Archive for the 'What She (He) Said' Category

26
Feb
17

In case you haven’t laughed yet today

NSFW

But watch it anyway. It’s hilarious.

19
Nov
16

What he said

He’s right. We as a country are trying to do something that might go against our tribal natures. And I see so much evidence of people standing together and trying to do it better. Like the adage says — if you’re going through hell, keep going. Let’s do this, together, and come out that much better on the other end.

06
Nov
15

More better feminism

Give us a twirl.

Duh.

Clearly you have issues.

 

03
Nov
15

brilliant

This.

And not just because it’s in the title.

02
Oct
15

Umpqua and Enough is Enough

http://go.wh.gov/7Gk8Eh

This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loves ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it safes lives. The notion that gun violence is somehow different—that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt, and protect their families, and do everything they do under such regulations—doesn’t make sense.” —President Obama on the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon

Like he says, thoughts and prayers are not enough.

How can this not be the easiest thing in the world to see?

We don’t need to keep access to high powered rifles in case our government takes us over. We have access to changing the government if we want to — it’s called voting.

We can’t keep doing this, we just can’t.

Call me paranoid, but every Sunday when I’m sitting at the piano at my church job, or in a large crowd outside in my city, or teaching a class at my community college (where students have been escorted from classrooms, or police have knocked on the door looking for someone) I realize that this could happen to me. It could happen to anyone.

IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.

Voters who think one issue is the most important often feel that way because of abortion. But consider this: if you actually believe life begins at conception you also have to realize that life does not end at birth. Are you therefore willing to vote to support access to healthcare, food support for poor families, decent education opportunities for EVERYONE (not just the children in your neighborhood), clean air and water, preservation of the planet, and THE RIGHT OF US TO LIVE NOT IN FEAR OF THIS HAPPENING NEXT WEEK, at your place of work, or at your children’s school?

This has passed beyond ridiculous.

Please pardon my language, but enough is fucking enough already.

28
Sep
15

Yet another reason to support green energy

If we didn’t need Saudi Arabia’s oil, maybe we could stop pretending to tolerate their sexist misogynist B.S.

But, since we do, we need to support their right to uphold their “varied ethical standards” and pretend that it’s okay with all of us if 13 million women (or so) can’t drive cars or can be married off to 60 year old men at the age of 11.

Alas.

 

20
Oct
14

the answer is “no”

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of a friend on Facebook posted an article about a realtor who had been murdered by the “client” to whom she was showing a house. Horrifying.

A friend of this friend of a friend wrote “Everything happens for a reason. Prayers for you and her family.”

Even more horrifying.

All I could think was, does this person realize that they’re saying that this poor woman’s life was worth less than whatever positive element (!) might come of her brutal murder?

But people say this all the time.

Konika Banerjee and Paul Bloom covered this very topic in Sunday’s NYTimes article: Does Everything Happen for a Reason? They say it even better than I do — both why people choose to believe it, and why it’s dangerous. The last few paragraphs are the best, so, just in case the article is TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read):

WHATEVER the origin of our belief in life’s meaning, it might seem to be a blessing. Some people find it reassuring to think that there really are no accidents, that what happens to us — including the most terrible of events — reflects an unfolding plan. But the belief also has some ugly consequences. It tilts us toward the view that the world is a fundamentally fair place, where goodness is rewarded and badness punished. It can lead us to blame those who suffer from disease and who are victims of crimes, and it can motivate a reflexive bias in favor of the status quo — seeing poverty, inequality and oppression as reflecting the workings of a deep and meaningful plan.

Not everyone would go as far as the atheist Richard Dawkins, who has written that the universe exhibits “precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” But even those who are devout should agree that, at least here on Earth, things just don’t naturally work out so that people get what they deserve. If there is such a thing as divine justice or karmic retribution, the world we live in is not the place to find it. Instead, the events of human life unfold in a fair and just manner only when individuals and society work hard to make this happen.

We should resist our natural urge to think otherwise.

22
Sep
14

More better feminism

Emma Watson at the UN. Well written, well said.

She’s not “just” Hermione Grainger anymore, although I was a fan of Hermione as well — smarter than the boys, and not afraid to say so.

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

 

 

So it’s not just me!

