Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Castles Made of Sand

From De-Lovely, which I've finally seen now. It was beautiful.

Monday, February 27, 2012

True or False for Mormons:

If you think that we should never disagree with the prophet because God will never let him lead the church astray, then you actually believe in prophetic infallibility (which Mormons claim not to believe).

[For the purposes of this conversation, disagreeing means deciding not to follow a certain counsel—not saying it doesn't make sense to you but you'll do it anyway.]

Discuss.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Modest is Hottest"

Excellent commentary on the uselessness of this phrase (which I really dislike):

"It's more sexually enticing to not be sexually enticing!"

It's sad, really, because you can see that kids who say this are trying to be positive. They're trying to say, "I can still be attractive, even if I reject fashion choices that society as a whole sees as necessary." And that's a great message. But framing it as who is "hottest" takes that positive message and spins it in a really messed-up way.

This phrase is the ultimate example of how modesty obsession is just as sexually objectifying as the culture it's trying to reject. Modesty (in this sense) is supposed to be about respecting our bodies and understanding that our physical appearance is not the most important thing about us. "Modest is hottest" does not do that. It just allows you to be a sexual object with more clothes on.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You Have Republicans In Your What?

Mike says I can't post this on Facebook., so I'm posting it here instead. I guess this is a slightly better venue since no unsuspecting grandmothers or teenage boys will probably see it, as opposed to having it show up in their news feeds. As for anyone else who is awkward... Sorry. :)


And actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I'd like to share this as well. Made me laugh quite a bit the other day when I watched it, but I keep forgetting to post it.

Moving Beyond Words, by Gloria Steinem--9/10

Well, ironically enough, I think Sigmund Freud had some intense mental problems. Seriously, I have never read anything so absurd in my life as this explanation of his concept of penis envy.
"In her unconscious envy of the penis, many a woman adorns herself with feathers, sequins, furs, glistening silver and gold ornaments that 'hang down'—what psychoanalysts call 'representations' of the penis," say [Lucy] Freeman and [Dr. Herbert S.] Strean [authors of Freud & Women]. Other phallic symbols, as listed by Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams: "Sticks, umbrellas, posts, trees... objects which share with the thing they represent the characteristic of penetrating into the body and injuring—thus, sharp weapons of every kind, knives, daggers, spears, sabers, but also firearms... watering-cans, or fountains... objects which are capable of being lengthened, such as hanging lamps... pencils, pen-holders, nail-files, hammers... The remarkable characteristic of the male organ which enables it to rise up in defiance of the laws of gravity [like] balloons, flying-machines and most recently zeppelin airships... Among the least easily understandable male sexual symbols are certain reptiles and fishes, and above all the famous symbol of the snake... [also] hats and overcoats or cloaks... the foot or the hand..."
Balloons, "flying machines," and zeppelins as representations of the penis? Really? Of all the arrogant, grandiose megalomania... I mean really. Wow. And did you know that your own foot is a symbol for the penis? No, it's true.

Want a sexist worldview that makes about a quadrillion times more sense? Check this out:
Women's superior position in society was so easily mistaken for an ummutable fact of life that males had developed exaggerated versions of such inevitable but now somewhat diminished conditions as womb envy. Indeed, these beliefs in women's natural right to dominate were the very pillars of Western matriarchal civilization—impossible to weaken without endangering the edifice. At the drop of a hat, wise women would explain that while men might dabble imitatively in the arts, they could never become truly great painters, sculptors, musicians, poets, or anything else that demanded originality, for they lacked a womb, the very source of originality. Similarly, since men had only odd, castrated breasts which created no sustenance, they might become adequate family cooks—provided they followed recipes, of course—but certainly could never become great chefs, vintners, herbalists, nutritionists, or anything else that required a flair for food, a knowledge of nutrition, or an instinct for gustatory nuance. And because childbirth caused women to use the medical system more than men did [it does—women use the health care system significantly more than men do, even excluding pregnancy-related visits], making childbirth its natural focus, there was little point in encouraging young men to become physicians, surgeons, researchers, or anything other than nurses and other low-paid health care helpers.  

