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Does Gender Matter? – 5min

If you’ve been on social media lately you’ve probably heard about the man from Google who just got fired for an “anti-diversity manifesto.”

If you watch the main stream media you’re probably convinced that he didn’t site his sources, his sources were mostly Wikipedia, and that his entire goal was to make it look like men are better than women.

Or you could read the document. He does say that men are better at women for some things, but he also said that women are better at some things then men, and that if you want to get the most out of your employees you’ll take into account these differences so that you can get the best people into the best jobs, and they will work their best.

The biggest argument against this manifesto I’ve seen is “men and women are the same” from many people, including Laci Green who was pretty blatant about it. You shouldn’t use stereotype to judge people, they say.

Alright, then here is my question about that. Does gender matter? Is there a difference between men and women? Because I’ve seen plenty of feminists say that men are more violent, and men are rapists. If that is true then would the opposite also be true? That women are less violent and less likely to attack? That’s not called a stereotype (and it isn’t true of course, men aren’t more violent than women they just happen to have higher incidents of different kinds of violence for each gender. And men fail to report it more often.)

Regardless, if gender isn’t important, if there is no difference between men and women, then why are we pushing for transgender rights? Why do we call people male or female for anything other than reproductive purposes? Why are there genders at all?

But maybe that’s where they are going with this argument…

And that’s my five.

 

PS, these five minute writes don’t give a lot of time to go in depth on a subject, just hit the highlights most of the time. But the question is still a valid one. I do want to say that I do believe there is a difference between men and women (with some over lap of course) and that there are specific things that most men and most women do. And 51% is most. But regardless of gender, individuals learn and work better in different ways, so increasing avenues in a work place for those different mentalities to be more comfortable in a space isn’t a bad thing.

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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Back Again

I took a short break from social media. It did me good to step away from the drama, and look at my beliefs with a critical eye and decide what was important to me, and if I truly believed them enough to stand on those beliefs.

The truth is no one knows everything. we’re all learning from day to day, moment to moment. And none of us have all the answers. If we did then there wouldn’t be so much contention in the world. My core beliefs, the things that I hold most dear, have always hinged upon that fact. That I don’t know everything, and I should be willing to examine my beliefs in order to make sure they still hold true.

Oddly enough I learned this lesson in church. I don’t go to church anymore because I don’t consider myself a Christian, but there were many good things I learned there. One of the things they taught in the churches I went to is that you should examine and know your beliefs. It’s based on the idea that when someone asks you a question about the church, or the gospel, that you will have an answer because you know what you believe in. It’s the fundamental belief of most philosophers that if your belief can not stand up to scrutiny then the scrutiny is not the problem. Your belief is.

So I took the time to pars my beliefs and to really hold them up to a light. The belief that violence, outside of self defense, is not the answer. The belief that endless war is not the answer. The belief that EVERYONE has a right to speak, and assemble even if I don’t agree with what they have to say.

I’m not a violent person. I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t enjoy being harassed, but I think I can’t stay silent anymore. And the harassment will surely follow. If anything has been shown to me recently it is this: If you don’t believe in the group think 100% then you are their enemy. And they will hit you, even if they don’t know for sure what you said.

And that’s the point that scared me the most. All of the thousands of people rejoicing that “the nazi got punched” probably never actually watched any of his videos. They probably had no idea what he actually talked about. I know I only have a vague idea, and what I saw I found distasteful and turned it off. But I didn’t feel like punching him over it.

Then there is Milo and the riots. A man who is gay, prefers black men, and talks about equality for all people. Granted, some of his ideas are little out there, but I have yet to see a single thing from him that makes him racist or a nazi. But no one actually listens to what he says, they just listen to what everyone else says about him and believe it without vetting.

If either of these men have ideas that can stand up to the light of day then maybe we should listen. If not then HOLD THEM UP TO THE LIGHT! Poke holes in their ideas. Show people what’s wrong with them. That is the proper response to someone spreading ideas you don’t like. Not punching. Not rioting. Not denying them their freedom to speak.

I’ll leave with this final quote:

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”  George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2017 in On Writing

 

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NaNoWriMo Aftermath

It’s December, that means holiday cheer, Christmas music, and reflecting back on NaNoWriMo, and what I learned this year.

Ifnov you were following my twitter you might already know that I failed NaNoWriMo this year. In fact it’s the first time in over five years that I’ve lost NaNo. I only got 38,309 words written. Still, I managed an average of 1200 words a day, which isn’t a bad showing. But I didn’t win.

