But I’m A Nice Guy

I’ve been trying to think of something to say about the terrible shooting in California this weekend, but I am consistently coming up blank. So many thoughts in my head, so little abillity to consolidate them. So I am just going to leave this here.

You are not entitled to our bodies and our company just because you are “a nice guy“. The “friendzone” doesn’t exist. If a woman you are interested in tells you she has a boyfriend (even if she doesn’t) it is because she knows you’ll respect another man’s ownership of her, than the actual ownership she has of herself. But sometimes even when we DO have a boyfriend, you still feel entitled enough to us that you will kill us if we reject you.

“I am afraid of women. And that makes me angry.”

Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.
– Margaret Atwood, paraphrased.

Advertisements

What I Wore: June 9 2013

I’m trying something new, here. In looking at my stats, a lot of traffic gets driven to my blog by people searching things like “what to wear when you’re fat” and “cute clothes for fat girls” and so on and so forth.

So I decided that I should photograph what I wear and post it up here, so that when people google “what to wear when you’re fat” and land on my site, they can see what I am wearing, and maybe get some inspiration.

It literally goes against every fibre of my being to pose for photos and post them on the internet (as opposed to posting candid photos from a party or event), but I am going to do it anyway so please be kind 🙂

Firstly, this is what I wore last night, June 9th 2013, to Plastic nightclub in the city to watch my best friend’s band play a show. It was pretty rad but then I went home because I am hurtling speedily towards middle age and I wanted a cup of tea and a biscuit.

This is What I Wore:

June 9 2013

(click to embiggen)

Wet look peplum top from City Chic.
Sequin skirt from Asos Curve.
Reflective bag and baroque necklace from Sportsgirl.
Suede-look platform boots from Kmart.

Clarification and Apology

In my post below, I said the following:

“Certainly, there are some cases where a person who has a mental illness might become temporarily unable to advocate for themselves, such as if a person is in the midst of an extreme psychotic episode or suffering from active suicidal ideation”

It has been pointed out to me that there are many people who suffer with suicidal ideation who are capable of advocating for themselves, so I would like to clarify that when I was referring to how a person suffering with active suicidal ideation may become temporarily unable to advocate for themselves, I was referring to how a person may be subject to an involuntary treatment order, thereby temporarily removing their choice about whether or not to receive psychiatric treatment.

It was never my intention to suggest that people suffering with suicidal ideation are unable to make their own decisions, but somehow I managed to, and I apologise unreservedly for it.

If you’re mentally ill, you can’t make decisions of your own free will.

(Content Note: abuse, assault, suicide

This week, Mia Freedman clarified her position on sex workers:

“Let me lay out my position very clearly.

If you are an adult woman who is not suffering from a mental illness, addiction or sexual, physical or emotional abuse, who has not been trafficked or exploited or co-erced into sexual slavery and who is CHOOSING of her own free will to sell sex?

I respect that. I’m cool with that.”

– from MIA: No, I won’t apologies for my sex worker comments, @ mamamia.com.au

Hear that? Mia Freedman seems to believe that if you are living with a mental illness, an addiction, or have been abused, you are incapable of making your own choices.

As anyone who has, or who knows someone with a mental illness would know, mental ill-health does not automatically remove from a person the ability to consider options and consequences and then make a decision based on those considerations. Similarly, neither does addiction or a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

Certainly, there are some cases where a person who has a mental illness might become temporarily unable to advocate for themselves, such as if a person is in the midst of an extreme psychotic episode or suffering from active suicidal ideation, but generally speaking, a diagnosis of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD or any other DSM-listed mental illness or disorder does NOT carry with it a caveat that the person can no longer make their own decisions.

Similarly people with a history of abuse. There are PLENTY of people who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused in their lifetimes who remain capable of making their own choices. Additionally, there are plenty of people out there right now being bullied or sexually harassed in their workplace who remain capable of making their own choices, and who – for reasons they may or may not choose to disclose – remain employed in their jobs despite the fact their boss shouts abuse at them or a coworker touches them inappropriately. Sex work is not unique in this regard. Yes, some sex workers have been sexually assaulted by their clients, or bullied by their coworkers or their managers. But so too have some checkout operators, some secretaries, some nurses, some teachers, some accountants, some engineers. Are these people suddenly incapable of choosing their profession because they have been assaulted?

