Sunday, April 30, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

I tagged Bumble for the Six Weird Things Meme. After much discussion, we decided only to list things that were weird even for a rabbit. The conclusion is obvious: he’s one weird little dude.

1. Like any rabbit, Bumble is scared of sudden, loud noises, such as turning on the disposal or the vacuum cleaner. Unlike other rabbits, Bumble is OK with these noises if you give him a heads up by calling “Fire in the hole!” before you make a loud noise. When he hears the phrase, he looks at you and tenses, but doesn’t run. If you forget to yell “Fire in the hole” and hit the disposal, he runs for his life.

Cutest arms in the west

2. Unlike other rabbits (who can literally die of fright from this), Bumble doesn’t mind loud firecrackers. When the fun begins on Independence Day, he lies down in the middle of the room, kicks his feet out, and takes a nap. No “Fire in the hole” necessary.

3. He hates my husband’s right foot. Bumble will snuggle with the left foot happily. But he will nip, dig at, and harass the right foot.

4. Bumble hates when my husband imitates the voice of Smeagol/Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. "Where is my precious Bumble?" He gets the cranky face (Bumble, not my husband) and will thump (in anger) at the voice.

5. His feet slip when he jumps on linoleum, so I bought him some small rugs so he could get a better footing. There were no problems until I brought home a scary rug.

Not scary

Not scary


6. Bunnies can overheat in summer, so one solution is to leave ceramic or marble tiles out for them to lie on. The tiles stay fairly cool. Not sure which tiles would stay the coolest yet be durable, we bought a couple cheap ceramic tiles and a couple of marble tiles. He will only lie on the marble tiles. Cheap tiles get foot-flicked (a very rude expression in rabbit language).

The expensive, therefore suitable, marble tiles

7. Honorable mention: last week I posted on how he uses a waiting place at salad time. That’s definitely weird enough to make the list.

How long can it take to make one salad!

Note: As with every photo that appears on this blog, you may have noticed that there is hay everywhere in our apartment. I promise that Bumble does not live in squalor. He is truly a messy rabbit. Ah, an idea for next week's bunny blogging . Anyway, he has clean food, clean and filtered water, clean dishes and a litter box that is cleaned daily. In spite of the mess, he's not living in conditions of neglect.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Injustice, Your Days Are Numbered!

Thanks to tng for linking to a great site, superheroes.

I have great news! A new woman has joined the fight:

click to enlarge

She's going to fight fire with fire.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Progressive Bloggers Kicking Ass

Kevin at Slant Truth has created a safe space for radical bloggers. If you're interested in joining a community where you can be free of conservative trolls, free of pointless and bigoted comments, and surrounded by a group of smart, funny, and dedicated bloggers, surf over to Progressive Bloggers Kicking Ass. You'll be glad you did!


Radical Women of Color Carnival: changed to May 6
Hosted by nubian

Blogging Against Disablism Day: May 1
Created and hosted by Goldfish

Blogging Against Disablism Day

That wonderful Goldfish has stated that disablism is inclusive: both physical and mental disabilities are relevant. You don't need to be disabled to participate.

Carnival of Feminists: May 3
Hosted by Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty Movements

Blog for Radical Fun Day: May 5
Created and hosted by brownfemipower

Sign up, raise your voice, and have a good time!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Do Women Matter?

Tara Elizabeth Conner is crowned Miss USA

Feminists have analyzed beauty pageants down to the ground, so I won't belabor the issue. I have just one thing to say: It's 2006. Why are we still doing this?

In a completely unrelated story:

Reports of rape up at UW

University police got 6 complaints in 2005

Monday, April 24, 2006


Allegations of rape rose faster than reports of any other violent crime on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington last year, perhaps reflecting a willingness by students to tell police about sexual assaults and efforts to educate young people about the crime.

The UW Police Department got reports in 2005 of six rapes on university property, compared with none the previous year. One of those alleged rapes occurred in 1999 but was reported last year and will be included in the latest statistics, said Chief Vicky Stormo.

The rise in reported rapes doesn't necessarily mean that more students are being attacked but that more are reporting sexual assaults, she said. Still, there were likely more rapes students didn't report.

"It's alarming to us that this many people would report these incidents, but we also know that most times they don't get reported at all, so there are probably more cases out there that we're not aware of," Stormo said.

Reporting alternative explanations for any finding is good reporting. Repeatedly explaining that the increase in reported rates may be due to increased reporting rather than an increase in rapes suggests an agenda. The alternative explanation is offered in the first sentence of the story, and it's repeated several times. It's even mentioned in a graph provided with the story:

Enough! By beating this particular horse to death in four short paragraphs, the message of the story is "Don't worry. Things haven't changed." In other words, we don't need to pay attention to the change in reported rapes. It's just business as usual.

The reporter and the police chief strain credulity. Do they really believe there were more than six rapes on campus in 2005? Does anyone believe that more than zero women were raped in 2004? Frey and Stormo must be radicals. Who else would believe such a thing? But we don't need to worry. The rape rate isn't increasing. Therefore, the situation doesn't deserve attention. It's business as usual.

Business as usual. Why aren't we paying more attention to rape? Why are we still obsessing over numbers instead of acknowledging that YES rape happens in far greater numbers than what is reflected in police reports. Why aren't we doing something about rape?

