Jessica Rabbit 2.0

31 05 2011

Why can’t women be more upfront about masturbation, asks Bim Adewunmi

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Groupthink

28 05 2011

Groupthink:
This occurs when a group sacrifices critical thinking (in order to have agreement on everything.) The primary socially negative cost of groupthink is the loss of individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking.

I have a big problem with Groupthink. And as far as I can see, it is everywhere. It starts in school, when you’re expected to believe everything you’re being taught, (even, as someone recently pointed out, when they were teaching us the big bang theory in the science class while simultaneously teaching us creationism in the religious knowledge class and no one was allowed to ask why).

Home is where you’re not allowed to cut your hair short and wear that hyper-miniskirt because of what the neighbours might say. Then we grow up and come up against dress codes, marriage rituals, sexual choices, political preferences and religious beliefs that all end up for the most part falling into the same old stereotypical categories because we’re all too scared or thick to examine just why we’ve chosen what we have in our lives.

Richard Dawkins protested about how we tend to automatically categorise children into their parent’s chosen faith.  He observed that feminists have succeeded in arousing widespread embarrassment at the routine use of he instead of she. Similarly, he suggests, a phrase such as “Catholic child” or “Muslim child” should be considered just as socially absurd as, for instance, “Marxist child”: children should not be classified based on their parents’ ideological beliefs. According to Dawkins, there is no such thing as a Christian child or a Muslim child, as children have about as much capacity to make the decision to become Christians or Muslims as they do to become Marxists (Wikipedia).

Groupthink is how we decide so many things with little or no analysis or critique. It is the brainless worship of the accepted norm, carrying with it the equally brainless sense of exclusivity and exceptionalism. It also helps reinforce prejudices, stereotypes and meaningless ritual which are often cruel, deadly or at the very least thoughtless.

Here in Sri Lanka Groupthink governs a great deal. From childhood to ancient old age we are told repeatedly to conform, to give in, to accept and to say the words ‘what to do’ in the appropriate tone of resignation. Since we have no recourse in most cases this is what we do. The punishment for rebellion is anyway quite severe, involving huge social and personal sacrifice and isolation. You only have to ask a queer person what it means to be gay in this country. Whatever their story, it will involve either persecution, exile or deception. But while the gay community has its own internal issues with Groupthink, it remains one of the bravest icons of rebellion, standing against conformity and mainstream views in this island. Because if you’re gay, you’ve already broken one of the most important rules.  You have broken out. You’ve been thinking for yourself.





The sucking sound of lips

26 05 2011

“I leap to attention an inch from her face”

“the sucking sound of lips on lips, with saliva exchanged”

“she entered the cinema and felt a line of current run through her body”

Once you’ve read Rajpal Abeynayake and A.S.H. Smyth on Blue, there really isn’t much more to say. Sri Lankan English writing is generally amateurish and there is no reason to expect anything radically different from this. There are a few interesting stories in it – Marti’s and Ameena Hussein’s stories for instance. But beyond that, the critics’ views hold hold true. We can’t be expected to like anything and everything in the name of erotica and there is a reason why sites such as Writing World and The Erotica Readers and Writers Association give you advice on writing erotica.

From a queer perspective, however, Blue is interesting – it is the first time that a number of queer short stories have appeared in a collection of Sri Lankan short stories. In a collection of about a dozen short stories, four stories bring us sex between women and one describes a sexual encounter between men (albeit one very young one). Even if you consider Blue only as “fiction” and ignore the “erotica” side of it, this is significant in the Sri Lankan context, because queer desire is represented rarely in literature.

Whatever its literary merit (or paucity of same) it also raised a discussion on the nature of erotica as a genre. I have heard various questions consequent to Blue: is erotica the same as porn? Is erotica as explicit as porn? Should erotica have a storyline? All I can say is that I need a lot more sex, a lot less purple prose, a lot more finesse and a lot less description of the setting for it to be erotica.

‘Scorching’ the publishers claim it to be. The wrong adjective I think.





The Real L word

20 05 2011

5 reasons why the reality TV show, the Real L word, gets on my nerves!

One – are there any women of colour in LA? Any blacks and browns? I don’t know since I have never been there but maybe someone can tell me how come not one of them were “real” L word people?

Two – what is this obsession with mothers? I mean, I know we all love our mothers, biological or not, but what’s the acute obsessiveness with them also being your best friend? I am not sure if that’s healthy! I mean, my mum is my mum and my best friend is my best friend – I don’t confuse the two!

Three – The Real L word couple planning a wedding and getting married were like “oh my god!” They woke up in the morning and got on to their identical matching macs and started planning the wedding? Every day?! Jesus. What on earth will they talk about and do once the wedding is over? There surely is more to their relationship than that! Well if there was, we sure didn’t see it. Oh and don’t forget the chandelier!

Four – does anybody have, like, a “real” job? I mean, yes, fashion and TV production are jobs but does any one work in more regular industries? Or regular hours? Or hours at all? Is anyone a teacher, a nurse, a social worker or something a little more regular than producers of LA fashion week! (“My biggest and largest production ever”, we were reminded over and over again!)  I mean the world is in recession and people are starving everywhere not to mention the hundreds of natural disasters that occur every year, and you are worried about what to wear? Jeez, just be glad you have clothes!

Five – what is the obsession with small rat-like dogs and where are the lesbian cats? Lesbians have cats, don’t they? But obviously not in LA! And who the f*** will let a dog lick the inside of your palette! Dogs don’t use toilet paper remember!

But yes I watched it all – just so I could rant on this blog. Hope the second season is better!





We’re back!

18 05 2011

We’re back! And we’re sorry we’ve been away for so long. As you must have realized, our posting has dwindled over the last few months and has now come down to zero. That’s because we’ve all been caught up in the demands of work and home and have had no time at all to write.

But rejoice, devoted readers, we are back! We’re planning to get right back into the groove and start posting regularly again. Please send comments and critiques and most of all, keep reading.





Where is Amina?

6 05 2011

One brave blogger has been telling her story of life as an openly gay woman in Damascus, Syria. But now she’s gone underground.

http://damascusgaygirl.blogspot.com/