Atrocities Committed in the Name of Money and Power

While I don’t believe in a supernatural Antichrist or a conspiracy to bring such a being to power on Earth, I certainly do believe that humanity is capable of great evil and has committed great evils for the love of money and power.

While I don’t believe that we have literally been branded by some sort of Satanic number, I do feel that more than ever, certain numbers have power over our lives. We have our social security numbers, and purchases made with our debit or credit cards are tracked. True privacy is something of a myth.

When people are motivated by greed and love of power, terrible things will continue to happen.

~Opal~

Burgers With a Side Order of Misogyny and Microaggressions

dontunderstand

I was having dinner with my mother and my son at Applebee’s tonight. They always keep their televisions on sports channels, which I tend to half watch. Most of the time I see nothing worthy of pondering. Tonight, however, I was left with the bad taste of sexist microaggressions in my mouth.

Carl’s Junior ads have become increasingly sexist. The ad I viewed tonight was pretty well softcore pornography. It was shown on a station such as ESPN during prime time hours.

There are those who would ask me what the big deal is. The ad was suggestive, but the women weren’t actually naked.

The big deal has nothing to do with the degree of nudity involved. In the first place, it is offensive to have women put on display as sex objects in order to sell projects.

One might argue that while this may be true, there’s nothing we can do about it. Sex sells,and there are bigger problems in the world.

It is true that there are problems which are more directly violent and life-threatening. Also, the argument that “sex sells” in cases such as this really translates to misogyny sells. If they were truly promoting their product using “sex sells” as a guide for creating their advertisement, then both men and women wearing scanty clothing and behaving in a sexualized manner would appear in the ad.

Since men never appear in ads such as this one wearing skimpy clothes and behaving in a sexualized manner, the phrase “sex sells” is, in fact, bullshit. Misogyny sells, and its target audience is dudebros.

One might argue that it is mostly men who watch the sports channels, ergo, airing advertisements of this nature does no harm. It may be primarily men who view sports channels. However, advertising of this nature is not without harm.

In the setting I was in, a family restaurant, there will be young children. Little girls viewing advertisements such as this one are learning that this is how women are supposed to look and behave. They are learning that if they do not look like the sexy women in the advertisements they are not “real women.” They are learning that they need to behave in a submissive and sexy fashion in order for men to find them attractive.

Little boys are learning that women are supposed to behave in an overtly sexual manner to please men. They are learning that women are objects used to sell products. They are learning that women are things rather than people.

As well, the idea that sports are only “for the boys” is a harmful one. It creates a notion that women who enjoy sports, either as observers or as participants, don’t matter. Women, if they appear at all, are supposed to be eye candy. They are not to be taken seriously.

Some may say, well, that’s just the way it is. You can’t fight the tide.

Actually, you can. The advertisers want money. Don’t give them what they want. Don’t buy products from any company that uses misogyny to sell said products.

I’m of the opinion that if you can’t sell your product without using the “sex sells” excuse, your product must not be able to stand on its own merit. I don’t want it.

It actually is possible for women to be portrayed as sexy without demeaning them. Compare the problematic Carl’s Junior ad with one of my favorite music videos.

You can find the Carl’s Junior ad here. I am not embedding the ad as I do not want to increase their hits. I’ve used a Do Not Link URL.

Here is the music video.

 Can the women portrayed in the video be perceived as sexy or appealing? Absolutely, but they are also not there only as “eye candy” for the male gaze. They are part of a story. Their presence may be representative of an idea, but they are autonomous beings. One may find them pleasing, but they are not there solely to be pleasing. 

The men in the video can also be perceived as appealing and sexy.

This is the difference between media that has sexual appeal and media that appeals to sexist ideals in order to sell a product.

I don’t expect honesty from advertisers. However, if they were to be honest, they would have to admit that “sex” is not what they’re selling. They’re selling misogyny, using sexed-up, submissive women as objects to promote their products. It’s an outmoded idea that sends a terrible message. Consumers need to stop buying it.

~The Real Cie~

Should Boxing Be Banned?

My mother believes that boxing should be banned. She is right that the head injuries incurred by boxers are troubling and can cause physical and psychological problems down the line. She is right about mafia involvement in boxing. However, I think there are other steps that can be taken rather than banning the sport outright.

