Every time you spend money, you cast a vote for the kind of society you want

Have you ever seen a thing and thought to yourself, “that thing there is both true and.. kind of disingenuous? Maybe a bit problematic?” Agreed with something while simultaneously thinking it’s fairly dodgy?

Take a look at this quote:Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want

Yep. I can’t argue with the truth of the statement- the fact that our money does support the companies making the things that we pay for is not something that we can get away from. I’m generally in favour of people voting with their wallets. If my money goes toward a sustainable, local business that provides great working conditions from its employees and sources its products ethically? That’s obviously a hell of a lot better than that same money going towards a company that tears apart communities and environments.

But it’s a problematic statement to make, as well. Because- like more kinds of voting than most of us are comfortable admitting- voting with our wallets isn’t something that we can all do.

Can you afford to vote?

Continued at the Tea Cosy’s new home!

Why You Need To Quit Calling Homophobes Closet Cases.

A comment over at The Journal:

Homophobia is often a symptom of latent homosexuality. Homophobes need to be encouraged to accept their orientation.

I quote it because it’s so common. We hear this all the time. Someone expresses wildly homophobic views, and the response is that they must be closeted themselves. They’ve got some issues to deal with, amirite? Some personal stuff they need to work out. Wink. Nudge. Know what I mean?

Yeah. I know what you mean.

Sometimes you’re right. Lots of people do respond to internal conflicts by acting out. Loads of vehemently homophobic people are closeted. But I’ve got a few issues with ‘homophobes are all queers’ being our go-to explanation.

…and you can find them out over at the Tea Cosy’s new home!

Drink from me and live forever: the (updated) case for Vampire Jesus.

This is an edited version of a post from two Easters ago. I couldn’t resist giving it another go!

I know that you lot are used to getting scintillating, intellectually challenging, and delightfully witty posts from me here at the Tea Cosy. Which is why, today, I’m dealing with one of the most pressing issues of our time. One of the major misunderstandings of the (Western) world. Something that affects us all.

I’m referring, of course, to what is traditionally referred to as Zombie Jesus Day. In recent years a large body of literature has grown up asserting that Jesus, a reasonably historically-relevant Palestinian from the latter-day Roman era, suffered beyond the end of his life from infection with a zombie virus. The evidence given for this hypothesis is based on several sources from the (almost) contemporary literature which describe Jesus as having become reanimated after his demise. This is, of course, a major feature of zombie infection. However, a more in-depth look into the symptoms of zombification leads me to doubt that this was, in fact, the condition which Jesus suffered from. I contend, instead, that he was infected with the relatively more benign vampirism strain of the undead family of viruses.

Find out why (how’s that for clickbait?) over at the Tea Cosy’s new home!

We Are Not Your Afterthought: responding to LGBT Soup

TW for cis gay privilege that could make your eyes bleed. Don’t read this at work unless you have office walls thick enough to withstand obscenities.

There are some phrases that, when you see them in an article, you know aren’t going to lead to anywhere good. “Political correctness gone mad”, for one. “Some of my best friends are…”, for another. “I’m not a ___, but..” is definitely one. One of the phrases that takes the proverbial biscuit (and a lot of other proverbials), though, is this one:

Now, before you run off to compose a face-meltingly indignant email to the editor..

When the writer already knows that they’ve written something to get their readers face-meltingly indignant, things can only go two ways. It could be that they’ve come up with something so new and wonderful that it’ll take the rest of us years to get our heads around. Far more often, though, you’re about to read something that will have you facepalming so hard you end up with permanent dents on your forehead. If you’re unlucky, you might not be able to stop yourself from muttering obscenities at the screen in the middle of your office.

Fortunately for me, I read this at lunchtime.

LGBT Soup, eh?

Continued over at the Tea Cosy’s new home. See you there!

Pity, compassion, and empathy

“I pity you”

Do you know anyone who likes to be pitied? I don’t. I can’t imagine being okay with having such a weak, snivelling kind of emotion directed at me. The phrase “I pity you” seems to come from one of two places- either a disbelief that anyone could go from a normal life to a state like yours, or else a profoundly patronising perspective on you. I pity you for having such a lack of nuance in the way you view the world. I pity you for never having made anything of your life. I pity you. I pity all of you unfortunates.


And yet, those of us who hang around in places like this are regularly faced with situations where they have it a hell of a lot better than people they’re speaking with. If we don’t pity people, then what do we do? Ignore the differences in our circumstances? Merrily continue on, privilege-blind, secure in the knowledge that everything is actually fine while advising less privileged folks to buck up, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and start taking advantage of all the opportunities out there, because they ain’t getting pity from us?

I hope it’s no surprise to you that that doesn’t work either. That’s the argument of the MRA who thinks that if women want to be equal, we’ve gotta accept being punched in the face like a man, while ignoring the fact that, y’know, most women don’t have the muscle mass of most men. And that we’re already getting punched in the face quite enough, thank you.

Let’s talk about why both of these things are, frankly, godawful ways to go about interacting with others, and look into some alternatives. I’ve previously written about my feelings on the kinds of conversations I’d like us to have here. This post adds to that. If we’re having conversations, not debates, then how do we interact with one another?

What’s the matter with pity?

