I'm glad you mostly got what I was trying to say in my post. I was TOTALLY speaking to a non-gender specific audience as I wrote it. When I wrote "our wives/sisters/daughters/etc" I was writing THAT to a non gender specific audience, as well. Women can have wives, daughters, sisters, mothers. I feel bad only because so many people are taking my post as an all call for burly white guys to go beat up people, and in some cases saying it incites violence against women.
that’s good! i’m trying to think of a way to make it come off more clearly— maybe say “our wives/daughters/sisters/ or us” or something? the reason that phrasing usually bothers me is it erases the idea that you, the reader, could be affected personally by this (as opposed to, just someone yr close to) i think this is what you were trying to indicate, though, by saying “just women in general”. HMM! maybe there is a better phrasing i am not thinking of.
i am glad my original interpretation of it being a call to action for everyone was right because i am into that sentiment
hey, i wanted to thank you for your addition to the over-sharing post. i want to clarify my stance. which is that there is a huge difference between lies & inauthencitiy & consciously playing with our representation in a way that works for us. the original point i was trying to make was not that calculated representations are bad, but rather that none of us are ever really sharing everything & it's mystifying to pretend that we are. i like your blog & can't wait to read more of yr stuff!
no problem! it’s a discussion i’m into. i’ve got more to say on it definitely. i think a big thing is how we define inauthenticity—like, i am defining it as a method of revealing authenticity is impossible by showing the creation of that image, whereas your definition seems to fall more along the lines of inauthenticity as falsely presenting something as authentic (am i right?)
i was going to reply to your post at some point, but i think i’ll just say basically what i would and maybe flesh it out more if i get more time!
i do disagree with the idea of posting pictures of yourself on tumblr being inherently unradical because allowing images of yourself (especially if yr body is non-normative) to be visible is claiming representation, and many people do present images of themselves with intentionality. and i definitely think it’s a medium you can do this in! lots of people do! i have some examples, if need be. a lot of times i don’t really understand attacks on tumblr as a medium because to me it’s really beneficial to discussion and sharing experiences. in a lot of cases it isn’t, and it varies greatly i guess on who you’re interacting with on it/how you are interacting with it.
which of course isn’t to say every picture of everyone is radical. (looking at you, carefree white girls of tumblr) (and yeah, i will give you “liking” something is never a radical act*)
but yeah no i’m interested in this discussion!! (plus yr blog’s rad too)
Alright, so I’m fucking SICK AND TIRED of all of these oppressive, archaic bills being presented in our great country that will essentially revoke the human rights of our wives, girlfriends, sisters, daughters, nieces, moms, friends, just women in general. It’s bullshit. It’s just more rich motherfuckers making decisions for us. More yacht owning, summer house having pieces of shit who like to dictate what we can and cannot do so they can sip their cucumber water in peace.
Well I got a proposition: intimidate the living shit out of anyone who is trying to pressure and push this shit in your town. You know why it’s okay? Because that’s what they’re doing.
Now, I’m not saying go beat the shit out of someone (although if they throw the first punch, have at thee, fist fights are fun as shit,) but rather I’m saying have a back bone in your community.
If someone is spewing this garbage at the grocery store, say something. If you hear about some shithead speaking, show up. Look tough. Show your tattoos, wear some boots. Put a chain or two around them.
No one is going to take this dreadlocks and Birkenstocks bullshit seriously. They sip their champagne and laugh at it from the balconies.
Shave your head, make a denim vest. Make a patch for it. Weird these motherfuckers out.
I’m ranting at this point and probably not making much sense, but I think if a movement truly wants to have a presence, it needs a look.
Something I learned in high school was that if you want to be taken seriously, you need to look mean as shit.
Take the gloves off and drop this peace, love, and caring bullshit. The enemy did that a long time ago.
I support this.
WHEN THE GOING GETS WEIRD, THE WEIRD TURN PRO.
