Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tales from Facebook: The Middle School Girl Debate

My comment:  I feel like this is an exaggeration - we were not innocent little popsicle eating angels 100% of the time....:P

A responding comment:  “Neither were me or my daughters, however, we weren't into dressing provocatively or boys or anything else not age appropriate. We still played with toys and just hung out.”

Let me emphasize the part of this that I find most interesting:  

“..we weren't into dressing provocatively or boys or anything else not age appropriate.”

This is where the convo ended on Facebook, because I don’t like social media drama.  That is why it continues here.  

*Looks up middle school, just to make sure we’re talking about the same thing*

Wikipedia:  “A middle school (also known as intermediate school or junior high school) is a school for students older than elementary school, but not yet in high school. The ages covered varies between, and sometimes within, countries. It is from grade 6-10”

That’s what I thought.  

Back to the matter at hand.  I quite simply do not believe that last statement.  “We weren’t into boys in junior high - oh heavens no!  We were into toys and hanging out - with girls only!  No ANYTHING age inappropriate.”

I think it’s time to let go of this notion that everything was right with “us” when we were “their age”.  For god’s sake stop lying.  Junior high was when we started being “into” boys.  That’s why they put us through sex ed through those specific years.  Honestly, I’m having a hard time knowing how to respond to the assertion that we weren't into anything age inappropriate.  There is simply no way that’s true.  Kids love age-inappropriate things because they are just that.  If anything, we got more interested in such things during Junior High.  Again, hence the timing of sex-ed classes.  

None of this is surprising, really.  The “Why, when I was your age…” speech has been around forever.  It’s like we get selective amnesia about these things as adults.  Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if the two pictures were taken within the same year.  There is nothing in them to suggest a generation gap.  The most significant difference I see is who is in possession of the camera.  The first one was very likely take to please upper-generational sensibilities.  The other one is being taken by one of the girls, and is more casual, less self-conscious….and honestly, not that provocative.  The only body part show in that picture that’s not in the first is a girl’s shoulders.  

Changed my mind - I'm responding.  

“Honestly, the picture on the right isn't that provocative.  The only body part show in that picture that’s not in the first is a girl’s shoulders.  Their body language is more casual, and one’s taking a selfie-group shot, but they’re not actually being that provocative.  “

I just sent that one.  Let’s see where this goes.  Feeling stressed already (that’s why I don’t get into these things that much).  But I’ll just have to handle it.  

Sipping tea and waiting.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Continued: Article Response Regarding Alcoholism and Sexism

This is a continuation of a previous blog post.  I’ve been sitting on it for a while.  Even before I wrote it, it was eating at my mind.  If you’re wondering, yes, it’s also a response to an argument I had.  An argument where I gave in when I should have said we’ll have to agree to disagree.  Best I can do now is get this out there.  

Telling your daughter one-on-one not to overdrink is one thing.  Addressing it to the female population at large is different.
It tells people that this should be the general rule, for women to follow, to stop causing their own violation.  The people who would perpetrate this violence are emboldened by this.  The rules haven’t changed after all.  It’s still buyer (drinker/partier) beware out there, otherwise they wouldn’t be telling women to hold back, right?  It’s just a force of nature, the violence that happens to women in these situations.  

It’s one thing to tell someone not to walk into a dark alley.  This goes for everyone.  Anyone here can be victim or perpetrator.  Directing this talk to women alone posits men as the perpetrators.  This is the lingering cultural influence we are fighting.  It’s the person who genuinely believes it’s OK for him to take advantage of an inebriated woman.  That’s just how it is.  To the victor go the spoils, right?  You’re just a boy being a boy (even if you’re age of majority - apparently “boys” are molesters by nature).  There are people out there who actually need to be told this is not right.  

You say you want to wait until the culture changes?  The outrage you’re hearing is the sound of the culture changing, and that  yet you’re trying to quiet it down.  

What I’m hearing is people poking and nudging their daughters back into the closet, with empty promises of future cultural changes.  

