Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Is the Republican Party Pro-Life? A look at the new GOP party platform

I have tried to back up every statement of fact that I make.  For the most part, I have linked to respected unbiased organizations and news sites and resisted posting to blogs and advocacy groups, and when I couldn't find an original source, I tried to state that.  That doesn't mean I always did; sometimes an advocacy group has a much better presentation of facts in a format that is easy to read and understand.  You can judge for yourself the legitimacy of the information, but remember: you are always entitled to your own opinion, but you are never entitled to your own facts. 

Republicans are usually considered the "Pro-Life" party.  They certainly are anti-choice, though of course there are a few pro-choice Republicans and more than a few anti-choice Democrats (remember Bart Stupak?)  But as a national party, the GOP takes a strong stand against abortion, and accomplished many legislative victories across the country, while for the most part, Democrats aren't nearly as committed.  Oh, they say they're for reproductive freedom, and there are Democrats in both state and federal legislatures that fight for choice, but they don't have near the amount of victories (just an impressive string of failures) or passion as their Republican opponents. 

But are Republicans really Pro-Life?  I decided to take a look at the newly approved party platform.  You can read the entire platform here.  I will be quoting the relevant bits.


On Zinnia Jones Vlog, Heather had something to say about radical feminism and transphobia. 

I think it's  a great post for so many reasons, and I'll probably be back to discuss it more later.  There was one thing, though, that jumped out and bit me.  Probably because I'm too self-absorbed, it was the only part that was at all connected to me.  I feel kind of guilty about this, because as wonderfully important Heather's video was, I'm not really going to be talking about radical feminism or transphobia right now.  Later, definitely; there are so many good things in this video, and I do think it's a good for both the transphobic radfems and the feminists who hate radfems because they think they're all transphobic to watch. 

Right now, however, I'm just going to limit this to what I have personal experience with: fuckability.

(Starting at 2:23) The sex classing of women and requisite caste system of the class (more commonly known as varying degrees of fuckability, or even more commonly as a scale from 1 to 10) has inhumanely relegated trans women with a certain remaining organ to the undesirables. They are expected to be content with either fetishization or pity fucking, along with cis women of the overweight and differently abled varieties. This particular problem has recently been the birth of a massive online “cotton ceiling” debate. We’ll get back to that.

Yes, we will definitely be getting back to the "cotton ceiling" debate, but it will have to be in another post.  I have some very strong opinions, again, as a cis lesbian radfem (gah, labels), but I hope it doesn't surprise people that the majority of the time I come down firmly on the side of trans women in this debate.  Actually, it was reading some back and forth between trans women and radfem activists on the whole cotton ceiling debate that first made me want to give up the label "radical feminist" in the first place.  I do not want to be associated with those people...but I also don't want to give up on the feminist philosophy and theory of activism that most meshes with what I see, how I feel, and what I believe will actually transform the world.  But that is a discussion for another time.

Today, in what will probably be a self-indulgent, perhaps self-pitying post (you've been warned), we're going to talk about fuckability.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thoughts on Prostitution and Pornography

Trigger Warning: Graphic description of child abuse and rape.

This is going to be bit rambly. I can't help that. I have a lot of thoughts, conflicting thoughts, and I'm going to try and get them out as best I can.

I have no personal experience with prostitution, or with what most people think of when they talk about pornography.I have been molested and raped: both times, pictures were taken. When I was nine, I was molested over the course of a year by a seventeen year old boy who was living in our house as he finished up High School.  I was easy prey; I was homeschooled, extremely sheltered (I didn’t even know what sex was), a chubby, socially isolated outcast with few friends, and though my parents loved me, they both worked all the time  On several occasions, he took pictures of me, partially undressed, in what I now realize were sexual poses. At the time, I didn't fully understand what was going on. I knew enough to be ashamed, I knew that I couldn't tell anyone. But J. told me I was beautiful and had me pose like the pictures on the magazine covers and movie posters, like a real woman.

Years later, when I was an adult, I was brutally raped just a couple blocks from my home, when I took a stupid shortcut through the park. The pictures were almost an afterthought; after he had bruised me, burned me, raped me, he pulled out a camera phone and snapped a couple pictures. The most I ever saw of him was through the glow of that phone, his bulbous nose and crooked teeth, not enough for a good description for the cops. Oh, the wondrous progression of technology.

I have lived in fear for years that those photos of me are on the internet, graphic snapshots of my humiliation and pain. I have no reason to think that they aren't. Sometimes I can't help thinking about the men who have, over the years, masturbated to those images of a scared, humiliated little girl trying so hard to be pretty, to be loved, to be a woman. I wonder if that rapist was able to get my face in the shot, or if I exist only as a headless battered vagina, if he could even get the pictures to come out when they were taken on a pitch-black night. I try not to think about it, which is really all that I can do about it.

People would be quick to point out that what happened to me wasn't really pornography, it was rape, and they would be mostly right. I didn't chose what happened, and I certainly wasn't paid for it. But I have heard too many stories from girls and boys and women who were forced to take pictures, like I was, so that men could continue to rape them in their minds over and over and over again. I can't entirely dismiss the comparison.  I also can’t dismiss the similarities between what I went through and common images in movies and magazines.  Would I still have been raped and molested without the multi-billion dollar porn industry, much of it saturated with images of raped and abused women? Maybe. But the boy who molested me wasn't an adult, wasn't any older than my baby brother is now (who seems impossibly young to me).  Would he have known what to do without porn? Would he have even thought to take pictures? Again, maybe. There's no way to know something like that. Thinking of a society without porn seems even more fantastical than thinking of a society without religion.