Causes

Nov. 17th, 2016 05:52 pm
liv: Detail of quirky animals including a sheep, from an illuminated border (marriage)
My dear dear friend [personal profile] hatam_soferet is getting married today. In honour of this wonderful occasion, I have made a small donation to the American Civil Liberties Union.

more about charity giving )

I am not writing this post to show off what a great person I am; I am sure many of you give way more to charity than I do or contribute directly in ways other than financial. I'm thinking of doing the latter too but it's going to take some medium-term arranging my life to make happen. I'm writing to encourage discussion, to let people know about Thousand 4 £1000, and to offer a kind of minimal solidarity. I've definitely had thoughts about needing to hoard up all my spare money as an escape fund, but eventually decided that doesn't really make sense, I'm not eating into my savings to an extent that's going to make a difference to whether I can get out or not. And seeing other people talking about their giving as a response to bad political news has been comforting to me, so I wanted to pay it forward.

And most importantly, congratulations to [personal profile] hatam_soferet and about-to-be husband. I wish you many years of supportive partnership and domestic bliss, and I'm sending very, very much love along with the donation in your names.

Anatomy

NSFW Sep. 16th, 2016 01:23 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )

Bi-dentity

Jun. 1st, 2016 11:38 pm
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
So my gf convinced me to join her on a panel about bisexuality and religion at BiFest Wales. To be fair I didn't need very much convincing. And it was a pretty cool experience which I should write up before I forget about it.

being publicly bi )
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
So I'm pretty intensely pro trigger warnings. I generally agree with people like [personal profile] jimhines: that it's nonsense to consider TWs as censorship. Most of the arguments I've seen against TWs are like Stephen Fry's nonsense (which started this round of the debate), people who feel that the highest moral principle at stake is their so-called free speech right to bully people who are already getting crapped on by society.

more discussion of the TWs question, with some abstract mentions of the sorts of things that may need TWs )

But that's why I'm a lot more concerned about students getting too little support than too much, anyway.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
Several people commented to my emotional labour thoughts by bringing up the issue of unwanted emotional labour. People who kind of martyr themselves doing EL that they hate, when the person they're doing it for doesn't want it anyway.

some people are already exhausted by this discussion, so feel free to skip )
liv: Composite image of Han Solo and Princess Leia, labelled Hen Solo (gender)
I really like seeing everybody's responses to the emotional labour thread. And I've been having a few good conversations about it IRL too. I like the fact that some people have found it a revelation, some have found it confirms or gives a name to stuff they already knew, and some people have found it unsurprising or irrelevant to their lives. Having found the initial article, well written but not terribly novel, I've been reading responses and thinking it over, and now I think perhaps I do have some opinions on the topic after all.

navel-gazing )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
I often worry about the filter bubble thing, that I surround myself with people who have similar opinions to mine. Equally I take pride in being open to changing my mind, but I'm not sure how much that's really true and how much I just like to tell myself that's who I am. And, well, I don't want to spend my time and energy re-examining everything that ever gets challenged by a crackpot or someone with an agenda other than establishing the truth about the world.

noodling )
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
My post bouncing off the Alderman article has generated various bits of interesting discussion. The thread I want to follow further at this point is about the bold claim of the article title that There's no morality in exercise. [personal profile] electricant challenged that claim in a really thoughtful and interesting way:
No one is morally better than anyone else because of the amount of exercise they do. However, I, personally, am a better person for working out. I'm not better than anyone else, but I'm better as me-working-out than I am as me-not-working out. And that better does include a moral dimension [...] I feel like working out is a habit that allows me to develop many positive traits in myself - some physical, some intellectual, and some moral [...] it is a moral imperative for me personally, according to my own value system
I've been turning ideas round in my mind for a while about the idea of "being healthy", and how exercise fits as part of that. I think the core of it is that being healthy is often used to refer not to a state of being, but rather to (believed to be) correct actions which people may or may not perform.

swirly unfinished thoughts )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] jimhines, all round good egg, is doing a second series of his Invisible guest blogs where he invites people from marginalized identities to talk about (lack of) representation in speculative fiction. I have to admit I had a bit of an emotional reaction to seeing a Jewish one. noodling about identity again )
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
So when I was composing my post about PDA I intended to include in the discussion my reaction [personal profile] thingswithwings's post on I don't like X but. And the post got a bit out of hand, so I didn't have time to get to that discussion, so I'm adding it here.

