Tags: grrrr


Newsflash: I don't owe random strangers on the street a conversation!

I have all sorts of updates to put in here, but I've decided I'm not going to do them chronologically, possibly because it has the word "logic" in the middle of it, and I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to logic (at least according to every math teacher I've ever had). Mostly, though, it's because the most recent story has a rant attached to it, and those are always best when fresh, so here we go.

My weekends are usually very busy, especially lately. This weekend was supposed to be comparatively tame. Saturday night my friend Matt and his band were in town playing a show, so I was going to go see them, and then Sunday I'd go to my son's dance recital in the afternoon, then head to my own evening dance rehearsal. Not unreasonably busy, especially when you consider that two out of those three events involve me sitting. I'm fond of sitting; it requires very little energy on my part. The weekend wound up being unexpectedly eventful, though, mostly due to Saturday.

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fairy tale

Girls are stupid and so are their movies

I'll admit, when I see a man's name attached to a review for a movie geared to women, I roll my eyes. More often than not, that's enough to get me to pass it over. I've found that more often than not, when a man is reviewing a movie aimed at a female audience, his comments essentially sum up to "this is a movie for chicks, and I am not one. Since it didn't cater to my tastes, it's not a good movie. Now let us turn our attention to the current schlocky action movie..." No, not every romantic comedy is a masterpiece, but they should be judged fairly. I often wonder why more newspapers don't have women reviewing movies, actually. It would save us from reviews like Ebert's take on Red Riding Hood, in which he says:

Of the classics of world literature crying out to be filmed as a sexual fantasy for teenage girls, surely "Red Riding Hood" is far down on the list. Here's a movie that cross-pollinates the "Twilight" formula with a werewolf and adds a girl who always wears a red hooded cape, although I don't recall her doing any riding. It's easy to imagine a story conference in which they said: Hey! Let's switch the vampires with a werewolf and recycle the theme of a virgin attracted to a handsome but dangerous hunk, only let's get two hunks!

What this inspiration fails to account for is that while a young woman might toy with the notion of a vampire boyfriend, she might not want to mate with a wolf. Although she might think it was, like, cool to live in the woods in Oregon, she might not want to live in the Black Forest hundreds of years ago because, like, can you text from there?

When I read this, I was outraged on several levels. Not only are the comments misogynistic, but he's presuming to speak for women without doing so much as a google search, so I guess we can add lazy on top of that. Red Riding Hood is full of sexual fantasies for women, as the huge number of erotic novels would tell you. And yeah, werewolves are sexy, as anyone with even a passing knowledge of contemporary fantasy can tell you. And let's not even get into the part where "no girl would want to be in the woods." Ugh, so much rage.

Yeah, this review pretty much encouraged me to see the movie just to be contrary. And you know what? I actually kind of liked it. It wasn't a perfect movie, but it wasn't as pandering as certain white male reviewers would have you believe.
Dovecote Crest

Save your pitying looks and condescension, please.

Recently the results of a study on the attitudes and misconceptions towards poverty in Canada were released. The Vancouver Sun carries a loaded article on it, full of quotes from the Salvation Army. Oooh, how legitimate sounding!

Some of the data is pretty shocking. 23% of respondants believe poor people are poor because they're lazy, and 49% believe that if poor people want to work, they can always find a job. Because, y'know, it's not like there's been a recession going on or anything like that.

The numbers they tossed around baffle me, though. It seems 54% of Canadians believe a family of four can survive on $30,000 a year or less, which according to the article is an insane myth because "the Salvation Army says it's 'extremely difficult' for a family to live on less than $40,000 in an urban area."

Ok, I know it's taboo to discuss finances and stuff, but I have points to make, and I can't do that without a bit of money talk, so it's under the cut for those who'd rather skip such things.

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Three's Company, Four's a Crowd

I've noticed this interesting trend in the four months since my youngest was born. It seems, now that I have three kids, society says I have quite enough. Total strangers are quite vocal on this point. In fact, the day I gave birth to her (via c-section), I was asked twice if I wanted them to tie my tubes while they were in there. Interesting note: my other two were both by c-section, and nobody even mentioned the idea of permanent birth control with either of them. As soon as it was my third, though, they asked twice, because apparently the first refusal could have been a false one.

