Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm Moving!

After years (going on ten now) as a blogger user, I'm switching over to wordpress. Still in the process, but you'll find my new posts here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Breast of Intentions

This is a pretty awesome series of posts over at Adventures of a Young Feminist. The posts, crafted after a senior thesis project done by Laura, are detailed around the implications of breasts in American society (and occasionally elsewhere). They touch on everything from the male gaze to breast health to breasts as sexual vs. functional. Some really good stuff.

I'm inspired by them to write again on a personal level. I've got to say that my breasts have been a major part of my experience in womanhood. I know that this is not uncommon, but I think the narratives here are important, because so much of it is dependent on so many other things.

When I was ten, my dad was revisiting his second marriage. She was never good to us, and her re-emergence in his life was painful at best. She wasn't back for long, but she was there long enough to shout menacingly from the kitchen as I played with my brother in the living room, "You really need to be wearing a bra, you know."

Fast forward six hours and I'm hiding in the corner of my own bedroom while my mom and dad argue about whether it was appropriate for her to mention it to me. The ultimate decision was no, but regardless, it was only an argument because my parents were both hesitant to recognize the fact that I was moving from girlhood to womanhood, and all that that implied. My mother, who to this day cannot say vagina in a normal tone of voice, was little help with the body confidence issues that spring up as you go from flat-chested to a C-cup in the course of a year. Granted, I had no idea what cup size I was for a long time, because the only bras I would wear were athletic. I was intent on minimizing those monstrosities on my chest, and so while the girls around me started flaunting their pert little babes, I spent middle school all squashed up and hiding under t-shirts. When I started bleeding in 8th grade, I was terrified at the pain I felt in them, certain that something was wrong with me but with nobody to ask. Thankfully the internet rolled into our living room midway through that year and I was at least able to alleviate some of the anxiety.

My sophomore year of high school I finally went with a friend and had a real bra fitting. By that point some of my peers had caught up with me, and I was a little more comfortable with the idea that they existed to begin with. I was also venturing outside of my family and into the treacherous grounds of being a small-town feminist (as mentioned in my previous post), and dealing with the body image issues and the eating disorder. All this was going on at once, but I bought a real bra, with light padding and underwire. I also bought my first formal gown and proved to myself once and for all that I could be beautiful. I have not failed to believe in at least the potential since, which has been nice for me and has certainly helped me manage the food issues better. I have certainly not starved myself to the point of delirium since then.

Of course, it was right about then that I started getting the attention. I had my first boyfriend by the middle of my sophomore year (that would last until March of my senior year and end disastrously, but that's for another day). Throughout that relationship I fended off attention from boys and men alike. My parents were so terrified that I would get pregnant that they drove me back into depression with their hatred of my adult body. Every outfit was scrutinized, and though I was generally pretty put-together and cleavage-free, my jeans were always too tight or I wasn't wearing baggy enough shirts. I took to wearing a jacket all the time. The first time anyone other than myself touched my breasts, I was 15, and he took a good forty-five minutes to work up the nerve to slide his hand from my waist to my chest. It was another year before I would lose my virginity, and at the time I felt like I was behind schedule, though afterward, of course, it was made quite clear that I had crossed a line I shouldn't have. And again, it was brought back to the way I wore my shirts.

I currently sport a D-cup and have become painfully accustomed to addressing (or ignoring, depending on the situation) the amount of uninvited attention they get. I still have a tendency to hide in t-shirts unless I'm feeling particularly plucky. I have had men ask for a great many things having to do with my breasts, most of them beyond the limits of appropriateness. I have had to repeatedly remind even my boyfriends that my breasts were mine, and therefore invitation-only. A few have respected that; a few haven't (and were pretty promptly kicked to the curb).

When I have children, I anticipate an entirely new dynamic around them. First, I am afraid of them growing, simply because they are more than I'd like to have to deal with already, and because I'm not looking forward to having extra male attention hovering around my aching chest. Second, as an avid believer in breastfeeding, I foresee dealing with American society as it currently is (since nobody vocal is doing a whole lot these days to change it). The sexualization of the breast means that using them functionally is offensive, and having dealt with the sexualization aspect, I worry about having another body crisis when they are being judged in a completely different way. I am, however, not terribly concerned about the long-term changes, which I have a pretty realistic idea of thanks to my mom (who had some radical ideas about childbirth and early childhood, despite her other forms of closetedness), so I guess there is that safe point.

