Posts Tagged ‘gender’

When I teach classes, I often talk about boundaries, those gold plated ideals that make relationships healthy (or not).  Boundaries are really difficult to pin down, even for someone who’s been leading lectures and groups about boundaries for a bit over five years.  In short, they are your limits, what is and is not okay with you.

Boundaries are important to address for anyone, but particularly in cases of abuse and trauma.  Most survivors of childhood trauma (including, but not limited to, abuse) have no concept of their limits mattering.  

When they say “no”, it is not respected; their bodily autonomy, their pain, their mental and physical being, are of no consequence.  Living through this often means adults who are at the extreme ends of the boundary spectrum.  Either one rarely says “no” because they believe it is meaningless, and do not feel comfortable speaking up for their needs (think of a person who is uncomfortable with a full body hug, but does not pull away or ask others to stop, or someone who tells you their life story after just meeting you), or can be completely closed off, avoiding all physical and emotional contact with others, for fear of being taken advantage of.  These are when we have boundary issues.

All people desiring healthy, rewarding relationships need the ability to set limits with those around us (and know what our limits are).  However, just because boundaries are with others does NOT mean they get respected, and this is where things get a bit sticky.

I can assert my boundaries, but that doesn’t mean you’ll respect them.  You have control over you, and I have control over me.

As an example, one of my close friends is constantly calling other people “pussy” and “faggot.”  I find both of these words extremely offensive; not only do I have close LGBTQ friends, I am acutely aware of how language perpetuates prejudice and oppression (with often fatal consequences) and shows my friend’s incredible privilege as a cis, straight white male.

I have repeatedly asked him to not use the words; I have tried to open up discussions about how language is super powerful; I work to make him realize how stupidly offensive it is to use these words.  However hard I try, I cannot control what he does.

If I assert my boundaries, and they are not respected, I have a choice.  I can continue to assert boundaries, and I can leave.  Sometimes, the best assertion is a clear consequence and an I statement.  Put on your learning cap!

I feel ___________ when you ___________.  I would like it ____________.  If you continue ______________, I may have to leave the room/conversation.

I feel uncomfortable when you use the word faggot around me.  I would like it if you could try not to use those words around me.  If you keep using these words,  I may not be able to continue to be around you.

At that point, you can leave and come back, ensuring you follow through on your consequence.  And it’s worth looking at – why would you keep spending time with someone who doesn’t respect your limits, or the basic humanity of human beings?

At the end of the day, you cannot love others using the language of murder, torture, oppression and hate.

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pizza and pbr

Posted: March 8, 2014 in punk
Tags: , ,

So last week we discussed a bit about how punk tends to objectify and glorify women who (generally) fit into our cultural standard of beauty (white, thin, young).  This is obviously a broad generalization and not true in all cases, but the vast majority.  (side note: if someone can tell me statistically that this is incorrect I would honestly love you forever).  I want punk to be different.  But it’s really not.

fat mike…really not that fat

When I was in college we’d have small shows and parties in basements of the cool scene kids in my town.  It was a lot like high school with a different coolness hierarchy.  The coolest kids were the ones that didn’t like their minimum wage jobs (or didn’t have one), dressed in black clothes with patches all over them, painted their own leather jackets, and seemed to live on PBR, weed and pizza.

mmmmmmmm

I had the most trouble with the last part of this (although really, if I painted my own jacket it’d look like a child’s painting during a spasm).  Eating nothing but carbohydrates and drinking 15 beers a night is really not good for anyone, but is only visible on those of us with metabolisms more closely resembling a snail moving on hot asphalt.  Even though I knew this, instinctively (and because like, come on, at this point I was a professional dieter), I still couldn’t get why some people stayed thin.

except for this guy

It’s a lot of the same shit.  Women are supposed to be thin while still doing crazily unhealthy (and calorieific) things (and not showing effort, of course, it’s supposed to be natural).  PBR has as many calories per can as two apples, or a serving of almonds, or a greek yogurt.  To drink 15 PBRs is as many calories as a day’s worth of food, and that’s without any food.  Which is really not the best idea for your body, although it leads to a short and sweet drunken time.

Women have an even harder time wit ze boozes.  We metabolize food differently (immortalized in those ever classy SlimQuick ads) and of course this also translates into how many Jamo shots are going to lead to antics.  For us ladies only, of course; we all know real men can hold their booze!  (hahahaha just kidding, but we’ll maybe talk about that later)  The only way to stay thin would be to only drink.  And not eat.  Or to have a kick ass metabolism (which  90% is really not up   to you, it’s your dang parents!  Thanks mom!).  Or to throw up everything you put in your body.

More than anything, it’s the hypocrisy that is bothersome.  Don’t say you’re subculture or anti-culture, then fucking put the same unrealistic stuff on a pedestal to be achieved.  Fuck eating disorders, fuck ideals, fuck all the people who celebrate alternative ideals of beauty, which look a great deal like the old ones (I’m looking at you, Suicide Girls!).  This aggression will not stand, man.