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

Content note: Political violence, physical violence, and why I feel using the latter to combat the former will get us all killed. Or at least, all of us whose bodies are politicized.

Read more... )

tl;dr

If you're an abled white man, we don't need you to punch Nazis for us. The Nazis can and will take out their anger on more vulnerable targets. What we need is for you to pick one of the battles we're waging, and use your power and privilege to shield us. Either give what we need to keep fighting, or find out where the line of fire is and get in the way. In MMO terms, we're cycling DoTs on the raid boss, but we need you to heal, buff, and tank for us.

(MMORPGs are a much better lens to view a group struggle through than solo shooter / adventure games, because anyone who's worked with seventeen other people to clear Dynamis knows what happens when someone refuses to listen, or makes the run all about them.)

Nazis talk tough and collect firearms, but they're fucking cowards. All bullies are. Just look at how scared they are of trans, female, and/or PoC bodies, let alone yours! If you make it clear you oppose them, you don't need to throw punches to get them to back down. Most of the time, all you need to do is tell them to fuck off. Just make sure we're okay, afterwards, and that you listen when we say what we need.

Donate to the Standing Rock Water Protectors.

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

Tamamo-no-Mae is perhaps the most famous -- and tragic -- foxwoman in Japanese folklore. Variations on her story have been told and retold, the gist of which is that she was a kitsune (fox) who took on human form and became the Emperor's courtesan. But she was found out by an onmyōji (magician), declared to be the cause of the Emperor's illness, and chased out to the plains of Nasu and killed.

The retelling of her story in Fate/EXTRA, a visual novel / roleplaying game for the PlayStation Portable, is especially stark. In it, she grows up as a human and does not even realize that she is a fox until her ears suddenly sprout from her head. She manages to conceal them for an entire month, before being found out.

Here are some excerpts from the scene where she tells the player character her life story:

Pictures, transcripts, and discussion of transphobic violence behind cut )

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

So, we read an excerpt from the intro to a history book on the First Succession War, which was a mad scramble for land and resources after a political upheaval.

It reminded us of how much we love BattleTech sometimes, and why:

It was a week before my nineteenth birthday when we learned that Amaris had been captured and the [coup] was over. Naïvely, we thought things would get back to how they were before, in our parents’ day. How quickly we were disabused of that notion. The dukes knew things would only get worse and all the patriotic noise Kenyon had made was soon supplanted by something more authoritarian. We were just the wrong age, the perfect age to serve.

My boyfriend, Joe, was one of those called up that autumn, thrown into a boot-camp and then shipped off-world to fill out a line unit. I never saw him again—he died on Anegasaki when the Capellans killed the Fourth Militia. I was luckier I suppose, drafted into the planetary militia, so at least I was near home where it was safe and quiet. At least at first.

Then Kenyon got a mind to take over all the Star League facilities, following up on the rumors that Kerensky had left vast stockpiles on-world. That may have been true, but after four years spent on that wild goose, with little more than field rations, toilet paper, and SLDF recruitment pamphlets to show for it, the FWLM shifted their attention elsewhere. That didn’t save me from a grilling by SAFE—several in fact—because of who Gramps was, and his involvement with the Engineering Sub-Command. He died when I was nine, but even so, SAFE struggled to accept that a pre-teen knew nothing about SLDF activity. Dad got it much worse, and was held at the facility in Freeport for three weeks before they decided that the English teacher from Durandel High wasn’t going to give them much help either.

In those days, the years before the start of the Succession War, I did wonder: if this is how badly we treat our own people, how are things going to go when we start shooting at people we don’t like?

Compare and contrast, with how 40k portrays warfare. And authority, and nationalism. Even if you read 40k as a dystopian satire, where the Imperium is meant to be seen as brutal, you rarely get such a personal look, at the price that ordinary people pay for you to dress up in armour and play as a "hero." To satisfy your vain ambition, for power or wealth or heroics.

40k isn't alone in erasing civilians and glamourizing warfare, of course. Don't get me started on dudebro shooters. >_>; With the extremely subversive exception of Spec Ops: The Line.

Click here if you can't see the video.

