Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'd be interested in what we all think about this:

Thanks to the fine folks at Yahoo News:

Prostitutes sew lips together in Bolivia protest

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Prostitutes in the Bolivian city of El Alto sewed their lips together on Wednesday as part of a hunger strike to demand that the mayor reopen brothels and bars ordered closed after violent protests by residents last week.

"We are fighting for the right to work and for our families' survival," Lily Cortez, leader of the El Alto Association of Nighttime Workers, told local television.

"Tomorrow we will bury ourselves alive if we are not immediately heard. The mayor will have his conscience to answer to if there are any grave consequences, such as the death of my comrades," she said, surrounded by about 10 prostitutes who had sewn their lips together with thread.

Some 30 other women were shown fasting inside a medical clinic nearby.

Mayor Fanor Nava told local radio he would not reopen the brothels and bars closed after city residents fed up with underage drinking and crime stormed the red-light district in El Alto, an impoverished city just north of La Paz.

Prostitution in Bolivia is legal but pimping is outlawed.

Student activists who want the bars and brothels permanently shut down were also on a hunger strike, along with the leaders of an association representing bars, restaurants and karaoke establishments.

"It's not only us owners and the sex workers who are affected, there are thousands of waiters, cooks, bartenders, taxi drivers and street vendors who will be without income," said Ramiro Orellana, spokesman for the business group.

El Alto is one of the largest urban areas in Bolivia, with nearly 1 million inhabitants, mostly Aymara and Quechua Indians.

Bolivian sex workers taking extreme measures to demand the right to work? student activists and sex workers in dueling hunger strikes?

the mind reels. as it should. comments are, as usual, wide open. I want to know what you all think, whatever side of the issue you fall on.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

here is a newly-minted blog by someone near and dear to me: Baby Love Child. (I shoulda done this yesterday but fell asleep before I could get my brain around it. sorry, BLC. better late than never?)

it's about adoption. but maybe not how you'd think. I'm still pretty much in the shut-up-and-listen stage (or should be, as evidenced by the rest of this post, I'm sure), but she's got a lot to say, as usual ;). go forth and show some bloglove!

the more pregnant I get, the more I get all ruminate-y about adoption, abortion, all that stuff - maybe as a distraction from the 3:00 am internal jackhammerings of ittybitty feet, or as a distraction from the terror of impending parenthood, or as a distraction from excavating the toxic waste dump that is my kitchen - but I find myself giving it all a lot of thought.

I think that often the impetus for both abortion and adoption springs from the same source - that big loud voice, that Myth-of-Patriarchy voice that tells you the products of your conception are misplaced, ill-timed, inappropriately-raced, inappropriately-gendered, doomed out of the gate to a life of miserable grinding poverty and shame, or otherwise Damaged Goods and Not For You, and should instead be removed, disposed of - whether it's before or after the products of conception grow into a baby, does it really matter? either way, The Voice tells you that what your body creates is Wrong and you should make its wrongness go away, whether sooner or later.

which is fucked up. really, the only voice that should tell a woman whether to become a mom is her own.

and yeah, a woman should be able to have sex however she wants, with whomever she wants, upsidedown and sideways and swinging from the chandelier if she wants, and still not become a mom if she doesn't want to be. but too often the conception of a child causes this weird chaos wherein everyone involved goes berzerk, as though the world will stop spinning if this misplaced conception is allowed to grow into a human being and stay with its mom. Voices that have nothing to do with the reality of the pregnant woman's life grow louder and louder, and her voice softer and softer, until it really does seem like she's committed some terrible offense against humanity, and her body is full of wrongness that must be purged, sooner or later.

a baby, a human life (if you will, if you must), should not be a punishment, the wages of sin, a heavy burden, a mark of disgrace. Bodies reproduce. It's what they're put on earth to do. no baby should be considered "undesirable" unless its mom isn't into motherhood, really truly not into it, and not just under the influence of The Big Mythical Voice and its pernicious lies.

you know, what I don't know about adoption could fill a book, no doubt. but apparently, both locally and globally, it's kind of a racket. The Adoption-Industrial Complex, so to speak.

