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Archive for July, 2007

away

I’m going on a little expedition this weekend to try to find a place to live in my new city, as well as hang out with some good friends! I leave tomorrow evening, and I can’t promise any internetting or moderating of comments will be taking place on this trip. SO, bearing that in mind, talk amongst yourselves, try not to have unmoderated blogwars, and I will look forward to reading your comments when I return.

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OK, so I need some help, and I’m turning to you, dear readers, for your opinions and guidance. I do my best to be pretty understanding of all kinds of people and their perspectives. But there is something that I really don’t have much tolerance for, and I think it’s kind of callous of me. I’d like to get past it, but I need some help to do that.

As many of you know, I have very little interest in children, and no desire to have children of my own. Combine that with the immense pressure on women to tie their social value to children, the expectation that women want to and will have children, and the fact that fertility treatments are highly invasive for women, and the end result is that I have hardly any patience or sympathy for people who have fertility problems.

I just don’t understand why it is so bloody important for people to have “their own” children, biologically. There are SO MANY children who need loving homes out there. Would these infertile people really love another child less than “their own”? If so, I just don’t think these are people who should be parents in the first place! It seems so very selfish to insist on invasive and expensive medical procedures to conceive when there are so many kids out there who grow up in orphanages and the like. I kind of think it’s narcissistic, that these people who are so bent on having “their own” children really want their children to be little extensions of themselves. There are lots of ways to parent – why place so much emphasis on having biological children?

This all came up because of an article in my local paper, about infertile couples who want our provincial health care system to pay for their fertility treatments. I near lost it! (The Canadian health care system, if you don’t know, is not a national program – each province has a standard of care that they provide, according to what the province deems to be medically necessary. Cosmetic surgery, for example, is not covered in my province, for the most part. Life-saving treatments are, for the most part.) Fertility treatments are not medically necessary – it is not a health concern to be infertile, you don’t die from it, it isn’t something that interferes with physical well-being. I agree that it can certainly interfere with emotional well-being – but the treatment for that, in my mind, is psychotherapy, not fertility treatments that may or may not be successful and will most certainly be expensive and invasive. Also, what if it doesn’t work and people keep on doing it over and over and over again until they are happy with their results?

So that’s my feeling on infertility. It bugs me that people are so close-minded and selfish and narcissistic that they think they can only love “their own” children. I mean, it REALLY bugs me. Also, the nature of fertility treatments really bugs me too, and of course the state of society that ties women’s value to their fertility and ability to produce (perfect) children. BUGS ME. And I can’t wrap my head around it enough to be able to be sympathetic.

And I think that is rather insensitive of me. but there it is. So I welcome your comments on how I can reconcile these concerns!

UPDATE: Wow, there have been so many responses to this post! Since I wrote this, several people have linked to it on their own sites, mostly sites for and by people who have fertility issues. First, from my comment on discovering this:

oh my goodness, thank you all so much for contributing here! I truly appreciate it, as I am most sincere in wanting to understand more about why people feel it is necessary to have biological children and subject themselves to difficult medical procedures in order to do so… I am so very pleased and grateful that you’ve all taken the time to come over and try to help me work through my questions and concerns. I appreciate all of your perspectives. Welcome!

As there have been so many new voices here who are not regular readers, I wanted to point newcomers directly to my comment policy, which is mandatory to read and adhere to for comment publication. One of the most important points is to read all the comments before commenting yourself, as many things raised in the post get worked out in the comments. Every post is a work in progress.

Even as every post is a work in progress and open to debate, this post is especially so. From one of my comments:

please don’t take this post to be anything resembling an ‘argument’. I simply gathered together my raw feelings about infertility and threw them together in a post in order to try to learn more and overcome my insensitivity. I’m not arguing anything – arguments are carefully reasoned, and what I wrote in my post is certainly not that, just a collection of thoughts that I’m not proud of, and an admission that I need help to gain better understanding.

