social imaginary

anonymous asked:

Yeah disability comes with oppression. But it's a fact of life whether that exists or not. I'm disabled because some days I'm in screaming pain no matter how much society would adapt to fit me in it. That's life. Not oppression.

I should really put this in my faq but to clarify when I say disability is a social construction and the term for our oppression I do not mean that our differences and pain are imaginary

The social model tends to distinguish between disability and impairment, with disability being what is imposed on us for our impairments. There is various debate and discussion about all of this in sociological communities, what constitutes an impairment? Where does one end and the other begin? etc

But yeah some days your pain is too great to move and I am in no way invalidating that, but when society ostracises people who cant work and  punishes people who need days off and more time and care thats where disablement sets in

On trauma aftermaths that don't advance the plot

The way TV shows trauma can lead people to expect every reference to trauma to be a plot point. This can be isolating to people coping with the aftermaths of trauma. Sometimes people treat us as stories rather than as people. Sometimes, instead of listening to us, they put a lot of pressure on us to advance the plot they’re expecting.

On TV, triggers tend to be full audiovisual flashbacks that add something to the story. You see a vivid window into the character’s past, and something changes. On TV, trauma aftermaths are usually fascinating. Real life trauma aftermaths are sometimes interesting, but also tend to be very boring to live with.

On TV, triggers tend to create insight. In real life, they’re often boring intrusions interfering with the things you’d rather be thinking about. Sometimes knowing darn well where they come from doesn’t make them go away. Sometimes it’s more like: Seriously? This again?

On TV, when trauma is mentioned, it’s usually a dramatic plot point that happens in a moment. In real life, trauma aftermaths are a mundane day-to-day reality that people live with. They’re a fact of life — and not necessarily the most important one at all times. People who have experienced trauma do other things too. They’re important, but not the one and only defining characteristic of who someone is. And things that happened stay important even when you’re ok. Recovery is not a reset. Mentioning the past doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in crisis.

On TV, when a character mentions trauma, or gets triggered in front of someone, it’s usually a dramatic moment. It changes their life, or their relationship with another character, or explains their backstory, or something. In real life, being triggered isn’t always a story, and telling isn’t always a turning point. Sometimes it’s just mentioning something that happened to be relevant. Sometimes it’s just a mundane instance of something that happens from time to time.

Most people can’t have a dramatic transformative experience every time it turns out that their trauma matters. Transformative experiences and moments of revelation exist, but they’re not the end all and be all of trauma aftermaths. Life goes on, and other things matter too. And understanding what a reaction means and where it came from doesn’t always make it go away. Sometimes, it takes longer and has more to do with skill-building than introspection. Sometimes it doesn’t go away.

On a day to day level, it’s often better to be matter-of-fact about aftermaths. It can be exhausting when people see you as a story and expect you to advance the plot whenever they notice some effect of trauma. Pressure to perform narratives about healing doesn’t often help people to make their lives better. Effect support involves respecting someone as a complex human, including the boring parts.

The aftermath of trauma is a day-to-day reality. It affects a lot of things, large and small. It can be things like being too tired to focus well in class because nightmares kept waking you up every night this week. TV wants that to be a dramatic moment where the character faces their past and gets better. In real life, it’s often a day where you just do your best to try and learn algebra anyway. Because survivors do things besides be traumatized and think about trauma. Sometimes it’s not a story. Sometimes it’s just getting through another day as well as possible.

A lot of triggers are things like being unable to concentrate on anything interesting because some kinds of background noises make you feel too unsafe to pay attention to anything else. For the zillionth time.  Even though you know rationally that they’re not dangerous. Even though you know where they come from, and have processed it over and over. Even if you’ve made a lot of progress in dealing with them, even if they’re no longer bothersome all the time. For most people, recovery involves a lot more than insight. The backstory might be interesting, but being tired and unable to concentrate is boring.

Triggers can also mean having to leave an event and walk home by yourself while other people are having fun, because it turns out that it hurts too much to be around pies and cakes. Or having trouble finding anything interesting to read that isn’t intolerably triggering. Or having trouble interacting with new people because you’re too scared or there are too many minefields. Or being so hypervigilant that it’s hard to focus on anything. No matter how interesting the backstory is, feeling disconnected and missing out on things you wanted to enjoy is usually boring.

