Throwing out the baby with the bathwater

11 01 2008

Bush says the U.S. should have bombed Auschwitz. Really, Mr. President? We should have bombed a camp full of helpless concentration camp internees to stop the killing…of helpless concentration camp internees? That’s your brilliant historical insight?


I’ve been poorly

30 12 2007

Sorry for the vast desert of posting, ya’ll. I’ve been stressed out and sick, but I’m not going to fall back on that excuse anymore. I’ve also suffered from a serious case of outrage fatigue. So many stories in the past few months to break your heart and stomp all over the pieces – how do you choose which ones to talk about? How do you not talk about them ALL because they’re all worthy? I suspect this is the baby blogger’s dilemma, no? I’m also fixing to register, so expect a location change in the next couple of days. It’s the end of the year, and while there are things coming up in the next few months that are scary as hell, I actually feel pretty hopeful, and ready to tackle it all. Let’s do it together, shall we? Safety in numbers, and all that.

u cannot has cheezburger

25 06 2007

One more thing to blame on mothers: if you ate a lot of beef when you were pregnant, your son might, maybe, some day grow up to have a low sperm count. Oh, pay no mind to the fact that these yahoos polled 387 dudes, found 51 whose mothers fit the criteria on beef eating, and of THOSE 51, 18% had lower sperm counts. None of them were actually infertile or required assistance conceiving, mind you. But despite this fact, the researcher “cannot advise women on how much beef is safe to eat during pregnancy”. This is effed up on so many levels.

One – these men actually went back and had their mothers fill out a questionnaire about their prenatal diets, some of whom were born in the mf’ing 1940s. I don’t know about other women, but I only remember the biggies – with my daughter, I ate a ton of sushi (now on the THOU SHALT NOT list for mothers) and with my son it was, actually, hamburgers I craved. Now, we’re not talking more than 1 a day, or even 1 a day. But if you asked me to recall the particulars of my day to day prenatal diet, about the only thing you’ll hear is a horror story about trying to keep my requisite daily glasses of milk down. I just don’t remember the details. And that was only 12 and 7 years ago, respectively. Will I be able to answer those questions when the boychild is in his 30s and can’t knock up his wife and so blames my hamburger craving? Heck no.

Two – enough with the mother-shaming, you jerks. Seriously, enough is enough. I have absolutely lost all track of what all isn’t safe to do, eat, have, wear, think, own, drink, or smoke while you’re knocked up. It seems that as long as they can keep on adding to that list, every single time a woman has a baby with some sickness or disorder, they can turn around and point their fingers at the mother, who had that one piece of salmon nigiri at 4 months gestation or that half glass of wine on her birthday at 7 months or went to listen to her favorite band and breathed a little secondhand smoke at 8 months and they can blame her.

That’s really it, though, isn’t it? You keep wrapping these cocoons around women, infantalizing them, shaming them, playing on a mother’s natural feelings of responsibility and love, and using that guilt to exert more and more control over their lives. And not just when they’re pregnant, either. No, now you’re ‘pre-pregnant’ from the first damn day you bleed till well after you’re too old to. And because we love the baybeez so damn much, we’ll protect them from your womanly stupidity and cluelessness by prosecuting pregnant women for having a drink, smoking a cigarette, or who knows what the hell next.

If my son ever whines to me that he has low sperm count because I craved burgers when he was in me, I swear to god that boy will receive a whack upside the head with whatever blunt object is nearest. Preferably a shoe, so I can have a proper Irish mother tantrum.

The most offensive thing about this mother-shaming attitude is how much it cheapens what mothers do, reducing all that love, pain, and self-sacrifice down to a checklist. Down to some commandments issued from on high. Thou shalt not enjoy your cup of coffee, your sushi lunch, the air you breathe, the animals you keep, the pastimes you love. How long until they’re strapping you down to a hospital bed so you can incubate safely?

Now I can rest easy

11 06 2007
You Are 100% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn’t mean you’re a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It’s a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.

Are You a Feminist?

Whew, and here I was so worried I might be just a little bit of a misogynist.

