Monday, January 29, 2018

Angry then Saw an Article that Made Me Even More Angry

My iPhone gifted me with a Vox article this afternoon.  A woman has a $12,000 ER bill. Her insurance won't pay.  Why? The diagnosis was deemed not an emergency. She went to the ER worried that she had appendicitis. It turns out she had Ovarian cysts.

I'm furious.

It adds fire to the fury I was feeling this morning, because for some reason (I can't remember why) I started thinking about women and heart attacks.  Maybe there was an article in my Google News. But now I can't find anything, so I'm not sure.

Anyway, women are more likely to die of heart attacks than men. 

Wait!  I found the article.  It was in the Sydney Morning Herald.  The main subject of the article is that women are more likely to have heart attacks due to stress and depression than men.  But yeah. Isn't it usually the men we worry about when something stressful happens?  Do we not worry more about our grandfathers's hearts than our grandmother's hearts when things are intense? Our father's hearts more than our mothers? Do husbands worry about their wives' hearts as much as wives worry about their husbands heart?  

Reading the article this morning made me nervous, because in the past year or so I've had episodes of very painful chest pain.  It was pain that radiated to my jaw, neck, and back.  The first few times I kept it a secret. Why? Because I have issues. I'm afraid to tell people I'm having medical problems, because I've been so often dismissed.

One time the pain lasted for over an hour and antacids weren't helping.  I finally texted my husband. We considered going to the doctor. Then it was decided that we'd text a doctor that we know personally. He said something along the lines if I didn't have shortness of breath, I probably didn't need to go to the ER.  I'm wondering if he'd say the same thing if I was a man. 

Even though this person is supposed to have a strong relationship with us, he never checked back to see how I was doing. I'm still angry about that, especially since we've done favors for his family. As a a doctor, the decent thing to do would be to check back to see if I'm okay. As a friend, the decent thing would be to check back to see if I'm okay.  He's both a doctor and a friend, and yet neither of those things compelled him to act decently.  

I imagine someone reading this is thinking, Well, get over it. You obviously are alive, so you're heart must be fine.

Well, hopefully if someone is thinking this, they are right. BUT it's not necessary so.  I've learned that  people can survive so-called silent heart attacks without medical care, but damage is done to their heart.  Eventually, the damage might end up killing them.

When I had my annual physical a few months later, I told my doctor about my chest pain. She didn't look at me with concern.  She looked...amused.  Her facial expression seemed to say, Well, aren't you a darling little hypochondriac.  I think I asked her if heartburn can cause radiating pain throughout the body. She said yes. And she's right. From what I read, it can.  But that doesn't mean it couldn't also be a heart issue.

Would she have dropped the subject so fast if I was a man, or would she have ordered tests? Might she have referred me to a cardiologist? 

For those interested in learning more about how women are treated differently than men when it comes to heart disease, here's an article about it.  

To me, it's depressing and infuriating.  It's not just discrimination. It's deadly discrimination.  

So...today I was thinking about heart problems. I worried. I got angry. I thought about how I'll probably end up dying (at whatever age) because I don't have the guts to speak up for myself and demand medical care.

Because of a change in insurance, we're getting a new primary care physician.  We have to get referrals for all specialists. I considered asking the doctor about going to a cardiologist and wondered if I'd get another dismissive response.  Will he look at me amused? If I tell my family, will they make me feel like I'm overreacting, because it's my husband's heart they'd worry about and not mine?  Will they show the same lack of concern that many of them showed for my eating disorder, gynecological problems, and neurological symptoms? 

If the doctor and my family all seemed to think my heart concerns were ridiculous, would I have the guts to fight for myself?  I don't know.  I kind of doubt it. And then I imagine getting some tests, and the tests come out negative.  Can I handle the shame of knowing/imagining that I'm being labeled a hypochondriac.  

If I was a strong person, of course I could handle it.  But I AM not strong...especially when it comes to self-medical advocacy.  

Anyway, I'm thinking all this today and then see the article about the fucked up insurance issue.  So what if once again, I end up having one of the many female symptoms of a heart attack.  Even if I could manage to be brave enough to speak up; even if I could manage to deal with dismissive attitudes from the people in my life; even if I could manage dealing with dismissive attitudes from doctors....

Well, I also have to face the fear of paying thousands of dollars if I guess wrong.  If it ends up that my heart attack was just indigestion, my family might be losing thousands of dollars.  Because apparently some insurance companies want you to self-diagnose ourselves before going to the ER.  

How many times have I seen PSA's saying that if you have certain symptoms, don't delay. Go to the ER immediately.  It's fucking bullshit.  Well....those people who write the PSA's probably do actually care. They probably do want us to get help.  But as for the sexist doctors and insurance companies?  I don't think they really give a fuck.  Or maybe the doctors care, but they're just horribly ignorant. Their ignorance is dangerous. Their sexism is dangerous.  

I feel my life is completely dependent on having good-health luck, because if my luck runs out, I have strong doubts that any doctor is going to save me.   

I am so sick of it all.  

To those who say things like, Stop Using Dr. Google....well, fuck them. Dr. Google is pretty much all we can depend on these days.  It's just too bad he can't prescribe medicine or perform surgery if we should need it.  







Edited to add: Mistake in my post.  I now remember that I didn't ask the doctor if heartburn pain could radiate through other parts of the body. I asked if you can have heartburn without eating, because when the episodes happened to me, they were in the morning before I ate anything.  

Anyway, yeah you can have heartburn in the morning. But still. From what I've heard, some women have heart attacks that feel like heartburn or indigestion, so I shouldn't be made to feel like a hypochondriac for worrying about my heart.  And if we lived in a more supportive and more affordable world, I could have gotten things checked out...in case I am one of those women whose indigestion was something much more sinister.  

Sunday, January 28, 2018

More Thoughts About Being Mild

Last night I started feeling anxious about my previous post.

First of all, the title is one of the worst I've created.

Second, I worried what people would hate me for my whines about being mild. Well, because I'm insecure like that.  I want to be one of those people who don't give a crap what people think.  I TRY to be that person, but my attempts rarely result in a success.  

Third, I worried the universe would hate me and punish me by taking away my mild problems and giving me severe ones instead. Although the universe is cruel. It would probably have me keep my mild problems; then add on some moderate and severe ones as well.  

I don't want severe problems.  Some I might not mind so much. Others scare me shitless. Like after writing the post, I read about the family who lost their child to flesh-eating bacteria.  It's so sad and scary. I definitely don't want to ever have to endure what that family is enduring.  

But anyway....

I think what I do want, for both me and other people, is the ability to talk about mild and moderate problems without feeling we're stealing the limelight away from those with severe problems.  

I want people to be able to complain about a power outage at Disneyland without being scolded and reminded that people in Puerto Rico haven't had power in months.  Now, of course, if the Disney complainers are rude and obnoxious about it, they should be scolded and reminded. But if they're just complaining about their bad day, let them.  Yes, there are those who have it much worse.  There are also people who have it much better—people who go to Disneyland when it's less crowded; it's less hot; and most of the rides are working.  

