Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Laura Ingram: ingesting hormones is bad for you

Listen to Jessica Valenti on *shudder* Ingram's show here. Note to Jessica: you go girl.
Near the end, Ingram goes on a brief diatribe about how taking birth control pills is bad for women because they're ingesting hormones everyday (but of course, because pregnancy is "the natural course of the human body" the havoc played on a woman's hormones is not bad for her -- which I guess is why ...nevermind, another subject for another day). Taking pharmaceuticals that synthesize hormones is bad for you.
I have two kinds of hormones I take daily. Birth control is one of them. The other is a naturopathically prepared synthesized thyroid hormone. One of these pills will prevent me from having to deal with the side effects of a condition that could leave me paralyzed. The other keeps me from losing my focus, getting migraines, keeps my energy level from dropping, and helps treat certain depression symptoms. Now, if you're a doctor, you're gonna know which one is which, but if you're Laura Ingram, I'm guessing you don't know which is which.
But that's not my point. My point in taking birth control is that I don't want to have children, and while it also helps to prevent a condition that could leave me paralyzed (because I have a hole in my spine and having something growing in my body right on top of the place where that hole is could have severe ramifications for my health), I don't really have to justify it. I don't want kids. I just happen to have medical reasons for that as well, and taking those hormones, while it may have an effect on my body at some point in my life is actually less dangerous to my overall health (and I suspect this is the case for a lot of women) than a pregnancy would be.
Now, the second part. The second hormone pill, Levothyroxine...
Our bodies make hormones naturally. During our entire lives, depending on stress level, diet, exercise level, and natural bodily chemistry, our hormones fluctuate. A woman has a cycle of hormone fluctuations and this is what causes various things to occur in our bodies that lead fertility and the much maligned and feared period. Hormones regulate everything in our bodies from the reproductive cycles (for each gender), to level of aggressiveness, even cravings for specific foods. Everything in the body is regulated by hormones. My body doesn't make enough thyroid hormone (which regulates, among other things, metabolism), and as a consequence makes too much thyroid stimulating hormone, called TSH, and that leads to a whole bunch of shit going on in my body including some of the symptoms listed above. So, every day I take a pill with a synthetic hormone called Levothyroxine in it which helps my body to regulate my T3 and T4, and make sure that I'm not producing too much TSH. I have a condition called hypothyroidism, and while it is mild (thank GOD!), not taking that synthetic hormone actually would do more damage to my body than taking a synthetic hormone.
So, once again, Laura Ingram doesn't have a fucking clue what she's talking about. Now, she might say "that's not what I meant!", because, well it isn't. Telling people that taking birth control pills could give you cancer (which I'm pretty sure there's no data to back up) is just another way of taking reproductive options away from women -- especially young women. There are some forms of birth control that are bad for you, (depending on your individual chemistry, your age, whether you smoke, blah blah blah), but a blanket statement like "taking synthetic hormones is bad for you" is not only demonstrably false (see above), but advice like that can actually hurt people. But of course, Laura Ingram is not a medical doctor (again, thank GOD!), so no one would take her advice seriously, would they?
I freaking hope not. I, for one, will be continuing to take my birth control to prevent pregnancy and to manage symptoms of what I think might be endometriosis; and I will also continue to take my thyroid pills every day. Because I know that not taking these synthetic hormones (which my body produces, but not in great enough amounts to do what I need the medicine to do) every day will in fact harm my body and quality of life more than whatever side effects may or may not be associated with taking synthetic hormones every day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Feminist Fuck You[r delicate sensibilities]

