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branchandroot: cherries (cherries)
Just because this tends to tick me off, and it matters for the Naruto-verse.

So. Before the form of hormonal contraception currently known as the Pill, there were a bunch of herbal, chemical, and mechanical options for contraception. They fall into three general categories: barriers, measures that make the vagina and uterus inhospitable to sperm and thus prevent conception, and measures that make the uterus resistant to implanting and thus prevent gestation. (Yes, the morning-after pill is not a new idea; it is, in fact, a really, really old one.)

There is also the good old fallback of lactation, since lactation suppresses the menstrual cycle. But that only works when there's already a kid. So if you're a writer and thinking about "how to get my characters birth control", well that's more toward the family-planning end of things.

The thing is, every single one of the pre-modern methods are limited use approaches. They are used just before or after coitus. They may, in the case of something like pennyroyal, be used regularly once a month to ensure menstruation, but only for a few days. Half these options are "make a paste of these two or three things and dab it inside before you go for it". The other half tend strongly toward "take X much of this substance in the morning". (In a few of the second case, one also prays that it's enough to kill a blastocyst without killing oneself; it's really amazing how many places thought ingesting mercury for one purpose or other was a good idea.)

You wouldn't think this needs to be said, but apparently it does for some writers: this is the exact opposite of the Pill. There is no pre-modern form of birth control I have ever come across that is taken daily. That is an approach used with a medication whose effectiveness relies on constantly adding small doses of hormones which are not being natively produced. There is no herbal Pill, okay?

Of course, this leaves me with the question of what ninjas are using. )
branchandroot: Killua looking wry (Killua wry)
I think I've finally pinned down something that makes me twitch about the things one can find in English regarding the history and wearing of kimono. And this one is actually not the spectacle of white girls wanting to be geisha or otherwise appropriating culturally specific ceremonials, though that makes me twitch pretty damn bad. No, this one is subtler: the stunning class bias encoded in nearly every text, to the point that only one in fifty or so will even mention that the kimono styles they are all talking about are solely what the upper class wore in any given period.

When you read that site about jyuuni-hitoe, or that book about the history of kimono, or that message board about how to wear kimono today, and they all talk about "the history of kimono" or "the types of kimono" nary a word will you find about the fact that all these fashions and rules and standards and layers were exclusively those of nobles or the warrior class. Or that there were a lot more people than that walking around with clothing on that was, of necessity, far simpler and more utile, and that they are just as much part of this clothing history.

And I don't know if a similar erasure is part of the Japanese discourse of kimono. I suspect it is from the little snippets I've seen but a bit differently shaped--more part and parcel of the post-Civil War arrogation of warrior-class privileges to the general populace. Compare with the way everyone in the US will say they are middle class, blue collar and white, taxi driver to CEO.

Of course, the part of all this that amuses me mightily, from an historical perspective, is that the modern wearing of kimono, despite having been frozen by largely ceremonial use, has still managed to steadily inch its way further and further toward the working class and even peasant mode of clothing: one layer, simple ties. It reminds me, albeit reversed, of the way the merchant class got around the sumptuary laws: put the good stuff on the inside. Or, in this case, reduce the layers and ties on the inside by using clip-ons and decorations that are stitched in place.

But is there any mention of this, or even of the fact that people existed who were not wearing twelve layers of silk according to the season? Vanishingly little. Argh.
branchandroot: white chrysanthemum on black (chrysanthemum-stark)
While we're talking about raising consciousness, [personal profile] bell has a point/post/discussion going on on her journal about the Russian-hating that is so carelessly and copiously flung about, whenever LJ fails again.*

Ever since the SUP buyout I, and I'm sure everyone else who has ever followed the news posts on LJ, have seen a lot of extremely bigoted, ignorant and, frankly, McCarthy-esque things said. One common theme is "In Soviet Russia" remarks; another is to call LJ personnel "commie pinkos". I wish I could even say this were done ironically, which would be offensive enough, but in most cases it appears to be straight-up earnest bigotry in all its brainless glory. I find these especially brainless given that a) Soviet Russia no longer exists as such and b) the fail in question is so often driven by bare-faced market capitalism just like it was under 6A.

Were 6A ever called capitalist pigs? Multiple times in every heated post? Were they referred to at every turn as Americans or San Franciscans as though that somehow explained why they were bad? If you guessed "no" you would be right, which makes the explicitly Russian-nation-hate behind this pervasive name calling nastily clear.

And I could lecture until I'm blue in the face about the fact that the people of Russia have always had minds of their own, or the difference between communism as an economic and political theory of activism and State Communism, or the extremely distinct difference between democracy and capitalism, or the beauty of Mikhail Bakhtin's writing, but all of that is beside the actual point. In fact, my or your opinion of communism or of Russia or of LJ is beside the point.

Because the actual point is: national slurs are just as ugly and inexcusable as any other kind of slur (racial, gender, sexual, religious, physical, whathaveyou). They represent the triumph of parochial ignorance and fear over actual knowledge and thought, and thinking people need to do two things. One, they need to not engage in this themselves. Two, they need to speak up when they see other people doing it.

The capsule version: national, political and ethnic slurs are Not Okay. Don't do it.


* Note that I in no way accuse Syn of this, though her initial phrasing was not as aware of this dynamic as would have been ideal.

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