A friend who runs a salon asked to take photos of my hair and I nervously accepted.
Anna Chlumsky’s wonderful character in My Girl (1991) is the reason I want to name my first daughter Vada. Also the fact that Vada means ‘famous ruler’ and my name means ‘peaceful ruler,’ allegedly.
My lovely boyfriend, Jon, is a very chivalrous man. At first I assumed it was just extra effort he was putting in when we started dating, but he hasn’t wavered at all.
So I asked him tonight how it is that he grew up to be so courteous. He replied “I always thought, growing up, that women were more important. You take care of what’s most important to you.”
So according to Pat Robertson’s convoluted logic, men are stupid and have no control over their sexual impulses, while women have two very distinct roles: to temper, pacify and avert their husband’s inevitable wish to have sex with others by keeping the home nice, or to lure men into having sex with them using some imaginary sexual prowess that only women possess. Either way, men aren’t at fault. And the choices for women are just so broad and diverse! Whore or Madonna. In the words of Bernard Black “I’ll just have to hope that when I flip the coin it somehow explodes and kills me.”
said: Any advice for a person who gets stressed about school very easily? I get easily overwhelmed about work and especially now, when I'm applying for universities (it's very hard to get into one in my country). I sometimes find it hard to even start studying because of the fear of failure. How do you cope with perfectionism and over-achieving?
I focus on small goals. If I concentrated on the 90,000 word target for my PhD I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, so instead I focus on little increments and it seems more achievable. Perfectionism in my academic work can be stifling at times, I’ll agonise over a sentence I’m writing for 45 minutes and two cups of tea. But I just can’t succumb to the self-doubt that hovers over me every day. When I know that I have something huge and important quickly approaching that’s beginning to give me anxiety, I choose to accept those awful feelings. I accept that I won’t be able to sleep well the night before. I accept that I’ll feel out of breath and light-headed. But mostly, I accept that when it’s over I will forgive myself completely for everything I didn’t do well.
said: You need to accept Allah, you need God in your life.
Why do I need God in my life, exactly? I’m a moral person without vices. I’m against any and all behaviour that is deemed harmful to others. I have empathy and compassion for vulnerable people. I love and respect my parents and siblings and place their needs before my own. I’m driven and motivated in my studies and teaching. I place a huge importance in the institution of marriage and believe that the most important thing I will ever be is a mother. I have come to all these conclusions based on a secular upbringing that had nothing to do with any God. I respect religious people and their beliefs, and I’d appreciate the same degree of respect in return.
said: What do you think of the Jodi Arias verdict? I agree with it.
I don’t. Within the context of the AZ legal system and the possibility of the death penalty I am invariably opposed to convicting anyone of first degree murder because it could open up the possibility for the state to murder again. Call me crazy, but I’m genuinely against murder and it underpins so much of my politics. When a state sanctions murder as an appropriate form of punishment, the homicide rates in that state go up. In other words, the homicide rate is highest in states where the death penalty is legal because the death penalty is not a deterrent, it’s just a tool of appeasement for a vengeful public. And a very expensive tool at that! It costs the state more to murder its own people than it does to keep them in prison for life, because the automatic appeals process is very costly.
Moreover, when men kill their female intimate partners they are sentenced to, on average, 7 years. When women kill their male intimate partners they are sentenced to, on average, 25 years. The jury in the Arias case was overwhelmingly male with little ability to empathise with the psychological and sexual abuse she endured. She never had a chance. The bloodthirsty public can go home to their securely locked homes with an empty and confused sense that “justice was done.”
Jon and I spent our Saturday at the Peninsula hot springs. So incredibly relaxing with breathtaking views from the hilltop pool. Life is very good.
said: Have you heard about Farrah Abraham's (from Teen Mom) porno? From what I've read she resulted to this because she's unable to find a "good man". False excuse, in my opinion. What's your opinion on this scandal?
I think there are a lot of really interesting and pretty overlooked aspects to this whole sex tape thing. There’s the obvious feminist angle and the tiresome debate between people who want to call Farrah a slut (as if ‘slut’ is a legitimate concept) and the fools who think she’s just being sex-positive and therefore this is just feminism in action. HA. Both those stances miss the point entirely.
There are two powerful forces at play here. Sexism and capitalism. Together, they tell women that conforming to a very specific notion of what it means to be sexy is important. Perhaps more important than anything else. Advertising and the media have told girls that being sexy basically means mimicking a ‘prostitute archetype’, think Pretty Woman or any mainstream representation of a woman who is paid to have sex. But this is confusing for women, right? Because for thousands of years men have used prostitutes as a way of ‘preserving the purity’ of their wives and daughters. It’s nonsense and totally horrible, but it’s how some men think. Understandably, there are a lot of girls like Farrah who are hearing a lot of mixed messages. On the one hand they’re being told every day that flaunting a very specific idea of sexy is absolutely crucial to their success, and yet they’re also warned that the consequences for doing so will be severe.
Political theorist Wendy Brown has said:
In making the individual fully responsible for her or himself, neoliberalism equates moral responsibility with rational action […] But in so doing, it carries responsibility for the self to new heights: the rationally calculating individual bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action.
Unfortunately Farrah lives in an especially unforgiving country that both rewards and punishes the individual relentlessly. Despite all of the systemic factors that lead girls into pornography, these are all ignored and explained as an ‘individual choice’. The line goes that it was Farrah’s individual choice, free of any external factors, to make a 70 minute tape engaging in sex acts with pornography actor James Deen. Whether you want to make this individual choice argument in favour or in opposition to Farrah’s sex tape, it all leads to the same conclusion — Farrah is completely alone. Nobody else had anything to do with it.
How fundamentally untrue.
Jackson Katz talking about men’s violence against women. This is amazing, please watch.
The amazing Meghan Murphy addresses the imaginary feminist war on sex workers. A must-read.
The argument that feminists are trying to “save women from themselves” is a dangerous one that can easily be applied to, for example, feminist activism around domestic abuse (what if she wants to stay with her abusive husband?) and extended into an overzealous defense of individual women’s ‘choice’ to objectify themselves. We want so desperately not to be victims that we try to turn oppression into empowerment.
said: you said you disagree with feminists sometimes, what are feminist issues you dont agree with?
I am anti-pornography, like some other radical feminists, but many feminists think pornography can be liberating for women. I disagree.
I’m opposed to the shaming of stay-at-home mothers that some feminists participate in. I don’t think being educated and choosing to look after your young children is a betrayal of feminism, I think that attitude ignores an incredible biological function of women’s bodies and is actually deeply sexist. I hate the “mummy wars” altogether.
I’m uncomfortable with casual attitudes toward abortion, although I believe abortion must be legal because in some cases it is absolutely necessary and in all cases it should be an option that’s available to women. However, I believe it encourages men to abandon their responsibilities toward women and is a genuine moral dilemma. As a progressive I believe in generous paid parental leave and a strong welfare state that gives couples the resources to raise children. I also believe we have to teach our boys to be more caring, respectful and responsible in their relationships with women.
*Prepares self for influx of hate in my inbox*