Author: has written 201 posts for this blog.

tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
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114 Responses

  1. EG
    EG May 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm |

    I am feeling wrung-out and exhausted, but am consoling myself with the knowledge that there’s only one more week of classes! Hurray!

    Whenever I see a picture of a May Pole, all I can think of is the original Wicker Man movie. I’m imagining all those innocent-looking children happily singing “Summer is icumen in” as a giant wicker man burns, taking all inside with it.

    1. Aaliyah
      Aaliyah May 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm |

      My semester is about to end as well. And as silly as this sounds, I’m a bit more fixated on getting to say goodbye to my teachers before the end of the semester than getting everything done (although that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m going to skip my finals or anything).

      I hope it goes well for both of us!

      1. EG
        EG May 13, 2013 at 7:58 am |

        It always feels really nice when a student, particularly one who has been really engaged with learning–and I know that describes you, Aaliyah, takes the time to say good-bye and lets me know of her/his/zir future plans. Your professors have been lucky to have you in their classes, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate your good-byes and wish you all the luck in the world.

    2. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable May 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

      You can do it! I have really intensely shallow personal drama that I’m going to have to confront every work day for the next month, so I’m counting down to next week as well – my best friend, who has been in Bangladesh for the last half-year, will be visiting me in NYC for mindless fun. And Josh Ritter is playing, and I’m making her come with me!

      We’ll get there, EG. You can do it!

      1. EG
        EG May 13, 2013 at 7:59 am |

        Thanks for the moral support! You can do it, too. Personal drama and demanding classes are no match for us!

  2. Kea
    Kea May 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm |

    Oh, I did that once as a girl, with brightly coloured ribbons.

  3. Bloix
    Bloix May 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm |

    When I was a child fifty years ago the maypole was still a living custom, although perhaps just barely. Unless my memory is playing tricks, I danced around one when I was in kindergarten. My own children certainly never danced around a maypole – how about any of you?

    1. Roving Thundercloud
      Roving Thundercloud May 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm |

      The small independent school I work at still has the first-graders do it each first Sunday in May (at our Spring Festival).

      My mother’s favorite book as a child was “Alice, The Giraffe Who Went to School”–the giraffe also serves as the maypole when a spring storm ruins the children’s May dance setup. ;-)

  4. A4
    A4 May 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm |

    This thursday I am starting a year and a day dedicated to the study of modern dance. I am excited about it.

  5. Bloix
    Bloix May 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

    Kea, may I ask how old you are?

    1. Kea
      Kea May 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm |

      Only 45, but I was in a ballet group and we performed it at an outdoor event.

  6. shfree
    shfree May 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm |

    My cat has a lump on her leg that is benign, but the vet thinks it should come off, as it is the sort that could become cancerous later. She is the passive aggressive cat (she chews on paper and/or books when she is hungry as opposed to coming up to me and meowing like her sister does) who has always had pesty health issues (UTIs and such) and who pees inappropriately when annoyed. But she is the cuddliest thing EVER. My ex is probably going to push for not getting it removed, because it is expensive and she is fourteen, and I sure can’t pay for it all by myself. This SUCKS.

    1. Kea
      Kea May 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm |

      If I was old and had a benign tumour I would not want my leg chopped off.

      1. shfree
        shfree May 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

        Oh, not her leg, just the growth.

    2. Miguel
      Miguel May 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm |

      A vet is probably likely to over-treat, just like people doctors. Also, the vet might be worried that if the lump became cancerous later, the vet would look incompetent for not encouraging you to remove it earlier.
      I’m more familiar with dogs than cats. But 14 is very old for a dog, and if I had a 14 year old dog with a benign lump that “might” turn cancerous later, I probably would not get it removed, so long as it was not causing the dog any discomfort.

      1. Allison
        Allison May 13, 2013 at 12:01 am |

        My guess is that the vet is encouraging the OP to remove the mass because she doesn’t want the cat to get cancer, not because she’s afraid of a future malpractice suit. Also, it’s not fair to compare a 14 year-old dog to a 14 year-old cat. 14 is a ripe old age for a dog (downright outlandish for some breeds), whereas housecats are increasingly living to be 20+. If the cat is otherwise in good health (kidneys look good, etc), minor surgery to prevent cancer is reasonable at that age.

        Not to shame the OP if it turns out you can’t afford the surgery – you’ll do your best and everyone should respect that. But as long as you know and like this vet, there’s no reason to assume the surgery is an upsell.

        PS. I know suggestions like this get repeated ad infinitum when it comes to sick pet posts, but your vet may offer payment plans or accept CareCredit or have some other grant program available for clients. Can’t hurt to ask.

        1. shfree
          shfree May 13, 2013 at 1:38 am |

          Hey, I just got the go ahead via email that I can get the lump removed if I want to, and the ex will pay for it. I think part of it is because I just had another health scare with the other cat, and the whole thing left me a bit of a wreck and he loves them both, too. (ER visit because she was severely dehydrated, there was questions or not whether it was necessary to get an x ray and an abdominal ultrasound, but magically her white blood cell count wasn’t as scary low as they initially thought after they did the manual count and suddenly I wasn’t staring down a 1500-1600 vet bill.) It is just not a good cat month for me, it seems, but at least they both are doing better now. Violet gets to eat a bland diet for the next three days or so, and hopefully that will clear up whatever is ailing her, and as soon as I get my work schedule for next week straightened out, I will probably take Phoebe in.

        2. EG
          EG May 13, 2013 at 8:00 am |

          Glad to hear that things are looking up, shfree.

        3. Kerandria
          Kerandria May 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm |

          So glad things are getting better. It’s horrid when our four-legged children get sick..

        4. Kerandria
          Kerandria May 13, 2013 at 11:56 pm |

          So glad things are getting better. It’s horrid when our four-legged children get sick/otherwise require medical attention.

  7. AMM
    AMM May 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm |

    Thought I’d point to this article (thanks to BlueMilk for the link):

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2013/05/feminism-and-the-terrifying-dependency-of-children/

    I’ve noticed what the author is complaining about in a number of US feminist forums. I’ve not seen a lot of sympathy for mothers who, when faced with the choice between Feminist Principles(tm) and their children, chose the children. In fact, a lot of the more prominent Feminist blogs appear to be run by childless women.

