Archive | Notes from a small town… RSS feed for this section

What hell is this? The brave new world we have bequeathed our children is more frightening than I imagined, and the remedy is gonna make me one of the most hated moms on the block. Boo fucking hoo.

24 Sep

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from a friend who lives in a sleepy little town on the outskirts of a huge city – the sort of town where nothing bad ever really happens, and you can go about your life feeling pretty safe and removed from the scariness of the modern world.

small town

Daisy and I both had daughters within weeks of each other, and we have kept in touch over the years, comparing notes and sharing frustrations and just generally being good friends to one another.  What she related to me, she has told no one else, other than her husband, of course.

girls

Daisy’s daughter Pansy has matured faster than my own daughter, who is still very much a little girl, in both looks and interests.  Pinkie and her best friend GingerGirl spend their free time tending flocks of sheep on Minecraft, making muffins, doing their nails and they have recently developed an intense interest in rocks.  For Christmas, both the girls have asked for rock polishers and cutters.  The plan is to polish up quartz and lapis lazuli and make jewellery for themselves and their friends.

Very, very innocent stuff.

Pansy, who is the same age as Pinkie, is much more of a stereotypical “pre-teenager” and Daisy, quite rightly if you ask me, is working to make sure that Pansy doesn’t grow up too fast.  Daisy’s husband is a very involved father although he works long hours to support his family.  Daisy has lots of sensible rules in place for Pansy over what kinds of clothes she can wear, what kinds of music she can listen to, what she can watch on TV and she monitors Pansy’s use of social media pretty closely.

And none of that mattered one little bit.

A few weeks ago, Pansy brought home an older girl for Daisy to meet.  I’ll call her Peaches, because she really is a Peach, through no fault of her own.  Peaches is the product of a single mother, and has no relationship of any kind with her father.  She’s an academically smart girl, and seems ambitious and aware and despite being raised in poverty (as the children of single mothers tend to be), she really appeared to have it together.

Daisy spent some time watching the two girls interact and felt that Peaches was an acceptable companion for her daughter.  After all, she doesn’t want to get too judgy against a kid who had no control over the circumstances of her birth, right?

just-dance-3-wii

When Pansy asked to go to Peaches house for a weekend play date, Daisy drove her over, met the mother and did all the things vigilant moms are supposed to do.  She left Pansy and Peaches playing Just Dance on the Wii and thought nothing more of it.  The girls would spend the afternoon together and get some exercise and have fun!

Shortly after Daisy drove away, Peaches’ mom decided to go out and run some errands and she left the two girls alone at home.  Peaches has a computer in her room, and once SingleMom was out of the picture, Peaches introduced Pansy to some “friends” in an internet chat room.

Some male friends.  Considerably older male friends.

Pansy recounted, weeks later, to her mother, what followed.  Pansy fell apart in the bathtub, sobbing and shaking because she knew she had done something very shameful and wrong, and she knew it was wrong when she did it, but she wanted Peaches to like her and think she was cool and peer pressure worked to overcome everything she had ever been taught to believe.

Peaches took off her clothes and danced for her male admirers in front of the webcam on her computer, and she “encouraged” Pansy to join in the fun.  Pansy knew she should not be taking off all her clothes and dancing for strangers on the internet, but she did it.

At twelve years of age, Pansy has starred in her first child porn video.

Here is where the story gets really, really interesting.  Daisy, once she knew the whole story, called up SingleMom to let her know what her daughter is up to on the computer conveniently located in the privacy of her bedroom.

SingleMom didn’t think it was a big deal.  “Oh, they’re just having a bit of fun”.

scream

For.

Real.

SingleMom thinks it’s all just a bit of harmless fun. Videos of her prepubescent daughter dancing naked and pretending to masturbate are scattered god knows where across the internet, and she doesn’t care.

How do you deal with something like this?  That is what Daisy and I talked about, for most of our conversation.  How the hell do you react to something like that?  Obviously, Peaches will not be setting foot anywhere near Pansy again, and Pansy knows that what she did was wrong and dangerous and foolish and she feels wretched about her behavior.

