It’s not that I think Pixar is infallible. I don’t. Cars deeply disappointed me, being a re-make of Doc Hollywood.
Nor has it escaped me that Pixar’s ratio of male to female characters is, like, 3:1 and that in 12 films they have NEVER had a female protagonist before (You could go out on a limb and point to Mrs Incredible as a co-star, but that’s the best you could do.)
Even in A Bug’s Life, featuring ants, they made the protagonist male even though MOST ANTS ARE FEMALE.
1- You must post the rules 2- Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post 3- Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged 4- Tag eleven people with a link to your post 5- Let them know they’ve been tagged
The tl;dr of it is that I think that the reason so many women in Canada still don’t breastfeed despite astounding pressure to do so is that while we are constantly told TO breastfeed, we aren’t told HOW.
In fact, many women I speak to have been given incorrect advice by their nurses or doctors which actually sabotaged their attempt to breastfeed.
I have met several women trying to breastfeed who have turned to a bottle in the meantime, never having been warned by their doctor that a nipple could make the latch worse. One friend was told that she had poor supply and was given galactogogues, but no one explained to her that breastfeeding is a supply and demand system, so she went out and got a crate of formula. I have met women who thought it was supposed to be easy and natural, and no one warned them that it often isn’t.
If they want us to breastfeed, where is the support?
The friend who was given galactoguges never did reach full supply, but she continues to try to at least partially nurse her baby. Last night I saw her offer him the breast only for him to refuse it in lieu of the easier-to-drink bottle in her hand. I know how desperately she had wanted to breastfeed, and I felt so bad for her. No one talked to her about supplemental nursing systems. No one told her that some people just can’t produce much milk in a breast pump – that doesn’t mean that the milk isn’t in there.
No one helped her. They practically handed her a bottle at every pass. She laments the cost of formula, the fact that she couldn’t feed her baby “naturally” and remains grateful that she can nurse him at all, even occasionally.
He’s been doing it for months and months. Ever since he got croup, really. It’s practically part of his personality, now. We hardly notice it. His nose runs, and it gives him post nasal drip, and then he coughs, mostly at night when he’s lying down and we’re trying to sleep.
At first I took him back to the doctor for it. Each time the doctor told me it was “probably viral” and that colds are common in the first winter in daycare.
“He’ll basically have colds non-stop all winter,” said the pediatrician jovially (my pediatrician looks exactly like a human sized Oompa Loompa. Not the weird orange men from the Gene Wilder film but Oompa Loompas as described by Roald Dahl).
How I imagine my doctor’s family must look
Plus Owl tended to pick up worse colds from his visits to the doctor’s office. So I gave up.
But Daycare Lady didn’t.
“I’m sure he needs antibiotics or something,” she said. “He’s always coughing, and it sometimes sounds like there’s boiling water in his chest.”
Every now and then the coughing gets worse.
It happened again this weekend. His coughing was so bad that PH was up with him again and again in the night, and gave up entirely at 3 am when he handed me Owl in bed (usually it’s between 4:30 and 5:30 am when Owl joins me in bed).
Even in the car he’d cough and cough. When he breathes his chest sounds like it’s percolating coffee.
After the third night of this PH said, “take him to the pediatrician.”
Daycare Lady wholeheartedly agreed.
“You have to PUSH them. My brother is a pediatrician and when my little girl was small he told me that from what I was saying over the phone, he was sure she had pneumonia. I took her to the ER and the ER doctor said she was fine! Viral! Go home! So I said “you PROVE to me it’s viral!” and I insisted on an xray and the xray showed pneumonia!”
So I went in determined this time.
When Jolly Doc came in I explained that he has been coughing for months. Sometimes it’s worse than others but always THERE.
“Does it get better and then worse again?” he asked.
“It’s a cold.”
“An eight month long cold?”
“No, he just keeps getting colds one on top of the other. Happens all the time in daycare in winter.”
“But it’s June!”
“The cold season seems to be lasting longer than usual. We’ve had a cool spring.”
“But there’s only four other kids at his dayhome and none of them are sick!”
“You can’t tell me that the other kids never get colds.”
“No, they get colds occasionally, but they get sick, with stuffy noses and coughs and fevers and then a week later they’re over it. Owl’s symptoms are non-stop, and his nose rarely gets really clogged. It’s just constantly draining clear or yellow snot.”
