Monday, July 30, 2007

Feminists eat babies!

Or, at least, Dawn Eden thinks so.

In response to this post, blogger Dawn Eden has written this.
Feminism means never having to say you're sorry ... for leaving your kids to die

I'm almost honored. Here was my response.
Okay, it’s my post you’re talking about here, so I thought I’d take a moment to clear up some misconceptions you’ve had about it.

I do not think being pro-choice or being a feminist means that you don’t have to be responsible if your child dies. In fact, I’m sure I said in my post that I think these people should be punished.

When I said that if an employee of mine had a child die in the car because they couldn’t find day care, I meant that I’d feel guilty about it (wouldn’t you?) not that I think they are legally responsible. (In addition, it’s difficult to get your employers to agree to additional maternity leave, should you need it.)

And my real anger, and the driving point of my post was that women are more likely to be sentenced and for longer periods of time for the same crime. Now feel free to disagree with me but I don’t think a father is any less legally responsible for his children than a mother is (and let’s not get into an abortion debate as to what is a child or not. I’m happy to agree to disagree on that right now). In essence, culpability for child neglect is not a gender-based issue. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

If you want to call me a hypocrite for saying that fathers should be equally legally responsible for their children but that women shouldn’t need a permission slip from a man to get an abortion, then fine. But what you’ve written seriously misrepresents my own post, and I wanted to go on the record with a correction.

Also, to be clear, I was just a guest-blogger at Feministe. And Feministe is a feminist blog, not an ‘abortion-advocacy’ blog. The two issues (feminism and pro-choice) intersect, but they’re not the same.

And to the person who said the thing about breastfeeding vs. formula, with one not being any better than the other, I agree with you 100 percent. Breastfeeding is very difficult physically and time-wise (and powered breastpumps these days run between 200 and 300 dollars), and there shouldn’t be a huge stigma placed on you if you choose to go either way.

And Dawn, since you are notorious in some circles for deleting/editing comments you find objectionable, I will be reposting this at Feministe and at my own blog.
I really don't begrudge Dawn any of her opinions I find wackier, and wish her well living her chaste lifestyle. I just wish she wouldn't make me out to be a baby-eating monster. *sniff*

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Well, that last post was kind of a bummer.

And I'd hate to end my final day of guestblogging on such a down note. So, here's some Youtube weirdness, which is my favorite thing ever (clearly).

This video starts off seeming all nice and wholesome, with three fetching lassies singing about potato salad, of all things. And then...the bending...oh god the bending!

Babies are weird. And when you're as sleep deprived as parents of babies usually are, you can find this kind of shit seriously fucking entertaining.

And finally, if I ever get sent to prison in the Philippines, please let it not be this one.

All via daddytypes, who helps me live out my hipster parent fantasies by showing me all the cool stuff i can't afford.

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)

It’s the heat of Summer.

Which means the tragic stories of kids left in their cars by forgetful/neglectful parents will start rolling in. Honestly, I used to really think these parents were terrible, and further proof that some people just shouldn't reproduce. But after experiencing the total sleep deprivation of the first few months of parenthood, I kind of think the only reason this didn't happen to us is because the size of our car required the passenger seat to be moved all the way up so the rear-facing car seat would fit. So I had to sit in the back next to her.

So, while I do think these people should still be punished, I feel for them a little more. (Incidentally, now that I have a child who is capable of running off, I've also come to understand those stupid child leashes. Not that I would ever get one, but my sympathies now lie more with the leasher than the leashee.)

A few parts of this story seriously pissed me off, though. First, this.

A relatively small number of cases about 7 percent involved drugs or alcohol. In a few instances, the responsible parties had a history of abusing or neglecting children. Still others were single parents unable to find or afford day care.
My emphasis. How sad is that? If I were the employers of those parents, I would consider myself directly responsible for their children's deaths.

