svollga: (Default)
Moved from the conference through Moscow to the friend's house in Rostov.
At the conference, I ended up talking about the public debate about LGBT in Russian society (details later). Some comments about my panel made me thinking about the balance between activism and scientifical approach. When we are talking about a discriminated group, what is objective point of view, and what is biased? Can I be both an activist and a scientist studying the topic of my activism? And how much does the fact that I'm also a member of this discriminated group tip the balance of objectivity?
It's very important to me to understand this balance, to make it clear, at leas for myself, where is the point of balance.

P.S.: I think I hate polite and friendly educated people who express moderately homophobic views even more than open angry homophobes. It's easy when an angry idiot calls you an abomination; it's hard when an educated intelligent colleague looks you in the eye and politely explains to you that you are a second-class citizen.
svollga: (wish)
Lately, I'm feeling frustrated and sad and angry a lot, about many things. I want to barricade in my ivory tower and forget there's a world outside.

In less then two weeks, I'm speaking at a conference abou LGBT youth issues, and I still can't get ready to it because every time I start to look through information for the conference I get angry and close to tears. Because this shit shouldn't be an issue. Because those stupid homophobes shouldn't even exist. Because I don't want to think about it, and talk about it, and be intellectual and scientific about it.

Also, I'm supposed to write an article about institutionalised homophobia and how personal right to be a homophobe isn't working in the line of work when an institution cares about equality. And... see above.

My rape culture posts attracted another bunch of rape apologists and I don't want to talk about them.

Everything that's going on in my fandom makes me mostly frustrated to the point that I stopped reading anything except for fanfiction. All the meta, all the spoilers are like a minefield of frustration to me. Even things written by people I usually agree with and whose opinion I respect. So, I limit myself to the pretty pictures and squee about them.

The fact that the heat is almost unbearable doesn't help. The fact that after the last visit to my shrink, I'm going through a very difficult spot of self-work, doesn't help, either.

Can it be over soon, please?

svollga: (smile)
Swimming pool and long walks lead to thinky thoughts that sort of flow from one topic to another. I started with thinking about transformative art as an empowering tool. The original text (in any media) is sort of like the world around: it is whole, complete and exists without me, by the rules written not by me, and while I'm included ad the reader of the text (which is sometimes addressed directly to me via breaking the fourth wall), I'm supposed to be passive and play by the rules. But is I transform the text via fanfiction, fanart and so on, I can change it. I can take what I like and rewrite what I don't like, or add something I think is missing, or simply rearrange the parts in the order that makes more sense to me. At the same time, I keep the feeling of the original, its atmosphere, its essence, while working out the kinks. For me, this action is a metaphor of the interaction with the real world around me: I can take the cards I'm dealt with and rearrange them, change them, rewrite the parts I don't like while still working with the same old world. It takes time and effort, but it's working. In some sense, transformative art gives me stronger feeling of power than original art: original art is the process of creating something new which doesn't translate as well for me into interaction with the world around me. But the feelings I experience when creating a canon-compliant story where Ianto Jones lives, or Sirius Black is brought back from behind the Veil, and the feelings I experience when working on some pro-lgbt project are similar: in both cases, I have a feeling that I'm changing something that is bigger than me, by small steps, because I can.

Speaking of the small steps: from watching tv-shows and movies made in the US and in the UK, I've got a feeling of some inherent difference in the stories they tell about how the world can be changed. In the US products, there's one Big Hero who changes everything, does everything, saves everyone in one big ultimate effort. The story I get from them is usually, 'you can change entire world in one big push if you try hard enough'. In the UK products, there is a common person that strives to be a better person, or just to be themselves, or do their own thing the way they see fit, and  in the process change the world around themselves - a lot of small, almost imperceivable changes that grow up into a bigger picture. The clearest example is Life on Mars where Sam Tyler changes the people of 70th and the police methods just by being himself all the time. The story I get is, 'you cannot change the whole world but you can change the world around you by being yourself and making small steps, and the changes will go further and further'. I like this story better. It fits my worldview, and it gives me strength to do something because I don't have to get ready for the Big Push - I can do something today, something that I'm actually able to do, and it will still make a difference.

This is how I understand the 'personal is political' thesis: what I am and what I do matters because it influences the world around me and goes into the big pucture, and the big picture changes and influences me and everybody else, and I change and influence it and everybody else... and so on. Everything is connected*, and I have the power to change the entire world, if not at once, than with time.

