#Bad for the movement

Dirty Nerdy here!

For those not “in the know”, I went on a twitter rant last night. Basically I saw in the course of three days multiple friends get told by others that certain personal choices they were making were “bad for the movement”. In these cases, the movements they were referencing were either feminism or queer rights, and not, as it happens, movement of bowels or a self-contained part of a musical composition.

http://www.soccershotsfranchising.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/toilet.jpeg

Although I imagine this argument originating from a bowel movement

“Girls, stop telling men you have boyfriends to get them to leave you alone…BECAUSE OTHERWISE IT’S BAD FOR THE MOVEMENT”

There are many iterations of this. Pretty much any feminist who says that a woman must stop using [insert survival tactic here] to avoid or deflect harassment is falling for the #badforthemovement argument. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of day-to-day choices that individuals have to make that could be construed as bad for whatever movement they are involved in, and I have no problem with analyzing these choices and explaining what is problematic with them and how they might perpetuate sexism. HOWEVER criticism should be extended to the system that creates these awful choices in the first place, not to those who are forced to make them.

This argument also comes from certain MRAs who espouse that lying is always wrong and should never be used, therefore women are horrible lying liars who lie to men all the time. The liars.

Heina Dadabhoy wrote a great piece exploring this particular argument. READ IT NOW!!!

http://37.media.tumblr.com/a95d1a7dbe5e72c064c18cad4e6b6ff2/tumblr_mmdxnjd2jT1qk890so1_500.png

Feminists: you know you’re doin’ it wrong when your argument aligns with MRAs

“Gays/bisexuals stop playing pronoun games and be COMPLETELY OPEN about your sexual orientation all the time…BECAUSE OTHERWISE IT’S BAD FOR THE MOVEMENT”

Ok, so while the first example I gave is an argument put forth by fellow feminists (albeit still of the middle to upper-class white variety), I’ve never heard this argument from fellow queers. I’ve only ever heard this argument used by straight cis people. It’s almost always in a “you should be educating people” tone. It takes a special kind of privilege-blind ignorance to tell a queer person that they should not only be in charge of educating all those poor straight people about queer issues at all times, but that they should also do so openly as a queer person. While there *is* some research that says bigots become slightly less bigoted after being around the object of their bigotry for some time, there’s even *more* research that shows queer people (especially queer people of color, and ESPECIALLY trans women of color) are at higher risks of being violently assaulted and/or murdered when bigots find out about their queerness. Aside from the terribleness that is straight cis people telling queer people how to activist, this is just terrible advice.

This type of argument isn’t only relegated to the choices that feminists and queer people make. You can find this kind of #badforthemovement advice in pretty much any social justice movement. And pretty much every time it’s trotted out, you will hear me say: Fuck the movement. Your personal safety is more important. If anybody ever tries to say you have a “moral obligation” to the betterment of an activist movement, and that “moral obligation” will potentially put you in danger, then THEY are the ones doing it wrong. Not you. I’m not saying that we should never do anything that might put us in danger or our livelihoods on the line, but it should not be demanded of us. If somebody is demanding you do something “for the good of the cause” that directly conflicts with your personal safety (or with your personal ethics), then just run away. Run far away from that person.

If you’re interested, you can see my twitter rant on this topic by searching #badforthemovement . Fair warning: there are poo jokes


To fund more twitter rants aimed at assholes, please click the button below to donate:

Donate Button

Advertisements

Shethinkers 38 – Single Moms (Happy Mothers’ Day!)

Secret Word

SecretWord

Troll

Occupy Protestor Sexually Assaulted by NYPD, Convicted of Felony Assault

Bonus Troll!

Arkansas Clerk Refuses to Issue Legal, Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Troll Update!

Alaska Thunderfuck Apologizes for, and Removes, Transphobic Video

Boss

Our moms, because it’s Mothers’ Day!

Bonus Boss!

Genderfuck Drag Queen, Conchita Wurst, Wins Eurovision

Single Moms

Pregnancy Discrimination

Divorce

Custody Myths

Obstacles

Defending Single Moms

Our Moms Are Awesome

Do You Even Science, Bro?

