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July 2014
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Comics and the language of consent


CW: discussion of rape, consent, consent violation, rape tropes, sexual assault. 

#firerickremender is trending and it’s spurring me to write this piece about the dynamics of consent and the importance of writing clear, clean cut consent when it comes to sexual encounters in comics, instead of the blurred, grey area they currently use. I am not a native English speaker and I apologize for any grammatical error you might find.

I’ve seen adults (or I assume they are from their discourse) talk about the racism and sexism in Remender’s writing but without addressing how one of the target demographics might be impacted by the content of those books. 

That demographic is teenagers and tweens. I remember that I started reading comics when I was about 9 or 10 years old, and they shaped so much of my childhood. At that age, many of us are starting to question and discover our sexuality, our relationship to sex and consent, our identity, all that important stuff that will finally make us the adult that we are going to be. Puberty is about to come knocking, and our whole body and mind are shaping and adapting for it. 

This is why it is important that comics, shows, cartoons, and all the medias targeting that demographic group keep to a clear guideline as to what consent is. Grey area only confuses the teens and enables predators to prey on them with more ease. It also validates those who will choose to prey on others in the future. 

Perpetuating myths like that of the teenage temptress or that blackout drunk sex isn’t rape or traumatizing (spoiler alert, it is) are dangerous. 

Writers need to learn and invest time into what consent is and how to promote safe, sane and consensual sex in comics. 

And when it isn’t safe, sane and consensual? It needs to be called by its name: rape, sexual assault, coercion, and NOT sex. It needs to show consequences and to be addressed respectfully. 

More writers and editors need to invest in the idea that consent is clear, continuous, informed, uncoerced and between people capable of consent

More writers need to have their characters seek consent in all situations. 

More writers need to spell it out when their characters violate consent. 

A 10 years old child reading Captain America might now believe that getting your partner drunk is fine, or that teen girls lie about their age, or any of the other tropes and myths that the book perpetuates. 

Those beliefs are dangerous and harmful. That kid might go on hurting others, or being hurt, because the book failed to address how wrong that whole situation was. 

Art mirrors life, and life mirrors art. It’s a cycle. 

Writers have the power to help shape the next generation’s idea of consent. Are you ready to shoulder that responsibility, Remender? You have the power, Marvel. Show us responsibility

July 2014
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No more silence. No more violence. #NoMore.

July 2014
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"Consensual sex" is just sex. To say that implies that there is such a thing as "non consensual sex", which there isn’t. That’s rape. That is what it needs to be called. There is only sex or rape. Do not teach people that rape is just another type of sex. They are two very separate events. You wouldn’t say "breathing swimming" and "non breathing swimming", you say swimming and drowning.

July 2014
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it is really telling that when guys find out that a lot of women have sexual assault/rape experiences they think that the majority of them are LYING rather than thinking oh this is a huge issue that effects a large portion of women and makes a large group of men predators whoa

July 2014
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#feminism   #rape culture   #fire tw   #alcohol tw   #food tw   #nsfr   
July 2014
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mycatsneezeslikealot asked

if men and women should have equal rights then why are you against men wanting rights? feminism isn't about women being better then men is it?...


im against men complaining about wanting ‘mens rights’ because it’s never about wanting anything other than to silence and talk over women.

if men’s rights activists worked to open crisis centers for male victims of abuse and survivors of sexual violence i would love that. if men’s rights activists worked toward support and parenting classes and education for single fathers that would be amazing. if men’s rights activists worked toward educating fellow men on practicing safe sex and consent i would be so on board. if men’s rights activists worked toward breaking down the chains of racism of their brothers of colour i would be so happy. if men’s rights activists advocated for anything of value i would be so down for it all.

instead men’s rights activists sit on the fucking internet talking over women and attempting to silence them and their oppression with arbitrary add-ons, bullshit about the friendzone, and useless fucking nonsense.

so no. i have zero use for men’s rights activists because it’s never about advocating for things men need and instead it’s always about making sure women shut up about what they need. they aren’t “men’s rights activists” they’re “anti women activists”. point blank.

finally feminism is not about women being better than men nor is it about being equal to men. feminism is about women being liberated from men. i have no desire to be considered “equal” to the system of power that allows men to abuse, murder, and rape us. i want liberation from patriarchy and men.

