From Romeo and Juliet to “Ass” and “Hole”

I filled in for a high school English teacher one day who had left the following instructions: “Have the students rewrite one of the two scenes from Romeo and Juliet – either the balcony scene or the fight scene – into contemporary English.”

“Okay,” I said to the class, “this can be lots of fun, let’s take a look. Open your books to the fight scene, please, and imagine it: you have these guys raging at each other, and they’ve been doing it for years; they’re going to fight now, and they’re going to fight so hard a couple of them end up stabbed to death. Now instead of shouting ‘A plague o’ both your houses!’, Mercutio would say, if it were today, he’d say maybe ‘Fuck you!’, right? Okay, go ahead, see if you can translate the whole scene.”

The students did indeed have lots of fun. And the principal had hysterics. Read the rest of this entry »

Wedding Leave

I recently discovered that my workplace has ‘wedding leave’: apparently you can get up to three days off—with pay. What the fuck is going on here?

I mean, what’s a wedding? It’s just a big party. Should employees be allowed to have personal parties on company time? I think not.

Oh, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime party. Well, no, Read the rest of this entry »

The Little Birdies?

So I’m out walking today, and as I pass a neighbour tending his bird feeder, I wave.

And the guy calls out to me “I’m feeding some seed to the little birdies!”

The little birdies? What am I, twelve?

No, I’m female. (I have a hard time believing that he would’ve said the same thing to a middle-aged man.)

And (many) men talk to women differently than they do to men. They talk to us like we’re children. Idiot children.

Some sports are just too dangerous

‘Some sports are just too dangerous for women. They might get hurt.’

Oh please. This from the sex that makes beating someone senseless part of the game.

And has its reproductive vitals hanging by a thread at bull’s-eye of the body with nary a half-inch layer of fat for protection. (What’s next in the evolution of the male, a brain growing outside the skull?) (Oops, been there – )

The sex that got the girls’ and boys’ bicycle designs backwards.

And competes on the pommel horse. Voluntarily.

Do I need to point out that women’s musculature is generally more elastic, rendering it less prone to injury? And that women seem to have a better developed survival instinct? We duck. We run the fuck the other way. And we don’t make insupportable claims about our opponent’s sexual preferences or those of her parents.

The Gender of Business

Business is male. Make no mistake. Everything about it smacks of the male mentality.

First, the obsession with competition. You have to be #1, you have to outcompete your competition. So hierarchy, rank, is everything. As is an adversarial attitude. It doesn’t have to be that way. Business could be a huge network of co-operative ventures, each seeking to better the whole. But no, we have to be better than, stronger than, faster than – Read the rest of this entry »

Permitting Abortion and Prohibiting Prenatal Harm

I think abortion should be allowed. And I think prenatal harm (especially that caused by ingesting various legal and illegal substances while pregnant) should not be allowed. Some accuse me of hypocrisy or, more accurately, maintaining a contradictory position: either women have the right to control what happens to their bodies or they don’t. No problem. Women, and men, have that right except when it causes harm to someone else: I can move my arms any way I want except straight into your face.

Ah, you may jump up and down, you said ‘someone else!’ So the fetus is a person! That’s why you’re saying prenatal harm is wrong! So that makes abortion wrong too! You can’t have it both ways!

Yes I can. The fetus can be a person and it may still be okay to abort. Killing in self-defence is permissible; killing in mercy is permissible. So if the pregnancy or birth poses a risk to me, I can kill the fetus. Or if the fetus is discovered to have some awful excruciatingly painful genetic disease, I can kill it. (I should kill it.)

Not only Read the rest of this entry »

To the Morons who wear Make-Up

First, there’s the ageism you’re perpetuating: make-up is intended, to a large degree, to make one look younger. In many respects, younger is better, but in many respects, it isn’t (and anyway, make-up merely gives one the appearance of being younger). True, at some point in time, being old is completely the pits, but hey, that’s life, deal with it – without delusion or deception (or implied insult).

Second, Read the rest of this entry »

Women’s Fiction

I finished a novel by J. D. Robb the other day and also happened to read the back inside cover blurb: “Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred novels. She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. With more than 145 million copies of her books in print and more than sixty-nine New York Times bestsellers to date, Nora Roberts is indisputably the most celebrated and beloved women’s fiction writer today.” Why the qualification women’s fiction? My guess is that with those numbers, she’s a well celebrated and beloved fiction writer, period.

And what exactly is ‘women’s fiction’? Fiction by women? Unlikely. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird would be women’s fiction then. As would be Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Fiction for women? And what’s that, fiction that women are interested in? As if all women are interested in the same things. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s so funny about a man getting pregnant?

I recently read The Fourth Procedure by Stanley Pottinger, in which, during a surgical procedure, a man is given a uterus containing a fertilized egg. He is enraged when he finds out, afraid that if it becomes public knowledge he’ll be a laughingstock. Turns out he’s right. But I don’t get it. What’s so funny about a man getting pregnant?

Is it like laughing at the guy who slips on a banana peel – laughing at another’s adversities? For when pregnancy is unwanted and occurs in a world without abortion, it is certainly an adversity. Forget going to college, forget that career. You’re screwed. (The double meaning of that phrase is no coincidence.) Even if you give the child to someone else, a good year of your life has been derailed. Read the rest of this entry »

The Pill for Men

‘Outrageous!’ That was the word used way back in ’85 in response to the expectation that men take a contraceptive that had a side-effect of reduced sex drive. Hello. Let me tell you about the contraceptive pill for women. Side-effects include headaches, nausea, weight gain, mood changes, yeast infections, loss of vision, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, liver tumours, skin cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and death. Oh, and reduced sex drive. (Thing is, and get this – do not pass go until you do – Read the rest of this entry »