From another comment by me:

once again, thanks to all those who have made thoughtful comments here, as well as those who have written their own posts in response to this one… I would like to say that this post has been just what I hoped it would be, a wonderful opportunity to reach out and engage with people who have been very generous and kind enough to help me become better informed, as well as to help soften my heart. As I said, being someone who is quite open-minded, my narrow thoughts on this topic were disturbing me quite a bit. My deepest thanks to all who opened up and helped me get to know some different perspectives.

to those with harsh words for me: did you miss the point of the post entirely? I recognize and acknowledge that my thoughts on infertility have been insensitive, and the whole purpose of writing this post was to try to break through that. I would also encourage you to read the comment policy here, and refrain from breaking rule number one, which is basically akin to peeing on the carpet at my house, as well as rule number four, which is to read all the comments, and also rule number seven, attack the argument not the person. I should remind you that calling me names and accusing me of not being a Real Feminist is not really going to help you make your case. It’s just going to get your ass banned.

I’m willing to take a little bit of abuse for holding ignorant and insensitive views, even when at the same time I am reaching out to gain better understanding of infertility, but I think I’ll draw the line here. So if anyone else has nasty things to say to me along with your criticism of the position I outlined in the post, don’t expect to get published – if you want your points to be heard, please follow the examples of so many of the commenters here and be respectful. I understand if you’re upset and angry by what I wrote in the post, I really do. but, if you want to have your say, be mindful of how you do it. OK?

That’s all – once again, thank you to all who have contributed in a constructive way and who have helped to open my mind and soften my heart about the issue of infertility – it’s EXACTLY WHY I WROTE THE POST IN THE FIRST PLACE. My deepest thanks, and best of luck to you all.

UPDATE 2: Some commenters suggested I write a post about how your comments have impacted me and my thoughts about infertility. So I did. Read it here: infertility and a changed heart.

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okay, who’s ready to talk about it? I AM! I AM!

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today is my 31st birthday!

I love birthdays. My birthday is my favourite day of the year. It’s like your own personal, special holiday!

This past year has been something of a whirlwind – I can hardly believe how fast it has flown by. This will be a year of big and positive changes for me, including a move to a new city and the start of a new degree, and in all likelihood the start of some new friendships. I’m looking forward to all of these changes with excitement! I have a feeling this year will be very auspicious!

So, if you happen to be out on the town this evening, or just sitting home, have a swig of something for me! (I’ll be having champagne!)

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wizard love

well, I went to see the new Harry Potter movie last night. I totally loved it, as usual, and of course thought it should have been much longer and that they left out all kinds of good stuff. It’s getting much darker, and more serious. I think the actors and directors and JK Rowling of course have done a great job with depicting how complex the characters have become. The relationships are very good, I think.

so, what’s this I hear about folks complaining that Hermione isn’t strong enough or feminist enough? people, come ON. She is the smartest of them all, and completely brave and unwavering in her loyalty to what she believes in. She is an excellent witch, and while it’s true she is the emotional centre of stability and quite often the caretaker, well, what isn’t feminist about THAT? I also want to point out that Ginny Weasley is one hell of a powerful young witch – perhaps the next powerful to Harry! so a lack of strong female characters is certainly not absent from the HP series.

The last book comes out this Saturday, which happens to be my birthday. It will be delivered to my door, and I will very happily be spending that weekend reading it as quickly as possible. I have a strong theory about what will happen. I am fairly certain that I know how things will end up. I can’t wait to see if I’m right. I kind of hate that I can’t help but to try to figure things out, that I can’t just sit and go with the flow and enjoy what the story brings. I do it with everything, pretty much. But, when I’m right, it’s so satisfying!

Until then I’ll be re-reading book 6, just to make sure I’m up to speed. It has been two years, after all.

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I’ve been blogging for 2 years now.

time flies when you’re having fun!