Even designing their own clothes could be left to men only at the risk of repetitive results. When allowed to dress themselves, they seldom could get beyond an envy of wombs and female genitals, which restricted them to an endless succession of female sexual symbols. Thus, the open button-to-neck "V" of men's jackets was a well-known recapitulation of the "V" of female genitalia; the knot in men's ties replicated the clitoris, while the long ends of the tie were clearly mean to represent the labia. As for men's bow ties, they were the clitoris erecta in all its glory. All these were, to use Freud's technical term, "representations."

Of course, one can understand why men would not choose to replicate their own symbols—chicken necks, bits of rope, dumbbells, cigarillos, spring potatoes, kumquats, belfries, and the like—but instead would choose to admire the glories of cathedrals, stadia, and mammoth caves, the ocean, the sky, and other representations of the womb, as well as to replicate the exquisite jewel of the clitoris in the ties that were the only interesting feature of their dress."
The first section of this book is based on a segment Gloria Steinem used to do in her speeches called "What If Freud Were Phyllis?" in which she takes Sigmund Freud's theories, often word-for-word, and gender-reverses them to show how utterly absurd, sexist, and patriarchal they were. It is a fascinating section, and if you don't even want to read the whole book, you should at least read that. I'm not kidding about Freud having problems. He believed that infants wanted sex (with their parents, naturally); he used cocaine regularly and recommended it as an antidepressant; and he decided, in that psychoanalysis of which he is the "father" (he didn't invent it),  that any time a patient—almost always a young woman—"remembered" sexual abuse—almost always by her father—it either was only a fantasy or had happened because the patient wanted it. You will be in shock, as I was, that Freud is still being taught in high school psychology classes (at least mine) as a legitimate, even venerable source.

The second section is about Bev Francis, the strongest woman in the world (pound for pound, stronger than Arnold Schwarzenegger) and I found that section equally fascinating. You wouldn't think bodybuilding would be remotely interesting to me, but it turns out that there was actually a lot of progress here in the way of defeating gender roles and defining "femininity", and Bev Francis just sounds like such a kind, wonderful human being. There's a part about advertising in women's magazines, which was—sadly—not as surprising as it should have been, and which made me decide that I'm going to go out and buy a bunch of magazines to analyze (this book was written in 1994 so I wondered how much has changed since then). Then there are two chapters that deal with money, things like the "masculinization of wealth", ways that rich women are actually more trapped than poor women, and how budgeting reflects values (a topic that was especially interesting to me; I'm working on a separate post about it already).

Overall it is a fantastic book, full of really interesting information about the way women fit into and are treated by the world in areas we don't often think about. I highly, highly recommend it for everyone.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why the "it's a private institution and you know what you're getting into when you attend" argument doesn't fly with me in re: BYU

In the first place, no, you don't. Average eighteen-year-olds, especially if they have not grown up in Utah, do not know everything the Honor Code entails when they decide to go to BYU. All they know is that BYU is their church's school. "The Lord's University." That their parents and/or leaders went there, that they are encouraged to go there and praised/thought highly of for doing so. That BYU is a school where they will be able to have an educational experience like none other, accompanied by the spirit in every class. They have great incentive to go there. But that doesn't mean they know what they're getting into.

They certainly don't know that they are going to be encouraged to watch their roommates, neighbors, and friends, and to report those who don't follow the Honor Code to the letter. They don't know that if they are struggling with their testimony and confess their doubts to their bishop, they might just get kicked out. They probably don't know that members of the opposite sex will not be allowed to use the bathroom in their apartments except "when civility dictates", and since this is a completely subjective guideline their ability to extend that civility will be dependent on their roommates' cooperation.

They don't know that they might be sitting on campus minding their own business and have a fellow student hand them a note castigating them for being attractive to others, or that they might try to take a test and be turned away because the testing center employee finds fault with their dress even though it's modest in every way including the actual meaning of that word. (Many of them probably do at least know that they can't take a test with any scruff, much less a beard, but even then—not all.)

