Comrade Tikva has penned a great piece for Elephant Journal [Which posted my review of the Movie Wanderlust] If you want to see this article on EJ , with it’s links (and odd image) it’s here. She also does a brilliant comic on polyamory.
Many romances begin with wordless flirtation, stolen kisses and vague communication.
In a culture where disinterest is often interpreted as shyness or “playing hard to get,” men are encouraged to think women need to be skillfully interpreted and convinced, instead of taken at their word. Even the clearest “no” is still up for debate.
I’ve had men tell me I was “asking for it” by making eye contact with them on the street instead of averting my gaze. And when they discovered that my polite smile was not a request for sex, they reacted in outrage as if I was purposefully leading them on.
A stranger misinterpreting our smile as an open invitation to our body sounds ludicrous, but watching any romantic comedy will show us how our culture views consent.
How many times does the woman turn the main character down before he grabs and kisses her—and doesn’t she secretly want it all along, perhaps without even knowing it herself, until he figures out how to prove that they are meant to be?
It may be entertaining to watch awkward fumbling and forceful passion on the screen, but this kind of indirect communication seeps out into our actual romantic encounters far too often and can be very dangerous.
When men identify with that main character who wins the girl in the end, they feel cheated when their own efforts aren’t achieving the same results. They can sometimes decide to take it forcefully if the woman isn’t catching on quick enough, because “no” just means she hasn’t been convinced yet that this is what she really wants.
Most women have encountered men who feel entitled to have access to their bodies. Just look at the recent gruesome events involving Elliot Rodger and the resulting stories on Twitter with the hashtag “#YesAllWomen.”
Clearly there are a lot of men out there who think they deserve the girl, regardless of what she has to say about it.
In polyamorous relationships, unclear communication will have us drowning in a sea of interpersonal drama much more quickly than it would in a conventional, monogamous relationship.
One reason for this is that monogamy is the expected norm, so if we’re monogamous, it’s pretty easy to coast through the beginning of our relationship without putting any effort into communicating our intentions or expectations.
If we say nothing at all about what we want, it is assumed that our eventual goal is a monogamous until-death-do-us-part with someone. Polyamorous relationships are more complex and less understood, so therefore require explanation right from the beginning and skillful communication throughout.
Poly folks will often discuss their specific intentions with people they are attracted to and even sit down with everyone’s other partners and discuss it with them as well, way before the first date is even considered. It is very likely that a first kiss won’t come with a silent assumption of consent, but after it has been discussed with everyone involved instead.
Clear communication is a must for long-term poly relationships, so this is a skill that gets exercised often.
But what does this have to do with rape culture? Rape culture is fed on silence and assumptions. By insisting on communicating clearly every step of the way about any intention of sex or romance, we kill those old ideas of romance being about silent flirtation and stolen kisses.
We make consent sexy.
We might think that clear communication is overkill, boring and that it will stifle the romance—but the opposite is true. When people are open and vulnerable in relationship to each other, expressing the full extent of their desires and (most importantly) wanting to hear and understand the desires of their partners, there is absolutely nothing sexier than that.
I used to think that stolen kisses were sexy, but now I see them as a sign of emotional immaturity and dissociation. I would much rather my partners be obviously interested in what I want than trying to see what they can get out of me.
I would much rather be telling them what I want than waiting for them to guess.
Margaret Atwood’s quote, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” illustrates why it is more important that men take on the task of communicating clearly and receiving consent, but it is incredibly empowering to take on the task as a woman as well.
We don’t need to be in a polyamorous relationship to get our clear communication groove on, obviously. But if we’re in a polyamorous relationship we need to communicate impeccably, just to keep up with what’s going on.
Making clear communication and consent sexy is a huge part of what’s needed to feed the revolution of consent culture. So whether we are monogamous, polyamorous, monogam-ish, or poly-curious, we need to push ourselves to communicate more openly with everyone and see how it affects our romantic life.
Most days i am blissfully outside of the influence of nationalism*. But my Dutch wife gets very excited about the World Cup and i recently watched the Dutch surprise victory over top ranked Spain.
And there are important problematic aspects to this event which should not be ignored. This post is a quick summary of my findings.
Evictions: US$11 billion is being spent on the stadiums and other support for the Brazilian World Cup. Construction project in cities across the country have resulted in 250K evictions and thousands of destroyed homes. In many cases there was little or no warning of the planned evictions. But even in the best cases, displaced persons are living in state subsidized housing with a fraction the value of their previous space. Promised public assistance projects have all but vanished.
