Posts Tagged ‘harassment’

I didn’t want to get involved in the whole “Ophelia Benson reveals her TERFy self” nonsense, given how it’s hurt and tore through my friends lists.

I really didn’t.

The current flap has been dutifly and wonderfully documented by some fine folks and former colleagues of hers, here, here, here, and here.  I’m with them.  “Correcting” an abortion provider for using more inclusive language is shitty, petty, and downright trolly.  So that’s handled and I don’t have to go in about it. Thanks, y’all.

But I AM gonna mention the fucked up comparison of inclusive language to “All Lives Matter”.

What the fuck?

Seriously, what the fuck?

If this wasn’t the most White Feministy of White Feminist (TM) nonsense, I’d eat my hat.  As soon as I get a hat.

This isn’t the first time a white person has tried to invoke BLM/ALM for some other bullshit, but damnit, it’s getting tiring.  You can’t compare a movement about black people being shot, beaten, killed in the streets by cops to whatever bullshit bugbear that’s bothering you.  You can’t.  Because it’s comparing apples to a fucking grenade with the pin pulled. Stop it.

It’s not the same, it’s not remotely the same, and it reminds me why I’m always wary of white feminists who seem to forget that whole “intersectionality” thing. You’re not on my side.  I don’t want you on my side.  Our struggle isn’t fodder for your bullshit.

(Mod Mistress Note: We’re not rehashing any old arguments about “who/what/when/where/why is a TERF or whatever “here. Try it and watch your comment not even make it through modding, kay?)

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I’m going to be late for my doctor’s appointment messing around with this nonsense, but this was too good to pass up, y’all.

It’s another one of those “Feminace Rips Apart Some BS Pro-Life Screed”, but this has a special twist – I’m “supporting” local talent.  Yes, cats and kittens, a friend shared a screed, and I read it and recognized the names as being two of THE WORST of our protesters.

It’s a how-to guide about responding to the myriad objections people give when these fuckers start harassing them, and since I’m not allowed to engage while in the vest and on the sidewalk, I’m not going to let this opportunity pass me by.  Oh no.

First, just read this shit.  It’s short, don’t worry. Don’t read while driving, or drinking anything or eating anything less you choke or spill or crash.  Got it?  Good.

Where do we even start?

You can see, pretty clearly (and I’ve heard, pretty clearly), that harassment IS the name of the game.  They have responses for “objections” like:

“Back off! Get lost! Leave me alone!”

“Quit harassing us, this is hard enough already!”

“I’m just here for birth control.”

“I’m not even pregnant.”

“I’ve already made my decision.”

“Leave us alone or I’m calling the police.”

…with everything BUT backing the fuck off and respecting the speaker’s right to be left alone. This is what they train others to do as well.  Keep talking, never shut up, respect, what respect?

There’s also a great deal of gaslighting (that is: creating doubt to the point that your victims cannot trust their own judgement) in some of these responses as well. Check this shit out:

“Back off! Get lost! Leave me alone!”

“Your anger is misdirected. You are angry that you are in a bad situation, but we can help you.”

“Adoption? You think I’m going to carry this baby for nine months and then just give it away!?”

“That’s okay; how can we help you KEEP your baby?”

“I’m just here for birth control.”

“Sometimes people tell us they’re here for something else when they’re really here for an abortion. You can be honest with me. God knows the truth anyway.”

Gaslighting is a pretty insidious tactic, commonly used by abusers to keep their victims always guessing and dependent on abuser’s guidance.  And the fine folks at Pro-Life Action Ministries openly advocate this tactic of treating patients as if they themselves have not the fuck clue what they want.  That they actually want what the protesters want.  Always.  Such respect, Wow.

Then there’s outright WTFery, stuff that when I’ve heard it, made me stop in my tracks for a moment:

“You don’t need to listen to them, they are just protesters.” (from an abortion escort or worker)

“I am not a ‘protester,’ I am a ‘protector,’ a ‘protector of women and their unborn children.’”

Sure thing, sweetheart.  You pass out lit, harass every person who walks by, and wave signs.  Nope, not the actions of a protester.  Not at all.

“It’s too late. I’ve already started the abortion.”

