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Coming Out as a Scientist

15 Feb

I just read a very interesting article by Tom Welton, a Professor of Sustainable Chemistry at Imperial College London, in the Guardian – Gay Prejudice? It’s not easy admitting you’re a scientist. Certainly raises a few points around LGBT scientists coming out to the LGBT community and seeming disinterest in science within that community. Out LGBT scientists are just as important role models as out LGBT sports people, musicians, artists and activists. LGBT youth interested in science need to see that there are people like them that have chosen careers in science.

Playboy, Feminism and Being a Gay Girl

9 Oct

I have been pondering a question that came to mind the other day. How can you reconcile feminism and lesbianism with an interest in Playboy Magazine? I had been watching a documentary on Hugh Hefner and I was thinking about what really attracted me to the magazine (other than the glaringly obvious). And how could I reconcile this with my feminist ideals around the depiction of women in the erotic and porn industries, and being a woman attracted to other women reading a men’s magazine?

To put it simply I love photography and artwork (particularly Pin-up art from the 1940’s – 1960’s) that pays homage to the female form, that focuses on the female subject, that depicts women in all their beauty. And with this there must be a sense of respect from the lens or the paintbrush or airbrush. In my opinion most of the photography and artwork in Playboy subscribes to this. And there is sometimes an ‘old school’ vibe to the images in that they are shot in the style of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Also, there appears to be no exploitation, little or no pornography (as in sexual acts) and these artistic pieces are for the purposes of showing the female form in all its glory. Yes, in many ways these photographs and artwork are purely erotic and for the purpose of arousing a primarily male audience. But I think it goes beyond that. There is a ‘worshipping’ of the female form.

As a lesbian I can view these images, with a sense of admiration of the female form. As a feminist I can view these images with a sense that the women depicted are not being exploited, they have chosen to be photographed nude or semi-nude, and they are open minded.

There is also an element of admiration for the positive role that Playboy Magazine played in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. It was magazines such as this that bought the discussion of sex and depiction of public hair out of the shadows, from the land of the taboo and bohemian, to everyday society. And thanks to this we can discuss such things openly and we are much more aware of our sexual selves, which is natural to us human beings.

I’m not saying I like all aspects of the magazine. Most articles are of little interest to me. Certain styles of photos depicted,such as the one with a more men’s magazine aesthetic, don’t always appeal to me. I don’t really like the whole playmate presence beyond the photo shoot in the magazine. This could be where I have a flawed like of the magazine.

But all said and done, I just like to look at beautiful photography and artwork depicting women.

Note – these are my own personal views and opinions. I realise others will have views differing to mine, and I respect those ideas too.

20131009-181156.jpg (July/August 2013 issue of Playboy Magazine)

Pin-up Girls

3 Oct

The glimpse of a girl
Glamorous
Sensual
Risqué
On the cover of a men’s magazine

From that moment
My interest stirred
For the Pin-up Girl
Forbidden territory
For a girl like me

If I spied a magazine
Under the arm of a passerby
Or in a newsagent
I would feel a sudden rush
Anticipation

I’d sneak a look
Flick through the pages
Lingering, admiring these women
Something igniting inside me
Changing

One day I found one by accident
I picked it up, kept it
In my room that night
I finally looked at my prize
My heart pounding

Such beauty
I found between the pages
Feminine glory
Dripping with glamour
A feast for the eyes

I began to dream of these women
Their clothes
Their flowing hair
Their sensuous lips
The curves of their bodies

I felt a longing, a desire
I wanted to kiss those lips
And caress those curves
I had an epiphany
Forbidden fruit
Of which I wanted to be a lover

Asperwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome

23 May

An informative list of traits associated with Asperger’s Syndrome in women. Below, are my comments (and personal experience) I posted.

Thanks for a really informative list of traits / characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome in women. I have not been diagnosed, and I don’t know if I would be diagnosed, but many of the traits describe how I work, see things and react emotionally. Definitely intense interests, good long term memory, perfectionism, emotionally aware and vulnerable to other’s emotions, feeling different to others applies to me. When I was younger (in primary and high school) I certainly felt different to others and I wanted to be like more “popular” people and I strived for that, but could never get there. I had my special interests and friends that were like minded so that helped. When I got to university I felt less pressured to be like others and I felt more comfortable with the feeling of being different. During postgraduate studies, I started to find myself – I embraced alternative music, lifestyles and fashions and I felt like I belonged, especially amongst a loosely collected group of people who celebrated their difference to the mainstream and made the point that they were different to others. I became alot more extroverted and socialised more. It was like I went through the stereotypical teenage years in my early twenties. During doctoral studies I travelled overseas. Being in a foreign city without family, friends and people who knew me, was a watershed experience, I shed something then. Back in my home country, over the next few years I went through great emotional turmoil, but I realised and discovered my same sex attraction (which had started with my fascination with an actress in a TV cop show in that foreign city). I eventually came out and I feel now, a few years later and a six year relationship, that I know who I am, and why I am different, but also I feel I can relate to a lot more people. While coming out (and going through depression / anxiety and chronic fatigue), a counsellor mentioned Asperger’s Syndrome to me. She said that many of the things I described fitted the traits / symptoms of this syndrome. Perhaps I was going through a transition stage where I was “overcoming” these Asperger’s traits and my personality and the way I saw things was changing. Thank you for a great article, and inspiring me to write about my experience.

Tania A. Marshall, M.Sc.

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Updated June 1st, 2017

Tania Marshall© 2013-2017. All rights reserved. Aspiengirl and Planet Aspien are trademarked. Thank you.

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p style=”text-align:center;”>Aspienwomen : Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome. This blog has been viewed almost 350,000 times since I initially wrote it and was the inspiration for my second book, released August 29th, 2015, Foreword by Dr. Shana Nichols. and now an international best seller. I am pleased to announce this book just received a 2016 IPPY eLit Gold Medal award in the ‘Women’s Issues’ category. This book is available at http://www.aspiengirl.com, Amazon, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and other fine book stores.

Tania is available for fee-based in-person or Skype remote assessments, consultations, problem solving sessions, intervention and support. She also works regularly with a variety of professionals in many countries, in the areas of referrals and assisting individuals to obtain and/or…

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Bookfest

9 May

I visited the Alumni Bookfest at the university I work at yesterday to have a browse and search for books on the French Revolution. I didn’t have much luck in regards to books on the French Revolution, but I was rather pleased to pick up three books for $2.50. I found a paperback version of Rita Hayworth’s biography which I read years ago for 50c. That was rather awesome. Rita is one of my favourite actresses. I also picked up for 50c a 1967 book on tips and moves in Striptease!! Now that I thought was very cool – a piece of history (the picture on the cover is very 60’s) and on something I want to learn more about (I’m really interested in burlesque). And to top it all off for $2 I bought a book I had been wanting to read for ages – ‘Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers’ by Lillian Faderman, which is a history of lesbian life in the USA in the 20th century (up to the early 1990’s). I think I will be getting stuck into this book over the next few weeks. As I headed back to my building I was thinking about what a great selection of books I’d just picked up.

Links –
Faderman, Lillian (1991) Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, Columbia University Press
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odd_Girls_and_Twilight_Lovers

20130509-072828.jpg (source – http://www.booktopia.com.au/odd-girls-and-twilight-lovers-lillian-faderman/prod9780231074889.html)

The Buzzcocks – Punk & Sexuality

19 Apr

Last week with the death of Margaret Thatcher, I found myself contemplating the punk movement and their opposition to the Thatcher government and its policies. See posts – and ___________. With this I was listening a lot to The Clash (my favourite punk band). One afternoon after work I stopped off in the city and picked up some local street press (free newspapers discussing music, movies and queer topics). I picked up Queensland Pride (a local Queer Street press publication) and I saw an articles about the British punk band, The Buzzcocks. It was an enlightening article!!

I had no idea about the band’s queer ness / support for the queer community and that the lead singer, Pete Shelley is bisexual. I had never listened to their music. I had seen references and articles to the band over the years, but I thought they were a macho (given that the term ‘cock’ is in the band’s name) male orientated punk band. I was rather wrong. The ‘cock’ in the band’s name in fact refers to the Manchester slang for mates/friends. And to discover that in their songs there were references to sexuality and bisexuality, was fascinating. Peter Shelley had also been “involved in student politics at college and campaigning for rights of women and gays and lesbians and bisexuals.” A marriage of campaigning for LGBTI rights, equality for women and punk politics. I loved this. I was inspired.

I mentioned this to my girl over the weekend and said I wanted to listen to some of their music. And low and behold, my girl bought me two of their albums yesterday! She is awesome. So I had a chance to listen to their music this morning on my drive to the train station. I like it. And there were a few songs that I liked straight away – great guitar, beat and lyrics. I will be listening to more over the weekend I suspect.

I am also going to try and listen to some female punk bands such as X-Ray Specs and some Queercore (punk that rejects the disapproval of LGBTQI people) bands.

Links –
http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/entertainment/music-2/10842-ever-fallen-in-love-with-a-buzzcock.html

Femme Identity & Me

4 Apr

I sometimes identify as a “semi-femme” (a term of my own making, which I use to describe myself within a femme context), other times as “just myself.” But I do find the femme identity very empowering and inspiring. I may chose to more closely identify with the femme identity in the future. I have also previously posted on Femme Identity, see my posts Femme Identity and Femme Identity Continued.

One thing that makes me reluctant to embrace the femme identity fully is that it is perceived that the femme identity is linked to the butch identity and that femme women are attracted to butch women. I know myself, and I am not attracted to butch women. If I identify as femme, I don’t want people to assume that I must like butch women. And this is in no offence to butch identified women, I simply know who I am attracted to and I don’t want others to assume to know who I am attracted to based on how I express myself.

I have been reading a research proposal by Connie Laalo entitled, Beyond Lipstick: Expressions of Femme Lesbian Identity through Dress. In the proposal, the author states that in order to fully establish and assert femme as an autonomous identity, it must be engaged independently in a manner that validates this expression of femininity as an authentic expression of lesbian identity and lived experience. I love the concept, of asserting the femme identity as autonomous, authentic, and independent of the butch identity. And a few blog posts and online articles I have read appear to promote this and aspire to this. Decreasing femme invisibility may also aid this aim. This concept would sit so much better with me, and I know I would feel a lot more comfortable in identifying as femme.

There is also one other thing that sometimes bothers me about identifying as femme. I don’t want my femininity (dress, long hair, make up, views) to be seen to be conforming to the patriarchal, societal and traditional expressions of being female. And just to add to the mix, the term feminine doesn’t always sit well with me, as it seems to imply conformity also. The term “femaleness,” as proposed by Feminist Spiritualists in the book Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America by Cynthia Eller, seems to reflect this rejection of patriarchal, societal and traditional ideas around femininity and what it means to be a woman, and describes these things as female traits beyond conformity. I like displaying my femaleness, but I don’t do this to conform to the preconceived notion of what it means to be a woman. I am like this because I like these things. It is part of who I am. And this feeling falls into the concept of empowered femininity and “choice.” I am a feminist and I chose to be feminine and express my femininity / femaleness how I wish. These two go together and are not separate or mutually exclusive.

As more studies, blog posts and webpages increase awareness of the subversive and feminist elements to the femme identity, hopefully there will be a greater understanding of this identity.

References –
Eller, Cynthia (1993) Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America, Crossroad Publishing Company, USA

Laalo, Connie (2011) Beyond Lipstick: Expressions of Femme Lesbian Identity through Dress, MA research proposal, Ryerson Unviversity, Toronto, Canada
https://ccs.cf.ryerson.ca/ethicsReview/data/2329/5562/consent/A913CEB8F7401808444ED189B965BCAB.doc

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