Weekly Open Thread with a Bunny Trooper

This fantastic Easter themed Star Wars meets Donnie Darko cosplayer is this week’s awesome-threads-wearing host (via fashionablygeek). Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

A person is wearing adapted Storm Trooper cosplay so that xe looks like a rabbit in the space armour. Xe is carrying an egg-shaped version of the Death Star.

This picture was posted without comment on the Star Wars Burlesque Facebook page

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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170 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with a Bunny Trooper

  1. March 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    So, I was complaining a couple of weeks ago about an awful professor. She’s only gotten worse. This past week, she bullied, manipulated, and snapped at us because we objected to doing extra homework during the exam period (which is so against the rules it’s not even funny) that was due the same day as our 15 page paper for the same class. The same day that 5 people still have to do their presentations, because she is incompetent and didn’t get to them during the actual term. She also threatened to move up our essay deadline by a week and/or cut our time for the final in half if we didn’t agree to the extra class and extra homework. And then sent a passive aggressive email after class that singled out the three of us who actually stood up to her, about how disappointed she was. This was all for our own good, after all. I hate her. I would cheerfully stick pins in her eyes. Especially because I now find myself having to finish all my homework a week early in order to fly home for my Grandma’s funeral, and I know this prof will not give a single shit about that, and if I tell her, she’s more likely to use that to manipulate me than to actually help in any way.

    On a slightly brighter note, I was so worried this entire semester that Grandma’s death would break me, because it’s the third death in my family in 7 months. I was so paralyzed by that fear, but now that it’s actually happened, I feel like shit, but I’m not broken. I even managed to write my first draft of her paper this afternoon, and it’s pretty good so far. I can actually still do my homework, and as much as that’s very cold comfort, it is a bit of a relief.

    • SophiaBlue
      March 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      I’m sorry bout your Grandmother, and I’m glad your managing to cope.

      Sorry about your shitty professor, too.

    • March 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Also sending my condolences in regards to your Grandma

    • GallingGalla
      March 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      My condolences, also.

      And your professor sounds like the Professor from Hell.

    • EG
      March 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      You have my deepest sympathies as well.

    • Alexandra
      March 30, 2013 at 12:53 am

      Speaking from experience, the best thing to do with awful professors is ace their class and then rip into them at the end of the semester, preferably with nasty letters to administration. I’m dealing with an incompetent (but otherwise fairly benign) instructor this semester, but previously I’ve had instructors saying outright bigoted things in class when it was literally their job to combat stigma, and one of my greatest pleasures in the past few years was showing them up for a fool in my final presentation and getting an A grade for it.

      Unfortunately, it sounds like you’re dealing with outright malice, rather than just incompetence/garden variety bigotry, and I have no idea what to say about that, except that you are strong and will survive this and that I hope you manage to get your own back somehow at the end of the semester.

    • Angie unduplicated
      March 30, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Would it be possible to tape some of this critter’s more dastardly comments and rule violations, edit the tape skillfully but honestly, and send it to a professional review board? If this is not possible, does your library have H. Allen Smith’s The Complete Practical Joker, or the George Hayduke series on mischief? Sounds as if you and your classmates could use a little fun in your lives.

      My condolences on three deaths in what appears to be a good family. Take care of your health, please, since you have a bunch of stressors.

    • EG
      March 30, 2013 at 10:53 am

      I have to say, I don’t understand professors who don’t cut students slack for difficulties that happen during the semester. Whenever I’m dealing with a student in distress, I try to err on the side of compassion. It comes down to which person you want to be: do you want to be the person whom students get over on every so often, or do you want to be the person who is cruel and doesn’t cut slack to a student who needs kindness and help? I know which person I’d rather be.

      • Alexandra
        March 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm

        I agree. I see this in other fields of life also – is it so important to police everyone’s lives to prevent any cheating that you have to make the 95% of human beings who aren’t liars and cheats totally miserable?

      • llamathatducks
        April 2, 2013 at 9:06 pm

        This. I currently have a temporary teaching job (for the first time) and this is exactly my attitude. Sometimes my students tell me outlandish things about themselves, and I’m not sure whether they’re trolling me or not. Sometimes I ask them what their names are and they tell me fake things. Sometimes they make jokes and I suspect they’re about me. Some of them tell me they can’t participate in the activities I give them because they cannot talk in front of the class (I presume something like social anxiety).

        It’s so tempting, when I discover some students taking advantage of my credulence to laugh at me, to tighten the screws and not trust them anymore, lest they “win” again. So many teachers (and students) do work in the “adversary” framework where the teachers and the students are opponents locked in a game of wits. But that is totally useless.

        So while I don’t actually assign homework or give exams (and thus don’t need to do things like grant extensions), I still have to constantly fight the impulse to get rid of any vulnerability, because that would also mean I can’t actually be open to my students at all. It’s a shame this professor doesn’t understand that.

    • khw
      March 30, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      I just wanted to add that I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time in class; my condolences on you recent losses.

    • wanttobeanon
      March 30, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      I’m sorry for your losses. 3 within 7 months… just, ouch. And your prof sounds ghastly. I hope you can hang in there.

    • March 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Jesus fuck. That is so far beyond Not Okay. Is there anyone you can complain to? Anyone in your class who can back you up with the administration if you decide to take action?

      And I’m very sorry for your loss.

    • moviemaedchen
      March 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      All my condolences. And good god your professor….

    • March 31, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you all for all the support and kind words. I’ve got a freezer full of leftovers so I can eat well without spending a lot of time cooking, plenty of friends to vent to, and Doctor Who is back on now, so I’ll be able to take pretty good care of myself while finishing up all my school work.

      There is a group of us who are thinking of filing a formal complaint against her at the end of the semester. And I was wonderfully vicious in the anonymous course review, which makes me feel much better about the whole thing. At this point, I kinda just want to keep my head down and get through all this, but I also want to screw her over at least as much as she’s screwed us over (though that’s probably not possible). We’ll see which one wins out XD

  2. March 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    So sorry to hear about your grandmother. That’s a lot of stress at once. Hope you can find support elsewhere within the university.

  3. SophiaBlue
    March 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Good: I shaved my legs this week. I’ve been avoiding doing this because I live with my dad and brother right now and I’m not out to either of them, so I wanted to avoid weird questions. But I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, and finally I just said fuck it. I really like how they look and feel, and so far my brother and dad haven’t even noticed.

    Bad: Apparently the Human Rights Campaign asked transgender activists at the Supreme Court rally to not fly a transgender flag, with one staffer allegedly saying that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue,” as well as telling speakers from the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project not to speak about their experience as queer immigrants. It makes me twitch a little bit when I see people who replaced their avatars with the HRC’s equality sign, even though I’m sure most of them mean well.

    • Donna L
      March 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Seriously? HRC assholes up to their old tricks again. Who says marriage equality is irrelevant to trans people? It isn’t always, but it certainly can be, and it means that if a trans person wants to get married, they don’t have to worry about jumping through hoops to change their birth certificate — at least for marriage purposes — no matter whom they’re marrying.

      It isn’t always relevant to LGB people, either.

      • Donna L
        March 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        Also: do you have a link for that information, Sophia? Thanks.

      • SophiaBlue
        March 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        The original post on the transgender flag issue was taken down, I think because the poster was getting a lot of negative attention, but you can find more information, as well as HRC’s denial, here (note how even though HRC denies telling anyone the marriage is not a transgender issue, that acknowledge they asked people flying any flag other than the American flag behind the podium to move).

        The video from QUIP talking about the HRC editing their speech is here.

      • Li
        March 30, 2013 at 9:47 am

        In Australia, married trans* people who want to update their documentation have to get divorced before they can change their birth certificates. So yeah, people who pretend that restricting marriage to male/female couples only fucks people over on the axis of sexuality are sketchy dirtbags.

    • tmc
      March 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Yeah, I posted about that and about my discomfort with seeing the HRC logo splashed uncritically all over my page, and how disappointed I am over the fact that no one but trans* folks seems to be talking about this, and basically about how queers who are disabled or immigrants or non-white or homeless or whatever are still queers and that their needs should be recognized and fought for too.

