exactly that

Posts tagged ‘fuck you of the day’

How I Deserve…

We were at the pool today, as we are wont to do after school since we are apparently living on the Surface of the Sun these days. The sky has been that foreboding shade of I Can’t Decide If I Will Rain Or Shine for the last two or so days, but throwing caution to the wind, or rather, deciding that we were sick and tired of sweating like it was going out of style, we took a chance and went off to the pool.

Now, the base policy that I have been handed personally when signing Kid up for swimming lessons states that the pool is to be evacuated if lightning is seen w/in a ten mile radius of the area. Lightning. Seen. This I can understand. This has been the common sense rule since I was a kid living on the lake and in a fishing community. So, I was a little taken aback when the tiniest rumble was heard today (there were so many helios and jets flying around that I am still not convinced that anyone heard anything) and the lifeguards immediately blew all of their whistles and made everyone get out of the pool. We had just settled in and were applying The Kid’s SPF 70 when this went down, so The Guy asked a man who was directing a group of teens out of the deep end if he could come over and answer a question.

He asked the khaki-clad white man why they had evac-ed the pool, and he said because of thunder. I looked up at him from my chair , shielding my eyes from the sun, and explained my confusion, because of the base policy on lightning that I had read. He said to me “Yes, and what causes lighting?” in a very “you must be in kindergarten and have never heard of this thing we call science” voice. “Thunder!” he said w/o giving me a chance to answer and walked away as if I was too much of a drop-out to know the answer. I get this a lot. Young mom of enlisted husband with child older than kindergarten equals uneducated woman whose only qualifications are vacuuming (and way too stupid to home school, lest I get too full of myself). I’ve seen that face. I also get it online when I reveal that I grew up on a reservation or when I admit to being disabled. I get people chasing me down on my very own blog in comments treating me this way. It is not a new sentiment.

Sure, basically he was right (let’s forget that whole thing about charged ions and the speed of sound and light and that given that we didn’t actually see the damned lightning he was still wrong…), but being right did not give him the right to talk down to me. What I was asking for was a clarification of the base and pool policy. If someone had simply said “yes ma’am, well the pool’s policy is that if we hear the tiniest rumble or anything we think might be a rumble or if your stomach growls too loudly then we pretty much make all swimmers get out for thirty minutes or until we ascertain that there is in fact no threat of actual lightning”, then perhaps that would have been just fine.

But, no. This guy had to mansplain to me as if I had never taken a high school science course with a text book written later than Ancient Greece. Or perhaps it is because we are not white (even though I am oft read that way, but The Guy is VERY much not). Or whatever his reasoning, this dude just decided that my question was not worth a courteous response.

I sat there, stunned. Did that happen? The Guy told me it was no big deal.


But it ate at me.

I wanted to go and ask this guy who he thought he was that he could talk to me like that when I was asking him a question, or better yet who he thought I was that he could talk to me like that and tell him how wrong he was. It made me think back to Chally’s post from the other day, about the way that her teacher spoke to her, and the way the department head immediately sided with that teacher, and how I wished in this moment that I had a fraction of that courage. I wanted to stand up strong and not be quietly marginalized by someone who decided I was less-than. Because that is sure how he made me feel in the three seconds he wasted on me.

But I was not raised that way.

I was raised to not make a fuss. I was raised to just let it go if no one (other than me) was hurt. I was raised to be more polite than that and be respectful of anyone with perceived authority, so much so that it has taken me several years to realize that “Fuck that, I have equal footing here”, because this man does not actually have the authority to dismiss me. Not just because he decides I do not deserve the time of day.

It took me a long time to realize that I am a parent too, I am an adult too, and other parents and adults don’t get to dictate what my actions should be. If I am abiding by rules and not harming anyone, I get to dictate my actions and have a say in what happens too.

I deserve to have misunderstandings cleared up.

I deserve to have base policies made clear to me so that I understand them and can abide by them

I deserve to be treated in a respectful manner, especially when my family and I are leading with respectful behavior.

I wish I had the courage to stand up and demand to be treated the way I know I deserve to be treated. I am working on it. I can recognize it now, so I guess that is a step.

But knowing and doing something about it are seldom the same thing.


