Friday, June 30, 2006
Hold me, I'm scared
Short version: Men volunteer to marry single, pregnant women and act as a father to their children, to keep them from having an abortion. Women they don't know or have any relationship with. To stop them from having an abortion.
How could this possibly go wrong? Let me see....what sort of man volunteers to marry a woman he doesn't know, who is pregnant with another man's child? Maybe men who can't find wives/girlfriends/fuckbuddies on their own? Men who feel these women will owe them for saving them from a life of single motherhood or post-abortion stress syndrome? Owe them things like regular blow jobs, lots of fucking, maid service, cooking, cleaning...hell, maybe they'll even owe them a lifetime of ass-wiping!
And what's with the idea that all a woman needs in order to not abort is a man? Does it not occur to these people that these 'babies' have fathers already? That if the woman decides to carry to term, those fathers will have rights? That those fathers may not like these Grooms For Life and may, quite possibly, use the fact that the mother of said babies married a man she'd never meet before against her in a custody case? (I mean, how stable can a woman be if she'll tie the knot with any old fellow?)
Hey, here's an idea. How about instead of offering to marry these 'fallen women' you get off your ass and help create a society where she could give birth and raise her child on her own? How about you work to close the wage gap, reduce social penalties for single parents, work to provide affordable child care, work to provide affordable health care? No? It's easier to marry a woman in the hopes of crushing her self-esteem to the point where she knuckles under and caters to the whim of her Savior Groom?
For the record -- should I ever get pregnant as a single woman, no man need offer to marry me. I wouldn't expect it from the father of my child, much less some stranger off the street. Honestly, is there anything creepier or more insulting than this idea? The only reason a woman would abort is because there's no man in her life?? What.The.Fuck?
Wanna prevent abortion? Great! How about starting with real sex education, easy access to affordable contraception and a society that doesn't (hypocritically) look down and blame women who do become pregnant? How about creating a society that's truely pro-life and not this misognistic garbage?
Friday at last -- 10 songs to celebrate the coming of the weekend
2. The Alien Song -- Red Aunts (this song is fucking hilarious)
3. Love's Recovery -- Indigo Girls
3. Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying -- Fall Out Boy
4. Scream -- Sarah Betten
5. Turn It On -- Sleater-Kinney (I cannot stand that they're called it quits. Dammit.)
6. Strange Fire -- Indigo Girls
7. Rebel Girl -- Bikini Kill (Possibly the most awesome song ever. I listen to it every morning. Which could be a sickness. Hrm.)
8. Can't Take It -- All American Rejects
9. Ohio Is For Lovers -- Hawthorne Heights (Is it me, or do all these pretty emo boy bands all sound the same??)
10. Don't Give That Girl A Gun -- Indigo Girls
Bonus Track: End of the Line -- Concrete Blonde
Well, apparently my iTunes was in an Indigo Girls mood. Can I say, I adore them? Seriously. I think I've got practically everything they've ever recorded. I had an obsession with them in college, so ya know. I need to get their last cd though. Hrm. Anyone wanna buy me a present??:) It's funny, but of all the music in my iTunes (and it's way over 1,000 songs at this point) I've got a lot of Indigo Girls and Green Day. I find that...strange. But totally typical for me.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Poor Mitt -- he actually thinks the Fundies will vote for a Morman if he's dumb enough...
By STEVE LeBLANC
Associated Press Writer
BOSTON (AP) -- Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, renewing his support for a ballot question banning gay marriage, said Wednesday it's the job of voters -- not the courts or lawmakers -- to define what constitutes a civil right.
"Who's going to tell us what a civil right is and what's not? Well, the people will," Romney said in calling on lawmakers to allow a vote on a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. The vote is scheduled for July 12.
Supporters have long cast same-sex marriage as a civil right that should not be subject to a popular vote, likening it to the desegregation battles of the 1950s and 1960s, where the courts played a central role in expanding rights for blacks.
Yet Romney, during a news conference attended by Cardinal Sean O'Malley and other religious and civil leaders, said that in a democracy, nothing is off-limits to voters, even the definition of civil rights.
"We have a Constitution. We can look in there and say, 'Does it say here you can vote on matters unless someone can define them as civil rights?' No," said the Republican governor, a graduate of Harvard Law School who is mulling a presidential run in 2008. "It says you vote on all matters in this country and we'll decide what is a civil right and what's not. So, fundamentally, we come back to the principle that the people speak."
State Democratic Rep. Byron Rushing, a supporter of gay marriage, said the civil rights of minority groups should not be subject to the whims of the majority.
"He's absolutely wrong when he says the definition of civil rights is a definition that is made by all the people," Rushing said. "It is not reasonable to ask all the people to decide what a civil rights issue is. If it was left up to popular referenda in the 1950s and 1960s, we would not have had any of the civil rights laws passed."
In a call to The Associated Press after the news conference, Romney appeared to temper his public remarks.
"I'm not saying that civil rights should be up to a popular vote," Romney said, although he added, "The Constitution does not prohibit the people from making any decision. The Constitution allows for the people to overrule the judiciary, the executive or the legislative? branches."
This may be one of the stupidest things I've heard in a long time. (I've been tuning out President FratBoy for awhile now, so there could be something more stupid that I missed.) Civil rights voted on by the people?? Riiiight. That's what our founders had in mind when they wrote all those declarations and constitutions and bills and stuff. And would those rights vary from state to state? I mean, in California abortion could be civil right, but in Louisiana it would be murder. In Mass., clearly gay marriage would be a civil right, but not in Mississippi. In Mississippi, it could be a crime punishable by jail time. Oh! I know, I'm betting that inter-racial marriage would be banned in many southern states. Also, those Jews and Muslims? Second-class citizens with no right to practice their religion. And gods help me if they found out I'm a frigging pagan! I'd be burned at the stake! (Maybe literally. You never know around here.)
