Friday, August 31, 2012

But Someone On The Internet Was Wrong...

So like an idiot I got involved in an internet argument on some guy's blog over the Akin issue.

I'd link you, but fuck this guy and his internet jerk readers.

The gist of the argument they put up was that (a) Akin was right, not that many women did get pregnant through rape and (b) even if he was wrong, so what, a baby is still a baby, amirite? and (c) women should just stop whining, it's not like being pregnant is a big deal, as compared to, you know DYING, which is what happens to the baby when the woman kills it just to save herself the trouble of having to give birth to a rape-baby, the selfish slut.

I knew better, but I entered a couple of comments -- one saying Akin was wrong; one saying that the real issue wasn't over abortion/not abortion in this case anyway, but over his suggestion that there could be something called "illegitimate" rape; and finally that, listen, seriously, pregnancy is a big deal.

I mentioned that -- quite beyond the complications attendant to pregnancy, such as nerve damage, debilitating heartburn, sleeplessness, exhaustion, loss of income, some of which problems may end with the delivery of the child (or not -- I still have the debilitating heartburn and the sciatica) -- that carrying a child to term was risky (quite a bit more risky than having a legal abortion*).

I added that I happened to know how dangerous childbirth could be from personal experience, since I had nearly died myself, giving birth to my daughter.**

The response, from these Pro-Life gentlemen?


"Oh, I am so glad to discover just how dangerous it is to have babies. I guess my wife and myself just got lucky, when we had our four!"

"Heartburn and swollen feet? Wow, that does sound horrible! Better get an abortion quick!"

One day I will learn that Pro-Life actually means Keep The Bitches In Their Place.

One day.

*I added this part in because an earlier comment had gone on and on about how lethal abortions were --- about how the pro-choice people were the real misogynists, since they killed both women (via "botched" abortions) and "millions" of girl babies.

**I had severe pre-eclampsia, and hovered on the edge of eclampsia for three days. The Attending didn't want to induce labor, because I was only 38 weeks pregnant. He wanted to keep me at bed rest and "let nature take its course," which was lunatic, I don't need to tell you; but my wonderful PCP finally went over his and brought in the head of OBGYN, who was like WTF? Why are we messing with this?? and induced labor.

(38 weeks is close enough to full-term, and eclampsia can kill you.)

Not that I actually cared about any of this at the time: fun fact! When you're in labor, you're just sort of whacked on the pain and the job. I mean, I knew I was probably going to die. But so long as the baby wasn't -- I remember I kept asking that ("The baby's doing okay, right?") -- I just really couldn't seem to work up an interest in my survival.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Further Ruminations on Rape

Upon review, this post sounds a little angry. I know women aren't supposed to be angry. And I will add that I am not angry at most men. Most men I know are lovely. But my God, the 27% I guess it is that are always waiting to fuck up the world.

And sure, I know, there must be a equal percentage of women out there, fucking it up for the men. But I can't help but believe it's not the same thing. Men are afraid of women because women might mock them, or refuse them, or leave them, or take their money, or refuse to give them children, or who knows what. Women are afraid of men because men might beat us, or kill us, or rape us, or do all of those things to our children. And we're afraid of that pretty much all the time, even when we're pretending not to be afraid of it.

Like when I am standing in a post office looking at the stamp machine trying to figure out how it works with my kid standing beside me. A guy comes in. Probably an okay guy. Who knows. But he's big, and he's alone, and we're alone. So I have to do the little terror assessment: is he a rapist? Will he kill us? Will he rape us? Are we safe?

And maybe you think I'm being an hysterical girl, but I cannot tell you the number of times I've had guys just like that one assault me, verbally and physically. Once at a bus stop, a guy rubbed himself -- his cock, I mean -- against me. When I yelled at him to stop he laughed. I was fifteen or sixteen, I think. Once in a bus station, a guy sat down next to me and asked me if I wanted to eat his cock. He said he would give me twenty dollars. Once when I was riding my bike and the tire went flat, a guy stopped and told me he'd give me a ride home if I would fuck him. When I said no, he drove really slowly along beside me for a long time -- it was a highway without much traffic -- telling me he was a good fuck and I wouldn't be sorry and I looked like I needed a good fuck anyway, why not?

