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.



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.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Need a Writing Sample!

Oh. My. God.

I'm screwed.

Okay, not screwed, but pretty up a creek.

I discovered, finally, that I do not actually have copies of any of my academic work...anywhere.

You see, my laptop that I used for all my academic work fried in the Phoenician heat about 6 years ago. I don't recall if any of the documents were saved during the death pangs of that limping machine. If they were, I haven't the foggiest where I might find such documents.

And of course, I need a 15 page writing sample to submit with my applications.

I won't lie - this was quite a blow to my tenuous calm. I'm this close (picture pinched index finger and thumb) to calling it quits. Okay, not at all. Instead, I will have to write a new essay and complete it in a timely manner. The biggest hurdles to this proposition are the following:
  1. The fact that I haven't written an academic paper in over 6 years (minor in the grand scheme of things).
  2. The fact that I don't have a specific essay prompt/direction for said paper (kind of a problem).
  3. The fact that I will have to scrounge together the time to do this 15 page paper (all nighters? up at 5 AM? Insomnia is my friend!)...
  4. and of course it will need to have cited supportive evidence in APA format.

So, with this looming in my immediate future...anyone have any ideas as to essay topics? My current idle thoughts are:
  • Feminine power (battles over birth)
  • Female identity (transitioning from woman to wife to mother)
  • Religion and women (this would likely require the most citations and research) - focused on women in Christianity
  • Informal (possibly v formal) education and credibility in pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. 
Weigh in below! Also, consider if it is really a good piece/topic...I'll submit it to a site or journal to get published (because why not!).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Perfecting Your CV

Resumes have rules. CVs are...negotiable.

Trying to figure out the best headings and the best things to include on a CV during the application phase is a pain in the ass.

Do you have enough honors and awards to merit their own heading? Does anyone care about your community service? Is there any point in mentioning that life changing experience if it doesn't really fit under your teaching experience? What about those two years at art school that are completely unrelated to everything else? What about the 10+ books you have independently published? Are they helpful or hurtful?

And those are just my CV questions.

Luckily I have a few people in my life willing to give my vitae a once or thrice over. We've been going over everything with a fine toothed comb, to the point where I'm deciding where best to put the publication dates of my books (I think I'm still including them as a testament to my productivity regardless of their genre.) and the location of my research interests (the top).

And these are the things that keep me up at night. That and something else: What if I don't get in? Or what if I get in to only one place? Or what if I get into everywhere I apply? What do I do in each scenario?

To put in so much energy to the application process, it would be devastating not to get accepted, however, I would also know quite clearly it wasn't meant to be. If I was accepted everywhere, I would have to prioritize various aspects of each program and school in order to make the best long term choice, despite whatever pressures might come at me. Hopefully everyone would respect my choice seeing as I try to make decisions carefully and thoughtfully.

But that is a discussion for February or March. Today I am focused on perfecting CVs and statements of purpose. Tomorrow I am focused on recommendations. I can only focus on one step at a time, otherwise I would never sleep. Seriously.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Apply Where You Will

Last Monday I took my GRE. I was nervous about it. Not about the test - I figure you are as ready as you can be by the time it comes around. No. I was comfortable with how much I prepared.

Rather I was nervous about what it meant.

Having taken this test, I was officially committed to an idea - the idea of attending graduate school and everything that means. In my case, it means moving across the country.

There are no programs in California that interest me. None. When I began looking at things it became clear I was going to have to move far. The schools to which I am applying are all well past the Rockies and each in very different segments of the country. Each of them is scary for one reason or another.

One is Lesotho in the middle of South Africa...or an island in shark infested waters...whichever metaphor you prefer. Either way, it makes me nervous.

Another is in Flatland, coated in vanilla and sprinkled with a dash of whiteness. I get bored thinking about it.

The third is a dream. It just happens to be in Siberia where the sun never shines and the houses have second story doors opening out to seasonal 9 foot snow drifts.

This is my current feeling, though it may be misplaced, delusional, or just wrong. Whatever the case, these are the pictures I have constructed around each school. They are all good schools, and each one is perfectly positioned to help me achieve my goals. I am confident that I would do well at any of them. Of course I have a first choice and my heart tells me that is where I belong, but there are other prospective students. There are other applications.

And I have to submit mine just like everyone else to be carefully scrutinized.

This brings me to my next steps: personal statements, transcripts, recommendations, and curricula vitae.

Time to research so I can make my application as attractive as possible. Because this is happening. I am moving across the country. It is the right thing for me to do and I won't let anything stop me. I am committed.