A friendly blog where feminists and their male allies can come together and discuss methods, tactics, and strategies for use in toppling White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.


New Job, Etc.

I've turned in my notice. I've got one more week of working at the group home, then a few days off, then I'm off to Baltimore where I start an internship in union organizing. It's way more money. It's away from HERE. It should be good stuff. I can't wait to leave.

Last night was such an idyllic group-home night. Everybody was in a good mood, the sun was shining outside, the flowers in the group-home garden had just opened up. I cooked a really wonderful supper and everybody loved it. An inspector came, and only stayed an hour, was really impressed with the house and the environment and how happy and independent our guys are. Everything got done early.

I remember, after bathing one of the clients, I threw together the casserole-thing I was cooking and put it in the oven, then went outside to sit on the patio table and brush and braid my client's hair. The group-home kitties sat up on the table with me, two torties with bubbly personalities, and I made a gorgeous french-plait in this woman's long, blonde hair. I nearly cried, then, when I thought about leaving.

When I get to these emotional places at work, when I'm having a good time with the guys or when we're doing a project that's totally awesome and cool, or we're all working together cooking some big thing- and I want to cry, because I'm going to be walking away from all that family in a week- I think back on where I actually LIVE. I think about my mom, and how hard her life is, and I think about how I have to get to a place where I can take care of HER when she finally gets sick and starts to die. It's kinda the mental equivalent of pinching myself real hard.
I mean, to be honest, I've been acting kinda selfishly. I *could* have gotten a fucking corporate job at a collection agency, making mad money harassing people in Spanish to make their trailer payments or whatever. I could already be helping my family, but my fucking stark-as-hell principles and morality won't let me do that kinda work. The whole mess has made me look like a fool to people I love dearly- keeping this job, whose administrative ass-end I complain about all the damn time, that doesn't pay enough to let me have my own place and pay rent, forgoing other jobs that could lead to strategical political involvement or at least more money, a hand-up outta poverty.

At least what I'm gonna get paid for now is a more officially "Fight the Man"-type job. I wish that Radical Feminism had more ground-level material benefits. I'd love to find a job working for a fist-in-your-face, radical, feminist organization. But it looks like any work I do for this movement will be unpaid, at least for now.

I ain't all that bound up with money or material comfort. If you could see the place where I live now, you'd understand what I'm saying. But I gotta pay rent. There's no room for me in mama's house anymore. I work a lot, already, and it's fucking hard as hell to find time to research articles for this blog or absorb myself in feminist political work. My work schedule right now doesn't allow for political meetings. SO this is what y'all get. But hopefully that's gonna change real, real soon. I'm prickly with excitement just as much as I hate to leave the family-setting of my current workplace.

I told the inspector yesterday, who asked me why the hell I was leaving, after my boss bragged to him about my bilingualness and my college degrees- I told him I had to go somewhere where I could draw a fucking paycheck. He'd worked in the field for quite some time, so he just responded by nodding his head.

After a four-week stint in Baltimore, I head for either Atlanta or Orlando. I hope I get Orlando, mainly 'cause I never been there.

Shit! I just looked at the clock. Time to go to work! Ugh!!! I hate bloggus-interruptus. More later.


Just Some Random Thoughts

I'm sitting in the living room, at my brother's desk. Right now there are 2 teenage boys, one of them my nephew, getting ready to play "Risk" and making some noise directly behind me. These are the things I deal with in order to sit at a computer long enough to do a blog-post.

I'm currently engaged in some high-level procrastination; I need to draft a resignation letter before I go in to work today. I'm getting ready to leave a job I've had for nearly 8 years, and it's a bit intimidating. I got an apprenticeship with a union, so it looks like that's what I'll be doing for the next little while.