(UPDATE: Jeebus, people. When I said that I did not mean that the employer should feel responsible. If I wanted to say that, I would have said "Those employers should feel responsible." I also did not mean those employers should be prosecuted. If I had wanted to say that, I would have said "Those employers should be prosecuted." I also did not mean, Dawn Eden, that those employers were at fault. If I I had wanted to say that, I would have said "Those employers are at fault." What I meant that if I were those employers, I would feel responsible. Maybe I'm too paralyzed with liberal guilt to run a healthy business. And maybe you wouldn't feel guilty in that same situation. Fine. But come on, get some reading comprehension, people.)

More aggravating though, is this.

Women were jailed more often and for longer periods than men. But when the AP compared mothers and fathers, the sentencing gap was even wider.

Mothers were jailed 59 percent of the time, compared to 47 percent for fathers. And the median sentence was three years for dads, but five for moms.

"I think we generally hold mothers to a higher standard in the criminal justice context than in just family life generally," says Jennifer M. Collins, a professor at the Wake Forest University School of Law who has studied negligence involving parents and such hyperthermia cases. A large segment of society, she says, thinks "fathers are baby-sitting, and mothers are doing God's work."
Grr. If only this weren't true. It's magic baby hormones to the rescue again, transforming women from dizzy, selfish girls unable to make medical decisions about their reproductive future into wise capable supermommies who not only can handle anything, but have to!

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Baby Blogging

I have recently learned of the term "Moo" used to describe women with children (and I think we all remember that 600-comment-long monstrosity of a thread). I have decided to emulate gangster rappers everywhere and embrace the pejorative.

I am the Moo of your worst nightmares! Watch as I force innocent strangers to view photos of my offspring being cute! On her birthday!

1st Birthday 035

I am an evil woman.

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)


Miriam Makeba singing on Brazilian TV in the sixties. Is it wrong of me to want this dress?

This is pretty good too. (The song and the dress.) It's The Click Song, though it's actually called Qongqothwane. I kind of wish I spoke Xhosa.

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Disney Princess Industrial Complex is coming for your soul!

Or, at least it is if you're a girl below the age of 12, anyway.

It's come to my attention that toys and children's merchandise in general has become heavily gendered. (Or at least, and this makes me feel like a serious old fogie, since I was last exposed to children's merchandise.) I offer, as evidence, these anecdotes.

1. Last week, the husband and I are driving around running errands, toddler in the back seat. Knowing we won't be able to feed the child at the usual time, we decide to stop for fast food, choosing McDonald's (I know, I know). Upon ordering a Happy Meal, we are then asked if it's for a girl or a boy. WTF? How long has this been happening for?

2. Several days later we made a trip to the local aquarium, and were perusing the gift shop to see if there was anything cool under the price of a kajillion dollars (there wasn't). It slowly dawned on us that every plush toy had a regular version, and then a boy and a girl version. Like, regular black-and-white penguins, but also pink penguins and blue penguins. Ditto sea turtles and manta rays and jellyfish (although plush jellyfish - how cool is that?).

3. Nobody thinks my daughter is a girl. Now, I don't really have a problem with this and don't correct anyone when they make the mistake of saying "What a beautiful boy!" I just find it kind of interesting as a Cultural Anthropology nerd that unless she is wearing a dress (of which she has a few, as they tend to fit for a longer period of time than pants,) or is wearing something pink or frilly (of which she has exactly one item that she wears regularly, and only when there's laundry to be done,) do people think she's a girl.

Now, it's not like I dress the kid in blue baseball uniforms or mini suits or anything. Typically she wears jeans or t-shirts from the girl's aisle of Target. I try not to dress her in anything I wouldn't wear myself. But it's like, unless specifically designated as the "other," all children must be boys.

4. Sesame Street, the last bastion of inclusiveness and equality, has a relatively new Muppet. And she's the girliest girly girl ever. Her name is Abby Cadabby, and she has sparkly pigtails, a pretty fairy princess dress, likes George Clooney, and talks on a cell phone hidden in her magic wand. Now while that pretty much describes me every Saturday night from 1996 to 2004, it's hardly a role model I'd want for my child. Especially when there are several really cool girl Muppets on Sesame Street already, namely furry orange Zoe and furry blue Rosita, who is a fruit bat, and that's pretty cool.

