Shaming the Survivor (Trigger Warning and Foul Language Warning)

It is everywhere, the societal shaming of people. I could title this victim shaming or victim blaming yet, there is an aspect to being a survivor beyond the aspects of being a victim. The part of me that is a survivor identifies with John McClain, it wants to die hard if it has to die at all. The part of me that identifies as a victim couldn’t fight hard enough to survive. Same coin, two sides. When I advocate I must be a survivor, the victim aspect is too fragile to risk exposing to the shame.

You may have already run into this, at least once in your life. Something happens to you, and instead of being happy that you are alive, someone you know or must deal with reacts with disgust that you had to do things to survive, things that hurt you or went against the grain of society. The person that defends herself against a violent man and hurts him is not lauded but is feared by the patriarchy. Society moves to shame the survivors, keep it hidden away, don’t talk about it. This aspect leaks into other things. Surviving rape is immediately putting yourself at risk of being accused of deserving it. Rape can be deadly, therefore, to live you must have given in slightly, this is the myth. You asked for it and enjoyed it or you would be dead right? Wrong.

There is overlap with victim blaming yet, I haven’t come across a discussion about shaming the survivor. In a country/culture that has fat shame, thin shame, skin color shame, hair shame, race shame, gender shame, sex shame… it is hard pressed to find anything that is not seen as shameful. Other things are never acknowledged. Perhaps it is in that the feminists who are able bodied or did not endure domestic violence or… (insert qualifier here) cannot put it into ideas. Perhaps it is that these same women who attempt to speak for everyone with a vagina but only if they were born that way and are able bodied and white… do just that. They exclude. Before I was disabled I felt excluded because I  have survived. I felt shamed for having questions and not having picked up books on the subject. My nascent moment of identifying with the feminists died the moment one of them shamed me. I remember the words, the tone, and the sting. The woman was old enough to be my mother, she was blond, tall, and pretty. The topic was how to raise awareness about domestic violence, which resonated with me. I asked this question: “What if we pooled some money or raised funding via grants to open a shelter that gives access to women who aren’t married?” I hadn’t been homeless as an adult yet, I hadn’t known I would be in a sinking boat. I went further, the room had fallen silent so I stood up. In that moment I was appearing as able bodied, straight, white, and pretty by the societal standards. “Most of the shelters in our city cater only to those with children, and there needs to be a place for everyone.” That was what they were preaching. I thought the idea would be great. The response instead was as follows.

“Women like us never use shelters, we don’t need them, because we won’t ever lose our jobs or our families.” In that moment, the words said in this acid tongued manner that curdled by gut, I sat down and wondered why they called themselves feminists and why they bothered trying. I was excluded by class, my clothes were fashionable but I was not in the class I appeared to be. I was excluded by experience. Obviously the woman who spoke had never been in need, and in that moment I was cut adrift from feminism. I tried many times to reconnect but, despite some correct things and other incorrect things I did not belong in their puzzle. The ideals fit, but the people did not. There was discussion of how to further how to protect, but never the action that would help lower class (financially and educationally) women. Instead there was a pandering aspect to their own able bodied white privilege.

It hurt. It left me feeling so alone in the world. Months later I was further away from their ideal woman, deserving of help. I began to advocate alone. I have only worked with someone else during my advocacy rarely, because I do not want to be shamed for my experiences and I have yet to find true intersectionality. Sometimes my methods for getting my voice heard horrify people. To me there is nothing wrong with being a bit loud, or refusing to move when the police order me to as long as it is legal for me to do so. I am a rebel with many causes, and I see it everywhere I turn with the larger groups, if I do not fit their expectation of survivor there is shame.

Thankfully advocacy groups are rarely seen from this angle, I know I have the benefit of being a social chameleon, and that cuts down on people accusing me of things, assuming the wrong thing, or I just don’t admit what they do not need to know. I should say didn’t, as, in the last few years I have stopped hiding the parts of me they won’t like. I lost allies, but they weren’t true allies as a result.

I haven’t been shamed for surviving in a long time, but I had put distance between what I had survived and the moments I was living in. I see in my head snapshots of myself through the ages of my life, the phases, and the moments. They tumble down, twisting around each other before they burn up into a cloud of white smoke and I am still me. I let myself grow distant from them, focusing on living. Living became the act of surviving and once again I am being forced to justify my reason for not letting myself be murdered.