We're going to Disney World very soon.  If one of us gets sick during our vacation, I shall be unhappy about that.  Even if it's a small cold, I'll be a bit bummed.  That doesn't mean I think our problems our equal to the family who lost their son to flesh-eating bacteria.  It doesn't mean I don't care about those who are less fortunate than us. It doesn't mean I don't understand that things could be a lot worse for us. The thing is, I can feel annoyance, snottiness, gratitude, sympathy, and disappointment all at the same time.  It's called multitasking.  

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Thinking About Enough

After writing my last post, I did some thinking, and more thinking, and then even more thinking.

I want to say things, but I'm not sure what.

I think what I have is a problem with putting things in perspective. I think it's a self-esteem issue.

I'm not sure if my problem is super common or just common.

I'm not sure if I was simply born this way, or if I could lay most of the blame on my parents...sisters? Teachers? Classmates. A bad dream?

I too often think that I'm not enough.

I'm not thin enough, but I'm not fat enough to have a right to complain about my weight.

My eating disorder wasn't serious enough. Was it even an eating disorder?

I have a neurological problem maybe, but is it too small to matter? Am I being silly by talking about it?

Were all the traumas of my childhood too small to matter?

Am I talented enough?  If people are more talented than me, does that mean I'm not talented?

No, of course not.  But I feel that way sometimes.  I see someone better than me, and sometimes that makes me feel I'm not good at all.

I look on Instagram and feel my food is not good enough. I haven't traveled enough. I'm not muscular enough. I'm not popular enough.  I haven't overcome enough.

You know what.  Holy Shit.  I just realized something awesome.

I AM enough when it comes to something.  I think I'm on the top of the scale.

I'm on the highest level when it comes to self-esteem issues.

Okay. Maybe I'm not on the highest level.  But I'd put myself in at least the 80% percentile.

I'm wonderfully insecure.  I'm often anxious and wondering if I'm a super good person, an okay person, or a horrible person.

I love myself, but the love is weak and volatile.  One day I'm thinking I'm awesome and another day I'm feeling worthless.

I feel like I've just diagnosed myself with a borderline personality disorder.

Well...just went and read the symptoms.  If I got diagnosed and went to a support group, it would be yet another thing where I feel I don't measure up.  There would be someone in the group who has a much more dramatic case, and I'd be thinking, do I really have a borderline personality disorder? Do I have a right to be here?  I'd end up feeling inadequate for not cutting myself and not attempting suicide.

You know...maybe I'll just use mild as the keyword of my life.  I might have a mild borderline personality disorder. I'm mildly overweight. I once had a mild eating disorder. I had mild traumas in my childhood. I have mild singing talent. Though I think there are random moments where my singing talent is way above mild.  But that COULD just be a delusion. And that's another thing.  I have mild delusions. I have mild hallucinations.  I might be having mild seizures. I am mildly talented at writing.  I have mild relationship problems. I'm mildly depressed. I'm mildly deformed. I'm a mild fan of a bunch of TV shows—I wouldn't measure up to many other people in the fandom. My blog is a mild failure.  I'm mildly unpopular on social media.  I have mild migraines....

I AM mild.

I need to learn to embrace that. 







It Could Always Be Worse. Yeah. Whatever

Recently I was talking to someone who's having a difficult time in life.

The person said something along the lines of, It could always be worse.

I wondered. Does saying or thinking that make the person feel better about things?

It usually doesn't make me feel better.  In fact, I think it makes me feel worse.

The first thing is my selfishness and competitiveness.  If I'm having a pity party, I certainly don't want someone else's worse story raining on my parade. Fuck that.

The second thing is, if I think of worse things, I'm likely going to become terrified.

Let's say I'm worried that someone in my family has come down with the stomach flu. That's a major cause for a pity party for me, because I have a vomit phobia.  Being reminded that other families have to deal with worse things...like cancer isn't helpful, because then I might start thinking, shit! We could get cancer one day.

All that being said, I understand people complaining about their lives and then saying things like, It could be worse. It's kind of polite and decent.  It lets other people know that you have perspective.  Then again, I probably find it more tolerable when the person has problems I see as...small.  For example, they broke their toe.  If they whined on and on about that and didn't ever give a, It could be worse, then I might think they have a sense of entitlement when it comes to the universe.

It's fine too if people say it with bigger problems...as long as they're not feeling guilty about having some self-pity.  I feel sometimes we get this idea that unless our problems are the worst of the worst, we have no right to complain. But there is almost always going to be someone who has it worse than us.

What gets to me much more than people comparing tragedies to put their own lives in perspective is when people do it to others.  When I see it done online, I pretty much hate the person immediately.

I saw it with the Asiz Ansari drama. There were people who complained that Grace's story was a slap in the face to people who had been raped.  How can she complain about a bad date when other people have had it so much worse?  For example, someone might have been harrassed every day at work. Someone might have lost their job because of a predator. Someone might have been raped by the coworker they once had a crush on.  Okay. But then do those people have a right to complain?  Might their dramas be a slap in the face to women who have been kidnapped; then violently raped, stabbed, mutilated, etc.

Oh and some people bitched about Grace, because how dare her story take away from the story of Larry Nasser's victims.  But then if we're going to go there, couldn't we dismiss the Nasser and  stories by saying their ordeal wasn't as bad as what the Turpin children experienced?  I mean being touched by a doctor is bad, but how about living your whole childhood in chains, not being able to take showers, being starved to death, etc.

Whether someone's problem is big, bigger, or biggest, they have a right to feel sorry for themselves; they have a right to want sympathy for others; they have a right to speak out about what has happened to them.

Now, as I've said in an earlier post, I'm not in line with Minnie Driver's and Alyssa Milano's idea that all problems are equal and shouldn't be compared.  There IS a difference between an old man giving someone a quick pat on the butt as they get a photo taken together and someone tying up a woman, raping her, and then attempting to murder her.  There's a difference between what Harvey Weinstein did and what Al Franken did.  There's a difference between stage one breast cancer and stage four pancreatic cancer.  There's a difference between having a child who's missing a hand and having a child who is severely mentally and physically disabled.

I'm having fun coming up with examples here. Should I keep on going?

No. I probably shouldn't.

Instead I'll say that putting problems into perspective shouldn't be about denying people sympathy or trying to get them to shut up all together.  The only reason we need to have distinguished levels is for treatment and punishment.

A broken foot is going to need much different treatment than a traumatic brain injury.

Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nasser need to be in prison. Al Franken should have probably not resigned. Aziz Ansari has endured a huge amount of public humiliation, and personally, I feel that was more than enough punishment for what he did.

But for all the women hurt by these men, it is not up to me or anyone to judge how much they should be hurting.

For anyone who feels their high-level problems gives them the right to be dismissive and bitchy about other people's smaller problems?  Well, I hope they realize that they too need to put their problems in perspective. I hope Karma comes at them in the form of a dismissive, bitchy person who has even worse problems.  (Well, and I guess karma would then have to come for that third person as well.  It could keep going to infinity.....)

