The Irresistible Woman: A Micro-Horror Collection, Part 4

Content note: fantasy/horror violence, and plenty of it. Also some references to sexism, misogyny, misogynist violence, and some sexual content.

In response to this post on Facebook, from dating coach Jonathon Aslay:

How a Woman Becomes Irresistible To a Man… She chooses to set high standards for herself. She’s clear on what she wants. She knows the value of friendship before sex. She comes from a place of gratitude (not expectations). She is confident and willing to ask a man out on a date because she knows a relationship is a two way street. She demonstrates trust and respect by accepting him for who he is. She’s in no hurry to get to the destination. She can take of herself, she doesn’t need a man. She shows up interesting and interested. She comes from a place of compassion (not entitlement). Lastly, she knows how to inspire a man, because she leads by example. Did I miss anything?

Facebook feminists bring you: The Irresistible Woman. Part 4 of a series. All micro-stories reprinted with permission of the authors, credited and linked to (or not) as they requested.

DISCLAIMER: References to violence, death, destruction, physical torment, psychological torment, supernatural torment, world domination, eternal nightmares, or the warping of the entire space-time continuum to exact revenge on one sexist jerk, are all intended as metaphor. These are fictional expressions of rage and mockery, aimed at the impossible, contradictory, ever-shifting standards of female desirability, and at the barrage of advice given to women about how to meet those standards. None of the authors actually want to do these things, or think they should happen. No, really.

*****

In response to the previous poem, and someone telling Amanda Gannon they wished they had an Internet to give her:

I already own the internet, Peter. My shadowy tentacles reach into 2.8 billion homes worldwide. I am always watching. Even when I am asleep. I have lost count of my eyes. –Amanda Gannon

She listens as only she can, hearing everything and collecting fragments of sound to weave together into her magnum opus, a song that nobody will ever be able to remember. It will be transcendent beauty so great that the strongest shall fall to their knees and weep, spanning every experience in human history from the sacred to the profane.

This will be the song that calls the cosmos back from its outward flight, collapsing it into a single proto-universe again, before releasing it to create a new universe. Perhaps this time it will be acceptable.

She does not remember how many times she has done this. -Peter Eng

Actually, she has a Puckish sense of humor. She took it from Robin Goodfellow, along with several other things he wouldn’t need any longer. -Peter Eng

She has Puck’s humor. She keeps it in a jar at the back of her fridge, which she keeps meaning to clean out. –Yvonne Rathbone

The irresistible woman has transformed her skin into a superconductive ceramic shell. The cold, the cold, you touch her skin and the cold feels like burning, like acid, like inconsolable grief. Her skin burns off your fingerprints. You are no longer yourself, you will never again be yourself. You can recognize the other men who have touched her, by the smooth scarring on their fingers, their faces, their hearts.

You do not leave a mark on her. None of you has ever left a mark on her. None of you ever will.

The irresistible woman has transformed her skin into a superconductive ceramic shell. The transformation on the cellular level was torture; her screams were the cries of the phoenix, the newly-born spider devouring the body of its mother, the Christ hanging himself on the cross and crying out in despair, “Why have I forsaken myself?” When it was over at last, she was left with one small piece of her human skin, her own index fingertip, set in a locket. She is saving it for her daughter. –Greta Christina

“The irresistible woman is clear on what she wants, but has no expectations and accepts men as they are. She has high standards, but has no sense of entitlement. She has no need for a man, but cares deeply about being irresistible to them.”

The irresistible woman hears the contradictions, and laughs — a harpy shriek she immediately muffles into her elbow, for fear of giving the ending away. They think the contradictions will baffle her, frighten her, weaken her, send her into despair. They have no idea.

The irresistible woman takes the stage, strips, scratches her face with her perfect nails. She writes the contradictions on parchment in her blood, wraps it around her naked body like a shroud. The parchment twists at her command, and she twists along with it, her body bending, stretching, contorting into a Moebius strip, slicing itself into twisted loops that interlock. Her audience looks on: entertained, then captivated, then gradually paralyzed as the realization sinks in.

The words she spoke to the parchment were spoken at the same time to their brains. Their neurons, axons, dendrites, have twisted inside their skulls. It happened bit by bit, like the heat under a pot of water gradually boiling the live frog. The knots inside their brains are bleeding.