In the second place, it doesn't matter whether or not students know what they're getting into. The point is that this school is a church institution. What happens there is either officially sanctioned or unofficially justified by the fact that the school is governed by the leadership of the church (the president of the university is a General Authority, and the Board of Trustees consists of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, the Relief Society and Young Women general presidents, and the senior president of the Seventy. Our prophet is the chairman of the board). If there's something that outrages people, something that shouldn't be happening, then the fact that it's a private institution actually makes it worse. That says, "Yes, the LDS church runs this school. And this is what they want to have happen there." 


"If you don't like it, don't go"—this means nothing. If you don't like something your church is doing, does the fact that it is not personally affecting you make a difference? Does the fact that you had the choice whether or not to attend the school actually change anything? When it's your religion involved, it's kind of a matter of principle. 

I'm not saying this to say that I think the church should be held responsible for misguided patriarchal control freaks like the Valentine's Day Vigilante. I don't. All I'm saying is that, even without addressing the fact that for members of the churchwho are pressed and pushed and very strongly encouraged to go to collegeBYU is an absurdly cheap option next to comparable schools and therefore everyone who doesn't have a lot of money might not have as free a choice as its proponents like to think, this argument doesn't hold water. It doesn't matter that people have the choice of whether or not to attend, and since this point is more often than not just an attempt to dismiss people's concerns by questioning their right to have them in the first place, we'd all be much better off if it could just go somewhere and die out peacefully. 

Spamagain

Is it just me or is spam getting bolder?


I get a lot of spam lately (luckily for you there wasn't any of the really bad stuff when I took this screen shot). It's annoying. I appreciate the gesture, internet, but you can really stop; I promise I won't be offended.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Philosophy Series: Feminism

There are a lot of misunderstandings about feminism. Since I've now brought it up several times in a sort of incidental capacity, I thought I should address it clearly and straighten some of them up. The first misunderstanding is that feminism is about man-hating or stay-at-home-mom-hating. Some others include that it's "worldly" and anti-family, or that it's about fanatically measuring every little thing in your relationship and deciding whether or not everyone is being treated "equally." It's not.

Feminism is about believing that women and men are equally valuable, and people should not be discriminated against based on their gender. That's it. That's all it is.

fem·i·nism

 noun \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\

Definition of FEMINISM

1
: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2
: organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests
From Merriam-Webster online. Hating people is not in the definition.

Yes, there are different kinds of feminists. There are some who don't like men, and there are also some who are happily married to men. There are some who don't want to have children, and there are some who are stay-at-home moms by choice. Sometimes people have had bad experiences with feminists, when those people have judged them or demeaned them or mocked their choices in life. This does happen, and it shouldn't. But the thing people forget is that we've all had bad experiences with people who identify as one thing or another, and we don't write off an entire world view because of our bad experience with individuals.

Some pretty horrible things have been said to me by Christians, some even in the name of Christianity. I was mocked and tormented my whole adolescence by Christians. I was ignored by the Christians who went to my own church. And when they found out I wasn't voting for the same person they were, Christians told me that I didn't have any morals, that I was a bad person, that I was brainwashed and evil and going to hell. This was incredibly un-Christlike behavior that was frankly traumatizing for me. But if I were to judge Christianity by these experiences, I would be wrong. Because those people's faults and mistakes were their own.

Like anything else, feminism manifests itself in different ways for each person. Some women felt pressed into being stay-at-home moms when they didn't want to be, and for those women, their feminist beliefs might lead them to get jobs. It also might leave them bitter toward the idea of stay-at-home moms, at least for a while. Some women were pressed into early marriage, and maybe made their decisions based on factors besides their own feelings; or they may have been in abusive marriages, but didn't realize it because they'd been raised to think certain things about How Marriage Is. For these women, embracing feminism probably means a divorce. (This is most likely why some people think that feminism is destructive to the family, and it makes sense to come to that conclusion if you don't look beyond the numbers. But staying married is not the ultimate unqualified Good; not if the marriage was a bad one.) Having escaped from bad marriages, it's understandable that some women might be angry with men specifically, with patriarchal societies in general. If you understand what a person has been through, what they are feeling, you realize that their feelings are not directed toward you, and it's easier to not take them personally.

