Black History Month Extravaganza #1: Wonderful Women and Girls

If you went by my history books in school, there was a mere handful of interesting black people in history. I can count the women we learned about on the fingers of one hand – and that’s even if I’ve had a mishap with a rock hammer and had to bandage a couple. Lessee… there was of course Harriet Tubman*, and definitely Rosa Parks, and Sojourner Truth got mentioned, and… yep, we’re done.

Teachers never even bothered to mention there was a girl who didn’t give up her seat before Rosa Parks. [Read more…]

“I Lost Control of My Body” – Escape Chapter 12: Accident

Prepare yourselves for a ridiculous amount of victim-blaming, financial abuse, sexual and reproductive coercion, and food insecurity. Ain’t being an FLDS wife great?

Eleven months into her travesty of a marriage, Carolyn Jessop becomes pregnant. She suffers horrible morning sickness. In the best traditions of religions everywhere, she’s promptly blamed for being ill:

Within the FLDS, any personal problem is seen as the direct result of sin. Serious emotional or physical problems were considered a curse from God. It was also dangerous for a woman to show any incapacitation related to pregnancy because it was viewed within her family as a sin of rebellion – unless, of course, you were Barbara, for whom the double standard applied with regard to her crying bouts during her pregnancy.

Not only do her sister-wives think God has a mad because Carolyn must have fucked up somehow, they also accuse her of being violently ill several times a day just to get attention. And women in this culture, reduced to virtual property and valued only for how many babies they can manage to squeeze out, are often the ones most keen to tear a fellow wife down. Women are pitted against each other in a precarious struggle for pitiful scraps of power. These systems could not survive if they didn’t get their victims to willingly participate in their own victimization, and help keep each other down. No one’s going to encourage women to band together and help one another find their power. The system is set up to reward backstabbers and crush revolutionaries. And, while one woman can acquire considerable power by playing by the rules, she’s at risk of being torn down by the jealous others if she gains too much of their husband’s favor. [Read more…]

My Terrifying Introduction to Feminism and Patriarchy: The Yellow Wallpaper

“The Yellow Wallpaper” was “not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy.”
                                        -Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It turns out I was reading feminist literature much earlier than I thought. Lemme ‘splain. My mom was a huge believer in reading (thanks, Mom!), so she kept my room well-stocked with books. I had a huge set of bookshelves that took up nearly an entire wall, crammed full of various tomes. Sometimes, you’d find a fat green volume with 1000 Page Book of Stories stamped on the cover. I say sometimes, because I read that thing until it was brutally battle scarred. I forgot it ever had a dust cover. It was one of my favorite books for probably the better part of a decade.

And right now, I can only remember one story in it.

I mean, I’d probably recognize the others, if I saw their titles. I read them dozens of times. I probably have appreciable parts of them memorized, just waiting for a hint to unlock. But this one never needs a hint. I never forget this story was in it, never forget its details or atmosphere.

Because it bloody terrified me. [Read more…]

Sunday Song: A Bit o’ Fun

This is a theme that will recur with some regularity, methinks! There are a great many songs and music videos out there that are just plain fun. Such as this one: watch closely! You don’t want to miss the awesome bit of physical humor near the end.

Your mission for this week, should you choose to accept it, is to share one of your favorite funny songs. Nothing mean-spirited or very problematic, though, please. Humor that punches up rather than down, or humor that doesn’t punch at all, is always welcome! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

Image shows a french horn on a couch with a ginger cat next to it. The cat has its butt up in the air towards the horn. Caption says, "I maekz better tootz."

The Cantina Pledge Drive continues! Thanks to those who’ve donated so far! I’m still trying to make rent, so if you have a bit to spare and wish to support my blogging, please click the donate button below. Thank you again, my darlings!

Please help keep the verdad flowing!

