canada revenue is making my bf and i each pay back $200 (so $400 total). fucking brutal. we’re lucky we have savings to use to pay this, but. shit. that is a lot of money.
since i posted anything here. I’ve written some posts…
that i’m too, idk, unsure about to actually post
it has been hard to form even semi-coherent arguments/posts or whatever
i don’t mind so much i guess.
but not being able to concentrate makes me feel super guilty for sitting here at work and not really doing anything
Mostly ’cause I feel like it.
Logic: I think the group of relevant logics are the ‘right’ sort of logic as far as everyday deduction goes. As far as actual methods, I think abduction is what we mostly use in our daily lives. Add a dash of skepticism as advocated by 莊子 and you have my position.
Ontology: I’m an metaphysical realist so I do believe in an independently existing universe. Note: I do also include abstract objects as being ‘real,’ despite being abstract.
Truth: I use both the correspondence theory of truth and the coherence theory of truth which i guess probably makes me a type of truth pluralist. Because I use both to determine the truth. For some claims, it isn’t straightforward to see whether or not there is some state of affairs existing in the real world that corresponds to it (ie., historical statements). In cases like that, I switch to the coherence theory.
I was originally going to post this at GirlsLikeUs News.
but. it just feels… off.
Not necessarily because of the content (I haven’t read the whole report) but because of the method.
I really hate economic arguments for moral good.
Like, this report basically boils down to
“lack of rights costs money! therefore, trans people should gain protection from discrimination”
First, reports like this are shit because even though it is argued via economics that trans discrimination costs the state money, very little attention is actually given to the economic disparities that produce a situation where people can be homeless in the first place.
Second, I fear for what it means that one of the most viable ways to convince oppressors to, well, stop oppressing is by convincing them that it is in their own interest (either via savings gained, or some other incentive). Because this is what capitalism does, it gets us to worship capital over and above the value of a human being’s life and quality of life.
Third, because it reifies the place of the economy in our conceptual landscape without understanding that, as important as it is, it actually plays a far smaller role than most economists would like us to believe.
How do we know this?
Because economists usually operate on a model of perfect rationality in economic behaviour. That people will make the most profitable decisions for themselves all of the time.
Except. We know that this is demonstrably false, something ironically highlighted by this report. Because, ultimately, the problem isn’t that oppressors don’t understand that their discrimination can hurt the bottom line, but that they don’t care if it does or doesn’t.
Because the point of oppression isn’t about how much money is saved or spent. Because while money is part of power, it isn’t the only power. The point of discrimination and institutionalized oppression is to ensure that those in power, stay in power. And, as we can see, sometimes there is a trade off. What cis people loose in money via discrimination is compensated by what they gain in social/political power.
i realize that, in all this time, i’ve never really discussed Blaine’s obsession with marriage equality. I haven’t said anything about it because it is exactly the sort of idealistic shit that a gay teen would jump all over. The very idea, for obvious reasons, is romantic. Weddings. Love. Making vows. Romantic.
Beyond the sheer absurdity of wanting to propose to someone you aren’t even in a relationship with… (which we could likely attribute this to the vast loneliness that is his life/childhood that he is doing the upmost to ensure that he is never alone again).
This episode isn’t the first time that he has brought it up. While, in many cases, it is important not to confuse the writers/creators with the characters. But, we can quite clearly see the influence of super privileged white cis gay Ryan Murphy. It obviously ties into his overall politics (see also the new normal).
There is much criticism of the laser focus that the white cis queer lobby has for marriage equality (this link gives a very brief overview). I’m lucky enough to live in a jurisdiction with gay marriage (canada). Except… that as I write this the legislation that would protect trans people from discrimination is in the senate. We are crossing our fingers in hope that they’ll approve the bill before it, yet again, dies when the PM does a new throne speech.
If memory serves, this is maybe the 4th or 5th time this has been attempted in the past 10+ years. Canada has, though, had gay marriage for something like 6-7 years? And where are the gay lobby groups and orgs? Nowhere.
