I basically want to break down the way society divides up interpersonal relationships, because it seems a lot of the time the way society declares normative relationships to work has little basis in reality, and that, considering often normative relationship models are quite limiting, it seems to me that the obvious thing is to go tell them to fuck themselves.
In detail, of course, because you’re me, and that’s what you do. Some people watch movies or play games with their friends, others write elaborate deconstructionist theory posts on their blogs… with their friends.*
Anyway, it seems like the way mononormativity works is there’s two, maybe a few more, but mostly two major classes of relationships. First, you have the Serious Romantic Relationship, it generally consists of romantic attraction, sexual attraction, and a relatively overt degree of identification and commitment (and by commitment here I mean “you will put an effort into making this relationship work”; I know also because of mononormativity commitment and monogamy are often conflated.).
You’re also expected to only have one of it, and it’s expected to have all these parts. Also it is Serious Business. Though I have noticed a lot of motifs where actually having a strong friendship with the person is considered optional. Which is probably a symptom of homosocial norms (ie men hang out with men, women hang out with women type things.)
Now, in addition to this type of relationship, you have everything else. Other relationships are supposed to be not sexual and not romantic. Really the definitions are a lot looser here I think, though some degree of commitment probably is involved. They’re also less Serious Business, which is probably why society has been a lot looser at defining them. (Not that there aren’t tropes for them, like BFFs or bromance or the like, they’re definitely discussed.)
But basically the obvious extension to rejecting the idea that There Can Only Be One with regards to Serious Romantic Relationships, is that really, there’s no reason to accept the validity of the definition as a whole period. This is especially clear to me also I am somewhat less sexual than normative, which tends to me quite honestly I don’t particularly care one way or another about sexual interactions. (There’s also a varying degree of sexuality in interactions, obviously; it’s not always clear where said boundaries are, either, and I do like certain types of physical interactions that are moderately less sexual quite a bit, and often they feel more engaging emotionally then normative sex. But that is yet another rant.)
Basically, if I take the sexual requirement and the monogamy requirement out of the Serious Romantic Relationship, and can include sexuality in nonromantic relationships, it becomes increasingly clear that you could easily also add romantic attraction to a non-SSR, at which point the distinction rapidly becomes meaningless, and it becomes apparent that, fuck this, you might as well make your own categories, mixing and matching tropes from other types of relationships society likes to insist are the Only Way.
So anyway the obvious practical result of this theory is that me and Devyn went and created a new category because we didn’t think the ones that existed did want we wanted, and we ended up calling it “brain twins” because we seem to have weirdly-but-awesomely similar problems and histories.
And for some further areas this could be expanded on, I didn’t really touch much on family either, which I think is probably an important element of this, I haven’t had too extensive identification of people as my family so I’m not super experienced at this. Obviously the main tropes with family seems to be you’re supposed to be commited to them (whether you like them or not, which, obviously is a prime thing for abuse) and that you’re genetically similar to them, or they are your One Serious Romantic Relationship.
Nor did I touch on heteronormativity or, for that matter, how cissexism contributes to this (Serious Romantic Relationships are always between One Man and One Woman and obviously we can always readily tell who’s a man and who’s a woman and who’s one person and nobody’s anything else) or how commitment goes from being a healthy thing (“Let’s put some effort into resolve conflicts!”) to an extremely unhealthy thing (“Care about your family! Wait what your parents are abusive? YOU STILL MUST CARE ABOUT THEM THEY REALLY LOVE YOU.”) in the hands of kyriarchy.
There’s also a point, which occured to me recently, is that a further extension of this theory is also that you could quite readily have a relationship that is called, for example, “marriage” but lacks almost if not all the characteristics of a Serious Romantic Relationship, beyond, of course, the name, and that, furthermore, this relationship would be entirely valid as marriage. Which, obviously does mean we are threatening the sanctity of marriage. …but more obviously, marriage shouldn’t have any sanctity in the first place, that undermines people’s ability to live their lives how they want.
*I have the BEST friends. 😛 …also I now have a Deconstruct All Things category. Ha!
Colorblindness isn’t rare, and at least one of WordPress’s themes is completely inaccessible to me. (Red hyperlinks, black text, no underlining except with mouseover. Can’t see the difference.) I haven’t looked at the others in depth or anything but how do you manage to make your prepackaged themes inaccesible. You’re not a person throwing up a blog in thirty seconds and not putting that much thought into their theme, you’re one of the most popular blogging sites on the internet.
This is something you should have figured out by now!
…you know, with my “Actually guys if I want to peel off my epidermis or bite myself or stab myself with needles or bang my head on things, maybe you can let me decide for myself whether I can cope with the pain, okay?”
Yep. I’m the person who actually wants society to enable their weird behaviors and isn’t going to let allistic supremacy get in the way of my self-determination.
