Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Making Things Better

I've had it. I'm sick of the racist, clueless discussion on what we should do about illegal immigration, and the posturing over making English the national language in the U.S. We need to be focusing on making things better (thank you, bfp), not scapegoating and making things worse.

The solution to illegal immigration is not building fences and establishing English as the national language. To get to a solution, we have to examine why things are happening as they are, and then deal with those issues. That's not sexy, you can't put it in a sound bite, and it also requires treating illegal immigrants as human beings.

My solution: I'm going to learn Spanish.

This is no minor gesture. I'm not a person who can learn multiple languages easily. I took Spanish for 4 years in high school and apparently learned nothing. Giving up on my ability to learn Spanish, I took French in college. I remembered just enough Spanish to drive my French teacher up the wall. Apparently all of my articles and pronouns were coming out in Spanish.

French teacher, near tears: "spotted, this is French class. Please stop speaking Spanish!"

spotted elephant: "I'm speaking Spanish!"

So I'm going to study Spanish again. Being able to communicate with people who aren't exactly like you is a really wonderful thing. We should be encouraging Americans to learn more than one language. It can promote cognitive flexibility, decrease nationalism, and provide the opportunity for Americans to appreciate other cultures.

My Spanish studies will begin in earnest once I finish my book on HTML. I can only handle so much at a time. But I'm going to learn. My first word:


Conejo means rabbit. What a shock, huh?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blog Disappeared!

When I loaded my blog today, a white screen appeared. Now, it was very peaceful in a minimalist sort of way, but it made me very anxious. Where did my blog go? Everything was normal in my control panel-all the posts and the template were fine. I selected a new template, and things magically reappeared.


Now I'm off to copy my links back into my sidebar. Ah well, the light text on the dark background wasn't the best for my (and I suspect some of your) eyes.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

I foot-flick this heat! I'd never make it without my frozen Bottle Buddy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh, Grow Up!

Or at least knock it off.

The bile has been oozing at many blogs over Twisty's post on blowjobs. I wasn't going to post on this, and I'm still not going to address the subject, since any discussion leads to a deconstruction of the writer's sexual habits. I'm not going to talk about my sex life on the internet. This post is about the behavior of people on both sides of the issue.

Why are we so incapable of discussion? You know, one person states her opinion, the other person listens intently, then states her opinion as the first speaker listens. Then both women discuss the implications of their beliefs, possibly argue over points, and hopefully, learn from each other.

I'm posting the two most vile statements I saw in my reading on this topic. One is from a poster on the pro-blowjob side, and one is a comment from someone on the anti-blowjob side. The subject of the influence of the patriarchy on blowjobs actually is important, should be discussed, and evaluated. Instead, we get childish attacks on people with opposing viewpoints, and a terrible callousness for other people's suffering.

In a post titled "Oh yes, please tell us more about this 'Teh Sex' you speak of, oh wise asexuals!", R. Mildred writes:

(warning: attacks sexual abuse survivors)

I know I know, I was as shocked as anyone else to find out that lesbians find fellatio and penises disgusting, and while some idiot who never got over am incident of abusive sex they experienced once and has decided that, due to the wonderful combination of being frightfully dull and being too shit scared to risk being hurt again, that all sex with guys is Teh Icky and anyone who has sex with guys is trying to cozy up to the patriarchy etc…etc… *yawn*, those of us with two brain cells to rub together and an ability to actually connect in a sexually intimate way with other human beings of a male persuasion tend to be able to find ways to invite men into our beds without turning it into a threesome with the patriarchy.

In a post at Twisty's, luckynkl writes:

Well shoot, isn’t a cock hanging out of a woman’s mouth the picture that comes to mind when we think of women’s liberation?

It never ceases to amaze me how men are able to convince so many women that even the most violating and degrading of acts are “natural.” What’s next hetero girls? Allowing men to shit in your mouths because that’s what’s pleasing to him?

