the Miscellaneous Feminist

Reformed misogynist and recently realised queer – or "miscellaneous" gendered, as she prefers – Fury is all about personal voice, atonement, empathy and explanation

In Defense of Cishet Slagging

This is for my cis/het mates who don’t like it when I talk about cishets in a derogatory way.

I get it, you feel misrepresented. You’re not one of the majority that do whatever it is that I’m waxing about. You recognise that and you’re bummed out that I don’t recognise that.

However, by wanting to distance yourself from said majority, you’re actively turning a blind eye to what the rest of the world is doing to me.

By asking me not to generalise about the general population that you happen to fall under, you’re actively trying to silence me because it makes you uncomfortable to know that people like you are doing things to people like me.

Surely me speaking in derogatory generalisations about cishets is just as bad as you speaking about trans or non-binary people in similarly derogatory ways?

Slander is slander, after all, isn’t it?

No.

When I vent I do it out of personal experience, it is, therefore, totally well-educated and more often than not accurate to a tee in representing the wider group you find yourself associated with (the accuracy may well be what makes you feel uncomfortable – that’s a case by case sitch, though).

People who reverse this are not speaking from personal experience, instead speaking from bigotries perpetuated by society, friends and family. There are a *lot* of people who do this – intentionally and no; aggressively and no. The outcome is still the same – the world is full of things that make it horrible to be trans or non-binary.

Even if a cishet were completely on the money in some critical generalisation, it is really important to note that people who live under intense psychological pressure, ostracisation, ridicule, dismissal and erasure might not need someone to correct them; that correcting something minor may be doing is adding straw to a camel’s back.

Surely ALL misrepresentation must be battled equally?

What I propose is this: how about we battle equally by dispersing energy evenly to match the amounts and intensity of misrepresentation. Cishet people have years of people considering them “normal” and mannnnny narratives that show them as stable, well balanced and fully functional humans.

Us non-normatives have a lot of history in slander. I can’t tell you for how long Hollywood has conflated homos with paedophilia, for instance, or being trans as a (sometimes threatening/dangerous) mental disorder. This has massively helped with ostracisation, harassment and just general daily psychological damage.

Whenever someone comes to me complaining about me slagging off a cishet I feel like screaming. What we’re battling over here on the non-normy side of the fence is a much bigger monster. Instead of quibbling over their stuff, I just want them to consider putting their tribulations into perspective.

To round up, let me level with ya. I used to use these exact arguments above – particularly when it came to my friends of colour complaining about white people.

At some point, though, I went from feeling bummed out about being misrepresented to being bummed out that this was happening to people I cared about.

I deprioritised protecting my own privilege and instead prioritised others who are suffering without the privilege in the first place.

By not creating self-serving arguments, I became a better person and a better friend.

I guess what I’m saying is that there’s power in putting yourself and your feelings into context.

I’ve been trying to place my finger precisely on what frustrates me about the Mens Rights Movement.

Aside from the fact that engaging with them proves largely fruitless and frustrating for both sides, there is just one structural flaw that I’ve not been able to put my finger on until now.

Picture from "A Voice For Men"

A space I have subscribed to recently posted this and it is pretty standard fare for what I would expect from a Men’s Rights Activist.

Putting aside the fact that this is a pretty bad example of spin and slander (all shelters are different and mens shelters do exist), there is something deeper that Arabella Elisabeth nailed completely.

“Annoyingly if it were about men campaigning for better access to mental health care, equal custody or stopping routine circumcision I would be marching beside them. 
But it seems these sorts of guys don’t want to actually do anything about mens problems. They only want to use them as a stick to beat down women.”

I honestly could not have phrased it better myself. Mens Rights Activists, in my experience, are just hell bent on forcing their own agendas which almost only ever consist of blaming and destroying Feminism, Feminists and Feminist work.

Many a time I’ve heard “Men experience this, too” or “what about men?”. To which the reply is often “Run an event and I will support you.”

Aka, if you believe in this, fight for it – don’t expect me to fight for it on your behalf.

