Milestone!

I just posted my 50th post today. Time to celebrate!

I never imagined when I started this blog that I would also soon have a profile on BlogHer, and create Twitter and YouTube accounts just for my blog.

It’s also amazing the things I’ve learned and the awesome websites I’ve found because of my blogging. Without this blog, I wouldn’t have discovered HerCircleEzine, and would never be interning there. Without this blog, I would have found My Fault, I’m Female, and I wouldn’t be moderating there. (And my family thinks I’m just wasting time on the internets!)

As part of this celebration, I’ll post the weirdest search term anyone has used that led them to my blog. Are you ready?

“free indian sex women with little boy”

Yeah…

I’ve gaped, gawked, been slightly horrified. But I’ve resisted my trainwreck syndrome, and I have not Google’d it. Because, I mean, well…look at it. If you showed me this phrase and bet me it would take you to a feminist blog, I would take that bet. So, yeah. You should be proud of me. I have a bad case of Trainwreck syndrome.

Also! To date, my Fear Assumptions, Not Monsters, parts onetwo, and three, as well as my update on domestic partnership benefits at Western Kentucky University are by far my most popular posts. I’m glad to see that!

I hope to see more lurkers coming out of the woodwork in the near future! I’m grateful for you reading, but I’d like to know what you think!

Have a great [time of day]!

– Brittany-Ann

Corporal Punishment in Schools

This is good news. The ACLU reports that North Carolina is making headway in protecting children with disabilities from corporal punishment in schools.

Thirty states have already banned corporal punishment in school, but only two have banned it in private schools as well as public: Iowa and New Jersey. In the twenty-eight other states where it is banned, it is only so in public schools. The means of banning varies: most are by de facto or de jure. Utah has banned it by regulation rather than law.

In a 2002 study by the Department of Education, five of the twenty remaining states have doled out nearly three-quarters of all reported corporal punishment. Those states are: Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

The number is astonishingly higher than you’d think. In Pop Political Culture, corporal punishment is a thing of the past-along with images of one-room schools and recess. In Alabama, 9.1% of its students were subjected to corporal punishment in 2002. For the 2006-2007 school year, Mississippi won the award for highest percentage of children paddled. However, Texas has the highest number overall. Children with disabilities are far more likelier to receive corporal punishment than their able-bodied peers.

As horrifying as it is, it’s not terribly surprising. Differently-abled children have to be accommodated, the curriculum and the teaching methods altered to suit their needs, and this fits in badly for the one-size-fits-all system of education in the United States. Teachers are under a lot of pressure to improve scores of arbitrary tests, and students who don’t fit the mold are more conspicuous targets for venting that frustration.

In addition, the ability for the able-bodied to understand that differently-abled people experience the world differently than they do, and what works for them will not work for others is lost to them. Many able-bodied simply view the differently-abled as beneath them, and so not worthy of their education, respect, and their rights. Children are particularly vulnerable-since children are not seen as human beings, , but rather the property of their parents. It’s easily seen when parents, who rightfully argue against corporal punishment wrongfully do so because it is infringing upon their right to decide whether or not their child is beaten.

One district in North Carolina has created an “opt-out” system, meaning that children can be punished physically unless their parents choose to “opt-out.” In other words, children in this North Carolina district can be physically punished unless otherwise told so. Can you imagine filling out that form?

North Carolina’s new law only requires schools “regulate” corporate punishment of differently-abled children, and gives their parents the right to “opt-out” if their child goes to school in a district where corporate punishment is still used. Which is, again, more common than you’d think: more than 1,400 times in the 2008-2009 school year.

This is a step in the right direction–and I’m happy to hear that this measure passed unanimously–but it does not go far enough.

Corporal punishment has no place in schools. The remaining twenty states must outlaw this practice–or Congress must do so.

All Corporal punishment is is state-sanctioned assault against a child. In a different context, this would be called child abuse. But when it is seen as just retribution for a child’s misbehavior, some see it as all right.

