Rub-Ins: A New Peaceful Protest

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Even though it doesn’t directly affect me, being in a much saner country that’s had a publicly funded health care system for decades that doesn’t get constantly challenged by wealthy misogynists, I’m still outraged by today’s SCOTUS decision that companies can opt out of providing insurance for birth control for women Just Because. Refusing sex with their partners is a means of political protest that cisgender heterosexual women have used before, and it’s appropriate for these circumstances too. But we need to go beyond that. It’s not enough anymore. We need to assert power over our own bodies by enjoying ourselves sexually in spite of all the ways patriarchal puritanism has tried to suppress it.

I’m going to stop getting into details there, because I’m not so brave to turn it into feminist erotica tweet by tweet on a weekday. We need to throw respectability politics out the window – especially since this will disproportionately affect women who make less money, and so uninsured birth control takes a disproportionate toll on their budget, and who may not have as many options for employment as women who try to enforce “respectability politics” – white cisgender heterosexual high earning women. Employees of Hobby Lobby, which I never fucking heard of before this bullshit (because, fortunately, I don’t think they’ve trekked north of 49), are likely to fall outside of these parameters by one measure or more.

A power that cisgender women who are affected by this decision have is the complexity of sexual stimulation in our genitalia. Some women can stimulate themselves by crossing their legs and moving around in a sitting position. We have a wider range of toys we can use. We can go up the skirt or down the pants without exposing ourselves, if we want to reduce objectification and the potential for this to be a peep show beneficial to heterosexual men. But let’s reinforce our sexual agency. It demonstrates how it’s in everyone’s interest for women to have access to birth control, stigma-free and without causing financial hardship. Beyond the medical conditions it also treats, women take it because they intend to engage sexually with another person who is almost always a man.

This SCOTUS decision doesn’t completely remove women’s sexuality or sexual agency; it enables corporations to impose burdens and limitations on the woman’s choice based on personal opinions of people who run it. It puts the misogyny of rich men ahead of the medical care of working class women. We can assert that our sexuality is our own, not just by denying men from it, but excluding men – showing that it exists whether we include them or not. Do the things that don’t require birth control to serve our best interests, and let the opposition know that their attempts at muzzling women’s sexuality is fruitless – it’s not going to get any more seeds planted.

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Exhausting Shit That I Did Today

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Exhausting shit that I did today:

  1. Work the first 90 minutes of my day without coffee
  2. Spend two hours mingling with a large crowd of mostly strangers pretending to be interested in my work and workplace
  3. Walk for two and a half hours in shoes that are only designed to be walked in for half an hour
  4. Write this list

The sun’s still up, technically, but I’m fucking going to bed.

 

I Lied

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Why does our common vernacular favour willful deception over minor error?

You mix something up. You get dates wrong, or confuse one fact with another. You discover it’s inaccurate. You say “Oops, I lied.” You didn’t lie. You were wrong. You made a mistake. It’s often a completely harmless mistake, but you would still rather say “I lied” than “I was wrong.”

We do all lie frequently, ever since Ricky Gervais invented Heaven. We lie to ourselves because, to use a phrase I absolutely fucking hate but will subject you do out of my own spite and malice for this despicable human race, “it’s hardwired into our brains” to take shortcuts and assume that our senses are objective reality. We lie without speaking when we shake our heads at, or outright ignore, the panhandler asking us if we can spare any change. We lie about how we’re feeling. We lie about how much we care or how interested we are in other people’s lives. We lie about our own feelings towards other people, whether this be by omission or by saying intentionally misleading things.

But more often than we lie, we are wrong. Within what’s “hardwired into our brains” there is more that we are just outright wrong about. It’s ignorance, but not willful ignorance. We get facts wrong in conversations. We get mixed up with how to do things that are part of our jobs. When we discover what we said or did was factually incorrect, we should be comfortable to say “Oops, I was wrong.” Otherwise, we’re lying by saying we’re lying, and our existence becomes a paradox that disappears into thin air.

This can only stem from some embedded belief in our cultural core that it’s better to lie than to be wrong. Machiavelli’s prince couldn’t take credit for the ends if he didn’t intentionally lie throughout the means. Being wrong risks being discredited; lying risks losing trust; trust is easier to regain than credit, or so we must subconsciously believe.

By criticizing this misuse of language, I might bring upon responses that it doesn’t matter, because when words are widely misused they effective change in meaning in an ever evolving language. But this is an important difference to preserve. If we equate lying with being wrong, then to err is immoral; to deceive is divine. But mistakes are where serendipity come from. Mistakes bring about discoveries. Mistakes are how we prove ourselves – amidst making several of them, coming out of it relatively unscathed is impressive and a practical necessity in everyday society, and especially in Timelords traveling beyond the human imagination in a police box. Would you talk about examples of getting out of lying in a job interview? No, you wouldn’t, if you wanted to get a job that wasn’t selling snake oil. You want examples of fixing mistakes, and you should own the ones you make if you want to own the solutions as well.

I don’t want to you stop lying. That’s unfair. I want you to stop lying about lying, and I want you to stop misusing language in a way that erases the value of honesty and humility to maintain an inflated pride.

Football and North American Traditions

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A suggestion for the owners of Washington DC’s team in the National Football League – look to your northern neighbours for inspiration.

We have many similar traditions to you, after all. While we have better rules for football, they make a miniscule difference compared to how much the rest of the world gets “football” wrong. We also have the same history of colonization and cultural genocide, adopting the images we like about our land’s indigenous peoples while not actually including or giving the slightest shit about them.

We also have a history in our Canadian Football League of stealing names – see Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Ottawa Rough Riders. The latter preceded the former in adopting this virtually identical name by about 25 years. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, however, with their inbred banjos and literal melons on their heads, outlasted Ottawa’s team, who folded in 1996. This season Ottawa is returning with a new team (their second attempt at getting back into the league) and calling themselves the team colours of their Rough Riders of era past – The Ottawa Red Blacks.

