I am a reader. I always have been a reader. But my choice of books was highly restricted. I read everything I was allowed multiple times, even the encyclopedias and dictionaries. But once my options opened when I left their home, I realized that despite the apparent attempts at a good education I was woefully lacking in knowledge, experience, and variety. I began to read a wide variety of books and materials and continue that to this day.
Rarely did I do anything truly deserving of punishment because I had a very clear understanding of the consequence and reward ratio. I felt I had a hard enough time without adding extra issues for limited reward. Of course, that means when I did choose to do something the punishment was fairly pointless because I knew what it would be and chose to act anyway. I had already determined the risk to reward ratio was in my favor.
Conversations were hard because we shared nothing in common other than classes and those were mostly boring and too easy so I didn’t really pay attention. At some point there was always the risk conversation would veer toward my mother and her cancer, which was not something I wanted to discuss. Religious people would imply either that they were praying which was obviously not working or that if she actually had faith she would not be sick. The added issue that she was a test patient because we couldn’t afford treatment much less any extras or luxuries. I absolutely was unwilling to discuss where the food on our table came from because that was a mockery I knew I could not handle. How do you feed 7-10 people on $20 a week, sometimes more, sometimes less? The poor ladies of the church had a list of stores that discarded usable food and mom had an agreement to collect discarded vegetables for the horse. We sorted through the horses vegetables to see what could go on the tale first.
Many times I remember sitting in a parking lot while my mother composed herself or cried in the one place no one could see. After a horrifyingly degrading day trying to meet the needs of the family or accepting charity she would go home to dad’s anger and screaming rants about anything and everything. She would go home to 2 children in constant medical car and her own terrifying medical care. She would go home to the holes in the floor and walls and the car held together by duct ape and wood. She would go home to watch me cower from dad’s anger and my brothers acting out. Failing that we would go to church, where we spent more evening than not to be told how we were all sinners and needed to give more, do more, be more, bring in more people, and earn a place. We went to the church where I was yet again alone and mocked and here knew the question of my families lack of faith and why they were poor and sick would come up. I knew there would be taunts and often physical confrontation. These happened at school but more consistently at the churches.
What I saw from the outside was a cult that manipulated participants to view the world through a filter and with careful blinders. They were trying for the isolation of those in the retreats but in the city so they could better raw more people.
The Bus to Work
Compromise is not always the
answer, often you cannot compromise and move forward. When you continuously compromise with one that is extremely wrong you move gradually closer to that wrong. The person with the destructive plan may have other good concepts and desires, may care for their family and friends, may stand as a beacon in some things. None of that in any way changes a destructive or hateful trait that must not be allowed to dominate a society.
insists there is religious discrimination happening. The interesting point is that none of us knew his religion until he started doing that and we never discuss religion in the office.
what I am reading or by the people around me. One of the books I am reading
right now is A Slip of the Keyboard
by Sir Terry Pratchett. Of the many tangents it inspired, one is how others see
each of us and how we build our views of others. How I see myself is its own
conundrum but reading this book and Finding
Mary Foster brought to mind the many varied ways I am viewed by others,
both those I know and those I do not.
for others, like playing to an audience. Others have a mold or image they
strive to fit into. Unconscious or not most people have an idea or image of what
they should be. Inherently this implies they have an idea what others should be
stories you have about those around you? Clothing is a major social marker and
is the first point of information in many instances. They are an indication in people’s
minds of a person’s sense of style, their social status or standing, their
interests, personal and grooming habits, financial status, origin or home
region, connection a person may have, and sometimes their religion. These
images and indications may be completely inaccurate but they are typically
automatic and impact our interactions. Some people have an image of what other
things imply about a person and their background based on skin color, gender,
hair, eyes, voice, or mannerisms.
different view of me than someone else. I am naturally quiet, introverted,
adaptable, passionate, generally untrusting but very trusting of those I am
close to, compassionate, and interested in learning and growth. I am aware of
some images of me, such as those that find me cold, distant, angry, and harsh.
