27 February 2007

What's the big Secret?

The Secret has been sweeping the nation. It was featured on Oprah, the Today Show, and the book and DVD have been selling like hotcakes. "The Secret" is that you can attain anything you want, as long as you envision yourself having it. It is based on physics, not something I'm getting into here, but is clearly looking to align with folks who aren't very spiritual, which is a very untapped market in the self-help genre.

I went to The Secret website, and it is indeed a huge secret. The site is loaded with DaVinci-esque writing, some DaVinci drawings and diagrams, and portraits of some of the greatest people in human history who have followed The Secret. I wanted to find out more, but all I could really mine out of the site was that The Secret is the key to happiness and fulfillment. Want more money? Picture yourself with lots of money. Have a terminal illness? Imagine yourself healthy. Lonely and looking for a partner? Envision having a partner. Really, that is all I could gather.

You have to buy the book or DVD to really be in on The Secret.

Which leads me to believe that it's a scam. First of all, it sounds like glorified positive thinking. We all know how positive thinking can help us deal with life's problems. But The Secret goes one step further and tells followers that your unhappiness is your own doing because of your negative energy. Sure, there are people out there who are very negative, and bad things happen to them. But why not explore why that person is negative in the first place, like a therapist would? Get to the real root of the problem. Gaining more money (or love, or whatever) is just a bandage on your issues. External sources do not make you happy; happiness is an intrinsic phenomenon.

Second, secrecy is common to these types of scams. The website promises wealth, health, and happiness, but you have to pay almost $30 for the DVD or $25 for the book. This sounds like something a friend of mine bought into. There is a self-therapy program (which I will not name, because I've had experiences with its followers and they are frightening) that promises a happier and more authentic life (whatever that means) but doesn't get into specifics. You have to pay $300-$500 to attend the seminar to find out. The students who complete the seminar are instructed not to disclose details to loved ones, but to try to recruit them into the program, thus making the company more money. It's a common tactic.

I make no qualms about claiming that I'm very anti-self-help. One of the fundamental advantages of therapy is to have an outside, objective sounding board. Someone who doesn't live inside of your head is more equipped to look at your issues in the objective and unbiased way necessary to overcome them. Not so much when you try to psychoanalyze yourself. Again, the self-help industry is making a mint off of people's unhappiness, and creating a permanent consumer base by screwing people up even more. What's so scary about The Secret is that it encourages people to put faith in it to overcome life-altering circumstances. Like severe depression. Like debt. Like cancer. Yup, there is a woman (in the Today show video) who claims that The Secret helped her cure her cancer without treatment. Tell that to my right boob! I've no doubt that her cancer went into remission, but spontaneous remission of many diseases happens, and it's just part of the randomness of the universe.

All this said, I'm a pretty fulfilled and positive person. I recognize injustice and tragedy in the world around me, but I always appreciate what I have. I don't spend much time feeling sorry for myself, because I always learn something about the world or myself from my problems. The Secret is dangerous. It blames people for their problems, and oversimplifies the path to happiness. It's hard work to live a happy and positive life, and can't be learned from a DVD.

Wine + Straw = Disaster

Wine blogging will be on indefinite hold until I get over my BP. Right now, I can only drink liquids through a straw, and drinking wine through a straw will surely hurt the flavor and aromatic experience of the wine. Most likely, a glass of wine would do me some good, but I'm going to live a dry life for a while until I'm over my flaccid face.

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 6

I haven't posted on my BP in a while because not much has happened. The pain is basically gone on the affected side of my face. However, I've aggravated my TMJ on the left side because I've been holding my mouth funny. I've been taking ibuprofen for it and using a heating pad when I'm at home. It helps a little.

I'm thinking about going into a physical therapy treatment called facial retraining. From what I can tell, I have flaccid paralysis, which means that the muscles seem dead instead of jerky and awkward. (Sort of like getting a whole lot of Botox injected all over one side of your face.) I feel like if I don't get some help, that I may never heal right or possibly do some major damage. I can sense the tiniest movement when I try to smile, but it is not noticeable when I look in the mirror. Besides, I'm sick of using straws and eye ointment!