    I don’t say this is peculiar to feminists; western society (at least, USAan society) is very un-accommodating to the needs of children and their care-givers, and it’s gotten noticeably worse since I was a child 50 years ago.

    IMHO, the reason is obvious: people are now expected to value things — and people — by what they personally get out of them minus the “cost”, whether monetary or otherwise. Children don’t provide much direct gratification to people who aren’t their parents, so they get seen as sort of like a sailboat: an individual extravagance. Just as most people see no reason to put up with much inconvenience so that some stranger can have his sailboat, so they consider it equally unfair that they should have to put up with much cost or inconvenience so some stranger can have his/her kid. It’s hardly surprising that feminists who have grown up with this system of values would frame feminism in the same terms.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L May 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm |

      I don’t know what blogs you’re reading, but I’ve seen a whole lot of sympathy expressed here for mothers who, out of desire or necessity, make decisions that allegedly conflict with Feminist Principles(tm) (not that I believe that there is necessarily any such inconsistency, even assuming that a single dogmatic set of “Feminist Principles(tm)” really exists). And I haven’t seen any trend here of criticizing or condemning such decisions; to the extent that anything approaching such sentiments is expressed, I can assure you that it gets a lot of pushback.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl May 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

        I’m biased, because I love Blue Milk and pretty much everything she has ever written, so I do agree that there is a whole lot of weirdness in the feminist blogosphere about women and mothering issues. One popular blogger in particular springs to mind (70% less fun!!!) for that sort of business.

        There has been some mommy shaming even here from time to time, and you and I have pretty much always aligned in our opinions disagreeing with that mommy shaming when it does pop up, Donna. I do also agree with you that there is an encouragingly strong commentariat that pushes back against it.

        Otherwise, I hate to do that whole us v. them bit of parents pitted against non-parents. I don’t think it’s at all constructive and I don’t think it’s the way to bring about a middle ground of any sort. Never mind a cease fire in the Mommy Wars.

    2. TomSims
      TomSims May 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm |

      I agree with you. Childless folks don’t seem to realize that without children there is no future for our species.

      1. Tyris
        Tyris May 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm |

        Everything dies, even species.

  8. Donna L
    Donna L May 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm |

    One of my earliest memories is going with my mother to visit my sister (two years older than I was) at her nursery school class. I have a quite vivid recollection of watching her and the other children going around and around some kind of maypole. I was not tempted to join in.

    [Trigger warning for sadness and bad memories.]

    I’ve been having a rather sad day, since today (May 10) is the anniversary of the car accident on the Cross-Bronx Expressway that resulted in my mother’s death six weeks later from her injuries — she was driving me home from Connecticut at the end of my last year in college when she felt sick and lost control of the car, which jumped the divider before being hit by several cars going in the other direction. (it really did feel like it was happening in slow motion.) She suffered fatal injuries; I had a small scratch on my nose.

    It’s a very long time ago now, but I still remember just about everything that happened, and can’t help thinking about it a lot, this time of year, and having all the nightmarish events of that day, and that night, and the succeeding days and nights, run through my mind. I loved her very much, and still do, and feel so sad that her life ended at such a young age (only 52), after she had struggled so hard to survive and get to this country, and make a new life for herself. It would have been so wonderful if she and my son could have known each other, but it wasn’t to be. I do wonder sometimes if she would have accepted me, as I am now. I’d like to think so, and that she would have understood.

    I’ve been sitting in my desk chair at work the last couple of hours, gripped by inertia, but I think I’ll try to make my way to the subway now so I can get home. I will almost certainly feel better tomorrow, and am sorry for being so lugubrious.

    1. Aaliyah
      Aaliyah May 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm |

      Donna, that’s horrible. I’m very sorry you had to go through that. No one close to me has died yet, but I often think about how I will cope when something like that happens. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it, especially in the state of mind I have these days. I’m glad to hear that you’re going to feel better soon.

      Also, thank you for adding another lovely word (“lugubrious”) to my vocabulary. And on a related note, I definitely don’t think you’re being excessively mournful, as that word implies.

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl May 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm |

      I’m sorry for the sad anniversary Donna, and for your loss of your mother. Mourning is one of those things that is just so terribly subjective. You do it however you do it, because there is never any sort of one size fits all way to go about it.

      Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    3. Angie unduplicated
      Angie unduplicated May 11, 2013 at 9:07 am |

      Having this terrible sorrow at Mother’s Day would make this even worse. No need to apologize for honest emotions.

    4. khw
      khw May 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm |

      I’m sorry

    5. EG
      EG May 13, 2013 at 8:03 am |

      I’m so, so sorry for your loss, Donna. I don’t think that taking this anniversary to heart and mourning such a deep loss is lugubrious. I think it’s a testament to the love you and your mother shared.

  9. Aaliyah
    Aaliyah May 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm |

    My father is out of town – he went to visit my older sister because she recently graduated from college. I’m also going to stay over at my uncle’s house tonight (and over there I’m staying with only my brother and my trans*-friendly cousin).

    For me, that means that I’ll be allowed to spend more time than usual at my trans* support tonight. That’s because I won’t have to worry about my father calling me constantly, me having to lie to him about where I am, having to deal with his anger when I come back home, and exacerbating his suspicions. It also means that I’ll avoid his horrible over-the-phone anger that I receive from him sometimes.

    I’m excited! ^_^

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable May 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

      How was last night? I hope awesome, Aaliyah :)

      1. Aaliyah
        Aaliyah May 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

        I’m a bit late, but yeah, it was great! Most of us went to a nearby restaurant after the session, and I had a good time talking to some of the people there, like this one trans* woman who is apparently just as obsessed with philosophy as I am.

        1. EG
          EG May 13, 2013 at 8:05 am |

          That’s awesome!

          I want to apologize if my last response came off as too Pollyanna-ish (the one about your starting at UC). I didn’t mean to dismiss your very real concerns; I think I was just carried away by the good news.

        2. Aaliyah
          Aaliyah May 13, 2013 at 5:27 pm |

          No worries; I wasn’t bothered by that at all. I didn’t feel like you dismissed any of my concerns.

  10. TomSims
    TomSims May 11, 2013 at 10:41 am |

    Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers on this blog and everywhere else too

  11. agreywood
    agreywood May 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm |

    Is anyone here planning to attend Wiscon this year?

