exactly that

Posts tagged ‘sex’

Some Moralizing Advice to Set You On the Path to Safe Sex

Dear Prudie over at Slate Magazine has some very jacked up opinions on pre-marital sex (why are we still using marriage as a litmus?). Her answer to a person (who in the letter printed neither disclosed  ou’s gender or age) who wrote in for advice on whether or not to engage in sex with ou’s boyfriend leaves me wondering if Prudie should give advice to people on matters involving sex. (Last question on the first page.)

The letter writer asks: My boyfriend and I are in a loving relationship and we have been dating for eight months already. He has been wanting to have sex, but since my parents are very against pre-marital sex, I have been really hesitant. Personally I want to, and am telling him that once I get a chance, to we can do it. I feel nothing wrong with having sex before marriage at all, but I feel morally conflicted by having to lie to my parents.

This, to me, is an all-too-common situation for teenagers exploring their sexuality, something that is healthy according to many developmental experts on child and teen development. Sex is a part of growing up, and teenagers are sexual beings (as are, surprise! children). It doesn’t mean they are raging balls of hormones running around sexing it up with anything that moves; rather they are curious about the way they feel with their bodies doing the things that bodies do.

Here, this letter writer describes a situation of a committed relationship in which ou feels safe. Ou wants to have sex. Both parties are consenting. The only problem I see here is that the letter writer doesn’t seem to have a trusted resource to turn to to make sure ou can be safe when making this decision.

Like it or not, parents really aren’t the ones who ultimately get to make the decisions about teens bodies, or at least that is how it works in a perfect world. They are not property. Rather, they should be trusted guides and not arbiters.

Prudie’s answer, it should go without saying, leaves a lot of room for the “are you effing kidding me” reaction.

Now that’s some shocking news: Your boyfriend would really, really like to have sex.

Wow, Prudie! Way to perpetuate a harmful myth about young men, without really knowing anything about him except that he is willing to engage in consensual sex with a partner. We put this pressure on young men to be sexual creatures, and Prudie is already implying that the letter writer, whom I gathered she has assumed is a girl, is the gatekeeper.

Are you 16 or 26?I It makes a difference. I’m against premarital sex by high-school students. I’m not against pre-marital sex by responsible college-age people.

So, a little ageism here. Prudie has decided that there is no way that a 16 year old could possibly be prepared to make the decision to have sex with ou’s partner. The simple act of being in college (did Prudie set a threshold? Does the magic of responsibility begin the day you walk onto campus or do you have to reach a milestone?) suddenly makes one a better judge of whether or not sex is right for that person.

I don’t think so.

There are plenty of teenagers who have the resources available (though not as many as I would like) to engage in sex responsibly, and even the ones who don’t have the access to things like doctors and birth control still have the reasoning to weigh the pros and consequences of having sex. There are still plenty of college age people (as if college-aged people and teenagers are mutually exclusive groups!) who lack the reasoning to make this decision.

I know many adults who should probably just watch television.

But the point is that we don’t and shouldn’t have control over the bodies of other people, and just because Prudie feels icky about the idea of teens having sex, it doesn’t give her the pass to imply that a teen is by default ill-prepared. Instead, here, she could have advised this letter writer on ways to ensure that ou was making a safe choice.

(In fact, I can’t imagine marrying someone one hasn’t had sex with.)

Oh, well, then. I guess that married 15 year-olds are just fine? Wait…Prudie…make up your mind? What are the bounds of your moralizing?

However, if you are making this decision based on how your parents would react, that tells me you aren’t really old enough to start engaging in sex.

True or not true. You don’t really know, do you, Prudie? Because, we don’t know anything about this letter writer’s home life. This person could have abusive parents who would really not take the idea of a sex talk well. This person could really have good reason to be afraid to approach the topic of sex with ou’s parents. They could be ultra-conservative and extremely religious, and ou could have been exposed to intense slut-shaming all of ou’s life, and only now is ou beginning to make an independent decision based on what ou wants.

Needless to say, I completely feel that Prudie is falling flat on her advice to this person. I find it incredibly moralizing and condescending, as well as incredibly privileged and presumptive. Feel free to read the rest of her advice, but it pretty much follows this same vein of shame.

