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Believe Women – Guest Blogger

Written by guest blogger Perditax

Believe women. It seems like such a simple phrase, but to so many people resist the notion, muttering darkly about due process and suspending belief until all allegations can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But belief doesn’t require absolute proof. If it did, could anyone believe in God? No. They could not.

What belief requires in this context is that the listener take a woman’s statements seriously. That’s all. No more. No less. Here’s an example of that sort of belief:
Think of a small child, about 4 years old. This child tells you with absolute certainty that there’s a monster in her closet. You have two choices. The first option is that you can believe her. You can believe that she believes in the monster. You don’t have to believe in the monster yourself; you just need to believe that this monster is a problem the child is having that needs to be addressed. So you investigate. You stay up with her one night and listen for the monster.
Are there any mysterious noises in the closet that sound monster-like? Is there a mouse in the walls making scary scratching sounds? Do you need to have a talk with the cat? Are there any shadows that look particularly scary when the lights are out? Or is there no “proof” of a monster at all? If there’s no proof of a monster, then the child is still definitely afraid of something, and this fear is expressing itself as fear of monsters. So, you talk with the child, ask what she’s afraid of other than the monster. Try to figure out how to soothe her fears. Try to figure out what the monster really is. Fear of a new school? Fear of the new baby brother or sister that’s on the way taking her place or taking her mom away from her? You find out what this monster is. Together, you and the child find this monster, real or imaginary, and deal with it.
The second option is to not believe the child. You tell her that there ARE no monsters. You disregard her fears and her anxieties. You scream, after the fifth night in a row that she cries about monsters, “I told you monsters don’t exist! Now shut up and go to sleep!” And you slam the door shut, ignoring her small quiet sobs behind the closed door. Far too many parents choose this option.
Which child do you think feels more secure now? Which child do you think has just been taught to fear and distrust adults? Which child was treated like a human being with thoughts and anxieties that deserve respect? Which was treated well? Which was treated poorly?
The reason women are so very angry right now is that society has been that second parent to us for centuries. Despite the fact that ¼ of us will be raped in our lifetimes, despite the fact that even more than that will be harassed or stalked or assaulted or terrorized, society keep screaming at us, “There is no monster/rapist in the closet! Now shut up and fuck off!” Because rape and harassment don’t always have witnesses. And for so many people, if it can’t be seen, it doesn’t exist.
But what would it be like if society behaved more like the first parent? What if our government and our culture acknowledged that there’s a scary monster, and we can’t always prove it, but it’s a problem we women (and men too!) are having that needs to be addressed? What if they commit to brainstorming and working to find some solutions, from changing the culture, to better law enforcement, to educating citizens?
Frankly, I believe Doctor Ford, and I believe Brett Kavanaugh. Just as you don’t have to believe IN the monsters to believe the child, I don’t have to disbelieve one party in order to believe the other. Believing both is absolutely possible, and believing women’s stories of assault does not mean automatically convicting the men they accuse. I believe he did assault her, just as she recalls, but he doesn’t remember the incident at all, both because that sort of thing was common and socially accepted back then (though still both morally wrong and illegal), and because he did drink heavily according to many of his friends.
But what if he believed her? What if Brett Kavanaugh said this:
“I don’t remember that at all, but I believe you. I believe it’s possible, no…probable, since you are so certain it was me, that I did something to harm you. After all, I did drink a lot back then, and I don’t recall every moment perfectly, so it is possible that I assaulted you. And I am so very sorry. I really didn’t mean to hurt anyone. And I know that an apology doesn’t help much, but I do apologize, and I will be sure it can never happen again. I will limit my drinking, and when I do drink, I will always have a sober friend around. I will change, because an apology isn’t enough. True remorse demands change.”
I’d respect the hell out of him if he said that. If he said something like that, I could honestly say, “I don’t like his politics, but I think he’s a good person.” But he didn’t say that, because he’s not a good person. And he’s not a good person because he doesn’t empathize with others, and he does not give people the respect they deserve as fellow human beings.
Because that’s what “believe women” boils down to. Believing other people’s stories of trauma means believing that the thing they feel so strongly about deserves to be addressed in some way. It’s having some ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to see events through their eyes. It’s about respecting our fellow human beings and really listening to what they have to say. And it’s a courtesy we’ve denied women and their stories of assault and trauma for far too long.
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Believe Women – Internalized Misogyny

“It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.” Sally Kempton

There are so many things I wanted to blog about in regards to the whole Kavanaugh national disgrace, but the thing that keeps coming up for me over and over again is internalized misogyny.  We all have it, but there are so many women out there commenting about Dr. Ford being a “liar trying to ruin a man’s reputation” that I’ve been pissed off and frustrated.

