Archiv der Kategorie '"Getting Rid of the Shame and the Shit" (Zine-Texte)'

To most of the men* I slept with (second thoughts)

hello friend

(mehr…)

To most of the men* I slept with

oh boy

(mehr…)

Feminist Love Letters for Anarchist Relationships [Part I+II]

… to my male* comrades.
I‘ve written quite some of them by now …
Have you ever received one? No? You‘re sure? You might not have recognized them as such. They differ quite much from what is usually expected from a love letter.

  • … Probably they don‘t include „you‘re my one and only“, but rather: „you are one of several persons I really care about“;
  • … they usually don‘t say: „forget everyone else, think of no one else but me“, but rather: „it is important for me that you keep stable relationships of any kind to several people, because I can‘t be your only social, emotional resource – be faithful to others and I believe you can be faithful to me“;
  • … you won‘t read „stay with me forever“, but rather: „I will go or let you go so we can lead the lives we decided – and if we will come back to meet, we will both know that we really want to be with each other at that moment“;
  • … this letter will not ask you: „promise to love me, only me and never leave me“; but rather: „let me know who I am to you and what you see in us; let’s be honest to each other, so we can work out how things are gonna be between us and with other people involved“;
  • … for sure there will be no „we will be one and never alone again“, bur rather: „I do have my own life, my own opinion, my own space. I enjoy being with you, but I will not give up myself, I am still an independent person“;
  • … don‘t expect „I long for your kisses“, but rather: „I like the [non]physical relationship we have“ or „I‘d like to change our [non]physical relationship [in one or the other way]“;
  • … there will be no „I‘d do anything for you“; but rather: „you‘re my comrade, my lover, my friend – our relationship is based on mutual respect for each other, so I‘ll do my best to respect your boundaries as well as my own; I want us to take care for each other on a consensual basis; also I will do what’s in my power to support you and to carry your struggles in my heart, as much as I ask you to do the same for me“;
  • … you won‘t find „your love is the only thing to me, my life and happiness depends on that“, but rather: „I like you; I enjoy to spend time with you, be close to you; you mean something to me or I offer you to be a meaningful person to me – but my life is of worth, no matter if you will accept or reject my offer; also my love will not be given without condition“.

This might be confusing, so I want to make it very clear: in contrast to a “mainstream love letter”, a writer of a a feminist love letter for anarchist relationships (the letter itself will not be called like that) will NOT promise you to be a convenient care taker, bed sharer and prestige object – rather she* will demand you to be a trustworthy ally, a supporter of antisexist struggles, the preparedness of reflecting yourself, of being willing to reconsider things, to get educated, to listen, to question your perception and finally to act according to that. Accepting you‘re not half as feminist as you consider yourself to be might be an appropriate first step.

Really, this is one main point: get educated! Learn how to act less sexist – yes, I said less, yes, I mean you; no, this is not obsolete for you, if you think it is, please go right back to step one: accept you‘re not half as feminist as you consider yourself to be. … I did fight with too many men* to make them aware of the sexism they inherit and the sexist structures they feed; I have put so much heart and soul, energy and time on educating men* … My love letters of these kind have rarely been written out of pure joy, but most often right in the middle of this struggle and quite close to giving up on it … I don‘t want to have to find out if a comrade, lover, friend is willing to accept this demands when it’s almost too late; so if you wanna be someone who means something to me, then let me know if you‘re prepared for this. If not, I‘d be glad to know, because it will spare me lots of trouble and false hopes.

When writing these letters, I always feel relieved and heavy-hearted at once: relieved because I feel I did the right thing and stated transparently and honest what I expect; heavy-hearted because I still have to write these letters, to explain all the basic things, to be the one starting this … and because they are most often not recognised as what they are, but mistaken as complaint or apologies, but not as an honest offer and a sign of my trust and effort.

What I would really want? I would really want you to thank me for these letters, even and especially if they sound like accuses and demands in your ears. I want you to read them twice, at least, before you reply to me and thank me for my time and effort and trust. And that you think about what you‘re gonna do. And let me know. And keep thinking about it. And read the letter again after a day, after a week, after a month, after a year – and reflect on how your view changes. I will of course not want to check on that, because you‘re gonna do it for yourself, not for me. I want you to talk about it with other people, with other men* (don‘ just bother other women* with it, please). I want you to come back to me when you finally understood some of the things I‘ve written. Let me know you care.

In anyway be aware:
I do not live for you. I do not live to please you. I do not live to make you feel convenient. I do not live to educate you. This is my life and my energy and my body and my time. I decided to give some of it to write this letter: to make you aware, to show you what it is I expect and what you can expect in return; to give you the choice either to commit to this and know I will be committed, or not to. Either to accept or to reject my demands and my offer of faithful companionship and honest friendship (or in other words: anarchist relationship) that I call love.

