Showing posts with label Behaving Badly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Behaving Badly. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Piece of Advice #115: Teach your girls not to rape

Originally, I was going to talk about hitting and physical violence among women since new evidence has shown that frequently, in roughly 40% of cases, men are the target of domestic violence. We are so programmed by our duplicitous media to regard women as victims, that younger generations cannot imagine such a high rate of abuse victims are men - except for young people who grew up in the households of abusive women. They can imagine all too well.

I've known a number of men personally who were perhaps not physically beaten by their wives or partners, but were subjected to endless psychological abuse, crazy, jealous, or controlling behavior. At least three of these men's wives took a blowtorch to their lives, and they barely survived. They were normal men whose lives were ruined when vicious women used the system against them for fun and profit.

Teach your girls not to be like that.

Start with the idea that they need to keep their hands them themselves. That just because they're cute and small, they don't get a free pass on hitting. It's not okay to hit a boy just because he's bigger or male. Then move up to the idea that "Want, take, have" is a philosophy suited to psychopaths not women, and certainly not ladies.

It's distressing to read all of the recent stories about adult women who have taken sexual advantage of the boys entrusted to them socially or professionally, like local teacher Jamila Williams who sexually molested two of her students. This is not an isolated incident. Women pedophiles are becoming more common. I'll forgive you if you haven't read more of the hundreds of these cases (h/t SOBL1). The media doesn't seem to think they are as interesting as priest pedophile cases. We are still getting thorough coverage of archived Catholic scandals in the national press, although female pedophile cases are much more of a trend now. Where there is little oversight, predators will roam, and schools apparently are great hunting grounds these days.

Some may say boys who are sexually molested by women must consent or sex cannot occur, but the fact remains that these boys are still minors. Their brains have not fully formed, and they cannot conceptualize the legal responsibilities they will have for their predators' children should these women become pregnant or what life with herpes (or antibiotic-resistant Gonorrhea) will be like. We shelter them from the responsibilities of voting and drinking because our society thinks they are unready. If it's wrong for a 30-year-old man to have consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl because one is adult and has adult understanding and the other is a child with inadequate experience, it's wrong for women to have sex with boys as well. Personally, I don't think we have the punishments right for these "consensual" sex cases, but I do agree that this isn't trivial stuff. I'm not raising my son to believe sex is like a handshake and matters just as little.

Then there are the truly crazy cases, like the one in Chicago where the nurse had sex with a medicated patient without his consent. It's fair to say that if on college campuses consensual sex must contractual, having sex with your drugged up patient is rape. You can't broker any kind of business if you can't count to 10.

For those confused about how women (and girls) should respect men's boundaries physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually, and legally, remember: What's good for the goose is good for the gander.





Thursday, June 6, 2013

Piece of Advice #103: Don't expect others to make everything all nice for you.

I know that months have passed since the incident with Adria Richards at PyCon happened.  But it's kind of stuck with me, and it's a good excuse to give my fingers some exercise on the keyboard again.  When someone on Twitter mentioned the other day that the guy who lost his job due to Richards's public and photographic outing of him as an egregious harasser [cough, cough] had found another one, I went and looked to see whether Adria Richards had also found another position - and came up empty. 

Now since she's been lying low for the past several months and has shunned all attention, it's possible she has and it's not public knowledge.  And, for her sake, I hope she's found a way to keep the Devil from the door.  But somehow it's not surprising to me that someone who can do something tangible and valuable found a job and someone who revealed herself to be difficult and controlling seemingly has not. 

I mean, would you hire Richards?  She had a good job and lots of opportunities, but apparently things were not enough to her liking because she had to eavesdrop on people talking privately among themselves and tweet a photograph of them to the world so that she could drive home the point that women are slaves to - what? - the male libido in the form of a dongle joke

I looked up what a dongle was.  Let's just say it didn't give me the vapours.  I didn't break my pearls clutching them.  Compared to the cascade of obscenity I spend significant energy trying to keep out of my life by cordoning off TV, radio, most of the internet and the news, a "dongle" just hasn't got what it takes to shock me into outrage.

Now, the backlash against Richards wasn't pretty: the DDOS attack, the online harassment, the photo of a decapitated woman sent to Richards - that's ugly.  She unfortunately got the backlogged rage of men who are sick and tired of being controlled by legislation, by speech codes, by training seminars and Human Resources, by every petty control freak who doesn't mind chipping a nail to make someone else subject to her whims.  The sluices filled and Richards was washed away.  And this is where we have our teachable moment.

