A note about The Deviated Norm

This here is a low traffic blog on topics close to my heart. As such, comments and engagement on old posts are always welcome and will be responded to. Except! for comments on old posts telling me to lighten up, not take things so seriously, or let things go, 'cause that shit's just plain ironic. Those comments will get a suggestion to visit Derailing for Dummies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ignorance is No Excuse

Someone at the Prop 8 protest/rally had a sign that at first glance I found really funny and touching. It said up top (paraphrase):

"Why are we still having to fight for this?"

And on the bottom was: "Women's Rights, Black Rights, Gay Rights"

But then I noticed the check marks next to "Women's Rights" and "Black Rights."

I know this will shock you, but the kid holding up the sign implying that sexism and racism don't exist anymore, was a white male.


After the protest I went up to talk to him about how his sign is really alienating, and more over false, and how the top was good, but implying that gays are way more oppressed is totally bullshit and does nothing to further gay rights.

I tried to not get angry, and I think I did a good job at that, though I wish I had been more on top of pointing out to him the LEGAL effects of racism and sexism (he said that he hadn't meant it to say that sexism and racism don't exist, just that they aren't legislated, which also isn't particularly true).

I was still fuming about it this morning when I got up.

As Teh Portly Dyke at Shakesville* said: Even if you could win the Oppression Olympics, all the prizes SUCK.

*as to the actual post, I haven't read it thoroughly, so in this particular instance this is not an endorsement

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cult of Perfection

The Washington Post has a congratulatory article written about a student who has never missed a day of school (from kindergarten through to high school).

The creepiest parts of it come at the end, where they laud her accomplishment of basically being "perfect" while anyone who has any experience in gender/psych studies knows that girls who have this strong a desire to be perfect also often suffer from severe eating disorders.

Yep, let's just feed this cult of perfection that tells women they if they can't be perfect they shouldn't even try. (Or, in this example: "Stef would say, 'If I don't get the A, my life is coming to an end.' ")

I honestly fear for this girl.

Prop 8 (and religiously related child abuse)

So, as many of you may have already heard (if you're U.S. based), Proposition 8 was upheld by the supreme court. Yay for voting on other people's rights. I'm excited to start legislating against olive eaters any day now.

However, since apparently they (the Supreme Court) didn't want a shit storm, they are not invalidating the marriages of the 18,000 couples who were married prior to the homophobic referendum passing.


Whatever. I'll be at the local rally/"angry queers get angry"-fest in Boston tonight. If you're in the area, think about stopping by. It'll be at Copley Square at 7.

I've been trying to write this past week, but everything is just too enormous, for instance: have you heard about the Minnesotan 13 year-old with cancer whose parents (and he) cited their religious beliefs to say he doesn't have cancer, as a reason for why he shouldn't go to a doctor? A judge ruled that not taking the kid in for chemo and radiation (which would give him a 90% chance of living) was tantamount to child abuse (because if they don't he has a 5% chance). The mother fled with the son after the court mandated appointment (which showed the tumor had grown since when he was first diagnosed, gee I wonder why), but turned herself in a couple days ago. It just makes me angry to see 13 year old kids dying because their parents are brainwashed idiots.

You want to kill yourself through refusing medical treatment? FINE! Just don't drag your kids down with you, assholes.

On the topic of religious inspired/related child abuse, the report on child abuse in Catholic run schools during the 1930s-1970s in Ireland just came out. I haven't read it, but have been lucky enough to get the gist from Bill Donohue (that's pure snark, some actual writing about it is at Shakesville), who frankly I couldn't hate any more right now. According to him, the "miscreants" and "delinquents" there shouldn't be complaining about "only" being groped and made to shiver themselves to sleep. See that isn't real child abuse, not like breaking people's limbs and rape. And if it isn't the most horrible thing we could imagine, clearly it isn't horrible. *eyeroll*

Indeed, Donohue does in fact call the abused children miscreants and delinquents. Way to stand up for the poor, beleaguered Catholic Church, Donohue. I mean it isn't like they knowingly shuffled around child abusers and had people in positions of power who would SPY ON THEM AS THEY SHOWERED. Not at all. Clearly, all this bad press for the Catholic Church is totally baseless.