Let's see, what else? Women working? No, sorry. Not a civil right. Don't you know the needs of your children are more important? Get back in the kitchen! Welfare? Nope. Get off your asses and work, ya bums. But, of course, men have the right to a wife. And children. Gotta carry on the family name. Rights to property? Well....those are for men, of course. White men, mostly. Some of the Darkies who've proven themselves, well, we'll give them a bit o' the swamp land as a reward. Women? Nah. Well, unless there were no men born into the family. Then we'll make an exception. To keep the land in the family, ya know.
Oh, for gods sake! This is the stupidest thing I've heard in ages. Vote on civil rights? Listen, these people don't want ME voting on their civil rights, not after the way they've been treating my gender and orientation lately. I might be tempted to strip them of all their pretty boy, white male privelige and give it to the oppressed and unwanted.
Let the Fundy screamfest begin!
By MIKE STOBBE
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA (AP) -- Taking up a potentially explosive issue among religious conservatives, an influential government advisory panel Thursday recommended that 11- and 12-year-old girls be routinely vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also said the shots can be started for girls as young as 9, at the discretion of their doctors.
The committee's recommendations usually are accepted by federal health officials, and influence insurance coverage for vaccinations.
Gardasil, made by Merck & Co., is the first vaccine specifically designed to prevent cancer. Approved earlier this month by the Food and Drug Administration for females ages 9 to 26, it protects against strains of the human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers and genital warts.
Some health officials had girded themselves for arguments from religious conservatives and others that vaccinating youngsters against the sexually transmitted virus might make them more likely to have sex. But the controversy never materialized in the panel's public meetings.
Earlier this year, the Family Research Council, a conservative group, did not speak out against giving the HPV shot to young girls. The organization mainly opposes making it one of the vaccines required before youngsters can enroll in school, said the group's policy analyst, Moira Gaul.
Health officials estimate that more than 50 percent of sexually active women and men will be infected with one or more types of HPV in their lifetimes. Vaccine proponents say it could dramatically reduce the nearly 4,000 cervical cancer deaths that occur each year in the United States.
The vaccine comes as a $360 series of three shots, and in tests has been highly effective against HPV. The vaccine is formulated to address the subtypes of HPV responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and 90 percent of genital warts.
Scientists say the vaccine is most effective when given to girls before they become sexually active, and some girls become active before their teens. About 7 percent of children have had sexual intercourse before age 13, and about a quarter of boys and girls have had sex by age 15, according to government surveys.
In a public comment session at Thursday's meeting, all nine speakers supported recommending the vaccine to females 9 to 26, the broadest possible group under FDA license. The speakers included a state senator from Maryland and the chief medical officer of AmeriChoice, a UnitedHealth Group company that manages state Medicaid programs.
The panel focused on 11- to 12-year-olds in part because children that age already routinely get two other shots.
Several speakers also called for the immunization of boys, as soon as studies are completed on the vaccine's safety and effectiveness for males. HPV has been linked to penile, anal, and head and neck cancers and a tumor-like condition of the respiratory tract.
Merck officials said clinical effectiveness studies in males should be completed by 2008.
Merck officials also said they can provide the more than 19 million doses that health officials expect would be used in the next year.
Certain Fundy groups have already voice opposition to mandating this vaccine. I'm sure they'll be making their voices heard soon, and I'll happily post about 'em. 'Cause I'd love to see the Fundy church, in all it's horrid forms, crumble and be swallowed by the earth. 'cept that would give the earth heartburn and I don't want that. Anyway, I think this is awesome and I'd get the bloody vaccine myself if my doctor would let me. Also, if I ever have a daughter? She's totally getting this. Provided it proves safe, of course. But I'm believe they've already proved that, so....why would anyone not want their daughters to be protected against cervical cancer? I just can't understand that...because trust me, you're not thinking about cancer when you're having sex.
Score one for the good guys -- for the moment, at least
By ANDREW DEMILLO
Associated Press Writer
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas cannot ban homosexuals from becoming foster parents because there is no link between their sexual orientation and a child?s well-being, the state's high court ruled Thursday.
The court agreed with a lower court judge that the state's child welfare board had improperly tried to regulate public morality. The ban also violated the separation of powers doctrine, the justices said.
The board instituted the ban in 1999, saying children should be in traditional two-parent homes because they would be more likely to thrive.
Four residents sued, claiming discrimination and privacy violations against homosexuals who otherwise qualified as foster parents.
The justices agreed Thursday, saying the ban was "an attempt to legislate for the General Assembly with respect to public morality."
"There is no correlation between the health, welfare and safety of foster children and the blanket exclusion of any individual who is a homosexual or who resides in a household with a homosexual," Associate Justice Donald Corbin wrote in the opinion.
In addition, the court said, the testimony of a Child Welfare Agency Review Board member demonstrated that "the driving force between adoption of the regulations was not to promote the health, safety and welfare of foster children but rather based upon the board's views of morality and its bias against homosexuals."
The court also said that being raised by homosexuals doesn't cause academic problems or gender identity problems, as the state had argued.
The ban had not been used since the lower court ruling in 2004, state Health and Human Services spokeswoman Julie Munsell said. She said the plaintiffs have not sought foster-parent status since then.
The department didn't know if any homosexuals have applied, she said.
Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union represented the plaintiffs in the case. Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU in Arkansas, said she was pleased by Thursday's decision.
Finally, some signs of sanity. Of course, this has nothing to do with Louisiana, where you still cannot adopt/foster if you're gay. But if this ruling is upheld, it should be possible to change that here. Whoohoo.
Here's my thing -- I have a niece that I love. I mean, deep, viceral, no-holds-barred love. From the moment I saw her, the first moment I held her, something in me (that I was pretty sure didn't even exist) woke up. She's my child, even though technically she's my niece. She's also adopted. If I had wanted to adopt her, instead of my brother and his wife, I wouldn't have been allowed to. Because I'm bisexual, which in Louisiana is the same thing as gay. (And please, gods, don't get me started on how they're NOT the same thing. . .) Regardless of the fact that I'm educated, employed, healthy, white, middle-class with good values and the capacity to care for a child, I'd have been denied that chance. Because of the fact that, sometimes, I like to sleep with women. Do people realize how incredible unimportant who shares a bed is to raising a child? Isn't it more important to be loving, devoted, nurturing and accepting? Isn't it more important to impart good morals and values and train children to be decent, hard-working citizens who care about themselves and others?