What is frustrating in this is that if Mens Rights Activists took time to look past their own propaganda, they would realise that Feminism is a hugely diverse umbrella term for a considerable amount of movements often with conflicting ideals – virtually none existing solely to destroy men (and those who are, are hugely shunned. If you have a problem with something a Feminist has said, there will likely be another Feminist who has the same complaint)

A friend of mine recently had a break through with her brother when he realised that even if he did call himself a Feminist, he didn’t have to agree with all Feminists; that if he believed in equality for sexes (any/all), then there would be a group that would fit his views and good readings for him to start challenging himself in healthy ways.

A Voice for Men’s emphasis (as shown in the picture) is not to create more support for men’s needs, but to channel frustrations and rage onto Feminists and to justify it by implying and perpetuating that the imbalance is created by Feminists.

Balance (aka equality) is what Feminists are seeking, whether that be to the benefit of any gender, so long as it helps dismantle the oppressive structure of the society we live under.

Furious

It is beginning to get to the stage where I am getting sick of telling people why my name is Fury!

It originated when the person I was seeing at the time, Blast, tried to call me “furry” but misspelt it. This was because my legs are veritable forests of gold hair.

After that, it sort of just stuck.

Truth is, I like the name.

I’ve had a lot of responses to introductions.
“Were your parents those crazy hippy types?”
No. My dad is a dentist and my mother votes for Key.

“Like after the Gladiator?”
No, not like after Gladiators.

“Like after the furies?”
I like this better, but still no.

“Anger management?”
Ha. Ha. No.

“Like, Nick Fury?”
No, not like Nick Fury.

“Are you an X-men?”
Yes. But that’s not why I’m called Fury.

Once the fury/furry story is recounted, people then go on to ask the following.

“Haha. So your name is actually furry!”
No. My name is actually Fury.

“I’m going to call you furry.”
Please do not call me furry. It is not what anyone else calls me, nor is it the name that I want to be called.

“So, what’s your real name?”
Fury.

“Yeah but what’s your REAL name?”
Fury. It’s still Fury.

I never was particularly bothered with telling people the name on my passport, but as time goes by it seems more and more like people want to define me by a word that I don’t define myself by anymore.

If you wanna know, become my friend. It will turn up at some point. By then, hopefully, you will be too busy enjoying my company to be wrapped up in the letters that were inked on my behalf to try to encapsulate me yonks ago when I wasn’t even sentient enough to know what a name was.

The Word Feminism Pt 2

I really wish people would shut up about rebranding Feminism.

The smug replacing of the word Feminism to Equalitarianism or Humanism is not only pretty vapid, it really misses a lot of points.

First of all, Humanism is, in fact, it’s own movement. It relates to different topics and isn’t directly concerned with bringing about equality between sexes.

Anything “Equal Rights” is, on the surface, a fairly valid supplement, until you consider the fact that once you make a name ambiguous, you muddy the cause and direction. Equal Rights as a term doesn’t bare much relation to equality for sexes, either.

There’s actually nothing wrong with the word Feminism and it does exactly what it needs to – which, I feel, is partly why people take such exception to it. (That and a really blind, wilful ignorance)

Yes, the word does related directly to the female sex – funnily enough, Feminism works pretty closely with bringing equality to the female sex*. Part of that work is battling the demonisation of females* and, sure enough, the demonisation of Feminism happens in ways that directly correlate!

“I don’t hate women*, I just don’t support or identify with the cause that is fighting what oppresses them.”

Hmm.

If you feel like Feminists have habits of excluding you (particularly if you’re a cis gendered, white, straight male), I suggest reading Part One.

Okay. So the most common complaint I hear is

“Oh hoh hoh. Well if Feminism is all about equality between the sexes, why is it all about FEMinism, hey?”

Implying that Feminism should be concerned with the representation of cis, white, straight males is a bit daft. Not only is Feminism not built to pamper the already privileged, part of the work is bringing representation to the marginalised. The name, therefore, is really goddamn fitting.

Not to mention, the word “Feminism” has a seriously diverse and complex history. The Suffragettes literally died to give women the vote. Second wave feminists fought tooth and nail for rights that we take for granted today – workplace rights, reproductive rights, rights to own property, rights not to be considered property – these were all fought for by Feminists!