Continued over at the Tea Cosy’s new home. See you there!

Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice: Missing The Point?

Today’s guest post comes from Penny. Blogging at Penny Gets Lucky about things like feminism and sexuality, Penny’s comments have been featured here before and I was delighted that she was willing to write a post for the Tea Cosy. 

A Difficult Topic

Abortion. It’s an ugly topic. Emotionally charged, difficult to sort out, and fraught with hyperbole on either side.

So I’m not writing this to discuss my views on abortion, per se. I consider myself both pro-life and pro-choice; the two are not mutually exclusive, regardless of what the rhetoric in each camp may say. I believe that every wanted baby should be given the best possible chance to make it into this world; and I believe every woman should be allowed to make a fully-informed decision as to whether she wants children or not. No one should enforce having babies; and certainly no one should enforce not having babies.

Right now, though, I think there’s a piece of the abortion-debate puzzle that’s largely getting ignored. We’re all so worried about what happens if abortion were made legal, or what happens if abortion were abolished, we’re forgetting to ask a fundamental question… What if we simply made abortion obsolete?

Making Abortion Obsolete?

Read the rest at the Tea Cosy’s new home

Conversation, Not Debate

Over the past few weeks, this wee bloglet of mine seems to have gotten a decent bit of attention. While that is, of course, nice, if a bit disconcerting, I may be about to destroy it in one fell swoop. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while, and was reminded of it the other week when the (amazing) Captain Awkward linked to The Gloss’s article When Men are too Emotional to Have a Rational Argument. Also, a few recent comment threads have threatened to go in a direction I’m not particularly comfortable with. I want to talk about why.

I’ve written about this before, by the way. I’m bringing it up again for a couple of reasons- the first being that this is my little sandbox, and I’d like to at least give guidelines for the way that we play here. The second reason is that I feel I have a far better handle now on why I think the way I do and what I want to gain from this.

What are we doing here?

WHO KNOWS? But you can continue reading this post over at the Tea Cosy’s new home. See you there!

Because you can’t care about everything: Activist burnout, guilt and love

You can’t care about everything.

That’s not quite true. You and I can care about a lot of things. Some things hit closer to home than others, but whenever I hear about something terrible or unfair I care about it. I care about manifold oppressions, sick kids, poverty, natural disasters. The person who just missed the bus on a rainy day. The people languishing unfairly in prison. The people being denied basic rights, or dealing with insidious unconscious prejudices that people don’t even know that they have. It’s all unfair. It’s all horrible. It all needs someone to do something about it.

You can’t care about everything.

Those of us of an activist or social justice bent, I think, can often get overwhelmed. We’re a bunch self-selected to notice things that are wrong with the world and to want to do something about it. We also tend to be reasonably aware of how we can do something.

Continue reading over at the Tea Cosy’s new home. 

Blackface Follow-up: Why it really is That Bad: a history of blackface.

TW, as per usual for these things, for discussion of present and past racism.

This post is responding to comments on my earlier post Hey, Ireland! Let’s talk about racism. Here. NOW. This post goes into the historical context of blackface.

First, a disclaimer. I am not an expert on this stuff by any means. I am simply a person with a reasonable background in things like social science and intersectionality, who does her best to be an ally and have a fair idea of this stuff. I haven’t- until this past few days- spent a huge amount of time reading up on the history of minstrels and representation of POC. I just had the usual level of background awareness of this stuff that you get from being a person interacting with people. When it comes to the historical specifics, though, I’m just learning. Which is important, because everything I know is stuff that you can find out if, as I advised in my last post, you just google it.

Right. Let’s get started. We’ve got a lot to get through. I’m going to be talking a lot about context, symbolism and history. I’m also going to be linking to a lot of other places. Because this is such a big, complicated issue I’d encourage you strongly to read them. I know that this is the internet and we’re stuck on tl;dr. But this is important. If you really, really can’t stand to spend 10-15 minutes reading a few posts, though, scroll down and you’ll find a tl;dr.

I’ve been hearing a lot over the past few days from people wondering what’s the harm in dressing up as a POC and painting/colouring your face to match that person’s skin tone. Especially at Halloween, when we dress up as all sorts of things. It seems bizarre that something that’s so obviously just a bit of fun could get people so upset and angry. It seems unfair that someone should be vehemently attacked when there was almost certainly no malicious intent behind what they did.

So what, precisely, is going on here? Let’s start with a quick history lesson.

and to find out, you’ll have to pop on over to the Tea Cosy’s new home. 

The Introverted Polyamorist

As with any fairly smallish group, when it comes to polyamory bizarre stereotypes abound. While I could (and probably will, with with BloggyWriMo/NaBloPoMo) expound on many of them, today I’m gonna stick with one: the idea that poly people are all massively extroverted social butterflies. I can see where this one came from. After all, the whole idea of polyamory is that you’re up for having more than one partner. It’s not a vast jump from “likes to have more partners than I do” to “likes spending a whole lot of time with lots of different people”. And while plenty poly people are like that, there’s also a lot of us for whom that isn’t true. So from one somewhat-introverted poly person to you lot, here’s why it works for me.

Smaller, closer groups

….the rest is at the Tea Cosy’s new home. Pop over!