Alien versus Predator is a bag of wank

I have just been reminded about this film’s gobshite existence and am cross. AvP isn’t even ‘so bad it’s good’. It’s just BAD. It’s a real shame, because individually the (first half of the) Alien franchise and the Predator franchise are brilliant.

When people talk about the Bechdel test, and say ‘don’t forget, just because a film passes the test doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good film’, AvP is what they’re talking about.

First, we have the cradle of human civilisation being fucking Antarctica, because apparently it was warmer back then.

NO IT FUCKING WASN’T.

By the time humans evolved, Antarctica was already too far south and much too cold for human habitation. This is a magnitude of error of several hundreds of millions of years!

The earliest human civilisation was a mix of Mayan, Egyptian and something else I can’t remember because this film was so shit.

WHAT THE PANTSPISSING FUCK?

Then we have the trope of ‘ancient humans couldn’t have built pyramids, aliens must have done it’.

A PYRAMID IS THE EASIEST FUCKING THING YOU CAN BUILD.

Then “the Mayans used base 10, right? So the pyramid must change every ten minutes!”

WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAT?!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!

Fucking fuck! Western culture uses base 10 too, but we don’t set everything to work in ten-minute increments, because that would make fuck-all sense. Furthermore, why would the Mayans have used European minutes? For actual fuck’s sake.

Also, there’s a jackass penguin in the film. They don’t live in Antarctica and aaaaaaAAAAARGH everything about this film is WRONG.

If you liked Alien v Predator you are so wrong it actually makes you a bad person.

The only good thing about AvP is that it’s a sci-fi (-ish) film with a black woman protagonist. We need more of those; about 80% of Hollywood protagonists are white men, which is boring and rubbish. But AvP is so terrible I bet Sanaa Lathan fucking hates it and urps a sick on your shoes if you try to get her to talk about it.

Anti-trans fuckery in feminism

Content warning, in case the title didn’t tip you off: this post does discuss anti-trans bigotry and the arguments used in it. It focuses on bigotry and exclusion against trans women in particular, as that is who I’m seeing it directed against at the moment. If you don’t know what ‘trans’ refers to, there are couple of 101 links in this little collection. (In fact, you should probably just read the stuff in there and not this post, because most of the links in there were actually written by trans people.)

As a cis person (check that little link above if you don’t understand that term), there’s obviously a limit to how much I can usefully say about this. I’m writing it anyway, partly as a ‘cis people educating cis people so trans people don’t have to’ thing; partly because feminism is important to me and it’s ‘my’ lot who are causing all this fuckery, so it’s up to ‘us’ to stop it; and partly because I’ve also been seeing tweets calling for better outreach rather than gleeful call-outs. As hilarious as it is to tell a ‘I’m not transphobic, but…’ shithammer ‘that is literally transphobia, you shithammer’, it likely won’t change their mind, so maybe this post is a shot at redeeming myself too. I hope I haven’t said anything wrong in this post, but of course never feel afraid to call me out if I have.

Maybe it’s always been this prevalent and I’ve just not noticed it before, but it does seem as though there has been a recent surge in public anti-trans bigotry in feminism. (It has been suggested to me that it’s no more frequent but is becoming more noticeable as it ceases to be the status quo.) I’m seeing a lot of hand-wringing guff about respecting all women’s opinions, as if feminism means that we can’t disagree with anything a woman says. It’s not ‘just another opinion’ – anti-trans bigotry is antithetical to feminism and must be removed. This is not ‘splitting the movement’. “All feminist concerns are also transgender concerns, and vice versa. There are no feminist dialogues in which trans voices ‘don’t belong’, or to which trans voices have ‘nothing to add’. There are no social issues related to gender that don’t have consequences for trans people.” (Natalie Reed) Removing things antithetical to the movement cannot be splitting it. Feminism is not a monolith, but surely it should be obvious that it cannot be compatible with “declaring categories of women to be not women”. (@ksej)

Anti-trans often crops up under the name of ‘radical feminism’. (People who adhere to this are often referred to as TE(R)Fs: ‘trans-exclusionary (radical) feminists’. Conveniently, the ‘F’ could easily stand for ‘fucker’.) There is nothing radical about it. Trans-hostility is “actually the norm. That is antiquated. It’s traditional.” (@scATX)

What are anti-trans guffbeaks actually afraid of? Usually it’s some panic about ‘but changing rooms!’ or ‘but public toilets!’ I used to work in a clothes shop. We had unisex changing rooms and nothing weird happened. Apart from the people who used the place as a toilet, but I don’t think that would have been prevented by gendered changing rooms. Furthermore, it’s not as though existing toilets have a force field that prevents anyone not of the door pictogram’s gender from getting in. Do TEFs really think that trans women using women’s toilets will lead to cis men disguising themselves as women so they can use the toilets too? If so, what the sugary fuck? That’s quite a worrying insight into the machinations of their minds.

One TEF’s argument with me was that ‘children are taking drugs to make them infertile’. I don’t really know what to say to that, because it makes fuck-all sense. Were they referring to Sweden’s anachronistic requirement that says a trans person must be sterilised before they can receive gender reassignment surgery? That’s actually been lifted.

