Tuesday, December 7, 2010


So, a recent thread over at Sociological Images has turned into a rather nasty referendum on religion. There's lots of rhetoric about how religion is all about turning people into mindless sheep. Given the numerous atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion, this is understandable. However, I can't help feeling that folks are over-generalizing just a tad.

Religion is an incredibly diverse phenomenon. So much so, in fact, that any blanket statement about religion is likely to be wrong. When I discuss religion with progressives, the same false generalizations come up over and over again. And frankly, I'm tired of it. If you want to critique religion, that's fine. Actually, that's awesome, and can make for some really good debates. But don't use any of these arguments, because they don't hold water.

  • Religious people are sheep.

  • Sure, some of them are. And some aren't. Because religious people are diverse. Imagine that!

    That being said, this generalization isn't entirely baseless. Most major religions expect their followers to take certain propositions on faith. And this is often seen as regressive, full stop. Frankly, I kind of agree.

    At the same time, it's important to remember that many religious people do not follow the dictates of their faith indiscriminately. As a Jew in the contemporary world, I constantly question my religious beliefs and practices. My worldview is informed both by the Jewish tradition, and by progressive values. When the two come into conflict, I do some pretty intense soul-searching; in almost every case, progressivism has won.

    Moreover, not every religious denomination emphasizes complete, passive obedience. Not every religion has a universal creed, or a common set of rules which must be obeyed.

    During my Jewish education, I was taught to value doubt and dissent. I was taught that two opposing views could each have merit. As the Talmudic saying goes, "These and those, both are the words of the living God." Yes, it's true that I take certain things on faith; that I accept the existence of God without direct, empirical evidence. But that doesn't mean that I'm a puppet of some nebulous Jewish conspiracy.

    From a progressive standpoint, the entire notion of faith is legitimately suspect. I understand that. But it's disingenuous to pretend that religious people are all mindless sheep, eager to do the bidding of the nearest religious figure.

  • Have you even read the Bible!?

  • Yes, yes I have. The Hebrew Bible, anyway. And there's some f*cked-up sh*t in there. I completely agree. But here's the thing. The vast, vast majority of Jews and Christians in the contemporary world are not biblical literalists. Many Jews and Christians believe that the Bible is not, in fact, the word of God. Some view the Bible as simply a historical document; others--myself included--believe that the Bible was written by human beings who were divinely inspired.

    In any case, there are plenty of progressive religious people who are willing to reinterpret or reject the portions of the Bible which are--by today's standards--unquestionably horrific.

  • Religious people are racist, sexist, and homophobic (and atheists aren't).

  • Yes, it's absolutely true that religion has been used to justify untold oppression. Yes, that's a bad thing. And yes, there are some deeply problematic ideas woven into the fabric of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But that doesn't mean that all religious people are necessarily tools of the kyriarchy. And it certainly doesn't mean that prejudice is an inherent or necessary part of religion.

    Nor, by the way, are atheists exempt from bias. One of the most hateful human beings I have ever had the displeasure of encountering was--as it happens--an atheist. People of ill-will can--and do--create "rational," non-religious justifications for hatred, faster than you can say "God hates fags."

    It's comforting to think that prejudice is just an artifact of humanity's silly superstitions. If I truly believed that we could do away with baseless hatred, simply by stamping out religion, then I'd be an atheist too. But sadly, that's not how things work.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So, this happened...

I have officially been sucked into blog drama.

As a result, I received one of my first vicious, ad-hominem attacks. Apparently, a fellow commenter thought this was a reasonable response to my telling Fat Acceptance blogger Atchka Fatty--whom I like quite a bit*, as it happens--to check his male privilege.

Fuck the bitches, they can get over themselves. You [Atchka] say things that I don’t agree with all the time, and I respect your right to say so. I’m sure there are things that I say that you don’t care for, we are adults and can deal. So fuck them for the dried up bitter titty babies that they are.

I think my favorite part of that comment is the phrase "we are adults." Interesting, too that my telling someone to respect other bloggers' boundaries by reading their comment policies means that I don't respect the rights of others to hold opinions different from my own.

There's a lot more I could say about my little showdown with Atchka, but I won't bother, at least not right now. I have an exam on Wednesday, and I really need to cram.

However, I will say this.

And I am going to embrace the term "dried up bitter titty baby," which I think describes me quite nicely.

