Weekly Open Thread with Knitted R2D2

To mark the 3rd annual International Yarn Bombing Day happening this weekend, this week’s Open Thread is hosted by last year’s Yarn Bomb seen around the world: Sarah Rudder’s knitted R2D2 in Bellingham. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

A thumbnail gallery of photos taken of pedestrians interacting with the knitted R2D2

R2D2 making friends in Bellingham | Image Credit: Sarah Rudder

Any readers participating or otherwise aware of any guerilla knitting happening in their neighbourhoods this weekend, please drop links to what’s happening in this thread.

So, 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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About tigtog

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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117 Responses to Weekly Open Thread with Knitted R2D2

  1. Alexandra says:

    Well, I sprained my ankle yesterday, and will be on crutches, and can’t walk my dog (I sprained my ankle while walking my dog… while reading… yeah…). And working is going to be awkward for the next few weeks, as it’s not exactly a desk job.

    On the other hand, I’ve been freed up the past few days to spend a ridiculous amount of time on the internet. And I’ve stumbled upon a really excellent blog by a truly courageous woman who is chronicling her attempts to pursue justice against the man who raped her several years ago while they were in college. Her whole blog needs a trigger warning. She is also raising money to pay her legal fees: The SCAR defense fund.

  2. My husband and son are both on learner permits, my son for the auto and my husband for his CDL.

  3. Aaliyah says:

    Things have been getting better for me. I’ve recently decided that I’ll use part of my income to pay for therapy sessions, which I need more than ever. I think I’ll be able to hide it from my father because I know a therapist whose sessions aren’t very costly (I can just tell my father that I’m spending it on clothes, books, and so on since my sessions won’t cost more than $60 or so). Unfortunately, I’ll probably won’t receive my paycheck until late next week.

    Also, today I went to a local mosque*, and holy shit this speaker was hateful. He shamelessly called all Jews disobedient, selfish, deceptive, and oppressive, and then he actually implicitly called for waging war against the Jews because the “Day of Judgment” is fast approaching. It was awful. I would have spoken up if it weren’t for the fact that doing so would be a massive safety risk.

    I personally know this man, too. He was very kind when I met him in person. So kind that I would never dream of him being a bigoted asshole.

    *I go because I’ll get in a lot of trouble with my father for deliberately skipping the Friday prayers.

    • Holy shit, Aaliyah!

      Is it always the same speaker at a mosque, Aaliyah, or was this creep a one-off? Would it be possible to find a mosque that doesn’t go in for such horrible bigotry?

    • Donna L says:

      Ugh. How does your father feel about that kind of rhetoric?

      • Aaliyah says:

        I’m not entirely sure, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he were anti-Semitic as well. That’s because I wouldn’t be surprised if he explicitly expressed any kind of racism.

        One time, he was with my older brother at a McDonalds drive-thru, and behind his car was the car of a black woman who was getting very impatient with my father; he didn’t move the car as far as he should have. He just kept telling her “Wait” over and over again. She got upset, calling him a “fucking foreigner,” and then my father told the person at the payment window “Tell these people [behind me] to go back to Africa.” And then when he exited the drive-thru he actually screamed the n-word out of his window while holding up the middle finger. He didn’t even regret what he did; he just said “It really burns them when they get called [n-word]s.”

        So yeah, I’m afraid I can’t give him the benefit of doubt here.

      • Mike says:

        to be fair, she did start the racial/ethnic insults

      • Aaliyah says:

        Yes, but that’s besides the point. And in any case, neither deserved racist insults.

      • Donna L says:

        Yes; just because someone calls you a “foreigner” doesn’t give you the right to use the “n” word with them. I understand being angered by something like that, but, really.

      • Fat Steve says:

        I’m not entirely sure, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he were anti-Semitic as well. That’s because I wouldn’t be surprised if he explicitly expressed any kind of racism.

        It’s admirable that you are able to break the cycle of racism. That kind of thing tends to be passed along generations.

    • Ewwwwww. What a grody and disgusting thing to have to listen to, especially in a place that’s supposed to be sacred (or, at the very least, safe, even for atheists). Sorry you experienced that, Aaliyah.

      • Ginjoint says:

        especially in a place that’s supposed to be sacred (or, at the very least, safe, even for atheists).

        Wait, are you talking about the mosque or McDonald’s?

        Ha! j/k!

    • Mike says:

      That’s amazing that you were able to find a reasonably priced therapist, all of the ones in my area charge much more. May I asked how you found this person?

      • Aaliyah says:

        Well, the person who recommended me that therapist told me that she was able to pay only that much because of the sliding scale that this therapist has.

        Anyway, you can find her here. She has two office locations: one in Santa Cruz and another in San Jose.

      • Willard says:

        Yeah, for therapists it’s important not to just go off their posted rates. Some say outright if they’ll apply a sliding scale, others will say explicitly that they won’t, and the rest will leave it ambiguous. It can never hurt to call and find out.

