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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 39,902

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

The Sign That This Dad Brought To A Gay Pride March Will Make You Believe In Better Tomorrows

According to gay rights group Satrang, the inspiring photo was originally taken during the annual Chennai Rainbow Pride march in 2012. The photo has experienced a viral resurgence this week, however, after it was posted on Reddit.

"Definition of unconditional love," one Redditor wrote in response to the inspiring picture.

"He is a brave man," wrote another.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights remain a controversial issue in India. Last year, the country's Supreme Court decided to reinstate colonial-era legislation that criminalizes gay sex, prompting human rights organizations to lament a major setback for gay rights in the country.

The law, which demands imprisonment for anyone who "voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature," has been used "repeatedly and damagingly" against members of India's LGBT community in the past, Columbia Law School professor Suzanne Goldberg said in a December blog post.

She added, however, that there seems to be a sea change of public opinion in the country regarding gay rights, with more LGBT individuals and allies being willing to make their voices heard.

"I believe this is a setback for democracy in India. But I also know that the Indian people, irrespective of their sexuality, are joining hands to protest this ruling," wrote writer and queer activist Prerna Lal in a blog post last year following the Indian Supreme Court ruling. "Sometimes, a defeat is vital and necessary for social change, and to ultimately pave the way to victory."

And with dads like the one in the picture above, it's hard to not harbor faith that love will eventually prevail.


Politician Explains Why Sodomy Is Causing AIDS Due to "Sperm Enzyme"

Fucking moron.

Bob Frey is a Republican running for the Minnesota House of Representatives, and he's worried about the economic cost of sodomy. He's not against gay people, mind you — the problem, he explained yesterday, has to do with the way sperm burns our anal cavities. Here's his theory.

It turns out that Frey has a longstanding theory that sperm extrude a "burning" enzyme that's only neutralized when the sperm meets an egg. When sperm are running around loose in somebody's anus, they burn everything and cause AIDS. According to Raw Story's David Edwards, Frey said:

It's more about sodomy than about pigeonholing a lifestyle. When you have egg and sperm that meet in conception, there's an enzyme in the front that burns through the egg. The enzyme burns through so the DNA can enter the egg ... [But when the] sperm is deposited anally ... it's the enzyme that causes the immune system to fail. That's why the term is AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
As a science fiction fan, I like this theory. But I feel like it needs to be fleshed out more. I'm curious about what happens to all the sperm that don't meet up with eggs during vaginal sex. Also, I would like to know whether swallowing sperm after oral sex causes ulcers.

It's actually possible that Frey learned about this theory from his son Mike, who offered this testimony against gay marriage last year.


It’s Time for White Feminists to Stop Talking About Solidarity and Start Acting

I wasn’t always a feminist, let alone one with intersectional awareness and a politicised pride in my Blackness. When I first dove hungrily into feminism, starved as I was of any meaningful understanding of my life, it was the work of radical feminists such as Andrea Dworkin and Germaine Greer that I devoured. I feasted on their anger for it spoke to me deeply but their messages didn’t nourish me. I choked on the poison of their narrow reflections. Where was the representation of my life as a Black, mixed-race lesbian? Where was I to find solace and solidarity and an understanding of my existence and the oppressions unique to my position at the intersection of woman, lesbian and Black?

The feminist community at large currently has a basic understanding of what intersectionality means, in no small part due to the internet and the rise of online feminist activism. However, only those of us who have known the fear of slipping through the cracks can properly articulate the relief that this theory holds. When I was younger and coming to terms with my sexuality I was convinced that I couldn’t be gay. I thought that lesbianism was a white woman’s game. I didn’t know of any Black lesbians; Audre had not yet become my Lorde. Intersectionality gives us the framework to understand the multiplicity of lived experience. It gave me insight into why my womanhood felt so different from that of my white friends and allowed me to understand the implications of being the Other on a structural level. I was able to understand that maybe some of my experiences hadn’t been shaped wholly by my actions but by forces of hierarchy way outside of my control.

