Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragedy and gun control

I love freedom. I love the freedom to get online and buy cheese made in Australia, or fruits that only grow in Indonesia. I hate that I can no longer get cigarettes that taste like chocolate or vanilla.

I love freedom.

Children being guided from their
school in Sandy Hook, CT, after
a shooting that killed 21 kids
But I hate what people are willing to do with their freedom. I want cheese and flavored cigarettes. But some people want to lash out their rage, and they lash it out on children. Whether those children are the direct victims, such as during the recent tragedy in Sandy Hook, CT, or the sons and daughters of the victims, as happened earlier the same week with a shooting at a shopping mall in Oregon, children are the victims.

Outside the Aurora theater shooting
One of the victims of the shooting in Oregon had a step-son, 13, who suggested that the reason she was shopping that day was for a gift for him, a gift he had requested. Is it right that a 13 year-old be burdened with that guilt? What about the survivors of the school shooting? Survivor's guilt is extremely common in mass shootings.

As a mother of two, you can't convince me that the kids near to each of these victims isn't riddled with guilt. My son, a cancer, cries if he even THINKS that something he did MIGHT result in someone's death or harm.

Now the debate is, already, turning towards gun control.

I have a very middle-of-the-road view of gun control. Living in rural Nebraska, guns are a way of life around here. It isn't "do you own a gun?" It's "how many guns do you have?"

We hunt a lot out here. I like the idea of DH and the kids learning to hunt. I learned to hunt and I regret not having more experience with that. I like the independence of bringing home food.

We also believe in protecting our own. Our friends, family, home and land - these things can and will be defended with a bullet, if necessary. But this can be done with the same rifle or shotgun used to hunt large game.

However, I don't agree much with handguns or assault rifles. I can understand handguns to an extent - in the city, you don't often defend your home and body with a four or five foot long rifle- but anything that has "automatic" or "semi-automatic" in the description is a little much for me. Essentially, hunting animals, good; killing people, bad.

The problem I have is this: the more that guns are available, the greater the need to defend oneself from guns. So then you have to have a gun, also. But that means that someone out there might perceive your gun as the threat and get one of their own. It's a psychological arms race, right here in America.

Some of the more recent shooters
Now, I have heard, and I understand, the idea of the 2nd Amendment and a militia. But a militia is a trained and organized group. Random people walking around with multiple high-powered handguns is not a militia, and never will be. And let me be perfectly clear, I do not believe in gun control that eliminates ALL gun ownership. Nor do I believe that any such law is even on the radar for any governmental agent or agency in the United States.

That said, this whole problem comes down to two things.

One, each person who owns or deals with guns needs to take responsibility for themselves. If you go out and "rid the world" of someone who you don't like, you have justified your actions to yourself, but not everyone may agree with you. Even worse is when someone else's justification results in the death of someone close to you, or someone like you, racially or religiously, physically or philosophically.

Take responsibility for what you do with the freedoms that you have, because freedoms can be abused, and no one believes that they are the ones abusing them.

Two, we need to work more towards solving the problem of violence that this country has. I don't mean locking more people up. That only results in more violent violence.

We need to start addressing the economic, social, and even psychological problems that lead to violence. The people who have committed these crimes have a reason for it. That reason may be dramatic or illogical to you or me, but they are valid to the perpetrator, and that's why people are dead.

Love is the cure
Some of the causes of violent crimes, just off the top of my Psychology-minor head, include: mental illness or depression, poverty, a feeling of hopelessness or bullying, a feeling of frustration or revenge, unfulfilled sense of entitlement, fear of the way the world is changing. There are so many more.

These are the problems that need fixing. The isolation that so many of us feel, the pressure to be more and more successful in the face of rising inequality, the hopelessness that many of us have in trying to better ourselves with a rising wage gap and higher costs of living and education.

Every little bit helps. Even a smile could be the difference in someone's life, and you would probably never even know it.

Related links:
Mother Jones - A Guide to Mass Shootings in America
A Timeline Of Mass Shootings In The US Since Columbine
Eleven facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Question of Sustainability

Are we on an unsustainable path?

The short answer is, “Yes.” We cannot continue to do what we are doing throughout the world. Sadly, this seems to be most extreme where I live: the United States.

