October 7, 2018

Brett the Impartial

Last week, Christine Blasey Ford testified about how Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her back in 1982. Then it was his turn to say words. The Senate was ready to go on it, with the Republican majority ready to vote yes, but then Jeff Flake was cornered in an elevator, so Republicans grudgingly agreed to let the FBI investigate the claims for like five minutes. So nothing seems all that different as at the end of this week the full Senate voted on confirmation. Thursday evening right before, Brett Kavanaugh said some more words, this time in written form in the Wall Street Journal. Let’s see…

I was deeply honored to stand at the White House July 9 with my wife, Ashley, and my daughters, Margaret and Liza, to accept President Trump’s nomination to succeed my former boss and mentor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, on the Supreme Court.

Name dropping.

My mom, Martha—one of the first women to serve as a Maryland prosecutor and trial judge, and my inspiration to become a lawyer—sat in the audience with my dad, Ed.

Good for her.

That night, I told the American people who I am and what I believe.

Still more comprehensive than this FBI investigation.

I talked about my 28-year career as a lawyer, almost all of which has been in public service. I talked about my 12 years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often called the second most important court in the country, and my five years of service in the White House for President George W. Bush.

Well, yeah, this process is a job interview after all.

I talked about my long record of advancing and promoting women, including as a judge—a majority of my 48 law clerks have been women

Um, yeah, about that…

—and as a longtime coach of girls’ basketball teams.

I think I know the real reason you want this gig.
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February 22, 2018

So-So Silver

Filed under: Estrogen,Here's To You!,Sports!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:11 pm

And now for an icy, once-every-four-years edition of…

Here’s to You!!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Team USA Women’s Hockey!”

Winter Olympics. The gold medal match for women’s hockey. USA vs Canada, of course. Two countries who are in absolutely every other context the best of friends, which dissipates the moment a hockey puck is dropped between them.

Team USA up 2-0 into the third period. Then within the last couple minutes, Canada scores two goals and sends it into overtime. And then scores again. Sudden death. Suddenly they’re all on the podium, the gold medal winners grinning as O Canada blares around the arena, the silver medalists in frustrated tears, and the bronze medalists being all “Hi, we’re Finland!”

USA was up until almost the end, pretty much had the gold for sure. And then lost it. A cringeworthy result that, honestly, I as a DC sports fan know all to well. *stares blankly at brief memory of NLDS Game 5 in 2012*

That was four years ago in Sochi.

Last night in Pyeongchang (well, it was mid-afternoon there) came the long awaited rematch, after USA and Canada again prevailed through the earlier rounds to face each other again in the gold medal match. After having already faced each other in the preliminaries anyway, with Canada winning 2-0, in which the last several seconds of the game pretty much turned into an all out brawl.

The match began, and soon enough Team USA scored a goal. Then a little while later, Canada scored two goals, giving them the 2-1 lead. And then about halfway through the third period, USA scored again, tying it at 2-2. Once again, this was the score going into overtime.

It was the score at the end of overtime as well. Time for shoot out! Blocked, score, score, blocked, blocked, blocked, score, score, blocked, blocked. Okay, still 2-2.

Team USA shoots…

Score!

Canada shoots…

Blocked!

And with that, unbelievably, staying up way later than I should have last night when I had work in just a few hours, right before my eyes, right there on my TV… Team USA cheered and hugged and waved big US flags around.

Then they’re all on the podium. The gold medalists are grinning as The Star Spangled Banner blares around the arena, the silver medalists in frustrated tears, the bronze medalists being all “Hi, we’re Finland!”

Amazing. Such a great team. Certainly better than our men’s team who 24 hours earlier lost their quarterfinal to the Czech Republic, FFS.

But, all of that said, there’s something in all this that is very much not amazing.

I’ve been watching every day of these Olympics, as I have for every Olympics going back to Vancouver, with Beijing and Torino having just been on and off, further back mostly just watching the Opening Ceremony. I’m old enough to remember a time when the US athletes marched in the Parade of Nations in cowboys hats. *shudder*

But I digress. Anyway, what is very much not amazing happened in both of these gold medal finals and surely others. Same deal with some events in Rio and maybe others I’m forgetting.

I realize I don’t know the first thing about planning the events and schedules and ceremonies in the Olympic Games. It looks unimaginably daunting. Getting things to happen at certain times and organizing everything makes my head hurt to think about it.

But…

If the silver medalists are crying, maybe give them some time to compose themselves before you have the damn medal ceremony!

