Come visit me at http://teresawymore.com
[ THIS POST WAS FIRST POSTED ON KT GRANT'S BLOG AS "DISCOVERY" FOR HER FABULOUS 2014 LESBIAN APPRECIATION EVENT HERE ]
I planned to write a post on lesbian erotica and illustration, but I’m a parent, and that means dealing with children’s emotional issues as they arise. And what that means is my daughter discovered sex.
My daughter is a precocious 10-year old who already started her period. I was a late bloomer, so this alarms me, but her doctor assures me it’s normal. In any case, my daughter already spends a lot of time “alone.” Unlike her dad, I’m not uncomfortable with her maturity. I’m uncomfortable with the idea that she may spend these years trying to be what others want before she knows what she wants.
Like all parents, I draw on my own childhood to understand my kids. Looking back, I realize my abysmal early sex life was the result of being an intellectual girl coming of age in the 1970s. You may think that was the golden age of feminism, but you’d be wrong. That was the era of exploiting women in a new way. I learned early that I had to prove my independence and equality by making myself available to boys’ desires, not mine (whatever they were because no one asked, not even me). It wasn’t until the 1990s that feminism finally started sounding more like liberation when it said women should explore their own desires. That’s when I came out of the closet. That’s when I knew I was even IN a closet.
My daughter is coming of age in the new millennium–after the 1990s, after Xena and Buffy, after Hannah Montana traded sparkles for twerking. Sounds like liberation to me! Sadly, my daughter prefers the online horror of Creepypasta, a boy-centric genre with stories and videos about sadistic and demonic urban legends. Some of the better Creepypasta serves as a gateway to the kind of critical thinking transgressive fiction encourages. However, just like the heroic fantasies I loved at her age, only the boys in this genre possess angst and personal power. The girls are mostly hangers-on, fans who love their bad boys and are “loved” in return for their loyalty. Coded and occasionally blatant, masculine erotic power pervades these stories. Even in the stories that are not sexually explicit, we see that boys desire, girls are desired.
It’s the same damn message I received in the ’70s!
But online horror fiction isn’t unique. Where are the mainstream stories about powerful girls; that is, girls with DESIRE? Yes, especially violent, angry girls, anti-heroines whose unfulfilled desires drive their tragic story with the kind of self-obsession only an adolescent brain sees as noble? Evil temptresses and manipulative girls with feminine wiles aren’t really powerful at all. If he doesn’t kill her, the masculine hero converts the feminine evil through her gender’s primary weakness: vanity. My daughter deserves to experience an evil (powerful) girl who doesn’t care how fucking pretty she is.
Where does this tie in to lesbian fiction? Only in lesbian fiction do I consistently find women who DESIRE. Through wanting (rather than being wanted), they drive the story with action not reaction. You may say your favorite mainstream novel has such women. Some do. But I challenge you to observe the language. Who is deciding and who is manipulating? Who is acting from ego and who from vanity? Who is self-made and who has family support?
In mainstream romance and erotic stories, who does and who is done to? It may seem a fact that physical differences alone make men the doers, but that’s not a fact. That’s a gendered convention. It may also seem like sex must lead to intercourse and that it should be described in visual language. Those are male preoccupations that have infected too many writers in this age of pornography. The variety of women’s sexuality is rarely represented in mainstream. In lesbian erotic stories you’ll find sex without orgasm, sex without penetration, orgasm without penetration, sex as kissing as stroking, sex as sound and touch rather than shape and size.
Straight romance resists the idea that women can desire, pursue, conquer, and possess men (without at some point “surrendering”). We want powerful women, but if we make them sexually dominant, we seem to have two choices: make the object of their desire other women or express their activity as a fetish (BDSM, FemDom). Maybe this says more about our expectations of men than women. Do we find objectified or weak men unattractive?
The mainstream YA my daughter’s friends read is abysmal (the notable exception is The Hunger Games, but it’s not romance). This is why I share some lesbian romance stories with her. I’m not sure how much they speak to her because she seems highly focused on boys. And she identifies with their independence, power, and heroism. Stories about boys are “just more interesting,” she tells me. I said that, too, when I was her age.
The wonderful thing about this new generation is they are growing up in a more diverse world with resources I never had. I’m hopeful she won’t find herself at 30 years old, divorced and discovering for the first time how much erotic desire shapes her life and how wrong that life has been because she never wondered if her desires were her own.
AUTHOR BIO: Teresa Wymore is a personal trainer, suburban mom, and creator of the offensive webcomic DARKLAW. She has erotic stories published in print and digital anthologies, as well as free stories at her website. Visit Website
Chris Kessler addresses the dumbness that arises from Paleo-haters. Just the Facts, Ma’am – Paleo Myths
So I dropped in to the US News article that slams the Paleo Diet. I had to read for myself what their objections were.
Their objections are nothing short of fatuous.
This panel of experts (most registered dietitians – RDs) should be ashamed for their lack of scientific rigor. The only legitimate complaint (see below) is the lack of extensive clinical research–a reason for caution AND reason to push for more!
The anecdotal evidence for Paleo is exceptional and should be reviewed through broad studies. Why aren’t these RDs eager to explore the potential of a diet with such a growing mountain of evidence? Why do they dismiss it outright?
I’m afraid nutritional science is too filled with tradition, orthodoxy, appeals to authority, sacred scrolls. We have Dr. Zaius–both Minister of Science and Chief Defender of the Faith–who warns us that to counter sacred scripture is committing an act of scientific heresy. You can bet in years to come Dr. Zaius will bring out the lobotomized Landon and then finally concede “Man is evil – capable of nothing but destruction!”
Um…well, what I mean is…
The field of nutrition is filled with people educated to rely on authority (government) not science. The guidelines we follow were not developed by a team of scientists but by panels of politicians. And now we’re on the verge of a paradigm shift. This is the way it always is when scientific truth struggles against ideologies that protect money, power, and ego.
Why was the paleo diet dead last among this panel of RD experts?
1. The main complaint listed over-and-over was that the Paleo diet does not follow government recommendations.
Challenging the guidelines is EXACTLY the point of Paleo–to challenge the paradigm that has lead us astray for 40 years with poor science and corrupt politics. The government has rewritten and rewritten their guidelines each decade as their recommendations fail and as business has a new product to sell.
2. The second common complaint: “No way to tell [about health benefits]. Paleo diets haven’t yet drawn the attention of many researchers.”
Exactly. Who pays for most research? Companies with the need to sell their product. Paleo has no corporate sponsor. Some studies that the government guidelines are based on have been discredited: Ancel Keys 7 Countries Study, for example. Some recommendations are flat out lacking a basis: there is NO such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Your body makes up to 140g a day on its own. There are, however, essential amino acids and fats. Also, Paleo does have quite a lot of science to support it, despite what the panel said. There are many credentialed, peer-reviewed studies of diets and anthropology that support Paleo premises.
3. The third complaint is about nutrition: “By shunning dairy and grains, you’re at risk of missing out on a lot of nutrients.” The nutrients they list are based, again, on government guidelines and include salt, fiber, potassium, calcium, B12, D.
BUT LET’S LOOK CLOSELY AT THIS SWEEPING GENERALIZATION.
This is the most disturbing point to me because it is completely false. Even THEY show how it is false. What do they say about whether Paleo diet meets recommendations:
Exceeds recommended fiber
Exceeds recommended potassium
Exceeds recommended b12
Fails recommended calcium
Why? Because no dairy. But all RDs know you don’t need dairy for calcium and recommend healthier ways to get it.
In an article in US News, there is this: “Luckily, there’s a range of non-dairy foods that offer the 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends you get daily. Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), says the advantage of plant-based calcium is that it ensures you’re eating lots of veggies–another important part of any diet.” And they list green veggies, seeds, nuts, herbs. Read Article
Fails recommended vitamin D
Why? Because no dairy. But all RDs know you don’t need dairy for calcium and recommend healthier ways to get it. The reason you get D from dairy is because it has been supplemented (“fortified”) with it (like adding a multivitamin). It is not a natural source of D, like fish, spinach and the sun are.
“How does this translate into your daily diet? A 45-year-old could easily get her recommended daily 1,000 mg of calcium by eating ½ cup of spinach (146 mg)” or “Six ounces of cooked salmon…” and “Other foods containing vitamin D include eggs, liver.” Read article
In fat the diet slightly exceeds maximum, in protein slightly exceeds, in carbohydrates much lower. Think about this. In meeting your expected calorie intake, the fats and proteins are only slightly high (and you are eating all your carbs as vegetables and fruits) but the carbs are very low, That means the carbs can reach the recommended amount only by eating beans and grains. Does it make sense that as humans we evolved without these grains and beans (they came along in domesticated, edible forms about 5000-10000 years ago) but we’re told we need them for health? Would we truly have evolved to need MORE carbs than we can satisfy with vegetables and fruits?
4. The review ends with this: “Can you get used to the idea of breadless sandwiches? Or having your milk and cookies without either milk or cookies?”
YES, I CAN.
YES, WE ALL CAN.
All are processed foods. You are telling us in EVERY diet to quit eating processed foods. Paleo takes you seriously.
The MOST processed food on the planet as well as the food item most used IN processed foods of all kinds? Grains and grain oils.
Reblogging ten quotes from de Beauvoir on her birthday. The one that speaks most to me is about ambiguity:
Let us try to assume our fundamental ambiguity. It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our life that we must draw our strength to live and our reason for acting. - The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947)
Find yours at interestingliterature.com:
“Simone de Beauvoir (or, to give her full name, Simone-Lucie-Ernestine-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir), is perhaps best known as the author of the feminist treatise The Second Sex (1949) and as the long-term lover of Jean-Paul Sartre. Since she was born on this day in 1908 – at four in the morning, according to her memoirs – we thought we’d gather together ten of her most thought-provoking quotations.”
Archer is all things wonderful, but one thing I’ve been appreciating lately is the combination of CGI backgrounds and 2-D drawn characters. At least, this is how the show appears to be done. This technique reminds me of the original Scooby Doo: Where Are You?
The original Scooby show (1969) used watercolor backgrounds and the characters were animated via hand-painted cells. Gorgeous textures and detail. You remember! Whenever there was a trap door or brick that was going to move, it was clearly a different color and texture from the rest of the background.
The University of South Florida (USF) classical studies program was filled with men. Conservative men. Conservative, entitled men who had little understanding of women as anything but a convenience in their personal lives. So it didn’t surprise me when my classics professor became dismayed that I was also majoring in women’s studies. He quipped, ‘Women’s studies? Where are the men’s studies?” I told him, “Those are all the ones I take with you.”
There were many memorable moments in the USF women’s studies department when I attended in the early 1990s. I didn’t end up majoring, but minoring, due to personal issues that had me choosing to get the hell out of Florida. But my experience at USF was pivotal. I came in as an essentialist with a talent for analytical philosophy and through Professor Linda Lopez McAlister and graduate student Laura Sells, I discovered the post-structural feminists. The world was suddenly much more interesting.
I had the privilege of hanging around some brilliant women when I served as an assistant on Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. (“Feminist philosophy,” said my classics professor as he smirked at his own cleverness, “is an oxymoron.”) The class “Women and Law” showed me how truly malleable the law is, and the most eye-opening class was the seminar offered by Assistant Professor Etta Breit, “The Social Construction of Female Sexuality”. I graduated summa cum laude able to translate Latin, Greek, and gender bigotry, but my work was to focus on technology.
I carried this bigger view of the world as I returned to Iowa and found myself working in male-dominated industries. I managed that for fifteen years, publishing erotic fiction on the side. Then one day I decided I could longer sit at a desk for ten hours a day. I’m now a certified personal trainer with the goal of guiding others toward healthier and more active lives. In addition, I write and illustrate the LGBT adventure webcomic, Darklaw.
The permission to express who I am in every way began with my mother–a feminist who developed her own awareness without social or academic support. Even so, without the experience of the women I knew at USF, I might have lived a far different and much smaller life.
I’m a feminist. I’m a voice of internal dissent within the Catholic Church. I’m active online–a writer, illustrator, trainer, and socially engaged. I live in Iowa City, proud of the fact we have equal marriage and always surprised how many people are ignorant of feminist history. But my children know, even at ages 9 and 10. My experience in the USF Women’s Studies Department has informed so much of my personal and professional life. It helped me see the world and the roles we assume with more discerning eyes. It helped free me. I’m so glad to see all the new faces, new professors, and the department thriving!