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03 July 2014 @ 01:09 pm
How about everyone that wants to use religion to justify their misogyny, homophobia, and racism be forced to follow EVERY SINGLE TENET of their declared religion and not just arbitrarily pick and choose whatever they want in order to hide hate under “religious freedom?”

If they are really going to follow ALL OF IT then, sure, I'll take them at their word. It's bad enough that most of the passages are pretty debatable and lacking in universal interpretation, but there are just far too many rules just being ignored for me to believe anyone claiming religious objections as being anything other than a smarmy hypocrite. Instead of letting "religious freedom" be an immediate Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card how about they prove what their religion is?

I attended Cleveland Concoction in costume, and I looked awesome. I didn't have the courage to enter the Masquerade contest, and actually didn't even get the chance to go and see it.

It was a very fun experience, but I was also very glad that it was a small convention that was close to the home. There's only a limited amount of time that you can wear an outfit like that!

Close up on the lovely make-up done by Becca

The rest are under the cut-

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I've gotten some other new outfits lately, but most of those pics will be reserved for FetLife. A wig may be involved in one case. And I am continuing to plan out my Rogue costume. Exciting times!

I think most of us have a list of words we don’t use or try to avoid using for various reasons. I’m not going to list all of mine here because that would rather defeat the purpose in some ways. But I got to thinking about one when I saw someone use it.

The word Feminazi is a charged one, and is not only divisive but also immediately associates the user, in my mind, with misogynists. The person may not be such, and in this case most certainly isn’t but it’s a word that is more associated with who uses it than who it is used to describe. Similar to other epithets for women and other oppressed groups, it’s just better to not use it. Ever.

There are individuals and sections of every political affiliation that go aside from the core values, and feminism is no different. There are most certainly ones with whom I disagree vehemently, but calling them Nazis or any other insults would reflect more poorly on me than it would on them.
The most insidious version of Mens Rights Activism is a classic example of smarm. In other words, it’s bullshit. It couches itself in a façade of reasonableness that can easily entice people, and it sets itself up in such a way that any criticism, no matter how valid, is painted as antagonism or negativity. The less insidious form just reads like a white supremacist manifesto. Those guys are so convinced of their righteousness that they don’t even bother to hide their misogyny. That makes them easier to spot, and that’s why the first group is in some ways even more dangerous.

Honestly, you can probably find examples from the past of me parroting the views of the subtle MRA tract. They often convey humanist ideals, they claim that feminism just divides us further and we should look at how things apply to all people. They point out that many of the same discriminations and injustices are perpetrated against men so only discussing them in terms of women is further marginalizing those male victims. And they are quick to point out that not all men are guilty of the things being pointed out.

On the surface this all seems rational, but that’s where they get you. This is all used to undermine and gaslight feminism, to keep the discussion focused on men, and to marginalize subjects and perspectives that are primarily a concern of women or people that do not fit gender norms. The humanistic ideals they claim to be concerned with are just a cover for continued misogyny, and a way to get unsuspecting, good-hearted people to help them. Again, there are likely people that support the public MRA agenda that do so with an honest desire to help humanity, but I sincerely believe that the spearheads of the movement are reactionaries afraid of losing their position of privilege.

To figure out their true agenda there are a couple of key areas to look at. Are they painting feminists as an enemy, or they actually targeting the patriarchy? Are they looking at specific points and making sure that the concerns of men are addressed as well, or are they looking at the overall picture of imposed gender roles? Are they steadfastly stuck in their own personal experiences, or are they acknowledging that there are a variety of valid life experiences outside of the ones that men have? Examinations like these will lead to the truth of whether they are just out to help themselves or whether they are actually trying to help society overall.

Stay vigilant, nothing is as dangerous as hate spread under the guise of logic and compassion.
18 May 2014 @ 07:07 pm
Whenever I’m talking with someone unfamiliar with latex fashion the work of HMSlatex is the first that I show them. Hers is unquestionably my favorite. Sophie's fun and vibrant designs have over the years elevated latex to true fashion. As the cliche goes, she brought it out of the dungeons and onto the runways. And she has consistently retained an amazing balance of flirty and classy that few other designers ever approach.

Earlier today she officially announced that she was closing her shop. The news hit me harder than I would have expected. I actually heard about it from her over a week ago, and honestly I had to go through a period of mourning though I don't think is completed yet. Imagine if a favorite writer, artist or musician was ending their career, and not only were they not producing anything new but also that there would never be any new reprints or re-releases of their past work. (In this digital age I'd have to include that their writing and music would be removed from all e-distribution, including illegal ones.) I think of fashion as an art form, so this is a loss of a great artist.

I am glad that she is stopping by choice, and is not being forced to quit by any circumstances. So I am personally happy for her to do whatever makes her happiest. I was friends with her on LiveJournal before she started her company eight years ago. I certainly don't resent her decision or expect that she owes it to her fans and customers to continue her work when she has other things she wants to do. But it is still an exceptionally sad day for fashion as a field.

I've ordered the shirt for the Rogue outfit I'm planning. Yes, it's in latex, but this time it's from my absolute favorite designer, HMSlatex. I ordered matching shorts to make a bodysuit for wearing to places where that would be appropriate. I'll probably end up pairing it with a brown kilt and brown jacket, I'm not sure. Leather for both would be ideal but probably not going to happen. I've also been looking at gloves and leggings and tights, all in both latex and spandex, to see what may work. I won't actually be getting the shirt until July because of how many orders she already has so it will be quite a while before I need to start putting it together. I'm just excited and don't get to squee very often.

