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October 2021

Hand-Me-Down Trauma

In the pages of Scary Mommy, where progressive ladies roar, Elaine Roth wishes us to know about her mental health problems:

There’s a running monologue whispering in the back of my mind. Maybe it’s whispering in the back of your mind, too. 

Place your bets

My running monologue isn’t unique to me. Countless women across the country — maybe across the globe — experience a similar monologue. It results from a shared trauma, and it’s got a name: Patriarchy Stress Disorder, or PSD.

I fear woo may be incoming.

PSD is the idea that the mental, physical, and emotional impact of gender inequality is a trauma that impacts woman and builds over time, and over generations. 

It is, we’re assured, a “collective intergenerational trauma,” and “genetically transmitted,” “passed down in our genes” - albeit in ways left entirely mysterious.

PSD can impact anyone, including nonbinary people and men. Still, few people have heard of patriarchy stress disorder,

You see, you haven’t heard of it, this new and modish ailment, for which no convincing definition is offered, beyond unspecified “systems of inequality” and repeating the word patriarchy many, many times. And yet apparently, simultaneously, we’re assured that said ailment – and its purported transmission - is the obvious go-to explanation for why “high-achieving women” – ladies much like Ms Roth - have so often failed “to have it all and thrive,” despite the promises of feminism. Why supposedly empowered ladies fail to “own their own shine.”

We’re told that the term patriarchy stress disorder was coined by “Dr Valerie Rein, Ph.D.,” and that Dr Rein - allegedly a “women’s mental health expert” - “learned that trauma could be genetically transmitted.” A link is provided, introducing us to “Dr Valerie” - though, again, no explanation or evidence of this alleged genetic transmission is included. We’re merely told that “trauma lives in our nervous system.” Which, as you can imagine, is immensely helpful. A second link, written by the expert in question, supposedly explaining Patriarchy Stress Disorder and its transmission, does no such thing. A third link, to the pages of Good Housekeeping, is similarly mysterious and short on particulars.

Continue reading "Hand-Me-Down Trauma" »

Friday Ephemera

Freshly baked, you see. || Don’t blame me for suddenly punching you in the face. || Bad, a cover version. || Today’s word is inadvisable. || A lively neighbourhood. || Scenes of niche dexterity. || Think happy thoughts, comrade. || A challenging restoration. || Yes, there will be a test on Friday. || Spend your money on “feminist studies.” || It needs to be set on fire, she says. || It seems that only some men are allowed to dress up as women. || Underside. || Whee. (h/t, STG) || Caution, variable gravity. || Lomanstraat, Amsterdam. || Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. || Erratic steel, rather hot. || “They took a look at my crotch and said ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’” || And finally, have you mastered your demon pronouns?

Problematic Pallor, Part 362

I want to share with people why I didn’t know I was white. Because I think a lot of people don’t know they are white.

The speaker quoted above is Dr Julia Storberg-Walker, an associate professor of education at George Washington University. A teacher of teachers, of those who will in turn shape young minds, or try to, anyway. Our educator’s realisation of her own “whiteness” - and thus innate wrongness - was, we’re told, a result of “somatic, embodied training,” which is essential, apparently. In order to struggle with one’s “positionality” as a White Devil, a doer of “harm,” a devourer of souls.

Dr Storberg-Walker’s academic biography tells us,

Her activist/scholar work…

Because one can’t not be an activist, obviously.

is generative and aims to develop equitable and compassionate frameworks, models, and processes for the purpose of catalysing whole planet interdependence and flourishing. 

Whole planet flourishing. Goodness. This feat is to be achieved by drawing on,

quantum field theory, and wisdom traditions spanning diverse cultures and historical moments.  

