Movie Review: Elysium

I watched District 9. I liked District 9. When I heard that the guy who made District 9 was doing another movie, this time about the enormous class divide in modern American society, and that it had a space station and explosions and stuff on it, I was as excited as a hyperactive kid on a cotton candy sugar high.

Perhaps not Prometheus levels of excited, but excited nonetheless.

And, unlike Prometheus, Elysium didn’t disappoint. It was exactly what I expected it to be after seeing District 9: gorgeous, brutal, sprawling, epic, and nasty. Very, very nasty.

The richest of the rich, the top wealthiest of society, have abandoned Earth altogether in favor of a lovely space station called Elysium, where affordable housing starts at just $250,000,000. The people stuck on Earth, the poorest 99% of society, are mired in sprawling poverty.

The movie goes something like this:

YOUNG CHILD MATT DAMON: This world sucks.
ORPHANAGE NUN: Suffering is good. Jesus loves suffering. If you were not meant to suffer, you would have been born rich. Jesus loves the rich.
YOUNG CHILD MATT DAMON: One day I will take us up to the space station where the super-rich live and everything is awesome.
YOUNG CHILD LOVE INTEREST: Cool. I will draw on you with a pen now.

Clicky here for more! Spoilers beneath the cut…

On Feminism and Getting Laid

A little while ago, I wrote a blog post called Some Thoughts on Rape Culture.

Every time I write a blog post like this, as sure as night follows day, the same thing happens. Invariably, I will get at least one, and sometimes several, private emails in my inbox. The content of these emails is always the same, and they’re rarely stated in the blog comments. Every time, they’re some variant on the same theme:

That must be working pretty good for you, huh? Pretending to be a feminist must really get you laid.

This has happened for years, and this last blog post was no exception.

I’m not quite sure what to make of the assumption that a man who espouses feminist values must be using it as a ploy to get sex. The first time I encountered this, it was quite a head-scratcher, I must confess. Really? I thought. That’s your take-away? I am pretending to support values and ideals about women’s agency because I’m trying to score sex from feminists? Seriously?

Now, in all fairness, if you look at all my partners, it’s very unlikely I would be involved with them if I weren’t a “feminist man,” or, as I like to call it, “a man who thinks women are people.” I have simple tastes; I prefer strong, smart, confident women, and those tend–surprise!–to be women who like being treated as people.

But here’s the thing.

The fact that these women would only be likely to get involved with a man who respects the ideals of feminism doesn’t mean that they’d get involved with every guy who respects those ideals. Treating women as people is necessary but not sufficient; if you treat women as people, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be involved with them, but if you don’t, you won’t. Yes, in order to have sex with my partners, you have to be a dude who’s a feminist. You also have to be a dude who they think is worth having sex with, and you can’t fake your way into that.

So as a strategy for getting laid, adopting feminist ideals is, by itself, kinda rubbish.

And pretending to adopt feminist ideals is even more rubbish.

I don’t quite get what’s going on in the head of some guy who thinks pretending to be feminist is a ploy to get laid, but I have to assume that a guy who thinks that, probably doesn’t think women are very smart. If someone pretends to think women are people, but doesn’t actually think women are people, I suspect the ploy would be revealed rather quickly. Probably some time between appetizers and the main course, and certainly well before any clothes come off. I really don’t think it’s possible to pretend to be feminist, at least not for any length of time longer than a dinner conversation.

I don’t say that rape culture is a thing because I’m hoping to get laid by women who say that rape culture is a thing. I don’t think women deserve agency and personal autonomy as a tactic to try to get them to use their agency and personal autonomy to fuck me. I mean, seriously, what the fuck? How is it that someone might seriously think that being nice to feminists is a strategy for getting laid? Is it because he thinks feminists are so well-known for…um, having sex with any guy who’s nice to them?

If I were to advocate some kind of duplicitous scheme to get more sex, I would definitely recommend “learn to swing dance” over “pretend to be a feminist.” It certainly seems far more likely to succeed. Pretending to be a feminist when you really don’t think of women as real people, just to try to get in the pants of women who want to be treated like real people, is just…it…I just…what is this I don’t even.

More Than Two: Moving toward and moving away

I’ve just written a blog post in the More Than Two book blog about building polyamorous relationships where we move toward something rather than moving away from something. Here’s the teaser:

I was recently asked to do a media interview about polyamory. This happens from time to time, and most of the questions I’m asked tend to be fairly predictable: How do you deal with jealousy? What do you tell your parents or your kids? Do you think polyamory is the next cultural revolution?

This interview was quite different, and one of the questions I was asked helped crystallize for me some of the guiding ideals about the relationships I choose.

The question concerned dealing with fears, and while I was answering it, it suddenly occurred to me: throughout my life, the relationships I have found most rewarding have been those that are guided toward something rather than away from something.

You can read the whole thing; feel free to respond there or here.