In October, I took a page out of Kelly’s book and decided to start a (apparently rare, since I haven’t written another post in months) series of posts for those thoughts that I can’t quite flesh out into a full-length post, but still want to talk about. Lately my notebook’s been filling up with these ideas again, and while I’d like to hopefully flesh out one or two of these ideas, I’d like to get them out there as much as I can now.
Freedom of Speech
The Constitution is not your catch-all excuse to be a jackass. You don’t get to cry “freedom of speech” every time someone calls you out on your racist/sexist/homophobic/otherwise offensive and demeaning jokes, particularly when those “jokes” are contributing to a culture which continually puts down and both mentally and physically harms the people they are offensive towards. I can guarantee you that when the Constitution was written, that was not the intention.
I understand that a joke is oftentimes just a joke and that right now, this is probably a particularly controversial topic given recent events in France. However, making incredibly racist statements like “I got arrested for punching someone on New Years Eve. My instincts just kick in when I hear an Arab counting back from 10″ (this was an actual meme posted by one of my Facebook friends over the weekend) does not serve to prove your freedom or assert your right to free speech. What it does is prove is that whether or not you want to admit it, you’re incredibly bigoted and that you have no real understanding of either the Constitution or of relatively current events.
While watching Friends yesterday, I noticed that the guys’ Etch-a-Sketch changes throughout certain scenes. For example, in a scene I was watching yesterday, it flipped back and forth from “Get out” to “Poop” three times in one scene. Oooo the things you notice when you’re binge-watching Friends on Netflix.
That, and that Ross’s son would be about 20 years old right now. Just sayin’.
On Thursday, a Connecticut court ruled that a 17-year-old girl could be taken into state custody (despite having a good mother who had done absolutely nothing wrong), sedated, and tied to a hospital bed so as to receive cancer treatment she did not want.
Many people in support of the court’s decision to forcefully treat Cassandra are saying that she’s only 17 and therefore, a child in the eyes of the law. I’ll look over the fact that at 17, if Cassandra had committed a violent crime she’d be tried as an adult and that also at 17, she’s expected to be deciding what she wants to do for the rest of her life. If the overwhelming opinion is that she is an incompetent child unable to make her own medical decisions (which, later this year, you’ll all decide that she is magically capable of making on the day of her 18th birthday), then that would leave the decision up to her mother who also rejected chemotherapy, in accordance with her daughter’s wishes. Just because you do not agree with someone’s medical decisions does not mean you get to reject those decisions and replace them with your own.
Cassandra’s body is Cassandra’s body. Not her doctors’. Not Child Protective Services’. Not the state’s. Hers and hers alone which in America should be more than enough to mean that she gets to determine her own medical treatment. Even if the doctors are right that without this treatment, Cassandra will die in two years, that’s her decision to make.
Forcing treatment on someone who doesn’t want it is assault and a ridiculous violation of basic human rights, and I just cannot fathom why we need to be having this discussion in America. Why the doctors were ever able to call CPS and have Cassandra taken away from the only family she has. And why ultimately, the court sided with those doctors.
Obviously, I’m an outspoken feminist. It’s something I write about consistently on this blog, and regularly debate or discuss on social media and with people in my life. However, I recognize that there are limits to the things you will hear me say or do for that cause.
One thing that I see done constantly which I believe is hurting the case is feminists who speak out – loudly and with refusal to hear any opposing opinion – about “sexist” problems that frankly, just don’t exist (see: autocorrect is not out to propagate a misogynistic culture). While I understand the basic purpose of pointing out misogyny and sexism in everyday life (and absolutely agree with it!), finding sexism everywhere – even where it isn’t – only serves to make people stop listening (and is probably making you pretty miserable).
I am all for discussing any and all feminist issues – big or small – because they are all problems within our society which contribute to a much larger problem of continuing to hold men up over women. However, there has to be a line somewhere that people stop crossing just to discuss issues. Just to hold something up and call it sexism. The more you cry out about non-issues, the more people will decide that feminism must not be very serious because all of the issues you’re bringing up don’t exist. And that is a serious problem.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
I’m (slowly) working on reading this book, and while I’m really enjoying learning more about myself and that I’m certainly not the only introvert in the world (it can sometimes feel that way), I’m also becoming a little discouraged.
Susan Cain does a fantastic job of discussing the amazing achievements of introverts throughout American history, and of the contributions we make to society, but none of that can mask the fact that, despite all of that, introverts are not only undervalued but avoided in mainstream society. In fact, Cain discusses a relatively long history of introverts being “bad” because they don’t want to spend every waking moment in the company of others, being deemed antisocial and therefore unhirable. We teach children that to not want to socialize is to be unsuccessful, and that position carries into our post-graduate lives when we start applying and interviewing for jobs in offices.
While I truly am enjoying Cain’s book (slowly, because it is filled with research and can be a little difficult to get through in a regular reading sort of way) and the things I’m learning from it, and I recognize that she can’t change the reality of the situation, the book is a little more disappointing than I’d been hoping for. In short, I’m still struggling with my identity as an introvert more than I’d been hoping I would after reading this book.