13 Common Misconceptions About Feminism

1. Feminists can’t ask for directions.
Feminist National Conference Rule 347 subset J states that we can totally ask for directions if death is imminent. We just don’t like to, because most directions glorify the patriarchy.

2. It’s not our job to educate you.
It actually is our job. It’s in the bylaws. But it’s also our job to be self-righteous about it first.

3. Feminists aren’t allowed to diet.
We’ve been allowed to diet since the 80s. We just aren’t allowed to lose weight.

4. Love glorifies the patriarchy.
That’s ridiculous. Only heterosexual love glorifies the patriarchy.

5. Feminists earn rank through a system of academic peer review and displays of skill.
Every time a nut-shot connects, a feminist gets her wings.

6. Feminists can’t enjoy sex.
In all three of the pre-approved positions, while uttering no more than half of the pre-approved phrases.

7. Feminists are physically hurt when they walk through a door a man holds open for them.
Quite the opposite. Opening our own doors gives us a narcotic high that we quickly become hopelessly addicted to. By opening a door for a feminist, you are literally harshing her mellow.

8. Feminists aren’t allowed to watch porn.
We can watch porn. As long as it’s gay porn. Gay porn is the only porn that literally smashes the patriarchy.

9. There’s no such thing as a book of feminism.
There is. It’s huge. It hurts when it hits you.

10. Men are not allowed to be feminists.
Gay men are totally allowed to be feminists. Don’t worry, there’s a test.

11. Feminists only have children in order to replenish the feminist army.
We also have children in the hopes that we can bring a discrimination suit against employers who don’t enforce legal maternity rights.

12. Feminists aren’t allowed to compliment men.
We’re allowed to. There’s just never any reason to.

13. Feminists are awesome.
Not only awesome, we’re…

In case you were wondering where that awesome watermelon gif came from:

Spoiler, It’s Poland: Review of “Where the Devil Can’t Go” by Anya Lipska

cover44398-mediumWhere the Devil Can’t Go by Anya Lipska

Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.

This one may be my fault. I didn’t notice that the publisher preferred British reviewers until I’d already requested the book. But, since they gave it to me, I thought I’d give it the old college try. I got through 10% before I decided that it wasn’t for me.

I’m not British, so the specific London streets and neighborhoods the author mentions mean nothing to me, and without anything to describe them other than context, it just feels like the kind of name-dropping touring comedians will slip into their act to increase their popularity with the hometown crowd.

I once heard a guy from Jersey make a joke about turning left on Colorado Blvd. in a show at the Ice House in Pasadena, which just so happens to sit 20 feet from Colorado. Hey, that’s where we are. Everybody laugh. It’s a cheap way to establish a connection, and the trouble is, it only works on locals. This may be why the publisher preferred Brits.

If you want to see neighborhood name dropping done right, check out Joseph Hanson’s David Brandstetter series. It’s set in a version of Los Angeles that is half imaginary, half washed away in the boom of development in the 80s, but he manages to bring every street corner to life from the sewers to the clouds. LA is a character of her own in those books. I can’t say the same for London in this instance, although I know from other books that it can be done. See also Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay for such a depiction of New York in the 40s.

The other thing that kept me from getting farther than 10% was the Polish. The main character, Janusz Kiszka is a Pol who immigrated to the UK as a young man. His shady Soviet past is eluded to, but not much is revealed in these first few pages. I loved Janusz. I wanted to keep reading just for him, but the sad truth is, love won’t keep us together.

I have a massive pet peeve for writers who try to communicate someone’s ethnicity or culture by making them slip in and out of their native and adopted language like lazy butterflies moving from flower to flower. I have never met a person who interchanges two languages in the same way that ethnic characters in books like these tend to do. Unless you count my great grandma in the later years of her life, but that was the dementia. She forgot Spanish and English were different languages.

My concentration drops with every random Polish word in an otherwise English sentence in an otherwise English book. Everybody knows that Polish language speakers would be speaking Polish. So tell the reader they said this in Polish and move on. I don’t have time to go running to Google translate every fifteenth word.

Lastly, it moves damn slow. Janusz, for all his charm, is an old man. He does old man things, none of which are particularly exciting.

Then again, it’s $0.99 on Kindle right now, and if you’re into the slow burn and don’t mind learning some Polish, there’s absolutely nothing overtly offensive about this book. Which, now that I think of it, is probably the worst thing I could ever think to say about a book.