I’m coming out as a child who was spanked. It did not “teach me a lesson.” It sparked a flame of resentment against those who spanked me. It taught me to strike others when they did something “wrong.” Nothing more.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Missouri, I’m calling you out on your state-sanctioned child abuse and discrimination against the disabled.

Stop it.

Ministry of Justice Drops Rape Defendant Anonymity

So this is good news. Of course, when I say good news, I mean “Yay the MoJ decided against doing something extremely harmful to rape victims.”

I am glad they’re not going ahead with this, because it would be a Very Bad Thing. But I feel like I’m giving a cookie to an abled-bodied grown man for pooping in the toilet. Or rather, for not pooping on the carpet.

I am disappointed that acting Labour leader Harriet Harman and Conservative MP Louise Bagshawe were the only British Government representatives in the article that spoke against the proposal because of its [tw] rape-victims-are-lying stench , [/tw] though. The others were performed a elaborate avoid-the-elephant dance, or favored pressuring media to keep defendants anonymous in the window between arrest and conviction, rather than passing legislation.

It’s not lost to me that Labour Leader Harriet Harman and MP Louise Bagshawe are both women.

Though I do give the BBC props for quoting Women Against Rape, as well as avoiding the American “give both sides a platform, no matter how ridiculous the other side” tactic. Yay BBC!

Blood Pressure warning: comments are predictably, but sadly, MRAish.

This is a win, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Youtube: On France’s Burka Ban

I have a new video up at Bookish Beemer’s YouTube channel, and this time, I make my arguments against France’s proposed ban on the niquab, burka, and other face coverings. I had to split it into two uploads, so I’m sorry for any inconvenience that might cause. The vids are after the jump!

Read more of this post

GOP Candidate Speaks About Shoes and Poop.

Wow.

Why should you vote for Ken Buck, leading Republican candidate for the Colorado Senate race?

Because he doesn’t wear high heels.

Why shouldn’t you vote for Ken Buck?

Because he’s sexist.

Good lord. I’m not sure where to start with this one. His rival, former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, made reference to her wearing high heels sometime during her campaign, and ran an ad telling Buck to “be man enough” to use his own funds to run his campaign. Buck thought this would be an appropriate response.

Hey, she brought gender into it! That means it’s okay to degenerate her (and all other women) based on gender! Well, okay then.

I’m not even going to go into his tirade about his cowboy boots and the difference between real bullshit and Washington bullshit. It speaks for itself.

In summary: Colorado Senate candidate talks about stupid girlie shoes, awesome cowboy boots, and poop.

I thought we were all grown ups, trying to decide who to elect to a political office. My bad. Turns out we’re all just children on a playground.

Watch out in this game of tag, Buck! We’ve got cooties.

I Finally Did It!

I’d been toying with the idea of making a YouTube account for this blog, and today, I finally did it. I made an introduction video today! (And I share where my name came from!) It took a bit of trial and error, but I made the video, and added a transcript. If there are any problems with the transcript let me know–it took me a couple of tries to get it right.

Without further ado: Read more of this post

Bar Etiquette

Last night whilst enjoying a cold beverage of dubious content at an establishment where I’m a third generation regular, it came to me that I should write a post about bar etiquette.

Yes, bar etiquette.

People of all kinds go to these establishments, and the beverages of dubious contents have a tendency to lower people’s inhibitions and thus outward manners recede and inward prejudices come out.

A few weeks ago, I was at a club catching up with a dear friend of mine, when a rather intoxicated middle-aged male began “talking” to two MOC at the next table. He began asking them offensive questions like “where do you come from” and “I need my garage cleaned out. Do you guys work?” and other, more offensive things. My friend and I were shocked. This guy was really going there? Really? We decided we needed to leave before we lost our tempers. I did, however, pull aside a bouncer as my friend was paying his tab. They were speaking when we left. I hope that jack-a-lope was tossed on his bigoted bum.

Last night, at my favorite establishment, we noticed a newbie. Now, this place is not outwardly impressive. Most patrons are regulars, and by regulars, I mean they’ve been patronizing this establishment for decades, or a relative has, and they’ve been patronizing for years. Everyone knows one another and looks out for one another. I like it that way–I feel safe going there because everyone knows me as either my father’s daughter, or my grandfather’s granddaughter. I can enjoy beverages of dubious content worry-free. The newbie mentioned it was his first time there (we already knew that). Then he mentioned he’d been kicked out of a local bar (with a bad reputation. red flag.) for life (another red flag). Why would you tell the regulars of this your first time here? It was boggling. Then he proceeded to rant about welfare and lazy moochers. Looks were exchanged. Politics? In a bar? Really? Yep. He went there.  He left soon after, and breaths of relief were breathed.

And so came my revelation.

1. If your racist tendencies come to surface after drinking, don’t drink in public. Or stop before you get to that point, because really, no one wants to hear that. You don’t want to be that guy, do you? You especially don’t want to be that guy the woman at the next table remembers and intends to out your bigoted buttocks all over the internet. (Unfortunately, I don’t remember his name. But I’m talking about YOU, guy-at-Entourage-in-Bowling-Green-Kentucky-on-July-2-2010!) Oh, and, if you’re a racist, another good reason to avoid getting intoxicated at bars is because you might loudly announce your full name to everyone while ruining everyone’s good time. Not a good idea.

2. Politics + alcohol = bad idea. Politics + alcohol + public area with people you don’t know = really bad idea. People are trying to have a good time. There’s a reason bars never play the news on their television. Never assume that people agree with you in regards to politics. Oh, and good time does not mean the same thing to everyone else that it does to you.

3. That last sentence was a really good one, so I think it deserves repeating: A good time does not mean the same thing to everyone else that it does it you. You may have a blast ranting about mythical welfare queens, or screaming at the top of your lungs about how drunk you are, but not everyone will agree. Just saying.

4. The presence of a woman at the bar does not indicate her availability for your entertainment. There’s a lot of reasons to be out at a bar, you see, and your specialness does not spread outside of your mother’s vision. Establishments are not safe havens from courtesy, respect, and manners.

5. Dancing is fun. However, when your dancing partner stops dancing and is merely humping you, it ceases to be fun. Not a dog in heat? Don’t hump. Dogs get a newspaper to the head for it, you’ll likely be the dancing pariah of the establishment. And no, that’s not a good thing.

6. Decide to buy a drink for someone? Awesome. That’s quite generous of you. Just let me remind you that your decision to buy someone a drink is not a contract of obligation on the receiver’s part. Politeness demands a thank you, not a blow job. Or even a conversation. We’re here for fun, folks. (see #3 for emphasis.)

7. Ladies and Gentlemen, please don’t pee on the seats. Thank you.

8. Don’t pee on the floor, either.

9. You know, now that I think about it, don’t empty drainage anywhere but the toilet. Thanks.

10. If the place is hoppin’, get your drinks and move awaaay from the bar. Yeah, yeah. I know. But navigating a near mosh-pit with a full drink will be pleasant for neither you nor me.

11. Each establishment has its own atmosphere. Please observe if you’re new. A relaxed bar with chatty patrons aren’t going to appreciate obnoxiousness, and you’re probably not going to enjoy a place where the music is bumping and the patrons are bopping if you’d like to chat over a beverage of dubious content.

12. Don’t make messes, (see 7, 8, 9 for clues) and clean them up if you have an accident. Bartenders are there to make happy juice for you, not to be your mommy.

13. Pay your tab, tip your happy-juice-maker, and don’t leave your monies on display. You never know.

14. Don’t drive drunk. Call a cab, call a friend, call your mommy. And no, not even you, can drive perfectly fine while duuuuudde, you’re flapping wasted!

15. Don’t brag about how wasted you are. You’re not at a college party, and you know, college students get pretty annoyed at that, too. You’d fit in well with the freshmen, though.

16. Watch your back, and everyone else’s, too. If someone is staggering, give them a hand. Looking sick? Lead them to the bathroom. You friend getting close to the line? Get them home by the safest means. Don’t be afraid to cut a friend off. They’ll thank you later. Hopefully they’ll pay it forward.

Anything I’m missing?