"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

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Times, They Are A-Changing'

Incidentally, while I've made a stylistic choice to capitalize every single word in my post titles, even at those times when it's incorrect, sometimes it annoys me. And yet, I carry on.


I'm leaving archaeology. I got a new job in IT/usergroup support and business analysis at a nonprofit, which I start the Monday after tomorrow. I'm getting a fancy pedicure this week to celebrate no longer having to hike 10 miles each day in order to bring in a paycheck. I will no longer add a new writing credit to my resume on a bimonthly basis, but I'm ok with that. I'm excited for this change. And excited to have health insurance again.

More importantly, I'm really excited to move on to something new, a position that is composed of things I've already done a lot of and am good at, things I've already done a little of and am good at, and things I've wanted to do and think I would be good at. I'm at my best in jobs that pay me to know things, and I'm excited to have new things it's my job to know. This new place also has a small staff, which I'm hugely in favor of in my working environment.

In other news, SBT recently bought a new car and a SuperPass. I bought 5-Packs for both Winter Park and Copper. We will be weekend warriors this winter. I hear Fraser is a nice place to stay. SBT is going to teach me how to ski this year.

SBT and I are also moving to [hopefully] a townhouse in the semi-'burbs as soon as we find the right place, at which time we will bring his kitties to live with us and go about making our residence appear inhabited by adults rather than college students [i would really love to have a bathroom with color-coordinated towels.].

I am now a person who wears skinny jeans. And pencil skirts. And ballet flats. I will find my classy 28-year-old adult style if it kills me. Now that my work wardrobe no longer consists primarily of Carharts, wifebeaters, and bandannas, this should happen.

Well, that's about it. I feel as though many things have changed in the last few months, which they have, I suppose, but mostly I'm excited for all the changes coming up. I'm not sure how to adequately express how much I want to be a normal adult person right now, and all of these things are conspiring to make me that. So I'm happy.

Oh, also, we're getting married.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

One Mistake Men Make When Dealing With Women

 There is a Cracked article that I read and felt the need to respond to. It is called 3 Mistakes Women Make When Dealing With Men and it can be found right here. The article has three points, obviously, and here they are, word for word:

3. Playing Hard To Get Is A Good Idea
2. Guys Are All About "Negging"
1. Being Slutty Is Empowering

I'm not even going to go there on #1. It should go without saying that I'm exhausted to death of men instructing women on how they should handle their sexuality; I'm not going to beat that particular dead horse, because it's just not worth my time. I'm not particularly interested in your slut-shaming, thanks.

I do, however, want to offer my own One Mistake Men Make When Dealing With Women, and it is this:

1. Sometimes, She's Just Not Interested

Without a doubt, the number one problem I used to have with dudes [i don't have problems with dudes in the same way anymore because i just see the one dude now] is dealing with the kind of dude who, apparently, wrote this column [gladstone, i generally enjoy your columns, and i enjoyed this one, but let me offer you this constructive criticism, which i am blogging rather than emailing you because you, rightly, don't care what random people on the internet think about your columns. but, i am a lady, so, maybe you should care a little. you arrogant comedy writer. calm down, i'm taken.].

Specifically, the kind of dude who has a combination of the thoughts expressed in numbers 2 and 3 in his head while he approaches women in public places. Specifically, a guy who 1) sincerely believes that a majority of single women play hard to get, and 2) has not realized that the advice to women offered re: negging also applies to dudes.

I can't tell you how many times I've inadvertently ended up talking to a dude for far longer than I would have chosen, had they not approached me while I was trapped on a bar stool and unable to walk away without looking like one of those "bitches" Dudes like to complain about. I have spent many minutes politely but disinterestedly responding to their inordinately dull conversation attempts, all the while wondering how it was that every guy in a ski town hadn't noticed that he wasn't the only person who'd moved there specifically to ski every day.

I once spent over an hour rejecting a Dude, telling him in no uncertain terms that not only did I not want to have a beer with him, I never wanted to see him again. Seriously, those were my exact words. "I don't want to go out with you again. I don't want to sleep with you again. I never want to see you again."

And none of it worked. He would not fucking listen to me; he kept yammering on about how you never know where you're going to find someone you connect with and you should give it a chance and he kept using the word "aspect" in ways that made no sense.

I mean, if you're going to complain about how women are always playing hard to get and why don't they just say what they mean, maybe you should give them the benefit of the doubt when they do say what they mean. How are women supposed to win at your silly little dating game when we're assumed to be playing hard to get no matter what we say?

If I was mean to these guys, I was a total bitch; if I was nice, I was leading them on. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?

I will tell you right now that when a woman says what she means to a Dude, there's a good chance he won't believe her. There's a good chance that he's so wrapped up in himself and how awesome he is that it's never occurred to him that a chick wouldn't want to talk to and/or date him. When she tells you she never wants to see you again, maybe she really never wants to see you again, and she's not playing hard to get--you're just really boring and can't seem to figure out that women just want to be treated like goddamn people instead of mysterious puzzles that require codewords and guidebooks.

Maybe pause to consider that you might not be the catch you think you are, and not every woman in the world is falling over herself to date you. Think about it.

Then try to find one who does want to date you, because there are plenty of that kind of woman out there. Stop wasting your time on the ones who just wanted to have a drink with their friends.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On Heresy in the 16th Century

From The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (emphasis mine):
To Henry, and men like him, heresy was a poison that threatened the very foundations of the superstructure of Church and State as one body politic. It encouraged disaffection among the lower classes, challenged the divinely appointed order of things, and -- worst of all -- meant eternal damnation for those who succumbed to its lure. In sum, it represented every evil that could be manifested in a well-ordered world, and must therefore be eradicated.
In the 16th century, we had religious heresy threatening the foundations of society.  In the 21st, we have feminism*.

It's always something, isn't it?

*I began a search for something blaming feminism for the downfall of society, in order to quote it, but I couldn't take reading anything long enough to find a pertinent quote. Google it. It's not hard to find something.

Monday, April 23, 2012

On 16th-Century Sexual Gender Roles

I'm currently reading The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. I'm reading it because I'm a nerd and I love Tudor history.

Let's be honest: I also have a crush on Henry VIII. I would have 'succumbed' to his 'charms' and immediately 'relinquished' my 'virtue' had I been present in his court--rather like Mary Boleyn, actually. I could never have behaved as Anne Boleyn did.

Anyway. The book is brilliant, as per usual for Alison Weir, and also relevant to our times (is history ever not relevant to our times?).

Julian Norman, in Ched Evans conviction: the vitriol after the verdict, discusses rape culture in the context of rampant victim-blaming surrounding a case in which the rapist was convicted, no less:
Part of it can be found in a hypersexualised masculinity which dictates that "real" men are permanently, gaggingly up for it and that it is for the woman to keep her virtue intact.
Is there anyone who will still deny the truth of this statement?

The trouble is, nobody will admit it in these terms. And the terms are important, because they are reflective of the 16th century.

When husbands were unfaithful to their wives in the 16th century, as Henry VIII was, for example, the wives were expected to look the other way; it was just what men did, of course! Queen Katherine, when Henry takes mistresses, he doesn't mean any slight against you, he just can't contain his virile masculinity.

On the other hand, Mary Boleyn, if only you'd been as strong as your sister you could have resisted his virile masculinity; you gave up your virtue too easily and every nobleman in Europe has now had a chance to "ride" you. Shame on you.

Is this really where we are--still? Stuck in the 16th century?

Friday, April 20, 2012

On Catholic Fantasy Novels: Part II

[Part I]

Why are these novels terrifying? Well.

There's a point to be made about the daydream quality of these books; they're essentially to Bud Macfarlane, Jr. what Twilight is to Stephenie Meyer--by which I mean, of course, that he wrote the books about the kind of magical Catholic world he must lie awake at night pondering and yearning for.

A world in which, when Y2k crashes society and everything is reset, all the gays and Muslims and atheists and Democrats and feminists etc. either die in the first wave after the crash or see the error of their ways and become god-fearing Catholics or never existed at all.

A world in which, when God stops time and reveals committed sins to each individual in a personal but world-wide Judgement, the people who refuse to accept God's love and forgiveness kill each other rapidly, leaving the saintly to form a Catholic society in which everyone has a farm* and stops in the fields to pray the Angelus when the church bells ring at noon, and everyone does not include gays or Muslims or atheists or Democrats or feminists etc., because either they died or repented or never existed at all.

