Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Today I'm wearing white.

It's election day.

I want to talk about workplace harassment.

When Bill Clinton ran for office people would try to convince me he was a loser because of his wife. The liberal men who theoretically had no problem with me, told me there's no way he can win because Hillary was a feminist.

Hillary's "I chose to follow my profession" line was actually used at workplaces to tell me not to be too assertive when I was at work; "look at what happened to her."

Democratic men who were actively sexually harassing me at work were ready to blame losing to Bush on Hillary. And then expected to lose to Dole because of Hillary.

Hillary's name has followed me everyplace I've worked because I'm constantly compared to her - or the complaints about me (or the random accusations against me that would have to be investigated because there are laws that require those accusations to be investigated) followed the same pattern - mostly because they were the same accusations as hers scaled up or down for whichever workplace I was in.

Since after a certain point the way to "go after" me became clear in every workplace, I would go through a sort of "sampling" of how they would normally harass other women until they landed on the ones that might work against me. "Accusing her of sleeping with the boss isn't realistic" the various "ungenderings" happened. Accusing me of doing shortcut things for my numbers or projects to be making their milestones even though I had "the worst teams" or I "was a bitch to work with" or whatever nonsense someone thought they could get away with spreading (Hint - yes someone actually accused me of hating dogs too). It didn't work- because I always had my full paperwork, and theirs, and the clients. It never worked when people worked with me directly - mostly because I'm a pretty collaborative leader and protective of my team and I don't need to be "liked" so I'm hard to emotionally blackmail

Even that harassment I understood more than when they literally just made stuff up. I bring proof. I lose nothing. If you're going to try to harass me using procedure or accusations of mishandling things you better be prepared to defend every email you sent me while telling me you didn't.

I'm glad there's a meme for that now. I always have the receipts.


There is only one unique thing about my work history that could make this consistent - I was often the only female manager. I was often specifically hired when companies were in chaos or projects were going south and they were "taking a risk" by "bringing in new blood" - supposedly about my resume - because I worked the same jobs but cross-industry.

I have made mistakes while running projects, I have occasionally made bad staffing errors. I have a really good track record of running on time and on budget and I have made lifelong enemies because I have not "played the game" the way some other people have.

And I don't blame them. The current American workplace is not a place where people are allowed to be kind to each other - I am doing the work to find out why - its literally why I went into anthropology.

I have survived some harassment better than other harassment. I have reported to HR and not reported to HR. Once I got older, I always handled it face to face and could nuke it before we all got into the system. Winning the harassment confrontations just made me subject to different kinds of "illuminati" type whisper campaigns, and that's OK too - because there is literally no place it didn't happen and there is literally no place I ever had to do anything more machiavellian than just do my job and protect the work of my team so they could do theirs, for us to succeed. Haters gonna die of stress exacerbated heart conditions.

And probably blame me.

So a long while back - many folk made assumptions about who I would be "happier" to vote for - both people running and people not running.

And to be honest, I really want people to be involved in the democratic process and make their own choices. I publicly started taking an anti-Trump stance because of his courting of active hate groups and my experience with those hate groups ALSO being directly involved in workplace harassment (including of me! How grand it is to be in America!) so when we are down to two real candidates, of course everyone knows I will vote for the Democratic candidate as opposed to the one who retweets groups I'm studying for my work with online hate.

But it's the day of - and I need to tell you and everyone who was ready to throw blame on Hillary for losing the White House both times Bill won it anyway.

The only reason I liked Bill Clinton is he chose Hillary. I told everyone of those assholes in 1992 that I was upset I had to vote for him instead of her.

I had to move my support in 2008 from her to Obama and my trust in him - like my trust in Bill is in the way she chose to speak about him when she lost. I can tell when she's being careful - she was never careful when she campaigned for him. It was full out.

Because I know all the cadence, and all the words, and all the shades of meaning in where her shoulders are as she threads the needles, and knows what the upcoming meeting is going to be like. All the things men have told me they don't like about her voice or presentation or the way she presents information are often the very reasons I find her trustworthy - because I have done them, I have been there, and frankly often they are the kind of men who were the reasons I had to do those things.

I know what it's like to care more about the product and the team than your own rep - because you learned long ago you're not a person - you're the projection of whatever the person accusing you of nonsense is concerned about - you're just the "safest" woman nearby to take it out on. And you can't care about it other than to isolate or cauterize it. It's white noise.

I've had her name thrown up at me, against me, forever. It's been used at me as an insult, as a warning, it's the middle class white male co-workers way of trying to keep me in my place and make me afraid. It' not dissimilar from everyone telling me "don't sound too smart you'll never get a boyfriend" "have friends" "no one likes smart girls" "don't be stuck up" which means don't be smart.

They were always wrong. It wasn't an insult - it was a compliment.

And the comparisons were probably accurate, just not in the way intended -

I'm with her.

In the words of another supporter "Don't call it a comeback I've been here for years"




Monday, June 27, 2016

Things I am uninterested in - Men telling me which categories of feminist other women are and whether or not I should pay attention to those women as being good for me.

Do you all know what intersectionality means? It means that different women are going to need different things at different times but it's bullshit that we have to ignore one type of feminism making headway because of some intersectionality and stop them instead of making that an opportunity for a discussion of more.

Intersectionality means internal purity tests are automatically bullshit - progress isn't a curtain going up. Its rocks being knocked out in different places at the same time in a rock wall.

We need corporate feminism -we would just like it to include PoC women and trans women and QUILTBAG women and disabled women and frankly just MORE women. All of 'em Corporate - All Middle of the Road. All God-damned boring and status quo and not waiting for the magic day when men let us participate equally because they just magically decided to.

It's not feminism until women get to be just as mediocre as men get to be.

Just the same way we need all the other "kinds" of feminism because no one is telling me that we need just one type of man.

Oh and stop pitting generational movements against each other.

None of those movements was ever monolthic or evenly agreed upon either - you're probably erasing the contributions of the very women you're complaining aren't represented by accepting the media presentations of who they let speak 20 years later.

The only "feminism" I am against is the ones shutting down other women - not the ones that are only succeeding for some - no one is going to "break through" in a capitalist society until women are fully represented at some level IN that capitalist entity.

And you can keep Camile Paglia, Anne Coulter and Sarah Palin, and Michelle Malkin - I think those are the women you were thinking of when you expected me to be upset about not supporting other women.... right? No... OK?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Play Entry 29

"you can't role play empathy" 

I read this article on unrestricted play for children which I do have lots of thoughts about - however the two features of the article that stood out to me were the quote I put up at the top and the impulse to interrupt play to "correct it"

And also the fact that children surprised adults by resolving differences just not on the time table the adults wanted.

It's almost as if adults were conditioned to believe if it isn't resolved right away and in front of them it isn't resolvable.
Almost like a management issue with adults......
But so many of our creative or introversion advocates use "role-play" which is really imaginative play to try to "teach" a thing - but they set all the rules and interrupt the play for adults too - all those "role-play" corporate games have "right answers" and people who don't work with competitive players as coaches might not know how we train cognitive shortcuts in our best players to achieve goals - that's a positive thing not a negative one - it frees up automatic things for use in strategic things. But if you don't let something grow unrestricted and then give it contraints you get a different thing ( that can still be beautiful) than if you constrain a thing and then let it grow. Bonsai and Redwoods are both trees topiary and non topiary plants are both plants.

Something tells me that the intersection of "time" and "play" are things relevant to organizations and management of workspaces.

It's important to realize that one of the reason we are training our children to be indoors all the time is we expect our adults to contribute their productivity and citizenship responsibilities but being indoors all the time.

Bonsais are still beautiful -  maybe it's the interrupting we should work on rather than the glorification of one space or the other where adults vs children are, unless we find ways to free our adults. I don't think it "unfair" to raise up children to function in the culture we've created for them and there are strong arguments that all these "negatives" of ranking and sedentary-ness are realistic disciplines that children will be subjected to because that is what we offer as western educated industrialized democratic cultures. Making them full of compassion and joy might take a different thing than the nostalgic past. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Play entry 28

Yesterday while reading Subject and Power by Foucault I realized he has in effect 2 paragraphs on the exchange of subject/object power relations in the language of "games" and I'm going to have to go back and unpack it carefully when I managed to get some "post-semester-finals" sleep.

Also I need to make sure that I write up an entry on the idea that material objects have an intent that is intrinsically housed in themselves and exists regardless of whether or not a human interacts with them.

I am still unsure if that intent exists if it is an unmediated object - right now I think maybe it's only mediated ones and therefore a function of "designed objects"

Also here is this article in mainstream press that I want to go look at later to see the divisions of play as they are being experienced by western US humans and what they are thinking about it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/12/11/why-adults-have-to-stop-trying-so-darn-hard-to-control-how-children-play/?postshare=4471450357277630&tid=ss_fb

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Play Entry 27 - Oh Hell, I've been down this road before

Once upon a time - a long, long time ago I used what I now recognize as focus grouped ethnography to playtest toys and write toy reviews.

I tackled the difference between adult play and child's play then - right there- published and everything:

"If you want a glimpse into a strange new world, eavesdrop on a pre-schooler playing alone. You will discover a range of voices, character traits, and truly alien thinking that will put to shame any hidden notion you have of your own superior imagination. The biggest lie we science fiction adults tell ourselves is that we have retained the sense of imagination and wonder we had as children. But we are cynical. We imagine the impossible because we have so clearly defined for ourselves what is possible. We hope for the improbable because, well, we’re weird. But children have yet to draw the line between possible and impossible. They still hope for the impossible.


When we adults play, we are practicing the suspension of disbelief. Children, on the other hand, suspend nothing. Even when they are very reality-based during their period of play, they practice belief. For the duration of their play, they believe their doll is hungry; they believe their T-Rex hand puppet is bad and should be smacked on the snout for trying to eat boo-boo bunny; they believe that they are the teacher and should be listened to. I hope that by encouraging this type of play over video games that the kids we deal with will have a little less disbelief to suspend when they are older and weighted down by reality like we are."

I've moderated my own stance considerably on video-games over time, but part of the reason is that video games have changed too - that's personal/editorial - I think what's interesting to me is that this is commercial writing for niche market and before I went back to any form of school. For example: In an earlier column I discuss how "I don't know much about Art History" and it was true then, and it is deeply false now.

I am more consistent than many would be over a span of decades but I obviously still care about the same questions for different reasons.

That insight of "belief" is a thing I struggle with in anthropology - recognizing that the impulse to consign to "suspension of disbelief" already privileges rationalist hierarchies and colors other systems as "fictional" or "unbelievable"

The reason I encountered my own work is an internet security search I do every so often -

I may have to cite myself at some point - http://www.strangenewworlds.com/issues/kids-12.html

I'm glad I'm not static, I'm also glad my past self doesn't make me cringe too much. But that said I'm already writing to adults about Nostalgia Play vs Play, where the act of playing at all is nostalgic and subversive in the literal sense.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Play Entry 26 - There is no spoon - but what about a box?

I am thinking about the Matrix and imagination and imaginary worlds and why imagination is said to be desired in workspaces to solve problems but then discouraged if it imagines anything that is outside the current paradigm.

It is important to note that "think outside the box" already creates the space and the binary of inside or outside the box.

What is the thing "inside the box"?

Boxes are actually playthings - they can be all the things  - they can be the possibility of things.

Why are you asking to define things by box positionally as belonging or not belonging?

Box is being seen as the "container of things" not as the material FOR things.

When we play WITH the box what we are doing is rejecting the paradigm that automatically benefits the person/entity giving us "imagination instructions"


I am thinking of the man who can read the matrix and see the patterns and knows because he took "the right pill" the moral one of truth - but there is a cost to being outside the box and knowing and seeing all the patterns and he is the one that eventually betrays the group - to take the "wrong" pill and be in a world where he can't see outside and inside simultaneously anymore.

The strain of seeing the matrix and not having quite enough power to fix both inside and outside the box is real. Then the box is a game, there are rules, you solve games. "Play" is engagement.

But what if you look at the matrix and it is YOUR box- then inside and outside are irrelevant

My box is a world, my box is a lion, my box is a refrigerator that produces small gods I will sell to starving clergy that need them.

It is a plane or a tank or a table or a snowflake.

I won't take a pill or choose to think inside or outside I will take the box. I will open the box so it can be inside and outside simultaneously. My box is a shaman, it is in its own world and ours at once.

That is just play. It may not help solve the game problem set by the "imagination overseer".

All of the imaginary play in this case is transformative and it might also be transient replacement. The language of play is informed in the request to think outside the box - but it is appropriated language.

What does a business solution look like if I "play with the box" instead of think outside it?

What is the power exchange made by linguistically distracting me from playing with the box?

Would the man who just wanted a steak dinner have betrayed any of our "heroes" if he looked at the matrix and thought about it as a box he could play with instead of be in or out of?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015