"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On Hypocrisy

There’s a video going the rounds on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve seen it. I hear it involves chickens being ground up alive. People are understandably upset about this practice.

I’m not saying it’s ok. Nobody’s saying it’s ok. Nobody will tell you that it’s the height of moral sophistication to toss a live chicken in a grinder simply so you don’t have to pay someone to kill and/or debone it.

But that is precisely the point. It takes zero moral fortitude to condemn this practice—and yet, the Vegan Army roundly congratulate each other on the strength of their collective character; each member goes to sleep each night after patting hirself on the back for helping stamp out animal cruelty. The only people who will defend this practice are the people making/saving money from it, and even they will not claim that it’s an awesome thing to do, no, it’s just business. The economy, you know. You have to do what you can to make a profit; it’s regrettable, but necessary. When pretty much everyone agrees with you, how much has your character strengthened here, exactly?

[Now, I’m not claiming that the only causes worth fighting for are the difficult ones. It shouldn’t need to be said, but I’m a woman, and have become accustomed to explaining myself in excruciating detail—not that it avoids “misunderstandings”, but there it is. I overexplain. I’m not saying that your cause is not worthwhile unless it costs you scads of energy, inner peace, and simple joy. I’m not saying this. Just to be clear.]

Animal cruelty is the social activist placebo—much like recycling is the environmentalist placebo. People who recycle get to think well of their actions; they recycle a beer can and shame other people into recycling beer cans, then hop in their gas-guzzling SUV and drive to a ski resort where they will ride a high-energy chair lift to the top of a mountain that was once home to lynx but is now clogged with skiers, some of which spent $100 to be there—just for one day.

People who condemn obvious instances of animal cruelty get to think well of their actions; they post a video depicting live chickens being ground up in a factory and shame other people into posting the same video, then go to work and crack a rape “joke” in front of a rape survivor who will not say anything because zie remembers the “joke” that was told last week about sexual harassment, and strongly suspects no good and much bad will come of speaking up.

I am tired of people who pretend they are better people than everyone else because they eat vegan for the good of the planet and/or animals—forgetting, conveniently, that the mass production of the palm oil found in the vast majority of their dairy substitute products is directly and rapidly contributing to the extinction of orangutans. I am tired of people who choose an easy moral choice and promptly excuse themselves of all other responsibility for making the world a better place.

I understand that there’s a lot of shit in the world, and each person has only so much energy and must therefore prioritize, but would it kill you stop fucking contributing to the other shit? It’s not that fucking hard.

I choose to devote my energy to problems between and among human persons. However, while devoting that energy, I also devote precisely zero energy to kicking dogs. Would it fucking kill you to cease devoting energy to kicking rape survivors (for example)? It is morally reprehensible to continue this conflicting behavior, and also hypocritical, and yet, it’s everywhere, and you do it with a straight fucking face and I don't understand.

When I bring this up in conversation, I am accused of being unfeeling. I am accused of not giving a shit about animals.

And yet, I am not allowed to accuse you of not giving a shit about disenfranchised persons, even in situations where you clearly do not give even one-half of one shit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The NBA and the Billion-Dollar Mistake

So, the NBA season is in jeopardy, blah blah blah, money money money, etc. I don't much care about the NBA, but I DO very much care about the WNBA.

The NBA has basically been subsidizing the WNBA for the last decade or so. I fear that if the NBA loses enough money over this, they'll look to the laydeez to save them money, putting the whole league and every player in it in jeopardy. Of course, an alternative is that the 2011-2012 NBA season is not played, people want to watch basketball, and end up supporting the WNBA, making it unwise for the NBA to do anything rash.

I don't hold out much hope for the latter, though.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oh hai.

I've been trying out tumblr lately, but I'm thinking about coming back here. Tumblr has a lot of interesting features, but I think I'm getting tired of reblog chains full of flashing .gifs. Also, endless one-on-one argument reblog chains, endless reblog chains wherein one person says something idiotic and the whole feminist tumblr community feels called to explain exactly why they suck...maybe reblog chains in general.

I do very much like that I'm reading a wider variety of thoughts on things I really know nothing about, i.e. racism, immigration, Islam, trans* issues, etc.


It's a microblogging service, for Christ's sake. My dashboard is weary of trying to contain posts that could fill the front page of a newspaper. And I think I will write here, and microblog there. I'm writing less since I got on tumblr, probably because the general attitude is not one of focused writing, but more along the lines of reactions and thoughts.