I belong to an internet community of really smart people with big egos, and in that internet community, we discuss all kinds of topics including female health issues. Recently the thread has been active. We've been talking about pap smears and other procedures that prevent cervical cancer, as well as menstruation and endometriosis. So one of the guys on the board comes into the thread and posts a "vomit" emoticon.
This is offensive for two reasons: first, the thread is called "female health issues", but because this man feels a sense of entitlement (not only to all areas of the board, but that everyone is entitled to his opinion) he feels it's not only necessary but acceptable for him to express his displeasure at our discussing our sexual organs as they exist in circumstances that aren't sexy. If you're a woman, you're probably not surprised by this. In fact, you're probably used to it, but that doesn't make it any less offensive.
Secondly, the discussion of the penis occurs throughout our culture (and message board) and is very rarely restricted to one thread on a message board. If the guys on the board wanted to talk about prostate health, it'd go into the general health thread. But not only are the women expected to keep discussion of our anatomy restricted to a single thread, we can't even be respected in that single thread and it becomes necessary for random penis-possessor to barge in on our conversation with a vomit emoticon. (And frankly, there was nothing even remotely graphic in that particular discussion. Certainly nothing vomit-worthy.)
Men pull this kind of shit all the time. The mere mention of a period, (any period, even the grammatical kind) is likely to cause a man to cringe. Posting "Woman issues. Ow." as my status on Facebook got me a "TMI!!!" and admonishment to step away from the crackberry from my boyfriend. Now, he's got more inside information than the average person who keeps up with my Facebook, but still. Yes, everyone knows what I meant by "woman issues", but it's certainly not too much information to post that I'm in pain. Which I am. And it pisses me off. (I won't even go into how "woman issues" only means one thing but "man issues" can mean anthing from health problems related to the male sexual organs to dating drama and daddy issues.)
So, to all those who are offended by my anatomy performing some other function than pleasing you, fuck you and your delicate sensibilities. I bleed. Get over it. And no, I'm not over-reacting cause of hormones. You're being an asshole.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Couple of things: poor Jessica. I know 3 against 1 is the model for conservatives versus liberals on cable, but holy shit, that was hideous. I'm surprised she was able to restrain herself from screaming over the other three women (actually not that surprised, Jessica's teevee persona is pretty even-keel), since they kept talking over her. I mean, how fucking rude is that?

Second, I don't get why the other gal couldn't even look at, let alone directly address Jessica. She was using the John McCain debate technique... I'm surprised no one was called "That One".

Finally, that shit at the end about "what girls do with their bodies have consequences for the rest of their lives"... that's why we should teach about contraception. Duh. And, uh, doesn't what anyone, regardless of gender, do with their bodies have a consequence? Or am I wrong in thinking that boys have to face up to consequences too?


Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Doggy Blogging

Sometimes Stewie is a very wistful dog. Earlier today, as momma was watchin' her stories, all he wanted was to go for a walk. And I snapped this picture with my Crackberry, without him even knowing.
We did go for a walk. He enjoyed it very much. Especially the part where we stopped at the doggy store and he got three cookies and some water.
Now he's asleep, and I'm watching Rachel Maddow and drinking a beer.
Welcome summer. Please, stay a while.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Play nice or get out

