j4: (orange)
So over the last couple of days I've been thinking about "having it all".

a busy few days, recounted at tedious length )

The thing is... I've pretty much always lived like this. The only difference is that now there's a child in the mix as well. I have always ended up cycling frantically to and from home, work, meetings, pubs, the station, choir rehearsals/concerts, orchestra rehearsals/concerts, whatever. It's always been an endless game of fox/goose/grain with different modes of transport and assorted instruments/laptops/luggage/shoes/clothes/partners. I had to slow down a bit when I was off on maternity leave (I took a long time to get usefully mobile/functional again, I couldn't cycle with Img, and I wasn't going to work), but otherwise basically I've been "trying to have it all" for the last 20 years or so. Even more so when I was going out with Owen and he still lived in London, so we were trying to live together 90 miles apart and go to every gig/concert/film/party available and each hold down a full-time job. Why is "having it all" only used to apply to a woman trying to look after a child and does a not-working-from-home job? Why not anybody who has, say, a job and a time-consuming hobby and a long-distance partner and a garden to look after and... you know, all the kinds of things that people do whether or not they have children? And yes, I know the answer to that "why not" is "because patriarchy", and because if you're looking after children you're supposed to (or at least supposed to want to) do that 24/7 and never do anything else except [vague handwave] child things ... but, well, it's still silly. So let's stop saying it. PROBLEM SOLVED!

(I have a separate rant about the phrase "work/life balance" and the implied idea that your work is not ACTUALLY PART OF YOUR LIFE, but that will have to wait for another time.)
j4: (orange)
Img had her 2(ish)-year health visitor checkup on Monday, to make sure that her walking/talking/thinking etc is all basically on the right track for her age. I'd tried to explain what we were doing on the way there ("we're going to see some nurses who want to check if you can walk and talk and run around and kick a ball and things like that"), so when the health visitor started explaining to me that they wanted to check if she could walk, talk etc, Img chipped in with "and kick a ball!" which made it look rather as though I'd been coaching her for the test... On the other hand, it did usefully prove to them that she can do the requisite "put two words together" (I was hoping she'd say "Imi put two words together!" but as it was she just chattered away in her normal delightful manner, pointing out everything she could see on the toys and posters ("a cuckoo clock! a tulip and a butterfly! a book about I Want My Potty!") and narrating everything she was doing ("Imi running about! Imi running to her mummy again!") so they quickly got the idea that yes, tick, talking is just fine. (The form we had to fill in actually said "My child talks like other children of the same age" [yes/no] and I wanted to say "No, my child talks much better than most other children of the same age", but I knew that wasn't what they meant because NONE OF THE DAMN QUESTIONS SAY WHAT THEY MEAN so you have to fill it in as if you're a normal person who doesn't realise that words mean things.)

sleep and feeding and rage )
j4: (southpark)
This article advert on Netmums made me so furious I had to have a rant here. Let's take it line by line:

Sometimes it’s hard work just looking at celebrities on the red carpet.

Wow, if that's your idea of hard work, you need to get out more. Tell you what, we'll start gently: I'll do the celeb-watching for you while you come over here & do the hoovering*. If that doesn't blow your mind, you can help me assemble some flat-pack furniture**.

* I haven't actually done the hoovering since about 2001.
** The flat-pack wardrobe has actually already been assembled with gratefully-received help from [livejournal.com profile] invisiblechoir. But there may be more to come!

The glitz, the glamour, the hair, the dresses…followed by the comparisons, the feelings of inadequacy, the despair when we look in the mirror and see ourselves - an ‘ordinary’ mum.

Well, speak for yourself. I see the "glitz" and think it's a bit tacky, to be honest. But if you enjoy looking at celebrities, then that's fine... but it doesn't sound like you do enjoy it all that much, if it makes you feel inadequate and despairing. Maybe you shouldn't watch it? I mean, I'm not saying there's necessarily a correlation here, but when I look in the mirror, I don't feel the need to compare myself to celebrities, & I don't feel inadequacy or despair (though I'm no stranger to either feeling in other contexts!). I don't even see "an ordinary mum": I just see myself. I know I'm not "just a mum", and I also know (after not quite a year of being a mum) that there's no "just" about being a mum.