They don’t go away…

I had a high school bully. He followed me around, yelled things at me, made lewd comments about me and what my then-boyfriend were or were not doing, threw things in my hair, and made my life kind of a living hell for quite some time of my Senior year of high school. To add insult to injury, I was, of course, a Senior and he was a Freshman, so I was additionally humiliated. I attempted to ignore him, because I had been long taught that if someone is bothering you a la your little brother then you should just ignore them and they would go away. This idea did not work with my little brother, and it didn’t work with Andrew, my high school bully, either*.

I did, of course, tell people. The lunch monitor in our cafeteria, who only had to see him flash his charm, and then I was the one who got the talking to for swearing at him when I would finally break under the stress, or told to, of course, ignore him, or to move tables, ignoring the fact that I had sat at that table for quite some time before he settled in to start bothering me. I told several teachers, and eventually the principal. The principal decided the best course of action was to pull us both in his office and talk to us, and I am certain it was necessary to bring up Andrew’s father’s golf game or whatever relevant nicety was offered to him. Me, I had no local businessman father to smchooze with the principal, so I didn’t stand a chance. With a smirk and a wink I kid-you-not Andrew was told to knock it off, and we were let go, and not two feet outside the principal’s door I was told that I was “in for it now”.

The last day of school for Senior’s couldn’t arrive fast enough, and I dreaded that cafeteria every day. The set of emotional issues that I was harboring in my childhood weren’t helped by the fact that Andrew had set his sights on me for whatever reason. Before he decided that I, and my then boyfriend who bore a lot of the abuse as well, was a viable target for his bile and vitriol I didn’t know who he was, other than the twin of a girl who played in the marching band with me.

Much like Phoebe Prince, and others like her that we have read and heard about this year, the people whom I begged for help and then gave up on, knowing they would do nothing, did exactly that. Nothing. The last day of school for Seniors rolled around and I kissed my school and most of my town good-bye. Were that I could have done some things better or more nicely, but a lot of years of therapy later and I know that I just had too much baggage from too many layers of abuse and disappointment that I was hauling around with me.

And sadly today things don’t fare much better for our children in schools. But even more surprising to me, is that those of us working in social justice is that things are hardly better online. Internet bullying is hardly a concept that is new to any of our eyes and ears. Many of us are familiar with the concept of the internet stalker, and at this time when Facebook is under criticism for its horrendous disregard for user privacy the thought of internet bullying is even more worrisome.

But heartbreaking to me is the way that we as social justice advocates are willing to stand around and allow this to happen to each other. I am not even talking about how big sites, like Feministing allow their writers and commenters to disenfranchise and abuse marginalized voices. I am talking about how people will sharply criticize in dishonest ways, and then stand in faux surprise when their critiques are taken to task. To the point that they become down right condescending, and don’t even bother to mask their insults. Or, how people offer intentionally dishonest criticisms of others in an effort to further personal agendas against someone again, and again, and again to the point that some of those people have not had to shut their blogs, or as in the case of my friend s.e. smith, close it to comments in order to avoid the constant abuse.

Bullying is real. It is hurtful. It is awful. It kills people. Let me repeat that. IT KILLS PEOPLE. And if I may use the recent vocab lesson that I so graciously received to my drug addled brain from Feminist Review recently (no, I am not linking there, if they thought Google was enough to go on, then so do I) as a jumping point, I will offer that if in fact more feminists or social justice activists, not just those speaking from the marginalized “contingent”** spoke up then I think that people might feel disinclined to abuse and bully us as often. I think that we were less tolerant to allow the bullshit we see happening to these marginalized voices when we are able to step in and say something then maybe we wouldn’t find the loss of spaces where marginalized voices are centered, because contrary to some self-important opinion not all safe spaces are echo chambers. Spaces that advocate for the listening to of the voices oft ignored are not in fact circle jerks. They are rather an attempt to bring to light the voice that is lost in that atta-boy pat you on the back meeting between that high school principal who plays golf with your abuser’s father. You needn’t be worried about centering the voices of people who might possible be racist or transphobic or homobigoted or ableist because the net is completely full of that voice. If you are actually interested in this discourse that everyone is crying so loudly about then how about S-ing TFU and L-ing to the voices that everyone keeps trampling over? Huh?