Lots of drama, (via).
Okay, let's start at the beginning with some vocab: "cis" or "cisgender", (if I am understanding it correctly by way of context as well as this post on Feministe), means that your genetic gender and the way your mind perceives itself gender-wise match up; cisgender people are people who are not transgender or otherwise gender-queer. For a lot of people (including those who are offended by the term), being cis means you are "normal", and I think that perception is what's causing a lot of the drama in Feminist Bloglandia.
For some reason, some people just don't understand that pluralism applies to everybody. If we get to live in a pluralistic society and have whatever sexuality we feel is normal or natural, that means everyone else does. And it doesn't stop at sexuality or religion or racial issues, it extends to gender. The funny thing is that feminism started as a gender issue, yet radical feminists are the last people to get on the gender-plurality bandwagon, and stop being assholes to people whose gender doesn't fit in with the binary gender our culture has forced upon us because our biology (mostly) limits us to one or the other.
The issue is that some feminists think that trans women aren't women. They get offended at the idea of a woman who was born male using the women's restroom. They think that the woman who was born male really is still male, and so will act like a man, and of course the transwoman, who identifies as a woman, who dresses as a woman, who experiences society as a woman -- who sometimes experiences society on even worse terms that ciswomen because she gets the sexist end of the stick from men and the cissexist end of the stick from some women -- is a woman. Period.
We've got all of this shit floating around about what makes a "real" man, what makes a "real" woman; but the large and small of the whole thing is that if you identify as a man, you are a man and if you identify as a woman you are a woman; if you identify as something other than a man or a woman, you are something other than that. And believe it or not people, there are those out there who identify as neither male nor female, or as both; those people exist and they need to be acknowledged as part of society and as part of feminism. Feminism isn't just for women who were born female, who were born white, who were born middle class. Feminism is for the betterment of all women everywhere, and that happens to have a pretty cool side effect (in theory) of making the life better for everyone else who do not identify as women.
The real issue here is prejudice... and well, outright hate in some cases. We can't do this. As feminists we can't do this. Those of us who are not transgender/genderqueer need to educate ourselves rather than expecting people who are transgender/genderqueer to do it, thereby othering them (either purposefully or subconsciously). After we get educated, we need to reach out to trans and genderqueer people and tell them we are sorry for excluding them from feminism and from society. These women (and men) are women and men. They experience society differently from cis-people, but part of that is because we make them. That's not fair.
And I'll tell you something about forcing someone to experience society differently because you think they deserve it: it's not okay. Men have done it to women because "god" made them bigger and stronger. White people have done it to non-whites because "god" advanced their technology faster so they could colonize the rest of the world. Straight people have done it to gay people because someone's god somewhere said that being gay was "an abomination". And now cis feminists are doing the same fucking thing to trans and genderqueer feminists (as well as poor, nonwhite, etc feminists) because god has made it so their brains and biological gender are the same? Come on. We feminists rail against sexism in all of its forms... but when we start acting like assholes because the people we're being sexist against were born male -- this is okay?
Newsflash: it's not. Sexism is wrong. Racism is wrong. Homophobia is wrong. Transphobia is wrong. Cissexism is wrong. We can't play this game, feminism. We can't cut people out like this. It's only going to make our job as feminists harder and our world uglier for all women.
People don't get to be treated well because they were lucky enough to be born "normal"; you treat people well because it's the right thing to do.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's too easy, but so hard not to

Have you seen this? It's this shit from Esquire (a magazine directed at upper-middle class, misogynist/homophobic businessmen -- you know, the kind who wears a three piece suit to a bar on a Saturday; have you met this guy? who the fuck does he think he is, anyway?) definitively defining the definition of manliness and manhood with uh... definition. Anyway, it's a puff piece about absolutely nothing.
"A man carries cash. A man looks out for those around him -- woman, friend, stranger. A man can cook eggs. A man can always find something good to watch on television."
A man doesn't give change to homeless people. A man makes sure that those around him are aware of how he is truly the fist of Chuck Norris. A man can't keep himself from changing the channel on the teevee, and/or is just dumb enough than any drivel even This Old House will placate him ("hey, I like This Old House", no you don't, no one likes that show). A man can write short little sentences describing nothing and then ramble on about how cool he is for 250 words.
"Know-how survives him"? What does that even mean?
"A man can speak to dogs." But a woman can get them to respond.