Is that enough?

Should Daisy call Child Services?  Will the girl be better off in foster care? Will taking her away from her idiot of a mother have any impact on whether she continues to vie for male attention, because that’s what the poor girl is doing.  She wants to feel loved and beautiful and powerful and has no example of what a mature, loving man looks like or acts like, and reporting her to child services isn’t going to change that.

Daisy did call her cousin, who is a police officer, but there is nothing they can do.  Even if they had an IP address, which they don’t, it’s probably a proxy server or a temporary inbox that can’t be traced.  The police have neither the manpower nor the technology to track down every video of underage girls dancing naked in cyber space.

How can we, as parents, be vigilant about this kind of stuff?  Daisy did every reasonable thing she could do, and her daughter is still …. I can’t bring myself to call her a “victim” because the only thing she is a victim of is her own incredibly poor judgement.  She’s only a twelve year old girl, though, and twelve year old girls need help making the right decisions. It’s not enough to just know what the right decision IS, she has to have the confidence and maturity to follow through.

I know I will catch hell for this in my actual, lived reality, but one inescapable conclusion that I have come to is that children of single mothers have giant red stop-signs over their heads when it comes to interacting with my kids.

Obviously there are some single mothers who are doing a stellar job, but they’re pretty easy to pick out.  They’re older, financially stable, own their own homes and are surrounded by a loving family with lots of male role models. Those aren’t the typical single mothers, though.  The ones who are young and poor with no real job skills or accomplishments of any kind are probably single mothers as a result of sheer stupidity, and yes, I’m deeply suspicious of their children.  In no way do I blame the children – it was not their choice.

But I recognize them as a threat, and it won’t take all that long before people figure out that JBs kids do not go over to the homes of kids who have single mothers.  Those kids can come to my house, under limited conditions and they will be very carefully supervised, but under no circumstances are my children going over to play with any kid who sets my Spidey senses off.

Intellectually, I can see how unfair that is.  Emotionally, I don’t give a fuck.  Sorry, kid.  But my kids come first.

Something else I have decided is a deal breaker is kids who have computers or televisions in their own rooms.  My children use social media very sparingly at the moment, and I monitor every bit of it.  They play on Minecraft with other people, on a computer that is in our living room with the screen facing outwards, so I can see any interaction at any time.  My daughter posts pictures of kittens and cupcakes and puppies and newborn giraffes to Instagram, where she and her friends compete to get “likes” for who posted the cutest picture.  I see every picture that she posts, and every picture that everyone else posts, too.

The real question for me is do I shatter my daughter’s innocence by talking to her about what happened with Pansy?  My husband feels that it’s simply a lesson for us that we need to be absolute dictators when it comes to who our children are allowed to spend time with.  If other parents hate us, so be it.  Fuck them.

Obviously, we can’t protect them forever, but I really do believe there is value in letting children be children, and there are some things they don’t need to understand.  Sometimes “because I said so” is the right answer.

friends

I shared this story with GingerGirl’s mom, and we spent a long time talking about how we personally dealt with things like peer pressure and wanting to be liked and be cool and popular, and it really comes down to one thing:  you have a group of friends and you have each other’s backs. That is what has changed so dramatically in our culture, especially for girls.  The “strong independent” message has been translated into “abandon each other”.  Boys still seem to understand the concepts of loyalty and unity and that when your friends are about to make really bad choices, you step in and use whatever tools you have to prevent that from happening.  Mockery, aggression, insults, whatever – you keep each other safe.

How did young women come to lose that aspect of their own culture?  When I think of the Rehteah Parson’s case, in particular, what strikes me as so unbelievable is that she was with a girlfriend who could see that Rehteah was about to make a really, really bad decision, and who knew Rehteah was really, really drunk, and she just left her there to face the consequences.  Now, in fairness to the girlfriend, she did return to the house later with her own mother to try and persuade Rehteah to leave, but reportedly, to no avail.

I’m sorry, but what?!?!?!

A grown woman, the mother of one of Rehteah’s friends just left her there?

