Archive for April, 2013

April 24th, 2013

Recommended Reading #146: Digging Deeper, Pt. VI



      “Brownback, Jesus and Mary: Religious Freedom Apparently Doesn’t Apply To Women Seeking Abortion” by Amanda Marcotte (Reproductive Rights, U.S. Public Policy, Religion) 4/21/13

There are multitudes of reasons I unambiguously support a woman’s right to choose to undergo an abortion and correlatively want the procedure to be safe, competently administered, and accessible. While it’s not at the very top of the list for me (largely because what is is purely ideological, intangible, and feels complicated to articulate, as well as because I don’t see every anti-choice effort as based on religion), I do appreciate the fact that anti-choice legislation that is based on religion is a violation of the citizenry’s religious freedom. I see this piece as doing a nice job outlining why, and I also appreciate its commentary on what I find the dismaying success the conservative right movement in the U.S. has seemed to have in whitewashing this circumstance.

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      “Friends With Benefits Over 50: Another View” by Joan Price (Sex and Culture, Relationship, Sex and Aging) 4/25/13

I appreciate the offerings in this piece about both the general potential loveliness of FWB relationships in this piece and the idea of their happening at any given 18-or-older age. I can hardly imagine why they wouldn’t/couldn’t! While I actually wouldn’t assert anything about how people should interact with their other or primary partners regarding other sexual relationships (not because I blatantly disagree with the assertion in this piece that other partners should be aware of these relationships, but rather because I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to speak to how people handle their relationships if I am not a part of them), I like the thrust (ha) of this article a lot.

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      “Why does America lose its head over ‘terror’ but ignore its daily gun deaths?” by Michael Cohen (Non-Sex-Related, Sociology, U.S. Public Policy) 4/20/13

I appreciate the perspective I interpret this as offering of the strange (arguably nonsensical) perspective U.S. culture collectively seems to demonstrate around threats of violence or harm in different contexts.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

April 20th, 2013

An Examination of Linguistics and a Reverence for Experience


littlewaterfall

(Warning: This post and the posts to which it links may contain potential triggers for those who have experienced sexual abuse or assault.)

This is one of those things I literally just happened upon this evening (morning) following links from something someone recommended to another blog in the blogroll to a recent post. I copied the link down to add to the future Recommended Reading list because I found the poem in the post very moving, as well as filled with deep self-awareness.

I then went to read the first referenced post to which the author links in the above post. I started writing a note I was going to include in the Recommended Reading paragraph about it, and it got a little long. Eventually it seemed to be its own post…which you are now reading.

What first struck me in reading the latter post is that I personally don’t see the term “rape culture” as at all reminiscent of a view of all male-bodied individuals as potential attackers. Not only do I not define “rape culture” according to any individuals or group of individuals but rather according to collective perceptions I interpret our culture as demonstrating, but I also absolutely (and probably correlatively) don’t see rape culture as something that pits any gender against any other. I actually find that perspective very disheartening. To me, rape culture definitely exists and is something I feel sorry to say I see us as steeped in, but it is a phenomenon related to perceptions, not people—of any gender.

The “rape” in “rape culture” does usually refer to the rape of female-bodied people by male-bodied people, and that is because that has been evidenced as the more common perpetuation of rape, but it is also because there are societal perceptions and attitudes, generally insidious and often so ingrained as to be unnoticed, that breed and perpetuate that behavior. It is those attitudes that I see as rape culture—it is not simply about a behavior but what manifests that behavior (and collective response to it). And those attitudes do tend to be based on gender and cultural assumptions around it. To me, that doesn’t mean that rape culture is about each member of a particular gender.

None of this means men never face abusive situations or have never been abused. That is (heartbreakingly) obviously not the case. Sadly, this doesn’t negate the existence of rape culture. It is a cultural phenomenon larger than individual experiences. At the same time, rape culture absolutely doesn’t negate the experience of sexual abuse of male-bodied and male-identified people. The two are not mutually exclusive (though I sure wish they both didn’t exist).

I also remembered in reading the post that I myself see child sexual abuse as different from adult. Adult sexual abuse has frequently seemed slanted toward male perpetration against female, but I haven’t and don’t see child sexual abuse that way. I admit I have not generally used or thought of the term “rape culture” as relating to child sexual abuse. I see child sexual abuse as a different phenomenon occurring for different reasons (having more to do with sexual repression and sexual shame than gender relations)—though of course that is not to say there could or would be no overlap.

I also want to note that I interpreted “rape culture” and “male privilege” as seeming to be used in a connected way in said post, and I see them as unambiguously different things. I myself wouldn’t even really connect them in a casual way. Again, this is partly because I don’t see rape culture as necessarily founded on people of individual genders themselves but rather around attitudes surrounding gender, whereas male privilege is connected to people who identify as men.

Male privilege is also something that has to do with societal systems and perceptions and certainly does not mean all men’s experience is the same. As I see it, it means that due to historical perceptions and systemic structures in our culture, identifying and/or being perceived as a man inherently (at this time) includes considerations that are not collectively the case for other genders; these considerations may be taken for granted or not realized by those in question due to this very circumstance. (By the way, I am not suggesting that men and women are somehow inherently different in and of themselves—on the contrary, this is an entirely different line of perception having to do with the way current human society is organized and has historically—at least in relatively contemporary history—organized itself to structurally interact with male-identified and female-identified people.) Thus, people identified those ways have often experienced society in ways congruent with this structure that those not identified as such might have a hard time recognizing or relating to, and vice versa. This is also the case for things like white privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc.

This is not a “blame” thing (at least I don’t see it as one)—rather, it is just a recognition thing. Realizing these things, it seems to me, can be helpful. Failure to recognize the existence of either male privilege or rape culture does not seem helpful to me. On the contrary. I also feel that failure to recognize that male-bodied people have experienced sexual abuse is not helpful. Again, I don’t see any of these recognitions as at all mutually exclusive.

Lastly (but definitely not least), I personally acknowledge and honor the author’s sharing. I see things about these particular phrases differently, and it feels/felt important to me to express that, but that in no way diminishes the respect, support, and appreciation for his sharing, his experience, and his very humanity, both in general (that was the case before I knew of his existence) and specifically in response to what I interpret in his post about his own experiences—which only he can know—that I embody and offer. There is absolutely nothing consciously in me whatsoever that feels any desire or inclination to attack him personally for expressing what he did or to offer anything but support for his sharing his experience and in his healing and personal journey. It is beyond question for me that I find sexual abuse perpetrated against anyone the same inexpressible degree of horrifying, heartwrenching, and words I’m not even sure exist, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or the recipient.

Love (again, with a particular expression of love and support for the author to whose post this is loosely in response),
Emerald

“Love, thy will be done, I can no longer hide, I can no longer run, no longer can I resist the guiding light…love thy will be done…”
-Martika “Love… Thy Will Be Done”

April 17th, 2013

Recommended Reading #145: Shifting Perspectives



      “Without bad Facebook jokes…” by Sabrina Morgan (Sex Work, Sex and Culture, Sociology) 4/3/13

I find this such an incisive, concise, respectful observation and response, I am in admiration of the writer for composing it. And of course, I also appreciate its substantive message.

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      “Lady Cheeky’s Sex Satori” by Antonia Crane (Interview, Self-Awareness, Sex and Technology) 4/5/13

I experienced this as such a beautiful description of awakening to a part of oneself and what is. This kind of open sharing and this kind of journey that leads to expansion of perspective strikes me as inspiring; many thanks to both interviewer and interviewee.

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      “Occupying My Dream” by Andrea Wenger (Non-Sex-Related, Consciousness, Self-Awareness, Sociology) 4/16/13

I feel a resonance with this post that doesn’t actually seem to lend itself to articulation. Even more than what is said, I suspect I sense the energy with which it is offered. That said, I appreciate what I perceive as its literal content too—the phrase “imagine non-monetary abundance” struck me particularly.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

April 12th, 2013

Joining the MFRW Staff—and Promoting the Erotic Bloghop That Starts Today!

MFRW-staff-banner

I am very excited—thrilled, really—to say that I have recently been invited to join the staff team of Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) as one of the assistant newsletter editors. While I am not a romance author per se, MFRW is open to members who write in all genres. The point is not to discuss writing but rather to exchange ideas and methods about marketing, and to support each other as such (see the about page on their site for more info. MFRW also has a wealth of marketing resources for writers on its site that you can check out here). I have been a member of the MFRW Yahoo Group for a couple years, lurking and watching and appreciating the enormous amount the staff and members do for each other. If you’re in the running for support or information on marketing your writing, join us!

The MFRW Newsletter is published monthly and may be found online at ISSUU: http://ww.issue.com/MFRW. I am honored to be a support point in the process of its publication and look forward to embracing MFRW’s motto of “seek, teach, share, learn, succeed” in this new role. In addition, as odd as it may sound, I love to proofread, so I am delighted to help out MFRW in this way. :)

Marketing for Romance Writers also organizes multiple bloghops. As it happens, the MFRW Erotic Bloghop—with the theme “Let’s Get Lucky”—is just getting underway today! Though I am not personally participating in this hop, I look forward to reading the posts of those who are over the next three days. Follow along with me here!

Love,
Emerald

“Obstacles are inefficient, follow your intuition, free your inner soul and break away from tradition…let’s get it started in here…”
-Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get It Started”

April 10th, 2013

Recommended Reading #144: Questioning the System(s), Pt. IV



      “Same-Sex Marriage Does Threaten ‘Traditional’ Marriage” at Nursing Clio (Gender Socialization, Sex and Culture, Marriage) 4/2/13

I love this. I agree with it entirely, though I don’t think I had necessarily realized or articulated it that way before I read this. It does seem, however, congruent with something I’ve noticed for some time, which is that whenever someone talks about wanting marriage to be “between one man and one woman,” it is phrased as just that. Have you ever heard someone claim marriage to appropriately be “between one woman and one man”? Not only have I not, I truly suspect it would, at the very least, elicit pause or a strange look if said. That may seem tiny, perhaps even innocuous, but I see it as not. I see it as representative—a subtle indication via language of a pernicious philosophy that seems so “normal” to us that most of us are oblivious to it at least some of the time.

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      “Rejecting Walmart Strategy, Trader Joe’s Pays Employees A Living Wage And Wins” by Lorraine Devon Wilke (Non-Sex-Related, Labor, Economics) 3/25/13

This makes me glad I’ve been a long-time customer of Trader Joe’s, but even more so, I am glad to see companies embodying this kind of philosophy, and I appreciate seeing it publicized when they do (or don’t).

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      “Knock Knock” by Daniel Beaty (Recommended Watch, Non-Sex-Related, Race, Sociology) 11/19/09

This took my breath away.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday