Sunday, December 04, 2011

crap on the television

I am considering turning off any television show that features regular use of firearms. The militarization of the various crime-fighting units featured on some of my more favorite crime procedurals seems to me to be closely linked to the militarization of actual police in the world, the kind who respond to peaceful protests with SWAT-team aggression. I may have to make an exception for NCIS since they are, in fact, a military organization. And Mark Harmon is only getting hotter with age. How does that happen?

A while back I started turning off any television show as soon as I saw a hot dead chick, or a hot woman being assaulted in some way. I don't think I've watched an entire episode of Law & Order or CSI since. I don't miss them, to be honest.

The abundance of aspirational watch-people-shop TV shows is gross and boring. There are hundreds of hours of TV devoted to watching people buy real estate, wedding dresses, new wardrobes, the contents of storage units, and who knows what else. This kind of "watch people spend money" programming seems to me to be the modern depression analog to the wildly popular over-the-top musicals (Ziegfield follies et al) of the 1930s Depression. It's escapism for some, I guess, but I find it appalling. Also, watching people haggle at a pawn shop is incredibly boring. I kind of like the little historical interludes in Pawn Stars - sort of a low-rent Antiques Roadshow, really - but then the tedious and predictable haggling sequence follows, and, yawn.

Finally, as a thought experiment, I would love to see that awful Millionaire Matchmaker lady try to find a partner for an average-looking middle-aged woman who wants a hotty-boombalatty younger man to serve as arm-candy. Can you imagine a bunch of straight 30-ish dudes getting all tarted up to go stand in front of a panel and be judged and questioned as to whether he might possibly worthy of dating said average-looking middle-aged woman? Ha. Not gonna happen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why I'm not an anarchist

Because anarchy in the patriarchy would actually be worse for women, in my view. Peek into a dudebro's mind to find out what he thinks "anarchy" would be like, and you'll see a nasty rapey world, all Mad Max and Thunderdome. Eff that. I'll take the U S Constitution over anarchy as long as I live in a rape culture, thankyouverymuch.

Am I a socialist? Kindasorta. Same problem applies: the same minority of white hetero able-bodied old white guys will still be decided who needs what, and who needs to give what. Guess who'll stay at the bottom of the food chain? Yeah, before revolution, chop wood carry water, after the revolution, chop wood carry water. On the plus side, the massive inequities in wealth would be eradicated and a lot more people would have an education, health care, a clean environment, and at least a decent shot at living the life they want to live. You can take the boy out of the government but you can't take the patriarchy out of the boy.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Thoughts on crying in public

A week and a half ago, Ferris and I lost his battle with whatever was wrong with him. I tried everything reasonable, and in the end I had to say goodbye. This is the second time I've had to make that decision for a beloved pet, and it probably won't be the last. I cried almost from the minute I walked in the vet for our last visit all the way out the door, and home. And I remembered the day of my Grandma's funeral, when I did the same thing. I've noticed that public crying makes other people uncomfortable, and I used to try to control my crying, rein it in, in order to NOT make others uncomfortable. Somewhere along the way I said to myself: fuck it. I am sad, I am crying, and other people's fee-fees are really not my problem. So I let 'em flow. I never cry at work if I can possibly help it, but otherwise, I refuse to keep a lid on it for the sake of polite conformity. A cousin looked at me at Grandma's funeral and said, "We're going to have to get you alright." And I thought: why? What does it mean to you if I'm sitting here crying? Let me be. Just let me be.

I've been thinking about why I felt for so long that crying in public was shameful, embarrassing, to be avoided at all costs. I know that it's considered a sign of weakness in our culture - *girls* are crybabies, and "boys don't cry." Crying is a sign, particularly, of feminine weakness, and boys the world over are punished for crying. [Example: a guy I used to date who was beaten regularly by his dad from about age 8 to age 14 stopped getting beatings when he stopped crying and started getting angry. No lie. The guy is almost totally incapable of expressing his emotions or even knowing what they are or really feeling empathy. His dad beat it out of him. Literally.]

I then remembered my personal grammar school bully, let's call him Donny Anderson, because that was his name. He sat right behind me in the third grade. I was the new kid, I'd just skipped a grade, and I was nearly 2 years younger than everybody in class. I was 6, they were 7 and 8 years old. Donny was way bigger and taller than me. I don't remember why he made me cry the first time, but as soon as he realized he could bully me into crying, he did it as often as possible. He'd sit behind me and whisper mean things to me, and I'd tear up. Or he'd pull my hair so hard that I would involuntarily get tears in my eyes. Then he'd make fun of me for crying. He'd start making submarine sounds: "Whoop, whoop, it's gonna flood, get in the submarine!" Eventually I learned to not cry when he was being an asshole, and if I gave him a dirty look, he'd start with the 'whoop, whoop' submarine noises and talking about how I was crying, and then I'd get mad at him because I fucking well WASN'T crying, but he was pretending like I was. It was just infuriating. Truly, if I saw that guy right now, I'd punch him in the face. He tormented me for three long years. I spent an entire year with skinned knees because every time I walked past the kickball game, where he was usually pitching, he'd throw the fucking ball at me and knock me down. I had to walk past it to get to the water fountain, and eventually found a different route, but he found new and shitty ways to torment me. Seriously. I would walk up to him right now and punch him in the face if I could.