A young, drunk teenager is having sex with multiple men and gosh, I’ll just let her get on with it, then?

Unfuckingbelievable.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/26/christie-blatchford-why-there-will-never-be-a-case-against-the-rehtaeh-parsons/

It’s not like I went to some prissy Christian highschool where the girls spent their time crocheting baby clothes for the local preemie unit (although we did that, too). We experimented with drugs and alcohol and made out with boys and dressed inappropriately in clothes we had to hide from our parents, but we never, ever just abandoned each other when dicey situations came up.

When the time comes, that is what I plan to teach my daughters, in particular.  When Pinkie is at a party and something like the Rehteah Parson’s situation is happening, you do NOT leave that girl.  You call me, you call your Dad, you call an adult to come and help you.  And I plan on letting my daughter’s friends know that in the horrifying case where it is MY daughter who is loaded out of her mind and about to do something really stupid that she will deeply regret, you do NOT leave her.  You call us.

I honestly think it’s pointless to try and convince kids not to drink underage and not to experiment with their sexuality and not to do all the “forbidden” things, because all that does is shut down communication.  If your kids know they are not allowed to drink alcohol and will be severely punished for doing so, they are not going to call you for help when they find themselves blind drunk at a frat party.

And the consequences of that are just too severe. One moment of poor decision making can be broadcast to every person you know or will ever meet, and that’s just too harsh a punishment.

I firmly believe that parents are not and should not be their kid’s friends, but that doesn’t mean we can’t protect our children.  I’m still a few years away from needing to negotiate parties and curfews, and it may very well be that when I step into the reality of teenage life, I am going to change my mind about all of this.

Maybe.

But one thing is certain: when twelve year old girls are making amateur porn because no one is watching over them, you can be damn sure I’ll be watching.

Privacy is something you earn, when you’ve shown repeatedly, that you can make good decisions. That usually happens after you’ve made a whole bunch of bad decisions.

But there’s bad decisions and then there’s bad decisions.

Twelve year olds dancing naked for voyeurs on the internet.

Jesus.

The teenage years are gonna be scary.  Any advice for me?

Lots of love,

JB

Sexual economics and the FriendZone

21 Mar

danger

So the OED has added “friendzone” to their dictionary, defining it as:

noun

informal

a situation in which a platonic relationship exists between two people, one of whom has an undeclared romantic or sexual interest in the other:

I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other guys

I think it’s impossible to understand the concept of the friendzone without understanding two related ideas: sexual economics and hypergamy.

Let’s start with sexual economics. It’s neat how the OED tried to make it sound gender neutral, as if either men or women could end up in the friendzone, but the explanatory sentence tells the story a little more accurately: men end up in the friendzone, watching women pursue other guys.

Why does that happen? Well, according to Amanda Marcotte (sigh, don’t you just love her?), it’s basically because you’re a fag. Oh my! How offensive! Does she really say it’s because you’re a fag? Well, not in so many words, but the sentiment rings loud and clear.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/03/20/_friend_zone_enters_the_oed_signaling_that_women_shouldn_t_bother_being.html

pony

Red flags to look out for: inordinate amounts of time spent on Reddit, My Little Pony paraphernalia in his home or on his Facebook page, a tendency to use terms like alpha and beta male, and a paranoid belief that women in Princess Leia costumes have set out to destroy him.

Okay, correction. You’re not just a fag, you’re a geek, too.

Never trust a woman who scorns Princess Leia. I’m just sayin’…

leia

http://judgybitch.com/2013/03/06/outta-my-way-you-scruffy-looking-nerf-herder-now-this-is-a-princess-i-love/

Women like to claim that men just can’t handle rejection, and that men feel entitled to attention from women they are interested in, but I think there’s a little more to it than that. You see, the sexual economics in our culture have changed dramatically. When women were a little less willing to have sex outside of committed relationships, men had to work a bit harder to get sex. That’s not a bad thing, either, because men working for sex pretty much built the entire world as we know it, but now things have changed.

Let’s talk for a second about hypergamy: the practice of marrying up.

http://www.avoiceformen.com/women/dont-talk-about-hypergamy/

Women generally want to marry someone of equal or higher status to themselves. They want a man who has more qualifications, more education and more earning power than themselves. Lady doctors want to marry surgeons, not garbage collectors, no matter how terrific that garbage collector might be.

garbage collector

Nothing inherently wrong with that, if you ask me. I certainly married up, although part of me regrets not marrying a more working class man simply because our assumptions about the world would have been more in line. I didn’t marry FOR money, I love my husband very much, but I rejected previous suitors for not being high-status enough and that’s something I feel somewhat ashamed of, now that I am older and wiser. I also rejected a very high status, very rich man because he was widowed and had children already, and didn’t want more, so on the gold-digging whore scale, I guess I fall somewhere around the middle.

Where we run into a problem is that women now outnumber men on college campuses, and they are earning, in general, more qualifications and have higher educational attainments than men. That tightens the pool of available men – there are way too many women competing for way too few men.

cat fight

Combine that with easy access to sex, and men have the upper hand by a country mile. High status men, that is.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2011/02/sex_is_cheap.html

What is a girl to do? Sluts everywhere, handing out sex like party favors and too few men to chase after.

http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/12/sluts-lower-the-value-of-all-women-heres-how-to-compete-with-them/

Well, in that case what you need is a plan B. A back-up plan. You need to keep the lower status men hanging around, just interested enough to keep up the pursuit, but without committing to anything, just in case someone better comes along.

The lower status men, with their obvious attention and interest can flatter your ego and vanity and lend a sympathetic ear to your problems and possibly even provide a few late night booty calls (which you can then pretend to regret deeply the next day and reassert that your friend with benefits is back in the friendzone), while you wait for that bigger and better man to come along.

Win-win, right?

Uh, no. You see, keeping a plan B man on emotional hold while using him to gratify your own feelings and occasional sexual urge is actually a really shitty, bitchy thing to do. It’s all about what the women feel and what the women want, and the men in the friendzone are basically just leftovers: something you will eat if you have to, but you’d rather have a nice fresh steak.

steak

http://judgybitch.com/2012/10/27/ladies-there-is-a-difference-between-flirting-and-cockteasing-one-makes-you-fun-and-sassy-the-other-makes-you-a-cunt-so-stop-doing-it/

And gosh, big surprise here, some men DON’T LIKE BEING TREATED LIKE MEAT. They will react negatively to being jerked around by women when they have made their interest clear. That isn’t acting entitled to women’s attention: it’s acting entitled to a little bit of common courtesy and respect.

True story: JudgyAsshole met a young woman recently, with little in the way of accomplishment (she’s a file clerk) but more than average in the way of beauty, and she seemed like fun, so they went out a few times. And they had sex. JudgyAsshole considered it the beginning of a relationship.

couple

Now, JudgyAsshole, like most men, is willing to trade accomplishments for beauty, among other things. Beauty is A virtue, but it is not the ONLY virtue. Kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, cheerfulness- all those things go a long way, especially when combined with beauty.

PrincessGetOverYourself, however, had a rather high opinion of her own beauty and what that might be worth on the dating market, and she tried to friendzone JudgyAsshole. They could have a relationship and occasional sex, but this would have to be done on the down-low so she didn’t miss out on a potentially higher status man.

She works in an office with lots of men who are partners in the business, and of course, she was hoping to land one of those. In the meantime, Princess was happy to receive attention and flattery from JudgyAsshole, but he had to accept that she was still on the prowl for someone much bigger and better.

She was truly, genuinely shocked when JudgyAsshole told her to go fuck herself.

shocked

No seriously. Princess thought it was perfectly reasonable to use JudgyAsshole emotionally and physically in the short term, all the while scanning the horizon for something better. She didn’t even LIE about it. Nope. Couldn’t seem to figure out what his problem was anyways. I mean, really, JudgyAsshole is very conventionally attractive himself, and he is accomplished professionally and well on his way to an amazing career, but gosh…something better could come along.

A file clerk.

With a little beauty.

Feel entitled to a high status man.

And entitled to the attentions of a “lower-status” man (in her opinion) in the meantime

Who thinks she’ll be one of those women moaning where have all the good men gone in a few years time when her beauty isn’t quite so valuable anymore and she has no other qualities to offer?

friendzone

Let’s be clear: I am not saying that men and women cannot be friends. I have several males friends who are very dear to me. PrinceCharming is a terrific guy with a sardonic sense of humour and a love of the absurd. I deeply enjoy his company.

CleverGuy is possessed of a wickedly acerbic wit and his ability to mock the ridiculous is unparalleled. We like to watch Star Trek and weep.

spock

JudgyAsshole is incredibly perceptive about human behavior and we love judging other people and calling them out on their bullshit. We call each other out on our own bullshit, too. He also beats the shit out of me at Scrabble by playing all these stupid botanical terms that he learned from his father, who sells tools but also loves flower arranging.

flowers

All three of these guys are attractive and clever and accomplished and not one of them accepts being put in the friendzone by the women in their lives. No fucking way. And since I don’t see them as tools to use for my own gratification, yes, we actually are friends.

The whole concept of the friendzone rests on the assumption that the vast majority of men are disposable. They can provide utilities to women and society, but their worth is measured only in terms of what they deliver, and they can be discarded with impunity the moment something better comes along.

The idea that men are human beings, just as deeply interested in loving, complex, emotionally satisfying relationships with the people in their lives is denied. Men become beasts of burden, useful until they’re not.

What’s wrong with that?

I’ll let Mick Jagger answer that:

There’s only one response to being put in the friendzone: fuck off.

fuck off

Give her the flick, lads. She’s not worth your time.

Lots of love,

JB

Why don’t we have a Dumb Fucking Whore Registry? Now that would be justice.

18 Mar

Trigger warning:  holy shit, this pisses me off.

boys

So two of the boys involved in the Steubenville “rape” case were found guilty and will now face imprisonment and a lifetime membership on the Registered List of Sex Offenders. That is a tragedy for the boys, for justice and for the victims of actual rape.  As we go through this case, ask yourself who benefits from this verdict, and why.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/17/justice/ohio-steubenville-case/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenews

Most of the facts in this case seem relatively incontrovertible:  a young woman, who was not part of the regular social group, went to a football party, in a town mad for football, got trashed out of her mind, voluntarily accompanied two of the biggest football stars to another party, passed out and then got treated like a whore.

http://judgybitch.com/2012/12/18/a-shit-faced-drunk-girl-a-football-star-and-a-vigilante-feminist-the-makings-of-a-fairy-tale/

In a moment of mind-numbing stupidity, the boys opted to film their “assault” on the girl, which involved fingering her while she was passed out.  Rather than leave her in a ditch somewhere, they carried her around to different locations, none of which had any adult supervision.

What the fuck, Steubenville?  Where are all the goddamn grown-ups?

The law in Ohio states that ANY penetration, however slight, constitutes rape.  Let’s start there.  Comparing a stupid, drunk, helmet-chasing whore who gets fingered while passed out to an actual rape victim is completely and utterly absurd.

This is rape:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/indian-gang-rape-victim-dies-hospital_n_2377717.html

So is this:

http://haysfreepress.com/2012/05/07/florida-man-extradited-in-hays-county-brutal-rape-case/#axzz2NtuPnHlh

And this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Park_Jogger_case

Comparing those cases, or any of the other truly brutal rapes to what happened in Steubenville is comparing this:

fender

To this

crash

Anyone who stood around moaning that the slight fender bender they got into at the mall is comparable to a fiery, multiple car crash on the interstate would immediately be dismissed as the most self-absorbed narcissist lacking any kind of empathy or perspective.  We have a word to describe people like that:  we call them assholes.

Now, the girl in Steubenville is claiming she didn’t actually drink all that much, and someone must have drugged her!  Toxicology tests?  NEGATIVE.

Oh my!  You mean she’s a lying little tramp desperately trying to avoid ANY culpability for what happened to her?  Well color me shocked.

Defense attorneys say a toxicology report performed a day later showed no signs of drugs.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/steubenville-rape-trial-witness-testifies-recording-alleged-assault/story?id=18738378

The most telling thing about this whole case is that multiple people saw the little tramp passed out and carried about by a couple of douchey guys, and make no mistake, those boys behaved shamefully.  Part of having the adulation and admiration that comes along with being a small town football star is not to abuse that power when the little gold-digging status whores come a-calling, and those boys failed.

Punishment > Crime

That girl had no friends at the party, not one person had enough respect for her to step in, she was not part of the social tribe and there is no way in hell she did not know that.  She went to that party to nab herself a football player, and lo and behold, the football players didn’t really like such an obvious grasp at their glory.

Find yourself another wagon to hitch to, little star.

wagon

The saddest thing is that the boys sobbingly admit that they ruined her life! They are accused of having “no moral code”!  Oh, and the girl had an impeccable one, did she?

RUINED HER LIFE?!?!

Are you fucking kidding me? They are going to jail!  They will be registered sex offenders!  They are convicted criminals! One night of behaving like assholes will follow them the rest of their lives, and HER LIFE IS RUINED?

jail

Her life is not ruined in the slightest.  LittleTramp is free to go about her life, getting as drunk as she likes, chasing after any high-status males she likes, and securing criminal convictions against men who treat her like the whore she is.

drunk

God help the varsity athletes at whatever college campus she ends up on, and no doubt LittleTramp will get back on her feet after suffering a little humiliation and continue on with her life because SHE’S RUINED.

The young men in this case will never escape the disgustingly unfair consequences of a night of acting like dicks, while the young woman will carry on, unless she feels she isn’t getting quite enough sympathy, of course.  Cue the Prozac and therapy!

prozac

You know what we need?  We need a Drunk Whore Registry. If sex offenders are registered for the protection of all women, then why not register drunk whores for the protection of all men?  It’s true that men could protect themselves by not acting like dicks, but combine small-town celebrity with lots of alcohol and no adult supervision, and you WILL get men acting like assholes and women acting like sluts.

When we only punish one side on that equation, we have a serious cultural problem.  Men are held to account for their irresponsible decisions made while young and stupid and drunk, but women are not? Most crimes acknowledge explicitly that mitigating circumstances create different categories of crime with correspondingly progressive punishments.  Why is rape different?

The punishment these boys face, which will be in effect for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES is way out of proportion to the “crime”.  The definition of rape in Ohio is so broadly defined that the act of being a dickhead is now as serious as the act of fucking a woman forcibly and against her will. And if you don’t think there is a material difference between getting fingered and getting fucked, you are probably a feminist.

Getting drunk and chasing after football stars demonstrates level of stupidity and disrespect for the humanity of the men in question (who are valued only for their status), and that disrespect was returned.  But only the boys are held responsible for that.

shame

I say bullshit.  No one got raped in Steubenville.  Someone got humiliated, and she participated willingly and readily in her own humiliation.  Turning stupid decisions made by high-school students into criminal acts with consequences that will follow only ONE party for their rest of their lives is deeply unfair, and when fingering a slut at an alcohol fuelled party is put in the same category as violent sexual assault, the real victims are drowned in a chorus of pathetic mewlings of women who didn’t get to bag the star.

Who thinks that if the young woman had woken up the next morning next to the football player, his arms wrapped around her in a loving embrace, she would have considered that the price she had to pay to land the big fish?

embrace

Steubenville:  sour fucking grapes.

sour grapes

Not just sour, bitter, too.  But only for the men.

How is that justice? Who is served when those boys are locked up?  Who is protected?  Who wins?  How ironic is it that the adults who were NOT present to lend some sanity to what their own children were up to are now fully involved to make certain only the boys are punished?

People make stupid decisions.  Especially when they are young. They act like idiots. They treat other people with a lack of respect.  They behave shamefully.  It happens. Holding boys, and only boys responsible, moves justice from being blind to being blatantly sexist. When justice can only see one sex as guilty, it’s time to put out her eyes again.

blind

Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

Lots of love,

JB

%d bloggers like this: