Wednesday, August 28, 2013

on gatekeeping and ownership

For people without cable, we sure do watch a lot of television.

One of our current favorite shows is Leverage.  It's a con/heist show that somehow manages to be compelling despite the overwhelming volume of other con/heist entertainment out there.  It's available on Netflix, is really quite good, and you should watch it.

Anyway, there was a particular exchange in one episode that I'd like to address.  In The Bottle Job, the plot centers around the young woman, Cora, who owns the bar above which Main Character Nate rents an apartment.  Apparently Nate kind of grew up in that bar while his dad conducted criminal business, and has been around to watch Cora grow up.

She's also a hot redhead, so there's that.

Exhibit B: Brawny Character Who Likes To Punch Things Elliott, the con team's bruiser, is a bit of a ladies' man, or possibly an exaggerator.  We get to see him chatting up models, mentioning umpteen bazillion sexual escapades in passing, and generally just being masculine and horny.

He has long hair, which I like, but that's beside the point.

ANYWAY.  BCWLTPC Elliott is firmly established as a nudge-nudge-know-what-I-mean charmer/philanderer/whatever over the course of the first season as a half.  No one has cared, least of all Nate.  The lad receives no pushback from his friends about this behavior.  To be clear, we've seen no coercive behavior, just slick seducer kind of stuff.  Oh, and he did have one serious relationship that he seems to have bailed on due to being too busy with all the superspy kickassery and stuff.

Enter Exhibit A, the hot redhead who Nate has known since she wore diapers.

Elliott, predictably, leers.

This happens:

Nate: Hey.  She's like my niece.  
Elliott: At least she's not like your daughter.  
Nate: She's like my niece.  So I don't want YOU to LIKE my niece. 

This is treated as a Final Word On The Matter.

May I register a what the fuck?  I am so so so so so so so so (so) tired of this.  Let's break it down.

1) This idea that you should only care about your relatives, out of all the female people out there?  This patriarchal display of ownership of kinfolk?  Is disgusting.  If you have a problem with Elliott's behavior, Nate, what EXACTLY has stopped you from mentioning it before?  Oh, right, it's because all those other women don't really matter, but as soon as this same behavior happens around someone you happen to have known for a long time, suddenly it's a problem.  And by way of explanation, you offer that she's practically family.

THIS DOES NOT MATTER.  If his behavior is out of line, it's always out of line.  Suddenly giving a fuck just because it's someone close to you is a really, really weak case that smacks of thinking you are the ruler of your female relatives Because Authoritative Man With Female Possessions.  Gross.  You do not own this person.

2) Also, and this is a bit of an aside, the bonus unspoken-because-it's-just-so-totally-obviously-objectively-true implication that it's 'better' for Elliott because Nate thinks of her as a niece and not a daughter, because of course a man's degree of ownership of a woman is directly proportional to the closeness of the genetic (or appropriated) relationship?  Ugh.

3) WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO POLICE THIS WOMAN'S RELATIONSHIPS???  Your friend, whose behavior in this domain you have never had an issue with before, is interested in your other friend (granted, it's at an inconvenient time because she's a bit distracted at the moment by being extorted by a loan shark, but still).  Said lady never gets to even know about this interest, because YOU, oh all-master Nate, have flexed your muscles and used the authority granted to you by having known her for a long time (!) and, presumably, being older than her and male (!) to Bravely Guard Her Sexuality by cutting off the advance.  By gatekeeping Cora's life simply because you can.  You being uncomfortable sitting with the notion of this woman living her life as a fully functional adult does not, in any way whatsoever, give you any right to demand that she behave in a way as to ease your discomfort (see pretty much every civil rights 'debate' ever, wherein one group is uncomfortable with the existence of another, and thinks they get a say in that).  She is allowed to live her own damn life as a grown ass woman.  Full stop.

An argument can be made that maybe he knows he's not her type.  We have no evidence that they've actually, like, talked at all in the past ten years, so no.  Maybe he thinks he'd be dangerous or a potential rapist?  THEN WHY HAVE YOU NEVER SAID ANYTHING BEFORE?  Nope, don't think that's it.

The only option left is that he's policing her sexuality because he can.  Because he's a man, damn it, and she's his auxiliary property.  Maybe he's 'protecting' her 'virtue.'