But wait. Let me get to the point: it was Donny Fucking Anderson that made fun of me crying, after he'd MADE me cry by being an asshole. It was right there, age 6, that I learned from a boy that girls were big crybabies, and weak, and that was a bad thing. I was tagged as a crybaby the whole three years I was at that school because of that asshole. And where did he learn it? At home, no doubt. One hopes he grew out of it, but what are the odds? We live in a culture where crying is shameful.

I'm not sure when or why or how I decided that I would fucking well cry in public if I need to, maybe it was when my Grandma died and there was no holding back the flow, or maybe before that, but now I cry when I need to. I don't let other people determine my behavior. I will cry at the vet, I will cry at funerals, and I will cry driving down the road. I will not hide my "weakness" - by which, I think, people mean my "emotions" - for the convenience of others. I hate this idea that having emotions, and showing them, is weak and feminine.

I also hate it when someone says or does something that makes me cry, and then blames ME for being "hypersensitive." Suddenly it's MY fault that I'm crying, not theirs. It's also infuriating. You want to see me turn into a howler monkey? Call crying "emotional blackmail," implying that the crying is just fakery, designed to manipulate. Or laugh at me when I'm crying. The emotionally abusive ex used to do both of those things. I honestly have never been so angry in my life as I was when he'd hurt my feelings so much I cried, and then he'd laugh because he thought I was "over-reacting." No, I was REACTING. Accusing me of dishonesty - of crying to manipulate - is the meanest thing someone can accuse me of. I have a lot of faults, but I am not a liar, and I am not a hypocrite. My mother used to accuse me of being hypersensitive, too. I think this is a way for people who have done hurtful things to disavow their responsibility for their meanness. They shift the blame to the victim. Hm, that sounds familiar: I get hurt, I cry, it's MY fault for responding to it. No bully has ever been really stopped by the stupid advice to "just ignore him" and "don't respond." They just raise their game, get meaner and meaner, in my experience. I left two schools in six years because of bullying. In junior high, it was girls. Kelly Revercomb and Julie Roseman, I hope you are googling yourselves and find this post. I hope Donny does too. All three of them were hateful little shitheads, bullies, and I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. Truly.

So I learned as a kid to try to hide my emotions, to not express them, but now, as an adult, I say to hell with that. If my emotions make you uncomfortable, that's YOUR problem, not mine. Bottling up emotions makes you sick. Makes ME sick. And I won't do it, not for anybody. So if you see somebody crying in public, don't think of them as weak. Think that they have finally decided they do not give a shit what you think about their emotions, because, really, it's none of your business. It's my business. I'm reclaiming crying in public. I HAVE reclaimed it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

fighting a losing battle.

The Foo, my feline soulmate of twelve years, is ill. He is jaundiced, he is not eating, he is yakking up any medicine I give him, he's lost a bunch of weight, and $500 worth of vet visits and bloodwork has yielded no solid answers. Now it looks like he's got an eye infection. I can't tell you how many hours I have spent lying on the floor petting his head and weeping this week. If I can't get medicine into him, I can't help him at all. Tuna, chicken, milk, yogurt, wet food, you name it, all of his favorite foods, he won't eat it. I am an absolute wreck.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Here, let's see what the wingnuts in Mississippi are up to...

The wingnuts have successfully managed to get a "Personhood" amendment on the Mississippi ballot this fall. I could go on and on about how incredibly fucked up it is that the voters will get to decide on a human rights issue - as in, taking away human rights from women of reproductive age - but I think I'll let Planned Parenthood do it for me:


If passed, amendment will have extreme consequences for women and children.

HATTIESBURG, MS --Today the Mississippi Supreme Court sent down a decision placing Initiative 26 on the 2011 general election ballot.

“Planned Parenthood is very disappointed that the court ruled to allow this clearly unconstitutional amendment to be placed on the 2011 general ballot,” said Kay Scott, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc., which covers Mississippi. “The Mississippi Constitution explicitly states that the initiative process cannot be used to change the Bill of Rights and Initiative 26 would do just that if it passes,” said Scott.

Scott said further, “Amendment 26 may sound sensible to some, but it will have extreme consequences for women and children. It may outlaw abortions, even if the woman's life is threatened or she's been raped. It’s so extreme it could even ban common methods of birth control like the pill and IUDs. This would mean more unintended pregnancies, putting families at risk, and women facing unhealthy and dangerous options. This would put government bureaucrats in charge of important life decisions when they should really be focusing on getting the economy back on track and getting their own house in order.”


Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of high-quality, affordable health care and is a valued community partner in the Greater Hattiesburg area. PPSE is committed to helping make health care services available to those in need in communities across Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. The regional administrative office is in Atlanta.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Here, let me explain south Mississippi to you.

So I'm on Facebook, and I see a friend of a friend's profile picture and think: "I cannot possibly be seeing what I think I'm seeing." So I click on her name, and behold, let me describe to you the full redneck-ed-ness of her profile picture. She and her partner/bf/babydaddy/wev have gone to a photo studio in jeans. She is about 4-5 months pregnant, and they have taken off their shirts. They are posed with her in his arms, her to the right, him to the left, with his arm around her front (covering her boobs) and his other hand firmly clamped on her ass. Yes: this is the pose they chose at Olan Mills, or WalMart, or wherever it is they went to commemorate their young love, early pregnancy, and vibrant youth. He has a crappy tattoo on the bicep facing us (I'm sure this is on purpose, so we can see his awesomely crappy tattoo) and his hair has been doused with some sort of unguent and combed back so you can see exactly where the stylist did his highlights. Did I mention she is wearing low-rider maternity jeans so you can see the fullness of her baby bump?

Look, I am not one to judge her for getting pregnant so young. It's just the state of things in Mississippi, where there is no sex education and kids are taught that using birth control is as big a sin as fornication, so why double their sins when they decide to fuck while still in high school? [this accounts not only for our high teen pregnancy rate but also our awesomely high rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, et al.] My objection is entirely in the realm of aesthetics and taste.

But, see, it's not just the poor aesthetic choice I am judging. No, it's not. There's more. And this is where my bitchy Southern lady hostess training goes into full effect. This kid, with her naked Olan Mills portrait AS HER FACEBOOK PROFILE, says to our mutual friend: "I'm rushing. Any words of advice?"

Which means, precious, that our heroine wants to join a sorority. Yes. And it has not occurred to her that her Portrait of Young Love? Is not what sororities are looking for. O. M. G. I almost - I swear to you - posted in that thread and said, honey, take that picture down if you want to get into a decent sorority.

And then I remembered how much I loathe the national Greek system, and that she's really going to be better off NOT joining a sorority (even though she thinks she wants that right now), and I let it pass.

And then I thought: what the fuck do I know about sororities in the 21st century in the buttcrack of Mississippi? Maybe they don't care if you put pictures of your semi-naked pregnant self on the internet?

And then! Bitchy Southern Lady Hostess-Trained Self thinks: oh holy fuck the Greek system has gone to hell in handbasket if this is appropriate behavior not only for young women in general, but also for sorority rushees?

Yes, I'm a fogey. I get that. But, jeez, kids, keep your naked pics off the internet. Especially if you want to join a sorority. And any sorority that's okay with your naked pic being on the internet? You don't want to join it.

Although, really, I'd advise against joining the Greek system under any circumstances. It's a conformity machine for women, and fraternities are, for the most part, a tool for turning semi-douchey young men into the douchiest, date-rapiest assholes they can be.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Unsolicited Advice Part Whatever

[and a bit of brand-naming consumerism]

Some things that are working for me at the moment:

Smoked Sea Salt. On everything.

I am still in love with my Kenmore Calypso washer & dryer. High Efficiency, large loads, cost a fortune ten years ago (like maybe $1400?) but still going strong. I can do a month's laundry in four loads: lights, darks, sheets/towels, and delicates on the "ultra handwash" setting. Love. It.

Washing my hair with baking soda. My hair is cleaner, stays clean longer, it's cheap, easy, no plastic bottles or weird chemicals going into the landfill/water stream.

Started using vinegar as fabric softener. The vinegar smell is gone by the time everything leaves the dryer. Works to soften towels and get grease out. Cheap and genius, and really just as easy as using the other smelly stuff.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Just, fyi, amateur artists of my acquaintance...

Really, it would be best if you not ask me what I think of your new paintings unless you want an honest answer. There are things I will make noncommittal noises about, but when it comes to art, I'm afraid you're going to get the unvarnished truth. Proceed with caution.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

today in fat-hating....


Should obese children be taken from their parents?

This article makes me sick to my stomach.

My thought is that being fat is not a reason to subject a child to the foster care system and being torn out of her family. It is also unreasonable to expect poor parents, especially those who live in food deserts, to be able to feed their children anything *but* what is available in their neighborhoods. This will turn into witch hunt going after poor, fat, mothers. Do we really want to burden the already inadequate foster care system with kids who are fat? This is just punishing fat kids. It's awful. I hate the very idea of it.

A blogger at the XX Factor is slightly more reasonable: ">"Let's put all the fat kids in health care. Real health care, not "we can't afford any visit with any local physician and the nearest doctor who takes the state child health insurance is an hour away and has a three-month-long waiting list and so we end up in the emergency room" health care."

Although she, too, thinks foster care is a viable solution. And she's dead wrong.