ETA: Disclaimer for Tumblr: I realize parts of this post are problematic, parts are just silly, etc. I don’t know the author. I’m a poor (forever uninsured) white (trash!) girl and I don’t support “the philosophy of nonviolence” and I will happily channel my rage from my fist into a rich white anti-choice man’s face if necessary, or barring that, use any opportunity to angrily call bullshit on forceful anti-choice bullshit. I WANT TO BE MEAN AS SHIT. Because it is not enough to be polite and always use sound “logical” debating tactics and deferral when the decisions being made are potentially life-threatening to people with uteruses. OKAY. Also, in spite of whatever, it’s a little refreshing for me to witness a (presumably) male give at least a shit about these issues because usually it’s like, “OMG Did you hear about what -InsertAntiChoicerHere- said or did?! WTF is happening!” and then dude’s all like, “Oh, that sucks. … Hey, check out this YouTube I found today!” Ughhh PS I hate everything.
i really really hate writing that tries to gain empathy for women by saying, “what if this was your daughter/girlfriend/wife/mom?” like, what if this was ME? why do you think your audience is all male? why do you need to address them as though there is no chance they have any personal stake in this? why is it necessary to frame it in a way that erases women as the subjects to make the implicitly male audience care?
2. most of the feminists who have read this and are bothered by it are bothered because of the implicitly male audience/freaked out by dudes using violence as a tool of protection because “protecting women” is also a patriarchal thing
3. THAT BEING SAID, i agree with the sentiments of the post for the most part, assuming the audience is indeed EVERYONE and not just dudes who want to protect their women, or whatever. (and i assumed it was, because often times when people phrase their arguments with an implicitly male audience they really do mean everyone, for SOME reason) i’d be way more into it if it explicitly included women (and well, you know, anyone with a uterus) and i did not have to assume the implicitly male audience was also meant to include them, maybe.
4. a lot of my WOMEN’S STUDIES CLASS DISCUSSION today was centered on the reasons for social justice movements becoming drastically more inefficient since the early 70s and a lot of the reason was because a variety of tactics of opposition got funneled into like, supporting interest groups. so by all means fight problematic shit in all the ways you can, just be sure to check yr shit. (what a great theorist i am)
5. so like yeah, CHALLENGING PEOPLE’S OPINIONS WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER THEM. good tactic! i’m not sure how much wearing jean jackets and looking weird’s gonna freak people out, but i’m all for making yourself look as weird as possible pretty much always.
6. what else works? what are the best tactics of resistance?
ugh i’ve felt like such an anxious failure the last few months i felt like i was so bad at job and band and then like it turns out i WAS bad at those but not doing them any more hasn’t made me felt better i just feel shitty about not doing anything with my life and i just dropped a class and it was a stupid, EASY class but i’ve been putting all my work into my harder classes and i was doing really poorly and now i feel like a failure for that too UGH i thought dropping it would make me feel better but so far i’ve just felt like a bigger failure
this was my favorite source i used for my paper on genital normalizing surgery for intersex infants. i linked to the scholarly journal it appeared in, gay and lesbian issues and psychology review. it starts on page 35. the author is tony briffa, president of AISSG australia. here are my favorite parts:
“At that stage of their lives, English was very much a second language for my parents, and so they understood very little of what they were being told and even less of what it all meant, they dutifully delivered me to the specialists at the Royal Children’s Hospital for a second opinion. The opinion they received was that I should be surgically altered to make my genitals look like those of a girl, and that I should thereafter be raised as a girl.
Although at this point there were considerable cultural differences and a lack of medical understanding to be overcome, my parents had heard all they needed to realise that none of this sounded right to them and told doctors that they believed God had made me the way I was for a reason, and it was up to God to decide what should happen from here, not doctors. They took me home, untouched, trusting that their own cultural and religious beliefs and innate knowledge of what is best for their child would be all they needed to guide me through life. ”
“Culture is so much more than being of nonenglish speaking background, so much more than being a person indigenous to a particular place or region, so much more than skin colour, sex, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or even genetics as a whole. Culture is a rich mix of our collective experiences that has the potential to create a society of balance, acceptance and value.”