This has been a major part of why I identify as queer, as well. Note that I distinguish this from straight/lesbian/bisexual, but that's really a topic for another day. In practice I am primarily heterosexual, though I have had one female partner. For me, the implications of my body for her were completely different than the implications have been for men. That different dynamic is really one of the primary reasons I don't simply identify as straight. That, and the fact that if a woman who matched me well walked into my life I wouldn't hesitate to be with her.

Now I know that my body is attractive. First because I myself happen to like it, and also because I have been told it. I have gotten positive and negative attention because of it. It's funny, because my body does not fit the typical mold for beauty. I generally chalk it up to a combination of my face and my shape, which is larger than perhaps ideal but proportional. I no longer have body image issues (most days) although I do still sometimes struggle with remembering that I do, in fact, have to eat to survive. My partner's younger cousin has a crush on me (he ranks me as a 7.5 on the Megan Fox scale, I'm told, whatever that means). I'm okay with most of it. But sometimes, it still becomes threatening. I am aware of the power and the vulnerability my body gives me.

The ends of my posts always trail off into the present. This has, as I'm sure you can gather, been a long trek. It took time and energy and hurt to get me to where I am.

For a Friend

"Afghan girls gesture while taking religious lessons at a Koranic school in a mosque in the old city of Herat on August 17, 2009. Afghanistan's showcase presidential election is facing a crisis of credibility with just days to go, as analysts warn that voters fearing threats to their safety could simply decide to stay away. Concerns about low turnout, vote buying, ballot stuffing, over-registration and backroom deals have added to threats of Taliban violence to potentially undermine the legitimacy of the election, set for August 20. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI

Caption via Reading Rainbow - Afghanistan - Jezebel

[Herat, Afghanistan; August 17. Image via Getty]

(Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chalk it Up to the Small-Town Life

This post is a little disjointed, I'm going to warn you in advance.

Growing up where I did, feminism was a pretty silent subject. In reality, racism is still pretty rampant out here, and we're about twelve steps behind the metropolitan level of social equity (which should say something). My mom was a little bit of a free thinker, but it was made pretty obvious that this was not a way I could "be" outside of home.

I remember the first time I saw 10 Things I Hate About You, and how amazed I was that Kat could be that way around other people, and be so collected even when other people thought she was ridiculous. I wanted that power. Even through the trope that she just needed to be loved (it's a Taming of the Shrew remake, after all), I came away from that movie feeling stronger.

I haven't watched the new ABC Family show simply because so much of the movie for me was the cast in the roles they fit so well, but I found this little bit:

I was shocked (ok, maybe not shocked, but it really stuck out to me) while watching this weeks episode. For an assignment that involved writing a paper on a moment that changed your life, Kat wrote about the day that she first started reading Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and became a feminist. I think that's a great paper topic. But her teacher told her it was unoriginal and that people in the space station could see she was a feminist so Kat should write about something else. Wow. Yes, people can see that she's a feminist, but being a feminist is a large part of her life, so it would make sense that she wrote about becoming a feminist as a moment that changed her life. To call that unoriginal is insulting, especially considering that a lot of the other people in the class did not write about such insightful things and are not feminists. Kat rewrote the paper about the first day that her dad bought her tampons. Her teacher was pleased and said it was good as long as it didn't end with "and then I became a feminist."

Via: Adventures of a Young Feminist: Silencing in Schools from 10 Things

I relate to that very much. In middle school I started coming into myself, and I began to develop the attitude I take so much pride in now. I'm not callous, I care about people and how they feel, but I do not care what they think of me. I will stick up for someone and I will stick up for myself. It took me a painfully long time to be able to do that.

I hit high school in 2001. We all know what happened that September. It ended up being the single defining moment of my high school social interactions. In my conservative, white, predominantly Christian, working class community, I was the only person I knew with liberal leanings. In the weeks after 9/11, I collected images from newspapers and websites of the mourning gatherings across the globe, and hung them in my locker. I still have a scrapbook of those images; those indicators of humanity. The recognition that everybody was feeling pain for us, for our indoctrination into the world of Big Terrorism.

People made nasty comments about those images, like I was unAmerican for it. When I was a sophomore, I realized I had a remarkable proficiency in languages, and I expressed an interest in diplomatic affairs. Again, this was a small school--about 500 people K-12 at the time--so there was no debate team, or Model UN group, or any of that. I was the only person I knew, apart from my civics teacher, who read the newspapers every day (unless it was the sports page). I read Mother Jones. I read the Economist. I read the New York Times instead of the local papers.

