Book Review: The Wild Robot

Title:               The Wild Robot

Author:           Peter Brown

Illustrator:     Peter Brown

Publisher:      Little Brown & Company

Published:     2016

Genre(s):        Middle Grade; Children’s Fiction; Science Fiction

Pages:              277

Read Time:    5 Days (Casual Reading)

 

 

.::Publisher’s Summary::.

             Can a robot survive in the wilderness?

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

 

.::Personal Summary::.

             Circumstances that cannot be controlled push Roz off of her cargo ship to a water-locked island home to a variety of critters set in their ways. Built to adapt, Roz wakes when curious otters hit her power button. Now she must learn to live in the wilderness.

But will it come easily? With a database of information available in an instant, how will Roz apply this data to her new life as a Wild Robot? Will the animals accept her as one of their own?

 

.::AVERAGE RATING::.

*5 out of 5*

The review of this book is based on 4 pre-determined categories (Technical, Creative, Recommendation, and Personal). These areas, unless otherwise specified, are reviewed as objectively as possible for the benefit of readers. This is the average rating between those categories. Below the line are the detailed explanations for the ratings of each category:

 

  • Technical (4/5)
  • Creative (5/5)
  • Recommendation (5/5)
  • Personal, Biased (5/5)

 5-stars

  Continue reading “Book Review: The Wild Robot”

Book Review: Everything, Everything

Title:               Everything, Everything

Author:           Nicola Yoon

Publisher:      Alloy Entertainment

Published:     2015

Genre(s):        Young Adult

Pages:              369

Read Time:    8 Days (Recreational Reading Pace)

 

.::Publisher Summary::.

            My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 

.::Personal Summary::.

            Madeline (Maddy) Whittier has SCID, which is a medical disorder that literally makes her allergic to everything. In order to live her life, she reads books over and over again to experience it from different perspectives as she grows up. Even though her interpretations change, her situation does not. She is still living inside of her white walls while her doctor mother and full-time nurse, Carla, care for her each and every day.

Maddy’s entire life is begins changing when a family moves in next-door and their son, Olly, captures Madeline’s attention. She studies the entire family’s schedule and forms a friendship with Olly through the Internet. As the attraction becomes more apparent, Carla takes a chance on Olly and lets him into Maddy’s life.

Once she meets Olly in person, Maddy refuses to accept the life she has been living. Everything is changing and she learns so much about herself, love, the world – and what her diagnosis really means.

 

AVERAGE RATING

*3 out of 5*

 

3-stars

 

The review of this book is based on 4 pre-determined categories (Technical, Creative, Recommendation, and Personal). These areas, unless otherwise specified, are reviewed as objectively as possible for the benefit of readers. This is the average rating between those categories. Below the line are the detailed explanations for the ratings of each category:

 

  • Technical (4/5)
  • Creative (2/5)
  • Recommendation (3/5)
  • Personal, Biased (3/5)

 

Continue reading “Book Review: Everything, Everything”

Book Review: The Song of Achilles

Title:               Song of Achilles

Author:           Madeline Miller

Publisher:      P.S. (T.M.) of HarperCollins Publishers

Published:     2012

Genre(s):        Historical Fiction, Young Adult, LGBT+ Fiction (YA)

Pages:                        369

Read Time:    13 Days (Casual Reading Pace)

 

.::Publisher Summary::.

            Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary kind Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful-irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur, Chiron, in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and tor between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

 

.::Personal Summary::.

            Achilles, a leisurely prince, becomes the fascination of exiled ex-prince, Patroclus. The pair becomes inseparable as they grow from young boys to proper men. The trials that will forge Achilles into “the best of all the Greeks” inevitably make Patroclus an intricate part of the events leading up to the fall of Troy. This romantically mythological retelling will see Achilles and Patroclus make difficult choices that remind us that where there are Greeks there is tragedy.

 

AVERAGE RATING

*4 out of 5*

 

4-stars

The review of this book is based on 4 pre-determined categories (Technical, Creative, Recommendation, and Personal). These areas, unless otherwise specified, are reviewed as objectively as possible for the benefit of readers. This is the average rating between those categories. Below the line are the detailed explanations for the ratings of each category:

  • Technical (4/5)
  • Creative (5/5)
  • Recommendation (4/5)
  • Personal, Biased (3/5)

 

Continue reading “Book Review: The Song of Achilles”

My (Brief) Opinion On: American Prisons

Click this link to watch the video related to this mini-rant. I highly recommend watching it in full prior to reading any further.

Disclaimer: I do have a finance background and a legal education. I am very aware that there’s more to the issue of prisons, federal budgeting, and politics. This is a mini-rant about what I feel would be a positive change for our nation and the communities in which we live.


 

Unfortunately, having known a great deal of people who have been to prison, I do find great issue with the way criminals are living in America. Many of the crimes committed by individuals are due to nurtured behaviors, or behavioral issues such as addiction and untreated mental health. Even violent crimes can be attested to the way an individual was raised – especially in slums all over America.

Where most people find fault with the luxuries some inmates receive – I find the foundation for greatness. Unless someone is truly a sociopath with no chance to recovery – something a variety of unbiased mental health professionals should have to swear to in court prior to this judgment – then these imprisoned individuals should be rehabilitated.

“Oi, but my taxes pay for their sitting ’round on their arses! I don’t want to pay for that!” Your taxes also pay for repeat offenders to keep going back to jail instead of making a living outside of a prison cell. Unfortunately, this partially because it is sometimes easier than working in the free community. It would be cheaper for our government in invest in the necessary resources to prepare individuals imprisoned to re-enter the work force and free community prepared for the tasks ahead – rather than just HOPING they don’t relapse.

It’s one of those situations, you know? Do it right or don’t do it all. Don’t put these people in prison and then fail to help them make their lives better wholly without guidance. Do parents leave their children to fend for themselves after they can walk and talk? No, partially because that’s illegal – but primarily because children need guidance. We are all children to someone – and we all need guidance until the day we die. Prisoners, while seemingly less human because of the crimes they committed, are no less deserving of that courtesy. (Side note, I do not find these people to be less human, this is just the common belief I have run into socially. As a parent, it is hard not to feel that way about child related crimes, but I do my best to remember that criminals are not born. Criminals are products of their environments).

Now, I will say that (personally) there are crimes that I feel should more thoroughly be examined than others. It is my belief that these offenses should be punished with life sentences and no parole opportunities. For me those crimes are: murder, rape, and child molestation – perhaps even treason, though highly circumstantial. Those are the most serious crimes that can be committed. The majority of individuals are in jail for significantly less than that … possessing marijuana (for example) – a LEGAL drug in various states!

America needs to seriously reconsider the quality of life associated with imprisonment of criminals. The money we save on repeat offenders spending their lives behind bars can be funneled elsewhere. Perhaps free college education? Perhaps a more helpful universal healthcare system?

People will whine that they don’t want their money to go to helping prisoners get their lives together – saying they don’t deserve the help – but they’d just as quickly turn down free college education too. Who is worthy of your tax money then?

