Monthly Archives: January 2014

Love can be tough, but friendship lasts forever

I am afraid that I’m calling bullshit on half of this one. Yes, love is hard. Really hard sometimes. But friendship doesn’t always last forever.

The context I saw this in was a girl who had just broken up with her boyfriend, calling her best friend for help. Her best friend appears and comforts her. All in all a pretty average comic strip. It was captioned with the above title.

Friends, even best friends, don’t always last forever. People drift apart and together again, rifts form, both serious and silly, because life ebbs and flows like that. It’s just the way life works, and trying to cling on to a friend that’s moving in a different direction is silly.

The comic implies that love doesn’t last forever, that it can be tough, and that it sometimes doesn’t work out. Why would anyone think that friendship is any different? You have to work at it and put effort into it in order for it to work, and sometimes it doesn’t no matter how hard you try. Sometimes it breaks up for no reason and you’re left crying to your boyfriend that you just don’t know what went wrong.

Don’t be realistic about love and then paint a rosy view of friendship. They’re both forms of close relationships, and there are strong similarities between the two.

I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry . . . because I’m a horrible person.

An article crawled its way into my online life this afternoon (also, my browser doesn’t think that ‘online’ is a word. Irony?). It was a rather unpleasant article, with the primary purpose of making the author (and people like her) feel superior, and anyone who’s made different choices in life feel unworthy.

The writer makes the claim that marriage and motherhood are not things to be celebrate, because they’re ‘super-easy’. Anyone can do them, she says, so why should they be celebrated? She bewails the lack of celebrations for promotions, landing dream jobs, backpacking through Asia (ignoring completely that people have parties all the time for such achievements. Apparently if it’s not an institution going back generations it just doesn’t count) She wants to celebrate only the extraordinary, because the ordinary, the average, don’t deserve it.

She turns to denigrating housewives in particular, claiming that what they do is essentially worthless. “Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”” . . . I do wonder who does her cooking and cleaning.

The devaluation of the ordinary in favor of the extraordinary is not right. Extraordinary things should be celebrated, because they are extraordinary. No-one in their right mind thinks that special things should not be celebrated. But apparently some think that ordinary people don’t deserve to celebrate the things that are important and life-changing to them. That’s a bit nasty and a bit rude really. Ordinary people are just as entitled to celebrate the significant things in their lives, and just because some snooty high-flyer believes that what they do has no value, it doesn’t make their big moments any less special.

Beating up on the wife and mother has one major drawback – we need them. We need women having babies to continue existing. I have no idea how she thinks that would happen in her perfect world of high-achievers. Stork theory revisited? Moving on.

Feminism is not pouring derision on other women for their life choices. When someone writes an article like that, it sets feminism back a step. It makes the ideals of equality and tolerance look frayed at the edges. Women beating other women down is cruel, and it’s counterproductive. Not everyone is going to be a CEO, or a chairman, or the head of marketing at Apple. It’s impossible. There have to be average people in order for there to be anyone above average. And putting down all the people that support a high-flyer is not nice. Horrible even.

Pouring out hate

A couple of days ago, Justin Bieber was caught drag racing while drunk and high. Not his finest moment, by a long shot. Apparently he’d been drinking, smoking pot, and popping antidepressants (what is this madness? I don’t think anti-depressants get you high). He then thought it was a right brilliant idea to go for a drive, then to get his entourage to block off a street for him to race down against a friend. The local police thought that the idea was possibly not as brilliant as Bieber thought.

But that’s all just back story. What happened next was a very public pillorying. Yes, he’s a public figure, and the media is going to splash everything he does over the screens of the connected world. They don’t make money out of downplaying his sheer idiocy. Being treated like a fool is par for the course. It’s not news media that was the problem though. It was the ever-friendly denizens of the internet that made this more than just a stupid, albeit famous, kid doing stupid-kid things. He’s a  complete twit for doing it, he should be punished as the law dictates, and maybe he might learn something.

The sections of the internet I frequent hates Justin Bieber. I admit, I don’t particularly like him, but I know that it’s primarily because I hate the music of today’s young teens. I’m getting old and clinging on to the music I grew up on. That’s fine, I don’t have to like tween music. I also think he acts like a bit of a prat. The internet agrees with me. The internet and I part ways in the degree of dislike, it seems.

The degrees of dislike seem to range from “hah, you prat. I hope your money doesn’t get you out of the trouble you’re in” to “I hope you get viciously raped in prison“. Bit of a range we have there. There’s even a bit of satire that suggests that drag racing should be made a capital crime so he can be executed.

What the hell, internet? He’s a stupid kid. He doesn’t deserve a “private cavity search” from “Bubba” (quotes from my Facebook feed). The sheer outpouring of hate is sickening. The sort of things that have been said are shameful, and I’ve seen it from people that I would hope knew better. The splashes from the depths of the internet hate-pit are splattering far today.

When it makes your day to see someone brought low like that, it says a whole lot of ugly things about you.