US$2 billion has been spent on security alone for the event. Much of this is going to the 100K troops and 57K police deployed over the event. In demonstrations across the country, millions of Brazilians have protested.
Corruption/Bribery: The behemoth construction firm Andrade Gutierrez gobbled up nearly a quarter of the $11.5 billion in building contracts connected to the World Cup thanks to a whopping US$37.1 million election contribution spending spree in 2012.
Resource Mal-distribution: Brazil has made gains over the last 3 decades in raising citizens out of the most desperate poverty. But many see this expensive soccer event as a distraction from more pressing infra structure solutions the country really needs.
Sex trade: Prostitution is legal in Brazil and the age of consent is 14. The World Cup with it’s influx of tourists is sparking a sex trade explosion.
Pimps in Brazil are purchasing children from their parents for between $5K and $10K. This combined with drug addiction of sex workers continues to oppress locals and breeds misogyny.
As i close this post, i am not sure what the “ask” is. I will look into who is recommending people concerned about the conditions do what.
* It would be completely reasonable to argue that no one alive today is outside the pervasive influence of nationalism. And this is not what i am talking about.
During this campaign i learned a lot about Eric Cantor and how completely corrupt he was. Quoting the Urban Dictionary,Eric Cantor is “possibly the most immature douchebag ever to grace the halls of congress.” Last night in a stunning Tea Party upset, Cantor lost the Republican Party primary by 44% of the electorate to 55%. That is a spanking.
One of the political encyclopedias declared district 7 to be the safest Republican district in the country. That was written back when there was just one Republican Party. The district is so politically red, that Cantor ran unopposed for one of his 7 terms. Tonight a challenger with less than 1/10th the campaign funding of Cantor’s routed the second most powerful politician in the party.
This represents a fantastic political miscalculation by Cantor who won his last election by a margin larger than the total number of votes cast in this weeks primary. Cantor spent too much time out of the district campaigning for other Republicans and raising money. But before we forget Mr Cantor, who’s political career may blissfully be over. Let’s look at how he performed as far as rating groups are concerned.
- 0% rating from Alliance of Retired Americans (ARA), indicating an anti-senior voting record
- 7% from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which means he is anti-civil and constitutional rights
- 0% from the ALF-CIO indicating he is anti-labor
- 0% from League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which means he is anti-environment
- 92% from the Christian Coalition – a fundamentalist right wing group.
- An “A rating” from the National Rifle Association (NRA),
- 0% from The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), which means he wants more nuclear weapons and less control on their use.
- 0% from National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), he opposes abortion.
More disturbing is that Cantor had a 98% identical voting record with corrupt and convicted Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money – especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that’s why we lost.
And as terrible as David Brat is, i am thrilled he won. For several reasons.
It means Tea Party is not dead, despite having done much more poorly this election cycle than in the last one, with this notable exception. Which means the Republican party is still in danger of civil war.
It also means mainstream Republicans will not touch immigration reform (which was the hot button issue at the center of Cantor’s defeat). This in itself if bad for the country, but it will likely cost Republicans at least the increasingly Hispanic state of Florida in the next presidential election, which could well cost them the White House.
It means that an entrenched, corporately controlled, corrupt, powerful politician has fallen and will be replaced by an extreme but freshman member of the House of Representatives, which bases much of it’s power structure on seniority.
Curiously, Brat’s opponent in the November election will be another professor from the same college. Brat’s is expected to easily beat Democrat and sociology professor Jack Trammell.
Good bye Eric, you won’t be missed.
I believe in Aliens.
There I said it.
As you may know, I am pretty open about a wide-variety of things, including, but certainly not limited to my polyglamorous relationships, my obsession with twerking, and my desire for some radical heteronormativity in my life. (while of course still maintaining my polyglamorus status.)
I must come out of the space ship, although I hold some reservations about coming out of the space ship. I feel like I will be judged negatively and that the anti-nuclear activists and the communities movement will shun me, that I will have gone too “woo woo” or maybe people will think I’ve simply gone of my rocker. Perhaps if this was just a small part of me people would understand.
But, its not.
I think spreading the truth about Space Aliens and their involvement on earth is some of the most important activism we can do. I want to be the Chelsea Manning of Extra Terrestrials. The information NEEDS to be out there and people NEED to know that aliens are among us.
You may be thinking “wow paxus has finally snapped.” As if I haven’t already, excuse me.
The rest of you are thinking ” gee, I wonder why he thinks this.”
