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Really enjoyed seeing this film, and it was a nice homage to the book - the characters are not screwed around with in their essence, which is a relief. I thought it could have been half an hour shorter - the book actually has more action (of a sort) and gives Therese more context at first - but it hits the main plot points well. The design and photography are gorgeous, and yes, a nice shout-out to 50's-style cigarette porn there as well.

I thought Cate's acting style was particularly mannered in this film, but given the context of 50's behaviour and film influences, it makes sense. Rooney Mara is perfect, although I was a bit irked that they changed her career aim from being a theatre set designer (since Carol instantly respected that in the novel, and it could not be construed as a cute little hobby like photography). They didn't make Harge an arsehole, which is great, and Sarah Paulson was perfect as Abby. I'm also glad they had a queer woman portraying one of the main characters. The scene near the end where Therese is being chatted up by a Patricia Highsmith lookalike at a party was an amusing touch.

This review pretty much sums up the rest of my thoughts on the film - not perfect, but it brings the period to life (even if ALL the cars are way too immaculate):
trixtah: (boom)
Apparently - for "Butch Appreciation Day" - we only define ourselves by femmes. Because we're butch so we can run around protecting those delicate little ladies and wear big stompy boots that make our feet hurt.

Too bad if you're into butch-on-butch, eh? Or somehow manage to retain your butch identity without a femme hanging off your arm?

Note: SURE I get dressed up in spiffy outfits if there is someone I want to impress. Even with stompy COMFY boots. But, FFS, my entire life and style is not a performance on the off-chance I'll catch the eye of some random femme.

Seriously, what the fuck is all this about? It's not 1955, where if you didn't conform madly to gender- or role-identity, you'd never get laid. I think we're a little beyond rigid notions of what butch-femme is about. I was glad when feminism relaxed enough that b/f wasn't instantly problematic; I don't want things swinging back into stupid sexist territory.

I'm butch because I'm gender nonconformist, and there are some aspects of the standard butch definition I relate to a lot. But I'm uncomfortable with such labelling as "female masculinity" - for reasons I can't quite enunciate. While it's cool to ID with a label, it doesn't mean have to buy into a whole lot of baggage that may or may not be relevant. Same applies to gender stereotyping (not all men like sport, of any description).


Jun. 19th, 2011 10:27 pm
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I have been "invited" by no less than three people to the "Femme Appreciation Day" event on Facebook. While I think the femmes in one's life should be appreciated for their awesome selves - and their lovely presentation is definitely a part of that - I really can't get behind something that promotes itself with this horribly saccharine glurge:

"…Vying for her princess kerchief
"May I ride for you, m'Lady? May I ride for You, today?" [Many femmes would laugh in your face if you called her "princess". And sure, I'm totally on my white horse at all times.]

To impress her, even if it's only in our heads... 'cause we're wired that way and can't help ourselves; and we know it, can't admit it half the time, have conquered kingdoms, started wars [Yeah, that punch-up at the dyke bar was srs bsns], learned to cook (maybe not so well) [speak for yourself], given up all days off & driven miles and kilometers just to fall for moments near her eyes...

…Because femmes have this amazing power to inspire, to comfort, to tease, to hook, to care for; to freeze us in our tracks with a single smile or a fleeting sidelong glance.... We protect our own protectors when we defend our femmes. [Oh wait, it's the Western frontier?]

'Cause a femme can stop time with a tiny wave….all effortless yet all powerful[Totally, no matter what her life circumstances, and because being awesome requires no effort whatsoever, nuh uh]...

...The Fire in her soul, the hearth around which the universe turns"
[Great, we'll throw in some goddess-worship as well]

Yeah, I can't even get behind the actual sentiments no matter how much I think many femmes rock. I'm not anyone's knight in shining armour, I do not have submissive tendencies, and I'm not into goddess worship, unfortunately. What a waste.

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So, I still haven't gotten the hang of folding fitted sheets - I do it, and then forget - and so I did a bit of YouTubing to find some helpful hints. I found one woman's cute post, and then saw she had a channel with such gems as "how to apply red lipstick". Ok, I watched that one - a skill I assume I'll never require - and thought, if this woman is not a dyke, she should be.

Well, how nice to know my gaydar is working well.