I say this whether Team USA are those gold medalists or those silver medalists or neither. Even though they were the teary silver medalists four years ago, and now it had turned about and it was Canada in that position, there’s nothing satisfying about this. When the match is won, the joy is in winning the gold medal, not in the other participants being sad, unless you’re a complete and utter sadistic asshole anyway.

The silver medalists’ feelings are entirely understandable and justified. Once the match was over, for me anyway, any competitiveness vanished and I was looking at the forlorn Canadian players and wanting someone to give them a goddamn hug. Consider any time you’ve worked so hard for something and at the final moment it wasn’t good enough and you still failed. Then multiply that by a whole lot because it’s the Olympics and it’s a fierce emotional fight. Then consider that these are athletes on the international stage who would be used to the highs and lows of it all, and still they can only be so composed upon the end of the match.

As for the medal ceremony, it’s bad enough for them they lost the match at all. But to force them to stand there and receive their medals when they’re still in the throes of processing the loss and project them in that state, that’s just an extra and very unnecessary shot at their dignity. It doesn’t help that the commentators then remark upon this obviously involuntary display of sadness, like “what business do they have being sad? they still got silver!”

And it so very doesn’t help that, well, this is the women’s portion of the sport. On Sunday when the Canadian men beat the Czech Republic (I’m calling that now), when O Canada is blaring around the arena then, let’s see if the silver medalists are crying. I’m sure they do and will be. And I’m sure it won’t be all that obvious to those of us watching at home, because they won’t be so keen to show it. Because that would undermine the men’s dignity.

Update, 2-23-18: Okay, Canada and Czech Republic both lost their semifinals and will instead face each other in the bronze medal match. So we’ll see this weekend what happens with the medal ceremony after the gold medal match between Germany and “Russia”.

December 22, 2017

Christmas Toys

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Musical Musing — Katrina @ 5:33 pm

Many Christmas songs are about or at least mention gift-giving, particularly to children. Some are even specific about it. Let’s see…

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas”

The lyrics:
“A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that can talk and can go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen”

So then…
Gift for boys: Cowboy boots and a gun
Gift for girls: Doll

What else?

“Up on the Housetop”

The lyrics:
“First comes the stocking of little Nell
Oh dear Santa fill it well
Give her a dolly that laughs and cries
One that can open and shut her eyes.

Next comes the stocking of little Will
Oh just see what a glorious fill
Give him a hammer with lots of tacks
A whistle and a ball and a whip that cracks.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Hammer, tacks, whistle, ball, whip.
Gift for girl: Doll

Moving on…

“Run Rudolph Run”

The lyrics:
“Said Santa to a boy child
What is it you’re longing for?
All I want for Christmas is
A rock n roll electric guitar.

Said Santa to a girl child
What would please you most to get?
A little baby doll
That can cry, sleep, drink, and wet.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Guitar
Gift for girl: Doll

Okay, seeing a pattern here.

“Jolly Old St Nicholas”

The lyrics:
“Johnny wants a pair of skates
Suzy wants a dolly
Nellie wants a story book
She thinks dolls are folly.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Skates
Gift for girls: Doll… and a book!

Alright, so Nellie wants a story book, with the need to explain why she did not choose a doll. Whereas there was nothing saying that Suzy, or Johnny for that matter, considers books folly.

Although, this song does have alternate lyrics to this verse:
“Johnny wants a pair of skates
Suzy wants a sled
Nellie wants a picture book
Yellow, blue, and red.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Skates
Gift for girls: Sled and picture book.

Hey, no doll! Suzy has decided sleds are more fun. Nellie, however, seems to have been downgraded to a picture book, one with specified colors for some reason. Perhaps this was a trade off. That, okay, no doll for either girl, and we’ll give Suzy an item for an actual winter activity much like Johnny’s skates, but in exchange, Nellie’s is a picture book now, because we can’t have a girl being too smart.

December 13, 2015

Games and Other Games

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:05 pm

I’m completely sick to death of the idea that watching sports and playing video games are male-only activities.

Me, I do watch sports, being a fan of the various Washington teams, and while I don’t play as much as I wish I did, I do enjoy video games as well. Oh, and I’m female!

I even see this idea coming from progressive sources that should know better. Too busy criticizing traditional cis-het masculinity and all that’s stereotypically associated with it that they end up reinforcing it by erasing those who aren’t cis-het males who enjoy such activities.

