4 Things the Queer Folks in My Life Taught Me About Resisting Toxic Masculinity — Let’s Queer Things Up!

This community taught me not only what toxic masculinity demands of men and masculine people, but also the possibilities that exist outside of it.

via 4 Things the Queer Folks in My Life Taught Me About Resisting Toxic Masculinity — Let’s Queer Things Up!


A couple days ago I wrote a short story in which a young character is bombarded with toxic masculinity “life lessons” by his father. It occurred to me today, while I was reading this, that if I continue his story some of these same points will have to be addressed. And any explicit discussion of toxic masculinity will mostly come to him through members of the queer community as he grows up and begins to explore his sexuality.

He’s going to have to figure out…

  1. That it’s okay for men to hug and make other physical gestures of affection, platonic or otherwise.
  2. That he’s allowed to cry and be vulnerable when he needs to be, instead of constantly suppressing.
  3. That it’s totally unnecessary to feel uncomfortable when his boyfriend wears makeup. And/or offers to put some eyeliner on him.

As Sam points out in his post, “An essential part of dismantling toxic masculinity is men taking ownership over their own education around systemic inequality, and taking on the labor of educating other men about it as well.” And so considering this character learned most of this toxic stuff from his father, it seems fitting that he should unlearn it mostly from the guys in his life.

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Monday Musings #4 – Math?

Last night I caught a glimpse of one of the frames that the Comcast X1 platform goes into whenever it’s in screensaver mode. Most of them are just picturesque seasonal photos, but this one was explaining that if you forget the channel number you can just type the channel name on the remote and get to it that way. I know this feature well — when it comes to remembering numbers, I’m terrible! Even when I was little I often got 6’s and 8’s switched around, and in middle school social studies classes I became aware of a limited capacity to remember the specific years of events.

It’s funny, because when I was a kid I really liked math. In fourth grade I sometimes stayed after school or during recess to learn really basic algebra. Over the summer between fifth and sixth grade, my parents got me a computer program so I could take sixth grade math and when the school year started I could take the seventh grade class. In high school I didn’t enjoy Geometry at all but I hung in there through another year (Algebra 2/Trig) and didn’t burn out until Pre-Calc and AP Calc AB.

So today I was idly thinking of myself as numerically impaired, and then I caught myself and thought about something for the first time… What if I just never liked math as much as I thought I did? What if I just wanted to, because I wanted to be like and/or please my parents?

I was raised by two computer engineers in the Silicon Valley. Every now and then in high school, my mother would hear about an extra credit math test I could have taken before school and seem genuinely baffled by my disinterest in waking up early to do that. They’ve worked for companies you’d recognize the name of, and there was always a Polish calculator in the side table in our living room. For those of you who have never seen a Polish calculator, it looks like some sort of Star Trek tricorder. (For those of you who have never seen a Star Trek tricorder, you were not raised by this kind of nerds.)

Continue reading “Monday Musings #4 – Math?”

Writing Soundtrack #1 – Narcisse

This post was inspired by this post on Writing And Musing. It made me think of all the times I’ve heard a song that totally fit with whatever I was working on, so today I want to share some of the songs that I associate with one of my characters.

Her name is Narcisse, from my in-progress  fantasy novel Growing Magic. She’s twenty-seven, raised in a relatively privileged environment by superficial parents who didn’t really pay her much attention. Her skill as a manipulator gets her their blessing to attend her choice of school in her study program of choice, and she graduates a talented Sorcerer in a particular and specialized field — one most would consider unnecessary philosophy on the origins of magic. Then, since she has nothing in particular to do with herself, she carves out a niche for herself in the research department, where she eventually gets herself into trouble because she’s a smartass and sticks her nosey nose into places she shouldn’t.

The first song I have for Narcisse is Extraordinary Machine, by Fiona Apple. Continue reading “Writing Soundtrack #1 – Narcisse”

Wednesday Words of Wisdom #2 — Character Development

“Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.” ~ Laura Esquivel

“I barely knew I had skin before I met you.” ~ Sarah Waters

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?” ~ The Sound of Music

~

I love making characters. For a few years I was pretty heavily involved in a tumblr RP (role playing) community that was populated mostly with OCs (original characters), which was fun and unusual. Fandoms often don’t tolerate additions to the casts of canon characters with all that much grace – and having seen Mary Sues, Gary Stus, and poorly thought out self-inserts aplenty in every fandom I’ve participated in, I can understand why. But in this more flexible environment the setting had more canonic establishment than anything else and we were free to populate it with whoever (or whatever, even) we wanted.

There were at least four upsides to the way this worked. Continue reading “Wednesday Words of Wisdom #2 — Character Development”