sex, sexism, silliness, stupid people

Woman freaks out when confronted by a trans woman in a locker room…

The featured photo is of the Friedrichsbad, perhaps Germany’s most famous nude spa… where everyone is naked. They do have days when the genders divide by sides, as well as co-ed days, when people can go through the spa on either side. Bill and I went on a co-ed day, and had a blast. No one bothered us.

One of the things Bill and I have come to enjoy, since we’ve been living in Germany, is the availability of nude spas. I will admit that it took us a long time before we got brave enough to try them. We never tried them when we were here the first time, and it took us almost three years to go naked once we moved back here. Once we finally did the deed, there was no turning back. Now, being nude at a spa is just not a big deal anymore. Not all spas in Germany are nude, but quite a number of them do have nude areas. Saunas and steam rooms all require patrons to be nude, and there are a lot of wonderful spa facilities here where bathing suits aren’t allowed at all.

I guess, in this way, Bill and I have kind of gone “native”. I don’t think we’d mind a nude beach. I know I wouldn’t. I don’t worry about perverts. Here, I’ve seen many people– especially men– urinating in public, although it’s technically illegal. But get caught in a Stau on the Autobahn, and if it’s bad enough, you can count on seeing someone pissing on the side of the road. They just don’t care. I’ve seen a lot of public urination at rest stops, too, whether or not facilities are available. Many of the rest stops over here require payment. Some people don’t want to pay, so they don’t.

I’ve also seen women openly breastfeeding. I’ve seen children change clothes or simply undress in the open air at Freibads. I’ve even seen kids in the nude spa areas, which personally I don’t agree with, because people go to spas to relax. Almost nobody cares. Maybe my ex landlady would. I don’t know. I would think she’d be smart enough not to go to a spa where there might be nudity if it bothered her.

To date, I’ve been to eight different spas in Germany, most of which had optional nude areas in them. Three of the spas were completely nude, meaning no bathing suits were allowed there at all. People carry towels and robes for sitting on things. Most of the dressing rooms at the spas are also unisex. They do have cubicles that allow people to change in private, but the lockers are all in one big room accommodating everyone. And in the nude spas, once you go to where the pools are, everyone’s nude, except for the people who are working there. And nobody cares.

There are people of all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and persuasions running around at German spas. You are liable to see people sucking face in the pools. They’re mostly young people– teens or young adults– who can’t keep their hands off of each other. But I promise, the spas are mainly for health and relaxation purposes. It’s not a place where perverts hang out. If they are there, they’re below the radar.

Americans, as a whole, are very prudish about nudity. They aren’t the only ones. Brits are pretty shy about baring all, as are Swedes… or, at least the spa we went to in Sweden was very much bathing attire required. But here in Germany, I’ve seen signs with bathing suits and red lines crossed through them… and I’ve also seen signs that say “proper bathing attire required.”

Today, I read an article in the Washington Post about a customer at the Wi Spa, a facility in Koreatown in Los Angeles, who was “traumatized” when a trans woman changed in the women’s dressing room. The trans woman evidently still had male equipment, and the sight of it really upset another customer and her daughter. She confronted the spa staff about the intrusion. The spa manager asked the client if the trans woman had done anything specifically inappropriate. The client responded that the person’s genitalia was displayed, and that was “traumatizing”. This, in a spa where the “lack of modesty” is disclosed ahead of time. I wonder what the hell the upset client was doing checking out other people’s junk, anyway?

For some reason, many Americans seem to equate nudity with perversion. There’s this pervasive fear that child molesters and creeps are lurking at spas, just waiting to rape someone. Those who subscribe to this fear especially seem to believe that perverts are wanting to pose as transgender people so they can prey on women and girls.

I can’t pretend to be an expert on transgender people or sex offenders. But from what I do know, trans people aren’t necessarily sexual deviants, just as cisgender people are not necessarily sexual deviants. And I don’t think that hanging out in bathrooms or spas and pretending to be transgender is a reasonable MO for a person who is sexually deviant. I really don’t think a trans person in the locker room is the issue, anyway. I think it’s the attitude among many Americans that there’s no such thing as transgender people.

In any case, I haven’t seen or heard of a lot of people being victimized at German spas, where modesty is not the word of the day. I just don’t think transgender people are out there attacking people. They simply want to change clothes or do their business in rooms where they feel safest. I don’t believe most men are rapists. I think even fewer people of the transgender persuasion are sexually deviant. And I cringe when I read the many frightened and angry comments by ignorant people who seem to think that people who are different than they are are somehow dangerous.

Sadly, the incident in Los Angeles led to a protest, which eventually turned violent. Transphobic people brought guns to the protest and brandished them at counterprotestors. Another person was hit on the head with a lead pipe at the protest. Personally, I’m a hell of a lot more frightened of all the American idiots with weapons than I am of a trans woman in the ladies room. I think they are a much bigger threat to my safety than people who identify as a non-binary or transgender.

The woman who caused this ruckus made an Instagram video and said she wouldn’t be at the protest, because she’d heard Antifa would be there and she worried about her safety. Um… Antifa isn’t a group. It’s a movement. It’s an idea. This lady is grossly misinformed.

