Spotted on Tumblr, not linking because I don’t want to single out the person:
One of the many reasons I have found that pro choice supporters use as a reason for abortion is in the cases of rape or a baby that will have medical problems, for example Down’s Syndrome. But in fact rape only accounts for less than 1% of the reasons why people have abortions. As for medical difficulties I ask you this, who are we to judge who lives and who dies? How sad is it that we seem to think only those who are ‘perfect’ can positively contribute to society? Also the my body, my choice argument. Yes, your body it your body, but the unborn baby inside you isn’t. In my personal opinion if you are willing to consent to sex, then you are also consenting to the possibility of a baby. Even for those born with sever difficulties, they can still have a positive impact and effect on those who they come into contact with, even of that is just for them to appreciate what they have.
Let’s unpack this!
But in fact rape only accounts for less than 1% of the reasons why people have abortions.
If it accounted for 2%, anti-choicers would be totally okay with abortion. Just kidding!
As for medical difficulties I ask you this, who are we to judge who lives and who dies?
And you thought I was kidding when I said anti-choicers would prefer pregnant people to die. Yes, the specific context is talking about “foetal medical problems”, but come on, it’s just so perfect.
Also the my body, my choice argument. Yes, your body it your body, but the unborn baby inside you isn’t.
Yet it demands the use of my blood and oxygen. All I’m doing is cutting off its supply. It’s like tough love. Surely we can just expect the foetus to pull itself up by its own bootstraps?
In my personal opinion if you are willing to consent to sex, then you are also consenting to the possibility of a baby.
See, dear antichoicer, this is why prochoicers talk about abortion in cases of rape. Because even the densest, most wilfully-ignorant sex-negative fundy has to acknowledge (okay, some of them don’t) that not all procreative intercourse is consensual.
How sad is it that we seem to think only those who are ‘perfect’ can positively contribute to society? … Even for those born with sever difficulties, they can still have a positive impact and effect on those who they come into contact with, even of that is just for them to appreciate what they have.
Now, the issue of abortion in the case of disability is gigantically complex, and I’m not going to pithily sum it up here ’cause that would be gross. What I want to highlight, though, is the antichoicer’s attitude: even the most fucked-up person can still ~inspire~ the able-bodied to ~appreciate what they have~, so who cares about that person’s own experience or point of view, right?
The antichoice movement, people: it really, really, really is all about controlling pregnant people’s bodies and letting them die if it tightens that control. Otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have seen a coherent, internally-consistent argument in its favour by now.
Welcome to the 40th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival. I am your stunning hostess, Queen of Thorns, “QoT” to my friends and “single-handed destroyer of progressive NZ politics” to my trolls.
I’m entirely enamoured of the fact that 40 in Roman numerals is XL, so I’m putting our plus-size Antipodean bloggers up first:
New study shows correlation between fatness and selling one’s soul to Satan
Definatalie writes about re-learning her love of cycling. sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump talks about Why I Don’t Diet and Fixing the Relationship with Food. Bri at Fat Lot of Good sees that fat-shaming is now getting aimed at four-year-olds to the extent some are developing a fear of food.
sleepydumpling is on a crusade, people. A crusade for all super-fatties, deathfats, people who just cannot find clothes in their size for love nor money. Warning: utter fuckwittery in the comments. Remember, fatshion is activism. And no, fat acceptance will not in fact kill you.
There’s been discussion lately about the role of the fatosphere on people’s perceptions and lives. Dr Samantha Thomas has done a for-real ivory-tower-shaking academic paper on how the fatosphere proactively challenges fat stigma, and sleepydumpling covers the same topic in Breaking Down Fat Stigma: Shame. Sonya at Lipmag was one of the interviewees for Dr Thomas’ paper.
The body plays a huge (BOOM BOOM!) role in a lot of feminist discussion, and things always get good and heated around one fact in particular: pregnancy and how you are probably Doing It Rong right this minute.
You read a book while pregnant? You’re gonna DIE!!!
Feminethicist posts a quick note about double standards around scars – especially stretch marks. Aussie MP Andrew Laming fights the good fight for homebirths. Bluebec confronts the notion that any particular way of having babies is “unnatural”.
Pregnancy isn’t always wanted or continued, of course, and that’s why apparently I have to keep explaining that the “right to life” movement are a bunch of wanks with the intellectual honesty of a guppy.
And of course once Junior makes it out into the world it’s all downhill for progressive parents, who simply cannot win. Ever.
Buy this Mozart CD or your baby will sprout wings!