Life just isn't about making things all pleasant for everybody.  Mostly it's hard and unfair.  We used to know that.  We used to say things like, "If you can't stand the heat..." without it ending in "...have the remodelers rework the kitchen to your exact specifications."   Maybe tech isn't a friendly place for women.  Maybe it is full of sexists and jerk guys who leer lone females all day long.  If that is so, it's too bad.  I'm sorry to hear it.  But why is the solution to reprogram every guy in tech against his wishes or inclinations?  And how can anyone believe that's even possible?  Why don't women in tech create their own companies and their own amazing tech contributions and use the profits and power to mentor other women in tech?  Did Bill Gates expect his employers to roll out the red carpet for him when he was still wet behind the ears?  Did Steve Jobs?  It's probably easier for a woman now to get a small business loan or grant for a tech start-up these days.  Or they could do it the old fashioned way and code like the wind in the comfort of their parents' basements, harassment free.

Maybe, just maybe, if you aren't the head honcho, if you aren't the goose that's laying the golden eggs, if you are not the pivotal player upon with the success of your employer's business balances, you should learn your place and stay in it.  Be nice to people, blow off the slights and offenses, give people the benefit of the doubt, and don't assume that you have the authority to correct everyone around you.  Does no one think they have to put in their time anymore and make a little coffee? 

Honestly, if you can't handle a little blue language, maybe a nearly all male workplace isn't for you.  Or, heck, any workplace now.  The world has become a crass place.  But this incident wasn't about fighting crassness or inappropriateness; it was about control and demonstrating who has it and who doesn't and who is supposed to bend his neck.  There's a risk in playing that game, though, if you haven't quite got those numbers crunched correctly.  Adria Richards learned that the hard way. 


*This post was made possible with support from AEC and readers like you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Piece of Advice #80: Don't use your Christmas card/letter to beat people over the head with the wonderfulness of your family

It's that time of year again - the Christmas season.  I got my first card yesterday and am now bracing myself to endure the bragfest clothed, not so discreetly, in seasonal cheer that the Christmas letter has become.

I actually like to get and read Christmas cards.  I get them from people I haven't seen in years, and I love looking through the pictures they send and hearing what they and their kids are up to.  But I can't stand the ones that include tidbits like "Little Lowgun is teaching himself to read.  We didn't expect this so early, before he is two even, but he takes after his father - so smart!!!"  Or "Madysynn was spotted in a mall by a modeling agency earlier this year.  We thought she was beautiful, but I guess it's unanimous!!!"

Hyperbole, yes, but you get the picture.  I see this on Facebook too, proclamations on how wonderful your husband is or picspam x100 of Jr. posed on pumpkins, in the kiddie pool, with Santa, with the Easter bunny.  Here's the deal: people like to see pictures.  People like to hear stories about kids.  People do not like to be told about how fantastically gorgeous your kids are, or brilliant, or gifted and talented, etc.  Slow though we are, many of us can ascertain talent for ourselves.  If your kid's an Einstein, we'll know it.  And if he's a nice kid as well, we'll celebrate it with you.  You don't have to tell us.  If you insist on telling us repeatedly we will 1) begin to examine critically how gifted little Lowgun really is, 2) realize you have insecurity issues you are attempting work out via your kids, and 3) begin to dislike the both of you.  Lose-lose for everyone.  No one feels good about resenting a toddler, and that toddler will need the goodwill of the people around him as he grows up and faces the world.

So: send the pictures, write the letter, just don't bang us over the head with how great your family is.  We want to think well of you during this season of Peace.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Piece of Advice #74: Do not confuse being difficult with being strong

It's been a ubiquitous fiction lo these last few decades that loud, obnoxious, know-it-all women are the strong ones, the brave ones, the ones who blaze the path, the ones who "tell it like it is."  Their brittle, oft off-putting personalities are evidence of their inner strength.  We don't expect men to play nice, the saying goes, why should we expect women to?

Except we do expect our men to play nice.  Oh, maybe not the Donald Trumps of the world, the capitalists-cum-entertainers or the big power players in sports, journalism, or politics.  We give a few artistic types some lenience.  But the rest of them?  Yeah, we pretty much expect them to play nice.  We expect them to be polite or at least not overly aggressive in social interaction.  We want them to hold doors and pick their underwear off the floor and say, "Please," and "Thank you."  We certainly don't want them to make rude gestures, or exhibit road rage, or get in our faces and scream their frustrations or call us names.

