31
Aug
14

What the 1% don’t want the rest of us to know

And it’s not just that they make a wholehelluvalot more money than we do.

It’s not too early to start our own Progressive movement.

Firstly, we all need to stop protecting the rights of the 1% just in case that clever gadget we thought of and are going to get around to getting a patent for as soon as we have time ends up becoming the Thneed That Everyone Needs and earns us a bajillion dollars that we want to make sure we can hand down to Junior, even though by then he’ll be spoiled and entitled and lazy.

Secondly, we need to realize that there are worse things than a social safety net. Actually, we need to realize that the benefits of the social safety net make society better for everyone — whether we “need” it or not (we do), it helps us.

I wish people would talk more specifically about the literal costs to us caused by our relatively low tax rates — pay to “play” (sports, drama, music, chemistry class),  constantly deteriorating roads and the resulting depreciation of our vehicles; medical costs despite having what would be considered by many to be enviable health care ($1,100+ for each of Only Daughter’s 2 CAT scans this summer; $385 for Second Son’s cavities filled — and this is WITH dental insurance), college tuition — $7,605 per year, average public university in US in 2010; $4,524 in Canada; in France you can expect to pay an average of €452 per year — yeah, that’s right, €452 (that’s around $585) for MEDICAL SCHOOL.

(I actually love it when people compare us to France, making France sound like such an awful alternative. Yeah, there are all those vacation days and maternity leaves and universal health care; I TOTALLY see what the problem is. And that’s not even taking into account the wine and cheese.)

Anyway, these two will say it way better than I do.

 

30
Aug
14

better feminism

Rather than Beyoncé and her cohorts pole dancing  for 15 minutes and then standing in front of large letters that proclaim their feminism, and getting a lot of credit from women who should know better — like Jessica Valenti — for being “flawless” — The Emperor Has No Clothes!!!, these:

 

And he’s right — we have to stop labeling this a “women’s issue” — this is everyone’s issue.

 

27
Aug
14

true feminism

 

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10204250744971795

 

So it’s not just me!

27
Aug
14

date-rape-drug-sensitive nail polish

We should not need this.

We do, but we shouldn’t.

Lacie gets it.

Sigh.

25
Aug
14

It’s not (just) about sex

Beyoncé is frequently touted for her championing of women’s causes. She flaunts her curves, speaks her mind, and fosters an attitude of empowerment and strength.

Am I the only one, though, to whom it seems that her message is mostly about sex?

A blogger on BlogHer wrote recently, vehemently praising Beyonce’s “Divine Feminism*,” vaunted on MVA’s award show, and posted a clip of the medley she performed as evidence.

I watched it, and I just don’t see it.

I want to like her (Beyoncé), and I do admire her strength and physicality combined with a definitively female form, but I don’t particularly care for her singing, and her videos/dance routines sidle and strut right up to the borderline of pornography (right around minute 7 of the video).

http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/1066933/mtv-vma-video-vanguard-medley.jhtml#id=1729744

The banner “Feminist” at the end, with her standing triumphantly in front of it bothers me in particular. Are you truly a feminist if the primary methods you use to proclaim your message is your beauty and your body? Are you a feminist just because you say you are? Is it just me?

***

I’ve actually struggled with this dichotomy a little bit before, for two different reasons.

First, and most obviously, is the desire for women to have the right to appreciate/value their own bodies, to embrace their curves, to take agency for their own lives and choices, to own and be proud of their sexuality, etc. etc. BUT it seems that we should be able to do that without being expected to wear clothes that are skin-tight, expose our midriff, slit up to here or down to there, with shoes that are bad for our backs at best and possibly outright harmful to our feet, ankles, or knees. At the same time, it seems that we should be able to wear whatever we want without necessarily broadcasting ourselves as “available,” which might be construed as “asking for it,” and for which women are then blamed.

Wet Seal/Sex Kitten ad

Wet Seal/Sex Kitten ad

I have to teach my daughter how to dress not because there is anything inherently wrong with what she wants to wear, but because of the possible perceived message that might be received by an unknown and unidentified Other Person (male) and the risk that he then might act on his misperceived message without taking steps to appropriately verify it with the supposed sender. This doesn’t really seem fair to me. It also seems that men should know that a women wearing high heels and a short skirt aren’t “asking for it,” unless they actually, well, ask for it. Wow. The dichotomy just got even more complicated, and now seems to be a trichotomy. Or worse.

Maybe I’m over-thinking it.

Secondly (?), and probably more importantly: isn’t feminism (supposed to be) about more than sex? Equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities, family dynamics that don’t expect women to be primary maid/chef/dishwasher/child rearer while also employed outside the home? How about battling for the possibility that what might be construed as a “feminine” approach to leadership (cooperation, team-building), combined with acceptance of women who display “masculine” traits (assertiveness, confidence), might actually be just the thing that many businesses/academic departments/governments need?

