My doctor, who is a trans woman, and I had a conversation today about the guy who raped me earlier this year. At first she was like “did you charge him?” When I explained that he’s a trans man of colour, she immediately got why I hadn’t. Not because I couldn’t bare to put a trans person,…
So if you follow me on twitter, you probably know that yesterday I was in the throes of a wicked IBS flareup. Some are worse than others, and yesterday’s was a doozy- extreme urgency to the point I had to just speedwalk away from a conversation with coworker, consistently more liquid BMs, abdominal pain, nausea, the works. These flareups happen at random; sometimes they’re after I eat a big meal, sometimes after I have a tiny snack, sometimes they just come out of nowhere. Rarely, they happen at work, in a four-story building that has exactly zero single-stall bathrooms.
There is one 5-stall bathroom per floor (so 20 toilets in a building that holds 300+ people). They aren’t often empty. And because our culture is one that still sees poop as something to be grossed out about, when things like this happen, I panic. For over an hour yesterday, I was in a state of dread, wondering if I was going to be able to find a bathroom where I wouldn’t be ruining someone’s day by having a horrible BM.
I decided to write a longform post about this because I’m tired of poop-shame. I’m not sure if you know this, because many people without a GI disorder are able to just poop on a normal schedule, but it’s really embarrassing to be stuck in a public restroom for any amount of time because you’re sick (and often not just having a BM, but also being in agonizing pain) and then have people come in and go “ewwww! It smells!” This actually happened to me in college. While I was still in the bathroom. Try to think about how that feels for a second.
When things like that happen, it makes you associate a normal bodily function with a huge amount of shame. It’s “gross” to poop, so you try not to do it- to the point that in women’s restrooms, I’ve often gotten into what I like to call a poop fight. Now, when I’ve talked to guys about this, they’re like “yeah we have poop fights! it’s great, you just shit and laugh when one of you makes a ton of noise.” And then I want to smack them because pooping is a thing guys are allowed to do, but not girls, and it makes me super jealous- but I digress. My version of a poop fight is when you sit there on the toilet, silent, not peeing, not adjusting your bra, not putting in a tampon- not doing anything but awkwardly stare at the ceiling while you wait for the other person in the restroom to leave…while the other person is doing the same thing you are. Pooping with another woman in the bathroom is just unacceptable! The shame! The horror! So you just sit there until one of you leaves, and by then someone else has usually come in and even if you won the poop fight, you still can’t go!
Now, the fact that I’ve always had GI issues (I have clear memories of them going back to at least age 12 or so) means I always have poop shame- even if all I need to do is have a normal BM. So yesterday morning, I realized I needed to go have a normal poop, but I didn’t want to because, again, these restrooms are almost never empty. So I put it off all day (which is a luxury for me to even be able to do, but I do have good days occasionally) and then after I’d eaten some sweets that my boss brought in, my body eventually went “well, you HAVE to go now.” I got massively ill while at work and spent most of the last hour of my day in the restroom in 10+ minute stints. The sad thing is that this was probably avoidable. If I’d just gone in the morning, my body wouldn’t have gotten backed up and freaked out. The shame that our society associates with shitting actively hurts me, and others like me (and even people without GI disorders; HOLDING IT ISN’T HEALTHY!).
So here’s my request: don’t EVER walk into a bathroom and say out loud, “ewwww, it stinks in here!” Don’t ever go back to your desk and say “oh my god the bathroom smells sooooo bad”. Accept that sometimes shit can stink, and don’t make a big deal of it if you happen to notice that the bathroom smells. It’s a bathroom. Toilets existfor this purpose. Please realize that the person who had a particularly odiferous BM probably had no choice but to do so in that restroom, and that they could be sitting there within earshot, positively mortified that their illness is being publicly discussed and ridiculed. Please also realize that you are probably making them anxious, and many conditions like this are directly worsened by anxiety.
I’d also request that you share this post. I decided sometime in the last year to be extremely open about my GI issues in an effort to contribute to a less poop-shaming environment, so share it whereever you want.
I wish I could say that my request is that we all just stop being ashamed of our bodies & start pooping in public, but I can’t expect others to do it if I can’t even do so myself. Maybe another time.
I want to live there forever and never go anywhere else. Fuck Universal; I don’t even know if I’d go back to see the Diagon Alley section that’s being built but I probably would but I hate that fucking park so much ugh. Disney excels in immersion, in customer service, in ALL aspects of making a vacation magical. I needed that vacation and I needed it to go as well as it did, and I’m just tickled that it all worked out so perfectly.
