Some States Are in a State, Some of Our Rights Aren’t Right

I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but this kind of news bounces around my head and sometimes wants to get out.

Tampons and Maxi Pads Banned From Texas Senate (But Guns Are Cool)

Women are being forced to throw out tampons and maxi pads to enter the Senate gallery, which has been confirmed by DPS. That’s right: menstruating women are being denied entry to the Senate gallery unless they throw out their supplies.

Additionally, diabetics are asked to throw out their sugar packets.

However, people with concealed handgun licenses are allowed to bypass long lines to enter the Capitol itself through the expedited CHL entrance, and per a DPS officer, if a person has a CHL, they can take their gun into the gallery.

Hate crime: Woman, girlfriend beaten in South Austin

A man they knew from the neighborhood started following them… the woman’s masculine dress prompted anti-gay slurs, she said. The woman’s girlfriend, 25, told the men to stop, in vain, the woman said… he kept shouting slurs and daring the woman to fight, she said. “Tell your b—- to stop looking at me,” the man told the woman’s girlfriend, whom he knew from high school.

The woman said she did her best to ignore him but he kept following. Her girlfriend tried to reason with the man, asking him to leave the couple alone, the woman said.

But then a second man came up, cursing both of the women, and the first man took a swing and punched the woman, she said. The couple said they fought back and other men quickly joined in, dragging the women apart.

The couple struggled to get back together, pressed against a car as the beating continued and no one came by to help, the woman said. “I didn’t think we were going to make it out,” she said.

Finally, one of the men said the police were coming. The attackers, laughing, fled in one direction and the women went the other way. Both women had lost their shoes in the scramble, and someone had ripped one of the victim’s shirt off. The men stole their phones and cash.

Governors of Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin have all signed bills limiting access to abortion

The Texas bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and restrict when women can take abortion pills. It would also only allow abortions in surgical facilities, and require doctors to have admitting privileges at area hospitals. These provisions would likely close 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics because the cost of compliance would be too high.

Last week, as a part of the state budget, Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich signed new abortion restrictions into law. Women in the state will now be required to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion, and an abortion clinic’s ability to transfer patients to public hospitals will be limited. It would also effectively defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning groups.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker also signed a bill last week that would restrict abortions in his state, requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 minutes of their clinic.

Ohio Republicans protect boats, but not uteruses, from intrusive searches

The new law “eliminates these intrusive searches,” said Republican State Rep. Damschroder, the bill’s sponsor.

Because if there’s anything Ohio’s Republicans hate it’s “intrusive searches” – unless, of course, those searches are focused on women’s reproductive systems.

Scott Walker Quietly Signs Bill Requiring Ultrasounds For Wisconsin Abortions

Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a contentious Republican bill Friday that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and ban doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing the procedures.

Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School

A group of Arizona politicians… have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:
I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

(I dislike the title of this article. I’m not an atheist, and it would be a hypocrite to say this oath too. It also wouldn’t prevent atheists from graduating. Instead, what it would do is make anyone who actually does believe in the Constitution of the United States and understand the Bill of Rights say something against their will because of their government’s law. It’s just sad.)

Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

…the US Supreme Court also made a ruling on lawsuits against drug companies for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. From now on, 80 percent of all drugs are exempt from legal liability.

In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.

Besides the larger implications of this, I keep thinking about the poor woman who… what? Now has to pay back the money she was awarded for winning the first lawsuit? Presumably it’s already put towards living and medical expenses?

Breastfeeding Viewed as Potential Terrorist Activity by New York Country Club

…Remans began to discreetly breastfeed her daughter Luka at the table.

Neijens, first secretary of the Belgium Mission to the UN, told the New York Post that a female employee of the club quickly interrupted Roseline’s perfectly legal and proper feeding of her baby with this sharp rebuke:

“Please leave immediately, you are disturbing the members!”

When Neijens protested and said it would only take a few minutes, the female staffer insisted that Remans finish in the restroom.

Understandably incredulous at the blatant ignorance on display at such a high end establishment, Mr. Neijens inquired why a baby would be asked to have lunch in the restroom when adults are not.

The Greenburgh Police Department arrived minutes later with Detective Scott Harding apparently yelling, “Close the doors!” with two other diners ordered to leave the terrace…

The officer warned the couple that they were trespassing despite the fact that country club staff had given them specific permission to dine. He also said that some fearful members thought Mr. Neijens’ black backpack indicated they were terrorists.

