Don’t Call Me “Honey” or “Sweetie” or “Baby”

Unless you are my older relative, a sarcastic friend, or the person I’m dating, you are not allowed to call me petnames.  It’s weird and creepy.  It’s also harassment.

My name is not “Sweetheart.”  My name is not “Honey,” or is this a horribly made movie from 2003 (see the imbd page here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0322589/). I like to be called by my name when people know my name.
If you don’t know someone’s name, there are still plenty of very appropriate ways to address them.  For example, if you see a young woman in your office and she drops a paper, you can call after her by saying, “Miss!” or “Excuse me, ma’am!” or just say, “Wait!”  All of these are still respectful, appropriate and will get her attention most likely.
If you do know someone’s name, use it.  Do not nickname a co-worker unless you have solid rapport or they nickname you first.  If you are not equals on the corporate ladder or in similar positions in your organization, respect that.  You wouldn’t call your boss a petname, and giving one to an employee below you in rank is highly inappropriate.  In fact, it’s harassment.
If a man at work calls me, “Sweetheart” he is sexually harassing me.
If a woman at works calls me, “Sweetheart” is that also harassment?
YES.
I know it’s well-meaning, and comes from an odd maternal place, but that’s not okay.  There shouldn’t be a double-standard when it comes to harassment.  Continual, repeated instances of disrespectful language, even between women, amount to harassment.  Women can be perpetrators of harassment, of assault, of abuse, and of sexual violence.  Women are not always victims, either.
In my case, these are women who are notably older than me, who are asserting themselves into a maternal or mentoring role without my permission and without reason are unwelcome.  I have a boss.  I have a mentor.  I have a mother.  I don’t need your weird petnames.  I don’t need to be cooed.
My name is not Sweetie and I will not tolerate being talked to like a dog or a baby in the workplace.
In conclusion, my name is Patty.

I’ve Been Too Hard on “Skinny”

A while ago, I wrote a post about how amazing Beyonce’s thighs are, which remains indisputable.

However, what I also did in that post was talk about thin, skinny, little thighs as “unnatural” and less than ideal.  That’s not fair either.

I do think that glorifying unhealthy weight – on either end of the spectrum – is dangerous.  It is dangerous to glorify being so thin that for most people to achieve it, they would have to starve themselves.

Thin thighs are not “unacceptable,” “horrible,” nor are they somehow inherently “bad.”  It is not bad to be a thin person.  No one is a villain simply having thin thighs.

What is bad and scary, then?

It is bad and scary to push a body to extremes.  It is bad to glorify thinness above all else.  It is bad to glorify unhealthy habits that push people into unhealthy weights.  Just as a person can be too fat, a person can be too thin.  Both are bad.  The thing, not a lot of people are striving to be fat.  A lot of people are spending their days and nights obsessing over being thin at any price.  A lot of people have blogs and tumblrs devoted to “thinspo” with all kinds of ways to get skinny.  There are too many little girls and women out there who hurt themselves to achieve a level of thin that is not healthy for them.

That said, making thin women the villain is wrong.

Thin women just so happen to be thin.  Many people want to be thin, and that’s okay.  But wanting to be thin, or wanting to have Beyonce’s thighs, at any cost… that’s scary.

Also, Beyonce is amazing.

Bodies should be allowed to be as they are.  When society pressures us to go against our bodies, society is wrong.  Love your thighs.  Even if they chaff and wiggle.  Even if they’ve never touched.

Wasted: Government Conferences with Big, Huge, Scary Bills

A few months back, the nation was outraged to hear about the money spent on a conference for the GSA (the Federal General Services Administration).  They put on a conference that managed to spend almost a million dollars – on party favors, trinkets, psychics, and other such baloney.  Somehow, through all the bureaucracy required in this government agency, a whole heck of a lot of unnecessary, insultingly wasteful activities and things were authorized and enjoyed.  It’s really quite shameful.

For more information on the absurdity of the GSA Conference Scandal, visit the Huffington Post.

Because this was such a massive scandal and because it was grotesquely wasteful, I hoped it was an isolated incident.  It was not.  Not even close.