This is a very meta sort of post, I'm talking about talking about potentially charged topics. So I'll at least mention violence including sexual violence, and I will also refer to sexually explicit including kinky stuff. I don't expect to go into lots of detail about anything, but those will be the topics. And now I'm being the centipede because the whole post is about how I should phrase this kind of description of what I'm about to write about and of course I've made myself completely self-conscious about doing so.

with that said )

Right, that ended up being not quite coherent. Let me put it out there anyway and see what people think.

PDA

Feb. 12th, 2015 11:52 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
I think this is going to one of these swirly posts where I ramble about a bunch of stuff that's been on my mind for a few weeks, and I'm not sure if it'll all come together. I'm thinking about the ethics and choices around expressing affection, including sexual affection, in public or at least in front of onlookers.

noodling )

What do you think, people? How do you balance these things? (Possibly by erring on the side of not talking about them on the internet, in which case you probably won't be in a position to comment!) But I'm working this stuff through in my mind and would appreciate some input. Feel free to contact me offline if you prefer.
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
There are two things you should know about this post: I'm writing it as a non-mentally-ill person about issues that don't affect me directly, so please feel free to take with as much salt as you like, or ignore it if you hate that kind of thing. I'm mostly planning to link to the words of people who do have mental illnesses, but I'm bad at writing linkspams without my own commentary. And secondly, it concerns mental illness and some of the worst consequences of that, so it will mention triggering topics including self-harm, suicide, forced treatment and medical neglect / abuse.

if you still want to read on )
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
Still behind, will try to make some brief posts. [personal profile] angelofthenorth asked about Things that make you go hmmm? Which is a lovely question, but I can't quite articulate in general what it is that makes me look at something and feel dubious. I think it's a mixture of things smelling like conspiracy theory, and things where I think group affliation is probably a bigger factor than rigorous analysis. Oh, and any kind of simplistic answers to complex questions, whether medical, social, spiritual or whatever.

hmmm )

Any others from anyone else? What sorts of things are likely to elicit a skeptical response from you?

[December Days masterpost]
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
[personal profile] angelofthenorth asked about Drama - where be llamas?. This is prompt I've been thinking about quite a lot in the intervening weeks, partly because I'm scared that writing a post could itself be a source of drama. But also partly because I think it's an interesting question.

mentions intimate violence in passing )

So I suppose I try not to act in ways that cause drama, and I try to avoid getting sucked in to drama, even though it can be emotionally rewarding in some ways. But I also try to take people seriously and not leap to the conclusion that a serious problem that needs help and support is "just" drama. It's a very difficult line to walk and I know I get it wrong more often than I'd like.

[December Days masterpost]
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
A while back, I made a post related to weight loss dieting, and in the comments, [livejournal.com profile] shreena asked me why I do believe that politically and scientifically, health at every size and similar approaches are 'better' than weight loss dieting, commenting:
I'm interested in the evidence base on this. I have not looked into it so I don't really have an opinion but I'm interested by the fact that many intelligent knowledgeable friends of mine hold the view that you [...] have expressed but so many health institutions and guidance hold the opposite view (i.e. that health and size are correlated.)
I possibly shouldn't have shoved this in with the December Days prompts, because really I want to put in lots of links to evidence rather than just writing off the cuff as I end up doing when I'm trying to post every day. But equally, I don't want to duplicate the work that lots of other fat acceptance / HAES bloggers have done really comprehensively, so I'm going to try a brief run-down here, and follow up in the new year if this isn't satisfactory.

In order to address this prompt, I am going to talk about weight loss and dieting and also about the medical establishment's attitude to fatness and fat people. My plan is to take this post in a fairly sciencey way, given [livejournal.com profile] shreena asked for the evidence base. I have a political opinion, which is strongly body positive and against medical and other discrimination against fat people. But I'm going to try to be as neutral as I can, and I'm going to entertain various possible interpretations of the evidence that I'm discussing. I'm aiming to present a case to intelligent, open-minded skeptics, basically, and I appreciate that even acknowledging the possibility that fatness may cause bad health is going to be offensive or upsetting to some people.

Further, I'm talking purely about the connections between size and health. I am committed to the view that health is not a moral imperative, so even if I saw enough evidence to completely convince me that it's always healthier for everybody to be as thin as possible, I would still argue that people have the right to choose whether they want to go on weight loss diets or not. But that's not the point of this post, I want to explore the question of whether losing weight actually is beneficial to health.

