Friday, October 25, 2013

Proof That My Sister's Childhood Bullying of Me Ruined My Chances with Men

"One of the factors that increase the probability of bonding is confidence," says clinical psychologist Guy Grenier, adjunct professor of human sexuality at the University of Western Ontario. "One's degree of confidence might be compromised early in one's social trajectory if one felt ostracized or judged based on one's appearance."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Conversation About Nerds

Me:  i think i need to start focusing my dating efforts on nerds
not granola outdoorsy types
i might actually have some luck with nerds

Friend:  i would say [lawyer coworker] and his brother in law in your office are nerdy
both seem like a person who'd be a good fit for you

Me:  they are not nerdy, are you kidding?
they are both uber charming

Friend:  they are totally nerdy!

Me:  um, no

Friend:  bowties, black rimmed glasses!

Me:  i was a biochemistry major in college, i know nerds
that is hipster, that is not true nerd

Friend:  ha

Me:  i'm talking like math major level nerd
or engineering

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On College Women Who Just Need To Stop Drinking

If you follow feminist organizations and writers on social media, you've probably seen their response to Emily Yoffe's article at entitled "College Women: Stop Getting Drunk." The feminist response to the article has been, in a word, negative. And rightfully so. While I don't disagree with Yoffe that binge drinking culture has dangerous results, why place the blame and responsibility to change the culture on college women? What does that accomplish other than to further relieve actual rapists of responsibility and introspection? Sure, you can liken the advice to advising homeowners to lock their doors at night, but that's a faulty analogy that ignores how rampant rape apology is in our society. (Not to mention the fact that comparing the physical assault and violation of women to property crimes is just wrong on all accounts.)

All that being said, there's a part of me that understands where Yoffe is coming from, no matter how misguided she may be, because there have certainly been times in my life where I've espoused similar opinions. I still cringe when I think about the commentary I offered up in my law school criminal law class on the topic of rape. These attitudes are the results of rape culture, yes. But when it's women offering these opinions, I think there's something else at play.

See, women necessarily have different reactions to rape because we're primarily the victims of this particular crime. Add to this the fact that we're the gestating gender, and you get a lifetime of added lectures on how to be responsible with it comes to sex and purity, etc. Those lectures are ultimately just victimization in another form, but it's one that is heaped on us from a very early age, and one that our culture encourages. For example, how many times have you heard fathers of girls talk about locking their daughter away, never allowing her to date, or chasing boys away with a stick/gun? It's seen as cute and endearing that men have to protect women from the sexual attentions of other men. Why? Well, ask any dad with this mindset and he'll tell you it's because "we know how boys think."
There's a common theme here, and it's that women are conditioned to be reactionary and defensive when it comes to men and their sexual attention. When it comes to dads, daughters, and dating, the dads have to protect the daughters. No one seems to consider teaching sons not to pursue women as sex objects. The rape dialogue is no different. The tendency is to say that we have to teach women not to "put themselves" in vulnerable situations. No one seems to consider teaching mean not to take advantage of a woman's vulnerability.

But I digress. The point here is that we as women are conditioned by society to believe that preventing sexual assault against ourselves is primarily our own responsibility (and that of the women who take care of us). That's not a very comforting position to be in--viewing the world as a place where opportunities for your sexual assault abound if you're not careful enough. The thought that we live in such a hostile environment is not a pleasant one because it strips us of any assurance as to safety or security. So it's only natural that some women react by looking for control wherever they can find it. And the easiest way to find some sense of control is to buy into the "good girl" illusion. You know what I mean--the illusion that bad things don't happen to good girls.

What is a good girl? Well, good girls don't wear the kind of clothes that make men think sexual thoughts. Good girls aren't sexually promiscuous which means that men won't think their advances will be welcome and won't try anything. And Yoffe's favorite, good girls don't get drunk and thus they're able to keep their wits about them when men get sexually aggressive.