Yesterday I was really down because of my BP, partly because I was extra droopy, which is uncomfortable. Also, my boob scar was really hurting for some reason (weather? hormones?) which didn't help. I talked to my mother, and she managed to cheer me up again by saying she was so proud of me and that I would get better eventually.

It is day 21 of my BP.


Since the publication of this article, the feminist blogosphere has been buzzing with critique of campus Greek life. The article in question describes the National HQ's cleansing of a sorority chapter of its less-than-perfect sisters. In other words, the bigwigs at HQ swooped into this struggling chapter and, rather than help the chapter strengthen its membership in positive ways, like innovative recruiting events, they simply purged the rolls of its members who didn't fit the thin, conventionally pretty, passive, dumb type.

Obviously, this article infuriated me. It's obvious to anyone with feminist tendencies that this was a clear case of sexism, racism, and classism all rolled into one bizarre story. To think that grown women were denied the benefits (that they had paid for) of sorority life because of how they looked makes me ill. One minute, "Won't you join our wonderful group of loving sisters? We'd so love to have you!" and the next minute, "Well, we didn't really mean it."

But it also embarasses me immensely. Why? Because I was in a sorority when I was in college. I've spent a lot of time trying to reconcile my sorority days with my feminist leanings, and all I can say is that my sorority days gave me great insight into how women who are served by the patriarchy can be cruel to other women under the guise of love and sisterhood.

I was nervous about going to college, partly because I had never spent much time away from home, and partly because I was socially insecure. A bit of a rebel, my parents thought that rush would be a great way for me to meet people and find my niche. Besides, they were both in the Greek system in college, and it was great! So, I did it, and I joined a house that was quite diverse ethnically, physically, and intellectually. Even the philosophy of the sorority was feminist, founded on the principle that women should spend the college years learning to be independent and free thinkers.

Looks can be deceiving. After my freshman year of "love" and "sisterhood" and "bonding" I was about to go through rush from the other side. For two weeks before rush, we prepared under the guidance of the rush coordinator: rehearsing skits, memorizing facts about our history, learning songs, making decorations. One day, we were told to try on the dresses that we planned to wear to one of the events. We then had to model our dresses for the coordinator and her committee to make sure it was a tasteful dress. However, once we were in that room with them, the gloves came off. Some of my sisters were told they were too fat to wear spaghetti straps or no sleeves, others that they had to cover tattoos with makeup, and I was told that I had to buy a padded pushup bra because I was too flat chested. It was, in fact, a chance for the committee to prevent an "ugly" disaster.

The next day, we were told to get into a line. The coordinator and a couple of her lackeys started rearranging us in the line. I figured this was a height thing, and that they were lining us up by height for some sort of formation. But then I thought, "We can line ourselves up by height, and it would be a helluva lot faster than this!" And then it hit me: they were lining us up by attractiveness. One of my closest friends ended up at the back of the line. She was devastated, and I was mad as hell.

But I stayed, and so did she, because we had a support group in my circle of friends, and because social life outside of the Greek system on my campus was near nonexistant. I had a place to live (that was cheaper than the dorm or an apartment) and three balanced meals every day. I had a built-in social life, complete with fraternity socials and volunteer work. And I had a serious boyfriend in our unofficial brother fraternity. I knew that something was wrong with the way we did things, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I hadn't found feminism at that point, and my only exposure to feminism was in an English class in which my instructor was a separatist lesbian who was actually not a feminist at all, but a grad student promoting matriarchy.

After graduation, which came a year late for me, I had a whirlwind of weddings to attend while I nursed the heart that my college boyfriend had recently broken. My good friends were very supportive, but the rest of my "sisters" were just happy that it didn't happen to them. They had their weddings, complete with puffy dresses, confection-colored bridesmaids, and giant diamonds. I was supposed to be one of them, but there I was, attending these weddings alone. (I should note that none of my close friends got married right away, so I wasn't "in" any of these weddings.) Toward the end of wedding season, I realized that my discomfort with these weddings was that I knew that life after college was dramatically different, and it seemed like these couples were just playing house.