Prudie had an opportunity here to advise this person to be sure that the sex was consensual, to find good channels for safe people to talk to about this decision, and for good educational resources (like Scarleteen) and places to access birth control if it is needed and contraceptives to protect against STIs.

But she failed to do that in the name of finger wagging.

What say you?

The Place is Lookin’ Pretty Good, Eh?

A very bright and white picture of a white cat with blue eyes between two white waffle-y objects. Text reads: "Welcom. I am Ceiling Cat. You have crossed over."

I hope you are enjoying the Tilt-O-Whirl of color changing that has been the exciting re-vamp going on here! I know I am! While the dustcovers are coming off of things in the back here, I hope you will check out the guest posts I have up at Racialicious right now.

Talking to Kids About Sex (a cross-post from a while back)

Guilty As Sin

And, wow, what a wonderful and fantastically warm reception from the folks at Racialicious, too. From Latoya and Andrea who helped me iron out my thoughts on a really imposing topic to the commenters who have been so supportive, it has been a great experience.

Something that is much needed when you are living on The Peninsula right now.

So, thanks, again!

Love, Anonymously — Racialicious’ First Ever Blog Carnival

Two red ladybugs on green, one mounted up on the other caught in the act. You naughty ladybugs!Back in August I received an email from Latoya Peterson of Racialicious about some thoughts on a piece at Jezebel called A Practical Guide to Popping Your Cherry, along with a host of other people. After reading it, she tossed some ideas around, we all tossed some ideas back, and this mammoth discussion about sex, race, religion, and many, many other facets evolved.

It rolled out like play dough in a fun factory, and Latoya stressed her wishes to broaden the conversation to the many ways in which race plays a huge factor in the way we as non-white people approach sexuality. It was an amazing discussion, but, since I wasn’t really taught to embrace much of my non-white self until later in my sexual experience, or life in general, I found myself lost in that part of the discussion. That was OK by me, because I ended up taking much away from it anyhow. Being in a mixed race/ethnicity marriage/partnership now has caused me to have to look at my relationship from many angles, but they were not things that I had to deal with when I was approaching sex for the first time. Or when I thought I was approaching sex for the first time.

The ideas being tossed around became so varied and so many that it seems that Latoya had this great idea to turn this into a Blog Carnival. The first one that Racialicious has ever done.

So here’s the first official call.  Entries are due November 30th, 2010, and we will start running the pieces in November and December.  Sexual Correspondent Andrea Plaid is co-editing, and we are hoping for a huge mix of participants.

What are we looking for?

Anything really. But for those of you who need a prompt, here are some things like I would like to see:

  • General commentary on sex and dating
  • First times
  • Discussions of abstinence and virginity
  • The construction of masculinity and how that impacts dating, love, and sex
  • Racial stereotypes/perceptions and their impact on your sex life
  • Being part of a “sexless” class and how that impacts dating, love, and sex

Guidelines are the same as general Racialicious ones.

Submissions can be in any format – would love to see poems, erotica, comics, illustrations, video, and audio, as well as straight text. Please include a transcript with video/audio.  Anonymity can be arranged – the best way I can see it to upload your file to a drop.io, send it to team@racialicious.com and just use a fake email address. But we can figure that out as we go.

 

I hope that some of you out there will consider submitting to this. I will be doing a featured piece that will focus on the intersection of disability, but I would like to see more non-white/PoC voices from the disability community be involved if they are willing. I am really excited about this opportunity, and can’t hardly wait to see what comes of it.

Photo Credit:  cygnus921

The Cautionary Sex Ed Tale From Season 2 of Buffy

One of my friends, the Red Queen from Elizabitchez, told me once that she uses the story arc from Season 2 of Buffy beginning with “Surprise” to teach about sex ed and teen relationships. Or something to that effect. It makes more sense when she tells it, but the gist of it was that this particular story arc of this particular season is biting (no pun…OK I can’t even type that because I totally intend that pun).

s.e. smith from this ain’t livin’ and also from FWD/Forward has already done a nice evaluation of this story arc, that I encourage you to read, and the fact that I found it enlightening and that it may influence what I have to say here should sit with you while you read what I am about to go on about, possibly at great length as I am wont to do. Ou also mentioned to me one day in a chat conversation that Joss himself denies that this story arc was meant to send a message about shaming a teen girl about sexuality. I encourage any of you with the ability to do so to watch the episode “Innocence” and deny that this message is there. Intentional or not, Joss has once again fallen into that trap of writing that trope.

