On gun control…

I’m a bit more calm today, so I want to talk about guns. Note, I didn’t say rant, and I will try very hard to avoid my usual favorite words to make my point. On this topic, I’m willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and watch my tone. (Yes, this is bordering on a miracle, so I do hope you appreciate my restraint.)

Yesterday, gun fans online made ubiquitous comments like “it’s too soon to talk about gun control.” I’m sorry, but how many mall and school shootings do we need before it’s not too soon? Over 10,000 people died in the US from guns last year, and most other civilized nations didn’t break triple digits. Why is this not the right time to talk about gun control?

Gun people, the first thing you need to understand is, no one is suggesting that you lose your second amendment rights. But there does need to be some talk about assault rifles.

Let’s use an example, Joe N.(ormal) Hunter. Joe has a handgun in a kid-proof gun safe for home defense, and he stores his hunting rifles in a larger gun safe in the closet. Joe is responsible with his guns and has taught his kids to never trust that a gun isn’t loaded. Joe has a shotgun for pheasant hunting, a rifle for deer, and another for boar or bear, or some other large game. Continue reading

Everything: the rant to end all rants…

Yesterday morning I saw on twitter that Megan Stammers had been found in France, and said on Twitter that I didn’t think it would take long for the victim blaming to begin. I was right. She’d not even been put on a plane back to Britain before people were going into their standard bullshit spewing. So when I said that just before going to the couch for the night Becka sent me this article asking why nobody cared when men in Rochdale were in essence gang-raping a fifteen-year-old, and even though she reported it to the cops, they didn’t care. The cops called her a hooker, and they walked away from her. That’s the cops, the people who are supposedly paid to give a fuck, and they still don’t.

Earlier in the night someone else had gone off on a Twitter rant about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has let child molesters and rapists get off without an investigation, but because he doesn’t like Mexican immigrants, the racist whites of Maricopa just keep voting for him. Sure, he’s not really protecting his people, but so what? He keeps extra brown people out, and that’s good enough.

Earlier before that, I read the story of how a school teacher heard noises outside his home and went out with his gun, shooting without asking questions when he saw a masked teen. So he’d shot his own son because of his policy of shoot first and ask questions later. I don’t feel sympathy for him. I want to shake him hard and ask him why he couldn’t just ask who was out there before firing his gun. I want to slap him and scream that his love of his gun murdered his own child.

As I lay on the couch, my little inner ranter bounced around about how little people care, how very uneducated and willfully ignorant they’ve become, even the teachers. I thought about how, despite having cell phones and the Internet, they’ve become willfully ignorant. I thought about how people are so hateful, lacking in empathy, while at the same time claiming to be a Christian nation. I thought how it’s a conflict of interests to be Christian, but dedicated to the pursuit of wealth in a rat race with our neighbors. Continue reading

The ever so problematic issue of sexualization of children

These days you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a feminist who talks up the sexualization of children, or more specifically of girls. The logic goes that because the bad old media outlets are always selling sex on TV, it’s grooming girls to want to dress slutty. Dressing slutty in turn leads to slutty behavior, or to men taking notice of girls too early.

And, all of this is bullshit. You blame TV in the same way you blame the Internet, without recognizing that the actual issues existed before we had TV or Internet. Before TV, men were noticing little girls and taking advantage of them. Alice In Wonderland is one pedophile’s method of grooming a girl to be photographed nude. And he had no TV to help him out, so he just made up a story that pleased his little victim.

You can’t claim TV is to blame for little girls dressing older. Even if you carefully monitor their TV viewing, you don’t control their eyes or their brains. So they look at how people dress, and they want to emulate the styles that capture their interest. Mommas all over the world have known the joy of walking into their room to find a “dolled up” 3-year-old covered in makeup and dressed in their bra and high-heel shoes. Even boys get caught doing this. It’s not a sign that they’re going trans. It’s their desire to imitate their role models. So if momma likes to dress in curve hugging clothes, that’s a gender cue that the kids are going to pick up.