For another good take (IMO) on how BattleTech portrays conflict, check out the short story at the start of the Alpha Strike Quick-Start rules (PDF link). A private military contractor called Wolf's Dragoons catches a desperate foe completely off-guard, and an enemy MechWarrior has an obvious mental breakdown, but there's no guarantee that she won't recover once they've gone past. So Natasha just shoots her mech's legs out and moves on. Even though she has TEH RAEG because of something the other side's employer did to Dragoon dependents.

Finally, if you want to support a PC / tabletop game that tells the story of people who live in the ruins that "heroes" and generals fight over, check out This War of Mine:

Click here if you can't see the video.

Armed conflict is a terrific backdrop for drama. But it isn't a playground or theme park, and it shouldn't be treated as one.

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

(Content note for these links and this essay: Racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, and xenophobia.)

I'd just like to take a moment to remind everyone, including my friends who are also transgender, that if you live in the first world everything that you have and enjoy is made possible through unthinkable violence and slavery. Of humans, to say nothing of nonhuman animals.

It's not a matter of how moral you are, or how much you consciously choose not to inflict violence on others. This is an inherent feature, of a world where some people are valued so much more than others. Because the purpose of inequality, inhospitality, and inhumane treatment is to make people broken and desperate.

The purpose of immigration restrictions, for instance, is to enable human trafficking, which means (among other things) being able to keep people in sheds they pay rent on and beat them if they don't wash your car just right. Meanwhile, the reason that the United States lacks the social safety net that other so-called "liberal democracies" have is because one of its political parties (we all know which one) used its "Southern Strategy," of convincing white voters that welfare payments would go to the wrong kind of people.

You know, the ones who are supposed to avert their eyes when they see you walk by, and who call you "sir" and shine your shoes for you.

Trans World Problems?

No. No, the new laws here in the States, that make it even more dangerous for trans people to use public restrooms, aren't a "First World Problems" thing. A "be grateful that you aren't a literal slave" thing. As though becoming a sex worker with no legal protections weren't something a lot of trans people have to turn to, and as though there are no trans people who are black, immigrant, or enslaved.

What this is, is a reminder that we (as trans people) aren't the first to suffer this indignity, and we won't be the last. Unless we can join our grasping appendages with others who are resisting things like it*, and turn the tables on our capitalist oppressors.

(It's redundant to call them that, but sometimes it just helps to hammer it home.)




* Or even others who are affected by it, despite not being trans. Don't forget; besides barring people who don't pass as cis from using the restroom, North Carolina's HB2 also banned local living wage laws, and made it harder for any worker to bring a discrimination suit against their employer. These aren't unrelated coincidences; these things are all part of systemic inequality and oppression.

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

The other day, an evil man named Boyd Packer died.

(EDIT: Corrected some things after re-reading quotes, and changed the description of this person's legacy.)

He was one of the highest leaders of the Mormon church, called an apostle. Apostles are appointed to their positions for life, and he spent most of his tenure saying hateful things to captive audiences.

In 2010, he gave a talk in worldwide General Conference where he said God would never make someone gay. The line was edited out when his talk was published in print and online, but not soon enough to keep the rate of LGBT suicides in the state of Utah from spiking right afterwards.

When I was a young adult, I was given a pamphlet that was a printout of one of his talks, in which he condemned people for masturbating and said that it was okay to deck gay people who come on to you. Partly because of this man's words, I hated myself for more than a decade, and came very close to taking my life.

He called gays, feminists, and intellectuals the enemies of the Mormon church, and famously declared in a talk to church educators that "some things which are true are not useful." I feel like that sums up his legacy. The things he proclaimed as true are already being thrown out by the institutional Mormon church, because they are not very useful in making them look good. In fact, they make them look pretty damned awful, to anyone with a conscience and even a basic understanding of how words affect others.

I'm glad he lived long enough to see his victims turn the tables on him, and win.

If you want a more vivid look at how I felt because of this man, read this story.

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

Yesterday, I got stranded a long way from home with no way back.

Content note: A longish story about the hidden costs of being poor, the inhumaneness of "personal responsibility" teachings, and how [personal profile] jewelfox learned to be mean to herself from her abusive family of origin. Contains swearing, transphobia, and poverty-shaming.