There are so many things that people do, particularly in the States, that contribute to this wrong path. This includes the extreme resistance people have here towards anything that smacks of socialism. Unfortunately, socialism is often about combined effort for greater good. The U.S. has acted poorly on the Monsanto issue, the Gulf oil spill and all that goes with it, the Keystone XL pipeline, and so much more.

Additionally, the U.S. missed the opportunity some 25 years ago to push forward the relatively new technologies for solar energy collection (I’m mostly referring to President Carter’s installation of solar panels on the White House, which I believe could have set the stage for a different governmental attitude towards energy, had Reagan not been elected).

The U.S. cemented it’s stance of denial with the Kyoto Protocol. This constant elevation of capitalism (making money) over the future of humanity on this planet has turned the U.S. into something that I believe will lead to the U.S. becoming irrelevant to the world stage as anything other than a military force (if we aren’t already). We are seeing the start of this irrelevance as other countries take steps that the U.S. should have taken a long time ago. As Germany takes a lead in environmental policy, as Amsterdam initiates a public bike sharing program in the 1960s, as India takes a stand against Monsanto's lies.

This leads me to the long answer, which is “Yes, but that isn’t something that we can’t change.” As the Turkish proverb goes “No matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, turn back.”

It is never too late. The point of no return is the destruction of the planet (in regards to human life). Anything else can be fixed, or at least mitigated. We can change, and we can change now. The only thing we need to decide is, how much worse will we make it before we make it better? And when will you (the individual) begin to participate?

Each one of us can do even a small part, because those small parts, those tiny changes are magnified by the sheer numbers of the human population. If the populations of industrialized nations alone work towards sustainable living, participating in creating and supporting renewable energy resources, recycling programs, and personal resource conservation, we would see a huge change worldwide. Each of us has the power. The power to choose:
  • to use cloth bags for shopping
  • to use non-chemical cleaners
  • to foster native plant systems on our properties
  • to grow a garden
  • to bike when possible
  • to protest and educate people on chemicals and GMO foods
  • to support those politicians and activists who take up these causes
  • to raise our children with this knowledge and the mindset that we can make the difference

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Going Mobile: There's an app for that

There's an app for
reading this blog.
This is my first experiment with an app for using a mobile device for posting on Blogspot. Bear with me; it should be interesting. Essentially, this app allows me to post blogs from my Droid.

Now, I enjoy technology, and I mean REALLY enjoy it (I MUST have an Espresso Machine), but sometimes I don't want to use it. It seems to be easier to just use the same old, same old methods. I have hesitations.

But to not grow is to not evolve; and to not evolve is to be left behind. So I proceed forward with these new applications and try to learn the best way to use them.
The Esspresso Machine:
Sadly, it does not make coffee.

I'm staying up with the baby right now. She won't go to sleep. Instead she's climbing all over me while I'm trying to write this.

I've tried distracting her with yo Gabba Gabba, but that seems to be a touch'n'go attention-grabber. I'm hoping she just eventually passes out, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Snuggled up... my dream.
The biggest problem here is that, tonight, I actually want to go to bed early. I would like to be snuggled up under my blankets with my pillows. But no, no, I am up with the baby.

It's like she knows that I want to go to bed and so she intentionally goes manic. And, yes, I am implying that all children have only the manic side of manic depressive.

No, I'm not going to go the way of my former sister-in-law who drugged her child in order to get him to be quiet. Okay, so that was only long car trips... but still.

On the other hand, baby is teething and that could actually be the way to go. Maybe the pain of growing teeth out of her jaw is what's keeping her from being able to calm down so she can go to sleep, and by extension let me go to sleep, too.
Sleep where you drop, parents,
sleep where you drop.

Perhaps I'm just being idealistic. After all, as a parent, do I really actually get to sleep? Sleep is for the weak; there's always work to be done. I think I'll read her a story... a story that explains how I feel about her staying up.

Now she's trying to talk into my phone, thereby participating in the creation of this vocalized blog. Hmmm, definitely time to lay down.

(Next morning.) Shutting off all the lights and handing her her bottle seems to have triggered the sleep mechanism. She slept all night... On to the next challenge. *happy sighs*
*plays with phone apps*

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monsanto: Mother Nature's adversary

On Pagan Musings, we have been exploring Activism as a Pagan Obligation and Healthy Pagan Lifestyles, with an emphasis on exploring GMOs and Monsanto. In case some few of you do not follow every aspect of my life with an avid fascination (say it ain't so!), I've decided to give a run-down, along with some additional information that may not have been addressed in the podcasts.

