Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Despite what the commercials claim…

December28

Despite what the commercials claim, dieting isn’t going to fix all your problems.

No, joining weight watchers isn’t going to prevent jerks from slamming into your desk and spilling coffee all over your shirt. Nor will joining weight watchers prevent rain from falling from the sky and getting you wet.

I just… what?

Dieting isn’t some magic fix that will repair everything that’s wrong with your life.

Also, if you are an adult, don’t be surprised if a child’s size chair is too small for you. No amount of Special K magical special diets will turn an adult’s butt into a child’s butt.

Adults and children are different sizes. Children are smaller than adults. Yes, there are especially large children and especially small adults, but in general, child-sized things are child-sized because children are smaller than adults.

As baffling as the weight watcher’s commercial was (seriously? coffee spills can be solved by losing weight? only fat people spill coffee when jerks bang into them? rain, which once fell on the just and unjust alike, now targets fatties?), the Special K commercial seems more harmful. There’s the push to shrink female bodies, to reduce them to non-adult sizes. There’s existing rhetoric about how dieting mentality infantalizes women by removing their ability to chose what to eat, that dieting mentality punishes women for defying the ideal feminine norm and growing hips and butts and breasts (you know, secondary sexual signs). But now the message is coming clear: adult women are fucking hose beast lard bags if they don’t fit neatly into furniture scaled for children. Women: they need to remain child like and child sized or they are useless and terrible and need to be fixed. Adult women: there is something wrong with them.

The hell?

Note also that both commercials show conventionally attractive women who do not appear fat, or even chubby, and who have children. Ahh, true womanhood. Hot and fertile.

posted under advertising, body issues, feminism, health, life, TV, women | Comments Off on Despite what the commercials claim…

I think I figured out why I don’t “get” TWILIGHT

November18

I love vampires so hard, guys. I really do. I’ve been really into vampire literature since I was 11 or 12 (before that it was werewolves), so on the surface books like Twilight seem like a perfect match, right? It’s Vampires! And they interact with the world! But there’s this “older, more physically and socially powerful man grooming/stalking/courting a younger, less powerful woman” theme that I hate. I’ve always hated it, and it is RIFE in YA lit, in fact pretty much all literature, aimed at women.

Most of the women I know have been sexually assaulted, molested, and/or raped. While some of the perpetrators were the same age or younger, or were female, most of them were older men who spent time grooming them, stalking them, and manipulating them. I don’t know if the women I hang out with are unusually unlucky, if broken people attract each other, or if they just talk about shitty stuff that’s happened to them more than other women do. The Powerful Older, More Experienced Man trope may be sexually thrilling in fiction, but in real life it’s freaky as fuck; and it’s something that’s touched my life both directly and indirectly. When I was 17 I was sexually assaulted at work by coworker with seniority, who had laid down a ground work of intimidation and silencing action ahead of time. Two of my girlfriends, both under the age of 18, had been raped– one by a boyfriend, and one by somebody she grew up calling “uncle.” The boyfriend’s stalking ended after a year of threats; the uncle encouraged the second girl to tell because “nobody would believe her anyway.” Both young women had powerful, assertive men roll up in their lives, treat them specially, “watch them sleep” as it were, and then fuck their shit up.

It’s a fantasy I can’t get behind. I’ve seen it play out in real life, and it’s pretty twisted. A guy who’s interested in you and climbs a tree to peek into your bedroom generally isn’t checking to make sure you’re safe. In real life, he’s likely to send you a photo of your room with a note saying he knows where you sleep at night. It’s a threat. He can get you at any time.

You aren’t safe.

It isn’t very sexy.

posted under feminism, fiction, life, social responsibility, women | Comments Off on I think I figured out why I don’t “get” TWILIGHT

Schrodinger’s Asshole

November7

So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.

Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced, by Phaedra Starling, talks about how to a woman, every man who approaches her is a potential rapist and she has no way of knowing if he’s going to bust out the rapifying or not. Starling talks about the precautions she takes, and the fear she lives in when it comes to dating. I’m not trying to imply that she lives in cringing terror, because she doesn’t. But she absolutely lives a life of fear.

Although I’ve been sexually assaulted and virtually all of the women (and some men) that I know have been molested, sexually assaulted, and/or raped, I do not live in the same culture of fear that she does.

But I really hate being approached by men in public. I don’t immediately think they will rape me or do violence to me, although I have had scary moments. And I’ve had a LOT of men react sexually inappropriately towards me. What I hate is the assumption that THEIR TIME AND INTERESTS are more important than MY TIME AND INTERESTS.

When I’m on public transit wearing headphones and/or reading, I’m involved in something. When I’m drawing or writing, I’m involved in something. And that something? Is not other people. So when a dudely type person sits next to me, my gut clenches: not because I’m afraid he’s going to whip his dick out, but because I don’t want to have to try and turn conversation aside and listen to some bore drone on and on and on about shit or make ham handed attempts at flirting.