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.”)

06
Jun
14

Joseph E. Stiglitz: Rule Breakers and How They’re Sickening our Politics

Joseph E. Stiglitz: The People Who Break the Rules Have Raked in Huge Profits and Wealth and Its Sickening Our Politics | Perspectives.

And it’s time we do something about it.

 

19
May
14

Grrrr. + a little from Jessica Valenti

Jill Abramson fired.

Yes, it’s personal.

I was told once, by a man (big surprise), that I would not be considered for a full-time professor position because my “demeanor” at that institution as an adjunct was more suitable to that of a tenured professor; in other words, I didn’t know my place.

I was told another time, by a different man (big surprise) that I would not be interviewed for a full-time position (at another institution where I had been working quite collegially for 6 or 7 years) because, while I seemed to have all of the requisite qualifications, he had concerns about my “collegiality” — despite the fact that I got along perfectly well with every single other person on the faculty except one, who everyone there knew was probably crazy.  A few days later, another (man) on the faculty told me not to take it personally, even though it was, quite clearly, personal.

In case you didn’t click on the 2nd link above, here’s Nora Ephron:“Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back. One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn’t serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you — whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.”

I recently tried to hire a woman I knew as a student at a much earlier job, and then a friend-of-a-friend, both very accomplished violinists who perform with my local city’s symphony orchestra, to be involved in a chamber music group a trumpeter (male, but not in a  bad way) and I are trying to put together. The first is taking a year of reduced work to take care of her “babies” (3 and 1 1/2); the second demurred, too busy driving her children to soccer practice and piano lessons. I wonder why the women always demure, defer, (I did, too, for a while);  why the men rarely do. I know the husbands of these two women. There is no deferring involved.

It’s not just others turning the clock back; we turn it back on ourselves. I wonder if I’d had different role models — not even my mother necessarily, but women my age “going for it” when I should have been — if I would have made different choices. It’s definitely too late, in that there’s no turning back time (If I could. . . Cher?), and my son scoffed at my suggestion once that, if we took the right advice we could live a life free of regret, but I can’t help but wonder.

“One of the strangest anti-feminist stereotypes to me – among the Birkenstock-wearing and bra-burning – is the idea that we’re unhappy. Angry. Bitter. Both because the foundation of the insult is the assumption that women should be perpetually happy, and because the truth is that the culture doesn’t actually mind if women are unhappy – so long as we keep it to ourselves. Women’s distress directed inward – from eating disorders to feelings of inadequacy – keeps the status quo moving along, with diet pills selling through the roof and women asking for promotions far less often than their male counterparts. But when our dissatisfaction takes an outward turn, people get uncomfortable. Then, women’s emotions are ‘hysterical’ or over-the-top. Anything less than a bubbly disposition means that we’re ‘bitches.’ Hell hath no fury like a man who finds a woman displeasing.” (Jessica Valenti)

 

 

 

30
Apr
14

Girls Who Read

13
Jan
14

Why We Still Need “Feminism”

Reblogged from here.

Why Society Still Needs Feminism

Because to men, a key is a device to open something. For women, it’s a weapon we hold between our fingers when we’re walking alone at night.

Because the biggest insult for a guy is to be called a “pussy,” a “little bitch” or a “girl.” From here on out, being called a “pussy” is an effing badge of honor.

Because last month, my politics professor asked the class if women should have equal representation in the Supreme Court, and only three out of 42 people raised their hands.

Because rape jokes are still a thing.

Because despite being equally broke college kids, guys are still expected to pay for dates, drinks and flowers.

Because as a legit student group, Campus Fellowship does not allow women to lead anything involving men. Look, I know Eve was dumb about the whole apple and snake thing, but I think we can agree having a vagina does not directly impact your ability to lead a college organization.

Because it’s assumed that if you are nice to a girl, she owes you sex — therefore, if she turns you down, she’s a bitch who’s put you in the “friend zone.” Sorry, bro, women are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.

Because only 29 percent of American women identify as feminist, and in the words of author Caitlin Moran, “What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Did all that good shit get on your nerves? Or were you just drunk at the time of the survey?”

Because when people hear the term feminist, they honestly think of women burning bras. Dude, have you ever bought a bra? No one would burn them because they’re freaking expensive.