When others want to see your trauma as a story, their expectations sometimes expand to fill all available space. Sometimes they seem to want everything to be therapy, or want everything to be about trauma and recovery.

When others want every reference to trauma to be the opening to a transformative experience, it can be really hard to talk about accommodations. For instance, it gets hard to say things like:

  • “I’m really tired because of nightmares” or 
  • “I would love to go to that event, but I might need to leave because of the ways in which that kind of thing can be triggering” or 
  • “I’m glad I came, but I can’t handle this right now” or
  • “I’m freaking out now, but I’ll be ok in a few minutes” or 
  • “I need to step out — can you text me when they stop playing this movie?”

It can also be hard to mention relevant experiences. There are a lot of reasons to mention experiences other than wanting to process, eg:

  • “Actually, I have experience dealing with that agency”
  • “That’s not what happens when people go to the police, in my experience, what happens when you need to make a police report is…”
  • “Please keep in mind that this isn’t hypothetical for me, and may not be for others in the room as well.”

Or any number of other things.

When people are expecting a certain kind of story, they sometimes look past the actual person. And when everyone is looking past you in search of a story, it can be very hard to make connections.

It helps to realize that no matter what others think, your story belongs to you. You don’t have to play out other people’s narrative expectations. It’s ok if your story isn’t what others want it to be. It’s ok not to be interesting. It’s ok to have trauma reactions that don’t advance the plot. And there are people who understand that, and even more people who can learn to understand that.

It’s possible to live a good life in the aftermath of trauma. It’s possible to relearn how to be interested in things. It’s possible to build space you can function in, and to build up your ability to function in more spaces. It’s often possible to get over triggers. All of this can take a lot of time and work, and can be a slow process. It doesn’t always make for a good story, and it doesn’t always play out the way others would like it to. And, it’s your own personal private business. Other people’s concern or curiosity does not obligate you to share details.

Survivors and victims have the right to be boring. We have the right to deal with trauma aftermaths in a matter-of-fact way, without indulging other people’s desires for plot twists. We have the right to own our own stories, and to keep things private. We have the right to have things in our lives that are not therapy; we have the right to needed accommodations without detailing what happened and what recovery looks like. Neither traumatic experiences nor trauma aftermaths erase our humanity.

We are not stories, and we have no obligation to advance an expected plot. We are people, and we have the right to be treated as people. Our lives, and our stories, are our own.

The projection of danger onto the figure of the stranger allows violence to be figured as exceptional and extraordinary – as coming from outside the protective walls of the home, family, community or nation. As a result, the discourse of stranger danger involves a refusal to recognise how violence is structured by, and legitimated through, the formation of home and community as such. […] The notion of violence as domestic … remains a difficult one for the social imaginary: the violent husband is then read as a monster underneath, as a stranger passing as husband, rather than as a husband exercising the power that is already legitimated through hegemonic forms of masculinity.
—  Sara Ahmed, Strange Encounters (36)
Ableist hostility disguised as friendliness

Some people relate to people with disabilities in a dangerous and confusing way. They see themselves as helpers, and at first they seem to really like the person. Then the helper suddenly become aggressively hostile, and angry about the disabled person’s limitations or personality (even though they have not changed in any significant way since they started spending time together). Often, this is because the helper expected their wonderful attention to erase all of the person’s limitations, and they get angry when it doesn’t.

The logic works something like this:

  • The helper thinks that they’re looking past the disability and seeing the “real person” underneath.
  • They expect that their kindness  will allow the “real person” to emerge from the shell of disability.
  • They really like “real person” they think they are seeing, and they’re excited about their future plans for when that person emerges.
  • But the “real person” is actually figment of their imagination.

The disabled person is already real:

  • The helper doesn’t like this already-real disabled person very much
  • The helper ignores most of what the already-real person actually says, does, thinks, and feels.
  • They’re looking past the already-real person, and seeing the ghost of someone they’d like better.

