Lines, marriage and who’s worthy (and who decides).

Same-sex marriage in the United States has been for quite some time the focus of attention in terms of LGBT activism in that country. It also has the entire world turning its head whenever a state legalizes it, whenever the Supreme Court discusses it. Today and tomorrow are such days, in which activists around the world are either picketting, marching, making phone calls, staring at their TVs/computer screens in waiting for statements, for results, hopefully favorable ones.

For thousands and thousands of people in California, though, today and tomorrow are life-changers. It is not just a cause that they support: it is their life and their happiness that is in the hands of those judges. Because of the weight of the decisions being made in these two days, millions of people in other states’ livelihood is also at stake. Furthermore, as has been studied over and over again, a course taken in the United States, because of its standing in the global market (of ideas and products alike) is a course likely to be followed by other countries. The whole world is watching.

miserable gay marriage

I cannot stress this enough, though: it is people’s lives that are on the table when you talk about same-sex marriage, anywhere in the world.

You might think I am exaggerating. Some of you may even think: “who cares about an archaic notion such as marriage?” or “marriage is a patriarchal, oppressive institution” or, most valid of all (imho), “fighting for marriage equality is supporting the notion that marriage is the ultimate and most legitimate form of coupledom and that coupledom is the ultimate and most legitimate form of existing in today’s society”. And I agree, I don’t care about the archaic notion of marriage, I also think marriage is instrinsically oppressive and (hetero)sexist and indeed, marriage should not be the norm and standard to which to compare other forms of relationships or families. But that is absolutely not the point.

The way I see it, the struggle to dethrone marriage and the struggle for marriage equality are two parallel ones, not mutually exclusive or in competition with one another. First, because we are talking not just about principles and causes and struggles and good ol’ activism: we are talking about people’s choices, even if we (marriage dethrone-rs, that is) don’t agree with them. And I will beat you to saying “but they are socialized into wanting marriage, that’s why”, because it might be true but kind of irrelevant. I was socialized into liking The Beatles by my mother who would play their albums nonstop, which does not mean that I didn’t later arrive by my own means to the conclusion that they are awesome and I like them too. The second reason why the two struggles are parallel and not competing is because you cannot have the first without first having the latter, I believe. It is like skipping a step in the ladder for actual, full equality of all humans regardless of their sexual/romantic choices and modes of association.

Marriage, whether we like it or not, the most validated relationship status (which is key in society’s evaluation of us and others, the State’s evaluation of us and of our own self-evaluation), the only one that is sanctioned by the State and the one that all other forms of association “look up to” (in terms of legal, social, economic and political benefits, that is) and compare themselves to. It is the 10 on the scale of 1 to legit. Not having the right to marry means you are less legit as a couple, and therefore as an individual. It means you are less citizen, less human being, less everything. As a pivotal institution in society, having access to it means having access to all that being a human being in a particular place can have access to. It means society accepts you and sees you as important and legitimate and equal to everyone else.

One only has to look at the name of the law the Supreme Court is discussing tomorrow to see how degrading the illegal status of same-sex marriage is: Defense of Marriage Act. To me, it sounds like the precious sanctity and purity of marriage has to be defended against the abomination of outside forces such as homosexuality. It comes down to that, really; it is saying: “you are unworthy of such an institution, you are unworthy of equal treatment and you are unworthy of the same kind of citizenship that we have”. I will not even talk about the divorce rate, statistics on cheating, on domestic violence or on sexual abuse within heterosexual marriages. You can look those up and question how sacred and pure and worthy of “defending” heterosexual marriage is. I am not even arguing homosexual marriage would do a lot better on those stats (which I have many reasons to believe), I am merely saying that there is probably little difference, little to no abomination that same-sex marriage can bring to the general pool of ugliness that marriage in general already is.

Furthermore, who exactly is being called “unworthy”? According to various surveys throughout the years (at least in Canada and the United States, but there is little reason to think the trend is not in the same direction in other countries), more and more people self-report as being somewhere along the scale which is not 100% heterosexual. This means, for one, if you are casting a vote (or buying a product that casts a vote for you) against same-sex marriage, regardless of where in the world you are from, you are almost sure to be casting a vote against people you know, people you care about. Your ballot is actively telling your neighbor, your cousin, your teacher, your fireman, your son, your soldier: “you are less worthy of rights than me”.

