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 We try to pass some health insurance reform in this country and you're hoping and praying it'll get repealed.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

Thoughts

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.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Why Did I Start Listening To Country Again?

I took a road trip this weekend and listen to a fair amount of country music along the way. I heard two songs that really irked me. I guess I should know that country music is not the place to find enlightened opinions on historical and social issues, but nonetheless, it's still somewhat surprising to hear such backwards views shamelessly proclaimed in public. For example, Josh Turner has a song where he talks about how attracted he is to his wife/girlfriend/mistress/stalking victim. The repeated verse throughout the song is "I wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel like this." WTF. Manhood is not determined by whether or not you want to pork a particular woman. And what about gay men? Are they not men because they don't want to have sex with women? So annoying.  The other annoying song is Jason Aldean's "Flyover States." As a general rule I hate Jason Aldean and his ugly, ugly face. So my dislike of this song is no surprise. The basic premise of it is that he's on an airplane going from coast-to-coast, and he overhears some big city guys wondering why anyone would want to live in the states they're flying over. The song is some lame defense of those states, mostly farming, in a manner custom-made to appeal to rednecks. What really kills me though is the end of the chorus, something along the lines of "That's why God made those flyover states." Yes. Yes, exactly. God made Oklahoma, Kansas, etc, so white people could farm it. Getting rid of the buffalos and the Indians was alllll part of God's plan, as are complex irrigation systems to enable that land to be farmed. Sure. Sure.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good Girls and Sluts

One of the best things to come out of the whole Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke debacle was that slut-shaming was made a front and center issue in America. Unfortunately, there are some people who still just do not seem to get it.

Case in point, a Facebook friend of mine who was a high school classmate. I use her as an example not because I think she needs to singled out or because her views are unique in any way, but only because she's an active blogger and Facebook poster. In other words, I have a better idea of how she thinks because she puts it out there. (I would also note that she is a perfectly nice, mostly unoffensive person.)

A few days ago she shared an eloquent, clever post from a female physician who was fed up with how women and women's health issues are treated in politics and the media these days. My friend thought it was "the best thing [she'd] read on Facebook in quite a while." The only problem? Her history makes it abundantly clear that she just cannot see beyond the surface on these issues.

My friend has blogged (direct quotes) that "my sex is within marriage and therefore moral," that "[i]t will be more than challenging for [husband] and me to instill in our children the concept of right and wrong we were raised on if the unmarried teacher is living with her boyfriend," and that she has experienced the "dark side of life" because people close to her have "gotten pregnant while still single."

It's not hard to tell which side she comes down on regarding women and sex, is it?

She and I have also gotten into Facebook discussions on women's issues, and she pointed me towards a book called "Every Man's Battle" that she says helped her understand where men are coming from. If you're not familiar with the basic premise of this book, let me enlighten you. Essentially the author argues that men are biologically designed to be thinking about sex all the time. The subtitle of the book is "Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time." Christianity has really locked onto this notion and uses it to tell women that, because men are so powerless to control their biological urges, women need to help them out by not dressing provocatively and by being modest and ladylike in their interactions with men.

I know that my friend truly believes this. Only this week she posted a meme that says "Dress How You Want Other Women to Dress Around Your Husband."

First of all, I don't for a second believe that this is true. Of all the men who play significant roles in my life, none of them have ever struck me as being obsessed with sex and preoccupied with it all of the time. This goes for my father, my brother-in-law, and my four male coworkers that I interact with on a daily basis. Never once have any of them ever made me feel the least bit uncomfortable. Sure, it might be true for some men; I'm sure that it is. But that doesn't mean it's true of EVERY man. I don't even think it's true of my friend's husband, who I also went to high school with. He is a great guy that I like very much who has always been respectful to and appropriate with women, at least from what I've seen.

Second, I'm pretty convinced that the author of this "Every Man's Battle" book decided that, instead of admitting that HE PERSONALLY has a problem with sexual temptation, he decided to excuse it by arguing that he's a MAN and it's only NATURAL for men to act this way. It's a neat and handy way to shift the responsibility of dealing with this issue from the one man with the problem to EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD.