    • EG says:

      He shamelessly called all Jews disobedient, selfish, deceptive, and oppressive

      And those are our good qualities! Well, disobedience, anyway, has always struck me as a good quality. We are, after all, a stiff-necked people.

      I’m sorry, Aaliyah, that your father has the power to put you through so much that is bad. I’m really glad to know that you’ve found a therapist–for me, a good therapist really changes my life. Despite the wretched experiences that your father inflicts on you, you maintain your thoughtfulness, critical thinking, self-awareness, and morality. You are a resilient and good person.

    • Gorb says:

      I’ve traveled all over the Middle East. I’ve seen the most horrific anti-semitism pass as standard fare in a dozen countries. Before I started working in news, I was blissfully unaware. After having listened to what passes as standard opinion in the Muslim/Arab world, I was shellshocked by the level of hateful anti-semitism. It percolates through virtually every news report, everything that’s ever written, almost every single newspaper and is embedded in the religious attitudes. I’ve had otherwise completely normal people agree with the statement “It pleases God when you kill a Jew” – people you’d never expect to say this. The awful, stereotypical casual anti-semitism common in NYC a generation or two ago is the liberal norm in much of the Arab world.

      It’s given me some perspective on the whole arab-Israeli conflict. I was once all in favor of forcing concessions on Israel. Not so much any more, after having seen what the near-genocidal tendencies are on the other side.

      What you experienced on the weekend was extremely mild by comparison to what passes as normal.

      • Aaliyah says:

        I don’t think the anti-Semitism is as pervasive as you claim, although it’s certainly way more common than one would expect. Plenty of Muslims I know say that they oppose the institutionalized oppression of Palestinians, not all of Israel and its people.

      • Fat Steve says:

        The awful, stereotypical casual anti-semitism common in NYC a generation or two ago is the liberal norm in much of the Arab world.

        I don’t recall the causual anti-semitism in NYC being that common. I remember certain groups of hardcore racists, like the ones who bashed my face in with a pipe when I was in junior high, but as far as casual anti-semitism, that certainly wasn’t my experience.

  4. I took Maddie-the-cat to the vet for her F3 vaccination yesterday. She’s now all down and droopy and giving me Looks, though feeling under the weather hasn’t hurt her appetite any. I meanwhile have two arms covered in impressive red scratches from trying to get her into her carrier coming and going!

    • Willard says:

      I know the feeling, we had trouble with ours until we figured out she can’t scratch through a towel or blankie. Now we pop her in her carrier like a pig in a blanket. Works a treat for immobilizing rats for medicine time as well.

      • I should try that; I hadn’t even thought of it. It couldn’t be less successful than it was with Katie, years ago: very small, very strong cat who grew a dozen extra legs and 560 extra claws whenever carriers or pills were in the offing! She was known at our vet clinic as The Cat That Can’t Be Pilled. :P

      • Willard says:

        I’ve known some like her. In all fairness, the towel only works with 3 of my girls. The dumbo who is otherwise the most skittish and mild-mannered of them gains the strength of a bull elephant and the flexibility of an anaconda when I come after her for drops. Thankfully she is a fiend for baby food and that’s how I get her dosed.

        The cat actually loves the blanket, she sleeps under the covers of any made bed she can find.

      • Ledasmom says:

        Best cat-boxing tip I know: put carrier on floor, cover only the cat’s head with a towel. Cat will back up. Sometimes you can steer the cat right into the carrier.
        Admittedly my cats are far from the worst for going in carriers that I know of, but this has made the process somewhat less aggravating.
        For my cat who had to have twice-daily pills, I used to pill him right when he started eating his food. Since he was already in swallowing mode, it would go right down.
        For eye ointment, cat goes in the arm of a large sweatshirt. He can see well enough to try to get out, but his head gets stuck partway out with his front legs restrained backwards. This makes it easier to hold the eye open and apply ointment. Of course, for some cats this only moves the difficulty one step backwards in the process.

      • Willard – strength of a bull elephant and flexibility of an anaconda, yup, sounds like Katie, too!

        Ledasmom – I want to try that cat-boxing trick with a camera running.

        I am a cruel mother.

        All this reminds me of that old joke:

        How to give a cat a pill

        1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

        2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

        3) Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

        4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right fore-finger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

        5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

        6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

        7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

        8) Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

        9) Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

        10) Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

        11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Throw Tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

        12) Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

        13) Tie cat’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

        14) Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

        15) Arrange for RSPCA to collect cat and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.


        1) Wrap it in bacon.

      • Willard says:

        I would love to see video of that boxing trick Ledasmom, it sounds so deliciously undignified that it should knock cats world-wide down a peg or two.

        Of course we should realize that all this humor at their expenses does impact their self esteem

      • EG says:

        Wrap it in bacon.

        This also works for giving pills to EGs (although smaller and immature EGs might prefer to be allowed to swallow the pill with Coca-Cola).