Monsanto is evil. Let's just start there.

Here's some things I've heard of over the few years that I've been interested in this (and, yes, they are so unbelievable that I have to add links):
  1. Monsanto is trying to patent the pig. Yeah, chubby, pink, curly tail, makes bacon... the PIG. If you think I'm joking, just follow the link and read.
  2. Monsanto sneaks in to countries to steal native plants and plant breeds, so that it can patent them and then control the distribution of the seeds.
  3. Monsanto has targeted people who save seeds using tactics reminiscent of the back-alley gangsters of prohibition. They attempt to shut down farmers because they won't buy Monsanto seeds.
  4. Monsanto persistently sues other farmers despite being shut down for lack of evidence.
  5. Brazil (the whole COUNTRY) sues Monsanto for royalties fraud. "In essence, Monsanto argues that once a farmer buys their seed, they have to pay the global bio-tech giant a yearly fee in perpetuity – with no way out."
  6. India (again, the COUNTRY) sues Monsanto for the same thing as Brazil. The Monsanto patent blackmail (my assessment) is "responsible for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes" in India due to the outrageous cost of dealing with the company.
  7.  The UK has fought many a battle with Monsanto and GMOs, including: the infiltration of GMO crops where not wanted; the effects of GMO crop use on other plants used as food by birds, bees, and beneficent insects; and the persistence of GMO crops even when a farmer switches to another crop.
  8. France banned GMOs, but later redacted the ban.
  9. Sweden destroyed GMO crops unless a permit was obtained.
  10. Hungary destroyed GMO crops after making GMOs illegal.
  11. Poland banned GMO corn because there are indications that GMO crop pollens contribute to the mysterious colony collapse disorder issues seen world-wide in bee populations.
  12. Peru banned GMO crops for 10 years to protect native biodiversity.
  13. Russia banned GMO corn due to the link between GMO foods and cancer.
  14. Biodiversity, or genetic diversity, is something that the monoculture-loving biotechs don't appreciate. Monocultures have a huge number of problems with pest control, chemical use, soil stripping, and more.
  15. Boulder, CO voted to phase out GMO crops due to links to cancer. Oh, and the toxins are now commonly found in human blood due to the prevalence of foods that contain GMOs.
  16. Oh, and the major point of using GMOs, to increase crop yields by decreasing weeds or pests, doesn't even work in the long run. The famous b-t corn that prevented rootworms has been getting attacked by, wait for it... rootworms!
  17. Here's more info on what countries around the world (including the US) are doing about GMOs.
  18. Monsanto sues a farmer, who spent decades saving and breeding his own seed, because his field was contaminated with Monsanto's GMO seeds. The farmer lost all his work. Monsanto won the case. But only temporarily. In a massive coup, the farmer won a settlement for Monsanto to clean up their "environmental contamination" and retained the right to resue if the contamination happens again. This case is featured in a documentary film "David versus Monsanto."
BTW, California has a proposed law, Prop 37, that would demand labeling of GMOs, something the biotech's, led by Monsanto, have fought against a little too hard to not belie their reasoning (that it wouldn't make a difference and GMOs are perfectly safe).

While incredibly biased against Monsanto, this has some bet-you-didn't-know trivia points.

This video is so cool, I had to include it! Don't forget to take note of the IndieGoGo crowd-sourcing project for a FUN documentary on Monsanto's evil-ness.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weighing In: Heavy thoughts on obesity

Well, some are cold, and some are lukewarm...
As a fat pagan woman, I have been following many of the various discussions on Pagans and obesity (or fat pagans) with interest. I wasn't going to chime in, but I did - on Z's show and a few comments.

But now is the time; I am making a point: mind your own fat business!

Probably the most common argument I've seen for stepping in when a pagan sees another pagan who is fat is this: "When harm is being done, it is my spiritual/religious duty to step up."

Goddess gets body image insecurity?
Ok, I immediately went to abortion rights on that one.

That's right, I'm saying that that excuse is used for Christians (and others) imposing their values, beliefs and opinions upon the masses, regardless of their own personal beliefs, regardless of circumstances.

I'm gonna say it... proselytizing.

You want to impose your own sense of what is right and wrong for me and my body? I hear there is an opening in the Westboro Baptist Church.