July 2014
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What men don’t understand is that women are FIERCELY PROTECTIVE of underage girls because we remember when we were young and some adult man made us uncomfortable or manipulated us or was inappropriate with us and we were powerless.

June 2014
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Kate and Kaya’s Super Fun Little White Lies Analysis

After analyzing the results of our survey, we found a lot of participants had issues with this song, and so we decided to take a closer look.

(Song lyrics in bold are from Little White Lies by One Direction. Italicized song lyrics are from Blurred Lines by Robin Dicke Thicke.)

June 2014
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June 2014
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A few months back, I was asked to participate in a debate on the topic of whether men should have to pay on dates. (I was “the feminist.”) It turned out that the male debater and I didn’t really disagree much on that topic. I said that, generally, whoever asks the other person out pays for that date, and then at some point couples generally transition into sharing costs in whatever way works for them. He was actually pretty happy to pay for first dates; he just wanted women to say thank you and to not use him. I had no problem with that.

I think he said that women should offer to pay half, knowing they’ll probably be turned down. I said, well, sometimes — but what if the other person invited you someplace really expensive? What if you agreed to a date with the guy and he spent an hour saying crazy racist shit to you and you felt like you couldn’t escape? This is what led to our real disagreement.

The male debater felt strongly that if a woman wasn’t interested in a second date, she should say so on the spot. If the man says, “Let’s do this again sometime,” the woman shouldn’t say, “Sure, great,” and then back out later. I said that that was a nice ideal, but that he should keep in mind that most women spent most of their lives living in low-level fear of physical aggression from men. I think about avoiding rape (or other violence) every time I walk home from the subway, every time there’s an unexpected knock at the door, and certainly every time I piss off an unhinged man. So, if I were on a date with a man who I felt was unbalanced, creepy, overly aggressive, or possibly violent, and he asked if I wanted to “do this again sometime,” I would say whatever I felt would avoid conflict. And then I would leave, wait awhile, and hope that letting him down politely a few days later would avoid his finding me and turning my skin into an overcoat.

The male debater was furious that I had even brought this up. He felt that the threat of violence against women was irrelevant, and that I was playing some kind of “rape card” as a debate trick. He got angrier and angrier as we argued. I also got angrier and angrier, although I worked hard to keep speaking in a calm and considered way. He was shouting and cutting me off when I tried to speak. I pointed out that the debater himself was displaying exactly the sort of behavior that would make me very uncomfortable on a date. THAT made him livid.

He then called me “passive-aggressive.”

I was genuinely taken aback. “Actually,” I said, “I call this ‘behaving myself.’” It’s a lot of work to stay calm when you’re just as furious as the other person, and that other person is shouting at you. I felt that I was acting like a grownup — at some emotional cost to myself — and I wanted credit, not insults, for being able to speak in a normal tone of voice when I was having to explain things like, “We can’t tell who the rapists are before they turn violent, so sometimes we have to be cautious with men who do not intend to harm us.”

June 2014
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An ace can find someone attractive and still be ace.

An ace can have sex and still be an ace.

An ace can masturbate and still be an ace.

While I don’t know of any examples, in theory an ace could look at porn and still be an ace.

You see, the thing is aces aren’t blind. We still can appreciate beauty. The human body is beautiful, and we recognize that.

Aces might have sex for a number of reasons. For some it’s to have a kid because they want to do it the traditional way. For others(and I fall into this category) it’s to try to prove to your partner that you really do care about them. And for others you just like knowing you made your partner feel good. That doesn’t mean you’re not an ace. It just means you understand the whole thing about relationships being about compromise and you trust and feel comfortable enough with this person to do things that aren’t necessarily your favorite to do. You still love them though and so you do it anyways, just like a million other things you do in relationships.