By removing the name that has united the history, we are distancing ourselves from the progress and sacrifices made. Remind me again why we would do that to pander to people who haven’t taken the time to research what Feminism even means?

Look, everyone, Feminism’s core concept is equality between sexes. If you believe that they deserve equal rights, we’re on the same page. You might differ on how that manifests/what works/what doesn’t – but that’s just sorting out what wave or sub-sect you subscribe to. There’s no need to pioneer a separate movement, one already exists.

At the end of the day, one of the reasons we need Feminism, the word AND the movement, is that people don’t identify as Feminists or understand why it is important to identify as a Feminist.

*forgive me the gender binaries! I didn’t want to get bogged down in a gender tangent.

How Yoko Ono Made Me Sad

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Two friends in my pocket, Kete and Precious, I went to go see what Yoko Ono had been up to this past 80 odd years.

I sent Kete snapchats of walking butts and collected two pieces of sky, one for her, one for me. Both the part of a same puzzle pulled from an upturned helmet of a soldier.

I sent her a picture of the two pieces and she said “We’re matching!” I said “No! We are fitting and complimentary”.

Those pieces were fairly straight forward, for me. As was the white-on-white chess pieces designed to remind opponents that after a certain point, you forget who you are, who you are fighting and, in turn, what you are fighting for.

It was an ominous start for someone who feels like the war is far from over, but wants the war to be over so fucking bad.

One of the interactive artworks was a glass/perspex maze with a phone in the middle of it. Under the phone it says “When the phone rings know that it is me”

I made my way through, my hands out front to make sure I didn’t bump into anything (I did, anyway). In the centre, I found the phone and took the picture. I tried to dial Kete.

On no uncertain terms, the phone told me to contact my service provider because it doesn’t allow calls to that number. At this point in time, my brain hadn’t fully clocked that it was a phone to be dialed IN to, I just thought that if I dialed it, I would either get connected or get some sort of recorded reply from her.

This struck me as a super strange occurrence. A corporation telling me I cannot connect and Y.O. promising connection.

Not only that, my attempt at connection could have been the very thing that stopped Y.O. from getting through to me. The idea is to sit and wait for her, like I was a character in Waiting For Godot Ono.

A chat with her would have been nice, but the idea of her calling at her leisure split me from her – made her not just a human, but some sort of dignitary, a deity.

Granted, she’s a veritable god, but I feel like the artwork was supposed to work in reverse to that notion and remind us that she’s just a person happy for a chat with a stranger in a gallery.

I asked the Visitor Service Officer if Y.O. called it. She said yes, that Y.O. was a bit of a night owl and so the time difference to New York worked well. One day she called 4 times. Not today, though, or at least, not while I was there.

At some point I saw this and thought about how one person can cast so many different shadows.

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The most interesting piece was a collection of stamps and ink pads where participants were invited to stamp maps with “Imagine Peace” in varying languages (I assume, I couldn’t read them).

I was drawn immediately to English and to Russia where I’d been recently reading about Pussy Riot members being released. Every time I stamped I tried not to let the stamp slip, or else the message wouldn’t come through clearly.

I stamped systematically down it. Rhythmic repetitive tasks give me space to think, in this way it was nice, though the idea of patterns and the phrase “History repeats itself” didn’t elude me.

It came out like a list, drifting unconsciously to the left. Every time the ink ran out on the stamp it appeared like waning interest. Every time I re-inked it appeared like as time lapsed, attention was drawn back.

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I guess that’s how I feel right now, fatigued by the constant outrage at what my government is doing to me and the people I love.

Sparked, fatigued. Sparked, fatigued.

I watched other people interact with the art work. Most of the stamps landed on landmass. People seemed to think that peace was something to do with land. I thought about activists being locked up in Japan for protesting ships.

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I started to think about how people perceived peace – if it was just a word, or an action. I was drawn to English but I stamped on Russia. My actions were influenced by the media (the Guardian)

I watched others. They tended to pick up a stamp, a sense of taboo eliciting small thrill smiles. They stamped only once. They didn’t take up space or time on the artwork. They moved on.

“Imagin[ing] Peace” for them was a fleeting thought. That made me pretty miserable.