Like I said, I'm not pointing out any of this to make fun of my friend, not at all. But I do think she's an example of how a person can hold these destructive beliefs about women's sexuality without ever realizing it. She applauds the post that stands up for women in the media and in politics, but she continues to promote her views that, in order to be "moral," women should dress a certain way or act a certain way.

I don't think it's hard to pinpoint why women, who think of themselves as supporters of women would hold these kind of views: it's because they see themselves on the "good girl" side of the good girl/slut dichotomy. They don't have to worry about it because they're moral and upright, and if all women would just act like them, this problem would go away.

But it doesn't work that way. Soraya Chemaly's "A Slut Manifesto" appeared in this week's Huffington Post, and one thing she said really struck a cord with me.

If you're a "good" woman, don't kid yourself. It means you've spent your life and will continue to spend your life calibrating your appearance, speech and behaviour so that you are not a slut. By not acknowledging how the word is used you are embracing its power over you and other girls and women. And you will pass that corrupt and misguided abuse of power on to your daughters and mine. That's because you know, deep down, that at any point that word can be used against you. Every woman is a slut waiting to happen.

THAT is why I wish more women understood. Just because you are a "good girl" does not mean you are immune to the damaging effects of slut-shaming because it hurts all of our future selves. As long as women continue to accept slut-shaming, there is always a risk that it will be used against you. Just look at Sandra Fluke. What did she do other than testify that her friend needed birth control for non-contraceptive health issues? Nothing. Yet she got called a slut and a prostitute. If we don't accept that kind of judgment for Fluke, we shouldn't accept it for any women, regardless of how much sex they're having. The entire concept needs to go away in order to destroy the power that comes with it.

Smarty Pants

Do you ever feel like you just can't win? I do. A lot.

I have spent the majority of my (relatively) short life feeling like I was never good enough, at anything. I had cripplingly low self-confidence, and I obsessively fixated on my failures and shortcomings without ever giving any value to my successes. It used to drive my friends and family crazy. They'd tell me over and over again that I should be proud of what I had accomplished, that I was smart and successful, etc, etc.

The only thing that helped me break out of that cycle was becoming a practicing lawyer, specifically a litigator. For one, when you're a litigator, you makes mistakes on a daily basis. It's just the nature of the beast. My boss told me that he was once told, "If you're not committing malpractice at least every day you're not busy enough." Being in this business helped me get over my fear of making a mistake very quickly, and it made me realize that making a mistake is not the end of the world. But the other thing being a litigator taught me is that there are a lot of dumb lawyers out there doing really dumb stuff. Turns out I am pretty smart after all, smarter than a lot of people, in fact.

But beware, because the instant you start to gain some self-confidence and start to feel like you might be superior to someone else in one very specific aspect of life, be prepared to be shot down and told that you're mean or snobby. I had a friend once tell me that it wasn't any fun playing pub quiz with me because I was smart. I had another friend basically write off all my success by pointing to my privileged upbringing. I've had aunts and uncles tell my mom that they don't want to hear about my successes anymore because it makes my cousins feel bad. And I've had Facebook friends tell me I'm "mean" if I dare express my delight that I intimidated a loser guy at a bar when when I told him I was an attorney.

The message is clear ladies: you're supposed to feel great about yourself and have all this girl-power confidence, but make sure you don't ever express it to anyone, because you might make someone else feel bad.

You know what? Fuck that. I never actively set out to make someone feel bad, and it's not my job to make anyone else feel better about themselves. And I am done pretending that I am not smarter than some people, that I don't have better critical thinking skills and logical reasoning. I do. Aren't I allowed to feel good about something in my life? Or are you only allowed to be proud of yourself if a man has decided you're worth puttin' a ring on?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dastardly Doodle

My friend Kim sent me some magnetic poetry a while back, and last night I finally got around to putting it up on my fridge. To make room, I had to rearrange some other magnets I had up. Some of my "magnets" are actually stickers or bumper stickers that I've just stuck magnetic tape to the back of. As I moved one of my stickers lower on the fridge, I thought for a second, "I wonder if Scarlet can reach this now," but I dismissed it. She usually doesn't bother things too much.

