Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I can only assume from your continued support for this ISP filter that you have not read the reports on its cost, poor performance, impact upon internet speed and unreliability.
I would also like to add that the concept of a clean-feed for internet is fundamentally flawed because censorship fails to address underlying issues. It's a little like putting make-up over an infected boil. If people want to they will simply go through or around the firewall, for all it is hardly a thorough block. Tighter restrictions won't stop it either.
The ethics of blocking websites other than paedophilic pornography (which is as far as I am aware the original selling point) are questionable at best. Sites such as Wikileaks provide an important democratic check on government activity which the public has the right to know. Others, like the legitimate websites blocked by the filter due to programming limitations, can and will cause damage to small businesses.
As a ploy for the concerned parent and conservative vote it's clever, but a waste of money, especially to make it mandatory. Let those who want it for their homes have it. Let the rest of us try for free speech instead.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Allow me to clarify a premise. A feminist in this situation is not a man-hating bulldyke who was once chastised for poor personal hygiene and has carried a grudge since. Instead, a feminist is someone dedicated to questioning and reshaping gender norms and the inequality which they have brought to society.
The role of feminists at present is flawed. In seeking to redefine the role of women the movement has a whole has failed to do a similar thing for the role of men. There is no equivalent movement to shift the archetypal male away from the same position it has held for centuries. The drastic flaw in this is that without doing so, the feminist movement as a whole is crippled because we come to be seen as power-grabbers, greedy, selfish. There's no point in saying "A woman/transsexual/androgynous person/whatever can do anything" when the same is not true of men. How many home-dads do you see for example (though much of that is in the economic sense).
This is a matter of equal opportunity in the work place as much as it is of social expectations. A lot of people say we need more sensitive men without being willing to back that up by offering support and acceptance. To expect that anyone would show emotion which could cripple their masculinity is a flawed premise. Change that masculinity and the rest will follow. The aforementioned support for this needs to come from everyone to everyone else.
As such we need more male feminist, and we need strong male feminist role models. They help to communicate with those men who won't listen to silly, shrill lesbian feminists.
The people who would stand to benefit the most from this shift are gay men. Next up, in my opinion, are male prisoners. From there on it moves to the rest of the population as well. Gay men would be removed from the feminine stigma which plagues them, the idea that they are less male for liking other men. It takes a man to take a man after all.
Prisoners are another interesting topic. The kind of rape culture which was investigated in US prisons (and I don't doubt has been present elsewhere too) I see to be based on power discrepancies and perceived loss of masculinity in the same vein as the loss of power. Redefining said masculinity would greatly help with not only the issue within the prison, but also the reception that taking abuse cases to prison authorities receives.
The benefit would not be exclusive. The entire culture would be stronger and men as a whole would see a lot of positive shift in the direction of a less iron-clad and power-dominated patriarchal structure. The alpha-males wouldn't be so alpha and the definition of male would be different. I imagine it'd help gender relations and self esteem for a lot of people.
One of the major challenges facing a masculinity redefinition is finding a way to state what it is rather than frame it by what it is not. It is not, for example, defining a man because of his ability to cause damage and pain, or to exert power. Is it then maturity and control? Is it language ability? Charisma? If it is not sorting people based on their parts is it sorting them based on something else?
These kind of questions will be argued over by feminist and non-feminists of all genders. And so they should. Any kind of shift like I think is necessary needs to be debated to hell and back first. The change itself will be slow regardless. Generations of feminists have yet to produce a concise answer to the definition of 'female' or get the kind of equality which it strives towards. The kind of forced androgyny we see at the moment I consider almost as inflexible as some of the rigid definitions of the past.
Overriding the whole lot is a question of equality. Contrary to popular belief it is possible for genders to be equal without being the same. The two concepts are not synonymous, it's just that a great deal of care needs to be taken in both legislation and society to separate them. If we must define masculinity it needs to be a flexible definition and will probably be an ambiguous one too. Other people argue for the complete scrapping of any kind of gender structure and archetype because of the problems it causes. That goes for both femininity and masculinity.
