Best Microaggression ever.
Submission we liked ;)
I’m biracial and I have a vaguely Muslim-sounding name. People keep accusing me of being a terrorist and I had to hold a press conference about my birth certificate to prove I’m an American. First black president, USA. Made me feel annoyed.
see if you can spot the irony
File under: easier said than done
In light of the comments on this Jez post about the humiliating experience a dying woman and her daughter had at the hands of the TSA, I thought I should post something I wrote when my mom was still alive, before hospice care started, when I was the one helping her with activities of daily life like toileting and bathing. I wrote this to try to describe to my friends why I was thoroughly exhausted even though my mom slept 2/3 of the day. I am trying to imagine doing all this in an airport bathroom after being groped by the TSA.
The thing about Parkinson’s, at least how I understand it, is that it makes everything so SLOW. Not only does my mom move very slowly when she moves, but it takes forever to get from the idea to move to the actual motion. Half the time, she’ll decide to move, and then by the time her body starts cooperating, she has forgotten what she was supposed to do. Just to get out of the bedroom involves sitting up, scooting to the edge of the bed, standing up, walking to the bathroom, walking *into* the bathroom, turning around to face away from the toilet, pulling pants down, sitting down, using the toilet, cleaning yourself, changing adult underwear (which itself involves taking off shoes and pants and then putting them on again), standing up, pulling pants up, walking out of the bathroom, walking to the bed, turning to sit down on the bed, sitting down, changing pants, changing shirts, combing hair, standing up again, walking to the door, walking down the hallway, and then sitting in the chair in the living room. What most of us can do in ten minutes before our brains have even switched on involves as much effort as anything my mom does in a day, and she can only keep one task in mind at a time, so that there’s no way, for instance, that she could remember to get a new pair of undies *before* going into the bathroom. So I have a hand in every aspect of every part of this. We both end up worn out, and all we’ve done is get out of bed.
—Chris Clarke, How Not To Be An Asshole: A Guide For Men (2011 version)
Goddamn this post is still one of my all-time faves.
If someone gets too drunk and they pass out, and a gang of dudes decides that they’re going to use that person as a pinata to see who can land the biggest punch, would we say to the drunk person, “Well, you should have known that’s what dudes do.” I would hope not. I would hope you’d be so horrified that anyone would think that beating the shit out of someone for shits and giggles was a fucked up thing to do.
Well, that’s what rape is. It’s a violent assault that uses sex as a weapon instead of fisticuffs. But the general gist is the same. But we get all confused, because we as a culture don’t think of sex as something that men and women do together for fun, but as something men extract from women. If we were clearer on this, why rape isn’t sex wouldn’t be so damn hard to understand. And we wouldn’t tolerate rapists wandering amongst us, free to rape.— Amanda Marcotte
On the operating table, I was prepped for the procedure by a female nurse and a male doctor. When the nurse lifted the hospital gown above my abdomen, she exclaimed, “Look at that pretty flat stomach!”
I processed this statement for a moment. A medical professional had complimented me on my thinness, which was so extreme as to prevent me from having life-saving surgery, while prepping me for a procedure intended to help me gain weight.
To his credit, the doctor quickly snapped, “That’s the problem!” but her message couldn’t have been clearer.
We live in a culture that so values thinness, that values such extreme thinness, that I received a compliment about my body when I was on an operating table, when I was so ill and weighed so little that doctors feared I might not survive major surgery.— Amber Leab, guest posting at Shakesville
The Intervention that Wasn’t
Lately I have been completely hooked (har har) on the show Intervention. I’d seen it a couple times on cable at my parents’ house, but I found it too depressing. But then it showed up on Netflix Instant, and I have been watching it serially. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s basically What Not to Wear for the soul—it involves a family staging an intervention with a drug-addicted, alcoholic, or mentally unstable family member, who (if they choose) will get 90 days of rehab paid by the show. The actual intervention doesn’t happen until the last 10 minutes of the episode, and it’s almost always completely nerve-wracking: will this week’s subject say yes to rehab? If they don’t, will their family members be able to stop enabling them from that day forward? Sometimes, the subjects straight up run away from the intervention; occasionally they end up in jail before rehab. It’s a surreal, heartrending mix of exploitation tv and serious documentary. And I’ve watched dozens of episodes in the last month.
It took me at least a dozen before I realized why the show haunts me: I tried to be part of a one-woman, long-distance, half-assed intervention myself. I didn’t think of it that way at the time, but that’s what it was. Around 2004, when I was living on the West Coast and my family was back East, my mother started acting very strange. She said things that didn’t make sense; she wrote letters addressed to the wrong people; she hung up the phone when my boyfriend answered, convinced she’d dialed a wrong number. For months I wondered what was happening; I would ask her if she was okay and she would insist nothing was wrong. I conspired with my stepfather to get her to go to the doctor, but she kept refusing, and from 3000 miles away, I couldn’t make her go. I wasn’t sure if I was exaggerating the weirdness out of paranoia—until one day in April, I got two birthday cards from my mom on the same day, one signed “Mom” and one signed with her first name. My birthday is in August. I called her to ask if she’d mixed up some envelopes, and she flatly denied that she’d sent cards to anyone, refusing to believe that I was holding them in my hands as we spoke. After I got off the phone, I cried for hours. I called and begged her to go to her doctor. I asked my stepdad if we could get her there without her consent. Neither of us knew what to do, and no one else knew how bad things were getting; she was still clever enough to hide her confusion from people who weren’t as intimately involved in her life.
If you know me from Shapely Prose, you probably know what I didn’t then: my mother was at the beginning of a rapidly progressing dementia. On Intervention, they say that the only way to make an addict choose recovery is to make them face their rock bottom; the only way to get my mom to admit her health was failing was for her to hit rock bottom, too—she collapsed at home and hit her head, which led to the ER, which led to neurologists, which led to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. She died in 2009. Her autopsy showed that she also had Alzheimer’s. These diseases are currently incurable, but some people live for a long time before dementia completely takes over. I have no doubt that my mom’s insistence on maintaining the illusion of control hastened her decline; she didn’t start neurological treatment or occupational or speech therapy until she was very confused and scared. The weird blessing of dementia is that the more ill a demented person gets, the less their illness scares them: eventually my mom lost the desire to control her health, and thus lost the anxiety that came from not being able to. Part of the thrill of watching Intervention is seeing how different the subjects look after rehab—they’ve been reborn, and they know it. In our family’s situation, that was a fantasy, but it remains a stubborn one even after my mother’s death.
I’m not sure what I’m getting at, exactly, except that when I watch friends and family members on Intervention beg their loved ones to accept help, I think of how pitifully inept I was at convincing my mom to accept help. I don’t say this out of self-flagellation; I was a devoted daughter, and I was an important caregiver in the last years of her life. But she was so scared, and I was so scared, and neither of us knew what to do or how to stop what was happening. Even though my mom’s problem wasn’t addiction but a different disease, she desperately needed help beyond what our family could give her—and her disease made it impossible for her to seek it out. We really could have used Candy Finnigan, is what I’m saying. I think maybe I still could.
I think the technical term is “What What in the Butt”
apologies in advance… yum yum up the bum!!! well when u free treacle??? xxx
+15 for “yum yum in the bum.” WHY.
+4 for apologizing, and then doing something entirely inappropriate.
+6 for “treacle.” I am 86 years old, I guess, because I do not know what that is.
+3 for “xxx.” Yup.
TOTAL POINTS: 28.
I think this is a really important point; it doesn’t make the outrage at the TSA procedures any less genuine, but it does explain the intensity and the shock that was so apparent in the “don’t touch my junk” protests.
Sheila Rowbotham (via earlyfrost)
Eg-fucking-zactly. Just like we’re all outraged and horrified by the statistics of sexual abuse, but we tend to try and discredit individuals.