This ends poorly:

  • The already-real person never turns into the ghost the helper is imagining
  • Disability stays important; it doesn’t go away when a helper tries to imagine it out of existence
  • Neither do all of the things the already-real disabled person thinks, feels, believes, and decides
  • They are who they are; the helper’s wishful thinking doesn’t turn them into someone else
  • The helper eventually notices that the already-real person isn’t becoming the ghost that they’ve been imagining
  • When the helper stop imagining the ghost, they notice that the already-real person is constantly doing, saying, feeling, believing, and deciding things that the helper hates
  • Then the helper gets furious and becomes openly hostile

The helper has actually been hostile to the disabled person the whole time

  • They never wanted to spend time around the already-real disabled person; they wanted someone else
  • (They probably didn’t realize this)
  • At first, they tried to make the already-real disabled person go away by imagining that they were someone else
  • (And by being kind to that imaginary person)
  • When they stop believing in the imaginary person, they become openly hostile to the real person

Tl;dr Sometimes ableist hostility doesn’t look like hostility at first. Sometimes people who are unable or unwilling to respect disabled people seem friendly at first. They try to look past disability, and they interact with an imaginary nondisabled person instead of the real disabled person. They’re kind to the person they’re imagining, even though they find the real person completely unacceptable. Eventually they notice the real person and become openly hostile. The disabled person’s behavior has not changed; the ableist’s perception of it has. When someone does this to you, it can be very confusing — you were open about your disability from the beginning, and it seemed like they were ok with that, until they suddenly weren’t. If this has happened to you, you are not alone.

sonictoaster replied to your post “Star Trek: DS9 Notes - S5, Vol. 3”


sherlocks-freebitch replied to your post “Star Trek: DS9 Notes - S5, Vol. 3”

SUCH an awesome two parter. And yeah, a hell of a lot to unpack in that death scene.

And unpack it I now WILL! I made it through those episodes alive so now I get to go back, ahaha, that’s how that works, apparently.

And this is gonna be related to Julian & Garak being each other’s favorite trope, because all of it is. Because: the way they express intimacy with each other is nearly always through performance. Oh it goes so deep, and we will follow it.

1. Pretense

I’ve had “the thing about pretense” jingling in my Loose thoughts doc for a while, so first let’s finally do that. The Thing is, Garak and Bashir are pretty unique on Deep Space 9 in how much they appreciate and even respect a good pretense. And we’re talking maybe all the definitions here, the social masking and the imaginary inventions and the affectations, too.

They’re both showy sorts of people on their own, prone to really delivering the full length of their sentences and playfully feigning things. So its no wonder then that as soon as they met they were dancing around “my dear Doctor” and “my dear Mr. Garak”-ing each other, having a grand old time and confusing the hell out of most everyone around them. Because they’re both the type, it turns out, who doesn’t need to trust a person to enjoy them — an outlook entirely foreign to someone like Kira Nerys, or Benjamin Sisko to a good extent. Or Miles O'Brien, which is probably part of why his relationship with Julian didn’t take off until later, after Miles began to realize that this fancy idiot Enacting Friendliness with suspicious cards like Garak, wasn’t himself an untrustworthy person.

But Julian and Garak immediately recognized that they had a shared language of Pretense, and so were able to just step directly into playing some coy elaborate mashup game of Two Truth Or Dares And A Lie. The game was the relationship – and as it would turn out, it would also be the trust.