Is anyone worthy?
Before you answer – consider this…

These criminals you don’t wish to rehabilitate – they live in the same communities you live in…

These impoverished people you call lazy and don’t feel deserve universal healthcare – they go to school with your children, they work with you, they live with your coworkers, and they share the same air you breathe…

And these students you feel have done nothing to deserve free college education – they are the doctors, nurses, lawyers, scientists, politicians, and teachers of the generation that will care for you and the future generations of your family.

Consider that and let me ask you again…

IS ANYONE WORTHY OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS?

My Opinion On: George Takei & New Interpretations of Old Characters

Something that made big news this weekend was George Tekei’s comments regarding Star Trek’s character, Helsman Hiraku Sulu, being homosexual in the next film. As a fangirl, I am very quick to rally behind same-sex couples. I wish they occupied more leading roles and held an appropriate amount of existence in these fictional universes to which we so tightly cling. I was intrigued when I saw a slew of headlines on Facebook demonizing George Tekei’s lackluster support of the decision to take a character whose sexuality was not clearly stated in no uncertain terms at any point in time.

The article from that appears to have originally published these statements made by Tekei can be found here. The episode referenced in this article, Mirror Mirror (1967), supposedly portrays the exact opposite of the characters seen in the Star Trek series. A synopsis of the episode can be found on Wikipedia here. This doesn’t reference Sulu directly as far as the “aggressively heterosexual pass” he makes at Uhura during the episode but does establish that this is an alternative reality.

Here comes my first comment – which is that an alternate reality doesn’t necessary mean every tiny detail is in exact opposition of the reality from which is differs. “Aggressively Heterosexual” is one of a few interpretations. His aggressive pass at Uhura could be an opposite simply in his demeanor. After all, he is intensely passive. It could have nothing to do with his personality, per se, because “intense” can also mean “aggressive.” Perhaps it was only a statement on his sexuality. After all, many people proclaim that Star Trek is the most inclusive fandom from it’s era. George Takei, and even Simon Pegg (here), both agree that Star Trek has always been kind and welcoming towards the LGBT+ community. Regardless, this presentation is fairly ambiguous. It suggests a couple of strong things but doesn’t clearly state beyond that what Sulu’s sexuality is … perhaps suggestion that this “aggressive heterosexual” statement in Mirror Mirror was a statement of Sulu’s absence of aggressive sexuality? I think this is potentially a strong contender in the possibilities in this debate. However, there’s more to consider too.

I like to look at Wikias for different fandoms as a way to quickly reference key points about a character. I decided to look up Hiraku Sulu’s ‘profile’ to learn more about him in depth. In the panel mid-right of the screen it usually lists relationships and family members. Here is where I found out that Hiraku Sulu has a daughter, Demora Sulu. Since there was so much text I just did a quick search, but after reading the entire section about Demora – much is not truly known about her – it would seem that in the very least that Hiraku Sulu did have a relationship with a woman at some point in time. To my knowledge there is no “test tube baby” process in Star Trek – though I’m not nearly as well-versed in this particular fandom as the thousands of fans that would actual fight Star Wars fans. Regardless, it appears that sexual and asexual reproduction are the primary birthing processes in this universe – cloning also being utilized (though this is not exactly a birth).

Only interview excepts are used as reference, each of which reference George Takei and his knowledge about the character he portrayed. It would seem that there’s a confirmed wife with an unknown past and fate beyond the birth of Demora Sulu. At some point it was clear that Hiraku Sulu was at least sexually involved with women meaning that three sexualities existed for him: heterosexual, bisexual, and pansexual. People argue whether or not video games qualify as cannon, and sometimes the information is considered “fanfiction” in essence. That being said, there is a published book (The Captain’s Daughter) states that Demora was the result of a brief sexual encounter with a woman Hiraku barely knew – and hadn’t even known he was a father initially. Either way, regardless of the question of canonical relevance, it would seem that Sulu was sexually attracted to women.

As inclusive and welcoming as everyone says the Star Trek fandom is – I can’t help but ask why there was such evasiveness about such a cherished character. Simon Pegg – in the article I referenced earlier – states that Sulu was chosen because there would be less judgment towards an existing and beloved character (versus creating a brand new character to be judged solely on his sexuality). It is with this in mind that we must carry on with this conversation…

It is known that even still today there are hate crimes committed against homosexual people. This is evidenced in the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. If it is this bad in 2016, an era that is supposed to represent another age of progression. Unfortunately, that is not totally true. For me, it is ridiculous for introducing homosexual to “progressive,” “dramatic,” or “scandalous.” The number of non-heterosexual individuals in the world is unimaginably vast compared to the representation that they receive in the entertainment business. Generally speaking, we don’t see many lead characters that are homosexual and that is a huge problem for me. So, I think that Hiraku Sulu being homosexual is kind of a small win. He’s certainly more at the forefront than most homosexual characters but still is not a main character. JJ Abrahms is leading a new era of Star Wars material and has very actively and promoted the inclusivity of homosexual characters to be revealed/introduced in the next installment of the new Star Wars trilogy. You can read more about it here. While many consider there fandoms to be enemies of one another, I see so much in common between them – and I adore each of them for the differences they hold in opposite of the other. Between these two though, I feel that Star Wars is upping their game. Let me explain that, though.

Firstly, the most common theory is that Star Wars‘ main male leads, Poe and Finn, will be the homosexual couple that Abrahms has been discussing with the media. Even the actors have toyed and added fuel to the fire. You can read about the confirmation here and the teasing here (Oscar Isaac) and here (John Boyega). Of course, there are other articles that shoot down this possibility of the Finn-Poe relationship entirely – like this one (which is not nearly as reliable as other sources, and also dated prior to John Boyega’s most recent unofficial affirms that it is still a possibility). Regardless, this is a much bigger statement that Star Trek is making with Sulu’s newfound status a homosexual character.

You might be wondering why I even brought up Star Wars. Of all the comparisons to make, why this one? Why even compare them – I am basically asking for an all out war in the comment section! See, the thing is that it’s totally relevant.

I have a lot of strong opinions about this new era of Star Wars, mostly boiling down to that this new era made the publications under George Lucas essentially fanfiction. To me, having been immersed in those extended universe stories with and through my husband, Abrahms version of the Star Wars is fanfiction. All of the characters taking the forefront are original characters, productions of his own mind (with his team, of course). As such, making any of his characters – lead or not – means that there’s no canon dictating the sexuality of these characters. Something that was referenced by Takei – this article elaborates more on what he was hoping for instead of changing Sulu’s sexuality from what he understood was pretty clear as heterosexual.

Now, here’s my second comment on the matter…

I understand what Takei was suggesting, what he was asking of them, because for me this is important. My husband and I both found it a wee bit insulting to homosexual characters to just pick characters that exist – characters that were oftentimes portrayed as heterosexual in many instances – and suddenly tell the world that they are homosexual. A) Any heterosexual encounter automatically denunciates any status as a homosexual, thereby making the character BISEXUAL instead; B) It is essentially saying that the inclusion of homosexual individuals is an afterthought not important enough to justify the creation and incorporation of an original homosexual character; and C) Negates the existence of any other sexualities beyond hetero and homo. With that being said, I have decided that an even half of me totally agrees with Takei. It is disappointing that a brand new character wasn’t introduced – especially with Zachary Quinto saying that this is a brand new universe that differs from Raddenybury’s original creation. To me, that just affirms what Takei was asking of the products and writers. They intended to honor Takei but then completely ignored his wishes for such a character’s existence within the universe.