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by Thinking Girl

As you know, I’ve been getting some anti-feminist trolls around these parts. It’s been going on for some time now. First, it started as challenges to the ideas I presented in posts, mainly from men who believed in some sort of biological essentialism and felt that differences between men and women were enough to justify widespread social oppression against half the population, or from men who believe that men are oppressed by patriarchy and women are in fact privileged by femininity, or from men who are anti-choice and want to force women to continue and complete pregnancies that they do not want.

Then, I wrote about PUAs. and the heavy trolling really began. I can’t even pick out all the examples of men wanting a male perspective to be put forward, because there’s not enough of THAT enshrined in cultural discourse, from men telling women and especially feminists what to do to land a man/end women’s oppression/forget about their troubles, from men demanding to be spoonfed feminist theory, from men who think it’s really women who have the upper hand and don’t believe in women’s oppression, from men who have called me and other feminists stupid for putting forth ideas they just don’t comprehend, and so on and so on. I responded a bit to these general comments here, here, here and here.

Then came the really really bad stuff. It’s nice that the death threats against all feminists have stopped coming.

Now we’re back to the “you’re not really oppressed, you have no idea what oppression really is, you hateful feminist bitch.” And another one from the comment moderation pile that is just waiting for a lancing from me.

My blog buddy Geo wrote to me about these trolls. Geo is one of the nicest friends I’ve met on the internets. He is very compassionate, and very very wise. He is concerned that this is getting to me, and that my energies are being diverted away from A) my work and B) my well-being. I don’t disagree. He’s also concerned that responding to trolls in anger only A) adds fuel to their fire by letting them see that they’ve pissed me off, and B) alienates potential allies. I don’t disagree with that, either. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since Geo wrote to me, and here’s what I came up with.

I think the thing with trolls is that they want to get your attention, they want to make you upset, and they want to control you in some way. However, what they don’t realize is that they betray themselves in their comments. They betray just how threatened they are by what is going on with feminist work, how their paranoia plays out in a defense of their privilege and power. These guys are freaked out, scared by the shifting cultural discourse of rights for marginalized peoples. This scares them because they experience the world as basically satisfactory. They don’t really want the social order to change. They want to maintain their power structures that keep them on top, while simultaneously covering them up in libertarian rhetoric.

And so, I think it is a very good thing to expose this weakness, this fundamental weakness in the minds and hearts and ultimately in the power of these guys who troll around feminist sites leaving hateful comments – by the way, you don’t see me doing that with MRA , PUA, white supremacist sites. I also think that this doing this, exposing the weakness and hatefulness might be helpful in showing potential allies how far these people are willing to take things, and just what kind of shit we’re up against. I don’t plan on doing this a lot, but I think it might be helpful and instructive to every now and then publish one of these hateful comments, and point out its weaknesses, to build solidarity with those who are supportive of true equality. So, while I absolutely want to create a safe space here for women, feminists, feminist allies, and myself, I also do want to let folks see exactly what kind of hateful bullshit is being directed at women. By exposing this, I hope to shine a light on just how threatened these misogynists are by what we are doing, and that in itself is a positive thing.

So, in that spirit, here’s the latest bilious venom being thrown my way:

You are an idiot | IP: 124.168.75.222

You will get to 30, and realize that you “want” children, but no man will have you because of your man hating attitude, you will either have to defraud them by tricking them into getting you pregnant, (which isn’t punished as it should be because of screaming feminists like you) But you’ll claim, it’s “your” baby and it’s “your” right to have one. Or you could take the right road now, denounce the parasitic entity on our society that is feminism, and have a remote possibility of a family. Or you could get some cats.

The crazy old cat lady.

Remember, Men are not the enemy, feminist leaders are. Don’t worry, the Mens movement is getting stronger by the day, thanks to the same freedom which allows you to post this uninformed drivel, allows us to build our network.

One day you will see a million Man march, burning wallets as a symbol of the oppression Men suffer at the hands of ever demanding Women. We will demand Male birth control pills, after all it’s OUR body. We don’t have a choice to NOT become a father, yet Women at any time, even two weeks after birth can choose not to be a Mother. We want that freedom, and we will fight for it.