I have no readers either here or there, so it probably won't even matter either way :D

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We can say no. When someone instructs us to lose weight, to shave, to straighten our hair, to get “in shape”, to wear makeup, to wear less makeup, to dress appropriately, to dress more stylishly, no not that stylishly, to stop standing out, to stop making noise, to stop being so damn large, to stop making excuses, to stop fighting, to just get along, to just do what we tell you, to just buy into this commercial weight-loss plan, to just take these pills, to just have this cosmetic surgery, to just follow instructions, to just know that we’re doing this for your own good, to never walk alone, to never walk alone in that outfit, to never draw attention, because no one wants to see that, because no one wants to see your body, because no one wants to see you.
You can tell them no, and refuse to say more on the subject. No is always an option. It’s a small word, a difficult word, a word that speaks volumes in a single syllable, and one that gets easier to say the more you do it. It’s part of your arsenal, whether you realize it or not, and it’s a powerful weapon.
You can say no.
You don’t have to explain it.
You don’t have to apologize for it.
You can just
 ~ Lesley Kinzel, The Awesome Power of No

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It doesn't get much better than this

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell--blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

Running over the same old ground
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Trust Women

I believe in a culture that supports the autonomy of women; specifically, I am now speaking of reproductive autonomy. This means giving women the ability to make their own choices in this area.

This means women should have access to affordable
  • birth control
  • reproductive healthcare
  • abortion
but also
  • prenatal care
  • breastfeeding support
  • infant formula
  • vaginal birth support
  • cesareans
  • hospital deliveries
  • birthing center deliveries
  • home deliveries
  • OB/GYNs
  • midwives
  • doulas
This list is by no means exhaustive; I just rattled off some things I've been thinking about recently.

The point is, my sister is a little uncomfortable, I think, with the fact that I support Planned Parenthood and access to abortion. She is not at all uncomfortable with the fact that I support her decision to carry her current pregnancy to term under the care of a midwife, and that I am appalled by how much difficulty she's having in getting her health insurance to cover everything--despite the fact that her birthing center is in her network and there shouldn't be any problems.

What she doesn't get is that those two situations are inextricably linked, and you can't support one without supporting the other. Take a look at this for a shining illustration of how women are treated in a culture that supposedly loves and supports childbirth and childrearing.

It's what happens in an anti-choice culture. As long as women are considered to be heinous, selfish, ignorant fools who don't know the first thing about their own bodies and the needs of their children, as long as women are considered incapable by society of making choices for their own welfare and for the welfare of their children, as long as women are inherently mistrusted, we will continue to deny them the means to live healthfully and happily in the context of their own family--whatever form that family may take, whatever avenue of birth that may mean, whatever infant feeding strategy that may take.

As long as we fail to trust women, we will continue to frighten and shame them into certain medical procedures, under the guise of doing what's best for their baby, and frighten and shame them out of other medical procedures, under the guise of righteous indignation. No woman should have to start, continue, or end a family based on anything resembling fear or shame. And if you disagree with me on that one, shame on you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bisexual Links!

Big Gay Sketch Show’s [Bisexual] Nicol Paone: The Autostraddle Interview

The Bisexual Flag


Bi Magazine

New York Area Bisexual Network

EDIT: This is AWESOME. http://www.binetusa.org/

On Bisexuality and how it's A Real Thing

I identify as bisexual.

(I've encountered disagreement, usually on the part of heterosexual people, on whether you should base your sexual identity on desire or activity--as in, if you've only ever dated/slept with dudes, can you really be a lesbian? This is, naturally, rank horseshit, so consider it dismissed.)

I feel like there's a lot of confusion and misinformation out there about bisexuality; consider that one episode of Sex & the City where Carrie dates a bisexual man. She freaks out and says all kinds of bisexual-phobic things, including "I feel like bisexuality is just a layover on the way to Gaytown," then wraps up the episode justifying her complete lack of any attempt to understand bisexuality by chalking it up to "I'M OLD AND CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO CONSIDER NEW THINGS."