There truly is a strange sense of comfort in believing in this notion of a "good girl" because, if there are set rules you follow, you can keep bad things from happening to you. The problem, however, is that these proponents of "good girls" don't realize how easy it is to step over the good girl line. (If Robin Thicke taught us anything, I guess it is that there are indeed "Blurred Lines" when it comes to being a good girl.) These proponents also seem to have no grasp on the active role men play in pushing women over that blurry line.

So to make my point, I thought I would offer up a little personal anecdote of my own to challenge Yoffe's position. Let me start off by saying that I'm about as good of a girl as we come. I'm not promiscuous, I'm terribly inept at flirting with men, and I have worn and will wear Crocs to bars. (I'm really asking for it in those sexy shoes, right?) Nevertheless, I recently found myself in a situation where I was very near to black-out drunk in the company of men I didn't know.

The story starts with me spending about two weeks emailing with a man through online dating. I thought I had really hit the jackpot with him. He was cute, he was gainfully employed, he was responsive with his emails, and he set off no red flags. In short, he was the best prospect I'd ever encountered on online dating. But he lived four hours away from me, so I decided that if anything was going to progress, I would have to go visit him. I planned a weekend trip to his town with a friend of mine, asked Mr. Online (as I'll call him) if he'd be available, and set up aSaturday night date. The plan on my end was to drive 45 minutes to my friend's house on Friday night, spend the night with her, and then leave for Mr. Online's town on Saturday morning. I was excited for the entire weekend, including dinner on Friday nightwhen my friend and I were going to go out with three other young female attorneys. Living in a state with a small bar where most of the attorneys I encounter are male and frail (i.e., old), it was an evening to look forward to.

That is, until noon on Friday when Mr. Online emailed and abruptly cancelled on me.
Needing to drown my disappointment in missing out on what I thought was a great guy, I had a glass of wine when I got to my friend's house Friday evening. The two of us then walked to dinner where I had a great time meeting my new friends. I had two more glasses of wine with dinner over the course of about two hours. Because I'm not a big drinker in general (and especially not of wine), I was decidedly over the limit as our group of five women left the restaurant. We headed to a bar downtown where I ordered a beer. This is the last drink I remember ordering or drinking all evening.

While we were at the bar, my friend started to feel not so well, and she decided to go home. Since I was having a good discussion with one of the other women, I decided to stay. Eventually we were joined by two men one of who I knew slightly and the other of who I didn't know at all. The one I knew is an attorney in the same firm as my friend and one of the other women we were out with. He also happens to be the childhood best friend and brother-in-law of a partner in my own law firm. Here's what I remember about the evening from that point on:

-I remember talking with the two men at the bar.
-I remember two of the three women I was with leaving early because of a minor dispute with the bar staff.
-I remember ending up at a bar across the street with the two guys.
-I remember talking with the two guys at the second bar.
-I remember going with the two guys to the condo of one of the women, where there were at least two other men there I'd never seen before.
-I remember one of the other men trying to talk to me.
-I remember saying I was going to go back to my friend's house.
-I remember the two guys I was drinking with walking me back to my friend's house.

Not so bad, right? Until the next week when I heard from multiple sources that one of the men--the one I sort of knew--bought me multiple drinks throughout the night, including shots, all of which I drank.
I remember none of that. I never do shots. I can count on one hand the number of shots I've done in my thirty years of life. But apparently on this night I was just drunk enough from dinner with girlfriends that I didn't notice the extra beers and shots being placed before me throughout the evening. I also don't remember anything about how I got from the first bar to the second bar, or anything about how I got from the second bar to the condo. And there is absolutely no way I would have been able to make it back to my friend's house from the condo on my own.

Thinking about it now, I'm very thankful to those two men for getting me home safely. But here's the thing--I wouldn't have needed their help if they hadn't been plying me with alcohol all night.

do know my limits. I don't drink to excess. But on a night when I just wanted to escape the feelings of not being good enough for some random guy on the internet, and one a night when I let loose out of the pure joy of finding like-minded women in my small town, I had too much to drink in the company of friends. I truly, honestly believed that I stopped drinking after my first beer at the first bar, but as it turned out I was just drunk enough to keep drinking when someone else ensured that drinks just kept appearing in front of me all evening.