My point, it is this: I am creeped out by Mr. Macfarlane's picture of a perfect world, because there is no place for me in it.

I don't care what perfect world Catholics dream about--so long as it's on their own time, and not steadfastly creeping its way into the laws of my country.

Did you get that? It is also MY country.

There is no place for me in Catholic Paradise, and it would appear, when considering certain laws recently passed, that it is preferable for me to actually cease living rather than find myself out of place in a Catholic Paradise.

Do I need to clarify that I strongly disagree?

*Bud Macfarlane, Jr., appears to absolutely despise technology. The downfall of society, simpler times, all of that--I guess.

On Catholic Fantasy Novels: I'm Not One of These People Anymore

I am in possession of one of the most terrifying books on the planet. [i explain why it is terrifying in Part II. this got long.]

Hyperbole? Probably. What's a blog post without a little hyperbole? [seriously. this is the internet, after all.]

The book is the last of three by the same author; the first book in the series is likely the #1 Most Terrifying Book on the Planet, but this is not about that book, because I didn't just read that one, and I did just read the third one.

The book is House of Gold by Bud Macfarlane, Jr. The guy writes Catholic fantasy novels re: the end of the world as we know it, essentially, and this particular one includes Y2k as the central plot device. I'm not going to mock him for writing in 1999 what a lot of people were thinking in 1999, so don't think this is a run-down of Y2k and why it turned out to be barely anything at all, because this is 2012 and we all know that already.

The book is, as you might expect, full of misogyny, racism, and Christian supremacy. This is also not a run-down of those things, because 1) unpacking the entire book would take a while, and I have a life, and 2) who fucking cares.

I also found several glaring errors one would not expect in a published and therefore presumably copy-edited work; one was a plot inconsistency involving a character knowing a thing he couldn't possibly have known under the circumstances, said thing being known by said character only somewhat necessary to move the plot along, and therefore unclear as to why error occurred. Another revealed the author's apparently dubious knowledge of non-computerized objects in relation to a computer bug--namely, the assumption that said objects would cease to function after the grid collapsed despite functioning in a primarily chemical and biological manner*.

BUT. None of that is the reason for this post.

I first read this book around 2002 or so, when I was still into Jesus and being Catholic and all of that. Reading it now, I am struck by how perfectly it illustrates my reasons for abandoning Catholicism. And so read on, if you care to know those reasons.

1. As a woman, I'm clearly not a woman at all, but a girl.

The author continually refers to a primary character as a "smart girl".

The woman is in her late 30s and has survived societal upheaval, killer flu, and gun-wielding marauders; she later keeps herself and a baby that isn't hers alive in the middle of the forest without any help whatsoever. And let's not forget the decades of longing for the fertility her god denied her [for no practical reason apart from "suffering"--except perhaps to instill in her a starved maternal instinct that will latch onto Baby Grace when her mother dies, in order to keep the baby alive until her father shows up to start the Buzz-loves-Ellie line of asshats.], and the way she stayed faithful to her god and husband and son through it all, rather like Job, amirite? One might think she's a strong, resilient woman, perhaps?

Nope!--she is just a girl. Her 10-year-old son becomes a heroic man in an instant, by needlessly throwing himself in front of a gun to save the mother he should have been with all along, had he not stopped to put on his goddamn pants. His mother is just a smart girl.

What does a Catholic female have to do in order to be considered a woman?

2.  Free will, or lack thereof.

Speaking of Baby Grace, she exists only to further god's grand scheme. She is a tool used to murder her mother and coerce her father into falling in love with his best friend's widow--and is then neatly disposed of via the killer [and probably painful] flu once god's objectives are achieved and her half-Mel life needs to go away so babies can be made that are half-Buzz and half-Ellie.

The child exists despite her parents' rational and prudent decision to avoid pregnancy during total societal collapse, a goal they attempted to achieve through the Catholic-approved method of Natural Family Planning. But she came anyway. Because god doesn't give a shit about your prudence and/or desire to live through societal upheaval and/or not bring a baby into the world during societal upheaval because FUTURE BABIES MUST BE MADE.