I want to share this TED Talk (I could share a thousand TED talks, really), because it speaks to exactly this. It is as relevant now as it was 20 years ago, as it will be for quite some time, until we stop categorizing arbitrarily and picking and choosing who is worthier than who based on ridiculous and private things such as what genitals does the person in the neighbor’s bed  has. Because it boils down to that, folks: you are casting a vote saying your choice of genitalia to bring home is better than everyone else’s. To me, that’s just arrongant, condescending, ridiculous and kind of none of our business at all.

Anyhoo, the awesome TED Talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/io_tillett_wright_fifty_shades_of_gay.html

I want you guys to think about this because sometimes we think about laws being discussed and we may sort of support them but not really cause they sound so far away, specially if we don’t live in the States or do not vote there, and specially if we do not identify as LGBTQ*.

They are not far away, though. First, in today’s global society, every place that passes a law (or repeals a ban) in favor of same-sex marriage, it encourages other countries to do the same, it fuels activists worldwide, it makes a case that judges elsewhere can look at.  Second, politicians are elected by us, which means they can be pressured by us too. Third, corporations are sustained by us, which means they can be pressured, by our wallets, to push for one or other law.

Fourth, and going back to my mention of the feminist dilemma to support marriage equality or not, consider this: a challenge to traditional marriage is a challenge to traditional marriage. What I mean by this is that by challenging the heterosexism of marriage as an institution, other challenges are in order, such as gender roles within a marriage, economic and social responsibilities, division of labour, etc. Taking one layer of oppression of the giant oppressive pile that is marriage, is a start. Even if it is true that the only legal way to protect and validate your family and your love should not be marriage, while it is, let us make sure we all can access it.

Let us all make sure we are concious of who we are voting against, or who we are not moving an inch for. Wherever you’re reading this from, there is very likely a group of people considered less worthy of basic civil rights, basic human rights even. There are people challenging that worthiness. Learn about it, so that this piece of big news in the Supreme Court does not end there. Look at the pictures in the ‘Self Evident Truths’ and see if they’re really less worthy than you, if you can really be the judge of that, if you can really point to a radical difference in their faces to yours, to your family’s. If you can really stay still while people like you are being told, on a daily basis, that their existence in their own homes is not legitimate.

I know I can’t. I can’t look any one person in the eye and say that they matter less than me. I can’t draw a line between ‘more important’ and ‘less important’ than me.

 

 

An itty-bit more on the debate of marriage equality (there is PLENTY):

Live Blog: Supreme Court Weighs Gay Marriage – Washington Wire

Defense of Marriage Act – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

LZ Granderson: The myth of the gay agenda

Feminism and the Same-sex Marriage Debate

Decoupling Marriage and Procreation

 

 

And to answer the question of who decides who’s worthy: we all decide. We all have the power to decide. As I said before, we elect the politicians, we keep the businesses going, we tune in to the media. That is how we vote, that is how we say that we are all worthy, or none of us are.

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Repitan conmigo: virg.. debut. D E B U T.

Todas las ideas erróneas o incompletas (en el mejor de los casos) que tenemos acerca del cuerpo, de las relaciones, de la sexualidad, me darían tema para una entrada por día, al menos. Pero hoy, hoy voy a hablar de esa palabrita tan entintada de religión, manchada de “pureza”, rodeada de advertencia y de dobles estándares: la “virginidad”.  Yo pienso – y no estoy ni remotamente sola en esto – que la “virginidad” también está letalmente sumergida en violencia, en (hetero)sexismo, en falocentrismo estúpido, en opresión, en control y en mucha ignorancia.