They had no idea.

She unwraps her body with a snap, eases out of the parchment. She knows her way out. She slips into a terrycloth bathrobe stolen from a hotel. She exits through the gift shop. –Greta Christina

Let us tell the story of what happened in the hotel, when she stole the bathrobe. [Read more…]

The Irresistible Woman: A Micro-Horror Collection, Part 3

Content note: fantasy/horror violence, and plenty of it. Also some references to sexism, misogyny, misogynist violence, and some sexual content.

In response to this post on Facebook, from dating coach Jonathon Aslay:

How a Woman Becomes Irresistible To a Man… She chooses to set high standards for herself. She’s clear on what she wants. She knows the value of friendship before sex. She comes from a place of gratitude (not expectations). She is confident and willing to ask a man out on a date because she knows a relationship is a two way street. She demonstrates trust and respect by accepting him for who he is. She’s in no hurry to get to the destination. She can take of herself, she doesn’t need a man. She shows up interesting and interested. She comes from a place of compassion (not entitlement). Lastly, she knows how to inspire a man, because she leads by example. Did I miss anything?

Facebook feminists bring you: The Irresistible Woman. Part 3 of a series. All micro-stories reprinted with permission of the authors, credited and linked to (or not) as they requested.

DISCLAIMER: References to violence, death, destruction, physical torment, psychological torment, supernatural torment, world domination, eternal nightmares, or the warping of the entire space-time continuum to exact revenge on one sexist jerk, are all intended as metaphor. These are fictional expressions of rage and mockery, aimed at the impossible, contradictory, ever-shifting standards of female desirability, and at the barrage of advice given to women about how to meet those standards. None of the authors actually want to do these things, or think they should happen. No, really.

*****

The irresistible woman lies
soft upon the ground,
her body a quaking monument
thighs shiver-shifting,
perfect in herself,
the arch of spine
arch of rib
arch of breast.
red lips parted,
gasping at the thin air.
If you believe
that a woman’s life is performance
it is easily mistaken for
a forward gesture of submission,
an invitation not given,
but begging to be taken. [Read more…]

A Quick Note About Feminism and Transgender People

Transgender symbolGeneral principle: My feminism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit. (Not original with me: this phrase was coined by Flavia Dzodan.)

Specific application: My feminist gender theory will include the lived experience of transgender people’s lives, or it will be bullshit.

If my feminist gender theory doesn’t include the lived experience of transgender people’s lives, it will be bullshit for (at least) two reasons. It will be bullshit because it will be shitty thinking and shitty science. Theory is supposed to explain reality: the whole freaking point of gender theory is to explain the reality of gender as it plays out in people’s lives, and if I have to reject the reality of trans people’s lives to hang on to my theory, it’s a crap-ass theory that should die in a fire.

And more to the point: It will be bullshit because trans lives matter, and trans people’s lives and experiences are more important than my goddamn theory.

I’m just sayin’, is all.


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

The Irresistible Woman: A Micro-Horror Collection, Part 2

Content note: fantasy/horror violence, and plenty of it. Also some references to sexism, misogyny, misogynist violence, and some sexual content.

In response to this post on Facebook, from dating coach Jonathon Aslay:

How a Woman Becomes Irresistible To a Man… She chooses to set high standards for herself. She’s clear on what she wants. She knows the value of friendship before sex. She comes from a place of gratitude (not expectations). She is confident and willing to ask a man out on a date because she knows a relationship is a two way street. She demonstrates trust and respect by accepting him for who he is. She’s in no hurry to get to the destination. She can take of herself, she doesn’t need a man. She shows up interesting and interested. She comes from a place of compassion (not entitlement). Lastly, she knows how to inspire a man, because she leads by example. Did I miss anything?

Facebook feminists bring you: The Irresistible Woman. Part 2 of a series. All micro-stories reprinted with permission of the authors, credited and linked to (or not) as they requested.

DISCLAIMER: References to violence, death, destruction, physical torment, psychological torment, supernatural torment, world domination, eternal nightmares, or the warping of the entire space-time continuum to exact revenge on one sexist jerk, are all intended as metaphor. These are fictional expressions of rage and mockery, aimed at the impossible, contradictory, ever-shifting standards of female desirability, and at the barrage of advice given to women about how to meet those standards. None of the authors actually want to do these things, or think they should happen. No, really.

