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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Public Conversation: You’re Doing it Right


I wrote, a little while ago, a post about men and women in public spaces.

I worked as a passenger counter on Metra again this weekend, and had a conversation with a guy that opened with “Do you live in Chicago?” and wasn’t creepy.

Actually, it opened with him coming into the vestibule where I was, and asking which stop we were at and when his was coming up. He was a little panicked. He calmed down, made a joke at his own expense, and went back in and sat down. He came back out just after the stop before his, and asked if I was from Chicago, where was I from originally, that sort of thing.

It was not invasive or intrusive, and I’ve been thinking about why. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • He didn’t crowd me. At all. He stood at a distance away from me. Also, he looked at my face, or out the window, and not at my body.
  • He didn’t outnumber me. There was only one of him, not a group. I didn’t feel trapped.
  • We had previously made contact that included an out-of-towner/don’t-normally-ride-this-line exchange, and a joke at his own expense
  • When I asked him questions about himself, he was very quick to volunteer information and let me actually participate in the conversation without trying to steer it entirely
  • He wasn’t drunk, and hadn’t soiled himself with some sort of bodily fluid

He was also totally adorable. He loved Chicago! It was so awesome! He was just in for the summer doing an internship! Chicago summers are so mild! (what. the. hell.) He’s from Michigan! Chicago winters aren’t too bad but he’d like to move a little further south! He loves to vacation at lake houses, which Chicago doesn’t have, but it’s totally awesome and cool that a big city like Chicago has so many open, public beaches! He was like a puppy.

We had a conversation, not an interrogation, and it was cool and fun. And he didn’t push conversation on me when I was counting or writing, which means he respected me/the work I was doing and didn’t think his needs were more important than mine.

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Why I don’t like sports, a special lady report


I say I’m not a fan of sports, but really what I mean is that I’m not a fan of how sports is packaged, presented, marketed, and treated in the USA. Anything played by women “doesn’t count” and isn’t REALLY a sport, and all sports fans are male. All of them. Every single one. Women: fuck them!

This was really encapsulated this morning, when I wanted to repeatedly punch the tv.

The World Cup is happening, you see. This is a big Soccer thing. I mean, excuse me, this is a big Men’s Soccer Thing. The Women’s Soccer thing already happened and got no press coverage because, you know, cooties.

So Ana Belaval, who does “around the town” type features, was at a local small bar interviewing male people who were there getting drunk at 8:00am. Something happened on a tv screen behind her and the crowd went nuts and she snapped her head around. “What was that? What happened?”

The male anchor there said: “It was just a yellow card. Don’t worry about it. You wouldn’t understand.” His voice dripped with condescension. I mean she was, after all, a girl. How could she fucking even BEGIN to understand something as complicated as a SPORT? That is MAN TERRITORY. Yes, that’s right, how could a Latina who worked for Univision possibly understand Futball better than a White Male? IT BAFFLES THE IMAGINATION. I’m not trying to say that every Latin@ is obsessed with futball, but considering that it’s been popular in South American way the fuck longer than it has been in the USA, I’m willing to bet that she grew up watching games while Mr Man did not.

You wouldn’t understand.

You’re just a girl.

They then had 3 men read off a list of 7 “rules” that their wives/fiances were expected to follow during the world cup. Basically: don’t walk in front of the tv, don’t change the channel, don’t expect any attention or interest or interaction, keep them drunk and fed, and don’t expect them to go anywhere or do anything unless it involves the Cup.

Classy, dudes!

If any person ever read a list of rules that demanded I crawl on the floor rather than walk in front of the tv (unless I have beer), I would smear that person into a fine paste with my mind, and then leave and never come back. Ever. Because fuck you, that’s why. My role as a human being is not to serve some dude food and keep him drunk and be subservient to a bunch of other dudes kicking a ball on the tv.

Maybe if I weren’t JUST A GIRL I’d have a different opinion about a woman’s place with regards to sports. And maybe if the world of sports wasn’t so constantly, aggressively, hatefully misogynist I’d participate in it.

I am in a HUGE GOD DAMNED FUCK THE PATRIARCHY mood today, I tell you what. Something happened on the train last night that almost made me puke out of rage. RAGE. I should be able to go out in public without becoming so enraged that it shoves all the blood out of the way and fills my veins.

posted under feminism friday, life, women | Comments Off on Why I don’t like sports, a special lady report

Movies I wish I’d seen


I don’t really like watching movies very much because more and more it’s becoming incredibly obvious that movies aren’t aimed at me or people like me, where “people like me” are “female.” You know. Roughly 50% of the population. Also, these people think and have thoughts and notice plot holes large enough to drive a semi through.

I’m not even going to touch on the ingrained, established sexism of the motion picture industry, despite the fact that women outnumber men when it comes to movie consumption. What I am going to touch on is 2 things:

    The Trailer for “Killers”

      The movie “Dog Soldiers”

      In “Killers,” Katherine Heigl plays a woman who goes from the over-protective, domineering, patriarchal custody of her father to the marriage bed of her husband, who is a former assassin for the CIA and Ashton Kutcher. He, of course, has not told her of his past because relationships based on lies and omissions are the best kind of relationships. Predictably, his past catches up to him and he winds up having to kill a lot of people while he protects and bosses around (dominates) his wife. Apparently he kills/has his wife kill a lot of female people? In brutal ways? God knows there isn’t enough of THAT in the world! What a novel concept: a man causing the deaths of lots of conventionally attractive in blood spattery violent ways!

      WHAT I WOULD LIKE THIS MOVIE TO BE: Heigl is the former assassin! Or current assassin. Either way, she is capable of taking care of herself and doesn’t need a man to protect her. In fact! Her past catches up to her and she winds up– shocking idea– protecting Kutcher. I think it would be really awesome to start the movie with the conceit that she’s just an innocent young woman, sheltered from the world, oh heavens what on earth will she do with this massive phallus gun??!? and then shit gets real and she shows her sharp shooting ability and saves the day instead of being saved. And possibly also she is not a white woman. Is that at all within the realm of probability?

      “Dog Soldiers” is not a werewolf movie about soldiers, it is a movie about soldiers and the bonds of brotherhood and also there are werewolves in it. That’s how it’s been described, anyway. What it actually is about is about trying to kidnap and experiment on local non-human people, and then breaking into their house and busting shit up and eating all their food and being surprised when they want to kill you. I mean, duh. Also, except for the female character and the main male character, everyone else was pretty interchangeable and flat… including the bad guy soldier character. I mean, they had characteristics like “likes football” and “is married” and… uh. That’s about it, I think. One guy’s really fast, maybe? I don’t even remember. The female character acts sympathetic towards them and then suddenly towards the end of the movie it’s like someone else started writing her or perhaps somebody realized they’d written themselves into a corner and OUT OF NOWHERE she starts talking about how the main character is a dudely dude who hates women and she’s just a bitch and it’s that time of the month and then she reveals that she unlocked a door and let the werewolves in. And also she is a werewolf. WHAT A TWIST!!! (this is after a really nice bit where someone was talking about pack dynamics and alpha male and female and I thought to myself “huh, cool, nice bit of parallel there, maybe this movie isn’t as bad as I thought” and then no, it really was.) I mean, it’s not a BAD movie, but you know. It’s not a good one. Also, the bad/evil guy is needlessly bad/evil. Relentlessly. For no reason. He’s just a massive evil dick, like he wakes up every morning and takes his “pure evil maliciousness” pills which make him do irrational but evil things like command a soldier to shoot an extremely expensive tracking dog which would have traumatized the dogs handler, and when the soldier doesn’t, he does it himself. Because he’s just so hard core evil that murdering dogs is second nature, even when that would require a lot of paperwork and explaining and also the cost and inconvenience of having to purchase and train a new dog.

      WHAT I WOULD LIKE THIS MOVIE TO BE: Actual defined characters would have been nice. In a movie where almost everyone dies, if you have a small group of people, it’s kind of boring unless you actually care about and are invested in the people being torn apart. Realistic evil and moral grey areas would have been totally cool too. Also, the fact that the soldiers commandeered someones’ house and ate their dinner and busted shit up really goes unremarked. Honestly, I would have loved it if all the myths and legends of monstrous beasties eating people were just that– myths and legends. And the werewolves were hunting prey animals like deer or something, and they only attacked the humans because the humans were 1) trying to capture and experiment on them, Ultimate Weapon style and 2) broke into their house and fucked shit up. I mean, if I were a werewolf and somebody came into my home and ate my dinner and locked me out etc etc etc I would probably go apeshit on them. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’d do that even without being a werewolf. But that gives you a nice moment of “who is the real monster here.” Is it the humans who invade a sentient beings’ home and place of security, or is it the furry fanged creatures who simply want to be safe? Also a female character who is an actual fleshed out character and also isn’t an evil bitch monster would be totally rad.

