Author Archive

May 5, 2011

Eat Cheap Shit, an introduction

by subterfusex

This is the introductory post for Eat Cheap Shit, my new column about cheap food, sexuality and cooking, and families going broke. May it be the start to a long run of posts about dirt-cheap yet delicious deals.

On Tuesday, I sat with my best friend S as she finished her dinner. She asked if I wanted some, but I declined. (I was broke.)

“Why’s that?” she asked. “What did you spend it on?”

“Food,” I admitted. She snorted.

“What did you eat?”

Well, what did I eat? I ate a sumptuous lunch at Amir’s, a tiny falafel joint on 116th and Broadway. It’s a tiny place that makes you hate the weather; each time someone opens the door, the straight chill freezes everything.

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February 12, 2011

An update

by subterfusex

Dear Subterfuge Readers,

First of all, thanks for hanging with us during the past month or so. We’ve been slow on production and then we hit a controversy that required some serious triage and re-evaluation.

We’ve taken the time off to relaunch, regroup, recruit new writers, and examine the overall outlook of our magazine. We’re proud of the work we did in the interim and know that we will continue even stronger than we left off.

Here are some of the changes we’ve made:

  1. A New Home We’ve been considering this for a while, and had full intention of doing it during January, but we somehow didn’t get around to it until now. A week off helped, too.
  2. A New Editing Policy We always wanted to incorporate a wide range of views into Subterfuge. We support many feminist issues, but that’s not all we do, and we don’t want to shut out anyone who is uncomfortable with the label. We also know that editing incoming work takes time, which we don’t always have.So, we’re going to try an experiment.

    We’re calling it Subterfuge Peers, a closed site where writers can put up their drafts and everyone in the community of Peers can read and offer their thoughts. Our goal is to create pieces that are not only well-written and worthy of publication, but well-rounded. If you have a question, raise it. If you know of conflicting information, post it. Writers are challenged to expand their knowledge and perhaps even change their opinions, or at least acknowledge the arguments against them.

    Anyone can apply to join the Peerage. We are most concerned with your ability to give constructive criticism, conduct conversations, and debate in an adult manner. You don’t have to be a professional editor, nor do you have to respond to everything. We’d just like your opinions.

    Anyone who wants to write for Subterfuge will be required to submit their work to the Peerage.

  3. New Comments Policy Commenters should do us the courtesy of treating us like rational, thinking beings capable of making mistakes, and of admitting them. We will do the same for you. Comments that insult the poster (or another commenter) will not be responded to by Subterfuge members/writers.Note: Snark is allowed. We love snark. A little friendly snarking is always fun.

We are planning a re-launch on Monday and aim to return to a once-a-day schedule.

We thank you for being with us so far and we look forward to returning to the business of writing again.

Sincerely,
D & F
Your Subterfuge Editors

February 1, 2011

The Power of Words

by subterfusex

We, the editors, take the activity surrounding the post “He’s Asking For It” very seriously.  We’ve taken several days to sort through our own feelings and prejudices in order to craft our responses.

Below are statements from our founding editors, D and F.

We request that comments on this post remain respectful and relevant.

F:

Dear Readers,

We’re sorry. I’m sorry.

I have so much to say, and I might mess up. I hope you can forgive me for any mistakes I’ve made, though I know that forgiveness must be hard right now.

We’ve seen that for the past two days, we’ve received a lot of comments on V’s post: “He Asked For It”.

(The answer is always, “no, he didn’t.” No victim asks for it to happen to them, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see us imply otherwise.)

Subterfuge was always a place where we could go to write about issues that felt controversial and uncomfortable for us. Our sandbox, our way to express our feelings, hopes, and ugliness.

We have found that many feminist communities start from a position of moral superiority and anger. Often, they do not examine their own nasty, ugly prejudices.

In her post V examined hers. We hated it. It was ugly. We discussed our decision for nearly a week. But we posted it because we thought it would help us examine the evilness of some deep-seated positions. Not posting it would not have made her feel it any less.

When it went live, we discussed it. I wish we had posted those discussions. You could see the side of the story we did not write.

The only way to fight our awful ignorance is to examine it, to personalize it, to understand exactly how wrong we have been.

As an editor, I should have framed the piece around a discussion. I would have addressed these prejudices in a way that made it clear that we did not endorse her position but that we acknowledged the need to have a discussion about it. As you have pointed out, this is not a lonely opinion. And we acknowledge that it is something that the feminist community does not understand.

