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Archive for November, 2015

This is a spur of the minute blog, and I’m not going to write much. Maybe I will do a longer post later. I just wanted to throw something out there for some people to think about:

“‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”  LEVITICUS 19:33-34

I try to keep away from posts that are extremely controversial. I try to not be a very controversial person when it’s someone other than a close friend/relative around. However, I don’t think many people are avoiding this topic. The idea of letting Syrian refugees and other Middle Eastern people into the country is terrifying. Why? Because there is always that chance that there will be a terrorist amongst them. There’s a chance that one or more of them are lying and pretending to be something they are not so they can get inside the country and kill more people. HOWEVER, I am firmly of the belief that we can’t stop them from coming in. I really am. I thought about it, and even the part of me that was scared couldn’t say we can stop the refugees. Whether you’re religious or not doesn’t matter. It seems to be mostly conservative Christians that are against letting in the refugees, but I’m not going to stereotype. There are people from all walks of life that are against and also for it. I think the above quote was quite fitting, whether the Bible is something you live by or not.

And here’s the thing: the bad guys always find a way in. Is it harder if our guard is up? Yes. But there is always a way. And they are the kind of people that aren’t going to be discouraged if we as a country decide to stop the immigration. I mean…what about the planes that crashed into the towers? Obviously there are always people who will go to extremes to get what they want. There are people who are not afraid to die or to make others go to their deaths for this.

Every country in the world can erect a giant wall and allow no one in or out, but is that really how we want this to go? Is that how we want to live?

There are terrorists of every color and race. Men and women. We can’t stop them by stereotyping or through hate. In fact, this hatred for the people trying to escape the terrorists and their ways of life just fuels the fire that we are terrible and should be annihilated.

I’m not looking to change anyone’s heart with this. But perhaps it will serve as a thinking point. I can walk into a movie theatre tomorrow and be shot by someone who hates Americans, hates whites, or hates women. Or who just hates. Am I scared of that happening? Yes. Do I wish to do what I can to stop it? Yes. Does that mean I will never leave my house again? I could do that. But do I want to live that way?

 

_AV

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Yes, I consider myself a feminist. If I said I wasn’t, all of my close friends and close family members would yell “Liar!” at me. I say “close” because I don’t typically go around shouting feminist things at people I’m not that close to…but if they choose to ask or a topic is brought up, it would stop being a secret after about two seconds into my thoughts and opinions.

As with probably many of people, I started hearing about and reading about the idea of “free bleeding” when Kiran Gandhi ran her marathon on her period without anything–no tampons, no pads, no menstrual cup, and none of those new underwear inventions that’s supposed to catch all of your period blood. Just free bleeding, as the name says.

Since then, I have heard both opinions loud and clear (it’s gross and disgusting–it’s amazing and liberating), and I have also become aware of the fact that it started as a hoax on 4chan. I have read several articles ridiculing people for “falling” for this hoax, but the thing is, if enough people “fall” for it and then carry it on, and then more people start following it, especially in action, it eventually becomes less of a hoax and more of a start-up fad. No, there are not even thousands, let alone millions, of women following this. However, it seems enough people are getting on board that I would say–it started out as a hoax, but people kind of changed it to their own thing.

I’m going to post three article links at the end of this blog, and one talks about the history of the idea of free bleeding. It started before this internet hoax, as I’m sure many of you could imagine. And just as a side note, I’m referring to people in first world countries who have complete access to and the means to provide for themselves “feminine products” but are choosing to say women shouldn’t use them or that they are not going to use them. I am obviously not referring to poorer areas/countries and people who have no choice because they can’t afford such things or have no access to them. I imagine it takes several different paths when you have no choice in the matter, and that is a discussion for another day.

My stance on the idea: I believe people should be free to do whatever they want to do with their bodies, so long as it doesn’t harm other people; however, for this particular idea, there is no way and no how I would ever do it myself or recommend it to anyone else. And it’s not due to anti-feminist thoughts or the idea that “menstrual blood is gross.”