While the Kavanaugh hearing and debacle has dredged up so many things I thought dealt with or buried in dealing with my own abuse and trauma, I keep remembering this girl in the 4th or 5th grade.  I can’t remember her name, and I wish I could because I’d try to reach out to her and apologize.

This girl was 10-12 years old, as was I, and she said that the orchestra teacher had molested her.  Ten years later this man was finally caught and arrested.  I’m assuming no one believed the girls that came after her, either.

More importantly to this narrative, *I* didn’t believe her.

I remember quite clearly lining up to go inside after recess and me and my bitchy friends were talking about it and she overheard us.  She motioned me over and asked if I wanted to know what happened, and I said yes.  She told me about this man – who my family nicknamed Chester the Molester a few years after this incident because it became a known secret that he did this – and how he shoved his hand down her shirt.

And being a bastion of hope, kindness, and open mindedness, I went back to my friends and said loudly, “She told me but I don’t believe her.”

I said it loud enough for her to hear and I said it with venom.  There is no making this more palatable – I was a fucking bitch to this girl.

Now here I want to forgive my pre-teen self for being an unmitigated bitch.  I want to talk about how my grandmother would say – any time she heard of anyone being raped that they should have just kept their legs together.  I want to say that I had internalized the culture of disbelief and was just doing as I was taught.

But honestly, that’s all bullshit.  This girl – who wasn’t popular and was often alone – told me what happened and I smacked her down for it.  I think about this often as I see clips of Dr. Ford’s testimony.  The shaking, the voice, and the suppressed panic – this girl exhibited all of this and my bitchy childhood self took it as an indication of someone lying.

So, to this girl – god how I wish I remembered your name – I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have said that to you or about you.  I’m sorry I didn’t believe you and I’m sorry it took so long for the man who did this to you to get his comeuppance.

I’m sorry I was an asshole to you over something indescribably traumatic.  I was shitty to you and I should have led with kindness not viciousness.

Seeing all of the women out there that as grown adults acted the same way I did as kid is pretty distressing.  Hearing all of the men out there call Dr. Ford a liar – and after the hearing, I honestly believe people who believe him over her are delusional, a Devil’s Three-way is a drinking game?  What the fuck ever, Brett – why on earth would women come forward in this culture?

My hope is that many of the women commenting this heinous stuff are never put in the same situation with a victim I was in or if they are, I hope they reply more compassionately than I did.  However, with the way Republican women came out and voted for Roy Moore, I’m not optimistic.

The #believewomen hashtag is moving across the internet and I’ve had even allies come up with problems to this.  “Oh, just believe women automatically without any proof or anything?!  That’s insane!”  Yes, I think you should believe women when they tell their stories, especially since most of these stories are being posted online and they aren’t in a court of law.

If the accused is “innocent until proven guilty” the accuser should also be considered “innocent until proven guilty” but no one thinks this way.  Believing women doesn’t mean you get a posse together and go after anyone vigilante-style.  It means be supportive to the women in your life and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t just discount what they are saying as some sort of knee-jerk ingrained reaction.

 

 

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Hidden Cats

Woke this morning with our black cat, Shadow, stretched out on my legs and feet.  I was curled up against a body pillow on one side and Will was curled up behind me on the other side.

When I wake up, I tend to just stay in bed for a few minutes while the cobwebs of dreams clears and I get my bearings.  When I finally decide that the needs of the bladder outweigh the comfiness of the bed, I pull the blankets aside and discover Cecil the Orange was sleeping right next to me, completely buried in covers.  Had no idea little cat dude was even there.

Yes, I know this isn’t a lengthy blog post, but hey, I work from home and the people I talk to the most are basically cats.

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Supernatural Season 4

So in my memory, I have listed season 3 as my least favorite, but honestly season 4 is much harder to watch.  Spoilers to follow, so don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Season four has many great things about it.  Dean comes back from hell and we are introduced to Castiel, probably one of my favorite moments of the entire show is the introduction of Castiel.  “I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition,” has to be one of the best introductory lines ever written or delivered.  Castiel is the source of much humor, but in season 4 he’s an angelic badass much more than the brother’s friend.  Season 4 gets a whole letter grade raised for it simply because everything they did with Castiel was just wonderful.

