Ableist Gif! They’re like, so original and shit.

I came across this little gif in my feed today.

It irritated the fuck out of me. My response?

“Yeah, back in the day they used to think epilepsy was demonic possession, too.”

I cannot tell you how much that “Back in my day…” crap makes me twitch. Throw in some ableism, and I’m ready to go ALL CAPS on my facebook feed.

A Few Tips For Engaging in Facebook Debates

1. Consistency. Trotting out the latest tropes about women, people in poverty, and immigrants while insisting you’re the furthest thing from a misogynist is not going to help you make your case.

2. Show me, don’t tell me. Talking about how awesome an advocate you are for women while arguing for legislation that will roll back women’s rights ain’t gonna convince me for shit. I will consider the telling a flat out lie, and take the showing for what you really are.

3. Bingo! Get me a bingo on the anti-feminist bingo card, and I will cease taking the discussion seriously, and begin to mock you.

4. Playground. If you do the above, and then act all surprised when I get angry and respond angrily, I will conclude that you’re nothing but a troll. I’ll call you on your stupidity.

5. Be nice! Don’t act like an asshole for the entire discussion, and then cry foul when I stop treating it like a civil discussion. Admonishing me to be nice while acting like a jackass is also pretty misogynistic.

6. Sob story! Don’t tell me how haaaaaard it is to be you. I don’t really care at this point. You’re just trying to score points. I will not play the “who’s life is worse” game. I’m not really believing your sob story is the truth, either.

7. Store clerks look at me! MRA whining? Really? You’re really going there? Don’t go there.

8. I know everything! No, you really don’t. You have a whole hell of a lot to learn. Just by telling me you know allll about feminism already, so why the fuck would you waste time reading Feminism 101 blogs, tells me you know nothing.

9. Feminazi! Fucking really? Stop talking. That shit disgusts me, as it would any decent person. You lose your decent person card.

10. Olive branch! You’re not extending me an olive branch. The only way to end this amicably is to apologize, and shut the fuck up and listen. Clogging up my inbox with your trash isn’t making peace–you’re just trying to hide from the rest of the facebook world what a jerk you are. Transparent, you are.

This, my friends, is how I spent my evening. What a waste of time.

Single Women Don’t Vote Enough?

I’m a member of One Million Pissed Off Women on facebook. Their mission statement is thus:

“Founded in April of 2011, OMPOW’s Goal is to take action to bring about equality for all women. OMPOW plans to bring the Public Spotlight on Elected Officials and our Political Parties through accountability for their actions directly impacting women. We intend to work to eliminate discrimination and harassment against all women, in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.”

Today, OMPOW has pissed me off. This graphic was posted:

Turnout of Single Women graph

 

Ahem.

I have a problem with this graphic. It has a very “don’t like the war on women? It’s your fault, bitchez!” tone to it. That kind of victim blaming bullshit has no place on a feminist page.

I have a bigger problem, however, with some of the responses in the comment section. There’s a whole load of “there’s no excuse for not voting! Ever!” and “If you don’t vote you deserve what you get!” sentiments flooding the comment section.

Again, this bullshit has no place on a feminist page.

Victim blaming much?

First, the obvious: attacking single women for their failure to vote, and telling them that they deserve what they get is the very height of stupidity. We’re all in this together. “We” get what “they” get. Where does this division of “us” and “them” get us? Nowhere. Divided. Defensive. And not paying attention to the war on women. It zaps our energy as activists. And for what? For some “I’m not that girl!” validation. Whoopee.

Secondly, this broad-scale attack ignores the myriad of issues that keep single women away from the polls. A few examples:

  • The GOP’s attack on voting rights–including voter ID laws, purges of registered voter rolls, shortened early voting, student residency challenges, requirements for proof of citizenship before registration, and more. All of these things affect women–as a class, we’re poorer, we’re the majority of university students, we’re immigrants, we have several jobs. Make it harder to register and vote, fewer people vote.
  • Women are more likely to be poor. When you’re struggling to survive, your focus is on your multiple part-time jobs, your bills, the sad excuse of a clunker you call a car, and hoping beyond hope that nothing goes wrong, because you will be fucked. Taking time off work to vote is a luxury when your boss can fire you whenever, for whatever, and there are fifty applications sitting in the office for people that can replace you just like that. And oh, look! From the link: “Only a quarter of all adult women (age 18 and older) with incomes below the poverty line are single mothers. Over half of all poor adult women—54 percent—are single with no dependent children.
  • Poor women are also less likely to have a state-issued ID. If you don’t have one, and you want to vote? The link has a nice mathematical equation that demonstrates just how many hoops a young woman would have to jump through: “1 person
    + 1 birth certificate
    + 1 marriage license
    + 1 utility bill
    + 1 trip to the DMV
    = 1 vote”

