Productivity is not the same thing as accomplishment. It doesn’t exist as a concept to justify anyone’s existence or continued employment or general worthiness. It exists to justify denying these things when it proves expedient to do so.
We are worth more than the wealth we generate for others. We are more than the tasks we can check off on a checklist. We have value that cannot quantified by any metric.
The first thing in life is to do what you need. Sometimes, success means you get by even when the world doesn’t recognize the value of your existence.
“As soon as teenage girls start to profess love for something, everyone else becomes totally dismissive of it. Teenage girls are open season for the cruelest bullying that our society can dream up. Everyone’s vicious to them. They’re vicious to each other. Hell, they’re even vicious to themselves. It’s terrible.
“So if teenage girls have something that they love, isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t it better for them to find some words they believe in, words like the ‘fire-proof and fearless’ lyrics that Jacqui wrote? Isn’t it better for them to put those words on their arm in a tattoo than for them to cut gashes in that same skin? Shouldn’t we be grateful when teenage girls love our work? Shouldn’t that be a fucking honor?
“It’s used as the cheapest, easiest test of crap, isn’t it? If teenage girls love a movie, a book, a band, then it’s immediately classified as mediocre shit. Well, I’m not going to stand for that. Someone needs to treat them like they’re precious, and if nobody else is ready to step up, I guess it’s up to us to put them on the path to recognizing that about themselves.”"
From birth we’re taught that we’re owed a beautiful girl. We all think of ourselves as the hero of our own story, and we all (whether we admit it or not) think we’re heroes for just getting through our day.
So it’s very frustrating, and I mean frustrating to the point of violence, when we don’t get what we’re owed. A contract has been broken. These women, by exercising their own choices, are denying it to us. It’s why every Nice Guy is shocked to find that buying gifts for a girl and doing her favors won’t win him sex. It’s why we go to “slut” and “whore” as our default insults — we’re not mad that women enjoy sex. We’re mad that women are distributing to other people the sex that they owed us.
Yes, the women in these stories are being portrayed as wonderful and beautiful and perfect. But remember, there are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them."
Here’s a sample:
Gender isn’t simply a biological trait; it’s a societal one. The female experience is different from that of the male, and if, as a male writer, you cannot accept that basic premise, then you will never, ever, be able to write women well. A man walking alone through Midtown Manhattan at three in the morning may have concerns for his safety, but I promise you, it’s a very different experience for a woman taking the same walk, and it’s different again for a man wearing a dress. Think about it. That’s a societal factor, and it’s a gendered one, and this is not and can not be subject to debate. If you’re looking to argue that sexism is a thing of the past, that the world is gender-blind, you’re not only wrong, you’re lying to yourself.
I recommend you go read the rest.
So I’ve been seeing a lot of things on my dash lately that have been making me really uncomfortable, and I realized that a lot of the people doing these things were people I like, people I respect, people who I think are genuinely good people who probably don’t realize that they’re doing or why it’s problematic. If you read through this and wonder if it’s about you, it probably is: please don’t be offended. Just take a step back and think instead.
Gay characters on television (in this case, almost exclusively male gay characters) get a lot of attention from Tumblr. This in itself isn’t inherently a bad thing. Gay characters often have plotlines and background that are just as - or even moreso - interesting than those of their straight counterparts. We like seeing something different on our favourite show, we like to feel like the things we’re watching are diverse and inclusive. All of these are good intentions. Unfortunately, what seems to be happening is that this gets taken to a whole other level. For some reason the gay characters have become automatically more interesting than any hetero characters, gay ships are more engrossing than hetero ships (A LOT of which has to do with the internalized sexism that goes on in pretty much every television fandom, but that’s another thing for another day), even if these characters or ships are fleeting or badly written or incredibly problematic, until it gets to this point where you’re shipping any two boys you can get your hands on regardless of actual compatibility, actual well-roundedness, or foundation, or anything other than “Two boys together!”. It turns into this obsession. I’ve seen it happen, I see it on my dash every day.
This takes me to a whole other thing. Shipping people irl is really a huge issue. I don’t mean real person fiction, I’m a part of that fandom myself. Something most rpfers pride themselves on is their ability to compartmentalize real!Celebrity from fic!Celebrity. What I’m talking about is when you’re out to lunch and you see two boys driving in a car together and you ship them. Or you’re at the campus center and two boys are sitting next to each other and you’re secretly hoping that they’ll start holding hands. What you’re doing is fetishizing. It’s as similarly creepy as “breaking the fourth wall” when it comes to rpf except probably more damaging. When one single person tweets something weird or creepy at a celebrity, chances are it will be overlooked and life will move on, but when you get to the point where you’ll ship strangers you see in real life just because they’re of the same gender and attractive, you’re losing your ability to compartmentalize, and as a result you’re allowing your entire perception of gayness to be skewed into something that was made for you to watch.
If you’re still not convinced, think of it this way: if a straight boy was constantly seeing “lesbians” everywhere, or talking about how those girls would look so good together, or making up headcanon about you and one of your platonic girlfriends, you would think he was creepy as fuck, sexist, and probably a pervert. Because he isn’t seeing you or other girls as people with real agency, he’s seeing you as an object to project onto. He’s invalidating your personhood and your sexuality and making your actual queer friends feel like their sexuality isn’t a real identity. That is what you’re doing to these boys; straight or gay, real or fictional, you are projecting onto them and invalidating them.
This bothers me with television because I often see people fawn over these characters who are brilliantly written and wonderfully flawed, but are only being appreciated as a Gay Guy or One Half of My Otp. On the other side of the coin, I see characters who only existed for a couple of episodes, who had no real backstory or meat to them being treated the same way- a way which isn’t really deserved or well founded.