Hollie McNish, Poet Shamed By Breastfeeding In Public, Has The Last Word (VIDEO)

I thought it was OK.
I could understand the reasons.
They said: there might be a man or nervous child seeing this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting.
So I whispered and tiptoed with nervous discretion.
But after 6 months of her life sat sitting on lids,
Sipping on milk, nostrils sniffing on piss,
Trying not to bang her head on toilet roll dispensers,
I wonder if these public loo feeds offend her,
‘Cause I’m getting tired of discretion and being polite.
My baby’s first sips are drown-drenched in shite…

Don’t Envy The Victim’s Shoes

I’m a person. I also just so happen to be a woman.

While I believe in my own equality, I also believe I shouldn’t have to fight for it. I shouldn’t have to hold myself up under the pressure of perfect example.

Among other things, I’m a gamer. I don’t want to be the woman gamer that represents the other women gamers. We’re all just as similar to men gamers, and just as different to other women gamers. I am a gamer. I am a woman. I am a person. These are all separate things about myself. I don’t want to be ‘the woman’ anything. I don’t want woman to be the over arching word defines me, but since I am passionate about certain things that women are still a rarity in, it seems like it has to.

I am a person. I want to be treated like a person. I don’t even know what being treated like a woman exactly means to you, but I know I don’t want it, especially if you get to define it.

I don’t want to be an example, but I will be either way, because I just so happen to be a woman. I’m a minority, a rarity, a weird thing. In a world where over half the people are women, it’s so weird to so often be the rarity.

Rarity means special, extra value, worth more in economic terms. It doesn’t translate to people who are different.

But you know that men also can be the minority in communities based around certain activities. In my own experiences I’ve seen it in community theater and my current ceramics studio. Now that they’re the weird thing, wouldn’t you expect harassment or violence inside those groups towards men? Instead, it usually comes from the outside of those groups. It often comes in the form of accusing the men of being feminine, as if this is a bad thing. Beat up the theater fag. Shouldn’t Johnny be playing hockey instead? It’s not about these community groups that share interests, but symptoms a larger social problem. It’s not just about women, it’s about all people.

We need to make it clear that it’s not about blaming gamers or men when we see issues in the gaming community or with what some men do. I am a gamer after all. I also love men.

I also recognize that men face harassment as well as part of sexism. Patriarchy hurts everyone. This isn’t simply about men vs women. Women spout bigotry that holds themselves and men back. Men get beat to a bloody pulp for not being ‘man enough’. People are hurtful and being hurt, and gender itself or those that belong to a particular gender are not to blame.

When I read about victims who don’t report inequality, especially harassment or violence, I do feel sad that they didn’t push forward to help all of us have a safer world. I also realize that it’s not fair of me, or anyone, to expect or ask that any of these individuals put themselves on the line inviting additional violence, pain, or even death upon themselves. It’s easy for people to blame a victim for not stepping up, because we feel like our voices are needed to eventually make the world safer and make us equals.

It’s also easy to blame the victim who steps up for not being the perfect example, for what they were wearing, their sexual history, for not reporting it immediately, for using imperfect language, their tone, or for not having a perfect past. We want super heroes, but instead we just have people.

There are some people that just so happen to also be women. We expect too much of them when they’re down, and we expect not enough of them when they have all the potential to be more.

When the world fails us, we do the best we can, and try not to fail the world or ourselves.

I am a person. I want to be treated like a person. I don’t want to be a victim, but I also don’t want to stand in those shoes, be the example, and fight for what should already be.

A Dark Blue One

“I only own one gi, and it’s getting pretty old, dirty, starting to fall apart. I want to get one of the dark blue ones, but I don’t see many. Do you think you have any in my size?”

“Why blue?”

“White looks dirty very easily. My pants are pretty much permanently gray. I have a black cat to boot.”

“I like them. Forces people to wash them.”

“They look dirty even when do wash them, though.”

“Ever seen the pink gis?”

“YES! Yuck. I don’t think I’ve never seen anyone in one though except for the internet. Do women actually wear those?”

“Yeah, when I was in California there was a all women’s class of like 30, all happily rolling in their pink gis.”

“Well, no pink and co-ed classes here, and I prefer it that way.”

“We can order you a gi and you won’t have to pay shipping. Just look on the Gracie website. Did you want to get that in a women’s size?”

“Women’s size? Do they have a different sizing system? I think this one is like an A2 or A3. I’m having a hard time finding a tag where it isn’t completely worn off.”

“Yes, they do have women’s sizes and the gis fit different.”

“Cool. What colors do they have? Do they have the dark blue.”

“No. They only have them in pink.”

