Elisabeth Hasselbeck Says No More Kids

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was interview by Barbara Walters on her XM Radio Show today and she said quite a few things that I found extremely disturbing.  Here’s a transcript:

Q: Do you plan on having any more children?
A: “No, I don’t,” she said “If something happened and I was pregnant again … I don’t know how that would happen, because I’m clearly avoiding my husband.

Q: Have you ever heard of birth control?
A: “Yeah, I have. It takes a while to kick in once you start one. But in the meantime, I just find him incredibly attractive. So, it’s not like I’m that disciplined, so right now, my strategy is dressing in a way that will not get me pregnant.

She is effectively saying that in order to keep her husband at bay, she has to dress matronly.  By correlating the level of arousal in a man to the way a woman is dressed, it is saying “If I dress matronly, a man will not be attracted to me, sexually.  If I dress provacatively, a man will be so attracted to me, he will be unable to control his desire and will rape me.”

By putting the onus on the woman to dress a certain way, she is absolving a man of responsibility for his action and responses.


October 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm 2 comments

Shifting the Blame

I was reading a post over at http://iambarkingmad.com and I found myself absolutely incensed and flabbergasted as this mother.  Not only is she using the internet to air dirty laundry (which admittedly, even I have done, see the post below), but she is calling out her daughter’s friends and saying exactly why they are irresponsible teenagers/young adults and shouldn’t be allowed to hang around her children.

“Meaghan is an adult now and can and pretty much does whatever she wants, so my sphere of influence over her isn’t the same as it is with Gaby.  To that end I only want the best influences in Gaby’s life.  I’m fighting for my own life right now and trying, desperately to get my own shit together.  I don’t need people who aren’t making the wisest decisions having any influence over her at all.”

In just two sentences, her daughters go from smart responsible young women to totally incapable of encountering negative influences.  The world is not a perfect place and often – bad things happen.  People make mistakes, especially teenagers, that is part of growing up.  You also cannot control every aspect of your child’s life, down to their friends, because not only is that doing them a disservice of not giving them the chance to make mistakes and learn and grow from them – it isn’t realistic.  By coddling and sheltering your child, you are not giving them the tools to handle things on their own.

“You sold Meaghan a car that you knew had more wrong with it than just bad brakes and issues with the fuel line.  When she took it into a reputable shop to have the brakes repaired they wouldn’t even give it back to her because it is, “A death trap with a list so long of things wrong with it that there was no way whoever sold this to her, couldn’t have known about!”

If your daughter is buying her first car and isn’t the world’s youngest mechanic, perhaps you should go with her and appraise the vehicle before she purchases it.  You cannot blame someone else for your daughter purchasing said car without doing any research.  Again, this is a mistake she made and she will learn from it.  She will not, however, learn from her mistake if you blame this person that sold her the car.  Or have you not heard of the phrase caveat emptor. Buyer beware.

“As for You, you took something entirely personally when it had nothing to do with you, yet everything to do with Gareth and I, as parents, responding to something Meaghan did that we weren’t pleased with.  It didn’t affect you in any way.  As a result, you totally ignored a child, nay, a three year old, who went out of her mind with excitement when she saw you – all because you were pissed of at me, for making a decision which has absolutely ZERO to do with you.  You upset a child who loves you and treats you like an older brother.  Gaby was gutted that you acted that way and she thought she had done something wrong. “

So, basically teenagers/young adults should never be moody or not in the mood to see a three-year old? Really? Overlooking the fact that teenagers have racing hormones that adds to their moody and sullen behaviour, not everyone wants to be around children all the time and they shouldn’t have to fake it.  Three-year olds are also pretty resilient, your daughter will never remember what happened unless you dwell on it and post it on the internet where it will stay forever.  Oh right. You already did that.

“It’s really hard for me to sit back and read some of your status updates on Facebook, knowing you’re either shitfaced, hungover, or about to be.   I’m 99% certain you’d never come over and watch Gaby while you were under the influence of anything, but in the end, I want to be 100% certain… Despite it being tres chic to drink when you’re still underage, it’s a huge HELL NO! in my book.   I need to foster responsible behavior around Gaby.  I also need those who are around her to do the same.  And in the end, I’m just not that interested in reading about you getting drunk.  I’d like to remain in my blissful little bubble of ignorance that you are this perfect college sophomore who would never think of doing anything potentially dangerous.”

This really really gets me.  Not only do most college students drink, they typically drink as soon as they get to college.  It does not make them bad people, especially not when you consider the fact that the rest of the world has a significantly younger drinking age than the United States.  People who drink underage (and are college SOPHOMORES) are typically old enough to understand when drinking is appropriate and when it is not.  Drinking underage also does not mean that you automatically become an irresponsible person in every aspect of your life.

I started drinking at the age of 18, after I graduated from high school.  I was never drunk until I got to college, but over the summer prior to my freshman year, I would have one or two at a party.  I have never driven drunk. I have never shown up drunk to work and I have never ever assumed that just because someone has alcohol before the legal drinking age that it makes them a horrible person in every aspect of their personality and their life. I never did any of those things because it’s irresponsible.  It really is none of your business what someone does outside of the hours they are in contact with you unless it directly affects you.  Basically, you just don’t want to know how the real world works and assume the worst about everyone.

I’d love to hear what your daughter thinks about this  – I’m guessing she’s absolutely mortified that you went on the internet and publicly shamed her friends.  Did you ask her permission before you posted this diatribe condemning young adults for being just that – young adults?  Was it worth it to air your grievances at the expense of your daughter’s respect and those of her future friends?  I know I would never want to be friends with a girl whose mother thinks it’s appropriate to berate me on her website instead of being the adult she supposedly is and talking about it face to face.