First off, I think a large percentage of people over the age of 18 (and I’m aiming high for the boys’ sake) know that women have menstrual cycles and what that means. In fact, more than the actual science behind it, I would argue most people know that “menstruating” means that women bleed more than anything else about it. It’s not a surprise. Are some rules in school and workplaces outdated surrounding that? I’m sure. They probably wouldn’t appreciate women opening tampons or pads and passing them around the class/workplace, just like you’re not supposed to show bras or even bra-straps at most schools and workplaces. Obviously most people there are aware of the fact that most women wear bras. It is, in fact, usually more obvious when women are not wearing bras (not saying it’s bad, just saying you can usually tell). But there are rules stating we pretend they are not there. Why? Because most things written into rules and codes are usually outdated and speak of a long ago time…for example, there has been a lot of talk in the last decade or so about how laws are not updated enough to deal with internet and text/phone crimes. Does that mean everyone thinks these rules are up-to-date and fair? No…it just means either it’s too much of a hassle to fix them or amend them, or no one has decided to be less lazy and do something about it. Or the people up on top really do think these rules need to be there, because there are some people who are outdated and really old fashion in their thinking.

I’m not denying old fashion thinking doesn’t exist. I’m arguing it might not be as prevalent as a lot of people think it is. It’s just that the people in charge or in power tend to be older people, and they tend to be the majority of the people who are old fashion thinkers.

My second point, is that I don’t know of too many *men* who think menstruating is gross. None of my male friends, or my dad or husband, would ever respond “Ewwwwww, gross!!!” if I said I’m having cramps or I’m on my period or it’s “that time of the month.” Would my male boss/head of the department get a funny look on his face if I just said, oh, yeah, totally having cramps today because blood is coming out of my vagina for the next five days? YES. Why? Because I don’t have any familiarity with him, I don’t have that kind of rapport with him, and it’s unprofessional. Being unprofessional does not make it anti-feminist. Would I get a funny look on my face if he said to me, I really have to go and poop? YES. There are some things you don’t say in certain places, situations, and to people. It’s natural to have to do that…but why tell me? I don’t know you, and that’s a little too much information in the work place when you’re not a friend. Would some people be cool with either scenario no matter the relationship? Yes. Some people just are naturally okay with anything and some people try really hard to prove they are okay with everything. That doesn’t make it wrong for others to not be okay with it.

Do *boys* and immature males think menstruating is gross? Yes. However, men do not, so do not offend the men in your life by holding them accountable for what other people not in their category say and do. Boys think everything is gross. If I said to my husband or a close male friend, “I am in so much pain. This period is so bad, I’m literally bleeding through a pad every hour,” they would be concerned. Ask if they could do something. Or, at the very least, be sympathetic–that sucks…glad I don’t have to go through that. Which seems flippant, but it is sympathetic in theory.

Finally, I am posting below an article about how period blood is not unsanitary and how that should not be an argument about why women shouldn’t free bleed. The same sentiment was also echoed in another one of the articles, I believe. I am not a doctor or a scientist, and neither are these writers, so I can’t argue for sure one way or the other. My instant reaction is that it’s not sanitary to get your blood on things that other people might touch. If I cut my finger, are people concerned? If it’s bad enough, yes. However, do people run over and start rubbing my blood all over themselves? No. Medical professionals would put on gloves before dealing with all of the blood draining from my finger. The only time people would not worry about it would be if the wound was so bad that there was instant panic and a loved one was trying to help. They obviously wouldn’t worry about blood contact. I’m fairy confident in saying there are blood transmitted diseases. Maybe that doesn’t happen with menstrual blood. Maybe it does. If anyone reading this knows for sure one way or the other, please let me know. But, unlike the article that ranks bodily fluids in terms of how “gross” and “unsanitary” people think they are, I strongly argue against period blood being the worse. I think if I saw a lady walking into work with blood on her pants, I would not be even disgusted. But if I saw a lady walking into work and it was clear she had feces in her pants and seeping out, I would be disgusted. Sorry, but I would be. Same with urine. Would you be okay with men walking around just peeing in their pants and leaving it all day? I wouldn’t be. No way. I would say, that’s unsanitary…clean yourself up. It’s not anti feminist. It’s a concern for hygiene. As a society, we are concerned with hygiene. Even if you can’t get diseases from menstrual blood unlike regular blood, not everyone knows that (obviously…I don’t). So they would just automatically think that might be a problem.

