ella talks POLITICS

when you say “i think it should be about the acting ability, not the races of the actors” you are, one, working under the false assumption that actors of all ethnicities auditioned and the best one just happened to be white (the vast majority of casting calls either ask specifically for white actors only or show a decided preference for white actors as the “default race”), and two, basically saying that poc can’t be good actors.

in other words, you’re wrong, and you’re wrong.

the problem with being australian is that i never know if words are chiefly american or chiefly brit or if they’re just used by both (or australian) bc our language is such a buttfucked mongrel and it can be rly frustrating to edit back to americanisms. does someone look like a stunned mullet. are they just beat or knackered. are they trousers or pants. when is a drink coke and when is it soda or pop. erasers?? rubbers?? thongs?? FLIP FLOPS???

THE CURRENT DISCUSSION OF REPRESENTATION AMBIGUITY ON MY DASH IS FUCKING PISSING ME OFF.

Specifically, this. I’m a big fan of prettyarbitrary and I’ve already done my “rage-as-rhetorical-device” thing on her once this week, so instead of reblogging, I’ve tagged her instead to ignore/block at her leisure. So, once and for all, this is my manifesto on representation in Sherlock.

No one is saying that* a canon queerplatonic or asexual relationship for John and Sherlock is unwanted. No one is saying that asexual representation or aromantic representation is less important, or less necessary, than queer representation. However, if the writers of Sherlock do decide to go down the path of a romantic asexual or a queerplatonic relationship, in order for that representation to be good representation, there must be a certain amount of in-text education of what that means. 

I talk a little bit about what good aromantic representation is here. As far as good asexual representation goes, it should be explicitly acknowledged that John and Sherlock are in (romantic) love with each other, that they do not have sex, and that that aspect of their relationship does not make their romantic relationship any less valid than any married couple. In both cases, not a single audience member must be able to write it off as being “just friends." Because of universal ace- and aro-erasure, ambiguity and representation are mutually exclusive. If there is room for doubt, it’s not representation. Ever.

Speaking of ambiguity, for marginalized groups who have to fight for every scrap of representation, there is no such thing as ambiguity. Implicit representation is never enough. I’m aware that in less-forgiving environments, when you could be jailed or ostracized for just writing about homosexuality, the implicit queerness of Oscar Wilde’s works or the original ACD stories have inspired a generation. But in this (Western) media landscape, there is no excuse.

Just as characters of books are white until assumed otherwise, characters of mainstream books, television, and movies are straight until assumed otherwise. The same tenets that mean that ambiguity and good representation cannot coexist side-by-side in a work also apply to queer representation. Sherlock has placed John and Sherlock into romantically-coded roles. That much is absolutely true. It can either choose to follow through on those roles or not. The former is representation, and the latter is queerbaiting. There is no in-between

In a perfect world, the narrative decision to let the audience make what they will of the relationship, giving rise to a multiplicity of readings and versions, would be just that – a narrative choice. But media doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Narrative choices are also political and ethical choices. And in the context of the intense emotional investment of hopeful queer viewers everywhere, in this world, where representation is so desperately needed and longed-for, a choice for ambiguity is necessarily a choice against representation. If there is room for doubt, it’s not good representation. Ever.

(Personally, I would be thrilled if one of my favorite TV shows described one of my ships as "queerplatonic” for this first time, and if one of my favorite TV characters turned out to be aromantic. Considering that half the psychological community tends to doubt our existence, though, I think canonical representation of aromanticism is a little too progressive for Sherlock. According to loudest-subtext-in-television’s “big gay bombshell,” though, canonical representation of homo-/bisexuality isn’t, which is why the discussion has mainly centered around explicitly sexual queer relationships.)

*When I say that “no one is saying that,” I mean that no one who I know in the context of the representation discussion on Sherlock is saying that, and that no one should be saying that. If you see someone who is saying that, bring them to me and I’ll tear them a new one.

