Qandeel Baloch, a fiercely independent woman who dared to defy the stringent modesty rules of her culture, is dead, murdered by her own family.
The kind of violence she suffered is called an honor killing, and we here in the West too often don’t realize what’s meant by that. We’re given to trite, pithy comments about how there’s nothing honorable about killing your sister or your daughter or your wife. If we understood what honor meant in those cultures, we wouldn’t say such things.
It’s a funny thing to think about, this question of honor.
And what kind of person do you have to be, for your honor to depend on your family members conforming to a restrictive standard of behavior?
This question of honor. And individuals. And anger and and shame and fear. What kind of human do you have to be?
Perhaps, the kind of human who lives in a society where the standing and reputation of your family– its honor– dictates just about every measure of accessibility and livelihood.
So. Last week, I mentioned a fun new project I’d be unveiling this week. My friend Zeroth and I will be analyzing Supernatural episode by episode. We’ll be presenting the pilot episode for your enjoyment tomorrow. Today, I’ll introduce you to our methods and aims so you can spend more time enjoying our analysis and less time trying to figure out what the fuck we’re talking about.
So, first, Supernatural: for those who haven’t watched the show, it’s basically about two brothers who travel the country tracking and fighting all sorts of supernatural entities. You’ll encounter everything from ghosts to terribly mauled Native American legends to angels and demons. It’s very strongly influenced by the horror movie genre, although it’s not afraid to play around in other genres, and has a healthy propensity for laughing at itself. It’s gone on for eleven seasons and been renewed for a twelfth, so yeah, it’s been a pretty successful formula.
Apologies for it being somewhat quiet round here lately, my darlings. I’m deep in a project wherein I am sorting through well over a thousand public domain images of Mount St. Helens. It’s necessary for upcoming posts, not to mention the eruption book and the guidebooks I’m working on, but ye gods does it ever suck up the time.
Fortunately, I can watch television whilst downloading, categorizing, and posting select images. I’ve got through most of Supernatural, and will have So Many Things to Say about it soon. I’ve sampled Gilmore Girls, and discovered that stuff based on ordinary life terrifies me far more than shows with monsters or murders. I actually had to quit watching because it was giving me conniptions. I’ve started Daredevil, and oh, yes, I will have Thoughts on that as well.
Newcomers to ETEV probably haven’t spelunked the archives, so it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that I’ve got clinical depression and anxiety. They’re both kicking up one hell of a fuss at the moment. You might not know it from a few recent blog posts and my Facebook feed, especially not since my feed has been full of my comments on the Supernatural marathon I’m currently running and precious little else. I’m pretty good at covering the worst bits up. That’s such a weird thing about these disorders: if I haven’t hit absolute rock bottom, I can look pretty bubbly and bouncy. I might even appear to have my shit together.
I don’t. But I’ve been dealing with this for a long time, and I know how to put the mask on so I can function in the outside world. And I know what to do when I’m no longer going to be able to fake it to make it.
So. I’m going to tell you a truth: the reason I’ve been mainlining Supernatural is not just because it’s an entertaining show, but because I’m using it to stave off a major depressive episode. Tell you what, teetering on the edge of the abyss is about the most unpleasant sensation a mind can feel. There’s a reason why we turn to things and cling to them, whether they be drugs, alcohol, a teevee show, or whatever. When you’re going over the edge, you’ll grab at anything that appears to give you a chance of not going over.
If you hang around in social justice circles for more than about a minute, you’ll probably encounter someone insisting that those of us paying attention to language aren’t doing anything important. Said attitude is usually displayed by people sniffing about how we’re being too politically correct. They dismiss our attempts to, for instance, get people to stop using gendered slurs or ableist insults. Even our allies sometimes have a distressing habit of downplaying such things.
“Traditional marriage and religious liberty are under attack all across the nation,” writes former Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill.
No, Jared and all the other crybaby cons. Not a bit of it. Traditional marriage is just being asked to share its sandbox with others. It gets to keep all its toys. It’s still got plenty of room to play. Nobody’s kicking sand in its eyes, or telling it to go home, or borrowing its bucket and shovel and not giving them back. If traditional marriage can’t play nicely with the other kids, that’s its problem, not theirs. It can learn to share the space, or go home to sulk, but nobody’s attacking it. Continue reading “Dear “Religious Liberty” Brigade: You’ve Lost. You’ve Always Lost”→
The Yarn Mission seeks to “use yarn to promote action and change to eradicate racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression”. The group, founded by CheyOnna Sewell, a PhD student in criminology, seeks to spark conversation about race and police brutality by engaging with curious passersby as they knit, all while providing a comforting activity for beleaguered activists.
“As a black woman, you’re invisible,” says Taylor Payne, a member of the group. “But knitting makes people stop and have a conversation with you. If someone asks me what I’m doing, I say, ‘I’m knitting for black liberation.’ Sometimes they respond and sometimes I just get ‘Oh, my grandma knits,’ like the person didn’t hear me. But at least it opens the door to talking about my experiences.”
When I was in middle school back in the olden days (hint: it was just after leg warmers went out and hypercolor shirts came in), I had this t-shirt that had a cartoon duck on it. It said “Tall, Duck and Handsome.” I’d done some growing, so it was a little short – it skimmed the top of my jeans, and like an inch of belly was exposed when I raised my arms. This was too much for the puritans of our local school district, who pulled me out of class, called my mom, and told her that such skimpy clothing was not allowed on awkward prepubescent girls.
My mother, who was something of a warrior, read them the riot act. She belted them with facts: we were still little kids. The shirt was cute and funny, not sexy. The shirt covered pretty much everything unless I raised my arms overhead, and if they couldn’t handle that little bit of skin, that was their problem. She had them quaking by the end of her tirade. I think they were about to give up and send me back to class, but she pulled me out of school and took me to have either ice cream or lunch – unfortunately, my memory fades on that point. We had a nice mother-daughter day, and I knew from then onward that my mom would always have my back in battles over dress codes. When they divorced, my dad took over the not giving a shit and expecting other people to accept my sartorial choices. When people would ask him how he could possibly let me wear x, y, or z, he’d calmly explain to them that I was comfortable and creative, and if they had a problem, they’d have to deal with it their own damn selves.