Nickolodeon morality

10 06 2007

I see a lot of kids’ shows. No really, a lot. My daughter’s more then Disney Channel type (when she’s not watching trashy TV like The Pussycat Dolls, ew), but my son, also known as the clinging tick, watches Nickolodeon. Which means I watch a lot of Nickolodeon. Last night, he was watching a Nick original movie (not so original, if you ask me) and they used Smashmouth’s ‘Walking on the Sun’ as a backing track for a montage scene.

You, being familiar with this song, might think immediately that maybe it’s not the most tasteful choice for a tweener movie. I mean, really it talks about smoking dope and dead babies! It’s especially not so appropriate used for a cheerful montage. Did that stop Nick? Oh hell no! They chose to just mask out the words altogether whenever they sing about toking. But the part about a baby’s life being revoked? STILL IN. So, let’s get this straight – toking bad, dead babies A-OK. Right! Gotcha!

I’ve given up on Hollywood ever actually listening to the lyrics of music they use (between Semi-Charmed Life being used to promote a little kid’s movie and Lust for Life selling cruises and  Blister in the Sun used to sell MF’ing CHICKEN SANDWICHES) but I think that sort of encapsulates everything – drug use bad, violence okay.

I’m the last person you’ll ever hear bleating about THE CHILDREEEEEEEN. I don’t think my son noticed the words to the song at all. I wouldn’t turn it off the radio. Our current in-car listening is My Chemical Romance, alternating with Blue October. We are not prudes. But if you’re going to be hijacking songs for kids’ movies and then altering them to the point of meaninglessness, how about you go ahead and just, I dunno, use another song?

On weight

10 06 2007

I’m not skinny. I keep thinking I’m not ‘fat’, because I can still wear clothes bought in ‘normal’ stores, and I don’t ever think ‘gee, I’d like to do X but I’m not physically able to because of my weight’. I do whatever I please, from hiking to swimming to hoisting heavy stuff. But the thing is, I AM. I’m fat. When I was a teenager, I was borderline anorexic, going for days with so many knots in my stomach that I could only eat salad and drink diet coke. I was never ‘skinny’ – I think my lowest weight once I reached full growth was 120 pounds, which meant a size 9. And that was in starvation mode. When I reached maturity in my early 20s I started birth control pills. Then, over a period of six months or so, while being vegetarian and going to the uni gym about 4 times a week, I gained 60 pounds that I have never ever lost.

I have a hard time with self image. My friends are used to how vehemently anti-photo I am – my outsides as captured on film never ever match my insides, and it hurts. For the longest time, I thought the answer was just to starve myself. To keep starving myself. I could never do it though. The only time I ever lost weight was when I was at my most depressed, most miserable after I had my son. I struggle every day to love myself as I am, because I’m not lazy. I do not have high blood pressure. I do not have bad cholesterol. I am nowhere near diabetic. I am active. I work SO HARD to keep my home and raise my kids and further my career, but I feel that I will never ever be good enough.

What’s awful is the hypocrisy. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat in a restaurant eating something, and have some muscular, mesomorph looking person get up and walk past me and give me a LOOK. You know the look. What stings? The fact that they’ve just gotten up from eating the same. damn. thing. Exactly what I ate. Maybe more. They might be going home to veg on the couch instead of going on a hike like me. Or going home to clean house or walk the dog. Or play with the kids. But I’m the fat, disgusting pig who dared to eat something.

Or, just maybe, I might be going home to curl up on the couch myself and read a book and take a break for a little while, but that’s not okay for me. In any case, going out to eat, alone because dating is something else I can’t handle at all, is like running a gauntlet. I do it, because I am stubborn that way, but it seems like nearly every time  there’s some kind of LOOK.

I once had a GYN tell me that I had severe endometriosis because I wasn’t ‘exercising regularly’. I asked him how I could do that, when I woke up at 5 already for work every day, got my daughter to daycare, worked till 5, picked her up, and then cooked, cleaned, took care of her, etc till she went to bed, and then I followed, and was only making 20K a year – hardly enough for a gym membership. He told me ‘get up at 4 and run’. He wouldn’t help me at all beyond that. Get up at 4. (For the record, he was a flabby old white dude.)

I will never be thin. It’s just as simple as that. Not ever. I had a stupid crush on a gorgeous guy (who turned out to be gay – the ONE time my gaydar fails me!) and thought hey, if I only eat 1,000 calories a day, I’ll lose weight fast! He might like me! I stayed with that for about a month and a half, lost 10 lbs of water the first week, then nothing at all thereafter. Then I said ‘fuck it’ and he turned out to be gay anyway. It seemed like fate. That was the last time I tried dieting.

