zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
The "Ask culture vs Guess culture" meme seems to be getting around and generating much discussion. On the Captain Awkward post's comment thread someone thought Guess culture = rape culture and Ask culture = consent culture.

My response got long enough that I thought I'd post here too (and am not sure if it successfully posted there after all that.) As follows:

I think rape culture is a dysfunctional thing, and either Ask culture or Guess culture can be functional and non-rapey.

Eg in a functioning Ask culture, a man can ask if a woman will go out with him and the question isn't itself intimidating; and the woman can say no and he won't take offense. And a woman can ask a man out and it's not skanky, and he can say no and it's not the most unheard of thing ever.

And in a functioning Guess culture, a man can pay attention to the cues that a woman's putting out (those 'she glances at him and touches her hair!' things or whatever) and if things look favourable then he can say hello and pay attention to the cues that result from that, and if she starts putting out unfavourable cues then he can politely end the conversation and walk away. And a woman can pay attention to a man's cues of interest too and respond accordingly (flirting).

In rape culture, a man can ask a woman out and she's not allowed to be intimidated even though if she says no he'll take offense. Because women are expected to only communicate by putting out cues even though men aren't expected - are even actively discouraged - to notice or abide by them.

And a woman can't ask a man out without insulting his manliness, and if she did he couldn't say no without serving himself up as fodder for jokes about his virility. And a man who tries to communicate by cues will be ignored because women are taught that men don't do that, they only ask.

Ask and Guess cultures have reciprocity, and responsibilities that match their rights: Both men and women have the right to ask and the responsibility to accept a no. Both men and women have the right to have their cues respected and the responsibility to respect others' cues in turn.

Rape culture breaks all of this. It's a systematic double standard designed so that men (but not women) can ask but don't have to accept no; and women (but not men) have to put out cues but can't expect them to be heard.
zeborah: Zebra holding a pen, its stripes forming the word "Write" (writing)
This novel took have a dozen versions over a dozen years to finish to my satisfaction; I submitted it a few places, then gave up, and haven't seriously thought about it in years.

Yesterday, for a random reason, I started reading it again. And... I liked it. The prose is perhaps a little purple, the pace a little slow, the hints at things I should have just said a little opaque. In the middle half, some of the soap factor needs to be reigned back. But by and large...

The more serious problem (which I've known for ages and is probably one reason I abandoned the novel as a lost cause) is that I was doing this 'post-feminist' (with all the quotation marks) thing of "Sure, a woman can run a starship if she wants, but sometimes a woman just wants to go home to one's hyperpatriarchal society and be owned by a man with no real recourse if he decides he wants to kill her". Which: Young Zeborah, what were you thinking?(*)

But also, I noticed this time and not then, the entire rest of the novel is steeped in all the rape culture. It's all terribly asexual, but wow. The main character is harassed and almost everyone including herself blame her for not reciprocating; the author-at-the-time saw Both Sides of the Story while now I'm all, "Dude, she said back off. Back off!" In an important subplot, her best friend makes a complaint of harassment and all the focus is on exonerating the poor guy she's complaining about and then it turns out she made a terrible mistake and he's innocent after all. In other really important subplot, same person defends herself from super serious charges by explaining about the super serious harassment she was undergoing and no-one including the main character believes her.

It's... wow, it's really bad. Or... they're some really horrible situations, narrated uncritically. So now I can't help but feel that if I told them more critically, and was also more critical of some of the politics behind Federation and space exploration and post-war peace treaties -- I could make a really powerful theme out of boundaries and the violation thereof and the reclaiming of agency afterwards.

Or possibly waste my time on a novel I filed away seven years ago with very good reason.

It's not like I don't have a pile of unfinished things I could be working on instead....

(*) I'm pretty sure what I was thinking was that I was young and nervous about being an adult.
zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
One of our straight white male MPs is going to go on the talkshow Ellen. He did give a great speech, but, um, what about the LGBT MPs and ex-MPs who also gave great speeches? And who did most of the work on the bill? Like, say, the Māori lesbian MP who submitted the bill in the first place?

