Friday, March 11, 2011


how worried about them should i be since wherever we get mattresses
from, they will be second hand.

A Little Kyriarchy Primer

There are many things in the world that make me growly, Katy Perry, the existence of sweet pickles and Miracle Whip, that Two and Half Men is one of America's most popular exported shows, but nothing makes me more growly then the oppression olympics. Truth is, unless you are an undocumented, disabled, single mother, lesbian, transgendered fat woman of color living in a tent city, there is always going to someone with more privilege and someone with less privilege than you. That's why the kyriarchy is a tough system to fight, it keeps us constantly fighting with each other over who has it worse instead of examining why privilege exists and how oppression works to keep us in our place. 

Even devoted activists fall into the trap of negating the existence of another groups' oppression, especially is they deem that group as less worthy than theirs. (See the scorn many liberals, progressives and fauxgressives have for poor whites). The thing is, all oppression, all privilege, exists for pragmatic reasons (at least to the elites). Oppression is not some nefarious cloud of hate that pours acid rain on the hearts and minds of those without access to an umbrella. All oppression, no matter what flavor or how it manifests in specific groups or people, exists to restrict access to resources and power. All privilege exists to reward people who gatekeep access to resources and power for the elites. Once you understand that, you can begin to dismantle the structure that keeps us all down. But as long as we keep fighting with each other over the scraps of privilege thrown out by the elites, we will never ever win.This doesn't mean we shouldn't call each other out when we act privilege blind. Quite the contrary. But it does mean we need to take a bit of time and understand why certain groups are granted certain tiny powers (think white feminists who think pro-choice means only birth control and abortion, or why poor whites might "vote against their own self-interest (cough-not-actually-what-they-are-doing-cough). Both groups trade in racism, subtle or blatant, to keep the privilege they have (namely whiteness) while being legitimately oppressed in other ways (gender & economics). Intersections in the kyriarchy don't just work with multiple types of oppression, they also work in people who have bits of privilege mixed with bits of oppression. 

I believe that everyone, even people I don't understand or like, people who are the farthest thing away from who I am, acts in their own best interest. This includes things that I would never do, like having 17 children or joining the military. I believe that you have to start with giving people the respect that they know their own life better than any outsider ever could. That's supposed to be fundamental part of feminism, trusting women to know what is right for themselves and their bodies. But it doesn't just include women.

I trust that poor racist whites are voting for republifuckers because they aren't given a better option. They need homes and jobs and clean water and food and air and medicine and education just like the rest of us. But no party is offering that to anyone. So they take the next best option, which is the promise conservatives make to let them keep what little privilege they have, their whiteness. If that is all someone in power is offering, then it's not irrational that they take what they can get. It's not irrational when middle-class (or better) white feminists think that bodily autonomy only extends to the right NOT to have children. No one has ever told them that they aren't good enough to be parents, quite the opposite actually. 

Does this excuse either group from their privilege? No. If someone declares themselves a feminist, we expect that the least they can do is educate themselves on oppression aimed at other types of women. But when we know what the job of privilege is, we know how to break it. If white feminism is more than a little color, class, and health blind then we can see that certain women are given little bits of power to keep them from grabbing from the greater power and to keep them as the gatekeepers of that power. If it is only the voice of the middle-class or better, whites, etc, that ever get heard, then the bottom of the pyramid of oppression stays stable. Poor racist whites don't have much in resources, but they gatekeep the power in order to hold onto what they have. Offer them something to alleviate their oppression (economics)and you may be able to make a dent in their privilege (race). And by "offer them something" I don't mean that the people who have less than them need to offer something, I mean allies who are their equals.This isn't about how WOC need to empathize with white women or poor people of color need to forgive poor white's racism. People on the bottom do enough to placate those above them all ready.  I am a poor white. I can say to other poor whites "hey, it ain't poor black folks or undocumented Latin Americans making you poor. It's the CEOs and the politicians." I can also say, to other white feminists "hey, I chose to have a kid and deserve just as much bodily autonomy as you who don't choose kids do". I have some privilege. I also have lots of oppression. One does not negate the other. But recognizing that can make me a much better ally.