The Laws of Thermodynamics: Why They Don’t Justify Woo

Stupid Sexist Song

“Ya Mama” by Butterfingers

5 Lessons Learned From Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to talk about how awesome my mom is. No, seriously, my mom is one of the coolest people I’ve ever had in my life and I’m lucky enough to have known her for 28 years (if we’re counting gestation). Of course she’s not perfect and, like all of us, she has her flaws. But she’s a huge part of what makes me the hardworking feminist you’ve (hopefully) grown to love, so it’s only fair to give her credit where it’s due. So to prove to you Shethinkers that my mom is the bomb, I thought I would share some of the things she’s taught me. Because everyone deserves someone as cool as my mama!


 

“Everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have.”

In short, people are good but the things they do can be bad.

ToolBox

Not everyone’s tool box at birth comes with the same tools, and if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail. I believe the vast majority of people have the best of intentions, but limited knowledge, resources, and opportunities can lead us into poor decisions. I believe most “evil” people are doing what they believe to be the right thing, and pretending otherwise only makes us blind to our own rationales for bad choices. False moral superiority just isn’t my style.

“Oh, that makes sense.”

2nd best response to a loved one coming out as trans.

Absolute best goes to Grandma, my mom’s mom, “I don’t give a shit if you’re purple, why haven’t you called?”

PflagMom

My mother grew up in a Brooklyn apartment below a cross-dressing sex-worker named Bernie. So I grew up believing New York was a magical place where queer folks could be free and nobody would bat an eye at them, and my visit to NYC did not disappoint me. But even though NYC is still my dream city, my mom helped me realize a life lived freely isn’t exclusive to a 10xxx zip code. All the work I do for the LGBT community is so that some day, every kid will get the same kind of acceptance as I got from my family.

“Write like Hemingway. Say more with less.”

If you ask me to critique your writing, I will destroy “that”s, “very”s, and over-used phrases with a vengeance.

HemingwayMeme

Hemingway is my mom’s favorite writer, not mine, but  you’ve got to admire the man for not wasting your time. The longer my writing is, the more ruthless I am toward my own bullshit. As a college student, I’ve adopted this same philosophy to all of my school work. I work smart, not hard, and I try to be as efficient with my very limited time as possible. If someone in my group is trying to make things more complicated than they need to be, I will call them out and put a stop to that nonsense. Because the art of editing taught me another important lesson: You’re first idea will probably suck.

“There are two kinds of people in this world: People who masturbate and people who lie.”

If I ever write a book about sex, this is going to be the title.

If I ever write a book about sex, this is going to be the title.

My mom was a sex-positive feminist long before it was cool. She gave me my first box of condoms, my first vibrator, and did not try to police my relationships as a teenager except for the occasional reminder to be safe and smart about my decisions. And hey, what do you know, I didn’t become sexually active until later in life, just like all the research on comprehensive sex-education shows! In my interactions with the LGBT youth I mentor, I take my mom’s same approach to answering any and all sexual questions: If they’re already asking, that means they’re already interested, might as well make sure they’re informed.

“I will unleash my Yankee Bitch if I have to.”

Trust me, you do not want to see the Yankee Bitch.

BitchesGetStuffDone

This is a skill passed down from woman to woman in our family, only to be used in emergencies when some douche  just won’t fucking listen to you, usually because you’re a woman. I don’t think I’ve needed to unleash the Yankee Bitch in quite some time, but I always have it in my back pocket, ready to go at a moment’s notice. In our family, “bitch” was simply a woman who got shit done and didn’t particularly care how what you thought about her, so long as you got in line. And sometimes, only a bitch can get shit done.


 

There’s so much more awesome shit my mom taught me than this, but come on, I can’t give away all the family secrets. What would I write about next Mother’s Day? And while we’re on the subject, I’d also like to give my soon-to-be mother-in-law a shout out too. I’ve only known her for four years and our relationship started out rocky, but she raised the man I love and we surprisingly have a lot more in common than either of us might have realized. Also, my former step-mom and I helped each other survive some weird shit, and that kind of experience can’t be forgotten. Bonus thanks to my grandmothers, aunts, and other awesome women who helped raise me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas, mamas-to-be, mamas of fur babies, and women who guide and teach the next generation. What moms do changes lives, and so long as they’re trying their best, I believe it can change lives for the better.