*****

She’s got that red lip classic thing that you like. She has had that thing since its conception. She is ageless and immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings, and she consumes the souls of any man foolishly drawn to her bright colors. Red is also the color of blood. Beyond it, darkness looms. -Abigail Pritchard

She never goes out of style. She never goes out of style. –Amanda Gannon

When she goes crashing down, she comes back every time. She cannot be destroyed, no matter how the innocent may try. -Abigail Pritchard

Maybe I’m being too literal but I always thought what makes a woman irresistible is the paralytic venom she injects into her prey. -Kylen Knapp

. . . You weren’t supposed to tell our secret. Now they know.

Which is fine, I guess. It’s not like there’s any way to prevent us sneaking in through your windows or under your closet door, or through the floorboards. It’s not like we aren’t always there, waiting.

You have to sleep sometime. Everyone has to sleep sometime.

Except us. One of our heads always stays awake. –Amanda Gannon [Read more…]

The Irresistible Woman: A Micro-Horror Collection, Part 1

Content note: fantasy/horror violence, and plenty of it. Also some references to sexism, misogyny, misogynist violence, and some sexual content.

I have seen many fascinating responses to sexist dating advice. I have seen feminists respond with humor, with rage, with snark, with dismissal, with carefully patient and even empathetic education, with sarcasm that could wither a Venus fly trap.

But until May 14, I had never before seen feminists respond to sexist dating advice with a impromptu collaborative outpouring of fantasy horror micro-fiction.

In response to this post on Facebook, from dating coach Jonathon Aslay:

How a Woman Becomes Irresistible To a Man… She chooses to set high standards for herself. She’s clear on what she wants. She knows the value of friendship before sex. She comes from a place of gratitude (not expectations). She is confident and willing to ask a man out on a date because she knows a relationship is a two way street. She demonstrates trust and respect by accepting him for who he is. She’s in no hurry to get to the destination. She can take of herself, she doesn’t need a man. She shows up interesting and interested. She comes from a place of compassion (not entitlement). Lastly, she knows how to inspire a man, because she leads by example. Did I miss anything?

Facebook feminists bring you: The Irresistible Woman. All micro-stories reprinted with permission of the authors, credited and linked to (or not) as they requested.

DISCLAIMER: References to violence, death, destruction, physical torment, psychological torment, supernatural torment, world domination, eternal nightmares, or the warping of the entire space-time continuum to exact revenge on one sexist jerk, are all intended as metaphor. These are fictional expressions of rage and mockery, aimed at the impossible, contradictory, ever-shifting standards of female desirability, and at the barrage of advice given to women about how to meet those standards. None of the authors actually want to do these things, or think they should happen. No, really.

***

She uses the sustentacular cells in her sinus cavities to manipulate local magnetic fields. –Yvonne Rathbone

She keeps watch in the night, in the shadows. Many-faceted eyes guard the tender sleep of innocent paramours. If she doesn’t hear that scratching sound, it must not be there. If she doesn’t hear that scratching sound, there is no one there. If she does not hear any scratching sound, there is no one anywhere. An irresistible woman never leaves crumbs in the bed. -Ashley Protagonist

She keeps her mandibles sharp and shiny. -Amy Lou Renner

She knows where her man left his keys, his coffee mug, his bones. Her chitinous endoskeleton will never be found. She uses Groupon to pay less for spa days. -Ashley Protagonist

She doesn’t worry about fine lines or wrinkles, because her skin is only a temporary raiment, a mass-produced bauble from a cheap conveyor belt manned only by sighs and deflated ambition. She doesn’t need night cream. She does not worry about her freckles. Her beauty is on the inside. -Ashley Protagonist

She turns herself inside out when the moon is dark. –Yvonne Rathbone

She doesn’t dwell on failed projects, on misplaced hopes. She starts fresh, shedding her old wishes along with her broken or dulled incisors. She always has what she needs, and she always uses what she has. -Ashley Protagonist

All beauty is on her inside. She devours beautiful things with hunger. Men, men are such pretty creatures, she says, tired of the way our culture’s idea of “beautiful” is firmly bound up with ideas of the feminine. More for me, she sighs, and spreads her mouthparts wide. –Amanda Gannon [Read more…]

The Karen Stollznow/ Ben Radford/ Hemant Mehta Thing

So as some of you may already know, Ben Radford issued a statement on May 22, cosigned by Karen Stollznow, stating:

In 2013 Karen Stollznow accused Ben Radford of stalking, sexual harassment, and both physical and sexual assault. She made these accusations in a complaint to Bed Radford’s employer (the Center for Inquiry), in a guest blog written for the Scientific American Mind website, and to various individuals in private communication.

