Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Promise One: Remainder of my trip to Washington state

Okay I just realized that I owe you folks a few things so let's get into it.

First off I never did tell the rest of my trip to Washington state. Honestly there wasn't a whole lot left to gush about except for three things.

1. I spent WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY too much money in the San Rio store I found in the local mall. Seriously between my girlfriend and daughter I probably coughed up a little over $200 in that one store alone. Ended up actually mailing 2 small boxes of stuff back to NC because I didn't have enough space to carry it all and STILL ended up having to pay extra baggage fees (because of weight).

2. Went back to that awesome sushi by the conveyor belt place (Blue C Sushi) and ate a king's ransom the night before heading back out. I was so full.

3. I got to meet Gingko from Genderratic! Chilled at a pub, sipped some beer, talked about all sorts of things. Good time to be had. Although for some reason I thought he was black.....

But yeah that's the short version of my trip to Washington state back in February.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

He's a rapist, She's a sexual violator?

(I"m talking about rape, tread carefully.)

When you look around at campaigns to end sexual assault how do you usually see it framed? As rape correct?

Now let's be clear. Rape is a horrible crime and any who commit it must be held responsible and I bet anyone reading this would agree (and if you don't then that's a whole nother conversation).

So what happens when something as terrible as rape is defined not by the actions taken but by the characteristics of the people involved?

Imagine for a moment if when a black person kills a white person its manslaughter and when a white person kills a black person its murder. And that's the way it is in the law books. No attention to motive, opportunity, past criminal acts or anything like that. Just as simple as when a black person kills a white person its manslaughter and when a white person kills a black person its murder based on nothing more than the races of the killer and the victim.

Oh sure you can say that manslaughter and murder are two different charges but are prosecuted and punished the same (does that sound familiar?) but then look at how awareness campaigns around the acts develop. Over time the vast majority of efforts, language, campaigns, studies, conversations, etc.... specifically say murder. Even the very law books are written to keep them separate so that you know black people manslaughter and white people murder.

That's kind of what's happening in New Zealand right now.

Recently a 36 year old woman had a child by an 11 year old boy. But by New Zealand law that woman cannot be charged with rape.

Like my example above where a black person can't be charged with murder because they are black the law is actually written in such a way that a woman cannot be charged with rape because she is a woman. When a woman commits the same actions (forced sex against another person) as a man, he is charged with rape and she is charged with sexual violation (mind you both carry the same maximum sentence of 20 years).

Now that sounds good on paper but if you look at most of the conversations, campaigns, discussions, studies, etc... that are done on this subject the crime is called rape. Personally I think we all have a hand in such a separation where while we acknowledge that sexual assault, sexual violation, and other variations are horrible the we keep the spot light on rape. Its a charged word now.

Okay so I guess it doesn't look so good on paper when someone is immune to being charged with rape by simply being a different gender.

Its a pretty big problem where when you do a gender swap on a crime (if a 36 year old man had sex with an 11 year old girl..) and it actually becomes a different crime.

Personally I think the law got written this way as way to make female rapists out to be "lesser" than male rapists. Technically by NZ law there is no such thing as a female rapist. Yes you have female sexual violators but that doesn't have the same ring (or stigma) to it. And I think we are fully aware of it too.

You see on the large scale people still do not like the idea that women can commit horrible acts against other people. No they sleep better at night thinking that such things are the exclusive territory of men.

That's a part of those old gender roles we hear so much about. The same ones that are lamented because of how things like climbing the corporate ladder, being an athlete, or being a super hero are considered the exclusive territory of men.

If you believe that being a woman doesn't make one less of a hero, then you have to acknowledge that it doesn't make one less of a villain either.

And I also don't think its going to do much justice for the young boy she raped to be told that he wasn't raped but sexually violated all because the person that did it was a woman.

Let's hope that this leads to some really examination of the laws in NZ and eventually to some change.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Reaching out to the Elliot Rodgers of the world

I just got back home from Animazement (I'll have a post on that later) a short while ago and during that time I pretty much didn't look at any news. Well it seems that on Friday, Elliot Rodger fulfilled an apparently year long plan to exact what he conceived to be a plot of revenge against his "enemies". His "enemies" were women who were not attracted to him and the men they were attracted to instead.

On Friday May 23 Rodger shot and killed 6 people, and then killed himself.

I've been reading some of the coverage and its quite sad that this attack has become little more than fodder in spitting venom at this group or that. Even uglier is the seeming double standard that its okay to blame a group for the attack but if said group defends against that generalization THAT is considered derailing or being distasteful. But nevermind that.

What I want to get into is the fact that I feel for him. (This is going to sound like I'm talking to Elliot even though I know he is no longer around to hear my words. But maybe there are some other guys out there in Elliot's position who could use them.)

What you did was wrong and not justified, but I do understand the feelings that may have played a part in what you did.

As a guy that spent an extremely long time never dating, never being in relationships, and never having sex I can understand where you were coming from. It is quite frustrating and angering to go through life and never meet someone to connect with. It gets lonely. Its gets dark.

Now I'm not sure if you were raised on the idea that you deserve a woman, picked up the idea that you deserved a woman, or if you were just lonely. But when it comes to meeting people (regardless of what comes of it) it takes one major thing.

Patience: Contrary to the experiences of people who seem to meet a different person every week there are a lot of people who go long spans of time without meeting someone. It gets lonely and it can be real easy to take those long spans of time to heart. But you MUST hold out. A long lasting connection, or even a temporary or sexual connection, can be and often is hard to come by.