If something had happened to me that night, I wonder what Yoffe would say about it. Did I step too far over the good girl line? I voluntarily had four drinks over the same number of hours, with dinner, while out with four female friends. Even once the two men showed up, they were people I knew enough about to feel comfortable with. But I was still completely at their mercy. I could easily have been led from the second bar to anyone's house. And I have no doubt that the third guy at the condo would have tried to have his way with me if the other two guys hadn't been looking out for me and accompanied me home.

I'm a good girl. Nevertheless, only luck ensured that my night turned out fine when many other women's do not.
But according to Yoffe, I'm the one in the scenario who bears all the responsibility. It's telling that she doesn't discuss any responsibility men have in these scenarios, such as the responsibility not to ensure that women get so durnk they don't know what's happening and can't make good decisions. Plying women with alcohol they haven't asked for is deemed perfectly acceptable, even courteous, in our society. And it's not something only predators do. The man who bought the drinks for me is a good guy. But that makes no difference in terms of the impact his actions had on my capacity that night.
On, feminist writer Lori Adelman criticized Yoffe's piece and stated that it "lend[s] credence to criminals." Adelman is exactly right. So long as our society places all the responsibility on the women, the motivations of men become irrelevant, and the willful taking advantage of an incapacitated woman is not seen as a problem.

To women like Yoffe, the solution is the stop being such a reckless drunk. But for those of us that live in the real world, we know that oftentimes we don't reach the drunken state on our own. There's nothing wrong with examining the role alcohol plays in sexual assault, but that examination needs to be all-encompassing and, at a minimum, needs to account for the actions of all the players.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Guns Guns Guns

I was angry for much of yesterday and I woke up angry today. I'm angry that I'm supposed to sit back and watch mass shooting after mass shooting and not even so much as QUESTION the gun culture in this country. Just ask questions and you're labeled "anti-gun." And don't you fucking dare tell me how I should react to this. Congratulations that you can see mall shoppers terrorized and twenty children executed in the span of a week and respond "calmly." I cannot. I'm not saying we should change our gun laws, but if we cannot even tolerate discussion on the topic, then that speaks volumes about the gun culture in this country. THIS is what makes me angry. The bullheaded refusal to just question how our behavior contributes to a culture that has resulted in mass shootings being a routine part of life. If you are worried about subjecting your beliefs to a little critical thinking, that should bother you.

I'm also angry that violence against women gets brushed aside or blamed on the woman, while meanwhile middle-class white guys are so worried about violence against them that they insist on being armed at all times. And don't give me the line that more guns for women are the answer. They're not. If the answer is that everyone in our culture has to become adroit with a handgun in order to feel safe, ever, then I am done. I'd rather spend my free time cuddling with my puppy than practicing at the gun range. Is that the kind of world you want your kids growing up in? Seriously, if that's your answer to gun crime, take a minute and think that over. How do you not see how that is just further contributing to our already problematic gun culture?

And I'm angry over people insisting that this was the result of "one sick guy" when this country won't tolerate a public health care system that would provide help to people like this. Any efforts to ensure that people will get the care they need is labeled "socialism." We try to pass some health insurance reform in this country and you're hoping and praying it'll get repealed. Well what the hell are we supposed to do, then? You want to blame the shooter, but you don't want access restrictions and you don't want to provide mentally ill with affordable treatment. So we end up doing nothing, again and again. And so many of you ARE PERFECTLY CONTENT WITH THAT. This is why I'm angry. 

