13 Reasons Why: The Memes

On Kindle now, enjoy 13 Reasons Why: The Memes!

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Repost: Dina Honour skewers Matt Walsh’s comments about The Women’s March

Pretty much everything Matt Walsh writes makes me want to puke, and I’m a (somewhat lapsed) Christian! This is the best post I’ve seen addressing his nonsense regarding the Women’s March.

Dear Matt Walsh and others, Hear me loud, and hear me clear. When a woman, a group of women, several million women say “My experience as a woman is this” you don’t get to say with any merit “No, it’s not.” It really is that simple. You are not a woman. You have never lived […]

via Dear Matt Walsh, Your Opinion On the Women’s March is Worthless — Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

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Free Slime eBook

My new book How to Make Slime and Other Revolting Recipes is free for the next two days. Available on Kindle!

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New Slime eBook

My new Ebook is out today! It is a book of slime recipes for children. I am having so much fun dipping my toe into the world of epublishing. If any of my blogging buddies have any questions about publishing all you have to do is ask!

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How to Make Slime and Other Revolting Recipes

So….this has nothing to do with feminism, but I am so excited. I made a little side project, my first ebook! A book of slime recipes for kids. I had so much fun putting it together. Buy it here for your Kindle!

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eBook!

Hello! I have not been around in a long time! Many changes in my life. Marriage and a child and career changes. It’s been quite the whirlwind.

However, I am proud and happy to announce that I have an ebook coming out soon titled (you guessed it) Musings of a Geek Feminist. Very proud and happy!

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Feminist Heroes of the Past: Josephine Butler

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Josephine Butler, official bad-ass

Whenever I hear a women say that they’re not a feminist I think one of three things:

1.) They don’t know the meaning of the word.

2.) They are scared that they will be negatively associated with (untrue) stereotypes that feminists are bitter, ugly, angry, masculine, man-haters.

or

3.) They Don’t Know Their History

Throughout all time in almost all cultures women, their bodies, and their sexuality have been attempted to be controlled.  I love reading and learning about feminism.  I am a bad feminist in the sense that since I am new to the movement I am still educating myself about the feminists of the past and the enormous obstacles they overcame.  I just learned about the all-around awesome woman Josephine Butler and I felt I had to share.

The following is an excerpt from the marvelous book ‘Farewell to the East End’.  Adapted into the popular BBC show, ‘Call the Midwife’ it is one memoir of three written by Jennifer Worth.  The books chronicle her life experiences as a Midwife in the poorest areas of 1950’s post-War London.  I find them endlessly fascinating as a look into the intimate lives of ordinary women of the past.


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[Trigger Warning]

In the following excerpt Jennifer is having a conversation with Sister Monica Joan, a 90 year old nun.  Sister Monica Joan was raised in a very wealthy family in the Victorian Age and did not embark on her journey as a nurse, midwife, and nun until she was over thirty.  Jennifer is asking why she became a nurse when she had the financial freedom to do anything she wanted:

                                                                       ***

     [Sister Monica:] ‘When Nancy died, I had an almighty row with my father, who wanted to control me.  I hated the shallow, empty life I was leading, and wanted to throw myself into the struggle.  I left home to become a nurse.  It was the least I could do in her memory.’

     [Jennifer:] ‘Who was Nancy?’

     ‘My maid.  She had been surgically raped.’

     ‘What! Surgically raped? What on earth does that mean?’

     ‘Exactly what it says.  Josephine Butler had rescued that child and asked me if I could take her on as my ladies maid.  I was eighteen at the time, and my mother permitted me to have a lady’s maid of my choice.  Nancy was thirteen.’

      ‘Who was Josephine Butler?’

      ‘An unknown saint.  You are ignorant, child! I cannot waste my time with such ignorance.  Go, fetch my tea, if your mind cannot rise to higher thoughts.’

     Sister Monica Joan closed her fine, hooded eyes, and haughtily turned her head to indicate the conversation was over.

                                                                        ***

After the conversation Jennifer made it a point to find out what Sister Monica Joan was talking about, and some of the older nuns filled her in.  I was also filled in with a bit of history I had never heard about.

In the 1860’s syphilis was rampant in England.  It was so common and so widespread that it was weakening the British Army and Royal Navy.  In an attempt to curb the spread of the diseases through prostitutes, the Contagious Diseases Acts were passed.

When these cruel laws were passed, this gave the right that a policeman or Doctor could inspect any prostitute on sight and demand a examination.  If they were infected, they were placed in a lock hospital (a hospital that you couldn’t leave that was basically a prison) until you were cleared of infection.  There were several terrible problems and consequences with this law.

