I’m glad to see men speaking out about consent.
I feel like it is a cop-out to say this, but I will: be an informed voter. I will make sure that my ballot makes it to whatever address I am at and I fill it out fully (and remember to mail it, of course). I will research the candidates and issues thoroughly, so I know that I am choosing people who will represent my interests. If in doubt, I will consult websites and voter guides that I trust. I will also question any statement that seems unclear and I will, in the end, think for myself when I vote. I will give my ballot the full extent of my attention until I am finished filling it out.
If a particular candidate gets my attention by their actions for or against choice, I will be sure to note that, and write on it if it has not gotten sufficient media coverage already. I will make sure that my friends know my stance on these candidates, whether it be for or against. If I get the chance I will do any meet and greets I can with local politicians to see if their in-person persona matches their political, public persona.
There are very few people who see me who would think me a slut. I wear tee-shirts and jeans when I go out. I tend to be fairly unassuming.
But people might read what I do and how I behave, without seeing me, without knowing me and perhaps assume that I am a “slut” or one those nasty words that society uses to describe women it doesn’t like or thinks might have “too much sex”. Despite the fact that no one every defines what “too much” is. My guess is that too much is more than the listener has had.
The average American woman has four sexual partners in her lifetime and the average American man has six to eight, according to the Kinsey Institute. Would too much be more than that? I guess I’ve still had more than too much for a woman–I’m looking at eight right now at 23. Now granted, that’s not a lot compared to some people (a friend recounted her total and came up with around 48 and she’s about four years older than I am). But it is more than a few people I know (many of my guy friends). Who’s counting?
Is frequency what counts? Well, geez, I guess I fit into that category too. Only 7.5% of partnered women my age have sex more than four times a week (same source).
Is it when first intercourse occurred? There’s another category in which I look like a slut to the statistics, though not by much: 16.6 compared to the average American female’s 17.4 (same source again).
But who’s counting, really?
The fact that I am a bisexual queer poly woman, with large-ish breasts would be enough for some people to judge me a slut based on stereotypes, even without knowing the numbers. Not that the numbers matter.
What matters is one thing: I do not define myself as a slut, therefore I am not. Period. End of sentence.
To put this out there before I get started with any of the rest of this post: I am all about people not wanting to put themselves in boxes or limit themselves with words. Trust me, I think the English language (well, any languages) are too limiting to encompass the whole of humanity and that we lack words for feelings and ways of thinking that I wish we had. So, given this disclaimer, I’m going to talk about the identifying word boxes I place myself in.
This is not about the boxes that society places me in because that’s how they see me. Those are easy to say, though challenging to deal with in real life. They call me white, female, average height, overweight, brunette, student, with a loud voice and fairly large breasts. Yes, these are true, and yes they have affected the shape of my identity. However, they are not how I identify.
I call myself a bi dyke, a feminist, a transgender ally, a woman of thought, a queer person, a poly lady, and a switch who loves to bottom and takes pleasure in topping the right person, in no particular order.
I ride the middle of the Kinsey scale, sometimes on a daily basis–if you want to put numbers on it (and there are sometimes I love numbers, but other times they are harsher and more judgmental than words) I range from a 2.5 to a 3.5.
I believe that chaos is another form of organization and the chaos in my spaces reflects how my mind works–some things have to be in a certain order and others require no order.
I am working on being an ethical omnivore–buying any meat I can from places that treat their animals right in life and death–I am working my way out of being a near vegetarian because I realized I am not that.
I love the word kinky. To me it is like “queer”: so many definitions, so many ways to work it.
I call myself a liberal, but I find myself increasingly disenchanted with the political parties in this country–too conformist, too middle of the road to be good for people. If I had to pick a party that represents the majority of my interests, I would be a Lib Dem.
That’s me, in a very small nutshell.
I have had many fathers in my life–my own being but one of them. I admire good dads–kids take a lot of patience, myself included. Having not known any of these men before they became fathers, I cannot say for sure whether they were any different before they had kids–but I can hazard a guess that that is the case.
My own father has had a massive impact on my life–not limited to the fact that he provided 23 of my chromosomes, including the X that made me female. That’s just where it started. I’ve seen the pictures of him playing with me as a baby–there is a lot of love apparent in them. And there are a lot of pictures, since I am the eldest child. He was the one who taught me how to build model cars, and will still volunteer to help if I want to build one now. I was the one he taught all the things that traditionally one would teach to boys–fixing the roof when it rained, changing the oil, filters, and tires on a car (I know a lot of guys who never learned this), building, and the painting that comes with, as well as helping me with my math and science homework, especially when we got past my mom’s level of education on those subjects. He and my mom both taught me that there’s nothing I couldn’t do and to not be restricted in what I do or think just because I’m female.