HOWEVER – HOWEVER – HOWEVER!!!

I do not disagree with the decision to make a character that already exists within the fandom homosexual. Now, as I just said, Sulu would technically be bisexual since the original cannon has more heterosexual evidence than homosexual evidence. That could be a sign of the times during which it was created, though. Still, the cannon is the word – and really not arguable. I am a writer of fanfiction, though, and I see the value in reading subtext. In fact, I live for reading subtext and making brand new stories about the details that mean so much to me – the ones that stand out and define how I read the subtext from every second that exists after it.

I rally behind the idea of characters who are presumed heterosexual, even portrayed as extremely heterosexual, and revealing that their sexuality is more complex or entirely different. Allow me to list just a few of them for your: Sherlock Holmes (BBC Sherlock), John Watson (BBC Sherlock), Arthur Pendragon (BBC Merlin), Merlin (BBC Merlin), Dean Winchester (CW Supernatural), Castiel (CW Supernatural), Riley Matthews (Disney Girl Meets World), Maya Hart (Disney  Girl Meets World), Marceline (Cartoon Network Adventure Time), Princess Bubblegum (Cartoon Network Adventure Time), The Doctor (BBC Doctor Who), and Clara Oswald (BBC Doctor Who). These are just to name a few. There are plenty of other characters that I feel would be greater with the depth of a complex sexuality, but these are the ones that I most frequently speak about within the respective fandoms. By no means am I wholly opposed to “changing” the sexuality of a character because sexuality is genuinely fluid. That is why the other half of me – as Simon Pegg put it – “respectfully disagree” – with George Takei on this matter.

George Takei is a huge influence in the LGBT+ community, something of which he is very aware. I do not believe he meant to speak ill about LGBT+ characters – and most certainly had no intentions of insulting anyone. As someone who works in the business and knows the intricate process of creating a piece of work from scratch, of course he’s going to see things from a different angle than some people. There are writers out there whom would never want to read the fanfiction written about there work because it isn’t the way they envisioned it – some that have actually deemed it illegal to even write fanfiction! George Takei knows Raddenbury on a personal level, more so than the majority of the cast and crew presently working on the new Star Trek movies. As such, I am at least glad to see everyone respecting him rather than belittling and attacking him for his opinion. It is a fair opinion to have, after all, and reflective of his experience with the creation and lifelong involvement with the existence of Star Trek.

What I want everyone to take from this is that the representation of homosexual characters is no laughing matter – nor a matter of choice. Homosexual people deserve to be on the screen. For as ignored as bisexuals are in the world today – often being lumped into the sexuality most fitting of their present relationship – there are so many characters that are technically being made canonically bisexual, even if they are not titled as such. I would like to see a mix of old characters given layers to their sexualities as well as new characters for us to love.

To me – it’s as simple as that – and one day (soon I hope) I won’t have to wrap my mind around the fact that to many others it is not.

My Opinion On: An Opinion of OITNB

In case you didn’t know, OITNB stands for “Orange Is The New Black.”

To be perfectly honest, I don’t even watch this show. Many of the people I am connected with online watch it. Everyone says I’ll love it and that I should invest my time in watching it as well, yet I don’t feel compelled in the slightest to invest my time. I guess it’s that “mom” part of me that wants to share T.V. with my kid. That being said, I did still click on the article – as I generally do when OITNB makes headlines in any way – and I was moved to speak on the matter. I just couldn’t not say something after reading it.

The article can be found here so that you can read it too.

Now, as an American I guess I feel entitled to have an opinion on someone else’s opinion. I hear a good many people say that it’s a disease we have from the liberties we are so given by residing here. (That’s not true, there’s an imbalance of power and privilege that exists, but that’s a different opinion blurb for another day). As I said previously, I generally click on articles pertaining to OITNB simply because so many people I know watch it. This helps me listen with some basis of understanding when they’re gushing about their favorite parts.

The title of the article is what truly grabbed my attention: “Pennsatucky’s Sympathy For Her Rapist in ‘Orange is the New Black’ Was an Uncomfortable Reminder of my own Rape.’ The thing is – I think all women are sexually assaulted and/or raped in their lives. The sad truth is that many women don’t realize it. For me personally, I was sexually assaulted in one way or another starting at seven years old until I was twenty-one years old by friends, boyfriends, and strangers. As so many young ladies do not see “boys being boys” (an excuse created by misogynists that should promptly be removed from our culture entirely) as the assault it truly was unto them. I never realized what was happening to me qualified as rape. Until a few years ago the idea that “the absence of ‘no’ is still rape” was a foreign concept. I was never taught that and consequently never categorized the unwanted interactions as assault or rape.

Even though there has been question lately about whether or not is legitimately racially conscious comes into question – but it appears to me the show is doing brilliantly to show that rape isn’t what you see in the movies all the time. It can be subtle, and they can trick you into thinking it’s not rape. They may not even actively be trying, but it is rape. Believe it or not, the crime may come as shock to both you and your assailant.

And there is sympathy to be felt as a victim – strange as it may sound. People you love and trust can do these things to you. It is natural that you want to love them, forgive them, and move on. Spouses raped by spouses don’t want to end a marriage over what they truly believe is a confusion of consent. Advances are made daily in science but so much more slowly in social awareness. Archaic beliefs that marriages must have sex almost daily to successfully prevail are still very much alive. In addition to those unacceptable expectations, sex-drive media exposure makes us too often forget that we owe our bodies to no one.

Feelings aside, sexual assault and rape are crimes. I don’t want anyone growing up feeling as though they are less because of what has happened to them the way that I always felt less for not being able to prevent what happened to me. There are no tiers defining the levels sexual assault and rape. It is all bad and your status as victim is not a badge to be worn with ranks of severity. Psychological trauma shapes you and will continue to define you are for the rest of your life. Please always seek assistance when you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped.

 

My Opinion On: Chicken Factories?

As I was scrolling through Facebook I saw this headline…

IMG_4573.jpg

Then I read through it and went to the article referenced…

And the first section looked like this…

IMG_4574.jpg

I shared this on Facebook initially but pulled it before anyone could read it because it felt more like a mini-rant-reminder-opinion blurb that I could utilize on my blog instead. There were four big companies listed:

TYSON
PERDUE
PILGRIM’S
SANDERSON FARMS

Reading this made me glad that I research the meat I buy from the store before I bring it home. We aren’t a super “all organic” family – but we avoid foods (whenever possible) that have preservatives and go for foods that are as fresh and natural as possible.

There aren’t many regulations in the food market regarding the use of the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ – so you still have to do the reading. That’s not to say that ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ labels are false, but the restrictions in using those words aren’t as strong as you might except – especially with nonfood items. Last time I had researched the chicken we do buy – it was one of the safest brands you can purchase on the market.