Despite feeling decidedly nihilistic, I was very busy enjoying “War Is Over“. Having my sketch book, I picked the room full of doors with melting sky to practice some sketching.

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It was an exercise in movement. The doors got a fair amount of attention because they stayed still. If someone strayed across my vision, I would sketch their movements. It came out dreamlike, almost like I was sketching the smell of someone as they drifted across a set space.

One of the Visitor Services Officers passed me and said “Practicing your perspective? This is the best place to do it.”

And, I must say, that made me pretty sad, indeed.

Cunt

There’s something really fun about using the word cunt. Saying it always felt (synthesthetically) for me like driving over a pothole and giving everyone a fright.

The problem is the way the word works. It tries to shock someone by linking them to female genitals and then labelling that as possibly the worst thing ever.

I think we can all agree that cunts are pretty fucking rad. I have interacted with many. I own one. Even the people who aren’t sexually attracted to them can agree they do some gobsmacking things – like birthing.

However, the bullshit that comes with having one is fucking awful.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s time to be a good cunt and correct anyone who uses the word as an insult – “Cunts are awesome. What they are being is an asshole; sexually indiscriminate and full of shit.”

The Word Feminism Pt 1

I’ve had many conversations with people who complain about the word Feminism.

The most frustrating are those white, cis gendered, straight men, who don’t feel represented under the banner of Feminism because they believe Feminism is only about women, and, in a world where so much attention is lavished on male-only arenas1, this is somehow unfair.

If they’ve decided to make an effort for the cause, the conversation usually devolves to them complaining that Feminists never make them feel welcomed – and of course not feeling welcomed & their feelings of being ostracised can’t possibly be because they, themselves, are doing something to deserve being levelled.

They, in my experience, tend to then tell Feminists that if Feminists want to effect change, they are going about it the wrong way. This is kind of an odd accusation. It’s a white, cis gendered, straight man telling a group that doesn’t represent them how to do things better for them.

I mean, I know narcissism is a thing, but that is kind of ridiculous.

It also implies that Feminism should take into account the feelings of said cis gendered, straight men – which is a bit rich, considering more often than not they’ve wandered into a Feminist space and said something hurtful or inconsiderate. Then, instead of examining what they might have done to incite fury, they immediately lay the demand for change at the feet of someone else.

That’s…  not how this works.

I read something recently that said that Feminists shouldn’t pander to cws men (in particular) who demand everything be stopped so that they can have an explanation and, in effect, be up to date/included on the conversation. This post is kind of in agreement with that. There’s something very backwards to pandering to people who want information spoon-fed. Feminists are not responsible for the education of everyone – we are too busy pushing for change to be spending time educating people on why.

There are many people I just tell to fuck off. I have limited energy explaining why their unexamined notions are so silly and hurtful – mostly I reserve it for my mates and people that I have within my social sphere; people I care about and value.

A friend of mine who I had a go at had a go back at me because he felt like I was “targetting” him. I denied it at the time but it’s true in a way, I suppose. I want my friends to be better people and I know they’re capable of it. I get surprised and hurt when they can’t see what they’re doing to me. I get surprised and hurt when I tell them that I don’t want to exist in a space that hurts me, they have a go.

My point is, I suppose, is that misogyny & patriarchy is a deeply self protecting thing that has instilled in us all the ability to demean, belittle, dismiss, side track and slander the word Feminist and the voice/opinions Feminists.

(Part two coming)

1 So, SO MANY sporting events, political domains, the media, Gentlemen’s clubs like the Australia Club. Compare a male soccer salary to a females, compare the slander of Gillard to Abbott. Tell to me one high powered club the level and prestige of the Australia Club catering exclusively to females and I will eat my hat.

For the second part in this two part series, click here

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions of rape culture – no graphic descriptions, theory only.
Please do yell at me if you consider this to be out of line. We all wear blinkers and I am always ready to be humbled by others for my opinions.

It appears of late that our rapey rape culture has been rearing it’s ugly face fairly regularly. I’d like to think this is the death throws of it, but I suspect it’s just the beginning of a rather long and gruesome fight.

