novice Buddhist, expert neurotic. writer. aspiring adult.
sophcw at gmail dot com
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Yes, it is hard to be a punk band in a city where living costs are skyrocketing, we have very little of what you might call “DIY infrastructure”, and I think we are constantly wondering, “Is this the best way for me personally to question and resist what’s going on? This stuff happening that benefits the few, the rich and usually white, and sends everyone else packing? How am I part of this problem?” But, I read this really great Grass Widow interview last year where they said something like, “We have a friend who quit playing music recently. He said he wanted to do something more important with his life. And we thought to ourselves, why don’t you make your music more important?” So, on that hand, No, it is not hard to be a punk band here. We have our work cut out for us. It is really audacious and perhaps narcissistic of us to decide that we are going to make important music. And, ultimately, we don’t get to decide whether or not our music is or will be important to other people. But we can make work that is important and meaningful to us, and that in and of itself is a victory against “the capitalist system”, as Barbara Dane would call it. This is a system that discourages us, and makes it incredibly difficult for us, to create meaningful work. People will laugh or roll their eyes if you talk about the capitalist system too long, and that’s fine, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable because it doesn’t seem sexy, in the same way that feminism was derided by conservatives in the ’90s (and nearly every decade, really) to a place where it seemed really scary and uncool, generally unappealing to a lot of women (let alone men!). Priests is a band, we’re really just performers in one sense. Our job is just doing whatever will make you entertained for as long as possible. But I think we can entertain and communicate. We can use our music as a tool and a weapon and a celebration all at the same time.
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I feel like feminism is something that can change the world. It’s not just white women climbing the corporate ladder. It’s about challenging all the binaries, ending racism, ending classism. It’s not about hating men! That’s not even part of the conversation in my mind. But that’s kind of great to hear a little freak like Miley Cyrus say that she’s a feminist. She’s such a weirdo. I think that anything that opens a discussion is positive, but I want to find a way that we can go beyond talking about twerking to actually working on change.
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Feminists in general have come to rethink spirituality. Ten years ago if you talked about humility, people would say, I feel as a woman I’ve been humble enough, I don’t want to try to erase the ego—I’m trying to get an ego. But now, the achievements that women have made in all areas of life have brought home the reality that we are as corruptible as anybody else. That shared possibility of corruptibility makes us confront the realm of ego in a new way. We’ve gone past the period when the rhetoric of victimization within feminist thinking was so complete that the idea that women had agency, which could be asserted in destructive ways, could not be acknowledged.
bell hooks from an interview with Buddhist magazine Tricycle (the rest is behind a pay wall).
On my retreat and since coming back I have thought a lot about how feminism and social justice could blend with and benefit from Buddhist thought. I’m glad to see others are thinking about it as well.
I am surprised by how much sex I have had in my life that I didn’t want to have. Not exactly what’s considered “real” rape, or “date” rape, although it is a kind of rape of the spirit - a dishonest portrayal or distortion of my own desire in order to appease another person.
I said yes because I felt it was too much trouble to say no. I said yes because I didn’t want to have to defend my “no,” qualify it, justify it - deserve it. I said yes because I thought I was so ugly and fat that I should just take sex every time it was offered, because who knew when it would be offered again. I said yes to partners I never wanted in the first place, because to say no at any point after saying yes for so long would make our entire relationship a lie, so I had to keep saying yes in order to keep the “no” I felt a secret. That is such a messed-up way to live, such an awful way to love.
So these days, I say yes only when I mean yes. It does require some vigilance on my part to make sure I don’t just go on sexual automatic pilot and let people do whatever. It forces me to be really honest with myself and others. It makes me remember that loving myself is also about protecting myself and defending my own borders. I say yes to me.
Margaret Cho, “Yes Means Yes” (via spitswap)
Wow I am so glad this quote exists. This elucidates a point that is obvious to any woman but not necessarily obvious to any man. I think it’s part of what that “all sex is rape” quote (who actually said that, I know it wasn’t Andrea Dworkin) is about, not that all sex is literally rape, but that a lot of the sex you end up having as a woman doesn’t feel like “your choice” the way it does for a man, and how easy it is to go along like everything is fine when you’re regularly having sexual encounters that are for reasons not at all connected to “I want to have sex right now.” Really important to think about/be aware of, especially for men. “Yes” is not enough, if shit feels weird or forced you shouldn’t take it as a free card to do whatever you want. I think that scene in Girls where Adam has weird and ultimately really uncomfortable rough sex with that girl he’s dating portrayed this perfectly.
Ditko! Zine Library / In Our Hearts NYC ‘zine reading
Thursday Aug 29th @ the Silent Barn
We will be having another joint zine reading / discussion this month at the Silent Barn. There will be more details soon, but in the meantime everyone can read the ‘zine to be discussed (An Anarchist Solution to Global Warming) for free online.