The usual argument from TEFs is that trans women are ‘really’ men, and therefore should not be made welcome in women-only spaces. (By their own logic, trans men are ‘really’ women, and therefore should be allowed in. However, TEFs usually bar trans men from their spaces too – implying that they accept trans men’s declaration of their gender but not trans women’s. This is literally misogyny.) The argument that they are really men is usually based, to a worryingly obsessive degree, on chromosomes or genitalia. This post on Tranarchism provides an excellent breakdown of how ‘biological sex’ is a false binary and why it is not immutable, and I can’t really top it (seriously, read it if you didn’t already). As the post points out, the physical characteristics we use to assign someone a sex, such as XX/XY chromosomes and primary and secondary sexual characteristics, can exist or not exist in isolation and may not even apply at various stages of our lives. “The fallacies of binding identity to bodies, which are fragile, changeable things, subject to injury, mutilation, maiming, decay and ultimate destruction, should by now be clear.”

Some interesting examples of this are Swyer syndrome, in which a person has XY chromosomes, a uterus, no gonads, and will probably be read as female. In androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), the XY person’s body has undescended testes, a vulva with a short vagina, no uterus, and produces but does not respond to androgens (causing little to no pubic hair growth as a result), making them read as female. It has been hypothesised that Queen Elizabeth I had AIS (link found on here – content warning for some cisnormative language), making her a cis woman with an XY karyotype. What, then, does it even mean to be ‘biologically male’ or ‘biologically female’? This post by Natalie Reed explains why pinning someone’s ‘scientific’ sex on a chromosome is arbitrary and not very sensible. “[S]aying that my completely invisible, anatomically irrelevant Y chromosome trumps everything else and dictates what my body really is. Pardon me if I don’t find that to be a terribly objective way of looking at things.”

In short: who the greasy poop are you to say that someone’s gender is invalid, or less valid than yours? How can you possibly know that better than they do? (Also, do you even know your karyotype? Have you ever had it tested?)

TEFs’ objection to trans women is puzzling given that they (the TEFs) express their desire to smash gender itself. Why should this be incompatible with the existence of trans people? Changing, remixing and playing with gender (though of course this is not necessarily how any given trans person, or genderqueer, neutrois or genderfluid person, would describe how their gender works) sounds like a suitable transitional (tee hee) demand. For people who want to get rid of gender and keep saying ‘it’s just a social construct’, they are awfully insistent that you must keep the one you were assigned. Furthermore, is eliminating gender even a desirable thing to do? Gender itself is not inherently oppressive. It’s ours to play with and use as we see fit. Eliminate gender roles, sure. (But even those would be no big deal if society had no problem with people deviating from their typical gender norms.)

A popular (and good) anti-disablism argument is that disablism is especially ridiculous because anyone can become disabled at any time. Of course, we should respect disabled people simply because humans are inherently worthy of fair treatment. This just adds a layer to it in case you are devoid of compassion and need a selfish reason. Is this not also true of anti-trans?

I am extremely confident that I will forever be a cis woman. (I’m also confident that I won’t be disabled.) But it’s possible that I might not be! It’s 2013; a person’s gender or gender expression changing is one of the more unremarkable things they can do. Much stranger things have happened. Adam Rainer was a man who was born a dwarf, then later grew into a giant. If that can happen, then it’s possible that my gender might change. So might yours (if it hasn’t already)!

Did you know that sometimes people are born with no bumhole? And doctors have to make them one? And sometimes people are born with two bumholes and doctors have to sew one up! Jesus fuck! There are people with two bumholes walking among us! Suddenly the notion of trans people seems very ordinary, doesn’t it? (That’s because it is.)

Tl;dr.

This post was partly inspired by my friend PixelGuff’s post Misogyny in Gaming: A Fat Bloke Speaks Out.

Things I have learned from a year in fashion retail

The British public cannot tell the difference between Che Guevara, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. Many of them also believe Che Guevara to be Russian.

People will wear the ugliest clothing as long as it has a Nike swoosh on it.

Fashion is not the same as style. People want to be told what to wear and they don’t like hearing ‘you’re the one who’s going to be wearing it, so you should wear the one you like best.’

People who say ‘oh, just get me anything’ actually have very specific ideas of what they want and will reject everything you bring them.

If you play the Andrews Sisters’ song Rum & Coca Cola people will ask why you’re playing ‘Christmas music’.

People think that if it’s physically in the shop, it must be for sale. They will ask to buy the battered sticker-covered folding plastic table you’re using to fold shirts on.

About half of the offensive t-shirts bought by teenage boys will be returned the next day by angry mothers. Best one was a boy returning a shirt saying ‘Will buy drinks for sex’. His mum had made him return it because he was too young to do either.

There must be loads of people who go into shops and sweep the floor or fold shirts for shits and giggles, judging by the number of times I’d be asked ‘do you work here?’ while doing that.

You may think nothing terrible will happen, because you work in one of the nicest and safest boroughs in London. Not so – you will find piss in the changing rooms, jizz in the changing rooms (thoughtfully confined to a now-unsellable hat), and people getting radgey at not being able to return knickers they’ve skidmarked.

Not puns

Even more annoying than the terrible pun is the pun that is not actually a pun.

‘May the birds be with you’ proclaims the advert for the Angry Birds/Star Wars crossover. What? ‘Birds’ doesn’t even slightly rhyme with ‘force’. That’s not a pun. That’s literally just saying ‘birds’ instead of ‘force’. You helmets.

Do you remember last Christmas’s Pringle tins? ‘Merry Pringles’? Not Merry Crispmas, not Pringle Bells. Merry Pringles. What the bloody fuck?

I blame the Smurfs. The Smurfs would be 14% less shite if they learned what a pun actually is. It’s not just replacing an arbitrary syllable with ‘smurf’ (‘Smurf-xactly’, ‘You smurfed with the wrong girl’). Smurf it up your urethra.