Most common to the people I’ve been talking to – females and self considered prospective mothers – seem to agree it is important to teach men and boys not to rape but are hesitant to give up talking to girls about how to protect themselves. It’s largely coming from a good place – a place that doesn’t wish to admit that they are powerless to protect their daughters* or that their daughters are powerless to being attacked.

All seem to feel that it’s counter intuitive not to tell their spawn how and why to protect themselves.

There is a LOT on the internet about why talking to your daughter about how to protect herself through dress or action is an act that becomes complicit and adds to the structural violence against victims of rape, but for now I’ve compiled my thoughts on the parents who can’t let this one go.

I feel like the safest rule of thumb is to instead of using the word “should” it is a gentler suggestion to discuss with your child what you “can” do in this situation.

For instance, “you should always leave if you feel unsafe” leaves a very different feeling to “you can leave if you feel unsafe”.

Should someone, god forbid, fall prey to a rapist, the former statement will, in hindsight, resonate regret & embarrassment. “I should have known better”, “I should have listened” – aka, self blame.

The latter, however, resonates far less powerfully.

This alone wont combat the self-blame, but consider this:

“you should always leave if you feel unsafe” is a message that will always directly battle with “it wasn’t your fault”
“You can leave if you feel unsafe” couples far better with “it wasn’t your fault.”

What is done here is pretty simple. Firstly, it’s empowering the person to make a choice. She can do whatever she damn pleases and a constant reminder of this is really positive.

Secondly, it’s informing her of an actual way in which she can take precautions – namely – trusting her instincts and exercising her right to leave.

The third factor is a slight of the hand with regards to the language. One statement – “should” – sets a standard that the woman “should” adhere to. The other statement – “can” – merely lets the woman know of a valid option in which she can take.

I’m a big fan of couching statements away from standards. In a later post I will talk about beauty and discuss with myself ways of approaching it without being problematic – but for the purposes of discussing preventative methods to your daughter, stick to “can” and let her make up her own mind.

Away with standards, present the options.

Also talk to your children about consent. Read up on what it is so as you can explain clearly. Make sure they understand what boundaries are and what they are entitled to.

They are entitled to say “no”. They are not entitled to demand a reason when someone else says “no”.
They are entitled to ask, but they are not entitled to push or demand.
They are entitled to their kinks, but they are not entitled to judge others for their kinks.
They are entitled to respect and be respected, always.

I do CATEGORICALLY DO NOT support telling people that alcohol will put someone in danger of an act that involves another conscious person (as opposed to self inflicted accidents). I DO NOT support telling people to dress a certain way in order to control the actions of others (ridiculous). A persons actions are their own decision and responsibility, always.

At the end of the day, I feel like the conversation with all of your children should be exactly the same. If it’s gendered differently, then you’ve got problems.

(P.s. love you, Sarah)

*/female born children/female identified children. I realise this is a conversation that we actually need to be having with all children, I also recognise the disproportionately large amount of attacks on females and transgendered peoples.

I don’t want to be a girl anymore

Let me be clear. How I feel is in no relation to how anyone else might feel. I’m no bastion of the queer movement and though my experiences may be shared, they’re not universal.

I don’t want to be a girl anymore. I guess when I say I don’t want to be a girl, I mean I don’t want to be gendered a girl by others. I don’t want the constant barrage of things that come with that. I don’t want to transition, I’m only really mildly dysphoric with my body but I don’t want this body.

I want to come back and be born as a boy.

I’ve never been at peace with the socialising of girls and have often been ostracised for it. I’ve always joked that I thought more like a boy but I’ve stopped joking about it. I’m still coming to terms with who I am under all of this gender indoctrination. I don’t think I’m a boy. I don’t sit neatly within the gender binary.

Today I walked down a street in a foul mood, heart broken. It was sunny and beautiful – everything I wasn’t feeling. I’ve worn my queerest, most androgynous outfit because I wanted to be left alone. This is how it is for me, now. I don’t know if I can return to the femme outfits for the vast disparity in treatment I receive.

Usually I wear jeans and shirts to work but the one day I wore a miniskirt, doors were opened for me left right and centre. Not a metaphor, unfortunately. Females are relegated to the literal, physical embodiment of these privileges – the ones that don’t afford actual furtherment.

