Mar. 20th, 2011

askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
In response to some persistent themes being expressed on various platforms of late, or, the 'feminist' return of body fascism;
I shave my legs because I want to.  I like the way skin feels against skin. I like the way clothes feel against skin. I do not like the way hair feels against skin or clothes.  I shave my arm pits because as clean as you are, you'll never find an anti perspirant that works as well when it is applied to hair covered skin.  All the hair removal and trimming I do is because I like it.  Society has not compelled me to do it.  My bare legs are not representative of my subjugation to pervasive beauty narratives.  My clean shaven armpits are indicative only of what I find to be aesthetically pleasing and what gives me confidence regarding my personal hygene.  Do not assume differently without asking me, or any of the other women you are battering with your rhetoric.  Thank you.

On queer liberation;
It is no doubt the proliferation of mediocre to poor dramas on tv of late centring on both fictional and real life gay men and their lives and loves, but increasingly I recognise and understand why lesbians wished to campaign for gay lib separately than gay men.  I also feel the strong tug of obscurity as the voices of queer women throughout history go largely unrecorded and so the obsessive bio-pic making so recently in vogue has no material from which to draw.  I sense also that - in the programming directors minds - the 'edginess' of making a film about men having sex and putting it on at 9pm on BBC2 would be lost were it instead about two women.  Female sexuality is, after all, neither urgent nor insistent nor selfish.  Women do not fuck but make love.  Or so social norms would have us believe, and to counter those ideas is to shoot too often over the head of the viewers,  How to explain that urgent sexuality and sexual satisfaction is not an exception to femininity or characteristic only of lesbianism?  On the occasions strong representations of female centred sexuality occur it is, more often than not, presented cheaply and sordidly - the atrocious scripts and production values on both the Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet serve as excellent examples.

I cannot think of a single film which concerns a lesbian relationship as it's primary focus which is either beautiful or moving.  I can think of plenty which are trite and poorly executed and a hundred more which have only sold because queer women are so desperate for filmic representation they will buy and watch any old crap - I count myself among that desperate majority.

I have lost interest in stories about gay men struggling in historically-hostile times; they speak to me no more than a mediocre romantic storyline in a heterosexual drama does.  I always felt that LGBT history was a shared discovery, that hearing from one group can tell us about another/our own, but I see now that was naive.  I want to know about the lives of the women who have brought the world to the point it is at now for me - as a queer woman.  My social ancestors are silent - or at the very least silenced - in the current trend for period dramas about minority groups.  

On the ignorance of youth
I was in STA Travel today with a friend from work; we are probably going on holiday for a fortnight in July/August.  The travel agent was suggesting modifications/changes to the route I had in mind, after she mentioned Prague and I rejected it as I have already been there and she went back to furiously tapping away on her computer I turned to my friend, pointed to a photo from the old square in Prague and showed him the hotel I had stayed at for 2 nights.  I commented, in telling the story of how we ended up there and not in the hostel we had booked, that 'and they were also lovely there; they didn't bat an eyelid at the fact we were gay and sharing a double room".  He replied, shocked "is that something that happens then - is that a problem?".  "Yes," I said "indeed, in Paris we were initially refused the key to the double room we had booked (at a major hotel chain no less) until another member of staff intervened".  I watched the information processing on his face; I'm not sure he really believes the world is like that, even now.  Maybe another day I'll tell him about my friends who got beaten up by some thugs in a gay bar, for being gay, whilst the bar staff looked passively on.

On what my life is like of late;
I wake up every morning before my alarm goes off.  I trudge to the bathroom to shower.  I cry as I wash, dress and eat before leaving the house.  I pass through my days like a zombie and I am ready to go back to bed and to sleep at 3pm. I force myself to stay up until 10pm.  I cannot sleep.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
As the years go by I become increasingly convinced class is more a state of mind than it is a socio-economic reality.

My parents were working class.  The half of the family who have the greatest impact/input on our lives are all working class.  My older (half) brothers were brought up in a working class home.  My Mum met my Dad and had me and I was brought up in a lower middle class home in a middle class area at a middle class school.  I left home for university, was vomited from there into the world and promptly became [economically] working class again.

I currently work in a state school were I watch the taxpayers money - my money, your money - being spent.  Being spent unwisely, often.  I hear the business manager (yup, that's what schools have now) talk with the Head about turnover, budgets and project management.  Sometimes, I think they forget there are children in the 'business' they are running.  The business manager - my manager - wants me to become a business manager myself.  I am 'going along' with it for the sake of looking like I want to work there - and thereby secure my small income - but as soon as I get the opportunity to leave for a new job as far away from money management, I will.

I find it abhorrent, talking about money and people management as though they are just meaningless numbers.  How many books - or computers - could be bought for the school, or poorer schools in the county, if both the business manager and head took a 10% pay cut?  I could not take the money they take to do the job they do, from a public service budget, with a clear conscience.

But to move up on the class ladder - my previous and current experience tells me - I must be willing to act without conscience in taking a pay rise.  And I must act selfishly in demanding more pay and more benefits, and in viewing a school, for example, as a business to be run not an institution to be nurtured if I wish to climb out of the economic group I find myself in.

If having a big house, a flash car, designer clothes and expensive holidays means stamping on people, rejecting the community spirit and 'less doesn't matter if you still get to be with your family and friends' attitude that I was raised in and brought up believing - through social-genetics as much as being actively schooled in that mind frame - then I don't want it.  If money comes above equality in relationships, and career progression must be bought at the cost of nurturing and preserving the person I am - as it has starkly done for some people I have known - then I don't want it.

Above all, there is an inherent dishonesty to me in pursuing class mobility.  In achieving it, more so; as the effort to earn enough to maintain the lifestyle must take precedence over maintaining bonds to the past and, due to an inherent snobbery in the middle class, disguising one's roots.  I do not want to be paid an exorbitant amount of money for moving figures around or writing nonsense on bits of paper or 'networking' to further business concerns, I do not want to learn how to do those things, I do not want to begin to learn how to do those things.  My only ambition is to be paid an honest wage for an honest days work and go home and know that, in whatever small way, I have contributed something small and perhaps even vital.

I think I need to read News from Nowhere again.


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
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