I should also warn about the comment discussion that might come up. I didn't do so last time I discussed this topic, and some of the comments ended up upsetting some friends – I'm very sorry about that. I generally get a lot of pushback when I talk about this sort of topic, because some of my friends are more politically radical than me, and some are convinced by the orthodoxy about fat and health. I hope everybody will be civil and sensitive about discussing a fraught topic, but I expect a fair range of opinions here. I may also not have time to answer comments, partly because it's about to be Christmas and partly because I'm trying to keep up this daily posting for another couple of weeks, given it's been so satisfying up to now.

wow, that was a lot of disclaimers! )
Does that help? Basically that's where I'm coming from on the issue, scientifically, though my political views do follow on from and extend that. I don't think it's going to be enough to help my brother and his housemate argue against the weight centric approach being applied to care home residents, but it's the best I can manage in an evening.

[December Days masterpost]
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] ewt wanted to know your take on poverty in the UK and elsewhere and what, if anything, you think should be done about it (and by whom).

This is the kind of good question that gets to the heart of where I come from politically. I suppose basically I think some amount of poverty or at least economic inequality is inevitable, if people ever have the freedom to make bad decisions at all. I also think a lot of UK and global poverty right now is being deliberately orchestrated, and what I really want is for the governments of rich countries to stop doing that, which I think would improve things a lot before we get to more positive anti-poverty initiatives.

I suspect this may annoy my leftier friends and possibly some fellow right-wingers too )

Feel free to tell me why I'm wrong, I am not hugely emotionally attached to these views so I'm happy for this post to trigger a debate!

[December Days masterpost]
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
Rebecca Rabinowitz is one of my favourite fat activist bloggers; she's good in various places, mostly talking critically about children's books from a fat positive and generally anti-oppressive perspective. Her home base is [livejournal.com profile] diceytillerman, which she updates rarely but it's very much worth reading. She's not really a polemical writer; if you start from the belief that being fat is morally bad she's probably not going to convince you otherwise.

Anyway, I really like her latest piece about the relationship between fat activism and dieting. A lot of the time there's a perceived conflict between activists who want fat people to be treated better, and people who want to lose weight. I am never quite sure how to feel about that perception. So I found Rabinowitz's analysis really perceptive:
But know that when you talk about [weight loss dieting] you’re not talking only about yourself. You’re talking about the fat person near you and all the fat people who aren’t near you. You can’t help but. There is no neutral.


everything about fat and dieting is fraught )

I seem to be in a controversial mood today; I did something I very rarely do and posted an overtly political update to Facebook, namely a ranty post about the fact that it's never appropriate to post explicit photos of the bodies of murder victims to social media in order to make a political point. And that's a lot more like direct criticism of people in my FB circles than I would normally ever allow myself. We'll see how that plays out.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
It's always hard to come back to posting after a hiatus. I have too many and too few things to say that aren't about Worldcon or house buying, and I have all these new readers who subscribed post-Worldcon and I feel too self-conscious that my first past should be "good" to even get started. So I am taking my cue from [livejournal.com profile] siderea and posting a links round-up and not worrying so much about being original that I fail to post at all.

Everybody's been linking to [livejournal.com profile] shweta_narayan's really impressive piece about cognitive linguistics and social justice. It's brilliant, both in terms of how it explains an academic concept in an accessible way, and because of making a novel and cogent connection between different ideas, and it also feels pertinent to stuff I've been trying to think about recently about politically correct language.

more rambly than I originally intended )
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
Some months ago, [personal profile] rachelmanija posted a request for escapist genre novels with major Jewish characters. And I babbled about it to people I talk about books with, notably [personal profile] jack, but I've been meaning to make my thoughts into a top level post.

Jewish representation )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
So it's fairly topical in social justice circles that media representation of "non-default" people is important. I absolutely agree that it's important and I am totally on the side of the people who want more and better representation, and have no truck with the curmudgeons who think that political correctness is ruining good stories. The thing is, though, that what the SJ blogosphere says about representation doesn't really match with my personal experience. This might be because I'm weird, because I'm not American, because my identity isn't just one thing? It might also be because the clamour for more representation is focusing on one aspect of the issue and not on the aspect that's important to me.

thinky thoughts )

I most certainly think that greater diversity of representation is highly, highly desirable. I suppose I just want more diverse stories, not just a greater range of minority identities? I suppose they go together in some way, because if you're only ever represented on the rare occasion when someone wants to tick the minority representation ticky-box, you're a lot more likely to appear in cliched and annoying storylines that are all about stereotypes of your identity. Whereas if stories were more like reality, people with various sorts of identities would have a much better choice of non-awful role models.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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