[dedicated to my loved ones who did read these letters, and the ones who got the verbal versions and the ones who might take my offers – weirdly enough they mostly start with M. or J. … ]

… to my female* and trans* friends.
I haven‘t written enough of them.
Because I can never write enough to thank each one of you for all you have done and about all you mean to me.
Some of you call yourselves feminists, others don‘t. Few of you call yourselves anarchists or anarchafeminists. But this isn‘t of much matter, since our relationships have mostly always been of feminist solidarity and anarchist structures:

  • … you are the ones who have always believed in me, who have seen my strength and my value when I couldn‘t and who reminded me of who I was when I wasn‘t sure any more;
  • … you have always shown basic respect to me, in matters of communication, agreements, physical contact, general attention, concerning the way I lead my life;
  • … you are the ones who have been honest with me, about yourselves, about me, about us, about other things and people concerning my life or our relationships;
  • … you have always respected other relationships, have seen the importance of several and different relationships;
  • … we have never promised each other ‚forever‘ and never expected to ‚freeze‘ our relationship as it is; we are always aware that it changes and we say ‚yes‘ to our relationship each time we transform it;
  • … we have always found a way to maintain our relationships, despite daily life, work and families, different towns or different rhythms of sleep, different interests, subcultures and circles of friends;
  • … we leave each other space …
  • … you are the ones who have always been standing by me; you have always been there when I was in trouble; you have tried to understand my pains, my sorrows, my fights;
  • … you have always been support and part of my struggles, through listening, sharing experiences, advice, emotional support, taking care of basic things I couldn‘t manage at times, reading what I write, cheering me up, letting me know my opinion is of matter.
  • You are the ones who taught me what faithful, honest relationships within a net of equally/individually valuable companions, lovers, friends look like – or, in a feminist and anarchist sense, what I call love.

    [Dedicated to R, M, J, D, L, C, M, P, S, E, L, P, A, L, T… just to mention some of them…]

“Health” and Ableism – Thoughts on Interdependences between Body and Systems of Oppression

I‘ve already mentioned the connections I see between the concept(s) of ‚beauty‘ and power structures like sexism, racism, ageism, classism and others. Except for gender, I haven‘t gone into detail regarding these interdependences between body and systems of oppression.

Recently, I began to understand some of my own experience and these interdependences through the concept of ableism. I never thought of my own body-related experience of deprivation/discrimination as ‚ableist‘ (although I already had developed most of my understandings of body-related discrimination);
I am not labeled as nor do I identify as ‚disabled‘ – indeed I regard myself luckily healthy: not experiencing serious ‚dysfunctions‘, no chronicle diseases, no allergies, rarely needing to see a doctor, good working immune system, feeling ‚well-connected‘ to my body, its needs and signals.

Yet ’society’s‘ definition of HEALTH apparently shifted from ‚not ill‘ to ‘highly functioning, highly efficient, highly exercised’. You no longer need a doctor’s diagnosis to be proven ill but to be proven healthy! (mehr…)

„The Pressure I Feel is the Oppression I Resist“ – Stories About Liberation & Orientation Towards Male* Attention

8th of March, in my regular pub. I am ecstatically playing table soccer (which I rarely do) with a bunch of women* (who are rarely seen here). We just arrived from the Women*Lesbian*Trans*demonstration for Women*sFightDay. We‘ve been on the streets for more than one hour, raising our voices, claiming public space and attention. Some posters ‚advertised‘ the day with the slogan ‚Be careful with each other, so we can be dangerous together‘ and that was most definitely the demonstration’s spirit. Most of us came here afterwards, exhilarated by this powerful act. I was delighted, I felt great, like nothing could ever stop me from standing up and achieve what I aim for, as long as I know these people by my side.

Few by few guys dropped into this kind of liberated female*lesbian*trans*universe, first being only slightly noticed by myself, since I was involved in way more interesting discussions on my flt* table at the time. Yet hour by hour the endorphins of resistance went down and I found myself getting dragged back into the regular habits, hanging out with the same people I usually do, thus the (not) shared experience of the evening stepping back in mind.
Having the (now vanishing) contrary experience of flt* solidarity and cooperation so very present, I could witness the urge for male* attention flowing back into me. A few hours after my furious, proud march through the streets I realised: The patriarchy I‘m fighting is in my head. (mehr…)

„Love is not a job interview“ – Stories about (not) getting involved with someone

When I was about 14 or 15 I said: „When I get a boyfriend and tell my best friend about him, I do not want her to say: Oh! I‘ve got the same edition!“. I don‘t know if I said that to my friend or to myself, but I remember the sentence very well.