For all of us in that special, elite club of having problems, I hope we use putting-things-in-perspective only when it truly does make us feel better, or we're trying to be polite.  I feel too often, though, that we use it to appease the judgmental people who've burrowed in our heads—the ones who've used shame and manipulation to make us feel we're not important enough, and that our problems are too small to matter.

And every time we try to put things in perspective by reminding ourselves that it could be worse, I think, on balance, we should remind ourselves that it could be better. Yes. Not getting the necklace you want for Christmas is a much smaller problem than not having enough money to feed your children. But you're much less fortunate than the family who has a mansion with an indoor swimming pool and travels the world on a private jet.  But hey....even THAT family has their problems, and even they have a right to cry. 






Edited to add: This post was probably, more than anything else, a lecture to myself.  Because I too often let guilt seep into my pity parties.  So I think I'm actually going to try to do what I said above. Every time I think about how it could be worse, I'm going to force myself to also think about how it could be better. I guess it could also work the other way.  Every time we're feeling envious of people who have it better, we should remind ourselves of those who have it worse than us. For example. I'm often envious of people who travel more than I do, so I should always remind myself of those who don't get to travel at all.  I'm also envious of people who've had success with their writing. Unfortunately, there are not many people who have it worse than me.  I'm pretty much at the bottom there.  I mean I'm not ALONE at the bottom, but I am at the bottom.

 Also, I do sometimes judge people for complaining too much about their lives. Hopefully, I usually do this secretly.  But anyway....when I find myself being intolerant of someone's self-pity and want to shout out them, don't you know other people have it worse!!! I'll remind myself that there are also people who have it better and easier.  

Monday, January 22, 2018

Power Imbalance Can Exist Outside the Workplace

In her bitchy tirade against Grace on CNN, Ashleigh Banfield says:

By your description, your sexual encounter was unpleasant. It did not send you to the police. It did not affect your workplace or your ability to get a job. So I have to ask you what exactly was your beef that you had a bad date with Aziz Ansari....If you were sexually harassed in your bad date because his actions mitigated your ability to do your job, you should definitely speak up and loud, because that happened to me too and it stinks. 

In her editorial in the Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan writes: Was Grace frozen, terrified, stuck? No. She tells us that she wanted something from Ansari and that she was trying to figure out how to get it. She wanted affection, kindness, attention. Perhaps she hoped to maybe even become the famous man’s girlfriend. 

The idea I get is that these two successful women see Grace as a pathetic loser whose main interest in life is getting attention from a man, and only because he's a celebrity.

The idea is that Grace's career wasn't threatened, so she had no right to complain. I feel people can complain, even if their situation doesn't involve violence, and even if their career isn't threatened. So I've been on Grace's side.

But yesterday I suddenly thought about something.

Who are we to say that Grace's career and/or aspirations weren't threatened?

According to the Babe article she's a young photographer.  She initially met Ansari at a 2017 Emmy Awards after party.  WHY was she there?  Was she a fangirl hoping to mingle with celebrities?  Maybe. But she could have been there for career reasons as well. She could have been networking.

Now I don't think it would have been okay for Grace to pursue Ansari just for the sake of networking. Then she'd just be using him, and I don't like users.  But she could have been interested in him in a crush-way, and at the same time, hope that good-career things might result from their interactions.

Network is a huge part of many careers. I think it might be true for many careers, but I think it's especially true for any artistic careers—writers, actors, painters, photographers, musicians, etc.  I know this, because I'm a failed writer.  I don't think my writing is incredibly awful.  I think the main reason I failed is because I suck at networking. 

But...anyway.

I think the things that happen to artists at celebrity parties and celebrity dates DO matter to their careers. 

We can feel sorry for the damage that might have been done to Ansari's career, but how about the potential damage to Grace's career, or the fear she had for her career? Grace's inability to give Ansari a direct, forceful no was probably partly due to fear of losing his affection.  But she might have also feared backlash career-wise. What if he talked about her to his friends?  What if she gained a reputation as being difficult...moody...a prude...a-waste-of-time? Now I'm doubting any of these fears were thought about consciously.  I think it was probably all more subconscious.  I think, though, that it influenced her reactions in the situation. 

What if there were no career issues in the situation?  Would it not matter then?

Well, I think it still matters.

I wouldn't go as far to say it should be illegal. But I do think it's immoral to use any type of imbalance of power to take advantage of someone.

Power imbalances can come in a variety of forms: boss-employee, teacher-student, physically strong person-weak person, wealthy person-financially struggling person, high status person-lower status person, and....

Sometimes it's just one person having more affection and/or interest than the other person. 

Ansari definitely had more power than Grace, and he tried to take advantage of that. Ultimately he kind of failed. At least he wasn't able to obtain his ultimate goal for the evening. I think that's pretty awesome. 

Imbalances in power are part of life. There's no way around them. I think we just have to make sure we don't take advantage of it.  Using people is distasteful, but it's even worse when we have power over the other person. 

Now where I'd be on Ansari's side is if Grace had been a happy, willing camper throughout the evening. Let's say there was no hesitations. There was no moving her hand away from his penis. There was no asking to slow things down. Let's say she had been a happy, horny participant; then later came back and said he used his power to take advantage of her.  Then I'd be saying, Fuck you, Grace. We CAN be blamed for using our power to try to take advantage of someone. We can't be blamed if ALL verbal and nonverbal cues indicate the other person is having a grand time too. 

But that's not the story of Grace and Aziz Ansari.  Their story is about a successful celebrity who had power over a young (probably-aspiring) photographer.  He wanted a one night stand. She wanted something more and different.  They battled. She lost a bit, but I think Ansari lost more.  And I'm very glad that he was the one to lose more.  

The Tall Dude From True Blood and Eleanor

Last night I read an article in Teen Vogue.  It was about Alexander Skarsgard winning a SAG award for his work in Big Little Lies.  People are upset because he didn't mention domestic violence victims in his acceptance speech. Since his character was an abuser, people thought he should talk about that.

I don't think I want to live in a world where people are pressured to speak out about things.

One of my pet peeves is when people say celebrities should keep their mouths shut—stay out of politics and keep their social justice causes to themselves. They should just stick to acting.  But I don't think we need to go in the opposite direction and pressure actors to say something.

One thing is, if we put so much pressure on actors to speak out on our favorite causes, then how will we possibly know when they're being genuine?

I don't know why Skarsgard didn't mention domestic violence. Does it mean he doesn't care about it? Maybe? But if he did speak out about it, does that guarantee that he cares? No. He could be lying. And he's an actor. Actors are quite skilled at lying.

I watched Skarsgard's speech this morning.  It was short and awkward. Skarsgard seemed shy to me. It seemed like he wanted to get off that stage as soon as possible.  I think if he had made a long speech, blabbing on and on; then maybe it would have felt more wrong that he had not talked about domestic violence.  Again, though, I don't think he should be obligated to mention it.

I kind of think most people are actually against it.  I think even the perpetrators are against it. They do it, and feel guilty.  Or they deny they do it by blaming their victim. Or they minimize their crimes by comparing it to people who've done worse.  I doubt there are many people who are like, Yay! Domestic Violence. It's awesome! More people should do it!

