When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meditative Thoughts in Search of Motivation

I spent most of this week in a malaise. The only thing I felt I really accomplished was writing the weekly spelling story for my daughter. The main reason I could muster up that motivation was that I didn't want to disappoint her. I said I would use her words every week to write a story in order to help her remember them, so I feel obligated to continue it even when my motivation for everything else goes away. I still haven't posted my psychology blog for this week, either. I'm not kicking myself about that anyway. I'm not really a "blogger," whatever that term is supposed to mean. I don't make any money by posting weekly (or by any other schedule) thoughts. I don't have advertisements on my blog that bring in cash for every click. I'm not even well-known beyond my private circle of friends and family. Shoot, I'm pretty sure the "counts" that Blogger shows me are inflated by my own clicks when I preview a post before I publish it. ::Shrug:: That's okay, I'm not a blogger.

"Um, what does all this have to do with meditation? It sounds more like lack of motivation."

You know, you're right about that. I am experiencing a bit of writer's block at the moment. The truth is I'm upset with myself because I've been childishly craving attention. I guess I feel lonely having to spend my unemployed days at home in between the times I pick up and drop off my daughter from/to school. She's the only person with whom I interact on a daily basis--social media does not cut it completely for human contact. I'm too ashamed of my unemployed status to reach out and join a social group, even one at my church. I tell myself it's because I don't want to commit to anything because I can find a job at any minute and then I'd have to quit. I know it's a lame excuse, so I stopped telling myself that. I know it's because I'm ashamed of having 2 masters degrees and not even being able to get a job at Wal-Mart or Target (yeah, I got a rejection from both). I, the super introvert, am feeling lonely.

At times like these, I need to revert completely into my shell until I've purged the loneliness. It's not easy for my daughter to understand, especially now that it's just the two of us. And on the surface of things it doesn't make sense: I'm lonely so I need to isolate myself? But think of it like a transformative cycle. In order for me to be more social, I have to sink to the depths of complete aloneness, recharging my introverted battery all the way. Maybe I've been only charging up to 90% each time and the battery is waiting for a complete charge. Sleep doesn't cut it, either.

This is where the meditation comes into play. Over the years I've tried many methods of meditation, some even before I knew what meditation was. The most important thing I learned: THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO MEDITATE. I know some people make a living on teaching people how to meditate. I know the purpose of whole religions is to meditate to achieve enlightenment and find the "right" pathway. Meditation can involve any of the five senses, not just sound. I've actually used all but taste in my meditative practices. Tai chi is a form of gustatory meditation that uses your movements to feel different forms. Yeah, I've tried tai chi and I'll pick it up again when I find my living room (at least, that's the excuse I keep telling myself). I frequently use incense, so I think I've got smell covered. My earliest experiences with mediation were when I was a kid staring at a speck of sunlight, watching the dust motes fly around. The longer I stared, the more the light levels would dim and brighten and my mind would wander freely. That's using sight. I also frequently stare off into space, though it may appear that I am staring at something in particular. Of course, sound is usually my go-to method. I have so many "meditation" albums, but I also use instrumental pieces from various movie soundtracks. Listening to the hum of the air conditioner works just as well.

The primary point of mediation is to provide some kind of focus. Any stimulus will work, so long as it allows you to unclutter you mind, relieve the emotional burdens that you carry. Once the mind is sufficiently clear, leaving the meditative state is very smooth and natural. If done correctly (for you, not in any "official" sense), then you will feel refreshed and at peace, at least for a moment. I think tonight I will meditate by listening to some soothing music and playing simple games on mute. Hopefully this will provide enough of a reset to my currently overactive mental and emotional state and I can experience a reset. I know my daughter needs me. I don't want to snap at her or appear to abandon her. I feel I'm getting to the point where it's hard to hold my tongue because I haven't had a real person to whom I can vent lately. So, meditative me time is good for my daughter as much as it is for me. Blogging helps, too, as it allows me to release some of my thoughts instead of keeping them bottled up, bouncing around my brain until they reach an obsessive point.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Nook HD

*This is not a paid product endorsement or advertisement. These are my thoughts about this particular device.*

I was pretty slow to jump onto the e-reader/e-book bandwagon. Most of my life I spent any spare cash on buying books and I have a decently sizable collection. About 25% of the boxes we packed when my daughter and I moved were filled with just books. I finally got my first e-reader, a Kobo, because my favorite bookseller (Borders) was going out of business and I wanted to support them in some small way. I also got the Kobo as a measure of defiance against my ex-husband, who kept pushing the Kindle, constantly singing its praises. I didn't want to join the cult of Amazon, at least not in that department. I will admit that the Kobo was a mistake. It broke within a month of purchasing it and the company (Kobo based in Canada; Borders was out of business by then) refused to even accept the return of the unit to determine if it was covered under warranty. They simply responded to my inquiries and photos with a "well, sometimes it cracks in a bag" response and dismissed me. Waste. Of. Money.

