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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
July 2021
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A bird wearing a brown polyester shirt

I’m helping my mom with her psych/child development class, so I’ve been reading a lot about gender issues and gender typing and differences in development and treatment of the different genders. I know growing up we joked with my mom that she was very sexist. She would make my younger brother go out with me, not because it was safer in numbers but because he was a boy. Considering that he’s a year and a half younger and that at 17 and 15 this made a big difference I always thought she was nuts. I love my brother and often didn’t mind taking him along thankfully. Once we got past the annoying boy¬†cootie¬†stage of our lives, I’ve mostly loved having Carl around.

Back onto the topic. Linda and I have talked about when we have children multiple times. We’ve both also got a fair amount of exposure to young children and have experience taking care of children. I know at least once Linda’s made a comment about how she hates it when boys do x, where x is crying or whining or something. I know that feeling. When a little girl does something annoying, it can be fifty times more annoying in a boy. Or vice versa. A girl crying because she tripped and fell mostly makes me want to pick her up, smack her on the butt and say “Stop crying.” A little boy doing that though makes me want to pick him up and cuddle him until he stops. Mostly because boys do it more rarely than girls and boys tend to not even really want the cuddling whereas girls, the second you give them that attention they will just glomp all over you. But I’m wondering if this behavior is trained. I’m reading these papers about studies showing how parents will very subtly and unknowingly reward girls for “submissive” emotion and boys for “disharmonious” emotions.

I would really really REALLY love to know if anyone has any examples of things that annoy them more when a boy does them instead of a girl or vice versa. Not just because it helps with this class, but because now I’m curious whether this is just Linda and I reacting to our admittedly sexist natal cultures or if it’s more widespread.

how close am I

This is HYPOTHETICAL, because while something kinda similar DID happen, what I want to talk about might not be applicable at ALL and I am taking amazing liberties. I know the friend reads this blog sometimes, and so if it’s you and you recognize this conversation but things don’t add up, it’s on purpose.

So I was talking to a friend about her boyfriend and she was saying how she is limited in what she can ask for from him in the romance department. Apparently when she asks for certain signs of affection, he tells her that’s honeymoon phase stuff and they are past it. My response to this is multifaceted: 1) That’s a very dismissive response 2) If you only did something in the honeymoon phase, does that make it fake? If you did it before, and you still care for/love this person, why wouldn’t you oblige them again? 3) If someone loves you, the honeymoon phase doesn’t end. 4… there were more, but I don’t remember them now.

Then I started thinking about 3 some more. I also started thinking about a few people that I love, but that I know that love makes very little impact in their day to day lives. THEN I also started thinking about people that love me, but have very little impact on my life. Finally I realized that Linda, my brain and my sister, had already given me the answer to this. (Holy crap Linda, if it wasn’t you that told me this then correct me? Except that I think you wrote a blog post about it, so I’m pretty sure it was you.)

We all have ways of showing love and we all have needs to be met. If you love someone and the ways that you show love meet their needs then they will feel loved. If someone loves you in ways that meet your needs then you will feel loved. Bear will, even if not very often, randomly pick up my hand and kiss it or kiss me on the head. I do not know why I need my hand or head kissed periodically, but apparently I do because the feeling when he does it is pretty drastic. Possibly I need that more often that I get it, but it’s enough that I don’t notice it in between. But imagine if he never did that. Imagine if his only way of showing me that he loved me was to … give me material things. Now I imagine there are some women out there that would feel like they were the most special and important of women if all their husbands did was give them material gifts. I would feel abandoned and bereft and would probably leave Bear and cry and bitch that he didn’t love me and then I might try and cut his balls off or something. Possibly an overreaction, but still.

So last night, it was like a 2×4 to my head. Maybe it doesn’t matter at all who we love or who loves us. Maybe what matters is whose expressions of love are felt and whose needs are met by our actions. Does the actual emotion matter at all if the ways in which a person expresses that emotion don’t match with the needs of the object of their love?

Clear idealism

G.K. Chesterton in Heretics:

“A modern morality, on the other hand, can only point with absolute conviction to the horrors that follow breaches of law; its only certainty is a certainty of ill. It can only point to imperfection. It has no perfection to point to. But the monk meditating upon Christ of Buddha has in his mind an image of perfect health, a thing of clear colours and clean air. He may contemplate this ideal wholeness and happiness far more than he ought; he may contemplate it to the neglect or exclusion of essential things; he may contemplate it until he has become a dreamer or a driveller but still it is wholeness and happiness that he is contemplating. He may even go mad; but he is going mad for the love of sanity. But the modern student of ethics, even if he remains sane, remains sane from an insane dread of insanity.”

His example a bit later in the same chapter:

“A young man may keep himself from vice by continually thinking of disease. He may keep himself from it also by continually thinking of the Virgin Mary. There may be question about which method is more reasonable, or even about which is the more efficient. But surely there can be no question about which is the more wholesome.”

If Mr Chesterton weren’t so set on Christianity and Catholicism, then I would absolutely agree with what he is saying in these bits. Because of our difference in religion, however, we’d label each other as Heretics. I think I am in love with this book and possibly Mr Chesterton. Bear only needs to not be worried because Mr Chesterton has long been dead.

One last bit:

“But the truth is that the ordinary honest man, whatever vague account he may have given of his feelings, was not either disgusted or even annoyed at the candor of the moderns. What disgusted him, and very justly, was not the presence of a clear realism, but the absence of a clear idealism.”

No jello.

There’s an article that has links and reactions floating all over the interwebs. It’s basically a site for men, who are bemoaning the wussification of the USA. They are specifically talking about how SciFi on the SyFy channel has become dumb. They are blaming that on women. I’m pretty sure they are actually bemoaning a lot more than that and blaming those problems on women as well. I’ve talked with Carl about wussification. There’s this movement where we have to police and coddle everyone in and effort to redress some horrific shit that happens to some. I think a law that forced cracked down on teachers that molested gullible children whose parents weren’t watchful enough is a good thing. The fact that years later this trend means that teachers who follow the laws don’t dare touch their students is bad.

There’s a new FTC guideline that has very strict interpretations of disclosure and harsh penalties small bloggers and reviewers. I was talking with one of my labmates, he’s a really awesome dude (wicked smart, has really odd hours, super laid back and randomly shy), and he said “Well, I’m pretty sure they don’t actually WANT to go after every person that recommends something that was given to them.” I looked at him and said, then why don’t then change the guideliness so that they SAY that instead of having such a broad net. He said I had a point.

Ugh. I’m tired. I have a huge point here that I want to make about how people want to put something down in a code or law to address an inequality or problem or to attract a certain kind of attention or whatever and then it occurs to them, well, if x is good then x+y is better. We shouldn’t just make it incredibly awful for teachers who molest children, we should widen the definition of molestation. Possibly I’m missing the boat. I might come back later and actually put thought and effort into this.