*Update: whom I liked. Atchka's comments on his own blog have been a bit...disappointing today. To my genuine sorrow, I am now putting Atchka and Co. on my list of people with whom I just don't engage. This isn't about flouncing off in a huff, it's about protecting my right not to be treated like sh*t. Atchka joins a number of notable trolls on this list, as well as Dan F*cking Savage.

Update the second: Eh, scratch that. Atchka's pretty cool. Check out his response in the comment below.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sleep-Deprived Ramblings and a Mesh Vagina

Okay, so we all know that American Apparel is a fairly disgusting company which uses disturingly objectifying images to sell their oddly-shaped clothing. Jezebel has documented their hijinks extensively, and it's a pretty appalling saga.

Anyway, I thought they'd taken their "sex sells" strategy to its absolute limit.

Apparently, I was wrong.

This girl is actually dressed up as a giant vagina.

The only possible use for this garment is as an epic vagina costume. And while there's nothing inherently wrong with looking like an epic vagina, I have to wonder: who actually wears this stuff in their everyday lives?

Then again, it could just be me. One of the things that made me realize I was queer is that I started finding yonic symbolism in everything. Like this commercial.

Make of that what you will.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Women in Mathematics Bingo!

Inspired by the glories of the Evolutionary Psychology Bingo Card, found at Punk Ass Blog, I have created the Women in Mathematics bingo card!

Click to enlarge.

For the record, I think the underrepresentation of women in math is a complex and fascinating issue. I don't think that there's a vast conspiracy of sexist male professors, who are actively working to keep women out of mathematics. Nor do I think gender parity is necessarily a good or attainable goal, in mathematics or in any other field.

On the other hand, I've had some pretty frustrating conversations about gender and mathematics, mostly with young, male mathematicians. I'm tired of the casual misogyny, the intellectual laziness, the blatant male privilege, and the spurious references to evolutionary psychology. This bingo card is my response.

Incidentally, I'd like to point out that the evo-psych bingo is not really mocking evolutionary psychology, per se; it's mocking the ridiculous, self-serving, ignorant ways in which "evolutionary psychology" arguments are often used.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Only Verdict is Vengeance

Progressive bloggers have coined a number of terms for the reactionary trolls that sometimes invade our spaces. Thanks to bloggers such as the inimitable Melissa McEwan of Shakesville,, we have the use of such colorful terms "concern trolls," "mansplainers," and "dudebros." Right now, I would like to propose a new addition to this ever-evolving lexicon: the "Perseus." Allow me to explain.

I am an avid reader and commenter on the blog Sociological Images. This fascinating site features thought-provoking images from around the world, with commentary on their sociological significance. Officially, Sociological Images is not a feminist blog, or even a progressive one. However, many of the posts have a definite progressive slant, which reflects the authors' political orientation. And the comment section is typically a relatively progressive, feminist space.

Recently, however, Sociological Images has been discovered by a number of determined trolls, most of them anti-feminist. These folks swoop down on certain threads--usually the ones dealing with gender issues--and instigate long-running flame wars that derail any actual discussion.

Now, I love a good debate, and I also love having the last word. As a result, I have a tendency to get sucked into lengthy arguments with these anti-feminist trolls. Recently, I've been involved in a couple of skirmishes with a fellow who goes by the handle "Perseus."

A few days ago, Perseus posted some sexist crap in a thread about women and modesty. In response to concerns that elaborate modesty codes might be oppressive to women, he wrote, "You are only as oppressed as you want to be."

I am not making this up.

I posted a brief response, politely informing him that his argument was both inaccurate and offensive. In response, he asked me if I was replying to his posts simply because I had a "vendetta" against him.

So apparently, I have a vendetta against Perseus, of which I was previously unaware.

As my next act in this vendetta, I hope to vanquish this venal and virulent vermin by adding his name to my typology of internet and real-life trolls. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a Perseus.

The Perseus is a particular breed of of self-styled intellectual, often encountered in the comments sections of feminist or progressive blogs. Like the mansplainer, the Perseus is always male; a female troll with similar characteristics may be termed an Andromeda.

The Perseus is characterized by his compulsion to debunk any and all feminist arguments. When he cannot accomplish this goal through logic, he resorts to sophistry and derailing.

A typical Perseus is usually quite civil. However, he will periodically indulge in a blatant show of disrespect toward one of his female interlocutors. These performances are usually completely unprovoked.