It also helps if the woman my gaydar is twingeing over is attractive; I'm so crass. She even makes cocktails. I might buy her book too. :-)

Move over, Nigella, I say.

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So, there was a thread on dot_poly_snark over on LJ, where someone got snarked when they went all bawwwwww about their coming out to one friend who didn't immediately do the happy dance about the good news. And justifiably so.

But one person commented by saying in part, "But then generally, I don't get the whole "coming out" process for poly people. Just live your life and the people will either figure it out or they won't."

Obviously I'm just a big old queer with a chip on my shoulder, because this really irked me. And I had to rant in reply:

Mmmnh, so why would anyone bother coming out at all. Ok, I'm very slightly beyond "Queer Nation" myself, but if everyone chooses to remain invisible, society as a whole will certainly choose to continue ignoring you. I look as dykey as dykey can be, but it still irks the fuck out of me when people obviously decide not to "figure it out" and then force me to decide whether they are going to roll out the overt bigotry thing on me if I make it clear what my relationship status is, or just do the awkward why-are-you-making-me-deal-with-shit-outside-my-comfort-zone silence.

I know you're not precisely saying you are remaining invisible, but it's the more open people who ensure that we aren't ignored as a whole. Because being ignored is actually not that many steps away from being marginalised, excluded from the usual set of social rights, and then to outright persecution. No thanks, it's not long ago when I had no right to expect fair treatment in terms of retaining my job or accommodation.

I do however agree that people who get shocked and amazed when they give acquaintances confronting information that is not immediately welcomed with open arms are precious in the extreme. Not to wah on about privilege, but it's fascinating when (mostly) het white middle-class people realise that others will always consider them to be second-class citizens because of their "lifestyle choices".

I dunno, maybe I got a bit into lecture mode, but "letting people figure it out for themselves" is only a useful strategy when you're coming from a fairly secure base to begin with. I still don't overtly out myself at work, except to a selected few people, sometimes. Maybe I'm still paranoid, but fuck, we only got "rights" in NZ the year I officially came out. And given the whole gay marriage debacle, we still aren't fully equal citizens, according to most - I'm still not in favour of marriage as a whole, but this willful discrimination just serves to show we don't have "real" relationships and we're not "equal" in some fundamental ways. It's fucked up.

And I'm still fucking angry with Gillard, to give it some Australian context. Not that I can vote here, so it's all a bit moot.

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Now, why didn't I see this earlier? A wee bunch of queers singing along to Lily Allen's Fuck You Very Much. A classic of its genre.

And here is when Stevie, the video compiler, introduces his project:

ETA:Ok, the French one is even cuter:
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There's a stupid fucker over on Wikipedia at the moment, who keeps reinstating a "notability" tag on Patrick Califia's entry. Now, it's no secret that I'm not Califia's greatest fan evar (although he has contributed many crucial things to how women now discuss and enact their sexuality, especially the deviant kind), but to question his notability is ridiculous. I'm personally grateful for plenty of his work and the resultant change in discourse, and I know plenty of people who are definitely fans and who acknowledge his contribution.

I edited the notability tag, which was promptly reverted. However, someone else reverted the reversion, which has stuck for now. If others would like to check in on the article occasionally - or figure out what the fucker wants (see the page history) in terms of assuring notability, since a comprehensive bibliography from "obscure small presses" apparently doesn't prove a thing - please go ahead.

If I had the time at present, I'd actually stick in some citations, since there should definitely be some more in there. The notability issue is just petty [homo|trans]phobia.

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The second clip on this page tells you all about it. Yes, LEZilla goes to Victoria's Secret (from 7 minutes in). Thank you, Julie Goldman.

And while we're on the sustainability theme (not so much this post, but in general), [ profile] goatsfoot has a great post on the grants and schemes Australian homeowners have access to for reducing their energy consumption. I do find it slightly strange that you can get quite a heavy grant for solar generation that feeds back into the grid, but not for wind power. C'est la vie. Cheaper insulation, rainwater tanks, solar hot water, etc etc.
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I'm not one of those dykes who was horrified by Katy Perry's protestations that she kissed a girl and she liked it. Hey, she's admitting she did like it, even if was supposedly to impress the boyfriend. At least ostensibly-het women can actually sing about that kind of thing these days - sure, it's naff and exploitative, but there are a fuckton of more revoltingly exploitative things out there right now (such as 90% of music videos, from the last time I bothered watching them on TV. At the gym, I think).

