Monday, 29 August 2011

A Mans' Prison, A Womans' World

Trigger Warning: Rape discussion, street harassment

This is the post I was going to make last week. It seems kind of odd to go back to it now, because it was so fresh in my mind then, but I hope it's still poignant. It's about an observation my partner and I made while watching a movie that really got me thinking.

The other night, my partner and I watched a film titled I Love You Phillip Morris. Now, before I get into this, let me first say that we both didn't enjoy the film, and I cannot in good conscience recommend it to anyone as safe viewing. I'll link to the IMDB content advisory for those that are interested, but be advised that it does not list all of the potentially problematic scenes. Jim Carrey, is as per usual, a plastic-faced ass unable to convey any convincing emotion. His performance is made worse due to being cast opposite Ewan McGregor, who manages to outshine Carrey in every scene, showing emotion and vulnerability. This movie is supposed to be at it's core a love story, about the love of two men. However, it was written by a bunch of (I assume) straight dudes, who can only portray a homosexual relationship in heterosexual dominant/submissive terms. Carreys' character is unfeeling, brash, manipulative and is the top in every interaction, while McGregors' is effeminate, almost to the point of parody. While I could go on about how insulting this movie is to potential gay male viewers and how it is neither "romantic" nor "comedy", that's not the point of this post.

There's a scene, early in the movie, I guess, where Carreys' character is arrested and sent to jail. Once inside, he takes the "long walk" to his cell. This scene is shot from his perspective and as he walks along, the gruff male inmates on either side of him leer at him, look him up and down, assess him. My partner turned to me at this point and said "Dudes are scary."

How could I not agree?

She said that particular scene demonstrated how she, and countless other women I have no doubt, feel every time they walk down the street in the presence of men. And it is this metaphor perhaps, that would be more effective than any other in making straight douchebros understand the terror and danger that women face in todays' society. The leers. The jeers. The up-and-downs. The assessments. The catcalls. The very real threat of violence, of rape, of murder from any or all of these men, simply because you are currently in their line of sight. Every straight dude inherently fears prison. There's enough media out there showing graphic, violent male-on-male prison rape that it's been drilled into everyones' head like an equation: Go to prison = get raped.

Is this the case in reality? I'm not sure. Somehow Googling stats on "prison rape" makes me nervous about what the search might turn up. But, that's not the point. The point is, that nary a straight, white, heterosexual male makes the connection between the "long walk" scene that is repeated ad nausea in so much of his media and the street harassment he sees and most likely takes part in every day. If you're not familiar with the term street harassment, then this might be a good place to learn about it. Whatever you call it, one must remember that it doesn't take place exclusively in the streets. It happens on the bus or the train, at the office or the supermarket, the gym or the laundromat. There are men who make women uncomfortable at best in public places to announce their superiority and their belief in womens' subjugation, and they are everywhere. The "long walk" scene is a scene that most women have to play out several times every goddamn day.

Street harassment in any and all of its' forms makes women feel afraid of going out in public, which is what a patriarchy desires more than almost anything else. It's an insidious form of control, to keep women scared and in the home, becoming the property of their men, unable to leave autonomously or without escort for fear of rape or battery or death or some horrible combination of all three. This is the state of affairs that the white, "liberal" male ally will find intolerable and unjust in places like Saudi Arabia, while ignoring that much the same happens to women here in the "civilized western world" on a daily basis.

If you're reading this and you think I'm full of shit, think about it for a second. Think about a "long walk" prison scene you've watched. Now think about what if it was you taking that walk. Now, think about what if you had to take that walk several times every day, but the guards aren't there to pull the prisoners off you if they attack, and the prisoners aren't wearing uniforms so you can easily identify them and they can act in groups and perhaps they're your boss, or your landlord or your roommate. Think about it, all day every day, being looked at, being sized up, being undressed, being five seconds away from being potentially raped at all times. How would it feel? Would you feel scared? Hopeless? Helpless? Depressed? Suicidal? Do you think you know anyone else that feels that way? Have you ever made anyone else feel that way? And, if you have, will you acknowledge it and change your behavior? Because no one deserves to live in that kind of world. No one deserves to take the "long walk" over and over again, especially when they've committed no crime, save for not being a man in the patriarchy.

