Decluttering Your Home

I periodically browse websites about interior design, because I consider beautiful interior an art form, and I am interested in all kinds of art. One of the buzzwords I routinely notice in American websites that discuss interior is “decluttering”—the art of getting rid of superfluous and unnecessary stuff. Decluttering seems to be trendy among Americans right now; Googling for “how to declutter your home” gives you a lot of results for various online guides. There are websites devoted to teaching people how to throw away and organize their stuff. Numerous people have made careers by consulting clients who feel like they need help with decluttering. The basic premise is reasonable—if your home is full with stuff you don’t even use, it creates a mess and makes it harder to find the stuff you do need. However, whenever I spot yet another online article offering tips on how to declutter your living space, I cannot help but wonder how humanity even got to the point where such advice on decluttering is necessary at all. [Read more…]

Why Consumers Should Treat Clothing as Unisex More Often

Clothes are strictly gendered. In stores, some are marketed as only for men while others are marketed as exclusively for women. Clothes that are marketed as “unisex” are a rare sight in shops. Thus many consumers tend to imagine that men’s clothes always differ from women’s clothes. On top of that, there’s also a social stigma against wearing clothes that were designed for the other sex. This is why, when they go shopping, majority of consumers only browse the isles that are marked as intended for their gender, and they don’t even glance at the stuff that can be found at the other side of the store.

The reality is different. A lot of clothes are essentially unisex, because there simply is no real difference between men’s and women’s version, the only thing that varies being tags, placement in a store, and marketing. Sometimes male and female products also do not cost the same, which is how we get gender-based price discrimination aka the pink tax. That’s one more reason why shoppers would benefit from comparing things that can be found in men’s and women’s isle. [Read more…]

Overpriced Snake Oil

While grocery shopping, I always compare prices between similar products and read the labels. Especially the fine print. The smaller the letters, the more carefully I read some text. I expect sellers to lie and try to mislead me. Once you start to examine the ingredient list of every food you contemplate purchasing, you will notice a certain interesting trend, namely, people who make food want to rip you off. And I don’t like getting ripped off.

I assume most people must have noticed that there exist real products and various substitutes. For example, real ice cream is made from milk, various “frozen desserts” are made from vegetable oil. Alternatively, there exists real butter and various butter substitutes. Or you can get real chocolate or fake one that’s made from weird ingredients. Recently, I wrote about how these fake products are sometimes incorrectly labelled in an attempt to mislead the consumer. Today I will instead explain how such fake products can be more expensive that you might imagine. [Read more…]

Making Decisions

Why should a person who isn’t a sadist even want to make decisions about what will happen with other people?

Sometimes people find themselves in situations where they are forced to make decisions about somebody else. For example, a parent of a 3 years old child must make decisions about their kid, because a person who is only 3 years old cannot decide for themselves. Alternatively, when a doctor who works at the ambulance gets an unconscious patient who is on the verge of dying, the doctor is forced to make decisions about how to treat this patient without being able to ask what the patient wants.

Contrast these examples with an entirely different situation. An adult person makes a statement: “I want to do X with my body or my life.” Then another person steps in and says: “No, I won’t allow you to do X.” Why would a person who isn’t sadistic even want to have such a responsibility? Why would they even want the legal right to be able to decide for somebody else? [Read more…]

Healthcare versus Mutilation

When a doctor performs some procedure that the patient has consented to, then that is “healthcare.” When a doctor performs a medically unnecessary procedure without the patient’s consent, then that’s “mutilation.” This ought to be obvious, I should be able to stop the blog post at this point without any need for further elaboration. Unfortunately, some people still fail to understand the importance of bodily autonomy and informed consent when it comes to people’s bodies. [Read more…]

A Debilitating Fear

Does the average woman who doesn’t want children at the moment lives in constant and ever present fear that one day her luck might run out and she might get killed by a parasite that has infested her body? Probably no. As for me, I might not be a woman, but the patriarchal society has forced me to live with such a fear.

I have spent the last two years trying to obtain a hysterectomy. A transphobic surgeon kicks me out of their office, and I proceed to schedule another appointment with yet another doctor. Rinse and repeat. For the last two years I had been asking for “hysterectomy” to doctors in state owned hospitals. Here I wrote about how that didn’t work. In theory, European Union citizens have a right to gender reassignment surgery. In practice, it can be impossible for a patient to actually obtain it. And Latvian bureaucrats managed to successfully find a loophole how to get away with denying me the surgery I wanted. [Read more…]

Can We Talk About Sex? Part 3: Flipping the Perspective About Gender Roles

How humans perceive the world is subject to interpretation. The stories we tell ourselves about the events we experienced or witnessed are distorted, biased, conveyed with an arbitrarily chosen vocabulary. Whenever some interaction between two sentient beings happens, both of them will interpret it so as to suit their own preferences. If it is an interaction between two humans, both will use arbitrarily chosen words in order to create fictional and inaccurate portrayals of what just happened. We aren’t thinking or talking about reality as such, pure and unbiased, instead we are filtering what we just witnessed, we are distorting our perception of reality. For example, “a man penetrates and conquers, a woman gets penetrated and surrenders?” Or maybe, “A woman engulfs and conquers, a man gets engulfed and surrenders”? Theoretically it would be possible to say it either way, it’s the culture that favors and enforces one possible interpretation over the other. [Read more…]

Can We Talk About Sex? Part 2: Clueless Adults and Safe Sex

How do people find information? When it comes to safe sex, people are pretty much self-taught. Some had abstinence-only sex education at school. The few of us who got lucky to have evidence-based sex education probably only learned about how to avoid STIs and unwanted pregnancies. “Use condoms. If you are in a monogamous relationship and both people are STI free, you can use other contraception methods instead,” this was pretty much the extent of the sex education I got at school. And I was lucky. I know many people who, unlike me, weren’t taught even the very basics. At school nobody even mentioned lubricants and how to pick ones that are body safe. I wasn’t taught which sex toys are safe or dangerous to use. Nor did anybody tell me how to have anal sex without pain and injury. [Read more…]

Can We Talk About Sex? Part 1: Sex Education for Children

Can we talk about sex? No. Just no. It doesn’t matter what you want to discuss or why, the answer is always no. Polite people don’t talk about sex in public. You rarely hear a casual conversation between acquaintances discussing their favorite vibrators. And it’s not just sex as such, even a part of our bodies, our reproductive system, is shrouded in secrecy. It’s dirty, it’s private, it has to be kept hidden. Don’t even mention it. If you have a problem, ask your doctor. If you are religious, ask your pastor instead. Religious authorities mandate that people shouldn’t even think let alone talk about sex before they are married.

In my opinion, a refusal to have open, casual, and normal conversations about sex is harmful. Whenever I try to suggest that the society should stop treating this subject as taboo, somebody will say: “Think about the children. If they overhear our kinky conversations, they will get traumatized.” This is going to be a multiple part series of blog posts. The first part is about children, because their wellbeing is generally considered the number one reason why people shouldn’t publicly talk about sex. [Read more…]