Parents furious? Please.

I’d be uncomfortable around any child who enjoyed pretending to kill–anything.

Especially if that child was going to grow up to be a man, was going to be flooded with testosterone for several years.

I’d also be uncomfortable around any adult who considered that behavior “a game”.



Bare Breasts: Objections and Replies

[I wrote this piece back in the early 90s when Gwen Jacobs did her thing (yay, Gwen!), but apparently it all still needs to be said.  A couple years ago, I was ‘spoken to’ by a neighbour for taking my shirt off on a hot summer day when I was out kayaking.  Most amusingly, I was ‘spoken to’ again when I did the same thing just last year, post-bilateral-mastectomy.  Which brings to mind Twisty’s hilarious “Cover ’em up if you have ’em and even if you don’t” comment.]

In response to the moral outrage about women going shirtless in public, I offer the following. Continue reading

“Royal Male”

Noticed the headline while I was standing in the check-out at the grocery store today: “ROYAL MALE”.

Right.  It could have half a brain, but hey, as long as it’s MALE.


Impoverished (male) Scientists

To read the science journals, one would think animal life consists of nothing but predation and reproduction, both thoroughly competitive in nature.  The absence of any capacity for pleasure, or at least for non-competitive pleasure, is frightening.  Lining a nest with warm and soft material is not for comfort, but to “increase the survival rate of offspring” and arranging for others to watch the baby during long and deep dives is not from affection but to “maximize reproductive success”.

This is of concern for two reasons.  First, to judge by my own life and that of the dog with whom I live, that view is, to say the least, narrow and thus incomplete.

Second, what does it reveal of the scientists?  Do they really see nothing but predation and reproduction – nothing but competition for food and sex?  If it’s true that we see what we want to see, well, why do these people want to see nothing but that?  Is it a projection of their own view of life?  How awful –  how impoverished one must be –  to see life – to live life – as nothing but a competition – and, worse, a competition for nothing but food and sex.  Or does it provide some sort of vicarious satisfaction?  Either way, there’s the possibility of an ever tightening and dangerous circle: if that’s all we think there is, that’s all we’ll see, and if that’s all we see, that’s all we’ll think there is.  Socializing not as a reproductive strategy, but for companionship; playing not as practice for evading a predator or capturing prey, but for fun; lying in the sun not to regulate one’s body temperature, but simply because it feels good – why are these things so unthinkable?

Or perhaps these things are thinkable, are visible, but are considered unimportant, trivial.  What a value system that reveals!  Not only that food and sex are more important than beauty and laughter, but that competition is more important than cooperation.

These are our scientists.  These are the people who are collecting information, amassing knowledge, constructing our view – or rather, imposing their view – of the world.  Surely a little more responsibility, a little more maturity, is called for.


Making Kids with AIDS

[I wrote this piece a while ago, but have since then, seen the same sort of denial of male agency.  Apparently kids are found in pumpkin patches.  Yeah.  Or the stork brings them.  What are you, six?]

[Quite apart from the point about AIDS.]

What has been glaringly absent in news stories about children with AIDS in Africa is comment about why there are so many children with AIDS.  “We are going down,” a woman says, “Theft will go up, rape all over will be high.  People –    Wait a minute.  Back up.  “Rape all over will be high”?  And that’s just one more unfortunate circumstance beyond their control, is it?  What, as in ‘boys will be boys’? 

Excuse me, but when someone knowingly infects another person with a fatal disease, he’s killing her.  And if someone takes away someone else’s right to life, I say he forfeits his own.  And not only is the HIV-infected rapist guilty of murdering the woman he rapes, he’s guilty of murdering in advance the child he creates (whether he himself is HIV-infected or whether he rapes an HIV-infected woman).  There’s something incredibly sick about knowingly creating a human being that will die, slowly and painfully, because you have created it.

So, the solution?  Drugs, yes.  But the kind vets use when they put an animal down.  (Or, if mere prevention rather than justice is the goal, castration.  At the very least, vasectomy.)  I mean, let’s have some accountability here!  Those 20,000 kids with AIDS didn’t just appear in a pumpkin patch one morning.  Someone made them.  With a conscious, chosen, deliberate act. 

This is your brain. This is your brain on oxytocin: Mom.

I think many women realize that their children make them vulnerable; their love for them holds them hostage.  So many things they would do (leave?)—but for the children.  I wonder how many realize that their imprisonment is physiological.  And, in most cases, as voluntary as that first hit of heroin, cocaine, whatever.

‘But I love my children!’  That’s just the oxytocin talking.  You think you love them because you’re a good person, responsible, dutiful, and, well, because they’re so loveable, look at them!  That’s just the oxytocin talking.

All those women (most of them) who didn’t really want to become pregnant, but did anyway (because contraception and abortion weren’t easily available, and sex was defined as intercourse), and then claimed, smiling, that they wouldn’t have it any other way, they love their children—just the oxytocin talking. 

Continue reading

Every Man, Woman, and Child

There’s an interesting phrase.  Man, woman, and child: those are my options, are they?  Identifying oneself by one’s sex is a prerequisite for adulthood: if I don’t want to identify myself by my sex, as either a man or a woman, I’m left with identifying myself as a child.  How interesting.

Actually, it explains a lot. Continue reading

Short Men

I recently watched, with horrified amusement, a tv program about short men who choose to undergo excruciatingly painful surgical procedures (which basically involve breaking their legs and then keeping the bones slightly apart while they mend) in order to become a few inches taller.

Asked why they would choose to undergo such a drastic, and excruciatingly painful, procedure, they said things like ‘Do you have any idea what it’s like to go through life as a short person?  To sit in a chair and only your toes reach the floor, you can’t put your feet flat on the floor?  To not be able to reach stuff on the upper shelves in grocery stores?  To be unable to drive trucks because you can’t reach the pedals properly?  To have people always looking down at you?  Do you know what that’s like?’

Well, yes, actually I do.  I’m a woman. 

Oh, but that’s different, I suppose.  Why?  Because we’re supposed to go through life inconvenienced?  Feeling subordinate?

Ah.  That’s the real problem.  These poor guys can’t take their rightful place over women.  (As one man, 5’6” before the surgery, explained, “I’ll be a better father and husband and son.”  Yup.  Sure you will.)

The Gender of Business

Business is male.  Make no mistake.  Everything about it smacks of the male mentality.

First, the obsession with competition.  You have to be #1, you have to outcompete your competition.  So hierarchy, rank, is everything.  As is an adversarial attitude.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Business could be a huge network of co-operative ventures, each seeking to better the whole.  But no, we have to be better than, stronger than, faster than – 

Continue reading

Why isn’t being a soldier more like being a mother?

Motherhood is unfair to women in a way fatherhood most definitely is not. Not only are there the physical risks (pregnancy and childbirth puts a woman at risk for nausea, fatigue, backaches, headaches, skin rashes, changes in her sense of smell and taste, chemical imbalances, high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, embolism, changes in vision, stroke, circulatory collapse, cardiopulmonary arrest, convulsions, and coma), there’s the permanent damage to one’s career: if she stays at home, the loss of at least six years’ experience and/or seniority; if she doesn’t, the loss of a significant portion of her income, that required to pay for full-time childcare. (And even if she can swing holding a full-time job and paying for full-time childcare, she probably won’t get promoted because she typically uses all ‘her’ sick days, she’s reluctant to stay past 5:00 or to come in before 9:00 or on weekends, and she occasionally has to leave in the middle of the day, perhaps even in the middle of an important meeting. In short, she can’t be counted on. Such a lack of commitment.) Continue reading

Load more