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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Ok, this is a wack post where I rehash something that someone did on the internet that hurt me, but I need to get it off my chest.
I am currently feeling kind of upset because someone called me a "straight woman" to justify their opinion that I am dehumanizing my gay friends by referring to them as "my gays" in this article I wrote for XO Jane about enjoying men's fragrances.
Initially the commenter claimed that I'm treating my gay male friends like "dogs or handbags" by calling them "my gays." I replied that that's a super fucking demeaning slant that they're projecting onto my words, that has nothing to do with me. As far as I'm concerned, saying "my gays" is my equivalent of saying "my girls." My gays ARE my girls. We get together and paint our nails and drink cocktails and listen to records and gossip. And they were able to offer me some wonderful insight into the psychology behind selecting a perfume that I doubt any of my other friend demographics would be able to provide.
Then comes out the big guns of the Oppression Olympics:
Commenter accuses me of objectifying gay men because I am a "straight woman."
Readers, you know this already, but I DO NOT identify a straight woman.
If they had actually paid attention to the article there are hints that this may not actually be the case. But clearly this assumption is based on the fact that I'm FAAB (female-assigned at birth), and sleep with men.
In simplest terms, I am genderfluid/androgynous person who is pansexual, with a preference for masculine or androgynous people. I also identify as girlfag, an identity which is very fucking real, and also very fucking misunderstood. I am ok with having female or male pronouns used to describe me, (I am not a fan of zir or they for myself), and I will not get upset with you either way.
I've already written a bit about how PC policing in online communities (and IRL to some degree) is sometimes seriously counter productive. I do care about being sensitive to people's feelings, nor do I wish to be hurtful/hateful. But there also some ways where I feel that it's inappropriate to "call out" strangers, especially around controversial issues like reclaimed words (such as slut, fag, fatty, etc.) You don't know what that word means to that person, and telling them they can't say something because you perceive it as subjectively offensive feels a bit controlling and hostile. Personally, I LOVE reclaimed words. A lot of people hate them. I respect an individual's disdain for reclaimed words, and their choice not to use them. However, I DON'T think that gives them the right to tell me not to use me not to use them. Because guess what- my personal politics are also valid in this case. I am not a frat boy saying "THAT'S SO GAY" for funzies. If I want to call myself a girlfag, that's my FUCKING IDENTITY, and not an attack on anyone else. The people who attempt to online white knight for the rights of the queer community need to realize that I'm also member of the queer community, and I have rights, too.
Maybe the problem is it's too difficult to explain the nuances of these issues in online communities, but unfortunately it seems like this is where a lot of these discussions happen. A friend described me as being on the "bleeding edge" of queer identity, and that's going to lead to a lot of misunderstanding/invisibility. Trust me folks, I tried being a straight girl- it didn't work. I am not, in fact, a straight girl, even if you think I look like one. Nor am I a lesbian, which seems to be the other thing that people I assume I am.
I don't really care that much if people I assume I am a straight/lesbian woman based on my appearance if they are not an asshole about it. If it's a situation where I feel that it's important to explain that I'm not, then I will. What is 100% not cool is to use your assumption that I am a straight women to justify attacking my choice of language.
I'm a writer. I write like I talk. If you don't know me, you might misconstrue some of the things I say. I'm happy to explain my intent, if you're actually willing to listen to me. But I am not going to contort my voice to the point of extinction to attempt to avoid offending your easily-provoked sensibilities. Mutual respect is the name of the game. If you really think I'm truly being an ignorant asshole, call me out on it, but don't fucking attack me based on assumptions about who I am when you don't know me, and accept that I may have a totally different (and valid) take on things.
