Archive | July 2017

The Hidden Meaning of Dick Pics

(No pictures today)

I’m an author. I write a lot of Facebook posts and comments, quite a bit on political issues.

Today, I got a Messenger connection request from a stranger. I tried to find out who it was, but the system just opened the picture.

It was an erect penis with a man’s hand on it. I have deleted it.

I posted about it on Facebook because a number of my author friends have posted about getting these or suggestive messages. Up until today, I hadn’t been exposed to that nonsense.

The comments I’ve gotten so far have ranged from “I sent it” to “Why would anyone think that was sexy?”

I don’t think it was intended as sexy. I do write erotic, funny short stories, but the picture wasn’t sent to that Facebook page. And it wasn’t sent to my author page.

No, I think there was a message and it wasn’t “Hey, wanna do me?” I think it was more along the lines of “Shut up, Bitch.”

I’ll tell you why.

In high school (and I’ve blogged about this), I was getting harassed by another student and his posse on a daily basis. One day, I had enough and slapped him across his face (full wind-up). This was back in the days when parents didn’t press assault charges and, not being a guy, I wasn’t suspended. (Last year, I got a final warning in my work file for telling the office bully to “Shut the fuck up.” Still didn’t stop him from being an offensive asshole). The little twerp sent a message through his friends that he was going to retaliate by raping me. A threat using his penis.

I had an interview with a paid job search company (I was looking for a job). I read body language, and as he was giving the price for the company’s services, he came around his desk, leaned against with his hands in his pockets and his crotch thrust forward, junk outlined, not that far from my face. Now that I think about, he may have wanted a blow job. At the time, I took it as a subtly aggressive posture. “Well, that’s the offer. Gonna take it?” The subtext was “Here’s my dick. What are you going to do about it?” I said, “No,” got up and left as he called after me, “Can’t you borrow the money?” (BTW, that’s how you can identify a bad salesman or desperate bill collector, when they ask why you can’t borrow the money)

I got the same posture when I was fired from a major (now defunct) mortgage company. The man firing me (and he made sure he had two  lackeys in the room) did the same thing as he told me I was terminated. Walked around the desk, leaned against it, hands in pockets and forward-thrusting crotch. He looked at me with a smirk and said, “Okay?” I said, “No, it’s not okay” and told him why. The hands came out of the pockets, he retreated to the other side of the desk, turned beet red, and spluttered. The two lackey sat with their hands folded in their laps, covering their crotches, looking somewhat stunned. Submission to the alpha. I was supposed to submit and didn’t. Gee whiz, fellas, he’d just done the only thing he could do, legally. There was no consequence to me firing back at him at that point. What was he going to do? Hire me again to fire me again?

In previous posts, I’ve recounted tales of attempted intimidation on Facebook and (way back when) Myspace.  I’ve invaded the male space of discussing sports and politics. I have gotten messages saying things like “Fat fucking whore, I hate you” and “Shut up, you stupid bitch, you don’t know the law” (My Juris Doctor degree and law license would say otherwise, but…). I believe today’s dick pic was a response to political comments I’ve made. I have no way of being sure, but that’s my thought.

As for the other authors who have gotten similar “messages,” I don’t know whether they respond to political posts. Or sports posts, for that matter. 2016 brought a lot of American ugliness to the surface: racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, white fright,  and a huge dose of misogyny. If you watch “The Daily Show,” you saw Jordan Klepper interview Trump supporters at rallies who talked about Muslim countries and how bad they were because they were disrespectful towards women. A man, who was clearly unfamiliar with hypocrisy and irony, was explaining this to Jordan while wearing a shirt that said, “Hillary Sucks But Not Like Monica” on the front and “Trump That Bitch” on the back.

Jordan Klepper Quizzes Trump Supporters with the “Extreme Vetting” Ideology Test on ‘The Daily Show’

Trump supporters are the easy to find examples, through their behavior at rallies and online. They support a man who has referred to the mothers of his children as “a nice piece of ass,” called women who disagreed or mocked him “fat pig” and ugly (Pro tip: if the only thing you can come up with to criticize someone is their appearance, you’ve got nothing. Chris Christie is fat, but that’s not what makes him an arrogant asshole), has been accused of sexual assault, and has bragged about forcing himself on women. I guess he’s just the ultimate phallus to use to threaten women to “stay in their place.”

https://goo.gl/images/oz1hvj

The guys sending crap to my writing cohttp://Trump giflleagues may just be stoned, giant douchebags, figure that since we write sex scenes, we must be “into it.” I think there’s a subtle message as well.