You keep going on doing what you’ve been doing, adding more heat to the pressure cooker of Mens rights, and when the time is right, BOOM, it will be unleashed with a fury that will make the feminist movement seem insignificant.

Dear idiot,

you’re pretty funny! boy, did that give me a chuckle.

Actually, I’m almost 31, and guess what? that ol’ biological clock STILL hasn’t kicked in. Maybe mine is broken? or maybe it’s just a social construct based on patriarchal power structures the goal of which is to oppress women to assume and enforce the idea that all women want to bear children and exist within the narrow frame of the traditional patriarchal family unit.

If no man will have me because I hate them so much, then how will I successfully trick a man into impregnating me? Ah yes, right, because women are all manipulative lying seductresses and men are ultimately uncontrollable sexual animals under women’s spell and powerless to resist their feminine wiles!

As for men not being the enemy – well, sometimes this is true! I’m happy to report that many many feminist allies are men! Men lend a unique and important voice to feminism, and I’m so glad that so many men are willing to embrace the idea of equality for all, regardless of sex and gender! Hooray for pro-feminist men!

Now, here’s the funny thing: feminist leaders are the enemy! that is hilarious! you’ve got some sense of humor, idiot. Feminist leaders have done so much for women, and continue to do so. And of course, you know this. Feminist leaders are YOUR enemy, certainly, because they have questioned your unearned privilege as a man, they have challenged existing power structures that have allowed for your success and control of society, and they have shown that the arrangement by which you gain your privilege is unfair and unjust. you, as a man, experience the world as a pretty good place, considering that pretty much every social institution caters to you and enshrines your ideas, issues, and concerns in its discourses, places you at the centre of everything, and instills privilege and power over half the human population. Of course any counter-discourse that questions and challenges this social order would be a perceived threat to you! You poor little thing – your power matrix is slipping!

so of course, the only answer is to go on the offensive. No wonder I see you here at my blog. It’s all so predictable. Sad, really. But, also, very good, because I’m sure that predictability will come in quite handy to us raging feminists. 😉

ah yes, building the Men’s Rights network. Guess what? we’re kinda doing the same thing.

oh suffer the menz, the oppression they face at the hands of women! pity! shame! It’s so funny to me that this battle cry is the central tenet of MRAs, considering how ridiculous it is to think that women, the oppressed sex class, actually has enough social power to oppress men right back! There is no such thing as reverse sexism – how could an oppressed class actually have enough social power to create vast wide-reaching social structures to oppress their oppressors? The menz as put-upon and oppressed simply doesn’t work, logically. but I’m sure that’s exactly how it must feel to you, as a threatened patriarch. sorry I don’t have much sympathy for that.

Besides, feminists don’t want to reverse the social order to make it a matriarchy. We just want our rights to be substantive and inalienable and equal and respected.

But, there is one thing you say that really REALLY cracks me up – male birth control! don’t you know how easy it is not to get a woman pregnant? it’s called abstinence, and it goes both ways my friend! Also, there’s this device that has been around for a really long time, perhaps you’ve heard of it – the condom?

Ah, but I jest. no seriously, I would love to see a male birth control pill or implant come onto the market. I think men absolutely should be asking for it! It would take the responsibility off of women to prevent pregnancy and put it on men in a more equal way. But it’s funny, the drug companies have historically focused on women’s birth control because the men who controlled them thought women should be responsible for preventing pregnancy, and that men wouldn’t actually use birth control if it were available to them. And, based on how many men I know who do everything they can to avoid using condoms, I think they might have a point.

But, it’s good to know that what I’m doing here is making a difference. Thanks for letting me know how valuable my work here is in identifying patriarchy as a primary source of gender oppression and ways we can all work to dismantle it and bring about a more just society. I know it must be hard for you and your little friends to accept that women are people too, after so many centuries of treating us like shit on your shoe. But, like I say, something we feminists are doing is working, since we’ve got you scared shitless.

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