Sunday, 20 September 2009
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
I've been reading various books, blog posts and news articles over the last week or so, including a book about sexuality and consent as well as some bits from the Guardian. Some of the stuff I'll talk about here is old, some is new, some is ongoing.
So yeah, lets talk about bodies.
Caster Semenya is already an award-winning sportswoman, aged 18. Recently, she won a race (she is a runner) and people began to comment on her appearance. Caster is quite masculine-looking; her facial features are quite androgynous, and she doesn't really have any breasts. Of course she is also muscular, but the same can be said of many other female athletes. Basically, Caster was accused of being a man running in a race for women. She has been sex-tested for this reason, and alleged results have been leaked. They say she is intersex. Apparently, she has no internal female reproductive organs and has testes instead of ovaries, which are giving her a testosterone level three times as high as that of a 'normal' woman.
Even if those results are correct, that does not give anyone the right to tell Caster who she is. Any advantage she gains from the extra testosterone is not enough to justify calling her a man or insisting that she should have her medal taken away and that she cannot compete- a man has 50 times the amount of testosterone in his body that a woman has in hers, three times the normal female level of testosterone pales in comparison doesn't it? Not only that, but at 18 years old we are all working out who we really are. To go through that process in the spotlight would be bad enough without strangers trying to decide the basics for you. Caster has been raised as a female, has female genitalia, and feels she is a woman. As far as I am concerned, she is a woman.
Interestingly, she had a photoshoot for a magazine where she looked very much like a normal young woman. So much for 'hurr that's obviously a bloke'.
Maybe she won't be allowed to compete after all- if that has to be the case because of a condition she has then that is sad, but I accept that's what has to be done. But whatever happens to her sporting career, nobody has the right to tell her she is a man. She is not. Intersex does not mean male unless you identify as male. Your genetic gender is not the only thing that decides who you are.
Jon also knows that. Ever since he was little, he knew he was a boy, but on the outside he wasn't. At 16, he is going through the process of changing from a female body to a male one, although he has chosen not to have operations to give him a penis. Does the fact that he hasn;t got a willy make him a girl? No. Physically, it used to, but now that he's having hormone treatment it certainly doesn't, and what about his mental state? Again, Jon's genetic gender does not determine everything about who he is. He feels male, he looks male for most purposes, so he is a man- at least, well on his way to being a man, he is only 16 so even being born male wouldn't make him a man at this stage.
Now for some slightly different issues.
Body image is a bit of a sore point for a lot of people- it's well known that this affects women but we mustn't forget about the men. Both sexes can suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphia (where you think you look much worse than you actually do). Michael Jackson was a good example of how anyone can have these problems if they have been led to believe they're not good enough. People from all walks of life feel they will be happy if they just get rid of that last half-stone, or have bigger boobs, or have a smaller nose, or a bigger penis, or a tighter vagina. The worst thing about this is the narrow standard of beauty we're expected to accept nowadays. Not everyone is blonde and tanned. Not all women have measurements 36-24-36 or smaller. Not all men have a six-pack. And yet we're all supposed to aspire to that. Fuck that.
One specific aspect of this that really gets on my tits (no pun intended, surprisingly) is body hair. The current trend, apparently, is to be completely hair-free apart from whatever grows on the top of your head. There are 14 year old girls all over the internet telling each other to shave off all their body hair because hair is 'gross'. I understand that puberty is pretty weird and sprouting hair and lumpy bits is odd, but really? hair is gross? The worst bit is that these girls (and it is mostly girls) tell each other that it's necessary to shave your pubic hair because pubes are dirty and boys won't like you if you don't have a completely bald fanny. I find that very odd- if that's someone's personal opinion, fine, I have no problem with other people doing what is best for them. No, what weirds me out is the assumption that all men insist on hairless vaginas and that body hair of all kinds is disgusting.
Body hair, although it can look bloody horrible sometimes, is not disgusting. Get rid of it if you want, trim it, tidy it, keep it clean, but don't freak out over it. We all have personal preferences, but nobody has the right to decide what anyone else does with their body. By all means ask someone nicely, if you have sex with them, but I bet if you're shagging someone their leg stubble or monobrow is the least of your worries.
