October

I took this picture a few years back in Stanley Park. I can hear the leaves crunching under my feet

I love October. I love the change in the weather, the leaves as they change to brilliant colours and crunch under your feet. The air is crisper, the days are shorter and the weather is cooler. I love sweaters and boots, scarves and all the cooler weather accoutrements (side note: I spelled accoutrements right the first time I typed it, I am amazed).

I hate October for the pink. I hate that companies play on women’s emotions by slapping a pink ribbon on their products to sell more stuff all in the name of some promise to give a percentage of profits to Breast Cancer charity (to read more about why this is so aggravating, read this). I hate that everywhere I go or every time I catch a sporting event on TV I am assaulted by pink shit all in the name of supporting and raising money for breast cancer awareness.

It’s rare to see someone actually explain what breast cancer is and why it’s important to check yourself monthly. Companies would rather make money in the name of “raising money for charity” instead of educating people.

So in case you’re actually wondering how to check for breast cancer here is a helpful video, featuring half-naked, very good-looking men, to teach you how to check yourself (before you wreck yourself!). Because you’re not going to find instructions with the Pink KitchenAid Mixer you buy to “support” the cause.

It’s October and you’re going to be assaulted with pink everywhere. It’s honestly getting to the point where I’d rather not purchase anything from a company “supporting” the cause and wait for the barrage of mustache’s in “Movember.”

Regardless of what you choose to support, I prefer to support awareness for all cancers. I guess you could say I’m an equal opportunity cancer cure supporter. So what can you do? Educate yourself. Use the above video to check yourself for breast cancer. Watch this video to find out more about skin cancer and melanoma, because skin cancer is actually the deadliest cancer in Canada (as is colon cancer). Laugh at this video and then get an examination for testicular cancer. Schedule yourself for your yearly pap smear. Prevent cervical cancer by getting your HPV shot. Or make a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation, which has raised approximately $500 million for cancer research since it began (and if you’re so inclined, watch the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Into The Wind, co-directed by Steve Nash, a phenomenal documentary about one of Canada’s greatest heroes).

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Amanda Todd

I cannot imagine being a teenager nowadays. Not since the invention of the Internet. I read stories like the one about Amanda Todd, the young Coquitlam girl who took her life after endless bullying by peers, and I’m heartbroken over what she felt was her only choice. I’m sad that her bullies felt like their actions were ever an appropriate way to treat another human being.

Amanada is gone but before she left she made this video to tell her story. It’s almost 9 minutes long, but important to watch.

Rest in Peace Amanda Todd.

#AbuseIsHilarious

First up, a quick lesson in hashtags and trending topics. On Twitter a lot of the 140-character tweets are finished with a hashtag, with it’s # the hashtag will often be the punchline to your joke, a sarcastic add on or categorize and add a subject to your tweet so like-minded tweeters can find you too.

Sometimes hashtag games spring up, and become trending topics. For example right now a popular one is #dearyoungself in which someone will start their tweet with the hashtag and write a (sometimes) witty comment.

These trending topics are somewhat monitored by the powers that be at Twitter, #JustinBieber has been banned because it was trending for days on end. This can happen with a lot of pop culture references, like Twilight, Team Edward, etc. Just because they don’t need to be on our list of trending topics for days on end. Others will be banned because of their political or religious nature, over the weekend #fuckWashington was banned and in the past hashtags about marriage only being between man and woman were banned.

Over the weekend one offensive hashtag was allowed to trend for a considerable amount of time. #ReasonsToBeatYourGirlfriend stayed up on the trending list for a few hours, if not a whole day. I didn’t click to read the posts but I’m sure they were exactly what you’d expect and probably done by the same naive idiots that come to Chris Brown’s defense whenever he does or tweet’s something stupid(daily).

So people can’t say #FuckWashington, even though from what I gather they’ve screwed up the whole economy but #ReasonsToBeatYourGirlfriend is ok?

No, no it’s not.

