Got back from the Male Students in Peril conference at Kennesaw State University yesterday afternoon, then slept for 12 1/2 hours. The conference was awesome, despite some difficulties.
Both myself and fellow speaker Dr. Janice Fiamengo checked the weather forecast before packing for the trip, and the forecast was apparently written by radical feminists trying to destroy us. The morning I packed, meteorologists were predicting temperatures ranging from 12 (shirtsleeve weather) to 21 (swimming anyone?) degrees celsius, with plenty of sun. What greeted us upon arrival was a damp cold barely above freezing, with winds gusting up to 60 kph if my estimates are at all accurate. Janice had eschewed packing a winter coat in favor of making room for two bathing suits, and I had only two very light jackets with me. Lucky for Janice, she's not a smoker and didn't have to spend much time outside. For me and the other filthy cancer fetishists in attendance, we were stuck shivering completely unprepared as we indulged our vice. Rachel Edwards came to my rescue partway through, with a lovely purple sheep-fleece lined hoodie I put on over my jacket to keep the worst of the wind away. If she hadn't been there, I'd have been hypothermic by the end of the day, I'm sure.
Of course, this morning someone texted my cellphone to tell me that the day I left the temps rose to 21C. I was not amused.
As for the conference itself, it was a blast. I was especially impressed with Jonathan Taylor's (of AVoiceForMaleStudents) presentation on the difficulties and challenges male students at all levels face today, as well as his suggestions on how the situation can be rectified. My own presentation went all right (I hope! I can never tell until I actually see it, but the feedback seemed okay), and Janice was brutal as always in her spot-on criticism of feminist academia. Paul's presentation on rape culture was shorter than I'd have liked, but his Q&A was spectacular--he always seems to do very well off the cuff. Sage kicked ass when his mom stood up after Paul's talk to criticize him, myself and Janice for "bashing" feminism. The video of that bit is already uploaded, and I don't think he (or anyone) could have handled it better.
I'm not going to go to much farther into any of that, since there will be video footage of all of it soon enough.
The people were amazing, including the Uni cop who was posted outside the conference hall, who took me aside to inform me that 1) KSU is a smoke-free campus, and 2) what he didn't actually see wasn't his problem, and that until January no enforcement other than gentle reminders would be enacted by KSU personnel.
I met so many young men and women who told me they were fans, and are becoming passionate about the issues. One young man in particular has become a committed advocate for sexually abused boys, and has come to the realization that he can't address this problem without also being inclusive of the men those boys grow into. Talking to him was wonderful. A young woman who was reluctantly introduced to KSUM by her boyfriend has become interested in advocacy for men's issues, and a veteran towing his service dog-in-training who's been through an unbelievable difficulty in addition to all the terrible things he saw as a soldier gave me the best hug I think I've ever had.
It's always a humbling experience meeting people who know me, who I don't know yet. So many thank you's, so many hugs and handshakes, so many stories of how my videos helped someone through an angry, hurt faze and into a more constructive, comforting one.
Jordan Owen and Davis Aurini were there, too, to interview people for their project, "The Sarkeesian Effect". Hannah, Rachel and I had a nice chat with them late into Saturday night.
And so many people saying, "when are you going to make another video??!!"
Well, that will be soon. It would have been today, except for the lovely fact that when my boyfriend let the water out of the upstairs tub, it backed up the downstairs tub and toilet, flooded the floor, seeped into the carpet in the family room, and indicated to us that the drainage issues that have been plaguing this house for decades have finally come to a head. Not only that, but the downstairs toilet has begun to leak from underneath, indicating we'll have to pull it out and replace the seal and maybe the flange.
I spent the day ripping apart a wall to expose our main sewer stack, only to discover it has no clean-out outlet because the previous owner was an idiot, making frantic phone calls to the city, only to have them tell me they can't help us until we have a plumber install a clean-out branch, and convincing the kids it really isn't that horrible to have to pee in the yard for a day or two. I also finally looked at the floor around the upstairs toilet drain since we'll need one toilet while we're fixing the other, only to discover the subfloor is so rotten I could lift the flange off of it with two fingers. So I've been chipping away at the rotten plywood, so I can put down new and install a new flange.
And since I was gone all weekend, no one has been washing dishes, and I can't wash them when no water is draining from my house, so we're eating off of paper plates. Also, I can't wash my hair. Or much of anything until the guy from Mr. Rooter comes first thing tomorrow morning.
On the bright side, while I was in the smoking lounge at the Atlanta airport yesterday morning, an older lady sat next to me on a barstool and we got to talking. I told her I was in Atlanta because I'd been invited to speak at a conference at KSU by a men's issues awareness group that had recently been founded there. She said, "So someone finally did it. ABOUT TIME. I was a teacher for 30 years, and I could see even from the beginning how poorly boys were treated in school. I tried for years to get something done about it, but it only got worse. They got rid of recess, got rid of scorekeeping during gym, started punishing boys for just being boys. Deprived them of the physical activity they need, and then suspended them when they couldn't sit still. It's like no one wanted to let them just be who they are..."
So there's hope. Like I said in my talk, feminism is a minority position, and people are not so much waking up to the fact that men and boys have issues--they're waking up to the fact that they're not the only ones out there who realize it.
Anyway, here's hoping I'll be able to get a video out in the next few days. Sewers permitting.
Hugs all, and make sure you watch the KSUM conference footage once it's available.