Like many other seasons, this season has it’s fair share of episodes to skip.  For example, “Jump the Shark” is one of my least favorites.  First of all, by the end of the episode we realize Adam’s been dead all along.  So there is another Winchester brother and all this angst and pathos, but they aren’t even dealing with the brother, but rather the thing that killed him.  Ugh, it’s so pointless and I don’t care.  I know we have to have another Michael sword and all that, but it was a stupid concept and all it really does is highlight the utter dickishness of John Winchester.  I’ve been re-watching even the bad episodes, but I simply couldn’t force myself to rewatch this one.  There is so much wasted potential that it is too difficult to even watch.

I also hate the episode “Metamorphosis” but that is more because a lot of it is gross – a rabid man eating raw meat is always visually upsetting.  “Family Remains” is another episode I usually skip, but I rewatched it again.  I think the reason I don’t normally watch this episode is because Sam and Dean are just completely inept in it.  I also don’t buy a little girl with 0 superpowers kicking the asses of men who are trained fighters and about a foot-foot and a half taller than her.  It’s stupid and it makes the Winchesters seem incompetent in pretty much every way.

These episodes loosely relate to plot as Dean tries to rid himself of his hell-guilt and Sam struggles with whether or not he should be drinking demon blood and using his evil powers.  Hint: he shouldn’t be.  You know the first clue?  Drinking blood.  That’s never a good thing.

I tried really hard this season to be sympathetic to Sam and give him excuses for his utter douchebaggery this season.  His anger at Dean going to hell, the rush from being powerful, being young and stupid, but even with all of that, the only excuse I have left for his utter assholery this season is that he was possessed by demon blood.  Which is a lame cop-out excuse.

The show works best for me when the brothers are working together.  I know writers love conflict, but with all of the external enemies to deal with, you’d think they’d at least let the brothers work together against the external conflict, but no.  This season is tedious as hell with the Sam and Dean fighting angst.  It’s exhausting.  It’s also pretty much every episode in the latter half of the season.  Even the monster of the week episodes have their fair share of Winchester angst and argument wedged in between every thing else.

Highlights of the season are “Yellow Fever,” “Monster Movie,” “It’s a Terrible Life,” “The Monster at the End of This Book,” and oh my Chuck, how I love “The Monster at the End of This Book.”  Chuck is one of the best characters for many reasons and while I know you can’t have god on every episode, I wish they had more of him. “I Know What You Did Last Summer” was also a good addition to overall storyline, and holy hot sex scene, too.

This season, Dean is very much broken.  Sam is mainly a dick about it towards the second half of the season, but during the beginning of the season, he’s pretty sympathetic.  Sam’s belief in God could have been used by the angels to prevent the rise of Lucifer, but instead, they are rabid dicks to Sam, which makes him a lot less likely to bow to their edicts.  Knowing the angels were in on releasing Lucifer from the cage helps make this make sense, but mostly it just seems like a wasted opportunity.  Sam was still looking for guidance and willing to follow whatever god laid out, but instead the angels were pretty much dicks to him and not very helpful, which helped push him down the road to hell.  After all, why listen to the other side if they are just assholes who call you a monkey?

This season is mainly about breaking the seals and releasing Lucifer and most of the stories flow into that very well.  This season is a difficult season to watch, as there aren’t many episodes that are light and funny, and normally Supernatural does a good job of mixing the dark, broody, and scary with humor and wit.  The color saturation from season 3 is gone, too, so it goes back to being visually a very dark show as well.

Season 4 is difficult to watch because it’s depressing.  The boys lose a lot, they are played by both sides, and Lucifer is ultimately released.  They are fucked from the get-go and the game is rigged and they still get blamed for Lucifer rising.  It’s a long, slow slide to the apocalypse and it’s difficult to watch.  It’s well written (for the most part) and the acting and storytelling is solid, but it’s super hard to watch and it’s incredibly depressing to me.

All of that said, the last two final episodes are pretty epic, and the hatred you feel towards the evil demon Ruby becomes so intense that when they finally kill her, it’s incredibly joyous.  Dean twisting HER OWN KNIFE to kill her is so fabulous and happy and awesome.  Now if only they’d kill off Lucifer already (Lucifer is so fucking boring I can’t even) so we could feel the joy from that.