Of course, this is a viewpoint unique to neither Carrie Bradshaw nor heterosexual people. But it does burn me up that S&TC, a show regarded as progressive and ground-breaking in its open dealings with female sexuality, a show that treats male homosexuality like most people treat the preference between Coke or Pepsi (as in, something totally normal or whatever, but you're not, like, a freak if you like Coke and I like Pepsi), yet can't be arsed to give bisexuality any real treatment beyond "These people are weird, and deviant, and hard to understand, but it's more normal if you don't get it, because most people have and are entitled to their 'traditional' opinions", which is kind of the same response some shows have had to homosexuality. Note that the only major character who doesn't seem swayed by the idea of bisexuality is Samantha--of course, because Samantha is the Deviant One who doesn't want to get married and shocked everyone by dating a woman later on.

Come to think of it, that whole "Samantha is dating a woman" arc is along the same lines as the bisexuality one, and both are indicative of how the show dealt with girl-on-girl sexuality, which essentially was: it mostly doesn't exist, but when we're forced to confront it, we all agree that it's weird and unintelligible.

I'm sure all of these things I am talking about are nothing new to the girl-on-girl community; I'm just talking about them as background, I guess.

I identify as bisexual because if, in a strange hypothetical scenario, you randomly picked one person, lady or dude, from the population, the chance that I will be sexually attracted to that person is about the same, regardless of whether it is actually a lady or a dude. If you randomly picked one person, lady or dude, from the population, the chance that I will be romantically attracted to that person is significantly higher if it is a dude. I say this from past experience, however; the fact that I am more likely to form romantic attachments to dudes doesn't mean I'm any less bisexual; it could just mean that I have higher standards for ladies, or that I haven't been around enough ladies that fit those standards. I mean, if a straight dude had a hard time finding a straight lady he wanted to date, would he be any less straight?

So there's that. But think back to all that shit I talked about Carrie Bradshaw and her inability to come to terms with the bisexuality of others as a real thing. There's also the fact that many bisexual people feel marginalized by the gay community, like the B is just kind of thrown into LGBTQ as an afterthought, and everyone's just waiting around for them to go all the way to gay.

Maybe the whole "bicurious" lady thing has hurt the perception of bisexuality; I think a lot of the time this term is seen as used by younger women to mean they're curious about ladysexytimes, but they're not ready or willing to think about being gay yet. Or, they like the idea of straight men getting turned on by ladysexytimes. And maybe this happens sometimes, but isn't it possible that sometimes, some of the women who use this term are actually curious about being bi? And where are they supposed to go to deal with that?

I mean, if young lesbians have had it rough in the past, there are now plenty of places on the internets they can go for help. Where are the young bisexuals to go? I'm starting to feel like lesbian is a hard thing to be in this world, but bisexual might be harder these days, because not only can straight people not understand it, sometimes gay people can't.

So. I identify as bisexual because
  1. it describes me, and
  2. more people who are bisexual should say they are.
I'm not really interested in fleshing out whether I'm more straight or more gay, nor am I interested in inventing my own identity, nor am I interested in whether or not I'm pansexual (i mean, i could be, but i don't know if I know many non-gender-binary people, so how the fuck would i know), but maybe I am. Pansexuality actually seems to be more accepted, especially in the world of poly, but I'm going with bisexual for now, because it works.

And I don't feel the need to invent my own identity, because Jesus Christ, I know who I am, and I don't give two shits if you understand that I am a unique snowflake or not, because I already know I am, and your opinion on that matter means precisely nothing to me.

Also, yes, I am currently dating a cisman. I've actually gotten, recently, a few comments along the lines of, "How can you like girls, because you totally just said you had a boyfriend," but if this post doesn't clear that up, I'm not sure it's possible.

On Departures from Parental Values and Why I'm Going to Post this Post I'm Going to Post

So I'm going to post this thing about bisexuality. I'm kind of apprehensive about posting it. I mean, it's kind of feeling like I'm coming out or something, but anyone who knows me at all should probably have figured it out already, also should probably have noticed how little I care about things like "coming out" since I usually just drop the "Lady lips are fun to kiss" bomb in random conversations with very little fanfare.

Maybe it's because my mom has the ability to read this blog, although I'm not certain she knows it's here. Anyway, I'm not convinced she will be surprised at anything I throw at her these days, what with all the "I don't believe in God anymore" and "I am having sex with my boyfriend as evidenced by our discussion of my long-term form of birth control" and "I think gay people should be able to get married" and "I voted for Obama and Sarah Palin scares the shit out of me" and "I think socialized health care is a good idea and tax cuts for the rich is a terrible idea" shit I throw around these days.