Because in canada, like the united states, your average white cis queer doesn’t give a fuck about trans people. In the states, trans people also don’t have protection for job discrimination, public accommodations, etc. in most states and areas.
I say all of this to put the hammering that glee has been doing on gay marriage, via Blaine as ryan murphy’s sockpuppet, into context.
All the while Blaine is going on and on about this. We have Unique. Who, in this episode is revealed as the ‘catfish’ person. Okay. I mean, this wasn’t unexpected. But, it is super interesting that the guy who spent an entire episode proving that he is transmisogynist, takes one look at Unique and goes ‘Nope’. Despite professing his love/continued interest in katie, but only so long as he thought that she was cis and white.
Unique does say that she did it because she knows that she isn’t Ryder’s idea of beauty. This is, most certainly, something that a young Black trans girl is likely to know. That she will never be woman enough, white enough, ‘real’ enough, human enough, to expect that anyone will love her. All #girlslikeus understand this. That we are monsters. That we fool unsuspecting men into thinking we are really women.
But, wait. What am I talking about? This narrative isn’t about Unique. It is about Ryder and it has been since the beginning. Unique is just a prop for his narrative. So that we can see his character growth. He starts out a bigot. And ‘learns’ his lesson, that Unique teaches him both as herself and as katie. This catfish thing has been all about his reactions and how it impacts him. It is about his rage as a white cis man (and, wow, does glee ever love glorifying the rage of white men on the show). It is about his emotional stress from being vulnerable, but not in control.
What we don’t see (and probably never will) is any of Unique’s struggle. We don’t see how it impacts her to know that the boy she likes hates her. We don’t see her struggle with her body, just a glib reference to birth control. We don’t see her. We don’t see her as a human being. She almost exists solely within this narrative to make Ryder be more interesting.
In glee we have yet another Black girl that will never be shown as a complete human being. We have yet another Black girl who is under-appreciated in the club. Who glee’s writers heap micro-aggression upon macro-aggression on her head, while elevating and humanizing white characters, often at her expense.
We will never see any mention or exploration of the ways that Ryder, and the rest of the glee club, has worked to create an environment so hostile that this is, apparently, the only way Unique has to reach out to someone. That she must literally negate herself (by becoming skinny, white, cis) in order for anyone to treat her like a human being.
But who cares about this, when we can keep getting marriage equality shoved down our throats by teenagers?
[I was totally going to say something about the two old lesbians in the show, but it kinda doesn't fit in with the rest of what I'm saying here. Just that... queer elders are important.]
i suppose i should have anticipated that most of the white knights of logic would only confirm what i say about logical fallacies and logic
Almost, without fail, every single person has approached my argument with a straw man.
Note that my thesis/conclusion of the post boils down to two essential ideas:
Can you guess how many people have actually responded to these points?
How many have, rather, just decided to argue against the example I use of the ad hominem fallacy, which by virtue of being an example is not the actual point of my statements about logic.
And you know why people haven’t addressed point 1? Because it actually, amusingly, comes down to a matter of fact.
It is, 100% undeniable that there is more than one system of logic. It is equally undeniable that there are two systems of white/western logic that actually confirm contradictory logical truths1. Also undeniable is the long traditions of logic in South Asia, the middle east, and Asia2.
It is also interesting, if you squint, to see how invested so many people are in exercising hegemonic control over discourse. And by ‘interesting’ i mean unsurprising. Most of the people criticising that post have a vested interest in ensuring that they continue to set the rules of engagement. Which, again ironically, only serves to confirm what I’m saying about the white supremacist and colonial implications of the white man’s logic.
I feel like I’m starting to wind down on my teen wolf binge. Maybe things will change after the new season starts this summer. Somehow… I doubt it. Mainly because the problem, for once, isn’t canon, but fandom.
