Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Well There's A Good Call, Governator...

Stumbled on this gem via Feministing: Schwarzenegger eliminates funding for DV shelters - Feministing

Ok, so I'm obviously appalled. There's a surprise, right? Zip's blogging about something, she's probably bloody incensed.

I've needed those places. I've worked in those places. On both sides, there's enough tough shit attitude to deal with even when there's enough money to do the work and do it right.
There are appropriate places to cut budgets. There's even a little wiggle room to decrease funding for shelters, as long as money has to come from other places, too. I realize that California is in dire straights, budget-wise. But to cut 100% of funding for such a vital service is beyond financial management. It's the kind of action that brings to mind feudal England, or...I don't even know. Imaginary lands in post-apocalyptic scenarios. It's unfathomable as a legitimate idea. It's on par with saying "ok, we're broke, let's euthanise all the old people." We're a developed country. What the hell?

I don't know where these shelters are going to make up the difference in their operating budgets. Like the previously linked article, many or most of them probably won't.

If you're a CA resident, there's an action alert out at Here in the Midwest, all I can do is complain and hope somebody with clout hears it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Apparently, it's a trend.

8-Year-Old Victim Blamed for Her Own Rape | Womanist Musings

As Renee said,
The family is from Liberia and much has been made of the foreignness of their cultural beliefs. Let me make it clear from the outset, that it is never acceptable to blame the victim, however; painting this family as a bunch of ignorant foreigners who are not as civilized as Americans is extremely problematic.

Twice in ten minutes. Awesome.

Because of course, Americans never blame the victim in sexual assault cases.

Let's join the scapegoat party, shall we?

On June 30, four Canadians were found in their car in the water near the Kingston Mill locks in Ontario. Originally deemed an accident, the parents and brother of the three girls (19, 17, and 13) and the ex-husband of the older woman (50) were later accused of murder.

These things happen, right? It's terrible, but women get killed by their families all the time.

But then, the girls were Zainab, Sahar, and Geeti Shafia, and the older woman was Rona Amir Mohammed.

Suddenly the story looks a little different, doesn't it? These women were (purportedly) killed by their father/ex husband and brother/stepson.

So suddenly, it's an honor killing. Did your mind make that leap?

In the article on Jezebel, I found this comment, which says what I'm feeling pretty well:
"I'm confused. Are honor killings acceptable according to Islam? I didn't think they were.

Assuming the first wife's sister is correct about the motivation for the murder, I think people like to call it something else so that it seems removed from our own culture, when in reality violence against women (including words) because they refuse to be what the men around them believe they should be happens everywhere. But if we call it something else and say it's motivated by their culture/religion, it's not our problem too."
(emphasis mine)

I am seething.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


As it turns out, I don't think I'm going to go back and write that post. Consider it a link, I guess.

I've had a lot going on. I hope to get some posting done tomorrow, but we'll have to see. I also need to go turn in some paperwork for my new job, which requires a few hours and excessive grooming. I've grown far too accustomed to my yoga pants this summer, and all of my clothes are much too large all of a sudden. I hadn't even realized I wasn't eating until I tried to put on pants without a string. I need to get back on top of that before my high school ED resurfaces. Of all the ways in which living back at home has impacted me, this is the most problematic. It is much too easy to avoid food out here. This was good when I just wanted to drop my midnight pizza weight; it's not so good when I realize I've lost weight noticeably in just a couple of weeks.

This isn't something I usually talk about, and nobody asks (nobody worries when a chubby girl isn't eating, you know). However, I got sick this week and I know it's because I've been doing a number on my body and my immune system. I may or may not be back regularly until I figure out what's bringing this about and get it resolved.

I do hope to post sometimes, though. Once a day would even be fair (since before I was posting three or four).

Okay. Off I go again.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


BBC NEWS | Europe | Russian activist 'found murdered'

Will be writing about this soon*. Stay tuned.

*and by soon, I probably mean Thursday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Privilege, Language, and Dialogue in Identity

In recent posts at Feministe, Womanist Musings, Women's Glib, and a few other spots, the discussion of labels has been heated and torn apart. It's a difficult issue for me, because it's one of those things where staging a dialogue isn't acceptable, but there are so many viewpoints on it that it's hard to handle. My own comments were as privileged as the original post, and I took all the criticisms therein as if they were directed at me.

