08
Aug
14

Lap Dogs

I know it’s been awhile, but a Huffington Post blog brought up this tangent (see link below).

Why are men stuck in the tiny little pigeon hole of what it is to be “a man?” The blog in question was addressing the positives of daily sex. Aside from the author’s obvious heteronormative views on relationships, she stated that men only need “Food, appreciation, and sex. That’s it.”

Really, lady? If that is all your significant other needs, I weep for you. If your mate is only a lap dog who needs a bowl of chow, the occasional pat on the head, and a leg to hump, perhaps you should both broaden your horizons. While I can accept that you feel that your womanhood lies in your drive to reproduce, to lump all men in this sad group of puppy land and to use that generalization to offer advice to millions of women is misguided at best. So, I offer my own suggestion on how to “make your man feel like a man.”

Treat him as an individual and as a person, not a dog. Make him feel like he is more than your meal ticket, that he has intellectual contributions to your relationship far beyond what he can add monetarily. Give him appreciation for doing more than working out of the house, acknowledge his contribution to your household and your children (if you have them, because I do not measure a woman’s worth as a human being by the number of times her uterus has housed anyone). Offer him love, but understand that men too enjoy a good cuddle, a soft touch, and moments of quiet conversation. Last but not least, understand and show him that men are just as complicated as women, that you understand he has emotions but that society makes him bottle most of them, and that he is a person of value and not just a sex crazed garbage disposal seeking your approval.

Link to original blog post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meg-conley/five-reasons-you-should-h_b_5647291.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

27
Feb
14

This post started with a post on Facebook of a picture of men. Which led to a Google search of “real women have curves”. Let me just say, it was generally nauseating. That being stated, said search linked me to this (http://recognizablefruits.blogspot.com/) blog. Same blog then led to this post. Back story now complete, let the games begin…

This young woman has a fabulous point; a point I once thought Feminism had gotten beyond. I like to pretend in my head that the bulk of Feminism is truly and honestly rooted in a desire for equality; the movement of women and men to place all people, regardless of sex, gender, race, socioeconomic status, disability, or age on the same equal footing. I sometimes have this delusion that the bulk of Feminism (both within and outside of academia) is capable of celebrating our similarities, while still recognizing our differences. I did state that these are delusions though, didn’t I?

In reality, there are young women who are degraded because obese is the new beautiful. Of course, this isn’t actually new. There have been times throughout history where thin is celebrated and times when heavy is desirable, but with mass media being what it is, there is a stark division between the ‘skinny chicks’ and the ‘fat girls’. In reality, women want more rights in birth control, but to the removal of men’s (not taking sides, simply stating fact). In reality, first world problems of body image overshadow the problems of women that are unable to feed their families or provide even the most basic medical care for their children. In reality, women are being degraded for staying home with their children; and so are men. Where is Feminism on these issues?
Many Feminists are doing the degrading of the ‘skinny chicks’ while popular media continues to show the very thin as an ideal. Truth? There is a spectrum of what constitutes beautiful. To each his own, and if someone is healthy, their body shape is nobody else’s business.
The term ‘reproductive rights’ in Feminism (on the whole) refers only to women. I get that this is a touchy subject. I get that by giving men choice, it reduces the choice of women. I completely understand that women are not incubators for the singular purpose of carrying children. BUT. If Feminism is truly about equality, we must, MUST recognize that expanding women’s reproductive rights diminishes those of men. We must also recognize that men have VERY limited options in birth control. Men have very few choices, while they abound for women. Don’t get me wrong, it is WONDERFUL that women have these choices, but what about men? Condoms, sterilization, abstinence. That’s it, folks. That’s all they have. This is not equality.

While there are many Feminists who acknowledge the problems facing women over seas, suggesting that women in India, the Middle East, and other conservative cultures just demand that men use condoms to prevent disease is, well, stupid. Yeah. I said it. A bunch of middle class white girls telling grown women to threaten their own lives, when same white girls have no real understanding of the implications that request holds, infuriates me. Really.

