stonesphinxes

Everyday Thoughtcrimes

Month: January, 2015

We’ll Keep You Safe

Even if you think you’re an adult with agency and responsibility, we know that you’re actually a shrinking violet of the frailer sex, who needs protection from the world and herself, says the National Panhellenic Conference to University of Virginia’s 2,000-odd sorority sisters:

At some U-Va. chapters in recent days, students described mandatory emergency meetings with representatives from their national chapter telling them they risked suspension, fines and other penalties if any of them attended bid night parties. Boys’ Bid Night is typically a night when sorority sisters go from house to house sharing drinks with friends.

Now some sororities are planning mandatory in-house retreats that night, to avoid any risk of  inadvertently violating the rule.

At some chapters, women were told not only to avoid going to fraternity parties on Boys’ Bid Night, but to avoid any social gathering with fraternity members

You are clearly not responsible for your own actions and choices, we must protect you from those awful boys.

You know, it would probably be best, since boys are so incredibly terrible and obviously not a one of them have any self control (Rolling Stone has proved that positive of course), that we set apart special “Women’s Safe Spaces” in restaurants and public spaces.  We could even put screens between the sections so that our brave sisters don’t have to endure the patriarchal male gaze.

You know, in fact, we should also institute an entirely new way of dressing that frees women from the aforementioned visual rape continuously perpetuated upon them by those dirty men, and rejects the shallow and misogynistic concepts of modern capitalism-centered beauty.

Take that, patriarchy.

You know, it’s really unsafe out there, and we can’t “blame the victim” by expecting women to learn and behave in ways that don’t directly place them in harm.  We really should have special bodyguards to make sure women don’t get themselves into any trouble.

But, you know, you really can’t trust those frat boys, steeped as they are in anti-woman rape-encouraging culture.  A woman should really have a male family member accompany her to any gathering where there will be a group of men.  She can even wear her new beauty-positive clothing as a statement!

Together, sisters, we’ll show them how strong modern women are!

Appropriation

Part of my personal development in the last several years has been to finally internalize that men like long hair.

Yes, they do.

Yeah, I know your best dude-friend and all your BFFs told you your pixie cut was adorbz.  They’re lying.

The truth is that your dude-friend can’t tell you otherwise because he knows all girls have a screeching harpy inside and he doesn’t know at what level your harpy containment facility is holding at, and this is “Does X make me look fat?” level harpy bait.  Your BFFs are just delighted that they’re now all cuter than you by default.

That’s SO cute on you!  No really!  Super flattering, keep doing it that way. Sound familiar?

There’s even been studies that suggest it doesn’t matter what your face looks like, as long as you’ve got that goddamn hair.

And trust me, this was really hard for me.  I was very resistant.  It took me realizing just how much outward attractiveness matters.  Which is a lot.  I’d grown up in a culture where I had it endlessly held forth to me that people who care about appearance are shallow and beauty came from the inside.

Didn’t really work out so much.

That’s pretty much me, but add a buzz cut, acne, and less social awareness.

Long hair is a pain.  It’s work.  You’ve got to start preparing when it’s only a few inches long.  You have to schedule showers and washing and make some serious product investments.  Say goodbye to the “high” setting on your hairdryer and hello to Mennonite ladies’ blogs.

I’m working on at least mermaid strategic-nudity length and potentially longer if I can manage it.

That’s about right.

My favorite thing these days is coconut oil.  Coconut oil on fucking everything.  Every.thing.  I soak my head in it for hours at a time and have enjoyed the amazing paradoxical effects.

If there are any ladies reading – Holy crap.  Do. It.

Also, only shampoo your roots and only condition the ends.

My favorite hair treatments are those marketed toward Indian women.  I follow their instructional videos on youtube, and, horror of horrors, I scope out the “ethnic” section of the hair care products.  I don’t really see how it’s my fault that they don’t market hair oil to pasty white euro-mutt women, but I’ve caught criticism for it.

Apparently I am “appropriating” Indian hair, and need to check my privilege.  Apparently women of color have worked long and hard to have access to their own section of hair products at Walmart, and I am not welcome on aisle 12.

