i am glad that

i don’t know what kind of phase i was going through from 2015 to 2016 but it was Embarrassing™

Hierarchy of Ube

Most of us guessed that Navy would end up betraying everyone by the end of the episode. 

I don’t think most of us expected that having her go from this:

to this:

would be really good for Lapis’ mental health.

And despite certain people’s fears about certain story boarders… this was actually very much in character for her. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Lapis has always been cynical, even in her pre mirror days. After she escaped she went from cynical to detached and apathetic. Not an unexpected defense mechanism for someone who was trapped in an inanimate object for 6,000 years. But she has made progress. She trusts Steven and Peridot. Enough not only to express her concerns, but to essentially make a confession.

Life on Earth is really confusing. It took me a long time to get use to it. I’m still getting use to it.

Given everything that’s happened to her on Earth, it’s only natural that she’s having a hard time adjusting. But she’s just confessed her biggest insecurity: she knows she’s having a hard time dealing with what she’s been through, while having to get use to to living a normal life on the planet where her greatest traumas happened. Before the rebellion she would have done her job and left for the next planet, Earth having been a distant memory by this time. But now she can never leave. Earth has to become home. 

She wants to move on, but feels guilty about how difficult actually doing that is.

So here comes this I-Insta-Love-All-Things-Earth ruby, who seems freakishly well adjusted from the moment she crashes face first into the planet. Never mind that she was lied to not once, but twice, by the crystal gems. Never mind that she was blasted out into space and abandoned while they stole her ship. All is instantly forgiven and she just wants to be a part of their happy family.

Worse yet? The people Lapis cares most about just buy it. They go right along with it as though Navy’s behavior is perfectly normal. It took time for Lapis to even begin to be okay with the idea of living in Earth and forgiving the crystal gems- she’s still working on it, and it’s painful. She’s worked so hard for every inch of progress she’s made, and here’s someone who’s seemingly able to move on the same day they got to Earth.

I just don’t get it. Why is it so easy for her when it was so hard for me? 

So when the perfectly well adjusted Navy turned out to be a gleeful sociopath  gleefully hell bent on revenge, everything fell into place.

Navy’s sudden but inevitable betrayal was the best thing to happen for Lapis’ mental health to date.

So what’s the take away from this? 1) People react differently to trauma. 2) Just because someone seems well adjusted doesn’t mean they are. 3) It’s okay to take a long time to heal from your traumas. It’s okay for it to be a constant work in progress. It’s okay not to be okay. 

And at the end of the day, that realization can almost feel like happiness. 

4

“i don’t have the tears to cry anymore. but…i at least have to keep yu safe” // “i promise you, mika. even if i have to sell out the whole world to do it, i’ll make sure you’re turned back into a human.”

Submission: As a queer, nonbinary person and an animal educator, I’ve thought a lot about the issues recently being discussed on this blog and I wanted to share some of that here. I’ve tried to be as calm and clear as possible, but this is an emotional issue for me so it might be a bit emphatic.

Serveral people in this discussion have mentioned already the problems with questioning the existence of bi/pan/trans/ace/aro animals, but not questioning the existance of straight, cis animals. You’ve made passing mentions to this, but I think it’s actually really important to step back and reframe the entire discussion in this context, if you want to be fair and accurate both to the animals and to the people emotionally affected by this issue.

In particular, this passage: “However, the animal science world uses gendered pronouns to denote physical sex in an animal, because that is how efficient and accurate communication about the animal is ensured” raises some massive red flags for me. Yes, it’s important to clearly communicate with your vet about the body parts an animal does and doesn’t have, for ease of treatment. However, pronouns are far from the only way to do this, and definitely not the most efficient. The pronoun “she” doesn’t tell you if a dog is unaltered, spayed, in heat, pregnant, or menopausal - information your vet definitely needs to know.
It’s the work of half a moment to state “my dog is a spayed female” at the start of an appointment, regardless of what pronouns you use after that. In fact, many trans* people have already learned to talk with their doctors in specific terms about their hormone levels and organs they do or don’t have, and cis people need to catch up. Part of the reason this is such an emotional issue for trans people is that the argument, “your doctor needs to know the gender you were assigned at birth! Therefore everyone you meet needs to know, and it should be on your ID, in case you get in an accident and we have to tell the doctor!” is often invoked. (I wish that was an exaggeration. It’s not. This is in spite of the fact that, as a trans* person, knowing the gender you were assigned at birth is more likely to lead to false assumptions about your health and biology than true ones.) So yes, your doctor needs to know about your biology and your vet needs to know about your pet’s, but gender pronouns really aren’t the way to do it.