And as for people with addictions, what would you have them do, Mia? Break into your home and steal things you worked hard to earn the money to buy in order to sell for cash to support their habit, or engage in legitimate work to earn money to support their habit?

A friend of mine pointed out in a discussion on this subject that sex work provides addicts with an honest way to support their habit. She also points out that the flexibility of sex work is important for the mentally ill as well. (This friend guards her privacy so I haven’t directly quoted her in order to respect her right to her privacy – if she wishes to be directly quoted I am happy to do so.)

This is an important point. If Mia understood anything about the nature of mental illness, she would understand that keeping a regular schedule can be harder some days than others. To borrow from the Spoon Theory, some days it can take more spoons for a person with depression (for instance) to make it out of bed and to work for a 9am start than it can on other days. Some days are easy, and some are hard. Some days you wake up and you feel good, and going to work doesn’t feel like an insurmountable challenge. Some days you’ve been awake all night, stricken with anxiety, or thinking about what would actually happen if you killed yourself, or trying to ignore the voices, and then have to get up, put clothes on, and jockey a cash register or a telephone or a computer for 8 hours.

A critical element of sex work is its flexibility. Sex work allows a person to set their own schedule, to work as much or as little as they need to or want to. It allows a person to work at whichever time of the day is convenient for them. It allows a person to set their earnings based on their own requirements.

It allows a person suffering with a mental illness to continue to pay for their housing, their food and clothing, their appointments with a mental health professional, and their medication, WITHOUT having to put themselves at risk of further mental ill-health by forcing themselves to go to a 9-5 job on days when they are simply not well enough for it.

But according to Mia Freedman, mentally ill people are not able to make their own decisions. Which is HARDLY a feminist statement.

Normally I wouldn’t spend this much effort worrying about Mia Freedman’s opinion. But Freedman is a popular writer and her website receives thousands of visitors – her opinion has the power to misinform people, and to become public opinion. Public opinion sets public policy, and mentally ill people are already demonised enough without being considered incapable of making their own choices.

Mia Freedman may call herself a feminist, but her comments this week about mentally ill women, abused women, women with addictions and sex workers do not reflect any feminism I recognise.

Video

There’s a lot happening in my life right now that is making me happy, but at the moment all I have to say is this.

Good luck, goodbye, Bobby Jean

I’ve tried to write this article a few times, but I can’t really work out how to start it. I also really don’t have the spoons to write this whole story out again, so I am going to copy and paste the whole thing from elsewhere. So some of you might have already read it.

Emil and I have called it off after 2 years and 10 months. He was visiting Melbourne this week to attend a demoscene party (which I refer to as NerdFest) so we at least call it quits in person. Here is how it happened:

Friday, 16 November 2012 at 4:52:00 PM

He has told me that he’s met someone else. A girl he works with. She likes him and he likes her back.

I am still going to see him tomorrow.

But I guess I will come back from seeing him, with him not my Second Boyfriend anymore.

My heart hurts.

Sandy, the aurora is rising behind us
This pier lights our carnival life forever
Oh love me tonight and I promise I’ll love you forever

Thanks, Boss.

Continue reading

Just in case you didn’t know, Adele is awesome.

“I read a comment on YouTube that I thought would upset me ‘Test pilot for pies’ — but I’ve always been a size 14-16 and been fine with it. I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t.”

Adele, via Huffington Post

Sing it, sister!

Dear Fat Teenage Girl

At the start of October, I was visiting Sydney with my family for my cousin’s 40th birthday. Before the party, my good friend Helen from Hells Bells came to join us for lunch. Helen is (amongst many other things), a piano and voice teacher. She told me a story about a student of hers, a girl of about 14, who is fat and worried that boys are never going to like her because of it. Helen told her about me, my rad fat self and my two boyfriends, and showed her my writing. So I decided to write her (and every other fat teenage girl out there), a little open letter.