I've never really sat my mom down in order to share these departures from her values and beliefs; I've treated her the way I've treated everyone in my life regarding these things: it's not a big deal to me, so I don't want to make it a big deal by making a production out of telling people stuff. It's more like a "this is who I am now; deal with it" kind of thing, rather than, "I believe all these things that are different from what I used to believe, and dealing with this new stuff is traumatic and has disrupted my life, hence I feel the need to ritually mark this in the way I let you know about it."

I mean, people who need to come out, more power to you. And people who need to ritually mark their departure from parental values, do it and be proud. It just ain't me.

So, making a whole formal post about bisexuality seems both oddly ritualistic and a bit after the fact. However, I have good reasons for doing it--which will be explained in the post, actually.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

On Buying DVDs and Why You Should Watch More TV If You Like Movies

DVDs I Have Purchased Primarily Due To My Penchant For Watching Them Over And Over Again On TV:
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Definitely, Maybe
See, here's the thing: People who don't watch TV are seriously missing out on one of the best ways to discover great movies [remember, my definition of "great" is subjective]. I'm not necessarily speaking of only HBO movies, although I sure do love HBO's commercial-free goodness; no, I'm talking about how Oxygen and TNT and amc frequently run movies back-to-back--multiple days in a row, at that.

I'm talking about how I will begin watching Pride and Prejudice halfway through, then continue watching when it starts over again, intending to go do something productive once I reach my entry point in the film, but always end up watching the whole goddamn thing, which gives me a total of roughly 1.5-2 viewings in one sitting, depending on where I came in on the first showing. That, my friends, is a movie I should own [and do--now.].

So, you can buy DVDs based on your assumption that you'll like them, or based on their presence in the $5 bin at Walmart, and then you end up with rows and rows of DVDs that you may or may not watch regularly, and maybe you're proud of those rows and rows of DVDs and you enjoy their display in your living room, but I will bet you vast amounts of money that I made a better purchase.

So, my friends, watch movies on TV. It's closer to free than Netflix--if you have cable, that is. And if you have cable for CNN and ESPN and TLC and Discovery Channel, you should definitely be taking advantage of Oxygen, TNT, amc, TBS, USA, FX, and even channels like E!, because they have this "Movies We Love" thing, and G4, because they have this "Movies That Don't Suck" thing, and ABC Family, because while a lot of the time it's made-for-tv shit like Legally Blonde 3, the other day I caught an Adam Sandler marathon that was quite enjoyable. Also, if you've got 'em, Turner Classic Movies [always my favorite] and IFC, which is great for movies you've never heard of and probably wouldn't hear of otherwise--as in, any foreign or simply independent film that was made prior to 1990 and/or did not win an Oscar.

I have spoken. (All depart.)

You should also probably know that during December, I'm pretty much glued to ABC Family and the Hallmark channel, because they run cheesy Christmas movies round-the-clock, so, take my advice with a grain of salt--but don't forget that this little- well-known fact also means I know what I'm talking about.

I Would Like This Public Protest

Women with the following, or something like it, taped to their abdomens:


And, possibly, men with the following, or something like it, taped to their abdomens:


Too much?

Friday, March 4, 2011

SWTPTRC, part 2

Basic Definition Of Rape Culture: A culture in which ignoring and/or crossing the boundaries of others is implicitly understood to be normal, acceptable, and desired.

Venue: anywhere public dancing takes place, i.e. bars, clubs, music festivals
  1. Find the woman sitting/standing by herself. 
  2. Ask her why she isn't dancing, and regardless of her answer,
  3. attempt to convince her to dance.
Do not, under any circumstances, take no for an answer! It doesn't matter why she's not dancing; once she experiences your powers of persuasion, all previous excuses will be immediately revealed as the weak sauce they obviously are, and she'll be thanking you once she pulls the stick out of her ass.

Venue: anywhere
Upon being confronted with a female friend who, given the above circumstance, claims you would not be able to get her to dance,
  1. graciously concede that she would indeed be a tough nut to crack,
  2. remind her of your powers of persuasion, and
  3. remind her that she has not yet experienced them.
She clearly does not know herself as well as you know her. You could totally get her to dance.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Surprise Ways To Perpetuate The Rape Culture: Things You Probably Didn't Know You Were Already Doing, Part One

Basic Definition Of Rape Culture: A culture in which ignoring and/or crossing the boundaries of others is implicitly understood to be normal, acceptable, and desired.