I was sad to hear that the VA is now under investigation for a similar scandal, though this seems even worse.  The alleged number I keep hearing is … $5 Million Dollars.  As in, $1,000,000 times FIVE.  As in, $5,000,000.00.

Not only is this number shocking, the fact that it was approved in such a bureaucratically controlled system is also shocking.  Think about all the different people who had to authorize that.  Think of all the different people who emailed each other about.  In my experience, bureaucracy, through its inefficient back-and-forth, prevents a lot of big waste.  Sure, it wastes a lot of time because people are going back and forth, and it can be incredibly frustrating.  Yet, it does somehow manage to keep wasteful spending away a good amount of the time.  I mean, the last time I had to buy bubbles for work, I had to prove in three different ways that it had a business purpose.  How does this happen?  How could enough people have thought this was okay?  How could anyone spend $5,000,000 on two conferences?

Ahh!  Shouldn’t this be stealing?  Am I just crotchety?

They somehow spent $5 million on two conferences.  This is so much money.  This is money that could have created jobs, facilities for patients, or supplies for staff members.  These could have been research dollars.  That money could have funded so many good things that would have impacted VA patients, staff, and students.  Instead, that money went towards two internal conferences.

These weren’t even national conferences where information, best practices, and cutting-edge research could be shared. These were internal staff conferences about procedures, policies, and other easily emailed stuff.  Team building should not cost millions of dollars.  You can build a team with talking.  You can build a team by going hiking.  You should never waste that much money just to have a giant meeting.  It is absurdly irresponsible.  It is disrespectful.  It is shocking.  It is sad.

Maybe you are asking yourself, “How much does a normal conference cost?”  As someone who has planned both state and national conferences, I can confidently say, “A hell of a lot less than $2,500,000.”  To get specific, I believe a national conference with 500 attendees can easily be planned for under $100,000 a day – that would cover food, facilities, materials, even some “splash” items, honorariums (payment to speakers), and lodging for some of the guests.  That’s $200 per person.  That’s reasonable.  That’s possible.

I strongly believe that frugality is next to cleanliness (I won’t get into godliness). I also strongly believe that government agencies should be frugal, very frugal.  Now, government employees should be paid fairly, should receive benefits, and should be happy and comfortable; I do not believe we should expect people to sacrifice their paychecks to work for the government.  That said, I don’t think the government should approve stupid conferences that cost so much they will eventually cost someone their salary.  The money wasted on frivolous things at a conference is money that will never go to an employee.  In a time of major lay-offs, controversy over programs that help people, and massive deficits, I expect government agencies to spend smartly.

I would rather see money go towards any number of social programs that benefit people’s lives.  I highly doubt that those employees’ lives were deeply affected by these conferences.  I would wager that the employees could have learned all the same information for a lot less money.

Money should be going to schools, medicine, research, food, welfare, police, teachers, benefits, and many, many other programs – not conferences.

More on Mr. Akin’s Bullshit (“Legitimate Rape,” etc.)

First, he begs for Forgiveness….

It makes me so mad that he is saying that his issue is “the words” but not his “heart.”  Yes, the issue is about words.  When politicians, when men use words like this to discuss rape, they put it on women.  In our culture we tell women to not get raped, instead of telling men not to rape.

When women are forced to jump through hoops and relive their traumas to prove they were raped, they are being forced and traumatized again.  Abortion is legal and it’s staying that way.  Maybe we should focus on educating men that sexuality is about choice, agency, and mutual desire.  Men should be taught respect and self-control.  Women should be allowed to be sexual and men should be better than raping.  Let’s expect more of the men in our culture.

Let’s stigmatize raping, not being raped.  Victims are victims and they should not be ashamed.  Rapers are evil and they should never be excused.  All rapes are real and legitimate.

For Todd Akin to use these words makes me so angry.  For him to go on and “explain” that women who are raped cannot get pregnant… What the hell?  Who is this guy?  How can someone be that stupid?  Sorry, but pretty much anytime sperm goes into a lady’s vaginal crevasses she has a chance of getting pregnant.  That’s kind of how it works. Ugh.