Read more... )

I'm not writing this because I bear a strong grudge that I haven't let go of (although that may be part of it). I'm writing this because this is stuff that has really affected me, and has changed how I see myself whether I want it to or not.

My family of choice, my real loved ones, don't see what I did as unreasonable, and don't want me to see myself as "irresponsible" and a "burden." I don't want to see myself that way, either. So I have to deconstruct why I feel that way, so that I can maybe move past it.

I hope that this helps someone else, who needs to do the same thing. I hope you can learn to value yourself as a person.





* Willful ignorance is the defining trait of religious and political conservatism, as near as I can tell. It is also the defining trait of evil alignment, IMO.

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

tl;dr: Religious abuse only happens because religious leaders are allowed to claim ownership of things other people need in order to live, which is basically the spiritual version of "private property." Because of this, most Internet Atheist criticisms of "religion" would be better directed at capitalism instead.

Content note: Discussion of abusive religion and eating disorders.

Defining capitalism

From CollectQT's Political Definitions page:

capitalism - An economic system wherein the means of production are largely privately owned. Capitalism is inherently oppressive.

To unpack that a little, "the means of production" are what you need access to in order to make a living. They can be anything from printing presses to app stores to hunting preserves.

In a capitalist economic system, like the ones in China and the United States, these things are all privately owned, meaning that one person or corporation is allowed to control them despite the fact that everyone needs them. This is why capitalism is inherently oppressive; whatever political freedoms you may have, the people who own the means of production have the power to decide whether you live or die, and under what circumstances.

When critics of capitalism are talking about "private property," this is what they are criticizing. The "property" in question is the means of production, not your personal effects. They are not saying that you should be forced to give up your plushies or miniatures. On the other hand, if you've ever seen someone eBay their most prized possessions in order to make next month's rent, you know that this is exactly what capitalism does to the people it makes into losers.

How and why abusive religions do this to their victims, and how to help people escape )

jewelfox: A portrait of Rei Ayanami from the Evangelion series as an anthropomorphic albino red fox, in a sleeveless lavender top. (rei)

There are two ways to get someone to contribute to society, for varying definitions of "contribute" and "society."

One is to require it of them, and to deprive them of their wants or even needs if they don't perform as demanded. The other is to give them such abundance that they cannot help but share.

Everything that I've seen suggests that the latter is much more effective, and that nearly everyone uses it whenever possible. They reserve the former method for people they don't like, or that they feel entitled to exploit because they do not see them as people.

Real-world examples

This site is hosted on Dreamwidth, fandom enclave extraordinaire, so let's talk about fandom to start with. "Pirated" shows, lovingly subtitled by their fans, helped turn anime from an art style into a major Japanese export. Fandom could not get enough, and paid generously both through buying official and licensed products (once they became available) and by creating fanwork such as cosplay.

I used to be a professional writer, before things went south for me in that department. My best work, both in "pageviews" and in self-perceived quality, was what I was most passionate about, because I wanted so much to share with people what I'd learned. Whether because I was excited about it, or because I was incensed and wanted to share my moral outrage, or raise awareness of an issue.

Sometimes I needed a deadline to get me to write. But when my work became all about deadlines, and the supervisors who had stood up for me mysteriously went absent, and new rules kept me from writing essays like the ones that had won me awards and made lots of money ... I actually shut down from stress. I couldn't do it anymore, not and deal with my sudden personal / family crises at the same time. It wasn't until I felt secure with my partner's financial support that I could coax myself into writing again, to help my partner with expenses and to reward myself with a few games and toys.

I contributed the most to free and open-source software when I felt the most valued by its community, especially when they paid my living expenses as part of the Outreach Program for Women. I was so grateful to my sponsors and mentor, and even though I was living with untreated major depression I pushed myself to work on GNOME. Not just to give back to my benefactors, but because I believed in GNOME's mission and I wanted underprivileged girls to have a free OS of their own.

When the cheques stopped, the program ended, and community interactions showed me how little the free software world valued both women and "women's work" outside of anomalies like the program, I was surprised to find out there was nothing to keep me devoted to them. And that I liked Windows 8 a lot more than free software OSes, and that Microsoft, even as a for-profit company, was sharing a lot more with people like me than the free software "community" was.