I was almost completely burned on the whole e-reader idea. Again, I'll be darned if I jump on the Kindle bandwagon. My Taurus stubbornness stands in the way. I was not too pleased, either, because I was actually dumb enough to have purchased a few books on the Kobo. The only positive I can say is that once you purchase from them, even though the e-reader uses the proprietary format, the web site allows you to download purchased books in the Adobe format, which can then be used by any e-reader. At least I was only out the cash for the e-reader, and not the books as well. I know, I could always read them on an app on my phone. However, I do not relish the idea of trying to read even a novella on a palm-sized screen (and I have kid-sized hands, so you can imagine how hard and annoying that would be). I polled Twitter about the efficacy of investing in another e-reader. Of course, the responses were all about the love for their devices--Nook and Kindle. My decision was made for me when Target offered the Nook HD at a little less than half price on Black Friday.

I decided to splurge on myself. My mom wanted to buy it for me, but it was a matter of stubborn pride for me to be able to buy it for myself. She ended up getting one for my daughter. That wasn't such a bad thing, but it didn't play out as well as I'd hoped, either. I didn't even realize that the HD was a tablet. I just wanted an e-reader so that I could have more books at my disposal when traveling. When I found out I could put games and other apps on it, I found the icing on the cake.

This is what my home screen currently looks like.
I didn't use the Nook too often when I first bought it. It took me a while to finagle my way around things so that I could upload my Kobo-purchased books. My daughter and I used to visit our local library every week, so I always had plenty of physical reading material around me. Plus, my teaching schedule didn't leave much time for a whole lot of reading. Then 2014 started and things fell apart in my personal life. When I did use my Nook, I found myself spending most of the time playing games instead of reading. That's all the motivation I could muster. My daughter occasionally snagged my Nook instead of reading hers because it was easier than trying to link my Barnes & Noble account on two devices or "lending" her the books. I ended up putting stickers on my Nook so that we could tell them apart.

Aside from reading, which took me a while to get into on the device, I found myself using my Nook a lot for other things. Because it is sort of like a tablet, I am able to use it to visit web sites as long as I have an open Wi-Fi connection. I've used it to update statuses and post on Facebook and Twitter. I used it to find the Mass readings on mornings before I was supposed to read in church. I even used it to read a .pdf of a pattern I was working on so that I wouldn't have to print it. It came in handy, too, when my sewing machine was acting up. I was able to find the manual for the machine online and download it to my Nook so that I could quickly find the solution and the portability allowed me to keep the manual handy. I added a notes app with which I took notes during panels at Dragon Con. I also typed up drafts for a few of my blog posts on my Nook. I've used it as a calculator, a calendar/organizer, and a timer and clock. I've even checked the weather on it. There are some limitations to the apps I can put on it; the Android operating system is not exactly like my phone. Yet, I've been able to find most of the functions I need so that I can spare my phone battery and my eyes.

I found myself reading on my Nook more and more as spring and summer progressed, especially after moving this summer. It's not that I no longer read regular books. Each summer I try to read around a theme. I've read classic sci-fi (Isaac Asimov's Foundation series and Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom series) and classic horror monsters (Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man, Island of Dr. Moreau) in the last two years. I wasn't going to set a theme for this year because of all the other things I had going on in my life. But my Nook sort of naturally led me to this summer's reading theme: comics. Barnes & Noble ran a couple of sales on trades--collected comic issues in a single volume--for DC and Marvel this summer. The DC sale was for both physical books and e-books, but the Marvel sale was for only the e-book versions. That's when I discovered Deadpool. I spent the time my daughter was away visiting her father reading every Deadpool trade I could find. Luckily, I found them all on the Nook. Then I subscribed to the current books at my local comic shop. While it isn't easy to appreciate the full extent of the artwork on the e-reader, I was enraptured by the stories, so I didn't mind. I found that the e-books of the trades are a great way to catch up on comics that have been out for a while, especially ones like Deadpool that have so many issues already published over the years. Having them on the Nook allows me to catch up on the stories without having to buy yet another bookshelf for our little apartment.
Despite the peeling cover here, the device is still completely functional.