So what if we do take these kinds of measures - drink less, wear short hair or hats, stop wearing skirts, carry a baton wherever we go, only go out during the day, stop taking taxis…..?  Things are going to keep getting added to the list.  We could be wearing burqas and never leaving the house at all.  Abuse will continued, because sexual abuse is a decision, not an act of nature.  The perpetrators will simply find other ways to abuse, because the culture has not put the onus on them.  

What I am saying is that culture is quite possibly the most important factor in this.  When we hear about places around the world where rape victims get stoned to death or girl children are  killed because families wanted sons, it’s not because those activities are legal in those places (many times, they are not), it’s because the culture is that strong.  

It’s easy to think that telling women what to do and not do is the way to help them.  In fact, that’s how we approach a lot of problems.  You would think that all anyone ever needed was to be given their marching orders in life.  Unfortunately, we do have to get hands-on with the problem itself.  Part of that is to stop rationalizing these behaviors just because we don’t want to think that the perpetrators are capable of them.  Part of the problem is that many people think it’s acceptable to act in this way because nobody speaks out about it.  These may well be non-malevolent (if not-too-bright) people who have been cultivated to think these actions are actually more or less forgivable.  Then when they find out it really isn’t OK, it comes as more of a shock than it should.  It’s the same with bullying in general - culture accepts it, and so it is used for all it is worth.  

Changing attitudes is the most effective thing we can do to combat these problems.  This is the root of the problem.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Art, Creativity, and Value

Good day, Blogger world! 

Just this past week, someone stole 2 large, black and white photoprints from the Assumption Life Art Gallery in Moncton, or more specifically from Aleksandr "Sasha" Onyshchenko, the artist whose photos said gallery was exhibiting.  More info here:

One wonders at the motivations of this thief, whether profit or kleptomania.  Knowing how hard it can be to sell art that ISN'T stolen, it's hard to say, though these particular photos really are breathtaking.  Either way, there is a very bitter irony about the whole thing from an artist's perspective. 

Art isn't one of those fields you get into because you want to get rich.  It's considered impractical, and in fact it's one of those areas of study that people refer to when speaking of college students with unrealistic expectations - and yet it is one of those things that gets taken for granted every day. 

A great deal of creativity goes into the world we live in.  One might consider advertising, to start out.  You might think we don't pay for the images and other creative elements of advertising, but they are the reason that sites like Youtube and Facebook are free for us to use.

It occurs to me that one reason the arts tend to be undervalued is that creative people never really stop making creative works.  We might make less, and it might be of lesser quality, but to actually stop creating is something we are profoundly unwilling to do.  Whether it's paintings, photographs, or Gifs the content always appears one way or another. 

Knowing this makes me grateful to all the grant programs and people who support the arts out there.  Because people do realize that, even though you can't eat a painting or cure AIDS with a photograph, art and creative works are things we need in our lives. 

'Till next time, Blogger world! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Article Response Regarding Alcoholism and Sexism

I'm posting this here because the site this article appears on is taking its sweet time loading my comment. This would have made a great article about the hazards of alcoholic culture and the responsibility OF EVERYONE to be responsible, but the author has put this responsibility squarely on women with hardly a passing glance at the men. It doesn't matter how many times you say you aren't victim blaming. Holding women to a different standard of life style is what ultimately lets this kind of stigma continue. This premise is why women feel ashamed, even though they aren't the only ones engaging in this behavior. There are a lot of things women can do to "prevent" sexual assault. Not going to work, never leaving the house unaccompanied, and covering themselves head-to-toe are among these. In fact, these are the standard in many places around the world and throughout history - a cultural phenomenon that we are just now overcoming in this part of the world. The slant of this article shows a fear to address the real problem - that sexual assailants need to be held responsible for their actions, even if it is easier to put the responsibility on potential victims. 

Here is the article to which this is a response:

And here is a pretty good response to that article:

Not sure about that last comment on restraint "trickling down" to the women, but the whole article is in answer to the last one so it can be taken in reference to that.

Edit:  I have written a continuation to this post based on subsequent responses -

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back to Jobsearchland

Good Day Blogger world!

