Feminist analysis failed me; Prozac didn’t.

One thing is guaranteed to piss me off is when feminists declare that PMDD doesn’t exist, that is a plot by pharmaceutical companies to pathologise women’s normal hormonal changes, it pisses me off so much I actually finished writing a fucking post, and while I have published this on my tumblr because it is an actual written post and I haven’t done one of those since September, I’m also posting it here. Because here is where I am supposed to put my written posts as opposed to reblogging funny memes.

I saw this here:

Here are some pieces about the controversy around the diagnosis/existence of PMDD. The issue exists around whether or not PMDD should be classified as a psychiatric disorder requiring medication used for mental illness (like Prozac for depression). The fact that some women experience moodiness that coincides with their menstrual cycles is not in dispute (at least not by me).

The point I was making in that post was about how the medical industrial complex makes money off of marketing drugs towards women for conditions which may or may not exist, or have been studied extensively— a medicalization of normal human behaviors and experiences.

Similar issues exist around things like “Viagra for women” or surgical implants to produce female orgasm. A good resource on this issue is film “Orgasm Inc.”

In the end, I guess it depends on what you think determines that a medical condition is “fraudulent.” Does the fact that drug manufacturers took a set of existing symptoms in some women and labeled in a disorder make it a fraud? Or are they merely making a buck off the treatment of something that was once considered just a burden to bear? Hard to say.

If I had seen this a week and a half ago I would have flown off the handle, and that’s when I’m ON medication. I have PMDD, it is not mere ‘moodiness’ just before I get my period. Only someone who does not have PMDD could so casually dismiss it as such. My behaviour and my experiences are not anywhere near normal thank you very bloody muchly.

Without medication for two weeks out of each month I am a wreck, I experience mood swings, one moment I am so anxious I will shake, then I’ll be so angry I’ll yell and scream – it is not annoyance or irritability, I rage in a very frightening way. I don’t like myself in such a state, I find myself scary. As a teenager I became expert at repairing the holes I would punch in walls. Every major argument I have ever had in my life has occurred within two days before I got my period. When I am in that state, part of me watches in horror at what I do and say. I become overwhelmed and weepy, I can’t concentrate. Without the cognitive behavioural therapy I received when my diagnosis was anxiety I would probably still have panic attacks.

I’m sorry but I doubt the majority of people who menstruate normally experience suicidal ideation right before their period, and feel so fucking worthless and useless that they want to drive their car into a tree. I doubt that most people experience bloating so severe their weight will go up six kilos overnight.

Pharmaceutical companies are assholes I do not deny that but there is a big difference between PMT and PMDD. PMT is normal- PMDD is not.

I spent 15 years being misdiagnosed- with anxiety, with depression (both chronic and situational) because I would call to make a Dr’s appointment when I was feeling my worst, ie right before my period. I would then go to the Dr who would “fill in this mood chart for the next two weeks”, which of course were the two weeks where I was feeling fine apart from having to deal with the results of whatever havoc I had wrecked in the preceding two. I’d go back to my doctor, just to fall apart again in a matter of days, not understanding what was wrong because I had been told there was nothing wrong with me.

I studied psych at uni, I even wrote an essay using feminist analysis about how PMDD was bullshit… On the advice of one doctor I kept a mood chart for three months, the chart clearly showed the cycle, but he diagnosed me with depression because PMDD was ‘made up’. I was told the feeling of lifted mood and increased happiness when I got my period was just ‘relief at not being pregnant’. I accepted that because having written that fucking essay I was happy to have a doctor who was not easily lead astray by the EVUL pharmaceutical companies, and I have a very deep distrust of Doctors who suggest drugs as the answer to everything.

The doctor who finally diagnosed me freely admitted she had been more than usually rigourous- months of mood charts and consulting with my psychologist. I was on fluoxetine (prozac) already at this time, and it relieves my symptoms it does not eradicate them, I still have months, including the last one where I fall down in a hole and all I want to do is be dead. Months where I have have to remind myself sometimes every single minute that what I feel is just my hormones, that as soon as the cramps start my brain will feel like its been washed and cleansed and all will be right with the world.

When my doctor and I discussed what treatment options were, she explained that prozac is not subsidised by the PBS for PMDD, so I’m prescribed prozac for the depression that comes from dealing with PMDD if I don’t take prozac… Yes there are other drugs I could take but the side effects of those drugs, mean I chose to continue with fluoxetine despite its side effects including constant vague nausea.

I have not been sucked in by marketing, I don’t want to take medication, but I have learnt to my detriment that all the other strategies I use to cope, exercise, affirmations, positive self-talk, yaddah yaddah yaddah, doing all of that of that is not enough for me to function normally without medication.

