Here are some of the great things I have read this past week, my recommendations to you.
So one of the best things on the internet recently was Annabeth Leong’s Many Note Challenge, which occurred over a series of posts and is explained in the excerpt below. First post. Second post. Third post. And a blog post where she talks about bondage and some thoughts that emerged from the challenge.
“Today, I got into a conversation on Twitter with @TGStoneButch (who writes incredible erotica under the name Xan West) about the way that representations of kink can sometimes feel one-note, as if there’s only one way to react to certain sensations and experiences.
I commented that this phenomenon feels isolating to me. As someone who always worried that my sexual reactions were “wrong,” sometimes the experience of reading kink erotica or hearing presentations at cons can make me feel alone in an environment where I had hoped to be included.
I think it’s really important to think about how the same actions might be given and received from very different perspectives.
Indeed, what kicked off that conversation was something from the Forbidden Fiction release party last night. There, I was talking about how I initially got a thrill from seeing trangressive words or actions in erotica, but that over time that faded. Now, what gets me—interested and/or aroused—is characterization and psychological intent. All of which depends on the opposite of that one-note approach.
It’s serious, important stuff, and I want to think a lot more about it. That led me to an idea for a fun exercise.
I want to show this variety of characterization and intent in action. So I’ve written a series of short snippets about the same simple activity, each one demonstrating a different mood. I’m calling it the Many Note Challenge.”
This list of non-sexual forms of intimacy is awesome.
Brook Shelley on door policies that admit everyone but cis men and why they are problematic.
“For starters, and this should be obvious, not everyone that appears to a party door person as a cis man is a cis man. Many of my fellow trans women are often erased and hurt by the assumption that — perhaps because of the choices they’ve made about their body, their inability to use HRT, or their lack of access to surgery due to gatekeeping or finances — they are actually men. The rule to not allow cis men often means we trans women are required to pass a cis lady gaze test, presenting our gender in a way that is “woman” enough for the door folks. The idea that anyone besides ourselves can judge our gender is a painful falsehood. And if we dare to be butch or choose not to take hormones, we are likely to be barred or policed in a very uncomfortable manner from events that purport to be safer spaces for women like us.”
This post by the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective on the use of pods in addressing violence in our lives (with downloadable pod mapping worksheet).
“Asking people to organize their pod was much more concrete than asking people to organize their “community.” Once we had the shared language and concept of “pod,” it allowed transformative justice to be more accessible. Gone were the fantasies of a giant, magical “community response,” filled with people we only had surface relationships with; and instead we challenged ourselves and others to build solid pods of people through relationship and trust. In doing so, we are pushed to get specific about what those relationships look like and how they are built. It places relationship-building at the very center of transformative justice and community accountability work.
“Pod people” don’t fall neatly along traditional lines, especially in situations of intimate and sexual violence. People don’t necessarily turn to their closest relationships (e.g. partner, family, best friends), especially because this is often where the violence is coming from, but also because the criteria we would use for our pod people is not necessarily the same as what we use (or get taught to use) for our general intimate relationships. We have different and specific kinds of relationships with our pod people, often in addition to relationship and trust, they involve a combination of characteristics such as, but not limited to: a track record of generative conflict; boundaries; being able to give and receive feedback; reliability. These are characteristics and skills that we are not readily taught to value in U.S. society and don’t usually have the skillset to support in even our closest relationships.”
This resource list on queer misogyny compiled by femmes has some amazing and necessary links.
Casey Plett’s beautiful review of Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl.
“When I read If I Was Your Girl, I can feel my teenage body as I read it. It’s a strange, prickling sensation, a deeply internal and physical thing that reaches into my specific flesh and bones, the kind of sensation that cis writers, for all they annoyingly try (and try, and try, and try) can just never get across.”
This list of links to posts about ableism in Me Before You, collected by Ridley on Love In The Margins.
Sam Reidel’s article about trans women getting period symptoms. Trigger warning for mentions of transmisogynist violence and threats of violence.
“Whether it’s in a conversation with our medical providers, friends, or even immediate family, trans people—AMAB folks in particular—have historically been met with violent opposition when discussing their feelings and medical needs. We’re often told we’re exaggerating things, seeking attention or sympathy, and that our reality can’t possibly be as we describe it.”
This poem about pain play by Mat Joiner.
This roundtable on sex writing with Larissa Pham, Amy Rose Spiegal, Ashley Reese, & Arabelle Sicardi.
“I think there’s a misconception for people that (writing about sex) is a sex-positive thing. With Cum Shots, people would text me (saying), ‘Oh my God, you broke my heart again.’ This isn’t happy writing a lot of the time. Sex is just a way to talk about other things. You poke sex and a bunch of stuff comes out: power comes out, abuse comes out, emotions come out, trauma comes out, race relations come out.”