Thanks to my friend, Julie, for sharing this.

It would be one thing if someone actually saw another person doing sexually inappropriate things at the spa. It’s quite another if someone is just minding their own business, changing their clothes or using the toilet. Every single one of us has sex parts. The presence of those parts aren’t what make someone a deviant. Germans have figured this out. Why can’t we figure it out in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave? Grow up. And stop looking at other people’s private parts. Frankly, I think the woman who complained is the pervert in this case.

I hope the German nude spas reopen again soon.

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sexism, slut shamers, stupid people

Repost: Transformed Wife vs. The Transformed Wife…

This is another repost concerning Lori Alexander, aka “The Transformed Wife”. This was composed on my original blog on July 21, 2018. I am sharing it again because it includes discussion about one of Lori’s most notoriously controversial ideas… that men don’t like women with tattoos or student loans and prefer their wives to be virgins.

I have to write another quick post to opine about a situation that has developed in blogger land.  Though the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray group, I’ve become aware of several very successful “Christian” bloggers.  One blogger that gets mentioned a lot is Lori Alexander, author of “The Transformed Wife“.  I don’t really read a lot of Lori’s stuff because it’s usually poorly written and stupid, even though she’s published a book that evidently a lot of people have read.  She does have a Facebook page, too, and sometimes I see stuff from it posted in the Duggar group, mainly for people to snark on.  Somehow, despite writing poorly and centering all of her posts, she has thousands of followers.  Maybe I should start writing badly and include a lot of religion in my posts, too.  On the other hand, that’s a bad idea.  Sometimes it’s better to be anonymous.

Anyway, Lori recently wrote an extremely moronic post about how “Godly” men prefer debt free virgins without tattoos.  It went viral for all the wrong reasons.  I originally saw it in the Duggar group, but pretty soon, it was picked up by people like God and a bunch of bloggers wrote thoughtful rebuttals, like this one.  In the wake of this mess, there was another blogger who got caught in the crossfire.  Not just another blogger, mind you… this one, name of Rachel, is Transformed Wife

Apparently, Rachel was Transformed Wife before Lori was The Transformed Wife (note the addition of “The” before Transformed Wife– I guess Lori thinks that makes her name different enough from Rachel’s).  Rachel writes in a recent post that Lori had sent her an email to tell her she was changing the original name of her blog to the one Rachel had already claimed.  And because both women are popular bloggers, there has been some confusion about the controversial blog post that upset many thousands of people.  Rachel claims that it’s gotten so bad that she had to make a public statement telling everyone that she and Lori are not the same person and they have different beliefs.

To make matters more confusing, someone else is running a snark page called The Transformed Wife 2.0.  I joined that one myself and it’s where I first learned of this controversy between two similarly named bloggers.

Neither of the Transformed Wives are women that I would listen to.  I actually don’t really like the whole “life coach”-“guru” trend that has emerged.  I think it takes a whole lot of moxie to assume one is qualified to be someone’s life coach.  To be honest, I think most people who feel they should work as life coaches are probably narcissistic assholes.  I mean, some people really are wise, but in general, I don’t think it’s wise to assume that dispensing your wisdom should be your career.  It’s bound to backfire.

But then… here I am writing “The Overeducated Housewife”, and God knows people have gotten a bad impression about the name of my blog.  I’m not the only Overeducated Housewife out there in blog land, nor was I the first.  However, I do seem to be the most prolific. 

In any case, the war of the Transformed Wives has drawn out other people eager to leap into the fray. On The Transformed Wife 2.0, I learned of yet another “wise” blogger called The Joy Filled Wife… who is apparently Lori Alexander in a previous incarnation.  And yet, The Joy Filled Wife left Lori a note of encouragement because of the backlash she’s gotten over her idiotic commentary about what kind of women men prefer.  I guess Lori split her personality so she could sock puppet an encouraging post.  Or maybe there really is a Joy Filled Wife out there who is Lori’s friend.  I don’t know.  I am so confused!

I’m with Eric.  I don’t like slutty, inked out, olive oil with too many credit card bills and student loans.  I like my olive oil where it belongs… in the kitchen and only educated about making food.

I myself have no tattoos.  In about ten days, I will also have no debt, although I was up to my ass in it on my wedding day.  I was a virgin when I got married, but it wasn’t because of God.  It was more because that’s how it worked out.  Bill likes me fine.  He probably would have liked me if I had tattoos, too… or if I’d been with other men.  You see, Bill loves me for who I am, not for what I look like.  We have worked together to have the best life possible.  And while Bill isn’t a churchgoer, I would say he’s “Godly” in the best possible ways.

I don’t know why so many people– particularly conservative Christians– feel the need to follow self-appointed gurus like Lori and Rachel.  In my experience, a lot of these “leaders” end up being very narcissistic and fallible.  Many of them eventually have embarrassing falls from grace that expose them for who and what they really are.  Unfortunately, people don’t seem to learn from experience that folks like the Duggars and the Osteens and others like them usually turn out to be very charismatic charlatans who do a lot of damage, particularly to people who are honestly hurting and need help.