What does it mean to me, a permanently angry brown dyke, when mainstream feminism fights for the right to be ‘sexy’ and unthreatening to men and urges us to quell our fury? It persuades us to be passive, pale dolls and to dress our struggle for liberation in quiet positivity, suspenders and sex tips. Black women, such as myself, don’t have the luxury of the pacifism and politeness found in today’s white feminism. We must use violence, both physically and in the vehemence of our words, because we are more desperate.

This study, referenced in a previous Autostraddle article about compulsory heterosexuality and street harassment, shows that people of colour are over 10% more likely to face physical harassment in public than white citizens. This is true of my experiences. As I waited in line at a shop the other day, the man in front of me turned around and started talking to me. When I didn’t respond in a suitably enthusiastic manner, he reached out and grabbed my breast without shame. I hit his hand away, seething with rage at his audacity. Other examples include the numerous times men at my local LGBT club have grabbed my ass, my afro, my waist, which forced me to get into physical altercations to get them off me, to defend myself from the fear that creeps in when a stranger violates the bounds of my personal space.


The Surest Way to Make a Woman Angry at Work? Call Her This

Emotional. This term raised quite a debate during my recent Women's Leadership course at the Hult International Business School and it was one of the five brave men who took the class who brought it up. "It is a given women are more emotional than men," one of the students remarked. "Why can't we talk about women being emotional?" asked another well-intentioned student. I could immediately see the women in the room bristle, wince, sit up straighter in their chairs in annoyance and defiance. Before we went into the issue of women and emotions, I instead asked the men to share their reactions when a women shows emotion.

The Male Flight, Fix, and Fight Response

The universal responses, that I've heard numerous times in executive seminars as well, fell into three well known categories: Flight, Fix, and Fight. This was evident when one female student teared up during a particularly intense and personal exercise the session before. The female students nearby immediately offered tissues, asked if she was okay during the break and offered their support. The male students, many of whom were seated just behind her went stoic and all fled the scene during the break not wanting to engage.

The female student rightly brought this issue up in the context of our discussion on emotion and asked, "Why didn't one of you ask if I was okay or offer any gesture of kindness or support? This I would expect from a group of men who are seemingly more in tune with women's issues given that you chose to take this course."

The men shared that when a woman becomes emotional in their presence their first instinct is to flee. They believe that women are irrational when they are emotional. Best to get out of the way, let the storm pass. And if they must engage then their next instinct is to try and fix the issue which more often than not gets them into further trouble. "We can't win," one male student responded, "You don't want us to leave when you're upset and you don't want us to fix the issue that created distress -- even if we have the solution -- so what do you expect from us?"

Here I had to stop the conversation and correct a massive misperception that permeates the workplace. Experts in Gender Intelligence and those who have studied the differences between the male and female brain argue that women are just as rational when they are emotional. As Barbara Annis, the pioneer in Gender Intelligence shared in a recent post, "Actually, women are oftentimes more capable than men are of experiencing strong emotions and thinking rationally at the same time.


So my daughter just had her daughter

A couple of hours ago. She uses midwives-- this is her first girl, fourth and last child.

So I was bemused at all the changes. I had my daughter ay 17, she had my oldest grandson at 19, so I've been a grandmother since my mid thirties. For my oldest grandchild, I was her couch, she lay prone, and I helped her through her contractions, helped her through the birth, was her coach counting.

Tonight, she lays on her knees, with her upper body elevated. Earlier she had able to deal the pain by walking, pacing really. She refuses drugs. They put her in the jacuzzi bath, and shortly after she can feel the baby trying to come, and she can no longer hold back pushing (her last check she had only been dilated 5cm)

So there she is, in the position she found most comfortable--NOT on her back pushing outward, but letting gravity assist her. No counting, just gentle encouragement and advice from the midwife and the nurse. Her husband is there, rubbing her back, mostly silent support, I'm there just with my hands on her back, quieter as well (I did whisper "she has hair" when the baby was crowning)

Anyway, when the baby came out and as they were cleaning her, before "cutting the cord" they hand the baby to my daughter. She's cleaned up and my daughters husband does the cord thing.