Share the wealth

Now I'm surrounded by toys and games in abundance, and the one thing I most want to do is make something worthy of them, and of the people who gave them to me. I want to use the talents that I seem to have, to make artwork like fanfic and models and RPG books, and share them with those who appreciate them.

I play single-player video games, and trim plastic models, and read books curled up in my den, and it makes me want to give back. Not because of duty or forced gratitude, but because it's a natural expression of how I feel. I have to write things that continue the story. I have to share screenshots and work-in-progress photos, and enthuse about things that excite me, and find people to be excited with.

I feel so inspired, I have to share and create.

I think that's how it is for most people.

I think people who don't, or won't, or can't, at least not in socially acceptable ways, don't deserve to starve or be homeless.

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

(Content note: Abusive religion and families, depression and self/victim-blaming.)

One of the reasons I still sometimes visit the exmormon Reddit is because it helps to see what I went through from an outside perspective. When you're Mormon and live in an abusive family, everything's supposed to be all smiles and happiness, and you suppress even your memories of the times that they're not.

Part of the reason for this is that you are told, outright, that when you're having hard times it's your fault:

My FIL is a Branch President [Pastor] at the MTC [Missionary Training Center]. He shared an insight that turned my stomach [...]

Every so many weeks there is a set talk that is rebroadcast. The main theme of the message (from one of the 12 [Mormon apostles], I think) is that obedience and worthiness (and work) are the key elements of missionary success. And that there are people prepared in the mission field, prepared for every specific missionary. It is vitally and eternally important that every missionary be worthy of the full guidance of the Spirit™ to ensure they can be led to these people. These nonmembers, these brothers and sisters, are relying on the missionaries to be worthy so as to receive the inspiration to give the nonmembers a chance at the gospel – possibly their only or best chance in this life! The guilt of worthiness is laid on THICK!

So thick, in fact, that every week after this rebroadcast the Branch Presidencies are overwhelmed with missionaries bawling and shaking in dire need to confess to sins so as to be worthy. They are terrified that their past mistakes will condemn someone else. They line up to confess things they hadn’t shared before entering the MTC(fearing they’ll be sent home) or reconfess to perfect strangers sins they already owned up to but are afraid they need to make double/triple sure they have covered so they won’t condemn someone through unworthiness.

Emphasis in the original.

This isn't always the way Mormons handle these things. There's a glurgy song one of them wrote which confronts this viewpoint, and shows how unfair life is. Then it goes on to remind the Mormon listeners that "after the trials we will be blessed, for this life is a test." It's still a bad way of looking at things, and I've seen it used to minimize other people's suffering as being God's will and nothing to complain about. But it at least acknowledges that bad things happen to people who don't deserve them.

What it never quite got around to pointing out is that part of that unfairness is who gets blamed for what happens to them and who doesn't. The 18-year-olds entering the MTC are near the bottom of the Mormon hierarchy, right above women, poor people, and gays. And they're blamed for everything that goes wrong, like getting zero baptisms in a European mission. They usually pay for this privilege, out of their or their families' pockets. Meanwhile, the rich white men doing the blaming -- the Mission Presidents -- live in big houses and have their living expenses, medical expenses, kids' educations, and a lot of other things paid for out of members' tithing.

The biggest revelation I had, when I started reading books like Barbara Ehrenreich's, was that there were people who played by "the rules" and were thrown away anyway. This was such a blow to my system that I don't think I ever recovered. In a way, it helped to find out that not everything was my fault, and that the world was just a scary and unfair place. But knowing that doesn't make the guilt and feelings of worthlessness go away, and doesn't really help me deal with it.

I think that's why a lot of Mormons have this "just world" belief. (TW: Rape) They know, somewhere in their hearts, that they are all play-acting. They put so many things, so much loss and pain, on top of a shaky foundation of belief in their God's will and power, even when it means believing that they must have prevented him from blessing them through their unworthiness. And they know that if they ever stop bracing against it, it will fall down and crush them.

I'd have more sympathy for them if they weren't standing on me while they're doing so, and blaming me for not being a doormat.

I have even less sympathy for narcissists, whatever church they attend. Because what's worse than feeling like everything is your fault, is believing that nothing is.

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?

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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