Here's part of the JAMA opinion piece - note that it's COMMENTARY, not SCIENCE -

State Intervention in Life-Threatening Childhood Obesity

Here's my problem: the OBESITY EPIDEMIC OMG people think that any extra poundage is life-threatening. Nobody is safe from the deathfat, yo! So where do we draw the line? When does it become acceptable to tear a kid away from her family, to take a child from her parents, because she's overweight? Ten pounds? Twenty? Fifty? Does the family have access to healthful affordable food? Is there anywhere safe in their neighborhood to play outdoors? Do the parents have any kind of information about nutrition that is useful for them? Is the kid in need of medical attention? Shit, maybe's she's just, you know, a fat kid who's perfectly healthy and happens to store fat on her person. A donut is not child abuse.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

In which I confess

My resolve has failed. I was determined to give up paying someone to clean my house, and so have not had a cleaner here in several months. This means my bathroom has only been cleaned in a desultory fashion, because I LOATHE cleaning the tub. HATE. IT. And today, readers, was the day I was going to finally do it, here on this three-day weekend, and my resolve to be a responsible adult and clean my own fucking bathroom: it failed. I have texted the cleaner to see if she will come this week.


If this were a tweet:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dear Omnivores:

For the record, omnivores, it is none of your fucking business what I eat, what I wear, or where I shop. Mind your own business and I won't regale YOU with tales of battery cages, veal barns, and slaughterhouses, mmmkay?

I am SO FUCKING SICK of drive-by anti-veg*an snark showing up in my life, like some bird just flew over and shit on my head. Really, people: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. Argh.

And, just so you know, we've heard it all before:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prom season

'Tis prom season here in the ol' U.S. of A., and the subject seems to be circling around and around me lately. I recently heard from a younger friend that prom spending has become massive, and that teenagers think of prom as sort of 'practice weddings.' So, that information was revolting ENOUGH, when he proceeded to casually mention that they have a ritual where the boys take garters off their dates' legs with their teeth. A la the wedding garter ritual, except teenagers, en masse, and approved by the adultly authorities, believe it or not. This friend of mine graduated high school about 2000, and it was well-established by then.

No way, I thought: this is weird. This must be some stupid Buttcrack County ritual, and could hardly be normal nation-wide. But lo, I was wrong. I listened this weekend to the podcast of This American Life's prom episode, and a story produced in NINETEEN HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE referred to this wedding-based prom ritual, in which teenage boys stick their heads between the sweaty thighs of their dates *ON THE DANCE FLOOR* and do this garter crap. When Ira Glass was surprised by this, a high school teacher said, "where have YOU been?" I was wondering the same thing myself: where the hell have I been that I didn't know this has been going on these fifteen years at least? Sixteen, even. Good gravy. I am a fogey. I am also a grossed-out radical feminist that does not approve of turning prom into a rehearsal for a wedding, along with the attendant expenses and heteronormativity and, of course, enforced couple-hood. of the wedding-industrial complex.

*Full Disclosure*: I attended several proms in my youth, but not my senior prom. I regret this decision NOT ONE WHIT. Furthermore, the proms I attended were at Catholic schools, and I would bet dollars to donuts that the Catholic schools still do not condone this sort of foolishness. Having one's date remove one's garter with his teeth is surely behavior reserved for the holy state of matrimony. Furthermore, there is absofuckinglutely no way I would've let some dude stick his face all up in my business in front of an entire hotel ballroom full of people.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Turns out Oreos are vegan.

I consider this awesome news. Once upon a time, they were made with lard, and I was sad. For years, I would read the ingredients list, see "lard," and make a frowny face. And lo! One day! I turned over the package and saw NO "lard" and I was happy. Now, even better; no whey, so they're completely vegan.

No, I'm not 100% vegan, but I'm working on getting dairy & eggs out of my diet and figuring out an array of vegan food that tastes good. What I find when I start looking at vegan cooking websites is an obsession with desserts, which really, I hardly ever make and am not that interested in for myself, and an obsession with fake meats and meat-looking things. Like fake meat-loaf and fake turkey and...yuck. I don't like meat, so I certainly don't want fake meat. There are a few pre-made veg* burgers I'll buy in the frozen aisle, just to make a convenient lunch. Eeeevery so often I buy fake hotdogs or fake bacon because I'm craving those - like maybe twice a year. But on the whole I do not want a casserole that looks like a soupy southern chicken/rice/mushroom soup debacle. I don't want to sculpt my fake-meat ingredients into something resembling shepherd's pie or pot pie or whatever. I guess what I'm saying is: I don't see a lot of recipes for *vegetables* in the few vegan blogs I try to read. I'd rather do without a meat analogue entirely instead of focusing on a meat + three model. I mean, I'm sure I could find plenty of vegan recipes that do not involve dessert or fake meat, but those seem to be the two categories that get most of the attention out there. How many people regularly make cupcakes? Especially people that aren't parents of elementary-school kids?