  12. Sarah
    Sarah May 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm |

    My road trip/pie mission is going strong into the third month, and we are poised to invade Minneapolis and give away free pie and spread kindness! We’ve gotten recent social media boosts from reddit, fb and twitter, and I’m really happy with the realization that my boyfriend and I are living a nomadic life, making a living by being nice to people.

    If you’re in Minneapolis, you should totally come get free pie. It’s apple crumb top!

    1. A4
      A4 May 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

      Every time I read your descriptions of this project I think it’s very cool. I have my own dreams of traveling around the country learning and teaching dance.

  13. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm |

    I’m gonna stick a trigger warning on this guy for rape.

    I’ve talked here before about my assault several years ago, and I think I may have mentioned the drastic turn my attitude has taken towards the beginning of this year. I had an amazing moment of clarity where I stopped letting anything about the moment define me.

    Slowly, I’ve become more inspired to do something creative. I used to write, and I played the flute pretty much up until I was assaulted. Writing seemed like the easiest (or most important) activity I’ve wanted to reclaim – I’ve moved to New York since, and my walls are paper-thin, so I can’t play without being disruptive to anyone anymore. I hadn’t completely given up on writing, but literally everything I wrote was about the assault (what I remembered, the more difficult aspects of the aftermath), and I was irritated that this was the only story I could tell.

    I’ve instead decided to write a story about a girl who moves to New York for a job. She was raised by a single parent, but was orphaned as a teenager (and was partially raised by an older sibling at the time). According to her as-yet-unnamed brother, Mint was the product of rape.

    In my story, Mint’s father attempts to reunite with Mint, and he is telling a drastically different story than what was relayed to Mint by her older brother after her mom’s passing. I want to tell the story of how violence victimizes more than the initial target (though ideally without ever losing sight of Mint’s mother as the survivor); I want to create an open conversation about the conflict that exists for those who have a vested interest in the character of someone who is capable of evil, especially in the absence of perfect information, and what it means for them to be an integral part of dismantling rape culture.

    It is a complicated and important story to tell. One thing I don’t think I mentioned here is that the guy who assaulted me apparently got married and changed his last name sometime in the last year. (Unrelated, but I think we can all agree that it’s bullshit that he got married since he assaulted me, and I’ve just now gotten to a point where I think i can have a healthy relationship. Fuck you, dude). I don’t know if he took hers or if they created a new one (alas, there’s apparently a limit to information you don’t want that you can get from facebook). But I can’t tell you how curious I am about the wife. Does she know? What has he told her? And if she does know the truth, what the flying fuck? And was he being feminist by taking her name? Was he running from the name under which he was a violent predator? This guy was a super liberal dude, so I really don’t have an answer for this.

    The issue requires delicacy – and when the time comes, I would love to ask people here their thoughts.

    One issue I’ve been dealing with – I’ve been considering making Mint’s mother a WOC, and the father white. I think it’s important to address the narrative that happens when those racial dynamics exist in crimes. I’m not a WOC, but it’s imperative to me that there is greater diversity in literature, and the issue of how you frame a discussion of crime as it relates to race is of particular concern to me. That said, I think all people have internalized racism even if we are emphatic opponents of it, and I’m concerned I won’t be true to the experiences of a WOC protagonist. This is where I’m getting stuck right now – because either it’s an integral part of the story, or I decide I’m going to fuck it up and just write a character whose background is akin to my own. Any thoughts here?

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable May 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

      Oops. Wall of text.

    2. miga
      miga May 13, 2013 at 2:51 am |

      As far as writing in a WoC, I say full steam ahead! It’s a noble goal, and if the character feels right as a WoC, I think you should do it :) Do your research and ask trusted friends of whatever background Mint’s mom is from to help you edit. It’s not going to inoculate you from everything, but loads of artists have called in cultural consultants to help them get things right.

    3. EG
      EG May 13, 2013 at 8:13 am |

      I think that you’ll feel more confident about writing a WoC character when you select a more specific background for her. Thinking about writing a WoC character in general is daunting. But if you think about writing about, I don’t know, the daughter of Chinese parents who emigrated in the 1970s, it becomes something more concrete that you can research: who was emigrating from which regions in China to where in the US in the 1970s and why? What would her parents’ backgrounds be? And who is she as a person–what are her interests etc.? I’m not saying that it’s not hard and won’t need to be read by sympathetic but honest friends, like miga says, but it’ll become a bit more manageable-seeming.

      I’ve been writing a lot of historical fiction lately, and while the stakes in getting it right aren’t the same (nobody really can tell me that 17th-century German Jews don’t feel in a given way, because it’s not like anybody has first-hand experience, and if they did, I’m not part of the group oppressing them), the attention to detail and research is, I think, similar. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it to get it as right as possible.

  14. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll May 12, 2013 at 3:40 am |

    I have actually managed to keep the rose bushes I planted alive for the past few weeks! I can kill fake plants, so this is an accomplishment. I have NO idea what I am doing,but it is fun.

    1. hellkell
      hellkell May 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm |

      That’s awesome! I hear you about being able to kill a plant.

      We have tomatoes that are THRIVING this year. Mr. HK and I dance around them singing, “We don’t suck!”

      1. khw
        khw May 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm |

        @hellkill – You have no idea how much I love this image!

        @pheeno – My dad has rose bushes. They’re pretty hardy. Pruning does appear to be surprisingly good for them! But, as I too have killed many plants and have basically given up on the idea of having any, you may want to take that observation with the proverbial pinch of salt!

        Who knows? I might get all inspired to get a couple of basil plants, I mean herbs can’t be all that hard to cultivate, right?!?

  15. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl May 12, 2013 at 9:02 am |

    Well, it’s official, my almost 3yo is now a full-fledged 3yo. Much to his excitement, his cake was covered (like a metric tons worth) with sprinkles and decorated with pinwheels, and he received a gift of Angry Birds underpants he refuses to take off. In all seriousness, it’s a bittersweet event to see my baby growing up so quickly and transitioning from utterly dependent little being into a walking, talking somewhat self-sufficient person. He was actually born on Mother’s Day, and at the risk of being utterly maudlin he is the best gift I could have wished for.

    Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

    1. Donna L
      Donna L May 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

      How adorable! Happy Birthday to your little one, and Happy Mother’s Day to you. Three is a wonderful age. (Like all the others!)

    2. EG
      EG May 13, 2013 at 8:16 am |

      Happy Mother’s Day, Lolagirl! From reading your writing, I think you sounds like a great mother, and your children are fortunate.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl May 13, 2013 at 8:22 am |

        Gosh, thank you!

  16. Andie
    Andie May 12, 2013 at 11:46 am |

    My body is celebrating Mother’s Day by bringing attention to the place from whence mine babies came, my uterus, by seemingly punching me repeatedly there.

    Also, what the fuck, Canadian weather?? I can’t even with this snow in May bullshit.

    1. dawnofthenerds
      dawnofthenerds May 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      No kidding! In my corner of Canada we’ve got wind so strong that granaries are being tossed across fields, shingles are being torn off roofs, and we lost power to almost the entire county for a good chunk of the afternoon. WTF Canada indeed.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune May 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm |

        Are you guys going to kill me if I say it’s warm, clear and only strongly windy here?

        1. Andie
          Andie May 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm |

          Let me guess.. B.c.?

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |

          nope, central AB. *grin?*

          On the flip side, we’re probably going to have a snow before the end of the month…

        3. GracieGrace
          GracieGrace May 13, 2013 at 2:14 am |

          I’m from BC and this weather is driving me nuts. We had sunshine for all of 3 days before it got muggy. I just washed my car two days ago too!

  17. bookshopcat
    bookshopcat May 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

    I was late to the party last week and this week has been chaos, so a quick recap might be in order (content notes apply for disordered eating and general talk of domestic violence):

    One of my brothers is becoming increasingly unpredictable- last weekend, being asked to follow a house rule triggered him physically backing me into a corner and verbally abusing me for three minutes. I spend all my time avoiding him now; even seeing him out on the street is enough for me to turn around and head the other way, and as for doing things like use the kitchen, forget it. (Silver lining to being so stressed: my appetite’s dropped to practically nil and eating once a day is the new normal, so it’s not as big a disruption as it could be.)

    When I told my therapist on Thursday, she looked at me and said “Did you think he might hit you?” and all I could do was nod. Although I didn’t want to look at that fact head-on, no, I don’t think he’s got the self-control to keep from assaulting me if he gets in a rage. (On the bright side, this morning we had enough of a conversation that he’s come ’round to agree with me about me moving out, so at least I’m not worried that he’ll flip his shit over that anymore, though his awful “Why don’t you just get a job?” song and dance almost made up for the one bright spot.)

    Obviously, apartment-hunting has kicked into high gear. I want to be out by the end of the month if I can be, and even single rooms cost more than I can afford these days, so I’ll have my work cut out for me.

    A friend of mine has said they’ll do a fundraiser/hat-pass and I’ve seen this sort of thing work beautifully for other people, but I can’t shake the idea that nobody’d want to donate to someone like me. I’ve lived at this income level for so long that the thought of saying I need four hundred and fifty dollars a month to make rent feels… extravagant. Rational!me is saying “C’mon, bookshopcat, if forty-five people each agree to donate ten bucks every month, you’d be able to get a good place, and there are far more than forty-five people out there who’d be happy to fund your recovery like that…”, and all Sick!me can do is sit in the corner, gibbering bits and pieces of internalized prejudices that add up to “You don’t deserve it; why even try? Why should complete strangers help you if your own family won’t? You’ll move out, then the donations will stop and you’ll be in even worse trouble.” Gah.

    On the bright side, I’ve been averaging between six and nine miles a day on foot all week, and it’s helping my mental state. I may not be particularly healthy even by my standards, but I still feel like I’m going to be able to sort this all out…

  18. trees
    trees May 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm |

    Mother’s Day in the U.S.

    Just wanted to send a note of commiseration with any other mothers who have lost or are losing their children. This day is especially difficult for me because my daughter had her very first seizure on Mother’s Day and we spent the day in the ER. My daughter is in a vegetative state and this day marks the beginning of a living nightmare. Hugs to any other mothers of deceased or terminally ill children.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl May 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

      I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter, Trees. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

      (*I wish I had something more articulate to offer to you, but I am coming up lacking in that department.)

      1. trees
        trees May 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm |

        Lolagirl

        Thank you for your kind words. You’re also a mom so you probably have some understanding of the magnitude of the loss. It just super sucks and is absolutely miserable, so there really is no right thing to say. Thanks for the cyber hug.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune May 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm |

      trees, I am so sorry. Hugs if you want them.

      1. trees
        trees May 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

        macavitykitsune

        I do want them. Thank you.

    3. Donna L
      Donna L May 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm |

      I’m so sorry, Trees, and also offer you hugs if you want them.

    4. IrishUp
      IrishUp May 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm |

      trees, I am so sorry. I know that such words are completely inadequate. I wish that you may find all possible comfort to you on this Mother’s Day. All The Jedi Hugs.

    5. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla May 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm |

      I’m so sorry, trees. I really can’t add much more than that, except hugs if you want them.

      1. trees
        trees May 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm |

        DonnaL, IrishUp & GallingGalla

        Thank you so much for sending your warm thoughts and hugs my way. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

    6. shfree
      shfree May 13, 2013 at 1:23 am |

      Oh I am so sorry trees, that is the worst thing I heard today. Hugs to you, too.

    7. EG
      EG May 13, 2013 at 8:19 am |

      I’m so, so sorry, trees. I can only imagine what you must be suffering. I wish you strength and support. And hugs, too.

      1. trees
        trees May 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm |

        shfree & EG

        Thanks for the hugs.

    8. Kerandria
      Kerandria May 14, 2013 at 12:02 am |

      I’m.. so, so sorry. There’s a reason that we don’t have a word for that particular loss (in English – I don’t know about other languages). I wish you comfort wherever you can take it.

    9. khw
      khw May 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

      Trees,

      I have no words, just big virtual hugs.

  19. Librarygoose
    Librarygoose May 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

    So I got tired of my cousin posting on facebook things about people who get ebt being lazy and of her repeating racist dog whistle shit. It happened once, I made my point nicely. Twice, I got meaner. Three means I burn these fucking bridges. She wants to be a nurse, but I guess not to poor* people.