There is a reason that people often say, "Feminism is humanism." Sexism and patriarchal gender roles hurt men, too, because men don't universally fit their roles any better than women do. Feminism isn't about advancing women at the expense of men (if it seems that way, it's only because the scales are so unbalanced in men's favor to begin with). Feminism is the belief that people should not be forced into or excluded from anything solely based on their gender. It is the belief that all people are of equal worth. And I have to admit that I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to be identified with that belief.

How I See It

I am not big on most internet memes. I like blogthings, because it's fun to have a theme to write about sometimes, and having a template makes it easy to just focus on your points instead of writing cohesive paragraphs. And every so often I'll see a graphic going around that makes me laugh. But there's one happening lately that I really love, and I have been collecting versions of it left and right. 
 
Some are geekier than others. Some are only mildly amusing if you're not part of the group they're depicting, but some are funny anyway (I think the Zumba and tech support ones are hilarious). 
 
 

 In the first place, it helps that these graphics are pretty well done. The pictures are generally fantastic (and how is that happening so consistently, by the way? Is there some kind of committee?) with good comic effect. 
 

But I think a big part of why I like them is that there's actually something to them beyond just the funny. They focus on perception and awareness, highlighting how differently we all see each other and ourselves. In a really optimistic sense, this kind of humor is the stuff that could help us all become a little more understanding and accepting of each other. (Have I ruined the fun yet?)

There are at least a zillion more out there, plus probably more I haven't seen. What are your favorites?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Day of Poles

The first half of my day wasn't great. It was so hard to get up at 5:45 this morning, but I did and made it to work--prepared for a half day with a half-charged phone and laptop sans power cord--where, upon my arrival, the dog (who is usually put away in the bedroom before I get there) immediately started yapping up a storm and woke up both babies. I had no trouble getting Lana to go back to sleep in the living room, but Harper was wide awake and super noisy, and I had to move to the end of the hall and sit on the floor to feed her so she wouldn't wake big sister up again. This wasn't enough--she was being really loud--so we eventually ended up in her bedroom with the door shut. I'll spare you the rest of the details, but this is pretty much how the rest of the day went, and I was really worn out when I got home at 2:00 (two hours over my "half" day schedule (I worked eight hours)).

Another frustrating part of the morning was that Mike's paycheck (which is supposed to be direct deposit) hadn't gone through, and we'd been counting the hours until today so that we could (1) get our car back from the mechanic, where it has lived most of its life for the last month, and (2) go sign up with Sprint already so we can never have to deal with T-mobile again and also not get stuck without phones because T-mobile is probably going to cut off our service on account of the money we "owe" them (if you haven't read this story on Facebook, ask and I'll explain in the comments).

But things picked up dramatically in the afternoon when we went to pick up Mike's check, took it to Wells Fargo, and found that, since his company also banks with Wells Fargo, they would cash it for us and deposit it that way so it went through immediately instead of taking days like checks usually do. Dear Wells Fargo: Thank you for choosing today to be uncharacteristically helpful. It was really nice.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon getting things taken care of. We dropped off three reusable shopping bags' worth of scrunched up plastic water bottles for recycling at Target. I bought some shirts on clearance so I can finally have more than three I feel comfortable in, and bought two new white tank tops so I could chuck the crappy graying stretched-out one I've been wearing. We went to Sprint and signed a brand new contract, finally getting Mike the iPhone he's been coveting for years (and yes, I'll admit, it's a cool phone).

We would have gotten my phone, too, except that it turns out only really weird people buy BlackBerries anymore, and they didn't have the one I wanted in stock. (Seriously, this was a funny story: When the sales guy asked what phones we wanted and I told him, he actually looked startled. Then, later, he asked me--very hesitantly--why I wanted the BlackBerry (the Androids were much more popular). I told him I'd already had both a BlackBerry and an Android and it turns out I'm just a BlackBerry kind of person. He relaxed and said okay, he'd just wanted to make sure. I felt really awesome.) Anyway. Another salesperson called a different store to find out if they had it, and they do, so she is going to pick it up from them tomorrow before she goes in to work and meet my sales guy halfway between their houses to give it to him, and then he will call me to let me know when he gets to work with it. Um, I have never had sales people go out of their way for me like that before. I am liking this switch already.