This name comes from the jersey colours most of their teams have adopted in the history of formal Canadian sports. But it can also be appropriated by Washington in a cleverly meaningful way. It keeps the same three letters. They won’t even need to change their colours, necessarily. It represents a lot of what Washington, as a symbol for America has a whole, is built upon – oppression and appropriation. “Red” can still be unspokenly racist against native peoples, and “Blacks” is appalling part of white systemic oppression that is reflected far more in US history than in Canada’s.

And since Canada is humble and will take any compliment we can get, we might even be flattered instead of outraged that our bully of a neighbour is stealing from us yet again. It’s an all-around good representation of the United States of America, and Washington is at the heart of it all.

But you might want to take a hint from Saskatchewan (in this rare occasion when that is ever a good idea) and combine it into one word. “Washington Redblacks” has quite the ring to it.

Time Wasted is Money Saved

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With a few of major purchases on my credit card bill and my insistence on having enough to pay it all off as soon as the monthly statement is issued, I’m going to spend the next few weeks really living on the cheap. I hope to keep busy and broke, while also adequately fed and fulfilling social obligations. Flip a coin; this could be quite easy or it could be very hard.

The key is keeping myself busy enough at no or negligible costs. Here are some examples of what I can do to fill time without swiping a card (or inserting a chip, but that doesn’t have a ring to it):

  • Play video games (this opens up a can of worms and is counteractive to my past weekend which I may write about separately)
  • Watch things on Netflix, including the rest of season 2 of OITNB
  • Exercise
  • Write, draw, or edit photos
  • Sing as badly as that guy I can hear from my back alley at the very moment of this typing
  • Clean (which I have a lot of)
  • Listen to podcasts (which I have a lot of)
  • Finish projects I took on two years ago (this will cost some money, but I’ve kind of given up and might take the cheapest route possible)
  • Hang around the hospital maternity ward for a few hours while my sister goes through the most painful experience of her life
  • Go to work (this seems kind of given, but I’m also itching for a bit of a break; however, this will give me more freedom to go out and spend more)
  • Lie on the grass outside and read
  • Lie on the couch inside and read
  • Fall asleep on the couch inside while trying to read
  • Yell at motorists
  • Find mathematical proof that God does not exist while trying to devise a flat tax system
  • Shove crayons up my nose
  • Walk 500 miles and then walk 500 more (which by my calculations will take twelve straight days)
  • Tweet incessantly
  • Post stupid lists like these
  • Sleep more, which is what I should be doing right now

Now, the question is – will these things get me to the end of the month? What about to the end of the summer? And perhaps more importantly, why do I feel poorer now than I did a year or two ago when I was earning less money?

These are very mysterious questions. Maybe my flat tax plan will find the answers. Maybe those answers are related to the non-existence of a god.

 

The Iron Age

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I might start using this half the time as a place to put sequential tweets, so they’re recorded somewhere else in history. I can be a genius at any time of day and it’s easier to record my brilliance there then here.

Lady Parts

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In the second season of Orange is the New Black (which I’m only three episodes into, so I will keep content spoilers to a minimum out of mutual interest), an extended argument springs up among inmates over whether women pee out of their vaginae. Some insist that they do. Some have always thought that, but are less sure. Some, including the higher educated main character, Piper, knew there were separate holes but didn’t know much else. It’s trans woman Sophia who has to explain to her fellow inmates the various parts of their vulvae. She’s very informed on this, having done her own research as part of her transition process and wanting to get a beautiful vulva of her own. With a diagram, she points out in front of rows of curious women what they have never learned, nor explored themselves with the help of a mirror. The labia, the vagina, the urethra, the clitoris, the clitoral hood – grown women didn’t know what was what.

I was passingly aware of these things, though not from thorough research or much formal education in anatomy. I can’t tell you when I learned them, because I started learning the basics of procreation at home 25 years ago, and a bit more sex and anatomical education sprinkled into some curricula 15-20 years ago. Having these female body parts has certainly helped me piece together fragmented facts, which most characters in OITNB should have been able to do as well. Maybe it’s the fanatics against thorough sex education that make it different for these American characters. Maybe for some it’s a lack of educational opportunities as part of the package of poverty linked to why they’re in prison. Maybe for others it’s shaming of women’s sexuality and bodily functions that keeps otherwise bright women ignorant of their nether region. In any case, this has to stop.

Women, with vulvae and all the other bits that accompany it: explore things a bit more. Don’t be afraid to look down when you’re on the toilet and observe a slight trajectory of urine streaming from a spot not quite at the very bottom. Maybe (and I’m getting quite graphic here) take a look between those legs when you’re menstruating and there’s a string of bloody goop, or goopy blood if you prefer, hanging down yet you’re peeing from a different spot. Know where your clitoris is and what’s around it. Take a mirror and examine what your body looks like – and wonder, after looking at it, why a pretty face matters so much to heterosexual men when their end goal is such a messy arrangement of flesh.

We own our vulvae. The prudishness comes from a long history of sexually repressive patriarchy that thinks sex education should only be three words long (“Don’t do it”), or sexually oppressive patriarchy that says the only time a woman should pay attention to their genitalia is when she’s grooming it for the enjoyment of a man. We should get to know the place, in ways pertaining to not only sex, but health, hygiene, and simple anatomy.

Trans women like Sophia in OITNB need to go through a much harder process to learn about the vulva, yet they can often know more from having to do research. We cisgender women can take it for granted, and remain ignorant to our own bodies. Everybody is better off knowing where the female urethra lies, between the clitoris and vagina, as part of the most glorious feature of human anatomy.