No, I’m not blaming moms for wanting to dress however they like. I’m saying, you can’t blame TV when every walk through the outside world is teaching children by way of observation. They see the clothing styles that are popular, and that’s how they want to dress. They do not think on it in adult sexual terms, like “If I wear those jeans, I’m picking up a guy for sure.” They think, “Hey, that looks neat. I want to look like that.” Continue reading

Time to face facts…

Let me start off quoting this Tumblr post:

A survey of 11-to-14 year-olds found:
· 51% of the boys and 41% of the girls said forced sex was acceptable if the boy, “spent a lot of money” on the girl;
· 31% of the boys and 32% of the girls said it was acceptable for a man to rape a woman with past sexual experience;
· 87% of boys and 79% of girls said sexual assault was acceptable if the man and the woman were married;
· 65% of the boys and 47% of the girls said it was acceptable for a boy to rape a girl if they had been dating for more than six months.

Despite surveys like this, it seems the vast majority of adults are still in favor of not talking to children about sex and leaving it up to the media to shape our children’s sexuality. The above is what we get from people who sell sex for a living, selling a false image of women to children.

That mainstream media image problem is why Kristen Stewart is vilified for “being unfaithful” while her older lover walks off scott-free. Shades of The Scarlet Letter, in 2012.

That mainstream media image problem is why Lana Del Rey appears nude on the cover of GQ while all the men are dressed in tuxedos.

This pervasive attitude about women as objects is why an Arizona judge told a woman groped by a cop in a bar, “This wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t there.”
Continue reading

You ain’t no nice guy…

Guys, men, dudes; go and read this Tumblr post. Go on, I’ll wait, and since it’s a long story, I promise, I’ll make my point short and to the point.

Done? No, did you really read it, or did you skim it? Really read it.

Now, I have on many occasions been approached by guys, and not once has “I’m married” ever deterred them from asking if I want a coffee or “do I have the time?” Both of these are subtle pickups for sex in Italy, and even me saying no doesn’t deter them. And folks, I ain’t even all that attractive. I got a flat chest and almost no ass. Imagine how often a beautiful woman has to put up with men hitting on her. Think about how every one of these men feels that woman owes them politeness, simply because they find her attractive.

Dudes, you cannot treat women like this and still get away with the claim that you’re really just nice guys. You ain’t no nice guys, and I get sick of people telling me I need to be nice to you because you’re not really sexist. If you think I owe you niceness just because you haven’t yet harassed me, you’re lacking in empathy about how many men already have harassed me. And like I said, I don’t have nearly as many problems as really pretty women.

So, you want to impress me as a truly nice guy? Then behave yourself in public, and don’t assume any pretty girl owes you the time of day just because you’re a nice guy.

A religious rant

I went to bed early last night, so of course I’m up before the sun this morning. Last night I went off on a rant because Germany decided to ban circumcision, and Jews and Muslims got up in arms about their ancient right to slash their babies at an early age in order to mark them. Someone I normally respect said “but it’s Germany. Could there be any worse country to make this choice?”

You know what? I’m no fan of Germany, given that they have a judge who ignored EU human rights laws and the wishes of a child’s mother to have a trans child locked away in an insane asylum at the whims of a transphobic father. But no one got up in arms to defend that child, and no one seems to give a fuck about all the male babies being mutilated every day by these religions. In fact, no one seems to be all that concerned about male-dominated religions trampling the rights of literally hundreds of minorities under the guise of their “right” to freedom of religion.

You can’t call me anti-Jew or an islamophobe. As a transsexual, I’m called an “unclean abomination” to these faiths, and many of their most holy men would call for my death or imprisonment. These male-dominated religions are also Christian and Buddhist, or Hindu, and in all cases, they demand that the man always be in a violent position of power. Because if they are not, God, or the gods, will be very angry.

I’m fucking sick and tired of this bullshit. I believe in God, but I believe that were are a bacteria infecting one blood cell in the body of an ever expading God. I believe this is but one of many such bodies of gods, and that these gods do not concern themselves with our activities the way our organized religions claim they do. I believe that people have taken the religious text of their faiths, cherry picking these texts to justify individual excuses to hate and exclude everyone they do not agree with. Continue reading

Okay, that’s disturbing…

So get this: there’s a site where people tired of the bullying reviews on Goodreads have decided to start outing the bullies by giving out personal information. No, I’m not providing a link, so if you want to find the site, you’ll just have to Google it. This is going to be a short post, because I want to make clear how I feel about this and then move on to other things, like my usual piss and vinegar.