      • As a dog person, I have to say that the ease of giving dogs pills is vastly exaggerated. I used to try and smush one of mine’s pills in carrots or okra (her favouritest things in the world, since I had a truly bizarre dog that I swear hated all things meat except eggs, wouldn’t even eat meat-flavoured shit, no, I do not know what her doggy brain was thinking), and she’d eat the carrots, sure, but ptooey went the pill, every damn time. I don’t even know how she managed enough dexterity in her mouth to do that. And she figured out to keep them until they’re half-melted, so we couldn’t pick them up and feed them to her again. I swear she used up twice the number of pills she actually ever ate.

      • shfree says:

        I’ve gotten pretty aggressive with the girls and their medicines after the nightmare week with the vet (four visits between the two of them, one of them to the ER) and I’ve found that just grabbing the top of their head and pulling up and back, then holding their mouth shut and massaging their throats for longer than you think is necessary does the trick. Maybe it’s just having to give them subcutaneous fluids for three fucking weeks that has gotten me past the whole worrisome pilling them bit. I’ve been sticking them with needles now, sigh.

    • The Dormouse says:

      Have you ever tried just chucking a few kitty treats in the carrier? That always seems to work for our cat. Although, our cat would probably brave anything if there were a handful of treats involved. We also try to leave the cat carrier out when it’s not in use so she gets used to it and even sort of likes it (though she still hates it the second we close the door and pick the carrier off the ground but by then it’s too late). I dunno, that’s just what’s worked best for us. Smarter or less treat influenced cats might not fall for that trick more than once.
      As far as pills are concerned, pill pockets have been a gift for us. One of the vet techs at our vet’s office recommended them after one particularly terrible night of attempting to give her liquid medicine that ended with her huddled under the bed hissing at me, my roommate’s pants covered in cat medicine, and me crouched in front of the bed crying because she wouldn’t come out or let me pet her. Once we started using the pill pockets she just chomps the treat without even realizing there’s medicine in it until it’s too late and she’s already swallowed it.

      • I don’t know if the treats would work, because Mads has a small amount of dry food left out for her all the time, so there wouldn’t be anything special about it; that, and the carrier is a top-opening basket, not a front-opening one, so we’d have to stand it on its side. I suspect her suspicions would override her *cough* hunger *cough*.

        Might work with catnip, though …

        The funny thing is, she’s never made this much of a hullaballoo about getting in before. I swear she’s channelling Katie. :P

        Pilling her and Fribs isn’t a problem, mercifully. We have the pill-poppers and except for the odd time they go into chipmunk mode (pill in cheek), it’s pretty easy.

      • The Dormouse says:

        Ah. That’s too bad. River is just wild about treats. No matter how much food we leave out for her all day when we pull out the treat bag she goes bananas. But if your kitty isn’t ridiculous about treats I can see where that would be hard. At least it’s not an all the time thing! (And I think River can tell I’m talking about cat treats because she’s perking up from her nap.)

  5. Woo, so the cold and cough thing seems to be making the rounds chez moi, because apparently I needed that. Thank fuck for rasam, that’s all I’ll say. Clears the respiratory system like whoa, and cheap as fuck besides.

    • Chataya says:

      Looked up rasam, that sounds fucking delicious.

      • It really is. I tend to skip the mustard etc, which means avoiding using oil entirely, and I use my mother’s home-made sambhar powder for spices, which means that basically the most strenuous thing involved in making it is cutting tomatoes. :D And it’s an awesome metabolism booster, too.

  6. Chataya says:

    I found out today that Cymbalta is going generic in December! I rely on it to control my fibromyalgia, but my insurance is an assbutt and decided after 5 months of covering the drug that they didn’t want to pay for it anymore. Fortunately my rheumatologist is divine and is supplying me with samples, but I’ll be glad to have a reliable source again.

    • Donna L says:

      That’s good news, since I take Cymbalta, and it costs a lot of money before I meet my deductible every year.

      • Question for you both/anyoen else, if you’re comfortable saying, since I was prescribed Cymbalta for my fibromyalgia: I heard it hits a lot of people with drowsiness, which is an epically bad idea for me if it’s a severe thing, because I already have derealisation/spacing out issues. Is this a thing, how bad a thing is it? And finally, how expensive is it for you guys pre-insurance?

      • Donna L says:

        The price at my pharmacy for 30 pills, a month’s supply, is $243.95, until I meet my deductible every year. (Since my “year” runs from June 1 through May 31, I’ll be paying that amount with my next refill. Not my most expensive prescription — that one costs me > $600 for a month’s supply — but still an awful lot of money.)

        I’ve never noticed any drowsiness from it.

      • Chataya says:

        My cost is similar to Donna’s, about $250 for 30 pills at 60 mg each.

        I had drowsiness at first, pretty severe actually. I fell asleep in my computer chair. That wore off as I got used to it (1 to 2 weeks if you titrate) and I learned how to time the effect. I ended up taking it at lunch as I ate so that I wouldn’t fall asleep at work. I did avoid driving the first few days I took it, though.