As absurd as it sounds, I’ve been accused of having “white hair privilege” before.  Which makes me wonder what the advantage is to having hair genes that come from the same place that invented those dreadlock dogs and/or haggis and Nazis.  Half of it is wavy, the other half is curly in the opposite direction, it’s all very big if there’s a microliter of humidity, and there’s no cultural outreach to teach me how to do my hair.

Cultural appropriation is widely defined as:

Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.

So, uh, well, okay.  As I’m lacking in access to whatever cultural bureaucracy grants authorization to use another culture’s cuisine, I guess this will stand as an official apology for eating sashimi served by a Filipino and Korean chef team earlier this evening.  I was planning on making tikka masala later this week at home, but now I am confused and afraid.

I own a 1920’s kimono, which I am proud to say, only takes me 4 hours and one case of tennis elbow to put on.  I am working on some art that incorporates the imagery of Kachina dolls, because it’s beautiful and fascinating.  I first became aware of how Indian women do their hair when I lived next to a community of recently immigrated Indian folks, who also still wore saris daily.  I also think that saris are gorgeous and convenient for the climate, and would wear them myself if I knew how.

However:

the Orientalism that comes with donning saris, henna tattoos, and other Indian ornations, rub many people in both communities the wrong way

And:

An authentic cultural exchange should feel free and affirming, rather than plagiarizing or thieving.

So is it free and affirming for me to wear a sari that is appropriate for the weather conditions and buy the “ethnic” hair products that work really well for me, or is it insulting to the culture those things are intended for?  If I go to actual India and wear Indian clothes in India where everyone else is wearing them am I respecting or insulting the culture because somewhere before I was born someone of my skin color was a total bell end to Indians?

I suppose it depends on how butthurt you feel like being that day.

I grew up in a neighborhood where I carpooled with a Mexican immigrant family who didn’t speak English, my neighbor was a Dutch lady who conducted Tibetan Buddhist meditation ceremonies, and I went to Catholic Mass and Unitarian Universalist services on the regular.  My friends were Indian Indian, and Native American Indian + Italian hash, and  Mexican (of the native incorporated sort), and a whole bunch of other people whose defining characteristic was that they were able to overlook the mortal sin of my wearing puffy paint kitty sweater sets.

That’s actually the sweater. I had matching stirrup pants. My beard was never quite so lush though…

Are we supposed to be a melting pot here?  That’s what I always thought.

We learn from each other, and if one speaks pidgin Gaelic and Mandarin to get along in the world, so it shall be and we shall celebrate with potato pot stickers and soju car bombs.  And it will be good.  Especially after a couple soju car bombs, oh my yes.

Or are we all going to sit in our little tribes and demand that no one else can look at our super-secret special things?  Is everyone’s culture so fragile it can be entirely negated by a silly valley girl’s tasteless Halloween costume?

All said, I never expected to be getting dirty looks in the ethnic hair products aisle.

Edit: 01/25/15 – 8:20p

Just to illustrate, here’s a bunch of people yapping about cultural appropriation of “Chinatown Bags” by Stella McCartney’s clothing line.  Chinatown bags are apparently cheap, plaid, laminated cloth bags used for shopping in low-income immigrant districts of mostly Asian origin.  I guess.  All I got on the first two pages of Google were guide for buying fake Louis Vuitton in Chinatown, and shoes based on said unpictured bags.

This is problematic because we’re ignoring the Asian immigrant plight by incorporating these bags into hoighty-toighty Western fashion.

One trench of irony to leap though –  Plaid is Scottish.

Which was appropriated by Asians who needed cheap shopping bags.  Which then the English, via Stella McCartney, appropriated back.  But apparently it belongs to the lowest bidder.  Whomever wins that particular bracket of oppression Olympics.

Edit: 01/25/15 – 9:51p

My carriage returns disappeared.  I’m allowed to use those, they were invented in Cleveland.

Equal

Blech.

Not just something known to cause cancer in rats in the state of California.  (Though, are we aware of any substance and/or object that doesn’t cause cancer in the state of California?  The best risk management for cancer has to be moving away from California.)

