Weekly Open Thread with Silk in a Market

This week’s threadly host is this bright display of silks in a Laotian market. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything you like* over this weekend and throughout the week.

Hanks of brightly coloured English Silk Thread laid out on a market stall

Photo by Adam Jones adamjones.freeservers.com via Wikimedia Commons

e.g. What have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

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259 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with Silk in a Market

  1. Jess
    March 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Hello, Feministe readers. Jill has allowed me to post a survey here for a rhetoric and linguistics study I am working on for my PhD program. My project will be examining the uses of various terms for women by authors and commenters on blog sites such as Feministe.

    Click here to access the survey.

    The survey should only take a few minutes to complete.



    • matlun
      March 22, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      I am sorry, but I gave up filling it in.

      I found that survey rather frustrating.
      The meaning of many of those words are so greatly affected by context that it makes them hard to rate IMHO.

      Not all of them seems even applicable for usage as a form of address (?)

    • March 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      yeah, I tried to complete it but after the third page there were just too many boxes and categories to sort through.

    • White Rabbit
      March 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      I completed it, but a few of the questions were awkwardly worded/presented, making me unsure of whether I clearly grasped the intention behind them.

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      I’m on page 9, and I have to admit, it gets rather tedious at that point, checking all those boxes over and over again. If that could be streamlined, that might be more effective, because as it is, once a person gets bored, they stop make careful choices.

      I also am a bit concerned about page 9? It says to list terms you would use toward women you are attracted to… and lists “mother, sister, daughter” among them. I realize that there might be some people for whom that is relevant but…

      • Tim
        March 23, 2013 at 1:14 am

        Yeah, there should have been a “not applicable” for gay men or straight women or did I read it too narrowly as sexual attraction? I left all those blank and explained why in the comments.

    • thinksnake
      March 23, 2013 at 3:22 am

      Wasn’t able to answer the first question, seeing as my gender is neither male nor female.

    • amblingalong
      March 23, 2013 at 3:28 am

      My biggest issue in addition to those mentioned above is that, since not all women are female and not all females are women, the question ‘is female an offensive term for women’ is really unanswerable; for some women it’s a perfectly accurate, neutral term, and for others, it’s a discriminatory, bigoted insult.

      • matlun
        March 23, 2013 at 7:31 am

        That is interesting. If someone identifies as a woman, I would have thought that they would also identify as “female”. To me the words are synonyms when referring to adult humans.

        What do you see as the distinction here?

      • Minstrel
        March 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

        The word female refers to someone’s sex (as defined by sexual organs one has) whereas woman refers to the gender they identify with.

    • ashurredly
      March 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      I had the same problem with terms, starting on the second page. What does it mean for the term to be applied “to women in general?” Like, the word babe – I think of this word being used in a romantic/affectionate context, but it’s also often used inappropriately and I’m not sure which is closer to the general use.

      • ashurredly
        March 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        Also, “tease.” This is fine when said while playing with someone, but I can also hear it being used negatively in my head.

      • amblingalong
        March 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

        Also, “tease.” This is fine when said while playing with someone, but I can also hear it being used negatively in my head.

        Yeah, I had particular trouble with this one as well- It has a friendly/affectionate/warm sense, but it has another meaning that shows up a lot around rape-apologism (she was being a tease, she was asking for it).

    • Jess
      March 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks for all the feedback. Language surveys can be difficult to work with because language is context dependent, so I appreciate your willingness to participate. Questions on the survey can be skipped as needed. The survey is designed to get a snapshot of personal reactions to the various terms.

  2. Emolee
    March 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  3. Odin
    March 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Anyone else feel like NYTimes lately has had a lot of articles about anti-marriage-equality groups? A few days ago they had one about 20-somethings who oppose gay marriage, and today there was one about Brian Brown of NOM.

    I can’t figure out if this is happening the week before the SCOTUS hearings on DOMA and Prop 8 because they’re wanting to head off criticism of not giving equal attention to “both sides”, or if they’re figuring that these groups will become irrelevant soon, and someone wants to get articles out some research they’d d one before that happens.

    • DouglasG
      March 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      I found the one on the young conservatives distressingly supportive of their position, and will probably have to pass on the Brown article out of fear for my hernia. Why Mr Savage made the colossal error of inviting Mr Brown to dinner in his own home last year for an unwinnable after-dinner debate I have never been able to determine.

  4. March 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Currently, I’m trying to find ways to make myself look more femme (in my own way) despite having very short hair. Right now I’m quite fond of draping my black-and-white shemagh on my head like a shawl. I find it amusing that this way of wearing the shemagh is decidedly a masculine custom in the Middle East, but for me it’s the exact opposite. Fortunately, it suits me very well.

    Moreover, even though I hate the current length of my hair, it’s not entirely bad. Because I still have a lot of hair at the top of my head, my hair will be much longer and thicker on top when it goes back to its previous length (and even more so when my hair goes down slightly past my shoulders).

    Oh, and I’ve found a femme voice for myself that actually suits me. Unlike the other voices I’ve tried, this one doesn’t sound forced and stereotypical. I just wish I could use my femme voice without fearing someone’s scorn or ridicule.

    • Damaris
      March 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Aaliyah, I think the scarf is a great idea. When I had very short hair and wanted to look more femme, I wore a lot of scarves. There are a lot of good videos out there that show you different ways to wear scarves if you’re looking for ideas; this one shows 25 different ways in 4.5 minutes. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, the Knot Library at Scarves Dot Net has instructions on a bunch of different ways to wear headscarves.

    • March 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Seconded on the scarves. After one very unfortunate haircut (it turns out Halle Berry’s cropped, curly haircut really works best when it’s sitting above Halle Berry’s face), I found that scarves helped me look and feel more feminine. Also, collared, button-down shirts with three or four buttons undone worked surprisingly well. And long necklaces, which are good because decent ones can usually be found fairly cheaply at discount stores and junk stores.

      • March 22, 2013 at 9:15 pm

        I had a similar mishap with Catherine Zeta Jones’ Chicago haircut. Not recommended for someone with cowlicks. Especially not recommended for DIY when you’re someone with cowlicks.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        March 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        I so want that exact haircut. But I am full of the fear! I just cut my hair to above the shoulder and that was a big deal for me. Baby steps!

    • Li
      March 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      I think headbands suit pixie cuts well and tend to really quickly transform how they’re read as boyish/girlish. For instance: this image of Michelle Williams.

      • March 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        Ooh, yes. When my hair was short I wanted all the hairbands

      • March 23, 2013 at 1:16 am

        Oh wow, I completely forgot about headbands! Now that would really make me look femme. It would also look fabulous with longer hair. Thank you for the suggestion. :}

    • shfree
      March 22, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      A pair of big-ass earrings go a long way, too, if you are an earring sort of woman.

      • March 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        I’ll think about that. I’ve never worn earrings, but they might suit me.

      • (BFing)Sarah
        March 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        Seconded. I tend to wear earrings that pop (dangle or sparkle or have lots of color) when I have short hair and I want to look/feel more feminine.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 23, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Neither here nor there, but Aaliyah, I love your name!

      • March 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm

        Thanks! A lot of people seem to like my name for some reason.

    • March 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      I’m about to chop all my hair off again. I wish there was some way that I could magically give it all to you.

  5. Grace
    March 22, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Over the past year, I’ve come to the very sad realisation that my dad is rather sexist. A wedge has developed between the two of us because of this, and various other issues. From the time I was a small child, I’ve constantly looked to him for approval, and it has finally come to the point where I have given up. Example: this week I had a conversation with my little sister. She told me that because she has blonde hair, my dad will occasionally make ‘blonde jokes’. She said that she responded to him once saying ‘well, your hair is blonde too!’ His reply was: ‘it only applies to woman.’ I told her that if he ever dares to say that while I am in the room, I will personally call out his sexism. And, I told her that she is more than allowed to say the same thing. Is that an appropriate response? Or am I going overboard?

    Also: I was talking to the same sister about something else later, and she said the word ‘b*tch’ in the context of dog, but she said ‘oh, but I don’t mean it in the insulting sense’ and I told her straight-up ‘honey, if anyone ever calls you a b*tch or a slut or any other term that people take offense to, don’t listen. Take it with pride. The worst thing they can think to call you is a woman, and that’s what you are.’ She smiled.

    AND: in regards to the Stuebenville thing that’s going on, check out this cool video that’s in New Zealand that reminds you that some countries aren’t quite the victim-blaming, slut-shaming jerks that seem to have popped up over here: http://whoareyou.co.nz/

    Have an awesome weekend!

    • tomek
      March 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      His reply was: ‘it only applies to woman.’ I told her that if he ever dares to say that while I am in the room, I will personally call out his sexism. And, I told her that she is more than allowed to say the same thing. Is that an appropriate response? Or am I going overboard?

      this just sound like a joke to me, but i dont know your father so it depend what context and tone it is said in.

      often i say sexist thing in parody to my friends

      • GallingGalla
        March 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

        “blond” jokes are not just jokes, tomek. They’re misogynistic. Or did you not notice that they’re only told regarding blond women?

        often i say sexist thing in parody to my friends

        Doesn’t make it less sexist.

      • wanttobeanon
        March 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

        Oh, I don’t know… this one immediately pops to mind:

        Q: Why did the blonde have a bruised belly button?
        A: Her boyfriend was blond too.

        Most of them are geared towards blond women, but not all of them. I don’t think they’re all that offensive when told by blondes who are laughing at themselves. Kind of like lawyers telling lawyer jokes.