I actually think my body image is fairly good. I am a bit on the hairy side, but tough. The hair on my upper lip and lower arms is so fine that half of you lot probably never even noticed it. My leg and armpit hair grows overnight and it's black, but I've come to the conclusion that letting things grow slightly isn't the end of the world. I have better things to worry about, and it obviously hasn't put the gentlemen off that much. I have nice boobs. I have long legs that are pretty toned, which is weird thinking about what a lazy cow I am. My body isn't perfect, but it's functional (mostly) and it's a decent body to carry myself around in. The state of my pubes... well sorry to over-share, but yes, I've got some. They're tamed, because I don't want Ed to suffer, and it's more practical for me. When you're as hairy as I am (again, sorry for sharing too much) you do have to have a basic routine to make sure 'Aunt Flo's visit' is as easy as possibe. And also that you don't get blinded by your own monobrow.
I'm not even going to start on abortion or sexuality, I'll be here all day and you've all heard me go mental about those subjects... like the time I yelled at a pro-lifer in town for trying to give me an anti-abortion leaflet... yeah.
Basically what I'm trying to say here is that you and only you should have control over your body. You're wearing that bag of meat and gristle, you should be able to choose what happens to it. The thing that defines who you are is YOU. Not 'the media', not famous people, not those twats in school who called you fat or ugly. You. Remember, that also means you don't have the right to decide for somebody else either.
Don't want an abortion? Don't get one. On the other hand, if you do feel you need one, don't let anyone talk you out of it- get advice, get professional help, but make the final decision yourself.
Don't like sex that's with people of your own gender/the other gender/with more than one partner/on your own/kinky/vanilla/outside of marriage? Don't have it. If people are enjoying their sex lives, it is not your business to judge. Like some or all of those kinds of sex? Knock yourself out. Just be safe and always make sure there is enthusiastic consent. 'I suppose so' or doing it because you don't want to lose him/her is not healthy. And use a condom please (or other contraceptive method of your choice, assuming you're not trying to conceive- and by the way, the withdrawal method is fucking retarded).
Want a tattoo/piercing/green hair? Then get it. Want implants/a nose job? Then get them. Want to remove a patch of hair/grow it/make it into a pretty shape? Then do it. But always make sure that's what you really want to do, think about the outcome and question your motives. Doing something to yourself in order to please other people is not going to work out if it wouldn't make you happy on its own. If you wouldn't consider it as part of your life if a particular person wasn't around, maybe it's not a good decision. Or maybe they just inspired you. Whatever, you make your own mind up.
I'm sure there is a lot I could have said here, but that's enough for now. Comments as usual please, I'd prefer it if we didn't end up with an argument about how I'm a fag-enabler or a baby-killing liberal. Somehow I doubt it's going to go that route, but you never know!
Friday, 4 September 2009
The Daily Mail is, as usual, throwing a strop about everyone who isn't living in a house with their opposite-sex spouse and their naturally-conceived children. Apparently gay relationships aren't equal to straight ones now and everyone from a broken home is a failure. Well, I have a few things to say about that.
Let's go through the article and complain about it shall we?
1. "The family is the building block of society. If the institution of the family is broken, society breaks with it.
That is what has happened in Britain over the past four decades as part of a deliberate attempt by the 'progressive' intelligentsia to reshape society around the unrestrained gratification of adult sexual desire under the banners of ' liberation', 'equality' and 'rights'."
So apparently, trying to make everyone equal is actually all a ploy to let the birds and the poofs shag around. And we can't have that can we? How dare people not feel guilty about having sexual desire? That's what Britain is all about! You can't take away our repression!
2. "Children from fractured homes do worse in general in every single area of their lives."
No we don't. My parents were married when I was born, so marriage doesn't protect you from this at all. I don't remember having my dad at home. I do remember the divorce being finalised and Mum getting the stuff in the post. I remember my mother struggling with money and our house being cold.
I also have an honours degree, I've worked since I was 16 and I got the highest GCSE grades in my year. I live with my long-term boyfriend (to be fair, as far as the Mail is concerned that counts as a failure). I can look after myself. I'm not exactly unusual, you know? Plenty of people come from backgrounds other than two hetero parents being at home and they do just fine. Plenty do a lot better than I've done.
