the rack and the screw

Bisexual & Bipolar Stereotypes Overlap

Posted in feminism, mental health/madness, something queer by bellareve on April 14, 2009

I’ve noticed that there are similar and  recurring themes, stereotypes, and discourse about bisexual women and women with certain mood disorders (particularly borderline & bipolar) 

Members of both groups are often accused of:

* being manipulative to loved ones (including lying and cheating)

* being unpredictable and impulsive (what will the crazy bitch do next?) 

* being unable to form healthy, stable relationships

* behaving wildly or dramatically (sleeping around, drinking a lot, doing drugs, etc)

* being heartbreakers, abusers, and in general fucked-up (yet exciting!) women to stay away from, lest they ruin your life

Think about how many times you’ve heard variations of “sex with damaged/bi girls (and hey, strippers too) is awesome, but don’t get too close or marry them or take them home to mom.” This is pernicious, stigmatizing, and objectifying. And it doesn’t seem to apply to bisexual or bipolar men. (Although they have their own set of myths & stereotypes)

Does this stem from the expectation that individuals with mental disorders are violent and harmful? For instance, many think that people with schizophrenia are dangerous, but studies suggest they are actually more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators. When women are added to the equation (and I say added because men are the default) the threat of physical violence is turned into emotional violence. Mentally ill women become “monsters” who wreck family ties with their “attention seeking” stunts.

And bisexual women will totally fuck someone else behind your back! Just ask a guy or a lesbian who has been betrayed. You see, bi girls are unfit for long term commitments. Better have that hot threesome and discard them!

I heart my bush

Posted in blogwars, feminism, sex work by bellareve on April 14, 2009

This is a post on pubic grooming. So I want to preface it by saying that I don’t care how other adult women manage their genital hair. I don’t think women shave/wax to “look like little girls” and I don’t think shaving/waxing has anything to do with one’s status as a Real Feminist. I do believe that male (and female) preference for the bare aesthetic is heavily influenced by trends in pornography. But ultimately it’s your call if you want to pluck it all out, braid daisies into it, or shave it into the shape of a swastika. 

Basically, this post is about my bush, not yours. (overshare warning)

And boy do I have one! When I was stripping, I got rid of it, and came to miss the damn thing. These days I trim around the edges to create a sharp, neat triangle on top, shave what would stick out of a bikini, and leave the rest as is. 

This may not seem earth-shattering or revolutionary, but I have found that literally everyone I know is shocked by it. The people demand answers. My answer is that I like the way it looks more – my eye is drawn happily to the dark triangle. And sex feels good for me either way. 

Having a bush isn’t inherently “empowering,” but I do feel empowered by keeping my body the way I like it, regardless of what a sexual partner may prefer, expect, or demand. If someone isn’t into my bush, they can feel free not to fuck me. (I’ll be ok, I promise)

I perform many other gendered beauty rituals. I am a lipstick bisexual, after all. I dye the hair on my head, I wear dresses, heels, and rouge. I’m not particularly low maintenance, and have been described as “prissy” and “dainty.” Perhaps this is why people are surprised when they find out I’ve got a thick, curly bush with a mind of its own. 

So far she hasn’t deterred any potential partners. My last two girlfriends were pleased with the fuzzy texture. Some men have found it titillating and transgressive, as it is now so rare for girls of my generation. But even if I get the odd complaint in the future, my bush is nonnegotiable and here to stay. She’s in it for the long haul.

Top three NSFW reasons I love my bush:

1. It makes me feel like my pussy is wearing a fancy lace corselette. 

2. I like touching it against other beautiful bushes.

3. When I talk about it, people laugh.

In defense of the second wave

Posted in blogwars, feminism, sexual violence by bellareve on April 5, 2009

Second wave (1970s) feminism is probably the most vilified, misunderstood, bad-mouthed, trashed and bashed social movement in American history. It is dismissed as ineffective, obsolete, and irrelevant, and at the same time blamed for doing irreparable damage to men, women, and society.

Now, it is absolutely reasonable and productive to be critical of certain aspects of the second wave, including the leaders, the strategies, and the ideologies. Among other things, I find tremendous fault with the focus on middle-class professional women, with the hostility towards sex workers and butch/femme lesbian relationships, and particularly with some of Betty Friedan’s assertions. (Like when she said Phyllis Schlafly should be “burned at the stake,” or her insistence that being a housewife is equivalent to being a child)

However. I am still fucking grateful for the accomplishments of second wave feminists. My life, and the lives of other women, would be qualitatively worse without them. And the perceived “failures” of the second wave are as much the result of anti-feminist stereotypes, mischaracterizations and distortions as they are the result of poor organizing within the movement. 

Here are, IMO, the most significant contributions of the second wave, obviously not an exhaustive list:

1. Awareness of domestic violence and rape, specifically support for survivors (hotlines, shelters, counseling, trauma centers) and prevention campaigns and legislation. These things have literally saved women’s lives. Personally I might have committed suicide after my rape and abuse if it weren’t for such programs and the social recognition of violence against women.

2. Speaking of saving lives: reproductive rights, primarily access to abortion and contraception, but also the knowledge and demystification of female anatomy and sexuality.

3. Recognition of/laws against sexual harassment – both physical and verbal -in the workplace. I’m pretty happy I don’t work in an office like the one in “Mad Men,” thanks. 

(Not to say that the above problems are solved. They aren’t, but we sure got a good start and things are mighty different now compared to forty years ago)