        Honestly I was glad for the drowsiness because I wasn’t getting proper sleep due to the fibro.

      • Thanks, Donna, Chataya. Yeah, I was concerned it’d be that expensive. I have really good coverage from the college, but it’s still not exactly cheap, which is half the reason I haven’t.

        I had drowsiness at first, pretty severe actually. I fell asleep in my computer chair.

        That’d be the other half; I get very drowsy during flare-ups, I’ve been known to fall asleep standing up (the last time was last week, when I nodded off while doing dishes, arms in the sink full of water, lol). Since I commute, and I’m a full-time student and whatnot, I can’t really afford that. But if it wears off… I guess it’s something to look at, yeah.

      • Li says:

        I got fairly hardcore drowsiness and dizziness when I started Cymbalta, but that eased off once I’d adjusted to it. And boy am I glad to live in Australia: I don’t have health insurance at the moment and Cymbalta cost me about AU$39 (US and Australian dollar are around parity at the moment) per box of 60mg due to our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme last year, and generics are already out here (i’m currently on Andepro). Now I have a pension concession card it costs me AU$5.90 a box.

      • Chataya says:


        The horrible drowsiness and dizziness only lasted about 2 days. So if you can time starting it during a break or something, it should be easier on you. I started mine on a Friday, could handle it by Monday.

      • EG says:

        Hurray for generics! I can’t wait. Cymbalta is the third priciest med I take. I think it may already be generic in Canada, or so I am told by a friend who takes it and is ordering it from a Canadian pharmacy. A very good, close friend who happens to take very similar meds to me.

        I never had any drowsiness issues from it, but I have very few side effect problems in general (knock wood), so I may not be a good barometer.

      • Thanks for the feedback, guys. I’ll look into it more seriously (it looks way less expensive in Canada, and I have insurance on top of it).

      • Donna L says:

        In the end, of course, I’ll be screwed either way, because even if the generic Cymbalta is significantly less expensive once it becomes available, that will just mean that it will take me longer to meet my deductible every year. (It’s now $6,000 every year, with my son added to my plan after he graduated from college, although my employer picks up part of the cost after the first $1500 or so.)

  7. Li says:

    Tonight I tried to have a discussion about why relegating trans* people to trans* specific bathrooms isn’t actually a very good demonstration of allyhood and as reward for engaging with someone in good faith got smacked in the face by them with Sheila Jeffreys and Mary Daly.

    So now I’m feeling really shit and dissociating a bit, but I’m finally motivated to make my facebook pronouns gender-neutral and I’m rocking thesuper-tough cat jumper> that came in the mail yesterday for comfort-times.

    • Li says:

      obvs my html skills have taken a turn for the worst though.

    • Aaliyah says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, Li. That reminds me of a recent incident in which I was arguing with a “friend” about trans* women “silencing” radfem lesbians, and she cited a TERF blog entry. Yuck. And I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing dissociation – it can be really painful at times.

      What kind of singular gender neutral pronouns do you prefer other people to use for you? Ze/hir/hirs, xie/xer/xers, etc.? Just wondering.

      • Li says:

        Generally I prefer either “they/their” or “he/his”, but how strong my feelings are about that can change over time, as can which one of those two I feel is more appropriate for me. I’m pretty comfortable with either most of the time, if I have specific days where I really don’t want to be called “he” I tend to tell people at that point in time.

        It’s complicated cos I’m still in the stage of figuring a lot of things out, so I’m aware I may gravitate back towards being comfortable with cis and man as gender descriptors at some point in the future (and because that’s how I present a lot of the time), but right now I need to create some breathing room where I can actually think about and explore stuff without immediately shutting down because of how anxious it makes me.

      • Aaliyah says:

        All right, gotcha.

        And I can relate in some ways to your experiences. Before I discovered that I’m a trans* girl, I thought I was genderqueer, and I had the same feelings about being ambivalent with pronouns. I disliked both he/him/his and she/her/hers because I didn’t see myself as part of the binary gender identity spectrum. I hope things go smoothly for you and you get all the breathing room you need.

      • trans* women “silencing” radfem lesbians

        There are those I would really quite like to see silenced, thanks.

        ~Bi genderqueer who feels pretty fucking unsafe in radfem lesbian circles.

    • a discussion about why relegating trans* people to trans* specific bathrooms isn’t actually a very good demonstration of allyhood

      Jesus fuck. That had to have been awful. Sorry you dealt with that, Li.

      Shall I go ahead and they/their you from now on, then? Not sure what the protocol is, from your comment…

      • Li says:

        I’m actually pretty ok with still using “he” in this space at the moment. Feministe is a really supportive community and one that grants me a modicum of anonymity, which is why I posted about this on the open thread, but I’m ok with using masculine pronouns in this space as a way of flagging some of my gender privileges because of the specific nature and needs of online feminist discussions outside of the open threads. I’ll let you know if that changes.

