passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
[Consider this trigger-warned for Everything Under The Sun, at least in passing, though mostly for mental illness-related Fail.]

I have had ENOUGH of the anecdata about public benefit “abusers” and poor people in general, ENOUGH of the assumptions that one can tell what a scammer a poor person is just by looking at her, ENOUGH of the “my less-stigmatized benefit is legit, while your more-stigmatized benefit is not!” nonsense that so often dominates these debates, and FAR MORE THAN ENOUGH of the mentality that equates PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the poor with an unlimited supply of spare time AND spoons.

The thing is? You DON’T know what’s going on when you look at someone.

I have plenty of anecdata I can throw right back at you. Everything that follows is an experience of mine, an experience of someone I know, a composite of many similar stories from multiple people I know, or something I have encountered in the course of my various social services employment.

Example )
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
Betty Friedan seriously got it wrong when she wrote The Feminine Mystique. I'll use my usual paraphrase-summary to get the point across:

Nobody can possibly be fulfilled as a person by the drudgery that is domestic labor and housekeeping. So...hire a cleaning lady and go find yourself!

The sad part is? I've tripped over this particular Fail over and OVER again in relationship-advice and parenting-advice contexts. The key to domestic bliss is to hand your dirty work off to someone else, and not think too much about the meaning of that act. (Say what you will about Nickel and Dimed but that book is the reason that such a thing will forever be a non-option for me.)

Why can't we all learn to, literally, clean up our own shit?

ETA because I remembered what triggered that line of thought:

Epic Doctor Fail = an opthamologist informing me that I am responsible for making sure my husband eats healthy meals. Seriously, WHAT? [personal profile] invisionary has some Weird Issue With Seeing that has him passing standard eye tests just fine but makes the reading of a paperback book a headache-inducing ordeal. He also once tested a little bit high on a fasting glucose draw. Apparently, this means that I, being Teh Wifey, am supposed to play Diet Police if I care about his being able to get through school (and that [personal profile] invisionary putting in a request for reasonable accommodation to his school on these grounds would be totally out of order). So much FAIL. *sigh* Anyone know of a good eye-doc around the capital district?
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
This is an outgrowth of a few recent conversations with various people. And I understand the metaphor I will be using is quite imperfect.

I want to get this out there, though, because it's come to my attention that some people have the instinct to equate "Check Your Privilege" with "OMG YOU SUCK!" And that's not it, not at all. Because, really, if I think "OMG YOU SUCK!" I wouldn't bother with the request.

So...suppose you're going about your day, and someone tells you that your jeans aren't zipped.

Do you assume that what the person who points this out means is "OMG you sick disgusting perv, stop exposing yourself!!!eleventyone!!!" and thus respond with "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A CHILD MOLESTER????!!??"

Do you not even bother to glance down, and instead simply look the other person in the eye and say, "No, it's not! What, do you think I'm stupid? You want me to look down at my jeans so you can hit me in the head and knock me out and steal my kidney and I'll never see it coming! I know what You People are like!"

Do you smirk and say, "Yeah, baby, I was hoping someone would notice!" and follow this up with pulling your pants down entirely?

...I didn't think so. And yet, the equivalent responses to a privilege-check request are every-freakin'-where.

What sadly seems to be in short supply is the sensible response: Look down; realize that yeah, your fly's down; zip up your damn pants; and thank the person who pointed it out to you for saving you from further embarrassment!

I know it's not that simple. But damn it all, I wish that it could be.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
That's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, particularly in the various non-mainstream subcultures I've been involved with. The implication, in those groups, is often that it's somehow weird and even unethical to desire financial stability. (In the more dysfunctional variants, such as among the Mage War Idiots, it was apparently considered completely ethical to mooch off of unenlightened relatives. It's easy to rail against The Man from your mother's basement, after all.)

There is a certain logic to this. Money can't buy happiness, and chasing riches (or even chasing a particularly strict idea of financial stability) seems to be the cause for regret for a lot of people. Too many people cling to jobs they hate so that they can afford the creature comforts that make their default stress level sustainable at all, and it becomes a treadmill they cannot depart. So, certainly I agree that the money-chase often has real costs to the other aspects of a person's life.

I also believe that just because something is new and expensive, that doesn't mean it's necessarily better. For example, I could probably devote an entire post to the issue of kids in foster care being given the newest and most expensive anti-psychotics as first-line drugs, and Medicaid picking up the tab for that. (And I will write that post, if people are interested in reading it.)

What money can do when used appropriately is buy peace of mind, which can create the space for happiness - or at least for contentment and lowered stress levels.

A few personal examples of this from my own life. )

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passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
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