This particular version causes grand revolutions, interpersonal spats, and great outbreaks of calvariam eksplodigi on our great campuses of higher learning.

I have been known to generate high torque from the PC crowd myself, when I state, without embarrassment or appropriate markers of shame, that men and women are NOT equal.

Now I’m not a neanderthal – I think that all human adults of majority age with adequate mental capacity should be able to vote, to own property, to pursue an education in whatever they prefer, and to get paid for their work what their work is more or less worth (not my fault though if you are incapable of negotiating, or feel the need to take sabbaticals to tour the NorthWestern Pacific ashram circuit every three years).

However, anyone who has ever spent a microsecond in a weightlifting gym is well aware that the sexes have some pretty wide gaps in at least physical ability.  Don’t believe me?  Take a set of guys and girls at the same level of total lack of physical fitness and have them train to do pull ups.

Instead of being a believer in egalitarianism, or meritocracy, or any other more sweeping ideals, which I find do not take into account how individual we generally all are, I believe in the The Standard.

The Standard is what any human needs to meet to do The Job.

For instance, if The Job is firefighting, The Standard will be that one needs to be able to sprint up 12 stories in 70 pounds of gear wearing a respirator, in the temperature equivalent of the African Savanna, and potentially haul a 200lb person back down those 12 stories with vigor.  These are the things that are necessary to properly do The Job.

If The Job is nuclear engineering, The Standard will be a high-level education in physics and/or medicine and the ingenuity to put such information into real-world practice.  Note there’s no corporeal requirement whatsoever.  A brain in a tank might meet The Standard, if they were capable of communicating coherently with their embodied compatriots.

If The Job is a public school administrator, The Standard will be that one requires a huge glutenous ass on which to rest comfortably at their red tape dispenser, the possession of at least 7 cats, and a healthy measure of disgust toward both children and those who actually work for a living.

You didn’t turn in your paperwork.

You’ll notice however, that there is no mention of gender, race, sexuality, religion, or any other defining characteristic of a particular individual other than their ability to meet The Standard.  A girl from the projects, a boy from an Appalachian town with a population of 12 and a GDP assessed entirely in dirt, and a transgender Bangladeshi trust fund baby can all do The Job if they meet The Standard.

Sometimes, however, The Standard will be difficult for a set of people to reach.  There may be few women, if any, who meet The Standard to become a firefighter.  Personally, I don’t care.

It is far more important to have The Job done in the way it needs to be done than anyone’s feelings about not being able to do The Job.

Who would I like to rescue me from burning building?  The affirmative-action chick who was allowed to test at a reduced gear weight and half the lifting ability so that the FD wouldn’t get screamed at by social justice warriors, or the huge dude who passed with flying colors, wearing a weight vest just for a little extra challenge?

When my ass is on fire, I’m taking the person who can do The Job.  Period.

I would also take the huge viking chick who wore a weight vest to her testing as well.  The operation here is “Carrying ass out of fire,” not “Being a female firefighter in a display of how anything you can do we can do better.”

Yeah, you’ll do.

The Standard also does not discriminate by poverty level or any other characteristic.  Yes it may be more difficult for little Hiram Skaggs from Dysentery Creek, NC to get into Harvard for that physics degree, but if everyone knows where the bar is set and the bar doesn’t involve your skin color or dangly bits, everyone gets to take their shot per their individual proclivities.

Ideally, if I ran the world, The Job wouldn’t even know it was Hiram Skaggs applying.  They would be reviewing the merits of Applicant 3467-15.

If all the accepted applicants end up being Samoan women, so be it.  If the Coalition of Transgender Vietnamese Speakers is upset about being underrepresented they should brush up on their physics.  Or get more cats.  Or otherwise look into getting their demographic to reach The Standard.

I want the best people for the position, not a happy demographic rainbow of people who are potentially incompetent but check the boxes.

That’s what makes us equal – Everyone gets their shot, everyone gets to fail in their own special way.

And Also Monsters

Trigger warning – Fox News link.

An Illinois mother is charged with attempted murder after attempting to poison her children and herself with anti-anxiety medication.

A commenter via Facebook objects:

Your story said a mother was arrested….may I point out that a mother wouldn’t try to kill her children, only a monster would.

