I’m Not Posting Today

Because the only things I can think of to talk about are the fact that I made a Patreon and all the craptastic garbage fire of sexual assault exposes going on both in media and social media rn, and I’m not peppy enough for a sales pitch, and I’m way too ragey to write anything useful on the other.

Enough is enough. Be kind to people. Believe survivors. Everyone deserves respect. This is not complicated.

#EpicWorldFail.

Formation, Beyonce, and Some Lit-Crit-Lite ;)

Consider this context for next Friday’s post 😀 But also, I do just love the song and the video clip. There’s a lot going on here, and I’ve actually used this several times as a class resource – and if you’re feeling SUPER KEEN, since there’s a weekend coming up and all and you might find yourself with some FREE TIME (whoa no way what even is that?!), I’ve included the worksheet I use for classes below 😀 😀 hehe.

And… Formation Analysis Activities!

Why Artists MUST Be Paid

Writers deserve to be paid. Artists deserve to be paid.

The reason is this: If you don’t pay people to make art, only those who can afford to will make it. Only those who have sufficient income to allow them leisure time, time spent not actively pursuing ways to ensure the survival of their family, will make art. Which is fine, until you realise that it’s playing into the very trap we modernly denounce history for: it’s privileging privilege. The reason we don’t know a whole lot about the lower classes of a lot of historical societies, not first hand at any rate, is not because these people weren’t educated/literate and thus able to write down accounts of their lives. That’s part of it, sure, but written literature is only one of a handful of ways of learning about a people.

Art is another. And art, historically speaking, was almost exclusively made by those in a position privileged enough to allow them the time to make it. No, these artists were certainly not always upper class; but when they were not, they usually operated under some sort of patronage system. The rich may not have physically, mentally made the art, but they sure as heck paid for it and dictated what was to be made. There are good reasons why Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Richard III, and others are they way they are, and every one of those reasons is political. He was paid by the rich to entertain them; you don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, not if you want to keep having a face. (Ha ha).

So. This is why we must pay our artists, and pay them well enough to live: that people from all walks of life may make their art. All walks, not just the privileged.

And if you can’t see why that is important, well… Eh, that’s a whole other post.

Fact: Gender Stereotypes are Stupid.

Son is 3 years and a double handful of weeks old. He never stops moving, loves throwing balls, kicking balls, catching balls; driving cars, trucks, buses, trains; makes dinosaur noises and squeals like a pig; would live in a sandpit if he could convince adults this was remotely plausible; and his current favourite colour is pink. Pink castle stickers, pink pencils, pink counters when we attempt to play Connect 4.

Gender stereotypes are the stupidest things in the world.

Reading Young Adult

So I meant to post this like a month ago when it was a Hot Topic, but we all know I’m less than timely when it comes to blogging, so meh. Better late than never. With the context that a top news site released an article essentially degrading adult readers of Young Adult (YA) fiction, the internet exploded – especially Twitter, where a lot of authors hang out. Shannon Hale, a well-known YA author, had a particularly lucid analysis of the situation, which I storified below for ease of access. I especially like what she had to say about caring about the teenage mindset and caring for teens in general; as a high school teacher, it hopefully goes without saying that I value teens and believe in the importance of nurturing them, validating their experiences, and helping them to process the world around them through increasingly-adult lenses. I don’t love all YA books; I don’t love all the books in any genre. But I do read a heck of a lot of YA (about 50/50 with adult novels in any given year), and it’s not because I’m mentally deficient, or wish to return to my teen years (heavens no, I’m good, thanks).

Anyway. Shannon Hale on adults reading YA. Hurrah.

I Need Feminism Because…

Found this great project by Cambridge University today on Twitter, via a friend (I forget who, sorry). Basically, they had a bunch of personal-sized whiteboards and asked passers-by (presumably students in the main) why they needed feminism. The results are obvious, shocking, enlightening, and heart-breaking, and seriously, you should go have a look right now. Here’s the link.

At the end of the images is a tiny little link to the facebook page, whereon there are heaps more of the images – here, if you’re interested.

Seriously. You should go read them. They are highly awesome and not at all anti-men, I promise. Plenty of males participated willingly 🙂

But anyway, to close, here are my contributions, all more or less inspired by real live events (though not necessarily personally experienced).

I need feminism because my son should be allowed to wear pink, enjoy sparkly jewellery, and love headbands without anyone questioning his sexuality.
(He’s 16 months old, to clarify.)

I need feminism because someone’s housekeeping skills should not be relevant to their job unless they’re applying to be a housekeeper.
(And certainly not the most prominent part of a job-related ‘magazine’ interview!)

I need feminism because I’ve been on the internet.
(Read the comments on some of the Cambridge pics on facebook. ‘Nuff said.)

I need feminism because having hairy legs/underarms/bikini lines is not “unhygienic” o.O
(This one’s verbatim true. The terror.)