But, anyway, there's a nice riposte to Katy Perry out there now, from Jen Foster: I Didn't Just Kiss Her (MyFace page)

I didn't just kiss her
Went all the way and she liked it
She likes to think she didn't invite it
But these scratches are because she tried to bite it
She whispered that she wanted to put it in me
She swore she would she respect me
But when the sun came up she left without a warning

Just mildly pleasant musically to me (acoustic-ish pop, and her voice is a bit Anastasia-ish), but yeah, like those words. :-)

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And so are the men in South Africa (and many other places around the world, including the so-called "first world"), who carry out "corrective rapes":

It's a video, and likely to be disturbing for many, although it isn't graphic.

So, yeah, I'm lucky I was born where and when I was, and that I live in the kind of places I do. I'm not immune to rape, but I'm less likely to be targeted for it just because I'm a dyke. Although, of course, I do know people who were raped just because they were dykes. Or trans. Or sex workers. Or powerless in a myriad of ways.

trixtah: (Fem-uh-nist)
So Bush was so bad, the US was able to suck it up and elect a black president.

Now that Iceland has had a financial meltdown (and I remember those ads for Icelandic banks when I was living in England), they are going to appoint an out lesbian, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, as the caretaker prime minister until the next election. First openly gay head of government in the world. Yay.

So, yay for barriers being broken down in many places. (And yes, I realise these people were very much elected/appointed on their merits - facetiousness r us!)

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So, we liberal leftie types are supposed to tolerate difference, and accept individuality and yadda yadda. Well, I think we mostly do try. But after this Proposition 8 thing - and actually, I'm not a person who is interested in fighting for gay marriage, per se - it's time to point the finger and say that tolerating difference is fine up until the point that others start to impinge on our lives.

I hate what the LDS church is doing. I dislike the Mormon hierarchy and most of their doctrines. I think their interference in politics is dangerous, unethical and frankly revolting. There are plenty of people around who hate the Scientologists and what they do. Ok, they prey on vulnerable people, run questionable programmes, and try and scalp lots of money off the gullible. This is pretty much in common with plenty of religious/cult practice. As far as I know, however, they do not interfere in national politics, except to try and protect their tax-free status by maintaining they are a religion, and using copyright law to censor people.

I think the LDS, Catholic and Open Brethren (the latter, especially in the antipodes) churches are some of the more pernicious influences in the political landscape. They demand all the privileges of their status as religious bodies, while using their special influence on people's lives to attempt to direct their political choices. While demanding those legal privileges, they do their best to avoid any areas of the law of the land (taxes, anti-discrimination legislation, etc) that don't suit them, because, really, they only answer to a superior Law (the one that they invented).

They have a dangerous ethos that is like the Bush/Monroe Doctrine of ethics - we feel threatened, so we will invade your privacy and your rights, and we will do our best to create law that supports our particular line of moral judgement. It disgusts me and angers me.

I know people who are Catholic, and Mormon, and even a former Open Brethren. Most of them are decent people who say "live and let live", even if they don't precisely approve of my lifestyle. That's fine. I don't need their approval, I need their non-interference (where my life doesn't impact on theirs). What I don't understand is how such decent people can support institutions that go out of their way to interfere in my life. I don't know how they can revere the individuals who run these institutions and who make the decisions to invade my domain.

I know some of their members are "fighting from within" to achieve change (and look at the changes in the Anglican church over these last 30 years) - but now, in the present, regarding that vast majority in such institutions who support their political aims, tithe, attend services and cheer the hatred, and who then go along to the ballot box, just as their pastor has told them, and vote to take away our rights... right now, they disgust me. I don't ask for their acceptance, support or love. I want to live my life. I would love to be tolerant and say that I will be happy to let them live theirs. But when a prime focus of these churches, the Catholic, the Mormon, the Brethren, and many others, seems to be to deny me the right to live my life, then, I'm afraid, my tolerance for the quirks of others, and my tolerance of their living their lives at the expense of mine, disappears without a trace.

There are some words by Oliver Wendell Holmes that these churches could do to remember (in non-gendered language):

The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.