I‘ve been in love with quite different guys and the only things they had in common probably were:
- that they got my sense of humour and made me laugh,
- that I admired some of their interests, was fascinated by their behaviour,
- and most of all: that I didn‘t count them to be normal.
Freaks, artists, punks, philosophers, nerds, geeks, … tell me you find someone to be weird and you‘ll get me interested. Nowadays I‘d say I early did tend to like:
- guys who break with masculinity in some respects,
- who were not interested in the usual understanding of success,
- but who were into something.
That might be the combination to get me interested … though it changed through the years, of course, and through my involvement with feminism especially.

As different as the people I‘ve been in love with were the ways of being in love I‘ve experienced – or similar feelings that can‘t be clearly distinguished from that. (mehr…)

The Good News – Thoughts on Beauty, Power & Attractiveness III

The concept of attractiveness is based on interaction, which means it only works as far as people respond to the established patterns. By not responding, repeating and encouraging to perform (gender biased) bloke-behaviour, it can be destabilised right where it happens.

The concept of beauty is build on aesthetics that are repeated over and other again. Aesthetics can be changed by not repeating them, by not following them, by not sanctioning deviance, by celebrating other pictures.

Change viewing patterns, change patterns of behaviour.
Support and celebrate yourselves and each other and don‘t give a shit for people who try to uphold these oppressions. You don‘t need to listen to them.

Take down the pictures of dead idols on your walls, substitute them with photographs of proud women*, queer women*, women* of color, women* that take up space, persons that inspire by who they are and what they fight for. Draw your own pictures of yourself, of beloved ones, of what you miss and want to see (mehr…)

Painting my Middle Finger Nail Dark Red – Thoughts on Female* Self-Sex

On the wall of my room, there’s a photograph of a woman* lying naked in bed, with her hand in her panties, obviously pleasuring herself.
This is a powerful picture to me and I wish to see notions of female* self-sex¹ in public more often – not in the sense of witnessing, nor necessarily in the sense of explicit presentation. More like the opposite of invisibility and lacking awareness about it’s existence – let’s say I wish female* self-sex to be more represented in general.

In pictures of female* self-sex I see the potential to contribute to a broader view on sex and sexuality.

It might be seen as anachronistic, but surprisingly often ‚having sex‘ is regarded to be ‚intercourse‘, no more, no less, no other. If this is a new thought to you, I will try to put it in easy words: having sex is not limited to / doesn‘t necessarily involve / might not even be connected to putting a penis into a vagina. (mehr…)

Getting rid of the Shame and the Shit – Thoughts on Beauty, Power, Attractiveness II

this text’s full of shit ‚n shame and it makes me sick. don‘t expect sparkly unicorns. (but they will follow soon).

The concepts of ‚beauty‘ and ‚attractiveness‘ are cornerstones to (sexual) power dynamics between males* and females*.
How does the usage of these concepts contribute to sexist power structures?
Let’s see:

Where do ‚beauty‘ and ‚attractiveness‘ differ from each other?
In my connotation, ‚beauty‘ is mostly applied as a female* quality, whereas men* are rather characterized as ‚attractive‘ than ‚beautiful‘.
‚Beauty‘ in this understanding seems to be something ‚visible‘, something you can catch into a picture – it is about looks. Which means it is enough to look at someone to tell if s.he is ‚beautiful‘. The ‚object‘ it_herself stays passive.
The concept of ‚attractiveness‘ however involves interaction – it includes not only the looks of the body, but body performance, actions and reactions in social interaction (being charming, being polite, being funny, being witty, acting appropriate/eager/courages/interesting…), it includes behaviour and opinions. In short: ‚attractiveness‘ means presenting yourself as interesting plus just the right portion of showing interest. In my view this is a much broader and more dynamic concept than ‚beauty‘, allowing far more variety/individuality.

Of course not one of them is supposed to be 100% male* or female* – but it’s hard to deny the existing gender bias in this complementary concepts of ‚how to get attention from the other sex‘.
This is of course a very heteronormative principle – it is fundamentally linked with the implication of heterosexuality and the organisation of reproduction (wife, husband, children…).
Putting it in other words: the male*-associated concept of ‚attractiveness‘ is more likely to present the person ‚as a whole‘, whereas the female*-associated ‚beauty‘ tends to reduce them to their surface. (mehr…)

„Sort your shit out for yourselves!“ – Thoughts on MASCULINITY

„If you are going to continue like that there are only two options: graveyard or madhouse!“ It was about 20 years ago when my grandma said that to my grandpa, demanding from him to retire from work – which he agreed on after giving some thought to it.
I‘m glad my grandma demanded from him to face the situation as it was and glad ma grandpa got to follow her advice – for I both like them being alive and as sane as possible.
So why am I telling this story?
Well, on one hand to say I am proud of them and their decision. On the other hand I want to state something else: It is 2014. I don‘t have a partner taking care about me not working too hard; and most of all, I reject being responsible for others_men not to be overburdened. People_men should be responsible for their well-being themselves.
Why is that? Hm, let’s have a look: (mehr…)