"A man listens, and that's how he argues. He crafts opinions. He can pound the table, take the floor. It's not that he must. It's that he can."
This is where it starts to get ugly. A. Man has the ability to make other people feel insecure. It's not that he must, it's that he can. A. Man is an asshole.
"A man can look you up and down and figure some things out. Before you say a word, he makes you. From your suitcase, from your watch, from your posture. A man infers."
A. Man is capable of deductive reasoning! Congratulations on figuring that one out Esquire! Good lord, it's like reading an essay by a 3rd grader.
"A man can tell you he was wrong. That he did wrong. That he planned to. He can tell you when he is lost. He can apologize, even if sometimes it's just to put an end to the bickering."
But again, let's not confuse "can" with "will". And remember ladies, it's usually your fault in the first place.
"A man loves the human body, the revelation of nakedness. He loves the sight of the pale bosom, the physics of the human skeleton, the alternating current of the flesh. He is thrilled by the wrist and the sight of a bare shoulder. He likes the crease of a bent knee."
Wow, A. Man is starting to sound less like James Bond and more like Richard from Ally McBeal. And what the hell is different about the physics of the human skeleton than the physics of the rest of the goddamn universe? Is "kinesthesiology" to big a word for A. Man?
This one's my favorite:
"Maybe he never has, and maybe he never will, but a man figures he can knock
someone, somewhere, on his bottom."
(Emphasis mine) This is why.
"He understands the basic mechanics of the planet. Or he can close one eye, look up at the sun, and tell you what time of day it is. Or where north is. He can tell you where you might find something to eat or where the fish run..."
Which is why he is never lost; no, he can't; no, he can't; the grocery store and the river, respectively.
"A miter saw, incidentally, is the kind that sits on a table, has a circular blade, and is used for cutting at precise angles. Very satisfying saw."
This bit I just found odd. First, because I have a degree in sculpture that has enabled me on at least one subject and that is the subject of power tools, and I'm pretty sure I didn't sprout a penis my sophomore year of college. Second, because miter saws are expensive and redundant for two reasons: the regular old table saw (for lengths of wood), and the chop saw (now there is a fucking satisfying saw) both of which are versetile enough to enable the more practical, useful and easier to manage 90 degree angled cuts as well as the fancy I-learned-to-make-this-on-This-Old-House "precise" angled cuts that most people don't use because a miter joint is less stable than a butt joint and harder to work with. Don't believe me? Look around your house. How many miter joints do you see? They aren't even used in door frames anymore cause they're so fucking ridiculous.
"Or he stands watch. He interrupts trouble. This is the state policeman. This is the poet. Men, both of them."
Well, except for the ones that are... you know... not.
And, the coupe de gras:
"A man watches. Sometimes he goes and sits at an auction knowing he won't spend a dime, witnessing the temptation and the maneuvering of others. Sometimes he stands on the street corner watching stuff. This is not about quietude so much as collection. It is not about meditation so much as considering. A man refracts his vision and gains acuity. This serves him in every way. No one taught him this -- to be quiet, to cipher, to watch. In this way, in these moments, the man is like a zoo animal: both captive and free. You cannot take your eyes off a man when he is like that. You shouldn't. Who knows what he is thinking, who he is, or what he will do next."
(Emphasis mine) A. Man will make idle threats just to keep everyone else in line. And that, my friends, is what the patriarcy is for.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Really? That offended you?

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of the Burger King ad campaigns... the Whopper Jr. and his friend the flaming chicken thing, the exceedingly creepy King... whoever does the ad-storming for Burger King are clearly a bunch of morons who eat too much fast food. At least, until we get the parody of "Baby Got Back" that merges the cultural stalwart with Spongebob Squarepants. This is actually a sign of improvement.
"Yes, because nothing sells fast food to children better than provocatively-dressed women shaking their asses to a remix of Sir-Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back.""
says Feministing blogger Richaro. And while I could get us all bogged down in the correction of music industry lingo (it's not a remix, the mix is exactly the same, right down to Sir Mix doing the new lyrics), I prefer to address the sarcasm that is essentially the only commentary on the commercial.
Guess what. Kids don't have money. They aren't trying to sell to children, they're selling to parents, and while the presence of Spongebob and his square pants (in their various forms) is made to catch the attention of the children so they squeal until mom and dad pay attention.
The other thing is, no asses are being shaken. People don't actually have square butts, that's a piece of foam in those short-shorts and the only thing which is being shaken (you'll notice no titties jiggle, even in the full version), moreover, it's not the dancers who are being exploited but Spongebob himself who, as a cartoon character actually has no agency to violate or exploit.