If we swap "fist" with "unmandated political influence", and "nose" with "life", the analogy is obvious. In sum, butt the fuck out, and I will accord the same courtesy in return.
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Best GraphJam evar. Although I agree with the commentors who say "I Want To Break Free" should really be at the far right of that graph.
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Unless you've been totally ignoring the media, you'll probably be aware that Californian gays have today been given the right to marry. That's very nice. However, this topic has been driving me nuts for the last while that it's been in the media, because I'm not in favour of gay marriage, nor any kind of legally-binding marriage at all, for that matter.

The Polyamorous Misanthrope has nicely pre-empted the rant I was going to do about it sometime this week here:

For myself, I’d like to see a disconnect between the legal institution of marriage and the social behaviors of romance.  We humans are social creatures and I think it’s important for the legal structures to recognize and support the very natural human desire to form partnerships for mutual benefit.  However, the whole romance thing is really muddying a lot of the waters.

I’d like to see cohabitation and parenting contracts that specifically exclude the concept of a romantic relationship, which marriage is presumed to be right now.  (i.e. “I don’t give a damn if it’s Twoo Wuv or not.  The kids need to be taken care of, and the damn bills need to be paid!”)

I don't know about "cohabitation contracts" per se, but I do think creating financial/property contracts or trusteeships should be a matter of registering standardised forms with an authority for a standard fee. So too with guardianships, legal and health powers of attorney, legal next-of-kin/beneficiaries and so on and so forth. At present, other than being het and getting married, the only way you can get such things drawn-up is to pay a lawyer umpteen squillion an hour to get it done on a custom basis.

If people want to re-enact all that stuff about "woman as chattel" or have a religious (or other) ceremony for their relationship, great, go to it. But that ceremony should not be of legal significance, and the partners should still have to specifically assign the rights they want to give to their partners using the standard format.

But you should be able to choose who you want to assign those rights to, no matter how many (except perhaps with powers of attorney, which might require only one individual), what genders, and whether or not you happen to be shagging them.

Some interesting comments in the [ profile] polyamory thread on the post, including [ profile] surelars' opinion that preferring a different partnership model shouldn't preclude being in favour of gay marriage, in terms of aligning the level of rights across the queer/het divide. I personally feel suspicious that fighting so hard to join that particular club might end up meaning that the club way will become the only way - that rights for partners who choose not to get married might end up being eroded. It hasn't appeared to have happened yet in countries that have enacted some kind of gay marriage/domestic partnership scheme, but I'm definitely watching that space.

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Following on from my post here.

I have to confess that this one shocked me a bit!

Boys. Girls. Boys that were girls. Girls that were boys.
Being a New Zealander, how did you cope in your old country with realising (and then taking action on) your own preferences for partners? Is it still as conservative as some people would have us believe? Or is there a new wave of (im)morality through the islands?

As a New Zealander, I was in a pretty privileged position where I came out, and when I did. The place was definitely a backwater until the end of the 1970s, but in the last 30 years, I think it's become one of the most socially-liberal places in the world (leaving aside Northern Europe, of course. Heh.) It's more liberal, in general, than Australia is after the depredations of the Howard regime. It's a fuckton more liberal than the US.

NZ passed the Homosexual Law Reform act in 1986. This decriminalised gay sex, although lesbian sex, following British precedent, had never been criminalised. The fundie churches and various other odds and sods fought long and hard about it - the fundies had compiled a huge petition, and lost a lot of points when it was found that a large proportion of the signatures had been forged. I know of more than one of my exes who signed at the time because it had been passed around at their church and they couldn't not sign. It was my last year of school, I had just come out myself, and so I remember it all very very well. I was out there with my little placard on a number of occasions. It passed by 49 to 44 votes in Parliament. The age of consent was set for 16, same as for het sex.

Full equal rights under the law came a little later. The Police, who were run by a fundie Christian, initially made noises about attempting to gain an exemption to any anti-discriminatory provisions in law. Unfortunately, that was undermined when the NZ Army, Navy and Air Force all said "bring it on" and they had no problem with queers in the military (although I know of one captain who had left a couple of years earlier because she could no longer cope with the fear of discovery). So, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality was outlawed in 1993. The Human Rights Commission (who polices the Human Rights Act) have also said that discrimination against transsexuals is outlawed by the already-existing measures against discrimination by reason of sex. NZ had the first transsexual mayor (of a conservative country town!) and Member of Parliament in the world, Georgina Beyer (who was also a former prostitute and very open about her past. 