Todd Akin is one of many politicians making shit up about women’s rights and bodies.  I’m sick and tired of men pretending like they understand rape and abortion.  Actually, a whole heck of a lot of men understand a lot about women – some even understand that there are things they can’t understand.  Many Republican politicians seem to be confused about vaginas, babies, rape, abortion, pregnancy, periods, and other such issues.  I would love to throw some tampons (new, don’t worry) at all the Republican senators… That would be amazing.

Leave our vaginas alone.  Unless you are invited, stay away.  Stay away.

Then, some really amazing grannies take him down.  I love when old ladies swear…

 

This girl also wrote an amazing song about it…

Only Forcible or Legitimate Rapists Need Apply

Okey dokey, Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Do we really need to go over this again? What the fuck were you doing during high school Biology and/or Health class, or did you spend the entirety of high school asking Jesus to punish you for your teenage boner from looking at Prom Queen Kelly Ann Simons too long? Todd Akin (R-MO)–you may remember him from the “forcible rape” debacle of a bill he co-sponsored with none other than our new pal Paul Ryan (R-WI)–apparently told KTVI-TV the following on Sunday: “From what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

I would like to tell the men of the U.S. Congress something very important: the female body is not magic. The vagina is not a mysterious pit that has the power to discern the motivations of the penis entering it and conveniently stop a pregnancy if the dick looks or acts rape-y. Since when did the discourse around the female body slide back into the mentality of fourth grade boys who have heard shady rumors from kids two years older than them that have grossly misunderstood their sex ed classes? (Sidenote: these are the same people who think we shouldn’t teach sex ed in school. Apparently “magical vaginas” should be the standard for biological knowledge of sexual intercourse.)

After apologizing for his comments, Akin went on to say he screwed up; what he really meant wasn’t “legitimate rape” but “forcible rape”:

Akin appeared as a guest on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s radio show. When asked about what he meant by the term “legitimate rape,” he said, “I was talking about forcible rape, and it was absolutely the wrong word.”

His bad, guys. But seriously, what the fuck!? How has some nonsense term like forcible rape even entered our general lexicon? What the hell does it mean? And one of the idiots who co-sponsored the initial “forcible rape” bill nonsense is running for Vice President of the United F*&$ING STATES OF AMERICA!!! This isn’t a problem of terminology. Rape is forced. Any rape is legitimate because it’s RAPE. If somebody puts their dick in you and you don’t want it there, that’s rape. It doesn’t matter how you were dressed or what you ate for breakfast. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how skinny or fat you are, how old or young you are, whether you’re dressed like a prostitute or a housewife: if you say no, it fucking means no. It doesn’t mean that it’s not rape if she’s wearing booty shorts and he does a lot of begging and then just does what he wants.

Do we really need to parce rape into different degrees of culpability on the part of the rapist? Rape is rape. Period. And on top of this, citing some nonsense pseudo-science about mystery secretions and hormonal changes under stressful situations makes every woman who ever says no and is violated and impregnated a dirty, lying whore. Scientifically.

The discourse surrounding not only rape but women’s rights to control their bodies (and one doesn’t even have to look to the issue of abortion anymore, just birth control!) is in the toilet. From personhood amendments to ultrasound probes to “forcible rape,” there’s a lot of finger pointing at and distrust of women as a class of people. I thought we had made strides in this department. I guess not. I’m just hoping this forcible rape nonsense doesn’t turn into a steaming pile of forcible bullshit in November.

File This Under “Things That Make Me Hate the World/Want to Cry”

This is terrifying because this person bought a 50,000 euro (that’s $61,780 USD) bottle of champagne, but I also have to laugh because they paid 10 euro for Coca Cola. Middle-American upbringing FTW.

This exists. Okay, not so much that this exists, but that there’s enough material for something like this to exist; and not just exist but flourish. “Rich Kids of Instagram” is a Tumblr site on which the author posts pictures of young people of outrageous familial wealth showcasing their moral bankruptcy and total disregard for reality on their Instagram accounts. Oh, and like any good Millennial, their expertise at bragging. Go figure. This makes me kind of terrified, or as the kids would say,

#omgfearthefuture

Just… yuck.