On the street, the work place laws don’t protect me. Even at work they don’t protect me as a guy I slept with once consistently meddles with my sex life. I think I’ve finally shut that down, but it means we can’t be friends anymore because he didn’t hear “stay out of it” so I had to say it with increasing volume and harshness until he did.

On the street I’m subjected to harassment daily and I’m tired of it. I don’t want people to talk to me because of the way I look. I don’t want people judging me. It would be bad enough if they were holding signs like my life were a beauty pageant, but imagine a beauty pageant where all the judges cat called the contestants.

“Hey baby. Come home with me. You know you want to.”
“I got something for ya”
“Ciao bella. Hey! Come back! What’s your problem?”

I don’t want it. But what I want isn’t important to them. What’s important to them is how they feel when they say it and the thrill they get when they make me uncomfortable, aware.

For anyone who says “just take the compliment”, no.

It’s no compliment. It’s mind games. It’s an assertion of power. It’s meant to keep females off guard and slightly intimidated. It’s meant to provoke, to destabilise, to make someone feel like they’re being watched; judged. It’s a stranger trying to push themselves on me; their wants, their approvals, their desires.

Then, when I can’t take it anymore, I yell. I want to beat them till I have their teeth lodged between my knuckles but instead I flip them off.  They laugh. They always laugh.

They like that they have triggered me. They like the reaction. They like that they have the power to push me to the brink.

So next time the words “angry feminist” threaten to slip from your lips, no. I’m not ‘just another angry feminist’. I’m a human, pushed to the limit. Tired, tired, tired of fighting to be respected. Tired of not being given space to walk down a street. Simple, simple acts of freedom. To always, always be reminded I am on display. To always be reminded that my body is there to please the eyes of men. And the cocks of men. And the minds of men.

I am so sick of it that even when I feel like dressing femme, I don’t. I don’t want what comes with that. Most of the time androgyny works to ease it. The brain power it takes to gender me leaves no time for a cat call. I often wear brightly coloured socks, too, so that when they look, they are drawn to my feet and not to my chest.

But there are always some who find a way.

Today I dressed androgynous but I dressed well. I’m wearing a crisp shirt, a strapped chest and some beautiful leopard print brogues.

This is not me dressing for you. But I suppose you know that, don’t you. This is not an invitation, but I suppose you don’t wait for invitations. The world is yours, after all, why would you? Why would you stop to ask what I want? You already know what you’re going to give me.

And no, I don’t imply that me wanting to dress a certain way to dissuade people should be done. What should be done is people not judging on looks. People minding their business. People not reducing women in the many, many ways that they do.

As today proved – this isn’t even an effective method. People will take what they feel entitled to regardless of how I dress.

And no, I’m not at all saying that any trans*, queer, whatever people dress or feel like representing themselves as their gender because they’re sick of the oppression they receive. That’s just silly. They receive a lot more oppression trying to move through the world as their non-assigned-at-birth gender. I said specifically that I’m outside the binaries, anyway. But I suppose we all are a little bit.

A queer male tried to challenge me to what I call an ‘oppression off’ when I told him he had privilege around being male, recently. The cold truth is that even queer males have more privilege than queer females. He should know that, but he chose to be an asshole about it and ignore what I was saying instead listing off all the ways he was oppressed; like that is somehow relevant.

He does not have men cat calling him constantly. He is not made to feel unsafe in this way. He wasn’t even prepared to acknowledge that, putting his own experiences first instead of acknowledging very basically that he cannot comprehend mine. He then went on to suggest that we fuck in a hot pool.

I’m tired. I’m tired of being female. I don’t want it anymore.

I don’t want it anymore.

Dick

This is going to be short and sweet, just like your penis.

I have a vagina. It is pretty great most of the time. A lot of the time I get off using just my fingers.

I doubt your penis is bigger than my fingers. Even if it is/isn’t, it shouldn’t matter too much because 80 percent of females have difficulty cumming from penetration alone, or so the internet tells me.

But who trusts the internet, let alone percentages from the internet.

My point is, at the end of the day, sex is not about your dick.

Making it about your dick and its relative size is stupid and insulting to everyone who has sex without a dick. Not to mention it assumes that everyone likes the same thing.

Sincerely,
Furious

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