Thursday, January 27, 2011

On "Manning Up"

Let's get straight to the point: men really aren't encouraged to talk about their problems, let alone the emotions associated with them. Guys are encouraged to "man up" if they do, since apparently acknowledging your problems and/or emotions is something only women are capable of. I'm sure this is old news to everyone.

Here's the problem, though. I have problems, and I acknowledge them. I tried telling my mom about my body image issues and how I'm afraid I could be developing an eating disorder, and she didn't even take me seriously. She said I shouldn't worry about it, and it's probably because of my anxiety. No, it's because I'm fat and I go through long periods of self-loathing because of it, and because I feel like nobody would want me because of it. 

Which brings me to the main subject: why is it that men are expected to deal with their own problems? While I agree that some problems can be easily solved alone, many problems cannot. But a lot of men don't want to admit they need help, even when they really need it. Furthermore, when a guy tries to get help, it's often not there. At least in my own case. Yes, I'm reluctant to ask for help a lot of the time, but when I do, it seems like people think I should just be trying to deal with it myself, and if I get help or advice, it's usually not useful or reassuring. I've noticed guys tend to be really bad at giving advice.

Of course, I suspect this has to do with stereotyped gender roles. Men are "supposed" to be strong providers, so they're expected to deal with problems themselves. And really, guys are force-fed these memes from a very early age. The only problem is that I don't see anyone trying to do anything about it. There should be a campaign or something.

Anyway, I was hoping this would be a longer and more thorough post, one with actual content, but I'm really not up for it. So sorry that this is shit.

No music, either. I can't really think of anything.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Confessions of a Fencesitter

Because I really didn't feeling like getting into it in my first post, my second post is going to deal with my orientation. As a lot of you probably know, I'm bisexual. Ooh, scandalous. It's honestly the best thing ever (in my opinion, of course), and I feel sorry for all you poor monosexuals who can't like both. Well, not really, since it's your own thing, and you really can't help it, but it would be nice if everyone was bi. At least I presume it would be.

I found out I was bi about a year and a half ago. Yeah, I'm a bit of a late bloomer compared to most other bi people, I guess. I blame my conservative Christian upbringing. I feel weird telling my story, since I'm not entirely sure what it is. That is, there are several ways I could make sense of my experiences and form a narrative from them. I suppose you could say that yes, I had crushes on guys before I figured out I was bi. But I didn't interpret them as such when I actually experienced them, since I believed I was straight and identified as straight, so to me and to everyone else, I was straight. But I wasn't straight, as I'd later learn. Of course, I rationalized these crushes as other things. I suppose it has to do with my religious upbringing, as I've heard that other people in similar situations rationalized their feelings in a similar manner. And while I didn't think it was wrong by that point (I decided to stop basing my political views on what my dad told me at, like, 12), I still had attitudes that were definitely homophobic. But more in the "scared of" sense than the "hatred" sense.

Once I started high school, I just sorta stopped having crushes on guys. I don't know why, I just did. Sorry if that makes me a fake. But, interestingly enough, I began to put my sexuality under scrutiny. I was too terrified to "experiment" (in quotes because that would entail masturbation, not sex, as I was and still am a virgin, although certainly not by choice, and I don't really like the term "virgin" in the first place, for numerous reasons, but I'm just using it for convenience's sake; tl;dr: I couldn't get any in the first place), so I never really got anywhere with it. But I kept a suspicious eye on it from time to time.

Then, when I got out of high school, I started to get into feminism. Well, I got serious about feminism. In high school, I called myself a feminist and pretty much agreed with the tenets of liberal feminism, but, you know, it's liberal feminism. I stumbled upon a feminist blog (I think it was Rage Against the Man-chine, but I could be wrong), and I got sucked in. Partly because even though the stuff they said made me feel absolutely horrible about myself (I mean, all these years I'd been unknowingly benefiting from male privilege!), it somehow made perfect sense to me. So, as painful as it was at first to read, I continued. And somewhere around that point, I started getting interested in sexuality. I'd heard a lot about LGBT issues from said blogs, and I wanted to know more about it. And this point was sort of the turning point, I guess. I didn't really know much about bisexuality, so I read about it. And pansexuality, sexual fluidity, and all of those related concepts. Of course, this only led me to become more and more suspicious of my supposed straightness. So, one night, after educating myself, I said to myself as I went to bed, "You know what? Maybe I am bisexual." And I don't care if you don't believe this next part, because it's absolutely true. The next morning, when I woke up, I remembered what I thought, and I just sort of realized it: I was bi. Everything made perfect sense. Which prompted me to freak the fuck out, since my dad is extremely homophobic, which meant that if he ever found out while I still lived at home, my ass would be toast. So, the next two weeks or so were hellish, as I was overcome with shame and guilt. I didn't leave my room much, since I didn't want to show my face. Yeah, I know, this shit sounds really lame.