If the whole world is ones' prison, does one dream of escape? Where does one escape to? It is my sincerest wish that one day everyone is able to walk the streets without fear and without being harassed. Until such day though, ask the dudes you know if they're familiar with the "long walk" scene. Then ask them how they'd feel. Hopefully one of them gets it.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Rest In Peace, Jack Layton.

I was going to write about something else today. I can't remember what it was now. And I suppose that, for the moment, it doesn't really matter anyways. At 4:45 am today, New Democrat Party Leader Jack Layton passed away, losing his battle with an undisclosed type of cancer at age 61. It is said he went peacefully, at home, surrounded by his family. I wish them strength in this challenging time.

Jack Layton was a beacon of hope for many of us Canadians who want, who need better from our government. For those of us that believe in human rights for all humans, be they male or female, hetero or homosexual, white or black or Asian or native or Latin or European or whatever other denomination, Jack and his party seemed to be leading the charge for a better tomorrow. I didn't agree with everything they did or stood for, but by and large, they are the party of the people. And it is Jack Layton's dying wish that they remain so.

It is important for left-leaning Canadians to remember at this time that although Jack Layton may have been the face of the NDP, he was not the NDP itself. The NDP is a party, an ideology, that will carry on with the determination of its' deputy leader, its' caucus, its' party members and those of us who will ally and realign ourselves with making this country better for all in the future. Now is the time for increased political activity, increased awareness, increased empathy towards our fellow citizens. And now is the time to stand up for what we believe in, always with the resolute dignity and determination that Jack Layton made his trademark. Jack Layton believed in this country. As a white male, that is easier for him than for many others. However, he was not many others. Layton took seriously the plights of the people that go ignored by our ruling party. Layton cared about missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Layton cared about the elderly. Layton cared about minorities and oppressed groups within Canadian society. As should we all.

Before his death, Jack Layton wrote a letter to all Canadians, which I intend to re-post here, in its' entirety. Hopefully, this breaks no laws. The original can be found here.

August 20, 2011
Toronto, Ontario
Dear Friends,
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.
Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.
I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.
I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.
A few additional thoughts:
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.
To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.
To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election. 2
To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.
To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.
And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
All my very best,
Jack Layton

Rest in peace, Jack Layton. Thank you for trying. Thank you for doing your best. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Justice, At Last

I'm exhausted, so this'll be a quick one, but I couldn't miss the chance to post about how glad I am that Romeo Cormier got convicted of all six of the charges laid against him. If you're not familiar with the case, you can read the victims' testimony here, but beware that it does contain disturbing descriptions by the victim of what she went through.

I thought he was going to get off for sure. Cormier and his defense tried everything, from claiming the he and the victim were in cahoots together, and it was a botched plot to kill her husband, to insisting that Cormier could not possibly be held accountable for his actions due to his narcissistic personality. Despite the plethora of claims touting Cormiers' innocence, he has received a sentence of eighteen years, minus time already served. While this is much less than the life sentence that the crown (and concerned followers of the trial, such as myself) were hoping for, it is certainly better then the ten to twelve years the defense was bargaining for.

The fact that a rapist in a high profile rape case can be charged and convicted gives me a much needed glimmer of hope for society. While Cormier himself isn't a high-profile douchebag, the case did gain a lot of media attention. When such media attention is focused on a rape trial, it usually goes poorly for the victim, due to the fact we live in a rape-and-rape-apologist-culture. More than once during the course of this trial, it looked as though Cormier would get away with all he did to the victim, and at one point it even looked as though he might've convinced the court that she was to blame. Personally, I think eighteen years isn't enough for this asshole, but it's way better than I'd hoped for. Rot for a while, Romeo Cormier. Good riddance.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Has Anyone Even Asked?