      A close friend of mine (white, cis, comfortably middle class, married, monogamous, lesbian) didn’t like it and we got into this looooooooong back-and-forth about it that just took all. Damn. Day. And she kept saying things like “it’s easier to focus on gay marriage first” and “calling people out can’t be the entire solution” and stuff like that and it was just fucking exhausting.

      I told her that it’s not like she can’t be happy with getting federal recognition (and it’s not like I’m not happy FOR her), but goddamn, there are plenty of other queers who are being left out of the conversation right now who are experiencing oppression from within their own ranks. And it needs to be brought to light, not just shoved under the carpet because it’s unsightly.

      • tmc
        March 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

        Ugh, and she essentially said that it’s unfair to expect people who don’t know enough about oppression and privilege to be able to step outside their comfort zone and fight for queer rights that don’t directly affect them. (What? Queers at a rally don’t understand oppression and privilege??) I said that it’s not as unfair as being at a rally for “equality” and being told to lay down your flag, which she did agree with.

        She’s a smart and compassionate woman, but sometimes her class and cis and racial privilege REALLY fucking show, and today was one of those days.

      • Donna L
        March 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        Perhaps it’s just that I’m getting old, because every time I hear the Q word used in a way that seems to be intended as an umbrella term that would theoretically encompass me, I wince. Maybe because I remember when it was used only in a pejorative sense, and have no interest in reclaiming it. Maybe because I wanted so much as a child, and for a great deal of my adulthood, not to feel so “different” from everybody else in such a tangible way. And I don’t anymore.

        Then again, my son doesn’t identify as queer either, and he’s 22.

      • tmc
        March 29, 2013 at 10:50 pm

        I’m sorry Donna, I was careless to use the word so casually in this space. The local communities I’ve been involved with have pretty much totally reclaimed it; I don’t know anyone IRL who doesn’t regularly use it to refer to themselves or others in the community. Which is still no excuse for me using it so carelessly in a wider space. My apologies!

      • Donna L
        March 29, 2013 at 11:44 pm

        Thanks, tmc.

      • March 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm

        Well, at least she didn’t pull the “you’re a homophobe for criticizing the gay community” crap white cis gays seem to love to use. Or did she? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

      • tmc
        March 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm


      • tmc
        March 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        (Okay, my laptop did something bizarre with that first reply to Barnacle Strumpet.)

        No, she didn’t, but that’s probably because I’m super duper not straight. ;-)

      • Donna L
        March 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm

        It does make me a little uncomfortable when people who aren’t LGBT — and I have no idea how you identify, Barnacle — criticize the gay community. And some of the stereotyping within the LGBT community — like the idea that somehow most gay men are rich, white, and transphobic, and/or that rich, white cis people are the only ones interested in marriage equality — bothers me as well. Hey, some of my best friends have been cis gay men — not even including my own son! More seriously, I do believe that that stereotype, if it has any validity at all, is less valid the younger the person.

      • Donna L
        March 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

        Also, Barnacle: speaking of terms that make me wince, using “gay” as a noun is one of them. I understand that using “gays” as a collective noun is fairly common, but still think it’s one of those terms you should use only if you’re part of that community yourself.

      • March 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        Donna, I know what you are saying, but I haven’t even seen this done to straight people. I have usually seen it used as a derail to shut up trans* people, or PoC, who bring up this points.

        The people who have called me a homophobe have known well and good that I am trans* and a panromantic.

        And I know there is a thing over which words to use as adjectives and which as nouns, but some people don’t have an easy time distinguishing between the two.

      • April 3, 2013 at 11:36 am


        Now you know, however, that “the gays” tends to be wince-inducing. So, one more person who knows, which is a very good thing!

      • matlun
        April 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm

        Now you know, however, that “the gays” tends to be wince-inducing

        Fairly off topic, but:
        Is it just me, or has “the gays” as a term much, much more wince-inducingness than just “gays”?

      • March 30, 2013 at 6:51 pm

        basically about how queers who are disabled or immigrants or non-white or homeless or whatever are still queers and that their needs should be recognized and fought for too.

        I’d really appreciate if the people who were fighting for these people weren’t excluding the fact that for a chunk of those immigrant non-white disabled queers (hello, by the way) marriage is in fact a solution to 90% of the problems we face.

        I fucking hate that marriage equality is the Only Big Deal, too. But you know…if it weren’t for marriage equality I would be fucked six ways from Sunday. And I get angrier and angrier every time I hear people say “we can help poor immigrant disabled queers OR we could help rich cis white gay guys get married”, like marriage equality hasn’t done a damn thing for anybody who isn’t Dan Savage, and like human rights are some sort of fucking zero sum game and anybody working with one area is actively harming all the other areas. Because you know what? If it’s either “side with disabled immigrant straw-queer people” or “support the institution that protects and empowers you”, I’ll pick the thing that ACTUALLY helped me, thanks.

      • tmc
        March 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm

        I never said that it was a zero-sum game and I’m not sure what in my post led you to believe that I think that way about it. My problem is with all of the folks het up for gay marriage who are treating it like a zero-sum game and telling anyone whose first priority is NOT marriage to shut the fuck up and stop being divisive. What happened at the HRC rally (with trans* folks being told to hide their flag) is exactly the sort of shit I’m talking about.

        I resent the implication of making up “straw-queers.” I’m talking about friends of mine who live at multiple intersections of oppression, and feel left out and have tried to say in the most gentle ways possible that they’d like to not continually be told to get to the back of the bus when they say that marriage equality is NOT their highest priority and will NOT solve their most urgent problems. They were essentially told to shut the fuck up and wait their turn (“let’s do gay marriage first!”), in so many words. I’m not making these people up.

      • tmc
        March 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm

        If getting married solves most of YOUR problems, then hurray and good for you (seriously). But there ARE others that are saying that it’s not going to solve most of their most pressing problems, and they are being silenced and shamed regularly.

      • March 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm

        tmc, I’m not saying you said anything of the sort and I replied to your post agreeing with you below. My point was specifically the juxtaposition of “poor/disabled/immigrant/POC” and “people interested in marriage equality” as opposites. Hi, I’m a poor disabled immigrant POC and marriage equality is currently keeping me safe from a lot of things, not least potentially winding up in jail or raped in my home country. Honestly, I’ve only ever seen people arguing for marriage equality FIRST (like you have). Which is frustrating, but not half as enraging as the kind of shit I see from the other side, like being told by a young straight cis girl that I’m “supporting white supremacy” by being in favour of marriage equality, because REAL POC queer people should only want the destruction of white social ideas. (This really happened, I am not kidding you. Fucking tumblr.)

        This does NOT, and I categorically say DOES NOT, mean that I don’t think homelessness or housing/employment discrimination aren’t more important than marriage equality. I do think that they’re priority 1. But the zero-sum treatment I’ve seen has never, ever been from the pro-marriage side; it’s always been the people telling me I’m betraying The Cause by protecting myself in the only way I can, and supporting others who can gain protections in the same way.

      • March 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm

        Honestly, I’ve only ever seen people arguing for marriage equality FIRST (like you have).

        Like you have = like the people you’ve seen. (And fwiw I push back hard against them too. Just because X works for me doesn’t make Y, Z and A not worse for a greater numeric population.)

      • tmc
        March 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm

        Ack, sorry I misread you, I’ve been touchy on this after yesterday’s daylong argument. It seems we pretty much agree, the all-or-nothing bullshit is just awful either way that you slice it. I’ve been getting most of it from the opposite end than you have, apparently.

      • tmc
        March 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm

        My last reply to you disappeared or something (it doesn’t appear to be in moderation) so let me try this again:

        Sorry to have misread you. I’m apparently a bit touchy on this after yesterday’s day-long argument. It seems we agree, the all-or-nothing bullshit is tired and wrong no matter which way you cut it.

      • tmc
        March 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        And there it is, so now I’ve got two comments saying the same thing. Whatever, my laptop is a piece of shit and this weird shit has been happening to me ALL DAMN DAY.