But when women do those same things, they're being tough.  They're confronting an unjust system in "the only way that works."  The popular saying is, "Well behaved women seldom make history."

A more accurate, less excuse loaded saying would be, "Women seldom make history."  Hardly anyone makes history, in fact.  Most of us live and die our lives in obscurity, important only to the other obscures we know and love.  People who make history are generally: kings and rulers, criminals, genocidal marauders, and that teeny, tiny bunch of outliers who are gifted in some way, either mentally, physically, spiritually, or artistically.  Everyone else - dust to dust.  Yes, it is true that many of the above, the kings and criminals, are difficult people.  Powerful people are because power corrupts, and there seems to be some sort of correlation between extreme intelligence and artistry and mental illness.  The people who cure cancer or invent computers we give a little leeway.  But all the other people who are naturally aggressive and demanding, the ones who shout everyone else down, the ones who insist their ways are the only ways, that they deserve better service, more respect, that booth in the corner - they are just spoiled and unschooled, unoriginally antisocial.  They failed to learn a lesson we expect most children to master in kindergarten: play well with others.

It is not particularly brave to push yourself, your wants and needs and opinions in the faces of other people.  It is selfish.  It may be true that "the squeaky wheel gets the oil," but why should one wheel get all the oil?  And why should the wheel feel empowered when demanding it?

Don't fool yourself that obnoxious behavior is strength.  Consistent kindness, responsibility, consideration, and hard work are traits of strength.  Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Piece of Advice #65: Aim higher than prostitution

Seriously.  You can do it.  You have it in you to be more than just a paid hole to plug.

It used to be that all women acknowledged the truth that prostitution was the vocation of last resort. All other avenues being closed to you, your family dead or having turned you off, no money, no skills, no friends, no strings to pull, that's when you wound up on the street.  Because if you didn't have anything else, you always had your vagina, and someone would pay to use it.  It was a way to stay alive, but it was the last stop before checking out, and women dealt with it mostly by drinking or drugging so much they were out of their minds when they had to perform their work duties.

Now it seems prostitution or one of its sister jobs, stripping and pornography, is viewed by some young women as a first step on the ladder to success.  No longer is it demeaning to spread your legs for strangers.  Now it's empowering.  It gets you noticed.  It gets your foot in the door.

Last week news broke that Laurence Fishburne's daughter, Montana, was getting her leg up via pornography.  Some quotes:
"[My dad] is very upset. I heard that he's mad at me but I haven't spoken to him yet," Montana Fishburne, 19, told TMZ.com, adding that her famous father is "very hurt" over her decision to star in an X-rated flick.

But Montana - who also goes by the name "Chippy D" - thinks she'll be able to work her way back into the "Matrix" star's good graces. "I feel pretty confident that I can work things out with him," she told the gossip Web site. Montana even thinks her dad might eventually get behind her new career move. "I think he wants to support me in everything I do," she said, "and though he sees this now as a negative, I believe in time he will view it as a positive."

Although Montana told TMZ she didn't warn her dad about her steamy career move, she said she plans to meet with him soon to explain her motives.

"I've watched how successful Kim Kardashian became and I think a lot of it was due to the release of her sex tape," Montana said in a press release from Vivid Entertainment. "I'm hoping the same magic will work for me. I'm impatient about getting well-known and having more opportunities and this seemed like a great way to get started on it."
A few thoughts:

  • Any job that requires you to take a stage name like "Chippy D" is a bad idea.  A BAD idea.  
  • Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are not role models.  They are screwed up kids from rich families who have made money because watching them makes regularly dysfunctional people feel superior.  And everyone likes to feel superior.  No one should view a leaked sex tape as an opportunity.  It should be the cue that your life is so off target that the honorable routes open to you are suicide or volunteer penal colony hard labor supervised by nuns.  
  • Montana is delusional that her father will ever get behind this career.  He may still love her, but being proud of her is now pretty much out the window.  Who can be proud knowing you have a stupid, slutty attention whore short-cut taker for a daughter?  
I know I've said before that given no boundaries people will act like animals and go for short-term gratification over dignity, integrity and long-term success, but it baffles me how we as young women could go from wanting to be doctors to wanting to be strippers in just one or two generations.  I mean, come on!  Sex work is the opposite of empowering.  No one respects you, and your "power" is ephemeral, lasting only as long as it takes for whoever you are working for to get off.