Every year, we were supposed to write essays for the American Legion's contest. I always wrote something thoughtful, generally indicating that the Founders did not create this country so we could follow our leaders without question. Without fail, my English teacher would give it back to me, ask me to revise it to be more appropriate for the contest. I would change a little, submit it, and for four years, I won that contest. I was given the American Legion scholarship when I graduated.

Yet I was the girl who was seen by my peers as unAmerican. I didn't like Bush. I drew a definite distinction between my friends and family who were serving--over 30 of them and counting, now--and the Military Industry.

I was political, I was feminist, and I did not fit in.

I went to college, and that changed. I finally had peers who I could talk to about things, and even if they didn't agree, there was discussion. It was liberating.

Now I'm back here, about to go work back in that school system, and I am nervous.

Project Implicit

Project Implicit | Select a Test

I really recommend doing a few of these.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Taking up Space

While I was watching the town hall coverage this morning (which I won't start on until I'm calmer about it), I saw two commercials I knew I needed to write about.

The first was for MultiGrain Cheerios, which I rather enjoy, but the commercial and ad campaign includes this slogan:

It's a prime segue into one of my biggest feminist thought bugs: taking up space. It's pretty common fodder in the thought process of a feminist-thinking person that women are discouraged from taking up space. It's in the weight loss thing, but also in so many other ways. As a woman, I am conscious of my tendency to step to the side of the sidewalk when someone is passing, for example. Women will frequently step aside for me, as well, but men do not. Men tend to assume their space is theirs while they occupy it, whereas women assume their space is common to everyone and are more likely to give it up. I am constantly aware of the amount of space I take up, and not just as myself but in comparison to others. Leg crossing is an example of the impulse to shrink ourselves into as much space as possible (despite the fact that it's no more comfortable for a woman to do so than that man sitting with his legs splayed).

As a project for a sociology class once, I was asked to break several folkways. Most people did silly things; we all had to choose three, and admittedly one of mine was to walk backwards. The second, I made eye contact in elevators. The primary one, however, was to refuse to step aside on the sidewalk. I did not take up more than the right side of the path; I did not walk arm-in-arm or anything that would otherwise make my passage awkward for others. I simply refused to step off the path to let others pass me.

At best, I got dirty looks. I was called a bitch, I was shoulder-bumped. It was unpleasant at best, and not only that, but it made me immensely uncomfortable to try it. To simply walk on the path, when others were approaching, made me uncomfortable.

To me, that says something.
As does an add that encourages women to eat a food that creates "less you."

For So Many Reasons

My heart is breaking today.

I cried watching the town hall coverage on CNN. I can only think of the Jefferson quote, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." I can't believe the levels of insensitivity and selfishness and outright callousness people are displaying on this issue. And then I realize that I can believe it, and that hurts more--when did I stop expecting people to care about one another?

A one-time friend is also having a difficult time (she's been diagnosed with the same disorder that killed her brother two years ago), and although it's a manageable thing, I know she is terrified and hurting. Yet with the circumstances between us being the way they are, there is nothing I can do. I called her and offered help if she needed it but was, as expected, brushed off with a "thanks but I'm ok." I am sad about the schism between us, and about what is happening to her. I don't know how to tell her how sorry I am. I don't think she'd be able to forgive me, even if I did.

I am also trying very hard to formulate ideas for my graduate application essays, and am stuck between getting all feminist and going into information access and literacy education as a means of empowerment, and just being all trope-y and saying the "right" things. If I do the former it's bound to be a less coherent essay, for sure, because I'm going to be stretching into new ideas, but it will also be much more potent. The latter will be smoother but less impressive in content. I know that both matter.

Also I was up until 5 again talking to the fellow about everything under the sun (and moon), and I'm tired, and just PMS-y enough to realize it. Bugger all.

Do You Have Any Idea...

A couple nights ago, I had gone over to the house of my dear friends to celebrate my engagement and was coming home late. I was almost home, standing at the corner waiting for the light to change, when a man approached me.

