when the status quo frustrates.

What We Teach Our Kids

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I have an adorable little nephew. Kid sister has spawned with her husband, and the random result was a little boy that has my sister’s nose and chin, and my brother-in-law’s everything else, only in miniature form. He’s cute, even though he also cements my desire to never have children*. Since it’s not my rugrat, no pictures will be forthcoming (sorry guys).

This kid has been interesting to watch, though. Not that he’s done anything especially newsworthy to anyone who isn’t his family (ah, look how he smiles, and gurgles and coos!), but how people react and change because of him. Kid sister has always been a little flighty- she never really was capable of focusing for more than ten minutes, she was bubbly and she had a sort of laissez-fare attitude towards safety**. Now, she seems to have become extremely cautious. She wouldn’t leave her kid with our mom for an evening out, she’s apparently memorized a whole host of books on child development, and she runs and worries over every little bump and fuss. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, especially the research and effort she put in the kid, just weird. I never believed that “Having children makes you more mature” – I’ve seen too many really immature parents- but apparently there is an anecdata point in my little sister.

Also, I find it interesting how at three months the kid has already been exposed to demonstrating that he is a “boy”. They dress him up in tough little clothes, and I hear how “strong” he is, even though he’s actually adorable more than strong. His parents don’t know what to make of me, I coo to him “Who’s going to grow up to be a radical feminist- you are, you are. Yes, you’ll respect women and I’ll let you cry” and they start freaking out (despite the fact that what the kid most likely hears is “abada da da da auntie’s playing with me *giggle*). I keep telling them I’m going to send him a pink onesie, though they know it’s a false threat (I hate pink- it’s more likely going to be purple).

Finally, the parents are not raising him any particular faith (yet- my guess is they’ll probably cave and end up taking them to church when he’s older) but my mom’s already singing him Bible songs. So far, he’s one of the random babies that hates being song to***, but my kept trying to with songs like “Jesus Loves You”. After listening to this song again, I wonder why we teach this song to anyone.

For those not familiar, this song reads as follows:

Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
they are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

There are more lyrics, but like most songs, it’s the first verse and chorus everyone remembers. Simple lyrics, simple melody, a staple of most churches to brainwash little children. Kids, believe this because we repeat it four times! What’s that you say? Generally when someone loves you they demonstrate it by being there for you and not being imaginary? Yeah, but, look- repetition! And, a book says it! What’s that? You have a book that also says that trains can talk and that sky is falling? Those books are just fiction. My book is right (despite having no evidence backing that one up) and also, remember, you’re really weak so you better cozy up to the strong guy. Seriously, this is actually a pretty twisted thing to teach young children. My only hope is, hey, my sisters and I all heard and sang the song and we came out okay- probably the little rugrat will too.

*Eww, eww, fluids. Yuck. Also, it was a hard pregnancy on Kid Sister and I like my sleep too much. Oh, and money.
** For example, jumping out of the barn on to the trampoline, lighting tons of stuff on fire, cutting everything she could get mother’s scissors around, you get the idea.
*** Though for whatever reason, seemed to enjoy my unique song “Eating Various Baby Body Parts”. The lyrics were pretty much as follows: “Look at little baby toes. Yummy, yummy baby toes. I’m going to gobble them up!” This was accompanied by me grabbing onto the body part in question, and then during the “gobble them up” part fake-eating them. Repeat for other parts like fingers, belly, knees and ears. The kid thought it was hilarious, judging by the way he giggled and moved around. So I guess my songs are only actively more disturbing.

Sex 2.0! Part Two: Constructive Dialoguing

Monday, May 11th, 2009

(Part One is here.)

Of the three Sex 2.0 lectures the ex-spouse and I attended, he liked the second one best. The session description:

Internet Advocacy for Sexual Freedom
Do we need a new national sexual freedom discourse? Does the transparency of the internet or its opportunity for anonymity help answer this question? Can we use our blogs, elists and online groups to shape the national sexual freedom discourse? For this workshop we will explore how we can use the internet to transform sexual issue debates into dialogues and then broad conversations creating new allies. We will use the issues of trafficking and decriminalization of consensual sex as examples.

