marshtide: (Katherine Hepburn - Sylvia Scarlett)
[personal profile] marshtide
Two leftover prompts:

1. [personal profile] eggcrack asked about my favourite people from Swedish history, and I have to admit that my understanding of Swedish history is still fairly surface. I do think that, for example, Queen Christina is completely fascinating - but I still haven't got around to reading up on her properly! And I don't even have so many more names.

On the other hand, we do have a great big book of Swedish queer history sitting on a shelf, as well as a number of feminist books which probably have some history in, so I should get working on my knowledge! I guess I'll try to remember to report back on my findings later.

(Actually, most of my understanding of Swedish history comes from Valborg's brother, who has a job related to this stuff, and it's slanted heavily towards "funny stories about kings." And from Valborg's parents, who mostly share information about more recent political history. Although this stuff can be really interesting, it hasn't really turned up any people who make me fantastically gleeful; though I'll admit that Olof Palme was really interesting, he also strikes me as more than slightly infuriating. For example.)

2. [personal profile] silveradept asked about intersection of identities (british, queer, feminist, nerd, in sweden). This is complicated because my identity is pretty unstable in some ways, but!

First: queer and feminist sit together comfortably for me. Although I've met feminists who try to make it into a problem, I haven't met them regularly, probably because I've been selective about spaces. The thing they don't always sit together well with is being a nerd, especially if I try to take myself out into mixed nerd spaces, instead of the internet ones I inhabit (which are generally either queer-dominated or female-dominated or both, and to some extent invested in equality).

Essentially it doesn't actually feel that safe to be visibly queer or to express feminist opinions in a lot of in-person nerd spaces I've found myself in.

I usually do both anyway, and then there's a fight and I go look for somewhere else to hang out, because man, life is too short. (I am, however, gratified to hear that one former group I went through this process with has apparently done some thinking after the event about things I said and the only unrepentant member has left in disgust.)

I've had huge problems finding a roleplaying group, for example, which isn't full of misogynistic bullshit or homophobia or both. I think I've only had one, actually. I don't think they don't exist, but I do feel like I have to look really hard, and if I wanted to put up a notice to try and find a group to play with right now I would probably do it in a queer space - not a general nerd one.

Second: Being British is actually an identity which I can use more easily now I'm in Sweden than I could when I was in Britain. It felt uncomfortable there, which has a lot to do with the way I was treated growing up - that is to say, I'm part Ukrainian, and it's often been used as a way to make me Not British Enough and therefore fair game for all kinds of bullshit. Children are bastards.

Extra context - growing up in the late 80s/90s with an eastern european surname in a tiny rural community where most other people had family roots in the local area going back a few hundred years. It was fantastic. There is also the thing where a surprising number of people have asked me in all seriousness which country I came from and complimented me on my English (even without having seen my surname, in some cases!). Being British is not really an identity that Britain likes to let me take for granted, but Sweden is quite happy to. Probably as a result of this I actually feel a bit more at home in Sweden, if only because I know where I stand; I have a definite identity as a British-born immigrant. People can hear from my accent that I'm probably British, and here I am. Ta-da.

Third: my queer feminist identity has actually undergone a good bit of development in Sweden too. I had read quite a lot of theory and fiction in the UK, and thought a lot about these issues, but somehow I've built up a much more systematic picture while I've been here. I've actually enjoyed reading feminist theory in Swedish even more than in English, which I do admit is more than a little perverse of me. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that moving to another country is the kind of change which, in some odd way, makes it easier to re-focus when it comes to other parts of one's life.

I think somewhat differently in Swedish than I do in English. I have different words and concepts. And I lack words for some things; that means I have to think around them. And that might be a good thing in this respect as well, in terms of examining concepts.