      • March 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm

        Oh, don’t worry about it, tmc, I don’t think I was being clear either. My brain’s addled right now and I don’t think I’m communicating clearly (which is why I’ve dropped off commenting for a bit, and am taking breaks). I thought I was clear enough, but I reread my comment and urgh. Sorry. And I totally get why it’s frustrating. It really seems like LGBT POC get fucked from all sides in the discourse, no matter what positions we take. Hell, I’d even go so far as to extend that to spouses if they’re either not LGBT or not POC, because fuck knows the anxiety/rage/depression these arguments cause rub off…

      • March 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

        Although I do want to say:

        “it’s easier to focus on gay marriage first”


        No seriously WHAT.

        I mean, sure, let’s do the gay marriage thing, let’s focus some energy to that, but aren’t housing, employment rights etc at least as important? Sure, they’ll follow marriage equality, but that doesn’t mean that they should be neglected until marriage equality is achieved! What in fucking fuck?

      • DouglasG
        March 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

        I suspect that many of us have yet to learn how to win properly. We’ve had such little practice.

        The kindest thing that comes to mind about tmc’s friend is that, when victory seems especially near, the Don’t Leave Me Behind group can perhaps look a good deal like the Poison Pill-Adding Concern Trolls. Of course, from the other side, even people who sincerely intend to Fix Your Problem Next get theirs and suddenly find a thousand excuses.

        If only people paid proper attention, I imagine that HRC would have withered away long ago.

        This reminds me in a way about that long discussion concerning anti-equality voters with the passionate insistence that some were totally not homophobic in that why the people suffering harm in the moment are supposed to laud the Magic Intentions of those hurting them seems irrelevant.

    • March 30, 2013 at 12:23 am

      I guess I’m lucky that I’ve only ever seen people with the “does not equal” symbol as their avatars (and given that that is by GSRM people, I’m guessing it’s in criticism of HRC, rather than being an anti-marriage symbol?).

      • Alexandra
        March 30, 2013 at 12:54 am

        90% of my facebook feed has the equal sign avatar right now. It’s just the latest version of Kony 2012: the sooner the faux-activism is over the happier I’ll be.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        March 30, 2013 at 4:12 am

        Besides that, shallowly annoyed that it’s harder to tell people apart…

      • Lolagirl
        March 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

        In my own defense, I live in a pretty conservative part of the midwest. I also have close family and friends who are gay, who themselves have put up the red avatar on FB, and who have reached out to me personally to thank me for showing my solidarity in changing my FB avatar to the red equal sign.

        I know there are concerns about the HRC’s mission and unfriendliness to trans people. That sucks, and I disagree with it. But if I can publicly show my support for both the people I love and others I’ll never even meet, I’m going to do it. It’s easy to shrug it off as slactivism, but where I live it’s a pretty controversial thing to do (especially since I’ve actually been unfriended by some other super-conservative people for it.) I do my best to support LGBTQ causes whenever I can, and to call people out for being small-minded bigots when I can. Maybe it is a token thing to change one’s FB avatar for a few days, but I still think it’s better than sitting by silently and doing nothing.

      • (BFing)Sarah
        March 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm

        I don’t think its like Kony…the issue of marriage equality is one that is controversial in the country that I live in and I’m not getting all of my information from a video about a country that I have never lived in, will never live in, and know nothing about other than what I have seen in said video. Plus, IMHO, the point was to show support to my friends and family that were feeling alone and upset at the fact that their rights were up for debate before the Court. The point was not to effect change, its in the hands of the SC as to what happens with Prop 8 and DOMA, but to show support for marriage equality. Although I do show support in other ways, this was another way to show that I stand on the side of marriage equality. I had more than a few friends and family members that are members of the LBGT community say that it really warmed their hearts to see that so many of their friends and family supported extending marriage to everyone. And I also had a few older family members ask me “what is this all about?” and it was a good opening to tell them. I really feel this is how you wear down the people who are resistant to change and progress. Keep on talking about it and keep pressing back. My in-laws minds have been changed (both of whom voted for Bush TWICE), my aunt voted for marriage equality in MD (she is very religious and it took many conversations fo) , my cousin didn’t vote for Pres (don’t ask), but went to the polls to cast a vote for marriage equality. Conversations like that really change minds and I think its things like this (changing the profile pic) that provide an opportunity for that conversation.

      • Hrovitnir
        March 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        The not-equal sign most definitely is opposing gay marriage. At least in many cases. I’m not a USian and I’m very outspoken on FB so don’t have any FB-friends with these things but some people I know from the US have had multiple “friends” that have used the unequal sign to signify opposition to marriage equality.

    • March 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      I fucking hate HRC. I hate HRC with a flaming goddamn passion. I hate that it’s the face of LGBT rights in the US, with the endemic massive issues going on for LGBT youth and trans people in general. Ugh, their behaviour.

      And I’m glad the leg-shaving went well!

    • April 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Good: I shaved my legs this week. I’ve been avoiding doing this because I live with my dad and brother right now and I’m not out to either of them, so I wanted to avoid weird questions. But I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, and finally I just said fuck it. I really like how they look and feel, and so far my brother and dad haven’t even noticed.

      I’m going to shave my legs again once I go to the store and get some more razors. It’s such a nice feeling. My suggestion, if your dad and brother get suspicious, is to say that you just wanted to see what leg-shaving is like. It sounds silly, but it’s probably enough to dissuade them from asking more questions. Please do what’s most comfortable to you, of course, but that’s just a suggestion of mine. You could also tell them that it’s none of their business, although I’m not sure if that’s a good idea since I don’t know how those two would react to something like that.

      Also, RE: HRC: Oh dear. I was planning on bringing them up in my persuasive speech in order to encourage my audience to help trans* people (it’s going to be about fighting discrimination and prejudice against trans* people). What other organizations should I encourage my audience to support? I’d appreciate some suggestions.

      • April 1, 2013 at 7:11 pm

        I apologize if this post is incoherent or sounds somewhat callous. I’m a little bit under the influence.

      • Willard
        April 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm

        depending on activity, swimming, running, and biking can all provide longer term covers. also, don’t forget to exfoliate! :)

  4. March 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I effed up my sciatic last weekend. Which sucked, mostly because the pain closely mimicked what a DVT feels like. So I went into full on panic mode (I’ve had two previous blood clots, one in each leg). Even though I know it’s nothing so serious as all that, it’s still mildly triggering. Oh and hurts. The good news is that I seem to be recovering fairly quickly, which will hopefully mean minimal physio required.

    Oh, and last night my TV caught fire. So a trip to Future Shop is in my near future.

    • GallingGalla
      March 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      I hope you get better soon!

      • March 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

        Thanks, I seem to be recovering quickly. As of today I haven’t had to take anything for the pain, so that’s encouraging.

      • Donna L
        March 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

        I’m glad to hear you’re feeling a little better. Take care of yourself!

  5. wanttobeanon
    March 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Prob TMI… I’m due to deliver next week, and the baby is sharply pinching my bladder. This did not happen to me during my first pregnancy. I am waddling because it hurts to walk normally and binge eating because I’m miserable. It makes me feel awful for people who live with chronic everyday pain. On top of that a crapton of stuff needs to get done before the birth. I hate everything right now.

    • Donna L
      March 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time right now; the best of luck with everything.

    • miga
      March 30, 2013 at 2:31 am

      When I was a fetus my face was pressed up against my mom’s spine – she could only shuffle during the last trimester, and I have a crooked smile because of the nerve damage I did to myself.

      Fetus’s can be assholes sometimes :/ On the behalf of all fetus-jerks past and present, I apologize.

    • Lolagirl
      March 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Good luck with the your upcoming delivery!

      You definitely have my sympathies. I’ve been there, it stinks having a baby head digging into your pelvic bones and pinching your sciatic nerves. Waddling bad, but moving around good to help get that baby outta there. Any chance you can get some friends and/or family in to help you get everything together?

    • wanttobeanon
      March 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you guys. I’m feeling at any rate a little more emotionally collected today, although obviously still uncomfortable.

      My husband is helping a lot. Doing as much as he possibly can, really, but he has limits to how much time he physically has to run around accomplishing stuff both in and out of the house while also taking care of our daughter a good deal of the time. I kind of don’t want to ask my mother for help as she’s already volunteered to do a lot of childcare in the days ahead. I’m lucky to have them, because I seriously don’t know how I would manage without the help.

