#Amazonfail

By now, if you are on Twitter, politically minded, Disabled, gay, lesbian, transgendered, feminist, an ally, womanist, or like classic novels you have heard about the #amazonfail.

Amazon is removing books that might upset children. This means books that include anything about womanist/feminist views, sexuality for the GBLT community, GBLT nonsexual issues, Disability issues, disability and sex, classics such as Lady Chatterly’s lover, and a few other things like that are coming down. No more selling books like that.

At first, the policy to remove access to adult material sounds great. I thought so, before I knew of the failure that it entailed. I presumed they would remove Playboy, Maxim, rape porn. Rape porn stayed. What they removed instead are books I have used to shape my own thinking and life. I like the way I think, and despite the complaints of a few people who are mired in the patriarchial thinking that keeps people oppressed, I rarely preach about it. I usually write instead about healing.

When I was suicidal I wanted a how to manual on killing myself. Instead I found self help books. They helped me. Those books are being taken down en masse. There is no help for people who might trust a book.

When I wanted to know exactly how to have relations with my Person, I turned to books for ideas. I needed ideas on adapting my body. Many of the most helpful books in the regard to disability and sex are gone. A few of those books focused on the basics of adaptation after a Spinal Cord Injury. This includes using the restroom, cooking, and adapting how you move. Those books made no mention of sex. They are gone.

I have to admit some of the books I was about to buy are also gone. This disturbs me. What bothers me more is that this censorship is not touching books like Mein Kampf. Hitler can remain but not Lady Chatterly? Why?

As a writer, this adds to a bit of pressure. How does this effect the sales and royalties I could get? How does this effect my ability to find an audience? Yes there are other places to buy books, but as the world and America become more entrenched in the internet, Amazon and it’s fellow online retailers hold more sway.

This is blatant discrimination. If you choose to do nothing, I respect your choice. Just remember, it won’t stop here. Eventually we will be told what we may buy, how we may pay for it, and what to think. Viva la Revolucion!

What can you do to speak out about this? Glad you asked!

Here are the links I have as I write this:
The #Amazonfail Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=70927484220&ref=share

A blog about disability and this very same issue http://lisybabe.blogspot.com/

A petition in regards to the Amazonfail http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-protest-at-amazons-new-adult-policy

Another blog: http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/amazon-rank/
Amazon Rank

amazon rank
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): amazon ranked

1. To censor and exclude on the basis of adult content in literature (except for Playboy, Penthouse, dogfighting and graphic novels depicting incest orgies).
2. To make changes based on inconsistent applications of standards, logic and common sense.

Etymology: from 12 April 2009 removal of sales rank figures from books on Amazon.com containing disability, sexual, erotic, romantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or queer content, rendering them impossible to find through basic search functions at the top of Amazon.com’s website. Titles stripped of their sales rankings include “Bastard Out of Carolina,” “Lady Chatterly’s Lover,” prominent romance novels, GLBTQ fiction novels, YA books, and narratives about gay people.

Example of usage: “I tried to do a report on Lady Chatterly’s Lover for English Lit, but my teacher amazon ranked me and I got an F on grounds that it was obscene.”

Alternate usage: “My girlfriend wanted to preserve her virginity, and I was happy to respect that, then she amazon ranked and decided anal sex was okay.”

Emotional Agony

So often, I find myself belittling my emotions. This is another practice from childhood, and it can defeat me. It sets me up for failure, infects my heart with discord, and leaves me acting as an Angry Cripple. It is a challenge to fight the urge to tell myself how little my pain matters.

recently I have been displaying some of the life long bits of my soul here, many of which bear bruises and scars. This is painful. There are over 100 posts that have been written but you will never see, because they hurt too deeply. Some have been rewritten, to remove the deepest secrets, hiding them.

I realize this is not something that is unique to me, and is instead very common especially with Women who have disabilities. A disability is anything that interferes with functions of daily living, and therefore I do count mental health issues as disabilities. Not all disabilities are so severe that you alter your life and build it around them, but, that does not mean your reactions to those “minor” disabilities have any less validity.

I am writing this post, because I have heard five times in the last two days, read it twice, and tried to deny a growing anger that these words cause this lovely statement, “Just looking at you, I realize how little my pain matters.” This is crap. This sort of thinking and self devaluement leads you down the path towards self hatred. Self hatred is usually just a mask for inner pain, layered with anger and other poisons. Stop it.

I know, my body is a very good example of what you do not want to live in. My body is not your body, and although my pain is epic to me, there is someone out there who has it worse. I can name names, I know of faces, and there are people who walk, that still have it worse than I do. My pain is equal to yours, not less, not more. Equality in Pain is a concept that I learned about when I met a girl in the mental health ward. I was actually addressing the issues of my sexual abuse, and, she tried to empathize, revealing why she was there.

To me, the reason, not revealed because of confidentiality and respect of this person, is small. It is insignificant in my estimation of abuse. To her, it was earth shattering. Her world exploded. It took me a lot longer than my stay in that facility to understand the concept offered there. What we experience shapes our views. I cannot show you what I see, but I can try and paint a picture for you.

There is no reason to compare experience. Identical Twins rarely share the same outlook in life, every person is as unique as a snowflake or a butterfly. None are identical, despite outward appearance. It is rude to devalue them or yourself based on your own experience. This brings us of course to racism, ableism, and sexism.

When you say that racism does not exist, it is not truth. It is perspective. You deny someone else’s experience and that wounds you both. You might not understand their anger at your words, and they might lose respect for you. They may not understand too a lack of experience. This does not justify your denial of racism, but, the caveat is that you can learn from the responses to such statements.

Equality is in my estimation impossible. I am an idealist however, and fight for the ideal. Someday, I might just be proven wrong. I do not remember the author though I think it was Vonnegut, but I once read a science fiction story where everyone was made equal by devices that made everyone see, hear, and think at equal levels. They even ate the same food, very bland, all people were the same. This world was horrible, everyone was in pain, tormented, and unable to function.

This was normal for those characters, until one could not be contained. He was above average, so far so that the devices could not contain him. He became violent, lashing out to try and wake the people up. It did not end well. I think of this story often when I forget why people are different.

I do not want to be just like you, and you definately do not want to be made physically equal to me. I would not wish this body on anyone. I also wouldn’t trade it for yours. I couldn’t function with another body or mind, this is what I know. Your pain is pain. Your anger is valid. Your tears, your joys, all of them have as much importance as mine.

I have said this outloud to people, before. Trying to make them stop. Sometimes people devalue their pain in an attempt to pity me. I need no pity. I am a brilliant star burning in the sky, and I know it. No person needs pity. Those who pity are merely blind to the simple fact that everyone is valid, necessary, and capable of something important.

Before you protest, stating that people with cognitive disorders cannot be productive in society, let me correct you. Autism counts as a cognitive disorder, though, it makes my world absolutely brilliant and colorful. I couldn’t trade up, just down. Downs Syndrome doesn’t make a person invalid. Every person with Downs I have met experiences more joy than I can comprehend. You point out that those in vegetative states do not add anything, and, I say bunk. What they did before their brains were injured counts. Every living person has a right to fair treatment, health care, and love.

Emotional equality too, prevents the need to debase someone, to be better than they are. It merely exists, as we do. I exist. You have the right to exist. I am angry for those who cannot see it. I mourn, for this knowlege is powerfully freeing. I dance with butterflies, I sing with the birds, I exist merely as I am and can be nothing else.

You are valid. Go love yourself.

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