      Obviously, I want to see movies that don’t actually exist, except in my own head. I know there’s a few movies that veer close to the preferred vision of “killers” that I have, and I’ve yet to see “Ginger Snaps” which is apparently the most awesomest werewolf movie in all of existence. But I’m getting tired of movies that are “close,” especially as one of the big, glaring failures tends to be “women don’t really exist as characters, except as props/accessories for men or else bitchmonsters.”

      (Oddly, and a second viewing may not hold up, I found “Quantum of Solace” to be exactly what I wanted in a movie, especially with regards to the female characters… one of whom is in a position of authority over Bond and the other of whom has her own agenda and motives, uses Bond to further them, doesn’t sleep with him, doesn’t get killed, and needs the same kind of saving that a male character would have needed… and also is physically scarred but still considers herself attractive and is considered by others to be attractive, as opposed to being considered ugly, flawed, damaged, pretty-except-for, etc.)

posted under feminism, feminism friday, movies, review, women | Comments Off on Movies I wish I’d seen

Feminism: all about the men


I want to open this by saying that if you’re a dude I interact with in a positive way, this is not about you. I have male friends who are feminists and if I had a problem with their behavior I’d address it to them directly.

This is directed at dudely dudes in general who are dipping their toes in this crazy thing called feminism.

Here are some pointers for you!

  • There are a LOT of resources about feminism available both on line and in print media. It is extremely lazy and demanding to drop into a conversation about feminism and demand that the people participating drop what they’re doing and educate you on certain matters. Nobody owes you anything. You do not innately deserve women’s attention, nor do you innately deserve personalized educating. Get off your ass and do your own reading; stop trying to change the subject to yourself. You are not the center of the world.
  • Feminism is a large movement with a large number of active and involved participants who are out working to make very real changes in the world. Will your male participation be welcome? In theory, yes. In practice, if you demand respect and attention and accolades simply because you have a penis, you are in practice an entitled douche bag. Feminism does NOT need men as participants to be taken seriously. In fact, that’s the whole POINT of feminism: that women do not need male approval to function. If you act like an ass and are asked to leave a discussion, please don’t rant about how feminism “needs more men” and shouldn’t waste a “valuable male ally/resource.”
  • If you feel compelled to open conversations with “If you have an issue with a feminist who JUST HAPPENS to have a penis, I don’t know WHY so many people TAKE ISSUE WITH WHAT I SAY” than the problem is YOU. If people keep calling you on the same shit, you need to examine that shit and change it.
  • It is utterly hilarious in a very bad way to have a dude talk about how he’s really new to this whole “privilege” thing and then demand that someone help him explore what his privilege is. Congratulations, you know a buzz word. You also fail utterly to comprehend anything about it, and are proving your inability to read or think critically.
  • Guess what: including praise about a woman’s body with praise about her mind isn’t really praise. “Joan has a great ass! And she’s pretty smart, too.” is insulting. “Joan is so smart! And has a bangin’ heiny” is also insulting. Congratulations! You approve of her body type! Who gives a shit? Why do you feel compelled to mention that? Why are you unable to separate your physical attraction to her body from her actual accomplishments and skills?
  • “The Patriarchy” exists. “Rape Culture” exists. They permeate all aspects of the world. Ridiculing women for taking to task book authors, writers for television, web comics, etc because they’re not focusing on “real issues” does nothing except prove how little you get it, how little you actually value and respect women, and how little you are aware of the work that feminists are doing around the world. Ignorance: you’re soaking in it.

If I have the time, I’ll work up an article about vaccines and morons next. It will have to go through many revisions as I remove insulting language and cusses and sheer ranting.

posted under feminism, feminism friday, social responsibility, women | Comments Off on Feminism: all about the men

Two ways tv men react to women


I was watching the Andy Griffith Show while trapped on the couch with a baby who can apparently only sleep when attached directly to me with both arms. Move one arm to eat or drink something and he wakes up. The sling? It is now hated. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATED. The crib? Is obviously the devil. OBVIOUSLY. So I’m stuck with a 6 week old infant weighing me down except for when I try to grab a few scream-filled minutes to use the toilet. I’m just explaining why I didn’t change the channel. I couldn’t free up one hand to use the remote. It’s also why I watched “Hackers,” “Once Bitten,” and part of “Mr Mom.” It’s also why I’m slightly more mush brained than I was when I woke up this morning.