It has happened to me, and I’ve seen it happen to other people. One attractive young woman who spoke English as a second language, so she sounded “exotic!!!”. She had luggage with her and looked tired, she was obviously on her way home from a long trip. And this guy just kept talking at her, asking her questions which she answered politely and shortly before literally turning her head away from him. And he kept at it, finally coming up with inappropriate questions about where she lived and who she lived with. Oh, my, that is not at all threatening! He wanted her attention, and his desire for attention trumped her desire to be left alone.

And I know that dudely types struggle to walk the balance between “striking up a conversation” and “being an ass.” It can be hard to know if your interruptions are welcome. It can be hard for lady types as well. I’ve had to make that decision! Someone is reading “Blade of the Immortal” on the train. Do I ask about it and what other books that person likes, or do I sit quietly and let them enjoy their manga? It’s hard!

In my experience, a good rule of thumb is intent. I’ve had people interrupt my reading to ask about the book specifically, to talk about the book, to get recommendations. If it is straight up a dialogue about the book/reading it’s generally fine. I like books! I like book nerds! I like meeting new people! If it is a chance for the interrupter to talk about him/herself or start commenting on my eyes or shoes or something? Fuck that noise. That is being an asshole and I hate it.

And that kind of interruption? Dudely types don’t tend to inflict it on other dudely types.

This post was inspired by I, Asshole’s Personal Space and Being a Lady, which addresses the same original column.

There are exceptions to every situation, of course, but when the light changed and I walked away, I realized that women DON’T do this. Women do not interrupt people wearing headphones unless they need something. I pick a woman to interrupt, and I see other women at places like bus stops do the same. If a woman interrupts me, there is a good chance that she needs directions, the time, change for a dollar. If a man interrupts me, nine times out of ten it’s to say he likes my hair color. That’s nice; I don’t care.

Starling is right: if you behave like this, “your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone.” Put another way, a man engaging in these behaviors is not treating a woman like an equal. Would this man make four attempts to pay a compliment to a man on a corner who was also keeping to himself? If I had to guess I would say no.

We live in a culture that devalues women’s autonomy. Men consider themselves free to encroach upon the personal space of women constantly. They touch women, they interrupt them while speaking, they speak to them while silent, they demand that women smile. It is a basic tenet of the culture we live in, that a woman’s time is worth less than a man’s and that she should be grateful for any attentions paid to her. It’s interesting that I, Asshole notes that she and other women are more likely to interrupt women than men. I don’t think it’s just a safety thing, as in, “it’s safer to approach a woman than a strange man, all men are threats.” I think it’s an unconscious “men are more important than women” thing.

A lot of “rape culture” can be eradicated by one simple thing: treating all people with respect. This includes women. Men are free to walk down the street in tight clothing, read a book on the train, or get drunk in public without being hassled. Women don’t have that same freedom, because they don’t get the automatic respect afforded to men.

posted under feminism, social responsibility | Comments Off on Schrodinger’s Asshole

Feminism: all about the men

October9

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

My disgusting vagina money is no good!

June20

I just want to say this to people who claim that there’s no call for feminism any more because men and women have equality:

Hah!

Also, fuck you!

Because Ketel One? Does not want my filthy, disgusting vagina money! No! Ketel One is for men only!

There was a time when substance was style.
When men were unmoved by the constant current of the crowd.
When they didn’t drink their vodka from delicately painted perfume bottles.
There was a time when men were men.
It was last night.

Ketel One! It is vodka for men! AND ONLY MEN. Manly Men. Not like those other pansy girly vodkas in their delicate (girly!) painted (unmanly!) perfume bottles (probably only bitches and faggots drink that shit, am i rite?)!

As I lack a penis, Ketel One is obviously not for me. It is men only! They have a sign that says “no gurlz alloud.” And it’s really sad, because I loved their print ads, which were classy and interesting and understated.

And then there is Bacardi!

Bacardi wants you to know that I am very, very ugly.







I am fat! I have “lumpy rolls!” I have breasts that don’t look like softballs! I have a hairy mole! I have acne and I wear glasses and I have teeth that don’t look like a picket fence (ie perfectly straight). I have freckles and cellulite! I am a human being with flaws, and apparently Bacardi doesn’t want to be associated with me. If only I were a super hot woman or a man of any appearance, Bacardi would welcome my dollars with open arms. But they do not!

Alas, I will no longer spend my hard earned money on Ketel One and Bacardi. My screwdrivers and cranberry screwdrivers will be made with Grey Goose or Finlandia or some other brand. My strawberry Daiquiris and Rum and Cokes will be made with Captain Morgan’s (and Coke). I am certain they will be glad to receive my appalling vagina-tainted money without casting aspersions upon me, as a non-penis having, apparently non-penis pleasing person.

posted under body issues, CONSUME, crass materialism, fat, feminism, social responsibility, wtf | Comments Off on My disgusting vagina money is no good!

Latest Terrorism Attack on American Soil

May31

Dr. Tiller, one of the few doctors in the USA who is willing and able to perform late-term abortion, was shot to death while leaving church services. He has been shot before, his clinic has been bombed, the women who have gone to him for health services have been intimidated, terrified, threatened, and injured. Now he is dead, murdered by a person or group who doesn’t believe that women have the right to make decisions about their health.