Friday, April 29, 2011

My middle name is "buzzkill"

Feh: Royal Wedding. Why is America obsessed?* I am repelled by the wedding-industrial complex, grossed out and offended that anyone would spend $30 million on a wedding, generally opposed to marriage in the first place, and really, on top of it, MONARCHY WHAT THE FUCK? Seriously, it's the 21st century, and the US of A gets all squidgy over a "commoner" becoming a "princess"? Didn't we fight a fucking revolution about that monarchy crap? The whole construct of "nobility" is revolting. Yuck.

A lot of people I consider otherwise reasonable got up at the ass-crack (as in, before dawn) to watch a wedding that will TOTALLY get re-run over and over for the next three days. Baroo??

*this is a rhetorical question. The answer, obviously, is "Patriarchy."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

career change?

I'm working on an exhibition involved fashion photographs from the 1940s to the 1960s, and I'm finding the research kind of exciting. Suddenly I want to change paths and be a costume/fashion/textile historian. Well, maybe not so much the techniques of textile, because I cannot get excited about warps and wefts and dye techniques, but fabric and clothing and shoes are interesting to me. Also the ways in which fashion photographs changed over just those two decades - very interesting. I think there's room in costume history for gender analysis, especially when you mix it with photography, because not only are you dealing with the clothing designer's ideas about the garment, but then you have to take into account the point of view of the photographer, art director, and client. What is the message Vogue, or McCall's, or Harper's Bazaar is trying to deliver with this photo? Why pick that dress and that belt? Obviously, at the very base of the pyramid is the imperative: SELL MAGAZINES. Running a close second is: SELL GARMENTS. But then - there's this complex mix of messages, brands, desires, art and commerce.

I just watched "The September Issue" documentary about the development of Vogue's September issue in, I think it was about 2008, and although Wintour is clearly the final authority on all things Vogue right now, there are a lot of visions competing in that organization.

Part of me, of course, the elitist, wants to dismiss it all as puffery, vanity, commerce. But there is real gender analysis to be done here - and Marxist analysis - regarding the ways that fashion and fashion photography push the consumer and the consumer sometimes pushes back. Which is the cart? Which is the horse?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Succumbing to the ordinary

I am watching as a friend succumbs to the ordinary, to the script that was laid out for him at birth by this dumbfuck town he was born into, and it is depressing as hell. Soon he will get a factory job, marry his dumbass redneck infant of a girlfriend, go to church twice a week, and raise more dumbass rednecks who think the likes of Glenn Beck aren't lying, poisonous sacks of shit. It's like watching somebody sink beneath the surface.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Jezebella on tour, Spring 2011

I've been out and about lately. Went to Tulsa to visit some friends, where we drank Guinness in the streets at Kilkenny's Pub. Lovely ginger crowd, but the music wasn't Seriously, play some Irish music on St. Pat's day, eh?

Visited the Gilcrease Museum and the Philbrook Museum. I may have more to say about them later. I had some...ISSUES... with an American history exhibition at the Gilcrease. The continuing honky-fication of American history mystifies me. It's the 21st century, for fucks' sake, do we still have to act like the only Americans since 1492 were white guys? Criminy. Both museums had some stellar works, some mediocre works, and decent Native American art collections.

Went to Jackson, MS last weekend to see the Orient Expressed show at the MMA. Good idea, lovely installation, some great works by Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase, Hiroshige, and others. Also some kind of not-so-awesome Orientalist works which. I found the exhibition a bit lacking in its narrative.

Went to Hubfest in Hattiesburg a few weeks ago, volunteered with Planned Parenthood's info booth, drank some beer in the street, smelled a lot of meat-on-a-stick (gross) and decided that, really, funnelcake is the trashy poor relation of beignets and I'd rather just wait til I can have a beignet than eat such a poor substitute. I mean, you would think one fried dough products is the same as the next, but no, not really. Funnelcakes are too heavy and greasy, and probably fried in the same oil as corndogs and god-knows-what-all. Beignets are light and fluffy and not at all meat-tainted.

So: now I've talked myself into craving some beignets. Damn. And maybe a nice hunk of fry bread. Man, I love fry bread. I like the crispy southwestern kind with cinnamon on it, and the fluffy Choctaw kind with just a slightly sweet flavor, just out of the fryer...nom. Now my mouth is watering. Dammit.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today in Anti-Fatty Bias

A seemingly benign article about using surgery to improve sleep apnea.

Blah de blah, new surgery, fixes sleep apnea, yay....but wait! Keep reading!

"I wouldn't send a middle-age obese man for surgery as their first option," says Aurora. "I would say let's lose the weight; lets use CPAP and see a nutritionist; lets avoid the alcohol and let's see how you do." The apnea can probably be taken care of with these non-invasive techniques, she says, and invasive surgery can be avoided.

But when she sees a young, thin person with severe apnea, says Aurora, surgery might be the answer."

[my emphasis]

So, basically: if you're fat and have too much tissue blocking your throat, we're not going to offer you surgery to correct that. Because you know what causes big tonsils? Fatness. RIGHT.