The other thing, though, is that on previous occasions, Skarsgard HAS spoken in depth about domestic violence. Teen Vogue was kind enough to provide a link to that.  He says various things including:

It's very important. It's obviously a huge problem in our society. It's stigmatized. [Wives] are protective of their husbands and in certain cases they blame themselves and say, "It takes two to tango. I'm partly responsible for this." They don't really see themselves as victims sometimes. It's not until you talk to someone outside that you can get an outside perspective and you realize then, "This is an abusive relationship that I shouldn't be in." 

Granted he was asked questions in the interview about domestic violence. We could say he was forced to talk about it. But I think his answers were thoughtful and insightful. It's not like he tried to change the subject.

Personally, I think Skarsgard does care about domestic violence. I think he was just not in the mood to mention it during the awards. I'm fine with that. 

Another thing I saw recently involved Kristen Bell.  She made me like her less by taking the opposite side of me in the Aziz Ansari drama.  She Tweeted a link to an editorial in The Atlantic that's in the Aziz-Ansari-is-the-victim camp.  I read this editorial and hated it. I don't like that Kristen Bell has taken that side. It disappoints me. But she has every right to believe differently than me, and she has every right to Tweet out links to things I don't like. 

Many people Tweeted a response to Bell's Tweet.  Some agreed with her and praised her. Some disagreed and argued with her.  I think that's all fine.  But one woman Tweeted, This is a poorly written and irresponsible article. You are increasing many women's pain, including my own. Please delete this Retweet. 

No. I'm not okay with that. 

If you don't like what someone says, ignore them, stop liking them, stop watching their show, argue with them, write a blog post about them, don't personally provide them with a platform, don't vote for them, make a dartboard with their photo on it....

But to me, there's something chilling about telling someone to stay quiet...maybe even more so when it's done politely.

And I dread living in a world where people say what we want them to say only because we've pressured them to say it. 

If we're allowed to speak and link freely, than we can have a better chance of truly knowing who's on our side and who should be added to our shit list.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

No No No No No

I think we push hard for people to learn to say no. I think that's fine, but I also think we need to push people to learn how to accept no's.

I got stressed and annoyed with certain people this summer who invited me multiple times to do something.

One invitation is lovely. It's nice. It would actually have been hurtful if I hadn't been invited. I would have probably felt rejected and left out. So yeah. Thanks for trying to include me. But the second invitation is annoying, and the ones after that are even more annoying. And they stress me out.

So when it comes to inviting, asking for favors, trying to sell something, trying to have sex, etc.

Ask once.

Accept the answer.

Don't beg.

Don't make promises.

Don't use guilt trips.

Don't debate.

Don't force the person to come up with excuses.  If they had a reason they wanted to share, they would have done so.

If you think their reason for saying no only applies to this time and this situation, by all means ask again in the future. If someone declines your offer of dessert because they're super full from dinner, it's totally cool to offer them dessert the next time you eat together.  But if someone declines sharing nachos with you at dinner because they hate cheese, don't ask them again on the next date.  Understand that some no's are just for the moment and other no's apply to forever...or at least a very long time.

The other thing is, if the conversation is happening via text, please make sure not to pout or look like you're pouting. 

Sometimes I'll say no to someone and they text something back like, fine or okay. If they usually text without emojis and/or explanation marks, it's not so bad.  If they do usually text in a cheerful way, it looks so much like they're pouting.  It looks like its their passive-aggressive way of saying, No. It's not okay! I'm going to go in my room and cry now. I hate you!!!!!


Edited to add: I shouldn't put the blame on only other people.  I too have been guilty of not making it easy for people to say no.  I'm not including the mom stuff where no is not a viable option, like vaccines, trips to the dentist, and school work. But for things in life that are much less necessary, I'm going to try harder to make it easier and less stressful for other people to say no to me.

Would Stricter Homeschooling Laws Prevent Severe Child Abuse?

Besides Aniz Ansari, the other news story I've been obsessing with is the one about the Turpin family in California.  It's a true life horror story, something that I think Jeremy Slater could use when writing a future Exorcist season.

It's evil.

It's sickening.

It's sad.

It's strange.

These children were starved and could rarely shower or use the toilet.  They were chained to their beds. They were ignorant and uneducated.

Some are using the horror story as a platform to speak out against lenient homeschooling laws.

In some states, such as the one we reside, there are barely any laws about how you teach your children.  We didn't have to sign up for anything—declare that we're homeschooling. We never had to test our child. We didn't have anyone checking our home or curriculum.  I've always loved this freedom. It's great for families who unschool or use any other form of free-spirited, child-led education. 

But by loving and clinging to this freedom are we allowing some children to live in terrifying, abusive situations?

I hope not.

At this point, I don't think we are. I might change my mind if I hear a good counterargument or I get more information.

The thing about child abuse and homeschooling laws is, if a parent is willing to break the law in terms of how they treat their children, isn't it quite possible that they might also break homeschooling laws? 

I think families like the Turpins would simply hide the fact that they have kids. They'd probably have a home birth, avoid doctor visits, avoid dentist visits, and avoid taking their kids out of the house.  Or even if they had a hospital birth, I don't the hospital checks up on families five years later to make sure the child is being sent to school or properly homeschooled. 

Note: I have nothing against home births. I think they're awesome. I'm just saying it would provide a good start in hiding one's children from the world.  

I'd worry that the homeschooling laws might cause decent parents to act in ways that are not so healthy for their kids.  Let's say a family wants a child-led type of education. They want their kids to spend the day making their own choices about what to do and what to learn.  Now some people would say THIS is child abuse. I can't argue or reason with them. They're not my people.  But besides that...let's say the family wants a freestyle form of education, and then a new law is passed that says families will need yearly visits where they show their giving children a proper education.  If the family thinks their style of education don't fit into the definition of proper education, they might decide to take their homeschooling endeavors underground.  They might decide to simply avoid the required notifications.

The family is now breaking the law, though, they're not doing anything bad. But it might start making them do things that are not so great...like avoiding trips to the grocery store with their child.  They might avoid taking their kids to the doctor. They might avoid the dentist. Why? Because they don't want to be reported. They worry about going to jail. They worry about their kids being taken away.

Even with the lenient laws in Texas, I've sometimes felt awkward when doctors and dentists ask us questions about school.  I imagine it would be a thousand times worse if we were breaking the law, and we were scared of getting reported.   

So yeah...I don't think stricter homeschooling laws is going to stop horrific stories of child abuse. And I think it would make life very stressful for families that are decent, but a bit weird. 

Another thing is, though, public and private school can offer refuge to severely abused children, it often doesn't provide refuge for abuse that is less dramatic, but still physically and/or emotionally damaging. And sometimes school itself is where the abuse happens.  So to be fair, if we're going to check up on weird homeschooling families, we should probably be also having strict check-ups on schooled families and classrooms.

So.... 

How can we prevent severe child abuse?  How can we stop the Turpin story from happening again? How can we save the children and adults who are currently in the situation?

I have no idea.