“There’s a good chance your baby is still alive and is healthy! Babies have survived (the abortion pill or the first part of a late-abortion). Let’s call a doctor who can help you right now.”

…nice advice from people who are not medically trained. And the ‘reversal’ they’re currently trying to hype hasn’t been tested enough to be considered a mainstream procedure. Note that the only state that tried to make mentioning it a requirement had its law put on hold, with opponents stating pretty much what I just fucking said. I dunno about you, but I wouldn’t trust a bunch of non-doctors recommending any sort of medical treatment with a fuckton of evidence.

“I could die if I have this baby.”

“If that’s really the reason you’re having an abortion, let’s get you to a pro-life doctor who cares about BOTH you and your baby. Besides, this abortion could hurt you; women have even died from abortions.”

We have had a women collapse in tears in the lobby after being badgered with this shit.  Her fetus was not viable.  A doctor already told her that.  This isn’t just WTFery, it’s cruelty.

“Will you just shut up?” (from a boyfriend outside smoking)

“Okay, I’ll stop talking if you take and read this information and pass it on to your girlfriend. Otherwise, I need to tell you the truth about abortion and how we can help you and your girlfriend and your baby.”

“I will cease harassing you if you do what I tell you to do.”  Yup, that’s not harassment at all.

And now, I’ve had people ask, repeatedly, when I share my stories from the sidewalk “Why don’t the patients call the cops/mace or throw water or even punch a protester? That’s what *I* would do.”  And the fact that I have to explain this answer rankles me…sometimes.  So, here goes.

Let’s say a patient does call the cops for harassment.  That means the patients has to come out of the doctor’s office to talk to said cop and point out who exactly did it.  Now, remember, when it comes to abortions, time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the more costly and complicated the procedure will be.  So, they might miss their appointment window and have to reschedule and frankly, it wouldn’t be worth it to me. Also, now they have/know my name and address if I press charges, because police report.

And what if someone offs and slaps the shit out of a protester?  Oh boy, they can martyr that shit right up.  They can call the cops, the assailant is compelled to come down, and in some cases, the poor hurt protester won’t press charges if the patient just “talks to them”.

See the problem?

And of course, others are proud to inform me that they would happily shut these guys down with the application of either harsh words or increased volume or both.  Trust me, wanna-be warriors, you’d only be wasting your precious vocal chords.  If large angry male companions and loud angry female companions and upset, crying, screaming patients of all sorts don’t faze these assholes, you don’t stand a chance.  Not one.  See this article?  They are trained to be relentless.  Each harsh word is like getting nailed up right next to Jesus, for the unrighteous hating on you is supposed to be a sign of being a good child of God and doing something right, or something.

What CAN you do?  Volunteer.  Escort (it’s really not very difficult. I do not have Job’s patience, but I manage it at least once a week).  Donate money to abortion funds.  Bother your Congresscritters for better harassment laws that don’t put the entire onus on the harassed to make a complaint.

It’s not very sexy, but a lot more effective.

Also, #shutupann

Blogmaster’s Note: This’ll be a long one, but worth it.  Also, if you come up with some some anti-choice argument BS, have your shit recent and accurate, or you WILL be shown the door.

Wow, when this piece of dreck popped up in a private FB group for escorts, it was universally panned.  I don’t tend to link to the sentient bullshit machine that is LifeSiteNews, but for this opportunity, I made an exception.  So I clicked and read this oh so special letter to us Clinic Escorts.

And the moment the page load, I’m assaulted by an autoplay pledge plea (I know I have Flashblock, so what the fuck?) of two twin douchebags who I’d never heard of, one of which introduces them as “I’m David Benham and this is my twin sister Jason.”

Mmm-mmm, that’s some tasty transphobic humor right there.

Anyway, they apparently lost some house-flipping show on HGTV because they opened their yaps and let the anti-gay, anti-choice out.  Insert commentary about how free speech is actually supposed to work here.

NothingofValue

Well, I was in a mood after pausing that crap video, so let’s get to the actual letter, shall we?

Dear Clinic Escort,

Hi there!

Today I saw you, with your bright orange vest emblazoned with ESCORT on the front and back. You refused to make eye contact with me.