3. "All stigma and shame were removed from unmarried motherhood."
Yeah, and? Being unmarried isn't the same as being an irresponsible whore who had a kid to get benefits. For most of my childhood, my mother wasn't married. She still isn't. Some unmarried mothers are DIVORCED mothers, not that it should make a difference whether they've been married or not. Many of the single mums I've known have worked hard to make sure their kids have a home, food and clothes, and they've done everything they can to make sure those kids do well in life. So have many of the mums who cohabit with the fathers of their children rather than being married to them (one each, by the way).
4. "The far more serious point, however, is that the gay rights agenda undermines marriage."
Does it? I didn't even know there was a gay agenda. I'd like my LGBTerrific friends (yeah, I stole that from QC, so what?) to send me a copy of the gay agenda from your secret meetings. Don't deny it, we all know you have them.
5. "But is the gay rights agenda really about tolerance, or is it about trying to stop heterosexuality being the behavioural norm?"
You can't make people gay. People have tried to make others straight, and that doesn't work, so I don't see how making people gay would work either. If someone changes orientation, it'll happen on its own- and it probably does happen. But given that people in relationships other than one-boy-one-girl just want to be left the fuck alone (and indeed left alone to fuck, sometimes) it's pretty unlikely that 'the gays' want to make everyone start bumming each other and lezzing it up. Those are scientific terms you know. Yep.
6. "Because it entails treating gay relationships as identical to heterosexual ones in every respect, any differences - over marriage or adoption, for example - are damned as discrimination and bigotry."But... the only real difference is the gender of the people in the couple. Saying that gay people can't get married or adopt is discrimination and bigotry. Someone's ability to commit to a relationship or bringing up a child is not affected by their sexuality. Being straight doesn't make people perfect parents or perfect partners, so of course not every gay couple will be amazing, but I'm pretty sure that most people are more than capable of being monogamous (if that's their preference of course, I don't want to leave out the people who are poly, although they can handle being monogamous too) and also quite capable of looking after a baby.
7. "Thus opposing gay adoption on the grounds that children need a replica mother and father is denounced as 'homophobic'.
But hasn't that been precisely the problem which the Tories are now - to their credit - trying to address in heterosexual family life, that children do need a mother and father and that family life has been wrecked by those who strenuously pretend otherwise?"
Well, okay, I will agree that kids need a mother and father figure to be balanced. On the other hand, I completely disagree that those role models have to be biological parents. You can do just as well with an uncle or grandfather instead of a father, or with an aunt or grandmother instead of a mother. My uncle John was more involved in my life than my father was, and I don't think I have daddy issues.
Oh yeah, and as I said before, saying gay people can't adopt is homophobic actually.
8. "But the core reason for family breakdown is precisely the view that marriage is merely a ' relationship' for people to choose or not from a menu of alternative lifestyles."
Perhaps it might be a good idea to re-educate the morons who get married in order to get their vacant orange faces into Hello magazine then. Britney Spears got married for 55 hours. Katie Price and Peter Andre got married for three years. Stephen Fry has been with his partner Daniel for 14 years. Who's destroying 'the sanctity of marriage' again? It's not the gay couples who can stay committed even though they were denied legal rights for so long. It's the straight couples who get married for the attention and presents, and then get bored.
9. "traditional Christians are now being discriminated against."
Actually, most Christians over here are just as accepting of gay/bi/trans people as anyone else. Christians who say that God expects us to love everyone and that God made those people a certain way so it's okay are a lot more tolerant than people who are indifferent to religion but write articles talking about 'the gay agenda'.
As for those Christians who do go off on one about a minority possibly having some buttsex in private (a lot of them are okay with lesbians if they're pretty, strangely enough- Bill O'Reilly, I'm looking at you)... They're not exactly doing what Jesus said they should do are they? He who is without sin can cast the first stone and all that jazz. Therefore they don't count as Christians and we can call them as many names as we like without worrying about religious discrimination. Awesome.
10. "the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, called upon homosexuals to 'repent and be changed', which drew the immediate charge that he was promoting intolerance."
Promoting intolerance is exactly what he was doing. What a cunt.