No, wait, that's not right. Tonsils are what they are. You either have a dangerous, possibly fatal condition caused by large tonsils, or you don't. The size of your ass has nothing to do with that. So, hey, fuck you, Dr. Aurora. People like you are the reason fat people have ever-so-slightly shorter life expectancies than thin people. Because we are denied life-saving medical intervention and told to "lose the weight and then we'll think about it".

This is pure and simple discrimination against fat people. In this case, it's not just about an airplane ticket or a job interview. NO. This is life-threatening fat-hating. And it needs to end now.

How much does this chap my ass? A WHOLE METRIC FUCK-TONNE that's how much.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unsolicited Advice #2

Wooden clothes-pins, thus:

Handy little multi-purpose items. Love 'em. You can get a sack of a hundred for a couple of bucks.

- Save money on chip clips, use one of these instead to close sacks of chips, candy, or even your sack of flour or rice.

- Instead of buying fancy skirt hangers and whatnot, just use them (as they were intended) to clip clothes onto your regular plastic hangers. They're wooden, with round holes, don't clip too tight, so they don't leave marks on your clothes.

- Paint a decorative color and stick to the wall with double-stick tape or poster putty to hold papers - like, letters that need to go out, or coupons, or notes to people in the house.

- Clip together bunches of paper when you're working on a big, paper-intensive project that needs organizing.

For pennies per clothespin, you're getting a lot of handy uses out of them.

Monday, March 07, 2011

I am really sad that I'm missing Mardi Gras this year.

Normally, I don't miss it, but I got a taste of it last weekend and I'm all irritable that I can't take off three days and go play in the streets.

Mark Twain: "It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans."

new blog crush

How adorable is this boy?

"Dangerous Fat Activist. Humorless feminist. Pedantic Liberal. Sometimes dressed in white."

Go, read his words at his blog: Red No. 3

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

male voice/female voice

I just witnessed a remarkable, yet everyday, example of male privilege, that I thought was pertinent to the ongoing radfem arguments about the ways in which trans*women may or may not retain male privilege.

To paraphrase, a young (21-year-old) transwoman who recently came out as trans said she goes to a discussion group once a week, where she noticed that the boys dominated the discourse, and women were ignored. So, what was her solution? Switch back to what she called her "boy voice, the one [she] used before [she] came out as trans". Here, in a nutshell, is where the male privilege still resides with the transwoman: at this point in her life, she has the option to switch her gender presentation up and have her voice heard in a way that a born-woman does not. There is no milieu in which my voice will be heard as anything but a woman's voice. Eventually, if this young woman transitions fully, and moves into a community where no-one knew her as male, she'll lose that option, but for now, she just easily picked up the mantle of male privilege as it suited her.

And this is where the sticky wicket is for me and so many other radfems when it comes to residual male privilege. I don't wish to ignore the many, many ways in which trans*folk are discriminated against, and I suppose I can concede to the ways in which my born-female-ness comes with a degree of privilege over that of trans*women. Yet that little act of switching up in order to be heard is at the heart of the issue for me. Trans*women, for a time, and for as long as they choose, can opt to present as male and use that male privilege they were given at birth.

That for me is the very core of what makes born-women different from trans-women. Not better, not worse, but surely not the same. I am okay with a broad definition of gender and a broad definition of biological sex, but I'm simply not comfortable with or able to pretend that the life experiences of transwomen are the same as those of women born into femaleness.

To me, one of the primary goals of radical feminism is to do away with the gender binary altogether. Meaning all activities, all attires, all personality traits, all body shapes are simply *human*. Not female, not male; not masculine, not feminine. They just ARE, the way brown eyes are un-gendered. The way knees are un-gendered. And this is why I resist the idea that a person who wishes to have long hair and wear dresses should have to feel like they must be female if they have those desires. I, a born woman, am not that fired up about high heels and cosmetics and poufy hair. Does this make me less of a "woman"? Sadly, to some people, it does. To the Pentecostals around here, my pants-wearing and short hair make me pretty much the whore of babylon. My ongoing and futile resistance to the performance of femininity makes it very, very difficult for me to understand why anyone would fight for the right to perform femininity. To me, it's artificial, constructed, oppressive, patriarchal. I resent being judged as "less" because I don't pouf up my hair and wear makeup and pantyhose. Why on earth would ANYONE fight for that right? I honestly don't get it.

I don't have to, fortunately. I am totally down with people looking, dressing, acting however they want, as long as they're not assholes and they don't tell me what to do or how to dress, and if a person says "Hey, I'm not a boy any more, I'm a girl," then alright, that's fine. Name yourself, and I will respect that. Because we live with the gender binary and people, unfortunately, have to pick one or suffer negative consequences for their genderfuckery. I just wonder, without the gender binary, how many people would opt for hormones and cosmetic surgery and all of the intense body-modification that goes on in order to transition. I know a few transgendered folks who haven't opted for medical intervention. I wish it was easy for them to make that choice. I am not entirely convinced that body modification can turn a male body into a female body. It can make a body more comfortable for a person who feels "female" on the inside, but in the end, am I nothing more than a man with extra estrogen, boobs, and a hole instead of a pole?