 

Don’t forget to tune in for the Secular Shethinkers “Single Moms” episode, broadcasting May 11th at 9pm Central!

Shethinkers 36 – Infertility Awareness with Beth Presswood!

Secret Word

SecretWord

Troll

Huffington Post and Alaska Thunderfuck Find Trans Activism and Trans Violence Hilarious

Boss

Stone Cold Steve Austin says Support Marriage Equality…Or Else!

Infertility

1-in-8 people are infertile, so it’s kind of a big deal

Social Stigmas

Treatments (Shit is expensive)

Birth Alternatives

Shit fertile people say

 

How Do I Sex?

Myths About Masturbation

Secret Subversive Song

“King For a Day” by Green Day

Shethinkers 35 – Easter Eggs and Orgies

Secret Word

SecretWord

Troll

67 Louisiana Lawmakers Refuse to Lift Sodomy Laws…Even Though the Supreme Court Already Did

Bonus Troll!

The Occupy “Pepper Spray Cop” Receives $38K From University of California for “Emotional Suffering” and 8-Months Paid Leave

Boss

Laverne Cox Wins GLAAD’s Highest Honor

Bonus Boss!

GLAAD Gets RuPaul and Logo to Drop Transphobic Slurs

Easter Eggs and Orgies

Modern Christian and Jewish Celebrations

The Pagans (Who gave us eggs, beans, bunnies, and all the other fun stuff)

The Easter Bunny

Dori’s Stories of Teaching Sunday School

Myth of Ishtar – You’re Doing It Wrong

Eostre and Pascha

Chicks and Bunnies are not Starter Pets

Other fertility festivals and rituals, like the “Watering of the Girls” in Hungary

Atheist Bible Study

What Would Jesus Do? Throw a Temple Tantrum!

Stupid Sexist Song

“Layla” by Eric Clapton

Shethinkers 33 – Arrested Development

Secret Word

SecretWord

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Troll

Hobby Lobby, our first ever Double-Down Troll, Is Actually Okay with Contraception When They Can Make Money Off It

Boss

Trans Kids in New York Foster Care System Gain Access to Full Medical Coverage

Arrested Development

ArrestedDevelopment

Create Your Own Drinking Game with Recurring Development

Shameless Product Placement

Artificial Hymens, because who doesn’t want to fantasize about a painful wedding night?

Stupid Sexist Song

Jet – “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”

Sponsors

Be Secular and Audible help us teach you the ways of the secular flesh. Check them out!

Female Friendships We Love to Ship

There are very few queer women in mainstream media. And usually when we do exist, we tend to get unhappy endings or wind up dead somehow. Thus “shipping” was born, also known as “slash” or “femslash” in fandom circles. While this may seem like a relatively new fangirl hobby that has only existed since the internet, the existence of Queer Theory disproves that.

The truth is, queer folks have been projecting ourselves and our relationships onto seemingly straight relationships for as long as there have been books, television, or movies. But before I get into why these ships are awesome, I want to talk about hetero and cissexual assumptions. Whenever the conversation of femslash comes up, inevitably there will be at least one hetcis fan who cries out “But they can’t be queer! Because reasons!”

Look dude (or dudette), just about any “reason” you can come up with for why a fictional character is hetcis, a queer person has experienced before. I’ve met a cis woman who dealt with transphobic slurs in middle school, just like I did. I have explicitly told a queer person who came on to me in high school, “No way, I’m straight!” only to later swallow my words when I grew up. I have adamantly denied my true identities on multiple occasions of my life. I’ve dated men and women while I perceived as male or female. Are you picking up what I’m throwing down yet?

The sexuality or gender identity of a fictional character is not the same as the sexuality or gender identity of an actual human being. Real humans’ identities are innate parts of who they are and should be respected whenever they inform you. Fictional characters’ identities are almost never explicitly stated unless they are queer (such as Dumbledore being gay). This is a product of the (mostly cis and het) writers who created them. In our heteronormative society, characters are considered to be straight and cis until “proven” queer because hetcis identities are seen as “normal”. Not only is this a shitty attitude to have, but it leads to stereotyping and the erasure of less-than-obvious identities like bisexual folks in hetero relationships or trans folks who are granted cis privilege (both of which apply to me, so I tend to get a little touchy about this sort of thing).

