Unpopular Thoughts on Men, Rape and Nail Polish

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

(All the quotes in this post is paraphrased because I’m too lazy to go look up the actual verbiage, but it’s more about the atmosphere they produced than the actual words themselves.)

For the last couple days, I’ve watched people I really like tear each other apart on social media over a nail polish. Not just any nail polish — a conceptual nail polish in development which hopes to help detect date rape drugs in drinks. I think the premise is that a woman sticks her finger in the drink and the polish changes color based on the drugs found within, if any. Oh, and the polish idea was developed by men.

I swear, you could almost hear a crack opening in the earth with the feminist outrage that swept the internet.

“That’s unsanitary!” (Well, so’s a stranger’s penis.)

“We don’t need nail polish, we need men to not rape!” (I think this is admirable, but naive. And I can be super naive.)

“If you think this nail polish is a good idea, you’re not an ally!” (This one made me sad.)

“We’re not interested in your penis!”  (Just kidding, that’s a line from PCU.)

In essence, what I heard was a lot of, “Men, you’re not entitled to your opinion. If you’re not with us, you’re against us. You’re not listening. You’re wrong. Stop raping us.” In turn, this riled up a lot of defensiveness among the men, like “I never said that! You’re not listening. You’re wrong. Feminists must all be man-haters!” which turned to mudslinging on both sides and no one’s argument was really heard. Or absorbed, at least.

I consider myself a feminist. I believe a feminist is whatever she wants to be — a lady, a vixen, an anarchist, an activist, feminine, butch, demure, brazen and all combinations thereof and more. I also believe women should feel empowered and if wearing some lousy nail polish (assuming it actually worked) made a woman feel more comfortable, who cares?

This morning, I saw Time magazine tweet a link to apps that would help women stay safer on campus. I knew the moment I clicked on it what the @ replies would say and I wasn’t wrong. It was everything from the polite yet obvious, “Teach men not to rape and we wouldn’t need these apps” to the angry and ill-conceived, “Until men stop raping us, fuck your apps!”

That last one brings me to my ultimate point: until men stop raping women (and other men, by the way, it does happen) what would you like us to do?

I don’t talk about it a lot, but as someone who has been both roofied and date raped (separately), I can tell you — it’s not going to stop. I mean, I’d love to think that it would but the very idea that you have to teach someone not to rape you, seems a little far-reaching. If someone is going to rape you, they’re not wired right and likely, they aren’t going to hear you. Most men know not to rape or we wouldn’t be able to let them outside. Unfortunately, it’s those that do who color men as a group and I just don’t feel like that’s fair, either.

I believe, in addition to men not raping, in taking responsibility for one’s own safety. Doing so does not make me a victim blamer, it makes me empowered over my own body. Recently, I was pinned to my car by a creepy hobo who has been following me around. He did it broad daylight, made lewd gestures at me, got into my personal space and promised to “have me” the next time he saw me. Am I not a feminist because I bought a taser? Am I not an ally because I’m prepared for his advances, should they ever occur again? The next time he accosts me, should I just say, “You should learn to not rape me, creepy hobo!”?

Look, I guess my point is this: we can do both — we can teach men not to rape and we can create preventative measures. Women are usually the ones being raped, so most of the preventative measures are geared toward us. It is what it is. And getting a guy into a chastity belt can be an ordeal… so I’ve heard. (Yes, we can talk about rape and still joke. It’s ok.)

We teach people not to murder. We teach them not to rob. But we still lock our doors and buy alarm systems and avoid walking down dark alleys alone at night. Taking a measure of personal safety or even applauding an attempt a product that might help women feel safer, doesn’t make someone anti-women, pro-rape or not an ally. YES, it totally sucks that we have to do those things, but this isn’t Mayberry, you know?

I don’t think that “teach them not to rape” is enough. I don’t think products that help women take responsibility for their safety is blaming women. It’s just something to help until we reach this magic utopia where rape doesn’t exist. On Xenu. With Tom Cruise.

Categories: drama, Life

Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

Monday, February 25th, 2013

LuluWith a title like that, you’d think I have a brood of kids. I don’t even have one — not of the human variety, anyway. But I discovered this past week that I am, most certainly and somewhat uncomfortably, a mom.

Lulu was really sick this past week for the first time in her almost five years. What started out as the sniffles on Tuesday ended up with her staying overnight at the vet on Wednesday for gastric stasis — likely brought on by the stress of the vet visit the day before. (She’d never been given syringe medication before, so she kind of flipped out.)

Given how dangerous this can be for rabbits, I was beyond concerned. I was positively obsessed. Despite trying not to worry, to take my mind off her… I couldn’t.  I’d heard stories of how quickly bunnies can go from stasis. They just “give up” from the pain. And I was terrified because she’d been swooped away by the vet so quickly without me getting a chance to really kiss her and say goodbye, so I was scared she might not come back.

We have one of the foremost rabbit vets in the country as our doctor, and the tech staff there is really great, so I knew she was in good hands, but that didn’t stop me from checking her room every 10 minutes, forgetting she wasn’t in there. Or revisiting the same scenarios in my head and talking them out to Mike, who was probably ready to toss me off the balcony at that point, but didn’t let on. (Thanks for that.)  I knew he was stressed, too, so I appreciated his calm while I fell apart.

It may seem small to people with human children, especially those with kids who undergo major medical procedures or live with challenges every day, but to me Lulu being sick or potentially gone was huge. Everything, really.  When I spoke to the vet and they told me they’d like to keep her overnight, my voice cracked as I asked if she would be left unattended overnight. And then I had to get off the phone because I was afraid I would flat out cry and officially become Crazy Bunny Lady, though certainly they’d seen much worse based on what I’ve seen at some rabbit events. Rabbit appliqued crocheted sweater vests make a few tears seem less crazy.