    *I’m gonna go with PoC too here. She’s never been overtly racist, but she fucking repeats racist tropes enough.

    1. A4
      A4 May 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm |

      I am extremely liberal with the unfriend feature on facebook, but that’s because I tend to write there as though I’m on Feministe and some people… don’t appreciate that, so I see it as kindly not inflicting myself upon them any longer.

  20. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 12, 2013 at 11:25 pm |

    Well… so I stopped watching Doctor Who at The Bells of St John, because it was the first episode of DW that I literally fell asleep watching. Which, given that I started Who at the height of my fibro- and anxiety-induced fatigue, is saying a lot. It just seemed like the show had gotten pretty fucking boring and annoyingly misogynistic. I’ve been following the series and reading reviews, though, and I’m wondering if anyone here who’s still watching DW can corroborate stuff I’ve been hearing about the Doctor, particularly that he did some ogling/flirting/non-consensual kissing of Jenny in “The Crimson Horror”. If it’s really that egregious, it makes me profoundly sad, because damn it, there goes my last bastion of asexuality on TV. Also, just fucking ew. Ew ew ew.

    (I realise that this falls into Complaining About Shows I Don’t Watch now, but holy fuck, I feel like Moffat’s breaking all my favourite things, and just STAHP, MOFFAT. Think about your life! Think about your choices!)

    1. Tyris
      Tyris May 13, 2013 at 1:31 am |

      Consider it confirmed.

    2. karak
      karak May 13, 2013 at 4:44 am |

      He does, but Jenny hits him and makes it clear it’s not appropriate. The show has gotten so… weird that stuff like that doesn’t bother me, because it’s just a lot of yelling and archetypes and no-one is really characters, just stuff.

      I have to say that the latest episode, with the Cybermen, was the first episode of this season that really enthralled me. It has the usual Moffat yelling and plotholes and asspull, but there was something genuinely dark and interesting to it. If you’re up to dealing with Moffat’s weirdness with women (and lesbians, anyone else notice he’s very weird with lesbians?) it’s worth watching.

      1. Librarygoose
        Librarygoose May 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm |

        It has the usual Moffat yelling and plotholes and asspull, but there was something genuinely dark and interesting to it.

        That’s because this last one was from Neil Gaiman.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm |

          Well, that’s…severely not-reassuring. I think I’ll just stay hiding until Moffat’s done as showrunner, though I might watch the Gaiman one, eventually.

    3. Kerandria
      Kerandria May 14, 2013 at 12:13 am |

      By bastion of asexuality, do you mean the Doctor? He has bio offspring.

      Apparently, Jenna Louise-Coleman and Matt Smith have been signed on for series eight. Hopefully, Moffat can get his head out of his ass and give Clara a fucking personality.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune May 14, 2013 at 12:21 am |

        Eh, I read different regenerations of the Doctor differently. Nine read as omnisexual (I’m differentiating from bisexual because of cross-species flirting occurring too), Ten read straight, and Eleven read ace, at least until Moffat decided to jump off a plotcliff and take the series with him… also, I don’t know why aces can’t have offspring…? There’s lots of married aces, I imagine there’s lots of aces with kids, too.

        Hopefully, Moffat can get his head out of his ass and give Clara a fucking personality.

        Steven Moffat: confusing “plot” with “personality” since 2010. It’s a shame, because he did much better with Jekyll…

        1. Kerandria
          Kerandria May 14, 2013 at 12:36 am |

          His BBC show ‘Coupling’ was also good. Insofar as Doctor Who goes, I sorely miss the work of Russell T Davies. After he got rid of the Ponds, Moffat didn’t seem to have much to work with.

  21. GracieGrace
    GracieGrace May 13, 2013 at 2:20 am |

    In this week’s news:

    1) My boyfriend’s brother has melanoma. He’s taking it better than I would if I were in his shoes. Please keep him in your thoughts?
    2) I AM OFFICIALLY FIRST AID CERTIFIED! It feels like such a relief to have the class over and done with. 16 hours of sitting in a classroom :( now I can apply for a better job that will hopefully provide me with enough funds to allow me to move out and away from my sexist father.
    Have a great week everyone!!

  22. karak
    karak May 13, 2013 at 4:46 am |

    I’ve been angry for almost a week, and every day another piece of bad news or stupidity or bad luck comes around the bend. My mood is so foul that I keep doing things that make it worse, that brings more problems, and then I get angrier.

  23. EG
    EG May 13, 2013 at 8:24 am |

    I woke up with what I think was a migraine yesterday: intense headache pain concentrated from my forehead through the top two-thirds of my face like a terrible mask, nausea and vomiting, congestion, cold sweat, pins and needles in my arms and legs, and after-effects of pain and soreness in my head that lasted all day. Does this sound right to anybody else? I’ve had them before, not terribly often, but say a couple times a year for the past several years, usually correlated with barometric pressure changes (and there was a dreadfully violent storm in NYC the day before yesterday). But I’ve been having them more frequently this semester, I’d say three or four since February. Does anybody know what could make that happen? I did start a new medication around then, but it doesn’t seem to list migraines as a side effect on-line.

    1. A4
      A4 May 13, 2013 at 9:50 am |

      I hope you go to see a doctor EG! I would be very upset if circumstances forced you to stop participating in the discussions here!

    2. Donna L
      Donna L May 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

      I don’t know the answer, but I’m very concerned. Please speak to your doctor as soon as possible, if you haven’t already! Even if it is “just” a migraine, do you have any medication prescribed specifically for migraines? My former partner had them, and got a prescription for a nasal spray that was supposed to reduce the severity of migraines when she took them at the outset — it helped, and was a lot better than pills, which she tended to promptly throw up.

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune May 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

      Seconding others. PLease take care of yourself, EG. Hope you feel better soon.

    4. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl May 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm |

      EG, those are definitely some concerning symptoms. Please see a doctor asap to get it checked our. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    5. EG
      EG May 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |

      Thank you all so much for the kind words; I have taken the good advice and scheduled a doctor’s appointment for next Monday to figure things out and maybe get some stuff to keep on hand. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; both my mom and my dad get them. It’s just unusual for them to happen this frequently is all.