My husband was prompted to do this research after taking a class in college which forced him to immerse himself into a culture or lifestyle he never would adopt. He chose vegetarian/vegan because I did not actively eat meat or most animal byproducts. (This was not necessary an active lifestyle choice so much as I prefer raw fruits and vegetable to meats). After watching a couple of documentaries about the ways in which chickens are slaughtered, he immediately sought out organic and animal-friendly (or as friendly as they can be considering the chicken ultimately dies for consumption) brands. That is how we found the brand of chicken we purchase now. Most of our other meats come from small local farmers.

People on welfare, though, do not have these same luxuries. People using public assistance are generally forced to purchase from these four corporations. Tyson in particular, as they make a ton of microwaveable chicken foods marketed specifically towards kids. Aside from this, I would wager that a good many schools who cannot import fresh meats from delis, farmers, and butchers turn to brands like Perdue and Tyson. It saddens me greatly to even think that people must purchase items from a brand that cannot be trusted to allow workers to engage in a normal and necessary bodily function.

We need to force these corporations to see people as people – otherwise we are insulting the entire working class and the entire impoverished community. Both of which are funding their ridiculous food industry empire! The imbalance in power is unjustified, and certainly being abused by those who have it.

Some people may argue that this piece is slanted (generally documentary works generally as slanted but that is the nature of persuasion) – but the idea alone that this could be happening at only some locations is appalling. It should not happen anywhere for any reason. It is absolutely disgusting and the more attention it receives, the less profit these companies generate; and the more the general population forces these food industry giants to change.

#RESPECTYOURWORKERS #GIVETHEMABREAK

My Opinion On: Tumblr’s Yahoo Advertisements

tumblr_o9fs9cpYfm1vqcapao1_540

Excuse the fuck out of me but…
FUCK THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I want to see none more of these ads because this teaches people to define themselves by others. As an adult who changed for others growing up so many times – I took me actual years to find out who I was when I finished high school. Did a I really like these bands? Did I really like these shows, books, and games? I was a collage-like shadow of the people around me at any given time until I was eighteen years old wading the waters of uncertainty until college.

I was starting over with no friends and no personality outside my pressing depression and anxiety, and my frantic hot-mess-mom status. Still, I wasn’t defining myself – I was defined by my status as a mother and my affliction of mental illness. It would be a whole year, when I was turning nineteen, that I realized I could exist as an individual uniquely. That is when I saw myself make a mark on someone else that belonged to me. My love of something that I could share with another person who became genuinely vested in it as equally as myself. It was not a forced behavior or a shadowed one – but one that I actually shared. It was a joint interest. Our love of the thing was not manufactured by either party.

That friend – I lost her when we graduated. We were just different people, it seemed, and we went our separate ways. But she still loves those things I shared with her, maybe quietly, but it’s still present and strong. Since then I have spent the last five years figuring out who I am while dealing with depression and anxiety as “curveballs” instead of “traits” of who I am. I have made being a parent a factor in who I am in a way that is unique to me and my personality. No more do I say “I’m a young mom” as though it’s just another piece of my identity puzzle. Instead I say it distinctly because there is no other mom exactly like me in the entire world.

I don’t want people to see ads like this an be shaped by the lies, the indecision, and the dependency that it creates. I want commercials that move me – ads that understand me – and media that shows the world what it’s capable of rather than what this fodder encourages us to become in life: forever impressionable.

I want you to like that band because you fucking like it and don’t give a fuck what anyone else says or thinks. People will like you for you, even if they don’t like the same things, because people like personalities. People fall in love with who you are as a whole. Not the pieces of personality that you can collect from everyone else.

So in closing, I kindly reiterate.

FUCK THIS!

My Opinion On: Bad Parenting… Apparently

*Disclaimer: This is an opinion article. If you do not share the same opinion I kindly ask that you remain respectable in the comments. My style of writing is sarcastic in nature, involves swearing, and is generally highly critical. If you find that style and those traits to be unappealing then kindly hit the back page to save yourself the stress. Your respect and maturity are appreciated. All reference points are clickable links and will direct you to a new page.

Recently there was an incident at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, USA. An endangered gorilla, a Silverback Gorilla, named Harambe was shot and killed for the protection of a child that had gotten into the exhibit. Instead of resounding support for the executive decision that was made to to save the life of a three-year-old little boy, criticisms flew at the parents for their failure to monitor the child involved.

Firstly, articles across the board keep referring to the young boy as having parents & family – you can see it here on CNN and here at Reuters just for a couple references – but I am not seeing any mention of a father. I see mention of multiple children but nothing of a father, or even a second mother! There is absolutely no mention of an actual second parent  (regardless of gender) being there which makes me ponder how parents are perceived.

Your criticisms are of a dual parent setting when it appears it may actually be a single parent situation. Even if isn’t a single parent – maybe only a single parent was present. Would you honestly tell a parent they he/she/ze shouldn’t be allowed to venture into a public setting simply because they have no second guardian to assist? To those of you that would support such an idea – I say ‘fuck off’ because you are no better than Hitler for suggesting such a concept. I’m willing to bet your very own parents ventured out solo with you on their hip or your hand in their grip. Please kindly get over your superiority complex.

Secondly, almost every article I find on this matter talk about how the mother should be charged criminally for the events that transpired. This woman is an employee of the state government as a part of the child welfare services. She is responsible for hundreds of young children’s lives anually who are actually in the hands of incapable parents – and yet she is being accused of just as much for doing what a good many parents can’t be bothered to do with their own children. Nobody is going to praise this woman for actively trying to enrich her children’s lives by taking them to the zoo to enjoy a day out together. Making memories with her family is now little more than an act against animals due to her inability, apparently, to keep track of her children.

I saw an article that is an opinion piece on Huffington Post which suggests that inaction is the act of allowing a terrible thing to happen. Those who did not help the mother are equally to blame for not trying to save the life of the child and the gorilla. Another Huffington Post article argues the opposite – stating that the endangered gorilla holds more value than a single child that is easily replaced in the population. Both articles have their points, I can’t lie, but it is hard as a parent to think that watching hundreds of people watch my child potentially die at the hands of an animal in a zoo would be acceptable.

Maybe that is truly the elitist human in me speaking, maybe it’s my mother heart spewing selfish words, and maybe I’m just a dick for thinking as much. Logically, I can see the reasoning behind everyone’s disappointment and frustration. Logically and theoretically, I can see why people would say the endangered gorilla should not have been killed. Emotionally, though, I think of a mother and her children dealing with the loss of a child and a sibling. Humans don’t want their loved ones to die anymore than animals do – we all experience grief once losing someone close to us. Why would you wish as much upon another person whose story you do not even know?

For those of my readers that would wish death upon another person’s child – shame on you. What if people you knew wished as much upon you as a child? What if people you thought cared about you pranced up to you and said that they had wished you dead as a child because it would have been better for someone else, or for the betterment of an animal. That would make you feel bad. If he didn’t – then I pity you. I hope that you seek the medical attention that you need because you are suffering greatly to the point where you’ve allowed such callousness to become your norm.

Lastly, I came across a different article that actually exhibits bad parenting. It made me wonder if the internet just assumes all terrible incidents involving children constitutes bad parenting. This incident at the Cincinnati zoo is clearly an accident. There’s no child negligence on the mother’s part from the information that can be found in any of the published articles. This other story involving a 7-year-old boy intentionally left in a forest as punishment is astoundingly horrifying in a way the Cincinnati Zoo incident could never be in a million years. I first found the article on Mashable here – but you can read variations of the story on CNN and on The Guardian.