And then, finally, we went to the mechanic and picked up our long-lost car. It seems to be working fine now (fingers crossed a billion times because it also seemed to be working fine the last three times we took it in for the same problem), but this time they really think they've fixed it. You heard me, everyone--fingers crossed. This means you.

And then we got dinner and came home to The Big Bang Theory. Which Mike did not watch because he's been playing with his phone nonstop.

Contented sigh...

And now I'm off to read Gloria Steinem. Life is good today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Fine, Fine Library Day

In the first place, it's raining. So it's already a library day by default. In the second place, it was one of those trips that yielded book after book I'm excited about. Three books I've been waiting for...


two I stumbled across that look good...

(I love the His Dark Materials series!)

and a Katharine Hepburn movie I've never seen.

I've checked this out before, but got busy and eventually had to send it back unwatched.

Finally, Mike is bringing home Chipotle for dinner. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Year's Eve

So we saw New Year's Eve over the weekend. It was, of course, awful. We knew it would be, and we thought it would be fun to go have a good laugh. But this is the thing: Even knowing it was going to be bad, we were surprised at how bad it was. I don't remember Valentine's Day, but I'm pretty sure this was worse. (They're made by the same guy and at least five of the actors overlap, including Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel.)


The characters were all stock and stale: There was the token gay guy saying "va-jay-jay" (even worse, it was in the context of this sentence: "May the best va-jay-jay win!"), there was the pregnant lady swearing (complete with totally unrealistic belly; seriously Hollywood, how have you not managed to fake a convincing pregnant belly yet?), there was the token old lady swearing and taking a really, really long time to do things. There was the slightly crazy homeopathic lady, the soldier, the patient being snuck out of a hospital to grant his dying wish, the single mom who used to be so free-spirited but she got hurt and now she's a homebody who keeps her daughter from having any fun, the playboy who changes his ways when he realizes he only wants one woman now--and, of course, Katherine Heigl stuffing her face with chocolate. Don't forget the cranky but good-hearted Polish/Czech guy, the comical Indian guy, and the randy Latina with more boobs than torso, wearing something the neckline of which in real life would come up to her chin but in the movie was practically to her navel. In the cast we have the 80s rock star, the 90s tv star, the cult classic one-hit wonder, the rapper (two, actually), the real-life politician, the child star wearing a lot of makeup, the comedian, the current teen starlet (who of course sings in the movie, including a bad-music-video type scene that rivals Zac Efron's in High School Musical 2 for cheesiness*), the Oscars eye-candy and heavy-hitters... and Ryan Seacrest.

Hillary Swank was not remotely believable as the person in charge of a high-stress job that is going wrong in New York City (at best she manages mildly concerned). Jessica Biel and Sarah Paulson were not believable as pregnant women. Carla Gugino was not believable as a doctor. Piper's mom was not believable as a human being.
 I could be wrong, but women who are about to deliver don't generally look that droopy to me (Sarah Paulson's was worse than this picture shows). Also, Jessica Biel did a handstand in the movie. Also, contrary to what these two pictures would have you believe, they both walked around rubbing their bellies constantly.

Did I mention that I feel like the entire premise of the movie was contrived and ridiculous? I don't know what deal Garry Marshall has with the lobbyists for... holidays... but I honestly felt like the entire purpose of this movie was to convince people that New Year's Eve is the most exciting holiday ever.  The phrase, "It's New Year's Eve; anything can happen!" (or a variation thereof) definitely happened more than once, not to mention the cheesy voiceover at the beginning that goes on about how New Year's Eve is the one night when the entire world comes together to celebrate and that's how you know there's still magic in the world. Okay, most of the world actually does celebrate something on December 31 despite there being several countries that don't use the Gregorian calendar, but the world coming together? I've never heard any kind of special global awareness at the end of the year. Besides which there's the fact that everyone in the world is celebrating midnight at different times... But you know, whatever. I'm nitpicking now.