  8. EG says:

    My internet access is much curtailed because my kind and handsome boyfriend (I’m reminding myself of his awesomeness) spilled beer on my home computer, frying it. Neither he nor I has the money to get it repaired…fortunately, I do have a back-up computer that I usually keep elsewhere. But my posting has been much curtailed.

    Also, I have to move and everything, to quote Sean O’Casey, is in a terrible state of chassis (chaos)!

    • Lolagirl says:

      That stinks, EG! My 1yo recently fried my desktop, he loved pushing the on/off button on it repeatedly. Til it finally blue screened. I was able to get it fixed after a couple of weeks when the spouse was able to take into work and get it dealt with by IT. I totally went into Feministe withdrawal too.

      Happy house moving to you!

      • chava says:

        My 14mo grabbed my hand while I was feeding him breakfast/drinking coffee/doing work. No coffee on baby=coffee on laptop. Bye-bye, laptop.

        Thank god for Dropbox.

    • Fat Steve says:

      My internet access is much curtailed because my kind and handsome boyfriend (I’m reminding myself of his awesomeness) spilled beer on my home computer, frying it.

      Surely spilling beer on the computer would braise it, not fry it. ;)

      • chava says:

        you mock mah pain, sir!

      • Gretchen says:

        Life is pain highness, anyone who says differently is selling something.

        Sorry, I couldn’t miss this opportunity for a Princess Bride reference.

    • Andie says:

      Wow, it’s a bad week for computers. My desktop is on the fritz and boyfriend has been working on trying to get it working again.

      I sometimes think my eldest daughter is magnetic or something because electronics in my house randomly stop working after she uses them.. But she swears she “didn’t do ANYTHING!”

      • EG says:

        I have a friend who fries watches. He doesn’t do anything to them, but after a day or two on his body, they just stop working.

        Before cell phones, he had to carry around a travel alarm clock in his bag to be able to check the time.

    • EG says:

      Thanks, all! I’m just grateful that everything I had was backed up onto a flashdrive…and that I only do text-based stuff, so I can just work with my netbook, really…

  9. Donna L says:

    [trigger warning for transphobia]

    Fallout from the Daisy Deadhead fiasco: over at gendertrender (and I certainly won’t dignify it with a link), they’re all excited that Daisy might finally come over to their side, and, in describing what happened, singled me out and called me “MtF ‘Donna’ L.” I always love having “Donna” put in scare quotes, because of course to them my name isn’t any more real than the rest of me. The objections to Daisy’s blog post were characterized as “trans tantrums, screaming, threats, etc.” Because I am, of course, just a violent misogynist.

    • amblingalong says:

      Donna, I am so sorry this is happening to you. I profoundly wish there was something more tangible I could do than just reiterate how excellent I think you are and how pathetic those so-called feminists are.

    • Aaliyah says:

      Wow, fuck those people. I wish these assholes would just leave us alone for once. Not that I expect them to gain empathy for trans* people anytime soon.

    • o_O

      *bites back giant screed of rage on names and cis bullshit surrounding names*

      I’m so sorry, Donna.

    • chava says:

      ugh. I’ve been absent-ish of late, but I’ve gathered that something went down and it involved people being transphobic asshats to you.
      So sorry.

    • trees says:

      … I’m really at a loss for words…DonnaL I’m so very sorry this is happening to you. I don’t think I’ve ever before read that blog, which apparently is a blessing. It’s as if they have a pathological obsession with trans* people. From my cursory look, the majority of the posts are related to transgender issues, and there are many personal attacks on trans* people using really ugly language. If ever there was an appropriate use of the term “haters” this is it. I hope you never again read anything over at that place.

      I’m also hoping us folks who strive to be trans* allies can brainstorm a way to push back. I’m wondering if I should post in some of those comment threads (following with a hot shower to cleanse the ick). Do others have any experience posting at that blog? Is this a fool’s errand, an exercise in frustration and futility?

      • Li says:

        Do others have any experience posting at that blog? Is this a fool’s errand, an exercise in frustration and futility?

        Yes, it is. gendertrender is deeply and irrevocably transmisogynistic and nothing you can post will do anything but further convince the authors that they are righteous crusaders against the supposed transgender menace.

      • Aaliyah says:

        That, and even if there was any hope of persuading them to have empathy and respect for us, I’d still not comment there simply because I know that Cathy Brennan is notorious for doxxing trans* people and outing them. And if I get doxxed or outed…I don’t even want to imagine what could happen to me.

      • trees says:

        That, and even if there was any hope of persuading them to have empathy and respect for us, I’d still not comment there simply because I know that Cathy Brennan is notorious for doxxing trans* people and outing them. And if I get doxxed or outed…I don’t even want to imagine what could happen to me.

        Holy shit!!!

      • Aaliyah says:

        Yeah, one time she even outed a trans* guy to his high school peers. She’s ruthless.

      • trees says:

        Yeah, one time she even outed a trans* guy to his high school peers. She’s ruthless.

