Friday, April 4, 2014

Rape Culture is REAL: except as how it's portrayed.

The thing I've been hearing lately is the debate over whether or not Rape Culture is actually a thing. I contend that it IS a thing, just not in the way it's being portrayed. When reading an article on the American Humanist Association's website (found here), I happened upon a few comments underneath, most of which were rebuttals of the existence of rape culture in its current iteration. And with some of the comments, I agree... the AHA's article was entirely one-sided and left out an ENTIRE GENDER'S WORTH of people who experience rape. I was awestruck how terribly narrow the feminist scope of rape culture was. My comment was the following:
"Rape culture DOES exist, but this article systematically leaves out an ENTIRE gender that experiences rape - and it's just as trivialized, just as acceptable, just as yuk-yuk-yuk worthy. If my husband went into a police station and told them I raped him, he wouldn't be asked what he was wearing, because it wouldn't get that far; he'd be laughed out of the police station. THAT is rape culture.  
The fact that BOTH SEXES, all gender expressions, and all accounts of rape are so thoroughly scrutinized (or ignored entirely, depending on the plumbing of the victim), and the abusers are excused for their crimes is insane. 
If my house was broken into, and I was asked why there wasn't a forced entry - so I admitted to having left the door unlocked, the assailant wouldn't be denied criminal charges. They would still be convicted. Because that's a question of invitation, someone enters the threshold of my home, uninvited - they are automatically charged with a crime. If they enter the threshold of my vagina, uninvited, they are charged with a crime only under certain conditions. Invitation, not access, is the "consent" of both situations - but in practice, this is not true for rape. THAT is rape culture.

This is NOT and SHOULD NOT BE an issue for feminists, it should be an issue for ALL proponents of a peaceful society wherein sexual crimes are held in seriousness, as they would a home invasion, regardless of sex, gender expression, orientation, anything. If you don't have a right to bodily autonomy, under all circumstances, you don't have any freedom whatsoever."
And I absolutely stand by my comment. Male on male rape is another example, the "trope" of altar boy jokes and other sorts of justifications, excuses, and minimizing of the magnitude of sex crimes is rampant. Sex is almost never a crime unless it's a man in the bushes hiding to get a woman. But is it a crime when it's a sexually repressed priest entrusted with the care of young boys, or an angry housewife manually stimulating her husband's genitals against his will? What if the female teacher is hot? What if the lady was just baby-crazy? How often is rape downplayed as an inevitable result of the culmination of factors, rather than met with horror and punishment? THAT is rape culture, ladies and gentleman.

Where women may feel as if they're weighed down by a barrage of body-image issues thrown at us from every conceivable direction, objectified, and treated as sex toys - men may also feel compelled to be emotionless tools for society to use. For every "she could lose some weight" you hear "he sucks at oral sex" - and for every "god, what a slut" you hear "be a man and do it." Men are not easily allowed the ability to be creatures of empathy, vulnerability, compassion, communication. They are told at every turn to "man up" and "deal with it" and that their emotions will scare women off because they will hate the idea of "mothering" their boyfriend. Despite the fact that they are also expected to listen to a battery of feelings from their girlfriends, conveniently without that idiotic "fathering" counterpart. Men are disposable army guys, stoic heroes, protectors of everyone who isn't male - and they can't ask for help. If a man is ever raped, the question of whether or not you can rape someone who is "always willing" comes up. Men are PURELY sexual creatures, right? Always wanting sex from everything, even apple pies! Uhh, if that's not rape culture, nothing is.

So, in essence, you cannot view rape simply in the scope of male-on-female-at-gunpoint, complaining about misogyny and objectification, without taking into account that this sort of thing happens to men as well - otherwise you're just pitting the sexes against each other. You're saying "YOU MEN ARE AT FAULT, AND WOMEN COULD NEVER RAPE," and that isn't helping anyone. Rape culture is not blind to genitals, and that is the problem. If we could all work together for a more gentle society, wherein rape is looked at as a heinous crime NO MATTER THE TERMS (other than lack of consent), perhaps rape culture could become a thing of the past.

 

Monday, March 10, 2014

On the Up and Upskirt.

As you can probably surmise, I have a daughter. I try to teach her to be tough and self-assured, independent and fierce when necessary. I don't frequently berate her or constantly tell her to be silent, though I do admit I overuse the phrase "good girl" - it's a habit I'm trying to break. I don't want her to feel that she has to quiet her voice to make room for "more worthy" voices. "Good life decisions" is a major mantra in her life. Sure, everyone makes bad decisions from time to time, but focusing on the good seems pertinent, here.

