Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Anniversaries

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Internet, Personal
Tags: ,

This blog is a year old today. The year went pretty quickly in a load of ways, both on and off the internet, and I imagine that next year will probably go even quicker.

I started it because I thought I had enough to say and enough time to say it in to make it worth my while. Since then, my posts got longer and more nuanced and then less and less frequent. I’ve learned a lot in the year and made a bunch of mess-ups but it’s definitely been worth it, and I’m definitely not stopping. This has been somewhere to rant about the things that are messed up in the world while hopefully putting the rant in a place where it can possibly help others deal with their own situations.

This is also around the time of year I came out to people, a while since. A couple of months after the first coming-out, but about the same time as what was probably the most distressing, since the person concerned was closer to me than anyone else and neither of us handled it that well. I think I’ve changed since then, become more confident in myself and who I am – even if I do have the normal pangs of self-doubt – and I hope that I’m handling talking to others about it better.

Some things have got worse. I think my experience of dissonance got worse after I came out to myself – I’m pretty sure that having a name for it and the knowledge that it wasn’t just me meant that I stopped suppressing it – but on the other hand stopping suppressing it freed up some of my other emotions. Which was probably a good thing. Maybe.

So this is just a ramble. Thank you for reading, comrades, and I’ll try to get my post output up. Hopefully that will happen when I stop getting to hide my head under a rock, which I have been for a while and will be rudely jerked out of very shortly by the resumption of my education.

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Now, there’s plenty about the stuff in this article (technology to ID online avatars) that worries me, but I’m neither tech-savvy nor feeling well enough to articulate most of it. However, there is one bit of it that I am going to tear a large hole in.

I notice that the main interviewee remarks that ‘Working out if [the avatar’s] controller is male or female has an obvious commercial benefit.’ What obvious commercial benefit? Oh yeah, so that an oversimplified binary view of humanity can be even more starkly entrenched. And how on earth can this stuff tell that anyway?

Tip – you cannot know a person’s gender (or the gender of a person’s online avatar) unless they tell you. There is no ‘male’ behaviour or ‘female’ behaviour, the binary system of sex/gender is far too simplistic and erases large sections of the population, the idea is a minefield when the fact that non-cis people exist is taken into consideration and this whole thing is gender essentialist pile of failure with the supposed ‘goal’ of further entrenching the kyriarchy and capitalism. Gendered ads should not be gendered; enforcing a strict division between ‘men’ and ‘women’ hurts everybody, binary or not. It enforces sexism, can easily contribute to cissexism and is binarist in its very nature.

Mr MacMaster, you should be utterly fucking ashamed of yourself. You think you can speak for the marginalised? Over the marginalised, making their lives more fucking dangerous while you carry on with your absurdly privileged life? And you think that’s okay?

It’s really, really not.

You wrote a story, constructed a fiction. You did not have to live that reality. You had the privilege to disengage. And you thought that doing that was acceptable. You thought that wearing an internet mask for a few posts on a blog could even approach the real experience. You thought wrong. Other people don’t have the luxury of being able to take the mask off – because for them, it’s their true face.

You appropriated people’s experiences, overruled the voices of those who actually had those experiences. You’ve made their lives more dangerous. You could have caused people to put themselves in truly dangerous situations, while you were sitting safely mired in your privilege. You’ve inserted your straight, cis, white, Western, male self into a discourse where you have no business being because you simply know nothing about the issue. I know nothing about the issues you attempted to write about, but I sure as hell know that it would be an act of breathtaking arrogance and imperialism, it would be totally and utterly wrong, to appropriate an identity, such as the one you took on. Rather, the role of those of us who have no place, in the discourse is to listen. To accept the conclusions of others’ discussions about their selves and try to aid them in their goals. Not to elbow our way in under false pretences and speak over others’ voices. Not to mention, you’re now the blogger who cried wolf. And that could
have serious consequences. You took people’s compassion, their trust, and you betrayed it.

