Archive for July, 2009

07
Jul
09

Book Review Project: Introductory Note

I’ve been reading various pagan/heathen authors, and on specifically Norse and Norse Reconstructionist subjects, for a while, but not really thinking too much while I do it and not really processing beyond the initial absorption of information. Also I haven’t been taking copious notes as is my usual wont, so I don’t really remember a lot of it. This is quite a bad thing, since a) it means my OCPD is slipping, and b) I need to remember things to be able to try putting them into practice, since I’ve been leaning very much towards Norse religious things recently, having pretty much given up on Christianity. Perhaps I was going about it wrong, but regardless, I have trouble understanding why I should worship a “jealous God” when jealousy is something I strive to analyze and thereby reduce in my life. I do not doubt His existence, His power, or His worth to His followers. But that particular organized religious practice is no longer really relevant to my life.

Also, now that my summer class is done the Captain has threatened to tie me down and make me take a break. I haven’t since… counting GLBTQorg? Summer of 2006. And I worked that summer, so I’m not sure even that counts. And having found that goodness me, there is more out there than I thought possible! I’ve started a reading list.

Some things on here are obvious (primary-ish sources such as the requisite Eddas) but I’m trying to look for what could be called direct interpretation? Folk who put primary sources and archaeological information together, so lazy beginners like me (with no background in this sort of thing beyond a college-level command of the English language and limited Scandinavian proficiencies) don’t need to do all that work.

Given that my financial resources are quite limited at the moment, the ones that are available free will be done sooner than the ones that I need to pay for (and if anyone wants to direct me to a free or online version also to save the papers I’ll think of something to do in return). Also, I am open to suggested additions.

The list as it stand now is the requisite primary sources, and whatever I can find on the internets and in bookstores (This is assuming I find a source of money that covers more than bills and rent). This is going to be very much a “I’m a newbie and this is what my level of folk can get out of this” sort of thing. To be added to (and made into its own page) as I find more things to read.

Poetic and Prose Eddas (hopefully a bilingual version)
Visions of Vanaheim, by Svartesól here (I’m a quarter two-thirds of the way through, and thus far it’s been well worth the ten dollars.)
Essential Asatru: Walking the Path of Norse Paganism, by Diana L. Paxson (This is one of the ones I skimmed.)
Norse Gods and Giants, by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire (This is a children’s book. It is however one of the foundations of my personal search, so I feel I should include it here.)

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06
Jul
09

Buck Angel

Haaawwwt.

And brainbreaky. In the amazing and good way. That I hope to be able to accomplish someday. Maybe without being that built, though. I rather like being a bit of a ragdoll 😉

Buck Angel was explained to the Captain and Not-Narrow today. With a link to the fansite, easily googlable and very NSFW. Headsplosions! This came about because Buck Angel was on the cover of a mock Cosmo here which I felt the need to share with the Captain. (He didn’t get the reference.) The actual article he read about it is here.

I’m horrifically late to the internet, as usual. I was talking about it with DDog and he made the point that Erika Moen isn’t talking about transmen, she’s talking about drag kings.

And here I make the point that there’s two things to objectify about genderbenders in general. Maybe I’m a little compartmentalized, but here we go:

1. The Body/Expression Contradiction aspect: Everyone knows a drag king is female. They dress up in men’s clothes and prance around on stage and exhibit themselves as male impersonators. They deliberately bend the boundaries of sex and gender expression and want people to know that that’s exactly what they’re doing. (At least, that’s what I did when I still did man-drag. YMMV. And I know there are a lot of drag kings who are also transmen, and I’m talking about the cis-identified ones. Gender and drag are more complicated than I’m making them out as here.) And it’s true: girls in boy clothes are hot. Androgyny is sexy. No one (that I saw) actually disagreed with Dar on that point. We know kings are hot, they know they’re hot, and everyone has a smashing time. This is the “female body hidden under male clothes omg transgressing gender roles!” thing. Not in itself problematic. It’s your run-of-the-mill transvestic fetish ;D
2. The Body/Identity Contradiction aspect: Thinking someone is attractive because of the contrast between their gender identity and their body. “Trans people are hot, transgressing gender boundaries is hot, trans people are the new in thing to date, I like you because you’re different, I like you because it’ll promote my trans-friendly feminist image, I like you because it lets me rebel against my parents/classmates/work/society, I’m a lesbian but I like you because you still have female body parts, I’m gay but I like you for your identity (and I’m not going to put my penis in your vagina no matter how much you like it — Yeah, some of us are bitter), I’m bi/pansexual and I like you because it’s the best of both worlds at the same time…” Note that if one of these is the only or main source of attraction, that’s creepy and objectifying. Which, yes: people DO. I do it, when I’m casually ogling strangers. But when it comes to trans people, being attracted to their transness (to the body/identity split; not to their androgynous appearance) is fetishizing the disjoint between someone’s identity and their body. In other words, OBJECTIFYING DYSPHORIA. And while I may not currently accept that GID is a legitimate mental diagnosis, I recognize that the intersection of body and identity, for a lot of trans people, is a locus of shame, denial, and self-hate; leading to things like alcoholism, cutting and its nasty ilk, depression, and suicide. NOT SEXY.

It’s not clear which of these she’s doing. That’s the problem I have. The first one is fine. The second one is not.

Privilege alert! I’m a skinny little twink, but I tend to like my (dominant) partners towards the larger end of the healthy body weight spectrum– I’m a chubby chaser to a degree. I objectify that in a blatantly sexual manner because some of my kinks require the top to be someone who is physically larger and stronger, since I don’t enjoy having to ‘let someone win.’ But, I run into people who are not happy with their weight. At which point its, “I think you’re sexy anyway, but I respect that it bothers you and I want to be supportive. What can I do that’ll be helpful?” Often, ‘help’ is I just don’t bring it up. The pertinent bit after all that rambling is, my place as an ogler is to be considerate of the feelings of the ogled, while being open about mine.

Yes, we ‘transform gender perceptions.’ A lot of transfolk like to have done with it quietly and get on with our lives, and don’t like having attention called to it (aka “stealth”). And some don’t mind the attention because it’s an opportunity for education (like me), and a few are actually comfortable with a female body and a male identity (used to be me).

Erika and other darling trannychasers out there, you have every right to think gender transgression is sexy. Just… think about what, specifically, you’re (publicly, verbally, all-over-the-internets-ally) objectifying about transfolk in particular. Try to put yourself in our shoes. This is not meant as a challenge or beatdown or anything — just an attempt to create understanding.

03
Jul
09

She’s quite pretty.

Waiting for more one this.

“Those who apply for a sex change must be single, over 20 and have wanted the surgery for at least five years… proposed new guidelines, posted on the ministry of health’s website, have been distributed for public discussion… improve the oversight of sex change operations in China and ensure their safety, the ministry says… openly lived and worked as a member of the opposite gender for at least two years… received psychological counselling for at least a year and have told their families about their wishes… public security bureau must also agree to change the person’s sex on their identify documents.”

Different process, maybe a longer process, but consider this is coming from the government. Not some semi-regulated corporation. It seems like in a bunch of countries (Thailand also comes to mind) trans rights are actually ahead of LGB rights. Going to have to look more into the reasons behind that, because I’m not exactly sure it’s a good thing.

Also a subtle differentiation between ‘sex’ and ‘gender.’ Thank you, BBC 😀