At one point in the BlogHer post, the author writes: “Beyoncé consistently puts forward a message of female empowerment that is firmly centered on the feminine divine*, holding up women as powerful sexual agents of their own (forgive me) destinies, talents and desires. . .What’s more, she positioned her sexual empowerment as ‘feminist’ with the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoken word interlude and text background affirming the feminist message that girls be allowed to own and control their sexuality, just as boys are, without worrying that they are threatening men.”

Fine, yes, fantastic, I totally agree. But is that really the first and most important thing that most of us are talking about when we say we’re feminists?

Maybe at one point in the medley Beyoncé actually did get into the topics of “. . .all roles of the divine feminine*, from seductress to lover to mother to teacher, presented it as Capital F feminist. . .”  but I just couldn’t get that far.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude. I’m proud of my cleavage, I’m proud of my curves, I love sex, and can curse like a sailor when the situation warrants it (dropped plates, knitting problems, bad drivers).  I just think there are more layers to feminism than sexual empowerment. Besides wishing more of our discourse could revolve around these layers, I actually think it’s harmful that so many of the discussions seem to need to start with sexual empowerment issues and hardly, if at all, go beyond.

As women we need to learn to stand up for ourselves, to be proud of the qualities that make us who we are, no matter whether those qualities are “masculine” or “feminine.”  Everyone needs to learn acceptance of those qualities in everyone else — nurturing, assertiveness, thoughtfulness, ambition. Everyone needs to stop labeling things by gender — no such thing as “toys for girls” vs. “toys for boys” or “jobs for girls” vs. “jobs for boys.” Jobs need to be awarded according to someone’s ability to fulfill them; household tasks need to be divided fairly; boys need to be taught it’s okay to express their feelings or to cry and that they need to cook and do dishes and clean the bathroom just as much as the girls do; girls that it’s okay to be proud of their accomplishments, to assert their opinions or ask questions without apologizing, not necessarily to have children.

Then everyone can call themselves a “feminist,” except we won’t need that word anymore.

(*gag; I feel the same way about this expression as I do about “Bucket List” and “panties.”)

25
Aug
14

finally, a diagnosis

After years of suspecting this, I have finally received a name/diagnosis for a persistent problem I’ve been struggling with. Here’s the PSA that explains the condition, and will hopefully share enlightenment and understanding both for those who suffer from it and for those who love (or misunderstand) them.

If you need a pin:

http://www.zazzle.com/bitchy_resting_face_add_your_own_photo_pins-145902481348567592?CMPN=addthis&lang=en&rf=238137764125229812.

18
Aug
14

a sociological study, of a sort

I’m looking for an image of a woman carrying a tray to use as a cutout for a feminist-inspired art piece I’m considering. It will portray a woman going through life, weaving her way through images of things that cause her to lose little slivers of herself — children staring at computer screens, bosses scolding , husbands staring at football games on television, domestic chores competing with individual and/or professional pursuits, etc. I’d tell you more but I don’t want to give away my idea.

So I search for images at bing (trying to avoid being tracked, although bing seems to be as bad as google these days).

Just do this:

Go to bing.com, click on images, and then search for “waitress.”

If that isn’t revealing enough (pun unintended, but appreciated for its irony at this point), now go back and search for “waiter.”

It’s hopeless.

***

I’d feel badly for myself, but if you live in any number of regions around the world (Syria, Gaza, West Africa, Ferguson, Missouri)* you’re likely to be a victim of persecution, violence, ebola, etc. etc. First world problems, mine, although the (mis)treatment, exploitation and unappreciation of women, extended backwards, can lead to some pretty horrifying acts. Beyond the obvious problems of rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, one must include forced/child marriage, exploitative pornography, clitoral circumcision, requiring women to cover their hair or their bodies or their entire selves

womaninburka

This creeps me out. And makes me angry. Very, very angry.

or forbidding them from going out in public without a male relative as an escort. How about the right to raise a child without worrying about them being kidnapped or forced to become a child soldier or to die of some easily treatable disease? What about the right NOT to give birth to a child when so much of society seems bent on forcing you to, without helping with any of the things that come after.

Compare those things to fighting for equal pay for equal work? Equal opportunities for professional advancement? Equal distribution of household or child rearing chores? Who am I to complain?

But let’s go back to those images for a moment. Most of the women are in scanty “uniforms,” standing in provocative positions, gazing lasciviously at the camera. That’s funny, I thought I was searching for “waitress” — you know, someone who delivers food on a tray? I didn’t realize (duh) that “waitress” was a euphemism for seductress, slut, woman-who-exists-purely-for-the-pleasure-of-the-male-gaze.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem?

*We tell ourselves we’re made “in God’s image” to make ourselves feel better, but I just don’t see what could be further from the truth. As a species we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.




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