According to Feminist Critics,

What is problematic with feminist discourse about male rape is not that they don’t discuss it at all – clearly they do – or that they don’t discuss it enough. The problem is that they [anomalise] it, that is to say, they treat it as some kind of anomalous variant of rape which, according to them, is something which normally happens to women. The latter is simply “rape”. Rape that happens to men in prison is “prison rape”. Rape that happens to men outside of prison is “male rape”. The word “female” is sometimes used as an adjective with “rape” to contrast it with male rape, but “female rape” is not used by feminists as a category designation in and of itself. It’s just “rape”. “Male rape” and “prison rape” sometimes get their own threads, effectively discoursive ghettos. But they are often excluded from threads about “rape”.

This lack of understanding doesn’t simply exist in the feminist community. It exists among traditionalist bloggers, too. The Thinking Housewife — supposedly pro-male and pro-patriarchy — expresses her view on male rape in this quote:

SPEAKING of rape, how is it possible for a woman to rape a man? As far as I know, it is physically impossible. Nevertheless, Lisa M. Lavoie, a Massachusetts teacher, has been convicted of statutory rape and will serve a three- to five-year prison term.

This is an excerpt of a comment from Ilion T:

[…] “rape” isn’t really about physical force or violence, it’s about taking that to which one is not entitled.

You ask in amazement how it is possible for a woman to rape a man. Obviously, mere overpowering force isn’t how it is accomplished; physical force is the male forte. Rather, if it is to be done, it must be by some means of which women tend to hold the advantage over men. I don’t know, psychological force or intimidation, perhaps?

Do you really imagine that the academic/Hollywood/Roissy protrayal of male sexuality is really accurate? Do you really imagine that all men are really always joyfully ready to “jump” anything which moves? Do you really imagine that a man cannot engage in sexual activity and all the while his psyche is crying out its violation?

This post — and its thoughtful and heartfelt response — shows that ignorance and the stupidity that governs our attitudes toward male rape is non-ideological. Feminists and traditionalists alike marginalize the issue. We, too, have perpetuated this insensitivity.

For that, are truly, deeply sorry.

We thank those who have commented. You have opened our eyes in an unimaginable way.

Readers, we invite you to submit guest posts. To write us emails at subterfugemagazine@gmail [dot] com. We will post what you have to tell us, if you will submit it. We want to understand you.  Please help us. We welcome anything in the way of feedback. It is a lot to ask that you show compassion, but you have already done so by your responses.

Yours,
F

D:

We do not support laws or organizations that advocate only for women who are rape victims, and only punish men who rape women. This is a fairy tale version of the world. Women are not the only victims, men are not the only perpetrators. Rape is a universal issue. Its frequency and permutations vary somewhat across time and culture, but the act of rape is no less devastating and it should be treated with the compassion and severity it deserves–no matter who is involved.

Our ideal future is one in which gender is not the issue in rape cases, in which guilt is not assumed, in which victims are not questioned and put on trial instead of their attackers, or shamed and mocked by their communities. These are injustices.

Women have fought long and hard to get the rape laws that protect them. They are still imperfect and imperfectly executed. This is why women still grouse and rage about rape laws.

But this in no way diminishes the state of male rape victims, who have even less protection, even less credibility in the eyes of society, and even fewer safe places to turn. This is the next great hurdle in rape legislation and how our culture views rape. The shift is long overdue.

We are in this together. We, all of us, regardless of gender, need to look after and protect each other. We need to educate our children about the dangers they face from others, and to fight the ugliness that can grow within them, and teach them ways to dispel that ugliness without inflicting it on someone else. We need to create safe spaces and encourage others to join us there when they have been hurt, so that they can heal. We need to legislate effectively and fairly.

This should not be treated simply as a male or female issue. It is a humanitarian issue.

January 26, 2011

This is how we are

by subterfusex

It’s been six days. This is kind of disgraceful.

Excuse post and funnies. When is this drought going to end?

(This is an open-ended & desperate question.)

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

by subterfusex

From Operation Christmas Child

Merry Christmas from your editors at Subterfuge!

December 17, 2010

Interview: Alissa Jo Rindels, Part 3

by subterfusex

This is the third part of Alissa’s interview. In this segment, we discuss the larger context of her work, and how it relates to the mission of our site. We asked her questions pertaining to gender and personal artistic decisions. She answered us — as always — very honestly. As we wind down this interview, we’d like to thank Alissa once again for her participation and for the chance to talk about her amazing work.

What does “feminism” mean for you, and would you consider yourself a feminist?

Overall, I do believe in what feminism stands for. Everyone wants equal rights. I think feminism has gotten a bad rap, really; growing up the first thing I thought of when I thought of a “feminist” were the extremists who burned bras and were avid “man haters”.