I realized that it was an attempt to shame me with the insurance. This week I had to justify the assessment for the wheelchair again. The woman on the phone asked me what I did to damage my body. “I had an abusive caregiver, I was starved and my first chair was damaged. It also never fit my needs or worked properly before that.”

“Uh huh, well did that caregiver beat you because abuse is just not reason enough for us to approve this chair.”

I wanted to scream, curse, cry, and shout. Instead I took a breath and said. “I was starved, are you aware of the ramifications on the body caused by starvation? I had less than 750 calories a day. My body consumed it’s strength to not die. My internal will to live also came into play, when I had to escape said abuser, I had to move. The replacement caregiver was also abusive, so I had to clean the entire apartment myself, I had to lift boxes, and I had to do this or I would have nothing left of my life with no way to replace it. I had to do this with a wheelchair that was broken.”

“So this is a self inflicted injury.” She started to go on and I let myself snarl.

“So you want your clients to just die when the options are injury that further disables them or death?”

She was quiet, I felt my anger and I let it be. I am working on that, as I fear anger. Anger usually means violence. I just felt it. It was about ten seconds, she was obviously thinking.

“No, it was just… you should have asked for help or something!”

It was my fault, in this woman’s mind. I have met her before, she is like the woman who shamed me for having an idea, like the reporter who didn’t understand that the ADA protects her too, and I had the click. Society wants survivors to stay silent, or to take the blame. It’s the same aspect, but in t his case the blame is the act of living itself. It is all tied like a spiderweb to the same isms, over and over again.

“I did, many times over. I begged, I pleaded.” I described the murder kit to her, I described my efforts of cleaning, lifting, dragging, crawling. Then, I turned it towards money. “So, now that you know all that, let me add something else into the mix. The chair will cost you less than the surgery and ER visits needed when I crack my head open because I lost my balance trying to do it your way, check my records I recently went to the ER. That costs you once about as much as the chair. That visit was preventable with treatment. You can approve me or deny me, I know others also have a say but if it comes down to my life being worth less to you than the cost of the chair, I will cost you more because I won’t die. I am a survivor. I plan to live a very long time, and as angry as you are that some disabled person gets help from your taxes… that’s just too damned bad.”

I was told it is too expensive. I was told over and over it is too expensive. My right to the freedom to move is too expensive. Even if it means I might die. I am hoping that my words left HER feeling shame, and anyone who hears the recording of that call. She and her company should be ashamed that my living is less important to them than profiting off of the illnesses of people. The capitalistic nature of my country has caused illness to be comodified. I am not a commodity item to the insurance company but I am to the wheelchair company and in a nursing home my name would be beds. I will now always be poor, but I refuse to be known as cost burden, potential profit or beds.

My name is Kateryna Fury. If you think it is wrong for me to have fought and dug and clawed my way out of abuse more times than I can count, fuck you. You heard me. I am breaking my own personal rules. It makes me edgy mentally to do so, a bit nutty feeling but FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU FOR THINKING THAT IT IS BAD FOR ME TO LIVE. When you break, because everyone does eventually in some way, someone will shame you for not dying. I hope you think for a moment and realize that you did the same over and over again.You are the cause of the term Survivor’s guilt. No one should ever feel guilty for living. EVER. Even bad people have a right to life, maybe you and your epic hatred of all things with a pulse made the person you think is bad act in that manner. Maybe it is all your fault you FUCKER. FUCK YOU.

My name is Kateryna Fury. I am glad to know that you also have survived, that you have fought and clawed and dug your way out of abuse, that you are a survivor. If you are in the act of surviving, then know you are not alone. I am proud of you. Your living has value not just to you but to me. It is so wonderful you want to live. As you recover, remember, you are loved.

Zillas

I am guilty of Fatshaming. This makes me a hippocrite. I am after all fat. I have been skinny but, now I am fat. My natural form is fat. Sure, it’s sexy fat in all the right places but because I am nearly 300lbs and sometimes go over that marker I am considered Morbily Obese. Yet I chose the term Fatzilla to indicate the monstrosity I was living with. I identified her by only one aspect, I dehumanized her with that single word. I am guilty. It should not matter what size or shape she is, but instead the actions she undertook should be the focus of what I have said.