The contradiction between desiring the end of gender and having grown up as a woman within the gender binary is kind of disorienting. I want to resist the idea that I am nothing more than a man with slightly different parts. I don't think it works the other way 'round, either: a female body doesn't become male through body modification. I guess what it comes down to is that I do believe you can change your gender identity, but I don't believe you can change your biological sex, and I don't believe you can entirely rid yourself of the gender identity you were given at birth.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

in which I complain about Valentine's Day

Why? It is a holiday designed to sell stuff to people in relationships, and to make people not in relationships feel like shit.

Furthermore: blood diamonds; roses picked by slave labor; chocolate picked by child labor; you see where I'm going with this, right? The "little luxuries" of the holiday are paid for in pain and suffering.

And, of course, the bullshit "give her a diamond and she'll fuck you" script; the "give her an ugly diamond pendant and she'll think you actually put some thought into this crappy holiday" script; the "buy her something at the last minute once a year and you're done being nice for a whole year" script.

Also: the commercial holiday is built on the Catholic holiday that was itself built on top of the Roman holiday of Lupercalia, which wasn't exactly fluffy kittens and sweethearts. More like blood and lust:

The festival was held every year, on the 15th of February,a in the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were said to have been nurtured by the she-wolf; the place contained an altar and a grove sacred to the god Lupercus (Aurel. Vict. de Orig. Gent. Rom. 22; Ovid. Fast. II.267). Here the Luperci assembled on the day of the Lupercalia, and sacrificed to the god goats and young dogs, which animals are remarkable for their strong sexual instinct, and thus were appropriate sacrifices to the god of fertility (Plut. Rom. 21; Servius ad Aen. VIII.343).b Two youths of noble birth were then led to the Luperci, and one of the latter touched their foreheads with a sword dipped in the blood of the victims; other Luperci immediately after wiped off the bloody spots with wool dipped in milk. Hereupon the two youths were obliged to break out into a shout of laughter. This ceremony was probably a symbolical purification of the shepherds. After the sacrifice was over, the Luperci partook of a meal, at which they were plentifully supplied with wine (Val. Max. II.2.9). They then cut the skins of the goats which they had sacrificed, into pieces; with some of which they covered parts of their body in imitation of the god Lupercus, who was represented half naked and half covered with goat-skin. The other pieces of the skins they cut into thongs, and holding them in their hands they ran through the streets of the city, touching or striking with them all persons whom they met in their way, and especially women, who even used to come forward voluntarily for the purpose, since they believed that this ceremony rendered them fruitful, and procured them an easy delivery in childbearing. This act of running about with thongs of goat-skin was a symbolic purification of the land, and that of touching persons a purification of men, for the words by which this act is designated are februare and lustrare (Ovid. Fast. II.31; Fest. s.v. Februarius). The goat-skin itself was called februum, the festive day dies februata, the month in which it occurred Februarius, and the god himself Februus.

Monday, January 31, 2011

a brief review based on limited exposure

I've watched a few minutes here and there of "Heavy" the new "Intervention"-style exploitation/documentary about extremely obese people. It's essentially the same freak show masquerading as "help" that you find on Intervention, Hoarders, Cheaters, etc.

And I've noticed something. Women become unacceptably fat, and in need of intervention, at about 300-350 lbs. Men reach that level around 500-550 lbs. Men can be TWO HUNDRED POUNDS FATTER before reality show folks deem them dangerously obese enough (or, um, freakish enough, depending on how you're feeling about these shows) to need help.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Unsolicited Advice #1

In the wake of my recent spate of domestic goddess-icity, I've been rather productive on the home front. I live on a meager budget, but I like things to be tidy, organized, and efficient. My house is small, with a tiny kitchen and tiny bathroom. I've lived in it almost ten years and have come up with some household-y solutions that I'm rather fond of, so when I think of them, I'll post them as "Unsolicited Advice" posts.

Today: cheap chopsticks as multi-tool. Get you a package of 20-30 cheap plastic chopsticks. I found mine for a dollar at Hudson's Treasure Hunt, when they had a Chinese restaurant supply stock for half-off. I have most of mine in the kitchen, where I use them to stir, poke, and flip various foodstuffs and beverages. They wash easily, cost so little that if they get icky you can toss 'em, and work beautifully to stir your sugar into your iced tea, flip a tortilla in a skillet, or poke a hole in a casserole to see if it's done.

I also keep a few in the toolbox for poking purposes. Need to clear the lint out of your outdoor dryer vent? Done. Need to pick a wad of hair out of the bathtub drain? Done. (The time I did that, I threw the chopstick away. I couldn't bear the thought of it accidentally finding its way back into the kitchen drawer). Need to stir a small jar of touch-up paint? Done.