Not to mention, I've heard that this isn't even the whole shebang, and that they will soon be putting out another VOLUME (in July, if memory serves)

So yeah, it's been a crappy little while.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


So a couple weeks ago I was cooking at work with the kids. It's something I do sometimes. A disturbing trend I see is that the girls are always helping me while the boys sit back and then whine and moan when they have to help clean up.

As we're frying something, a much older man walks by and says to the girls (since the boys were sitting elsewhere, while the girls watched how to actually do it) "Pay attention, you're going to need to know how to do this for your husband when you get married!"

(Keep in mind I'm at work, with kids, and this is a resident)

"Well I think it's good for everyone to know how to cook for themselves" I try to reasonably say while wanting to leap at the man's throat.

[Clearly affronted that I insulted his masculine prowess at being the best at everything] "Well of course I know how to cook for myself, I did too before my wife came along. We all know that men are great cooks, afterall we all know the best cooks are men."

"Hehe (ugh)... I bet your wife would disagree with that." (What the fuck! damned if you do cook and damned if you don't.... fuck this jackass)

After he got out of earshot I told the kids "that's not true" but I'm sure that message has already started its evil little passage into their hearts. These girls aren't even 10 and they're getting told by adult men all about their duties...

In the paper yesterday there was an opinion piece about a "horrible" mother. Apparently some girl didn't wear her underwear for her yearbook picture because she'd already learned that pantylines = unattractive and unattractive = utter disaster. He was talking all about how horrible the mother was for bringing her on television to talk about her shame of having the whole school see the photo, when what do you know, apparently the kid didn't sit "properly" enough for the writer's tastes. But what he said (I'm paraphrasing) was that "she didn't learn the lesson well enough the first time"...

And it hit me, in our society girls are supposed to be learning how to behave properly all the time. Someone could break into a girl's bedroom and do a fucking spotcheck on whether she was being appropriately feminine (is she drooling? is she snoring?) and I'd hardly be surprised.

Does he really think that she isn't constantly being reinforced with this bullshit? Why does he think that she thought pantylines were bad, she sprung fully formed from her mother's loins believing them to be evil????

So I say this: sexist old white men (and really sexists everywhere) I'm done with it all. I refuse to let you poison one more little kid's mind with your crap. Pick on someone your own size.


Sorry I haven't posted recently, once I finish working on my APPLICATION TO A SOCIAL WORK MASTERS PROGRAM!!! (YAY) I'll get right on back to being cranky and informative.

In the meantime, know this: I am writing the best damn essay about why I would be a kickass candidate for an MSW, and trans communities, and oppression EVER, and it WILL get me in to this program, if I have to bake cupcakes for everyone in Massachusetts to do it.

We return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Oh god, I hope so

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poly People: One of these things Does Not Belong (One of these things is Different, so obviously Wrong)

Argh argh argh.

I know I shouldn't read these types of threads, but I always do.

I am, of course, referring to Jezebel's recent thread about triads.

So, let's do a take down of some of this frustrating, saddening, and bigoted stuff. Shall we?

"Next thing you know, people will be marrying their dogs!"
No. No they won't. You know why? Consent. Say it with me "consent pitches my tent". That's right folks, dogs can't consent (novel concept, no?), adult people can. So: any number of adult people should be able to get married.

I think a lot of feminists in particular are iffy about polygamous marriage because of its generally misogynistic underpinnings.
So how do you feel about the misogynistic underpinnings of heterosexuality? I mean, the vast majority of straight relationships are pretty much steeped in the misogynistic culture which surrounds us. If you want to argue this, then you'd better be willing to outlaw all straight marriages too.

