“corrective rape”

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Filed under feminism, lgbtq, south africa

best songs by female artists, 2010

sleigh bells – “rill rill”

I have seriously had this song on repeat since it came out this summer.  Though Sleigh Bells is very much loud, noisy grunge pop – think Amy Millan of Stars singing over the Ramones – I wasn’t expecting a relatively slow, summery song with a finger-snapping accompaniment.  If you ever sat under the bleachers in high school watching your best friend walk away from you for someone “cooler” this song is exactly what that moment sounds like.


best coast – “boyfriend”

Thankfully, although they share a title, this song has nothing to do with the atrocious Avril Lavigne song from when I was in middle school.  While the melody and lyrics are remarkably simple for such a highly praised indie band, that takes away nothing from the song, which is the perfect soundtrack for when you’re lying in bed wishing a certain someone would be there next to you.  Lo-fi stoner surf rock at its best.


robyn – “dancing on my own”

Yes, it’s the “Show Me Love” one-hit wonder chick.  And yes, she has staying power in the music industry.  In my humble opinion, she’s on the same level of perfecting pop music as our lady Gaga herself.  “Dancing On My Own” is a single from her flawless album Body Talk and exudes a level of emotion not heard in any dancey pop song in recent years.

nicki minaj’s verse from kanye west’s “monster”

It’s rare that a verse by a relative newcomer eclipses the raps of industry pros, but Nicki Minaj made it happen.  She, in less than two minutes, practically curb-stomps Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Rick Ross, and she does it in killer heels too.  Her debut album may have been less than impressive, but as long as Nicki keeps contributing guest verses that kick this much ass, the day of the female MC may one day come again.


katy perry – “teenage dream”

While I generally disapprove of K-Perry (I don’t care if “Firework” is supposed to be an LGBT anthem, this is the woman who brought us the bisexuality-as-a-trend anthem “I Kissed A Girl) I can’t deny I spent my whole summer singing this at the top of my lungs.  It definitely deserves the title of the best pop song produced in the States this year.  Then again, what’s the competition?  Ke$ha?


lissie – “cuckoo”

The best not-really-country country singer of the year.  Lissie (real name Elisabeth Maurus) has a wonderfully organic-sounding voice – that’s right, no autotune here – and a style of songwriting that makes you feel like you’re flipping through your diary.  When I hear this, I want to get in a car, roll the windows down, and drive somewhere, blasting “Cuckoo” at high volume all the way.

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Filed under music, pop culture

bisexual privilege?

I’ve heard a lot of talk about straight privilege lately, mainly surrounding the LGBTQ suicides and related projects, but also just in general.  Heterosexuals have it mega easy compared to gays and lesbians.  They’ll always find themselves represented in media, they will never have to come out to family or friends who might stop associating with them for it, and nobody asks them why they chose to be straight.  Straight privilege is definitely real.

But what about bisexuals?  Surely they don’t have it as bad?  After all, when many straight people think of bisexuals, they might think first of college girls drunkenly making out at frat parties – thank you, Girls Gone Wild and assorted MTV shows, for further perpetuating this stereotype.  Besides, if you’re bi, you can just hide your orientation by dating only those of the opposite gender.  Surely, if you go both ways, it’s easier.

In some respects this is true.  It’s always been easy for me to stay closeted around people I don’t want to tell; all I have to do is omit any mention of my feelings for girls and only talk about the boys I’m attracted to, and people assume I’m hetero.  Piece of cake.  But on the other hand…

  • When a bisexual character appears in media (TV or movies, especially) they are often portrayed as “the slut” – willing to hook up with anyone who’s there, regardless of gender.  (A perfect example: Santana from Glee.  She canonically hooks up with her female best friend and has been implied to sleep around.  Not that this is a bad thing, but when every other bi girl I see is shown the same way… well, it’s a bit annoying.)
  • More than once I’ve had my opinion disregarded because I’m not “really” gay – by members of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Alliance I used to attend.  “You don’t have the right to speak for gay people because you’re only half gay” seems to be the attitude behind these comments.
  • Even with the option to date those of the same sex, it’s still painful to hide your attraction to the opposite sex.  The fact that I can be openly affectionate with any boy I’m with, but can’t walk down the street holding hands with a girl, is pretty – ‘scuse my language – fucking annoying.  If the current attitude towards homosexuality in the US doesn’t change, if I fall in love with a girl, expressing that in public can lead to bullying, assault, and any assortment of other hate crimes.

So, basically, I’m not sure if bisexual privilege exists or not.  There are definitely drawbacks to being bi in a heteronormative society; not as many as there are for gays, but the disadvantages are still there…

what do you guys think?  Opinions, please.

