Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I am so mad about sex in the media

Like oh my god it is so inaccurate and wrong!

This is mostly talking about movies/TV shows with teenagers or young adults in them, that sort of age. Sex inevitably comes up in most of them, and I suppose the portrayal is accurate in that that's what happens most of the time. And then there's all this confusion muddled up in "do I wait?" and shit like I just have so many things I want to scream at the characters every time this gets brought up on a show like

1) If you can't have a straightforward conversation about sex, it's probably a bad idea to have sex
2) You are allowed to do it now or wait until you're married, it really doesn't matter. It's up to you.
3) If you're excited about it, looking forward to it, etc, those are probs good signs that you're "ready" or that you'll handle it well
4) It is going to suck the first time. Like a lot. That is normal. It is nobody's fault and I really hate that on a lot of shows relationships end b/c the first time having sex was bad. Like, news flash, if you had waited until your wedding night, it would also have been bad too. Also, it will probably continue to be not-great for a while. Practice makes perfect.
5) THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TO DO. I don't mean like, be totally chaste, I just mean there are other things to do with someone you are sexually attracted to beyond sexual intercourse. There is like this whole range of other activities that are still a lot of fun that are not sex and do not carry with them the same risk of pregnancy (yes, I get this only applies to straight couples. That is my only experience). Furthermore, that is a good way to work up to being comfortable with someone, establishing trust, intimacy, being able to discuss things with them, etc. I say this b/c it bothers me immensely that teenagers in media go from just making out to full-out having sex and there is no in between, which is totally ridiculous and unreasonable. (Pls don't interpret this as having to do other things first, just be aware that this range between complete chastity and sex totally exists and is there to explore).
6) It is probs not a bad idea to know about the other person's anatomy/your own anatomy.
7) Bring. More. Than. One. Condom. Oh. My. God. The first one might break, or you can't get it on right, or the first round sucks and you want to try again after half an hour of doing something else. You never know.
8) Also, just saying- it is not going to be a big painful, bloody mess. If you're going slow and everyone's nice and turned on and especially if there is lube involved, everything should be fine. Slightly uncomfortable and a little "Oh, so that's what that's like" but not painful and messy and bloody. I hate this lie. I mean, maybe there's bleeding for some people, I don't know, but I really don't think that there should be. Vaginas can push babies out. A penis should not do that much damage.

That ends Swegan's Sex Talk. Seriously, I'm just so frustrated. Oh, but one last thing:

9) Pls keep checking up on each other, like ask "how are you doing" periodically or something like that. Just because someone says initially that they're OK with something doesn't mean they'll continue to do so. Also, this means that if you're like "welp I am not wanting to do this anymore" that you should say something. And if someone says stop, stop. Like, completely. That one is a no brainer. And this ties into the communication thing again (#1).

Honestly, I'm starting to think that the most important thing any good relationship has is good communication. If someone doesn't feel comfortable communicating or isn't being listened to, the relationship needs work or is not good.

And like, jesus christ, there is no appropriate period of time after starting a relationship at which you need to have sex. None at all. You can go on the first date, or wait a year. Whatever suits you, and your partner, obviously.

Furthermore, this has to be something you can talk to a doctor/your doctor about, too. Even if you get all embarrassed talking to them about ANYTHING relevant to sex. Doctors are there to help, for srs.

Just... be smart. Pls don't be like the kids in the media who feel all awkward about their first time being bad and blame each other or their connection and who only have one condom and who can't talk about sex or communicate during sex and just... be safe. Do whatever the hell you want with your partner, as long as you both agree and you're being safe.

I know this is pretty high and mighty of me given my limited physical-stuff-in-a-relationship-experience, but I think it works pretty well. IMO, sex should be something fun, something that you look forward to and enjoy, and should never ever make anyone feel uncomfortable.

And hey, it's totally fine to just not want sex in a relationship, or to want the relationship to be JUST sex, or any mix in between.

I feel like all of this is totally "Duh" to me... actually, I kind of hope that it's "duh" to everyone, and that at this point Laci Green has managed to educate a large portion of young adults about safe sex and things of the like (I am once again going to mention that she has a kick ass youtube channel which actually taught me a bunch of stuff that I am kind of relaying to you here, so you should all look it up regardless of whether this post was like "wow really?" for you or "uh, DUH" for you.)

anyway, I'm done. I need to get up early tomorrow.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Identity crisis

I made a post that never got published about how I find femininity isolating b/c I never quite feel like I'm being a girl correctly. All around me, especially in this building, are these stylish, good-smelling, athletic-enough girls who care about their makeup and hair. I feel clunky, awkward, and smelly around them, and even though I have plenty of friends who don't give two shits about the fact that "shitty braid" is my new hairstyle, I still somehow feel... wrong. Like I'm not supposed to be clunky and awkward, I'm supposed to be stylish and graceful.

This, coupled with the fact that I don't think I'm over yet how writing seems to be lost to me because I have no interest in taking it up but I WANT to have the interest to take it up, and now there's feminism too. Vince gave logical advice when she said "you don't have to align with a movement, just be you" which is great except defining myself on my own terms is way harder and feminism kind of feels like one of the last few brushes I had to use to paint myself an identity.

I mean, there's still partner dancing, which is something that isn't terribly exciting for me. I mean, it's interesting enough, but anytime I try to dance with anybody but Ptarckas I get met with a sloppy frame (read: limp arms), sloppy steps, and poor timing. Obviously this isn't all the time, but it's way too common. I think of dance kind of like a video game: in order to get more skill points, I have to dance with someone at my level or above it. I think Ptarckas is at my level; since he's had karate training he knows about replicating movements and keeping them sharp, and since I took dance, I'm well aware that you have to focus on about 40,000 things while dancing because it's a performance. It's an art, and yes, it is a fucking sport, and if you don't agree I am going to go challenge you to take a ballet class. People who think ballet isn't a sport are crazy.

I mean, I'm a science student, so there's that, but I just feel like I barely do any activities outside of school and I don't go out and party and I'm not good at being a girl and so like what the hell am I supposed to do?

I'm really good at being offended and having opinions, which is probably a result of feminism, not gonna lie. Of course I can't seem to turn that off, so my whole family gets to bear the brunt of it at every family holiday.

Oh, and EPASS doesn't count. That project isn't even in my field, I feel like I can't contribute anything, and I desperately don't want to do it anymore but feel like I have no excuse to back out. Which is probably worse, since they deserve to have someone in the group who actually cares and will put in the effort, unlike me. But no, according to my parents, "we donated a lot of money to that fundraiser so you have to stay in it." Like great, but nobody asked you to do that much, and it'll still be helpful even if I leave the group?

Anyway. Maybe I'll try doing another thing next semester. Already looking at ballet classes, since they don't offer anything beyond basic jazz and I think I need to be challenged more than that.

yer pal,

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Men and Feminism

Get ready for another boring post, y'all

SO. I want men to have a piece of the gender equality pie, too. BUT. I have an issue with the way Men+Feminism gets brought up.

First off, I would like to state that making a statement- a tweet, an essay, a big ugly tumblr post- that talks about the issues faced by women and girls does not immediately imply that the poster does not care about the way gender norms and expectations affect men. I don't understand why this is, but I can't care about women in STEM fields anymore without being a horrible bigot because "what about men?" well, I don't know. Issues like women in STEM are personal to me, being a woman in STEM myself (who, thankfully, has faced almost none of those problems- so that clearly indicates progress!), so I'm more likely to care about them in a vocal way.

The issue is that this doesn't imply I don't care about men being underrepresented in other fields, like nursing or education (unless I'm backwards on those; I'm working with stereotypes here. Pls let me know if I'm wrong), but it does imply that I care about women being underrepresented in STEM fields (Altho- if I'm not wrong, it's mostly chemistry, math/stats, computer science, and physics that are missing a lot of women, while fields like psych, bio, and medical sciences are more equal at this point).

The same thing goes for caring about something like sexual assault against women or catcalls. Those are problems that women face every day, most often at the hands of men. Does this mean I think all men are evil? If you think that's what I imply by caring about those things, you've colossally missed the point.

Overall, the issue seems to be that unless your statement includes all the people in the world ever, you're apparently discriminating against someone. Heaven forbid that I should make a statement exclusively about the issues of women and girls. Heaven forbid I don't include men for 5 seconds. Really? It's ridiculous.

The same goes for those young feminists who try to use feminism as a way to give them a victim complex so that they don't have to be responsible for anything: people can talk about the issues men face re: gender equality without mentioning women. However, I've found that the opposite problem is true more often, but guess what? I'm stating this here both because it's true AND because if I fail to mention it, I'm a horrible misandrist feminazi!!

I'm not sorry for the exaggeration. I'm really getting tired of this shit.

I have also been told that western feminism focusing on western problems instead of the problems faced by women elsewhere in the world is super lame, like "oh we don't have real problems, they have real problems." For that, I offer the following:
1) I agree that the work of non-western feminist activists should be talked about, and their voices amplified. That's important work, and they deserve to be heard.
2) I am not an expert on the problems women face in other parts of the world. I don't want to pretend that I am by offering solutions or advice to people from other parts of the world.
3) It is not my place to go and "save the poor oppressed women" in other parts of the world. That makes me a white savior, and trust me, that is not a good thing. My job is to listen to the women and men there that are helping to improve the lives of women, to offer help when I am asked and when I can help, and to share their stories and activist work.
4) No matter how much I learn about what the life of women in other countries is like, I will never be an expert. It is not my place to have an opinion on how to solve problems women face elsewhere. Like I said, it is my job to support women there who are doing that work, and to pay attention to it. I do agree that in the western world, we often get blinded by what's going on here so we don't see what's happening elsewhere. I agree that that needs to change.
5) This isn't to say that all women not in North America are suffering, either. The statement of "We must make everywhere else like the western world, where women have it soooo good!" is again, indicative of the whole white savior thing.