Society has been very slowly coming around about this, truth be told. Realizing that, yes, there are plenty of female gamers, and, yes, there are plenty of women watching NFL games who aren’t just putting up with it with a male (real) fan. Too slowly, though.

Not to mention that “nerdy” activities, like comic books and role-playing games and sci-fi and the like, are assumed to be just for guys. I don’t even get that stereotype. What, are girls supposed to be too pretty and not supposed to be thinking at all to be interested in that sort of thing, and that any girls who aren’t pretty are just, as always, assumed to not exist?

December 8, 2015

Trans, Homeless, Preteen

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:38 pm

According to a trans* activist friend of mine, apparently, in New York City, the average age at which homeless trans youth become homeless is 13.5 years.

Average!

I mean, I’ve written before about how parental love isn’t exactly as unconditional as conventional belief would have you think. But even knowing that, it’s so pathetic that parents would kick out kids who are in middle school or younger for any reason really, but still so much more mindblowing that it’s about something so ridiculous as the kids not acting the part of the gender their genitals tell them to be. How fucking petty and heartless can you goddamn get?!

I’ll bet these parents think they love these kids, too. I’ll bet lots of people think that. I guess the mere idea that they might not despite some clear evidence to the contrary here is just too much. 🙄

December 30, 2014

Leelah Alcorn

What happened to Leelah Alcorn is tragic and infuriating.

She was transgender but stuck with super fundamentalist religious parents who told her that she’s really a boy and that she’s going through a phase. When she wouldn’t relent in wanting to transition, her parents pulled her out of school and removed her from social media and friends, completely isolating her for months. Finally, after leaving her suicide note on Tumblr, she committed suicide.

Why didn’t her parents accept her? Because she brought shame to them. Because they wanted to maintain for themselves an image of Good Christians. In their minds, she stood in the way of that. In their minds, she had to be removed.

So they did. They removed her from school and from public pretty much. They tortured her with religious pseudo-therapy. Did they think they would “cure” her? Or keep her out of “sin” long enough for her to outgrow this supposed phase?

Any way you look at it, they wanted Leelah gone. They might have preferred that she simply stopped being LGBT or maybe not. They wanted everything that Leelah was to be gone, out of their life, out of sight, so that she would no longer sully their image, their honor.

So now that she’s dead… problem solved! It may be more extreme than her parents intended, or maybe not. They saw her as a problem that needed to be removed, so she removed herself for them. In fact, given the treatment of her leading up to it, clearly this is exactly what they were hoping would happen.

They couldn’t kill her themselves without going to prison or – gasp! – tarnishing their image as Good Christians, so they drove her to do it herself, not only to keep their hands clean but to ensure, in their minds, that she goes to hell where she belongs. They wanted an honor killing, and they got one.

And, as a youth rights supporter, I must ask the very important question here. Why in the hell were her parents even able to put her through all this shit in the first place? She should have been able to transition whether they wanted her to or not. She should have been able to stay in school and stay in contact with everyone regardless of how her stupid parents feel about her. She should still be fucking ALIVE and happy!

But they had power over all of this. Because just like they cared more for their image than her life, our society cares more about their “parental right” to control her (even to death) than for her life. And that right there speaks volumes.

December 13, 2014

Male Privilege

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:53 pm

Privilege is a tricky concept to explain. People have a way of never using examples or never adequately explaining what they’re talking about, so the privileged ones who feel attacked act accordingly and everything turns into a completely pointless mess.

But a while back, I found a pretty good example of male privilege, and it was on the radio. No, it wasn’t 97.1 WASH this time! It was DC101, the rock station. There’s this thing they do weekday afternoons where they play a song that used to be played all the time but now isn’t played at all. They usually do one song but sometimes two or three. On occasion, they do more than that on certain special days.

This was one of those days. They played two songs, both of which had male lead singers, and a third one had a female lead singer. The fourth also had a female lead. At this point, the DJ was apologizing for making the set of songs too “girly” for playing two consecutive songs by female singers, and that apparently a couple of people tweeted or texted him commenting on that. So the DJ decided to make up for it and the fifth song was by an all-male band who, the DJ said, were “proudly misogynist”. And the next two songs were also sung by men.

So that’s seven songs, two of which were sung by women, and the other five by men. And somehow this was “too girly”. Even though the male-sung songs were still the majority. The fact that two of the songs were not sung by men, and that they were done consecutively, and that after they were done, the songs were two by men and two by women, thus even, this was considered “too feminine” and thus offensive.