Anyway, I got through it, of course. I'm currently only out to two people: my best friend and my sister. I want to come out to my mom, but I don't know if I should come out to more friends first.

As a reward for reading through all of that navel-gazing, you get an awesome song:

It's "I Can't Escape Myself" by The Sound. Criminally underrated post-punk band.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I finally broke down.

I finally got myself a blog. Now, I'm not saying I'm special or anything because of it. I've avoided blogging for years because I felt I had nothing notable to say. I'm still not sure if I do, but I feel more comfortable with the idea of blogging. I felt I had to base it around a single thing, and not only that, important things, or else it wouldn't be a "real" blog. Well, eh, I don't really care anymore. I'm not going to make this blog about anything specific, sorry. It's not going to be a music blog or a political blog or a feminist blog or any of that (although I'm no doubt going to make posts pertaining to all three and more). I'm just going to post whatever the hell I want to, and if people read it, cool. I'm not really expecting anyone to, though, except my UG buddies. Shout-out to them.

You know, maybe I should have gone with Wordpress Nothing to see here, Google. 

Okay, I suppose I should do a little introduction, in spite of my never-ending loathing for self-description. The reason why being that I know it's not really the real me I'm describing, but an idealized "me" that I've created over years and years of using the Internet and having to do many of these self-descriptions. You know, I really need to find my copy of Simulacra and Simulations, because that shit really interests me (hyperreality, pretentious poststructuralist bullshit, etc.), and for some reason, I bought the book and never have gotten around to reading it. It's a very short book, but I read the first chapter of it (The Precession of Simulacra) online a couple years back, and it rivals Conrad for sheer density. Another book I've never finished: Heart of Darkness. I had to read it back in high school, except, being me, I procrastinated and waited until the last couple of days, since I thought "Ah, it's only ninetysomething pages; I'll get it done in no time." I was wrong. 

Shit, I digressed again. I have ADHD, you see, and as such I tend to think rather tangentially, digressing at random parts of a conversation (or blog, in this case). Hopefully this doesn't make it difficult to follow. I'd rather it not; it's just that I feel most comfortable writing in a style that may not be perfectly linear at times.

So that's two things you know about me, I guess. I like to read, except I have a tendency to buy books impulsively and not finish many of them, and I have ADHD. I'm also a socialist, or if you really want to label my brand of socialism, I suppose you could call me a libertarian Marxist. No, that's not contradictory, and if you want to tell me it is, I kindly tell you to get the fuck out of my blog. 

Which brings me to the name of this blog. If you're not aware (and as much as I'd hope you are, you probably aren't), I named this blog (and also its URL, since someone else got the idea to name their blog this and take the URL away) after lines from "I Found that Essence Rare" by Gang of Four. What does that have to do with anything? Oh, just that they manage to make music with a radical message that isn't preachy (well, mostly not). Part of the reason why I think it's not is because they remain aware of the fact that they, as a band who are a part of the entertainment industry, are not innocent. And also because they've always gone for a more subversive message. Instead of being all "workers of the world, unite!" and stuff, they present the listener with lyrics that bring attention to the inherent contradictions in capitalist society, in hopes of making the listener conscious of the material conditions that surround him or her.

But enough of that. Here's the song. It's not the version they had on Entertainment!, but it's still good. It's from the Peel Sessions album. I actually found a vinyl rip of the Entertainment! version, but it sounds kinda bad. I'd recommend getting Entertainment!, obviously.