Archive for category Bi-Yotch
The email-hacking situation is still open. Haven’t had another incident since Sunday, but that’s not really an achievement, now is it?
Anyway, a thought occurred to me on the way home tonight.
I am the anti-matter opposite of Susan Patton. (If the name is unfamiliar: here you go.)
It’s not exactly Big News that I disagree with her on some things—we’re hearing about her because a lot of people take serious issue with her!—but if Mrs. Patton could see my life, she’d probably use me as an example of That Woman You Don’t Want to Be.
I was posting on my Facebook author page the other night about what I’m up against as a novelist with a full-time job, and basically the only thing that’s better for me now than it was this time last year is that now I’m single.
Recap: I’m in my 30s, childless, and not even trying to find a husband. I’m prioritizing my writing career over finding a smart man to marry before my fertility disappears in a puff of dust.
So the idea struck me this evening on the way home: not only am I living my life in exactly the way Mrs. Patton thinks is a disaster for any self-respecting woman, I think she’s full of shit in every way that counts and the world would be better off with fewer people who think the way she does.
I think women receive quite enough advice and guidance on finding a partner, and keeping him, already. The last thing we need is yet another book exhorting us to place potential husbands at the center of our existence. OTOH, I think the world’s men could use some guidance on interacting with women and maintaining relationships, beyond what they currently get. (If you asked for my thoughts on the conclusion of my last relationship, for example, “I didn’t try hard enough” would NOT be among my regrets.)
I think it’s okay if a woman prioritizes her professional life over husband-catching and baby-making. If she wants to pursue a demanding career, she might not have any options except to delay family life until she’s brought her professional life over a certain hump. It sure would be nice if we could have kids young without being penalized for it in the job market, but we are penalized, so we have to choose our battles and figure out which option sucks the least. If some women don’t get a chance to have the children they want because they’re too busy kicking ass and making things happen, that’s not the end of the world.
I think it’s okay if some women just don’t get married. To anyone. Ever. Even if we leave non-heterosexual women out of the picture, and assume that everyone really wants the nuclear family lifestyle in the single-family home with the two-car garage, it’s okay if some of us don’t do that. There are some men out there who don’t treat women well, no matter how hard those women try to make those men happy. There are some men who are irresponsible, immature, overly entitled or even abusive, and it’s not their potential wives’ responsibility to turn them into better people. If there aren’t enough “good men” for all the women who are available, then some women will be single. And we can be awesome that way.
Don’t even get me started on Princeton Mom’s shooting off her mouth about rape victims. I’m not too ladylike to make a scene that’ll haunt your dreams.
I don’t think teenage girls should resolve their body-image problems with cosmetic surgery. I think society needs to stop teaching women to hate themselves starting in defenseless girlhood, and I think surgery at a too-young age will only further complicate most women’s body image.
I think more students, of both genders, should spend their college years studying hard and learning as best they can. If we must spend so much money on higher education, that time should be devoted to getting educated, not to getting married.
I think that having no partner at all is better than having an unsupportive partner. (If I had to sum up Why I’m Still Single in a few words, it would be those.) I think it’s okay for women to expect certain things in terms of how their male partners treat them, and if the men aren’t interested in meeting those expectations, those women haven’t failed at life when they tell those men to fuck off. I think it’s okay for women to have interests and ambitions that don’t center around their husbands, and they have the right to seek partners who respect those interests and support those ambitions. If no such partners are available, then it’s okay to be single. Really, it’s okay. I think that’s the central difference between someone like Princeton Mom and someone like me. Given the choice between having a shitty relationship with a selfish, inadequate partner, and having no relationship at all, I think that being single is not only acceptable, it is cause for celebration.
If you’re involved in the secular community, you may have noticed recently that some people have said/done some things regarding the debate over abortion rights that some of us uterus-bearers think the secular community could do without. I’m on Greta’s side in this one: fuck that shit. Go look at #UpForDebate to see how we feel about calmly and rationally debating our rights in keeping a handle on our lives. (Note: if that hashtag discussion seems grotesque and barbaric, that’s the point. That’s how it looks to us secular uterus-having feminists when we’re asked to debate abortion rights like we don’t have a knife held to our throat.) Anyway, I just want to examine the “secular pro-life” argument which PZ held up for our vegetable-throwing, as amplified without criticism by Hemant Mehta. This is what Ms. Kruszelnicki, the Pro-Life Humanist (*ahem* womb-controller who doesn’t believe in God**), says to defend her position:
If the fetus is not a human being with his/her own bodily rights, it’s true that infringing on a woman’s body by placing restrictions on her medical options is always a gross injustice and a violation. On the other hand, if we are talking about two human beings who should each be entitled to their own bodily rights, in the unique situation that is pregnancy, we aren’t justified in following the route of might-makes-right simply because we can.
What happens when both a woman and her developing fetus are regarded as human beings entitled to personhood and bodily rights? Any way you cut it, their rights are always going to conflict (at least until womb transfers become a reality). So what’s the reasonable response? It could start by treating both parties at conflict as if they were equal human beings.
The nature of pregnancy means that there can be no equal rights between gestational parent* and fetus. Everything the pregnant person eats, drinks or breathes goes to the fetus, and there’s nothing the fetus can do about that. If the pregnant person doesn’t get enough sleep, or exercises the wrong way, it can put the fetus at risk. If the pregnant person does drugs, especially the totally legal alcohol, that can permanently and adversely affect the fetus’s well-being. The fetus is completely helpless and dependent on its gestational parent. Basically, the fetus has no way to assert its bodily rights. The fetus doesn’t make decisions. It consumes, grows, develops, eliminates, and after a certain point it also moves around. But it doesn’t get a choice in what it consumes, and it doesn’t have the neural equipment to communicate its preferences even if it had any.
I am even so bold as to say that the concept of “bodily rights” is meaningless when we’re talking about a fetus. The fetus’s rights can only be decided externally, and they can only be enforced by a third party having control over a pregnant person’s life for the duration of the pregnancy. Unless the gestational parent is under lock and key, the fetus is at the mercy of their whims.
Which means that if the gestational parent doesn’t want to be pregnant, upholding equal rights between parent and fetus is a very sticky situation, at best. Which is why we get these cases of pregnancy losses*** being handled as criminal cases.
If there’s a conflict between the bodily rights of the pregnant person and the rights of the fetus, then one side must be held as superior over the other. If the pregnant person is barred from having a safe abortion, then the fetus clearly has more rights. If the pregnant person must fit some narrowly defined criteria before they can access abortion care (as Ms. Kruszelnicki would have it) then the fetus’s rights are undeniably held as superior.
The “pro-life” position is really that the fetus gets all the protections and the pregnant person bears all the restrictions and responsibilities. This isn’t a state of equality. The fetus is in a position of desperate dependency on the ability and willingness of its gestational parent to take care of demself*. They’d be a lot more honest if they dropped the pretense of equality and simply admitted straight out that they want us uterus-bearers to bend our lives around our pregnancy outcomes because babies deserve that level of dedication. Really, that’s what they’re talking about. They want us to sacrifice our bodily autonomy in the interests of making more babies. A situation of “equal rights” never seems to conclude on the side of the person who’s pregnant and doesn’t want to be.
*Not all uterus-bearers have female gender identities. Trans men and non-binary assigned-female-at-birth people can also make babies. This is why I use terms like uterus-bearer, gestational parent and pregnant person rather than pregnant woman. Let’s not deny the existence of non-cisgender people who might give birth.
**I do not accept the term “pro-life” to describe the anti-abortion position, and this will not change in the foreseeable future. I’d rather work with a pro-choice person of faith than an atheist who thinks I can be compelled to give birth.
***Seriously, look at this shit. Look at where the concern for “fetal rights” leads in the lives of vulnerable and troubled people.
Scott Kaufman at RawStory reports on this asshole:
According to his ruling, Judge Christopher McFadden claimed that a new trial was necessary because the unnamed victim waited a day before reporting the rape, and because she did not behave like a rape victim.
Nor, in his opinion, did William Jeffrey Dumas, who was convicted of repeatedly raping the victim in 2010, “behave like someone who had recently perpetrated a series of violent crimes.”
The evidence isn’t in dispute. Mr. Dumas’s semen was found in the victim’s bed, and the doctors who treated the victim found her injuries “consistent with multiple, forcible rapes.”
No, the judge’s issue with the conviction is that the victim and rapist, respectively, did not behave like a victim and rapist.
Plenty of rape victims wait a day, or longer, to report the crimes. Many don’t report at all! They often don’t report because they’re afraid (and not without reason) that some asshole, or several, in the justice system will scrutinize their behavior and decide they’re not acting victim-y enough.
People who commit rape aren’t oblivious to this theory of “acting like a rape victim.” Most rapists know their victims, and are well-acquainted enough with them to draw out the violation by coercing their victims to behave in certain ways, which most people tend to see as “not acting like a rape victim.”
When we expect victims to behave a certain way, we just give rapists instructions on how to get away with it.
The rape victim in this case has Down Syndrome. People with disabilities—most especially developmental and cognitive disabilities!—are particularly vulnerable to sexual predation, precisely because so many people don’t take their accounts seriously.
The message Judge McFadden is sending her is that it was a mistake to report her rapes. Her testimony doesn’t mean anything, so she should’ve just kept quiet.
I am sitting here cringing in solidarity with Paris Lees for having participated in a “debate” with Julie Burchill at the Spectator. It didn’t go well, but she seems to be dealing with the horror of her experience much better than I would. She has some handy, astute things to say about progressive concepts such as intersectionality, which seems to be catching a lot of flak from British white cisgender feminists lately. I will share her insights, as she is much more gracious than I am.
Intersectionality is a fairly unattractive word to describe a fairly useful concept. People face multiple forms of prejudice and intersectionality is simply about recognising the difference, say, between being called a “slag” and being called a “black slag”. Burchill says she doesn’t “like” intersectionality – but it’s not a case of liking. You either accept that some people have more to struggle against than you, or you don’t. And you either wish to help them, or you don’t. What she really means is that she doesn’t like transgender people objecting to her cruel and inaccurate jokes – just as some people say they “don’t like” political correctness because really they don’t like gay people asking to be treated with respect.
I see nothing unattractive about the word, but whatevs, it’s a term that’s in use for the discussion of social justice issues, and you’re either invested in those issues, or not.
Also, this happened:
Burchill also accused me of being a privileged graduate who probably spent my time at university learning academic jargon at sit-down protests. The truth is that I’m even more common than she is and turned to prostitution to put myself through higher education. It was more “lie down” than “sit-in”.
I’ve seen a screencap of Burchill’s writing in which she says that sex workers should be shot as collaborators with capitalist patriarchy. Maybe she’s developed a more nuanced view since then. For some reason I’m not interested in extending the benefit of the doubt.
Solidarity, the sort that Burchill says her dad believed in, was about everyone who was less well-off helping each other to achieve a more equal society. It’s a lovely idea but it wasn’t always successful. Increasing rights for workers didn’t necessarily apply to women, for example.
And fighting for better conditions for women doesn’t necessarily work out as improvements for women across the board. It’s like, some marginalized people are less marginalized than others, and the less marginalized aren’t necessarily interested in the concerns of those who deal with multiple oppressions. Working-class white cis women aren’t necessarily standing up for the rights of homeless trans women of color, for example.
On Road, the organisation that manages All About Trans (a project that introduces media professionals to young trans people), also works with homeless people, undocumented migrants, travellers and people with mental health issues. Intersectionality isn’t a competition, it is about promoting equal rights for everyone. I suspect that Burchill knows that, deep down, and couldn’t care less.
I think the qualifier of “deep down” is too generous.
The latest offering from Emily Yoffe is this shit:
College Women: Don’t Depend on “Bystanders” to Rescue You from Assault. Rescue Yourselves.
So what is her advice to young women for “rescuing themselves,” I wonder?
(Those scare quotes around “bystanders” are VERY REASSURING.)
Teaching young people to intervene when they suspect sexual assault is an important tool in reducing such crimes on college campuses. An article by Michael Winerip in theNew York Times on “bystander intervention” describes these programs that teach young people how to spot suspicious behavior and what to do about it and points to some early successes. Winerip writes, “The hope is that bystander programs will have the same impact on campus culture that the designated driver campaign has had in reducing drunken driving deaths.” He adds, “Both take the same tack: Drinking to excess can’t be stopped but the collateral damage can.”
