That bathoom battle is back

When North Carolina passed the infamous bathroom law, which prohibited trans people from using the bathroom of their perfered gender, it caused so much protest that it seemed like a dead duck.

President Obama weighed in and said that federally funded schools could not prevent trans kids from peeing in the right bathroom.

But now it’s all coming back, and with the Trump/Pence combo announcing they are going to repeal as many of Obama’s laws as possible, in particular about LBGT rights.

They are convinced that the country is full of evil trans woman who are really men in a dress who are going to assault their daughters in the bathroom.

The irony of Trump complaining about evil men going into a place where young girls are getting dressed…..

I’ll just mention the one thing everyone seems to be forgetting. While they are worrying about trans women (who ARE women, even if some of them stand up to pee) going into the women’s bathrooms and want them to use the men’s bathrooms, that means sending all the trans men into the women’s bathroom.

Men like Buck Angel

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Or Laith Ashley

trans-man

Or Loren Cameron

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Or Eli Perry

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I could go on, with so many pix of hot trans guys, but I’m trying to behave.

Just bear in mind that when you insist trans people use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth gender, you are not only sending women into the men’s bathroom, you are sending some seriously hot men into the women’s bathroom.

Just saying….

 

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Pockets are a feminist issue

Pockets are a feminist issue.

I found the perfect pair of trousers in Penny’s recently. Black velvet, long enough for my legs, and most important, with pockets. I got home, tried them on and they were comfortable and flattering. So I went right back to Penney’s to buy another couple of pairs.

Grabbed them off the rail and took them home in triumph. I was sorted for the next six months.

Put one pair on this morning and discovered they didn’t have pockets. Only the first pair did. Still, they looked good, felt great, so no problem?

Until I picked up my phone, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and some cotton wool balls (we have a badly trained lurcher, don’t judge) and headed down the stairs. First problem. No pockets meant my hands were now full, and I was going down the stairs without being able to use the bannisters. And that badly trained lurcher had left hair brushes, a hot water bottle, a pine cone and a couple of plastic bottle strewn on the stairs. I did make it downstairs safely, but only just.

And throughout history, this has been a factor for women. It’s not too bad now, when we can wear trousers, and stairs are built with steps all the same size, but for a woman in a long skirt, it’s essential to have a firm grip on the stair railing or you risk breaking your neck. And if you have anything in your hand, you have to chose between holding your skirt up, or holding the railing.

Hence the necessity for pockets.

Every woman is aware of how difficult it is to get clothes with decent pockets. Even jeans which come with five pockets, tend to have ones so small that they are fashion details and totally useless. “Putting anything in the pockets will spoil the line of the garment,” the fashion guru says. “You don’t want to look lumpy, do you?”

jeans-no-pockets

Actually, I’d put up with a few lumps if to be able to carry my wallet, phone and keys in safety.

Oddly, men don’t seem to have the same problem. Lumps are not a deterrent to masculine pockets. They have pockets that can hold their stuff, as well as a decent hanky, and if you are American, even the odd hand gun.

One of the funny things at fetish events is seeing men coping with the lack of pockets, often for the first time in their lives.

Even babies’ clothes have better pockets than most women’s clothes.

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It’s not just a minor inconvenience. It can put women in danger. Everyone has to carry the same stuff – phone, money, credit cards, keys, perhaps medication, tissues, a comb, a pen. Nothing big, but all stuff that’s necessary. Without pockets that will hold those items, you need a bag. This effectively means that women are functioning with one and a half arms, since keeping hold of the bag takes attention.

A bag which holds your valuables is a magnet for thieves. So you have to be aware of security at all times. You can’t just walk through the streets, swinging your arms and enjoying the exercise. That bag is makes you a potential victim.

When you go shopping, you have to mind your bag. Trying on shoes while minding your handbag, that’s fun. In a cafe, you have to pull out your special little hook to hang your bag under the table in case someone tries to steal it. And don’t get me started on what it’s like going dancing in a club….

Notice how men don’t have this problem. They put their stuff into their pockets and off they go.

suit-with-pockets

It’s interesting that the clothes which are deemed most feminine and attractive rarely have functional pockets, while the ones that do, cargo pants, dungarees, overcoats, all have butch overtones. Opting for the functionality of pockets is almost an admission that you are opting out of femininity. You’re sacrificing desirability for practicality.

Except it’s nonsense. So demand pockets. Refuse to buy clothes that don’t have decent pockets. Don’t let some idiot’s vision of fashion restrict your life.

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Things not to say to a parent who lost a child.

baby-coffinShe’s in the best place now.”

No. No matter how bad things were, how horrible the disease, the best place for a child is in her parents’ arms.

It was meant to be.”

No. Sometimes the most terrible horrible things happen for no reason. Trying to find some sort of divine meaning in the death of a child is just adding torture to the pain the parent is feeling.

You’re young, you can have more babies.”

Next time you are at a funeral where a woman is burying her husband, tell her that she’s young, she can go dating again, there are plenty more potential husbands out there. No? You don’t think that would be a good idea? So why would you think it’s acceptable to tell a parent they can replace a dead child?

At least / be thankful”

No. There is no way to reduce the grief of losing a child, and trying to downplay is just makes you look like a dick.

Time heals all wounds.”

It doesn’t. If you lost a leg, time does not make it grow back. Losing a child hurts worse than losing a leg. The pain never goes away. The best you can hope is that you learn to live with it.

I know how you feel.”

Unless you are a bereaved parent, then you don’t know. Losing a parent or a pet is not the same. No matter how much we love them, we know that we will outlive them. No parent expects to outlive their child.

What you can say

Nothing. Give them a hug and be there for them.

Tell me about her.”

You are not going to upset any parent by talking about their dead child. You’re not going to remind them, they will never forget. They do want to celebrate what they had of her life.

I remember the time…”

Share your memories. It helps.

I brought pizza / I’ve hung out the laundry.”

Life goes on, and food and laundry are necessary. Don’t say, “I’m here if you need anything.” Instead, offer to do something specific.

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Anna Karenina, or the Wicked Woman

I went to see Anna Karenina in the Abbey Theatre last night. As I expected, it was a stunning play. The scenes were lighting swift, the snow was copious, the actors were beautiful. And every male character in it was an entitled prick.

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In case you didn’t know, the story is billed as “The impact of one woman’s decision” and revolves around Count Vronsky pursuing the beautiful Anna Karenina who he saw once at a train station. She is married with a son she adores and  she ignores Vronsky. But he chases her for a year, and eventually she gives in. He is ecstatic, she becomes a miserable social outcast. Eventually she throws herself in front of a train and everyone lives happily ever after.

It’s all about Anna and her bad decision ruining everyone’s life.

But no one is talking about Vronksy abandoning the girl he was about to propose to to chase after a woman who is not interested in an affair. Every second word out of Anna’s mouth is about her son. That doesn’t stop Vronsky chasing her, because she’s beautiful. That’s enough to justify his behaviour, right? Boys will be boys. He ignores her protests because he’s so in love with her, and even when she succumbs and becomes his mistress, he still ignores anything she says. She tells him she’s afraid of her husband who is violent, and he tells her she’s wrong.

Eventually, he starts courting the Tsar’s grand niece, and his charming mother comes to tell Anna that she’s in the way and suggest that she throw herself in front of a train. So handy, those new trains.

As soon as Anna is dead, everyone else goes on with their lives.

Vronsky is clearly no prince.

Neither is Karerin, Anna’s husband, who tells Anna that if she sees Vronsky again, she will never see her son. He does own all her children, so he can do that.

Her brother Stiva starts the story by getting caught screwing the governess, and can’t understand why his wife wants to leave him, so Anna is called in to talk deluded Dolly around. Did I mention that Stiva screws anything in a skirt and is squandering Dolly’s fortune as fast as he can?

I had some sympathy for Konsta, who seemed like a shy culchie type, until he produced his diaries which revealed that he is fucking all his serfs (slaves) and has had babies by thirteen of them. But they don’t count, it’s all about how heartless seventeen year old Kitty is by rejecting him. How dare she have a choice?

But no one says a word about the behaviour, ethics or morals of the men. It’s all about Anna’s fall from grace.

There were some wonderful moments in the play. I loved the doctor telling a labouring Kitty to “Push as if you were trying to shit a turnip.” But I couldn’t help noticing that every woman who had sex, even if it was sanctified by the marriage bed, ended up almost dying as she gave birth. Or had to pay for her sin by watching her children die.

Except evil Anna, of course, who had done the unthinkable and learned about contraception.

Anna Karenina is fresh in my mind because I’ve just seen it, but it’s the same pattern in stories and plays all over the world. Men can do whatever it takes to seduce their chosen mate and it’s all good, but as soon as she falls, she’s the evil temptress, unless he is good enough to marry her. Otherwise she should die.

Of course, if she resists him, then she’s clearly evil because she doesn’t care that his balls will turn blue and fall off, so she deserves to die.

Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina in 1873. Things are different now. Except they are not.

Love Actually is more of the same. It’s all about what the men want, and any woman who gets ideas or has anything to say ends up dead. One of the love objects in the film literally doesn’t get to speak, but that’s okay. The best women are silent.

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If Men Breastfed…

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Things I wish someone had told me about babies (in no particular order)

Babies want to be held all the time. Get a sling or baby carrier and make life easier.

Babies have no sense of day or night. Forget the idea that you’ll sleep at night and be awake during the day.

Babies have an incredibly short sleep-wake cycle. It’s part of being a baby. There is no formula which makes them sleep longer.

Breast-feeding has a very steep learning curve, but gets easier and easier as you go on.

Breast-feeding is the lazy way to parent. Sit on your arse/lie in bed and feed the baby.

95% of anything that’s wrong with a baby can be fixed by boobs. Hungry? Boobs. Thirsty? Boobs. Cold? Boobs. Scared? Boobs. Lonely? Boobs. Tired? Boobs. Shock? Boobs. Best parenting tool ever.

When visitors come over to see the baby, tell them to bring food and do housework. Washing up, laundry, hoovering.

If you are bottle feeding, don’t let the visitors feed the baby. You have to make up the bottle, they get the fun bit, you get time to run around doing housework, and they expect you to make them tea as thanks.

How to make up a bottle:

  • Fill a kettle with cold tap water and boil.
  • Clean and sterilise all the equipment, including bottle, teats, lids, retaining rings, caps and the scoop that comes with the formula.
  • Clean and disinfect the work surface
  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Put the sterilised bottle on the work surface.
  • Use sterilised tongs to put the sterilised teat, retaining lid and cap out on the lid of the steriliser.
  • When the water has boiled, allow it to cool for 30 minutes, to 70 degrees. It has to be this hot to sterilise the formula.
  • Pour the exact required amount of water into the bottle.
  • Loosely fill the scoop with powder, levelling it off with the back of a clean knife. Add the correct number of scoops to the water. If you make a mistake, throw it out and start again.
  • Put a sterilised cap on the bottle and shake until the powder is dissolved.
  • If you’re putting on a teat, hold it with tongs, not your hands.
  • Hold under a cold tap to cool to the right temperature.
  • Throw away any unfinished formula, bacteria can breed in it.

Ignore any auld ones who say, “I made it up with cold water and they were all fine.” They used to smoke while pregnant and not wear seatbelts too.

Look into paced bottle feeding. Just letting the baby glug away at a bottle results in colic and major wind.

Newborn formula is the closest to breastmilk. Hungry baby formula is a con, resulting from our obsession with making babies sleep all the time.

If you are breastfeeding, you CAN drink, eat curry, onions, fizzy drinks, coffee, chocolate, and anything else you fancy.

The rule for drinking is, “If you are safe to hold the baby, you’re safe to feed it.”

You can also use most medicines. If your doctor is reluctant to prescribe something, get them to check out Wendy Jones Factsheets.

Stock up on boxsets. You’ll spend a lot of time sitting down feeding the baby.

Don’t bother with lots of gadgets. All the baby wants is you.

It’s not safe to put the baby into a thick coat in a car seat. Dress her in normal clothes and put a blanket over the car seat.

Breast milk is fabulous for eye infections. Squirt it right in.

There is a couple of hours every evening called the Evil Hour, when your happy contented baby turns into a screaming demon. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your milk, it’s part of being a baby.

There is good evidence that “Cry it out” sleep training causes long term problems. You’re teaching the baby that they can’t trust you, that they’re in distress and you won’t come. Sweet Sleep has much kinder techniques for helping your baby sleep.

A baby is the only fat-sucking device that actually works. You can sit on your arse watching Game of Thrones and get the fat sucked off your hips and thighs.

You are legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be. That means restaurants, churches, cinemas, shops, etc. You don’t have to ask permission and can’t be asked to stop.

When eating out, restaurants with chopsticks score for one handed eating. At home, invest in a pizza cutter for all your food. I swear, even sleeping babies can smell food and want to be picked up as soon as you sit down to eat.

Cloth nappies are less trouble then you’d think, and save a fortune. If you want to give them a go, then Nappi Nippas are a game changer. No pins, always have the perfect fit.

It doesn’t matter how cute they are, there are times you’ll realise you gave birth to the spawn of Satan, and your partner’s job is to stop you killing it. Every single mother ever!

Cuidiu and La Leche League have counsellors on the end of a phone day and night. Ring whenever it’s getting too much. Their job is help and support, they won’t try to bully you into anything.

Those fitness balls are great for settling cranky babies. Sit on it, holding the baby, and bounce. Beats going up and down stairs.

Night time milk has the highest fat content.

Have a laxative ready for the first poo after you give birth.

Beware of online shopping. It’s scary how easy it is to spend way too much money while sitting under a baby. But a Kindle can be a lifesaver.

Posted in Birth, breastfeeding, Health, maternity leave | Leave a comment

Dating advice for adults in the real world

Hi Auntie Eileen,

I’m a guy who is a bit shy and socially awkward. I want to meet women for casual, friends-with-benefits type relationships. No commitments or expectations. I don’t want to lead anyone on, but I want to practice before I think about a long-term relationship. Can you help?

Shy Guy

 

Dear Shy Guy,

This is a bit like saying, “I want to learn to ski, so I’ll practice by building snowmen.” Casual hook-ups and FWB relationships require a different skill set from meeting women with a view to a possible longer-term relationship.

There are a LOT more men than women who are interested in casual hook-ups, so the odds are against you. If you want to score, you’d better be really good looking, have awesome game, or both.

Also, bear in mind that the women who are interested in a no strings attached sexual relationship are in it for great sex, and  will be expecting that you are really good in bed. If you don’t have that down pat, you’re going to be facing a lot of wipe-outs. If you have anxiety dealing with meeting women socially, how will you feel knowing that if you don’t wow your NSA date, she’s going to be moving on after one night with you?

No pressure there.

It’s a myth that all women are looking for marriage, kids and happy ever after. There are plenty who are looking for a good time with a man they like. But they don’t want to think of themselves as practice until the right woman comes along and you dump her.

Internet dating sites are a terrible place to meet women. Most women on Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish or similar sites get bombarded with dozens of messages a day, and have learned from experience that if they reply to the duds saying, “No thanks”, they will probably get an abusive message telling them they are fat and ugly. So they don’t reply. m

Try meeting women in person. Go to social events (check out your local Meet-up group) or if you are kinky, go to munches. Get to know women as people before you hit on them. Make friends first, or you never get to friends-with-benefits.

Loosen up your expectations. Don’t march in determined to walk out with a hot woman. Have fun, and see who wants to have fun with you.

 

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