Archive for ‘the hard stuff’

July 5, 2011

The Magazine – July 2011

by d

Original photograph by mrhayaka // Flickr

Letting the sun shine in…

Summer is at last in full swing, and so are we. We begin July with our feet planted more firmly. Our schedule is coming together, and we are picking up new writers. We’re still tinkering with the site, enabling ratings on posts and comments and a front page that highlights content in a more organized fashion.

June saw a great outpouring of deeply emotive entries. We were pleased and outraged, victorious and shaken, in love and alone. The political sphere mirrored our ups and downs, with a nail-biting lead-up to New York state passing legislation to permit same-sex marriages, followed by a similar passage in Rhode Island.

We’re looking forward to more break-throughs and more soul sharing this summer. Join us!

Featured this July…

Beautiful

1106_beautifulI’ve heard you refer to me as your amazing girlfriend, and I have to admit I’m afraid of not living up to the hype.

 

Vogue Italia Understands
Plus-Size

1106_vogueplusPay attention, New York. This is how you do it.

 

I need a breath of Oxygen

1106_oxygenWhen I look at “women’s magazines” I see one message front and center, every time: buy.

 

Pulling at the Strings

1106_pullingatthestringsMy therapist says I need to keep a journal, a documentation of how my days go by so that I have a dependable source to look back to.

 

Eat Cheap Shit:
A revolutionary cook

1106_revolutionarycookWhenever I want comfort food, whenever I think about wanting comfort food, I grab Tarla Dalal’s recipes from an obscure kitchen drawer.

 

Preventing the Collapse Of My Mental Health

1106_mentalhealthI look at my point-of-view of situations in my life, and I ask myself, “Is it paranoia? Or is it real?”

 

Being Fired

1106_firedGetting fired, for whatever reason, blows. Blows chunks. The news is like a well-placed punch. It can make you reel for hours and days.


Mother’s Milk

1106_mothersmilkI’ve just finished watching an episode of a favorite show; and I’m… sad.

 

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May 4, 2011

Political Roundup, 5/4/11

by V

HearLies-500

Thirty percent of GOP still believe Obama not born in the U.S. — Because some people are just brain dead in all ways but the clinical. Although, I must be honest here — who didn’t see this coming?

Teacher tells 9th grade Muslim girl: ‘I bet you’re grieving’ for ‘uncle’ Osama — Apparently, it makes him feel like a big patriot with a big dick if he calls little girls terrorists and makes them cry.

Mike Huckabee defends comparing Holocaust to debt crisis — Because callous disregard, and anti-semitism never go out of style.

House passes sweeping GOP anti-abortion bill — Because, the war against women is more important than jobs and the economy. Even if your constituents think you’re wasting time.

GOP lawmaker: Fetuses are ‘the most persecuted minority in the world’ — After all, when it comes to defending ignorance, nonsense, and the pursuit of control over a woman’s body who cares that medical science contradicts you?

That’s it for today! I can’t say I hope you ‘enjoyed’ them, since they’re pretty depressing, so I’ll just say goodbye until tomorrow.

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March 5, 2011

Charlie Sheen’s Mysogyny

by d

…is tolerated as part of a larger cultural misogyny. Anne Holmes, creator of Jezebel, has an excellent opinion piece in the New York Times called The Disposable Woman.

Holmes demonstrates how Charlie Sheen‘s record of lashing out and being abusive toward the women in his life has been tolerated, even affectionately joked about, by the media at large. Part of the problem, she argues, is the sort of women he’s been involved with.

But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers — pornographic film stars and escorts — whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)

Holmes goes on to point out how the exploitation and debasement of women has become a normal part of reality TV culture.

Honestly, there are so many great quotes and arguments in this piece, I can’t possibly pull them all.

Read it for yourself at the NYT.

February 21, 2011

Planned Parenthood is not synonymous with abortion

by d
Picture Of Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral contraceptive...

Image via Wikipedia

Planned Parenthood has a really descriptive name. It does exactly what the name implies. We don’t talk much about “family planning” these days, and we should.

Before modern science kicked in, conception was, for the most part, a game of roulette. Folk remedies and leather condoms weren’t nearly as effective as people wanted them to be, but they kept trying. All it took was some observation and life experience to see how inconvenient–and dangerous–the lack of control could be.