Don’t suggest to me that my experience is fraudulent, don’t suggest my experience is not disordered when it very clearly is. Feminist analysis did not relieve my symptoms, prozac did.

Posted in hormones, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Racist Sister in Law

The intention of this post is to be a short post, to get me writing here again. There are many reasons why I haven’t been blogging. The main one is lack of time… lack of time to sit and wallow in one’s own thoughts.  Mothering, work, study, Jerome… who I haven’t seen for two weeks now because of holiday and illness… Holiday? It was a Family Occasion… a wedding. So it was its own particular hell so far as these things go.  My racist sister-in-law freaks me out, seriously she said c**n… what the? People say stuff like that? Out loud??? 
I have spent far too many years travelling in lefty circles… because instead of spewing at her as I would have ten years ago, my jaw dropped, my eyes and brain bogged out of my skull… and I could think of nothing to say. I’m a big fat failure as anti-racist because I welcomed it when my son started crying five seconds later because he’d fallen down and it gave me an excuse to get the fuck away from her. This came five minutes before we were leaving, I successfully avoided her for that five minutes… I’m a chicken… 
And it was also an exercise in privilege… I just didn’t want to get into a big shouty argument, which is where it would have gone because racist SIL reacts to any criticism by raising her voice and speaking over the top of you because she comes from the “loudest speaker wins” school of debate. This is the dominant school of debate in my family, I really hate it. I just don’t want to do it. I spent twenty odd years doing that and all it ever did was make me cry and occasionally throw up. If I thought I could have a reasonable discussion I may have attempted it, but… I just could not see that happening…
But I’ve decided I’m going to buy her kids some books for Christmas…. Aunty Lissy will find some nice anti-racist books to send them. Oh yes she will! Yes I know that doesn’t stop me being a coward, but I’ve got a better chance of influencing her kids than her…
From Married to the Sea
Posted in family stories., yes that is racist | 6 Comments

Election Ranting: Julia shits me but Abbott scares me.

So I’ve been quiet, I have a whole shitload of posts that are half finished, but I’m still sick and mind is stuck in second gear so I’ve decided to make it easy on myself and just post you tube clips (lazy bitch that I am).

While Julia is shitting me off over a number issues, immigration, climate change, income quarantining, equal marriage rights and pandering to religion. etc. etc. …

Posted in elections, Orstrayun Politicks, pissing me off | 3 Comments

Election ranting

I hate this election, and it was the first one I’d been excited about for years. The whole thing is making me cranky. I live in fear of an Abbott government but goddam it Julia is pissing me off. Which I knew she would. There is no conviction, there is no firm stance, there is no vision of the future. There is no substantive policy… just lowest common denominator appeals to the core of xenophobia that lies at the heart of white Australian identity. 
Instead of saying racists, commentators use such euphemisms as “people with concerns about migration” or “people who feel the effects of migration”. This second one drives me nuts, people who ‘feel the effects of migration’ is a way of saying poor people who experience social disadvantage themselves. But because politicians are so busy playing the race card in this country and stoking the racist core- instead of holding politicians and governments accountable for the ongoing erosion of essential social services over time that have contributed to their experience of social exclusion white Aussies go “oh it’s because of immigrants, asylum seekers that my life is fucked”… no- its because no one really gives a shit- if you’re poor in this country… well that’s your problem really. 
And the paid parental leave thing fucks me off as well, the Libs will pay fathers at the mother’s wage- because its cheaper… No discussion of the gender pay gap, no actual consciousness that this gap is what discourages father’s from taking parental leave in the first place! No comprehension that women’s traditional caring roles are essentially being foisted upon them by the reality that their labour is worth less in the market place… and in the long-term that has very real implications. Women experience higher life expectancy, but also experience higher rates of disability in old age. They retire and are expected to continue to retire with less superannuation than men for a long time in part because of their caring duties, which governments rely on them doing to keep their own costs down- I read somewhere the gender pay gap is estimated to still be substantial in 2031… 
Anyway, retirement policy in this country seems to assume that you have a house to sell and that that will finance your retirement. This is just not true for many women, and with large numbers of people being priced out of to begin with, or falling out of housing ownership in this country… well we do need to think about how we are going to cope with challenges of ageing in this country… 
Posted in how about dealing with some real issues?, Orstrayun Politicks, pissing me off | 5 Comments

Ignorance is not an excuse, its an opportunity to learn

I fucked up on twitter and used the term ‘transwoman’ instead of ‘trans woman’. This is bad. Why? Because as was pointed out to me it would be like writing ‘blackwoman’ instead of ‘black woman’, it others, in essence creating another category of ‘woman’. As soon as I had this pointed out to me I was like “Yeah you totally fucked up there Lissy.” and my stomach got that clenchy feeling it gets when I have fucked up. “How the hell, ” I wondered “did I not see that before?”