I just wanted to say that Bee and Puppycat was boring and and uninspiring. 90% of it looked like you just copied Adventure Time and the fact you're getting to make a series when there's a million better people out there with a million better ideas is offensive. Honestly, the ONLY reason anyone takes you seriously is because you ride Pen Ward's coat tails.
Sorry you feel that way, I’ll try harder next time……
Aaaanyway… I’m assuming that you are one of the millions of other people who have better ideas than me (and if not, then you know some of them!)… and if you haven’t already heard about it, I wanted to let you know that Frederator is actually a really easy group of people to get in contact with about pitching your cartoon ideas! You can find out more about it HERE.
First read this article by Alyssa Rosenberg, because it’s more logical and makes more sense than what I’m going to get into. In essence, her main point there seems to be that a woman’s strength and skill has to be “legitimized by her virtue”- which is a good way of saying why it bothers me so much that this film’s selling point is “we’re going to tell you how Maleficent got to be the way she is”.
Because here’s my main point: I don’t care how Maleficent got to be the way she is. I’ve spent an embarrassingly large amount of time thinking about, and arguing about, Disney villains in my life. I’ve made Facebook posts that turned into huge arguments about how I was looking at this or that the wrong way, or forgetting this person. I had a theory about the sketchiness of the fact that far more of Disney’s villains fit into stereotypes of what queer people are like (or are directly based on queer people) than any of their heroes or heroines that turned into people saying “well but THIS one was clearly hetero because they had a partner/crush on a person of the opposite gender/blah blah reasons!” um ok that wasn’t the point, the point was that they acted like a stereotype of a gay person. Anyhoodle. The point is, I’m pretty into Disney and very into Disney villains and their motivation.
Maleficent has always been my favorite, hands down. And my favorite thing about Maleficent has always been that she was evil. She was just evil. She didn’t have any motivation for her actions against Aurora outside of malice (you can argue that she was upset that she wasn’t invited to the baby party, but she was already evil before that which was WHY she wasn’t invited in the first place). Her freaking NAME is an ACTUAL WORD THAT MEANS “DOING EVIL OR HARM”.
Let’s look at some other Disney villains and their motivations for hurting the protagonist:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - The Evil Queen: wanting to be the prettiest.
Cinderella - Lady Tremaine: wanting to ensure a good future for her daughters & free labor.
Peter Pan - Hook: wanting revenge for his lost hand.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians - Cruella de Vil: wanting a fur coat.
Robin Hood - Prince John/Sheriff of Nottingham: wanting money.
The Rescuers - Madame Medusa: wanting a jewel that will make her money.
The Little Mermaid - Ursula: wanting power.
Beauty and the Beast - Gaston: wanting to marry the prettiest girl.
Aladdin - Jafar: wanting power.
The Lion King - Scar: wanting power.
Pocahontas - Governor Ratcliffe: wanting power AND money.
I could go on, but by now we’re noticing a pattern, right? They all want something, and excepting a few it’s usually power or money. This is the case with almost all of Disney’s villains, excepting very few (the other notable one being the Horned King from The Black Cauldron). Those few include Maleficent.
Maleficent was always just evil. She was allowed to be something that we don’t HAVE a lot of examples of- a just terribly evil person. No justification for it, she just wants to cause harm to others. No “the person she hates inadvertently caused her pain when she was younger!” (thanks, Once Upon a Time…). No desire for anything. Her only desire is for unhappiness, for chaos. She doesn’t want physical things, she doesn’t want to be queen, she just wants misery for everyone. She’s gleefully unrepentant, she laughs wildly before sending lighting bolts at her idiot minions in a rage when she finds that they’ve been searching for an infant for 16 years. I’ve always appreciated the purity in Maleficent, in the fact that her only motivation is the fact that she is evil.
My issue with the film, then, is that she’s getting the Regina treatment, the Elphaba treatment. We’re getting information in this film to make Maleficent sympathetic, relatable. Oh, you can understand why she’s so evil, now that we have this backstory! Queen Leah stole her boyfriend! The Good Fairies burned her house down while practicing magic as kids! King Stefan ran over her dog! Whatever the reason, it’s not one that I want or need. My feelings on this are sort of the opposite of “I hate Strong Female Characters”; I like her one-dimensional, no-apologies style of evil. To me, she’s very much like another one of my favorite villains…who is not from Disney at all, shh…Voldemort. Even as a kid, he was evil. You can go into his motivation being that he wanted pure wizard blood only, or wizard domination over muggles, but that came later. You could try to say he was evil as a kid because the other kids were mean to him, but I’m not sure Rowling ever gives us a direct line of causality there. He was just a bad dude, and we rarely get characters who are just bad.