My niece is a very lucky little girl. She's got two parents who love her, grandparents that completely adore her and an aunt that would literally change the world for her, if she needed it. And she'd have had the same thing if I'd been the one to adopt her. (Well, two parents eventually. One at the moment.) How different are the situations of most gay adoptive/foster parents? When a child joins a family, they're not just getting parents. They're getting grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins....how can you look at a couple, decide their sex life isn't up to par, and ignore the rest of what they have to offer?
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Who's afraid of the big, bad state?
By STANLEY M. ARONSON
The Providence Journal
Few remember the name of Carrie Buck, a citizen of Virginia who died in anonymity in 1983. Yet her name and the legally sanctioned travails she endured for the "welfare of society" are milestones in America's struggle to define the margins of individual freedom and the safeguards of civil liberties.
Heritability of such qualities as intelligence and feeble-mindedness is a relatively recent concept. In the 19th Century, social scientists in Britain and Germany were influenced by the discovery that specific human physical attributes -- such as the color of eyes and hair -- were genetically transmitted to succeeding generations in a predictable manner. The work of Gregor Mendel on the breeding of flowering plants had clearly demonstrated the inheritance of such physical qualities as color and shape of blossom; he postulated that botanical seeds carried packages of discrete genetic information (later called genes), which determined the physical traits of the offspring.
Britain's Francis Galton believed that still other human attributes might be passed on to the next generation, and that among them was that ill-defined something called intelligence. Simultaneously, social scientists were trying to devise ways to quantify intelligence.
Galton and others elaborated a new discipline, which they called eugenics, defined as the science of improving the quality of the human species by selective breeding. Crucial to this concept was the fervently held belief that humanity would be immensely enriched if society could prevent the mentally defective from breeding. Galton and the other eugenicists envisioned a future blissfully free of the ignorant, wastrels, vandals, prostitutes, and people with inherited criminal tendencies.
This purification was to be accomplished merely through elimination of "mental defectives" from the genetic pool. Galton's eugenics influenced the thinking of many, including those who determined the ethnic restrictions incorporated in U.S. immigration laws.
In 1886, Switzerland was the first country to translate eugenic theory into legislation when it sanctioned surgical castration for those with mental disabilities and "sexual neuroses." In 1907 Indiana was the first American state to authorize sterilization. And in 1924 Virginia adopted a law, in the stated interest of society, allowing compulsory sterilization of those deemed mentally retarded.
On Sept. 24, 1924, the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded filed a petition to surgically sterilize one Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old patient at the institution. Carrie's mother, age 52, was said to have a mental age of 8, although this was never independently verified. She had borne three children, each with a different father; further, there was an allegation that she had once engaged in prostitution.
As a child, Carrie had been adopted; she attended school until the sixth grade. At age 18 she became pregnant, and, because of "incorrigible behavior and promiscuity," was transferred to state custody. (Her pregnancy was later found to have been caused by rape by a member of the adoptive family.)
Carrie Buck turned to the courts to avoid surgical sterilization, and the case (Buck v. Bell) eventually wound up in the U.S. Supreme Court in the spring of 1927. In an eight-to-one decision (only Justice Pierce Butler dissented), the court upheld the judgment of the lower courts that the State of Virginia had the right to perform the sterilization.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., served to nationally legitimize eugenic sterilization: "(T)he health of the patient and the welfare of society may be promoted in certain cases by the sterilization of mental defectives ... without serious pain or substantial danger to life." The opinion declared that "Carrie Buck is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring."
Does enforced sterilization deprive an individual of her civil liberties? Holmes wrote that if society can ask individuals to sacrifice their lives for the protection of their country, and if America can demand compulsory vaccination, then surely it can sanction compulsory sterilization for the general welfare. "It is better for all the world," wrote Holmes, "if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind." He concluded, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
In its sweeping pronouncements, the Supreme Court made two assumptions that later proved erroneous.
The first was that the diagnosis of "feeble-mindedness" could be accepted when based solely on the subjective judgment of a single observer. In subsequent years, Carrie Buck, her mother, and her daughter demonstrated neither incapacity for self-care nor promiscuity.
The second erroneous assumption was that feeble-mindedness or criminality are discrete attributes passed on, genetically, from generation to generation.
Between 1933 and 1937, the compulsory-sterilization statutes in 28 states resulted in the involuntary sterilization of 25,403 Americans. The justifications included such diagnoses as epilepsy, manic-depressive psychosis, and schizophrenia.
Meanwhile, in Germany -- where the procedure was carried out for political as well as medical reasons -- the number of people sterilized exceeded 600,000.
Virginia repealed its sterilization law in 1974.
There has never been any scientific proof that such traits as promiscuity, ignorance, indolence, or criminality are inheritable. Ignorance, particularly, is an easily nurtured trait, needing no assistance from genes.
I was born in 1974. Thirty-two years ago, there was a law on the books allowing the state to prevent people from having children. I don't have stats on how often that law was used, at that late date, but I'm fairly certain it was. It seems to me, and it has for a very long time, that if the state has the right to force you to have a baby (by outlawing abortion) it also has the right to force you to not have a baby (by forced sterlization.)
Both decisions operate on the same principal -- the state knows what's best for it's citizens, regardless of those citizens personal interests. It also seems to me that if the state can force a woman to have a baby she conceives on her own, via voluntary sex, it can also force a woman to conceive a child she otherwise wouldn't. I mean by that, what's to stop the state from deciding there aren't enough white babies in state X and running some kind of lottery to determine who will be forced to have children to up the white baby population? What's to stop the state from deciding that state Y has too many brown people and initiating a campaign of forced sterlization?
