condescending twatbags, education, healthcare, stupid people, YouTube

A quick update on Mama Doctor Jones and her skewering in Alaska…

Merry Christmas, everyone… I just spent ages trying to write a travel blog post about our morning. I am now hungry and cranky, and I’m not so much in the mood to write a long post. However, I did want to post a link to Mama Doctor Jones’ latest video, which shows her reactions to the idiots (sorry, they are) on the school board in Fairbanks, Alaska, who are calling her content “pornographic” and/or “inappropriate”. I watched this video this morning and it really pissed me off… I should have blogged right then and there. But now I’m not in the mood to go off on a rant properly.

Anyway, here’s the video. I recommend watching it if you’re concerned about sex ed in schools. Kids do need it. Parents suck at educating their children about these topics. They do. Stop denying it. And doctors don’t have the time to teach this stuff during appointments. Unfortunately, this is a task that does fall to teachers.

Seriously… these people are DUMB. They are. Stop denying it.

Again, I want to remind people that Mama Doctor Jones HAD NOTHING TO DO with her content being used as supplemental materials in Alaska. That was a decision made by an educator who obviously is a realist and has good sense. These people on the school board are woefully out of touch with reality, and they are insulting the hell out of the students and parents in their community. They are also embarrassing themselves… or, at least they really should be.

I think the folks in Alaska and everywhere else should be grateful to Mama Doctor Jones for providing expert knowledge about how bodies work. And while not every video is appropriate for young people, young people are not as young as they used to be. As Dr. Jones points out, she’s delivered babies gestated by girls as young as 13. Some kids that young are having sex. They absolutely NEED TO KNOW HOW THAT WORKS. Or parents need to do more to prevent their kids from having sex. Or, they need to keep pervy male adults away from their girls.

Kudos to Dr. Danielle Jones for watching this travesty and reacting to it in a civilized way. It really is mind blowing how dreadful this is. These folks don’t like it when agendas are pushed… I say they are promoting their conservative, right-wing, religious agenda on young people who desperately need to know how their bodies work, how to identify abusive versus healthy relationships, and how to avoid diseases and unintended pregnancies.

Yes, it’s best if kids don’t have sex, but that is not a realistic goal. Young people have sex, and their bodies are primed to reproduce. So they should know how all of that works, and they should not have to hope that their parents properly teach them about sex. Because the fact is, a lot of parents don’t or won’t teach their kids about sex… and not every child has parents, anyway! And if people in Alaska think that Dr. Jones is posting anything akin to “porn”, they obviously haven’t seen much of the real stuff.

Maybe this isn’t the best topic for Christmas. I might even be back after I have some food. In any case, if I were Dr. Jones, I think watching that school board meeting would make my head explode. The mind boggles.

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education, healthcare, law, rants, sexism, slut shamers, wingnuts, YouTube

Mama Doctor Jones gets called out by conservatives in Alaska…

Before I get cranked up with today’s post, I want to highly recommend my readers to watch the below video. Reading my rantings about this situation is simple extra credit. Mama Doctor Jones spells it all out pretty plainly, and what she says about this incident is probably enough. Also, if anyone progressive from Fairbanks, Alaska reads this and is offended by my comments, I apologize pre-emptively for lumping all Fairbanks residents in with Joel Davidson and his ilk. However, unlike Mr. Davidson and his grasp of subjects related to sex ed and women’s health, I realize that my opinions about Alaska are mostly formed in ignorance.

At the end of yesterday’s post, I referenced a YouTube video by Mama Doctor Jones, otherwise known as Danielle Jones, MD. Mama Doctor Jones, for those who don’t know, is a board certified OB-GYN who makes wonderful, informative, and entertaining videos about women’s health and pregnancy on YouTube. I discovered her a few months ago, when the new Texas abortion ban law came into effect. She made an excellent video about why the new law is potentially very dangerous, and why she, as a physician practicing in Texas, is against it.

Dr. Jones and her family have recently announced that they are moving to New Zealand. I don’t know how long she, her husband, and their four kids will be living in New Zealand, but their move does mean that she won’t be held to the new law in Texas. In any case, as a fellow American citizen who has also left the United States, I completely understand why Dr. Jones wants to leave, even if only temporarily. I think living abroad is an experience more Americans should experience, if only to shed the ignorant idea that the United States is the “best” country in the world. Or, even if someone still thinks the USA is the best after living abroad, they might realize that other countries are also pretty good places to be.

After I saw Mama Doctor Jones take on the Texas abortion law, I became a fan of her content. I don’t watch all of her videos, but I have seen a lot of them. I am always impressed by how engaging, charismatic, and at ease she is on camera, and how non-threatening she comes across as she explains women’s healthcare. Personally, I find OB-GYNs terrifying, mainly because I had a very traumatic experience with one when I was a young woman. Even though I, myself, have a background in healthcare, I have a really hard time seeing physicians. But, if I had an obviously kind physician like Dr. Jones, I would probably be a lot less reluctant to go to the doctor for screenings.

Suffice to say, I think Dr. Jones is the bomb. If I had children– boys or girls— I would want them to watch her channel. She’s really fascinating, and judging by the comments I have read in the Duggar Family News group, I am not the only one who thinks Mama Doctor Jones is awesome. So, imagine my shock when I happened to see her video about “being canceled”.

As this video started, I was thinking WTF… but then I was highly irritated by conservative idiots in Alaska!