3 out of 5 stars: on account of being really fucking cheap, and more boring and annoying than actually terrible.

Budweiser Can Eat My Mexican Asshole

I didn’t look for this. This was in front of a Niki Minaj video. I was still cussing at the screen well into the first chorus.

Fuck. This. Condescending. Racist. Shit.

We already know who Bud’s people are. We are very sad to admit that it’s us. If rednecks love Coor’s, wetbacks love Budweiser. It’s fucking gross.

BudChelada25oz0713

But Budweiser sponsoring an all dirt-people preview of the new Cesar Chavez biopic in the middle of the UFW headquarters would be like Kool Aid sponsoring the preview of a Martin Luther King biopic in at the SCLC headquarters.

Let me guess, was Taco Bell too classy to take this one on?

(Given the superior tone control of their online marketing engine, I’m going to say yes.)

And that shit about screening the movie “in their native language?”

Way to other the workers. English speaking Americans don’t pick the food that English speaking Americans eat. English speaking Americans “celebrate” the imported non-English speaking, non-American workers who pick their food… by making them a nice little film preview in a field. You know, where they’re most comfortable. Then English-speaking Americans make English-language commercials about how nice they were to the help.

Yeah, a lot of farm workers speak Spanish better than they speak English. That’s due to poor educational opportunities afforded to them because of their undocumented status, or their second class citizenship, either as green card holders, or as children who entered farm working with their families at far younger an age than any “American” child would ever enter the workforce. The fact that we have an entire population of workers who have trouble communicating with their employers in any meaningful way isn’t something those employers should be so flippant about.

And that shit with Paul Chavez stumbling over his Spanish lines? Cesar Chavez was born in America. His son, Paul, was definitely born in America. The man speaks fine English. This is a god-damned minstrel show.

If we lead a bunch of Anheuser-Busch VPs into a fucking dirt thatch in California’s central valley, how do you think they’d react to this second-hand clown-shoe of a non-gift? What if we showed them a super-secret preview of Jonah Hill’s newest douchetorial The Wolf of Wall Street? What if we screened it in their native language. I don’t know what white people’s native language is. Maybe we’d just make Gwyneth Paltrow, read all the lines from a podium set in front of the screen. Do you think they’d file calmly in front of the cameras to chirp “this is white privilege” while waving tiny American flags and monkey-dancing for the folks at home? I highly doubt it.

Latino-Americans are not a fucking zoo exhibit that you can feel good about petting through the bars of our own socioeconomic oppression. Farm workers feed this country, they deserve housing, and education, and equal fucking pay. Si se puede is not a joke we tell, or a trick we do for white people’s amusement. Si, se puede means “it can be done,” but if it can, it hasn’t been yet. We are still a side-show to our white American neighbors. We still clean their shit, and raise their kids, and pick their food, and what do we get? Othered, and alienated, and treated like lap dogs who do tricks for white scraps.

Budweiser isn’t building a cultural bridge here, they’re not helping anyone or making things better. The white guys threw a bean party so that they could record it and take it back to their white customers and white share-holders while they all pat themselves on the back for their honest, “meaningful” treatment of the “real heroes.” AKA, the long-suffering back-bone of America. The same people who don’t get to go to school because they’re too busy chasing the growing season around the country, the same people who don’t get treated like they belong here because of how they look and how they sound.

Eat my asshole, Budweiser.

The Jake Must Go On

So, you guys remember that Jake and Jessica poll I put up in… oh… October?

Well, I completely forgot about it. Sorry.

But I’m back. All settled, and ready to make another story adventure about Jake and his gal pal Jessica. You guys voted, 40% for a victory dance, and 40% for fresh cut flowers. With a sad, and straggling 20%, a flashback will not be happening in Chapter 4.

I know it’s been a long time, so please find links to the previous chapters below:

Chapter 1 – The Annihilator (NSFW -Explicit sex)
Chapter 2 – The Annihilator is Dead
Chapter 3 – It Was a Good Day


Chapter 4 – The Jake Must Go On

It wasn’t hard to figure out which of the Ladies was Kelsey. While the other ladies, and honorary ladies, as they referred to the men in the group, showed up with various foods and drinks, Kelsey brought fresh cut flowers. Yellow roses with a blue ribbon.

“Laker colors.” She explained

Jake waited for Jessica to correct her. Everyone in LA knows Laker colors are yellow and purple.

