Otterday! And Open Thread.

Today’s Open/Chat thread is hosted by this teeny baby otter. Snapped in Tokyo and shared on flickr by tomosuke214 – click through for heaps more otter pics.

Asian short-clawed baby otter at Sunshine Acquarium by tomosuke214, on Flickr

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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20 replies

  1. Waiting for the National Gallery to open so we can browse for half an hour before we go to the Turner exhibition. Beautiful sunny day too.

  2. Anyone seen Helen Razer’s latest?
    Tell us how you really feel, Helen!
    I love it when she writes like this, even the parts I take issue with.

  3. If she ever actually wrote a column about “radical change to our labour conditions”, instead of spending all her energy trashing other women, I might give her stance some credence, even if the model she provides for the intellectual rigour she sees as missing from other women’s writing is to say “fuck it” a lot.

  4. Like Orlando, I don’t have much time for Helen Razer. In my case, it’s because she talks a lot about how women are Doin’ Feminism Rong, but she doesn’t appear to spend much time on describing or approving of how women might be Doin’ Feminism Right. The impression I get from this latest rant (much like all the others) is that she doesn’t approve of anyone’s efforts to be feminist, and if we can’t Do It Right according to Helen, then we shouldn’t be doing it at all, rather than Doin’ It Rong the way we are now.
    The problem is, there’s a whole patriarchy dedicated to telling women all the ways we’re Doin’ It Rong. Set beside it, Helen Razer doesn’t really count for much more than another disapproving voice, telling women yet again that the way we are isn’t appropriate. For someone else’s definition of “appropriate”, naturally.
    So as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to feminism, I think we should be working on ways to make it clear to other women that they’re Doin’ It Right. In so far as both of the main things she complained about in this latest linked rant, the principles are sound. Where a lot of modern, liberal feminism falls down, according to Helen Razer (and yeah, I do agree with her on this) is in the application stages. But surely the aim should be to point out alternative ways of applying these principles, and emphasizing how different actions are better suited to getting the principles across, rather than just ranting that the people doing it are Doin’ It Rong and should Stop Immediately.
    I’m with Helen Razer when she points out a lot of liberal feminism isn’t actually doing much. Where she loses me is when she doesn’t offer options on how it could do better. My position is if you’re spending a lot of time telling me I’m “Doin’ It Rong”, then presumably you have some idea of an actual “doin’ it right” and how that goes. So give me a hint or two. Let me buy a vowel or something. Even “warmer, warmer, colder, colder” would do. But if all you’re going to do is tell me whatever I’m doing, I’m Doin’ It Rong – well, if I want that, I can go visit my mother.

  5. Razer gets a lot of coverage now she’s taken to bashing feminists.

  6. Also, the abuse – calling feminists “bints” and “tits” and “morons” -look at her tweets as well as her articles, Cady, it’s instructive. Oh and of course “middle class” and “bourgeois”. Then she says she’s busy “smashing the state”, while her other tweets are all about her manicures and cheese and eating carbs (bad) and half marathons, going to launches for little boutique magazines, cats, participating in plays and panels with other “media professionals”. She’s as bourgeois as any of us.
    Her continual mocking of “rape culture” and “FAMANASM” is puerile to say the least and there are legions of fanbois who constantly pop up to cheer this and make more “rape culture” jokes and silly-feminist comments.
    I would ask any fans of hers to point to any long and considered piece she’s published which addresses the topics she constantly scolds others to write.