Once again I have been an absentee. To rectify that I've come back with nothing particularly new to tell you. The job hunt continues. I have recently been handed a link to another potential job. Walk with me as I explore this new lead.

Seasonal, but well paid. Buzz words "fast-paced" and "dynamic" in their usual use of describing the work place. Looks as if I qualify. Haven't got much extra to boast, but I qualify. Candidates will be required to complete a security screening process. Should be fun. Seems they're looking for the business-minded, leadership-oriented type of candidate, and I'm more than willing to fake it 'till I make it...or don't. I will also be required to pass pre-employment tests. Looking forward to those too. Really. I'll be required to present a character reference letter. Can't remember the last (or possibly even the first) time I was asked for one of those. I'm assuming that's in the case of an interview.

Let the games begin.

"This job is not a permanent full time job. We cannot guarantee when you will work or how often you will work. This job is for on-call casual employment. Are you still interested?"

I pretty much have to be. Full-time work is the unicorn of today's job market.

"Do you have the ability to lift up to 22.7 kgs (50 lbs) and carry up to 15.9 kgs (35 lbs)?"

Clearly I need to start hitting the weights, if only to figure out how much I am currently capable of lifting.

"You have been moved to two different area's and you are close to the end of your shift and you are asked to move again. What would you do?"

I have no idea what this would entail or how it would effect what I'm doing or when I leave. The truth of the matter, in any case, is that I'll probably be going along with it.

"What is the main reason you applied to this position?"

Mortgage money. Probably should have chosen something better sounding that "Prefer not to say", but it was an option....

These are just a few of the questions I must consider.  All told, it's not too arduous.  Inevitably, I am creating yet another profile. This calls for another resume. I remove my most recent stint in retail from my work history with a certain satisfaction, as though it had never been there at all.  Only the good stuff belongs on this page.

"My primary career interest". Is not on the list. Perhaps they mean at this particular place. Employers do have a way of implying that the only candidates they want to see are the ones that want the job they're offering more than anything in the world. Optional question, thank goodness.

Alright, t'is done. Another foray into jobsearchland completed.

I have not grown to like this process any better, but I'll keep at it until I land something permanent or manage to get on my feet some other way. This will be my motivation - once I'm on my feet I won't have to fill out job applications anymore ^_^.

In other news, I've been entering the weekly contests on Spoonflower.  Haven't won anything yet, but it's worth it to have some new designs in my library. Here's the one I'm entering for the next contest:

Greco-Roman Astrological Sky

As I write this, I also have an entry in the current contest, which will probably close tomorrow: 

D6 Repeat

Feel free to go over to Spoonflower and vote! Always worth checking out! :)

I'll end tonight with a Facebook haiku.  I believe I've posted these here before. The process was invented by my Mom, where you take statuses and pieces of statuses posted by people on your Facebook feed and put them together to form a haiku. It can be very entertaining. ^_^

I watched the debate
New season, 1st episode
It is bad enough

'Till next time, Blogger world!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Boys Are Not Animals: My Response to Mary Bowen's Article, "Exhibitionist Modern Culture Breeds Exess"

Good day Blogger world,

Below is a letter to the editor of the Chronicle Herald, in response to the article I have linked to above.  As you will find in reading my letter, this issue is of extreme importance to me.  Something tells me there will be many such letters in the Voice of the People section tomorrow.

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to an article by Mary Bowen, titled Exhibitionist Modern Culture Breeds Exess. I sincerely have a problem with the statements made in this article:
I'll start with the paragraph that struck me as the most troubling: "Back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the prairies and I was a teen, there were names (which can’t be repeated here) for girls who paraded their wares and talked the talk, then wanted to bail when the car windows at the drive-in were thoroughly steamed and boys couldn’t have walked to the concession stand for the popcorn if they’d wanted to. "

So these girls talked the talk and walked the walk, flaunted their "wares" and then "bailed"? It wasn't that they were scared or confused? Did they in fact owe it to those boys deliver sex, and then renege on a transaction? I really don't think anybody "owes" anybody sex in these situations. The boys in these cases are quitee capable of ending the night, and the relationship, right then and there if they feel they are being toyed with. Intimate relations are not business transactions. Furthermore - those words Ms. Bowen made reference to? They are very much in use today. They are the reason girls like Rehtaeh Parsons are dead.