The truly fascinating aspect the Perseus is that he views himself as a champion of rational discourse. His most vociferous attacks are reserved for women whom he accuses of non-rigorous thinking. Invariably, the Perseus fails to see the painful irony of his attempts to raise the level of discourse through bullying and puerile insults.

Now, this may seem like a weirdly specific definition, which would only apply to Perseus himself. However, I have personally interacted with several individuals who fit this definition to the letter. It seems that the Perseus is indeed a distinct variety of troll, and that I'll be putting my new word to some good use.

The Perseus is not necessarily malicious, stupid, or mentally unbalanced. If anything, he is smarter than most, and reasonably well-intentioned. And yet it seems pretty much impossible to engage him in a serious discussion of gender issues. Which, frankly, makes me sad.

And now, my gentle readers, I'd like to know: have you met a Perseus type, or some variation on the Perseus theme? Do you think it's possible for a feminist woman to debate with a Perseus in a productive way? Or is the Perseus just a troll, pure and simple?

Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose. So, let me simply add that it is my very good honor to have you on this blog, and you may call me...Simone.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Wrote a Guest Post on Female Sexual Dysfunction!!!

Hello Feminist Rebels,

I am honored to have the opportunity guest post for one of my favorite blogs,
Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction.

Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is often taboo even in feminist spaces. The author of Feminists with FSD, who goes by the handle "K," tackles this difficult subject with rigor, wit, and irreverence. Her blog has been a wonderful resource for me personally, during my ongoing struggle with FSD.

Previously, I've written about my experiences with FSD, and how they have influenced my views about defining sex. In my guest post, I discuss my fruitless quest to get medical help for my FSD. In particular, I reflect on the various attitudes I've encountered from doctors, and how these attitudes may reflect certain stereotypes about women with sexual problems.

Check out my post here!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Women Owe You Nothing, Part 1

So, I've been participating in a pretty heated discussion over at Sociological Images about gender, dating norms, and the bar scene. In light of this, I want to talk a bit about how men can pick up women, without being disrespectful.

It's no secret that lots of women have problems with the "meat market" atmosphere of most bars and clubs. But, judging from the comments on the socimages thread, it seems that men are just as unhappy. The unhappy men seem to have two major complaints. First, they feel that women are too quick to view harmless flirting as harassment. Second, they feel exploited by women who happily accept free drinks, and then split.

In this post, I do my best to address the first concern: the fear that feminists are trying to ban men from hitting on women. I'll do another post soon about the phenomenon of women "trolling for drinks"--and why men should cut them some slack.

My goal here is not to be anti-male in any way. Instead, I want to open up communication between genders, by explaining how things look from a woman's point of view--and how guys can respond.

Guest blogger Starling wrote an excellent post on a similar topic over at Shapely Prose. In this post, I rehash much of the same material, though with a different emphasis. I don't agree with all of Starling's arguments, but I highly recommending her post.

Let me also say: I recognize that my post here is incredibly heteronormative, and I'm sorry. Given my own life experience, it's the best I can do right now. I would love comments about how these or similar dynamics play out in same-sex flirtation.

Yes, We Know "Hello" Is Not Harassment

Whenever there's a discussion of gendered dating norms come up, some guy inevitably complains that feminists are trying to ban male flirting. In practice, this concern is usually misplaced. Most feminist women don't want to stigmatize harmless flirtation. What we do want is for men to show us some basic respect.

Let's say you're a guy at a local pub. You walk up to a woman and say, "Hi, my name is Joe, can I buy you a drink?." This is a perfectly innocuous behavior. Most of the time, no one will judge you for it.

There are some caveats here, but they're mostly common sense. It's important to be sensitive to the woman's social cues. If a woman is clearly deep in conversation, or if she's brought her laptop to the bar (yes, there are women who do this), then you probably shouldn't approach her. If you do, you're sending the message, "I am more important than whatever you are doing right now!" Women, understandably, may react to this with annoyance.

In a similar vein, If you're too drunk, too stoned, or too tired to read a woman's social cues, even at the most basic level, then this is not the time to approach a new woman. When your judgement is impaired, it's easier to make the a thoughtless mistake that will get you a slap in the face.