My Nook has certainly gotten a lot of use over the past 9 months that I've had it. It's in far-from-pristine condition, as you can see in the picture to the right. My daughter and I sometimes finagle over my Nook because either (a) she can't find hers, (b) hers isn't charged, or (c) the book she wants to read is already loaded onto my Nook. Despite the rough time it appears to have gone through, though, this particular device still keeps ticking. This is much more than I can say for that piece of waste plastic that was the Kobo I had before.

I have a lot of books to read sitting on my shelves, and my collection on my Nook is growing, too, especially now that I have the Comixology app. That allows me to purchase and read some of the comics that I can't get from the B&N e-book store. If, God forbid, my Nook HD should stop working because of overuse, I'm pretty certain I will save and scrape together enough money to get another one. I'm not a full e-reader convert. I still buy real live books from book stores. But I'm more open to the possibilities now. It especially helps that the Nook fits in my purse more easily than most books and using it means I'm conserving my phone battery.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thoughts on Body Shaming

Let me preface this particular post with a few tidbits about myself. I am a feminist in the original sense of the word. I believe ALL individuals are equal. I don't think any gender is better or worse than the other. I also don't think that the current generation is beholden for the sins of the previous generation. Each person is responsible for the consequences of their own actions, not the actions of another. Also, I don't believe that someone who was not directly affected by an action has any claim to the repercussions received by the real victims of said action. As a libertarian, using the text book definition of the term, I believe that we are free to live our lives as we see fit, with one caveat. One person's rights ends where another person's begins. That means that I believe you are free to live your life so long as it doesn't adversely interfere with the life of another person. Once you start crossing personal boundaries, then you have to negotiate and compensate and work with others or back away. Oh, one other thing about me: I have this nasty ability (a habit, even) of seeing the world from multiple perspectives. I look at things from at least two sides of the story, sometimes even more. That doesn't mean that I am wishy-washy in my beliefs or that I am indecisive. It means that I try to analyze as much data as possible before I come to any conclusions. I suppose I also have a tendency to grow impatient with individuals who sound like they want an intelligent discussion but only take a side and stick with it without bothering to listen honestly to the rebuttal. I've been infuriated with all kinds of stubbornly held strong beliefs. Don't get me wrong; I think it is very important for formation of a self-identity to determine where your beliefs lie. My problem is with pure stubbornness and the refusal to acknowledge any beliefs that contradict or do not exactly line up with your own.

Now that my form of thinking has been explained (and I would not be surprised if it was just skimmed over instead of read with any heart-felt interest), I can get to the matter at hand. I know this blog in general is supposed to be my attempt at finding the bright side of things. You will have to bear with me to the bitter end of this one to find it, I'm afraid, on this particular post. I have a lot of pent-up emotions that are too extensive for Twitter or Facebook or Google+ to allow me to convey. I'm even worried that I may find some magical limit on Blogger, too, but I just feel the need to get these thoughts out there. Perhaps I can encourage a few of the 7+ billion people on this planet to stop and think, to listen to other sides of a story. Eh, it's okay if I don't, too. At least I have the freedom to express these thoughts, even though it might pose a minor risk to my ego. So, here goes something.