And it occurs to me that society has this habit of treating pain like it’s a nuisance and needs to be overcome when it comes to, for example, exercise (“No pain, no gain!”) or other things it has deemed beneficial, or will readily tell you that you need to be strong and magically get over your unpleasant reactions to things when said pain is coming from things that society doesn’t think should be painful.
I’ve been told to stop peeling scabs off my wrists, which, while physically painful, isn’t particularly an unpleasant feeling to me and generally makes me feel better, but when I point out that talking on phones can give me panic attacks just thinking about it and that I can walk to places I need to call and speak to people in person and there’ll be less sobbing in a ball on the floor, and I’m told Avoiding Things Is Bad.
It’s almost like society doesn’t really care about whether you’re hurting yourself and really just wants you to not look neurodivergent.
And related, I really want to start using “enabled” as a way to talk about people who aren’t disabled, especially wrt psychology. Because the way enabling gets used in psychology to be like “We can’t accomidate your behavior! That would be ENABLING you to act neurodivergent!” (Because the goal is always to be Normal like the rest of the world) seems like… I just want to snark YES I KNOW THAT WOULD BE ENABLING MY BEHAVIOR THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!
Like, when you drive to a grocery store to buy chicken, the fact that there’s roads is enabling your choice to get around by driving and the fact that you can just buy it there is enabling your choice to not be a farmer. But nobody ever calls those things enabling because they’re normativized. In fact, if you did choose to farm your own chickens in the city people would probably look at you weird. They definitely often don’t seem to understand a preference for walking places because you can’t (and may or may not be able to) drive.
See, walking to a doctor’s office instead of calling them is dismissed as enabling your phone-phobia rather than “Yeah, that’s a really good idea, it also would get you excercise and that tends to help with depression too!” That’s a problem.
…well they aren’t the same thing, they’re hyponyms* of a broader category and we’re generally mostly just concerned about the broader category; forcing sex and gender to be different things serves to marginalize trans people by forcing gender onto their body parts.
And doing so usually involves copious ignoring of facts, because everyone who decides my sex must be male apparently sees a penis and stops; they don’t bother to notice that because of hormones I have breasts, and body odor and skin texture that’s within the norm for women, and because of lasers my hair coverage is again, normative for women.
This isn’t to say that a woman who doesn’t have those traits body is still not female, of course. Just that very frequently the idea that sex is what’s in your pants serves to completely ignore everything outside of said pants, which, actually makes it relatively clear how objective said fact really is. But even if your body entirely conforms to the general societal expectations of men’s bodies, you can still call your body female; and telling someone who does so that their body is male is very much cissexism.
And I do want to be clear that people may not necessarily identify their sex as the same as their gender. I’m not entirely sure at this point whether I do or not, myself. Respect people’s identities and don’t take this to mean you can yell at people who call themselves “male-bodied.” (Calling other people who don’t identify that way things like that? Yeah yelling may be appropriate) The point is, however, people can identify both their sex and gender however they want and the actual gendering of specific classes of body parts is a socially constructed convention and IT IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT and HIGHLY OPPRESSIVE TO TRANS PEOPLE.)
*it occurs to me “hyponym” may not be a well known word. It’s like… there’s a broader category that the words that are hyponyms belong to (eg. “chair” is a hyponym of “furniture”; “furniture” is a hypernym of “chair”)
(crossposted on tumblr)
So anyway, Cabbage was just applying for a job and one of the steps prior to getting an interview was like… fill out this questionaire where you say you’re extroverted and organized and have no disabilities.
I maaaay have taken down the problematic questions. (There were about fifty questions total, problematic and un-. About half were problematic in some way or another.)
Anyway it came out with ten questions that were blatantly discriminatory against people with autism, most of which would also be discriminatory against introverts or people with other social issues (because they related to liking being around people or knowing how to deal with people.)
Four of them were things like “I’m organized!” which would be incredibly discriminatory against people with ADHD—after all, organizing things as a job and keeping your house clean are so totally the same skillset. (sarcasm)
Five were discriminatory against people with mental health issues (“I’m calm when I’m stressed” = “I have no anxiety disorders” or “I’m cheerful all the time” = “Depression? Nope don’t have that”)
(Though I mean, you could maybe make a case that those can effect your ability to preform a job, because they certainly have for me; but there’s still like… a certain threshhold where your issues won’t be that disruptive but are still there. Also? HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE IF YOU’RE TOO ANXIOUS TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE MOST DAYS?)
Also they asked about grades in school, which, I mean, doesn’t really seem like it would necessarily have much effect on the ability to do the job if they weren’t good, and often, you know, they can suck because disabilities with no or minimal accomidation.
SO: I am rather creeped out and certainly do not feel like this company is remotely as “equal opportunity” as they’re pretending.
And speaking of creeped out, here’s the creepiest questions: (They were “agree or disagree” type questions, for the record, so they’re in the form of second person statements)
“Any trouble you have is your own fault” = WOOO VICTIM BLAMING! Also: When we act like exploitative shits, or possibly when someone else in the company is an oppressive asshole, will you make trouble? We don’t want people to challenge the status quo here.