Actually our vests (provided by the awesome folks at The Clinic Vest project) are eye melting yellow, but okay.  And as for ‘eye contact’? We become masters at the Thousand Yard Stare to ignore you and your repetitive and WRONG nonsense.  We’re escorts, not counterprotesters. You’re not owed an audience just because you think you have something important to say.  Not from strangers, not from patients, and certainly not from escorts.  Deal.

I saw your gritty determination as you grabbed arms with that young woman and whispered in her ear, “Ignore them,” you said, “Don’t look at them, they are here to intimidate you, to scare you. I’ll keep you safe, don’t worry.” You walked quickly, head up, steel in your eyes, never letting up your grip on her arm. Her head was down, following your lead, mutely keeping up with your fast trot to the abortionist.

We walk with patients who are terrified and angry at the horde of people who can’t take “no” for an answer, who surround cars and try to shove their crap into the windows. Congrats, you have accurately described our job (though we do tend to not touch the patients unless asked where I am because we believe in strange concepts like “respecting a person’s space”). Pity that will probably be the last accurate thing you will say in this entire ‘letter’.

You ushered her in through the doors and soon emerged, alone, smiling at us triumphantly, a glimmer of malice in your eye, a smirk of arrogance and joy at having bested us – another woman you saved from the anti-choice fanatics. You rejoin the other escorts, laughing and joking, until the next car pulls up, and your face resumes the mask of the militant soldier, ready to do battle for women’s reproductive rights.

Malice.  Militant soldiers. “Another woman saved…”

Oh god.  Hold up, I gotta stop laughing for a minute.  Making up your own interpretation of shit is something anti-choicers are really good at, I’ve noticed.  “Pro-life fanfiction”, I’ve heard it called. That’s not malice, it’s pride at helping patients enter with some dignity. We’re not “militant soldiers”, we’re volunteers done with your shit. They weren’t ‘saved’ from you.  They arrived at their appointments on time with as little harassment as possible. You’re turning it into some weird competition where there is none. But hey, whatever it takes to keep up that martyr complex. It’s just what Jesus would have done.  Or something.

As I watched you I wondered, have you ever been inside the clinic?

Nope.  They never let us inside the clinic.  They just hand out the vests and send us to work.

Oh wait, that’s complete bullshit.  Of course we’ve been inside the clinic.  The inside of the clinic where I escort looks like every other doctor’s office I’ve been in.  Clean, professional.  Only more purple. No charnel house look here.

Have you ever been in the waiting room, filled with the silence of trepidation and fear? Have you listened to the stifled tears?

A some escorts have either had abortions, or have been a companion to someone who has.  We even had a transgendered man volunteer who had one. I know you’re going for this “we don’t know what we do” angle, but we do.  We really do.

And trepidation and fear (and yes, tears) are natural reactions to a surgical procedure.  I felt that before my extensive dental surgery.  I did before my first endoscopy. Some people even feel it before giving birth. It’s natural.  Doesn’t make what’s about to happen wrong.

Have you ever been in the counseling room? This place, where instead of asking questions and listening, the worker masks the truth, or outright lies about the third life in the room, the life growing inside the woman’s womb?

I’m not a counselor, and we fill out patient privacy forms , so my answer will have to be no.  As for the information given, I think you may be confusing that with a CPC. From what people who have had abortions and actual counselors and doulas have shared (and the documentaries I’ve watched, After Tiller and 12th and Delaware), counselors, you know, counsel.  It’s their job to listen.  It’s their job to give ALL of the options.  And if a patient decides to only have an ultrasound, or changes their mind, it’s okay.  No one’s keeping patients trapped until they decide they way ‘we’ want, as CPCs are reported to do. That’s what choice means. Do you get it?

Probably not.

Have you seen her sad and scared eyes?

Yes. Badgering a patient outside of the clinic will do that.

Have you asked her why she is there?

I’m not a counselor, and neither are you. I swear, we get antis, who can’t take ‘no’ and ‘leave me alone’ for an answer, asking this question to complete strangers like they’re owed that answer. This might seem really strange to you, so I’ll put it bold so you get it: It’s none of our business. Not yours, not mine.  That is between the patient, the counselor, and the doctor. And maybe, if the patient is a believer, their relationship with a god.  Not yours.