To cite a bunch of non-Disney examples of pop culture villains…Sauron doesn’t fit (yeah, I’ve read The Silmarillion). The L. Frank Baum-canon Wicked Witch of the West doesn’t fit (she wanted power!). Pretty much all comic book villains have some tragic origin story. Even Satan, big baddie of all the big baddies, doesn’t fit. Everyone has either some desire for power or some backstory as to why they’re so bad. Maleficent was a refreshing deviation from that norm, and now she’s getting the humanizing treatment that’s increasingly being used to justify evil behavior. Can’t we just have one truly pure symbol of evil?!
TL;DR: Maleficent was one of the few popular examples of a character who was evil for the sake of being evil, and I’m pissed that she’s getting a backstory to justify her badness instead of just being left alone to be unapologetically bad.
Postscript: I can’t explain exactly why I enjoy pure-evil more than somewhat-justified-evil, I just do. I’m sure someone’s somewhere’s written a good piece on what that might mean…
My Congo African Grey picks up stuff REALLY fast. Sometimes he’ll piece together stuff that’s hilarious.
Yesterday I was sitting next to him reading, and he was preening quietly so I told him he was being really good — giving them attention when they’re not screaming gives them the option of not screaming when they want attention, so I try to do this a lot.
His response? He said in a friendly tone, “You’re a really good Nattie. Haha. I love you, bitch.” My husband and I use obscenities as casual endearments.
Then sometimes he’ll throw stuff together in Engrish-y ways that almost make sense. The other day we were moving, so I put Bongo (the African Grey) and our cockatiel in their travel cages so I could take their huge cages apart to stick in the truck. Bongo didn’t like this, so he decided to lift up his water bowl, which lifts the food cup door, and throw it on the floor. Shocked, I said, “You douche!” Bongo yeowled, this hilarious gibberishy cat-like sound. My husband came in and asked what happened, and Bongo said, “Yes, that became water now.” I want to put that on a shirt with like, a picture of an anthropocentrized flower or something.
Other times he’ll say stuff that makes sense, logically and grammatically, that he’s put together on his own, but it’s just funny. The other day we were sitting in silence for a while, when Bongo suddenly let out this long sigh and said, “Well, I guess I *am* Bongo,” not in a revelatory tone, but in the same grudging way someone takes responsibility, like when someone says, “I guess I *am* the adult here.” I blinked at him and said, “Alright. How does that make you feel?” and he just gave a weary “hm” and started preening, like there was nothing to be done for it so we may as well move on with life.
On a less philosophical note, a few weeks ago we put the birds to bed, which basically means just putting them in their cages and covering them. Most nights, Bongo does not want to go to bed, but that night he REALLY didn’t want to. He tried to scramble back out of the cage but wasn’t fast enough. He then clung to the side as my husband wrapped the blanket around, and, adopting my husband’s raging-at-Mortal-Kombat voice, yelled, “Nooooooooooooooooo!” We cracked up because we couldn’t help it, which he did not seem to appreciate. He fell silent once the blanket was in place. Then we flicked the light switch off, and Bongo said simply, “Fuck.”
Bongo is awesome. Parrots are awesome. When we lived in Texas, there was a breeder who said that her breeding parrots would speak some human to their chicks, like “good girl” and “here’s some nummies” when feeding them. Bongo uses both when he talks to our cockatiel, which is positively creepy since they hate each other; he’ll climb on Precious’s cage to harass him, and say, “Come here Precious” and snicker, and when Precious starts squawking in outrage, he says, “Calm down, Precious,” or (more rudely) “Shut up, Precious.” What’s especially amusing about this is we practically never said those things to Precious because Precious didn’t scream as much as Bongo used to; we’d say “calm down, Bongo” instead, but he says Precious. He also tries to blame his own screaming on Precious if I’m out of the room: he will scream a lot, and if I eventually say anything back telling him to knock it off, he says “shut up Precious.” And then screams again. (He doesn’t scream much anymore after I started being more alert to enforcing and ignoring certain things.) Precious also does this horrible, scratchy barking sound in imitation of an alarm clock we had when he was a baby, and Bongo will start whistling La Cucaracha whenever Precious starts in on this because Precious LOVES La Cucaracha and will instantly start singing instead.
