I’ve been remarkably blasé about the upcoming federal election. Although I studied political science in my undergrad, taking serious interest in electoral reform (go proportional representation!) and writing paper after paper on problems in voting trends and voter turnout, I just found it difficult this time around to care about casting my own vote.

Seems like the rest of Canada has been conspiring against me, though: Yesterday, my boss ended our workday early because of the debates, which my boyfriend made me watch with him when he found out I had very little interest in voting. Later on that night when I got home, I checked my mail and my voter registration card had been delivered. The final blow was delivered today; while doing some practice LSAT questions with my morning coffee, I came across this:

LSAT Preptest #28:

Section 3, question 14:

“If citizens do not exercise their right to vote, then democratic institutions will crumble and, as a consequence, much valuable social cohesion will be lost. Of course, one person’s vote can only make an imperceptible difference to the result of an election, but one must consider the likely effects of large numbers of people failing to vote. An act of omission by one person is not right if such an act or omission done by large numbers of people would be socially damaging…”

The correct answer? “A. People in a democracy should not neglect to vote.”

If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. See you May 2nd, Canada. You’ve got my vote.

 

Oh yea, one more thing:

on polyamory.

December 21, 2010

in light of my curiosity due to the recent rash of news items on polyamory, I found an interesting research report done by some U of Nevada students on the human capability to sustain multiple and concurrent “loves”.  (although I can’t say much for their subject pool…they drew their subjects from las vegas. it’s called the “city of sin” for a reason, after all…)

it’s quite an engaging 27 page read (don’t worry, the language is very accessible). I won’t sum it all up here, but suffice it to say that the trend in their open interviews shows that humans are, indeed, capable of what the researchers call “deep-seated, simultaneous loves”. however, the report also noted that “in the majority of interviews…individuals in concurrent  loves also felt an intense ethical guilt” and in the end, could not manage the two relationships simultaneously.

the research is pretty inconclusive when it comes to explaining why, though. they discuss the possibility of attributing it to biological and chemical reactions to relationships (affixing different types of love [like companionate versus passionate] to different endocrinologies), and they also debate how society’s labeling of love as a dyadic bond (between two people and two people only) affects our perception of polyamory. they are, however, firm on their conclusion that concurrent loves, at any rate, can seldom last for significant periods of time.

do you think the research is biased because it doesn’t include communities that support or practice polyamory (a factor that the researchers did note)? is love truly is a dyadic bond that’s meant to be unique and unshared outside a world of two, and does attempting to have that bond with more than one person at a time undermine that meaning (ie. emotional stability, comfort, whatever you associate with “love”)?

not much to say in particular but here are some recent eye-catching headlines that may or may not have received some additional commentary from yours truly.

“BP to drill giant middle finger into the Rockies; mourning period for Gulf of Mexico practically non-existent” <http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/06/15/bc-bp-drilling-rocky-mountains.html>

(cf. http://www.ifitwasmyhome.com/ for size of oil spill in reference to [ie. smack-dab on top of] your hometown and/or current location – funtastic!)

“‘Female genital cutting’ university studies done on girls aged 5-6 to ensure so-called ‘normal’ sexual development; ethics approval board allegedly horrified into silence because how the hell else was this able to get past them?”  <http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/06/16/female-genital-mutilation-at-cornell-university>

“Gay-bashing occurs in Vancouver; society collectively bands together to shrug its shoulders” <http://www.theprovince.com/sports/amateur/university/Thugs+beat+punch+bite+Vancouver+couple/3150119/story.html>

[edit] – in hindsight this seems to have been a little too depressing, so have some of this, and maybe a little of this for good measure.

the sexism of languages.

January 31, 2010

currently in the middle of some academic craziness, but this link was too interesting not to share (I am definitely not endorsing the website, but it did provide the only translation to English that I could find of the article, which was originally posted online in Chinese).

I found this particularly intriguing because it represents a cultural parallel to a certain claim in Western feminism that I previously thought was isolated to that society in particular. I’m referring in this case to the argument that discourse is etymologically biased against women.

for instance, in English we used to use the template “<profession/position>man” to describe somebody working in that profession or position (like “salesman”, “chairman”, or “businessman”). this androcentrism (the use of a masculine point of view as the default) also makes an appearance in the way that most of us were implicitly taught in our younger years by example to use “he” when writing about a general anonymous person. some people have even declared war on the word “woman”, railing against it because it purportedly means “of man” and by that virtue implies that women are derivative to men (to my knowledge there is no proof of this, but I welcome anybody who can shed some insight on this to share) and instead choosing to replace “woman” with “womin”, “womyn”, “womon”, etc. in written works.

there has been some progress in the English-speaking world in regards to this, given that now more and more people are more conscious of the gender disparity in our discourse and will use “person” instead of “man” to describe professionals, and “she/he”,”he/she”, or “their” (which is recognized as grammatically correct now, I believe) instead of simply “he”.

given my limited literary skills in Chinese, I never really learned enough to notice this etymological pattern of gender inequality, which (after reading the article) appears to be much more actively discriminatory in the Chinese language than the English language. what I mean by using the word ‘active’ is that in English, the issue with some of the words seems to be that women are excluded, whereas in Chinese the meanings of the 16 words featured in the article which use the “female” character in their structure have negative connotations (“greedy”, “evil”, “presumptuous”, etc).

hopefully there will be some recognition of this disparity in the Chinese language with the advent of this post, and subsequent efforts to raise awareness and address the problem. kudos to Ye ManTian, the lawyer purported to have written the article.

a few days ago, I was browsing the Live Feed from the bane of my existence Facebook and noticed that someone on my ‘Friends’ list had posted this as a “joke”:

I just had an argument with a girl I know. She was saying how it’s unfair that if a guy fucks a different girl every week, he’s a legend, but if a girl fucks just two guys in a year, she’s a slut. So in response I told her that if a key opens lots of locks, then it’s a master key. But if a lock is opened by lots of keys, then it’s a shitty lock. That shut her up.

first of all, >:| .

okay, now that those highly offended keystrokes are out of my system, let’s get down to it.

double standards. ah, double standards. we’d be denying the existence of life itself if we were to pretend that they still weren’t alive and well in today’s society. they are everywhere – in fact, you know the ‘d’ that makes all the difference between “slut” and “stud”? it stands for double standards!

all joking aside: gendered double standards, despite their propensity to seem harmless due to their potential hee-haw factor as demonstrated above, are just the tip of the iceberg of all the underlying sexism lurking just beneath the surface of society. it is not okay that, socially speaking, women are still trapped in the dark ages with regards to equality in sexual freedom, and it is definitely not okay to use these derogatory statements to judge and put down women who choose to break out of this repressive mold.

the act of sex is that of an equal sharing between two evenly-matched individuals on even ground. but society has turned it into a chase, a hunt in which the man pursues and the woman flees. to twist sex into a tool of conquest and the metaphorical epitome of man triumphing over woman’s ‘last defense’ takes civilized society back, more just than a few steps. is it not enough that this male-privileging metaphor already predominates popular culture? is it necessary to continue to actively put down women who seek to reach equilibrium with men in regards to rights of sexual freedom?

some will say that these double standards are just a vestigial remnant of past cultural norms – a throwback to the days of old, if you will – and as it is, it’s as harmless as the chivalrous act of a man opening a door for a woman. nevertheless, I think I’d be more than happy to trade in my opened-door privileges any day for a shift towards a societal perception that no longer holds the sexes to different provisions, standards, or degrees of judgment.

yours truly and truly exhausted yours,

chanelle