I just got done reading a post at Biting Beaver on Fuckability. It upset me some, not because I disagree with any of it, it just kinda triggered some emotions that I have a hard time dealing with. I was moved to post a comment-tirade there about an encounter with a man in Durham in which he apparently thought I was a prostitute, and inquired as to my rates. I guess that when that happened it didn't NOT bother me; I knew I was a little preturbed but when I read BB's post today I cried, and I don't do that too often.

When I went on my NC trip, and when I go on many trips, I didn't wear any makeup or bring any fancy or sexy clothes. It's just a kinda pragmatism I have, I kinda treat trips like camping and go minimalist. I don't like to carry around extra shit and I'm not much for dressing up anyways. When I'm navigating in normal life, here on my home turf, so to speak, I don't get the "random-guy-staring-at-me" unless I'm wearing makeup and/or something that's low-cut.
I always attribute this to my status as a non-pretty woman, by most standards (that is, most ways of thinking of "attractiveness" under the Gringo White-Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.) I guess that's why the whole "incident" in Durham threw me off; I wasn't wearing anything at all revealing, I was sweaty, my hair was a big fuzzy mess, and I was just sitting outside a deli smoking cigarettes and reading an Andrea Dworkin book, for Christ's sakes. Then this dude comes up and puts his paws on my and wants to know how much I "charge, you know, for the night. Or for an hour or 2."

Now. I think that BB's reference to "fuckability" needs a little clarification, since all women are "fuckable" under patriarchy. We all have the necessary holes and we're all kinda stuck in this place below the men-folk, where "being fucked" whether we like it or not is a constant threat hanging in the air over our heads, in our field of vision.

The guy who "propositioned" me was, as far as I could tell, street-folk. There were people walking by on the sidewalk the whole time the exchange was happening, and nobody stopped to say anything to him or ask me if I needed help. I was on my own for that 5 minutes leading up to his ask and for the few minutes it took me to get back inside, away from the guy. I had to disengage from him, get his hands off me (he'd moved in real, real close, grabbed my hand, and also put a hand on my shoulder) and scoot without pissing him off, in my mind. I also, in spite of his fucking audacity, felt compelled to do it without letting him think I was recoiling from a "creepy street person." I wasn't. I was recoiling from a big man whose nasty breath was in my face and was touching me without my permission. I felt "lucky" when one of the guys working in the Deli, who'd previously been hitting on me "the nice way," (just making chit-chat, saying I had pretty eyes, making comments about my tattoos, that kinda stuff ) came out and shooed the guy away.

So I guess that the point that I'm struggling to come to, here, is where that difference lies, in what BB talks about with "fuckability" as she's defining it, (and correct me, please, if I missed something, BB. I ain't the brightest crayon sometimes) which seems to be in terms of a kind of "attractiveness" that one is born with, the physical proportions and characteristics that a person has that allows them to "fit" the "attractive" mold and seems to act as a sort of "invitation" to men, if that makes sense, and gives them this sense of entitlement to make comments and touch and grab.

Under this definition, I'm not "fuckable," and I certainly wasn't wearing anything provocative or any makeup and I thought I looked a mess. I weigh 260 lbs and am 5'4" tall. Most folks don't even think I'm attractive. But this shit happens to me. This wasn't the first time I've encountered the intrusive, male entitlement to comment/proposition/confront/inquire/touch me in a suggestive way, one that assumed that I wanted some sort of sexual contact.

But there is a difference in experience, here. I've had men who will insult me because of my fatness and my lack of fashion sense and then ask if I'll fuck them in the same breath. I've had men yell at me from car windows, all of what they're saying being insulting and objectifying; they'll say I'm "ugly" and say they want to "tap that ass" and it's all the same tone of voice.

I think the difference in the form or context of objectification comes in the percieved "trophy-ness" of the woman in question.