That said, I have actually had patients, after we get them inside and away from your shit, volunteer that information.  And while you might deem all of these reasons not good enough for you, they are so damned no concern of mine.

I don’t give half a crap why a patient is there. It’s none of my business.

Do you know if she is being pressured or forced into this abortion, if she is safe at home…all the questions she won’t be asked inside the clinic? Does she know about all of the help available to her if she keeps the baby? Does she know how many couples would love to adopt her baby?

Wow.

Just, wow.

bitchyoutriedit

You do know that 9th Commandment is YOUR law to follow right?  The one about “not bearing false witness”?  That’s so much bearing of false witness I’m surprised your back isn’t broken from the strain. Counselors ASK these questions.  They provide help if the patients change their mind.  I’ve seen the brochures with my own eyes. And even if they change their mind, that’s not a victory for YOU, it’s a victory for the concept of CHOICE.

And seriously, adoption isn’t the opposite of abortion. This may shock you, but some people aren’t interested in continuing a pregnancy they don’t want. Fucking deal.

Yes, I know, I’m using filthy words now. That’s what I do when I’m pissed at disingenuous liars. And it’s only gonna get worse.

My dear Clinic Escort, have you been there for the ultrasound, where you can see the fully formed baby kicking its arms and legs? Have you heard the worker tell her it is just a bunch of cells? A blob? A product of conception?

You’re asking me if I’ve seen ultrasounds before?  Why yes.  From parents happily expecting, and from people who have decided on abortion.  The majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester – too tiny to have those kicking arm and legs.  And even if we’re talking second trimester, why does that matter? If someone doesn’t want to continue a pregnancy, they get to not continue a pregnancy.

Have you been with her, holding her hand as she screams in pain, ignored by a doctor who doesn’t even know her name?Have you heard the suction machine, watch as the blood, tissue, and body parts flow from her body into a cold jar? Have you heard the sound of the currette scraping her uterus? Have you seen the body parts – an arm, a leg, a piece of a rib cage, poured into a baggie as though it were scraps of meat?

Christ, are you getting off on this nonsense? While anesthetic affects people differently, they still get it. And yes, thanks to brave people who record and report their own procedures, we get to see how the shit works, sans your overdramatic overdescriptions.

Also, are you sure you’re still talking to us “dear Clinic Escorts”? We don’t go into the procedure rooms during procedures. We don’t go into the counselling rooms during counseling. And if we’re curious, we can ASK.  We can research.  I did an entire talk as a layman to other laymen about basic abortion procedures.  So, yeah, keep on with the drama, you can’t fool me.

Have you sat with her in the recovery room as she stares off into space, desperate to get away from this place so she never has to think of it again?

We’re not doulas or patient advocates, so no. But, since I’ve been trained as an abortion doula, by people who have been doing it for a while, I’m more willing to trust their word on the reactions in the recovery room.  Sometimes, there’s tears.  Sometimes, there’s vomiting, because anesthesia.  Most time, it’s relief.

Don’t believe me? Look up some positive abortion stories.  I’m Not Sorry has been running since 2004.

Have you been with her through the depression and the anxiety that plague her after the abortion? The breakup of her relationship? Have you helped her through her drug addiction, her binge drinking? Have you been there when she is unable to bond with her children? When her marriage falls apart? Will you be there when she attempts suicide? Will you be at her funeral when she succeeds?

LiaraFuckThis

I…I can’t even with this bullshit, but damnit, I’m gonna try.

Firstly, as someone who struggles with depression and the like, go fuck yourself.  It’s people like you who KEEP people with these issues from speaking up, unless they’re willing to join your guilt parade.  Yes, some people emotionally react poorly to having an abortion.  Most (and you can look that shit up yourself) don’t.

Secondly, go fuck yourself, because if this theoretical woman did all of these things, your sanctimonious ass wouldn’t be at that funeral either.

Thirdly, there are support for people going through issues after an abortion that don’t involve the guilt trip.  Backline and Exhale.  Look them up, and go fuck yourself.

Fourthly, and most importantly, GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Dear Clinic Escort, look into my eyes.