Ferguson’s law enforcement practices overwhelmingly impact African Americans. […] African Americans are more than twice as likely as white drivers to be searched during vehicle stops […] but are found in possession of contraband 26% less often than white drivers […]FPD appears to bring certain offenses almost exclusively against African Americans. For example, from 2011 to 2013, African Americans accounted for 95% of Manner of Walking in Roadway charges, and 94% of all Failure to Comply charges. […]These disparities are also present in FPD’s use of force. Nearly 90% of documented force used by FPD officers was used against African Americans. In every canine bite incident for which racial information is available, the person bitten was African American. Municipal court practices likewise cause disproportionate harm to African Americans. African Americans are 68% less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by the court, and are more likely to have their cases last longer and result in more required court encounters.

a very lovely and not-anonymous person asked me a follow-upabout monosexual privilege back when the conversation was happening last weekend, and because i think it’s a common belief about the power relations between polysexuals and the lgbtqa community, i think it’s worth making my answer public:

(edited for clarity:) What I don’t understand is that monosexuals do benefit from oppressing poly people? They have more safe spaces, get more funding for their organizations and have more media presence and all the stuff society does to help queer people always speaks to gay and lesbians, they don’t consider poly people.

first, i understand why it’s seductive to frame the position poly (hereafter a stand-in for bi, pan, and poly) people have in the lgbtqa community as “oppression.” you’re right, lesbian and gay people are usually better situated than poly people, and everything you describe is true: it’s pretty common for gay and lesbian people to push poly people out of safe spaces, receive more funding, get more media visibility, refuse to date poly people, and so on, while it’s relatively rare for the opposite to occur (though it does happen). these things are not the same thing as oppression. these things are not the same thing as privilege.

we cannot define oppression and privilege in the context of a particular community. what people who talk about monosexual privilege do is take a very specific cross-section of (usually) american society, one which differs from american society as a whole in that this part of society has little or no straight people, and then try to articulate problems found in that section as though it were representative of society as a whole.

let’s compare the relative standing of poly people v. the lgbtqa community and non-straight people v. society:

  • are poly people who come out to their gay/straight parents at risk of disownment, homelessness, or abuse? or is it only straight parents who do that?
  • are poly people bullied by gay/straight people together, in unity against those fucking bisexuals, because being attracted to two genders is gross and wrong? or is it only straight kids that do that?
  • are poly people restricted by laws created by gay/straight lawmakers stating that if they marry one gender, are they only allowed to marry someone of that gender for the rest of their lives?  or is it only straight lawmakers who are making amendments in state constitutions that gay and poly people are prohibited from marrying people of the same gender?
  • where are the hate groups? the “protect our children from those fucking bisexuals” organizations? monosexual parents against social deviancy? where are the institutions who don’t just erase or ignore poly people, but for whom poly people are active demons they can rally against? this is a dynamic that is part of, as far as i can think of, every oppressed-oppressor relationship. sometimes the oppressor frames itself as a champion of “those poor people” while still actively working for their eradication (autism speaks, all those “end obesity” campaigns, like 70% of us interventionism), and other times it’s outright disgust and genocide (the kkk, the westboro baptist chuch, the other 30% of us interventionism). show me where monosexuals have united over depriving poly people of resources, over pushing them out of safe spaces. show me where they’ve started camps to cure bi children and get them to accept their inner gayness. or maybe you can’t, because straight people are doing those things, and not because poly people aren’t only attracted to one gender, it’s because poly people aren’t only attracted to the right gender.

gay/lesbian people are relatively more powerful within the lgbtqa community, but poly people don’t exist solely within the lgbtqa community. they also exist in society as a whole, and that is where the sites of oppression/privilege operate. if you want to slice up society and pretend that within those microcosms you can talk about power dynamics while ignoring that you are all under the thumb of the straights and that’s why that community exists in the first place, we lose all sense of what makes privilege and oppression analysis meaningful. what about the world of writing? do traditional publishers have big five privilege? are self-published writers oppressed? what about fandom? do shippers of large pairings oppress shippers of rarepairs because they control the groups that organize conventions? do i have johnlock privilege? (in the mcu fandom right now stucky shippers are beginning to enact reverse shippism, and stony shippers are entrenching hard.)