But before I leave your head spinning with a bunch of references to things that I haven’t explained, I suppose I should get into the story arc of Buffy and Angel, the lost soul, and of course, the loss of Buffy’s virginity.

This is the story that starts with a girl who gives her virginity to her loving boyfriend and ends when she sends him to a Hell Dimension with a giant sword through his chest after he turns evil and goes on a murderous rampage through her town, killing all of her friends because he has lost his soul.

In “Surprise”, Buffy has one of the famed prophetic dreams bestowed to a Slayer where she witnesses a few events leading up to Drusilla killing Angel. Given the “wiggins” by the whole thing, Buffy rushes to see Angel who both reassures her, (read: dismisses her fears which could be genuine concerns) and confesses that he has been feeling deeper feelings for her, that she returns (TV speak for “I really want to get it on”).

We also learn that Jenny Calendar is a descendant of the particular tribe of Gypsies fabled to have cursed Angel with his soul restorative. Turns out she was sent to Sunnydale not just to wow us all with her computer prowess (because as we will learn we have Willow for all of that) but to keep an eye on Angel and Buffy, but not ever to clue them into why. Folks, I have watched enough tee vee to know that denying principal characters vital information about their character never bodes well for anyone. This hardly proves the exception.

In a plot line that leaves me wondering if it is some odd coincidence that Buffy and Drusilla seem to have something akin to Birthdays on the same day, and keeping with the longstanding tradition of birthdays that suck (also steeped in punnage) for Buffy, our Slayer and her undead beaux fail to keep Drusilla and Spike from getting their hands on most of the pieces of a demon who was so powerful that he couldn’t be killed by any weapon forged during his time (this point is important!). Just as Angel is prepared to take off for Asia on a boat to hide the last piece in an attempt by Ms. Calendar to pry the would be lovers apart, they are thwarted. Soaking wet and battle-wounded, Buffy and Angel wind up back at Angel’s not-so-secret and well-decorated hideaway and become a little less would-be.

This becomes the precipitating event for the releasing of Angel’s soul back into the ether, turning him back into the evil, cruel, infamous vampire that he once was, catching everyone unawares.

This is the part in the story where the boyfriend, after getting the Nice Girl to give up her virginity to him becomes the World League Asshole.

Except, when I remember being warned to protect my sacred flower from boys like that, the ones who are just Wired! To Need! Sex! I was never told that they would become blood sucking demons who would hunt and stalk all of my friends, slowly torturing them to death while sending me immolate-o-grams in the form of my friends-turned-new vampires.

It isn’t too far of a conclusion to draw that Buffy is being punished for having sex. That was the message I took away from this. In fact, since in parenting we have discussed with Kid about good and poor choices I asked her what she thought of what happened to Angel, and unprompted she said “Well, Buffy made a poor choice, and now Angel is evil”. It took a bit of discussion before we corrected why this was the wrong message to get, but that why, yes, I could see why she gleaned that from what we had just seen. It is important that while she might get messages like these from pop culture (and pop culture is full of these slut-shaming innuendos aimed at young women, teens, and young girls), that she understand that the message is wrong. And intentional or not, again, Joss, this is the message you are sending to young girls!

The act of sex itself is without morality. Positive or negative. Sex can just be sex between consenting people.

The intent of the people involved are what makes the experience a healthy one or an unhealthy one for either person.

When people care about each other, or when people are consenting enthusiastically, like Buffy and Angel both were (as we understand that at this point that Angel didn’t realize that his actions would have this effect) that this was a positive portrayal of sexuality. This was something they both decided they wanted together. There was nothing wrong going on here, aside from that curse, which in a way violated both of their autonomy, but that is deeper than this conversation right now. And metaphysical. I am not going there.

When either party isn’t consenting, such as when one person coerced the other, or is emotionally manipulative, or if for any reason it isn’t entered into freely, then we have a problem. But that isn’t what happened here.

