Sonntag, 16. Dezember 2012

The Autistic Other

I should be working on an essay right now but this whole thing about the Newtown shooter being autistic makes me want to write and angry blog post, especially this one article by Der Spiegel. (Not linked. Bullshit won't get traffic from me.) What is the point for all those newspapers to speculate that he had Asperger's syndrome? I honestly don't understand how that information (if it is actually true) would be relevant to anybody. Except that now people can have uninformed conversations about how aspis are just so different from "us" and don't have empathy and doesn't that sound exactly like psychopaths? Or maybe the devil (via Sabine Kiefner (de)).

All this made one thought pop up in my mind: Autistic people are the new Other. Exotic, fundamentally different from the rest, impossible for NTs to understand, hyped as savants or degraded as non-empathic and hence not fully human. And this is just so fucking wrong and disgusting. A lot of people, especially journalists, should think very hard whether the headline is really worth the harm of pointless and stupid speculations which make a disability into a sensation.

Here are some more statements from aspis (sorry, they are all in German, couldn't find anything in English yet.)

Note: I am aware that it might be problematic for a non-autistic person to write this. So if anybody with autism reads this and finds any bullshit, please let me know.

Sexism and Femdom

Whut? Sexism and Femdom? The lifestyle in which all the strong, self-confident women are served by men who are dressed as maids?

Unfortunatly, yes. And if you're a submissive guy who is now thinking "But I LOVE women, they are the best people in the world", then you should stop thinking and start thinking about what you just thought. There are a lot of things wrong with lots of femdom-stuff. Actually, if you would only take femdom-porn and a bunch of male fantasies into account, the whole thing seems essentially based on sexism. (It's not though, thanks to all the real women who are involved.)

For once, there are subs who claim that they want to serve a because they "admire women". That's nice. Well. Almost. Except that "women" are seen as a homogeneous group, as the good old "other", as people whose one defining trait is their gender. No wonder dommes complain about "do me"-subs* so often.

Then there's the cross-dressing issue. Cross-dressing is usually referred to as "feminization" or "sissyfication" in femdom contexts which already tells you all you need to know about the guys who are into it. Why male subs like it: It makes them feel vulnerable, humiliated or more sexual. If that's what you associate with being a woman then you might want to spend some time thinking about stereotypes. Some also claim that they are trying to achieve some sort of perfection that they consider femininity to be. In that case, read the last paragraph.

Those are the kind of guys I won't touch with a ten-foot pole. But there's not only individual sexism.

A more complex problem is probably the way in which d/s-dynamics are often represented, for example by people who write books on how to do femdom. According to these people, femdom is actually all about his dick (even though, of course, they claim it's not). Because his dick is what makes the power dynamics work. He has to be kept constantly horny because that is what makes him submissive. To keep a guy constantly horny and submissive to you, you have to make sure that you are and remain the object of his desire. Which is why a common image of a domme is that of a strict, strong, self-confident or even arrogant woman - who somehow spends 60% of her time in the bathroom to make herself look more fuckable.

Which, of course, she isn't. The sub has to be chaste in order to maintain his horniness. So no matter whether a domme would maybe like to have sex by penetration, he has to be locked up.
There are rules in some dynamics like "the slave is not allowed to see Mistress' breasts". I've never heard about rules like those being recommended for maledom-relationships. Uh, could that be because nakedness is seen as degrading to women but not to men and maybe the poor sub would lose all his respect for Mistress if he saw her tits?
In other words, this sort of dynamic would require a lot of effort (to look good, to make sure he doesn't accidentally get a glimpse etc.) from the domme and no sex in return. Not because she likes it but because it is neccessary to maintain the power-dynamic. This is why many discussions about whether I should transform a relationship into d/s ended with me saying: "Eh, I've got stuff to do."

I know and I would like to stress that after all, this is not how femdom relationships usually work. It is however what some books on femdom advise, it is what is portrayed in porn and it is what you sometimes have to get out of the mind of a newbie sub who simply doesn't know any better. It is also what dominant women are confronted with and in my experience it takes some effort to see through all the bullshit and find out what you really like. That is allegedly the point of it all, but somehow male desire gets more attention even in this context.

* Those subs who will submit to anybody who has a vagina and can hold a whip.

Dienstag, 16. Oktober 2012

My Flatmate

This is the furrier one of my two Scottish flatmates. I'm secretely trying to make her love me more. ^^

Freitag, 12. Oktober 2012

True Story

Some things play(ed) such a major role in my life that I honestly couldn't imagine who I would have ended up being without them. One of these things is metal music. I got into it when I was 13 or 14 (which seems to be the typical starting age, at least for German metalheads) but I was 17 when I found my first female friends within the scene and even that probably wouldn't have happened without the internet. So that means it took over three years. Three years during which I didn't encounter one girl who wasn't either at the concert because her boyfriend was there or was impatiently waiting for the goth-band that was supposed to play later. How did that happen?