When my stomach gets that clenchy feeling, it is not the time to whine about my intentions and how I’m really a nice person or that I have a number of friends and acquaintances who are trans women. You do something offensive you don’t excuse it, you apologise. And I admit to be being so imperfect that I went back to a friend’s email and checked that she had used ‘transwoman’ but if she as a trans woman chooses to identify in that way it doesn’t actually mitigate that other trans women don’t. Nor does it change that fact that was pointed out to me in the above paragraph. 

What I found interesting was then going to Transgender 101 type sites and looking at the content  was how many sites actually do not note this use of language on their basic terminology sections and I can see just how it was I came to fuck up, I incorrectly extrapolated from the term transgender. This is not a critique of the 101 sites I looked at by the way, its a critique of my own use of language. My lack of follow through in thinking about the nuance in the words I use. 

In a work context I’m used to using ‘woman’ first, so I would say “A woman who is transgender or is trans” (I only use trans if the person has indicated that they prefer trans to transgender). Yes, that sounds awkward and I recall I first started using it when my then workplace went through some major Transgender 101 training. What I didn’t know until a year later was that that training had been done after some really horrid transphobic statements had been made about a client by a worker. The use of ‘woman who is transgender’ became the norm to counter transphobic ideas that trans women are not women. 

And my work history does inform a lot of my understanding about the oppression that transgender  people experience. In the course of my working life the client’s who have been the most screwed over have been my transgender clients and trying to get appropriate and understanding referrals was a nightmare. The amount of times I’ve been assured that an agency was ‘transfriendly’ only to have the client report back about atrocious treatment from supposedly professional people is… well a lot. 

I want the world to not give a shit about people’s genitals, but I can’t ignore that the world does and I can’t get uppity, or whiney or defensive when called out on how my use of language reinforces the genital- based patriarchal world view. I can only use it as an opportunity to learn more and a reminder to pay more attention. 
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So… that only took 116 years… now reality


Julia Gillard is Australia’s 27th Prime Minister. She is the first woman to hold this position and from what I’ve been able to find out also the first red head. This is historic, this is big. Women first got the right to stand for parliament and vote in this country in 1894 in the then-colony of South Australia – Victoria, where Julia Gillard holds the seat of Lalor, was actually the last state to give women the right to stand for parliament in 1923… Anyway that she was sworn in by Quentin Bryce, Australia’s first female Governor-General and a former Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner... just how… cool is that? 
And speaking of The Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, yesterday Elizabeth Broderick the current holder of the position, launched The Gender Equality Blueprint 2010 at the National press Club. That would have been the big news for Australian feminists had not events unfolded as they did yesterday.
When my twitter feed first started talking of a spill, I admit it I got excited. In general I am very cynical about politicians and the mechanics of two party politics in Australia. I naturally distrust anyone who seeks positions of authority and wonder at their motivations. After the long Howard years I thought I was incapable of getting excited about Australian politics, rather than just being interested… but a female PM? Something I hadn’t thought would happen inside of the next decade at my most hopeful estimate… ooh I got excited!
When the reports started saying the Labor right faction were the ones pushing for the spill I was… well puzzled and remain slightly so… Julia is of the left… Now I in no way pretend to be an expert, I just have opinions that may or may not be faulty… and maybe I just spent too much time hanging out with people who did student politics when I was at uni (a place where many politics types get started, including Julia who left dear old rAdelaide for Melbourne to take up a position with the National Union of Students) – though I never sullied myself with such going ons personally… and to be crude about it, the Labor right were more likely to have drunken sex with Dry Liberals than go anywhere near lefties…
Now… do I like the circumstances under which a woman has become PM? ie. do I like it that the factions have rumbled and numbers have been crunched… no, but that’s the reality of the Westminster system any idiot who thinks they voted for Kevin Rudd needs to do some reading. The only people who voted for Kevin Rudd live in the electorate of Griffith and the only people who voted for him to be PM were the Labor caucus. 
Julia Gillard describes herself as ‘a professional politician’, a class of people I generally find ‘icky’. But did any feminist ever seriously think that any woman who was not a professional politician was ever going to become PM? Seriously I’ve told you before the feminist bodhisattva is far more interested in cheese making than anything else… Are we living in post-patriarchy? No. So anyone who fantasised about a woman becoming PM in a completely clean and pure manner from outside of the machinations of party politics is a fool. (And probably has a whole lot of madonna/ whore patriarchy bullshit going on in their head too). 
Do I feel sorry for KRudd? Not particularly,  I’m annoyed that it had to come to this before the man showed any passion, any fire, any fucking clarity, that it took this for him to come out of his obsfucative mode of speech. Really when Australia elected KRudd they were in my opinion voting in Howard-lite, after so long of Howard people both thirsted for and were scared of change. KRudd was similar enough to Howard to be safe, but he wasn’t Howard so he was welcome… perhaps until people realised that well… he’s still similar to Howard.
Unfortunately, again in my opinion, it appears KRudd tried too much to be like Howard, clearly he fucked off the factions and tried to have a more Liberal Party leadership style, where the leader as I understand it, has much more room to impose their personal vision- this is yet one more reason why the prospect of Tony Abbott as PM fills my heart with dread… I’ve also read reports that his staffers were not liked and I can’t find the reference but that they may have started it by asking around about KRudd’s level of support in the first place… if these reports are correct… well how bloody stupid can you be? That’s like throwing fish guts in shark infested waters and going for a swim….
Yes, Julia Gillard is a professional politician and I don’t expect her to act differently from any other politician just because she has a womb… But I am reassured by a Prime Minister who believes that man-made climate change is real. I agnostically praise whatever deities that may or may not exist that we have a Prime Minister who is an atheist. I am relieved we have a Prime Minister who is passionate about the value of education. 
Do I expect her to wave a magic wand and fix everything because she is woman hear her roar? No. I expect she will be a professional politician. I expect she will do things that will make me want to throw coffee cups at the television and spew obscenities, because well politicians do that to me… I haven’t heard anything about her position on income management or the NT Intervention… I’m concerned by some of the language about asylum seekers… Do I expect Julia to make me happy with all her policy decisions? No, but that’s because I am a cynical bitch… and no matter who you vote or don’t for, you still get a politician.