*flips both birds*

vtLap8s

They have seen things you could never imagine. Things that have made me scream in the middle of the night. Things that are never discussed in the intellectualized, feminist world of abortion rights.

Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions.

Because while you see a job well done when you usher her through those doors, her nightmare is just beginning.

Did I mention the going and fucking yourself?  Because you can go do that now.

But before you do, I asked a few fellow escorts to chime in on your bullshit.

Nick V:

WTF is this nonsense? I know our counsellors DO ask those questions. I know our clinic would never ‘encourage’ a women who was unsure to just go ahead and have an abortion. Heck we saved women from boyfriends that were trying to force them to have one. This is horseshit.

Rivka:

I don’t give a rats ass what decision she makes. I don’t have a personal investment if if she stops to talk with you. I don’t get personal satisfaction from people choosing to have an abortion. I am there to let people access health care. I have never grabbed a patient. I have never smirked walking out. I chat with patients. Hell, I sometimes say half my job is keeping the antis from getting punched. Why in the world would you think I *care* how many people have abortions? I don’t care. I just want them to have *access*. It’s not a game where you win or I win.

And yes, I’ve been in the waiting room. I see women who are tired, women who are reading a book, women who are chatting. I have had women tell us that they feel better, I’ve had plenty of women thank me for making the trip to get health care a little less scary for them.

And yes, I’ve gone with a friend when she needed support. For her it was a hard decision. It’s one she has very mixed feelings about, but she’s still sure she made the decision that was right for her. And I stood with her and let her work through that. I didn’t tell her what to do, and I would have supported her whatever she choose.

This isn’t a game where you get saves and I get abortions. My only interest is in those women being able to access healthcare without fear.

Pat C:

One lie that gets me is the, “Ask them to show you the ultrasound. They don’t want you to know the truth,” The clinic will not only show it to you if you ask, they will print a photo for you if you want.

AND

Since I transport many clients home after their procedure, this is not true. All of them say the staff are kind, compassionate and keep asking them if they are in pain. They will stop the procedure if needed to comfort the patient and reapply a local if necessary.

Huxley M:

One: some clinic clients are nervous. They’re typically nervous because they’re about to have a medical procedure, which is worth getting tense about. They’re also typically nervous about the protesters out front.

Two: some clients do have sad feelings, for a variety of reasons – the one I’ve encountered most (I’m also doing volunteer transport now, which means lots more talking than escorting does) is that they do want to talk, to have someone in their life know what’s up. “Hey, this is why I’ve seen stressed lately/seemed sick/etc.” And they don’t feel like they can, because they are afraid they will be treated by loved ones the way they are by the protesters. The overwhelming amount of negative emotion surrounding abortion is what they create – which is exactly what they intend.

Finally, just grabbing a client’s arm? I dunno about everybody, but we don’t even walk with clients without asking if they want us to. I have never initiated physical contact with a client, ever. Protesters make plenty of unsolicited and unwanted physical contact with clients, companions, and escorts, though. Guess they’re projecting?

Thanks guys, you rock!

You know what I’m getting super sick of.

Other women.

Get back here, let me finish.

Other women, who in the face of hearing women like yours truly talk about something that affects our lives, like street harassment, online harassment, job and wage inequality, when some asshole said something sexist, etc, will jump in ass-first to inform us that they’re just fine.

“Why don’t you just ignore it?”
“What’s wrong with you, can’t you just deal?”
“Why are you being so hysterical?”
“It’s just life/a complement!”
“This is why people HATE feminists!”

And the most infuriating:

“I’ve been assaulted/harassed/raped and I handled it just fine. Why can’t you?”

They pretty much boil down to “Why aren’t you like me?” and “Quit making a fuss already.” And seriously, fuck all of that.

Firstly, if you’re a survivor, congrats. Honestly.  That shit can be life changing, and you’re doing the best you can.  You go, Glen Coco.

BUT, you don’t get to hop into another survivor’s space to tell them that they’re the ones in the wrong for their reaction, if it’s anxiety or railing against the society that allow this treatment of women.  That makes you an asshole of the first, second, and last water. People get to react the way that works for them, okay?