On Men’s Rights

With all these recent political debates going about women’s health issues and so-called gay rights (ahem, Equal Rights, ahem), I thought it was only fair to question the rights of white, middle class males.  Hell, I’ll question the rights of all males!  That’s what we’re doing now, right?  We’re just picking a group at random and taking away everything they deserve, or steadily denying their obvious rights.  Great!  Men are first on my chopping block.

Editor’s Note:

Before we get started, I want to clarify the point of this post…

I understand that this blog might seem largely anti-man; it is meant to be a heavy-handed metaphor.  When someone says, “Men shouldn’t have the right to vote,” people can easily react with, “Well, that’s ridiculous and stupid.  We would never take away men’s right to vote just because they’re men.”  That’s what I’m going for…  If it is easy to see that we wouldn’t want to deny men’s rights simply based on their manliness, I hope it is easy to see that others shouldn’t be denied rights on equally basic identities.  We’re not confused as to whether or not sex is a choice in a man, but we are confused about the “choice” of things like sexuality, marriage, and abortion.  Personally, I don’t care if someone thinks being gay is a choice or not, either way, the rights should be provided.  I get to choose if I want to be a liberal, or an English major, or a girlfriend.  I want to also choose whether or not I can become a wife of a wife, or the wife of a husband.

I attacked men as an example.  I do not think men are solely or wholly responsible for these issues that exist in American politics.  That would be highly irresponsible.  I believe that men are historically given more power, more say, and more of a share when it comes to politics and political movement.  That does not, however, implicate all males as guilty parties in some kind of conspiracy.  It simply means that men tend to have more power.  This is why I chose to use men as a group.  Of course men won’t lose their rights.  That will never happen.  That’s why I thought it could be powerful.  This post is not meant to actually assert that men are evil and shouldn’t vote; it is simply a reframing of what seems to be rather random stripping of rights.  Birth control, for example, is suddenly up for debate again, and I think that is just as ridiculous as denying men the right to vote. 

 

Men should not have the right to vote.

  1. Because a man’s place is in the army.
  2. Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.
  3. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods, women will no longer look up to them.
  4. Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms, and drums.
  5. Because men are too emotional to vote.  Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them particularly unfit for the task of government.

Men should have to register all emissions of a bodily nature. 

These emissions could have fertilized eggs, and are therefore alive.  Thus, any time a man commits murder by ejaculating somewhere besides a vagina, he should have to report the lost lives to the government.  If accidental, the man will simply be shamed and forced to live with the guilt.  If his emission is a purposeful (likely porn-inspired) event, he will be prosecuted for obstruction of life.  He will be forced to wear wooden undergarments for up to one year per emission.

Since birth control has suddenly become so controversial, it only seems right that we protect the rights of sperm denied the chance to swim into a cervix to burrow into a lady’s egg, and possibly create a possibly viable fetus.

Men should be punished for thinking the below things are “always lies.”

Sometimes women tell the truth.  Not all women are trying to get pregnant.  Some women don’t want kids, and a lot of women don’t want them for a long time.  For a lot women, the words, “I’m not mad,” mean that she is not mad.

Men should have to write essays of explanation to everyone they bang, and to everyone they know about they people they bang. 

As a woman, if I choose to sleep with anyone, I am opening myself up to all kinds of judgment.  There are so many political ties to my vagina, and I believe a man ought to have the same level of political tape to get through for banging someone.

P.S. – Sarcasm is a powerful tool we use against powerful tools.

Today Is a Real Bitch – Not a Funny, Cool, or Sexy Bitch – This Bitch Cold

Get out your tiny violins, and settle in for a bitch-fest about a real bitch.  That bitch’s name is Today.

First, there was the traffic.  Some bitch in a Mercedes freaked out because I was going 60 mph in a 60 mph zone… behind 45 cars also going 60 mph.  Thus, it was definitely my fault that all the cars on the road were too slow for her.  Thank you, bitch.  Thank you for giving me the finger and honking at me inexplicably.  Even when I changed lanes (to get the eff out of your bitchy way), you cut in behind me.  Thanks.  I can definitely control traffic and construction and everyone around me and the weather.  I am amazing.