Because Rush Limbaugh.

Because we now have a record number of women in the Senate … which is a measly 20 out of 100. Congrats, USA, we’ve gone up to 78th place for women’s political representation, still below China, Rwanda and Iraq.

Because recently I had a discussion with a couple of well-meaning Drake University guys, and they literally could not fathom how catcalling a woman walking down University Avenue is creepy and sexist. Could. Not. Fathom.

Because on average, the tenured male professors at Drake make more than the tenured female professors.

Because more people on campus complain about chalked statistics regarding sexual assault than complain about the existence of sexual assault. Priorities? Have them.

Because 138 House Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act. All 138 felt it shouldn’t provide support for Native women, LGBT people or immigrant women. I’m kind of confused by this, because I thought LGBT people and women of color were also human beings.
Weird, right?

Because a girl was roofied last semester at a local campus bar, and I heard someone say they think she should have been more careful. Being drugged is her fault, not the fault of the person who put drugs in her drink?

Because Chris Brown beat Rihanna so badly she was hospitalized, yet he still has fans and bestselling songs and a tattoo of an abused woman on his neck.

Because out of 7 billion people on the planet, more than 1 billion women will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes. Women and girls have their clitorises cut out, acid thrown on them and broken bottles shoved up them as an act of war. Every second of every day. Every corner of the Earth.

Because the other day, another friend of mine told me she was raped, and I can no longer count on both my hands the number of friends who have told me they’ve been sexually assaulted. Words can’t express how scared I am that I’m getting used to this.

Because a brief survey of reality will tell you that we do not live in a world that values all people equally and that sucks in real, very scary ways. Because you know we live in a sexist world when an awesome thing with the name “feminism” has a weird connotation. Because if I have kids someday, I want my son to be able to have emotions and play dress up, and I want my daughter to climb trees and care more about what’s in her head than what’s on it. Because I don’t want her to carry keys between her fingers at night to protect herself.

Because feminism is for everybody, and this is your official invitation.

 

 

01
Jan
14

gratuitous new year’s day post, no resolutions included

I laid in bed last night, well, this morning, actually, as the “old folks” managed to stay up past midnight to (quietly; no tin whistles, no confetti) welcome in 2014. (I want to say that next year there will be banging on pots and pans, and shouting, but that sounds suspiciously like a resolution. Hmmm. . . .)  I listened to the furnace shut off the last time before the Big Cooldown we have programmed into the thermostat (59˚ overnight) and to Second Son rustling around a bit in his basement bedroom (nice alliteration) and marveled at how well I could see out the window given that it was overcast and there are no street lights in our neighborhood — radiant light from the snow, I guess.

The trees were vague, foggy pencil lines against the gray sky. The house made its other noises. Husband snored quietly beside me.

I wouldn’t say that I’m more retrospective on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day than I am most other days of the year. I often think that if I spent less time “navel gazing” and more time looking out at the world I might even be able to release some of my mind-fuck obsessions and be, if not “happier,” more content in the world.

Coincidentally, though, we were wanting to recreate our New Years Eve dinner of a couple of years back, so I found myself paging back through this blog looking for the post–unintentionally exceptionally retrospective I guess. I had thought it was just last year, but it was two years ago, so I ended up reading a lot of other things, including some poems that were actually kind of not awful (and that I don’t actually remember writing), and watching some video clips of some pretty powerful performance art, etc. etc. A not-entirely unpleasant, short walk down memory lane.

It seems that I’m not ranting (or posting, for that matter) as much as I used to, and now I’m trying to figure out why. I’m a little more tired, I guess, or possibly (finally!?!) realizing that my ranting doesn’t really change anything. I’ve gotten pretty busy, although I was pretty busy when I was posting almost every day and averaging hits in the hundreds per day, rather than the single digits as I am now. I upset some people a few months ago, and felt badly about it, so didn’t post for a while, even though I thought they were kind of missing the point. I guess it’s as much my fault for not making my point clearly as it is for them not “getting” it — what is the writer’s job if not to communicate clearly and well?

I miss it, my daily commune with “my blog” and you, my readers; but I don’t seem to “love” it like I did.