While my sisters were getting married, I was starting grad school, which is when I found feminism. Specifically, Mary Daly's Gyn/Ecology (talk about baptism by fire!) It actually got me through my broken heart, and made me realize that I would have made a huge mistake if I had stayed with and married the college boyfriend, even though he was a really great guy. I realized that I had a lot of different paths ahead of me, and I was free to take any one I wanted. I also remembered that, as a little girl, instead of dreaming of my wedding day, I always dreamed of the day I'd be on my own. Remembering that dream is still something I do whenever I start to feel down on myself, because that's exactly what I'm doing.

But back to sisterhood. It took me a while, but I finally came to terms with the fact that I felt no "love" or "bond" or "sisterhood" with these women. It was a safety net. Sure, I had a small group of friends that I really did love, but I certainly didn't feel much affection for the other 85 women I'd sung songs with, passed candles with, and pledged my undying sisterhood to. Nope, it was all just an act. After college, the competition continued. If you were uncoupled, it was sad. If you were married, that was great. But if you were married with kids, you were so wonderful that your shit smelled like roses! That was the highest achievement with these women. And I lost interest in all the wedding/husband/baby updates.

I still keep in touch with my very best friend, and we see each other occasionally only because we live in the same state. I cherish her friendship, even though our lives are dramatically different. We probably never would have met without the sorority, so I can't say I completely regret it. But if I ever have a daughter, I will encourage her not to rush. I would hope that my child would be more emotionally deep than to just accept a pre-fab form of friendship, which is what I did, because it was easy. If I had it to do over again, it would be way different.

21 February 2007

On professionalism, blogging, and anonymity

I decided to write an "about me and my life" post, since it may help explain a lot of where I'm coming from. If you've read previous posts, you know I'm opinionated, so here goes.

I'm an almost 31, divorced, unattached, liberal academic type. In fact, I'm an academic librarian, specifically science. I'm a born teacher, so librarianship has been ideal for me in that I can dabble in lots of different subjects but still teach and work with college students. I suppose I loved college so much that I never wanted to leave!

I work at a small, but quite prestigious, university in rural Virginia. I've been here for about a year. My job is mostly great, but I'm not happy with my location, seeing as there is no city for about 60 miles and I'm certainly a city girl. I've also been wondering of late whether I'm growing out of my chosen profession, and should move on to something new. I love librarianship, especially the scholarship of it, but it doesn't fulfill me like it used to. The academic world is frustrating, and if you aren't one of the primadonna ivory tower professors, it's doubly frustrating.

So I started this blog because I wanted to chronicle my life, opinions, and other events and see if any pattern would form. None yet. The title, Nothing Permanent, speaks to the fact that I think I'll be making a drastic life change in the next few years, and am reluctant to put down roots, for better or worse. I will probably go back to school and move out of the area. If I had to choose now, I'd get a second master's degree in Women's Studies at the University of South Florida.

A friend of mine asked me what I am most passionate about, and I answered "feminism." (This is followed closely by horticulture and photography.) He followed up by asking me why I didn't pursue "feminism" as a life path? I didn't have an answer for him, and it's really stuck with me. Maybe Women's Studies isn't the most prudent path for me, considering my career choices would be quite limited, but I now realize that I need to do something in my life where I'm fighting for something I rabidly believe in.

Because I'm having these thoughts about my career, I'm choosing to stay completely anonymous and not divulge my place of employment. Like many bloggers, I don't want my colleagues to discover my doubts about living in a podunk college town and working at a very conservative school. I also think it's important for some people to keep the work life and private life separate, which is why I don't really bring up personal issues at work except for people I'm friends with. And then, I only do it when we're "off the clock," so to speak.

A bit of history:
Some may wonder why I chose to work at a conservative university in a rural town. Well, it wasn't really a choice as much as a career builder. It's an excellent opportunity for me to do the research I've always wanted to, and the pay is pretty good. I was forced to look for work after my ex-husband abandoned me, which was only months after we married and I quit my previous job to move with him out of state. (Typical woman sacrificing her professional life for her man's, I know, barf.) I had just had an offer from a university within long commuting distance when he left me, and I didn't see the need to stay in an area I didn't particularly like when there were probably much better opportunities out there. I moved in with my parents as I embarked on my epic job search. Oy.