“…so that class of women? How do you know they were happy to wear pink if they only had the option was pink or a gi that doesn’t fit right? Maybe they’re actually all angry and feel ridiculous in their pink gis?”

“So… you don’t want a pink gi?”

“…nah, I want a dark blue one. A pink one probably still won’t fit right anyways. It’s not like most womens’ pants do.”

Who Would Want to Wear Women’s Clothing?

Someone at work the other day had the audacity to imply that women had it better because of the variety of clothing we get to chose from. When I get up in the morning exhausted and have at most an hour to get out the door, believe me, the last thing I want to think about is how to match up this variety. Does the color, pattern, and cut match? Will I be too cold? Is this somewhat see through (and if so, do I have a clean white bra?)? I can’t wear that shirt with that bottom, I need a longer shirt or a higher cut of pants. Damn it, those are two different shades of blue.

Variety isn’t what I’m thanking of when I’m faced with the daunting task of clothes shopping on a budget for practical, versatile clothing. I want something I can wear often, not be too uncomfortable in, look decent in, not have to wear something under, and won’t fall apart if I put it in a washer (I *will* hang dry as a compromise, but who has the resources to hand wash their clothes?). Variety means you could potentially buy a piece of clothing that can be only worn with a certain other set of clothing to not look stupid.

I don’t need to look “damn” even a fraction of the time in my world. I still don’t want to look stupid. That bar is higher for women, with pressure from both men and other women. If a guy wears something stupid, it not only okay because he’s a guy, but it might be kind of cute or endearing.

I like guy’s clothing. Too bad it doesn’t fit women correctly. That doesn’t mean I don’t own and wear men’s clothing if I like it enough. It’s elegant in its simplicity. It’s really hard to screw up or not find something when shopping. It’s very practical and spans seasons and occasions easily. If there are designs or logos, they’re more often subtle or of cool things. Too boot, the sizes even make sense. Hallelujah.

Women’s sizes… for pants I wear an 11/12. What does that mean? I have no idea. As it is, I have a lot of 13/14 too. Why are they /? I don’t know. What waist size and pant length does that equal? Well, there must be some algorithm based on brand, style, and those arbitrary numbers with the /. Women hackers are working on it as you are reading this. If you are a woman who is (what some person somewhere decided) ‘a bit tall’ or ‘a little short’ (or someone has determined your waist size is inconsistent to your leg length), you’re pretty much screwed or need to become a seamstress. Some pants have little bits of leeway. You can get a 11/12 tall. How tall? Well the amount you’re supposed to be if your ass is that size and you’re taller, duh!

Do you like pockets? Someone thinks women don’t, because half of my pants don’t have them (though they may be styled to look like they do).

So, if pants are complicated, don’t get me started on shirts. Guys have short sleeve and long sleeves. Women have those, and three quarter sleeves. Guys have crew or v-neck. Women have every cut imaginable, including square. I mentioned see through shirts above, and I’m not joking when I say you have to check to make sure before you buy a shirt (or skirt, unless you want to purchase and coordinate a matching slip*).

There are all kinds of additional shit people like to put on shirts and bottoms too. Dumb designs aren’t the half of it. Shoulder pads, body suit attachments, beads, sequins, fringe, fur, shininess, fake pockets, fuzzies, and whatever else they just decided was in, or was in at some point. Every year some other stupid trend comes along. Last summer, for the life of me I could not find a tank top that wasn’t long enough to be a dress. Some women don’t have much curves around the waist, so maybe having a long tank top was okay. For me, having a shirt that needs to fit both my waist and but is a joke. It’s also silly. Why does my ass need to wear my fitted shirt?

Fitted clothing is a good idea if you have a sizing structure to match fits. Men come in enough varieties for body type. With curves, women have at least double the variation. With sizes so vague, how does someone find a fitted shirt that fits when the sizes are: x-small, small, medium, large, x-large (and some larges with more and more x’s). Most women take a small, medium, or large. Is someone trying to tell me that most women in the world have upper bodies that fit into 3 categories? Even a man knows (and maybe especially a strait man) that women’s breasts come in a variety of sizes and match up with a variety of stomachs.

I haven’t even touched on women’s shoes, belts, and purses. I didn’t even get into dresses. I feel I’ve gone far enough and just don’t want to go there right now.

I hate women’s clothing. It has nothing to do with my body either. I know that when I find a perfect fit (once in a life time) of something that isn’t some weird failed art project, I look good.

I can’t wait for the day it’s acceptable for men to wear any and all of women’s clothing. A few things will happen: women’s clothes will come in a wider variety and more accurate sizing. Also, men will understand how much of a pain in the ass it is and expect less of us. Maybe, women’s clothing will become more practical.