Another paragraph I found disturbing: "'No means no' is a catchy slogan, but is it really fair to spread out the goodies and then snatch them off the table at the last second when the bait is taken and the hook halfway down the fish’s throat?" Is this is a matter of offering goods, not a human relationship? I noticed Ms. Bowen felt that the young men in these situations are not "wholy to blame" for their actions, "At a time when hormones are raging". Does this mean that the boys should get slack on account of their raging hormones, but not so much the girls?

One thing we can agree on is that different things need to be taught by parents and society in general. Not just teaching girls that they are not valuless bodies meant for pleasing boys, but also teaching boys that they are not animals at the mercy of their hormones. Really, I don't think Ms. Bowen or the people who fail to teach these boys about boundaries are giving them enough credit. I think they can (and do) learn to control themselves, to the extent that they know regardless of whether their partner is a) purposefully leading them on with no regard to their feelings or b) just a scared, confused teenager, that the course of action should be the same - it's time to stop, realize what's happening, and get out of the car. But people have to be taught to have and respect boundaries. Otherwise, they'll find things out the hard way - like those girls to whom certain names were applied back in the day.

I hope I've made it clear that this issue is of grave importance to me, and many other people. I am not trying to instill hurt feelings, but just as Ms. Bowen felt the need to write this article, I feel the need to answer it. Her comment at the end of the article, "bring on the burka", points to something I have felt before: that "slut shaming" here shares roots with the abuses of women around the world, where the very fact of being a female in public can be enough to condemn a person. Please let's not go down this path.


Robyn MacKinnon

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Nesting Doll Chores Trap

Happy Monday, Blogger world!

I intended to do some serious Cafepress housekeeping today.  I did work on my Cafepress, but mostly in the way of adding new products.  It wasn't nothing, in fact I got a lot of work done, just not the work I intended.  This brings to mind a blog post I read just today by a promising young blogger, which I will link to here:

This practical-procrastination thing might be a good way to deal with one of my least favorite chores/work day conundrums - something I call The Nesting Doll Chores Trap.  This is when a task looks small, but leads to one extra job, then another, then another, and so on until you just spent half your day on this string of chores all in the name of getting one thing crossed off your to-do list.

Example:  I go to put something in the compost.  The compost is full, so I have to empty it out.  Then I realize I'm out of compost box liners, so I get more of those.  I do groceries at the same time, because I have to do that anyway.  Ultimately, putting something in the compost took 2 hours.

I've run into a version of that in my Cafepress chores.  I wanted to pare down the extra things in my shops, but first I must organizing my shops so I can keep track of what I've sold (so I don't delete any of those things).  Organizing my shop has lead to having to open other shops because I've run up against the limit of how many sections I can have in a shop, not to mention the fact that going through my shops is making me noticing everything else that's missing/needs doing my shops.

Obviously these things can manifest any way.  Want to do a quick repair job?  A missing part leads to a trip to the hardware store, right after a trip to the bank, then leads to another trip to another hardware store if they don't have what you need, leads to a trip to the gas station because of all the driving around (or a trip to the corner store to get more bus tickets), etc...

There are ways of minimizing these repercussions.  Only go to the grocery store for the compost bucket liners, or save the compost run for later.  Prioritizing can feel a lot like procrastination when you've got more of a to-do-list than you can realistically do in a day.  For me, it's gotten to the point where everything feels like procrastination, because everything ultimately 'needs' doing.  I'd love to take the time to do a good job on things, and sometimes I can manage that.  But the longer I take, the less worthwhile it seems.  This goes double for things I don't get paid for - mainly cleaning.  It doesn't matter how good a job I do, nobody's going to pay me to clean my own home.  It's still important, but not as urgent as the growing vacuum in my bank account.  Perhaps if I alternate between job hunting, cleaning my place, and working on something I actually want to work on, I'll feel like something got done in the end...:/

Anyway, that's my thought for the day.  Thanks for reading!  'Till next time...