I’ve made it no secret that I don’t like the kind of people on Goodreads who rate a book one-star despite the book not being out in any format, thus making it this side of impossible for the reviewer to have made a true assessment of the work. This is not the same thing as when I get a bad review, earned or not, and anyway, we all know how I handle a bad review…I have a temper tantrum here on the blog and get drunk and pass out on a pillow full of bitter tears. But this isn’t about me. No, this has more to do with people attacking authors they don’t like, even before the books come out. I think that’s bullshit, but the moderators of Goodreads have decided that this trolling is a-okay, because “They may be rating the blurb, and, that’s still valid.” No, that’s piss and rubbish from a bunch of lazy assholes who can’t be bothered to moderate their own site. But it’s their sandbox, and if they say it’s okay for trolls to piss on authors just because “It might be a valid opinion,” then there’s not much I can do about it except stomp my foot and hold a proper temper tantrum.

It’s this trolling behavior which motivates me to only use Goodreads to keep track of my books, and as a matter of health and a desire to keep my blood pressure regulated, I have nothing to do with the people who run the site unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. I find them to be incompetent and their site to be bug-fucking ugly to use, not to mention unreliable (I’ve had books disappear from the listings after “site backups”, which makes no sense at all, but that’s another complaint for another time) and if there were some better alternative where the moderators at least understood the definition of their job, I would happily go there to keep track of my reading habits.

BUT, while I don’t for a minute support the trolls, this practice of giving out personal information just because you’re feeling pissy about an online spat is unconscionable and indefensible. This is just as heinous an idea as outing closeted gays in the GOP, or as outing stealth transsexuals because you think everyone should stay out of the closet. It’s as bad as posting the personal information of a meatspace bully, because it brings with it the possibility that someone crazy could show up on their doorstep and do physical harm to them. This is physical violence just because someone gave you a one star rating for a book that isn’t released yet. Can I make any clearer that this is incredibly petty, cruel, and just generally douchey?

Authors, I feel for you getting a bad rating that isn’t deserved. But the answer to this problem is not to respond to a one star rating with an open invitation for someone to harm the bully. That’s not just sinking to their level. It’s digging under the bullies’ level by about a mile and a half. So for the love of God, don’t go there. If it pisses you off that the trolls rule Goodreads, do what I do and ignore the reviews of other people. Use the site to track your reading habits, and then walk away. But do not report a bully to this badly thought out site for outing bullies. There’s only bad blood that can come of this, and some of that blood will come to stain you. It will harm your sales. It may end any hopes you have of getting better reviews from readers who really would have read your stuff. But worse still, it could lead to someone being hurt or killed because one of your crazier fans takes matters into their own hands. SO JUST DON’T DO IT.

Clear? Okay, good. Now I can get back to bitching and moaning about other stuff.

Internet bullying: a conversation that needs to be taken seriously

By now you probably know about this story of a game made to allow gamers to “punch Anita Sarkeesian” for her campaign to talk about tropes vs women in video games. This latest chapter involves the maker of the game, Ben Spurr, being exposed, and totally not getting that what he’s done is bullying. But this is the part of the conversation that we need to focus on most of all, because it’s this idea that there’s nothing wrong with assaulting someone online. After all it’s only words, and there’s not really an effect to these threats of rape and violence.

Except there is an effect, and it’s horrifically tangible. Thousands of women have fled social spaces time and again because men violently dominate the conversation. Threats are only one aspect of this. Women who dare you disagree with men are called stupid, delusional, ugly, or shrill; they’re attacked as prudes and sluts. Men tell them they wouldn’t have sex with these women, and then turn around and suggest that they’re uptight because they need to get laid.

Guys, it doesn’t matter if you think what you’re doing is no big deal. What’s happened is that you’ve taken the internet from being a level field of discussion to being a male-dominated medium where women who disagree with you are subjected to constant harassment. Beyond the insults and threats are men who report women’s accounts and attempt to get them pulled off the internet. These are not the actions of open-minded, good people. These are the actions of cowards who are so afraid of losing a debate that they would rather silence the other debate team rather than admit that they are wrong.

