Fuck me running. Guys, I love you all, and I will not go down without a fight.
Don’t give up! It Would still have to pass the Senate, and if we stay vigilant and call our Senators, it will not. This is SOPA-lite, so it will actually take a more sustained and vocal effort to convince yourSenators that this is still unacceptable. Get your talking points together before you call,a nd call early and often. Are you ready?
(Ed: Your primary tumblrs majored in two of these and now work in the field of a third.)
Hey, look, my major, minor, and campus job area are the top three, and in that order (with my concentration rounding out the top 4)! We are defining useless here as some combination of unemployment rates x maximum salary, right? But there’s no sense of personal satisfaction, and understanding that making a six-figure salary is not, in fact, everyone’s goal. I’m making a comfortable living, and have been for all but the first year after graduating college in one or all three of those areas (with a smattering of #8 as well). I live in California, which is to say my cost of living is higher than many other states, and I assure you, I’m living well and doing things I love.
Once again, I am unimpressed with Newsweek’s values.
“I’m sick of saying the words gay and lesbian. It’s just people…One day I want my son to come home from school and be like, ‘Dad, I found this guy and I love him.’ And I’ll be like, ‘Yes, you do and that’s OK!’ I so want that.”—
WHAT THE FUCK?
Yeah, sure as a straight person you’re sick of people drawing attention to their sexuality being different. YOUR SEXUALITY IS THE DEFAULT. But gay people - queer people in general, in fact, because bisexual people exist too - suffer from discrimination and prejudice. People assuming they’re straight - which is what happens when people don’t use words for sexuality - is harmful. Also, in this quote, Josh Hutcherson completely erases bisexual people (who are often assumed to be straight or gay and going through a phase, rather than having a real sexuality).
Has Josh Hutcherson ever actually talked to a queer person? Because sexuality-blindness ISN’T HELPFUL. It completely ignores the discrimination that queer people face and it contributes to the erasure of queer narratives in everyday life (e.g. representation of queer people in the media or talking about queer people’s issues).
As a straight person, Josh Hutcherson doesn’t get to say whether the words “gay” and “lesbian” - which, incidentally, are words queer people deliberately use for themselves so clearly don’t see as harmful - are bad. I don’t give a fuck if he’s sick of the words “gay” and “lesbian”. He’s a fucking straight guy and HE IS NOT A SPOKESPERSON FOR QUEER PEOPLE. Queer people aren’t “just people”; they’re “people who are discriminated against for their sexuality”.
THE WORDS “GAY” AND “LESBIAN” AREN’T THE PROBLEM. I’ve never heard a queer person say, “Gee, I wish I didn’t have a word for my sexuality.” It’s always privileged people who argue that words used by oppressed groups are bad - because they’re the fucking default! They don’t need these words! Josh Hutcherson will never have to use these words to describe himself! He wouldn’t be affected if we had no words for sexuality (though he doesn’t say he wants to get rid of the word “straight”). He would be assumed to be straight, just like he is now, just like he actually is. THIS ISSUE DOES NOT AFFECT HIM.
Besides - and this is important - having words to describe queer sexuality means that queer people can talk about the discrimination and prejudice they face. It means they can talk about their lives and how their relationships are portrayed and interpreted by the heterosexist society we live in. Getting rid of the words would make it much harder for queer people.
And, most importantly of all, STRAIGHT PEOPLE WHO ARE SICK OF QUEER PEOPLE POINTING OUT THEIR EXISTENCE ARE HETEROSEXIST ASSHOLES.
It isn’t up to straight people to say that queer people’s self-descriptors are bad. Queer people can speak for themselves.
Josh Hutcherson, you are a fucking asshole. SHUT THE FUCK UP!
So this quote apparently comes from some GLAAD award ceremony, and the sentiment seems pretty obviously well-intentioned to me, but it missed by a long ways for themostfeminist, and what she wrote raised some interesting questions for me.
I’m only marginally aware of who Josh Hutcherson is because of the Hunger Games, so I have no context for this at all. I am projecting my own experience as a person with privilege who has tried to act as an ally to an oppressed group and said or did something offensive in the past. I will probably do so again in the future, in spite of my best efforts.
I do think the future Josh is imagining (the one where the gender of who you love is not even a consideration, and words like “gay” and “straight” are obsolete because love and sex are nongendered endeavors) is possible without having to erase the history of oppression that comes before it. But that’s not the reality we live in (at least not yet. Not without a lot of work, and I think it is a little optimistic to believe we’re one generation away from it). We live in one where there are genders and labels and who you love is apparently political, so we have to deal with that. From the picture I saw, I gather that Josh had just received an award and was giving an acceptance speech, so he’s speaking extemporaneously and in a state of high emotions and said something that reads as maybe a little naive, but sweet to me, but themostfeminist found very offensive. Her reaction reminds me of the one people had to the white-girls-in-warbonnets meme that we have talked about previously. I think this is different from that, but I remember what I said in that case about paying attention when someone is telling you to check your privilege.
(Just a note of acknowledgement on my assumed hetero-privilege: I have it, regardless of what my actual sexual/romantic orientation may be.)
I want to go bigger than this one quote, though. I am wondering whether it’s better for people of privilege to try and fail at being allies or whether it would in fact be better if they just shut up. Or, to put it another way, is the visibility of allied people of privilege valuable, and by how much, especially if they’re not on-message?