I am all about multi-use items in my wee kitchen. One-function gadgets are few and far between at my house, because who has room for a bunch of one-function items? Give me a cast-iron skillet, a saucepan and a stockpot, and I can make pretty much anything. (Okay, so I can't make waffles at home. Do I want a groovy Belgian waffle maker? Yes, I kind of do. Do I *need* one? Gawd, no. Do I have room for one? Not no, but HELL no.)

A quick Google shopping search shows the above package to be about $3 for 20 chopsticks. That looks more or less like the one I bought. I'm sure you can find them at your dollar store or discount store if you keep an eye out, rather than paying shipping.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I had a dream about shoes last night.

In the dream, I was hanging out in the basement from "That 70s Show", albeit not with the cast. And someone left a very tall, very red pair of strappy red heels there, with a high back heel and a platform in the front. I mean, the kind of shoe that in real life, would cause me to fall over and break an ankle within minutes. The kind of shoe that, even if I managed to avoid falling over, would be incredibly painful. That I wouldn't wear because they're impractical and you have to take baby mincing steps in them and watch the ground constantly so as to make sure you don't fall over from stepping on uneven pavement. Yeah, that kind of shoe. TALL.

In the dream, I put them on, and they were comfortable and easy to walk in.

Clearly, I have been spending way too much time noodling around the Manolosphere.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jezebella on Tour: Vicksburg

Last Friday I hied forth, northward, to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to visit Margaret's Grocery, a folk art environment/church/installation art/yard show created by one Revered H.D. Dennis and his late wife Margaret. Reverend Dennis has now moved into some sort of "convalescent home", which I suspect means "institution for the warehousing of poor old people". The deacon from his church brought him over to visit with us and unlock the grocery and the bus/church for us to visit.

The whole thing was designed by the preacher to attract attention on Business Highway 61, so they would stop, and he could preach to them. I am personally not a giant fan of folk art/yard shows/whatever you want to call them, because they exist on the razor's edge right next to hoarding, and hoarding gives me the willies. I watch those hoarding tv shows like other people watch horror movies. I only made it to the front room of Margaret's Grocery, which was the only part he decorated anyway. The living quarters were dark, freezing cold, crumbling, crowded, and floors felt like they would fall in. I walked into the second room and turned right back around. No sir, Jezebella does not enjoy such environments.

The front room and the bus - the rooms decorated with all manner of ephemera, from Mardi Gras beads to foam food trays with plastic balls glued to them, xeroxes of articles about the preacher, photos, letters, and whatnot - they were a sight to behold. I'm torn about the preservation issue: the whole place is like a man-made garden, as it was constantly in process when the preacher and Margaret lived there. Now that they're gone, it's declining, and if someone else were to start "preserving" it, what would happen? Would it still be the same garden if a new gardener took over? Without the person living in the environment, the experience is more elegiac than abundant.

I think the ideal solution would be to remove the bus to a folk art museum, remove the front room's furnishings and re-install them elsewhere, document everything thoroughly, and let it go. Some things are ephemeral, and meant to be that way. Without the preacher, the place is an empty nest.

After a cold, windy morning with the preacher, we drove into downtown Vicksburg to visit the Attic Gallery. Again, not a huge fan of the folk art, but I did find a few things to buy. In fact, most of the people with me bought something. Then we at at Rusty's, a seafood joint, with outstanding no-nonsense service and friggin delicious banana cream pie.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

a charming start to the new year

After my bout of domestic goddess-icity, I woke up Sunday to a scratchy throat and a bit of a cough and a headache. It's now Thursday and I feel like I have been run over by a truck and I sound like Tom Waits when I talk.

I was thinking last night about the night the night DJ died, my ex's dad, and I kind of want to tell that story because I actually think of him almost as often as I think of his son. He would've made an excellent father-in-law, though his son would have made a terrible husband. The funniest thing about DJ is this: he had the mistaken impression that "twat" means "behind". So he'd say in his coonass/N'awlins accent, "Sit your twat down, it's time for dinner." The ex, let's call him Todd for blogular purposes, was so shocked the first time DJ said it that he didn't correct him. By the time he realized DJ was using it regularly, it was too late. So Todd warned me, on our first trip to dinner with DJ and his fiancee (aka his special lady friend, but that's another story), that it was entirely possible that DJ would tell me to put my twat in the chair, and sure enough, he did, and I managed to snicker to myself instead of being shocked.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Seldomly a domestic goddess

Today I am in domestic goddess mode: I've just pulled homemade vegan cornbread muffins out of the oven, vegan black-eyed peas are ready to be served up, and rice is ready in about ten minutes.

The downside to being a single domestic goddess: no dishwasher (human or automated) to clean up after me.

The upside: no dishwasher (human) to complain when I listen to Madonna while being a domestic goddess.

Mark Twain on this overrated holiday:

"New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions."

-Mark Twain