(Although I have to add that I still pretty much love Sesame Street. I've seen children of all races, multiracial families, children wearing various religious paraphernalia, visually impaired and hearing impaired children, children who use wheelchairs or crutches, and even, by god, overweight children portrayed as normal on the show, as they should be. Love that.)

But all this stuff pales in comparison to whan looms on the horizon. The Disney Princess Industrial Complex is coming for my child's soul, and I kind of feel like my husband and I are the only line of defense. How do we keep her from becoming brainwashed, but not ashamed of being girly if that's what she really feels like being? How do I keep the corporate logos, not to mention the gender stereotypes, out of the house?

These are the things that keep feminist moms up at night. That, and fear that the kid will grow up voting Republican.

(Cross-posted from Feministe.

Stupid Everything...

Okay, so either my router or my modem has taken a serious powder. Luckily I wasn't supposed to do anything important this week, like guest blog at Feministe or anything, so it shouldn't be a huge deal.


I'm writing this post on my Sidekick, which is tedious (where's my scorn for iPhones now!) and difficult on the thumbs. I'd had another post planned for today, but I'm going to try to get my real computer working first. If I can't, I'll get used to the thumb workout.

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This is what is wrong with America.

Someone showed me this thinking I would find it hilarious (which I guess I kind of do). Really, though, I find it terribly sad.

It's like all the bad things about America rolled into one. From stupid newscasts to people buying into corporate hype (seriously, the iPhone is a pretty mediocrity, my cheapo-in-comparison Sidekick does several things it can't) and spending amounts of money that people in most countries won't make in a year on one item, to the woman who thought she could outsmart everyone with 100,000 dollars to the serious misogyny in the comments on Youtube, it's all there.

This is why the terrorists hate us, folks. If the Romans had iPhones before their fall, I'm pretty sure their local newscasts would look something like this.

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Maybe I’ll write a real post after the kid takes a nap.

But for now childcare demands mean pretty much all I can get done on the computer is some furtive typing while different Youtube videos load.

Did I mention the kid likes Youtube videos? Well, since I'm pretty much a sadist, and since guest blogging gives me a larger group of people to inflict things on than usual, let me introduce you to Pigloo.

I came across the happy French dancing penguin while idly searching Youtube for things appropriate to expose my toddler to. Now I'm afraid she can never get enough. It's like she's addicted. Well, maybe she'll pick up some French.

Although I find the breakdancing penguin with the Addidas tracksuit pinstripes on his wings amusing (not to mention the penguin old men playing bocce), I'm pretty sure this song is used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo.

Happy earworms!

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)

(Guest Blogging ths week at Feministe)

Good morning, Feministers! Thought I'd start out my guestblogging stint with something introductory, although I've guest blogged here before and comment a lot so you might already know me.

I'm a 29-year-old Ethnology student, mother to a 13-month-old, wife to a Viking recreationist, and long, long, long, time blogger at Plucky Punk's Happy Land. I tend to blog about politics, family stuff, feminist stuff in pop culture, the usual. Expect more of the same.

I've been taking an extended vacation from blogging for the past few months, having been the reluctant veteran of one too many dumbass blogwars at the time. But now, although I'm feeling much better about things, I can't guarantee that if comments devolve into constant shouting of "strawman!" back and forth I won't re-edit them into links to cute pictures of fuzzy hamsters at Cute Overload. So be nice.

Also, I'm definitely a "fun feminist," because any revolution in which I can't don a beehive hairdo and sparkly ball gown while doing the rumba is no revolution I want to be a part of.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vanessa: The Return

I'll be returning from my extended vacation from blogging in the next few days.

Just in case anyone is still looking.