There aren’t nearly as many comments about the badgering of the parents, although it is certainly present. The articles surrounding the gorilla incident badger this mother for her mistake. Internet users attack her ability to parent and suggest that she deserved to lose her child as punishment for tending to all of her children. Yet in these articles about the 7-year-old boy being intentionally left in the forest/woods/mountains as punishment – a story in which the FATHER is the central point of a confirmed dual-parent scenario – people are sympathetic to the young boy and merely slapping the father on the hand.

Is this a sign of patriarchy at work? A father is stern with his child, his son no less, and people are actually concerned for the child. There are talks of bears but I don’t hear people calling that the boy once abandoned (intentionally!) because prey for the animals in their natural habitat. Nobody is damning these parents (two are confirmed to be present, mind you) the way they damned the mother whom was seemingly caring for her children at the zoo alone. It is disgusting to see how the stories differ in literally every way imaginable except for one – a child in danger.

For me, the Cincinnati Zoo doesn’t require an in depth investigation. If you’ve ever been to zoo you know that the gorilla exhibits aren’t protected in a big way. They’re not behind glass walls but rather behind ropes and slopes with motes – they are protected by an intuitionally tumultuous landscape rather than a solidified barrier. It seems a miracle that this isn’t a constant issue in the zoos across the world. Schools go on field trips all the time – assigning on adult to groups of four and five children at a time. I’ve chaperoned trips to zoos where two adults had only four kids – and even that was difficult to keep track of because while you’re dusting the dirt off of a fallen child the second is wandering away to check out another exhibit. All of the energy in the world cannot make you capable of being in two places at once. I’m sorry, but we’re not The Flash, or Zoom. We are simply never going to be speedsters.

Unless Science has created a definitive process to make that a real thing – then I would gladly sign the fuck up for that because – why the hell wouldn’t you want to sign up for that? Do you know how easily that 3-year-old could have been saved with a speedster around? This wouldn’t even be an article because nobody/nothing would be dead.

The article that should have parents charged criminally are these heathens purposely leaving their son in the middle of the mother fucking woods as punishment for throwing stones. When your child is throwing stones at people and cars – you can take other actions. I personally would handcuff my child or tie hands behind his back. Tell them that such activity as an adult gets them arrested – assure them what it will feel like when they’ve throw their freedoms away with the stones. If you don’t like a forward approach like that – take shit away from your kid. Not every child is the same and not every child responds to the same punishment but no child should be abandoned in the woods. This causes permanent psychological damage or worse. In this instance, the child has been missing for four whole days. There’s a decent chance this child is dead – possibly mauled by a fucking bear – and it’s because these parents were pissed off that they child was throwing rocks and not listening to their commands to stop.

To me it is perfectly clear which set of parents were actually horrible. Here’s a hint – it’s the one’s that lied about their child missing for fear of domestic violence charges against their seven-year-old son.

THE FRIEND ZONE: A disgusting debate that is still relevant because society is still a mess.

Disclaimer: As it has been some time, I need to remind you that this is an opinion article. Yes, I do have resources and references in My Opinion Madness articles – but that (unfortunately) doesn’t change the fact that this really is just an opinion article. You are welcome to comment, I would certainly enjoy comments, but I also ask that any comments be mature – thoughtful – and above all else: respectful. Adult or not, we will respect one another when discussing anything because we would expect as much to be extended to ourselves.

 


 

Long time, no post – am I right? I haven’t posted an opinion article for months. Life gets busy that way. I wish desperately I had the time to commit to the schedule I had previously. Since that is not possible – opinion articles will sporadic. All of that being said: I do have an opinion article for you today – and it will stray from the style of my previous articles – it won’t be just in style either, but in the toe of the article, too. I had to change these things for this topic because of the way I’m presenting it – it is more personal that other articles. Change is good! Change can mean improvement! Or it can just mean deviation from the norm – but either way, it can be good!

Several weeks ago I saw a post on the Internet – on social media – and I particularly liked it. For all the good and bad feminism can do in the hands of educated and uneducated people, it will always bring out certain truths. It spolights issues which women have often been too afraid to share aloud to anyone but their most trusted female companions. Some women, too afraid to do even that much! This particular post I speak of looked like this (here’s the source):

Friendzone_a6ec7f_5476471.jpg

If you’re familiar with the Internet at all, you’ll know that this is from Tumblr. This user has it pretty spot on, though. I’ve experienced it time-and-time again growing up. One thing that is true about me is that I’m unintentionally flirty, which can get me into trouble – but it should be far from the punishment it’s always seemed to be for me. I just want people to feel happy and so I say anything nice I can think of about them – they’re not false statements in any way. I say these things with enthusiasm. However, when I compliment individuals of the opposite gender, as often as only two months ago – it gets mistaken as a “sign” of my romantic interest.

It makes being nice to the opposite gender difficult when you’re a woman. I’m not saying that this doesn’t also happen to men, because surely it does. It would be idiotic to think that men don’t experience this problem as well. The thing is, feminism isn’t ignoring that men have these problems too. Feminism is far more than just equal rights for women. It’s also the idea that problems that are traditionally feminine when experienced by men are not something of an insult. It’s treating all problems, whether experienced by men or women, in exactly the same fashion and with exactly the same attention to detail.

So, anyways, I see this post. I see it and I wonder to myself – how in the actual hell is this still a debate? To me, the “friend zone” is as imaginary as Narnia and Middle Earth. The “friend zone” is only as real as we want it to be; only as real as we are willing to allow. I hate the term, and I have since I was very young. When I shared my opinions about it online – I noticed many people were unwilling to converse with me about it. Mostly, it got ignored (which definitely isn’t stopping me from posting this article at all, by the way).

When I am fired up about something, I talk about it with my husband. Now, while I love him, we both know that he’s not nearly as educated on socio-political issues. He is self-proclaimed to be less informed than myself, which makes it difficult to debate with him. Usually he comes off as being closed-minded and prejudice in many ways. Regardless of his many flaws, I love him, and I assure you now that he’s not a terrible man. We all have to undergo a change when we see the messy reality of life, and he’s just getting to his change a little later than the other socially aware caterpillars.

In spite of my awareness that this conversation might not go as well as I would hope… I pursue this conversation about the “the friend zone” anyway. I don’t know what I was actually expecting but whatever it was – that’s not what I got at all. So I’m going to present the debate in as close of a replication of what we discussed (I took notes while we conversed because I’m that wife) in the form of a conversation.

Here goes nothing! Or everything? I never liked that phrase. Below is the conversation we had – and yes, I did define several things along the way. It was a lengthy conversation – and a heated one at that – but I believe it is a conversation everyone needs to read. Without further adieu…




 

Wife: Don’t you understand why it frustrates me, though? The “friend zone” was created by some man at some point in time to bully a woman for not being romantically interested in him. Maybe it was not initially his intention to use this as a tool to make her feel bad, but this man – incapable of accepting he was not desirable to his chosen mate – created the idea that women put men into a “friend zone” so that they don’t lose their best guy friends but don’t have to commit to more either.