So here are some speeches from the night by MPs who aren't straight white guys.

Firstly, the kōrero in which Te Ururoa Flavell (straight Māori guy) talks about about Tutanekei's hoa takatāpui Tiki, and gives more context to the history of Pākehā redefining marriage to exclude Māori customary marriage.

(Procedural notes: a lot of MPs on the evening chose to share their speaking time with someone else, and Te Ururoa was the recipient of one such five minute slot from John Banks which is why he's acknowledging "Hone Banks". He gets cut short at the end for going over his time limit which is a tremendous shame given how informative his kōrero was, but the rule seemed fairly equally enforced against Pākehā MPs doing the same. And applause is normally I gather not allowed but that rule went out the window completely for the whole evening.)

More awesome kōrero on the evening included:

Louisa Wall (Māori lesbian; submitted the bill; first name pronounced lou-issa)

Kevin Hague (gay white guy)

Tau Henare (straight Māori guy; responding to straight Māori guy Winston Peters' vile speech which I won't link to because Winston is *that* MP, you know the one, who just always.)

Mojo Mathers ((Deaf) straight white woman; bringing tears to my eyes every time I watch it)
zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
I speak not of sunburn, although that's slowly fading from scarlet to something that might almost accurately be called pink. No, I speak of course of advertising for women and its necessary precursor: sexing products to determine whether men or women should be allowed to buy it.

I went shopping today for a new umbrella, my current one being broken, and my real current one being stuck in my out-of-bounds office. I wandered through Farmers until I stumbled across some umbrellas next to the handbags. They were those tiny fold-up ones that aren't that big even unfolded, and they fall apart since making things collapsible makes them flimsy. But that's all there was so I took one of the non-pink ones to the cash register and said, "I suppose you keep all your umbrellas in the one spot?"

"You could look in the men's section," she said.

Sure enough, in the men's section are the nice big umbrellas, the ones which actually shelter you from actual rain, and which don't break as easily, and which for all these extra features are about 2/3rds the price of the crappy women's umbrellas.

Of course. Of course the men get the good umbrellas.

This evening I got home and discovered that 1-day is selling packages for "Chicks", "Blokes" and "Random". "Random" is illustrated with an image of Georgina Beyer. Since all the cool kids were writing them emails, I also wrote to them and told them my umbrella story (and said don't even get me started on shoes) and suggested as an alternative to sexing their products they could divide them into interest categories like "Sports" and "Entertainment" and "Tools" so people can get things that interest them regardless of whether they (the people, not the things) are male, female, or genderqueer.

I also reminded them that Georgina Beyer is in fact female, not "random". I probably could have emphasised this more but I got the feeling that other people already had, so I thought I'd jump in to answer the inevitable "Wah, but how else can we possibly categorise our merchandise???" lamentations.

On reflection, I think I'll write to Farmers too. [ETA: I did.]
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Twitter is divided between those who want to knock down all the buildings and those who are afraid that Civil Defense will knock down all the buildings. Twitter is also divided between those outraged that we're paying for Prince William to visit, those grateful that he's asking for donations to charity including #eqnz in lieu of wedding gifts, and those just squeeing that he's here and hasn't brought Kate with him to ruin their fantasies.

On The Press's site:

Water may be drinkable by the end of the month. Scared Scriptless (local improv group) will be resuming next week, starting in the Big Top tent at uni. (Have I mentioned most of the uni classes that are a) being held and b) not off-site are being held in tents? Never fear, they plan to have pre-fabs ready before winter kicks in.)