On the other end you have those that find me open, caring, trustworthy,
compassionate, and quiet. On another range you have those that find me eager to
learn, intelligent, thoughtful, practical, and diligent compared to those that
find me flighty, uninformed, brash, talkative, and uncaring.
in one corner and silent and shy in another what purpose is served by me
worrying about my image? It is of interest though. As a gamer I am accustomed
to roles and displaying an image in short sessions. The idea of being a
different person for different needs is not hard to understand.
people tend to respond differently and treat them differently than the one
entering in shorts or the one in a mini skirt. Their memory of each person
tends to be colored by the clothes as well. Consider, each of those
descriptions gave you an image of someone didn’t it? It was likely more
complete than just the clothes really give you reason to know. Play a game with
me for a minute or two.
showing a person of different origins, social classes, and put both more than
one gender in each role. How does your image change?
different person for each. However, none of these roles define us or are
actually separate. What they define is the view others have of us and maybe how
we contain the needs of our lives. This could bother us or it can inform us. We
can learn to notice our own reactions and stories we build about others.
Perhaps we aspire to be the same in all our roles but perhaps we do not. That
choice is personal and is a point of growth or awareness we may not all be
striving for. But not judging others on a biased view or opinion of minor
and patterns of behavior that are incompatible with our own standards or
beliefs. That one item may be the foundation for a judgment of exclusion. We
should always strive to not base judgment on invariables such as physical
traits, medical issues, orientation, place of origin, or gender. We may be
unlikely to completely remove bias but that does not mean we accept it in
ourselves or others. I have no interest in associating with hate, control,
violence, or divisiveness. These are variable traits and chosen actions and beliefs.
Take each individual of each gender from each story and picture them
demonstrating extremes of emotion and behavior such as hat, kindness,
professionalism, laziness, fear, love, open mindedness, and closed mindedness.
Now, after all that, when I step back and say someone in a tailored suit,
someone in shorts, and someone in a skirt enter the room what is your mental
image? Has it changed? Do you get one image or a series of varied ones? Have
the colors changed?
One thing after another recently raises the question of what do we support and how, along with the question of are we giving tacit consent to things we claim to disagree with. This is part of the can we separate the art from the artist question. The obvious ones are companies acting in ways we disapprove of and illegally, and artists of all types that have done things contrary to a civilized culture. But the question runs into every area of life at this point. I have read numerous articles, discussions, comment threads, and had conversations about the topic and noticed several good points and bad points.
Tacit consent is a touchy subject for many people. Are we consenting when we fail to speak up? What about when we purchase something created by someone that has done the questionable thing? What about when we make excuses? At what point do our words of dissent become lies or manipulation when we refuse to put our money and our actions behind them? At what point are we becoming hypocrites when we chose to prioritize our immediate gratification over our principles? At what point are we proving yourself untrustworthy when we manipulate our religion or political stance to support one thing at the expense of so many others. At what point do we become the monster we can’t see when we refuse to support what is right and what supports a just, equal, peaceful, and healthy society in favor of an ideal or convenience that have overridden our judgment?
Many acts have no place in a civilized society and in a developed nation. these acts have no place in any society, but we have recourse in a society based on laws and culture to stop them when we may not have previously. It is not that the acts have become wrong and were not before, it is that we as a society have grown and learned to have the conversations about consent and equality, about communication and justice. We have opened the discussion to include more peoples and groups and have been forced to face the reality of inappropriate behaviors that we allowed previously. We have expanded the space of equality enough to show the distance we need to go. Science has developed to the point to show the inaccuracy of statements and beliefs previously held as true. Technology has developed to allow greater connectivity and equality. We cannot go backward and close our minds and eyes to what we know.
Future generations will address these and other issues and they will be rooted in the disputes of today. When I learn a better way of thinking and communicating I embrace it and open my mind, I move forward in a new path and let go of the misconceptions that I had. In this same way, when I learn that a person has done things I can not condone then when I move forward I have a choice to either accept those actions as less important that the item the person creates or to forgo that entertainment or need in favor of an alternative that I am willing to support.
Yes, when we put our money toward a name, be it a person or a company, we are supporting their actions and their words. When we buy the ticket to the movies made by a pedophile or known rapist we provide our statement that we are more interested in that 2 hour entertainment than we are in justice and right behavior. When we vote for a political candidate that lies, cheats, and holds other ideals than the laws and constitution of our nation then we are stating that our moral sense is flexible and we will support what is selfish and easy above what is right.
Acceptance of wrong actions such as discrimination, sexual assault, fraud, and violence is counter to living in a society. The questions and answers may not be clear cut and simple but each time we decide we are making a statement of support or dissent. It is up to us which we chose but we must know that others will choose to hold us to that and we must accept the responsibility of our actions.
