Category Archives: Everything Else

Pants

Every time a stranger looks at me for longer than a glance, I honestly wonder if I am wearing pants. Yes, I seriously. I am thirty-two years old, and I wonder if they’re looking at me because I don’t have on any pants. Luckily, I’ve always had on pants.

Challenging the -isms

The -isms are never easy to talk about. They can be hurtful and embody so much history. Recently with the Ferguson event exposing continued racism in the region, St. Louis County issuing marriage licenses to all individuals, and attacks on women and feminism in various forms, Chris and I wanted to be sure to provide Kari with as much information as possible – and on an 8 year-old appropriate scale regarding feminism, heterosexism, and racism.

Over the past few months, feminism has been firmly on my mind with Senator McCaskill’s investigation into campus sexual assault (and frankly, every one could guess campuses were not honestly reporting incidents) and Gamergate.

More applicable to Kari right now is the topic of Gamergate. She loves video games, and has since a young age. She is certainly not going to ever give up games. She also loved going to PAX in 2013.

Will this change to more inclusive gaming continue, or will there be a divide? Is there a place for women in tech that will not have to be hard fought and never truly won?

Let’s start with a quote from Anita Sarkeesian:

One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences.

Why is it when women report assault or harassment the first thought is skepticism?

Threats to women in tech are not new. Take the 2007 discussion prompted by the threats to Kathy Sierra. She is not the first and will not be the last woman to take a hiatus from the Internet and popular culture due to harassment and death threats. Why is this behavior ok? It’s not, but it is accepted. Why?

Going back to Gamergate, this disagreement about what gamers should be erupted into a division between those for women’s rights and those against. After nearly a month of heated debate, right after Kori was born in September, Chris stopped talking to his good friend of 15 years.  This hurt him terribly. No, not because of the loss so much, but because something so integral to him was ignored. Feminism is such an important part of who my husband is to disavow that part of him is to overlook so much of what makes him amazing. It’s part of his identity. Being married to such a strong, smart woman (uh-hum) and raising 2 daughters, women’s rights are very important to him. However, women’s rights would be equally as important to him if he were raising 2 sons as he would want to make sure they were just in the world.

On a sidenote: I am so proud he was on the list of users Gamergaters Twitter blacklisted. He’s just too equality and social justice for them. I think he’s rather proud of that too.

So many people in the industry are just like Chris. They are standing up for equal rights and uniting against the harassment of women. But there are the others too. There is no reason why anyone should be permitted to threaten another person or diminish their person.

This morning I made the comment that I am glad we are not going to PAX in the next couple years. Chris said he would love to go and challenge the issues. I guess I just think that part of my world is sacred. Video games are my immersive experience and I don’t want the neckbeards to pervade that too.

Interestingly enough, still many people do not think the issues of feminism are valid. Some comment that feminism was created by ugly, angry women and that women should enjoy sexually-charged attention. That particular individual was commenting on the video below.

Unfortunately, the “hello” in this video was not simply a chipper greeting. This is a challenge many women face on the daily: unsolicited sexual advances. Respond, you’re into them. Don’t respond, and you’re a bitch.

My favorite encounter to date (2003):
Guy: Girl, you got kids?
J: No.
Guy: You want some?
J: Not with you.
Guy: Damn, girl. Ain’t nobody gonna marry your bitch ass.

Where was this conversation? Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Another argument many have tried is that women are inviting these advances because of where they go, what they wear, or by not doing more to stop the advances – see comments here (I know, don’t ever read the comments, but what do I do? I read the comments.)

Women should not have to be mindful of their attire, career choice, opinions, etc. to avoid sexual harassment, death threats or other exploitation. Women should receive support and action when situations like these are reported.

I want my girls to feel more like a Samus than a Peach and be embraced by the world for being so.

I’ll leave you with Computer Engineer Barbie, which still has Kari laughing.

K: Hey mom, I still remember that story about that Barbie who needed help doing tech things.
J: Yeah?
K: It was pretty dumb. The guys needing to help her. (she laughs)
J: Yeah, you don’t need anyone to write your code for you, do you?
K: Nope.

 

She’s shady, that one.

Chris and I always knew parenting would bring its joys and challenges. What we didn’t count on was parenting something with Chris’ communication skills, my logic and stubborn squared.

We have met another challenge of parenting, and probably one many parents have dealt with at one time or another. Most recently, Kari has taken to lying and lying by omission.

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Look at those shifty eyes!

There’s been the generic lies about cleaning her room or doing chores. Those aren’t particularly offensive, but her crimes are advancing! Halloween night she lied about dropping the toilet paper in the toilet at her Aunt and Uncle’s house. She left it in the bathtub for a surprise instead of telling someone what happened.

When we see her drop, spill, or break something, we tell her to be more careful next time and to clean it up. She’s never in trouble for accidents as long as she tells someone if she needs help or can fix it on her own.

Unfortunately, she’s taken to avoiding responsibility this year because “it’s boring” or she “forgot”.

The latest infraction was about her hat. Last week at her gifted school, where she only attends one day per week, her hat got ripped. She came home and the first thing out of her mouth was a story about how this other student snatched the hat from her head, ripped it, tossed it back in her face and then the teacher watching recess did not reprimand the student because he said he didn’t do it. Kari also said this student frequently bullied other kids and compared him to an actual little monster at her home school.

I emailed the teacher and the assistant principal. They investigated further yesterday when the kids were back at the school. As it turns out, the student is a shy little guy who is terribly quiet.

What actually happened, you ask? The kids went down a slide, her hat came off, the hat ended up under the student, he pulled it out from under him and handed it back to Kari. It got ripped on the way down the slide or when he pulled it out from under himself – regardless, it was an accident that just happened.

I was so heartbroken when the assistant principal called me yesterday. I had to apologize for my daughter lying. I called Chris. He was mad. I was embarrassed. We both are disappointed.

Kari knows how we react to accidents. She tore her jacket recently on a trip to Lambert’s Cafe on a nail on a playset out front. Honestly, all I said was, “Oh no. Your jacket got ripped. Stay away from that piece of the playset with the nail. I’ll try to sew it when we get home.” That’s it.

All I can fathom is that she thinks she’ll get in trouble for accidents. Well, by lying about it, now she can guarantee she’ll be in trouble!

Frustratingly, she still hasn’t admitted to lying and it using her typically infallible logic for evil:

J: Kari, did you lie about what happened?
K: I think the other student’s story is what actually happened.
J: Did you lie?
K: We just saw what happened differently.
J: KARI!
K: Both stories contain truthful parts.
J: Like what?! Your hat got ripped, [student] was there, and he handed your hat back to you?!
K: And we were in the slide.
J: (insert Charlie Brown angry squiggle)

J:Kari, you know lying is bad, right?
K: Not really. Lying is just words. How can words be bad?

J: Did [student] rip your hat?
K: When he handed it back to me it was ripped.
J: Did he rip your hat?
K: Yes.
J: On purpose?
K: I’m not sure.

Later when Chris got home I told him the recap of all of this. He said she’ll make a great lawyer or politician.

C: (as if politician Kari in a scandal) “I didn’t smoke the cannabis, but the cannabis did enter my airway.”

In all of this, at least Chris and I found some humor. We are still trying to figure out how to handle our little mastermind though.