Usually, as I understand it, one partner is not a soulless demon, or about to become one. Though, experiences from my past would tempt me to believe otherwise, I understand that what happened to Angel is make-believe

Sometimes, when sex occurs between two people, sometimes one person who hasn’t been honest about who they are, changes. The sex can become a tool to perpetuate abuse, and that is what we are witnessing displayed here, an attempt to convert Angel from role one to role two without a logical connection to make that make sense, unless you are to presume that Buffy is being punished.

For what?

Well, being a big old teen slut of course!

Even breaking it down into parts, we understand that Angel, via his curse, is being punished for the crimes of his past. But even Jenny Calendar can’t say what Buffy is supposed to be punished for when confronted with all of the facts. We are left to draw our own conclusions. Surely, if she had just kept her legs closed…

This remains a theme for a long time in Buffy’s love life. Her next sexual encounter is a one-night stand, and the other participant, while not unleashing a murderous rampage on her loved ones, does indeed treat her cruelly all the same.

Then, I hesitate to even address the awfulness who is the emotionally demanding Riley, who is in need of more than he is capable of giving, and who is also unwilling to accept being in a relationship with a woman who is more dominant and also stronger than him. After Riley loses his artificial abilities he betrays Buffy by seeking out risk-taking behaviour. Here, Buffy is punished for being emotionally unavailable while trying to cope with myriad Bid Effing Deals, and Riley just can’t deal with being the second seat to anything. Carrying over into Angel, Buffy goes to L.A. to confront Angel over a crossover story arc, which leads to them getting everything they want. Only, this carries the heavy price of Angel becoming human, her almost dying trying to protect him. She is punished again, having to trade in her memories (Joss loves messing with memories) and her day of happiness for her life, and effectually, Angels as well all really without her knowing or having a say. After returning from the dead (again), Buffy has a sexual relationship with Spike that she is ashamed of, because she has already figured out that having sex is wrong, even if it is to help her fill a need when her world is spiraling out of control and she just needs one thing to hold on to, even if it is a physical burst.

Not until Buffy chooses work (being the Slayer) and family (devoting all her time to Dawn) over love and personal life for herself does this theme of punishment let up, even for a moment. And never is it ever happy for her. The message I glean from this? A woman can’t really have it all. You have to choose, or something, namely yourself, will surely suffer.

The Cautionary Sex Ed Tale From Season 2 of Buffy

One of my friends, the Red Queen from Elizabitchez, told me once that she uses the story arc from Season 2 of Buffy beginning with “Surprise” to teach about sex ed and teen relationships. Or something to that effect. It makes more sense when she tells it, but the gist of it was that this particular story arc of this particular season is biting (no pun…OK I can’t even type that because I totally intend that pun).

s.e. smith from this ain’t livin’ and also from FWD/Forward has already done a nice evaluation of this story arc, that I encourage you to read, and the fact that I found it enlightening and that it may influence what I have to say here should sit with you while you read what I am about to go on about, possibly at great length as I am wont to do. Ou also mentioned to me one day in a chat conversation that Joss himself denies that this story arc was meant to send a message about shaming a teen girl about sexuality. I encourage any of you with the ability to do so to watch the episode “Innocence” and deny that this message is there. Intentional or not, Joss has once again fallen into that trap of writing that trope.

But before I leave your head spinning with a bunch of references to things that I haven’t explained, I suppose I should get into the story arc of Buffy and Angel, the lost soul, and of course, the loss of Buffy’s virginity.

This is the story that starts with a girl who gives her virginity to her loving boyfriend and ends when she sends him to a Hell Dimension with a giant sword through his chest after he turns evil and goes on a murderous rampage through her town, killing all of her friends because he has lost his soul.

In “Surprise”, Buffy has one of the famed prophetic dreams bestowed to a Slayer where she witnesses a few events leading up to Drusilla killing Angel. Given the “wiggins” by the whole thing, Buffy rushes to see Angel who both reassures her, (read: dismisses her fears which could be genuine concerns) and confesses that he has been feeling deeper feelings for her, that she returns (TV speak for “I really want to get it on”).

We also learn that Jenny Calendar is a descendant of the particular tribe of Gypsies fabled to have cursed Angel with his soul restorative. Turns out she was sent to Sunnydale not just to wow us all with her computer prowess (because as we will learn we have Willow for all of that) but to keep an eye on Angel and Buffy, but not ever to clue them into why. Folks, I have watched enough tee vee to know that denying principal characters vital information about their character never bodes well for anyone. This hardly proves the exception.