But not everyone can safely speak up in these spaces, because obviously it has repercussions. My high school bully found his second wind after I went to the principal, and believe me I never tried anything so foolish ever again. When people tried to tell me there must surely be two sides to that story, I can assure you there was not. I never knew Andrew before the first time he cat called me and told everyone at his lunch table that I was giving my boyfriend blow jobs in my car. Sometimes to speak up is to set yourself up for more abuse. Like Anna said, ignoring it doesn’t work. Launching the contingent isn’t ideal (even when that isn’t what we are doing), because that will inevitably cause us our own personal backlashes, so what do we do now?

Some of the best learning experiences and most meaningful friendships I have found in a long time have sprouted out of places like Shakesville and FWD, safe spaces, those so-called echo chambers. FWD/Forward has been one of the most positive experiences of my online life. What people don’t see are the things that happen behind the scenes (and admittedly due to my 13 hours of time zone difference I don’t see a lot of it) and a lot of that is the bullying that takes place, the shit storm of people who are all up in arms over our attempt to make it a safe space, not only for the community there but for us as well. No space is ever entirely safe, and people will never be fully pleased with the results. Those people have become as important to me as any real life friend I have ever made, as some of you who read my blog and have formed similar friendships with me know, Bloglandia friendships have a way of being just as important as Meat World friendships, and then some. I am fiercely loyal to them, my co-contributors. To hurt them is to hurt me. I will not tolerate people who openly bully or hurt them. I will not participate in work with you if you foster an unsafe space with a bully to them. If you hurt them, do not come to me for harbor.

*No, as a matter of fact I don’t feel the slightest bit bad for using his real name. This kid made my life a living hell. I was AFRAID to go to lunch. School bullying is A REAL THING. It isn’t just “kids pick on kids”. It hurts. It causes real pain with real scars that takes real time get over. Ass wipes who feel no remorse over causing that pain for shits and giggles do not deserve pseudonymous privilege at my blog. I might reconsider if the jerk seeks me out and apologizes after all these years. I am easy to Google, as I can see by the hate Google hits I get to my blog.

**I would like to note, as lauredhel pointed out, that at the same time the “Evelyn/Evelyn” review went up at FR, Mandy contacted some of the FWD/Forward staff about providing content for FR, ensuring that many of us would see that review. Her position that we engaged in some kind of “organized brigade” is dishonest at best. I also have heard that other contributors to FR have received final versions of their pieces from editorial staff before it was published, so Natalie’s claim that “I didn’t know those links were there” is disingenuous, I believe. Apparently they don’t need the readers or the writers having “over 150 contributors”. The whole gig seems suspect to me. At this point with all the shit sandwiches being handed out I don’t know if anyone over there can be believed or if I am about to be handed a smallpox blanket if I comment again.

Those Who Yell the Loudest…

A while back I was having a talk w/ The Guy.

See, there were some related things that coincided with this little thing that happened where this celebrity you might have heard of, Amanda Palmer, together with her partner created this project, Evelyn Evelyn, and my co-blogger at FWD/Forward, Annaham wrote about the problematic issues involved.

There was a wee bit of fallout.

Then, Amanda Palmer, because she is a celebrity, and sometimes celebrities, who aren’t bloggers, and who get big platforms due to their fame and getting paid for their work and stuff, was invited to appear on this Australian talk show. If I was a big celebrity like Amanda Palmer and not a blogger I would probably talk about my upcoming projects and plug my tours or talk about my fabulous engagement to my super cool fiancee who writes charming children’s books…or maybe pick a cause that is important to me (in interviews, Daniel Radcliff likes to talk about Gay Rights, because he is totes awesome), because sometimes celebrities can be thoughtful and deep and think about the nuances of social justice or something important with their spot in front of millions of viewers.

But instead, Amanda Palmer thought this would be the time to talk about how MEEN that little blogger was (well those bloggers, b/c she couldn’t be arsed to remember any one blogger’s silly name), the one who wrote the big nasty blog post about her SOOPER COOL project, and then have a good laugh with the other folks on the show…oh and make fun of the same feminists who rallied behind her when her record label was being a bunch of arseholes.