Special Bonus Saturday Song Pet Shop Extravaganza

Poor little Roosh V and his rapetastic fanboys. All they wanted was to have a worldwide meetup of like-minded dudebros, to discuss how awful women are and share tips on coercing reluctant feeemales into unwanted sex. But the poor dears had to cancel due to negative publicity, police and political condemnation, and awesome people planning protests.

They were supposed to be meeting today, and their code phrase was about pet shops, so I have decided to honor mock their disappointment by posting a Pet Shop Boys video that is basically the perfect Nice Guy™ lament. [Read more…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Life Among the Lilies

You know what I love about waterbirds? The little buggers are easy to photograph. Well, relatively. When you’re standing on the boardwalk at Juanita and they’re out amongst the riot of vegetation that thrives in the shallow end of Juanita Bay in the summertime, they can sometimes be a bit hard to spot. Like so: [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: Geology on Mars!

Wanna do some geology on other planets? Sure you do! I’ve dropped by Mars, where some recent discoveries show the planet has a rich geologic history. And we may have found evidence for microbial life! That last one’s really tentative, but imagine how awesome it’s going to be if that turns out to be the case. I love being alive in a time when we’re making first-ever discoveries, finding things no other humans have ever seen before.
In other news: the Cantina Pledge Drive continues! Thanks to those who’ve donated so far, I’m fed through the month, and my car payment and insurance are covered. I’m still trying to make rent, so if you have a bit to spare and wish to support my blogging, please click the donate button below. Thank you again, my darlings!

Please help keep the verdad flowing!

Good Reasons for Removing Abelist Language from Our Vocabulary

One of the hardest things about learning empathy is realizing we need to change. We may see nothing wrong with something we’re doing, and we know we’re good people, but all of a sudden, there’s someone (or many someones) in our face, asking us to stop using some words because they hurt. And that can be hard.

For one thing, we may not see what the problem is. Why shouldn’t we use certain common terms?

Then there’s a knee-jerk, “It’s my vocabulary, and there’s nothing wrong with it!”

There may be the temptation to downplay the whole thing. People are soooo oversensitive, amirite?

But if I’ve learned anything by hanging around the social justice crowd, it’s to shut up and listen when someone from a marginalized group tells me I’m doing something that’s hurting them. Even if I’m part of that marginalized group, I need to listen to perspectives other than my own. I’m not the center of the goddamned universe. My viewpoint is not the only valid one.

So I swallow the resentment and knee-jerk responses, and hear them out. And in many cases, I realize they have a very excellent point, and now I need to do the hard work of changing some things. [Read more…]

Help Keep the Verdad Flowing! Donations Urgently Needed

I’ve been as frugal as possible, my darlings, and managed to stretch every dollar until it hollered, but I’m now running quite low on them. I’m getting my Patreon set up, of course, but in the meantime, I’ll need some funds for rent and the car payment. So I’m going to run a bit of a fundraiser this week. If you can chip in a few dollars for me to stretch, that would be absolutely lovely.

If you can’t afford to help out, no worries – we’ve all been there! But you can still help out by sharing my posts, and pointing people towards my other income streams: [Read more…]

“The Shell of a Human Being” – Escape Chapter 11: Honeymoon

Merril Jessop, arguably one of the worst husbands and fathers in the FLDS, decides after two weeks of being wedded to two new wives that the whole family needs a honeymoon. He’ll take his six wives and thirty-four children to the San Diego Zoo. In order to carry out this cunning plan, he rents a bus and assigns an elder son as the driver. But he does precious little else to arrange things, because that’s the sort of asshole he is.

Hold tight, kids, cuz this is gonna be quite a memorable trip.

Content note for rape, neglect.

Of his six wives, one is too detached from reality to know what’s happening. One is too depressed and neglected to give a shit. One is too much of a sociopath to lift a finger. One is too busy trying to curry favor with her new husband to do practical shit. That leaves Carolyn and Cathleen to prepare enough food and pack enough clothing for five days away with a family the size of an over-crowded elementary school classroom. [Read more…]