Primero, el sexista juego de Risk: la virginidad (o la pérdida de ésta) del hombre es desde una irrelevancia hasta un triunfo (noten el término “descorchar”), mientras que la de la mujer puede ser desde un regalo pasivo hasta un mal necesario, hasta una tragedia de proporciones bíblicas, pero JAMÁS un triunfo. Como en un juego de estrategia, “ocupar” un territorio es causa de celebración mientras un territorio “perdido” nunca lo será. Una vez cedemos ese territorio, una vez profanado el templo (háganme el chingado favor), ya no es nuestro ni lo será jamás. Y no sólo eso, sino, ¿quién va a querer un territorio ya ocupado, ensangrentado? Es lo que nos dicen, que es un espacio que ya regalaste – y más te vale haya sido al mejor postor. No es un espacio compartido, una unión de dos naciones independientes. NO. Alguien más ya puso ahí su bandera (pun intended) y ya. Colonizaron tu cuerpo. Forever. El bendito acabose.

Y tal como una ocupación, requiere de ilustraciones violentas que sirvan de advertencia. El hímen que se rompe, la sangre que se derrama, la virtud que se pierde. No hay vuelta atrás, pues ya estás marcada, ESTÁS ROTA. Cuando ahora está más que bien sabido  – por los que siempre sospechamos que la educación sexual formal es una burla – que el hímen no se rompe – tan sólo se estira, se abre un poco, a veces vuelve a su lugar, etc. Se abre – como puede hacerlo haciendo gimnasia, usando tampones, o puede nunca hacerlo. Cuando, contrario a lo que nos dicen y suponemos y esperamos (o más bien, no exigimos otra cosa) y por tanto promovemos, no tiene que doler. Si se hace bien, si se hace pacientemente, si se hace conociéndonos primero (¡¿pero qué estoy diciendo?! ¡¿Tocar y estar cómodos con nuestro propio cuerpo?! BLASFEMIA), y si se hace cuando nosotros queremos, no tiene que doler jamás. Pero imagine usted, si podría no doler, ¡podría hasta gustarnos! A papá Dios le va a dar un infarto si se entera.

Porque si nada se rompe, entonces no hay evidencia de nuestra puerquísima desobediencia, y no perdemos nada. Porque si nada duele, si se disfruta, entonces empezamos a buscar triunfos propios en vez de esperar pasivamente a una ocupación, y no estamos perdiendo nada.

Desde el término nos advierten la tragedia que se nos viene con la vida sexual. Hasta yo en mi discurso cotidiano he ido cambiando ese discurso. Los invito a hacer lo mismo. Llamémosle primera vez, debut sexual, etc. No es una pérdida, no es el final de una era bíblica, no es una tragedia. Y si lo es, es porque no lo están haciendo bien ;)

Igualmente, el ‘vírgen’ en ‘virginidad’ está basada en un cuento de cuna que dice que una mujer concibió a un hombre sin tener horrible y sucio sexo. Según este librito que encuentras en moteles, eso es algo maravilloso. Si me preguntan, tener un parásito seguido de un parto seguido de una vida que mantener, SABIENDO que ni siquiera hubo punchis-punchis no es negocio.

La primera, como todas, como todo lo COMPARTIDO, es para los dos. Si vamos cambiando nuestro lenguaje y nuestra forma de pensar, esa culpa, esa censura, ese no-disfrute acaba. Se va por más igualdad, más conciencia, más vida.

[En parte porque esto es lo que yo hubiera querido, y porque sé que una gran parte de quienes me leen tienen/tendrán hijos, POR FAVOR enséñenle a las chavas que el sexo no es un regalo para ellos, sino para ellas mismas, que no son menos por quererlo. Enséñenle a los chavos que el momento es de ambos, que no es un sello de propiedad, que ambos cuerpos importan igualmente. Que una mujer no vale más o menos por hacer o no hacer, sino por tomar decisiones basadas en lo que la gente dice y no en lo que ella quiere. Que se den chance y tiempo y que no es algo malo. ]