Trigger Warning for rape discussion of brutality

The UK riots of the past week can be summed up in one word: terrifying. However, summing up anything in one word is problematic. One word is never enough, one word only conveys one point of view, and as usual, the point of view is that of the white, heterosexual male. Riots are frightening, horrible things, terrible for victims and innocent bystanders, but from the reports you're led to believe that causalities are few and the majority of damage has been done to property. I believe this to be a falsehood, because if it's predominately young men rioting, then you can bet that they're raping, too. Because, as we all remember, men will rape in the streets even in times of celebration.

The stories now are of reaction. How Britain will clean up, regroup, and change as a result of the riots, trying to find it's 'moral compass'. Prime Minister David Cameron says:

"This has been a wake-up call for our country. Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face," Cameron said in his prepared remarks for a planned Monday morning speech. "Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations?"
Okay, player. Fair enough. But are the riots even really being reported on accurately? And just who are you talking about when you say 'social problems' and 'moral collapse'? Are you talking about what happened to this girl

This is just about the only case of rape or sexual assault I could find concerning the UK riots. I find this highly suspect. A riot is an event that violent, heterosexual men revel in. Destruction, physical violence, power, trying to exert dominance over authority... you're telling me that isn't a recipe for rape? And yet, in the middle of a week's worth of rioting, there is only one case of sexual assault? And I had to search very specifically for it? I'm not naive enough to believe that the case I mentioned previously and will discuss momentarily is the only, isolated incident, so that means either other cases of rape during the UK riots are deliberately being covered up, or nobody gives enough of a shit to report them.

During the UK riots, a fifteen year old boy robbed and raped a thirteen year old girl. After demanding the girl hand over her cell phone, he asked "for a kiss". When the girl refused, he dragged her down an alley, threw her onto a pile of broken glass and garbage and raped her. Of course, the media paints the rapist in a sympathetic light. During the hearing the poor boy appeared "close to tears" and is described as "vulnerable and troubled". Let's examine that for a moment. The rapist was close to tears, vulnerable and troubled? Well, if I might to so bold as to ask, WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIM??? I'll bet she was a lot closer to tears than he was, as they were probably running down her face non-stop since the asshole raped her. I'll bet she's more vulnerable now than ever, since she's now a victim and is broken mentally and spiritually forever. I'll bet she's more troubled than this little shit could ever be, as she now has to see the world for what it really is, far younger than she should have to. But, of course, the poor boy, this must be so hard on him.

Want to hear a quote from the boys' mum, who is described as a "devoutly religious nurse"? I'm sure you do.

"We can't quite believe this. We are a good family with Christian values. He is not from a broken home."
 Ha. Because only people without "good Christian values" that aren't from broken homes ever rape. Here's another good one, this time from an uninvolved neighbor, doing the good neighbor victim-blamey thing, I've talked about before.

"The family are completely shocked by what has happened and feel very ashamed. The parents are hard-working members of a close-knit community and tried to do the best for their son. They were very strict with him - perhaps that's why he rebelled and fell in with bad company."

Gimme a goddamn break. This even takes a stab at blaming the parents, but let me point this out, just in case you're not paying full attention:

Nobody is blaming the rapist.

People are blaming the victim. People are blaming the riots. People are blaming the parents. People are blaming society (I can almost get behind that one), but nobody is looking directly at the rapist. How many times does THAT have to happen before people wise up and realize that this shit does not happen in a goddamn vacuum? 

