Monthly Archives: August 2012

In Defense of a Name

And to piggyback on the previous post – This is one of those news stories that is real, and therefore more ridiculous than parody!

A deaf three-year old in Nebraska is being told to change the way in which he signs his name because apparently, the hand signal looks too much like a gun and therefore violates their weapons policy.

Sign isn’t something you can just change for school policy. This is the way in which a child communicates with his WORLD. I’m not super familiar with sign language,  but I cannot imagine that it is easy to explain to a three-year old that the way he says his name scares his teachers.

I feel like this really sets up a problem for him early on in his schooling, already prioritizing the community over his needs as an individual with accommodations. To me, telling someone that the way in which they communicate violates a “policy” is ludicrous. It is also harmful – and it sets up the expectation to his peers (though they are not aware of it now) that his language is little more than a challenge to policy, and is not the avenue to communication.

I would hope that the school system will recognize how incredibly inappropriate this is, and in the future will prioritize his needs, and not create a situation in which he feels like an outcast in the future. Having been the outcast in school, both from my administrators and my peers, I hope his future is brighter and less frustrating.

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Parody News – What it Shouldn’t Be

These days, many of us wake up to the fresh sensation of new horror.

We hear of republican candidates threatening our rights to our bodies, making assumptions about the very nature of how a woman’s body can “stop” pregnancy for a legitimate rape.

We live in a frightening climate.
Freedom of speech is something I hold very dear,  but I think sometimes we use the right to freedom of speech without thinking about it. I’m not saying places like The Onion shouldn’t exist. But I am saying that in a climate where frequently I want to cry over my morning tea while reading the news, perhaps making up new “hilarious” horrors isn’t the best plan.

When people assume a post is real – they spread the information – they then cause others to either 1) feel the same amount of rage or horror at the statements presented to them or 2) are shamed by their peers when they didn’t get the joke.  The spread of the information is what is particularly problematic, because the truth is already scary enough and we hardly need more incentive to fear those in power.
I’m not advocating for shutdowns, or for less humor in the world – I’m just thinking that in a climate where the unbelievable is real, the humorists need to recognize the fragility of the morning coffee break, and give everyone a chance to breathe. Label things as parody, or write about things that won’t raise the blood pressure of every person sitting down to find out what ridiculous notion is being shared with the world this time.

 

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Legitimacy (Trigger Warning)

Not often do I find myself seething after only one cup of tea in the morning, but today seems to be that kind of day. Legitimate rape, Mr. Akin?

I have a few questions about this. The first one, is how we define legitimate rape from the opposite, which can only be illegitimate rape. What makes them different? Oh wait. I might have an answer to that.
Are you saying that legitimate rape is when it’s very clear that the woman wasn’t asking for it because that’s what I’m seeing from this. Because clearly, the defenses Mr. Akin claims “shut down” pregnancies resulting from legitimate rape are in place so that if the woman really doesn’t want it, her magical ovaries can stop from getting pregnant.
Let’s take a look at that another way – our actual bodies are responsible for shutting down unwanted pregnancies. It’s a little like the argument that if a woman wears a short skirt, and is raped, she was asking for it.
Further indications of Akins understanding of rape are explained in the article, as we learn that Akin has stated that women claim to have been raped to “beat up on the husband” in divorce proceedings.
Somehow, it isn’t surprising to me that 33 out of 50 states consider marital rape a lesser crime than stranger rape. Yet statistics tell us that 1 out of 6  women are raped, and that it is far more likely to be raped by someone you know. (RAINN stats)
Furthermore: “In 2004-2005, 64,080 women were raped.8 According to medical reports, the incidence of pregnancy for one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5%. By applying the pregnancy rate to 64,080 women, RAINN estimates that there were 3,204 pregnancies as a result of rape during that period.”

So. Rape? Pretty much always going to be rape. I’d prefer to not call it legitimate, given that the language infers that it is OK to perpetrate rape against another person.

I hope that clears things up for the future, Mr. Akin.

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Filed under Feminism, War On Women

The Intouchables

Right now we are in Staycation 2012 – the five days before my husband starts his new job. Yesterday we went to the Paris Theater in New York City (one of my very favorite movie theaters on the planet.)

The movie is about the relationship between a parapalegic man and his caretaker. And it is BRILLIANT. It is one of the first times I have seen an able bodied actor portray a wheelchair using character without pissing me off. Frequently in film, able bodied people play disabled characters, and it is infuriating. Watching Eliza Dushku and Jodie Foster use a white cane was like nails on a chalkboard. But I will talk about that at another time.
What made this movie so wonderful, was that it really broke all my stereotypes about films about the disabled. I was expecting to see a movie about how wonderful the caretaker was – and sure, it was about that. But it was also about how this caretaker gave the man who needed him the ability to feel no shame.
No pity.
I knew I’d be happy with the movie within the first fifteen minutes of the film because at the very beginning about fifteen men are interviewed by Philippe’s secretary and Philippe. And the experience is true to life. Every. Single. Interviewee. looks at the secretary and only speaks to her, but Driss? Driss speaks to Philippe directly – and through the entire interview montage I was laughing my ass off.

The movie is an honest and hopeful portrayal of life with a disability and for that I’m incredibly grateful. For once I didn’t leave the movie theater seething.

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