Thursday, January 08, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

"So," I say to The Husband one evening. "You know how I'm all about dismantling the binary gender paradigm?"

"Of course," he says.

"What do you think about this?" I want to know.

There's a client who has a couple of children and is expecting another. She is in a relationship with another woman who is expecting her first baby. The mother and the partner have told the children to call the partner "Daddy."

The consensus among the social workers is that this is negative and confusing for the children. To be fair, no one would tell that to the mom since no one believes the kids are actually being significantly harmed, just that the situation is weird and bad judgment on the part of the mother.

My first visceral reaction was also negative, but I'm trying to examine this reflex. If we look at it objectively should calling a female partner and caregiver "Daddy" even be considered an issue?

The Husband wondered what the partner's own child would call her. He thought that being the daddy to some children and mommy to others would be more confusing than having mismatching gendered labels. I pointed out that the same caregiver could be called mommy, aunt, granny, etc. by different children, and no one would worry about those kids being detrimentally confused. But, we still agreed that it just felt different. I'm still not sure why.

"Daddy" essentially means "male parent," but many male caregivers are called "Daddy" even though they don't have a biological relationship to the children who call them that, and I don't know of anyone who would have an issue in that case. Why is it even necessary to have different titles for male and female primary caregivers? And if it's not, why should any of us care if a woman wants to be the daddy?

What do you think?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Fish and Stuff in Monterey

Part One: Art and Stuff in San Francisco

After a few days in San Jose, The Husband finished up his work, and we began vacationing in earnest. The first item on our agenda was the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Before we even made it into the aquarium, we spotted a few of these cute little guys lounging in the bay.

There was plenty more cuteness to be had inside.

Are frogs cute? I at least thought these were.

There was also incredible gorgeousness to be enjoyed.

My favorite, however, was the "Outer Bay" tank, which was filled with all manner of giant fish and terrifying sharks lurking in the murky darkness. The murky darkness was very atmospheric but was a bitch to photograph. I promise this is a very impressive hammerhead shark.

They also had a great white shark, but they've since released it back into the ocean since it wasn't eating. I'm pretty sure this is it, but who can tell? Unfortunately this rather representative of my shark photography.

On the way back to San Francisco, the fog rolled in.

We didn't let that stop us from enjoying the boardwalk in Santa Cruz.

Friday, January 02, 2009

To Be Read Challenge 2009

It took me forever, but I've finalized my To Be Read Challenge 2009 list. I wasn't sure how to decide which would be on my actual list and which would be alternates since completing any twelve would fulfill the challenge, so I first included books I already have at home, then the ones I think I'm most likely to find and read, and then the rest are alternates.

The List!

The Amber Spyglass
- Philip Pullman

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men - Lundy Bancroft

Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
- Barbara Ehrenreich

Gravity's Rainbow
- Thomas Pynchon

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus: Volume 1
- Joss Whedon and Others

Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy - Samantha King

American Gods: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Naked Lunch - William S. Burroughs

I, Robot - Isaac Asimov

The Alternates!

Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell

The Daily Coyote: A Story of Love, Survival, and Trust in the Wilds of Wyoming - Shreve Stockton

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
- Sudhir Venkatesh

The Call of the Cthulhu
- H.P. Lovecraft

On the Road
- Jack Kerouac

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
- Hunter S. Thompson

The Day the Earth Stood Still and other SF Novellas -
Harry Bates

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
- Bart D. Ehrman