I’m thinking about Kony 2012 and how many Ugandans have come out against that production, saying “you in the West are not really helping. Stop it." There are posters all over my town this week because people have not stopped, though. I think this is different from that, in an important way. This is one person trying to imagine his ideal future while standing in front of a large crowd of people who have just honored him for being an ally. I think this is not a privileged person framing the narrative about the present. Does that matter?
These are not rhetorical questions. Can we talk about this?
What men mean when they talk about their “crazy” ex-girlfriend is often that she was someone who cried a lot, or texted too often, or had an eating disorder, or wanted too much/too little sex, or generally felt anything beyond the realm of emotionally undemanding agreement. That does not make these women crazy. That makes those women human beings, who have flaws, and emotional weak spots. However, deciding that any behavior that he does not like must be insane– well, that does make a man a jerk.
And when men do this on a regular basis, remember that, if you are a woman, you are not the exception. You are not so cool and fabulous and levelheaded that they will totally get where you are coming from when you show emotions other than “pleasant agreement.”
When men say “most women are crazy, but not you, you’re so cool” the subtext is not, “I love you, be the mother to my children.” The subtext is “do not step out of line, here.” If you get close enough to the men who say things like this, eventually, you will do something that they do not find pleasant. They will decide you are crazy, because this is something they have already decided about women in general.
It mostly goes over the same criticisms we’ve all heard before, though its character-by-character, writer-by-writer approach is one I haven’t come across. It also appears to have been written by someone who has watched the show, which is always good.
As ever, it raises some interesting and valid points, though I would quibble with a line or two here and there - first, simply writing off Donovan as ‘gender being key to her characterisation’ once her affair with Anderson is revealed. This might be a quibble between different schools of feminist thought, but as a sex-positive feminist, I personally don’t see how this mention of sexuality automatically assigns her to the ‘feminine’. If anything, she’s more empowered by actually, you know, having sex.
Also, I am utterly perplexed at the Editor’s note, touting Elementary as a potentially more gender-equal alternative. I mean, what? Casting a woman in the beta, the ‘wife’, the ‘supporting’ role is hardly groundbreaking. You want to see true equality, let’s have a female Sherlock. Or, better yet, two lovely lesbian women. Yes.
Sorry, got a bit excited there.
ANYWAY. I think it’s important to keep discussing these issues, no matter how much we love the show. I admire and appreciate Sherlock on so many different levels, but sadly, it really does need to work on its representation of women.
This is definitely something that troubles me about the show (Incidentally I don’t agree with the writer on all points, particularly on the way she characterizes Molly or Sgt Donovan). But it would be foolish to go on without acknowledging that there’s plenty about Sherlock that’s problematic. I might argue that some of it is because the characters themselves have these flaws- Sherlock Holmes in the Doyle is said to be unusually mistrustful of women. People have prejudices, and given that this version appears to me to be very much about all the ways Sherlock is wrong, I have hope that more women will appear in Sherlock’s story as Sherlock evolves and lets more people in.
Of course, not all of it is easily dismissed, particularly the ridiculous Orientalism in the Blind Banker. Lotta white people in the show. Not a lotta women whose femaleness doesn’t serve the narrative in some way, for sure.
The writers might object to having to be the stewards of cultural change- they’re telling their story and thinking about their themes and not thinking about yours. I heard Spike Lee tell a girl as much at an event once when she asked him if he would ever just place a recycling bin in a scene to normalize environmental awareness or somesuch. Yes, she was white, and yes, he laughed at her, and yes that moment did shape the way I think about what a writer’s responsibilities are. I actually think the responsibility lies in the criticism, in the dialogue. We just keep pointing it out, point out the hits and misses, keep trying to contextualize and make the need for awareness that these things matter sink in ‘till it finally does. And if we are writers as well as critical readers (or watchers, or whatever), we try to make sure our own writing is more aware, too. It’s very much like what seems to be at the moral center of Sherlock: how do you fix something that is brilliant, but broken? Do it slowly, do it with patience, do it with love. You both end up better for it.
The problem that needs to be fixed is not kick all the girls out of YA, it’s teach boys that stories featuring female protagonists or written by female authors also apply to them. Boys fall in love. Boys want to be important. Boys have hopes and fears and dreams and ambitions. What boys also have is a sexist society in which they are belittled for “liking girl stuff.” Male is neutral, female is specific.
I heard someone mention that Sarah Rees Brennan’s THE DEMON’S LEXICON would be great for boys, but they’d never read it with that cover. Friends, then the problem is NOT with the book. It’s with the society that’s raising that boy. It’s with the community who inculcated that boy with the idea that he can’t read a book with an attractive guy on the cover.
Here’s how we solve the OMG SO MANY GIRLS IN YA problem: quit treating women like secondary appendages. Quit treating women’s art like it’s a niche, novelty creation only for girls. Quit teaching boys to fear the feminine, quit insisting that it’s a hardship for men to have to relate to anything that doesn’t specifically cater to them.
Because if I can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and want to grow up to be an archaeologist, there’s no reason at all that a boy shouldn’t be able to read THE DEMON’S LEXICON with its cover on. My friends, sexism doesn’t just hurt women, and our young men’s abysmal rate of attraction to literacy is the proof of it.