Anyway, the plot of the Andy Griffith Show was that a woman had the damn silly idea that she, as a human being with the right to vote, also had the right to run for city council. Imagine that! A woman! Doing something outside the home! Griffith and the other men all roundly denounce this idea and plot how to foil her and the other women, who are rallying to her cause. Otis, the town drunk who is currently in jail for attempting to assault his wife and accidentally punching his mother in law in the mouth so hard she had to get dental care advocates punching the women concerned in the mouth. Ho ho ho! Domestic violence is fucking hilarious! Some of the other men have a different idea, however. That idea? To cut off the charge accounts at all the stores so that the women, who are dependent on men for money because they are full time housewives who don’t work outside the home, cannot make purchases. The men use economic pressures to attempt to force their wives/daughters/etc, who have a legal right to vote, not to vote. Oh ho ho! Silly women! I can’t for the life of me imagine why they’d want a position like city councilman!

In response the women stage a strike and refuse to… not with hold sex, but to with hold sewing and cooking and other such affairs of the home. The men are willing to put up with it, however! And fortunately Otis manages to keep from beating his wife. This time. The menfolk hold fast and continue verbally berating the women and their silly, silly ideas about independence and self worth and being full human beings who are equal to men. At least, until Opie repeats some anti-woman screed Andy had said earlier. I couldn’t hear what it was because Nick chose that moment to howl, scream, and then fart loudly. If I weren’t so classy, I’d have reacted to the show in the same way. Anyway, this inspires Andy to make a public speech about how it’s ok if ladies run for a council seat and vote and stuff, because he realizes that his actions were making Opie “hate women” and he was afraid Opie would turn gay. Thus, he grants permission to the women to, like, take part in government and vote and stuff. Whew! Thank GOD a man was there to tell those silly women it was ok to run for a council seat, hold independent ideas, and attempt to be represented by those who make laws!

The whole time I was thinking about this episode of “Gomer Pyle USMC” I saw previously. In the episode, Sgt Carter and some of his knuckle dragging cronies decide it would be hi-larious to set Pyle up with a stripper and tell him that she was a school teacher from out of town. Pyle obviously falls for it and begins courting this woman, treating her with dignity and respect and showing off some of his interests (botany, history, looking at pretty pastoral scenes with a pretty lady) and all around being a cool guy. He never “gets fresh” or expects her to put out. It’s pretty obvious he’s falling for her, and she seems to like and respect him as well. Either Carter or his friends then invite Pyle to see her perform on stage. Pyle watches the show, she sees him and runs off, he goes after her. She asks if he hates her or something like that, he responds that what she does on stage is just her job and he still likes and respects her and has enjoyed the time he spent with her. He doesn’t castigate her or run off in horror or judge her. He just keeps treating her with calm respect and consideration.

Imagine that. Pyle, who is usually portrayed as brain damaged, respects women and the choices they make; even ones that are usually considered loose or slutty. Meanwhile, fine and upstanding law man Griffith thinks that women shouldn’t bother their pretty little heads with things like making laws or voting or, you know, thinking.

posted under feminism friday, wtf | Comments Off on Two ways tv men react to women

Michelle Obama


Thanks, Fox News, for reminding us yet again that it doesn’t matter that Michella Obama is an adult professional woman, educated at Princeston and Harvard, a lawyer and successful in her own right. She is to be labelled based on her relationship with a man. Obama’s Baby Mama. Nice. She has no other identity or status, and certainly doesn’t merit terms like “wife” or “spouse” or “partner.” No. As she has a uterus, she is to be defined soley by the fact that she’s had kids and is in a relationship with a man. Never mind that she and her husband were married for six years before they had their first kid. No no no. She’s a woman. Let’s not give her any respect, ok?

Also, in case you hadn’t noticed? She’s Black. You might have somehow over looked that, but it’s true. She’s OMGBLACK and Barack Obama is also OMGBLACK (and has a funny name! What’s UP with that? It just SOUNDS unamerican!) and they are probably terrorists.