Blue milk continues to post on her presentation on feminist parenting. Part 4 covers “what is feminist parenting?” and Part 5 looks at the difficulties with being a feminist parent. She also talks about the idea that some parents are too sexy to breastfeed – and provides a challenge with a follow-up post on glamorous images of breastfeeding. Another post discusses pro-feminist fathers.
Breastfeeding also shows up as a really nifty shorthand for “crazy woman” in the Game of Thrones series, as discussed at Hoyden About Town.
Bee of a Certain Age talks about learning to love after having her children.
Our kids just aren’t getting a break: Lessons to be Learned covers the Toddlers and Tiaras phenomenon and blue milk looks at high fashion’s role in sexualising girls. Feminethicist has been having some fun challenging the heteronormativity when people play joke-matchmaker with babies.
Unsurprisingly, I did not take kindly to Family First’s insinuations that some families are just “obviously” worse than others.
For further reading, Mindy at Hoyden About Town has reviewed The 21st Century Motherhood Movement.
Where does a lot of this crap come from? Our wonderful media, of course.
This just in: reading mainstream media could be the reason you’re really angry all the time
Feminethicist is just thrilled by a camera app that makes your romantic partner look tolerable again. I have a slight issue with bra companies’ media releases being treated as scientific fact, with a sprinkling of obesity panic on top.
LudditeJourno, posting at The Hand Mirror, covers Michael bloody Lhaws’ preference for referring to poor brown people as “feral” and coleytangerina at The Lady Garden gets freaked out by news of a “cougar attack” … then a tad depressed.
Emma at Lip asks where the strong women are in literature. Kate Barker discusses anti-feminist imagery. Cara at Life is a feminist issue talks about our media ban on reporting suicide, and whether that’s really looking all that effective.
MJ at Kiwiana (inked) tells Stuff where they can shove their scare quotes when reporting on domestic violence.
Time for something a bit more positive:
Retrospective: awesome women being awesome
Penguin Unearthed talks about Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir as part of her Travelling Feminist posts – here’s another on Norway. The Hoydens share the news that Sensei Keiko Fukuda has become the only woman ever granted the 10th degree black belt in judo. Double Antandre talks about Nancy Wake.
Another big issue of the past month has been identity, especially given Google’s being douchebags about what’s considered a “real” name (all the more aggravating because it’s based on needing “real” demographics to sell to shitbox marketers).
I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine
Chally talks about the kinds of history that go into building identity. blue milk passes on information on the My Name is Me project created in response to Google+ being douches. Giovanni talks about Google+, identity and cyberpunk.
Where does a lot of identity come from? Our “race”, social construct that it is, and religion, and culture, and all other kinds of pretty touchy issues.
Nothing witty to put here
Mindmadeup asks if Australia is a racist nation. Chally confronts racism at the bus stop. stargazer discusses how the “default is male” concept extends to commentary about Muslims. stargazer also posted about the start of Ramadan.
Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia asks “When am I trans?” and when trans people are “real”.
Love and Marriage
In happier news, Rachel is getting hitched! Of course, planning a wedding doesn’t get any easier when you’re a feminist so she’s provided a handy Guide to Feminist Wedding Planning. News With Nipples covers some tragi-comic anti-marriage-equality protests. Hayley at Equal Love Equal Rights posts on marriage equality.
Mr Wainscotting is pleased to announce the launch of Legalise Love, a group looking to get some actual marriage equality happening in NZ. Idiot/Savant has been taking an interest in our MPs’ views on the subject: here he is on Hone Harawira and David Parker (and it’s not good news).
As Chally notes, though, we shouldn’t devalue single women.
Then there’s some perennial issues for feminist bloggers:
stargazer helped produce a session on poverty at the Human Rights Commission’s diversity forum and also blogged her speech from the forum on needing an action plan on human rights. Maia at The Hand Mirror dissects a “game” where privileged people get to pretend to be poor for a while and probably learn some Important Moral Lesson.
Deborah Russell discusses welfare in the Dominion Post.
Rape culture / violence
The Naked Philologist deals in two parts with the subject of teaching problematic material – Can you teach Chrétien without talking about rape? and You might be able to teach Chrétien without talking about rape, but I shan’t.
Deborah talks about the gender pay gap and another Deborah’s predictable privileged attitude towards it. Idiot/Savant covers the Greens’ and CTU’s calling of National’s bluff: if people can just ask labour inspectors to check there’s pay parity in their workplace, maybe we should just start doing that all the time.
And finally, a little collection of random items to fill out your reading.
We can’t stop here, this is bat country!