Of the reports of rape to the UW police last year, one was unfounded and one was an attempted rape, Stormo said. Two were alleged acquaintance rapes that prosecutors decided not to pursue, and in another instance, the victim did not want to go forward with prosecution. Officials are still investigating the 1999 incident, which involved a child, Stormo said.

Of the six incidents reported to police in 2005, exactly one seems to have been taken seriously-the 1999 incident. Forgive me if I question the police finding that one of the reports of rape was "unfounded". The police "know" that the false accusation rate for rape is very high. Hey, in this example it's 17%. What happened in the attempted rape? Was it prosecuted or not? Two women report acquaintance rape, and it's not worthy of prosecution. Now maybe we're onto something. The vast majority of rapes are acquaintance rapes. But if the police and attorneys decide that they're just too difficult (read: not worth it) to pursue, then most rapists will go unpunished.

So when you read a remarkable statistic such as six rapes reported on campus in 2005, don't marvel at the low number. Instead, think about why so few women report rape. How does it make you feel that in 2006, the criminal justice system treats rape as a crime that's not worth taking seriously. The way we view women must change. Rape must not be business as usual.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

Salad time is the best part of Bumble's day. In each apartment we've lived, he's picked a "waiting place" where he sits as his salad is prepared. He does NOT like to be petted or spoken to when he's in the waiting place. He's busy concentrating on his salad, so leave him alone.

The Waiting Place

Tonight, I recorded him eating a giant spinach leaf. It's dark, but notice how quickly the leaf disappears. At one point, I laughed loudly at how he inhales his greens. His ear swivels around, and he hops to the other side of the salad bowl. I broke his concentration.

Can you believe what he has to put up with?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I'm a Secular Whackjob!

Update: Go to The Neural Gourmet and Science and Politics for a list of links to people writing about this story.

As if I didn't have enough problems, I just found out that I'm the equivalent of a religious fundamentalist.

I am an atheist. According to Melinda Barton, this means that I'm a dangerous extremist. I must be stopped.

Why face off with the atheist whackjobs? Because extremism is extremism is extremism. No rational movement dedicated to intellectual courage and honesty should maintain a relationship with those for whom intellectual laziness, dishonesty, and cowardice are a way of life. Doing what must be done to insure the integrity of the left will require identifying our extremists, countering their mythologies, and acknowledging the dangers they pose to a truly liberal society.

I've tried to take a live-and-let-live approach to religion. You have the right to believe in whom- or whatever you wish. This also includes the right to not believe in any deity. I will not try to interfere with your beliefs. If your religious practice harms others, then I will fight it. Remember, beliefs and behaviors are two separate things. Bottom line: I respect your right to determine what you believe, period. In return, I expect you to extend the same consideration to me.

There are three things that make me angry about religion. When these happen, I gear up to fight.

1. Evangelists show up at my door to convert me to their religion. When I politely state that I'm an atheist, the preaching stops, but then they ask if I know what hell will be like. (Yes, this conversation is hell.)

2. When people insist that only religious people are moral. Morality exists outside of religion.

3. When people try insert religion into the U.S. government. This should make every single one of us shake with fear. Just briefly thinking about this issue reveals that, oops, your religion might not be the religion selected by the state. Then you're in a world of hurt.

I'm used to right-wing fundamentalists trashing atheists. Saying atheists are evil pales in comparison to some of the things they've said. But when "liberals" start attacking atheists, I am really at a loss. There aren't many atheists, so Melinda Barton says we're not much of a threat-yet. I guess she feels comfortable further marginalizing such a small group of people.

Barton's piece now has an editor's note up pointing out that Barton distinguished between "all atheists" and "extremist atheists". It appears the editors are being as hateful as Barton is. Take any marginalized group, and think of conversations where people tut-tut about the "good" members of that group. They're exceptions to the rule, and they show how vile the rest of the group is. That bit of cognitive acrobatics applies to this article.

At any rate, I fit the definition of the extremist atheist Barton attacked. So to the editors at The Raw Story: cut the crap. You supported bigotry by publishing the piece. Then you endorsed that bigotry by dismissing criticims of the piece as being the result of lazy reading. Why not consider that the objections have merit? Hey, Barton said atheists were intellectually lazy. Sounds like Barton and The Raw Story are a perfect match.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day, the day we celebrate how lucky we are to be on this one beautiful, hospitable planet.

I can find nothing positive to say. There are so many "open-minded" people who care nothing about the environment, the nonhuman animal life on the planet, or the future. They get out of any responsibility by saying that scientist's claims are lies or "Oh, it's not that bad." Fine.

To all of the open-minded people out there: those kids you claim to love so much? We're going to leave them an unspeakable future. Look around you right now-things aren't exactly lovely. With the way we're living, it's just going to get worse. And how about your grandkids and your great-grandkids? With any luck, you'll be dead before they're born, so you won't have to face their hatred as they struggle with each inhalation, pulling contaminated air into their damaged lungs. You won't have to watch them drink filthy water, or see the illnesses that result from living like that.

Happy Earth Day, indeed!