For that, we need male feminists to help, and more feminists in general. Stand up guys and be counted.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
"Real women have curves" gives me particular problems. I know a lot of fat women. I am one myself. That doesn't make me any more or less a woman than say, a friend who is thin by benefit of that wonderful 75% genetic influence on ones weight. It just makes me fat. Real women don't give a shit about their weight. Other real women do. Real women are also trapped in the feeling that they absolutely must care about their image because that's the only way that they're going to land a man.
"Real women are intelligent." Nah, not all of us all the time. Not even close. And y'know what? It's not our place nor right to expect that everyone have a high IQ. We can have certain expectations of everyone as people but if we apply the logic to men and expect them all to be intelligent we'll be falling over ourselves with angst and disappointment. It works two ways.
"Real women don't have 12E breasts (32E US)" Really? I've met a few. They're also really intelligent and have curves.
Real women are mothers. Real women hate children. Real women simply couldn't care less either way. We are tall, short and in the middle. We have PhDs and are still in highschool, or have dropped out of highschool, or were home schooled, or never got the chance to go to highschool because we had the wrong downstairs equipment. We are bleach blond and all shades of the rainbow right up to black. We have pimples. We wear make up, or don't wear make up. We fart. We sweat. We wash as often as we can or hardly at all. We write. We type. We do complex mathematics because it's our first love alongside food. We love our 'sisters' and hate them and in the end, whether we like it or not we are all real women. The super models to the physicists to the feminists and the bull dykes.
We also need to grow the fuck up and get on with life without telling each other what to be.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Mango sorbet is wonderful. Or it used to be. I haven't had it in a while. Used to take great pleasure in sharing a cone, or a bowl, with my boyfriend. After we broke up I spent a few evenings eating sorbet with people I knew as acquaintances. It still tasted great, even though the atmosphere was different. Still melted on my tongue and made me coo with pleasure.
Then one night at a party I slipped up. Someone offered me lime sorbet and I turned it down. It's not as good, you see. Not to me anyway. I only said I didn't like lime flavour so I should have been clearer.
I wish I'd been clearer.
A few drinks later I woke up in a room with the Icecream Man and a few of his friends. I can't count how many. One had a scoop out and was smearing mango sorbet over my mouth. The cold made my teeth ache, my brain ache. It wrapped around me like a wet blanket and constricted. They were all so big standing around the bed. I couldn't talk because my lips were frozen. I couldn't tell them I was scared, that it hurt my teeth because it was so cold. Frozen.
One shoved a cone of sorbet into my mouth. It splintered, sharp little edges biting into my gums to make me bleed. He wouldn't stop. I choked on it as the scratches oozed blood. Oh god, oh god. My eyes stung with tears as I fought to breathe past my icy windpipe. It felt like I'd inhaled a whole scoop of sorbet which clung to the inside of my lungs. So cold.
My lips split, one gouged by a further shove of the cone when it was struck by a metal scoop. And struck again as they packed more sorbet into me. I couldn't taste the mango through the blood any more.
The Icecream Man and his friends took turns to force more sorbet into me. It was all I could do to swallow rather than choke. I just wanted them to empty the tub and be done.
I vomited most of it up afterwards, cones, blood and all. I was so ashamed. Why didn't I just say no? Scream it? Fight?
The next day saw me go through an entire tube of toothpaste and half a bottle of mouthwash. It hurt, but it helped. Somewhat. I could still taste the residue no matter how much I scrubbed or garbled and spat. It clung to my teeth like glue, and it felt like my whole head was on fire. It wouldn't go away.
Two years on and I can't stomach mango sorbet. My chest goes tight every time I smell it, or see someone eating it. Please don't feed me again.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
If you read this blog you'll know I'm a feminist. I don't think I could hide that with a fuckton of paint and brain implants. I'm not sure how many of you know my background in science but it's rather strong thanks to parents and family culture. And school, really.
The two fields have been drawing ever closer in my mind of late with some very nasty occurrences to friends which made me wish to rend a dickhead or two open and possibly brand "rapist" into a forehead but that's not my story to tell. Feminist readings around Teh Intarwebz have continued the trend including a lot of background research into rape, women's issues and most importantly abortion.
Thus we come to the point. I've decided that I wish to be an abortion doctor, whether in Australia or overseas. It's something that I feel I can do to really make a difference. I'll be going for post-grad Ob/Gyn training because nothing short of a fucking miracle would get me the marks to go into undergrad med school. And then there's the wondrous issue of cost but that's a rant for another time, sadly.
I can see this decision coming up against a lot of resistance in my family. Catholic parents aren't usually positive about this kind of thing and my mother is definitely not a fan. However, screw them for a lark in the face of my Feminist Drive. Other factors which may try to go against me are friends and acquaintances who don't agree with the practice. Not surprisingly, I have few of those. At present there's also the tragic risk of getting shot or blown up but I suspect that's more in the US.
Perhaps in the future I will be able to save a few of you readers, or your sisters, cousins, aunts, friends etc from all the horror and pain of unwanted pregnancy. The pro-lifers can go stick their heads in lead paint.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Australian gamers will no longer be able to download any games with a rating above MA15+, no matter the server or game content. In fact the entire retail site gets blocked if they offer games above that rating.
The lack of an Adult18+ classification is wildly idiotic on its own but this censoring goes far beyond the pail. What happened to "we're just protecting the children from paedophilia" Rudd? Oh I almost forgot the sheer number of legitimate sites already screwed over. Sites such as Wikileaks. Sorry you dislike people knowing what you're doing so much. Back in the day government transparency was sought for. Businesses get it too, the poor bastards.
Get your act together Labor. The average age of an Australian gamer is 30. If that's not old enough to warrant respect then why do the have the vote? This censorship must be stopped. IT experts have told Rudd that it's technologically idiotic. Human rights and activists have told him it's immoral. About time the Australian Public take a real stand.
So, dear reader, spread the word around your office, your social networks, family, friends, guilds and sporting teams. Write letters to local MPs. Most of all, get angry. I stated in the first part of this that I intend to stir up online activism, along with that in the real world. I am angry user. Hear me rawr.
In the media:
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
In it's normal state, BRCA (1 and 2) is a cancer-suppressant. As mentioned a particular mutation can cause the opposite. There has been a test developed to see whether an individual carries this mutated gene or not. To me, this raises all sorts of moral quandaries but we'll get to them later. For now money is the target.
The patent for this gene is held by Myriad Genetics, preventing other groups from testing for the gene, studying, working with or even looking at it. In other words it's an intellectual monopoly with thousands of lives in the balance. They argued that because they extracted and isolated the gene it becomes liable to patent, rather than being called a discovery. Did the Curies patent radioactivity? Rutherford, the atom? Cook, Australia? I don't fucking think so. Not only were they not that outright stupid, or selfish, the patent office at the time would have hardly let such claims stay.
The gene itself occurs naturally, and to the best of my knowledge the methods of isolation are not some wonderful new invention either. So, in short, it's money grubbing. Both Myriad Genetics itself and the patent office seem to be scrabbling for cash and thinking through their pockets rather than through the medical profession. This kind of thing only hurts medicine, and the people who would otherwise benefit from the technology.
Of course the ability to identify high-risk genes like BRCA 1 and 2 raises issues of its own. Should having it affect health insurance? Should the availability of such tests be regulated? Should individuals be obliged to divulge the information to employers? Do people want to know? How should those with the gene conduct their lifestyles with that knowledge?
The health insurance question is, to me, a no-brainer. Such things are a shared rish within the community and as such one individual's susceptibility is cushioned by the people around them. My god, what a horribly communist idea! Yes, insurance companies are out to maximise their profits. This is where public health comes into play as a base-standard that should be upheld rather than the low class alternative. Unfortunate that the governing bodies run like corporations in the first place save the relative respect of shareholders.
Testing for this gene should be entirely up to the individual. Some will want it so they can know and act accordingly, others prefer ignorance. That's their call. If they do know then it's their business and right to divulge at choice. It's not something that employers need to make special workplace provision for, though psychological stress could be an issue. No doubt much of the resources in testing centres will go towards counselling and the like. If people wish to know let them.
In a similar fashion the actions of those who do know are up to them. One woman who had the test come back positive had her ovaries, fallopian tubes and breasts removed as a precautionary measure. Other options include stringent, regular checks such as screening mammograms. Or there's the option of ignoring it all together. More issues come into play with the idea of offspring crops up. I think that unless society is prepared to limit any number of other genetic distinctions in regards to giving birth (Let's not, okay?) they should leave this well enough alone, to the discretion of the parents. The offspring should be given the information for their health's sake, but what they do with that knowledge is up to them.
Unfortunately I doubt my ideas will have any impact upon government or corporations. I'm just a crazy teen after all.
The whole deal with medical corporations patenting genes is one which needs addressing. It's greed. It's harmful and disgusting. These patents represent but a part of the whole festering mess. The scientists and many individuals may have altruistic intentions but someone on the policy bench clearly doesn't.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
And it’s also fucking stupid.
We as a culture surround ourselves with this ideal of merit being entirely comparable to everyone else. What other cause could possibly explain the severe stress that someone who could comfortably retire yet goes on working for the money experiences? They get respected for it. It’s about the attention that an individual receive due to the image they present. I can’t help but wonder why we bother.
I’m not so spineless and needy as to require the constant admiration and approval of everyone around me. No, I will not go shopping in trendy places to wear pretty skirts or cake make-up. I look good enough without that shit, and it doesn’t take hours out of my day which could be better spent writing angry angry things. As a population we need to start looking beyond the dollar sign, the manicures, the flash cars and the law suits against anyone who trusts us with the sensibility not to step off a cliff un-warned of by a sign, but rather by a bare patch of ground and a sudden drop. The metaphor extends to any stupid compensation lawsuit ever filed for the sake of money.
All of this comes at the expense of critical thinking and advancement of ideas. It’s a select few in our western world who take status to be the value of an individual’s thinking rather than the cash that results from it. This does nothing for the evolution we have subverted in so many other ways.
I do not need a popular image. I do not need wealth status, nor the anxiety which comes with it. I do not need a big house. I do not need a big car. I do not need expensive clothes. I do not need another fucking women’s magazine telling me that to ‘be myself’ I have to look like every other pumped-up princess strutting around the catwalk. What I want, what I really need, is plain and honest intellectual stimulation. I, like everyone else, need to have the steel-capped boot of a challenge stuffed into the flabby backside of complacency. It’ll bruise like a motherfucker, but it’ll be worth it.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
As a woman I face bombardment from media about how to portray myself. I should be skinny. I should have a big chest. Woo for me! My male friends get the same treatment too. According to the media they should be built like fighters. Indeed, many of them are more paranoid about their appearance than I ever have been. How often to you hear about men hitting the gym obsessively because they must (MUST!!!) be able to lift that extra pound? In fact, eating disorders are on the rise amongst the male population as well.
It's okay, guys. I know your pain.
Time and again I hear people pointing the finger of accusation at games such as Tomb Raider. In all fairness it is far less practical to run around scantily dressed and with enormous cleavage than it is to be a CS avatars type of character, but the pressure remains the same. I can't imagine that gamers who fit stereotypes of our kind don't look at Solid Snake with some envy. After all, who doesn't want to be built like that, 'rugged' of face and 'badass' of nature?
While it's very easy to poke at action games and FPS for this, others are guilty of it as well. I'm going to take Final Fantasy as a prime example here. The male characters in that game display physical prowess and tone, especially when this latest generation of graphics allows it. One of the few games I've seen when you can even come close to some of the 'less derisible' physical structure as a male is Fable, and even then, you can quickly return to your 'prime'. I would say that even Gordon Freemon gives pressure for a certain body shape, for all he wears glasses (Ooohhh.. rebel!)
Clothing is another point picked on by those who see Lara Croft as the Devil. I would say for this that the tight clothing worn by some male characters to best show off their smuggled cantaloupe melons is just as sexualising as the cut-away outfits of the women. It's all a matter of degree. However it's somewhat more difficult to find mods which would allow JC Denton to run around in his underwear than it would be to find the same for Alyx Vance. A matter of target audience, I believe.
The fact remains that the pressure is there. Both in the games as stated above, and in the media around us. To quote Fight Club "Is that what a real man looks like?" I think there's more to the uh.. 'not so fair' sex than that. Just like there's more to women than cleavage and miniskirts.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Sorry, what part of "stay the fuck out of my internet" does the Rudd government NOT understand? Slimy little Labor fingers are not welcome in the pie that is my e-content and they never fucking will be. I did not go to watch child pornography. I clicked a link to an animation called "Life Of A Jar". You can find it, I'm sure. While it has sexual references and implications, it's not even porn at all.
The Australian Government has some moralistic lobbyist stick up their backside so far that they're probably tasting wood. As such, they are trying to block sites containing violent, 'inappropriate' or child pornography. This is waiting until the horse is a continent away before slamming the stable door and proceeding to whip the rest of the stock. It's a dupe designed to help those who aren't sure about the deep dark recesses of the internet feel more secure in their ignorance, putting everyone else who might stroll those locals for entertainment on occasion in the limelight as paedophiles and freaks should they choose to speak out. That's blackmail of reputation. Base tactic.
So again, fuck you Rudd.
This waste of money comes in the face of a recession where it would be better spent in other places, not slowing down the internet for the people of this nation. It's ineffective. It's undemocratic. It's a pain in the arse and it cannot hope to cover the material it is trying to. Take this shit down.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The immediate connotation of 'feminist' to these twits is on of a man-hating batshit insane bull dyke, spewing bile about how all housewives are complacent and a detriment to women. This image is intensely repulsive and so the word becomes something to be avoided like the plague. Did I mention it's also stupid? I probably should have.
Feminism is as broad a term as 'video game'. It comes in many different styles, with many different ideas attached. Exactly which ideas one adheres to depends on ones moral and ethical beliefs. My feminism is based on individual equality. It is bound to concepts of social freedom, cultural awareness and a loathing of hate crime. My feminism encompasses the queer rights struggle, racial equality, demographic equality, and a stringent desire to extend a middle digit towards the rigid class structure present in western culture.
Yet, because of the title, it's somehow dirty. Grow up for fuck's sake.
This comes back to media portrayal, fear, and cultural isolation. If you want drama you don't go for the easy-to-empathise-with feminists who want people to get along and generally be mature and intelligent. Far better to pander to fear and ratings by going for the more obnoxious stereotype-come-folk-devil icon which dominates the above mindset. People are outright scared of that kind of thing. Ohhh.. watch out for the scary woman with the crew cut. She's clearly going to eat your children and rip apart your house plants. Idiots.
It does damage to women everywhere for this stigma to be perpetuated. Once it becomes a blanket image for the entire feminist movement any worth while message is lost amongst the screams of the terrified sheep. Add to this the continuation of sex segregation and gender roles and you've got a winning formula for fuck all improving.
What's as bad is the idea that only women can be feminists. The historic dominance of women in this movement is for obvious reasons but the day you have to be a woman to get along with the cause is the day I have to be a bull dyke to be entirely behind the concept of queer rights. It doesn't work like that. The only logical reason not to be a feminist is if you really hate the idea of people being treated with a single base standard regardless of their sex.
Of course, I also have a problem with that particular idea coming from either side of the debate. Just because women have historically had less power does not mean that no one with a penis should ever be allowed to possess it in the place of a woman. The sins of the father are not the sins of the son and labelling people with said sin is just a way to stir up more resistance.
Wake up and smell the smoke ladies, gentlemen, and those undecided. I could go on to spew forth statistics about rape and employment but I'm sure you've all heard it before. I'm just asking that people open their eyes for once and look beyond their assumptions based on the word. You can keep whatever lifestyle you want, I don't give a shit, but it's no reason for anyone to hamstring the attempts of a movement like feminism.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
So here's a run-down on some of my experiences and what not to do when in a mosh pit.
Rage Against The Machine: Big Day Out 2008 or Don't Be A Cancerous, Sexist Prick
I like RATM. They're a fun band for listening and parties for all the music becomes rather samey after a while. In this case I was there for the band and hoping that maybe, just maybe, my low expectations for the mosh pit would be some way surpassed. The Anti-flag pit earlier in the day had been a lot of fun. Just a bunch of people hurling themselves around in a Circle.
Rage, unfortunately, was different.
By the time that the band made it to stage (Silverchair had previously been booed off to much personal appreciation.) it was late in the evening and all the alcohol consumed by various people throughout the day was starting to show. A few had even lit up joints in the pit to get the spirit flowing. Bad mark on the record number one. Don't do this, please. Smoking in pits is just asking for greater difficulty when people wish to breathe. Lung cancer does not mix well with tight spaces and sweaty, stinking bodies. I tried to ignored it, moving a little bit away from these people and finding myself a few rows forward. of where I had been. That's where the trouble started.
It's a terminally bad move to say "What's a chick doin' in here?" around female metal heads. Even worse is the dick move of "You're female, you can't take the pressure. Here, let me help you out of the danger zone with my hand on your arse for good measure." That kind of attitude will get people hurt. In this case it got the guy in question's face mashed with a solid fist. Alas that the impression didn't last, as within a little while the very same group were chanting "tits are for the boys" at two women who were lifted above the pit on their friends' shoulders. If these girls hadn't succumb to the pressure and flashed the crowd. It would have been so much better for all involved. These stupid women do nothing to help stem the flow of men who think we're naught but tits and arse. They deserve to be smacked around as much as the people who were screaming "show us ya tits, you slut!"
This is the crux of many problems for shows such as Big Day Out. Too many drunk people with idiotic approaches to others often ends with self-righteous chauvinism and the general annoyance of anyone like me in the vicinity. Not smart, oh drunken yobbo masses.
Rock Eisteddfod: 2008 Rehersal Day "Mosh Pit" or Teeny Boppers Shouldn't Mosh
I wasn't involved in this pit, I observed with an expression of arrogant, metalhead disgust from the back of the hall alongside others from my Backstage crew.
What was going on below was laughable. Highschool students bopping up and down to the beat of some mainstream shit with a woman singing about how she's so very attractive and deserves all the attention in the world. My ears were next to bleeding with the sheer sound of filth, and the screaming, girly masses were no help. There is no way you could call that moshing. It was nothing short of a competition to see which teenybopper could shake her tail the most for the closest guy. Boy did they love it too. Ugh.
Shoot the teenyboppers. Save us all a headache and turn off that fucking music.
Opeth: 2008 Big Top or Don't Drink In Pits, You Twit
I was front-and-centre barrier for this pit before I got a rib cracked. What annoyed me about it was the beer which some idiot spilt down my leg about half way through the first song. The rest of it was spectacular with an awesome band and a great pit (despite the injury) but seriously guys. Don't bring fucking sticky alcoholic drinks into mosh pits. The guys at the front have water bottles for those they can reach.
Alcohol and mosh pits don't mix anyway in my view. You're better off being sober so you can get yourself smashed around and still know when to get out. Spilling drinks down my leg is a good way to get smacked.
It's funny when I look back upon these and remember the adrenal rush at the time. The Rage pit was huge, hence it's intensity. Just served to make me angrier when there were stupid people around.