Speaking of the full version, when you watch it, you can see that it is truly a parody of "Baby Got Back", the video for which, humorous as it was, did exploit women. The only thongs in this video are on Spongebob.
This is one of those instances where we feminists need to have a sense of humor.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't mind if I do...

Dear Mr. Beck,
If it didn't contribute to the suffering of humanity (by virtue of you being human and all - at least I assume that you are), I would. But because it would cause suffering, I won't set you on fire. Lucky for you, most people out there think the way I do on this one... but there might be some who don't, so don't go around asking to be punched in the face.

Friday Feminist Fuck You: The word is "vagina"

The word is VAGINA. Say it with me male comedians VA-GIN-A. Not *whistling noise*. You are perfectly capable of saying the word "penis" on cable television, I know this cause you just said it. So, unless you're afraid of them, the word is VAGINA. And if you're afraid of a little VAGINA you need to be in therapy not a comedy club in New York City, especially since you are straight-identified.

RIGHT THERE! You just said "penis" again! And now you're talking about sketching someone's balls, yet instead of saying "vagina" you whistle? What the fuck? You're on Comedy Central, douche nozzle, not fucking Sesame Street.

The worst part is, this guy isn't even funny. I'm just wasting time until the Daily Show is on. I'll be Jon Stewart can say the word "vagina" out loud rather than whistling. That's cause Jon is a real comedian. You know, the kind who is funny.

Oh and the joke about punching Jeff Dunham in the face (cause really, how many ventriloquists are there anymore?) was not funny for two reasons: 1) you are not funny, 2) Jeff Dunham is funny. Even if some of his puppets are assholes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wrasslemania! YAH!

Considering that masculinity in our culture is generally defined as being "not gay", how is a bunch of oiled up guys running around in speedos supposed to be manly?
Or is it that manliness in our culture is really such a non sequitur that if you put on enough of a show to make yourself seem macho, you are by default manly regardless of how oiled up and mostly naked you are?
Which also prompts a question: that "ultimate fighting" stuff usually has two guys, within mere seconds of the fight beginning, wrapped around each other with one guy's face in the other guys ass or crotch. However, because they're beating the crap out of each other, it's not really "gay" it's "macho". So, does that mean that gay men who are into rough/violent (consensual) sexual activity are not really gay because they're beating each other up?
Am I just missing something here?

Friday, April 3, 2009

I am so blessed

I was talking to my BFF-since-junior-high today and at one point she said, "You're doing really well with this Mary Kay thing, and I'm really proud of you."

There is a reason this woman is my BFF. Her saying that and giving me that encouragement really touched my heart. And I realized, I am so blessed to have the wonderful and supportive friends and family. So, I want to thank those people for all they do for me. You are the key to my success.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My capitalist dream isn't based in capitalism