        That’s a wanton act of evil. Makes me wonder if they’re left with much time for anything else beyond constructing plots of destruction.

      • GallingGalla says:

        Cathy Brennan is notorious for doxxing trans* people and outing them.

        This fills me with rage that no words can express.

        *smashes keyboard*

      • trees says:

        Yes, it is. gendertrender is deeply and irrevocably transmisogynistic and nothing you can post will do anything but further convince the authors that they are righteous crusaders against the supposed transgender menace.

        I see; thanks for the heads up. I’m kinda relieved by the thought of never having to return to that site.

      • Fat Steve says:

        I’m also hoping us folks who strive to be trans* allies can brainstorm a way to push back.

        I’ve been pushing back by not reading any of these shitty blogs. To be perfectly honest, I was doing that before, but it was merely because I had never heard of them, but now I am actively not reading them.

      • trees says:

        I’ve been pushing back by not reading any of these shitty blogs. To be perfectly honest, I was doing that before, but it was merely because I had never heard of them, but now I am actively not reading them.

        Yeah, that’s pretty much been my approach thus far.

    • GallingGalla says:

      OMG, Donna, that’s just awful. I’m sorry you were subject to that.

      And it totally would not surprise me to see Daisy join the Gendertrender crowd.

    • Donna L says:

      Thanks to all. Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time I’ve been singled out by name on a transphobic blog for something I’ve written here. The last time (that I know about), someone — probably the loathsome Gallus Mag — said something about how much damage “guys” like me do in groups of women.

      Apparently, some of these people must read Feministe. I guess it must be frustrating for them that every time they try to bring their hate speech here, they get shut down.

      I wish I had the brashness to say it doesn’t bother me, and that “I must be doing something right” for such hateful creeps to single me out like that, but I have to admit that it does upset me, and sends me into a kind of existential panic. It isn’t like it would be that hard for anyone who really wanted to to figure out who I am. Maybe there isn’t so much they could do other than annoy me, since it isn’t like my history is a complete secret where I work, but I have enough to worry about, and it’s demoralizing whether or not it has a practical effect on my “real life.” Plus, I have no desire to see my photo appear on Cathy Brennan’s special website where she posts the most unflattering (she thinks) pictures of trans women she can dredge up on the Internet, and then she and her pals make fun of how “ugly” they look. (I know her excuse for outing that high school kid was that he said something mean to her on the Internet. So of course she had to go nuclear, and do her best to ruin his life.)

      She’s a lawyer in Maryland. Who writes sometimes for an LGBT paper down there. And actively campaigned against extending anti-discrimination protections to trans people in that state. And likes to show up on other people’s blogs ranting about how trans women are men. Men! Men! Sometimes I wonder how I would react if I ever encountered her on a case, although I’ve never had a case in Maryland.

      • Donna L says:

        Speaking of Daisy, and her alleged “question” about why trans women don’t just ignore the supposedly harmless transphobic radical feminists, and focus on their “real” enemies, my friend Helen Boyd — who wrote a couple of books about her relationship with her trans spouse, and now is a professor at Lawrence U. in Appleton — just had a column on her blog that I think is directly relevant.

        [Trigger warning for transphobia — she refers to the horrible, incredibly brutal murder of Evon Young, a 22-year old trans guy, and links to an article about his killers pleading guilty]:


        Evon Young’s Killers
        Posted by helenboyd – June 8, 2013

        Trigger warning: this death was horrific and brutal and cold blooded, in my opinion. The description is journalistic and, as a result, very upsetting.

        Evon Young’s killers are pleading guilty to various charges [link is here] which is a good thing that will help his family and the other communities he was a part of find closure in his death.

        I don’t really understand any of it. I have been reading reports of these up close and personal, brutal, immolating murders for a decade now, and no part of it ever makes any sense to me. Who are these people and why do we even consider them human, still? I really don’t know. But I’m always newly horrified at how coldly, how brutally, these things can happen.

        There are days when you cry, and days when you spit nails, but none of it makes any sense of this kind of crime. I don’t think I’m ever going to understand.

        But I will say: this is why the world needs to get past their fear of trans people. It’s why all of us need to stop thinking of trans people’s birth genders as their “real” gender. It’s why denying trans women as women – whether that’s coming from a fundamentalist Christian or a radical feminist – isn’t ever just theoretical or political. These are the lives that are lost when we deny the truth of trans people’s experiences and reports of their own genders.

        I am losing any tolerance I once had of any kind of transphobic “theories” of gender that deny a person’s humanity and their gender and Evon Young is why.

      • he said something mean to her on the Internet

        Oh well that’s totally justification for putting him at a high goddamn risk of death, right?

        Fuck. Donna, I think you’re pretty brave for being as open as you are.

    • Lolagirl says:

      OMG, what a bunch of asshat transphobes, Donna.