This is why I focus on the problems faced by western women. Yes, those still exist- and not just common "people" problems, but problems based on gender.

"But don't you care that men face problems too??!??!"

Did you even read the post??? Of course I fucking do. I have lots of men in my life whom I love deeply, and I want them to get a piece of the gender equality pie, same as me.

Overall: I think the "YOU FORGOT ABOUT MEN" is a way to shut down important discussions of the problems of women and girls by accusing them of not including everyone ever in the world. Wow, sorry my statement wasn't universal enough for you.

It's like caring about one endangered species. It doesn't automatically mean that I think other endangered species aren't important, and I don't have to talk about every single endangered species in the world every single time I say something.

yer pal,

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Do you ever just have one of those problems

where you make an idiotic blog post about it and then delete it later when you realize how silly it is?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

There's this kind of girl at school

I don't know why I'm throwing people into groups here, but I am.

But there's these girls at school, and I've noticed they all dress... the same. Like not exactly the same, but they all have the same style of coat and the same style of leggings and the same pattern on their knit sweaters... the same overloaded backpack, and the same lululemon shopping bag repurposed as a lunch bag.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being this way, I've just noticed that a lot of girls tend to do this. And their hair is always fashionably messy, and their makeup is always done but they never use a lot, and they're always really smiley and just... everywhere. Why. Why are there so many.

And they're always in sciences, too. I see them in my science classes, I see them in my building complaining about the difficulty of the ochem course that I'm also taking. (To be fair, ochem is actually really hard). They're just so.. perfect. Put together. Like their life is busy, but they still find time to look artfully busy.

Those are actually the girls that scare me, because if they have the same course load as me and they still have time to put themselves together and do SOME kind of physical activity (I've noticed that people who have those lululemon bags tend to shop there (der), and thus tend to be physically active in some way), then they're the ones I have to be worried about. They're ambitious, their parents are probably also helping them out a little, and when they study, they go hard. They're the ones I'll be competing against someday, and for them, "taking it easy for like 5 minutes" doesn't seem to be an option.

In my mind, these are the girls who get really really good grades on all of their midterms and make it look like it's easy to study as much as they do. They show up on test day or on the day of the final still looking artfully messy and stressed. Oh, and they always smell really good, or at the very least, they never smell bad. And they all have the same kinds of lunches- water and lots of fruit or a salad packed into a tiny little container. and then like, some health granola bar. And they eat it all neatly with their perfectly painted fingernails and I'm over here scraping spaghetti out of a kid's thermos (not that i stole one, just that the one my mom bought me was designed for kids) with a metal fork, trying not to cringe at the noise with my stress-acne and my slightly-too-small pink ski jacket.

I'm just so confused. How do they do it? How do they all have the same messy topknot and the same black backpack with all the zippers and the same green jacket that everyone has and the same fucking lululemon shopping bag repurposed as a lunch bag???? Is this a thing? Is it popular to dress this way and have your eyeliner always looking fucking awesome even though you're not wearing a lot of it? Just... how? HOW?? HOW??

And their writing. they all use colourful pens and have the same big round letters, and they take SCADS of notes, way more than i do with my one black pen and crappy 5% cursive. and their stuff is always neatly organized in those half-binder-half-notebook things from 5 star. one per subject. and there's no mess anywhere. I just shove things in a clipboard.

I just... I don't know if this is a common thing, or if I'm just seeing the same 10 girls around campus all the time b/c they have a lot of the same classes as me, and then i'm also seeing them in my building again later.

I'm probably just making this all up in my head, but I mean, what else would you expect from someone described as "the girl scraping spaghetti out of a children's thermos with a metal fork in her slightly-too-small pink ski jacket"?

yer pal,

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Friend Zone is the creepiest fucking thing ever

I don't like the idea that when I send clear signals to a guy that I'm not interested, or show no interest in going out with him whatsoever, he could turn out to be a "But The Friendzone Is Real!" type. Like, yeah, sure, it sucks when someone you're interested in doesn't like you back, but that doesn't mean you should try harder to get them to like you. It means that they don't like you, and as much as that stings, you have to move on and respect their decision.

Instead you have a whole subculture of dudes who think that a woman saying "No, I don't want to go out with you" is just an excuse to pester her more until she "finally gives in", or to threaten her until she does (read: "but if someone had just gone out with him, he wouldn't have shot four people [or some other horrendous crime]!!!" This is bad for men, too- men are perfectly capable of handing rejection without killing or hurting people), which is obviously more dangerous.

Not only that, but you have a whole swack of movies in which people see someone (usually a girl, but I've seen it reversed) saying "no" as "I need to work harder to win them over." These kinds of movies make me really uncomfortable. You know the ones, where someone says to someone else that they're just friends or gives clear signals that they're not interested or starts getting interested in someone else and then FOR SOME REASON someone that rejected person looks up to tells them "Go, win [her] back/ Go win [her] over/ You've got to try harder." No, you don't, you've got to respect other people's decisions.  (I put "her" in brackets b/c I'm sure I'll get blasted for implying this only happens to women in movies anyway).

This ties back into the whole victim-complex- "Other people must find me attractive and if they don't it's OPPRESSION!" thing that I've seen so many people play out on the internet. Does it suck if someone isn't attracted to you? Sure. Does that mean they are obligated to find you attractive? Absolutely fucking not. Nobody is obligated to be attracted to you, just like nobody is obligated to "give you a chance/date", just like nobody is obligated to give you ANYTHING in terms of a romantic relationship. And that ties further into consent and "But I bought her dinner/a present/a nice dress, she owes me sex!" fuckery.

AND GUESS WHAT, THIS ALSO TIES INTO THAT UCLA THING. That guy took his sense of "I don't know why you won't sleep with me" to a new level when he said "but I will punish you all for it." That is severely disturbing and obviously one of the more dangerous examples of where this whole thing can go, but it's still proof that this concept needs to die.

Furthermore, what's wrong with being friends with people? If you like the person, it might be a little awkward, sure, but if you really like them so much how bad will it be to have them around? Part of the reason I like my boyfriend is the same reason I like my friends: They're good people to be around and I'm happy when I'm with them. There's nothing wrong with having friends, and the highest form of relationship you can form with the opposite sex isn't necessarily a romantic one.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

ok but like what even is love

I'm for serious on this one

Like, everyone describes it as something so overwhelming and amazing and "I love you more every day." This makes me worried because I definitely do not feel overwhelmed by my relationship with Ptarckas, and the way I feel about him is definitely not overwhelming or exciting or a huge rush. I just like hanging out with him and talking to him and doing stuff together, no matter what it is.

I suppose there was one point in the relationship near the beginning when everything was very exciting and new and I maybe did feel like that. I still feel like I love him, but I don't really know what that means. I don't want to see him hurt, I want him to be happy, and I enjoy being around him. Is that really all that love is?

I just feel so lied to. Pop culture paints love as very different from this, and I kind of feel like literature does as well. But it seems like it would be absolutely exhausting to feel that way about someone all the time, not to mention distracting. I have school to focus on- I can't be distracted by being starry-eyed all the time.

For now, I have decided that if we both like this arrangement we have and we both feel like we love each other, we really shouldn't care what other people think. If that's how this is going to work, then that's how it's going to work.

The only thing I have for sure right now is that we discussed this earlier, and the tone of the conversation made me very afraid we were heading for disaster. That was distracting. I was sick with worry, even though it really turned out to be nothing- but the relief I felt was still overwhelming. I don't know if this is just me being stubborn or if I'm just used to this- I don't know. I just knew that if we were to stop seeing each other, I would be really sad and lonely, and I didn't like the idea that he would be too. So it seems like continuing the relationship is the logical idea...

Ugh. I don't know how to do this. But I guess that's what being young is for?

yer pal,
swegan :S

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I know exactly what I want and it terrifies the shit out of me

This often happens in the fall and winter. I find myself pining for the mountains. But lately, I've found it happening so often that a scenario has started to take place in my mind. It's what I would like for my future life to be, ideally. I live in the mountains, or at least, my house is fucking surrounded by trees. Everywhere. And there's neigbours, but not too close, because of all the TREES.

I want to live in a small town, but in my reasonably-sized house with trees. I want there to be a university in this town, though, so it can't be too small. It should also be reasonably close to a larger city, for those nights when I want to go out on the town.

I work in the research department of that university. One way or another, I've obtained a "Dr." in front of my name, and I do research. Whether it's medical research or just biology research I don't know, but that's what I'm doing. And I run my own lab. I am in charge of it, I appoint the summer students, I do all the conferences, me. It's my lab. The lab of Dr. Swegan.

And I just like imagining coming home to my house in the trees and having it be warm and cozy, with lots of leather and varying shades of brown and lots of wood, wood furniture and flooring and ceilings. Like a cabin but not entirely like a cabin. It's cozy. I have a big bed covered in pillows and my room has a huge-ass window that is also a door that opens onto a balcony and so when I wake up and go to sleep, I see trees. Preferably with a sunrise over them in the morning.

And I have a little cozy spot in front of the fire, in a huge leather chair that's the kind of chair you sink into with a good book, and I sit there and stare out at the trees because that's right, the entire back of my house is also big-ass windows.

This same pining happened last year, only this year it feels worse. It's especially bad when I listen to a playlist of music I have that makes me feel safe, because this imaginary home and life is now my happy place.

The funny thing is, I don't ever see another person living with me. I'm always solitary, which is kind of unappealing. I think I'd want somebody around, even just a friend. Even just being at home by myself creeps me out- I'd need another person living in this house with me. But I think what's more significant is that there aren't any children. Obviously my mindset is that I'm still too young and I haven't lived much of a life yet, so I can't know if I want children or not. I don't know. I know I don't want them now, or any time in the next 10 years or so, that's for sure.