I'm new to this, frankly, and I have a hard time handling it. Not the feminism, but the intersectionality of equity movements and how they work against each other. The roots of my feminism are academic, and so are inherently based around a privileged class and a privileged viewpoint. I am accustomed to discussing things round-table style, under the assumption that a discussion between people is the fairest way to hash this stuff out. So when I began asking and was quickly privilege-checked for expecting others to educate me, it was painful in a way that I haven't totally recovered from--a sure sign of the privilege associated with the issue.

The heart of the matter, I suppose, is that you can't check your privilege at the door. It isn't a jacket; it's more like your scent. It will follow you around the party wherever you go, and while some may think it's a lovely scent, others may find it downright appalling. That's the point. If you're being smart about it, you don't bathe in acrid fragrances before you leave the house. You realize that what you were born with may be offensive enough, and maybe you try to minimize it by showering regularly.

And when someone tells you that you stink, by God, go take a bath. Don't argue that you've got the most wonderful perfumes on and they should realize the care you put into your preparations for the evening.

So here it is, on the table: I'm white, female, cis, abled (I have a visible skin condition that occasionally affects the way people interact with me but doesn't debilitate me on most days), queer, young, middle-class. I am pretty high-tier on privilege ladder.

Sometimes I get it wrong. I don't ask you to excuse this. In fact, I'd much rather be called out on it. If you can bear to be nice, great. If not, I'll take that, too.

A few thoughtful posts on the matter (I'll add more as I come across them; this post may end up permalinked):

Kittywampus: What Intersectionality is and Isn't
Echidne of the Snakes: Culture and Privilege
What Tami Said: Nobody knows the troubles of a black womanist blogger in the white femisphere
Womanist Musings: Can a White Woman Be a Womanist?
Womanist Musings: The Name of This Blog Is
Womanist Musings: Womanism/Feminism Feminism/Womanism
Global Comment: Clean Up Feminism, Then We'll Talk

A lot of those are womanist discussions, which is both positive and negative, because while feminism has been exclusive of women of color, womanism has itself had a tendency to primarily include black women. Neither is truly inclusive of trans issues, among other things. In either case, there is a lot at stake and a great many balls in play on this court. Privilege, again, has determined who is playing and who is in the stands.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jimmy Carter and The Elders--Edited to Add a Link

"This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses."

(via The words of God do not justify cruelty to women | Jimmy Carter in The Observer)

The Elders
(Jimmy Carter was US president from 1977-81. The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.)


From Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose:
"Seriously, that’s like, um, kind of the whole freaking plot of the Bible, over and over and over and over and over again. The guardians of order say, with some plausible reason, “These are the conditions necessary for God to find favor with people!” And then God says, “Aww, nice try, mates, and I can totally see how you got there… but turns out I’m not so simple. ‘Scuse me a sec… Hey, you outcasts over there! Come join the party!”"

Really, this entire article is an intensely accurate description of why I haven't been able to give up my faith, despite its bastardization at the hands of some (a great many, sadly) unnamed parties.

Anonymity and Identity

Foreign Policy: Iran's Terrifying Facebook Police : NPR

"Second, it means, as far as authorities are concerned, our online and offline identities are closely tied and we have to be fully prepared to be quizzed about any online trace that we have left (I can easily see us being asked our Facebook and Twitter handles in immigration forms; one of the forms I regularly fill flying back to the US has recently added a field for email address)."

For this particular blog, I have a created identity. No, it wouldn't be difficult to make the connection between this and my "real" persona if you had any indication of the link previously, but I use an assumed name, and any contact information given here is connected to this faux-identity and not my "true" one. I do this for many reasons, one of them being that my ideal future is one in which thoughts like this might be questioned at the entry-levels and I don't want to find myself in 20 years inextricably linked to what I wrote today.

The mere fact that I have a created identity is because I am afraid of things like this happening. I thought this a few weeks ago when the issue arose with job seekers in Montana, and it's been reinforced here.

