Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crosswords with a side of homophobia and gender dichotomies

I love crossword puzzles. Some day, I'm going to be old and crotchety, complaining about needing to do my puzzles (difference now is that I'm not old).

This type of stuff in yellow, however, pisses me off:

Clue to 41 down: Like Rocky or Rambo
Clue to 43 down: ______ boy (sissy)

Really? Really, Newsday Crossword puzzle for February 18, 2010, author Fred Piscop and editor Stanley Newman? These clues really work for you? Because they're not working for me.

The clue to 41 down is just in bad taste, in my opinion. It establishes guns, violence and death as things indicative of being a man. To not be those things is to not be manly, at least according to Fred Piscop and Stanley Newman. Personally, I like my men violence-free, thank you. If Rambo and Rocky are manly, then what is womanly? Is there anything outside of either manly or womanly? We live in a world of grey, Fred Piscop and Stanley Newman. Get with it.

I've really got issues with the clue to 43 down. When this is what you get for a Google search for sissy, you can probably bet that it might not be the best crossword clue. Especially when the word is "mamas." Let's brainstorm some alternative clues. "Childbearers" or "The ____ and the Papas" or ANYTHING ELSE APART FROM A SISSY JOKE. The entire world is full of enough homophobia as it is; do I really need it in my crossword?

I'm really appalled that this can get by as a crossword clue. What were you thinking, editor Stanley Newman? Author Fred Piscop, why would you write something homophobic as a clue?

The most annoying part is that these types of things can be avoided - you just have to think about it. Or mainly, someone besides yourself.

Note: I highlighted 44 down in green simply because I thought it was a fine example of where the author and editor may be coming from. And I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

When someone says no, you have to listen.

As someone who works with preschool children, I'm often very deliberate about the things I say. I make sure every rhyme is pointed out, every letter that corresponds to someone's first name is traced, every opportunity for something new is used.

I've increasingly become very deliberate about the words I use when talking about behavior as well. I find myself repeating things like "When someone says no, you have to listen" and "Ask before you touch your friend." Sometimes my language is prompted by the language they use - if someone is complaining about hitting, then we talk about nice touching.

I do it because I want this language embedded in their vocabulary. I explicitly use no in this context because I want them to feel comfortable saying no (especially to their friends) and that when someone says no, it's respected.

I want them to know that you can't just touch another person's body without asking. One of my rules is that a kid has to ask before sitting in my lap. Partially, it's selfish. My legs get tired and fall asleep with too many kid bodies on them. But there's also that idea that my lap is mine alone and I make the decision if I want someone to sit there. If a kid walks up and sits down without asking, I make them stand up and ask me if they can sit there. Sometimes I say yes; everyone's happy (unless there's another kid competing for the lap. Long story). Sometimes I say no and suggest that they can sit right in front of me.

I'd like to think that these things stick with them, that they'll remember that they have to listen to another person's no. The unfortunate part about early childcare is that a lot of times, these kids won't remember us. I don't remember my preschool teachers. That's why it's so important that these basic concepts of bodily sovereignty are maintained from year to year.

I only hope that my no and respect for a no is remembered and thought of when they hear no again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I've been a little busy as of late, but I wanted to pass along this FML:

Today, I was driving home from college when I saw a couple of
sporty chicks jogging on the side of the road. I honked at them and yelled
suggestively as I do at college, which usually gets a fun flirty reaction from
college girls. It was my next-door neighbor and her 11 year old

Sorry, Fonz, but I'm guessing if your neighbor and her 11 year old daughter don't think it's cute and flirty, neither do the college age girls. Street harassment is harassment is harassment. Getting yelled at from a passing car is rarely fun.*

*Sometimes I think it's fun when good friends yell from their cars. Only good friends and only things they know I would find funny.