So no. Maybe most guys aren't going to assault me, or my kid. Maybe I am safe in most places. Maybe I shouldn't be so angry because it's only some guys and not all of them.

But here's the thing -- when I yelled at that guy at the bus stop to stop it, and he laughed, no one else at the bus stop did a fucking thing. When the guy in the pickup was trolling me, offering to fuck me because I looked like I needed it, none of the other cars passing by stopped to see whether I needed help. And if I had gotten raped, there on that highway? Lots of people would have said I'd had it coming. What was I doing riding alone on that semi-deserted highway, after all? Being a girl and all? Possessor of a vagina? Didn't I KNOW that someone like me has no business going out into the world, acting like she has the right to ride a bicycle anywhere she wants, just like she's equal and shit?

That's what guys in that pickup are for, to teach little misses like me a lesson: we aren't equal. We don't have the right to go anywhere we want. We need to be taught better.

And I did get taught better, by the way. I had been a long distance cycler before that, riding miles and miles through the landscapes of Louisiana, but I quit after that. I never rode my bicycle long distances again. I stuck to well-lighted parks and tame landscapes. Like a girl. Like a girl should. I got tamed.

The men win. That's what makes me so angry, I guess. They scare us enough that many of us shut up. We don't ride our bikes across the world. We don't finish our Ph.Ds. We don't get angry, because good girls don't. We don't wear that sassy dress. We stay home after dark. We keep our heads down.

And we don't speak up.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ruminations on Rape

So I know many of us are getting rape-fatigue, ever since Akin started educating us about what was real rape and what was just women trying to get over on the menfolk with their Monday-morning second-thoughts or whatever, but I find I just can't let this go.

Especially since whenever the subject comes up on the net or the blogosphere or even in meatspace, what I find happening, 8 times out of 10, is fellas telling the women how rape works.

Men, mansplaining to women, what rape is.

Guys, setting women straight, about the rape experience.

And you know, I ought to be used to this shit by now. I do live in this world. I did sit through six years as an undergraduate, and nine years of graduate school, with many, many seminars. I know what happens when men and women are in a room together. Guys talk, and women get shut up.

Even when it's a subject about which the women might know more than the men: guys talk, and women shut up.

If, by chance, the women speak up? And that has happened to me. When I was a senior graduate student, I was one of a group of three women, all of us feminists, all of us tough, all of us much smarter and working much harder than any of the men in the program -- so we did speak up, all the time, in classes and in seminars. What happened? We got mocked and teased, sometimes gently, and sometimes not so gently, by other students and by the professors. "The three harpies," one of the professors called us.

Of the three of us? I was the only one to finish my Ph.D. That kind of shit will take its toll on you.

But my point! And I do have one.

Women are instructed, from their earliest childhood, that they should not speak unless they are certain they have something brilliant to say. And even when they speak up and say something brilliant, what they say is often discounted -- it goes unheard. And if what they say is about men, if it is derogatory in any aspect? They can count on being attacked for it.

In fact, what they say doesn't even have to be derogatory. A woman talking about men, unless she praises men lavishly, is automatically going to be seen as a harpy. Even when what she says is neutral, she is a harpy. If what she says criticizes a man -- any man, even a rapist -- then she is in the wrong.

So. A friend of mine, on FB, posts about her experience as a rape survivor.

She immediately gets not one but several men explaining to her that she is wrong, that men aren't all rapists. She gets accused of treating men like criminals. She gets explained to her that she is not allowed to make men feel bad by talking about rape as though it were something men did.

Wow, I feel like a victim after reading these comments. Maybe I am not that well of a reader, but after reading this, I know I am a man and I am a republican so that makes me a rapist. That is how I felt.

One gentleman suggests, in fact, that women are responsible for rape -- after all, they give out "mixed signals" -- and expecting men to interpret those mixed signals is unfair.

... a woman sending mixed signals (which does happen) must be treated like a very confused child, i.e. gently and dispassionately. This implies higher expectations of behavior for men and women.

Another claims that the solution for rape is that men should be put in charge.

Let me propose a solution, to be worked out among men: substantiated claims of rape are punished with a good beating. If men are inherently violent, then let a norm in favor of women's dignity prevail, and let men police men. Will it ever happen? I don't know. Would women thank men? Yes

But the real problem -- always -- is women talking about men.