If the right to decide when to have a child is not absolute, then why can't the state step in and make those decisions for you? What's to stop the state from looking at me and going, "You know, you're very smart. And you're white. So those things are in your favor. But, you have an extensive history of depression, auto-immune disease and fatness. Family history of cancer, heart disease, stroke. And then there's that great-grandfather who went to jail for murder. No, I'm sorry, but you cannot procreate. To make sure you can't procreate, we're going to force surgery on you to remove you're ovaries. Or maybe we'll just tie your tubes. Then again, you're 32, maybe a hysteractomy is in order."
Or, what's to stop the state from deciding they want more smart, white, fat people and compelling me to have a child I don't want? What's to stop them from deciding that man X would be a good genetic match for me and forcing us to breed?
If my right to bodily soverignty is not absolute when it comes to pregnancy, then what's in the way of stopping the state from compelling me to do whatever it wants me to do? It certainly wouldn't be unprecedented in history. (And yes, I realize eugenics laws are no longer on the books. But, frankly, it's not such a huge step from criminalizing abortion to forcing sterlization or childbirth. Both rest on the same basic right to bodily autonomy. Unless, of course, the fact that men could be forced or prevented from parenthood tips the scales toward sanity?)
Saturday, June 24, 2006
This about sums American politics up. . .
Dating While Fat
I've already posted about my problems with power issues in hetero relationship, so now I'm going to pontificate on my issues with Dating While Fat.
The thing is, I like my body. I realize it's way beyond the socially accepted norm and I just don't care. Sure, sometimes (like when I've got PMS) I look at myself in the mirror and I don't see myself the way I think I should. But those days pass. Generally, I look at myself and think "That's one awesome woman." Because I am. So, my body isn't an issue for me. But it seems to be an issue for lots of men.
I cannot count the number of times I've been talking to a guy, via IM or off of some dating site, and we're all doing well and everything. And he asks for a pix, so I send one. And that's it. No more talking, no more paging. No more nothing. Just...it's like I no longer exist.
Now, I realize there needs to be a physical attraction for a relationship to work. And if you do not find me physically attractive, that's fine. I don't find everyone else in the world attractive either. But have the decency to not be an ass about it. When I'm talking to guys via IM or whatever, I'm really not looking for someone to hook up with that night. I'm also not necessarily looking for someone to be my SO. I really just want to meet people, maybe meet some new friends. So if we click, great. If we don't, fine. If you don't wanna be my boytoy, I don't fucking care, But when you get all shitty and just stop talking to me, when you were all about me five minutes earlier, you're being a prick and pissing me off.
Also, men who think I'm gonna give it up to 'em cause I'm a big girl? Fuck you. Or, more accurately, I won't fuck you. This post at Lynne's blog (she's awesome, btw) just makes me want to vomit. And it reinforces my deepest fears about men, in general. I want to trust them, but knowing that there are men who think these kind of things. . .and I know they exist. I've meet them. I just. . .want to stab them in the eyes with a pair of scissors.
Here's the thing: I'm a person, not a body. There's a difference. And if I meet a guy who just wants to fuck, he should just say so. I'm not desparate because I'm a big girl, but neither am I non-sexual. Maybe I just want to fuck him too. Maybe I don't want a relationship. Maybe we're both on the same page. But if any one thinks I'm a fucking HOG, they're not laying a hand on me.
It makes it very difficult for me to trust men who seem to show interest in me. Honestly, I probably wouldn't even notice a man who was actively flirting with me. It just doesn't register with me. It's almost like society has driven it into my head that no man would ever find me sexually appealing. I know this is wrong, because men have. But that's almost like an exception to the rule.
And I don't want to be someone's fetish. I don't want to be with a man who just wants to be with a big girl. Because, what happens if I lose weight? I'm not planning on it, but I've gotten sick in the past and lost quite a few pounds. Sure, it always comes back when I'm healthy again, but what if it didn't? Would the person I'm in love with dump me because I'm suddenly not his fetish?
I honestly don't understand the avoidance most men seem to have to bigger women. When I look at a guy, I'm not thinking "oh, I don't want him. He's got a spare tire." I mean, I understand on an individual basis that attraction is different. No problem. But, this lashing out against big women in general, it just makes no sense at all. So, I'm fat. So what? That's like deciding you don't like me because I wear glasses or because I'm tall or because my eyes are green. These things are all true, but to decide, based on one factor, that I'm not girlfriend material? It seems shady to me.
Maybe that's because I'm not much of a lookist myself. Honestly, a feature has to be really outstanding on a person for me to really notice. Or, I notice, it just doesn't get that much weight in my evaluating them. There are things I have preferences for (tall, dark hair, brown eyes, boys who wear eyeliner, Latinas(yum!), women who have curves) and things I really, really don't like (blue eyes! Don't ask me why. I just don't like 'em.) But the thing is, none of those things are dealbreakers. If I met a short, blue-eyed blonde, skinny as a rail who I just clicked with -- color me happy. I'd be amused by it, but I certainly wouldn't fight it. So why the problem for men with big girls?
(And don't give me that crap about health, either. If we're talking health issues, my Lupus is way, way, way bigger than my weight. And I don't want to have to break out my excellent other stats. So nyah.)
Anyway, the reaction (many) men have to big girls makes it difficult for me to trust them. And if you don't have trust, you can't have a relationship.
Friday, June 23, 2006
FR10 -- Pretty Girls vs. Pretty Boys Edition
2. The First Taste -- Fiona Apple
3. The Jetset Life is Gonna Kill Me -- My Chemical Romance
4. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee -- Indigo Girls
5. Helena -- My Chemical Romance
6. In The End -- Green Day
7. Criminal -- Fiona Apple
8. Bring Me To Life -- Evanescence
9. Full of Grace -- Sarah McLachlan
10. One of My Kind -- Concrete Blonde
Bonus Track: World Falls -- Indigo Girls
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Sometimes I forget I'm a poet...
You drowned me there, I say to myself as
I stumble over old photographs.
It's been my life's work,
This endless resurrection and death --
How shall I kill myself today?
Only, please, no more choking on love for Emily.
Emily who is burrowed into my flesh,
Who is consuming my creativity
And rendering me too weak to speak her name.