 

Maybe that sounds innocent on the surface, but there is distinct manipulation here. The psychological torture of using such a term is absolutely disgusting. Nobody should feel bad about who they prefer romantically and, or sexually.


Information (Necessary) To Consider:

(1) Friend v. Lover

A friend, as defined here, is a person that you’re fond of for one reason or another. Sure, the fondness you have towards a friend can be love. However, there is a very distinct difference between loving a friend and being in love with that friend. A lover, as defined here, using concise language to determine that a lover is anyone with whom you are romantically or sexually involved with in your life. There are clear distinctions between a friend and a lover. I am a friend of my best friend’s spouse – but I’m not jumping his bones anytime soon because my attachment to him is platonic. You know, how all friendships typically are platonic.

(2) Platonically v. Romantically

In order to differentiate whether or not your friendship is just that, or possibly more like a lover, you must also understand the difference between a platonic relationship and a romantic one. As an adjective, platonically being interested in someone is where sexual desire is completely removed and exists only on a spiritual level (Dictionary.com). Compare that to romantically – which is the expression of strong affection and love (Dictionary.com). There is a distinct difference between the two words, meaning the relationships described by each signify the nature of those bonds.

(3) The Lack of Humanity in the word ‘Zone’

Defined as a noun here, a ‘zone’ is simply an area with a specific designation particular to the existence within which it was created. The most notable definitions is as follows:

(a) “Any continuous tract or area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining tracts or areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established.”

With that information, please understand that a zone is created very intentionally with specificity. Using the word ‘zone’ in any context is a way of declaring that the existence is purposeful.

Defined as a verb here (again, it is the same link, just scroll a bit), ‘zoning’ is simply the intentional division from something larger with a specific purpose. Of the definitions, there was one that was particularly intriguing – and therefore especially relevant to the conversation:

(a) “to divide into zones, tracts, areas, etc…, as according to existing characteristics or as distinguished for some purpose.”

I hope it hasn’t gone without notice that there’s no human element to the word ‘zone.’ It is an action, or a noun, for non-human things and actions. When creating a zone there’s a succinct thought behind it based on what is presumably careful evaluation. Zones have purpose and, therefore, are created and maintained to serve that purpose. A zone is more a business, mathematical, or scientific term than it is a psychological or sociological one. Not that it doesn’t have purpose in those fields, as evidenced by this article’s mere existence…


 

Husband: I don’t know that I agree with that concept. As a man, I feel as though a man more likely created the “friend zone” as a coping mechanism than an abusive one. Men are held to high standards – we cannot fail in any way without harsh criticism. Not being able to woo someone we see as a suitable mate is failure in its simplest, and harshest, form. Instead of admitting that he was unappealing to a woman, some man created this concept as a way to hide the fact that he was imperfect. There probably was nothing malicious about the term originally.

 

Wife: How can you say that knowing that a friend can literally be anyone you are close to but do not romantically affiliate with – while also knowing that a zone is a place that exists for a sole purpose! Linguistically – psychologically – sociologically – the concept of the “friend zone” is nothing more than a form of manipulation to draw out a desired reaction. There is nothing benevolent or harmless about the term. I don’t see how any halfway-educated person can see it as anything but abusive.


 

 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(4) Linguistics

We all know about “language arts” but it is doubtful that we know what “linguistics” actually means. It pertains to language, but it is a very specific study – not too unlike psychology or sociology. It can actually be an integral part of both because language is hardwired in everyone – written or spoken. It is the common ground across all people.

The plain definition of the word, here, ‘linguistics’ is that is the scientific study of all aspects of language (e.g.: phonetics, syntax, historical meaning, etc…).. A lot can be learned about the language any person chooses to use. I found a more encompassing definition of the word here, because I felt that a detailed explanation makes it easier to understand the deeper value of linguistics in my debate.

That’s right – clicking the ‘here’ for the larger explanation of linguistics takes you to a college website. You can get a degree in linguistics. That is because the way in which someone speaks, the words that they use and the placement of those words in the sentences, they are indicators of untold circumstances – unspoken thoughts – hidden agendas, and more.

(5) Psychological Manipulation & Connotation

Psychology is the study of (primarily) human (and animals, officially) emotions and behaviors, right? Just in case that feels insufficient, you can see it defined here again. It’s more than that, of course, but generally speaking that is the bulk of the work done in the field of psychology. So what does ‘psychological’ mean when used as an adjective?

Psychological: “of, pertaining to, dealing with, or affection the mind, especially as a function of awareness, feeling, or motivation.” This is a word-for-word definition from here (yes, I do use this site for all my definitions, unless it is necessary to do otherwise). In short, if something is done psychologically, then it is done with the intention to draw out a specific reaction. Everything about a psychological action is deliberate to some degree – but the degrees really are minimal. There’s really only conscious, subconscious, and unconscious – and none of those options are good when used in this context. That is, however, a conversation for a different bullet point.

Manipulation! We all know what that is, but just in the event that we’ve forgotten…

Let us review!

Manipulation, as defined here, is just management. Of course, it has a generally negative connotation to it, doesn’t it?

More along the lines of linguistics, here, the connotation of a word is an underlying meaning of a word. Dictionary.com explains that ‘connotation’ elicits a specific associated meaning when used. The example used on the page is: “Religion has always had a negative connotation for me.” The same can be said about ‘manipulation’ basically universally.

(6) Conscious v. Subconscious (And Unconscious)

For this, I think it’s best to really just copy-and-paste definitions because that’s the best way to make it clear how these three relate and different. After I can tell you why linguistically – the “friend zone” has absolutely no viable defense.

Consciousness: A state of awareness of internal events and of the external environment. (APA Glossary).

Subconscious: relating to thoughts and feelings that exist in the mind and influence your behavior although you are not aware of them. (Cambridge University Press Dictionary).

Unconscious: The domain of the psyche that stores repressed urges and primitive impulses. (APA Glossary).

When arguing whether or not something is deliberate in a negative way – you do have to consider is conscious, subconscious, or unconscious. Unconscious is something that is natural, sometimes nurtured from a very young age. Subconscious, this is when we have been nurtured to believe something but never in a very explicit way even though it is relevant and evident in everything we do or say. And then there’s conscious, which is an awareness and understanding of what we are doing and what caused us to want to do it.

Since we have been determining the “friend zone” being coined with a psychologically manipulative intention – no matter if it was conscious, subconscious, or unconscious of the man to do have created this word… in one way or another he is horribly misguided. If he uses the term consciously – aware that it could be manipulative – then he’s a terrible person who aims to be in control over his female counterparts and companions. If he uses the term subconsciously – unlikely aware of the damage he is causing intrinsically – then he is at the very least unobservant. That makes his manipulation no less hurtful, but perhaps correctable. Of course, what happens when you tell him that the use of the word “friend zone” is offensive and he gets defensive? It takes any understanding out of the equation entirely.

