Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Privilege

(I can't stop spelling it "Privelage". That's just what it looks like to me!!!)

Anyhoo, What You Should Do About Privilege.

Lovely resource, I would read it, and then read it again. And then once more, for good measure.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It stings.

I have seen the (pro-Obama, sexist AND racist) video featured recently on Feministe before, and just kind of chuckled at Obama dancing without really thinking about it. I can clearly see the ridiculousness of it (Obama as a classically stereotyped pimp, complete with purple felt; Hillary as an emotional bitch). But, as far as I had thought (which wasn't very far), it was just a catchy tune to some silly lyrics. I listened to the stuff all the time on the radio. I had hardly realized the extent to which the racism and sexism around me dulled my bias-radar.

Until this weekend.

To be very vague, one of my friends spent some time alone with male company she had met just that night. The rest of my friends, with whom I was present, spent hours afterwards (literally, hours) talking about how "loose" this girl was, how she was "definitely fucking him," how she was a "slut". It was difficult for me, in the presence of such comments from such close friends, to even say that I personally would give her the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps we should give her an easy way to leave his company and rejoin ours, in case he started making unwanted advances. But, according to people I had (until that point) respected, we shouldn't worry about protecting her "virtue," because she obviously didn't care about it herself. Of course, the guy shouldn't be blamed for anything that happened, because she was putting herself out there.

The loudest mouth in the room was another woman.

Next morning, turns out they watched a movie and then went to sleep, her on the couch and him in his bed. AND EVEN IF SHE HAD SLEPT WITH HIM, I kept wanting to scream at my coyly smirking associates, THAT DOESN'T MAKE HER WORTH LESS THAN YOU. And if she were to be raped, it wouldn't be "not as bad" because she's had sex with more people than you.

This kind of talk was probably commonplace among my friends. I just hadn't been paying attention to it, until now.

I made up my mind at that instant to 1) keep better company, and 2) be aware of how my own environment and comfort zone was blinding me to obvious bias.

And here it is, slapping me in the face again.

Thank you, Feministe, for helping me become a better person.

Outing and celebration!

This is my finals week, and since my last final is on Thursday, I figured on going out drinking Friday during the day. I facebook-invited all kinds of folks, and I'd be most glad if any 'Burgh Pharyngulites would like to come as well. I'll be at Hemingway's by 1 PM this Friday. If anyone else wants to show, let me know on here, and I'll include some identifying information (beyond my picture up there in the corner).

That is all. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Consciousness.

Free will at Pandagon.

A commenter:
... [T]he unconscious is really a bunch of interacting subsystems that may well be at odds with each other, but at some level they have to be come together to form a single choice, and our consciousness is the narrative that reconciles that choice with the inputs driving the subsystems.

I can dig it. What do you think?

Perspective

At least one good thing has come out of the controversy in the feminist-activism corner of the 'net.

I am learning a lot about privilege, where I stand, and how I can help.

In other news, fuck Pat Buchanan.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Conversion

I generally don't talk much about religion with religious people I know, and if I do I generally stay very far away from discussing why people have the religious beliefs they do. Just because it either turns into A) a conversion attempt or B) a stupid argument that does no one any good.

Even though I don't talk about it, I'm very interested in why religious people believe in the things that I do not, just because... well, a lot of people I know are intelligent, reasonable, and religious. I like to consider myself intelligent and reasonable, and frankly I am unconvinced by any religious arguments. What do they see that I don't? I could always be wrong. (It's happened plenty of times in the past.) I have had only one calm and honest conversation about exactly what my friend believed and why he believed it, and he basically had to say, "My family taught it to me, I feel like it should be true, and I don't really have anything better to tell you."

My response was something like, "Well, if that works for you, then cool." But it's not exactly what I was looking for, y'know?

So when I see things like this guy's conversion story (from atheism to Catholicism), my interest is piqued. Turns out, he was riding his bike home from work, and he was hit by a car.
Facing death, I found that I didn't really believe that if I had bee killed that my existence would have winked out of the universe. The soul is not just some metaphysical idea.
I know death sucks. I wish I could keep living until I choose to stop living. But that, unfortunately, does not make it so.

But here's the kicker. How can you know that the Catholic church's stance is What God Wants?
Instead of looking at an issue like contraception and wondering if what the Church taught were true, I had the attitude that I accepted this doctrine as true and that I needed to learn why it was true
This is not reasonable. This is no way to figure out if something is actually true or not. This is illogical. This is... madness.

(THIS. IS. SPARTA.)

If anyone has any more... reasonable? reasons to believe in something like a god, please let me know. Comments section wide open.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dangerous nonsense, indeed.

If you've been online sometime in the past month or so, you've probably heard about Chloe Marshall, the first plus-sized model (16 in English sizes, 12/14 in US, BMI floating just at the border of "normal" and "overweight", if those things matter to you) to be in the Miss England contest. If you've never seen Chloe, let me be the one to tell you: she's gorgeous. I mean that; she's just bangin', with an angelic smile and amazing long curves... well... check it out yourself.

Chloe has apparently said, "All I wanted to do by entering this pageant was to send a message out to young girls that it is fine NOT to be a size zero."

Peachy, right?

Some pretentious twat at the Daily Mail thinks "she's talking total rubbish."

There are many, many things wrong with the linked article, but I want to highlight just one:
"I refuse to starve myself to turn my body into something it was never meant to be," she said.
I don't doubt she is telling truth. But yet again she is exposing another myth - that you need to starve yourself to be a healthy weight, and that only junk food makes you fat.
Getting fat by eating good food is perfectly possible - if you eat too much of it.
Chloe claims she "crept up" to a size 16 after dieting to a size 12 on top and 14 on bottom. She's kidding herself.
Her weight didn't "creep on" magically - she ate too much food.
So basically, don't starve yourself, just eat less food.

Gah.

Hat tip to Shapely Prose (I am Kate Harding), who went over this in much more and better detail than I have time for.