And a small number of you, the true truthers, are thinking “yes I believe too, please go on.”
I will gladly tell you the story of how I first became aware that Aliens are real AND living on planet Earth. I am especially excited because this is not one of the stories that I tell on loop at every event ever.
When I was in the Czech, protesting nukes, I met a women named Eleanora. Eleanora was, well, odd to say the least. Her diet is one example, she specifically like invertebrates. She always said in her weird, practically indistinguishable accent “It es so much easeiar to eat dah invertabras, you do not eben ned to peek meat off das bones! You jest squeese it out.” Of course I found it to be ridiculously adorable and we spent many nights together, discussing the protein humans are missing and how nukes may destroy the planet, you know, typical radical type stuff. Another odd thing, she introduced me to twerking, before twerking was a thing, she shared a great love for it.
One night we had plans to spend time together in one of the downtown areas of the czech, she called me and told me that she could not come out that night, she didn’t feel very well. She sounded like she had been crying and I asked her if maybe I could just come over instead. After some conversation she agreed.
When I got there she complained about feeling “allown on dis planet.” and feeling like “All the odders like me have jest given oop and become followers.” At first I thought this was just your typical activist breakdown. You know “The worlds gone mad! Nobody cares!”
But, I became fascinated about how often she used the terms “on dis planet!” and finally it escalated into her practically yelling “And dere destroying the galoxy for the rest of us!”
All the emotion faded from her face, realizing she had said a bit too much. I could see it in her face and me desiring transparency asked her to please explain herself. She took a deep breath and told me that she was a Extra Terrestrial from a somewhat nearby Solar System and that she was hear to try and stop humans from poisoning the universe. She said that her species is somewhat related to hers, but that they had blue hair and some other traits.
Suddenly it all made sense, why Eleanora was constantly buying brown hair dye, while being upset about using such nasty chemicals, and why we never played with her genitals. I didn’t complain because I rather enjoyed all the fellatio I was receiving.
This led to years and years of Eleanora introducing me to her underground ET politcal groups and explaining to me the various species of aliens, some being related to humans, some being shape shifters. Cats are aliens that take advantage of humans parental instincts.
Remember when I hitchhiked on boats?
Well the whole reason was so that I could get far enough out to sea so that I could get picked up by a spacecraft to and go visit Eleanoras family on the celebration of some religion from their planet.
I have more information, but I have been to space and back multiple times since then.
This information needs to be out.
I know this is a lot to spring on all of you, but I swear it is all true. Its as true as my love for twerking.
Transparency is my favorite thing and this is no different.
Some years back political cartoonist Stephanie McMillian did a visitor period at Twin Oaks and I had fantasies of one of the communities new industries being radical humor. She is a clever, quirky, cartoonist with an impossible message to deliver and just the right tool to do it. Her latest salvo in this on-going public education and activation campaign is on target and at exactly the right price.
I discovered Stephanie’s work while I was staying at an amazing squat in Barcelona called Can Masdeu. The squats library had a copy of the book she illustrated, As the Word Burns: 50 simple things you can do to stay in denial. Which is a quick read, if it does not cause your brain to explode.
Her impossible message is that all of the individual efforts to make things better (recycling, getting off grid, even sharing with your friends) don’t make any difference if you don’t take on the structural problems of capitalism. This is the acid test for radicalism. Either you believe that you need to step out of your comfort zone and fight for systemic change against quite impressive monsters or you think personal positive actions are enough. [If you think things are just fine as they are, you have somehow stumbled onto this blog by mistake.]
Stephanie is hardly a one trick pony. Using satire and the powerfully accessible format of cartoons, she lures you into a critique of the status quo which is inescapably tight in it’s reasoning while still amusing.
Like most good propagandists, Stephanie is prolific. With an impressive list of books and serialized cartoons. Above are a couple from her Code Green series which focuses on the ecological issues and how corporate media twist perceptions. Below is an image from her upbeat activist daily affirmations cartoon series.
And because I am confident that you have read to here, because the cartoons keep drawing you farther down this post. Here is the link so that you can get Stephanie’s latest coloring book for kids, priced at what ever you can afford – I paid $25. Or if you are looking for the longer, more adult version of the story (without coloring), you can order the full length hold-in-your-hands physical book here. Or for those who are fully digital these days, you can get the adult version of the eBook here, again at the price you choose.
I want my son Willow to understand this stuff, and the only thing more important than that, is that we adults act on this knowledge now.