There is no defense in this situation. Gamers seem willfully ignorant that half their club is made up of women, and every time we try to point this out and ask for more realistic representation, there’s this back lash that we’re “ruining the club’s fun.” Really? So sexual objectification is your idea of fun? You can’t enjoy that martial arts game if the women had more realistic breasts and dressed in costumes that didn’t accentuate said breasts? You can’t even acknowledge that half of your club is sick of women being relegated to a secondary character in games like The Last of Us or Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, unplayable while the big strong man does all the work? Must we just except that our half of the market will be ignored in favor of yours? You can’t even grant us a public space to voice our concerns without constant attacks?

Well here’s how you come across to us: “How dare you imply that I’m not a good guy! If you don’t shut the fuck up, I’ll find you and rape you to prove what a good guy I am!”

Enough, guys. If you’re really good guys, you need to recognize the rights of women to speak, and to have a contrary opinion. Because if you don’t, you aren’t a good guy. You’re just another chauvinist who isn’t willing to admit that you’re part of the problem.

Fifty Shades of Ranting (Warning: LONG RANT)

Let’s talk about 50 Shades of Grey. No, don’t smile in preparation of another scathing review, because I’m ready to have a nice long rant about how full of shit some of you critics are, and I don’t care if you think you’ve got a great argument for why the books shouldn’t be published. Yes, I know it’s a Twilight fan-fiction that got a face-lift and went mainstream. Yes, I know it’s got BDSM themes, which is why I won’t be reading the books. Even the merest hint of these themes starts to eat at my nerves, and I can’t explore these ideas without remembering how much of my life belonged to other people who told me how to act, what to think, and when to think it.

But where I’m coming from is a place of anger after reading one review after another by women who have the same exact complaints that they had about Twilight. In fact, some of you seem to be buying the book because “Holy fuck, a book based on Twilight? I can shit all over someone else using the same arguments I was making ten years ago! How awesome is that?” Actually, it’s lame as fuck that you can carry a grudge this long, and it’s bordering on pathetic.

First of all, let me address the “badly written” fan club. We have yet to see a book hit the top of the best seller’s list that used the Queen’s bloody English, and no one is going to give the best selling writers any awards for their sterling prose being timeless, or even well-phrased. This kind of complaint is sour grapes, both from writers whose books will NEVER sell as well, and from avid readers whose favorite book heads to a factory undersold, remaindered, and forgotten. Boo-fucking-hoo, and get over yourselves. If you really think your book, or your favorite author’s book, is well written, then get out there and hustle that book with a POSITIVE message about the merits of the work itself without attacking someone on the best sellers list. If your message is “This book is better that that book,” you’re whining, and people will rightfully ignore the work you’re tying to pimp. (Probably while buying the book you’re spitting on, even if it’s just to see if they should be spitting too.) Continue reading

I have a guest post! Oh, and a ramble about inclusion…

Today, I have…a guest post on Suvudu about writing trans characters and YA fiction! Yeah! How the hell did I pull that off? Well, I read a post by Matt Staggs about Tiamat on the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, and I retweeted it for him and then replied how I loved that show and thought it was a great Saturday morning cartoon. So he asked if I wanted a guest post on my book. Funny how things work out like that sometimes. (^_^)

I should leave you with just one thing to read so you don’t feel burdened, but yesterday, I started reading a blog post over hubby’s shoulder. Specifically this blog post talking about the comedy Community, and how Abed Nadir was an important character to her because he moves like her, and give her someone to identify with because she has autism.

This article had me nodding my head right away and shouting “That’s why I write! Because that’s what I want too!” It also had me thinking about how I only had one character that I felt that way about in my whole childhood while watching Robotech, and later on I stopped feeling that way because Yellow Dancer, AKA: Lt. Lance Belmont, AKA: Lancer, was not really gender variant because he wanted to be. Rather, he was in disguise because it kept him alive and working as a freedom fighter at a time when the humans were turning on each other and aiding the Invid.

But the thing is, at the time that I first saw the show, this was the first time I’d seen anyone depicted as gender variant for any reason, and briefly, I felt a connection to the show that I hadn’t had before. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the first two story arcs of Robotech, and I loved the soap opera nature of every episode as much as I loved the giant robots. I loved that the wars had consequences, and that characters I’d grown to love had died in the course of the series. Few kids’ shows have ever touched on death in war as a topic, and I doubt few ever will again. Continue reading