mousetail: Sleeping mouse with a pink box (Default)
I love LiveJournal, I really do. It has become so much a part of my life, I cannot ever leave it - not voluntarily at least. It's the source of my inspiration, my creative flow, my social encouragement. It expands, if not substitutes, my social life, my real-life friendships, my support network. But LJ is also a major political scene (mainly Russian, because nowhere else, among the countries I care for, is political opposition self-exiled to blogs). I dig it, yes, I read some communities etc., but these recent DDoS attacks highlighted two major trends for me:

1. In life, you have to try very hard not to take sides on an issue - political or not, - and no matter how hard you try, you still may get lumped in with one side or another based on the things you did not say, did not do, or simply based on your proximity. So if one side is attacked and you have not been strongly and openly against it - prepare to go down with it. Many ordinary users of LJ had been affected by this sudden blow of DDoS even though they had nothing to do with Russian opposition. Heck, some of them downright hate it! But by virtue of sharing the same blog hosting... Well, to cut the long story short: watch carefully who's your neighbor. Association matters. Me, personally? I was honored to feel the pinch together with the people I respect, if that is all not a rumor. But...

2. ...but I really don't want to loose my entire 'internet footprint', i.e. virtually die for the cause. I don't care enough for that cause to do so. And the major exodus from LJ onto here only proves many people feel the same. That is a lesson to LJ: if they want to be a business first, political platform second, they have to stop favoring Russian top-bloggers over the majority of low-impact users who generate 99.9% of income. It is us 'blogger plankton' who splurge on paid accounts, extra icons and all that stuff. And it is us who come there to read those top bloggers and ring up LJ ad income. If a handful of LJs and communities are being attacked, bringing down the whole service - by all means, suspend them! No matter what they stand for and what it's all about! If I was one of those, I'd expect nothing else from my host, acting as a business. The fact that LJ stood by them and took a hit as well, dragging us all down along the way, shows that the service no longer sees itself as a mere business. Which is very noble, but hey - they still charge me for the service like a business would! ;)

So, in closing... I'll stay on LJ for as long as it lives, but I won't trust it to act as a business and make decisions in favor of the majority of its customers any more. Hence this Dreamwidth back-up: no ads. No political affiliations, implicit or explicit. Full LJ compatibility. New level of freedom... This is what we cosmopolites do: we take the best from every source and live the worst behind. That is why many patriots, including those of LJ, hate our guts :)
mousetail: Sleeping mouse with a pink box (minions)

Disclaimer: this post may appear a bit (or a lot) too preachy - that is because it is, well, political and has, um, an agenda :) But don't take it personal for a moment: I don't consider myself in any kind of a position to preach to any of my friends on here. I respect you and your opinions just the way they are. Rather, consider it an exercise in persuasive writing directed towards some unspecified female population. If it does strike a chord for you though - feel free to comment.

I have to make an apology to those who may have expected a traditional 8th of March congratulatory vignette here and never got one. In fact, this is one gift to myself I've given for several years now: not to congratulate anyone on that day and thus celebrate the true meaning of the holiday: the liberation of women. So how's that related? I'll explain.

You see, I grew up in ex-USSR. And ever since it was, well, not ex yet, but very much alive, ever since I can remember myself, 8th of March was the day of stress. Imagine your typical Mother's Day, and then imagine that you owe the same type of attention you'd give your mom - some flowers and a note, at a minimum - to every respected woman in your life: all your relatives. All your teachers. No doubt, your boss. In some instances, your co-workers. If you're smart, your business partners. Yes, if you're a woman yourself, you'll get some goodies too - but the sheer stress and expense of trying not to forget anyone and stretch your finances in the likeness of a shower cap trying to fit a globe makes them seriously not worth it. Ever since I left that area, I celebrate the feminist, liberating spirit of the holiday by not participating in this circus show, besides an obligatory call to family members.