Blue milk on potentially-problematic vulva-themed art. Geek Feminism on social media protest action. Bluebec on trusting people to make their own decisions. Maia at The Hand Mirror on the cost of being a woman in public. Chally’s thoughts on being “born this way”. A guest post on Geek Feminism about encouraging women’s participation in geekiness. Blogger at the Cast Iron Balcony on how to help the Sylvia Creek anti-logging protesters. Bluebec on polyamory and doing it right. Feminaust posts on listening to sex workers.
That’s all she wrote
Thanks to our lovely submitters, especially Chally and Rebecca who made my job a heck of a lot easier!
The 41st edition of the DUFC will be hosted at A Touch of The Crazy. As we still seem to be having issues with blogcarnival, send your submissions directly to stef_thomp [at] hotmail [dot] com. We’re four years in and going strong but we need your help to keep it awesome!
The list of DUFC contributors is woefully out of date, but feel free to peruse it in the meantime while I get some well-earned coffee.
If you’re trying to bring your blood pressure to a healthy level, a US study suggests that how much you weigh is more important than how fit you are.
Of course it does. I guess too many fatties were starting to click to the fact that even being salad-eating jogging fanatics won’t magically turn you into Heidi Klum.
Let’s just rattle off the bingo squares, shall we?
Using BMI as a measure of “obesity” (or, well, anything)? Check.
Dancing around the correlation/causation line and pretending ice cream increases homicidality? Check.
Paying no attention to the “but how can you BE obese if you’re a fitness bunny? HAS COSMO LIED TO ME ALL THESE YEARS?” paradox behind the curtain? Check.
Ignoring the likelihood that a heck of a lot of fatties are being put on blood pressure meds they don’t in fact need? Check.
Happily avoiding the question of exactly how one makes oneself “lean” in any kind of predictable, healthy, sustainable way? Check.*
And, of course, the fundamental gripe I have with all fucking ZOMG HEALTH IMPERATIVE stories?
I’m pretty sure there’s no level of blood pressure that will make me live forever.
*For your more intersectional bingo, test conducted which assumes sustained walking is a universal measure of fitness? Check.
A tad behind the times on this, but there’s been so much idiocy going about these days one has had trouble keeping up – not to mention that The Christmas is fast approaching.
First things first: Long story short, Paul Henry added to his incredibly long list of infractions against basic tact/class/decency/empathy by referring to Susan Boyle as “retarded”.
Second thing second: The bloggers at The Hand Mirror have a post up with some ideas about how to actually do something more than ignore Paul Henry in the vain hope he’ll go away.
Third thing third: I could go on (and on and on and on) about Paul Henry, but that gets a little dull after a while, and why bother when there’s a much higher calibre of stupidity on the menu?
I speak of an instalment of Moata’s Blog Idle on *shudder* Stuff.
Specifically, a post entitled (because she’s so clever!) Let’s get retarded.
I’m sure we’re all breathless with antici…pation to see where she’s going to go with this one, right?
Well, she’s straight into it with an innovative twist on the old “I’m not racist but …”:
Let me just start by stating quite clearly that I am no great fan, or any sized fan, of Paul Henry.
It’s not just that you can see the apologism bearing down on you from miles away, it’s that there’s also something of an attempt to invoke QoT’s Law Of Strange Bedfellows: why, if adorable “thirtysomething”* quirky girl-blogger Moata is actually going to agree with crotchety wankstain Paul Henry, surely there must be something in it, right?
And after some meandering through the classic Stuff blogger’s “what I ate for breakfast today” opening paragraphs we’re into the meat of it, the delicious steak of oblivious privilege upon which all future paragraphs will be but an array of experience-enhancing sauces:
But let’s have a little discussion about the use of the word “retard”, shall we, since it seems to be very much a topic of conversation at the moment? In the past I’ve been taken to task for my use of this word, and I’ve accepted that it’s not to everyone’s liking but I am relatively unapologetic about it. I’m very much a fan of words and I’m not going to facetiously claim that a word is just a word and it can’t hurt you. Certainly words do have power, but sometimes only as much power as you are willing to give them.
Talking to readers like they’re schoolchildren and having to type out this post is a chore? Check.
Martyr complex because ZOMG someone has previously expressed displeasure at your use of offensive words? Check.
Brash declaration of refusal to give in to The Soldiers of Political Correctness, buttressed with sanctimonious I LOVE LANGUAGE bullshit? Check.
Statement about not downplaying something’s offensiveness immediately succeeded by downplaying its offensiveness? Check.
