Otterday! And Open Thread.

Today’s beautiful, sun-kissed Asiatic Short-Clawed Otters were photographed at the Edinburgh Zoo by Fulla T, and shared on flickr.

An otter is holding itself upright with its paw on another otter's back. They are photographed in profile, with the sun coming from the side, giving a lovely sun-half-silhouette effect.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

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21 replies

  1. I woke up early and have spent the last couple of hours reading the latest Feministe Thread of Doom on breastfeeding. Wow.

  2. Trigger warning for rape apologism, threats.
    Some of you may have seen this post about rape jokes floating about various media. Yesterday a friend shared the link, and I proceeded to answer some questions people had on it with information from the Lisak and Miller study and Meet the Predators posts. What was a reasonably civil discussion then got derailed by someone repeatedly making rape ‘jokes’ on the thread, including jokes about how I personally should be raped. I know it’s really common, I know I should have expected it (and generally, I do expect large amounts of misogynist push back when I talk about rape culture), but I think this is the first time someone has directly targeted me with rape threats.
    What made it worse was the number of people, including people who I would have counted as friends, who, instead of calling the person out on making jokes, proceeded to tell me that I was getting too angry, that I was being unhelpful by being upset, that I was ‘humpty dumpty’. I’m generally really careful with my friendship groups to filter out people who can’t manage to support survivors, but this really got me.
    I circled the wagons later, so I’m feeling somewhat better now, but it was still fairly awful. No matter how much you expect it to come, no matter how much you know that it’s a function of your male privilege that you’ve gone this long without it, the first really direct rape threat is still jarring.

    • Li, I missed your first comment upthread in my email notifications: apologies for not responding more timely. I know that creeping realisation that everyone else in the discussion is a traditional victim-blamer all too well – it’s a quite viscerally shocking realisation once you actually label it clearly, even when they aren’t directly aiming their “jokes” at you. I’m glad you’ve circled your wagons.

  3. tigtog, yeah, that thread is… lengthy. It certainly qualifies for the ‘of doom’ moniker.

  4. tigtog, having skimmed it one thing stands out to me, which is an argument that longer term nursing of sons in particular leads to them becoming sexually abusive as adult men (eg comment 325).
    There seems to be a persistent thread in discussions of feminists parenting sons that it’s all about parents needing to squash their sons’ natural tendency to grow up into abusers and oppressors, to deny them affection and closeness because the experience of consensual affection and attachment in childhood will lead to them forcing intimacy on women as adults. (It is not of course a universal opinion! But it does tend to come around every so often.)

    • Yes, that’s one I just can’t wrap my head around – we’re supposed to get them to value consensual intimacy/affection/attachment as adults by denying them consensual intimacy/affection/attachment as children? How on earth is that supposed to work?

  5. Mary: that’s possibly the most disturbing aspect of that thread, to me (well, along with “I’D call CPS.” What chaps my hide is that there is less than zero evidence for it, but “Feminists” are perfectly happy to make these assertions.
    Talk to actual people who’ve breastfed into the Memory Zone? They typically have well-adjusted, happy, affectionate memories of it. And are, in my experience, typically lovely (most of the time!), happy, independent (though why that is so highly valued is really questionable) children. Out of interest, Karleen Gribble did exactly that: treated children as people, and asked them about their breastfeeding experiences:

    ”When children were asked about breastfeeding, nearly all said they breastfed because they loved it – they liked the milk and it made them feel happy or good,” says Dr Gribble.
    “Children made comments like: ‘I like cuddling Mummy, it’s my treat’ or breastmilk tastes ‘as good as chocolate’ and ‘better than ice-cream’.”

    Alert the cops.
    I’m quite interested in a breastfeeding etiquette thread – but not the one they’re having over there. The etiquette in my house is not “not at the table”; it is that if someone’s breastfeeding, I offer to bring them a cool beverage; or, in some cases, offer to cut their food for them so they can eat one-handed; or, in some cases (usually with younger children), offer a pillow or cushion.

    • It’s been quite a few years since I had a breastfeeding visitor at my table, but yes – that was basically the way we handled it too.
      Of my closest friends over the years, only a couple were fully on board with child-led nursing, and one of them I haven’t seen for about 15 years, so not sure what she and her spouse/kids are up to these days – last time we spoke at length they were all enjoying semi-rural family life, fostering injured/orphaned wildlife and volunteering in their community generally. The other family only had one kid, and from memory he self-weaned before 3 years of age. He did well at school, loves WoW where he raids alongside his dad, and is studying at a conservatorium now. He seems exceptionally well-adjusted to me.

      • p.s. I only managed about 8 months of nursing time for each of mine. Part of me would have liked to go longer both times, but for various reasons that just didn’t work out, especially since once I reluctantly started supplementing in both cases they started sleeping so much better at night, and that was the beginning of the end, twice.

  6. Last night was shitty both literally and metaphorically – our oldest cat had another of these attacks we suspect to be either small strokes or perhaps a brain tumour. We will have to start making those horrid “when is it time to put him down?” judgements.
    But yay! marriage equality is closer today!
    I share the general WTF??? reaction to the breastfeeding thread. The only possible explanation I can come up with is some kind of visceral “breastfeeding older children creeps me out, so those kids must be creeps” because evidence? what evidence?
    Li: I’m sorry about your experience. I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but it probably means you’re fighting the good fight.
    [Personally, I think I’ve had more accusations that I’m really male, pretending to be female (because the wimminz can’t use the logicz and reasoningz as well as men, you know) than rape threats – there’s got to be a thesis or three in how personality comes across online.]

  7. I’ve also been entertained by the weirdness happening on the other Feministe/Prudie thread, about the sexless marriage. There’s some interesting assumptions on all sides. And I wonder what role dating advice columns have now, compared to the past.
    Li, I’m sorry you had that experience. It really sucks when your social support lets you down suddenly. I hope the threats dont happen again, and don’t dissuade you from the good work you do.
    Aqua, a friend’s cat had fits and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Not that that’s a better diagnosis, but it’s something to ask your vet about, and can be controlled with drugs. Euthanasia decisions are hard though. I’m dreading the time my cats have to go, and that’s 15 years away, with luck.

  8. TAK: the symptoms are not at all like epilepsy (no unconsciousness, falling over or foaming), more like stroke (walking in circles, doesn’t recognise or respond to us) and last a number of hours. He also has other medical issues, he is almost 16, these attacks are just the most dramatic reminders where we’re heading.

  9. What a horrible experience Li, I hope some of your erstwhile supporters thought about it later and were ashamed of themselves.
    @AotQ – we recently had to make the same hard decision. In our case she had kidney failure which manifested itself as lots of runny poos. If you can, take him to the vet sooner rather than later – depending on what it is, there may be options to help him get better/manage symptoms and at least you will know. That said I was surprised to find that we did our mourning before we went to the vet, and afterwards felt very sad but also that we had done the right thing. We were there with her at the time.
    We now have a little kitten, whom the kids have named [first cat]2. I haven’t had a kitten for years and I had forgotten how needy they are. We have to close our doors at night so the kids don’t wake up when she scratches them playing and so we don’t wake up having our hair chewed. She is lovely though. Hopefully in a few more weeks the older cats will have gotten over their humpf and will be nice to her.

  10. Aqua – you’ll have the strength to know what’s right for your furry friend. The same thing happened to my adored dog. It was all condensed into one single day, so the decision was made slightly easier, because she went from 14 year old (but active and very happy) healthy friend, to sick, incontinent, drool ing and very sad in one day.
    I still miss her, but I know I made the right decision, even though it still hurts sometimes eight years on.
    That breastfeeding thread, bugger me. I’m in fits at “breastfeeding is contradictory to feminisms!” and “I don’t like it, therefore FILTHY PAEDO!”
    What’s incredibly telling, is that the woman who says “Sure, some people experience pleasure” is torn up one side and down the other, but the commenter with the neutral name, who uses misogynist language and says “Oh my friend orgasmed every time she did it” is given a free ride, until she admits she’s a woman. Oh ‘iste, never change!

  11. Fortunately I’m both well supported within my own networks and supported by strangers. Almost inevitably, every time someone tells me that I’m being too angry or too alienating, I get a bunch of messages from women and other survivors telling me that my anger has allowed them to feel their own anger in the face of rape culture. I get that some people like to make tone arguments, but they should really be careful that their emotional policing is actually backed up by other people. I mean, complaining about how anger at being specifically targeted by rape threats is inappropriate works best when the person you’re complaining to doesn’t keep getting contradictory messages from random supporters.
    It’s totally ok that people that people aren’t responding immediately. To be honest, I just needed to know that there were other people out there who understood what I was experiencing was abusive, and I get that people can’t immediately meet that need.
    Mindy and Aqua of the Questioners, I feel your worries about the animals you care for. We’ve recently had to be very aware of the health of the dog we who’s part of our family because he started to vomit up blood. My parents and I have suddenly realised that he’s moved into the part of his life that involves more and more health issues. We have fortunately learnt how to deal with his current health problems but it’s still difficult to realise that his spinal problems and digestive issues are going to add up over and over again.

  12. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the Breastfeeding Thread o’ Dooom.
    What’s with the ‘Oxytocin is woo’?
    So… there’s been a whole review on the science they’re teaching in childbirth classes and upon which they base pitocin drips for induction(inducement? To induce labour), etc, that hasn’t reached here yet?
    (Or am I hanging out too much with the Breastfeeding Midwifing Paedophiliac Mummy Squad?)

  13. What’s with the ‘Oxytocin is woo’?

    It’s a bit of moral panic drummed up by the abstinence-only one-partner-per-lifetime crowd, summed up roughly as ”People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual.” (source: Heather Corinna on io9)
    Some folks have taken the message that the above-quoted statement is craptacular non-science rubbish to mean that any claims about oxytocin are craptacular non-science rubbish, looks like.

  14. Sorry, Li and Aqua.

  15. Thanks, tigtog. Interesting reading at that link!
    Aqua and Li, sorry things are tough for you right now.

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