Friday, February 28, 2014

The Pro Bullying Meme That Enraged Me

Yes, I am calling this  pro-bullying.

This was posted on facebook. I'm trying to get my head around the thought process that goes into something like this.

First off - what does that bird have to do with anything? It's a cute bird. Is the concept that bullies are just cute and cuddly?

I'm not sure where to begin.

This is all about victim blaming. It's become common in our society to start blaming victims and then shaming them. We even use the term "victim mentality" meaning someone who has not taken control of their life.

Let's look at the definition of the word victim.

: a person who has been attacked, injured, robbed, or killed by someone else
: a person who is cheated or fooled by someone else
: someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event (such as an illness or accident)

There is nothing in the definition that suggests that the victim is to be blamed. It is someone who is acted upon against their will. 

And yet we blame victims. We blame them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We hold them accountable for jogging, or wearing the wrong clothes, or leaving their door unlocked, or going out on a date. And then after they've become a victim we demand that they get over it already and just move on. Victims themselves deny being victims because it suggests weakness and the inability to control one's own life.

Let's make something clear. A victim is an innocent person who was negatively and/or violently acted upon. They are not responsible for what happened to them.

Let's put the responsibility where it belongs. On the perpetrator.

This meme takes the responsibility from the bully and puts it on the victim. If the victim weren't the person they are then they wouldn't get bullied. If they stood up to the bully the bully would back off. Victims don't need help standing up to bullies. Society should not get involved. Raising a society of victims is far worse than raising a society of bullies.

Wait a moment while I scream.

First off, there is not a definition of a victim. Bullies have all sorts of reasons for the people they pick on. That person is too poor or that person is too rich, or that person comes from a good home or that persons parents are in jail or that person is dumb or that person is smart or that person is pretty or that person is ugly.

This isn't a science. Bullies pick on people that make them feel insecure. Bullies also like to surround themselves with kids that support them. It makes them feel important.

There is also a myth that if you stand up to a bully they'll back down. I call that bull! One lone kid can't stand up to a gang of bullies. What it often leads to is getting beaten up. It can lead to an escalated situation. That's what the bully wants. Ignoring the bully doesn't work either, it just makes them try harder. 

The only thing that stops bullying is education and consequences and therapy.

The kids that wear pink shirts are fighting back. They are standing together and supporting each other. They are saying that bullying is NOT okay and it's not the victim's fault. They are doing it without violence. 

Passing anti-bullying laws is saying that it's not okay to bully instead of in the past where the bully was often ignored or even supported by authority.  

Demanding that victims should just stand up for themselves and suck it up doesn't work.

I've been a victim of bullying many times throughout my life. Who knows why. They didn't like the way I looked, or the way I spoke, or the way I held myself, or my poverty, or my good grades, or I was too pretty or too ugly. I developed early and that somehow gave kids reason to bully me over that too. As an adult I was bullied by bosses or co-workers who were insecure and by neighbors who didn't like that I was a single mom. I've stood up to them or ignored them. It didn't stop. Ever. It often resulted with other people telling me to just give them what they want and accusing me of being contentious. 

Often when a victim does stand up to a bully they are blamed for the consequences of that too. 

And then a meme shows up on facebook which supports bullying by putting the responsibility of a bully's behavior onto the victim.

What if we changed a couple of words. How would that go over?

"We will never get rid of rape. We should teach women and children to stand up for themselves and cope instead of wearing pink shirts and passing anti-rape laws. We are creating a society of victims."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jane Austen, Knitting, Herstory and Vintage Clothing

Well, obviously, I didn't meet my goal. I fell down for a couple of days and liked it down there so I didn't get back up.

Now that we've got that cleared up.

Are you a Jane Austen fan? What about knitting, do you like to knit? Or perhaps you love early nineteenth century history. I know, it's the vintage clothing that you love.

Well, I made a discovery that I want to share.

That's right, it's a knitting magazine.

But before you even get to the beautiful projects you can read "Tea With Jane", "Women's Work in Jane Austen's Persuasion", "Coverture: When the Covered Woman Wasn't", and the history of "Dorset Buttons".

But it is the projects that are the star. Completely wearable although some do take a certain style to pull off.

My favorites:

These gorgeous Damask Mittens. I don't wear mittens, but I want a pair of these. They look challenging too, and you have to get your gauge right because apparently you can't add or subtract stitches from the project. The design demands that it be exact. The only way you can change sizes is to change needles.

Georgiana Darcy's Fancy Shawl

This picture doesn't do it justice. There are other pictures in the magazine that show it off better. It's a beautiful lace shawl. Lots of lacy pattern with pointed tips.

Again, this picture does not do this Northanger Pelisse justice. The other pictures are much better. I love dusters. I have a couple, but it would be nice to knit one sometime.

These Brighton Mitts are beautiful. They are actually fingerless gloves which are all the rage right now. Although you can't see it in this picture these mitts have a lovely pattern.

And now for the pieces that I love but I don't believe I could get away with wearing...

This is the Oval Pelisse. Lots of lace, lots of circles and you either love it or hate it. It looks like it would be interesting to knit with lots of shaping and fancy stitches. Probably not for the beginner.

A Most Sensible Bonnet

You can get away with this in England. They wear crazy hats there and this one is positively chaste. In Canada you get the choice of a toque, a baseball cap, or a cowboy hat but the latter only during the Calgary Stampede and you have to be in Calgary. Anything else is daring. Make sure when you wear this that you're in an outfit to match, like the above pelisse. Somehow I don't see this working with jeans and a t-shirt.

Regency Riding Hat

Okay, drop the cowboy hat and wear this instead! It's much more elegant and I can see it being worn with just about anything - if you've got the style to pull it off.

Now these are not the only beautiful patterns in the magazine and there were several others that I liked as well. Plus at the end there's an article called "Cents and Sensibility" about putting Jane Austen's face on English 10 pound bank notes in 2017.

I picked this up on the news stand a few months ago, but you can still get copies. Not only that, but there's back issues as well. I thought this one was a stand alone, but nope, they put these out a couple of times a year.

Jane Austen Knitting

So happy knitting and happy reading.