Last but not least in this rant, why must Feminists degrade women who choose to stay home with their children? Granted, there are many Feminists who support men staying home, but others who (while they may support it ideologically) will make fun of or degrade the ACTUAL men they know that stay home. Really, though, while I think we need to shift away from this ridiculous essentialism that only women can nurture, at this exact second, it is the first of these two that bothers me the most. ‘The Problem with No Name’ was supposed to be about choice. The second wave was supposed to be about opportunity. Why must Feminism step back to the 80’s ‘mommy wars’? If a woman wants to take advantage of her birth control options, have sex, not get married, and have a career; GREAT FOR HER! If a woman wants to remain abstinent until marriage (or at least monogamous), then have multiple children, and stay at home with those children; GREAT FOR HER! Of course, there is a great deal of variation between the two, but none of those variants are attacked by Feminism (and Feminists, themselves) with the same vehemence that is aimed toward chastity, and the nuclear family. If that is a woman’s choice, that choice should be equally supported and celebrated.

02
May
13

the elephant in the room

So this will be a rare glimpse into the personal me, with a bit of the social/political/feminist thrown in.

A friend of mine posted a TED talk on Facebook (And I am adding here that if you are not already familiar with TED talks, you should be. They are pure awesomeness.), adding in the comments that the Dr. in the talk reminds her of me in voice, non-verbal cues, and (I really like this part and it makes me smile) her “passion for love”. As is often the case, I then made a somewhat sarcastic (although not mean spirited) comment about the chance to view myself through another person’s eyes.

I honestly was interested in the change of perspective, being able to view someone else who others felt were somehow representative of me. Pretty cool, right? The truth? I found it very difficult to do so. It took me half the video to stop pointing out (in my inner speech) her flaws in speech and mannerisms, thinking to myself “Am I really that overly theatrical with my movements?” or “Do I really use those inflections and throw in snark at strange moments?” The obvious answer to those questions (if you have ever had more than a passing hello with me) would be, yes. Yes I do. It took some time for me to get past the over analyzing of her movement and speech patterns and allow myself to actually absorb her words, to actually listen to what she was saying.

When the clip ended, I posted a comment that was rather light, but also (as per usual) somewhat sarcastic (again, not in a mean spirited way). I posted this for two reasons. First, it was actually true. I suffer from a rather fascinating sort of migraine. They are both ocular and hemiplegic. Like, at the same time. Point being, her stroke description was VERY familiar, but I never hit what she refers to as “Nirvana” (the peace that comes with being pure energy and fully in the now). Secondly (and the point of this whole mess), because I couldn’t quite put my other thoughts into words at that exact moment. Now I am going to try.
What I did was exactly, EXACTLY what I do to myself. I over analyze. I criticize. I fail to recognize the positive unless I am so engrossed that I forget to do so. I have to be so interested in that moment that I can ignore the negative part screaming how awful I am. It was not until I really was able to forget that I was comparing myself to her (or in my usual day to day, everyone else) that I was able to really focus, understand, and even laugh with her.

So, my foray into the perceptions of others didn’t go so well but was interesting all the same. I learned that, at least at this point in time, I CAN’T view myself as others do. That being said, at least now I know that, if I make the effort to ignore the damned elephant, I can see and appreciate the rest of the room for what it is.

27
Mar
13

Ups, downs, and hard pills

Today has been a day of ups and downs. Frustration at those who would remain silent because of selfishness, joy over those willing to risk everything to protect others.

Today, Sonya Sotomayor took a stand at the SCOTUS. She stated, on official record, that sexual orientation should be a protected class. She stated that prejudice against anyone based on their orientation is discriminatory and should be illegal. She managed to get the attorney, the very man charged with defending Prop 8, that this was so. On record. That was a certain up.

