Monday, January 11, 2010

Fembot Attack!

Consider the following bit of dialog:

Me: I worked as a waiter for a while.
Someone else: Don't you mean waitress?

No, actually, I do mean waiter. I also mean actor, not actress, when I talk about the merits (or demerits) of Rachel McAdams or Merill Streep. And I'll be damned if I'm going to bother with "he/she" in any kind of paper or essay when "he" suffices quite brilliantly.

There's a small feminist voice in the corner of the room now raving and stamping her feet. She's going on about patriarchal language and how it's keeping the WOman down. By using the masculine form of a word to mean either sex, I'm valuing the masculine over the feminine. I'm not only playing into the oppression inherent in the system, I am making it worse. How can I call myself a forward thinking woman and make such linguistic choices.

I'll tell you.

The way I see it, using the masculine version of a term is actually a kind of linguistic castration. Using "waiter" to mean both men and women who wait tables makes the term a-sexual. Once that is done, there still exists a term for a woman, but no separate term for a man. It basically cuts off man's linguistic phallus and renders him without sex. Eat that Sigmund Freud!

Moreover, because there still exists a feminine term once we de-sexualize the masculine term, we solve the problem of woman being defined by what she doesn't have. Suddenly woman is not that-which-lacks-a-penis, she has her own term and her own section of language that man is not privilege to.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009: Year in Review

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men! I had great intentions to bring you a great blog post looking back at the decade. I also meant to get to this post earlier. It's my traditional look back a the year that is best done on New Year's Day or close to. Well, it's almost a week later and I'm just now getting to it.

I guess I just haven't been motivated to blog.

Anyway, 2009 was not my favorite year. Like anything, it wasn't all bad nor all good. I do feel like this year the bad may have outweighed the good. But I may change my mind. Let's look at the good, the bad, the ugly and the pretty of 2009, shall we?

The Bad (I like to start with the negative and then end on a high note):

  • I moved back in with my parents. Yes, I did it for good reasons, and it's not really a bad place to be. Still, it feels like a complete step backwards.
  • Rather than completely getting out of debt and saving money, I ran out of money and then some. That's a big part of why I'm back with my parents. I'd like to blame it on the lack of available hours at work or any number of other things. Don't worry, as a human being, I've very good at deflecting blame away from myself. Ultimately there are a lot of things I could have done differently. I'm working on improving the situation, but I'm so broke right now it's not even funny. And I've been that way for a good chunk of the year.
  • I'm still subbing. I need a merit job at one library. This one is really not my fault.
  • I had to kill my kitty. She was old an sick, and it was the humane thing to do. But she was my baby. That was a very, very sad day.
  • My social life kind of fell apart. I think between being broke (which really limits my ability to go out and do things with people) and being busy with school, I managed to neglect some very important friendships. It's kind of hard to put my finger on it exactly. I just feel somewhat dissatisfied with the way things have gone with some of my friends.

The Ugly:

The Pretty:

The Good:

  • Obama was elected. Sure, this isn't particularly personal, but I think it's a great thing. Granted, he hasn't fixed everything, in fact, he hasn't really fixed much at all. I'm still optimistic about his presidency.
  • I got my head back in the game as far as school goes. Last semester, going full time, I actually did quite well. I feel a new confidence about school. More than that, graduation is in sight! That's a little scary, but also a lot awesome.
  • This March marked the 5 year aniversary of my Wegener's being in full remission. I wanted to have a big celebratory party, but didn't. I don't see why I can't do it any time. Even without a party, 5 years is nothing to sneeze at. Here's hoping I can go another 5!
  • I learned to tango
  • Seattle. MLS Cup Game. Real Salt Lake. 'nough said.

So I guess they're really about even. Maybe 2009 was just disappointing because I expected a lot of it. 2008 was pretty fab, and I wanted the trend to continue. Let's take a look at the goals (not resolutions) I had for the year:

Things to do in 2009:
1. Get a merit position at one of the libraries
2. Get back into hardcore biking shape, and stay there!
3. Improve my lindy. I'd like to get to the point where I feel comfortable seriously entering a contest.
4. Put my monies in order enough that I can afford a place by myself
5. Write regularly and often. Not blog writing or journal writing but Writing writing.
6. Get swing club running and fabulous.

Things to NOT do in 2009:
1. Drink soda
2. Date douchewads (it was a good goal)
3. Go on a mass murdering tour de world (also a good goal, might as well carry it over)
4. Fail at school

Well, the things I meant to do, I didn't really get done. I didn't get a merit position (there haven't been any to get). I totally dropped the ball on biking. The biggest ride I did was 60-some-odd miles. For most people, that wouldn't be too bad, but compared to the epic rides I've done in the past, it's pretty pathetic. I think my lindy has improved, and in August I did enter a Jack and Jill contest. I didn't do very well, but I was way out of my league. I feel pretty good about that one. My monies are far from in order. I haven't written much at all. I did write some for my poetry class, but found it so completely un-inspiring that I hardly did any writing besides assignments. More than that, I didn't blog much or write in my journal. Swing club is... somewhat improved. I have my frustrations about it. There's still a lot that could be done, but I haven't really had the time to do much with it.

I did much better with the things I wanted to Not do. I didn't completely give up soda, but I cut back a lot. I didn't date any douchewads. Of course, I didn't really date anyone at all. I think maybe I should work on that. I didn't murder anyone. I didn't fail at school. So... not bad on that front.

All in all, I guess last year wasn't bad. Nor was it great. It was just a year. Really, what more can you expect? Not every year can be fabulous and at least it wasn't terrible. Maybe it had to be mediocre so that 2010 can be really neat by comparison.

The only thing left for me to do with this post is to set new goals (still not resolutions, because no one ever keeps their resolutions) for this year. Sort of an unofficial goal, I think, will be to actually try to accomplish my goals. I think last year I sort of considered just setting the goals as good enough. I didn't really make a huge effort to keep any of them. This year I want to actually take these seriously and get things done.

Things to DO in 2010:
1. Train for and ride the ULCER
2. Pay off my debt and start saving money
3. Get a merit position at one of the libraries (this year it might actually be possible) OR get another job with benefits
4. Strengthen those friendship that are most important to me.
5. Date someone in a somewhat serious sort of way*

Things to NOT DO in 2010:
1. Fail at school
2. Commit vehicular homocide
3. Build a giant lazer and use it to attempt a global takeover.

*I acknowledge that this may be a difficult goal to acheive. I've been single for a long time. I think I'm ready to try the relationship thing again... emotionally anyway. I grant that living at home with debt up to my eyeballs is not an ideal scenario for starting any romantic endeavor. On the other hand, there's never really a perfect time to start a relationship and if I keep waiting for it I'm going to stay single forever. I don't want to go out with someone just for the sake of dating someone. If I'm going to have a relationship, I want it to be worthwile. I'm not going to force anything, but I also don't want to be completely passive about my love life anymore. Why not go out and try to meet someone? I'm just going to change my tactics a little and see what happens.