Now I know not all guys are like these guys. (Thank God.) But.

But here's the thing.

It is so exhausting.

Hard as we try, women, to remember all the guys that are not like these guys, and there are a lot of guys that are not like these guys, and are not like that professor who sneered at my friends and me in graduate school -- who hated us because we were good students, hard-working students, smart students, all of that and women, and that was wrong, in his worldview, you just can't have that, the best students in his seminar could not be women, so he had to do something to grind us down and make us quit --

Not all guys are like that.

I try hard to remember that.

All the guys not like that professor and the idiots who post comments about fat bitches and ugly sluts and how obviously I'm not getting enough sex or I wouldn't be so angry.

I try hard to remember the great students I have who are guys and the fact that Dr. Skull is a guy and he's not like that, and the feminist male bloggers I know who aren't like that.

I try to forget the professor my colleague who made the comment about how tits like that didn't hurt when it came to getting hired, huh; I try to think instead of every instructor and colleague and student who has treated me like a human.

And you know it's all right until some twenty year old shit yells at me out of his pick-up, roaring down Grand Avenue, "Hey, bitch, want to get fucked?"

Because they can always do that: men can always, always remind us that we only have the illusion of being equal citizens. That any time they want to, they can take it away. That any time they want to, they can roar up in their pickups, drag us down, and fuck us.

You know, legitimately or otherwise.

And Todd Akin and all his horde of male jurors will get to decide whether it is rape or whether we were asking for it. Not us. Because we're just women. We don't have a voice here. Not in America. Not yet. And maybe never.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What, Really?

Saw the surgeon for my post-op check up and it turns out that what I thought was just an exploratory arthroscopy was the actual surgery.

IOW, he already cut out my bone spurs and inflamed bits. That's why I hurt so much over the past ten days. "Yeah," he said. "Anytime you cut on bone, there's gonna be pain."

Good news: no second surgery.

Bad news: longer recovery than I had expected, and I start PT on Tuesday.

Have I mentioned how much I hate PT?

Monday, August 20, 2012


What a long day.

It didn't help that I can't take Vicodin & teach, so I was in agony for most of it.

Good classes, though.

Now I'm home, and have swallowed my first pain pill, along with an anti-inflammatory, and am drinking an icy seltzer, waiting for drugs to kick in...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Here Comes The Future Like A Great Big Rock

I'm teaching four classes with four different preps this semester.

This is only the 3,500th time I've done this, so you would think I would be used to it and quit whining. In fact, one memorable semester when I was teaching in NC I taught seven classes in one semester with seven different preps, and my kid was less than two years old when I started the semester, too. What a lovely semester that was! One of the classes was New Testament Greek, which I had neither taken nor taught before -- I had to teach myself koine Greek while I taught it, IOW. Wow. Good times!

This semester, at least the kid is fourteen and can fend (mostly) for herself. I'm teaching

  • Major Authors: Octavia Butler
  • English Grammar
  • Literature of Diverse Culture: LGBTQ Literature
  • ENGL 1203: Comp I
Two of these I have taught before; two never. All of them are prep-intensive -- that is, they will require a great deal of reading, research, and other work before I teach each class.

OTOH, all of them (except maybe the comp class, but eh, that has its charms too) are classes I would have given my left arm to teach in Graduate School, so, yeah.

Speaking of my left arm -- wow, does it hurt. I'm seeing the surgeon on Tuesday, I guess to find out what they learned during the arthroscopy. Right now it hurts more than it did before the procedure. I am still getting a nice supply of Vicodin, but man, it doesn't do more than take the barest edge of the pain.

But! Since I can't sleep (the shoulder hurts too much to let me sleep) I've got all these extra hours to prep in. Win win!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

So Long As We Both Shall Never...

So this post over on Unfogged touched off an unexpectedly interesting conversation between Dr. Skull and me.

The gist of the post is that Alameida is surprised, though not threatened, to find that her husband would not take her back if she ever cheated on him -- they had never had this conversation before, and his answer is not the one she was expecting.

It occurred to me, as I was reading through the comments (the comments are always 98% of the point, over on Unfogged) that, in fact, Dr. Skull and I had never had this conversation.