Once the placenta has passed and everybody is cleaned up-- the baby is put to her breast, and with a little encouragement latches on.

No more fuss than nessisary, just a peaceful albeit painful, birth.

So I found this article by a midwife

26 Ways to Change Birth Globally
by Sara Wickham, RM [Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 53 (Spring 2000), page 28.]

This action list of small things all midwives can do to change societal attitudes toward birth and to promote midwifery and the midwifery model was derived from some research I carried out a few years ago. All the suggestions are either free or very low cost, and none will take too much time or effort. Some things on the list won't be new ideas to you, but they might act as a gentle reminder that simple, everyday things might have a positive impact on the way our society sees birth and midwifery. No. 26 wasn't on my original list but was a suggestion that Judy Edmunds offered and is something she does herself. Thanks, Judy!

If you are interested in why they work, here is a brief lowdown of some of the main factors involved:

The more people are exposed to hearing about midwifery and gentle birth, the more it will become a norm for them.
Attitudes are formed in childhood; therefore, we need to ensure that children are exposed to these ideas at an early stage.
Experience is an important part in attitude change—if you can encourage people to experience something for themselves, it is much more powerful than telling them about it.
People are more likely to listen to those who appear to understand and sympathise with the other side of the argument. Appearing to be unbiased means you will appear more credible than if you come across as feeling very passionate about your cause (even though the majority of us do feel this way).
Talking to people who support birthing women (partners, grandparents) is just as important as talking to women themselves, because these are the people who influence women's decisions.
Reflecting on past decisions and their outcomes helps us think more logically about why a situation might have happened and discourages us from making (possibly incorrect) assumptions.


3 Women of Color to Lead the NEA, the Largest U.S. Labor Organization

Beginning on September 1, 2014, Lily Eskelsen García, Rebecca S. “Becky” Pringle, and Princess Moss will serve as president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer, respectively, of the nearly three million-member union.

Esklesen García is a former Utah Teacher of the Year. She began her career as a lunch lady, then became a primary teacher who worked with homeless children. She moves into the NEA president’s seat after serving two three-year terms as vice president, and becomes the most senior Latina in the nation’s labor movement.

Pringle, a science teacher who taught in a Harrisburg, PA area district, will rank second among the NEA leadership. She has 30 years of experience, and becomes one of the highest-ranking African-American female leaders in organized labor. (Learn more about her from the NEA's post-election profile of her.)

Princess Moss of Louisa County, Virginia will succeed Pringle as NEA secretary-treasurer after winning a competitive race for the open seat. Moss previously served two three-year terms on NEA’s Executive Committee, among other union roles. With more than 20 years in the classroom as an elementary school music teacher, she adamantly believes in the value and role of music, fine arts, and physical education. Moss used a campaign website and Facebook, among other tools, to gain an edge for her win.


5 Simple Ways Men Can Better Respect Women

I’m noticing a trend lately — over the past couple of years especially — where we feminists really want to get dudes on board.

“Come on, guys,” we’re collectively calling. “It’s time to get your shit together.”

Based on the countless outlets and publications I’ve seen boasting headlines along the lines of “10 Really Awesome Feminist Guys You Should Follow on Twitter” and “20 Ways to Be a Super Cool Feminist Man,” I get the impression that we’re fed up with the microaggressions committed against us on the daily and want to show how fun being on the right side of social change can be.

And all right. I’m into it.

But I’m a little concerned about how inaccessible a lot of these pieces tend to be.

Because they’re either sarcastic – and I love me some sarcasm; I just don’t think it’s the best educational tool – or they’re larger than life, exploring big-name activists with a lot of social capital who don’t really need more exposure in the first place. I’m pretty sure no Average Joe is going to read about change makers like Jackson Katz or Ta-Nehisi Coates and go, “Oh yeah. I can do that.”

When we favor covering the sensational work that feminist men are doing out there, I think we’re accidentally skipping over the “every man” and the simple, seemingly mundane ways that sexism creeps into our everyday lives.

So here’s a short introduction, guys.

Here are five simple things you should probably stop doing if you want to show that you have respect for women and actually see them as your equals.

More: http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/07/5-ways-men-can-respect-women/

Punching Gloria Steinem: inside the bizarre world of anti-feminist women

(I'm bringing this up for awareness, just in case these women are used as reference to make some kind of point. Like Men's Rights Activists, they seem more pathetic than powerful, but as the backlash against feminism continues, especially as more and more young women and women from developing nations embrace it, it's good to know who the idiots behind the backlash are.)

Obviously "women" aren't a monolith, and neither are the issues that they care about or believe in. But anti-feminist organizing is based on a deep hypocrisy and selfishness - an ideology built to assure conservative women that as long as they are doing just fine, other women will make due. And they're putting up roadblocks to progress right in the middle of a renewed feminist awakening, with retrograde sexism that's ultimately not too different than that of their male counterparts.

Last week, for example, the US supreme court's Hobby Lobby decision left most women's groups livid. Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, called it "a shocking disregard for women's health and lives." The co-president of the National Women's Law Center, Marcia Greenberger, said the ruling gave companies "a license to harm their female employees in the name of religion."

But the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) - a conservative women's group with at least a quarter-million dollars in financial ties to Rush Limbaugh - called the decision "undoubtedly good news". The group's director of cultural programs, Charlotte Hays, told a crowd outside the court, "This is a great day," and called the ruling a victory "for anyone who believes in freedom of conscience." This from the same woman who has written that women shouldn't be astronauts and that rape culture on college campuses is all "inflated numbers" and "hysteria".

This latest crop of female anti-feminists - powerful, Washington-based organizations like IWF and Concerned Women for America - want to repeal the Violence Against Women Act and argue that pay inequity doesn't exist. These organizations, along with a handful of popular writers and authors, want to convince women that it's men who are the underserved sex. They want to convince you that inequality is just a trade-off.

And as much as feminists are accused of obsessing over women's sexuality - as if by putting so much effort into abortion and birth control, we're reducing women's issues to those below the belt - it is the well-funded, poorly researched anti-feminists who can't seem to get their minds off sex.


Robin Thicke's Paula Is One of the Creepiest Albums Ever Made

Ok, well we told you so, apparently it's worse than we thought if even "The Atlantic" is speaking of this man utter and complete creepiness

As art goes, Robin Thicke's Paula is less Marvin Gaye's Here, My Dear and more the musical equivalent of a Facebook friend who refuses to stop overdoing it on tequila slammers and ranting about the demise of their relationship. It's messy, it's generally grammatically incoherent, it's humiliating for everyone involved. You can’t help but feel for the eponymous Paula (Patton, the actress), Thicke's wife, who's kept an inordinately graceful silence throughout their separation while Thicke's been prostrating himself onstage, sending greenhouses full of flowers, and writing songs that are imaginatively titled "Get Her Back" and "Love Can Grow Back."

As exercises in ostentatious narcissism go, Paula is less Ozymandias and more an overindulgent interview with Oprah, one in which Thicke goes on and on and on about his needs and his desires and his flaws and his blissful memories of drinking wine in the park and being happy without once considering the fact that Patton might not want her marriage dissected over the course of 14 incongruously jaunty songs, or might not particularly enjoy Thicke describing to the world how he likes to remember "your legs on my walls, your body on the ceiling." Although he gives voice to Patton on the record by having backup singers screech lyrics like "I kept trying to tell you you were pushing me too far," she's otherwise an entirely abstract construct around which he winds his sticky strands of mortification. "I was in chains in the rain, lost my soul, now you know," he sings on "Still Madly Crazy," a song that has the Disneyish piano riffs (if not the subtlety and emotional nuance) of a musical theater ballad. "I'm so sorry you had to suffer my lack of self-control. You'd think by now I might have grown."

You'd think.

Thicke, 37 years old and a father, has apparently no compunction about blurting out an endless stream of angsty self-obsession on his newest record, chased with occasional odes to his prowess as a seducer of women. "You're way too young to dance like that in front of a man like me babe," he sings primly in the oddly titled "Love Can Grow Back," before abruptly giving in to whoever's trying to have sex with him. "You know cigarettes are bad for you baby—so am I … With your new nails on your back you'll be scratching my, scratching my itch." (Love might grow back, but sexy fingernails have to be purchased.)

Here's the backstory in miniature of the origins of Paula, for those who might have missed it: The singer, once a geeky, long-haired, Beethoven-sampling bicycle courier, had the biggest hit of his career with 2013’s uber-viral "Blurred Lines," a song that either celebrated women or defined rape culture, depending on your point of view. In the video, a fully clothed Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. smirked at the camera while three naked models draped themselves artfully over the set; Thicke later proclaimed loudly to the scandalized masses that his wife approved. He also insisted she was supportive when a bikini-clad Miley Cyrus gave him a lap dance during the MTV Video Music Awards, but Paula presumably was less appreciative when a photo emerged showing her husband in a nightclub groping a blonde socialite. Ever the gentleman, he appears to allude to this moment in the song "Something Bad" when he croons the cumbersome line, "Bird flew in my window, took a picture, and left with a naughty tweet."


Ew. Ew, ew ew.

The Ways the Scalzi Women Are Better Than Me: An Incomplete List

Last week, as part of my general “try to lose weight and get a little healthier because you’re middle-aged now and you don’t want to die” thing, I started going to the local YMCA to use its weight room and indoor track, with my daughter as my workout partner. She’s been on the powerlifting team at her school for the last three years, so she’s knowledgeable about the weights in a way I am not, and is thus a good person with whom to work out. At the end of our first session, I tweeted the following:

Let it be known that my daughter can lift more than I do. Because she's on her school's weightlifting team, and also because she's awesome.
1:58 PM - 30 Jun 2014

This naturally aroused the derision of the hooting pack of status-anxious dudebros who let me live rent-free in their brains, prompting a predictable slew of tweets and blog posts about how this is further proof of my girly-man status, hardly a man at all, dude do you even lift, and so on. I noted this to my daughter.

John Scalzi ✔ @scalzi
ME: Some dudes online are making fun of me because you lift more than I can.
DAUGHTER: That's because they're pathetic losers, dad.
8:58 AM - 1 Jul 2014
32 RETWEETS 156 FAVORITES ReplyRetweetFavorite

Should it be a surprise that my daughter, who has been on a powerlifting team for three years and has taken medals at competition, can lift more than I, who has not seen the inside of a weight room since high school? I don’t think so; I think it would be mildly surprising if she couldn’t. She has training and endurance that I don’t. It’s also equally possible that even if she had not had her previous training, if we had gone into that weight room, she still might have been able to lift more than me. I would have been fine with that. If I keep at it, over time it’s possible I’ll lift more than she can. It’s also possible, however, that I won’t.

And if I never lift more than my daughter? Well, and if that happens, so what? One, I’m not sure why I should feel threatened or belittled by my daughter’s abilities of any sort. Call me nutty, but I want my daughter to be accomplished and capable, and even more accomplished and capable than me, whenever that’s possible. It’s a parent thing. Two, I’m not using the weight room to express my manliness, or as a zero-sum crucible to measure my personal worthiness against other human beings, because that seems, I don’t know, kind of stupid to me. I’m using it because I want to be in better shape than I am now. I fail to see how collapsing into a testerical pile of insecurity over the fact my daughter can lift more than I can will help me with my actual goal of becoming more fit.


I love this man. I'm going to go buy his new Sci-Fi book.
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