Guy: Excuse me?
Me: Yes? What?
Guy: What's your name again?
Me: I didn't tell you my name.
Guy: Oh, well, hi. What's your name? [holds out hand]
Me: Look, I don't want to tell you my name, and I don't want to talk.
Guy: Why not?
Me: It's late. [looks at phone] It's 12:30 am. I don't want to talk to you.
Guy: But I'm just being friendly. [holds out hand again] What's your name?
Me: Do you have any idea what it's like to be walking around as a woman in this city, late at night? It's scary. It's late and I want to get home and I don't want to talk to you.
Guy: [stares at me]

[stares some more]
[backs away]
[retracts his hand]

Guy: I can respect that.
Me: Thank you. Have a good night. [light changes, I cross the street and go home]

It was really bizarre—I could really see him actually considering, what is it like to be a woman walking around late at night in the city, trying to get home? Answer: it's scary, and it scary enough that you don't want to talk to anyone you don't know, no matter who they are or what they're about.

Via Bitch, PhD

Friday, August 14, 2009

Death Panels?

So I hate Sarah Palin.
She's nuts. She's a pathological liar (which I've written about before, albeit briefly). But she's really gone off the deep end on this death panel nonsense. First off, I get really tired of hearing people frame healthcare socialization (not that I foresee that being an option in the end) as a "lack of choice." I don't have choice now. My parents even WITH insurance have no choice of doctors, or surgeons, or anything. They have their one covered provider network, which is small (rural living at its finest), and that's all.

But worse, much worse, is this malarkey that she's pushing. And then defending, repeatedly, as if it has any merit.

It's a potshot, a clear attempt to destroy any chance of real reform, and for what purpose? What the hell is the point of making it impossible for ANYTHING productive to be done?

I'm cranky. And I've already had more coffee than I needed and a run today, so I'm stuck being cranky for the time being. Pah. I think I'm done blogging for today because I'm ceasing to make sense.

Out Of Many: One - Pakistan independence day - Jezebel

"Pakistani girls sing national songs during the Independence Day ceremony celebrations in Islamabad on August 14, 2009. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on August 14 vowed to win the war against terrorism as Pakistan celebrated its 62nd anniversary of independence with prayers and a national minute of silence, low-key festivities for a country in the grip of political and religious turmoil. AFP PHOTO/AAMIR QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)"

Via Out Of Many: One - Pakistan independence day - Jezebel

Damon Weaver Gets His Interview

UK To Request Photo Editing Disclaimers

The British Parliament is recommending, as part of their list of ways to improve the situation of the United Kingdom's women, that advertisements that have been photoshopped included a disclaimer and a description of what has been done to the photo. Not to end photoshopping, necessarily, so people like the editor of Kelly Clarkson's SELF cover can keep doing their inspirational artistic work. I say good on you, MPs.

""What we would like is a disclaimer,'' Jo Swinson, a member of Parliament who worked on the report, told me this week. "Not necessarily a standard disclaimer, but a sentence basically saying what has been done to the photograph. Has the waist been nipped in? Have the thighs been slimmed down? We'd like to ban Photoshopping all together in adverts aimed at children, because they're particularly vulnerable.''"

An altered Madonna, and other celebrities - The Boston Globe

talking racism

Every morning (and evening, most days) I open my 30-tab blogroll and read NPR, Salon, NYTimes, Jezebel, and then all of my favorite blogs. Chrome gets mad at me every time, popping up an "are you sure you want to open 30 tabs?!?" warning.

Of course I do, Chrome. Because I often find gems like this. Click through; it's an "interview" posted by the folks at We Are Respectable Negroes, and it talks about white racism and privilege from a slightly different perspective than usual.

I've heard it come up more often recently, just how much of the anger over healthcare and everything is based on race. Most of the punditry is quick to dismiss the idea, reflecting on the failure of healthcare reform during the Clinton administration, when there were White People in the office. Clearly there can't be a race issue at hand if the same idea failed when white people had it (not that the comparison as justification idea has ANY racist tendencies, of course).

Frankly, though, I don't remember this kind of rage happening when Hillarycare was on the table. And that's also not the only issue where it's coming up, just the loudest. The Birthers (intent on othering), the Tea Baggers (worst name for a dissent group I've ever heard), and the people toting guns to town hall meetings--all of that reeks of white privilege.

As I've said before: go take a bath.

Via stuff white people do: think that racism is dead, and from Respectable Negroes:

WARNNN: ...what exactly do you mean when you say that you’ve been “flattened” and “dumbed down?”

Racism: I really just mean that the criteria for what qualifies as racism has been changed to benefit white people: the bar has been raised impossibly high for whites, lowered for everyone else.

WARNNN: In what way? Can you elaborate?