Outside the vet’s office, insisting on cisgender-equivalent pronouns for your pet leads to a world of problems. I volunteer at an animal shelter, and I see people misinterpret animal’s actions through their percieved, anthropomorphic gender roles constantly. They’re more eager to read aggression from a male animal and affection from a female, which has the potential to lead to massive problems, since both of those behaviors can be dangerous to misinterpret. I would personally argue for the stance that people would be more able to accurately interpret the behavior of animals if we refered to all non-human animals with gender-neutral pronouns, to more accurately reflect the fact that animals do not have gender. Even in social animals that do have sex-differentied social roles, those are completely different from human gender roles and should not be confused with them by the use of human gendered pronouns. If the biological sex of an animal matters in a particular context, you can mention it in that context, rather than applying it all the time as though it was part of their identity.

I do understand that some people find it reassuring to observe that the social roles of biologically male or female animals are different from those of humans, and that they too can be as nurturing as a male penguin or as fierce as a female hyena. So I understand that sometimes people will want to refer to those animals as male or female, in the same way that I want to refer to a cuttlefish as genderfluid because it makes me feel happy and validated. I just want cis people to understand that those interpretations are exactly equivalent.

As for how this perspective affects the emotions of humans impacted by this issue: claiming that gendered pronouns are a form of scientific terminology that accurately reflects the biological sex of an animal is, intentionally or not, supporting the idea that there are biologically and scientifically two genders. It gives fuel to people who try to force that mindset onto humans, and believe me, they use it. I’ve met many people who become enraged if I use the wrong pronouns for their dog, but refuse to respect my identity and pronouns. The attatchment of gendered pronouns to biological sex in non-humans is absolutely reflected back into humans by most of the public, whether that is your intention as an educator or not.

Using gender pronouns as scientific terminology also muddies issues significantly as soon as you leave the field of mammals, where it quickly becomes clear that a male/female dichotomy is far from absolute. Do I use female pronouns for the hermaphroditic flatworm who lost the penis-fencing match and is now carrying eggs? Will those pronouns still apply after the eggs have hatched? What if they win the penis-fencing match next time and contribute sperm instead?
How about a worker bee, who is genetically female but has not developed reproductive organs and plays no reproductive role?
Do I use male pronouns for a fish who was born genetically male, but isn’t able to engage in sexual behavior and fulfill the male sexual role until mating is initiated by the supermale? How about for the supermale, who is genetically female and used to be reproductively female but has since morphed to be reproductively male due to being the largest fish in the school? Is it even accurate to say “genetically female” of a species where both major reproductive roles are carried out by the same genetic category of animals, and those born “biologically” male only reproduce at all by swimming into the middle of the mating dance, ejaculating, and hoping for the best?

A similar issue exists with the assumption that animals are straight. I’ve seen some cringe-worthy anthropomorphization of male/female pairs of animals, including calling them “married,” referring to them as being “in love,” and a lot of analogies to human married-couple behavior, but I’ve never seen this criticized or significantly discussed as an issue of anthropomorphization. But every time I see a post about lesbian birds or trans fish, this issue comes up. I don’t think that animal educators are doing this on purpose, but I do think it is an indicator that many animal educators have not sufficiently deeply challenged the cultural narrative that straight and cis are “normal” but queer and trans* are “debatable” and should be challenged and argued about. 