In the beginning of the session, one of the speakers used the example of this as an ideal situation where people who are supporters of sexual freedom (defined as being supportive of polyamory, swinging, homosexuality in general and marriage equality in particular, etc.) could dialogue with people who are not supporters of sexual freedom (defined as thinking that doing any of those things will result both in you personally burning in Hell and the collapse of civilization as we know it generally). It’s a nice idea, and I actually remember reading about that whole pro-choice/pro-life lovefest several years ago when it was happening and thinking then that it was a nice idea. The speaker at the session emphasized that the great thing about this was that neither side is expected to change his or her opinion–compromise can and often does leave a sour taste in the mouths of both compromisers–this was all about building consensus.

But…there does have to be a but, I’m afraid…

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Disgust Wins.

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

So Douchebag Prager wrote “Part 2.” Hard as I’m trying not to contemplate him in even the remotest sexual fashion, I can’t help but wonder: is he really as terrible in the sack as this article makes him sound..? (Can anyone be? And if someone was, should he really be making it so publicly clear as this..?) Jesse’s blog on this is hilarious and definitely hits all the fine points, happily saving me from having to generate a detailed analysis of something that is genuinely grossing me out. Yep, it’s even worse than “Part 1″ was.

When Pity Is Warring With Disgust

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

First of all, I would like to say that I don’t read Townhall. The only reason I even knew this article existed was because Jesse at Pandagon blogged about it. I may even leave a nastygram on his Facebook page in revenge, because this is about the most pathetic, icky article disguised as a holiday concern ooze that I have read all month.

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Live From Glenn Sacks’s Blog: Biological vs. Legal Fatherhood

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Here’s the link! Feel free to post comments here; feminist-friendly moderation of this thread is in effect.

Mmm, Babies! They Stay Crunchy in Milk.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I like babies. They’re cute. I have about 50,000 pictures of my sons as babies and with the slightest encouragement, especially after a glass of wine or two, I will happily haul them out of the closet and make you admire each and every one of them.

However, I am pro-choice. I say “however” because clearly, there is a fair contingent of people out there who genuinely believe that people who are pro-choice don’t give a rat’s ass about babies. Sometimes, they even seem to believe that what pro-choice people really, secretly want to do is rend and splatter as many babies as possible limb from limb, and the only reason women are out there still getting abortions is because they just don’t realize that that’s what abortion is really all about. For example:

Oklahoma’s new [abortion] statute dictates that either the doctor performing the abortion or a “certified technician working in conjunction” with that doctor do the ultrasound, “provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting,” and also “display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them.” The law goes so far as to specify the doctor’s script: The physician must describe the heartbeat and the presence of internal organs, fingers, and toes.

Widdle fingers and toesies! (ahem) I repeat, WIDDLE FINGERS AND TOESIES!!!!! To be smashed, crushed, torn, shredded into bloody BITS!!!!

Next up! Addendum to the statute: “Doctor (or a certified technician working in conjuction with doctor) must describe embryo’s desperate screams of ‘No, Mommy! Noooo! Don’t let them rip me apart, Mommy! I love you!’”

(Sigh.)

Usually, I’ve tried to shoot for compassion in my dealings with the pro-life mentality. As I said, I like babies and I think they’re cute. However, I’ve noticed that with the passage of years, my patience has shrunken gradually down to, well. The size of an eight-week old embryo. This big: ——-.

I’ve gone into great detail about my abortion stance and my feelings about the pro-life stance on more than one occasion already; I won’t rehash them yet again. I believe, though, that I am officially “done” with attempting to extend any sort of respect at all towards those who self-identify as “pro-life.” Seriously, why should I extend respect to people that have codified it into law that they have not only no respect, but anti-respect for those who self-identify as “pro-choice?” That does not mean that I will cease to extend respect towards those who personally would choose to never have an abortion; that is an eminently respectable position. It definitely doesn’t mean I will cease to extend compassion to any woman who was pressured into or otherwise regrets her abortion; that is a personal, not political, matter. However, anyone who affiliates himself or herself with any group of persons seeking to pass legislation that restricts, in any way, the right of women to choose..? I consider you fair game the minute you open your mouth (or heat up your keyboard) to say so. Be warned.

The Fetusmobiles are here again.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

The DNC seems to be bringing out all the protesters. Including the protesters who feel that both the number of (1) women killed by a lack of access to reproductive healthcare, and (2) the number of car accidents stemming from drivers being distracted by giant fetuses, are far below what we, as a nation, could achieve.