But Netmums and My Special K think that behind every ‘ordinary’ mum is an extraordinary woman and so My Special K have devised a personalised slimming plan to help you look amazing for that special event, party or holiday that you have coming up.

I don't get it. Is this extraordinary woman behind me so tiny that you won't be able to see her unless I lose weight? If she's so extraordinary, why doesn't she just say "Excuse me, can I get past?" and come and stand in front of me? If the extraordinary woman is me, why do I need a personalised slimming plan? If I'm that great, then why do you think there should be less of me? If I'm so great, why don't I carry on being the extraordinary woman I am? And since when did "amazing" mean "thin"? And even if it did, how do you know I'm not already thin? I mean, at the moment (not that it's any of your business) I'm 5'1" and approximately a size 10. Could you clarify at exactly what point I'm supposed to feel despair for not looking like "celebrities"? Also, which celebrities am I supposed to want to look like? I mean, I'd have to grow an extra eight inches in height to look like most models, and I don't think even Special K (the world's most joyless breakfast cereal) can help me there.

If you look closely many of those same celebrities that we put on an unachievable pedestal are actually just ordinary mums too.

Oh. So remind me, why am I supposed to be emulating them with your special slimming plan? I thought being an "ordinary mum" was what I was trying to avoid by eating the cereals of self-loathing. (And less of the "we" there. I don't put celebrities on a pedestal.)

Yes they’ve been preened and primed for the red carpet event you see them at, but do you think they look like that when their toddler jumps on their head at 5am?

Well, no. But then I'm not looking in the mirror when my baby jumps on my head at 5am, and I look better in the day than I do at 5am too. I'm losing track of how this comparison is meant to work.

So don’t despair,

I wasn't before I started reading this. Now I am actually starting to despair, but not for the reasons you think I am.

first step is to sign up to My Special K’s fantastic personalised slimming plan and then let’s investigate how those celebrities do it and what can we learn from them.

Look, I'm not a scientist, but I reckon you've got those steps the wrong way round. If we want to look like celebrities, why not investigate how they do it first and then see if we can do the same? Hint: they spend shitloads of money on their looks and/or have armies of people to do their hair, their makeup, their nails, their clothes. They almost certainly don't eat Special K. I reckon if you gave me a million pounds to spend on all that stuff I could make myself look like a celebrity without any additional help from a cereal that tastes like cardboard.

1. Making the most of your assets

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have hair like Penelope Cruz, or lips like Gwen Stefani? Ever noticed how celebrities always draw attention to their best feature? Whilst Penelope Cruz can most often be seen cruising the red carpet with shining, flowing locks, Gwen Stefani is rarely seen without her signature flash of red lipstick. So whether it’s your eyes or your thighs, identify your best asset and learn to make a feature of it.

My best features... well, that's a tricky one. Off the top of my head, in no particular order, I'd rate: my capacity for love; my writing; my musicality; the speed with which I learn new things. I find it hard to define some of the things I'm good at but they're definitely there. I've made a feature of these things by spending my time doing things other than staring in the mirror feeling miserable because I don't look like a celebrity.

Also, I'm now wondering how Penelope Cruz would cruz (ha!) the red carpet without her shining, flowing locks. I guess she could shave it all off and then her hair could come along later in a different Rolls-Royce and someone could roll it along the red carpet on its own. Or she could wear a very big hat.

There's also the possibility that e.g. Gwen Stefani's signature flash of red lipstick functions a bit like Clark Kent's glasses in reverse, i.e. when you see her without her signature flash of red lipstick you don't realise it's Gwen Stefani, so in fact you do see her without it all the time, but you don't see her without it. She might be standing right next to you RIGHT NOW. (Made you look.)

2. Work those curves

Quite often when we become mothers our bodies change and we don’t know how to dress our new curves. Take note of the likes of Kate Winslet, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Hudson and Holly Willoughby and embrace your curves. There’s nothing sexy about hiding under a black sack. Buy a dress (red is always good!) that clings to all the right places, add a plunging neckline and a little attitude and you’ll be red carpet ready in no time.

Hang on, a minute ago we weren't supposed to have curves, we were supposed to be slimming! Now we're supposed to be working our curves! Make your mind up, guys!

Also, I think there's some middle ground between "hiding under a black sack" and wearing a figure-hugging red dress with a plunging neckline, and it's the middle ground in which most of us live most of the time (thank goodness, otherwise every party would be like a version of The Matrix in which the teenage boy who made the woman in the red dress had been allowed to design all the female characters, and they'd all come at you like the excellent bit in the otherwise-appalling second Matrix movie where the army of Agent Smiths (Agents Smith?) attacks Neo, and you'd have to fight them off with super-fast bullet-time karate moves, BLAM! KAPOW! ... and that would get tiring after a while).

And furthermore, a) red is not always good, e.g. if you have red hair; and b) I bet there are people out there who think hiding under a black sack is pretty sexy, because of rule 34.

3. Never underestimate good underwear

I'm losing the will to live here, but let's go on:

Celebrities know the power of good underwear. You’d be hard pushed to find a celebrity that doesn’t love Spanx. Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba and Brooke Shields have all publically declared their love of spanx and Kim Kardashian even stated that ‘Spanx are my best friend!’

I thought they were supposed to work their curves, not use corsetry to get rid of them? (Also, if we're going to wear the bodyshapers anyway, why bother with the cardboard-only slimming diet?) Also, I already have a best friend, and she's way more interesting than a pair of control pants (also way more interesting than Kim Kardashian).

It doesn’t stop at the bottom half though.

Underwear usually doesn't, unless you're a waitress in a topless bar.

A good bra is essential and can take pounds off your silhouette. Make sure you get a fitting done before parting with your money though – figures show that approx. 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size – and you can be sure it’s not the celebrities!

OK, this advice is fine. Get a bra that fits. It's more likely to take pounds off your bank balance than off your silhouette, but it will also help prevent boobache and backache, and that's got to be a good thing.

4. Time to make-up

Of course whilst celebrities have their own army of stylists, hairdressers and make-up artists the rest of us have to make do with our own talents on that special night. So why not learn a few extra tricks of the trade? If you’re not confident in the art of make-up go to someone who is and ask for a little help. You may be lucky enough to have a friend who could give you a quick lesson, but if not head to the cosmetic floor at one of the big department stores and ask for some assistance. The women working there are normally only too happy to help, especially on the quieter mid-week mornings, and purchasing their goods is not a requirement.

And I guess this advice is fine if you want to do the makeup thing. (I've always made do with my own talents on any "special night", and I've, ahem, never had any complaints about my talents.) Just so long as you know that the tangerine-faced No. 7 ladies in Boots aren't actually going to make you look like Kate Winslet.

Win a makeover for you and a friend!

Netmums are also delighted to launch our fabulous ‘Nominate a Mum’ competition. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who has lost their confidence since becoming a Mum?

Oh, Netmums. With inspirational advice like this article, how could any mum lose her confidence?
j4: (blade)
I tweeted about this last night but it's so rage-inducing that I think I might have to post about it too. Here's the text of the latest email from Bounty (these are weekly emails for "Your baby at n weeks", but after about the first 10 weeks they stopped being about baby's development and started being about why you need to start waxing your legs again... OK, so you can probably guess I'm not the target market for this stuff anyway, but here goes):

Eat, drink and be merry

This week, we're focussing on food.


We're talking about both you and your baby's tummies. So first, here are some superb tips on how you can get a yummy mummy tummy.

Your baby

We've got some great advice on how you can help your baby to eat sensibly and enjoy their food. But if your baby's refusing food, or eating less, the chances are that everything is absolutely fine and there's no need to be frustrated.

Your baby's first teeth are either here or well on the way. Which is perfect timing for their developing taste for lumpier food.

So we start with "Eat, drink and be merry" (yes, I know this is just a sub-editor's autocomplete tic from "Eat", but still: let's be happy about food), but immediately go on to "how you can get a yummy mummy tummy": that is, obsess about your figure. Bit of a contradiction here, maybe? OK, so they don't actually mention the d-word, but let's face it, if you tell people their figure is all wrong, they're likely to think about dieting.

Having tried to make mums feel bad about their figures, they then remind them that they're supposed to help their baby "eat sensibly" and "enjoy their food". Now, this may be a bit of a radical suggestion, but: maybe one way to help your baby eat sensibly and enjoy their food would be to eat sensibly yourself, enjoy your food yourself, and generally model sensible behaviour?

Now, in fairness to Bounty I should point out that while in my opinion they clearly imply dieting, they don't actually say anything about it: the "yummy mummy tummy" article is actually about muscle-toning exercises. So that's OK then, surely? I mean, doing your pelvic floor exercises is sensible, right? (At least, if you don't want to spend the rest of your life doing a little wee every time you cough, sneeze or laugh.) So here's the beginning of the article:

Exercise for new mums

Size zero A list mums may be all over the front pages, but in real life your tummy might not spring back to its pre-baby state easily.

However, the good news is you can get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife.

Fortunately, nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally, especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us, a bit more effort may be required.

Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive).

There's a lot of subtle linguistic sleight of hand going on here, a sliding and eliding of subjects that I'm strugging to put my finger on. Let's see if I can pull it apart a bit.

So, we start off by invoking the "Size zero A list mums" and then pretending we're not talking about them at all; we're talking about "real life", where you can "get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife". These are things that the celeb mums might do, but because we've stopped talking about them by this time and started talking about "real life", they're presented as realistic options that "you" would have thought of already -- that is, options that you should have thought of already, because your body is All Wrong -- had Bounty not come along and told you the real solution.

Then we're told that "nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally" -- two references to nature, to make it clear that this is all nice stuff they're talking about -- "especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us" -- because most of you aren't fit enough! And you're TOO FAT! -- "a bit more effort may be required." Just a bit more effort, that's all. What kind of lazy person wouldn't put in just a bit more effort (that's more than 'doing nothing because miraculous Mother Nature will sort it all out', I guess?) to look good?

"Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive)". Silly you for thinking about surgery! You were thinking about surgery, weren't you, because you're THAT UGLY. What? You hadn't even considered surgery? Oh dear. Well, don't worry, dear, you don't really need surgery. You just need to do "targeted exercise". That's not targeted at getting you healthy and active again, it's targeted at giving you a flat tummy. The sort of flat tummy that 17-year-old girls WHO HAVEN'T HAD BABIES have.

So it's a funny definition of "good news" they're using here: as far as I can work out the "good news" is that you need to be "trim and toned" (why?), you need to "de-flab your abs" (why?), but it's OK, you don't need to have surgery (surgery! for fuck's sake!) to get there. Well, hurrah! Break out the bunting!

Even worse, look at the comments on that article: people are going to Bounty for medical advice:

"Whens the best time to start doing sit ups after giving birth? I'm confused because my family and friends are telling me different things! One told me you can do sit ups more or less straight away and another told me not until six months as your stomach muscle don't recover from pregnancy till then. Any one got any tips? xx"

"how do i tone my belly after having an emergency c section...? Or atually when can i start toning after an emergency c section? I had my baby son 13 weeks ago. Please advise needed........ xx"

"Anyone got advice on how soon after the birth I can return to running and / or circuit training? I ran up to 12 weeks pregnant and did body pump and walked for up to an hour right up to the birth. I have had episiotomy and stiches which seem to be healing well. I am also breastfeeding."

It's frankly terrifying that people are trusting Bounty -- who exist solely to sell shitloads of plastic tat to mums by making them feel guilty, by making them feel that if they don't buy all the plastic tat then they JUST DON'T LOVE THEIR BABIES ENOUGH -- with questions like these, rather than asking e.g. the NHS. Ask your health visitor, ask your doctor; even ask your mum or your friends -- at least if they're wrong they'll probably be innocently wrong rather than trying to sell you dieting aids or exercise equipment.

You might well ask me "why did you sign up for these emails then, you silly moo?" Yes, you might well ask. I signed up with Bounty for the packs of freebies and the special offers, because I STUPIDLY FORGOT that free stuff which wastes your time and makes you angry is NOT ACTUALLY FREE. While we're on the subject of those freebie packs, let's remember that Bounty have somehow wangled it so that Important Government Information on how to claim your Child Benefit is stuffed in the pack of advertising and marketing samples that they give you when you're IN HOSPITAL, ie probably still woozy from being stuffed full of drugs and confused from being SHUNTED AROUND LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT, and therefore not in the best frame of mind to go through a bagful of rubbish and filter out the Important Government Information; but obviously it's as important for women to be aggressively marketed at by the makers of unsustainable disposable rubbish as it is for them to collect the benefits to which they're entitled. Yes.

Oh, the Bounty freeby pack also included a can of DIET COKE. I thought this was nothing do with mums/babies but now I realise OH WAIT they mean you can have caffeine again but YOU'RE FAT! GO ON A DIET EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST GAVE BIRTH 2 HOURS AGO!

If I'd seen this stuff before giving birth I'd have pushed that baby out in 10 minutes flat, with no drugs except RAGE.

Sorry about all the CAPITAL LETTERS. I blame coffee, lack of sleep, and Caitlin Moran.
j4: (fairy)
[The subject line is to be sung to the tune of "Women and Men" by TMBG. I hope you enjoy this earworm as much as I am enjoying it.]

I rambled a lot in a response to a friends-locked post by [livejournal.com profile] monkeyhands, who said I should post my response somewhere everybody could see, or more precisely, "I would like to see you turn this stuff into a proper LJ post where people who aren't my friends can read it. But I realise you have Important Very Hard Coding to do. :) " But because I'm a Modern Woman and I can have it all, I got today's not-actually-that-important-but-entertainingly-Hard Coding out of the way (still whittling away at the XSLT to turn docx into TEI XML and back again without loss of style/formatting information - today's problem: right-to-left text in Arabic), done my volunteer shift at the Oxfam bookshop, and am now posting this stuff as well, go me. So anyway, I reposted the comment below, wholesale and unedited, and hopefully it makes enough sense without the full context. And then I went and rambled some more after that, too.


I should point out that the "geek as a gender" thing is not mine originally -- see explanation here.

geek work environments seem more meritocratic to me and I’d like to find out more about why that is

A couple of factors which I think may be relevant:

* geeks usually have some experience of talking to people in online chatrooms etc where you don't always even know somebody's gender. (This is a mixed blessing as some people just default to assuming people are male if they don't know their gender... but then that can be even more educational if they find out the truth & are forced to reassess their assumptions as a result.)

* geeks have often had some experience of being laughed at for being socially awkward, ie for failing to conform to rules that they didn't accept and don't understand. So when they get a chance to construct a micro-society for themselves, it may have fewer 'secret' (implicit) rules of interaction (and more explicit rules, and more insistence on codifying the rules - again a mixed blessing).

* related to the above -- programmers are used to 'communicating' (with computers) in a language which doesn't really have tones of voice or nuances; a language where if what you 'say' does the right thing, then at some level it's good enough. (There may be a more concise way to say the right thing, or a way to avoid having to say the right thing more than once, or a way that "just seems more elegant".)

In practice, I think it's often just substituting one set of implicit expectations for another, though. :-/

Also, there's a risk of a "geekist" attitude along the lines of "nobody who isn't a geek can possibly have anything worth contributing", the sort of attitude that refuses to acknowledge that things like literature and art and kindness can possibly have any value to society, because you can't express them in equations. But that's kind of at the extreme end of the geek spectrum.

“oh, they’ll be expecting me to buy the birthday card because I’m the only woman here”

I do get some of that, but I don't know to what extent that's because I'm female and to what extent it's because I'm probably the most sociable member of the team, the one who's willing to talk to people. (I mean, I'm not ruling out the fact that being sociable is related to being female, nature/nurture/Nietzsche/quack, but I am certain that being female is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for being sociable.)

E.g. the year before last I got asked to organise the team's Christmas meal, which involved talking to people & asking them what they wanted to do and blah blah blah then ringing the restaurant and booking the table and getting people's menu choices. I don't like trying to guess stuff when I can ask the person who knows directly (and I work with people who do not worry too much about being socially gauche), so I asked my line-manager whether he was asking me to do the "social secretary" stuff because I was a woman; he looked pained, reminded me who else was on the team, & asked if I could imagine any of them organising a social event. I had to concede that he had a point. :-} I guess that's a bit of the "oh just give it here" problem, & maybe we should be trying to teach the less-sociable people to socialise, but that's problematic (morally and practically) too.

As you say, though, it's hard (maybe not always possible) to disentangle the sexist expectations from the other social/cultural assumptions -- and we have to be able to make some assumptions otherwise we'd go mad trying to analyse each social situation from first principles every time. On the other hand I think sometimes it's important to ask people about their assumptions. But that's often hard.

I don't know. I can only really talk about how I do things, and then only anecdotally, and a lot of it comes down to chance and selective memory, and social interaction is experimentally unrepeatable, and and and. And I'm not saying that because it's difficult to untangle we shouldn't try to untangle it, but my coping strategy (imperfectly implemented) for my own life is to focus my limited energy on fixing things I stand a chance of being able to fix; so I can't do anything about being female, but I can do lots of other things to try to work better with people and persuade them to work better with me.

Anyway. I should do some work otherwise I'll just be reinforcing the stereotype that girls just sit around posting to LJ when they should be working. :-}


So much for the comment. Then I realised that in my list of disintegrating statements I didn't say much about my stance on the f-word. I don't tend to describe myself as a feminist; but then, I also don't tend to describe myself as a human being. I've said before that "All I know is that whenever I express sentiments that distinguish me from a feminist I get called a doormat", but that's just being facetious and doesn't really explain the problem.

I certainly don't think feminism is "over" or has "done its job"; I think there is still a sickening amount of inequality in the world, a lot of it relating to gender and sex and sexuality, because those are things that are important to people, and people commit terrible atrocities in the name of things that are important to them, and telling people they shouldn't care about those things is a rubbish way to fix that problem. I do think there's an enormous amount of cultural baggage associated with the word "feminism", not all of it helpful, and I think it's at best disingenuous to pretend that that baggage doesn't have any effect on how people react to the word. (At worst you're basically telling people "You mustn't accept the labels that the patriarchy imposes on you ... but how dare you refuse the labels that we impose on you?" which is a bit like telling women whose husbands are beating them up that they'd be much better people if they let another woman beat them up instead.)

I also don't see how "I'm a feminist and I'm not going to stand for your sexist bullshit" is actually a stronger statement than "I'm not going to stand for your sexist bullshit"; in other words, if you're fighting for the cause, I don't think it matters if you're not wearing the official uniform. In fact, I think sometimes the uniform gets in the way, because if you're always wearing the uniform, people start to see you as a role rather than a person, and that's not helpful if you're trying to get them to see you as a person and stop categorising you in according to their perception of your role. I'm not saying that there's no place for labels and causes; I'm just saying that there is also a place for action outside the labels and the causes, and that failing to wear the official uniform every day doesn't make you a bad person, and that "if you're not for us then you're against us" is a pernicious lie.

And talking of uniforms, I know I am just awkward and contrary, but to me the famous feminist tshirt has the unfortunate subtext of suggesting that a feminist has to dress in the wearisome conformity of the "alternative" subculture, the confrontational slogan tshirt, only available in I'm-only-wearing-black-because-they-haven't-invented-a-more-tedious-colour, only available in stare-at-my-chest-please. Where are the feminists wearing suits and ties, the feminists wearing actual uniforms, the feminists in spacesuits, the feminists in Laura Ashley dresses, the feminists wearing tracksuits, the feminists wearing silk negligées, the feminists wearing nothing at all, the feminists who are not even looking at the camera?
j4: (fairy)
[livejournal.com profile] 1ngi wrote a good post about the way sexism hurts men too. This isn't at all a response to that post, I'm just using it as a jumping-off point.

I find that I mostly only think about gender roles in relation to me (rather than as some kind of abstract thing) when other people voice their worries, and (possibly because of this) most of my angst around these issues is kind of second-order angst: I'm a female programmer and I'm not particularly feminine, will this encourage people to think that (or think that I think that) female geeks can't be femme too? If I want to have children, will feminists tell me (as they have in the past) that this is letting the sisterhood down? (I already know that if I do have children everybody will tell me I'm doing something wrong, and hopefully by then I'll have learned not to listen to them.) If someone asks me "As a woman, what do you think about..." am I overreacting if I give them the three-page disclaimer about how I'm happy to answer for myself but while my biological sex and my gender are a part of that they're not necessarily the most important part and I don't regard myself as particularly representative of Womankind and certainly wouldn't want to think that I was being assumed to speak for anybody other than myself of any gender? If someone tells me that I am being discriminated against at work because of my gender, and if I don't feel it or see any ill effects then that just means I've been stunned into submission, are they in fact full of shit?

Anyway. I find it hard to synthesise the things I notice about my gender, gendered reactions, sexuality etc into any kind of coherent whole. So instead, a series of disintegrating observations about myself... )
j4: (blade)
Things that have made me angry so far today:

* A white van nearly knocking me off my bike at the top of St Giles (YB08 KTE, a DPD van, so maybe it had an express parcel which was actually A TICKING BOMB, yeah right)
* A Post Office van (YN08 UNL) driving up the pavement about 5 inches away from me (I jumped out of the way) as I was standing there writing down the number of the van above
* Endless half-whispered conversations between my office-mate and the department's handyman (he is a bit simple & obviously has a huge crush on her, I suppose it's kind of sweet, but FFS get a room already)
* People who stand right in front of the shelves I'm trying to get to in shops while they have a long phone conversation, and then look cross when I say 'excuse me' (if you don't want your conversation interrupted, get out of the way)
* Sainsbury's till assistants asking me three times if I want a bag, having failed to take any notice of the answer because they're texting/gossiping/staring vacantly into the middle distance. NO I STILL DON'T WANT A BAG unless I'm allowed to put it over your head.
* People who shove past a crowd of people waiting at a pedestrian crossing so that they can cross on red and force the cars to brake suddenly (why do they never quite manage to get run over?)
* The woman in the Post Office who always asks me "it not urgent? you don't need it there soon?" when I send things first class, presumably trying to get me to pay extra for recorded delivery. Yes, I would quite like it to get there soon, THAT'S WHY I'M SENDING IT FIRST CLASS.
* All the people who emailed the IT staff discussion list (600-odd people) to say that they have an opinion on the iPad. (If one more person points out that it's a bit like an iPod Touch and a bit like a laptop but costs quite a bit of money but less than a real laptop, I'm not going to be held responsible for my actions.)
* All the people who emailed the IT staff discussion list to say that they don't have an opinion on the iPad. Wow, yeah, you're so individual, all of you. BORED NOW.
* Miso soup. It's cheap, it always looks/sounds like a really good idea, it tastes like rancid dishwater.
* Other people. All over the place. Like a fvcking disease.
* Myself.

May 2017

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