I will say that while I hated Ruby by the end of the season, especially in the last two episodes for how much she divides the brothers, she was a terrific bad guy.  She manages to keep you guessing through most of her interactions with Sam and it really isn’t until the very end that you realize she’s been on the side of Lucifer all along.   Like all good bad guys, you want her dead, but she was really terrific at being evil.

Because I have depression, I am giving this two grades – B+ for storytelling acting and everything along those lines, but C- for depressing the fuck out of me.  You need to break up the depressing episodes with some that aren’t so heinous and this season has a string of 6 episodes in a row that are super depressing.

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Mercury Retrograde

This Mercury Retrograde hates me and I think may want me dead.

Today’s bit of fun is that the telephone isn’t working, which is only necessary if I want to work at all this week.  The telephone people can’t even check out the problem until Friday.

Frustrated, I call my spouse in tears.  After listening to me freak out for a while he said, “What does a Jedi do when he can’t fight?”  This goes back to the one scene I remember from the first Star Wars Prequel.

“He paces angrily back and forth and occasionally pounds his fist on the force field,” I said.

“No, that’s what a Sith does.  A Jedi rests.”

Which is really good advice that I’m not going to take right away.  I also have a freelance writing job, some laundry that needs to be done, a house that needs to be cleaned, and some editing, so I won’t be bored, I’ll just not make any money.

 

 

 

 

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One Day at a Time Review

The Netflix update of the 1970’s television show, One Day at a Time was an enjoyable show, but more of a dramedy than your typical sitcom.  Close to every episode had me tearing up at some point.

There are spoilers up ahead, but they are mostly mild spoilers.  I’ll give warning if there are any big spoilers, but it is not really a show where spoilers apply.  This is a family dramedy and centers around that family unit.

Rita Moreno is probably the character that is funniest, simply because of her delivery.  At one point Schnieder says he needs help with salsa and she replies, “The dance or the condiment?  I’m equipped for both!”  Her attempts to connect with her granddaughter – a granddaughter who is politically active and very liberal – make for some of the best moments of the series.

The overall theme of the show stays true to the 1970’s version, at least hwat I remember from my childhood.  Single mother raising two children after a divorce.  The updates here:  the soon to be divorced main character is Cuban, a veteran nurse, and her mother lives with them.

Through this newly updated lens many things are tackled by the show in a way I found really interesting.  With so many other sitcoms or even dramas, things like depression, PTSD, or war injuries comprise a “very special episode” or maybe even a small story arc.  With this show, those things are treated like everyday realities.  Do you take the antidepressant in the hopes that you can sleep and some nightmares might go away?  Or do you embrace the stigma that is attached to these types of medications?  Something she tackles in episode one.

Overall, I give the series around a B-.  The series could have easily been an A but there was one particularly awful episode where the main character, Penelope is dating again for the first time.  This episode was so bad I was actually embarrassed for the actress having to portray Penelope – her character was manic enough that I began to wonder if the mania were the point of the episode, and no, not really.  It took about three episodes after this one before I fully liked Penelope or the show again.  It was that bad.  Episode 4 “A Snowman’s Tale” did have some good bits in it – she teaches her son to shave because she’s going out on a date and her ex is overseas and cannot teach him.  There are some other good bits, but overall, this very bad episode brought the entire series down.

This is not the show to watch if you are looking for hearty belly laughs.  This is a fun show and has bits that make you smile, but it also has more than its fair share of tearjerker moments.  One particularly hard episode was dealing with the deportation of a high school friend – a high school friend who moved but stayed in touch via Skype after her parents were deported.

Overall I’d recommend the show because it has great characters, it’s funny and sweet, but mostly it seems to handle tough topics with just the right amount of gravitas and heart.  Also, this is a family that likes to play and likes to laugh and dance.  It’s fun watching them interact and be happy with each other.

One of the themes throughout the first season is the planning for the oldest’s “quinces” – a coming of age practice I plan on researching and learning more about.  Since the Quinces is for a politically active and liberally minded girl, the tables are named after prominent women in history.  Penelope falls asleep trying to arrange the seating, but she falls asleep.

“The Rosa Parks table should not be in the back!” Penelope wakes up shouting after she falls asleep trying to figure out the tables and seating.  All of the tables are named after prominent women, including Frida Kahlo.  She’s absolutely right about the Rosa Parks table placement – putting it in the back would be very bad.

 

 

 

 

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