And adopted kids, globally and locally - they don't all remain adorably sleeping in their basinets, all pigtailed and perfect for eternity. they grow up into adults. adults who sometimes have issues with how it all went down, who sometimes grow up with no idea of their history, their medical needs, their genetic tendencies - and who can't even find out, even if they ask extra super nicely and bow down to the Bureaucracy Gods.

I'm no more anti-adoption than I am anti-abortion. but so many voices (like Baby Love Child's, like other adults who were adopted as children) get left out of the discussion, so that it's hard not to turn a critical eye on the way adoption goes down. some say it's impossible to have an ethical adoption. I wonder about that.

well, I guess that's about all I have. comments are, as usual, wide open. just remember that real people are out there in the ether.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Odds and Ends -

Trinity is going places I just can't go yet and I am truly thankful that she's brave enough to go there. Even five years on, it's just too painful for me. Someday it won't be, and the fact that folks like Trinity speak up makes me feel so grateful.

My temp assignment at my Dream Job ended abruptly (albeit with cake, and a lovely card, and excellent references, and many kind words), which made me cry. I'm going on a job interview tomorrow, for more money than I've ever seen in my life - this does not fill me with joy, unfortunately. the gig sounds utterly soulless, and I have to put on my Grownup Professional Lady costume. and I'm afraid that for all my efforts they won't hire me anyway, 'cuz the baby and all.

I'm trying hard not to anthropomorphize the baby, because it's not a baby yet. but I just felt some weird thrashy-wiggly feelings yesterday morning for the first time. parasite, thy name is Wolfgang...

oh, and I got a haircut. (must be an epidemic...)

see, I had this snarl. I thought I wouldn't tell anyone about it, because it was really embarrassing. but now I feel like I have to explain the haircut.

this snarl - it took up my whole hair. it was so big, it had its own zip code. you could see it from space it was so big. I shoulda joined the circus with it and charged people money to see it. it was SO BIG.

It was that big because I was uninterested in doing my hair (or much of anything) for about three months while I was otherwise occupied with my head in the fucking toilet.

but then I woke up one morning, feeling a little better, and when I went to wash my (long-ass, extremely frizzy) hair, I discovered The Snarl That Ate My Soul.


the hair-salon lady told me to dump a bunch of baby oil on it, and sleep with my hair under a shower cap for a coupla days. so I did that. and I worked on Snarly McTangle for about four days, taking breaks when I just-couldn't-cope. and tonight I'd just had enough. So I went back to the hair-salon lady, and she examined and considered and washed and poked and finally said - "It's probably best if I cut it out. But it won't be so bad. Don't worry. It will be healthier and grow back real fast because you're pregnant."

so now my hair, which I used to be able to tuck into the waistband of my pants, is now hovering just above my shoulders. I am greatly relieved to be snarl-free, but full of anxiety. Will I look like Bozo the Pregnant Lady? will my husband hate it? will I look non-professional in the morning?

it will grow back it will grow back it will grow back it will grow back...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I don't often comment on Big Issues, those sorts of subjects that get EVERYONE participating - The News, The War, the Jena 6, the Newark 7, the big stuff like that. Often I find that I just don't feel like I have the experience or the credibility to really make a statement that means anything. Sometimes I feel like it's impossible to get the whole story, and how can I make a meaningful comment without all the information? And sometimes I feel like eightyseven other bloggers are already saying what I would have said, and all my readers (what, all seven or eight of y'all?) have already read all those others, so anything I'd have to say would be redundant.

But consider the Billericay One, if you yourself haven't already.

I'm not the caregiver of a disabled individual. TODAY.
Nor am I a disabled individual myself. TODAY.

but those conditions are liable to change at a moment's notice. you never know. It's always seemed sort of funny to me to speak from an able-bodied point of view, because that privilege is, in a way, so temporary. yeah, I'm not disabled - YET. my presence on this earth does not require adaptive measures - YET. my body is still quite functional, everything's all hooked up and operating normally, and still obviously and unequivocally mine - AT THE MOMENT. but who knows when that all goes out the window, due to age, accident, or genetic timebomb suddenly exploding.