The tradition that I embrace, instead, is Women's History Month (the whole month of March). The month to remember where we've come, what we've accomplished. As it just ended, I happened to ponder why feminist movement has fallen out of favor these days. Some say we've won all we needed and it's time to make love, figuratively speaking (because literally we've never stopped) and not war. Some say feminists won more than most women bargained for. Some say without any real battles to fight feminists have become a caricature to their fore-mothers. I say it is because women had fun fighting for freedom - until they realized it was mostly freedom to give.

Today, we have the right to serve in the military and give lives for our country (and, as recent polls show, majority is now in favor of allowing women in direct combat). To give our time and effort to something else besides our family if we work outside of home. To give ourselves in love to the partner of our choice. Even the coveted freedom over our own finances implies to be used to give - either to charity, or as part of a transaction. Let's face it, we wanted to be able to spend that money :) Yes, it's old news: freedom almost always means more responsibility. It's like growing up: most kids want all that freedom and they roll their eyes when you talk to them about the burdens of being an adult, but we know better, don't we?

I think that we as women 'grew up' into adulthood as citizens and sometimes, some of us anyway, feel nostalgic for the peaceful and carefree times of our social 'childhood' - traditional times. The atrocities of oppression are forgotten as suppressed memories of child abuse. After all, it all happened to someone else, right?

Wrong. It still happens to someone else - and will continue to, as long as we find ourselves too weary to fight any more. I just hope that 'someone else' won't be our daughters one day. I wouldn't want my baby girl to be abused by her teacher because she has special needs and can't report him (still happens today). I don't want her to have to work harder in college so her male classmates could bully her and copy her work (still happens today, to my mother's students). I don't want her to get less birthday money because her mom doesn't get paid as much as her co-workers, or doesn't get deserved promotions as fast (we all know this sometimes still happens - attempted Wal-Mart class action in point).

So let's not become complacent, but I'm not calling for marches of protest either. God knows there's been enough of those already, everywhere. Let's just exercise our freedom, give our passion or time or money to causes that matter to us: even if they have nothing to do with the feminist cause, by the very act of being responsible adults of the society, conscious citizens, we affirm the position of all women, so when some speak out for our kind, in their countries or abroad, their voices will be heard.

P.S. I wouldn't have written this post if the month of March (by pure coincidence) didn't actually turn into a month of giving for me. As many of you did, I gave to Japan disaster relief; I had given a lot of hours to my volunteer job; I contributed to my regular charities (still pending review, as per my New Year's resolutions) and I attempted to give blood, directly on March 8. Regretfully, the military can no longer use my blood - I have been in Germany for too long :(, but that felt like a very appropriate thing to do on such a day. And that got me thinking about the whole 'free to give' idea...

mousetail: Sleeping mouse with a pink box (bullshit)
March 8 is celebrated (in some countries rather lavishly) as International Women's day. The day to celebrate our accomplishments in the fight for equal rights etc. Well, read the below and you'll wander if we have accomplished anything... I read the entire article discussed here, it does contain the quoted below; moreover, the entire overarching tone is that of mourning - for the community and partially for defendants, but NOT the victim.

Warning: heavy F-bombing by original poster, somewhat warranted.

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] lavenderfrost at ...WTF.


NYTimes, the bastion of quality reporting, reported on the gang-rape of an 11 year-old girl in Texas  that's led to charges against 18 high-school boys so far - all well and good so far, right?  Shit like this NEEDS publicity to raise awareness. 

Only problem is, they repeated - without refutation or critical commentary - the claims that the girl brought the rape on herself because of the way she was dressed.

Choice Quotes (No cut b/c everyone needs to see this - DEAL.):

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.  As opposed to the victim, who's gonna bounce back lickety-fucking-split, right?

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.  TOTALLY BEGGING FOR IT.

THIS IS RAPE CULTURE, PEOPLE.

Now, what's being said and done in this community is bad enough, but the NY Times should be fucking ashamed of themselves right now.

Here's how to contact NYT: )

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