Venue: stand-up comedy show
When the comic asks for a volunteer to go up onstage for some reason, be
  1. that person who raises their hand and points to the friend they came with
  2. who clearly does not want to volunteer.
  1. the comic who seizes on the person who is being volunteered yet
  2. is slouching in their seat and 
  3. covering their face with their hand. 
Hey, it's my own fault if I fail to strike the perfect body language of indifference, right? My obvious discomfort is clearly fodder for your amusement! Also, I probably really do want to go onstage, I'm just too stuck in my head to know it, and I'll be thanking you once I pull the stick out of my ass.

Venue: drinking with your friends
  1. Buy someone a shot 
  2. after they've already explicitly stated that they're done drinking
  3. for any reason whatsoever.
Clearly, your need to avoid drinking alone trumps any need I might have for ceasing to drink! Also, I probably don't really want to stop drinking, I just don't want to spend any more money, so you'll pay for it, and I'll be thanking you once I pull the stick out of my ass.

Stay tuned for more installments of SWTPTRC!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shit, Man

Apparently it was the hair post that was 100th. I fail, dude.

In Other News

Apparently, that last post was my 100th.

In, like, almost 3 years--I think.


Also, I added a pageviews counter, and am pretty sure most of those are from me, especially since I tend to copy-edit my posts after publishing them.

I had a new idea the other day while roaming around the Pawnee; it will be a series called "X Surprise Ways To Enable The Kyriarchy That You Never Knew You Were Already Doing" or something like that. Stay tuned.

If It's Not About You, Don't Make It About You: On The Unfortunate Privilege Of "Feminist Men"

I'm sure where, exactly, some dudes get off implying that being a feminist man is harder than being a woman, feminist or not. Neither am I sure, exactly, where these same dudes get off basically saying that since they're treating us way better than the rest of the dudely dudes, we should be nicer to them, regardless of whether or not we think they're treating us way better.

And that, my friends, is the key. As soon as a "feminist" starts telling you that you don't actually know how you feel, and they need to enlighten you as to how you actually do feel, that person kind of gives up some feminist street cred. And it's worse when that person is male, because, shockingly enough, kind of a big part of the advent of feminism had to do with women getting fucking sick of being told how they're supposed feel, think, and/or respond to stuff.

The thing wot has set me off can be found here; you'll have to click around a little to get the whole backstory.

Look, I appreciate feminist men. I do; I really, really do. But I'm starting to think back on a conversation I had with my boss/friend en route to New Mexico in October--the basic gist of which was his belief that there's no such thing as a "feminist man", because men will never understand what it is to be a woman, which is central to true feminism, and thus the best men can do is "feminist ally". He came to this conclusion after taking a women's studies course [sidenote: autospellcheck does not like "women's", which I'm not entirely certain of myself, but since the right-click-change options include "womenfolk's", I am so not changing it.] in college, and I'd actually never thought about it that way before, but after he explained his "There's no such thing as a feminist man", I agreed with him.

And now I think I agree even more. See, the trouble is, the patriarchy is insidious. You cannot fucking erase your privilege just because you want to, so even when you try, and align yourself with a marginalized of which you are not a part, your natural tendencies are still going to be coming from a position of privilege. Which is to say that it's incredibly easy to continue to expect women to listen to you just because you're a man, and the fact that you're aligning yourself with feminism lends more weight to your belief that you should be listened to, because you're way better than those other dudes, yo! and your natural privileged inclinations spin out of control, and it's like seven hundred times worse.

Just, like, think about it for a second. It makes me 700% more frustrated to be mansplained to about feminism by someone who claims to be a feminist than it does to be mainsplained to about how the patriarchy no longer exists by just a regular dudely dude.

And I know you are not doing it on purpose. But mansplainers never do, even the dudely dudes.

I don't have to read feminist books to understand how the oppression of women affects the world. And dudes who read every single feminist book out there will still never, ever understand that oppression in the same way I do.

I mean, go read Sady's post, but do anti-racism white people pretend to be anything other than an ally? Straight people, cisgendered people, able-bodied and neurotypical people, none of these pretend to be anything other than an ally. Why is "feminist" considered to be the one thing that you can be regardless of which side you fall on?