I have come to the conclusion that the Oppression Olympics is just another form of trolling. My New Year's resolution is to stop feeding the trolls.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
I admit it, "ho" is one of my favorite reclaimed words. Theoretically short for "hooker" or "whore," ho can imply not a sex worker but a sexually adventurous individual and seems more playful than "slut." Today we are going to reclaim the word "ho bag." Ho-bag is historically an insult, but today I am going to show you how to make your own ho bag, a very useful thing to have around this season when people are getting drunk at ho-liday parties and ho-oking up. Don't be caught unprepared- carry your ho-bag with you at all times!
Find your ho bag. Cosmetics pouches work well for this purpose. If you just want to carry a few condoms and single serving lube packets, you could get this incredibly discreet and swanky condom compact. But if you hoping to throw in a vibrator or a toothbrush as well, go bigger- this silver snakeprint pouch by Devine Toys has an elegantly slutty vibe, and is big enough to tote some serious swag!
|All the better if your ho-bag resembles an actual vag.|
Stuff your ho-bag with safer sex stuff! I personally love the Beyond Seven studded condoms, and consider carrying some extra large condoms if you're a size queen. (While we are on the subject of Magnums, I'd like to publicly ask men with average sized cocks to STOP INSISTING ON USING MAGNUMS IF YOU DON'T ACTUALLY NEED THEM. Buying Magnum condoms does not magically make your dick bigger, but it does increase the risk of the condom slipping off during sex. Your dick is perfect the way it is, buy condoms that fit it properly.) Also gloves, female condoms, dental dams, whatever your barriers of choice are.
|My favorite porta-lube! Pic courtesy of EdenFantasys.com.|
You'll also want some lube. I dislike single serving lube packets (too messy and hard to use), but I love the 1oz bottle of System Jo Agape lube. It's tiny but holds a decent amount of a fantastic water-based lube, has a convenient and leak-proof snap top, and is refillable! At $6 what's not to love?
Sleepover stuff. This might include a travel toothbrush- they have those teeny tiny pre-toothpasted disposable ones now, though I havent tried them yet. A pair of clean underwear is always nice, too. These ones are cute, and available up to 3X! If you're not the sleepover type, pack a $20 for cab fare!
Fun stuff! A small vibrator is always nice. Jimmyjane makes an inexpensive yet totally classy bullet vibe that runs on watch batteries and is the perfect size for your ho-bag. If you're a luxury addict, the Lelo Nea or the We Vibe Salsa (shown at left) are two tiny but powerful, rechargeable options! Toy/body wipes are nice, too!
Depending on your tastes, and the size of your ho-bag, you could also pack a butt plug, a nipple clamps, a cock ring, etc...
What do you put in your ho-bag (if you have one?) Have fun and play safe!
This post was sponsored by EdenFantasys (all opinions expressed are my own), awesome retailer of vibrators, dildos, and other fine sex toys!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
|Photo courtesy of Sputniko!|
I am having my period for the first time in over a year. An actual period, not breakthrough bleeding (for the record, the periods most people get on the pill are called “withdrawal bleeding” triggered by hormonal withdrawal, they aren’t true menstruation). I take continuous birth control pills, so I usually don’t bleed at all. It got to the point where even if I skipped four days to induce bleeding, I wouldn’t bleed. So I got complacent about always taking my pill on time. Last month I forgot to take a pill, and I got breakthrough bleeding, so I took a break from my pill until it was over. I started taking it again, forgot another pill a few weeks later. Then- get this- I GET SYMPTOMS OF OVULATION. I am in denial, think that is must be something else that’s causing my spiked sex drive and change in vaginal climate. Then I get cramps. “Well, maybe it’s my lower back and abs cramping from the workout I did at the gym last night,” I think. Nope, I’m bleeding, and suffering the inconsolable depression that led me to start taking the pill in the first place. And this time it’s a real live period, not the wimpy fake periods you usually get on the pill. I’ve been bleeding for over a week now, and though it’s not as horrifyingly heavy as my pre-pill periods, it’s still a lot of blood. It’s a damn good thing I don’t use the pill for birth control, because this counts as an epic fail.