*This was posted on Facebook as my grand "adieu" so that explains all the "you"s I use in the post. I'm most likely not talking about my blog readers.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why I'm Not a Libertarian

I've never given much thought to libertarianism before this election cycle. To me "libertarian" was what someone claimed to be when they were too embarrassed with the Republican Party to continue to associate with it. But it's been pretty hard to ignore lately because it's popularity has really taken off. It's understandable that people would want an alternative to the two-party system, but this is one political party that I just cannot get behind.

What bugs me the most about libertarians is how they're convinced that they are out-of-the-box thinkers and you (if you're a Republican or Democrat) are just intellectually shallow and a follower of the masses.

Give me a fucking break.

Let's get something straight, libertarians: you're not the cure-all for what is wrong with the two-party system. You're a welcome addition to the political discourse, but let's face it, you're not what the country wants. Stop being so butt-hurt that more people aren't jumping on your bandwagon. It's not because we're dumb, it's not because we don't challenge ourselves intellectually, it's because we don't want what you're selling. That's life. I'd like to see a more progressive socialist (yes, I said it) party in this country, but it doesn't appear to be what the people want. I don't go around crying about it and insulting everyone who disagrees with me on that.

Now, that is my emotional objection to libertarianism. It's pretty much the same reaction most people have to other political parties. Democrats think Republicans are stupid, which makes Republicans mad. And Republicans think Democrats are stupid in return, which makes us mad. Nothing new there.

But I also have a philosophical objection to libertarianism. I like government regulation. Really, I do. I like knowing that the food I buy has to meet certain standards. I like knowing that the medications I take have been through testing. I like knowing that my doctor has to be licensed, that my CPA had to take the CPA exams, that my car has to meet certain safety standards.

And I like restrictions on what you can and can't do in your business. I like the Family Medical Leave Act assuring qualified employees that they're not going to lose their job if they need to take leave to have a baby or have surgery. I like the Fair Labor Standards Act assuring qualified employees that their employer can't work them to death without paying overtime. I like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act putting the fear of litigation in employers' hearts to keep them from discriminating against employees. I like the Environmental Protection Act checking corporations from destroying the earth in the pursuit of profits.

And I like unions, because we can talk about the freedom of contract until we're blue in the face, but we all know that one blue-collar worker has zero negotiating power all on her own. I like the Patent Act and the Copyright Act assuring creators that someone with more money can't come along and steal their creations. Fuck, I like affirmative action, even quotas.

Why? Because I don't trust those with economic power to look out for what is best for the collective whole. That's what is at the heart of my objection to libertarianism. Libertarians are kidding themselves that a lack of government involvement is better for everyone. It's not. It's better for those who have the upper hand. For the privileged among us. Maybe, just maybe, if everyone started off at the same level, libertarianism would make sense. But we don't start off at the same level, and I don't see how removing governmental regulation is going to help anyone other than the rich people already in power.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

More Thoughts

I don't blog much anymore.

It's not that I don't think of things to blog about, it's that there is usually something that stops me before I type out the words. The great thing about blogging is that it's such a tangible and easy way to get your thoughts out there to the world. The bad thing about blogging, for me anyway, is that putting my thoughts out there only seems to do more damage than good. I'm always offending people or leaving people with the impression that I am a bitter and angry woman, especially when I talk about marriage or motherhood.

I had a whole blog thought out last night about why I hate it when mothers say they've been dreaming about their daughter's wedding since the day of her birth. But then I could hear my parents in my head telling me, "You've got issues, you're so angry," and I thought, why bother? There's no way for me to explain myself without just sharing way too much. Without making myself vulnerable in a way that I just can't do anymore. There's nothing worse than making yourself vulnerable to people who just don't care. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

I feel like this sums up my blogging experience, and my social media experience to some extent. I just feel like it's not worth it anymore. I'm not going to change anyone's mind. I'm not even going to challenge them to think about things in a different way. I'm just going to make everyone think I'm angry and bitter. And I just don't have the energy to correct them anymore.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I'm starting to wonder if the GOP likes fetuses more than the women they grow in because there is a chance the fetus could be male.