Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "21 Ways That Supervillains Say No"

This poem was inspired by the "Control your _____" square in my 9-5-18 Exclamations card for the 1000 Words or Less Bingo fest.  It has been sponsored by [personal profile] fuzzyred and [personal profile] zianuray.  It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem references sexual misconduct and violent means of refusal. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


"21 Ways That Supervillains Say No"

[Monday, January 5, 2015]


People don't listen to supervillains,
so we learn to say no in ways
that they can't ignore.


"If you touch my butt I will CUT YOU!" means no.

Hiding behind a superhero means no.

Stabbing you means no.

Shooting you with a zap gun means no.

Icing your whole city means no.

"My body fluids are toxic!" means no.

Punching you in the face means no.

Kicking you in the crotch means no.

Biting your dick off means no.

Breaking your pelvis means no.

Pushing you off a cliff means no.

"Control your cock or I'll cut it off!" means no.

Gluing you to a wall means no.

Turning you into a slug means no.

Vanishing from your grasp means no.

Pitching you through the door of That Guy means no.

Dumping you on the steps of the police station means no.

Teleporting you to the far side of the Earth means no.

Shapeshifting into a bear means no.

Turning into Fire Form means no.

"Go home, Charlie!" means no.


No matter how we say it,
NO MEANS NO.

* * *

Notes:

Some lines from the poem refer to various examples previously mentioned in Polychrome Heroics:

"If you touch my butt I will CUT YOU!" means no.

Icing your whole city means no.

Breaking your pelvis means no.

Gluing you to a wall means no.

Pitching you through the door of That Guy means no.
"None of It's For You"

Dumping you on the steps of the police station means no.


(These links are infuriating.)
In theory, no means no. In practice, no doesn't mean no, POWER means no. People complain about "turning a no into a yes" in sex, but it's not just a sexual problem. It's a routine business practice. It's a routine medical practice. L-America pervasively trains people that "no" simply isn't a word they have to care about, and that any means are justified in obtaining a "yes." Technically, consent only counts if freely given; but if that were actually enforced, society would come apart at the seams. Too much of it relies on coercing people to do things they don't want to do. And then everyone wonders why they have a rampant problem with child molestation, sexual harassment, and rape.

(These links are sad.)
Why do people become violent? Well, abuse and neglect strongly lead toward violence. In therapeutic abuse, the toddlers who cry and flop on the floor become children who kick, bite, and run away ... then teens who stab people. It all starts when needs don't get met and people refuse to take no for an answer. Naturally the victim increases the force of self-defense to the best of their ability. With villains and supervillains, they can raise the force beyond most people's ability to stop. If saying no at knifepoint or firepoint is what works, when a word or a push does not, then they'll choose the level of force that stops the violation. This becomes a problem when it's their go-to response in situations that don't really need that much force. There are better ways to handle this kind of conflict. That's plain old de-escalation with a topping of trauma-informed care, and it works, sometimes even in very fraught situations.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing
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