Femininity and Masculinity are not polar opposites on a single scale; instead they are their own separate scales like the color balance on your television. Almost everyone has both, and whichever one they have more of becomes their dominant gender expression. It’s exactly how your picture becomes red if you have too much of that even if the other bars are in the middle. I’d personally add a third scale for androgynous traits, i.e. personality traits that are not typically considered either masculine nor feminine, but I’ll admit my desire for that is simply that I am uncomfortable with separating EVERYTHING between feminine and masculine.

The point here is that you don’t need to choose. Seriously, you don’t. It’s not one or the other; it’s instead all at once. The balance can constantly slide, not only throughout someone’s life but from situation to situation. Accept it. Things are more fun that way.

I finally got in the latex Dark Phoenix shirt from Vengeance Designs, and it should be obvious why I was so excited. It looks awesome, it feels awesome, and it makes me look and feel awesome. Fiery hot.

I'll probably do some make-up as well as something with my hair when I wear it for any events. I also need to get a new kilt to go with it, something with straighter lines than the one I have.

Put simply, I can't wear it enough! It's better than I expected. I'm still rather silly giddy about it, and I feel justifiably so.

The ONLY downside is that it is another latex shirt that I need helping getting into. Next time I really need one that zips up the front so I can dress myself. It not only feels weird to need that help, but it also really limits how often I get to wear it.

I haven't read much new Batman in about a decade, but my brother-in-law-to-be let me borrow The Black Mirror and Death of the Family. Despite them being by the same writer, Scott Snyder, I preferred Black Mirror significantly more. Not only did I like the art more (the visuals of Jock and Francesco Francavilla are much moodier and less 90s than Greg Capullo's), but the pacing was much better as well. Additionally, I think I'm probably subconsciously favoring the pre-New 52 stories as they just feel like they have more "weight." I really like how The Black Mirror felt like detective horror story, which is a perfect genre for Batman.

I ended up dropping the last of the X-Men team books yesterday, I never thought I'd see the day. I used to be all about the X-Men, getting every single X-related book that came out. I'll keep an eye on Amazing X-Men, that was the last hold out of the FIVE different series.

I'm still getting X-Factor and X-Force, as well as Wolverine and Nightcrawler (that's still in a probationary period as only one issue has come out so far). I also dropped Savage Wolverine, that anthology series started well but I'm not interested in any of the upcoming tales.

To shake things up, here's a scene from my favorite series, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.
This entry is an expansion on a post about how the ethnicity change of Tiger Lily is not equal to the ethnicity change of the Human Torch. It's a good rant, but I think he lets folks off easy.

When a historically straight white male character is changed to be more representative in a new telling of a tale, and the straight white male audience complains that they can no longer relate to the character because of the change, then they are proving WHY it is so very important. It’s often said that a variety of representation is necessary to give minority people characters with whom they can relate, but that is false. Minority people have been relating to characters not like them for forever, because that’s all the choices they’ve had. Minority people ALREADY KNOW that people can empathize with others that aren’t like them, the people that REALLY need to learn this lesson are the straight white males that have been shown time and again that their perspective is the only valid one by virtue of how much entertainment is told from that point of view. (Yes, some straight white males get this, but every time the ethnicity of a white character is changed to something else there is a disturbingly huge number of comments along the lines of not being able to relate to or respect the character any longer said with such oblivious sincerity that it demonstrates just how deeply ingrained the racism is, as well as the shocking inability to empathize with anyone else’s viewpoint.)

The reason that a variety of representation is necessary is NOT to give minorities their own characters JUST for them. We’re NOT endeavoring to keep things separate which is the implication of that line of reasoning. No, the reason that a variety or representation is necessary is to validate the experiences of those minorities, in their own eyes and in the eyes of the straight white male audience that has not been pushed to see any other experience. Let’s take bisexuality as an example. It’s invisible because it’s not something that you know about people when you only know them casually. Hell, you can know someone pretty well and they may never reveal this because of a fear of being judged. So without representation in media it becomes a “secret” classification, the general populace of heterosexuals and even homosexuals think that bisexuality isn’t real. People that start having bisexual feelings are often confused; they feel like they have to make a choice between being heterosexual or homosexual and that they are mutually exclusive. These people struggle with something that shouldn’t actually be a big deal whatsoever because they feel the need to choose one based on how society and people are portrayed in the media. Just imagine how worse it gets when the only available portrayals are negative or dismissive. Being bisexual doesn’t mean someone is a ravenous predator lustfully looking at everyone as a potential fuck, nor is it just a phase that they’ll get over once they find the right person, but that’s what the media tells everyone. And so someone that is just realizing that they feel this way is pushed to make that arbitrary choice between heterosexuality or homosexuality, not even realizing that there is actually a complex spectrum of options available for people to explore of which bisexuality is just one valid option.

But it’s more than just sexuality, it’s every single minority. As a member of any minority, when you are FINALLY lucky enough to see a character like you portrayed and they are just secondary characters AT BEST, but are typically comedic roles, villains, or just faces in a crowd, then you feel unimportant. Because no one tells tales about someone like you, you feel like your existence and therefore your whole self is not as valid, as real, or as worthwhile as those that are being told onscreen or in the books you read. You can still enjoy the works, you can feel for the characters, you can love them even though their life viewpoint is so much different than yours. But when you look at yourself you feel like nothing that you do will ever matter. The insidious thing again is that it’s not just the minority peoples that feel like this, it’s also the straight white males that begin to think that all those other viewpoints are less important than their own. And that’s what we see again and again in comments and message boards, and don’t forget politics, where straight white men can’t even conceive of another life experience or viewpoint different from their own as being something worthwhile to even acknowledge let alone accept or celebrate.

All of this is why it's OK to change a historically white male character to something else, but it's not OK to change a minority character to white.