My father told me once that he only really started to see and recognize my sister and I as fully intelligent persons at about seven or eight years old–because that’s when we were intelligent enough to start debating and discussing abstract things with him. Not that we weren’t human beings to him before that point, just that we could be recognized as independent, as separate from our parents.
Now, this is not to say that I agree with my father all the time. That is by far, not the case. He believes that you can’t love adopted kids in the same way you’d love your own biological children–not that he has any experience with this, since both my sister and I, his only kids, are biologically his kids. I believe that adopting kids is a responsible way to have children especially if one does not feel a biological imperative to give birth or partner a person who can give birth. On some issues I stand much further to the left than he does–birth control (including extramarital sex), the environment, and pre-21 alcohol consumption, just to name a few. He does not identify as feminist or even pro-feminist, but the beliefs he holds and the way he helped raise my sister and I puts him squarely in that camp.
Now, I will never be a father–that second X chromosome, the one my dad gave me precludes any genetic possibility of that and I believe that my body matches my mind, gender-wise, so no changing of that. I am content, in a way, to watch the fathers in my life and how they act towards their children, how they raise them, what values they instill in their progeny as they grow from babies to adults. I look at them and see active paternal involvement in the lives of their children–both minors and adults–which is something that was rare as few as two generations ago. We are the children of one of the first generations where a father was expected to have a hand in raising their kids–we are still dealing with the traditionally culturally ingrained idea that fathers don’t have to do this, but it is showing up in small ways.
I, for one, am glad I had my father in my life–I feel sorry for those who haven’t, or had one that was not a decent human being.
Question: What does “Trust Women” mean to you?
“Trust Women” means that we should trust women to make the choice that’s right for them, their bodies, their families, and their situations–even if we disagree with them. It means that we should trust the women who may have an accidental pregnancy and choose to carry to term even if others would say that there is no way that things will turn out well. It also means that even if a woman and her family can afford (in ways financial and otherwise) to carry a pregnancy to term, that she doesn’t need to. This means that our bodies are ours, and it is not up to anyone else to tell us what we must do with them–whether that be friends, family, doctors, strangers, or the government. They can offer suggestions, but it is up to the woman in question to make the final decision.
But it also means that we need to trust people, in general.
It is also relevant when it comes to sex and birth control. It is hard for us in this country to understand that teenagers will and do have sex–hence the widespread teaching of abstinence only sexual education. We need to understand that safe sex is especially crucial when one starts having sex and studies have shown that people are more likely to use one or more forms of contraception/STD control when they know what exists and how effective they are. We are more likely to be able to trust people when we know that they are making an educated decision–which sometimes will include sexual activities without the use of contraceptives and/or barrier methods. So why not educate all the people possible, so we know that no matter what decision they make about their reproductive health, it is an educated one, based on knowing the facts about birth/STD control and mitigating them with the facts of the situation?
This is something that comes to my mind on occasion and I am not sure how to deal with. How can I reconcile the fact that I am a feminist with the fact that I have submissive tendencies (outside of everyday life)?
There are a few forums/websites that try to deal with this phenomenon–since it is not an uncommon conundrum–such as this one (NSFW).
I think it is choice feminism that can best take on this idea–this is my choice to engage in behaviors that are submissive in nature. But choice feminism does not take into account that not all behaviors are feminist–even if they are performed by people who consider themselves feminists. I think I am okay with this though because in the end it is my consent that matters the most when it comes to these things and if I enthusiastically consent to doing these things (whatever they may be) it may not be feminist, per se, but it does not invalidate my feminism.
Plus, as human beings, we define ourselves by many things–who says I can’t be a feminist and have submissive tendencies? They are both just facets of my character.
My gender expression is
|ALWAYS!, adult, ally, assertive, beautiful, bi-romantic, bidyke, biogirl, bisensual, bisexual, bitch, bondage, bubbly, child, cisgender, confused, cuddly, curious, daughter, different, dork, doublecrossdresser, female, female-bodied, female-identified, feminist, flirt, fluid, friend, friendly, GLBTQA, gay-friendly, gender expressive, girl, huggy, human, intelligent, interested, introvert, kinky, LGBTQA, lady, liberal, lover, Miss, Ms., miss, niece, not sure of others, odd, person, polycurious, polyflexible, polysexual, pro-choice, pro-gay, progressive, queer, queer-friendly, queer-minded, questioning, quirky, quiz whore, sensitive, sex positive, shy, sister, socialist, student, submissive, trans-friendly, trustworthy, understanding, wench, woman, XX|
Dear Mr. Obama,
Congratulations on making it into office! I voted for you.