“They’re beautiful” Jessica said as she took the flowers from Kelsey. “Let’s go into the kitchen and put these in some water.”

As she lead Kelsey away, Jes shot an accusing look back at Jake. He lifted his hands in a gesture if innocence and surrender. If the chick didn’t know what color the Laker colors were, he wasn’t going to make her feel bad about it. Or at least he wasn’t now that Jessica had admonished him not to.

Jake had heard about the Ladies’ Auxiliary, but he’d never met any of them. They spun around him in a dizzying rainbow, putting out food, setting up the TV, chatting with him and with each other.

“This is Jake” Jessica had told them all. “His cat died today, is it cool if he hangs out?”

The majority of the ladies had made sad, soft sounds about The Annihilator, giving their condolences, and asking him questions. Several of them shared their own cat stories.

A fine-boned boy, eye-to-eye with Jake, but at least 50 pounds lighter than him, put his hand on Jake’s forearm. “My parents won’t let me see my cat since I came out.” He dropped his head. “I’m always afraid something will happen to her, you know, while I’m gone.”

Guilt started to tighten his chest, but then a hot rush of secondary outrage shot through him. Yeah, Annihilator had died alone, but every day up until that point, he’d been loved, he’d been treated well, and he knew he had a good friend in Jake. The idea that this kid and his cat didn’t get the same because, of what? Simple bigotry? It boiled his blood.

“That’s not fair” He said.

The kid looked up, almost amused at the belligerence in his statement. “It’s okay. They take care of her.”

“You can’t have cats at your apartment?” Jake asked.

“Actually, I got an apartment that allows cats in case they gave her back.” He looked around the room. “It’s kind of stupid. They don’t even talk to me.”

Jake was mad, he was worse than mad, he was reckless. “We should take her back.”

The boy laughed. “I have thought about it. With my luck, I’d get caught, end up misgendered in the news, correctly gendered in lock-up, and pregnant with Bubba’s baby inside a week.” He made an ick face.

Jake chuckled, but his anger hadn’t fallen away. “Is she an indoor/outdoor cat?”

“She might be now. I know my dad was always bitching about how cats should ‘shit outside, like men.’” He paused. “Which probably gives you a more detailed picture of my childhood than you needed.”

“I know you’re trying to change the subject” Jake said “I’m not going to let you.” The kid smirked, and Jake felt bolstered enough to continue. “If we happen to drive by the house with cat treats and her favorite person in the car, that’s not theft. That’s just a cat making a choice.” He pointed at the kid and waggled his eyebrows in a ‘waddya think?’ gesture.

“GAME’S STARTING” yelled Brenda. “All you bitches, just shut the hell up.”

Jake pointed to himself, then to the guy, who’s name he realized he’d never learned, then back to himself again and mouthed the word ‘LATER’ as they took their seats. In response, his possible future accomplice bowed his head.

Jes was right. Brenda was a die-hard Lakers fan. While Jake spent the first minutes looking at Kelsey, waiting for her to realize her mistake with the Laker colors, and getting more and more confused when she didn’t, Brenda shouted, yelled, and sometimes jumped up and down for every basket, near-basket, and miss. When the team finally won, she jumped off the couch and strutted back and forth in front of the TV shaking her hands and waving her arms in what Jake could only guess was a practiced victory dance. Someone threw popcorn, and Brenda tried, failed, then succeeded to catch some in her mouth. She opened her jaws and displayed the piece she’d swiped as others tried to score a free throw into her open mouth.

He was laughing. This was the most fun he’d had in months. The kind of fun he missed about hanging out with Jessica. She’s always been the rhythm of a party. She could get other people to perform by building their confidence and drawing them out, in ways that tended to come off as overbearing when Jake tried them. It’s what had made her such a good wing-man. Sitting in her living room, thinking back on their college days, Jake wondered if she did this to take the focus off herself. If getting other people to be the center of attention was her way of hiding.

Across the room, Jes and Kelsey were deep in conversation. Their bodies were turned towards each other and Kelsey’s leg was flung casually over Jes’s knee. Jake was contemplating the scene when the skinny boy from earlier sat down next to him.

“Were you being serious earlier?” He said. “About the cat, I mean.”

Jake thought. He wasn’t into crime, or activism. Until Jessica, he probably had never cared about a cause in his life. His dad was big into what he called “the struggle,” but to Jake, it always looked too much like complaining. Maybe it was the grief talking, maybe it was the desperate hope in the kid’s eyes when he’d talked about her, but the outrage Jake felt for the guy was palpable.