“A medical professional I know once rationalised the objections against medical intervention on people with intersex conditions by stating they believed it was people with intersex conditions who had poor surgical outcomes that were dissatisfied. They believed that better surgical outcomes would reduce the number of complaints about medical intervention.
This demonstrates, very regrettably in my view, that medical professionals are being encouraged to turn to better technical outcomes rather than to consider other cultural solutions that exist elsewhere in the world. It seems it is perfectly reasonable for those cultures to turn to western medicine for solutions, but not the reverse. ”
it’s a rather short article and i’m basically quoting most of it, but read it all anyways! i find it super-fascinating.
my new goal is to use this in every final women’s studies paper i write ever. i am going to write a final paper on the spirit catches you and you fall down and this will totally be one of my sources.
i think these photos are important for documenting my personal identity development from a time where i was very very bad at looking the way i wanted to to now, where i am very happy with how i look/feel much more in control of the image i put out. i really didn’t like how i looked when i was 15; i didn’t start liking how i looked until i cut my hair short when i was 17. dying my hair recently has been important for me because it’s a really conscious, inauthentic thing that i’ve done and SHIT, i really like how it looks.
in a lot of ways i am really similar to how i was when i was 15—i still have pretty much all the same interests. but i’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with how i look and i feel a lot more in control of it, too.
WOW thank you for your response/perspective re: oversharing & authenticity! I know I'm coming at this from a particular angle & framing it in a certain way, and it's really interesting to read/understand other angles. :D
no prob! i’ve been really really into intentional femme internet personas recently (and really, a lot of the reason is because of mark) and to some degree it’s what i am trying to do so like being given the opportunity to discuss them is kind of the best. (man i am like always unsure whether to answer stuff privately or publicly, but i am gonna go with public in this case i think)
as much as I agree with the posts I have to add that sometimes you really don’t know exactly how much a person is actually sharing.
I talk about fairly personal things here/in zine life sometimes but there are so many things I wont touch, places I wont go. And people wont ever…
This is relevant to note, and I think it does also align with what I was trying to articulate in a previous post, but I wonder if perhaps I wasn’t being totally clear since a number of responses to my critique were along the lines of, “but I’m not doing X in order to 'prove my authenticity!'”
Most of my criticism of the culture of online-oversharing is based in my examination of how the Internet/blogging affects and alters communication, accessibility, performance of identity, aesthetics, etc. In short, the medium of a blog itself reads as something that is by nature authentic, honest, existing always in the present moment. Of course each blogger is going to selectively self-edit, sharing only what they want, maybe deleting things later when they change their mind, etc. I’m in no way saying that whatever people choose to share or overshare is “fake,” but I’m examining and criticizing the assumption the viewer makes that what is shared is a true, up-to-the-minute representation of a person. Also, I’m not assuming that the viewer is always making that assumption, rather that the nature of the blog medium easily lends itself toward making that assumption.
And that’s where the “performance of identity” comes in (which is not limited to online interactions, incidentally): We perform a representation of ourselves that we feel comfortable expressing in a place that is perceived as somewhat public (like the Tumblr community) where what we post/express might elicit tons of positive encouragement or mean anonymous accusations.
In part I think that the currency aspect of oversharing is somewhat of a reaction to knowing that yours is just one blog in a sea of millions, the format of which is determined by a company (such as Tumblr) or just the nature of the medium (a 2-dimensional flat screen) — so oversharing is one attempt to authenticate a pre-determined space with our individuality, to prove we’re really here, and to seek validation in others’ response to our presumably honest expression (this is not necessarily a bad thing!).