And an additional protest from another:

No “human” would attempt to kill their own kids. The end.

This is an ignorant minimization of a real circumstance.  Humans kill their own children fairly regularly.  Mothers are also humans.  A “mother” is simply a female human who has borne a child (conventionally a living child).  One does not receive a “How to Be a Parent” handbook and a sainthood upon this occurrence.

Women who are shitty people with no coping skills prior to spawning are vastly likely to still be shitty people with no coping skills on the other side of the maternity ward.  Women who are mentally fragile before having children are not likely to have that occurrence improve with an infant to care for.  Same for fathers.  Who are, incidentally, also humans.

Infants and children under the age of 6 are the cohort more likely to be killed by their parents (72% of cases), with mothers and fathers about equally likely to be the killer.  Fathers are more likely to be the killers of older children, but only by about 7%.   Roughly 500 children a year are murdered by their parents in the US.

All humans, not monsters.

Making this distinction where someone who is a mother cannot do such a thing, or categorizing them as something other than a mother when bad things happen denies reality.

Here’s some additional interesting information from NCBI.

Hearts and Minds

I spent a great many years in Southern California, where rivers of bumper-to-bumper traffic begin at 6am and continue until roughly 7pm.  A trip through Los Angeles could take two hours or maybe twelve hours, and one’s daily commute requires a Tibetan-monk level zen acceptance of fate, or the navigational zeal of a Conquistador charting back waters where they’re sure the fountain of youth resides.

I once was trapped in a clog long enough for me to start and finish a short novel, due to a suicidally-inclined but indecisive individual on a highway overpass.  There was no way off the road unless one had a military issue Humvee that could handle a 40* incline, and the roughly several-thousand people at a dead stop were not pleased, to say the least.

A number of them thoughtfully offered to shoot the jumper, as it was clear they wanted to die, and it would save everyone the waiting.  Other circumstances not withstanding, there’s an argument that intentionally blocking California traffic is an obvious provocation to homicide.  No one who commutes in LA would vote to convict, I’m sure.

These dunderheads should take a lesson. 

The way to win people to your side and bring attention to your cause is NOT to conduct activities that will make them froth at the mouth with rage.

Also, you know what you’re doing by blocking the freeway?  Preventing the lower-class people (lots of women and minorities in there) who work hourly jobs from getting the hours they need to survive.  If hourly people aren’t there, they don’t get paid and may lose their jobs entirely.

So in short:

1. Don’t generate outraged indignation at yourself

2. Don’t fuck your constituency

Sounds *Very* Familiar

From a Boko Haram spokesman on the killing of politician Abba Anas Ibn Umar Garbai outside his home in 2011:

“We are doing what we are doing to fight injustice, if they stop their satanic ways of doing things and the injustices, we would stop what we are doing.”

See, if you would just get over your silly thoughts and do everything the way I tell you, we’d have a perfect relationship and I wouldn’t have to beat you.

This group may have killed a total of 2,000 people in the last few days.

Millions have fled the region over the last 10 years.

This is why when a guy says “I’m an asshole.” I don’t pass it off as a joke, like he doesn’t really mean it.  I believe him, and scratch him off my social calendar until roughly the end of time.

Also when a group says “We will murder anyone who insults our religion, and you insult us by not converting to our religion,” I don’t handwave it away as they don’t really mean it, I’m sure they’re perfectly nice, and just like me inside.

No.  Believe what people tell you.

This is why I’m not surprised every time a radical Islamist group/individual does something outrageously violent in either a first or third world country.  Where’s the shock, they told you they would do this.

This Sounds Familliar

Muslim Cleric Anjem Choudary Via USA Today:

So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?

You made me mad, you made me hit you.  I wouldn’t hit you if you weren’t so difficult.

If you simply just didn’t provoke me, I wouldn’t kill you.

Look what you made me do.

This is Why I Don’t Believe You: II

Duke University is threatening expulsion of a student accused of rape.  In this case it seems like a version of the “both people were equally smashed, therefore the male is a rapist” nonsense.

The student, Lewis McLeod, is taking legal action regarding Duke’s hideous mangling of their own due process guidelines.