“Yeah.” He said. “That’s really fucked up. Nobody should have to live without their cat if they don’t have to.”

The kid smiled, brought his fingers to his lips, and then suddenly removed them, reaching out to Jake.

“I forgot to tell you my name. It’s Brandon”

Jake gave his own name as they shook hands. “So, what are you doing after this?”

“Actually,” Brandon said “My parents are probably at church for the next two hours at least.”

“I’ll get Jessica.” Jake said.

Throw Up Thursday: Last Year I Was Sad

I know, to you guys it’s Friday, but I’m here in Thursday right now, and I make the titles, so I say what day it is.

I realized this morning that in all the drama with moving, I completely forgot to commemorate the blog’s two year bloggaversary of me posting Monday through Friday, which happened on Feb. 9, 2014. So I went and looked at the posts I wrote last April. Most of them are sad

I came home from work so tired that I took my shoes off and went straight to bed. Instead of sleeping, of course I started contemplating the nature of my depression. The end of the week used to mean a weekend, a break, a chance to see my friends and have some fun. Now it just means another week I wasted in L.A. Another mile of road I’ll never drive again. I’m exhausted. I spend the entire week like a fly in a bottle, and even when I stick to my no work on Saturday rule, there’s still thinking and planning to be done.

I feel like a failure for being unhappy and still staying here, for every lame weekday joke I tell, for every second I sit politely in traffic, or in my cube, and every agonizing hour I lay quietly in bed without sleeping. The weeks of my life are running away like water and all the things I try to make just stagnate or fall apart. As constant and unyielding as it is, my effort appears to be meaningless. Even a depressive episode that only lasts a day or even a few hours can seem to convince me it’s been there my whole life. All I could think of was how I was unhappy living in a car making 800 bucks a month, and how I’m unhappy now in this moment. So I’ll probably be unhappy everywhere I go and in everything I do. Eventually I decided that I was born empty.

(link)

Funnily enough, I was just the other day remembering the time I spent living in my car with fondness. Perspective really is everything.

Reading further back, March had its own gems

This morning I told a man I was here to ruin his day. I believed it too. Why the fuck not? If I can’t be happy why should anybody else?

I’m fucked, let’s party.

All of a sudden when this guy had his car pulled up next to mine, yelling at me about what am I doing and what am I thinking, the universality of those questions brought out a rage in me I sometimes pretend I don’t carry anymore. So I held up my middle finger and then I pointed at it with my other hand and I yelled at him that I was here to ruin his day. I said that I got up this morning with expressly that intention and I wanted to know of it was working. “I’m here for you, fuckhead.”

(link)

Whenever I get a little homesick, all I have to do is go back and look at any one of the hundreds of blog posts I wrote in my last year in LA. Fuck, I hated living there. The jury’s still out on Portland. We haven’t even been in this apartment a solid month yet. All this happiness and optimism I’ve been feeling lately could just be the manic euphoria that tends to come with any major change.

Although, I don’t really think that’s the case. The idea that I could be happy with something is kind of foreign for me. When we signed the rental agreement on our adorable new apartment, I might as well have been burring my guinea pig. Ben was ecstatic. I just sat there quietly, and the entire drive back was an increasingly depressing conversation about how I don’t get excited at the prospect of future joy. It always seems like a trap to me. Any indication that things are going right is a big, red flashing danger sign.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t actively ruin things when this sign goes off, but I’m not about to be happy about something. Preemptive happiness is to be avoided at all costs. Ever the optimist, Ben says that you might as well be as happy as you can whenever you can because if it doesn’t work out, you’re guaranteed to be sad. I can’t fault his logic, I just don’t understand it. Usually my reaction to that is to think that at least one of us has to keep our head. But from what? What am I reserving this happiness for? I need to know, beyond a reasonable doubt that I can relax before happiness comes into the picture. And there’s always a reason to not relax.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m really enjoying Portland so far.

Oh, You Got Fired for Being a Bigot? My Heart Bleeds for You.

Recently, a bigot lost his job. You may have heard about it. And, in typical liberal fashion, we feel badly for him. We say things like these are the same reasons bigots themselves use “to justify anti-gay workplace discrimination,” and we worry about what this means on a macro level, for employers and what license they can take with their employees personal info.

In my humble, if it means less money in the pockets of bigots and the bigot-ass organizations they support, fuck yeah, suck yeah. Let’s drop some more of these fuckers.