Let me also point out that if one in four women are raped during "normal, everyday conditions", then it stands to reason that during a riot, that number would rise. And even if only 40% of victims report their rape during "normal, everyday conditions", then it stands to reason that due to increased rape during a riot, the number of reported rapes would also rise. So, how is it that we're only hearing about this one? Once again, let me reiterate, I'm not naive enough to believe that this is the one and only, isolated case of rape or sexual assault that has happened during the UK riots. Nobody seems to be telling about any others, and I had to dig to find out about this one, so this brings me round and about to the title of this post: Has anyone even asked? Does anyone in a position of news authority even care? Is there not interest in reporting the riots from this angle? People need to know. People deserve to know. And, in the very, very, VERY slim chance that there was only one case of rape or sexual assault during the riots, wouldn't THAT be a phenomenon worth reporting, too? Of course, I don't believe that, but either way, shouldn't someone, somewhere be asking what happened to women during the UK riots? I know I'm asking. If you're reading me, you're probably the type to ask these questions, too. Who will answer us?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sickening Society Makes Women Sick

Over the last couple of days, the CBC (bastion of useless news as it is now becoming) has run a few stories on womens' health issues. Things like the link between depression in women and stroke, or the "fact" that female smokers face higher heart risks than men do. So, what can one glean from these stories? Well, if you're a douchebag commenter on the CBC website (perhaps using the handle 'Whirl'd Pease' ... what an asshole) you'd draw a conclusion such as this:

This doesn't surprise me. The genders aren't equal when it comes to alcohol either. Due to differences in biology, some things affect men and women differently.
Not that any of my readers are idiot douchebags, mind you. So, this conclusion would never come to any of you. That's just for laughs.

No, a better conclusion to draw might be this: middle to upper class women in western society are sick. As in ill. But, just about everyone in western society is sick, so let's look deeper. In all the blah blah blah about smoking and stroke and depression, just what is making women sick? Why are more women smoking than men? Why are women depressed to the point where they're taking stroke-causing medication by the butt-tonne?

The answer is society itself, or rather the patriarchal rape-culture we live in. Smoking? Well, that's an easy one. For years the tobacco lobbyists have been telling women that smoking equals slimness. Now, everybody knows that smoking causes cancer. But, in this rape-culture patriarchy, women are worth only as much as their outward appearance to men, so they must take risks. Dangerous surgeries. Crazy fad diets. Injecting botulism into your face. Burning your skin off with chemicals every few weeks. Tearing out every hair that's not on their heads. So, smoking? No biggie. And, if you convince yourself it's relaxing, a stress-reliever, well then, you've got yourself a habit. So, women will smoke, for either or both of these reasons. And men will say, that's silly, but never realize that it's their fault for creating a world where giving yourself lung cancer is better than the alternative to some women.

And doesn't this tie into depression? Don't all women on some level know about, feel the existence of the patriarchy? Even the most dude-culture lovin' lady out there has some knowledge about the hierarchy. Why kiss up to dudes and use the b-word and watch Judd Apatow flicks if not to try and fit in, fly under the radar, so to speak? Living in a society that wants nothing more than to humiliate, rape, use and eventually kill you is kind of a downer. Depression is rampant these days. It's a stressful world we've created for ourselves, even under the best of circumstances. But, in almost all cases, women have it worse. Anti-depressants fuck you up, plain and simple. They don't work, they have more side effects than being bitten by a radioactive spider and they're expensive as hell. In short, anti-depressants are depressing, too.

What never seems to be examined is the why, however. Symptoms and quick fix solutions are tossed about liberally enough, but the root causes of the state of womens' health are never pondered. Female medicine, that is, medicine and medical treatments specifically for women, haven't evolved much past the dark ages themselves, so this isn't entirely surprising. Dudely doctors, surgeons and other such medical professionals probably feel as though they already know everything there is to know about lady-physiology at this point, so why try harder? Patriarchal society cuts women off at the knees at every juncture. Even female doctors learn from textbooks written by men, to work in hospitals run by men and to exist in a world that is male-centric. If they don't practice medicine like the other men, they may not be able to practice medicine at all. The doctors can't help women. Other women can help women, but dudes need to shut the fuck up and get out of the way.