There’s a reason “The Handmaid’s Tale” (either book or Hulu series) is resonating right now. It depicts a post US world (religious fanatics blew up the Capital and assassinated the President. NOT Muslims) where women are either supportive wives to “Commanders,” household servants, or baby machines because those supportive wives are infertile. Women are not allowed to have bank accounts, have credit (Hell, we couldn’t until the 1970s anyway), not allowed to handle money. Women are forbidden from reading and writing.

I think the inboxed junk isn’t so much sexual as it is attempted intimidation. We do have some troglodytes among us who want certain areas of society to be exclusively male, such as sports, politics, and letters. It shows when an author is discussed with the label “woman” or “female” applied before the term author where our male colleagues are simply “authors.” They don’t see us standing shoulder to shoulder with the boys, we are largely confined to a subset (and there are a lot of subsets because there are a lot of authors who are neither white nor male).

As I said, I have joined an unwilling sorority who have had men use their genitalia as a means of intimidation.

Not intimidated.

 

For Love of Books and Florida, 2017

I had a blast. I had an assistant and let me tell you, that made a lot of difference. She could circulate and act as ambassador, chat up people who came to the table, help people one-click buy the e-books:

You can even shoot these codes on your computer screen!

The event planners, For the Love of Books and Alcohol, http://fortheloveofbooksandalcohol.com/    did an outstanding job with planning and execution. I would follow them anywhere and plan to do so (Boston in 2018 and Dublin 2019. Need to finish paying my table fees).

 

Let me share some pictures.

That’s me at the table

My banner. Goes up faster when 2 people work on it

I believe in truth in advertising.

 

In addition to the usual swag, the healing bracelet line I’m introducing, Wearable Magick, made its bow. One bracelet was pre-ordered and one was donated to a silent auction.

 

Contract me. I do special orders. ironrose1961@gmail.com

 

And I connected.

I’m the big blue blob on the left.

 

The QR codes from the previous post worked! I’ve gotten some more followers for both Susan and Monique.

 

I will be paying better attention to my readers (all 10 of you), newsletters, etc. The bottom line here is that it sparked my motivation. You will be hearing from me. And reading more stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding the Path Around Self-Created Obstacles

Prepping for For Love of Books and Florida on Saturday (Got your tickets?), working the day job, dealing with the boo boo foot…life has challenges.

The subtitle of this web space is “Finding Inner Strength.” As i see it, that includes overcoming obstacles of your own creation.

For instance, my lack of effective marketing for my books. All on me.

I’m rather pleased with myself tonight. I had 2 issues: bookmarks promoting my Susan Thatcher books that had no contact info and promotional items (chocolate lips) for Monique DeSoto that had no context. No contact info.

Enter QR Codes.

If you’re not familiar with the term, QRs are those boxy-looking abstract designs that you can scan and they’ll take you to a website or a coupon. One of these:

Susan Thatcher QR Amazon or this Monique DeSoto Facebook QR

Yes, they work. Try them.

With the purchase of Avery labels (8293 rounds), I was able to correct both issues – slap a label with a QR code onto the items.

Image may contain: food

Chocolate lips become a marketing tool.

Image may contain: jewelry Image may contain: food

Oh yeah, I made bracelets, too.

Mind you, I’ve been in a funk over the past few days. I haven’t made a lot of money at these signings (but they are fun and I make friends), some of the money that I’d set aside for it had to go to new brakes, my foot is bugging me; I wasn’t into it and was ready to stay home and eat the table fee as a sunk cost. However, with various friendly boots applied to my backside (and some well-timed praise for what I make, book and bracelet-wise), I found it within myself to string together those bracelets, go through extended nonsense with my printer to make those labels, and get out of my own way.

I feel better for having done so. I posted those pictures on the attendee group in Facebook and got an order for a bracelet. Those bookmarks have been bugging me; now they don’t. Scanning the code will take you to my Amazon page where you can buy books. The lips? That link will take you to Monique DeSoto’s Facebook page (and Monique got some inspiration for the next funnydirty short while in the shower).

A couple of Blackened Voodoo Lagers (by Dixie. If you’re not in Nawlins, Total Wine can help you) helped, too.

Sometimes, you need to grab yourself by the scruff and just do it, you know?

 

The Cracks in the Glass Ceiling are from Banging My Head On It

(Let’s be honest; I don’t have something profound to say every time I log in.)

I am a feminist in that “respect until proven otherwise” should be the default setting between the sexes, I believe there is more to me than my reproductive parts (including the breasts) and ability to please a man, that I should get paid the same (perhaps more. I work hard), that all women are capable of making their own decisions regarding their bodies. “All men are created equal” applies to women, too. Of course, the man who wrote that was boinking one of his slaves. Small power disparity there.