My muse in her red dress,
A sandalwood prayer to purify my distilling existence.
I've died too many times for Emily,
Bared my throat and drank my poison.
And yet. . .
. . .and yet the scent of her is enough to still my questing hands.
Hands that seek my salvation through destruction.
Her laughing, light touch enough to
Cease the spinning in my head.
She is my stability,
My favorite green-and-white pill
As necessary and deadly as water
to the drowning.
Power corrupts -- and leaves me perpetually single
My relationships with men are...difficult. I've internalized a lot of the lessons I was raised with and, though I fight them constantly, they're still there. Friendships with men are no problem. Hell, my best friends are usually male. But once a relationship turns romantic? Well. Things become difficult.
I've lived my entire life in the Deep South. I was raised a fundamentalist Southern Baptist. Everything in my childhood pointed me toward a decided, clear power imbalance between men and women. The women in my family are phenominal. They're amazing and strong and have such incredible minds. But every one of them, to a fault, give lip service to the idea that the 'man is the head of the household.' The men in my family are equally amazing. Not one of them has ever tried to take advantage of that "theory". My father would never dream of trying to tell my mother what to do or how to live her life. They got married right out of high school. My mother was the valedictorian, dad went to trade school. He told her, right off the bat, that if she wanted to go to college, he'd move whereever she wanted to go. No questions. But she wanted to have a family and stay home. So he was okay with that too. He never, as far as I know, pressured her to go to work, even when money was tight for us. (And it was. We were Louisiana poor.) My brother takes after our father. He got married young (22), but he's the one who does all the cooking, lots of cleaning and he's really amazing with his daughter. Neither of them are remotely redneckish or domineering.
And yet, all I can think of, when I get involved with a man, is when the competition is going to start? When is he going to start being patronizing? When is he going to pull a he-man act on me? When is he going to try to compell me to do something I don't want to do?
I know, in my head and through experience, that there are men in this world who don't act that way. I know there are men who value their female partners as full equals. But I just can't feel comfortable in relationships. I always feel like....well, they're going to start, any day now. Why don't I cook more? Why don't I clean more? Why won't I have children? Why won't I lose weight so they won't be ashamed of me? Why, why, why?
Instinctively, I feel a power imbalance. I know that in this society, if I had a boyfriend/husband, other people would look at me differently. I know they'd think of me a little better. But I also know they'd instantly begin deferring to HIM when we were in public. Does it matter that I'm the one making the money and picking up the check? No. The waiters always give the check to my male friends when we're out. Does it matter that it's my fucking car and I'm the one who does the upkeep? No, mechanics always seem to want to talk to my husband about it.
And I realize, in my head at least, that those things are not the fault of the men I date. (Because there's no way I'm putting up with some asshole who thinks he can just start making decisions for me.) And yet, that imbalance exists and I feel it. I know it's there.
I have a huge, incredible fear of being controlled. I always have, since I was a child. (The fact that the fundy church I grew up in did a serious number on my head contributed to this greatly. How is it NOT being controlled to be told 'do what God says or burn forever'?) I've never been particularly 'girly.' I don't like makeup or dresses or most Society Approved girl things. Those things have never appealed to me. And yet...and yet I fear that I'm being disapproved of because of it. On one level, I simply don't care. Strangers disapprove of me? Fuck them. What does that matter? But someone I love? That's a different matter all together. So if I meet someone, and I love him, and he's thinking "I wish she'd wear a dress" or "Why isn't she more /normal/?" that's just....something I can't handle.
Add to that the fact that I have a chronic illness that is difficult enough for me to handle, let alone have to worry about what a BF thinks of that fact that I'm sick all the time. My head understands that I'm still an amazing woman, with more than enough to offer anyone...and yet there's this sick, sinking feeling I get whenever I think of being in a relationship. I want that, on one level, and on another I simply cannot do it.
Part of me thinks this whole thing is just crazy. I've never, nor would I, date a man who would see me as anything other than a fully equal partner. And yet it's a very real thing, this inate power imbalance when I'm in a het relationship. I've been through counseling to deal with the issues from my fundy upbringing, but I just can't seem to shake this.
So, how am I supposed to find someone to share my life with, if I'm constantly internalizing this shit? (Okay, yes. I could date women exclusively. But that seems a coward's way out, if I'm only doing that because I'm too afraid to be involved with a man. Whoever I'm involved with deserves to have my affection for themselves, not because of their gender.)
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Summer always gets me down
I haven't posted much lately because I've been feeling a bit down. Surprise. There are things I want to talk about too. Like my state just signed into law a truly draconian abortion law. And there's that whole blowjob thing going on thanks to Twisty. (For the record, I don't like 'em so I don't do 'em. Your mileage my vary. I don't get off much on judging what consenting adults do, so if ya like 'em, more power to ya. I will, however, be posting a bit about power imbalances in relationships. As soon as this blue funk passes.) Then there's a followup to the bit about the Wiccan soldier getting a pentagram on his tomb. I've got that article here somewhere. Has some nice quotes from some Christian orgs that I wanted to talk about. Mostly though, I just want to come home from work, curl up in bed, eat ice cream and sleep. Which is what happens to me in the summer, because I'm just exhausted all the time.
I just started a new anti-depressant that I really love. (Oh yeah. There's that post about depression over at Pandagon I wanted to talk about. See? I'm reading lots. Just can't seem to get myself motivated to post about it. Yet.) If you're looking for a good AD, I recommend Cymbalta with no reservations. It's totally quashed the numbness/pins-and-needles in my hands and legs from the periphial neuropathy my Lupus has caused. Which is totally awesome. So, I'm sure I'll feel better in a few days. Just right now...not so much.
Friday, June 16, 2006
But, really, we love children. Honest.
By JILL ZEMAN
Associated Press Writer
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Lawyers for gay couples told the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday that a policy banning homosexuals from becoming foster parents is unconstitutional, but the state argued that it protects children's moral and spiritual welfare.