And that, there, is male privilege. That when things are equal between the genders by the numbers, it is not perceived as equal but of a sign that men are losing out on something and that women have too much power. Even when they are equal. Even when, with the whole seven song set, the men still have a strong majority. Somehow, even in this case women still have “too much power”.

October 29, 2014

Scanty Costumes 2

Filed under: Estrogen,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:30 pm

So there’s been a big uproar lately about the types of Halloween costumes available to those of us who happen to be female. Including those who are female and not yet in kindergarten. Not that there hasn’t been plenty of uproar on this topic already. But it’s slightly different now, in that it thankfully isn’t blaming little girls for choosing revealing costumes over a modest ghost or pumpkin in some conscious attempt to be more sexy and adult. In fact, it’s placing blame where it belongs: on the adults limiting the girls to the more revealing options.

One common example is how the police officer costume for boys looks like an actual police uniform, while the one for girls is a ridiculous short skirt with high boots. Same with the firefighter costume and countless others, that the one for boys actually looks like a miniature version of the real thing while the one for girls seems to make it over-the-top feminine to the point of ridiculous.

Thing is, I see an obvious solution to the above, and it’s a solution that interestingly enough is being forgotten due to adherence to gender binary. Just buy the “boys” costume for the girl. I mean, we’re talking prepubescent kids, so there aren’t nearly the body shape differences between the sexes as there will be later. The “boy” costume should fit her just fine. I mean, why is it a “boy” costume anyway (or the skirt one a “girl” costume for that matter)? Says who? The packaging says so and you can’t defy the packaging ever? The packaging will be out of the picture once the costume is being worn, so, tada!, you now just have an adorable little girl dressed like a cop all ready for trick-or-treating! Awww! 😀
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June 30, 2014

Best and Worst

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Estrogen,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:18 pm

There’s a popular quote attributed to Marilyn Monroe that goes something like: “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”

And seeing as it has comes off in even the slightest as empowering for women (even though no gender is stated), there’s no shortage of anti-feminist jerks (the so-called “men’s rights activists” but I don’t like to call them that because men’s rights isn’t something they actually care about) whining about it and calling Monroe a drug-addicted slut who therefore had no business wanting respect. Because a woman wanting respect is oppressive to men somehow.

But I digress. There’s that and there’s an actually reasonable criticism of the statement, which involves responding with “Define ‘worst.'”

If “worst” means “abusive”, then surely one shouldn’t be expected to handle that. Or even if “worst” isn’t necessarily abusive but is still extremely draining and leaving very little of any “best” to speak of, yeah, that’s not a great situation.

Or just take it at face value, in which case “worst” might simply mean sad or sick or stressed or scared. Rather normal human lows, that if you’re going to cast off someone for experiencing, you’re kind of an asshole. Or at least it’s not much of a relationship or friendship or whatever.

Humans are imperfect. It’s not a bad thing to remember. But, hey, why get in the way of some accusatory overthinking? 😛

This has been Day 38 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 14.

December 19, 2012

Pure Obsession

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 6:29 pm

A couple years ago, I read the book “The Purity Myth” by Jessica Valenti. It was about the obsession with virginity, namely teenage female virginity, which brought about a number of troublesome phenomena, including the retch-inducing “purity balls”. As in the father-daughter dances complete with ceremonies where the daughter pledges to her father that she will remain a virgin until marriage. Yeecchhh!!!!

I mean, shit, you’d think the classy thing to do would be to at least TRY to hide the fact that they believe a girl’s genitals belong to her father!

But it’s obvious why this happens. It’s this fetishization of “purity”. This obsession with the untouched and (therefore) untouchable. It’s why you get people who consider it some sort of bonus to have sex with a virgin, to “take one’s virginity”. Because they feel like, on some level, they were the first to “soil” what was before unsoiled, that they were the ones who opened the seal, so what they got was theirs.

This goes well beyond sex, though, even if that is the most obvious application. It could be as simple as an unwillingness to walk across a snowy field that is still pristine and undisturbed, so as to keep it pristine and undisturbed, that to walk through it and spoil that would be some kind of crime. And yet, this snowy field is ever so tempting to those who want to, well, write their name in it.

What is pure is tempting and yet confusing, what with the dual contradictory desires to be the first to use or touch it, and to protect it from others who would use or touch it.

In either case, once it is used and no longer “pure”, it has lost its worth. Rather than a temptation, it’s now a source of disgust. It is ruined. It is shameful.