Making a character queer doesn’t change anything fundamental about the character. And if you think that’s true, you must have some unhealthy ideas about who queer people are, what we’re capable of doing, and what kinds of stories we’re allowed to be in. So get over yourself, and have a sense of humor about your fandom. After all, it’s just a show/comic/video game.

ShipMarcelinePB

1. Adventure Time – Bubbeline

I adore the Marceline and Princess Bubblegum ship. Hell, I went out with a girl once (almost) solely based on her tattoo of Maceline and PB gettin’ it on. The episode What Was Missing is particularly interesting, as PB’s most treasured possession is a shirt of Marceline’s that she wears to bed every night. And Marceline’s song “I’m Just Your Problem” reads like the standard Either-come-out-or-I’m-done-with-you dyke drama that many of us are all-too-familiar with. Frankly, I think they’d be a good match because they can balance one another out. Princess Bubblegum can be a little too high-strung for her own good, so Marcie would be great at getting her to cut loose and have fun. And Marceline strikes me as someone who needs some affection and structure in her life, so PB would be great for that. And thanks co-writer Jesse Moynihan, Bubbeline is practically, if not explicitly, canon.

ShipHarleyIvy

2. Batman – Harley and Ivy

Let’s face it, Harley Quinn and Joker are not a healthy relationship. He’s abusive, he takes advantage of her, he blames her for all of his failures, and is constantly kicking her out and taking her back. But then, Bruce Timm gave us Harley and Ivy, and the hope for Harley Quinn to be in a healthy and productive relationship (and one of comic book’s more popular ships) was born! There are several obvious nods to Thelma & Louise in their relationship. But in the Gotham Universe, “Let’s keep going” doesn’t result in them dying rather than give in to patriarchy. Because nobody really dies in comic books. They make a much better team than either of them alone, and each of them build up the self-esteem of the other, as all healthy relationships should. Not to mention, Ivy gave Harley a serum to make her immune to her own and several other poisons, so there is no mind control or anything else non-consensual going on here. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini seem to love the Harley and Ivy ship as much as we do, and they’re Harley’s creators, so that practically makes it canon. The only thing that makes me uncomfortable about this ship is there is so much Male Gaze to put up with. It almost takes all the fun out of it. But as long as I just watch the animated series and read the comics while avoiding the fan community entirely, I can still be happy.

ShipDariaJane

3. Daria – Daria and Jane

Dirty Nerdy and I have already professed our love for the Daria/Jane ship on the show, but that’s no reason why I can’t write about it while sober.  First, let’s get the obvious objection out of the way: Jane’s interaction with the predatory bisexual woman (grr, stereotypes) in Is It Fall Yet? Yeah, Jane explicitly states that she’s straight.  But so have Dirty Nerdy and I when we weren’t ready to come out yet, so let’s not let that stop our fun.  Besides, given that Daria and Jane are a high school kids in the 90s, it’s pretty unlikely for them to be out to themselves or anyone yet. All that being said, Daria and Jane are already the best relationship each of them have in their lives. Hell, their friendship even survived the betrayal of that whole Tom mess. They’re freakin’ friends, but hopefully they’ll be freakin’ girlfriends once they get to college. At least, that’s our epilogue.

ShipKayleeInara

4. Firefly – Kaylee and Inara

We already know that Inara is bisexual from the War Stories episode, and Kaylee hasn’t been shy about enjoying sex since she met Captain Mal in the middle of tryst. So it’s not surprising the two women who are open and unashamed about their sex lives would hit it off and become friends. Inara is sweet on Kaylee, telling her fun stories about her clients and playing with her hair. Which is great, because Kaylee’s kind of a tomboy in the “I like being pretty but I don’t have the time nor the job to do it” kind of way. And Kaylee is completely nonjudgmental about Inara’s life as a sex worker. When Inara goes off to see a client, Kaylee just wishes her, “Have good sex!” So there’s zero jealousy too, so I imagine them having a FWB relationship. Given that Kaylee is carrying a torch for the dense doctor, this helps deal with sexual tension until Inara leaves the ship. Hence why Kaylee is so frustrated by the end of Serenity. Inara keeps her happy while she waits for Simon to wise up, and Kaylee gives Inara a healthy sexual relationship that isn’t about “owning” her. It’s a win-win.