It's not as if women weren't welcomed to the scene. They are. Just not always in a way that accepts them as actual human beings. As a women, especially as a young and pretty one, you don't need to lift a finger at a festival. Guys will fall over themselves to bring you a beer, there's no need to bring your one cigarettes, even if you don't spend all day at the Schwarzer Krauser's tent (does that still exist btw?), you'll get a coat when it's getting cooler and a stranger might give up his place in the first row for you just because you have a cute smile. All that stuff has happened to me. Also, I got bitten in the butt once. This subculture is a mix of fairly normal men on the one hand and knighthood-sexists and misogynists on the other. This makes for a weird but actually very traditional perception of women: Weak sex objects. And that's exactly how you're being treated. Now how do I know that all those guys except for the butt-biting one weren't just being nice? Easy: I talk to guys every now and then. One of them, whom I consider rather decent despite him being a die-hard Manowar fan, put it in pretty simple terms: "If you want to fuck, you've got to be nice."

Then there's that whole thing about sexism in lyrics, videos, artwork, etc. blabla. Do I really need to expand on that? It's not only offensive, it is so common in metal that I'm actually bored to death by it.

I also remember an April Fool's joke by In Legend. They put up a picture of the singer and main songwriter with two girls instead of the other two (male) band members, stating that they've changed the line-up and the new members might not be good musicians but at least they are pretty. Could you be any more clear about women's alleged lack of musical talent and competence?

If you want to be accepted as a true metalhead (and being true is vital ^^) you have to prove yourself. As a girl or woman even more, otherwise you won't be taken serious as a member of the scene and will be seen as a fake or a groupie. It is not impossible to reach that "full-membership-status" but it is harder for women. And yes, never be a groupie! Groupies aren't real fans!

There is also a kind of critique that I can't agree with though. The one that says that metal is not interesting to women because of all the "masculine" behaviour and rituals. Maybe that does putt some women of but to 14 year old (not exactly gender conforming) me, it seemed like paradise. This scene was the one place where I was accepted exactly for not being girly but for being loud, unkempt, good at headbanging and completely nuts about the music. It was my safe haven and I wouldn't want to deprive any 14 year old girl who sucks at putting on eyeliner of having that too. (Besides, I'm not entirely sure whether I like the idea that women don't like all that stuff. No actually, I am. I don't like it. I think it's bullsit.) Then again, it is a bit strange, to put it carefully, that you have to become one of the guys to be accepted. But that's a topic for another time really.
In my experience, once you've proven your trueness, gender becomes rather irrelevant on a personal level. It doesn't change the overall sexism and the fact that while the men around you may respect you, they don't necessarily respect women in general. Still, there is this aspect that can make metal an empowering experience for women, at least to a certain extend. If you're not careful, you might end up spreading the same sexism as your mates, though.

Now after all that talk, here's some music. One of my favourite all-female metalbands. Enjoy. =)

Dienstag, 9. Oktober 2012

Ask a Linguist

A friend recently (well, not that recently) tweeted about the use of "Läppi" [lɛpi] instead of "Laptop" in German and why some people prefer, considering that it has exactly as many syllables as "Laptop".
Now, how do you know you're a linguistics nerd? Right, you just can't resist the urge to answer this question.
So, apart from obvious aesthetic reasons, pronouncing "Läppi" is actually less effort than pronouncing "Laptop". Yes, they both consist of two syllables but "Läppi" has two advantages. First, the last syllable is an open one, meaning that there is no consonant at the end which makes it easier to pronounce. Secondly, in "Läppi", the first syllable ends with the same consonant that the second one starts with. Thus, there is no need to jump from [p] to [t]. This takes away another consonant. Generally, it is more effort for a speaker to pronounce a consonant than it is to pronounce a vowel. Also, pronouncing a consonant after another one is more difficult than after a vowel.
So there you go. Syllables aren't everything.

Samstag, 22. September 2012

Oh, by the Way...

... I live in Edinburgh now. ^^Moved here about three weeks ago to do a master's degree in linguistics. So far it's been really good and I already feel like I don't want to leave. (Not only because you get your latte with soy milk in almost every café. ^^) However, doing a one-year-master in the UK is apparently an insane amount of work, so I might update my blog even less than usual. 

Too Extreme

Statements that make me want to throw a TV out of a hotel room window:
"I think vegetarians are OK, but veganism is really too extreme."

Appart from the annoying notion that any extreme opinion is inherently bad, no matter what it is actually about and the ignorance that the speaker reveals, they are overlooking their own extremism. It may be extreme for some people to deceide not to eat certain thing, but what is actually too extreme is keeping animals in a way that does not even allow them to move one step forward, to reduce their life expectancy by 90 %, to throw them into boiling water while still alive or to breed and feed them in a way that makes them gain more weight than they can carry. It is also too extreme to accept that people will starve because of your luxury... I could go on, but the point is that if you are so oposed to extremism, maybe you should overthink your extreme consumption and the extreme effects it has on the world.