If the only things you can tell me about your Otp are “But they’re so right for each other! They just work! They love each other so much!” then I’m probably not going to take your ship very seriously. I think shipping is excellent. I’m a terrible multi-shipper, I’ve got at least three Otps for just about whatever fandom I’m into. But there has to be some kind of thought there. You can’t just ship people together because they’re the same gender. It’s a discredit to yourself and your characters and your show.
Gayness does not exist for you. Your worship of it as cuter or more real or more meaningful than other relationships is damaging and problematic. Gayness in television and other media is not important because you get to ship it. It is not important because it’s a fuck you to your homophobic parents. It is not important because it makes you favourite show more “diverse”. Gayness in media is important because it is representation for people who have not gotten that in the past, and who are still not getting a lot of it unless they’re male, white, and attractive (or in the case of queer female characters, white, young, attractive, and willing to get naked).
What you’re doing does not make you supportive or an ally, it’s problematic and it’s something we really, really need to try and keep in check. I’m so tired of the gay worshiping fetishism on my dash, you guys. Let’s try to fix it.
Control Tonight is apparently a group dedicated to curbing “irresponsible drinking” in youths. And what’s the best way to do that?
Oh, right. Scare tactics. And? Victim-blaming.
If you are disgusted, please contact someone at firstname.lastname@example.org. Elephant Journal even has an example e-mail up:
To Whom it May Concern:
I recently viewed one of your Control Tonight campaign ads against
teen drinking, in which a pair of apparently female legs are sprawled
across a tile floor with underwear around the ankles and a message
reading “02:19A.M. She didn’t want to, but she couldn’t say no.” As a
Pennsylvania resident and taxpayer, not to mention an educator and a
victim of sexual assault, I find this advertisement incredibly
offensive and potentially harmful to the very demographic it is
purporting to protect.
The advertisement implies that unwanted sexual advances are the fault of the victim, not the assailant, and that victims of sexual assault are only to be held blameless insofar as they are sober, if ever. Rape, and sexual assault more generally, are not the results of
actions controlled by the victim–and that includes the victim’s
choice whether or not to have a drink that night. This fact is part of
the definition of assault, and your advertisement’s insinuation
otherwise is not only emotionally hurtful and false, but it is also
potentially dangerous in its implicit excusing of sexual predators for
their actions, as long as their victims have had something to drink.
Tonight, you have made me feel ashamed to call myself a Pennsylvanian. If you actually care about the young women of Pennsylvania, I demand that you reconsider your campaign: Pull this advertisement and those like it from circulation immediately.
*Insert Your Name*
By Eric Idle*
While it is perfectly obvious to everyone that Ben Jonson wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays, it is less known that Ben Jonson’s plays were written by a teen-age girl in Sunderland, who mysteriously disappeared, leaving no trace of her existence, which is clear proof that she wrote them. The plays of Marlowe were actually written by a chambermaid named Marlene, who faked her own orgasm, and then her own death in a Deptford tavern brawl. Queen Elizabeth, who was obviously a man, conspired to have Shakespeare named as the author of his plays, because how could a man who had only a grammar-school education and spoke Latin and a little Greek possibly have written something as bad as “All’s Well That Ends Well”? It makes no sense. It was obviously an upper-class twit who wished to disguise his identity so that Vanessa Redgrave could get a job in her old age.
Many people believe that Richard III not only was a good man who would never hurt a fly but actually wrote “She Stoops to Conquer,” and that the so-called author, Oliver Goldsmith, found the play under a tree in 1773 while visiting Bosworth Field, now a multistory car park (clearly an attempt to cover up the evidence of the ruse). Oscar Wilde’s plays were written by a stable boy named Simon, though Wilde gave them both a good polish. Chaucer was written by a Frenchman on holiday, while Simone de Beauvoir wrote all of Balzac and a good deal of “Les Misérables,” despite the fact that she was not yet born when she did so. Beau Brummell wrote nearly all of Jane Austen, and two men and a cat wrote most of Charles Dickens, with the exception of “A Tale of Two Cities,” which Napoleon wrote while visiting St. Helena. Incidentally, Napoleon was not Napoleon but a man named Trevor Francis, who later turned up playing for Birmingham City.
Thomas Jefferson produced the Declaration with the aid of a ghostwriter, a woman of color named Betty Mae, who was a non-voluntary worker. “Moby-Dick” was written not by Herman Melville but by Herman Melbrooks, who wrote most of it in Yiddish on the boat over from Coney Island. “The Shorter Pepys,” a Penguin paperback, was actually written by the taller Pepys, a man named Doris Pepys, who was no relation but worked as a candle cleaner in Wapping (home of the Liar). Henry James did write all of his own works, because nobody else could be that boring, and, more significant, no one else has ever bothered to claim them.
Mere lack of evidence, of course, is no reason to denounce a theory. Look at intelligent design. The fact that it is bollocks hasn’t stopped a good many people from believing in it. Darwinism itself is only supported by tons of evidence, which is a clear indication that Darwin didn’t write his books himself. They were most likely written by Jack the Ripper, who was probably King Edward VII, since all evidence concerning this has been destroyed.
Paranoia? Of course not. It’s alternative scholarship. What’s wrong with teaching alternative theories in our schools? What are liberals so afraid of? Can’t children make up their own minds about things like killing and carrying automatic weapons on the playground? Bush was right: no child left unarmed. Why this dictatorial approach to learning, anyway? What gives teachers the right to say what things are? Who’s to say that flat-earthers are wrong? Or that the Church wasn’t right to silence Galileo, with his absurd theory (actually written by his proctologist) that the earth moves around the sun. Citing “evidence” is so snobbish and élitist. I think we all know what lawyers can do with evidence. Look at Shakespeare. Poor bloke. Wrote thirty-seven plays, none of them his. ♦
* (Most likely Michael Palin, really.)