Blogging Against Heteronormativity Day

Nubian created blogging against heteronormativity. Surf over to her site. She has a great post up, as well as a round-up of who's participating.

I've debated and debated about what to write for this post. I was going to go with an analysis of heteronormativity: the assumptions, the privilege, and the consequences of this worldview. But I'm pissed, so I've decided to go with a rant instead.

Full disclosure: I have straight privilege. I hate privilege, but I can't get rid of it. But you know what? The fact that some straight people can work through the concept of privilege and fight to get rid of it shows that everyone can do it.

One of my role models in college was giving a lecture on sexuality. A student asked what she thought about sexual orientation-was it inborn or learned? S snarled "Who cares whether it's genetic or learned? People are people, they love who the love, and they are sexually attracted to whomever they find attractive. Who cares?"

That moment was 13 years ago, and it gave me the perfect framework for understanding sexuality*. We don't need research supporting that sexual orientation is inborn, because it shouldn't matter. Research on the nature of sexual orientation should be of academic interest only, it should not be what determines if we accept anyone who violates the standard of heteronormativity.

The only time someone's sexuality should matter to you is if you want to have sex with that person. Otherwise, mind your business. Stop trying to control eveyone. Get over yourself. This human need to control others is the real sickness in our society.

Who cares?

*I am discussing sex that occurs between consenting adults.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pity Party Over!

Thanks very much to everyone's supportive comments on my last post.I'm still very disappointed about not getting the job. But I'm not in the same bad place as I was yesterday.

When I first heard the news, I was so upset I felt like I'd turned into wood:

As the day went on, and my pity party started to get out of hand, I puffed up with pity and turned strange colors:

I decided, this must stop! So I stopped thinking about my loss, and thought about the college's loss. I hate saying things that will seem arrogant, but I'm a great teacher. I really care about my students and I have a knack for getting them involved in the course. I also put in way too much time and effort on teaching. Overpreparing gets results every time.

So what will happen to the students I would have been working for?

Very sad, but it's too late now. No, I'm going to cut my losses and move on. I expect waves of nausea to hit me occasionally, as I remember "I didn't get the job." But the pity party is over. I'm back, and I'm ready to kick ass!

*shudder* This image is so sweet it makes my teeth hurt and my stomach clench with disgust. Or maybe my jaws clench and my stomach tightens. Whatever.

No this isn't me. Please disregard this picture.

This is me:

I'm fascinated with this picture. It's called "Kicking Ass" but I think it would be more appropriate to call it "Kicking Horse". Ah, I'm caught up in the details again.

Bottom line, I'm ready to start fighting again. Kickin' ass and not taking names! I can't remember names. "Elephants never forget" is a Republican conspiracy.

Woo-hoo, there's work to do.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Life, How It Sucketh

This morning, I found out that I didn't get The Job. There are problems that are much bigger, and much worse than not getting a job. But I've been looking for full-time work for four years now. Not getting any job is disappointing, but this was a really great job.

I've also had to withdraw from the Marine Naturalist Training Program due to ongoing health problems. Do I need to repeat how great that class was?

I'm not fit for human companionship right now, not even via the web. So I'll be having my very own little pity party today. I hate feeling sorry for myself (retches), but today I can't seem to stop. I'm going to sign off before the pity party moves online. (shudder) Tomorrow I'm meeting with the Volunteer Coordinator for the Eastside Domestic Violence Project, so hopefully that will snap me out of this and get my head back on straight.

Edit: I forgot to say, what gets me the most is that the second interview could not have gone better. It's one thing to not do your best and lose out, but to put forward your best effort and not be selected? That is the reason for the pity party. If your best won't cut it, then what? OK, I banish myself from writing about this.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blogging to Raise Awareness of Sexual Violence

le lyons created Blog to Raise Awareness of Sexual Violence. Be sure to head over to her blog and read the stories. There are far too many. Here is mine.

I am incredibly lucky. At this point in my life, I have not been raped. But I’ve been traumatized all the same. Part of it comes from the constant fear in which any woman has to live. The rest of it comes from my experience as a research assistant.

In college, I signed up to work on a research project focused on victims of sexual assault. The question being investigated was which of two types of therapy was more effective in helping rape victims who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To measure physiological symptoms, each woman was connected to equipment that measured heart rate, skin conductance, and movement. After being connected to the machines, the woman would give a detailed account of her rape. I sat in a separate room, monitoring the equipment. But I could see and hear each woman via a camera.

The stories were the same in that they were all full of terror and pain. The stories were different in terms of the characteristics of the rapist, where the attack took place, and how the woman’s significant other and family reacted. I witnessed story after horrifying story. In some cases, it was a coincidence that the woman was alive. After all, the men who raped her discussed where they would kill her as they waved their guns around. The majority of women participating in the study were raped by strangers. They were raped on their way to work, on their way home from school, or in their own homes. An alarming number of attacks happened at bus stops, while the women were simply waiting to get to work or school.

With each story I heard, my fear intensified. The women in this study were my age. They worked near where I worked. They went to the same bars as I did. The assaults happened in all of these familiar places. They lived in the same area as I did. My fear grew, and I started having trouble leaving my apartment. As I went about my life in the city, I would shudder as I walked past an area where a woman was abducted. Eventually, I restricted my movements and I stayed home. But the irony wasn’t lost on me. Several women were raped inside their homes. There was no safe place. After I left the research project, my fear decreased very slowly, over a matter of years. I stopped restricting my movements very gradually.

The world women live in is intolerable. We have a choice to make: either face the ubiquity of rape, and live in constant fear, or bury that knowledge and live in denial so that we can function. Unfortunately, women who are rape survivors don’t get this choice. Yet society chugs along, situation normal. What do we have to do to put an end to this? Women are brutalized and it’s considered routine. We need to be out in the streets, screaming until our voices are gone: “We live in a rape culture and we will not accept it any longer.”

My life returned to normal. I live the way most women live: with a combination of denial and fear. I’m an environmentalist, so it’s important to me to reduce how much I drive my car. I fail to follow my beliefs. It’s 12 years after I worked on the research project, but I still can’t take the bus.

And I’m one of the lucky ones.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Six Weird Things

Ghandi rules tagged me for the Six Weird Things meme.

So here goes. This is probably not a good time to do this-I'm sick, so I've lost what little inhibition I usually have about sharing.

1. I can never decide which jacket/coat/artic parka to wear. I've been like this since childhood, and it drives anyone around me to madness. Which coat I select involves consideration of current conditions (wet or dry, windy, cloudy or clear), current temperature, future conditions, future temperature, do I want to drag this coat around if it gets hot, and I hate being cold, so maybe I should wear something warmer. This deliberation happens every time of year except during the hottest part of summer. It happens even then if I'm going to be inside, because hey, a/c is cold! Oh, and the number of layers of clothing I'm wearing also comes into play, and interacts with all of the above. Did I mention that this decision-making process happens every time I leave the apartment? Even reading this should make you want to run screaming from the room.

2. I started wearing glasses at one year. Not one year ago, one-year old. It was right before my second birthday. If the doctors had their way, I would have started wearing glasses when I was 6 months old.

3. I'm a toucher. I have to explore things by touching, whether it's a book I'm interested in or an item in a museum. (The mastodon in Wisconsin feels really neat. Shhh!) I'm not grabby toward other people.

4. I feel better when things are put away. If I have to look at them, I keep thinking "That needs to be put away". But I'm lazy, so I tend to throw things anywhere. I build up giant messes, then frantically clean them.

5. If we went out to dinner, you'd be shocked at the number of foods that I have never tasted. I grew up on a small set of processed food items. So I've never tasted a raspberry, or a rutabaga, or even a radish. I want to try new foods, but holy moley it's scary.

6. Here's where I'm really going to test my readers. Before I tell you the sixth thing, I need to remind you that a) I am 36 years old, and b) I am a woman. OK? I think farts are funny. Not: they put a smile on my face, but: I laugh out loud when I hear one. I can't help it, they're just really funny.

I don't want to tag anyone specifically, because, you might end up revealing emabarrassing things about yourself (see #6). So if you're reading this, and you'd like to participate, you're tagged!

Here are the rules:

1. Reveal six weird facts/things/habits about yourself and then tag six people.

2. Leave a "You're Tagged!" comment to let the people you have tagged know they have to reveal six things (or the entire blogosphere will explode and it will be their fault).

3. Leave me a comment letting me know that you have completed your mission (if you have chosen to accept it!).

Monday Bunny Blogging

I'm not lying on that damn bed!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's Easter. Time to Beat the Women!

In parts of the Czech Republic, people observe an ancient ritual:

On the morning of Easter Monday, men and boys whip women of all ages, around the legs with special whips made out of twisted willow branches.

The women reward the men for this with a painted Easter egg. The symbolism is pretty clear: the whipping, say Czechs, ensures the woman stays fertile and beautiful.

The beating is supposed to be ritualistic: a light tap. But of course, it's different in practice. Men and boys grab things more effective for beating than a willow branch, and inflict real pain. Women of all ages are targeted. It's considered "rude" to overlook an elderly woman. Ah, inclusion.

Is this a harmless holiday practice, or is it reflective of the country's attitude toward women?

Domestic violence is a serious problem in the Czech Republic, says Ms Marksova-Tominova. Under Czech law, beating your marital partner is not a crime unless she (or he) is so badly injured that she cannot work for at least seven days - and parliament has repeatedly rejected proposals to change the law.

Being unable to work for six days is no big deal. But if you're hurt so badly that you can't work for seven days, now that's just wrong.

from: The Angry Arab News Service

Friday, April 14, 2006

Damn us, every one

NASA offers a neat subsription service that will send you a weekly bulletin of news stories and satellite images of Earth. It's fascinating and exciting, except when it's bone-crushingly painful. I received this week's issue on Tuesday, and I've been trying to suppress my reaction ever since.

I can't do it. The environmental changes are devastating. We resist doing anything at our peril. The mountains of data show that survival of the human species will be questionable if we continue living the way we are today. Further complicating the matter, we have to understand environmental changes and potential remedies along with needs of people in less developed countries. People in less developed countries have survival issues that sometimes conflict with environmental concerns.

Poor people always get the short end of the stick. How many nuclear plants or toxic waste incinerators are located in wealthy neighborhoods? People in western countries complain that we don't want to make changes because they're too hard. Let's cut the crap. People in more developed areas get to live in relative comfort. Most of us don't have to survive on ants.

source: World Watch magazine

In the current newsletter from NASA, I found several photos that made me despair. The first set of photographs shows deforestation that occurred between 1974 and 1999 in Guinea.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the unique forests of the region have dramatically diminished over the past few decades as civil war in Sierra Leone and Liberia have pushed tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of refugees into the Parrot’s Beak. People have cut down the forests for housing materials, wood for charcoal, and space to grow crops. Some commercial logging also played a role.
So this terrible result comes from people fleeing for their lives and trying to find a way to survive as refugees. You can't ask that people in these situations consider environmental impact of their behavior. For more, go to this link.

The second set of images show a dust storm spreading out of the Gobi Desert earlier this month.

The storms can be hazardous to public health both in terms of air quality and visibility. In addition, the dust storms can devastate croplands and contaminate sensitive electronic equipment. Dust storms in China are on the rise, probably as a result of land degradation, such as deforestation and overgrazing, and drought. The Chinese government has undertaken a large reforestation effort to combat the spread of deserts and to mitigate the effects of dust storms, particularly around urban areas such as Beijing.
This dust storm is just a prelude to what's in store for us. But we sit back and say, "Well, that's just how things are." How bad does it have to get before real action is taken? The biggest problem is that ecosystems are tricky things to understand. Small changes build up and interact until changes become irreversible.

In the third set of photos,the effects of warmer temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef are shown. This past summer was the hottest recorded summer for Australia. What are the implications? Briefly:

warm weather = warm water

warm water = stress on coral

stress = coral expels symbiotic algae

loss of symbiotic algae = coral death

Warm pink and yellow tones show where sea surface temperatures were warm in the top image. The warmest waters are the shallow waters over the reef near the coast, where coral bleaching was most severe this summer.

The lower image shows chlorophyll concentrations, where high concentrations (yellow) generally point to a high concentration of phytoplankton in surface waters of the ocean. In this image, the bright yellow dots actually represent the coral reefs, and not surface phytoplankton.

I can't write about this anymore. It makes me too angry, too scared, and too frustrated. Here's a picture of the Great Barrier Reef. It's so massive it can be seen from space, and it's the foundation for a massive and diverse ecosystem. It also happens to be incredibly beautiful. Enjoy it before it's gone.

I May Have Moved You

but I promise I'll put you back if you don't like your new place on the sidebar. I reorganized my links, and caved in to my brain and created a new category. When I see a long list of anything I lose focus. Literally, my eyes unfocus and I can't pay attention.

So, if you're a radical feminist, but I didn't move you into that category, let me know and I'll properly classify your link. If you're not a radical feminist, but I said you were, likewise, lemme know.

My whole life I've been fighting my natural tendencies. Everything was wrong with me so everything was a battle. But now I'm trying to chuck that attitude and accept myself. And dammit, one of my needs is to have categories of things instead of long lists. Categorizing humans = bad. Categorizing links for visual purposes = good.

I Want an Easter Bunny!

He is NOT an Easter Bunny.

He is a 10-year committement.

He is a living creature.

He is not disposable.

You do not get rid of him when:
- the kids get bored with him
- you get tired of caring for him
- he causes "problems" around the house

If any of the above could apply to you, you have much better options!

Adorable, huggable, and she will not make any messes.

Delicious, and he will completely disappear.
Unless you only eat the ears.

If you have put serious thought and a lot of research into bringing a rabbit into your home, then by all means pursue that impulse. Please consider adopting from a shelter or rescue instead of buying from a pet store or a breeder. But if you're just looking for a cute and fun present for the kids, do not get a living rabbit. People frequently dump their Easter Bunny outside after the thrill has worn off.

Do you know what happens to rabbits set "free" outside?

Edit: If you're considering a live rabbit as an Easter gift, please click on both thumbnails below. If you're not considering a live rabbit as an Easter gift, stop reading here. Even as thumbnails, the photographs are disturbing.

Easter's no fun when you're a real bun.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Amy's Post on Heterosexism

[Edit: I had a hard time not putting Amy's entire post in here, because there are so many important points. For that reason, I only addressed part of it. I was trying to get at: is separatism a good idea and could it work? But I'm all over the place. And a lot of this post is simply quoting her and saying "Uh huh!", which makes me think I should scrap and redo the post. Strap on your seat belt for this one.]

First of all, go to Feminist Reprise and read I'm sick of heterosexism too. In yesterday's post, I referred to Amy's discussion of heterosexism and separatism, and how it really got to me. Why? Well the classic reasons, of course. It was very honest, it laid out an effective plan, and it made me supremely uncomfortable.

[aside: Amy is a very thoughtful woman, and she wrote today that she hesitated to blog about this issue because she didn't want to hurt heterosexual feminists. IMO, one of the aspects of community is support. Support from other feminists is vital and it means so much to me. But another equally important value in a community is to push each other, challenge each other, and hold each other accountable. It ain't comfortable, but it sure is worthwhile.]