For many people, online identities are an escape from their "actual" personas. Even for those whose online image is similar to their offline one, the online can be more revealing than we would generally be with coworkers or police officers.

To what extent are you represented by your online self? Would the image your online self projects interfere with your offline life? Are the borders between the two fading?

Primer on the Ideas for New Healthcare

Quick details on single-payer, public option, and the other ideas floating around the healthcare reform table.

Healthcare for dunces | Salon News

How 'Bout That Economy?

When will the recovery begin? Never | Salon: "The X marks a brand new track -- a new economy. What will it look like? Nobody knows. All we know is the current economy can't 'recover' because it can't go back to where it was before the crash. So instead of asking when the recovery will start, we should be asking when and how the new economy will begin. More on this to come."

I have some tentative hopes that this economic disaster will have the power to, eventually, bring about some real change in the overall outlook of society. We might just realize that trickle-down economics don't work, that social programs are not of the devil, and that the celebrity worship we've been engaging in, with the accompanying consumerism and overspending to mimic lavish lifestyles beyond our means, was simply foolish.

I am afraid of what this shift will entail, but hope to see the outcome before it's too late to appreciate it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


And still our vote mattered | Salon News:
"Asking where our vote is, is not enough. Democracy must also be about who gets to reply."

I am pained about the Iranian elections. I've written about them before, and about how I'm not sure how to grapple with the dozens of issues inherent in the topic (westernization, democratization, religious governance, the list goes on), but I can't help but hurt when I see accounts like this:

That the vote was against Ahmadinejad there can be no doubt. Consider this: Over the 30-year history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, some 30 percent of the population has never voted. These are the true disbelievers, citizens who take pride in having a blank shenasname, or identity booklet. They are the friends and family members who take every opportunity to remind the rest of us, at the dinner table, caught in traffic, sitting in the park, that voting is a mistake, that you ought not participate in a system that is at its core rotten.

Except ... Except this time a good half of these nonbelievers came. They came, pulled, pleaded -- coaxed into voting by sons and daughters. They came this year, dramatically reversing what had been a steady decline in participation, lifting turnout to heights not seen since the early days of the Revolution. With the much ballyhooed rural vote already in the bank for the president, the only place left for Ahmadinejad to make up his reported 6 to 8 million new votes was with the apostates. Are we really to believe, as some are now insisting, that these many millions showed up to vote for the incumbent?

There was so much hope, and it was simply crushed. How long will it be before there is enough strength to try again?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why is it so difficult to control this one emotion? I am usually so careful about what I let myself feel. This is not quite right.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

I'm thinking about this in a larger context:

In Hard Times, Colleges Search for Ways to Trim the Faculty - "Administrators are calling the eliminations 'vertical cuts.' Instead of slicing costs equally across the board as many other colleges have done, the administration singled out a few that it said were not crucial to the university's mission and attracted few students or little outside research money."

and narrowing it down to how the eventual consequence of this is the loss of one of few rural sociology programs in the country. The humanities are incredibly metrocentric, and as a country girl (my home town has 600 people), I am more aware of the issues facing rural communities than most of my peers were at university.

It's a touchy subject because yes, a large number of people do live in cities and suburbs, but it's not nearly everyone. Everyone CAN'T live in a city or suburb. It's not feasible. Yet rural communities find themselves lacking both resources--my community has educational and systemic issues on par with most inner-city areas--and the incentive for anyone to come solve those problems. There are no incentives for teachers to go to rural schools the way there are for them to go to inner-city schools. No incentives to expand services so that people can access the things they need--from productive work to the assistance they desperately need and should be getting. The single exception is doctors--there are incentives for doctors to spend a few years in a smaller hospital, but most leave after their first few years for greener pastures, so the quality of care--and facilities-- is still far below what most people expect.

It frustrates me horribly to see such systemic neglect of a massive segment of the population, as I am frustrated when any segment sees such neglect.

Can I Have My Walk Back, Please?

Like I said, sudden thought volcano. But I couldn't help responding to this:

Female Impersonator: "And yes, I'm calling it harassment. Because it is. It is not a compliment, as my mom tried to get me to believe. It is someone harassing me, propositioning me, and verbally assaulting me for simply being on the sidewalk, on public space. Walking to work on my birthday last week, I had an old man tell me to suck his dick. That is harassment, plain and simple."

I hate, hate hate hate cat calls. My overall social anxiety only exacerbates it I'm sure, but I have been driven to the point of not leaving my apartment for over a week because of a team of roofers across the street who couldn't mind their job and not my body. It does make me angry, and it is not complimentary. I've had people compliment my appearance; I've even had strangers do it. It doesn't make me feel like dirt. Catcalls, though, do.

Fox and Friends


As quoted on Stuff White People Do,
Kilmeade, along with his partners in the fine art of "talking-to-adults-as-if-they're-children," was discussing a study's claims that people in Finland and Sweden who stay married are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s. Kilmeade thinks that has something to do with how "pure" the blood is in those countries, compared to American blood, which he thinks suffers from intermixing with different "ethnics" and . . . "species"?!

If you have a problem with this and the fact that Fox News anchors get away with this bigoted bullshit every time they go on air,

Contact the FCC:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Complaints
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

Off the Stove

Apologize for the lack of posting; there've been things going on! Left the fiance, visited friends, had my birthday, and am working on my application to grad school, meeting with the dept. head tomorrow and then visiting my papa, followed by a shindig in the country.

All of which have required some planning and much attention. Blogging is on the back-burner, but I imagine that on Monday I will be back.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to figure out what in the world is going on with Sarah Palin, and why she seems like a pathological liar, why she is being framed as a feminist martyr to The Democracy while clearly working against the interests of women in general.

That's as much as I have time to do right this second, though as I was digging those links back up I came across some new stuff and of course "I'll be out for a bit" means "I'll be posting like a volcano for the rest of the day."

Also, hello to my global readership! I got a Croatian flag on my counter today, adding to my India, GB, US, and Canada.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm 22 today!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Women’s Glib

Women’s Glib

These girls are high schoolers, and are certainly far more socially aware than I was at 18. One is guestblogging at Feministe this week.

Check them out.

What's happening in Xinjiang? - War Room -

What's happening in Xinjiang? - War Room - "Sunday’s violence was apparently prompted by a fight at a toy factory in Shaoguan, in the south of China. Last week, local Han workers followed up accusations that six Xinjiang boys had raped two girls by attacking Uighur workers at the factory. Two were killed, and 118 were reportedly injured. The rape story now appears to be false. However, Uighur victims of the factory fight have issued statements to Xinhua, China’s state-run news service, denouncing Xinjiang rioters in terms that are suspiciously friendly to the government."

Here's a little more information on what's going on.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm ashamed of myself for letting this happen so quickly. I should have known better. Now I'm doubly angsty.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

‘Operator? Can You Put Me Through to Ant Nest 251?’ - Olivia Judson Blog -

‘Operator? Can You Put Me Through to Ant Nest 251?’ - Olivia Judson Blog - "We like to think of ourselves as rulers of the planet. But just as an ant cannot hear a nearby piano — a sound that to most of us is so clear that being deaf to it is unimaginable — the planet is full of chatter that we cannot easily detect. For me, reflecting on this makes the planet bigger, somehow, and more mysterious — and reminds me that we humans are aware of just a small part of all that is going on."

Another thoughtful piece, this time (on the surface) about ant communication.

I Am Not Pro-Death: Adventures of a Gen-X Uterus - Jodi Kasten - Open Salon

I Am Not Pro-Death: Adventures of a Gen-X Uterus - Jodi Kasten - Open Salon: "As I sat in the recovery room, I saw the 'Help Wanted' sign up on the wall. They needed an intake counselor. The state's laws required that someone sit down with each woman and lay out the options, adoption, WIC, state assistance. The duties also included telling each woman what their due date would be and answering any questions."

It's been a helluva morning, and I really just don't have the energy to think my way through long posts, but this article by Jodi Kasten is an excellent read.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I have giddy butterflies in my stomach. This is ridiculous for me but I can only talk about it anonymously. Zippa has a school girl crush.