Olvidaba un par de cosas que he considerado al pensar acerca del debut sexual (repitan conmigo, chic@s). La homofobia que nos indica por default es una de ellas. Si la “virginidad” es la penetración – vaginal, que es la única que importa, DUH, ahora pónganse a hacer bebés – , ¿una lesbiana puede no perder la virginidad nunca o cómo? (OH NO, pero, ¿qué estoy diciendo? si todas necesitamos un algo en forma fálica para ser felices). Un hombre tampoco la pierde porque no tiene una vagina ni hímen, entonces, ¿un hombre gay tampoco la pierde? La clave sigue siendo el hímen, la ruptura, la dominación. [Estoy ignorando, por no hacer esto más largo, el discurso un tanto autoflagelante y homofóbica que se tiene a veces en las comunidades homosexuales acerca de quién penetra y quien no, qué es masculino y por lo tanto mejor, etc.]. El único sexo que vale, la única primera vez que importa, es entonces la que ocurre entre un hombre y una mujer, en la que se “rompe” un hímen y alguien es el que ‘chingó’ – por hablar de Octavio Paz y sentirme muy leída – y alguien es la ‘chingada’. También nos indica implícitamente que, al no tener marca alguna de su “pureza”, podemos asumir falta de ella en todas las personas homosexuales, ¿que no? Una incertidumbre ridícula como si fuera asunto de todos qué ha sucedido o no en los cuerpos de uno.

Había también olvidado hablar del impacto del tema de la ‘virginidad’ en los hombres. Heterosexuales. Dije al comienzo que ‘perder la virginidad’ para los hombres no es más que una irrelevancia, y creo que sobre-simplifiqué. La ‘virginidad’ es en muchos casos algo de lo que se debe deshacer el hombre, algo que a cierta edad indica ya sea falta de ‘pegue’, falta de potencia “adecuada”, falta de tamaño “adecuado”, o falta de la orientación sexual “adecuada”. Hablaré del tamaño en otra entrada, pero vamos, se socializa a los hombres a ser máquinas (si, me estoy refiriendo también a las alusiones mediáticas de pistolas/metralletas como penes) insaciables de sexo que mueren por ser soltadas en el mundo sexual adulto. Un mundo lleno de mujeres pasivas que mueren por brindar placer. Un par de problemillas con esto.

1. Deshacerse de? Si es algo tan preciado para las mujeres pero tan urgente de desechar para los hombres, es que acaso el debut sexual del hombre no importa? ¿Por qué debe de no importar? ¿Su cuerpo es menos templo que el de la mujer?

2. “Adecuado”. Los constructos sociales siempre intentan pasarse por el trasero lo que es natural, y es una idiotez. Si naturalmente es así, es adecuado para la naturaleza, y debe ser adecuado para nosotros. Fin.

3. Muchísimos chavos tienen sus debuts sexuales mucho antes de estar psicológicamente listos, mucho antes de tener ni remotamente suficiente información para tomar una decisión consciente y madura y para vivir al máximo su experiencia. Esto lastima a hombres y mujeres y los afecta entonces y por el resto de sus vidas sexuales. Quién sabe, tal vez si los chavos empezaran cuando se les viniera (realmente) en gana, no necesitarían un pinche mapa para darnos un orgasmo. Ups.

4. Esa idea de que las mujeres estarán listas cuando ellos lo estén lleva a decepciones en el mejor de los casos, a violación en el peor. NADA CHIDO ESO.

Igualmente, y vuelvo al tema del placer, esta idea bíblica de la virginidad, de la ruptura, de la sangre, es problemática y en ocasiones hasta letal. Millones de niñas se preguntan y nos preguntamos unas a las otras, como preocupadas, ¿qué es sexo? ¿masturbarse, sexo oral, sexo anal, sexo vaginal? Respuesta correcta: todas ellas, y cualquier otra cosa que pueda llevarte a un orgasmo, si me preguntan a mí. Pero lo que nos dicen que es lo válido – y lo que se prohíbe en religiones como la islámica – es el sexo vaginal. El sexo para hacer bebés – ¡porque seguimos en el siglo XV! – y nada más. Personas alrededor del mundo, basándose en esta definición, contraen enfermedades venéreas por no cuidar otros tipos de contacto, acceden a cosas que no quieren realmente porque al fin y al cabo “no cuenta”. De la misma manera, por la ignorancia absurdísima acerca de lo que realmente pasa en el cuerpo femenino – en vez de basarse en sus anacrónicos juegos de colonización – una chica saudí, o india, o jordana, pierde su honor  – y puede perder hasta su vida – frente a su esposo por no sangrar.