I seriously don’t know what caused this shift from menstruation-resistant vag to ACTUAL MENSTRUATION ON THE PILL. I mean, the forgotten pills are logically to blame, but like I said, I used to be able to skip four pills and still not bleed. I know diet, medications, sexual activity, etc. can all shift your hormones in ways that will make the pill less effective. I’ve gained about 20 pounds recently. I’ve been alternately super sexually active, and celibate. I’ve started exercising a lot more. I’m sure any of these things could be factors. I will definitely go back to religiously taking the pill at the same time every day in order to stabilize my hormones (hopefully) once I stop bleeding. But, agh!
So here’s the thing. Back when I was writing my conference paper on menstrual suppression, I was reading all these anti-suppression books and articles where women were claiming that menstruation is this wondrous feminine lady thing that should be celebrated and that to suppress your menstruation is to DENY YOUR TRUE WOMANHOOD (I’m genderqueer, so I’m already pretty guilty of that). There were even women that claimed they enjoyed the way they felt on their periods. I started second guessing myself- I’d always experienced my periods as being horrible and interfering with my ability to function, but maybe I’d been wrong? It had been so long since I’d had one that I couldn’t remember.
Well, now I can tell you with confidence- FUCK THIS SHIT. Hemmorhaging blood for a week so my body can make my uterus a comfy breeding ground for an unwanted fetus is bullshit. Nonstop cramping and nausea and headaches and severe depression are bullshit. Telling me I’m a bad feminist for wanting to avoid this nightmare altogether is BULLSHIT. I’m going to pull the non binary gender card here and say that biology is not destiny, and if medical science has a (usually) effective way of making my period go away, then that’s an awesome thing. I just wish I knew what was screwing with my hormones enough to give me an actual period.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
STUFF! and THINGS!
Two new pieces of mine went live last week:
An article about pubic hair politics on Eden Cafe. I still haven't broken out the blue and purple Betty dye, I should get on that.
The joys of buying accessories during international travel for XOJane. I find it amusing that I was accused of being a privileged whitey in my article about medical advocacy, but not in this article about shopping while on vacation in foreign countries, which is TOTALLY about being a privileged whitey colonizing foreign lands with consumerism! Why must people on the internet be so inconsistently judgy?
Now, let me tell you about my FANCY NAILS.
I am a devotee of Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips which are easy to use, and last almost as long as a no-chip manicure, so I was curious about Sephora's "Nail Bling." I had an order that was $5 short of some free samples, so I added a set of the "Black Rainbow" stickers to my order. I liked them because they look sort of new wave, and Black Rainbow reminds me of this CocoRosie song:
(I just outed myself as a freakfolk fan, it's cool.)
Ok, so these are cheaper than the Sally stickers, and it's because they're realistically more like press on nails. You're supposed to file them into shape, but they are way too thick for that to work, so I wound up trimming them off with nail clippers. The texture is neat (teeny tiny rhinestones), but the rainbow pattern is kind of too broad, and doesn't really fit on one nail very well:
There's another big problem. Unlike the Sally strips, which completely bond to your nails until you use polish remover, these are basically vinyl pieces backed with press-on nail glue. Which meant when I started to put lotion on my legs (I was all up in the Saturday morning beauty ritual cut) they started peeling off. I wound up taking all of them off, 5 minutes after applying them, because it was clear they were not up to the task.
So I did this vaguely holiday/Sally Bowles inspired manicure instead:
It's a coat of Sinful's San Francisco over a coat of OPI's Russian Navy. It's sparkling deep green, and bitchen.
IN OTHER NEWS:
- Listening to: Pnau (amazing), Robyn ("automatic booty applications"?), White Lies (cheesy, love it), M83, Barn Owl (which is equally great for sex and yoga), In Bed With Susie Bright (<3 Susie!). I found out today that there's a genre of Hip Hop out of Alabama called "Cloud Rap"(!!!) and I am really hoping that G-Side gets Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins to guest on a track, because OMG. I also won Kate Bush's new album on vinyl at a party last Thursday (technically Barrett won it, kept the included CD and gave me the LP, but that works for me), so I need to get my turntable set up again!
