Daily Archives: August 18, 2011


Jill just linked to this intensely personal piece by Jessica Valenti. In it, she describes trying to sort through the feelings of wanting to love her daughter, but being scared because it was never certain if her daughter, born almost … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 41 Comments

12 Steps to Institutional Neglect and Compounded Violation

I feel like there should be a trigger warning for “just so generally horrible it makes me lose what little faith in humanity I had left,” but I will go with this: This story concerns sexual abuse of an intellectually … Continue reading

Posted in Disability Issues, Sexual Assault | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Learning to Love My Baby

A heartbreaking, important and incredibly brave piece by Jessica Valenti. Go go go go go read.

Tagged , | 8 Comments

Relationship Advice – Marriage 101

Okay…all the single women gather ’round and I will share with you the vast bounty of my relationship knowledge. I know the key to getting married! And since obviously every female person is desirous of a state sanctioned relationship with … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

For Lovers And Fighters (Or, Wherein I Fangirl Dean Spade)

Capitalism is fundamentally invested in notions of scarcity, encouraging people to feel that we never have enough so that we will act out of greed and hording and focus on accumulation. Indeed, the romance myth is focused on scarcity: There … Continue reading

Posted in relationships | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Salon Flubs Reporting on Child Predators

This is a guest post by Kristin Rawls.
Trigger warnings for discussion of rape apologism and pedophilia. Please take these seriously. I have no personal history of either, but I had an emotional—even a visceral—response to the article that I discuss here. Continue reading

Posted in GLBTQ, Rape Culture, Sexual Assault | Tagged , , | 266 Comments

You’re Not Fired, But…

Recently, I have found myself in the difficult position of having two people who work for me screw things up spectacularly. Fortunately, not life or death things, but things that are significant and important. One of them is just unqualified … Continue reading

Posted in Military, Work | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Bringing it Back Down to Reality…Sort Of

I know what you’re thinking. Dear Magic California Roll, not another philosophical post. Please make it stop. But this one is different! I promise. I’m leaving the world of high philosophy and returning to world of getting shit done. Or at least the world of how shit gets done. By people with privilege. Okay, I lied, its another philosophical post. But I tried and that must count for something right?

Working towards social justice (however defined) can be tricky business if (like me) you’re swimming in a boatload of privilege. The problem is that oftentimes when we try to *help* someone, we end up doing what we think is best for them in the way we prefer rather than what *they* think is best for themselves in the way they prefer.

I saw this most profoundly when I was young. Each summer I was required (as part of the Christian sect I belonged to) to volunteer with various chartable organizations. One summer my parents thought it would be an “object lesson” to send to me volunteer at what was called “a home for unwed mothers” but was really where pregnant teenagers were sent to give birth. The young women there were given a room and food (often after being turned out of their own homes for becoming pregnant), but only if they “repented.” Repentance to the sect I belonged to meant humiliating “confessions” to the full congregation of everything they’d done; admitting that they were sinful, disgusting and weak; giving birth even if they preferred otherwise; and giving their child to a “good” Christian family that would prevent that child from repeating the same “mistake.” These homes may have provided basic necessities, but they in no sense *helped* the women unfortunate enough to walk through their doors.

Let me clear, the social organizations I work with today are miles apart from that hellhole.

And yet. I still see the same worrisome perspective. We’ll help, if you accept drug treatment. We’ll help, if you seek counseling. We’ll help, if you choose to leave your abusive partner. We’ll help, if you go back to stay with a blood relative. There are conditions on giving people access to the bare necessities of life and those conditions are connected to what the privileged people in charge think are *best* for those in dire need. Continue reading

Posted in General | 30 Comments