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Filed under lgbtq, personal


Over sixty percent of gay teens report being bullied or harassed because of their sexuality. Over fifty percent attempt suicide – for every completed suicide, there are close to 200 attempts. Although it hasn’t been scientifically proven, as far as I know, most of these attempts are caused by the stress and pain brought on by bullying and harassment – both online and in person. Never has this been more talked about than now, in the aftermath of the suicides of six gay teens over the past three weeks – especially Tyler Clementi, a college freshman who, after a video of his encounter with another man was spread across the internet, ended his life by jumping off a bridge. In a country that calls itself “the land of the free”, to LGBTQ teens, sometimes it’s better to die than have people know about your sexuality. While we may say that America is such an accepting and fair place, minorities know – we, as a country, are still intolerant.

Though it’s not intolerance we should be focusing on. There will always be intolerance and bigotry and people who have internalized these beliefs so fully that they don’t even recognize that they are prejudiced. It’s the tolerance we should be worried about – the tolerance of hatred. The coverage of the recent suicides has focused on the victims and their families, and hardly a word for the people who drove them to kill themselves. Why is it more acceptable to talk about the end result rather than the homophobia and hatred that lead to it? While suicide is a deeply tragic act and it’s important to let LGBTQ teens know that ending their lives is not the answer, shouldn’t we also focus on stopping the problem where it begins and educating those who don’t know better that hatred is wrong?

I wish I could say I believe that one day we’ll live in a world where gender and sexuality are a spectrum that is nobody’s business but our own, not a binary by which we judge each other. But as the world becomes more and more dependent on technology, when everything can be turned into a string of zeroes and ones and check-one-or-the-other boxes, if anything, things are becoming even more black and white. And while these differences are shown as one or the other, “with me” or “against me” I doubt we will ever achieve real acceptance.

Who you are and how you identify is something you are born with. There is no difference between, say, brown hair and homosexuality, being left handed and being genderqueer. Being gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, anything is not deviance, it is simply another natural genetic variation just like every other trait that humans are born with. Until our society realizes this and ingrains it into our culture and the way we see each other, we will continue this way, letting innocent people die because others can’t accept them for who they are.

Let’s not let it happen again.

NOH8 CampaignIt Gets Better ProjectGLBT National Help CenterNational Suicide Prevention LifelineSpirit Day


Filed under bullying, in the news, lgbtq

Call the first witness

I just had the good (maybe) fortune to witness an INTERNET ARGUMENT!!!! about why Supernatural is apparently more damaging and sexist than Twilight.

Exhibit A: Internet argument.

Now, I have my issues with Twilight (YES, KATE, WE KNOW say the readers) and my issues with Supernatural, as much as I love the show and my boys.  But the two series are not really comparable.  They may both be paranormal stories aimed at a teenage audience, but the most important thing is the way the characters are presented to the (mostly teenage female) audience.

Exhibit B: Dean Winchester

I will not deny that Dean Winchester is a sexist pig who doesn’t know the first thing about respecting women.  He continually refers to the female characters as bitches, whores, and sluts; he’s not there for his romantic interests (the love ’em and leave ’em type) and he makes fun of his brother’s emotional side by making sexist comments.  If I knew Dean in real life, I would knee him in the balls the moment he opened his mouth.

However. Dean is also a very flawed young man.  (You would be, too, if you spent your childhood killing demons with your father.)  And he’s portrayed as such.  When is it ever implied that Dean is an entirely good person, a healthy partner in his relationships?  It doesn’t excuse the things he says, but I think we can all agree that Dean was never meant to be a role model or be the perfect boyfriend.

Which brings us to:

Exhibit C: Edward Cullen (+ hanger-on)

Edward Cullen.  Here is what girls have to say about Edward Cullen:

“He makes sure you know that you are all he thinks about and that he would find some way to die once you were gone”

“I think all guys should read the books and maybe even watch the movies and should strive to be like him, the books should be like a dating bible.”

“if one realizes that Edward is an immortal being who has fallen in love with the clumsiest most accident prone person in the universe, then I think his behaviour would be justified and then some”

You know why none of the fans will admit that Edward has abusive tendencies?  Because Stephanie Meyers presents him to us, the readers, as THE PERFECT BOYFRIEND.  Caring, totally obsessed with a girl, and protective of her to the point where he will do whatever it takes to keep her.

You know what that sounds like?  An abusive relationship.  Oh, he only keeps her from seeing her friends and RIPS THE ENGINE OUT OF HER CAR because he loves her and he’s jealous!  Yeah, I’ve heard that before.  “He only hurts me and controls me because he loves me.  He knows what’s best.”  Jealousy taken to that level is not cute or romantic: plain and simple, it’s a control tactic used to hold power over Bella.