We need to be able to discuss difficult subjects. But no meaningful discussion will occur when people write things like the statements quoted above.

I read other people's blogs to learn from them. But the climate of discussion on blogs is hostile and hateful. Refusing to hear other perspectives leads to very limited knowledge, a limited worldview, and a constrained life.

I feel as if I'm pounding my head into the wall when I write about these issues. The people who read my blog are generally not the people who need to hear this. Oh well, I guess it just has to function as ranting.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thank the Planet for Strong Women

Feminist First came up with the wonderful idea to blog about women who support us.

The woman I'm expressing thanks for today is Suzanna Rose. She taught my first women's studies course. Suzanna was my introduction to strong women. She modeled strength in everything she did. The light dawned that, no, we really didn't have to take any crap. It was a watershed moment for me.

In addition to opening my eyes and providing a great education, she stood by me through my toughest time in college. Along with two other women, I filed a formal complaint against one of the most powerful professors at the university for sex discrimination. This professor opted to neglect teaching in his introductory biology course in favor of making horrific comments about women generally, and singling out "third world" women in particular. Suzanna provided counsel and support for the duration of the case. When the hearing turned out to be a sham, and the professor was given a slap on the wrist, she consoled me that now this professor's actions were on record. In the future, things could turn out differently because we'd made things easier for other women by fighing. Those words are still with me.

Growing up without role models is extremely difficult. I was lucky enough to find a role model in my early twenties. Suzanna, thank you.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

Once Bumble lies down, he's committed to remaining comfy. If he wants something, he just streeetches and grabs his bowl, or toy, and drags it to him.

One month in his new home! Still locked up in a pen at night by those mean humans.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Limits of Feminism

Feminism is a huge label incorporating women of many different perspectives. Usually diversity is a positive thing. But how do you react when members of your own group are effectively fighting for the other side?

Elsa posted a comment on my last post. I posted a reply that became far too long for the comments section. Also, I believe these arguments need to see the light of day whenever they appear. They're old, they're tiresome, but they have to be addressed rather than left to stand unchallenged, so I'm posting my reply here instead.

Exploiting women (or anyone) ticks me off too:

Then I'm shocked you wrote about the Vegan Vixens in a positive manner.

At a harp seal benefit

For the record, I grew up in the feminist movement, literally, marching in the front row of demonstrations and attending NOW conventions around the country as a toddler, teenager, and young adult. I've never shied from labeling myself with the "F" word.

Great. But being feminist means standing up against all oppression of women, not just when it's convenient, and not indulging in it yourself.

I agree with many of the things that you discuss (great post on the tortuga ads) but also believe that there should be room for all viewpoints as well as all body types and species to coexist.

If you liked the post on the tortuga ads, how can you object to this post? I'm making the same point in both posts!

Viewpoints that support exploiting women are not welcom. As far as body types go, I didn't mention anything about body types. Granted, there is one specific body type that's exploited in this particular manner, but that wasn't my point.

Yes, women's bodies are used to sell all sorts of things. But it's our individual choice to be upset by that, to give it more power than it deserves.

Sigh, I'm working hard to be polite, because that statement really angers me. You're saying it's ok for women to be exploited, and we just need to take a happy pill so we're not bothered by it. Just close your eyes and it will go away? No, you see WE NEED TO BE ENRAGED AT THE EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN, not shrug it off as being "not my problem".

And I'd argue that the Vegan Vixens don't cater to misogynists but to people who in some way worship women, albeit in a shallow, lightheartedly lustful way. Want misogyny? Turn on any prime time detective show where the victims are ususally young women being horrifically sliced and diced.

First of all, men who need to see women in a submissive, sexbot way are "real" misogynists. They do not worship women. If they did, women would be running countries, making top dollar, and enjoy full human rights. Those innocent men would be the ones in a subservient postition. After all, one is subservient to the object being worshipped.