Liking the pleasure from orgasms doesn’t stop making you an ace. It just means that your brain is firing off chemical signals like it should. So aces who masturbate are just as normal as aces who don’t. Aces might even have sex for that reason and it doesn’t mean they’re not an ace. Being an ace isn’t the same as ring celibate. Being an ace is not feeling a sexual attraction to other people.

That’s where porn is tricky, but I’d group it with the human body as beauty thing. I don’t know though because I don’t know any aces (including myself, again) that actually watch porn.

The thing is aces just aren’t interested in sex. That doesn’t mean they won’t have it. They might even really want it sometimes. But that’s not a reaction to “oh wow that person’s hot”. It might be a reaction to “I haven’t gotten off in a few days and don’t really feel like doing it myself so I guess I’ll do this.” Or maybe “I really love this person and I don’t know how to say it so why don’t I just do this instead?” Or even “Wow, this (insert non human related kink here) is really turning me on and I need to have it.”(for me that’s words, although I generally still don’t want to have sex)

Being an ace doesn’t mean sex is out of the question. It means you don’t really think about people as sexual things because you’re not really interested in them that way. It means you aren’t making choices not to have sex, it’s just your default setting. It means you look at a human body naked and say “Oh wow, that collar bone looks really cool” instead of “Wow I want to fuck you.”

Aces are a broad spectrum and people can fall at any point on it and still be an ace. So stop ignoring our existence and stop saying “You’re this so you can’t be an ace.” It’s not cool, and it doesn’t make anything different, it’s just hurtful.

If your partner makes you feel as though having sex is the only/an acceptable form of “proof of care,” that’s abusive and coercive — and it’s likely to be rape. Do not have sex with someone who “makes you prove” your feelings to them, regardless of your sexuality. Do not ask, manipulate, or force someone to have sex with you to prove their feelings for you, and do not have sex with someone just because you feel pressured to “prove” emotions, which are mental, in a physical capacity if you don’t feel it.  Do not be with someone who makes you feel in any way as though you have to have sex to “prove” your feelings, regardless of your sexuality.

If you’re having sex with your partner because it gives you pleasure to give them pleasure, that’s your choice and you are in control of your body and your sexuality.  You are benefiting from the interaction of sex and you have a choice that is about you and your comfort and your pleasure and your safety in that context.  That is a good and great thing.

If you’re having sex with your partner as ANY person for their benefit without your own, that is something to really examine and consider the level of equality and equanimity in your relationship about.  If your partner makes you “prove” anything to them, that’s shitty to begin with, but if they’re making you “prove” your emotions through sex — knowing you’re asexual — that’s not someone who cares about your safety and comfort.  It’s just not. 

Sex is not about “proof” of anything, and neither is love.  If your partner knowingly ignores your sexuality/preferences/comfort level and makes you feel like you owe them the fulfillment of their sexuality/preferences/comfort level, that is abuse.

(I know that you were considering yourself in that group, OP, and I don’t know you, but the way that reasoning was worded makes me concerned for you [not said in a judgy way; said in a legitimately worried that you are being emotionally abused and don’t realize it way.])

I like everything in this post except that one sentence, but that’s like. A huge huge huge huge thing to keep in mind within the ace community and also within just every person.  Do not make your partner feel like sex is the ultimate proof of love, and do not have sex with someone who makes you feel like you have to.  That is rape culture.

June 2014
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In the 1930s, men’s nipples were just as provocative, shameful and taboo as women’s are now, and men were protesting in much the same way. In 1930, four men went topless to Coney Island and were arrested. In 1935, a flash mob of topless men descended upon Atlantic City, 42 of whom were arrested. Men fought and they were heard, changing not only laws but social consciousness. And by 1936, men’s bare chests were accepted as the norm.