Por todo esto y todas las cosas que seguro no he tocado en esta entrada, eduquémonos. Hablemos las cosas, bien clarito. Por el amor de mmmmhh el orgasmo. Sí, por el amor del orgasmo ❤ ji ji

Fin.

Más información aquí:
Myths surrounding virginity

Trucos para la primera vez. El dolor NO es parte del debut sexual

Hymen Stretching

Like a debutante, touched for the very first time.

All the wrong and incomplete ideas that we have about the body, about relationships, about sexuality, would give me enough ranting power to write a blog entry per day, for sure. But today I want to write about this funny (not AT ALL) word that is so soaked in religion, stained with “purity”, wrapped in warning signs and double standards: VIRGINITY. I think – and I am not even remotely alone in this – that “virginity” is also lethally injected with violence, (hetero)sexism, ridiculous phalocentrism, opression, control and a whole lotta ignorance.

To begin with, we have the most sexist of Risk games: virginity (or loss of it) as a man is from an irrelevant event to a victory (ummm “uncork” anyone?) while virginity as a woman can be a passive gift to a man, a necessary evil, up to a tragedy of biblical proportions, but it will NEVER be a victory. Like a strategy game, to occupy a territory is something you celebrate, while a territory lost in battle will never be. Once we hand over that territory, once the temple is desecrated (I’d love to be able to say I am the first one to use such a ridiculous analogy), it is not ours anymore and it will never again be. Not only that, though, but, who is going to want an already occupied territory, where blood has (Oh, we’re onto something, Watson!) already been shed?! This is what they – and by they, on average, I mean white priviledged physically able heterosexual men – tell us:  it is a space that you already gave away – and it’d better had been to the highest bidder. It is not a shared space, or the union of two independent nations. OH HELLS NO. Someone else already placed their flag (pun absolutely intended) in there, so that is it for you. They colonized your body. Forever. F o r e v e r.

And just like an occupation, violent imagery is needed to serve as a warning to potential trespassers of the rigid confinements that keep our own rights to choice from us. The hymen BREAKS, there is BLOOD all over the place (what, are we dying or something? jeez), VIRTUE is lost, never to return. There is no turning back, because you’re scarred. You’re broken.

All while it is well-known now that the hymen does not break – it merely stretches and possibly tears a little bit, just like it can tear from biking, riding horses, using a tampon or it may very well not at all ever. While, contrary to popular belief (and by that I mean socialization from parents, schools and oh the lovely mass media), it does not have to hurt. If it is done right, patiently, if we get to know ourselves first (you mean poke around there and be comfortable with our own bodies?! YOU’RE TALKING NONSENSE HERE, LU!! Blasphemy!), and if it is done when/where/how/with whom we want, it doen’t have to ever hurt. But imagine the travesty: if it could just not hurt, it could even be pleasurable to us! Baby Jesus will have a bloody heart attack if he finds out.

Because if nothing breaks then there is no evidence of our filthy little acts of disobedience, and we are losing nothing. Because if nothing hurts, if it is enjoyable, then we begin to look for victories ourselves instead of taking occupations passively, and we are losing nothing.

From the very term we are warned about the tragedy forthcoming with the beginning of our sexual life, by the way. This is why I am changing the way I talk about it, and I invite you to do the same. Call it first sexual experience, call it sexual debut. It is not a loss,  or the end of a biblical era, or a tragedy. And if it is, honey, you’re doing it wrong 😉

[Also, the ‘virgin’ part of virginity is based on a sorta child’s tale of a woman who could conceive a man without having dirty dirty sex, which according to this book they give away at motels is an awesome thing. If you ask me, having to give birth to a baby knowing there were no fun times preceding it is just bad business].

The first time, just as every one after that, and just as everything shared, is for both. If we start changing our language and our way of framing and thinking about things, the shame, censorship and non-enjoyment  ends. You start going for more equality, more mindfulness, more and better living.