Because the state has banned gay marriage, and its Child Welfare Agency Review Board bars unmarried couples who live together from becoming foster parents, gay couples cannot have foster children, said Kathy L. Hall, attorney for the Department of Health and Human Services.
The state is appealing a 2004 lower court decision that found the welfare board's 1999 ban to be unconstitutional.
The state's utmost concern is the health, safety and welfare of foster children, and that can't happen in a home where unmarried sex occurs, Hall said.
Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber pointed out that the state allows single heterosexual individuals to be foster parents, but not single homosexuals. Hall said that unlike homosexuals, a single heterosexual parent "has the potential" to find a spouse.
"So you're saying ... the agency is also going to be asking a heterosexual how they behave in the bedroom," Imber said.
Leslie Cooper, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that the state's policy is discriminatory and "couldn't possibly do anything to protect the interest of children."
The ban hurts children, she said, by reducing the number of eligible foster parents.
Four Arkansans sued over the policy, saying homosexuals who otherwise qualified as foster parents had been discriminated against. They contend the ban violates their right to privacy and equal protection under the state and U.S. constitutions.
Not being a lawyer, I admit to only a certain understanding of the law. But I have, shockingly enough, read our Constitution. And this law would create a specific class of people legally discriminated against. Call me crazy, but that does seem to violate our Constitution.
And, of course, no one is going to be asking single heterosexual foster parents what they're doing in their bedroom. Because, well, straight sex isn't icky! The only reason homosexuals in Arkansas don't have "the potential to find a spouse" is because the state has outlawed gay marriage. Here's a crazy idea: make it legal. Seriously, if the state's objection is that there's no potential for a two-parent household, make that a legal possiblity. But of course, they won't. And it's not because they care about children. A child is better off with one parent, regardless of orientation, who loves and cares for them. Anyone can see that, anyone who thinks it through can figure it out. This is about being afraid of anyone and anything that's different. About being afraid of children being "infected" with Teh Gay! (Because, clearly, that's the worst possible thing for anyone to be. Forget about teaching a child to be kind, thoughtful, compassionate, involved and engaged with the world. No. No. None of that counts if they're gay.)
The culture of life prepares to claim another one
By JAMIE STENGLE
Associated Press Writer
DALLAS (AP) -- A woman at odds with a hospital over whether it would be futile to continue life support for her 11-month-old son has been given two weeks to find a facility willing to take the baby.
Daniel Wayne Cullen II was hospitalized in early April after suffering from a lack of oxygen when he pulled out a tube that was helping him breathe. He had a tracheotomy after his premature birth.
Brian Potts, attorney for Daniel's mother, Dixie Belcher, said the boy is in stable condition and exhibiting some brain function, but not at normal levels. He's also on a ventilator and feeding tubes, Potts said.
Last month, the ethics board of Children's Medical Center Dallas agreed with the child's doctor that continued treatment would be futile.
On May 19, a judge granted Belcher a temporary restraining order blocking the hospital from ending life support. The parties agreed to a two-week extension at the end of May, and confirmed Thursday that they have agreed to a second extension.
"We;ve been making a lot of contacts and things look promising," Potts said.
Children's said the hospital could not comment further because of privacy laws and the involvement of Child Protective Services. Daniel and his older brother have been in CPS custody since Daniel was hospitalized.
CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales has said Daniel was removed from Belcher's custody because there was reason to believe there had been neglectful supervision and medical neglect. Her parental rights have not been terminated, Gonzales said.
Under a Texas law signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush in 1999, hospitals don't have to continue life support more than 10 days after their ethics board decides lifesaving measures are pointless. Families, however, have the right to look for a facility that will continue treatment.
This would be the point where I make a snarky comment about "pro-life" being a misnomer for people like Bush. His "culture of life" places more import on the hosptial's bottom line than on a child's life. This isn't the first time this law has been invoked either. There was another baby last year who was allowed to die because his (poor) family couldn't find another facility to take him on.
Explain to me, please, how when Terri Schaivo's feeding tube was being removed we had a literal act of Congress and Pres. FratBoy swooping in to save her life, but it's perfectly okay to let hospitals, not families, decide when people should live or die? Where's the public outcry to save these lives? Are they not equally important? And how, exactly, is okay for a hospital board, who has no emotional investment in the life of this child, to decide he must die, but it's not okay for a woman to decide to have an abortion? How is is more humane to allow a child to be born, suffer and then have his fate decided by people who don't love him than for his mother to decide, before he has any awareness or ability to suffer, to terminate her pregnancy?
If life is sacred, and isn't that the claim of the "pro-life" crowd?, then how is this law allowed to stand? It reveals the lie in their slogans and claims and paints, yet another, giant Hypocrite sign on Bush.
FR10 -- Sleep is for mere mortals edition
2. Tourniquet -- Evanescence
3. State of Fear -- Useless I.D.
4. Fade Away -- Haram
5. Extraordinary Girl -- Green Day
6. Fear of a Girl -- Third Grade Teacher
7. Madame Giry's Tale -- PoTO
8. The Million You Never Made -- Ani DiFranco
9. Life is a Miracle -- Pato Banton
10. Stab My Back -- All American Rejects
Bonus Track: Dirty Little Secret -- All American Rejects
Right now, I'm so exhausted I can barely type. I haven't been sleeping the last few nights and it's starting to wear on me. Unfortunately, I've got to go to work today anyway. *sigh* If I'd gotten caught up on my work yesterday, I'd just call in. But I've got too much to do, with one of my bosses on vacation. Gah. Maybe I can cut out at noon....
Sunday, June 11, 2006
If you can be fat in public, then I can smoke in public. Dammit.
So, our local newspaper puts up a question, asking people to write in and tell them what the they about the proposed ban. Most people are firmly FOR it. They site a lot of reasons - health, the smell, general dislike, etc. Some people opposed to it make the point that allows the government to regulate this could lead to regulations in other areas. Most people, in other words, make reasonable, understandable comments. Whether you agree with them or not, they are not out of the realm of relevant comment.