Your mother is dying. Your sister is dying. Your daughter, or niece, or aunt, or girlfriend, or best friend or wife is dying. The patriarchy is killing her. It's not just the pollution of air, water and food. It's the chemicals they sell her on T.V. and in magazines. It's the billboards and movies. It's the porn websites and fashion bigwigs. The sickness attacks not just body, but mind and soul, too. Men need to realize the damage that we're doing. It's enough already. There might still be time to turn back. The pornographers haven't won yet. Especially here, on the internet, there is a huge and living feminist community. People fighting to make sure that women aren't run over roughshod by the patriarchy, turned into sickly breeding machines or worse. Far fetched? Hardly. I don't want to , I won't sit idly by and let a future like that come to pass. If women are sick, humanity itself is sick. But men are making women sick. We're destroying ourselves.

If you're a man, that is to say, a male-identified type person, and you're reading this, just stop and think about it for a minute. Just stop to consider the possibility that I'm right. There must be a female out there somewhere that means something to you. She and every other woman and girl out there have to face the same world every day. It shouldn't be as hard as it is for her. Something can be done. An egalitarian society where women and girls are free from the pressures of the patriarchal system is possible. We just all have to work together to make it so, under the leadership of those most oppressed. Who else would be more qualified to lead then those who are in greatest danger by the patriarchy? Feminist-leaning men should be ready to follow, but not to lead. We've made enough of a mess as it is. We can't be counted on to lead the clean-up effort. But, I believe (and I hope I'm right) that we can help. That we must help. We owe it to all the women who've been hurt along the way.

Monday, 8 August 2011

This Could Have Been Prevented

This is just truly chilling. One of the most frightening stories I've read in some time. On February 12th, 2011, Valerie Wolski, a caregiver with the Canadian Mental Health Association in Camrose, Alberta, was found strangled to death in the home of Terrence Wade Saddleback, the man she was assisting with day-to-day activities. She was alone with him when the attack happened. According to professionals, Saddleback has severe mental impairments. He can barely converse beyond 'hello' and 'goodbye', is illiterate, only knows simple verbal commands, can do no math, and does not know what month or year it is. What is also known about him, something that Valerie Wolski should have been told, is that Saddleback has a long history of violent outbursts and sexual attacks on women and children. Graham Jones, Saddlebacks' court-appointed guardian tried to (halfheartedly) warn the Canadian Mental Health Association of the risk of assigning a woman to care for Saddleback, after a 2009 attack on another female caregiver in a group home in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Five RCMP officers and a male caregiver were needed to subdue Saddleback, who was subsequently tranquilized and hospitalized. Although under heavy sedation, due to the risk he presented, Saddleback was assigned an RCMP officer to watch him. The officer was armed with a taser at all times.

After staying hospitalized for a year, the Canadian Mental Health Association decided to release Saddleback into one of their homes, providing him with round the clock care. During his year of hospitalization, Saddleback had grabbed staff by the hair and shook them, grabbed a male patient by the back of the neck, became sexually excited and masturbated in the presence of children, even went so far as to take hold of a child in the patient lounge area and kiss him on the back of the neck. These details came to light in a report that was recently released by judge William Andreassen, written by psychiatrist Christopher Green. These details were known. So too, was known that guardian Graham Jones, upon learning of the Canadian Mental Health Associations' decision to release Saddleback, told officials that:

"Terrence is capable of getting out of control, [that] sort of thing. Are you aware of that? And it was just snuffed off … I said something like I hope it's not females that are looking after Terrence. He relates better to men and he respects them more."

So, why was Wolski assigned to Saddleback? Why was she allowed to be alone with him? Why did it come to this? The psychiatric report, which can be found here, is unsettling, chilling. Everyone knew that Saddleback was unstable, that he preferred to attack women, that he was sexually attracted to children, and yet no precautions were taken to ensure Wolskis' safety. She was sent into a dangerous and ultimately fatal situation without all the knowledge that might have saved her life.