  •   The law was designed to persecute women only.  Men were not subjected to examinations or locked up if infected.
  •   Women were forced to consent to the examination.  If a women failed to sign a consent form, she was imprisoned until she did sign.
  • Once a consent form was signed, it was indefinite and she could be examined whenever the examiner wanted.
  • This law attracted deviant, sadistic men that volunteered to do the examinations and were placed in complete power over these women.
  • These “examinations” were done without witnesses.  There are many reports that they weren’t examinations at all but simply an excuse to hurt the women.  Many women were raped by the examiner’s and well as having to endure the insertion of the instruments.
  • Gynecological instruments were primitive and no lubrication was used.  An examination was a tortuous ordeal.

Victorian speculum

  • Not surprisingly,  not only prostitutes were targeted but all lower class women.  Any woman could be “suspected of prostitution” and “examined.”
  • These exams were not just happening to women but girls starting at the age of thirteen.

 

So. To sum up.  If you were a teenage girl walking in London’s East End, you could be confronted by a policeman that may be an honest man may be a sexual sadist.  You will be confronted with a piece of paper and ordered to sign.  Once you do, you will be strapped down and violated.  Even if you are not infected, you now are on record and will most likely have to endure several more “exams” in the future.

This is what happened to Sister Monica Joan’s maid Nancy.  When she was 13 she was trying to take in some washing by the docks to make some money, and was accosted.  An “exam” that should have taken less than five minutes was a torturous forty-five minutes.  She was strapped and tied down and was treated so roughly she had injuries and pain for the rest of her life.  Fortunately for her Josephine Butler came to her aid and placed her as a maid in the West End so that she didn’t have to endure the ordeal ever again.

So who was Josephine Butler?  She was a Christian feminist that made it her life’s work to try to protect and speak up for the rights of prostitutes, who lived dismal and violent lives.  In Victorian times sex was not even mentioned in polite company and Josephine spoke up as to what was really happening.  In the 1870’s England was going to expand this law.  Instead of only London all of England was going to be affected.

Josephine started the Ladies National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act and dedicated all her efforts to repealing the law.  She is responsible for coining the term “surgical rape” and it proved effective as some people had not seen the procedure in these terms.  Josephine was vilified, and even physically assaulted.  This did not stop her and eventually as the public became more aware of what was happening.  In a time when women were literally their husbands property and under their complete control her husband George Butler not only “allowed” her activism but helped and encouraged her every step of the way.

It took a decade but the vile law was finally abolished in 1882.  Never think one person can’t make a difference.  Josephine saved hundreds of not thousands of women being surgically raped.

 Modern Day Applications

It should be mentioned that although this appeal happened over 140 years ago “surgical rape” is once more an issue in modern day America.  In 2012 the state of Virginia passed a law where if a women wanted an abortion she was required to have a transvaginal ultra-sound.  These ultrasounds serve no medical purpose. The idea is if a heartbeat is heard the woman won’t go through with  it. ( It hasn’t decreased abortions.)

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transvaginal wand, shown to scale

About four years ago I was having pains and my Doctor had to check for ovarian cysts and I had a transvaginal ultra-sound.  Let me assure you, THEY HURT.  Every ounce of my energy was concentrated on not crying in pain.

I believe abortion is an immoral act.  But since making abortion illegal neither increases or decreases abortions, and women’s deaths and injury skyrockets, keeping abortion safe and legal has always been a no-brainer to me, even though I realize some think that being a Pro-Choice Christian could be considered an oxymoron.

The idea that lawmakers are once again trying to violate women’s bodies without their consent is repellent to me and fits the legal definition of rape.  Since the women are receiving abortions I feel an undercurrent of “punishment” and “who cares if you don’t consent and it hurts” attached to the law.

I’m proud of all my modern Josephine Butler-esque feminists that stood up to say, “No, this is wrong.”  Their ruckus causing ways helped stop the spread of this gross law to other states.  Keep on fighting, Ladies.  Josephine would be proud.

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Photo taken at a women’s rights rally in Virgina, 2012.

 

You can follow Linddykal on Twitter @lindseykal28

SOURCES:

Jordan, Jane, Josephine Butler, John Murray, 2000

Moberly Bell, E., Josephine Butler, Constable, 1962

Stafford, Ann, The Age of Consent, Hodder and Stoughton, 1964

Worth, Jennifer, Farewell to the East End, Weidernfeld & Nicolson, 2009

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“It’s Not Socially Acceptable to Find Motherhood Difficult.”