This year was a very slow start. I remember being frustrated, and having to force myself to sit down and write for that first week. And even when I did finally sit down I didn’t have a lot of time. I often became tired, and just gave up after 800-1200 words with the idea that I’d make it up the next week. Only the next week didn’t come. Not really.

I had my moments. Days in which I hit 2200, one glorious moment when I hit 3200. But it was the small days in which I only got 300, or 400 words that caused me to fail. If I had written at least 1000 words a day then the other days, the days when I strove for better, when the story was hitting it’s mark, I would have earn my 50,000 words.

But, there’s a lesson to be learned from the failing, and that is why I do NaNoWriMo every year. Not for the win, not for the words I get ahead in my writing (though that’s nice) but for the things I learn about myself.

This year my heart just didn’t seem to be in NaNoWriMo. It was hard to write, hard to find the words, hard to follow the story at times. I think there were three things that lead to my inability to write as much as I would have liked.

My story wasn’t focused.

I am a both a plotter, and a pantser. I write simple beat style plots for my story (x did this, then did this, then this happened.) Then from those notes I do the actual story. Most of the time it works, but it really depends on how detailed the plot is. Sometimes, like this time, the story grows outside of the original beats and I have to completely rework the novel. This time I had a 2600 word plot exasperated into individual chapters, which a running story line going through it all. But after writing it I realized that pacing and character development weren’t completed. I needed more story. Whole chapters and scenes needed to be added in. More characters created.

I ended up having to rewrite the entire plot line to see what I had already written, and what was missing. That took a couple days, and I still need to do more of it for the last few chapters. The novel is 35,000 words at the moment, but I’m only about half way through the novel.

This plot shifting caused a huge hiccup in my writing schedule. I had to figure out what I was writing before I could even attempt to go forward. But once I did figure it out I had some really good word count days.

My family was more important.

My schedule changed when I got a new job a few months ago. The new schedule means that I go to bed shortly before Gregg (my boyfriend) is getting up. I often get home to find him already asleep, or headed that way. This means we don’t get as much quality time together. And, to be frank, that sucks.

We have had to consciously make time for one another. Adjust sleep schedules. Nap if needed. Anything so that we can spend a little bit of time with one another. My writing has suffered because I’d rather spend time with my boyfriend when I’m able, talking, laughing, and enjoying his company, than finishing my book.

Hopefully our schedules will be more compatible after January, but only time will tell for sure.

I was distracted.

Election day was November 8th, and like many people in the USA I was distracted, watching the debates, reading forum posts and news articles, listening to opposing arguments for and against. I was fascinated by everything happening, and disturbed in many ways. I’m a centrist, I like to vote based on facts, not feelings, so I was appalled by things on both side of this election. Some things more than others, but just because one side is more wrong then the other it didn’t mean I ignored the problem with the apposing side.

I tried avoiding stating my personal viewpoints most of the time online because there were so many people who were just being entirely hateful to one another, on both sides, and it hurt to watch friendships falling apart. One of the few times I spoke up I lost a friend over it. So I stayed quiet for the most part, listening but not saying anything very much except to a few friends, and my boyfriend.

Than one night my boyfriend said “you know what, you should write about these things. It’s clearly eating you up inside, and you need to get these thoughts out. Try writing it down.”

So I did. In the graph above you’ll see two sections. Blue for “The Half Blood Sorceress” series which was my NaNo project. Red for the political writings I started to do. You’ll notice I had a lot to say at first, and it lessoned over time. You’ll also note that as soon as I started getting all of those questions and ideas about politics, society, and social obligations out of my head….I finally started to really work on my book.

(Green is for blog posts and news letters. I don’t count them in my NaNo word counts, but I do keep track of them.)

Will I ever publish those words talking about social inequalities and observations? Maybe, possibly. If I do it won’t be under my name though. It’s too dangerous. People get really mad about politics, and lately it seems there are more people who think that if you don’t agree with them 100% then you’re wrong and they will attack you. I’m a centrist, so that’s not good for me. Both sides tend to attack those in the middle.

Conclusions

Considering my heart just wasn’t in NaNo this year, I still did damn good with my writing. I rarely write 30k in a month. The fact hat I was almost at 40k this month, even with my heart completely somewhere else, means I didn’t do that badly. I’m kind of proud of that.

But it also means I have no excuse for writing less than 30k a month (unless I’m incredibly sick, or my world is falling apart.) Writing is part of me, it keeps me sane. It lets me focus my thoughts, and discuss the world and what I see in it. Writing helps me to understand the world around me.