so why does it matter so much? fine, you say, monosexual privilege isn’t real. what we’re talking about is really biphobia (or polyphobia if you want to be more accurate about it). why can’t we just call it monosexual privilege even if it’s factually wrong?

because language has power. by pushing back against imaginary “monosexual privilege,” poly people are diverting attention from the real issues of homophobia which affect our everyday lives while also making it much more difficult for us to articulate what biphobia/polyphobia actually looks like because we are framing it as something it’s not. yes, we need to have hard conversations about biphobia and bi erasure in the lgbtqa community. but framing it in terms of “monosexual privilege” does two things – first, it’s so fucking ridiculous that even polysexuals (me!) stop listening, and second, it stops those conversations. rightfully-angry-but-ultimately-very-misguided polysexual bloggers end invitations to start conversations about how to stop poly erasure with “fuck monosexuals” which is severely unhelpful.

this is especially important for us bi woc. i am much more likely to have a common experience with a poor chinese-american lesbian than i am with a rich white bisexual man, and it is so much more important that i maintain solidarity with the former than the latter. the politics of “monosexual privilege” throws up barriers to the kind of organizing and community-building we really need to be doing.

but it doesn’t have to! you say. well…no. but it does. look at how queer discouse has changed since “monosexual privilege” started gaining widespread traction. there are cases where the emotional charge that accompanies words like “oppression” and “privilege” are useful and necessary. this is not one of those.

in short, the “monosexual privilege” question fundamentally misunderstands what privilege and oppression are, isn’t helpful for anyone, and derail discussions and issues that are rooted in reality. stop using it. stop being an asshole.

also, not-anonymous, you’re right in that some of the arguments people have been making against monosexual privilege in the past few days are kind of specious, but if you really must know, i haven’t been correcting them because it is much more important that we let the question of monosexual privilege die (which actually distracts from actual organizing and solidarity) than make sure everyone has a 100% clear view of What’s Happening With The Gays. they’ll learn or they won’t. my participation in this whole mess isn’t to correct wrong people of any wrong ideas they may have, it’s to shut down a harmful idea and only that harmful idea. we can have that fight later, if you still want to.

sabrecmc replied to your post “you really oughta question what “free speech” means, and in which…”

People mistake the consequences of their speech for censorship all the time. Free speech is about the protection from the Government taking away your liberty or property for what you say or believe, not you being fired for being an asshat.

yes! thank you. it’s so important to focus on that – the consequences of their speech. i was talking in particular about universities; i hate all the articles i read about how students protesting speech which denies the humanity of others is “harmful to free speech,” “self-infantalizing” (actually a phrase used in the nytimes!), or whatever. you’re not getting fired because of political correctness, you’re getting fired because you drove someone whose well-being you are theoretically responsible for into a panic attack. we should reserve the right to fire people who refuse to consider the emotional and psychological health of their students! i don’t understand why this is controversial.

like drug addiction falls under the umbrella of ableism…so like rdj’s a rich-ass white man but please god don’t take your justifiable hate-on for rich-ass white men out on him in the form of defending this fucking asshole reporter who’s trying to exploit and leverage his mental health issues for…you know, the motivations of hollywood machinations elude me, but i’m guessing money

like i personally feel a moral obligation to vote because literally the life and future of my qpp depends on keeping obamacare extant but like…i can’t blame you if you know that voting democratic isn’t going to stop the genocide of your own family members and the idea of being complicit in your own destruction is horrifying to you

when your very life is in the crosshairs no matter what the outcome of an election is you definitely deserve better than being bombarded by emotional manipulation and flat-out imperialist cover-ups by people who can’t imagine that anything other than a utilitarian calculation of numbers could possibly be a valid moral and ethical choice

you really oughta question what “free speech” means, and in which contexts free speech  is a value that should be upheld. for example, workplaces are not a places for free speech; you can’t call your boss a controlling, capricious, top-of-the-line asshole and you shouldn’t be able to casually disregard the humanity of your colleagues.