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Today I was listening to an episode of the (excellent) podcast For Crying Out Loud.  It’s hosted by Lynette Carolla and Stephanie Wilder-Taylor and the topics are mostly related to raising their kids. Since they are both Mom’s with twins they have earned their stripes and spent time in the trenches.  The show also delves into many issues women face outside of motherhood, but without a whiff of pretension or taking themselves too seriously.  Add in a quick run down and critique of the week’s reality TV line-up and you have a typical episode.

The episode I was listening to (with guest host Kay Morgan) took an interesting turn about how so many stay at home Moms they know are drinking fairly heavily or using pills:

Stephanie:  No, you don’t understand this is what’s going on. Every Mom I know drinks a lot.

Kay Hanley:  Or pills. Pills are so insidious. It’s like f*cking Valley of the Dolls out there.  I mean…I know so many people….Xanex and Xanax and Xanex and Percocet and Viocodin….

It was at this point when Stephanie chimed in with a point that had immediate resonance.

Stephanie:  Do you know why? It’s because it’s not socially acceptable to find motherhood difficult.

 

Stephanie then continued on sharing examples of her own experiences:

Stephanie:  I know this for a fact because whenever I talk about something on TV the nasty internet comments are like, “Well if motherhood is so boring, then you shouldn’t have kids.” Or “being a Mother is the biggest blessing in the world and you should enjoy every second.”   All that stuff…It doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely love my kids and don’t love being a mother.  But it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s incredibly stressful.  A big transformation…

Kay Morgan:  It’s stiltifying.  It’s exasperating.  IT’S LONELY….

The show drifted to another topic but I found what Stephanie said so insightful.  It seems that no matter how women raise their kids they get criticism for not doing it right.

 

  • If a women chooses to work and can afford to be a stay at home Mother on her partner’s income she’s criticized for not being with her children.

 

  • If a women works, not by choice but because her income is essential, she is criticized for having children that she couldn’t afford.

 

  • If a women is a stay at home Mom she is criticized or treated condescendingly for having an “easy” life and not being tough enough or smart enough to make it in the working world

 

It is so difficult to be a Mother and I think it is essential that women are kind for each other about their choices.  In today’s society there’s no easy answer and you will get criticized no matter what you do.

We have to stop the madness.  The idea of thousands of women feeling isolated and drinking alone in quiet desperation is so sad to me.   Today’s society is more isolating and there is typically less support systems to readily share the load.

If you can at all afford it, don’t feel guilty about getting a babysitter to give you a few hours to yourself.  It’s worth every penny and it will be better for you and your family.  Children are a blessing.  But don’t believe the lie that every moment will be blissful, or even tolerable.

And it’s okay to admit it.

 

 

Follow Lynette on Twitter @LynetteCarolla and Stefanie @SWilderTaylor

Stephanie Wilder-Taylor has a blog and is the author of a child care book

And follow the show @ACEMoms or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/acemoms

 

You can find Linddykal on Twitter @Lindseykal28

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Robin Thicke’s Twitter Fiasco

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I am a firm believer in the First Amendment and Free Speech.  Feminism is not a universally popular or embraced sentiment by any means and I exercise that right every time I make a blog post.  I have no interest in censoring anyone, nor banning anybody.  I further more do not want to live in a country that bans or censors art or artists.

So when Robin Thicke sings in his breakout hit  “Blurred Lines”  “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”  I think it’s violent and misogynist, but he has the right to say it.  People are allowed to vote with their wallets, and the rapey “Blurred Lines” was one of the most downloaded songs of 2013.

I knew Robin Thicke was sexist, but when I saw his new single “Get Her Back” I was disturbed further that he seemed to be crossing the line into that of an abusive domestic partner.  His wife Paula left him because of (allegedly) rampant reports of infidelity.  In the video Thicke posts an exchange of texts between him and his ex in an attempt to publicly shame his wife into coming back to him.

The most creepy part of this video is quick flashes of himself holding a his hand like a gun to his head.  One of the most stereotypical tactics of an abuser is to threaten to kill themselves if their partner doesn’t return to them.  It is an attempt to manipulate at a very primal and base level.

So yeah.  All in all? Not a fan of Robin Thicke.

When VH1 posted a hashtag for questions intended for Thicke to answer I’m not sure if they expected the flurry of sarcastic questions  or not.  Instead of questions about his favorite foods or his newly released album they received hundreds of scathing responses in their Q & A.