Also, you would ruin other people’s stuff if it were acceptable in public. Work chairs, bus seats, friends’ vehicles…everything would have old blood stains and new blood stains on it. That would not be okay with me.

And as a final point, there is another point to address that one of the articles brought up. It was something along the lines of, if someone cuts their finger, people are concerned. If someone is bleeding in their pants, everyone is disgusted. I already said why not everyone is disgusted. Some people would be, others would not. There’s also the point that some people either faint or get faint at the sight of blood. Two branches here. First, if someone cuts their finger, they injured themselves. Your period is not an injury. It can cause some women a lot of pain, but it’s not a sudden injury to yourself. So why would someone be concerned if you had your period? And that’s why someone is concerned about another one cutting his finger. No one would probably be disgusted that you cut your finger, because, again, it’s a sudden, unintentional injury. You didn’t mean to do it, and you might need help (if it’s a bad cut). Second branch–If it wasn’t immediately obvious that it was menstrual blood, or if I reacted without thinking because free bleeding is not a norm, I would in fact be concerned if I saw someone with blood in their pants or running down their leg. There is more than one reason why someone would be bleeding in that general area (and you wouldn’t know which one, back or front, if there are pants on and it’s staining everywhere). If you have really bad ulcers in your colon or some forms of medical colon issues, you can bleed from your anus, and it’s a medical emergency. So there’s one reason for alarm. Two, miscarriages. Let me tell you about the time I started bleeding from my vagina and was not wearing a pad, so luckily it wasn’t that heavy at first. I was having a miscarriage. That is also a medical emergency in some cases. If the woman is far enough along, she needs to go to a hospital pretty quickly to make sure she stops bleeding, etc. So, yes, I would be concerned. When I have my period, there are times and days I’m pretty pale and look sick from either pain or going slightly anemic. So if you saw a lady with blood in her pants, pale, and looking like she was in pain, would you go, “OMG, gross, is that PERIOD BLOOD?” Or would you say, “Um, excuse me, are you okay??? Do you want me to get/call someone?” I think for most adults, it would be the second one (assuming someone around them was aware and concerned enough to even try to help).

All in all, whether this semi-hoax beginning will soon come to an end, or whether it will pick up some speed and more support from the general population, I don’t think it’s anti-feminist or misogynistic to not be behind free bleeding, whether you’re a guy or a girl. General concern about having blood everywhere is, I think, a general concern. It’s “disgusting” in that most people think you can transfer diseases through menstrual blood like regular blood (again, I’m holding off on whether that’s true or not), in that it stains everything and is generally hard to get out, and in that it does have a strong, not pleasant odor when there’s a lot and especially when it’s old. That does not make having a period disgusting. I think there are a lot of things out there that most people find cumbersome, uncomfortable, and just not fair that they have to do (wearing bras, wearing pants, public restrooms, etc)…but they do them anyways because we live with other people, familiar and strangers. If you’re in private, do what you will. If you’re out and about, you do have to consider other people to a point. This is just another one of those times.

Articles:

https://queerguesscode.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/its-not-unsanitary-period/

http://www.thedebrief.co.uk/news/real-life/free-bleeding-20150951976

http://www.bustle.com/articles/109552-what-is-free-bleeding-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-controversial-menstruation-movement

I’m out.

AV

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I feel like I could write a several page essay about how most Americans have their priorities out of order. I say “most” because I know there are some people that do, and I say “Americans” because I have only lived in America, and I hear more about what’s going on here than anywhere else, so I won’t speak for other countries. If you haven’t seen or heard about Starbuck’s newest holiday coffee disposable cup design, go and check it out. I honestly do not drink coffee or tea or anything of the sort, so I have never set foot inside of a Starbuck’s. I didn’t even know they had a yearly design they came out with for the holidays. Someone who posted about it on facebook stated it was a disposable cup, and I’m going with that, because that’s what it looked like to me when I saw the pictures. Quick description–it is a red ombre design. It goes from almost a bright, cheery red at the top and fades into a dark, deep, blood-red-ish color on the bottom. I actually thought it was rather pretty, as red is high on my list of favorite colors.

The reason this even caught my attention at all is because apparently people are angry about it. I had trouble believing that a cup that looks like that, that you throw away after drinking your drink, could have anyone fired up. So of course I clicked on the article and read about it. Apparently, there have been tweets and some backlash toward Starbucks from the Christian community. They are saying this is an attack on Christmas and how dare they. Again, I knew nothing about the past versions of this holiday cup.  I looked at a couple of different designs. One had ice skates on it and one had snow flakes all over it. Both were red in the background and the patterns were white. I’m sure there have been designs with something more specifically “Christmas-y” on them, but these two designs beg the question of why they weren’t an attack on Christmas. Those two things say “winter” and “cold,” not Christmas.

Even if every other cup ever made by Starbucks had the words MERRY CHRISTMAS just spiraled up and down the cup over and over again, I’m not sure I would automatically make the decision that this is clearly an attack on Christmas. Maybe they got a new designer. Maybe they were freaking tired of the same thing over and over again. Maybe someone likes minimalist art and thought this looked classy (it kind of does, sorry. I’m not even a fan of minimalist art).

And let’s go the other way. Let’s say, the designer did sit there and think, you know what? This year…I’m making a more universally accepted cup. I’m going for something that no one will be able to look at and feel left out, or different, or irritated (hah, joke’s on you…happened even without a design at all!). So they left anything that clearly stated Christian holiday time off of the cup.

So. F*cking. What.

Really? *This* is what you’re going to make a stand against? This is what you’re going to make angry posts and tweets and whatever else about? This is what you feel so passionately about that you’re saying you will never drink at Starbucks again? Let me tell you, there are soooo many other things to be upset and/or angry about. There really, really is. And I understand that you can be angry about multiple things at once, and that sometimes, yes, little petty things set you off. But unless most people are very different from me, if it’s enough to post about, it’s really bothering them. I don’t have the time or energy to track down all of these people and read all of their prior posts, but if they’re posting about how offending and angry they are over this dumb cup, they better also be posting about how angry they are that people are starving in other countries, about how most African villages don’t have clean water, about how people live in oppression in Middle Eastern countries and places like North Korea, about how many children in this country live in inner cities and don’t receive proper education, about how many women are sexually assaulted and receive no justice for this, about some opinion on gun control, about some opinion on controlling the harder drugs that are killing people, about the war on terror, etc.

I mean, I get fired up about dumb things, sure. But I also get fired up, and more fired up, about important topics. And even if this is what you choose to be your end-all rant about society and how terrible it is, at least find something more to do than just tell everyone you’re boycotting Starbucks (and then most likely not follow through with it in a month or two, or, what I consider worse, once the cups disappear, go back to drinking it). Why don’t you organize a huge protest? Start going door to door and getting a petition signed as you pass out a pamphlet you made on the subject stating your opinion and why you feel that way. Start a discussion at work or at the gym or wherever you see people you associate with and convince them that this is a problem.

I’m not sure when this trend started, that everyone is offended by everything and is convinced that if everything in the universe doesn’t cater to them, that they have to flip their lid…but it’s ridiculous. So what if Starbuck’s really doesn’t like Christmas? Oh, no! Do you think there are more people out there like that?? What if you accidentally talk to one of them? Share your food at work with them? Give them a ride to the store some day? Listen, so many people are not actively or at all Christians, and so many people do not like Christmas. It’s fine. Life will continue. If the sales at Starbuck’s is actually hurting after this, I will be shocked.

So next time you pass a Starbuck’s, try thinking about the bigger problems in life. And maybe you will spend your thinking time a little more productively for a bit…

-AV

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