      I can’t even come up with anything else coherent to say, I’m so offended, both personally and on your behalf. It’s definitely not you, but them who are wrongly wrong trolls. I’m so sorry to hear about this crap, Donna, really, it sucks.

      • moviemaedchen says:

        Lolagirl said what I was thinking. I’m sorry, Donna, that you have to put up with this infuriating shit again and again.

      • Lolagirl says:

        So I went over to the GT website, and now I desperately want some brain bleach to wipe away what I have just read. I should have listened to Donna and not gone over there in the first place. What a bunch of offensive bullshit, I can’t even. It makes me furious that the radfems even use the word feminism at all, because it may be many things, but that sure isn’t feminism. Since when is feminism all about the hating on gay folks and men?

        Oh, don’t bother. That was intended to be a rhetorical question.

      • Donna L says:

        I’m sorry you had to see that, Lolagirl.

        But sometimes I think it’s a good thing for people to realize just how bad this stuff is, and just how vile these people are. When people — not you — write about the “debate” between trans people and anti-trans radical feminists, they sometimes seem to believe that it is an actual “debate,” with legitimate things being said on both sides. And sometimes seem to believe the Big Lie that trans women are guilty of trying to “silence” the supposed “truth” being spoken by radfems. Once they actually read that “truth” in its most unvarnished form, however, they seem to understand better what it really is.

    • EG says:

      Donna, I am so sorry. It’s horrible beyond words how sticking up for yourself and advocating for yourself in the most eloquent, moving way that you do makes you a target for these cruel, hateful people. I think you are wonderful, and all I can say is that reading what you have written has given me a better understanding of what it means to be a trans woman, and I think made me a more thoughtful, better ally. I know I can’t be the only one. Your speaking up means a lot to a lot of people. If there is anything I can do, please say so. You are brave, kind, and a compassionate, nuanced thinker. And these people are assholes.

      • Donna L says:

        Thank you, EG. That means a great deal to me, coming from someone I admire as much as you. As do all the other words of reassurance from all of you. None of whom is a mindless cheerleader, no matter what certain people claim!

        There are, in fact, times I despair (not only when I look at places like gendertrender, but also just about every time I ever read the comments on any online news story about trans people), and feel that nothing that I or any other trans person says — or does, in leading our lives — has any positive effect at all. And that it’s all hopeless, and that non-trans people in general will never accept us as “real,” or see us as anything other than bizarre, ridiculous “travesties” (literally and figuratively), about whom they have license to be unspeakably cruel without consequences (and take great pleasure in that cruelty). And that I’m wasting my time, and ought to give up entirely, and “go stealth” on the Internet as much as I do in my daily “real” life . But then I think of my friend Helen Boyd (whom I quote above), and you, and my son, and so many other wonderful people I’ve gotten to know here, and I feel a little bit more hopeful.

  10. amblingalong says:

    I’m reposting a comment from another thread that I was hoping to get an answer too; it deals with the really common feminist talking point that ‘rape isn’t sex.’

    I’ve heard that talking point a lot and honestly I can’t make sense of it. Do you have a problem with the phrase ‘sexual assault,’ if you’re asserting that sex is only sex if it’s consensual? Or ‘sexual violence’ and ‘sexual abuse?’

    I really don’t see how defining rape as non-consensual sex is even slightly problematic.

    I really don’t get this one and I’d be genuinely grateful if someone could help me understand.

    • Aaliyah says:

      I think this should be taken to Spillover #5, but I think it makes sense to make a distinction between rape and sex. Usually, when people talk about “having sex”, consent is implied; When someone says something like “I had sex with hir,” there is mutual consent implied by virtue of the presence of “with.” It’s kind of like how “I gave hir a stern talking-to” and “I had a talk with him” have very different implied ideas. The former doesn’t imply willingness on behalf of the person being talked to, whereas the latter does.

      Also, when “having sex” is used to refer to child sexual abuse e.g. “A man is accused of having sex with a 9-year-old girl,” there seems to be consent (wrongfully) implied.

      • Aaliyah says:

        Correction: this

        I think it makes sense to make a distinction between rape and sex.

        Should be this

        I think it makes sense to make a distinction between calling rape “rape” and calling rape “non-consensual sex.”

      • amblingalong says:

        I get that as a matter of using clear language to communicate effectively, but what confuses me is the more stringent assertion it’s not just potentially confusing, but literally inaccurate to define rape as nonconsensual sex.

        This can go to spillover if it doesn’t belong here; I’ve never been 100% clear on what open threads vs. spillover were for.

      • tigtog says:

        I’ve never been 100% clear on what open threads vs. spillover were for.

        Spillover is a place to corral any side-discussions that could end up derailing/dominating a whole thread.

        As the recent guest post on consent/deceit/rape shows, conversations about rape and consent tend to spiral into looooong and contentious discussions, which tend to end up dominating a thread. Known contentious side-topics belong on spillover rather than the Open thread because the Open thread’s social purpose shouldn’t be threadjacked by any one subthread, whereas loooooong subthreads is what spillover is designed to accommodate.