[Partly because this is what I would have wanted for myself, and because I know many who read me probably have/will have kids, PLEASE teach the gals that sex is not a gift to the guys, but to themselves, that they’re not less anything for wanting it. Teach the guys that the moment is both his and hers, that sex is not a seal of property or an occupation, that both bodies matter equally. That a woman is not worth more or less for doing or not doing, but perhaps for making decisions based on what others want for her as opposed to what she wants for herself. That they should give themselves the time and the place and the heart and that there is nothing wrong with it.]

I was forgetting a couple of things that I’ve considered regarding the sexual debut. One of them is the heterosexist nature of the concept of virginity. If virginity is penetration – vaginal, which is the one that matters, DUH, now go make me some babiez -, then a lesbian doesn’t lose her virginity? is her sexual experience less valid? (but what in the world am I saying? some women don’t need a penis to get off?!) Does a gay man, in lack of a hymen to destroy (oh, the boys love them violent verbs), not lose his virginity either? [I am ignoring here, of course, stereotypes and gay-on-gay hating going on about tops and bottoms within gay communities]. The only valid sex, the one that counts, is the one in which a penis breaks a hymen – that sex, then, in which someone was doing the FUCKING and someone was FUCKED. No equal power to the people and such BS. Domination and occupation are key in this discourse. This discourse is also a cause for concern when society cannot – lacking physical proof of their filthy filthy funky business – determine how pure homosexual and transexual people are. A ridiculous uncertainty since it is none of our business what their genitalia (or use of it) is anyway.

I had also forgotten to talk about the impact of the whole “virginity” discourse on men. As in heterosexual men. Because, yes, we feminists are concerned with men’s troubles as well, since they are also outcomes of a patriarchal, sexist, body-shaming culture. I said before that “virginity loss” for men ranges from an irrelevant happening to a victory. I may have overstated my case. It is in many cases a thing to get rid of, a thing that at a certain age declares either lack of game, a lack in “appropriate” performance, lack of “appropriate” size, or lack of the “appropriate” sexual orientation. I will talk about size later, but, seriously, men are socialized to be sex machines (and by that, I literally allude to the many analogies of guns and penises) dying to be unleashed into the (hopefully of-legal-age) sexual world, a world full of passive women who are ready to please you. Couple of teeny, tiny problems there, folks.

1. Get rid of? So if it is so precious for women and something to quickly do away with for men, is it that a guy’s sexual debut doesn’t matter? Why shouldn’t it? Is his body less of a temple than a woman’s body is?

2. Appropriate? Social constructs always try to trump nature, and it is bollocks. If nature built it like that, it must be appropriate for nature, as it should be for us. The end.

3. So many men have their sexual debuts long before they’re psychologically ready, before they have nearly enough information to make concious choices and to make the most out of it. And this harms both the guy and girl’s experiences then and later in life. Who knows, maybe if they started whenever they felt like it they wouldn’t need a map to gal’s orgasms. Just sayin’.

4. That idea that women will be ready when they are leads to disappointment in the best of scenarios, to rape in the worst ones.

In the same way, and going back to the topic of pleasure, these ideas of virginity, blood, rupture, loss, is very problematic. Thousands of girls ask themselves and we ask each other, kind of worried: what is sex? what COUNTS as sex? masturbating, oral, anal, vaginal? They all are correct answers, and if you ask me, anything that can take you to the big O is sex. But what society tells us is valid – or prohibited – is vaginal sex. The sex that is useful to make babies – because we are clearly in the XV century – and nothing else. People around the world get STIs because they don’t take care of themselves with other types of sex, they say yes to things they don’t want to because “whatever, it doesn’t count”. Similarly, because of the ridiculous ignorance about what actually happens in the female body, a Saudi, Indian, Jordan girl loses her honor – and can even die – confronting an angered husband when she doesn’t bleed.

So, considering all this, and the many other stuff that I probably missed in this blog post, let’s educate ourselves. Let’s talk about things. Let’s deconstruct what others tell us. For the love of cute kittens, crazy guitar solos and orgasms. Please, for the love of the orgasms hiding behind our distorted ideas.

Cool stuffs:

Myths surrounding virginity

Laci Green’s Sex+ vlog

Hymen Stretching

Rethinking Virginity: A life unexamined