I'm perfectly content being narrow-minded with regard to polygamy (which is the form most of this would take if legalized).
There's really nothing to respond to here other than to say that I suppose it's refreshing that you're so open about your bigotry? Good for you?

Same here! I don't support it at all. I support gay marriage because I basically believe people are born gay. I don't believe people are born to be romantically committed to two or more individuals.

And it goes against my romantic tendencies of there being this one person in the world whom you are committed to above all others.

And it's hard enough for two people to stay married...I can't imagine how hard it must be for 3 people to do it.
So, if gay people weren't born gay, they shouldn't be able to marry their partners? This is a perfect example of why the meme "but we were born that way" makes no sense. You know what, I don't know if I was born queer and trans or not (or, more accurately, born with a definite predisposition towards these identities), but I think I should have equal legitimacy in my identity even if I wasn't. You know why? 'Cause there's nothing wrong with being queer and there's nothing wrong with being trans. When you say shit like that, it makes it seem like you're saying that "gay is bad, but it's not their fault". I've said it before, I'll say it again, religion is a choice, but nevertheless people of faith should be allowed to get married. Also choices: love for NASCAR and olives (uck!). Olive lovers still deserve that right. They even deserve the right to eat olives. If they really really want.

And this: "it goes against my tendencies" bullshit? I hate olives, you know what I do? I don't. eat. them. Pretty simple actually. Same trick works with abortion and gay marriage and polygamy. Don't want to do it? Then DON'T.

Ok. So multi-person marriage would be difficult. I guess everything that's difficult should be verboten. We should definitely get out there and stop letting people become Bio-Chem majors, I've heard it's tough shit. Hey, here's an idea, instead of telling other people "that sounds hard, you shouldn't be allowed to do it", maybe we could tell people "that sounds hard, I guess we'd better help you figure it out". Just a thought.

If this is their thing, fine, do your thing, but it just seems kind of...greedy to me.
Greedy? Yeah. I guess it is greedy to want visitation rights to your loved ones. I guess it is greedy to want to have legal recognition on owning a home with the people you love. Really, think of the single people! (no really, do! read: "Singled Out" for a super interesting look at the way that single people are stigmatized in our society, and put at a social and economic disadvantage) If you go through life wanting to pool your resources with a second person, you're just being greedy compared with all the people who are single and therefore can only use their own resources. Outlaw Marriage! Or, maybe we could extend various benefits to people using something other than marriage. Just saying.

My question back to you is, if you can establish all of these legal items and marriage is so controlling, why do individuals in polyamorous relationships need a piece of paper to tell them that they are "married"?
Why indeed! Why do straight people need pieces of paper telling them they are married? Why do white people need pieces of paper telling them they are married? Here's a thought, I'll take away your right to get married (or tell you it never existed in the first place) and then tell you that if you want the protections of marriage you have to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees and hundreds of hours crafting legal work arounds (and even then, perhaps your spouse will be deported because ze isn't a legal citizen), and then you can skip along "tra la la" through the fields and that'll make perfect sense.

So, based on your argument, if I wanted to marry a dog, I should be able to?
This again? Yawn.

There is nothing preventing someone who is in a polyamorous relationship from marrying ONE PERSON that they love and receiving tax breaks, etc.
Yeah. I guess if there were three people in a totally equal relationship, it'd feel really awesome if two of them got married and the third was left out to dry. That'd totally feel wonderful. Oh, and so would being the sole person who didn't have health insurance, or who was about to be kicked out of the country because you aren't considered a legal citizen, or who was barred from seeing your ailing partner in the hospital. I mean, I guess the other two could legally adopt the third, but that might be a little creepy. Maybe the triad could decide which two should marry based on who needs it the most! YAY! And then they'll have awesome practice for when they later have to choose between which of their kids they can afford to send to college (sorry Ephraim, but you're just not cost effective enough, Oswald's gonna go instead).