If you don’t have those? Welp, guess you don’t get to exercise your duty as an American! Just sayin’.

Third, let’s come back to the whole division thing. This graphic, and the ensuing comments, is yet another verse in the “kids these days!” song. It’s old. It’s tired. Young (aka unmarried) women vs. older women. Third wave feminists vs. millennials. This shit is a strawman, set up to degenerate young women and to set us against one another. Did anyone wondering at the source actually attempt to find where these numbers came from? Judging from the comments, I’m guessing not.

Check out the note at the bottom. VoterParticipation.org. Let’s check it out, shall we? The organization is called the Voter Participation Center, formerly known as Women’s Voices, Women Vote. I found, on the website, a fact sheet where it appears the statistics in the graphics came from. It does not appear, to note, that the graphic originated from VPC.

Remember: statistics are not the full story–they can be misrepresented depending on the agenda of the presenter. Whatever douchebag created this graphic wanted to project a message that young (unmarried) women are ruining America for women (fucking bitchez, ALL YOUR FAULT!). Looking at the rest of the statistics, however, it doesn’t seem so much like we are Ruining America, after all:

 In 2010, unmarried women lagged 11 percentage points below married women in voter registration, which translated into lower turnout by 15 percentage points.
o In 2010, 72% of married women were registered to vote (40.5 million), compared to 61% of unmarried women (32.4 million).
o In 2010, 54% of married women voted (30.2 million), compared to 38% of unmarried women (20.3 million).
o Had unmarried women voted at the same rate as married women in 2010, an additional 7.8 million voters would have participated.

Let’s remember the points I made earlier in this post, about women being poorer, especially single women, and all the barriers that poor women have to overcome in order to vote.

Not so bad, I don’t think. These numbers aren’t far off from participation rates in the general population. They’re better, actually.

It’s too bad that we can’t see the raw data. Check out the note at the bottom of the VPC factsheet. “Voter Participation Center and Democracy Corps post-election survey used for 2010 results. Results for other elections come from Edison/Mitosfky/CNN exit polls.”

Hmm. A news media outlet poll. Very credible. And so very carefully selected, with minimal error margins, I’m sure.

Let me issue a challenge to OMPOW members:

If you want higher turnout for young (unmarried) women, then I challenge each member that commented on the graphic to personally register five women. That’s not all–register five women to vote, ensure that they have a ride to their polling place on Election Day, and help them get all the documentation they need.

Stop the degeneration. Stop the attacks. You see a problem? Get out there and do something about it.

Dad Bullies and Intimidates Daughter, Posts on Facebook for All to See

This video has been making the rounds on facebook lately, accompanied with commentary like “best dad ever!” and “brilliant! Way to show that disrespectful teenager her place!” Okay, I thought, let’s see it. I was repulsed. I couldn’t articulate why. So I thought I’d check out the comments, to see how others felt.

Again, I felt repulsed.

A summary, for those who cannot or do not wish to watch: a middle-aged white man, is sitting on a lawn chair in a grassy field. He tells the viewer how his teenaged daughter posted a rant on her facebook page about her parents and the chores she’s made to do. He mocks her for trying to restrict her parents from being able to view said post, and brags how he was able to see it anyway, when he was updating the software on his daughter’s laptop. He’s an IT guy, you see. How foolish of her, thinking she could hide something from him.