I'm about to become a mom. I feel like I should be all "yay rah go mom! your daughter would thank you if she could!"

But I'm not.

Maybe this is my able-bodied, non-caregiver privilege talking, but I don't see myself gutting my daughter because it helps me sleep better at night, knowing she doesn't have that pesky uterus anymore.

It's not like missing a coupla days of cramps every month means that Katie is pain-free, considering her other disabilities (such as may exist).

and what about possible complications from surgery?

and if she already has incontinence issues, how does menstruation affect her overall hygiene?

frankly, this operation seems to be more disrespectful to her personhood than cramps, bleeding, and dirty diapers could be.

that's what I think, anyway. from my able-bodied, non-caregiving point of view. I just thought it was important to say that.

Friday, October 05, 2007

so yesterday I got off the bus after a hard day at the office and began the long waddle homeward.

I like to think that I walk with the regal gait of the Divine Feminine these days, swaying gracefully left and right to accomodate my growing womb, gently rocking its contents into a tranquil state of fetal well-being.

but let's face it - I waddle. Like a big-ass duck. Even before I was pregnant I waddled, owing to my shall-we-say-generous physique. The only difference these days is that I'm hauling around a seven-pound sack of parasite, which not only requires some maneuvering but also makes my sciatica sing like Renata Tebaldi. so I'm slow and cumbersome. and yesterday afternoon, tired and cranky.

There's one intersection I have to negotiate on the about-half-mile walk home. it's a dangerous one, even with the helpful Mr. Walk light. Cars do NOT pay attention to pedestrians at this intersection. they blast through red lights, cut right-on-red corners, basically cruise on through like they own the road with no regard for people crossing the street. but that's people in cars for you. Usually I don't let it get to me.

So I trundle across the road (think of the oboe (?) solo in Peter and the Wolf, to get a good grasp of my pace and attitude as I drag my ass across the street, or whatever slow-and-heavy piece you like). But I'm halfway down the sidewalk on the other side of the street, nearly home, when this white car pulls up beside me, and a woman leans her head out the window, and shouts out "YOU REALLY SHOULD LEARN HOW TO WALK FASTER!" and drives away.

my only regret is that I was unable to get it together enough even to administer the most basic double-one-fingered-salute. But I was so confused! what did she think she was going to accomplish by that? Was it an insult, or a Public Service Announcement? Did she think I was going to immediately start bouncing down the sidewalk with a song in my heart and a spring in my step?


but boy, did that get me to thinking.

Lack of car notwithstanding, the White American Pregnant Lady is, in many respects, one of the most privileged of personages. Especially if she's an adult and not a teenager. Especially if she's lucky enough to have a job indoors with no heavy lifting or exposure to environmental toxins. Especially if she's lucky enough to have a husband. Especially if her family is cool with having a baby.

People cut me all kinds of slack all the time. I rarely have to lift anything, or be on time for anything, or really actually DO anything. and people give me food, and stuff, and then say "no, I'm glad to do it - you're pregnant!" I don't know how people actually feel about me, but they sure do treat me like I'm special and delicate and worthy of making a tremendous fuss over.

But I'd say I'm in about the nth-fraction-of-a-percentage that gets this preferential treatment, globally speaking.

and it's bullshit. Women get pregnant ALL THE DAMN TIME. and carry on with their lives without a fanfare following them wherever they go. They have to do whatever work they were doing before they got knocked up, carry on bending over sewing machines and pulling up weeds and carrying laundry and mopping up other people's shit and whatever else women do around the world. but somehow I Heidi get to coast for nine months because I'm a Special White Lady Carrying A Special White Baby.


It's not like I'm hauling the Last Hapsburg Prince around with me, or some genetically-modified Experimental Sewwwwwwwwwwwwwwper-Genius. I have every reason to believe that Wolfgang will grow up to be really really ordinary. He'll eat, sleep, shit, puke, grow up, drink, smoke, fuck, and die. He'll be a jerk sometimes and a great guy sometimes, just like everyone else.

if he even makes it out into the world alive. it's not even a baby yet, though the urge to anthropomorphize is (obviously) irresistable.

so where do I get off, snailing my way across the street like that?

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