But hey, you super special Wonder Woman who possesses the exact correct way to handle trauma that doesn’t require changing our society, I don’t understand your need to dismiss other’s experiences.  Especially if a dude is already up in the mix doing the same fucking thing.  Are you looking for a cookie or something?  A “Congrats, You’re Better Than All The Ladies” ribbon? A pat on the head?

Because let me tell you something; harassment IS a big deal.  You might not be aware of this, but a simple Google search will show you the myriad of articles and Tweets and organizations all dedicated to exposing the problem and/or finding way to stop it. I would put down some links here, but it’s not my fucking job to do your homework.

Cats and kittens, I’m gonna tell you a little story about harassment.  Maybe we can get through it without the ass-first inclusion of apologists.  Let see!

When I was a younger hottie, Dance Dance Revolution was a Big Fucking Deal.  Machines were in a lot of arcades, people were jumping up and down in their own homes, there were competitions everydamnwhere.  It was awesome.  I had more than a couple of friend who Danced Danced their way into losing excess weight.  It combined the two things I then loved to do the most: Play video games and dance.

Now I wasn’t big on waiting in line or anything, so I found a machine in an arcade in Underground Atlanta, which is like a shopping mall, but underground (surprise!).  Usually someone was just getting off the machine or there would someone waiting when I was done.  It was nice, I didn’t feel like I had to impress fellow players. And I tried a few things, like turning the step-step-steps into something like dance moves, it was great for my anxiety.

Usually.  There were guys who were obviously not waiting in line for who a woman on a game like that was far too interesting.  Trying to take the break in the song “Dive”, to run around the back of the machine sometimes ended with me nearly careening into guys who was standing WAY TOO CLOSE to even watch the screen. Or the guys who try to hit on me while I was playing, because I certainly have the attention span to try to play a game I paid for and politely tell a guy “no thank you”.

And then there were the moments after I was done playing and wanted to leave.

“Hey baby, that looked good.”

“Hey girl, where you going?”

“You dance real good”

You gotta man?(shameless blog post plug!!)

Then there were the followers who insisted that I didn’t hear them properly when I booked it out of there at top speed.  And if it wasn’t for the fact that I was super worried about being followed all the way back to the train or worse, I probably would have happily informed these walking boners that I WASN’T PERFORMING A FUCKING MATING DANCE.

I wasn’t doing it for attention, I wasn’t trying to be a tease, I wore jeans and t-shirt and occasional a tank top because shit gets sweaty after a round, and while my badonkadonk was pretty slamming back then, I sure as shit didn’t need the verification of a complete fucking stranger. I spent about a summer doing that…and then stopped. It was too much – didn’t help my anxiety at all.

So now what?  Was I being too sensitive?  Maybe the guy telling me I danced real well was just trying to pay me friendly “not informing me of the state of his dick” complement.  Maybe I was being super rude, by leaving as quickly as possible when my coins ran out and not acknowledging their praise?  Or maybe I’m just being a delicate flower, unable to deal with life.

Let me inform you of something, you with the  “Congrats, You’re Better Than All The Ladies” ribbon and the cookie, you aren’t saying shit I haven’t said to myself.  A lot of victims/survivors blame themselves in the exact same way you are chiding us. So not only are you busting in on a conversation that you weren’t invited to, but you’re not even saying anything new. So really, what use are you here anyway other than to stroke your own #notallwomen ego?

What’s worse, you’re giving cover to the jerks in the world, to the oversensitive flowers of manhood who get all in their feelings when a woman speaks or otherwise indicates disinterest. Today I honest to goodness saw a woman type:

” This is why men are becoming afraid to date and marry women because this hysteria has gotten completely out of hand.”

I would have provided a screenshot, but looks like that asshole got blocked, and rightfully so, because that is some bullshit.  This is some MRA, “women run things with their vagina and boo on them for denying us that”, rank ass bullshit.

So, in conclusion, fuck the men they protect who already jump ass-first to tell us how wrong or hysterical we’re being, but double plus super fuck these women for trying to deny other women our experiences and our attempts to change the way society treats women. If you can deal with street harassment, great. No one’s stopping you. If you survived an assault or a rape and are ‘okay’, depending on your definition of ‘okay’, then great. No one is trying to take that away from you.   I’m not gonna jump into your shit and tell you you’re doing it wrong.