I don't think there's an easy way.

I don't think the government can do much.

How about neighbors? Aunts? Grandparents? 

Maybe they can help sometimes. The problem is it's often hard to distinguish between weird, but okay and weird but totally not okay.  It's hard to distinguish between slightly toxic parenting and very abusive parenting.

It's hard to know if we don't like someone's parenting because it's bad parenting or if it's simply different from the way we parent. 

And if you have a family that's very private, it's hard to know if it's because they're shy, less social people or if it's because they're hiding abuse.  OR.... maybe they avoid you, because they don't like you. 

My feeling is that the only way for a case of abuse to end is for there to be a huge act of courage from one of the victims.  With the Turpins, one of the child planned and succeeded in a daring escape. She saved herself. She saved her siblings.  Now instead of dying she will probably become a character in several future TV movies and probably an Indie movie.  Some actress is probably going to get a Golden Globes award for playing her. 

I think these daring escapes, unfortunately, are the only way out.  Well, it's the only avenue out that doesn't risk harming families that are weird, but innocent of abuse. 

As for what the rest of us can do?  I think we just have to do the right thing if a person comes to us during their escape. We need to listen, believe, and do what we can to help in their rescue.  

Hey, It Was Fun Meeting You Last Night

Scene: A child is at Disney World with her father. They're in line for Expedition Everest. The father is excited. The girl is terrified. She whimpers and whines.

This is going to be fun! the father says. You'll love this ride.  He says this even though the child has never liked thrill rides. The Winnie the Pooh ride had been scary enough for her.

By the time they get to the end of the line, the child is outright sobbing. The father ignores her cries and straps her into the seat. He smiles broadly, and when the ride stops, he puts his arms in the air and screams gleefully.

The ride ends. The child has tears streaming from her eyes. The father grabs her hand and says, Wasn't that fun?!

Scene: A child is playing basketball with her father, uncle, cousin, and grandfather. The uncle accidentally steps on her foot. She yells out in pain. No one seems to notice that she was hurt. No one gives her any words of comfort. She starts to cry. Come on. That didn't hurt, the grandfather says. Let's not ruin the game. Let's keep this fun.

The child walks away sobbing. She leaves the game.The father, uncle, cousin, and grandfather keep playing. Every so often the grandfather calls out cheerfully to the child, You're missing out. We're having a GREAT time here!

These are the kinds of scenes that come to my mind when I think about how Aziz Ansari responded to Grace after their dreadful, now heavily publicized date.

If Grace is telling the truth, it seems to me that she made her feelings pretty damn obvious. One of the last things she says to him is, you guys are all the same, you guys are all the fucking same. This statement comes after he stuck his fingers down her throat (yuck!) and moved towards undoing her pants.

Is Anzari stupid? Did he think you guys are all the fucking same was a compliment?

After the not-compliment, Grace leaves. To me, it seems like it would be quite clear that the date hadn't ended on a happy note. And Anzari is an actor and a writer. Right?  Aren't actors and writers supposed to be extra empathetic. Aren't they supposed to be extra observant and understanding when it comes to emotions and behavior?

I don't think Ansari did anything illegal on the date. He was just an asshole—unfortunately a very typical asshole. Most of us behave badly sometimes. We're not as nice as we should be. We're not as nice as the people around us deserve. We're selfish. We're greedy. We're rude. We're inconsiderate. I can't blame Anzari for being human like the rest of us.  I just wish he had acted differently on his date with Grace. I hope this behavior was unusual for him (though I sadly doubt it). I also wish that he responded differently to her grievances.

I wish Anzari had texted Grace later that evening or early the next day. He could have said something like Hey, I'm sorry for my behavior last night, or You didn't seem happy when you left last night. Did I do something wrong? Are you okay? Instead, like the father at Disney World, and the Grandfather at the basketball game,  Anzari tries to hide behind cheerful ignorance.

Hey, it was fun meeting you last night. Then he goes on to ask her to wish him luck on his photography project. Grace writes back this long message about how the date was pretty shit. She's pretty polite about it, though. She's nice. For example, she STARTS her message with, Hey Aziz nice meeting you too. I hope you have some good shots on the roll.

To Ansari's credit, he does give a fairly decent apology after her message.

Or maybe it's not decent.

Maybe it's decent and at the same time awful.

It's fake.

That's what it is.

I'm so sad to hear this. All I can say is, it would never be my intention to make you or anyone feel the way you described. Clearly I misread things in the moment and I'm truly sorry. 

If it was not his intention to make Grace feel like a blow-up sex doll, maybe he should have acted much differently.

Women have had such strong opposing views on the story. They range from Ansari is guilty of sexual assault and truly SHOULD become the master of none. Bye bye TV show. There are those who think Grace is too blame. She gave too many mixed messages. And apparently once you give or receive oral sex, you resign yourself to becoming the blow-up sex doll.  Then there's my camp. We don't think Ansari should lose his career. We just think he, and other humans with penises, need to behave much differently.  And we have empathy and understanding for Grace.  The only thing I fault her on, maybe, is naming Ansari. It might have been more ethical if he had been not-named and just described as a Netflix Celebrity.  At the very least, this would have given us all a really fun guessing game.

Besides the naming of Ansari, though, I can have sympathy for Grace because I strongly relate to her.  I have a hard time saying no. I manage to text it or say it, but I usually end up feeling guilty all day. I give mixed messages because I don't want to hurt feelings. I have desires to lash out and hurt people for hurting me, but then I don't want them to be sad.

I'm all mixed up.

I'm not sure why some of us are like this. Are we born this way? Is it how we're raised?

I picture the child at Disney World. What becomes of her?  Does she learn to firmly say no to her father when he pushes her to go on rides that make her feel uncomfortable?  Does she learn to say no to other people? Does she become assertive—no, not just assertive, but confident in her assertiveness?  Or does she learn to say yes and act happy as much as possible?  Does she learn that Daddy is going to like her much more if she screams and laughs on roller coasters, and that men in general will like her much more if she says yes a lot...with a smile.   

Or maybe it's something in between.  In between the assertive woman who gives a firm no and the subservient woman who says yes without complaint, there's the woman who says...yes, maybe, I'm not sure. Okay. I'll do it, but I don't really like it much.  Can we please do something else? Can we take things more slow?  And she's thinking, please still like me. Please don't think I'm boring.  Please don't be hurt. Please don't be offended.  I don't want to be the scaredy cat. I don't want to be the prude.

She's the scared little girl who cries not just because she's scared of the big hill on Expedition Everest, but also because she worries she's not cool enough. She's so sorry for that but at the same time furious that she's feeling sorry.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

How Men Can Stop the MeToo Witch Hunt

I want to provide men with some advice on how to stop the MeToo witch hunt.

So, here are some things that might help.

1. Stop raping women.

2. Stop masturbating in front of women.

3. Stop inviting women to watch you take a shower.

Edited to add (1/18)-Just reread 2 and 3 and realized I definitely need to make an adjustment.  If a woman finds it kinky to watch you masturbate or take a shower, by all means continue with the behavior.  But please make sure, she actually enjoys this, and make sure you're not being fooled by a narcissistic-delusion.

4. Stop verbally abusing women when they reject your failed flirtations.

5. Stop reminding us that men are victims too. We know that, just like we know all lives matter whether they are white, brown, black, yellow, green, multicolored, etc.

6. Stop putting women in positions where they can't say no to you without risking their careers.

7. Stop blacklisting women.

8. Get over the idea that you're a God-like gift to every women "lucky" enough to be in your presence. 

9. Don't fake innocence when you're not. You're ruining it for any man who truly is falsely accused.  If almost every man accused claims they are innocent, how the hell are we going to distinguish between the fake false-accused and the truly false-accused?

10. Take Dan Harmon's advice, and think about your past and present behavior. Take twenty minutes out from judging the behavior of other men and think about YOUR behavior.  Do some self-reflection.    

11. Stop gaslighting women...about ANYTHING.  If your wife, sister, daughter, friend, etc. confronts you about something you've done, don't try to lie and say it didn't happen.  Don't twist the story around to make yourself look like the victim. If I hadn't been gaslighted by men in my life, I think I'd be much more open-minded when hearing men try to proclaim their innocence. 

12. Listen to the women who are supposed to be able to trust you and depend on you when they talk about being hurt by other men. Don't laugh at them. Don't try to convince them that what happened to them is not a big deal. Don't make excuses for the men who hurt them.  

You know, sometimes I feel guilty about bitching about things on my blog.  A little voice says, Dina you should settle things privately. That's more fair.  But when I try that, I'm too often ignored, manipulated, lied to, dismissed, pushed to get over it, etc.

The trial by social-media will end when more women feel they can speak up AND be listened to. 

We should be able to depend on our mothers and fathers.
We should be able to depend on our sisters and brothers.
We should be able to depend on our spouses and partners. 
We should be able to depend on our supervisors and coworkers.
We should be able to depend on your friends.

13. Understand that if you have caused pain to any women in the past, you are NOT making things better for yourself by speaking out against harassment on social media, wearing trendy pins, following the MeToo dress code, etc.  Now if you do these things AFTER admitting your wrongs, apologizing, and it's a genuine attempt to right your wrongs...that's pretty okay in my book.  

But if you're doing it because you think it will help you hide from your crimes or you feel pressured to do it?  No, it's not going to help you.  It's very easy for me to imagine how victims feel when they see their past abusers wearing the costume and faking the sympathy. It makes my blood boil.  

My advice to men who have done shitty things and don't have the guts to admit it and apologize?  Hide your ass.  Stop posting on social media. Stop appearing in movies and TV shows. Stop attending award shows. Stop publishing books. Stop climbing the corporate ladder. Stop running for office.  Disappear...from the limelight.  Maybe one day, you'll be brave enough to own up to what you did and you can apologize.  Until then...let your victims have a break from seeing your guilty ass enjoy prosperity and adoration.  

Monday, January 8, 2018

What Did Impress Me

As I said yesterday...I didn't watch the Golden Globes. But I did read about it this morning and I watched some clips.

Though I'm not big on the black dress thing, here is what I did love.

1. Natalie Portman making a comment about the lack of female directors nominated. 

I didn't watch The Golden Globes because I've grown bored of award shows. But if I was still in to that, maybe I would have boycotted the show for that reason.  Or maybe not. I'm not great at boycotting things...if I like them. 

2. Debra Messing confronting her E Network interviewer about the male/female pay gap. That was awesome.

It's hard to speak out against all the shit in the world, because you end up facing so much vicious backlash.  But it needs to be done and I applaud all who have the courage to do it...whether it be about huge things, medium things, or tiny things. 

I'm not a big fan of Oprah...because of her connection to Dr. Phil, The Secret, and her very difficult Aussie quiz that made me feel all my studying of Australia might have been a waste of time. 

I would probably be cool with her being president, though.  At least she reads!  I would be so happy to have a president who actually reads novels. 

Then again, I personally kind of prefer that we have a president with political experience.  I'm fine with actors, writers, and other celebrity types becoming president.  But I think they should make their way up the ladder—start as governor, senator, representative, etc. 


Who Am I Writing For?

Last night I didn't have an urge to hide my blog (make it private). But I did have a strong urge to quick writing.

The main reason is hardly anyone is reading.  My stats have gone way down in the last few years.  I'm not taking it too personally. I can see from other blogs that there seems to be a reduction in blog reading in general.  I think people are now more interested in things like Snapchat, Instagram, vlogs, etc.  

Still. I don't like the feeling that I'm writing for close to nobody.  It's like talking to a brick wall. I actually maybe feel a bit crazy doing it. Yeah. That pretty much describes it.  You know...I feel less crazy talking to my cat than I do blogging.  Like my cat can't understand what I'm saying, but at least she's hearing me.

But here I am with another post.

There's a part of me that wants to keep writing, and so I have to somehow reconcile this with the fact that there are very few people interested in what I'm writing.

I often cheer myself up by the idea that my future self will read these posts. She'll be interested.  But if that's the main audience I'm aiming for, the private blog seems to make more sense.

I do have another audience in mind, though.  Maybe my future relatives will be interested.  I don't think all or many of them will care. Out of the six grandchildren in our little family unit, only ONE child is a bookworm. At least so far.  Maybe the others will gain more love for reading as they get older.  But even then I think there's a slim chance that any of the kids would be interested in what their nutty aunt wrote.  Note: I'm talking about the kids when they're NOT kids anymore. I don't think I'd want a ten-year-old old nephew reading my blog.  

Though I'm doubting there's much of a chance that I'll gain a reader from the six in our family unit, there are others out there. I have young second/third cousins who might one day be interested. There are grandchildren, great-nieces, great-nephews, in-law relatives, etc.  Out of all the future relatives that have a connection to me, will any of them love reading and will any of them have an interest and passion for family history?  

Then there's a question of whether my blog will still be around.  It could be hacked and turned into an illegal shoe store.  The Internet might be gone. Or the Internet might be there, but the erasure of net-neutrality might make it non-accessible.    

I was going to conclude with some bullshit about how I like the idea of future kin reading my words, but that makes me feel so egotistical, and THAT makes me feel kind of pathetic and depressed.  

There. Maybe that will be another excuse to keep writing. What if I have a future relative that is feeling pathetic and depressed?  She/he can read my blog and feel less alone. OR...I might lead the poor soul to believe they've inherited some kind of mental disorder.  

I just cheered myself up a tiny bit.

Maybe I don't need to rely on future kin.

What about general future people?

What if blogs have become less popular at this point in time, but in thirty or so years, people use them to learn about life in the beginning of the 21st century?  Maybe as there's nostalgia for the 1980's lately, there will one day be nostalgia for the 2000's and 2010's.  Maybe the neglected blogs of today will be obsessively treasured.

Yeah. I have to admit it. Sometimes I have Van Gogh type fantasies.  Not the ear part.  But I imagine my writings becoming famous after I'm dead.  I go back and forth from wanting something like that to wanting to fade completely into oblivion.  Maybe I'd like to be greatly remembered for a period of time and THEN forgotten completely.  If I was a genuine stable genius, my wishes would probably be more sensical and rational. But I'm miles away from being a genius, and I'm a few inches away from being stable.  Fortunately, I don't have a gun or nuclear button...or telekinetic powers.    

Sunday, January 7, 2018

I'm wearing Blue and Grey Right Now

From what I'm seeing on Twitter, I get the idea that I'm supposed to wear black tonight while watching The Golden Globes.

I often wear black, but I'm not wearing it tonight.  This wasn't a political decision.  It's just I took a shower and then grabbed the first T-shirt I saw in my T-shirt drawer.

I'm not planning to wear my blue shirt and grey shorts while watching The Golden Globes.  I'm going to wear these colors as I watch The Crown on Netflix.

I love TV.  I'm grateful to actors, writers, directors, etc. for the work they do.  But...why do I need to show support by watching these workers win awards?  It's like if I have a favorite candy bar, I just eat the candy bar.  I don't watch an award show about candy and admire the dresses of the candy makers.

Now I MIGHT watch some clips tomorrow if I hear something funny, brilliant, or outrageous happened.  But besides that...I've learned my life is made better by avoiding the long drawn out affair.  

I hope that if something brilliant happens, it involves people speaking out against abuse. Because personally I think wearing black is totally not enough.  I think it's an empty gesture.  I don't like it. I also don't like solidarity pins.  I'm not very impressed with pussy hats. I didn't like the ice bucket challenge.  The problem with these gestures is not just that they're sometimes empty, but because it might lead us to judge those who don't participate.

What if a woman goes to a party tonight and is wearing purple instead of black?  What if she didn't know the dress code and the meaning behind it?  What if she doesn't own a black dress?  Or what if she owns a black dress, but she was raped in it and it's in a angry, depressed heap at the bottom of her closet? 

And the women wearing black tonight?  How do we know for sure that they give a shit and aren't just doing it because of social pressure?  Or they could care, but that's not why they wore a black dress. Maybe it's just a lucky coincidence.   

I did like one idea that I saw—women all wearing the SAME black dress.  The idea here was that everyone would dress alike, and so there wouldn't be annoying questions about who are you wearing. Instead the questions could directly go to more serious subjects.  I think that, though, would be more of a protest against fashion obsession and less about sexual assault. 


Edited to Add: I was thinking about it some more.  Though I'm not a supporter of fashion-activism-via-conformity, I AM cool with political T-shirts and stuff like that.  It's still an empty gesture compared to with doing things like volunteering your time, donating your money, opening up your home to strangers, etc.  But...it's minus the conformity bit. And it can be fun reading the different messages.   

That would have been cool if there had been no pressure to wear black at the Golden Globes. What if we were expecting celebrities to dress in the usual expensive gowns, but instead a few of them wore awesome T-shirts with powerful messages?

Examples of Everyday Misogyny

There are men who loudly and proudly act hateful towards woman. And there are men who love women, but see them as a lesser species, and/or feel a woman's sole purpose is to serve and support the men in their life.

Then there are men who see themselves as allies of women. In some ways, they are. But there are little things they do and say that tell an opposing story.

I've decided to list some of these things.

1. Believing that in order for men to be happy, they need to feel they have a purpose in life, while believing the only thing women need to obtain happiness is the flash of some cash.

Yes, some people can be bought with gifts alone.  But I think most of us would rather feel like we ARE a gift rather than be given gifts.

2. Being more concerned for men's health than women's. For example: being concerned for the heart health of the men that you know, but not even considering the fact that heart disease also happens to women.

3. Using anything female as an insult. You throw like a girl. Don't be such a pussy. Hey, Ladies (when speaking to a group of men you want to insult—either seriously or jokingly).

4. Shaming a boy or man for liking or doing anything that's traditionally female. I was thinking lately that yes, men too face gender discrimination. But I came to realize that most of it is actually misogyny.  Why else do most people not seem to have a problem when their daughter likes Star Wars or trucks, but heaven forbid a boy want to paint his nails or take ballet lessons?

Why is it often seen as cool for a woman to be a police officer or construction officer, but it's seen as embarrassing for a man to be a nurse?

5. Writing jokes, performing jokes, or laughing at jokes in which the theme is, it's absolutely disgusting to imagine a woman over a certain age having sex.  And this also goes for any other behavior that pushes the idea that women lose their worth over the age of 25.

6. Giving less credit to mothers than fathers. If you're going to think a man is wonderful for spending the afternoon with his children, then please think the same thing of a mother when she does the same.

7. Be ignorant and unsympathetic about menstrual cycles and other gynecological issues.  Yes, it's natural for women to bleed every month.  But periods come in different shapes and sizes. Some women go through mild discomfort. Others go through various levels of hell.  And sometimes there is an actual medical problem that needs to be examined and taken care of.  It's not up to you to decide whether or not a woman's period merits her crying in pain or wanting to stay in bed all day.  The commercials might lead you to believe that a period is where a woman puts on tight jeans, climbs up on her white horse, and ignores the blue liquid lightly dripping out of her body.  But reality has a much different story.

8. Believe that you are a nice guy who can't get a girlfriend because girls prefer bad boys.  Really. If you are that quick to believe it's always her and not you...than you are NOT a nice guy.  If you believe that treating a woman with kindness should guarantee that she fall in love with you, you're not actually being that kind.  What IS kind and decent?  Being nice to someone because you like them and want to see them happy, but at the same time recognizing that unfortunately unrequited love exists. No one is to blame for that.

9. Say and do things to indicate that you feel the only acceptable type of women is one that's physically attractive, well-groomed, thin, constantly smiling, bubbly, and fawning all over you. If you prefer women like that, it's fair.  I can't fault you too much. I probably have my own superficial prejudices when it comes to men.  BUT if you privately or publicly label women outside those realms using statements like, She's a fat, ugly, bitch.  Well, that's pretty shitty and misogynist.

10. Show interest in and/or speak out against sexual harassment and assault ONLY when it's done by a man you dislike for other reasons.  If you're fine with what Donald Trump has done, you should also be okay when the same thing is done by that neighbor who reported you multiple times for loud music. 

11. Have any of these statements as the main theme in your mind when hearing MeToo stories:

A) Not all men
B) Witch-hunt
C) She's just out for attention
D) Innocent until proven guilty
E) What about all the shit that women do? Why isn't anyone talking about that?

Speaking of the shit that women do, unfortunately the stuff on my list doesn't apply to only men.  Unfortunately, women also do these things, both to each other AND to themselves.  We ALL need to become less misogynist.  I think if we work on that, the world will be a bit better.  

Guilt Can't Always Be Proven

I went on Twitter to see what people are saying about Craig McLachlan.

I didn't see as many Tweets as I expected. In the few I've seen...Most people are just posting links to the article about him. There's a few Believe Women Tweets and a few I-had-a-bad-feeling-about-him Tweets. Then there was a Tweet about innocent until proven guilty.

I've seen the innocent-until-proven guilty message before in the context of sexual predators. I get it. We're supposed to hold judgement until detectives and the court do their job; then we let them tell us what judgement to hold.