Mothers, if you see any sign that your daughters are starting to glorify the pole, it's time to shut down all access to the outside world and enroll them in convent school.  Cloistered convent school.  There will always be girls who make terrible decisions that put them on the slow (or quick) slide to the bottom.  Some girls are full of self-loathing and will choose this to get them the life they feel they deserve.  But to see girls with everything - girls like Miley and Montana Fishburne - embrace pornography and lap-dancing is a sign of the end times.  The end of our civilization.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Piece of Advice #62: Cheat not

When I was in college, I lived in a women's dorm; rooms were closed to male visitors for all but a few hours of the week.  All of my roommates and suitemates were from middle class, mostly intact families, and the admission standards for the university I attended required a certain level of intelligence and self-discipline.  So I was a bit surprised at all the cheating going on.

In one calendar year I saw three incidents of cheating/near cheating.  One of my roommates cheated on her fiancé with her fiancé's best friend who also happened to be engaged to one of her best friends.  Two couples, two cheaters.  My roommate knew what she was doing was wrong and would probably hurt two people she cared about very badly, but she was addicted to the thrill of sleeping with her illicit lover.  He was apparently very exciting.  I was lucky enough to exit that living arrangement by the time everything blew up.  I heard it went down ugly.

Another roommate moved out of the dorm and went to live with her boyfriend.  They had the worst relationship I had ever seen. She was so abusive to him, calling him ugly and stupid and telling him that he was going nowhere and that his mother was right when she told him he was a loser.  He stayed, as far as I could see, because her father's VISA card paid the rent and perhaps because he'd been trained at home to take this sort of vitriolic commentary on his shortcomings.  It was awful.  In any case, one night he brought home a friend - a guy he introduced me to and whom I dated for a short time - and my roommate and this friend got it on in the bedroom while he stayed and got drunker in the living room.  She confessed this all to me tearfully.  She was afraid I would not forgive her for sleeping with this loser.  After all, we had gone out.  She didn't care what her boyfriend thought or felt about what she'd done.

Another roommate flirted with cheating for two semesters.  Her boyfriend had graduated and moved far away, but they were still a couple.  She had a really hard time staying faithful.  She kept hooking up and telling herself she needed this, and then her boyfriend would fly back for Christmas and she would vow to do better because he was such a great guy, and then inevitably, she'd be getting lots of calls from "Steve" or "Mike," and the whole cycle would start over again.

What I didn't understand about any of the above is why these women didn't just break up with their boyfriends.  None of them were married, and all of them were in some way unhappy with the terms of their relationships.  These weren't women with no other options either.  In the last case, my roommate was literally flooded with options.  The phone never stopped ringing.

Here's the thing: cheating is bad.  It's bad when guys do it, and it's bad when girls do it too.  It's cruel and selfish, and it sets up someone you have publicly professed to have feelings for to be humiliated.  It amplifies the sadness of a break up, and that can have further consequences that can't always be predicted.  Lovers who are cheated on sometimes get violent.  Sometimes they get even.

It also makes you look really, really bad.  I would insert the old adage, "Cheaters never prosper," here, but I'm afraid that they sometimes do.  It's still a bad idea to tell the world that you are untrustworthy, that you do not keep your promises or mean it when you profess to love someone.  Because sleeping with some other guy is not a loving act; it's not the act of a woman of integrity.

Break it off with your boyfriend if you aren't happy - before you get involved with someone else.  If you are married, shake off temptation and stay married.  You made vows.  There's a certain satisfaction in becoming and being the kind of person who keeps the promises she makes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Piece of Advice #61: Do NOT embrace your inner slut

Jaclyn Friedman just posted a piece at feministe.com entitled, "My Sluthood, Myself" revealing in detail how she healed herself from her last bad breakup by having sex with 9 different men she picked up through Craigslist Casual Encounters.  Her argument is that she needed sex and affection, but she kept trying to get it through relationships that she entered into because she so desperately needed sex and affection.  In bypassing any attempt to find meaning or closeness in sex, she was able to get what she wanted and journey to a better mental place where she needed a relationship less and was therefore more able to seek out a more positive one.

The high points:

1) She knew what she was doing was physically dangerous and did it anyway.
I’m telling you this because sluthood is scary. Because we’ve been taught to fear it all our lives, and that training doesn’t just go away because we understand the agenda behind it. And because there are real risks involved. Society likes to punish slutty women. And so do a lot of individual men, some of whom frequent Craigslist Casual Encounters.
But had she been beaten or raped, no doubt she would have blamed the "rape culture."  Because Jaclyn is a firm believer in this rape culture and is never a victim blamer.  Even when there is no victim, such as when positing a hypothetical situation during a CNN interview.  There still might have been a victim because people place themselves in dangerous situations, but they are never at fault, even at a theoretical level.  Because people - women specifically, in her worldview - have to be free to make the stupidest decisions ever and be protected from any bad outcome.  Friedman's motto appears to be: "Creating the feminist utopia of tomorrow with every avoidable rape and assault today."