Second, some bumbling ass threw or left a sharp piece of metal in the middle of the road.  It promptly popped my tire.  I aggressively removed it from the street whilst cursing the heavens beyond reason.  I tried to change my own tire… and failed.  I cut myself on a rock(?) or some other such thing.  I managed to only be 15 minutes late for work.  I was enraged.

Third, when I slowly meandered to Discount Tire (which is a wonderful place), the gents in the back informed me that the wheel bearing I fixed three months ago, then 10 days ago was still bad and all kinds of broken.  Yay!  More money for the money pit.

Fourth, I realized I forgot to take out the recycling… for all of my buildings…

Fifth, I stepped on glass.

Sixth, I’m out of spinach.  This is a crisis.

Seventh, I missed poetry club for my damn car and I didn’t even get it fixed tonight.

Eighth, there is construction on every side of me.  I am trapped.  I am robbed of quiet, space, time, and order.  It is always dusty.  It is always loud.  Roads close randomly and without warning.  To leave my home, I must turn right, go two blocks, then right, then two blocks, then some other random shit I can’t control… After that, I get to choose.  I choose rage.  So much rage.

There, now I have finished whining.  This is not our usual format, but I am not usually this angry for this long a period of time for personal reasons.

Today is a real bitch.  I will now go play the world’s smallest violin.

Once Again, How Is Chris Brown Still Successful?

Chris Brown is a terrible dude.  Disagree?  I’d love to know why.

Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend – Rihanna – a few years back and was convicted.  He does not deny what he did.  Yes, he feels remorseful (allegedly).  Obviously, he is a troubled young man.  I know that some people will consider this unsympathetic, mean, or rigid; I don’t care.  He beat the shit out of a woman.  He should not be successful in an industry so driven by image.  It makes no sense.  It makes me so damn mad.  Abuse is unforgivable.  We let him become an example.  We’re teaching American children that as long as they’re really good dancers and singers, they can hit women and still be accepted as a role model.  You can hit your girlfriend AND maintain a successful music career.

He should be far too shamed to be back on the radio or performing at the Grammy’s.  We should be shaming him.

Now, Ms. Miranda Lambert spoke her mind in February and I completely concur.  She started quite a twitter war with Mr. Brown with the following tweets:

She is being hyperbolic because she thinks it so ridiculous that Chris Brown was invited to perform.  “Gun Powder and Lead” is a song about a woman who plans to kill her husband after he beats her up.  I love that she’s being sassy and bold here.  She told her fans at a February concert: “I just have to speak my mind, because where I come from, beating up on a woman is never OK. So that’s why my daddy taught me early on in life how to use a shotgun.”

I don’t think she meant it literally, obviously.  Meeting violence with violence is not the best way to deal with it.  Her point in the song is to empower women, and to free them from a submissive role that traps them, represses them, and puts them in harm’s way.  Her point is that we, as a culture, should be outraged by Chris Brown’s success.

I am outraged by Chris Brown’s success.

This should not be allowed.  In his position as an entertainer, as a very successful entertainer, there are thousands of people who LOVE him.  Thousands of people who went on twitter and defended him.  Thousands of people who want to be like him.  Therein lies the problem.  When a person is rich, famous, beautiful, talented, and successful, that person will be idolized and emulated.  We should not encourage anyone to emulate an abuser.  Abuse is so scary, so traumatic, and so entirely vile.  The fact that Chris Brown has been forgiven and accepted into his “comeback” makes me sick.  I am offended.  I am horrified.

Victims of domestic abuse often blame themselves and make excuses.  They forgive their abuser and leave themselves in harm’s way.  Being a victim, being attacked by someone who claims to love you is incredibly complicated.  It is so hard for people to leave their abuser.  They love them.  They want to be with them.  They want to help them.  If it is already difficult for a woman to leave an abusive boyfriend or husband, imagine how much harder it is after this precedent is set.