I would argue that most Pagans would consider it MORE in line with their beliefs that, with only the most extreme exceptions, it's our job to TRUST each other to do what is right for ourselves and the rest of the world.
Ruben likes his women with
fleshy goodness!

Yeah, I brought out the T-word.

You should trust me that I am a reasonably intelligent human being with complexities that you prolly don't understand.
You should trust me that I have the same googling capability that you have, and that I am either as informed as you are or have CHOSEN to remain ignorant.
You should trust me that if I WANT to get better, I will do what I can to do so, and if I don't, there is NOTHING that you poking your nose in will do to change that.

You should trust that I am a "grown-ass woman" with decision-making capability and that, whether you are talking about the layer of fatty tissue under my epidermis or the reproductive organs in my lower abdomen, MY BODY = MY CHOICE still applies.

I don't understand how being nosy or pushy is the way you show you care. Personal responsibility is just that: personal AND a responsibility. It is mine to make or break. My body to use or abuse, to trash or treasure.

Gods, if I came even close to
having her body fat...
On a similar note, it came to my attention that an Olympic swimming contender was called "fat." Let me clarify: This woman swims. She swims often and she swims fast. She does so to the point that she beat out most of an entire country (Australia) to qualify for the Olympics, an honor most people I know have never even APPROACHED. She has won EIGHT medals during the last 12 years. "Together with Emily Seebohm, Alicia Coutts and Melanie Schlanger, she won a silver medal for Australia in the 4 × 100 m medley relay." Oh, wait. That makes NINE medals. How many have YOU won?

 She's now 26 and has grown a bit of a pooch. To quote, "The question that comes up is: Does it matter? Is it the media's place to question the fitness of an athlete who has already proved herself by making the team in the first place?" Exactly. She's done 4 Olympics and 9 medals more than pretty much any journalist, blogger or commentator who has decided to judge her body (in an unforgiving and less then flattering swimsuit, no less).

To those who did judge her, go win a frickin' Olympic medal and then you MIGHT get to say something. Otherwise, SHUT UP.

Holley Mangold weighs in at 346 pounds (157 kilograms);
she can also bench press a small BUS!
"[Her] personal record in the combined snatch and
clean-and-jerk is 255 kilos (562.2 pounds)."
UPDATE: This was in my YahooNews feed today. The epic quote? Here: "The Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF), a UK charity aiming to get more women into sport to build self-esteem and confidence, said only 12 percent of British girls at age 14 were doing enough exercise to meet recommended guidelines. WSFF Chief Executive Sue Tibballs said their research found negative body image was consistently cited as a barrier for girls participating in exercise as popular culture gave out the message it was more important to be thin than fit." (Emphasis, mine.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Big Picture: the Ramblings of an Introvert on Environment, Law & Human Behaviors

I am in the midst of reading a book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts. It's a good book. While it could easily go to the "Nah, nah, we're better!" attitude, it instead looks at the science, and takes a balanced approach, detailing how each group, introverts and extroverts, provides a benefit to themselves and to society.

That said, I've reached an interesting part of the book. Essentially, it says that the environment of Wall Street has created a disproportionate favoring of extroverts, who are more likely to engage in aggressive, and not-so-well thought out, risk taking. And that this may be a huge factor in the recession.

I can't disagree that this could be a factor. Introverts tend to be quieter, less aggressive, more likely to hesitate and reassess. According to one of the studies referenced in the book, extroverts are less likely to pause and learn from their mistakes. They are also more likely to be motivated by short-term rewards.

And this brings me to my current ponderings.

Most people are extroverts. Extroverts are more likely to be heard because of their interaction style. Extroverts have a greater tendency to not learn from their mistakes and to dismiss a greater long-term reward in favor of a lesser short-term reward. Extroverts are frequently less reflective on themselves and their environments.

Hmm, environment. Now there's an issue that needs to be resolved. It requires a delay of gratification (short-term rewards) in favor of a greater amorphous goal. It requires a longer look that the more impulsive, "now"-based beings of extroversion are less suited towards. It requires a world of patience, and slow, steady, thoughtful actions, which are the strong suit of introverts. It requires the guidance of introverted leaders.

But even if we have those introverted leaders, how do we get all the extroverts to rein in their natural impulses?