See, men don't ask me out on "dates", generally speaking. I'm much more likely to get stared down if I look like "SOMEBODY" than if I'm just walking around in my normal street gear, or get some kind of fucked-up misogynistic piropos shouted at me, or even to get my ass smacked or whatever. But even when I'm all dressed up and cleaned up, conforming as much as my physical proportions will allow me to do so to what "beauty" and "standards" are in our society, even then men don't ask for "dates." They only will ask to "fuck." If I tell them to fuck off, they get very angry and insult me based on how I look. When I've told them that I'm not into men, which at this point in time is pretty much the truth, they say they can "fix that."

And I HAVE dated men, after I've asked them out, and they've agreed. But I have NEVER, ever been asked out on a date. I dated one of these guys for a damn long time. But I was never a real human being to him. I was a "sex-kitten." I was a goddam fuck-toy.

I've been that woman that a man will fuck in secret, in a motel-room, on the side. When I was dating, the guy I dated did stuff like showing naked pictures of me to his friends, people that knew me and he even offered that I would be interested in sex with them, usually without asking my permission to do so, only telling me about it after he'd done it already.

I have attraction for men, still. But the ways I've engaged with them intimately make me think that I shouldn't engage any more, if that makes any sense at all. I'm not a trophy, not worth keeping around or adding to their "public" image, unless they're the type of man to fetishize certain body types (and living with a fetishist is fucked-up as hell. Been there, done that, and won't go there again.) And so I have friendships with them. But if they "desire" me in a physical sense, it's not in a public way, it's behind-the-scenes, it's a tryst or a fucking one-night-stand. I've had men who I formerly called friends proposition me, ask to sleep with me, but never ask to "go out" somewhere or tell me that they had feelings for me, other than friendship. I've done it, too. I've screwed them, I've attempted to be that fantasy-woman for them, and while they've come back for sex at times it's always been in a disengaged format- something that I'm supposed to understand "inherently" I guess, that I'm NOT a real relationship and that I'm only there for them that minute in that way, and that anybody else would have "done in a pinch." And then they roll off you and it's like nothing, NOTHING ever happened.

Since I've quit engaging in this side of the male/female relationship miasma, I've had this realization that I'm not the kinda woman that men want to date. I'm "fuckable," that's for sure, but it's something that I should be grateful for, since I'm so damn ugly or whatever. I've been a sounding-board and a bedpost-notch.

What's happened is that, whenever I'm around men, even men with what you'd call "good politics", I'm super self-conscious and I take in every move they make and everything I do with my own body to stave off giving out the "wrong signals." I've learned to keep this tally in my head and the dudes I hang out with don't even know that I'm doing it. When the incident in Durham happened, I spent a good part of the afternoon in self-scrutiny and wondering what the hell I did to prompt the whole thing. I will watch what I say. I made a comment to a friend yesterday, at lunch, about how I do everything I do very deliberately, especially when I'm in a room that's got a heftier portion of men than women sitting around, or milling about.

I've emotionally and physically detached myself from men. My wall's gotten pretty high, and I didn't really realize it 'till the past week. The fucked-up thing is, it makes me kinda sad.

When I was little, I didn't have my own room, so I slept with my parents. My dad would hold me when we slept, he'd play with my hair and on the weekends, I'd wake up and stare at him until he woke up and spend the day with me. I remember back to that time, feeling sleep as something secure and safe, if he was there.

Then my grandfather molested me when I was 7, and since then it's almost impossible for me to sleep with anybody. At that point I DEMANDED somewhere of my own to sleep, and I didn't want to touch or hug my dad, or my mom, or anybody in my family for many years. That's when my lifelong struggle with insomnia began. I wish to hell I could sleep again the way I slept when I was 6. Now sleeping in a bed with a male is out of the question, unless I know I'm going to have sex with him. I slept good when I lived with the aforementioned guy that I dated, when he would cuddle up with me, I slept like a fucking rock. This guy who treated me like I wasn't human, who fucked around on me and lied about it, who wanted me to be his live-in porno star could put his arms around me and I'd sleep just like a fucking baby. And that's something I can't go back to. So I guess it's insomnia, kicking, and fighting sleep for me, unless I want to take heavy-duty antipsychotics to induce dead, drunken sleep.