That’s where we get the famous virgin-whore dichotomy.

And that has a lot of youth rights effects too!

I mean, we get told all the time how “pure” and “innocent” children are, right? Their lack of knowledge and experience is held up as an expectation, a virtue even. John Holt talked about them being kept in a “walled garden of childhood”, where they are separated from the harsh adult world by living a life of innocence and play. And if they try to leave the garden, they get smacked right back into it. If they succeed in leaving, they are forever damaged, soiled, and lost.

It’s talk of abstract good and evil concepts, a form of invented morality that even the secular seem to observe. That there’s something inherently good about being pure and innocent, and evil about being knowledgeable and corrupted. Even though there’s no real reason for this other than people’s sensitivities. Shit, isn’t the idea of Original Sin based on this, that it was evil for Adam and Eve to acquire knowledge and awareness that they were naked? God got all pissed when they said they were naked, all like “Who told you that you were naked?!” See, he lost his little peep show when they realized this, that they had thoughts of their own, so God didn’t want them anymore and kicked them out of Eden. And this is the same thing adults often do to children, that it is children’s purity and innocence that they like, that when these children acquire knowledge, form independent thoughts and opinions, aren’t always obedient, and a host of other things that scare their elders, they lose all their worth. Basically, around the time they become teenagers, a time adults fear and teach each other to fear, that their innocent children aren’t so innocent anymore, that they are bad and troubled. Because they are actually totally fine but just aren’t living up to their elders’ lofty expectations of them, to be their perfect little angels like they feel entitled for them to be.

Especially when these knowledgeable teenagers are female. Then the elders need to fight tooth and nail to keep them pure and innocent. To keep them alluring with their purity, to those who want to be the first to corrupt them. Yet protected. So they don’t do anything with their lady parts that will bring shame upon their rightful owners, their fathers. 🙄

December 9, 2012

Of Marriageable Age

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 3:38 pm

Child marriage. It’s a gross human rights violation. Little girls being betrothed to men two or three times their ages because their fathers signed a form.

And then you get the stats about it. Where they list the percentages of people in a certain location who are married below a certain age.

Except that age is 18.

Yeah…

I don’t think so.

Don’t expect me to believe a 17-year-old choosing to enter into an equitable marriage is the same thing as an 11-year-old being sold to her 35-year-old cousin to be raped on her wedding night and forbidden from learning or having a career or doing anything other than serving her husband and pumping out tons of babies. Just… no. The latter is the one that is, you know, actually a serious human rights violation. The former is just someone well past puberty entering into an “adult” lifestyle sooner than people feel comfortable with.

And that’s not something that just gets solved with a “make sure no one under 18 can marry!” law. Age restrictions don’t cure anything. In fact, the aforementioned 11-year-old girl’s situation is pretty obviously bad in ways that go lightyears beyond her age. She’s in a society where it’s seen as acceptable to treat women that way at all. Making that all begin seven years later would mean her body is more ready for the baby-making, but that’s about the only difference. The fact that marriage in that society means being a husband’s property, and thus regularly raped and forbidden from outside activities, is a serious fucking problem which needs to be addressed head-on, and in doing that, the marriages of early-pubescent girls will likely stop, or at least there’d be no profit for anyone in it.

But if that’s too complicated, at least stop using 18 at the age under which marriage is a Serious Problem. At least lower it to 15 or something, and quit acting like marriages of girls who are only “children” because society says so are something to shriek about. And if marriage is so daunting that someone who entered into it has ruined their life or chances or something, the problem there is with the marriage itself, not the age.

December 7, 2012

Still Not a Laughing Matter

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Decrees!,Estrogen — Katrina @ 5:54 pm

I hereby decree…

Sexual assault of men is still sexual assault!

Male victims of sexual assault have a way of being completely forgotten, especially if their assailants are female. But they exist. And it’s still sexual assault regardless of genders. Anyone working against sexual assault who’s worth their salt knows that.

Trouble is, many people who do know and voice that have a way of saying shit like “why are we worried so much about female victims?” Proceeding to resent feminist anti-rape activists. And this is a totally wrong way of looking at it.