We'd had a variation on this conversation: early in our marriage we had the Beyond-Which-Boundary? conversation, the one where you say, Okay, what exactly would you have to do for me to say that is unforgivable, our marriage is over?

Mine was if he hit my kid (we didn't even have a kid yet); his was if I left him. Since neither are likely to happen, we're okay I guess. But we never even thought to discuss fucking around on one another.

AS IT HAPPENED, I had this thought while I was lying bed next to Dr. Skull reading Unfogged on my iPad. So I kicked him in the knee and said, "Hey."

"Whut?" he said. He was reading Lord of the Rings for the 900th time.

"What if I slept with someone else?" I asked.

"Why? Are you going to?"

I snorted. As if. "But if I did. Would you take me back?"



"Yes, I'd take you back. Don't do it."

"I'm not, Jesus. But you'd really take me back?" I admit I was surprised, though I don't know why.

"Yes." He turned a page.

I thought this over.

"Don't do it," he added again.

"I'm not," I said. "Fuck's sake." I kicked his knee again and moved onto another blog.

I've just noticed he didn't ask me the same question. Hmm.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ow, Ow, Ow.

So I had an athroscopy on the 10th.

I've had this before, when I had the bone spurs in my right shoulder. Somehow recovery then was not as rough as recovery this time has been. I'm wondering if something was different this time -- it was the same doctor, at the same clinic. But maybe a new technique? New drugs?

I've got bruises all down my left arm, and serious pain in the joint and arm. Plus it was at least three days -- from Friday to Sunday, or maybe Monday -- before I was functional at all. I mean, functional even with pain drugs. (And I'm on the good drugs, too, the big O.)

I'm still only barely functional.

And this is not the real surgery. This is the exploratory, let's go in and look, see what's wrong surgery.

Going in on the 21st to talk about the real surgery.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Other Half of The Sky

(X-Posted to FanSci)

So -- some of y’all might remember back last summer, I think it was, when I was working on my toy-that-starts-a-revolution story?
Well! I not only have finished the story, I have sold it!

And sold it to a remarkable anthology, The Other Half of the Sky, edited by Athena Andreadis, and filled with amazing writers.

Furthermore: We have a publisher, we have a publication date, and we have hype.

Go here for more.

Here's the original post that describes the anthology -- but basically it's a collection of SF stories about female protagonists who do not feel guilty about not having families -- who are just fine in their roles as captains, scientists, pirates, engineers, whatever.

And my story? It's about a new character, Velocity Wrachant, captain of a small second or third-hand or fifth-hand spaceship, the Susan Calvin. Velocity has a crew of two ex-contract labor kids, Tai and Rida, one of whom she bought out of contract labor (Tai) and the other of whom (Rida) she and Tai helped escape. The Calvin is heavily indebted to five or six banks on various planets, and she also owes money on Tai. They’re always having to take sketchy jobs to stay ahead of their creditors, is the conceit. This is one of those stories.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

This Post Comes To Y9o From The Stratosphere

Good news, y'all.

I saw the surgeon today! And wow. Did he give me some good drugs or what.

No, wait. That's not how I meant to start this.

But yeah! Give it up for doctors who do give sufficient pain medication.

Also: I have to say this was the best clinic experience I've ever had.

Listen to this: I walked in there with a 9:00 a.m. appointment and, bitches, not only was I back with doctor by 9:00 a.m., I had already -- by then -- had an X-Ray done, talked to two nurses, and been whisked through receiving and insurance. I mean, yowza.

Every step of the way, also, each nurse and tech led me directly to the next step; and each one was very kind about doing so. And when I got to the examination room, the tech that led me there brought up the X-Rays I had done (about three minutes before) on the computer in that examine room. It was like medicine as art, I have to say.

Or, you know, like seeing medicine done the way it ought to be done in the 21st century.

Then the surgeon appeared, maybe three minutes after the nurse had left me, and talked to me about being an English professor, and then he showed me the X-Rays and told me what they might mean, and what they might not, and then he outlined what we could do, and then he asked what I wanted to do.

Then he scheduled an arthroscopy --what we decided to do -- for (get this) six days from now.

And told me he'd call in script for pain meds, no problem.

I left the clinic thinking I must have fallen into a alternate universe.

This can't be American medicine?