And in coming back to this fuckability thing, what I was really wanting to know is if there's not a better word for that specific form of objectification. But something opened up the floodgates, and now I'm just rambling without a point. But I wanted to illustrate how ALL women have fuckability, ugly or attractive according to the norms we usually go by. The women who fall into the "trophy-ification" category, I guess, are more likely to get the "emotional relationship that's also sexual" "benefits". Not that I really think they're benefits. But it's a different thing.

I know that this post is all over the map, and I apologize for it's lack of coherence. I'm just trying to find something to pin down this struggle that my brain's having with itself. I mean, I think it's important given the wedges that are driven among women, among sisters, who don't get along, and who judge other women on the basis of how attractive or not that they are.

I'd like us to collectively realize that, one way or another, we're all just fuckholes to the patriarchy. We DO come to that place via different paths, and through different experiences. I've come across women who've judged me based on my appearance, I've met women who say that all fat people are lazy and don't care about themselves. The fat and ugly thing is what gave me my overall sense of pugnacious rebellion, and I'd never been able to attach it cohesively to my experience as a woman before. While the attitude I mention does make me angry, I have to stand up for my "pretty" sisters here, too. Because they didn't ever create the dichotomy, they just "benefitted" from it in some ways. And the ways they've been hurt and mutilated themselves and starved themselves, well, it far outweighs most benifits, except those that are hard-line economical.

I'm gonna say it again, ALL of us are seen by the patriarchy as potential fuckholes. The differing routes to fuckholeness are shaped, in many ways, by the bodies that we're born into, the way that these bodies look, the degree to which they "naturally" or not fit the "mold" of different, patriarchally constructed sort of archetypes of "feminity" or "femalesness". And we all have to move and bend to what the patriarchy wants, keep a tally on what we're doing, how we look, how we move, how we talk based upon these proscribed demands and expectations.

Black Women, Latinas, Asian Women, are expected to try to look more "white." Fat women have to play up those features that can't be "ruined" by their fatness. White women are supposed to strive for housewifedom. Pretty women are immediately percieved as brainless and "fuckable." The list goes on and doesn't end.

We're all out there, grabable and pinchable, our asses a source of public discourse. We are all fetishized to some degree. We're all expected to strive for a starved, white, fragile, breakable perception of what beauty "is." We're all open to the on-the-street "proposition," the catcalls, the stares.

We have to fucking strike back. This isn't a friendly "struggle of opposites." This is a fucking war, and we're the fucking insurgency.

I have to go get ready for work now. Guess I'm not gonna get around to that resignation letter.


Road-Hangover with a side of Bus-Rash

I guess that's what my problem is this mornin'. I just swallered 800 mgs of ibuprofen and am guzzling coffee to get this allover-fatigue feeling to go away in time for me to go and get my truck and get my ass to work. Jesus Christ.

I had a wonderful time in North Carolina, even though my hillbilly sense of place and time was skewed by the fact that I couldn't look out the corner of my eye and see mountains no matter where I went-- I've lived right next to the Great Smokies all my damn life, and it's wierd them not being in the background- but otherwise, the Triangle area is quite charming.

Yesterday I spend roughly 14 hours on Greyhound buses. The bus that left the Charlotte station broke down or something, I'm not sure what but we had to turn around and board a different bus, and then when we got onto the interstate and got rolling we had to bow up and stop due to a blockage in traffic. For miles, signs read "merge right. Left 3 lanes closed."

Apparently, Charlotte drivers can't read. Or something. They just kept ignoring the signs and driving on, and this caused a big 'ol road blockage that it took 2 hours to get out of. Everybody on the bus was tired, groggy, and stuck on the damn highway.

