photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, September 29, 2018

I'm So Done With the Fucking Monsters

Q: How can *women* tell daughters "It's just how boys/men are"? A: It's not approval of the culture. It's a warning not to cross it or you'll get hurt worse or killed.
*They are protecting them, based on their own experiences. And their mothers' and grandmothers'...growing up and living in a world of fucking monsters.
This whole Brett Kavanaugh thing is disgusting. Watching a grown-ass man during his *job interview* totally lose his cool, start ranting, blaming a political party *specifically* when the job he's interviewing for is supposed to be non-partisan, whine, turn all sorts of red, spew his "credentials", and ultimately cry was disgusting. Dr. Ford before him sat resolute, yet with tremors in her voice. She admitted she was scared to death. She didn't call him or his friend names or otherwise denigrate them. She was clear and concise and sincere. She spoke from her heart and unless you are a fucking monster, your heart broke listening to her. Kavanaugh did not even take ten seconds to acknowledge her pain before launching into how much he *deserves* this job and dammit, some chick he doesn't even remember is not going to take it from him. He blamed the Democratic party and the Clintons specifically for this "smear campaign" and actually threatened revenge for this embarrassing inconvenience. Then Lindsey Graham piled on in an unhinged and childish tantrum; red-faced and yelling in what is supposed to be a serious step in the search for a new Supreme Court Justice. If you think either of these men were in any way reasonable or justified in their horrid and totally unprofessional behavior, you are a fucking monster. In case there is any question, I believe Dr. Ford. In case there is any question, I think Brett Kavanaugh is a whiny, entitled, rich boy who has been called on his shit and he's melting down about it like a toddler whose ice cream just fell to the ground. This is not Supreme Court Material and anyone who thinks it a fucking monster. "But what if she's lying? Shouldn't he be able to defend himself? What precedent is this setting for the future? So a woman just has to accuse, and a guy just has to take it?" Even if she's lying (she's not), his reaction and the reaction of the entire GOP Good Ol' Boys' Club was not only inappropriate, it was basically screaming "GUILTY AS HELL" and anyone who has ever raised kids knows this. Even if he's as thick as a brick mentally (and I guess he is), his response and the response of every GOP senator in there should have been, "We are profoundly sorry you were so traumatized. We believe you have mis-remembered the players here, but we will do everything we can to make sure the culture that allowed that sort of behavior becomes dusty history on our watch." But they didn't. They heard her testimony and they were fucking monsters. On national TV. In front of their daughters and grand-daughters, wives and mothers, co-workers and constituents. In front of God and everybody. And they felt they were justified to do so. That's not leadership or maturity. Of course, Donald "Pussy Grabber in Chief" Trump piped up, too; valiantly defending the honor of...Kavanaugh, and questioning the testimony of Dr. Ford. But we already know *he* is a fucking monster. This little fiasco has neatly divided our nation even more than it already was. Team A: Good Ol' Boys who are all abluster about how this has "ruined a great guy" and who are horrified that maybe they, too, will be called on their shit. Team B: Men who think Kavanaugh is an asshole. Team C: Women who are now "afraid" for their sons because "some girl" could ruin his lily-white reputation "for no good reason". Team D: Women who think Kavanaugh is an asshole. Team E: Women who have been assaulted sometime in their life and the last few days have brought it all back to the surface; jagged and raw. We're the ones who are horrified at Teams A and C and have spent the last 24 hours or so with migraines, nausea, and nightmares. Also, we think Kavanaugh is an asshole. "Why would anyone wait so long to tell anyone?" -You were young and stupid and yes, you got drunk and alone with a boy when you knew better. Here's the thing you don't realize till you are older: No matter how drunk or hormonal you and/or he was, the very second you got scared and said, "Wait. Stop" HE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED. THE FACT THAT HE DIDN'T MAKES HIM A FUCKING MONSTER. But what do you hear if you tell someone? "What were you wearing?" "Why were you drinking?" "Why did you go with him by yourself?" "He was drinking and got carried away" "Boys have raging hormones" "You led him on" *You hear that it's your fault. It was your fault he was a fucking monster and you got what you deserved. -He held some sort of power over you or was an authority figure- a boss or teacher or pastor or relative or even your husband. He may or may not have said, "If you tell anyone, I will kill you", "If you tell anyone I will fire you", "If you tell anyone, no one will believe you". If he threatened any of those things, and even if he didn't, HE WAS A FUCKING MONSTER. But what do you hear if you tell someone? "Why didn't you just quit?" "Why didn't you report him?" "What were you wearing?" "You must've led him on" "You need to obey your husband" "It's impossible to be raped by your husband" "He's such a great guy; surely you're mistaken about what happened" "How can you say he did that? He's your (fill in the blank with any male relative)" *You hear that it's your fault. It was your fault he was a fucking monster and you got what you deserved. But here's the thing. By the time humans are about three years old, we know that to hurt another human is wrong. To willfully hurt another human who is begging you to stop is to be a fucking monster. That's true 100% of the time. Perhaps the most vexing to those of us in teams B, D, or E are the women who seem to *not* believe their daughters and who say "What were you wearing?" "Why were you drinking?" "Why did you go with him by yourself?" "He was drinking and got carried away" "Boys have raging hormones" "You led him on" and most importantly..."Boys will be boys and that's just how men are". Boys will be boys and that's just how men are. You know what that is at its core? That's a woman who has been assaulted at some point telling her daughter not to make waves; you can't fight this. It's not that she doesn't believe her. She believes her 100%. But either she told someone when it happened to her and she wasn't believed, or she's never told anyone and is just resigned to the barbarism of this aspect of our culture. "Leave it be. Don't make waves. Be more careful from now on. Be happy you are still alive. If you make waves, not only will it be awful all over again, but he may hurt you again. Worse. He may kill you this time." One out of three American women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. On the one hand, 85% of women know their attacker- the "strange man climbing through the window or attacking while the woman is jogging" is not the norm by a long shot. On the other hand, only 10% of men brought up on rape charges are convicted, meaning 9 times out of 10, if you come forward and go through the additional agony and stress of legal action, your attacker walks free...and now he's pissed at you, bringing us to... ...75% of women who are murdered, are murdered by a sexual partner. "Why would anyone wait so long to tell someone?" I dunno, perhaps the *fact* that you probably know him, and may even have to continue to see him in your day to day life, added to the *fact* that there's a 9 out of 10 chance that he will *not* be convicted, topped off with the *fact* that if he gets really pissed off, he may very well kill you for embarrassing him and "ruining his life", may be enough effective cultural deterrents to maintain the misogynistic status quo.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” 