I'm glad I did it that way. And I'm not all bitterness and hate toward the ex, either. If it weren't for his spectacularly bad timing, it may have been much harder for us to divorce (although, it was a pretty messy divorce) and I wouldn't have had this experience to explore my scholarly interests. So, in the past two years, I've really grown as a person, thanks to a broken heart, some health problems, and a lonely transplantation.

Now, I blog for meditation, for record keeping, for sentimentality, for mental regurgitation, for psychological cleansing.

19 February 2007

Womens' Work

I work at a university. (I'm working on a post that describes what I do and why I remain anonymous.) We get a lot of support from work scholars, who are lifesavers most of the time. Every year, we do a student worker appreciation lunch toward the end of the year.

It's actually a really nice event, and the students are given lots of attention and really appreciate the effort. Besides, what college student doesn't just love free food? Anyway, we get most of it catered by a local chicken joint and campus dining services. But the professional staff are asked to bring in extra side dishes and the dessert, to add a personal touch.

I'm all for potluck events, and think they're way more fun than catered events, and I really do enjoy putting something together and sharing it with friends. But one thing I've noticed is that only the women bring dishes in. I've never seen any of the men bring in a dish. I think that this sort of thing is just completely off the radar for them, because they almost never have to worry about cooking or feeding other people.

This year, I'm going to refuse to bring anything in. Not because I don't care about the students. But as a statement that I will not bend to archaic gender roles that dictate that, even though a woman is a successful professional (or, hell, a worker of any kind), she is still expected to play the wife-mother role at work. This is something that I've tried to be conscious about, and let me tell you, it's hard when your first reaction is to say "Yes!" and be a nurturer when you really just don't feel like it.

Some will think that my Bell's Palsy is the reason for my not contributing to the potluck, and if they don't ask, that's fine. But for those who do ask, I'll tell the truth, that I refuse to be viewed in the patriarchal conscription of wife-mother. Maybe it'll spark a little conversation and thought. And maybe some of my male coworkers will go home, do the dishes, and give their wives a break.

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 5

So much for the daily log, huh?

Really, not much has changed. I went to the doctor last week, and he ordered a CT scan, and told me to take a 3-day weekend to rest. I did that, and I think it helped. One thing I didn't know about BP was that it caused such exhaustion, which makes the BP worse. You really do need to take it easy while your nerves and muscles are recovering from what is a pretty traumatic injury.

Today I'm doing much better. I took the afternoon off work to get scanned and rest, and tomorrow I'm resuming regular hours. I hope. I'm still having some pain, especially the weird stabbing pain behind my ear that makes my eyes cross. But the bruised feeling on my face is much better, and my eye is getting better. I'm still using eye ointment during the day, since it lasts longer and feels better.

It is day 13 of my BP.

15 February 2007

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 4

Oy. Not a good day. Last night was full of fitful sleep because the pain in my parotid gland was so bad. When I got up this morning, my eye and mouth felt stronger, but the pain was still there.

I made an appointment with my doctor, and he seems stumped as to why my pain has persisted. So he's ordered a CT scan to make sure there isn't something else wrong. Like a tumor. This scares me because I had a pre-cancerous growth removed from my breast a little over a year ago, so I'm at risk for developing tumors.

The doctor also advised me to stay home from work tomorrow, thinking that I may be overdoing it. I feel so guilty missing so much work, but I don't know what to do, and I'm not being very productive. Today has been a downer. I really try to stay positive, but it's hard now that I know I'm not presenting normal symptoms. I've been sick a lot in the past year, and it makes me feel like a weak person, that I should be able to suck it up.

Today's symptoms: headache, neck pain, severe inner and outer ear pain (as in, wearing a hat is like murder!), tongue pain, dry eye, drooping mouth, face is tender to touch, slight swelling.

It is day 9 of my BP.