      1. trees
        trees May 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm |

        EG
        Thank goodness you’re seeing your general practitioner! Maybe it’s the medication change but if your GP advises, you might benefit from seeing specialists too: neurologist, ENT, neurotologist. I hope the pain and nausea is manageable.

    6. agreywood
      agreywood May 14, 2013 at 1:16 am |

      That sounds like my migraines, at least (basilar type, which I have likely misspelled). I’ve had bad patches hit due to weather changes, hormonal fluctuations, stress levels, hydration issues, sleep disturbances, and failure to eat on a regular schedule. Less so medication changes, although that has happened. Usually the root cause is one of the side effects of the medication that don’t scream ‘headache here’, like hydration, sleep, or eating problems. I’ve never had doctors give me good advice on trigger avoidance (other than ‘you should avoid migraine triggers’) so that may be something you need to investigate on your own. If the upswing started with the school semester, I’d be inclined to think stress is a factor as well.

      Also, if they sugest going on topamax to prevent them, read the side effects before agreeing. 6 years on it and I wouldn’t quit, but the first 6 months were ROUGH. I was getting 2-4 a month when I went on a preventative rather than making use of abortives as needed.

      I hope you are feeling better soon. Migraines stink. :-(

      1. EG
        EG May 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm |

        Thanks, agreywood! I’m hoping they’re not frequent enough to require maintenance medication, but you never know, and forewarned is forearmed.

        And I’ve just looked up the basilar subtype, and it does sound right. Thanks for the info!

  24. Chataya
    Chataya May 13, 2013 at 10:12 am |

    Is anyone in need of some bras or plus-size clothing? I got $75 in gift certificates for Lane Bryant for free that go into effect in June. I’d like them to go to someone in need.

    1. IrishUp
      IrishUp May 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

      If you don’t get any takers, are there any women’s shelters you can donate it to? There is a real need for that kind of stuffs. A lovely gesture, either way; I’m sure you’ll find it a good home.

      1. Chataya
        Chataya May 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm |

        actually I just went over the fine print; you need the original receipt to redeem the coupons. I can’t find it, so they may be worthless.

  25. A4
    A4 May 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

    I was wondering last night how much of our medical knowledge and advancement is due to human experimentation in WWII. It’s not something I know very much about, but I wonder how it is treated in medical school. Does anyone ever discuss the way the US academic and military establishment has benefited from the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their allies?

    1. A4
      A4 May 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm |

      I am currently reading this article on the subject, which seems from the introduction to be a very sensitive examination of the issue. MAJOR CONTENT WARNING for graphic descriptions of human medical experimentation and murder.

      http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/NaziMedEx.html

      1. matlun
        matlun May 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

        General content warning on this post (see A4 above – continued discussion of horrible human experimentation)

        AFAIK, there is not much of the Nazi research that has been important to medical science. The big exception (as mentioned in the article) is effects and treatment of severe hypothermia.

        At least the Nazi researchers had to answer for their crimes. More problematic are the Japanese experiments in Unit 731. According to the wikipedia article, it seems that the scientists were granted immunity because the data was useful to US biological warfare research.

        Personally I do not see a fundamental problem with using the data from this type of research. The persons responsible should obviously be dealt with very harshly, but willfully obscuring knowledge that could save lives makes no sense to me.

    2. IrishUp
      IrishUp May 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm |

      Yup, it is. It’s also discussed in more detail in medical ethics and in human subjects research training.

      [CN; references to Holocaust, torture, murder]

      See also this discussion of the infamous Pernkopf Anatomy Atlas:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC31704/

      The fundamental problems for medico-ethics are twofold (at least):

      1. Under “normal” conditions, improperly conducted research (lack of peer review, problematic study design, questionable qualifications of experimenters) is NOT used and is ejected from the literature. There is no way to describe Nazi era work as properly conducted research.

      2. The concern for creating improper incentives. Underneath most of the rules for encouraging ethical medical conduct, is the principal I like to call “sticks and carrots”. Punitive measures (sticks) are for AFTER you catch someone being naughty. Preventing misconduct is really the goal. Prevention is usually is best accomplished by removing possible rewards to unethical behavior. By allowing tainted work to stand & be used – and by extension, allowing CREDIT for the tainted work to be preserved – you are leaving a BIG carrot in place.

      It’s fraught territory, needless to say. Many medical researchers have sought a middle ground. You can’t “unknow” something that is out there; it’s been described, it’s part of the “fund of knowledge”. But maybe you can use that ill-gotten knowledge to design ethical experiments, the findings from which CAN be used without qualm.

      1. IrishUp
        IrishUp May 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm |

        Clarification, I have no idea what the military does. Shudder to think, actually. The above is based on my familiarity with the issues as a clinical researcher in an academic hospital.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L May 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

        All the justifications for not withdrawing those Pernkopf illustrations — including the “intellectual freedom” justifications — make me extremely uncomfortable. Especially since noboy is claiming that those illustrations are irreplaceable, or that anatomy can’t be taught without them.


        The current author, Riggs, Greene, and others believe that the active use of the atlas itself is the most fitting tribute to those who died for it. It is ironic retribution for the Jewish cadavers (or whoever died for whatever their beliefs) used to illustrate a Nazi’s anatomic atlas to be immortalized by it. Using this atlas allows these cadavers to speak to us from half a century ago. They make us reexamine and again repudiate the Nazi beliefs that created a society that killed them [25, 26].

        Howard Spiro, at the Program for Humanities in Medicine at Yale University, says it does not matter where the victims came from—they were all humans, and all were murdered. To him, the Pernkopf pictures serve a double role: they teach anatomy, and they remind us of the horror that any “objective” science can impose. “The brilliant depictions of the Pernkopf atlas are transfiguring; in each, I hear the scream of a person … Like the head on the pike warning us where we must not to go [sic], they guard the slippery slope” [27].

        Bull. Those murdered victims of the Nazis, Jewish or otherwise, did not give their consent to be immortalized that way, “ironic retribution” and “head[s] on pikes warning us” notwithstanding. Using photographs and film and other images of Holocaust victims for purposes of direct education in museums, universities, and historical works — regardless of the absence of consent by the people depicted, alive or dead, to the creation of those images — is one thing. Each and every one of such images is, in fact, irreplaceable, and wholly necessary (especially in the face of denialism).

