jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Because I'm starting to get into interests besides "figuring out who I am," like writing a ridiculous number of words about gamefeels and painting a dozen identical miniatures at the same time. It's just that pretty much everyone I know here subscribed to me because of the essays about identity, religion, and the like, whereas people who are (or would be, hypothetically) interested in fanfics and minis would more than likely be turned off at worst or confused at best by getting to know me / us as a person.

... is how I see it.

We're also facing some unpleasant trends, while we'll discuss in more detail below the cut.

Read more... )

What do? Any thoughts? Does this place, do these writings, does any of it mean anything to anyone? And if they do ... how many of the people they matter to will still be here next year?

The one pleasant trend I've noticed is Patreon becoming A Thing, but at this point I can count on one hand the number of regular commenters here. So I don't think we're anywhere near the point where we should be talking about it.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Conservative pundits and religious leaders seem to have a thing against Facebook and Twitter. Not because of how Twitter can be used to harass women and minorities, or how Facebook's "no pseudonyms" policy excludes anyone concerned for their safety, but because they let people share themselves with the rest of the world.

"Nobody wants to know what you ate for breakfast!" they cry, and accuse people of narcissism for thinking otherwise. I could hear their voices, figuratively speaking, while writing that last entry, about things I find fun (and why I apparently can't stand them).

When I think of narcissists, though, I think of people like them. Shallow, egotistical hypocrites, who at best are extremely un-self-aware, and at worst hate and envy almost everyone else. Who whine about "whiners," complain about "complainers," take offence at people who "choose to be offended," and use force to prevent clergy members from performing marriages (and women from accessing health care) on the basis of "religious liberty."

What they all have in common, is that they seem to think things were much better when no one had the words to describe who they were, how they felt, and how others were hurting them.

That's why my profile, in the sidebar, currently lists the words that I use to describe myself. And why I write so much about what I go through. Because people, including myself, need to be reminded that this is all real. These feelings are real, these experiences really happened, I really am the kind of person for whom it makes sense to do these things and see myself this way. For whom it hurts not to be able to.

That's what it was like, before I knew the words. Before "cis" and "trans," before "allistic" / "autistic," before "fictive" and "therian" / "otherkin." It hurt, and I had no concept of why.

I had feelings for both male- and female-presenting persons, before I knew what "pansexual" was.

I saw humans as other, and identified with animals, before I knew what a "therian" was.

I thought I was demon-possessed, before I knew about multiplicity and trauma splits.

And when I read my stories back to myself, I heard them read in a female voice, in my head.

If someone had taught me the words when I was much younger, I would've been one of those 12-year-olds who wants to take androgen blockers. I would've worn cat ears or a fox tail, past the point where adults stopped seeing it as cute. I would've latched onto everything I saw that reminded me of myself, that struck me as sacred, that seemed real and not made-up like the rest of society.

And I would've written about it sooner, too. Because I need to put things into written words, to explain them to myself ... and because I'm not the only one who needs all these things explained to.

I'm not sure that's so different from writing about what you had for breakfast, either. How else are people going to find the best place to get coffee and French toast?

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Facebook, Twitter, and Google are trying to be public utilities, but without any public oversight. Few, if any, laws currently regulate their abuses of privacy and monopoly privilege, although the European Union is trying to change that.

Part of the problem is technophobia, which is animosity towards people who rely on technology. Technophobes believe that those youngsters ought to pay less attention to "pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, [and] online social networking," and more attention to what really matters: The technophobes and their needs. A lot of voters are technophobes, so stuff Twitter does to screw you over doesn't matter to them.

But another big part of the problem is that we are used to thinking of ourselves as consumers, as individuals, as basically powerless. Solidarity isn't a thing anymore. Instead we have "participation," where you write Amazon.com reviews or mark stuff in Gmail as spam. And everyone takes it for granted that the new breed of robber barons can do whatever they want, and mine resources nobody knew were valuable -- like people's identities and privacy. Which is very convenient for them.

So now we have stuff like this:

Google is now the way people find out anything on the Internet. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

Facebook is now the way people define their relationships and share their lives with each other online. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

Twitter is now the way people chat online. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

And Amazon is now the way everyone buys everything. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

We have laws that keep businesses from abusing their customers and legitimate competitors. Those laws have not kept up with the times. And in many cases, they were inadequate to begin with.

I don't think the long-term solution is going to involve competing with them, or avoiding them, or recommending against them, or any other individualistic "consumer" behaviour. Because as it stands, quitting one of these sites means sacrificing all the value that you put into their system through your and your friends' years of participating, such as all those likes and reviews and Steam games. Value which they extracted from you, and you now have no legal right to, or at least no right to withdraw in a usable form.

Instead, we need to change the rules on them. And it isn't immoral to do so, because the rules are how they got where they are. They profited from publicly-funded research and infrastructure, from publicly-educated employees, and (perhaps in Amazon's case) from social safety net programs designed to keep inadequately compensated warehouse workers alive.

If I knew anyone who was trying to return the power to us, in this country, I'd be voting for them. Unfortunately, I don't.

In the meantime, I'm doing the "consumer" thing and looking for alternatives. DuckDuckGo is an awesome search engine that's like Google before it got Plused, and doesn't track you or anything. And Dreamwidth's Guiding Principles spell out a more responsible social contract, where its founders and employees are part of the community instead of above it. And where the volunteers who work on it own it themselves via Free Software licensing.

It should be a crime for other startups not to have such arrangements.

Because the only way Dreamwidth got founded to begin with is that LiveJournal was based on Free Software and used open standards like RSS. Without the LiveJournal import and cross-posting, Dreamwidth would have been dead in the water.

Just like Diaspora.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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