In a plot line that leaves me wondering if it is some odd coincidence that Buffy and Drusilla seem to have something akin to Birthdays on the same day, and keeping with the longstanding tradition of birthdays that suck (also steeped in punnage) for Buffy, our Slayer and her undead beaux fail to keep Drusilla and Spike from getting their hands on most of the pieces of a demon who was so powerful that he couldn’t be killed by any weapon forged during his time (this point is important!). Just as Angel is prepared to take off for Asia on a boat to hide the last piece in an attempt by Ms. Calendar to pry the would be lovers apart, they are thwarted. Soaking wet and battle-wounded, Buffy and Angel wind up back at Angel’s not-so-secret and well-decorated hideaway and become a little less would-be.

This becomes the precipitating event for the releasing of Angel’s soul back into the ether, turning him back into the evil, cruel, infamous vampire that he once was, catching everyone unawares.

This is the part in the story where the boyfriend, after getting the Nice Girl to give up her virginity to him becomes the World League Asshole.

Except, when I remember being warned to protect my sacred flower from boys like that, the ones who are just Wired! To Need! Sex! I was never told that they would become blood sucking demons who would hunt and stalk all of my friends, slowly torturing them to death while sending me immolate-o-grams in the form of my friends-turned-new vampires.

It isn’t too far of a conclusion to draw that Buffy is being punished for having sex. That was the message I took away from this. In fact, since in parenting we have discussed with Kid about good and poor choices I asked her what she thought of what happened to Angel, and unprompted she said “Well, Buffy made a poor choice, and now Angel is evil”. It took a bit of discussion before we corrected why this was the wrong message to get, but that why, yes, I could see why she gleaned that from what we had just seen. It is important that while she might get messages like these from pop culture (and pop culture is full of these slut-shaming innuendos aimed at young women, teens, and young girls), that she understand that the message is wrong. And intentional or not, again, Joss, this is the message you are sending to young girls!

The act of sex itself is without morality. Positive or negative. Sex can just be sex between consenting people.

The intent of the people involved are what makes the experience a healthy one or an unhealthy one for either person.

When people care about each other, or when people are consenting enthusiastically, like Buffy and Angel both were (as we understand that at this point that Angel didn’t realize that his actions would have this effect) that this was a positive portrayal of sexuality. This was something they both decided they wanted together. There was nothing wrong going on here, aside from that curse, which in a way violated both of their autonomy, but that is deeper than this conversation right now. And metaphysical. I am not going there.

When either party isn’t consenting, such as when one person coerced the other, or is emotionally manipulative, or if for any reason it isn’t entered into freely, then we have a problem. But that isn’t what happened here.

Usually, as I understand it, one partner is not a soulless demon, or about to become one. Though, experiences from my past would tempt me to believe otherwise, I understand that what happened to Angel is make-believe

Sometimes, when sex occurs between two people, sometimes one person who hasn’t been honest about who they are, changes. The sex can become a tool to perpetuate abuse, and that is what we are witnessing displayed here, an attempt to convert Angel from role one to role two without a logical connection to make that make sense, unless you are to presume that Buffy is being punished.

For what?

Well, being a big old teen slut of course!

Even breaking it down into parts, we understand that Angel, via his curse, is being punished for the crimes of his past. But even Jenny Calendar can’t say what Buffy is supposed to be punished for when confronted with all of the facts. We are left to draw our own conclusions. Surely, if she had just kept her legs closed…

This remains a theme for a long time in Buffy’s love life. Her next sexual encounter is a one-night stand, and the other participant, while not unleashing a murderous rampage on her loved ones, does indeed treat her cruelly all the same.