        For purposes of anatomy illustrations based on dissecting those victims? That’s another thing entirely, and I view it as morally unacceptable. For all the high-flown justifications.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L May 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm |

          “noboy” should be “nobody,” of course.

        2. IrishUp
          IrishUp May 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm |

          I agree with you 1000% on the Pernkopf Atlas. I can’t even believe the asshat prevarications about how “no one REALLY knows if the models were murdered.” Barf. I believe confirmation that at least some victims are represented has since been unearthed, but I may be misremembering.

          The fact that the ethical discussions of the Pernkopf tend to erase it’s solidly Nazi provenance are also abhorrent. As this analysis (an analysis I find MUCH more compelling than the shorter article linked above) states:

          “The Pernkopf Anatomy Atlas is indisputably a product of its time, and undoubtedly a Nazi atlas created by Nazis. The creators and content of the Atlas must have been permeated with the ideology, racial policies, practices (including “euthanasia”, exclusion and extermination) and symbolism of the Third Reich. Pernkopf and his team of talented illustrators, working in close collaboration, were by no means “ideological virgins” …
          [snip]
          … the answer to these questions should be sought with reference to the unethical and unlawful conduct of Pernkopf and his illustrators not only at a secondary level but at a primary level, from a “reconstructed” subjective perspective of the victims themselves. Only from this perspective does the conduct of the creators of the Atlas become a total abomination …”

          Source.

          Even worse than the theft and display of victims’ property in Museums across the US and Europe, this is a disgrace that has been ill-addressed. Sabine Hildebrandt is doing the most current work on this particular problem, but frankly, I still do not understand the *reticence* around saying that this atlas absolutely should NOT be used for standard anatomy teaching.

        3. A4
          A4 May 13, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

          It is ironic retribution for the Jewish cadavers (or whoever died for whatever their beliefs) used to illustrate a Nazi’s anatomic atlas to be immortalized by it. Using this atlas allows these cadavers to speak to us from half a century ago. Using this atlas allows these cadavers to speak to us from half a century ago. They make us reexamine and again repudiate the Nazi beliefs that created a society that killed them

          This is a totally revolting justification. The cadavers do not speak. They are dead. Why does it take Nazi images of dead Jews to repudiate the Nazi beliefs? These images are essential as historical record, not anti-Nazi philosophical rhetoric.

      3. Donna L
        Donna L May 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

        Thank you. There’s quite a bit of academic work being done these days about the ethics of Holocaust representation in general, never mind this kind of thing. My son could tell you a great deal about it, given his recent and ongoing work on the bibliography for the catalog for the recent Vishniac exhibition at the ICP. But he is not a Feministe reader, I’m afraid.

      4. matlun
        matlun May 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

        @IrishUp

        The concern for creating improper incentives. … By allowing tainted work to stand & be used – and by extension, allowing CREDIT for the tainted work to be preserved – you are leaving a BIG carrot in place.

        Surely for this type of extreme case, that should not be much of an issue? If you actually torture people to death and publish that fact, this should not be positive for your reputation or future prospects.

        I also feel that once the researchers (as in the Nazi case) have had to face the consequences and are not allowed to profit from their crimes, it is less of an issue.

        In other cases where the researchers have for one reason or another been allowed to get away with it, there is a problem but I feel this should be addressed by exposing and prosecuting them rather than censoring the data.

        Your other point about the quality of the research is very valid, but perhaps dodging the issue. If the data is not useful then there are no ethical problems since there is no reason to use the information whatever your position.

        1. IrishUp
          IrishUp May 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

          Matlun, alas, see the case of Dr. Marion Sims below.

          [CN continued]

          Dr. Sims engaged in what can only be called torture. And he is LAUDED as a GIANT in Uro/OB/Gyn. That Annals of Surgery link below? is a panegyric entitled “The Core Competencies of James Marion Sims”.

          Yes, people who do medical research are often (at least partially) motivated by the desire to Leave Their Mark and BOY did he. He was the president of the AMA. His first text ““On the Treatment of Vesico-Vaginal Fistula” has the venerated position of being THE seminal work in the field. Dr. Sims’ mark has been completely scrubbed clean of the blood and suffering of the women he experimented on. Without anesthesia. Repeatedly.

          FTR, Pernkopf was never tried, either, although he did spend some years in an Allied prison camp. And to be clear, he is not suspected of causing the deaths of the victims. His crime is using victims as models with the full knowledge of who they were and how they died.

          Regarding your point about the quality of research, I get what you are saying. The thing to remember is that LOTS of medicine that works, particularly surgical techniques, have their roots in “poorly conducted” experiments. Medico-ethics has evolved a ton, particularly since Nuremburg; you would NEVER be allowed to recreate many of the seminal moments in the history of medicine under modern standards. As a for instance, read about the first use of IV insulin @ Toronto Hospital.

          Kicking research out of the formal literature on the grounds of research malfeasance is often as much a Yule Brenner /Pharaoh Ramses “So let it be unwritten, so let it be done” thing, as it is a remove dubious findings thing. You can be VERY guilty of unethical research, and still have generated useful findings, or true findings.

          IME, it’s actually quite a blow & a professional humiliation, to have your work scrubbed from the literature. Remember, even the most middling medical paper generally represents 2 years of someone’s life. BIG stuff can reasonably be deemed Life’s Work. That’s a huge investment, to have completely erased.

          And this is the real bind that Medicine as a field, has not adequately addressed. I think that we’ve done a decent job in the US/EU/CA* of setting out how human subjects research OUGHT to be done going forward. But the dialogue around what HAS been done ranges from sub-optimal to totally fucked up, IMO.

          (*I’m constraining to those countries only b/c I haven’t studied medical ethics outside of Western Medicine. So much to know, so little time. If anyone has handy references, I say thank you in advance!)

        2. matlun
          matlun May 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

          Matlun, alas, see the case of Dr. Marion Sims below

          Sure, and also see the the issue of Unit 731 I linked to above. Sometimes the bad guys get away with it. It is a shame, and those guys should be exposed and shamed (at the very least, prosecution would be even better).

          Still – what is gained by ignoring the information we have due to those unethical experiments? I still do not see it, especially if this is useful information that can be used to save lives.