  7. I can understand why people don’t have time for Razer. Her rants seem to be overly idiosyncratic, and that one in particular was a bit of a mess, albeit an entertaining one(for me)–it kinda seemed to bunch together a couple of issues that really should’ve been looked at separately (I don’t think feminists who talk about rape culture and Mia Friedman-esque “face cream” feminists are from the same tribe. In fact, all they probably have in common is that they were both pissing Raze off at that particular moment).
    And the rape culture part…yeah, that was really on the nose. Since Razer has said herself that she views rape as mainly being a crime of power rather desire, and since the feminist concept of rape culture as I understand it doesn’t contradict that view, I’m really not sure what her issue is with that one.
    But this:
    “We do not make change by asking for praise about our twats, mams or makeup-free faces. To pretend that there is ANY benefit—even at the cultural level—in appeasing our own vanity is hypocrisy of the worst order.”
    Really resonated. I mean, here in WA The Libs are going to cut over 300 Teacher’s Assistant jobs, which seems like a pretty big feminist issue to me given that most TAs are women. And (this isn’t a feminist issue per se but it’s pretty damn important) Colin fucking Barnett has now rejected almost a billion dollars worth of Federal funding for WA public schools through his stubborn refusal to sign our state up for Gonski.
    These are important issues, but dammit, if there’s an article about how Jessica Gomez is a) going makeup-free, or b) promoting positive body image for women by being ‘curvy’, where do you think the feminist focus will be? Yep, on Gomez(or Bratich, or Ward, or whoever the model of the moment is, and what a ‘brave’ or ‘bad’ example they supposedly set). Similarly, ‘articles’ that are about an individual’s ‘heroic’ weight loss battle or even about how an individual woman has risen above society’s pressures to love her body “cellulite and all” (see Deveny’s bikini selfie in Mamamia) are about just that: the INDIVIDUAL. I’m sorry, but I’m just not convinced these so-called body positive selfies, with their covert begging for the viewers’ approval and their making the body the centre of a woman’s universe, really accomplish anything other than reinforcing women’s insecurities and sucking our time and energy away from issues where it would really be better spent.
    And look, I realise we can do both. And I apologise if I’m contributing to the ‘doin’ it rong’ chorus. But the disproportionate emphasis on body image stuff is just really infuriating sometimes. It’s become the dominant feminist issue, and it shouldn’t be, is what I took from Razer’s piece.
    Bronwen Clune puts it more kindly than Razer (though she does quote Razer approvingly):
    So yeah, this is a bit all over the place, but look: while Razer might attract more flies with honey than vinegar, I do like to see Friedman-style feminism get a bit of a sting every so often (as one of the commenters on the piece suggested, maybe she should’ve gone after THAT rather than attacking individuals).
    Helen: I don’t follow Razer on Twitter, but I’ll have a read of some of her tweets. If I see she has a bunch of MRA fanbois and doesn’t talk back to ‘em or tell ‘em to fuck off, then that’s gross and I definitely won’t be reading her further.

  8. I don’t have a problem with ranting about diverse things that piss you off like Helen Razer does. I do have a problem with lumping a bunch of stuff together and blaming ‘feminism’ for all the different things as if they are one thing.
    To my mind, what she’s actually got the shits with is the kind of arguments that get a play in the mainstream media. Which is fine, but is not fucking feminism a lot of the time and feminists are not responsible for commercial bullshit.
    Also, she’s pissed off with Destroy the Joint for not critiquing the structural underpinnings of inequality. Well, I disagree. I think that’s exactly what they are doing, but for people who are not necessarily familiar with the language of cultural theory or of revolution. So that’s fine with me, actually. You have to start somewhere, and sometimes that is simply pointing out that something isn’t fair.
    Also, I am fucking sick to death of feeling attacked because I am a woman who speaks out about different sorts of inequality. You know what, Helen Razer adds to that feeling of being told to shut up. That’s mostly what I don’t like.
    Pretty much, I’ve had it up to the neck this week on all kinds of levels.
    Also I don’t think that ‘catching flies with honey’ is what I’m asking for. I’m asking for an internally consistent argument and for someone who is claiming to offer some kind of analysis to actually analyse instead of just reacting and blaming. I know that’s exactly what I am doing right now. I am a hypocrite, doubtless.
    Well, that was therapeutic. Thank you for creating a space where I can say all that.

