Frequently-Asked Questions

FtB Con Postmortem: Racism in the Kink Scene

This past weekend was FtB Con. On Saturday, I was on a panel about kink for those who were beginning to explore it. I brought up issues of racism that I have faced online and off in the scene and specifically described a situation where I was nonconsensually fetishized for my skin tone at a kink event. Another panelist compared the situation to being followed and harassed at a mall and advised that people ought to firmly say “Stop!” to anyone who was doing such a thing.

As the panel wasn’t about exclusively my experiences and I felt a little flustered, I didn’t cover all the reasons why the situation hadn’t been that simple for me. The idea that it would have been easy for me to halt what had been happening is based on the assumption that the only power dynamics at play in kink spaces are pre-negotiated ones between consenting adults. [Read more…]

Beauty Level-Up #10: A Face Only a Webcam Could Love

FtBCon(science)3 is going on right now. I was on the ex-Muslims panel this morning, naturally, and will be on the kink panel that’s on at 1 PM PDT today as well as the poly one that is tomorrow also at 1 P PDT.

I’ve done quite a few Hangouts-on-Air-driven panels and vidcasts at this point, including FtB Con. While a full makeup routine looks great on webcam, there’s really no need to spend that much time and effort. This is especially true when the panel is at a certain time of day in order to accommodate multiple time zones. As a person of the PDT (and sometimes PST) persuasion, I often am the one obliged to wake up rather early to make it to a panel. I don’t always have the time and energy to do a full face and one isn’t really all that necessary anyway.

The results of a webcam-specific makeup routine might look silly in a selfie and even more so in the flesh, but it works for its intended purpose.

Picture-heavy tutorial below the jump.
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Wit Against Misogyny & Various *-isms: A Beginners’ How-To

Don’t you just hate it when you think of the perfect thing to say after the fact? There’s a term for that: esprit d’escalier (or “staircase wit”). Then there are times when you can’t think of anything to say at all, which can be just as annoying. This can happen with friends, family, or strangers, online or off.

Nearly no one is born issuing snappy comebacks at the drop of a hat. It’s a skill that can be practiced and improved upon and worked on over time. If you want to join in the war of the wits pitted against oppressive jerks, you can, no matter how unfunny or dim you think you are (because you probably aren’t that bad). Getting started means training yourself to more quickly recognize situations ripe for a comeback, surrounding yourself with people who can inspire your courage and give you ideas, and practicing your newborn-to-newfound skills in lower-stakes spaces.
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Everything I Know About Monogamy, I Learned From Polyamory

For most people and most relationships, the mainstream monogamous relationship model fits and there is no need for them to question it overmuch. The mistake is not doing what works for you if monogamy is what that is, it’s assuming that mono-to-poly relationships are the only ones where the terms of the relationship change.

I’m not just saying this because I’m poly and tired of my relationship style being treated as the only one where painfully-common problems arise (though yes, I rather am, thank you). I’m also saying this because a lot of wholly-avoidable issues come up in relationships of all kinds when people don’t acknowledge those changes for what they are. [Read more…]

How Shocking It Is to Be Believed

Content notice for ableist slurs, food-policing, and gaslighting.

A while back, I critically commented on a friend‘s post; I brought up how some people seemed to sincerely believe that racism wasn’t a problem with Ferguson and that all things could be resolved via body cam use. A friend of his commented and called my statement into question. I replied to him by saying that I didn’t have the energy to compile direct quotes and citations and was accordingly leaving the conversation (and I did, as I’m not one for the false flounce).

A few days later, I was curious and decided to peek at the thread. The friend-of-a-friend had said that if I could confirm that I knew of at least three people who truly thought what I said some people did about Ferguson, he would be satisfied. After all, he joked, he had seen me around the Internet and I seemed to pass the Turing Test.

I realized that I had expected him to consider even the evidence that I didn’t have the energy to gather to be inadequate. I had expected him to demand a peer-reviewed scientific study on the matter. I had expected him to call me a liar, in some way or shape or form.

Oversensitive. Overreacting. Crazy. Making things up. Provoking. Prove it. Your proof is the wrong kind. Shut up. It’s nothing. It never happened. You’re wrong.

I hadn’t expected him to believe me based on something as flimsy as my mere humanity. This is not an exaggeration. [Read more…]

Against Jokes, Expressions of Attraction, & Free Speech for Men

I must have hit some sort of critical tipping point, because I can’t seem to go a week without a man getting angry at me for not agreeing with him when he comes into my online spaces and says something contentious. The excuses are usually based on the alleged humor of the remarks (often retroactively applied), the particular man’s sexual preferences, and Freeze Peach.

If “jokes,” “expressions of attraction, and “free speech” mean “they must agree with me at all times” in men’s minds, then I’m very much against all three.

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A Reminder: Martin Luther King Jr. Didn’t Die Protecting White Feelings

a cartoonish white person with short hair in a suit with the words " ' Martin Luther King, Jr. said to stop being mean to me.' - White Guys"

Once upon a time, back when oppressed people didn’t have the full equality that they do now, there was one man who was a very nice man and wanted everyone to be nice and happy together, unlike another mean man who scared the oppressors and didn’t be nice to them.

No, I’m not talking about Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X — I’m talking about Xavier and Magneto. And as far as such a view of the struggle for rights goes, it is rather simplistic and falsely dichotomous even for the comic book characters, let alone a realistic view of the real-life activists. This is especially true for the man depicted as the “nice” one, whose legacy is all too often misused as a silencing tactic vis-à-vis oppressive enforcement of “civility.”

It takes an incredible short perspective on history to forget that today’s heroes, seen as compassionate and reasonable and peaceful, are often yesterday’s shrill, overreaching radicals. Martin Luther King Jr. was no exception.

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Beauty Level-Up #9: Things I’d Actually Want From a Smart Mirror

Content Notice for mentions of anti sex-worker violence and body image in the first paragraph.

Health tracker apps completely disregarding AFAB needs. Voice-operated assistants that can help you find the services of a sex worker and then dispose of her murdered body later but unable to find abortion services. And now? Mirrors that tell you exactly what’s wrong with your face.


The future’s so blazingly misogynistic, I gotta wear shades. I suppose that’s what you get when brogrammers are running the show. Thank the Noodly Lord for The Ada Initiative and other pushes to get more non-males into tech.

Until there are more non-males in tech, here’s some free consultation from a femme non-binary AFAB. You’re welcome for the five pieces of advice, Silicon Valley. Go crush some code, bruhs! [Read more…]

#‎WhoIsMuhammad‬? A Human Being

Muslims all over the world are using #WhoIsMuhammad to express their feelings about the man who founded their religion. The hashtag arose partially in reaction to the horrifying events in France last week and mostly because Muslims and Islam are generally not exactly very positively perceived.

I understand what Muslims are trying to do with the hashtag. Really, I do. I remember what it was like to be a Muslim in a hostile environment, especially in the direct wake of terrorist acts committed by Islamist types.

However, if the various traces of him that we have left are to be accepted, Muhammad was not a peacenik hippie who wanted everyone to love each other forever. There was much more to him than that. [Read more…]