 

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Thi cke pics

 

 

There has been some noise that Thicke shouldn’t be shamed in public.  But the thing is making rapey and misogynist music IS SHAMEFUL!  The right that he has to make sexist art is the same right the public  has to call him on it.

Speaking of Twitter, the infamous ‘Shit My Dad Says’ Tweet pretty much sums up how I feel on the subject:

“1st amendment doesn’t protect assholes from criticism. The right to act like an asshole and be called an asshole’s the same fucking right.”

 

You can follow Linddykal on Twitter @Lindseykal28

 

 

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Possible Consequences of Hobby Lobby Ruling

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It’s been a few days since the Supreme Court sided with the Hobby Lobby verdict and I’m still adjusting to my shock.  I really didn’t think they would win, but they did.  I don’t work at Hobby Lobby, but the consequences of this decision is that my boss can now say what medical care I can and cannot have covered by my insurance based on his or her religious beliefs.  Awesome.  Though I don’t know why I was surprised.  Policing women’s bodies and attempting to control their sexuality?

That train is never late.

But what now?  As Ruth Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice said in her dissent, “The court, I feel, has ventured into a minefield.”  Most disturbing of all is that the basis for their objection is not even scientifically sound.  There is the simple fact that HELLO!  IUD’s ARE NOT ABORTIONS!!

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That their claim is not backed up by science is of no matter.  It’s what they “sincerely believe” that counts when it comes to stripping women of their bodily autonomy.  While many do not bat an eye when it comes to taking away birth control I see no end to the ways employers can find loopholes to withhold insurance coverage from their employees if all it takes is citing a “sincere religious belief.”

 

1.)Unwed MothersAny coverage for prenatal and pregnancy care can possibly be denied if the employer cites only children produced in a marriage state will be covered.  This discrimination could continue after the child is born, not covering the child after birth.

 2.)GBLT People – The SCOTUS decision wasn’t even a week old before some people jumped on this bandwagon.  Religious organizations are already trying to use the verdict to discriminate.  Forget about medical coverage, it’s against my religious beliefs to even hire you.  Don’t let the door knock you on your way out.

3.)Blood Transfusions – Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in them.  Get in a car wreck? Tough luck, you’re paying for it yourself.  Or just bleed out.  You know.  Whatever.

4.)Gluttony is a sin – Bad joints, high blood pressure, diabetes medication or surgery?  Sorry.  It’s my sincere religious belief that I shouldn’t have to pay for it.  Should’ve put down the cheeseburgers Fatty.

5.)STD’s – It’s my sincere religious belief that you’re out of luck…though you’ll possibly get covered if you’re married.  I haven’t decided yet.   Since I’m the boss and get to decide it will be whatever my whim is.

6.)You’re Body is a Temple – So that pesky lung cancer you caught from cigarettes?  Yeah….you’re on your own.  Come to think of it if you catch any cancer derived from not eating 100% organic food all the time, well that’s rough.  Sucks to be you.  You violated my sincere beliefs and I’m not paying for it.

7.)Muslim Boss? – A women’s naked form shouldn’t be seen by anyone save their husband.  Do you want to see a Doctor without the presence of your husband and have it paid for by insurance?  Tough titty said the kitty.

8.) Mental Health Medications – Watch out Californians, Scientologists don’t believe in mental health meds.  So if you’re bi-polar and in the middle of a nervous break or suicidally depressed maybe you should take some long walks in the woods while listening to classical music.  I’ve heard that helps.

9.) Genital Mutilation Reconstruction – Is your boss an immigrant from a part of Africa that cuts women’s clitorises off in the name of female purity?  Well, you’re not getting an operation that can restore partial sensation, women shouldn’t have any sexual feeling.  It’s my sincere religious belief.

But hey, maybe this law has some benefits.  I’ve decided it’s against my beliefs to pay back my student loans.  The Bible says all debts after seven years are forgiven.  Woo Hoo!!

 

For now there’s not much that can be done.  The Supreme Court is the end of the line.  Yeah, I can vote with my wallet and go to Michael’s instead of Hobby Lobby (and believe me, I’m never setting a toe in there again) but this decision and the ramifications goes well beyond a craft store.

I guess all there is to do now is wait until the 2014 November elections.  Since 99% of sexually active women use some form of birth control in their lives it’s pretty safe to say we’re quite fond of our whore pills.  We’ll just have to use our votes since our opinions on this matter mattered so little to the 5 judges (all men by the way) that dismissed us.

 

If conservatives are worried that this move might have alienated a huge selection of women beyond repair, I say to them, “Don’t worry, we’re not mad….”

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