      • amblingalong says:

        Thanks for clarifying, TigTog. I’ll move this there.

  11. Fat Steve says:

    I spent all weekend re-arranging/spring cleaning my studio and am exhausted and sore but rather happy with my results.


    • Willard says:

      Dirty screen is dirty!

      • Fat Steve says:

        Dirty screen is dirty!

        It’s a touch screen, those are fingerprints.

      • Fat Steve says:

        ok, ok, I’ve cleaned it off with lens cleaner…I wasn’t expecting this intense judgement of the fingered dust on my touch screen monitor…

      • Willard says:

        Sorry if it seemed judgy, it really wasn’t meant to be. It’s just that dust is so grrrr y’know? I wish I could encase my tower in a hermetically sealed tank with a HEPA filter intake and chiller to keep everything pristine. But then I’d have to dust the outside! >.<

        The workspace looks very nice and cozy, lovely.

      • Aaliyah says:

        Seconding Willard. I definitely didn’t mean to sound like I was judging you – I was just surprised that those were all fingerprints because it honestly looked like dust to me. =P

      • Fat Steve says:

        Seconding Willard. I definitely didn’t mean to sound like I was judging you – I was just surprised that those were all fingerprints because it honestly looked like dust to me. =P

        I thought fingerprints were comprised of dust so perhaps we were talking at cross purposes.

    • Hrovitnir says:

      Haha, well as a massive slob I’m pretty impressed. Have you ever been to unfuckyourhabitat.tumbler.com? It’s pretty cool.

  12. Aaliyah says:

    Little bit of venting here.

    My older brother is going to see my mom and my older sister for about three weeks. I’d go with him if it weren’t for my job. I’m feeling blue about the fact that I can’t go because I really don’t want to wait until the end of the year to see my mom and my older sister again. I wish my visits weren’t just annual. But that’s how they’ve been mostly ever since I moved in with my father.

    I miss my mom dearly. I haven’t even called her recently. There isn’t anyone I enjoy talking to on the phone more than my mom; we talk about various topics, such as politics, food that we both like, the human psyche, our various shared pet peeves, cute things, and our lives in general. Some of those are weird topics for mother-daughter phone conversations, of course, but I never regret having long conversations with her. Hopefully I can get a hold of her tomorrow.

    My brother’s absence also means that I’m going to be at home with only my father, my step-mother, and my little sisters. I feel very anxious when my brother isn’t around because I feel safe and protected around him. I don’t want to be around my step-mother and my father without him around (\my little sisters don’t cause me any mental anguish when I’m around them – for obvious reasons). I won’t pressure my brother to not go, of course, as I know that he himself needs a break from this house, but I still wish he didn’t decide to go.

  13. BFing Sarah says:

    My oldest is graduating from preschool today and I know I’m going to cry. Partially because he’s growing up and partially because I’m worried about where he is going to school next year. :(

  14. Andie says:

    Ugh, so after an ugly little scene yesterday my mother have decided to agree to disagree not to talk politics. I may have called her a racist to her face. My parents are type that believe themselves to be quite liberal but still manage to say some problematic shit re: race.

    We got into a discussion re: this stupid video from the Sun which is probably the most vile publication in Canada. Think FOX news, with more poutine.

    Harassed by Islamic fashion police trigger warning, islamophobia.

    I’d seen her post this on her Facebook and as soon as it came up I knew I didn’t want to discuss it with her. So when it came up I and it appeared that the conversation I asked if we could drop it since I didn’t want to start an argument (since we had to go visit my grandmother, kids were there etc).. Well, she does this “okay we can drop it. if it’s going to make you so upset. But [insert further aggravating point that I want to rebut and ensuing horribleness and now I’m also mad because she HAD to bring up how over sensitive I am of course and auuuuugggghhhhhh]”

    I just wanted to vent. I like my parents. I want to keep liking them. But I can’t talk about race with them because I can’t handle their views (esp. Regarding Islam and First Nations people) and they usually try to trump me with “we worked in the city for 20years and saw first hand..” And “we’ve been around 30 years long and know more about how the world works” type crap.

    • moviemaedchen says:

      Ugh. I have similar experiences with my mother. And last time I tried to end an upsetting conversation like that with her by saying “I can’t talk about this anymore” I was accused of being an “unkind person” because there was some anger in my tone when I said it. *ragebabble*

  15. Roving Thundercloud says:

    Just finished competing the the Dragon Boat races in the Portland [Oregon] Rose Festival. This was my first shot at dragon boat paddling and I have to say, it’s extremely rewarding at multiple levels. If anyone here has been thinking about it, I can’t encourage you enough.

    Being an older fat chick who was a loner book geek in school, this was my first team sport and my first athletic competition of any kind. I haven’t finished processing that yet, but it was a great experience both in the meeting-an-awesome-community way, a challenging-yourself way, and a spending-time-in-an-awesome-natural-environment way.

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