There are certain visual codes that signify authenticity (even if the posts themselves are in fact selected edits from a life). “Slice of life” type of photoblogs (“this is what I’m doing Right Now”), written stream-of-consciousness entries and the like have become aesthetic signifiers of a concept of authenticity, “real life.” (I mean I’m talking about aesthetics a hundred times more than I’d ever be talking about how someone’s nude self-portraits are “fake.”) One is creating content about one’s life and choosing to present it in a particular way, so there is both self-expression and aesthetic choice happening. But sometimes aesthetic choices of format or presentation of content sort of lose their sense of individuality when taken as a whole. Such as, when I look at a blogroll of hundreds of “sex positivity” nude self-portraits, it starts to read as an idea typified (“reading as” something aesthetically has nothing to do with the individual photographers/subjects actual intent).
So that’s where this distance happens — where the barrier of the screen/formatting/appearances, for one (viewer vs viewed & the distance between them), closes off certain venues of intimacy, honesty, and Knowing another. I often read medium of Tumblr as something draining, distancing, and like it’s some club I’m not really fitting into because I’m not “doing” my Tumblr-identity right, as compared to what appears to be a more-or-less socially-acceptable way of “doing” a personal/radical Tumblog. (Like I know y’all, if I don’t like it I can just leave, but a lot of my friends are here, and also it’s necessary in these futuristic times for my own shameless self-promotion whenever I do “Make Art.”)
& again, I don’t think that blogging and identity performance are “bad” or detrimental to human interaction or inherently negative; I just think it’s important to be examining how this form of communication is different and how this form of communication means.
I discussed information/attention as a commodity because online, where a lot of “Content” is freely accessible, attention (eg. how many likes, followers, reblogs) is one major way to measure the value of the content one produces. Content which appears more honest (like overshared, apparently-personal stuff) in some online communities is more valued. It straddles the concepts of both a transactional exchange and personal/intimate communication. I mean we are still steeped in capitalism and capitalist modes of exchange; it’s a struggle to redefine concepts of value, worth, effort, trade… this is one reason why I as a zinester, although I will always accept trades, still prefer receiving money for my output, still get excited if my zine is accepted by a “popular” distro or a “real” book/comic store. I know I’m still thinking in terms of honest expression =? product-profit-popularity-legitimacy, which is hard to unlearn, even though at the same time I can feel that receiving one letter of response to something I wrote — one communicative outreach — is in fact valuable and meaningful, more so than getting five bucks.
In any case: I think it’s important to maintain that criticism in the back of the head, the questioning of how does this mean, and not just for blogging and zines but for all kinds of media (eg, how/why does a photograph so often imply objective truth? Why is academic language taken more seriously than poetics?) and considering why certain aesthetic choices are made and what media choices mean in relation to the content.
ineffableshe mentioned something to me about how “performative authenticity” can sometimes be “just another way of shutting down dialogue & raising defenses…” — like I mentioned in the previous response, if oversharing is being perceived always or only as Authentic Truth then it becomes something impossible to debate or discuss because “you can’t argue with someone’s personal experience.” This is a reason why I think it’s important to acknowledge oversharing as an aesthetic choice as well as a valid form of self-expression — but not the Most Honest Form of Self-Expression. Just one that tends to read as Most Honest, and that just because it’s reading as an expression of authenticity doesn’t mean it actually is authentic (or for that matter, just because its authenticity is criticized doesn’t mean it’s fake).
