society taught me

Why I need Chicana feminism

Because I was taught to stay away from certain styles because they were too “mexican”. With phrases like “the bigger the hoop, the bigger the hole” when I loved wearing big earrings. Being told that red hair against my brown skin looked “ghetto” instead of fierce and bold. Wearing stylish flannels like the pretty pastel haired girls on tumblr and being told I look like a “chola”. Working hard to get rid of my slang because society taught me that it was “unflattering”. That bright red lips were too much. That my natural intense brows are now a makeup “fad”. When in reality all this shit was made up by people that want to put us down for claiming our own identity. 

  • them: why do you have so many gay ships?
  • me: because the female characters are so poorly and/or problematically written, because there sometimes aren't any female characters at all, and because while female emotional fluency is seen as an expected norm, society has taught me to romanticize male emotional fluency as exceptional and special and rare. now pls leave me alone so that I can live in my imaginary world where men actually talk about feelings

I am autistic.

Society has taught me that it is my job to make you, non-autistic people, comfortable.

Through rigorous, oppressive, ableist training I have become rather skilled at pretending to be non-autistic in public. I can put on a decent show for you. But this is not real and it is not permanent.

When I am tired, stressed, overstimulated, in sensory overload, or just plain out of spoons, I lose the ability to pretend to be “normal.” I rock and I flap and I stare and I ask “rude” questions and I misunderstand social situations and I infodump about stuff. I am told that this makes non-autistics uncomfortable.

Tough.

The whole world was designed for you in mind. I will not set myself on fire to keep you warm. It is not my job to make you comfortable.

I am Autistic. Let me be.

Do you know what else was great about Beauty and the Beast? When Belle turns down Gaston, she doesn’t give some bullshit reason why she can’t have dinner with him to spare his feelings. He asks her to have dinner, she says no, he asks if she’s busy, and SHE SAYS NO and walks away. 

There was none of this “lemme make up an excuse because this guy is making me uncomfortable and society has taught me to spare a man’s feelings so he won’t possibly harm me” bullshit.

I loved Belle and Bill Condon and DISNEY so much JUST FOR THAT.

A Little Something Nice

I really don’t like my fast food job. I hate dealing with strangers, smiling all day while repeating the same questions wears me out, my job is completely worthless to society, has taught me no useful life skills, and I’m easily replaceable. 

I didn’t think I was going to be able to get much for anyone for Christmas this year, since I’m pregnant and my husband is a student and we both work in food service. But since the holiday season started, more customers have been tipping (it’s fast food, so there’s no expectation to tip), and it’s really added up. I’m now able to make/buy a little something for my close family and friends, plus we don’t have to sweat over the gas money to drive up and see my parents! 

I complain about customers a lot, and I really do dislike my job, but I have to admit I really appreciate the generosity of these strangers, it’s really made a difference for us this year. Happy holidays ^.^

Why Samurai Jack is important to me as an Japanese American

When I was a child it was hard growing up and it still is, Samurai Jack was one of the only forms of media that showed an Asian person besides Mulan. It was so cool to see a heroic Asian character that was selfless and put the needs of others above his own, I wanted to be like him.

But even though he was kind and compassionate he was tough and could fight and I admired that, I wish there are more characters like Jack. I was honestly so excited when I heard there would be an end to this amazing character’s adventure.

Samurai Jack taught me to be proud of my culture and not to be ashamed of it like society has taught me to be, I embrace my culture with pride now Samurai Jack has honestly changed my life in many ways.

Even though there are more Asian characters in the mainstream media now I like to think Jack will always be my favorite and I look forward to the rest of season 5

Originally posted by myfavoritecartoons

nytimes.com
The Future of Privacy

By: William Gibson
NY Times, 12/6/2016

This is an article from Turning Points, a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.

Turning Point: Apple resists the F.B.I. in unlocking an iPhone in the San Bernardino terrorism case.

I’ve never been able to fit the concepts of privacy, history and encryption together in a satisfying way, though it continues to seem that I should. Each concept has to do with information; each can be considered to concern the public and the private; and each involves aspects of society, and perhaps particularly digital society. But experience has taught me that all I can hope to do with these three concepts is demonstrate the problems that considering them together causes.

Privacy confuses me, beyond my simplest understanding, which is that individuals prefer, to different degrees, that information about them not be freely available to others. I desire privacy myself, and I understand why other individuals want it. But when the entity desiring privacy is a state, a corporation or some other human institution, my understanding of privacy becomes confused.

While it’s true that states and corporations often desire privacy, they just as often desire that I myself have less privacy. What does it mean, in an ostensible democracy, for the state to keep secrets from its citizens? The idea of the secret state seems antithetical to democracy, since its citizens, the voters, can’t know what their government is doing. Thereby hang the countless conspiracy theories of our day, many of them supposing that we possess far less privacy than we actually do. Advocates of the secret state, wishing to comfort us, sometimes praise a rough and ready transparency: If you have nothing to hide and you trust your government, what can you possibly have to fear? Except that one can just as readily ask: If you have nothing to hide, what do you really have, aside from the panoptic attention of a state, which itself keeps secrets?