  6. whistlewren
    March 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    I have never commented on an open thread before, but I feel kind of lost so I thought I would throw this out there.

    I am really worried about my little brother. He is 21, and seems to be deeply depressed. I haven’t seen him since he was 14 (abusive ex banned me from talking to or seeing family for most of the 7 years we were together), but we were always close, and can still talk and laugh together in a way that belies the distance of time and miles between us. But I can’t reach him, and it seems no one can. He won’t pick up his phone or call anyone, and it has been this way for years.

    Some background: he is my half brother. His dad – my ex step-dad – is a raging douchebag. My mom was with him from when I was 5 to when I was 11. Eventually his verbal and physical abuse of me and my older brother was enough, and she left. We all tried not to talk badly of him in front of my little brother, because we didn’t want to set up a situation where he had to ‘prove’ his loyalty to us over his father.

    When he was 14 he went to live with his dad, who would smoke weed all day and often be away for work or up to two weeks at a time. Since then he has changed – he went from being a hilarious, quirky and fiercely individual kid to being shy and unmotivated. He doesn’t drink or smoke, just sits at his computer all day. My big brother eventually convinced him to come and live with him in a different city and do further study after high school. Big bro is currently battling head-on with depression, so he is trying to get little bro to practice adequate self-care; eat well, sleep, go out and meet new people, go to the doctor, talk about his father…. but little bro just clams up. He has no motivation, and wants to go back to live with his dad as soon as possible because he says he feels like he ‘can’t leave his dad on his own’. I had suspected his dad prevented him from moving out for some time from some comments little bro made. He stresses about calling his daily several times a week and feels guilty if he doesn’t, but for the rest of his family (who he gets along really really well with in person) he never calls.

    Sorry for rambling, I just really need advice. I am stuck on the other side of the country due to custody proceedings with the abusive ex. I want to help my brother but I don’t know what to do.

    • Alexandra
      March 30, 2013 at 12:06 am

      I feel you. My younger brother (20) is dealing with depression and anxiety right now that he is refusing to get professional help for, in part because his closest friend has been suffering from far more dramatic mental health issues. I’m incredibly proud of him for supporting his friend through a terribly difficult part of her life, and for being an amazing, supportive lgbt/feminist ally, but I can’t seem to get through to him that self-care is part of caring for those you love.

      We both come out of a home with alcoholism/abuse/mental illness, and I’ve been SO crazy myself that not getting regular mental health care isn’t even an option – but he’s been “functional” through his depression/anxiety and so he doesn’t think he needs (or think he deserves, I suspect) to get care. And also apparently the one time he reached out he ended up with a Freudian 0.o which was alienating for him… ugh.

    • agreywood
      March 30, 2013 at 1:50 am

      It sounds to me like right now the phone is a big source of stress in his life right now. Does he use any chat/IM services? Is he still inclined to text? Could you introduce him to Skype? having some method of talking that isn’t heavily associated with the obligatory calls to his dad might help open up communication.

      • whistlewren
        April 1, 2013 at 2:40 am

        Thanks for the reply guys. @agreywood – i hadn’t really considered that phone calls could be evoking anxiety due to a connection to pressure from his dad. I will try and use IM services more – there is one he uses, but I am never really on it. I can Skype more too. I know that for me, a big part of getting out of sympathising with someone who was abusing/manipulating me was to get a new sense of reality by connecting with family and friends away from my abuser. So my plan is just to have contact with my little brother become a regular thing so he knows there are people around who love having him in their lives.

  7. Miss S
    March 30, 2013 at 2:45 am

    I thought I had a job for the summer, but I just found out I don’t. I have an interview for a teaching residency next week, so I really, really, hope that goes well. Since I’ve graduated, all I’ve done is wait tables. Teaching will be my first real, professional job.

    The last 3-4 years of my life have not been so good, and I really, really need something to come through for me.

    • GallingGalla
      March 30, 2013 at 9:17 am

      I hope a good job comes through soon for you.

    • debbie
      March 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      I hope everything works out!

    • PrettyAmiable
      March 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      My fingers are crossed for you! The job hunt is terrifying and exhausting and then terrifying again. But I have faith in you!

  8. Alexandra
    March 30, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Signal boosting this excellent (but depressing) article. Warning: this article discusses a sitting congressman threatening violence against Native people and Native women in particular:

    North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer Verbally Attacks Native Victim’s Assistance Program Director at State Meeting, Threatens to Ring Spirit Lake Tribal Council’s Necks By: Melissa Merrick

    • Angie unduplicated
      March 30, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Threats of violence against constituents are completely unacceptable. In this part of the country, he could be jailed for “terroristic threats”.

      Tom Graves also cited constitutionality of Native American inclusions as a justification for his vote against VAWA. This seems to be a common exclusionist attitude.

    • GallingGalla
      March 30, 2013 at 9:30 am

      Cramer’s behavior was appalling! *smh*

  9. Computer Soldier Porygon
    March 30, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I haven’t been up to much. I finally got serious about working through my book and learning my sewing machine and I was looking forward to trying to make something simple this weekend, but… I sent some of the accessories and stuff I ordered to my parents’ address which somehow became set to my main address on Amazon. So I deleted all five million of my old addresses and my mom said she would try to ship the box to me soon. I guess I am just lucky it didn’t get sent to one of my old apartments to be received by god knows whom. It wouldn’t have been much to re-purchase it but I’m pretty broke at the moment. Just little annoyed I can’t do it this weekend because I was looking forward to it.

  10. anna
    March 30, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I wish people would call it same-sex marriage instead of gay marriage.

    Please don’t forget about the bisexuals and asexuals in such marriages.


    • Emily
      March 30, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Hear hear (here here? – I never know which is correct!)

      Or just marriage equality, since it’s not like the current marriage system is only open to people who are straight, and that takes out the whole gender/sex part of marriage entirely and just makes marriage a commitment between two people, however they identify

      • matlun
        March 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

        Hear hear (here here? – I never know which is correct!)

        You are not alone. “Hear hear” is the older form stated as correct in the dictionaries, but “here here” is actually the more common one according to google.

        Re same-sex marriage:
        Perhaps you could even just go with something like “marriage for all” since the goal is for gender or sex not to be a factor in who can get married.

      • matlun
        March 30, 2013 at 9:38 am

        Or I guess I could just have gone with “hear, hear” since Emily already said that. I guess I will have to admit not reading her post carefully enough…

      • March 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm

        That’s always been one of my concerns with the term “gay marriage” as well. GSRM people can enter into opposite-sex marriages, and one day straight people will probably enter into same-sex marriages, if they haven’t already. And various combinations there on.

  11. bookshopcat
    March 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I feel weird posting about this as I’ve only just delurked this month, but there isn’t anywhere else I feel safe talking about what’s going on, so here goes…

    Content note: mental health stuff, sexual abuse, ableism, suicide.

    It’s been years since I’ve been able to hold down a job. While my gender stuff is pretty much under control at last, I’ve still got a pile of serious health issues, some of which stem from the fact that one of my parents abused me for about ten years and the other one covered it up. Since anyone who needs social assistance clearly needs to be encouraged to stop being a freeloading parasite as fast as possible, the provincial government pays almost enough to for me to live at 50% of the poverty line.

    This means I make enough every month to afford a cheap bachelor flat- provided I don’t do anything extravagant, like feed myself or my cats- or I can rent a room in a house that’s owned by my parents. Of course, they’re both in complete denial and pushing hard for reconciliation, no matter what I or my therapist says to the contrary. It doesn’t take a degree in clinical psychology to see what the chances are of me regaining my health under these circumstances, but as I can’t afford to live anywhere else, I need to recover enough to be able to earn what it would cost to live somewhere that would allow me to get better. Bootstraps, essentially.

    So that sets the stage for yesterday, where it really got ugly.

    One of the other family members who lives here has announced that until I get out, his operating procedure is going to be A) bullying me whenever he thinks I’m ‘making excuses’ or ‘acting crazy’ and B) regularly telling me that I know fuck-all about myself and what I’ve been through. Apparently he knows me better than I do myself, or so he claims. And even the one relative who I’d thought was sort of sympathetic doesn’t want me around anymore because being estranged from my molester is ‘causing too much drama’.