In "Earthquakes are weird" news, "Ground accelerations in Christchurch [...] were as much as four times higher than the highest accelerations measured in last Friday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the east coast of Japan." [from Christchurch bounced during deadly earthquake] Despite what someone on Twitter thought, this doesn't mean our earthquake was bigger than theirs, nor that Mercalli is a better measure than magnitude. Personally I think Mercalli is pretty useless for the purpose most people want a measure for, ie to attach a single number to the event. Mercalli effectively gives a different number to every level in every building.

In "Let's pay attention to the important things" news, Nation's Guinness supplies saved in time for St Patrick's Day.

In "OIC what your word choice did there" news, compare and contrast these articles from the same newspaper on the same day about the exact same event:
Big change for Shirley boys
An army of Shirley Boys' High School pupils boarded buses yesterday, ready for their new school site.
Girls giggle as school site-sharing takes off
Teachers yesterday ushered Papanui High pupils off the school grounds as Shirley Boys' High pupils waited to start their school day.
Some girls giggled and chatted as the Shirley boys gathered for their first afternoon at their new school site.
Further reading of both articles suggests to me that on the whole both boys and girls have the same ranges of reactions.

And an awesome opinion column. Don't read the comments unless you enjoy "I don't live in Christchurch but I don't see why you can't be more positive" nitwitery.
zeborah: I believe in safe, sane, and consensual Christianity. (christianity)
I'm wearing my favourite skirt, which is red and goes right to the floor and swirls and has pretty swirls embroidered. It's possibly fading a bit and has a stubborn stain but I can generally hide that, and the hem is a bit battered but what do you expect, and anyway it's awesome. With it I normally wear a white blouse that ties in a bow at the front and has its own embroidery on the breasts, the main disadvantage of which is that it's sufficiently short that it shows a bit of waist.

When I say "disadvantage" I don't mean that I care, just that when I'm considering my wardrobe in the morning I always have this vague idea that someone sometime might be all, "Ooo-er, Zeborah's showing a bit of waist!" which would be mildly embarrassing. Then I defy this hypothetical person and put it on anyway.

So the other day I was reading Guys on Immodesty, Lust, and the Violence of Women’s Bodies, a survey in which a bunch of Christian guys say that it's immodest when a woman shows skin, has embroidery drawing attention to an area, bends over so her bum is more prominent, stretches so her chest is more prominent, moves other than sedately so her breasts jiggle, or just dresses in any way that's designed to draw a guy's attention to her body or which he thinks is so designed because he's horny. And women shouldn't do this because it makes it haaaaaard for guys to think pure thoughts.


The thing is, I guess they're coming from that line of Paul's where, in a completely different context (talking about eating food sacrificed to idols), he says doing this isn't sinful in itself but some people think it is so when they're around don't do it because it could weaken their faith. Basically avoid it for their sake. (Note that I'm pretty sure he didn't say that it was a sin to not avoid it for their sake. He just said that avoiding it for their sake was a kindness and a virtue. In fact I think something can only be such a virtue if it's not totally obligatory.) And within the specific historical context where the issue was being hotly debated and was genuinely controversial I think that's a decent compromise and I rather like it, and also I think it can be applicable elsewhere sometimes maybe, if you're careful.

Not here. Not when it boils down to "You're immodest if I say you're immodest, now stop being immodest."

This is my theory on women's clothes and guys trying to think pure thoughts:
Dear Christian guys,

If you really have no control over your physiological/mental response to a woman's beauty then God's not going to send you to hell for it. OTOH, if you do have control over it then quit with the "It's all her fault" excuse. That didn't work in the Garden of Eden and it's not going to work on the Day of Judgement either.



PS You do have total control over your physical actions. Just so we're clear on that part.
zeborah: Vuvuzela concert: This is serious art. (art)
Many to most tv shows and movies are about men doing stuff and women looking pretty. Fanvids tend to reverse that. Which wouldn't be any more healthy if it existed in isolation, but as a reaction to mainstream culture it makes a pretty sweet change.

Men looking pretty
DreamyViper's Raining Men (YouTube) is so well-known it's gone mainstream. I think my boss saw it even before I did. Men in period costume getting "a little damp".

