BrazenShe’s Radical Feminism for Beginners

In my recent adventure with the Trans Rights Brigade, I ran into some serious misunderstanding about what Radical Feminism is.

Coincidentally, this week I also found a very good, concise statement of the Radical Feminist platform over at Women’s Liberation Radio News.

Summer Fun

This Summer fun is interrupting my studying!

“Third Wave” Isn’t Feminism

Before we dive in, I want to spotlight the fact that “Third Wave” Feminism is actually backlash against the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s and 70s.

The 1970s saw significant legal progress for women. We acquired the privilege of applying for credit, terminating unwanted pregnancies, and legal protection against housing discrimination. The UN declared 1975 International Women’s Year. Women’s Studies became a feature on campuses everywhere.

These days, it’s morphed into Gender Studies.

Hmmm, How strange! In 50 years we went from “Please can I have a bank account and an apartment?” to not even needing a single dedicated class? Has any movement ever come so far so fast?

Of course not. But Patriarchy runs the show and, after giving women a few showy wins, sat back and waited for our guard to slip.

So now we have boys winning girls’ track scholarships and men are being counted in affirmative action quotas. We are losing access to reproductive healthcare. Meanwhile I have people trying to argue with me about female penises.

Which is why we need Radical Feminism more than ever.

Radical Feminism Is:

  • Focused on female power, freedom and independence, not on the reformation of males

Guys, it’s not always about you.

Ssshhh

It’s gonna be okay, darling!

  • Anti-Capitalist
  • Anti-racist
  • Anti-classist
  • Anti-imperialist
  • Anti-war
  • Anti-Patriarchal religion
  • Anti-gender

Especially femininity as performed by women.

  • Critical of heterosexuality, marriage and the nuclear family

This is a neglected point. Tends to get reduced to ‘marriage is oppressive!’ Which has merit but some of us are straight, y’all!

So I figure I’m on the front lines of this one.

  • Against the hatred and oppression of lesbians

Because they’re women, duh.

  • Recognizes and condemns males violence against women and children, animals and the earth

Thus the anti-Capitalism and all that. Capitalists would happily burn up the planet for profit.

  • Supportive of female segregation and female-only spaces

    Good Lesson

    There’s some education for ya!

Another one that should be obvious. ‘Exclusion’ has become a dirty word, but sometimes being exclusive is the point. Like making the Dean’s List or joining a hiking club.

If you don’t make the cut or are unable to go hiking, those groups are not for you.

If you are a male, the ladies’ room is not for you.

  • Anti-rape, including paid rape in the pornography and prostitution industries
  • Anti-BDSM and all forms of abuse generally

I’m personally still working on exploring these topics. It’s slow going because of some experiences that turned it into a personal minefield.

  • Morally absolutist/culturally universalist on issues relative to female oppression

This is probably my favorite part.

I don’t care what your culture or your religion says. If you think educating girls is a waste of time, you are part of the problem.

If you think a woman’s value lies in her body, whatever form that belief takes, you are part of the problem.

If you support anyone born male having access to women’s spaces, you are part of the problem.

Your Argument is Beside the Point

Domestic Labor

I can’t theorize this laundry done!

Because before I am American or white or red-headed and frumpy,

I am female.

It’s something fundamental we all share that can’t be taken from us.

No matter how many words get redefined or how many TERFs get punched.

What really sucks is, it’s all irrelevant!

Calling me every name in the world won’t stop Patriarchy. It won’t stop the epidemic of male violence.

Someone came at me saying he had to confront me because he couldn’t let dangerous bigotry and hatred go unanswered.

I asked him to go pick a fight with one of the many thriving white supremacy groups, but told him I understand that picking on me is easier. Just don’t pretend it makes you some kind of hero.

Radical Feminism is about liberating women everywhere from the tyranny of Patriarchy.

And as Patriarchy gets more creative, so must we be creative in our response.

So, yeah, I’m a straight white lady with a big ass, and I’m gonna tear holes in all the sexist, racist, greed-infested bullshit I can find.

Radical Feminism is real. It’s nuanced. It’s intoxicating. It’s woman-focused. And it’s growing.

You’re A Man, Honey, and That’s Okay

Male Violence is The Enemy

Hey, guys, I get it. As much as any lady can, I sympathize. Being A Man is a big freaking deal. Men are kinda nuts.

Lincoln

And the way they are mythologized creates an impossible standard!

Forced Into the Butch Box

If you are just not much of a hard ass, if you find yourself drawn to the lighter side of life, you may also find yourself targeted by the Man Police. They are regular guys, your friends, your boss, your teacher. Your Dad. Any or all of them may take it upon themselves to kick your ass if you step out of line.

I’m not going to dig into why that happens. It’s pretty foreign to me, and I truly don’t mean to patronize you.

But this stuff is directly concerning to me because there are men of all ages who I love dearly. They are deeply affected by these things.

One of my oldest friends is a poet and an artist. He is also a hard motherfucker who is covered in tattoos and recovering from heroin addiction. Because of experiences he has referenced but never really told me about.

My husband is barely on speaking terms with his father, who had a habit of humiliating him in front of the old man’s friends for giggles.

My own father has never been able to maintain normal relationships with women. He has apparently wandered off into some scary corner of sexual sadism and I really don’t even want to know about it.

I have two sons and I take my responsibility to them very seriously. Who better to teach them that women are people? I actually get pretty upset sometimes when I see things written by lonely men who are frustrated by their lack of connection with women.

The Root of Misunderstanding

Sad Cowboy

Patriarchy creates a world where a heart is a liability!

They don’t understand that the question, “How do I relate to women?” is the basis of the problem.

You relate to a woman based on what you can observe about who she is as a person.

Women are people, with every personality configuration imaginable. Just like you.

You are also complex and that’s okay. Men are capable of some amazing things, that is undeniable. Being one of the good ones begins with approaching yourself and the rest of humanity with the understanding that we are all people first.

Be Yourself, Darling!

If you feel like you are most feminine person on this green Earth, you do you. I support you in throwing away all that toxic, judgemental garbage that has been polluting masculinity forever. Being A Man has nothing to do with what you wear and everything to do with how you behave.

Be a thoughtful, respectful person. It’s really very simple. Go about your business.

If you find yourself with some leftover passion, join us in trying to stop male violence.

Threats 1

Feminists don’t kill transwomen!

Male violence is what kills transwomen. Feminist activists don’t kill people. Insecure, homophobic men kill people.

Male violence is everything from domestic abuse to mass shootings to war. It is the locker room bully. It is all those ironic motherfuckers who visited me this week and told me their suggested method for my death.

Lead the Revolution!

Male violence is the enemy of us all. Female, male, trans, all classes and races. It is caused by the isolation integral to toxic masculinity.