It is always interesting to me to see different ways Bongo figures out how to use sounds to change stuff around him. One of my favorite things he likes to do is sit on the back of my wooden office chair, and he will start banging his beak rhythmically on it, which is a normal bird thing, especially with male birds (Precious does it too). But if I start making percussive beat boxing noises, he will keep banging his beak AND make a clicking sound AND put his wings up and dance a bit. The rhythm is shaky but it’s super cute. If he wants to get my attention, he knows I will do that with him for a while. He also likes to sing, “Boooooongo, Booooongo biiiiird,” in it sometimes, just whatever notes he feels like.
But what’s been REALLY great, is Bongo’s about to turn six, so for the last year or so he’s been transitioning to adulthood more fully. He seems to have gotten much smarter — like, quicker to understand things — and mellowed out over this time. The other week I was sick and lying in bed, really tired, but Bongo was freaking out wanting to see me so my husband brought him in the bedroom and left him on the chair I mentioned earlier. Bongo started gibbering and laughing and talking to me a bunch, which cheered me up, and I didn’t want him to feel ignored so I kept up for twenty minutes or so. Finally, though, I was just too tired, but Bongo kept talking. I tried to think of a way to explain, not really knowing if anything would work, but not wanting to upset him. When we put the birds to bed at night, we say, “It’s bedtime!” so that seemed like an option. Then he knows that “mommy” is me, plus he had started using it as an adjective — he started saying “want mommy kiss” a year ago.
So I try, “It’s mommy bedtime.” To my surprise, he stops talking abruptly, then says, “Okay.” And he stayed completely silent while I took a nap. When I woke up, he said in a bright British accent, “Hullo!”
I saw an article about parrot intelligence where some jackass was going on in the comments about how birds don’t understand the human words they use and their mimicry isn’t any more impressive than those cats that sound like they’re saying “no”, we just get fooled into believing they’re intelligent because they figure out how we react to these sounds and how to use them to get what they want and it’s like dude I’m sorry but are you aware of what “language” is?
can you imagine how amazing and mindblowing it would be to meet people who’ve lived for generations on a continent you didn’t know existed, full of food you’ve never tasted and weather you’ve never experienced, and who have languages and religions and cultures that aren’t in any way influenced by yours
that would be completely unbelievable and valuable beyond words
or, you know, you could kill them all and build colonies
One year ago today, Ryan and I were posted in front of a laptop in our 500 square foot studio & merch “distribution center,” staring intently into the illuminated screen as our album The Heist was finally released into the universe. A dense mix of excitement, fear and relief was…
Okay, white feminists. It’s time for us to have a chat.
As a white feminist, particularly one who is straight, cisgender, and able-bodied, I have a distinct set of privilege within this space. I know that my voice is heeded and respected in a way that marginalized women, especially women of…
So what do you do when your sister’s in an emotionally abusive relationship but won’t leave?
Backstory: guy is gone most of the year doing work in other states, not really caring to talk to her for more than a couple of minutes a day even though she takes his 2yo son every weekend and keeps the house up while he’s gone. Oh, and used all of her savings to pay off his back mortgage payments earlier this year.
He disappears the other day for 24 full hours, because he “took off somewhere without reception” and didn’t think to warn her. So she got upset, which he didn’t understand, then she decided to give him a taste of his own medicine and ignore him. They finally talked again, then he had to go, said he’d call back, she missed it & he apparently decided that meant she was ignoring him again.
She called me sobbing so hard she couldn’t breathe. The first three minutes of the call she didn’t get a word out aside from his name. She’d called him 30+ times since he’d started ignoring her, leaving voicemails crying, just wanting to work it out so she could go to sleep. Oh, and she had his son at this point, so if something had been wrong, he’d just never have known.
Eventually she calmed down, but kept telling me he’d said things like “it’s getting really annoying being held accountable” (she frames it as for actually being financially responsible but I doubt it) and that his mindset in cases like this is “I’ll show you”. If he thinks you’re playing mind games, he just shuts off, doesn’t care, and will basically do anything to “teach you a lesson”. She told him that one of the times she’d called was because his son wanted to talk to him- and he said “don’t use my son against me”, and she thinks that’s okay because his ex-wife is “crazy”. I’m starting to think more and more that it’s him who has the issues, and the “crazy” ex-wife was a normal human being with emotions, which doesn’t seem to be something he’s willing to handle.
Anyway. She called me again this morning. He called, they talked, it’s all fine now. The verdict? She told him to promise he wouldn’t do things like that anymore, and he told her to promise not to be a bitch.
And she took it. “I just need to not be a bitch, it’s fine.” Like it’s no big deal. Like it’s normal for your partner to tell you not to be who you are, not to have emotions and occasionally be at their whim.
This fierce-ass woman who takes shit from nobody is bowing to some cowardly asshole who thinks emotional abuse is appropriate. What the fuck can I even do?