This is a digression, but it’s a bit applicable and something I’ve wanted to address regarding aesthetic choices: One example is that I personally dislike reading zines xeroxed from a shoddy-looking typewriter proof, unevenly collaged onto the page. I used to love this format because it spoke to my idea of the writer holed up in a room and spewing out a minute-by-minute diatribe of their thoughts. It spoke to a DIY philosophy of not having to make something look legit/fancy for it to be real. However, after 10+ years of zineing, DIY has become both a philosophy and an aesthetic choice — in that many more zinesters now have the option of writing and doing layout on a computer, making printed proofs instead of collaged, etc. So I prefer writing and reading the computer-printed zines because they’re more legible (I don’t have to struggle around fading or splotching typewriter ink, which is often hard for me to read and disrupts my ability to process the content), but I also have to acknowledge that the aesthetic choice of a computer printout signifies alignment with a number of other concepts that may have nothing to do with my writing (mechanization of the process, legitimacy of the computer-printed format, the fact that I have access to a computer, the idea of a finished product, romanticization of the future, etc.). Whereas, the aesthetic choice of a typewritten zine speaks to other ideas (perhaps: old skool DIY philosophy, an alliance with the ‘Old Masters’ throughout the history of writing, romanticization of the past, the idea of a work-in-progress). So neither formats are inherently better or worse, but they signify different things and can elicit different readings of the content. Which, I think, the same goes for making choices on the writing format of the content: Oversharing? Brevity? Poem? Essay? & so on… each style of “self-expression” will be read in a different way, so it’s important to consider — is this format effectively expressing the idea I wanted to express? (I mean there’s a reason this particular entry is less ranty & rambly than the previous one I wrote on the same topics.)
By the way,… this is probably a good point for me to mention that I don’t think of “art” as either “a totally honest and intuitive expression of the artist’s innermost thoughts and feelings” or “a series of strategically-placed aesthetic choices designed to manipulate the viewer’s reactions” but rather that both schools of thought commingle and work off of one another. It’s a little bit of both, and I think of artforms — especially zines — as both tools of communication as well as avenues for personal expression, so it’s more of a creative-process spectrum, if you will, that should be considered.
i’ve been thinking about this a lot because i have really different views about what it means to perform an identity on tumblr. what you describe—the faux-authenticity—is definitely an aspect of the constructed identity, but that’s also ignoring that many people construct identities in a way that are very self-conscious. i think i do this to a degree.
what i am trying to say, i guess, is that i don’t think inauthenticity is a bad thing, and i don’t think authenticity is what everyone is striving for. while of course in your post you are indeed talking about performing authenticity, i think the conversation is incomplete without also discussing performing inauthenticity. (oversharing can too be a means of performing inauthenticity, esp in terms of showing the work of femininity)
a self-conscious identity has a lot to do with a femme identity because aspects of femininity are already seen as “fake” (the femme body is not the neutral body) mostly because being feminine is SUPPOSED to be invisible. (see: guys saying “i like it when you’re not wearing makeup” and meaning “i like it when you’re wearing makeup so that i can’t TELL that you’re wearing makeup. i don’t like it when i can see the work you do.”) identities, especially femme identities, that purposefully show the work one requires to construct them are subversive because they make the work of femininity visible. when you said, “I don’t know what’s radical about posting so so many GPOYs and listing All The Things You’re Wearing and where it came from and Name Brands, etc." i think to some degree that’s radical because it is like "here is me, here is how i constructed myself." (it’s important to note that when this happens in some cases it is name brands, but in a lot of cases those things are thrifted, or from family members, or handmade, which shows the importance is more about the image than promoting consumption—BUT this varies from person to person and someone could be doing it to self-consciously show how they constructed themselves and another could be like "lol buy this stuff", y’know) and also, pictures of yourself are radical when you don’t have the sort of body that is typically represented, i think, because representation is important. lots of times when i’ve seen someone post a picture of their body many of the responses are "i thought i was the only one who had (x body trait")—i have a pretty normative body, but i feel really weird about how my hips look in a lot of ways because like, i HAVEN’T seen people whose bodies look like mine in that aspect—i can’t imagine how much more intense this becomes the further away you get from thin/white/etcetcetc
i wasn’t familiar with mark before they died and haven’t posted anything about it because i feel like it’s not my place (for being unfamiliar with their blog beforehand, for being a cis white girl, etc—check out other people’s tributes though, they are way better than anything i could write about it) but i’ve been obsessively reading their blog (as a sort of mourning—i feel like it’s not really fair to call it that but i don’t know a better way to put it) since then and i am on page 110 or something. there is a lot they say better than i could about what it means to create a self-conscious internet persona (notably i am thinking of a post about the contrast between people irl and their internet personas but i could not tell you where in those hundred pages that is) but like, a lot of their work is about the intentional construction of identities, and very relevan.t
i really like tumblr as a format because i like being able to self-consciously shape what aspects about myself people see, and consciously choosing my ~online persona~ is really empowering to me. like, i can dress really weird and feel awesome about it and take a picture of myself and feel awesome about the picture/the image of myself i am portraying, but when i am in public looking weird i feel like i am out of control of how i am seen. having a space where i can construct how i am seen entirely is the best. (i think public discussion on tumblr is also super great for a lot of reasons, but that doesn’t mean i think it should be the only means of connection—i think your earlier point about individual communication (”there is no intimacy, this isn’t receiving a phone call at 2am or a letter in the mail or a secret shared. It’s an edited version that everyone has access to.”) is important, but i don’t think this type of communication is mutually exclusive with performing an internet persona.