    Oh yeah, and my suicidal episodes have been getting steadily worse for the last year. Not that he’s going to find out about that- that would be ‘making excuses’.

    No-pets places are cheaper than the pets-okay sort, but not by enough to make them feasible, and even if it made a lick of difference, living without my cats isn’t possible; they’re one of my biggest supports. Sharing a pets-okay place with room-mates isn’t a much better option; all of my room-mates so far have turned out to be room-mates from hell and right now I don’t have what it takes to screen for people who’ll be able to live with someone in my position.

    [despair redacted by author]

    tl;dr: can’t stay where I am and don’t know how to get out or where to go.

    • EG
      March 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I’m so sorry. That sounds like a dreadful situation. Is there a Y or someplace near you where you could stay temporarily, a friend who could temporarily take your cats, or with whom you can stay?

      • bookshopcat
        March 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm

        I’m afraid my options are a bit more limited than I made out. To begin with, I didn’t mention that it’s a bad city to live in when you’re poor; the vacancy rate’s something like 0.7%, and the city’s lost thousands of units of affordable housing over the last twenty years. Considering that, I’m not too surprised that I don’t know anyone who’s got room to take on another three cats, let alone an extra person.

        Relocating to a place with a better housing market puts me in the position of leaving the small support network I’ve managed to cultivate, including the scant handful of medical professionals in this part of the country who are willing to work with trans patients.

        Moving out and leaving the cats here for a while is just barely possible- they’d be looked after and I could come back for them when I was settled- but based on past experience, even a couple of days away from my support animals when I’m in good shape is bad for my health. Right now it would be dangerous.

        As far as shelters and similar alternatives, I don’t fancy my chances of accessing those resources to my benefit as a skinny introverted gay trans guy with mismatched ID, severe depression, an anxiety disorder, an autism spectrum condition and nearly enough PTSD symptoms for a diagnosis.

        It looks like if I can make it though the next nine to twenty-four months, I’ll have a permanent place with safe people, but how I’m going to make it until then is anyone’s guess.

    • debbie
      March 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      That sounds like a terrible situation. It’s not clear from your post whether you are on OW or ODSP, but ODSP (disability) does pay a bit more, and it certainly sounds like you might qualify.

      • bookshopcat
        March 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

        Unfortunately, this is as good as it gets on disability. 780$ per month is what I’m worth; 810$ if I have a doctor’s note saying that I need a phone for medical reasons, and then I have to be able to prove that I’m using that extra 30$ to pay for said phone.

      • debbie
        March 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        Damn. That really sucks. Hugs if you want them.

      • bookshopcat
        March 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        Hugs would be appreciated, debbie; thank you very much.

      • March 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm

        More hugs if you want them.

    • khw
      March 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      I completely get how important pets are for health – my dogs are my “daughters” and make me leave the house, which is good as I am mildly agoraphobic.

      So sorry you’re having all these complications. My best wishes for you.

      • bookshopcat
        March 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        Thanks, khw. I’ve known a few people who’ve gotten really dismissive when I’ve tried to explain that my cats are like family, so it’s always nice to meet people who get it.

      • khw
        March 30, 2013 at 11:52 pm

        Well seeing as my “political views” in Facebook are as”pro-puppy,” it’s easy to understand why your cats are such an important part of your life. I am sure my mental health would be much worse without the “love bombing” I get from my three.

        It is so hard when our living arrangements are stressful; supposedly, our homes should be our refuge from the stress outside.

        I hope your babies are purring noisily and send you big, virtual hugs!

    • wanttobeanon
      March 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Oh my god that sounds so awful. And daunting. Living situation stress is one of the worst kinds, and you describe some horribly toxic people there. Overall this sounds like a doozy and I wish I had something helpful to say.

      I do second the ‘don’t part from your cats if at all possible’ sentiment. Pets can be such a support in hard times (I’m a cat person too, also with three). I totally understand needing to not be separated from your furry friends.

      I will be thinking about you. Please update us when you can.

      • bookshopcat
        March 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

        Thanks. Even my therapist isn’t too sure what to do, which is saying quite a lot. As mentioned up-thread, within the next two years I should finally have a safe long-term place with good people, but how I’ll get there from here, I surely don’t know.

        It does help to know that people are thinking of me, though. And I’ll keep in touch.

      • moviemaedchen
        March 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm

        I’m sorry you’re dealing with such a crap situation – jedi hugs. I totally get needing your cats – they really can help enormously, yeah? Sending you good wishes. Keep going, however you can.

      • wanttobeanon
        March 30, 2013 at 9:33 pm

        And just wanted to add – I really hope it turns out to be the 9 months rather than the 24.

    • Alexandra
      March 30, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      One of the worst things about being kind of crazy is that “crazy” is often at least partly genetic, and so the people you should be able to rely on when you’re ill are often the most unreliable (or even dangerous) people in your life. I really feel for you and wish you luck — I’m still living with my unpredictable family, and while my mental illness is very well controlled right now (bipolar), multiple members of my family are dealing with their own versions of “crazy” right now, some of which manifests as abuse. It really sucks.

    • March 31, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      I am so very sorry that you have to go through all this. My aunt was also on disability for a long time, and she had to sell Regal and Avon stuff just to make ends meet because our province sucks. I also hope that you can make it to a safe and lovely place within 9 months and sending lots and lots of hugs.

  12. Donna L
    March 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Tonight should be very interesting; I’m going with my son to a show at the Gramercy with performances by a number of present and former contestants from Ru Paul’s Drag Race (far and away his favorite TV show), including the lovely and talented Jinkx Monsoon! Alaska! Carmen Carrera! Ivy Winters! Pandora Boxx! Mimi Imfurst! All hosted by Michelle Visage!

    (In case anyone’s wondering, no, I don’t consider drag to be either inherently misogynist, or appropriative of trans people — there are, after all, drag queens who also happen to be trans, for whom it isn’t just a performance.)

    I’m glad that there are actually seats at this place; I don’t think I’m up to a standing room kind of thing — the last one of those I went to was to see Patti Smith at the Bowery Ballroom some years ago, and that was physically difficult for me to get through even then.

    • wanttobeanon
      March 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Whee, that sounds awesome! I am so with you on the wanting seats thing. General admission was fine when I was in my twenties, but these days I value my comfort a little too much for that.

      I hope you and your son have a great time!

    • Meropi
      March 30, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Donna, I know this is not really related but I wanted to tell you that I am constantly in awe with the relationship you have with your son, from what I was able to read from your posts. There is always such incredible care and love in the way you speak of him and it’s obvious how truly important he is in your life. It makes me wish I will be lucky enough to experience something similar as a parent one day.
      I hope this wasn’t too awkward of me to babble about. I’m mainly a lurker here but reading your posts is always special and I guess I felt the need to say thank you right now. I hope you and your son have a great time at the show!

    • Donna L
      March 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks to both of you. I printed out the tickets, and it turns out that they’re general admission/standing room after all. Oh, well, I guess I’ll survive. And I’ve already been warned not to complain too much, or else!

      I’m glad it comes across that I love my son, and that he means so much to me. Because it’s true. My greatest fear was always that I would have the same kind of relationship with him that my father does with me, and I’m very glad that that fear hasn’t come true.

      • khw
        March 30, 2013 at 6:51 pm


        It’s totally clear from all the posts of yours that ive read that you and your son have a pretty special relationship. I hope you both have a marvelous time, despite having to stand!

        On a personal note, I’ve wanted to thank you a long time now for sharing your posts with us. I feel grateful for what you have taught me.

  13. March 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    The physical therapist has cleared me to start playing soccer again. I’m so relieved, that I get to go tackle people again. :)

    • March 31, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Also, remember that thing I was saying about my Mirena. Yeah. I need some sort of outlet. Why aren’t there more hot feminist dudes in Oakland for me to do?

    • April 1, 2013 at 2:12 am

      Good news, glad to hear it! :)

  14. moviemaedchen
    March 30, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    [Note: health and mental health issues]

    So, I’m wondering in anyone here has any advice on finding reliable info about some health issues I’ve been having (see below), and how to manage them til a doctor can look at them. I’ve looked at the big health websites like webmd, mayoclinic, etc. but there’s just so much to sort through, and hard to tell what to pay attention to and what is just scaring myself for no reason. They also don’t have enough about some of my specific symptoms for me to be able to tell if they’re helpful or not. I’m trying to get in with the university clinic, but it might be a couple weeks, arg. Anyone have any similar experience/thoughts?