Racism: Nowadays, only biological white supremacy, racial slurs (especially the “N’ word”), and explicit racial violence will get a white person labeled a racist. Therefore, many whites respond to charges of racism by saying things like, “I’m not a racist…Some of my best friends are black…I’ve never enslaved any black people or terrorized them with dogs and firehoses…I’ve never burned a cross on a black family’s lawn or called anyone ‘Nigger.’” You see? Nazis and Klansmen are the only racist whites from this perspective. This isn’t the only view, but it’s been the default for decades.

On the other hand, look at how conservatives have co-opted Civil Rights language to depict members of the black left as “racists.” I mean, in just the last week, these people have charged Obama, Sotomayor, and Skip Gates with racism. In some formulations, merely mentioning race and racial injustice gets you slapped with the racist label. Think about how, in the eyes of most whites, the Panthers, Malcolm, Reverend Wright—indeed, all blacks who offer savage critiques of white supremacy—are racists on par with David Duke.

TGIF, man.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 12: Aisha, four-months-old, is held by her mother listening to a speech by Afghan presidential candidate Dr. Asraf Ghani during a rally focusing on women August 12, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Behesta came with her mother to the event where hundreds of women turned up to support the candidate. Afghanistan's presidential elections are to be held on August 20. Kabul August 12, 2009 in Afghanistan. Dr. Ghani is considered is one of the top 5 presidential contenders but not likely to win. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
Via Eyes Wide Open - Afghanistan election - Jezebel

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And Another One

Again, I don't have much to add, unfortunately, but this is really thought-provoking. Also, it talks about Dollhouse, which as a Joss Whedon creation I'm compelled to at least follow, and Sarah Haskins. I have a huge crush on her, so there is that.

Alas, a blog | Blog Archive | November and Sarah Haskins: "The women screaming and rioting in the 100 calorie oreo advertisement will only resonate with a woman who believes she should take up no space. Comparing yoplait to a private island makes sense only if you think you should be denying yourself the sustenance and pleasure that comes from food and yoghurt is as good as it gets."

three rivers fog � On mental illness

This is another one of those posts that I'm just going to link to, because it's more eloquent than I know how to be:

three rivers fog � On mental illness: "One very popular idea about mental illness, which was shown throughout the “Emails” thread, is that one can separate out “the illness” from “the person” — and that any unsavory actions or behaviors can be attributed to “the illness.” That makes it OK, because it’s not the actual person inside making those decisions to act in those ways, but some vague, faceless, soulless thing that infects them.

This, of course, is a tactic to remove agency from the mentally ill person. A family member may latch onto this idea as a form of comfort, a way to identify with “the real person” inside their loved one’s body, which is separate from “the illness” which is what did things that harmed them."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


"How could she?" Well, I have a theory | Salon Life: "So if we're going to judge something, why not judge alcoholism -- instead of pointing the finger at one sad criminal alcoholic. Let's mourn for the innocents who died on July 26, and let's redouble our energy toward saving some of the 36 innocents who will be killed by drunk driving today and every other day. I believe that alcoholism is a force of evil in our world. It kills the alcoholic in uniquely ugly ways, but it also kills, maims and damages millions of innocent families and children. Driving drunk with a child in the car is child abuse, and too many children are subjected to it as a normal part of their lives. If there is a devil, he must be chortling at the way we outlaw smoking and revile obesity all the while having a glass of wine to take the edge off before we pick up the kids at camp."

I can't even begin to write about this.
I just...can't. The whole thing is too painful. I do agree with Cheever, though, in that damning this one incident while completely overlooking totally commonplace alcohol abuse is irresponsible at best.

Cultural (mis)Appropriation

Burqa Tourism at its Finest: How to Become an Expert on Muslim Women in Just One Week | Muslimah Media Watch

Scathing analysis of the current trend in British media (and law enforcement) to "understand the plight of Muslim women in the UK" by donning burqa/niqab for a short time with, of course, no other attempt and understanding anything other than the attire. Worth a read.

A Slight Problem in Rhetoric

So I read this article on this morning, and had to do a double take:

McChrystal: Give Taliban Fighters A Political Voice : NPR: "'I would absolutely be comfortable with fighters and lower-level commanders making the decision to reintegrate into the Afghan political process under the Afghan constitution,' McChrystal says."

