Pocochina’s Weblog

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we now interrupt our regularly scheduled programming

Posted by pocochina on August 10, 2010

I kept thinking I was going to have a Real Post, with a coherent theme and shit, on the Prop 8 decision.  But I don’t.  Fuck it.  This is just awesome.  Scattered thoughts and lots of links below – please feel free to leave the same in comments.

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Q: what’s two inches long and has NEVER RAPED ANYONE?

Posted by pocochina on August 3, 2010

A:  An IUD.

Apparently, doctors in Scotland are following some new sexual health guidelines, concerning the discussion long-term contraceptive options with young teenage patients who ask about the contraceptive pill, “as long as the doctor does not suspect exploitation or coercion.”  The Express, the paper which originally reported on this, stressed the sex panic angle, claiming that Scots are “up in arms” in terror about the prescription of a safe, legal medication by a doctor for a patient.  (I’m kind of the opinion that anyone who goes to the Catholic Church for a quote about sexual exploitation of minors shouldn’t be allowed to report on the grand opening of a supermarket, but whatever.)  RH Reality Check took a more pragmatic line, saying that if someone is too young for sex, she’s definitely too young to be a parent.  And Jezebel, in a rather spectacular example of trading point for sensationalism, argues that capacity to consent to sex is an individual thing and therefore concern is misplaced, and besides, the contraceptives won’t be given to anyone doctors suspect is being coerced or exploited.

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on anonymity

Posted by pocochina on July 29, 2010

It’s really interesting to read these articles by Jeffrey Rosen and Glenn Greenwald together.  Rosen’s article, for those who don’t feel like clicking through eight pages of prose, is entitled “The Web Means the End of Forgetting,” and it’s basically what it sounds like – a discussion of the idea that once something is on the internet (as my mother likes to dramatically intone) it is on the internet FOREVER.  People can’t escape the tracks left by their blogs; their Facebook accounts; even their tweets.

Rosen conveniently elides the idea of privilege online, but I think it’s an important one worth examining.  The idea of “reputation” is one that is almost uniformly far more important for marginalized people – a woman’s sexualized Facebook photo will forever mark her with the scarlet H, but a man’s goofy drunken picture from the same party are evidence of a healthy social life. The article raises some interesting and important issues, but its insistent refusal to address issues of inequality ultimately weakens it to the extent that it’s hardly useful.

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in which p is a kid-hating bitch!

Posted by pocochina on July 28, 2010

You all know what I love?  An exhortion by a non-feminist for feminists to be nicer young ladies,* and just remember how much we love babies.

It’s really telling to me that this person specifically chose a feminist blog on which to lecture people about the appropriate feelings to have towards children.  Because remember, this person has absolutely no idea about the political leanings of the people who have had the temerity to look askance at her toddler.  (Who does sound really fucking amazing!  I am not debating the awesomeness of her kid or anyone else’s!)  What she does know is that there are WOMEN being NON-MATERNAL on the internet, and these ladies need to be lectured and shamed into their rightful place, which is of course cheerfully with child or dutifully self-flagellating for failure to duly reproduce.

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torchwood, psych, castle, and modern male sexuality

Posted by pocochina on June 6, 2010

Female sexuality on TV, for its myriad problems, has come a long way, baby – male sexuality not so much.  Sex as violence on one end of the patriarchal spectrum, sex as degradation on the other, are still an inherent part of male sexuality in popular culture, and in particular male sexual attraction to women.

But writers are starting to challenge this by coming up with sexy, likable male characters whose sexuality (regardless of orientation), while an important part of their characters, is not predatory, degrading, or possessive.  The existence of such positive male characters is a sea change in the depiction in modern male sexuality.  This isn’t shallow fanservice.  Okay, maybe a little, but it’s not just that.  It is no less than a mass-market blow against the primacy of rape culture.  I’m interested in male characters who exhibit a playful, non-predatory male sexuality.  The best examples of this are Castle from Castle, Sean from Psych, and of course Captain Jack of Torchwood.

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thoughts on guyland

Posted by pocochina on June 2, 2010

Guyland is an interesting book for me to read at this moment of my life – I have, after all, both turned 26 and just finished school, so I’m no longer living surrounded by Guys (defined by Kimmel as mostly cis white males between ages 16-26), but I’ve been wandering in their environments for some time.  Unfortunately, the book didn’t so much give me a glimpse of the inner workings of the guys I’ve been around all this time as it did confirm my utter abhorrence of social situations and firm (and until now, I thought anxiety-borne) conviction that other people spend all their time looking to use you in their puerile power games and are thus basically the worst.  I hope this doesn’t sound trivializing – the book is an exploration of the dangerous social hierarchies which are built in the early adulthood of the individuals who will go on to uphold kyriarchy.  I found the premise to be critically important, the historical context present and not wasted, and the style of weaving statistics and interviews with Guys to be persuasive and informative.  However, the book fails to follow through on its own conclusions, rests on some unfortunate assumptions (particularly about young women), and posits individual solutions to overwhelmingly broad societal problems.  It’s a critical addition to the canon of masculinity studies and the lives of young adults, even if underwhelming on its own.