      • wanttobeanon
        March 22, 2013 at 10:53 pm

        Having said that – yeah, Galla’s dad is being sexist.

      • wanttobeanon
        March 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm

        Erp. Grace, not Galla. I can read good, I swear!

      • March 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm

        often i say sexist thing in parody to my friends

        Surprise, surprise.

      • tomek
        March 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm

        i cannot believe you are saying blond jokes is sexist. [snipped by moderator – you know where #spillover is, and you should know by now that this sort of nitpicking is a derail that belongs there]

      • A4
        March 23, 2013 at 1:16 am

        often i say sexist thing


    • amblingalong
      March 23, 2013 at 3:21 am

      some countries aren’t quite the victim-blaming, slut-shaming jerks that seem to have popped up over here:

      Say what?

      • GraceGrace
        March 23, 2013 at 11:42 am

        That comment was in regards to many of the people that have tweeted and written about the Stuebenville trial, saying that Jane Doe deserved it, and that she should have handled herself better, etc… The video that I posted the link to made me feel a little better that not every country is all about blaming the victim. The girl is the video is dressed provocatively and has drank quite a bit, but the message of the video is that as a bystander, you can help too. Just because she isn’t protesting strongly doesn’t mean she wants to be there. At least that’s what I got out of it…

      • Datdamwuf
        March 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

        The New Zealand video was excellent, thanks!

      • tomek
        March 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm

        i think ambadingalong was disgreeing with the phrasing of “country do this, other country do this” it is a bti weird to talk about beliefs of entire country. not everyone of america is victim blamer, not everyone of new-zeland is anti-victim-blamer.

      • GraceGrace
        March 23, 2013 at 6:01 pm

        Thanks Tomek. I get it now. I was making a generalisation, and I apologise. Thanks for pointing it out!

    • PrettyAmiable
      March 23, 2013 at 10:08 am

      Grace, for what it’s worth, I had the same issue with my dad (but rather than sexist, which I understand affects you rather directly, my dad was racist and to a lesser extent, homophobic. I’m not sure how old you or your sister are or what your circumstances might be – it’s especially tough when you’re dependent on someone who is fundamentally prejudiced. I’ve been lucky – in my adulthood, I’ve been in a position where I can literally put my foot down regarding what is and isn’t acceptable (e.g. threatening to leave and actually doing so when he’s a disappointment). It hasn’t changed my father’s bigotries, but it has changed whether or not he expresses them.

      If anyone’s found a way to treat someone with -isms, I’d love to hear it. The most I’ve gotten is to get them to stop expressing them.

      • tomek
        March 23, 2013 at 10:45 am

        is stopping your father from expressing bigotry a good thing? personally i am in the opinion this is not, now he is bigot in silence, not really more helpful. this is why i am against political correctness, they rather simply that someone uses the right phrase and words rather than actually challenge there beliefs.

      • Rimedio
        March 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        This may be a spillover thing, don’t post if it is.

        I think that stopping a bigot from expressing bigotry is a good thing. When I am in the world as a queer female bodied person, the fact the the person standing next to me is having sexist/homophobic thoughts does not really effect me, if they express those thought, suddenly they do effect me, usually quite negatively.
        People should be able to live in environments free from prejudice, sometimes that means putting your foot down and asking someone not to express certain views around you.
        To say that Grace should not have stopped her father from expressing bigotry around her is to say that she should live with sexist and demeaning language because he is still sexist even if he isn’t making sexist remarks. True, but her life may be a heck of a lot better because of it, and that’s a pretty good outcome.

      • March 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        This may be a spillover thing, don’t post if it is.

        I know tomek gets directed to spillover often, but if a comment of his is posted without a moderator note then it’s because he’s managed for once to be on-topic without jumping off into derail territory or making it all about him. On these occasions please feel free to respond directly to his comments.

      • March 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

        P.S. I totally agree with you, by the way.

        People should be able to live in environments free from prejudice, sometimes that means putting your foot down and asking someone not to express certain views around you.

        I have no interest in preventing bigots from expressing themselves in [eta: their own] spaces which I can choose not to enter, but in public spaces and shared spaces I will challenge their choice to make those spaces hostile to others with their harassing behaviours, and I will work for codes of conduct that make this explicit in formal situations and support anybody’s right to defend this as a personal boundary in informal/private situations.

      • Radiant Sophia
        March 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        Why is it my responsibility to challenge their beliefs, at the expense of my time, and possibly my well-being. I told my parents that they couldn’t express those views in my presence. We haven’t talked in 13 years, and I am a whole lot better off for it.

      • llamathatducks
        March 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm

        It’s usually prohibitively difficult to actually change somebody’s beliefs – it can be possible, but it’s often just not. In such a case, the best one can do for one’s sanity is draw a boundary – e.g. I will not spend time with people who make bigoted remarks when they are with me. That’s often a much more winnable battle than trying to upend someone’s ideology.

      • Lolagirl
        March 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

        Coming late to this, but I would rather someone be a silent bigot than a loudly proclamining one. Especially in my presence or the presence of my kids.

        My FIL is a horrible bigot, and the first and last time he said anything inflammatory I politely told him that his words were not acceptable in our family and would be please not spout anymore in our house/around our kids. He (somewhat surprisingly) has complied. I think he gets that it’s a hill to die on for both me and the Spouse, and if he wants to continue having access to his grandchildren he needs to shut the hell up.

        Just my $.02

      • March 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        My feeling is that if you can’t make someone stop being bigoted, at least you can try to get them to stop acting bigoted. If a person is going to have bigoted thoughts, I at least want them thinking, “I can’t say this out loud, because people appear to think it’s wrong and I might suffer social consequences.” If they eventually make the connection that “maybe people think it’s wrong because it’s wrong,” that’s great. If they don’t, at least people aren’t being hurt by having unchecked bigotry thrown in their faces.

      • March 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        Agreed. The fetishising of Free Speech principles without adequate consideration of the parallel principles of Free Association is telling in many of these arguments, too. People should definitely be able to express themselves without governmental interference, but private citizens are not obliged to keep company with or listen to anybody who expresses opinions they find distasteful/distressing/contemptible (especially in their own homes), and private organisations definitely should be able to specify codes of conduct regarding acceptable and non-acceptable conduct as their prerogative under the principles of Free Association.

      • GraceGrace
        March 23, 2013 at 11:37 am

        My dad’s a little bit of everything, which makes it difficult to even hold a conversation with. I’m 20, and I’ve finally started putting my foot down because I know if I don’t, no one else in my family will. When I told my father that I was a feminist, his reply was ‘no, you’re not. You’re an equal opportunist.’ Uhm, say what?
        It’s getting easier now that I’m barely ever in the same room with him anymore, but knowing that I can never win any argument, and that my opinion is wrong about EVERYTHING, really hurts me.

      • (BFing)Sarah
        March 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm

        I’ve left, too. But, I have told people before (people who were sensitive to this sort of thing) that when you say x, y, z racist or homophobic thing it can make people think that you are uneducated/ignorant, and low class. That you are marking yourself as being an outsider (this person was white and from a very rural area) and that many people would just assume that he was just a dumb redneck. When it became about how people were seeing HIM and hearing that his “jokes” could be seen as inappropriate by other educated people, then all of a sudden he began to watch what he said. I actually then overheard him telling his brother something like “Watch your mouth! Do you want people to think you are just another dumb farm kid?! That’s what you sound like–people don’t say that shit anymore!” Hey, I’ll take what I can get re: changing minds and words!

      • GraceGrace
        March 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        I wish I could say that it’s because he isn’t well educated, but he is. It’s upsetting that despite growing up in a wonderfully most diverse cities (Vancouver, Canada), he still acts like he’s better than everyone else. He has a way of being tremendously condescending whenever he can. You talk to him about something you’ve learned, and he goes off about how you’re wrong. I brought up one of the articles from a couple months ago from here, about how it’s easier to buy a gun in the US than it is to get an abortion, and he practically yells at me ‘IT’S MURDER!’, which, if he knew about my private personal decisions, I don’t think he’s have been so quick to shout that in my face. I left the room because I just couldn’t handle listening to him anymore.

      • Henry
        March 25, 2013 at 3:35 am

        people would just assume that he was just a dumb redneck

        So you silenced bigotry versus group(s) A, B & C by using bigotry towards group D (rural farm kids)? I really have to take issue with this, I have a lot of friends who are Appalachian and the crap they put up with is not funny.

  6. March 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm
  7. konkonsn
    March 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I have a full time, salaried job! It’s been nearly a year, though I have held a part time job in that time. And it’s in Chicago, which , hooray, I get to be somewhere that has some cultural diversity (I’ve lived in central Illinois and Iowa my whole life, never in a town of more than 20,000). I’ll have health insurance so I won’t have to pay nearly $300 a month for my various medications/insurance (I haven’t told my family, but I’ve been skipping doses to make it last longer). My student loan payments won’t give me a panic attack every month.

    I’ll eventually be able to replace my nine year old laptop and not have to wait fifteen minutes after I start it up to do any work. I’ll be able to pay for an XBL gold account so I can play with friends who don’t live in town with me.

    Money! I’ll have fucking money!

    • March 22, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Hurrah for paid employment and cultural diversity!


      • Marksman2000
        March 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm

        Hell, hurrah for employment.

      • Past my expiration date
        March 23, 2013 at 6:50 am

        Hurrah for health insurance.

      • konkonsn
        March 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm

        Thank you!