Even this simple consideration of privacy confuses me. Is individual privacy and state privacy the same thing? Are they conceptually antithetical? Is it to a state’s advantage to permit its citizens to keep secrets? States desirous of citizens’ secrets have been known to torture their own people in the course of encouraging them to reveal what they know. We know this historically, and we know it still to be true, though whether we’ve personally been affected by it largely depends on where we happen to live.

I have ideas about history, more than I have about privacy, and it is here that my confusion deepens exponentially. I believe that our ability to create history, to transcend generations via our extraordinary prosthetic equivalents of memory, is the most remarkable thing about us. Unless we’ve forgotten something, lost it to history, we’ve yet to encounter another species capable of the same thing. Should the F.B.I. or other agencies be able to unlock the iPhones of terrorists? To be able to do so makes them able to unlock yours or mine. Should I be able to encrypt documents in such a way that the F.B.I. can’t decrypt them? If I can, terrorists can as well. (Not that I necessarily accept terrorism as the ultimate fulcrum in such arguments, but it’s become the one most often employed.)

In the short term, the span of a lifetime, many of us would argue for privacy, and therefore against transparency. But history, the long term, is transparency; it is the absence of secrets. So we are quite merciless, as historians, when it comes to the secrets of the past, the secrets of the dead. We come to know them with an intimacy impossible in their day. It would be unthinkable for us to turn away from their secrets, to allow the Iceman his privacy or to not scan beneath the bitumen to recover an Egyptian priestess’s tattoos.

And here, to complete my tangle of confusion, is encryption, no doubt aggravated by my inability to understand the concept mathematically. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the future is all too liable to have its way with today’s most sophisticated encryption technology. I imagine that the world’s best-kept secrets — those of both private citizens and state institutions — will one day sit in plain sight on whatever it is that our descendants display data on.

Privy to that information while looking back at us, our ancestors will know us differently than we currently know ourselves, just as we now know the Victorians quite differently from how they knew themselves. The past, our own past, which our descendants will see us as having emerged from, will not be the past from which we now see ourselves emerging, but a reinterpretation of it, based on subsequently available information, greater transparency and fewer secrets.

If our continually lengthening, ever more transparent history is the sum total of who we are as a species, then our species is the poorer for every secret faithfully kept. Any permanently unbreakable encryption seems counter to that.

And yet I would prefer to keep certain secrets of my own, as I assume most of us would. So perhaps that desire is as much a part of us, as a species, as our need to build these memory palaces.

I am a Chicana.

As a kid I’d say
“I don’t know Spanish, I’m not Mexican”.
My youthful ignorance,
shaped by our Anglo society,
taught me to hate my skin,
my hair,
my name.
But I am a Chicana.
Although my ethnicities are mixed,
my roots are indigenous.
And I am a Chicana.
A part of a movement,
where we speak for those unsure how to express themselves.
For I am a Chicana.
My pride will never be shut down.

The first time I saw stretch marks was on my girlfriend’s body, and for a long time I didn’t pay much attention to them; society taught me that they were not something to point out, to call attention to, that their presence was something to be overlooked and silently forgiven. Then one of these days when she was in her lingerie I began exploring the soft white lines on her skin: discovered that on her breasts the marks look like tiger stripes, on her thighs they’re like the pattern of calm waves reflected on the bottom of a clear lagoon, on her hips they form the image of gorgeous lightning against her skin. They criss-cross her like an elaborate drawing by nature, like ancient magic tattoos, and honestly, I couldn’t be more in love with them.

I like my men like I like my coffee - I don’t like coffee, but I made myself drink it and pretended to like it because I liked the idea of coffee. Society taught me from a very young age that people like me were supposed to like and want coffee, that liking coffee was good and necessary, but coffee is actually gross and bad for my health

“I’m not like other girls” aka “I have to tear down other women in order to build myself up because society has pinned us against each other”

“I only hang out with dudes” aka “society has taught me that men are superior so I have to shit on my own gender in order to fit in”

“He’s being such a bitch/pussy/woman” aka “saying that a man has feminine traits is an insult because women are still viewed as the weaker sex”

“Men aren’t as emotional” aka “we live in a culture of hyper masculinity that tells boys they aren’t allowed to have feelings because feelings are for ladies”

