Sometimes I think people are really just, by and large, jerks. Here are a few stories that support this view.
- Loads of Christians come forward defending the dentist who fired his assistant because he found her too attractive. He had every right to defend his marriage, dontcha know! Never mind that a friendly, professional woman who did nothing wrong ends up unemployed because she had the utterly arbitrary misfortune of being a female who made his dick hard.
- This story is everywhere because it’s so outrageous: a Christian college fired a woman for getting pregnant out of wedlock. After all, she signed a contract promising to abstain from “sexual immorality, including premarital sex”. Who got offered the job she vacated? The man who made her pregnant.
- Some jerk who works in ex-gay therapy says that gay-straight alliances, designed to help gay kids feel supported and to create a climate where bullying and homophobia are less acceptable, should be treated like the Klan, or perhaps like neo-Nazis. His reasoning is pretty impossible to follow.
- Oh, yeah, and for the record? It doesn’t matter if your parents are straight or gay. Homosexual couples should be free to adopt all the sweet little babies they can handle.
- Too many people keep freaking out about mentally ill persons going on crime sprees (like Aurora or Newtown) . . . when, in fact, the mentally ill are a lot more likely to be murdered than to be murderers. Judgmental stereotypes suck, you guys.
- A blogger on Mama Mia is justifiably angry to be living in a society where her seven-year-old is writing up a diet-and-exercise plan for weight loss.
- This makes me really, really mad: stories of women who, working while pregnant, were denied simple accommodations that would allow them to have healthier outcomes – things like drinking water on the job, or access to more frequent bathroom breaks, or slight modifications to their duties as their bodies (and therefore abilities) changed. I get angry any time employers refuse to accommodate somebody with an illness, injury, or condition – temporary or permanent – because they can easily bring in a new person who won’t require accommodation. People shouldn’t be disposable that way.
- A little trans girl in Colorado is being denied the right to use the ladies’ room at her school because she has a penis. It hurts her, it hurts her family, and it hurts her peers by legitimizing some really unfair social stereotypes.
- Speaking of unfair stereotypes, the NYC cops think it’s suspicious when certain people carry condoms, and you can get arrested for it (particularly if you’re queer or non-white). Because why would you be carrying condoms if not for prostitution, right?
- Frank Baum, the original creator of all things Oz-tastic, was an ardent feminist and employed strong, plucky women in his books. Now, with Oz the Great and Powerful coming to theatres, it’s lamentable to find a man crowned as the hero, while all the women surrounding him are breathy female sidekicks waiting for rescue.
- Ann Friedman at The New Yorker writes about how dating apps for straight folks will continue to suck as long as they ignore the preferences of female users and cater to the styles and wishes of men.
- Men in magazines stand around looking normal. Women in magazines are posed in ways that make them look nuts. Artist Yolanda Dominguez uses her new series to highlight how really weird fashion photography makes ladies look.
- This honest and harsh farewell to the Catholic Church talks about the reasons why the Church is losing its membership: because instead of adapting to its members’ moral evolution, it continues to insist on absolutist control.
- At Occidental College, administrators started a system of e-mail crime alerts to help students protect themselves . . . only they weren’t reporting sexual assaults, believing those reports to be less reliable. Every other crime report can be trusted at face value, but you know how women are with those false rape reports.
- Ever look really closely at those stick-figure pictograms that instruct you on the proper ways to cross the street, use the escalator, or do whatever else it is you need help doing? Apparently they deal in subtle sexism around the world. For one thing, almost every stick-figure providing child care is wearing a skirt. Related: men walk, but women pose.
- Iowa Republicans want to outlaw no-fault divorce because “won’t somebody please think of the children?” – specifically teen girls whose broken families might make them more promiscuous. It’s lovely that a) having sex outside of marriage is seen automatically as a Very Bad Thing and not ultimately up to the young women in question, and b) a girl’s behaviour is presumed to be affected negatively by divorce, but not by the continuing proximity of two parents who hate each other or live in a seriously dysfunctional marriage.
- The UN drafted a document on violence against women and children, stating that “religion, custom or tradition must not be used as an excuse to avoid a government’s obligation to eliminate violence”. Now several theocratic states, including the Vatican, are actually opposing the statement. They’re even complaining about references to rape within marriage, because they think a husband should be free to disregard his wife’s consent.
If it’s just a small amount of people being jerks in their own private lives and towards people in their sphere of influence, that’s bad enough. But too many of these jerks are politicians who want to enshrine their jerkishness into law and social policy. And that can’t be allowed to stand.
But, because I’m eternally stuck in optimism mode, even when I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore, have a few friendlier stories that made me feel hopeful:
- A trans woman reflects on her transition from a former cis-male presentation, with plenty of interesting insights on people’s assumptions about her when she appeared to be male versus female, or straight-male versus gay-male. It’s still full of jerkish behaviour, but the awareness Haley brings through her writing is very valuable and gives me hope.
- A fascinating skeptical look on the limitations of studies when it comes to describing or predicting human behaviour, because the studies typically use Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic subjects – WEIRD people.
- John Shore explains why people don’t need to see the Bible as anti-gay, or to reject and demonize homosexuality in order to prove they’re good Christians.
- Check out the art of Colleen Clark, particularly this cathartic post on body image issues. “You have a body. It’s not the only thing you have.”
- A sweet and charming post from a woman whose son is a fairy . . . at least in his dress-up photos. She says what so few of us have the selflessness to say – that it’s not courageous for her to let her son be himself, it’s just love and decency.