It is too much to fucking ask that you don’t do the same to us?

 

P.S. This entire conversation works wonderfully in other situations with other minorities as well.

Too Easy

Posted: October 10, 2014 in fuckery
Tags: , ,
Once upon a time, when I was a little Chill Girl fresh from the clutches of my home, I joined my college’s improv troupe, Let’s Try This! It was an amazing experience. I learned stage presence, I learned I HAD a stage presence.  I learned how to be funny, or maybe I should say, I learned that I was pretty funny.  It helped that I was surrounded by some pretty talented folks.

Guess which one is me?  Go on, guess! Here's a hint: I'm not the fluffy dog.  Though I have been known to be a bitch sometimes AY-YO!

Guess which one is me?
Go on, guess!
Here’s a hint: I’m not the fluffy dog. Though I have been known to be a bitch sometimes AY-YO!

Improv isn’t a competition, this isn’t some Last Comic Standing shit.  The ‘rules’ are simple and diverse: Don’t Deny what your partner(s) are bringing into the scene; Don’t just ask questions (i.e. don’t leave your partner(s) to do all the work); Make your partner look good; Tell a story.  It was on everyone on stage to make the scene work.  Giving up or getting mad because the scene wasn’t going your way ruins everything.

There was something else I learned, that was specific to my former trope.  We had a ‘no scatology during shows’ rule.  Because we were college students performing for other college students, and our short form games required audience suggestions, we tended to hear some of the same suggestions: “blowjobs!” “poop!”, “sex!”

Host: “I need a location!”
Audience Member (usually a guy): “Proctologist’s office!”

Host: “I need a situation!”
Audience Member: “Late to an orgy!”

…and so on.  Here’s how we handled those suggestions and why:

Host: “I need a location?”
“The gynecologist!” (apparently just yelling “vagina” was just not classy enough?)
Host: “Come on, that’s one’s too easy.  Give us a challenge!”

It was too easy.  It’s too easy to make funny out of sex and bodily functions.  KIDS find bodily functions insanely funny.  We wanted a challenge.

I took that lesson with me, stuck deep into my conciousness, and it didn’t reappear until I started getting involved with social justice for the second time (the first time around left me very cold, with white progressives trying to tell me what I should find offensive).  I discovered the concept of Punching Down vs. Punching Up, and that gendered insults were no bueno (unless you’re taking it back).  That lesson came roaring back, “oh yeah, calling this terrible conservative woman a bitch isn’t funny.  It’s Too Easy.”

And my worldview then expanded.  I love comedy, grew up watching Comedy Central (where my love of improv was first planted in the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?), but as I grew up and realized these concepts, I found a lot of stand up, well, easy.  The “Take my Wife Please” type jokes, the “Men are so stupid” type jokes, the allusions to rape and domestic abuse, the “marriage is a load of suck” jokes, “Non-White people are so weird!”, Too Easy.

Then my tastes for comedy shifted with my more progressive leanings.  Did that mean I stopped enjoying the greats like Carlin, Robin Williams and the like because some of their gags were problematic? Nope. I recognize the problem, sometimes even skip certain tracks. But I still consider the greats to be comedy greats, especially when their off stage personas were just as progressive.  As much as Joan River’s stand up made me laugh, I considered her to be a terrible person off stage, which many, many examples that you can very well look up on your own.
Heck if a comedian REALLY wanted to be all edgy and shit, try defending rape culture.  How about a joke about how awesome your wife is? Point out how racist the cops are.  Yeah, it’s not an easy laugh to go for, but it can be done.  I’ve seen it.

So now, I punch up, I miss the easy insult, I avoid the obvious.  Fewer ‘bitches’ and ‘cunts’, more ‘assholes’ and ‘shitheels’ and various combinations where I can use the term ‘douche’ (hat, canoe, bag, cake, weasel…).  Hell, someone used “shitfrigates” and I’m making it a point to use it until it is part of my vocabulary. I am a lot more vulgar, yes, but my insults are sharper, more likely to get a notice.  My mind gets a good stretch as I stopped using various forms of “-tard’ in my vocab in place of other words that lack the splash damage.