By the way, I was finally prompted to get around to posting this particular topic because of Meghan Trainor's song "All about That Bass." It's played every time I take my daughter to dance class, so I get to hear it A LOT. And I, too, initially jumped on the "Girl power! You go, sister!" bandwagon that circulated Facebook along with the video. Believe it or not, Trainor is not the first artist, writer, person to scream to the world that a person does not have to reach and maintain a particular body size or shape to be considered beautiful. Then I started to listen to the song more carefully. At the same time, I came across numerous posts, tweets, re-posts, shared links, etc. that were fed up with the "fat shaming" of the media. The messages seemed to be clear: society is tired of "skinny minis" and wants its females to have some meat on their bones. Okay, as a life-long obese woman, I guess I'm supposed to be grateful for people finally standing up for the repressed fat woman. There are countless articles in professional and academic journals, as well as other forms of media, indicating that obesity (we're talking mostly any size in the double digits here) is seen as a personal characteristic, much like race and gender and religion, that is being used to show unfair prejudice in employment, compensation, housing, education, even dating and parenting. There are six other classifications that ARE protected from prejudicial discrimination by federal laws in the United States (look for a long-overdue post on my Misused Psychology Terms blog on the difference between prejudice and discrimination next week). These six categories are: Age, Race, National Origin, Gender, Religion, and Disability (mental and physical). Not only do the legal courts punish people for mistreating someone because of one of these characteristics, but the court of public opinion also inflicts even greater punishments for such actions. In fact, we have gone so far as to hold a prejudice against anyone who has a prejudice. Yep, the libertarian feminist in me screams in response to that, as well.

So, we're swinging the pendulum wildly now. It's not that we have dropped the idea of beauty as having a certain size and shape. It's more that we are hearing others say "Stop telling me that I don't fit YOUR ideal. I'm going to make my own!" As a psychologist, I can't help but hypothesize that a lot of the outcry is not about bringing up a part of the population that has suffered scorn and injustice for generations so much as a growing obese population who doesn't want to feel bad about their life choices. We can come up with as many excuses as we want, but the truth of the matter is that most individuals, greater than 90% in fact, who are obese got there through unhealthy life choices concerning diet and exercise. Less than 10% of the obese or overweight population are of that size because of a direct genetic or biological cause. If you're allergic to milk and you drink milk and get a rash, blaming the dairy farmers or the grocery store is not going to change the fact that you drank the milk despite your allergy. People want to blame stress and a fast-paced society for their poor health choices. These are only modifiers, not direct causes. We make choices. We need to accept the consequences (using the behaviorist definition of the word, which has no positive or negative emotional connotation to it) of those choices.

You know, the anti-fat-shaming movement is still making the same mistake that its opponents make: focusing on beauty. So, now we're empowering "padded" girls to have self-confidence in their looks. They are beautiful without having to have just the right "Barbie" dimensions. By the way, have you actually looked at a Barbie? I've had some of those dolls that couldn't wear the clothes of other dolls because the hips were too wide. I think that indicates some loosening of standardized sizing, just saying. So, yeah, fat girl power pushes the idea that all women, short or tall, skinny or plump, are beautiful. Sorry. I'm not going to buy that. For one thing, every human being has their own flaws and imperfections that would fail the test of a "perfect beauty standard" because that's the point of the perfection standard--some people can come very close, but it wouldn't be perfection if anyone could actually reach it. Look up some ancient Greek philosophical discussions on the nature of things to see where I'm going with this. Plato is particularly infuriating.

My point is two-fold. 1) We're still stuck with this notion that beauty is the most (maybe the only) important qualification for women (in some rare Internet rants men are mentioned). If you'd like to see a contrary opinion, one of the growing number of people trying to get away from words like beauty, just check out an article (post?) by James Michael Sama titled "10 Things More Important Than Beauty." I've read a few others, but his was the first one I could easily find again. Maybe that's another indication of the beauty obsession in itself. 2) The fat girl power movement has taken all the rage of being marginalized and turned it against their opposites, the skinny women. Even in Meghan Trainor's song, she does not speak kindly of thin women. So, fat is beautiful, but that's supposed to mean that skeletal is not? Doesn't that just make you hypocritical? Here's an interesting little factoid: not all women who appear skeletal or smaller than a size 5 (sizes are mostly arbitrary anyway) got that way a) to purposefully gain attention and attract a mate or b) via unhealthy means such as anorexia. I personally know of many women whose metabolism is naturally set to hummingbird and they couldn't gain more than a few pounds no matter how hard they tried. Just stop the judgement, please! Some thin women worked hard to maintain their bodies, not necessarily because they drank the society beauty Kool-Aid, but because they wanted it for themselves. And all of this discussion leaves a lot of confusion for what I would term "healthy women" who are neither skeletal nor obese, but rather somewhere in between, any maybe even have a strong muscular structure that many people confuse for fat.