Full disclosure: I am married to a wonderful, pro-feminist man. In July, we'll celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. No one is more surprised by that fact than me. He's amazing, and I'm keeping him. Now I realize (yet another) area of hypocrisy in my life. Because you see, Amy's right:

I’ve never been the kind of person to sit around and wait for other people to do what I want them to, particularly after I learned, at a fairly tender age, the new-agey sounding but no less true adage that the only person one can change is oneself. I still see a lot of feminists writing and talking and acting as if we really can’t get on without the men.

Here's where my discomfort really kicked in. She's right, I'm not willing to live without the men I love. But more to the point, I've never considered separatism, because heterosexual privilege kicks in and I don't have to think about it.

This just leaves me speechless because it's so dead-on right:
There were some lesbians who looked at the understanding that patriarchy is built upon the usurpation and direction of women’s emotional energy, sexuality, and labor into the support of men’s interests; they stood back and scratched their heads and said, “Hey, what would happen if we, being women, directed our emotional energy, sexuality and labor to the support of women’s interests?”

I had the same reaction to this:
Nevertheless, there are lots of ways of prioritizing relationships with women, that is, of being lesbian, without involving sexuality. As just one example, I know some women have at least discussed the possibility of living more communally, such as sharing a house with another woman and their children, in order to live more cheaply and have help with household chores and childcare, as well as companionship. Why don’t more women do this? It’s a question I, as a lesbian-feminist, cannot answer, because my social and emotional energies, as well as the financial resources I can spare, are already directed almost exclusively towards adult women.

After reading this next section, the "Yes, but" thoughts were taking over my brain:
I have to say, my feminist sisters, from where I sit it looks like a lot of you want the crops without plowing up the ground. ... Some of us don’t want to understand that men are not going to hand over their privilege, that the transformation of happy heterosexuality into something real and egalitarian can’t begin until women refuse to participate in the institution as it currently exists. Think about it: Did labor unions say to workers, “Well, we know that some of you have really good jobs with employers who only exploit you a little, and you really care about your bosses, so you all keep on working. The rest of us will go on strike to try to get better wages for everybody.” Of course not. They knew that some workers’ positive experiences or fair treatment didn’t negate the analysis that the system is exploitive and only collective action in the form of refusal to participate by all will change it.

Now I'm really stuck. Some men (several, many?) are worth it. They are good, decent people who work to end oppression. When these men are in our lives, we want them to stay. But comparing feminist separatism to worker organization is an apt comparison. It isn't enough to change things a little; we need drastic reorganization of our society.

If we really want that safe feminist world, women are going to have to give up male approval and male love and start to build something with other women—not because rape is our fault or because justice is our responsibility but because men like raping women and they like hitting women and they like controlling women and they’re not going to stop until they have to. All that rhetoric about “giving up heterosexual privilege” wasn’t about being politically correct or cool or cutting edge; it was about the recognition that justice can’t co-exist with the systems of privilege that created the injustice in the first place.

The rapists and batters are not going to stop. Women fighting tooth and nail have not been able to make them stop. What's missing in this scenario? The rest of the men: men who don't rape, who don't batter women and children. There's a continuum out there from wonderful, kind and thoughtful men down to selfish but nonviolent. All of those men need to be involved in the battle to end violence against women.

What would shake up these men enough to get them involved in the battle? If every woman walked away and lived by principles of separatism, we'd have their attention right away. As I write this, it makes me feel like a traitor, because I won't leave my husband.

So I'm at an impasse. Separatism seems reasonable. I think it would achieve its goals. But I won't leave my husband. I usually am on the other side of issues: I'm the one trying to shake others up and get them to see that taking action is the only viable choice.

Right now I'm reading Life and Death by Andrea Dworkin. Amy's post created cognitive dissonance in me, and I don't have any solutions. But there may be one truly concrete result from this.

But I just keep thinking, what if there were 10 or 50 or 1000 of us and we were holding out our hands to each other and saying, “I’m scared, but I’m ready to make other women my priority so that we can start to build the world we want, together.” What if?

Thanks to Andrea Dworkin and to Amy, I decided to take some real action. Today I submitted my application to Eastside Domestic Violence Program. On May 1, I will start a 50 hour training program that will enable me to work directly with and for battered women. Thank you so much for writing that piece, Amy. Yes, it made me uncomfortable. But being outside our comfort zone stimulates growth. I certainly don't have answers for how to resolve my conflict/hypocrisy. This volunteer program is a tiny step, but it's a start. I'm sick of heterosexism too was the catalyst.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Yesterday, Amy posted I'm sick of heterosexism too, a very thought-provoking and challenging post. My reaction while reading consisted of several "Yes, that's true, but" and "Yes, but" responses.

My first instinct was to email her to discuss the post. But over time I've learned that when the "Yes, but" reaction hits that hard, I've got plenty of thinking to do. Rather than just throwing my thoughts at Amy, I've decided to do a post on the subject. (Amy, if you read this, you just avoided a long, rambling, and nonsensical email. Whew!) However, the issues are still percolating in my brain, so I'm not ready to do the post yet. Also, I'm not in a serious enough mood today.

In thinking about all of these issues, I remembered an "incident" that reflects my values and beliefs in childhood. To set the stage, you need to know that I played withh Barbie dolls, but I followed certain parameters. For instance, Barbie owned and ran a horse ranch, always. Barbie was not married, and she did not have kids. But she had horses. An entire herd of Breyer horses belonged to Barbie, the lucky woman.

Ken, the incredibly boring boyfriend

Duchess, the Clydesdale mare who served as lead mare for the entire herd. She always knew the best spots for grazing, and could keep order amongst the horses. Strong and wise, she could put her hoof down when she needed to.

One more thing you need to know: I've always been overly honest, and in addition to that, my mother always told us we'd be in a LOT more trouble for doing something wrong and lying about it than we would if we told the truth. The result was constant truth-telling, no matter how painful the truth was.

I was in my room playing, and my mom came in.

Mom: "Why is Ken in bed with Barbie?"

spotted elephant: "They're having sex. That's whey their clothes are on the floor."

I picked up Barbie and Ken, and dressed both of them. Ken left, and was tossed to the side.

Mom: "Where's Ken going?"

SE: "Oh, they're finished having sex now. Barbie wants Ken to leave."

Mom, starting to look very upset: "Doesn't Barbie want Ken around?"

SE, getting irritated that Mom isn't getting it: "Barbie has a whole group of horses to move to a better pasture today. She has work to do!"

Mom: "But Ken could help."

SE: "He doesn't know ANYTHING about horses. He'd get in the way. He might cause one of the horses to get hurt!"

Mom: "Barbie only wants Ken around for sex?!"

SE: "Yeah, why else would she want him around?"

Mom runs from the room, and would never, ever discuss this incident again.

I still have Duchess.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Radical Feminist Magazines

Kaka has a great post up about trying to determine if a magazine is really feminist.

I was so excited to see this being discussed, because I realized I could pick people's brains. I didn't want to hog her comment space, so I'm doing it over here.

Please, help me find something to read!

When I was a young fightin' feminist, I read Ms. Now that I've come back to feminism, I'm not sure what's what. What do people think of Ms.? Is it worthy? I just subscribed to Bitch, and some of it is truly excellent. Some of it made me snarl and start to foam at the mouth.

So, please, lend a hand to a prodigal feminist. I'd like to find a radical feminist magazine, but will settle for a reliably feminist magazine.

I just commented that I don't have enough time to read all the feminist blogs I want to read. :) Ah, well. I'd appreciate any feedback about magazines you love or like. And ideas about wolves in sheeps clothing would be handy, too.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

Mr. Bumble has a new bed. We didn't get him one before, because he doesn't like lying on soft surfaces. But then, all of our soft surfaces are high above the ground. High above the ground is scary. This bed is nice and low, just how he prefers. We thought maybe it would work.

It did:

He's only laid on it a few times, but he stays "in bed" for a long time. It actually isn't a bed. We bought a "royal pet chaise". And it's a classic chaise: only one side has an arm. See the willow stick laying right in front of him? What a smart bunny to bring his stick to bed with him. You just never know when you might need to chew. You can see his current favorite toy in the background to the left. Spoiled? No.

Why I Love Andrea Dworkin, part 2

Today is the one-year anniversary of Andrea Dworkin's death.

I wanted to write something big today, something worthy of the occasion. But I'm spent. I simply feel grief for the loss of this woman, and I don't feel very expressive.

Fortunately, others have addressed the anniversary. Be sure to go to Femivist, because lelyons has done a spectacular job on these two pieces. Laurelin is planning two posts based on a conference she attended on Dworkin's life. Witchy-woo has a great post contrasting Dworkin and Hugh Heffner. Just go read it-I never would have thought of this, and it's an apt comparison.

With a jolt, I just realized that I'm writing as if there was an Andrea Dworkin Carnival! If you wrote about her and I missed you or forgot you, please comment so I can add your link. Suddenly, I'm feeling much better. Yes, we've lost Andrea, but she's alive in cyberspace. Andrea Dworkin lives as long as feminists and pro-feminists keep fighting for an end to the violence against women.

I'll end with one of my favorite Dworkin quotes. It's vintage Andrea: painful, dark, and cuts straight to the point. It's so tempting to drink the kool-aid and be blissfully unaware of what's happening in the world. But that's not real. The only thing to do is face the pain and suffering head-on.

The worst immorality is in living a trivial life because one is afraid to face any other kind of life—a despairing life or an anguished life or a twisted and difficult life.

[Edit: I intend "Why I Love Andrea Dworkin" to be an ongoing series.]

Second edit: Sam told me about the memorial she wrote last year. Also, check out her whole site-it's amazing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fingers crossed

I wasn't sure how well my interview and activities went yesterday. In panel interviews, I tend to go into a stream-of-consciousness mode and can't remember much afterwards. Around 6pm, I got the call inviting me back for the second interview this morning at 9am!

I feel like this interview went better than the one yesterday-I think I was connecting with the committee and addressing the questions well. They told me they would make their decision in about two weeks. Not bad, considering I waited over 3 months for a decision last year. But I think it will seem like a long two weeks-this place seems wonderful and like a good fit for me.

It's time to admit I have a problem with blogs. As I posted, I've withdrawn from blogging and reading blogs this week to ensure time to prepare. And I feel as if I'm in withdrawal. "How many posts am I missing? Aaahhhhhh!" Tried to start reading today, but I'm not processing well, so I look forward to reading everyone's posts when I can handle words with more than three letters easily.

