Today is our last day of vacation, and Bill and I really should be heading into Copenhagen to get some last photos. BUT FIRST… I feel compelled to vent my spleen about something I read in the New York Times the other day.
Extraordinarily gifted women’s gymnast Simone Biles has decided to train for her third Olympic Games. Plenty of people commenting on the news article about Ms. Biles were very supportive of her efforts, even though she’s considered “old” for the sport, and even though she withdrew from some events during the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 2021. Simone Biles was, if you recall, suffering from “the twisties”, which made competing even more dangerous than it usually is. She opted out of competing to protect her own health and wellbeing, which I think is her right.
But there were quite a few other comments, mostly from MALES, about how Simone Biles let America down in the last Summer Olympics. It always amazes me what these people think they have the right to comment on. I highly doubt most of the MALES commenting on women’s gymnastics even watch the sport. And a lot of them who do watch it probably just like looking at tiny women in revealing leotards doing death defying stunts.
It’s true that Simone Biles withdrew from several events and took up a spot that another athlete could have filled. But another American ultimately won the Olympic gold medal in the All Around competition, anyway. When I pointed that out, some guy posted that the women’s gymnastics team didn’t get the team gold medal. My reply to that is, “So what?” It’s a fucking medal. It’s not worth someone’s life or health.
Aren’t the Olympics supposed to be about “friendly” sports competitions among the world’s nations? Aren’t we supposed to be practicing good sportsmanship? Why is it so important to win medals? The medal isn’t worth someone’s ability to walk or talk. It’s not worth someone going through life with chronic pain due to preventable injuries brought on by taking risks and failing. It’s certainly not worth DEATH.
Women’s gymnastics at the elite level is a very dangerous sport. Many wonderful, extremely talented athletes have been seriously hurt or even killed due to performing when they weren’t ready or completely prepared. I would not have wanted to see Simone trying to land a difficult vault while she was suffering from the twisties. We would not have wanted to see her fail, especially if her failure included a catastrophic injury broadcasted on live television and the Internet. The Olympic medal is not worth that. It’s toxic to insist that an Olympic gold medal is worth all costs… especially when you’re a MALE who can’t do any of the things Simone makes look easy.
Some guy wanted to argue with me about this and I wrote that he wasn’t going to be someone with whom I should waste my time and energy arguing. I wished him a “nice day”. He wished me luck in my “safe space”. Translation? I bet he’s a Trump supporter who doesn’t see women as valuable in any capacity other than as objects of titillation. He obviously doesn’t care about female athletes as people. I probably shouldn’t have bothered, but I left him a short response… “I’m not in a ‘safe space’. I’m just right about this.” And while I didn’t bother to check his Facebook profile to see which politician he supports, I’m pretty sure I know…
Guys like him wear their political preferences like a badge, not unlike the idiot men I wrote about a few years ago who decided to test out a bullet proof vest while drinking. I knew they were Trump supporters just based on that, and when I checked out their social media profiles, I was proven right.
Simone Biles doesn’t owe anyone a goddamned thing. If she wants to try for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, that’s her prerogative. She may not be successful. Shannon Miller tried to make the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and she failed. Biles may fail, too. But she has the right to try if she wants to, and she should be respected for all she’s done so far. She’s won seven medals for Old Glory. I’m sure that’s way more than the moron male on Facebook has ever won.
It’s not just the athletes who have this ridiculous burden, either. Artists and performers face it, too. Maybe if people hadn’t expected so much of performers like Tom Petty, Karen Carpenter, Prince, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, and the like, they might all still be with us.
I’m sick and tired of toxic macho asswipes who armchair quarterback what extraordinary artists and athletes should be doing with their careers. It’s especially prevalent among men who comment on females. It’s the usual sexist bullshit… and in Biles’s case, it wouldn’t surprise me if racism came into play, too.
These guys have no room to talk about someone like Simone Biles. They probably ought to zip it… but we know they won’t. So I’ll just keep venting about it, as I wish Simone Biles the best of luck with her comeback. I hope she wipes the self-righteous smirks off the faces of the idiots who criticize her… but if she doesn’t manage to do that, that’s alright, too. She’s certainly done her part to “make America great,” and what she’s done is something I’d be proud to show my pseudo grandkids. I can’t say the same thing about Trump and his toxic macho ilk… and those who admire him.
Hi folks. Happy President’s Day. I am still trying to come up with today’s fresh topic, so here’s a repost from December 31, 2018. It’s a little dated, as Trump was still president when I posted it… However, the basic idea is still valid, as a lot of insecure people still have derogatory opinions about people who aren’t like they are. I posted fresh content on the travel blog, and maybe later, I will do so here, too. I just need to come up with something.
Last night, I was reading the comments on an article posted by the Army Times (I had linked it, but the link doesn’t work now) about retired General Stanley McChrystal, who warns about Trump’s plans to cut troops in Afghanistan. I honestly don’t know why I read the article, since this isn’t really a topic that interests me. I think I read it because I recognized McChrystal’s name. But anyway, as usual, I ignored the little voice in my head that always tells me to avoid reading the comments on news articles posted on Facebook, particularly by military types.
It’s no secret that a lot of military folks are die hard Republicans, even though the military lifestyle is a study in socialism. The government provides servicemembers with all sorts of benefits, ranging from housing to medical to educational. And yet, many military people are typically politically conservative. While there are many military servicemembers who are intelligent and thoughtful, and they vote for people over political parties, there are a lot of others who are doggedly persistent in voting for parties over people. Consequently, we end up with immoral and incompetent morons like Donald Trump as our president.
Adding insult to injury is the pervasive stupidity and sexism among some servicemembers. I see comment after comment, typically by insecure men, demeaning people whose opinions don’t line up with their world views. More than one male laments how the Army Times is becoming “liberal”, simply because like most other legitimate news sources, it doesn’t heap praise on Donald Trump or his cronies. And if one points out some of Trump’s many shortcomings, the insults fly with wild abandon, particularly if the other commenter is female.
One comment that I frequently see on publications such as the Army Times is, “Have you served?” It seems that according to some Facebook users, one must have signed up for the military to make a comment about any topic regarding the military. It doesn’t matter if one has been around military people from birth. A person’s experiences working with the military, being married to the military, or having been raised by the military means nothing to these lunkheads. Time after time, I see these uninformed folks bringing up the “oath” they recited to protect and defend the Constitution.
I bet a lot of servicemembers would be very surprised that I, as a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, took the very same oath on August 22, 1995 that they did when they joined the service. Thirty of my American colleagues were with me that day, as I swore “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Servicemembers are not the only ones who take that oath, nor are they they only ones who serve their country.
So what’s bringing on today’s rant? As I was reading people’s thoughts on General McChrystal’s comments regarding Trump’s leadership, I noticed an intelligent and coherent comment made by a brave woman, who wasn’t quick to dismiss McChrystal’s warnings. The man she was engaging immediately responded with, “Slow down there, Dependa!” I almost wish she’d responded with, “Speed up there, Numbnuts.”
For those who have not read my previous rants about the term “dependa”, and don’t know what it means, allow me to offer a quick explanation. “Dependa” is short for “dependapotamus”. It’s in reference to the term “dependent”, which is government-ese for the spouse and children of someone who is serving or has served in the military and receives benefits. There is a pervasive and specific stereotype of woman this term refers to. It’s generally a very uneducated woman who’s fat, ugly, and willing to put out for marriage to a military guy who will give her his benefits. She typically spends all his money, pops out babies, doesn’t have a job or go to school, and thinks her “job” is being a “proud military wife”, to the point of wearing t-shirts and putting “proud Army wife” bumper stickers on her SUV.
I have been around military folks my entire life. In truth, I haven’t run into too many people who fit the “dependa” stereotype, save for Bill’s ex wife. Last night, I read this very disrespectful article about the so-called “dependa” phenomenon. It kind of pissed me off, but at the same time, I have to admit Bill’s ex does fit the description quite well, at least when they first got married. And Bill, bless his heart, did fall for her bullshit, in part, because he was lonely. It’s true that I despise Bill’s ex wife, but if I’m honest and objective, she was a high school dropout; she has five kids by three men– all three of whom were once in the military; she did drain Bill’s bank account; and she was very interested in his benefits. But never mind that… I’m sure there must be others like Ex, since this is such a pervasive insult among military types.
What makes me sad, though, are the people who automatically label any spouse or family member a “dependa”. It doesn’t matter who she is (and it’s almost always a she). She could have a full time job and make more money than her husband does. She’s still a “dependa” in the eyes of some of these boneheads. She could have never had children, wear a size four dress, and be working on her Ph.D. She’s still a “dependa”, if she’s married to a guy in the military. And as a dependa, her comments are irrelevant and easily dismissed. Actually, a woman with education seems to be even more offensive to some of these folks. They complain about uneducated, unemployed women who act like leeches, but God forbid you go beyond a simple bachelor’s degree. Then, you don’t know your place and need to be knocked down a peg or two.
Anyway, I noticed that the guy who wrote “Slow down there, Dependa” must have been threatened by the intelligent remarks made by the woman he was addressing. I think if you must immediately insult a stranger in a retort to them, you must not be very sure of your own standing. To the woman’s credit, she defended her decidedly “not dependa” status, clarifying that she has a degree and earns as much money as her husband does. And she called him an “ass” for insulting her with that degrading label.
I would have included their exchange in this post, but by the time I went back to find it, it had disappeared. I wonder why. I haven’t noticed the Army Times deleting offensive comments, so maybe the guy who wrote “Slow down there, Dependa” felt badly for writing it. He should feel bad about that. Are there any women in his life that he loves? Would he want them to be called “dependa” or some other derogatory name, simply because of where her spouse works?
Some people probably think of me as a “dependa”, although I’m not uneducated and have never had children. I suppose it’s less offensive to me to be called that by people who’ve met me or even know me online. In fairness, I do sponge off of my husband, although I don’t spend his money on Coach bags or abuse the Tricare system.
But this was an exchange between two strangers. The guy who immediately tossed out the “dependa” insult didn’t even pretend to take the woman’s comments seriously. He simply made those comments because she’s female and married to someone in the military. And, it was very obvious to me that she way outpaced him in the intelligence department. That’s probably why he felt he had to insult her. He clearly couldn’t hold a candle to her mental acuity and couldn’t stand the idea that she’s obviously smarter than he is.
This is certainly not the only time I’ve written about this subject. Unfortunately, I’ve read a lot of sexist, demeaning, insulting, and downright nasty comments from men who lack the ability to be civilized on social media. It won’t change. I shouldn’t read comments on the Army Times… but on the positive side, at least this kept me from reading more blog posts by Roosh V.
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 heard 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.
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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