succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, May 19, 2006

I've added a new banner to the site, about Nazanin, an 18-year old Iranian facing the death penalty for killing two men in self-defense. Here's the story:

According to reports in the Iranian newspaper E’temaad, Nazanin told the court that three men had approached her and her niece, forced them to the ground and attempted to rape them. Seeking to defend her niece and herself, Nazanin stabbed one man in the hand with a knife that she possessed. As the men continued their attack, she stabbed another of the men in the chest, which eventually caused his death. She reportedly told the court “I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help”. She was nevertheless sentenced to the maximum punishment possible under the law, death by hanging.

Urgent action is needed to help save a young life whose only crime was an attempt to defend herself. Nazanin and many like her are caught between two undesirable options. On one hand, Iranian Penal Code severely limits the possibility of using ‘self-defense’ as a legitimate defence to aggression. On the other hand, if Nazanin had allowed the rape to take place, she could still be imprisoned, flogged or stoned for having sex outside of marriage unless four male witnesses to the actual rape would testify on her behalf.

(emphasis mine) If you feel so inclined, clicking on the banner will send you to sites where you can sign a petition, learn more about her case, and gather details for writing to your congressperson and/or local media.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Be Nice to Yourself

AWB has commented that I appear to bring chocolate and wine and sitting on the couch to a new level, practically an art form. And it's true that I'm good at the outward sort of niceties - I am a champ at lounging, bubble baths, at-home pedicures and facial masques etc. etc. It's the internal stuff that I'm not so good at. In my head and in my body I am really hard on myself, downright mean and unforgiving. And I'm not trying to garner sympathy or wallow, this is just a new-ish realization for me, and I'm trying to feel my way through it. In a million tiny and not-so-tiny ways every single day I am judging myself. On not-so-good days it's about the progress I'm making in therapy and with my anxiety and I add up how many days I've been feeling 'off' and berate myself for not being 'better' already. Because, really, I should be by now, right? No, of course not. But without reason or justification and despite all evidence to the contrary, that's my interior monologue. It's the reason I constantly beat myself up about my financial situation, feel guilty about every penny I spend on non-necessities and actually have to think about spending time with friends if it includes spending money (this one garners a double-whammy because I get to beat myself up about the money thing and then again for actually contemplating putting money in front of quality time with people I like). It's a double-edged sword, this personality trait of mine, because it's also what drives me to succeed at school. Feeling guilty about blowing off research and getting motivated to stick to a dissertation schedule is, arguably, a mostly good and non-harmful thing. Replaying conversations, kicking myself for social awkwardness, being totally unaccepting of weakness...these fall under the harmful heading. On the one hand, it's sort of frightening to notice just how often I do these things...on the other, that's a first step toward actually being nicer to myself, right?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Amended reaction to "pre-pregnancy" report (thanks to BitchPhD):

Turns out it's the WaPo misleading everyone into getting their panties in a bunch.

It seems to me that the biggest news here isn't the CDC; it's the interpretation of this document in the broader context of increasingly conservative ideas that women are primarily baby-factories and mothers, rather than actual human beings whose health care matters for its own sake. Luckily the CDC (and, in my experience, most health care providers, especially in women's health) still belong to the reality-based community.

As AWB leaves in comments over at Bitch:

Dear Journalists of America,
Your job is to fucking DESCRIBE things BEFORE editorializing.
Thank you,
Citizens Who Depend on You

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another one of those days that's so long when you think back to the morning you swear that had to be yesterday. But it's been a good day, so I can't complain. Woke up at the boy's place (despite having to get up at some totally unnatural hour for work, he always lets me sleep in, 'cause he's a good guy like that). Stole his favorite t-shirt to wear home, but also to tide me over the 3+ weeks he'll be in Greece and Turkey and London (I know - quite the jet-setter!). Cruised in to school sometime around noon, managed to get some work done, only appeared dumb in front of my advisor once, so that's a better-than-average afternoon. Attended nerd lecture # 615 (this one about the three front runners for a possible HIV vaccine. very interesting, but worth noting that none of the current possibilities have been shown to successfully prevent disease, just decrease viral load enough to reduce transmission once someone is infected...certainly a step in the right direction, but we need to be realistic that it's doubtful we'll see the sort of eradication we've managed with smallpox and polio). After that it was airport duty for Kathy, which was great since it meant scoring some authentic Kenyan coffee (just in time too) and tiVo-ed Grey's Anatomy with Janette (I failed to realize last night's episode was two hours and didn't set the tape appropriately) capped off with a bit of yoga (much happier body). Now that it's nearly 1am I know I should sleep, especially since, once again, I have Think Deep Thoughts on my To Do List before meeting the advisor, but I know I'm a sucker for instant gratification and therefore will be staying up to watch House. Moral of the story? I seriously need to watch less tv. C'est la vie.


Then again, with the way things are these days, I should probably just name the whole damn blog that.

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, yes, in general, these guidelines are a good idea (things like not smoking, controlling diabetes and asthma, taking vitamins) but is it really too much to ask to be treated as a sentient human being worth healthcare outside of my ability to serve as a potential vessel for a baby?? For fucks sake, why must everything, everything, come down to my uterus? Seriously, they're suggesting that every single woman between her first menstruation and menopause behave as if at any moment she might conceive a child! I know I'm being irrational at the moment, but I'm so pissed right now that despite my long held desire to have kids one day a small voice in my head is seriously tempted not to simply as a socio-political statement.