    There’s a couple of things going on. The major (new, weird) issue is joint pain – *without* swelling, redness, or any visible sign of the classic arthritis inflammation. Sometimes it feels achy, sometimes like there’s a lot of pressure inside the joint Hands are the worst, but also wrists, knees, elbows, ankles, and one hip, and occasionally muscle pain in my arms. Haven’t done anything physically straining recently that would explain the pain, and it’s been going on for a month or two now at least. Also mild fatigue and general weakness. My back hurts too, but I’m not sure if that’s related or not, since my back has hurt for the past 10 years and I don’t know how much of that is due to the fact that my job = books and computers all day. Anxiety and depression, but again, that’s part of my ‘normal’ though it’s been worse this winter than usual. Many days, though not all, I also get a dull, not-excruciating headache in the afternoon.

    I’ve had x-rays to the hip and one hand recently, which I was told looked ‘normal,’ so I doubt it’s OA or anything strictly bone-related. I’m also 29. I’ve had a worse year with infections than normal (2x flu AFTER I got the shot, and for one I was on the couch for 2 weeks straight), so it’s possible that triggered something reactive?

    Anyway, any advice/info would be appreciated. Thanks and jedi hugs to those who need them.

    • March 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Hey… three questions before I can say:

      1) Is all the achiness worse in the mornings or after naps, etc?

      2) Do you have disordered sleep? (I’m counting insomnia, repeated wakings-up, inability to wake up easily in this.)

      3) Are the headaches linked to changes in air pressure or temperature, or just times of day?

      These symptoms sound very like some of the things I have that are triggered by my fibromyalgia. The questions I asked are also related, so.

      • moviemaedchen
        March 30, 2013 at 7:25 pm

        Hey, thanks for replying. :)

        1) I haven’t been able to discern much of a pattern in the achiness yet. It’s present in the mornings, but continues through the day and will flare unexpectedly for a few minutes now and then. Like, I’m sitting down talking to people, doing nothing with my hands, and suddenly it’s excruciating for a few minutes before going back to just a persistent dull ache. Walking helps my knees/ankles a little, except for going up stairs.

        2) Some sleep issues. It takes me a while to get to sleep and I wake earlier than I’d like to (even if I went to bed at 4am, I wake around the same time as if I turned in at 11), and I’m completely dead for a day if I get less than 6-7 hours. (5 years ago I could manage a week of 4-hour nights when papers were due. Not going to try that now.) I’ve been taking 1mg of melatonin nightly to relax, so I do *sleep,* but when I wake it feels like not enough.

        3) The headaches don’t seem affected by air pressure or temperature that I can tell. Mostly it’s a mild-to-moderate dull ache mid-afternoon, though the last week or so it has not been as bad. Could be tension (I have a dissertation-related deadline coming up), except the timing-thing is weird.


      • March 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm

        Okay, so this is just a layperson’s recommendation, so treat it with massive handfuls of salt, but… it sounds like, assuming you have the time/resources/coverage, you should probably get a referral to a neurologist, and a rheumatologist if the neurologist finds nothing wrong. (This was basically how I got my diagnosis: x-rays showed no damage, nerve conduction tests came back normal, but there were some issues with the blood tests that made my doctor refer me to a rheumatologist, who said I had pretty much all the symptoms of fibromyalgia.) It’s also possible that it’s just a neurological issue. Either way, it sounds like that’s the first step.

        Also, fibro hits everybody differently; Val and I both have it, but aside from the baseline symptoms (sleep issues, achy bodies, fatigue and “invisible” joint pain) our pathology’s pretty different. Also, current research on fibro tentatively points towards some sort of triggering infection or virus for some people, and there’s a high correlation with having experienced trauma. So there’s that.

      • March 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        I second mac’s recommendation here.

      • moviemaedchen
        March 30, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        Ok, thanks. I’ll take a look at what the uni offers – hopefully I can follow up as you suggest. I’ve been wondering about fibro, among some other possibilities. None of which are very happy-making, sigh, but what do you do. I didn’t know that it could vary much for individuals, so that’s good to know.

        The invisible joint pain has been the thing really weirding me out, since most of the info on that that I’ve found has been about arthritis.

    • khw
      March 30, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      I hope you feel better soon; big, virtual hugs!

      • moviemaedchen
        March 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm

        Thanks – hugs are always good.

    • moviemaedchen
      March 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      I’m scared to even click that link. Seriously, what the fucking fuck is wrong with people indeed?

    • matlun
      March 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      That is fairly typical line of argument within ethics. As in the branch of philosophy. Ie he recognizes that viscerally, intuitively the cases are very different, but the challenge is to articulate exactly why that is the case.

      The general idea is that if you have some theory of ethics (such as utilitarianism) you try to find some situation X where the theory gives the intuitively incorrect answer, thus testing the theory.

      Note that he especially emphasizes that the person raped is “you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar” to really drill home the intuition that this is deeply wrong.

      It is a rather special context.

      • March 30, 2013 at 7:53 pm

        Ie he recognizes that viscerally, intuitively the cases are very different, but the challenge is to articulate exactly why that is the case.

        “Explain why rape is bad. You are not allowed to bring up bodily autonomy in your response.”

        Yes, very complex. Well done. I suppose his crowning achievement would be to explain why murder is bad without using “life” as a part of his argument.

      • March 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm

        matlun, I see where you’re coming from but I also think this professor is basically being a shock-jock. My spidey-sense tells me that discussing this git has huge potential to thread-jack, so further discussion belongs on #spillover, please.

      • matlun
        March 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm

        I agree. Taking this sub thread further seems to just risk being triggering and disruptive for no good reason.

    • PrettyAmiable
      March 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      From Gawker:

      Update: University of Rochester spokesperson Bill Murphy reached out with this statement:

      At the University of Rochester, we honor our Communal Principles: fairness, freedom, honesty, inclusion, respect, and responsibility. We are committed to academic freedom and free speech.

      Professor Landsburg is entitled to his opinions and his independent publishing of them. His opinions do not represent the views of the University—we work hard to promote a culture of mutual respect and to combat sexual violence.

      If you’re a dude with power on campus. Women and other people who suffer sexual assault are not entitled to inclusion and respect.

    • Jerry
      March 31, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      It’s truly scary that there are so many intelligent people out there that can become so enamored of words that they completely lose touch with the underlying concrete reality.

  15. March 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    So today an uncle of mine pretty much gave me an absurd (but much appreciated) amount of money as a gift: $500. It’s the most money I’ve ever received in my life – seriously. I don’t even know exactly what to do with it. I’m going to save most of it, but the idea of spending a little bit of it on makeup, women’s clothes, etc. is very appealing. If only it were enough for HRT! =P

    • moviemaedchen
      March 30, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Glad to hear the good news! That’s awesome. Go ahead and spend a little on yourself, if that’s what you want. It’s yours to enjoy and you deserve it. :)

    • March 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      This makes me very happy. I’m glad you got a present. Have fun at Sephora.

    • Alexandra
      March 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Hah! That’s wonderful.

    • GallingGalla
      March 30, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      Oh, this is good news indeed.

    • khw
      March 31, 2013 at 12:15 am

      What a lovely surprise; I hope you enjoy treating yourself to something that will make you feel good.

      (I don’t use or buy makeup that often, but I enjoy being helped with regard to colors, etc.; tbh, my real weakness is perfume, so buying some is a rare treat!)

    • April 1, 2013 at 2:14 am

      Lovely news, Aaliyah, and yay for your uncle!

      Love your new screen name, btw, it’s beautiful.

  16. March 30, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Well, my health’s still fucked. My anxiety’s keeping me from attending classes roughly every other day. But I’m still on top of (most of) my classwork, so there’s that. I just hate everything and want to curl in a ball forever. Apparently that’s not done.