I need feminism because no one asks whether a man can ‘have it all’.
(Yes, totes stole that one from facebook, but !!)

And finally, I need feminism because no average-sized fifteen-year-old girl’s Most Major Life Goal should be ‘Lose 10 more centimetres’.
(Sob.)

 

Chime in, if you feel so inclined. Why do YOU need feminism? 🙂

ETA: A friend posted this on my facebook wall: a whole Tumblr of them.

 

(A real final one: I need feminism because I was afraid to show the campaign to my husband for fear of his reaction. Luckily, he once again proved that I got a good one ;))

Men Are Not Brainless Sheep (Shocking, I Know)

“Shocking? What? Why should this concept be shocking?” I hear you ask. To which I counter: why is it not? How is it not, when so many of the fundamental assumptions our society is based on are designed to tell men that they are wild, uncontrollable, savages to be tamed, creatures of undeniable violent instinct who, when confronted with a flash of skin, a hint of cleavage,  or – heaven forbid!! – butt or upper thigh, cannot help themselves; they MUST HAVE THAT FLESH NOW.

Yes, I’m talking about feminism. I’m talking about rape. I’m talking about ‘they deserved it’ mentality and slut-shaming and all those sorts of things, and you know what I’m saying? They’re disrespectful to men, too.

Dude, I KNOW that the primary victims of these patriarchal paradigms are women, but if we’re going to convince men that feminism – real feminism, not “femi-nazis”, not man-hating, not these things which are just as bad as patriarchy, only in reverse – no, real feminism – if we’re going to convince men that this is something they need to get on board with – and ladies, lest you think we can do it alone, never forget that while we make up about 50% of the population, so do men – we need, as a culture, to recognise why these ingrained narratives are damaging not just to women, but the whole of society.

Men are not brainless sheep. I have a husband who, shockly enough, is a man. While we don’t always see eye to eye on things, we have tremendous respect for each other and for each other’s opinions and individual lives. And my husband, whom I have been married to for seven years, whom I have been ‘with’ for over ten, whom I met and started dating at sixteen – sixteen! – has never, ever once touched me without my permission. Not once. Ever. Not before we were married; not after. Not when I was dressed in sweats, and not when I was dressed provocatively. Never. NOT. ONCE.

Please take a moment to absorb the implications of that.

My husband, you see, is not a brainless sheep. He is not a bundle of uncontrollable impulses, something that is triggered by the appearance of womanly flesh and cannot be reined in, denied, constrained. He has a mind, and willpower, and morals, and knowledge of right and wrong – and he understands – really, truly, deeply understands – that women – even beautiful, attractive, scantily-clad women – do not exist for his gratification.

Husband? I know you will never read this, but thank you. With all my heart, thank you.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for society. And I do mean society as a herd rather than individuals; I think most people in isolation are fundamentally decent (whether because I am an optimist or have a restricted circle of acquaintances, I leave to you :D). But the paradigm in which we’re operating is designed to bring out the worst in people. It’s a paradigm where someone can hit you in the face, and it can be your fault. It’s a paradigm that says humanity is foundationally brainless, that women are empty vessels and men are mindless urges.

This comes because I was reading Elizabeth Esther yesterday, and in a link-click-link spree, came across this:

Rick Warren came out and said that a battered woman was not allowed to leave or divorce her abusive husband. In the ensuing cries, he backpedaled and said a woman could leave her husband physically “in the heat of the moment,” (as if a man so crazed that he is beating his one-flesh partner whom he is supposed to honor and sacrifice his own life for would allow her to walk out on the beating) but must return when things have “cooled” and submit to his authority. At no time have I seen him following up with a statement, “Men, you cannot beat your wives for any reason. It is a sin and a crime.”

(Source).

I hope, if you’re reading my blog, you will find the above horrifying on many levels. Yes? Good. Actually, the source is a good article, discussing the recent phenomenon of prominent (male) Christian leaders going out of their way to emphasise the sexiness of their partner (wife), and how this is just wrong on so many levels (But it’s monogamous sexual objectification!! That’s practically Godly!). But the takeaway point for me was as above in that quote: while we are busy reminding young women not to ‘put themselves in risky situations’, society is doing very little by way of reminding young men that this kind of behaviour is not, actually, acceptible. We’re operating from the default position that men cannot control themselves and so it’s up to the women to remove all temptation, and if something goes wrong, well, we told you the boys couldn’t control themselves, what did you think was going to happen?

Men: our culture has been telling us for so long that you are the ones who deserve to be dominant because you’re smarter, stronger, faster, all the while pulling the rug out from under you, insidiously operating on the assumption that actually you’re just a bunch of dumb impulses. Society is lying to you, just like it’s lying to women. But now – now is your chance. Don’t buy into that crap. Of course you’re not a conglomeration of lusty, violent instinct; you’re an intelligent human being. I know. I married one of you. You can do this.