But then there are these others....who skip the whole smoking debate and attack fat people. Straight on, fat is worse than smoking. It kills more people. (Where the hell they got that idea, I don't know.) Watching fat people eat is offensive. The government should regulate how much fat people can eat. If we can't smoke, you fatties can't eat! Arg!
Because, clearly, being fat in public is a health hazard. For other people. It's contagious. It's true! You should have seen it. Yesterday, I went to lunch with my (not quite as fat) friend. They sat us in a booth next to a couple of really skinny girls. Everything was fine until our food got there. (We were going to get something healthy like fish. But you know us fat girls, we had to go for the mega deep-fried, twice-battered, lard-crusted pork loin. Yummy.) Why, we hadn't taken two bites when those skinny girls started to just balloon up! It was amazing, the power my lunch-eating fat self had. My friend and I giggled to ourselves, watching those skinny girls start to cry as the buttons popped off their jeans. Because fat girls are all evil, ya know. It's in the handbook! But, because the skinny girls were now our Fat Sisters, we didn't giggle too long. No, instead we took them under our wing, gave them a pair of comfy sweatpants to wear and provided them with a copy of the Fat Girl Handbook -- How to Destroy The World By Your Very Existance. And then we all had Mocha Turtle Cheesecake for dessert.
I mean, really. What the fuck is wrong with people? I understand not being happy about not being able to smoke in restaurants anymore. I don't smoke myself. In fact, smoke of any kind makes me very sick. But I get that it's not going to be terribly pleasant to have to wait until after your meal, when you're outside, or in your car or...you know what? It's not that big a deal. If you can't go one hour without a cigarette, you have a serious addiction. And that I can have sympathy for. But any sympathy I have is immediately obliterated by being attacked because I'm fat and I dare to show my face in public. My fat isn't going to hurt anyone else. That cig smoke? Well, they've got lots of proof that it does, in fact, hurt other people. Any damage my being fat does is going to be to me and me alone. The people sitting next to me aren't going to catch anything from me. They're not going to increase their cancer risk just by seeing me. So get off the fat-bashing train.
Friday, June 09, 2006
FR10 -- Not even my cats love me anymore edition
2. It Ends Tonight -- All American Rejects
3. Oh John -- Paula Cole
4. Compromise -- Indigo Girls
5. Honorable Mention -- Fall Out Boy
6. Down So Long -- Jewel
7. Settling -- Tara McLean
8. CA Plane Pour Moi -- Thee Headcoatees
9. Tear Stained Eye -- Son Volt
10. I Will Be Heard -- Hatebreed
Bonus Track for True Geeks; Whistling in the Dark -- They Might Be Giants (Ha. Now try to get that song out of your head all day. Go on. I dare you.)
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Big Fat Reading List
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
And another hit for Louisiana women...
We're never going to have a pro-choice governor in this state, not one that will actually act on her/his principals anyway. Blanco always gave the impression that she was, at least moderately, pro-choice. Yes, she's in favor of adoption. Well, so am I. That's how I got my amazing neice. But that doesn't mean I'm against a woman having the right to choice whether to have a child in the first place. Still, this place isn't set up so that you can be pro-choice and hold any high public office. Oh, you may get on the school board. And you may get on the water board. Or the police jury. Bodies that have no legislative power over the state as a whole. But you're not going to be the governor. Maybe not even the lt. gov. Although, Mitch does seem to be pro-life. I haven't checked into that, but he gives that impression.
The majority of our population is rural. They're poor. They're not terribly educated. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with any of those things. I grew up in a rural, poor, not-so-educated family. I'm not judging people for their circumstance. There are some really wonderful people here. If there weren't, there's no way anyone would stay in this damned state. But you know, if you need something, you're neighbors are going to help you out, even if they don't really have the help to spare. So it bugs me when I see people talking about how backwards and stupid the people are down here. Some of them are, sure. But then, so are over half of the politicians in Washington, or we wouldn't still be having an abortion debate, would we?
People here tend to be simple. Faith, family, a little fun on the weekends. That's all they ask. And, if one of their daughters was pregnant, most people would do their best to help her out. Sometimes that means getting her to the clinic in Shreveport or Baton Rouge or New Orleans. But usually, that means letting her move back into the house, giving her a room and tracking down some baby stuff. And for some women, that's just what they need. But not for everyone. Only, people around here seem to think there's only one way to do things. If you're pregnant, you've got to have baby. Until it happens to someone they love and they watch them freak out and go nuts and they think, well, maybe. This time is different. It's not all those other women. Let me call the clinic.
Most of our people don't really understand conception. Most of the believe that when you have sex, you get pregnant at the same time. That night. Instantly. Try to explain to them it can take days and they won't believe you. Because it doesn't seem to make sense. Most people don't understand how an embryo develops. They believe it looks like an itty, bitty baby from the moment of conception. Try to explain otherwise to them. Most people don't believe you when you tell them that the miscarriage rate is exceedingly high. (Is it between 40 and 60 percent? I don't have the statistics right at hand and I don't want to quote something I'm not sure about.) They don't believe that those fertilized, and therefore living human beings, are being flushed away every month. That just doesn't make sense. People like things that make sense. If they have to think too hard about them, they just won't believe them. Because that's easier.
They honestly believe that every woman wants to be a mother. Those that say they don't just don't realize they do, that's all. Once they have that baby, regardless of how it was conceived or how much damage it does to them getting here, they'll see the light. For the majority of people down here, that is a sincere belief. Most people don't want to punish women, exactly. That's just a side effect for them. I'm almost 32 and I get the strangest looks from people when I tell them, no I don't have children and no, I don't want them. Most of the time, they just laugh and tell me I'll change my mind when I have one. As if I'd have one if I didn't want to? But you see, that's the mentality here. ALL women wants babies, they just don't know it yet. And it's not as if (most) of those kids would go unloved. Family is such a huge thing here, any baby would be welcomed in most families. (There are, of course, exceptions.) So, for a lot of people, while they may understand on an intellectual level who women object to being forced to have children, they see that as 'well, she simply doesn't know what she really wants."