* This worldview is probably the reason I find Wicca the closest of all religions though I'm not religious and don't identify as Wiccan.

back again

Jun. 23rd, 2010 02:15 am
svollga: (heel)
I sort of got lost during the last weeks - first I had a deadline, and every moment I was psending bloggin was a moment I wasn't working, so I stopped myself. And then, I just... got unused to blog in English, I think. But as it's my plan to become better in the language (and also, as this blog is a place I can express some things I can't express in Russian and/or in y other blogs), I'm coming back.

I got a new job, though not quite - I can't be sure until I get my first paycheck. But it it works, it will be pretty good. I love translating, but I became worse in it, mostly because I read and watch too much in English, so during translation, I can't switch to normal Russian patterns and vocabulary. My translated text look like English text in Russian words and letters. It sucks. It's a signal of a professional burnout. It takes time and effort to heal. So, I hope I'll spend some time at my new, entirely different job.

Also, I now have time for two things I wanted to do but my translator job prevented me. (Mostly because it was always big projects, when I spent months with the knowledge that I have a job to do, and every minute I'm not doing it is lost. The curse of a freelancer.) I can go to the swimming pool/gym, and I can write fanfiction.

I really need some physical exercise in my life, and the doctors are telling me to go swimming for ages. I started to visit the swimming pool in May, but then stopped because of workload. Now I'm back there, and it's mostly great though I dislike some slight discomfort before/after (as the place I go swimming isn't perfect in their client service). I'm thinking about going back to the gym I've visited a year ago, to go there and to the swimming pool in turns. Also, though I like the way I look, I want to make my belly flat, and it seems that exercises at home aren't enough.

Speaking of which: this is how I look if you were wondering.
And speaking of entirely different which:
Huge, the new ABC's project, looks promising though can become a big fail. But it has Nikky Blonsky and Gina Torres!

As for fanfiction... I totally missed the dates of LGBT-fest, but I will finish the story and post it for the Amnesty. Actually, I finished my part and sent it to the beta-reader but haven't heard back yet. This is my main problem with writing in English: I don't have a permanent beta-reader, and don't know where to find one. In Russian, I have one constant beta and a group of first-readers, so I have feedback at different stages or working on the story and have it beta-read fast enough to get the bigger feedback almost immediately after finishing. Also, I'm very sure in my Russian style and grammar so if the fic is short and/or my beta is busy I can post it unbearead. In English, I can make stupid mistakes and am generally afraid of showing the text without having it read by an English speaker. And I don' have one on hand, sadly.

I checked my drafts folder and discovered that I have several stories in English which I have shown only to the closest circle. There's a Torchwood/Equilibrium action story, with the Doctor and Cybermen, and some Torchwood cast RPS rp0n, and also some Robin Hobb kinky fanfiction, not to mention the unfinished drafts and parts of the Big TW/EQ Crossover (which includes the LGBT-fest story). All of them unbetaread and thus, sitting in the table. I'm thinking about posting them at least to this blog - it's my personal space, so I can edit them whenever I want, and they will still be out there.

svollga: (wish)
I posted on one of my blogs some of self-portraits by Jen Davis. I really like this project, for both its artistic and social value.
One person asked me if I could fall in love with Jen or  aperson looking like this. I said that it is possible. Then the same persone asked if my female partner (the word is gendered in Russian) is thin. Because I could lie about liking a fat woman while having a thin partner.
I told this person to fuck off. But now I'm angry and want to vent.

Can I count how much is wrong with this question? Starting with the fact that it was actually asked? My private life is nobosy's business. My partner's looks is nobody's business. My partner's gender is nobody's business and not up for assumption. As well as the assumption that I have a partner at all, or that I have only one partner. Actually, even my personal preferences and my own body shape had nothing to do with me liking that project and the idea of fat acceptance that it embodies.

