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arvan's picture

Lady Vixion: T-Lables and Beyond

What does transgender mean. Opinion on the word Tranny. SOPA/PIPA

arvan's picture

itschriscrocker: I am not my gender

I saw this on a Brazilian site today and loved it.

http://www.twitter.com/chriscrocker

Annabelle River's picture

The Semantics of BDSM vs. Kink

I recently had the pleasure of dinner with someone who had traveled from another state to give a presentation at my local dungeon. Over dinner, we discussed his leadership work with his local Next Generation group.  (For those who don't know, "The Next Generation" or "TNG" is a common name for BDSM-centered social groups for younger adults, usually age 18-35.  There is no central TNG leadership as far as I'm aware, but there are TNG's in many cities throughout the U.S.)  One of the changes he's been trying to make in his local TNG, he explained, was semantic. Instead of using the acronym "BDSM," (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism), he refers to the groups' members exclusively as "kinky." Instead of "munches," they have "meet and greets."

"What's the difference?" asked everyone at our dinner table after the dungeon presentation.

"Oh, there's no difference at all, really.  But for some reason, it seems to scare people less.  When I tell people that I'm into BDSM, I get all the scared looks.  But if I say I'm a little kinky, people are more likely to smirk or find it hot.  It's more 'naughty' and less scary.  Even if I'm doing the exact same things."

Lance A Worth's picture

Transignorance is not Transphobia

Let me explain. No, there is too much...let me sum up.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

BDSM as a sexual orientation, and complications of the orientation model

A question that sometimes gets raised in BDSM contexts is: Is BDSM a "sexual orientation"? I've spent rather a lot of time thinking about this, and at this point, I believe the answer depends largely on the individual -- yet at the same time, the answer stands a strong chance of being politicized into something that could limit individuals. And that scares me.

But I'm getting ahead of myself already.

I remember the first moment it occurred to me to consider BDSM an orientation -- the first time I used that word. I believe I was writing up my coming-out story at the time; I was discussing the way I freaked out when I came into BDSM, and I wrote: "In retrospect, it seems surreal that I reacted so badly to my BDSM orientation."

I remember that I felt vaguely electrified at what I was saying, a little scared ... but also comforted. I hadn't had much contact with other sex theorists at the time and I thought I was saying something radical, maybe too radical to be taken seriously. Since our culture mostly discusses the idea of "orientation" in regards to gay/lesbian/bi/transgender, it seemed to me that -- if I dared refer to it as "my BDSM orientation" -- then a comparison with LGBT was implied in my statement. Would the world believe that my BDSM desires could be as "real", as "deep-rooted", as "unavoidable" as the sexual orientation of a gay/lesbian/bi/transgender person? Would I offend GLBT people by implying that my sexual needs are as "real", "deep-rooted" and "unavoidable" as theirs ... by implying that my sexual needs are anything like theirs?

arvan's picture

Disability as a Positive Influence on Life

From Bad Cripple, an excellent example of how self-definition differs and succeeds where group definition fails.

Disability is bad. No one wants to be blind, deaf or paralyzed. Common sense dictates this normative belief. The limitations associated with a physical deficit are bad. Sure we can compensate, adapt, and we humans are very good at adapting, but no one wants to acquire a disability. Is this not why we humans dread old age? Disability, the lack of ability, is associated with old age. Old people are slow, feeble, and too many experience dementia. Wheelchairs? A fate worse than death. I would rather be dead than paralyzed. Blind? Oh no, I could never see a sunset and movies would be pointless. Deaf? I would be unable to connect and communicate with others. What does disability on the broadest of the term create in the minds of others? Negative connotations, limits, the need to "overcome", and for some dread. In extreme cases people even commit suicide rather than learn how to live life with a disability. Think Daniel James and his "loving" parents.

arvan's picture

Body Image

Image courtesy of All Posters.com

(I went looking for content on "Body Image" today and found mostly information related to how the media tell women to be skinny, neurotic and attractive.  While I agree that this occurs en masse, I also wanted some information that applied to all gender assignments.  Luckily, I stumbled across this nifty post from the UCLA Student Health & Wellness Center)

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?  Your perception of how your body looks forms your body image.  Interestingly, a perfectly-toned 20 year old fitness model could have a very poor body image, while an average-shaped 50 year old man or woman could have a great body image.  Regardless of how closely your actual figure resembles your perception, your body image can affect your self-esteem, your eating and exercise behaviors, and your relationships with others.

Read on to learn…

·        What factors influence your body image.

·        Whether or not it’s possible to achieve the “ideal body.”

·        Is the “ideal body” really your key to health, success, beauty, & happiness?

·        What can you do to improve your body image.

Why are so many people unhappy with their bodies?

Size Prejudice

In American culture (and particularly in southern California), there is a lot of emphasis placed on body weight, size, and appearance.  And, we are conditioned from a very young age to believe that self-worth is derived from these external characteristics.  For example, being thin and/or muscular is associated with being “hard-working, successful, popular, beautiful, strong, and self-disciplined.”  On the other hand, being “fat” is associated with being “lazy, ignorant, hated, ugly, weak, and lacking will-power.” These stereotypes are prevalent in our society; and they are reinforced by the media, our family and friends, and even well-respected health professionals.  As a result, we often unfairly judge others and label them based on their weight and size alone.  We feel great anxiety and pressure to achieve and/or maintain a very lean physique.  And, we believe that if we can just be thinner or more muscular, we can be happier, more successful, and more accepted by society. 

The Media

The media sets unrealistic standards for what body weight and appearance is considered “normal.”  Girls are indoctrinated at a very young age that Barbie is how a woman is supposed to look (i.e. no fat anywhere on your body, but huge breasts).  NOTE:  If Barbie were life-size, she would stand 5’9” and weigh 110 lb. (only 76% of what is considered a healthy weight for her height).  Her measurements would be 39-18-33, and she would not menstruate due to inadequate levels of fat on her body.  Similarly, boys are given the impression that men naturally have muscles bulging all over their bodies.  Take a look at their plastic action-figures (like GI Joe Extreme) in toy stores.  If GI Joe Extreme were life-size, he would have a 55-inch chest and a 27-inch bicep.  In other words, his bicep would be almost as big as his waist and bigger than most competitive body builders’. These body ideals are reinforced every day on TV shows, movies, magazine covers, and even video games. At UCLA, where the crowd is young and the warm climate promotes use of revealing clothing, the exaltation and expectation of extreme leanness is even more exaggerated.

And the media’s portrayal of what is “normal” keeps getting thinner and thinner for women and more muscular and ripped for men.  Twenty-five years ago, the average female model weighed 8% less than the average American woman.  Currently, the average female model weighs 23% below her average weight.  Similar trends are seen with men.  The average Playgirl centerfold man has shed about 12 lbs. of fat, while putting on approximately 27 lb. of muscle over the past 25 years.

With these media images and body ideals, it’s little wonder that women and men feel inadequate, ashamed, and dissatisfied with how they look.  Only about 5% of women have the genetic make up to ever achieve the ultra-long and thin model body type so pervasive in the media.  Yet that is the only body type that women see and can compare themselves to.  Similarly, all boys see is a body ideal that for most men is impossible to achieve without illegal anabolic steroids.  There is a physiological limit to how much muscle a man can attain naturally, given his height, frame, and body fat percentage.  Unfortunately, however, the action figure heroes on toy store shelves and male fitness models on magazine covers and ads suggest otherwise.

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