You could be the front lines of dismantling the system that you so clearly hate. Be A Man. On your terms. Don’t let them take that from you.

Regarding Being A Woman

I am tired of debating who is a woman or what a woman is. That is a stupid waste of everyone’s time – We all know what we are talking about. To suggest that people are going around confused about the biological and potential reproductive nature of anyone’s body is absurd and I am not going to engage with that any more.

Be the femmiest man you can dream of. I will support you and cheer for you.

You are not a woman, honey, and that’s okay. Men can do great things. Go normalize your truth and fuck gender labels.

Love & Hugs,

– Sarah

Trans Attacks!

For those keeping score at home, the Facebook trolls have not let up yet.Terf Gun

They took my walking away after two and a half hours this morning as some kind of victory. But guys, I have stuff to do!

They threw a couple studies at me, but the majority of it has been vitriol demanding my submission.

It’s all public record and I encourage anyone to go read it, if you have the stomach.

It’s Raining Crap!

The onslaught has taken various forms.

There’s the ever-popular repetition of meaningless slogans

And some apparent confusion about those slogans

I was threatened repeatedly.Threats 1

 

But the most interesting part was being told about my own political beliefs.Alt Right Tho

There was some strangeness, too.

And, of course, just a lot of pointless insults

These are but a few examples I spent a few minutes collecting. To post them all would take all night.Threats 4

It’s still going on as I write this. The post that started it all has blown up. I have gotten 13 new followers so far.

Unfortunately for them, I have not been cowed. Or “educated.” I had been thinking of taking BrazenShe in a more overtly political direction next year, there are lots of women’s issues at stake in the election.

This week has shown me that opinionated women are still shat upon. Even in the US, where we are supposedly a beacon of freedom, they flocked like moths to a flame to put me back in my place.Wife's Huge Cock

“TERF” is a slur, in case anyone hadn’t caught that already. Not that they need it, having no problem calling me scum and a cunt and a bitch and I don’t even remember what all.

After a while, all that negativity does begin to weigh on a person. Happily, there were a few brave souls who stepped into the fray behind me.Mental Health Problems

And even if I had been alone in this, nothing changes based on what a bunch of internet trolls say. Female oppression is still a thing. Gender roles are still Patriarchy’s favorite method.

Trans politics ignoring all of this and codifying gender stereotypes into an unquestionable religion is shockingly offensive.Twaw

Society uses our bodies as the reason for our subjugation. People are much more than just bodies, but physical form matters. It affects our life experience and how the world treats us.

To say women have some feminine essence is to imply we have been complicit in our own oppression.

Fuck

That

If you are upset by this, go in peace. I’ll see you on the flip side.

If you are on board, good news! This loudmouth bitch is only going to get louder.

Laws are being changed. Canada is now recording crime according to gender identity. (“The variable ‘Gender of person’ and the ‘Classification of gender’ are expected to be used by most social statistics programs.”) The UK is on the precipice of Self-ID becoming law.

Male violence is arguably the biggest issue women face. I could swear 20 years ago, everyone knew this! If we can’t name the problem, if we are robbed of our privacy, we are left defenseless.

Stand with me and speak out for women’s rights. Your daughters will thank you.

***Stay tuned for the first installment of our Feminist Education Series, and the finale of the Summer Series, Fight Despair Together. Because I haven’t forgotten that everyone could use a little personal growth.***

“It appears the page is run by a TERF”

It’s amazing how difficult it is to talk about women’s issues.

Today I was outed as a “TERF.”

Viral Post

The post that started it all

For those uninitiated, that’s Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

Which is technically true, I suppose. In that I understand that the only thing that makes a person one sex or the other is their anatomy. The rest is all gravy.

Trans Politics Dwell in Hyperbole

I have resisted getting directly involved in the conversation for two reasons:

  1. My focus is women. Not what makes someone a woman or men who want to be women.
  2. I have more important things to do than deal with trans rights activists who are not going to listen to a damn thing I say.

I already lost one old friend over this. A friend who started life as a girl and now lives as a man. Someone who I knew years ago and care for deeply.

Someone who wouldn’t listen when I said that I do understand.

I thought of myself as a man in a woman’s body for 15 years. I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating because every time it comes out that I disagree with trans identity politics, people assume I don’t understand.

Or that I was never “really” trans.

Yeah, and no true Scotsman could be a sex maniac.

Because I disagree, they try to write me off. Because disagreement isn’t allowed.

Policewoman

Stop right there! I’m gonna have to issue you a citation for Engaging A Famous Fallacy!

Which tells you everything you need to know, really.

What Are We Even Arguing About?

It’s not possible to “be a woman inside” because the only thing that makes anyone a woman is her outsides. The “science” they cite is all small, cherry-picked studies. It reminds me of how Rene’ Descartes declared the pineal gland the seat of the soul.

He’s the one we have to thank for this whole body-soul separation thing in modern philosophy, by the way. Thanks, Rene’.

And do I need to remind you that “lady brain” has been used to treat women like children for ages??

Not to mention, if you’ve never been something, you’re only imagining what it’s like.

If being trans is totally valid, why transition? If transwomen “are women” then what are they transitioning to?? Why go through hormones or surgery? Why worry about “passing?” Normalize presenting somewhere between the accepted categories! Please, for the love of god! Little gay boys and girls everywhere will thank you.

Not to mention the bald-faced irony of trans women wanting into women’s spaces as safe havens from men…. while ridding us of safe havens from men!

Your body is not female just because you say it is.

You can be the most effeminate guy around, you may very well be more “ladylike” than me. But you are a man, honey.

Brazenshe You're A Man Honey And That's Okay

It’s okay, darling, we’ll figure this out!

Yes, I received several braindead replies saying that transwomen have female bodies.

None of them were able to tell me what ‘female’ means. Woman = female = woman is not a definition, it’s a thought loop. 

I was having a lot of fun for the first few hours. But eventually I got tired. I told someone that they knew perfectly well what ‘female’ meant and that the argument was dumb.

They did not respond to that.

This Isn’t About You

You may have noticed that my original post above doesn’t mention trans anything.

I never said trans people aren’t people. Or that they are not deserving of human rights.

I said what women are. And what I believe motivates anyone who says differently.

And lots of people took that very personally.

Trans women are men. Anyone with an identity integration issue that messes with them that bad needs help, not hormones.

By The Hair

Transactivists don’t care for your opinion!

But compassion is only allowed one shape. Only “affirming.” Independent thought is discouraged. I came to the wrong conclusions so I must not understand.

And it’s their business to make me understand.

Actually, this is the weirdest part to me.

I do not know most of the people I argued with today. Come to find out through a third party, they were sent my way by my sister. Who told me to leave her alone but doesn’t feel the need to return the favor.

Why they felt compelled to Set Her Straight I can only speculate.

But it sure doesn’t come across as security in their convictions.