I like most of the teen wolf fic. I like sterek. They have the dynamic that is, apparently, my favourite (as noted in my other big ships — xander/angel, blair/jim, ryan/seth). I apparently just cannot get enough of couples with one motormouthed/mumbling/extrovert paired up with a grumpy/taciturn/strong silent type. This is, for no discernable reason, my thing.
Now, most of the fandoms/canons I mentioned with my other favourite ships are racist. For a lot of them they are racist in that more covert/passive way where PoC either don’t exist in those universes or they exist to die or act as convenient plot points for the white people. For the most part, while grating, I can sort of… just ignore this, since this sort of covert/passive racism is just… idk, background noise for a girl like me. i’m used to feeling invisible and just not existing, or being a minor plot point in a white narrative.
But the thing with teen wolf, as many have pointed out, is that the fandom has simply trampled over the main character, Scott. Who is one of the few MoC leads in a tv show right now. I might be too concerned about this since I know that canon very heavily pushes Scott/alison. And that, even if there were more Scott-centric fics, I sterek happens to have that quality that I particularly like. So even if there were more Scott-centric fics, I probably wouldn’t be reading them (especially if it were Scott/Alison).
But I track the teen wolf tag on AO3. Yes. The entire tag. I comb through all the stories posted in the teen wolf fandom, every day. I’ve been doing this for months. I’ve also, at this point, probably read thousands of teen wolf fic. At least as far as AO3 is concerned, sterek is everything. Okay.
Again, not exact problem at this moment.
What is my problem is the continued ableist (and implicitly racist) microagressions many of the writers demonstrate towards the characters of colour: Boyd, Scott, and less frequently Danny.
In those fics where Boyd is present (which aren’t that many, btw). He is usually one dimensional, flat, and largely uninteresting. He also rarely plays an integral role to the narrative, often visible but silent. Almost a prop, like the crumbling Hale house. And, to a certain extent, we do have canon to blame for this as well, since the show did a pretty terrible job at giving him any real level of depth. Except… from what we know, this is a person so lonely that he chose to become a werewolf. Just to get friends. That, to me, seems like a fruitful enough narrative path that, idk, maybe even a handful of Boyd-centric fics could explore this?
But. Nope. The way fandom treats him really just reminds of that script writing thing I read where the participates just had trouble imagining the Black characters as anything other than a stereotype.
With Scott… Who is, without a doubt the main protagonist in the show and the show’s hero. Except that in fandom, he is constantly called ‘stupid’, a ‘potato’ — which I’m not entirely sure what it is supposed to mean, berated for being a terrible friend to stiles (despite, at the end of season 2, having taken all the necessary actions to save everybody).
In many ways, it appears that a goodly portion of teen wolf writers simply cannot conceive of stiles as the main protagonist without taking a massive shit on Scott1. And this is the sort of thing we actually see play out time and again in real life. That white people establish themselves and centre themselves on the backs of PoC. That in order to become agents and heros they must necessarily work to tear everyone else down.
And it has just worn me down.
It is weird that i prefer just outright erasure (even as this tends to grate in my atypical OTP, Kurt/Blaine). Ultimately, it was the misogyny and vague stench of the mra that drove me out of the buffy fandom. Likely the the joyous combination of racism and ableism is probably what will drive me out of the teen wolf fandom.
It would behoove many writers in the teen wolf fandom to actually spend some time thinking about what it means that they cannot create sterek fics without casting Scott in an almost villainous role.
a while back i posted a plan of action, which looking at it was about six months ago.
time to update this and take stock of where I am.
I’ve been on medication for anxiety for a while now and it is going fairly well. I’ve also started CBT with the hopes that this will help me get a firm handle on the anxiety.
I’ve actually acquired some femme clothes and I’ve been presenting as such maybe… 60% of the time? It is hard to tell, since I mix things up as I can and based on comfort. But I am leaving the house dressed like me, which is a pretty big victory. My progress here has been pretty heavily limited by being poor. So I have some new clothes, but I can’t really get as much as I’d like since I can’t really afford to buy much. I really need some shoes, though.