The ultimate patronizing, big daddy statement you can imagine. Of course. But you'll notice, there's not move to force the fathers of these children to take care of them? Why? Again, that goes back to family. (Ironic, isn't it?) Well, she's got her parents and her brother and her sister and her grandparents. She doesn't need my help raising that baby. And so, off daddy skips. I've talked to DA and child support enforcement people -- it's astonishingly hard to force a man to pay child support. They garnish wages, he takes a job working for cash. They put a hold on his tax returns, he stops filing. And since he's working for cash, there's no paper trail to say he did actually earn any money to tax. Or, he'll stop working all together. They passed a law recently allowing the state to suspend licenses of men who don't pay child support. All license -- drivers, medical, legal, hunting, fishing, etc. The only ones that really affected were those who needed their license to work. Men drive without license, they hunt,they fish, they do whatever without a license. Because the fine for being caught without one is so very small, it doesn't matter.
So, we have a state where 'All women want babies' but 'All men don't have to be responsible.'
And I'm praying, very hard, that I get the job I interviewed for yesterday so I can get out of here. *sigh*
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Score one for the good guys
Judge dismisses suit by pharmacist who refused to dispense birth control
By RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press Writer
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge dismissed a Roman Catholic pharmacist's claim that he was fired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for refusing to fill birth control prescriptions and that the dismissal violated his religious freedom.
The ruling Thursday said Wal-Mart had accommodated Neil Noesen's religious opposition to birth control by having other pharmacists fill prescriptions.
But U.S. District Judge John Shabaz said Noesen went too far by putting customers who called about birth control on hold indefinitely and by refusing to get service for those who showed up in person.
Noesen, 32, could not be located for comment Friday.
An attorney who represented Medical Staffing Network, the agency that placed him at the Wal-Mart store, said the ruling was among the first in the country to deal with religious accommodations for pharmacists.
"It demonstrates there has to be a balance between accommodating someone's religious beliefs while at the same time providing a service and allowing people access to medical care," attorney Stephanie Adler said.
Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley said the company was pleased with the ruling.
"These cases are rare, but when they do happen, we are careful to make accommodations. We also have a responsibility to customers to ensure that their prescriptions are filled," he said.
According to the judge's ruling, Noesen refused to leave the Wal-Mart store and eventually was dragged out in a wheelchair by police. He was convicted last month of resisting arrest but was acquitted on a disorderly conduct charge stemming from that incident.
Noesen also was sanctioned by the state Pharmacy Examining Board for refusing to fill a contraceptive prescription or transfer it while working at another store in 2002. The board reprimanded him and forced him to attend ethics classes.
You'd think, given my particular religious views, I'd be a bit torn about this issue. But I'm not. In the slightest. Someone brings in a prescription, you fill it. Period. Unless you see the medication will cause problems due to another med the patient is on or something legitmate like that. Then, you get on the phone to the doctor and find a substitute. You don't ignore patients who come in in-person, you don't put them on hold forever, you don't refuse to leave and have to be taken out in a frigging wheelchair. Gods bless, people, have a little dignity.
Personally, I'd be much more hardcore than some of these stores. If it was my store, everyone would fill the 'scripts as brought in. However, I understand and appreciate the accomodation for religious belief. So long as there is actually someone around who can and will fill a 'script, the patient gets what he/she needs and everyone can go home happy. It's not how I'd run the universe, but it's a fairly reasonable compromise. But the thing is, here in Rural America, there are times when there is only one phramacy within an hour's drive. And they have exactly one pharmacist. What do you do if that pharmacist decides you don't need your birth control? Or you pain meds? Or the pills to control your herpes? Who gets to make the decision as to what's a 'morally' accepted medication or not?
Here's my problem with these fundy's screaming about Jesus not wanting them to fill birth control prescrpitions -- they've never read their Bible or had a real experience with Christ. They follow church doctrine and dogma instead, which is a very different thing. My first religious experience was in a Southern Baptist church with Jesus. (What? A pagan who believes in and respects Jesus? Is it a sign of the end of the world? Yeah. Anyway.) And Jesus is nothing like these people want him to be. Take care of the sick and afflicted. Befriend the wounded and lonely. And don't ask for anything in return. There are so few true Christians in this world because it's damn hard to do. It's not about getting and controlling and telling people how to live their lives. It's about letting people be who they are, as flawed and fucked up as that may be, and loving them anyway, without asking them to become like you. You love them, you show them you love them and you live. It is the most powerful, transformative experience possible to realize you are acceptable to the Divine exactly like you are, no changes necessary, and that that will never change and that there will never be a list of rules for you to follow or be punished. But these people don't get that. They started trying to steal that experience away from me as soon as it happened and I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive them for that. (Hey, Jesus is all about the forgiving. My personal guides are a bit...less so. Though I try. Usually.)
So, here's the thing -- even these compromises may not work in every town. Like I said, in rural areas with only one pharmacy and one pharmacist....there are lots of women going to be without their pills. Which pisses me the hell off. I'm waiting to see when men start getting denied their ED drugs or their cholesterol drugs or whatever. But, oddly enough, I haven't seen that yet. Wonder why? Hmp.
Friday, June 02, 2006
FR10 -- Alt Country vs. Pop-Punk Death Match edition
2. Sweet Surrender -- Sarah McLachlan
3. Reject -- Green Day
4. Oziline -- Indigo Girls
5. Gone Again -- Indigo Girls
6. Ghost in this House -- Alison Krause & Union Station
7. The Grouch -- Green Day
8. Supersonic -- Bad Religion
9. Cemetery Savior -- Sun Volt
10. Strangeland -- Green Day
Bonus: This Photograph is Proof -- Taking Back Sunday
So. Anyone wanna take a guess who my favorite bands are? No? Anybody? I'm trying to figure out how so many songs I truly like got slapped in one playlist. Also, there are 1,000 fucking songs in my iTunes and only a fraction of them belong to Green Day. And yet, everytime I do a random list, I get multiple Green Day songs. WTF?