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Unicorn Frap: Quit the Sugar Shaming

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few days, you know about Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino.  It’s brilliant marketing, by the way – bright colours, playing to the universal love of unicorns, and it’s only in existence for five days.

And it took exactly one day for people to find something to complain about.  This meme is floating around social media:

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And people are outraged.  “You mean to tell me that this artificially coloured and flavoured sweet drink is loaded with sugar?  You’re going to cause diabetes!” they cry.  I saw one person suggest that Starbucks should be held legally responsible for marketing this to children.   Never mind the extreme ignorance on how diabetes happens, people are genuinely pissed off and surprised that this thing isn’t the picture of healthy living.   And to those people I have just one question.

What in the actual hell did you expect?

Who took a look at this flourescent beverage and expected anything less than a sugar-loaded cup filled with sweet, sour deliciousness?  And, maybe more importantly, have you looked at Starbucks’ other drinks – do you have any idea how much sugar you consume on a daily basis?  If you think the Unicorn Frap is the problem, you truly have no idea.

A quick perusal of Starbucks’ nutritional information website shows me that SEVERAL of their drinks meet or exceed 76g of sugar.  The Venti Java Chip Frappuccino, for example, comes in at a whopping 89g if you add the whip (85g without).  In fact, most of their frappuccino options come in with a sky-high sugar content.  

A Grande Caramel Apple Spice has 71g of sugar, while a Venti Peach Iced Green Tea Lemonade comes in at 48g.  Even a Grande Oprah Chai Latte with coconut milk registers at 28g of sugar – still well above recommended limits.  

If you really think that opting for a different beverage choice this week would’ve been healthier, you’re probably just plain wrong.

Starbucks aside, many of our everyday drinks contain exorbinant amounts of sugar – and, although there maybe should be, I’m not seeing the outrage over that.  A single can of Mountain Dew has 46g of the stuff.  And a medium Sonic Vanilla Shake has 71g.  Are you seeing the trend yet?

And I haven’t even gotten into the fact that I’m a grown-ass woman who can make my own diet choices.  And if I want to indulge in a rainbow drink once or twice or ten times this week – that’s my goddamn right.  And it’s yours too.  

The problem is not this pretty drink that you’ve suddenly decided to demonize.  The problem is society as a whole.  We put sugar in everything – a LOT of it.  Any time you’re opting for that sweet treat, you’re going well over what “they” say you should.  

Sugar is a problem.  I’m not disputing that.  We eat too much of it, it’s hiding everywhere, it’s causing health issues. It’s just plain not healthy for us.  But let’s stop acting like this is one drink’s or even one company’s fault.  Instead of shaming me for eating the equivalent of three Snickers bars, why don’t you advocate for reduced sugar content all around? Lobby Starbucks for actually healthier options.  Pressure policy-makers to tighten up regulations.  Encourage nutrition education and then lobby for healthy options to actually be affordable.  

This isn’t about the unicorn.  It’s about society.  Place your blame where it’s deserved.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in privilege, Random Shit

 

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The Man Who Didn’t Rape Me

The Man Who Didn’t Rape Me

I took my dogs to an off-leash park this morning.  It’s a huge place with rolling hills and wild deer and while popular, is large enough that you don’t see many people on your journey.  45 min into our walk, I decided it was time to turn around and head back.  It was a chilly morning and I had plenty of things to do today.

At that moment, I noticed something.  As a woman walking on her own, I notice everything. This something was a man – white, middle aged, walking alone.  No pets, no friends.  And, as a woman walking on her own, instinct told me to move a bit faster.

I veered off the main path to a side one that would lead me back to my car.  As I casually glanced over my shoulder, I see the man do the same. Weird, I thought. This path isn’t very popular.  I quicken my step and notice, after a few minutes, that the distance between us hadn’t lengthened.  I pause my podcast and stow my phone in my pocket.  I recall my dogs to my side every 30 seconds.  I survey my surroundings, memorizing them – every rock, every branch.

A few more minutes later, I see another something.  A woman, also alone, also walking her dog.  I quicken my pace again to close our gap and get within twenty feet.  Our dogs meet, and I turn around.  The man is gone.  The path we were on was the only one around, and the land is flat.  He has left, and I can breathe.

The unfortunate part of this story is that it’s not unique.  It’s not uncommon.  Ask any of the women in your life and the vast majority will have a carbon-copy tale of a time where they just didn’t feel safe.  (LGBT folks, I haven’t forgotten about you. I know you have similar experiences).  And I’m one of the lucky ones.  None of my situations have turned ugly. Yet.  There’s still time. But there are many, many more women who cannot say the same.

A lot of assumptions were made in that moment.  It’s entirely plausible that this man I saw was taking his morning walk, and turned around because he too had hit his halfway point.  It’s wholly unfair for me to think he had ill intentions.  It’s wholly dangerous for me to think he didn’t.