I brushed it off as a fluke at the time, perhaps a new hospital policy or something. But I can't count how many people have commented that I must and/or should be done, now that I have three. Just the other day, some random lady on the street stopped me to admire my children and add "well, no more for you then." Even my in-laws have remarked on more than one occasion that three children is quite enough. (Of course, in their case they made the same sort of comments after I had my second.)

Here's the thing, folks: IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS HOW MANY CHILDREN I CHOOSE TO HAVE. Unless I'm asking you to house and/or support them, it's none of your business. Whether I decide to have one or to have seventeen, it's not your concern. The decision belongs to me and my husband. Period. It is, in fact, rude to inform me how many children I should be having. Who asked you, anyway? It certainly wasn't me. And since all my children are happy, healthy, and well-behaved, I'm not sure why you'd care enough to make the comments.

(And for the record, since my friends and not the annoying folks making unsolicited comments will be the ones actually reading this, final number of children has not yet been determined. I just had a baby, so I'm not in a huge rush to have another, but #4 is not entirely out of the question. We'll see how it goes and how we feel in another year or two.)
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angsty Malak

Crosswalks 101

I do not drive. I don't, in fact, have a driver's license. Even if I did, I don't have a car during the day, since the husband is a courier and kind of can't work without the vehicle. As a result, I walk everywhere. Always have, actually. And so it didn't seem like much of a stretch when the kids started going to school that I'd walk them there. Every day we walk, through ridiculous weather, and I'm pleased to report we aren't the only ones walking to school. Despite reports, not every kid these days gets driven by their parents.

It'd help a lot, though, if drivers weren't getting in the way. Look, I understand, you're bigger and more powerful than I am and the road is your territory. I get it. But, uh, the crosswalks are there for me and my children to walk on. Those painted lines on the road? They're not intended as a suggestion for you to ignore. That thick white line before the intersection is called a stop line for a reason. It's where you're supposed to stop. You're not supposed to drive across it and then drive across the crosswalk, stopping your car so it thoroughly blocks the way of any pedestrians. See, the point of a crosswalk is so that people who need to cross have a place to walk. Funny how they named things things, isn't it? When you stop your car in the middle of the crosswalk, I have to take my children around you, into the way of oncoming traffic. Now the safety value in that pretty much defeats any purpose of having a crosswalk at all, don't you think?

And to the lady from this morning who glared at me as I tried to navigate my stroller around her car while she blocked the crosswalk: I wish up on you a curse of flat tires and terrible luck finding parking spots.
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The Girl With the Gratuitous and Horrifying Violence (with extra squick!)

On Friday nights, I usually watch a movie with the older two kids. Since we're in the process of boxing things up to move, all our videos are out of commission for the time being, so I asked the husband to pick up a movie on his way home from work. They had some sort of 3-for-1 deal going on, so in addition to the kids' movie he'd been sent for, he figured he'd get one of the weird movies he likes and something that I might watch late at night when I'm up with the baby. He got me the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

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center stage

Twilight At The Ballet

The RWB has a ballet version of Dracula in their repertoire, which they bring out every few years because I guess it's one of the ones that's gotten them a lot of press and therefore money. It doesn't hurt that the ballet is a really good one. I saw it a couple of seasons ago and even the husband, who was dragged along with me, had to admit it was pretty neat. It's a nifty marriage of classic ballet with a modern edginess, and since vampires never go out of style, it's pretty safe in in its "lure people into the seats" factor.

Because they know I'm a sucker for dance, I get a pamphlet every year that tells me about which four ballets they're performing this season and wouldn't I like to purchase season tickets? Well, yes I would, but they're decidedly out of my price range and... look, evil siren that is the ballet advertisement, you are distracting me from my original point.

The point is the one-page advert for Dracula and the horror I felt upon realizing y'all were making allusions to Twilight. Seriously, RWB? I mean, I know there are hordes of teen girls who will squee over pretty much anything remotely related to Edward Cullen and his ilk, but I thought you had more class than that. Making your tagline "Dracula: The vampire who will ECLIPSE all others" is not a subtle or clever way of working it in, either, especially given the recent release of the third Twilight movie. This is wrong in so many ways and you have made me a sad, sad creature. Seriously, you're working with timeless characters like Mina Murray and Van Helsing, not bubblegum doormat Bella Swan. You're supposed to be cultured and elegant and not at all related to poorly written teenage pop fiction.