My hair is getting pretty long! Long enough that I’m starting to confuse people. My makeup has settled down now that I’ve figured out what I can do daily without too much effort. I’m thinking of trying to do that blush/face contouring thing, but idk. seems complicated and expensive.
re: above two points. I’m actually quite happy with where I’ve gotten to wrt my appearance. I mean, people are definitely started to perceive my actual gender (getting called ‘miss’ or the confused staring and whispering). It is weird to call that a victory, since the staring has definitely made things harder, because of my anxiety, which is exactly why it needed to be tackled before i made any efforts towards publicly embodying my gender.
of course, on this note… it will soon become a concern which washroom I use in public… :S I don’t know what I’m going to do about this. Since I will likely never truly pass (more importantly, this isn’t my goal anyway), but since I am becoming increasingly more ambiguous and confusing to people, i will begin occupying a potentially very troubled area (I remember vividly from my younger days of being femme how much people do not appreciate not knowing what you are…)
And!!! I finally got in contact with the local tattoo artist who’ll be giving me the tattoos i require to mark my coming of age as a ladyboy and, hopefully, solidify my connection with my ancestors.
While I have picked out a new name, I haven’t started the process towards legally changing it. In part because I didn’t want to initiate the process before I knew whether or not my work contract would be renewed. Now that it has been, I can move forward after I can meet one of the other requirements. This should happen in about two months. :D However, I have been unofficially (as in socially) going by my new name so I’m pretty happy about that. And really just happy to have named myself, at last.
I have mostly tabled the question of hormones for now. I’m still not convinced that the benefits outweigh the costs at present time (beyond the simple reality that I can’t afford them on top of my anxiety medication).
I have really started trying to figure out how I’m going to manage this ‘transition’ at work. I mean… I’ve been consistently showing up at the office in my femme clothes and makeup and stuff for months now… but after I change my name, I need to figure out how to communicate with my boss. I’m fortunate enough to work at a pretty liberal university, so I don’t really anticipate there being any problems.
A lot of what I’m unsure what to do about is… well, knowing that as far as a white supremacist and cissexist institution like a university is concerned, my gender is incomprehensible. And I already know that the likelihood of me getting anyone to consistently use gender neutral pronouns is unlikely. So my options are to simply inform them of the name change and tell them nothing else (which means staying with masc pronouns at work). Tell them that I’m a trans women, which is easier to explain, update my name and get them to use femme pronouns. I guess writing it all out like this is making me realize that the latter option is probably better.
I suppose i could just tell them that i’m ‘trans’, give them the new name and a preference for femme pronouns and just let them assume what they will… I’m lucky that we have a gender neutral staff washroom, so I won’t have that to worry about at work. (one of the big problems with being a librarian is that I work with a lot of nice liberal white cis ladies… which, i’m sure that everyone understands just how not good that can be).
I have a few months to figure out how I’m going to approach this. Hmm…
This appears to be less a ‘plan of action’ than a ‘this is where I am at and I don’t know where to go from here’.
What I hope to happen is this:
For the most part, I usually consider myself a philosopher. Even as I rarely say so aloud, since this field and title are most often the sole domain of cishet white men. My training in school was in philosophy (focus on logic). In many ways, this analytic approach is still very much present in how I approach conceptualizing gender, colonialism, race, and all the other stuff I normally write about.
Taking the wikipedia definition of philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. In more casual speech, by extension, “philosophy” can refer to “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group”.
Now, looking over this, especially if you note what is considered a ‘fundamental’ problem: reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language1. Okay. So why is it that only when white men do this is it lifted to the heights of philosophy? While most anyone else who engages these ideas is just… what, blowing hot air?