And that’s why when you excuse “locker room talk”, when you laugh at that inappropriate joke, when you give light (or no) sentences for sexual assault, when you accuse the women who do come forward of lying – I can’t support you.  I can’t understand you.  I can’t wrap my head around why, why you’d want to perpetuate the very thing that ruins my morning walks.  That makes women everywhere nervous to be alone.  That makes men everywhere a potential danger in a woman’s eyes.  Even if he doesn’t really pose a threat.  Even if he is just trying to talk a walk.

Rape culture and misogyny hurts us all – profiling good men and victimizing women. We walk a little faster, we breathe a little heavier, solemn in the knowledge that it very well could be us.  For many of us, it already is.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2016 in privilege, Random Shit

 

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Fellow White People: Wake the Eff Up. Black People are DYING.

Fellow White People: Wake the Eff Up. Black People are DYING.

I mean, I know that’s not new news. They’ve always been dying.  They were dying when we kept them as property.  They were dying when we desegregated.  And they’re dying now, even when on paper they’re supposed to have the same rights as us.

I’m as white as White people come. The glow-in-the-dark, lobster the moment I see the sun variety.  I don’t know shit about the Black person’s experience.  And guess what, fellow White person?  Neither do you.

We don’t fear for our lives whenever we walk down the street. We don’t constantly get told, directly or otherwise, that we’re second class.  We don’t know what it’s like to have to teach our children to be afraid of those that are supposed to help us.  We don’t know what it’s like to still be a threat when we’re already pinned down and helpless.

See, when we go on killing sprees, people chalk it up to mental illness and discuss all the ways they’ve could’ve helped us before we snapped.  They detail our lives, trying to figure out where society went wrong.  When we rape people, we’re given light sentences and sympathy, lest a harsher punishment wreak havoc on our gentle souls.   Even when we suck, we have privilege oozing out of our asses.  And when we get killed, society looks for someone to blame rather than wondering what we did to deserve it.

So yes, all lives matter, but our lives have never been the ones at risk.  We were born knowing we mattered, and quite literally every system of society has gone ahead and confirmed that for us repeatedly throughout our lives.  Even you, broke White person.  Even you.  So let’s do a favour and fuck right off with our whiny “what about me?” rhetoric.  I know it’s super hard when everything ever has always been about us and now for once in our silver-spooned lives this conversation isn’t.  Fuck off anyway – our fragile, privileged hearts will get over it.  I promise.

Oh and while we’re at it, let’s stop looking for the isolated incidents where we actually were targeted and acting like that’s totally the same thing as a society of systemic-built oppression and racism, m’kay?  We don’t have to worry our pretty little heads – society already cared more about those incidents anyway.  Because, oh right, our lives were already valued more than our friends of colour.  Tell me again how all lives matter?  Perhaps we can say that when it’s actually true.

For now, wake the fuck up.  Black people are dying.  Stop telling them how they get to react to that. Stop telling them it’s not fair that they don’t care about us – as if that’s what they were implying or that we ever truly cared about them.  Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up.  Listen for once.  Listen to understand. Recognize that we don’t.  Ask how we can be good allies.  Ask how we can help.  And figure out, once and for all, that Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that White lives don’t.  Indeed, White lives were the only thing that ever did. I’d be pissed off, too.

 

 doesn’t mean other lives don’t. Like people who say “Save The Rainforests” aren’t saying “Fuck All Other Types of Forests” – Matt McGorry

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2016 in privilege, Random Shit

 

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Ezekiel Is Not Your Pro-Vax Martyr

Yesterday, April 26 2016, a Lethbridge couple was found guilty of failing to provide the necessities of life for their son Ezekiel, who died of meningitis.  They have faced intense criticism over their use of natural medicine and the fact that they did not vaccinate.

This case was about whether the Stephans failed to provide appropriate medical help for their sick child and, ultimately, the jury decided that indeed they had.   The Stephans admitted that Ezekiel was sick and talked about using natural remedies to try to help him feel better. They talked about how he got better then worse then better again, and appeared to be improving right before he died.  I don’t run to the doctor for every cold and flu, either (in fact – we’re told not to).  I’ve used natural remedies to help provide relief, with great success I might add.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I am positive that if these parents suspected anything more than a flu they would’ve been there in an instant.  Not to mention that the ambulance that came when they called 911 did not have the ability to provide him with oxygen, and it’s been stated that this simple fact was likely the difference between his recovery or his demise – a fact that many articles on the case have completely omitted.  Should the Stephans have sought medical help?  That’s not my call to make, but the law thinks so.  There are intricacies to this story, and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert.  But what I can say is that this case was about whether the Stephans should’ve taken Ezekiel to a conventional doctor – not about his vaccine status.