Misogyny exists everywhere, and we should be fighting it everywhere. Selective attention to oppression does not work. The Vegan Vixens feed right into misogyny: we're here for male enjoyment, so go right ahead and use us.

If some women want to prance around and get their male meathead counterparts to think a different way about what they eat, who cares? Let those people carry on with their silly antics.

I care. Lots of feminists care. Exploiting women for a noble cause is wrong. Those "silly" antics have consequences for women. This is exactly the same point I made in my post on turtle eggs and sexism. You can't be selective in its application.

If you don't like that the Vegan Vixens may look like the usual thin, stereotypical pop culture "hot" women, then work to create your own alternative. Not all people even like those body types anyway.

You've missed the point by a mile. My objection isn't over the Vegan Vixens' body type. I don't want to spread the exploitation to women of all body types. I want to END the exploitation. Why are you fixated on body type when I never mentioned it?

There's no stopping a different group of women from starting their own low-budget cable channel to give a different twist on the same subject.

Again, let's spread the exploitation! After all, why should fat women miss out? Golly, sounds like fun!

In fact, I'd rather see more people prance around freely feeling as sexy as they want. Maybe there'd be more room for all types of people to feel comfortable in their own skin and for Americans to better respect nature, starting with our own bodies.

The Vegan Vixens aren't just prancing around feeling sexy. They're using their sexiness as a tool to get men's attention in order to promote veganism. That isn't self-expression, it's exploiting women's traditional role (sex object for men) to achieve another goal. That exploitation limits women.

I'll say it again: exploiting women of all body types for any purpose is wrong. Period.

My "yech" about Howard Stern refers to his pandering to the lowest common denominator and his consistent degradation of women (and therefore men too) that has no redeeming value.

Well, that's a good start.

Playboy, on the other hand, seems pretty benign when you compare it to other magazines and websites out there--and unlike Stern's show, Playboy over the years at least offers solid writers and journalism. Yeah, the old thing about the articles.
As I said before, I'm opposed to picking and choosing which types of oppression matter, because they all matter! I don't care if Playboy offers Nobel quality literature. It still puts women in the category of existing for men's pleasure. Please spend some time thinking about the consequences of that.

As for my own eating a salami sandwich, I do that maybe twice a year. Nobody's eco perfect. The world's a big place. Some of the kindest people I know, who devote their lives to helping people, are meat eaters. And some of the least pleasant people I've met are vegans. And vice versa, as it takes all types, right?

Elsa, did you read my post? Really? Because your frequent mention of body types, and now this, make me really wonder.

I didn't say anything about you eating salami. Brace yourself: I'm an omnivore. I rarely eat meat, but I do eat it. My objections to your post were centered on your endorsement of the Vegan Vixens as a positive thing for the environmental movement. It's unacceptable to exploit women to further any cause.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Green Makes Me Queasy

I’ve written before about sexism in the environmental movement. Today I read a post in the Carnival of the Green that illustrates the acceptance of women’s second class status:

No cows: that's the culinary message of Tanjareen, Sky, and their fellow cleavage-busting SoCal vegan sisters. I just ran across the Vegan Vixens' show, which promotes organic cuisine and clothing. There are few better examples of people trying to sex up an eco-friendly lifestyle. (The joy of public access in the Bay area, as you never know how cable channel 29 might warp you. But this silly show is more fun than that weekly 9/11 conspiracy documenary, no matter how certain feminists might scowl.)

On their low-budget broadcast, this group of veg-obsessed models and actresses mouth kisses llamas and kitchen-dances in threesomes while frying tiny soy sausages. The vixens' brand of dairy-free cheesecake aims to convert men to beat their meat-loving ways.

It's funny that intense compassion for animals can exist alongside complete lack of compassion for women. Exploit women to save animals. Perhaps I should make this a new category on my blog?

Another interesting thing about this post is the judgment applied to where the Vegan Vixens appeared. Their appearance on Howard Stern received a "yech" from the blogger, but no criticism was forthcoming over their visit to the Playboy Mansion. Going way out on a limb, I'd say the objection is to Stern's meat-eating status, not the way he degrades women..

