Showing posts from July, 2014

Why Heteronormativity is Sucky

So a lot of straight people don't understand why heteronormativity is a bad thing. And my head feels like a mess right now so bear with me if this isn't particularly well-structured.

First of all, what is heteronormativity? I use it to mean the idea that heterosexuality is, effectively, the "default setting" for humans, and that by extension MOGAI people are special and different. On the surface, you can see why this would be adopted: somewhere between 95-98% of the population are heterosexual, which is an overwhelming majority.

Secondly, why am I moaning about this in the first place? Well, because I think it's harmful. And why do I think it's harmful?

Let's start with the definition I just gave: in heteronormativity, heterosexuality is the default, the norm. Boring. You are presumed to be straight. Now, if heterosexuality is the norm, being anything else must be different and weird - and because you're presumed to be straight, you have to make a pub…

Half the Earth Stolen

...or what happens after that person you love killed themselves. (Obvious trigger warning for suicide is obvious.)

So on tumblr there used to be this post (I can't find it now) that went something like "If, when I committed suicide I could see how it would affect other people and choose whether or not to go through with it, I'd be dead already".

If you could see how your suicide affected other people, it would spook you out of trying for a long time. Tumblr isn't always great with mental health help.

I have attempted suicide more times than I care to share and witnessed the suicide attempts of people close to me, so I've been on both sides of the discussion and I think I have a fair idea of what I'm talking about.

A lot of suicidal people think that if we killed ourselves, our loved ones would be better off. It happens a lot when you're depressed: your self-negativity clouds everything and your low mood isolates you, so you don't feel loved and i…

But who would love someone with scars?

This post discusses self-harm. You have been warned.

I spend a disturbing amount of time in the company of people slightly younger than me (I'm 18). Not much younger, of course - 15, 16. Old enough to be articulate and form ideas about the world, but not old enough to see as much of it as I have.

I really need to get off Tumblr.

Anyway, if you remember being 15 or 16, you probably remember being very confused, insecure and angsty. (If you don't, you're either lying to yourself or you lived in a happier time and now I'm jealous of you because I spent my early- and mid-teens being suicidally depressed.) Some of you probably remember showing your angst to others in some pretty horrible ways.

I'll now make an obligatory digression so I can say something very important: if you are considering self-harm, I have been there. I have looked at my body and thought "how utterly disgusting, I'm such a poser, I need more scars". I have looked at my body and wanted …

Accessibility in social justice spaces

This article is going to be boring, for which I apologise in advance; not everything I write can be interesting and engaging. Indeed, nothing I've written so far actually is. However, as my mother drilled into my head from a very young age and continues to drill into my head today, not everything important is going to grab your attention.

So, you're into social justice. You're radical and progressive and all about breaking down systems of oppression. You see the injustice in everything and rail against it with all the righteous fury you can muster. So far, so good, right? I'm not going to pretend that changing the world is simple or easy or produces instant results. I guess a good analogy is water running over a rock: you might think that the rock's just going to stay there, immutable and unmoveable, whether you pour the water over it for one month or one year or even ten years. But perhaps in eleven years' time you can start to see the rock wearing down, and i…

Bitchy Queers

Well, I stuck a slur in the title. Don't read on. There's no hope. Flee from this evil blog. More slurs are incoming. This article is also not particularly friendly to straight people. If you're straight and reading this, chances are that I don't hate you. This is because you're likely to be a complete stranger to me and thus me hating you based on my assumptions is pointless and logically faulty. However, there are straight people out there who do shitty things and I will rant about that without necessarily stopping every 5 minutes to say that not every straight person is like that.

When I was growing up, I grew up in an environment where most people were straight. I didn't meet an openly MOGAI person till I was 12. And so I was only vaguely aware of stereotypes: the catty, effeminate gay man, the masculine lesbian, the slutty and almost invisible bisexual. They're something I only really came across when I was older.