Dead Universe, make all stupid people clever right now, please?
svollga: (Default)
I should really stop watching ongoing TV-shows I get emotionally invested into.
Really. I'm too sentimental for this. I get invested, and I spend the week before the finale waiting and watching previous episodes back to back, and then I spend the last 24 hours running in rounds on the ceiling, and then I spend s couple of hours hypnotizing the torrent into going faster, and then it's 5 in the morning and everyone is asleep while I want to talk about it.
I'm fine with being emotionally invested in the show, that's what they are for. I'm fine with ongoing shows, especially when they are planned with separate plotlines per episodes. But sometimes it's too much.
Let's not talk about Children of Earth (which had me doing nothing for a whole week because I couldn't). Let's not talk about End of Time because I was strong enough to wait until both parts aired, to spare myself from the guesswork of the period between the episodes (which means that I stopped reading any of my friend lists and talking to most of my communication circle to esape the spoilers). And I'm really glad that I wasn't watching Buffy while it aired for the first time because I would have a heart attack somewhere during season 6, and another one while waiting for Chosen. Also, I'm glad that I started watching Criminal Minds after Mayhem and Lo-Fi aired, because that cliffhanger? Not nice. I had enough waiting between episodes 99 and 100 this fall.
This year, I had Dollhouse back in winter, and now Ashes to Ashes. I suddenly became invested in Ashes somewhere after episode 3x06, and I spent this las week waiting for the finale. And it came, and I watched it, and now I'm burning with both satisfaction and afterglow and craving for more and a little bit of dissapointment which has more to do with my personal desire to have all the characters living their happily ever after in some sort of family units, never alone. (I will probably have to write some reaction-fanfiction to get read of this nagging feeling. Something sappy. Or smutty. Or both.) It was brilliant, really - some very good television, something I add to my list of most recommended. But... bloody emotional investment into ongoing TV-shows. Now, when it's over, I miss it.

Digest of other shows I watch:
Castle left me a bit dissappointed with the way they started to resolve the UST - too much mansplaining, too little action for the girl.
Criminal Minds have one more episode which will be a cliffhanger, so I'm thinking about skipping it until the next year. The last three episodes in a row were very good. (Though I'm still waiting for the echoes of Hotch's tragedy and breakdown.)
House made my OTP into reality. And the scene itself was so very sweet. Oh my. I am sentimental.
Doctor Who still goes on, and Lie to Me starts in a couple of weeks.

svollga: (heel)
I'm sitting in the cafe, drinking coffee and smoking. My friend leaves for the bathroom. There are two men at the next table. One of them looks at me and says to me that I should stop smoking and start running. I say that's not his business. He says (and his friend joins in) that the nation is dying because there are no healthy women to give birth. I ask how is it my problem exactly, and what is his business with me again, and what the fuck, really. (I'm very angry at the moment because I was having a lovely time with a very good friend chatting about Criminal Minds and feminism and guess what? women's health, and I'm sort of unprepared for a stranger to talk to me like that.)
It ends up with me nearly telling them to shut the fuck up, and them eventually shutting up and leaving. I didn't say anything really rude because first, they are two big men twice my age and I am a small young female, and two, it's a cafe I frequent (the only one good cafe in a neighbourhood and one of the two in the entire town, and the coffee is of Ianto Jones's quality) and they probably frequent, too, and I don't want to have problems.

Now, how much is wrong in this situation?

1. What I do with my body is nobody's business.
2. Especially not the business of the strangers...
3. ...who were - guess what? - sporting beer bellies and smoking cheap cigarettes!
4. And especially not because of my own health, but the health of my potential babies.
5. Which I might or might not have, but it is, once again, nobody's business but mine.
6. And if I have them, it's not for the bloody 'nation', whatever it is.
7. Also, those strangers better not make assumptions about my health, habits, family status and plans for the future.
8. The fact that I have to tell them off sucks, but the fact that I have to be careful with it sucks even more, because I should not be afraid of telling off rude people in a peaceful public place, but I am.
9. Because they are male, stronger, and I doubt that anyone will come to my side in a conflict.

End of the venting. Shit happens. And the day was lovely except for this little episode.
svollga: (smile)
Last weekend, I had sort of new experience/discovery about romance and relationship and stuff.

Read more... )

Aside from that sour romance stuff, the weekend was really good. Dancing and people and a night outside of the sity, with wine and fod under open sky. Then people again, good friends, exiting talks.

Victory Day

May. 7th, 2010 04:54 pm
svollga: (smile)
As I will be offline until onday, I'm writing this post today.