However, this is weirdly specific and very different from the idea I usually have, which is me living in a tiny, somewhat crappy, but cozy apartment in a small town. I don't know why I'm idealizing this small town in my head; I grew up in a small town and got to experience firsthand this summer how much it sucks living where there is almost nothing to do. But somehow, in this more young-adult version of the same town, I have things to do, and people I see, and I'm never bored or unhappy (well, I mean obviously I probably still am unhappy from time to time but never in a permanent way).

The problem with these fantasies is that I feel like they're so specific, they can never happen. Where in Canada am I going to find a place like that? BC somewhere? Vancouver Island? I don't know. And besides, I'm in my second year of an undergrad degree... getting either a Ph.D or an M.D. Ph.D is gonna be like a shitton of hard work that I am really not looking forward to, but I know that this is (at least for now) reasonably close to what I want to do with my life. I'm fairly confident that I could get into medical school somewhere if I started putting effort towards that, like I think I could pass the MCAT with enough studying and I'm finding things to do in this city now that help me feel... busier, I guess. Less like a homebody. Like I have a life, even if that life is just going to dance class once a week, having a regular date night, and sometimes hanging out with Carina to make food and watch netflix at her house. Carina and I keep trying to have wild adventures, but then I always chicken out. I'm shitty at trying new things that way.

In somewhat unrelated news, my roommate got me a birthday gift which was super sweet of her. It was a little sampler of tea from David's Tea, and the flavour was pumpkin chai, and HOLY FUCKING SHIT YOU GUYS, THIS TEA IS SO GOOD. It's got caramel in it which I think is the reason I like it so much, but it also just looks cute because the tea itself has little pumpkin candies in it and UGH you guys seriously, try it. It's cozy and perfect and delicious and UGH.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What I hear when people say "I'm a humanist/egalitarian, not a feminist"

"I am willing to totally throw out all that feminism and its proponents have fought for over the last couple centuries because instead of continuing to work within the movement as it stands to make it better and challenge those who use it to fuel a weird victim-biased agenda, I would rather take the easy way out and start a new movement based on the exact same things that feminism stands for, further making it look like feminism DOESN'T stand for those things even though it has all along."

To me, choosing this path is cowardly and disrespectful. Of course feminism has issues. It always has. It's likely it always will. But feminism has accomplished a lot of good, too, and to just leave the movement behind to me looks like throwing it in the dirt. People who say these things to me show that they aren't willing to put in the hard work of letting people know that feminism is about equality, but would rather just start a new movement from scratch that has accomplished literally nothing ...

To me, it's like feminism fought battles, and now people are refusing to honour their war dead. Step your game the fuck up, put on your analyzing hats, and get it through your fucking heads that feminism is about equality and always has been, oh my fucking god how many more times do I need to say this????

Yes, over the last century, it has focused on women's rights, because when feminism began to get popular, women weren't even people. Heck, I'm sure there's still parts of the world where they aren't. But I'm sure if we can recognize that women can be sexist and contribute to oppressive practices too, we can expand to discuss men's issues (so long as they are not rude, unnecessary interruptions of discussions of women's issues, which are just as valid and important). Feminism has already become way more intersectional than it used to be, in the days when feminism was kind of completely about upper class white women (who occasionally did make issues of working women's rights and the rights of immigrant women, see for example Nelly McClung (YES she was crazy into eugenics, and that is an unfortunate part of her legacy, but it doesn't cancel out the good that she accomplished. People aren't all good or all bad)).

I am sticking with feminism because I can see all that it has done for me, and this is my way of paying my respect. I'm not going to desert a movement that got me the right to vote, own property, and obtain a divorce. I'm one of the young generation now. I feel it is partly my responsibility to make the world a better place. I also feel like all the feminists who are now aging have to pass on the torch. It is now our responsibility to make feminism better, and yes, it is a lot of fucking hard work and trying to use logic and reason to be heard above the extremists... and now, too, above the people who aren't willing to be a feminist even though they still spout feminist ideals and have feminist mindsets.

And to anybody who tells me "you're just using emotion to sell this cause and make it seem noble" why yes, yes I am. Good job picking up on that. That was exactly my goal. Feminist goals are noble to me. I'm glad you got that.

yer pal,

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feminism, definition, and criticism

I think I'm finally getting the hang of being on tumblr.

A lot of the time, I feel afraid to criticize anyone. People who claim to be feminist who are radical, especially, since those people are the types who pull the victim card, argue that you're triggering and oppressing them (I may be a member of an oppressive class to them, sure, but sometimes that seems really irrelevant, like being a member of an oppressed class doesn't free you from fucking up or make you immune to criticism). But I also feel afraid to criticize those who say things like "We don't need feminism anymore" or that feminism has turned into a hate movement- the same people who complain about "not all men" (which perhaps may be valid, perhaps feminists need to clarify that statement a little more) but then turn around and point out the actions of extremist feminists and act like those actions of an extremist few mean the movement as a whole is bunk and ridiculous.

I've got news for those people: feminism comes from a history fraught with racist and classist issues, not to mention a shitton of eugenics, holy fucking crap. Eugenics EVERYWHERE. And obviously not all of those issues are gone.

My issue with feminist criticism is ... well, actually, I have no issue with valid, logical criticism of feminism (especially when coupled with suggestions for how feminism could improve!) but I find that most of these (this is just in my experience) come from people who already identify as feminist and have for a long time and who place great value in the movement. To me, those people want to see feminism change for the better, to make it more valuable and relevant. People who actively claim not to be feminists who criticize the movement to me don't have the same aim. Why would they be interested in making feminism better if they're not a part of it anyway? To me, saying "I'm not a feminist" and then critiquing feminism means your aim must be to destroy it, to obliterate it, to say "anything good it accomplished was in the past" and move on to some other movement (that probably has the exact same goals anyway).

And I can acknowledge that receiving or even making critique of a field you love and support and care about deeply can be really, really hard. Because to you, this movement is great and wonderful and of course you don't want to admit that some part of it might be wrong! But I think it's important that feminism critiques itself (mainly the ways in which it is presented) in order to change and improve.

This is frustrating because it's so hard to define feminism. It almost seems like everyone has their own separate definitions- although I think one of gender equality and the expanding of genders beyond the binary is kind of where it's at. I think it tends to focus on women's issues because feminism was a movement borne out of women calling attention to their issues. It was borne of suffrage, of critique of political rights, of a lot of critique of marriage as an institution, etc etc.

And you can't say "feminism doesn't just get to include issues of race too that's not fair" because it's literally impossible for feminism to be valid without it being intersectional. My experience as a woman is likely very coloured by my skin colour and class and many other factors. Different women experience sexism differently, and it's really important to keep that in mind. Without that you often just end up with a bunch of women like myself- white, upper class, heterosexual, able bodied, etc- trying to solve their problems while neglecting the problems that other women face. That's not fair, and that certainly isn't inclusive. Of course feminism focuses mainly on gender issues, but it also acknowledges that issues of race, class, and many others cut through that. Identities are complex.

And I'm getting really tired of people saying feminism doesn't care about men's issues (it does and goddamn that needs to be publicized more), or worse, that feminism caused men's issues. Feminism opposes the same shitty social structures that mean men are incapable of being emotional or caring or sweet or timid, because those same shitty social structures mean that women, no matter what they are, are kind of always laughed at, whether they are emotional, caring, sweet, or timid OR brash, loud, opinionated, and aggressive.

That is also why to me, feminism has the "femin" bit. Because if a man successfully fulfills all his societal duties, and is the perfect replica of all the descriptors we associate with masculinity, then he is socially rewarded. He is a real man, good for him. But if a woman does the same, fulfills her societal duties and is a perfect replica of her descriptors, she's "weak" and "irrational" and "too emotional to ever be in charge of anything" (except running a home and raising children, apparently). If she fulfills all the male characteristics, she's too much- too loud, too opinionated, too career-driven, too bossy. If men don't take time to help out with the raising of their children, that's almost commonplace (although I'd like to think it's becoming less so now), but god forbid a woman do the same.. but if she stays at home to raise kids, she's "just a homemaker."

This is what bothers me. We've set up a system in which men can only win (i.e. be accepted, something along those lines) by fitting this narrow, constrictive mold... but at the same time, women can't win, even if they fill their mold. So it's obviously unfair to both parties, but at the same time, one party still has a chance. That's what strikes me as unfair. Men should be allowed to fulfill whatever role they feel most comfortable in, but so should women. We should all be winning. This doesn't mean you have to like everyone else on the planet, it just means they can't be unfairly held back by their gender OR how their gender is performed. That's really shitty and restrictive and sucks for everyone. Plus, it sets up systems where people (women especially) are taught to be jealous of those around them who better fulfill those characteristics, and it also seems like it would result in a lot of identity crises. It just doesn't work. It's silly, it's arbitrary, and it doesn't work.

My thoughts are that after some kind of social system is established in which people feel free to fulfill whatever characteristics they want, gender will become kind of arbitrary. What makes me a woman anyway? What makes someone a woman? It isn't their genitals, because then what about trans people? What about people born with genitals that aren't one of two sets? It doesn't work. Obviously you can still define people by biological sex, but gender is a really, really weird thing. It affects so much of our lives, and that pisses me off.

On a final note, I had an interesting idea about job/school applications (or applications for anything in general, really). I think it would be neat to set up a system in which people's names, ages, and races were completely left out of an application, and the only way to pick an applicant was solely on their merits. Obviously you'd need some way to contact them- I think a phone number could work for that, or even an email which is vague and gender neutral. Really I think that would eliminate a lot of discrimination... but then I don't know. I also thought it solved the problem of "affirmative action" because you can't select people based on their gender or race. It's more merit-based than based on whether or not your gender or race has historically been accepted to that position/school/institution/whatever...and obviously there would still have to be interviews... hmm. I didn't think of that. Any thoughts?

yer pal,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I had another thought

This is about abortion again. It'll be shorter, hopefully. I just had a thought about it.

