A Mom Explains The Gender Binary Around Us

Happy belated mother’s day, y’all!

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Peering Through a Canadian Perspective

The Gravedigger’s Art:  https://books.google.ca/books/about/The_Gravedigger_s_Art.html?id=qd8ymAEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

Front Cover

This is a really great book of poems by a Canadian, Owen Hughes.  I picked it up out of curiosity and enjoyed it very much.  If you know the author, please let me know, I can’t find this guy anywhere online and would like to know if he has written anything else and where his career has gone.  Seriously, Owen Hughes, let’s get in touch!

The Mask You Live In 4/5 STARS

When men complain about the pressure to be tall and muscular, they’re right.  They’re absolutely right that they’re expected to be physically imposing.  At it’s worst, they’re expected to assert their power through violence.  And, underneath the posturing, they are forced to hide their feelings.

The Mask You Live In, available on Canadian Netflix, lays all of the ways we set boys up for failure out in the open.  Most of us are desensitized to the messages beaten into us, that we become blind.  Not just physically, but psychologically, by the way we talk, what we watch, and who we idolize.

A few criticisms I’d make is that it’s alluded that boys watching “bondage porn” are somehow more toxically masculine.  While porn is a problem in the ways it portrays sex, I don’t really agree with the insinuated evil of kink/BDSM.  I’d like to add that different ways of having sex are fine as long as they are consensual.  I wish they had had a sex educator in the documentary explain this point…

Overall, I agreed with the film’s main ideas.  It covered the causes and effects of Toxic Masculinity and the Demonization of Femininity.  The Mask You Live In made me very emotional in spots: I teared up, and I’m not one to cry during movies.  Most of the time, I was just nodding my head.

Interesting Experiences in The City

A stranger at the bus stop yesterday politely came up to me and said I had, “really cool makeup, man.”  This really brightened my afternoon when I just wanted to go home and sleep.  This is in contrast to being catcalled a week or so ago.  Some faith in my fellow metropolitans has been restored.

(That was the first and only time I’ve been catcIMG_1723alled, I now reconsider wearing skirts when I’m going out as they seem to make some straight men see me in a whole different light.  Now I just dress like a like a spooky androgyne–not your sex object now, huh?)

Innes Road Injustice

Mutiur Rehman believes he’s Jesus, and that he is Tupac‘s prodigy.  Yes, that Tupac, the deceased rapper we’re all familiar with.  Before you laugh, consider this: how long can you be alone, before you start to hallucinate?

According to accounts from Rehman’s family members, it took him about a year to start hearing things.  In total, he spent 18 months in solitude against his will.

This all happened at the infamous Innes Road jail in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  This jail has been under scrutiny for its inhumane treatment of inmates; including locking them in shower rooms, overcrowding, and its use of solitary confinement.

Now, Mutiur Rehman has received a diagnosis of schizophrenia, an illness that can be exacerbated by stress.  His mother and father believe the stress and loneliness of being in prison for two years caused him to hear voices.

It’s irrelevant why Rehman was in the Innes Road jail, and what he did or didn’t do.  Inmates aren’t monsters or demons deserving of punishment: they are human beings.  Fundamentally,  people do not deserve abuse.

 

To help you understand Schizophrenia a bit better, I have added some videos to this post:

Science and Religion Mix– but Should They?

retractionwatch.com/2016/03/02/hands-are-the-proper-design-by-the-creator-plos-one-paper-suggests

Many are wondering why the now infamous Plos One paper, Biomechanical Characteristics of Hand Coordination in Grasping Activities of Daily Living, was published.  In case you aren’t familiar with it, the paper has come under fire by scientists for its mentions of “the Creator” and intelligent design.  Some are wondering if it was proper to retract the piece at all.

“The biomechanical characteristic of [the human hand] is the proper design by the Creator”

–Biomechanical Characteristics of Hand Coordination in Grasping Activities of Daily Living

Jabs about creationists aside, the debate over how the paper passed reviewer’s judgement should take a step back.