If I manage another 30k for the month of December than I will have written another quarter of a million words this year. If I can manage that then maybe next years goal will be half a million.

Time to get writing.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Strong Female Characters

I saw another post asking which stories could use strong female characters, and my answer probably wasn’t what they were looking for: None of them.

Now, before you get up in arms please hear me out, because I do have a reason behind it.

There are already a lot of wonderful books out there with strong female characters as the lead character. A short list:
Aurian by Maggie Furey
Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon
The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
The Twenty Sided Sorceress by Annie Bellet
The Little Flame Series by Melissa Lummis
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina
White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
Several books in the Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
Anything by Anne McCaffery
Elvenbane by Andre Norton
Several books in the Wool Series by Hugh Howey
The Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hit Girls by Garrett Robinson
Anything from the Buffy the Vampire universe.
Harper Collelly series by Charaine Harris.

And these are just the books that I know of because I’ve personally read them (or watched the movie in the case of Hunger Games). There are over 6,000 books in this list with strong female lead characters, many of which have been on best seller lists, or made into movies. And this isn’t even counting all the strong, wonderful women that play secondary roles in books like Kitiara from Dragonlance Chronicles, Catti-brie from the Dritzzt series, or Hermione from Harry Potter. That’s not even getting into comic books. And I’m sure there are thousands more that aren’t even in that list.

All of the stories in my list are sci-fi and fantasy. That’s because I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also know a lot of strong female characters from paranormal romance. I also know of characters from other books, games, and films in many other genres that are strong female characters.

Am I saying we don’t need any more? Of course not, that would be like saying we don’t need more books. I really enjoy reading about strong women doing extraordinary things, and even wrote my own series of books with that in mind so I hope my favorite authors continue writing theirs. I also enjoy reading about mages that slowly go mad, or women who are hell cats and need to be tamed. There are all kinds of books out there, with all kinds of characters, because people come with different attitudes, desires, ideas, and personalities. But I would also encourage more authors to include strong female characters…IF they are a benefit to the story.

Not every story has a woman in it. What if you wrote a story about a man in a men’s shower room? Or a group of men going on a camping trip together? Or a father and son sharing a moment? Or a group of dwarves out to save their mountain? Not every story is going to have a strong female character in it. Not every story is going to have a woman in it. In fact when they added a strong female into The Hobbit some of the fans were less than thrilled with the addition.

A story isn’t always about sex, gender, political correctness, or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a story about a leaf blowing in the wind, or the history of salt, or vampire bunnies. And if a story doesn’t have a female character that doesn’t automatically make it anti-women. Hell, there could be a character in the story that is utterly sexist and the story still might not be about women.

My thought for those looking for strong female characters: Expand your reading list, because there are THOUSANDS of books out there with strong female characters, you just have to be open to finding them. And just so you know, MEN need strong male character role models, too. And both sexes need the ridiculously heroic characters, or the weak ones, or the the psychopathic murderous kings/queens to show them what not to be. It does not take away from your enjoyment of books/films/games/etc because the other sex also has what you are looking for.

And if you think any gender, or genderless, or gender fluid individual needs more characters like them out there: GO WRITE IT! That’s the beauty of the indy world. Anyone can make anything that they think should exist.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Commentary

 

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All About That Drama

Reddit is having a melt down.

If you don’t know what Reddit is you might not understand, or care about this. But to those of us who were avid Redditors this has been an ugly couple of days.

Reddit was a bastion of free speech. While our for-fathers had underground newspapers that fought against the status quo, we had sub-reddits. We took the phones to let the FCC know we would not stand for the destruction of net neutrality. We fought to hold back SOPA and PIPA. We had the world record for online Secret Santas. We sent pizza to a two year old cancer patient. And so many more things from helping kids with homework to donating kidneys.

Over the last few months since the new CEO, Ellen Pao, took over, Reddit has been plagued with troubles. There were a flurry of bans, and while many looked at the bans and worried it was just the beginning, many of us weren’t upset because the content was quasi legal anyway.  At the same time many of us wondered why they didn’t remove other subreddits that were equally distasteful. Then came another rash of subreddit bans, this time because the subreddits were accused of vote brigades and harassment of people on and off reddit.  While many knew about and disagreed with some of those deleted (like FatPeopleHate) others knew it would eventually cause issues, and many of us believed it was a political action as some subs with less than tasteful cultures were deleted while others who are notorious for harassing people on and offline were left alone.