ShipLeslieAnn

5. Parks and Recreation – Leslie and Ann

Confession: I don’t really ship Leslie and Ann, but only because the Leslie and Ben ship is equally adorable. I know, I know, damn bisexuals screw everything up. But I can totally make the argument that Leslie and Ann are a ship. Except, I don’t have to make the argument, because even the actresses who play them joke about it. Regardless of the nature of their relationship, Leslie and Ann have a great one. They support one another, they don’t judge, and they’re unapologetically feminist. Or at least, Leslie is. Leslie’s over-the-top Type A personality gives Ann a kick in the butt to get things done. And Ann’s “how about we calm down and rejoin reality” personality keeps Leslie grounded. Together, they get amazing things done. And it’s awesome to see women building each other up instead of tearing each other down. Whether they’re sexually involved or not, makes no difference to me.

ShipLaraSam

6. Tomb Raider – Lara and Sam

I don’t care about the history of sexism and Male Gaze and other men-ruin-everything* shit that Lara Croft has gone through. She’s the first female character I remember playing in a video game and she will always have a special place for my heart. Which is why I was so glad that the latest incarnation got rid of the oversized breasts and focused on a good story with good gameplay. And to top it all off, you get to rescue your girlfriend, Sam. The cutscenes between Lara and Sam are freakin’ adorable, and Lara pushes herself much harder to rescue Sam than she does for any of the other shipmates. Plus anything that turns the “damsel in distress” trope on its head in a clever way is always welcomed by me. Although the game doesn’t spell it out, it’s as “official” as the writer was allowed to make it. But in a way, I’m glad that it was subtext and not overt, because it helps avoid a lot of that creepy men-ruin-everything* shit that I mentioned earlier. I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse had they come right out and said, “Yeah, Lara and Sam are lesbians.”

*Yeah, I get it. “Not all men“. Please restrain yourself from stating the obvious.


Damn! I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface but this post is already getting super long. Consider this Part 1 of a series, my Shethinkers. ;-)

What are your favorite queer ships? Post about them below or email us at secularshethinkers@gmail.com


 

ShipBonusMystique

Bonus! Mystique is Trans

When little preteen Dori started putting together the obvious queer subtext of X-men, it didn’t take her long to realize that Mystique’s mutation was what every trans girl wished for. It seems like most (if not all) mutant’s origin stories involve dealing with a traumatic event during puberty, when mutations manifest in a kick-ass-but-problematic-way. Then a bald dude shows up at your house, tells you there’s a whole school full of weirdos just like you, and then whisks you away to a place of acceptance. Basically the ultimate fantasy for every kid who know they were “different” but had not yet figured out they were queer. So at various traumatic points in my adolescence I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just change my body at will and disappear?” And for me, that’s exactly how Mystique got her powers to shapeshift.

I don’t care what has been revealed about her past, and I don’t care what she looks like when her powers are taken away in X-Men 3 (besides, do we really want to acknowledge the existence of that movie?), to me Mystique will always be a trans woman. At the very least she’s a transgender/gender-variant character of some kind, because she’s constantly changing genders and appearance to suit how she feels or for the enjoyment of her lovers (I have similar thoughts about Tonks from Harry Potter for similar reasons). And if you don’t think that’s all kinds of awesome, you can get out of my face.

Shethinkers 32 – Good Guy Lucifer

Secret Word

SecretWord

 

Troll

Hobby Lobby and the Anti-Choice Movement

Boss

8-Year-Old Kid “Looks and Acts Too Much Like a Boy” for Christian Private School. So Grandparents said Fuck You and Left

Good Guy Lucifer

Thanks, Satan!

Thanks, Satan!

Feminist as Fuck Fairy Tales

The Real Mulan is So Much Cooler (and Queerer) than Disney’s Mulan

Stupid Sexist Song

The Police – “Every Breath You Take”

Sponsors

Be Secular and Audible rock our socks off!