Boxing should be cleaned up. Steps should be taken to prevent fighters from incurring head injuries. A new set of criteria should be developed for choosing a winner in a match as opposed to the K.O. Whenever someone is knocked out, they have incurred a head injury. Head injuries are serious business, and the aftereffects can last a lifetime, particularly after multiple head injuries have been incurred.

The general public does not realize just how serious head injuries are. They see people getting knocked over the head on television, and that person gets up a bit later with a headache but is all right. In reality, a head injury is much more serious. There can be lasting aftereffects including dizziness, recurring headaches, seizures, mood swings. Head injuries can even kill.

I believe that boxing is a legitimate sport, but the aspect of head injuries very definitely needs to be addressed. The champion can’t very well enjoy the winnings if they are struggling with post-concussion syndrome for the remainder of their life, or worse, if their life is over because of an ill-fated blow.

~Tempest~

Online Education: An Explanation and a Rant

 

MOOC stands for Massive Online Open Courses.
MOOCs are currently free and taught by instructors at top universities. There is no grade associated with taking the class.
Online education is an extremely important area. I am currently taking the courses necessary to advance from an LPN license to an RN license via online courses through Excelsior College in Albany, New York. I would not be able to do this otherwise, because I’d have to go to school all day and work all night.
Which brings up a beef that I have with the way most nursing programs are run.
Nursing programs overall seem to stuck be in the dark ages. Most of the classes I attended to get my LPN license could have been taken online, but the school didn’t have the funds to pay online instructors. They were lecture classes. The teacher read right out of the textbook.
I was able to obtain my LPN license because there was a part-time school option. The school in my area does not offer a part-time option to obtain the RN license. One would have to go to school full time, which I simply couldn’t do. I don’t have the option to work part time. I do not have a spouse or parents to support me while I go to school. One should not be expected to have such.
As well, I can understand requiring that clinicals be done on a day or evening shift rather than a night shift, because nights tend to be an oddball shift. I should know, I’ve worked night shift for a great part of my working life, and I prefer it.
This one is the fault of the hospitals, not of the college. The hospitals do not offer a day or evening option for clinicals, which I very much think they need to do. Not everyone does well on day shift. Some people, like me, work night shift, and an evening shift clinical would be much less difficult to adapt to.
Medical school is another area that needs to advance out of the dark ages. My brother is an EMS captain in Tucson. He works closely with the staff at the area hospitals. He says that interns are still treated as the “resident’s bitches,” and the hours they work during their clinicals are horrible, i.e. 36 hours at a time without a break.
It seems to me that nursing school and med school remain shitty experiences because the people who came before had shitty experiences, so they want to insure that those following in their footsteps will suffer too. It’s a poor attitude, and it’s time to work to make these experiences positive ones for students. I think people graduating from a more flexible program where they were treated in a humane fashion would be better doctors/nurses.
I realize that people have to have their skills down pat before they can be certified. I’m not saying that nursing and med school programs should be lax about requiring excellence in the necessary areas. I’m only saying they should treat the students with common decency rather than continuing with harsh, outmoded practices.
~The Cheese~
 
Cross-Posted to:

Same Shit Different Day

Initially, I was interested in what this guy had to say. Then he proved himself to be nothing but another boring, fatphobic asshole who believes that “comedy” means encouraging the sheep to laugh at your mean-spirited jokes about people you don’t even know. Gee, that’s never been done. Next!

~Spectra~

Important Questions for the E.U.

He poses some very important questions for the British government and the E.U.

As a U.S. citizen, the main thing I take away from this video is:

“Your government: whatever part of the world you’re in, those in power are more than happy to screw you six ways to Sunday.”

~Helena~

A Lost Art: Exclusionist Fashion Shows

models of all sizes

There is no reason why fashion can’t include bodies of all sizes.

None.

(Image source)

June 3, 2101

A.A.: Hello, Lovelies! Angelique Amour here. It’s time to showcase our fab Ladies Spring Lineup. It’s a new century, and we have new looks to suit every body. With me today is Johnnie Angel to discuss our simply stunning selection.

J.A.: That’s right, Angelique, here our sizzling sextet of beautiful babes is modeling terrific tops in a rainbow of floral shades. Ladies of all sizes and shapes are sure to find a look to please.