anyways, ANYWAYS, this isn’t to say i think the culture of compulsive oversharing is inherently a good thing. this discussion as a whole has brought up a lot of things i haven’t considered—how when oversharing is valued, it becomes a way of gaining social currency, and thus becomes somewhat compulsive, how it’s not equally valued for everyone, etc. i find comfort in other people’s oversharing in a lot of ways—like, it’s awesome to publicly discuss menstruation, because it’s very rarely publicly discussed, and again this is making invisible work (of having a menstruating body) visible. but yes, oversharing as a means of gaining credibility isn’t necessarily a good thing because not everyone finds comfort in it. (the same i assume goes for sharing pain—what’s cathartic for some isn’t cathartic for all, and a culture of oversharing ignores that it’s not good for everyone)
“so you’re telling me you honestly don’t believe there is something inherently dysfunctional about someone who wants to be in both a heterosexual and a homosexual relationship?”—my dad, on being a middle-class straight dude
“ALSO THIS MADE ME REALIZE i will probably be menstruating around the time lonna, allison, and i were planning on camping in boone. am i going to get eaten by bears? does boone have bears?? should i not go????”—
i want one sci/fi/fantasy book somewhere—just ONE—to address menstruation in the apocalypse.
or: i find it more believable that the snatchers smelled hermione’s menstruation blood than her perfume (this was in the movie)—hermione is not the sort of person to wear perfume, much less perfume while on the run.
why was menstruation (and what to do about it) never discussed in the hunger games? wouldn’t that have been a problem? like—we all know bears can smell menstrual blood a million miles away and dogs can’t keep their noses out of your menstruating crotch—not one person at the hunger games ever died once cuz they were menstruating and some hybrid dog ripped them to shreds?
katy's magical cramps-helping drink (a takeoff on korean ginger cinnamon tea)
i know you are sick of me posting pictures of liquid in jars, but this is the best and tastiest so i have also enclosed an approximate, informal recipe:
ACTIVE TIME: probably about 10-15 minutes. TOTAL TIME: a billion years. or like, 6 hours.
YIELD: 3 full quart-size jars
1 large hunk of fresh ginger (enough for three large handfuls)
9 cinnamon sticks
enough water to fill 3 quart-size mason jars (12 cups)
3 very small handfuls of yarrow (optional***)
3 quart-size mason jars
WHAT YOU DO
boil all the water. while you are boiling all the water, chop up the ginger. fill each mason jar with one big handful of ginger, a small handful of yarrow, and 3 cinnamon sticks. add honey as desired. (you can also add honey later if you prefer to do it to taste)
take water off heat. pour over herbs in each jar, filling the jar completely. seal jars, allow to steep for FOREVERRRR (at least 4 hours. i found the best results were around 6 hours. if you need it quickly, it may work in less time, but i have not experimented with it) then strain!
put in the fridge! drink cold when completely chilled.
also, it is delicious.
***: with yarrow it is most likely more effective, but i think it came out better without yarrow because it kind of dampened the cinnamon flavor. still delicious, though!