December 15, 2010

Interview: Alissa Jo Rindels, Part 2

by subterfusex

As we brainstormed questions for Alissa’s interview, both of us wanted to address the inspired quality we found in Alissa’s art. We found traces of this inspiration everywhere, from the elegant Grecian forms of her Greek gods and goddesses series, to other complex mythological characters.

Alissa wrote us insightful  — and often surprising — answers to these questions, and we are happy to share them with you in our second installment.


Where do you get your inspiration? Who are your muses?

As a kid, I read a lot of comic books, watched a lot of anime, and I surround myself with Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino films. I also read A LOT, see a lot of movies and am an iTunes junkie. I constantly surf the net, admiring other artists’ work. I really just look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere I can get it.

December 13, 2010

Interview: Alissa Jo Rindels, Part 1

by subterfusex

A simple search for “subterfuge” under Google Images produces some amazing graphics. None of these, however, are more stunning than the artwork we found by Alissa “Lissy” Jo Rindels.

Her piece, (obviously titled “Subterfuge”) features a woman whose voluptuous body is splattered with blood. Though her subject wears little else but an arresting glare, she points a sanguineous arm to the right.

F found the picture through an impulse search on Google Images. Mesmerized, F showed D the image. Together they clicked through to the rest of the website to see many examples of women in positions of power and strength. These pieces provoked questions and thoughts and ideas about the subjects and the positions they found themselves. We knew we had to write about them — and their creator. D and F drafted a series of emails in trepidation.

This was the first time we’d ever done an interview, and we needed to make a plan of action.

The process of coming up with questions was an intimidating one. We wanted to ask about the art itself. We wanted to ask about her inspiration. We wanted to ask about her muses and sources of strength. We wanted to ask her about the life of a spectacularly talented artist. Most of all, however, we wanted to ask her about the irresistible female force behind her work.

We finished writing the questions over the course of a few days. (We had many.) Alissa responded promptly. She was gracious, kind, and willing to answer whatever questions we had for her. We corresponded over a short period of time. Soon, we had our answers. We — F and D — would like to thank her very much for her hard work and her patience.

December 7, 2010

RIP, Elizabeth Edwards

by subterfusex

Nancy Osterlag/Getty

We here at Subterfuge mourn the death of Elizabeth Edwards. She died today – Tuesday, December 7th — after doctors advised her not to seek further treatment for her advanced cancer. This news, though expected, is no less tragic, and we grieve for her and for her loved ones.

Elizabeth was diagnosed with her cancer in 2004. Consequently, her fight against the disease has been a public one. Since her diagnosis, she became a tireless crusader for women who struggled with the disease.

Elizabeth Edwards (nee Anania) was the daughter of a Navy pilot. An army brat, she spent part of her childhood in Japan, among other places. After graduating college, she attended UNC Chapel Hill’s law school. While there, she met John Edwards, her future husband. They married and had a son, Wade, who would die in a car crash in 1996, at just sixteen. This death was the first of a series of many painful tragedies.

The shock of her diagnosis with breast cancer was compounded by the severity of her condition. Though she went into remission, the cancer returned, this time in her bones. As mother to Wade’s older sister and two young siblings born after his death, Elizabeth spoke publicly about her greatest fear and hope–to live long enough to see her youngest turn eighteen, to know that they are all grown and strong enough to go on without her.

December 6, 2010

Assignment Desk for December

by subterfusex

It’s been a while since I put up one of these, but the time has come. I don’t have time to tackle all these and they deserve attention.

1) Bristol Palin‘s run on Dancing With the Stars. First, we wondered who the hell nominated her. Then it was her body and her dancing. Then people accused the Tea Party of rigging the votes in her favor. Now Margaret Cho says Sarah forced Bristol to do it. What are the political implications of all this? What are the ramifications for women?

2) What’s going on with the Bush Tax Cuts? Some people say repeal, some say don’t. It’s an economic clusterfuck. Whatever happens, it will have a big impact on everyone. So will Unemployment Extensions–or the lack of them.

3) So, apparently 2010 was The Year of the Woman. We weren’t informed of this, but apparently it is so. What the fark are they talking about, and does it hold water? And, with 2010 drawing to a close, are women now out of luck for the next 2,010 years? Or are we embarking on a new decade or awesomeness?

If you know of a topic that should be addressed but you don’t feel up to doing it yourself drop us a line and we’ll add it to the Assignment Desk.

Tawk amongst yourselves.

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