Mama Doctor Jones then explains that she actually isn’t being “canceled” per se, but her name came up at a school board meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska. Apparently, some people were upset that some of Mama Doctor Joneses’ content was being used to teach sex education to adolescents. The situation was covered by Joel Davidson, a journalist who writes for the Alaska Watchman. Dr. Jones explains in her video that she was blissfully unaware of this issue until one of her viewers tweeted her with a link to Davidson’s first article on the subject. The article is salaciously titled, “Fairbanks teachers want 12-year-olds exposed to explicit sex-ed videos”, and it includes a picture of Jones’ face, plastered across the top of the page.

Before two days ago, I had never heard of Alaska Watchman. I don’t even know very much about Alaska itself, since I’ve never been there. Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, gave a lot of us continental Americans a taste of Alaska’s apparently far right-wing culture, and I knew that it was a conservative place with a lot of independent minded people within it. I figured it was a beautiful place, too, albeit too cold for my tastes. Since I don’t know much about Alaska, I went to Alaska Watchman’s About Us page, where I found a description of this periodical:

The Alaska Watchman aims to raise awareness of key issues affecting Alaskans. Coming from a broadly Judeo-Christian perspective, we are committed to the highest standards of journalism and ethical reporting.

Our reports look to inform and equip Alaskans to effectively engage the culture for the common good. Please keep your comments respectful.

Okay then… so right off the bat, it’s obvious that this source is biased, and conservative in nature. That means it should probably be taken about as seriously as people might take my blog. However, in reading Mr. Davidson’s second post about Mama Doctor Jones and her “racy” content, I see that he’s in need of an editor:

Several board members raised concern about a YouTube video, Mamma Dr. Jones, which the district wanted to use for sex-education.

Later in the same article he writes:

The main problem I have with all of the videos links that were sent is that they create a trust with the name and source with the students,” [April] Smith said. “We are now putting into our children that Momma Dr. Jones is an excellent source of education.”

Hey Joel– on two occasions you spelled “Mama’s” name wrong, and it looks like you’re missing a preposition. So much for those “high standards of journalism”, right? But enough about my grammar snob tendencies. What really annoys me about Joel Davidson’s articles is that they are very obviously slanted, and it doesn’t appear that he’s spent much time actually watching Mama Doctor Jones on YouTube or objectively considering the value of her content. Maybe it’s because he’s a father of eight. Obviously, he already knows something about sex, and it’s clear he doesn’t care too much about women or women’s health. I won’t even get into what he likely thinks about people who are transgender or otherwise not cisgender, as he obviously is.

Where did those 8 children come from, Joel?

According to Mr. Davidson’s article from October 21, 2021, a 2016 era state law in Alaska requires all school districts to “get approval from local school boards before they can teach new sex education material to children.” I just did a very quick web search to find the law in question, and the first hit I came upon was not the law, but an article on a site called SIECUS (Sex Ed for Social Change). That site’s profile on Alaska indicates that the local culture is overall very much opposed to teaching contemporary sex education in public schools. In fact, it’s not even a requirement to teach sex ed in Alaska public schools.

Mr. Davidson even mentions that “over the past four years, Fairbanks has lost over 1000 students to other educational options”. School board member, April Smith, claims that the district has lost the trust of many parents and they are taking their children out of the public schools and either homeschooling them, or putting them in private schools. I just want to know– is April Smith really that sure that teaching sex ed is the reason this is happening? Because it sounds like Fairbanks school board members aren’t the brightest stars in the proverbial Alaskan sky. Couldn’t students also be leaving public schools because of other issues, like COVID-19, and the risks associated with that? Isn’t it possible that some parents would like their children to be educated on important things, like how their bodies work?

Anyway, I don’t think Mama Doctor Jones is necessarily as fussed about the antiquated local mores in Fairbanks as she is that Mr. Davidson’s articles are clearly biased, as well as borderline defamatory. He has also written quite a few outright FALSE statements about Mama Doctor Jones’ content, as well as certain subjects she covers. For example, he writes:

video for middle schoolers and high schoolers features OBGYN Danielle Jones stating that “50% of people have a vagina.” Jones’ video spotlights a young teen showing off her stained underwear and talking about the fact that vaginal discharge is normal. At one point Jones talks about what can happen when inserting a “toy or penis” into the vagina.

Okay… first off, as Dr. Jones points out in her rebuttal, Davidson doesn’t properly address her credentials. He should have written either Danielle Jones, MD, or Dr. Danielle Jones, OB-GYN. She worked very hard to earn a degree in medicine; she is board certified; and she CLEARLY knows a hell of a lot more about medicine than Davidson does. Please show some respect, Joel. Especially if you actually do care about “high standards of journalism”.

Secondly, how AWFUL it is that a woman who is an expert in women’s health actually covers women’s health concerns! Joel, as a father of eight, it appears that you have been sticking your penis somewhere. I don’t know a thing about you, but I gather those eight kids were not adopted. If they weren’t adopted, then you and a female must have engaged in some sort of normal biological activity to make those kids, right? What is wrong with teaching young people how all of that works? Perhaps if more adolescents knew the facts about sex, there might be less of a demand for abortions, or teenagers becoming parents before they’re really ready for the job.