A.A.: They look like flowers floating across the stage, Johnnie. (sighs) I just adore these fashion shows! Everyone is able to celebrate not only their inner but their outer beauty. There’s such variety. But just so our audience understands how important this celebration is, I think we need to let people know that this wasn’t always the case.

J.A.: That’s the sad truth, Angelique. Fashion shows used to showcase only very tall, slender models. Why, folk with fuller body types were even ridiculed and scorned. It was a shameful period in fashion’s history, and went on for far too long if you ask me.

A.A.: I don’t know how they could bear working with such constraints. Of course a long, slim body is exquisite for displaying one’s couture. But then again, so is a round, robust body, and every body in between. It’s variety that makes the show, truly.

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Image source

J.A.: Indeed it is, Angelique. Next we have designer Deon Devine’s fun and flirty rainbow cover-ups, which can be worn over a bathing suit or as an eye-catching mini dress all on its own. Of course there are options in all sizes, for the slimmest of the slim to the biggest and boldest.

A.A.: Simply dreamy, Johnnie. You know, I can’t even begin to imagine how dull those fashion shows using only one body type must have been. How could people live with themselves having such dreadful attitudes?

J.A.: I can’t fathom it, Angie. Eating disorders were rampant in those times. Darling, most women hated their bodies and were perpetually dieting. Larger people were scorned and called awful names. It was a disgusting spectacle. I wouldn’t have wanted to live in such a hateful time.

A.A.: I wouldn’t either, Johnnie. At least this is no longer the case. Everybody has a right to live life to the fullest. You can’t do that if you hate your body. Just think, in those times we wouldn’t have been able to become the best of friends in fashion, you a slim vision in your tailored rainbow tux…

J.A.: And you, big and beautiful like a delicious, sequined melon. Darling, I could just eat you up!

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Image Source

A.A.: Oh, Johnnie, you’re such a flatterer! Whatever would I do without you? Oh, here come the swimsuits! Just look at those lines! Selma Sweet has really outdone herself this year!

***********************

This fantasy that should be a reality has been created by The Cheese for a Daily Prompt post on lost arts. I will grant that the pictures I used unfortunately included only Caucasian women. I liked the photos for the fact that they weren’t airbrushed and didn’t include only very thin models.

I am a person who became bulimic at the age of twelve, yo-yo dieted until I was in my mid-forties, hasn’t liked my body since I was a young child, and still struggle with disordered eating. Also, I am simply sick and tired of it being okay for people to make mean spirited remarks and be hateful to others for not fitting into a certain size of clothing or having an appearance that fits a very rigid set of standards. I say enough is enough.

It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs when fashion designers pride themselves on only being able to design clothes for a very narrow segment of the population, and, rather than expanding their repertoire, they snub and ridicule those who don’t have that body type. Creative would be the ability to design beautiful clothing for whatever body was put in front of you, not limiting yourself to only one set of measurements.

Fashion for only one body type needs to be a lost art, yesterday.

~The Cheese Hath Spoken~

Healthcare Crisis

us healthcare crisis

I will use two different videos to illustrate my thoughts on the state of health care for the poor and working classes. I am a medical assistant in a low income clinic. I am not a doctor and I am not an expert. These are simply my thoughts and observations.


This person is evidently not an American. However, the thoughts she is expressing are thoughts expressed by lower income people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with cancer. Chemotherapy is not a guarantee, and the cost is prohibitive for those even in the middle income brackets. A person finds themselves in the situation of having to decide whether it is worth it to incur debt of such magnitude that even if the treatment does help them go into remission in the long term, they may be left unable to pay for the costs of housing. Is it worth it to be given what may only amount to another year or two of life at the risk of leaving oneself and one’s family homeless?

This is a question that no-one should ever have to ask, yet many people have to ask it. One should never have to choose between treatment that could possibly save their life and risking not having a home because the monetary cost is so dear.

Breast cancer still kills, even with treatment. In modern times, it is one of the more treatable cancers, but for lower income women it is often a death sentence because there is no way they can afford to pay for the necessary medical care. This is wrong. Nobody should have to make that choice.


I give the caveat that the above video was made by a right-wing political group. I utilize it because it presents “straight from the horse’s mouth” statements only. I prefer news sources that are politically independent, however, I didn’t have the patience to cherry-pick and this one suited my purposes.