I graduated law school and while there, encountered some young men who believed that women were attending for husband-hunting. I shit you not. All the nights I spent locked in my home reading cases, writing papers, and time researching in the library, I should have had 3 husbands magically appear (I wish. They could have paid the tuition for me). Not so much. In fact, I know of only two couples who met at school. In fact, most of the women who attended went on to substantial careers (a few of us didn’t follow the traditional path). So much for that theory.

Is it a male ego thing that they believe women inhabit workplaces  or higher education primarily to meet a spouse (or partner)? Or when women show that they can compete on the same playing field, it makes their balls shrink? Back when I worked for Fidelity (which was  a pretty good place to work), the big deal was to take the Series 7 exam, to be a licensed representative. This is the golden ticket; you can sell securities with it. The guys I worked with would stand around and brag about their scores. “I got 75.” “I got 78.” Well, I took that exam and passed with an 88. The next time the guys were comparing scores, I said, “I got an 88.” They fell silent and one said, “The score doesn’t matter as long as you pass.” I never heard the score conversation again. By the way, another woman who took the exam at the same time got a 92.

I worked in a department that assisted customers with resolving issues. Phone-based customer service. A couple of times, I picked up the phone and had a male voice demand that I transfer his call to a man. When that happened, we were instructed to politely try to get the customer change his mind. If not, we had permission to tell him to hang up and call until he got a man on the line. One time, my friend Jack was sitting nearby and said, “Give him to me!” I transferred the call, and Jack made himself sound like a gay stereotype. “Turbo swish.” (his term) That man called again; didn’t ask to be transferred. We also saw letters. One guy wrote in to object to a woman managing a mutual fund because (and I am not making this up) “All women want to do is go shopping and have babies. They have nothing but babies and clothes on their mind.” The female head of our department was not only a clothes horse, but also pregnant when that gem came in. She handled it personally. No, we weren’t allowed to read her reply.

Another life later at another company, doing a completely different job (due diligence underwriting), one of the men completed 82 files in a strictly data-entry project (“file scrubbing”). I’m pretty good at data entry; consistently clocked at 9800 keystrokes per hour with 0 errors (I could go faster, but I’d make mistakes). The men were marveling at his speed. I was assigned to that project the next day. I completed 127 files. The men fell silent.

I don’t see why I can’t stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone and be accepted. I believe we are all created equal, and that we should treat each other as such, regardless of, well, regardless of anything. One the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma March, someone from the NAACP remarked at the frustration of still having to fight the same battles now because of attitudes that should have died out a half-century ago. It’s the same with male supremacy. That should have died out, probably with the passage of the 19th Amendment, certainly after World War II when women undertook war production (Rosie the Riveter, anyone?). We proved ourselves. And still do.

I still hear, “Don’t let men know you’re smart” or “don’t show the men you can work as well as they do.” My late grandmother, said that in the mid-nineties, in fact. “Boys don’t like it when you’re too smart,’ she said as we were driving somewhere.  My friend sitting in the backseat hadn’t been briefed on how to deal with Gram and blurted out, “That is such bullshit!” My sphincter snapped shut, my grandmother tried to backtrack (Another time, she had to backtrack from saying Tiger Woods had made golf less classy), and my friend is now a partner in a DC law firm (not married, but doesn’t seem to suffer from the lack of a husband).

“Take Your Child to Work” day started as “Take Your Daughter to Work” day. The idea was for girls to see women working and realize that their options were as wide open as their imaginations. But.. the men objected to it as sexist. “Why should only girls get this?” and the effort to show girls what they could be was watered down because men didn’t want women getting ideas. There is a parallel in Black Lives Matter being countered with All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. Dilute the power of the movement.

The attitude will continue as long as succeeding generations are taught these out-dated “truisms.” I daresay it played a major part in the outcome of the 2016 election. Not just who the Democratic candidate was (Sec. Clinton herself is not popular), but I believe a number of people, men and women, did not want a woman as President, regardless of who she was. It didn’t matter that England and Germany had both been lead by women, Margaret Thatcher being in the same hard-nosed conservative mindset as Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the modern GOP. Nope. “What’s going to happen when she has her period?” According to Robin Williams, “intense negotiations every twenty-eight days.”  Hillary Clinton has probably the best resume of anyone who has run for President in the last half-century. Foreign policy experience, legislative experience and relationships, activist First Lady (Arkansas and US), a willingness and capability to tackle the heavy, thankless work of governing. Had she been a man, the results would have been completely different. I know this.

I also know that a day will come where we won’t have this resistance to women as equals. After all, the glass ceiling has millions of cracks in it (3 million more than the current President). Who or what it will take for those cracks to finally merge and break that barrier, I don’t know. But I do know that it will happen.