People can enter polyamorous relationships all they want - they just are not given the financial breaks given to married couples.
This is from someone who repeatedly states ze is for gay marriage. The irony, it burns!

The whole point of marriage is to dedicate yourself to one person.

If you wanna have more mates, then don't get married...

Also, one must consider the effects of legalizing a 2+ marriage. How would spousal benefits work? Insurance benefactors? Child custody?
Indeed. The whole point of marriage is to dedicate yourself to one person. If you want to have children, don't get married. 'Cause then you'd need to divide your love!!!!

And seriously, a "Think of the CHILDREN." Anita Bryant, is that you?

I'm just confused as to why polyamorous folks want to marry anyway, why they're interested.
Maybe you could actually ask one? Instead of saying they shouldn't be able to get married because you say so?

I always took marriage to be "this is the one person I'm happy with, the one person I'm willing to dedicate myself to" and those that cannot limit themselves to one person, well, marriage isn't their fit then.
Oh, perhaps you can tell that to people who remarry, clearly if they didn't get it right the first time, they shouldn't be allowed to try again.

I would argue that polygamous (no idea about polyamorous so I can't speak to that) marriages are damaging/harmful to society.
And *I* would argue that asshats who talk out of their ass/hat are harmful to society. Here, you can be my sample size of 1. What's your statistically representative sample?

If a person has made the choice to be polyamorous, they've made the choice to exclude themselves from a group marriage, as it is illegal.
And everything that is illegal should be illegal for evermore. And maybe everything that at one time was illegal should continue being illegal. Ooh, I know! Restrictive gender norms and party hats for everyone!

Gay people
Black people
People w/ disabilities
People in romantic relationships with > 1 people at a time

One of these things is not like the others.
Religious people
Tea drinkers
Old People
People in romantic relationships with > 1 person at a time

One of these things is not like the others. Guess how? One of them means you aren't allowed to marry a person you love. They are all a choice though. Funny that.

Ok. I'm getting to be a broken record. But they are driving me to it!

Tomorrow: "Meet a Poly Person"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nevermind what my life is actually like: In which I admit frustration with life

Last week one of the resident/patrons at my work decided to tell me that my life is easy.

Nevermind what my life is actually like.

Nevermind that he doesn't know a thing about my life outside of the fact that I run the computer lab.

He had decided (apparently) that I am young and therefore live at my parents' house. He had decided (apparently) that living at my parents would definitely be the easiest and most fun thing I could possibly do as (apparently) a twentyone year old (news to me that I'm 21!). He had decided (apparently) that my entire income isn't put towards rent and food and replacing wallets that are so old they are literally disintegrating and not much else. (PS, I got a new wallet today! Yay! I hope that my foodstamps will cover the caviar I'm planning for the occasion! /snark) He had decided (apparently) that since I am a young person I have perfect mobility (regardless of whether that's true or not). He had decided (apparently) that my biggest problem in life must be what to spends all the loads of cash I make from working in the computer lab.

Nevermind that I have depression which two weeks ago led to me honestly consider stabbing myself through the arm with a kitchen knife and did lead to me trying to strangle myself with an electrical cord. Nevermind that HUGE numbers of people my age face similar depression, and that we are told to ignore it and hope it'll go away, or that by talking about it we are thought to be attention grabbing.

The only thing I can imagine is that his life as a 20something white straight male in the '80s was apparently peachy keen. Good for him.

He apparently thinks that his experience as a twentysomething is universal. I guess being a white straight male in the '80s is pretty universal. Other than the part where he was a white straight male in the '80s as a twenty year old.
You know what? If you were a white straight male in the '80s, maybe it was. I don't know. Oh, other than that it totally wasn't. That there are hundreds of little aspects of who we are that intersect to make up our life experiences. Telling someone who you don't know that their life is so easy is the height of condescension.