Is Saddleback truly unfit to stand trial? I don't know. He killed a woman, and if what I can glean from his ramblings is correct, he tried to sexually assault her, she told him no and tried to stop him, he became violent and pulled her hair, pushed her, hit her and ultimately strangled her to death. There needs to be some kind of punishment. However, there are others in this case that are fit to stand trial. Whoever assigned Wolski to Saddleback, whoever let her believe that she could be alone with him, whoever withheld all the pertinent details from her is guilty of her death as well. And that person, or those people should be on trial as well. Why wasn't she briefed, forewarned, protected? Is this a case of men or the patriarchy willingly not seeing the danger that other men pose to women? I believe that at some level that comes into play. What will be done about this? Where is the justice for Wolski? Someone has to be held accountable for her death. I'm looking at the Canadian Mental Health Association just as much as I'm looking at Saddleback. This brave caregiver should not die in vain. We need better screening and full transparency when assigning caregivers to mentally unstable individuals. A female caregiver simply should have never been sent into this situation alone, if at all. I am in no way implying that women should not be caregivers for mentally unstable patients, but if said patient has a history of violence toward female caregivers, and the caregiver is not notified of this, then I believe an offense has taken place. Had Wolski known everything up front, perhaps she could have refused the placement. Perhaps she could have brought another caregiver with her, so as not to be alone with Saddleback. Perhaps she would not be dead today.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Childhood Is A Death Sentence

TW for rape, pedophilia, abortion discussion, women as chattel, etc.

A morose title, to be sure.

But then there's this. And then there's this. And it's getting to be that every day on the news there's a child-pornography bust, a ring dismantled, hundreds of thousands of images of torture, the silent screams of children from around the globe on the screens and hard drives of pedophiles. Criminals only because the abused aren't old enough to be properly abused yet, or they're not of the sex that is to be abused in the patriarchy. I'm not complaining about the cops busting these rings. These people deserve to be punished. But nobody seems to be learning anything. And nobody seems to notice that there are more and more pedophiles, that johns purchase children younger and younger, that entertainment media teaches girls five and younger how to be sassy or flirty. Those who do notice, those who see the connections are told to pipe down, that these things can't possibly be the same, that giving a nine year old a playboy bunny backpack isn't creating demand for underage girls.

But, it is.

Children aren't safe. Especially female children. If they're not being systematically killed at birth to make room for male babies, girls are thrust into a world that hates them, that is designed for all intents and purposes to exploit and dispose of them. Male children often fare no better. This is common knowledge. There is no such thing anymore as the idyllic period of life known as 'childhood'. Innocence, if such a thing there is, is taken from children at ages ever decreasing. If, however, you are a white woman in the western world, you have probably at one time or another been told in so many or not so many words that it is your duty to bear some dudes' children. Your duty to a god, to a country, to a race, to a belief, to nature even. Is it a duty to yourself? They'll try to make you believe that, too. And they'll take away your right to choose. Your right to choose if you want to have a baby, if you want to keep a baby, what you do with that baby, what you do with yourself just in case you might ever have a baby or another baby. But, do the babies matter?

In the long run, no. It's the idea of the babies that matter. Those that picket the clinics, that threaten and kill the abortion doctors, do they adopt the babies from women that can't care for them? When they make it so that women are forced to bear these children, do they visit these women, help them out, shoulder their share of the responsibility to a life that they had a hand, however small, in bringing to term? In short do the right-wing religious pro-lifers care for or about the children they "save"?

Of course not.  They care about the idea of children. And they care that the status quo of patriarchy and womens' subjugation via pregnancy be maintained. That children are being born into a world that wants nothing more than to abuse and exploit them, born to parents who either can't or won't care properly for them, born onto a planet that is already dangerously overcrowded, well, these are all moot points. A baby was saved, and from heaven, Jesus smiles.