I am guilty of female shaming. Again this hypocritical action is something I regret. I am a woman after all. I was born a woman, I gender identify as a woman. I have a vagina. I have breasts. I hate being called a bitch. Calling someone Bitchzilla is again dehumanizing and shames her based on the stereotype of the cruel and angry female. It does not matter what I want to say to justify this action, there are things I thought of. For both the fat shaming and the gender shaming, I was wrong.

I do not have to like people. They do not have to like me. I require myself to show respect. It is taken for granted that you will choose the people in your life, yet this is wholly untrue. You do not select every coworker, your siblings, your parents, grandparents, or even classmates. If people did I would never have been bullied. Then again, if we could actually choose every interaction the world would have stagnated a long time ago. Since we cannot choose everyone around us it can be difficult to not settle for the status quo behaviors. This means calling people names, even in the anonymity of the internet knowing that they won’t identify themselves when they read it. Knowing if they do, there is nothing they can do about it.

I usually use letters or fake names for people but for the two women I lived with, I chose cruelty. A part of me is not sorry, a part of me wants to argue it is fair because they are abusers. That part of me is wrong. That part of me is being childish. I do not expect to ever discuss those two again but if I do Fatzilla is now going to be known as my exroommate. Bitchzilla will be known as… my exroommate. I will work on a better identifier if needed but, I must work to cut out hate from my own life. It is my goal to love everyone and everything at least spiritually. Hate speak and hate names do not fit that outlook and giving in to such things is giving in to the toxins around me. It stops my personal healing.

If either of you two are reading this and know who you are, I apologize for my inappropriate names.

One persons Courage…

You hear about it in the news, inspirational articles, and in the whispers of people discussing someone’s life. Sometimes you hear it to your face. “You are so courageous.” I have been facing my fears lately and there has been some courage yet, most of what people tell me is courage is merely a will to live. Is the Will to Live what makes us couragous? Does this invalidate courage?

When I hear about someone being courageous, brave, or something along that line the picture in my mind is a bit gender normative and sexist. It’s a brave soldier in a black and white movie with bombs exploding behind him rescuing the little woman and running away from gunfire without breaking a sweat. I am well aware this is a very skewed image that remains in my mind. I use this image to invalidate my own experience often.

How can I be courageous? I just didn’t give up. I didn’t notice it until tonight. Giving the speech about my Thirty Seconds, I was reminded it is courageous to save a life. I found myself afraid of those words. Why fear courage? I think it is the responsibility to be something more than human that the media shows us courage is. Batman is couragous. He’s a super hero. I am just a small and broken woman at the end of her endurance trying to make it through every day.

I am trying to teach myself what courage can be, beyond the black and white John Wayne dreams. I am trying to teach myself that courage is simply living. Transgendered people who have the courage to go through the change, to live in the sex that fits their minds and not their bodies are courageous because it is their will to live. They can die for being who they are.

How terrifying it must be to have to pee in public. How terrifying it must be to go clothes shopping, to go out and feel that fear… what if someone figures out who they are and in their ridiculous hatred they attack? That is courage. It is also horribly sad that we live in a world where it is not a hate crime to attack a trans individual. I didn’t know that until recently, I thought that it was a hate crime. It should be. Living without a legal saftey net, living without basic human respect, and living without the ability to be accepted by any other minority (except for some of us who actually do care) takes courage. There are trans persons who are unable to live as they wish, because it is too dangerous.

It takes courage to live at all. It takes courage for the college student to go to her late night class, because she hears all the warnings about rape. It takes courage for the woman who was date raped to speak up, risking victim blaming and slut shaming. It takes courage for the teen mother to take pride in being a mother, bucking against the stereotypes about teen mothers. It takes courage for the disabled man to go up a flight of stairs on his hands and knees to see if his able bodied friends and family are alright after hearing a gunshot. He couldn’t escape if there was a killer. That is courage.

To revile the word courage is to revile the act of living. It takes courage for our students to go to school. We live in a world where the terror of school shootings is very real, where the hate that a disabled student feels can destroy their minds and their souls. We live in a world where there is no safe haven. It takes courage to raise a child with disabilities and to love them. It takes courage to admit that you are disabled.

It takes courage to say that you do not want to see a movie because it is full of sexism. It takes courage to be a Womanist. It takes courage to be a Feminist. It takes courage to be an advocate. It takes courage to write. It takes courage to cry. It takes courage to go out, knowing discrimination is waiting for you. It takes courage to date a person who is of another color. It takes courage to love someone who is of the same sex.