Some people

you look at and rather wish you didn’t know them. Example of the day: A young man who wrote a group off as ‘fuckn gay cunts’. admittedly, he did it over a joke image of a creme egg being held by someone’s butt-cheeks, with the usual ‘how do you eat yours?’ tagline, so in a way it was a logical idea. But those words are much more than a reaction to a single image. They carry a layer of meaning beyond the immediate reaction.

This young man is blatantly homophobic. I’ve known him for thirteen or fourteen years, and he’s been painfully homophobic all that time. He displays it without much in the way of prodding, and he makes no apologies for it. He’s a bit of a caveman. With a daughter. Crap.

The phrase itself is a brutal one. It’s one of the most hurtful phrases that can be used toward gay people, especially from a homophobe. It doesn’t seem to have quite the same impact on straight people, and I think it’s because it’s an attempt to smear a straight person, rather than a condemnation of their entire identity.

It’s an ugly slur. I wish it was dying out, that it wasn’t the go-to phrase to hurt gay people, and to write off straight people. I have no idea what it means to the in-betweens, to be honest. To me it’s infuriating rather than hurtful, because really, how dare anyone be so bigoted? People can and should be better than that. Perhaps we need more thirteen-year-old feminists to catch these people before they’re too set in their ways.

I wish I didn’t know people like this. I wish that I could look at my old school classes and know that the people in them all turned out to be decent human beings. I know I was an iffy prospect that turned out ok, but then I didn’t have a family that allowed hate speech (or any speech, but that’s a different matter). What the father models bigotry, there’s not a lot of hope for the kids.

I’m raising my kids to be better than this. Hating and fearing another group of people for their race, or their sexuality, or their gender identity is not acceptable in my house, and it should not be acceptable outside it either.

Sexual tomfoolery

Today’s written insanity comes in the form of a blog post about one Andrew Barnes, and his brilliant mix of abuse, victim-blaming, and outright stupidity, which you may hear about for the low, low price of $40. Book now, and hear his specific brand of asshattery! (No, I don’t know where you can book. Somewhere near the gates of hell, on the left, next to can machines that eat your money, I would think)

The guy advertises his sessions as being about “Expanding Women’s Sexuality”, and then goes on to blame women’s ’emotional baggage’ for any problem at all in their sex lives. Bit uncomfortable in one position? Baggage. He’s a little bit too big and being stretched a bit much? Baggage. Burning case of chlamydia that he gave you? Baggage, all the woman’s and all their fault. And his solution? Him shoving his fingers inside you and pressing on various areas REALLY HARD while you “cry and breathe through the pain”. The man’s delusional if he thinks that’s anywhere near an ethical treatment protocol, or even an effective one.

There are women that have emotional issues that make it difficult to have sex, but these few do not justify his sweeping generalities about all women. Things just not working right  does not equal emotional issues – sometimes things just aren’t working perfectly. But this douchenozzle thinks that a few mild issues in the bedroom are a great reason to get paid for shoving his hands in someone’s vagina.

If it were not for the fact that these women are paying, then what he does could easily be classed as abuse. Pressing hard while they cry in pain? Not usually on the list of things nice people do to women’s vaginas. Taking the money definitely gives him consent, but even then it’s hairy. He’s convinced a whole lot of women that they have a problem, and that the only solution to their problem is his treatment. I’m sure that sounds a tad abusive.

People like this sicken me. They pretend they have all the answers (hell, they might even believe it themselves) but what they peddle is wrong, and dangerous, and hurts the poor people that get sucked in. Presenting this sort of garbage as something that sounds as positive as ‘expanding women’s sexuality’ brings the disingenuity to a whole new level – tell women that this is a good thing for them, and then layer them with blame and guilt.

A man like this should be nowhere near a woman’s vagina.

“Oh, I thought that was your partner”

Stuff ran an article today about the violent attack on a woman named Praveet Chahal. It was a completely unexpected attack by a complete stranger, in broad daylight, in a public street. It’s the rare sort of crime that the victim doesn’t get blamed for, because it is just so completely out of the blue.

There were people around, at least a few. Enough for the bystander effect to kick in, the odd phenomenon of people not giving assistance because there are other people there. It’s been observed and studied in different contexts, and it seems to be just part of the human psyche.

However, there was a man there who was directly appealed to for help. That kills the hesitation, waiting for anyone else to do something. He was singled out and begged for help. and he did nothing, even pushing Chahal away when she went to him for help. His female companion just ran away. That is pretty despicable behaviour really, although it could be explained by fear. Or not.

When she asked him, after the ambulance crew was there and everything was over, he gace his reason. He said “oh, I thought that was your partner”. . . . Oh. I thought that was your partner.

On what flaming planet does that make it ok for him to beat her bloody? That answer says a whole lot about how we think as a society about domestic violence. Even if a woman is screaming for help, she should only receive assistance if her assailant is not in any kind of relationship with her. What the hell? Just, what the hell?

We turn a blind eye toward domestic violence, in almost any of its incarnations. We ignore the evidence of a beating noticed over the water cooler at work. We push away the signs of controlling behaviour at the work Christmas party. And now, it seems, we have it in us to ignore a blatant beating on a sunlit street at just about tea-time. It’s shameful.