However, what I find most pertinent is:

In violation of a no-contact order, the accuser attended a social event at McLeod’s off-campus residence.

Because, you know, that’s what you do when you’ve been raped and you’re pursuing legal action against the rapist.

You go to their house for a party.

Of course.

Note that before attending the party, she consulted with the women’s center on campus to see if doing so would violate the order.  This was not an instance of accidentally being in the same place, or being taken by a friend to a party she didn’t realize would be at the rapists house, she went out of her way to be in his residence.

Why did she do this?

Because she’s full of shit, and knows she wasn’t victimized.

Micro

A poster in /r/theredpill introduced some to the concept of “microagressions” today as so:

I’ve been seeing new talk of “Microaggressions” around the internet, where you cry a sad tear inside when someone inadvertently hurts your feelings, especially because you thought they were being racist/sexist, and they didn’t.

The official interpretations runs something more like this:

Micro-aggression is a form of “unintended discrimination”. It is depicted by the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination.

I am using the Wikipedia definition, as the more scholarly descriptions tend to use post-modern rectalalia that generally leaves me broken out in hives.

These are essentially regular things which one does every day, unconsciously, which can be interpreted through the lens of social justice to be racism/sexism/or any other particular “ism” that has gone to ground in the subconscious.

For instance, this student posting on the Brown University Micro/Agression Facebook Page reports:

“I thought he was sitting next to ‘Josê’…”

His name was Jorge.

Because not knowing how to properly pronounce a name that is written in a way that is counterintuitive to conventional English pronunciation, and that is similar both visually and auditorily to the other name, is evidence that the speaker is expressing internalized racism in that all Hispanic/Spanish names sound alike.  This is a way of demeaning the individual in possession of such a name as “other,” rather than an actualized individual like the Caucasian speaker.

Of course, it is not at all possible that the speaker was simply mistaken.

Apparently I face microagressions continuously from my Vietnamese-speaking clients who often mix up my gender because my my name is sort of ambiguous if you don’t speak English.

And I microagression them right back because I have no bloody idea what gender many Vietnamese names are common to.

The possibility that we might just be reasonably ignorant because we speak different languages and haven’t been exposed to that information yet… well, that’s ridiculous.

The /r/theredpill poster included a link to an article regarding the thoughts of a former solider and police officer on microagressions and trigger warnings, which are essentially:

Fuck your trauma.

Because:

If your psyche is so fragile you fall apart when someone inadvertently reminds you of “trauma”, especially if that trauma consisted of you overreacting to a self-interpreted racial slur, you need therapy. You belong on a psychiatrist’s couch, not in college dictating what the rest of society can’t do, say or think. Get your own head right before you try to run other people’s lives. If you expect everyone around you to cater to your neurosis, forever, you’re what I’d call a “failure at life”, doomed to perpetual disappointment.

Fucking rodger wilco.

And I would like to add, regarding the people who seek out such microagressions, upon which they offer up their delicate feelings as tiny martyrs –

Some people think that experiencing a trauma in itself is somehow honorable, rather than the honor being in how you deal with it during and after.

Of course, being genuinely traumatized in today’s first-world society, which is full of politeness and miracles (comparatively) is difficult to accomplish (and they’re probably too fragile to withstand an actual trauma anyways), so they go about collecting all these teeny tin cut-rate microagression badges from imaginary conflicts to pin on to prove that they should really for real be taken very seriously.

If you ever, ever, talk to me about microagressions, this is what you look like:

Little tyrants who imagine themselves great warriors, giving themselves awards to celebrate their make-believe battles.  They ride out on hobby horses to rattle their pewter sabers at the “grownups” of the world.

The basic problem with microagressions is the assumption that anything that is not perfect at all times, is a symptom of societal disease that must be eradicated at all costs.

Sometimes people are wrong, or mistaken, or ignorant.

Psychologically, people like to hang out with others who look, speak, and act like themselves.  This isn’t going to change anytime soon, without a serious hardware overhaul.

The universe is an infinitely interesting, colorful, and diverse place, that has an important personal message for you:

Getting over it is what deserves a badge.