Reddit was started by two college students looking for a great aggregate site. They delivered. And it got HUGE. So huge that a corporate entity bought it from them some time ago. At the end of the day, Reddit is a corporation, and they have the same bottom line as everyone else. Money.

The sad part is, Reddit was a fantastic place to get breaking news. Often they had better news about events then any of the major news networks. They had live reports from people in the middle of the action, photos from people at the floods, or fires, or tsunamis. Reddit had mega-threads for the devastating tsunami in Japan so we had one place to go to find out as much as we could. That, along with so many other things, made Reddit a wonderful place.

However, with corporate interests comes corporate censorship. It has been noted for quite some time that the default subreddits ban anything “controversial”. That means they do not allow anything that would upset their corporate interests into those default threads, the largest subreddits available with the most eyes seeing them every day. So as we were trying to fight TPP they were banning all discussion of it from anyone who might see it, and even banning people from the subreddits. The same spirit that helped us con conquer SOPA/PIPA and lead the fight for net neutrality is now banned from the most visible parts of reddit.

These six companies own 90% of all the media. ALL OF IT. What we read, what we watch, what we listen to. They tell us what they think is appropriate to watch and see. They spin it the way they want to, and they don’t care if we want to see something else. In tern these agencies are paid for, and controled by other corporate interests. If their sponsors don’t like something they will pull funding. Like the case of Monsanto forcing a Fox News affiliate to change their coverage over dangerous hormones in milk. Two reporters were fired, and the court held up the right of the news affiliate to spin the news as they saw fit (i.e. they could lie.)

More and more it seems that Reddit has becoming just another corporate entity. This is devastating for the freedom of speech. The freedom to get and share ideas. The ability to simply know the truth instead of what corporate money, and political interests want us to know. There is a reason propaganda is so predominant in this country. Even today.

I am sad to see Reddit falling to pieces. I am sure it will survive in some form or another, but I know that as long as leaders of reddit seem more interested in political correctness then I won’t feel as comfortable as I once did. I’ll always be wondering what they banned this week, or who they are shadowbanning to keep silent.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in On Writing

 

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Unintentionally offensive

Yesterday at work a customer made an off hand remark about getting something free. Lots of people do this, nifty percent of the time they are teasing. We laugh, I say sorry can’t do that, and we go on our ways.

But yesterday was a bit different. We laughed, then he said “I’m just kidding. I work for what I have. I’m a conservitive, not a liberal. I don’t expect anyone to just give me anything.”

I was a little offended. First time in a really long time that I’ve ever been offended. I don’t necessarily consider myself a liberal, but I have been on public assistance before. Even now I have free medical from the state because I can’t afford health care. And this is what this person thinks of me? That I just want free hand outs instead of working for myself?

I laughed it off and let him go his way without saying anything. He was a grumpy old man, and a customer. Picking a fight would never change anything. What’s worse, even when confronted with their ignorance they won’t change their mind.

I hated being on public assistance. Every time I had to pull out that damn food stamp card I felt like I was a failure. It made me question my value to my children. My value as an individual.

I am so grateful I live in a country that gives food to the hungry, even if it is done so begrudgingly, and at the same time they give it to you they are making you feel guilty for using it. Without those food stamps there where months when my children and I would have gone hungry. Because of food stamps my children ate, and I only went hungry a few times. (They really dont give you much.)

The guilt is awful. I once put an energy drink on a counter along with some food because I was really tired from working and going to school, and wanted a little pick me up. “Food stamps don’t cover that,” the cashier said.

Ya. I know. That’s why I have a job, and I also get money from student grants that pays for this. Just ring it up, will ya?

Then there are the people who say “well you shouldn’t have had kids if you couldn’t afford them.” To everyone who says this FUCK YOU! I could afford them when I had them. I wasn’t on state assistance from the moment I had them.

Shit happens, things fall apart and you thank god, or the little fairies, or the flying spaghetti monster that there is state assistance because your friends and family will not be feeding your children when the shit hits the fan.

Having been poor I envy people in countries like Sweden and Norway that have good schools, and health care for everyone. Right now I have to deal with lots of little cavities and two more root canals because I couldn’t go to the dentist for more than fifteen years. I almost died once because my job wouldn’t let me take time off work when I was sick and I ended up with pneumonia for a month. I was too afraid to go to a doctor because I didn’t have insurance and we already went bankrupt once because of medical bills. But we didn’t go bankrupt fast enough. We were evicted, and lost our car because of garnishments when we couldn’t afford to pay for the life saving surgeries my husband and my son had.