8.9 Earthquake & Tsunami Hit Japan

I know Japan (like Seattle) is fairly earthquake prepared. But I'm
still crossing my fingers and hoping the damage is strictly structural
and no lives are lost.
I read awhile back that there might be a human caused reason for the
recent increase in big earthquakes. The theory is that the more we
take out of the earth (oil, gas, minerals,etc) changes the mass of the
plates and makes earthquakes more likely. Seems logical, physics wise.
But damn, we are fucked if it's true.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

FFS, Nobody needs yet another film version of Jane Eyre

Really, that book is the Twilight of the 1800's. Manipulative, hot
cold running abusive older dude with a much younger girl who he
strings along then pushes away.
Now I will freely give all the Bronte sisters mass cred for being
published authors when they were, though the only Bronte story that
hasn't made me want to chuck the book across the room was Anne's
Tennant of Wildfell Hall (independant single mom escapes drunk and
abusive husband by hiding out in a dilapidated house and selling her
paintings.) Gimme more Elizabeth Gaskell adaptations instead, because
seriously how fucking hot was Richard Armitage in North and South.

Republifuckers Support Our Troops

having the right to be homeless just like us civvies. They are trying
to cut 10,000 housing vouchers for vets, cause they are compassionate
about bootstraps or something. I guess soldiers and sailors aren't the
right kind of poor people (though to be fair, the only kind of poor
people who are the right kind to republifuckers are imaginary). i was
all bouncy and cheerful and happy only to read that and be pissed.
fuckers. growl.

I'm good enough, smart enough and gosh darnit people like me

So we got into the housing program (provided my credit check doesn't
come up with something too ugly. My credit is bad but I don't owe any
back taxes or anything big). Now we have to find a cheap apartment and
then find stuff to go in it. we don't own blankets, or pots and pans,
or silverware. We've got suitcases full of clothes, some textbooks and
the laptops. We don't even have towels. Bahhhhhhhh. (That was both a
good bahh and a bad bahhh). But OMfuckingG we're going to have our own
home again in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Egyptian misogynists use the same damn tricks all misogynists use

I'm pretty sure it's the oldest political trick in the book actually.
It goes like this: 1)we are all united against ____(insert elite
system here) and will fight together for freedom. 2)revolution, regime
change, etc. 3) women realize that while their warm bodies and labor
and martydom were needed to organize and fight, they aren't actually
going to benefit from all the new freedom 4) douchebag dudes tell
woman to get back in the kitchen but not before commiting a little
sexual assualt just to make sure the ladies know their place.
We have to stop being fodder for revolutions that don't explicity
state what our gains will be. We also have to stop giving our time and
labor and votes to polical parties whose platform is 'we're 2% less
misogynist than the other guys'. We are more than 50% of the
population, we deserve half the power.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

For Aeryl -middle school musings

Aeryl has a sprogglette heading off to middle school next year and wants smart advice on the pros/cons of an all girls middle school for her spawn. 

i think an all girl school would be rad for middle school, the years of first bras and periods and pimples. So much nicer to do that in an environment where your bra isn't getting snapped on a daily basis and the tampons in your purse are fodder for some nightmarish game of cafeteria football should some dude get his hands on them. 

But I went to a coed ed middle school (actually I went to 3 of them) and consider middle school boys to be evil demon beasts. I am pretty sure that it was the middle school boys who tormented me on the school bus the last half of 8th grade (and by tormented I mean set on me like a pack of wild dogs and forcibly removed my bra, followed me home from the bus stop and terrified me) that made me decide to date only boys who had a car as soon as I hit high school. It was easier to fend off one handsy boyfriend than a pack of rape douchebags. There was also the rounds of competing with the boys in math for one of the coveted ap math spots. My test scores were better than most of the theirs, but I got offered a high school spanish class in lieu of the math spot.growl.

But would Aeryl's young sprogglette miss out on "normal' stuff if she is in a single sex school? There will still be all the normal, awkward weirdness that goes with middle school, but minus the sexual harassment and gender preference. I am of the opnion that the longer we keep girls from experiencing those things, the stronger they are at dealing with them later because they aren't "normal" to that girl and she's better able to see it as a crock of shit. Funny thing that, treating girls like full human beings makes it easier for them to recognize when someone isn't treating them like a full human being.

Of course someone who went to an all girls school should fill in here. Maybe I am missing something, having no experience with it. Maybe all girls schools are actually just home ec classes and lessons on make up application for all I know.  Maybe I was extra traumatized by those awful middle school boys (and a seriously less than useful parental unit, whose response was to do nothing but yell at me for letting those boys near her house). 

(Off topic, but Aeryl aren't you local? If you are, you should email me and come meet me for my birthday on the 19th. Actually any local readers who are not stalkers or trolls should email me if they want to meet up for birthday drinks. It is also the birthday of this here blog, 5 official years of bitchy bitchtasticness). 