Dear Fat Teenage Girl,

All your friends look SO pretty in their denim miniskirts and tight tank tops. Boys look at them at the train station after school, and they hitch up their school skirts to show off more of their legs. You would never dream of doing that. Nobody wants to see your huge thighs in a miniskirt, or your flabby belly and canteen lady arms in a tank top. When you get to the station after school, it feels like everyone is whispering about you and your ill-fitting school uniform as you walk past.

When you go to parties, all your friends end up making out with a boy, but you sit on the couch with your single Bacardi Breezer wondering if boys would like you more if you lost ten kilograms. In the summer, when there’s a pool party, or a beach trip, everyone else wears a bikini but you wear a long t-shirt over your swimsuit and wrap a towel around your waist as soon as you get out of the water.

You bury yourself in books and focus on your schoolwork so you have an excuse about why you aren’t dating anybody. You have crushes, but you never ask anyone out because why would someone want to date you? All your friends are dating but you’re not, and you tell yourself that you’re OK with that because you’re really committed to your schoolwork, even though what you really want is someone special in your life too.

On school holidays, when you go out with your friends to go shopping and see a movie, all your friends buy cute clothes from Sportsgirl and Supre and Forever New. While your friends are trying on skinny jeans and summer party dresses, you browse the accessories, because the only things from Sportsgirl that will fit you are shoes, earrings, headscarves and cute handbags and purses. You walk past the one or two stores that cater to plus-sized women, partly because you’re ashamed, and partly because you know that they won’t have anything in stock that suits you, because you’re not frumpy and middle-aged.

You wear a lot of black tights and shapeless dresses and big baggy jumpers and loose jeans – partly to hide your body shape, and partly because there’s nothing in the stores that both fits you AND that you like. You cruise op shops to find basic skirts and tops that will fit you that you can jazz up with all the accessories you buy when your friends are buying clothes. Someone told you once that horizontal stripes don’t look good on fat girls so you pass over that cute striped skirt that fits you in favour of a plain black one.

It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? You just want to be like everyone else; you want to wear cute clothes, and goof off at the beach in a skimpy swimsuit, you want boys (or girls!) to notice you and want to ask you out, and you want to invite someone special to your year 10 formal.

Well, much like Dan Savage does for gay kids, I’m here to tell you it gets better, fat teenage girl. It gets better.

I was like you when I was a teenager – in fact, all of the scenarios above are my very own experiences. I cared so, so much about what everyone else thought of me. I worried that boys didn’t like me as much as I liked them (which was A LOT, I was a boy crazy teenager), I could never find anything cute to wear outside of op-shops, and it was very annoying having to alter and adjust EVERY SINGLE THING I bought in order to get it to fit me. It was all just so frustrating – I worried that I would never feel comfortable with who I was.

But guess what? It gets better. It really, truly does. (And please forgive me, I’m about to go heteronormative here – as someone who is very firmly straight, I can only speak from my own experience). Whether you lose the weight or not is irrelevant – what matters is how you feel about yourself. If you truly believe that you’re the sort of girl that boys like, then you WILL be the sort of girl that boys like. And of course, fat teenage girl, if you you’re a lesbian, or if you think you might maybe be into girls more than boys, or if you think you might like girls and boys equally, or if you haven’t decided yet, that statement applies to you too. If you believe you’re the sort of girl that people of your preferred sexual identity will like, then you will be the sort of girl that people of your preferred sexual identity will like.

Somewhere around the time that I was 17, I decided that I just didn’t care anymore about what people thought of me. I decided I wasn’t going to try to be anybody else than who I was. I was going to do my own things. I was going to wear whatever clothes I wanted. I was going to buy the things I liked and that made ME feel good to wear, (which were not always the things that looked good on me). Fuck flattering, I thought. Fuck hiding every part of my body. Fuck the society that was telling me that as a fat girl I was ugly, that I was not sexy, that I was not worthy of attention, that I must hide myself and minimise my size and take up less space. Fuck all that.

I started wearing clothes I liked, and that made me feel good. I started walking straighter and taller. I started laughing louder, talking more to strangers, flirting with people. It wasn’t easy and it took a while, because at first I had to pretend I felt good and was confident, until eventually I legitimately felt good and was confident.