Look. I agree with the guy. I'm of the opinion, when it comes to foreign countries, that a. sovereignty should be respected apart from egregious human rights violations, b. that people should be able to choose their leaders, even if those leaders are not friendly with me, and c. that IF a group is taking care of their people, in the way that their people want, and NOT committing egregious human rights violations, then that is a legitimate and sovereign leadership. I use this argument in discussions about Hezbollah, so if lower level Taliban members can create a functional system that isn't oppressive (which is admittedly questionable when dealing with the Taliban but not unheard of), then they should be able to do so.

On the other hand, I have family members over there, fighting a war that has absolutely no solidified goal. What would victory in the Middle East look like? What would winning the "War on Terror" actually entail? I have yet to receive an explanation, let alone an adequate one. Eradication of terrorism is not something that can be done through war (if it can be done at all, which history shows is very unlikely). People will fight oppression, violently if necessary. They will also try to impose their will on others, again, violently if necessary.
So the issue therein is that if the SINGLE clearly defined current target of the American war industry is allowed to do this, then why were we there to begin with??
The question remains even if they're not, of course, because I'm largely against the idea of a war that can't be given a goal, but now even the flawed rationale behind it is just becoming that much more convoluted and screwed up.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Breaking the Internet

So everyone's noticed this, but apparently nobody else is as worried about it as I am.

I mean, if it's that simple to interrupt operations on social networking sites, it can't be terribly difficult to interrupt operations on more vital systems.

The attacks and their aftermath show just how vital Web tools and services are becoming to political discourse — and how vulnerable they are to disruption.

“They aren’t set up to play the role of a global communications network, but very quickly they’ve come to represent that,” said John Palfrey, a law professor and co-director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Professor Main Target of Assault on Twitter -

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Cradle of North America

I love localized history. In college, I took the Illinois history class even though it was technically part of the social studies educator curriculum, simply because I was fascinated (and I knew the teacher would make it a trip worth taking). I've visited Cahokia twice now, and was the only person in that class, teacher included, who had been there. It's definitely a disorienting experience, because due to the simplified history given in public schools in this country we have a tendency to think of the North American native people as either hut-inhabiting or nomadic. The presence of this massive city (speculations are that it was approximately the size of MODERN London) down in the mid-western bottoms--just northeast of St Louis-- is really pretty mind blowing.

Which is probably precisely why it's so interesting. History book history is so bereft of the truths that history can show us, and the American narrative especially so.

New discoveries indicate even more complexity to this society that completely dissipated (died out or assimilated, but certainly collapsed) long before Europeans showed up around here. By the time any white person was here, the city was nothing but a few (admittedly massive) mounds of earth and a perplexing circle of deep holes that had mostly filled in.

Sacrificial virgins of the Mississippi | Salon Books

Purge: Rehab Diaries

New Author Speaks Up For The "Not Otherwise Specified" - Eating Disorders - Jezebel:

Nicole Johns doesn't look like she has an eating disorder, and for a long time that was a problem. She was diagnosed as having EDNOS, or an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

"'You can have an eating disorder at any weight, you can be overweight, underweight, average weight. It doesn't matter. It's not all about the weight.' — Nicole Johns, author of a book on her experiences with ED"

I almost cried when I read this quote. It's so frustrating for me to know that when I went weeks without eating in high school nobody even cared--and many of those that noticed the weight loss were HAPPY because I was "finally paying attention to my weight." There's only one person to whom I've even admitted that it was anything other than a stomach bug.

Alright America

You all need to review the constitution if you're going to talk about it. I don't care too terribly if you misinterpret it, but you at least need to be interpreting the whole thing and not just your 8th grade civics class version of things.

I'll even give you a copy, free of charge.

Any questions?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nope, definitely not going to get to them.

I'll finish the draft tonight I think. I'm still trying to figure out just what exactly I'm going to pull from that video clip.

Believe It

No, not you • This is my religion: "This morning I took a woman and her 5 kids to the bus stop so they can try to get out of town before her partner finds them, again. Later I held the baby of a woman with bruises on her face while she tried to figure out how long she could stay with her husband before he killed her, because she needed a little more time to get it together before going out on her own. Now tonight I am in the hospital holding hands with a woman while they collect evidence from her sexual assault, because her boyfriend was “too annoyed” to stay in the room with her. And I am thinking- this is my religion. This is how I interact with the world.
Sometimes people ask me, “isn’t it stressful to be surrounded by so much suffering all the time?” I don’t understand this question. We are all surrounded by the same amount of suffering. We are all profiting from and losing to the same culture. Ignoring it never made me happy. Addressing it does."

