Monday, October 15, 2007

What I'm gonna read next

So, based on all the feedback I got from all of you, I should be reading The Secret Life of Bees next.

However, I'm starting a book club for the freshmen on campus, and I had a whopping one person show up to the interest meeting (and she received a personal verbal invitation from her RD, so she sort of had to come). And we decided, this one student and I, that we needed to pick our first book strategically - with that strategery aimed at getting more people to the first discussion, after which we can introduce some books we'd be more interested in (she actually wanted to start with Shakespeare, but I guided her away from it by saying that'd be a sure club-killer at the beginning, which is probably true, but the real truth is that I don't want to read Shakespeare).

So, for our first book, we're going with The Devil Wears Prada. Simply to get people (women, mostly) in the door. I'd like to say we'd then throw some Wicked and Poisonwood Bible and Middlesex at them, but if they're coming for Prada, they probably won't be interested in Elphaba. But a girl can dream, can't she?

Anyone else read this book?

Just the type of girl I am

What type of girl are you?!!
created with
You scored as Nerdy Girl

Nerdy Girl




Athletic Tomboy




Popular Bitch






Preppy Girl


Yes, big surprise that I'd rank as a nerdy girl. Or a hippie. Or an athletic tomboy. Of course, I'm apparently just as much a loser as I am a tomboy, so whatever. The good news, and my parents would be so proud, is that I'm only 25% slut! (Honestly, I don't think I break into double digits on the slut scale, but I didn't write the quiz. There's obviously someone out there better able to judge my sluttiness, so judge away.)

What type of girl are you? (I can't wait to see just what kind of girl Phydeaux is...)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

National Coming Out Day 2007

I don't really feel like telling my whole coming out story right now (on accounta it's late and I just got done telling it to real live people), but I wanted to have a post to mark the occasion.

So here's the abbreviated version: I've been out and proud (and scared and exhausted and...) since April 30, 1997. For those of you who didn't throw a giant party that day, you may not remember that April 30, 1997 was the airing of the infamous "Puppy Episode" of Ellen - the one where she finally admitted what her mullet had confirmed so many years earlier. I gathered some members of my overwhelmingly Christian campus community together to "Come Out with Ellen" and announced to about twenty people (including some I didn't know) that I was gay. And despite occasional fear and frequent discomfort, especially in those early years, I've pretty much never looked back.

To celebrate my tenth (!) National Coming Out Day, here's a list of people I'd like to thank for helping me along the way:

1)MonkeyPants - I couldn't have made this journey without her love and support and patience and nurturing and humor and laughter and cute face propping me up. One set of footprints and all that. She's the perfect one for me. It's just rules.

2)My amazing family - they've taken MonkeyPants in as one of their own and have given us so much monetary and emotional support over the last twelve years that it's sort of not fair. I usually don't feel like I deserve to have gotten so lucky. Plus, my sister, who is five years younger than I am and grew up in the same small and closed-minded town I did, got a rainbow tattoo on her back when she was sixteen to show her support. How fucking cool is that?

3)PJK - my counselor at college who was the first person to ever hear me come out. She helped me negotiate some very rough transitions and very possibly helped save my life. And she certainly inspired me to pursue a career working with college students. And to top it all off, she performed our commitment ceremony. And wrote me a letter of recommendation to graduate school. She really couldn't get much cooler.

4)Terri - one of the few souls at college who embraced me exactly as I was. She was the first true ally I had.

5)Jess C. - the first woman I knew who wore her hairy legs confidently. She'll probably never know what an impact that had on me.

6)Bobbi and Rachel - the first gay couple we were truly friends with. They accept and love us unconditionally and have been so important in our lives. We're truly lucky to have crossed paths with them.

7)My graduate department - they provided the first true "safe space" for me and helped me find my voice. And then they gave me a degree. And a job. And then they gave my mom a job. So they're pretty much tops in my book.

8)The afore-mentioned Ellen - she took a huge risk - and paid a huge price for it - by being honest and declaring and defending her gayness. She was the first celebrity I ever saw come out of the closet (some had just always been out, some were outed by others...and some just weren't on my radar at that time). She was a huge inspiration for me and helped nudge me onto my path. I probably could have done it without her inspiration, but I don't know if I would have.

9)All the other people who have walked with me on this journey - there are many. I'll probably remember eleven of them as soon as I log off. I hope they all know who they are. And that they're not mad that I forgot them.

Anyway, happy Coming Out Day, everyone! And thanks for lettin' me be me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Republican over Hillary?

Go here to find out with which candidate for President you have the most values in common. There are only eleven questions, so the quiz is far from comprehensive. And there were a couple of questions for which I had two viable answers and one question for which I didn't want to choose any of the available answers. So, I'm not putting a lot of stock into the whole thing and what it means.

And yet...

I found it not at all surprising that my values are most in line with Dennis Kucinich and second most with Mike Gravel. I always seem to gravitate toward the lefty nutjobs who can be politically honest because they have very little to lose for it. What I found most interesting was that the candidate with whom my values are third most consistent was a Republican.

What the effing aytch?

