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Kids Cursing

I have no problem with kids cursing. I don’t think it’s cute nor do I think it’s offensive. Words are just words, and it matters more to me how and where someone uses them. Our kids are allowed to curse in our house when we’re alone (meaning, no one outside our foursome is in the house) as long as they’re not throwing words around in anger at each other or at us.

But FCKH8.com’s new video called F-Bombs for Feminism leaves a really bad taste in my mouth (NSFW):

You know what… it’s the same problem I have with GoldieBlox, which is that it’s adults using kids to present their agenda. Those girls in the GoldieBlox video didn’t make that Rube Goldberg machine, and those girls in the video above aren’t conveying their own thoughts or feelings. They’re speaking the words that grownups want to say, that they can’t get attention anymore for saying, so they’re using kids to spread their message.

And that sort of sucks. I don’t like it when other people speak for me, so why should I ever support people putting words into the mouths of kids?

FCKH8.com lost me when they called them “these adorably articulate little ladies” as if they had all collectively driven themselves to the studio and recorded what had been gnawing at their heart for the last 6 years… you know… back when they were in diapers.  The girls aren’t articulate.  They’re reciting a script.  That an adult wrote.

Kids CAN and SHOULD be taught to care about issues, and they best connect with ideas that they relate to directly because kids are self-centered.  Not self-centered pricks, but self-centered because that’s where they are developmentally.  A child, for instance, who has GLBT family members or close friends to the family is prime for understanding and speaking out for marriage equality.  A child with no connection to that topic is going to have a difficult time relating to it.  It’s important to instill openmindedness in a child so when they reach a more empathetic age they can leave their bubble and relate to the rest of the world.  But there is a difference between gently opening their eyes to the larger world and shoving them towards ideas.

So I don’t think the video is cute.  And I don’t find it shocking in the way that FCKH8.com intended for viewers to find it shocking:

Asking the question, “What’s more offensive? A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women” these adorably articulate little ladies in sparkling tiaras turn the “princess in distress” stereotype on its head and contrast the F-word with words and statistics society should find shocking such as “pay inequality” and “rape.”

The shocking part for me is why adults feel it is okay to use children in order to condemn sexism.  Hells yeah, I want to combat sexism.  But I don’t want to do it like this.

October 23, 2014   No Comments

Dear Godinterest, I’m Jewish

Today I got an invite to Godinterest, the Christian social media site.  It’s been around for a while (there was a HuffPo article about it back in May), but for some reason, they spammed the Internet today with enough Godinterest invites to get the site trending.

I think it’s lovely that Godinterest exists.  The Internet is a semi-infinite space: everyone should be able to find a You-shaped space on the Internet to call home.  We need some people to create those spaces so that other people can join along.  So I applaud Godinterest in creating that space; it fills a need for a population of people.

But Godinterest, you sort of struck a nerve with me.  Because, you see, I’m not Christian, therefore I likely have little to no interest in a Christian social media site.  I looked at what you had trending on your front page, and it is most definitely applicable to Christians.  Again, I’m not Christian, so not really applicable to me.

I get blindly pitched a lot of stuff on a daily basis.  I think it’s sort of amusing that the term is “public relations” since that would imply that the person is building a relationship.  But no, there is clearly no relationship going on between myself and the people doing the pitches.  If there was, they would know not to directly send me requests to review baby items and pregnancy products.  They would know that this kosher vegetarian wouldn’t want to try out pork products.  And they would know that this Jewish woman who doesn’t even like Pinterest all that much wouldn’t want an invite to a Christian-themed social media site.

I know what you’re going to say: It’s not a big deal!  Just delete it!  It’s a bigger deal that you took the time to write out a whole post about it!

It is simple to delete emails, and that’s what I do.

But this is all indicative of a larger issue, one that you only think about when you’re in the minority whether that is being childless in a child-centric society or being Jewish in a Christian-centric country.  It really sucks when the majority assumes that everyone is just.like.them.  I mean, it doesn’t suck if you’re in the majority.  Then, you don’t even think about it.  But if you’re in the minority and you need to constantly be navigating the assumptions of the majority, it gets really old really quickly.