I honestly cried at this.
I've got a draft post sitting in queue and eight news articles I want to write about. I just don't know if I'm going to get to them.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Khuda Ke Liye

So S sent me this clip the other day. I've been trying to write about it since then, but I can't even decide which topic to pull from it.

Check the tags, I guess, to see what the options were. It's about half of the tags I even have.

Also, the wikipedia and imdb pages about the movie. I'd like to see the whole thing, to be honest, because this little section hit me so hard.

"demarriage" and French PACS

This post is two steps removed from its original source, since it's a guest post on a blog that's not mine. It's written by Barry from Baslow's Electric OmniumGatherum, cross-posted at Women's Glib. The whole post is worth a read, for the anecdotal aspect, but the part that really caught my attention was the reference to the French PACS, short for pacte civil de solidarité.

"[it] is a form of civil union between two adults (same-sex or opposite-sex) for organising their joint life. It brings rights and responsibilities, but less so than marriage. From a legal standpoint, a PACS is a “contract” drawn up between the two individuals, which is stamped and registered by the clerk of the court. In some areas, couples signing a PACS have the option of undergoing a formal ceremony at the City Hall identical to that of civil marriage. Individuals who have registered a PACS are still considered “single” with regard to family status for some purposes, while they are increasingly considered in the same way as married couples are for other purposes."

Barry notes correctly that PACS are not regarded in the same way as marriage in France, in that family status of PACS signatories is still considered single, and PACS signatories without marriage licenses (namely same-sex couples) cannot adopt. But it's certainly something, in that a lot of the legal crap regarding healthcare and estate dispute that same-sex couples deal with here can be avoided in France if there is a PACS involved.

I'm in agreement with Barry that I would REALLY like a way to recognize the legal aspects of a marriage-type union without the religious and pseudo-moralistic connotations. For those who wish to ascribe religious significance to their union, why not, but not every marriage has anything religious about it. Not to mention the fact that the pseudo-religious regulations about marriage in the US are definitely Christianized in ways that, constitutionally, have no business in legislation.
Gave myself up to a real life person.
It's making me nervous.

Hello, S. Be kind.
There are three other posts about you.

Befriend a Raven

It's a personal goal of mine to try to read through things and identify the sources of problems within the unit as close to myself as possible. Where am I responsible? Generally this expands to "how are people like me, people that I identify with and am like, responsible," but it boils down to the same thing--what can I do? I'm not a big fan of scapegoating, and I try to avoid it.

Right now, I can find it. I can call it. I can notice it. That's the beginning. A realization that there are no heroes and villains in the world. Only people, doing things that they generally thing they're doing for the right reasons. If we're ever going to fix the problems, we need to change some deep-seated attitudes, not just remove people from the equations. There is no "good" violence or "bad" violence, only violence, which we can choose on societal terms to excuse or not. The choice, however, does not change the meaning of violence.

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm hostility. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Search Terms

I'm apparently still new enough to not have creepy search terms bring me up. I'm always fascinated, though, with seeing how people are finding me.

These are my top 8:

overheard in chicago
xinjiang war
face up salon
room salon
overheard chicago
war room salon
burqa ban
not too excess

I don't know why I get linked on "overheard in Chicago" since I don't think I've mentioned any of that. The rest make sense.

Things Go On

Ahmadinejad Sworn In As Iran President Amid Crisis : NPR:
"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in Wednesday for a second term as president nearly two months after a disputed election triggered massive street protests, split Iran's clerical leadership and brought attacks from within his own conservative camp over mistreatment of detained opposition activists."

I've written on this before. I think that this is the beginning of a change, despite everything, and I think that it's how it has to be for now. It's still not a fantastic end to the story.

Freed Journalists Home In U.S. After N. Korea Pardon : NPR

Freed Journalists Home In U.S. After N. Korea Pardon : NPR

Watched this on Faux this morning (my stepfather has a weird penchant for that station that I cannot fathom), and I cried. I have a thing for reunions. When Lee saw her daughter it was just beautiful.

In case you hadn't been following the story, a quick version:
The reporters were granted a pardon by North Korea on Tuesday, following rare talks between Clinton and the reclusive North Korea leader. Ling and Lee had been arrested near the North Korean-Chinese border in March while on a reporting trip for Current TV and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally.

What does Obama's health care bill cover?