I want to start calling Laura Bush George Bush’s Baby Mama. You know. Restore some dignity to the White House.

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Yoghurt! It’s for ladies!


posted under feminism friday | Comments Off on Yoghurt! It’s for ladies!

“girlfriend-friendly” videogames?


From Wired’s Blog, Cliffy B is promoting Gears Of War 2 as being “girlfriend-friendly.”

What does he mean when he says that?

He means that it’s easy for a 2nd player to drop in and out of the game, and it’s more accessable to a “casual gamer.” Because, as we all know, women don’t play video games. They are GIRLFRIENDS. It’s BOYS who play video games.

Also, the female characters won’t have “ginormous tits.” Which, thank you for that.

However, it seems your options as a female character are either to have “ginormous tits” or else be a mother stand in.

I’ve always made sure, working with the art department, that Anya is strong-willed but also very mother-like to the squad. She has a very modest chest and doesn’t look like some sort of heavy metal movie fantasy.

There you go, ladies. You can be a big ol’ fantasy slut, or you can be a mom. Those are the only two roles you’ll ever play.

Racism in action


I want you to go to this link, look at the illustrations from this book, and not flinch:


It’s hard, isn’t it? It’s appalling that somebody thought “hey, I know! It’s the 21st century! Let’s have a white character beating up a bunch of insanely stereotypical dark-skinned characters! We can portray the non-whites as savage, half naked, sexualized, violent, animalistic charicatures. It’ll be great!”

There’s been a lot of talk in the feminist blogging community for a long while (years) now about how white feminists just can’t seem to unpack their privilege and, essentially, stop being dicks. Moreover, this is a debate that’s been going on for decades, largely unheard. http://dearwhitefeminists.wordpress.com/update/ has some impassioned, frustrated stuff to say about the ongoing struggle, as does the comments section.

Images, and attitudes, like this are damaging to women as we struggle for equality and are damaging to all of us as human beings. I am sickened and disgusted by the idea that someone thought that images like those were appropriate. I am more sickened and disgusted by the fact that it didn’t occur to anybody involved with the book that those images might, just might, be hateful and wrong. The backpedaling and excuses involved with this book are also really really gross. “Well, they’re IRONIC. That makes it OK.” It’s not ironic, it’s hateful, and it’s diminishing, and it’s wrong and bad.

And this kind of stuff goes on all the time, and that’s hateful and wrong and bad and it should stop. And when people stand up and say “Hey, knock it off, this stuff is wrong and bad and hateful and stop. Just stop.” people need to actively listen to that and knock it off.

Basically, anyone who claims that racism isn’t an issue in the USA needs to look at those images and rethink that claim.

Public Property


Someone I know looks thinner than before.

Her upper body looks trimmer, a bit more toned. Or maybe it’s just the shirts she’s been wearing lately. I know she hasn’t been dieting, because she doesn’t diet, but maybe she’s been lifting weights. Maybe she’s buffer.

I’ve thought about asking her about it. “Hey, have you been working out? You look good.” Except she looked good before. She looked just as good then as now, the only difference is a few centimeters around her arms. I know she’s not TRYING to lose weight, and why should she?

But there’s still this urge to comment on her body, to recognize that it’s changed.

And then I thought, would I feel this urge if she were male? Would I feel the need to comment on her body and its changes? And frankly, the answer is no. I wouldn’t.

This connects with some discussion that’s been going around the parts of the internet I hang out at regarding women’s bodies and the public aspect of them. Women’s bodies are much more on display than men’s bodies. They invite more comment, more commentary, more criticism. They are more likely to be touched. They are more likely to be judged both for what they chose to wear as well as what they chose not to wear.

And that’s the norm, you know? That’s just the way it is, at least for now. But the awesome thing about society is that it can be changed, one person at a time.

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/  is an introduction to feminism. What it is, what it isn’t, how you can be a feminist, that sort of thing. There’s a lot of feminists who get burnt out from constantly defining feminism, and constantly defending it against charges of “man hating” and what not. So it’s nice that there’s a place that collects a lot of the basic stuff for easy perusal.

http://www.feministezine.com/feminist/modern/WhitePrivilege-MalePrivilege.html talks about male privilege. It’s based on white privilege, which is the first post, and you should read it. Then scroll down to the male privilege post.

http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/tannend/nyt062093.htm is an essay on societal defaults and language, and very interesting.

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