Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - The pictures, playgrounds and dress codes edition

Howdy. My brain is confused and thinks it is Monday. These holiday weeks throw me off, and this week is going to be particularly challenging since I scheduled a bunch of stuff for the same times and days and haven't figured out how to build a Tardis yet.

Anyway...it is Tuesday, so it's time to rant. There's plenty of material, of course. Isn't there always?

Off we go.

Pictures, The Cloud and Theft
I have a lot to say about this story, so brace yourselves.

First, when you use a cell phone, you should be careful about when and how you use it. Pictures and other data are often backed up online, uploaded to remote servers. This is done so that if you lose your phone or drop it in a toilet, your stuff isn't gone forever, presumably. It's usually a good thing.

It isn't always a good thing, and it's becoming pretty obvious how many people are unaware that it happens at all. Android based phones do it, but only if you tell them to. Iphones on the other hand, automatically upload everything to the cloud. The result is that even if you delete things from your phone, or you get a new phone, or you drop it in a toilet and destroy it...whatever was uploaded is still sitting in a server somewhere.

Most people don't realize this.

I repeat, most people don't realize this. Not just celebrities.

I hope, hope, hope that the news of this weekend will force people to understand this in a hurry, and that they will use this as a reason to motivate themselves to learn more about what data is stored remotely and how to remove it.

I also sincerely hope that this opens up a dialogue, particularly with parents and their kids, about how the internet age works. Images, words, status updates, emails...all of it...this shit lives FOREVER. Don't take a picture or send a text or make a call or post a tweet or any of these things that you wouldn't want coming back in a year or two or ten.

Having said all of that...people use their phones for pictures. Adults take consenting pictures with their phones all the time. And it's totally legal. It isn't something they should be shamed or blamed for. Not at all. They have a reasonable expectation that that picture is not going to be disseminated to the public. They have a reasonable expectation that the server storing their data should be secure. They have a reasonable expectation that it won't be hacked and shown to the entire internet.

Pictures belong to the taker. Period. They do not belong to the hackers of the world or the internet.

These pictures over the weekend weren't leaked, they were stolen. STOLEN.

They are being shared all over the internet not because they are charming, fully clothed images. They are being shared because they are nude photographs. That ups the ante here. These pictures are being used in god only knows what ways by whoever comes across them, making this entire situation not just an issue of theft, but of a sex crime.

Don't argue with me that it doesn't matter because they are celebrities. It absolutely matters because this can and does happen to ordinary people too. Being a celebrity doesn't mean that they willingly open up their entire personal lives for perusal online. The vast majority of the celebrities targeted have not done nude scenes for a reason. End of discussion.

Their bodies are not public domain.

If you are engaging in looking at or sharing these pictures, you are absolutely part of the problem.

Calling Bullshit
Last week, a five year old little girl came home from school with her face covered in bruises. The school tried to say that she tripped on the playground and that was the source of the injuries.

She says she was repeatedly kicked in the face then fell off the top of the slide, which seems a whole lot more consistent with her injuries.

Here is the link with the picture if you haven't seen it.

I find it so terribly interesting that the school refuses to discipline the child she says did this to her on the grounds that no teacher was watching, so they "don't really know what happened", but are at exactly the same time claiming that she simply fell on the playground and that is what caused the injuries.

If no adult was watching, no adult was watching. Period.

That fact alone should probably be a cause for concern. Her mother filed a police report, and the police said there is nothing they can do because it is a case of the girl's word against the school.

This Country Has Lost Its Damn Mind
Last week a horrific story hit the news. A nine year old girl was taken to a shooting range by her parents and signed up for a lesson. The weapon she was shooting? An Uzi. A fully automatic assault weapon that spits out 30 bullets per second.

The gun recoiled when she was shooting, she lost control and the instructor who was teaching her was shot in the head. He died.

She is nine flipping years old and will have to live the rest of her life knowing that she had a hand in someone's death.

This story isn't about gun rights as much as people want you to believe it is. It's about freaking common sense, or more appropriately, the lack thereof. A nine year old child has absolutely no reason in the universe to be anywhere near a weapon like this. My son is trained to shoot rifles and shotguns...but not a flipping automatic weapon.

Her parents and this gun range allowed her to be in this position.

The consequences? Not a goddamn thing. It was already ruled as an "industrial accident" and no criminal charges will be filed against either her parents or the range. Nothing about what transpired was illegal somehow. The range upped age minimums for some weapons.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the case of a nine year old child spending her afternoons at the park because her mom works and can't afford to pay for daycare. "Concerned" parents at the park called the authorities and the mother is being charged with child endangerment. Are you fucking kidding me?