May 9 is the Victory Day, Den' Pobedy, the day of Victory over Nazi Germany. It's the day I celebrate personally because though I was born long after the Great Patriotic War (Second World War for those outside of the former USSR), and no one among the relatives I know personally was a soldier then, I still feel personal connection to that war and that day.
Mostly, I feel it because I know exactly that if the USSR lost in that war, I won't be born, ever. My father is Jewish. He was a child than, safe in evaquation - he would be dead. My mother's parents come from Belarus and Ukraine. She was born after the war - she wouldn't be born.
Also, I've read enough of books like The Diary of Anna Frank to imagine quite vivdly what would happen to me if I lived through that war, if I happened to be in ghetto or in concentration camp.
And to end on a more positive note, I've watched so many films and read so many books about that war while growing up that I can't but feel proud for the people who fought, and suffered, and won. Won this war not for the goverment, but for themselves, for their children, for their future. In spite of all the ugly and cruel things the Soviet goverment did to them during and after the war, they still won, and that's what I am celebrating.

Some songs about the Great Patriotic War that fill me with emotion:
Довоенный вальс - Valtz Before the War, a song about the last days of peace.
Священная война - Sacred War, it was written in the beginning of the war, in 1941, and was practically a hymn, filled with rage and determination.
Смуглянка - Smuglyanka, about the partisan movement (and love), a lovely, jolly song despite the grim circumstances.
Нам нужна одна победа (also performed by it's author, Bulat Okudzhava) - We Need One Victory, a song in a melancholy yet decisive mood.
День Победы - Victory Day, the ultimate end-of-the-war song.
svollga: (granat)
I should really, really stop multitasking.
Because doing four things at once and eating on top of that leads to eggs tasting like deleted files. I'm not kidding.

Also, I need to make my life even more simple and my priorities even more clear. Because while I'm doing many things at once, it all somehow ends with me reading someone who is wrong in the internets. And replying to them! Not good.

svollga: (wish)
I've just downloaded the latest episode of Doctor Who (yes, I leave in a country where you have a choice of either download stuff from torrents or wait for ages for a legal copy), but I am not watching River Song being awesome. Which is weird because I should, but a) I want to work some more, and b) I want to finish my re-run of Criminal Minds first. What the hell happened to my priorities?

I'm watching series 3 to 5 back to back. Watching things back to back helps to see the thematic development, all the small cues that you know will develop into something later, or big things that were predicted before but you missed it, or aftershocks from the big things from the past. And it makes me feel a special fannish hunger.

It's the kind of hunger which makes you want things that were mentioned but never expanded to be expanded in all the details, and things that never happened but are possible or probable or improbable but interesting to happen. That's what fanfiction is for. To satisfy this hunger. Only in Criminal Minds fandom, it is tantalizing becaus this hunger can never be satisfied by fanfiction. And some things will never be satisfied in canon (which is part of what makes this canon so awesome, but also makes me a little sad and hungry).

Read more... )
svollga: (Default)
Black leather dress.
I now own a black leather skin-tight dress.
Oh, I love my reflection in the mirror.
Pity my high heels are over in Moscow. They would complete the look.

Random thoughts on clothing and feminism )
svollga: (lesbian)

I voted for AfterEllen's Hot 100, along with "companion lists", which, sadly, have only 5 places for nominees each against 10 in the main list. Here is my list of choice:

Alyson Hannigan
Catherine Tate - also in Hottest Women Over 40
Christina Cox
Freema Ageyman - also in Hottest Women of Color
Gina Torres - also in Hottest Women of Color and Hottest Women Over 40
Jennifer Beals - also in Hottest Women of Color and Hottest Women Over 40
Kirsten Vangsness - also in Hottest Out Lesbian/Bi Women (and why the hell don't they have Hottest Plus-Size Women vote?)
Meryl Streep - she should be also in Hottest Women Over 40, but I was out of place already, so I decided that she'll be there anyway, and I better vote for some less popular women
Olivia Williams - also in Hottest Women Over 40
Paget Brewster - she should also be in Hottest Women Over 40! Hell, they don't have enough place for my girls of choice. Though I didn't know she is 41 already until I checked her Wiki page.
Sadly, I somehow forgot to add Lisa Edelstein to the main list (I sometimes miss the obvious). But she's in my list of Hottest Women Over 40.

It seems that I consider women over 40 sexier. Which is sort of true - at least in a sence that they usually look on screen like women over 30 I know in real life, they have a more distinct personality, and they often have the type of body I find very appealing - tall, athletic/curvy and busty. It's one of many types of women I find attractive. Though there are many other types I find hot, but they are, sadly, under-represented on screen and among the celebreties. I also find a lot if young women attractive in real life, but on screen, not so much.

BTW, after I voted, I've found this appeal to vote for butches: The AfterEllen list has so far been extremely feminine, white, under 40, and straight. Last year, AfterEllen launched some supplemental lists, which were: women of color, women over 40, and out women. But still, no gender diversity. I already voted so I can't participate again, and though I find butch women very attractive, I don't know any celebrity butches except for Ellen. (This fact nicely illustrates the problem win gender diversity on screen.)

svollga: (Default)
I hate to start blogs with introduction posts, but usually write one later. So, here it is.

I'm used to characterise myself as 'someone in-between'. In most situations, in most spheres of life, I tend to end up somewhere in the middle, where I can't define myself as one of the ends on the scale, see both sides and coordinate in parts with each.
I am physically female - this is clear and visible.
I'm bigender, going through phases lasting for months or years - currently I'm a woman, but it can change.
I'm pansexual, with some leanings. And poly. And into kink.
Usually, I identify as queer because it takes too long to describe all the details of my sexual orientation and gender identity. :)

I'm half-Ukrainian Jew, one quarter Belarus and one quarter Russian. I identify as Russian, remember my Jewish legacy (mostly because if the state politics tip to antisemitism again, I'll be on the line), and mostly don't care about nationality, only about the culture and country of choice.
I'm a liberal feminist, pro-sex, pro-choice, pro-sex work, pro-pornography, pro-bdsm, pro-fat acceptance, and so on. (For the record, I have issues with Russian feminist communities because they are mostly anti-sex work, anti-porn and anti-bdsm. And pretty much radical.) I want to be an lgbt activist, but don't quite like the organizations we have now, and can't bother to do something myself. (Still, I end up giving some advices, participating in seminars and blogging.)

I studied Sociology as my honour degree, mostly by chance, because I haven't known what to do with myself after school and ended up studying it. After graduation and a year of searching for myself, my Destiny, my Ideal Job and other big stuff, I discovered that I'm blogging on sociological, feminist, and lgbt issues. Mostly, my topic of choice is the concepts of sexuality and gender on modern society.

I'm also a fan. Actually, I don't separate my fannish activities from my studies and activism, because they usually lead to each other and support each other. I can follow my interest in feminism and lgbt issues to my first fandom, and I know for a fact that it was John Barrowman who lead me to recognizing and accepting not only my inner activist's streak, but my methods of choice - personal example, talking and being open, out and audible.

Also, as a fan, I have another 'in-between' point because I tend to read in English and write in Russian. Russian fandoms are like ten years behind from the development of English-speaking fandoms; so is Russian feminism, btw. I'm pretty much a BNF in Russian fandom (as in, Fandom in general; I had quite a few).

Love cats. Want to have rats. Don't have any animals at all, because I move a lot (like, every two or three weeks I go from Moscow to my native town and back).


Apr. 13th, 2010 06:37 pm
svollga: (Default)
# I'm back home after three days at Week Against Homophobia at Moscow. I'm of two minds about it. On one hand, the fact that there is at least some activity is good. On the other hand, it's small, and poorly organized, and mostly visited by lgbt people who talk about how they are oppressed and don't know what to do.
Also, there is a huge rift between a small and loud and scandalous group which tries to organise Gay Pride in Moscow every year since 2006, and always gets arrested for illegal activity, and a quiter educational group. It seems that the 'pride' group, especially their leader, does everything to get the Pride forbidden and themselves arrested, because it makes the news, and they can then cry for help from the West. And the educational group doesn't want to have anything with the Pride's leader because he's scandalous and prone to demagogy.
Oh, and of course, everyone is talking about how the goverment is bad, the society is wrong, there are thousand of problems everywhere, and nobody cares about a handful of queers, so we should sit tight and wait until economics and education and human rights in the country get better.

# Now I want to both do something huge like Harvey Milk and hide in my small fannish escapistic world.

# Speaking of fannish escapism: I love Liz Ten. Basically, she rules.


svollga: (Default)

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