Not being a fundie Christian myself, I don’t feel like I have any skin in this particular game.  It’s kind of amusing and disturbing to watch it unfold, though.  I hope the people who read my blog don’t think of me as a “guru” of any sort.  And the idea of my becoming a life coach is equally absurd.  It ain’t happening.

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careers, rants, religion, sexism

Repost: According to a Christian blogger, women are destroying the medical profession…

I just got a wild hair up my ass and decided to repost a couple of blog entries I wrote about Lori Alexander, otherwise known as The Transformed Wife. I am reposting them because sometimes it’s handy to be able to link to old posts from my original blog, particularly where Lori Alexander is concerned. This first one was originally posted May 14, 2018. It made quite a stir three years ago.

First thing’s first.  I need to state upfront that I don’t regularly follow The Transformed Wife, which is a blog written by a Christian woman named Lori Alexander.  I had never heard of this blog until I started following the Duggar Family News group on Facebook.  I did see a recent post by The Transformed Wife where I felt compelled to leave a comment, only because she’d misspelled “censorship” in her title and it was making me twitchy (sorry).  But no, I don’t regularly read her blog because I’m pretty far from being a devout Christian.  Sometimes people share her more ridiculous posts, though, and that’s usually when I take notice.

2013 seems to have been the year to be talking about female physicians…

This morning, someone shared Lori’s thoughts on women doctors.  She writes, “women are destroying the medical profession.”  To back up her claim, she cites a five year old opinion piece done by the U.K.’s Telegraph.  That piece is about female doctors who only work part-time because they are raising families.  It’s apparently causing a problem in countries around the world because part-time doctors lead to a shortage.  The opinion piece, written by Max Pemberton, is actually pretty sensible.  He writes:

…attempts to raise these issues are routinely met with accusations of sexism. But it’s not sexist to acknowledge that women, more than men, often appear to place family life ahead of their career. Nor is it a bad thing that women want to focus on having and bringing up their children, and caring for a partner. Underlying this is a larger debate about the 24/7 working environment and lack of affordable child care that leaves so many women torn between a career and a family. This is where the real sexism lies. But until there is a shift in the way that domestic responsibilities are shared, we need to accept that most women want to work part time so they can combine a career with family life – and, in medicine at least, start preparing for it becoming the norm.

But then Lori Alexander writes:  

Men were created to be the supporters of families and women were not. Women are taking men’s positions in medical schools that should belong to men.

Hmmm… very interesting indeed.  I happen to know a couple of women doctors who are raising families.  One is a very successful trauma surgeon.  Her husband is an Episcopalian vicar and takes excellent care of their two kids while his wife works to save lives.  The other just recently had her sixth baby.  And yet, according to Lori Alexander, these women are absolutely wrong to pursue careers in medicine.  Alexander reminds readers…

Men can be doctors but they can’t be mothers. Only mothers can be mothers and NO ONE can replace a mother in a child’s life.

What exactly makes someone a mother, anyway?  Is it the simple act of giving birth?  Because if that’s the case, adoptive mothers are apparently worthless, according to Alexander.  Is it simply being female?  Are women inherently more nurturing than men are, simply because they have female parts?  What about fathers?  Can they be replaced?  Actually, Alexander would probably say fathers can’t be replaced, but apparently they aren’t as important as mothers are.  Why is that?  Is it because they aren’t nurturing?  I would challenge anyone who has ever met my husband, Bill, to compare his nurturing instincts to mine.  (ha ha ha)  But then, I know that Bill is a pretty rare individual, especially for a military veteran.  He’s unusually nurturing and kind.  He’d probably be a better mother than I would, though.  Or, at least he’d probably be more like the type of mother idealized by folks like Lori Alexander.

Lori continues with the following thoughts…

No long-term good comes out of women leaving their homes. Nothing. Satan convinced women to spend years and a lot of money getting a higher education and then a degree. When they finally have children, they still have their God-given instinct to care for their children, thus they are in conflict with what they were convinced about concerning their career and being with their children. Their children are the ones who suffer and society is suffering too.

Oh… so it’s the fault of women that society is suffering?  That sounds pretty familiar.  Women get blamed for all kinds of shit.  That’s been going on since the dawn of time.  But then Lori ends with a quote from Proverbs:

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  Proverbs 31:27

I wonder what she’d think of an overeducated housewife with no children whose housework skills are lacking…

In fairness to Lori Alexander, I don’t know her at all.  I have no idea what shaped her opinions about woman in the workplace, other than her obvious love for the Bible.  My guess is that she’s actually against women who work, not just women who choose to be doctors.  Somehow, her blog has attracted a lot of attention.  This particular post has been shared well over 1500 times.  Maybe I should start writing really badly written provocative stuff that causes outrage.  And… to be honest, I don’t necessarily disagree that children in the United States need more exposure to their mothers.  Actually, I’d argue that they need more exposure to BOTH parents.  

What I like about Europe is that the powers-that-be have recognized that young children need their mothers and fathers, so employers here allow them to take time off from their work to take care of their kids.  That time off is paid, and they do have jobs to go back to when their time off is finished.  But this generous leave has nothing to do with religion.  Instead, it’s a simple product of common sense.