If somebody were to come up to me and say "you are literally the only person in the whole entire world who can save me from my debilitating disease, but I require access to your body and its resources for 9 months. This will be invasive, painful, and dangerous, but I am a famous violinist/heart surgeon/other thing that is good for society and you can save me" I can still say no.

Now, that person is a person. And I can still say no to them. So to me, changing the personhood of fetuses doesn't DO anything. Even if that fetus is classified as a person, they're still asking for use of my body and resources for 9 months, and it will be invasive, painful, and dangerous for me. And yet to some people, that's okay, but so is me saying "no" to the first guy.

For all intents and purposes, these two are the same. Persons (for this example). They have potential- heck, one has even already proven their potential. And you know what else they have in common? Even if the use of my body is the only thing that can keep them alive, I still don't owe it to them. I can still say no in both cases and that is ok. Because I, like both of them, have bodily autonomy. They're in positions of dependency by chance, i.e., they can't survive without the use of someone else's body. But nobody has to provide them with that body.

This is the same principle behind why people aren't required to donate blood or organs. We all get assigned a body by chance (and have created a system wherein some bodies are more valued than others, which is pretty fucked up), but there are still moral laws that say "this body is yours to do with as you please, provided you can support yourself."

This also means that if I was that person who needed the use of one person's body to stay alive, I might be little miffed at them if they said no, but I'd have to accept it and move on. Their bodily autonomy is more important. Besides, if the procedure might kill them (the "savior") too (which is true of pregnancy! It's very dangerous), then I mean I REALLY can't blame them.

This is what pisses me off about pro-life. It's like, oops, something happened that was beyond your control and now you're in a potentially life-threatening situation that requires your constant attention and vigilance in addition to use of all your body and resources? Sorry, but you're not allowed to get out of that shit. And that, to me, is just fucked up. You can't just go putting people in that position without their consent. That's not okay- that is morally and ethically questionable. Far more so than terminating a pregnancy.

Still my favourite comment on the issue- "Nobody has the right to use anybody else's body without their consent." I like this because a) it applies to more than just abortion, and b) it's gender neutral. It's such a great statement.. I just wish I could remember where I'd found it.

yer pal,

Monday, September 29, 2014


I was talking to Ptarckas about this today after I got a B+ on a presentation/essay (I'm not sure if it was for both or for one, but either way it's pretty good) and I started thinking about what GPA that B+ will convert to, and I think it's around 3.

To begin, there are a few things I think I could do with this degree I'm pursuing
1) Go into a professional program (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, education, nursing, etc)
2) Go to graduate school
3) Attempt to get work experience so that I can get a job later (via internship program at my uni)
This is really all I can see coming out of a BSc in biology. I don't know what the fuck else to do with it. Professional, research, or some kind of career... which I would probably need at least a graduate degree to go farther in. I don't think there's actually much I can do with my degree on its own, it's more of a building block.

The problem, per se, is that I need it to be a good building block. I know that to get into grad school, I need a GPA of at least 3.0 for my last 60 credits or something and then probably letters of reference and stuff. For professional programs, I'm of the impression that I need good grades, volunteering hours, and work/research experience. Which is a lot to balance at once. For work experience, I need to have a good resume and then good interview skills and obviously, an employer willing to hire me. My position as a general student doesn't help that, unfortunately, but I can't even apply to that until next year so if I find something I want to specialize in in the meantime, I guess I can do that.

Today was just a bunch of worrying what if based on that B+. What if my grades aren't good enough to get into grad school? What if I can't get an internship? What if I can't get into a professional program (should I choose to go that route)? It just worries me that I could theoretically fail at all of these options. I could theoretically not go anywhere with my life.

I mean, this is a narrow and limited view, probably because I'm young and inexperienced. But it seems to me that I don't have something I can fall back on- some kind of career or experience or SOMETHING that it would be really, really hard for me to fail at.

That's how I got through IB for a large part- I knew that I'd already been accepted to a university and that even if I bombed all my IB exams, I'd still go to university. It really took the pressure off, although I still put pressure on myself to do well, study hard, etc. And I did pretty well on my exams in the end.

I just feel like now I have to put so much pressure on myself, and I have to be competitive, too. Sometimes it feels like I'm battling hundreds or thousands of other people for the same positions and jobs, that there are a whole bunch of other people in my field who want the same things I do and who are willing to work harder than me to get them.

Every time I don't do all the extra practice questions, I feel like shit about myself. Like with biology this semester, there are peer assisted learning sessions every week I can go to, but I never really feel like I need to. So far I feel like I understand everything, that I have a good grasp on all the material, I just need to review it because we learned some of it weeks ago already and I need it to be fresher. But it all makes sense to me (and labs have helped). So to me, going to these PAL sessions would be a waste of time. I already understand things, I'll go to a session when I don't understand something. But when I don't go, I constantly feel like going would have helped anyway, but I don't want to bother to put in the effort (the only one I can attend cuts into my lunch on Wednesdays).

I guess I'm just worried that I won't ever get anywhere. Especially because I'm lazy today, I don't feel like doing anything at all, and yet I have a midterm on Wednesday and a paper to organize and a lab tomorrow and I just don't want to do any of it.

Hopefully over thanksgiving I can get a bit of a break. That way I also don't have to pack heavy textbooks in my suitcase for the trip home...

And I mean, realistically, I know that things will work out somehow. Some way, somehow. As long as I keep trying and don't give up, I'll find a career I enjoy, and maybe it will be many careers, but I'll be okay. Besides, like I said, I'm young and inexperienced, so I should probably take myself with a grain of salt right now.

yer pal,

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Summer thoughts

Summer was decidedly Not Fun.

I know this because a) I put a lot of posts on here with very clear themes of "running away" and "I'm really sad all the time" and b) because I listened to Beyonce's new CD a lot this summer and so now those songs are tied up with the emotions I was experiencing, and listening to them again brings those feelings back very clearly.

Remembering summer is painful. I constantly felt Not Good Enough and then Not Happy Enough and the two feelings built off each other and spiralled. I wasn't good enough at my lab job. I wasn't good enough at staying in touch with people. I wasn't good enough at spending time with my family. I wasn't good enough at staying healthy (seriously I went through a bag of bulk barn chocolate pretzels every week, and my workout attempts didn't last very long at all). I just Wasn't Good Enough. Everything sucked. My memories of summer, unfortunately, are all tainted with this feeling, even though I had good days.

I had days where I went to see friends, where I came home late and nobody cared, where Freckles and I hung out and watched movies. where I saw friends I hadn't seen in a long, long time. Where I biked around and felt freer, where I worked out and my mood improved, where I drove around listening to loud music. But I also remember having a lot of bad days. I remember every day being a bad day. I was too hot, I had uncontrollable rage at other drivers for the tiniest of mistakes, I was simultaneously mad at other people that had booked the dark room so I couldn't get into it at the time I needed, but also get mad at myself for not figuring out when I'd need it sooner, or showing up earlier. I remember a lot of skype calls with Ptarckas, in which our relationship felt very different to how it does now. I remember eating a lot of chocolate pretzels and dill pickle chips. I remember a lot of mom-comments about my weight, I remember a lot of feeling guilty for wanting to be by myself after work, I remember a lot of bike rides and workouts that were the only things that made me feel good about my life.

I also remember specific events. I remember the two times Vince and I actually ate lunch together, and the time I saw her and Lucy before heading back to school. I remember going to the park with my sister and swinging on the swings and feeling good about life. I remember driving out to an interview at a lab for a job I wasn't going to get, but that had the prettiest commute ever, all mountains behind prairies and endless blue sky (ironically, I was listening to "Blue" on the Beyonce CD for the first time on that drive, so now the song and the experience are connected). I remember how much my knees hurt after one bike ride. I remember the weekend Ptarckas came to visit, a happy spot even though it was severely marked by Parental Comments. I remember being at the cabin and how desperately hot it was, and how fun it was when Freckles had friends out there, and how much the trip to the states for back to school shopping sucked because it meant mom got to make comments about the size of the jeans I tried on, leaving me crying in the changeroom.

All of these memories lead to one thing for me: I do not want to go home next summer. I can't. What if it turns out the same way last summer did? The endless heat in my long pants that were proper lab attire, the endless feeling dragged down and sad, the endless irritation at pointless things, the endless, the endless, the endless. I don't want to go back. I can't figure out WHY.

Maybe part of it is the alone time. Here, I see people at school, I come home, I do homework, I go down for dinner to chat, I come back up. Heck, I didn't even go down for brunch today, and I haven't seen my roommate at all. I've spend basically the entire day alone and I feel fine. I hang out with friends sometimes. I come back when I want, I sleep when I want, I slack off when I want, I study where and when I want. And I study, god I've missed that. There is something nice about school that I didn't get from work, although part of that was that work was the same thing I'd been doing for the past two summers and I was bored- the days in the lab where I did new things were always the most interesting and the ones where I felt the least sad.

I think there's a certain sense of independence here too. I get myself to class on time, on foot or with public transportation, I arrange my schedule, I am in charge. At home I always felt like I couldn't go out after 10 because my parents would wake up if I opened the garage door and also they'd want to know where I'd be going even though I was legally old enough not to have to tell them that. But hey, they still pay for my car insurance, so I guess I shouldn't really push it. Thank god, too, because being in my car used to be a safe space for me, one where I could cry and be alone and not want to ever go inside the house where god forbid I would have to interact with somebody.