(Disturbing fetus picture below the cut.)

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Let’s Talk About Abortion

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Maybe it’s because it’s an election year, but I’ve been feeling outright pounded by abortion news lately. To wit:

WSJ:

The American Psychological Association said Wednesday there is “no credible evidence” that a single, elective abortion causes mental-health problems for adult women.

The report, which came after a two-year review of published research, was anticipated by both supporters and opponents of legal abortion.

Women’s psychological reaction to the procedure has become a key issue in the abortion debate, with some judges and lawmakers citing mental-health concerns as reason to impose restrictions on abortion.

and:

Two years after a strict abortion ban [in South Dakota] was overturned by voters, backers have brought a similar measure — but one laced with complexities that could bode well for its passage, and ultimately could bring about the challenge to Roe v. Wade desired by abortion foes nationwide.

ABC News:

The Democratic Party is planning a convention designed to soften the edges on the party’s support for abortion rights, with a revamped platform and a speaking lineup that reinforces efforts to broaden Democrats’ appeal on the hot-button issue.

In a statement fraught with symbolism for those on both sides of the abortion debate, Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., an abortion-rights opponent, will be given a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month.

WaPo:

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has denied that a controversial draft regulation would redefine common birth control methods as abortion and protect the rights of doctors and other health-care workers who refuse to provide them.

According to the language in a draft of the regulation that leaked last month, the rule would apply to anyone who participates in “any activity with a logical connection to a procedure, health service or health service program, or research activity. . . . This includes referral, training and other arrangements of the procedure, health service, or research activity.”

One section of the draft regulation defines abortion as “any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”

US News & World Report:

John McCain yesterday said he would not rule out picking a pro-choice running mate, a move seen as a boost for former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who joined the presumptive GOP nominee for two days of campaign events in his home state.

The Guardian:

In Colorado voters are being asked whether human “personhood” begins at conception. If passed, that measure would make Colorado the first state to outlaw abortion outright since the Roe court ruling.

The Colorado ban has secured endorsements from “over 70″ anti-abortion physicians, according to its backers. But in the state’s closely fought Senate race, both Democratic candidate Mark Udall and self-described “pro-life” Republican Bob Schaffer are opposing the ban.

“I think there are other strategies and tactics that get us far closer to advancing the cause of human life,” Schaffer told a local Colorado radio station this month.

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Any color so long as it’s black.

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Just a bit back, Lisa has this neat/infuriating post on how women are functionally censured no matter what choice we make with respect to childbearing (and, of course, many other things).

She concludes, wondering,

Why, in a country purportedly founded upon the rights of the individual to choose any number of things–why we have created a situation where doing so is overwhelmingly disapproved of, a situation where the only fix in terms of general societal approval would be to remove entirely that right..?

I think it’s because we… don’t. We as a society don’t genuinely value individual choices, desires, and responsibility. We don’t like agency, and we don’t like individuals to have actual power to affect change. We like to say we do, though, because we can leverage that narrative of free choice to legitimize our institutions. “See,” we might say, “women don’t actually want access to employment and equal pay, for when completely free of coercion of any kind, they choose to stay at home and have kids.” Or we might say, “Look, those poor blacks / immigrants / white trash wouldn’t be poor if they didn’t choose to live that way.” Or perhaps, “Fattie fattie fattie stop choosing to be fat fat fat.”

The thing is: if you hold a gun to someone’s head and say, “Believe this. Do this. Live like I tell you to,” you lose a certain amount of authority to claim that your way is superior to any other. Shallow Nietzschen ethics aside, we have some intuition that “because otherwise I will shoot you,” is not an argument that supports, “society should be structured like this.” We aren’t, in short, interested in a free, liberated society because such a thing is valuable for its own sake. We are interested in a free, liberated society—or at least the appearance of one”because it supports our ideology. Because then we can say, “hey, whatever your qualms, with it people freely choose to support a white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy,” as if such a thing were even possible.

So first of all, this is why it’s important to make individuals responsible for every single negative thing that has happened to them—if not directly, then situationally, in that they have failed to choose to overcome the same adversity that everyone else obviously does. Mockery, derision, and distilled shame are the only effective medicines.