That was less than a year ago, and I feel like some kind of junkie trying to let go of the needle, you know? Every. single. time. I eat something ‘bad’ I feel guilty and wrong. But dieting just doesn’t work for me. Neither does consistent exercise. I just am what I am.  And that’s the hardest thing of all to accept.

So “pro-life” they’re running out of tiny baby coffins

29 04 2007

Ah, Mississippi. You are not an entirely unappealing state. You have a few things going for you, like drawling voices and a leisurely pace in life and some beautiful coastline. One thing you don’t have on your side?

You’re no longer part of the First World.

Mississippi now has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation: 11.4 out of 1000 births, compared to 6.9 per 1000 births nationwide (and the US as a whole is still coming in shamefully high compared to other nations like Norway, Sweden, Japan, etc.). Why does the state that, as Governor Haley Barbour says, is the safest for the unborn in the entire country, the state so ‘pro-life’ they make it next to impossible to get safe, legal abortion, have such a woefully high number of children dying before they see their first birthday?

The answer is damnably, diabolically simple: once the kid draws its first breath, they just don’t care. The proof is in the way they’ve slashed funding for both CHIP and Medicaid, making goddamn sure that their precious money isn’t going toward helping the sluts who can’t afford to take care of their own. You know, the ones they have because you forced them to? Yeah, them.

I think there’s another component to this debate, though – race. Think about it, who’s more likely to be on CHIP and Medicaid rolls but Mississippi’s large population of disadvantaged, disenfranchised people of color? Women who come from more privileged backgrounds can get in a car or on a plane and drive or fly to get an abortion if they need one, but poor women of color cannot, not to mention finding the money for an overnight hotel stay, someone to watch your (thanks to the kindness of MS, possibly hungry) already-born children, time off that job they forced you to take at Walmart because if you didn’t you’d lose what few benefits you have even though it means your kids, without your presence, are slipping farther through society’s cracks, because some patriarchal assholes in the government think you need to have 24 hours to ‘think it over’ after you go into the clinic once, as though this hasn’t consumed your every waking moment…it’s vicious.

Consider this: one of the groups expunged from MS’s CHIP rolls in 2005/2006 were legal resident alien children. Any wonder so many immigrants figure there’s nothing in it for them by playing by the rules? The poor are experts at the advanced calculus of risk/benefit analysis, and don’t you ever doubt it.

You starting to see how this works? It’s a domino effect, and I guarantee you that if we’re smart enough to see this trend, the government is, too. Now, since we know the moral conviction of the reichwing is the thinnest of veneers, the next logical question is really ‘What’s the big picture?’. What are they trying to accomplish? I can promise you that a blackhearted asshole like Rove or Cheney or Dobson or (insert airwaster here) doesn’t give two shits about the baybeeeez at the end of the day. ‘Life’ isn’t what matters to them. Wealth is.

Call me a kook, but what good comes of limiting abortion like this? Of withdrawing health care and assistance from hungry women and children? What could they possibly see as the advantage? What’s in it for them?

They are apparently unconcerned with the ability of the US to prosper in the new global economy, because to do that we have to have a competitive work force of highly educated people on the way, ones who can be the kind of knowledge workers who’ll be in highest demand. If they’re not aiming for that, then what will happen to all these children? The ones so poor they don’t get checkups, maybe get a free immunization or two when they’re required for school, the ones who only know how to take a tedious standardized test instead of thinking in grander, more complex terms because god forbid they be one of those children ‘left behind’*. What will they be good for?

Fueling a massive corporate and evangelical run feudal state, of course. They don’t need thinkers and dreamers – they produce those by homeschooling their precious white children and sending them to Regent University to make sure their thoughts and dreams are of an approved variety. They need workers. Workers who won’t think for themselves or buck the system out of abject fear of starving on the street.

*Ever wonder if it’s a coincidence that the super-fundy Bush cronies called this act No Child ‘LEFT BEHIND’? Since those books have been in the sweaty, fevered grip of every goddamned dominionist loony in the country, I don’t think it is.