The society taught me how to be the brightest star in the universe. I was expected to be a majestic piece of art. I was forced to fall in love.
Friends, I am born human, not just ears; I am not destined to just listen. I have my own brain. I can construct my own sentences and write my own fate. I refuse to be the brightest star. I’d rather hold the universe in my hands. I’d rather be in control- deciding which star should burn and which should fall. I’d rather be an outcast than be a mere point in a constellation. I refuse to be a masterpiece. I don’t deserve to be hung on a wall watching people come and go, hearing their enthusiasm with my misery. I don’t desire to be displayed for public viewing with the restriction for touching. I don’t need objective judgments. I refuse to fall in love. I am not one of the fishes in the sea, so I shouldn’t be instructed to be a great catch. I should neither be obliged to catch. Marriage is a norm, but it doesn’t have to be a compliment. I shouldn’t be tagged as a misfit for being single. I’d rather be alone than unhappy.
—  I shouldn’t be forced to fall in love; Sir John Marin

I speak out for little one year old me who was associated with pink long before I could even express that my favorite color is in fact blue.

I speak out for little six year old me who was conditioned into believing that boys like cars and girls like barbies.

I speak out for little twelve year old me who had her period and thought she was so disgusting and dirty because that’s what society taught me to think about my body; it stayed with me.

I speak out for little fifteen year old me who killed herself over this delusional idea of beauty that was pushed down my throat ever since I could understand advertisements; diet this, diet that, yeah well how about we all learn to love ourselves and stop looking at our bodies like a project and start looking at it like the piece of art that it is?

I speak out for little sixteen year old me who was told to start playing “like a boy” if I ever wanted to pass my class.

I speak out for little seventeen year old me who was referred to a baby machine; brought to this world to do nothing more but reproduce, without considering my goals, dreams and mental state. As if women are only important to carry children as men are encouraged to make a living for themselves.

I also speak out for eighteen, ninteen and heck, eighty year old me; married or not, children or not, no matter your weight, I hope things got better for you and all the others like you who were suppressed and shut down for being born: a girl.

—  Spilled ink: Don’t make yourself small

i gained around 3kg which, granted, isn’t THAT much but i feel so bad now. i feel really fat and i hate that society taught me to feel like i don’t deserved to be loved of i look like this

I hate how I would be called extreme for being uncomfortable around meat eaters but tbh I hate having such intricate relationships with so many people who practice something that utterly disgusts me. I am supposed to take their jokes in stride and pretend like eating meat is still a normalized idea in my head (but it is absolutely not a normal idea to me anymore. I unlearned the conditioning society taught me and for that I seem weird to those who are still caught in the illusion)

It’s especially terrible when my boyfriend just acts like I’m vegan for fun and not because of my worldview and the respect I have for animals. It’s such a cultural struggle to have to watch everyone I love chow down on nasty meat 24/7 and stay quite about how A) disgusting the industry is and how sad it makes me and B) how gross meat is in general… like people can just talk to me all the time about their favorite meat dishes and how they love animal products and when I hear it all I can think of is the animal torture that produced those products. I don’t want to hear about any of the meat. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to be involved with it.

But loving people who refuse to change and accept the truth of the food industry means being exposed more than I would like

It hurt to grow up bisexual

For the longest time I thought there was something wrong with me. I interpreted all of my romantic and sexual attractions to “just strong feelings of friendship”. How could I feel attracted to someone when that feeling felt the same for both genders? Society had taught me that those feelings where something I should feel only for men, or if I was fucked up then I would have them for women. The possibility that I could have them for both was never an option, people where either “normal” or homosexuals. So for the longest time I just ignored my feelings assuming they where just friendship feelings.

Then college came around. I know it sounds cliche, discovering my self in college but it was the first time where it was safe to question who I am and not who I was supposed to be. I finally recognized my feelings as attraction. I spent a good portion of college wondering if I was straight or a lesbian. I would get a crush on a boy and think “oh, this must mean I’m straight” only to fall for a girl in six months. It took me two years of going back and forth before I finally identified as bisexual.

The day I came out to myself was the most painful, terrifying and relieving day if my life. I knew who I was and that meant that I would loose a lot of people when and if I came out.

I came out to my roommate and she was incredibly supportive, I came out to a few more friends and they where mostly ok with it, a little awkward but ok. Then came the first person who told me to “pick a side”, as if I hadn’t spent years trying too. She was a girl I wanted to ask out, a very hot lesbian. It killed me inside, I had spent years avoiding dating and romance because I couldn’t pick and the first person I ever tried to date said that? It was like years of internal struggle did not exist, I would later learn the word for it, bi-erasure.

That was year ago, I still have a hard time letting people know I’m interested, I’m still in the closet with a lot of people, and it still hurt when people try to erase my identity. But today I am happier than I have ever been, I’m at peace with myself. I can feel anger instead of insecurity when my bisexuality gets dismissed. I am still lonely and long for a relationship but it no longer feels as impossible as it once did. For now I love myself and that is enough.

I do have one request for people, please don’t question the label someone choose for themselves, it may be a stepping stone or it may the result of a very long struggle.