March 12th, 2009

me

On supporting child-friendly spaces

There's been an awesome discussion going on over at angriest's blog about a bunch of Swancon related issues. Go check it out. One is related to child-friendly spaces and how, of course, that relates to women-friendly spaces.

I haven't caught up on the latest comments so am a bit behind. I commented that I don't believe that child-friendly means permission or acceptance of disruptive behaviour. Rightly so many people pointed out this should also include "of adults" too. And I think it should. I think that means that probably as a community we need to speak out more readily when someone is behaving inappropriately for the space (don't heckle in the GoH speech, or take over the panel for example). In any case, I don't mean that I think that children, or people bringing children, should be made to feel unwelcome in panels or speeches or cons.

I very much believe that it's the community that sets the tone and expectations for behaviour and for who and what is welcome or unwelcome in our collective, communal space.

I posted a while ago on my reaction to having to become more child-friendly as my close friends became parents (in the height of my OCD I was not child-friendly, and in fact, my relationship with my sister was seriously jeopardised because of this, I am ashamed to say). I posted about how I realised that being a feminist meant supporting women with children to facilitate them still being able to participate. And how I had had to learn how to have two conversations at the same time - one on laying out a book, say, and the other on yelling into the other room about remembering to wash your hands when you've finished on the toilet. I've learned to help littlies get things out of the fridge whilst debating slush. And I've become someone who can give hugs and cuddles to bubs on my lap whilst line editing or reading.

I've learned that if I want my friends to still being able to come out and play, I need to support them by sharing the load. By becoming a psuedo-parent and providing supervision and love and support and answering small person questions and entertaining bored littlies and so on. That's just the way it is. And it's the way, I think, it should be.

And of course ... in return I have discovered that nothing soothes a broken heart or defeated spirit like a kiss and cuddle and a shouted "Aleeesa" from a three year old.

So I've been thinking a lot about what has been posted in the other thread. And I think that I can do more to be supportive. I've got some ideas that I am going to run past editormum first but I also wanted to say that I am going to be working the Twelfth Planet Press table for most of the con. We are going to be in a prominent, well labelled space. And please know that if you are comfortable and trust me, you are more than welcome to come and thrust a child at me if you need a break or want to see a panel or participate in something else. If you don't know me, please come and find me and say hello. Perhaps by the next con you will trust me to leave a child with me so you can have a break.

Willow

On men who love women

I was just thinking how lovely the men are in my section at work - there are 3, and about 15 women, in our section. And I was just amusing one of them with my aches and pains after pilates class today and he was genuinely and warmly amused rather than laughing *at* me or waiting politely till I went away. He suggested I mention the fact that I was having trouble breathing (abs work!!) after class to her before the next one!

It had me thinking how all three of the men I work with at the moment genuinely like women. They don't set themselves apart in team meetings or morning teas or lunches. They participate in all the conversations (even when overly girly) and they bake their own cakes to bring along as their contributions to morning tea. They pay attention to food allergies and so on. One of them even sorted all of the Xmas party last year, including the catering. They care for the rest of the team. They're great guys.

And that had me thinking about the other men in my life right now. And I realised that pretty much all of them genuinely love women. And that felt like such an odd realisation to have. What do I mean "they love women"? Don't straight men, by definition, *love* women?

Hmmm... looking back, I'm not so sure. If I think about it, I think in the past, the men I have been with haven't really liked women as much as they liked being *with* women. Men I spend time with now, see me. They notice when I change my hair. They admire my shoes and clothes. They sit and talk to me and genuinely want to hear my opinions and perspectives and they interact and converse. They value *me*. But more than that, they value and love me *as* a woman, not just as a person or despite the fact that I am a woman. They care about stuff I care about, cause they care about me. They don't humour me or politely wait till I stop speaking.

The weird bit is that that actually feels refreshing and different. How sad that I spent so much time with men who didn't like women before now. How sad that I was ok with things about me being dismissed as unimportant or uninteresting or "women's things".

I dunno, it doesn't really feel like such an earth-shattering thing to say. I've often discussed the subject with my mother. It just never occurred to me till this very minute that maybe the ex was one of those men. And that's why I had so many issues of a particular nature in our relationship. And that feels like a new idea.

Note to self: continue to choose to spend time with men who love women in the future.

Willow

Thursday Hatred

Do you have a day in the week with a schedule that conspires against you? Sometimes I really hate Thursdays.

I'm in the process of juggling my Thursdays to make them better but today was ... not productive. I think I get points for physically being in the places I was supposed to be at the allotted time but ... my heart was in none of it and I had very little to give. And the longer the day went on with me not achieving anything, the grumpier and more anxious I got. I really hate feeling unproductive.

It's 10pm and now far too late to sit down and try and salvage the day. Tomorrow I am in a meeting all morning in the city so I can't even attack my work list till the afternoon. I could almost cry.

I still frigging have this headache too. Since Friday! I'm currently the most hydrated I've ever been in my life. And still my head hurts. I've changed my computer monitor height at work. Tonight I shall switch pillows but I'm soon out of ideas.

Think I should take my grumpy self to bed.