Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Since this month began (you know, Women’s History Month, the month that’s supposed to make me happy and proud) I have been bombarded with overwhelming true stories of ridiculous hate crimes and it’s fucking appalling.  There is no other word for what’s been going on. 

First, there’s the story of George Hodgins, the 22-year-old autistic man who was killed by his mother in a murder-suicide that will likely be remembered as another “act of desperation from a long-suffering mother” instead of the despicable murder it really was.  The next thing was the murder of the 28-year-old Mexican transgender activist Agnes Torres.  Unlike George, she was not killed by her own parent, but she was the sixth member of the LGBTQ community to be murdered in the town of Puebla since January.  Now, on the heels of these horrific stories I’m learning about (but, sadly, am no stranger to) comes a Twitter trend so disturbing that I have to put my foot down and address it. 

Expecting parents and people who fantasize about someday having children often write letters or make promises to their offspring about how they intend to raise them.  I know that when my sister was pregnant with her first child, she wrote a letter of undying love and unconditional support to him.  Similarly, my girlfriend often vows that anyone who dares to hurt her future babies will suffer unimaginable pain.  This is typical, protective, parental devotion.  What is decidedly not “protective,” “parental,” or a display of “devotion” by any stretch of the imagination is the string of unsavory and homophobic tweets found on the hashtag #ToMyUnbornChild, a trend which has been absolutely blowing up recently.

Here are just some of the grotesque things people have been tweeting:

So basically, I am praying that every single one of these people just puts the kid up for adoption instantly so that someone who would actually like to be a parent can have a chance.  Or, they should get an abortion- and that brings me to my Women’s History Month angle. The way I understand it, Republicans are all gnashing their nails because sexually active (and responsible) people all over the country have the outlandish idea that they are entitled to reproductive rights.  This includes access to contraceptives and birth control as well as the right to abort the unwanted fetuses they have become impregnated with.  Scary stuff indeed.  It is so scary, in fact, that women were not allowed to attend the meetings in which these issues were discussed (the Republican Hearing on Contraception).  Anyone with a uterus (i.e. the people who typically become pregnant) was automatically disqualified from these hearings.

Apparently, the only people allowed to attend the hearings were people who would rather let unwanted and unloved babies grow up and be murdered at the hands of their own parents than allow the unfit parents-to-be to abort the potentially gay fetus they so despise.  A fetus is not a living being; a baby is.  When a person gives birth to the thing that they were carrying in their womb during their pregnancy, when that creature breathes air independently for the first time, that is when it is another living being.  So, abortion is not murder.  And even if everything I've said is suddenly rendered inaccurate and this debate regarding the abortion/murder struggle becomes more clouded than it currently is, you know what is a perfectly simple example of murder?  Killing your 22-year-old son because you consider him a burden. That is homicide, straight up, and sympathy for that is disgusting.  Killing your gay child would also be an example of murder, but I guess not many Republicans would care to back me up on that observation. 

As an unwanted child myself, it disgusts me to think that someone should have to grow up knowing that their parents hate their very existence.  Whether it’s because they are gay, bisexual, autistic, transgender, or just happened to be born to people who didn’t want them, no one should live in fear of one day being murdered by anyone, least of all their own parents.  That is fucking disgraceful. 

So, To My Unborn Child (the one I’m not planning to have any time within the next ten years, if at all),

I really wish I could promise you a world that does not suck at its very core.  I wish that when you are born, you don’t have to endure this despicable environment that champions ignorance and hate and snuffs out any sign of deviation at the source.  I wish that I could give you assurance that the people you meet would only judge you based on your character, like Martin Luther King preached, but I can’t and for that I apologize.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t do more to change the harmful way that people think and act to make this world safer for you.

The only thing I can promise to do is raise you with unconditional love and support from my heart- even if you do end up being straight.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Twilight Effect

First off, Happy International Women’s Day!  That’s right!  We get one little month to celebrate our history; one measly day that people hardly remember for women all over the world.  But, hey, it’s something.

It was a pretty sad day for me, though, because I finally finished reading Twilight today.  I know.  I KNOW! 

It was assigned reading for my Women’s Studies class and I’m just a painfully good student.  I say “painful” and I absolutely mean it because I found this book so distressing that it was actually hurting my brain.  Now, since this harmful piece of literary shit has been floating around for nearly a decade- with a movie franchise that seems as impossible to kill as Edward Cullen himself- anything I might say about the abusive relationship or Meyer’s horribly inept writing has been said before and said to death.  Suffice to say, the Edward/Bella relationship is abusive and unhealthy and no one should emulate it, ever, because Edward
1.       is possessive- way beyond the point of flattery
2.       stalks her, but actually!, and gets creepily intrusive (she specifically tells him NOT to listen in on certain conversations and he does anyway without a hint of remorse)
3.       uses physical force to get his way (dragging her around, carrying her against her will, kidnapping her to take her to prom…)
4.       spends no less than THE ENTIRE BOOK “laughing,” “chuckling,” or “suppressing laughter” at her whenever she does/says anything
5.       is a vampire that wants to drink her blood (more than anyone else’s blood… ever)
and then, of course, Bella has absolutely no sense of self-preservation.

I get that the book was relatable- believe me, I understand.  I knew exactly how Bella felt in those 140-odd pages towards the beginning she spent over-analyzing every interaction she had with Edward.  But that hardly means I want to read about it!  And I honestly cannot recall another book in which the villain (and actual plot) was introduced in the last quarter of the fucking novel.  But my problem with Twilight is not entirely centered on the fact that it is awful (AND HARMFUL!); my problem is that it makes me embarrassed to be a woman.

On this day, of all days, I should be able to look at the things that my badass predecessors achieved and fought for and be proud.  Instead, I had to finish reading Twilight- a book whose heroine is a self-proclaimed “damsel in distress”- and I just can’t find anything to be proud of right now.  Obviously, there are lots of things to be proud of and inspired by- just in the way of women writers alone- and yet, I have this overwhelming sense of despair.  Why?  Because as a woman, and as a woman writer, I’m terrified that Stephenie Meyer will have some bearing on the way people view women writers.  It’s obvious that she already does, but I really fear that her terrible books and views will endure as the kind of things that women write.  I find that unacceptable.

When a man writes a shitty book, he is not held up as an example of all masculine authors.  Instead of singling Meyer out as one awful writer, people tend to expand on it and make it an issue of her being a woman, specifically targeting young girls.  That offends me.  I think we should just say “Stephenie Meyer wrote some terrible books, not because she is a woman, but because she can’t write.” and leave her gender out of it.  It was insulting to have to endure that book, all the while, knowing that this is how people will expect me to write, what they will expect me to write about.

And, while I’m on the topic, I would like to express my disgust with the current meme “Still not as gay as Twilight.”  This meme is appalling on so many levels and I know “it’s just an internet meme, calm down!” but I don’t think anything as persistent as that can be considered innocent.  It stems from this idea that something is “gay” if it centers on romance or appeals to women.  I will admit, dousing your leading man in pride parade glitter is hella gay, but that’s kind of the only thing in this whole story that isn’t 100% heterosexual- and I don’t mean that as a good thing.  The story, the characters, their interactions, every last thing in this book reinforces the gender binary and the institution of heterosexual romance.  Again, SHE CALLS HERSELF A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS!!!! Need I say more?

So, to recap,
1.       Happy International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month
2.       stop blaming all women writers for Stephenie Meyer being shit
3.       stop calling Twilight “gay”
4.       don’t emulate the Edward/Bella relationship