Now, Mike Huckabee is pretty decent for a Republican, but let's get serious, folks. Ain't no way he's better than all but two of the Democrats.

So I tried a little experiment. I went back and took the quiz again and changed the answer to one of the questions for which I was trying to decide between a couple of the available options (mandatory caps on carbon emissions versus investing in alternative energy sources - they both seem important to me). The new results put Bill Richardson as my number three.

And then I tried it again, changing back to my original answer on that question but changing my answer on one of the other tricky ones (does it really matter to me if the candidate has been a governor versus a senator or a representative? Not really). This time Barack Obama popped up as my number three.

And that is comforting to me. It was really messing with a core part of my identity to find myself with a Republican in my top three. So I was pleased that I shared NO values with Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, or Fred Thompson. Because they're pretty big tools.

But here's what's most distressing to me after taking the quiz three times. No matter how I changed my answers around, Hillary Clinton never shared more than three values with me*. Out of eleven. Now, I'm no math wiz, but that's pretty bad.

'Cause I really, really, really want to be able to vote my values in every election, but I also understand how important it is to keep Republicans out of office in this next election, which makes me more likely to support whoever ends up being the Democratic candidate. And at this point it's looking like Hillary just may be that candidate. In addition to feeling distressed that I may have so little in common, value-wise, with the next President, I feel a little distressed that I have so little in common with Hillary. Because, for whatever reason, I keep wanting to like her. I want to be able to root for the first viable female candidate for the highest office in the country. No matter how much she disappoints me, I remain unwilling to kick her to the curb. Kinda like I was with her husband back before my feminist sensibilities were so defined. What is that all about, anyway? I keep trying to convince myself that she really doesn't believe the things she says but insists on saying them so she'll get elected, at which point she'll turn into the socialist feminist superhero I deserve to have as my President.

Anyone think that's likely?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Anyway, go take the quiz and see who you'd vote for if you were voting strictly on your eleven values.

*In case you're curious about my breakdown, here it is based on my last attempt (out of a possible score of 11):
Kucinich (11)
Gravel (7)
Obama (4)
Richardson, Edwards, Dodd, and Paul (3)
Clinton, Biden, Guiliani, Huckabee, and Brownback (2)
Romney and McCain (1)
Brownback, Hunter, Tancredo, and Thompson (0)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Did feminism ever happen?

Wanna barf a little? Read this article from the Iowa City Press-Citizen. That should do the trick. If you're too lazy or scared to click the link, I've done you the supreme courtesy of republishing some of the ickiness right here. Get a load of this.

"I’ve always wanted to be in Playboy,” said [Kim] Mueller, a 22-year-old sociology major from Mundelein, Ill. “I think women’s bodies are really pretty and deserve to be shown off,” she said. “I think it’s empowering for women.”

Where the eff are these young women's minds? Exactly how, I ask, is displaying the most vulnerable parts of the most degraded bodies "empowering" for anyone besides the voyeur? I mean, I think women's bodies are really pretty, too, but taking pictures of them and putting those pictures in a magazine like Playboy does nothing but turn human females with pretty bodies into nothing more than objectified sex receptacles, which is pretty much the exact opposite of empowering. Young women are fooling themselves if they think men are respecting the hell out of their pretty female bodies, not to mention the minds and souls that are part of the package. No, the minds and souls can be easily discarded, leaving nothing but a pretty picture to which millions of men will soon be beating off. Those two-dimensional glossy bodies may get pearl necklaces out of the deal, but they won't be the respectable kind.

In a stunning blow right to the solar plexus of the feminist movement, after initial skepticism and disappointment, Mueller's mother is finally really excited for her daughter to objectify herself. It's every mother's dream, really, so I guess I understand. But it's no big shocker that Mueller's boyfriend "has been even more supportive." In fact, and I know you'll find this nearly impossible to believe, he's the one who heard about the audition and urged her to give it a try! What a nice young pimp he's turned out to be, sharing his girlfriend's body with the world like that. Take this boy home to meet your mother, Ms. Mueller. They both seem to have your very best interests at heart, and I'm sure they'll get along famously.

I'm also a huge fan of Playboy's recruitment tactics, decorating a suite at the Sheraton in black, gold and pink. 'Cause you know as well as I do that the only way to attract a hot college woman is to paint something pink. Actually, now that I think about it, that probably is the best way to attract the kind of women who think Playboy is totally neat-o. They've so easily swallowed the Playboy punch that I'm sure they've been taken in by the Power of Pink, too. I just hope they don't break their stilettos in their enthusiastic rush toward all that empowering nakedness.

Cynthia Kaye, the stylist on site interviewing these young women, thinks this is some sort of resume-builder. “You really do feel like a celebrity when it comes out,” Kaye said. “I think it's something that you take with you.” Yes, it totally seems like something you might take with you, say, to a job interview. Or perhaps to have your teeth cleaned. Sadly, you may have no choice in the matter. 'Cause, unfortunately, your dentist and your potential new boss may have already experienced your celebrity status with you, Miss October. And you just can't put a price on that kind of empowerment.