This is what I found when I came home for lunch today. Never underestimate the mischief of a doodle.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What a Bunch of Boobs

Apparently there is still a lot of complaining going on about Facebook's policy against photos of women breastfeeding. Moms are pretty upset because, as they argue, breastfeeding is natural and it is the necessary method for some mothers to feed their child.

Totally true, I completely agree. However, I still can't side with the Facebook protesters. Why? Because these mothers are so. freaking. annoying.

On Monday I unfriended a woman on Facebook. She is a fellow lawyer, and I know her solely through the BarBri prep course we took together more than three years ago. We became friends, but I think we hung out all of three times outside of BarBri. She had a baby last fall, and the woman will not shut up about her breasts.

She's posted about the baby latching on, her nipples cracking, her nipples aching, her nipples GETTING INFECTED WITH YEAST, rashes on her "girls", her "girls" leaking, putting a cup under her leaking "girls", and almost spilling breast milk on her files at work. On Monday she changed her profile picture to an avatar that has a mom and baby logo and says "I Nurse."

For some reason, that was the last straw for me. Lady, I KNOW YOU NURSE. We all know WAAAAAY to much about your nursing woes. What is with the avatar? No one is discriminating about you because you breastfeed your child. What we don't like is your oversharing attitude. I prefer to see you as a professional colleague, not as a milk cow. But because that's all you ever post about, that's all I see you as anymore.

What is the purpose of making sure everyone knows that you breastfeed? If it's to get support from other moms having trouble with breastfeeding, there are online communities for that. Your Facebook account, where you are friends with your professional colleagues, is not the place. And if it's to one-up all the moms who don't breastfeed, then you're a piece of shit. So it all comes across as very "look at me" and superior.

Circling back to the original topic, there are plenty of reasons why people don't want to see pictures of breastfeeding mothers on Facebook. For me, I view it as totally unnecessary and self-absorbed. The vast majority of moms I know would not want to post a picture of them breastfeeding. The ones who do are just weird. There, I said it. Yes, breastfeeding is natural, normal, and there's nothing wrong with doing it in public. If you kid has to eat, your kid has to eat. But you don't have to put it on Facebook. That's not necessary. Childbirth is normal and necessary, too. Would you put that on Facebook?

Get over yourselves.

**UPDATE**
I would have added this to the original post, but I wrote the original post from my phone and I don't know how to do links.

Anyway, to continue my point, there is this that some moms apparently think is hilarious. So, even if you have no issue with a mother breastfeeding in public and are just trying to politely avoid seeing her breast because you live in America and have been socially conditioned to be uncomfortable with public displays of breasts and genitals, you're going to be forced to look at something that looks like a boob anyway. If this is not "look at me, I'm breastfeeding!!!!!!" I don't know what is.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spelling Pains

My level of annoyance is irrationally high over Americans who insist on using the British spelling of certain words. Like behaviour, colour, favourite, and shoppe.

It's not THAT big of a deal and no one gets hurt from it, but I find it so maddening and obnoxious. Why? Because it is just trying too hard. Trying too hard to be different, to appear cultured and sophisticated. It's too fucking quaint. Maybe I find it annoying because, to a small, harmless extent, it's cultural appropriation. If that's how you grew up spelling certain words, then fine, we have no beef. But if you're doing it just to look cooler than everyone else, then you're akin to a hipster in my mind. And I fucking hate hipsters.

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Drive Me Crazy

There is nothing more annoying than a puppy who has just been spayed and therefore cannot be exercised more strenuously than a leash walk. Oh, and let me add to that a foot of snow that, for some reason, prevents said puppy from pooping anywhere in the vicinity of her owner's home.

I would be lying if I said this scene has not come to mind several times tonight.

Saturday, January 21, 2012