Europe, in general, is also a bit less work happy than the United States is.  In the United States, there’s this idea that one must constantly be working in order to keep their jobs.  Plenty of folks who are lucky enough to have jobs with benefits, to include paid vacation time, are pressured not to take any leave.  Those who dare to enjoy their lives off the clock are often considered unproductive and poor performers.  They don’t tend to climb the ladder of success the way their more driven colleagues do.    

In Germany, workers get more time off and shorter work weeks, yet the German economy remains very strong and the people, by and large, seem to be a lot happier.  I think Germans tend to work smarter, too.  They focus is less on how long a person works and more on the quality of their work.  I would imagine that having time to rest allows them to work smarter.  It’s probably better for their overall health, too, including their mental health.

Let’s face it.  Living in the United States is very expensive.  A lot of families need both parents to work just to be able to pay their basic bills.  The need to work makes it harder to focus on the family. And yet, we keep voting in Republicans, who are in bed with Christians, yet seem hellbent on making money and ruining any family friendly programs that might make it more possible for one parent (not necessarily the mother) to stay home and take care of their kids.  The United States is not a community friendly country.  Many people are focused on their own needs and things that only benefit them personally, rather than society as a whole.

But… in fairness to my countrymen, I can understand where this attitude comes from.  And now that I don’t live in the United States, I can also see where people like my Italian friend, Vittorio, see the United States as a “weirdorama” country.  We have all these God fearing people who don’t seem to love their fellow man very much at all… unless, of course, their fellow man lives in a way that they claim is Biblical.  It doesn’t seem logical to me.

Anyway, allow me to go on record as saying that I think it’s great that women are following their career dreams.  I also think it’s a good thing that so many of those women are focusing on their own fulfillment.  Perhaps that means they have fewer children or none at all.  But, as Alexander points out in the comments section of her post, women doctors are here to stay.  Women will keep going to medical school.  So… I guess in her opinion, the medical profession is on its way to being well and truly fucked.  She’s entitled to her opinion.  I’m not sorry she wrote her post, even if I disagree with her.  She gave me some food for thought.

I guess we’re in the end times…

I think I need an aspirin now.       

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complaints, condescending twatbags, modern problems, sexism

I really enjoy bitching about things…

This morning, I find myself with a touch of writer’s block. When that happens, I often go to my original Google version of this blog to find inspiration. I did write a few posts on the old blog that are chestnuts… or evergreen… or whatever. At the very least, I can find book reviews that I can repost, although I’m slowly running out of those.

I am working on reading a book right now, but as usual, I keep falling asleep before I can make too much progress. I probably should invest in a chair for reading, rather than reading in bed. Nowadays, I drop off at the drop of a hat if I’m lying down and comfortable. I have really excellent Comphy sheets on my bed, too, which makes for prime sleeping conditions. I don’t work for the company or get any kickbacks. I just really like the sheets, which I discovered on a visit to a B&B in Goshen, Virginia.

ETA: Many apologies, since I have already bitched about this particular complaint on the new blog… the original re-run repost is not exactly the same as this one, but it does include the same screenshots and basic story. Oh well. Maybe I’ll think of something totally fresh later.

Anyway, I came across a rant I wrote back in the summer of 2017. Looking back, that summer was pretty traumatic for a number of reasons. It wasn’t as bad as the summer of 2014, but it was a pretty tough time. One day, I got irritated because some guy, long gone from my friends list, had shared a fake meme. I wrote a post bitching about it. Note– the post was not specifically about the guy, it was about the practice of sharing falsely attributed memes. A lot of people don’t care that the deep thoughts they share on social media are bullshit. Some have rationalized that it’s the thought that counts, not the person who came up with the thought. Personally, I vehemently disagree. Especially when people falsely attribute things to the late George Carlin, who is one of my idols and whose wisdom has gotten me through some shit.

No… George never said this. And you shouldn’t imply that he did.

The guy who had inspired my rant shared the above meme, with the comment “Carlin pulled no punches.” I kept seeing this meme on my timeline and it annoyed me. So I decided to write about it. Former friend read the vent and got pissed off at me. He left a nasty comment on my OH Facebook page and blocked me. Then, he posted the article on his page and I soon had a bunch of right wing mental giants from the Deep South hitting my blog, racking up ad revenue. A mutual friend sent me a private message letting me know that he was riling up all his Trump supporting friends over this vent. From my original post:

Both times I’ve seen this meme featuring George Carlin, I’ve hidden it.  Why?  Because I am very certain that George Carlin never said this.  It pisses me off when people put words in George’s mouth, especially since he’s dead.  I loved and respected his work and I’m absolutely sure he never would have said anything like this.  Carlin’s comedy celebrated obstruction and fighting the establishment.  He was a champion of resistance and bucking authority.  It’s wrong to attribute these words to him or to insinuate that he said them by using his picture with someone else’s words.

Even if I agreed wholeheartedly with this meme’s sentiment, which I don’t, I would not agree that it’s okay to claim that these are George Carlin’s words, especially when there is ample evidence that they aren’t.

I went looking to see if Carlin had, indeed, said this. I found evidence that, apparently, GMTA. Morgan Freeman supposedly said it, too.

Hmmm… naw, I don’t think Morgan said it, either.

I went on to explain why this practice irritates me so much. From my old blog:

I’m sure many people think I’m being anal retentive about this issue.  They wonder what the harm is, especially since so many folks seem to think this is a good thought.  Well, I’ll tell you what the harm is.  The harm is that George Carlin and Morgan Freeman are legends, but they are (or were) also people.  A person has the right to free expression and freedom from being used to promote someone else’s agenda without their permission.  My guess is that people make these memes because they think Carlin or Freeman have the right persona to drive home this particular sentiment.  But what right does one person have to use another person like that, even if the person being used is (or was) famous?  And even if the person posting the fake meme is simply being a provocateur? 

Mr. Carlin is no longer alive to defend himself when someone falsely uses his likeness to express their ideas.  And while many people think this quote is excellent, the person who actually came up with it should be the one who gets attributed, not a random famous person who may or may not have even agreed with it.  

I continued searching for more evidence of who actually came up with these words. And I found these memes…

Jeez! Everybody was saying this in 2017!

And I continued with this idea, which I felt was neither unreasonable nor particularly offensive:

There is nothing wrong with sharing ideas or quotes on Facebook or other social media.  I just think that if you’re going to use a meme with a quote, especially when you use a famous person’s image, you should make sure the person pictured is the person who should be attributed.  You can still spread an idea by posting something like this…

What’s wrong with sharing something like this? Are people really swayed by a picture of a famous person like Carlin supposedly saying the same thing?

Maybe your plain meme won’t get as many “likes” or comments, but it will at least be honest and it won’t be stealing someone else’s famous image to promote an idea or agenda.  As someone who is camera shy and writes, I know I wouldn’t want my image used with someone else’s words, no matter how profound they are.  I’m sure most normal, non-famous people wouldn’t.  

I’ll never understand why some people assume that a famous person won’t mind when a stranger thoughtlessly spreads a Facebook meme using their image with someone else’s words.  Especially when it’s common for people with financial means to sue when someone uses their likeness without permission.  And especially since many famous people make their living by being paid promoters.  No one likes to be ripped off, right?

Maybe the above point annoyed the guy. Most famous people aren’t going to bother suing some random Facebook user over sharing a fake meme. Unless they’re like Richard Marx, or something. I understand he’s pretty uptight. Anyway, this post really upset my former friend, who felt like I had insulted him deeply for writing about this phenomenon. I never named him, nor did I specifically invite him to read this post. But he sure got upset about it. The next morning, I found the below photo and an angry comment from him.

Wow… BUTTHURT!

So I wrote another post, but that time, I DID call him out, not by his name, but by his behavior, which I thought was really childish:

So… yesterday I wrote a rant about “dishonest memes”.  It was inspired by a meme I’ve seen floating around featuring the late, great George Carlin.  I mentioned in that rant that I’ve seen that meme at least a couple of times and, when I see it, I hide it.  When I saw the meme posted yet again, I felt the need to write about it here on my blog.  I figured that would be better than getting into a Facebook argument with the person who posted it.  Those can get long and contentious.  Not as many people read my blog as they do Facebook. 

I will admit that had the person posted the meme featuring Morgan Freeman using the same words, I probably wouldn’t have been as bothered and likely never would have thought to write my rant.  George Carlin is kind of sacred to me.  He’s helped me get through some rough times. 

Anyway, this morning, I awoke to find the person who inspired yesterday’s post had unfriended me.  He left me a comment on the link to the rant on my Overeducated Housewife page.  It was yet another picture.  I like pictures!

Truthfully, this person was not someone I interacted with much anyway.  I’ve never met him in person.  I suspect we have different political leanings, so we didn’t do much communicating on Facebook.  If this person happens to read this follow up, please allow me to apologize for apparently offending you by indirectly calling you out.  It’s (almost) never my intention to be hurtful, although I know sometimes I am.  But I will not apologize for expressing my thoughts on my blog.  

I don’t think I’m necessarily wrong to write about the things that bug me.  That’s what blogs are for.  Moreover, misusing George Carlin’s memory is annoying and offensive to me.  It occurs to me that if we were real friends, you’d know that and actually care.      

I get my ideas from all sorts of sources, including friends, family, and anything I see on social media.  Most of the time, I try not to name people directly, unless they are famous people, people named in the media, and/or certain relatives.  I did not name this person, but he obviously read the rant.  I can only assume, based on the above picture comment he left me, that he was annoyed by it…  just as I get offended by people who carelessly take liberties with George Carlin’s memory.  

It’s okay.  We all get butthurt over different things.  If someone had vented specifically about me or something I did, I’d probably be annoyed and offended, too.  If they were an actual friend, I might care enough to talk to them about it.  Or maybe not.  It’s clear this person wasn’t an actual friend, though, so it’s probably for the best that he dropped me out of his universe.  Moreover, that post was not actually about him, but about the practice of sharing fake memes.     

The funny thing is, one thing I do know about this person is that he likes to write.  I “met” him on Epinions, which was a place that was full of opinionated people writing product reviews.  I didn’t like his Epinions nickname because of my phobia of mushrooms (his name was a play on fungus), but I did like his reviews.  In fact, I think he was even on my Web of Trust for a long time.  One thing I miss about Epinions is that it was a place where one could make money for being articulate and opinionated.

Anyway…  to anyone reading this, if you ever happen to find yourself the subject of this blog, I hope you realize that on some level that you have served as an inspiration to someone.  Sometimes people inspire others in a positive way.  Sometimes the inspiration is borne out of something negative.  Either way, inspiration usually leads to creativity and sometimes creativity leads to genius.  I’m certainly not saying anything on this blog falls into the genius category, but writing it does help keep me sane.  

As usual, this incident ended up fathering a bunch of posts, including one I wrote on “uppity women”. Not knowing the former Facebook friend that well, I still came up with the idea that perhaps he saw me as “uppity” for daring to bitch about his practice of sharing fake memes and falsely attributed quotes. I did point out that he’s one of many people who do this, and I know that my blog isn’t going to make a significant dent in the problem. And, in fact, in 2021, this is not really a problem worth writing about. We definitely have much bigger issues these days.

But in the third post that was partially inspired by that incident, I wrote this:

A former Facebook friend took issue when I wrote about my dislike of “dishonest memes”.  He happened to be the catalyst of that post, although I was not writing specifically about him, per se.  That post was about anyone who shares memes or essays wrongly attributed to people.  I have written about that phenomenon before; the person who inspired the first post is a female friend who, fortunately, wasn’t upset or threatened by my decision to express myself.  We’re still friends today.    

I have noticed that in the wake of that post, many people from the Deep South are now stalking my blog.  They repeatedly hit the post about Dishonest Memes and the one I wrote yesterday.  I’m intrigued by their interest in those two specific posts, which are really not that earth shattering.  It appears the posts are being shared among friends and family and these folks are looking for some kind of action on them.   

The funny thing is, the person who inspired my post about dishonest memes had originally expressed admiration for George Carlin’s policy of not “pulling any punches”.  Many people loved Carlin for telling it like it is and expressing himself.  Of course, a lot of people did not like Carlin.  My dad was one such person.  He found Carlin disrespectful and vulgar, especially when Carlin would denigrate the government, the Republican party, or the military.  He would get very offended by Carlin’s use of profanity.  Perhaps he thought George Carlin was “uppity”, too.  What right did Carlin have to criticize the government?  How dare he express his ideas in such vulgar and outspoken terms?  

It now occurs to me that by publicly shaming and condemning me for bitching about him and his practice of sharing fake memes, former friend made me bitch even more. I wonder if that was intentional on his part, especially since he sent his friends and family to follow my blog. Their hits probably contributed a few pennies to my Google AdSense account. I continued:

My dad had the same disdain for me whenever he thought I was getting too big for my britches and needed to be taken down a peg.  He would tell me that nobody cared about my opinions and that I had no right to say things that he deemed offensive or rude.  In short, I needed to be reminded of my station as a lowly female, and not a very attractive one at that… How dare I express myself?  In his opinion, I needed to keep my mouth shut and my legs crossed.

I’m baffled as to why it’s okay and even admirable for George Carlin to “pull no punches”, but it’s not okay for me to do it on a little read blog?  Is it because I’m not famous?  Is it because I don’t have a penis?  Is it because my comments are somehow “out of line” or wrong?    

My dad, who died in July 2014, put on a uniform every day for over twenty years, in part, to preserve my right to express myself.  However, he didn’t appreciate it when I said things he didn’t like.  He didn’t want to hear someone like George Carlin or Hillary Clinton be outspoken.  I think my dad loved the idea of “free speech and expression”, especially to certain privileged segments of the population, but he didn’t necessarily love the practice of it…  unless it was something he wanted to hear.  I don’t think that’s necessarily an uncommon position, by the way.  I often get angry comments from people who don’t like some of the things I write.  I, too, get annoyed when someone says something I don’t like.  I fully admit to being a hypocrite.  It’s just another one of those things I have to work on in my life.

One of the reasons I love most of George Carlin’s comedy is that he often made a lot of sense.  He enjoyed pointing out double standards and hypocrisy and got a huge kick out of pissing off people who take themselves and others a little too seriously.  I think we all do that from time to time– myself included.  

You folks who are stalking my blog should know that I appreciate the attention and the hits, but there’s really not much to see here.  I only expressed my opinion, which I feel very fortunate to be able to do, since I live in a free society.    

I don’t know if I come across as “uppity” to everyone… I know a lot of people, especially military and certain southern folks, think I do.  My own father thought I did.  But anyway, I really am just an “overeducated housewife” and I don’t have much more going on other than writing my blog, making music, doing housework, reading books and looking after my dogs.  

So I will keep on writing… though not on this subject.  I’m done writing about “dishonest memes” for now, so it may be time for you to move on to your next channel on the Internet.  Or stalk me if you must.  I profit from the attention.

Of course, now it occurs to me that I lied, since I obviously wasn’t done writing about “dishonest memes”. There I go with the hypocrisy again! I do enjoy bitching about things, though. I suppose I could have bitched about the latest mass shooting in the United States, and maybe I will do that, once I learn more about it. I haven’t gotten around to reading the details yet, though. Don’t want to spoil the whole day with more bad news… which includes the fact that Germany is now going to be locked down until April 18th, because according to Mrs. Merkel, we’re in a “new pandemic”. I’m beginning to think we should all just put ourselves out of my misery. I feel like this is never going to end. At least the TDY from hell is over, and I don’t have to bitch about that anymore.

But now I can bitch about the fact that I spent an hour writing this and I’ve already complained about this before on this blog… right down to the same anecdotes and screenshots. It’s not exactly the same, as the first rerun is shorter and includes some new content. But it’s pretty similar. I do wonder when Facebook was named the place where people feel the need to be inspirational or provide words to live by for other people.

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education, modern problems, sexism

Chivalry and critical thinking skills are dead in Texas…

Last night, I read about Shallowater High School, a school near Lubbock, Texas that was in the news because of a controversial assignment that got complaints. An English teacher, who was teaching “Beowulf” and the works of Chaucer, had a tradition of having her students explore the concept of chivalry. The boys were expected to dress in suits and ties. The girls were to wear dresses and heels. For one day, the men would help ladies to their seats and open doors for them, and they were supposed stand when a lady or person in authority entered a room. The ladies were expected not to speak unless spoken to, not to complain or whine, and they were supposed to walk behind the men.

The first time I read about this assignment about chivalry, it was in an article for a television station that was short on information and long on media bias. My initial impression was that it was kind of a silly assignment that sounded ill-conceived. But then I read more about it in The New York Times and learned that the teacher who had made the assignment had been doing it for a long time. Many students actually looked forward to taking part in it, which made me want to learn more about what it entailed.

In the course of reading more about the assignment, I learned that those who were uncomfortable with it were allowed to write a one page essay on chivalry. I also learned that the intent was of the assignment was to show students that chivalry was actually promoting male chauvinism and marginalizing women. The message was that chivalry, which is often touted to be “good” and is now “dead”, is not so much about promoting good manners and courtliness. It was about keeping women in their so-called place, according to the men who wanted to stay in charge. Apparently, past students who had taken part in the assignment got the message, even if it sounded kind of “sketchy” in practice.

This year, the assignment made the news, because some parents complained about it, claiming it was “sexist”. I will admit, my first thoughts, when I read about it was that it did seem a bit sexist. But then when I read that a lot of students actually enjoyed doing it, I changed my mind. Having been an English major and read “Beowulf” a couple of times myself, I appreciate anything that makes that story more engaging for young people. Moreover, I figured there had to be something more to the assignment than what was being put out to the masses. According to the New York Times:

“I really don’t think it was the teacher’s intention to have it be such a sexist lesson,” said Hannah Carreon, 18, a senior at the high school. “There were girls that were excited to get to do this finally and get to dress up.”

And those who didn’t want to participate didn’t have to. Seems fair enough to me. Nevertheless, thanks to the uproar, the school district superintendent, Dr. Anita Hebert, said the assignment was canceled, adding “this assignment has been reviewed, and despite its historical context, it does not reflect our district and community values.” Very fine, and she’s certainly within her rights to have the assignment changed.

Given how thin skinned many people are these days, I think it would be difficult for teachers and administrators to teach, especially in a creative way, without offending someone somehow. I don’t have a quarrel with the school administrator’s decision to revise the assignment, even though some students may have been disappointed. Schools have to evolve with the times, and nowadays, people are less inclined to be open-minded about alternative methods. Most people won’t even bother to read a news article before exploding with outrage, after all.

From the New York Times article.

But then I went into the comment section and there were many outraged reactions left by people who obviously hadn’t read the article. One person wrote that the teacher must be a “misogynistic man” and went off on a screed about racism and misogyny.

I know I should have kept scrolling, but I was lonely, irritated, and bored last night. So I commented that the teacher who had made the assignment was a woman who had been teaching this particular lesson for years. It was a long-standing tradition in her class that, apparently, had been well-received in years past. The teacher was actually trying to show the students that so-called “chivalry” wasn’t actually chivalry. From The New York Times:

The exercise had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday. Female and male students, who had been reading “Beowulf” and the works of Chaucer, were given assignment sheets that described 11 “rules for chivalry.” They would be awarded 10 points for every rule they followed.

Boys were asked to rise any time a female student or faculty member entered a room, to avoid profanity or “vulgar words” and to “allow ladies to leave the room before they leave.”

Girls had to walk behind men or “walk daintily, as if their feet were bound”; address men with “a lowered head and a curtsy”; “clean up” after their male classmates; and “obey any reasonable request” from a man.

According to Colin Tynes Lain, 18, a senior, the teacher had anticipated backlash and said students who were uncomfortable with the assignment could write a one-page essay instead.

In the past, Mr. Lain said, the teacher had given parents and teachers a written disclaimer explaining that the goal of the project was to show how the chivalric code was used to obscure chauvinistic principles that harmed women.

“That’s what she was trying to pull our attention to,” he said. “That this was not chivalry in any way.”

But to read the comments, the teacher was perceived as some boneheaded cave dwelling man who was trying to suppress women with a backwards assignment meant to push them down. And when I gently pointed out that the teacher was a woman who was trying to teach about how chivalry was actually not so good, I got a lecture about racism and misogyny from several “woke” ladies who felt I needed a “schoolin'”.

I commented again that many of the students had been looking forward to the assignment. And they also had an alternative assignment they could do if they didn’t want to participate in the teacher’s lesson on chivalry. But that comment only served to further inflame the “woke” woman who hadn’t bothered to read the article, along with a few others who felt this assignment was so damaging. So my parting shot, which got lots of likes, was something along the lines of.

“Y’all can spare me the lectures on misogyny. I’m simply reporting what was in the article. I didn’t say I liked it or agreed with it. If more people would read before commenting, the world would be a better place.”

I often complain about conservatives. But you know what? Sometimes liberals are just as bad. Some of them have this agenda they just feel compelled to push, often without any critical thinking or forethought applied whatsoever. They often make judgments without knowing all the facts or context. And, just like conservatives, they often make perfect asses of themselves.

I will admit, I have read about some assignments that appeared to be especially tone deaf and ill considered. For instance, just last year, a high school teacher in Iowa was placed on leave for asking students to pretend they were “black slaves”. The assignment was made for an online learning program. A surprising number of teachers have attempted to teach kids about slavery via role play, which is bound to be a bad idea.

The same issue came up in Wisconsin and Missouri, and not just in terms of teaching students about slavery in the United States, but also in history. For instance, students learning about the Code of Hammurabi and Ancient Mesopotamia were taught about the concept of “an eye for an eye”. Punishments for slaves were also discussed. A teacher in Long Island, New York was also disciplined for having students write something “funny” about pictures of slavery. And a student teacher in Tennessee was in hot water for asking fourth grade students to recite graphic, violent methods of controlling slaves. Those lessons made some students distinctly uncomfortable. From the New York Times:

Role-playing can be an effective pedagogical tool, but teachers have to be very careful that they are not reinforcing negative gender and racial attitudes, said April Peters-Hawkins, a former sixth-grade teacher who is now a professor of school leadership at the University of Houston College of Education.

“What we typically see is marginalized groups continuing to be marginalized,” she said. “Black kids being asked to play the roles of slaves, Jewish kids being asked to play the role of victims of the Holocaust and girls being asked to be subservient.”

I think some people felt this assignment would make some girls feel uncomfortable, so they brought up their concerns. Unfortunately, it then became international news and, I think, it got blown entirely out of proportion. And now, the narrative has become completely distorted from the facts.

It’s easy to react to inflammatory headlines without actually getting the facts. People are often eager to promote a progressive agenda, but are loathe to think first. On the surface, this assignment about chivalry seems like it would be offensive and wrong. It sounds like the teacher’s methods might wind up marginalizing girls. And no, it’s not a good thing to teach females that they are to be subservient to men, especially in the year 2021. But if you actually read about the intent of the assignment, it sounds a lot less offensive. Especially since participation was entirely voluntary.

I will grant that the chivalry assignment probably should be reconsidered, but not necessarily because it will damage or offend students. I think it should be reconsidered because of the court of public opinion, our culture of people who don’t want to read before they react, and people who claim to be open-minded but actually aren’t. Frankly, it’s very irritating to get lectured by people who can’t even be bothered to read before they comment. They’re usually people who feel like their (often uninformed) opinions are so very important to share, but don’t care about anyone else’s opinions. And you can’t have a discussion with them because they refuse to consider all sides of an issue. It’s like the thinking has already been done, and not by them, personally.

The teacher who made this assignment is described as “caring and well-liked”. I wouldn’t want to see a good teacher who is caring and well-liked canceled from her profession because of uninvolved people who are hell-bent on thinking the worst about her intentions. I hope she hasn’t been harassed, and I’m glad her name has been kept out of the media.

I know how much time, money, and training goes into making good teachers. I also know that a lot of them don’t get the respect and consideration they deserve. It’s a shame that some of them are punished for thinking outside of the box, even if the lesson ends up being a flop. I hope this teacher will continue to try to teach students the truth about so-called chivalry, even if this particular role playing method is now off limits.

Kinda reminds me of how people have been offended by this classic Randy Newman song… which isn’t actually about “short people”.

He doesn’t mean he doesn’t like people who are short like me…

Incidentally, I have some people on my friends list who are notoriously bad about reacting to headlines and not actually bothering to read. Yesterday, I shared the video that was in yesterday’s post about Gloriavale Christian Community. Two people left me sad reactions, even after I commented that it wasn’t a sad post. Seriously. Watch the video. It’s not a sad tale– it’s a triumphant tale about a STRONG woman who left a truly oppressive and sexist cult. But people are gonna react… and I say, if you’re going to form an opinion and make a public comment or reaction, isn’t it better to actually know what you are reacting to? I think it is.

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