- I don't celebrate Christmas, which means I'm spending my holiday bonus on patterned tights from Forever 21 and eyeshadow from Aromaleigh. This was apparently a sound investment, because I spent 15 minutes this morning applying fancy yet tasteful eye makeup and people were markedly nicer to me all day long, which is simultaneously awesome yet depressing.
- Got to try my Liberator Wedge this weekend. Expensive, but so totally worth the money, I promise! Review forthcoming, eventually.
- I watched Heathers for the first time in ten years last weekend, and re-discovered where my taste for sociopathic men comes from. MMMM, crazy. JD is kind of a poor man's Holden Caulfield by way of Jack Nicholson (JD= intentional Salinger reference?) IIRC, chaos was not, in fact, what killed the dinosaurs. (It might have been a meteor, though.) Unfortunately Christian Slater aged about as well as the leggings and ankle socks fashion combos in this film, but damn he was hot in 1989.
- My pretend girlfriend/exotic doppelganger Amber Rose is shilling for whipped cream and marshmallow flavored vodka. I kind of love her for it, since I secretly loved terrible flavored vodkas as much as I love Amber Rose.
- Now, you tell me a story in the comments! How is your holiday season going, friends?
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
|Prince also has a suit that matches the purple Ola!|
I let my awesome friend also named Ola christen this toy (at a play party) because I figured she deserved it. (She was also helping with an educational demo of mine.) This is Ola with the Ola:
|Two great Olas, together at last.|
Retail price: $165ish
Specs: 7.75" long, 5.5" insertable length, 1.25" diameter (at widest point), 0.75#
|Image courtesy of EdenFantasys.com|
There are two buttons at the top of the insertable portion, where it meets the handle. The lower button turns the toy on, the upper button is used to record vibration patterns. (More on this later). The handle end curves back like a cobra head, and has an air cushion you press on to trigger vibrations. Press harder, and the vibration intensifies. Release, and vibration stops. The idea is you can "record" a pattern with the second button which the toy will play on a loop, since it would take a lot of hand strength to manually manipulate the toy for an extended masturbatory session.
The toy is made of soft matte silicone, so it's easy to clean with warm water and soap, and doesn't pick up lint or dust. There is a waterproof charger panel on the upper underside of insertable portion of the toy, the charger cord attaches magnetically to this panel, and plugs into the wall (the toy conveniently rests on the charger as a "stand" to boot). When you press the power button it will blink up to three times (full charge) to indicate the power level. The toy is fully charged in 3 hours, and should not left plugged in for 24 hours or more. The air pad has a tendency to deflate during plane travel, but you can unplug the jack from the charger, and insert it in a hole at the top of the handle, which will reinflate the pad!
Special features: Rechargeable, waterproof, programmble vibrations, incredible design! Comes with a pretty grey satin pouch for storage, and a Minna sticker (which I stuck on my laptop, next to a good luck sticker from this shrine in Kyoto, and the reading mudflap girl DDD sent me!)
|Minna sticker is the one on the bottom left. Achtung!|
I generally prefer a consistent "buzz" with my vibrators and skip the special patterns that many high end toys are programmed with- I find them annoying. So I was somewhat dubious about the custom-programmable pattern function- what if I just want it to buzz? Well, you can make it do that too, but I discovered I actually enjoy variable patterns if I create them organically! You turn on the toy, then hit the second button to start recording. At this point you can press the air pad soft or hard, start or stop, pulse, etc. until you've established the pattern you want. Hit the second button again, and it plays your pattern on a loop. (It's less complicated than it sounds.) If you want a consistent straight buzz, just hold the air pad down hard for a few seconds and record it. But I found I really enjoyed experimenting with making my own patterns. While the pre-programmed variable patterns on my other toys tend to be annoyingly predictable- I found if I make my own pattern that alternates between straight buzz, pulsing, and pauses, it's exciting and delicious! It feels more authentic and human somehow- like the natural variations of partnered sex. So I am a huge fan of this programmable function. The only downside is you can't "save" your patterns, so you have to start from scratch each time, but I guess that's a bit much to expect from a sex toy that isn't computerized. You could also control it manually without the patterns, but I imagine your hand might get tired pretty fast.