It’s also particularly evident when we decide to—what’s the euphemism? “Export colonialism?” “Engage in neo-democracy?” Something like that, anyway. Especially when the state we’re trying to build isn’t particularly popular with anyone, y’know, living there, maintaining the illusion that this is Exactly What They All Want is crucial.

This is also why we like innovative! entrepreneurial! driven! straight! white! men! who are rebels! bucking the system! by making money and exploiting others in a very slightly novel way. We particularly like IEDSWMWARBTS when they aren’t technically straight, white, or men—after all, Oprah shows us that any black woman can attain incredible wealth, fame, and power, since, see, one has!

In all of these cases, it is completely acceptable and desirable for anyone and everyone to passionately pursue their desires and boldly make individual statements and choices, so long as those choices support and reify patriarchal power structures. Women choosing their career over their children are obviously heartless and demonstrate the need for men to help them make the right choice; women choosing their children over their careers obviously demonstrate that feminism did no good for anybody; women insisting that the choice is a false dichotomy and working against to support their carers and family are, sadly, simply unrealistic.

And God help you if you’re a childless lesbian (tragic), a lesbian with kids (gross!), or a single lesbian (metaphysically impossible).

And every time I read one, I remember.

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Stories like this have cropped up with more and more regularity in the past several years:

Questions Surround Kids’ Sexual Harassment Charges

Between 70 to 100 of the state’s youngest school children are suspended each year for sexually harassing their classmates, state education records from 2003 to 2006 show.

The disciplinary tactics are prompting concerns from parents, educators and academics about the appropriateness of charging young children with sexual harassment.

“They cannot understand what it means. They’re too young. They’re just babies,” said Linda Burke, whose grandson attends the Downey Elementary School in Brockton.

Oh, my. Really?

None of the stories are ever really supportive of the girls. At best, they’re like the one I linked to above, or this one. At worst, they’re so skewed that if it wasn’t such a sad state of affairs, it’d be funny–

…here’s another example of how our schools have become hostile environments for our boys…

Were they much friendlier in the days of yore for our boys..?

Let’s jump into the Wayback Machine and find out–

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Pro-life, unless it’s the lives of poor people

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Just completely gross.

Short version: Sarasota Planned Parenthood and Habitat for Humanity team up with a plan that will help Planned Parenthood with some zoning issues and help Habitat get some almost-free land. For their altruism, they’re repaid with the nastiest of the nasty anti-choice contingent:

“We could have put up any building we wanted,” said Barbara Zdravecky, president of Planned Parenthood. “We wanted to donate the land so Habitat could build more attainable housing.”

But after Habitat donors learned about it and complained, Habitat International told the local board to drop it. The local Habitat board dropped the deal Tuesday night, less than a month before it was set for a final vote by the city.

The barrage of e-mails started with James Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League, a Virginia-based group that has led protests at Planned Parenthood offices in Sarasota. They said it showed a cozy relationship between Habitat and Planned Parenthood, which the league has accused of pushing pornography to children, among other things.

The American Life League must be so pleased. They’ve managed to screw over woman and poor people in one fell swoop.

Donate to Habitat, but let them know how you feel about them caving to pressure from anti-woman nutjobs.

Hat tip: nom_de_grr.

Protest Pregnancy Day ’08: Pregnancy Kills Women!

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

What I care about is human life, and the ending of it that could be prevented, no matter how great or small that chance of the life ending might be. Lives, lives that would otherwise be in no danger at all, are being lost to pregnancy!

Like these folks, I am totally unconcerned about other people’s ideas that they have some right to “privacy” that trumps my right to stop them from entering into a situation where a human death might occur. I mean, really, what kind of moral leg do you have to stand on acting like “privacy” means you’re free to do things that might result in a living human being kicking the bucket?

You know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I am so in awe of the brilliance of this good organization that I am going to borrow their elegant and succinct “Talking Points” and make them my own, to promote my own worthy cause. With just the simple substitution of “pregnancy” for “the pill” and “women” for “unborn babies,” it seems to scan in almost seamlessly for this great endeavor! I’m sure they’re overjoyed to share with me here because, given their level of concern about deaths that might occur without you even knowing, their concern for deaths that are really obvious that you could not fail to notice occurring must be at least as great! (Any other attitude would be quite, quite illogical and even borderline psychotic, wouldn’t it?)

Let’s get started saving some lives!

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