    • White Rabbit
      March 22, 2013 at 10:02 pm


      And what an awesome city to be moving to! If I may offer a tip from someone who grew up there (and misses it terribly) – walk around the neighborhood(s) you want to live in and look for “For Rent” signs. It’s not uncommon to find amazing deals that aren’t advertised anywhere else. Good luck to you!

    • Angie unduplicated
      March 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Dumb question, but have you tried ordering your meds through one of the Canadian online pharmacies? Mine cost a third or more lower than the discount pharms here and some onlines have free shipping. Still have to skip doses, though.

      • konkonsn
        March 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

        No, I have not tried that, but thanks for the tip.

        My goal after my health insurance gets set up is to go to the doctor and get put on cheaper medication in case something happens like this again. I’ve been a student most my life, so I never had to worry about costs. Once that ran out, I realized I’m on Tier 4 medications. I mean, I’ve had warning signs with other doctors than my initial psychiatrist giving me sideways glances when they see what I’m on (basically like it’s too strong or whatever). I think my first psychiatrist might have put me on the most expensive stuff for his own benefit…

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        March 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        Do you have links? I am really interested in this but I have no idea where to begin with finding an online pharmacy that is reputable or w/e

      • March 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

        I’m sorry, but that’s kind of a jerk move. Someone is expressing their excitement about a new experience in a new system and you feel it necessary to post a link about it being a murder capital?

        Way to rain on Konkonsn’s parade, TomSims.

      • March 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm

        Dammit, I meant city, not system. That’s what I get for posting while the boy is talking to me about my computer.

      • konkonsn
        March 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm

        I’ve had a lot of that. Living in Farmville, IL, I’ve gotten a lot of, “Congrats for the job; sorry you have to live in Chicago.” That’s mostly because people around here are bitter about it running the state, though, more than anything else.

        Still an asshole thing to do, TomSims. Though the title is misleading as the article discusses racial segregation rather than anything to do with stats…

      • March 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        Oh, and sorry not sorry I should say.

        I friggin hate when people pull that crap. If you had come here and been like “I might take a job in Chicago, but I’m weighing the pros and cons because I’m not sure if I want to relocate etc” and some one pointed out the crime rate as a potential con, that I can understand.

        But on a smaller scale, it’s like buying a car, being really excited about it and then some asshole goes “yeah, I hear those things have terrible mileage” or “it’s probably going to rust out in a year” – After you’ve already changed the ownership over to your name and put your lucky fuzzy dice on the mirror.

      • Lolagirl
        March 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm

        Thanks Tom, for showing an outsider’s ignorance of what is actually going on in Chicago these days. FFS.

        The violence happening in the city is complicated, and in no small part propped up by the very same downstaters and suburbanites who like to fap on and on about how horrible the city is while showing absolute ignorance as to the numerous and fantastic things going on in Chicago on a daily basis. How about you all stop being so parsimonious with educational funding coming from Springfield, and tighten up the gun laws that make it so ridiculously easy for criminals to get their hands on the illegal firearms they so often use to terrorize certain city neighborhoods, and while your at it take a long, hard look in the mirror at yourselves and the bigotry and racism that underlies so much of the negativity you direct towards Chicago and its residents?

        Konkonsn, congrats on the new job, how exciting! I’ve lived most of my life living either in Chicago or in the nearby suburbs. I love the city, it’s a great place to live, with a lot of really fantastic neighborhoods and a really fab food scene these days. I have no doubt you’ll love it there.

      • moviemaedchen
        March 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm

        +1. I lived in Chicago for a year after college and loved the city. I have much more of a positive attachment to it than I do to either the city I’m officially a resident in or the one I spend the most of my time in.

      • TomSims
        March 26, 2013 at 12:05 am

        Yes I am an outsider, but was in Chicago once. And I agree I liked it a lot. They had some great steak houses, but that was back in early 1965. I was on a 24 hour liberty from US Navy Boot Camp in nearby Great Lakes, Ill.

        And there was the big selling great song by Frank Sinatra


      • Lolagirl
        March 26, 2013 at 11:45 am

        Ooh, well then, you were in Chicago once, back in the 1960s.

        That definitely makes you an expert on all things Chicago.

        Btw, we still have some of the best steakhouses in the U.S.

        Don’t believe everything you read in the National Review or see on Fox News about Chicago and why it sucks. Between the ire they have for the President and the fact that it is a long standing DNC bastion of progressiveness they just love to harp on and on how it’s awful and dangerous Chicago is and it’s all the fault of our Commie, Muslim, Kenyan President!

  8. karak
    March 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    After years of battle, I have finally accepted the fact that not only am I sick, but I can–and will–do something about it. I’ve spent years dodging doctors and refusing medications, and now I’m finally read to be a person with a chronic managed illness.

    • Clytemnestra's Sister
      March 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Good for you, and good for your health, and I truly hope that you find caring, knowledgeable medical practicioners who help you get to a good spot.

  9. March 22, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I’m failing at cooking this week. Yesterday I put a roast in the crock pot before leaving for work, only to come home and realize I had never actually turned it on.

    Yup, giant chunk o beef just sitting in onion water all day.

    Then tonight, since it’s just the boy and I, I decided to use the drippings from the finally cooked roast (since it’s too much for both of us) and make gravy for poutine. My gravy ended up looking like vaguely meat-favoured pancake batter. I ended up finding a packet of fake gravy and set the oven to low to keep the French fries warm while I make the fake stuff. Fries turned out rock hard.

    Stupid thing is, I picked poutine because I figured it was a EASY option for dinner.

  10. March 22, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Laos…absolutely one of my favourite countries ever!

    Which makes me ponder, i went almost 15 years ago, it was still a very unwesternized country, and from what i saw avoiding many of the pitfalls of it’s neighbours. I have fabulous memories of drinking the best beer in Asia by the side of the Mekong watching the monks return as the sun set.

    My pondering is this, is it ever wise to go back or are you guaranteed disappointment?

  11. Lisa
    March 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I just wanted to post a comment kind of introducing myself. I’ve made a few comments, but I kind of felt like I was eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation. So…hi! I started reading up on feminism a few months ago and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can without getting depressed about the state our society is in. I’ve so far enjoyed reading this discourse and I hope I’ll be able to contribute in a productive way. :)

    • March 22, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      hi Lisa! Jump on in ^__^

    • Donna L
      March 22, 2013 at 10:57 pm


    • Radiant Sophia
      March 23, 2013 at 8:07 am


  12. Chataya
    March 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I finally found a food that my cat likes to eat! He actually finishes his meals and is putting on weight now. Before he would just pick at it and leave half of it in the bowl. It’s like the 8th food I’ve tried him on, so glad to finally see him enjoy his food.

    • Lisa
      March 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      I know what that’s like. It’s so frustrating when your pet won’t eat/drink, because you can’t ask them what’s wrong.

    • karak
      March 23, 2013 at 1:22 am

      This is excellent! I’m happy for Picky Kiity.

  13. Donna L
    March 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I’m really feeling down right now — it’s one story after another, seemingly every day, and we all know what happens here anytime anyone tries to talk about one of them. The 6-year old in Colorado. The Smith College story. The overwhelmingly and gleefully hateful public reaction to both of them. And now I’ve read the worst story of all, about what just happened in England — the 32-year trans woman, Lucy Meadows, who was a primary school teacher in Lancashire and was viciously and relentlessly hounded and demonized by the press (and one columnist in particular at the Mail, may he rot in hell) when she transitioned at her job a few months ago, and just committed suicide.

    None of these stories are about me, obviously, but it’s all still very difficult for me to cope with, and to keep trying to fight back in whatever way I can. I feel so without hope sometimes that it’s ever going to get much better.

    • wanttobeanon
      March 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Aww Donna. That must be so rough… I know how that sort of thing can wear you down because it just. never. stops.

      Please do extra good self-care stuff, if you can, while all this shit washes over you. And try to keep in mind that 1) the douchebags are absolutely on the wrong side of history and 2) issues of bigotry can reach the tipping point very quickly sometimes. It still blows my mind how fast the public opinion tide turned on gay marriage. Things can change, and I think they will.

      Hugs if you want them.

      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 12:16 am

        Thanks; I appreciate it.

      • Donna L
        March 22, 2013 at 11:09 pm

        And of course the final indignity was the way most of the initial news stories about her death described her as a “man.”

      • Angie unduplicated
        March 23, 2013 at 9:52 am

        Bullies love suicide. It makes them feel powerful and it encourages them to bully even more. Suicides also present an opportunity for a bully to murder and disguise it as suicide. I am not blaming victims here. This is a war and I don’t want your side annihilating themselves.

    • Lisa
      March 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Ugh. I need to learn to not read internet comments. I read a few articles about the things you mentioned. It’s terrible how scared people are of admitting that things aren’t as easy or as black and white as they think.

      • bookshopcat
        March 22, 2013 at 11:53 pm

        Never mind the comments, a lot of the coverage isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, even when it’s not sensationalized horse crap. I saw a quote from one of the tiny handful of parents who instigated the whole damned witch-hunt; he expressed bland surprise at Lucy’s death, saying he had “no idea” why a woman with a stigmatized medical condition who’d been stalked and vilified by national media might see suicide as her only way out. And of course he misgendered her to make his point crystal-clear.

      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 2:34 am

        Just to give people an idea of how despicable some of the coverage has been, if you do a search for Lucy Meadows on Google News UK, the very first result is the Sun headline:

        Sex change fury primary teacher kills himself after return

        Nice, isn’t it?

        I agree with this column that the constant, inescapable drumbeat of this kind of thing has serious and cumulative negative effects on the mental health of trans people, both before and after transition:


        Why wouldn’t so many of us be so prone to suicidal ideation? There are times it can genuinely seem like the only way out, and I completely understand what it’s like to feel that way, because I’ve felt that way myself more than once. Not in a long time, fortunately; not seriously, anyway.

    • SophiaBlue
      March 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      I was seriously just about to make a post about this same thing, Donna. It feels like a ton of transphobia is just piling up this week. I just don’t know how to put into words how horrible it all is.

    • wanttobeanon
      March 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      I am genuinely puzzled about the Smith College situation. I’m an alum, and when I attended there were a number of trans guys I knew or knew of. No one was kicking them out of school. No one ever said a word to them afaik. The quiltbag student association (I was a member but have forgotten its official name – LBGT something something) most definitely had a ‘T’ in it. But trans women are officially Not Okay with the college? It’s unbelievable, and what it makes me realize is that Smith is completely not a progressive college, and obviously never took the trans men I went to school with seriously.

      I’d write a strongly worded letter but since I’ve never given them a penny post-graduation, due to being extremely unimpressed with their career development services, I’m sure they wouldn’t give a crap.

      • March 23, 2013 at 8:53 am

        It’s sadly not that puzzling. You’ll notice all the links Donna posted are about trans women? It’s not just coincidence. The media seems to go after trans women particularly, as do a lot of transphobic institutions and people.

        Misogyny is usually chalked up as being at the root of it, with it being seen as more acceptable somehow for someone designated female at birth to state that they are a man, since going maleward is seen as an improvement, more acceptable, since maleness is prized in our society. Going femaleward is seen as a regression, a lowering, because of the low regard women are given.

        Obviously that’s oversimplistic, but there’s not much else to explain it. I’m not sure I’d say it’s just Smith dismissing the trans men, it could be an active bias against trans women in particular.

      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm

        I think your general point is valid; for Smith in particular, I suspect that their toleration of trans men is based on their not taking them seriously — as in, they don’t view trans guys as being really men, but think of them more as confused young women going through some kind of phase.

      • wanttobeanon
        March 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm

        What Donna said there, about not taking trans men seriously. That’s what I was trying to get at. But yes, Smith is obviously being more bigoted against trans women than trans men. Trans men = lol, girls going through a phase, whereas trans women = omg a penis, you can’t come here! They’re both awful, but at least the trans men get to attend (provided, I assume, they check off female on the financial aid application, and/or transition while there).

        I guess I chose the word puzzling because the situation is just so not what I would have expected. Smith is a women’s college; it is not an institution that should be subscribing to any brand of misogyny, trans or otherwise, you know? I figure a good portion of the student body must be in open revolt against the administration right now. If they’re not… then I wonder how the student body has changed since I was there.

        And as an institution for women, Smith is expressly geared towards educating persons who historically have found it more difficult to obtain an education. Due to bigotry trans women fit that bill pretty freaking well. It has a reputation as a fairly progressive institution, one that does listen to the student body on certain issues. (I’m trying to remember a situation where they caved on something, and I can’t, but I think that’s because my brain is going.)

        I – rather foolishly I suppose – assumed Smith would be more accepting, more along the lines of Harvey Milk High School when it comes to people who are trans – because that’s what I saw when I was there. Trans women are women, ffs, there is no reason Wong shouldn’t be a student there. I like that the college isn’t a place for cis men – it’s part of why I chose it – but other than that, I really would have thought Smith would have made a bigger and more inclusive umbrella, to welcome trans men, trans women, cis women, genderqueer people.

        But no, apparently because this woman hasn’t had the right kind of surgery, she’s fair game to be judged unacceptable, Not-A-Woman, and barred from a place that would probably be comfortable and awesome for her, a safer space to go to school. As a decision, it’s so sad, fucked up, narrow-minded, and goes so hard against the grain of Smith’s overall environment. So in short, I’m disappoint. Maybe that would have been a better word than puzzled. Although really, I’m both.

        Does anyone happen to know if the student body, or a significant portion of it, is up in arms? I’ve been running around and haven’t had a chance to sit and google the reactions of students and alums, or whatever activism is going on on Wong’s behalf. I need to do that. But if anyone has any links, they would be welcome.

      • wanttobeanon
        March 23, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        Okay, here’s a way to say it that boils down everything I said above: I thought Smith was better than this.

      • tomek
        March 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        [Moderator note: you know the way to #spillover, tomek.]

      • Char
        March 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        I go to a women’s college that has a similar policy, and I wish they would change it (people are definitely talking about how to make this campus better for trans people) but there are a few things might make it at least a little less terrible than it sounds. I don’t know if this is how it is at Smith, but at my college the official policy is that you must be legally female upon entry but once you are in no one is making you leave. As far as why trans men are allowed to stay, I don’t know that it is entirely that the administration just considers them women. I think it is largely because the community at large considers it fairer to have a few trans men on campus than to make people leave when they are already members of the community. In my experience, the people who want trans men to be forced to leave are doing so for transphobic reasons. So at least in my mind I think it’s good that trans men are allowed to stay.

        It is, however, a problem that trans women aren’t allowed here unless they are legally female which is hard to do by the age people typically enter college. I don’t know about at Smith, but at least here while people aren’t exactly outraged, it’s something that does get discussed. So it is definitely very much a problem but I do think that it is something that at least is starting to be discussed at a lot of women’s colleges. And it seems that the administration is at least starting to move in the right direction- in many of the dorms what used to be marked as women’s bathrooms are marked as bathrooms for Mount Holyoke students and female guests and the dorms have plenty of accessible gender-neutral bathrooms.

    • igglanova
      March 23, 2013 at 12:13 am

      The Lucy Meadows case shocked me when it appeared in my news feed. I thought I’d grown (depressingly) accustomed to bigotry and hatred, but the relentless and public nature of the Mail’s hate campaign was beyond my lowest expectations of the press. Littlejohn and everyone who enabled him should be fired, blacklisted, and sued for damages.

    • karak
      March 23, 2013 at 1:29 am

      For what it’s worth:

      When I used to feel like shit about things, my mom would say, “I like you, and I think you’re right. So there’s one person on your side.”

      I like you, Donna L, and I think you’re right. So, there’s one.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        March 23, 2013 at 1:47 am


      • March 23, 2013 at 1:56 am


      • GallingGalla
        March 23, 2013 at 9:52 am


      • A4
        March 23, 2013 at 11:31 am


      • moviemaedchen
        March 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm


      • March 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        Eight. I can’t even with some of the stuff going on.

      • March 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm


      • TomSims
        March 25, 2013 at 10:24 am


      • March 23, 2013 at 2:25 am


      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 2:35 am

        Thanks; that’s very sweet of you to say.

      • Datdamwuf
        March 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        I’m late


      • March 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm

        Even later. But eleven.

      • March 24, 2013 at 7:01 pm


      • rain
        March 25, 2013 at 9:45 am


      • Hrovitnir
        March 26, 2013 at 3:37 am


        I appreciate everything you do here, and think you are a really special person.

        I’m kinda trans-confused and wouldn’t have to deal with this as a man anyway and I still really cannot handle the Lucy Meadows case.

    • Past my expiration date
      March 23, 2013 at 6:55 am

      Sometimes I just have to turn off all the news and go give the cat a head-scratch.

    • GallingGalla
      March 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

      It has indeed been a hard week. Sometimes I feel like I want to de-transition after I read these stories, deal with transphobic trolls on Feministe, etc.

      Just know, Donna, that we’re right, and they’re wrong. That’s what gets me through times like this.

      Hugs if you want them.

    • PrettyAmiable
      March 23, 2013 at 10:14 am

      I hate to pile-on if you hadn’t been involved in the Arizona bathroom thing, but I just signed this petition and hope others will too. Honestly, Arizona laws are such clusterfucks that I’m not sure it’ll help, but it’s something.

      I get being burnt out on the news. Please do take care of yourself. I find unplugging a bit helps me, and I hope you find something too. Thoughts are with you.

    • Donna L
      March 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      I feel highly embarrassed by all the attention, but thank you very much to everyone.

      The one piece of recent news that I do find heartwarming and positive, even though it’s based on an underlying story that’s very sad, is how well the fundraising is going for Kate Bornstein. Her lung cancer recently returned, and combined with the leukemia she’s had for many years, she’s really quite ill, and although she does have health insurance, it doesn’t remotely cover all her expenses, and she isn’t able to work right now so there’s no money coming in. So her partner and a friend set up an effort to raise $100,000, and, amazingly enough, the total raised is already $77,000 in just two days, from nearly 2,000 different people. So I know there are some people of good will out there!

      Here are links to the article, and to the fundraising site itself:



      If anyone can give any amount, even if it’s only $5.00, it would be wonderful and greatly appreciated. It’s sad that anyone has to engage in this kind of effort, but that’s how things are right now. I’ve met Kate a number of times, and she’s always been extremely kind to me — I’ll always remember her singing Happy Birthday to me when I turned 50! I don’t always agree with her writing on trans issues, but so what? She’s a wonderful person.

      • DouglasG
        March 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        $77,000 in two days? That is heartening. And what a great way to turn 50.

      • GallingGalla
        March 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm

        I just donated. It’s up to $87,000 now. My heart goes out to her. It sounds like a particularly rough treatment plan.

      • March 24, 2013 at 12:00 am

        @Donna L Thank you for posting this. I’ve been out of the loop and this was the first I’ve heard of it. Like you, I don’t always agree with what Kate says on trans issues, but I’m thankful she was out there saying it, when few others were.

        And what a fantastic memory to have of your 50th bd!

    • March 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Its horrible isn’t it, The Mail is a repellent pile of shite, but that it constantly allows Littlejohn to spew his vile proves the only thing that matters is money to them.

      I hope you are OK today and hugs if wanted in massive piles.

    • March 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Donna, I just put up a signal boost on the front page for a post elsewhere about Lucy Meadow – I’ve kept it as comments-closed so that we don’t have yet another round of the usual suspects chiming in here, but I wanted to highlight her.

      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm


      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        That’s a great column. And thanks again for closing your signal boost to comments. I’m not ready yet to deal with all of that again, and I have a feeling that there are a lot of people here who feel the same way.

    • Arkady
      March 24, 2013 at 8:44 am

      For anyone in the London area, there’s a candlit vigil planned for tomorrow outside the Daily Heil’s offices: Link

  14. Marksman2000
    March 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Chinua Achebe passed on. That was a blow, to be sure.

    • karak
      March 23, 2013 at 2:18 am

      What? Are you serious? This leaves me heartbroken.

      • Marksman2000
        March 23, 2013 at 7:07 am

        Yes, I’m almost sure the information is accurate. I believe it was released by his publisher. The family must be keeping things low-key, which I understand. He was 82 years old.

        I was first exposed to Achebe when I took an African Literature course as an undergrad. We read “Things Fall Apart,” and it blew me away. Although it’s sad that we’ve lost him, part of Achebe will live on for eternity.

      • matlun
        March 23, 2013 at 7:42 am

        I do not even think it has been kept that low key. There have been articles in multiple media publications.

        For example from Forbes

        Achebe died on Thursday at a hospital in Boston following a prolonged illness. He was 82.


      • PrettyAmiable
        March 23, 2013 at 9:11 am

        Oh my gosh, I read Things Fall Apart in high school. It may still be the best book I’ve ever read. Sad day, but what a wonderful author.

  15. A4
    March 23, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Last week I took some leftover vacation from 2012 and visited New York for a couple days. I must have caught the flu on the bus back on Friday because I have been terribly sick since then with the worst flu I’ve ever had. I called in sick to work every day this week and used up all of my sick days for the year. Every day I woke up hoping I could get some work done because my job is the kind where work will just pile up more and more each day. Instead, I woke up every morning feeling like I’d snorted a bunch of bath salts and drank a fifth of cheap vodka the night before.

    The only upside to this week is that Monday night is my family’s passover seder. The misery of the flu will be a great base for the self-entitled attitude I will require to play defense against my stupid ass family.

    I miss dancing.

    • Donna L
      March 23, 2013 at 2:35 am

      Feel better!

      • A4
        March 23, 2013 at 11:32 am

        Thanks! I actually do today.

      • wanttobeanon
        March 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm

        Yay! :D

  16. Schmorgluck
    March 23, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Months of introspection and exchanges with my psychologist lead me to realize my issues are much more extended than I thought they were. To put it short, I suffer from a deficit of legitimacy that affects every aspect of my social life.

    Job research, seduction, administrative processes, generally asking for… well anything have me struggling with an ingrained sense of unworthiness.

    Up until about one year ago, it was largely unconscious and hidden under various defense mechanism and inhibitions (for example my quasi-inability to feel attraction). Then a combination of factors and events caused an outbreak that I took for my being finally cured, and I went through a few months of euphoria. But I only had got rid of the surface inhibitions, not the underlying entanglements, that progressively recovered their grip on my behaviour.

    Objectively, I’m in a better state than before, because now I can grasp what my issues are and try to fight them. But it’s a very painful process. The most frustrating part is that I don’t have the material possibility to give a try at pushing my boundaries.

    Plus, for various reasons related to the above, I have a hard time thinking of anything but sex for an extended period of time, and that on top of the rest makes me feel ridiculous and whiny.

  17. PrettyAmiable
    March 23, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I’m going to Thailand!

    I worked 75 hours this week and finally had a good night’s sleep last night. I leave soon for Thailand. It occurs to me that I should pack.

    • GraceGrace
      March 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      That’s exciting!!!!!
      Try to get some sleep too. Sounds like you’ve been busy.

    • GraceGrace
      March 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      *Some sleep on vacation too. I read what I wrote again and it sounded weird :(

      • PrettyAmiable
        March 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm

        Hahaha, I understood. Thank you so much.

  18. March 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Hey everyone,

    In my journal, I wrote about a survey I have to do for my public speaking class. The survey is intended to help me understand my audience so that I can give them a better speech. The topic is about trans* people and the misconceptions surrounding them.

    I neither want nor need anyone to take the survey, as the survey is intended for the class only, but I would appreciate some feedback regarding the content of the survey. I can’t really get feedback from my classmates because 1) they are the ones taking the survey and 2) I won’t meet them again anyway until next class, which is when I’m supposed to give out the survey.

    • Li
      March 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      It might be worthwhile giving a few more options than true/false or agree/disagree for some of the questions.

      The classic format would be five options: Strongly Agree; Agree; Neither Agree nor Disagree; Disagree; Strongly Disagree.

      • March 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        Excellent idea. That would really help me understand what my audience feels about certain things asked in the survey. I’m just not sure if it would work for the last four questions in particular, which are obviously the most important.

    • matlun
      March 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Editing problem: “If so, how would you characterize your views? ”
      The “If so” does not seem to be referring anything.

      On the question “Most of the personality differences between men and women result from innate biological differences.” I do not get the “Other (please specify)”. If you switch from True/false to an Agree/Disagree scale (Li’s suggestion) you could remove it or just have a “Comments” field.

      In general – how informed is your audience? Do they have 101 terminology? You might want to clarify the term sexual orientation. I think you can get people including philias and fetishes in “All sexual orientations”.

      • March 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        Thanks. I’ll follow your suggestion regarding the question about sex and gender. The reason I said “if so” was because I thought it was clearly referring to the above question, but I guess it’s not clear enough, so I’ll make it clearer.

        As for what they know, they know next to nothing – most probably don’t even know 101 stuff. All I know is that they aren’t particularly hostile to trans* people. So yeah, I definitely will clarify what I mean by sexual orientation as well.

        Oh dear – so many mistakes!

      • March 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm

        Oh, that’s right – I removed a question above the “if so” question. That’s what I get for being careless.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      “Sexual orientation: None” option maybe.

    • March 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      The thing that sticks out to me is that there is only a question asking the taker’s sex; because if they *do* think that sex and gender are different, they may want to put down a different gender than what they consider their sex. I suppose it might muddle the survey though.

    • Henry
      March 25, 2013 at 5:27 am

      the first paragraph in the first comment on your survey post is the best advice. You need way more questions. everyone always supports equality for everyone in surveys. Hardcore conservatives will openly state that denying gay marriage does not deny equal rights.

  19. kathleen
    March 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Having trouble motivating myself to finish my final round of course work for grad school so I can start work on my dissertation proposal. I have instead been reading commentary on Feministe and elsewhere. Maybe its the long winter or my meds not working? OK back to prosody final project.

  20. jj
    March 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    **Trigger Warning**
    Found on Facebook — “Next time, don’t get pregnant” image

    I know people have written about Facebook’s community standards before, and I know I shouldn’t be surprised. Yet I am. I’ve reported this image twice, as “graphic violence” and “hate speech” and it “doesn’t violate our community standard” for either. The FB standards focus on threats of real-world harm or speech directed toward an individual person or persons.

    • (BFing)Sarah
      March 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      What. The. I…..I just don’t…..what???!! Really upsetting? That the picture has likes and COMMENTS. Fuck.

    • March 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      That’s just vile.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      What the serious fuck?

    • GraceGrace
      March 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      What the fucking hell. And the girl that calls it out just gets shut down :(

    • Meropi
      March 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

      I would suggest reporting the entire page, there are some truly vile things over there. >.<

    • thinksnake
      March 25, 2013 at 7:59 am

      So I got the ‘doesn’t violate standards’ notice within five seconds of reporting that image. Facebook now robodials its response to reports?

      • matlun
        March 25, 2013 at 8:47 am

        Presumably they see in their system that the picture has already been evaluated. So any additional reporting will perhaps not cause them to reconsider it, but just resend the response.

    • March 25, 2013 at 9:33 am

      I reported it and got this message:

      You reported Disregard females, Acquire currency.’s photo for containing graphic violence.

      Photo not removed

      Thank you for your report. We carefully reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate our community standard on graphic violence so we didn’t remove it.

      whatisthisicanteven O_o

    • Hrovitnir
      March 26, 2013 at 2:52 am

      Fucking wonderful, that is. I made this image to share on FB because what the shit? http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh125/Hrovitnir/FU_zpsf09cbb0b.jpg

  21. Radiant Sophia
    March 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm


    I just wanted to say thank you (and the whole staff) for your tireless moderation in keeping this space free of the worst of the vileness. Especially in light of commenters who are easily drawn off-topic (and I appreciate your response).

    I love the picture at the top, it makes me want to swim in it.

    • March 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Seconding this. The mods here are awesome.

  22. A4
    March 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I was hoping to get some people’s perspectives on this recent post from I Blame the Patrarchy. IBTP has a terrible track record for dealing with trans* issues and the ugly brand of transphobia that can permeate radfem spaces, but this article seems good to me, and the author has been staying in the comments and pushing back on the people writing transphobic things there. The blog was on hiatus for a while, but now it is back, and the author seems to have a newly intersectional outlook.

    • matlun
      March 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      That link appears broken. This one should be the one you want.

      • A4
        March 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm


    • tomek
      March 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      [Moderator note: if you continue to sing your one-note song on every single new subthread, you will be plonked again purely for being tedious. First and final warning.

      Also: no more comments from you on this thread. Zero.]

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      There is some transphobia in the comments, and given the week as it has been, that is enough.

    • GallingGalla
      March 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Well, to begin with, she calls gender reassignment surgery “barbaric”. If that’s barbaric, then so is, I dunno, coronary bypass surgery.


      Someday, when future humans are lounging around the pool, strumming lutes and basking in the sunny uncomplicatedness of gender-neutrality, they’ll look back on this and laugh.

      She’s still pining for “gender-neutrality”, which ain’t gonna happen. Multiple genders? Flexible and shifting genders? Yep. But no gender at all? Nope. That shtick of hers hasn’t changed.

      I also find her calling a vagina a “fuck-hole” repeatedly rather offensive.

      But yeah, it’s certainly an improvement over what she was posting five years ago, say.

      (I did not look at the comments – I’m just too afraid to read comments on IBTP. Maybe she’s doing a better job of moderating transphobic comments, maybe not.)

      • March 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

        “Someday, when future humans are lounging around the pool, strumming lutes and basking in the sunny uncomplicatedness of gender-neutrality, they’ll look back on this and laugh.”

        Wow. What an asshole.

        And what a naive view of gender.

      • March 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

        Setting aside for the moment my firm conviction that gender can and should be made irrelevant by feminist revolt



      • GallingGalla
        March 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm

        She’s been singing the exact same tune for years. The fact that she’s dialed down the transphobia a bit (and I do mean a bit) is just a minor adjustment. It’s like steering one degree to the left while driving towards a brick wall at 60 mph.

      • matlun
        March 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm

        Wow. What an asshole.

        That I find a bit unfair.

        She is going for the “gender is 100% socially constructed” idea which I personally find very annoying and wrong-headed, but at least she goes the route to accept that the gender identifications of trans* persons are just as valid as those of cis* people.

        And largely it is a rather satisfying rant, IMO.

        And what a naive view of gender.

        Yes. I would even call it “fundamentally wrong” and not just “naive”.

      • Schmorgluck
        March 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        But what is gender if not a social construct? A transcendant essence?

        To be clear: I’m speaking of gender here. Not sexual identity. Gender, as the meme that proclaims that some behaviours are appropriate or inappropriate depending on what is in your crotch. And yeah, I’m firmly on the side that wants it to disappear.

      • Radiant Sophia
        March 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm


        You might, just once, try being human instead of spewing the same hateful bullshit we have been seeing for the last week.

      • Schmorgluck
        March 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

        I may be missing some context here, Radiant Sophia. What are you speaking about?

        And, optional question, what is gender if it isn’t socially constructed?

      • Radiant Sophia
        March 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm

        I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. It was just the proverbial “last straw”.

      • Schmorgluck
        March 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm

        No biggie. But I still feel like you were trying to make a point that I don’t get. I’m a bit puzzled right now. If anything, is there something in my vocabulary that I should adjust?

      • Li
        March 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        Schmorgluck, you may want to check the comments on these two threads to see why many of the trans* commenters are particularly short on patience right now.

        In particular, there’s a transphobic canard that comes up that trans* people will no longer need to transition once gender has been abolished. And I know that you’re talking about the contingent aspects of gender, but it’s important to be aware that sex and gender aren’t necessarily easily separated for many trans people. That’s especially so when looking at terminology. For instance standard terminology is “gender identity” rather than “sexual identity”, which as a term (and I don’t *think* you’re using it this way) is easily confused or conflated with “sexual orientation”.

      • matlun
        March 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm

        @Scmorgluck: Basic gender identity is typically already fixed around age three. While some are arguing that this is influenced primarily by social environment as opposed to biology this seems to be a pretty groundless assumption.

        My take:
        As for gender roles in general they are connected to deep human behaviors and instincts. Even in an ideal world they will not disappear, though a different culture might give them partly different expressions.

        The idea that all of gender is just a social construct is just wrong. Thus my comment above.

      • March 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

        That I find a bit unfair.

        She is going for the “gender is 100% socially constructed” idea which I personally find very annoying and wrong-headed, but at least she goes the route to accept that the gender identifications of trans* persons are just as valid as those of cis* people.

        I don’t see my scorn as unjustified in the slightest.

        The view expressed here

        “Someday, when future humans are lounging around the pool, strumming lutes and basking in the sunny uncomplicatedness of gender-neutrality, they’ll look back on this and laugh.”

        is one that I find very problematic because it trivializes my feelings of being trans* to a huge degree. I don’t care about the fact that she regards trans* gender identities and cis gender identities as equal.

      • March 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm

        Gender, as the meme that proclaims that some behaviours are appropriate or inappropriate depending on what is in your crotch. And yeah, I’m firmly on the side that wants it to disappear.

        That’s patriarchal gender normativity, not gender itself. We can get rid of the former, but not the latter.

      • matlun
        March 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm


        The view expressed here
        is one that I find very problematic because it trivializes my feelings of being trans* to a huge degree.

        I understand and I agree with you.

        While I might be a bit more understanding since I believe her heart is in the right place you have no obligation to share that feeling.

        “Intent is not magic” and if I was in your situation my understanding with this kind of nonsense would probably be in a lot shorter supply.

      • March 25, 2013 at 1:27 am

        While I might be a bit more understanding since I believe her heart is in the right place you have no obligation to share that feeling.

        Matlun, there’s only so many wrong places the rest of the body can be in before the correctness of your heart’s location becomes completely moot. I find Twisty Faster fucking objectionable on about six thousand levels; I’m not about to parade her about on my shoulders or give her cookies for being “wrong, but in a cute, puppy-that-loves-you-but-pees-on-the-carpet sort of way” on trans issues. Not to speak for Aaliyah, obviously, but still.

      • Hrovitnir
        March 26, 2013 at 3:02 am

        Have you read much of Twisty, Matlun? I kinda liked her writing for a little bit many years ago. Until I started seeing how rigid her thinking was, and how incredibly hateful she is. She and her followers do NOT have their hearts in the right place by any means.

        Note: people like her are taking their transphobia to a governmental level. Their beliefs are bullshit on the face of it, and they’re a thin veneer over what is really a deep disgust toward trans* people anyway.

      • Schmorgluck
        March 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm

        Ah, I understand better now. The reason why I used “sexual identity” is rather clunky, to be honest. Being French, I’m used to distinguish the notions of “genre” and “sexe” but I’m in the impression that the word “sex” is barely used in English for the biological descriptor as opposed to “gender” as a social construct. Maybe I’m wrong. The scope of similar words can vary between languages.

      • Donna L
        March 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm

        Schmorgluck, some people find it helpful to divide the concept of “gender” into aspects such as “gender identity” and “gender expression,” acknowledging that the association of particular expressions (conduct, attire, etc.) with one gender or another is a social construct, but that gender identity is not necessarily so.

    • March 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      I hate Twisty Faster with the fire of a thousand suns.

      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm

        Twisty is what passes for being extremely trans-friendly in the radical feminist world, since she banned open transphobia in her comment section years ago, over much outrage and protest. Not that it doesn’t keep cropping up, as in the comments to this particular post.

        But she’s trans-friendly only in the sense of being one of those “in the feminist utopia, there won’t be any more trans people because everyone will be able to express themselves however they want without transitioning, and nobody will want or need to change their body anymore” people. When it comes right down to it, she has only the most superficial view of trans people, based not on actually listening to them, but on analyzing them through her theoretical lens.

        So I don’t hate her, since she doesn’t actively do harm to trans people or say awful things about them. But if she’s the best that radical feminism has to offer in terms of being trans-accepting, it’s not saying much.

      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm

        Also, people can link to whatever they want, but there is no way in hell I would ever read a comment section over there.

      • March 23, 2013 at 8:25 pm

        she banned open transphobia in her comment section years ago, over much outrage and protest.

        I still find it hard to believe that banning transphobic sentiment is something to get angry about. SMFH.

      • Donna L
        March 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm

        Except that I did just read this one. Wow, there’s a lot of open, virulent transphobia there. Repulsive. But all too typical.

        Look, at least Twisty is on the right side of this debate; her views of what will happen when the feminist utopia arrives don’t change the fact that she show some common sense and humanity about what trans women deal with in the world as it is today.

        And thanks to Pheeno for standing up for what’s right.

      • March 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm

        I’m aware of almost all the things you mentioned, Donna. And tbh just about the only respect I have for TF is that she’s openly anti-transphobia, and I do respect her mightily for pushing back that hard against her audience there; that had to have been hard. However, I find her views on sex and men and masculinity in general pretty abhorrent and pathologising, and I say this as someone who rolls around gleefully in the label of Professional Misandrist. I also take virulent exception to her understanding of gender in general (which harks back to your points re: why she’s not transphobic, but still not actually an ally proper).

        I also don’t know what her views are on lesbians/bi women and I’m afraid to find out, I really am.

      • Hrovitnir
        March 26, 2013 at 3:27 am

        You are fucking kidding. SHE’S trans-FRIENDLY? Christ, what a low bar. Good on her for banning that though, even if it’s a drop in the bucket.

      • amblingalong
        March 24, 2013 at 3:59 am

        She’s also incredibly bigoted against gay men (is there a word for this- more specific than homophobic, I mean?), though she’d deny it. She had a post a while back talking about how every form of sex that didn’t involve a vagina (oral, anal, manual, etc.) was ‘degrading’ or ‘ultimately depressing,’ and while she wasn’t intentionally talking about gay men, you can’t write about how every sex act two men could perform together is filthy and wrong while keeping your gay-ally card. Especially not if, when you’re called out on it, your defense is “I was just having a bit of fun trolling my commenters.” Some of those commenters were gay men, and it’s not OK.

        I don’t know if this is really true, but a couple people have persuasively argued that Twisty doesn’t hate men, but she does hate the people- of any gender- who have sex with them.

      • amblingalong
        March 24, 2013 at 4:12 am

        you can’t write about how every sex act two men could perform together is filthy and wrong while keeping your gay-ally card.

        Should read ‘two cis gay men.’ Sorry for the 101-level mistake.

    • A4
      March 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thanks for your input everyone!

  23. March 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    This week, I learned that the program I want to transfer to wouldn’t sustain my visa. I have since applied to another university, but I’m missing pre-reqs that might mean that my degree now takes more than 4 years. It’s also far more expensive.

    I haven’t slept well since then, basically. My joints are inflamed, it hurts to move and it hurts to stay still and the act of cutting cheese actually reduced me to tears last night. Also I had an undergrad conference all day today (presented, two papers) so my anxiety’s through the roof.


    • March 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Mac. =[ Hugs if you want them.

    • GallingGalla
      March 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      That sucks. Sorry to hear that, mac. And sorry you’re in pain. I hope things get better for you soon.

    • Donna L
      March 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      I’m so sorry, Mac. I hope the pain gets better soon, and that things work out with your degree plans.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Pain sucks. I hope things get better for you soon.

    • wanttobeanon
      March 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      That sucks hard. I hope your pain subsides as quickly as possible, and that you can sleep better soon. Chronic pain + sleep dep is a combination straight from hell.

    • karak
      March 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      They might be able to wave some of your pre-reqs, since you have extraneous issues going on, and you can always look into summer courses and the like to cut your time short.

      If it’s advice you want.

      If it’s commiseration, that sucks ass. =(

    • March 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      Thank you, everyone (I don’t want to clog up the “recent comments” by replying individually, sorry). I’m feeling somewhat better today; actually got more than five hours’ sleep last night and everything. Here’s hoping I’ve turned the corner.

    • Lolagirl
      March 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Sorry to hear about all that stuff, Mac, how lousy for you. Hope things work out and that you’re feeling better soon!

  24. Thalia
    March 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I’m not sure this is the place to post this but I wanted some… Feedback, I guess? If you read the pieces below, please be careful.

    TRIGGER WARNING FOR BOTH LINKS: detailed discussions of sexual violence and rape AND potential rape apologia and more (since I couldn’t finish the article) in the Salon.com article.

    I posted the “So you’re tired of hearing about ‘rape culture’?” article on my Facebook and a ‘friend’ responded by posting this Salon.com article called “My bad sex wasn’t rape

    The author at Salon.com, Anna March, opened her piece with description of ‘bad sex’ which read as rape to me (but I also felt she was allowed to define her own experiences) without a trigger warning. And I couldn’t get past that. Has anyone else read the article? Or wants to give it a go and help me out in processing it?

    Let me know if this isn’t the appropriate thread for this, mods!

    • tomek
      March 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      [Moderator Note: And that’s farewell to Tomek for at least a few weeks, folks, seeing as he couldn’t read a very clear instruction from the Moderators upthread.]

    • matlun
      March 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Has anyone else read the article? Or wants to give it a go and help me out in processing it?

      Ok. My personal take on it…

      I liked that article.

      The point she is advancing is not new and basically boils down to if there is consent, then it is not rape. Even if it was a negative experience. And if we are too quick to question the validity of consent, we are undercutting the agency of the victim. From the article:

      there’s one message I think gets undervalued or too often dismissed when we talk about how to erode rape culture: women’s sexual agency. As Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

      What I do not get is why your ‘friend’ sent you that as a response (?) to your original post.

      I do not see that it is any kind of direct counter argument. She is using Steubenville as an example of real rape (as opposed to the other examples she is discussing), and she does not go into details. As far as I can see, nothing she is saying about that case goes against anything you said.

      She does have a very different tone and message, but it is an attempt to reasoned analysis vs a rant, so they are very different types of articles. There is no mystery there.

      One word of warning: I found the comments an ugly mess.

      • March 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm

        What I do not get is why your ‘friend’ sent you that as a response (?) to your original post.

        While I agree with the author’s points in principle, the idea that “Just because you regretted it doesn’t mean it’s rape” is a common trope among anti-feminist MRAs that, in their usage, is intended to either trivialize rape culture or trivialize rape victims.

      • March 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm

        It’s also used as a straw argument against anti-rape discourse in feminist circles. It seems that a lot of anti-feminists MRAs falsely assume that feminists think consensual sex that a woman regretted having is rape.

      • matlun
        March 24, 2013 at 12:12 am

        the idea that “Just because you regretted it doesn’t mean it’s rape” is a common trope among anti-feminist MRAs

        This is true.
        A rape apologist could simply exaggerate that line of argument and argue for consent where it does not exist.

        But as I said I liked the article and did not think it was unbalanced in that way.

        And I would not say that she is arguing against straw feminists. It would not be that hard to find those that would argue that the experience she described in the beginning of the article should be called rape.

    • Meropi
      March 24, 2013 at 9:35 am

      There are several things about the article which rob me the wrong way.
      Mainly the way the men’s responsibility and actions are considered a non-issue, as if the female was the sole participant in what happened.

      And that aside, there is this:

      At the same time, it is not helpful to label every murky sexual encounter as rape or to say that anything any woman states is rape is, in fact, rape.

      What exactly is she talking about there? False rape accusations?
      It’s not fine to label some things as rape, but it’s fine to label other things as “not rape” in spite of the victim feeling otherwise?

  25. wanttobeanon
    March 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I’m in a weird place right now. I am heavily pregnant with a really big-feeling baby head settled into my pelvis, and (shocking I know) that’s kind of coloring my life. I’m looking forward to the baby, but being pregnant is not my cup of tea.

    I did have a chance to sit down and read more about the situation with Calliope Wong, and it made me very weepy. (Partly pregnancy hormones I’m sure, but partly it’s just so depressing.) I don’t feel up to reading the Lucy Meadows piece at the moment, I am feeling needy and moody and sad-by-turns enough as it is and I don’t need to make it worse.

    But some things are going awesomely. Today I cooked my first ham. I am not a great cook, I’m too lazy and not knowledgeable and am intimidated by roasts and things, but we got a crockpot and it’s pretty amazing how easy it is to use, and how tender and delicious it makes cheap tough cuts of meat. We got an 8 lb ham because hams were on sale because of Easter, and I cooked it in a glaze of brown sugar, maple syrup and pineapple juice. I ate past the point of fullness and felt so proud of how delicious it was that I kind of want to bring some leftovers to my parents, even though I feel way too old to do that, like it would be like when I was 9 and bringing them artwork from school. My dad could make a better ham in his sleep, I’m sure. Still I feel great about it. Feel competent, even though all I did was put a ham and three ingredients in a crockpot.

    I also made a mashed carrot and sweet potato casserole and burned a nasty inch-long welt on the inside of my arm because I was clumsy and the oven mitts weren’t long enough. Derp.

    A relative died a few months ago, and it turned out that she put myself and my siblings into her will. I’m terribly excited to be the recipient of a windfall, and it’s been fun as hell to decide what to spend a little of it on, how much to put away for our kids’ educations, retirement, a donation to a charity etc. Financially things have not gone our way the past couple of years, and to suddenly have a cushion is such a relief, I can’t even say. I’m very grateful for it. Especially since even with health insurance, which I know I am extremely lucky to have, it’s damn near impossible to tell how much your hospital bill is going to end up being.

    • Donna L
      March 24, 2013 at 1:24 am

      You’re making me hungry!

      Good luck with everything. And, yes, the Lucy Meadows story is not something you want to read unless you’re prepared for something truly awful.

  26. Alexandra
    March 24, 2013 at 2:19 am

    I feel sometimes that, having had my eyes opened to injustice by feminism (and, later, other social justice movements) I cannot close them even to rest…

    I’ve recently gotten involved with harm reduction work (needle exchange programs, healthcare for homeless people). This weekend, I’m in Portland with my mother to visit my brother. I walked down to Powell’s Books alone this evening and arrived just in time to see a homeless woman punched in the face by an older man. I was the first person to reach her. She was eight months pregnant, and also pretty obviously high. I helped her to her feet, and with a couple of other women contacted police. Eventually I left when it became clear there was no role for me there.

    I spent the rest of the evening feeling residually awful/guilty/scared.

    AND I didn’t find the perfect lesbian feminist 1970s pulp fiction amazon fantasy novel of my dreams at Powell’s.


    • EG
      March 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

      Have you read Suzy McKee Charnas’s Walk to the End of the World and Motherlines?

      Might be what you’re looking for.

  27. RichardVW
    March 24, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Elsewhere on the internet, I saw someone try to mock some misogynists by implying that misogynists are active homosexuals. I don’t even mean that xe called misogynists a bundle of sticks; the implication was unmistakeably direct: homosexuality is gross and is something to be ashamed of. The homophobia went unremarked by several who lauded xir rhetorical wherewithal. To be fair, though, the comment was long and the homophobic part was suspiciously easy to miss.