When Lulu was able to come home the following afternoon, I hovered. I fretted. I checked on her 18 times in as many minutes. I have never been more anxious to see poop in my life. I realized I was “helicoptering”… and that I was probably putting out too much anxious energy, so I had to chill out. We even left for a bit to give her some peace and I could eat my feelings.

Admittedly, in the past, while I tried to sympathize with friends who worried like maniacs whenever they were away from their kids, I never quite “got it”. I love my friends (and their kids), but when I’d hear moms say things like “I hope their father hasn’t accidentally set them on fire”  for the 30th time, you start to think, “Lady, relax. What can possibly happen? Have a drink before I roofie you.”

But I get it now, moms. (File that under things I never thought I’d say.) I could’ve used a roofie* or like, a tranquilizer dart.

To some, Lulu’s just a pet. But when you haven’t had any pets of your own in your adult life and you’re likely never going to have kids, you can invest a lot in your pets.  She’s a member of my family, my best girl, and ultimately an investment of 10 years of my life.

Never in a million years did I think going to the swap meet for a tacky birthday gift four and a half years ago would result in the best thing ever.

 

* Relax, I’ve been ruffied before, I’m allowed to throw it around casually if I want.

Categories: drama, Life, Lulu

The One Where “Follow” Has Lost All Meaning

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Let’s talk about Twitter… because I have nothing else to talk about.  But I want to get your take on something: if someone follows you, do you feel obligated to follow them back?

I used to have this list of personal guidelines for Twitter — my personal preferences, not rules for everyone else.  Over time, I’ve bent and/or broken a couple of those guidelines… like, I now follow more than 100 people. I used to think that following more than that wouldn’t allow me to personally interact or catch everything. But, I’ve found that not to be true, so I’ve upped my follow list. There are a lot of interesting people out there and not all of them tweet consistently, so it’s easier to follow more, but I’ll never be that person who follows thousands of people. I still believe in quality over quantity.

And to that end, I won’t just follow someone simply because they follow me. I’m not tweet-easy… tweasy? And I treat Twitter the same way I treat prospective shags — with a thorough once-over.  No one is getting into these twitter pants without an evaluation.

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Categories: drama, thoughts

Prickafornia

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

So can we talk about my neighbors some more?  It seems no matter where I go, I end up with at least one subpar neighbor.  I had to ask mikey if maybe it was me — perhaps I’m doing something that makes the neighbors jerky, or maybe I have unrealistic expectations, but he insists it’s them.

Remember the Tacky Water Bottle people from across the hall?  Well, last Friday, I received a notice on my door from the apartment management, letting me know I’m in violation of their “common areas” policies with my water bottles.  While I wasn’t thrilled to hear this — I mean, where else are you supposed to keep them in an apartment? — if that’s their policy and I’m in violation, fine. I’ll figure something out.

So I called the office to let them know I was going to comply and ask for suggestions on where I might keep them, since it’s a month’s worth of water.  I was connected with the manager, who informed me that I was issued the violation primarily because there were “several complaints” about my water bottles “blowing over and rolling down the hallways very noisily” and neighbors were having to “round them up” for me.

I like to consider myself a lady, but I have to quote my father here and cry, “Horseshit!”  Total, utter nonsense.  And I told her so. I said, “I’m happy to comply with your policies if that is the case. It’s not the most convenient thing, but if that’s your rule, that’s how it goes.  However, I can tell you with about 99.9% accuracy that those ‘reports’ are hogwash. I am home all day, every day and my desk is right on the other side of the ice cube glass window/wall from those bottles.  I sit right there.  If there were anything blowing anywhere, especially noisily, I would have heard it. If there were someone out there rounding up my anything, I would have seen them.  I know you can’t tell me who it is, nor do I really want you to, but if it’s the neighbors across the hall, I have an idea of what this is about. ”  Then I briefly recapped the interaction on the 4th of July.

She told me I can store the bottles on my patio and I, as obviously retaliatory as it was, informed the management that “if we’re going to go there”, then the neighbors across the hall aren’t exactly angels, rummaging around in their storage unit (in the common area of the hallway) loudly at 1am every night. I also mentioned the constant stream people going in and out of their apartment loudly (which is directly across from the ‘ice cube glass’ wall, so I’m constantly distracted by it), multiple times, at all hours of the day from dawn until midnight, causing me to speculate how many people actually live there.  I also mentioned that their guests occasionally peer in my glass wall/window, sometimes even putting their hands up to block the side glare.  Into my apartment! They can’t see anything, even with the lights on, except shapes, but I feel kind of skeeved by that!   I told her that other than that one interaction, I’d never spoken with them and didn’t want to start a feud with my neighbors, but that I wouldn’t stand for fabrications and again, “if we’re going to go there”, then I would also no longer stand for morons peering into my apartment.

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Everybody’s Got One & They All Stink

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

After blogging and/or having an internet presence for ten years, I’ve learned to not take things as personally as I once did. But it never ceases to amaze me that people seem to think they have some kind of jurisdiction over what content I post, like I have some kind of obligation to entertain them.  I especially like it when total strangers threaten to stop reading me, following me, subscribing to me, whatever.   I’m sorry, Total Stranger, your opinion doesn’t define me.  But thanks for being kind of a shrew… at least I was entertained.

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Categories: drama