In a world as full of toxic messages, it is cowardly to defame courage. To hold the power to inspire one person is enough to change the world. To inspire countless thousands? That is a gift unparalleled. Forgive me for feeling that I was unworthy of the word courage.

I have been courageous. I am courageous to write about my time as a Victim. I am courageous to have ideas and to share them. I am courageous to start a business during a Depression.

You are courageous too. I am sure you can list ways you are courageous. I would like the comments on this post to be dedicated to your courage. What have you done that is courageous today?

Today my act of courage is to start planning the wedding ceremony for two young women in love. My acts of courage in life will include officiating their wedding ceremony. I do this with pride, and to honor their love and the courage it takes to stand up and proudly say, “I am Gay, I am Pagan, and I am in Love!”

Thank you for your life. Thank you for your courage.

Tracey Ullman Fail

So called comedians often use minorities for their humor. I never find this funny, and usually question why I bother trying to watch comedy shows after a certain point. Today I noticed the on-demand section for ShowTime had the “Tracey Ullman’s United States” section added. I started the first program, and right off the script starts with bashing illegal immigrants, Tracey Ullman, a white woman, in black face. It moves on to her mocking the Indian Culture, Islam, and Italians. She also mocks the very real medical ailment of Restless Leg Syndrome. It may sound funny, but, your legs burning all the time, unable to keep them still? Very problematic.

Instead of funny this show seems to show her hate. She makes fun of mostly ethnic groups, minorities, but makes fun of just enough white people to get away with her bigotry by the standards of those blind to their privilege. She makes fun of those from the south. She makes fun of everyone.

Hold up a mirror Tracey. Hold up a mirror to yourself and see just how sad you are. She goes with victim blaming, rape jokes, and does she see what this does to people? This isn’t funny. It is aggressively disgusting.

This may be old news, but, maybe someone will read this and will take notice. It is never funny to demean someone. It is never appropriate to put on black face. That was never funny. Ever. It is not appropriate to have your Indian Woman character sing her sentences in a mock Bollywood production while her life is threatened. It isn’t funny to play out acts of Xenophobia.

This show was supposed to be about America. Why then does any non white person have a thick accent that is usually unintelligible? Racism. Bigotry. Crap.

Not only is this show anti female, it is anti human. I will never watch another Tracey Ullman special. I can’t stand the stench of her tastelessness.

I am sure somewhere online you can find justifications for how she creates her characters to mock bigots. If the effect is more mocking of the minority, you have fail.

I felt this after one episode, I am trying a second.

More black face. More racial cliches. Showing a woman of color as toothless, uneducated, and irresponsible is NOT Funny. Mocking the Veterans of the Iraq war? Wrong. We need to support our soldiers even if we do not support the War itself. These individuals signed up with the intent to protect us.

Making fun of erectile dysfunction I can let pass, but wait… for many non elderly men Viagra has been an aid in achieving some of life’s more pleasurable aspects. It can help the disabled male perform, which can be psychologically freeing. Stating that elderly men who use Viagra will use it to sleep with whores is disrespectful to both sex workers and the elderly. Who has the right to judge the partner of another? Not me. Not you. Not Tracey Ullman.

Making fun of Poverty is inappropriate. Saying that a kid is “Shit at Math” is inappropriate. It doesn’t matter if parents say this all the time, a kid will believe it and will stop trying. It is important to encourage children, way to reinforce negatives.

Making fun of hard working individuals, those who have disabilities, making fun of those who are more naive about the world at large. None of this is funny. Doing this two episodes in a row? Mocking religion, not okay. No matter what religion it is. No matter how controversial you want to be, being a bigot is just not funny.

There is plenty of comedy without oppressing people. When the “funniest” stuff you do is antihuman, which this crap is… you are failing. When the non racist bits aren’t funny how do you get called a comedian?

I therefore give the elusive and rare Corkscrew of Justice to Tracey Ullman. You. FAIL.

Agent Double Oh Carrot and M

The internet is great for anonymity. I have several user names out there, including the play on the word Anonymous: Anon the Mouse. Over the years I have picked up friends online. Some people scoff at the notion of friends you have never met in person. I used to think it was silly but I have truly bonded with some of these people. I am also aware of their humanity, the text based nature of the internet can dehumanize, leading to bullying. It can also lead to the shy person, or the person with a speaking related disability, or even muteness communicate with equality.