I'm going to go off on a tangent here, but don't worry, it'll come back.

Laws are another interesting dilemma. I support smaller government - one of the few things I have in common with the average Republican. I don't need a law to tell me that killing someone else is a naughty thing to do.

But then, I'm an introvert. I don't usually behave impulsively, though I will if I am not given the time to reflect. I don't usually act from a place of emotions, neither positive nor negative. I am an evaluator of situations, an observer of human nature and behavior. I look for others' motivations to understand them better, and I reflect on my own behaviors daily.

However, I understand how others can get caught up in emotions and the "high" of the situation (Quiet refers to an extroverts ability to be more sensitive to the "buzz" of a situation). I understand the twofold power of the law in otherwise obvious situations. The fact that it is illegal and punishable to kill someone means that those with a greater impulsive tendency have that extra dissuasion in their minds. They are less likely to satisfy that immediate gratification of hurting those that hurt or frightened or angered them. The law also sets a clear punishment system for those who manage to ignore all that and still break the rules.

Given all of this, it may be that the only way to overcome the larger populace's ignorance of the topic, or their dismissal of the long-term reward in favor of short-term satisfaction, is to create a legal standing for it; a law.

I agree. There are so many sides to this issue that it isn't "that easy" or a "black & white" situation. It definitely isn't something to jump into impulsively. But it is something to think about.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nuns the Word: Why pagans should care about debates within the Catholic Church

There is a huge debate/scandal/political event going on within the Catholic Church. For those of you that have been under a rock for this, the Vatican has accused a group - the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group that represents 80% of the ~57,000 Catholic nuns in the U.S. - of deviating from Catholic doctrine.
These are nuns. If you look closely, you will see that
there are many differences between these and penguins.

The group's crime? "Distorting the eclesiological vision of the Church" by focusing too much on helping the poor and not enough battling against gay marriage.

The nuns have responded by calling the investigation "unsubstantiated" and the requirement (for the nuns to run everything by Archbishop Peter Sartain, appointed to guide the nuns back to the path set by the pope & bishops) as "disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission."

Now, both sides have used a lot of political language to "soften" the blows being exchanged, but what's going on here can be summarized like such: the nuns are being foolishly constant in keeping with the philosophies of Jesus Christ, an all'round nice fellow. The Church has been following the path of money, politics and power for about 1700 years. And this includes enforcing that power so that the rest of us don't forget they have it. They pick a group to bully and expect ~20% of the world population (based on registered Catholics worldwide) to follow their lead.

This is the pope. If you look closely, you
will see that there are many differences
between this guy and God. Not so many
between this guy and Emperor Palpatine.
The Church said get in line. The nuns said NO.

Now this needs to be put into some perspective. The Church has been mis-stepping a lot lately. First we had the priest sexual abuse scandal, which has been dealt with poorly until just 2010, when the Associated Press referred to the then-most recent response by the Vatican as "full damage control mode".

Then, the Vatican has been waging a rather intense war regarding women's rights. This is taking shape in the Catholic Church v. ObamaCare battle now in the courts.It also shows its ugly face in the debate about the rights for same-sex couples to get married.

Now they attack a group of nuns with the primary agenda of making other peoples' lives better. (Nuns have, by the way, spoken out in favor of universal insurance coverage for birth control ["LCWR and Network recently endorsed Obama's compromise with the bishop over a mandate to provide insurance coverage for birth control for employees at religious institutions, even as the bishops continue to fight it."]AND in support of gay marriage.)

But aren't the nuns out of line? What do the Catholics want? What about other groups of Catholic church members that are not politically motivated.

This is Francis of Assisi.
He was pretty cool, and he gave up all his possessions.
As it turns out, Catholic laypersons want what the nuns want. So do the Franciscan monks, whose goal is to serve the poor and destitute, as opposed to, for example, the Dominicans monks, who teach and fight heresy.

All right, I promised in the title of this post to go over why we, as Pagans, should care... So here goes.

The Catholic Church is the most prominent denomination of the most prominent religion, so what happens there can effect all of us, regardless of our own religion. And they are experiencing a breakdown.

No longer is the Vatican the indisputable voice of the Catholic God. That voice is being disputed. By other Catholics. By card-carrying clergy. Either the doctrine is going to change - for good or ill - or there will be a break-off by those who feel that the Vatican has deviated from the Truth of God/Jesus. Maybe some combination of both.