The empathy would also be nice. They will say, “Wow, pantyhose sucks. It’s itchy, it can get ruined by breathing on it too hard, and did I mention it’s itchy?”

And we’ll say, “Mmm-hmm.. damn strait.”

*slip – n. A skirt like thingy that goes under a skirt. Why one isn’t sewn into the skirts that need them is a mystery.

Bodies – Chapter 2: Relating & Unrelated

This is the second installment of a novel I’m writing called Bodies. You can read chapter one here. Feel free to comment. This is a work in progress and any insights could be helpful.

– – – – –

Silvie had begun to read and stopped twice now. The first time her voice faded off as she stared at the girl and wondered. The second time she just lost interest and desire to recite the written words she was not sure the girl could hear.

“You love torturing yourself, don’t you?” Silvie jumped and spun around. Phil was leaning in the doorway, arms crossed around a clipboard.

“No,” Silvie snapped, “I’m just curious.”

Phil put the clipboard down on an end table and sat in the chair next to Silvie’s as if her anger was an invitation, “Do you expect her to wake up and give you answers? She’ll likely never come out of it, and even if she did, she’s likely moderately to severely brain damaged. Who knows if she’ll be able communicate or remember anything.”

“Still,” Silvie held her ground, “I’m allowed to visit her and wonder.”

“Yeah, of course, I never said you weren’t!”

“Really?” sarcasm crept into Silvie’s voice, “I talked to Bonnie.”

“I was just trying to protect you, Silvie,” Phil’s smile was as soft as his voice, “I’ve come to care about you quite a bit.”

“Well, next time you care about me so much that you want to control me, save yourself the effort,” Silvie blurted bitterly. She grabbed her book and shoved it into messenger bag, getting up to leave.

“Hey!” Phil grabbed her arm, and Silvie pulled her arm away forcefully, “What the hell’s gotten into you?”

Silvie rolled her eyes, and any guilt she felt about snapping was rushed away by righteous anger, “Feminism,” she explained as she stormed out the door.

Silvie supposed Phil would get over his ‘caring’ and stop speaking to her, which made her anger drop down into sadness as the elevator made its way to the ground floor.

“Good job, Silvie. You managed to loose a friend to defend your relationship with a girl in a coma.”

“He’s an asshole,” she explained to no one in particular as the elevator jerked and came to a halt, “Macho. Definatly not my type.”

Her actions properly rationalized, she made her way into the crisp late afternoon and down the steps wondering if Andorra’s was open.

* * *

“Man, I just don’t get women,” Phil was off work and sitting in a local pub called Bernies with his friend Matt. Phil knew the man would have nothing more sage than that to say, but it felt good telling someone his frustrations regardless.

“How can you say that?” Phil cracked open a peanut, “You’re married.”

“I thought that was the first clue that I don’t have any good advice,” Matt chuckled and leaned back in his barstool, precariously balancing with his foot on the bar.

“Don’t worry, my man, you’re off the hook. I don’t need advice, just to blow off some steam.”

“We could always go to the strip joint,” grinned Matt devilishly. Phil snorted, “Yeah, well, I wasn’t being serious anyways. Jenny would divorce me for less.”

“How would she even know?” Phil’s mouth was full of peanuts. He washed them down with his beer.

“That is one of the mysteries of the universe, Phil. She just would.”

“Huh,” Phil’s eyes wandered to the flat screen TV across the room.

“Look,” said Matt rubbing his eyes, “If you like her, just keep at it. Women are moody. Maybe she’s on the rag.”

“How philosophical of you,” Phil’s eyes never left the screen. It was a commercial for something that made people dance and he was trying to guess what it was before the commercial was over.

“Har-dee-har. No, we leave the tough thinking to you, Phil. That’s why your mom named you that. Phil the philosophical,” Matt laughed at his own joke.

“Yeah? Well, you know what your mom calls me?”

“Phht. I gotta take a leak,” Matt pulled himself out of his leaning bar-stool position by grabbing the bar and slammed down the rest of his beer before heading to the men’s room.

Phil in truth felt a bit better, but he also didn’t want to think about it anymore. Everything he did or said to Silvie was always wrong. He tried to be sensitive and caring and it somehow came off as manipulative.

Maybe I’m trying to hard with the touchy-feely approach. Maybe I should just try the classics: flowers, chocolate, dinner… If Silvie wants to make herself miserable, let her do it and get over it herself.

It’s not my problem.