Legislation was passed in 2000 giving property rights to couples living in defacto relationships - this made no distinction between same-sex or opposite-sex partners. A Civil Union act was eventually passed in 2004, and essentially gives the same rights as marriage. It also applies to gay or straight couples. There are currently 5 out MPs in Parliament, out of 120. There are still a few hiding in the woodwork, but the most commonly rumoured-about ones are in the National (conservative) party, so I'm afraid my sympathy level for them is about zero. The only rights that gay people don't have is the right to adopt as a couple - this also applies to straight couples who aren't married. This week, a new report by the Human Rights Commission has recommended that anyone should be able to alter their sex on their passport, no matter what the state of their genitalia is (the law currently requires that you've had "the op"). All the mainstream reporting on it that I've seen so far has been sympathetic. Personally, I think gender should go the way of all the other "identifying marks" that used to be on passports, and just disappear.

So, that's the political background, which informs the social background. I find that kiwis are more accepting of unostentatious difference compared to almost any other country I've visited (except perhaps the UK). And sometimes a bit of ostentation is fine too. For years, the queer pride parade was second-only to the Xmas parade for bringing everyone onto the streets to watch the spectacle. Everyone, gay or straight, refers to their "partner", if they're not married, and often even then with the younger generations. The queer communities aren't so ghettoised as they are elsewhere. For example, there is currently no gay bar in the capital city, Wellington. There was one, which closed quite recently. That's because there are a zillion "mixed" venues where you can hang out with whomever you like. Sure, there are still plenty of places that you wouldn't want to do sucky-face on the dancefloor, but no more so than wearing yuppie threads and frequenting yer average beer barn.

My family are very average, and certainly not politically to the left, or particularly "educated", and we're not particularly close, and they haven't given a shit about my sexuality. My mother has had much more difficulty with the poly thing (but she doesn't "disapprove" per se, she's concerned). My partners have attended Xmas dos and the like with my extended family, and again, it's no biggie. Of course, I'm the big bad butch (hah), and most of my partners have been way more socially presentable than I am.

Traditional Maori and Pacific Island culture has always been more open to queer sexuality, although that has been massively undermined by the influence of various churches. But that underlying acceptance still remains, and has influenced the rest of NZ culture (especially in the North Island). I think the only people who actually have any problem with queers in NZ are solely those who are part of an evangelical or fundamentalist religion. These extreme religions are on the rise in terms of congregation, but really only because they're poaching members from more traditional churches. NZ is one of the most secular countries in the world - only about half identify themselves as Christian, compared to 64% of Australians and 79% of Americans. A third of NZers say they have "no religion", compared to 19% of Australians and 15% of Americans. This makes a difference.

So, yeah, the days of kiwis escaping to Oz or the UK from the social strictures that were prevalent until the 80s are well gone. In fact, it's almost the reverse from the POV of a number of queer Aussies I know (although we can all breathe a mighty sigh of relief with the change in govt here, we hope). I certainly had many many doubts about moving here due to the relative differences these days, especially the legal ones (no civil unions, and no Commonwealth anti-discrimination law) but Canberra isn't bad - it's like a medium-sized city back home in that respect. Of course, there is a bit more diversity here (in Melbourne and Sydney, I should probably say) over all, but only as a function of a larger population.

So, sorry for the very very long rambling answer, but I was a bit surprised that that perception of NZ still seems to exist. I've experienced very little difficulty due to my sexuality (yeah, I've been called "dyke" and "faggot"(!) on the street, but not in over 18 years), and I knew people who were gaybashed way back when. But it's certainly way better than most countries around the world, including most of the "West".

The missionary William Yate got the whole thing off to a bang in the historical record by seducing dozens of "native youths" and British officers in the early colonial days. There was a bit of a hiatus for a number of years, but I think the "wave of immorality" in NZ is continuing its resurgence, strong and steady. :-)
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I've started a wee blog on the garden that [ profile] saluqi and I have put in at her and [ profile] faxon's house. We started the garden last year, but since I need something to track what worked (beans! potatoes!) and what didn't work (corn! beetroot!), I thought a blog would do the trick.