“Because he keeps catching new colds before the old ones are done! I see this all the time. There’s no point in doing tests and no medicine will help you. His lungs don’t sound asthmatic, and I don’t think it’s allergies – you say it happened all through the winter, so it’s not likely seasonal.”
“Some units in our complex have had problems with mold, but we vacuumed and washed his bedding…”
“Yeah, and he hasn’t had a history of lung problems or breathing problems. This doesn’t look like allergies. It looks like a cold.”
“But he always looks like this!”
“Yes, well,” he laughed, “we call them “snot-nosed kids” for a reason!”
He DID say he would refer me to an eye doctor about Owl’s clogged tear duct. He said they usually resolve on their own but after a year he gets them dealt with “you’ve been surprisingly patient.”
Yes, well, considering my child is constantly coughing, a teary eye hasn’t really been high in my priorities.
I left feeling so frustrated.
How does he know that Owl hasn’t had the same persistant infection ever since October? Maybe he fights it off for a while and it keeps coming back. Why is he the only kid in his daycare who is constantly coughing up phlegm?
would you like some snot with that?
But I’m really frigging tired and I don’t see why he is constantly suffering from colds that no one else seems to be giving to him, or catching from him.
So, my friend and I are trying to drum up clients for our dog training business.
I decided that it was time to get some Google Adwords.
I made this choice for three reasons:
1. Facebook ads had gotten us “likes” but no new clients
2. We are still abysmally low in Google search listings
3. I had one of those $100 free Adwords coupon cards.
So I went to the website that I was given on the card, but found that I couldn’t proceed.
It asked me for my personal information, which I gave.
Then nothing happened.
There was no continue button. I tried pressing enter. Nothing worked.
I thought maybe the site was down, so I waited a couple of hours and tried again.
Nope. Can’t proceed. Other links on the page sent me on to Adwords how-to pages and such, but I couldn’t actually go forward with my coupon redemtion/set up. I wondered if maybe it was a problem with my browser, and then I remembered that I use Google Chrome.
Obviously, since this was Google’s own browser, the form should work fine.
But it’s okay – they provided a phone number for me to call, saying they would be happy to set up my ad for me, free of charge.
Fine. I hate interacting with humans, but whatever.
It rang twice and then I got disconnected.
It seems like such a scam – send people to a special offer site, have the special offer part not work, and then wait for people to sign up the regular way.
So I made a tweet about it.
Wow. #Google@Adwords is bogus. Tried to redeem a "$100 trial offer" and neither the website nor the phone number provided actually work!
I thought it might prompt Google into responding/fixing the problem, but I got zero response.
PH teased me that I clearly couldn’t use the internet, and assured me that he would figure it out when he had some time.
A couple of days later he sent me a text at work. He had figured out the problem:
The Google Ads offer site only worked on Internet Explorer.
That’s right – Google’s site wasn’t working on GOOGLE CHROME. I had to switch to Internet Explorer to frigging proceed with the form.
So then I go and jump through all the hoops to get signed up and redeem my dang coupon. I logged in with the same email address that I use for my business’s Google+/Google Places page, for obvious reasons. I also clicked the option they gave me to keep all my Google stuff together, rather than trying to separate adwords from the rest of my stuff. After all, I was using my professional email address.
Then it asked me if I wanted to associate my ad with a Google+ page.
You’d think they wouldn’t even make it an option. Google has been shoving Google+ down everyone’s throats to minimal success. You’d think they would INSIST on any business trying to use Google Ads having a Google+ business page.
But anyway, I checked that yes, I did want to include a link to our page. It asked me for a link to the page.
You’d think that since I was logged in with the owner’s email for that page that it would just go “Oh, hey, this is the business page associated with this business address!” and fill it in automatically.
I find my Google + business page and insert the link into the entry box.
What? This is the same link that I shared on my business facebook page and it works fine. It’s the same link ON OUR WEBSITE.
There is no additional information telling me how to acquire the correct link or what it should look like. No help boxes.
Fine, Google, I WON’T link to the Google+ page. I’ll just link direct to my own website.
HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?
Bringing up the Google+ page, which I had almost forgotten about since it doesn’t come up in searches easily, even if you search for our business name (you find our website, but not the Google+ page) reminded me that I had meant to strike our address from the visible listing.
My friend had told me that one of our clients showed up at my door thinking she could walk in and talk to us, and then realized it was a private residence.
So once I was done setting up the damn adwords sans Google+ address, I went back to the Google+ page and edited the listing by checking the box to NOT include my address in the listing.
I refreshed. Address still there.
I tried again.
Eff this. I’ll figure it out later.
But wait a minute.
Why is it offering me a link telling me that there are no Google Ads set up for this page?
Oh, well, after all, I couldn’t give the direct link. Maybe it’ll work better in CHROME this time (crazy idea, I know). So I click the link to take me to Adwords.
It tells me I have no ads or campaigns set up.
That’s strange, since I have an account sitting open in Explorer with my campaign and everything still there.
I’m signed in to professional google email in both browsers.
As far as I can tell, while it may allow me to log in to adwords using this email, Google doesn’t seem to have actually associated my Adwords account with my existing stuff, DESPITE MY CHECKING THE OPTION TO DO JUST THAT.
I am not, by the generally-accepted understanding of the term, a feminist.
I would love to be a stay at home wife and mother. I like it when my husband brings me flowers and opens doors for me. I don’t get angry and aerated by the fact that most executives are men, or spend much time ranting about the glass ceiling (not that I like the glass ceiling. It pisses me off, too. I just prefer to rant about grammar).
In short, I don’t get upset when women are not treated the same as men.
But the more time I spend with Perfect Husband, the more I spend thinking about men and feeling bad for them, because they aren’t treated the same as women.
I don’t think PH actually likes men, much. All his friends are women. The ones who aren’t biologically women are transgender women, or married to his female friends. Or both.
PH thinks that women get a bum rap because feminine things are still not really being put forward as desirable or likeable.
The inherent sexism in our society is everywhere, and I hear a lot about it. Commercials like this one tick PH off to no end:
A basic summary of this commercial:
Man wants Klondike Bar. Man is willing to go through a difficult ordeal to get Klondike Bar. Man is told that he must listen to his wife for FIVE WHOLE SECONDS. He then makes an effort to focus on his WIFE (you know, his so ul mate, whom he committed to for life) for a matter of mere moments while she tries to talk to him about decorating the house (you know, because that’s all women talk about it and if men have to think about paint swatches, they’ll die). When the five second buzzer rings a party appears, thrown by several women who are much hotter than his wife. He starts dancing with them while the wife looks completely baffled.
PH is furious because he thinks those new Mint Klondike Bars look really tasty, but NOW HE CAN’T BUY THEM because all he can think about is how offensive the commercial is.
He can’t buy the new Dr Pepper, either, because apparently it’s “not for women” (seriously. That’s their tag line. WTF? Way to knock out half of your potential market there, geniuses).
The fact is that feminism has been so focused on getting the same rights as men, that we have made absolutely no headway in convincing men that being feminine is actually desirable. After all, men must wonder, if being a woman is so great, why do we want to leave the kids at home and come to work in pants, anyway?
Womanhood – so awful, even women don’t want it.
That’s a tagline worthy of Dr Pepper.
Women have spent years fighting for the right to be treated as equals to men, and that’s good. Thanks to them I can vote, I share equal ownership of my house and finances with my husband, and I can learn anything and be anything I want to be.
But no one has been fighting to give the men the same options.
Girls keep stealing the boy names, and then mothers of boys can’t effing use them.
Girls can be (and frequently are) named things like Carson, Taylor, or Ryan. Hell, I could probably name my daughter Gary or Fred and people would tell me “oh, I love that for a girl!” But when you are looking for a name for your son, do you consider Stacy, Leslie, or Shirley?(note: Anne of Green Gables named her son Shirley – have we gone backwards socially?)
It’s not fair.
As it is, even names like Alex, Cameron, Jamie, or Sam are considered borderline. Once the girls appropriate it, the boys can’t use it any more. Why?
A little girl can go dressed up as Batman for Hallowe’en, but why aren’t there more little boys dressed as Catwoman? I can go to work in pants and sensible shoes, but what if my husband showed up for work in heels?
That’s PH’s big beef.
Not that he wants to go to work in heels (after all, he takes an hour and a half of transit each way. That’s a lot of walking) but it strikes him as wrong that men CAN’T (by the same token, if someone said I couldn’t wear dresses I’d get ticked off, even though I hate the damn things).
Men are just as constricted by gender as women are, really.
Canada offers ‘parental leave’ to either parent, usually at a rate of 55% their regular pay. Some companies, like the one PH works for, will “top up” women’s maternity leave, providing the extra 45% so the woman gets full pay. It’s a benefit they offer, but they only offer it to the women. If PH had chosen to go on parental leave, not only would he have been under some serious scrutiny by his bosses, but he would not have been eligible for the top-up.
Of course that, in turn, limits women’s choices, because it meant that it basically wasn’t a financial option for us for PH to stay home. That was fine with me, but what if I had wanted to go right back to work?
Even with that in consideration, the fact is that I can wear men or women’s clothing, I can work or stay home, I can vote, and I can get elected to public office. I can call myself Ryan, I can do any and all things that men can do, AND I can bear children and breastfeed.
Men can’t wear dresses unless it’s Hallowe’en or unless they want to be the butt of a lot of jokes (PH once heard two coworkers joking about “she-males” and nearly ripped them new cloacas). Men can’t have feminine names. Men can’t stay home with their children without being penalized financially and socially more than women. Heck, the idea of a male childcare worker is so strange to us that it was the focus of an entire Friends episode.
Jason Alexander, in a recent apology for his joking that cricket is “gay”, asks us why accusing something (like sports) of being effeminate is still considered so offensive.
There’s no good answer, except the truth:
We still think that it’s bad to be effeminate. It’s associated with homosexuality, which is stupid – after all, most cross dressers are completely straight – and homosexuality is still considered bad, too.
“Gay” is an insult.
“Girly” is an insult.
My old boss used to tell dogs who weren’t tugging on their tug ropes hard enough that “that’s a little-girl tug!”
Men who can’t pitch are told that they throw like girls.
This is the society that we are bringing Owl into, and it concerns us.
It doesn’t concern Owl, yet, though.
He so far hasn’t really figured out that he is male. When I call him a “little boy” he looks at me like I’m an idiot, points to himself and says clearly, “BA-BY!”
He knows he has a penis, but he isn’t too concerned by the fact that I don’t. He seems to think it’s tucked up in my belly button somewhere.
….And about twice a week, when I show up at daycare to pick him up, he’s in a dress.
This is how I roll
Not just any dress. It’s a sparkly blue fairy princess dress. The boys wear the blue one, because blue is for boys, don’tcha know. The girls get a purple one.
I rarely see any other boy in the blue dress, though. It’s mostly Owl’s.
Apparently he drags Daycare Lady or her daughters to the place where the dresses are kept, insisting “dress, dress” until they put it on him. Sometimes he won’t take it off when it’s time to go home, so I just bring it back the next day.
The other day he spotted it on the shelf the morning after one of these comes-home-in-a-dress days and screeched until Perfect Husband put it back on him.
Then he walked around going “pwetty, pwetty.”
I feel pretty, OH SO PRETTY
The neighbours say “is he in a fairy dress??” and we all have a good chuckle. I make it clear that he chose to be in it, so they don’t think that I’m one of those weird parents who try and de-gender their child. Gender isn’t bad.
The funny thing is, I would have been horrified if I had a girl and she had turned up in a princess dress. I’m afraid for a daughter – I wasn’t a girly girl and I don’t want my future daughter buying in to the look-pretty-for-the-men media crap.
But that dichotomy made me re-examine my own biases. Owl isn’t acting on any kind of media pressure, so neither would a little girl at this age.
This is purely about a small child liking something pretty, and not realizing that society has deemed it unfit for him.
I know that one day he’ll realize that he IS a little boy.
I know that one day he’ll understand that dresses are for girls.
I know that the day will come when he will reject all things feminine, and scorn them as he has been taught to do by his peers and by the media.
When that day comes, I will sigh and feel sad. But in the meantime I can pretend that we live in a better world, and my neighbours can continue to get a good laugh.
But there is one important point that we haven’t covered, and it seems like a fairly important one, considering the medium in which these ladies work:
Words. You Should Know How To Use Them.
I really feel that this is the ultimate requirement for a writer, don’t you?
A writer uses words as her medium the way that a painter uses paint. What you write and how you write it is important, of course, just as the subject and execution of a portrait is important…
…But if you don’t know how to mix those paints on your palette before you put them onto the canvas, you’re never going to get a great result. So now I want to examine the skill with which each of these authors wields their pen.
First I’m going to break down their use of the individual parts of speech – nouns, verbs and so on. Then we’ll talk about how well they are put together to make coherent (or not) sentences.
Note: You may notice that a lot of the examples I give come from the same books/sections. I hope you’ll forgive me for grabbing examples in chunks, rather than carefully trawling through the whole series to find a varied selection.