Instead of just going about her day and promoting her (albeit deeply problematic new work), she chose to pick on a blogger, someone who put thoughtful work and time evaluating the problematic themes of a piece of work Amanda Palmer was working on and didn’t get paid for it. She laughed at her on national television. Pretty cool, Amanda Palmer.

And I asked The Guy: Why do people who hate/dislike/are annoyed by “little” people so much continue to follow them, read them, watch what they are doing, or apparently even talk about them on TV? Why don’t they just ignore us if we are so insignificant and irritating? He hugged me tightly and said “Because the people who yell the loudest have the most buried within them and are the most guilty”.

Damn it I really love him.

But it didn’t stop there!


Now Amanda Palmer hates on Lady Gaga, and at least this time she isn’t picking on a disabled feminist blogger who doesn’t get paid for her work (but really, no one should be bullied, b/c bullies are jerks), but instead she thinks that Lady Gaga is a sell out. Or, not ironic enough, ya know, like the Klan.

Cuz that is some funny shit right there…y’all will excuse me if I don’t laugh. But just in case you don’t get it, she understands.

See, not liking someone’s taste or style is one thing…like people who don’t like That Coffee Company’s lattes and think it is a crime against humanity to put steamed milk and flavored syrup into coffee (I can take it both ways), but when you start telling someone that their taste in such thing is wrong or just R-O-N-G, then you really need to step back and self examine why it is that it is so important to pull that woman’s feminist cred b/c she has an affinity for M.A.C cosmetics or pictures of D&G shoes…wev. You are perfectly entitled to hate Lady Gaga’s music or find it catchy or think she is the worst thing to happen to pop music since Aqua (Shut Up! I am going to go DL some Barbie Girl RIGHT NAO!), but why does it have to be a judgment on humanity? Also, I don’t think I have seen a celebrity lash out at another so vehemently before…(unless you are Eminem, but that is kind of his schtick…). Don’t you have better things to do?

It seems that the people who yell the loudest…the ones who insist that people are doing things that they haven’t done, the ones who use a position of power to inflict hurt, abuse, or otherwish ass hattish behaviour on to other people, especially vulnerable people (like Annaham), or who would rally their allies around them as if a personal distaste for something makes a certain pop star (who might possibly have more current success) inherently evil, and that making judgments about that pop star’s appearance WHEN YOU BUILT YOUR FEMINIST CRED ON HOW IT WASN’T FUCKING COOL TO DO THAT REMEMBER THE REBELLYON!!!1!ELEVENTY really have some things they should examine…

Like some unfuckingchecked privilege.

Further reading, with a trigger warning for very graphic images, but I think the point is made.

And also.

Your Infinite Wisdom

While I was experiencing some technical difficulties I got a most interesting comment in my mod queue for this post. My first inclination was to delete it, but instead I decided that I would write a post about it, because there are some points about it that need to be addressed.

Also, it should stand as a warning, that anything sent to me could be potential mockery fodder, as per my comment policy.

This problem is only with Whites…We see this in the Black community. Blacks passing for White??? Ugggg, they are white. We don’t have Chinese passing for White? Filipino’s passing for White. Wherever White people land their boates, they convert their ethnic background. You look White because this is 90% of your genes. Did you ever see a Native American? One close to full blood. Sorry, you don’t resemble one. They are not even close to European looking. Their features are related to Asian. You look European and this is what you mostly are, get over it. people closely mixed with Native American, are the most exotic least looking Whites I’ve seen.

Oh, so many things to say. I swear there are people all over Bloglandia crying “BINGO!” as I type. I can’t possibly address everything…but I will take a few points down.

The first thing I have to say: The only person who gets to choose a person’s racial identity is that person. There is no way for a person outside of a body to know their story, their background. The stereotypes with which people base their assumptions of what a particular racial group should look like are not the only defining factors that make a racial group. Race is made of so many components. History, blood, family…it doesn’t come from a passer-by shouting your identity at you.

The only point that is true in the screed is this: Wherever White people land their boates, they convert their ethnic background.