    On the other hand, I met a guy this week who immediately decided to thump his dick at me, figuratively, about history of all things. And not just any history, British colonial history. When I attempted to correct him on some major misconceptions (as in, “the British never committed mass killings”), his response to me was “Well, I watch things on the History channel and there was a documentary about the British two months ago”. He also attempted to inform me about who had invaded India and when, based on another documentary, disagreed with me when I pointed out the correct facts (no, Shah Jahan wasn’t from Iran, his great-great-grandfather was, etc), and then told me to watch “Elizabeth” the movie if I wanted to learn how emigration to North America *really* began, because it’s a “very thoroughly researched entertainer”. Valoniel was basically just making the *nope nope nope octopus* face the whole time. And when I pointed out that maybe growing up Indian and, you know, doing mass amounts of reading on colonial history might count for something, his response was to say that he likes entertainment, so he gets his history from entertaining sources, but that doesn’t make it not right, and that I was very biased against the British. If it’s any consolation, I trolled him like crazy after that. He didn’t even pick up on it…

    • March 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      told me to watch “Elizabeth” the movie if I wanted to learn how emigration to North America *really* began, because it’s a “very thoroughly researched entertainer”

      *gasping for air while headdesking and facepalming*

      North American emigration from Europe wasn’t even part of the plot Elizabeth (although it was alluded to in the plot of Elizabeth, The Golden Age). Seriously, two of the most consciously-anachronistic-because-it-makes-a-better-story-this-way “historical” movies of the last two decades pass for “thoroughly researched” to somebody?

      • March 30, 2013 at 8:14 pm

        Oh, I just discovered that there’s a Historical Anachronism blog (in retrospect I am not at all surprised) with a lovely post on the Elizabeth movie, and lots of lovely archives *disappears into internets*.

      • khw
        March 31, 2013 at 12:20 am


        You are now morally responsible for my next procrastination tool!

        Cheers! :)

      • DouglasG
        March 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm

        Many thanks; that sounds fascinating.

    • moviemaedchen
      March 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Jedi hugs if wanted. Health woes can suck, and make everything so much harder. And I know this –

      I just hate everything and want to curl in a ball forever. Apparently that’s not done.

      – feeling. *offers tea and cat videos*

      “Well, I watch things on the History channel and there was a documentary about the British two months ago”.


      Obviously he’s a super-expert now! Because movies and the History channel never distort, lie, omit, whitewash, or otherwise manipulate history for simplicity/entertainment/other purposes. Never ever.

    • Alexandra
      March 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      Please provide details on said trolling; it would be inspirational to me personally. I’ve been spending a lot of time on a pre-medical forum, and in between conversations about how great medical mission trips are (oh boy! “muscular christianity” in the 21st century) and how awful affirmative action is (the equal protection clause was meant to defend the rights of middle class white men to get into the medical school of their choice!) I’m in the mood to troll like a champion.

    • March 31, 2013 at 12:19 am

      BTW – you’re hilarious.

    • tmc
      March 31, 2013 at 9:24 am

      UUUUGH. So sorry you had to deal with that. What a pathetic human being.

  17. anon for this
    March 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I want to share this dilemma somewhere that’s somewhat safe. A friend of mine posted not one, but two facebook posts making racist “jokes” about Black folks. He’s also a person of color (not Black). I want to call him out, and I’m hesitating because I’m a white female and also because I don’t deal well with conflict. If it was another white person I’d call it out, but I’m feeling uneasy about the situation here.

    • March 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Go for it. Skin colour isn’t a shield. Being part of a group is a shield. If he’s making a joke about whites vs non-whites, taht’s a group he’s part of. But if it’s about black people and he’s not black, then nope, it’s as much racism as if he’s white. Just because he’s not got institutionalised power doesn’t mean he gets a pass on bigotry.

    • Marksman2000
      March 30, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      You should say something. You don’t have to work yourself up into a berserker frenzy, just let him know his comments aren’t cool. As him how he would feel if a group of people made similar comments to him or his family. Make him think about what he’s said, its implications. Don’t just unload on him; that will likely exacerbate the problem.

  18. BabyRaptor
    April 1, 2013 at 1:55 am

    I *think* this is the right place for this…My apologies if it’s not; feel free to glare at me and point me in the right direction.

    Over the past week, I’ve been having a string of arguments with my boyfriend over the definition of rape. He is stubbornly insisting that it isn’t rape if the person consented under pressure; that consent is valid.

    I’ve tried pointing out to him that the definition of rape includes consent under coercion, but he assumes he knows better than everyone else for whatever reason.

    I’ll spare everyone the long details unless they’re asked for, but the short of it is that the situation that sparked this argument happened to me, so not only am I having to try and educate him, I’m having to try and educate him while listening to him victim blame me. It’s not doing great things to my mental state.

    • April 1, 2013 at 2:05 am

      BabyRaptor, that sounds utterly awful. Of course it’s not doing great things for your mental state.

      I don’t have any great advice to offer, unfortunately – other than that you need to work out a way to protect yourself from this kind of gaslighting bullshit from him. You deserve better.

      • April 1, 2013 at 2:27 am

        I do have some advice. DTMFA.

      • Marksman2000
        April 1, 2013 at 3:41 am

        I’m not particularly familiar with this acronym, but based on this discussion, it’s not hard to figure out!

    • Alexandra
      April 1, 2013 at 2:23 am

      That’s really awful that he would say things like that. I think you have the right to invoke the end to discussions which upset you and to say that for you certain things are non-negotiable, among them that consent under pressure is invalid.

    • Revolver
      April 1, 2013 at 9:59 am

      If you haven’t explored Captain Awkward’s archives I highly recommend them. She has a lot of great advice on boundary-setting and dealing with gaslighting. You will find that many of the commenters lean towards DTMFA, so just take that with a grain of salt if that’s not a consideration at this point.

      • BabyRaptor
        April 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

        I will do this post-haste. Thanks muchly for the link!

      • matlun
        April 1, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        You may have already noticed, but that link was broken.

        Captain Awkward is simply at http://captainawkward.com/.

        [Thanks for noting that – I’ve fixed the broken link in Revolver’s comment now – tt (Mod)]

    • April 1, 2013 at 10:14 am

      but the short of it is that the situation that sparked this argument happened to me, so not only am I having to try and educate him, I’m having to try and educate him while listening to him victim blame me

      Oh my fucking god. I tend to shy away from DTMFA, but if ever there was a case for it…. unless he’s willing to shut up about all things rape forever? Maybe?

      • April 1, 2013 at 10:18 am

        On second thought, no. Because if what he’s saying is that consent is compatible with coercion, then he is essentially telling you that if he were to coerce you into sex, he would consider himself justified. Even knowing that you think that is rape. Even knowing that the LAW considers it to be rape. I know that seems paranoid, but…

        This is the biggest red flag ever that isn’t bunny boiling.

      • April 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

        >.< fucking fuck .I did not mean to imply that coercion would not make it rape. It totally does, ever and always.

      • BabyRaptor
        April 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

        He openly admits that what the guy did was “completely assholic” and freely says that it’s harassment, but ultimately feels that I can’t call it rape because I did eventually cave. He says that the guy can’t have been expected to read my mind, so all the he could have seen was that initially I kept saying no and then I changed my mind.

        The guy in question is a long-time mutual friend of ours, so I can’t help but think that part of it is him wanting to defend the guy.

      • April 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm

        BR, I don’t want to define your boyfriend’s personality for you, you obviously know him better than I do, but there’s a particular letter in Captain Awkward, about a group that has a rapist in it that the girls are terrified of but the boys all love: http://captainawkward.com/2012/08/07/322-323-my-friend-group-has-a-case-of-the-creepy-dude-how-do-we-clear-that-up/ that I think is really analogous.

        It seems to me like he’s more invested in defending his friend the rapist than anything else. I hesitate to say more, I don’t want to pile on you with UR BF SUCKS, but I really think that thread would help you out.

      • April 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        He says that the guy can’t have been expected to read my mind, so all the he could have seen was that initially I kept saying no and then I changed my mind.

        Also: what in fucking fuck. I suppose he also thinks that the people in horror movies are consenting to being murdered when they stop running and just stare and hyperventilate at The Creature?

      • April 1, 2013 at 6:33 pm

        Also: what in fucking fuck. I suppose he also thinks that the people in horror movies are consenting to being murdered when they stop running and just stare and hyperventilate at The Creature?