1 in 4 women is a victim of abuse at some point in her life. 1 in 4. I will venture a guess that it’s much higher than that, since that’s just reported cases. I’d be so bold to say 3 in 4 and depending on whether you’re looking at just physical or also emotional and psychological, I’d almost say it’s at 4 in 4. It’s that serious.

It’s not just abuse by your boyfriend, it’s family, coworkers, friends, acquaintances, random people on the streets, etc. It’s prevalent everywhere.

But until people recognize what abuse is, then people aren’t going to realize that silly hashtag games, joking around about beating women or glorifying it in popular culture is offensive. Not just to us with uterus’s, but everyone.

What is abuse? Glad you asked, because you shouldn’t have to wait until it hits you across the face before you seek help. I wont even try to paraphrase, here’s some great information from Vancouver Coastal Health.

Types of Abuse
Physical
Any act(s) of violence or rough treatment causing injury or physical discomfort. more
Sexual
Any sexual behavior directed towards a person without his/her full knowledge and consent; i.e., sexual assault, sexual harassment, or use of pornography. more
Financial
The misuse of a person’s funds and assets; obtaining property and funds without his/her knowledge and full consent, or in the case of an elderly person who is not competent, not in his/her best interests. more
Psychological
Any act, including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth. more
Other forms of abuse
Medication, Violation of civil and human rights, and Spiritual. more

Regarding Psychological Abuse:

Any act, including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.

This is sometimes called emotional abuse. Some researchers refer to it by formal terms such as “chronic verbal aggression”.

Psychological abuse can make the person feel “less of a person”. It diminishes the person’s sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth. Abused people often find that psychological or emotional abuse is the most hurtful form of abuse. 

Psychological abuse includes behaviours such as:

  • Name calling,
  • Yelling,
  • Insulting the person,
  • Threatening the person or threatening to take away something that is important to them,
  • Imitating or mocking the person,
  • Swearing at them,
  • Ignoring,
  • Isolating the person,
  • Excluding them from meaningful events or activities.

Psychological abuse also happens when the adult is excluded from decision making when the person is capable and wants to be included (in other words, “making decisions for them”), and depriving them of their rights.

Justice Canada includes these as some examples of psychological abuse: (3)

  • Threatening to use violence
  • Threatening to abandon them
  • Intentionally frightening them
  • Making them fear that they will not receive the food or care they need
  • Lying to them
  • Failing to check allegations of abuse against them
  • Insulting, swearing, or name calling
  • Making derogative or slanderous statements about them to others
  • Socially isolating them, or failing to let them have visitors

The Vancouver Coastal has some great resources for recognizing abuse and helping friends or family who may be suffering. I also highly recommend this article from Glamour.com about their Tell Somebody campaign. The stats are from the US but it’s just as important in Canada.

Admittedly, helping a friend can be tricky because you don’t know what their reaction will be, but speaking from experience, it’s important even if the results are not what you hoped for.

Hate

I often forget how small-minded and stupid people are. Maybe because I surround myself with people who are open-minded and willing to accept others I’m naive to the ways of the world.  On Sunday night I volunteered through work to take calls for donations for the relief effort in Pakistan. The night was slow, but we raised a good deal of money. Sadly, my first call really upset me.

I answered the call and the woman on the line started into me. She wasn’t calling to donate money, but instead to tell me how upset she was about asking Canadians for money. Apparently we here in Canada are a Christian country and asking us for money for the Muslims is despicable since (in her words) “they have done nothing but brought terrorism to us. They’re horrible people.” Instead, she argued, they should be asking other Muslim nations like Dubai, Afghanistan, India and Saudi Arabia for money since they’re all rich (don’t even bother commenting about the religious make up of those nations or if one of those is actually a country…. look at the source).

I began to argue with the woman, but soon realized that it’s pointless to argue with someone like this. Finally, after years of experience I’ve learned to stop arguing with someone who is never going to listen to what you have to say, especially if they’re not going to change their hurtful point of view. Instead I just hung up.