Not once, not once in the series does the author address the fact that Edward and Bella’s relationship is controlling and semi-abusive, and not ideal at all.  Barely any of the fans of the series share this opinion.  To S. Meyers and her readers, Edward Cullen is the perfect man.

And this is where Dean and Edward differ – in presentation.  It’s one thing to write a character with problematic views purposefully and demonstrate these problems in the series, and quite another to pretend the character has no flaws and can do no wrong.  Supernatural may be sexist, but at least some of it, and practically all of Dean’s character, is on purpose.  Twilight doesn’t show or comment on the blatant sexism, and it almost seems that Stephanie Meyer doesn’t even know the implications of what she’s writing.

In conclusion: the Winchester boys need to stake Glitter-boy through the heart, and fast, before any girls end up hurt because they’re just looking for their own jealous, controlling Edward.

And Dean needs to take Womens’ Studies.


Filed under fandom, pop culture

a word to other survivors of bullying

Crossposted from my LiveJournal (private, and I will not be sharing the link here.)

If you let someone else make you miserable, it’s your fault.
– doucheface

Nothing else has made me this angry in months, and that’s saying something, as I’m a very angry person (YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THIS.) Applied to my personal experiences, this is one of the most offensive things I’ve ever heard.

I’ll try to keep the whining to a minimum, but this is basically a WAAAAH I AM SO PERSECUTED post. B|

For Kindergarten, I managed to snag a scholarship to an upper-class all girls school, pre-K-through-12. I’m not poor, but I’m not exactly rich either, and practically every other girl at the school was. Even with the mandatory uniforms, I couldn’t fit in – my shoes, my hair accessories, my lack of cable, let alone a TV, all marked me as an outsider from day one. If the girls in my classes weren’t being passive-agressively bitchy they were pretending I wasn’t there. Eventually, I realized the only was to make them my “friends” (or so I thought) was to do things for the more popular, rich, pretty girls. I’d carry their books from class to class, be the villain in their playground games, give them my lunch food from the cafeteria, and in exchange I’d be able to sit at their table at lunch. They’d make fun of me a lot, yes, but I thought that’s what friendship was for normal girls. Still, I’d come home crying more often than not. Eventually, partway through second grade, my parents took me out of school and spent the next two years homeschooling me.

By sixth grade I thought maybe things were getting better for me. I had a solid group of friends (even if one took every opportunity to compliment me in a backhand fashion, but hey, the movies I was watching at the time made that seem like it was a part of any normal friendship) and my father was considering letting me stop seeing a therapist.

During the summer between sixth and seventh grade, though, one of my friends changed schools, and another moved too far to continue going to our school. I was left with one friend, the backhanded compliment girl – I’ll call her Sasha – and ten boys who’d only backed off teasing me the year before because my friend Anna threatened to beat them up, as my only classmates that year. (It was a small alternative school.)

Sasha fell in with the much cooler 8th grade girls and began to ignore me when they were around. I was only her friend outside of school. She would barely even acknowledge my existence in school. Since I was the same angry little bitch I am now, I started keeping my first blog, what I thought was a scathing social satire but was really just me listing all the reasons I hated Sasha’s new friends. I wasn’t careful enough one day and Sasha and the older girls found it. Excerpts were printed out and passed around to the entire middle school, including the boy I had a mad, dizzy-with-anticipation-if-he-even-looked-at-me, hearts-on-my-binder crush on, who joined in the Let’s Tear Down Kate’s Self Esteem Festival with hardly a thought. He called me a fat loser, if I remember correctly, and that was one of the milder ones I got that year. After a day where I locked myself in the girls’ bathroom past the time school was out because I was too ashamed to go home and face my father, and a few principal-related complications, I transferred to the school my friend Julia was attending.

The rest of seventh grade passed without complication, thank god.

In eighth grade, Julia was in the smart kid class, 8-1, and I was transferred to the, er… not smart, if you know what I mean, class, 8-3. Without the comfort of having my only friend around, I started to crack a bit under the pressure of having to deal with kids I’d barely talked to before in my life. And they noticed it, too. They say dogs can smell fear; the same is true of thirteen-year-olds. And the girls at that school were experts at what I think of as sniper bullying – quick, straight-to-the-head insults that flew right under the radar of the teachers. They’d pull the books I read in class instead of working out of my hands and made fun of my choices – when I told my English teacher about this, she laughed and said they were just taking an interest in what I was reading.