Science is an ever-changing field, and scientific terminology becomes outdated and is changed as we realize that it reflects our social assumptions more accurately than in reflects reality. The terms we use to discuss sex, gender, pair-bonding, and mating behavior are all deeply intertwined with human social assumptions of cisgender, heterosexual, monogamous life-time bonds that are simultaneously romantic/affectionate and sexual in nature. Scientific communication would be improved by dropping those assumptions and the terminology that comes with them.

I don’t think I have much to add to this - it’s really well thought out and well said - so I’m going to boost it as is as part of the continued discussion. 

Scientific communication would absolutely be improved by changing the terminology to something more accurate. I don’t know if it’s something that would currently be feasible - because of a myriad of things that make attempting that type of change across so many cultures and languages and historical/social contexts difficult - but I definitely support the idea. 

9

“Just what is an ‘ideal’? if you ask me, the answer is clear. It is a word written on the cover of my notebook. My notebook is omnipotent. It guides me as a principle, as a master, as a prophet. At times, it becomes a weapon and also a key.”

Kunikida Doppo for @kunikidaz​  ٩(◕‿◕)۶
Happy Birthday Chrys-san ♡( ◡‿◡ )


Season 4, the case of the missing Watson, and why BBC John doesn’t love Sherlock

So yesterday I was reading @silentauroriamthereal‘s Best of Three, again (it’s a really good story!). And I realised that the John in that story is pretty much a total dick. He’s incredibly patronising and self-congratulatory about being such a wonderful friend to Sherlock etc etc etc, all the while being actually unimaginably cruel to Sherlock.

And I left a comment to the effect that I loved the story but hated John, and she very kindly replied that she thought it was pretty in character and I had this absolute oh my god moment because she’s bloody right, isn’t she?

And somewhere between Season 4 and Best of Three and SilentAuror’s comment, I think the scales sort of fell from my eyes with regards to John and the show. It’s not that Season 4 ruined John. Season 4 was the logical continuation of where they had taken the character, arguably from the second episode. Go back and look at the way John talks about and treats Sherlock, all the way back to TBB. Try to reconcile the way John talks to and about Sherlock with the way Watson talks to and about Holmes.

Season 4 John is not out of character. Not for BBC John. It’s extreme, but it’s not actually out of character. We think it is, but I think that we have good reason for that. In my specific case, I knew and loved the canon long before BBC Sherlock came on the scene. I know Watson, and I know how he feels about Holmes. So when John acted the way he did in Season 4, I thought it was awful, and terrible, and it came as a shock to me. Before Season 4, when John acted in ways that Watson would not have, I was like “well, maybe he’s just having a bad day’, but Season 4 made me realise that Watson hasn’t been having bad days, Watson has never been here at all.

We think that John is better and wiser and kinder than he is because we spend more time with the wiser, kinder versions of John Watson that we see in the canon and in fanfiction. We’ve been blinded by those Watsons to the truth of John’s character in the show.

And that leads me to another conclusion. BBC’s John doesn’t love Sherlock. We think he does, because Watson loves Holmes, and whether you think that it’s platonic or romantic or sexual or whatever, you can’t deny that there is love there, but John? He doesn’t love Sherlock.

I think he wants Sherlock. I think he’s addicted to Sherlock. To the cases and the life they lead and the danger and all of it. And I think that, like any addict, he hates Sherlock and everything that comes with him, and hates that he needs him. And that’s why the morgue scene happens. Because John, unlike practically every other Watson in history, does not love Sherlock Holmes. Because John wishes that he had never met him and wishes that he could live without him, and knows that as long as Sherlock is alive, he will never, ever be able to leave him for good.

Which means that yes, they really did do TPLoSH all over again, with a gay Holmes desperately in love with Watson, who doesn’t love him back. Except they dialled it up to 11, because everything has to be bigger and louder and hurt more, and instead of a straight Watson who still loves his Holmes, they have given us a John Watson of ambiguous sexuality who not only does not love Sherlock, but actively despises him.

(I also have some thoughts about how Sherlock has been moving toward becoming Holmes over the course of the series, while John moves further and further away from being Watson, but I’ll save that for another time.)