"Can you believe what she did?"

Lesbian kiss stirs debate in gay-friendly city

Apparently a couple was asked to stop kissing at a baseball park in Seattle “because it was making another fan uncomfortable.” Yeah, that’s fucked up. And justifications for it ranged from making out not being appropriate for anyone to do at a “family friendly” place to it forcing parents to explain to their children why two women would be kissing. OH NOES!

But the part that really gets me is this…

Since the incident, Guerrero’s job and her past have come under scrutiny. She works at a bar known for scantily clad women and was a contestant on the MTV reality show “A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila,” in which women and men compete for the affection of a bisexual Internet celebrity.

Oh well, if she’s obviously a slut anyway, then she had to have been doing something inappropriate in public. And even if she wasn’t right then, we all know she does bad things, so she needs to be punished anyway.

I really, really hate slut-shaming.

Consent and the State

Trinity’s most recent post at SM Feminist got me thinking about parallels that can be drawn between the state and BDSM. In it she quotes a feminist opponent of S/M who addresses the sexualization of and desire for male dominance, referring specifically to Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind

A thorough overhaul of desire is clearly on the feminist agenda: the fantasy that we are overwhelmed by Rhett Butler should be traded in for one in which we seize state power and reeducate him.

Of course anytime someone starts talking about “seizing state power” then I don’t really know how to engage with them. But this passage did start my wheels turning.

A very popular guideline among many BDSM inclined folks is that everything should be safe, sane and consensual or risk-aware and consensual. There are those who will not even make conspicuous BDSM elements of their relationship in public, because to do so is to involve others who have not given their consent (see the variety of responses to a couple being kicked off a bus because one of them was collared and on a leash). Everyone is given a choice on whether or not they wish to be in a BDSM scene or relationship. Those who choose not to are not threated with violence or otherwise pressured.

We’re not given the same option with the state. Even in the most representative and participatory forms of government we’re not given the option of opting out. We can have some voice in our collective masters, but we can never truly consent because we’re only presented with the option of being governed.

I don’t think that everyone should be forced to live in an anarchist society. I think that people should have the ability to create governments for themselves, but the only way that is compatible with free choice is if one of the choices is not to govern nor be governed at all. As it stands those who would choose not to participate are threated with violence, so even when someone makes use of the input they have into the American democracy, they have not done so with full consent, because consent under threat is no consent at all.

Life is not a zero-sum game.

From Sexuality in the Arts

Life is not a zero-sum game.

But sometimes people choose to confine their relationships and decision making considerations to self-imposed zero-sum structures.

And sometimes unnecessary and horrific problems arise when people perceive problems only through zero-sum considerations.

I chose at differing points in my life to no longer live as if life was a zero-sum game. And even though my unilateral changes of behavior would not likely lead the others involved to create more benefits for me and would not likely change their decisions, I still unilaterally chose to perceive and participate in the social games of life differently.

I didn’t want to live in a world where social relationships were perceived as zero-sum games. I had benefited too much from too many people working together for common good, outside of zero-sum structures and zero-sum mindsets.

Art cares about tomorrow.

Art cares about more.

Even when art focuses on the simple, the quiet, and the neglected, it is caring about more than most other people show concern for.

Life is not a zero-sum game.

Sexuality is not a zero-sum game.

Art is not a zero-sum game.

I would add beauty and love to that list as well. What can you think of that is not zero-sum, but is often treated as such?

Beauty

You are beautiful. Yes, you. And no, I’m not saying that because of who you are on the inside. I’m saying that because the lines, curves, shapes, colors, textures that make you up are so uniquely you that your very existence causes awe. You’re not beautiful if you could just lose 5 (or 50) more pounds. You’re not beautiful except for your scars or stretch-marks. It’s not that you were beautiful when you were younger, but now you’ve got grey hair and droop here and there. You’re not beautiful despite anything. You are beautiful because you are you and no one else can be. You are beautiful because your form has been exquisitely crafted by God/the Universe/your life to be precisely what it is at this moment. The process that you are, and the billion ways in which that process will present itself from birth to death are beautiful. You are beautiful.

When you say you’ll be happier with your body if you lose just 5 more pounds, if your breasts were just a little bigger or your belly a little smaller…

When insincerity is assumed in people adoring your perfectly unique beauty because parts of you are nice but no one’s perfect…

When a reassurance of one person’s beauty is taken as dismissive of the beauty of another…

When I see all of that I feel the weight of the pressure to achieve an arbitrary “perfection” and feel a deep sadness that you can’t see the unique perfection that is inherent in your very existence.

The Open-Source Boob Project

The Ferret writes:

“This should be a better world,” a friend of mine said. “A more honest one, where sex isn’t shameful or degrading. I wish this was the kind of world where say, ‘Wow, I’d like to touch your breasts,’ and people would understand that it’s not a way of reducing you to a set of nipples and ignoring the rest of you, but rather a way of saying that I may not yet know your mind, but your body is beautiful.”

We were standing in the hallway of ConFusion, about nine of us, and we all nodded. Then another friend spoke up.

“You can touch my boobs,” she said to all of us in the hallway. “It’s no big deal.”

It continues from there, and does so beautifully. Imagine a world in which bodies aren’t by default segregated from one another, where physical experience of one another is a delight, and not an assault.

For the record, my body is generally open for exploration. Just ask nicely and in an appropriate setting.