Seriously, you have to go read the post.
So now Freddie’s sulking that Sady Doyle is “telling everyone about how impressed with herself she is.” And I am. Because I knew that would piss him the hell off. Because I’m a woman, and I have accordingly been taught my entire life to view myself as lesser-than, to devalue my own accomplishments, to accept it when other people treat me as lesser-than and devalue me, which they (if they are men, especially) have been taught to do. And I refuse. I say no. I tell you I’m Sady fucking Doyle, and I expect you to believe it. Being a woman who likes herself, is proud of herself, is impressed with herself, in public: There might not be a more subversive act.
Maybe someday I'll have the readership that Sady does; I seriously doubt it, but she's also said she used to seriously doubt it as well, so, I don't know. If I ever do, I hope I will handle it just as she does (in my eyes, anyway): like a total fucking badass.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On Women And Hair

So, I'm loving on Autostraddle right now, and I just found this post about haircuts (read the comments for more discussion). It's primarily about long hair vs. short hair when you're a lesbian, but it got me thinking about something I read somewhere the other day/week/month/year about long vs. short for women in their 20s. This second article I'm referring to was likely geared toward straight women, although of course pretty much nobody clarifies that because duh, of course we're talking about straight people, right?!? I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it.

Anyway, apparently I'm not the only 20-something woman feeling torn over long vs. short hair; this article claimed it has to do with age, and that since long hair is associated with youth, and short hair is associated with maturity, much like in the rest of our lives, 20-something women can't figure out whether we're adults or not.

The point is, why do women have to worry about their hair so much? Do gay men worry about what their haircut is "communicating"? Seriously, someone tell me. I don't know any straight dudes who care too much; for example, my boyfriend's qualifications for a haircut are as follows:
  1. Doesn't make me look like a tool
  2. Allows me to wear baseball caps
 He doesn't worry, in a specific fashion, about how people will interpret his appearance; he just doesn't want to look stupid. The biggest thing he worries about is whether freshly-cut hair should go above or over his ears (he only worries about this because he doesn't know which it's "supposed" to be; I solved this conundrum by accompanying him to his latest haircut and telling the stylist to cut it above). Of course, I'm not sure if this a straight dude thing or just an SBT* thing; SBT is, in general, astoundingly indifferent to the opinions of others (except mine, of course :D).

It just seems to me that women have to think more about how they present themselves to the world--but maybe it's just marginalized groups in general. I hear that some black people worry about natural hair vs. relaxed; I read something written by an Asian-American woman that discussed hair as a cultural signal. I'm sure haircut/style can be pretty important to those of non-"traditional" gender presentation, as well as to non-cissexual people; but is that different? Are those individuals who use their hair as communication glad of the opportunity to do so? More or less glad than a cisgendered white woman who loves using her hair as a tool?


If anyone read this blog, I could hope for some replies that would help educate me. However, the only readers I'm certain of are pretty much just like me, so, yeah. Such is life. Anyone?

*Strange Bearded Thing, which is boyfriend's newly adopted name on this blog

Friday, February 11, 2011

On Two Days Of Inattention And The GOP

I took a two-day break from the Internets this week. I went snowshoeing, drank tequila, saw my parents and sisters and brother, had dinner with my boyfriend's parents, drank coffee, and laughed until my sides ached.

I returned from my two-day break tonight, only to discover that, while I was out enjoying life despite all of the shit in it, Republicans want to "eliminate the word 'victim' from statutes dealing with stalking, rape, obscene telephone contact with a child and family violence and replace it with 'accuser'" and de-fund programs that prevent sexual assault and domestic violence along with oh so many more programs for women and children.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but, I'm not.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

On Queerness And Wearing Men's Clothes

I'm wearing, quite literally, boyfriend jeans. As in, jeans that belong to my boyfriend. He's a good 11.5" taller than I, which means the inseam on these things is unbelievably long, and despite subjective appearances, he's only skinny for his height, which means that a belt is absolutely a requirement. But, they are comfortable as hell.

And I sure do love some butch in my outfits sometimes.

Here's the thing: queer, as I see it, can be both innate and constructed, all at the same time. From what my little sister has told me, if I said anything about queerness around a lot of the people she knew in college (she went to a small women's college in California), I probably would be laughed down, or accused of appropriation or something. When Little Sister returned to school for senior year in a relationship with a cismale, she was told she wasn't "queer enough" to discuss queerness; her boyfriend was referred to as "the bioman"; she was presumed to be heteronormative simply by virtue of being in a relationship that was, in terms of outward appearance, heterosexual.

