QotD

So my advice to women is this: If a man ever tries to use the Bible as a weapon against you to keep you from speaking the truth, just throw on a head covering and tell him you’re prophesying instead. To those who will not accept us as preachers, we will have to become prophets.

— Rachel Held Evans wrote this in her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master.” There is a certain amount of rules lawyering in there — but it’s certainly a literal use of the passage.

Nothing to Prove

The Doubleclicks made this video for their song “Nothing to Prove” using video clips submitted by friends and fans.  (Some of those clips are also being posted at http://geekgirlvideo.tumblr.com, with more being uploaded.)

“Nothing to Prove” song lyrics are on their Bandcamp site, and The Doubleclicks talk about making the video on their main site.

The song “Nothing to Prove” is on their new album “Lasers and Feelings,” which you can also listen to (and read lyrics and buy) on their Bandcamp site.

(The song is also on YouTube. You may want to skip the comments on YouTube.  Just sayin’.)

Update: The writer in the video holding a “I have to use a gender-neutral pen name just to be respected” is J.M. Frey, author of Triptych.  A followup is on Tumblr.

Kickstarter, Storytelling, and A Kitten

People are talking about Kickstarter a lot.  Indie musician Marian Call, who organizes some of the most organized shows I’ve helped with,  organized a very successful Kickstarter for her first-ever tour of Europe.  And did the tour, and has released the live album that the Kickstarter promised.  Oh…and blogged about it.

A lot of it comes down to making sure you will have supporters, and not expecting them to sent by central casting.  Pre-Kickstarter, Marian had done other fundraisers, both quiet ones and auctions. She knew who would want to contribute and what they’d want.  Marian also has 3 bullet points that are variations on “know your audience”, “respect them too” and “like your audience”. But she also points out the financial side:

[Once] you deduct 10% for Kickstarter/Amazon and then 15% for taxes, and then you really add up the cost of fulfillment, you might be earning only $2-3 at your reward level that seems to profitable. [On the NUMBER SMASH page of my public budget] I calculated what each reward level would cost me, and then I wondered how many people would go for higher-return vs. lower-return rewards. What would people buy the most of?  If everyone went for necklaces & USB drives, could I still actually afford to do my trip?  I worked through a couple different scenarios to get a good estimate of what rewards would cost me — and how much I would need to ask for to wind up with $7,000 to make it to Europe & back (the answer is about $11,000, so $4000 would go into fees & fulfillment).

And:

Does anyone want you to make the thing you want to make? Are people clamoring for it? Because — this is an important distinction — there is art you make because other people want you to make it, and there is art you make because you must make it. [….Y]ou only want to crowdfund something people want and need and get super excited about.  [If they don’t]  I’m not saying don’t make it. I’m saying fund that thing in another way.

Not everything has an audience.  Or has found their audience, at least.   If you’re interested in Kickstarter, either as a funder or a fundraiser, you may find Marian’s writeup useful. (Also longish and conversational.)

On a more dour note, discussing rape in fiction in her brilliant essay titled “The Rape of James Bond”, Sophia McDougall asks writers to ask themselves:

“Would I ever write a story in which the male hero is raped as part of his origin story, or as the nadir he had to fight back from, or to inspire someone else to take revenge?”

And if you would, yes, I think perhaps you should go ahead and do it. If done very well, and respectfully, it could even help to destigmatise the experience of male survivors. It could help to diminish that sense that rape somehow defines female experience.

And if you would not, ask yourself why not. And if there’s any part of you that answers, that you wouldn’t find a male survivor of rape heroic, that it’s too humiliating to even think about – then, for everyone’s sakes, until you can honestly find a different answer within yourself, you need to not be writing about rape at all.

(links added)

And here’s a video of a kitten playing with a Roomba.  Happy Friday!

Naming

Seeing discussion of women changing their names again.  (Sigh.)  But there is something is often NOT said about this, that I think should be:

Practically speaking, it takes time and money to change your name.

Social security office, driver’s license & car title – those are often the main things people think of.  If you go in person you can probably use the same certified copy of the marriage document for it.

…and the bank, again with a certified copy of the marriage certificate. OK.

…and updating things at work.  OK.

…and call your utilities, landlord, credit cards….

got a passport?  Again, certified copy, and if you mail it off, you’ll want one just to mail off.

…. if you own your home?  Well, changing the name on the deed of one’s home can require filing a conveyance document/deed – you essentially “sell” the house to yourself.   Right.  Do you want to trust you’ll get that right without a lawyer? 

I didn’t keep my birth name out of my “commitment to feminism”.  I got married in my 30s. I was looking at spending days trotting my marriage certificate over to the social security office, dept of licensing (driver’s license and car title), bank, credit union, 2 brokerages with local offices, and getting forms notarized and more certified copies of the marriage certificate to mail to 2 other brokerages, and then hire a lawyer to help me sell my condo to myself?  Oh HELL no.

Name changes are complicated enough that there are services to help you do this

On the other hand, a friend who hated her last name* was thrilled to have an excuse to dump it.  (She didn’t own a home, but did have a passport.)  So, it depends on your motivation.

Also: society is fine with women who want to change their names on marriage, but not men.  Why?

*Imagine if your last name was pronounced “mean”.

QotD: Inauguration

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.  For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”

— President Obama, in his second inaugural address

The US is so behind in so many ways. But this feels hopeful.