Because the reason sexual assault of men gets treated as unimportant or even as a joke is still the same gender stereotypes, that men are supposed to want and enjoy sex all the time and women are supposed to refuse and not enjoy it. And that men are never supposed to refuse. And if they did refuse, they aren’t being masculine enough. Or that he must really have wanted it. Or he must be lying. Because the idea of a man, who’s supposed to be strong, being overpowered and taken advantage of by a woman, who’s supposed to be weak (and thus “supposed to be the one who gets raped”), just doesn’t compute with people. It also assumes sexual assault must be “forcible”, ignoring she could also have drugged him or blackmailed him.

It’s dangerous also to send women and girls the idea that nothing we do counts as sexual abuse toward a man. That it isn’t just as wrong for us to disrespect his boundaries and to touch him inappropriately and to pressure him into things. Combining that with the message that it is not possible for men or boys to be victims of this behavior (or that when they are, it’s not serious and actually just funny), and you have a troublesome situation indeed!

Sexual assault of ANYONE, by ANYONE, is a serious crime and violation. That isn’t to say rape culture and the objectification of women isn’t a major contributor. But they are still all symptoms of the same disease, the same rigid gender binary. And, simply, one very evil individual deciding he/she has complete rights over another’s body and will thus act accordingly.

And ridiculously pitting one kind against another, saying one is worse than the other, saying one gets too much attention, couldn’t possibly be less productive.

October 29, 2012

A Girl with a Book

Filed under: Estrogen,Here's To You!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 10:10 pm

And now here’s an education desiring edition of…

Here’s to You!!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Malala Yousafzai!”

She’s the 15-year-old Pakistani girl who campaigned for her right to go to school. And then she was shot. Because nothing terrifies Islamic extremists more than the mere idea of an educated girl.

In response to the assassination attempt, there’s been much interest in the right to an education, that all children should have that right. Some even have said those of us in countries like the US or UK should be very glad we had that right. Even, as some made a point to add, if we did not appreciate it at the time.

Oooh, boy, here we go.

Trouble with painting this in such a way is that it pretty much silences concerns over the quality of the education or, of course, the rights of students in those schools that they should apparently be so glad they’re being forced to attend every day. Really, it’s a cousin of the age-old “there are starving children in [piece of crap location] who’d be happy to have that!” as a reason someone (read: some child) should eat food he does not like.

But here’s a question. Is it really so much better to be forced against your will to attend school than to be forced against your will NOT to attend school?

Well, it is. But it’s far better for the decision to be your own!

Yousafzai’s rights were being violated, absolutely. And she fucking rocks for all she’s done to fight for her right to attend school, something withheld from her because she has the wrong set of genitals. But the issue is that her educational choice to attend school was blocked because of oppression. It’s not just a “school is wonderful” deal. It’s freedom of educational choice.

As such, it’s ridiculous to use something like this against students who are in school against their wishes, that they should be grateful. Their educational desires are still being violated, even if they are the opposite desires as those of Malala Yousafzai and others fighting for the right to school. Their grievances are still being ignored and seen as unimportant, just like Yousafzai’s have been by those in power.

So when it comes down to it, it seems for many, Yousafzai is only the heroine she is because she’s being a good girl (by Western standards) and wanting to live the “correct” life of a child by being in school. To her Western fans, she’s fighting for what they are comfortable with, that a 15-year-old girl belongs in school because that is just the way things should be.

While, you know, the radical Islamists think 14-year-old girls should be uneducated and forced into marriages, because that is just the way things should be. Radical Islam is considerably worse, absolutely! I mean, it’s obviously much better to be educated and only marry if and whom you want. I even recognize that, for girls in that part of the world, education is their only escape from being forced to stay home and hidden from society, to be told only what their families want them to know, to be nice and ignorant for the man they’ll choose for her, because more knowledge means it’s less likely she’ll good and submissive. But when it comes to what is or isn’t right for a 15-year-old girl, the West and Islamists alike seem to think anyone other than that 15-year-old girl should be the one to decide that, unless her decision is in line with what they think she should be doing anyway.

This is about a young person being blocked from the educational choice she has made, regardless of how we or anyone else who isn’t her feels about that choice.

August 13, 2012

Tanner Upstaged

Now for a feminine pubescent edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

Anyone who says anything along the lines of “Girls today are starting puberty at younger ages!” And goes on to treat it like some utter catastrophe. A serious problem for today’s kids. Something we must absolutely do something about to protect little girl innocence! Eeeek!

*facepalm* *sigh*

Oh, concern trolling, such a frequent opponent to youth rights feminism!

Okay, time for some unpacking of bullshit.