Does it feel like I’m walking some sort of PC mindfield of stifled creativity?  Oh hell no.  This is awesome.  I like the challenge, and the more I do it, the easier it gets.

It’s not that hard, folks.  Get creative.  Stop going for the easy shot.  Don’t be a hack.

And that goes double for harassers and abusers. Even their shit is too easy.  Oh, I’m a nigger and a bitch and too ugly to fuck and should be raped.  *Yawn* Dude, I’ve got chronic depression.  I’ve thought shittier stuff about myself before breakfast on a really bad day.  Oh, the best you can do is “haha, you’re a woman! And black! And you do not please my boner!” Oh noes, I’ll cease being all of those things immediately, @womenmakemeangry69. That’s kindergarten shit.  I don’t even know how to respond to such nonsense:
“You’re a cunt!”
Me: “Well, you’re a butt, and your parents dress you funny and also you smell like cheese.  So there.”
And trust me, writing that line took more thought that any number of bigoted insults.

(Trying it again, because I hit the Publish button WAY TOO SOON)

Okay, so I love parodies, and I love writing parodies.  My brain has been busy with dealing with the recent fuckery in the atheoskeptical circles with regards to sexism and accusations of rape and wagon circling that is almost Vatican-like.  I have read posts and comments and a couple of folks have wondered about an appropriate version of Tim Minchin’s The Pope Song:

Fret not, fellow SJWs and feminists and other people who care more about the safety of their fellows over the protection of the reputations of more famous speakers, I’ve got you covered:

(Note: this is an edited version of what I’ve posted privately)

(more…)

While escorting (been sick for two weeks, so no new fuckery to share, sorries!), two things never fail to break my shriveled black heart:

  1. A patient bursting into tears due to the harassment
  2. A patient asking me if there’s anything I can do to make the harassment stop

Number one makes me rage, makes me see red, makes me want to shove those brochures down the lying, pathetic. sanctimonious, bullying maws of our merry band of morons.  Number two makes me feel so helpless that I want to cry.  I wish I could do something, say something that would spare our patients from the deluge of bullshit and lies incapable of taking “no”, “leave me alone”, or “fuck off” for an answer.   

And you know what the fucked up part of it all is?  If I was walking downtown and one of those friendly vest wearing hawkers for Save The Children or Amnesty International came up to me and I said, “No Thank You”, they go away. I don’t have to hear them out first, I don’t have to give them a second of my time, I don’t even have to be POLITE about (though I usually am), and they go away.  If they didn’t, I could find a cop and say, “This person is harassing me”, and the cop would do something.  Talk to the person, if there’s enough complaints, even arrest this person.  Downtown, I have the right to not be harassed, no matter how good of a cause they think they are representing to not be harassed.

So, why is it any different when I’m walking into a women’s clinic?  Isn’t me saying “I’m not interested, leave me alone” enough of a hint that I don’t want to be followed and or pestered?  

Hat tip to Jezebel, San Francisco seems to be taking the first step in the very correct direction to stop the harassment of clinic patients and escorts:

Supervisor David Campos announced a joint-effort with San Francisco’s police department along with Planned Parenthood and the City Attorney’s Office, working on legislation that would act as an anti-harassment ordinance. The legislation seeks to prevent the more aggressive harassment that protesters launch at abortion clinics, namely following patients or clinic employees around. It would give police the authority to temporarily move protesters away from a clinic, allowing them to return.

This is exactly what we need, for every clinic in every city in this country.  An anti-harassment law that is aimed to keep patients safe and unbothered by the more pushy and obnoxious elements of the pro-life side. Those who show up to just pray are still allowed (even though personally, I think that’s a form of spiritual bullying), those who show up and just hold up a sign are still allowed, those who even get the occasional, rare patient that will stop and hear them out are still allowed.  

What isn’t okay is reaching into cars, shoving papers at someone, following them to the door (or property line), beckoning them from windows, pestering someone while they pay for parking, and all the other bullshit I see every Saturday and that you can have a lookie by following the #notcounseling hashtag on Twitter.  

Their right to ‘sidewalk counsel’* ends at the right of the patients to say “NO”. 

 

 

 

*And don’t even get me started on what bullshit “sidewalk counseling” is.