Oh, but I wouldn’t! . . . maybe. But for everyone that would stand up and help, there are others that would let her be beaten, not because they didn’t want to get hurt, but because they thought it was her partner and so it’s ok. Or maybe he didn’t want to be involved in a domestic. Either are bad, bad reasons to push away a woman begging for help.

What Is a Life?

A picture crossed my timeline today, an anti-abortion one. It reads “Why would a bacteria be considered life on Mars . . . And a heartbeat not considered life on Earth?”

Let me ask, why would a woman have a right to bodily integrity . . . except when she is pregnant?

A heartbeat is not a person. It’s a potential human, but that doesn’t mean that it has the same rights as the actual human that carries it. If she wants or needs to stop that heartbeat, it’s her right. It’s her body that’s being a life support, and she has the right to choose not to, for any reason. There will be millions more potential humans created. There is only one life for each actual human.

The comment thread threw up another anti-abortion image. It’s a woman in a t-shirt saying ‘Third Trimester’ screaming “How dare you challenge my right to kill this thing? No-one can stop me doing whatever I want with my body!” This, children is what we call a “straw man”. Anyone that tries to set this up is being deliberately misleading – this woman exists about as much as do baby-eating atheists.

There are real, non-emotive lines of dialogue between pro- and anti-choicers. But this kind of emotive, unrealistic, placard-waving rubbish is just that. I can disagree with a good argument, but I can only pour scorn on this rubbish.

Chicken Pox

With one child waiting for her skin to clear, and another due to get sick sometime in the next two weeks (assuming she’s one of the 90% of kids that contract the disease when exposed), childhood diseases are rather on my mind. Vaccinations have changed our world, made our children healthier, happier, and less prone to death.

India celebrated an important milestone this week – 3 years without a polio case has had them declared polio-free. Of course, it’s easy enough for the odd case to wander over the border from troubled Pakistan, who are still trying to recover from the fake vaccination program in Abbottabad, which may have helped net bin Laden, but dealt a huge blow to the real vaccination programmes that were attempting to save lives. Crippling polio has been the cost of symbolically killing one man. I digress.

Vaccines have done so much for the lives of kids. Some of the illnesses that they have prevented aren’t often fatal, but they all create misery, misery that our kids no longer have to deal with. I know that my kids will never be paralysed by polio, or be in danger of measles-related meningitis, or any other nasty disease that have now died out in most of the world.

Chicken pox is not on the NZ immunization programme. It’s not a lethal disease, it’s usually uncomplicated and passes in around seven days. But it spreads so easily, causes so much misery, and is easily stopped with a simple vaccine. I guess I can see why it’s not on the schedule – it’s an expense that we don’t see as essential.

It’s a disease we could beat though. Kids don’t need to suffer. I only knew that a vaccine existed because the US has it on their recommended schedule. It was never presented as even a paid option, and I think that needs to change. It’s an option that should be available for anyone that wants to take it, or at least anyone who can pay for it, since it’s not funded.

Anti-vaccine advocates really wind me up. How can you want to take the risk that your child might suffer or die, and that they (or you) might infect someone vulnerable. We can worry about things like autism (no link. At all) mostly because we have removed the diseases that were severely damaging or fatal. Worrying about ‘vaccine injury’ is specious when you compare it to ‘disease deaths’.

I wish I’d vaccinated my kids against chicken pox. It’s a childhood disease that doesn’t need to harm them.

Spanking My Kids

I don’t smack my kids. it’s just not something that I’m ok with, and the few times I’ve tried have been a disaster and haven’t solved anything. I have a couple of good kids who have been raised without smacking, so I know it’s possible. I’m pretty happy with the way that it’s all working out really.

What about other people smacking my kids? It happened this past week while I was away, and I’m not happy with it. I entrusted my kids to someone else, and maybe that act means that they are allowed to discipline them as they see fit. It just doesn’t sit right with me. They’re my kids, and I don’t like anyone laying a hand on them. She seems to have come home fine, and maybe I should leave it lie at that. It’s all very confusing.

Christmas happened, then I was away for a while, but I’m back to posting for the new year now.

My Corsets

It’s something I do every day now. Most women put a bra on without thinking, and that’s that. I put a corset on and I’m suddenly silly, or crazy, or something.

It took me a long while to find one that fitted right, and I probably looked a bit odd while I tried others on. That’s ok, I’ve found the right one now, and I have a pretty normal looking silhouette. So that’s one set of questions and explanations down.

I get all sorts of less-than-supportive comments, the most common being ‘why are you wearing that?’ It was only a couple of generations ago that it was completely normal, but these days it’s deviant, and no-one likes someone who’s different.

It doesn’t restrict my breathing, and it doesn’t restrict my movement much, except that I have to bend in a specific way if I want to get something off the floor. It’s comfortable, I have much less back pain, and I am happy to have changed over from a bra. I can eat as much as I like – I run out of appetite before I run out of space under the corset.

This is my normal, and I’m happy with it. Some people have been very good about it, not even commenting on it or saying nice things. But so many people are doubtful or outright opposed. I guess to them I want to say “I don’t judge your bra and knickers, so leave my foundation garments alone!”