Oh, I know why you chose to go this route. I'm still very, very disappointed in you. I'm not going to break up with you over it (I mean, you're doing a version of Alice in Wonderland later in the year, and I will never be able to resist that) but consider yourself severely rebuked. I mean it.
book 1

I Am Not Public Property

Last weekend, I went to Keycon. Despite being very pregnant, over the entire weekend only two people tried to touch my belly. One asked first, and the other one apologized immediately afterwards. "Oh, I'm so sorry! That was unbearably rude of me."

Last night I went to a bridal shower where I knew two people. One was the bride, the other was my mom. I spent most of the evening trying to get people to stop groping my belly. I was literally grabbing hands and tossing them away from me after having asked them repeatedly not to touch me. As one might expect, I grew less and less polite as the night wore on.

I was at the shower for three hours. I was at the con for three days. And yet, people think geeks are the socially awkward ones.
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Gender Roles

Dear media people and the folks who make commercials,

I am very tired of the way you depict both men and women and more than a little offended at the implications you throw out. I am a woman; this does not mean housework is the sole purpose of my existence. The Purex commercial (second one, with the redhead) has me ranting every time it plays on television. A laundry product makes her life 1000% better? Excuse me? Am I supposed to be nodding along, thinking that because my life revolves around housework and laundry this product would make things soooo much easier? Because I'm not. What I'm thinking is that this is one of the most offensive commercials I've ever seen. It's worse because y'all are so casual about the messages being sent, like this is not only the way things are, but the way they should be.

Yes, I can see you've made some half-hearted attempt at making this seem a little over-the-top. It's supposed to be funny that our lives revolve around laundry! Forgive me, I'm not laughing. Your over-the-top is, in fact, not. You want to see something exaggerated to the point where ridiculous and brilliance converge?

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This commercial makes me laugh every time I see it. It could have just been objectifying the shirtless dude, but they ran so far with it the commercial runs into bizarre territory almost immediately and becomes memorable for the right reasons.

Then you have a commercial like this one. Oh good, let's be equally offensive and dismissive to both genders! The man's an idiot and makes a huge mess, then stands there while his wife smiles and cleans up after him. What a wonderful double whammy. Men are incompetent! Women exist to serve! Also, we should all be happy about this, because it's just the way things are.

For the record: not happy about it. Not the way things are, not in my house. And I'm really tired of seeing these same gender roles depicted time and time again. Why don't we have commercials where the man cleans up after his family, or at least after himself?

sad kitty

Think of the Children!

Christmas season has begun, and with it comes the usual influx of commercials. Buy our expensive product for your loved one! Feast yourself silly! Save the starving African children; IT IS CHRISTMAS WON'T SOMEONE PLS THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

Few things get me angry as fast as those commercials. Yes, these kids need help and the people who pitch in to sponser are lovely. Why is it, though, that every single one of these commercials focuses on Africa? Why do we not have a global spread? Yes, there are starving children in Africa. There are also starving children in the Middle East, and in Asia, and right here in North America. But no, the commercials never mention those kids. Your mother never told you to finish your vegetables because the starving children down the street would love to have them. See, if we realized just how many kids right here in our own locales were starving and dying, we wouldn't be able to distance ourselves from the problem nearly as efficiently. We wouldn't have this unwarranted superiority in our heads while contemplating the problems in Africa. After all, it's not really Africa's fault they're not as modern or as well educated as we are, right? If we just go to help them out, they can surely live as well and productively as we do (do we even listen to ourselves?!?).

What this does is gives us an incredibly skewed view of Africa and the people who live there. Yes, there are areas of horrible poverty; there are also affluent areas and middle-class areas. There are some huge and very modern metropolises out there (just take a look at Cairo, the "city of a thousand minarets"). People who live in Africa can be just as intelligent and well educated as anyone from North America (and more so, if the internet gives any indication). Africa has a vast array of culture, and scientists believe humanity's oldest civilizations hail from there. Too bad we don't hear about any of this, hey? Because it would be a shame if we thought of people living on other continents to be our equals.