Oh, two weeks.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Infrequent blogging until Sunday

I posted about where my Saturdays are going this month, but I have a huge interview this Thursday. The preparation is consuming every minute of my life it seems, so I need to stop my blogging and blog reading for a few days. I expect to be so tired that I'm useless on Friday, so I hope by Sunday I'll be clear-headed. Please send good vibes my way. These jobs are rare, so competition is fierce. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I really want this job.

Monday Bunny Blogging

His lower lip slays me.

Bunnies are highly social, so conflict resolution is important. Rabbits have a whole system of behaviors to show when they're angry, when they're ready to make up, and when things are good again. If you misbehave, you're faced with insults and shunning. When you tick off a bunny, you're going to have to do your time on the poop list. Making up is your responsibility, but if you try it too soon, you're gonna get the bunny butt: the rabbit literally turns his back to you and you're left staring at a cute fuzzy tail. Sounds like a mild punishment, I know, but it will really hurt your feelings!

Since I'm unemployed, Bumble is used to me being around most of the time and doesn't like it when I leave for any length of time. On Saturday, I left at 6:30am and didn't return until around 7pm. Was he mad at me? He would not look at me. He would not look in my direction. If I tried to pet him, he yanked his head away. I made a peace offering: a yummy carrot treat. He took the treat, turned his back to me to eat it and then ran into his cardboard box to get away from me.

When I haven't misbehaved, Bumble and I are close. He follows me upstairs, downstairs, and from room to room. If he doesn't know where I am, he goes looking for me. We'd noticed he was slipping when he tried to go upstairs because he was launching himself off of linoleum. To fix the problem, we put a rug at the bottom of the stairs so his feet wouldn't slip. Every time he goes upstairs now, the rug gets kicked to the side and is messy, so we always know when he's gone upstairs.

When I left Saturday morning, he was eating and the dishwasher was making a racket, so I'm not sure he knew I was gone. My husband noticed later that the rug at the bottom of the stairs was kicked to the side. Bumble was looking for me Saturday and couldn't find me.

I deserved the bunny butt.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blog To Raise Awareness About Sexual Violence

Lelyons is hosting Blog to Raise Awareness About Sexual Violence on April 18th. Please consider participating. She's fostering a wide-ranging approach to subject matter:

I would be happy to see anything that isn’t silence. Which could mean something as simple as saying “I hate rape” or “I am a survivor of sexual violence” or “I stand with those who stand against sexual violence.” Just one sentence can be enough.

Through my own personal experience I know that once you reach the point of being tired of keeping your mouth shut it becomes more difficult to stay silent than to speak out. You might be surprised at just how easy speaking out can become. And empowering.

It's a very difficult subject to blog about, but we need as many voices to be raised as possible. If you want to participate, surf over to her blog and let her know.

Saturdays in April

I'm realizing a childhood dream this month. I signed up to take a wonderful course offered by The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, Washington. Successful completion of the course and a later practicum result in certification as a marine naturalist in the Salish Sea region (the sea off the coast of northern Washington and southern British Columbia). I can't express how excited I am. It's a very diverse course:

Week 1 A Sense of Place, Geology of the Salish Sea

Week 2 Salmon Recovery, Seals and Sea Lions, Otters

Week 3 Whales of the Salish Sea, Ecology of the Salish Sea Orcas

Week 4 Seabirds of the Salish Sea, Decline in Seabird Population

Week 5 Intertidal Ecology

The course consists of lectures and field trips. We visit various areas around San Juan Island. In two weeks we go on a ship that will dredge the bottom of sea and bring up critters (crustaceans, I think) for us to look at. All critters will be promptly returned to the sea when we're finished. Week 5 is actually a two-day session. That Sunday we get to go on a whale watching cruise. I'm trying not to get too excited about that. This time of year, orca sightings are still rare because the whales haven't returned from their winter home with any regularity. Still-WOW!

I can't express how excited I am.

There's a little bit of a downside. The course starts at 10am. To get there, I need to take a 1.5 car ride, and a 1.5 ferry ride. Both have to happen at a time of day I think is inhuman. It's completely worth it! :D However, yesterday was pretty brutal. The field trip was fascinating, but required us climbing down a steep rocky hill, hiking along the beach (oh, poor widdle me), climbing over some intense rocky areas on the beach, and climbing up a different steep rocky area. Great fun, except that 1) I had abdominal surgery in December, and am having trouble with scar tissue hurting any time I use my torso for balance (anything more than usual walking), I am terribly out of shape (but working on it), and have always had terrible balance. As soon as I post this entry, I'm off for a hot bath. Uh, that is, if I can make it up the stairs to the bathtub.

Oh, I hate ending on a bad note, because I can't express how excited I am about this course. The woman who runs the course assured me that yesterday was the toughest day by far for that sort of vertical climbing. I was inspired to see many people who were much older than I am scrambling easily over these rocks. I'm now extremely motivated to kick up my fitness routine. I don't know if my balance will ever allow me to be able to gracefully move the way those senior citizens did, but I now have several role models for fitness at any age and fitness at any size.

The class is amazing, The Whale Museum is amazing, and San Juan island is amazing.