Then, I hesitate to even address the awfulness who is the emotionally demanding Riley, who is in need of more than he is capable of giving, and who is also unwilling to accept being in a relationship with a woman who is more dominant and also stronger than him. After Riley loses his artificial abilities he betrays Buffy by seeking out risk-taking behaviour. Here, Buffy is punished for being emotionally unavailable while trying to cope with myriad Bid Effing Deals, and Riley just can’t deal with being the second seat to anything. Carrying over into Angel, Buffy goes to L.A. to confront Angel over a crossover story arc, which leads to them getting everything they want. Only, this carries the heavy price of Angel becoming human, her almost dying trying to protect him. She is punished again, having to trade in her memories (Joss loves messing with memories) and her day of happiness for her life, and effectually, Angels as well all really without her knowing or having a say. After returning from the dead (again), Buffy has a sexual relationship with Spike that she is ashamed of, because she has already figured out that having sex is wrong, even if it is to help her fill a need when her world is spiraling out of control and she just needs one thing to hold on to, even if it is a physical burst.

Not until Buffy chooses work (being the Slayer) and family (devoting all her time to Dawn) over love and personal life for herself does this theme of punishment let up, even for a moment. And never is it ever happy for her. The message I glean from this? A woman can’t really have it all. You have to choose, or something, namely yourself, will surely suffer.

The Hellmouth Presents: Dead Guys On Ice

a pale woman with blonde hair in a grey tank to with her arms cross across her midd, and a darker complexioned woman with black hair in a purple long-sleeved shirt in the same pose stand back to back. The both have their "serious business" faces on. They are Sara Michelle-Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bianca Lawson as Kendra the Vampire Slayer.In the way you would expect a two-part episode to be, Buffy, Season 2’s “What’s My Line” parts I and II have a lot to unpack in them.

In the beginning of Part I it is Career Week at Sunnydale High, and Principal Snyder, in all of his infinite glory has decided that his project of the week is to make sure that Buffy participates. Of course, like we have seen already, the future planning portion of life as a Slayer is filled with many things: doubt, cloudiness, uncertainty, and possibly (another) death. How is a girl supposed to plan a career around all of that?

Even Giles seems a bit grumped out that Buffy isn’t as studious or book smart as he would like, and as expected, Buffy gets a little up in his card catalog about that. She reminds him just how he could get another Slayer that might be more to his liking: She could die and he could just watch the next one.

Buffy is painfully aware of both the fragility of her current situation and the what is to come. And what most people write off as whininess (something that irks me to NO END), I see as a well deserved side effect of the bitter pill of being very self-aware. Buffy fully understands that every time she goes out into that graveyard she could never come back, and that she only need to slip once and the burden she carries on her shoulders would slip to the next person. While, yes, she is “The Chosen One”, she is but a tool of The Powers That Be (even if we haven’t met them yet) and a person the Watchers’ Council only care about for the moment; the next moment she could be dead and their biggest concern could be the next Chosen One. I imagine being both So Important and at the same time Hardly At All is an odd balance on a fantastical fulcrum.

So, while Buffy is whinging trying to imagine balancing her duties with a future she can’t grasp, Angel offers to take her ice skating to help her forget about being cosmically chosen for a bit. During all of this we see that Buffy has been stalked by the Order of Taraka, magically imbued badass assassins and Angel has been stalked by… a mysterious Black Girl who rides in the cargo bay of airplanes and beats up on preppy looking white boys, and who accidentally sees Buffy kissing Angel, clearly misunderstanding their Cosmically Forbidden Romance for, well, sexay vampire love because who would… OH NEVERMIND!

This dark and curious stranger with the deadly moves gets the jump on our Vampy Heart-throb, (NO NOT HIM! STOP LOOKING AT ME EDWARD!), and when Buffy can’t find him, she comes all forlorn to his bed for a nap.

Where she is jumped! By none other than…

Kendra, the Vampire Slayer.

As much as I love Joss Whedon, he has a problem with non-white people in his shows, and Kendra is only my first taste of many. I loved the idea he went with here, of Buffy dying for only a minute, and that being long enough to awaken the next Potential, but there were so many faily things to unpack with Kendra’s character.

First off, is the back story of Kendra being whisked off by her parents to nobly give her as a babe to her Watcher to be raised, because some faraway exotic tribe would have some greater sense of duty, as opposed to clueless Joyce Summers, who can never be told. Why would Kendra’s parents be more in-the-know? Because they are closer to The First? Remember how exotic and savage she was?