He reads the rant from a printout. He tells the viewer that since she had the temerity to complain about her parents on facebook, he is going to show her up by recording this video and posting it on her facebook, to humiliate her in front of all her friends. He lists the chores his daughter must do every day, and mocks her for complaining about a paltry amount of work. He castigates his daughter for being disrespectful. Then he gets up and pans the camera to show a laptop sitting on the grass. He tells the viewer that it is his daughter’s laptop, that he’s going to destroy it, and that his daughter is going to have to work to pay for the destroyed laptop, and the software he just uploaded on it. He pulls out a handgun and shoots the laptop. He shoots it again. And again. All the while reveling in it and mocking his daughter: “your mother said to do one for her, too.” He shoots it again. “You’re going to pay for these bullets, too. These are two-dollar bullets.” He shoots again, until his clip is empty.

The comments were reminiscent of a bloodthirsty mob, cheering the destruction of the laptop, mocking the girl, and raging about “teenagers these days.”

I have a problem with the idea that teenagers must “respect” their parents, when “respect” means they are never to say or think a negative thing about their parents, never to express their feelings unless it’s unconditioned praise and adoration, and certainly never to say such things to their friends. This degree of control over another person’s thoughts and feelings, and the expression of the same, is borderline abusive.

This man’s complete lack of respect for his daughter’s privacy is astounding. I’m sure he felt he was well within his rights as the one who paid for the laptop–people like him always do–that is, feel that once they have paid for something, they own it forever, along with rights to control whatever is done with it. (Apparently the concept of gifts is far beyond this man.) I’m sure he was absolutely shocked when he found that status while snooping–people like him always are–because without a doubt his daughter has never felt safe or comfortable enough to speak to him directly. He snooped, he didn’t like what he found. Shocking. His daughter will never trust him again.

This man felt humiliated (and probably emasculated) because his daughter spoke negatively of him to all of her friends. His response was to humiliate her in front of the entire virtual world. He responds to criticism by bullying. What a fabulous lesson to teach a teenage girl!

Not to mention the implied threat of shooting up his daughter’s laptop. I find this to be the epitome of irresponsible gun ownership. Guns are deadly tools–dangerous, deadly tools, meant to be taken seriously. The only way they should be used is for sport target shooting, hunting, or self-defense. They are not to be used as an outlet for your frustrated emasculation. He felt embarrassed by his daughter, so he destroyed the tool she used to do it with a gun. That he went to his weapon as the answer to his anger is a sign of a lack of control, and a bad temper.

In fact, the very reason I was so frightened of guns for so long is that, as a teenager, someone close to me vented their frustration by going outside and shooting into the air. They would wave it around and describe how they should use it on people who wronged them. This made me afraid for my life. I felt threatened, despite that they never pointed it at me, or threatened me specifically. Just that their first action when they were angry was to grab their weapon was a very bad and scary thing.

This man does not respect his weapon.

He has no business owning a gun.

That he told the offending person that they must pay him back for the bullets he used is psychological abuse–making his daughter participate in her own intimidation.

I feel for this girl. I hope she gets as far away from this sorry man as soon as she possibly can.

Ron Paul Memes

There are a couple of Ron Paul memes making the rounds on facebook–basically photos of Paul with captions numerating his veteran status, his advocacy for peace, and his love of FREEDOM!™

The more I see the “Ron Paul loves FREEDOM!™ Unlike all those other commie socialist FREEDOM HATERS WHO HATE FREEDOM!™” trope, the angrier I get.

Everyone knows Ron Paul is anti-choice.

I’m sure everyone is sick of women pointing out that Mr. FREEDOM!™ is anti-choice.

It counters the freedom-loving narrative! It’s a buzzkill! Ron Paul fans LOVE RON PAUL, DAMMIT, stop saying bad things about him! Haterz! You hate freedom, too!

If FREEDOM!™ means the freedom for rich-white-straight-men to dictate to others how to live, what medications to take, and take away control of others’ own bodies? Then, yep, I hate FREEDOM!™

The very idea that a Presidential candidate can trot out the freedom trope, and millions of people buy it, when that same candidate has stated over and over again that a woman should have no right to decide what happens to her own body, to decide whether or not to risk her own fucking life for another potential life, is utterly flabbergasting.

Ron Paul does not love freedom. He loves freedom for himself, and others exactly like him–and no one else.

Ron Paul fans are quick to jump on anyone who points these facts out. But otherwise? They completely ignore this issue. Here’s one of the memes: Read more of this post