          Your two links above regarding Pernkopf contain a lot of meat regarding this discussion (and thank you for that – quite interesting), but I must say I still side with the view of the first one. Ie continue to publish it while including a disclaimer/explanation about the source of the research.

        3. IrishUp
          IrishUp May 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm |

          Still – what is gained by ignoring the information we have due to those unethical experiments? I still do not see it, especially if this is useful information that can be used to save lives

          Well, as I’ve said, it’s kind of impossible to unknow something that makes it into the knowledge base. My argument is that there shouldn’t be any fame or reward or *professional regard* for the perpetrators. So things like reputable investigators redoing the work ethically while scrubbing the literature of the unethical work seem like perfectly reasonable steps to me. They accomplish the discrediting of the guilty, while preserving work that can be used without qualm.

          Obviously that’s a Going Forward solution. What to do about the Already There work is still a problem. In the Pernkopf case, there isn’t much the atlas contains that doesn’t exist elsewhere without the horrible history attached, so what good reason IS there to use it as a general medical text? Keep it in medical libraries, but let it go out of print. Teach it in medico-ethics, or history, just don’t use it for “every day”. Shun it for those purposes. Or HEY! How about inviting the survivors of those who were and ARE directly harmed by the work into the conversation about how it should be treated? A Restorative Justice in Medicine approach, if you will.

          Sims’ work, in contrast, DOES and DID save lives. Or at least, much of his work. Other parts were just pointless infliction of human suffering, because he didn’t consider slave women humans. You can’t scrub from the medical literature a surgical technique that is known for 150yrs and used around the world. You can’t ban it’s use – that would violate a whole other set of ethics.

          But you CAN scrape the white-wash off his legacy. You can STOP writing panegyrics, stop with the asshat justifications that these women were willing participants and colleagues, and START having conversations about how to address Sims’ legacy. Preferably with a whole LOT of WOC at the table for those conversations.

          The other important considerations here: if it is OK to use ill-gotten knowledge for The Greater Good, what does that imply for preventing malfeasance? Doesn’t this start to become cover & camouflage for misconduct? (And btw, the answer to this question is “yes”. Bad work begets more bad work.) DO your ends justify your means? Would it be ok to get research subjects in sketchy ways if it would Cure Cancer(TM)? I mean, who cares if some $_Vulnerable People were exposed to risks, or coerced into participating, or actually harmed, if Thousands of Lives(TM) are saved?

          The pressures to produce results are ENORMOUS. I purposely stayed in academics to avoid the hanky-panky that goes on in the for-profit sector. And yet even HERE, there is still a fairly constant pressure and temptation to cut corners. Good researchers and good people start making all KINDS of equivocations under these conditions.

          To me, embiggening the conversation around historical medical research misconduct (what a weak-sauce word for what has actually gone on!) gains a LOT. By srubbing it out, we lose the opportunity to further develop empathy as professionals. We lose opportunities to IMPROVE research methods, regulations, and training. We further entrench privilege that is altogether TOO dismissive of patients and subjects as it is. I dare say, these things all have cost as many lives, as ill-gotten medical knowledge has saved.

    3. trees
      trees May 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm |

      I was wondering last night how much of our medical knowledge and advancement is due to human experimentation in WWII. It’s not something I know very much about, but I wonder how it is treated in medical school. Does anyone ever discuss the way the US academic and military establishment has benefited from the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their allies?

      I’m thinking of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present and wondering how these issues are being treated in general. I’m reminded of those questionable studies done on the genetics of violence at Columbia University in the very same psychiatry department that recruited Nazi psychiatrists after the war.

      1. IrishUp
        IrishUp May 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |

        trees, I am sure that you will be more dismayed than surprised to hear that even yet, 5/6yrs after publication, Sims’ work & reputation are still hailed, pretty much w/o qualification or question within Urology and OB/Gyn. Critique of his methodology tends to come from humanities disciplines, but within the profession of Medicine – not so much. Frustratingly, much of the critique that DOES exist, tends to frame this all as “a problem of the past” or others the problem (it’s a problem for South Africa / the Global South, et cetera, ad nauseum).

        A quick Google Scholar revealed a dearth of literature addressing the ethics of using Dr. Sims’ work. Medicine as a whole in the US, is doing a poor job at systemically addressing Racism’s deleterious effects on delivery, access and efficacy of healthcare for POC. This is part of that general (if I may use the term) white-washing.

        But IMO, it goes even deeper than that. The ugly truth of the matter is that a shitload of our current basic fund of knowledge was gotten via horrific practices. Modern Western (for lack of a better identifier) medicine trains the practitioner to “look forward”, and MDs have fucktons of Privilege on many axes. It’s not an environment that is rife with self-reflection.

        Some references:

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022534711002278

        http://journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Abstract/2012/07000/The_Core_Competencies_of_James_Marion_Sims,_MD.27.aspx

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/msj.20047/abstract

        If you’d like access to the full articles, your local library should be able to get them for you without the egregious online fees the publishers charge.

        This pdf is available in full:
        What am I Worth? The Race-ing of Reproduction in America.

        1. trees
          trees May 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm |

          IrishUp

          Wow, thanks for your reply! I’ll definitely check out those resources; I shouldn’t have trouble gaining access.

          I knew that Sims is of historical significance, but I hadn’t realized that his research continues to be foundational to contemporary medical practice. It sounds like medical students aren’t taught much of the history of medicine. I’m assuming an ethics class is required for graduation, do they scratch at these issues in those classes?

        2. IrishUp
          IrishUp May 15, 2013 at 10:43 am |

          Med students certainly do learn about the history of medicine, but A) it’s a very white-washed, revisionist version and B) by the time they are 4th years, taking Board exams, on clinical rotations, buried in work and studying up on their patients, they have a tendency to only retain the stuff they need on a day to day basis. As would many of us. In terms of the overall amount of information they have to consume between 1st yr med student and the end of their internships, it’s definitely NOT as much formal training as people might assume or expect.

          The only people who get more in-depth training and education are those who take interest in human subjects research OR medico-ethics. A limitation of this approach (besides more rank-and-file ignorance than is good for the profession) is that these people may not have the most influential voices when it comes to determining medical school curricula and/or actual clinical practice. More often than not, Ethicists are only called in AFTER shit has hit the fan.

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