14 February 2007

Rich Men, Beautiful Women

I was watching the Today Show this morning (yes, I still watch even though Katie is gone and the show is really just one long advertisement) and saw this sickening feature: Does beauty plus money equal love?

I missed most of Today's feature, but followed up at the ultra-creepy website, Pocket Change. From the website:

Pocket Change is honoring the age old union of wealthy men and hot girls. Society has taught us to not publicly acknowledge the obvious - no longer dear friends. Women want money in a man, men want beauty in a woman – this is a factual force of nature. Women don’t ask “So, what does he do for a living?” because they’re interested in his personality and guys don’t ask “is she hot?” because they’re concerned with character. Guys know that money buys them the car, the house and the trophy wife. This genetic cleansing is how the wealthy stay beautiful.


This is no joke. The requirement for men to apply to this service is an income level of $500,000 for a 30 year old. (This threshold lowers for younger men.) For the women? They must submit 5 pictures, which will be judged by this woman solely on beauty. No extra information is allowed, because, you know, you wimmins are just supposed to sit there and look purty! Well, at least the ticket price for women is lower than the $500 it is for men: a steal at just $50!

I suppose I'm not surprised that there is an organization like this out there. I'm a little more surprised that a mainstream news outlet (NBC, New York Mag) are doing stories on it. I can't imagine the types of men one would meet at such an event. It's prostitution. The men simply want to buy the "services" of a beautiful woman with jewelry, travel, and a hefty will in return for a bit of arm candy. (I shudder as I use that term, but it's apropos here.)

One more comment: I did overhear on Today's story that they are doing a reverse event in the future with rich women and hot men. But, the income threshold for the women in in the millions, versus half a million for the men. Glass ceiling, anyone?

I'm half tempted to send in some pictures of me with my eye patch, just to kick up some dust.

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 3

I've decided to write a daily log of my recovery from Bell's Palsy, which started a week ago today.

I felt really good when I woke up this morning, and I even thought that I could close my eye better. My mouth seems to be working better, too, as in I don't dribble quite so badly when I drink or eat.

At work, I was doing okay. I used the eye ointment instead of drops because it makes my eye feel so much better, and it was a windy day today. However, the ointment really blurred my vision in that eye, so reading and focusing was a problem. After lunch, I started feeling worse. My facial pain is pretty bad right now, and the leaflet that came with my prednisone cautions against using OTC painkillers. Ugh. My parotid gland feels like it'll explode, and wearing a beret hurts like hell.

Not as much twitching today.

I went home from work about an hour early, appreciative of my work superiors' understanding and support. I'm going to take it easy tonight and go to bed early. I may be overdoing it, and I'm thinking about following up with my doctor tomorrow.

It is day 8 of my BP.

13 February 2007

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 2

In my last post, I introduced my experience coming down with Bell's Palsy. At that time, I was very uncomfortable and annoyed that everyday activities required more effort, but I was in fairly good spirits.

This past weekend was different. The BP kept getting worse, to the point where my face was drooping and my bottom eyelid was hanging open. Which is gross. And hurts like hell. For most of the weekend, I was exhausted. I don't really know why, but it might have to do with the cranial nerve rebuilding itself. Or it might have had something to do with how horribly down I was feeling.

I'm thankful that it wasn't a stroke, and that this condition is not usually permanent and is confined to my face, neck and upper shoulder. I also realize that there are people out there who are para- and quadriplegics, with no hope of recovery. There are people all over the world with terminal and life-altering illnesses and conditions that will never change for them. I am truly fortunate that I am not in such a condition. But I was feeling sorry for myself because I was in pain, because it was so hard to take in liquids, because I was limited to eating soft foods, because I wasn't able to sleep even though I was exhausted. I talked to my mother (we talk every single day) and I was complaining about the BP, and she said to me, choking up, "You're so much stronger than I am. I would be absolutely freaking out if something like that happened to me and I was so far away from my family." I'm assuming she was also thinking about the events of the past two years, which involved getting married, quitting a stable job to move to Vermont with new husband, have new husband dump me after a few months, move in with parents to look for work since old job had already replaced me, find a job in Virginia, get a lump in my breast, have lump removed, move to Virginia to start new job, get divorced and sued, and find out that breast lump is an indicator that I'm twice as likely to develop a malignant tumor.