I tried to make a few comments, but why bother. People like that infuriate me, I can’t believe that they exist. But they do, actually I probably have people like that (maybe with slightly different beliefs) in my family.

It was sad, this woman didn’t know who I am. She didn’t know if I was Muslim or Christian or whatever. She just had such a deep hatred that she had to call up this donation line to tell us how she felt we were so stupid for asking Canadians for money.

We weren’t forcing anyone to donate. But the fact of the matter is that what is going on in Pakistan is a horrible situation. Tens of millions of people have been displaced and are suffering from the devastation of the floods. There has been much less fund raising done for the cause than Haiti or Katrina or may other natural disasters, much has been speculated that because of the preconceived notions held by people they’ve been afraid or reluctant to give to a nation that is so closely associated to “terror.”

Like I said, the whole situation made me sad. It’s maddening that people could be so ignorant and close-minded but also that she felt the need to actually call us to tell us. Why not just change the channel and bitch to her friends? This all really upset me, maybe I had thought that this kind of thinking only existed in the United States and with members of their “tea party.”  I mean this is melting pot culture, we celebrate the diversity of our nation. To call us a Christian country is technically right… if you’re going by stats regarding the most popular religions (I did manage to tell her that I was Canadian, but in no way a Christian), but I was insulted that this woman would think that people who were Canadian would feel this way.

She asked for it

There are a few sites I read everyday, Jezebel.com is one of them. They’re owned by Gawker Media.

They ran an interesting article last week about what women wore when they were sexually harassed, the point being that most women are dressed as any other woman in North America when this happens. The most popular answer was wearing jeans, debunking the myth that women who are harassed are “asking for it” through their choice of attire. While the article is short, it is an interesting read if only for the comments. I’ve picked out two below that I enjoyed and posted them here, basically because they got me thinking and in fact still have me thinking several days later. Thought I’d post them here so I don’t have to keep going back through the comments to find them again.

The first is from a guy, who makes a great analogy between men and bees. I always hate when women get down on men for a few small idiots among the bunch, it makes us look worse than those particular idiots. This guy summed up the argument for “all men are assholes” brilliantly (and btw, men could be replaced with women and assholes could be replaced with bitches quite easily):

This is how, for example, bees get a bad reputation.

See, almost all of the bees are out doing their bee thing, gathering pollen and flying around and gathering more pollen. They do their job, then come home and have a beer or whatever.

But then there are those other bees. You know, the ones who are all, “hey, that’s a nice-looking flower over there; I think I’ll go buzz around it and see what’s up,” only it’s just a person wearing a Hawaiian shirt or some lady’s hat. But they persist in trying to find a place to land, unaware that this particular “flower” just wants to have a nice lunch or a drink with some friends.

So the dumbass bees just fly around and around, and get swatted away in frustration, and nobody’s happy. The natural reaction isn’t “oh, this particular bee is an asshole.” It’s “bees are assholes.”

Not all bees are assholes. But the ones who are, ruin it for all the rest of the bees and the flowers.

The second comment that caught my eye was this one, an open letter to guys who like to blame the woman with the ol’ “she asked for it” line.

Dear Dudes*,

If you only read one sentence of this entire post, read this one: the ONLY time I am ever “asking for it” is when I do, in fact, ask for it.

I assure you, this really does happen, but here’s the part where you seem to get confused: it happens on an individual basis, and only with– call me crazy!– specific people to whom I am attracted and have engaged me in some way.

Oh, that reminds me– I’m totally onto the fact that it’s not really about how I look at all. I know you do this because you’re bitter about women and feel entitled to the attention they aren’t giving you and have opted to go about trying to get it in the crudest and most ridiculous way possible. Well, get over it. You’re not doing yourself any favors by behaving like shit smells in front of everbody, are you? Being a creeper never got anyone laid, so put on your big boy pants, accept that nobody’s ever going to love/hate you as much as your mommy did, and grow the fuck up.

Felt good, didn’t it? Now, moving on . . .