I do not have a level of precognition that would allow me to see what will happen, but something's going to give in this fight. And when it does, the overwhelming Christio-Catholic perspective in the U.S. and much of the world will also change.

And that effects us greatly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Truth About Honesty: As Within, So Without,,,

I present this award to YOU!!
(You should know who you are...)
I have a secret lust for a very few eye-candy, drama llama shows on tv. Since getting rid of cable, I've been able to stream a few of them via Netflix. One of these is Private Practice, the older, somewhat more mature sister of Gray's Anatomy. Drama llama, AWAKE!

One topic of the show, midway through the second season, is whether people should be completely open and honest about everything with their relationship partner, or if a person needs to keep certain things to themselves in order to retain their individuality. Of course, this was in relation to admitting to an affair, which, if told, could hurt the partner and the relationship. The benefit to telling would be that the partner would know (although how beneficial that would be was questioned) and that the cheater would relieve their guilt.

Ohh, yeah...
Let the drama begin!
My answer, because I like to talk to the tv, is that it doesn't matter. Whether admission of action is good, bad or ugly, there is only one thing that is consistently required: honesty with oneself.

One must be honest with what they did. Many people simply do not evaluate their own actions, dismissing them with superficial acknowledgments and covering them up with justifications. If you do something, acknowledge that you did it. No buts. No conditions. No excuses. No! Just say what you did. Noun followed by verb with subject/predicate phrase/etc. (if absolutely necessary). For example: I cheated on (name). Or: I ate all the cake. Or: I broke (partner's name)'s favorite (object). Be direct. Don't hedge with yourself.

No, no, I don't believe you.
One must be honest with how that affected them and their relationship partner (or other person). Don't pretend that something that would break the heart of any other human being with an emotional fiber the size of a fishing line is going to be okay with your partner. Really? Admit that what you did sucks, and to what level. If it was an accident, SO WHAT? You did something. It hurt someone. You have to acknowledge that, in this moment, you suck. Otherwise you are just brushing over the pain of your relationship partner. For example: (Partner) was/will be betrayed and hurt that I would cheat on him/her. Or: The kids will be heartbroken that I didn't save them any cake. Or: (Partner's) iPhone was his/her lifeline to social media; this will devastate him/her, and I may have to make it up to them.
Only when you get to this level of honesty can you understand what you need to do to make things better/right/just.

One must be honest with their motivations, whether they decide to keep the secret or admit their wrongdoing. If you cannot honestly say to yourself that telling will make your partner's (NOT your) life better or more just, don't do it. You have to be honest if you are going to be selfish about your actions. You have to be honest if you are going to swallow (read: wallow in) your guilt. Don't tell just to make yourself feel better. Don't keep it a secret so that you don't have to pay the consequences. If it's about how YOU would feel upon taking an action, you're doing it wrong. If you aren't honest about this part, you will - I repeat WILL - make the same mistake again. You won't have learned your lesson. You won't have grown as a person.
Wise man... one of three.

Be honest with yourself, and you will be the best friend/parent/child/lover/partner anyone could ask for.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Me to Z: I am a woman, and I don't hate or fear men.

I have seen a lot of stupidity in human actions. I have seen a lot of beauty in human actions. I have noticed that, while there are certainly trends in biology and society, that doesn't even come close to being able to define individuals. Generalization is a handy tool, but it shouldn't be mistaken for a call to judgment.

I am in mourning. I have had certain ideals taken out into the street and flogged. I have seen promises of yesteryear shot in the head. I have been betrayed by people who claim to have MY best interest in heart.

In the Pagan community, there are people who are leaders, elders, or BNP (big-nosed pagans - I don't know where the term came from). These are the famous ones who helped pave the way for how Paganism is viewed and practiced today. Some of them need to go away now.

I say this as one who has been considered an up-and-coming elder/leader/BNP. I am not famous, nor have I achieved the title/respect of that status... yet. But I, and several others, am well on my way. And, this is something I take very seriously. It is a duty.

One of my fellow U&Cers (up & comers) had a talk today about what happens when Pagan leaders/elders stop growing, when they become caught up in issues as they WERE, not as they ARE. And, to be blunt, people like that do no one any good. That is why I am mourning.

Many of you are aware of PantheaCon, a wonderful gathering that I have been, as of yet, unable to attend. Last year, it made news, which was summed up nicely on the Wild Hunt blog. The leader at the eye of this storm was one Z. Budapest, a wonderful author and progenitor of Dianic tradition and mysteries in the modern Pagan movement.

She did it again. She turned away transgendered women from a women's ritual, drawing a line for what constituted a REAL woman. And, as if that was not enough, she posted a blog outlining how all men hate women.



I am now taking it upon myself to respond, as a powerful woman beloved of men around the world (no, really, it's a fact), to this atrocity entitled "Nobody Loves Women".

No woman was sexy enough, good enough, trustworthy enough... This is what women are most afraid of. Loosing the love. The slim chance of male protection. This is the H-bomb of our psyche.
Loosing the love or protection is not even close to a consideration in my relationships. Communication, honesty, goals, mutually-assured progression: that's what I strive to bring to relationships, and what I expect from them. If you can't provide this, you aren't worth my effort. You'll take away "the love"? Bummer - buh-bye. You think I'm not good enough. Good for you - buh-bye.

Sadly, this means that I am forced to endure the adoring attentions of my significant other: a male who treats me with respect and honesty, who loves me for me, who cares for both my children equally (only one of which is his biological offspring), who APPRECIATES when I am BETTER than he is at things, who caters to my needs to be pampered and gets all hot-n-bothered when I take up power tools to be "butch". Sucks to be me.

...the fact that they chanted [“No means yes, yes means anal.”] together with each other, young men, their brains were actually having sex with each other... Many many young men at collage age are latent homosexuals, which is dangerous to women.
 I can't even wrap my mind around how completely out-of-touch, judgmental, and... WRONG this is. I know many men. While in college, I was friends with many men. For 15 years, I've been very close friends with several homosexual men. I can say with a HUGE amount of surety: This is fucked up.

I won't even talk about how this was taken out of context AND punished rapidly by the college.

I am, instead, going to say that this strikes within me the same horrified, disgusted reaction as when (some, not all) Christian conservatives declare all homosexuals to be pedophiles. The thought of anal sex itself does NOT imply homosexuality.

The reason for my conclusion is the word “anal”. Anal is not what young women are dreaming about when they think of intimacy. Women think of sex as the culmination of an emotional surge, and coming together with love and aroused body. But “anal” is most important in homosexual contact, in man on man love... So here the anger against women comes from the fact that having sex with girls is seen as normal, but anal is not. They need to loudly claim it. Because they are closet gays. And pissed off about it too.
Firstly, many homosexuals would disagree with this idea. My dear friend and partner in so many things, RevKess, a gay man, disagrees with this. "Most important"? Only if you cannot conceive of gay men who prefer snuggles, or who engage in non-anal sexual acts, or who just want someone to hold their hand and talk to them, only then can you say that it is that important.

Secondly, and this is quite TMI, I am not alone as a woman in considering anal sex to be a HEALTHY and ENJOYABLE aspect to my heterosexual relationship. It, like fellatio and cunnilingus, role-playing and bondage, and even coitus, are aspects of sex that each partnership must decide upon - whether to do it, how often to do it. It isn't something that is restricted to or symptomatic of (as if any sexual orientation is a disease with symptoms) a specific type of partnership.

Hating women is still fashionable. It’s manly. It’s a proof of masculinity to each other. It’s a male affirmation... The gender wars must be fought off camera, off printed matter. Never discussed in public...
This isn't the 50s, and this isn't what MY experience of gender discrimination is. I've seen gender discrimination, but this isn't the reality any longer. Or if it is, this aspect is so rare, we cannot logically apply this generalization to the male population as a whole.
The male gender is gender conscious, “us boys together” against the other gender. Women are human identified, not so much gender identified. They should be.
 We aren't? Funny, we have Girl's Night Out and Women's Mysteries, among other things, but we aren't seen as a gender-identified group? Put three to five of us in a group, and most men (REAL men) would rather go into military combat then speak to us. Cuz we are WOMEN and we can, and sometimes do, intimidate men. Welcome to the two-way street.

Why are we universally hated by the male gender? What have we as a female gender done to merit such lack of respect? Nothing.
I love this: "universally hated". I actually cannot think of a single male of my acquaintance that hates women. Maybe a few guys who I know second or third-hand, but directly? Not my father, not my brother (his issues aren't about women), not my SO, not my son, none of my coworkers (and they are "guy's guys" types), none of my male friends.