Now, here’s my concern. It’s nice that you believe that it’s important to reach across the party line and try to unite people, but honestly, your own party has interests that should be as important or even more important than the other party’s. The Democratic party hasn’t had a president for almost ten years, and those were long years. It was time.
People voted for you for a reason. They like your policies, they like what you stand for. They like that you’re generally more progressive than other Democrats. And a lot of them were pissed off when you catered to the religious right with your choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at your inauguration. Even you have to admit, his speech was pretty lame compared to the rhyming benediction given by Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery. I know you’re a Christian, but I’m not and I even I thought Lowery’s speech was so much more beautiful and spiritual than Warren’s claptrap. You don’t get much better than this as spiritual things go:
Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — when yellow will be mellow — when the red man can get ahead, man — and when white will embrace what is right.
You have so many things you can do for those of us who are true blue liberals and have been waiting years for someone like you to come along and do or reverse the doing of. It is our turn and you cannot deny us those things we have long been waiting for, especially in:
- Reproductive health (thanks for the repeal of the gag rule, by the way)
- Environmental protections
- Governmental responsibility/accountability (this is the “government of the people and by the people” after all)
- Corporate responsibility
- LGBT rights (we’re waiting…)
It is time for you to live up to your promises, not to pander to the right, who didn’t vote for you, and would never vote for you. Pander to us, your constituents, the people who put you in office. We know what we wanted and we told you. You promised us liberals (and moderates) that if we voted for you, you would give us the world. Now I’m not stupid, so I know that the number of campaign promises that presidents usually fulfill is negligible. You’ve been doing wonderfully so far. Please don’t flake out on us. But there is so much left to be done and you know it.
P.S. I will be later posting what I personally want from this presidency. I just didn’t think it had any place in this letter.
And to think that if I had been born a couple days earlier it would be my birthday as well. It sometimes crosses my mind that it is my birthday’s proximity to this day that (unconsciously) drew me into feminism in the first place.
Question: What is the importance of voting pro-choice?
What is the issue that I demand a candidate to have said “magic words” in support of to get my vote?
My issue is the right to choose. I will not and cannot consciously vote for anyone who does not support a woman’s right to reproductive choice, including abortion.
Now why is that important to me?
- I want the children of my generation and their children, and so forth and so on to have the same ability to choose that I have today, if not more freedom of choice.
- Women are not stupid. They know what an abortion is. They are fully grown human beings, capable of deciding whether the circumstances are right for them to give another human being life.
- Abstinence only education is a joke. It doesn’t work. This study proves what many have always thought.
- I know that comprehensive sex education works. My health teacher in tenth grade, who taught us high schoolers about sex, may have been a steadfast Christian, but she still held a whole class period where we got to look at and learn about birth control methods. Abstinence may have still been the focus, but we were told about the options should we choose sex of any kind. A study just came out that agrees with me on just how well it works.
- Queer children should learn about their options when it comes to having (safe) sex. A heteronormative sex education program cannot teach them this very well. All sexual education teachers should be required to include information for their queer students in their classes.
- Queer women have an equal stake in reproductive choice. They also have children, who may someday have children as well.
- The fact that 87% of counties in the United States do not have an abortion provider . That is ridiculous. Just another way a woman’s right to choose is limited in this here United States.
- All people must know that no means no, and how important it is for sex (of any kind) to be safe, sane, and consensual. Period. No gray rape, no question of whether a woman has consented or not. I am for enthusiastic consent by all parties involved in a sexual encounter, as written about here and here. Not just heterosex, but all sex.
- All rape is unacceptable and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
- My body is mine. It belongs to me and not to anyone else. Not to any government, not to a church, and not to any potential partner. I am fiercely protective of what things are mine, and this is one of them. My body, my choice.
It is important because I am a woman and so is 51% of the rest of the world.
Reproductive choice is an essential human right, not to be limited by race, class, age, upbringing, location, sexual orientation/preferences, gender, or sex. It is just as important to me as it is to a mother of five in the Sudan or a Japanese lesbian.
This is why I blog for choice.
P.S. This is the second year I’ve done this. The first year exists on this blog.