Hands down, the best part of the movie was Michelle Pfeiffer, even though her storyline was one that would have been better as an entire movie of its own. She's the only person who does real acting in this movie, and her character's anxiety and painful-but-endearing awkwardness was sweet. (The second-best part of the movie was a double-fake-out toward the end in which you think that the mystery woman Josh Duhamel has spent the entire movie trying to reach is someone, but then it isn't, and then you think it's someone else but it isn't either, and finally the third time's the charm! Good times.)

And the moral of the story is--besides the obvious one about how I love bashing terrible movies--it's a good thing this is in the dollar theater now, because if you want to see it that's all you should spend. Redbox is also acceptable. 



*Just kidding, it's not even close. The Zac Efron video is so bad it should win awards, and this one's actually not awful aside from that really-fast-head-turning thing they love to do and the part where she looks longingly out the window and clutches the grate in the elevator.

Beginnings, by Carol Lynn Pearson--6/10

Well, we all know poetry isn't really my thing. Every so often I read a poem that really strikes me, and CLP had a few of those (below). There were also a few that I particularly disliked, but for the most part they were just nice poems to read.

Unfed

We feed one another
In rations,
Serve affection
Measured to
The minimum daily
Requirement,
The very acceptable 
Least--

While love
Bursts the walls
Of our larder,
Wondering,
Amazed,
Why we are afraid
To feast.
To One Who Has Been Done Dirt

Cry or curse or call it unfair,
But be grateful till the grave
That in this hurt
You're the one who received,
And not the one who gave.

The Waste

They're dumping wheat
Into the sea,
And oranges too,
I hear

Just like my heart
That annually
Wastes fields of love
For fear.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Prop 8 Was Overturned

Some people are very happy (including me)!

Here's the opinion on the ruling. I'm still a little hesitant to get too excited because of course it's going to be appealed and there's a chance it will go to the SCOTUS (which is scary). However, there's also a chance that the Supreme Court won't hear the case and even if it does, the 9th circuit ruling is written in a way that will make it hard to overturn (because it's so narrow). So I'm hopeful.

Marriage is a civil institution, not a religious one. (Atheists can marry, can't they? You can be completely anti-religion and get married.) I understand why Mormons (and other Christians) feel so strongly about it, because marriage is very sacred to us. But that sanctity is a religious principle and is therefore ineligible as a basis for making something law--because like it or not, the Constitution does not allow our government to make religious beliefs into law. That's just how things have to work if we want the freedom Americans are so proud of.

I keep hearing people say things like, "It's a sad day when the vote of the majority means nothing." But the thing is, we are not actually a democracy, and the voice of the majority is not the final word. What I find much more sad is that we have a majority that votes to deprive other Americans of basic rights.

Can you imagine what would have happened if we'd voted on whether or not to end segregation? Civil rights are not up to the majority (for reasons that should be a lot more obvious than they apparently are).
But anyway, all future fears aside... This is a good day.




* "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision... Marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view." I think someone's forgetting their church history...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Gender Genie

This post was a lot less topically-charged when I started writing it, but I suppose it's even more appropriate now, in light of recent highly ridiculous events. We'll call this Exhibit A.

The other day someone directed me to a really fascinating experiment. It's called The Gender Genie, and it analyzes a text to guess the gender of the writer. I spent an hour or so putting in several of my blog posts (I ended up testing 26), and it turned out that the Genie was wrong almost exactly half the time; on the original post where I found it, 24 different bloggers were tested and the Genie was wrong on 11 of them (funny, that's almost exactly the same percentage). (Although to be fair, only one post from each of the different bloggers was tested.)