The problem is... I'm pretty certain I could get a lab job at home next summer. I went in for an interview-type-thing last summer, and they told me they couldn't offer me a job since I'd applied so embarrassingly late, but that if I applied on time next year there was a fairly good chance- the offer had sounds of certainty to it, and it was at a good lab, and I think a government one as well. A government job is a Big Fucking Deal, and I'd be an idiot not to consider the fact that I have a good shot at getting a government job- I've talked to 3 people there who have labs, they all have my resume, and I've got good past lab experience in addition to a good academic standing and ... well, I don't know if high school actually matters now, but volunteering and the IB program on there as well. Which makes me think I could get a lab job HERE if I tried. And maybe I should try. But the problem is that staying here over the summer is expensive, and my parents would get sad and my sister would get sad and they'd all family-guilt-trip me into coming home because they miss me. And yeah, I miss them too. My sister in particular, because ... well, I guess we kind of drifted apart as we got older, but I like to think there's still something there, some kind of magical sister friendship bond that we have. I'm a shitty sister, and I know it, but I still love her and do like spending time with her. Also, I worry about her way more than I should b/c she IS old enough to be ok, but still. I worry. It's my job. It's how I am. With me gone from the house, what sibling will look out for her? Let's be honest, we all know it isn't my brother, based on past entries (the fb thing still has not caused any tension. We'll see what happens at thanksgiving). I still love him, but god, I really don't like him.

I just have conflicting feelings about going home. The lack of alone time and independence (and also Uni Friends and Boyfriend) leads to a lot of sad for me, but not going home would feel weird, and I'd feel terribly guilty about it.

In short: I'd like to go home for the summer, but not if it's going to be like last summer. I still have until December/January to make decisions about employment (where do I apply? If I get in to certain places, where do I accept the offer? How does that work out for me?)

Anyway. I texted my dad about it (I will text mom, but I am not texting her first because dad this summer actually said that he was sure I wouldn't come home for the summer at some point because he stopped doing that, so I think he'll react to it better), we'll see what he says.

yer pal,
swegan :/

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Pay Gap

What really bugs me is when people say "no it's not that women are paid less, women just choose to go into lower paying careers."

Okay, fine. Why do women choose that?

In a society that didn't influence people to choose a career based on their gender, you'd expect to see about equal numbers of men and women in high and low paying fields. And that would probably even out the pay gap a little bit. But you don't see that. And don't you dare tell me it's just "biology"- the existence of some men and some women in low and high paying positions, respectively, tells me that people are perfectly capable of performing either kind of work, regardless of their gender or sex.

So maybe women do get paid the same as their male counterparts, when you look at it individually. I can't know that for sure. But what I'm sure anyone can see is that engineering is still "a guy thing" while you see women majoring in arts classes all the time (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that based on my life experience, arts graduates make less than engineering graduates), and while female enrollment is increasing for medical school, you still don't see a lot of women in really technical fields like physics, computing, or math. Why is that? It's obviously not because women aren't smart enough, and if you try to tell me THAT, I will kick you in the shin. No. There's got to be some underlying reason why the numbers of men and women in fields like physics aren't equal.

And furthermore, if the numbers of men and women in those fields are equal, why aren't we talking about it?

I just find it hard to believe that the pay gap is solved by "people of different genders choose different career paths." That certain explains why the overall average for women might be lower than the overall average for men, but then you have to go deeper: why is that a fact?

I realize this post is limited because when I talk about high and low paying fields I am thinking in terms of university degrees. This is the environment I was raised in and it's extremely limited and obviously just one piece of a much larger puzzle. But it's all that I know, so it's all I feel I can contribute to the discussion. To talk of career paths that don't involve this would involve a lot of research for me which I currently don't have the time to do, since I'm lucky enough to be pursuing my own university education.

yer pal,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I did not want it to come to this

I just unfriended my brother on facebook.

Now I know some people won't think that facebook is even a big deal at all. And I'm sure other people might think "How could you do that to your own brother????" BUT, neither of those people read this blog... I think. I'm fully aware of how low my readership is but... ehh. that's not the point of this post.

First things first: My brother. Is. An. Asshole.

I mean, I love him, but god, he's an asshole. He is! My own mother has confirmed it. She won't let me swear ever, except when I am calling my brother an asshole. He's impossible to deal with. I don't like having him around because he aggravates everyone. He posts offensive things on facebook (hence why I have unfriended him). I don't want any of my friends to meet him. If I ever get married, I don't think I want him at my wedding.

All of this sucks. I don't like it either. But he seems hell bent on offending me lately, posting these horrendously offensive things because he knows they piss me off. I've listened to my mother describe his behaviour and that of his friends in the past, and it sounds exactly the same.

Just... we had him out at the cabin last week, and not only did he not offer to help with dishes or dinner ANY of the nights he was there, he also made a big scene at dinner by just... having annoying opinions that are really offensive and continuing on and on AND ON while my sister's friends had to sit and watch it, and it was so embarrassing. Later, when my sister's friends all decided to sleep together in one room and have a big sleepover kind of thing, he thumped on the floor when they were maybe giggling a bit too loud (this was at midnight, too- not even late). Passive aggressive much? He could have, I don't know, gone downstairs and asked them to be quiet?

He has a problem with everybody, and I'm sure he's only going to get worse now that I've unfriended him, but I don't care. My plan for the future is to avoid him as much as possible. I know my mom feels the same- she hates it because she feels like a bad mother, but shit, it's not her fault he's decided to behave this way. The only person he'll even listen to anymore is dad. NOT TO MENTION when we went to Ireland (a trip on which he paid for NOTHING, by the way) he started ranting about how "disrespectful it was" for mom to show up late for dinner. I was like, excuse me, who paid for you to be here? Of course I didn't act that way outwardly, I was an awkward mixture of trying to diffuse him (we were in a nice hotel and I didn't want to make a scene) and trying to agree with him (I have my own grievances about mom making me late, which I have acted on perhaps not so nicely in the past- and probably here, and frankly, I'm embarrassed about it). Another one of my sister's friends had to witness that, and she later said it was weird.

Honestly... dealing with him is like dealing with a 4 year old, only worse. He doesn't know how to be an adult, he doesn't know how to make polite conversation, and having him around is a liability since he's bound to embarrass us all at some point.

Most of why I've unfriended him is due to not wanting to see his offensive shit anymore (seconds before I did it, I commented on a selfie of his that I really enjoyed his facial expression, which was pretty great). I want him to be a part of my life, I do. I want to talk to him regularly, I want to be close to him, I want to want him at family events. I want to be close to him, but he makes it impossible. My family continually invites him to Christmases, birthdays, and on family vacations, and he continually acts like an ungrateful ass. Honestly at this point I'm embarrassed to be related to him, and I hate that I have to say that because I love him and want to have a relationship with him. He's my brother, for crying out loud.

Of course, I'm now afraid he might come by the house and blow up at me, call me a bitch to anyone who will listen, or ... shit, I don't know, slash my tires. What does it say about him that I wouldn't put any of that past him?

They say you're supposed to cut poisonous people out of your life. My brother has become a poisonous person. Because I love him and because I still want to have a working sibling relationship with him, I will hold out hope that he can change or at least learn to bite his tongue, and I will take him back if he proves he is willing to grow the fuck up. I want that to happen. But I can't do it for him. He has to change for himself, and I'm not going to sit around and listen to his shit while I wait for that to happen.

I'm sorry, brother. But this is what it has come to.



It certainly has its issues.

I think a big part of that depression earlier for me was tumblr feminism. It's so... cutthroat. I constantly worried that I was doing things wrong. I'd watch tumblr feminists tear apart people they disagreed with at the seams, and I was so afraid that might happen to me if I toed out of line, so I spent my time arguing with people close to me, pushing their manifestos and refusing to back down. It was exhausting. I mean, I get that those people have either experienced a lot of oppression personally and that that has made them angry and jaded to the point where they lash out, or they have developed a complex where they feel they have the right to do that... I'm not going to sit around and argue that fat people, non-white people, trans people, and lgbtqa (that is the correct acronym, right?), and women don't have their unfair share of difficulties, but still.

This isn't to say the community on tumblr is bad. I think it's done some great things- like providing a safe place for people to vent their frustrations, especially if those people aren't very "mainstream" and feel worn down by everyday life. I think that's important, that people who aren't lucky like me who are born with immense privilege (with the exception of my being female, which, thankfully, due to the part of the world I live in, hasn't held me back much... yet, anyway) have a space to vent, to feel validated, etc. That is definitely important, and I support that.

But I also feel like at certain times, that community cannot handle criticism. Whenever somebody makes a point that, while perhaps not entirely correct, still raises an important issue, people who have created those communities can get really defensive. We're not doing anything wrong, you're just persecuting us because you can get away with it. Maybe that's the case, but I think there are some issues with that community sometimes.

I know it's ridiculous to ask for inclusion in a community created solely to provide a haven for people who aren't included in the mainstream. But the mainstream sucks, and some of us get that- and we'd much rather stick with the people who say "screw the system" and try to create a better way. But I think sometimes that message of "we have a better way" is their way of saying "it's our turn." My problem is, equality doesn't work like that. You don't take turns having the advantage- that's not equality at all.

What Ptarckas suggested when I brought this up with him was that those communities can prioritize. Take feminism, for example. It is completely unreasonable for feminism as a movement to focus entirely on the ways the... we'll call it "the mainstream", has affected women and women only. In order for this movement to be inclusive, it must also discuss the ways men are affected. The exception here would be that feminism can prioritize women's issues. While both women and men are negatively affected by the mainstream (I guess feminists would call that patriarchy, and it is a word I have used before, and I still stand by that- but I'm trying to reach a wider audience here), women have had it far worse, and while men can choose to benefit from the system that's in place, women cannot, or at least not to the same degree. So to me, prioritizing women's issues above men's while still making time to discuss their issues as well is the best way forward. Or perhaps there are people who prefer to focus solely on one or the other, and that's fine. I think as long as men's issues don't overshadow women's, or interrupt discussions of women's issues, then that's okay. I suppose the reverse has to be true as well, but I still think a priority on women's issues is more than fair.