And, anyway, how self-absorbed is it to insist that everyone around you play along with your denial of physical reality? Or you will threaten them. Or shout at them. Or sue them (and call 911 when they ask you about it.)

And yes, this is about transwomen, really. Literally the only person who spoke up for transmen was my old friend. 

But I was told how “transwomen are women” by over half a dozen uninvited guests.

Transwomen are Not Our Allies

But the reason I have a problem, the reason I care to begin with

Is because transwomen are not allies to women.

Bogey Man

We need to wake up!

They don’t care about abortion access except to insist healthcare providers call us “uterus-bearers.” They don’t care about rape survivors being traumatized by the male form. They don’t care about women in third world countries. Or the ongoing plague of female feticide.

They don’t care about the United States’ awful maternal death rate, so long as the midwives refer to us as “pregnant people.”

There’s only one type of person who might get pregnant. And we have been oppressed for millennia because of it.

And trans women don’t care about that. They don’t see that. They see us having feelings and wearing dresses and call that “freedom” because it’s what they want to do.

So do it!

You have a sex and a personality. One doesn’t have to determine the other.

That’s really all I wanted to say.

Why Do Men Run the World?

The film begins with a man in a kitchen. It’s the scene of a revolution, he says, where men and women are renegotiating the human power balance.

By The Wrists

This isn’t what I meant by ‘holding hands’!

When you don’t get much time to sit and read, a good documentary can be the greatest thing.

I found one that really pulls it all together. And it’s over 25 years old!

Dr. Gwynne Dyer is another new name to me. He’s getting up there these days but still maintains an active publishing and speaking career. He even has a Twitter.

He’s a journalist and historian who’s taken his education and experience and synthesized a unique perspective. He uses it to spell out the origins of Patriarchy.

He explains why it first emerged and how it’s become an outdated handicap.

Filmed in 1992, the backdrop of the inaugural festivities of President Bill Clinton provides its starting example of The State. Militarized, hierarchical.

Then he takes us all the way back to the cave times. Hunter-gatherer societies were different depending on their circumstances. Some were warlike boys’ clubs, but others were egalitarian.

Dr. Dyer tells us that, before agriculture, there is little evidence of one sex being considered superior. Then with the advent of farming – “probably invented by a woman” – men suddenly lost their role.

A Men’s Revolution

During the village time, the members of the village discussed things and came to a consensus of how things would be. But women oversaw the homestead.

Hilda Reaps

What can I say? I make things grow!

Fertility goddesses reigned supreme. Hunting was no longer necessary, and men took a back seat. He tells us archeologists find 100 female fertility figures for every one male figure from this period.

But perhaps most gut-wrenching of all was that, at the birth of the concept of Wealth, a man’s property was passed to his sister’s child when he died, not his own.

You might not know who a child’s father is, but you always know who the mother is.

Dr. Dyer tells us about “the makings of a revolution, ….so old it’s not in the history books.” Men took over and spent thousands of years taming the power of female sexuality.

As agricultural villages coalesced into nation-states, a full quarter of the early Mesopotamian laws were restricting what women could do.

Huda Lutfi taught history at the American University of Cairo in 1992. She had many amazing things to say in this film. She was studying women in Medieval Islam, which meant reading between the lines.

Women in Medieval Islam are invisible. They wrote nothing and left no records. She says she knows what they were doing by what the scholars wanted them to stop doing.

Why Would Our Men Do This to Us?

Why did men, who basically cared about their mothers and wives and sisters and daughters, cooperate in such a scheme?

As civilization became bigger and more complex, tyranny was the only way to keep everyone together. Ruling by terror was the only way to communicate to the masses.

Dr. Dyer shows us how the great pharaohs’ tombs are surrounded by hundreds of other graves belonging to servants and slaves. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Welcome to civilization.”

Despair

How could you do this to me, Babe??

Defending Their Country Gave Men Status.

These men who stepped up to fight other aggressive men offered men in general a much-needed status boost.

“Sure,” says Dr. Dyer, “you’ll have to obey us but you’ll have control over your women. And your property will go to your sons when you die.”

And Patriarchal religions tied it all together, the Universe a perfect hierarchy with God at the top. Then man, then woman.

The tyranny necessary to create and defend a nation is fueled by soldiers. If women have freedom, the birth rate drops because babies are a lot of work. And women develop other interests.

Reducing women so our only place in society is childbearing is how you get enough soldiers to win.

“Men Were Never Oppressed.”

Dr. Dyer tells us how global mass communication is chipping away at “the old ways.” Global culture is, by its very nature, more cooperative. More feminine, I suppose, if only by virtue of women participating at all.

One thing that hits me that Dr. Dyer doesn’t really dwell on is, “men were never oppressed.” When women have freedom we don’t use it to lock men away. A woman-lead society is a more equal society.

I believe part of this is because of innate differences in perspective. The interconnectedness of people can be a brutal force in your life when you make people with your body.

And when that body and the world remind you of this possibility incessantly.Film Capture

Patriarchy Will Fall

A record number of women were elected to Congress in 1992. One of them was Elizabeth Furse from Oregon. She tells the story of taking the group picture on the steps, she was at the top, in the back.

Just in time, two white men stepped in front of her. “There’s no me, it’s almost like I’m not there.”

Above the pageantry of the 1992 inaugural parades, Dr. Dyer tells us that Patriarchy is slowly collapsing.

After 5,000 years, Patriarchy is not just in our institutions, it’s in our heads. But it is not in our genes.

“The problem is not ‘human nature,’ it’s that mass societies are still trapped inside the ancient machine they built thousands of years ago, to deal with the problems of thousands of years ago.

Lifeguard

Just stay right there, okay, cutie? You know, forever.

“The machine called Patriarchy was the only way to run an early mass society. It was refined into both a killing machine and a breeding machine as the early mass civilizations started fighting one another. And we conquered the whole planet with it.

But now, our weapons have become so destructive that we can no longer afford to fight major wars. And we don’t actually have to live in patriarchal dictatorships anymore. Mass communication means that we can be democratic.

“Patriarchy no longer makes sense as an institution.”

From Soldier To… Daddy?

As a white man and military historian, he has no ax to grind here. I think this makes his words that much more insightful.

He leaves us in the kitchen where we began, saying men and women are renegotiating the most fundamental human partnership. He offers this as reason for hope.

He doesn’t specify what partnership he means but, as he shares a bite with a little girl in the final shot, the meaning is clear.

Reproduction and raising the next generation is both the biggest burden and the biggest opportunity we have to impact the future. In modern times, women have asserted our rightful place of power in the system.

We don’t want to enslave men. We want our reproductive capacity to not be weaponized against us.

Dr. Dyer’s hopeful tone stands out to me because many of us are good at pointing out where Patriarchy fails us, but so few have an inkling where we are going from here.