QOTD: Avoiding Pregnancy

[M]ost American women spend the majority of their lives trying not to get pregnant. According to the Guttmacher Institute, by the time a woman with two children is in her mid-40s, she will have spent only five years trying to become pregnant, being pregnant or in a postpartum period. So to avoid getting pregnant, she would have have to refrain from sex or use contraception for 25 years. That’s a long part of life and a lot of effort to avoid parenthood. – Washington Post

I’ve never been pregnant. I realize many miscarriages happen in the first few weeks, so I might have been pregnant without realizing it.  Perhaps “To my knowledge I’ve never been pregnant” would be more factual.  But.  I have used condoms, taken the pill, used spemicide.  More recently the man of the house decided to be sterilized, and I’m fine with that.

I chose to avoid pregnancy and I succeeded.  It’s possible that I’m not very fertile – I don’t know my fertility status, really, because I never tried to conceive. It helped that I had money for contraceptives, especially before my state required insurers to cover birth control; it helped that I waited to have sex until I was legally of age. I chose contraception and it worked for me.

If my life had gone differently I might have chosen to conceive. If contraception had been less effective or affordable for me, I might have had an abortion. The thing I’m glad of was that it was a choice. Having children does not have to be a given.

On Being Fuckable

Spilt Milk recently tweetedlink to the quote:

I will not accept that my worth on this earth is based on whether or not you think my fat body is fuckable.

I agree with the sentiment.  One of the things I’ve appreciated, as I’ve gotten middle-aged, is that random men seem to feel less of a need to tell me whether or not they find me sexually attractive. It’s a bit more, “Oh, you’re an adult.” (Of course, I’ve been spending a lot of time in nursing homes and hospitals as my father’s next-of-kin, where “middle-aged” really is the defining factor.)

I’d like to think my looks don’t matter.  But if I really believed that, would I smile when I approach a barista or bank teller or coworker?   I smile as a form of communication.   I smile to look more appealing, to ingratiate myself.  I’m white, I’m tall, I’m fat, I’m busty. Some of that improves how people view me, some of it doesn’t, but it’s all part of the package.  My looks matter a great deal at times.

Since I started this blog I have had a few trolls take the time to tell me I’m not worth fucking.  I don’t care.  I don’t know them.  Why should I care?

At the same time, I usually dress in ways that I find attractive.  I flirt.  I am pleased down to my toes to have the man of the house whisper that he loves me and lusts me.  Being appreciated is nice … but it is not all that I am, and it is not my measure of worth.

Things to Read

This is kind of a mishmash ;)

If you’ve seen comments about “dickwolves” and PAX and wondered what it was about, JetWolf has a nice summary.

Author Seanan McGuire addressed why fixing the US healthcare system is so terribly, terribly important this week.  Seanan has discussed why she needs health insurance here and here.

Seanan’s new CD, Wicked Girls, is available for ordering at CDBaby.

Alternet has a well-done piece by Judith Matz on “Why dieting makes you fatter”.  It references Linda Bacon’s Health At Every Size study, Traci Mann’s survey of diet studies, and other research.   If you’ve been into fat acceptance a while it’s mostly things you know, but it’s good to see getting wider play.  It might also be a useful “FA 101” piece.

A 3-part Q&A with Linda Bacon is over at PyschCentral, too.

Ragen at Dances With Fat has a great post on respecting others’ choices while discussing Fat Acceptance and HAES.

Anything else?

On Acceptance

Fat acceptance is about accepting my body, even though it’s fat.  It doesn’t mean that everyone else is automatically OK with my body.

me, stretching

I know a lot of people don’t accept my fat. Some of them are quite comfortable telling me that it’s not OK for me to be fat.   Sometimes that bothers me.  But more often it doesn’t.

See, I learned something about myself when I majored in computer science in college.

  • I had women outside my major telling it was a mistake, because computers are “icky” and “a guy thing”.
  • I had people at church telling me that it was a mistake, because “that’s a demanding career and when you get married your husband is going to want you to focus on him”.
  • I was urged to get a degree in early childhood education and work with children as preparation for marriage.

I wasn’t married at the time, mind; I wasn’t even dating.  But I was being told to abandon a field I found fascinating and fun to pursue a field I was already tired of, and, oh yes, urged to ensure I would make a lot less money. Why?

So I would do what was expected of me as a woman.
So I would be feminine.

This stressed me out at the time.  I wasn’t happy about it.  But part of what gave me the strength to be a “bad”, “unfeminine” woman was that I already was one.  I was fat. I had broad shoulders and at 5’8″ I hulked over a lot of guys.   I already wasn’t going to fit into the usual feminine mold.   So why shouldn’t I pursue a field I thought was fun and exciting?

Because I was fat, I learned I could survive being different.
Because I was fat, I put less value on being “normal”.
Because I was fat, I became less afraid.

I was also lucky that it was the late 1980s; legally I had doors open to me that might have been closed before.  I did find friends.  My parents did let me live at home and helped me to borrow money for tuition.  I was lucky to get a job right out of school, to do well, and to make friends there.  My career opened more doors to me: within 5 years I was making more than my parents combined.

I also met my first lovers through my work.  Some relationships were what people consider “normal”, some weren’t, but again, I learned from them.   And, again, I didn’t feel I had to constrain myself to fit into the mold marked “normal”, much less “feminine”.

Accepting myself taught me to look beyond what was expected of me as a woman and find what I wanted.  Accepting myself let me get on with my life — and to live my life.

Yes, I would like for the broader culture to be more accepting of fat people — for one thing, it would reduce the negative affects of weight bias and weight-related stress.  But that pales, to me, beside fat people accepting themselves.