I have a friend, who we will call M. M gave me permission to write about him. Every day we have conversations that are full of little things from his parents all the way to mine. We talk about everything. M also has helped me stave off starvation, homelessness, and has yet to pester me about the money I owe him. He is one of the people I consider great. Great men do not always lead countries. The last eight years taught most Americans that.

M is an Immigrant. He lives over in LA, and is of Indian descent. His parents left India, went to Canada, and he came here. A very lengthy journey. M is shy, he at times questions why he feels things at all. Some of this is a reflection of the stigmatization by the psychiatry industry to feeling at all. Feelings have been medicalized, diagnosed and it gets harder every year to find anyone who doesn’t qualify based on religion, personal food preference, or how often they sneeze as a headcase. (The term headcase is being used here for shock value, and also to illustrate my lack of belief in the psychiatric system.)

Despite my experiences with therapy and torments, I still see some value in even the conversational aspect, though I am anti medication. Few people actually need antidepressants. Most can make enough progress to no longer need the medicine. M and I discuss these sorts of things. For the last few years, which feel to me like a pleasurable eternity, M has been fighting some painful issues.

Everyone has issues. Everyone needs help sometimes. M is very insecure. Every day he has to fight a malignant thought process, he constantly devalues himself, and he relies on outside influence to determine his self worth. I am not the best friend to have if you are dealing with those issues. I can be rather harsh about things when I disagree, even when I do not mean to be.

His parents raised him with Traditional Indian Values. Often, when he comes to me needing help coping I offer the exploration of why this is a problem. Does this solve the problem? Not always. M sometimes cannot handle the discussions and will tell me so. In our five or six year long friendship we’ve rarely fought, even when we disagree. Our conversations started over something utterly anti feminist, objectification of the body.

That objectification was mutual, and did not last long as we discovered the intellect and wonder that is personality. The internet is great for that, if you use full words. Netspeak annoys me, and M doesn’t use it. If he does, he hasn’t with me. I love him for that.

He recently began therapy, partly because of our conversations. We discussed heavy topics, and after a time I no longer felt it was my business to help him. He needed more than I could offer. He has a great therapist and has begun to grow faster than ever. I watch him change, even if it is merely reflected in our conversations.

Year 1: Conversations centered aruond the superficial, and mutual interests.

Year 2.: The first loan of money to save me from starvation came, still owed to this date. The exploration of psyche began. I turned to him when I learned about my broken back, and he helped me to cope. He helped me to accept the permanence of my disability and never once shamed me. A first. He began to reveal his insecurity with women, his fear of failure, and his pain.

Year 3: We had our first argument. I think it was about Wonder Woman. It was silly. I started to become aware of feminism. M coddled me when I would cry about discrimination, he encouraged me to not give up, and when Sprite nearly died from anaphalactic shock due to her poultry allergy, he did his best to help me pay for her medical bills.

Year 4: I began to write again. We exchanged periods of fearful whimpering, expressing our doubts, fears of judgment, and he revealed an inexperience I had not expected. His issues were effecting his ability to thrive. His past and lack of education on how to cope, his experience as a person of color, and his constant stigmatization based on his body were revealed more fully than even I have managed here, as he tried to figure out how to live. He was being disabled by the confusing messages of the White Patriarch and the painful messages his parents gave that also came from the WP.

Year 5. He began therapy after finding a great doctor. This has encouraged me to try and find a therapist I can trust. (Still looking) Our conversations over the previous year and year 5 evolved rapidly from simple coping skill discussions on to political issues such as Obama’s election, feminist theory, self respect and the influence of where you live on your mind. I discovered Ms Wheelchair USA’s program, and was again encouraged by my friend to enter the competition.

Year 6: We are now in year six, and still we grow. Each day holds new pearls of wisdom, he shapes my future as I shape his just by knowing. He reminds me to try and enjoy the little things, and, often manages to cheer me up even in my bleakest moods. Our future is certain in one way, we are life long friends.

M and I discussed this morning the mistake Obama made, for I discovered it shortly after M’s very own version. We discussed how much ablism runs amok in our world, how it seems so acceptable. Everything can be lame, and if you are offended you are a “tard”.

We discussed the influence of self hatred in his family. Self hatred is something taught in many cultures, especially once the people are conquered. India and their hatred of their own natural colors made me aware of this. I remember sitting in the library, I was very small, and reading about Bollywood. It was newer then, and one actress was being touted for her pale flesh. Confused, I wanted to understand why her being white was more important than her ability to act.