Today I worked for hours, calling here there and yonder (yes, I said yonder) to help my state and city provide valuable information on fair housing, preventing discrimination, and helping others. I managed to chase down new contacts to help me in that mission. Another certain up.

Today, I saw an amazing outpouring of support for love. I saw dozens myself, and evidence of millions of others who stand on the side of love. BIG up.

I watched a friend stand up and speak, asking those who have refused to protect her in the past to do so now. I watched as those same people, who have sometimes been difficult, support her and thank her for her words. Yet another WONDERFUL up.

I watched legislators in my state stand up for the civil rights of others, their friends, family, and loved ones. I watched as they took an unpopular stand to support civil equality in a place that often works to remove it. And that was one more up.

Sadly, I also watched as angry men screamed. I watched as people claiming to love God and each other, blatantly use that same name to support and legalize hate. I watched as an elected official said he refused the will of others and that he, as a “God fearing Christian” would do only God’s will. That children are being gunned down in schools because God has been removed from them. That he would vote “God’s will! NOT that of my left wing liberal counterparts”. That would be a down.

I see the progress, but I see the hate. Sometimes the hate is just such a hard pill to swallow. I think I just won’t.

02
Mar
13

Fighting the good fight

The following speech was presented on the steps of the capital building in Frankfort, KY during a rally for reproductive rights and civil equality.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.”

These words were spoken by Elisabeth Catie Stanton July, 19th 1848. Women and men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY where the “Declaration of Sentiments” (a document demanding equal treatment and citizenship for women) was drafted and put forth to the government of these United States. We stand here now, almost 165 year later, still fighting for many of those rights.

Kentucky Senate bill 4 requires that a physician (or a licensed designee thereof) be physically present with a patient at the time of consent. This holds ramifications for women who require distant travel for medical procedures that are already financially crushing.

Kentucky Senate bill 5 requires that all women seeking to have “any part of an abortion performed” must first be subject to an invasive, transuterine ultrasound. In simple language, a woman who is attempting to responsibly deal with an unwanted pregnancy must also be subjected to having a large, uncomfortable instrument forced into her vaginal opening, then lay quietly while a doctor explains in detail about the fetus.

The consequence for doctors refusing this unethical requirement of an unneeded medical procedure is a Class D felony. A penalty that includes, among others, violent offenses and sex crimes. How very ironic, that to avoid these charges, a doctor must force a woman to engage in penetration by an artificial phallus. Nothing less than MANDATED RAPE!

Additionally, I feel it important to note that, of the eight senators cosponsoring this bill, only ONE is a woman. Seven, SEVEN men have put their names and weight behind a bill that does not affect THEM or THEIR bodies, but could affect thousands of women.

This is the reality, so many people (mostly legislators it would appear) think that abortion is easy. That it is a decision that women come to lightly and without reflection. This is NOT TRUE! Women come to this decision because they KNOW that, for whatever reason, they CAN NOT accept the financial responsibilities that pregnancy, birth, and upbringing carry. These women KNOW that they, for whatever reason, CAN NOT provide for the health and well being of a fetus, a baby, or a child. These women KNOW that, for whatever reason, it is in the best interest of ALL parties involved, to terminate a pregnancy.

Kentucky Senate bills 4 and 5 serve to prevent a woman from exercising the right to do what SHE KNOWS is best.

We stand here today, not only to speak for the rights of women to be free from the mandates of rape, but also to speak for the rights of our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our friends and ourselves. For too long we have been expected to fight for the equality of our LGBTI family by going city to city, begging for equal treatment one commission or council at a time.

While I salute the leadership of Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Vicco for trying to secure the equal rights of all of their citizens, it is time to bring equality to all Kentuckians. It is time that we no longer have to wonder if we have crossed the city boundaries and are now fair game to those who would see us left homeless, jobless, and afraid.

KY Senate Bill 28 extends the hands of equality across the Commonwealth. While it does not prevent prejudice, it does prevent discrimination. It lets ALL Kentuckians see that our Commonwealth and its legislators recognize all of us as people FIRST and demands that others do the same. KY Senate Bill 28 shows our YOUTH that, even though we sometimes have to fight for is, it does, in fact GET BETTER!

We stand here today at OUR Capital in common cause. That our rights as individuals not be denied by the majority or by the privileged. We are all here today to stand up and to BE COUNTED!

02
Jul
12

Response to “intersex is NOT a disease”

http://xxytalks.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/the-f-word/

A response from a reader

29
Jun
12

(for future reference for anyone still reading all this drama)

Not directed at anyone in particular, but all offensive posts will be blocked. And, here I am the almighty and I decide what’s offensive. Sucks for you folks, but there ya go.

22
Jun
12

Identifying with the other

So, recent comments on my intersex post have led me to feel the need to write another post. Hooray for you! (sarcasm)

The discussion (for those who don’t want to read all the comments) is about identifying with the other. Wanting to be the other to justify why a person feels the way they do, the other not understanding why anyone would desire to be that other, feeling they don’t understand what being other entails. Thus, I’m going to lay it all out there…

It seems many trans individuals want to have a label so that they understand WHY they feel like their parts don’t match what they feel in their hearts and minds. Having a diagnosis that explains why stuff doesn’t match up. OK. I get that. I get that it is difficult to deal with the internal cognitive dissonance that comes with the external incongruence. It makes complete sense.

The reality, though, is that for all the similarities between trans and intersex (having to deal with stupid doctors, a medical community who rarely understands the needs of the individual when it comes to both the internal and external organs, etc) the differences are ignored. Intersex people do not WANT their genitals to match the dichotomy. They do not wish to be shoved in a pigeon holed description of what sex and gender are to the majority of non-intersex people. They want to live as they are (or were before being hacked upon by some self important asshole).

Like trans people, intersex people want to be able to use the public restroom without fear of retribution. But that fear is based solely on the structure which dictates what is too small or too big. They want to go through their day and not have to hear a joke about how much size matters, that someone needs to ‘grow a pair,’ or that a man isn’t a man if his penis is ‘too small.’ They want to have their clitoris be loved as it is. Not have a mate turned off because she is too big to be a woman. They want to live life, not having to wonder how things might have been, had they not been reassigned without their permission and without their parents being pushed to have it done (if they were consulted at all). They want to hear someone speak of female genital mutilation, knowing it wasn’t done to themselves, ripped apart because some stupid doctor with a tape measure could see her parts when the doctor felt it shouldn’t be seen. They want to know that their size really doesn’t matter, despite what the jokes and snide comments say.

I want it understood…I am NOT saying that the intersex road is harder than the trans. They are both two very difficult rows to hoe. But I think trans people sometimes underestimate the daily struggles of living in a world where, the only way a person can be judged of their full worth, is by what is or is not in their pants.

21
Jun
12

Call for an End to Cutting Intersex Girls’ Genitals in the US!

I don’t usually post this sort of thing here, but this one is a biggie. Please take the time to read it and then the address provided below. Thanks!

http://www.change.org/petitions/hillary-clinton-call-for-an-end-to-cutting-intersex-girls-genitals-in-the-us

Call for an End to Cutting Intersex Girls’ Genitals in the US!

Greetings,

I just signed the following petition addressed to: HILLARY CLINTON.

—————-
Call for an End to Cutting Intersex Girls’ Genitals in the US!

Dear Secretary Clinton & Ambassador Verveer,

February 6, 2013 marks the tenth annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).1 Cosmetic genital surgery is a practice of cutting girls so that they can fit cultural norms, even though there are no medical benefits. Many people in the United States believe this is something that only happens in other countries. Unfortunately, it happens here too. Every year, hundreds of girls in the U.S. undergo cosmetic genital surgery because someone had decided their clitoris is “too big” to fit our cultural norms.2 An estimated one to two in 1,000 births results in surgery to “normalize” genital appearance in children with intersex conditions or DSD (differences of sex development).3

Survivors of normalizing surgery have compared it to FGM/C, stating it has similar results. Normalizing surgery can result in a loss of sexual and reproductive functions, genital pain or discomfort, infections, scarring, urinary irregularities, and psychological damage.4 These surgeries are not medically necessary.

Last year, in honor of the Day of Zero Tolerance, Secretary Clinton made a strong statement condemning the practice of FGM/C. This year, we call on her to recognize that genital cutting affects girls in the U.S. who are born with an intersex condition, and to condemn these unnecessary genital surgeries. We also call on Ambassador Verveer of the Office of Global Women’s Issues to add her voice to this call, and to use her influence to bring this issue to Secretary Clinton’s attention.

As Secretary Clinton has pointed out, culture and tradition can provide no excuse for a practice that mutilates children’s genitals with no medical benefit.5 It can be much harder, though, to see the flaws in our own culture than in others. The United States will be in a much stronger position to address FGM in other countries when we have acknowledged and addressed the way our own society modifies girls’ genitals to suit cultural ideas of beauty and normality.

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to stop this harmful practice. On the Tenth Annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM/C, we ask that Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Verveer acknowledge that genital-normalizing surgery happens to girls in the United States who are born with intersex conditions or DSD. Let’s work together to stop all forms of non-consensual genital cosmetic surgery, simply to fit cultural norms, in the United States and abroad.

1. U.S. Department of State. International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. (Accessed June 3, 2012 at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/02/183458.htm.)
2. http://www.thenation.com/blog/36481/leading-cornell-doctor-performing-genital-cutting
3. Intersex Society of North America. Frequently Asked Questions. (Accessed June 7, 2012, at http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency.)
4. 21 Tul. J. L. & Sexuality 1, 11
5. Secretary Clinton Marks International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Dipnote Bloggers. February 15, 2012. Accessed June 12, 2012.

20
Jun
12

intersex is NOT a disease

Claim: That is an opinion and I can accept that is where you stand and you have the choice to hold that view if you wish.

The words sex and gender have often been skewed to indicate that these are entirely determined by culture. They are not. They are however a combination of cultural and individual experience and the genetics with which a person was born. Such fallacies are implemented due to the poor research and misleading publications, not of a social psychologist, as this photo suggests, but rather by those of a psychoendocrinologist who developed these theories (Dr. John Money).

We, as animals, do not have a gender, but as social creatures we do. This statement in the picture, however is contradictory to the statement above it which states that gender is biological in nature.
Nouns do have gender, as do pronouns (for the most part), however it is very ethnocentric to make said statement about all languages, as many have gender in items such as desks, pencils, chairs, etc. Secondly, this statement is also stated quite poorly as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not in fact nouns, but adjectives.

To say that XX, XXY, XYY, and the myriad of other variations are ‘deformations’ is both condescending and purposefully inflammatory. Green eyes are a ‘deformation’, as are many other characteristics that are easily seen about any individual’s appearance. The assumption that any of these variations are believed to be newly discovered is, at best, misguided. XX and XY, while being the most commonly occurring genetic variations, however the explanation that follows is incorrect. The XXX, XXY, and XYY variations do not occur due to random mutation of a normal gene. They are, in fact, genes of their own consistency, that is to say they are heritable. Also, to equate said variations of intersex with Down’s Syndrome is incorrect. Those individual with Down’s are most often infertile, and when not, Down’s is not heritable. Additionally, there are many other types of intersex variation that do not include the genetic variations listed above. Some of those are random mutations, yes, but mutation does not equal deformity, only difference.

‘Hermaphrodite’ is a medical term that describes none of the three intersex variations listed above in the picture. The terminology here is very off, which would indicate that the individual who created it is not informed on the correct terminology. Hermaphrodism refers only to individuals who have BOTH male and female primary or secondary sex characteristics and does NOT include those of the ambiguous variations.

99% of XY women do not reach puberty? That statistic is blatently false. I’m not exactly sure how many of them do, as that would actually be a suicide or accident statistic, but the vast majority do in fact reach puberty, but because pubertal onset means an increase in both estrogen and testosterone production, the secondary sex characteristics can be either male, female, or both, depending on the individual. Secondly, the bad grammar here again diminishes the accuracy of this picture (more taller).

“Take the brain that occurs the most” doesn’t even make sense, see comment above. The male brain has no different ‘parts’ than the female brain. This entire section makes no sense whatsoever if anyone is even remotely educated in brain structures. There are relatively few sex differences between male and female brains. The ones that do exist occur after pubertal onset, when there is a major change in growth and a pruning of unused neural pathways. Some suggest that the cultural norms of what females are expected to do vs males may be responsible for these differences, other evidence suggests that it may be hormonal. The reality is that they just aren’t sure. The only significant difference between the two is size. Women’s brains tend to be somewhat smaller, but have an increased number of gyri, thus increasing the overall surface area.

There is not a legitimate scientist (endocrine, geneticist, neural, or otherwise) who would use brain structure as a determining factor of sex. That is another blatantly false claim. Again, male and female brains do NOT have different parts.

Well, for all the arguing against any rights for intersex individuals, at least it makes a good argument for transsexuals. False, but convincing, nonetheless. In reality, what the photo to the left fails to indicate (as does the text to the right) is that the hypothalamic activity (and yes, that is what the photo to the left is actually showing) is changed with high levels of chronic stress. MTF transsexuals have an incredibly high level of chronic stress and, thus, would have the levels concurrent with those of females. A good example of this contractual error is the SIDS research of the early 20th century. Hundreds of thousands of children’s brains were irradiated to reduce the size of the hypothalamus because they thought that large ones caused SIDS to occur. In reality, they were only comparing upper class SIDS deaths to those of poor (and highly stressed) infants lost to other causes (such as starvation). Bad sample, much? Point being, this is being misattributed to sex differences when it is in fact a stress difference.

Cisgendered is an act of choosing not to PERFORM gender, not to identify that one is not present. Again, false. And why, exactly does this photo repeatedly compare intersex to physical illness or life threatening differences? Intersex is not life threatening (unless someone who is ignorant or misinformed beats someone to death).

And now, we get personal. Call it logical fallacy if you wish, but as I have offered fact alone up to this point, I really don’t give a shit. The last comment on the right would indicate that A. intersex individuals are sterile (which is true in the minority, but most are fertile) and that B. fertility should be somehow controlled, or intersex individuals should be somehow contained so as not to spread their ‘disease’. There is a reason that there is no source information on this photo. It promotes genocide, is inflammatory, and uses (at best) half truths to make a point for hurting people who deserve nothing but the same humane treatment every other person receives. How dare you, or anyone else imply that intersex people are any less people than you are. It is exactly this type of ignorance and half education that cause people to die at the hands of doctors who think they know how to hack a person’s genitals to pieces, or at the hands of ignorant bastards who believe that a person’s worth lies in his/her pants.

But I ask you now, what is it exactly that gives you the knowledge to back any of the statements made in this graphic? Is it a degree? Is it hours of research on intersex variations, articles about those variations, history of those? Weeks, months, and even years of talking to experts in the field or the individuals who are affected daily by the ignorance this graphic displays? Perhaps it is the daily experience of facing the challenges often associated with the intersex? Or maybe it is grant writing to the NIH to advance study of the consequences of this type of ignorance on the individuals who suffer it’s wrath? You see, it isn’t culture, biology, or society that cause intersex individuals problems. It isn’t their health, or their fertility, or their brain activity. It is the ignorance of people who refuse to do the work necessary to actually learn something other than the regurgitated (and false) shit that gets thrown at them by a grossly falsified graphic. THAT, is what needs to be fixed.




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