Karen and Ben were in an intimate, personal relationship that ended with acrimony and misunderstandings. But it would be wrong for anyone to believe that Ben Radford stalked, sexually harassed, or physically and sexually assaulted Karen Stollznow.

The issue has done damage to both Karen and Ben and to their careers. Through mutual discussion, all issues between them have now been resolved. Both Ben and Karen wish to move on with their lives and put this matter behind them.

They ask that their friends and colleagues let the matter drop. They ask that bloggers and others who have repeated these allegations against Radford or Stollznow remove them from their sites and not repeat them. Any blogs or other published references to these accusations only serve to perpetuate the harm to both parties.

Hemant Mehta wrote about this on June 2 — strongly insinuating that several bloggers (including me) who had shown support for Stollznow knew about this statement, and were deliberately sitting on it and staying silent about it. As it happens, I didn’t know about the statement until the Mehta’s piece went up on June 2 — and that’s true for several of the other bloggers cited by Mehta. (I don’t know about all of them.) He has posted an update at the end of the piece with a semi-apology to me about this implication, but to my knowledge has not apologized to any of the other bloggers he implicated.

I may write more later about Mehta’s piece and its insinuations. For now, I’m simply going to comment on the statement itself:

I am highly skeptical, to say the least, of the content of this statement. Among other reasons: In the past, Radford has written “joint” statements of this nature and tried to pressure Stollznow into signing them. At least some of the accusations of harassment were corroborated by others. CFI hired an investigative firm, which found merit to at least some of Stollznow’s accusations. And if this report is correct, Stollznow signed the May 22 statement under extreme pressure, including a demand that she sign on the day that she went into induced labor. It’s only one report, not yet corroborated, so I don’t know if it’s true — but it’s certainly consistent with Radford’s previous pattern. So I am highly skeptical, to say the least, of the content of this statement. But I will take one part of it at face value: The statement asks colleagues to let the matter drop. So unless something happens in the future that makes further comment on this important and relevant, I’m dropping it.

For that reason (and also because I’m recovering from being very sick, and don’t have the energy to moderate comments on this), I’m closing comments on this post. If you want to discuss this issue, you can do so elsewhere. Here are a few other comments on this issue and replies to Mehta’s post, from PZ Myers, Stephanie Zvan, Jason Thibeault, and Rebecca Watson.

The Irresistible Woman

Content note: brief violence, mentions of explicit sex including kinky sex.

A couple of weeks ago, dating coach Jonathon Aslay posted this gem to his Facebook page:

“How a Woman Becomes Irresistible To a Man… She chooses to set high standards for herself. She’s clear on what she wants. She knows the value of friendship before sex. She comes from a place of gratitude (not expectations). She is confident and willing to ask a man out on a date because she knows a relationship is a two way street. She demonstrates trust and respect by accepting him for who he is. She’s in no hurry to get to the destination. She can take of herself, she doesn’t need a man. She shows up interesting and interested. She comes from a place of compassion (not entitlement). Lastly, she knows how to inspire a man, because she leads by example. Did I miss anything?”

The response from feminists was… let’s say, “unusual.” The comment thread was quickly transformed into an impromptu collaborative outpouring of fantasy horror micro-fiction, meditating on the true nature of the irresistible woman, and on the terrifying nature of what it would even mean to be irresistible. I’m in process of compiling all of it now — but in the meantime, I thought I’d share this story, one of my own contributions.

*****

The Irresistible Woman

The irresistible woman wakes at noon with the familiar ache in her loins — well, whatever passes for “loins” in her true body. She puts out the call, a series of clicks and chants, signalling “Open for Business.” At once her supplicants quietly put down what they’re doing, and appear at her door.