The systematic whitewashing of indigenous people has been responsible for practically demolishing their cultures and histories. We who try to grasp on to it are within our rights to hold on dearly to that which was violently torn from our ancestors. Your insistence that we assimilate into that which was forced upon us is not going to change us. I suppose the next time I go home to the tribe I grew up with I will just tell them all to give up? That we can just forget about holding on to any of our past because you said we just need to accept that we aren’t Native enough for you?

Did you ever see a Native American? One close to full blood.

Did you know that people are different? Did you know that there are hundreds of indigenous tribes in the U.S. and Canada alone? There may just be a slight variance in how those people look, first stereotypically according to your preconceived notions, and second due to years of systematic whitewashing, cultural decimation, and societal change. People from Northern tribes will look very different from people from Southern tribes for many reasons. I hate to rip your world asunder, but human beings have variations in them. We aren’t all copied from coloring books. Close to full blood is rare today. It is estimated that about eight in ten indigenous people in the U.S. alone is of mixed blood because of colonization. Wherever White people landed their boats they decided that they had to save us savages by intermarrying with us to make our children whiter. The lighter the better, right?

You look White because this is 90% of your genes.

You are wrong, and you could not possibly know this. Why? Because you are not me, nor are you my family. Plus, your maths are absurd. How can I be 90% of anything? It boggles me, truly. I will not and should not have to prove my racial identity to anyone. It is mine and mine alone. The only person who gets to label me is me.

You base all of this on one photograph. Good for you, being so awesome that you can gather all of that infinite wisdom from a quick glance. I wish I had your powers of intuition.

Excuse me now while I go weep at not being exotic looking enough for one drive-by commenter.

The Space Between…

Jennifer Hawkins, a white, blonde, thin woman, nude on the cover of Marie Claire magazine.The policing of other women’s bodies is never OK from a feminist standpoint. I can’t stress that point enough. It doesn’t serve any productive purpose in feminist discourse.

It is mostly an understood concept among people outside of the mainstream of feminism. Those who are able to work their theory around the concepts of white, straight, cis, upper-middle class, educated, able-bodied privilege.

Yet, a concept that still slips into the space between understanding is the difference between criticizing someone who comes from a place of thin privilege and tearing someone down for a body that is not like your own.

This article at Bitch, to me, was the latter.

It doesn’t seem like so long ago that I was a size 0. And yet, looking at myself now it feels so far away. That is something I am coming to grips with even today. But my mind remembers it all so well. How can nothing be something? And even at nothing I felt all my flaws. I covered in my towel so I didn’t have to glimpse myself in the mirror and be disgusted by what I saw. I still do that now! I refused to own a scale, afraid of what I would see (I still do that now!)…because it would send me into fits of fear and rage and crying…because no matter how much I threw up and refused to eat I could not weigh what all the charts said someone of my height and weight should…and my thighs jiggled and my belly bulged and my arms — while muscular from kitchen work — wiggled. Even though I was actually nothing. My clothing size was nothing.[1]

Jennifer Hawkins has thin privilege. Yes. She most certainly does. But when I was struggling I had two kinds of people to look at in magazines and on television: overly photoshopped women who were too perfect, and purposefully imperfect women meant to make me hate myself so that I would work to not be like them. There was no campaign of women of any size coming out to say “we are imperfect, but here we are“.

I will grant this: The Bitch piece does criticize the way that Jennifer Hawkins’ flaws have been the main focus of her nude cover. That is not the conversation that this cover should be invoking in feminist circles. But if she is talking about how hard this was for her, that is not something we should be criticizing. Dismissing her hesitancy, her own insecurities just because she is thin and has a different body type than someone else… that is not feminist either. When has it ever been OK for us to dismiss another woman’s experiences?

Why can’t we, as feminists, understand that?

She no longer has the protection of her Photoshop Deflector Shields, so she is in a vulnerable place, but her thin privilege doesn’t put her in the same place as all the fatties of the world who are crying in clothing stores because shirts are not made for their bodies. I get that. I think Kelsey Wallace at Bitch, for whom I just did a mostly lovely guest blogging stint w/ some of the FWD/Forward team, even gets that despite what I am garnering from her post.