Guyland, basically, is patriarchy boot camp.  Early childhood is the time that you learn communication is possible; teen years and early adulthood is the time when you learn the most effective ways to abuse and exploit.  Guys leave home, go to college, and decide that their new place in the world is among their beer-chugging bros, and so they join the race for masculine status.  While most guys eventually become family men – though retaining their seething anger at women and chest-thumping masculine self-image, so I’m less sure than Kimmel that this is an overall win for the ladies – they spend a few years soaking in testosterone-flavored male entitlement.  Lots of Guys don’t actually love the excesses of Guyland but are too afraid to speak up, but there’s an undercurrent of violence and bigotry kept stoked by a handful of rapists and other sadistic shitheads.

You kind of can’t talk about Guyland, or Guyland, without talking about sexual assault.  The rest of this is below the cut, but click with self-care in mind.

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what we talk about when we talk about rape cases – deviance, rape culture, and the courtroom

Posted by pocochina on May 27, 2010

This post is cut because it is heavily triggering.  I will discuss rape culture, rape trials, the criminal justice system, and mistreatment of rape victims.  This is NOT an introductory level post.  If you are unfamiliar with ANY of the concepts above, go handle your prerequisites.  This is a post which will focus on male violence against women not because no other kind of rape exists, but because this type of rape is both the most frequent and the most frequently brought through the criminal system.  It is also intentionally US-centric, because I’m only comfortable discussing US law (and only marginally at that), but as rape culture is a global phenomenon, perspectives from around the world are welcome as long as they come from an anti-rape perspective.

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in which p. rants about ageism, part 144-B

Posted by pocochina on April 20, 2010

Oh goody!  Another round of feminist generational sniping!

I am not sure I can fathom the depths of ageism that went into the reaction to this Newsweek article. Now, being a mainstream media publication, Newsweek makes a few fairly standard, though potentially misleading, moves in its discussion of feminism and the pro-choice movement:  it goes ahead and calls the offices of the largest women’s organizations, which can’t turn down the chance to get the party line out there, and then commences in context-free handwringing about young people failing to consider Roe and abortion rights in the same light as folks did thirty years ago.  As one astute activist, erintothemax on twitter, noted, Newsweek did an article on young voters attitudes towards abortion without quoting a single young voter, let alone talking to a young female pro-choice activist, of which there are, um, several.

cont’d below!

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You check YOUR fucking privilege! Body image is not trivial!

Posted by pocochina on April 7, 2010

I’m kind of seeing a trend in a lot of the third-wave-y blogs* I frequent in which the authors (a) decry the widespread discussion of body image issues within mainstream feminism because Other Issues are more important, (b) sanctimoniously claim that they’re not going to talk about body image because it is an issue for privileged white girls and no-one else, and they are above such nonsense, or (c) discuss body image issues but with an apologetic caveat that No, Really, This is Self-Indulgent, But Isn’t It Interesting that Ladies on the Teevee Are Getting Skinnier? THAT IS SOME BULLSHIT RIGHT THERE.  It ignores the undeniable (well, so I thought, but maybe I am that much of a fucking egghead freak?) fact that body image issues affect women who are not cis, white, and middle-class, perhaps even more than women with those privileges.  It is flagrantly ableist because it ignores the very real mental health implications of body image issues.  It trivializes the body shame experienced by fat women, who are particularly in need of support from the feminist movement at this moment in time.  And it is philosophically frustrating because it assumes that even the tiny, incomplete alleviation of women’s suffering through honest discussion about body hatred is not worthwhile.

(cut for ED triggers)

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hot for student: sex, campuses, and the “meaningful” in front of “consent”

Posted by pocochina on April 6, 2010

There’s a certain strain of third-wave feminism which likes to claim it’s invested in personal agency and intersectional identity and analysis of existing power structures, but is actually so mired in mainstream American neoliberal I-got-mine individualism as to be pretty much useless when it comes to anything but cheerleading for new! and! empowerful! modern femininity.  Nowhere is this more evident when discussing consent issues (see also – TW, incest), and today’s Broadsheet column on a new policy at Yale University is probably a paradigm example.

The headline is as follows:  “Yale bans teacher-student sex”



Apparently, the policy of Yale University has been that student-teacher affairs were impermissible if and only if the professor had “direct pedagogical or supervisory responsibilities” over the student.  Under the new policy, undergraduates are sexually off-limits to professors.  TCF, in a highly formalistic reading of the language provided that’s disturbingly close to the linguistic jujitsu performed by abortion exceptioneers and civil-rights law dodgers, decides that this is enough to protect students from affairs with professors which have a “direct impact on their academic careers.”  (I’m going to use “she” to connote the student in the relationship and “he” to connote the professor because that is the most likely scenario both to exist and be reported under the school rules, not in order to diminish the existence or potential harm of other sexual student/teacher pairings.)

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