M is Indian. So often our conversations are about body acceptance. He has what I see as an average Indian frame. He is also shaped like my Person. They are both moderately tall, IE average. Both have a good deal of body hair. I find that delicious. Hair should be everywhere. Both have large pectoral muscles. Often the chest of a man, if not flat or followed by a six pack is demeaned, “Oh my gawd he has MAN BOOBS.”

M today related to me tales of being groped because of his chest. He hates himself because the otherness was slammed into his mind again and again. He was assaulted by others in his life, still as an adult this happens, all because his body shape is not flat.

It is times like this, when revelations hit, that I wonder if the media expects us to all become paper dolls, two dimensional cut outs with no personality and the ability to be mass produced. M is my best friend.

Without M, I would never have met my Person. I needed someone like M to come along, to teach me how to trust men. That first year now seems overly long, with conversations that were kept shallow. I was learning to trust. I had never really had the option of trusting someone before M. Everyone else was in my life by the whim of another.

M came along just when I needed him most. I had just broken my back and I was still homeless. He didn’t know that until today,when I asked if I could write this. I am crying when I write again, because I just visualized my world without him.

I would be with the abusive people, trapped alone in my room. I would have no internet, no hope, no Sprite, no wheelchair. I do not think I would be alive. Knowing M opened my life up. He never once did anything to hurt me. When I was afraid, I could turn to him.

I remember the first time I came crying to him. I felt as if I was going to explode. I couldn’t breathe. I was crying and couldn’t stop screaming. I was no longer homeless, but had yet to receive my diagnosis. This was the conversation where I realized he was a friend. I wanted comfort. I wanted someone to trust. I didn’t tell a soul how much I hurt, ever. I told M.

I expected him to tell me how worthless I was for hurting. I expected him to tell me to suck it up. I expected him to tell me how stupid I was for being in pain. Instead he told me this, “It’s okay. You have me and I will be right here. Just cry, do what you have to.” I remember word for word because I held those words in my head and heart for days, I chanted them when each step made me want to puke, I whispered them when I wanted to cry but someone was around. When I cried, those words sometimes made it alright.

I will write about M more often, usually with a tigher focus but first I had to introduce you to him. He is often insecure, he fears being alone, but he never will be. He has me. I love him. He is closer to me than my siblings, he is trusted just as much as my friends who are offline, in some cases more. Without him I would have never let myself date, I never would have found the courage to go back to that first store that discriminated and put them in their place legally. I never felt alone, I knew if I had to vent, cry, or needed a safe space to mourn. I had M.

Every time he comes to me with a bit of pain, I cry for him. Not always literally but I mourn the fact that he hurts. When he forgets to love himself, I do my best to hold up an accurate mirror. M works in the movie industry, he works for a graphics company and they make some of the best modern films happen. He has worked on Batman Movies, he has worked on the Golden Compass. He has dibs on future Academy Awards. M even has movie credits. He fascinates me, he is very unique and I always wish he were here in person.

Even on my bad pain days. M and my Person are the only two in the world I would let see me cry. I hope you find an M. If you have someone like M, then, treasure them. Everyone should be as intelligent, beautiful, and charming as he is. Everyone should be as caring. Everyone should be as willing to learn.

If more people were like M, and many really are a good deal like him, the world would have more equality, more love, and likely no Isms.

Now, just to explain the Agent Double Oh Carrot moniker, that is mine. I play games and one of my online identities is Agent Double Oh Carrot, a rabbit themed super spy. This video is of a 3D program called IMVU (The link is not a referral link, so if you join I get 0 credit. If you are a member feel free to drop me a line, my user name is Anon the Mouse).

I am in the villain’s base, with some of the rabbit themed villains and we are doing the Caramel Dansen. In this game the Villains are turning out to be the good guys.For a HQ variation with some of the same characters, you can check out the video responses.

Isms, Hisms and Hersms

I read a few blogs on the internet circuit, some of them deal with feminism, some deal with racism, some deal with ableism, and others deal with Fatism. Isms of all shapes, sizes, colors, and one for each of us, sometimes two. Someone was having a sale on their isms when our culture was created, tossing them out like sprinkles on a cake. I am tired of isms today.

I have a great doctor. I will recommend her to just about anyone, for in her office there are no isms, just lists of things to get done. I now have an epipen, a referral for the dozens of undiagnosed whats its, and even a new diagnosis. I also was given the option of advocating for breast cancer awareness. The point was made that with my body being as it is, I have become acutely aware of risks and am in the perfect position to teach other disabled women about breast cancer.