    It’s still discouraging.

    I can be patient when some supposedly progressive person doesn’t want to have a conversation about how responding to a misogynist dude with “so, how does it feel to be a virgin at your age?” might just contribute to rape culture (in at least two distinct ways), the marginalization of sexual and gender minorities, or a dehumanizing concept of women. There are more efficient uses of my time, and who am I to interrupt someone’s sacred comedy act with the concerns of mere mortals?

    It’s hard not to get angry, however, when an alleged social justice ally screws up a fundamental thing like “there’s nothing wrong with being gay, trans*, lesbian, etc, and your rhetoric shouldn’t suggest otherwise.” Why is that not more widely understood? It feels like it should be.

    Yes, this was a relatively tiny incident. My sympathies to those dealing with worse. I’m sorry if I’ve done something equally stupid or worse around here.

    • RichardVW
      March 24, 2013 at 3:03 am

      That reminds me:

      I would pay a lot of money if it meant that I wouldn’t hear a hundred kiddie-rape jokes every time the Catholic Church makes the news. Fuck the Catholic Church, yes, but shut the fuck up with your wannabe George Carlin act.

      • Hrovitnir
        March 26, 2013 at 3:54 am

        Yes please. And I don’t think you need to apologise for the 1st post! It’s definitely worth posting about. This is the open thread.

      • Schmorgluck
        March 26, 2013 at 7:41 am

        A few years ago i heard on the radio a French comedian stating, in substance:
        “It’s unfair to characterize all catholic priests as nazi sympathisers or paedophiles: some are excellent family guys.”
        That one actually made me laugh.

  28. Hisfeministmama
    March 24, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I just wanted to share my response to some of the mother-shaming/parent-shaming that has (yet again: Rosin and Jong of 2010) become a part of the critical discussion of The Retro Wife piece. I am done with the single vision many other feminists seem to place over parenting. I find it remarkable that in the desperate and essential need to recognize intersections in oppression, mothers are often pushed off to the side, seen through one particular (part of the patriarchal system) lens or accused of privilege denying. Why is it acceptable (trendy) to undervalue parenting? Jaclyn Friedman (who I have until now adored) wrote with heavy parent-shaming strokes last week and this is my response: http://ourfeministplayschool.ca/feminist-mother-yes-are/

    • March 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      This really belongs more on the Self-Promotion Sunday post – how about reposting it there?

      • March 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        That came off as more critical than what I meant it to be: a helpful suggestion to get more eyeballs on your article.

    • Lolagirl
      March 24, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      *Jumps up and down*

      This is one of the best takedowns of the odd bent of some mainstream Feminists who love to criticize and hate on women who parent.

      Thank you, Hisfeministmama, I thought your blog post was really insightful and otherwise full of win!

  29. Donna L
    March 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    In more upsetting and unpleasant news, here’s the latest story on the long history of sexual abuse by teachers at the high school I went to:


    See also



    I find all of this to be infinitely depressing, but not surprising, not any more than any of the other child sexual abuse stories that come out. Especially since I was a student there once upon a time, and remember the specific teacher who’s the subject of the New Yorker article* quite well. (I deliberately avoided taking any of his
    classes; he always seemed deeply creepy to me, and I was never a fan of teachers who did the “cult of personality” thing.)

    Another recent story, this one about the lawsuit filed in New Jersey based on the abuse by another well-known teacher at Horace Mann whom I also remember:


    * I don’t mean to imply that it was just one teacher; this is from the New Yorker article:

    By this January, according to alumni who are serving as counsellors and advocates for victims, eighteen teachers had been accused of abusing more than thirty-five students over four decades.

    I have every reason to believe that it was far more than 35 students; that’s just the number who came forward.

    And of course none of this includes all the unchecked non-sexual, verbal and psychological, abuse that some teachers engaged in, and, of course, the physical abuse and general bullying inflicted by students on other students, some of which I’ve recently described here.

    • Donna L
      March 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      And I suppose I should make clear that Horace Mann was (theoretically!)* an all-boys’ school when I attended; the first girls didn’t enter 7th grade until a few years after I graduated. Obviously that was a very difficult situation for me to be in all those years, but it isn’t particularly relevant to this story.

      *The only other trans woman I know of who went to the school was Renee Richards, who graduated 20 years or so before I did.

    • GallingGalla
      March 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      I could not get beyond the 4th page of the New Yorker article. Just so much horrible abuse documented on those pages.

      • Donna L
        March 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm

        It’s all very unpleasant reading, isn’t it? The fact that I personally remember every single teacher and administrator mentioned in these articles makes reading about them in this context quite a surreal, and disturbing, experience.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Wow, Donna, I…
      I read the New Yorker article. It is hypnotically disturbing,
      But the “that’s just how things were then” attitude is REALLY disturbing.

      • Donna L
        March 24, 2013 at 7:58 pm

        Yes it is, especially since I don’t buy it for a minute. If it was all so acceptable back then, how come those teachers were so careful to make sure nobody was watching when they did what they did?

      • Donna L
        March 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm

        I guess I’m relatively lucky that for whatever reason I never appealed to any of these teachers as a target — not counting my 7th grade English teacher, kindly old white-haired man that he was, who sexually abused almost everyone in the class, during the class, so there was nothing unusual about me. (He would call up at least one child to the front of the classroom almost every day, and would proceed to hug and fondle that child for a prolonged period, while continuing to teach all along. I must have been at least a little bit “special” to him, though, because he wrote “You’re my best!!” for me on his photo in my 7th grade yearbook. If you were bad, he would give you an extremely painful “Woo pinch” on your rear end — his name was Mr. Wooster — and I never got one, not even once!)

      • catfood
        March 25, 2013 at 10:23 am

        Because that was also part of “how things were done then”? It was supposed to happen in such a way that other people didn’t have to be bothered by knowing about it?

    • March 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      [content warning – talking about abuse]

      I started the New Yorker article, but I didn’t read the full article. I couldn’t. I had one of those kind of teachers in high school. Too involved in his students’ lives. Put up on a pedestal by almost everyone, including my parents. He “outed me.” At the time, I was too immature to realize how serious that was. I shudder to think what it would have been like had I actually been a lesbian. He also knew about my abuse, and failed to report it as mandated by law.

      Everyone loved him. I felt like there was something wrong with me when I was bothered by the way he acted.

      • Radiant Sophia
        March 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        I had a high school teacher that, at the end of the year, refused to give me a grade in the class. He said That I’d have to come in for a special summer class, even though I had finished all of the work required in the class. I told him to either pass or fail me, because I wasn’t wasting my summer coming to school. I had never thought, until now that he might have had ulterior motives.

    • March 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Donna, I’d like to know about those cases sometime, but I’m already so anxious I can’t make myself read that, or even a description of what’s in it. So, just… hugs, and take care.

      • Donna L
        March 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm

        Thanks, mac, and I hope you feel better soon.

        This story couldn’t have come out at a worse time in terms of my own generalized anxiety, on top of everything else that’s been going on.

  30. March 27, 2013 at 9:48 am

    And with this, Towson, MD has officially become a sundown town:

    White Student Union Begins Nighttime Campus Patrols

    White southern men taking the punishment of perceived “black predators” into their own hands? We can’t think of any time in American history that that’s been anything short of terrifying and illegal.

    • EG
      March 29, 2013 at 7:34 am

      Holy shit. That’s appalling. So is this:

      “White Southern men have long been called to defend their communities when law enforcement and the State seem unwilling to protect our people.”

      Does Towson have a black student group that could respond in some way?

    • matlun
      March 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

      That is highly exaggerated. Heinbach is pretty much isolated with no communal support. The university and the police are pretty clearly on the right side of the issue.

      Of course they should be watched very carefully, but for now this looks like a publicity stunt. And not the first one from this individual.

      • matlun
        March 29, 2013 at 8:23 am

        To clarify: If I was a black student on campus, would I feel comfortable with these white pride douches patrolling around? Obviously not.

        But as long as they have not actually done anything it would seem hard to do much about it beyond what is already being done. Ie watch them (they are increasing police patrols) and make very clear that they do not have support.

      • March 29, 2013 at 11:24 am

        But as long as they have not actually done anything it would seem hard to do much about it beyond what is already being done.

        Refusal to let the group use university resources. Expulsion. Permanent notes on their transcript. Withdrawal of scholarships awarded on merit/leadership basis if any. That’s off the top of my head. Keeping in mind that these people have been operating for A YEAR: why the fuck hasn’t the uni withdrawn support? I’m thinking of a word, it starts with “ra” and ends with “cism”.

      • matlun
        March 29, 2013 at 11:41 am

        @mac: They have been pretty careful in not clearly stepping over the line and give the university a good excuse to take stronger actions. They are not “officially” racist. It is “just” the normal rhetoric and dogwhistles.

        The current patrolling idea is new, but Heimbach has been going on for longer than a year in one way or another. Here is a newspaper article from when last he was in the news when he was trying to start up the current group.

        When googling on him now I see that he has also been campaigning against same sex marriage. Charming.

      • March 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        @matlun I know about him; I got angry when I read about that first thing too, when it came out.

        And I think the SPLC declaring a group to be a hate group quite sufficient cause to stop providing university resources, dont’ you?

  31. matlun
    March 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    To be honest, I had no idea that that the university provided them any resources. They are not a recognized student group, right?

  32. matlun
    March 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Threading fail: response to mac 12:30 pm above

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