  9. Eh, the only Razer articles I read are her pages in The Big Issue. Used to enjoy them, but less so these days.
    I’ve had a pissy couple of weeks, too. Massive muscle pain in the legs, referred from the bustedcartilageknee sent me to the doc ‘cos Nurofen wasn’t helping. Doc prescribes Naproxen, which fixes the legs, but holy hell the side effects! Stomach bloating and tenderness, back pain on urination, cold symptoms (yes really – and the constant cough is the worst on top of asthma). Then I found out from Dr Google that Naproxen shouldn’t be prescribed for anyone with liver complaints anyway – o hai doc, y u no read my patient history? ::rolls eyes::
    Still, she did order a blood test for inflammation. The results there were jaw-dropping: the marker (ERS? ESR? I never can remember) has a normal range of 5-25.
    Mine was 75.
    So, it’s back next week for another test, with the Naproxen out of my system (I hope – I stopped taking it as soon as I read about the side effects). Be interesting to see if the levels have dropped. Otherwise, goodness knows what more tests I’ll be in for.
    I iz a wreck … well, no, but feeling flat simply because this damn cough wakes me up every blasted night.

  10. Idiosyncratic Razer would be fine if her raves, which are sometimes side-splittingly funny, although more so a decade ago, were part of a discussion rather than left stand alone as the definitive voice for feminist and other social concern elements.
    She has a Nietzschean take on things but this viewpoint is only one of several approaches and even within it there are variant contesting trajectories.
    Friedman likewise purports to represents feminism, but her take is also a mask for a conservative outlook that is offered without contrast or alternative. Very homogenizing.
    Must admit, of the side columnists at various newspapers, I often enjoyed Emma Tom’s columns, but somewhere along the line they de-natured her also.
    Very Murdochian, proto-feudalist, Manichean times, as we will soon discover further…

  11. Kittehs unpaid help: Sorry if this sounds hlepy, but I’ve just been through that exact problem. The difference was that GP recommended physio instead of drugs. OH MY GOD. I am now virtually a spruiker for the physiotherapy industry. Injuries in one place can multiply pain sites as you compensate for the pain as you know only too well. Pain free, pretty much, now.
    I’ve been taking magnesium, too, which is supposed to be good for muscle cramps; Not sure if it’s helped or whether it’s all down to the physio.

  12. Helen – yay for health!
    I might have to check the difference between physiotherapy and osteotherapy, because I’d been having the latter for months before this happened, and I don’t think it helped.
    I was just reading about chronic inflammation, and OF COURSE flippin’ menopause is tangled up with it, along with NAFLD. I can see myself being stuck on some frankly awful dietary regime in the not-too-distant. 😦

  13. Physio is great for all sorts of stuff, but an ESR of 75 is one of those red-flag moments: it’s sky-high and absolutely needs medical investigation for autoimmune disorders (a number of which can cause muscle pain which won’t go away with physiotherapy), and possibly a rheumatologist eval.

  14. Fear not, I’m not shrugging this one off or investigating physio alone. I’m getting another test tomorrow, and I’ve an appointment with my own doctor next week once the results are in.
    I just hope it’s not the damn chronic conditions causing this. I don’t know what else I can change about my diet. Pretty much the only foods I like are inflammatory. I could almost wish it were diabetes (we have it in the family) and just be put on tablets. Mum has ‘em and they work a treat for her.

  15. I don’t think my day was embiggened at all by reading that Helen Razer piece. More research and intellectual rigor on her part wouldn’t go astray. Plus not calling other women b*tches and h@rlots either. I’d rather read about Twisty’s obstreperal lobe any day.
    A much better part of my week was getting lots of cuddles with my new niece, who does all those charming baby facial expressions (deeply suspicious) and grunty noises that only babies do.

  16. A strike against stupid boob armour

  17. I have to say, Angharad, “riveting” stuff.
    Much more of this and I am going to start liking you lot.

  18. What does naproxen do to livers? (my Dr Google skills are not very developed).
    I agree with Lauredhel. An ESR of 75, while not sky-high (>100 is not uncommon with certain disease entities), is often a marker of _something_ going on. Unfortunately, that’s all it tells you – a million and one conditions will bring ESR into the 50-75 range. You should see a doctor you trust, and then follow their advice.

  19. Hildy – I don’t know what naproxen does to livers, only that it’s not recommended for those with liver problems. I’ve non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, so I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have been on it.
    I’m glad to say the problems are finally almost clear – no more bloating, kidney-ish pain, and the cough’s almost disappeared. Took a week and a half, grr.
    I’m seeing my regular doc next week. I’ve had the second blood test, so we’ll see if it’s come down, or more tests are indicated.

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