We look forward to seeing you and discussing this ‘zine with you.
This is an interesting dsy/utopian idea of the future. I can tell without reading the byline, however, that it almost certainly was written by a straight white male, as there is no discussion of how we will overcome the problems of white supremacy and patriarchy that are so entrenched today. I guess they’ll just magically dissipate when capitalism is destroyed. That would be nice.
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When it comes to video games, the feminist-led DIY scene is probably the most important thing happening in game culture right now. Thanks to accessible, cheap or free tools, there’s a virtual flourishing of games made about personal experiences, by talented artists and by everyday people taking game-making into their hands for the very first time. The fact we basically have a Riot Grrgrrl movement in games now as a response to the historical oppression of women in our space is one of the things keeping me going. Culture reacts; this is culture.
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Everyone is talking about this song. Maybe you’ve already heard it. The song is called ‘On Fraternity,’ and the debate, in a super abbreviated form, is about the way male musicians “do” feminism…which is also a longer conversation about people of privilege trying to be allies. Anyways, I actually find the song kind of sweet. I also find it very brave that he is calling himself a feminist and that he’s opening up publicly about his own sexual abuse in interviews. I mean I don’t wanna lead a parade for every guy who isn’t afraid to say ending sexism is important to him. But like I said, I find the song kind of sweet and endearing. And, truth be told, I like it. That is just my gut reaction to it.
I mean it’s almost like a crazy psychedelic feminist musical nightmare. Though again, I do like the song and appreciate what he’s trying to do. I hope this whole thing doesn’t deter his further experiments because he has really got people talking and blogging …he got me to write something and I have been seriously slacking on my blog! I also just want to applaud him for putting himself out there and making mistakes, because how else is anything left of bland ever going to happen?
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It is so obviously an amalgam of things Brooks has heard about what being a woman is like, repeated in his own voice.
It doesn’t help that what he is saying here is a very superficial, obvious take on rape culture. We all know that women feel afraid when they are walking down the street or out late at a bar. We all know that women modify their clothing and behavior to repel male attention.
From this post that is making the internet crazy today.
I refrained from reading this post until listening to the song it is referencing and reading the lyrics myself. I did not feel offended by it. I don’t think artists need to explain exactly what they meant by every word in a song they write, but to me it feels like this song is obviously from a male point of view. It is about rape culture in that it’s about the pressure males exert on each other to keep rape culture happening. I think he may be using the first few lines (which people seem to most object to) as a way to juxtapose the experience of being a non-masculine male with being a woman, which I can understand feeling upset about, but I think it is a useful analogy as the perils of both come from the same place (patriarchy, misogyny). As he said in his most recent Tumblr post, there are no pronouns used in the song. I don’t think it’s a great idea to assume that Brooks has no personal experience with sexual assault or that he(?) is cisgendered. At least not without asking?
And as for the quote above: we don’t all know. A week ago a guy on Facebook was totally flummoxed when I told him that women feel scared when they walk around by themselves. He refused to even consider it, saying that none of his female friends had told him such and maybe it was because I lived in a bigger city where people dress sluttier. This was a totally straight faced reaction. And this dude seemed pretty educated and privileged enough that he could have totally been exposed to the idea of rape culture before, he just hadn’t been. I sent him an article or two and he responded gratefully and sincerely. And then he sent me a Venetian Snares video.
That’s something else I don’t see others talking about here - the last lines of this song are clearly pointing towards the hypocrisy of the underground music scene/subcultures in dealing with these problems. Just because you like punk or indie or witch house doesn’t mean you’ve heard of rape culture. Or don’t help perpetuate it. I think what Brooks is saying here is that not helping to perpetuate it takes not only singling yourself out as “different” from the people you may be friends with, may have grown up with and go to school with (“it’s like you have to wear black”), but it also takes being willing to face physical threat - a consequence that any man who doesn’t fit into heteronormative masculinity faces. I can understand and empathize with people who feel like comparing this reality with that of female rape culture is objectionable, but I am still glad that James wrote this song. I’m glad we’re talking about it.
(And I would like to say that the response to this post by the original poster was empathetic and clear and understandable and I don’t see anyone [at least who I know] saying anything crazy or extreme about this and I really appreciate that.)
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Essentially, my point with the quote from the article on Anthony Weiner is that the public perception of this scandal is heavily influenced by gender norms that cause people to be more upset when a political figure emasculates himself than when a political figure actually assaults a woman, and that is really messed up.
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So here’s my working theory, my way of making sense of it all. Weiner’s badness wasn’t any more bad than the badness of men we give a pass. The real problem is that Weiner’s badness just wasn’t manly enough.
So on point.
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