If our culture forgives Chris Brown for beating the crap out of his girlfriend, aren’t we telling women everywhere to forgive their abusive boyfriends and husbands?  Aren’t we forgiving and excusing abuse?

What has also been very public about this incident is that Rihanna has forgiven Chris Brown.  In fact, the two collaborated on a recent song of hers called, “Birthday Cake.”  It is an incredibly dirty song.  It is so deeply disturbing to me.  Here is this woman, Rihanna, in this presumably very difficult situation, which is also a very public situation.  The man she loved hurt her – beat her up.  I can understand having issues with just cutting him off and letting go of the relationship.  It was meaningful for her, and then he suddenly showed he was a scary and dangerous man.  It is hard to imagine.  It is so hard to love someone and then suddenly have them attack you.  Her situation is unique because it is so public.  I am glad for her that she was able to move on and forgive him.  That is big.  That is healthy.  However, I find it to be very irresponsible, very dangerous for her as an example, as a role model, to then publicly accept him and work with him again.  Little girls want to be like her.  Does she want little girls to have that lesson, to believe that abuse is forgivable?

I don’t necessarily think it is fair to put this all on her.  After all, she is the victim.  I just strongly believe that if a person is in a position where thousands or millions of people are looking up to them and looking to them for an example, then that person has a greater responsibility.  That is probably not fair, but it comes with the territory.

I am genuinely frightened that our culture has forgiven Chris Brown.  Abuse is unforgivable.  How have we accepted him back to success?  This is so damn dangerous.

Wanna see Miranda Lambert SLAM Chris Brown for being a convicted felon?  Click Here!

Hide Your Tampon, You Beast!

Are we afraid of periods?  Are we afraid of tampons or pads?  Do ladies think dudes don’t know about periods?  Don’t dudes know?  Periods are not an attack on society.  We all get them.  It just happens, y’all.

I had a wonderful experience this week.  I was in the wide open spaces of my office (visible from the doorway), when I ferociously dug through my purse, carelessly took a tampon from my tiny lady business purse, and dared to hold it for all to see before shoving it, slowly, into my giant dress pocket.  That’s right, people.  I grabbed a tampon – IN THE OPEN.  I am a monster!

Moments after my sinful act, a concerned elderly lady (actually elderly) explained to me that she saw me perform this act of horror, and that I was inappropriate, dishonorable, and altogether yucky.  She was offended by my tampon stashing.  She was offended by my lack of discretion.  She felt I should be more careful, and far sneakier whilst collecting and transporting such feminine goods.  WRONG.

I am not ashamed of my menstruation.  I am a woman in my (barf) child-bearing years.  I get my punctuation every month.  Personally, I consider the crimson tide a celebration of life unmade.  Most single, sexually active women probably have similar reactions.  Sure, cramps happen, but cramps are the song a body sings to remind you that labor would be even worse.  It is a warning and a party all at once.  At this point though, it’s really just a party.

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU DIDN’T MAKE A BABY!  Thank you for telling me, body.  This is great news!

People should not be weirded out by a young woman with a tampon, a pad, or some other period-y product.  It’s in the wrapping.  It’s new.  How is my period offensive?  I don’t want to tell you about it.  I just want to be able to carry a tampon in my own damn office, or down a damn hallway, or in front of other people.  Why?  Because I do.  It’s a fucking tampon.  Get over it, you child.

I was never nervous or embarrassed by buying feminine hygiene products, even as a teenager.  I have friends who still get embarrassed about holding tampons or whatever in the store, but I don’t.  If I don’t feel weird, why should you?  I should be able to walk up to a check out lane with condoms, tampons, pads, adult diapers, hemroid cream, diet pills, and crocs without shame, and without making anyone else feel ashamed.  You don’t know me.  I don’t know you.  Nothing should be that surprising.

Vaginas bleed sometimes.  Sometimes guys get boners.  People buy condoms.  I buy tampons.

The next time some one in a store, or an office, or wherever gets all weirded out by seeing me with a tampon, I will bust out the below tampon flute and go to town on that bitch.