last year, and then bumped down to second class again. But it did happen, and it wass amazing.
lotesse: (untold)
I, unlike the rest of the world, did not read Flowers in the Attic in Junior High, but I've heard considerable amounts about it due to everyone else's cires of, "It warped me forever! And I liked it! Eeep!" So I found it at the Goodwill for a quarter and picked it up.

I totally love this book. Even though I can't help thinking that it isn't that well made. It's pure emotional masturbation, baby, but it hits enough of my emotional kinks that I'm totally in love with it.

I've been finding that I really, really love sibling incest stories. Not Weasley twincest, for some reason. It just seems sort of boring to me. I think it may be due to the fact that I find the twins about as iteresting as drying glue, but hey. YMMV. But I like the incest stories that are dark and twisty and wong wrong wrong and yet so wonderfully right, the ones that you root for at the same time as you cringe at it all. The ones that you secretly want to last for ever and ever. The ones that are stories about true love, but not really, because they're also vaguely horrible and destructive.

Why is this so attractive? I have no interest in actual incest; usually it's ignorant and crude and opressive and horrid, nothing like the gothic elegance of my incest stories. Perhaps it has something to do with the longing for ultimate closeness--the sibling, closest to us in all the world, friend and companion, also becoming lover and partner, one person filling your emotional life completely, as close to you as your own heartbeat. You will know each other completely, two halves of one whole.

Maybe this is part of it, but the undercurrent of wrongness is also definitely a factor. I don't think I'd be interested in a completely happy-ever-after story, something that didn't address the against-the-grain-ness of it all. That would feel false, jarring, crude. I don't know.

lotesse: (susan)
...How's that for a pretentious title? Okay, but seriously. Having finally got round to reading Lolita, I've found my thoughts on underage fic and pr0n much clearer. (Caveat: I'm not into chan. At all. Not against it; just not my bag.)

But What! About! The CHILDREN!?! )

There! I've gotten up off my lazy ass and produced something of some worth to the fandom. Maybe.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin


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