He leans into snark a few times, making his own feelings clear: Patriarchy is on the way out, and everyone will benefit. Just as a natural result of the evolution of society.

This information should be everywhere. It should be in children’s books and kitchen conversations.

Understanding our past will enable us to consciously create a better future. So few of us have any real understanding of the causes or the effects of the societal structure we live in. We tend to take it for granted (or even claim it doesn’t exist!)

We can’t afford to go stumbling into the future without a strong understanding of ourselves.

Watch the movie, it’s less than an hour long. It explains everything.

Fight Despair Together: How Do I Know It’s Working?

When we are going inward and doing personal work, the most important thing is to stay on-task.

How Do I Choose Which Path to Take?

Raking Leaves

This is harder than it looks!

Stay focused on a simple goal, don’t be distracted by side paths that may pop up. If you are working on expressing yourself more clearly and you realize that you are experiencing social anxiety, it’s tempting to run off and treat the anxiety.

But why? Who’s to say the communication issue didn’t cause the anxiety? Or they could both have origins in a single, forgotten event from childhood.

But you know they are related. Focusing on one will help the other.

Pick one.

Keep notes of your discoveries so you can go back over what you run into. Focusing on one thing at a time is harder than it sounds, but it’s vitally important.

I like to think of my mental landscape as a forest, some paths well-worn and easy to follow. Some are new and tentative, others old and overgrown.

But I try to follow one simple course at a time, because it’s easy to get distracted and end up going in circles.

I’ve done it. So many times.

But how do you know when to switch it up? Building new habits can get boring and frustrating. How do you know if you should stick with it?

How Do I Measure Progress?

You know that feeling when you’re out and about and the self-consciousness is just weighing on you? You realize you feel like a weirdo.

You second guess every little thing, stressing about how you’re standing or the shirt you chose or whatever never-ending minutiae. That feeling of being 13 on the first day of school, forever.

Wigs

I obsess over superficial things to avoid my own lack of definition!

Maybe you’re dealing with a negative person. Maybe these feelings are coming from your own mental habits.

Regardless of origin, the less often you feel like this, the more you know you are on the right track.

I think the end goal of personal work is to never feel this ever again. Not just because it sucks but because it’s the manifestation of so many different mental misalignments.

The world at large is not judging you. And if they are, they need to get a life.

War is Over, if You Want It

There are (mostly) two kinds of people out there – Friendlies, who are willing to engage on the field of social commerce, and Unfriendlies who aren’t.

This classification system is good for every bank teller, store clerk, customer, playground parent and most co-workers.

If they are not interested in engaging with you, feel free to decline in return. This will free you up even more to pursue your goals.

The negativity of others should roll right off of you because you choose not to engage with it. You are too busy with your important business.

This mindset is a machete for slicing through the brambles. As a sensitive person, it’s very helpful to have a method of steadying myself against constant bombardment from the world.

And that self-conscious feeling makes the machete mindset almost impossible. When you notice it’s been a while since you had to remind yourself that no one is staring at you, you’re making real progress.

Bathrooms and Abortions: Divided Left Leaves Progress in Danger

Not so long ago, there were no ladies’ rooms.

No powder rooms. No little girls rooms. No restrooms full of stalls, each with a little metal box on the wall. “Lack of access to toilets effectively tied women to their homes, putting them on a leash as long as their bladder capacity.”

Suitcases

Don’t worry, darling, I almost have all my supplies together!

This would not be a good system for me.

Museum of London describes the problem for us, “‘Respectable’ women couldn’t relieve themselves in alleys as men did, and the few toilets available in Victorian London were overwhelmingly built for men. Women who wished to travel into central London or even further for leisure and pleasure had to carefully plan where they could ‘stop off.'”

Time Magazine has a slightly different take on the idea, framing sex-specific facilities as simply customary, and definitely antiquated: “[Ladies’ rooms] were adopted to create this protected haven in this dangerous public realm.” We needed protection because, despite entering the workforce and propelling the Industrial Revolution, we were still seen as weak and stupid.

“Today,” Time continues, “even though society’s views on women have largely shifted, sex-segregated bathrooms remain the custom.”

Meghan Murphy and Twitter

Meghan Murphy is a Canadian Feminist writer. If you are reading this you have probably heard of her but maybe, like me, you don’t have time or energy to follow what most of the world is doing.

Right now, Meghan is suing Twitter.

That is a crazy thing for a writer to do! But Twitter banned her from the platform late last year, after suspending her several times, over “misgendering” a transwoman.

Thou Shalt Not

Look at this amazing picture! Censorship is bad!

A transwoman who has systematically bated and litigated 16 salons in Canada when employees refused to give him a Brazillian wax. Like, one salon? Okay. Three or four, even, maybe. But 16? I don’t believe that person is acting in good faith.

Anyway, Meghan referred to this person as “him” and Twitter lost their mind. She was permanently banned and she is suing them for loss of income. The main attraction, however, is the hypocrisy.

“Twitter grew to prominence by advertising itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party,”” explains the website dedicated to the lawsuit. “It repeatedly promised its users in its Terms of Service and elsewhere that it would not censor their speech.”

What’s the big deal?

Canadians recently acquired the right to self-declare their gender.

I mean, their sex.

Or, is it both? Are those words interchangeable, or what?

I seem to remember a long period when they were. ‘Gender’ was adopted as a polite substitute because no one liked saying the S-E-X word. Good thing we have come so far from those crazy Victorians, right?

But so, this means those who believe they are the opposite sex can legally become so, just by officially declaring it? And how does one go about declaring it?

What I could find was that Parliament added gender expression to its list of things it’s illegal to discriminate against people for. The provinces already have similar amendments on the books. It sounds logical and harmless but, in our quest to write away badness, we find ourselves lost in a Kafkaesque maze.

Keep Away Pinup

I don’t care how open-minded you are, some things are private!

“Non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression may very well be interpreted by the courts in the future to include the right to be identified by a person’s self identified pronoun,” The University of Toronto explains“The Ontario Human Rights Commission …. states that gender harrassment should include, “Refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun.””

That’s awfully wordy. Let’s try again. “In other words, pronoun misuse may become actionable, through Human Rights Tribunals and courts.”

The likely punishment? “Monetary damages, non-financial remedies and public interest remedies.”

The University’s Brenda Cossman lists these details to refute claims by a misogynist named Jordan Peterson that these laws will criminalize free speech. “Jail time is not one of them.”

That’s a relief!

Meghan, with her Masters degree in Women’s Studies, has been calling out this idea for years. “The idea that if you have a male body but feel you are female you have every right to women’s space was obviously going to have huge impact on women.”

“Laws were being passed and …. You just had to accept it or you were a right-wing bigot.”

What The Hell Pinup

What the hell is going on out there??