We all know that online interaction is hard because there’s no way of knowing the exact truth. But that’s why, especially in internet
spheres that rest on people’s accounts of their experiences, it’s vital that people do not appropriate identities. Doing so is unethical, appropriative and deceitful. It’s made everyone’s online identities easier to attack, too. I can give no proof but my word that I am a young, queer, agender person from/in the UK. But how easy would it be for someone to claim that my writing was invalid because they thought I was someone like MacMaster? Very easy. And how could I disprove it? I couldn’t. The fact that I really am who I say I am is unprovable – but I swear that I am, and I don’t break oath.

Everything about this (and the Bill Graber/Lez Get Real thing) stinks of privilege, massive, unchecked privilege. Thoughtlessness,
entitlement, imperialism, appropriation. It stinks. I don’t even have a sense of smell and I can tell that. It leaves an utterly bad taste in the mouth, and they should both be ashamed of themselves.

I’ve come across a load of people on the internet claiming that they have an ‘unpopular opinion’ and then spouting a load of bigoted, kyriarchal slime. It seems to be, along with ‘irony,’ a very common way that bigotry reveals itself. But you know what?

Don’t call it an unpopular opinion if it’s an oppressive, kyriarchal one. Because it’s not. It’s just bigotry, and that, my unfriends, is extremely popular.

Put it this way. If misahetery/misohomy is an unpopular opinion, why is it okay to say, ‘that’s so gay’? Why is that phrase normalised? The clue’s in the word ‘normalised.’ It’s normal. Slowly becoming less normal, but for a non-heterosexual person it is still absolutely normal to find that most people around you either a. hate your sexuality, b. are uncomfortable with it or c. want to ignore it. That’s a sure-fire sign of the normalisation of misahetery/misohomy and heterosexism. Why are marriage options not equal? Why do people experience abuse for being non-hetero? Why are there still inequalities here, there and everywhere? This normalisation and these views are wrong. They’re absolutely wrong. But they’re not seen that way by a regrettably large portion of the population. So therefore, having these views is not an ‘unpopular opinion.’

That was just one example. Binarism – and I’ve come across this one quite a bit – is another prime example. It. is. not. an. unpopular. opinion. to. think. that. we. are. making. it. up. It is an utterly wrong, bigoted, oppressive opinion that has no basis in fact and is complete bull feces, but it’s quite popular in society. Don’t believe me? Why are toilets rigidly gendered then? Why is there no legal document that will allow me to not misgender myself?

And here’s an example that may shock a few of these ‘unpopular opinion’ people – racism. Again, totally wrong. And this time this is an oppression that I am not really equipped to talk about as a white person, so if I mess up please feel free to tell me to educate my damn self. But racism is still a systematic oppression, despite all the anti-racism initiatives. People of colour are routinely hassled, profiled, silenced, subjected to great indignities, denied opportunies, Othered, exoticised, exploited… Racism is still a mainstream prejudice, much to the shame of our species.

The same thing applies for basically every other oppression there is. Many are medically or legally normalised in addition to being socially normalised. Their acceptability is a stain upon humanity – but they’re not unpopular opinions. They’re bigotry.

So these ‘unpopular opinion’ people may think they’re being oppressed and silenced by ‘political correctness’ – but they are not. Political correctness, to start with, is a term created to discredit the movement for inclusive, non-oppressive language, making it an inherently reactionary, kyriarchist term. And secondly, they evidently have no idea about the nature of oppression. Here’s a clue – it’s not being told that your bigoted attitudes are bigoted. Oppression is being on the receiving end of these systematic bigoted attitudes and the actions that inevitably result from them. And silenced? No. Anyone with kyriarchal views can find a million avenues to sound off about their bigotry. Being told that those views are wrong in the few SJ spaces that exist is not silencing.

Don’t call it an unpopular opinion if it’s kyriarchal. It’s bigotry. And calling it otherwise is privilege denying and oppressive. Of course, if you could acknowledge it as bigotry, you’d be able to work to get rid of it and THAT WOULD MEAN THE END OF THE WORLD /endsarcasm. You know what opinions beliefs I’ve found to be unpopular?

Anti-kyriarchal ones. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Those firmly in the grasp of kyriarchy claiming victimisation for their views, while victimising those fighting to get the kyriarchy’s claws out.