Every woman is different (no, really!) so there’s no universal way to guarantee I or any other ladyperson will be attracted to you. (Plus you’re not actually entitled to that– reality, ow.) I can give you a really great jumping off point, though: be respectful. That’s it. Even if she’s not into you, bro, she has friends! Respect is attractive. That’s why even my booty calls drive me home and kiss me goodbye, and that’s why they get called again.

I know you can do better than yelling “Can I have some p****?!?” on the street. No you fucking can’t when you’re acting like that!!! Stop being lazy, because if you want my attention without dire consequences for your ego, you’re going to *have* to do better. Still doesn’t mean I’ll fuck you, but I promise not to humiliate you.

Good luck!

~Katie Did.

*Not all of you need to hear this, but that being the case, I know your manners and general common sense will encourage you to support me in addressing those who do. Also I’m super happy to have so many of your type as friends!

You can find the first comment here.
Comment number two is here.

Abuse is so funny

Last year I went off on Chris Brown a lot, in this blog, on twitter, on facebook, no mercy for him. And why not? He beat the crap out of Rihanna to the point where she nearly died and was given 180hrs community service and 500 days probation. Hardly a sentencing worthy of the crime. He then went on  to every show and pretended like he was sorry, but his actions off television showed that he doing these interviews to get some publicity for his album (which luckily did not sell well at all).

I kind of dropped the ball later in 2009 with two big abuse cases and I’d hate for people to think I’m not an equal opportunity hater.

Let’s get this straight, 1 in 4 women experiences abuse in her life. When I’ve mentioned this to people in the past they’ve said they believe this number is too high, on the contrary I believe it’s too low. 1 in 4 women report the abuse that they receive, others simply deal with it on their own, put up with it, leave the person doing the abusing or worse kill themselves. Why don’t women report  it? A lot of it has to do with shame, worries that their partner will just become more abusive if she tells or often they don’t realize it’s wrong. Another reason is that abuse isn’t always apparent by the bruises on your face or body. Emotional, psychological and mental abuse are another huge problem in society that often gets left untreated and unreported since the scars aren’t visible for all to see.

Abuse isn’t always in the conventional “love” (use that term ever so loosely) relationship, but also between family members, friends and acquaintances.  When you look at all these conditions I’d almost venture to say that 50-75% of women experience some form of abuse in their lives.

On Christmas we saw another famous person, Charlie Sheen, decide that violence was the answer. He pulled a knife on his wife, physically attacked her and threatened her. Both were apparently over the legal limit of alcohol at the time (before noon) and allegedly both have had substance abuse problems in the past, but none of this should take away from the fact that he pulled a knife on her and threatened her…. with their two sons in the house. Sheen was arrested and released later on Christmas Day. His wife is now trying to soak up some of the blame, most likely a PR stunt orchestrated by his team because he can’t really handle any more scandal on his record.

Now cut to this week when he returned to his brilliant TV show Two and a Half Men (which by the way, can they please cancel? I feel it’s abusive to make the viewing public have to suffer through such terrible television) and cast and crew were discussing their holiday’s, when it was Charlie’s turn and someone asked him “what did you do for the holidays?” he reportedly answered “I met Kobe Bryant’s bail bondsman”  (via RadarOnline).  Oh that Charlie Sheen, such a funny guy, abusing your wife and threatening her with a knife is hilarious. Try and incorporate it into an episode, you may actually someone laugh for once.

The next recent incidence of celebrity domestic violence is going to be met with some groans…. Elin and Tiger Woods. This whole Tiger Woods scandal started on the evening of the US Thanksgiving. Tiger was apparently backing out of his driveway at 2am when he hit a tree and Elin supposedly saved him but smashing the back window of his SUV and dragging him out. It doesn’t take an idiot to see that this is so far from the truth.  Tiger apparently suffered facial lacerations, but further reports show that he most likely had his front teeth knocked out, and a broken facial bone, all which he was treated for in a Phoenix hospital immediately afterwards, which is why he wasn’t available to talk to the highway patrolman (via The Province).

This all brings up the important question, what about when the abuse is the less common, woman towards man, is that still abuse?

Yes. She took a golf club to his face! Granted, people will argue she had good reason to be mad, I mean he has cheated on her with at least 14 women. But violence isn’t the answer. You cannot say it’s ok for some but not for others, and you cannot argue that she had  better reason that whatever motivates any man to beat a woman, in his mind it may just be enough of a reason.

Unfortunately after the incident Saturday Night Live took the same route as Charlie Sheen and decided to make a joke of it. They ran a sketch in which Tiger (played by Keenan Thompson) held a press conference explaining what happened, his wife (guest host Blake Lively) stood in the background as Tiger held up signs that said “help me” and used classic abused woman excuses like “I fell down the stairs” when explaining his injuries. All this was used for laughs, because once again, abuse, especially women on men, is hilarious.  (Jezebel ran a great article on the SNL Skit)

The point is, violence is not funny. Famous people, whether they like it or not, are in the spotlight, they can’t just sweep their actions away with a joke or by ignoring the facts. They need to realize that while they’re role models for some they also screw up, but it’s their actions proceeding their mistakes that are the important lesson to their fans and viewing public.

Why Love Jay-Z

So I was thinking during all this MJ madness, Chris Brown is often called the “new Michael Jackson” and how it would piss me off if during the MTV music video awards in Aug/Sept they let the woman-beating asshole be part of the tribute to the gloved one.  The man is an ass, he should never, ever have a career. He’s Ike Turner, move on and stop trying to make fame happen again.  I know, strong feelings, but I hate that people have forgotten what he did, or at least forgiven. And I hate that the law was so easy on him.  I hate that young girls are going around saying that he isn’t responsible because she provoked him.  I hate that these same girls are going to go on thinking that men beating women is alright, especially when they’re cute and make lots of money. Most of all, I hate that Chris Brown does not show any sorrow or apologies for what he’s done, that he does not see anything wrong with what he’s done and continues to show up to public events and in pap photo’s like the cocky little ass he is.

Today on Laineygossip.com, she talked about a rumour about Brown at the BET awards, I heard this the other day and hoped it was true. I hope that Mr. Z continues to make the kid’s career sink even lower and lower.  I hope that when Jay Z is done with him he’ll be unable to get a job at the Foot Locker.  Here’s the reason I love Jay-Z.

So remember when Chris Brown beat the sh-t out of his girlfriend? Remember her face? Remember him a couple of weeks later having so much fun on his jetski in Miami? Remember him rolling around in expensive cars? Remember how upset people were for, what, like a couple of weeks?

Chris Brown has been sentenced. Chris Brown is a felon. Chris Brown plead guilty to felony assault on his then-girlfriend. But even before the legal resolution, Chris Brown had already been publicly rehabilitated. It’s ONLY BEEN FOUR MONTHS.

Courtside at basketball games, playing basketball with college basketball teams, photographed at hotel parties with other musicians, hanging out with a RiRi lookalike, still recording new songs, collaborating with highly respected artists like Mary J Blige who herself was a victim of domestic abuse…in Hollywood, if you’re young enough and cute enough, you can get away with anything.

Isn’t that the message? That’s the message his generation has taken away from the situation.

Chris Brown got off easy. But not from Jay-Z who appears to be one of the only ones who has not let Chris Brown slide.

Apparently Brown was supposed to perform at the BET Awards on Sunday for an MJ tribute. When Jay found out about it he was like – oh hell no, if that piece of sh-t comes on the show, I am walking.

And so they chose Jay-Z over Chris Brown. As they should.

Brown’s people are denying the Page Six report but of course they would. It’s not like he’s going to confirm that he was cockblocked by Jay-Z who, at this point, seems like the only person willing to cockblock him.

Should Chris Brown be hated forever? Of course not.

But some public contrition, and not while on a yacht in South Florida, wouldn’t hurt. Then again, why ask for forgiveness when forgiveness came so easy?