Mary Kay Ash started Mary Kay Cosmetics with one thing in mind: the Golden Rule.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
This socialistical* mantra is the basis for the most successful cosmetics companies, (and the number 3 brand overall) in the country. This free market, capitalistic, every-man-for-himself country. That a company like Mary Kay Cosmetics was even able to get off the ground amazed a lot of people; that it controls a full 10% of the market today speaks very highly of this socialistical ideal.
What's funny about this ideal though is that it levels out the playing field. Everyone starts at the same place with the same thing: a starter kit and many resources from the company (including what to say, how to say it, and lots of other education about the products) that help consultants to book classes, sell product, and share the opportunity with others. Now, the playing field isn't completely level from the start because everyone has different gifts -- some are good at talking and turning on the charm, some have more money for inventory, some have more motivation -- but because we all treat each other the way we would like to be treated, everyone is as successful as they want to be.
So weird that people whose careers are based in such utterly liberalistic*, socialistical nonsense could actually be successful. My god, it's like capitalism with manner! And we all know there's no room for manners in capitalism! It's every-man-for-himself! Only I am entitled to that profit!
Only I am entitled to that profit... that's what most companies are based on. Strangely, people who think like this also decry what they like to call "entitlement programs" like Social Security and Food Stamps which help people who have retired, or hey, haven't managed to yet pull themselves up by their bootstraps (usually because they don't even have feet let alone shoes!); yet they continually scream about how corporations are entitled to make profit. When you think about it, that's what this whole Wall Street bailout garbage is. People didn't do the work necessary, they did the wrong things; they put their own needs first and they didn't abide by the Golden Rule so that by the end of it for every dollar in capital they "owned" there was $30 in debt. Now, if one of these executives at one of these Wall Street firms had known Mary Kay Ash and thought "well, I sure as hell wouldn't want someone dicking around with my money like this, maybe I shouldn't do it to someone else" or "gee, I wouldn't want some lender to trick me into getting a loan that I couldn't afford on my salary even if I worked 100 hour weeks, maybe I shouldn't do that to someone else" instead of chanting this mantra about being entitled to profit and huge golden parachutes given for driving a company into the ground; we wouldn't be in this situation.
If more companies were run according to how Mary Kay Ash set things down when she started Mary Kay Cosmetics, our economy would be doing a lot better. As it is, Mary Kay Cosmetics (and the huge independent sales force) have proved over and over again that cosmetics and skin care are recession-proof, but the basis of this company makes it even stronger. We strive to make people feel special, and it's that "Go-Give" (as opposed to "Go Get") spirit that sets us apart. Yes the products are fantastic, but when your consultant will drive to your house and hand deliver your product, with a thank-you note, and then sit down with you and help you make a wish-list for an up-coming vacation -- are you really ever going to use another brand again? Unlikely.
But, you know what I love most about being a Mary Kay consultant? I can go as far as I want as fast as I want, and the only thing determining my success is me. I can live the capitalist American dream as a consultant (and someday a director) and there's no one to stop me; there's no one to tell me that someone else has to get that car before I can have a turn with it. There's no one to tell me that someone else has to go on that trip before I can take it. There's no one to tell me that someone has to die or retire before I can move up -- all because the structure of this very successful capitalist venture is not based in capitalism. It's based in community. Greed doesn't propel me up the Ladder of Success, leadership does. Greed isn't going to put me in a pink cadilac, leadership will.
In order to be rich, you have to enrich the lives of others. That's another mantra we have in this business -- this capitalist venture that isn't even remotely based on capitalism. In the rest of America, if you want to be rich you have to fight. I don't have to fight, all I have to do is make people feel good about themselves -- and you know what, all of those people who say "making people feel good about themselves doesn't pay the bills" don't know what they're talking about. I haven't seen a cent of my unemployment insurance, but I've still been paying my bills. While making other people feel special and valued.
Even still, people look for a catch. For some reason, certain people want to believe that the Go-Give Spirit is just all talk and no action. It's not possible for everyone to abide by the Golden Rule, they think, and that may be true, but we do it. People in Mary Kay do it because the people who initially exposed us to the company and the culture treated us the way they would want to be treated themselves, everyone who joins pays that forward. If you don't, you won't be very successful at this business. It would be nice if people couldn't be successful in business at all if they didn't live by the Golden Rule, this thing that seems to be so against the rules of capitalism.
Now, maybe Mary Kay, Inc. is a fluke. Within a pluralistic society all things are possible, right? But think about it for a second, if we painted the world pink and everyone treated others the way they wanted to be treated and instead of retaliating when someone was less than nice, saying "well, maybe that person isn't having a very good day" or "maybe that person isn't feeling well"; wouldn't we all be just a little bit happier?
Don't you think we could all be a little richer (financially speaking) too? I do.
*"socialistical" is not a word, neither is "liberalistic"; for our purposes here today, however, these are the embodiment of everything feared by conservatives and right wing free-market asshole-lunatics who decry fairness in the market place and think that companies based on the Golden Rule can't work.