This might work...sometimes...when it comes to murder and other things that leave evidence. But even with evidence, we can't usually know 100%. Evidence can be faked, planted, misread, etc.

How about when there's no physical evidence?

How the hell do you prove that someone was sexually or emotionally abused?  It can't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There's hope maybe if the crime is immediately reported and semen specks are still around. But sometimes sexual abuse doesn't involve semen. So what then?

As for emotional abuse, maybe there's hope if there are eyewitnesses. But could it maybe be possible that some abusers make sure to say their shit when witnesses aren't listening? Or maybe there are witnesses, but they support the abuser.  Maybe they don't see the abuse as abuse.  They see the victim as being too sensitive, or a troublemaker.  Sometimes people ignore the abuse, because...well, besides those mean things he sometimes says, he's an awesome, talented guy, and we're all lucky to get to work with him. Right?  

How the hell are we going to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Craig McLachlan abused women?  How are we going to prove that Roy Moore went after underage women? How do we prove that the President of the United States is a sexual predator?

Sometimes we just have to listen to people's experiences and either believe them or not. We have to read the accounts, listen to the accounts, weight it all up in our mind, and then decide where our judgement is going to stand.

If you want to believe that Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Donald Trump, Craig McLachlan, Kevin Spacey, etc, etc, etc (too many fucking etc's) are innocent, fine. That is YOUR right. I don't have the means to absolutely prove that you're making the wrong judgement.

But using terms like innocent until proven guilty is just....

It's shit. It's weak. It's cowardly.

And the thing is.  If you cling to the idea that an accused man is innocent, YOU are accusing the ones accusing of being liars. Those who side with Craig McLachlan are supporting his idea that women are lying about abuse in order to obtain fame and fortune. If we're going to say innocent until proven guilty when it comes to predatory, asshole behavior, shouldn't the same go for accusations of lying?

When we hear stories about abuse, we have multiple valid options. We can believe the person making the accusations. We can believe the person being accused.  We can decide we simply don't know and decide to withhold judgement. But to say innocent until proven guilty? That's like waiting for hell to freeze over.


The End of An Asshole's Career...Hopefully

Thanks to my Google News app, I've just learned that the Aussie actor Craig McLachlan has been accused by multiple woman of abusive behavior.  The man I'm reading about is not just an annoying, gross pervert. He's cruel. He's a sexual predator and a bully.   

Despite the complaints coming from MULTIPLE woman, McLachlan denies any wrongdoing. He doesn't just deny, but in classic manipulative, narcissistic behavior, tries to twist the situation so the victims are the villains.  These women weren't abused by him. They're making it up for financial reasons or to gain notoriety.    

Before the 2017 Weinstein drama, it would be easier to easier to believe in McLachlan's victimhood, or at least give him a small bit of benefit of the doubt.  But now...I just smell bullshit.

I am sick of smelling the bullshit of assholes.  

I am sad for all the women who've had to deal with his abuse.

I am sad that they had to watch their abuser enjoy popularity and adoration.  

I am glad that the events of 2017 made it easier for them to come forward.

I am glad that the events of 2017 will make it easier for them to be believed.

I hope Craig McLachlan's victims enjoy watching him fall. 

I hope other abusers are scared shit that they soon will have the same fate as McLachlan.  

I hope men that are half as bad as McLachlan use 2018 to repent and change their ways.

I hope men that are as bad as McLachlan drop dead.  

Yeah. I used to feel it was morally wrong to wish death on people. 2017 changed that in me.  

Friday, January 5, 2018

Pre-MeToo Dialogue on City Homicide

There is hope that the events of 2017 will change things for women...for the better.  I hope that's true, though, I'm not sure it is.  And if it is true, I'm not sure how long the change will last.

One thing I feel that IS very likely to change is what will be allowed and tolerated in the fiction we consume.  There might not be a large reduction in the amount of misogyny we see in real life people, but I think there will be a reduction in the amount we see coming from fictional people.

I just saw a scene in a 2010 episode of City Homicide that I don't think would make it to screen in 2018.   

Wilton Sparkes (Marshall Napier) has joined the homicide team in an investigation involving homicide.  He knows everyone in the group except for Allie Kingston (Nadia Townsend). When introduced to Kingston, Sparkes says, Nice to meet you, Love.

Kingston is not pleased with this, and her facial expression clearly communicates that.  

Later they are disagreeing about the case and Sparkes uses the term "love" again. 

This time Kingston is more vocal about her dislike of the term. Don't call me love.

Sparkes replies, You prefer Darling or Sweetheart?

Stanley Wolfe, the supervisor, (Shane Bourne) chides Sparkes gently. Yeah. That's enough.  I'll give him credit for that.  But a few moments later, he assigns Kingston to partner with Sparkes in the investigation. She protests, and Wolfe refuses to give into her.

I can't say I'm fully against people calling each other things like love, sweetheart, darling, etc. in the workplace.  I can picture situations where it's harmless and maybe even endearing.   I think there would have to be a closeness between the speaker and recipient.  Let's say I had an awesome boss for the past five years. He's been kind to me. He's been appreciative, fair, fun, helpful, etc.  I'm going to the local coffee shop to pick up a muffin and he says, Hey Love, do you mind picking up a blueberry scone for me? 

No, I don't think I'd be horribly offended.  

Sparkes, though, doesn't use the term in an endearing way.  He uses it in a condescending way, and I think it's mostly about TRYING to get a rise out of Kingston.  I think it's something that many men tend to do.  They say something for the sole purpose of getting under our skin.  Then when we act offended, it's our fault. We don't have a sense of humor. We're too sensitive. We force people to walk on eggshells around us. We need to lighten up.  Blah, blah, blah, blah.  

And as for my blueberry scone scene....

Though I imagine it wouldn't bother me, other people might be offended, and they have a right to speak out against the behavior.  Then, unless the behavior immediately stops, I'd label the workplace as a hostile environment.

I haven't finished watching the City Homicide episode.  I wonder what will happen. Wolfe is forcing Kingston to make allowances for Sparke.  Will Wolfe pull Sparke aside and request that he behave appropriately with Kingston?  It seems he believes that Kingston needs to learn something by being forced to work with Sparkes. Does he also believe that Sparkes needs to learn something by working with Kingston?

I'm also wondering about all the powerful shitty, fucking, assholes we've heard about in 2017.  I imagine when there were complaints against them, not much was done to help these women and men.  I imagine they received very little support from their workplace.  But you know, until watching this episode of City Homicide, I think I pictured things more along the lines of sweeping it under the rug.  

How many times was it even worse than that?  How many times were victims punished for their so-called sensitivity to harassment by actually having to spend more time with the perpetrators?  

Well....I'm going to go and finish watching the rest of the episode. Will Kingston become more tolerant of the harassment? Will Sparkes realize it's not okay to talk to people in ways that make them feel uncomfortable?  Will the two find peace by the end of the episode? Will they be besties?  Will they continue to hate each other?  AND...I wonder...how would the episode be different if written in 2018?