2) She wants other women to feel as free to be a slut as she does.
It’s a choice we should all have access to because it has the potential to be liberating. Healing. Soul-fulfilling. I’m telling you this because sluthood saved me, in a small but life-altering way, and I want it to be available to you if you ever think it could save you, too. 
3) She wants you to offer emotional/verbal/physical/legal/whatever backup for other self-actualizing sluts:
I’m telling you this because sluthood requires support. Because any woman who indulges these urges carries with her a lifetime of censure and threat. That’s a loud chorus to overcome. A slut needs a posse who finds her exploits almost as delicious as she finds them herself, who cares about her safety and her stories and her happiness but not one whit about her virtue. A slut alone is a slut in difficulty, possibly in danger. 
One can not help wondering, given #2 and #3 above and the overwhelming number of positive comments this piece generated, whether feminists are now operating on the idea that if we are all of us sluts, we are none of us sluts.  If there's nothing in the cupboard to eat but oatmeal, we'll all happily eat oatmeal.  And without sugar or even milk.

There are so many things I disagree with in Jaclyn Friedman's message here, but even if you don't, take this away: if this is what the dating pool now looks like, think of the market value a slim, chaste, not certifiably insane young woman has by her sheer scarcity.   Supply.  Demand.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Piece of Advice #52: Drop the princess act

A reader asked me to comment on the following:

"A 'friend' of mine wanted her boyfriend to take her on a romantic date to a zoo. The zoo had some special date night thing for Valentine's Day.  She would hint at how cool zoos are and how he never does anything nice, and how they should do something special for Valentine's because they never do anything exciting. She would whine to me about how he wasn't getting the hint. I told her just to tell him that is what she wanted she said, 'It has to be his idea or as close to as he can have.'  When it turned out that the food at the event wasn't that good and it was a little crowded and not what she expected, she blamed him.  He 'had a stupid idea for Valentine's - I mean who thinks animals are romantic?  He could have just been normal and gone to Olive Garden.' Since she never said, 'I want to go to the zoo,' when he tried to point out it was her idea, she said it wasn't. She never said she wanted to and where would he have gotten that idea? Just because she likes tigers doesn't mean she wants to spend Valentine's Day with smelly animals." 

Well.  There's a lot to work with here, isn't there?  This reader sent in a number of examples of this sort of thing - women expecting men to read their minds and put on a huge romantic production to satisfy their need to pedestal balance.

First of all, gifts are gifts.  They are to be distributed according to the discretion of the giver, not on a fixed calendar schedule.  No one should be obligated to organize an extravaganza for a minor holiday (or a major one, for that matter).  If you keep your expectations at a lower level, you will be happy when people do nice things for you, no matter how small.

If you are not a goddess, do not expect a ritual sacrifice at periodic intervals.  Really, if he changes your oil, you should make a big fat deal over it.  If he shows up with flowers - picked flowers - appreciate the gesture. And return it.  It's the little things that make life worth living.  Cliché, but true.

Secondly, humans have cultivated language over the millenia so as to communicate their needs.  Isn't it great how we can put words together in sentences and let other people know what we are thinking?  That ability could have been utilized here.  None of us are mind readers, and we shouldn't have to be.  Also, men are not women.  I've yet to meet a man who has mined romantic literature for ideas on how to better impress their lovers, and if they did that and women found out, well, unless he was George Clooney the sneering would be intense.  We women want our men just to know inherently what smooth moves to make.  But, you know, Mr. Darcy is fictional.  And kind of an elitist jerk for a good portion of the novel.  What happened to just appreciating a man who is kind and giving, even when things flop?  It's the effort that counts, or should be.

Thirdly, Olive Garden?  Seriously?  The wait on Valentine's Day has to be like an hour and a half.  I'd rather eat a picnic dinner next to the monkey house than stand crammed next to all of humanity for 90 minutes holding a vibrating disc.  

Bottom line: don't ask men to do things or be able to do things that you yourself can't or won't do in return, and don't expect to be catered to just for being female.  Work to appreciate the things you are given, not the things you think you might like.

*If you have a topic you would like to see covered here, I can be reached at grerp at yahoo dot com.