NEWSFLASH: I’M GIVING UP PORN.
So I’ve decided to give up internet pornography for a while. Indefintely. Maybe forever. We’ll see. I’ve been watching porn for almost 20 years now, and though I think it’s become a part of developing sexuality, I can’t really say how healthy it is for me.
The first time I saw a pornographic film was when I was about 8 in the Philippines. We heard my uncle and a few of his buddies congregate in the living room. My neighborhood friends and I were playing in the yard and one of them ran up and said, “you’ve gotta see this!” We snuck around onto the porch, which had windows that looked into the living room, and there I saw for the first time (white) bodies fornicating. I already had a basic knowledge of sex (this goes there and that happens), but until then, had never seen it in action. My uncle and his friends were hollering and cheering at the TV, as if they were watching a sports game.
Gay porn came later. I was about 18 or so, and not yet out of the closet. In fact, I thought I was still straight, or maybe bi-curious. I had downloaded several straight porn videos before (through Napster, or whatever downloading software was popular at the time), and curiosity got the best of me when I stumbled upon male-male porn. I began downloading those, entranced by this new show of intimacy I had never seen or experienced before.
These days, I find that I use porn as a time-filler, a distraction, and easy, quick satisfaction. I’ve developed patterns of thinking such that I reason with myself that I can please myself better than anyone can, but usually with the aid of porn. I’m coming (ha!) to a time in my life where I’m looking to shift paradigms, and change my relationships with people on a real level. I feel that cutting out porn from the equation will help give me more time for myself to share with others.
Recently, I decided to start developing a sexual practice that’s about play, exploration, and discussing boundaries, rather than trying to replicate the power dynamics and patterns I see in pornography. The narrative of porn, especially gay porn, is very specific: meet, foreplay, full intercourse, cumshot, the end. I’ve been finding that I don’t particularly enjoy this pattern in real life, so why continue to reinforce that?
I am also trying to decolonize my mind from the constant barrage of white male domination in pornography (and, hello, in real life). And if it’s not white male domination, it’s usually black male primitivism, latin body objectification or blatant Orientalism. As I’m trying to disengage from these patterns of gaze in real life, I feel it’s only in keeping with this that I should also give up pornography.
I’ve already begun unfollowing the porn Tumblrs I follow. I’m getting ready to block myself from the websites I frequent. Another step, which I’m preparing myself for, is deleting my digital porn collection, which I’ve amassed over the years. I’m gonna see if I can just avoid clicking on them, but if that proves to be too difficult, I may delete them entirely. Time will tell.
This short TED talk goes over some of the other reasons and benefits for giving up porn. Granted, it’s told through only one (heterosexual male) perspective, but it’s worth a watch.
The Great Porn Experiment: Gary Wilson at TEDxGlasgow (by TEDxTalks)
Anonymous asked: You seem to think a lot in the "us vs. them" mentality; Whether it concern race or sexual preference/orientation. It's people who think like this that give more concern for cases like Trayvon Martin over cases like Edward Snowden.
I don’t really think in an “us vs. them” mentality. Rather, I think in terms of scale and time. On a macro scale, I look at larger social dynamics and histories of colonization, oppression, and power structures. On a micro level, I look at the reality of the daily lives of different people, including myself. Then I connect them together and see what has led to what.
Social dynamics are much more complicated than what we think them to be. Each “side” (and there are an infinite number of “sides”) will always think in the way its been taught and socialized to think. I don’t judge people for the way that they’ve been taught, but I also don’t silence my own dissatisfactions, especially when assessing how I’ve come to them. And I too, of course, am a reflection of my own learning, whether that be normative (Roman Catholicism, the US Navy), radical (queer theory, performance art, etc), or otherwise.
When I make blanket statements about white people or straight people, I don’t necessarily intend to call out every single person of that group. Rather, they’re observations of specific people in that group that act in a way that’s indicative of their social normativity. They are observations of learned and embodied behavior in function. When I talk about “them” (whomever “them” is at the time), I am assessing my place in history and in social power dynamics. And when I express my dissatisfactions, they are usually because I know of other ways of existing that are more akin to my own ideals or vision of a future.
Furthermore, I reserve my right to choose what to believe and what to listen to or care about. I don’t expect everyone to feel passionate about what I do, nor do I care to care about what everyone else cares about. I choose what is closest to me and what resonates with my own search for knowledge. I care about the Trayvon Martin case because as a person of color, I can identify with the rife conflicts that the case brought up about racism, police state, and the prison industrial complex. I make my work about race and gender and power dynamics, and I find what’s happened with that case to be reflective of the social condition of America in a way that both challenges and increases my own knowledge base about these things I care about. I have little interest in the Edward Snowden case because espionage and national security issues do not affect me on a deeply personal level, nor do I have the background knowledge, nor the time or patience to research, to really and fully investigate and involve myself in those conflicts.
So I would like to correct you in your assumption about me. I don’t think in terms of “us vs. them,” but rather “us + them + me + history + society + shit I care about”
And if you don’t believe me, you really don’t know me at all.
1 Spadina, formerly a theology school building, military barracks, a hospital where Amelia Earhart worked, an Eyeball Bank (yes, where they stored eyeballs), a factory for Pennicillin and polio vaccine, and currently home of the University of Toronto Fine Art department. #history #toronto tour with Kyol
TONIGHT! I will be reading journal excerpts from my first year in the US Navy as a gay man during Don’t Ask Don’t Tell - Including a play by play of how I lost my V-card with a fellow sailor. Come enjoy the show!
Making Out with Wes Perry and Friends
Wednesday February 20th at 8pm
The Upstairs Gallery in Andersonville
5219 N Clark St
FREE and BYOB! ($5 suggested donation)
December 22, 2010
Today, more than any other day,
I am proud to be serving in the US Armed Forces.
Camera: Polaroid SX-70
Film: Polaroid SX-70 Time Zero
(3/10 from my next-to-last box of last stock TZ film)
Learn about Filipino history!
The Filipino American Story via the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
This is an important essay, and a very quick read. Everyone should find 2 minutes of their time to read this.
I don’t think that racism is defined only in terms of black and white. I also don’t think white supremacy is a simple vertical hierarchy with whites on top, black people on the bottom, and the rest of us in the middle.
So why do I expend so much effort on lifting up the oppression of black people? Because anti-black racism is the fulcrum of white supremacy.
Who is Mister Junior?
An Artist Profile by Kiam Marcelo Junio
Mister Junior (née Alberto Ramón Gutierrez) is a burlesque performer from New Mexico and currently in Chicago, who dances and strips his way into your heart. He is of mixed nationalities, bridging his Mexican heritage and American upbringing. He is in the company of Vaudezilla Burlesque and Productions, (named by Chicago Reader as “Best Burlesque 2011”).
What makes Mister Junior unique from any other male burlesque (often called “boylesque”) performer is his use of the art of burlesque to address larger conflicts. On the stage, his presence is commanding, eliciting cheers of excitement to see him remove the next garment. But it goes beyond this. Each of his acts seeks to question societal expectations of race and gender normativity and performance. He playfully adapts Hispanic stereotypes such as the Lover, the Bull/Bullfighter, and the expectations for a male body and subverts them before your eyes.
The second wave of feminism in the mid to late 20th century brought female empowerment into the social consciousness, asserting that women and men, though inherently different, should be treated as equals - that the woman’s place is not just behind the man, as a secretary, or housewife. That women have as much political, social, and sexual agency as men.
Today’s critical discourse surrounding gender and sexuality is no longer concerned with the binary distinction of male/female, but rather the blurring of these boundaries. Gender (a socially performed aspect of personality) is inherently different from sexuality (sexual attraction), and between these two tenets are infinite combinations.
Going to a burlesque show brings all of these issues into focus. On the stage, the performers take charge of their bodies, stripping garments to their own pace and desire to reveal their bodies, not as vulnerable submissions for public consumption, but rather as active assertions of power. Yes, these are breasts, and they are mine. Yes, these are curves, see what I can do with them? Yes, here is a male body, watch me fuck with your expectations.
Beyond the spectacle, Mister Junior uses the art of burlesque as a platform for addressing these social issues. How are Latinos stereotyped in the media? What is the difference between a man and a beast? Do puppets have agency? What makes a man, a woman, beautiful or sexy - can one use tools from the other, and still be as such?
Burlesque (which derives from the root “burla” or joke) is part parody, part caricature, part satire, in the format of a striptease. It began as an art form in the Victorian era, as an alternative to theater. In the 1860’s to the 1940’s, it gained popularity in cabarets, clubs, as well as theaters with its mix of comedy, dance, and striptease. The art remains true today in its current format, usually as a variety show, in which singers, comedians, magicians, and other entertainment acts punctuate the shows between stripteases.
If you’ve never been to a Burlesque show (and watching the Christina Aguilera movie does NOT count), I highly suggest going. If you’re in the Chicago area, check out Mister Junior and Vaudezilla.com for upcoming shows.
Every Asian-nay-everyone should read this.
(Inspired by the commentary on this post)
For the purposes of anti-racism struggles, that’s all you need to go by.
Yes, the term, “colored” is not normally associated with Asian people these days, but it was definitely used to label people of Asian descent in this country in the past. We have been and still are the targets of White racism:
Believing the fallacy that people of Asian descent are not authentically or legitimately ‘Colored’ or ‘People of Color’ is wrong because:
1) It ignores the long history of racial discrimination and persecution of Asians in the U.S. (e.g. the Chinese Exclusion Acts, the Japanese-American internment during WWII, explicit campaigns to drive Asians out of the American West, the lynching of Asian Americans. (Which is something that is not commonly known due to the fact that many Asian and Mexican victims of mob violence in the 19th c. were classified as ‘White’ in official records*)
2) It ignores the history of White European imperialism in Asian countries, which intersects with White racism against Asian immigrants in White-majority countries. I assure you that White imperialists certainly did not view Indians, Chinese, or Vietnamese as being anything other than ‘Colored’
Imperial map of Asia, source of map
White European man receiving a pedicure from South Asian servants
3) It plays into the White racist divide-and-conquer strategy.
Even a brief look at the history of race/ethnicity in U.S. law alone makes it apparent that a key aspect of White racism has been the classification of non-Whites according to (white-defined) categories.
Those hailing from Asia (as well as the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Latin America) have been legally categorized in a myriad of ways—very occasionally as White, but more often as non-White (e.g. Ozawa v. United States, United States v. Thind). In general, Asians have occupied a strange ethno-racial limbo as ‘Other’ (e.g. the Census prior to 1870). As far as Whites were concerned, Asians might not have been ‘Negros’, but we certainly weren’t White either. Our otherness made us targets for discrimination and violence, and—because our right to citizenship has constantly come under attack—we’ve historically had as little recourse to the protection of the law as African Americans have.
Massacre of the Chinese at White Springs, Wyoming (source)
Yes, Asian people have (somewhat more recently than you think) enjoyed certain perks due to our ethnicity/race compared to Black and AmerIndian people (e.g. ‘the model minority’). But that’s just a more recent aspect of the divide-and-conquer strategy, which the White hegemony has used to pit minorities against each other so as to distract us from the real problems facing our communities.
And yes, some Asian people are complete racist dicks to those who aren’t Asian or White, but that’s internalized White racism. If you’ve been kicked and beaten by your master for years, then suddenly given a few scraps from his table, would you throw them in his face? Or is it more likely that—as beaten down as you are—you’d give in to Stockholm Syndrome and play along? (To be clear: that’s an explanation for Asian racism, not an excuse.)
Even so, incidents of Anti-Asian bias (e.g. Vincent Chin, Wen Ho Lee) and straight-up racist violence occur frequently enough these days that Asians are hyper-aware of the fact that many—including non-whites—don’t view us as Americans, let alone ‘Colored’. We’re simply foreign ‘others’.
So if White is grudgingly treating you OK, while Black and Brown seem to hate and distrust you, then whom do you ally yourself with? More importantly, who benefits from this apparent alliance?
In the American black-white paradigm of race relations, ‘others’ like Asians get shit on no matter which side we’re on. So the Asian internalization of White racism makes a twisted kind of sense as a survival strategy, particularly if your natural allies (other victims of White racism) are treating you like foreigners and even equating you with the oppressor himself.
My point: Asians’ conflicted, sometimes tense, relations with African Americans and those who have been historically, categorically considered ‘Colored’ is an artifact of White racism. This means that if you exclude Asians from ‘Colored’ solidarity against White racism, you are reproducing a highly successful strategy of White racism.
Let that sink in for a minute.
To conclude: Anti-Asian exclusion from POC solidarity movements is ignorant, wrong, and just plain stupid. Asians’s current role as a prop of White racial supremacy is not our doing, just as our historic role as the foreign ‘Other’ is not our doing. The peculiar place of Asians in race relations today has been the result of the intersection of White racism, xenophobia, and imperialism. It is a mistake to think otherwise.
TL;DR: Questioning the identity of Asians as “people of color” reinforces White racial supremacy.