The political right wing in the United States at this point is so extreme that they make their icon Ronald Reagan look like a liberal. This makes it difficult to criticize any of the current administration’s policies or behaviors without risking sounding as if one has an extreme right-wing bias, which I do not. I also do not claim to understand everything that is happening with regards to the changes in health care at this time. I only know that they have been little to no help for the majority of people with whom I have come into contact.

President Obama is only one person. He signed the current bill into law. It can be argued that this is the only way he could get any kind of positive change through. I would be quicker to look to Congress as being the ones at fault for the sorry mess that currently plagues the healthcare system. Obama should not have made sweeping promises such as the ones recorded here. However, he is not the sole person responsible for the negative state of U.S. health care.

I am appalled by the laws which make having insurance mandatory and levy a penalty upon those who do not have insurance. This is not a solution. This benefits only the insurance companies. It is highway robbery, and leaves many people in a worse bind than they were in before.

No small portion of the people who come into the clinic fall into the working poor demographic. They are barely able to keep a roof over their heads and afford food. Those who have illnesses that require medications are often not compliant with their medication regimen. It is not that they are “stupid” or “obstinate.” They are unable to afford the medication, even with insurance. These people get lectures from doctors about the necessity of being compliant to treat their conditions. It is not that they are unwilling, it is that they are unable.

It is not so easy to get on a drug company’s free medication program as some individuals would like everyone to believe. Many people who are barely scraping by “make too much money” to qualify. They also make too much to qualify for housing assistance and food stamp benefits. As for the poor being lazy, it often comes down to a person having to make the choice between working and keeping the benefits which allow them to survive. I see many of the people who have fallen through the cracks in the system or who are at risk of falling through the cracks. They are not lazy or shiftless. They are desperate and distressed.

In my own case, I see the doctor but have not been to the dentist in almost ten years due to the prohibitive cost. I work forty hours a week at eighteen dollars an hour. Most of my income is spent on the modest condominium in which I live. The payment on this place is $900 a month, and I’m “getting off easy.” The going rate on a two bedroom apartment/condo/townhome in the metro area where I live is $1000-$1200 on average. This is almost half of my paycheck.

I cannot afford to live in the city, and the costs of moving are prohibitive. The area where I live is a bedroom community of the major urban area. The mass transit to this community is spotty at best. It doesn’t begin early enough to get me to work on time. Thus, it is necessary for me to have a car. Because my credit is less than stellar, I pay more for insurance every month. If there was ever evidence of a conspiracy to keep the poor poor, factors like this point towards it.

I am a forty year old single mother. Groceries for myself, my 18 year old daughter who graduates high school this year and will be attending community college in the fall, and my sixteen year old son who is a smart and kind young man with psychiatric problems which may make it difficult for him to work in adulthood, use up much of the rest of my income. I will be able to keep my kids on my insurance plan until they are 26, but having them on my insurance raises it by $225 a month. According to others I have spoken to, I’m getting off easy.

My point in sharing my own personal story is that I make well over minimum wage, but am still barely scraping by. A major health crisis could devastate my family and leave us homeless.

Something needs to change drastically, and I do not see steps going in the right direction. All people deserve access to good health care, regardless of ability to pay. It might make the difference in a person being able to lead a productive life. It might even make the difference in a person being able to have a chance at life at all.

Thanks for “hearing” me out.

~Carrie~

Oh, You Average Doll

Interestingly, in spite of the “healthy lifestyle” that has been forced upon me by diabetes, I still can’t get below 300 pounds despite the fact that I exercise for an hour plus a day a bare minimum of four days a week and eat one whole fuckton less than I used to when I had an actual appetite. It pisses me off that although I am physically active (considered a positive thing) and have a reasonably “healthy” diet (also considered a positive thing) I am still considered a horrible, horrible excuse for a human being because my body refuses to adhere to social standards of attractiveness. So, for the record, anyone who adheres to the stupid idea that all fat people are unhealthy, or even that anyone has an obligation to be healthy, can kiss my fat, diabetic, hypothyroid, middle-aged ass.

Fierce, Freethinking Fatties

Fat HealthExerciseEating DisordersFat NewsDiet Talk

The news this week has been abuzz over a young man’s attempt to create an alternative fashion doll to the ultra-popular Barbie, by modeling it on the measurements of an “average” 19-year-old woman, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meet Lammily:

The "Lammily" doll

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