To make up time, our lovely driver sped like a madman from that point on. Jesus christ. I don't know if y'all have ever driven through the Smoky Mountains at night time, or during a wet, windy electrical storm, or both. I have. But I'd never seen it at God-Knows-How-Fast, in a gigantic Greyhound bus. The big windows made for good storm-viewin', but I gotta say that around a couple of those curves, every part of me that could clinch up did. But hey, how much is the admission price to Dollywood? This was much more entertaining.

Ok. I gotta go and get my shit together. Tomorrow, I might unmod comments and I WILL get back to the radical feminism thing. Today I'm just thinking about my trip and the folks I met and how I can't wait to get away from my crazy family for a little while, all that kinda stuff. I need to chill. I guess I can do that after work.

Aaarh. More later.


Yo Tengo Problemas

Alright, all y'all who have commented and shit and your comments haven't shown up, well, I'm working out my own mental delays on the blog moderation thing.

I keep trying to "publish comments" and it keeps telling me that the post I'm looking for was not found.

I'm spending the next 4 days in beautiful North Carolina. So if I don't get to posting/fixing this thing this week, please accept my apologies.

I gotta go to bed now.


Oh yeah, one more thing...

I did want to mention that I've turned on all my feeble "controls" and now everything's mod-ed. Just 'cause I want to see what it's like to be dictator over my little corner of the blogosphere, mua ha ha ha. *puts off sleeping*

God Dammit Why the Fuck Can I Never Sleep

I'm having committment issues with this blog. I have committment issues with everything, it seems, except for shit like education and paying jobs. But right now the issue's with the blog. So here's the deal.

I just got news this week that I got accepted for an internship, a good one, one that pays. One that will lead to a new paying job. That's cool. I have to quit my current paying job, one as a caregiver for the disabled. I've worked here for nearly 8 years. This job has taught me a great deal of things. It's one of those sad cases of a job that could be really, really satisfying... if it didn't pay poverty wages. But at any rate, there's this emotional-attachment thing going on, and I'm kinda getting walloped with the fact that these people who've kinda turned into a family for me are gonna be out of my life, for a long time at the least. And my friends here, my god, my friends here. My best friend since I was 12 is leaving for New York. It's just all a lot of stuff. I've lived here for damn-near 28 years and I'm about to leave and I don't really know where I'll finally end up. It's wild as hell.
I'm trying to stay focused and excited.
I've wanted to blog all fucking week about Monday-- Worker's Labor Day. This year there was a boycott and general strike aimed at this fucked up administration and it's wish to turn persons living in the U.S.A. without proper documentation of their birth in this fair land into real, no-shit FELONS. Have y'all been reading about the Sensenbrenner bill? Noticing it in the news? Seeing, hearing, feeling the giant, mass movement rising up around us? Some of my blog-pals talked about it. Very few of them, though. And I hope it was just cause everybody was so busy actively showing their solidarity by joining the strike, not going to work, going to protests in your areas, not buying shit, that sort of thing. This proposed legislation is mighty fucked-up and it would do folks a lot of good and lend a lot of perspective, when talking liberation talk of any kind, to read on it further.
I can't be too damn judgemental, though, I didn't blog about it either. But it's really 'cause I went to the damn rally.

Now. If any of the feminists who read this blog have some sort of philosophical opposition to "illegal" immigration into Gringolandia, I have got to remind you that this movement of immigrants and the mass of people living in the U.S.A. deemed as "illegal" beings on the basis of their lack of suficient paperwork, consists of millions of women and children, all of whom are susceptible to the exact same horrors that we all are, and are protected even less by our sham of a fucking legal system; women are making up a good deal of this movement's leadership. These women are standing up against something GIGANTIC. They are demanding that our government treat them as humans. I'm working on a bigger post on it.

Anyways, I have to go now because I have to get up in 3 hours. I have very big stuff to do tomorrow/today/this morning. And then I'm going out of town for a few more days.

The next couple months should be very interesting.

And the only reason I keep on blathering on is 'cause I don't want to be accused of not keeping up with my fucking blog. *yawns*

More later.