Someone has evidence-based advice for reducing the incidence of rape on college campuses! Don’t worry, Yoffe is here to derail it.
No time for a full post at the mo’.
A little bird showed me on Facebook this morning that Emily Yoffe has once again taken to Slate to run her mouth about the relationship between intoxication (just on women’s part) and rape (overwhelmingly committed by men). It was a train wreck the last time did she did it, and it looks like she hasn’t learned a damn thing.
I can’t read the article. Not right now. I’m at work, where the pressure is absurd as usual, and…I think it’ll be best if I get nice and wasted before I dive into Yoffe’s latest iteration of Don’t Call it Victim-Blaming When I Blame Victims. I need to ride out the day, get home, have my way with the liquor cabinet, and THEN I can do something about this shit.
This happens in my inbox on occasion. Somehow I suspect these messages are reserved just for bi women.
That’s my username blurred out at the top, but something tells me they sent the same message to a lot of users at the same time. Part of me is tempted to respond to this message and ask for specifics on what led them to choose me as a possible candidate for their triad.
A handful of little birds told me about these messages received by various women around OKCupid, and I agreed to use them as examples in a post of What Not to Do in Online Dating, Dudes.
Oh, who am I kidding? There is no “little bird told me” here. These all came to my inbox. These are all recent additions to your blogger’s experiences in online dating.
I’m giving advice that applies to everyone seeking everyone, but since I’m a woman who gets messages mostly from men, I’m going to frame this as advice to men seeking women.
First on the docket is this guy:
At first I thought maybe I’d reply to this guy as an experiment. I’d tell him about how annoying it is that I keep getting messages from guys who don’t appear to have read my profile, and see how he responded to that.
It’s a sign of how jaded I am, as a woman who sees (and sometimes experiences) the range of skeevy shit that men pull to try and pressure women into opening up to them. My first impression of this message was that this user was trying some PUA shit, similar to “negging,” in which he’s trying to get me to respond and show him that I’m not like all those other, soulless online daters who can’t take the time to get to know someone.
Like I said: jaded. This is no country for Pollyanna.
I’ve decided against engaging with him, though, because he very well could be sincere. He might be genuinely put off by his experiences in online dating and just wants someone to talk to.
Doesn’t mean I’m going to become his new friend, though.
I’ll tell you what really does irk me about this message, regardless of my assuming the worst of his motives: there’s no sign that he has actually read my profile. I can’t tell that he wrote this message specifically for me.
I see this happening a lot. Usually it’s just a generic, barely even existent little fart in my inbox. I don’t think “hi how r u” or even “hi princess hows it going?” is adequate for introducing yourself to someone you’d like to date, but maybe I’m just a snob. Sometimes, though, I get lengthy, detailed, well-composed messages that seem to be very thoughtful until I take a step back and realize that the user copy/pasted his missive to a number of accounts who fit his demographic requirements but don’t seem to have much else in common.
I’m sure this happens to everyone to some extent, but then I also get an additional dose as a bisexual woman. I get the messages from couples who want to find another woman to join them in threesomes, so they scoop up a bunch of bi women’s accounts and just shotgun these transparently non-personalized “please give us a chance” missives without even checking our profiles for any sign that we’re into threesomes. I mean, we’re bi, so, obviously we MUST be into threesomes. Duh. Which is why these poor sad couples need to spray their come-ons at as many women simultaneously as they can.
(Quick digression: it’s always M/F couples who’re seeking threesome partners. I’ve never had a M/M couple ask me to join them in the sack.)
Now I’ll show you some more guys who’ve hit my Squick buttons, and very recently. I don’t mean this as a tall glass of Guys, Don’t Do That. It’s more a helping of Guys, Do This Instead. Let it never be said that feminists are humorless, sex-phobic harpies who want men to be miserable. I am handing out FREE ADVICE to improve your chances of a response, dudes! I can’t give you advice that’ll guarantee a reply, and certainly none that’s certain to make a woman want to jump on your peen. That advice doesn’t exist. I will, however, help you to get out of your own way. Especially if you’re seeking an intelligent, thoughtful woman for a long-term relationship.