While I'm on the topic of the beauty of fat, I've also noticed that there are still people who are left out of the club. The severely obese, such as those individuals like myself, are still not considered beautiful. I don't have my "junk in all the right places" as the song states. My proportions are not nicely packaged. My abdomen contains too many jiggly stretch marks to ever be considered beautiful. A lot of people like to bring up Renaissance paintings as evidence that fat was once considered beautiful. Have you looked at a Renaissance nude lately? I see no loose skin, no stretchmarks. Everything is well toned, just increased by layers. Fat on men and women does not neatly grow in smooth layers. It lumps and clumps, especially when you spend years trying to tame it or hide it. In addition, being a fat woman does not guaranteed a large bosom. I hate to burst a beauty bubble here, but there are some large women, myself included, who do not have a DD cup size. The body grows in proportion, meaning that if the woman were her "ideal" size (let's pretend there's an actual medical definition of this, which, unfortunately there is not), she might have the same C (or smaller) cup size breasts. For those of you not in the know, a cup size is the difference between the chest size, found above or below the breasts, and the largest point sticking out on the breasts themselves. The greater the difference, the larger the cup and larger, by proportion, a woman's bosom. By Barbie beauty standards, a C cup is too small. If your boobs extend beyond your belly, regardless of your size, then you have a chance of being considered attractive. We're not going to get into pregnant women, as they get a whole different set of standards. If you can squeeze out a Grand Canyon-like cleavage, then it's okay to have hips to go with it. But if you are blessed (or cursed, depending upon your perspective) with a pear shape, then you're not going to get to play with the big girls in the beauty arena. This also seems to apply to skinnier women, but they can get away with smaller bust sizes because they are smaller overall. This is based on my observations of social reactions to images of feminine beauty, which also include reading honest-to-God real scientific research studies showing the same darned thing.

What might seem to be one of my personal problems is that I live in reality. I never had any ambitions about attracting anyone, so I never put in extra effort to glamorize myself. I just didn't see physical beauty as all that important. I often don't even have an image of what I look like, just a vague concept of this being that contains my consciousness and that I have to maintain in order to continue to live in this reality. See, I tried to develop my intelligence and moral code. I tried to better myself and learn about the world around me. By the way, living in reality has some severe set-backs. I don't seem to have as much fun as people who try to perpetuate their fantasy worlds, at least not according to these particular people. It cost me my apparent sham of a marriage. He wanted a fantasy, I felt it was my responsibility to keep grounded so that the popping bubble didn't cause damage. Guess who got damaged? That's right, the one left on the ground. He's still floating high on his fantasy bubble. It may burst, but maybe not for several years. In that time, I will continue to plod along in the real world, preventing fires so that I don't have to work twice as hard to put them out.

Oh, yeah, I am a fully-grown, fully functioning woman in my 30s and I don't obsess about sex. I'm not a prude who condemns it for others, but it's not all there is to life for me. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I feel this whole obsession about beauty is overrated. I didn't spend every waking moment of awareness of the opposite sex (yes, I am heterosexual) on the prowl trying to hunt down someone so I could use my womanly wiles to manipulate some man-meat to get what I wanted or needed. I find it disturbing that even the fat girl power messages have an undertone of forced sexuality. It seems as if the only reason society obsesses about beauty is because beauty is the only way to obtain sex. And, really, sex is the only reason for adulthood (and adolescence), right? NO! There is MUCH more to life than sex. And sex should NOT be used as a tool to manipulate or control others. This is a form of abuse, by the way. Again, I'm not condemning anyone who enjoys a good romp now and then, especially those individuals for whom sex is a part of a healthy adult relationship and neither seen as mere exercise nor the only reason for existence. However, obsessing about sex is just as bad as having a substance abuse problem or a shopping addiction (a real one, not a wannabe special declaration). Not to mention, all this "adult" obsession with sex and sexuality has very obviously trickled down to children. I don't mean older teenagers (age 15-19), I mean little children whose parents dress them in barely there bikinis and hootchie-mamma outfits because they think a five-year old prostitute looks cute. There are more important things in life than sex. There are better things to do with your body than obtain or give physical pleasure. Maybe once we get over the obsession with sex we can move past the obsession with beauty and the body shaming.