Verra quick post

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Internet, Personal
Tags: , ,

Verra quick post that most people probably won’t get but never mind, I want to say it. (just to make this clear to folks I know offline, since I know you’re reading it – this has nothing to do with you.) I’m sorry, I have very little of substance to say at the moment but I’m so fucking tired and the world is a mess.

I am not ‘agender.’ I am agender. There is no quotes. There is no doubt. There is no reason to try to discredit me with quotes. I am agender, that’s all there is to it. It’s not a superpower, it’s not a curse. It’s just something I am. I didn’t make this up.

If you try to discredit me by putting who I am in quotation marks, do not expect me to engage with you. Do not fucking expect me to try to engage with your arguments when you can’t even fucking respect who I am. Don’t try to complain about silencing while trying to silence me by discrediting my identity. Just don’t fucking well do it. If you want me to engage, don’t put who I am in quotation marks. If folks can get over the impulse to discredit me, they’re welcome to email me – my email is scattered all over this site – and we can engage in a respectful discussion since as an activist, as an anti-kyriarchist, I am prepared to discuss issues people have with my views. Just don’t fucking try to engage while you’re subtly trying to discredit me by casting doubt on my self. I’ve heard that one too many times before.

Journey @The F-Word

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Internet, Personal
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I am incredibly honoured to have been accepted as a guest blogger at the F-Word for this month. My first post, Journey, is now up! My great thanks to everyone there.

As a result, posting may be a bit slow here for the month, although I won’t abandon this blog completely for the duration.

Enough people are getting here on Google search with things like ‘definition of binarism’ or ‘cissexism definition’ that I actually feel the need to write a definition rather than allow them to infer what they can from my post Definition of cissexism/binarism. Apparently for ‘definition of cissexism’ I am the second search result.

So. Definition of binarism. Binarism is the prejudice against people who are outside the gender/sex binary, or more commonly the stubborn belief that they don’t actually exist. Basically, it is extremely widespread, rarely acknowledged because the subject doesn’t come up often, and absolutely bloody horrible to confront. It’s a product of a ciscentric, highly binary culture that roots identity in gender/sex and refuses to acknowledge anything outside of the binary of man/male and woman/female. It manifests in many ways, both against people who lack binary gender and intersex people; you see it written less often about anti-intersex prejudice, but it is definitely applicable (as, I suppose, is sexism) and should be used. Binarism can also apply to the conception of gender as a spectrum ranging from man/male to woman/female with the idea that nothing can be beyond that spectrum. Any denial of existance for someone outside the binary is binarism, and any discrimination based on that is binarist discrimination. It can also be other discriminations founded on a deep belief in things as a BINARY!!!! and NOTHING CAN BE OUTSIDE OF THE BINARY!!!

And definition of cissexism. A cis person is one for whom assigned sex, internal sense of sex, assigned gender and internal sense of gender all match up. So that would be a male-assigned & identified man, or a female-assigned & identified woman, since our culture doesn’t assign people outside the binary. A person may also be either cissexual or cisgender without necessarily being both, although often the two correlate. Cissexism is prejudice and discrimination against people who are not cis. It is closely related to transhatred, but focusses more on the ‘rightness’ of the cis experience rather than the ‘wrongness’ of the trans experience and is generally used to refer to more subtle prejudice and discrimination against non-cis people than transhatred, which tends to be used to refer to acts of extreme bigotry.

So there you go, Google searchers. I hope you’re going to use this knowledge wisely. If you are experiencing any discrimination, know that it is not your fault, and that the kyriarchy is in the wrong. Know that there are always people who value you for you, even if you haven’t met them yet. Know that you are human, and worthy.

If you think you have been discriminatory, or don’t think it but have been told you have, think this all through. Binarism is so normalised as not to even be noticable to most people. Cissexism is very nearly as prevalent. You probably do have kyriarchally-instilled views of this type. Don’t dismiss how harmful they are to others, and don’t feel the need to hang onto them; they are not a part of you, they are an ugly parasite the kyriarchy has planted in your head. Educate yourself on privilege and move on, being considerate to all. Bear in mind that you probably also have many other kyriarchal views instilled by your privilege; there are many other prejudices that are massively normalised and equally unacceptable, and when I have time I will add a list of as many prejudices, privileges, blind spots and discriminations as I can think of as another page on this site so that they can be checked.