In the news lately, there has been an article circulating about a man who took at least one upskirt picture of a woman, was arrested and tried, but it was ruled legal that he had "violated" that woman's right to privacy. An outcry followed, people speaking vehemently about past experiences, train groping, etc. THESE MONSTERS, they declare, ARE EVERYWHERE! Now there's even a law banning the photography of "sexual" areas without a woman's knowledge. But even the official prepared statements about it are idiotic: "The legislation makes the secret photographing, videotaping, or electronically surveiling of another person's sexual or other intimate parts, whether under or around a person's clothing or when a reasonable person would believe that the person's intimate parts would not be visible to the public, a crime."

But who are these monsters? And what makes them monstrous? Are they violent predators who ram their be-camera'd fists up the skirts of women in order to procure illicit footage of their undergarments (or lack thereof?) - Mostly? No. They're people who *do* take pictures of boobs and butts, occasionally undies, but most of them don't go within a few-foot radius to get such pictures. Here's where my view gets unpopular: if it's in public, it should be fair game to photograph. I shouldn't have to potentially suffer from a law that says some lady's cleavage in my picture is punishable by law, especially if I realized it thereafter and attempted to conceal the picture (also written into the law). The fact that you wore something in public that you'd be ashamed was documented (from any angle, really) is an issue. Clothers' remorse isn't and shouldn't be a valid thing. If you're really that hysterical about your body being photographed, wear more clothing. That you wore a certain style of dress is okay - - until there's picture proof of it - - is questionable/sketchy at best. At worst it's hampering the creative expression of someone who wants to take a normal picture, but your buttcheeks ruin it. In the middle it's a creepy dude taking a physical snapshot (rather than a mental one, which shouldn't really be a surprise) - and you're upset about it.

All the maelstrom of venom spouted by women who purport "I DON'T WEAR THIS CLOTHING FOR YOU OR MEN OR ANYONE!" are not automatically allowed to dictate who can and cannot look at them, or for that matter, photograph their presence. There's not some holy magic force-field that they can shimmy up when they walk out into common areas of public, so if they're not comfortable being surreptitiously photographed by every conceivable angle for the purpose of "safety" and/or surveillance, but they ARE upset at potentially being jerkfodder for random internet trolls - perhaps they should change priorities, or maybe wear giant garbage bags and parachute pants with super-sexy ass-floss underneath; because after all, if you aren't doing it for anyone else, why does it matter if anyone else sees it, right? That you don't dress for me or men or whatever, doesn't mean we don't have to see you or interact with you. That doesn't mean we are banned from looking at you. So why does a camera's eye violate that space, but a human eye does not? Silly.

So I tell my child: if you don't want a record of something happening - don't do it! If you don't want a creeper taking pictures of you in weird angles and posting it online because it's embarrassing - don't wear such clothing. If these women walked around topless, would everyone have to avoid photographing anything with them in it, because they chose to foist themselves into non-nude society - for fear of "manufacturing pornography" charges? How narcissistic do you have to be to believe that someone doesn't have a right to take a picture with you in it, just because you exist and decided to be somewhere at a given time? Seriously?

That said, the tables are turned if someone does violate your bodily autonomy by shoving a camera between your legs. I am a firm believer in the proper application of stand your ground laws. If someone puts their hands between your legs to take an unsolicited picture, beat them within an inch of their life, and take pictures of their mangled bodies and State IDs to out them on the internet. Post their picture everywhere. Ruin their lives. Have no mercy, show no remorse. It is NOT okay to violate someone's right to their own body and all of the contents therein: that behavior should be punished severely on an individual basis. So, no, I'm not a rape-apologist or anything of the sort. I believe in pragmatism. Don't want your boobs on the internet? Don't show your boobs near a camera, and they won't go on the internet. Don't want someone to steal your bike? Don't leave it on the curb near a trash can. Don't want someone to steal your car? Don't leave the keys in the ignition and the door wide open. Don't want to be beaten half to death by an irate lady? Don't jam your hand up my skirt. It's pretty easy, I think, and this is the sort of motherly wisdom I wish to pass down to my adorable little skirt-wearing precious pumpkin pie daughter o' mine.   