Vegan Vixens on the dance floor with JACK BLACK at the Playboy Mansion!!!

The Sensitive Men care oh-so-much about the furry animals. (I'm guessing they don't care for fur on their women.) Having the cognitive capacity and the willingness to think about the suffering of animals should bode well for an individual's worldview. Empathy and compassion usually expand from one area to many. But the evidence mounts, showing just the opposite. While compassion for animals is mandatory in the environmental movement, women still exist as toys for men.

Bringing up the sexism and privilege with liberal men tends not to go very well. If you have the stomach, just look at the "big" bloggers in the liberal political sphere. No criticism, no way. The women are invited along as long as they don't become a pain in the ass, as long as they remember their place.

You know what? Under these conditions, I have no desire to save the planet. We can just keep on speeding toward the cliff.

Fortunately, I'm not fighting to preserve the status quo. Fortunately, compassion and empathy often do expand and encompass all beings.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

Happiness is:
- eating yummy malt-flavored hairball prevention medicine
- insisting the humans pet you while you rest your head on the plate.

Maybe the dense humans will figure out they could put more medicine on the plate. Here's an empty plate. Here's my empty mouth. Sheesh, do they need me to draw them a picture?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hexy's New Home

Hexy moved to a new address. It might be temporary, but please update your blogroll!

She had to make the change because of prejudice. This world we live in looks like a sewer far too often.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Radical Feminist Community

[Edit: This post comes from feeling under attack on ALL fronts. Of course there's the patriarchy to battle, but I'm so tired of "radical feminist" being used as a slur at radical and liberal sites. So not just the majority of men hate us, it seems the majority of women do too.

"Ah, the radical feminist whackjobs, oh, isn't that redundant?" Too funny.

We really need each other.]

The huge fight in the rad fem blogosphere over beauty and femininity has been heartbreaking for me. Valid points have been made on both “sides”, but women are talking past each other, and we’re not treating each other with respect. I have a post I’ve been working on for days (foggy brain = slow work). I think I’m going to trash this post, as things are so tense, so angry, right now that I don’t see any good coming from posting it.

The bottom line for me in all of this is that I think of radical feminism in terms of community. I’m not throwing the word “community” around lightly. I think of us as a group working together, arm-in-arm, fighting for the most important issues. Benefits of this community include having a chance to talk with like-minded people and providing support to each other. These functions are vital as the world is truly a terrible place.

But just as vital to our community is the ability to disagree, to treat each other respectfully as we disagree, and then to move past the disagreement without allowing it to fracture our community. A group cannot function if all dissent either is suppressed or ends up destroying the bonds forged by members of the group. Are we only willing to fight alongside one another when we’re in full agreement? Don’t we have more important enemies than each other? The last thing any woman needs is other women as her enemies. Our numbers aren’t that strong. We’re far stronger together than we are apart. Can our community survive this? I think it’s worth fighting for.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

Bumble's Baby Picture:

This photo was taken when a kind person found Bumble wandering in their yard, and brought him in to the humane society. Bumble was mistakenly identified as female, and named "Becka". At 5 months old, he hadn't grown into his ears yet.

Kind Person in central Ohio, I love you.

Mr. Bumble is very, very tired, so he decided to invite two guest rabbits to co-host this edition of MBB. This is a very big deal, as Bumble does not "share".

First up is the handsome, adorable, health-conscious, and so very sweet Bam:

Bam is companion to our Hexy, and is doing a great job taking care of her while she's going through a tough time. Just look at that expression on his face!

(I'm being very pushy in posting Bam's picture. Hexy, if you mind, I'll take it down.)

Our second co-host is Mystery Bunny. Mystery Bunny shows that it isn't just horses that can take those water jumps! I admit I've lost my head for rabbits, but even I think this very, very strange.

Nope, definitely NOT Bumble.