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Forum Name: Symphony of the Sword / The Order of the Rose
Topic ID: 445
Message ID: 0
#0, And then another day (one day, continued)
Posted by laudre on Aug-06-14 at 09:54 AM
Out of respect for forum glitches, spawning a new thread.

<snip prior discussion of Corwin/Utena/Anthy>

I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree there. I mean, sure, I'm not getting the inside view of your Utena's head, but from where I sit, as the reader, it just doesn't feel natural or organic.

Another part of it is that... well, after <link:www.eyrie-productions.com/UF/FI/SOS/bancroft-tower-1.txt|she explains how she's already in love with someone else>, that should've been the end of it. Instead, what comes after reminds me, in a very uncomfortable way, of the implicit, toxic belief held by certain groups of people, usually young, geeky males, about certain other people, usually women, to whom they have a one-sided romantic and/or sexual attraction. (I'll use the genders appropriate to the "usual" examples denoted above from here.) The belief is that, to the woman, the man is a friend (often expressed in such terms as "just a friend" or "friend zone" which carry the implicit assumption that anything other than a romantic and/or sexual relationship with her is, ultimately, an inherently lesser and unworthy thing), but if the man continues spending time with her as her friend, he'll eventually have turned in enough friendship tokens that she'll suddenly see what a wonderful man he is and become thoroughly besotted.

In the real world, a man being a woman's friend with the unspoken (possibly unconscious) condition that it's only because he's waiting for her to become his girlfriend? It's just creepy and fucked-up, and dishonest to boot.

One of the reasons that the whole Anthy/Corwin thing re: conceiving Utena and Anthy's first child bothers me is because this echoes the above to some extent, and it's also predicated upon the belief that a child conceived through heterosexual PIV sex is somehow more worthy, more real, than one conceived using medical technology.

>I gotta say that's pretty tragic-hipster of you. It's like the guy I
>knew at WPI who used to not only drop bands he liked if they Sold Out
>and Went Mainstream, but stop listening to their poorly produced indie
>EPs from before then, too.

Um, yeah, no. It's more that knowing where it's going to go makes reading it again feel a bit ... pointless? I'm not sure that's the right word. Symphony is far from the only media I don't reread (or other applicable re-consumption) for various reasons. In some cases, it's because I have rather fond memories of said media, but also remember enough to know that consuming it again now would be a bad idea, because I'd see so much more of the flaws than I did back in the day, and it'd taint those positive memories too. (That's far from the only reason, mind.)

>>From the context it's normally used it, I always
>>figured people thought I drowned puppies and pulled the wings off
>I know, right? If I come across as defensive in my reply to that
>post, it may be because the jargon itself has become tantamount to an
>accusation these days. It's the 21st-century social discourse
>equivalent of questions like, "So when did you stop robbing liquor
>stores to pay for your heroin habit?"

Well, there is a small but highly-visible population who are noisily judgmental and seem to be more interested in showing off how much more socially aware they are than the next person on Tumblr or Twitter or whatever. They're not representative, however; they're mostly upper-middle-class straight white liberals who seem to prefer to assuage their liberal guilt with dominance displays (you know, showing off the neck frill, scratching the dirt with their claws, that kind of thing) rather than actually doing anything. The bulk of actual social progress comes from people who are in the trenches in DC and elsewhere doing things like getting arrested for the "We Do" campaign.

As for the term "cisgender": the people who object most vehemently to the existence of the term tend to be pretty terrible people. It's a neutral descriptor, in and of itself; the purpose in creating it is so that, rather than having "transgender" and "normal," implying that trans people are abnormal (in a negative sense), we have "transgender" and "cisgender."

>My only beef with "heteronormative" as a word (and several other
>gender-politics terms) is that it violates the expectation that
>prefixes and root words have consistent meaning: in the rest of the
>English language, "hetero-" means "differing" and "normative" means
>"of, pertaining to, or attempting to establish a norm or standard", so
>by rights "heteronormative" aught to mean "of, pertaining to,
>or attempting to establish a differing norm or standard". But of
>course it doesn't.

This reminds me of people who object to polyamory.

Not the practice, the word.

Because it mixes Greek (poly-) and Latin (-amory) roots. It should (they say, tongue firmly planted in cheek) be polyeros or multiamory.

In any event "heteronormative" shares similar logic in its derivation as homophobia, transphobia, cissexism, transmisogyny, and other terms we've had to create, where the omitted components are understood. Essentially, it means the viewpoint, explicit or implicit, that heterosexual relationships between cisgender people are the norm, the default, and that, should relationships not of that nature be permitted, they acknowledge and honor it in some fashion. Anthy's "child of love" bit is very heteronormative, the many triads that start off as a lesbian couple and then add a guy, that Anthy refers to Utena as her husband (reflecting a heteronormative expectation of butch/femme pairings in lesbian relationship), that sort of thing.

>>Regardless, you're right in assuming that I have zero interest in
>>debating whether Utena's relationship of Corwin is intended as some
>>kind of authorial refutation of her bisexuality (NOTE: it isn't),
>>which is where context implies you were probably going with that.
>I don't think that's where Laudre was going, but then I may be blinded
>by the fact that it's pretty much impossible: Utena has both a husband
>and a wife. She's virtually the definition of "bisexual".

Utena, as portrayed in Symphony, seems to be closer to a 0 on the Kinsey scale, with Anthy as the one woman she's openly attracted to both sexually and romantically; in the source material, it's less clear -- it seems to be an "everyone is some degree of bi" sort of setting. (And, in many cases, also live by the adage "why go across the street when you can go across the hall?" But Revolutionary Girl Utena is ... well. It's certainly something.)

"Mathematics brought rigor to economics. Unfortunately, it also brought mortis."
- Kenneth Boulding