Friday, December 6, 2013

That Toddler is NOT My Daughter's Boyfriend.

One of the unexpected consequences of the structure of society is that males and females are incredibly divided over matters of behavior and relating. When my daughter was born, I counted myself lucky that I had 13 years to figure out how to address the entire males vs. females divide. I was very, very, wrong.

Each and every time there is a family party, or a social gathering of any nature, where there are male children near my child's age  - someone inevitably says "Oh, Dahlia! How's your boyfriend? He's so cute, you might just have to marry him!" To be sure, at this point I am internally trying to stifle upchucking my Thanksgiving Tofurky. There are so many problems with this, that sometimes I can't even wrap my mind around someone's mental process that brings them to the point of awkwardly disregarding her childhood (this is especially pertinent when people tell her she looks "sexy" when she wears dresses. UGH!).

First of all, I don't want her to think of male creatures around her age as her only possibilities for pair bonding. It would be incredibly screwed-up and hypocritical of me to try to train her to be heterosexual, and since kids do not have expressed sexuality, any indoctrination about her "future husband" or "babies" would be exactly that. She may grow up to be a childless lesbian, and I don't want her to feel like she's betraying my stupid expectations of her, simply by living her life honestly. I don't name brand the type of car I expect her to own, and I haven't arranged a marriage/career/living situation on her behalf... so why should I do that about her relationships or procreation? Answer: I shouldn't. I expect her to do the best she can in matters of learning and education, promptly address her own problems in a dignified manner, and to be polite/mannerly unless someone gives her a reason to do otherwise. I don't have a husband picked out for her. I haven't frozen her eggs at birth to engineer the most attractive and fertile children. I may be a little wacky by today's standards, but not like that.

Secondly, I don't want her to feel obligated to view boys as these creatures she has to be shy around, to alter her appearance for, or to feel generally disconnected from - instead of just as "other people." I want her to be friends with boys, to laugh and learn with them, to find out their inner workings, to relate to them. Basically I want her to view them the same way as she does girls. Because until she hits puberty and starts to have sexual feelings... she should! Potential friends, confidantes, partners in crime. Not just walking potential husbands. Ever since my husband convinced me that marriage partners should be friends as well as spouses, I've seen the value in that. I always sort of vaguely looked at people I was in a relationship with as begrudging add-ons, rather than my friend. It was too risky, in my estimation, to be friends with a lover. Too much to lose, I needed lots of separation. If you never have one male friend, can you start with your husband? Same with a wife!

And last. I don't want her to fall prey to the idea that men and women are totally different creatures with different "hardwired" brains who have acceptable bad behaviors because they're not able to do otherwise. It's not THEIR fault, it's not MY fault, our brains are wired differently! My husband HAS to cheat on me, and I *have* to nurture our children while he's gallivanting, because he's incapable. I cannot stop myself from taking comfort in romance novels and ignoring the sex drive of my spouse because I'm a GIRL, duh! Decisions? What are those, I can't hear you over the sound of my own vagina! In fact, I can't do anything except babysit and crochet because, you guessed it, I get my period every month. Poor husband will never stop being able to carry every heavy object in sight for me, because I need help. I'm his dainty little flower! NO ESCAPE. It's brain science. Womp womp.

So, the moral of the story is: if you see a girl and boy playing together, encourage them to find all the things they have in common. Don't pretend-marry them, don't make them feel awkward, and they're not K-I-S-S-I-N-G off in the hilly brush somewhere. They're two tiny incomplete humans who want to build a friendship, let them. Let them explore their differences instead of pushing it on them.

Boys will NOT be boys, and that's the shitty punchline for every sad joke ever told in a creepy misogynist narrative, and it needs to stop. "Oh, she's just a girl" needs to stop too. Don't alter your expectations for your children based on their genitals. That includes expecting them to date/marry/procreate with someone of the opposite sex, either. Let them live up to their own potential, not the potential you decide for them.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

International Clown Week at Showmen's Rest!

My family has a deep, abiding love for carnivals and circuses. Every summer, bare minimum, as a child I would get swept away in the happy temporary euphoria of the carnival. I adore clowns. I'm the opposite of Coulrophobic. If I had it my way, I'd be surrounded with the circus all the time (albeit a non-animal one) - and probably drag queens/glitter/freaks. My family and friends are all down with me experimenting (costumes/makeup/hair color) with/on them, often with hilarious results:




These photos construct a small sample of goofy pictures I've taken over the years. Seriously small. But now I have some more to add from International Clown Week (this year and last!).