1. Not only is the claim that the age of female puberty is steadily getting younger questionable, but those shrieking about this “problem” often either don’t specify ages or the ages they do specify, usually around 10 or 11, are still within the normal range of puberty (ages 8 to 16). And even so, they’re usually talking about onset, which is the development of breasts (which doesn’t exactly happen overnight), as opposed to first period, which is often a couple years later. Breasts budding at 10 or 11 means the period shows up around 12 or 13, which is totally fucking normal! And even the ones who get their periods at 10 or 11 might be earlier than average but it’s not abnormal, and for every one of them, there are girls who start it at 14 or 15.
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February 27, 2012

Varying Princesses

Filed under: Estrogen,Idiot Box — Katrina @ 1:18 pm

Yeah, I’m thinking about Disney movies again.

You know what bugs me? Seeing all the Disney princesses lumped together. Snow White. Cinderella. Aurora (maybe). Jasmine. Ariel. Belle. Pocahontas (maybe). Well, that’s not all the princesses, missing Eilonwy and a few others, but you get the idea.

But, yeah, the thing is… not all of those characters are the same. For one, Snow White and Cinderella are from around World War II, while Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine are from the early 90’s. A lot of feminism happened in the interim. And it shows.

You really cannot compare Snow White (from 1937) with Jasmine (from 1992). You cannot paint those two with the same brush. Because, simply, Snow White sucks, and Jasmine is awesome.
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February 14, 2012

Mmmm, Candy Hearts 7

Filed under: Estrogen,Rants,Shut the Hell Up!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:03 pm

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And now, for a candy munching, romance crunching edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

There’s no such thing as the “friend zone”!

It’s called… she’s just not into you romantically/sexually, but you can’t accept that, so you instead misogynistically pathologize it.

It’s the idea that a girl who to chooses to remain platonic friends with a guy has put him in the supposedly dreaded “friend zone”, but he doesn’t want to be her friend because he wants to be her boyfriend, and he hates it oh so much when she dates some other guy or expresses dissatisfaction with said other guy or with prospective romantic partners in general, because how dare she say that when she turned him down!

Come off it. Seriously, girls, just like guys, are just into someone that way right now or not. It’s not more complicated than that. There are no special “zones”. Nor is there something about being someone’s friend that kills the possibility of it being something else later (though that of course depends on the people involved).

We’ve all heard it. The self-proclaimed “nice guy” can’t understand why a girl he’s interested in isn’t interested in him. So instead of just, you know, accepting that it’s not going to happen and moving on with his life, he assumes she’s the one who has some “female problem” and that’s the real reason she’s not into him. Because why else would she turn down such a Nice Guy like you?

But wait, there’s more!
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February 7, 2012

Disney Captivity

Filed under: Estrogen,Idiot Box,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:11 pm

So… I’m thinking of a popular animated Disney movie. Let’s see if you can figure out which one I mean!

Main character passes through a scary night in a strange unknown place, having lost someone. Then main character, upon being discovered by those who live in said strange unknown place, who in real life are inanimate objects but for the movie’s sake they can talk, is now being held prisoner there! Sure, they try to make friends with this imprisoned visitor otherwise, but still, the main character is trapped, unable to leave, forbidden from contacting the outside world.

Those in this strange place are also under some hard times, have been for a while, and are always waiting for a miracle to save them.

Main character does finally escape and gets away faster and faster… only to get caught and returned, imprisoned again.

The main captor offers the main character better place to spend the night than the original prison-like conditions, a move the main character sees as a great kindness despite still being just as senselessly trapped there.

In fact, the main character even begins to fall in love with the captor! Despite still being, you know, a prisoner.

When at long last the main character is liberated… just turns right back around and returns to the place of imprisonment, having fallen in love with the main captor and befriended the former jailers. And in doing so fulfills the miracle they long awaited.

The end.

OMG! Did you see that? Fell in love with the captor and returned even when finally freed? Stockholm Syndrome much, Disney?

So… what movie am I describing?

Yup, you know which one.

The movie I’m describing is…


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December 17, 2011

Real Men

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,What the hell? — Katrina @ 4:45 pm

Lots of messages from pop culture as to what it means to be a “real man”. Real men are supposed to only like certain things, do certain things, and above all, maintain this state of being lest they slip and become like a -gasp!- woman!

Real men are supposed to like beer!

Despite the fact that, well, aren’t there plenty of men out there who don’t like beer, or any alcoholic beverage for that matter. Yet… aren’t they still men?