So, what's the solution? Should we all stop having children? Well, would that really be such a bad idea? I mean, I know kids are a blessing, or a mitzvah or whatever, but the world is well overpopulated, and until we get shit under control, well maybe we shouldn't bring anymore kids into it. "Oh, but you probably just hate children anyways, you rotten feminist." Good one. No, actually, I don't mind kids, not that I want them. It's the world I don't much care for. There's a lot of bad things out there. I write about them, all the time. The bottom line is that children aren't safe in todays' world. But, children grow up and then what happens? Well, if they're male, then they usually take their place in the patriarchy. And if they're female, well, the abuse continues, but even less people care now. Because after a certain magic number, women are apparently worthy of no sympathy at all. Women can be abused and raped, killed and maimed, but no one will intervene. Governments and police will look away from the systematic worldwide slaughter of women, pointing to countries outside their own, quick to admonish other nations' treatment of women while drawing attention away from the injustices the women of their own homelands silently face. And, if a woman survives? If a woman keeps herself safe from the most horrible fates that could befall her? Well then, maybe she'll get married and have a baby. And the cycle continues.

The media paints this as the goal for women. Find Mr. Right amongst all the Mr. Wrongs and you'll have your fairy-tale wedding! The white dress, the house, the picket fence, the two-point-five children! Hollywood and T.V. Land say forget that life of hardship you faced! You've got your man now, everything'll be better! So why not have a few kids to round out the joy? Besides, Mr. Right needs an heir, or at least a daughter to abuse or ignore. Entertainment media does us all a great disservice by painting the nuclear family as the ultimate form of existence. True that for some women, the nuclear family may be marginally safer than other lifestyles, it still is inherently tied to the patriarchy and can never truly be a safe haven for women and children, as it exists to give the man something of his own to govern over.

The days of happy, carefree childhoods are distant memories, if indeed they ever truly existed. This world is hurtling towards its' own destruction, and the human race is in the drivers' seat. Unless we, as a human race can undo hundreds of thousands of years of patriarchal law and conditioning, we're all as good as doomed. And, it'll be, as the saying goes: "Women and children first.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Sass. Nimbostratus Style.

Hey, sorry about the absences again. There was a lot of heavy real-world type stuff going on. But, I'm back And so, hopefully are you. So, let's get right down to it, in a lighthearted welcome back post.

PM Harper 'surprise guest' at Toronto Mayor Ford's BBQ

I know, right? Big surprise that Herr Harper pals around with weapons-level grade douchefuck Rob Ford. Mayor Rob, who hates the gays, women drivers and libraries, is just the kind of right-wing fucktard that Stephen Harper would hang out with on the weekends, sipping Coronas, discussing the latest episode of Michael Coren (another huge white supremacist, christian, sexist doucher) fondly, while watching the sun go down and the illegal immigrant slaves work.

People HATE Rob Ford. He's polarizing. Unless you picket abortion clinics, you're probably on the side of those who dislike him. I know I am. So's Margaret Atwood. And if that fact doesn't faze you, nothing will. (Point of fact, Margaret is mostly battling with Robs' brother Doug Ford, a Toronto City Councillor. Wheeeee, nepotism!)

It's just douchebag white dudes supporting other douchebag white dudes, all for the benefit of, you guessed it, more douchebag white dudes. This is nothing new. It's just so blatant now, that it turns the ol' stomach worse than ever. What else can I even say about our shitty Conservative government that I haven't said before? *sigh* Perhaps my assistant can add something to the proceedings? Sagat?


Thanks, handsome. Anyways, the point is that things can't get better in a vacuum. If we want Rob Ford outta Toronto, we've gotta get Herr Harper out of Parliament. The next election is a ways off, of course, but it's time to get organized. Protests, rallies, telling everyone and anyone who'll listen what the Conservative agenda really is (make life good for white, Christian men only) and doing our best to put a stop to it. I don't want to see what'll happen if the Conservatives are left to run amok for too long. If this keeps up, Rob Ford might be our next Prime Minister, instead of an embarrassing memory for Toronto. My condolences to everyone living in the city right now.

P.S. Sun Media Network sucks. Just in case you forgot.