Before you jump down my throat, I’m not an anti-vaxxer.  But, I’m not really a pro-vaxxer, either.  I’m a you-get-to-make-your-own-decisions-about-your-kids-because-there-really-are-risks-to-both-sides-vaxxer, and denying that any complications exist from vaccines is naive at best (just as denying that contracting the diseases themselves is harmless is also naive).  But regardless of how I, or you, or ANYONE, feels about vaccinations, this case wasn’t about that. It shouldn’t be about that.    Vaccinated children still contract meningitis.  Herd immunity is a flawed theory.  There is no proof that Ezekiel would have lived had he just had his vaccination – and in fact he tested positive for viral meningitis, NOT the bacterial meningitis that the vaccine is touted to prevent.  And yet, the pro-vax community is taking this and running with it, condemning the Stephans and all anti-vaxxers as irresponsible, child abusing assholes.  And with that, we have turned the tragic loss of a little boy into the poster child for some misplaced and hate-filled campaign.  Ezekiel is not your martyr, and shame on you for making him one.

 

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Random Shit

 

My French Flag Profile Picture Isn’t Shallow, and It Certainly Isn’t Meaningless

In response to this post:

We are in an age where news travels faster than it sometimes happens, and virtually all western civilization has access to social media. 

When tragedy strikes, we feel helpless. We feel horrified. We feel outraged. We desperately search for something, anything we can do to show solidarity and strength. And so, #prayforparis and the French flag profile picture were born.

And it’s not shallow. It’s definitely not meaningless. It’s connectedness. It’s solidarity. It’s support. It shows that we care about more than what’s going on in our immediate vicinity. And in our immediacy, it is something we can do right now to tell Parisians that we love them. 

To some, maybe many, this is all they can do. This is their capacity. And that needs to be okay. Why are we shaming those that take a second to acknowledge this tragedy in the simple way they can? Why are we telling them that if they can’t do more, then it’s not enough – and to not even bother? 

Should you “do more” if you have the means? 100% absolutely. Paris DOES need more than just our prayers. It’s important that those of us who can, do. But I promise you that those who do won’t stop at a profile picture. 

Should we be just as outraged at Beirut? Oh goodness yes. And it’s incredibly unfortunate that we weren’t exposed to that the same way we were Paris. It’s a gross testament to the power of news outlets and the potency of a tragedy involving white men over PoC. We need to do better. I’m not denying that. But that’s a bigger problem and bigger conversation, one that is being highlighted largely due to the events in Paris. Until yesterday, I saw no mention on my feed about Beirut. Today, I see chastising that all we care about is Paris. We eat what we are fed, friends, and before yesterday you were just as hungry as the rest of us. 

I stand with Paris. My profile picture reflects that. I am feeling helpless and compassionate, and I’m not convinced that one simple sign of support makes me shallow, superficial, naive, or shortsighted – but hey, to each their own.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2015 in Random Shit

 

My Butt’s Just Fine, Thank You Very Much

No.  We are not the generation of “butthurt” individuals (sidenote: what a terrible term). We are not just “overly sensitive” these days, and we are not looking for random excuses to be upset.

We are a generation of more aware individuals.  We’re not perfect, not by a freakin’ longshot, but we’re trying.  We are slowly getting to a point where marginalized people feel comfortable enough to speak up and tell us when something is hurtful and harmful.  That’s progress, not problematic.

Omitting a word or phrase with horrific connotations isn’t as inconvenient for you as it is respectful to those who are continually oppressed by the rampant use of stealthy micro-aggressions.  Not to mention that calling something “gay” or “retarded” does nothing to properly articulate the underlying emotion you are trying to convey. Buy a dictionary and move on.

Appropriating someone’s culture isn’t flattering, nor is it showing appreciation.  You can’t appreciate a culture by taking only the parts you like, and ignoring the rest (or worse, actively trying to erase the rest).  You don’t get to pick and choose what parts of marginalized populations you’d like to showcase, and which you’d rather not think about.  So when someone tells you not to dress in that Halloween costume, or to cut off those dreads, it’s not them being sensitive. It’s them pointing out how you are perpetuating a harmful message.  It’s them asking you to be a decent human being. Try it out.

Making a joke that enforces stereotypes isn’t funny.  Normalizing the likes of violating and belittling a group of people at their expense only serves to reinforce the notions that these people are “less than” the rest of us.  It’s not just a joke, we don’t need to calm down, and our senses of humour are excellent. There is truth in joking, after all – by making these jabs at marginalized populations, you are also saying there is truth in what is supposed to be “just a joke”.  Perhaps it’s you that needs to find your sense of humour, one that doesn’t come at the expense of people we’ve historically been gigantic asshats to.

No friends, we are not too sensitive.  We are more aware.  We want to do better . We want to teach our children better.  We want to hear the voices of those we’ve typically silenced.  We want to believe them, because it is their lived experience.  And we should.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2015 in Random Shit

 

I Will Not Scroll On By

I Will Not Scroll On By

How many times have you read on social media: “If you don’t like it, just scroll on by.”

Be it on an individual’s page or a group, I see this all. the. time.  All the damn time.  Someone posts something controversial (or sometimes, not even!) and the instant that anyone has the gall to offer an alternate view they are accused of being unsupportive or told they are just trying to start “drama”.  Is that really what we’re reduced to, these days?  Are we really not allowed to voice a different opinion or stance, lest we be told we’re judgmental or worse, a troll?  Or my absolute favourite: the claim that the poster has the right to freedom of speech and how dare you challenge that.

For starters.  Freedom of speech means that the government will not throw you in jail for your opinions.  That’s literally it.  Freedom of speech does not actually mean that there are no peer consequences for voicing opinions.  It doesn’t mean that you can say whatever you’d like and people have to either agree or “scroll on by.”  It doesn’t mean your job has to continue to employ you.  It doesn’t mean that your friends have to continue to support you.   You can say whatever the hell you want and stay out of jail.  Yay for freedom.

Secondly, as I’ve already written about, it’s pretty unrealistic to think you can or should post things for hundreds, maybe thousands of people to read and expect that there won’t be a few disagreements in the bunch.  If you aren’t in a place where you can truly listen to both sides, maybe don’t post so publicly in the first place.

Thirdly, most importantly, where is the growth?  Where is the conversation, the healthy debate, the changing of minds?  When we are not allowed to ever disagree with one another – or forced to ignore it when we do – we are forced in these silos of naivety and arrogance.  We are surrounded by confirmation bias, content in our own little bubble that everything we do, say, and believe is absolutely the right thing.

This, my friends, is dangerous.

That is exactly why I will not scroll on by.  When you post about how you spank your kid, I’m not going to just ignore that.  When you tout the benefits of feeding pablum at 3 weeks old, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t read.  When you talk about how unfortunate the SCOTUS gay marriage ruling was, I’m not going to support your stance with my silence.  Because I want to offer the other side.  I want to discuss my own findings.  I want us to have a conversation about where your information came from and why you feel that way.  Mostly? I want to understand.

What happens if I follow the “scroll on by” advice and ignore every post a new mom makes about letting her baby cry to sleep?  I start getting upset – CIO is something I’m desperately against.  Maybe I distance myself from her.  Maybe I block her.  Maybe I convince myself this is the absolutely best thing because I’m doing what I need to without upsetting or disagreeing with her. Right?  Everyone else does the same.  And maybe, just maybe, this mom hates using CIO but doesn’t know what else to do, and since everyone who would try anything different is just moving along, she gets no offers of alternatives.  She now lives in this silo, believing that everyone follows the same approach, because nobody is willing to say otherwise at the risk of a debate.

Or maybe she’s perfectly comfortable with her choice.  Also completely possible.  The point is, I don’t know. I don’t understand.  And I can’t, if I’m not allowed to ask.  If I’m not allowed to tell it from my side.   I’m not always right, and we will not always agree.  That’s okay.  I don’t need to agree with my network on every issue to love and respect them . I truly don’t.  What I do need is to understand.

When I refuse to scroll on by, I learn so much.  I learn that the new mom was desperately calling out for help, and I can share what worked for me.  Or I learn that she was just strongly advocating for her position, and we learn that this topic is now off-limits for the sake of our friendship . Either way, it’s a much better ending than me being upset and cutting off contact.  Not to mention all the lurkers reading the thread that may have been hoping for a different point of view.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much knowledge I’ve gained simply by reading the different stances of people, even when I wasn’t quite ready to listen the first few times.  Rinse and repeat for virtually any other topic.

Now, of course, there’s a way to disagree.  Or rather, there’s an acceptable way to present your side, without coming across like an arrogant jerk.  Diplomacy should never be underestimated.  If you come to the conversation slinging insults and mud, it’s unlikely that any decent point you’re making will ever be heard.  You actually can be a voice of disagreement and still be respectful of everyone involved.  I suspect the people who don’t follow this are the reason this whole scroll on by business even came to fruition.  Do us all a favour and don’t be that guy.  Nobody likes that guy.

I’m not the be-all-end-all guru of the world – I’ve got a lot to learn, too.  I hope that people won’t be afraid to challenge my beliefs, whatever those may be, so I can continue to question, learn, and grow.  Sometimes, it ends with me coming out with a new perspective.  Sometimes it makes me more stable in my original position.  It’s all still growth, and it won’t happen by scrollin’ on by.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Parenting, Random Shit

 

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