In addition to putting the corporate Public Square on trial, Meghan recently toured the UK. Among other engagements, she was invited to speak to the Scottish Parliament.

The invitation came from MSP Joan McAlpine. Ms. McAlpine shares some of Ms. Murphy’s reservations about self-identification amendments and has drawn wrath by saying so. Both women (and many others) have received threats and abuse for their questions.

What does that tell us? Does that sound like liberal discourse to you?

The UK is embroiled in several political swirls these days, and the debate around the Gender Recognition Act is as lively as any. This is despite a hostile social climate like Meghan describes in Canada.

Those who want to discuss trans politics from the perspective of women’s rights are denied venues. They pull out of speaking engagements because of death threats and universities cancel their panel discussions. They are called derogatory names and dismissed for being “hateful.”

The irony is thick here.

“We Just Want to Pee!”

Trans people (mainly transwomen) stepped onto the cultural stage in a big way in 2015. The scene had been set for years, sympathetic portrayals in movies and TV shows only accelerated after.

Coincidentally, that same year my sister’s husband announced that he was really a woman. She supported him and I supported her, but I had to admit to being upset by the whole thing.

Funny story – For years I thought of myself as a man in a woman’s body. I had a pretty bad case of what they now call “Gender Dysphoria.” Feeling so out of sync with my body and my life, eventually I had to critically reevaluate the beliefs that lead me to be so miserable.

It was terrifying. But I started over and created a more grounded paradigm for myself. My life these days is very different and I wouldn’t go back for anything.

Point is, I have some experience in this area. I recognize the struggle of those who insist I recognize their pronouns. And I feel wrong indulging them.

Which would just be one lady’s opinion, except that ladies’ rooms exist for reasons.

Do Women Need Protecting?

I'm Not Scenery

This picture was intended to be cute! And many people apparently agreed! What boundaries?

Time Magazine invokes our rejection of paternalism to reject private spaces in public places. the idea that all women are in increased danger in mixed or gender-neutral bathrooms doesn’t make sense, as predators are not waiting for permission to dress up like a woman to go into bathrooms.” Baby with the bathwater, folks.

But it’s true – Men are already the majority of perpetrators of assault on women. They aren’t waiting for anything.

Women need enforceable female-only spaces for safety because some men are extremely dangerous to us. It’s a prolific minority, but they don’t wear name tags. And they have a habit of being sneaky to get what they want.

“This Never Happens”

Despite proclamations by hand-waving do-gooders, not all transwomen are sweet, misunderstood souls.

They creep on women in department stores. In locker rooms. In our homes. Even in prison.

They put their families through years of bullshit.

We need to be able to call these men out and defend ourselves, verbally and legally.

If you are a transwoman who pees, washes your hands and leaves, anyone who bothers you needs to get a life. But we can’t allow predatory behavior to use Wokeness as a shield.

Bathrooms are Just the Beginning

There’s also the rape crisis shelter in British Columbia that lost its funding because they refused access to male-bodied people. The Dyke Marches that exclude lesbians asTERFs.” There’s the children being coached to “transition” and put on life-altering hormones.

Hilda Squirrel

Am I still a girl if I act like a squirrel?

There’s the epidemic of young girls rebelling as they hit the wall of puberty, facing the choice between being a woman or a complex human being. Many are opting out, declaring themselves “non-binary” or stripping themselves of feminine markers  with binders or surgery.

I feel for these young girls. We live in a world of intense objectification. Conformity is ascendant and those who call themselves Progressive are preoccupied with labelling everyone according to old-fashioned gender stereotypes. It’s confusing.

Many Feminists consider it to be a new form of backlash against the Women’s Movement. The pathologizing of people who don’t conform to sexist expectations could be seen as an assault on the homosexual community. Your swishy son can’t be gay if he’s really a girl!

Is Your Mind So Open Your Brain Fell Out?

Amid all of this, anything besides repeating slogans risks being labeled and shunned. Meghan Murphy is standing up for the gains women have made.

“I find it odd because I never feel I’m saying anything crazy, just normal obvious things …. “I think young women don’t have much knowledge around the history of the women’s movement. I don’t think they realise how hard they had to fight and how long this fight lasted – and how it’s still going on. When women were fighting for the rights we have now – which so many take for granted – those women were dismissed as crazy and radical.”

The Right Swoops In

Meanwhile, states like Georgia are passing draconian anti-abortion laws, hoping to get a crack at the Supreme Court and the infamous Roe v. Wade. (That decision is actually founded in some interesting Right to Privacy stuff which would have lots of ripples if overturned, but that’s another post.)

Starboard Lies

Come back inside, darling. Seeing the view will only give you ideas.

The root of the anti-abortion crusade is not concern for babies. It never has been. I have met many a deluded soul who truly believed that every little life was sacred, people whose passion has been manipulated to support a movement that would see us back in the kitchen.

The anti-abortion movement is funded by powerful men who understand Patriarchy and that controlling reproduction is how it is perpetuated. They know where their bread is buttered, that Civilization Classic was set up for their benefit by others like them.

It’s an ancient trick, using people’s faith and sense of duty against them. I’m far from the first to write about American Christianity’s deal with the political Devil. In the 1970s, the ends were seen as justifying the means – A return to how things “should” be. With everyone in their place and white men on top.

They Stole Our Words

And these days their plan makes a lot of sense. In many ways, it has been successful. Many a greedy egotist saw profit for themselves along the way, everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Donald Trump, Alex Jones and everyone in between. Individual congressmen who gained from exploiting divisions, megachurch pastors and small-minded authoritarians everywhere. Now they have colonized the Left, using our language and openness against us.

Postmodernism – the rejection of absolute truth – has been misappropriated and used to justify insanity. The language of Progressiveness has been corrupted and stolen in service of regressive agendas.

Whether they saw the grand plan or not, many people have contributed to the place we now find ourselves – Where men can be women, but women don’t control our own bodies.

Good People Need to Think Critically

I actually got started on all this because I have quite a few lefties on my Facebook list. They regularly share things in support of Trans Rights. Some of them have trans relatives. Most of them have trans friends. They are understandably protective of these people they love.

Then last month when Georgia did their thing, suddenly my feed was filled with Feminist stuff, throwing in their two cents for bodily privacy.

Peaking Out

But thinking for myself is scary!

Which is where the two sides of the zeitgeist crash into each other. How do you deny biology one day, then speak up in a debate that assumes it the next?

Cognitive Dissonance is Stressful

The Left and the Right are having two different conversations. The Left considered the bodily privacy issue settled and has been pushing its boundaries. The Right has been pushing back against the whole idea. Both sides have reached a precipice and the resulting in-fighting is creating instability.

Conservative think tanks are inviting lesbians to speak. Liberal bureaucrats are censoring unpopular opinions. Kids are being given injections and surgery to fit an ideal in the name of inclusivity. Feminist writers are being invited to Parliament.

It’s definitely a far cry from the world I was born into. Where Mr. Rogers liked you just the way you were, and every single muppet was different. The subversives did a decent job getting their message out.

War is just an absurdly elaborate game of TicTacToe. We are all Basket Cases, Jocks, and Princesses. Things aren’t always what they seem. The bad guy is usually someone you know and trust. Woven between the songs, humor, drama and drug references, tolerance and self-determination were the fabric of popular culture.

Boomers Lack Follow-Thru, Again

But the generation that saw itself as the bastion of a New Age started to fall into old age. With characteristic self-congratulation, they simply assumed that in passing the torch they had won. Around the same time, the elder statesmen of liberalism like Rogers and Henson began leaving us.

But they were the new kids on the block. I think they all failed to appreciate the depth of the problem. You can’t flip the world in a generation, no matter how many pills you invent or how many songs you write.

I have rambled here, but I applaud Meghan Murphy for trying to hold the Left accountable for the progress it supposedly stands for. The Left needs to grow up and take stock of itself. Tolerance and self-determination are beautiful ideals but they require work, thought and compromise.

We Need Objectivity

Young Couple Cropped

Stop and think for a moment!

We can’t abandon Science, which is the foundation everything else rests on. Everything, from understanding the heliocentric nature of our existence, to The Pill, to your reading this right now. Biology may not be destiny, but it sure is the basis of Patriarchy.

While we’re over here in the throes of Death By 1,000 Pronouns, Patriarchy and all who serve it are glad to take advantage of our loss of direction. To swoop in and take away the Privileges – that we so naively refer to as Rights – gained by the oppressed many.

A girl who wants to be a boy needs help. A man who thinks he’s a woman needs therapy. The giant countervailing currents can’t be ignored in favor of “affirming” someone’s identity.

More Labels is not Progress

Progress was supposed to be when everyone could be who they wanted, love who they wanted, without worrying their label – Black, Gay, Poor – would disqualify them.

So, yeah, when the so-called Progressives came at me with a new label for myself – “Cis” – I was not receptive. And I was called bigoted for not wanting to allow myself to be labeled. As something, incidentally, that I don’t feel I am. I certainly am not comfortable with the social role of “Woman.”

Liberal Fragmentation is Scarier Than Any Conservative

The fight is not over. The more I get drawn into the current arguments on the Left, the more I see that we have lost the thread. Consumerism has absorbed almost everything and taught us that we get it Our Way. Jim Henson said it well, “I think it’s good to be your own person. But individuality is a mixed blessing. People who are ‘different’ are isolated.”

The Right has a unifying conformity, and that is their strength. They have been more than happy to use the Left’s diversity to divide and conquer.

We must refocus on creating the world that everyone from Mary Wollstonecraft to Martin Luther King Jr. dared to dream about: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin” Or sex or orientation or wardrobe choices, “but by the content of their character.”

So, no, I don’t want to share my bathroom with you. But it’s so, so much more than that.

 

Is Fear of Abandonment the Root of Narcissism?

No one talks about it this way, but lots of people selfishly sabotage their relationships. Lots of them are called narcissists. 

But most of us have some kind of damage… How do we know who’s who?

Watch Them Fight

Sometimes, I think you’re both jerks!

Narcissistic people, who appear grandiose but are actually cripplingly insecure, usually follow a cycle in relationships.

One big tell is that the Narcissistic Cycle dominates a person’s life. All their hang-ups, all the time. Abandonment phobia is only triggered in certain circumstances.

But both people enter relationships with high expectations that they can’t help – They are needy to a fault, and they don’t see it.

At the beginning, they Idealize you. ‘Love-Bombing’ is beautiful, but shallow. You are their most perfect person in the world.

This is hard to think about, because normal love makes us crazy! We do weird things and aren’t looking for red flags. The Cycle is cruel, and beginnings can be terrifying for anyone bitten by emotional vampires before.

Because the downturn is insidious. You are Devalued slowly, until the one who said they’d always be there seems completely uninterested.

In her article on GoodTherapy.org, social worker and therapist of 20 years Andrea Schneider explains how it works: 

“By being in a relationship with such a nurturing, loving person, the narcissist is able to consume that person’s authentic love and extract narcissistic supply.”

You give them your energy, and they happily take it. As much as you’ll give them.

But when you are inevitably revealed as imperfect, your dysfunctional darling begins magnifying and imagining flaws. Little things you don’t even think about, a tone of voice, suddenly canceled plans, sow seeds of doubt in your flawed flame. 

If you’re not paying close attention, before you know it you’re rehearsing how you will account for your time when you get home. Reassuring him about that male friend, again. Your own point of view can begin to drift as keeping the peace takes over.

This is commonly known as Gaslighting. After a while, you can start to go a little crazy.

Big Black Dog

This is the only position I can sleep in anymore!

Your volatile valentine may show symptoms like, “intermittently lacking emotional or physical intimacy, withdrawing affection, seductive withholding, inexplicably disappearing from contact, or blaming [you] for [their] issues (projection).” It’s important to mix in crumbs of that old affection – You don’t get to leave until they’re through with you.

It’s all a setup for the final phase, where you are Discarded like rubbish.

Now that you’re all shook up and insecure, your weirdo is on his merry way. He’s drained his victim and will use his charm (and maybe the sob story of this break-up) to hook someone else.

Demanding better treatment can drive your broken boo away faster. Pleas for support are met with temper tantrums. “Inevitably, the discarding occurs when the narcissist either disappears or orchestrates his or her own abandonment by engaging in some form of egregious emotional abuse.”

Basically, they turn on you. Suddenly everything you do is wrong, and the only sensible thing to do is cut your losses. My ex and I went through this three or four times.

Wait… How do you do it more than once? 

Part of it was me refusing to walk away. Part of it was him refusing to be alone.

If you hang around long enough, eventually you slip into the last phase of the cycle, called Hoovering. It’s not always officially included, but I think it’s the most important.

Hoovering (like the vacuum cleaners) is where real confusion can set in. The storm clouds suddenly seem to part!

Making Up

This time, you swear you’ll be home at least three nights every week!

You’ve been torn down, rejected, abandoned. Then, the minute you start to get your head together, he’s back. Apologizing and saying everything you want to hear.

He’s sucking you back in. The moment you begin to play along, the whole thing starts over.

Pathological neediness is created by abuse. Whatever label you choose, dysfunctional people usually raise more dysfunctional people. We can’t teach what we don’t know, and most people would rather have a dozen root canals than examine their own shit.

Let loose, abandonment phobia plays out the same pattern. Without self-awareness and support, your phobic paramour will quickly spiral into survival mode. 

Verywellmind.com steps us through escalation of abandonment phobia:

  1. Getting to Know One Another
  2. The Honeymoon 
  3. The Real Relationship
  4. The Slight – Imperfections revealed, paranoia is triggered
  5. The Reaction“If you have this fear, you are probably completely convinced that the slight is a sign that your partner no longer loves you…. Some people handle this by becoming clingy and demanding, insisting that their partner prove her love by jumping through hoops. Others run away, rejecting their partners before they are rejected.”

In my experience it’s usually one, then the other. 

The moral of the story is that, although your defective darling is showing these signs, that doesn’t (necessarily) mean he’s narcissistic. It works like a phobia, hibernating in an otherwise reasonable person.

A person who is able to look at his own behavior and see where he could improve. Narcissists are incapable of this. They may talk the talk, but they will never walk the walk. They talk themselves out of things just as quickly. The other big tell, way more obvious but takes time to see, is change. Real, positive growth over time is a very good sign… for anyone.

Narcissists will never really take responsibility for anything. Admitting weakness exposes them to the judgment they are so afraid of. They will spin and spin until you’re so dizzy you forget why you went in there.

Swinging Sixties

Do you love me now??

Even the most loving and patient person will be exhausted eventually, and unable to take any more. That’s when the true vampire ghosts like a pro.

They can’t take any responsibility because they are extremely insecure. I think it’s what happens when abandonment phobia totally takes over.

Narcissists create baby narcissists by teaching their children not to rely on them. Usually, they’re not even reliably unreliable. Sometimes, they love you.

And then, they emotionally abandon you over and over.

Narcissism sometimes looks like abandonment phobia grown so big, they can’t even open up to themselves.

Myself, I do get a knot in my stomach that every little argument is the beginning of the end.

I’ve been left out and left behind more times than I could possibly count, and I almost never understand it. 

After a while, you start assuming there’s something wrong with you.

Everyone is temporary, they come and go, you see them on Facebook. And maybe, once in a while, a relationship starts feeling stale. The downslide to the inevitable is like nausea before vomiting, and you just get it over with.

You learn a lot if you pay attention to patterns. Taking responsibility for your own lets you grow beyond the ones who can only criticize.

You may get a little old and a little misty, wondering where someone is now. Hindsight shows you what a shithead you were, things you totally misunderstood.

Life can seem like one long ending. Lots of people are gone. But so is lots and lots of awful bullshit. Maybe, most of the time, when someone leaves they are doing you a favor.

It’s never too late to do better. I want to fill my life with sound, kind people. And then keep from driving them crazy.

Fight Despair Together: Healing Through Self-Compassion

What is stopping you from working through your problems and becoming who you want to be?

Redhead With Pistol

I’m not defensive! Just stay away from me!

Depression and anxiety are both subsumed anger over how we have been treated. 

Over and over, researchers have shown that those who suffer from such things are overwhelmingly victims of abuse as children. 

Of course you would be angry if those who were supposed to care for you instead treated you like crap. Or otherwise made you feel lesser. And there’s a good chance you don’t even realize it. Or the depths to which it shapes your experiences to this day.

The most important thing is to have compassion for yourself. This sounds a little weird but we all know what compassion looks like. We just usually reserve it for other people. 

Our expectations of ourselves run unreasonably high and we chastise ourselves for small mistakes. Dammit, that was stupid.  If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it to yourself. 

This is something I’m struggling with right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not presenting myself as some kind of self-healing guru. I’m just determined to figure this out and share my discoveries with you.

You are human, with flaws, like everyone. A lot of attention is given to forgiving others but forgiving yourself can be more difficult. Admitting someone else made a mistake is easy! But it’s absolutely vital, because turning compassion on yourself has been shown to soothe the Fight/Flight/Freeze mechanism.

Often referred to as Fight or Flight, this is an ancient brain system that is triggered by stressful situations. But when you are a child, and you can’t fight or flee, this stress response can go unresolved. If this happens many times over a period of years, years when your brain is growing, the overload of stress gets baked in and becomes part of the system. This is why, sometimes, you feel like crap for no reason.

Sad On The Porch

I’m just not feeling these shoes!

Plenty of people are dipshits to their kids. I suspect some common parenting practices are worse for little ones than most of us know. Chances are, the things or situations that throw you off-balance are related to bad experiences in your formative years.

Maybe you rare painfully aware of this but aren’t sure what to do about it. Traditional therapy can feel like endlessly rehashing trauma. Happily, the best treatment for these things is something anyone can do at home for free.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works by helping change the way you think about things. Unlike most forms of therapy, there’s quite a bit of evidence that CBT actually works.

According to the American Psychological Association“CBT is based on several core principles, including:

Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.

Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.”

CBT is all about learning to see things differently. 

First, you have to admit, really understand, that you are not infallible. What you experience is not reality. You see your mind’s representation of reality. It’s impossible to get away from because you can’t get out of your mind.

But you can change it. The brain is flexible and always thirsty for new knowledge, until the day we die. 

The APA continues, “CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns. These strategies might include:

Learning to recognize one’s distortions in thinking that are creating problems, and then to reevaluate them in the light of reality.”

Peak Behind The Lace

I see plenty! And those kids over there are up to something!

Experience can condition us to anticipate certain behavior from those around us. We may even misinterpret what they say and do, following our customary script.

That’s right, I’m suggesting you could be wrong.

Maybe you are just totally jangly, too jumpy to think straight. Admit that the issue lies with you, rather than the world being unfair or unwelcoming. The world at large isn’t watching you. The world at large doesn’t care.

This may sound harsh but, when you realize the pressure is off, you can start living your life however you want …. Whatever that means.

In the words of the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists“If we are upset about our problems, we have two problems – The problem and our upset about it.”

The power lies in putting some breathing room between yourself and the issue.

feel angry

instead of

am angry

Then we can see more clearly, “Often, we upset ourselves about things when, in fact, the situation isn’t like we think it is. If we knew that, we would not waste time upsetting ourselves.”

CBT calls this the Inductive Method. It’s the simple act of checking yourself before you wreck yourself.

Indtruder

You’re not sneaking up on me!

“The Inductive Method encourages us to look at our thoughts as being hypotheses or guesses that can be questioned and tested. If we find that our hypotheses are incorrect (because we have new information) then we can change our thinking to be in line with how the situation really is.”

Mental flexibility is the key to what we’re doing – Facing our fears and putting them to rest.

Top of the APA’s list of unhealthy behaviors CBT addresses is denial. They stress, “Facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them.”  This is the #1 most important thing!

You must be willing to do this or you are wasting your time.

By the time you get to be in your 30s, you will have noticed that certain scenarios – or situations that feel similar – keep cropping up. You don’t need to be a mystic to see that if you learn to handle these things better, you can stop going in circles. 