Davidson also clearly likes the new law in Texas. He writes:

Other videos by Jones, which are not part of the Fairbanks curriculum, blast Texas’ new pro-life law banning abortion once a heartbeat is detected. Other videos celebrate transgenderism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dr. Danielle Jones correctly “blasts” Texas’ new “pro-life law banning abortion once a heartbeat is detected” because it’s a DANGEROUS, creepy, and unconstitutional law. And if you listen to Dr. Jones explain just WHY that law is so dangerous, and consider that it will negatively affect so many women who legitimately need to be able to safely terminate their pregnancies, you might have more of an understanding why that law is wrong and needs to be struck from the books. Moreover, a woman’s need to have an abortion should be no one else’s business, particularly since no one seems interested in helping to make having and raising children feasible and affordable. There certainly doesn’t seem to be much of an emphasis on preventing pregnancies by making contraception affordable and available, and teaching young people about how babies are made.

As for the rest of that comment… I can’t even. I get that some people can’t wrap their heads around transgenderism and want to mock things they either can’t or won’t try to understand. I just think it’s very sad that so many of them call themselves Christians, but lack the ability to be kind and empathetic, as Christ was. And it’s even sadder that someone who calls himself a journalist and is, in fact, “editor-in-chief” of the Alaska Watchman, is pushing this bullshit and calling it news, when it’s clearly very biased and sometimes outright false information.

I will admit, I’m biased too, but the difference is, I freely state that this is clearly a personal blog, not a newspaper, and I am not a journalist, nor do I play one on TV. People who regularly read my blog– and there aren’t really so many– shouldn’t come here expecting to read news. No one pays to read my content– although apparently, the Alaska Watchman is a “free” paper. I still bet some people expect to read news on the Alaska Watchman, even though it appears to me to be a glorified blog.

Davidson then goes on to write:

A separate video for high schoolers attempts to convince teens that the Plan B (or Morning After Pill) does not cause abortions. The speaker repeatedly emphasizes that this drug “does not cause an abortion.”

According to the product label attached to Plan B, it can, in fact serve as an abortifacient by preventing “attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (womb).” Since a “fertilized egg” is in fact the earliest stage of human life, Plan B can kill this life by blocking access to the womb, which is necessary for nutrition and continued development.

As Dr. Jones points out in the above video, if there is no pregnancy, there is no abortion. What Plan B does is prevent pregnancy from happening by preventing a fertilized egg from implantation. It does not terminate an existing pregnancy. Since Plan B does not cause abortion, it cannot legitimately be called an “abortifacient”. And Joel Davidson should NOT be making false statements, especially when he clearly has zero experience or training in medicine or women’s healthcare, nor does he even have the physical body parts that women have. What does Joel Davidson know about the care of a vagina or handling a menstrual period? I don’t even think Mr. Davidson is a very skilled journalist. I certainly would not go to him for his opinions on women’s healthcare!

Having read both of these articles written by Joel Davidson, I’m left with the idea that people in Fairbanks, Alaska are not very bright, although I’m sure that’s not actually the case. He quotes a North Pole woman as saying Mama Doctor Joneses’s content is “basically porn”. I’ve seen some porn in my day, and I want to tell that person that if she thinks Dr. Jones’s content is pornographic, she obviously doesn’t get out much and hasn’t seen anything that is actually pornographic. According to Davidson, she continues with:

“It just does not belong in the school,” she said. “We’re not allowed to talk about religion or church or anything in schools and yet we’re going to bring this disgusting material to our children?”

“Disgusting material”? You mean material that teaches people about how babies are made, how they develop, and how sex– which is among the most basic and normal of acts– can be done without shame, humiliation, or embarrassment? If anything, I would say promoting specific religions and churches in public schools, which are supported by TAXPAYERS of all faiths or lack thereof, is a disgusting thing to do. Particularly since so many people have been abused and damaged by religion. Look at how many people have DIED or been abused due to religious beliefs. You don’t even have to think for very long. Just look at the Holocaust. But I’ll bet they don’t teach much about that in Alaska, either.

As for the allegations of “porn” on Mama Doctor Joneses’ channel, YouTube is pretty strict about what they allow to be posted, particularly on monetized content. For instance, I’ve noticed that a lot of content creators don’t use words or phrases like “porn”, “rape”, or “child sexual abuse”, probably because those words trigger YouTube’s algorithms and affect advertising revenue. So, instead of outright saying “child pornography” or “child sexual abuse” or similar things, content creators say “CP” or “CSAM”. Personally, I think that’s a very stupid practice, since we all know what those things are, and using the letters does not, and really should not, diminish the horror of them.

Dr. Danielle Jones makes content about women’s health and sexuality, so of course she’s going to be talking about sex. And the content she creates is factual and useful, but it’s also monetized, so there’s only so much she can say that isn’t “PG-rated”. Her content is certainly not porn. But I’m sure Mr. Davidson and his rightwing nutjob friends are big fans of Donald Trump, who is a big fan of sexually abusing women and has even outright stated it. The hypocrisy is astounding!

As a 49 year old cisgender woman who has not had children, but does have master’s degrees in social work and public health, and has worked in a rural healthcare setting with young people, I applaud Mama Doctor Jones for what she’s doing. I grew up in a rural county in Virginia, with parents who never talked to me about sex. I got my “education” from HBO, the neighborhood pervert who showed me men’s magazines (and voted Republican), and Coach Todd, the former pro football player who taught about health subjects between telling us lurid stories about his days in Vietnam.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVED Coach Todd’s surprisingly hilarious war stories, but they didn’t exactly prepare me for womanhood. I was fortunate enough to have parents who, despite being conservative and not talking to me about sex, were not opposed to letting me read whatever I wanted. So I was allowed to explore topics like sex education and sexual assault on my own, and somehow, I managed to marry my husband without a long history of sexual partners or the consequences that can come from having sex before I was ready. Not that I think having sex outside of marriage is necessarily wrong. The choice to have sex is simply a decision that should be made by mature people who are prepared to make it, and fully understand what results could come as a result of making that decision.

So many young people do not have the luxury of being able to learn what they really need to know. I know, from having been a social worker, that a lot of young people wind up getting pregnant, suffering from sexually transmissible infections, or being victimized in sexual assaults, because they have not been taught what they NEED to know. And if parents can’t or won’t teach their kids, the SCHOOLS must! Ignorance about these issues can and do lead to tragedies. Look at all of the brilliant young people who do not identify as straight who have suffered or even died because they had no one safe to talk to about these issues. Some of those kids who died too young were pointed toward “religion and church” for “help”, only to be told that their sexual orientations were “sinful” and wrong. I, for one, am GLAD Dr. Jones is willing to talk about transgender issues and other topics on YouTube that make people like April Smith and her ilk clutch their pearls. Maybe if more people talked about these topics in a non-judgmental way, there would be less suicide.

As to whether or not the Mama Doctor Jones YouTube channel is appropriate supplemental content for a school sex ed program, that’s a matter of opinion. Davidson may even be correct that Fairbanks educators acted illegally when they pointed to Dr. Jones’ videos as supplemental sex ed materials. However, that’s an issue that should have been discussed without dragging Dr. Danielle Jones and her Mama Doctor Jones channel through the mud. She had nothing to do with her channel being suggested as supplemental sex ed materials for kids, nor was she even aware that it had been recommended until one of her followers pointed it out to her. The fact is, Dr. Jones’ channel is outstanding, and I think it is a marvelous resource for the general public, even if some parents disapprove of the content.

I can tell by Mr. Davidson’s commentary that he’s conservative and pro-life. Well, if you’re pro-life, Mr. Davidson, you should be in favor of teaching young people the facts about sex. You should be for informing young people, so that they don’t fall prey to mental health issues that drive them to suicide. They should be learning how pregnancy works, what causes it, how to avoid getting pregnant until the time is right, and what is or is not normal in their own bodies. Young people are often afraid to talk to their parents about sex, but they badly need that information. And it’s pretty clear to me that a lot of the people in Fairbanks are not doing the job. I’m glad there there are people around like Dr. Danielle Jones and Dr. Jen Gunter (another OB-GYN who also puts out excellent content) to teach young people what educators can’t or won’t, thanks to conservative school boards who are “out to lunch” and think sex ed is akin to porn.

You should also watch Dr. Jen Gunter’s videos. She is awesome!

Besides helping young people avoid pregnancy, sex education also helps to prevent sexual assaults. Sexual assaults can lead to unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, abortions, and suicide. Seems to me that pro-lifers should be doing what they can to prevent sexual assaults in the form of teaching young people about sex. According to SIECUS, sexual assault is also a big problem up there in Alaska:

Half of all Alaskan women have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime and Alaska Native women experience sexual and relationship violence at even higher rates. While the Cook Inlet Tribal Council has received funding to adapt the Native Stand curriculum for Alaskan youth, it is not available statewide. Advocates report that ensuring sex education is culturally responsive to the needs of native young people, and includes instruction on healthy relationships and consent, is critical.

If you really care about young people, Joel Davidson, you should be grateful to the qualified physicians who are able and willing to share their expertise with the public. And, in the interest of promoting “excellent journalism”, you should stop spreading your ill-informed opinions about women’s health, a subject about which you clearly know very little. I, for one, applaud the school officials in Alaska who recognize the value of Dr. Jones’ content. Brave to them. And shame on MALES who want to keep women ignorant and subservient. They all obviously need to go back to school– preferably in a school district where high quality sex ed is taught.

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poor judgment, social media, videos, YouTube

More on Leon the Lobster… and a tasteless holiday greeting makes me crabby!

Once again, I’m struggling to decide what to write about today. I have a few topics in mind, but I wonder if want to go there so close to Christmas. Maybe I’ll wait until the first week of 2022. I’ll probably be extra cranky, since that’s when I plan to get my Moderna booster. I suppose it could end up being a Pfizer booster, too.

Anyway, I was happy to see that Brady Brandwood, who rescued Leon the Lobster from the grocery store, has posted a brand new video. I just discovered Leon on Sunday, so it was nice to get this update while he was still fresh in my mind (see yesterday’s post).

As you can see, Leon is doing very well!

Brady still doesn’t know if Leon is a girl lobster or a boy lobster. Brady is planning to get a new aquarium soon, so when it comes time for Leon to move to a new tank, Brady will find out what team Leon plays for. He does say that he will keep the name Leon, regardless. But if it turns out Leon is female, he says maybe he’ll call Leon “Celene Leon”, instead. I watch this, and now I want to rescue a lobster, too, but I don’t have easy access to lobsters, nor do I have the equipment or know how. So I guess I will just be content with watching Leon’s progress.

I’m astonished by how much I enjoy YouTube, especially some of the more creative original content. Who would have thought videos about a grocery store lobster would be this interesting? And, as I pointed out yesterday, I even went to the point of learning a little more about the bizarre mating rituals of lobsters! Who says you can’t learn new things as you get older? Brady does say that he can’t take Leon back to the wild, since he doesn’t live near the right habitat for lobsters. Maybe he’ll get him a friend soon.

MOVING ON…

Last night, as Bill and I were about to tuck in to our salmon filets, I noticed a photo in the Duggar Family News group. Someone had shared a potentially scandalous picture of a family at a Christmas tree farm. The dad and toddler aged son were smiling, and dad was holding up a chalkboard that read “Peace on Earth”. Mom and two little daughters were “gagged” with bright green tape and “tied up” with Christmas lights.