That said though, I am still excited about a female PM,  who speaks with an educated bogan Australian accent and who is a red-head.

Posted in feminism, Orstrayun Politicks | 3 Comments

What the hell is up with music videos these days?

I saw this clip first on the post Quite The (Un)Feminist Dilemma. And it well… got me distracted… and while Jaded16 was trying to make a point about not judging unfeminist women… I started thinking about sex… Bad lissy…


To me, this clip is porn! This clip is like my kink all over. The underwears!

That black teddy with the rose panels? Swoon wants! And cute shoes…

Betty Paige references are just so darn cute… I like being that kind of silly, funny cute…

Leopard teddy also very hot. Peachy thing, totally hot…

Not so keen on the black lacey thing… maybe because its a dommey look…

Even down to the musical break in the bridge where she’s dusting the mantle… Am totally in love with the visuals in this clip… but… I’m also very disturbed by it… because well- to me its porn, it gets me thinking sexy thoughts, which as I understand it is supposed to be the point of porn…. not that I want to have sex with Beyonce or even be Beyonce… I just want her outfits, Jerome and some rope… but is this what videoclips for female artists have become? Porn? Yes I am sounding prudish and yes I realise that this is not porn by many people’s definition…

The song itself annoys the fuckers out of me though…  Jesus! I’m so sorry but insecure much? Clearly fabulous woman pining over some loser who does not realise her fabulousness? Phhttt ! Fuck that… been there, done that -do not want to hear songs about it. So I watched the clip on you tube while listening to “Survivor”  Big fucking improvement…. woman in pain but she knows how fucking fabulous she is. Oh yes seriously much better!

But then as I’m pondering the porniness or not of the Beyonce clip, I  saw another videoclip that satirises the… I guess overt sexualisation of female pop stars- Sexual references all over the place in this clip:


Cute hat: Now as I understand it Rose Byrne is playing a pop star called Jackie Q with the tabloid Amy Winehouse style life in the movie ‘Get Him to the Greek’, which you now, not the sort of movie I am tempted to lay money on- but really what this parody does is present the idea of well pop music as porn… and then takes it one step further with this next clip, which is all about anal sex and therefore should have amused me immensely because 1) I am immature 2) I like anal sex…


This clip amused me immensely on one level- but I found the little girls doing ring a rosy disturbing at first… and then I realised I’m probably meant to find them disturbing… satire quite often is disturbing… because the little girls doing ring a rosy are juxtaposed with the images of Jackie Q and her backup dancers, you are meant to draw a connection between them. Which I hope is trying to make a point about sexual images of women and girls in pop music… but as Jerome pointed out it could just be it fitted with the nursery rhyme motif of the song…

Anyway I’ve gone blank anyone else got opinions?

Posted in movies, music, porn | 4 Comments