What really brought this issue up with me today was a post I saw on tumblr (obviously). It was an ask where someone had asked what the user thought of "skinny shaming" in Nicki Minaj's song "Anaconda." (The "skinny bitches" thing seems to be becoming popular with the body-positive community- and I really don't like it). The user's response was that "skinny people should stop listening to her song and go watch TV or read a magazine to see their body type idealized and praised." While I don't want to say this one user is the only problem- I'm sure plenty of people have this attitude- I really don't like that statement.

I know it's ridiculous of people who have been held up as "normal" and "beautiful" by beauty standards to ask for inclusion in a community created for those who did not fit those standards and have suffered because of it, but that is what I am asking for. I'm asking that the body positivity movement recognize that you cannot call yourself inclusive unless you include everybody. I'm not asking for my issues to be discussed- at the moment, I don't have any, beyond the "skinny bitches" attitude which I really hate (some people are just naturally thin- while that does give us privilege, it doesn't give you the right to stereotype us all as "bitches" that subscribe to mainstream beauty ideals).

I actually DO think the body positivity movement has been one of those movements that's been really good about being inclusive, about saying "you cannot have equality if you exclude one group of people." It was really just this one incident, in addition to the fact that all "body positive" songs that have come out recently that I've seen have included a line about "skinny bitches." I mean, I get that a lot of skinny people do subscribe to mainstream beauty ideals, do put down others for it, and I can understand why people who've felt like they've been excluded their entire lives, who have felt shamed and teased and bullied, wouldn't want to include people in their group that fit so well with their... bullies, I guess. I get that- it is part of why I was so defensive of feminism being a place for women's issues only for a long time. But, I think part of trying to start over means you have to try and trust those from the old group who come to you asking to be included. I think it means you have to be the bigger person sometimes- not all the time, but sometimes. You have to be the more mature one... and it sucks. It really does.

What was hard for me in all of this is admitting that I think I took things a bit too far sometimes. I still think what I was saying was important, I was just ... somehow saying it in a way that was too extreme. This is not to absolve the blame of others, either, just myself.  Besides, being that hardcore was no fun, and I'd like to think I've backed down a little. That's not entirely fun, either, but it's working out for me better than before.

Anyway. I'm sure if someone on tumblr finds this I'll be torn to shreds, have the words that describe my privilege used against me as insults, and that will not be fun... but I'd like to think I'm getting somewhere here. I'd like to think someone will think I have a good point, that I have something valuable to say.

Social justice movements cannot call themselves inclusive while excluding the group that excluded them. I get that that doesn't seem fair, but someone has to be the bigger person.

You know, coming from me, I can see how that sounds like a threat. "Someone has to be the bigger person"? I get it. It sounds exhausting, and a little bit patronizing, and unfair. The mainstream group should be being the bigger people. I know that, but they're not, and there's all these movements starting up that I see that are doing way, way better that I think are more viable alternatives at this point. And this doesn't have to happen fast. I'm just asking that this "skinny bitches" shit in the positivity movement is removed. Also, that the people who used to make me feel guilty for being from a family with money realize that that's not really much better than making people feel guilty for not coming from a family with money. Nobody can help who they're born to, and I have never been a bitch about money. Ever. The family I come from doesn't make me better or worse than anybody else, and I am incredibly aware of that.

yer pal,

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I'm really not sure how else to bring this up with people.

So I'm sure some of you have read the hyperbole and a half comic about depression (http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html (part 1) http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2013/05/depression-part-two.html (part 2), for those who have not), as I did about a year ago. I really liked it- I found it funny, but I also found it a really different explanation of how it feels to have depression, because at the time, I was still very stable (if not a bit burnt out by all the work I was currently doing) and happy and I felt pretty normal. The problem is that now, I see myself and my current behaviour in the beginning of the comic.

This year hasn't really been the easiest, and I don't know why.

I mean, autumn was great. I started at a new school and did well and then it was my 18th birthday and i was making friends, i got asked out, i began a relationship, i was living away from home for the first time and thoroughly enjoying it. That was great. And it wasn't the living away from home part that got to me, I swear- yes, I missed home, but I'd also started accidentally calling the building I lived in "home" sometimes. The food was great, the people were good, my room was very comfortable. Making friends was tricky but I was doing all right and doing okay in my classes. In fact, the whole fall semester was just fine. I really liked it. University was great. Still is- I can't wait to go back.

I think it was around the winter semester that it started. I started having trouble getting out of bed in the morning- that was it. Once I was up and out the door, I was fine. But almost every morning until the reading week break, I didn't want to get up and go to class. I saw no point. But I made myself get up anyway, and then I felt fine. My dad called me in the morning a few times, both to make sure I was up and to make sure I was feeling okay. It did help.

Reading week break, I think, propelled me through the rest of the semester. I got a chance to do sfa and do it somewhere I really love to be, and somewhere I am right now- the cabin. I'm always at my happiest here. I feel so lucky I have this place to come to. It's a godsend, really.

I think by finals again I was pretty tired, but I was also excited to move home (and also sad about it), not to mention excited to be done. And then I was home for May, applying for jobs, until I actually got one (a miracle given how late I applied for lab jobs) and for the past two months, I was working.

I think it really began in June, a week or so in. I felt really sad, but chalked it up to hormones and just let it be. When it was two weeks in, I told mom that I had been feeling really sad lately. Her response was that "when I feel like that, I just need to force myself to think positive thoughts" which of course wasn't really that helpful. Oh gee, just try thinking positive! Gosh, why didn't I think of that before? (This isn't meaning to get mad at my mom, of course- I know she was just trying to help). I figured it was probably nothing, and kept going.

At one of our summer cabin visits (god, I know how rich I sound when saying that. Sorry), I got really upset about something- I think missing some EPASS emails (which was something I later cleared up). I was talking to ptarckas- as I usually am- and I admitted to him that in order to try and get myself back together from crying over the guilt of missing all these emails and disappointing people, I had slapped myself in the face and scratched the sunburns on my shoulders and arms. It sounds ridiculous. It still does.

Ptarckas, of course, was distressed to learn about this, and asked that I please stop. He called it "self harm" and that was the first time I ever saw it that way. It's not like this was the first time I'd attempted these things to pull myself together- slapping myself in the face, banging my head against the wall, pulling on my hair, scratching myself really hard. This usually happened when I started to get upset about something- like when mom had said I could paint outside or clean the car, and I had picked clean the car, only to get outside at the same time as Freckles and have her claim the painting job, leaving me the option of sitting in my room all day uselessly or making money doing work I didn't want to do. I decided to clean out the car. However, I had to find a vacuum attachment, and kept complaining to my parents that I couldn't find it in the hall closet where it should be. Mom came with me to help me look, and I was poking around, not seeing it, but doing the typical terrible-search-job-of-children and getting frustrated. Mom told me to take things out and look, which I didn't want to do because it created the work of putting everything away, so I slammed two bottles down on the floor. Mom said to me "if you're going to be like that, go and sit in your room, because nobody needs this." I promptly went into my room, sat in the closet crying, "pulled myself together" and came back out and buried my attitude. "Nobody needs this," I told myself. "Nobody wants it. Act like a fucking grownup. Be happy, because that's the emotion they want, and your emotion is stupid and babyish anyway." I cleaned the car.

Ptarckas's reaction kind of made me realize that I shouldn't really be "pulling myself together" that way. And in the weeks since then, I have noticed a lot of urges to do so, mostly occurring whenever I get sad again. "Quit feeling sorry for yourself," I'd think. "If you're sad, fix it. Don't blame the world for your problems. This is nobody's fault but your own. Work harder, be better, be happier." "Quit feeling sorry for yourself" is something that I heard a lot as a kid whenever I would cry and I wasn't physically injured or bullied- basically, if nothing had been done to me that would justify crying.

This "fix your sadness" attitude turned into me writing things down on scrap paper at the lab when I had to wait for something to finish, hiding them so nobody would see and want to talk about it. Also, I have not been... I don't want to call it self-harming, but I guess that's kind of what it is. I just sit and ignore the urges until they pass. They don't last long. It's harder to get myself back together to hide this from my family, who I really don't want to tell given mom's reaction, but I figure it's worth it.

The sadness itself comes and goes. I feel horribly guilty about it. Who in their right mind wants to deal with somebody who's sad and crying and feeling sorry for themselves all the time? After a certain point, I worried, it would seem like I was just trying to be a victim on purpose to gain sympathy points. I was convinced nobody would want to deal with this. Hell, I'm surprised at how ptarckas reacts, given that he's still the only person I've talked to about this. I keep waiting for him to get exhausted by me constantly breaking down and getting violently upset by stupid little things, but instead he just sends me virtual skype-hugs, tries to make me feel validated, and tries to help calm me down.

Which is why I'm writing this (don't know if I'll post it, but if I do I guess you'll know my decision). I need to know if anybody else ever feels like this- like you're suddenly way too sad all of the time and exhausted by having emotions and beating yourself up for feeling sad in the first place. I need to know if this is something that a lot of 18 year olds go through and it's normal and okay, or if this is wrong and something I need to get help for.

The sucky part is that this is making being a feminist on the internet more difficult, because I just can't deal with something that exhausting right now. Having those opinions feels like a constant parade of "can we please not talk about that" and "you're wrong" and honestly that really fucking sucks, and it's difficult enough for me to deal with (since I take everything so fucking personally) even when my emotions are somewhere stable.

See, this is where it sucks. I just suddenly feel like "oh hey you haven't been writing either" and it's like the world just keeps taking things I care about away from me, but then I'm like "no, you can't blame the world for this, this is your own damn fault for not working harder" and I just don't want to do anything about it and it's too exhausting to feel like this as much as I do.

For the record, since I know people are bound to worry: I'm not suicidal. I'm sad a lot, but I still want to keep existing. Very much so. Existing is important to me. I want to get my uni degree, my masters, my PhD, heck, even my MD. I can't do all of those without existing. Plus I am still okay enough to know that this probably has an end point.