There's a clear strain of ageism that runs through all this (and with many of my interactions with the older patrons). As though I couldn't see myself how life could be stressfull with a mortgage (not that he has one, he lives in a managed apartment building with rent, not mortgages, so far as I can figure). But apparently as a 40something guy, he magically does indeed know about mortgages. Oh and relationships. And everything there is to know about roommates. And definitely about being on government assistance.

I wonder does he know anything about heterosexism and homophobia? Does he know anything about struggling to keep existing in a world that tells him that almost his entire identity as a person is an abomination?

Maybe. I wouldn't presume to tell him what his life was like. Hah.

PS. While I wasn't intending to whine, I refuse to apologize that I did. If you don't like it, you can just bump it on down the road.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Joy

I know I know, there's been far too much posting of videos that are wonderful and bring a smile to people's faces?


(PS, this video is NSFW, the chorus is comprised primarily of "Fuck You"s, so go forth with headphones!)

(As usual click for)

Lyrics! (that I promise won't take you away from the page!)

Some notes:
The woman in the rainbow scarf, is apparently the mother of the person who put it all together!
A whole hell of a lot of people on that video were not just cute, but very hot.
I wish I knew just about everyone that was part of the video, 'cause it was so lovely and adorable. It almost makes me want to become some type of video-making person! (Almost)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Casual Racism

Being a white person, I am not on the receiving end of racism all that much (oh sure, if I'm in a masochistic enough mood to go to stormfront's website they're all about hatin' on the Jews, but I only did that for a class one semester, years ago... and believe me, I experience enough toxicity in my daily life, not to need an excuse to have nightmares). So that means that to be a good ally I have to try to be aware of what happens even when it doesn't affect me. I don't know how I'd grade myself. Probably a B or B- (some good ideas, but the effort needs work). This is of course, using grade inflation of the standard type at the various schools I've attended.

Some of the ways I try to be aware are by visiting blogs of people of color (PoC) and especially women of color (WoC), by paying attention when I hear racist shit around me (and calling it out whenever possible), by understanding that all people of color are NOT interchangeable, and just trying to listen when PoC talk about racism.

So, over the past week I noticed:

On the subway on a friday or thursday evening, two drunk white girls (with barely concealed alcohol) get on the train and sit on either side of a latino man. You know, rather than find two adjacent seats. They then harrassed him under the guise of being "friendly" and called him "Cheech". Up until then I wasn't sure about the racism (maybe they were just obnoxious drunks), but right when the "Cheech" reference happened I decided to ASAP offer him the seat next to mine/tell them to quit the racist shit. But I didn't get time to say/do anything, he got up and (oh-so-graciously, because clearly the wasn't the point of the harrassment all along /sarcasm) offered them the seat he was sitting in, and then they all got off at the next stop.
I'm upset that I didn't stand up earlier/at all, it's hard because public transit is such a weird space in general, but it certainly doesn't excuse it, I was thinking about what asses they were almost as soon as they got on the train, and their bullying was something I think all of us on the train should have dealt with.

On Saturday, at a team-related party, the one african american on the team was presented with an "award" that apparently for the first time in the 3 years she'd been there, didn't have to do with her afro. You'd think in a team environment, everyone would have more to say to her than "you have exotic hair," but apparently not until this year has that been true.

On Sunday, overheard at an IHOP a (latina) woman told her coworker about sneezing and having someone tell her to go back to Mexico. You know, 'cause that flu thing is totally being brought to the U.S. by Mexican immigrants. Oh wait, sorry? It's not? The disease vectors are privileged U.S. citizens on vacation? Do Tell.

Just (over)hearing these things happen was enough for me to feel stressed and on edge, I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have them directed at me. And even more, to have similar casual racisms directed at me on a never-ending basis. That I don't have to pay attention to shit like this every day is one of the basic symptoms/side effects of my privilege.

If I did, I'd probably spend my days screaming.