One good point that has been raised is that we should tolerate calm discussion of different points of view in academia.  On the surface, I agree with that statement. However, in this context, it does not apply.  A scientific paper should not debate matters of theism, philosophy, etc.  This should be left to the liberal arts.  Philosophy exists for weighing different ideas, views, and truths–such as if there is evidence of a “Creator.”

Secondly, the paper does not try to argue that “the Creator” exists and designed human hands.  It is merely an offhand mention.  Since the authors are not intending to convince you of “the Creator’s” existence, I would say this is simply inappropriate wording.  It was a poor decision to bring religion and deities into a banal piece about fingers.  Not to mention that is risks alienating Plos One’s reader base.  If I were the editor, I’d be a bit embarrassed right now.

Finally, I need to mention that the authors have claimed that “the Creator” is a poor translation of a Chinese saying, which was intended to mean nature.  I don’t speak Chinese, but I think it’s a fair point–translations are not always accurate.  It can be difficult to convey the feelings and ideas associated with certain foreign words and phrases to an English audience.

We can only wait and see how Plos One manages the blunder. It’s also pertinent to say that the retraction of somebody’s work can ruin their career, their livelihood.  Will the authors regain respect in their field, or be dismissed as creationists?

I got Offended and Flustered in a Bookstore

I was bored, and at a shopping mall. I went into a Chapters, a huge bookstore chain in Canada.  I love to mill about in Chapters and peruse interesting books and seeing what’s popular.

I made my way to the back of the store, and in the tiny LGBTQIA(Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) section, my faith in humanity was struck down.  There was a clear spot on the shelf for Dan Savage‘s latest book, American Savage.  To make matters worse, it was obvious that the stack of books was once thicker, and now only one copy remained.  I can only assume this means that people are picking up American Savage, paying for it, and reading it.  I absolutely detest, straight to my core,(possibly too fervently) Dan Savage.  I believe that he should have been charged for hate speech a long time ago and that Indigo Books & Music Inc. should not sell his books.  I beg of you, !ndigo, to dispose of your stock of American Savage.  I plan on directly contacting the company later with my complaint.

“It is not crazy when you meet a bi person to wonder if they are really bi. It isn’t disrespectful. It is rational.” Dan Savage in an interview.

Many people don’t understand my beef with Dan Savage.  First off, he’s a loose cannon, making intolerant remarks often–he once said, “(GPC Candidate Carl Romanelli) should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.”  It doesn’t matter who Romanelli is, I don’t want to support someone who speaks so violently.  Savage is well-known amongst writers as someone who bullies people who criticize him in columns and blogs(He patronizingly laments the “hordes of angry bisexuals” who send him mail).  Savage has a long-standing reputation of Bi Erasure(a form of Biphobia diminishing and denying Bisexuality): stating that bisexual men don’t exist, that gay people should not date bisexuals, and that bisexuals should only date other bisexuals(source).  He blames Biphobia on bisexuals not coming out of the closet to prove stereotypes wrong– when things would change drastically if people like him, with a large audience, would stop enforcing negative assumtions around bisexuality.  In the past he has also been critiqued for using the term “tranny,” which is generally considered a slur against trans people.  The worst part is that, as a well-liked figure, people believe his unfair statements.

Dan Savage has built his career on Shut Up Dan Savageinflammatory rants and crassly stated opinions via a popular sex and relationships advice column.  He entertains people, much like how we all love to hate Donald Trump bumble and rave about certain groups of people.  The difference is that Savage is perceived as a good role-model partly because of his activism and the It Gets Better Project.  Still, it’s not okay to spread harmful judgements about people he knows nothing about.  Bisexuals and their allies want to stop feeling rejected from the gay, lesbian, and trans community.  Their sexuality is valid, and I hope !ndigo and other bookstores can reflect that truth by refusing to provide a podium for hatred.

  Everyone needs to hold Dan Savage to account for his hurtful words.

Hey Barbie, Let’s Talk

Mattel has just revealed their new Barbie “Fashionistas” dolls that activists and the company are calling “reflective of the world (girls) see today.”(hey, boys can play with Barbies too!) Parents and collectors alike can now pre order them online, which come in “Petite,” “Curvy,” “Tall,” and “Original” body types. There are precisely 7 skin tones, 22 eye colours, and 24 hairstyles.