P.S. PRODUCTIVITY REPORT: I finished tidying the patio, which basically meant pulling up all the tiny trees that were trying to start growing between paving stones (other random dandelions etc. can stay, do I look like I care - but one has to draw the line somewhere, and that line is somewhere around "fucking lilac bushes everywhere"). I have cleaned a winter's worth of grime off the bench, table and windowsills out there. I have chucked a bunch of herb seeds (basil, thyme, dill, oregano, chives, parsley) all over everywhere that wasn't full of tulips, because we are basically really bad at flowers anyway and we eat herbs like you would not believe. And we went for a pretty long walk up to Val's parents on the other side of town; I was in the wheelchair for a lot of it, but I still feel kind of accomplished. (The wheelchair is basically perfect for my needs, because the moment I feel a bit like I'm starting to be in pain I can sit down, and then the pain calms down - if I have to first find a bench I'm generally in too much pain for sitting to really cut it by the time I get there and that's when I end up back in bed in a heap, whimpering.)

Date: 2011-05-22 04:45 pm (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (utena queer)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
Yeah, I hear you on the nerd stuff. My partner was part of a big nerd community (in-person but based around a web forum) when we lived in the US & part of the reason I never felt comfortable w/most of them was b/c of social justice stuff. When I was in high school I was the token girl in my D&D group & I got sexually harassed all the time, in game & out of game. Blah blah blah. I definitely feel uncomfortable as a rule in general nerd spaces, & sometimes in ones that are supposed to be 'better' about these sorts of things.

(On the other hand I remember we once went to a board game night at the LGBT center at home & it was like 40 white gay guys, one or two white women, &... me.)

Date: 2011-05-23 12:44 pm (UTC)
eggcrack: Icon based on the painting "Kullervon kirous ja sotaanlahto" (Default)
From: [personal profile] eggcrack
I find Queen Christina fascinating too! And yeah, it usually takes deep exploration of history to find the people who interest you. The book about Swedish queer history sounds incredibly cool, so please do share if you run into someone/something especially intriguing. :D

I think somewhat differently in Swedish than I do in English. I have different words and concepts. And I lack words for some things; that means I have to think around them. And that might be a good thing in this respect as well, in terms of examining concepts.

I live in my birth country and therefore my experience isn't nowhere close to yours, but I do use English almost as much as I use Finnish and and the difference in words and concepts can affect your thinking, as well as your attitude to words. One thing that has always interested me is the difference in approach to the word 'love' in Finnish and English; in Finland it's such a huge word that you barely ever actually say it, and it's a slightly odd sight in written word too. I'm pretty sure I've never said 'I love you' in Finnish to anyone, although there are people who I love and who love me back. Yet in English, whether it's spoken or written, 'love' doesn't feel that intimidating at all.

Sorry about straying from the original subject. I guess I'm basically saying that it was really interesting to read your thoughts about intersection.

Date: 2011-05-23 05:20 pm (UTC)
pulchritude: (1)
From: [personal profile] pulchritude
I just looked up Olof Palme on wikipedia and he seems very interesting. I can't seem to find anything particularly infuriating from the quick look, though, so could you maybe give an example?

I find it really interesting that people would just assume you aren't British - you certainly look British to me! (Not that looks are always the best way to judge someone's nationality or ethnicity....) I've actually had the opposite problem in the US - because I have only a slight Chinese accent, people usually assume I am of (Han) Chinese descent, which is emphatically not the it's been nice being in the UK and having my being Chinese taken for granted. (Yet funnily enough, even though people are so keen to ~include me as 'one of them', the society renders me perpetually Other.)

And I can relate to what you and [personal profile] eggcrack said wrt different languages and their vocabularies. I honestly can't think about, say, postmodernism/post-structuralism in Chinese because I learned all the theories in English, and even if I could, I really don't have anyone with whom to have those conversations.

Date: 2011-05-23 07:28 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Ah, thank you for that. It's always interesting to see how identities play nicely or awfully with each other.

Date: 2011-05-23 10:02 pm (UTC)
crystal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crystal
Nerd spaces are always too...specific for me? People do tend to be assholes about you being different, even though that's the whole point. Meh.


marshtide: (Default)

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