Everything about Kendra was exotic, from her accent to her “only shirt”, to her not being permitted to talk to boys. She was raised in a funny culture far away with funny customs, and WOW IS SHE ODD, AMIRITE? But don’t forget she IS HOT! Whooo! You can even talk to her in any language! Buffy does this, using “amigo”, or other words ending in “o” as if that makes them easier to understand because Kendra has dark skin and a funny accent, she must understand this funny language you ARE MAKING UP!

In many ways, she was constructed as the anti-Buffy. It is hard to convince me that it is a coincidence that a non-white woman was chosen for this role. The dark to the light, the unemotional, perfect form, well-learned, no-shades of grey Slayer that Kendra is. I felt that she was to be the Yin to Buffy’s Yang (if you knew that in Mandarin one means, almost literally “sun” or is part of many words meaning “light” and the other the same in many words meaning dark, it gets even more interesting a comparison).

Even at the end of the episode, Kendra gets a moment to be a wise woman to Buffy, letting her know that being a Slayer isn’t just a job that she does or is fired from. She has wise words for her to set Buffy back on her way (but don’t forget to NOT hug her, because Kendra is a BAMF, and do not touch her, HELL-O). Oh, and ha ha! Buffy explains to her to make sure to use the seats on the plane! Oh that funny Kendra! We’ll see her again. The exotification of Kendra the Vampire Slayer isn’t over.

Another interesting thing I feel I need to discuss is the torture turn made-for-TV-sexy-time that keeps turning up in everything. OK, it isn’t like I am watching reels and reels of Cinemax after 10 PM or, but after watching what the Mord’Sith do in Legend of the Seeker, and reading more about it in The Sword of Truth series (of which I should blog soon), now I am watching on Buffy what Drusilla is doing to Angel (pouring holy water on him as he is restrained w/ his hands tied above his head, etc) as an hor d’orve to the ritual that will restore her to full power and, I am a little overloaded w/ this imagery right now.

Is there no other way to make the point that these people enjoy inflicting pain on beings who are morally good? None?

Practically every representation of Vampire sex is violent (See: Breaking Dawn, True Blood, the entire Darla story arc on Angel, or even “The Fanged Four”). It is always angry and/or it always hurts someone or destroys buildings or furniture.

Every representation of pain for pleasure is advanced by an “evil” entity onto a “good” entity.

It is kind of ridiculous.

I understand the role of the Mord’Sith in Legend of the Seeker, how they are created, how they are “bonded”, how they become redeemed, and even, possibly, how they are supposed to be meant to be read as “strong female characters”, and I will blog about that and the representation in both the books and the TV series later. I won’t engage in an in-depth discussion of them here, only a cosmetic one about how they apply to my point over-all.

I also understand the relationship and history between Dru and Angel; I understand what Angelus did to Drusilla when he created her (OH LOOK ANOTHER POST TOPIC!), but there is quite a bit of triggery sexy-time vampire relationship in this episode (and other times). It is dark, it is disturbing at some points (enough so that I will send some viewers away to refill a water bottle or for a bathroom break), I get what is going on here: Dru is having her revenge. But is this the way this type of sex play is always meant to be? Pain inflicted by the one in power, and always painful, never enjoyable for the one receiving it? I find that hard to believe, and yet it is always depicted as such. Especially in fantasy series like this.

Of course non-fantasy series’ seldom, if ever do it better (thinking legal/cop dramas, or even CSI with its “Lady Heather” arcs that made me so uncomfortable, as if she was a spectacle).

I think Joss does it just about as well as anyone else here, which I think is not well at all.

If anyone wants to discuss this, feel free; the idea of pain for pleasure as part of a healthy sex life is a little out of my AOE, and I don’t want to do it an injustice. But I get disturbed by the way it seems to turn up always displayed as a negative thing. Something that is always enacted by the depraved (those without souls, those tortured since early childhood, etc.). I don’t buy that it is the only way to depict such a thing.

Previous Summer of Buffy blogging conveniently archived.

Monogamy

We live our lives under so many social constructs.

Gender is a great one. From the moment the doctor slaps a baby on the ass and announces “It’s a ___” a child’s life seems to be molded by whatever object fills that blank. Society expects certain things of certain people based on how that doctor finishes that sentence, and fuck off if you don’t fit neatly into the binary that begins it all.

Sexuality is another one. Socially speaking, boys should like girls and girls should like boys, and if the playground dynamics of some of the toddler mommy groups I see some days are any indication you can’t start that one soon enough. The church nursery is a great place to pick up a date, and it had best be of the opposite flavor. Although, come to think of it, that trust that society put in closed doors as long as I only had girls in my room left so many opportunities open… Maybe some social constructs have their upsides. OTOH, I do know that my kid won’t be getting away w/ too much unnoticed. ;)  When our children are young we seem to fail to recognize when we are busy planning their lives for them that sexuality is a gamut of human possibility, varied and colorful as the floor of the art studio I used to frequent my fourth year in college.

Dovetailing off of sexuality is this idea of monogamy. It is this idea that each human being should bind themselves to another human being in a holy rite for all eternity. You should must remain faithful and true to only this one person forever and ever amen. But, why, if we are only meant to ever be with one person ever should we go on to feel urges or desires outside of the confines of that holy bliss?* We fight against what feels natural because of guilt and fear foisted upon us by a social construct. We feel pressure to marry by everyone around us. Modern day politics tell us that damn near everyone wants in on marriage, and if we don’t, we must be some kind of social outcast, or worse, Hester Prynne.

Because gods forbid you break that contract. There is no going back from that. Shit, you don’t even have to break it in reality, all that has to happen is that someone who isn’t you or your spouse has to believe that some act of impropriety has taken place, and that is as good a deal breaker as an actual happenstance. Or, forbid you have thoughts or fantasies, or are just a fucking writer and like to jot stories down in journals or on your hard drive to get them out of your head. Any of those things seem to be good enough to paint you as a big ol’ breaker of the home.

Then all hell breaks loose. And people, especially in small towns or small communities, love gossip. They love nothing better than to drag a person through mud. My favorite part is trying to defend someone who has been accused (like it was some crime, oh, I’m sorry, in some states it still fucking is, and people tell me that Christian morals don’t rule the world) of cheating, and having people mansplain to you “if you knew what happened you wouldn’t defend her,” as if anyone has any iota of a clue as to how I would defend a friend in that situation.

Because monogamy is a silly social construct.

But let me be clear. All sexual relationships are just social constructs in one way or another, really. You have to be in agreement with all parties involved, otherwise it fails to be consensual on someone’s behalf. If you don’t want to be monogamous, don’t. No judgment here, honestly, because it doesn’t really matter what happens between consenting parties. The only people who have any business judging the sexual acts and relationships of other people are the people directly involved in those sexual relationships as long as everyone is consenting.

If you choose to be committed and monogamous (like I have), do it. If that is too much to handle for you, you really owe it to the other person to let them know. It is the decent human thing to do, but there is no reason to stay monogamous if you don’t want to. Why should you? Because society has told you to? Because archaic laws held up by people who can’t hold to them demand it of you?

Fuck that.

Sex is your own damn business. Yours and whomever you are fucking. And, if you have a partner who believes you are being monogamous, you really should clue them in, and move on. No one is holding you back.

As that same aside, if someone is out getting their groove on, it really is none of your damned business if it isn’t your bed they are doing it in. So keep your scarlet letter out of their sheets.

We, and by we, I mean other people, because I don’t give a fuck who is fucking whom (I am trying to get my Wordle and swear meter results back up) as long as everyone is consenting.

Life is too damned short to look back and have regrets. I’ve had enough of those. My life works for me, and I don’t intend to force it on anyone else. I expect that same courtesy of others. I wish the rest of the damned U.S. could get on board w/ that. But I realize that is like trying to organize a 25 man raid and keep everyone focused after three wipes. That is beyond channeling a major gamer deity.

As long as you are staying safe I say party on.

*The use of holy rhetoric here is cheeky, because I believe that religion should get as far away from the concept of unions as possible, as far as the idea of benefits of partners go, for legal, tax purposes, survivorship and any other benefit we currently ascribe to marriage. Make everything a civil union, for heterosexual, homosexual, for anyone. Take “marriage” out of it. Make it truly equal. Then, if people still want their marriage, they can go to the religious entity of their choice and get “married”, but there should be no extra legal state or federal benefit as a result. Truly separate church and state. Get the fundies out the union business and equality might have a fucking shot. *AHEM*

Tag Cloud