Things I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago

I recently came across this post by Miss Amaranth. Seeing as it is my birthday today, and I’m being all reflective, I thought I would share it here:

*snagged in full, because it’s all so true*

  • “You are not a horrible unlovable slut if you don’t marry the man you lose your virginity to.”
  • “Sex is nice, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting it. It’s also okay NOT to want it. It’s your decision, always.”
  • “You’re bi, and that’s okay! For God’s sake, stop denying it!” (Well pansexual, but along the same drift, and I did identify as bisexual for a long time.)
  • “Someone doesn’t have to hit you for it to be abuse.”
  • “One fight doesn’t mean the end of the relationship. Arguments are very normal. Learn how to fight well, rather than aiming to never ever fight at all.”
  • “Anybody who will try to force you to change is not worth your time.”
  • “You’re allowed to leave someone as well, if you want to.”
  • “The One Big Love Of Your Life who will complete you, make you whole and take away all your problems is a myth.”
  • “There are more possibilities to love than the house → marriage → babies → happy-ever-after path. That’s one route, no more ‘correct’ than any other. It’s worth considering it might not be the right one for you.”
  • “When in doubt, communication is the answer.”
  • “You think this is ‘madly in love?’ Honey, wait until you see what Madly In Love really feels like!”
  • “A couple of years from now, you’re going to discover this amazing movement called ‘polyamory’ and a new world of fun, adventure, challenge and love will open up to you. Get ready to enjoy the ride, because it’s going to be intense!”

I have no regrets about my life so far, for that has made me who I am today. Knowing all of the above when I was younger probably wouldn’t have changed how I lived my life, or the experiences I had, but I think it would have been nice to have known.

Bathroom Talk

My Google Reader continues to come up with little gems occasionally.

This is it’s latest offering:


Poly in Pictures

This lead me to this fantastic essay on how images are used to segregate rest rooms. This of course is yet another way society polices and enforces its own construct of gender. (You can see my own thoughts on this subject here.)

GO WHERE? SEX, GENDER, AND TOILETS

Women’s and men’s washrooms: we encounter them nearly every time we venture into public space. To many people the separation of the two, and the signs used to distinguish them, may seem innocuous and necessary. Trans people know that this is not the case, and that public battles have been waged over who is allowed to use which washroom. The segregation of public washrooms is one of the most basic ways that the male-female binary is upheld and reinforced.

Click on picture for yet more gendered toilet signs.

As such, washroom signs are very telling of the way societies construct gender. They identify the male as the universal and the female as the variation. They express expectations of gender performance. And they conflate gender with sex.

I present here for your perusal, a typology and analysis of various washroom signs.

[Editor: After the jump because there are dozens of them… which is why Marissa’s post is so awesome…]

The Universal Male

One of the ideas that supports patriarchy is the notion that a man can be representative of all humanity, or “mankind”, while a woman could only be representative of other women. For example, in politics we see “women’s issues” segregated from everybody issues.

Washroom signs illustrate this idea by depicting the male figure simply, and the female as some kind of elaboration on the male figure. Read the rest here.

An Animal Comparison

The courier man delivered an exciting package from Mighty Ape yesterday 🙂

The first book is Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihi, PhD.

I first became aware of this book during my Gender Studies paper at the beginning of last year. I wanted it back then, but time went by and I forgot all about it. My Sociology paper this semester reminded me about it, and I wasn’t going to let myself forget this time!!

It’s full of great tid bits of information, like how male giraffes prefer the company of other male giraffes, and how male ostriches will put on a much more elaborate mating dance for other male ostriches compared to those they put on for female ostriches.

There’s also an examination of the different types of family groups and coupling that goes on within the animal kingdom. Coupling doesn’t always mean the grouping of two in this instance, there are occurrences of pairs, triads, quads and more throughout the kingdom. There are also many instances of homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, transgender, omnisexuality, non-monosexuality etc.

This is the quote that first piqued my interest:

The scientist gasps and drops the binoculars. A notebook falls from astonished hands. Graduate students mutter in alarm. Nobody wants to be the one to tell the granting agency what they’re seeing.

A female ape wraps her legs around another female, “rubbing her own clitoris against her partner’s while emitting screams of enjoyment.” The researcher explains: It’s a form of greeting behavior. Or reconciliation. Possibly food-exchange behavior. It’s certainly not sex. Not lesbian sex. Not hot lesbian sex.

Six bighorn rams cluster, rubbing, nuzzling and mounting each other. “Aggressosexual behavior,” the biologist explains. A way of establishing dominance.

A zoo penguin approaches another, bowing winsomely. The birds look identical and a zoogoer asks how to tell males and females apart. “We can tell by their behavior,” a researcher explains. “Eric is courting Dora.” A keeper arrives with news: Eric has laid an egg.

Susan McCarthy


The second part of the exciting delivery was my very own copy of Animal Farm by George Orwell. After Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, this is my favourite book.

It’s a fantastic satirical look at Communist Russia, with Stalin and Trotsky being characterized as Napoleon and Snowball the pigs. They lead a revolution against the drunken Mr Jones of Manor Farm. The civilians of Russia are shown as the other farm animals.

If you haven’t read this yet, I strongly advise that you do. You won’t regret it.

Remember:

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.