As I stated above, I live in reality. I've been accused of being an ice queen, of having no soul, of having no imagination because I do not find some forms of entertainment, such as romance (which, in all its media formats, pushes the notion that beauty is the most important thing because it is the key to an active sex life, which is supposed to be the only life) to be all that entertaining. I do have an imagination, I just know how to separate it from the real world. As such, I have absolutely no illusions concerning my own personal physical beauty. I have none. I will go so far as to say that I am not "Ah! Kill it!" or "That thing belongs in a side show" ugly, but I find nothing particularly attractive about my physical appearance. I've been overweight, probably obese, for almost my entire life. I'm short, ridiculously short but not short enough to be a midget or a dwarf and not short enough to be considered cute. My face and other features besides my body shape are wholly unremarkable. As I said, my obesity is pretty obvious. People have a hard time getting past the layers of fat to see the intelligence and personality within, and I have a lot of non-beauty potential to offer a world that doesn't value it, but needs it to keep things moving forward. There is absolutely nothing about my physical appearance that screams "attractive" or any other modern colloquialism for that concept. My ex was never attracted to my body. I presented him with a realistic foundation that kept him grounded, but then he got tired of it when he found an "attractive" alternative (I have opinions about that judgement, thus the quotation marks). I was never what he wanted, he just settled. I was the McDonald's burger he took until he could find an open table at the steakhouse. Again, I have no illusions about my personal appearance.

I don't keep pictures of myself, I don't like people taking my picture (when I'm in costume it's embarrassing, but I allow it because I'm proud of my workmanship), and I almost never use my real picture online, instead choosing an avatar that represents my personality and/or interests. And, for the record, I would NEVER use my child's image to represent myself. She is her own person. I don't post her image too often online, period, because I want to protect her from the predators out there. She's all I have. She's the most important anything and anyone in my life. I also don't sexualize her or push the idea that she needs to be beautiful. She is beautiful and I do occasionally compliment her on her appearance, but I also emphasize the wonder of her sweet disposition and loving heart and the excellence of her brilliant intelligence. If I tell her that she needs to lose weight, it's not because she'll never "catch a man" if she doesn't, it's because of a family history of health problems related to being overweight and a blow to self-esteem that occurs any time someone goes to a conventional store for clothing, only to find that nothing fits because the sizes don't go that far. (Really, can clothing manufacturers and retailers not count very high or something? Or do they like the idea of fat people running around naked because they can't find any clothes? It makes me wonder sometimes). She doesn't need to experience the fat-shaming childhood I experienced because I made poor choices in my eating and exercise options and others felt it was their right to insult or mistreat me for the results. Remember, I would rather prevent fires than put them out.

Okay. Okay. Enough! This is pretty whiny, complaining, maybe even dark. I promised a bright side for those who made it to the end. Well, believe it or not, I do see a bright side in being unremarkable from a beauty perspective. I am 10 times less likely to be a victim of the typical crimes perpetuated against women. Although rape is a crime of power and not sex or passion, very few rapists will target a woman of my size. There's no thrill of conquest in forcing yourself on a fat woman or an unattractive woman. The stereotype is that most unattractive or fat women have such low self esteem that they would gladly bed the first person who finds them remotely attractive, they're supposed to be that desperate. In addition, large women tend to carry a mystique about them. You don't know how much of their bulk is actually packing face-pounding muscle. Plus, since I "obviously" didn't spend that much time cultivating my personal beauty, I must have spent my days stuck in a library somewhere, so I would be too smart to fall victim in the first place. (Yes, I do realize that you can take my words and throw them back in my face in a pessimistic light when applied to thin women. See, I look at multiple sides. However, I'm not trying to do that here, so take your smug "between the lines" analysis and save it for your own blog. This is my platform.) Being an unattractive, overweight woman certainly has its disadvantages in a society that primarily values skin-deep unattainable notions of beauty. However, because I'm grounded in reality, and because I've been growing over the years toward a more optimistic view of the world, I CHOOSE to see the positive side. I really don't want to deal with more depression, so I'm not going to take myself down that road.

My true wish is for everyone to get off this whole body image kick, period. Tall, short, fat, skinny, male, female, cross gender, transgender, no gender, rainbow colored skin, why should we care? I believe anyone who adds something positive to society, anyone who helps mankind move forward and/or helps their fellow humans grow and learn has value (using the original dictionary definition of the term). That value is more important than a surface trait, though less profitable from a commercial standpoint. So, yeah, stop trying to shame everyone to make yourself feel better. You can improve your self-esteem without bringing others down.