Health Care Reform: The Beach-Reader Edition | The Root

"A midsummer status report on the big debate boiled down to the bare essentials"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Little Tidbit

Found at On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name � Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose:

"You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do. But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:

**every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
**every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
**every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;
**every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;
**every time you joke about how you’ll never let your daughter out of the house or anywhere near a man, ’cause ha ha, that’ll solve everything;
**every time you say, “I don’t understand why thousands of women are insisting this is some kind of woman thing”;
**every time you tell a woman you love she’s being crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
**every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman…

You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.

You’re missing an opportunity to stop the real misogynists, the fucking sickos, the ones who really, truly hate women just for being women. The ones whose ranks you do not belong to and never would. The ones who might hurt women you love in the future, or might have already."

And later:

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.
And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

I've found a few of these today. They're powerful. Go. Go read them.

Another post about rape � Fugitivus

(Used her title as a trigger warning)

Came across this in the blogosphere tonight. It's pretty intense and I really recommend you read the whole thing.
Another post about rape � Fugitivus: "if women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (”mean bitch”)
it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (”crazy bitch”)
it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (”stuck-up bitch”)
it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (”angry bitch”)
it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (”bitch got daddy issues”)
it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (”dyke bitch”)
it is not okay to raise your voice (”shrill bitch”)
it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (”mean dyke/frigid bitch”)
If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes."

MSG Speaks Truth

growing up in mississippi in the 1980/90’s racism was a way of life. in my experience it wasn’t something that was discussed because there was nothing to talk about. it just was. i never once had a classmate of a different race. i never had a teammate of a different race. i never had a neighbor of a different race. the only time i can remember this not being the case was when an asian family joined our church. at the time i didn’t know anything was different or if this wasn’t the case everywhere because that was all i knew. while i never heard anything hateful in my home, i heard it every where else. teachers at school would make it a point to say something degrading about black students and failing grades. at stores, i distinctly remember grown men making awful comments and at one point even pushing ladies down because they weren’t moving fast enough. i saw a lot, nothing like the 20 years before but enough to make you sick.

when you are a child you are taught to do one of two things when these things happen in front of you. either join in or keep your head down and walk away. never to stand up for what is right. because if you stood up for anyone outside the white race you were grouped with the people being beat down and you yourself were then pushed to the ground. i was never one to join in. i was the kid that kept her head down and walked away. and for that i am full of regret. i should have done something, i should have said something. but at the time i didn’t know that was an option.

i do believe that there is a part of you that is controled and formed by your environment. but only a part. i had every opportunity to be that person who joined in and believed the hate and abuse was what ‘they had coming.’ but there is a choice people have to make to understand right and wrong, to understand human suffering and to see that we are all actually just the same. luckily for me, i was taken out of that environment and i was able to see the difference. i was able to understand that this wasn’t just how it was. but i honestly believe that if i stayed in mississippi through high school i would still be that girl that kept her head down and walked away. because i had no one to show me how to stand up and fight against it. i had no one to show me that was an option.

although mississippi has come a long way since then it is still, in my opinion, not anywhere near being where it should be. and while there are no excuses for any type of hate, people have to be shown how to stand up to it. it is not mississippi’s fault or problem. it is every ones problem. it is up to everyone to say it is not ok and to stand up to it. every single time. no matter how slight or seemingly harmless. because until it is completely gone we are all at fault and we are all responsible for changing it."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Public Baffled By Health Care Arguments : NPR

Public Baffled By Health Care Arguments : NPR

Alright, so I have a problem with the healthcare debates. My issue, in general, is that nobody's talking about healthcare reform. They're talking about health INSURANCE reform. They're trying to extend insurance coverage, not availability of care.

Let me tell you that I could afford monthly insurance premiums so that I could, at least, see a doctor without having to go to the ER. I could. But I don't, because those low-cost premiums would cover NOTHING, and I couldn't afford the medical bills. So yes, I might be able to get in and get a prescription, which is more than I can say in my currently uninsured state, but I would have to declare bankruptcy for anything more than a routine physical. I had a problem in my internal girly bits last year, which involved bloodwork and some other things, and even WITH the great insurance I still had through my dad, I had to pay over $400 for the extra work. And that wasn't even a serious problem, just one of those things where you need to rule things out.

Nobody's talking about making problems like that go away. They're talking about INSURANCE. I had insurance, and I still didn't go to the hospital when I (probably) broke my ankle because I wouldn't be able to afford the deductible.

What we need to be talking about is reforming the healthCARE system, not the health INSURANCE system. And we're not, not really.