I only have one major complaint about this toy- the seam that runs all around the edges of the side of the toy. This was pronounced enough to be irritating when inserted, and will hopefully be addressed in future editions of the toy. I don't know if it's safe to file down silicone or not, and would be worried about damaging the toy.
Overall Grade: 9/10
There are admittedly a few downsides to the Ola- namely the high price tag and annoying seam. In spite of all this, I'm still giving it a 9, because it really delivers. Intense, deep vibrations, can be used clitorally or internally, the programmable function, and so many brilliant little design details! It is currently the only toy on the market that allows you to program custom vibration patterns, and I think this innovation is worth the extra cost. If you're going to drop some big bucks on a rechargeable g-spot vibrator, I would recommend the Ola over the Vr Vanity 9. I am sure some folks might disagree, as both are pretty great. This is definitely a worthwhile sex toy investment for any serious sex toy collector!
This post was sponsored by EdenFantasys (all opinions expressed are my own), awesome retailer of vibrators, dildos, and other fine sex toys!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Lots of things I've been thinking about lately, but haven't committed to a full post yet:
|My favorite kind of horse meat|
- The repeal of the horse meat ban. I understand that there are reasons why it's fucked up, but the entire meat industry is fucked up (and I say this as an omnivore). Mostly I am annoyed by the "OOOOH NOOO THEY'RE KILLING THE PRETTY PONIES!!!" sentiment, because I don't understand what makes the life of a horse more valid than the life of any other animal that we presently eat as food. I apparently missed out on the "horsey girl" stage of adolescence (Lisa Carver dedicated an entire issue of rollerderby to this phenomenon) though I did have a few super fancy acrylic horsey figurines left over from my big sisters. I ate horse meat a few times in Japan, and initially had the whole "NOOOOO HORSES ARE NOT MEAT" reaction, but I got over it. Horse meat is tasty- it's pretty similar to beef. A lot of countries around the world eat it. I've heard a fair amount of "We're not barbarians like the Chinese!!!" Dude, racist. People around the world eat different stuff than we do. That doesn't make them barbaric.
- The recent uptick of calling people out for using reclaimed words. As someone in my third decade of life, I feel really "been there, done that" about this topic, and maybe it's the new generation that's freaking out about this. We already went to battle over whether it was ok to call each other fags and dykes and sluts and fatties and trannies and queers ("we" being people in the community who have context on the issue) in the 90s, didn't we? I totally understand why some people don't want to reclaim, but I don't think that gives you the right to tell other people that their choice to use reclaimed words is inappropriate and wrong. I get this a lot around calling myself fat, or a fatty. These words literally describe a body type. They are not intrinsically hurtful unless they are used that way. I like referring to myself as curvy or thick, but I don't view these things as euphemisms for fat. I AM FAT! It's ok to call me fat, as long as it's not meant in a mean and judgmental way- I am fat like I am blonde and blue eyed. It's a physical attribute! I recently have a friend be like, "you're not fat, you're large." Yes, I am large, but how does that negate my fatness? Anyway. I'm team reclaim all the way and I will not tolerate people policing my identity because it's not what they would choose for themselves.