This is what the concerned parents of 2014 do, my friends. They don't actually help anyone figure shit out, they don't actually give a rat's ass about the situation they are judging, they just call the authorities.

In case you weren't sure that empathy was dead...here's your sign.

Parents who allow a nine year old to access and use an automatic weapon that results in a death have no culpability whatsoever, but a mom trying to do the best she can while she works to support her daughter is somehow a criminal?

This article from Time delves into this disturbing contrast in how people are treated in our society, how some parents are given free passes to make horrible choices and others are shamed for doing the best they can. 

I'm pretty sure we've lost our damn minds.

Dress Codes 
I am not a fan of dress codes in general. I blame Catholic school for that, at least in part.

An issue that I didn't really have to deal with the past few years directly involves the middle school dress codes in the district here...and I haven't had to deal with it because my oldest is a boy. A male. As long as his body parts are covered with something, he's good to go.

Even if he wears his Finn hat to school. Yes, that happens. Facepalm.

Anyway, my oldest daughter is there now too, so I get to deal with all the rules made just for girls. About skirt lengths and exposed shoulders and gasp leggings.

Seems that all of these things are subject to judgment now, grounds for sending someone home if their parents won't bring acceptable attire.

I can certainly get behind the rules that require skin to be covered within reason. Dresses or skirts that don't allow for basic movement without flashing everyone your bits aren't a good idea...but exposed shoulders and leggings????

For real???

Let's tell girls at the age of 11 that their bodies are something that boys will ogle uncontrollably and that it's their responsibility to make sure that doesn't happen.

Let's shame the girls into thinking that something about their upper arms is sexual.

Let's tell them that leggings aren't pants in the hopes they will just quietly comply even though leggings were totally pants 3 months ago in elementary school.

God forbid we see an outline of a female body.

Here's the thing that no one seems to understand....middle schoolers are hormonal no matter what. They're going to stare and be distracted no matter what. They could all be required to wear potato sacks and it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference.

How about we bend over backwards to teach boys not to objectify girls, that an outfit doesn't equal consent, that bodies aren't shameful, that no one belongs to anyone else....how about that instead???

Nah. We'll just tell a bunch of 11 year old girls that it's their fault they are distracting the class with their pubescent bodies and that if they do it, they'll be sent to the office.

This my friends is what rape culture looks like.

This is indoctrination.

This is setting girls up for a world where they are supposed to be excited that nail polish that can detect roofies was just invented because it's their job to make sure they aren't being drugged...the guys dropping pills into their glasses can't help themselves, apparently.

It's all bullshit. Men are more than their primal urges and women are more than sexual objects.



  1. Yes yes and yes. My oldest started middle school and none of the dress code applies to him. He wears Minecraft shirts and plain shorts, basically. But the girls, well, no leggings, yoga pants, tank tops. Which means I am in consistent violation of the dress code and I don't care. Our bodies aren't the problem.

    I totally agree with you about the girl at the gun range. Her life is going to be marked with this forever, and no one will face any consequences, but mothers leave their kids at the park alone and OMG. I am from Los Angeles. I would walk to the park alone at age 7 and up. I walked to and from school. We should support other moms instead of criminalizing them.

    XOXO and arrgghhhh,
    Mom the Pirate

  2. I have many, many thoughts on all of this. I don"t even know where to start, All of these things are bugging me.First, Rape Culture?!?! WTF?!?! I do not know where or when exactly this started and became acceptable behavior. Back when I was in school if someone acted inappropriate there were consequences for those actions. Most of the time in my school or any "hangouts" I went to if someone (usually males) saw someone acting in a manor they found disrespectful they would either intervene, or have a "private chat" with the aggressor involved. I guess that has to do with being raised in the country. If someone did something out of the eye of the public either the school or law enforcement took care of it. There was Zero tolerance for Sexual Harassment, Rape was pretty much unheard of. As for all the clothing restrictions, girls do not need to be taught to cover up, although I do not think that just because you got it the world needs to see it. I think boys or the parents of boys or ALL need to take a refresher course in Manners and Respect.

    Next the girl at the gun Range. WTH were her Parents or the Instructor thinking? I am a total 2A supporter, but really? I am the daughter of a cop, I was raised around many types of weapons, I was allowed to handle them, and learn about how to be safe with them. I would have never, I repeat NEVER been allowed to handle something like an UZI!! PERIOD. We were taught to respect guns, shown how they work and what they were capable of. (On a side note) With all that being said, as a child I knew where the guns were in the house and no I NEVER played with them, Never touched them unless my parents were around. I do not have children yet, but if/when I do I will teach them as I was taught, and NO they will not be firing an UZI either. I am in my 30's and dont think I could easily handle one now, and have no desire to fire one.


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