Late term abortions, those performed after 20 weeks, represent only 1.4% of total abortions performed by doctors in the USA. 1.4%. Even if you nudge the definition of “late term” back to 12 weeks gestation, a time where the fetus is maybe sort of possibly viable if you have cutting edge technology and millions of dollars to spend on health care (or a willingness to declare bankruptcy instead of paying astronomical medical bills), the total of abortions performed is only 6.2%. Yet late term abortions are presented by those who call themselves “Pro Life” (yet aren’t above murdering people) as incredibly common. Save the babies! It’s an epidemic of murder! God’s baby garden is getting too full of precious miracles!

Of course, the women who chose late term abortions generally do so not because they suddenly realize OMG I AM PREGNANT OH NOES if only I weren’t such a slut! I better get rid of the evidence and murder this baby! They do so because they are physically or financially unable to have an abortion earlier, because a sexual partner or family member prevented them from having an abortion earlier, because they did not know that it was possible to get an abortion or that it was ideal to have an abortion before X weeks. In other words, most women who have late term abortions do so out of ignorance or fear of someone hurting them. Those eager and willing to murder men who provide medical services to women, however, are quick to paint these women as too stupid to make any sort of medical decision for themselves, even when it’s the efforts of these murderers that have ensured that young women in this country grow up taught little to nothing about their bodies and contraception, and have fought to deny funding to organizations that provide contraception and reproductive health services, and which assist women who are having financial difficulties while pregnant.

So women whose much wanted babies are hydrocephalic or have malformed organs or don’t have brain tissue or are already dead and starting to rot are pretty much fucked because the doctors who can provide needed medical services to them are either prohibited by law from providing those services or have to worry about being murdered if they continue to provide these medical services. Assuming, of course, that the women themselves can make the journey, often across state lines, to a medical provider and then can safely enter and exit his or her clinic without getting harassed or assaulted themselves.

People who claim to be religious and who claim to “respect life” value the “life” of a lump of poorly formed non-viable tissue over the life of the woman carrying said tissue in her body. People who call themselves “pro life” have no issue with attacking women. While claiming to “respect life,” they seek to inhibit women’s access to health care, contraceptives (one of the best ways, if not THE best way, of reducing abortions is to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies) and contraceptive education. After negatively impacting her reproductive health, these individuals have also tried to strip away social safety nets that can help women with children. Funding has been pulled for health care, WIC, food stamps, and child care and welfare programs. Women are expected to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” while also going into debt paying for vaccinations for their kids. They are expected to go to work and support themselves and their kids, but child care is so expensive that it’s very possible to turn over one’s entire paycheck to a day care facility. There’s a reason so many little kids from economically depressed backgrounds are shaken to death or otherwise killed by their care providers: their moms can’t afford anything better for them.

Women are expected to be virginal creatures, and if they have sex these “pro life” assholes expect them to be punished for it. They deserve pregnancy, as a punishment. They deserve poverty, as a punishment. Women aren’t meant to enjoy sex, and those who have sex out of the strictly defined marital bed deserve to be punished. And since a potential baby has more value than a living woman, even if the fetus is non viable (and conceived during heterosexual wedlock in accordance with Christian religious values), said fetus should be treasured and made comfortable despite any risk to the mother’s health. Because, you know, those women had SEX and sex is BAD when women have it, and they need to just shut the fuck up already and PAY THE PRICE. And if that price means KNOWING that their babies don’t have heads, they need to just continue gestating them for 28 more weeks with all the physical pain and discomfort that pregnancy entails and also the emotional discomfort and pain with knowing that their babies are going to be born DEAD, and carry that lump of malformed tissue “to term” and either push it out their disgusting, filthy cootches or else have major abdominal surgery to remove it. Because every life is sacred, as long as it’s not an adult woman’s. Sure, the precious angel fetus might die and start to rot and poison the woman and kill her slowly, but that bitch shouldn’t have been having sex anyway, am I right? Sin of Eve and all that.

There is a continual chipping away at my rights as a human being. Women should be able to go to clinics to get cervical exams without assholes who claim to represent Jesus shoving pictures of dead babies at them and harassing and assaulting them. Women should be able to visit womens’ health doctors without worrying about being shot to death doing so. Women should be considered, wait for it, rational human beings who are capable of making their own health and reproductive choices; not treated as childlike innocents who need these choices made FOR them. Time and again individuals and organizations have targeted people who provide medical services to women and have stalked, harassed, threatened, and killed them. Places where women receive medical care have literally been bombed and destroyed. Clinics that provide reproductive medical services (often to less affluent women) like PAP smears, vaginal and cervical exams (you know, to detect cancer), and contraceptive services (which, you know, prevent pregnancy), are picketed and pressured to not open. Women seeking medical care are verbally harassed and sometimes assaulted or murdered. This has been going on for YEARS and rarely is anything done about it. This is terrorism directed at women, and it’s going unpunished.

I’ll leave you with this graphic:
Chart of Abortion and Reproductive Issues

Newer Entries »