Jennifer Hawkins is not the same as me. She does not know what it is like to walk into a doctor’s office and have hir assume that the pain or illness is caused by my weight before they know anything about me. She does not know the pain of the stares when I have trouble walking somewhere, as if it is definitely because I am a fattie. Or how clothes are made for people like her and not for me…or how society is made to make me feel like I am a big worthless pile of shit whose only chance at redemption is to adopt a “Lifestyle Change” for just sixty bucks a month or whatever.

But while we are throwing stones at Hawkins and scolding her for making us all feel like crap, let’s remember that she is entitled to feel like crap too. And other women who look like her, who aren’t models, who might feel like crap about themselves, they are allowed to feel that way too if they want too. Because some of them might be trying to recover or hold on or what the fuck ever. Maybe they are healthy, and have been told to Eat a Sandwich[2], as if it funny or hip, but they can’t gain weight or can’t eat that much for whatever reason.

Or, maybe we, women of any size, are allowed to love our bodies and just be fucking happy, no matter what, and these women on these covers should show us that at any size we can all be beautiful (and maybe we will see more variance soon…but I am a silly, idealistic girl[3]).

We can criticize thin privilege without policing other women’s bodies.

Just sayin’…

[1] Why are women’s sizes arbitrary numbers? Why can’t they be waist measurements? That would be more consistent?

[2] Yes. I linked to them. I want people to see how awful that thread is, and how flippantly and dismissively that is defended, even when it is pointed out to the mod to be harmful. As in, she doesn’t care that some people find it harmful.

[3] I can’t back this up. I am not.

My Congressmand Does Not, In Fact, Rock the Casbah

Yoshi, a green dragon like creature, falls to his demise as Mario, a white man dressed in red, bounces off of him to safety. The de-motivational poster reads "Betrayal. You traitorous swine."After almost a month of correspondence and petition signing, Congressman Stupak finally got around to having one of his aides respond to me. In fairness, this letter is fairly well tailored based on what I actually wrote, and yet, it is ridiculously condescending, and predictably skirting of anything that I said. Thanks for that.

It should also be noted, that my Congressman hates me. Yes. Me, specifically. He hates me as a Native Woman. There is no place for people like me in his world, because my health care needs won’t matter to him. Lest he forget, also, that there is a whole bunch of Michigan yet above the Mitten. “Northern Michigan” isn’t “above Traverse City”. There is a whole Peninsula left. It’s on the quarter and everything. HA!

So, Thanks for nothing, Mr. Stupak. Thanks for mansplaining that one. I’ll be sure to include this as the intro to your new Broadway show “Fuck You!: The Musical.

Letter after the jump. (more…)

I want to live in her fantasy world…

Only on Planet Couler (via Crooks & Liars, click over there to watch the video):

O’Reilly: But every problem wouldn’t go away. The one thing that I would like to see the federal government do is strict oversight on the insurance companies when they hose people. I mean, I don’t think they should be throwing you, Ann Coulter, off the rolls if, God forbid, you get MS or something.

Coulter: That will not happen. But Bill, that will not happen under competition. Look — [Crosstalk] — no, no, let me make this point. No it will not. The government was regulating, the SEC was closely watching Bernie Madoff. Government regulation doesn’t stop that sort of thing. What stops it is, people knowing you’re investing with this guy at your own risk, and then all these private organization develop. Competition is what enforces that.

O’Reilly: Yeah, well, I don’t believe that. I think competition can drive the prices down, but it cannot make an insurance company honest. Only a federal oversight committee that says if you don’t do it, we fine you.

Coulter: Yes it can. Yes it can. Otherwise, what about the SEC with Bernie Madoff?

O’Reilly: No, Bernie Madoff got away with it because the SEC, under a Republican, Christopher Cox, simply wouldn’t investigate him. That’s why he got away with it.

Coulter: That’s the government regulation! Why do you keep thinking a different regulator will be better? Government regulation does not solve these problems, competition does.

Because if I belonged to a health-insurance company that threw me off when I got sick, people would hear about it. There would be magazine articles. And I don’t mean to be me, I mean people —

I don’t suppose she’s heard of a Congressman named Bart Stupak?  Who deals w/ insurance companies doing this very thing to literally thousands of people every day?  She is either a moron or intentionally obtuse.

I want whatever she’s drinking.

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