Barf city.  What if she really likes one-night stands with hunky beefcakes?  Would you know?  No.  In which case you're denying her something she might enjoy.  Or maybe she hates one-night stands with hunky beefcakes, in which case she can tell Elliott that herself!  Or maybe she wants his number but isn't in the mood right now.  She's, like, a person with desires and preferences and gets to make those choices.  

In either case, Nate, you can fuck right off.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


As of this morning, Tuesday August 27, Bernalillo county is now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Santa Fe followed Doña Ana county last week in just doing this thing and not waiting for legislation.

This is and amazing and fabulous stride and I'm so so so so so proud of New Mexico right now.

I'm not particularly cogent or able to be thoughtful or eloquent right now but HOLY CRAP GUYS THIS IS AWESOMESAUCE.


Friday, August 23, 2013

bento friday: steak, round 2

mmmmm... colors

So!  Last week I talked about conquering my steak-cooking phobia.  It turns out that when you slice meat super thinly and eat it with tons of veggies and starch, it goes a rather long way.  I'd reserved a pretty standard-looking chunk of meat, but only wound up using about a third of it for our two bento that first day, so back into the freezer it went!  

Enter the next week's feature: more steak with stuff!  

I should probably confess that I don't actually plan my bento.  They usually serve the purpose of 'OMG there are veggies languishing in the drawer that we forgot to eat quick do something!', which I suppose is a feature unto itself.  

I don't really have a plan for sauces any more, either.  After sautéeing whatever stuff is going into the meal, I toss some assortment of stuff into the pan to reduce, and call it food.  This week's random-stuff-sauce was actually remarkably tasty; I think it involved ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and Laos chili paste.  You never know!

Anyway, this week we had a lonely red bell pepper, and some green beans.  Add noodles and meat, and you have yourself a darn decent lunch.  This stuff ain't rocket science, and it doesn't have to be intimidating at all.  That's one of my favorite things about Maki, my bento heroine.  She takes the fear out of bento making, unlike all the Must Get It Perfect kyaraben images that float around the internet, that must have taken a professional artist eight hours to assemble into a perfect likeness of Hello Kitty made from kelp or something.  Nope.  Cook things.  Put in box.  Eat at lunch.  

This is my kind of cooking.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

breaking awesomeness in the quest for marriage equality!

Holy crap, y'all!

Doña Ana county (in Southern New Mexico) will, starting today, issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Says the County Clerk of Doña Ana, Lynn Ellins,

"...I am mindful that I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the State of New Mexico as Doña Ana County Clerk. I am an attorney, and I have read the AG's opinion, and I find it to be sound. After careful review of New Mexico's laws it is clear that the state's marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Doña Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry." 

Ellins is apparently unwilling to wait for the judicial machine to figure out what to do in NM, and so is just going ahead with issuing licenses.  This is super neat!  It's not a state-wide decision, but that does not diminish its awesomeness.

This is the best thing I've heard all week.  Rock the hell on!  Congratulations to all those New Mexico couples who are in Doña Ana, or are headed there to finally exercise their rights to get married!


UPDATE: dance party gif time!

Monday, August 19, 2013

today in kinda sorta progress toward marriage equality?

So.  What with that whole living under an Internet rock thing lately (darn you, real life), I'm only just getting to this.  

"New Mexico's guarantee of equal protection to its citizens demands that same-sex couples be permitted to enjoy the benefits of marriage in the same way and to the same extent as other New Mexico citizens."—New Mexico Attorney General Gary King

 Apparently the marriage equality initiative is starting to push off here in good ol' New Mexico, and I couldn't be happier.  Two men applied for a marriage license in Santa Fe, knowing they wouldn't get it, to help jumpstart the issue locally.  Those are some brave individuals, and I'm so glad they stepped forward and got the state's attention.  You guys rock!

I know it's not a win yet or anything, but I say this calls for a celebration!  Go go go New Mexico!

Friday, August 16, 2013

bento friday: brave new attempts

I was raised largely health-nut-vegetarian-hippie-style.  I jokingly refer to myself as a 'recovering vegetarian.'  I kind of tend to eat very little meat out of preference (just never developed much of a taste for the stuff, I guess), but have to get some occasionally for health reasons.  

Then I went and married a dyed-in-the-wool, huntin', grillin', steak-gnoshin' carnivore.  

Life is funny like that.  