Now, I don't presume to assign any labels to my sister's relationship, which is now a marriage, but it seems to me that a group of self-identified queers claiming to understand my sister's relationship better than she herself did seems terribly condescending and presumptuous. Haven't queers, and LGBT folk, fought so long for the right to define themselves on their own terms, without being forcibly assigned identities based on nothing more than guesswork--or cultural precedent?

Anyway, my point is, we all have a little queer in us--or so goes my opinion. Maybe I'm appropriating; I don't think I am. How the fuck do you know whether I'm "queer enough" or not, anyway? You don't even know me--not really. Who does? Being in a biologically heterosexual relationship and queerness are not mutually exclusive.

I had a discussion with Strange Bearded Thing (this is my new term for the Boyfriend) last night about my defensiveness; see, I'm used to people disagreeing with me. I'm used to saying things and having them questioned, or having myself questioned, or whatever; this is a standard experience for anyone female-coded in this society, of course. Used to be, my response to this was to back down--to doubt myself. I also began meticulously constructing my arguments before opening my mouth, in order to have everything all laid out, in anticipation of resistance. Bolstered by thoroughly thought-out thoughts, backing down gave way to bristling, to defensiveness.

So, my point is, I might be defensive about my claim to queerness; this is to explain why.

Back to queerness, and how it can be both innate and constructed. It's not really that difficult; just think about it for a minute. I guess all I'm saying is that when I do something to my external appearance that communicates culturally-understood queerness, that's a construction of queerness. I could do this regardless of whether or not I felt I was innately queer, but I think the desire to externally code oneself as queer kind of makes one queer, y'know? Even if you're heterosexual/heteronormative to the max, messing with your gender presentation is a queer action.

And I'm not heterosexual to the max; I just happened to fall in love with a cismale.

Incidentally, I love this Autostraddle Boyshorts 101 article.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Save Us From The OMGZ!Liberal!Media!

I just read an interesting article. Dated February 29, 2008, the headline is "McCain's Panama birth prompts eligibility probe by his campaign".

As precedent, the article describes the case of Barry Goldwater, who was born in Arizona before it became a state. He was allowed to run for president, losing to Lyndon Johnson. The main point is that John McCain was born in Panama while his military father was stationed there.
Jill Hazelbaker, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the request for legal help was purely routine, while The New York Times, the first mainstream news outlet to run the story, drew fire from conservative commentators for raising the issue at all.
At present, it appears Democrats have little interest in pursuing the matter.
(emphasis mine.)

Does anyone else find it odd that I'm only now hearing about this? Does anyone else find it odd that there are still members of the Tea Party railing on about "WHERE'S OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE?" Does anyone else find it odd that the so-called "liberal media" picked up the Obama birth furor, yet didn't really seem to care about McCain?

Obama was born in a U.S. state. McCain was born on a U.S. military base in an area controlled by the U.S. at the time. But, oh, yeah, Obama is black. He must be a secret Kenyan citizen, or secret Muslim, or secret Enemy Of America!, but McCain is white, so he's obviously a Patriot!, or a MilitaryAmerican!

No On 3

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Personal Breakthroughs for 600, Alex

I've just had an epiphany--an epiphany about myself. (Incidentally, this is one of my essential characteristics of a critical thinker--the ability to continually discover new things about oneself.) Throughout high school and college, I received several Bs. Each time, as one would expect from an ordinarily straight-A student, I decided on a reason for the B--in order to internalize and deal with the situation, and thus move on from my perceived failure. I offer a list of the Bs that stand out in my mind, with accompanying reasons for their existence.

Chemistry (High School): I'm bad at science.
Pre-Calculus (High School): I'm two years ahead in math.
Gender and Society (College): I skipped some classes that resulted in missed quizzes, and I didn't like the professor.
History 105 (College): I never went to class.
Forensic Science (College): I'm bad at science.
Linguistics (College): Lingustics is hard, and I'm not really interested in it.
Anatomy and Physiology (College): I'm bad at science.

Notice any patterns there?