She sorts them quickly: looks each in the eyes for a nanosecond, sees them, SEES THEM. The ones who do not find favor in her eyes… well, that’s an uncomfortable topic. Waiting at her door, her supplicants don’t much like to think about that. Although it does add a frisson, a note of apprehension that gives the anticipation some edge. They wonder a bit why they came here, why they’re taking such a risk, they know what could happen if… Did they even choose this? Did she enchant them, hypnotize them, use feminine wiles, subliminally write “I AM IRRESISTIBLE” in their pictures of ice cubes? In a cause and effect world, is free will even a coherent concept? The irresistible woman has an instinctive understanding of the true nature of cause and effect and freedom, has had it since she was a child. But it would take too long to explain, and right now, she has more important things to do.

The ones who do not find favor in her eyes, she handles quickly. We’ll get to that in a bit. It’s an unpleasant business.

The ones who do find favor in her eyes, she counts. She effortlessly divides herself into perfect copies, one for each — or, okay, two for some, or three, or occasionally more. She takes each favored one to a private room. They can see only her, they only have eyes for her — but she sees all of them at once. She is separate yet whole, the perfect Trinity, three in one, or twenty-seven in one, or a hundred, or six thousand that one time. She’s got this. She closes all the doors. [Read more…]

#mencallmethings: “fat ass,” “bitch,” “rot in hell”

Content note: misogynist, homophobic, ableist, sizeist harassment

Asshole in email (no, Im not going to name him), replying to my recent essay on AlterNet, 7 Things People Who Say They’re ‘Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal’ Don’t Understand:

How the hell are you qualified to write ANYTHING about conservatives? You should pull your head out of your fat ass before touching a keyboard. Conservatives that support the removal of the gay marriage restrictions do so only because the government should not discriminate against any group, no matter how deviant. Since homosexuality is merely a “behavior” (show me the gay gene that doesn’t exist, therefore your are NOT born that way as you libtards like to claim – of course without any scientific proof as usual). But many consrvatives are syill willing to change all the rules for a “behavior”. You make me sick. Not surprised you don’t believe in God – you libtards are way too smart for that. So I am encouraged to know you will rot in hell. Hope that day comes soon and is full of suffering for you and your entire famly bitch

#mencallmethings

Note 1: Yes, this is definitely going to make me re-think my position on fiscal conservatism. I hadn’t considered the possibility that I might be a fat-ass deviant libtard bitch who will rot in hell, and that therefore conservative fiscal policy might be more sound than I’d previously thought. /sarcasm

Note 2: Re “I am encouraged to know you will rot in hell. Hope that day comes soon and is full of suffering for you and your entire famly”: Why, precisely, should my entire family suffer because I’m queer and/or an atheist?

Note 3: It’s interesting to note that I actually said very, very little in this piece about homosexuality, and nothing at all about same-sex marriage. The piece was mostly about poverty and race. It’s interesting how people with passionate hatred will zero in on the object of their hatred, even when it’s entirely tangential.

[Read more…]

7 Things People Who Say They’re ‘Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal’ Don’t Understand

money closeup

Social and economic issues are deeply intertwined.

“Well, I’m conservative, but I’m not one of those racist, homophobic, dripping-with-hate Tea Party bigots! I’m pro-choice! I’m pro-same-sex-marriage! I’m not a racist! I just want lower taxes, and smaller government, and less government regulation of business. I’m fiscally conservative, and socially liberal.”

How many liberals and progressives have heard this? It’s ridiculously common. Hell, even David Koch of the Koch brothers has said, “I’m a conservative on economic matters and I’m a social liberal.”

And it’s wrong. W-R-O-N-G Wrong.

You can’t separate fiscal issues from social issues. They’re deeply intertwined. They affect each other. Economic issues often are social issues. And conservative fiscal policies do enormous social harm. That’s true even for the mildest, most generous version of “fiscal conservatism” — low taxes, small government, reduced regulation, a free market. These policies perpetuate human rights abuses. They make life harder for people who already have hard lives. Even if the people supporting these policies don’t intend this, the policies are racist, sexist, classist (obviously), ableist, homophobic, transphobic, and otherwise socially retrograde. In many ways, they do more harm than so-called “social policies” that are supposedly separate from economic ones. Here are seven reasons that “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” is nonsense.

*****

Thus begins my latest piece for AlterNet, 7 Things People Who Say They’re ‘Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal’ Don’t Understand. To read more, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.