What was most interesting to me was that on my posts, the divide didn't even fall along the lines I thought it would. I guessed that my more researched/intellectual posts would be identified as male while the ones in which I just talk about my life would be female, but that's not how it played out. Here are the posts I tested:


This test uses an algorithm based on research that was current at the time (and is now a few years old). And I'm not gonna lie, though it feels presumptuous of me to say so--I'm a tiny bit skeptical about its validity. I'm just having a hard time with the fact that the words around, what, more, are, is, whoa, at, and to are all supposedly masculine, and that apparently only women talk about women, because sheher, and hers are all feminine keywords. But then maybe I shouldn't be surprised, since there's also the fact that--although the algorithm supposedly boasts 80% accuracy--it's hovering right around 50% for everything I've seen so far. That's not an especially impressive number... In fact it seems to say that the Genie could spit out a random result each time and be correct just as often. 

Anyway. I would be really interested to see what kind of results you get, so let me know if you try it out! Something to note if you want to test your own blog posts: The text needs to be about 500 words or longer, and it can't include substantial quotes (or it won't be your own writing that's getting analyzed). If you don't have as many ridiculously long posts as I do, just combine two or three of your posts that all have a similar style. 


What do you think about the test?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Eff Effing Efferson.

Or: Musings on a Conversation.

Part One: Trolls Masquerading as Friends

Why is it that when I post something about what I believe, other people come argue with me, and then tell me that I'm obnoxious and hypocritical because they don't succeed in getting me to agree with them? (Please note that, while I will discuss things with others to their hearts' content, I am not the one seeking out other people's perspectives to debate. Please also note that these are people who have absolutely no interest in me or my life other than to chime in and disagree with me every time I talk about my beliefs.) 

Why do these people not seem to understand that I've been thinking about these things for months and years? That I have researched/am always researching the crap out of them and know very well why I believe the way I do, and am not just arguing to be stubborn? How is it possible that I tolerate this, these people who never talk to me except to tell me I'm wrong about something, and yet I'm the close-minded one?

Part Two: I Really Hate Mansplaining

Why, when I'm talking about how destructive traditional gender roles can be to women, are some men incapable of listening to what I'm saying? Why do they not realize that I'm talking about deeply personal experiences and might have some perspective on the issue that they don't? That having never experienced it themselves actually does mean they might not be qualified to argue with me about it?

Also, what kind of robot thinks that emotion has no place in a conversation? We are talking about something that causes me pain, an issue which is very personal and on which I am very much in the minority in my life. I am explaining something that is emotionally traumatic, and you are just dismissing it. YES, I AM GOING TO BE EMOTIONAL.

Difficult Conversations 101 (since I am apparently becoming an expert in them): When someone tries to dismiss your point based on the fact that you are expressing emotion, they forfeit all credibility and the conversation is over. 
  • Especially when it's a conversation about sexism, because this is how sexist men shut down women's experiences: If you get emotional you're just a hysterical woman, and if you don't, then it obviously isn't that big a deal and they brush you off. 

Feminism for Men 101: If you are a man, you are not qualified to tell me that my entire life's experience with discrimination is wrong. End. of. effing. story. You know what? If you're a woman you're not qualified to tell me that either. Because you weren't there. But if you're a man--especially a white straight American Christian man, for crying out effing loud--you have absolutely no foundation upon which to judge the experience of women and tell us that we are wrong. Either you accept that right now, or we are done talking. (And if you cannot accept it, as some people apparently cannot, then I honestly and sincerely ache for the women in your life.)

It is not my problem that you refuse to listen to my experience. It is not my problem that you can't handle emotion in a conversation. And if you have the nerve to tell me that I am cheap and entitled because of those things, then you are not welcome in my life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, by David Sedaris--7/10

I've been meaning to read David Sedaris for so long, and this was my first go. I haven't quite figured out his style yet, although it's obviously satirical--he makes fun of an awful lot of different kinds of people in this book. But I need to check out a few more of his things and get a better sense for his writing, because it's definitely intriguing. A very dry and sometimes morbid humor.

The narration was fantastic, and included Jack Donaghy's mother, so you really can't go wrong there. It's quite short, too--only three discs long--so I imagine that reading the physical book would go fairly quickly.