Granted, at first glance, it does look like the same tactics employers use to get rid of the chaffe. They’ve always done it, and they always will. Don’t think for a second that the fact that gays and lesbians are a protected class now means anything to employers. They will cover their asses, no matter what.

What we should focus on instead is that gays and lesbians are no longer chaffe. That, in fact, bigot assholes who don’t think that gays and lesbians should be afford the same constitutional rights as the rest of the populace are the chaffe.

Employers will still fire the weird video game nerd, the guy who mouth breathes too hard, and that one slick douchey butthole who makes everyone uncomfortable for no reason except he maintains too much eye contact. It’s just that now they’ll also fire the guy who hates gays.

But doesn’t this fail to solve the bigot problem? Doesn’t it just mean that guys who hate queers will be forced to hide who they really are, along with the guys who hate Blacks and Hispanics? Yeah, and thank God. Some people really need to learn how keep their damn mouths shut.

Imagination: Core Strength So Good

In the shower this morning Ben and I imagined a lady warrior so awesome that she could squish unwanted pregnancies back into periods with the massive power of her incredible abs.

So I drew her.

20140312_warrior

As you can probably tell, getting all my work and my blog done by 11 p.m. has been something of a challenge.

It’s a Man’s World… As Usual

Friend Lura sent me this on Facebook the other day: Is the Oculus Rift Sexist?

In the article, Microsoft researcher Dana Boyd asserts that virtual reality, having been made by men, mostly with men in mind, makes women puke. I mean, what doesn’t? Everything from medical science to business etiquette is the female equivalent of living in a bakery with a gluten intolerance. For example, did you know that the typical, universal sign of a impending heart attack: shooting pains in the left arm, rarely happens to women? A whole host of other symptoms, including tightness in the jaw indicate heart trouble for ladies, but not many people know this, despite heart disease being the number one killer of American women.

Relevant:

I’m getting distracted. It’s 10:43, and Ben and I are doing this whole trying to be in bed by 11 thing. He’s already asleep. He had a long day, poor little pumpkin.

Back to VR. Boyd kind of lost me in paragraph three when she laments about how hard it is for us ladies to accomplish even “basic tasks like jump from Point A to Point B in a Nintendo 64 game [sic].” Not only is that phrase, nay that entire sentence grammatically incorrect (a capital sin on the Internet), it’s also damn fucking wrong.

We’ve known for awhile now that nearly half of all active gamers are women. I’m pretty sure we’re not all tragically, comically failing to jump over a gap, dying and then doing it over again day after day. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we’re probably at least reasonably successful or we wouldn’t keep doing this shit.

In a completely unscientific poll of the populatce, I took to Reddit and asked two questions. You can read the threads, but here are some highlights:

Transgender Redditors on HRT: Did your Visual Perception Change?

There are well documented ocular changes that occur during estrogen based HRT, although except for a short window of time during the actual change it’s probably not noticeable except to your optician. The amount of change is very much YMMV.

No, that sounds a lot like bullshit to me.

I still play video games, I still use door handles; I’ve probably gotten better at both, actually. I still am able to win games, I didn’t suddenly start stumbling every time I open the door.

Anecdotally, I’ve run into more door frames since starting on HRT. Draw your own conclusions.

Female Redditors: Have You Ever Tried Immersive Virtual Reality like Oculus Rift?

I have been in a CAVE set-up, worn experimental virtual reality headsets (through my university) and have used an Oculus Rift a few times, and I’ve never had any issue with nausea or anything like this author described.
In my experience women tend to be affected at the same rate as men in these situations, though of course I’ve not studied the statistics or done any experiments on this.

I would almost certainly get sick in VR because I get sick in everything.

So, my conclusion is: maybe? I’d argue that if VR isn’t biased towards men and male users, it’s only because, by accident of evolution, the way women experience VR is at least as much the same as the way men experience it in order for it to be a moot point. Boyd does talk about the different ways that men and women prioritize depth perception, but she never does assert the simple assumption made in the beginning of the article: that more women then men are negatively effected by the VR experience.

Now that we have so many more people trying and working with VR, it seems like this would be the first question we’d want asked and answered before we go off into trying to figure out why women are negatively effected by something that they may not even be bothered by.


Well, I have absolutely no idea if that was even coherent. But it’s 11:05 and an elephant keeps her word… give or take 5 minutes. I’ll edit in the morning.