It’s funny what bothers me and what doesn’t.  It doesn’t bother me that in America, from October to January, we are in Christmas season.  I think it rocks that you guys have this big holiday in the winter, and I really like your candy canes.  I even like going over to a friend’s house and helping them celebrate the holiday.  I don’t mind navigating shopping traffic or having Christmas music playing in the stores or having Christmas programming on every television station or having everything shut down when I finally have a day off.  I really don’t mind having my life impacted by someone else’s religion.  I even participate to make Christmas more special for other people, volunteering on that day because I can volunteer on that day since I have nowhere else I have to be.

What I do mind is the assumption that I am Christian, too.

I write this because it would behoove us all to spend five minutes thinking about which majority groups we belong to — because we all belong to majority groups — especially the somewhat invisible ones.  And then think about the assumptions we make as the majority group.  And then stop making those assumptions.

Let’s not assume all women are mothers.  Let’s not assume all women want children, or if they don’t have children, that they don’t want children.  Let’s not assume that all couples are married… or want to be married.  That all people are heterosexual.  The list could go on and on and on.

Godinterest, let’s not assume all people are Christian.  Because while you — in the majority — may think there is no harm no foul in sending out these emails to people outside of your audience, I’m telling you that those of us in the minority are negatively impacted by your actions.

October 22, 2014   15 Comments

Spells, Salves, and Pills

On page 213 of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Quentin thinks while confronting the depths of his sadness, “Wasn’t there a spell for making yourself happy?  Somebody must have invented one.  How could he have missed it?  Why didn’t they teach it?”

And I thought to myself: if there was a spell like that, I would use it.  I mean, provided it didn’t have any unwanted side effects.  But if all I had to do was point a wand at myself and chant a few words, I would use it.  Not all the time, but sometimes.  Most of the time.  No one wants to struggle; no one wants to be down or anxious or moody.  But if there was a spell that could help keep emotions in balance?  Sure, I’d take advantage of it from time to time.  Wouldn’t you?

Then I thought, if there was an ointment that I could rub on my skin to make myself happy, I’d probably do that too.  It would be akin to sunscreen, except it would protect you from negative energy buzzing through the air.  If all I had to do was rub a salve on my skin and it would keep out all the unwanted thoughts and feelings, help me to regulate reality so that I wasn’t being led astray by fear or worry, I would massage that cream in.  Again, provided that it didn’t have massively negative side effects.  But if it was well-researched?  If the benefits outweighed the drawbacks?  Then yes, pass me the tube.  Wouldn’t you?

So why do we have such a stigma around drugs that we ingest that accomplish the same task?

When it’s magical: bring it on.

When it’s topical: rub it in.

When it’s internal…

When it’s internal, there is suddenly this layer of judgment.  What is okay for the outside of the body is anathema inside the body, even if it accomplishes the same thing.

Despite being a health editor and having read countless pieces about depression, I had never thought about the stigma in quite this way until I encountered a hypothetical spell in a book.

I am still on the first book in the trilogy, and at this point, Quentin doesn’t know that spell for a specific reason given later in the chapter.  I don’t know if he ever gains knowledge of that spell in the future, and if he does, if he chooses to use it.  But wouldn’t you?

October 22, 2014   8 Comments

The 2014 Creme de la Creme List is Now Open for Submissions

It is the ninth anniversary of the little Creme de la Creme, where we celebrate our corner of the blogosphere. 97 bloggers participated last year. If this is your first time hearing about the project, this post should tell you everything you need to know. If you’ve participated in years past, you know how much fun the list is when it’s revealed on January 1st. So, I hereby declare the 2014 Creme de la Creme list open.

I know this is loooooong, but please read this whole post before submitting your entry.

If you didn’t read or participate in this list in 2006 or in 2007 or in 2008 or in 2009 or in 2010 or in 2011 or in 2012 or in 2013, the impulse behind this list is a counterbalance to the ubiquitous award ceremonies that crawl out of their hiding spaces usually around December or January. Awards are nice — it’s good to honour someone and mark big accomplishments. But we all have a best post tucked into our archives. We all have words that have moved another person or ideas that have kicked off a series of musings. Bloggers are writers, and all of us deserve to be celebrated.

And we’re doing just that.

This is the way it works. If you want to participate, read through your archives from 2014 and choose a favourite post. You can leave all sorts of comments below telling me how fantastic I am, but fill out the form to send in your submission (do not leave it in the comments section — the point of this list is also the surprise of seeing the choices revealed on a single day). If you post your link below, I will delete it. Again, feel free to leave love comments below — in fact, please do leave love comments below — but not your submission for the list. Let’s keep it a surprise until the list is ready to go up.

You can only choose one entry. You cannot be modest. Everyone has a best post. There is no such thing as a boring blog. Even if you don’t think you have any readers because you’ve never received a comment, you have a best post. The one that you felt really good about when you hit publish. The one that would be the post you’d put forward if an editor called you tomorrow and said, “I have this great writing job for you that will pay a million dollars an hour. You just need to submit one blog entry to get this job so we can check your writing style.”

Even if you just found my blog because you read about the Creme de la Creme on another person’s blog, you are not only welcome to submit; you are encouraged. It is the best posts of 2014 for the ALI community and that community includes anyone who writes about infertility, adoption, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, neonatal death, assisted reproduction, pregnancy after infertility or loss, and every related topic — from living child-free after infertility to parenting after infertility. Everyone on the blogroll (or could be on the blogroll) is welcome to participate. Really, you don’t need to be a regular reader of my blog to join in. It’s open to everyone in the ALI blogosphere. I can’t say this in more ways than that. Which means you don’t need to write me a note asking if it’s okay to participate. The answer is yes. Okay?

Actually, it’s not only “yes;” it’s “please do.”

The list will be posted January 1st, and I promise that you will use up a good portion of the beginning of the year reading through the most stunning posts you’ve ever seen. We had 97 posts last year, and I’d really like to top that this year. My goal is all 3000+ blogs currently on the blogroll, but barring that, let’s aim for over 150. Which means that not only do you have to participate if you’re reading this, but you need to spread the word and get other bloggers to participate (more on that below). Link to this post, send out a note to other bloggers you like, and suggest favourite posts to bloggers from this past year.

Um… other FAQ-like things:

How many posts can I submit?

You can only submit one. Please don’t submit two and ask me to choose. Submit one.

How will I know that you received my entry?

When you hit submit on the form, you should get a screen telling you that I have my entry. If you don’t see that screen, I don’t have your entry.

I sent in a post last week but I just wrote one that I love more! Can I switch my submission?

The short answer is no. The reason is that I write up the blurbs that appear next to each entry. This takes a lot of time. When you change your post, I have to write another blurb. Therefore, think carefully. But get your post in early so it’s high up on the list. But take your time picking it so you’re positive it’s the one you want on the list. But don’t give this too much thought…

If you just submitted it an hour earlier and realized you sent the wrong link, email me quickly so I can change it. Once I write the blurb, it’s set. I mean, you can pull your blog from the list, but you can’t submit a different link.

How do I know which one is my best?

Think of this list in sort of the same vein as those “Best American Short Story”-type collections except that it’s blog entries and everyone in the blogosphere should be represented with a link. The idea of the creme de la creme is not to put out there “the best” by someone else’s definition of “best.” It’s to put out the entry that means the most to you. Everyone has a best entry from 2014. It’s the one you would cry about if it was ever eaten by your computer. Even if it’s only meaningful to you.

I’m having a lot of trouble choosing my best one.

Why don’t you give a few choices to a friend and get their opinion? Don’t get hung up on the word “best.” It’s more about presenting a small taste of your blog. A lot of people read the list each January and it’s a chance for them to get to know your blog in one post. The goal, of course, is not only to honour every blog, but to also introduce everyone. Think of it like a cocktail party. You certainly think about what you wear, but everything doesn’t hinge on this one outfit.

I want to submit a post about my dog/favourite recipe/vacation in Hawaii. So … er … it’s not about adoption/infertility/loss. Can I? Or I want to submit a post but it has pictures of my baby in it. Do you think this is okay for an IF list?

Well, this list is sort of a pu-pu platter of the ALI community. Therefore, if your post is about your ski trip last winter, it doesn’t really show any emotion, thought, or event flitting through the community. Still, people have submitted off-topic posts in the past. If you have any part of the post that if ALI-related, all the better though.

The second question is a sensitivity one. Personally, I think that babies are part of the community and territory. The reality is that we’re all working towards parenthood or were once working towards parenthood. And children are included in that. I try to always mention in my blurb if it’s about a baby or if there are photos so people are given a heads up before they click over. So, yes, send posts that have photos in it and I will make sure that people know the gist of the post before they click over if they’re in a sensitive space.

I’m a man. Can I participate?

Are you part of the ALI community? Then didn’t you read above? EVERYONE is invited to participate. Male, female, young, old, married, single, gay, straight, everyone everyone everyone.

I’m a meerkat. Can I participate?

Er … a meerkat with a blog? An infertile meerkat with a blog? I guess … I mean … I did say everyone …

I just started my blog in October. Can I participate?

As long as you’ve had one post in 2014, you can participate. Even if you didn’t start your blog until October 2014. Just choose your best from the last two months of the year.

My blog is password protected. Can I participate?

If your blog is password protected and you want to participate, choose your blog entry and create a free blog at Blogger or WordPress and post that single entry. Then send me the link so I can place it on the list. I can’t link to password protected blogs.

When is the deadline for getting in my submission?

To ensure that you’re on the list, please fill out the form by December 15th. No entries will be accepted after 11 pm EST on December 15th.

In the past, the list didn’t close until January, but as has been the case for the few years, the list will not be updated after it goes up on January 1st. December 15th is the only deadline, and it is a hard deadline. Meaning, no one will be added who hears about this project after December 15th.

Which is why I am asking you, begging you, pleading with you, to spread word now. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pinterest it, blog about it, email about it, talk about it with that random stranger in the fertility clinic waiting room. Spread word now because people will not be able to add themselves after December 15th.

Can you post another link to the form right now because I’ve decided to submit.

Sure, here’s another link to the form. Just fill it out and hit send and it will go into the Creme de la Creme spreadsheet.

If you don’t want to participate, do nothing. With the Creme de la Creme list, I never add a blog or highlight a post unless the author has sent it to me. Therefore, no hurt feelings. If your post isn’t on the list, it’s because you haven’t sent one.

Spread the word with the following button on a post or your sidebar to encourage others to send a link:

The code for adding the link to your blog can be found here. You can also use the social media buttons at the bottom of the post.

Everyone has a best post. It is your personal best. It is not best by any other standard. Stop comparing yourself. Stop feeling shy. Stop thinking it’s immodest to toot your own horn when I’ve told you to toot your own horn. Start reading through your archives. Reflect on the year. And then send me a link for the list.

Wheeeew. Sorry about that last part. But everyone in the blogosphere should be represented and honoured.

October 21, 2014   10 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 8: Last Name

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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I read a bunch of stories last week concerning Amal Alamuddin taking her husband’s last name, as if this was earth-shattering news.  For example, The Stir wrote, “She, arguably, has an even more successful and lucrative career than her new husband, but that hasn’t stopped newlywed Amal Alamuddin from changing her last name after marriage and becoming Mrs. George Clooney.”

Beyond the judgment in the author’s word choice (so if you have a high salary, you should keep your name, but if you’re a poor, unknown sales clerk, it’s understandable if you want to head on down to the social security office?), it made me wonder why anyone is astonished by anyone else’s choice of whether or not to change their last name.  My friends are a pretty even mix of three options (keep last name, change last name, or create new last name that both people in the marriage use).

If you’re married, did you (or your partner) change your last name with marriage?  If you’re not married, do you know what you would do?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Persnickety 25. Cristy 49. Liz
2. articulation 26. Isabelle 50. Running Nekkid
3. Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles 27. Stacie 51. Mary Francis
4. Mina 28. Elizabeth 52. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
5. Just Heather 29. Rain 53. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
6. Turia 30. Baby, Are You Coming? 54. Amber
7. D 31. S 55. Trisha
8. Jen (Days of Grace) 32. Daryl 56. Lisa
9. No Baby Ruth 33. Heather 57. m. (the maybe baby)
10. Inconceivable! 34. Sadie 58. gradual changes
11. Vinitha 35. torthú il 59. Shannon
12. Bio Girl 36. dennasus 60. Justine
13. Mic @ Raising Mavis 37. Infertile Girl 61. sharah
14. Shail 38. LAM 62. Amanda Goe
15. Non Sequitur Chica 39. Emma (Muddy Boots & Diamonds) 63. Queenie
16. lostintranslation 40. Jen 64. the lewis note
17. Loribeth 41. Herbal Tea 65. Nabanita
18. Corinne Rodrigues 42. Waiting for Baby 66. Karen
19. earthandink 43. Jamie @ Sticky Feet 2 67. Ke Anne
20. Geochick 44. Mali (No Kidding) 68. Kasey
21. Rachel 45. Mali (A Separate Life) 69. Cindy
22. Mrs T 46. Lachelle
23. Karen (River Run Dry) 47. awomanmyage
24. JB 48. Tara

October 20, 2014   70 Comments

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