Being a Person

Life is not equal opportunity.

First of all, you are created. In the womb, your life can already be disrupted by having a creator who drinks too much. If your mother is older than 40 years old, you have the same chances of having the genetic discrepancies that would affect the offspring of second-cousins. Opportunities abound for life-altering circumstances before you’ve breathed oxygen.

Then, you are born. You are born into a world that not only discriminates based on gender, race, religion, and sexuality, but also will vary your life vastly based upon to whom you were born to, what nation you live in, and how much money there will be to ease your life.

Your parents are legally responsible for your health, safety, and general well being. In American, they will make all legal decisions for you in your first eighteen years. They have more decision making power in your actions than you do. They are responsible for your every move. Sure, your pre-frontal cortex likely isn’t fully developed until you are about twenty one years old. You are not done developing. Your thought process is literally not the same as that of an adult. Still, you are a person, not property or an accessory.

You will look forward to the rest of your life. Finally, you turn eighteen and are an adult. Technically. You must continue to mature, grow, and contribute to society. In the meantime, you will face adversity.

You will be discriminated against in the stereotypical categories (gender, employment, skin color, etc) and in many unforeseen complications. You will be judged, whether you don’t attend college or go Ivy League. Prejudice will affect your life. You will have many stressors, be they hashtag-first-world-problems, cancer scares, or not having enough money to eat today.

This is why feminism is important. We fight for every person’s rights to attempt their best life possible. Enough already stands in the way. At some points, hopefully few and far between, life will be a total B.

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Becoming Adult

The idea of slowly transforming from childhood into adulthood is fairly new. Childhood itself is also rather new, since most normal working class lives used to entail children going into work as soon as they were physically possible. This is still the case in poorer nations, but is thankfully not the norm in America. Child labor is now illegal and school attendance is mandatory.

With the idea of childhood comes the difference between childhood and adulthood. Childhood officially ends at the age of 18. This would be about the time that the person graduates high school and enters the “real world”. Some attend college afterwards, prolonging the time before they must obtain full time jobs.

All of this includes the formal childhood vs. adulthood debate. Emotionally, becoming an adult is not the same story. Being 18 and having money does not make an adult. See Bieber.

The average age of a person when they enter their first marriage is 27, and children are likelier to be conceived after that. That means that ages 18-27, an individual is less likely to be forced into action, taking responsibility for their actions and acting like a true man or woman.

“What makes a man” or “what makes a woman” is also up for debate. The “man-child” phase is a quite normal stage now. This is normally a post-college male working a fine job, yet being more preoccupied with sports or video games than other life commitments.* He goes to work during the day, games all evening, and spends his time how he chooses. Is this the modern day bachelor- or societally stunted development? definition: A man by age but a child in mentality and actions. Usually an inability to get over the “frat boy” or “party boy” phase. Can’t have fun without a beer. Still relate to women as sex objects and are emotionally undeveloped. A general irritant to women and men that have matured.

There is probably a similar modern developmental stage for many young women. Peter Pan Syndrome may or may not be valid, but there is already enough irresponsibility to go around. American womenkind has fought hard for the rights to work, vote, and have an opinion. To not be property or less than. We are to make our own decisions and take advantage of the rights we were thankfully born with. This means accepting responsibility and not being the female version of the man-child.

*I do not condemn sports, video games, and the like. I don’t really care what forms of entertainment you partake in. Being entertained by a pastime does not make you irresponsbile. Choosing said pastimes instead of adult responsibilities does.

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A Healthy Father-Daughter Relationship

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure is a children’s flash game that takes around five minutes to play which doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary, until I mention that the words and art for this flash game were done by the game’s target audience, a five year old girl.

Cassie Creighton and her dad, Ryan Henson Creighton, created Sissy’s Magical Pony Corn Adventure. What started out as a simple “father daughter project” turned phenomenon. The game got a lot of attention and ended up giving a nice boost to Cassie’s college fund. But the bigger picture, according to Ryan, was reforming children’s technology education.

The little game that could…did. Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure landed Ryan and Cassie a TED talk. Little Cassie, six-years-old strolls out onto the TED stage with her Father and very well spoken describes her game. Including what they used to make the game, “a red laptop, a big box of crayons, a stack of paper, a microphone and a bunch of ponies so I knew how to do draw a pony.”

The small picture is that a five-year-old and her dad create a game that gets them money and a TED talk. The bigger picture, to me, is that a dad let his daughter draw a world and he turned it into a reality.

The father daughter relationship gets a lot of attention. Father’s can really mess up their kids. Every time I see a girl wearing a skirt that doesn’t even cover her vagina I always shake my head and think, “Step it up, Dads”. But here is a Dad that’s doing it right. He let his daughter be creative, he joined in her world, and he let her lead. He also showed her a way to take her creativity and turn it into something real. Something tangible.

So often I hear parents tell their kids to, “Reach for the stars”. That’s fine, that’s wonderful. But you need to show them how. Sometimes the stars can seem really far away, and if no one every showed you that you can use this kind of ladder to get to them…how would you know? Too often I hear the time withered phrase, “do as I say, not as I do”. I think it’s time we change that. I think it’s time that parents lead by example.

There is a really strong theory in psychology: you only understand your own reality. Parents create their kids reality and the kids continue to populate it. In theory, if you show your kid that you can draw your own ladder and reach the stars whose to say they won’t invent a new way to succeed. To grow. To break the cycle.

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Possible Link Between Childhood Spanking and Mental Illness?

Cartoon of Dennis the Menace Being Spanked
According to the medical journal Pediatrics, there appears to be a link between childhood spanking and adult mental illness … or at least that’s the headline making the rounds.  (And, in case you can’t tell from my tone here, I’m calling shenanigans on this one)

From Yahoo:

Researchers examined data from more than 34,000 adults and found that being spanked significantly increased the risk of developing mental health issues as adults. According to their results, corporal punishment is associated with mood disorders, including depression and anxiety, as well as personality disorders and alcohol and drug abuse. They estimate that as much as 7 percent of adult mental illness may be attributable to childhood physical punishment, including slapping, shoving, grabbing, and hitting.

I guess my concern is, what exactly is the definition of “spanking” we’re working with here?

I know very few adults, both in my age group and on either end of it, that were not spanked as children at one point or another.  I personally was spanked pretty consistently (which should probably have demonstrated to my parents how ineffective beating on your kid’s butt is as punishment, but that’s a different story), and I don’t think being spanked as a child had any impact on the adult I am whatsoever.

When you get into the stuff that goes beyond spanking, though, the punching and the kicking and the throwing down stairs and smashing little kids into walls, I’m sure the correlation exists.  It’s just the way the reporting out of the study is spun in terms of its title that pisses me off, I guess.

And the fact that it’s pretty much an outrageous attempt to control parenting.

Before I go any further, I feel like I need to state that I have never spanked either of my children.  This has nothing to do with any sort of noble mindset or belief that it’ll screw them up or anything, but more because I have found that either logical consequences (you hit a kid with a baseball bat, so we’re canceling your birthday party) or revoking privileges are far more effective.  I mean, if she thinks her iPhone is at stake, my older daughter will do pretty much anything I ask.

The thing is, though, establishing the idea of logical consequences and revoking privileges is something that needs to be started at …

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