Smug implication that it’s actually your fault for feeling offended, you hypersensitive snowflake? Check.
With AMAZING BONUS “oh but I said sometimes I didn’t mean you” weasel-clause? Ladies, gentlemen, small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, we have a winner!
This is a princely piece of work, this. The word “retarded”, you see, is simply not to everyone’s liking. It’s a matter of personal taste, an aesthetic choice, much like those stimulating “whence” vs. “from whence” debates one might have over a cup of wanker tea. Nothing serious.
Nothing, for example, like a word with strong negative connotations used as a blanket term for both all mental illness and a lack of intellect, forethought, reason, or rational capabilities.
Nothing that could possibly give any kind of message, like “mentally ill people are all stupid”, certainly nothing that could be used to dehumanize an entire group of people, nothing that could be a part of common usage as a putdown because we view people with mental illness as being lesser beings, because we [being of course the neurotypical majority who get to decide these things] consider it a bad, awful, horrible thing to be thought of as a retard.
If you’re having a hard time drawing the comparison, consider “throwing like a girl”, which I’ll come back to in a moment – because first, Moata has to let us know just how unwilling she is to acknowledge reality.
My take on the use of the word “retarded” is that it falls into two distinct categories. You can use it derogatively or jocularly to refer to someone or something that is judged to be stupid or behave stupidly. For instance, “trying to flirt with a woman by telling her you’re going to kidnap her (I overheard a guy yell this at an attractive female as she walked past a couple of weeks ago) is retarded”. This is probably the way that the word is used by most people, most of the time (though not on television).
The second use of the term is to refer to someone who has some kind of deficiency of intellect that can accurately be described as a kind of mental retardation. As best as I can tell this is the origin of the word “retard” which has since acquired a broader usage by being applied to things (or people) who are not, in fact, mentally deficient.
Like an episode of The Simpsons, we’re working on multiple levels here. So, the first “distinct category” – retarded = stupid (oh but remember, it can be used jocularly!).
The second, retarded = mentally deficient.
First, the junior circuit stupid. Moata apparently wants us to believe that when people call someone retarded, we just mean “stupid”. Nothing more. It’s just a synonym, with no implications or assumptions. No one, hearing a person say “That guy is retarded” (jocularly!), could possibly understand it to mean “that person is mentally deficient the way a generic person with mental illness (but let’s face it, probably someone with visible illness/condition/disability, and let’s face it further, almost certainly down’s syndrome) is mentally deficient”.
No no no, they hear “that guy is retarded” and it magically has no associations with the second “distinct category” at all. Fuck me, I think Moata’s a psychic and hasn’t figured out the rest of us aren’t.
Senior stupid: if we look very closely in the thick undergrowth of the bloggy rainforest, we may be able to make out some fan-fucking-tastic normative language.
some kind of deficiency of intellect
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? The way Moata, and a lot of her readers, and certainly all the other people who hit on this particular defence of the word, make nice big bold statements about how there’s obviously a normal level of intellect, and some people just don’t have it, and so they’re deficient. Not like us normal people who have normal intellects.
And it’s obviously totes cool to refer to these deficient people as retards, because they’re backwards. You know, like referring to indigenous peoples as primitive or barbaric because they haven’t discovered the joys of urban disease and nuclear warfare. I mean, it’s a thoroughly objective thing to do, because we’re normal. Right? I mean, we must be, because everyone knows that not being normal would be a terrible thing.
But don’t let me get carried away. Moata continues to impress by finding new and astounding ways to make my jaw drop:
So the irony with regards to the current Paul Henry debacle (there’ll be another one next week) is that he’s got himself into trouble for using the word, not in the derogatory way that it is often used by people like me, but by actually applying it to someone who apparently is a little retarded.
Now, the fact that “Paul smooth-as-a-gravy-sandwich Henry” took a gleeful delight in reading about Susan Boyle’s misfortune in life is an entirely different issue. He could have used any word to describe her mental condition; what’s really upsetting is the silly, schoolboy laughter that accompanied it.
I mean, shit on a brick. The irony is that Paul Henry was actually calling a person retarded who IS retarded! Isn’t life funny that way? I mean, obviously he went too far with the laughing, the implication in his laughter that being retarded is a bad thing. Because we all know that it can just be an accurate term for someone who’s mentally deficient. Right?
And Susan Boyle obviously is retarded, I mean, Moata’s a physician psychic so she knows, it’s not like she, just like Paul Henry, is making assumptions about people based on their appearances or lives or attitudes or anything.
It’s certainly not like she, like Paul Henry, like many other people, feel quite comfortable saying “this woman looks a bit dim and is single and old and sings songs from Les Mis so she must have been brain damaged because no normal person could be dim/single/old/a Les Mis fan”. It’s not like the continuing casual use of the word retard in any way supports these assumptions. That would be wrong.
It’s par for the course that, naturally, Moata doesn’t really take these ideas any further. That would involve her having ideas. Instead, it’s back to the Stuff blogger’s grab-bag of tricks and making it all about her:
Personally, I’m going to continue to call myself or my nearest and dearest “retarded” when I or they do something stupid. I’m going to continue to prefer the original version of the Black Eyed Peas song otherwise sanitised-for-our-safety as “Let’s get it started”. I’m going to continue to think Paul Henry’s a dick, because he kind of is one. What I’m not going to do is taunt someone with an intellectual handicap with the word “retard” or laugh at their misfortune because the thing that I am most grateful for in life is my good mind.
LOOK OUT, WORLD! We’re dealing with a FREE SPIRIT here who will NOT BE DENIED her right to be a fucking insensitive douchebag of the highest order.
Christ, Moata. Just tattoo “I don’t know anybody with visible disability and I lack the capacity for basic empathy unless something personally affects me” on your forehead while you’re at it. They can take your original-edit Black Eyed Peas from your cold, dead hands, right? Because the word “retarded” is just so essential to the subtext of that song, it loses its meaning without it.
And oh good Lords and Ladies, that last sentence. Let’s see it again for the audience at home:
What I’m not going to do is taunt someone with an intellectual handicap with the word “retard” or laugh at their misfortune because the thing that I am most grateful for in life is my good mind.
So apparently, even though “retarded” is a totally appropriate word to use (jocularly!) to describe people who are “mentally deficient”, Moata … has reservations about using it to a person’s mentally-deficient face. I guess that’s back to not to everyone’s liking, or maybe it’s just taunting people with it. Context, tone, these things are all so important when you’re not just taking half a fucking neuron to not be an offensive wanker.
And remember, kiddies, Moata’s most important message: even though there are no bad connotations to a neurotypical person being called a “retard”, because it’s fucking jocular, we should still be mindful of the MISFORTUNES of people with intellectual disabilities. THOSE POOR FUCKING SOULS, DON’T WE JUST WEEP FOR THEM, THEY’RE LIKE PINOCCHIO ONLY RETARDS INSTEAD OF PUPPETS. Fucking misfortune, Moata? You’re going to play the “words only have the power you give them” AND the “it’s technically accurate” cards and then you are going to fucking pity people who have mental disabilities or illness.
Good thing you’ve got a “good mind”, Moata. That should make up for your complete lack of basic fucking soul.
*Personal gripe: OWN YOUR FUCKING AGE, WOMAN.
There’s an awful post up at Feministe about a woman with muscular dystrophy who had a horrific ordeal while travelling:
On July 20th, Julianna’s (delayed) Delta flight landed in Atlanta at 7:30pm, with a connecting flight scheduled for 8:05pm. Julianna, who has muscular dystrophy, missed the connecting flight because nobody came with a wheelchair until 8:05—the same time the connecting flight took off. To make matters worse, the plane crew told Julianna she might make the flight anyway if she stopped waiting for help and got off the plane right now, so she crawled down the stairs on her own.
The full story is up at The Consumerist, and while I certainly recommend reading it, it’s probably best to stay away from the comments section.
After all, it only took the second comment at Feministe for the bullshit to start. (It’s a little ironic, given the Feministe post is itself concerned with the comments at Consumerist).
And it’s not like all disabled people are saints- I’ve encountered a few that acted like they deserved more entitlements than the rest of the world just because they happen to have a mild defect that puts them in a wheelchair.
Well, first things first, the commenter is clearly a gigantic asshole.
But, um, there’s apparently a bit of a misconception here, and, well, I guess I owe it to what readers I have to explain something: disabled people are human beings.
I know, shocking, right? It’s totally counter to the received wisdom that disabled people = Saintly Enlightened Beings Who Suffer With Angelic Patience Through Their Difficult But Inspiring Lives* (remembering of course that what’s important is how they make able-bodied people feel, natch), but nevertheless, dear readers, the truth is out: just like the able-bodied, disabled people can be jerks! They can have bad days! They can hold firm opinions that might not agree with your own!
Of course, I’m not sure how this translates into “ergo we, the able-bodied, shouldn’t care that a woman was abused and neglected and forced to crawl off a fucking aeroplane”. Any thoughts?