You can guarantee that your emotions are messing you up, keeping you from putting your best foot forward. This is why we often struggle with things related to our history. It’s not anything supernatural, and it’s within our power to make changes.

Take a moment, either during the situation or after, and ask yourself why it brings out the feelings in you that it does. How are you approaching or conceptualizing things in ways that come from thoughts that cause you pain? From ideas you know are probably unhealthy?

It’s not complicated stuff, but it does involve dealing directly and honestly with things that make you uncomfortable. With things you’ve taken for granted. It’s easy to get defensive.

Television

We all got way too much of this!

Watch out for anger directed at people or things who don’t really deserve it or are not worth your time. That’s your defense mechanism kicking in to deflect attention from a sore spot.

Time after time, take that pause to step back. Understand that your feelings are like a flowing river – You may be soaking wet, but you are not the water. 

By applying Self-Compassion and Check Before You Wreck, over time you will begin to see patterns in your thoughts and behavior. Understanding will enable you to act more with purpose, instead of just reacting to the world as it comes at you.

You can’t go back in time and undo trauma, but you can fix the damage it caused. It takes time. If you get frustrated trying to understand yourself, imagine the most sympathetic character you can think of – A small child, a puppy, an old lady – and imagine they are having your difficulty. Take how you would feel for them and apply it to yourself. 

Yes, it takes that much patience.

Coming soon: Part 2 – What Does Life on Your Terms Mean, Anyway?

Dementia Trumps Donald?

The time has come once again to name names. Donald Trump is draped in red flags.

I usually save my political rants for more general social themes but, once in a while, I feel compelled to get specific. If you like my Trump posts you are in for a treat. If you don’t…. who am I kidding? No way Trumpers read my blog!

Donald Bemused

Not many Trump fans around here!

Several years ago I worked as a Certified Nurse Aide. Seldom have I felt as entitled to the space I take up as when I was changing dementia patients’ diapers. (Not sure what that says about me, but I digress.)

Years before that, I watched first one grandmother and then the other completely forget everything and everyone.

But, I’m a nerd, so my horror led me to research. I have seen and read quite a bit about dementia and, with my family history, it’s seldom far from my mind.

I say all this because, when I tell you that Donald Trump is in trouble, this is my basis for comparison.

Last month video made the rounds of him seemingly losing the word ‘origins.’ He went for it on his mental shelf and it just wasn’t there.

But the really worrying thing is that you can tell he knows. He knows he said the wrong word but can’t do anything about it. He doubles back on his thought and restates it. That goes well so he gets brave and tries again.

“The Mueller Report, I wish, covered the oranges….”

Trump, New York, Usa 15 Aug 2017

Hey, my words mean what I say they do!

This is called aphasia, and it’s a symptom of dementia. Specifically, something called non-fluent variant Primary Progressive Aphasia (nfvPPA.)  The University of California Wellness and Aging Center writes,

“Because it primarily affects the front part of the brain, nfvPPA is considered a subtype of a large group of brain conditions called frontotemporal dementia (FTD).”

Patients usually begin to show signs in their 50s or 60s. Donald is 72.

Many people think of dementia as the granny who goes shopping in her housecoat. Confused, befuddled and comical, depictions of this disease are glib and play for laughs.

But,

“The nonfluent PPA variant accounts for about 20% of all people with frontotemporal dementia.

“People with nfvPPA gradually have more trouble expressing themselves, even though they still understand the meaning of words…. Reading and writing skills usually remain good…. They may have increasing difficulty with pronouncing or mixing up sounds in familiar words.”

Donald Shows Palms

If I speak with authority, you won’t notice I have no idea what I’m talking about!

Trump almost tweets more than he speaks, if not for his tendency to ramble at the podium.

Which, incidentally, is another red flag according to Science Alert:

“New research suggests that rambling and non-specific speech could be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.”

The article cites, among others, Ronald Reagan as an example of a still-functional person who showed early signs of language difficulties.

The findings were presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston by Janet Cohen Sherman. She is Clinical Director of the Psychology Assessment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Guardian sums it up,

“Scientists compared the language abilities of 22 healthy young individuals, 24 healthy older individuals and 22 people with MCI [mild cognitive impairment].

“When given an exercise in which they had to join up three words, for instance “pen”, “ink” and “paper”, the healthy volunteers typically joined the three in a simple sentence, while the MCI group gave circuitous accounts of going to the shop and buying a pen.”

Donald Touches Temple

My mental precision is as good as it’s ever done!

Sound familiar?

The Guardian continues:

“They were much less concise in conveying information, the sentences they produced were much longer, they had a hard time staying on point and I guess you could say they were much more roundabout in getting their point across,” said Sherman. “It was a very significant difference.”

Sherman stressed that just being a windbag is not the issue. The issue is deteriorating mental precision.

“Another study, based on White House press conference transcripts, found striking changes in Ronald Reagan’s speech over the course of his presidency, while George HW Bush, who was a similar age when president, showed no such decline.”

So, not only is this a plausible scenario, it has happened before.

Dr Lawrence K Altman bears witness to this for the New York Times. He writes,

“In 1980, Mr. Reagan told me that he would resign the presidency if White House doctors found him mentally unfit. Years later, those doctors and key aides told me they had not detected any changes in his mental abilities while in office.

How Has The Donald Ducked Life's Lessons?

I don’t even know who Ronald Reagan is!

“Now a clever new analysis has found that during his two terms in office, subtle changes in Mr. Reagan’s speaking patterns linked to the onset of dementia were apparent years before doctors diagnosed his Alzheimer’s disease in 1994.”

His doctors might not have been concerned, and even Dr. Altman insists that Reagan was not impaired enough to have affected his Presidential judgment (although that would be a dandy excuse for a few things.) But not everyone was so confident.

The article begins,

“Even before Ronald Reagan became the oldest elected president, his mental state was a political issue. His adversaries often suggested his penchant for contradictory statements, forgetting names and seeming absent-mindedness could be linked to dementia.”

Reagan was 73 in 1980.

The sample size of the language study is small, but it overwhelmingly supports my own observations and those of many others. Often the first signs of dementia are subtle linguistic anomalies.

Donald Arms Crossed

I’ve never done anything wrong in my life! I always have reasons!

And a guy like Donald is the kind of guy who would hide it. Deny, deny, deny.

“People with nfvPPA tend not to show the behavioral characteristics of FTD until quite late in the disease, and they are keenly aware of their difficulties.”

Not to mention an old man who is estranged from his wife, in trouble with the law and apparently spends a shitton of time watching TV and surfing social media:

“Depression and social withdrawal are common features of nfvPPA.”

I am neither the first nor the most qualified person to suggest that Donald is suffering from some kind of mental deficiency. It would be easy to brush off such claims as haters hating.

But even if I thought my personal axe-grinding makes any difference, the man speaks for himself.