31 December 2013

"Cultural Differences"

I've been seething about this incident ever since it happened, so I'd like to vent about it here:

One morning at work, my boss was reading off a bit of news to my two co-workers and I about the 8 year old Yemeni girl known as "Rawan" who was sold into marriage by her parents to a 40 year old man. The girl died after suffering severe internal bleeding on her wedding night.

Guy At Work (hereafter known as GAW) just chuckled and said, "Oops." My boss just gave him a dirty look and said, "I'm gonna come over there and smack you." He looked around at the three of us, got only more dirty looks, and then tried to save himself: "You have to understand that their culture is extremely different from ours. That's normal over there." I was too angry to say anything.

First of all, he could have shown some sympathy. This girl was brutally raped and died from the resulting injuries. Even an "Aw, that's sad" would have been better than a laugh and an "Oops," like it was a comical mistake that could have happened to anyone.

Second of all, just because child marriage might be socially acceptable in other countries, does not mean that it is any less of a human rights violation. This poor girl's parents sold her to a 40 year old man to be used as a sex slave, AKA a wife. That is not acceptable, no matter what backwards ass culture you live in. Condoning that kind of social norm in any part of the world only allows it to continue. Women will always been seen as lesser beings, or as property or objects, until we are allowed to decide what happens to our own bodies.

How many more girls have to die this way until people wake up?

27 December 2013

Depression and Communication

When you have depression, you can feel very isolated and alone. Talking with other people helps, but holding a conversation can be very difficult.

For example, when they ask, "How's it going?". You want to respond, "Lousy," or "shitty," or "Well, I'm not dead" because that pretty much sums it up. But then they want to ask you what's wrong, and you really don't want to get into it, or you don't even know how to explain what's wrong with you. So you respond with a "Good" or a "Fine," both of which are lies, and they really don't mean anything. Communication failure.

Or they ask, "How's your family doing?" Now, you don't talk to most of your family, and some of them you actively hate, and the rest are in and out of the hospital or just as depressed as you are. You don't want to talk about it, and they don't want to hear about it. So, of course, you say they're doing "Fine."

Or maybe they ask, "How's your job?" and you want to reply, "Same shit, different day," or "It sucks." But you know they don't want to hear you complain about your job; no one wants to hear the constant stream of negative thoughts running through your head. So you tell them the job is "Okay" or that you're just glad that you have a job in this shitty economy.

It doesn't work. While you're busy trying not to say all the negative things that you're thinking and only saying one or two words, you clearly can't keep up your end of the conversation. Sometimes you forget to ask them the same questions, and then there's a lull.

When you go through this process enough times, you don't want to do it anymore. You avoid people and isolate yourself even more, which - surprise! - increases your depression.

I think Allie at Hyperbole and a Half understands:

20 December 2013

Fetuses and Doggies and Protesters, Oh My...

I know I shouldn't care about what other people think, but sometimes I have to consider how I present myself and my beliefs, and/or how it reflects on my job.

Let me explain.

If you know anything about me, you know that I'm an outspoken supporter of women's rights and reproductive rights--including abortion. My bumper stickers include a picture of a uterus with the word "Mine," a rainbow that says "If the fetus you save is gay, will you still support its rights?"* and a pink "I Stand With Planned Parenthood."

I also support organizations that rescue homeless and abused animals. I rescued my dog from the Humane Society, and I give money and resources to the local shelters. However, I do not have any SPCA or "Rescue" bumper stickers on my car. I am hesitant to even put a generic dog related sticker on my car.

It's not that I don't feel strongly about saving animals who are homeless or living in abusive situations. It's that I don't want people to think that I care more about animals than I care about "babies," aka fetuses. I can just see one of our protesters taking a picture of the offending bumper stickers and posting it around the internet as "proof" of how terrible Planned Parenthood is: how we don't care about killing "babies" but we care about the poor, homeless dogs.

These are just the things I think about when I'm bored at work.

*This is what my boyfriend calls the "Obligatory Inflammatory Bumper Sticker." I call it calling out the twisted logic of conservatives.