Quick Hit: The Stupidity of Stupak

November 9, 2009

Note: I have no idea when I last posted, nor when I’ll get the chance to again. Turns out I haven’t abandoned you all after all.

It’s all over the feminist blogosphere, and until I get the chance to clear my head (read: the PTSD-induced reactions subside and I can feel safe leaving my house again), here are a couple of You Must Read takedowns of what I like to call the “Throw the (Poor! Middle Class!) Women (of Color)! Under The Bus” Amendment to the “Health Care Not-Really-For-All” Bill.

Pilgrim Soul @ The Pursuit of Harpyness: You Can Put Down Your Champagne Now (a quick overview)

Cynematic @ MOMocrats: The Stu-Pitts of Congress, and Women’s Healthcare From the Waist Up (in depth discussion, with estimated effects if the bill passes)

Meteor Blades @ DailyKOS: 64 Democrats on the Wrong Side of Stupak-Pitts (a list of all Dems who voted for the amendment; a list with demographics and website links is here.)

I’m cutting this off here, sans commentary, because I literally feel like my head is going to explode with rage because YET AGAIN women are the first to vote for Democrats and the last people Dems in office give a shit about.


Why I will now hate Polanski forever

October 2, 2009

Today, I was telling a friendly acquaintance that I was thinking about going to grad school in film, and getting into movies as a career.

Her first response? She asked, “Oh, have you heard about that Polanski thing?”

I said, “Yes. I think convicted criminals are supposed to get sentenced.”

She was relieved.

Polanski and his supporters are tainting the entire film industry with their approval of a convicted child rapist, to the extent that it’s almost embarrassing for me to admit that I want to join that industry, because people will assume that I agree. I have to reassure people that I don’t think good movies are some kind of get-out-of-justice-free card.

What the hell, people. What the hell.

Quick Hit: Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged

April 6, 2009

More from That Dude Who Sends Me Cool Email Forwards:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Quicker Quick Hit: Short Eloriane Dress!

March 31, 2009

I maintain a google alert on the word “Eloriane,” because, well, I want to know about it when I get super famous. Today, however, it delivered to me this site, which is 100% baffling.


Huh? Does Eloriane mean something now? Google still doesn’t find me any results that aren’t either me or, well, this dress. I’m pretty sure it’s still a word that I made up when I was 10, thinking it sounded like a totally kawaii and totally Japanese version of my name.

Still, cute dress. I’d wear it. You know, if it wasn’t six hundred dollars!

Wonder if they’d give it to me free, seeing has it’s my name and all?

Quick Hit: What’s Your Gender?

March 30, 2009

My name is

I am
aggressive, ally, beautiful, brother, butch-liking, butch-loving, celibate, chapstick lesbian, chubby, cunt, etc., fabulous, fangirl, fat, female, feminist, femme-ish, friend of Dorothy, gay, geek, gender abolitionist, gender liberationist, gender pirate, hairy, harpy, introvert, lady, lezbean, liberal, Ms., me, open, out, outspoken, passing woman, privileged, pro-choice, progressive, queer, redhead, sapphist, student, survivor, teh gay, tomboy femme, woman-loving
Who are you?

Thanks go to Genderkid (here) for introducing me to this.

I don’t have too much trouble marking the little box marked F on all the forms in my meatspace life (a privilege that spares me many headaches!), but I still appreciate the chance to express the bigger picture of who I am. I love the fact that with alphabetical sorting, all the concepts get mixed together, “queer” right next to “readhead,” without artificial weight added to certain terms. Sure, I’m queer, and that’s a big deal, I guess, but I invest a lot more energy into my readheaded identity– I pay good money quite often to dye my hair red, whereas I just am queer.

Plus, there’s the totally bizarre “hairy, harpy, introvert, lady” sequence. Yup, I’m a hairy harpy and an introverted lady! Sometimes I’m even a lady unironically. 

I found it interesting what words I couldn’t bring myself to check. For example, “homosexual” is not on that list, although I have “chapstick lesbian,”fabulous,” “friend of Dorothy,” “gay, “lezbean,”  “out,” “queer,” “sapphist,” “teh gay,” and “woman-loving.” It’s because I’ll use all those words to describe myself, but I never call myself homosexual. It’s weirdly clinical to me. It’s just not who I am. “Lesbian” is also, notably, missing. I feel like I’m reclaiming this word more than I’m claiming it, because for some reason saying it all seriously, lesbian, sounds like some man leering at me, lesbian, or the narrator of some nature documentary, lezzzbian. When I’m actually talking about myself, I’m much more light-hearted, there’s a smile to it, like lezbean, or “teh gay.”

I’ve also marked myself down as a “brother,” because I’m a Brother in a co-ed fraternity, and it’s an important, life-long commitment to me. I didn’t mark daughter or sister, despite being these things to my family, because they aren’t chosen relationships, and somehow that makes them feel more like part of my life than part of my identity.

I also marked “passing woman.” I’m not sure why, but claiming outright, woman!, or even more scarily, cisgendered woman!, felt disingenuous. I’m femme-ish (as noted above!) and I enjoy it, but I’m keenly aware of all the ways that my femininity is a performed thing. It’s a performance I enjoy, one that makes me happy, but I’m not sure it’s part of my identity.

This Hit is turning out to be not so Quick, so I am going to call it a day. The main point stands, though: this is a fun way to reject the gender binary. Please, in the comments, let us know– who are you?

Quick Hit: The Meaning of Consent

March 25, 2009

Living in a rape culture as we do, one commonly hears all sorts of justification around talk about consent. Accusations of rape are met with drawn out discussions about whether or not she really consented, which is kind of patronizing, when you think about it. I mean, if she had really consented, then there wouldn’t likely be a trial, would there? How many times, when people say to the police that they were mugged, or that their car was stolen, is it said that they really probably consented to giving money/lending their vehicle? But in a rape culture, it’s all about proving she consented. Prostituted women and girls “consent.” Women in pronography “consent.” My friend “consented” when her abusive husband made her have sex even when she didn’t want to. Laurelin in the rain points out just how inadequate the idea of consent really is when she writes that “Consent implies nothing more than agreement to undergo.” I couldn’t decide which was the best part to quote because the whole thing is really good. Here’s a quick taste:

Consent is nothing more than ‘yes’. Yes may mean yes, but it doesn’t mean anything else.

When we speak of female sexuality and agency, we need to care about a hell of a lot more than the ‘yes’. Not just the ‘yes’, not just the ‘consent’. Not the signing of the form. Not the grudging agreement, the inability- for whatever reason, economic, psychological, physical- to say no. Not the yes of exhaustion, the yes of emotional manipulation, the yes of poverty.

There are numerous reasons that one may consent. There are numerous reasons one may say ‘yes’ to things we do not want to do. Consent in itself is not enough. Consent can be given in the direst of circumstances. Consent can be given because the other options are worse.

Read the whole thing. Here’s the link again. Hey, it’s even a short post, but oh does it say a lot.

Quick hit: synthetic blood from stem cells

March 23, 2009

So, this is some super-cool science news from the BBC!

UK scientists plan a major research project to see if synthetic human blood can be made from embryonic stem cells.

Led by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, the three year trial could provide an unlimited supply of blood for emergency transfusions.

Scientists have already shown it is possible to take a single stem cell from an early human embryo and encourage it to develop into mature blood cells in the laboratory.

And a US firm called Advanced Cell Technology has managed to produce billions of red blood cells from embryonic blood cells in this way.

The challenge now is to scale up the production and move the science from the lab to the bedside, which will take years.

Professor Turner said: “We should have proof of principle in the next few years, but a realistic treatment is probably five to 10 years away.

“In principle, we could provide an unlimited supply of blood in this way.”

This is especially handy since they can pick out only those embryos with O-type blood to create the stem cells. O is the only safe blood type to use in emergency situation, since it’s the “universal donor” and contains none of the antibodies that some people react to. Unfortunately, only 7% of the population has blood type O, so it’s always in short supply. By creating synthetic blood from stem cells, we can not only be sure to eliminate the risk of blood-borne diseases in transfusions, we can also have unlimited quantities of type O blood on hand for any time we’re unsure of (or don’t have time to check) a patient’s blood type! Hurray!

Well, mostly hurray. Some people aren’t so happy.

However, many groups object to the use of embryonic stem cells on the grounds that it is unethical to destroy embryos in the name of science.

Josephine Quintavalle of the public interest group Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: “Like so many of the claims associated with embryonic stem cells, this is first steps research rather than a cure around the corner, and just as hypothetical as the rest of the claims which try to justify destroying the human embryo for the benefit of mankind.

First, this isn’t in the name of science. I mean, I like science, so I don’t think things done “in the name of science” are less worthwhile just because they’re not focused on practical benefits. It’s just inaccurate in this case. We’re researching this process in the name of saving millions of lives, not in the name of science.

Also, does this make any sense at all as a reasonable way to protest?

“Associating this controversial research with a National Blood Transfusion service may even end up contaminating the feel-good image of blood banks.

“Those who donate blood but who defend the right to life of the human embryo may be reluctant to continue giving their blood.”

Scientists are researching ways to, in ten years, solve the problem of not getting enough O-type blood from voluntary donations. So now, you think blood banks are Evil, so you’re going to stop donating blood. Zuh?? Wouldn’t it be the opposite way around– every ounce of blood you donate is a widdle baby embryo that doesn’t have to be turned into synthetic blood? If you don’t want us to make stem-cell blood, don’t stop donating yours! Form huge crowds of type-O donors and mob those blood banks so we don’t have a reason anymore for synthetic blood! You think these scientists could get any funding if the blood banks were glutted with type O blood? No way! Refusing to donate is only going to increase their support!

But I guess that kind of logical thought is too science-y for this crowd. So go ahead, give the blood banks a miss. We’ll carry on without you. In the name of science!