- XOJane is running a ton of amazing content lately. I especially enjoyed the Real Girl Belly Project (though I neglected to submit in time) and Michelle Tea's series about trying to get pregnant (I love Michelle Tea because she once took me to a strip club in Hollywood called "Jumbo's Clown Room," amongst other reasons!) Some of the confessional addiction pieces on the site are a little painful for me to read, but the bottom line is this site has an amazing array of perspectives and is very queer-friendly and fat-friendly, which I am digging, and I'm excited to be writing for them.
- The imminent death of Filament magazine. This makes me incredibly sad, because this British magazine, which focuses on on cultivating the female gaze and a sense of female sexual agency through intelligent journalism and erotic images that sexually objectify men, is SO necessary. And the men they photographed were legitimately hot- fey, glitter drenched, gothy dudes, etc. I will miss this magazine very much and all that it stands for, and definitely want to devote a longer piece to the female gaze.
- I decided to pull my paper on the concept of Queer Heterosexuality from a conference I'm attending in March. I admitted to myself that I didn't have the time and energy to give it my all, and this is a topic that would need my all. It's something I'm very sensitive about that is viewed by an appropriative joke by a lot of people, and I'm just not willing to make make myself laughingstock/martyr in this way right now. I do want to write more about the concept of queer heterosexuality, period, in the interest of clarity for folks.
- I just found out that the hymen doesn't exist. My mind is officially blown.
- I'm digging the heck out of Sex Nerd Sandra's podcast, as I am also a sex nerd! Also, today is the first time I actually listened to a podcast on my ipod! I'm such a frontrunner.
- Catching up on Dexter! Season 4 was incredible, Julia Stiles owned Season 5, the jury is out on Season 6.
- General feminist rage. This was related to shoes last night, and kind of made me sad that I skipped Genderqueer Chicago's shoe discussion last night (but I was EXHAUSTED). Somehow I wound up on the webpage for Tieks last night, which are foldable "designer flats" meant for women who wear heels who need a break. Practical, yes, but they cost $200+. Ok, so here's the thing. Women still make less money than men in many cases. Yet, we're supposed to buy $200 ballet flats to carry in our purses because the "sexy" "professional" shoes we're supposed to wear completely fuck up our feet. (I speak as someone who has chronic, horrible pinched nerve pain as a result of wearing heels constantly for a few years). I'm sorry, but can you imagine if men were expected to go through this shit? It's supposed to be cute and fun, but we're talking about hundreds of dollars and ruined feet (and feet are fucking important). I love shoes as much as the next femmedrogyne, but...argh. I work in a bit trendy shopping neighborhood where I see 90 pound women in their fur coats, leggings as pants, and $1,000 Leboutins tottering around at 9am in the morning and all I can think is WHY. Heels are fun, but I am not wearing them to work. They are staying next to my bed, for sexytimes, when all my weight is on my back!
These are NOT the shoes you should be wearing in bed.
- The Betty Beauty product line. So I recently grew out my bush and pits and have been enjoying dyeing them fun colors. The only problem is the color fades pretty fast and then I'm left with SCARY WHITE BODY HAIR. WOOOOO....ghostly!
- The kink scene is like high school some times, and it's kind of exhausting. Then again, so are most scenes.
- There's a bedbug outbreak in my apartment building, which is freaking me out, but I haven't caught them yet, and am trying to prevent this from happening. I am buying a mattress cover, which is also practical because I'm a squirter.
- Lush owns my soul. I am really grooving on this vermillion lipgloss that tastes like white chocolate and cayenne, and this jasmine scented gold body powder. I am all about looking bronzed and glowy these days. I also just ordered some more metallic Kat Von D lipstick and a Stella gift set from Sephora, because winter is all about hiding indoors and hoarding beauty products even though I'm too tired to show off my fierceness. I don't celebrate Christmas, which means I can spend all the money I want on myself, and it's awesome.
- The Skweel is unexpectedly my new favorite sex toy! It's like the sex toy equivalent of a funny looking, socially awkward person who is fantastic in bed. I will be reviewing it sooner or later...