So I think somewhere at the back of my…

I hate gender roles

As has probably been made abundantly clear over the years, I'm a woman. So I can't speak as anyone other than a woman - and a pretty privileged woman at that. I'm aware that there's a lot I don't see, maybe because I'm not looking hard enough, maybe because there are some things that my perspective on life simply doesn't allow me to see. I am writing this from a very limited and narrow viewpoint and I would be more than happy for others to add to what I've written or to correct what I will inevitably get wrong.

I remember facing a lot of pressure to conform to conventional gender roles and gender expressions when I was younger. I had to like shoes and make-up and boys and shopping, and not show my intelligence because none of the boys would like me. I had to be quiet and conventionally feminine instead of being loud, in-your-face, and more than slightly androgynous - allegedly. I stayed being loud, in-your-face, androgynous me and got threatened with as…

Don't Be That Person!

I know this is only a little thing compared with such issues as global inequality and people not having access to clean water, but it annoys me.

So, this is the 21st century. In the West, things might have a long way to go, but they could be worse. Theoretically, we have a better understanding of the fact that different people think differently, like different things and have different lifestyles. In practice, people still throw hissy fits over the tiniest things, not understanding that in a free and diverse society at least one person is going to do something you disagree with and that there's not very much you can do about it, short of keeling over into authoritarianism.

Now, I'm used to people disagreeing with ideas and wishing everyone thought the same. Most people and their mothers do that to some extent - or maybe it's just me holding opinions that cause everyone around me to disagree with me. I can cope with that, because I've grown up with it. And it's not …

My life should not be politicised.

In recent decades it has become fashionable for people to declare their identities political. Quite what this means I'm too sick to ponder at the time of writing (I have a horrible chest infection that makes my intercostal muscles ache and I can't walk very far without getting out of breath, which is really annoying because normally I'm reasonably fit), but it generally involves getting very angry and showing off how radical you are.

Well, bully for you. I should hope that all this politicisation of identity is getting us somewhere, but for me it's actually quite painful to deal with.

I am bisexual, mentally ill, an immigrant and a woman. All of these identities get politicised in different ways.

Because I am bisexual - because I am not straight - I deviate from a norm that is very much cisgender and heterosexual (for example, if you think about most couples represented in the media, they're a man and a woman, and when walking down the street one might tend to assu…

Pop Feminism? Dude Feminism?

Ever since the general populace became aware that feminism is much more pluralistic and nuanced than the old stereotype of harridans with faces like blocked-up toilets complaining about how men are evil, we've had an explosion of different types of feminism. From the mildest liberal feminism to the most fiery and separatist radical feminism, some feminists even chuckle that there is a different type of feminism for every woman - much to the ire of those feminists who consider that watered-down lifestyle feminism (the idea that you can incorporate feminism into your life without radically changing your political views). Today feminist debates rage across the internet over the failings of various different types of feminism.

And I've got to say, I don't care very much.

You may accuse me of being too apathetic or apolitical thanks to my position of privilege. You may decide I'm an idiot or a moron (for which I wouldn't blame you). You may say I'm very anti-woman -…

Fetishisation and Representation

So this was something I've been thinking about. This is your first clue that this post is going to be garbage.

The other day, someone came up to me and said, essentially, that worries about the fetishisation of MOGAI relationships in the media are used to silence other queer people and are queerphobic. I would like to call bullshit on this.

Now, before people start imagining that I'm going to put on my straight people voice (whatever that is; I've lived around straight people for 18 years and I still have no idea what that means), I'm bi. No, this doesn't mean I'm half-straight, half-gay, faking it, or carrying around passing privilege for not writing "I AM QUEER" on my forehead in purple sharpie. It means I get sexually and romantically attracted to men and women. Not that hard of a concept, is it? I don't claim to speak for all MOGAI people, because we're not a monolithic group and more people (regardless of sexual orientation) need to learn…