You can share my fascination for compost, and the highs and lows of cauliflowers refusing to develop heads (when they haven't been totally devoured by caterpillars). We'll get some piccies up there too, especially now there's stuff growing in most of the wee plots (it's a very small garden - just 1.2 x 3 metres).

On the silliness front, I just needed to share Lily Tomlin's informercial on vibrators: (deadpan) Well, doesn't it kill romance, you say. And I say, whut doesn't.

And I had a whole burble (l/j ated it) on the hotness (attractive, intelligent, musical, powerful, freckles, cute smile) of Condoleezza Rice, and why it's so wrong. It seems that my hot-woman-with-dyke-potential-dar is going strong, given recent rumours. I also like the article for pointing out it's the powerful women in politics who get the lavender herring thrown at them, whatever the truth might be.
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Well, I just got to see Itty Bitty Titty Committee. It's a "look at grassroots-style feminist groups and the feisty young women who run them."

It follows a bunch of lesbo-anarcho-feminists in a group who run around shagging each other and carrying out "actions". I would probably have loved it 15 years ago, and it's kind of cute and amusing with the mild piss-takes of earnest queer/feminist politics. But it felt incredibly dated. Well, ok, there is a t/g character, and they have a website and mini camcorder. But they are listening to riot grrl punk (does anyone who wasn't around at the time actually buy Sleater-Kinney nowadays?), buying and making zines, reading 70's and 80's rad fem works, and not looking at anyone's website except their own. Oh, and they text each other as well. But does anyone have a standalone answer machine that's not their mobi's voicemail these days?

Really, it added up to adolescent dyke drama, lots of outmoded politics and passé music to me. The director, Jamie Babbit, is nearly my age, and I liked But I'm a Cheerleader. The humour about the "scene" was very reminiscent of that movie. But something supposedly situated today should actually be situated in the present. Or, if she had made the movie about the Queer Nation days of the early 90s, it would have been fine.

The cast were good, and quite a lot of the stuff portrayed was excruciatingly familiar. Maybe that's part of the reason I really felt like Jenny Shimizu's grumpy eye-rolling character throughout - been there, done that, and I don't need to relive it again (what was done at the time politically was valuable in many respects, and the whole ACT-UP/QN thing was very energising, but strategies and politics evolve, even if many of the issues haven't). And the interpersonal fuckups were too horribly real - amusing at times, but also cringeworthy.  God, maybe I am getting middle-aged. Unfortunately, Jamie Babbit's attempt to shoehorn nostalgia into a modern setting didn't really work for me.

6½ out of 10, for the sharply-observed characters and interpersonal stuff, even if I thought throughout, "Thank god I'm no longer 19!!" And, actually, the portrayal of the political shenanigans too, even if it is 15 years late. But I had to subtract 2 points for outdatedness and at least half for the movie name: " on-campus group called the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, whose focus is to empower women who suffer from D-cup envy." Obviously I've been a little too subsumed in some of those retro values when I find it not at all amusing from the viewpoint of someone suffering from less-than-D-cup envy. Or maybe real feminists really do have small tits. (I know, I know... it made me grumpy, as I say).
trixtah: (Fem-uh-nist)
After my wee bitch session the other day about Radio Man at work, I started thinking about the ways in which we balance our working selves and our outside-of-work selves. Obviously, there are plenty of people who can gaily head off to work and not feel like there is a tension between the two - you fit into the work culture just as much as everyone else does in the organisation. Others don't give a toss about it - they work in a job where it doesn't matter at all how you present yourself (ie. it's shit work); or, they have unassailable self-confidence; or, it's a very tolerant working environment. Others can be in stealth mode - they can "pass" and choose what parts of their non-work selves they want to reveal. Others, like me, can't pass if they tried.

There have been a few occasions where I felt no tension at all about fitting in - my first serious job, which was at a women's printing company, and two universities. The nice thing about universities in general is that they hire people around the world (well, at least in the three countries I've lived in) who would ordinarily find it difficult to get work that suited their skills.