I’m really loving the curvy, tall, and short body types.  Regrettably, Mattel, I’ve still got a bone to pick with you.

First off: gingers(or redheads.)  There are two dolls; one with brilliant vermillion hair, the other a more orangey shade, with (supposedly) natural red hair. This is great–orange hair is a recessive gene, making gingers a minority(1-2% of the population), and even people of color can have this trait.  Gingers with white skin are usually quite fair-skinned.  Freckles, moles, Rosacea, and other kinds of discoloration are common among this group.  The orange haired doll has a few moles on her face, so bravo to the creator. The doll with red, red hair has uniform skin. I had a friend with hair naturally that colour, and she was covered in (wonderful)freckles. This isn’t to say that all people with red hair are freckle-covered, but I think we can all agree that many fair skinned people have moles, ruddy skin, and freckles galore. Especially with such red hair and the skin that typically goes with it. I would love to see a Barbie Doll with even a peppering of freckles across the bridge of her nose and cheekbones–plenty of kids and adults look like this, as opposed to the even-skinned dolls Barbie has always sold.

Barbie® Fashionistas™ Doll 29 Terrific Teal - Tall - Shop.Mattel.comBarbie® Fashionistas™ Doll 16 Team Glam - Original - Shop.Mattel.com

 

Secondly, Barbie needs to lay off the Rhinoplasty. Every freaking doll has a tiny “button” nose. My dog has a (relatively)bigger nose than any Barbie–and he’s a Pug, who has

Barbie® Fashionistas™ Doll 25 Blue Brocade - Petite - Shop.Mattel.com

RIP Breathing

trouble breathing if the temperature changes too much. Noses come in all sorts of sizes and shapes–just like the rest of our bodies.  For most of my childhood and teen years, I was incredibly dissatisfied with my big, “ugly” nose. There is no famous woman I can think of(other than Uma Thurman) that has a nose typically considered “unappealing.” By the way, Thurman still gets slammed for her appearance, when she isn’t even in the spotlight. Can you imagine how strange it would be, to grow up never seeing somebody who looked like you? Point made, moving on.

 

One last thing I’d like to mention is that the proportions of Barbie are still unrealistic. For example, “Petite” does not always mean skinny.  The “Petite” sized dolls are like a shorter version of the “Original” Barbie. Do the creators of Barbie actually think everyone under 5’4(and over 6ft, for that matter) is super skinny? I’d suggest adding “Petite Curvy” and “Tall Curvy” Dolls to the mix at a later date.

Honorable Mentions and Positive Highlights of the New Barbies:

Barbie® Fashionistas™ Doll 32 Dolled Up Denim - Curvy - Shop.Mattel.com

This doll looks exactly like Jackie Brown, from the Tarantino movie of the same name. It’s uncanny!

Barbie® Fashionistas™ 44 Leather & Ruffles Doll & Fashions - Tall  - Shop.Mattel.com

This Doll, which looks like Jennifer Lawrence(sort of).

Barbie® Fashionistas™ Doll 19 Ruby Red Floral - Original - Shop.Mattel.com

An Asian Barbie! The new Line has a few other Asian Dolls, too.

 

Barbie® Fashionistas™ Doll 23 Love That Lace - Petite - Shop.Mattel.com

This doll, which has more realistic blond hair than the platinum locks of the Original Barbie(and it has a boss haircut).

Barbie® Fashionistas™ Doll 33 Fab Fringe - Tall - Shop.Mattel.com

This one has an awesome afro. It’s great to see Barbies with short hair!(Short hair isn’t just for lesbians… and even if she is gay, how is that a bad thing?)

 

Barbie® Fashionistas™ 43 Lacey Blue Doll & Fashion - Tall  - Shop.Mattel.com

Another Barbie with a mole!

Barbie® Fashionistas™ 39 Emoji Fun Doll & Fashions - Curvy  - Shop.Mattel.com

Your hair and glasses are on point, girl!