“People are often mean to you” = YEP BECAUSE THAT’S DEFINITELY SOMETHING YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER. (I have honestly no idea which answer they’d prefer; probably “disagree” on the grounds of they don’t want, you know, oppressed or marginalized people who’ll be angry at them Regardless though it’s incredibly creepy.)
“When someone treats you badly you ignore it” = YOU MUST SUBMIT TO ALL OPPRESSION!
“You don’t care if people offend you” = DITTO! (I mean, “offend” is often used as code for “abuse and/or oppress and/or hurt” in popular culture. Personally I don’t actually give much of a shit about offense. But usually “offense” isn’t just that.)
And finally: “Your friends and family approve of the things you do.” = Approval from people who may have mistreated you for years or generally treat you poorly and who you don’t particularly have much say of whether they’re in your life of not? THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. (obviously this is mostly a problem for people with shitty families, but considering, you know, 40% of trans people have been disowned…*)
Also the whole thing ended with “Are you a woman?” and “Are you hispanic/Latino” which had an “I would prefer not to answer” option, but also is like… they’re going to look at Cabbage’s legal name and probably just assume both of those. So like… not entirely confident that discrimination there would be avoidable.
I really, really, really, really, hate online job applications because they are so completely discriminatory and so common. Every single online application I’ve taken has been exactly like this. You really have to basically be extroverted, normative, able, well organized, and have a perfectly normative past in order to look good on these applications. I hate having to lie because I’m really bad at it but I know if I don’t bullshit my ass off there’s no way I’m going to get an interview even though I know I’m an excellent employee. How is this equal opportunity if I can’t even get an interview because, despite my qualifications, I don’t fit the unattainable mold they expect their ‘preferred’ employees to fit in?
*EDIT: Double checking the statistics it’s ~50% experience some of of rejection; 40% for family refusing to speak with them. (according to the NTDS results)
There is now a “Bigotry is not a mental illness” tumblr.
Sorry that’s all I have to add here.
(Well, also, do I really need to spell this out? When I say -phobia language hurts people, I’m speaking from experience. But nooooo, apparently gaslighting is popular now.)
(Of psychiatric issues, that is)
By opposing self diagnosis you are telling people that they cannot understand themselves without outside help. You’re opposing self-determination. Like… How the fuck do any activist type people think that’s remotely okay?
And that’s not even getting into how fucked up psychiatric institutions can be. I cringe every time I see people being like “YOU NEED TO SEE A PSYCHIATRIST BECAUSE YOU’RE WEIRD!”
Just because like… given my experiences that seems like it’s telling people to go subject themselves to abuse.
It also seems like it’s an attempt to stop people with brains outside the norm from forming communities. Like: “Oh you shouldn’t associate with that community even though you have a LOT in common with them because you’re not really one of them” Ooo ooo also: “Self diagnosis never helps anyone” because apparently being able to know that there are other people like you and that you can talk to them about how to cope with this stuff is unhelpful. YOU KNOW.
It’s creepy as fuck. Like creepy in the same way demanding trans people have gatekeepery therapists and then insisting that they assimilate post-transition is creepy. Because it’s pretty much exactly the same thing. “Pass yourself off as exactly like everyone else because otherwise PRIVILEGED PEOPLE MIGHT BE UNCOMFORTABLE! And for the love of god don’t form communities that would mean you might be able to discover that we have no fucking clue what we’re talking about and we’re systematically treating you like shit!”
And additional WordPress bonus commentary:
- Self-diagnosis is not the same as self-medication; the latter actually is dangerous. The former is not particularly. Many psychiatric issues are not mental illness (say, autism) and there isn’t really any obvious way to medicate and “cure” is of questionable desirability.
- Doctors are not infallible. Psychiatric institutions are often seriously fucked up and coercive and dehumanizing. Insisting that they aren’t all is derailing. And insisting that there is danger in self misdiagnosis while ignoring the rather significant danger in professional misdiagnosis is really fucked up.
- There is a huge difference between informed self-diagnosis and hypochondria (“Oh no I’m occasionally energetic I must have bipolar!”) or appropriation (“I put a lot of effort into sorting my music lol I’m so OCD”) and the best response to either of those is not to tell a person they can’t possibly have the condition in question, but to educate them on what the conditions actually are; as, for example, I do put a lot of effort into organizing my music and this is a manifestation of my OCD, but it is hardly the only symptom, and the “can’t wash dishes without panic attacks” and “looking at raw meat can make me gag” symptoms are the ones that really disrupt my life.
- In the US at least, professional diagnosis can be extremely expensive and in rural locations there may not be any nearby resources to provide it. Going to a doctor actually requires a lot of privilege here.
- Biases and stereotypes significantly effect who gets diagnosed with what. Autism is significantly underdiagnosed in women, for example. And because my depression was less dramatic than my brother’s, nobody noticed it until I was failing out of college.