With that in mind, there's usually nothing wrong with trying to strike up a casual flirtation at a bar. Typically, how men go wrong is not by approaching a woman in the first place; it's by approaching a woman, getting a reaction they don't like, and then failing to respond appropriately.

If you're going to approach some stranger in a bar, you have to be willing to accept that she might turn you down. Maybe she'll ignore you outright. Maybe she'll respond to your attempts at conversation with monosyllabic grunts. Maybe she'll accept a proffered drink, but her voice will convey unmitigated boredom. As before, pay attention to her signals. If she's clearly disinterested, take that as your cue to move on.

A woman may give you the cold shoulder for any number of reasons. Maybe she doesn't want to flirt because she thinks you're creepy, or because your deodorant isn't working as well as you think. Or, maybe she's busy writing a symphony in her head, and she doesn't want to be interrupted. Maybe she's in a relationship. Maybe she doesn't date men. Maybe she just doesn't feel like socializing on this particular night.

If a woman rebuffs you, don't take it personally, and don't get indignant. You have no reason to think that her behavior reflects negatively on you, or on her. She is simply asserting her right to decide how, and with whom, she spends her evening. Accept this and move on. Do not, under any circumstances, try to pressure her into paying attention. Don't track her down later and try again. The woman has made it clear that she wants you to leave her alone. Honor her wishes. It's a matter of basic human courtesy and respect.

Remember: the woman you've approached owes you nothing. Yes, you were "nice" to approach her, flirt with her, and offer her a drink. But she didn't ask for any of those things. Expecting her to reciprocate your "niceness" is completely absurd. Doing so puts you in the same category as those squeegee men who swoop down on cars stuck in traffic, wash their windows, and then demand payment. It's extortion, pure and simple.

Women don't owe you their attention--even if you're handsome, and charming; even if you offer them drinks. When you refuse to honor a woman's desire to be left alone, you are denying her fundamental right to personal autonomy. You are failing to treat her like a human being, who deserves your full consideration and respect. And that is always, always wrong.

Feminist women are not trying to outlaw harmless flirting. We understand that trying to buy us drinks is not harassment. But we do want is to be treated like full human beings, even in the club, at 1:00 am.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Quick Clarification: Cheating in Cyberspace

So, I've installed Google's analytics on this site. This program lets me keep track of how many people are reading my blog, and what search terms they have used to find me. No data about individual readers is reported, so your privacy is protected.

So far, I haven't seen many outrageous search terms. However, I did find this one, which amused me greatly.

"Is utherverse considered cheating?"

Apparently, this question lead someone to my post about sexism in ads for Utherverse, a social networking site with a distinctly "adult" flavor.

Now, whoever asked this question didn't spend much time on my site. Presumably, I was unable to provide them with a satisfactory answer. I would like to take a moment to correct this oversight.

As a feminist, I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to have a healthy sexual relationship. It's not enough to tear down our current system of sexual values, bankrupt as they are. We need to create something better to put in their place. With that in mind, here's my answer to the utherverse question.

Is Utherverse Considered Cheating?

The short answer is, if you have to ask, then yes, it probably is.

The long answer is more complicated. Whether a particular behavior counts as "cheating" varies from couple to couple. Let's say you're in an an exclusive relationship. In contemporary America, most folks would agree that having sex with someone besides your partner counts as cheating; most would also agree that maintaining your platonic friendships is not cheating, regardless of your friends' gender.

There are people, both men and women, whose use "fidelity" as an excuse to control or isolate their partners, and that's a real problem. If your partner tries to restrict your interaction with members the opposite (or same) sex; if they try to cut you off from your friends; if they forbid you from going to certain parties or wearing certain clothes; those are major, major red flags. Being faithful to a partner shouldn't mean sacrificing your right to have your own life, and make your own choices.

That being said, there's a broad range of behaviors which a reasonable person may or may not consider cheating. Is casual flirting okay? How about a peck on the cheek? Cuddling? One-on-one dinners with your ex? It all gets pretty confusing.

The whole thing is made more complicated by the fact that many people have open or polyamorous relationships. These folks might not mind their partners having sex, or even full-blown relationships, with other people, but they still might want to impose some limits.

Given all this ambiguity, there's only one viable option: communication with your partner(s). It's a good idea to have some ground rules about what is and isn't cheating. Sometimes, differing ideas about what constitutes cheating can destroy an otherwise lovely relationship. That's unfortunate, but it's no reason to avoid confronting the issue.