So why is it that 80 years later women can’t seem to achieve the same for their chests? Why can’t a mother proudly breastfeed her child in public without feeling sexualized? why is a 17-year-old girl being asked to leave her own prom because a group of fathers find her too provocative?

[…] I am not trying to argue for mandatory toplessness, or even bralessness. What I am arguing for is a woman’s right to choose how she represents her body — and to make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. No woman should be made to feel ashamed of her body.

 - Scout Willis, in XOJane, on Instagram’s nudity policy and why she recently strolled the NYC streets topless. Solid essay all around. I found this piece particularly interesting because I’d never heard about the men’s nipples thing. (via batmansymbol)
June 2014
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A post for men about creepy men


I wrote a post a while back about how some people are very good at getting away with doing intentionally creepy things by passing themselves off as just ~awkward~.

Recently, I noticed a particular pattern that plays out. While creeps can be any gender, there’s a gendered pattern by which creepy men get other men to help them be creepy:

  • A guy runs over the boundaries of women constantly
  • He makes them very uncomfortable and creeped out
  • But he doesn’t do that to guys, and
  • He doesn’t talk to guys about it in an unambiguous way, and
  • When he does it in front of guys, he finds a way to make it look deniable
  • And then some women complain to a man, maybe even a man in charge who is supposed to be responsible for preventing abuse in a space
  • and he has no idea what they are talking about, since he’s never the target or witness
  • And he’s had a lot of pleasant interactions with that guy
  • So he sympathizes with him, and thinks he must mean well but be have trouble with social skills
  • And then takes no action to get him to stop or to protect women
  • And so the group stays a place that is safe for predatory men, but not for the women they target

For example:

  • Mary, Jill, and Susan: Jim, Bob’s been making all of us really uncomfortable. He’s been sitting way too close, making innuendo after everything we say, and making excuses to touch us.
  • Bill: Wow, I’m surprised to hear that. Bob’s a nice guy, but he’s a little awkward. I’m sure he doesn’t mean anything by it. I’m not comfortable accusing him of something so serious from my position of authority.

What went wrong here?

  • Bill assumed that, if Bob was actually doing something wrong, he would have noticed.
  • Bill didn’t think he needed to listen to the women who were telling him about Bob’s creepy actions. He didn’t take seriously the possibility that they were right. 
  • Bill assumed that women who were uncomfortable with Bob must be at fault; that they must be judging him too harshly or not understanding his awkwardness
  • Bill told women that he didn’t think that several women complaining about a guy was sufficient reason to think something was wrong
  • Bill assumed that innocently awkward men should not be confronted about inadvertantly creepy things they do, but rather women should shut up and let them be creepy

A rule of thumb for men:

  • If several women come to you saying that a man is being creepy towards them, assume that they are seeing something you aren’t
  • Listen to them about what they tell you
  • If you like the guy and have no idea what they’re talking about, that means that what he is doing is *not* innocent awkwardness.
  • If it was innocent awkwardness, he wouldn’t know how to hide it from other men
  • Men who are actually just awkward and bad at understanding boundaries also make *other men* uncomfortable
  • If a man is only making women uncomfortable but not men, that probably means he’s doing it on purpose
  • Take that possibility seriously, and listen to what women tell you about men

tl;dr If you are a man, other men in your circle who are nice to you are creepy towards women. Don’t assume that if something was wrong that you would have noticed; creepy men are good at finding the lines of what other men will tolerate. Listen to women. They know better than you do whether a man is being creepy and threatening towards women; if they think something is wrong, listen and find out why. Don’t tolerate give predatory dudes who are nice to you cover to keep hurting women.

June 2014
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California prisons sterilized female inmates without permission (by RTAmerica)

June 2014
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Stop calling me “someone’s daughter.”

I’m someone.

That should be enough reason not to hurt me.

 - Ragehound (via ragehound)