I Want Candy by [community profile] vagabondage and [personal profile] laurashapiro is more modern and less costume. So to speak. There's still a certain amount of water. (For me the last clip was a bit of a weak note to end on, but probably just because he's not from one of my own fandoms.)

And then On the Prowl by [livejournal.com profile] sisabet and [personal profile] sweetestdrain is very good but I give serious warnings for violence; in one place, even one of the vidders had to look away from editing it... It explores the line from candy to kink and hurt/comfort to beyond. It's been compared to Women's Work which I think is valid in a compare-and-contrast kind of way, because whatever similarities there are in content still become differences in context.

Women doing stuff
The classic vid may be [personal profile] damned_colonial's A Vindication of the Rights of Women, in which period women don't give a damn 'bout their bad reputation, thus providing a nice counterpart to Raining Men.

[livejournal.com profile] arefadedaway's One Girl Revolution is similar though covers past, present and future alike and focuses a bit less on the fun and a bit more on the awesomeness.

I would love to show [livejournal.com profile] danegen's Around the Bend, in which women drive cars and motorbikes and planes and spaceships, to the person who put together the Warehouse catalogue where car seat covers, car washing sets, and an iPod-compatible car stereo system are labelled as "Gifts for him".

And [livejournal.com profile] absolutedestiny's I Enjoy Being a Girl, in which women enjoy kicking ass, brings a much-needed dose of girl power to terribly girly lyrics. Irony redeems all! -- even "my ivory shoulder" -- and the musical interludes (especially the cymbals!) are absolutely glorious. <watches it again> Did I say absolutely glorious? I meant OMG the editing OMG!

See also: a bunch of links to feminist vids.
zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
I really can't understand why so many strangers are so convinced that I should take strangers' advice on personal safety. One day I'll actually squelch my rage long enough to get past my politeness reflex and ask them whether they're aware that the most dangerous person to me at that moment is the one trying to make me afraid.

Anyway, this is something I'm curious about (meaning I have a really strong hypothesis that will be evident from the form of the questions, but would like some actual pseudo-scientific data to back it up or I guess to refute it) so feel free to link to this from far and wide.

(If you're not logged into DreamWidth then log in with OpenID (eg username.livejournal.com) and then come back here to fill out the poll.)

Poll #3940 Unsolicited advice on safety
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8

At times when the public would mostly have considered me to be male:

View Answers

I've often had random strangers offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've occasionally had a random stranger offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
2 (25.0%)

I've never had such an experience.
2 (25.0%)

3 (37.5%)

At times when the public would mostly have considered me to be female:

View Answers

I've often had random strangers offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've occasionally had a random stranger offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
4 (50.0%)

I've never had such an experience.
1 (12.5%)

2 (25.0%)

At times when the public would mostly have been confused about my gender:

View Answers

I've often had random strangers offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've occasionally had a random stranger offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've never had such an experience.
1 (12.5%)

5 (62.5%)

If I have had the above-described experience (if you've had the experience multiple times, tick all that apply):

View Answers

I've experienced ill effects, or a narrow escape from, the danger they perceived which could have been avoided by their advice.
1 (20.0%)

I've experienced ill effects, or a narrow escape from, the danger they perceived which could not have been avoided by their advice.
1 (20.0%)

Their perception of danger and advice has some validity.
2 (40.0%)

Their perception of danger has some validity; their advice not so much.
2 (40.0%)

Their advice has merits for other reasons (but not including that it might stop them offering me unsolicited advice).
1 (20.0%)

I still can't figure out what they were smoking.
2 (40.0%)

(Comments are very welcome but if you don't know me, know that I have a policy whereby I'm quite happy to delete posts that are abusive or so full of fail that I don't have the energy to respond to them as they'd otherwise require. You're free to exercise your free speech but I'm not required to host it; you should however be able to find somewhere else on the interweb that will.)


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

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