The Importance of Being the Right Kind Of Poor Person

So I had my interview with the housing fairies today. It went well, I think. I should know more on Thursday. I also got some information about this particular program. For one thing, it's funded with the Obama stimulus money. If I get accepted, does that mean I have to suddenly change my mind about the crappiness that is His Royal Hopiness? No, because this is not a program for poor people, not for chronically poor people anyways. it's meant for those of us whose bootstraps are merely short instead of non-existent (or more aptly, attached to the boot currently on our throats). 

I have to hope that I am the "good" kind of poor person. Not too sick, physically or mentally. Able to work long hours at whatever crappy job for less than a living wage that you can find. Not too angry, not too sad. Poor but without a lot of the trademarks of poverty like a horrible credit report, suspended drivers license, criminal history, an eviction. No self-medicating the pain and stress away with drugs or alcohol. Not too old, not too young, not poor for too long. Situational, as opposed to chronic poverty. But we all know that the situation has been bad for us on the bottom for so long that it is now chronic. 

Still, I'll take what I can get. As far as poor people go, I am middling between good and bad. I have no addiction problems, at least not the ones that get you in trouble (caffeine and nicotine aside). I speak with an educated, middle-class diction and present as professional. My credit history is atrocious, but what I owe is a fraction of what is owed me in back child support. But the longer I am poor, the harder it is for me to put on the hopeful sunshine face and swallow my anger about the system in the presence of the workers who gatekeep help. 

But like I said, I find out Thursday if I am the right kind of poor person. It means we start looking for a home of our own right away, and we get a year of help with rent. So think happy thoughts. But even if I am the right kind of poor, or at least pass for the right kind of poor, I can't stop writing and thinking and fighting for those who aren't the right kind. It's just a matter of time and continued lack of real change on the part of the audacious powers that be before I am the wrong kind of poor. 

(eta: It also helps that i am a white woman when I apply for these programs, and it would be disingenuous of me to ignore that. I get better services purely because of my race and class markers. )

wish me good luck

i have an interview today with some low income housing fairies. i need
your luckiest thoughts and wishes that they find me to be a worthy
poor person and grant me a magical housing chance (yes, getting
assistance, especially for housing, is a bit like chasing a rainbow to
find a pot of gold). So yes, indulge me in a wee bit of magical
thinking, please. And maybe soon, very soon, Kid and i will actually
be able to unpack our suitcases for good.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Monday, March 07, 2011

It ain't surprising

if you've always believed Obama is an opportunistic two-faced
douchenozzle. I'm talking about the resumption of military tribunals
and indefinite detention at Guantanamo. of course if this was Georgie
the second ordering this shit, we might get a wee dust up from the
fauxgressives and big orange cheetoh eaters, but IOKIODI (it's ok if
Obama does it). We're torturing Bradley Manning, we're stiill fighting
2 wars and murdering innocent civilians, and that tropical torture
palace known as gitmo stays open to win enemies and thwart justice.
the only consolation i've got is to say 'don't blame me, i voted
green'. i'd rather have a decent government than my own smug
satisfaction, but i must take the tiny joys where i find them.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

A happy little side effect of the state's budget slashing

i took my rx's on a long walk to the big chain drugstore to be filled.
several of my prescriptions are for chronic nerve pain and that walk
wasn't easy, but i steeled myself for it with thoughts of happy
medication and a promise to the kid of yummy food after. but, big
chain drugstore no longer takes poor people medicaid. i spent 20 bucks
on iron and vitamin d instead, since i had no idea how long it would
be before i found a pharmacy that doesn't hate poor people and
dejectedly walked to the grocery store. then i saw it, the tiniest
little mom and pop russian pharmacy. they take medicaid. they got
mediccaid to pay for my iron and vitamin d evven. the pharmacist was
awesome and spent a long time with me while i geek out about how the
drugs work chemically. he told me to take vitamin d with 'a good
dinner, lots of fat, no diet food'. i am more than happy to switch my
business to the mom and pop place from giant megachain that has pissed
me off for years and support a great small business.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Dear Trolls & Stalkers:

When trying to use "vagina" as a derogatory term, please spell it correctly. Actually, please also spell it correctly if you are merely trying to use it as an anatomical noun. The punch of your ever so witty (and by witty I mean inane) trolling is lost when you write poorly. It's V-A-G-I-N-A, not viginia, which could also be the poor misspelling of the name or state of Virginia.