standards!

The story of this photo is a couple of years old but it just came across my Facebook feed again so I wanted to share. Facebook may be allowing this picture now instead of zapping it after it appears, I’m not 100% sure, but they have still the nipple double standard, breast feeding pic removal, removal of photos of gay couples kissing, and more ongoing discrimination issues in their editorial policy.

Meanwhile jailbait pages or harassment pics stay up for ages because they “don’t violate the Facebook terms of service.”

Read the original story here: Facebook ‘Removes Image Of Breast Cancer Survivor’s Double Mastectomy Tattoo Over Nudity Violation’ 

I don’t think that Facebook is specifically trying to oppress women and LGBTQIA+ people, but like a lot of privileged folks, their team just don’t think about other people’s experiences, and about how their own prejudices and internalized sexism informs their editorial decisions.

They’ve come a lot further on LGBT issues, for example the ton of gender options they now offer, but it took them forever to get there. And with their “must use real names” mandate they have seriously messed with a lot of users who don’t go by their birth name a ton of valid reasons, many of them gender/identity related.

1959 ES-140
1961 Les Paul Junior
2007 SG Classic
2011 SG Standard Exclusive
1969 SG Standard
1968 SG Special
2006 ‘60 Strat Relic
2005 Limited '66 Strat Closet Classic
1988 American Standard Stratocaster
1966 Jaguar
1965 Duo Sonic II
1966 ES-330
2009 USA '62 Wilshire Reissue
1971 ES-335
1997 Rickenbacker 360
1959 ES-140 3/4T (again!)

a dose of reality

I wonder what the self-proclaimed and self-appointed protectors of today’s youth thought of Sieglinde (an 11yo girl) making advances on Ciel (a 13/14yo traumatised boy), touching him in an inappropriate place without his consent, suggesting her involvement in lewd acts with both him and his 1000+yo male demon, offering her virginity to them, expressing her desire to have the demon father her children, clearly having some theoretical knowledge of sexual conduct and being portrayed as perverted…Those scenes were seen as harmless and hilarious and intended as such (sexualising a child as comic relief?). I haven’t seen anyone complain about them so…

And what did they think of Yana and her decision to incorporate such things into the current arc? Did they have a beef with that? Seen no criticism directed at the author…

So a thing happened today and I had to set it right
  • Adult:so do you have a prom date?
  • Guy friend of mine:no, not yet.
  • Adult:why?
  • Guy:I haven't found anyone yet.
  • Adult:will don't worry. Most likely you'll get lucky and some girl will fall into your arms.. *chuckling* Not having a date is not that bad, maybe you'll get really lucky and a girl might want to spend the night after prom with you. *winks*
  • Adult Person goes over to me not realising I heard the entire conversation.
  • Adult:do you have a prom date?
  • Me:no, I don't.
  • Adult:well that's too bad.
  • Me:excuse me?
  • Adult:maybe if you tried being a bit more feminine a guy will ask you. Maybe dress up a bit more. You wear allot of hoodies and dark colors.
  • Me:*crosses arms* didn't you just tell him that it was fine to not have a prom date?
  • Adult:oh... *shocked* you know....
  • Me:know what? That he's a guy and out isn't sad when he doesn't have a date, but when I don't it because I need to change? Well you can take your double standards and force then upon your own generation. *leaves with friend*
  • I was absolutely appalled by the whole experience. I couldn't believe that just happened. Honestly, I can't believe that people still think that if a female doesn't have a date she is the issue.
Think of how differently you would live if there was no hatred, expectation, or judgement placed upon you. Then live that vision. Free yourself from what binds you. Other people’s opinions, self-consciousness, fear– these are the things that entrap us. Let go of these things and you are unobstructive. To live the life you desire, simply run from the life that you don’t.. and never, ever look back.
—  Free-spirit
Game Day Unbroken

The Dragonlords rule Tarkir. A plane once inhabited by wedge-aligned clans, the reforged timeline has developed ally-color clans instead. However, that doesn’t mean the old ways are forgotten. Temur blood flows through my veins, and this is the blood that I shed this weekend at Dragons of Tarkir Game Day. As always, I like to share the deck I played and talk about how it came together. Here’s the list I played this weekend:

Creatures:

Instants:

Sorceries:

Lands:

Sideboard:

Ooh, Sick Burn!

Roast

This deck has come a long way since I originally began planning for it. A card I always wanted to make use of was Mindswipe, and I was determined to build a CounterBurn deck just to do so (CounterBurn decks are exactly what they sound like: lots of counterspells and burn spells.) Dragons of Tarkir gave us a ton of great cards for this deck, like Silumgar’s Scorn and Draconic Roar, but they also require Dragon support to be useful. I put together a Blue/Red list that ended up in McArtor’s Mentions in this article by gavinverhey (It’s the Izzet Dragon Time? deck.) I playtested that versions of the deck, but it kept coming up short. I needed something a little more.

Going Green

Sarkhan Unbroken

Balancing colors in a deck is a delicate affair. The more colors you have, the stronger cards you can use and the more effects you can brandish. However, the more colors you add, the harder it is to get those colors. We’re in a Standard format that can healthily support wedge decks, so adding Green wasn’t too difficult. I was just splashing, so it’s not like I could need a ton of Green sources of mana anyway.

Why splash Green? Sarkhan Unbroken is a good card. The deck was running Sarkhan, the Dagonspeaker; but he was just more of the same instead of a supplement to the deck. Sarkhan Unbroken does a few things amazingly well in the matchups I had problems with (the slow, grindy ones). First, he makes a 4/4 Dragon token. While the Dragonspeaker becomes a 4/4 Dragon, that doesn’t help power Silumgar’s Scorn or Draconic Roar on an opponent’s turn. Sarkhan Unbroken’s token also diversifies a single threat. An opponent has to use two pieces of removal to stop it, one for Sarkhan and one for the token. Finally, Sarkhan’s plus ability draws me cards in the late game to keep my removal, counterspells, and Dragons flowing into my hand. Ultimately, Sarkhan Unbroken was relegated to my sideboard for control matchups; I had better cards to run against aggro decks.

Green also lets me run the excellent Temur Charm, which is most often a counterspell. The fight mode lets any of my Dragons take out a Siege Rhino, however. And the block prevention lets my Dragons push through Hornet Queen and her token swarm. It’s a card that comes up big in lots of different niche situations.

In a deck that’s looking to get opponents to 0 life ASAP, Destructive Revelry is a great sideboard card against enchantment-heavy decks. I knew that splashing Green would give me access to this tremendously useful card (I ended up never seeing it in games where I sided it in.)

Finally, a singleton Dragonlord Atarka topped off the deck’s curve. This deck almost never wants to play Atarka, but she is so powerful and tempo-grabbing that it’s worth running into her every once in a while. If the game has stalled long enough, it usually means Atarka will be claiming a victim or two off of her enter-the-battlefield ability. In retrospect, I maybe would have rather run a singleton Ætherspouts. One Atarka was too many; I wish I could run a half of a card.

Tempo

Silumgar’s Scorn

Well all that’s great, but how does this deck actually work? There are some control cards like Silumgar’s Scorn and Dig Through Time, some burn cards like Anger of the Gods and Roast, and some big fat fatty Dragons. It seems like these things would all belong in three different decks, but they work together as a cohesive, if frenetic, whole.

This is a control deck, but it isn’t. This is an aggro deck, but it isn’t. This is a midrange deck, but only sort of. Tempo is the theme tying this whole deck together, making this one of the most difficult to play decks I’ve ever built. Timing is everything. When do you play like a control deck? When do I become the beatdown? What role is this deck playing on this turn vs. next turn? There are a lot of things to keep in mind when playing this deck, and I highly recommend reading Reid Duke’s column on the mothership, Level One, to get more details on these inquiries.

Anyway, what are the answers to these questions? In the early stage of the game, this deck is a permission-based control deck. I want to sit there and counter everything I can. I want to burn everything I don’t counter. I want to make my opponent frustrated because they cannot get a card to stick to the battlefield.

Suddenly, like a raging tempest, this deck switches into an aggressive mode. Once my opponent’s hand is depleted and they run out of threats, it’s my turn. Dragon after Dragon hits the battlefield. My opponent is left reeling from the onslaught. Removing Thunderbreak Regent only brings them close to death. Hero’s Downfall if you want; there’s just another Dragon coming next turn. When to make this shift varies depending on the matchup and flow of the game, but this is the shift this deck is designed to make. It’s a passive-aggressive nightmare for any deck that isn’t flexible enough to keep up.

The Resulting Storm

I ended the day fourth overall. Bad luck factored into a few of my losses, mishandled tempo into the others. Like I said, this is a difficult deck to play. I would have loved to have more time to tease out the intricacies of sequencing. The games I won were rarely close. I raced some Siege Rhinos in a close finish, but most victories were absolute. I got my fancy Thunderbreak Regent promo for Commander and opened a Dragonlord Atarka in my prize packs, so it was a great day through and through.

I hope you all had pleasant experiences on Game Day, planeswalkers, and I hope Magic is full of more pleasant experiences in the future.

The Body Hair Project

By Michelle Zaydlin

In our society, especially as women, we are constantly pressured to remove our body hair. We shave our legs, our armpits; get our eye brows waxed, and so on, as we continue with this desire to remove our body hair to conform to society.

Yet, not everyone conforms with this unnatural removal of body hair. Ailsa Fineron, a 21 year old student in England, has taken a stand through using photography and showing the natural body, hair and all. I had the honor of interviewing Ailsa to learn more about the Body Hair Project and the incredible work she is doing.

Michelle Zaydlin: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Ailsa Fineron: I am a twenty one year old who juggles being a math & physics student with doing as much photography as possible- alongside tutoring, volunteering for a gender equality co-operative, learning kung-fu, organising Bristol’s effective altruism society, and a bit of socialising! I am a very vocal intersectional feminist, less vocal vegan, and am currently focussing on getting more vocal about mental health issues as I talk more about my own experiences of bipolar II. I also identify as female, mixed race -Chinese & white- and Scottish.

MZ: Where did you get the idea for the body hair project?

AF: My friend and I stopped removing our body hair in summer 2013 and it prompted a lot of discussion between us and other -predominantly female- friends. It was surprising how little attention any of us had given the topic before, especially given that our friendship group is quite feminist. It was fascinating but also sad to hear of my friends’ insecurity and shame about body hair, and the lengths they went to in order to remove it, particularly when they were younger.

However, everyone I spoke to was very open. Every conversation I had made me think more about my own approach to body hair and my insistence that I shaved because I wanted to. I thought that if having these conversations was making me think so much, maybe I could open up the discussion to more people through the internet and my photography. My photography up till then had been very much focused on making everyday moments beautiful, which, whilst very meaningful to me, was more just aesthetically pleasing to others. So I decided to have a go at doing something with more direction, and the body hair project is the result!

MZ: What are your aims for the body hair project?

AF: My aims are to initiate and encourage discussion around body hair and, hopefully, as a result, lessen the taboo around it. I don’t want to tell women what to do with their bodies, but I do want to get the message across that the choices we make are not made in a vacuum: we are influenced by others and others are influenced by us. I think that’s a really important thing to remember- it gives us a responsibility to think carefully about our choices and their impact.

I’m also hoping to normalise body hair on women a bit more, simply by putting photographs of women’s bodies, complete with hair, out there!

MZ: What message can we send to teens and society?

AF: That body hair is natural. And by body hair I mean all types of body hair: pubes, leg hair, armpit hair, facial hair, arm hair, back hair, snail trails and so on. That it’s okay to have hair in all these places (and others!) It’s not unhygienic. It’s not disgusting. It’s a normal and beautiful part of the human body, despite what the media tells/shows you.

Also that it’s not okay to put pressure on people to conform to your standards of beauty (society and media, I’m looking at you.) Especially given that our current ‘ideal’ beauty standard is so narrow and impossible for so many women to fit into -particularly women of colour.

MZ: Why do you think this issue is important?

AF: I think it’s important because it’s part of a wider issue: that of the constant policing of women’s bodies and of basing our worth on our appearance. I guess I’m hoping that people will see the Body Hair Project and it will encourage them to be less judgmental when it comes to what they expect of women and the stereotypes they hold about them. That they will try to be more aware of the biases they have, where those might have come from, and then try to counteract them. It’s a lot to hope for, but I’ve found you can get amazing results when you just encourage people to question the world around them a little more.

MZ: Body hair seems to be a pretty taboo topic, why do you think it is so taboo and what can we do to make this less taboo?

AF: I think one of the main factors in body hair being so taboo is the complete normalisation of hairless bodies. Even in historical dramas, or films/tv series where the female characters are out in the wilderness for months or years, they always seem to have access to a razor, tweezers and time amidst all the fighting for survival to keep on removing any body hair! That lack of portrayal of hairy bodies, along with some unhelpful myths -body hair is unhygienic, you cannot be feminine if you have body hair- has really made the topic taboo.

To not remove body hair is so against the norm that it’s daunting to even talk about it for a lot of women. I don’t blame people at all for this. There’s a lot of stuff out there ready to scare and shame you and, sadly, it works.

MZ: Anything else you want to share?

AF: There is a lot of good stuff going on! I think that the Body Hair Project is just one small part of a growing movement of women embracing their bodies just as they are, in defiance of all the pressure to fit into one tiny, pretty, pale, big boobed, small waisted and hairless stereotype.

I am so encouraged by all these wonderful, confident women who are proud of their bodies despite society telling them they are too fat, too dark, too hairy… Not everyone is that confident, and nobody should feel bad for not loving their body (it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do and it takes time) but I think it’s incredibly important for us to see women who aren’t ashamed of their bodies, and for those women to be a diverse group of people. And from there, I think that group of people can only grow.

To connect with Ailsa, check out her website, tumblr, and Twitter!

About this blogger: Michelle Zaydlin is currently a senior at the University of Michigan and will be graduating this May with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Spanish. She is currently involved with NEDA as a coordinator of the second annual Ann Arbor, MI NEDA Walk and a member of Dance Marathon which helps support pediatric rehabilitation therapies at local children’s hospitals. She also works as a physics study group leader through the science learning center at the University and as a behavior technician doing applied behavior analysis (ABA) with children on the autism spectrum.

Also by Michelle:

#LoveYourRealSelfie