March 20, 2007

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Thinking ahead... It's time to start adding to the home library. Any suggestions for a good, preferrably Canadian and feminist book on where babies come from/puberty/sexuality (I *hate* the term "facts of life") for kids (or girls) around 8? I was also going to add to the list not overly heteronormative**, but since the "where babies come from" thing is primarily heterosexual intercourse, I figured that I might be asking too much, but if you do have a source that avoids privileging marriage as the (only) way babies are made, that would be better. (And yes, my daughter had asked why her friend has two mommies and how the gestating mom got pregnant, so far the answer "artificial insemination at the hospital" hasn't produced further questions). As for books, my quick seach has yielded one that sounds good: Boys and Girls and Body Science, though the sociologist of health and women in me bristles a bit at the idea that reproduction should be thought of as "science" when it is a complex social and biological process, not just putting you know what into you know where*. There haven't been a lot of questions about all this at home yet, and "the plan" is to just start buying some books and leaving them around. A fellow parent is doing this after going to a workshop on children and sexuality and I think this is a good way to promote a discussion-positive household that values healthy sexuality. Which means working on my own skills in the discussion-positive area since that wasn't how I grew up (I had good information, but this was not a topic of discussion in my house outside that time when I was about 10 and mom took out the encyclopedia). I'm not at the stage where I take Sue Johanson's advice and tell the kids we're having sex and they should not bother us and we lock the door. Mostly because I figure it'll be just like when I'm in the bathroom--it's an invitation to bother me. *Yes, I'm being funny. And, I'm trying to avoid too much p*rn spam. **Heteronormative--see it in action here. And my complete agreement with the opinion expressed about the crappy essay here. Racist, heterosexist, sexist...you get the idea.
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Well... That last post didn't go as I expected. But it does lead into more of my thoughts about blogging. As a Sociologist who studies media and communication, blogging has become an increasing interest for me (you know something I'll research "when I have time"). As a blogger, part of a lively and interactive knitblogging community (who also participates in some feminist blogs, but more on the sidelines), I also spent some time thinking about what blogging means and what it feels like to be part of a subculture. The knitting subculture is vast and diverse but also has some unique/special elements that I really like. It is a virtual community that links to real geographical spaces and real people. Some people you "know" in cyberspace only, others in both worlds and some you know in "real life" but may not read their blogs. It's also a generous, encouraging, vocal community. We read the blogs, comment on the posts, participate in message boards and Yahoo groups and also in local stitch'n'bitches and knitting circles. We knit for charities together, send bloggers secret pal gifts, knit each other socks, swap yarns and patterns, run contests, participate in challenging feats and mix the real and the virtual. Some of us also share in life's more personal triumphs and tragedies and mix knitting life and social life. Hell, we even drink together. There's something unique about it in my limited trollings of the virtual world, and I'm quite happy to be part of it. Maybe there are legions of other crafters and artists who do this too, frankly I haven't really checked. But I don't see the same connections in the feminist blogs--people don't plan protests and consciousness raising groups together or make those "live" connections through the virtual ones so openly as in the knitting online community. And I know what counts as live and virtual is sometimes blurry, but I don't think we've hit the world envisioned by William Gibson yet where there is nt distinction. I think human connections in the real world matter, even if their beginnings are forged through the internet. And honestly, I don't think I would blog if people didn't come by and say hello sometimes. I do my best to reciprocate on the blogs I read which is partly how I maintain the readership I have here. Blogs can also be about networking and putting in the time to communicate with others, just like other relationships. Commenting is a way of saying "hey, how are you?" and often makes me click over to the commentor's space to see what's up or drop a friend an email to say hi (because I know not everyone has a blog). That's why I find commentless blogs sort of startling. Sure people can blog without comments--why not? But if they're just for you and some friends, why make them public or have a comment function at all? What are people's motivations to blog? Do they want interaction or just a...

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