The price of being a woman

I’ve been saying it for years now: rape culture exists, women are objectified, misogyny is an every day problem. I’ve been labelled a man-hater by those who don’t want to admit that they’re part of the problem. Even in the wake of the tragedy in Isla Vista, CA, this past weekend, people (men, mostly) are still refusing to believe that this is the result of a culture that objectifies its women and promises them to men at a young age and then tells them there’s something wrong with them when their “nice guy” tactics aren’t having women throw themselves at their feet. Even though the Killer Who Shalt Not Be Named On This Blog left a clear manifesto that stated the reasoning for his killing spree was because women weren’t even giving him the time of day – let alone sleeping with him – and there were men who were (unknowingly) getting in the way of his conquests… even with all of that information, people are still refusing to believe that these killings were fueled by misogyny.

“Mental illness” is being thrown around, as a way to excuse what he did. In reality, there are many mentally ill people who don’t go out and kill people, and there are legally sane people (notably Jeffrey Dahmer) who do go out and kill people. Mental illness isn’t an an excuse nor is it the cause.

This is also being hailed as an isolated incident, and that’s grossly untrue. Men, find the women in your life. Be it your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, maybe your teenage daughter. Ask them if they’ve ever been harassed or assaulted by a man. The answers may shock you. Personally, I’ve dealt with guys like He Who Shalt Not Be Named On This Blog on a near daily basis since I hit puberty. He manifests in the men who catcall you (or grope you in public) and expect you to take it as a compliment. He manifests in the droves of lonely dudes on internet dating websites who put too much effort into messaging you, only to lash out at you with insults when you’re not interested or fail to respond. He manifests in that predatory guy at the bar who won’t take no for an answer, and who only leaves you alone after you declare your status as another man’s propertyBecause they respect you more as some other man’s property than as your own person who just isn’t interested in them. These aren’t isolated incidents. These are every day men that women have to deal with in nauseating amounts. They put their desire to interact and date with us over our personal comfort levels and our disinterest and then cry about being labelled as potential rapists. And for those of us who try to speak out about it, we are met with droves of men who feel the need to separate themselves from the rest with “but not all men!” when in fact, they are exactly like the rest of them. And if they spent more time calling out their fellow dudes who exhibit creepy, predatory, and objectifying behavior as they did whining about “misandry,” maybe we could actually enact a positive change in our culture.

Anyway, I digress. The slaughter of this past weekend is NOT an isolated incident. Many, MANY men lash out with insults and threats of violence when faced with a denial. Women have been blamed for men’s shortcomings since the beginning of time, and men are taught that we owe them our attention and affection simply because they exist, when we really, actually, don’t.

So men, while it may be a blow to your fragile ego, remember that women don’t owe you shit. You are not entitled to their attention or their body, no matter how nice you are to them, how many gifts you’ve given them, or how betrothed you are to them. Even being married for 50 years doesn’t entitle you to someone else’s body, because long gone are the days where you could buy your wife from her family and women were considered property, not people. And while it may be frustrating to be lonely, while you see everyone else around you getting into relationships and finding love and sex, no hurt feelings ever, EVER justify hurting someone else. You will get a lot further with women by respecting them and their space than you ever will by taking what you want and leaving casualties.

Other relevant articles:
- A comic on the double standards faced by men and women, or “why I need feminism”
- Why It’s So Hard For Men To See Misogyny
- The Price of Toxic Masculinity
- Not all men: How discussing women’s issues gets derailed
- An open letter to privileged people who play devil’s advocate

Gardening for Dummies

It was a decision I’d made at least months before I moved – I wanted to start an herb garden. I’d bought a copy of Herb Gardening for Dummies and pored over the basics, and was pretty set on starting up my own herb garden once I moved and got settled.

Just days after I moved in with my boyfriend and one of our mutual friends, the boy and I took a trip to Home Depot to get some around-the-house necessities and tools (the previous tenants of our house left it a wreck), and while we were there I picked up some Miracle Grow seed starter soil and a handful of Burpee seed packets.

The next morning, I was out on the back patio bright and early, appropriating the boyfriend’s work gloves to use as I dug into the freshly opened bag of soil. I planted sweet basil, parsley, chives, cilantro, and a slightly-out-of-place-in-an-herb-garden jalapeño plant.

While – you can see in the photo – everything else has sprung up and is doing quite nicely (the chives are out of control!), the jalapeño has yet to even germinate. After asking around on the internet, it turns out my sunny windowsill isn’t quite warm enough to help my pepper plant germinate. So I’ve moved it to the computer room, where the heat given off by our combined computers makes the room about 5-10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house at any given time. Keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll sprout soon and it’s not just me being terrible at having a green thumb!

Not all those who wander are lost…

 …and that’s exactly what my new Tolkien-inspired tattoo says.

Everyone knows that once you get your first tattoo, you get “ink poisoning” – as they call it – the desire for more and more tattoos. Since I turned 18 (19 actually, because that was when I actually got my first one), I’d only ever adorned myself with 4 medium-to-small tats, and it’s been a solid 4 years since my last one. My goal is to eventually turn my left arm into a full sleeve, and have at least a half sleeve on my right arm. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

Recently, my friend Ashlee had gotten a tattoo from her cousin who works at a local Tattoo Lou’s shop. Upon showing me her new ink (a mermaid from Peter Pan featuring the quote, “we were only trying to drown her), I fell in love with the work. The lines were so crisp and thin and perfect, and the colors and blending were exquisite. I was determined to get at least one tattoo from this amazing artist before I book it for the west coast.

So I sat down, and mulled through all the ideas I currently have swirling around. The idea for this one was the most solid, and it was fairly easy (remember, 4 years since I’d been under a tattoo gun), and with a surprise tax return, I was ready.

The whole thing was done in less than half an hour. Though all she did was add some leaves on to the design apply it to my skin (I found the font I wanted it in and printed it out), she did an amazing job of it, and I would absolutely go back to her to get more work done… if I wasn’t going to be 3,000 miles away in less than a month.

And in case anyone is confused or wondering: it’s a quote from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The whole poem it’s from is as follows:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.