Naturally, there were a whole lot of comments about this photo. I will admit that I was shocked when I first saw the photo. I figured it was probably a joke, though, and didn’t take it too seriously. Other group members were a lot more outraged than I was, claiming that the photo was sick and abusive.

I decided to go Googling, and sure enough, I found out more about the source of the photo, which went viral in 2015. It seems this family had posed for photographer, Hannah Hawkes, who was based in Rosephine, Louisiana, and used the image for their 2015 Christmas card. The image promptly went viral, with many people seemingly very upset because they claim the picture promotes domestic violence, misogyny, and overall devaluation of females.

Personally, I would not go that far… I mean, yes, it’s a shocking image and, on some levels, I would call it potentially very offensive and problematic. But I can’t conclude that “the Johnsons” are necessarily a family in trouble, simply due to the controversial photo that floated around in 2015 and has now resurfaced in the Duggar Family News Group. I would need more information to come to that definitive conclusion. What I will state is that I think the picture is tone deaf, and it wasn’t a smart idea to put it on social media. Even if it was meant jokingly, supposedly as a dig at the stereotype of women nagging too much, when it comes to these kinds of images, particularly when children are involved, people are going to get upset.

Hawkes posted the following (now deleted) comment on Facebook in 2015:

I’m not sure this explanation necessarily helped her case…

There were also some responses to the photo back in 2015. For example, I found this blog post written by a woman named Deborah Cruz. Her opinion was titled “Why the Peace on Earth Holiday Photo Doesn’t Infuriate Me”– clever enough, I guess, since the photo did infuriate a lot of people. People, no doubt, eagerly clicked on that post just to read about, and indignantly comment on, what a misogynistic jerk Deborah Cruz really is (for not being infuriated)… only to find out that Cruz was on the negative side of the issue. She wasn’t “infuriated” about the photo; she was “saddened”, because she couldn’t imagine how anyone would think taking that photo was okay.

Again… I don’t think I would necessarily jump to negative conclusions about this family based only on the photo. It could have simply been posted due to ignorance or a serious lapse in judgment. But, the fact is, this joking image is reality for a lot of women in the world. There are many out there who are literally or figuratively bound and gagged, and they have no voice, because of their personal circumstances, bad luck, or even voluntary choices.

On the other hand, there are also women out there who actually enjoy this sort of thing– seriously— and are enthusiastic participants. But then, that particular “kinky” lifestyle choice does not seem to be what the photo is about. It seems to be about the joys of silencing women and girls, and that’s not cool, or politically correct, even in jest. I am not a big fan of PC culture, but I understand that it’s kind of the way of the world nowadays. If you don’t want to be PC, you can expect that a bunch of people will pile on you, especially on social media. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a tendency to react first and think later.

Regardless, I do not think it was a good idea to involve children in staging that photo. I’m not really a fan of kids being in a lot of photos online, anyway, but to show little girls being depicted as bound and gagged, even as a “joke”, is just a terrible idea on many levels. Especially when their little brother is not bound and gagged, and is shown seemingly cheering on his mother’s and sisters’ “predicament”.

It seems clear that the family was trying to make a lame joke and it really flopped, big time. I’m not sure I would make the automatic leap to domestic violence that some people made in 2015, and are now making since the photo resurfaced, at least not without more information. One person commented that it looked like this family kept having kids until they got a boy. I don’t know how that person jumped to that conclusion, not knowing anything about this couple. It’s entirely likely they always planned for three kids. Or maybe he was an “oops”, like I was. There’s really no telling, and I can’t make the leap based on one tacky holiday photo.

I have a friend who had two sons from her first marriage, then got remarried and wanted to have just one more baby with her second husband. Surprise! She got pregnant with twin girls, then in the six months after they were born, she got pregnant again with a son. She had her tubes tied when he was born, because she certainly never planned for five kids, and definitely didn’t want any more babies. But, based on that one commenter’s observation of that photo, my friend might have been trying for a boy. Even if it that were true, what’s wrong with it? Sometimes, I think people really go too far with the armchair analyses, although I suppose I am as guilty as anyone is when it comes to that.

A lot of people reacted to the photo with extreme negativity, and claimed that it “promoted abuse”. Even from a money making standpoint, it was a pretty bad idea. I don’t know if Hannah Hawkes is still in business, but it does look like her Facebook page is deleted. Based on her comment, it sounds like she got a whole lot of heat and the wrong kind of attention for taking that picture.

It may have gotten to the point at which Hawkes was canceled, or she may have decided to cancel herself. If that’s what happened, I think it’s a shame. I’m not a big fan of “canceling” people, since canceling people can have devastating effects on people’s lives that might not fit their “crimes”. I also dislike mob mentality, since I don’t think it should be up to private individuals to act as judge, jury, and executioner. Hawkes is probably a perfectly nice person who had a lapse in judgment. Hopefully she learned from it, and didn’t let this setback derail her career.

But yes, just for the record, I don’t think the photo was in good taste at all, and regardless of the family’s intentions, I agree with whose who deemed it a very bad, or at least unwise, concept. However, as shocked as I was when I first saw that photo last night, I can see on Pinterest, that it wasn’t even an original idea. Other families have posted similar photos of wives and daughters bound and gagged during the Christmas season, along with a sign reading “Peace on Earth” or “Silent Night”. And in one photo, the child is the one who has bound her parents in Christmas lights, but everybody’s smiling.

I guess this situation just goes to show that one bad idea preserved online can last forever…

AND FINALLY, ONE LAST TOPIC…

Sorry I didn’t mention this in the post title, but yesterday, I watched this outrageous video by Mama Doctor Jones, aka Dr. Danielle Jones, OB-GYN… She’s being taken to task in Alaska for her so-called “racy” content that “promotes abortion”. I’m not going to opine more about this video in this post, since I think this topic deserves its own post and plenty of rantings from yours truly. However, I did want to share the video with the interested, to give you all a chance to see it before I go off about it. I’ll probably write about it later today or maybe tomorrow, because people are just plain stupid. Especially conservative white men who have an anti-woman/pro-life/pro-gun agenda to push as they claim how much they “love freedom”.

People in Fairbanks, Alaska who are shitting on Mama Doctor Jones’s outstanding and informative YouTube channel need to get a life.

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healthcare, politicians, politics, rants

The Party of Family Values, my ass!

Last night, I read a New York Times article about how the Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to block the Abortion Law in Texas. The Biden administration is planning to challenge the law, giving the Supreme Court Justices the opportunity to take another look at it.

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of people commenting about the article. Quite a few comments came from conservative white men, many of whom wanted to know why women didn’t simply “abstain” from having sex. I had to have a laugh at that. In my experience, it’s usually not the women who are wanting sex the most. I mean, yes, there are lots of women who enjoy having sex, but I think men are the ones who are mostly driven to have it.

As we all know, when a woman gets pregnant, she’s usually pregnant for nine months. A man, on the other hand, can do his part in creating babies with a woman, then do the same thing with another woman the next day… and the day after that… and the day after that…

So why are we so focused on women when it comes to stopping abortion? Why aren’t we more focused on the men?

No… I don’t support forced vasectomies, just as I don’t think women should either be denied or forced to have abortions (and when I was a social worker, I did have a minor client who was forced to have an abortion she didn’t want). But I do think a lot of men need to be shaken up a little bit and reminded that if they’re so against abortion, there are things that they can do to stop them. For one thing, they can stop having sex for fun. Do you think that’s extreme? It’s what the men often tell women when this issue comes up. So many of them seem to think pregnancy should be punishment for what they deem as immoral, “slutty”, behavior. They don’t seem to think of the aftermath of what happens to the poor child who could be born into that situation.

A lot of men want to blame women for “getting themselves pregnant”. But no woman gets pregnant by herself. I’ve never seen a man’s name on a medical bill for a pregnant woman’s care, though. And I’ve never head of a biological man having to be on bed rest during a pregnancy. And when the baby is born, the man often has an easier time of going back to work. There’s no healing involved… no breastmilk coming in… no postpartum health issues.

Anyway, I managed to restrain myself from commenting too much on that particular piece, although I did comment that sometimes abortions are medically indicated. I added that at no time is it anyone’s business when someone else chooses to have one. A lot of women were adding their thoughts, and one guy was taking them on, one by one. He asked me what medical conditions might require a woman to have an abortion.

Seriously, guy? My response was that I wasn’t wasting my Friday night to teach this dude about obstetrics and gynecology. Instead, I directed him to the excellent video by Mama Doctor Jones that I’ve already shared in this blog more than once. She very clearly spells out why this new law, Senate Bill 8, is very bad news. Here’s the video again for those who missed it.

As Mama Doctor Jones pointed out, people who are pregnant are always at a higher risk than people who aren’t.

But, in short terms, someone who is pregnant and happens to have any kind of chronic disease, like diabetes, or lupus, or cancer, or someone who has mental health or addiction issues, or someone who can barely support themselves… those are all people who might benefit from having the choice to have an abortion. And there are other situations that may make someone consider terminating a pregnancy. At no time is it anyone else’s business.

I finally navigated away from the infuriating comments from the men on that thread and went to sleep. Then this morning, I woke up to this headline from the Washington Post— “Republicans fault Buttigieg for time off with newborns. Democrats say he’s showing the need for paid parental leave.“. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, became parents of two newborns in August. They spent over a year trying to adopt the babies, often coming close to success, only to have their hopes dashed. They finally got their wish, and now the couple is rightly taking parental leave.

Republicans, who often refer to themselves as The Party of Family Values, apparently don’t think it’s cool that Buttigieg is taking time to bond with his new babies. Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, actually mocked Buttigieg for taking paternity leave, saying

“Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went…”

So… basically, the Republican Party is all for family values, as long as they’re “traditional”. All of these Republican men are so against abortion, but then they mock two dedicated parents for taking time off to nurture their new families? Republicans want to force women to give birth, but they object to allowing new parents time to actually care for their babies? That doesn’t seem very “family friendly” to me.

Many Republicans probably just don’t like the idea of homosexuals raising families. That’s a real shame, since most of my homosexual friends and relatives are some of the finest people I know and are wonderful parents. They certainly understand the importance of a loving and supportive family. Too many of them have been cast out of their families simply due to who they choose to love.

Now… I’m not saying that all Republicans are homophobes. I’m sure there are plenty of people who identify as conservative, but aren’t actually homophobic. The trouble is, too few of them are in public office. The United States is unusual among developed nations for not recognizing the need for parents–both male and female– to be able to take family leave. Slowly, things are changing. Bill told me this morning that even the Army is allowing new dads to take leave. I’m sure the positive effects of that policy will become apparent in the future.

President Biden is trying to introduce new policies that will make the United States a more family friendly place. Maybe if we had more policies that made having babies and raising children easier, there would be fewer abortions. Just a thought.

Republicans want women to have babies no matter what, but they don’t support allowing parents to actually take care of those babies. So what does that mean? The baby goes to a child care facility while the parent goes right back to work? Aren’t these the same people bitching about socialism and government overreach? Okay, so maybe the child care facility is privately owned and run… and super expensive! Wouldn’t it be better if we allowed the parents of babies to actually take care of their babies when they’re super young?

Recently, Buttigieg has been more present on the job. He recently commented about his new role on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:

“It’s been wonderful,” Buttigieg said during that appearance. “It’s everything people tell you to expect and more. I think the biggest thing that has surprised me is just how much joy there is, even sometimes in the hard parts. Don’t get me wrong — it’s the most demanding thing I think I’ve ever done, that Chasten and I have ever taken on, but it’s just amazing.”

He sounds like a good dad to me. A good, and present, dad makes for a healthier family.

Even Fox News gives new parents six weeks of leave– which is not enough, in my opinion. But, in March of this year, “Fox & Friends” co-host Todd Piro took six weeks of paternity leave after his daughter’s birth. Piro was grateful for the time to spend with his new baby girl.

“I cannot thank Fox enough for providing all fathers who work here with such a generous paternity leave,” Piro wrote in an op-ed in April. “This experience has changed me in a profound way and in ways I won’t fully comprehend until my daughter is older. But for now — that smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles — is what I will cherish the most.”

And other Fox hosts have also praised having the chance to take leave. When his third child was born in April 2021, Fox News host Jesse Watters admitted that he now supports paid paternity leave.

“Now I am pro-paternity. I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse, but now, you know, I wish I could take six weeks,” Watters said.

But Republicans are still bitching about Pete Buttigieg’s “gall” at taking parental leave. They’re criticizing his leadership potential and making personal insults instead of working with him to make policies that actually benefit American families. They’re trying to force women who aren’t ready to have babies to stay pregnant, while denying them any assistance that would help them have healthy babies and actually raise those babies into well-adjusted and well-prepared adults.

Meanwhile, Democrats are lauding the idea of parental leave, as well as leave that would allow people to care for their sick and aging parents. Bill and I are in the “sandwich generation”– that stage of life in which we might have been really squeezed if we’d had children. So far, we aren’t affected the way many of our peers are– I have friends who are caring for their children, as well as their elderly parents. It really puts a strain on middle aged people and, frankly, makes them vulnerable to chronic diseases themselves.

I don’t think Republicans actually are the The Party of Family Values. I think they are The Party of Greed, Sexism, and Racism, and trying to control women’s bodies. There’s much more to living than working and making money. The conservative men, many of whom are drunk on their own toxic masculinity, ought to step aside and think about this for a minute. They say they’re against abortions because it’s an assault on the “sanctity of life”. They say adoption is a better choice. But Pete and Chasten Buttigieg have adopted two babies, and now they’re getting their chops busted by Republicans who mock them for wanting to have a family…

I guess “family values” for Republicans only apply to traditional couples. What a shame. I think Pete and Chasten Buttigieg are going to be fabulous parents. I wish them well, and I’m glad they took some time to adapt to their new life roles. All Americans should have that opportunity. Republicans should embrace the idea, especially if they’re serious about wanting to curtail abortions. Stop the slut shaming and moralizing and actually make some policies that would make the prospect of having children more workable and feasible.

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healthcare, law, politics, rants, YouTube

Women behind bars are having a bloody awful time handling their periods…

Last week, I wrote a post about how adorable YouTuber, Mama Doctor Jones, who is an OB-GYN and mom to four, did a video about a woman who had a baby while she was incarcerated. I was really moved by Mama Doctor Jones’ reaction video to Jessica Kent’s story. Next thing I knew, I was on Jessica Kent’s YouTube channel, which is full of interesting videos about her time in prison. Jessica Kent is tiny, well-spoken, and apparently sober, having spent much of her youth in trouble with the law.

I haven’t yet familiarized myself with all of Jessica’s story, but I have watched a bunch of her videos. As I listen to how this fiery young woman wound up on the wrong side of the law, I can’t help but wonder what might have happened to her if she’d never gotten arrested. She’s very bright and articulate, and I think she’s determined to go far. Jessica has obviously embraced the power of the Internet, and has a presence all over social media. She’s pursuing a college degree, but I wonder if she’s already making a lot of money creating videos for YouTube.

Last night, I watched a video by Jessica Kent that made me very angry. It was about how she and her fellow female inmates in Arkansas were forced to make tampons out of the maxi pads doled out to them. Jessica explains that female prisoners in Arkansas are not given tampons and, in fact, can only get really poor quality maxi pads– and just two per day at that. Jessica says the pads are state issued, and she’s never seen the type of pads the state issues for sale outside of the prison walls. Because the pads are so poorly made, they have to be turned into tampons, which last longer than the pads do. So Jessica made a video to demonstrate how to make the tampons.

This is absolutely infuriating!

More than once, Jessica implores her viewers not to try to make these “tampons” at home, since the pad she’s using is not really the type she would have used in prison. Apparently, the pads we can get at the store are too “cottony” and “powdery”. In any case, I can’t imagine why someone would want to make a tampon like this if they weren’t incarcerated and forced to do so.

Jessica says that not all states have this draconian limit on feminine hygiene supplies in their prisons. For instance, when she was incarcerated in her home state of New York, Jessica had no problem getting all she needed for that little feminine monthly chore. New York, of course, is a blue state, and human rights are apparently more valued up north.

For some reason, the powers that be running the prisons in Arkansas think that two maxi pads per day are all a female prison inmate needs when she’s menstruating. I think about my own menstrual habits and realize how disgusting and unhygienic that is. As a woman, and a person with a public health educational background, it amazes me that prison officials in Arkansas are allowed to get away with this practice. At the very least, it seems like it would be a serious health risk to everyone who is incarcerated. Many diseases, some of which cannot be cured, are spread via blood exposure. Plus, it’s just so nasty!

I read in another article that, in some prisons, women who can’t get proper feminine hygiene supplies will pass up visits with family or their attorneys when they have their periods. They have to wait until they can get their laundry done, before they’re not sitting in their own blood. Kimberly Haven, the author of that article, writes that before and after each visit, inmates are strip searched, and have to squat and cough. The whole process is so demoralizing and horrifying that a lot of female inmates would prefer to skip it, even though attorneys and family members are powerful advocates for the inmates.

In another article, I read about how, in Connecticut, two female cellmates would have to share five state issued maxi pads among themselves. Every woman is different, of course, so there’s no way to tell how long a period is going to be and how often feminine hygiene products need to be changed. But the inmates in Connecticut also had to learn how to stretch their products out, sometimes by reusing them. The inmates in Connecticut could purchase supplies from the commissary, but for those who don’t have money, that $2.63 cost might mean one less phone call home or not being able to pay for a visit to the prison doctor. Also, realize that prison jobs often pay very little– like 20 or 30 cents an hour. It takes a long time to make enough money to buy the proper supplies if there’s no one on the outside helping.

I have stated before in this blog that I’m not a big fan of incarceration, but I especially dislike inhumane treatment toward people who are incarcerated. Yes, it’s true that the best thing for anyone to do is to avoid going to prison in the first place, but people who are locked up are not going to improve their behavior if they’re treated cruelly. Forcing women to handle their body functions in this way is demeaning and cruel, and it doesn’t deter crime. Prison is supposed to be unpleasant– it shouldn’t be dangerous and unhealthy.

According to my reading:

In 2017, then-Sen. Kamala Harris and her colleagues Sens. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Richard Durbin introduced a bill to provide free menstrual products to incarcerated people in federal women’s prisons. The Federal Bureau of Prisons issued a guidance memo, separate from Harris’ bill, mandating that menstrual products be available to all incarcerated people in federal correctional facilities at no cost shortly after. In 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act, a more general justice reform effort that included access to menstrual products. 

So… if you’re a woman who goes to a federal lockup, or a prison in a blue state, you’re more likely to be able to take care of these basic body function needs. But there’s no legislation in most states that require state prisons to accommodate menstrual periods. Frankly, I think that’s a sin, and I would love to see some high profile lawsuits happen that force states to do a better job in this area. In a wealthy country like the United States, this unsanitary practice should be outlawed. We’re supposed to be “better” than this… although I think many Americans are fooling themselves thinking that the United States is a civilized country. When we have female prisoners who are sitting in their own menstrual blood every month for want of adequate feminine hygiene supplies, we’ve lost the right to refer to ourselves as “civilized”.

It’s also unfair that prisons don’t automatically take care of this issue, since this is not a problem that male prisoners have to face. In fact, men don’t even need toilet paper as much as women do, but according to Jessica’s videos, women in Arkansas prisons only get two rolls a week. That’s really not much, especially when it’s that time of the month. But a lot of men involved with making laws don’t want to hear about this problem. It’s too “gross” for them. The first paragraph of an article in the Public Health Post opens with:

When Arizona’s all-male House of Representatives heard House Bill 2222 on feminine hygiene products, Representative Jay Lawrence said “I’m almost sorry I heard the bill…I didn’t expect to hear about pads and tampons and the problems of periods.” Introduced by Rep. Athena Salman, Arizona House Bill 2222 allocates funds to provide women in state prisons with unlimited and free access to feminine hygiene products. Access to sanitary menstrual products is considered a basic human right in European prisons. Not so in the US.

Wow, Jay… you’ve shown us just who you are with your lack of compassion or comprehension of how necessary it is for you, and your male colleagues, to hear a bill about providing necessary supplies for women who menstruate. I wonder if Jay Lawrence can even fathom how humiliating and shaming it is for a woman to have to deal with this problem when she can’t get the supplies she needs. Does he have any women in his life that he loves? What an asshole.

Aside from how gross, messy, and unsanitary this problem is, the practice of turning pads into tampons could potentially be unsafe or even deadly. Consider that the inmates probably don’t have the cleanest surfaces for improvising these products and they may not be able to keep themselves optimally clean. Then they’re sticking the tampons into their body orifices, where the improvised tampon might abrade the skin or otherwise introduce pathogens into the body. An inmate could potentially get very sick or even wind up with toxic shock syndrome doing this. Toxic shock syndrome can lead to sepsis, which can cause a person to lose limbs or even their lives.

A tampon did this to Lauren Wasser.

Model Lauren Wasser, who was not incarcerated when she left a tampon in too long and got toxic shock syndrome, lost BOTH of her legs to the sickness. She very nearly died.

I know a lot of people don’t care about the plight of prisoners. Personally, I still see them as human beings who are entitled to decent, respectful, and humane care when they are incarcerated. And part of being humane is making it possible for people in custody to be able to take care of private, personal body functions like menstrual periods. I know I would support legislation requiring that clean and hygienic feminine hygiene products be made available to women in prisons. I hope others can see how important this is.

And… once again… I am so glad menopause is around the corner.

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