I don't want to scare you but there are a lot of people who go an extremely long time before they find such a connection and there are also a lot of people who never find one. A part of finding relationship, love, and sex is holding out until you find what you are looking for.

Elliot you were 22 when you chose to carry out your "revenge". That's still a fairly young age and you still had a lot of time ahead of you to keep looking. And about your revenge.

The women you killed weren't your enemies for not being interested in you. Just as I'm sure you have your own tastes in women those women had their own tastes in men. The fact that you weren't compatible with those tastes doesn't mean something was wrong (with their tastes or you) that needed to be fixed or some sort of wrong that called for justice.

The men that you killed weren't your enemies for being the ones those women were interested in. Different people have different tastes and that is the way dating and relationships go. Think about it like this. Let's say you meet a woman and you have some sort of connection with her. And out of nowhere another guy felt like you were his enemy simply because that woman was interested in him not you and that to correct what you did to him he decides to kill you.

In the end there is no question what you did was wrong and it cannot be defended. To me a more pressing point to address the feelings that very common in a lot of men but where only a few of them choose to take the kind of action you did.

The loneliness is understandable and the pain is something I can empathize and sympathize with. But you simply can't hope to correct the situation by killing other people, much less killing yourself.

A lot of people are going to wish you didn't kill those people.

A lot of people are going to wish you didn't hang around certain people (based on label alone).

A lot of people are going to wish you had killed yourself.

Those wishes are mostly based around their own satisfaction rather than preventing what happened.

Elliot I wish you could have found some help with how you were feeling.

If you had then (I would like to believe that) you would have been able to handle your situation a lot better and you would have likely met someone.

I'm sorry you didn't get that help.

I think in the end that's what it comes down to. Some people are not able to handle being in the situation of not connecting with others and helping them out would do a lot of good.

If women are dirty for having sex with men, what does that say about men?

So I read this post a few days ago by Lynn Beisner about Christian purity culture and men. She makes some good points but the post reminds me of something that I have had on my mind for an extremely long time.

When you get down to it Christianity casts men and male sexuality as dirty as disgusting.

Think about it.

You ever notice how Puritanical ways goes on about how women are pure this and clean that...until they have sex? Those women are having sex with someone. And given that Christianity isn't exactly welcoming of homosexuality I think we can conclude its talking about women having sex with men.

So what does this mean? That women are clean and pure and fine until they have sex with men at which time they become dirty and impure. In short men are dirty and unclean and by having sex with men women also become dirty and unclean.

I don't know about you folks but I can't put a lot of stock in a religion that casts me as dirty and unclear for simply being male.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inappropriate? Maybe. Sexual Harassment? Hell No.

So apparently  Amanda Marcotte thinks that a teenager Patrick Farves asking Miss America Nina Davuluri to the prom is sexual harassment.

First off let me say that I don't think the guy is totally innocent here. Apparently the school knew that he was planning on asking her and had warned him not to do so, but he did anyway. Based on that I really don't it was out of line to take action against him. A 3 day suspension seems harsh but I do think he should have gotten punished in some way. But that's not the real issue here. To me the real issue is that rather than this topic being laid to rest it would seem Marcotte sees it as a chance to make leaps and bounds in order get more readers.

One response included :
gawker.com/high-school-student-suspended-for-asking-miss-america-t-1565510180 … I really wish people would stop acting like it’s cute when teenage boys sexually harass older women.
12:09 PM - 21 Apr 2014
When asked to explain how asking someone out constitutes harassment she replies with:
Pestering someone with unwanted sexual requests for the purpose of making them uncomfortable is harassment.
5:24 PM - 21 Apr 2014
See what she does there? It would seem that the running start for her leap consists of:

1. Concluding that asking her out is "pestering" aka getting on her nerves.
2. Presuming that wanting to ask someone out to the prom inherently means they want sex.
3. Presuming that wanting to ask someone out to the prom inherently means they are trying to make them uncomfortable.

First off I think we should let the person being asked if they are pestered by such a question. Davuluri has posted on her Facebook page that she has reached out to Farves' school asking them to reconsider the punishment. Does that sound like someone that was pestered? She could have easily walked away from the situation and given no fucks about it.

I can't be the only one that sees the oddness of Marcotte saying that the only reason he asked her out was for sex. It can't just because he wanted to go on a date with Miss God Damn America, one of the most popular women in the country. Maybe he wanted to have a genuine one on one conversation with her. Perhaps he just wanted to dance with her. Yeah its possible that he was just asking in hopes of having sex with her but I don't see Marcotte offering any proof of that. Maybe she thinks, "Come on, he's a teenage boy!" is proof enough. You'd think someone that prides herself in breaking gender stereotypes wouldn't believe such a thing.

Presuming that he did it to make her uncomfortable sort of contradicts the "he was in it for the sex angle". Unless she is saying he went into the situation thinking, "If she says yes then I'll get to bang her. If she says no, then at least I made her feel uncomfortable"?

And speaking of "unwanted". Shouldn't that be Davuluri's decision? Who are we to say that even if Farve's intentions were sexual, she would have turned him down? I guess women "daring to be sexual" is only okay when the dare is an approved one right?*

Who knows maybe that's just what she was thinking he was thinking.

What I'm getting at is while his behavior was very inappropriate (but only because he violated a previously issued warning to not do so) it was NOT sexual harassment. These are exactly the kind of overreaching, hyperbolic, reaching claims that get in the way of real conversation and change. If you want to say he was out of line then do so. But please do so without reaching for words that have no place in the conversation.

* - This is presuming that Patrick Farves is of consenting age of course.