Competency Kinks, Violence, and Imperialism

22 08 2010

A couple of months ago, I had a thought.  I was brainstorming an idea for an urban fantasy novel, one that would feature a strong androgynous superhero whose jurisdiction was over things like stopping rapists, confronting misogynists, and making vulnerable populations feel safe.  But as I was brainstorming this hero, who not only saves your life but has a penchant for cuddling and physical affection, I realized that one of the traits I was using was still “could kill you with hir little finger.”

That got me thinking about competency kinks and how they align with violence.

“Competency kink” basically just means that someone being really good at whatever zie does is a turn-on.  Movies certainly capitalize on this.  Sometimes it’s intellectual competence, or psychic ability, or something else unrelated to violence, but very often the protagonist is competent at killing, injuring, and/or self defense.  Whether it’s competence with weaponry, martial arts, magic, or some other violence-related skill, filmmakers are very good at combining destructive prowess with sexiness.  Think Christian Bale in Equilibrium.  Think Keanu Reeves in the Matrix.  Think of all the bad-ass chicks in films that are unexpectedly very skilled at physical combat.  Kill Bill, anyone?

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Blogging “Yes” Day 19: Is Fighting for Sex the Best Option?

23 04 2010

For day nineteen of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read Anastasia Higginbotham’s essay, “Sex Worth Fighting For.”  So far, this is the essay I disagree with most in the book, because it focuses on a self-defense program that focuses on actively fighting off men. Though I recognize that some women do feel empowered by physically fighting, I would argue that both men and women need to work towards non-violence, and that fighting violence with violence is not the right solution for everyone.

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Blogging “Yes” Day 17: Violence in Queer Communities

22 04 2010

It’s day seventeen of the Blogging “Yes” project, and today I read the short but gorgeously powerful essay entitled “Shame is the First Betrayer,” by Toni Amato.  It’s hard to know what to say about this essay, because it says so much in such a concise format.  It does really resonate, though, and is an important reminder of how violence creeps up in queer communities, with queer people not only as victims but as perpetrators.

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The Many Faces of Violence

11 08 2008

I read a quote that struck me yesterday, from lesbian activist Kathleen Sadaat: “There is a violence in not being able to live your life, and whether you are ever actually struck by someone is not the only issue.  Anything that pushed you toward being less than human, anything that tells you you are not a part of the human family, is a violent act.”

What a powerful statement.  This is why I crave lesbian discussion groups, conscious-raising, etc (unfortunately not available in my area).  I just want to believe that I am part of the human family, and though I know intellectually that there are others like me, and even know other lesbians, the lack of lesbian representation in the media, in news, in literature, etc., is something that I think is very subconsciously powerful.  These messages say “you are different.  You are not wanted.”  Whenever I write a paper arguing that LGBT people are just like everyone else, that we deserve rights, a voice in my head is saying, “no you don’t.  You’re an animal.  What makes you human?  What says that those people aren’t right, that you’re not sinning, that you aren’t less than they are?”  Where does this voice come?  Nowhere conscious, that’s for sure.  I was never taught these things, and never believed them, but somewhere I do.

The same is true when it comes to this latent fear of men and masculinity I’ve apparently been carrying around without knowing about it.  I don’t know that it’s there, but when it surfaces, it’s violent, and it will take no prisoners.  I read a post by a kinky lesbian blogger today and my reaction to some of her comments was abject fear.  Why?  I understand the sentiment behind her feelings (she’s a top, incidentally) and I see why others might want to be put in a submissive position for those reasons.  But emotionally, I reacted strongly to it.  If I trust someone with that part of me, will they break me?  Can I trust anyone?  And why am I afraid of all this?  It doesn’t make sense, intellectually.  I’ve never been raped, harassed, or sexually abused.  There are no skeletons in my closet.  Men have never given me reason to fear them, nor have aggressive women.  The only answer I have is that it’s socialized.  Maybe one day if I make enough money I’ll look for a therapist.