Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz


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International Women’s Day

I haven’t written for ages, many reasons for that, but I thought I’d jot down what I was thinking about on the way to work this morning. It’s longer than I expected, as usual.

Before getting to that, I’ll reflect on going to work – something many women even a generation ago did not get to do, so I’m grateful for that and always have been. This is no slight on anyone who does not have a contracted-to-do-things-for-others, leaving-the-house type job. Or two.

There are many ways to earn a living, and many forms of work that are unpaid and undervalued. I don’t refer to that, but to the option and opportunity I have been afforded that many were – and are still, globally – denied.

Let us not forget the women who are forced to work, lucky if they earn any wage, risking their safety and their children’s. Women in poverty. Women faced with false choices of abuse or homelessness. Women living under legal systems that deny them basic rights.

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Science is as vital as ever- fighting cuts again

Science is Vital is a campaign group that was set up back in 2010, the last time UK science was threatened with big budget cuts.

What’s the problem?

science-as-vital-as-ever-science-budget-2010-2020-0.99

It’s happening again, now – the Research Councils have been asked to predict what could happen if 20-40% cuts are imposed.

That is huge. Last time campaigning achieved a freeze, the ringfence or flat cash – no cuts, but after inflation takes its toll, science funding has still decreased over time, to the point we’re now last in the G8.

Head over to scienceogram to interact with these numbers more fully and see how little we spend on things like preventing cancer, heart disease and stroke – currently the 3 biggest disease killers.

How can I help?

  1. Send George Osborne a post card!

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America’s romanticised assault – the kiss and the statue

Read the full piece at The Malcontent

Yesterday I learned about this sculpture in the States, titled “Unconditional Surrender” by Seward Johnson, via a photography group on Facebook that I’m a member of (and has shut down the discussion I had about it, due to it apparently not being the “proper platform” for a discussion of what art represents or emotions it elicits – partly due to admins noting the hostility in comments on other pieces written about this incident).

A photographer who captured this statue in black & white said, after I raised the issue of this being an assault [edited for spelling etc],

The first part of what this commenter said in response to my pointing out it’s assault to grab people and force kisses on them?

“I am a believer in the rights of women and they should be protected at all costs and I am very much against violence against women and would put all such men in jail and throw away the key but…”

But, indeed.

Head over to The Malcontent to read some more of my words on this – hoping to post there more often and keep my pages here a bit more diverse than just feminist ranting!

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Warning: may contain warnings

Trigger warnings! People are still talking about them.

As I think I’ve said before, I prefer terms like “content note” or just NB/ or similar, as I have read convincing arguments that the very use of the words “trigger warning” can be kind of self-defeating, so maybe it’s better to avoid that. Although whether “TW” may have the same effect, I’m not sure. Not my point.

What warning?

I’m talking about little notes at the start of something – a piece of writing or a talk, or a post in (for example) a facebook group – that gives people a heads-up about the content. It might be “Content note: disordered eating” or “TW: rape” or similar. The point is that if people aren’t in an appropriate state to deal with that or prefer it not creeping up on them unannounced, they don’t need to -just to let them know so they’re better prepared when it comes up.

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Substituting for ‘crazy’

As I’m sure I’ve argued before, words really do matter in some contexts. They both reflect and define our realities, and can indicate to each other what we feel and think about things, as well as what’s acceptable in groups.

People might now switch off because “omg the PC police” but, try replacing “political correctness gone mad” with “people would like respect” and see how things look…

booksinsane

Yeah, no, it really isn’t

Today’s subject is the increased use of terms that usually reference mental ill-health being substituted for descriptors of the unusual and notable like baffling, unconscionable, inexplicable, astonishing, amazing, awesome, fantastic, brilliant, shocking, clever, super, awful, despicable, outrageous, indefensible, unfair – and many more besides; I am (sadly) not a thesaurus.

That’s a big range of stuff to throw words like crazy, insane, mad, batshit or mentally ill at. I think it’s more common in America (especially insane) but seems fairly ubiquitous now, especially in clickbait headlines (a root of many ills).

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How I think of “privilege”

I’ve thought of myself as a feminist for a long time, but I too went through the phases of “but I don’t hate men! I like bras and make-up! I don’t like the word feminist!” – and I’m thoroughly over it (internalised misogyny is a whole other post…) but I have, for the last couple of years, thought a lot more about the concept described by this word privilege.

I once tried (and failed) to articulate the fact that it is more difficult to be a woman in this world than a man, to a guy at university. He, hilariously, told me to go and make a sandwich. So I gave up, for a long time.

What does it mean to you, or are you new to the concept, and has this been enlightening or do you not recognise it at all? Let me know in the comments…

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QEDcon 2015

As ever, the opening video didn’t disappoint – congratulations to all whose hard work made this tweaked Left Behind trailer funny and so technically impressive:

QED is my Christmas; or, what I imagine Christmas to be like for people who actually enjoy it. My family now is smaller than it was, and we do things our own way, so it’s better – but I’ve never been much of a fan. QEDcon is where I spend time with my chosen family, or most of them at least!

Topping 550 people in its 5th year, it had the same friendly, warm, welcoming and highly intoxicated atmosphere it always has. Continue reading