I just... I'm really not sure how to bring this up with people. Maybe I am taking the easy way out. Who cares? I don't owe the world the moral correctness of bringing this up in the "right way".

yer pal,


I think people tend to expect this of each other. I was scrolling through the "feminism" tag recently, and there was a lot of criticism in there- fair criticism.

The feminist movement is not perfect. It never has been. It probably never will be. Neither is its opposition, and nor will it be. Criticism is fine, yes, but sometimes I feel like it takes the vein of imperfections in a movement being used to work against it and to claim that the movement is useless, not working properly, or full of shit (especially when those criticisms aren't even valid, but that's another can of worms).

I think I have been especially guilty of this. I don't take criticism well. I never have, but I'd like to think that someday I will. I take everything too personally. It's one of the things I don't like about myself and is my biggest stumbling block.

The reason I was thinking about this was because of those posts that say "don't bully anyone, being mean to anyone is wrong!" because on one hand I think people who apply this attitude to feminism are massively missing the point but on the other hand, I still feel like some part of their argument has validity. This is mostly because of the kids in middle school who thought it was okay to make me feel like shit because I came from a family that was well off. While I can understand that my being bullied about this was not the same as facing disadvantages that actively held me back (b/c coming from a family that has money to support me gives me advantages and thus privilege, which I am immensely grateful for), I can still acknowledge that what they did was not cool and they shouldn't have been doing it. I'm still not sure how to apply this to feminism, but I'm sure it has its place.

Perhaps it's that actively making men feel bad for being men is a bad idea? I'm not sure if I do that as a feminist- I really hope not. Obviously there's nothing wrong with being male, my problem is with the societal ideal (and the one you see commonly presented in media of all sorts) of what it means to be male. I think a lot of people subscribe to that ideal and that worries me. And then obviously there's real men who have been shitty by living out that ideal (and by, say, being abusive) when they're smart enough to know better. Men aren't stupid, and I guess perhaps feminism doesn't give them enough credit. I think perhaps it's important to recognize the line between shitty masculinity and shitty men, or something along those lines?

It's late. I'm not entirely sure what I'm talking about, and I've been listening to a mix of pop songs I made on youtube for the past two hours. It's fascinating how all these songs from different time periods in my life comes together to present an amalgamation of something that resembles how I see myself.

yer pal,

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An interesting thing happened yesterday

I was out with Zoey, Marissa, and Freckles, and we were waiting for our food at a restaurant. We were talking about things, and somehow Zoey ended up bringing up something uncomfortable.
"Who was that guy you liked in middle school?" she asked. "You know, that one you were like, obsessed with? Who was he?" and then she was asking Marissa and Freckles and I just panicked and sat there saying "Can we not talk about this, please? No, it was a really long time ago?" and finally I just said "his name was asshole mcbuttface, and that's all there is to it." And then we moved on to something else.

I could take this as a sign that I'm really uncomfortable with that whole thing, but I'm more seeing this as a sign that I'm really done with all of this. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to bring it up like it's just a fun memory, hahaha. It wasn't fun. It sucked. I don't want to talk about it anymore, can we all please move on, thank you.

It's like for them it was just me having a huge crush on a guy, and maybe that's what it was, maybe I'm just crazy and making it into more because I want sympathy, but he was still a huge dick to me for no good reason and I'd rather not dwell on it.

I think this is part of how I move on, making it clear to other people that no, I don't want to talk about it, and we should not talk about it no matter what. It's not worth talking about. He's not worth talking about. Neither were the rest of his gang, and they still aren't, and they never will be.

I know this comes off as a little hypocritical because I posted about this a few weeks ago. But, that was a few weeks ago- it appears I have since changed my mind about how I want to handle this. Besides, I realize that Zoey had no way of knowing that I didn't want to talk about it. It's not her fault. I just... I'm done. I need to be done. I need to put it in the past, and by put it in the past I mean literally never talk about it like it did not happen. Of course it did, but I don't want to talk about it.

Not now, and I think not ever. Maybe someday it will just be less sucky. Who knows.

yer pal,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

God, I hate it when people ask me this. But, let's see.

I think I'd go ahead and get my PhD in biology. Even the brief wikipedia readups of the antibodies/"primaries" that i have to put on the westerns fascinates me. cancer is fascinating. The ways in which it proliferates and sustains and spreads are vast, but that also means there's a lot of potential to take it out. The other day I was reading about DNMT3a, which is DNA methyltransferase 3a. Typically thought to be involved in the methylation of (I think?) CpG sites in DNA in early development but maaaybe also later when methylations are copied (transferred- things in science seem to actually be named very simply and to-the-point) during DNA reproduction. It was so cool. Plus, there was a girl in the lab who did her PhD defense last Tuesday, and for some reason I got really excited for her, imagining how hard she would have been working to get to that point, to get her doctorate. And I think that's when I knew that biology was where I was meant to be, and I was going to get my PhD if it killed me.

But then again... if I wasn't afraid of it, I'd also be a doctor. Doctors are important. I know I am fully capable of getting myself through med school, if I put my mind to it. But the problem is that med school really doesn't appeal to me, because I'm kind of scared of the work. I'm also kind of scared that I'd hate the work after school. Although this didn't stop me from daydreaming about being an MD PhD the other day. The best of both worlds, really... although the guy I was reading about was a pediatric oncologist, and I can't imagine that job must be fun.

I would also write more. I think maybe I don't write because I'm scared. Or maybe because I don't want to. Either way, I hate that I made such a big deal out of it because now everyone still acts like I'm prolific when the reality is I don't write anymore. I don't. I don't want to. It's exhausting. It's hard work. I don't want to be a writer anymore. I don't know why. It kind of feels like something inside of me either shriveled up and died, or just left- I hope it's the latter, because then it can come back.

I think I'd also have gone to visit my boyfriend at one point, and my other friends in my uni city. I'd have gone down to the nearby national park only an hour south of me to hike and enjoy nature. I'd have invited friends out to the cabin.

I'd also look more into doing a semester abroad.

I'd probably quit EPASS. lord knows I've been thinking about that for a long time. But I feel so guilty about it, like because my parents donated a bunch of money to the fundraiser and it is good volunteering experience and the people I've met in the group are so nice and they really do need help, but honestly... space is cool, and so is this project, but I kind of feel like... I dunno, like I'm not helping, like I fell behind on reading because the reading was really boring to me, like there's maybe a reason I don't check my emails nearly often enough, maybe a reason there hasn't been a newsletter for over a month? Mom and Dad said that they only donated as much as they did because I was involved, which does not fucking help with the guilt. I feel like I signed up for this, I need to keep at it. I'm also scared that if I were to leave, the people in the group would hate me, which is actually completely unfounded because those people are not shitty people. I'm sure they wouldn't be happy about it, but I'm also starting to wonder if someone else can't do my job better than I can. Someone who cares more than I do. I feel so horrible about not caring, when I've been given this opportunity. And aren't you supposed to take every opportunity? Isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing right now, snagging every single one that comes along? That, to me, feels like it would leave me overloaded.
I seriously need to make up my mind on this. On the one hand, if I did end up leaving before returning to uni, my parents would know and get mad. On the other hand, if I waited until I got up there, I'd have to do it face to face and idk if I could get through that without crying. Maybe I'll see how many new recruits they get from the clubs fair? If a bunch of people join, I'd feel less bad about leaving... ugh. This has been tearing me up for weeks. I feel like the shittiest club member in the world, and I don't know why, since it's a free country and I'm allowed to leave if I want to. It's not like I work for them.

I think I would travel more. Alone. If I wasn't afraid of being approached by strangers because I am small, naive, and female. If I wasn't afraid of trying new foods.

Honestly, I think I'd probably eat differently, too. The other week I got in a seriously debilitating internal argument over a bag of chips which ended up with me deciding to start working out, which has actually ended up in a dramatic reduction of sad feelings which is totally not what I was trying to get out of it at all but kind of is what I'm trying to get out of it now (seriously, being home has really made me sad, which makes absolutely 0 sense).

And also, I would probably have more sex. I mean, not that I'm currently HAVING any, but you get my point. I think we would all do that. Come on. I HAD TO PUT THIS IN HERE. It's the truth. If I wasn't so afraid of getting pregnant...

I'd also probably take more dance classes and be less worried about it being a waste of money. Dance makes me happy. It always feels like something I can be good at and something I was born to do.

I don't actually know if all of these things are good ideas, or if doing them will improve my life or make me happy. Some of them, probably. Others, ???

I think this question is still worth taking the time to answer, though. You can learn a lot about yourself.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The thing about relationships

( I am talking in the romantic sense here, since I have been having some thoughts lately).

Recently it's become very interesting to me how different my first relationship was from my second (and current) relationship. The first time around I felt guilty for wanting attention- physical affection, mostly, things like hand holding, kissing, hugging, etc. I also felt mad that I was the one who had to initiate conversation and communication outside of school. Probably a lot of these problems were from the fact that we were young and didn't know how to be in a relationship, but still. I also felt like expressing my desire to spend time with him and to be alone with him would sound "dumb" and "girly" and so I never said anything. Once he even got angry at me because I was trying to talk to him and he was trying to play video games. That really bothered me, enough that I started crying and felt horribly guilty. I didn't want to make anyone unhappy.

This time around, I am kind of still in that state. I feel more comfortable discussing what I like/need in terms of physical affection and closeness, and I've found someone who enjoys a similar level of those things (we are very snuggly people, and spending time in each other's physical presence is important to us) but more importantly, I feel valued this time around.

It's really nice to be in a relationship with someone who I feel like actually WANTS to be in a relationship with me, too. Someone who doesn't communicate because they have to but because they actively want to, someone who spends a lot of time with me, someone who admits to being close to me. Someone who doesn't ever make me feel like the things I want or need are stupid or unimportant. I feel so happy now, in this relationship, that I am able to get what I want and give in return, that we are able to find a balance and make each other happy.

There are still times when I worry about bothering him, but this time around it's nice that when I bug him when he's playing video games, I don't get "the sound of you sending messages just gets a little annoying and distracting in the middle of a game", I get "sorry, I was busy, and I like reading what you write when I finish playing something." Obviously the first response was understandable, and not totally unreasonable, but I do actually like the second one better. I still try not to bug people a lot when it seems like they're busy, but it's nice not to get "you were being annoying" and more "no, I was just away, that's why I wasn't responding."

I just... I feel like I know better now. Obviously I don't know everything because I'm young and inexperienced, but I know more. I know how important communication is. I know how important physical affection and intimacy are to me. And I got to learn that from a really positive relationship experience, and I am still learning from it.

The best part is that when we have gotten mad in the past or fucked up, we've talked through it honestly, been willing to admit our own faults but also been able to recognize where we were not wrong, and been committed enough to continue the relationship to make it work again. It's really nice to feel cared about and loved. I still doubt it because of how my last relationship went, and sometimes I think just because it almost feels too good to be true.

Gah, I feel young and stupid and happy. Thank god for this exercise kick I just got started on. I feel like it's finally giving my brain enough dopamine and endorphins to see the happy without it feeling stupid. But that's a post for another time.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'm mad about twilight again


One of my favourite lines from the videos of the "Feminist Frequency" channel on youtube was something along the lines of "it's important to remember that it's still possible to enjoy media while being aware of its more problematic aspects." I'm aware that twilight is problematic. I'm aware of the toxic relationship standards it suggests and promotes. And yet I'm also aware that it's everyone's favourite thing to hate.

Look, even I get a bit uppity about it sometimes. Some parts are kind of... ehh, but then some parts in EVERY book are like that. Just look at the first chapter of Harry Potter, for crying out loud! Seriously, I cannot get past that chapter. It's all exposition, and honestly, it bores me. I can't read a book unless it hooks me in in the first chapter, and that one didn't. But whenever Harry Potter is criticized on the internet, it's done so in a thoughtful way, in a way that fosters discussion and learning. And whenever twilight is criticized, it's "wow this created a better love story than twilight" and "wow it's sad when twilight does something better than you" and "jesus this book is sad and a piece of crap."

I don't really know what my point is anymore. Yeah, there's horrible elements in that book. The relationship is abusive. There's an instance of sexual assault somewhere in the third book that I never even read as sexual assault until someone pointed it out to me that way- but hey, Bella was pissed about it, wasn't she? She was mad because he disrespected her boundaries, and her father disrespected them further by encouraging the assault b/c it was the lesser of two evils- not from her somewhat creepy, possessive boyfriend, who was really only mad about the whole thing because she was kind of his property. Christ, he forbade her from visiting a friend... who, albeit, later turned out to be the friend that sexually assaulted her, but jesus fucking christ, you're going to sit around and call this character weak and stupid and shallow and pathetic? To a certain degree, it kind of feels like she's caught up in shit, and btw, the way I did read her creep boyfriend defending her from the friend that decided kissing her when she said no was okay was that she called him knowing that at least he would get this guy away from her. That's clever. She knew. She knew.

And that doesn't say anything about other characters in the story who happen to be excellent characters.

Look, I'm just saying, the entire book isn't a shitstorm, okay? Besides, the only reason I stick by those books is because they got me through a period in the beginning of high school where I had no friends. Reading them again takes me right back there. It's a comfortable place, a safe place, where I wasn't lonely, where I was somewhere else living someone else's life, having someone else's adventures. I read all those books in less than four days.

I guess I can understand that some people are mad b/c this book is heralded as genius by some teenagers who don't see the darker parts of it, the parts that aren't that great, the parts they should shy away from. They see it as a piece of problematic, sexist media that's being marketed to teenage girls yet again. And I'm mad at that part. I'm mad that those things happened, because at the end of the day, I liked the story. I did. I got into it. I was a part of the world. I went on an adventure. I had fun. I enjoyed a cast of good supporting characters (including some pretty great female ones btw). And it really sucks to see something you love get absolutely shit on everywhere on the internet. It's worse than that thing about reading a book where there isn't a fandom, because at least then there aren't people who are going to treat you like you're stupid for liking the series.

And god, for the love of all that is holy, stop making fun of teenage girls for liking this, okay? Teenage girls get enough shit for being rabid fans of things. Leave them alone. Especially you, teenage boys (and girls!) who think it's okay to make fun of your peers because they like the series. Leave them alone, too. Just let them be. Clearly they're happy, okay? They aren't vapid, or stupid, or idiotic. They like. A book. Series. Leave them. The fuck. Alone.

I guess I kind of know what my sister means about the whole one direction thing. I haven't been fair to her about that. So you know what? I'll take that cause up, too. I may not be a fan of their music, but god, not being a fan of something doesn't give you the right to make fun of the whole fanbase for it. And please, please, can we stop with the "this isn't real music" YES IT FUCKING IS. It's just a different kind of music. Please stop telling me the Beatles are better. Just because you don't like bubblegum autotuned boyband pop does not make it a lesser choice.

(And yes, I am aware that saying a lot of this makes me hypocritical in certain respects. I'm still learning, too).

yer pal,
swegan :P

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pro-lifers piss me off

NOW BEFORE I GET STARTED. I know there's people out there who genuinely aren't comfortable with abortion personally, but are adults and recognize that other people have the right to make choices about their own health and life, and that their own personal opinions on abortion are not mandatory for other people. I like those people, because they recognize that abortion is a personal choice, not something for other people to intrude on, and while they may categorize themselves as "pro-life", they are not included in my category here.

I think what's really hypocritical about people who claim to be pro-life is that they say they want abortion numbers to decrease, but then they also don't want to support things like birth control coverage in health insurance plans (I'm looking at you, Hobby Lobby and supporters of it) and think places like Planned Parenthood, which to the best of my knowledge offer far more than just abortion procedures, should be shut down.

Let's throw some logic at this whole scenario, okay? You want to bring down abortion numbers. That's great! Unfortunately, the number of abortions performed is never going to be zero. Let's just accept that, right now. Even if abortion becomes illegal, women will find a way. There is no such thing as a world without abortions. There just isn't. Don't even try to argue with it, because you can't win. What we have here are worlds with safe abortions and worlds with unsafe abortions. Being pro-life means you are a supporter of a cause whose end political goal (make abortion illegal) will result in a world full of unsafe abortions (which means you cannot call yourself pro-woman, btw, because guess who suffers from unsafe abortions? WOMEN.). But back to the original point- you want to decrease the number of abortions, having accepted now that it will never be zero. That's great! I want to decrease those numbers too, and you want to know why?
Abortion is what happens when someone has an unwanted pregnancy and is able to be rid of it. Whatever your reasons, be they medical, financial, life-plan-involved, whatever-- that pregnancy is unwanted. Usually these are the results of oopsies, or in horrible cases, sexual assualt or incest. Sexual assault can be prevented by ending rape culture- not blaming victims, lessening the sexualization of women, altering masculinity so it is not so wrapped up in violence, domination, having power and not being able to be a victim (although men as victims of sexual assault is not the issue when it comes to abortion, b/c men can't get pregnant), etc. I'm not really sure about incest, but I think the same principles apply (I really haven't thought about it much so forgive me there). As for oopsies... guess what prevents oopsies?
That's right, it's comprehensive sexual education and easily accessible contraception and family planning! If you teach people how to have safe sex (in the heterosexual sense here, b/c that is the kind of sex that produces pregnancies) and give them access to tools to help them prevent pregnancy, there will be a LOT fewer pregnancies! I don't see how that doesn't make sense.

But I think the problem most pro-life people have is that in addition to being pro-life and thinking they have ANY business dictating other people's medical choices, they also don't like contraception, comprehensive sex ed, or family planning services of any kind. Want to know why? These are the kind of people that don't like sex.
I've never had sex (well, typically speaking), but I feel like people who don't like it are either a) asexual, b) have been through a traumatic experience, or c) crazy. What's not to like about sex? It's all good times as long as everyone's up for it, so what's the big deal?
To me, there is no other explanation other than these people don't want other people to have sex. They don't want them having safe sex, they want sex to be a tool only for procreation.
Well, I've got news for you. Remember when I said that the numbers of abortions performed could never be zero? The same principle applies to sex: people are never just going to do it for procreation. People. Like. Having. Recreational. Sex. They will find a way. And if you make it as hard as possible for them to find the safe way, they'll just end up having unsafe sex, which is how you get a) sexual assault (if sex ed isn't comprehensive, it probs doesn't talk about consent which is really important and also really mandatory ok) and b) unwanted pregnancies! ding ding ding ding!!!

So for me, pro-lifers don't give two shits about all those unborn fetuses. What they care about is people, and in the case of abortion, women, adhering to bizarre gender roles and societal norms that say YOU MUST NOT HAVE SEX FOR FUN EVER. This leaves women with no choice but to either a) stay abstinent or b) run the risk of becoming pregnant (like, I'd think nature made it relatively easy to get pregnant b/c we do have to continue the species somehow). Like, seriously, if you were really against abortion, you'd support things like Planned Parenthood and not things like the Hobby Lobby decision, because the former prevents unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortion.

I DON'T GET WHY THIS IS SO HARD TO GRASP. Like, do you even logically think through your problems? Seriously.

And in the end, if you realize that that is the way to fewer abortions, I would like to say another thing: I'm not writing this post and saying I want the number of abortions to go down b/c I'm pro-life and think abortion is some horrible sin. I'm saying I want the number of abortions to go down b/c I want the number of unwanted pregnancies to go down. I don't want  the number to go down in the pro-life way, meaning I want lots of unwanted children brought into an already overpopulated world. That position doesn't make any sense to me.

yer pal,