Obviously, everyone needs to compromise to some degree to fit into a working environment. I'm a left-wing mouthy feminist child-free dyke foreigner, but to fit in with my relatively conservative, Australian, small-town orientated (Canberra is a small town), male techie colleagues in a quasi-government enterprise run by not-quite-dead white men, there is a limit to how much of the iconoclastic routine I can pull off without isolating myself. I had a job for seven years where I had backed myself into that corner, at least from a management point of view, and I can tell you it's a very awkward place to be in. Also, one of the effects of having gone to way too many schools as a kid is my sensitivity to that feeling of being out on a limb by myself, with no allies. I can't work like that.

Essentially my career has comprised of a pretty finely-judged balancing routine. I often go at things like a bull in a china shop... where there is no risk to me. Being out of work, or being put into a miserable situation workwise is not a risk I am willing to accept. Yes, everyone at work knows that I'm a left-wing mouthy feminist of questionable sexuality. However, I am not isolated by my peers because I choose which battles to fight. I have men trying to piss in my professional corner on what seems to be a monthly  basis, one way or another, and I very very very strongly defend my professional realm.

Do I run around saying "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it?" No. Do I say to certain individuals' faces, "Look, I realise you're a middle-aged honky engineering-orientated married-with-kids male, but could you get rid of some of your more stupid assumptions"? No. Do I tell them off when they start with the racist jokes in front of me? Yes. Do I tell them not to forward me any of those stupid "battle of the sexes" emails, even if, according to at least one colleague, I should like them because they're "putting down men"? Of course I tell them not to. Do I tell them to keep their filthy mitts out of my servers because I am the Technical Authority for the mail system, in just the same way that one guy is the TA for the comms network, and I require the same amount of control over what happens on my systems? Of course I do, because that is language they understand.

I wouldn't be where I am without being assertive, and assertive about being perceived as good at my job. But I very carefully choose the areas I'm assertive in. All I want from my colleagues is professional respect, and their personal backing in the work we carry out together. Getting that personal backing can be a tricky thing to achieve, given the fact the only things I have in common with them are shared language (thank god) and profession. I have no interest in talking with them about cars, kids, crappy music, "the wife", or sports. I do not trust my colleagues to validate all aspects of myself, and by throwing too much of my non-conformity into their faces, I risk professional isolation and disrespect. And once that happens, you might as well quit, because you ain't going nowhere careerwise.

If I want to feel personally validated and have a bitch session about the cluelessness of certain individuals from the perspective of having my own personal reference points understood (you know, the queer, butch, feminist thing), I rely on my loved ones and friends to there for me. And thank god for L/J for providing some of those functions of cultural community which I'd find difficult to track down here otherwise (although I'm starting to).

It's also interesting how many differences one can cope with at once. I found London pretty difficult to take, because I had horrendous culture shock, and no support network. The fact that London has an extremely diverse population was a help. Things also improved once I had a girlfriend or two and started working in one of the aforementioned tolerant environments - I suspect they would have been even more bearable if I'd had this as an outlet as well. Canberra has the advantage of being more similar to my own culture, to a degree, and it certainly isn't really really conservative either, just small-town-like... but I don't feel anywhere near as secure here as I do at home. Again, though, there is the balancing act between expressing more parts of myself and avoiding risk.

I'd be interested to hear what other people find of risk to themselves professionally or in living with whatever dominant community they find themselves in, and how they mitigate or deal with those risks. Also, what do you reveal so that your core values aren't totally run over in the working environment. I don't put up with racist, sexist or homophobic remarks, but it's easy enough coming from someone as "identifiable" as I am... although I'm still amazed at how much I'm expected to nod along at quasi-racist remarks in what is ostensibly a middle-class environment. People who are more stealth in their presentation must choose how much mental whiplash to give to someone who assumes they share a certain conventional value set - much can be done without being self-revealing, but does it plant "seeds of suspicion"? Avoiding such situations is generally best, but some people just need to be hit over the head with the inappropriateness of their statements - people might bitch about "PC", but at least these days you can use that as a clobbering stick without having to necessarily compromise yourself with some wanker who would attempt to use any personal information.
trixtah: (evil)
Check out the billboard. And the ad clip is here.

While I'm totally across the imagery (it cracks me up how rugby union players insist on their straight cred), I'm just wondering who the target market actually is? Gay men into butch rugby players? Straight women who get off on guys kissing? (and there should really be a term for that)

I can't help thinking the average rugby aficionado isn't going to be too impressed. Bad me! Stereotyping!


trixtah: (Default)

January 2016

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