Now I feel like I'm missing out on something. Have I been sheltered my whole life that I know so microscopically few of these males? But they "universally" hate women. So that's ALL males, or close enough, statistically, to not matter. Then wouldn't some of the several hundred males I know be women-haters? Men who don't respect women as real people? Men who secretly want to violate women? Men who despise not owning women in some way?

Maybe I'm just not seeing it... Maybe I brush over the signs... Maybe I'm actually blind to their hate...

Which means that there are a LOT of seriously good actors in my life - Not likely.

Next we explore how universally (what? I like that word...) epic women are.

No males are allowed to love female values. If you assume female values of peace, cooperation, communication, men will loose their fury little balls. They will loose rape culture. War culture.
Gosh, that means that I'm the pacifist among my male friends... HA! Not likely!

Men don’t see why they have to pay for a child they fathered. They imagine the mother would abuse this and spend the money on herself. Since she is no longer “his” wife, back into the hated gender with her. Hence withholding the money from families is justified.
Only if you are a dick, and that has NOTHING to do with genitalia. BTW, the list of men in my life who pay or (for grown children) paid child-support willingly: my step-father, my son's father, my former roommate (hi, Scott!), and at least one not-so-closet gay man. Men who have taken LOVING responsibility for children who aren't their biological progeny: my step-father, my significant other, my SO's step-father, my boss's SO, and at least one of my male co-workers.

Evil bastards, all of them.

God is male, and men are gods... Religion long ingrained into our impressionable psyches, since childhood, declared that anything male is sacred, anything female is suspicious and subordinate. Weak.
This is a condition of one aspect (becoming defunct) of society and a few (admittedly majority) religions. This is NOT an across-the-board way of looking at things, even in Christianity.

 So the genders represent the opposing views of how to live on earth.

Women feel they need peace to raise children and civilization which includes commerce, the arts.
Wow, more universalism. I personally know a few women who don't feel this at all. They don't want their children, except as pawns to manipulate the unfortunate (but evil!) males who helped create those children.

Glorious male self created doom. Why still cling to it? Because what if other men attack us? Then what? Who would defend us? The women fall quiet, because the answer is that globally women would demand an end to violence, ending wars altogether. Globally.
 And here we have the perfection of woman.

Are you kidding me?!? Women aren't universally pacifist any more than men are universally war-mongering. In fact, check out a episode of any of the Real Housewives franchise, and you can get an eyeful of how non-pacifist women can be.

Warning: the following is pretty... um, real.
Z, I'm talking directly to you now: HOW DARE YOU! You don't like when women are seen as the Whore, so you push the equally false and equally harmful idea that we are all the Virgin? YOU DARE paint me into a corner because I have a vagina and I'll tell you where to shove your women-superior attitude. I do NOT appreciate being put up on a pedestal for ANY reason, especially for what is or isn't between my legs. If I want to be on a pedestal, I can DAMN well get up there on my OWN. I don't need to ride the coattails of my my birth channel. A COW can give birth. I'm BETTER than that and for better reasons.

I am WOMAN, and I am AWESOME. But the fact that I'm awesome doesn't come from the fact that I am a woman.

Now, I'm all for continuing the fight to make women safe and equal. In fact, front-line me on that battle (oh, wait, women are pacifists...). But I will not say that women are better then men. I will not believe that all men either want to fuck me or want to fuck me over. I will not believe that men are sexually aggressive because of a propensity for rape or because they are closet homosexuals.

In fact, I'll introduce you to a staggering number of sexually aggressive BBWs, and you can tell me how they fit into your delusional pattern of the sexes.

I will not believe that all women want peace. The goddesses themselves cannot reflect that. Check out Hel, Sekhmet, Athena, Freya, Artemis, Tiamat, Durga, Erishkigel and Kali, just to name a few. These are women who are strong unto themselves, aggressive, war-loving Goddesses who can and will kick some ass. Most of them are PROTECTORS and mothers, but they know when to bring out the war machines.

And most importantly, aside from Artemis, none of them had to say that males were lesser beings.

Found this... says a lot.
Z, get a grip on modern reality, find a bit of self-esteem that doesn't use the crutch of hate, and then, maybe, I'll consider you as a role-model again. Until then... buh-bye.