But wait, what about Utherverse!?

I'm getting to that.

Okay, here's my opinion. If you're flirting with cyber-cuties on an "adult" themed site, that's the sort of behavior that a reasonable person could consider cheating. On the other hand, If you're on Utherverse, but you're not engaged in any cyber-flirting, that's probably okay. A little strange, but okay.

More broadly, though, I have to wonder: if you're worried that a particular behavior might be cheating, why are you asking google? Maybe you're interested in this question from a purely sociological perspective, in which case, I suppose it's an okay strategy. But if you're hoping the internet will tell you whether your Utherverse activity is ethical, stop fooling yourself. The internet doesn't know the details of your relationship, or what's right for you and your partner. What matters is not whether the internet thinks you're a cheater; it's whether your partner does. Instead of trying to assuage your guilt with google search results, why not sit down with your partner, and talk things through?

If you're worried that your behavior could be considered cheating, you shouldn't be asking the internet, or me. You should be asking the person you're dating right now, and any hypothetical partners you might have in the future. And you should be ready to accept the fact that different partners may give you different answers, and that some of those answers won't be what you want to hear.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sex Does Not Mean Intercourse, Part 2768

Please note: there issex in this post. Lots of it. There are also numerous mentions of vagina. You have been warned...

Second-wave feminism gets a pretty bad rap. Sure, Betty Friedan and company were often blatantly homophobic, racist, and elitist. But they still did some truly awesome things. One of the second-waver's greatest contribution to women's liberation was this: they started questioning the idea that "sex" should be defined as "penis in vagina."

Broadening the definition of sex is important for a number of reasons. First off, the idea that sex means PIV leaves no room at all for gay or lesbian sexuality. In addition, the old-school definition of sex is not particularly useful to pre-op transsexuals, or to people with intersex conditions.

Even if we focus on straight, cis-sexual women, an excessive emphasis on intercourse is not a good thing. For the vast majority of women, intercourse is not the surest route to climax. More than 90 percent of women are capable of orgasm, but only 10 percent can orgasm from penetration alone. Up to 60 percent of women experience at least occasional pain during intercourse. Painful penetration is an ongoing problem for millions of women. If we make intercourse as the gold standard for sex acts, we are privileging men's pleasure over women's. That can't be good.

Today, most feminists agree that sex includes far more than just boning. But in practice, we live in a culture which constantly rams home the message that "sex" means "intercourse," and it's hard to ignore those messages.

So I thought I'd join the chorus, and write the umpteenth piece on why PIV should not be regarded as a the sine qua non of sex. In addition to the issues described above, there's another issue that's often overlooked. Defining sex as intercourse is marginalizing for the many straight folks who, for one reason or another, can't have penetrative sex.

This issue is particularly important to me personally, because I am one of those people. I am physically incapable of enjoying sexual intercourse.

Ow! My Crotch!!

For me, vaginal penetration has always been painful. There have been times when I've enjoyed vaginal intercourse, when the pleasure was more than worth the pain. More often, I've have suffered through with painful, unsatisfying sex, because I was afraid of being rejected if I said "no".

About a year ago, I started dating my current boyfriend, whom I'll call Captain I.T. By spring, things had gotten pretty serious, and we decided it was time to try boning. Unfortunately, by this time, whatever is wrong with my vagina had gotten seriously out of control. Intercourse felt like someone was alternately rubbing sandpaper on my vagina, and dousing it with brine. This, despite the fact that poor Captain I.T. was meticulously gentle, and that I was madly in love with him.

In the moment, I didn't have the heart to tell Captain I.T. what had happened. A few days later, I confessed: I couldn't have intercourse without pain. Captain I.T. took the news in stride. He pledged his undying love me me, and swore he didn't care if we had intercourse or not. I promised to do everything I could to resolve the pain issues. In the meantime, we agreed to replace intercourse with hand jobs, oral, kisses and cuddles.

True to my word, I tried to find a medical solution to my troubles, with little success. So far, all I know for sure is that I don't have an STD. Recently, my G.P. gave me a tentative diagnosis of vulvodynia, a catch-all term for mysterious vulvar pain. We've been experimenting with a couple different treatments. So far, nothing's worked, but I'm doing to keep trying.

