Here’s a New One: Vaccines Are impure

Vaccines are huge right now, especially after the recent measles outbreak and good evidence that diseases which were previously all but eradicated are blossoming into existence again. While there are still some people whining about how horrible it would be if their kid caught the autisms (because apparently having autism is worse than getting an extremely painful and potentially fatal disease), that myth has been decently debunked at this point. Of course after the autism scare came the “vaccines contain mercury” freak out (oddly enough people didn’t seem too worried about the tuna they were eating, which contains more mercury than vaccines), then bits of fetuses, formeldahyde, aluminum, borax, and even GMOs (the horrors).

My particular favorite was the site that said vaccines were dangerous because they contain viruses.

Update: that is a lie, my new favorite is the site that says Nazi mass murderers work for the FDA and promote vaccines.

But now there appears to be a new concern. Are vaccines pure enough for the kids of crunchy moms who refuse to feed their kids anything but the naturalest, least chemical food, or clothe them in anything but pure cotton (maybe we are finally living up to the Leviticus laws)? NO! Of course not. They have MSG in them, they might include GMOs, they contain not organic eggs, and they might even have animal proteins in them. Ew. On top of that, it’s becoming more common for religious protests against vaccinations to include the idea of impurity, citing the idea that trusting God is more important than taking care of your health, and of course getting their panties in a twist over whether or not human fetuses were involved in making the vaccines.

All of this is scaremongering. In particular, the assertions that chemicals or GMOs have unknown consequences on the body is ridiculous, especially since to one extent or another all vaccines are genetically modified. But the idea that the human body needs to stay exactly how it was thousands of years ago in order to be pure is just plain dangerous, wrong, and also NO ONE ACTUALLY BELIEVES IT. If they did, they would be living significantly differently. Unless you eschew all technology, medicine, science, and advances that might adjust the way your body functions (like oh, I dunno, electric lights), you’ve already accepted on some level that you’re artificially adjusting what it means to be human.

And that’s totally ok. Clearly we all do it and there are likely some elements of the modern lifestyle that aren’t great and others that are vast improvements on the past (see: vaccines). You don’t lose your special pure human card by existing in a society with technology and medicine. There’s no such thing as being an impure human with bad stuff in your blood, you can’t shed toxins (unless you’re a liver), and also none of this is relevant because vaccines save thousands of lives.

Look, if you want to treat your body like a temple and do some sort of spiritual god test of everything you put into it, that’s fine. But when your behavior affects other people it’s no longer the most important thing that you feel safe. It’s time to start relying on the facts that we have from decades of science. Those facts say vaccines=awesome. Sorry.

Vocal Fry is Not a Crime

Once upon a time there was a new feature in language called vocal fry. It sounded a little like a cracking or growling sound and was generally an unconscious way of speaking. For some odd and utterly non factual reason, this feature of language became associated with young women, which meant that everyone and their brother and their uncle and their dog felt the need to comment and inform young women that it was bad, hurting them, and making them less hireable.

No one knows why the way young women talk is such a big deal to so many people (in particular old, male type people). Especially since vocal fry is also common among young men, actually causes no damage to the vocal chords, and has been around for quite some time, and is actually a totally normal feature of speech that most people use on a regular basis. So why the hate on women for using the speech pattern?

Well as with many things, this is another trend that you can add to “things we hate young, mostly upward mobile women for” because it seems that the only reason people dislike it is because it’s associated with the ladies (and a side helping of misunderstanding the nature of language change. Language changes. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. Move on). Everything from leggings (sluts without pants!) to uptalk (why do you talk like you’re so uncertain you stupid girl!? Oh wait, most British people also use uptalk? Ignore that, it’s bad when you do it) to feather tattoos on your ribcage (trashy! so trashy!) is deemed horrible when young women do it. And yet there are all sorts of other people who engage in these same behaviors that don’t receive the same repercussions. In fact, there’s little evidence that any of these things cause any actual harm or problems to anyone (except that some people keep bitching and whining about them).

I’m really over the concern trolling of people who want to tell young women what to do, who say they’re just looking out for the well being of teens and young adults. Nope, sorry. There is absolutely nothing wrong about behaviors that you find kinda annoying because they’re different. And the oh so weird coincidence that many of those behaviors are associated with teen girls? Huh…might just say something about you.

So get over it. I’m vocal fryin’ dawgs.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Sensitive

In the recent hooplah about political correctness and trigger warnings, a phrase that gets bandied about far too often is the claim that people are just “overly sensitive” these days. This is often met with (generally quite reasonable) assertions that outrage over racism, sexism, and other everyday cruelties is not simply being extremely sensitive but rather actively asserting boundaries. The problem with this approach is that it accepts the premise that being sensitive is bad.

Sure, there are downsides to being sensitive. It can make everyday life more difficult, and you might have to spend more time calming yourself if something stressful or unexpected happens. And yes, sometimes being overly sensitive can mean that you become anxious or upset over something that isn’t truly doing you any harm. But these things are true of just about anyone: sometimes we all make the wrong call about whether something warrants a strong reaction or not. That’s a human tendency that we can actually cultivate skills to overcome.

But there’s a difference between “reacting inappropriately” and being sensitive. One is a behavior and the other is simply a fact about how your emotions work. There are lots of people who don’t have a choice about being extremely sensitive. As someone with borderline personality disorder traits, I’m one of those people. I react quickly and strongly to things.

For some people, this would be a reason to discount the times when I react, to discount my arguments and my issues with others. But simply because I have strong emotions doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of thinking through issues and figuring out whether there is a logical and rational basis to my reaction. Indeed, including some of the strong emotion in my response also doesn’t discount it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being sensitive.

Sometimes I cry over absolutely nothing. Usually I tell the person with me that I know it’s nothing and ask them to sit with me through it. That’s not a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with having that strong reaction. And there are also positives to the extreme sensitivity. I’m pretty good at picking up on the emotions of others, which makes me far more likely to check in with someone and find out what they’re feeling. I also get really strong happy feelings when something good happens. And I’m also pretty in tune with the times that people violate my boundaries or do things that aren’t acceptable. That means I’m more likely to be able to let someone know when I need them to do something differently. That might look like me being a pansy, but in reality it’s extremely healthy and a skill that everyone probably needs to learn to one extent or another.

Sensitivity really just refers to how strong our emotions are. There’s never anything inherently wrong with feeling something. As I’ve mentioned before, the place that we have to be careful and responsible is in choosing how we should act because of our emotions. If the best you can come up with is that people these days feel too much, then you’re really grasping at straws for why they’re wrong. What should be up for argumentation are not people’s feelings, but rather their arguments and requests. If those don’t have logic or go too far and put too much burden on others, then it seems reasonable to argue against them. But when someone else gets upset over something you wouldn’t get upset over that doesn’t make them worse than you. It doesn’t even make them pitiable. In fact in some ways it makes them better at things, and in other ways it makes them worse at things.

There’s no need to promote the idea that you “allow” yourself to be hurt if you’re sensitive. There’s no need to idealize being cold and unflappable. Having emotions is totally acceptable and does not make one irrational. Even strong emotions can be good or neutral things. I refuse to be insulted when someone calls me sensitive. Yes, I am thank you very much. That is utterly irrelevant to my arguments.