With the exception of any "I'm bad at science" answer, every reason on that list is completely valid. I was indeed two years ahead in math; I did indeed never go to class; Linguistics is indeed hard and uninteresting (to me, anyway). In retrospect, I got a B in forensic science because the course was heavy on entomology, which I am decidedly not interested in. I got a B in Anatomy and Physiology because the course was heavy on physiology, and I hadn't taken a basic biology course in about 5 years, and hence was rusty on central topics like cell function and replication, enzymes, the like. Straight-A students are monsters in that they expect to consistently excel; when I got a B--a B, for chrissake!--I assumed I was bad at something.

Except, not always. I didn't assume I was bad at math when I got a B in pre-calc; I rightly recognized that I was in an advanced course and so found it a bit challenging. I didn't assume I was bad at gender studies when I got a B in it; I rightly recognized that I didn't like the professor, and so skipped class as as well as failed to give the course the time and attention I should have. I just kind of blew it off. But these are things I've always known I'm good at; I've always been good at math, and since I usually got As in my major, I knew I wasn't bad at anthropology, just didn't care about Gender and Society. I also didn't decide I was bad at anthropology just because Linguistics is hard; I didn't dismiss an entire field just because one piece of it was hard for me.

So. Why do I think I'm bad at science? I'm clearly not. I did exceptionally well in classes on things like evolution, human biological diversity, research-oriented statistics,  and archaeology--all clearly science-based topics. As an anthropologist, I have regularly excelled in an field that relies on scientific methods to explore cultural and societal issues. Now, if I were really bad at science--the fucking foundation of most of the things I'm good at--how could I possibly be good at anthropology?

I can think of two possible reasons.
  1. We did a lot more of everything else besides science when I was homeschooled; it was more a function of a homeschool environment lacking equipment rather than because my mom is a bad teacher or doesn't know anything about science. When I started public school, I had less of a science foundation than most of my peers; consequently, I may not have excelled as easily at science as I did in other subjects, leading to the belief that I was naturally less adept.
  2. My culture tells me women are bad at science.
Both, maybe?

My point is, I'm not bad at science. I am currently a scientist, and I'm damn good at it. I decided against forensic anthropology because I thought I'd be bad at it, but I probably shouldn't have. Getting lost in an entomology class doesn't mean I can't be a forensic anthropologist; getting a B in Anatomy and Physiology because I lacked a solid cellular biology foundation doesn't mean I'm bad at physical science. Even if I'd taken an actual forensic anthropology course and gotten a B, all it would have meant was that I'd have to work a little bit harder at forensic anthropology than I had to at, say, the trigonometry course in which I earned roughly a 99% and learned absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In Which I Ineffectually Rail Against Illogical, Uncritical Thinking

A 'discussion' just took place in my living room, between my father and I, within easy hearing of my 13-year-old brother. This 'discussion' began with my father denouncing the Westboro Baptist Church for their "abuse of free speech", as demonstrated by the whole "Everyone but us is going to hell", and ended with my father defending Sarah Palin's "right to free speech", as demonstrated by the whole "Don't retreat...RELOAD" crosshairs fiasco. I am also apparently not allowed to tell my dad what some people are saying, because he apparently knows exactly what everyone is saying at any given time.

Please, someone explain this to me; explain to me, as though I were a child, because I feel as though I must be since I fail to grasp the logic here, why one group of people is 'evil' when they express their hatred of other groups, but another group is 'within their rights' when they express violent desires and tendencies resulting from their hatred of other groups.

Seriously. Please. Explain.

If a string of murders occurred wherein the victims were Catholics and members of the military, you can bet the Westboro Baptist Church would be blamed for their indirect involvement. When a string of murders occurrs wherein the victims are abortion doctors and Democratic senators, the spewing of violence-themed hatred toward liberals, which includes abortion doctors and Democratic senators, as expressed by the likes of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter, is apparently completely unrelated.

Oh, and where are all the murders of pro-life advocates, Republican politicians, NRA members, and religious leaders that should be happening because, clearly, both sides are just as bad? If these events were really just the work of two mentally ill individuals, operating in a vacuum, acting merely by virtue of mental illness, completely unaffected by the culture and society in which they exist, why is it always the liberals who get shot?

P.S. If you disagree with the idea that rightwing rhetoric has affected and is currently affecting the present climate as well as the context of Dr. Tiller's murder and the Tuscon massacre, please read this before presenting arguments.