“you’re denying my right to free speech” has been the refuge of people butthurt that they aren’t socially legitimated to hurt other people since “free speech” was invented.

hey y'all, because of a variety of reasons, including an incredibly poorly-timed migraine (that i am still actually somewhat experiencing), my poor life management skills, and my flight home today, i am only now able to access tumblr

as a result, this blog is basically becoming a ferguson blog for the next few hours, at least. if you have self-care reasons for wanting to avoid ferguson, i’ll be tagging everything with #breaking, so i suggest blacklisting that or temporarily unfollowing. if you don’t have self-care reasons for wanting to avoid ferguson but just feel uncomfortable because of white guilt reasons, please unfollow permanently.

peace out. stay safe, y'all.

well, that ~rigorous unsheltered intellectual environment~ of judith shulevitz’s college education certainly didn’t do much to broaden her ability to consider viewpoints other than her own (look at that selective quoting! brings editorial bias to an art form)

like she’s making some brave, unprecedented statement by saying that asking people to consider the impact of their words is anti-free speech

i wish there were, like, an archive of awful things people say, so that when you’re making a point and ignorant, blesssedly sheltered people are like, “BUT NO ONE SAYS THAT THO” you can point them towards it and watch them weep

i mean i would mod it myself but honestly i can barely keep up with real life well enough to work on this blog, and plus my mental state fluctuates so that on some days i can barely stand conflict, while on other days it’s what inspires me to keep going, and that’s just not conducive to keeping a good record

theawilford asked:

Very, very much appreciated your post commenting on what "queerplatonic" does and doesn't mean. One more question. If a relationship between two people who consider each other the most person in his/her life includes sex but not romantic feelings, does the word queerplatonic still apply? Or is a queerplatonic relationship one that by definition includes neither romance nor sex?

glad you liked. <3

i think of it like this: there is romantic love, and there is aromantic love (platonic love, because defining something in terms of what it is not is hugely problematic, but for the purposes of trying to answer your question, it’s helpful to think of them as not opposite tentacles, but two sides of the same tentacle).

romantic love can be sexual (what you’re used to seeing), or nonsexual (ace relationships).

platonic love can be sexual (friends with benefits), or nonsexual (what you’re used to seeing).

just as how the romantic relationship(s) that usually gets codified in the form of marriage is romantic love turned up to 11, as in this person is more than your bf/gf/nbf, this person is the #1 person in all the romantic annals of your heart, qp relationships are that with friendship — this person is more than your friend, this person is the #1 person in all the platonic annals of your heart. and just as the aforementioned über-romance can either be sexual or nonsexual, qp relationships can be sexual or non-sexual.

incidentally, just like you can also be madly, deeply, devotedly in love with more than one person (as in poly relationships), you can also have multiple qps, which is way more common, because for some reason society doesn’t tell us we have to have The One Friend the way it does with The One Romantic And Sexual Partner.

that’s just one (slightly queer) aromantic woman’s definition of qp relationships, though. my favorite blogs that post things about aro people and aro relationships are aromanticaardvark, aromanticnerd, fyeahqueerplatoniczucchinis, aroramblings, and aromanticadvice, so feel free to check in some or all of those places if you want to explore how other aro people have defined queer- or quasiplatonic relationships. mostly what i see though is encouraging people to adopt the label if they feel it’s helpful, and that there is no one correct political definition of these words — literally labels are for helping people cognitively organize their own experiences, and you can claim them and use them as long as you feel it helps.

(obviously in the context of the political advocacy for representation, “queerplatonic” takes on a whole host of new meanings and responsibilities – there are right and wrong ways to use the word in political contexts. but in real life, there is no “right” way to have a queerplatonic relationship, so, as long as you’re sincere and not being an allo asshole, there’s no right or wrong way to claim the word.)

something important to understand about the justice dept.’s report on ferguson (highly recommend reading the whole thing if you have time but it’s literally a hundred pages and i don’t blame you if you don’t) is that the extremely vivid description of a police force with no checks and no accountability is not unusual.

there are a dozen ferguson police departments – small, brimming over with white supremacy and ferocious greed, with little or no watchdog journalism focused on their activities – in every state.