All those words shouted out into the ether (until your face gets hoarse, ani dif.), never really sure what I’m hoping to hear in response. Validation? Empathy? The knowledge/awareness/hope that whatever I’m thinking or feeling, I’m not the only one? And why does that matter? I find that I want to write less and read more, but even then, I have the vague sense that l am (persistently) looking for (and never finding) the answers to life persistent questions. Caroline Knapp (Appetites) speculates that all a woman needs is a good boyfriend, a good job, and a good apartment. (relationship, financial, and domestic security). I have those things, but still feel I am looking for something (what kind of paradise am I looking for? ani dif. again)

Caroline Knapp, (and the writers of Serenity), speculate that the wanting, searching, the sense of lack, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is what gives our lives purpose, direction, keeps us moving forward rather than resting slothfully on our laurels munching grapes and watching bad television.

And yet I can’t help but be disappointed when things are less than I think they could be, or less than I hoped.

Again, Caroline Knapp writes of how, maybe, it is the moments we must treasure — of pure joy, contentment, ease; maybe in the afterglow of a great conversation/connection (even if brief) with someone we love, or with someone with whom we had no expectation of having a great conversation/connection; when we feel gratified or appreciated by that one person at our job; when the laundry is done and the dishes are washed and we sit on a comfortable couch in a cozy room after a delicious meal.

I can’t help but wonder (shades of Carrie Bradshaw) if those moments could be more often, or at the very least more easily held on to, if one could come to terms with the fact that there is no perfect, persistent joy. Maybe that’s the kind of paradise I’m looking for. Maybe, in this year where I, by the end, will have actually turned 50 (gasp!), I finally stop.

Now, someone else’s resolutions:

It’s still cold outside, we’ve had too much pecan pie and bad fudge, the family circus is performing, and we’re not sure what to make of this year that was pretty brutal at times, amiright? Take a long, belly deep breath. Feel your feet flat beneath you. Pull that core tall. Smile inside your mouth and feel your face soften. Put your head up, point your eyes forward. You with me? Listen … When your perceived troubles make you brood, it makes you a joy cannibal. Cut it out. We’re trying to have holiday spirit here. Maybe you’re bobbing along in the ocean of wherever you ended up. Pick a point, create a purpose, and move (ever slowly sometimes) towards it. Every day is the right day to reassess, make a map, rally the stakeholders to your own life, show up for someone else, and build capacity to be a better fucking human being. This is why love matters most. This is why you’re alive. This is why life is so painfully short and your sucky attitude is a waste of fine time. Break down the barriers you’ve built between you and the love of that god, that man, that woman, that child, and that person inside yourself you bully. Fly up to your own big picture. It’s a challenge to be honest with yourself, stop rating other people’s sins over your own, and steer your own damn boat. Change only comes with challenge. You can still be what you gave up on back when. You are in control of your own reaction in each moment and nothing else. Stand tall, breathe deep, smile softly, and forgive yourself for all that shit you won’t let go. Now is the time to put it down because it’s stupid heavy and you have a light heart. Get out of the harbor. Stop gripping the [buoy]. Be magnanimous, even when they don’t deserve it. Because you don’t sometimes, either. We’re all recipients of everyday grace and fear of hell isn’t what gets you into heaven. I don’t even believe in hell. Does that make you mad? Why? You are worthy of love and have so much to give. We all could work our hearts whole. Don’t be scared when someone loves differently than you, when their big plan isn’t like yours, and when their drive makes you ashamed at your own dog paddling. Pick a point, start a new year, and don’t look back. Head up, eyes forward.

26
Dec
13

Coolest “F word” ever

We should, all, be Feminists.

07
Dec
13

I seem to be on a bit of a rant. . .

http://www.upworthy.com/watch-a-student-totally-nail-something-about-women-that-ive-been-trying-to-articulate-for-37-years-6?g=2&c=reccon1

How much space DO we deserve to take up?

 

11
Oct
13

something worth fighting for

We’re fighting over whether we should pay for budgets that have been approved and laws that have passed.

We should be fighting for this:

http://www.upworthy.com/watch-this-incredible-young-woman-render-jon-stewart-speechless?c=cp2

Education, and fair treatment of women, everywhere.

03
Apr
13

you will be pretty ________________ (wait for it)




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