Real men are supposed to ogle scantily clad women!

Despite the fact that, well, said scantily clad women might not be some men’s type or they probably aren’t into leering? Yet… aren’t they still men? Aren’t gay men still men?

Real men are supposed to like steak!

Despite the fact that sometimes they just prefer chicken. Or they are vegetarian or vegan. They might actually – gasp! – prefer salad! Yet… aren’t they still men?

Real men aren’t supposed to want to be teachers or nurses or stay-at-home parents!

Despite the fact that, well, many men excel in these jobs and are great with patients and children! Yet… aren’t they still men?

Real men are supposed to like… action movies!

According to that stupid Dr Pepper Ten commercial anyway. Despite the fact that men like all kinds of movies, even – gasp! – romantic comedies! Yet… aren’t they still men?
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December 8, 2011

Politically Incorrect Contraception

Emergency contraception is available over-the-counter. No prescription needed! That is, unless you’re under 17.

But the FDA came in and said “why stop those under 17? this is safe for all young women capable of pregnancy!”

But then HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the FDA, the people who actually know WTF they’re talking about, “nah, the idea of this being available to YOUNG GIRLS OMG sounds scary! so I’m going to say no to this and keep the current age restriction LOL”. And Obama supports her decision.

*sigh*

Really? I mean, I’m not surprised in a way. Typical pandering bullshit, trying not to make the Republicans too uncomfortable. And politics doesn’t like women or youth and therefore especially doesn’t like young women! So the Obama administration wants to make its policies less squeamish to the average anti-youth misogynistic Joe Six-Pack by not – gasp! – letting 12-year-olds access emergency contraception!

Sebelius claimed that she wasn’t so sure it was actually safe for those under 17. Because she knows better than FDA, the people who have to comb through mountains and mountains of research that’s been conducted before they come to such a conclusion. Right. Hey, Sebelius, you know what’s actually not so great for young girls? PREGNANCY!

Again, though, shouldn’t be surprised. Politicians reach astounding levels of cluelessness when it comes to just about anything about young people, especially their reproductive issues. They ignore any statistics and sense and just cover their ears and go “la la la la la!” and just pass more laws to hurt young people for their political gain. Hey, it’s not like those young people can VOTE! 🙄

Anyway, here’s a Change.org petition about it. And here’s a lovely piece by Scarleteen! And here’s a lovely paragraph from that piece:

It’s so tremendously important that your requests for rights like these be heard. And that the incredibly sound, sage things you say like this from reader Arai, “These politicians really need to get on the same CENTURY as the one young people live. All the questioning for contraceptives, abortion rights, gay marriage are real in today’s society,” or this from reader Katrina, “Politicians on both sides of the aisle reach unheard of levels of cluelessness when it comes to youth reproductive rights and needs,” are heard and seen. It is, of course just as important that they are also very thoughtfully and with great intention considered in choices like this, but we can’t help much with that part, save continuing to say things like that and continuing to be ardent supporters of youth rights, including reproductive rights.

Yes, that Katrina is me! 😀

November 10, 2011

Unconsciously Prejudiced

Filed under: Decrees!,Estrogen,Think About It!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 4:31 pm

I hereby decree…

Yes, you ARE racist/sexist/ageist/homophobic/etc.

You just don’t know it.

Wait, what? What am I saying? If you were bigoted or prejudiced, wouldn’t you be aware of it? Wouldn’t it be obvious?

No. Doesn’t work that way. Most prejudices (except for ageism I guess, since that one is still socially acceptable) today are unknown to those who hold them. It’s unconscious.

The idea of white being the standard or male being the standard is so ingrained in our society, so laced in culture and attitudes and language, that it’d be a miracle not to adopt even the slightest unconscious belief that non-white and/or female is somehow “other”.

So don’t take offense to this. In fact, it’s through challenging these assumptions that we can seek out these harder to extinguish bugs of bigotry. Take it as a suggestion, not an insult. True, it is sometimes used as an insult, and that’s not right, nor is someone who points out a possible prejudice in you always necessarily right. In the long run, you do yourself a favor examining yourself for personal unseen prejudices, before it settles in too much.

Let’s take sexism for example. Let’s say you’re part of a group of people, mostly male, let’s say six guys for every one girl. And you generally like most of these people, but some of these people you find really goddamn annoying. You find them hostile or rude or demanding or ignorant. Oh, and the majority of these annoying people just happen to be girls. In a group where girls are outnumbered by guys six to one.
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