        Or that it’s somehow less horrifying and freeze-provoking when it’s a trusted friend who has transformed into The CreatureRapist? A CreatureRapist who has made it clear that it’s not going to let you get away no matter how many times you say no? Even if The CreatureRapist hasn’t used any words at all to convey that escape is not an option?

      • Donna L
        April 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm

        It seems to me that since, you know, you were the one who was there, he ought to be trusting what you have to say about the situation, and not automatically siding against you by saying “he couldn’t possibly have known” — which, to me, requires disbelieving you. I’m just not sure I’d want to be in a relationship with someone I couldn’t trust to believe me and be on my side, especially about something like this.

    • matlun
      April 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

      To start with it seems very insensitive of him to drag on the discussion so far that it has affected you this much. It seems to show a lack of respect for you, which is not the sign of a good relationship.

      Is he taking the position that it is only rape if there is violence or the threat of violence (ie even in situations with blackmail or other extreme levels of pressure)?

      That would be pretty cringeworthy, and like macavitykitsune I would find it worrying. Can you trust that he at least would consider that deeply morally wrong and he is only playing some annoying semantics game?

      • BabyRaptor
        April 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

        Only if there’s violence or a threat of violence, yes. I asked him that straight up, and he agreed to it. He’s been pretty plain about saying that what our friend did *was wrong,* and he doesn’t condone it, but that it wasn’t rape.

        He finally has come to the point where he’s firmly convinced that we’ll never agree on the matter, and that we should just refuse to discuss it.

      • matlun
        April 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        Ok. Perhaps it might be just a semantic issue about the word “rape” and not mean that much. After all, just because many jurisdictions do not use that word for many sex crimes do not mean that they are not punished (in theory).

        Perhaps you could try to try to clarify what differences you have in your opinions on consent. One approach could be if you both read some articles on this and then discuss them to see how your opinions differ on more neutral (and hopefully less triggering) territory.

        Captain Awkward seems to be becoming a theme here, but if we look at for example:
        #322 & #323 (linked by mac above)
        and #347 (on emotional blackmail)

        If you discuss that type of material together, perhaps you could at least reach a better understanding on how your positions differ.

        I do not know if this would work for you, but it is at least an idea to move forward.

    • EG
      April 1, 2013 at 10:58 am

      That is horrible. My gut reaction is DTMFA as well, but it’s easy for me to say. But if this is a man who thinks it’s totes fine to coerce a woman into consenting, who’s victim-blaming you, the person he’s supposed to care for, for being raped, and who is messing with your head and your sense of reality regarding your own experiences–I don’t want anybody I care about with somebody like that.

      Hell, I don’t want anybody I don’t care about with somebody like that. If you can, I think this is real grounds for breaking up. You deserve to be with somebody who respects women’s autonomy and who respects you and your experiences.

    • April 1, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      I’m seconding EG.

  19. Licious
    April 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I feel a bit weird posting, because although I feel like I know so many of you, I almost never post here (although I’ve been reading for 5 or 6 years).
    I recently graduated from an MA program, despite all kinds of mental health stuff that made it take longer than the average student, so yay me. However, I had been on a particular track for a long time, I wanted to get a PhD and stay in the world of academia. I feel safe there.
    However, perhaps unsurprisingly, grad school turned out NOT to be the romanticized place that it was in my head. I had a super case of imposter syndrome and I suffered from some pretty serious burn out. I decided that I needed a change.
    I have always really loved television, and some of my recent academic work has focused on television as a sight for social change. I decided that what I needed to do was to move towards television, since it was an art form that I was always passionate about. So, I applied to a local college, and was accepted. I turned down a PhD offer and accepted the college.
    Now, I still feel confident about choosing the college, but I’m struggling with some post-grad depression I guess. My student job is coming to an end soon, and I have nothing to do until my new program starts in September. Its very difficult to find work, so while my partner makes enough to support us we aren’t able to save to pay for my new program (and my student loans are already astronomical). I’m feeling a bit lost, and terrified about such a huge change (I’ve spent years learning to think critically, and am moving into a field where I will need to learn and use specialized technical skills).
    I just have so many feelings that I need to get off my chest!

    • April 1, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Sounds like a lot of stuff to deal with, Licious. Hope you feel better about it soon. And do jump in more!

    • MissWhich
      April 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      I think it’s great that you switched gears towards what you feel will truly make you happy long term. Grad school can be fantastic, but it can also be toxic (and number of other adjectives), and I think it’s brave of you to embrace a new dream!

      • Licious
        April 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        Thanks for listening (both of you!).

        MissWhich, you are right that grad school can be rewarding. I really did my best work ever while there, I had a phenomenal supervisor and I made some amazing friends. Unfortunately, despite being in a program about politics, I simply couldn’t handle the politics of academia. It was extreme stressful, and I was often resentful of my colleagues who I felt were getting money and awards for subpar work.
        I’m really hoping that I will still be able to write and research, while also having an opportunity to share my work more broadly by putting it on the screen. I’m actually hoping to turn my thesis into a documentary!
        That said, change is still scary. And while I’m sure I’ve made the right decision, part of me can’t help but mourn the future loss of my PhD (atleast in the next few years. I have affective reasons for wanting one, so it might be something I return to in the future).

  20. DouglasG
    April 1, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    This is an account of Misogyny in Print.

    Today, while sorting my father’s collection of Sports Illustrated, I came across an article from 1961 written (with assistance) by the Australian runner Herb Elliot, at the time the Olympic champion in the 1500 metres. After visiting the United States, he felt impelled to send in an article about how Americans were mollycoddles.

    As Mr Elliot was apparently noted for having the hardest training regimen of his time, it was perhaps not surprising that he attributed to soft training the circumstance that the US had been producing only sprinters of top quality. And some of his criticisms of Americans in general seemed almost prophetic. He found them on the whole unconversant with fitness, far too fat and flabby, much too deeply in debt to the hire purchase and incapable of enjoying inexpensive pleasures when they could spend a lot of money instead.

    Perhaps I was not entirely unprepared, as his mention earlier in the article of a sort of spiritual softness had raised a vague flag, but a little past the halfway point Mr Elliot saw fit to comment on how distressed he was by what he saw of American domestic arrangements. In many households, it actually appeared that women were in charge. They actually wanted their own cars! (Shock! Horror!) and all the latest labour-saving devices. If they found their husbands to be insufficient providers, they actually went out to work and bought things for themselves.

    And nobody was happy. The women weren’t happy because they were not being “slightly” dominated as nature intended. The men, who were being dominated, obviously weren’t happy. That section of the article closed with the sentence, “When a wife is completely dependent on her husband, their marriage is more likely to be successful.”

    My first thought (on recovering from the shock of “as nature intended”) was: well, who defines “success”? (We all know the answer to that question.) My second thought was to check the letters two weeks after the article appeared. There was an even split between those who resented his criticizing the US and those who thanked him for speaking unpleasant home truths, but not one of the eight or so letters printed addressed his comments about women.

    Mainly, though, as the article does date from 1961, I certainly hope that Mr Elliot’s views have undergone considerable change for the better over the course of five decades. He is an Australian Living Treasure, and has received assorted honours and held prominent positions since his retirement from athletics. As he is not his near-contemporary Mrs Court (whose homophobic views have NOT changed for the better), I’ve been unable to unearth anything specific he’s said or written since that might be indicative. The only remotely potentially pertinent thing I’ve seen is that he spent five years on the board at Ansell, one of the world’s biggest condom makers, fifteen years after he had a role in welcoming a visit from the Pope.

    Out of curiosity, then, I present this to our Australian commenters. Can anyone provide a more recent statement of Mr Elliot’s? I suppose even silence could be construed as progress of a very mild sort if he’s at least decided not to voice such views any more. (I’m also inclined to wonder about domestic life in Australia five decades ago, but that’s a side line.)

  21. pheenobarbidoll
    April 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm
  22. April 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Study shows trans women at HIV risk

    “It doesn’t seem like it’s been a priority for global funding entities to care about the needs of transgender communities.

    “Never mind LGBT equality. There has been very little movement toward trans equality.”

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