And then there’s the use of the term unconsciously – which implies that this is a behavior and term that is used frequently by this person. It’s not even worth a second thought because it’s always been there and always been used and never been a problem before… And that’s scary, because that sort of thinking can ascend from the unconscious, to the subconsciously, and then to conscious. It takes a nurtured and understood behavior and turns it into an intentional one. And these are the things that are difficult to change in us, and in in those that we know. Something so primal as thinking the “friend zone” is an acceptable term to use when close female friends turn down guys… It’s something we teach the young and, therefore, something they grow up with – never once questioning it!

(7) Nature v. Nurture – There is a Difference!

So – all of these sources I’m using for the “Info” sections are lengthy, but it is because I want to only choose reliable sources. Sources that I would use for a college paper or a professional work; and that’s why this is a LONG article discussing nature versus nurture in great length. This is the link you’ll need, but I’ll give you the shorter version because it is vital to know the different between the two:

(a) Nature is essentially biological. It is something that is typically inherited through genetics. An example of something that is “nature” to someone could be athleticism. OR… it could be something like Attention Deficit Disorder, or any manner of mental illnesses. We are biologically and physiologically predisposed to those sorts of things. They are a part of us that can’t be changed – although, that’s not to say it can’t be controlled to a degree but it won’t be gone. It’s in our nature.

(b) Nurture is more or less a form of teaching. It’s developed traits or mannerisms that are due to the environment. For example, a child who drinks after all of his food is gone does this because his parents do… Or a child who listens to rock music because her siblings like it. These are things that we adopt because of how we grow up and live. Another example of nurture – when a child decides she doesn’t want to smoke because she grew up with a family of smokers and it made it hard to breathe. A lot of choices are made because of our circumstances – and that is nurture.


 

Wife (Cont’d): And furthermore, by suggesting that the “friend zone” is a coping method for men who see themselves as failures… You have unintentionally suggested that it is okay to demonize others for simply having preferences. A woman who is not interested in a man she sees only as a friend should not be told she has created a “friend zone” for this man. A friend is anyone she is friends with in her life! Literally every person – man, woman, transgender, genderfluid, or nonbinary – is a friend if she deems it so! If you want to get right down to it “ friend zone” should literally be a place for all your friends. That’s not what it means, though, does it? Please tell me what the “friend zone” actually means for a man. Tell me what it means today as a man.

 

Husband: What you just explained is completely irrelevant. A woman’s friends aren’t dealing with the same thing a man who has been put in the “friend zone.” A man is suffering from unrequited affection whereas her other friends aren’t pining after her. Calling this man and what he’s experiencing merely a friend seems unfair because that’s not how it feels to him. A man in the “friend zone” isn’t attempting to demonize anyone, either. He’s just making it clear how he felt compared to how she felt, and that is not – in any way – an attempt to make the woman seem like a monster.

 


 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(8) The Modern Definition of the “Friend Zone”

(a) Urban Dictionary defines it as: “What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend”. Usually associated with long days of suffering and watching your love interest hop from one bad relationship to another.

Verb tense is “Friend-ed”.

“I spent all that money on a date, just to find out she put me in the Friend Zone(said with eerie echo).”

“You know that hot girl I’ve been talking to? She just Friend-ed me.””

(b) When you Google “What is the friend zone?” – Google presents this definition: “a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other.

“I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other guys””

(c) Wikipedia users and moderators have allowed this definition for the “friend zone” to remain published: “The friend zone, in popular culture, refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not. [1][2][3] It is generally considered to be an undesirable or dreaded [4] situation by the lovelorn person. [5] If a desired party does not return or respond affirmatively to the advances or affection of the desiring party, but continues to participate in the friendship in a platonic way, it is sometimes described as friend-zoning.”

(d) And this Psychology Today article that actually attempts to explain how to avoid this “friend zone” defines it as: “Therefore, when someone gets stuck in the friend zone, they have entered into an exchange that is not fair or equal. The other person is getting everything he/she wants…but the person stuck in the friend zone is not fully satisfied. In a nutshell, the friend zone person sold himself or herself short. They gave their “friend” everything, without making sure they got everything they wanted in return.”

*Side note, this abysmal crap actually makes me regret ever using Psychology Today as a resource at all, but I review all the content I reference before using it. At least not all of their stuff is as pathetic as this nonsense.

All in all, we know what the “friend zone” is socially. There is no mistaking what it means or that, generally speaking, it is a place that men end up. Without question, this is a problem that “affects” men fair more than it “affects” women.


 

Wife: I think you’re failing to understand the fact that when a man uses the words “friend zone” he is designating that the women intentionally and maliciously placed him in a special category. He thinks that she has purposefully been nice to him and created a loving relationship between them that means more so that she can benefit from the emotional connection without giving herself – keeping herself open to other possibilities. Calling himself a ‘friend’ purposefully, and manipulatively, so that he can assure everyone that he remains close to her – and then designating it as a ‘zone’ where specific qualifications have been met. Surely he hits many of this woman’s desires in a man, but for whatever reason doesn’t want to be with him. The “friend zone” is almost like a “friend with benefits” concept for men – minus the benefits.

 

So yes, maybe this man was trying to coddle his own ego – but he psychologically manipulates those around him to feel bad for him as a part of the process. The only person zoning anything is him! He zones his peers into a specific frame of mind, which in turn causes them to question why this woman hasn’t found any level of attraction to him. His language is chosen precisely so that it doesn’t sound at all as though he is an aggressor but rather a victim. The man who created the “friend zone” has painted himself a victim. Meanwhile, the woman is left feeling bad for showing any kindness to him because her personal preferences romantically and, or sexually are being ignored because of this man’s pity party. Using his own zoning tactics to criminalize a woman for simply having feelings that do not reciprocate his own.

 

Husband: You’re speaking as though this was some sort of war or competition. How can you really believe that a man would create the phrase “friend zone” as a way to trick a woman into feeling bad for him and giving him a chance? You make it sound no better than rape – except on an emotional level. And the “friend zone” is simply not that bad. It sucks, but it’s not bad enough to drive a man into the mental state it would require to create something that deceitful.

 

Wife: Excuse me, but have you heard of politics? Deceit is literally a race for power. And that’s exactly what rape is! It’s an act of power over another person. The power to say ‘”no” doesn’t mean “no.”’ If you think that’s a stretch, consider political zoning. We’ve just watched it on “Adam Ruins Everything.” Politicians gain control and redistrict so that they can maximize the chances of their party winning the next vote – keeping their ideals, laws, and values in place. Note that it is very clear that the zoning is done as a form of – dun dun dun – manipulation! That’s all zoning really is at the end of the day. Zoning is manipulation! Zoning is management of an area with specificity. Manipulation is management tactfully. They are one in the same; it’s just that one comes with a neutral connotation while the other elicits negative emotions almost instantaneously.

 


 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(8) Political Redistricting – FYI it is Definitely Real

I personally took advanced placement government in high school, but I presume that everyone who graduated high school took a government course that discussed political redistricting. Whether you’ve remembered it – who knows? I do, but only because my education is Paralegal Studies and Business. This is something that we discussed frequently. I have (1), (2), (3) resources that will explain further detail what redistricting is and how it works. I’ll be taking the key points and explaining them here, though.

