In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Stop scapegoating and alienating vulnerable people

People on all sides of the issue seem to be looking for some kind of solution to school shootings and mass shootings in general. Which is good. They’re doing that at the expense of innocent, vulnerable people. That’s bad. Pro-gun control, pro-WalkingUpNotOut, everyone is pinning this violence on people who had nothing to do with it, are already dealing with enough on their own, and are actively harmed by being saddled with that blame.

What men need to know about discussing sexual harassment

I was talking with a group of guy friends recently, the sole woman amid a collection of dudes as they stream-of-consciousness workshopped their way to understanding the ongoing storm of sexual harassment accusations. It’s not a pleasant position to be in — I was glad to be able to help them understand things, but thinking about that stuff at that level and having to articulate it that way was exhausting and also made me want to go home and take, like, twelve showers. But they and others have asked what they need to know and what insights they need to have when discussing sexual harassment with women. So here’s some.

Why I talk about mental illness

I haven’t been shy about discussing my mental health on this blog. There’s a lot of privilege behind that — I know that I’m probably not going to suffer ill effects to my life or livelihood if people know about it. That isn’t the case for everyone with mental illnesses, and I would never insist that anyone come forward to talk about theirs if they aren’t comfortable doing so. That’s one reason I talk about it: Because I can, and it needs to be talked about.

The Las Vegas shooting was a tragedy. That doesn’t mean mental illness is at fault.

In Las Vegas Sunday night, a gunman in the Mandalay Bay hotel used many, many automatic weapons to rain fire on fans at a country music festival, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. We currently have absolutely no idea why. And while it’s natural to speculate and distance ourselves when we’re scared and confused, declaring it a mental health issue without evidence indicating that it’s so isn’t helpful to anyone and is actively harmful to people with mental illnesses.

Quick hit: Ann Coulter is the worst person in the world

[Trigger warning for ableist slur]

Do you remember when Donald Trump struck out at New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski by mocking him during a campaign speech? Kovaleski committed the dual sins of having arthrogryposis, a congenital joint contracture, and for calling bullshit on Trump’s claims that thousands of Muslims were celebrating in New York after 9/11. Trump later denied that he was mocking Kovaleski, saying that his twitching, flailing, stammering impersonation was actually “mimick[ing] what [he] thought would be a flustered reporter[.].” In her new book, In Trump We Trust, Ann Coulter agrees that he wasn’t mocking Kovaleski, but her position is that he was doing an impersonation of a “standard…” No, I just can’t.

You can’t possibly be crying?

Guest Post by Malinda: “It wasn’t long into my adult life when I lost my daughter to Spina Bifida, very unexpectedly. Not only was the pregnancy unexpected, but so was her death. And I found myself thrust into a completely different part of life, in uncharted waters. At 20-years-old I had an immense amount of grief to learn to cope with; but at the same time I needed to find my way back to “normal” life, whatever that may be.”

The past was a terrible place–don’t let anti-vaxxers take us back there

I want to maintain Feministe’s proud tradition of attacking anti-vaxers, because these people are the scum of the earth. These are the people who have benefitted most from modern medical advances, but who not only refuse to protect their own children from diseases that used to kill and disable huge numbers of children (and adults, for that matter), who want the benefit of the common good (herd immunity) without contributing to the common good, who fundamentally don’t care if children and adults who can’t get vaccines because their immune systems are compromised die. They are scum.

I fundamentally think that anti-vaxers won’t listen to reason or to evidence, any more than any other kind of science-deniers will. Despite the fact that hundreds of years of organic food and no industrial waste coincided with mass child death and epidemics, they believe that feeding their kids the purest food and water will keep them healthy. They believe that good hygiene wiped out disease (yeah, you know what? By the early 1950s, when polio was still scourging the industrial world, hygiene was well understood. Washing your hands doesn’t prevent polio. You know what prevents polio? The fucking polio vaccine, that’s what.).

Well, fuck them. I strongly believe that we need to ostracize them completely. I already know some pediatricians will not allow children who are not vaccinated into their practice, because they don’t want to put their pre-vaccinated and immuno-compromised patients at risk, and good on them. Schools need to not admit them. We need to make them social lepers. It is fucking criminal that it is the children of anti-vaxers, who have no control over the assholishness of their parents who will bear the brunt of this, just as they will bear the brunt of preventable contagious illness, and we need to ostracize the parents as well, in every way possible.

I mean, look at this asshole:

It’s not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child who has leukemia] to be supposedly healthy,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place.”

“I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure,” he added. “It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child.”

CNN asked Wolfson if he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got another child gravely ill.

“I could live with myself easily,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. I’m not going to put my child at risk to save another child.”

He blamed the Jacks family for taking Maggie to the clinic for care.

“If a child is so vulnerable like that, they shouldn’t be going out into society,” he said.

You know what? It fucking well is all of our responsibility to keep each other’s children healthy. That’s what it means to live in a fucking society. And it is not fucking “unfortunate” when children die. It’s a trauma and tragedy from which the family–to say nothing of the child–never recovers. A preventable trauma and tragedy. And you shouldn’t take your child for fucking medical care when she’s sick? Does this asshole, who is a doctor, even hear himself? He is scum. He is evil. And he should lose his medical license for spouting this bilge. I can’t emphasize this enough, no matter what his beliefs may be, VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE LEUKEMIA.

He could live with himself if he got someone else’s kid killed? Could he live with the lawsuit? Or–and I was just talking about this with my father–could he live with that kid’s parents coming after him with guns? My father and I were talking about a news story he’d read years ago about a father who stepped calmly and openly up to the man who had murdered his child and shot to death him as he was being walked into the courthouse for his trial. My dad told me that he completely understood, because as far as he was concerned, if you outlived your children, your life was over. That nothing else mattered anymore, life would just be ashes, and that that was why he wouldn’t care about losing his freedom at that point. Does this asshole think he’s immune to that? That a parent who loses their kid thanks to his bullshit won’t come after him? And I tell you what, I would raise money for that parent’s legal defense.

In better news, here’s a news story about heroic parents suing to keep unvaccinated kids out of his child’s school. Good on him. I hope he wins.

I fucking hate these people. Vaccines and antibiotics are two most important and effective medical advances we have ever made. In the 1940s, mortality for children 1-4 was 250 deaths per 100,000 children, and for children 5-14 it was 100. Now it’s around 25 in the first category and around 15 in the second. Infant mortality was around 50 per 1000 live births and is now around 6. There are pretty horrifying disparities by race and class, but the pattern of decline has actually been the same. Why? Fucking vaccinations and antibiotics are why. Maybe anti-vaxxers find the prospect of learning disabilities and autism more upsetting than that of dead children, but that says far more about them than anything else.

Where are the forced-birthers on this issue? They’re so eager to destroy reproductive choice for women in the name of saving babies–why are they silent when it comes to parental choice regarding vaccines? Surely if “it’s not a choice, it’s a child” were ever an appropriate slogan, it is here.

Expert witness: 9-year-old “protect[ed]” from the trauma of her abuse by her low IQ

[Content note: sexual abuse, ableism]

In 2010, a 9-year-old, developmentally disabled girl at a school in Los Angeles was sexually assaulted on five different occasions by a fellow student during an after-school program. When her parents sued the LAUSD, the district’s expert witness, celebrity psychologist Dr. Stan Katz, testified that her low IQ reduced the amount of emotional stress the girl suffered, acting as a “protective factor.”