So, last year, Dahlia made her clown debut as "Patches" :) Which Susan (who organizes the festivities) helped along by announcing her presence! She also thanked me for my support, which was great!



I was so happy to see Patches (Dahlia) get some recognition. She's always expressed a desire to dress up as a clown and have her makeup done. At this point she's still very shy, but she is trying really hard to become comfortable talking to people. She's becoming quite a performer. She practices her clowning acts effortlessly at home, but sort of gets a touch of stage fright when she's in front of strangers. This year was better than last year, though!:




I'm sure there will be more to come. For now, I figure this is a good representation of the actual day. It's an incredible event, a beautiful (tear-jerking) ceremony, and it does a great job of honoring the people who lost their lives, and the continued place of a clown in the vision of a better world! 

SEND IN THE CLOWNS! :D

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Child/Whore Complex.

So, I put an appeal out to Facebook friends for a subject to cover for RMRK. I got back this from my mother: "The parents that allow their teenage daughters to dress like a whore - then wonder why their children end up in bad situations."

My response was:

That's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I applaud the parents who "let" their children express themselves and "allow" them to see the problematic culture at large who doesn't respond appropriately to an underdressed woman (the appropriate response is "leave them the fuck alone" - not, "oh let's rape that!") - but on the other hand I could see why utilizing sexuality as a child could be seen as a symptom of terrible self-esteem or the need for attention, because at a young enough age, sexual activity isn't a good idea. But either way, exploring your sexual power isn't inherently a problem, except that we don't live in a society that makes it a safe option. Dressing provocatively is just as problematic as dressing in traditional "punk" clothing. It isn't.

My mother then put forth: It is not appropriate for a child - if you are an adult it is your decision to take a risk. Seems to me there are more people with sexual disorders now than ever before - if they "can't help it" is it worth letting your child express themselves. There are other ways they can be themselves.

To which I replied: Well, the point at which I noted it was experimentation was the negation of your assertion that they're "being themselves" - they are not being themselves, they're experimenting: seeing how their behaviors and outward appearance can change the reactions they get from people. If you are an adult, you are less likely to experiment with your appearance and therefore probably more settled in your ways: if you still dress provocatively, then you obviously enjoy whatever attention you get from dressing that way, but your experimentation stage is over.

We have an erroneous idea that men have no control of their sex drives and need voraciously to rape: I think that's a lack of sexual education in the masses. If murderers can refrain from murdering, rapists can refrain from raping. Not every person who has the desire to rape, does.

Even if you had a rape compulsion, a percentage of those compulsory rapists could act out their inappropriate urges with a practitioner of BDSM who fetishized nonconsensual sex. Yes, there are rape fetishists; people who agree to a sexual situation beforehand wherein they are basically abducted and raped (often with a weapon, as authenticity is necessary for them to derive enjoyment from it). There are also "gang bangs" where people will allow a large number of people to "violate" them, and they are very happy about it. There are quite a few places that a rapist could theoretically sate their rape-need with someone who wouldn't be damaged for life as a result. If more rapists knew that, there would probably be fewer rape victims. And more happy fetishists. YKINMKBYKIOK. [your kink is not my kink but your kink is o-k]. Education, end stigmatization, fix. Kids should be able to experiment with things safely, and it's our job as parents to facilitate that, if the child so desires.


And above all, there shouldn't be a rapist apologist attitude toward culture. It's time to change how we look at sex, not how we can possibly avoid being thrust into a victim-sphere every time we walk out the door.

So let's bring this back to personal level: if Dahlia wanted to walk out the door half-dressed when she turned 13 (or younger, theoretically) - I would do two things; first, I would have a lengthy discussion with her about why she is dressing in such a way that is considered inappropriate. Is there an underlying problem? Does she feel powerless otherwise, and needs an easy way to get attention? Is she just seeing how people will treat her? Does she not think she's dressed inappropriately? Secondly, I would go with her, so I could help her process the reactions she's getting from the general public. In light of those two things, we would also have a discussion about whether or not she's prepared to act on the expectations that come with dressing in a very sexualized manner. If so, it's birth control time - if not, she'd better reconsider the rough time she'll incur through gaining a reputation for "being" a certain way.

It was at that point I realized I should have just written this in blog form. Childhood sexualization is something that always left me feeling very "icky" (I even wrote a piece when I was 16 called "Potty Dancing for Skank Pants" about, how, if your child does the impatient crotch-grabbing "potty dance" because they're begging for skintight snake-skin pants, they're too young for such things!) - on one hand, we should NOT find it acceptable to sexualize children - but on the other side, there is apparently a niche filled by sexualized children, and so easily. There is an underlying problem in our culture, and thrusting children into a sexual spotlight before puberty is so crazy. However, children should feel safe dressing in ways that mimic their parents and/or peers without fear of being violated as a result. Perhaps some dirty looks or name-calling could be reasonably expected... but rape is a punishment fit for NO crime. 

From near-birth children are inundated with sexualized messages; they idolize sexually-charged icons, get impossibly proportioned Barbie dolls, people call children of the opposite sex their "boy/girl friend," there's a very obvious and unnecessary sex divide wherein members of the opposite sex are mystified into complete obscurity toward each other, and the messages of a majority of tv shows, songs, and other bits of art and popular culture are about sex and/or relationships. Sex sells, and it sells because the culture buys.

For my last point, if there really were a victim component to using sexuality vis-a-vis attire to gain power, looking down on girls who dress provocatively should be a no-no. That's like blaming someone with a binge-eating disorder for their diabetes: you can't simultaneously call someone a "victim" and also blame them for their plight. Pick a side, and help make the world safer for kids, rather than just buying the old "well they can't help themselves!" excuse.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The times, they are a-busying!

 

I haven’t mentioned this before, but I am starting up a soap business with my husband. An unshakable creative beast, I am constantly trying to force Rick to try new things. New foods, new music, new art projects, new shows, new books, new facial hair, new everything. I take his staunch perpetually-the-same mountain and chip away at it until he agrees to try whatever I think he should experience. Sometimes this is a beautiful bonding experience, and sometimes it gives him a nightmare or two. On rare occasion, he’s been greatly upset and taken the indignant “how could you do that to me?!” stance.

You see, he has difficulty with the “looking stupid” aspect of newly honing a skill. Whereas I don’t generally care how moronic I sound for asking 7,367,231,846 questions, or doing rather goofy shit while I’m getting my feet wet… my husband? Not so much. Rick wants to know, he wants to know NOW, and he wants to have been expert level approximately fifteen years ago. I dance around and occasionally sing in public. Rick would rather die. He’s getting better, though. Nowhere to go from rock bottom… except up!

So there was a moment when we were in Michael’s and I suggested that I’d teach Rick how to make soaps. I started checking out the inventory of melt-and-pour kits, Dahlia quietly (but passionately) singing to herself, and offered my knowledge of the aesthetic approach, rather than the technical aspect. I wasn’t so much interested in making SOAPS, so much as I wanted to convince my unwashed husband to make something pretty that would also be handy when scrubbing a layer of crud and cheese off of his underberries and other assorted limb-y, appendage-y things. Something he could be proud of, that would also make him potentially smell dandy.

I was shocked at his response: “this is ridiculous. A waste of money. I bet we could make soap for much cheaper than this melt-and-pour shit. This is CHEATING!” I cocked my head, volunteered that I had no knowledge of how to make soap from scratch, and I even sort of vaguely-yet-noncommittally noted that because I had no idea, it was probably the sort of thing better left to factories. Factories that produced melt-and-pour soap, duh. No human has ever made soap with their HANDS. What is this? The paleolithic era? Do we have to start washing our loincloths by the Euphrates? Husband, are you drunk?

But then he used the Almighty Google Machine (even with a bad signal, because Michaels is a signal-sucking vortex for some reason, get WIFI already!) and found a recipe. He announced that it only took a few ingredients, and that we could do it. Fine. Go ahead. Try to get all socialist-uprising and try to take back the production/manufacturing world better left to machines! GO AHEAD, DURRUTI. Rebuild your pile of ashes, with the help of pure, unadulterated spite. So I conceded (simply because he challenged me, and you should know I turn into a monster when challenged) we began to buy all the things, and embarked on the beginning of quite a journey.

And I’m serious when I call it a journey. At this point, we’re only a month and a half into making soap, and we’re already laying the groundwork for a great business. We’ve found out all kinds of neat/horrifying/crazy/anomalous information about cosmetics and detergents, from carcinogens in hand soap to shea butter’s weird anti-aging properties. Did you know coconut oil gets rid of lice? I mean, really, doesn’t it have better things to do with its time? We’ve discovered that everyone we know (only 15% exaggeration) has skin ailments, afflictions, and conditions. Today we met an herbalist named “Shoebocks” (pronounced “shoebox”). My husband’s pored over legal codes and policies for retailers and I’ve decided to re-teach myself ACCOUNTING. Now, I’m by no means an idiot, but I can’t keep the numbers 4 and 7 straight, so I would like to say, again – into the microphone – this is quite an interesting journey.

And it keeps getting cooler, and more (eu)stressful, and it’s really fun to watch it develop.

If you want to buy some, check out our blog, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook, here’s the information!

marquisdesoap.blogspot.com
marquisdesoap.etsy.com
@marquisdesoap
facebook.com/marquisdesoap

Three points of congratulation if you can possibly guess what our business is called…
(I know it will be very difficult to do so.)
Open-mouthed smile

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Maybe My Grandkids Will Appreciate Me!

WARNING: This may sound judgmental, but that's because I'm a bit miffed about it.

If you've ever felt like an outcast in a mommy circle, welcome to my life. Here's where I am situated in an outdoor picnic gathering: I make the rounds, saying hello and introducing myself, noticing that half of the moms are either staring at my nose ring, or trying to fathom my eclectically bohemian-inspired fashion choices. The ones who aren't, are being helpful and offering my daughter a burger, to which she loudly inquires "IS THAT REAL MEAT? I'M A VEGETARIAN!" and proceeds to stare down all the omnivores with the fervent judging eyes of a PETA volunteer (which I maintain isn't my fault, since I don't do that!). Between glares, my darling progeny is forcibly introducing herself to the inevitably shy children with whom she shares toys. It's mandatory that they report their names or Officer Dahlia will find ways of making them talk. I encourage her to give them personal space.

It is at this point a few women start to complain about their husbands. My husband isn't someone I complain about. He's pretty rad, and there isn't an obvious gender divide between us. I spent most of my adult life identifying as a lesbian, so if I can keep the company of a man (let alone marry him, though he did partially take my last name) without smashing him like he's the embodiment of the patriarchy, he has to be pretty awesome. We have similar political ideologies, we're both fringe weirdos, we both like each other. No problem, in that regard. Then conversation will shift to the relief the mothers feel that they can get things done while the kids are in school. Where does Dahlia go to school? I manage to finish the word "homeschool" and there are either audible gasps or tentative "ohs." The quantification questions flood in a cacophonous din for ten minutes. Does my daughter know the alphabet? Actually, she can read. Does my daughter interact with other kids? She's taken all kinds of classes, from Ballet to Mandarin, and those classes happen to be populated with other miniature humans. Does it drive me crazy that she doesn't "go away" for a while? No, I like the fact that she's around me a lot, however, I don't require that she be by my side, always. By the time these evaluation questions die down, I've already felt a palpable tension about my lifestyle choices.

There will be a new issue for the moms to focus on; why Shrek is inappropriate for children under 13, how their children need a good "swat on the behind" once in a while, the latest boycott on onemillionmoms.com, and a slew of other things I inherently disagree with. Dahlia's seen Shrek. Hell, she's seen the original Batman in all its Michael Keaton glory. She liked that film, and has watched it many times since. My parents took me to the midnight showing of Bram Stoker's Dracula when I was 6 years old, and I don't have prolonged nightmares about it. As for spanking kids, I volunteer with a well known coalition dedicated to freedom of sexual expression, so where I come from, corporal punishment is only okay to use on consenting adults. I view those one million moms as one million nosy crazies who have nothing better to do than make the world unlivable, unbearable, and frankly, awful. Children will survive beyond the harrowing psychological torture imparted upon them by video games, television, and banned books. As a bonus, if you keep a sense of humor about life, your child will grow up without a damaging sensitivity bubble that keeps them from taking risks, exploring the world, and talking to strangers.

If you, dear reader, are cringing from my words, chances are you're one of the moms who will never ask to connect with me on Facebook, deliberately taking other people out of the mommy circle to get their contact information, while looking over your shoulder to check that I'm not eating your heirs. I'm the stuff your nightmares are made of, THAT MOM who only exists to serve as a warning to others (Did you hear Dahlia coslept until she was FIVE?!), but my kid is so amazingly awesome it hurts, and I'm okay with infiltrating your REM cycles.

If you're laughing, we'll be friends forever.