Readers are invited to speculate as to exactly how quantum field theory might bear upon such topics as “critical race activism,” or “colonised words,” and how it might inform “deep learning” about the seemingly endless pathologies of being pale. Alas, Dr Storberg-Walker remains coy on the subject, merely teasing us, and instead offers the following:

Continue reading "Problematic Pallor, Part 362" »

Friday Ephemera

Leaf-blowing drama. || DIY policing. (h/t, Julia) || Needs more dress. || Near miss. || A masterclass in stealth redistribution. || He does this better than you would. || That’s exactly how I would’ve done it. || How deep are the oceans? || “Do you see this?” || Today’s word is oversharing. || An educator speaks. “I’m not anti-white,” says she. || A virtual 1950s electronic music studio. (h/t, Things) || Just tap it, he said. (h/t, STG) || Can pigs jump? || The progressive retail experience (or how to undermine a high-trust society). || “The propped-up people in Victorian ‘post-mortems’ look alive for a much simpler reason.” || A game about a very long baguette. || And finally, because you’d never, ever tire of it.


I know its creators think it is clever but all I get from it is a sort of prequel to A Clockwork Orange.

Lifted from the comments, where Stephanie is unimpressed by the latest advert for John Lewis home insurance, shared by fellow commenter John. It has to be said, the advert in question does seem to be sending messages that its makers, and executives at John Lewis, don’t quite understand. Presumably, the urge to seem trendy and affirm transgenderism – while coyly hiding behind the fig-leaf excuse that, well, some boys just like to vamp around in their mother’s clothes, so, hey, we’re not really being political – blinded them to other, perhaps more obvious construals. Given the attempt at woke messaging, it does seem odd to associate transgender people with juvenile roleplay, antisocial self-absorption, and gratuitously destructive behaviour. It’s almost funny, in a dark kind of way.

The advert – a theme of which appears to be “I’m fabulous, so fuck you and your possessions!” – isn’t going down terribly well with the department store’s customers, who, it seems, aren’t amused by the thought of their homes being wilfully trashed by an incredibly spoiled child in bad drag. Apparently, we’re meant to find the boy in the advert adorable and affirming. Not, say, selfish and malicious, and old enough to know better. Which is the actual effect.

The Bedlamite Solution

The new student counselling director at Middlebury College has vowed to use “more inclusive” methods to treat student mental health, including a focus on white supremacy and social justice.

Ah. I think I see the problem

Alberto Soto, who received his PhD. in counselling psychology from Brigham Young University, told the Middlebury Campus newspaper that… “The body and mind cannot be healed solely by self-care and focusing on surviving… At some point we must address and identify the source of all our psychic suffering, which is whiteness, heteronormativity, patriarchal systems, etc.”

When not using the word “whiteness” as a modish pejorative and “questioning Eurocentric ideas surrounding mental health,” Mr Soto plans to “challenge the historically-dominant whiteness” of the campus and thereby “create a more open environment for students.” This heavenly state of openness and resurgent mental wellbeing will be rendered upon the Earth by telling students at an upscale and statusful liberal arts college how oppressed they are and by invoking racial conspiracy theories, the aforementioned “whiteness” and “white supremacy,” as the root of all distress.

Readers will recall that Middlebury College is where students suitably gorged on “inclusivity” and “social justice” display their righteousness by physically menacing elderly scholars, trying to trample them underfoot, and assaulting female staff, such that they require a hospital visit and, subsequently, a neck brace.

The Middlebury campus has spent the past few years cultivating its persona as one of the most active antiracist campuses in America… Yet at the same time schools have ramped up their antiracist efforts, mental health among students has only gotten worse.

Readers may wish to speculate as to why that might be, and why the phenomenon – a surge in students reporting “anxiety and depression” - predates the pandemic.

Annual tuition at Middlebury is a mere $56,000, excluding books and housing.

His Amulet Failed Him

Via Captain Nemo in the comments, a tale of woe and trauma from party person Mr Jordan Bennett

Okay so I had the most DISGUSTING INVALIDATING experience at Heaven nightclub last night,

Hey, I visited Heaven one evening in the early 90s. I’ve seen what can happen.

a place where I am meant to feel free and accepted.