Margaret Atwood 

"Aren't you just a bunch of liberal women over-reacting? This is the United States, not some shit-hole country. Women are doing *great* here!"

Ummm...not really. For the first time, in 2018 the US was placed on the "10 Most Dangerous Countries for Women" list by the Thomassen Reuters Foundation. Here's the entire list-
1. India
2. Afghanistan
3. Syria
4. Somalia
5. Saudi Arabia
6. Pakistan
7. Democratic Republic of Congo
8. Yemen
9. Nigeria
10. United States
That's not exactly a list of nations I want to be part of. So what can we do?
We start with making sure our *sons* (no matter their age) and the men in our lives (no matter their age) understand what is acceptable behavior. That means standing up to them and not taking their shit anymore. That's a scary prospect for some of us in all situations and a scary prospect for all of us in some situations. As *women*, we *have* to have each other's back in this endeavor. We have to.
Then, we send a loud and clear message to our elected officials that the Good Ol' Boys' Club is closed. We are burning that treehouse straight to the ground. We can do that in November and again in 2020.
Yes, there will be huge pushback from men who are fucking monsters and women who are afraid. 
Yes, it's going to get worse before it gets better; this shit always does. The powerful never give anything without a fight and I mean a literal fight. 
But I can see the other side, now. And it's worth it.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Arundhati Roy 
For those who are all "Founding Fathers' Intent" and who reject anything that sounds suspiciously foreign (like the above author's name), here's one from Founding Father John Adams' wife...back when women and children were considered property and not human:

“...remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
Abigail Adams 

I believe Dr. Ford.

I believe Brett Kavanaugh does not have the temperament to sit on the Supreme Court.

I believe the days of the fucking monsters being in charge are almost over.

I believe in us.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

He Started it...But I'm Ending It

The mantis in the guinea pig barn is dead. That's a fact.

All has been peaceful in the guinea pig barn.

Day before yesterday, I needed something off of the screened porch, so I opened the door from the dining room and went out there. As I closed the door behind me, I noticed THE MANTIS ON THE DOORKNOB. I grabbed what I needed, and when the mantis flew up onto the door window, I ducked into the house.

Yesterday morning, I again needed something from the porch.

I looked carefully through the window, inspecting every surface in sight. No mantis.

I opened the door mantis on the knob. Before I went back into the house, I checked the entire surface of the door...nothing.

With a sigh of relief, I went into the house, closing the door behind me, glanced up and saw THE MANTIS ON THE INSIDE OF THE DOOR.

The little bastard had been on the porch-side of the door and when I opened the door, he'd SLID AROUND THE GAP WHERE THE HINGES ARE AND GAINED ENTRY TO MY HOME.

Mantis: "Heh, heh, heh. Now what are you gonna do, puny human?"

Me: *picks up fly swatter and terminates mantis*

This is War. No Prisoners.

PS- the wolf spiders in the bathroom have never done me this way. They're civilized bugs.

Asshole Mantids.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

He Started It...Part Two

When we went into the barn this morning, we were greeted with a pitiful sight.

Lying in the middle of the floor, upside down, little boxing gloves in the air, was the dead mantis. It looked...odd and dry, but it's, yanno...a bug.

Gomez picked it up and tossed it outside.

The end.

At work, one of my co-workers posted a photo of many mantids on a hand on my Facebook and said, "His friends are gathering and coming to get you." Another co-worker saw the photo (the one who had fed my farm Monday morning, it so happened) looked aghast and said, "Oh, fuck no. Let me tell you what happened to me at Sheri's place!"

I was not Rabid Mantid's first victim.

She had been feeding the guinea pigs and had gotten to the same spot I'd been attacked, except she had seen no mantis. Suddenly, he appeared ON THE FRONT OF HER GLASSES, his tiny but fierce front feet waving menacingly. She flung her glasses off, rendering her pretty much blind, so she couldn't see if the mantis had gone with them. Cussing up a storm, she frantically pulled at her hair to be sure he wasn't lodged there.

She didn't see him again, but finished up the chores with alacrity.

So he was a repeat offender as far as aggressive behavior. I was happy he was dead.

Tonight, I was feeding the guinea pigs and got to...that same spot in the barn. I looked down and THERE WAS THE MANTIS PERCHED ON THE TOP OF THE CAGE, WAVING HIS TINY BUT FIERCE FRONT FEET AT ME.

What the hell?

In a flash, it all became clear. He'd spent all night constructing the faux mantis corpse out of stray bits of bedding and hay to lull me into a false sense of security.

Luckily, Gomez came into the barn just then, saw me frozen in terror, followed my horrified gaze, and was able to snatch the little asshole up while it was plotting my imminent demise.

I'd like to say he killed it, but his default is to catch and release, so out the door he tossed it.

If you don't hear from me again, you will know.

The mantis prevailed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

He Started It

I'm normally a fan of mantids.

I mean, they eat their weight in other bugs every day and I've seen one hold four cats at bay just using chutzpah. I admit, I was initially horrified to realize that they can fly, but in general...a fan.

So, when I came on one in the guinea pig barn this morning, I was a little startled (because he blended right in with the grid-pattern of the cages) but overall I thought, "Cool."

I gently guided him out of my way as I did chores in the room; watering, cleaning cages, feeding...during the cleaning phase, there was a moment when he was perched facing me, waving his tiny-but-fierce little mantis arms at me and I (still gently) swept him off of the board he was on and out of pouncing distance. He reappeared at the top of a cage while I was feeding.

I carefully worked around him and then turned to the other side of the room. I was halfway down the line when I felt something hit the side of my head and before that could register, it started BITING ME. I smacked the side of my head and the little asshole mantis dropped down to my arm STILL BITING. I shook him off my arm and proceeded posthaste to the house to summon Gomez to offer him as a sacrifice  have him valiantly save me from the evil little aggressive bastard.

Of course, when we got back to the barn, the bug had moved. Gomez said, "Guess it's gone" and I said, "No. You stay here. It's watching us. I can feel it." A few minutes later, I spied the insect-demon and told Gomez, "Get it out of here."

The barn is not well-lit and Gomez has just the one eye which messes with depth perception, so he missed it and it flew down to the floor. I said, "Just step on it!" and he tried, but they are fast little shits, so it skittered away.

Gomez (thinking no doubt of his cup of coffee waiting for him on his desk) said briskly, "Well? You feel safe now?"


The mantis did not re-appear and I finished feeding in peace.

Tonight, we didn't see it at first. Gomez posited that the pigs ate it. Yes. My herbivore pigs ate one of the most carnivorous creatures ever to come down the evolutionary pike. We spotted it at last, and again it evaded capture.

Tomorrow morning, Gomez will be with me when I go feed. If he wants coffee, it'll be on the other side of an executed/evicted mantis.

Because that's what husbands are for.