Monday, September 5, 2011

Some thoughts on fat acceptance and health at every size

First, I want to put out there that I think both of them are really important movements that deserve a lot more discussion than I'm likely to get in to.  Second, I want to point out that I really am coming at this from a bit of an outsider's perspective, since I'm not really fat or healthy--I'm right where traditional measures say I should be for weight, but I don't really exercise much, and I eat more cheese than a normal household.

Even so, I've been thinking about them lately, and I noticed that I've been seeing a lot more haes than fa on the blogs I read, and this was getting to me.  I think I've pinned down a couple of the reasons, at least.  1. It seems like a way of apologizing for/justifying existence/size when its something that should not need justifying, and when justifying it 2. Creates a separation and dichotomy that some fat people are better than others--haes sometimes reads like an explanation and apology, a statement that someone is doing everything conceivable to fit body norms but hasn't, so they still get their A for effort.  It also seems like it is 3. putting a superior value on people who are healthy, which... I think we should all aspire to health, but I think that to some, haes makes it almost more acceptable to criticize fat people who don't eat healthily than it was before haes came along, when a lot of times fat is also tied into lack of education, and living in food deserts, and simply not having the time or the money to eat healthy.  Also, even for those that do have the time/money/genes to be thin if they really tried... 4.  What business is it of anyone else's that they might be fat and unhealthy?  So what if someone is or isn't healthy.  I feel like haes, to a certain extent, undermines the idea that we should be judging people by minds and character, and instead says to judge them on how well they follow the generally established guidelines for behavior that is supposed to, but does not, lead to the generally accepted thin ideal.

I feel like it creates a new script to follow.  I feel like fa/ba stand for the idea that looks shouldn't play into how people are evaluiated, while I have this uneasy feeling that haes is setting up a proxy for looks, so that judging is still subtly encouraged, and some fat people get to look down on other fat people.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hypergamy is a dumb idea

This rant was written, and scheduled to be posted, some months ago, but something went wrong with the blogger posting system.  There are more (and more coherent) reasons why believing in hypergamy is silly, but this only touches the surface.

As many of my friends know, I take great delight in reading a number of men's rights and pick up blogs, because I apparently like to be angry.  I've been told it's a trait common in those who went to law school, but it certainly isn't one JD shares.  I started reading men's right's blogs because of my interest in father's/custody rights, paternity leave, and social ramifications of being a stay at home dad, but I quickly discovered that the bulk of the MRM focus is on... hating women, especially feminists.  Which makes me sad, because I honestly would like to support men's rights in a number of areas, but the people I find as the most numerous and most visible members are all pretty horrible.  But!  End of digression!

One of the concepts the blogs like to talk about is hypergamy.  I had never heard of the concept of hypergamy before reading MRA blogs, most likely because it's an utterly ridiculous false concept.  I have no doubt that in some times, and in some cultures, hypergamy was evident, but to say it's how things work in modern US culture is simply ridiculous.  Hypergamy is the idea that women are always looking to marry "up"-- and in MRA blogs, it's extended to the idea that hypergamy is responsible for most divorce, and that most women will leave a marriage if they think they can get a wealthier partner.  It seems, in most of the areas I've found it, to concentrate exclusively on money and power.

I fell like the hypergamy concept comes at least partly from a certain sense of entitlement some men have towards women and women's bodies.  Not all men, of course, and not even most men-- most men seem to be like most women, decent enough.  But enough to be a small, loud group on the internet.  The idea that a woman would ever dare end a relationship seems evil to them, while at the same time many of them advocate avoiding relationships with women so they can keep dating younger and younger women.   I... see a bit of a disconnect there.  And an utter incompatibility of ideas.

At any rate, it makes sense for people to be upset when they get broken up with for stupid or unapparent reasons.  And, it makes sense for someone to decide that the reason couldn't possibly be their own personality, but that the breakuper found someone younger/smarter/hotter/richer/morefamous than them.  So, it makes total sense for guys who are jerks or negative to women to believe that it wasn't their OWN flaws that caused the breakup, but rather, that she found someone with more money.

Because clearly, money is the only thing we women-- who are all evil harpies-- care about.

Thing is, I don't think hypergamy exists.  At least, it certainly doesn't they way think it does.  Do some people "marry up"?  Sure.  And some of those people are women.  But plenty of other women also marry down.  In my own, admittedly anecdotal experience, women tend to go for men who are at similar levels of everything-- intelligence, religion, money, attractiveness, education level, social skills-- all of it.  Sure, some elements will be higher, some will be lower, but people tend to go for those who are most similar to them.  I'm sure hypergamy was more common when women were married off as bargaining chips to create economic alliances, but in a time when people get to pick their own marriages, most women who aren't Playboy Bunnies end up marrying people they're compatible with.  Especially since women these days can actually get jobs and support themselves, and in plenty of careers even support their whole family as well as a man can.  Househusbands aren't on the rise due to the recession alone, afterall.

Look, there are always going to be a few women who go after the richest or hottest man they can, and a few men who go after the hottest or richest woman they can.  But most people these days seem to be looking for a good partner, someone compatible, someone with like goals and like minds.  The rise in the divorce rate isn't something that thrills me, but it's not necessarily a bad thing-- people these days are able to leave marriages that don't work, rather than just get partners on the side.  No fault divorce means people are able to leave when they're abused without having to go through the mentally harrowing process of proving it in a court of law, and are able to get out earlier, with less risk of danger.

When it comes to relationships, your average person isn't as mercenary as the hypergamy theory suggests.  And if you want to make sure you're finding someone who isn't going the hypergamy route?  Try looking at feminists-- although, if you're a fan of the hypergamy idea, they may not want to look at you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weight loss and self image

I debated whether or not to write about this, because I try not to write too much about myself, personally.  But... this isn't really compromising the privacy for my friends or JD or even too much of my deep inner feelings.  I was also hesitant to write about it because I know a LOT of people have weird relationships with weight, and I don't want to upset anyone who reads this blog, (which is like three people on a consistent basis, but whatever) and I'm a little ashamed of how I'm reacting to this, to be honest.  But hey.  I like to be honest, and this is a really commonly discussed topic in lady issue circles.

So... I've lost weight, since my wedding and moving.  Not a lot, but enough that my average weight range is now lower than the lowest end of my weight range has been for at least six years.  About ever other morning now, my weight ends up below 1X0 instead of above 1X0, and at the time of my wedding, it was averaging at about 1X7.  (Oh, and the reason for the Xs?  My actual weight isn't relevant to this post.  Insert whatever number for X that you want, I really don't care.)  I generally consider myself to be a person who is pretty accepting of all sizes, and pretty size-positive.  I'm not an outright fat activist, but I really do believe that health and appearance are often not related, and that if someone is fat, it's their own business and says nothing about their personality or even life habits.  Like most people, I know skinny people who eat shit and drink all the time, and heavier people who work out and eat healthy.

The thing that is weird here, is that the second morning in a row that the scale was under 1X0, (because the first morning it was I dismissed it as a total fluke) I got really, really happy.  And then really upset with myself for being happy.  Because my weight doesn't matter, and I'm pretty happy with the way I look, and the way I have looked the last few years.  Hell, before my wedding, I actually knew I couldn't lose weight, or my dress wouldn't fit.  But now, I'm just dropping weight, and I'm not trying.  The main thing is that I'm drinking less, because I'm studying for the bar instead of being depressed that I don't have a job.  I'm also possibly eating healthier, because summer means MOAR DELICIOUS FRUIT, and I really like fruit but really hate apples.  Seriously, they are the WORST.

I'm also drinking more tea and fidgeting a lot.  Because man, barbri is essential, but it is BORING so I drink my tea and I basically dance in my chair the days we do lectures at home, and hope no one notices that my legs are flailing around the days we do lectures in class.  But like... I don't get it.  I still eat peppermint mochas and danishes for breakfast whenever I am slow moving in the morning, and I still am a fairly lazy non exercising person, since I don't have a gym membership and our pool is um, not really meant for swimming in and also always full of people getting drunk.

And yet, my happy-with-myself self is... happy that I'm losing weight, even though there are really no physical signs of this.  I grew up being sort of terrified of getting fat, since my mom is heavier and was pretty vocal about her disappointment with her body, and that led to some internalization of body-fear.  Mix that with the fact that I'm about half a foot taller than most of my friends were growing up and that my shoulders and hips are wide, I always felt ridiculously huge and disproportional, even though as an adult I realize the only thing really disproportional about me is my ridiculously long waist.  Which means next to no shirts actually meet the waistline of my jeans.  Thanks, body!  Anyway, I remember trying on my mom's wedding dress when I was 14 or 16, and it wouldn't zip up past the start of my ribcage.  (given that it is over 40 years old though, I don't think I would have wanted to wear it anyway NO OFFENSE MOM) It all fed into a really self conscious and uncomfortable me back when I was a teen and just starting college.  I am also a lazy person who enjoys cheese, booze, and sweets, so um, yeah.  But as I became an adult and realized my body had settled into a shape I actually liked, I stopped worrying, and I stopped caring as much, and other than weighing myself about once a week, I really didn't care.

And now I'm weighing myself every day marveling at this, and thinking that I'm only 3 pounds away from the weight I was when I graduated highschool now, and wondering what is WRONG WITH ME THAT I EVEN CARE.  Part of me is all "Yes, losing weight!!!" and the other part of me is all "NO I want to keep my boobs and hips and butt!" and the dominant part of me is all "SHUT UP OR I WILL THROW OUT THE SCALE".

Losing weight is not automatically going to make me healthier, not if the most exercise I get is fidgeting.  And while I do eat a LOT more fruit than I had been doing in Boston, I feel like I am actually eating more food here, not less.  So what is going on?  I don't understand my own metabolism, and I don't completely understand my reaction to it, and I feel a little bit like a science project, and the part of me that wants pretty new dresses is all "yessss, keep losing weight, get us new sundresses yesssssss" while the part of me that likes budgeting is telling me that I spent too much on nailpolish and peppermint mochas (WHICH ARE A LEGITIMATE STUDY AID AND THEREFORE EXCUSEABLE), and now I'm thinking that my sad materialistic/capitalist side and my sad appearance conscious side are trying to band together against the normal me who hangs out in jeans and a different color of the same tank top every day, with a ripped ugly grey hooded shirt on top, no makeup, and air-dried hair.

Whatever.  I'm still going to keep my new nightly habit of drinking 1/3 of a mug of warmed heavy whipping cream while reading before bed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Internet Is My Generation's Consciousness Raising Group.

Consciousness raising groups were a big deal in feminism back before I was born, but I had never heard of one until my feminist jurisprudence course in law school.  When I first read about them, I couldn't really see a purpose for them in the modern era, but after discussing them in class, I really wanted to take part in one-- I can see something of value in discussing our problems, successes, and concerns with other women, including women who aren't our friends, and in seeing similarities in many different ways of living.  It's a connection to the "personal is political" world of thought, which, while still an important part of feminism, is less focused on now that feminists tend to make more choices that would be questionable to the feminists of yore-- things like dressing to appeal to the male gaze of a partner, or the resurgence in interest in being a stay at home parent, and a focus on cooking and crafting.  Some women  are re-embracing some stereotypically feminine things that were once does as a necessity and getting joy out of it, which understandably might feel a little like a slap to women who fought for their right to not do those things.

But end digression.

My class attempted to form a concsiousness raising group... but we were all too busy to make it work.  Which is something of a terrible excuse, since most of us were on the law school campus at some time during most days of the week anyway, but still.  We couldn't get more than three or four of us together at a time, and without having some consistency to things, it felt difficult-- to me, anyway-- to open up about concerns and worries.

And so, I envied women who had been able to be a part of a consciousness-raising experience, and then I thought about what my generation is doing instead and I realized... plenty of us ARE involved in some sort of consciousness-raising group, except we don't call them that, and we don't meet with others in person.  Instead, women of my generation seem to be turning to the internet, to anonymous message boards like reddit's Two X Chromosomes community, or fandom livejournal and tumblr communities, or comment sections on popular blog sites, like Shakesville, feministing, and feministe... and back in the day, before the changed their comment system and alienated a lot of their user base, Jezebel.

I see, in these places, women discussing all the issues of their lives and getting feedback from other women.  And finding out that some personal things are more common than one might think.  Just look at these places-- people talk about their work experiences, their relationships with family and partners, the ways others interact with them in public, and how it changes when they dress differently.  Just... all sorts of things.  Whatever you have a question about, you can find someone to talk with, without even having to reveal who you are.  I mean, you find a lot of posts comparing the best kind of menstrual cup, or asking where to buy affordable, professional work clothing so that you don't have to drop mad cash or show your boobs, but still.  Serious issues get discussed, and people connect, and get more insight into their own lives when they reflect on them and reflect on the lives of others.  So while I still think that real, in person consciousness raising groups do have a lot of value, I see a lot of value in the internet's ability to educate, enlighten, and just get us talking to people who want to talk about the same things.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In response to Danny's Corner: Are We Really That Rare?, OR, A Post On Adult Male Virginity

Apparently virgins count for less than 3% of the over-25-years-old male population of the US.  While I sometimes think about virginity and the ways it's valued and constructed in US culture, I don't typically spend a lot of time thinking about adult virgins...  unless I see posts like this one over at Danny's corner that actually address the issue.

I tend to assume that most people over the age of 25 have had sex at least once.  I assume that there's a larger proportion of virgins in different, more religious subcultures than the one I'm in.  And it seems that I'm mostly right.  I do tend to assume that people-- male and female-- who are virgins into their mid twenties are religious... which might be because the one guy I know who I know for sure is a virgin is religious.  He's of the courtship rather than dating mindset, so he's pretty extreme in his views as far as things go.  But... it's a choice.  And for another guy who I knew in college, it was also a choice.  I have no clue what his status is now, since, well, college was four years ago, but for him it was that he wanted it to be special and all that jazz.

What I'm more curious about is how many guys are virgins into their mid twenties against their choices-- either because they're in relationships with men or women who are determined to not have sex, or because they are too busy to date and against one night stands, or because they just keep. striking. out.  I know that there are definitely guys like this out there-- the whole "forever alone" concept, and sad self-posts to reddit are enough to make most people who spend too much time know that. A quick google also found me two websites focusing on involuntary celibacy, which is apparently also called Incel, though they include people who have had sex in the past, but who are long term celibate anyway.  But I'm curious about the guys who are still virgins, and why, and if it's not by choice, why it is that they've been unable to find a sex partner.  I'd guess shyness, mostly, because in the age of online dating, even if you are what the majority of society considers sexually unappealing, there are people who like all sorts of appearances, and a partner could probably be found online, even if it would take a lot of effort.  For some, I'd think it might have to do with behavior-- I can't imagine a straight man who is openly hateful and misogynistic having much success with women, for example, or someone who is so shy he doesn't actually talk to women or make clear his interest.  And for some, of course, I'd assume it's because they dated a woman who didn't want to lose her virginity for a long time, and after the relationship ended, have been unsure how to proceed.

I've noticed online that there's an idea that male virginity is a huge turn-off to women, and something most women would run from.  I actually have no clue how most of my friends feel about this, for a change, because it's just something that has not come up-- other issues get talked about, but i think meeting male virgins doesn't even cross the mind of most of my dating lady-friends.  Hell, the last virgin I encountered was in college, and he was 21.  Most guys-- 97% of them, once they hit 25-- have had some experience.  But 3% is still a really large number, when you think about.  Just look at your Facebook-- you probably have, like, 500 Facebook friends.  3% of that number is 15.  Now think about all the dudes in the US who are over the age of 25.  Statistically, its a small number, but it's also a HUGE number, so a ton of guys out there aren't having sex, either by choice or without choice.  And think how many more guys have had sex with one person who they aren't sexing anymore and who aren't having sex now.  An even huger number!  As someone who thinks that sex is an important, healthy part of being an adult (unless you're asexual) this is just... boggling and disturbing and saddening.  Though I hope most virginal guys aren't sad, I have to think a large portion of them probably are, especially because of the messages society says about guys who "can't get laid" being worth less than other men.  It's the sort of thing that also makes me annoyed that we don't have safe, legal prostitution or sex surrogates in this country (and my thoughts on sex work are enough to fill up many other posts, but in short: I think prostitution should be legal, I don't think it's any worse for most people than sleeping around with non prostitutes, but I think the ways it often happens in the US are not good situations for sex workers.  Legalize and regulate is my motto in this as in many other things).  It can't help erase frustration at not having a relationship, and it's unlikely to help a lot of guys with any underlying issues that may be keeping them celibate by choice, but it's at least something.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Moving is exhausting and apparently pisses off your cats.

JD and I are unpacking in earnest, but we won't have a regular internet connection until sometime Monday.

People down here are much more forward than they are in Boston.  I get that it's being friendly, but after living in Boston for four years, where people are perfectly friendly if not outgoing, it seems almost rude.  Small cultural differences even inside the same country.

I am fairly certain there is literally nothing within safe walking distance of the apartment (safe meaning, I am not crossing a highway on foot, thanks).

Moving is always strange to me, and I always change some as a result of my surroundings.

It'll be interesting to see what happens this time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today being mother's day, I had different thoughts running through my head about cultural expectations of mothers, and media representations, and the work that goes into being a mom, and the role of motherhood in feminism, but...

I deleted all my thoughts on those.

Because really, I just want to say I have an awesome mom.  She is like me in many ways, and utterly unlike me in many other ways.  When I was younger, we didn't always get along so well.  Even now, we often disagree.  But she's awesome, and she was a really good mom.  

She did, and does, small little things to show me that she cares-- thoughtful things that are really sweet and unnecessary.  Like making my favorite kind of cookies, and waking me up when i visit home instead of having me set my alarm.  Going shopping with me, and letting me pick movies when we go to them together.  

Some specific things I remember from years ago-- when I was a kid, I used to have this unicorn, that rotated and played a song when you wound it up.  i knocked it off the highest dresser in my room one day, and even though my floor was carpeted, it still shattered.  My mom glued all the tiny pieces back together again.

I also had a small stuff cat that I carried literally EVERYWHERE.  To the point that the cat came off to college with me... to law school with me... and now has a place on our bookshelves.  Judge all you want, but that kitty has sentimental value.  Anyway, sewn to the cat's mouth is this small little pillow with the words "With Love" written on it.  Except... the pillow fell off.  So my mom sewed it back on.  And it fell off again.  and she sewed it on again.  All the way up until I was old enough that I sometimes left if in my room and it wasn't treated quite as harshly.  Granted, the pillow was probably only falling off all the time for a year of so, because time feels longer when you're a kid, but my mom rescuing and fixing White Kitten (creative naming, huh?  There was also a Grey Kitten that wasn't nearly as soft or cute, and which was discarded.) every single time meant a LOT to me as a kid.  And hell, it means a lot to me now.  She didn't have to do it, but she did, repeatedly.

And she still does awesome stuff now, but now it's generally more in the talking and being supportive realm, since I can sew and cook and fix things if I break them... and since she lives in another state, we're mostly limited to talking.  But my parents did send JD and me an Easter basket of delicious candy this year, so some small and awesome things are still done even from out of state!  :-)

And, in a coincidence of good timing, I get to see both my parents on Tuesday :-)

Friday, April 22, 2011

I think conversations about the variability of what people like in bed are fascinating.  I don't say much about my own sexuality here (other than the obvious, that I'm married to a dude!), but one thing I will say is that I don't watch porn.  I get why others do, but it just has never interested me.  So, for an outsider's view, reading about what people are actually looking for and at is super interesting.  And a study just came out talking about porn and search terms.  I know this study is poorly researched and not at all valid ( which has been discussed in some of the science blogs I read, though i can't remember which ones, or I'd go read them now!  And if I knew at the time it was about sexuality research, I would have paid more attention to those posts!  But since it came in the midst of a sea of posts on climate, I just ignored, sadly, but at least i recognized the researchers names), but I think it's still worth thinking about, because of the basic assumptions of what porn is, and who views it, and the fact that even if they have their numbers wrong, the searches themselves do exist.

See, in general, it seems as if porn is angled as something men view to see women.  Obviously there is porn made for women, and porn made for gay men, but the idea of porn directed at straight men that depicts women as sex objects to be used/consumed is the predominant one, both among anti-porn groups, and in casual discussions about porn online and off, even with people who use porn regularly.  But i know plenty of ladies who enjoy porn, too, and some guys who don't.  One of my best friends from college discovered porn when she was about 14, and proceeded to lock herself up every day after school and watch it for hour.  A guy I knew in college said that he never watched porn because it was never as creative or specific as his imagination could be.  Granted, I'm not saying either of them is representative of their genders, but just that the scope of how people interact with porn is likely broader than most of us initially picture.

I haven't read the full study, just the highlights on Jezebel (which, as I always mention, is a site that I strongly feel has gone downhill and which I would not call feminist, but which I still read because hell, it may be little more than a news aggregator these days, but it's an aggregator of things that interest me, at least).  Two of the things they highlight are that there are a surprisingly large umber of searches for older women and fat/chubby women.  Though this is likely in part due to the fact that a non specific porn search will turn up a lot of young, thing woman, it IS worth noting, because we as a society so often desexualize heavier and older women-- but there are plenty of people out there for whom that's right up their alley.

And yes, there are conversations to be had about whether being reduced to a sex object is actually progress, but I still think acknowledgement that different people like different things is important.

It emphasizes how much personal preferences play into who we find attractive-- something that really first hit me in college when I realized that my closest girl friends and i did not really have overlapping taste in men.  And when I realized most people find Brad Pitt hot.  Personally, I think he has a nice body, but looks like a monkey.  But anyway-- variety abounds!  And preferences for different parts of that variety abound too!  So much of culture and, from what I understand, mainstream porn tells us that there is something that is universally desirable, and that all people would go for that if given the chance-- but the porn searches (and conversations in which people just can not figure out where their friends are coming from) show that that isn't really the case.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I don't have pink hair

I've been thinking some about personal preferences for one's partner, mainly due to some reddit threads, most of which focus on the always argumentative topic of pubic hair grooming.  It's really interesting to me how different people are in what they think is reasonable in a relationship-- the people there span from those who don't think it's appropriate to ask a partner to change anything about themselves, to those who think its fine to ask them to change things that take real effort, like weight loss.

I'm somewhere in the middle, there-- because on one hand, I really strongly value bodily autonomy and being happy with yourself, and on the other hand, I do get that sexual attraction is an important part of adult romantic relationships.  Which means that I don't have pink hair, since JD finds it appalling, but I also am not entirely sure what his favorite style of clothing is for women, since I wear what i like.

Point is, I think that compromise is an important part of relationships, and I think that that compromise can-- and sometimes should-- extend even into parts of yourself as personal as appearance, whether its shaving, haircuts, facial hair, clothing styles... basically, if it isn't something you are really uncomfortable with, or something that is against your morals, or something that is unsafe/expensive... why the hell not at least give it a try?

So many blogs, especially feminist and sex-positive blogs, talk about how we should generally be willing to try our partner's kinks (though I DID also just read a really good post about how we should respect the more vanilla partner more than many sexuality bloggers do, but since I open too many tabs, which then crashes chrome and makes me lose all the tabs... no linky.  sadface).  And if we're encouraging people to embrace things they aren't totally comfortable with in the bedroom (which, granted, is private), why is it so bad for people to "change" aspects of their physical appearance for a partner?

I'm not advocating a total extreme makeup, or changing a style completely.  That's not a compromise either.  And I strongly feel that the person whose body it is should get far larger than fifty percent of say in what's going on with it.  But I do think a partner's preferences, and their sexual turn ons, should get some consideration if it's a serious relationship, especially since people grow more comfortable talking about what they do and do not like as relationships become more serious.

A part of feminism is owning your own body, and be honest about your wants and needs, but I don't think that doing things to please a partner are at all in conflict with that-- especially if your partner is also doing things to please you.

EDIT: JD has pointed out that he thinks pink hair would be cute on me, but inappropriate for someone who is going to be an attorney.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The first of our wedding pictures!

I think they just look amazing.  I can't wait for the rest!  Our photographer was also super friendly and fun to work with.

Go check them out:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kyl and Beck say a lot of stupid stuff, huh?


So, we all know Planned Parenthood is under attack from so many angles, and that so many people are lying about them, some senators (Hi Jon Kyl!  How is something presented as fact on the senate floor NOT meant to be taken as fact?) and some talk show hosts making ridiculous hyperbole (Hi Glen Beck! Hookers, huh?  Really?  I mean, REALLY?)  (and yes, I am not linking to these things because, hi, I'm sick, and also, hi, Google is your friend, really.

I don't even know how to respond.

We all know, or should know, at this point, that any abortions that PP does are not federally funded already due to the Hyde Amendment.  We also know, or should know by now, that abortion is only ~3% of what PP does.

Look, guys.  I'm a married 26 year old lady.  I think it is probably not a secret that I am having sex.  And since I am unemployed, my husband and I can't really afford to have a kid right now.  So you know what we do to prevent that?  BIRTH CONTROL.  and you know where I am going to most likely be going to get my birth control when my prescription runs out, since I have no insurance?  PLANNED PARENTHOOD.  And you know where I will most likely get my pap and yearly check up, that will ensure that I will be able to provide my husband with joyous offspring, thereby demonstrating his virility to the world in a Republican-approved manner?  PLANNED PARENTHOOD.  And you know what else I could go to PP for if I did manage to get knocked up earlier than planned despite the birth control?  PRENATAL CARE.  That's right, guys.  PP will do all the SUPER EXPENSIVE prenatal checkups a woman should have at an affordable price!  And if I wanted to get pregnant and had trouble conceiving, you know what else they could do?  Tell me all kinds of medical stuff about how to up my chances of conception!  Because they actually do employs doctors and nurse practitioners who know about this stuff!  If we wanted a kid and got pregnant now, PP would actually be able to help us have a healthy baby and reduce the risk of miscarriage!  


Walgreens and CVS can't prescribe me my birth control (that enables us to have condomless sex the way most men like it, GOP!).  They can't give me a pap smear and help make sure I don't get cancer (Are they going to look up my vag in the stationary aisle?  The candy aisle?  No.  They DON'T DO THAT KIND OF STUFF).  They can sell me vitamins, but can they sample my blood and help me deal with gestational diabetes if I get it?  NO, THEY CAN'T.  The kids in pharmacy school who usually fill my prescriptions may well not even know of doctor's offices to refer me to if I need a specialist!

So, yeah, guys.  Planned Parenthood does provide abortions, and in my opinion, that's a super important thing that shouldn't be prevented.  But through their birth control services, they do a whole hell of a lot more to prevent abortion than the Right does, and through their many many services, they do a whole hell of a lot that benefits married men and women, whether the lady in the equation is a housewife or holds down a demanding career.

Oh, and for the dudes who want to sleep around while they're young and single?  WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY GET TESTED FOR STDS AFTER COLLEGE, HUH?

EDIT: Oh My God, Stephen Colbert.  I think I love you.  How did I not know about this clip until right now, 2:01 PM?

I hate the T

I realize I just posted, I live on the green line.

So check this out:

Or, if you live on another line, will allow you to examine any of them, based on their real time data!

I hate the T.  I am consistently half an hour early or half an hour late to nearly everything, even when I leave at the same time.

sick. sniffle sniffle

After waking up from a horrible nightmare (that sounds SO STUPID when I relate it, so don't even ask) I discovered that my low level stuffyness has turned into a full fledged cold.  But I still feel fine, except for the whole hot stretched face thing I get when ill.  So I am adamantly trying to fix it via hot tea, and some chicken carcasses which are currently in the oven and which will be a lovely thick broth in a few hours.

Because that's how I combat being ill.  I make chicken soup from scratch.  Ridiculous, I know.

At any rate, it puts a damper on plans for today which included a cleaning frenzy (not sure I have the energy) taxes (which will get done), and a steamed crab leg or panko encrusted scallop dinner... but I think the flavors are far too delicate for my mouth to currently appreciate them.

The point is, all this has me thinking about all the small obstacles or stops that happen in daily living, and how easy some are to get around, and how difficult others are to deal with.  My passport, for example, is somewhere hidden in the apartment.  THANKS CATS.  Which normally wouldn't be a problem, but I'm trying to get my name changed on all my official documents, and I sort of need to have it with me.  This makes it a Big Hassle.  But not being able to cook the dinner I want?  Not a big hassle!

Anyway, I'm sick today.

In a lot of popular media, when a woman gets sick, she's portrayed as being a martyr, while men are portrayed as being enlarged children who wine and moan and need to be taken care of.  It's a pretty shitty portrayal for both parties, because for women, it says we must be self-sacrificing and that paying attention to our own needs is not acceptable.  For men, it says they're juvenile idiots.  Modern advertising often manages to be sexist in a way that's both misogynist and misandric at the same time, which is impressive in a saddening way.  Men aren't all idiots, and women aren't all martyrs.  It would be nice to see more ads with people behaving in non-gender-stereotyped ways.

In our house, JD does a lot of taking care of me when I'm ill.  If I'm too ill to make my chicken soup, he goes and buys me soup from the drugstore or Trader Joe's, and he heats it up for me.  It sounds like a little thing, but it's sweet, and it's him being the caretaker, a role men are often not shown in, even though many men do fill the role with ease.  And when JD gets sick, he tries to hide it and tough it out in a way very similar to how moms are often shown in commercials.  He just... ignores the sickness until it leaves his body, or takes over.  I wish I could do that, but I guess I'm too much of a mess or something.

And now, I'm going to drink my tea, and prepare to give JD a sad, suffering face when he comes in the room, as a means to display that wah, I'm sick.  Oh, and blow my nose.  Nonstop.  Because red, chapped nostrils are just so attractive.

Anyway, if this post makes less sense than normal... well, I guess I might be sicker than I think I am.  Funzies.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I didn't realize until now that a wedding gift could be offensive

We received today a wedding present from an older couple who were invited to the wedding, but not able to attend.  The present consists of a generous gift card, and a book.

The book is Unplanned, by Abby Johnson.  It's "The dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader's eye-opening journey across the life line".  Abby Johnson, as you may recall, made national news when she quit her job as a director of a Texas Planned Parenthood.  Citing sudden religious conviction and a new realization about how abortion worked.

They thought I "might find the book interesting, in light of our conversation" at our engagement party about my goals to work for a pro-choice non-profit-- in my dream world, Planned Parenthood, and that "Often an evil is made to look like a good, as was the case in the author's personal experience".

I would find the book an odd and inappropriate gift if they had not known about my personal politics and feelings, but the fact that they did know makes it not only inappropriate, but offensive.  It's like a very personal attack, in a way-- implying that my life goals and beliefs are evil.  I know, as JD mentioned, that they are probably doing this is some misguided effort to save my soul, but we're moving to the city they live in.  There are more effective and appropriate ways of challenging someone's views then sending them something like this as a wedding present and implying you think their path is one of evil.  It's rude and unkind and not a loving action.

I have no desire to read the book.  I read some things in the news when she resigned, saw how her story seemed a little... off (How can someone be a director of PP and not know how abortion works?  Or have never seen an ultrasound?)

Abortion is a necessary medical procedure for many women.  It is important, and while I would love for the number of abortions to be reduced through greater access and affordability of birth control and greater access to sex ed, the availability of abortion must be protected, for the sake of women's health.  I've never had an abortion, or even a pregnancy scare, so it isn't an issue that has directly affected me in the ways it has so many others, but it is so, so important, and I will fight to keep abortion safe, legal, and available for women who need it.

I just don't even know what to say.
I guess this is my first Oklahoma culture shock (even though I know they are not representative of most Oklahomans, or even any of the other Oklahomans I have met.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Uhoh, I think I'm a housewife

For now, at least.

I mean, I'm unemployed, I'm not in school, and I'm not currently studying for anything...

So am I a housewife?  If so, I'm a pretty sucky one.  All I've done in two weeks of being married is cook some dinners, clean the bathtub, and clean the roomba a few times.

But to be fair, if I'm a housewife, JD's a househusband.

The hardest part about us both being unemployed is the utter lack of schedule-- there's not need to wake up or go to sleep at any given time, and while there are deadlines (hello new bar application, taxes, and finding a new apartment!) there is no set schedule to follow during the day.  Hmm.

Maybe tomorrow I should make a recipe from one of my new cookbooks.  I'm definitely doing laundry, if nothing else!

Monday, March 14, 2011

We got married!

We're married!!!

I don't really even know what to say.  I can gush and get all gooey, but really, this blog isn't hard core MY PERSONAL LIFE AND FEELINGS, but I am so super happy.

JD was so handsome.  I looked like a pretty pretty princess.  Everyone thought our priest was pretty much the best ever, and that he gave the best homily ever.  A lot of people liked the excerpt from Goodridge.  People loved the party and the food (I think), and the first dance was just fantastic.  For me at least.  Everyone else just got to stare at us stare at each other :-)

I know I wanted a smaller wedding, but actually, I did have a lot of fun.  and while people do say something goes wrong at every wedding, the only things that went "wrong" at ours were very small-- the flowers were lovely but not at all what I ordered, and the bar at the venue decided that cherry heering and maraschino liquor would work totally the same in a cocktail, which... they are both cherry, sure, but have VERY different flavor profiles, and different colors, which meant that their attempt at our cocktail was too sweet and not green.  But as things go?  No big deal!  No one noticed, and no one cared!  (well, JD and I cared about the cocktail.  But whatever, people seemed to enjoy chartreuse and tonics instead)

And the ceremony itself was so, so, so perfect.  So perfect.  I cried, but I was able to stop and keep it under control and say my vows without desperate sobbing.  

So yeah.  I'm married!!!  Which is awesome!  And tonight, we're back at home, both still exhausted from our whirlwind of days and love and excitement and friends (seeing everyone from so many stages of life together was... intense.  So, so, cool).

I've got nothing political or ideological here to say, just-- I'm in love, and I'm thrilled, and I have the best husband in the world :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to have a perfect evening

Relax on the couch in a clean apartment.

Edith Piaf pandora station on.

Lights on the medium side of the dimmer.

Quite, soothing hum of the dishwasher in the background.

Wonderful fiance sitting at his desk.

Fresh mug of tea, fresh glass of ice water.

fantastic maroon/brown nail polish.

2 good books to read.

2 gorgeous, friendly kittens gamboling around.

plans to cook breakfast for dinner of bacon, homefries, and asparagus.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On changing my name when I get married.

Say my name, say my name...

Or don't.

Because what is is now, is not what it'll be in two weeks.

I wasn't planning to change my name when JD and i went to the town hall to file for our marriage license, but I wasn't planning to keep it, either.  I'd thought a medium amount about the concept of changing my name, and had started multiple blog posts dissecting the many good and bad reasons to change my name, and the many good and bad reasons to keep my name-- because there are a lot of both, for each-- but I hadn't actually come to a decision yet,  I wanted my decision to be well thought out, in line with all my beliefs and desires, and consistent with all my other political and personal opinions.

In the end?  It turns out in my town, when you register for marriage, each spouse has to put down what hir post-marriage name will be on the form.

And I did not know that until I was there, filling out the form.

And I didn't have time to think.

And I ended up putting down JD's last name.

Would I have done so if I had thought about it?  I don't know.  Would I have done it if we hadn't argued about something small the night before?  Would I have done so if it had been a different time of day, and I was more awake?  Again, I really don't know.

So I made the decision, and I made it on the moment instead of in a reasoned manner.

Honestly?  I think it's good that I didn't consider it too much.  Whatever I had decided, I'd have questioned it-- because there are good and bad points to both decisions, and I could see them both, and i find it a very close decision.  I know Jessica Valenti, in her (not very well done) book about double binds goes off on women who change their name... but why is it so much worse than heels or makeup or short skits, all of which I (and Valenti!) do too?  I am a feminist, my politics are feminist, but I live in a world that is not fully feminist, and I want to have the same last name as my husband-- and JD, I knew,was and  is not about to change his name.

So, as it turns out, having the same last name is more important to me than keeping my name.

So, in two weeks time I'll be Amanda Y instead of Amanda X.  And you know what?  I'll still be me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I love love, of course I love Valentine's Day.

Forget the roses and chocolates and stupid ideas about it's culturally expected to express love an affection to a romantic partner.  At it's core, Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love, not about things or the exchange of things.  (Yes, I did get JD a present-- he got some organic beef jerky, bison jerky, and little... beef... sticks?  like  slim jims, but real meat. And yes, he already got them, so that he could nom on them during the Duke game.)  But I'm a total sap for love-- I think we should all tell the people we love that we love them more often, whether they're out romantic loves, family members, or just friends.  Just... don't get hung up on the stupid commercialization of the holiday, which is so steeped in outdated gender roles and material things.  Instead, get in touch with love!  Kiss your pets, your partner, send a letter to your best friend from college, or your old roommate, or just post a cheery message to your sibling or cousin's facebook!  Reach out and emote in a positive way!

Also, last year I wrote a couple of posts on Valentine's Day.  I link to them below!
Valentine's Day
Ghosts of Valentine's Past

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Being Groped By a Stranger, or My First TSA Pat-Down

As I write this, I'm sitting in Boston Logan airport, past security, and at my gate.  I think Logan is a really good airport, actually, in terms of efficiency, ease of access, and generally friendly staff.  So I want you to know this is not a complaint about the airport, but about the procedure itself.

When I travel, I usually travel with JD.  This is the first time I've traveled without him in years, actually.  We like being together, and we don't really have any reasons to travel alone, currently.  We'd discussed the backscatter vs the patdown before, and I'd come to the conclusion that, as much as I didn't like the idea of being groped, it was better than being exposed to unknown radiation risk, especially since both of my parents have had cancer, with my dad's skin cancer reappearing multiple times.  In our ideal scenario, i would request to be patted down in a private room with JD present.  But JD wasn't there today, and I was nervous and so, I got the pat down in public.

My terminal wasn't very full-- only a few people behind me to watch the patdown-- but it was still unnerving to be patted down in full view of others, because it really does involve groping.  The woman administering it was very professional, and told me everything she was doing in advance, but it was still unnerving to have someone touching areas that I generally don't let people who are not JD touch.  And in public.  I didn't get the breast cup and lift some people described, but the crotch cupping and but and breast contouring were quite unnerving as it was.

It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, but for some reason, I still feel dirty and embarrassed.    Not dirty like I did anything bad, but dirty like skin-crawling.  It WAS embarrassing though, and it was strange and I did not like it.  I will still pick it over the backscatter, but now that it isn't just a hypothetical, my "whatever, I'll choose the sexual assault option" grumbling is less hypothetical.  I wasn't harmed in anyway, but... in a culture that does value bodily privacy and autonomy, it isn't pleasant to be touched in ways you don't approve of , in public, by a stranger.

Also: I forgot to take my liquids bag out of my purse.  They didn't notice that, though.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy birthday to me-- on turning 26

Today is my birthday!  And I'm 26.  And I'm of the opinion that this is awesome because, well, I think I'm fairly nifty, and I think birthdays are great.  I spent the first part of the day in bed reading with JD and our kittens, then I went to the gym, and then we went out to Eastern Standard, where I had an utterly delicious dinner, and now he's watching the Duke-BC game while I read.  This is pretty much my ideal day.

Today has been all about simple pleasures for me.  I think a lot of us don't take enough time to really relish the small things, like a good book or tasty beverage or the feel of warm fluffy kitten fur.  But I think we should take the time to do those things, because they make everything else we do so much fuller.

25 was a pretty good year.  It had some disappointments (I am le unemployed), but on the whole, I'm happy.  I have a wonderful little family here, with JD and out cats, and my family in the rest of the country is wonderful, and i like who I am, and I have so many good friends.  I may not have many tangible accomplishments, but I have something that is more valuable to me-- self-knowledge, happiness, love, and wonderful human connections.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another take on sex objects

Another take on sex objects is to look at things from an object-actor viewpoint, a passive-active standpoint.  I know I've read about this elsewhere, but I can't find the essay, so a lot of this may be simply my brain regurgitating someone else's thoughts months later.  I hope I'm adding something to what I've read, though!

Anyway, in my other post about sex objects, I talked about a sex object as a literal object, a person who becomes a non-person in someone else's mind.

And then for some reason I remembered grammar, and subjects and objects; hence, thoughts on sex objects and sex subjects.  In grammar, the subject is the one who does, who acts, and the object is the thing or person who is acted on.  Sally hits Suzy.  Jim kisses Jack.  Sally and Jim are the subjects, the actors, and Suzy and Jack are the objects-- the passive ones.  But what about Jane and Sam shake hands?  Jane and Sam are both actors-- acting on each other at the same time.

In a lot of discourse about sexuality, things are framed with an active partner and a passive partner-- A leads all the interactions, with B following and passively accepting.  Sometimes, the actor switches back and forth, with first A, then B, then A, then B acting, and the other accepting passively.

But human interactions can also be very much like the handshake-- two people acting on each other at the same time.  And I think that, often, it takes that dual action for people to get really comfortable with each other.  If you are a sex object in this sense-- always the passive partner, who follows the lead and desires of the active partner-- then you're not meeting on the same level, and possibly not getting your own wants taken care of (even though in some situations, like oral sex, the one doing the acting is generally doing it primarily for the other's pleasure).

The main thing that it's getting me thinking about now, is that if people do tend to go through the same sexual scripts all the time with one partner as actor, and another as passive recipient, it could be worthwhile for both of them to think about their sex life (as well as their interactions outside of sex) and whether mixing things up in a different way-- or at least talking about why one tends to be active and one passive-- might be a good thing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How should a crime that kills a wanted fetus be classified?

I recently (possibly today?  Possibly a few days ago?  Everything runs together when you realize you have to finish planning a wedding and fill out a Bar application in less than two months!) read an article on Jezebel-- and then the initial news article-- on laws affecting crimes against pregnant women, specifically ones that cause them to miscarry.

I tried to refind the articles, but I can't.  Which annoys me, because context is always helpful.  But at any rate, the issue is how do you deal with an attack that causes a miscarriage?  Is it simply ignored, with the crime against the woman considered, whether it's murder or just assault?  Is it an additional homicide in cases where the parent(s) were intending to bring it to term?  Is it an unlawful abortion?  Is it a form of theft?

The way it's dealt with matters, because in both the law and society, words have meaning-- and application of laws can create precedent.  We dealt with this situation some back in 1L Criminal law.  I don't remember how most of the people in the class felt, but I do remember that the cases dealt with scenarios where the woman wanted a child, and some of them were pretty horrifying, in part because of our societal views that pregnant women are to be protected, and in part just because of the brutality of the attack (I still remember reading about one man who said he was going to "stomp the baby" out of a woman).

I do think it should be taken seriously-- and I don't think that that in any way is in conflict with my being pro-choice.  It's pro-choice. Which means I respect the choices that women make for their bodies and reproductive futures, and I don't think abortions or miscarriages should be forced any more than I think they should be prohibited.  But the killing of a wanted fetus that the mother is planning to bring to term still should not count as a homicide-- because a fetus is not a person.  When it dies, a person is not dying-- a potential person is, even though a couple who wants a child may have already named it, and may already be emotionally thinking of it as a person.  But it isn't a person.

Still, because of their hopes and dream and effort put into it, and lifestyle changes, and potential dangers of just being pregnant, people invest a lot into a wanted pregnancy.  And there should be some kind of extra charge.  I guess the best that I can come up with would be a new charge, based on the idea of theft, but even that doesn't quite convey the right tone.  It's a trespass against someone's body in a way that a normal physical assault isn't, and it steals their past efforts and their hope of having that fetus be a child.  So I don't think it should be ignored, and I don't think it should be treated as murder, but I do think there should be some additional charge, and I also think that that is completely in low with a pro-choice viewpoint.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What does sexual objectification mean?

A lot of people online talk about objectification-- specifically, sexual objectification  qnd treating women as sex objects-- but a lot of people  also don't really seem to quite understand what objectification and sex object actually mean.  It doesn't mean looking at a woman, and thinking she's sexy.  It doesn't mean noticing her breasts, or hips.  Hell, it doesn't even mean fantasizing about sex with her.

It means treating her as if she is not a full person, and as if her primary purpose is for sex, to give men sexual pleasure.  It means treating her as an object for sex-- the way a vibrator or lube is a sex object, the way a game controller is a gaming object, the way a cane is a mobility object.  It means treating her or seeing her as an object that exists for sex.

That isn't the same as seeing her as an awesome-- or awful-- person that you might want to have sex with.  It isn't the same at all.  And understanding the difference can help people understand why it is that feminists object to women being treated-- by people or the media-- as sex objects.  Because honestly, people can look at each other and evaluate each other as potential sex partners all day long without seeing them as sex objects-- as long as they also stay cognizant of the fact that that person has their own inner life and mind, and that they have qualities that go beyond what sort of sexual experience they'd give, or what sort of sexual thoughts their image evokes.

Ads turn women into sex objects when they pose women sexily to sell things-- because her sexual appeal is the only thing about her that matters.  Some men do this too, when they think the only reason to talk to women is as a preliminary to getting her into bed.  But thinking about sex-- in conjunction with thinking about her intellect, or musical abilities, or even just personality-- is not the same thing.

I've seen on some blogs men who misunderstand this, and angrily defend their rights to fantasize about sex with women they meet.  Well, fine.  Fantasize.  Some people (myself included) find the thought of strangers or even friends fantasizing about them to be creepy and unwanted.  But it doesn't necessarily have to dehumanize them, as long as they still think of her as a real, full human being.  Modern feminism is not trying to take away anyone's ability to fantasize.  We're just saying that, in the way you think, in the way you interact, int he way you fantasize, in the way you have sex-- remember that women are people, not things, and that they have the same emotional depth and potential that you do.  It's not much to ask, really-- but man, does it get a lot of resentment from some people.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What I think about guns

Since I just wrote a post about someone shooting someone, I thought I would clarify my views on guns.

I do not like guns.  I do not dislike guns.  I think hunting is the most ethically responsible way to obtain meat, since you have to actually face the animal, take it’s life, and put effort into killing, skinning, and preparing it.  I think it puts you a touch closer to nature.

I have shot a gun once—well, several times, but one occasion.  When JD and I move, I will likely shoot a gun a whole lot more, because I’ve told him that my one rule for having a gun in the house is that I know how to use it.

I think people who treat guns like toys are reprehensible.  I think you should be able to shoot to kill in self defense or defense of others.

I do not think that learning to shoot, or owning a gun, or getting a concealed carry permit are feminist acts, or non-feminist acts, or anti-feminist acts.

I don’t know enough about gun control to have a strong opinion on how it works in this country.

I think bringing a gun along when you go hiking in deep wilderness is a good idea, and a second reason I will learn how to shoot.  I think that if you have guns in the house, you should teach your children that they are not toys, are to be respected—and that they should be locked up, and the kids should not know where the key is.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

So, a pick up artist has allegedly shot a woman in the face

So, a man called Gunwitch, who is internet famous for running a pick-up artist site has allegedly shot a woman in the face.*  My first reaction to reading about this was to be… horrified, but not extremely surprised.  Which is so, so cynical—but if you ever stop by pick-up or “game” blogs, you quickly realize that most of the guys who are well known in those circles project seriously hateful, dismissive, and entitled attitudes towards women, and that a lot of the attitude that gets spoken about is a mindset where women’s only worth is found in their fuckability—women are discussed as objects to gain access to, whose feelings, desires, and humanity are nothing compared to a guy’s desire to get laid.  It’s disturbing.

I have to think that most guys who read those sites are probably not that messed up though, because otherwise, it’s just sad.  A lot of the men who read pick-up sites are probably just insecure and bad with women—and if all the sites taught men was how to be their best selves, I wouldn’t have a problem with them.  But they don’t, and the men who spend a lot of time on those sites come off as terrible human beings.  Their tactics seem aimed at focusing on women with low self esteem or reducing a woman’s self esteem, on lying about themself, on projecting threat, and on physically getting her away from her friends.  Gunwitch’s pickup strategies seem to be focused on threat—escalating physical contact, projecting animal sexuality (which—what does that even mean?  It seems to mean, treat her like an object you own), and ignoring any body cues or language that a normal human being would interpret to mean stop.  His catchphrase seems to be “make the ho say no”—an idea that a man shouldn’t leave a woman alone until she flat out directly refuses him.  In American culture, at least, women are taught from the time we’re girls that we’re supposed to be “nice”, that we shouldn’t flatly turn guys down because it will hurt their fragile egos, and that we need to sort of finagle are way out of being hit on.  Problem is, if you’re stuck in a corner while some guy keeps putting his hands on you, and you’re trying to get out while saying “I really don’t think this is a good idea” or trying to put him off with a phone number so that you can politely ignore him later without the direct esteem blow—well, this guy’s advice is for men to ignore all that and just touch her more.  Until she either actually says not, or just stops trying to escape.

I can totally see a woman stopping her escape attempts in this situation, not because she’s been seduced, but because the man is acting so outside of the normal bounds of human behavior that she’s afraid he’ll become violent if she doesn’t just shut up.  And sure, that might not lead to sex, but it’s going to lead to her dealing with a lot more touching than her comfort zone is ok with.  Plus, we all know that not all guys interpret no to mean no—I remember running around a club one night in college, trying to avoid a man who kept groping me, even after I’d told him thatn o, I did not want him touching me and no, I had no interest in him whatsoever.

So with all that—I find Gunwitch’s methods to be horribly creepy and morally deficient. But the phrase “make the ho say no” has another problem—ho.

It seems that a lot of men in the pick-up (and men’s rights) community view all women as—or at least, all American women—as morally devoid sluts… who still need to be seduced to get them into bed. (There is a blog post somewhere on the ridiculousness of this doublebind.  I thought it was on Figleaf’s blog, but can’t find it.  You should check out his blog anyway.)

I know, the two concepts don’t make much sense together.  The amount of cognitive dissonance going on in some people’s heads must be staggering.  And it will seem really odd if, like me, the men you know in real life are all good human beings who treat women like people and yet who still manage to have self respect and earn the respect of others.  But the truth remains—there are women who go out to bars or other locations, who live relatively chaste lives, and who are not going to go home with some random PUA no matter what his “game” is like.  There are also women who go out to bars looking for someone to go home with—and who might go home with a PUA, not because he has good “game”, but because he happened to be there and interested, and not too bad looking at the right time.  Pick-up treats women as if we’re all the same creature though, and as if we’re all able to be manipulated in the same easy X number of steps.

But a lot of guys will admit that pick-up is really just mostly a numbers game.  Which means that the pick up itself, for most people, is probably not what’s getting them laid—the fact that they asked ten women, and found one of two or three in the bar who was already looking to get laid is.  (Sidenote: I think it’s interesting how many guys in pickup talk about the “number close”, where they get a woman’s phone number.  When I was single, giving the phone number was usually a good way to get a guy to leave me alone when he wouldn’t listen to me telling him I wasn’t interested.  Then when you get a chance, change his name in your phone to “Do Not Answer”.  You’ve already told him you aren’t interested, and since he’s begged for your phone number “in case you change your mind”, he’ll be able to tell that you…. Haven’t changed your mind)
So yes,  I’m horrified, and honestly surprised that a pick-up artist actually (allegedly) shot a woman, even though my first instinct was to not be surprised.  But in a way, it makes a sick kind of sense—if you’re part of a culture that views women as only good for sex, and you are in fact someone who teaches others how to dehumanize women, then it makes sense that eventually you might internalize it to the extant that you end up shooting a woman.  I don’t know that the shooting was intentional, of course—other’s have pointed out that in his most recent videos, Gunwitch seemed mentally unstable, and managed to shoot a bullet into his wall with a gun he thought was unloaded.  Even if he was just trying to be cool and do an idiotic form of show and tell, he’s still responsible for shooting her in the face.  I’m just saying that, at this point, shooting a woman in the face is a disturbing, but slightly logical, extension of some of the thought in pickup blogs that treats women as interchangeable and less than human.

*Because I’m not a court of law, or even a lawyer, I’m going to say that I think he’s very likely to be guilty.  Because, contrary to some people’s understandings, innocent until proven guilty doesn’t mean that individuals can’t have their own opinion as to someone’s guilt or innocence.  So no, I don’t know that he shot her in the face.  But I think, given what’s been reported, that he probably did.