TL;DR, bawww, I know. But, the point. People – guidance counselors, therapists, so called friends – have told me that I make myself an easy target for bullies, that I’m too sensitive, that I “shouldn’t let it get to me,” whatever that means. I’ve been hearing that since I was six. “If you tried a little harder to fit in, then maybe they’d be nicer,” the guidance counselor I had in eighth grade told me. And god, I tried. I bought clothes the other girls wore instead of what I liked; I pretended to be dumber than I was in hopes that maybe, maybe the movies were right and it would somehow make a guy fall for me; I left my fantasy books at home and pretended to read trendy “life on the A-list for preteens” books and Seventeen magazine when I was in school. None of it worked. If anything, it made things worse. The only thing worse than a girl who doesn’t fit in is one who tries to hard to. I tried to change how they treated me. I told myself the old glue-and-rubber rhyme, told myself that ten years from now I’d be in college and they’d be working cheap mall kiosks hawking makeup. None of it helped. Nothing changed.

I didn’t let them make me miserable. They chose to make me miserable. I didn’t have a choice – the serotonin levels in my brain chose for me. Believe me, if I got to choose, I would have chosen happiness. Sure, I made some bad choices during those times. I chose to write that blog, to eventually stop going to teachers for help, to cut myself instead of talking to a friend or taking a long walk or whatever the fuck they always tell you to do in therapy. But saying that I let them make me miserable is basically all but saying “It’s your fault people don’t like you, and everything they said about you was true.” (Not that all of it was false. I have been called gay, a dyke – well, they were half right about that one – and if not being scared of sex and – gasp – maybe even, one day in the future when I actually have it, ENJOYING it makes me a whore, then so be it, I’ll proudly proclaim my whoreyness to the world.)

Blame should never fall on the victim. They have never asked, “Hey, could you make me feel so degraded and guilty that I want to kill myself?” They have never worn a sign on their backs saying TEASE ME.

To everyone reading this (and, hell, myself, I still don’t really believe sometimes that what I went through wasn’t my fault) who’s ever been bullied, harassed, abused – it is not your fault. You did not let them hurt you. NONE OF IT IS YOUR FAULT.

It was their choice to make you miserable.

It’s your choice to admit that.


Filed under bullying, mental health, personal

twihard with a vengeance

Most of you have probably guessed by now that I’m, um, not the biggest fan of the Twilight saga.  And no, it’s not just because Robert Pattinson’s eyebrows look like caterpillars that are apt to crawl off his face mid-interview.  Nor is it that when it comes to pretty vampires, I’d take Thomas Raith over a Cullen any day.  My problem is, thankfully, a little less superficial than that.

If you’ve ever met a “Twihard”, ever set foot into Hot Topic, ever frequented a paranormal romance message board, you’ll know that the fans divide themselves into two groups: Team Edward and Team Jacob.  (Not counting the small fraction of fandom that’s into the whole Bella-and-James thing, which is just a whole other can of WRONG AND ABUSIVE.)  According to fans – and, hell, the books and films themselves – the heroine (AND I USE THIS TERM QUITE LOOSELY HERE) Bella must be with one of the two.  She MUST have a man.  So much for letting a girl love the single life – that’s ridiculous.  She can’t live, let alone have a happy and fulfilling life, as a single woman, or at least that’s what the books imply.

But wouldn’t our lovestruck protagonist be better off on her own?  I mean, look at the choices.

Hundred-plus year old vampire Edward is the first choice.  Yeah, I said it, he’s over a hundred.  You know how old Bella is?  SEVENTEEN.  That, my dear readers, is as far as I know ILLEGAL.  And also statutory rape and pedophilia.  Ebebophilia?  Whatever.  That’s still, like, a century’s difference.  Ick.  Also, he watches her while she sleeps and follows her around, controlling who she can and can’t be friends with.  Oh, and did I mention that in the final book, when he, ahem, deflowers Bella, he BREAKS THE HEADBOARD OF THE BED and she wakes up covered in bruises?  DOES ANYONE ELSE FIND THIS AS DODGY AS I DO?

On the other hand, there’s Jacob, a werewolf.  (With quite fabulous hair in the first film, I must say.  If only Taylor Lautner didn’t have an eight-year-old’s face and a male model’s abs…)  Now, I like Jacob quite a bit better – he’s the snarky, less flashy everydude to Edward’s perfect and eternal sparkliness – but even he’s a bit of a jerk.  Despite Bella’s protests, he forces her to kiss him, which is icky enough and then when Bella’s father finds out, he congratulates Jacob and laughs.  LAUGHS AT HIS DAUGHTER BEING PRACTICALLY SEXUALLY ASSAULTED.  What the hell, Stephanie Meyer?

Quite honestly, the only thing that could lessen the overwhelming aura of squick that surrounds Twilight for me would be if “TEAM BELLA” T-shirts started popping up.  If Meyers herself admitted what a twisted and semi-abusive relationship her leads share instead of presenting them as the picture-perfect, albeit undead, couple.  If Buffy somehow found her way into Forks – okay, now I’m going into personal wish fulfillment territory.

But seriously.  It would be awesome.


Filed under fandom, feminism, pop culture