Baby Grace dies as a toddler, for NO REASON. She is brought into the world in a terrible time and taken away from it in a terrible way in order to serve god's purposes. This is a loving god? This is a god who ostensibly cares about me and wants me to be happy or shit like that? A god who would create me for a specific reason, then kill me when he was done? Really?

I can't even.

Stay tuned for Part II, in which I (more succinctly) explain why these books are terrifying!

*This one bugs me enough to further explain, so I will. After the collapse, two characters are hiking from Ohio to New Hampshire, and one of them says the other how the collapse is the answer to the prayers of pro-lifers worldwide, because (paraphrase) "400,000 abortions were performed every year before the collapse, with countless more lives lost to the Pill and the IUD. When the mainframe went down, that all immediately stopped." Yes, abortions performed in clinics would indeed cease under the circumstances, but, ignoring the faulty assumption that the Pill and the IUD cause "countless abortions" (ProTip: it's not generally how they work), the collapse of the grid would in no way cause, for example, a chunk of copper floating in my uterus to stop doing its job. It doesn't have a computer chip in it; it has no moving parts; it's not a fucking abortion machine. It's a hunk of copper. It's going to keep working whether the lights are on or not. Sorry, Bud.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On Tebow Time and Having/Eating Cake

Hey, so Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos, Tebow traded to [Jets? as of this writing, it's not 100% certain].

Some people are upset that Tebow Time is over. Some people say it's unfair, because he's such a great guy, such a hard worker, such a [insert positive attribute that has little or nothing to do with football here].

Bill Plaschke writes:
I want to believe that, in a sport littered with all the second chances given former convicts and miscreants and Hall of Fame quarterbacks with troublesome necks, Tim Tebow will get more than just one.
Welcome to the rape culture, friend. The rape culture does not allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

The NFL is a meritocracy--as close to a true meritocracy as we're likely to find in our society, in fact. Whether you're a rapist or a choirboy, the NFL does not give one shit about you unless you're good at your job--which is playing football.

Now, I don't know what Bill Plaschke said when everyone was talking about Ben Roethlisberger and/or Michael Vick. I don't wish to imply that Mr. Plaschke is the sole target of this post; however, I do think he's articulated a thought that a lot of the public has right now: that Tim Tebow should be given a chance because he's such a "good guy".

I don't know if he's really a good guy or just appears to be one; that's not my point. My point is that when Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape, the public was perfectly happy to let him play football with very little repercussions because he is good at football. People were happy to let Michael Vick back in the NFL because he is good at football.

In these situations, public opinion matched that of the NFL personnel people; the NFL wanted their good players, and didn't give a fig what they'd done as long as they, the personnel people, didn't break any laws. Since Ben Roethlisberger was never charged or convicted of rape, the NFL suspended him for a few games to make certain of moral public appearance. Michael Vick went to jail, and the Eagles were happy to bring him on board, since he'd paid his debt to society and nobody could accuse the NFL of shielding him from consequences. The public went along with these decisions, generally; the public swallowed these rationalizations and agreed with the NFL, all the while unaware of or ignoring the fact that the NFL was making decisions based on football, not morality.

And really, it's the NFL's job to make decisions based on football. It's not really the NFL's fault if the public considers them the arbiters of morality, when they're clearly not. The rape culture forgives anything so long as there is something to gain for the privileged. If Ben Roethlisberger sucked at QB, we would have heard far fewer rationalizations.

Anyway, now along comes Tim Tebow. Golden boy, Jesus freak, happy-go-lucky Christian boy. And now, after decades of the NFL ignoring morality/personality/individual characteristics in favor of football skills, some people suddenly expect the personnel managers to do a 180 and start ignoring skills in favor of morality.


Where were you people when Ben Roethlisberger was running out on the field after a four-game suspension (reduced from six)? [I personally think that Michael Vick has served his time and should be allowed to play football, but Ben Roethlisberger is a different story.]

I want to know where all you people were back then, now that you're screaming about fairness and second chances and how a player's options in the National fucking Football League should reflect hir personal level of morality.

[Really, all this is just one more manifestation of Christian privilege. Christians are so used to reigning supreme, they don't know how to handle it when a person's Christianity doesn't give them a free pass. "But...but...he's a CHRISTIAN! This usually trumps everything! I don't understaaaaand!"]