Somewhere around the time I was 17, I started going out with my first boyfriend. Now, I know better than anyone that correlation doesn’t equal causation, but I am also not entirely convinced that these were two completely unrelated events. At about that same time, other boys started getting interested in me as well. Now, I am certainly not saying here that I was fighting off teenage boys as if I was Megan Fox at a Transformers premiere, but I did for a while have a couple of boys interested in spending time with me for reasons other than my love of Star Wars and video games.

Since then, life has just gotten better and better for me. I am in love with two men (two!) who love me not because, or in spite of, but WHILE I am fat. There are plenty of men out there who actively seek out fat women as partners because they prefer the way fat women look and feel, in much the same way that there are men who seek out slim women, or blonde women, or women of Asian descent. There are plenty of men out there who love fat women in spite of the fact that they are fat – men who ordinarily wouldn’t seek out a fat woman as a partner but who have met and fallen in love with a fat woman. But both of my current boyfriends love me while I am fat. In other words, they didn’t choose to ask me out because I was fat, and they didn’t fall in love with me even though I was fat. They just love me, and I am fat. Like those two things exist separately, and converge in my relationships.

These are all valid relationship models – I am certainly not promoting one over the other. There’s nothing wrong with being loved because you are fat, just as there is nothing is wrong with being loved even though you are fat, just as there is nothing wrong with being loved while you are fat.

I wear impossibly high heels, and I wear short skirts without stockings, and I wear strapless and sleeveless dresses. I wear tight clothes and low cut tops and stockings attached to suspender belts. I drink beer and I flirt with men and I dance with little regard for who’s watching or what I look like. I live my life by my rules, and I am loved by my friends and loved by men who love me for who I am. I unashamedly take up space. My body is political. I am fat, and I am present, and I refuse to hide my shape under baggy, shapeless clothing. I refuse to use Spanx to mould myself into a more acceptable shape. I refuse to change myself, to conform the expectations of the society we live in. I will not hide.

What I am trying to say here, dear fat teenage girl, is that it gets better. You won’t always feel like you don’t quite fit in. You won’t always feel frumpy and confused about what you should wear. You won’t always feel like no boys (or girls!) like you. You won’t always feel unloveable.  You’re at a crossroads, right now. Right now you feel like nobody will ever love you, that you’ll never look cute in clothes the way your friends do. But you’re not always going to feel that way. Clothing for fat women is getting better and better, slowly but surely – better quality, better style, more affordable, and if you’re straight and into men, you will find that there are millions (MILLIONS!) of men out there who will think you are beautiful and many who will fall in love with you when they get to know you. I am sure, also, that if you’re a lesbian and into women, you’ll find that the same thing applies.

Don’t fall for the trope that only the skinny girl gets to fall in love. Hollywood (and before that, fairytales) has been selling you a false bill of goods, and there are lots of fat women out there on the internet, writing about how they are both fat and rad, writing about the great clothes they wear, and writing about their lovers and husbands and wives and girlfriends and boyfriends. I would like to draw your attention particularly to the writing of Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, a woman I really admire for her smarts and her jokes and her great big heart and her dedication to her work. Particularly I enjoy this article she wrote on the occasion of her tenth wedding anniversary with her husband Iain, entitled Ten.

Love is incredible, and frustrating, and rewarding, and when you find it you will wonder why you ever doubted that you would.

Fall in love with yourself first, and all else will follow.

All my love,

Erin.

Today in Ableism

Kate Moss says she can’t pose for photographs because she has “facial Tourette’s

Ok, sister.

Three legally blind women refused service in a Moonee Ponds restaurant because they had their guide dogs with them. From The Age:

La Four Seasons manager Mason Hawkins agreed the women were told they could not bring the guide dogs into the restaurant, but said the women were offered a table outside.

“They were really rude and refused to compromise with us,” Ms Hawkins said.

“It was nice weather, I couldn’t see what the problem was,” she said.

I would argue that the problem isn’t the nice weather, but the fact that you run a public establishment and don’t know anti-discrimination laws.

Julia Gillard vs Tony Abbott in Celebrity Deathmatch.

Would anybody like to see a video of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, giving Tony Abbott a serve about his disgraceful misogyny in Parliament today?

Oh you do? That’s what I thought.

You’re welcome.

Transcript behind the fold.

Continue reading