When a woman gives birth too young, she and the child suffer. (18 is the minimum recommended.) If she has children too close together, she and both children can suffer. Doctors and midwives knew these things; parents knew them. But what do you say to a couple who have had the number of children they want? Spend the rest of your lives together in separate beds? More babies happened.

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s first president, was a remarkable woman who saw the effect this had on people, particularly poor people and women. She also saw this suffering as, at best, unnecessary. At worst, it was a deliberate means of keeping women in subjugation.

In 1912, after a fire destroyed the home that William designed, the Sanger family moved back to New York City, where Margaret went to work in the East Side slums of Manhattan. That same year, she also started writing a column for the New York Call entitled “What Every Girl Should Know.” Distributing a pamphlet, Family Limitation, to women, Sanger repeatedly caused scandal and risked imprisonment by acting in defiance of the Comstock Law of 1873, which outlawed as obscene the dissemination of contraceptive information and devices.

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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 30, 2011

Women Protesters of Egypt

by d

Egypt is being rocked from the bottom up.

Al Jazeera (which has had its Cairo office shut down by the Egyptian government) reports:

9:27 am [Egypt local time]: Making the rounds on the social networking site Facebook is an album compiled by user Leil-Zahra Mortada, who is collecting photos of women in the Egypt protests.

Mortada, the album‘s compiler says:

For everyone who has been asking where the women of Egypt are! I´m trying to compile all the photos with Egyptian women in them.

A homage to all those women out there fighting, and whose voices and faces are hidden from the public eye!

You’ll need a Facebook login to see the full album. If you don’t have one, here are some highlights.

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January 15, 2011

Politics Gone Berserk

by V
Guarding approach to mills, Lawrence, Mass. (LOC)

via Flickr

This is probably not all that appropriate, since its mostly just a rant. But, I don’t care. I feel that I need to say something. And, I feel that this is a way to reach many people.

Yes, this is a rant about the recent shootings in Tuscon, AZ, and the violent rhetoric and imagery that foreshadowed it.

Its normal in any country for the politicians and other leadership to be unable to satisfy all of the people all of the time. That’s something that can’t be got away from. And that means there will always be civil and/or political unrest of some sort. That’s normal. That’s healthy for a nation.

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January 12, 2011

I Was a Moral Coward

by V
Photobucket

via Roxy!

“Tolerance of intolerance is moral cowardice.”

This is a quote I saw some time ago as a message on someone’s AIM. I actually believe it was D’s! But, I don’t know who the quote originated from. That part isn’t really important, though. What is important is what it says, the message that it sends. And it is true.

Sometimes people feel its okay to give a pass to people who are older or who have spent their lives believing something that isn’t right or moral. Like the way your grandmother might dislike black people. She’s old, that’s how she grew up, it’s understandable. Just let her be.

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December 30, 2010

The HPV Vaccine and You

by d
Pathology: EM: Papilloma Virus (HPV) Electron ...

HPV. Image via Wikipedia

If someone came up to you, out walking with your young child, and said, “Hey there, I have a vaccine that will prevent your child from ever getting a black eye!” would you say, “How insulting! My child will NEVER have a black eye! I am raising him/her properly and they shall never get into any sort of a scuffle! We use our WORDS in this family!”

(This would, of course, be followed by an incident where your child has an accident that gets them not one, but two black eyes.)

Of course you wouldn’t say this. You would recognize that accidents happen, that even if your child is an angel other people are not, and that your little darling might have a moment of poor judgment at some point in the future. You might still refuse the vaccine, but you wouldn’t act as though this sales rep were trying to blacken the family name.

That’s why I don’t understand statements like this:

“I was greatly offended that Merck suggest I vaccinate my nine-year-old daughter against an STD,” says Kelley Watson, a mother of two in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.

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December 27, 2010

Femme Funnies (?): Burka Woman

by d

This one is loaded with controversy. A Pakistani comedian has put together a music video spoofing the classic “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison.

Personally, I think the concept is awesome. I’m always up for satire, and I think it’s most needed where people don’t want it.

Some people say it’s derogatory toward these women, that it mocks Islam, that it will sour relations with the West, that it will “only create further divisions and friction within Pakistan.” All of that is true, and none of it is true. I get the sense that this video was done with great affection, as well as criticism for, the customs of Pakistan and Islam in general.

What are your thoughts? Hilarious send-up, or blight on social discourse?

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