October 28, 2009 at 8:51 pm 1 comment

The House That Crazy Built

I was riding the bus to work today when not one but two mentally ill men boarded.  The first had been sitting on the bench waiting for the bus with me and continued to harass me to buy him cigarettes until I finally I told him I was under 18 and could not buy them for him.  (A blatant lie, I’m not kidding anybody if I say I’m 17!)  We both boarded the bus and a few stops later, the second man stepped on to the bus.  He was carrying a bottle of chocolate milk and some sort of bread in his other hand.  His beard was unkempt and his hair unruly.  As he inched his way towards the back of the bus, crumbs started spraying everywhere and eventually the bread flew out of his hand and hit me in the head.  I was shocked.  The man sat down near me, did not address the fact that he had JUST THROWN BREAD AT MY FACE, and proceeded to mumble under his breath.

He looked directly at me and said, “Do you remember me? I remember you.” “I remember you from the parking lot of Cambridgeside Galleria.” “I remember you walking when I told you to give me your money.”  In that second, I remembered this man, too.  He had tried to rob me SEVEN years earlier.  He was arrested and later confined to a mental institution for rehabilitation and treatment.  I was lucky – he started to approach me and threaten me with a gun (that he did not actually have) and I ran as fast as I could to the mall where I found a cop who was more than helpful.

I cannot believe that this man remembered me, but at the same time – I’m not surprised.  Mental illness is a strange demon.  I was reading about “Mad Pride”, a movement where those who ‘suffer’ from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, etc. embrace their diagnosis as distinguishing them from those without. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder over a year ago.  I am lucky enough that, at the age of twenty five, I have sought and received an accurate diagnosis as well as treatment.  I also know how easily I could slip into the state that this man was in – it is not so difficult to watch your world crumble when you feel trapped by the inconsistencies of your own mind.

There is such a stigma surrounding mental illness that we only picture ‘crazy people’ as something negative and that is a disservice to anyone with a mental illness.  I wonder if there aren’t more people with mental illnesses than without.  I hope that soon there comes a time when it is socially acceptable to discuss the pitfalls as well as the benefits of having a mental illness.  I know that without my bipolar disorder (and its effects on my brain chemistry) I would be nowhere near the creative person that I am.  I also know that medication is going to be a part of my life for the rest of my life.  Someone asked me how anybody could view their high school years as the ‘best years of their life’ – well I know for me, right now? They are the best years of my life because before I turned 22 or so, my brain functioned properly.  At the age of seventeen, I had no idea that I was slowly descending into madness.  I was normal, social, and able to function and fulfill my daily responsibilities.  I was a straight-A student with a perfect attendance record.  I didn’t wake up, feeling that my body was being suffocated by the weight of my blanket, a numb paralyzing feeling leaving me stranded in the sea of my bed, unable to move. That is no longer the case.

To be continued…

October 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

The Predictability of Modern Television

modern-familyModern Family premiered last month on ABC and I have to say, it is one of the best shows on television (ever). Not only is it well-written and extremely funny, it also features one of the more diverse casts in terms of both age, race, sexuality, and gender.  Say goodbye to the nuclear family.  The true modern family is a blended family with people from different backgrounds and positions in life.  Not only are all of the characters well-developed (and not just your average whitebread family), but the moral compass of the show is a ten year old boy.

The diversity of the characters is also refreshing.  Yes, it’s still a predominantly white show, but the actual characters themselves are very diverse in gender, sexuality, age,  and religion.  It’s also extremely difficult to choose a ‘favourite.’  For a show to include a homosexual couple, a May-December couple, interracial adoption, interracial marriage, atypical gender roles for the children, a blended family, and several generations of people – they really hit the mark with the evolution of the family unit into this truly ‘Modern Family.’

It’s new and it’s exciting television and I haven’t been this interested in a show like this since Arrested Development.  Thanks, 2009 audiences, for finally being ready for a show that tackles touchy issues in an comedic and irreverant manner.  Arrested Development was truly ahead of its time and I hope the ratings for Modern Family continue to rise because it is a show with something worth saying.

October 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

What about the children?

Yesterday, I was thinking about Jon and Kate Gosselin. America has essentially turned on the two, condemning the parents for exploiting their children and their welfare for profit.  It’s extremely interesting to me how everyone jumped on them for the filming of their children for television and the millions they’ve made off the sextuplets and the twins.

Why is it different for Heather Armstrong of http://dooce.com? What makes it OK for her to post photographs, videos and stories about her children while running ads and making a profit?  Yes, filming with a large crew, strong lights, etc. is vastly different from sharing photos and videos (that would have been taken anyway) and sharing them on the internet.

It’s a snippet of a family, same as Jon & Kate Plus Eight, and both are intruding, to varying degrees, on the privacy of these children.  I can honestly say that I would not be surprised if Heather & Co. were given their own show.  She’s already made the rounds on Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.  Would a shift from internet to television finally cause people to turn?  What is the distinction between putting your children out there on the web versus a television show? What point does it become too much?

I also wonder what is going to happen when these kids are old enough to start googling their own name.  Not only are they going to find out exactly what their parents said/did, they’re going to see the massive quantities of hateful comments about them.  How people can insult children for any reason is beyond me, but for these kids, they’re going to see exactly how hateful the world can be – first hand.  I suppose, at the very least, these kids have automatic future earning potential – if their lives are signficantly more difficult because of the choices made by their parents, they’ll always have the option of spinning out a tell all book deal for a few million.

October 22, 2009 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment