Saturday, November 15, 2014

We Cannot Rest: Claiming Our Birth Right

I have been a little busy with my writing sample. Now that I am finally finished and have sent off the first doctoral application, I can take a little break before getting on with the next. Thus it is a perfect time for a post...

In my research for my paper I discovered something: the world remains stacked against women. I was astounded at how incredibly pervasive this stacking truly is. Yes it is also stacked against minority groups and the poor, but of course, you can be any combination of these and be female. Still, minorities and low socioeconomic groups are seen as marginalized. The problem with sexism is its invisibility.

Apparently having a vagina means you cannot make as much money. It means you are less likely to get a raise or be promoted. It means you are more likely to be attacked - verbally, physically, and sexually. It means you are told repeatedly by society from every conceivable avenue that you are less, despite many people claiming this isn't so (even as their actions say otherwise).

The day when "cunt" and "dick" have the same connotation - when a man is not seen as "feminine" when he chooses stay home because his female partner prefers to work - is not yet here. The day when on site day care is so common it is expected is not yet here. The day when it there are just as many women as men in positions of authority is not yet here. The day when imprisoned mothers are given the possibility of being mothers to their children is not yet here. The day when we don't have to be afraid for our daughters' safety is not yet here. The day when women control their reproductive lives is not yet here.

Until that day arrives, we cannot rest.

We must stand up. We must join hands with those of like vision - those seeking justice - giving voice to the voiceless. We must call on the power that only women wield and stand with our friends, neighbors, and family who see a better way.

We cannot rest. This is FAR from over. Our birth right awaits. The call goes out. Will you answer?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Crazy American Commenter Guy

If you are going to market yourself, do it intelligently.

If you are going to argue, argue intelligently.

But if you want to be spectacularly bad at both, then be ready.

I say this because I recently received a comment moderation request for my last post by an anonymous person (who left their website link...so real anonymous). It was so strange because my last post was about hanging out with my husband and my child and then my upcoming performance with my father. You know, it wasn't political or hyper feminist in the least. And then I got this comment request by a person with a website that is devoted to boycotting American women...because apparently we're just the worst.

I've included the comment text below interspersed with comments by myself, directed to Mr. Anonymous (who I have not identified because I just can't bring myself to visit his website).

"I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?"

Well, sir...I find it strange that you decided to comment on my blog which is written by an American woman who has never cheated, or divorced, can cook gourmet meals (and enjoys to), likes a clean house (Thanks to my American mother), and has one child already (would like to have another at some point). It would seem not only is your comment placed on an inappropriate post of mine (which highlighted all these things), but also that you thought my readers would be interested in such drivel. You did no research.

"American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least."

A group cannot be pigeonholed in this manner. I, for one, was regularly complimented on my wisdom beyond my years from many people. As to selfishness, I think you'll find generally motherhood makes one a bit unselfish (there is always someone who comes first). To my own case, I was brought up in the Church where I was taught to stand up for people and take care of people in need. One of my degrees emphasized non profit service in an effort for social change. I hardly think that kind of interest is "selfish" or "irresponsible." To be able to complete something like this, one needs to be very organized and have a clear mind. Unstable is not a word that applies.

I have no idea what unchaste means. Do you mean having sex at all? Loose? Promiscuous? Enjoying the bodily gifts one has been given by God? Seeing as I've only been in monogamous relationships in hopes of securing a serious attachment (which I did and have been in for almost 8 years) I hardly think this applies.

"This blog [I have not included the link because...why?] is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women."

Sir, remember Americans are the products of many cultures. We are a nation of immigrants. If anything, this has given us many wonderful cultural elements that are unique to America and should be celebrated. That said, it is a huge country with many distinct cultures. People in New York, for example, are quite different from those in Oklahoma. And people from the city are quite different from those in rural areas. This diversity is interesting, exciting, and beautiful. It also means you cannot talk about Americans as a single homogenous group. We defy stereotyping.

I have lived abroad in many countries and can say that women abroad are just as likely to be selfish, crazy, promiscuous, incapable of cooking or cleaning, and uninterested in motherhood. These traits are not something that can be attributed to a single nation, but to people anywhere.

Also most straight American men, like straight American women, like sex. They like love and relationships generally. American men are not going to boycott them. Geographic opportunity forbids it. The only other option would be mail-order brides which is such a weighty conversation that I would have to write an entire other blog post!

It is clear from your comments sir, that you have been hurt by someone. Maybe you weren't asked out or were rejected repeatedly. Maybe you're insecure about your own abilities. Maybe you had an idea in your head as to what you think all people and relationships should be and someone didn't live up to your standards. Maybe you just watched a little too much TMZ, MTV, and Fox and concluded American women were wretched from this limited portrayal. Whatever the case may be, it is clear to me you need help from a certified counselor, and possibly evaluated by a psychiatrist. At the very least you should consult a religious leader in your community about your attachment to this resentment fuelled anger you have decided to broadcast across the internet.

Either that, or you are an amazing troll, in which case well done. I laughed loud and long and heartily enjoyed writing this blog post. Thank you so much for this excellent diversion! I am sure my readers enjoyed it as much as I did!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Playtime and Celebrations

Here I come to kick some butt!!
All work and no play makes Alexis a dull girl.

Fortunately this week is full of fun. This past Saturday I got a night out to a friend's costume party (super fun to dress up and reconnect with friends!). Sunday I sang Pharrell's "Happy" at church and then we had Trunk or Treat, which was followed by us carving a pumpkin and roasting the seeds.

And this coming weekend? I'm opening at the Cambridge Drive Concert Series which should be another good time.

With any luck, next Monday Christian and I will get some movie time, but that will depend on a few things being in place (babysitting and errands being completed for example).

Though I have a few aspects of my doctoral applications yet to complete (short answers and essays for example), I feel confident that I will have them completed soon, and that all aspects of the applications will be at the peak of excellence (as far as I can make them). That's all I can do. The reactions of the admissions committees are outside of my control. I'm comfortable with whatever happens because I know whatever happens, this coming year is going to be a good year for myself and my little family. I don't know what that means exactly, but I know we're heading to a really good place.

All the more reason to put on some make-up and pretend to be an off duty superhero...or Toby Keith (Christian's costume...complete with a red plastic cup...).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Misandry, Misogyny, and The Third Way

I am a feminist and... I love men.

WHAAAAAT?!?! I can hear some misandrist somewhere shaking her fist and shouting obscenities.

Blasphemer!

Heretic!

Except it isn't. I think it's safe to say that most women love men. They love their fathers. They love their brothers. They love their sons, partners, husbands, and friends. There are quite a lot of men in our lives that we love.

I think it's pretty safe to say that most women also want respect, because we're people and people want respect. We want the ability to control our lives and have our choices, feelings, and values honored.

These things should not be controversial, news, or rocket science. They are common sense.

That all said, I understand why there are women out there who hate men. I get that. I get the personal experience that is so incredibly hurtful it shades your perspective on every person to the point of essentialism. I can understand why an abused woman would hate her abuser, or anyone with qualities reminding her of that person. I understand why someone would hate her attacker, and anyone with similar qualities. It makes sense to me, but it also is something that I believe everyone needs to move past.

I am not someone saying "just get over your hurt." That is not what I mean at all. I mean to say we need to be different. We cannot act like oppressors pointing to a whole group of people and claim they are all exactly alike. That is preposterous. I would be angry if someone said all women were X or Y (hee hee) so how can I do the same thing to another group?

I also recognize there are still a lot of insecure men out there who continue to perpetuate sexual inequality and that situation isn't something we as women can just "get over." That said, we cannot make choices based out of fear, anger, or hatred. This is the way down a spiral of pain and despair.

Instead, let us honor ourselves and our fellow humans by acting out of compassion, wisdom, and justice. Whatever feminist actions we take, let them be informed by these three values, for if we do not, then we are no better than misogynists.

It is time for us to reclaim feminism from hatred and reassert it's original purpose - equality for all. This is neo-feminism - one that transcends misandry and allows for men supportive of the women in their lives to rejoin the movement. As a woman married to a man, who bore a son, I'd like feminism to welcome them with open arms, so they can work beside the women they love for a brighter tomorrow.