Of course, the definition goes on “philosophy is distinguished by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument”. Okay. So this might rule out a lot of armchair philosophers. And we can also see that there are many different traditions of critical, systematic approaches to the fundamental problems. Where many of these traditions ‘fail’, as far as white philosophy is concerned, is on the charge of rational argumentation. It isn’t accidental that what is considered ‘rational’ is self-referring to the white man’s philosophy itself2. This reflexivity automatically precludes pretty much any other critical, systematic approaches to fundamental problems from ever truly being considered philosophy.
This is exactly why, in most white run philosophy departments in europe, canada, and the usa, the only ‘philosophy’ most people will study is that written and articulated by white men. This is why, if you want to study the long tradition of Confucian philosophy, you are better off doing so in a religious studies department (or history, or area studies of some kind). Or you can go to school in an East Asian country, where they’ll teach Confucian thought along side Kant.
And you cannot point to content. Because if St. Anselm can be considered a major philosopher for his argument for god’s existence, but Confucius can’t, even though he explicitly refused to talk about ghosts and spirits. Or, why Nagarjuna is rarely noted in any white-focused philosophy department as one of the most influential thinkers in global history?3
Why must we study Confucius or Nagarjuna in religious departments while studying St. Augustine in philosophy departments4?
These attitudes and whatever continue on to today.
Today we have a situation where technology has reached a point that many different kinds of people are able and equipped to disseminate their ideas with a fair amount of ease; thus, dodging the barriers to access that have prevented many of these same people from articulating and sharing their ideas in the past (at least in a large sense, since people can always talk amongst themselves).
More to the point, it doesn’t even take a great deal of imagination or stretching to see how many of these people are addressing the fundamental problems: reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It also doesn’t take much effort to see how many of these people are addressing these problems in critical and systematic ways. And that they are using rational argumentation when supporting or articulating their views.
And yet… very few of us either claim the title ‘philosopher’ or be considered to be contributing to philosophy, despite our continued efforts to critically, systematically, and rationally examine reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Indeed, many of us are dismissed as simply being ‘social justice warriors’ or ‘internet slackivists’.
Sure, it is obvious that white supremacy must maintain hegemonic control over what is considered ‘philosophy’ or even what is considered a ‘fundamental problem5. And, of course, what is considered ‘rational’, ‘systematic’, or ‘critical’.
Because, as any blogger or tweeter or tumblr person knows, if you make a habit of critically, systematically, and rationally engaging topics surrounding oppression, you’ll constantly be singled out as making too big of a deal about stuff. Spend your time analyzing how videogames reify certain hierarchies of personhood via the mis/representation of marginalized people? You are a whiner who takes things too seriously. Spend your time critically, systematically, and rationally examining what it means to be a trans feminine person of colour in this world? You are playing identity politics6.
Note what the implications are here: understanding and exploring what freedom means to someone like me is not a fundamental problem, as far as white philosophy and its adherents are concerned7. It is why, in discussions of free will, you’ll never see Franz Fanon’s theories of decolonization and colonialism.
I only bring this up, because the etymology of ‘philosophy’ is that it means ‘lover of wisdom’. Thus, it would appear that if you love wisdom, you are a philosopher. If you’ve spend any amount of your time dedicated to uncovering, exploring, and articulating truth, then you are a philosopher.
Even more interesting is how the wiki article continues to note that
A “philosopher” was understood as a word which contrasted with “sophist”. Traveling sophists or “wise men” were important in Classical Greece, often earning money as teachers, whereas philosophers are “lovers of wisdom” and were therefore not in it primarily for the money
Interesting, no? That those of us writing primarily in areas where people do not pay to read our writing and we do not get paid to write. That there are a multitude of us simply devoted to spending our time and energy into critically, systematically, and rationally investigating and exploring our fundamental problems (freedom, justice, existence, etc.) who do this free and simply because we love wisdom and truth.
But none of us are philosophers, amirite? We are all just social justice warriors.
So, yeah, I’m totally reclaiming my role/title as philosopher. Because, sure as fuck, no one is paying me anything for the contributions I make to the areas of gender, colonialism, race, etc. I do this not only because I love wisdom, but because I want freedom. And my problems are fundamental.