I have thankfully never had breast cancer or even felt a strange lump but I do self exams weekly. I know it is recommended that you do monthly examinations, yet, this is not enough for me. I have relatives who have had cancer in all of their parts. Breast, brain, uterine, ovarian, liver, lung, you name it, and it has had cancer. I also have a lot of conditions, including one that effects my skin and therefore hypervigilance is necessary. Beyond this, what has made my doctor decide I am a great advocate? Self adaptation.

My breasts weigh a lot. Not only is the tissue very dense, making them pert and perky despite their size, but, it makes it harder to find lumps once you breach the FF quadrant. I left that a long time ago. I shared with her today my methods for a successful self examination. I have to adapt to the needs of my body and this means I may lay on my side, I may hang upside down, but, I always make certain to feel not just my breasts in a circular and consistent fashion, but my armpits and down my sides a bit.

I am lucky that I have had strong women in my life. I have an aunt who has had stage four Breast Cancer for longer than I have been alive. This woman has fought, and fought and thrives. She does at times worry her family for her life, but, she has dealt with cancer with no break for over twenty five years. In my mind she is the best teacher I can have about why cancer awareness is so important. Without knowing her, I might not have decided to live during one of the bouts with suicidal thoughts that I went through as a teenager. I might not have begun to battle with myself for proper medical care.

I have a lot of diagnosis, the list grows daily, but, my isms are mine. I am a short, fat, white girl in a wheelchair. I am also blessed with very rare breasts, the sort that women have painful surgery to mirror. I have great hair, great eyes (when they see) and a brain. I am facing daily challenges with ableism, fatism, and even some fetishism. Sexism is a consistent battle. I also face the blessings of people who are better than the isms. I face the knowledge given to me by my fellow females, and now I must learn to share.

Take stock of your isms, be you male or female. Take a look at what you are given by station in life, what you have fought for, and, if you have enough to share, reach out and help someone rise above. I will post about my chances to advocate for breast health. I am even going to start getting mammograms, a need I had hoped to put off for at least ten more years, but perhaps I can come up with a way to make them less painful.

This is hardly a new idea, I am merely following in the path of others who have taught me. This is not an area I had ever expected to be asked to advocate in, but, how can I deny the request when I know that even one person may become self aware?

Hidden Abuses in our Culture…

I am far from the only person who has blogged about misogyny. I hope to not be the last. Recently I have become aware of a subtle malignant cancer in our world. I turn on my TV and see a woman in a cast giving various excuses often used by abused women to justify her injury, which came from cleaning too much. I got angry fast. Growing up in an abusive household I could see myself there, I could see my mother there. “I fell down.” Really? You fell down… Then at the end another woman comes up and is wearing an identical cast and points out she was just cleaning.

Oh, let us mock the plight of women trapped in abusive situations fearing for their lives daily. Ha. HA. HA. Very funny. /sarcasm

I am aghast at the horrors that can be made to denigrate women. At Shakesville there is an entire series about disembodied body parts. This is a huge eye opener. I am not just a pair of legs, breasts, or a disembodied mouth opened for the pleasure of man. Really, as a disabled woman I am not sure some of my parts would work in the ways that these “artists” claim they would. Is it art to make a pillow out of a woman’s vulva? Some might say yes, but I disagree.

I would not classify myself as a feminist in many ways, but, as a woman who advocates for her own needs and the needs of others, and takes a special interest in the rights of women and hidden privileged in this society, I am a feminist. I am not sure how else to say it. I do shave my legs, I do like pleasure, and I do not hate all men. I used to, as a psychological reaction to my abuse, but, now I can appreciate their value equally with the values of women.

I am aware that just talking about what goes on in the world here won’t necessarily make a difference, however, it is a start. I can start a discussion. I can perhaps get someone to think. I can perhaps open someone’s eyes so that they can see themselves in a new light.

Not the kind of light a new study talks about. This study is trying to excuse the objectification by men of women. The problem with their result is that these are grown men, and they are already trained by their parents to objectify women. I am not an object. Treat me as one and I do kick back.

For more reading on this subject, you can try these links.

The Disembodied Parts Series at Shakesville

The New Study in more detail at Feministing

Eventually I will try to get a vide of the atrocious commercial.

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