Anyway, my upbringing meant that I never really got a lot of training in meat-cooking, and have always been kind of squicked out by raw meat.  I have to *touch* that?  Ew. 

I've gotten a lot better about that, and can at least handle the stuff now.  I can make chicken and dumplings.  I can grill sausages.  I'm making progress, here.   But cooking cow-meat still terrifies me; there are all these super-specific amounts of cooking (WTF does medium-well actually mean, anyway?), and it's apparently really important to get it exactly right for each person.  What, you've never cooked a steak before?  Better get it perfect!  But no pressure!

Eek.  But!  I am a grown-up now, and can conquer this silly steak-phobia.  A while back I set aside a chunk of steak when portioning a grocery store family-pack, and tossed it in the freezer for bento purposes.  It got a little freezer-burned while sitting in there being ignored, but finally I thawed the damn thing and made a bento.  And it wasn't half bad!  

a bento testament to bravery: steak!

The steak was sliced super-thin (thanks, Husband, for your fabulous knife-sharpening skills), tossed in a skillet with hot sesame oil, and cooked for like 15 seconds on a side, and then covered with sesame seeds.  

I was utterly terrified.  But hey!  It kinda worked!  I ain't claiming this is some sort of pinnacle of worldwide culinary achievement, but it was downright edible and non-rubbery.  I call that a win.  

steak bento, packed all snuggled in together

Some stir-fried random-veggies-that-were-languishing-in-the-fridge accompanied the steak, and there's some brown rice under there somewhere.  

Overall, I declare victory over my cow-cooking phobia.  Booyah!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I've been thinking a lot, and trying to work up the energy to write more about the Zimmerman verdict.  It's all so overwhelming and saddening and fucking tragic that I don't really know where to start. 

Digging through my blog feeds, I came upon this powerful piece by one of my heroes, Melissa McEwan.  It was written about a month ago.  I'm a bit behind on blogosphering.

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton will never get their son back, but George Zimmerman will get back the gun he used to kill him. That is what justice [sic] looks like for the death of an unarmed teenage black boy in the United States.

She addresses how horrific the judgement is for society in general, and how it's less an anomaly than it is an emblem of people's (conscious or un) white supremacist perspectives.   She talked about the responses people had across the nation to the verdict (white folks setting off fireworks?  Really?  Ow my heart), and about the behaviors that turned up on social media.  I'm not on Twitter and have been somewhat avoiding this topic in general because of being too heartsick to handle it, but while these behaviors in this specific context are news to me, they're not particularly surprising.

This is how white supremacy works. Any response to intolerable provocation will immediately be framed using racist narratives that mask white provocation, dominion, and privilege—and oppressors and provocateurs who deal out death for rebellion are heroes.
In the wake of the verdict, white people identifying as allies took to Twitter to ask for "dialogue" about the verdict, demanding that black people mourning set aside their pain to hand out cookies to white people who aren't "like that." (Pro-tip: If you ask for special recognition for not being "like that," you are like that. If the shoe doesn't fit, then don't wear it, and STFU.) I hope we all appreciate the metric fuckton of irony in seeking "dialogue" as a silencing mechanism, because a white person can't sit with the discomfort of having to face the realities and cost of the white supremacy from which we benefit.
In the wake of the verdict, white people were fucking mean. Even white people who were ostensibly on the side of justice. White people were fucking assholes. (And if you weren't, good for you, but if you make this thread about how not an asshole you are, guess what? You are an asshole!) And there will be no accountability for that, either, unless we start holding each other to account.

She's so right on so many levels, and this tendency (which is not a unique 'white person' response, but shows up across various axes of intersectionality) to, when being informed about some injustice, immediately demand that the person on the receiving end of that injustice recognize and praise you for not being a bad person.... is really shitty.  It's making it all about you, and it's adding yet another layer of social burden on the person who already has the short damn end of the social contract.

White people: Be mad about this verdict, because it is a grave injustice. But be just as aware about how your privilege and a white supremacist system ensures that this verdict is not an anomaly, but an emblem. There is no neutral for the privileged class in oppression. Either you're engaged dismantling white privilege, or you're enabling it. Apathy is a luxury conferred by privilege, and it is not a neutral position. If you're mad about this verdict, then get all the fuck in.

There is no neutral for the privileged class in oppression.  You can't be neutral on a moving train.

Thank you, Liss, for saying these powerful and so necessary words.