I've been through a lot, which might be why my immune system is down right now. Hence, the BP. I don't know if I'm entitled to feel sorry for myself, but I do.

I'm feeling better today, in that my condition hasn't worsened from yesterday to today. That's a huge relief. I don't know how long I will stay on this level, which is part of the horror of BP. If I knew this would be permanent, it might not seem so scary and I could start editing my life around it. But it might clear up in a week, so I don't want to make any big changes. Or it could take a year to clear up, which would be dreadful!

Today's symptoms are tenderness on the right side of my face, especially around my ear, temple and jaw. My eye is still terribly dry, but not any weaker, and the conjunctivitis has cleared up. My mouth and teeth hurt, which is new, but not so bothersome. Eating is still difficult. Certain sounds feel like they'll split me in half. My face and neck are having some spasms. And I'm still exhausted.

It's day 7 of my BP.

10 February 2007

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 1

(Originally titled "I'm a bad blogger, but I have a reason!")

I've been neglecting my brand new blog for a week now, and the guilt has settled in. Maybe I shouldn't feel guilty, and I'm going to try to talk myself out of the guilt with this rambling post. Here goes.

I woke up Wednesday morning with half of my face paralyzed. On Tuesday, my eye was really bothering me, but I just thought it was the cold air or allergies or an irritant. Nothing serious, nothing that some eye drops wouldn't cure. But on Wednesday, I couldn't eat my oatmeal without dribbling half of it on my chin. (Sorry, I know that's kind of gross, but you should've seen it!) Something was wrong. I called my doctor and made an appointment for that morning, and had one of my few moments of gratitude for living in a small town. In the meantime, I was wondering if I'd had a stroke or some other neurological event, and was scared shitless.

That morning, I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. I didn't know much about it, but had a friend who had it a few years ago. I didn't know what I was in for. Surely, I could live my life with a little facial paralysis, and considering it's usually a temporary condition, I'd be back to normal soon, right?


Since Wednesday, it's progressively gotten worse. My right eye can't blink, which means that it's quite prone to dryness, infection, abrasion, etc. I can't keep enough eye drops in my eye, and have to manually blink it to alleviate the extreme pain. Now I have conjunctivitis from touching my eye so much.

Now on to my eating situation. Eating is a truly ugly event in the Quite Contrary household. Bibs are a necessity to catch renegade morsels. Miles loves that. Drinking is even worse. I've ruined a robe with various staining liquids, such as coffee, cranberry juice, and tea.

Yes, I look a little strange, with a slightly sagging mouth and puffy eye. But what's the funniest is when I don my eye patch. The doctor recommended the eye patch to prevent stuff from getting in my eye, which is a great idea if it weren't so damned uncomfortable. Miles really hates the eye patch and runs away from me whenever I yell "Arrgggghhhh, matey!" at him.

Luckily, this is temporary. You really don't realize how important your facial muscles are until you lose control of them. My life has been much more difficult this week, and everyday tasks take much longer to complete. I'm basically single-handed at the moment, what with using one hand to manually blink my eye every few seconds. I've worked from home to avoid germs that could get in my eye (lot of good that did) and haven't been able to drive anywhere. Eye drops and tissues have to be at arm's length at all times. But today, I think I'm on the upswing.

I tend to get down about my health when stuff like this happens, such as when I had my boob hacked off a little over a year ago.

But, I have my life, friends and family. And Miles.

It is day 4 of my BP.

02 February 2007

Friday afternoon entertainment

My neighbor is a really happy guy. Which is a good thing, since my former neighbor was an abusive, demented drunk.

Thing is, I don't think my new neighbor realizes I can hear everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that goes on in his apartment. Right now, he's singing in the shower. I'm sitting downstairs, and I can hear him all the way down here. And it's bad, in a totally hysterical way. If he knew that I could hear him, he'd probably be totally embarrassed, and never entertain me again.

But I've sworn to myself, if he starts singing something I know, I'm heading to the bathroom and joining in!