In the meantime, my boyfriend accepts my sexual limitations. We're long-distance at the moment, but when we're together, we can't keep our hands off each other. We touch, we connect, we give each other pleasure. The idea that our lovemaking doesn't count, that it isn't "real sex," is frankly absurd.

My story is not unique, or even particularly unusual. There are many straight women who can't enjoying PIV intercourse, for a number of reasons: illness, disability, anatomical variation, psychological trauma, and so on. Many of these women manage to have seriously awesome sex lives, even without penetration.

But Men Have NEEDS, You Know...

I know that some people are skeptical of the idea that a straight man could stay in a relationship that didn't involve penetrative sex. After all, don't men have needs?

The answer is yes, of course they do. And for many, perhaps most, straight men, those needs include PIV intercourse. But human sexuality is incredibly varied. There are women who need oral sex, and who couldn't imagine dating someone who refused to tip the velvet. And there are plenty of straight guys who have no interest whatsoever in performing cunnilingus, and who nonetheless find female partners. Since straight folks don't usually view cunnilingus as the sex act, we tend to take this situation for granted.

The dynamic surrounding intercourse is no different; it only seems that way, because we're in the habit of putting intercourse on a pedestal. There are straight men who can live without PIV, just as there are women who can do without cunnilingus.

Defining "sex" as more than intercourse means acknowledging and validating the experiences of people who cannot or do not wish to have penetrative sex, and of their partners. It means giving us the freedom to explore our sexual options without thinking of our sex lives as somehow "less than." It is vital to sexual liberation.

A Better Definition?

If we don't define "sex" to mean intercourse, then what exactly is it? How do we know when we've "gone all the way"? When somebody has an orgasm? When there is contact with somebody's naked privates? When everybody involved feels awesome? Every definition has its problems. Whatever definition we use, somebody is going to find it exclusionary, oppressive, or just plain weird.

Perhaps a better strategy is to forget about defining "real sex" in absolute terms. Instead, maybe we should define sex more subjectively. We may not have any hard-and-fast rules about what sex is, but we know when we've experienced it.

For me "real sex" is any activity involving more-or-less direct genital stimulation, with the intent to produce orgasm. In my personal, subjective experiences, here's a meaningful difference between the activities I view as "real sex" (such as handjobs), and those I view as foreplay (kissing, massage). But of course, not everyone feels the same way.

Not everyone experiences orgasm, and not everyone wants to. Not everyone enjoys direct genital stimulation. And not everyone finds the same sexual acts personally significant. For some, a deep massage might be sex; for others, a hand job might be foreplay. It's all personal and subjective.

Not all of us are able to have sex in the ways society tells us are legitimate, right, or normal. That's really, really okay. Not all of us who can have "real sex" want to. That's okay too.

I may never be able to enjoy penetration. By the most narrow, traditional definition, I may never have sex again. And yet, I've managed to have an active, varied, and fulfilling sex life--more so, perhaps, than many women with functional vaginas.

There is no one right way to f*ck, and no one act that defines "real sex." It's up to each of us individually to decide what sex really is, and what it means to us.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Long Time Ago...

I wrote things on this blog. And amazingly, at least two people read them. Or parts of them. I get a little long-winded sometimes.

It strange to realize that I haven't posted in almost a year. It seems like yesterday I was hunched over in my hard, institutional bed, pouring out my frustrations at the misogyny of some fellow math research student. But now, here I am. I've finished undergrad, gotten into grad school, and evolved a fair amount as a feminist.

I'm hoping to start posting at least twice a month. We'll see how that goes. At the moment, I've got a lot to say. Coming soon: fat, sex, pain, and my exciting medical adventures!

Incidentally, if anyone's been reading since the beginning, you might notice that I've changed my handle (from Simone Mersenne to Simone Lovelace). I blog under a pseudonym, so that I can talk about waxing, clits, and my lesbian fantasies, and still have a chance of landing a job someday.

I've tried a couple of different handles, and "Simone Lovelace" is the first one that's really felt right. The name Simone is a tribute to my maternal ancestors (the Simoneau clan). "Lovelace" is an homage to the pioneer computer scientist Ada Lovelace, described by some as the first computer programmer. Doing a little googling this afternoon, I was surprised to discover that there are, in fact, several Simone Lovelaces in the real world. And some of them are really cool artists.

So, to the real Simone Lovelace(s): I'm not trying to copy you, I promise. Also you are awesome, and I love you all.

Real posts to follow!