The population of the world is vast and the popular names of celebrities, artists, and politicians are limited and heavily manipulated by corporations and media so we see these few people as amazing and rare talents, forgetting that millions of others would stand in those shoes if given the chance. Others with talent are not seen or not upheld. We have limited ourselves not been limited by the available sources. Their actions or publicity neither improves nor negates their qualities and skills. However, it does negate their acceptability as a spokesperson and example for future generations.
Should the error of a man that assaults a woman erase his future as a public figure? Let’s rephrase that though. The rape of a person is grounds for baring the rapist from public positions and honor as an example to society. We must be aware that our words can also give tacit consent. When the woman in a coma was raped and gave birth, I saw many people arguing that it was wrong to call it rape because that implies we know what happened. No! If there is no ongoing and clear consent that has not been in any way coerced, then it is rape. Saying otherwise is consenting to allow it to continue.
I buy most of my video games used so the producers rarely see money from me and I rarely have a game anytime near when it is released. However, when I find a game and company I support and want to see supported, I will go out of my way to purchase it new and to support the team I want my money to give consent to. I am not going to discard my old movies and games that have people involved in that have been proven to be rapists unless I find that I can’t watch those movies and enjoy them without thinking about that. However, I will not go to a theater for those people. I will not buy new videos they are in. I will not give my money to their name in future and I will not forget.
Art is part of a person. When I paint, I paint from within me and my life. I paint a person as they are not as the photograph shows them to an extent. I drew someone the other day and they looked very angry. The view was angrier than the picture that was calm. However, the character is an angry and violent character and I subconsciously reflected that. My colors reflect me and what I am seeing in the art I am creating. When I sew a sleep mask it came from a place of need on my part and a desire to share what I saw as a need. The wood burning, I do represents the world around me and how I interact with it. All of art is part of a person. It is an expression of something within and of the artist’s view of what is around them.
Given that, we have yet another reason that our support is consent. If I am an environmentalist but continue to support destructive companies or buy many individually packaged disposable items how can I continue to say I am an environmentalist. Until our money supports the reality that is right there will not be change. Until we insist those around us behave in accordance to equality, justice, peace, environmental support, and social development we are consenting to the opposing actions and beliefs of those around us.
The recent uproar about a Gillette commercial is an excellent example of this part. They simply said to be a better man and stand for what is right, be strong and stand for justice. People that are upset with that have chosen to support a society of discrimination, assault, violence, and bullying because that is, according to their words now what makes a man a man.
The many directors and actors accused of sexual assault, rape, harassment, and manipulation are another example of what we are discussing. When people choose to go to those movies made by these people, they are choosing to put their consent on those people and to say that they do not insist on right behavior only on immediate gratification.
The companies that destroy our waters, violate the laws, abuse their workers, and waste materials are an example of another aspect. When we buy their products we support their choice to destroy the planet, cheat the economy, break the law, exploit the people.
Our money is our first form of consent in most of society today. Our spending habits is where we most directly how what we support and accept. We need to be vocal and active to support the things we believe in but we must also put our actions and money to support the same things.
Weather has halted my bug project and I hope to work on it over my days off next week. In the meantime I have continued the meditation series and I have a side piece I have written…
Forced intimacy – hugs, personal information, consent, and space
I have read several articles recently about forced intimacy from a variety of perspectives. Few of them were rape related or directly related to sexual consent although that is where most people’s minds first go. Instead the conversations were about forced physical contact, emotional contact, information sharing, and other types of intimate coercion. Several things have really struck me in this.
First is that for most of my life there has been the social expectation of many of these forced intimacy and forced consent situations on people. This is really the first time I have seen these discussions seriously entertained and continued not laughed off. While we have huge amounts of progress to be made we have at least gotten to where the discussions can start. For the first time people can say that children should not be forced to accept intimate physical contact and explain why. For the first time people can talk about the difficulties of living in the world as society has built it when they have disabilities hat require assistance or design considerations. For the first time employees like myself can discuss in serious terms with our companies how we can address the accessibility issues onsite and feel people are listening and actively considering the issue not risking our position.
Second is the impact on today’s society of the assumptions made previously. I often hear opponents of many topics say things about what their parents did as examples that it doesn’t cause damage or why it is good. But that very argument shows otherwise. they are demonstrating a lack of compassion and ability to be open to the discussion. They are demonstrating the continuation of the abuse cycle because it is just how they think it should be. They are showing they cannot conceive of a better way or a healthy society that renders these things obsolete. Damage has been done but the alternatives are still in flux and discussion so the issues are not clear to everyone and I don’t see them becoming so anytime soon.
What are people talking about when discussing forced intimacy that is not sexual or not considered sexual by observers? The first article that comes to mind is one that discuses the forcing of little girls to accept hugs and why it is not okay. Forcing them to accept hugs that make them uncomfortable teaches them they have no choice in who touches them, who is physical with them, how physical someone is, how they choose to interact on an interpersonal level. If they have compromised immune systems or are regularly in contact with someone that does then lives can be at risk. If they are highly introverted or have social anxieties then it can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable for them. If the people are subtly doing inappropriate things it is just wrong. I was a little girl and am now a woman that looks younger than I am. Men will often try to force a “friendly” hug on you. Hands stray uncomfortably close to where they have no business, they crush you in close as you cringe and pull away and they laugh.
I am open for hugs and happy to hug many people. I am an introvert but I am also a professional and know that it is an expected part of business and life in the south. But that is the point, I know it is expected that I will smile and pretend to be okay with it and not show that the not quite visibly inappropriate men make me uncomfortable. However, it has changed over the years, there is already improvement. Most guests do not reach in to hug instantly now, they may reach out to shake hands and more than a few actually wait to see what I will do first. So, we are making progress in understanding the issue. Women are more likely to lean in for a hug but are less likely to be as close and crushing about it as some years ago. I think most women expect that any woman is okay with a hug from another woman, which is likely typically true but still I would prefer to have an indication of what people want in their space prior to initiating close contact.
Another point of intimacy is personal facts, feelings, and medical information that people are asked to share. One of the articles discussed places, especially venues, that are only partial accessible and rather than posting details of what their accessibility is and how they accommodate needs, they ask people to tell them what their needs are. Some of those are probably trying to be nice and offer personalized help but that singles people out when it could just be a part of how things are done. It also asks them to share personal information when they should not need to. Beyond that, many places are not fully accessible so guests may be required to rely on other people. So let’s consider how that looks in practice.
When you see a person approaching a door that looks like they need help most people assume the polite thing to do is step up and open it. However, they are likely to prefer you ask “may I help?” first. Also, their needs may dictate how is best to open the door. I tend to open it so that I am behind the door with it between the person and I so that they have all the space and can avoid contact if they prefer. I would never reach my hand out and grab a person without permission. If they look like they need an arm I will ask if they want assistance and offer my arm waiting for them to indicate how is best for them. I learned this from my mother as she grew older and had more medical issues. She often required assistance but she was fiercely independent and had a strong sense of personal space. Recently in learning from friends and reading I have grown to understand even more and to see that even in that, there is assumptions on my part and that it is not my place to assume they need or that I know what they need. If I have the capacity I should ensure ease of access for as many as possible but I cannot assume the personal contact needs of others.
I work at a public garden still in transition, which means our accessibility is at best described as under development. Our founder lives on property, but as he grows older the garden is a challenge even for him and he designed it and built it. Being available to him as needed but not imposing has taught me a lot about how it is different when work space and home space intersect. I am often a buffer for him and help for others to understand the balance he prefers. The expectations of others is changing and they are more likely now to ask his preferences and agree we shouldn’t press him if he is uncomfortable.
I think this brings me back to my basic point. The question is one of comfort levels. If someone is uncomfortable then something is wrong and we have no right to force people into those situations. It isn’t necessary. they do’t need to hug in greeting or enter the home when there is a table and chairs on the porch. There is a growing understanding of the concept of personal choice and active consent.
What I am seeing now is a growing conversation about consent. In a culture that has normalized forced consent in so many areas this is a huge change is is both uncomfortable for many and slow to develop. Many talk about what rape culture means but often you hear a lot less about the details of that, like the casual moments of intimacy that are expected and the level of consent that people are expected to give. It is an interesting and very in depth topic that can branch in hundreds of ways.
I found myself completely unable to focus yesterday. Lunch is typically my time to draw and focus to relax and be more focused in the afternoon, since morning is my best work time for office work. I am unsure why this is true, since I really am not fully awake for some time, and by then my focus is growing flighty. Today, on the other hand has been one of disjointed attention since before the alarm went off. I couldn’t even focus on sleep and was awake early, thus being soundly asleep when the alarm did go off. Driving to work this morning I changed CDs twice, and I listen to NPR most of my ride, it was just not a day for some stories. News is growing repetitive and not only do the same things keep happening; they appear several places in a row each time. Many news stories prompt me to stop and research the topic when I get to work, it is part of why I arrive early; others just make me wonder about humanity, society, and the world.
Rebellions are the name of the day right now in news, that and labor laws. Most of the rebellions in this wave are due to repression, restriction of free gathering and communication, economics, and as always a little religious and race conflict thrown in. What I find curious about this, is the US response regarding many of the situations has been to tell them the repressive rules and restrictions on groups gathering peacefully, communication, free speech, and economic policies must be changed and they must be more humanitarian. This, from a government that has made it illegal to gather in groups, and can arrest anyone, claiming suspicion of terrorism without proof and hold them indefinitely. This from the society that is so concerned with political correctness and a war on terror they attack, ban, or silence anything not in a midline, conciliatory stance, or anything that could be implied as wishing harm on anyone or thing. This from a place that dictates you must carry identification papers everywhere; have vehicular, home, and medical insurance by law; must register where you are with the government and allow them to record every phone call, internet use, or recording of you; that films you in every action down to sitting at a red light. Any act of control can be logically explained to sound necessary, vital, good, and in the name of safety or freedom; but in reality, controls for the sake of safety limit freedom by their very nature. The difference is that Americans will never have those kinds of riots and upheavals, not because they are better off, not saying they are not, just that is not a factor. Americans are a society that wants their convenience, their security, their immediate comfort; anything that disturbs the balance is obviously bad. Besides they cannot agree on anything, and do not insist the government follow their desires, most American’s do not even know most of what the government does inside the US borders or out.
We had large groups go out in protest over foreclosures, joblessness, and economic inequality; but what I heard from people was those were just lazy, dissatisfied, basically worthless people not contributing to society, they needed to be ignored or cleaned up. Because they lost their home or their job, or both they were immediately less than, they became the problem and they were not following procedure. More than that, they were making waves and bringing bad attention. I find this somewhat remarkable; this attitude slipped through in many forms but was extremely common; not always the obvious statement, but often implied or the foundation of what was said. I see and hear comments stating that unemployed are lazy, or that minimum wage workers get less because they do less, have less skills, have less education, basically they are worth less. Consider the reality that many people work where they can get a job since the longer you are out of work; the harder it becomes to get a job. One research project found companies were more than 80% more probable to discard a resume with no callback if the applicant was out of work for more than 6 months, in favor of someone less qualified for the position. More than that, when you have a family to take care of, bills piling up, and are growing increasingly desperate at the pointless education and experience (since that is what it feels like when no one will hire you), then you will take any job that will give you a paycheck. I have known people with master’s degrees that were working minimum wage, or below if they were wait staff, when I met them. Do they have less drive, intelligence, experience, or is it less connections, access, and timing? Maybe they just had a bad time and are trying to start over. Are we in a position to make these judgments on people? I don’t think we are, but I also don’t think a society with that outlook will have a real rebellion or push for change.
People accustomed to comfort and spoon fed information will accept the bones thrown at them if it is through the right channels and marketed well. We are a society addicted to marketing. Understand, my Masters is in Marketing, I studies just how this came about and have considered where it has and will lead us. It dips into everything, even how television is done. Little things like, why run full television series and movies rather than more mini-series (an odd tangent it seems – I warned you). One answer is that unless they can market them like movies or have the reach of a full series, the marketing is lost in the flood and besides, we do not have the practice at moderation. There are other aspects to this, but marketing is a major part in the development, the result, and the future. I see marketing direct everything from clothing to politics, art to sports.
Society seems to have gone backward of how it should function, when you allow marketing to control that much, you are allowing marketing to direct your thought. Politicians spend absurd amounts now in marketing themselves and their agendas, not because they want to fix anything, but because they want the benefits no one admits are there. Why would they spend millions to get something with no benefits? They are career politicians that must be reapproved every few years and never really make any drastic changes because that would rock the boat and they would lose their gig. But marketing makes it all sound good. Marketing directs what people wear, where they eat, what they eat, what they drive, where they live, how they talk, who they vote for, the things they buy, and what they watch. That’s a bit scary, look at how much of what most people do is directed by the practiced and studied art of manipulation employed by marketing people in business, government, non-profit, and media groups. Health industry markets good practices they are currently promoting. Pharm-coms promote drugs and procedures they want to sell. Insurance companies promote needs. Businesses promote products, services, needs, and more. Political entities promote agendas, people, policies, laws, and whatever else they think will help them. Legal entities promote laws, actions, safety, behavior, equipment, and dangers. Marketing teaches you that rather than following the market needs, you create the need that you have the product to fill. Business filled needs, but marketing shapes society to create the needs that make someone money or power.