Didn't you know that your womb is state property?

Two stories have really caught my attention this week. The first story comes out of Tampa, Florida -- my hometown. A 21 year old woman attended Gasparilla with some friends last weekend, and decided at about 1:30 p.m. to head back to her car and go home. On her way home, she was brutally raped. In broad daylight. When she finally made it back to her car, she called the police, who then took her to get medical help. While she was being examined, the police discovered she had an outstanding warrant and arrested her. The victim went to jail for two nights and was denied the second dose of her emergency contraception, because the jail nurse had a religious conflict.

The second story is out of Kansas City, Missouri, where a pregnant woman was arrested while having a miscarriage. She had stolen a car, and in the process of whatever it was that she was doing, she started to miscarry. The police disregarded the fact that she was having a miscarriage and hauled her off to jail anyway. The female officer asked, "How is that my problem?" The woman gave birth, and the baby died shortly after.

These two stories have been around the feminist blogosphere a lot, and they have a lot of obvious facts in common that I won't get into here. One thing that I haven't seen discussed is that there is a strong culture in this country of seeing women as hysterical and freakish children. In the case of the rape victim, the officers apparently didn't know what the big deal was. In the case of the miscarriage, the officers apparently thought she was having her period.

Why aren't women given more agency in this culture? Why are we not believed even when there are obvious signs of something wrong?

I think it's simply because women are still unconciously (or maybe consciously by state officials) classified as the sex class, as sub-human. The lack of sex education in this country is also contributing to a lack of understanding of how the human body works. If a woman says she's been raped, take care of the medical needs and evidence first, then worry about her criminal history. Being raped requires medical attention, and a violent rape can cause serious damage to a victim's internal organs, not to mention her psyche. If a woman is bleeding vaginally, or bleeding from anywhere but a paper cut, when you arrest her, investigate it before you get blamed for it. Duh!

This reminds me of a recent story where a man in Australia was arrested for vaginally and anally raping his wife with foreign objects. I talked to a man I know about this case, and he didn't understand what the big deal was. When I suggested that he be anally raped by his wife in his sleep, he cringed. "That's different," he said. How is it different? Most men just don't acknowledge the invasive nature the sex act for a female. So it's okay to shove something up my ass, but not up yours? M-kay.

But that's a topic for another post.

01 February 2007

When your wit just makes you look like a twit

Via Sheezlebub, I heard about this lovely column from the Statesman Journal. Yeah, yeah, it's supposed to be "humorous" but, come on, what a dickhead!

I have a pretty good sense of humor, but this bile just trots out all the tired old jokes.

Just because Purcell's column is "opinion" and "humor" doesn't mean that you can't find offense in it.

The product of Purcell's ego masturbation is a call for everyone to get married. (Funny, I'm sure he didn't mean everyone, because surely gays and lesbians don't count.) Yup, ladies, you need a man to take care of! And someone else's mess to clean up! Because, without you, men will die:
"Look, ladies, deciding not to marry for your own well-being is one thing, but it is we you're not marrying in the process. Your decision is killing single men — literally."
Wah. He then goes on a bender of berating men in general, although I don't think this was his intent, because they basically can't take care of themselves and will drink themselves into oblivion until a woman comes and saves 'em. I have to tell this guy, right after I got married my now ex-husband started drinking more, not less; of course, so did I. (Comments on this from members of the He-Man Woman Haters Club will be deleted promptly.)

And he wasn't any sort of protection:
"And when you hear a prowler rattling the door knob in the middle of the night, whom do you send to investigate? Your cat?"
Right. When ex-hubby and I were living together before the wedding (the horrors!) I woke up at 2 a.m. to some backyard noises. I nudged the lug awake, and in military fashion he reached for his handgun and played James Bond to the backyard. He returned to bed silently. When I asked what it was, he replied, "I almost shot a racoon."

There are lots of great reasons to get married. But there are a lot more reasons not to get married, all of which are outlined in this column. So, ladies, if you want to know who not to marry, read Purcell's drivel. It makes me appreciate that Miles is the only man in my life!

And sorry, Purcell, but my cat can kick your ass any day!