“Then why did you get a divorce? Two paychecks are better than one.” You would rather people stay miserable and unhappy, or in abusive relationships because you don’t want to pay an extra one percent in taxes to help the poor?

“But there are soup kitchens, churches, shelters for the homeless etc. Etc.” do you want to stay in a dorm room with hundreds of people you don’t know with your children? There are people that get raped, stabbed, robbed  and worse in those places. Does it feel good to go to a soup kitchen every day to eat with your children? Or is it easier to get a little food stamp card so that I can go to the grocery store like normal people? Besides if every hungry person in the area went to these places they would run out of money and food a lot faster.

The attitude of many people in this country is “it’s your fault you are poor and you have to get yourself out of it.” They don’t consider accidents, job layoffs, medical conditions, or just bad luck. They can’t see that helping a person is far better for everyone than keeping them down.

“It’s my taxes!” And you’re right. It was my taxes too. I worked, I paid, and then when things went bad I used them. Even if I hadn’t what is better, paying one percent of your income to help the poor and sick, or paying 30% of all taxes for military, NSA, an unending war on terror, spying on everyone, passing million dollar pensions, and a lot of other things that probably could be cut or shrunk. But you’d rather cut services to the poor which consists of about 22% including health benefits for anyone who needs them.

It’s really frustrating that the same people who make you feel guilty for not making enough to live are the same people that say “we can’t raise minimum wage! That would hurt everyone.”

Do you really hate the poor so much that you want them to stay poor? Do you really care so little for others that you’d rather send drones to shoot up wedding parties and arrest people for feeding the homeless?

I haven’t been “proud to be an American” in years. And attitudes like this man’s are why. Like our government forcing drug testing for being on state assistance, or locking away people who told the truth.

This country is 14th in education and 37th in health care. The only thing we rank number one in is imprisoning our own people!

When will we learn that helping people is better for everyone then keeping them down?

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Commentary

 

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Min wage for min work

I just had to share this comment from reddit because it was so well said.

The American economy is becoming less friendly to skilled workers. Look at many autoplants and other industrial factories. What 40 years ago was a workforce with many specialists, led by foremen who had risen from the ranks of those specialist workers, is being replaced by a workforce of generalists who work jobs further simplified to smaller individual tasks, are lower paid, not encouraged to specialize, and led on the shop floor by college graduate managers who never worked in the factory a day in their lives. Job training isn’t enough without the economic demand.

If you believe everyone should work a skilled job for a living, you have to either ensure that there are skilled jobs for everyone, or recognize that what you’re saying is “some people should starve despite their best efforts.”

These people are doing productive labor in a majorly profitable industry, yet are paid starvation wages. And that’s not just a problem for them. Taxpayers are effectively paying massive subsidies to keep these businesses functioning in this way. The largest private employer in the United States, Wal-Mart, costs taxpayers $6.2 billion per year in public assistance designed to keep its low-wage workers alive, according to one estimate. Wal-Mart also has a huge share of the food stamp market ($13.5 billion in sales in 2013), so they’re paying such shit wages, we have to give their workers benefits to stay alive, which they’ll likely need to turn around and spend at Wal-Mart for groceries, essentially allowing the company to double-dip in their massive taxpayer subsidies.

For McDonald’s, $1.2 billion of taxpayer money goes to supporting their underpaid workers, part of the fast food industry’s $7 billion annually. And they can afford better. The ten largest corporations were responsible for $3.8 billion in 2012, while making $7.4 billion in profits AFTER paying out $7.7 billion in dividends and buybacks to shareholders.

If we raise wages to a livable level, however, they won’t take it out of their profits and dividends. They’ll raise prices. That’s partially the greed of the executives, but largely the greed of the stockholders. Why park your capital in a company making 2% growth when you can move it to one making 6%? That’s just self-interest, and it’s the motivating factor for companies to squeeze costs, including labor. That’s capitalism.

Every time universal free-at-point-of-need medical care comes up, people bring up that it’s not *really* free because it’s being paid for in your taxes. Well, when you think about how cheap fast food is, remember, it’s not *really* that cheap, you’re paying for it in your taxes.

We’re spending billions of dollars of our money to prop up bloated corporations paying their workers shit wages so they can pump out shit food that is killing our people.

From http://www.reddit.com/r/AdviceAnimals/comments/2uotqv/scumbag_mcdonalds/coal181

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in News

 

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