Political incumbents (fancy word for representative) redistrict within the states and voting districts every 10 years. Redistricting helps determine who represents the state in the Electoral College (the men and women who actually vote for the President, by the way) – which means the population of the state or district has to be taken into account. It helps determine the number of Electoral College votes that exist for that state or district. When these “incumbents” redistrict, the limits within which they operate are relatively small. Politicians use this as an opportunity to secure the majority vote in the state or district in which they represent.

If you haven’t pieced it together yet, “redistricting” is synonymous with “zoning.” It can be called either ‘political redistricting’ or ‘political zoning.’ Both phrases mean the same thing and have the same end result.


 

Wife (Cont’d): Let me explain it to you plainly. John Doe has 10 female friends and 10 male friends. They are zoned as ‘male’ and ‘female.’ John Doe and Jane Smith are great friends and have been for several years. John Doe feels that there is a romantic relationship developing with Jane Smith. He moves her into a new zone: romantic interest. When he tells Jane Smith how he feels – she does not reciprocate those feelings. He redistricts his group of friends again – putting Jane Smith in her own category titled “friend zone” because they have chemistry but she does not wish to pursue that relationship. The population of her district is one.

 

Notice that throughout this story I only used neutral language while incorporating terms that describe an act that requires deep intellectual thought. There is a certain likeness between political zoning and “friend zoning” that cannot go ignored! We already don’t riot enough about the way political redistricting can be unfair to the people and unrepresentative of their political views – we cannot allow men and society to perpetuate the thought that “friend zoning” is not an intentional form of abuse. The only difference in political zoning and “friend zoning” is that the man doesn’t designate to others that he’s put a woman into a specific zone in his mind, but rather tricks others into believe that she put him there instead. An act, which is already sewn with manipulative intent, is made even worse by more deceitfulness.

 

Husband: I can see that this clearly makes you upset. I do see where you are coming from, and I am receptive to the thought of it as a form of abuse. However, having been in the “friend zone” with many of my female friends – [interrupted]

 

Wife: And that’s the problem! You – in my actual presence – are saying you’ve been in the “friend zone,” and are nearly incapable of seeing it for the cruel mechanism it truly is to women. This means at some point you were upset by a woman’s personal preferences simply because they did not include you. The concept of the “friend zone” literally ignores a woman’s right to be interested in anything specific. Guys can prefer blondes, brunettes, skinny, curvy, Latina, dominatrix, and so on – but the instant a woman says she prefers a man with, say, facial hair – lo’and’behold! She suddenly is high-maintenance or shallow when she turns down any man interested in her who doesn’t have facial hair.

 

I once challenged a man to consider dating woman outside of his usual scope of physical appearance (skinny, brunette, small breasts – all of which were his specifications). He told me that I was “stepping out of bounds” by suggesting this because he has the right to be physically attracted to any woman he considered as a girlfriend. However, it was not “stepping out of bounds” when he plainly stated that I purposefully changed my sexuality to shame my husband for his own.

 

If this were an isolated incident I wouldn’t have been enraged, but it wasn’t the first time I had a conversation alike this one. This particular gentleman and I had been friends since I was thirteen, but we were much closer when I was fifteen. He was one of the few people who provided me emotional support through an abusive relationship. He also asked me out on a few occasions, each time being turned down. I told him I was not physically attracted to him in spite of our emotional connection. Even though he accepted my answer, he said that he could no longer be my friend knowing this information – it would be difficult.

 

When we reconnected a year or so afterwards, he was telling me that a girl kept pursuing him even though he turned her down repeatedly. When I asked why he was unwilling to give her a chance he used my exact words: “I simply am not physically attracted to her, and our relationship could never thrive if I didn’t want to be with her in that way knowing she wanted that sort of intimacy.” I was dumbfounded and told him as much. It goes without saying we are not friends.

 

I’m not the only person in the world to experience this double standard. Men are faced with double standards too. That’s all irrelevant to this conversation, however, as are my personal experiences. They serve as examples, but only in a supplemental way. All I want you to understand is that women have preferences. When they turn men down who do not meet their preferences in a romantic partner – they find themselves victimized by this “friend zone” men utilize to classify their situation. The thing is, though, that it’s not a situation at all. They are in exactly the same place they were before, but they’ve convinced themselves that this woman saw more in him when she was just being his friend.

 

The “friend zone” is plainly an insulting, generally patriarchal, and manipulative form of abuse that men primarily use against women after being rejected. Once society stops coddling these men who are too often held to no standards whatsoever, then we can start maturely addressing the real issues. Feminism has always existed, but feel free to quote me here…

 

“The Friend Zone” that still exists because humanity is still a mess in its gender inequality, and racism, and prejudice… it breathes life to Feminism because clearly we still need a social movement capable of turning this misguided species around so that we can live in a better society.

 

Husband: If it’s such a problem, give me a solution. If this is a legitimate problem that can be solved and change the world as we know – then give me a solution. Until you can give me a good solution, or even a viable starting point, then why bother fixing something as petty as a slang term that people try to morph into a psychological game when there are actual crimes against women that need prosecuting?




 

 

 

The conversation ended at this point. I was so angry by the time I began my lengthy monologue that I couldn’t help but shout most everything that came out of my mouth. Our child actually left the room, muttering that we were arguing yet again. Of course, he doesn’t realize that there’s a difference between debating and arguing. He is young and someday I hope like hell he sees the value in the things that my husband and I do discuss.

Why? What parent wants their child to see them in a heated debate with their spouse? What parent would allow their child to sit in on a conversation as mature as this one? Why would any self-respecting parent do that?

The answer to that question is the same answer that I presented to my husband in response to his question. Why would we worry about the “friend zone” when there are real issues to be attended to in the world. The better question is – why doesn’t anyone treat the existence of the “friend zone” as a real issue?

It is our little behaviors that add up to a whole. Little behaviors create cultures and differentiate some from others. These differences make us human and make us unique. They can create societies within societies; they can create wonderful settings and niches. However, these little things can also poison us. It takes the whispers of one person to start a following. Hitler did it once and started a World War. ISIS is doing it presently, probably with the same intentions.

So I couldn’t care less when my son is present during debates such as this one, because it makes him aware. It educates him on the social issues that are present. It prepares him for the world – the way he will most likely experience it in the future.

Today I want to challenge my readers to think about the little things we can change to bring equality across all races, religions, genders, sexualities, classes, and countries. Assess your mannerisms and why you have them. Speak your mind on the issues that exist in the world around you. If you have a guy friend telling you about how he was “friend zoned” – challenge him to think about what it is that made him unappealing to her. Challenge him to consider how his language could affect her. But don’t stop at sexist behaviors – question racist ones too. Question when someone is shutting down another religion.

Question everything. Don’t lose your trust, but always consider the reasoning behind things. Don’t jump to conclusions because negative comments are often made out of ignorance. We can solve a lot of these social issues with awareness and education. So above all other things, I want you to take out this article – educate yourself. Information is easily accessible in many parts of the world.

Also, I want you to remember that the “friend zone” is verbally abusive and is utter bullshit. If you hear someone say they’re in the “friend zone,” consider why. Ask someone why. Understand the situation from all points of view.

Because chances are – that person is 1) a willful ass hat, or 2) an unintentionally uneducated human being waiting for enlightenment.