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MBTI insiders and outsiders

ISTJ: Is too busy being productive to worry about whether or not they are an outsider.
ISFJ: Is not an outsider.
ESTJ: Is too busy organizing the world to worry about whether or not they fit in to it.
ESFJ: Is not an outsider. Not in the least bit. Is the most inside insider to ever grace the earth. Creates the standard of “inside”.
ISTP: Is an outsider. Loves it. Would not have it any other way. Ew, people.
ISFP: Good at pretending not to be an outsider. Is one, but good at hiding it when it’s not convenient. Very sympathetic to outsiders who can’t hide it.
ESTP: Forget society. Let’s go on an adventure. (Is an insider and doesn’t realize it or care.)
ESFP: Fun. All the time, all the places. Can fit in anywhere. Has the ability to change the atmosphere in the room.
INFP: Is an outsider. Does not want to be an insider. Almost hates the idea more than they deviate from it.
INFJ: Is so much of a chameleon that it makes them the most outside outsider. Not that most people would even notice.
ENFP: Loves everyone. Is an insider. But loves the outside more.
ENFJ: Works well as an insider. Identifies as outsider because of their ability to relate to them, but is not really an outsider.
INTP: They have bigger things to worry about than imaginary social constructs. Like quantum physics. And black holes. And… (Is an outsider)
INTJ: Is an outsider. Does not try to hide it. People aren’t worth the effort. Moving on.
ENTP: Argues equally well with everyone regardless of social labels. Shifts around. Does not conform.
ENTJ: “Of course I’m an outsider. Do you see everyone else ruling the world? No, being the best is hardly “in”.

Women in our culture are legitimately conditioned to compare themselves to animals whenever they feel they’ve crossed an imaginary social line of food consumption. Body shaming and fat shaming is misogyny. Full stop.

Your feelings aren't your crush's or squish's obligation

So this is a common trope in movies and TV shows:

  • A (usually male) character has a crush on a (usually female) character
  • She’s not interested and makes this clear
  • He devotes massive amounts of time and energy to figuring out out to communicate the depth of his feelings to her
  • This is shown as sympathetic
  • With the implication that if she just ~understood~ how he feels, then she’d realize that she should be with him
  • Sometimes this eventually works

This trope is really creepy, and not something you should do in real life, because:

  • Someone can understand your feelings about them perfectly clearly and still not be interested in dating you (or in other forms of emotional intimacy)
  • Feelings are not automatically reciprocated
  • If someone says they’re not interested, that is a decision they get to make. It’s not ok to pressure them to change their mind
  • Grand romantic gestures are only good if they’re welcome. If you’re repeatedly invading someones boundaries and disregarding their consent, that’s not romance, that’s stalking

A couple of examples:

  • Fry and Leela in Futurma

Or, in other words:

  • If she* said no, it doesn’t mean you need to find a perfect new way of expressing just how you feel about her.
  • She probably knows.
  • That doesn’t mean she has to reciprocate. Her feelings matter, and they don’t have to match yours.
  • She can understand perfectly well that you want her, and still be uninterested.
  • You can’t just rub your feelings on her and hope they stick.
  • (*Likewise with other gender configurations. The target of this kind of thing is almost always female in the media, and more often than not in real life. But people of all genders do this to people of all genders, and it’s never ok. Stalking and romantic coercion don’t become ok when they’re done in ways that subvert gender stereotypes)
  • (This is also the case for forms of non-romantic intimacy. Your desire to be someone’s best friend is not their obligation.)

tl;dr: If someone says no to dating you, or to other forms of emotional intimacy, it’s important that you take no for an answer. Trying over and over to ~explain how you feel about them~ will not magically cause them to reciprocate. They can know perfectly well how you feel, and still not feel the same way. Stalking, harassment and other forms of attempts to coerce intimacy don’t become ok when you have strong feelings.

I think a mistake that a lot of folks make when approaching the notion of deconstructing gender is that they conflate “socially constructed” with “imaginary”. The two are by no means synonymous.

Yes, gender is socially constructed, but it’s socially constructed in the way that languages are socially constructed, or that economic systems are socially constructed. It’s no more realistic to expect folks to simply opt out of gender roles than is to expect them to simply opt out of using money, or speaking English.

By all means, we should work toward a world without gender roles - it’s a laudable goal. But at the same time, we have to understand that most people do not have the option to just not participate in the institutions of gender, and accordingly, we must recognise the need for solutions that work in the world we actually live in.

You don’t get to throw actual, suffering people under the bus because their needs don’t have a place in your purely hypothetical social framework. Saying “I don’t care about your pain because people like you don’t exist in my perfect world” is monstrous.

The Satyricon through Different Lenses, Part II: Petronius the Feminist?

After analyzing four separate scenes from the Satyricon, using the feminist philosophy of Luce Irigaray as a hermeneutic lens, I believe that Petronius, underneath the picaresque facade, depicts various ways in which women carry out subversive acts––whether successfully or not––in order to create a truly feminine space for themselves.

At first glance, Luce Irigaray and Petronius seem like complete opposites in terms of both purpose of writing and ideology. First consider the sexual culture within which both are writing: the male dominated representational economy of the Romans affected every facet of public life; it required both men and women to be constantly aware of how they were performing their masculinity or femininity, and that it met the socially held definitions, otherwise they risked being ostracized by being labeled an “other”. Furthermore, the prominence of this theme––aside from signaling how central issues of sex are for the Romans––allows for the dissection of both the ancient and the modern attitudes towards sexual difference, two epochs that have been so insistent on maintaining norms in regards to sexuality and gender. Moreover, the patriarchal economy of representation is palpable within Roman culture and literature, which gives us an opportunity to apply Irigaray’s concepts to a product coming directly out of such a culture.

The characters in Petronius’ Satyricon are in flux in regards to their sexual identity. Some are attempting to perform traditional masculine identity but fail miserably, and in the process of doing so deny others­­––namely women––the space to define themselves apart from male interference (Fortunata and Scintilla). Others invert the structure of power, and thereby women become the upholders of a phallic economy while men assume the role of passivity associated with traditional femininity (Quartilla). However, the act of inversion can be deployed as a subversive strategy in order to affect the authority of the masculine discourse and cause dis-ease. Further on in the Satyricon an intersubjective dialogue is achieved between a man and a woman; however, their encounter ultimately fails because they are both influenced by the only economy that exists: the phallic economy, the active-passive dichotomy (Circe). Finally, in a story within the story, one woman is able to resurrect herself by deliberately transgressing against the phallogocentric system (The Widow of Ephesus). With Luce Irigaray as our hermeneutic anchor, it becomes easier to see that Petronius was fully aware of the situations within which women, and men, were forced to deal with––no matter whether it be acceptingly or subversively, for both strategies are shown––on account of their gendered place within a patriarchal society. To be even more specific, and perhaps more bold, Petronius wrote sympathetically in regards to societally subjugated women and depicted ways in which they may have asserted (deliberately subverted?) their difference whether successfully or not.

We must give precedence to the female reader of Petronius, both ancient and modern, and how these scenes affect them. The embedded nature of the story of the Widow of Ephesus reflects, as a microcosmic example, the nature of the Satyricon at large: that hidden behind each scene there resides the female dilemma and the ways in which she handles such an impasse. The widow, by following the masculine imaginary of social propriety, by reinforcing normativity, by fulfilling her social obligation goes to her death seen by all as an exemplary woman. However, the widow saves herself from death by transgressing against the societal norms expected of her. Doing what is expected of her results in death, breaking out of that expectation is met with renewed life and the power to save others (the soldier on duty) by a continuation of transgressions. The female readers of Petronius will find a writer attuned to their collective situation in society if they simply look behind the clever facade.

“I am a girl. I am transgender. I am Jazz.”

They’re making a show about this. 

I shit you not, my brothers and sisters, they’re making a show about this on TLC. Based on the fact that these parents were wrong about the child’s entire personality and aesthetic taste being based on its genitals. And they’re surprised. 

We’re an ordinary family with extraordinary circumstances.” They as these supposed progressives put their daughter on a TLC sideshow for all to gawk at right after they’re finished watching a show about little people. 

‘In order to show we accept her identity, we’re going to talk endlessly on national television about how surprised we were when a child defied the laws dictated by her penis and began wearing dresses.’

Because that’ll make her feel normal, right? 

Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (2007)
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Charles Taylor’s tour de force of intellectual history describes, over the course of over eight hundred meticulous pages, the tectonic transformations that gave rise to our “secular age.” How did we in the west, Taylor asks, disembed from a social imaginary in which it was utterly unthinkable not to believe in God, and come to embrace a new imaginary in which the belief in God represents just one among many options? Like other scholars, Taylor insists that secularism connotes not simply the retreat of religion nor the rise of reason in modernity. Instead, he argues that secularism refers to the closing of the sense of porousness between humankind and divinity—a porousness that medievals knew so well.

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