A big gay club for today’s downtrodden homosexual. There is, though, the small matter of security checks. For weapons and such.

Queuing to enter the club it splits into 2 lines- MAN and WOMAN - to be checked by seperate [sic] people.

Sharp-eyed readers may have an inkling of what’s coming.

I am non-binary so OF COURSE I’m gonna queue in the women’s line in sheer protest of where I know they would expect me to queue based on my appearance.

But of course. Let’s call it intersectional decision-making. Or a contrived, rather needy, excuse for drama. 

I wait to be checked nervously and then one of the security staff rudely gestures me to the other line for men. I then kindly tell them that I am non-binary whilst highlighting the pronouns on my earrings which clearly say ‘They/Them’

Sadly, however, said earrings had lost their talismanic powers:

They carried on refusing me access, repeatedly saying this side was for ‘women only’. I shamefully walk to the other side. The two distinctly separate box-like detectors for each queue added to the prison-like atmosphere. I felt invalidated and embarrassed.

Habitual self-involvement can do that, I suppose.

Amid The Pronouns, Much Annoyance

A left-leaning management consultant recently asked his left-leaning Twitter followers for their thoughts on the insufficiently left-leaning working class. The replies - from self-declared socialists, Guardian readers, “woke remainers,” and assorted “social justice advocates” - are, shall we say, of a type, but may nonetheless be of interest

Via Damian Counsell, who adds, “If you want to know why the Conservatives have an 80-seat majority…”

Also, open thread

Friday Ephemera

I’m not sure there’s a name for this kind of thing. (h/t, Noah Carl) || Odd doggo. || Get you. || Good to know. || Access denied. || Hi, Toilet is an (almost) contactless public convenience. || The thrill of public transport, part 2,044. || Athletic ladies, 1940. || Squirrel feeder of note. || The thrill of pencil sharpening. || Possible pet. (h/t, Darleen) || Tiny monsters. || “Get with the times.” || A brief guide to medieval tennis. || “The root of all discrimination that we see in the world.” || The thrill of hair drying. || The thrill of Thames Television. || Today’s words are learning environment. || Scenes. || Bio-absorbable screws. || Hot bee sex. || This does this. || And finally, he’s taking it rather well, all things considered.

I’ll Just Leave This Here, I Think

She’s tired of catering to your feelings

You see, when you appear to be female, and sound female, and are objectively female, and you visit a restaurant with a group of women, and the stranger taking your order fails to pre-emptively ask, as one does, whether anyone present has serious mental health issues, and instead simply says, “Hi, ladies”… Well, clearly, this is an outrage

Update, via the comments: 

Nikw211 adds,

I am not responsible for the state of someone else’s mental health. This is not because I lack compassion, but because anyone who makes the state of their confidence and sanity dependent on random strangers is going to be forever disappointed. It would be like bursting into tears every time you buy a lottery ticket and find your numbers didn’t come up.

It does seem an unpromising path to contentment. As noted here recently

This, I think, is what makes trans activism different from that of other groups with which transgender people are often equated. Someone being gay, for instance, doesn’t generally entail a demand that everyone else either hallucinate or pretend to hallucinate. Which is to say, trans activism often includes a belief that the rest of us should pretend that the physical reality we can see is somehow not the case. And unsurprisingly, people may object to being told that they should lie on demand.

A concession that would leave those so inclined at the mercy of any poseur, or prankster, or unpleasable neurotic.

Some will likewise not welcome being told to indulge, wholesale, a bundle of phenomena that includes not only actual gender dysphoria, whether the result of neurological anomalies or childhood molestation, but also autogynephilia, serious personality disorders, and assorted exhibitionist and unsavoury compulsions. The expectation seems to be that we should take these different phenomena, with very different moral connotations, as being one and the same thing, and then defer to them. Which is asking rather more than can readily be agreed to. 

Update 2:

Continue reading "I’ll Just Leave This Here, I Think" »