Posts Tagged ‘feminism

27
Feb
14

This post started with a post on Facebook of a picture of men. Which led to a Google search of “real women have curves”. Let me just say, it was generally nauseating. That being stated, said search linked me to this (http://recognizablefruits.blogspot.com/) blog. Same blog then led to this post. Back story now complete, let the games begin…

This young woman has a fabulous point; a point I once thought Feminism had gotten beyond. I like to pretend in my head that the bulk of Feminism is truly and honestly rooted in a desire for equality; the movement of women and men to place all people, regardless of sex, gender, race, socioeconomic status, disability, or age on the same equal footing. I sometimes have this delusion that the bulk of Feminism (both within and outside of academia) is capable of celebrating our similarities, while still recognizing our differences. I did state that these are delusions though, didn’t I?

In reality, there are young women who are degraded because obese is the new beautiful. Of course, this isn’t actually new. There have been times throughout history where thin is celebrated and times when heavy is desirable, but with mass media being what it is, there is a stark division between the ‘skinny chicks’ and the ‘fat girls’. In reality, women want more rights in birth control, but to the removal of men’s (not taking sides, simply stating fact). In reality, first world problems of body image overshadow the problems of women that are unable to feed their families or provide even the most basic medical care for their children. In reality, women are being degraded for staying home with their children; and so are men. Where is Feminism on these issues?
Many Feminists are doing the degrading of the ‘skinny chicks’ while popular media continues to show the very thin as an ideal. Truth? There is a spectrum of what constitutes beautiful. To each his own, and if someone is healthy, their body shape is nobody else’s business.
The term ‘reproductive rights’ in Feminism (on the whole) refers only to women. I get that this is a touchy subject. I get that by giving men choice, it reduces the choice of women. I completely understand that women are not incubators for the singular purpose of carrying children. BUT. If Feminism is truly about equality, we must, MUST recognize that expanding women’s reproductive rights diminishes those of men. We must also recognize that men have VERY limited options in birth control. Men have very few choices, while they abound for women. Don’t get me wrong, it is WONDERFUL that women have these choices, but what about men? Condoms, sterilization, abstinence. That’s it, folks. That’s all they have. This is not equality.

While there are many Feminists who acknowledge the problems facing women over seas, suggesting that women in India, the Middle East, and other conservative cultures just demand that men use condoms to prevent disease is, well, stupid. Yeah. I said it. A bunch of middle class white girls telling grown women to threaten their own lives, when same white girls have no real understanding of the implications that request holds, infuriates me. Really.

Last but not least in this rant, why must Feminists degrade women who choose to stay home with their children? Granted, there are many Feminists who support men staying home, but others who (while they may support it ideologically) will make fun of or degrade the ACTUAL men they know that stay home. Really, though, while I think we need to shift away from this ridiculous essentialism that only women can nurture, at this exact second, it is the first of these two that bothers me the most. ‘The Problem with No Name’ was supposed to be about choice. The second wave was supposed to be about opportunity. Why must Feminism step back to the 80’s ‘mommy wars’? If a woman wants to take advantage of her birth control options, have sex, not get married, and have a career; GREAT FOR HER! If a woman wants to remain abstinent until marriage (or at least monogamous), then have multiple children, and stay at home with those children; GREAT FOR HER! Of course, there is a great deal of variation between the two, but none of those variants are attacked by Feminism (and Feminists, themselves) with the same vehemence that is aimed toward chastity, and the nuclear family. If that is a woman’s choice, that choice should be equally supported and celebrated.

02
Mar
13

Fighting the good fight

The following speech was presented on the steps of the capital building in Frankfort, KY during a rally for reproductive rights and civil equality.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.”

These words were spoken by Elisabeth Catie Stanton July, 19th 1848. Women and men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY where the “Declaration of Sentiments” (a document demanding equal treatment and citizenship for women) was drafted and put forth to the government of these United States. We stand here now, almost 165 year later, still fighting for many of those rights.

Kentucky Senate bill 4 requires that a physician (or a licensed designee thereof) be physically present with a patient at the time of consent. This holds ramifications for women who require distant travel for medical procedures that are already financially crushing.

Kentucky Senate bill 5 requires that all women seeking to have “any part of an abortion performed” must first be subject to an invasive, transuterine ultrasound. In simple language, a woman who is attempting to responsibly deal with an unwanted pregnancy must also be subjected to having a large, uncomfortable instrument forced into her vaginal opening, then lay quietly while a doctor explains in detail about the fetus.

The consequence for doctors refusing this unethical requirement of an unneeded medical procedure is a Class D felony. A penalty that includes, among others, violent offenses and sex crimes. How very ironic, that to avoid these charges, a doctor must force a woman to engage in penetration by an artificial phallus. Nothing less than MANDATED RAPE!

Additionally, I feel it important to note that, of the eight senators cosponsoring this bill, only ONE is a woman. Seven, SEVEN men have put their names and weight behind a bill that does not affect THEM or THEIR bodies, but could affect thousands of women.

This is the reality, so many people (mostly legislators it would appear) think that abortion is easy. That it is a decision that women come to lightly and without reflection. This is NOT TRUE! Women come to this decision because they KNOW that, for whatever reason, they CAN NOT accept the financial responsibilities that pregnancy, birth, and upbringing carry. These women KNOW that they, for whatever reason, CAN NOT provide for the health and well being of a fetus, a baby, or a child. These women KNOW that, for whatever reason, it is in the best interest of ALL parties involved, to terminate a pregnancy.

Kentucky Senate bills 4 and 5 serve to prevent a woman from exercising the right to do what SHE KNOWS is best.

We stand here today, not only to speak for the rights of women to be free from the mandates of rape, but also to speak for the rights of our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our friends and ourselves. For too long we have been expected to fight for the equality of our LGBTI family by going city to city, begging for equal treatment one commission or council at a time.

While I salute the leadership of Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Vicco for trying to secure the equal rights of all of their citizens, it is time to bring equality to all Kentuckians. It is time that we no longer have to wonder if we have crossed the city boundaries and are now fair game to those who would see us left homeless, jobless, and afraid.

KY Senate Bill 28 extends the hands of equality across the Commonwealth. While it does not prevent prejudice, it does prevent discrimination. It lets ALL Kentuckians see that our Commonwealth and its legislators recognize all of us as people FIRST and demands that others do the same. KY Senate Bill 28 shows our YOUTH that, even though we sometimes have to fight for is, it does, in fact GET BETTER!

We stand here today at OUR Capital in common cause. That our rights as individuals not be denied by the majority or by the privileged. We are all here today to stand up and to BE COUNTED!

23
Apr
12

harold* and the purple crayon (*names have been changed to protect from homophobes)

Bullying is a major problem, we know this. There are anti bullying initiatives, programs, and classes. Schools tell kids to report it. They tell them to stop it. They tell them not to do it. That’s great and all, but me think we are not getting to the crux of the situation. We are pulling at weeds, picking the leaves, and not touching the roots. Yeah, yeah…Enough metaphors. My point?

Parents. We spend millions of dollars per year trying to keep kids from beating the crap out of each other and making each other feel like shit, and yet parents are ignored or enlisted to help teach. This is where so, so, SO many of the teachers need to be the students. PARENTS teach hate. PARENTS teach homophobia. PARENTS teach bigotry. These are not traits that a small child picks up at the local bar on a Friday night. Four year olds don’t judge because someone’s crayon isn’t the right color.

I don’t share a great deal of personal information here, but today it seems necessary. My daughter was upset when I picked her up today because one of the other girls yelled at a little boy for having a purple crayon. My daughter had a blue one. She informed the other girl that if she could have a blue crayon, then the boy could have the purple one, then proceeded to retrieve said purple crayon from the trash (the other girl threw it away) and hugged the little boy.

I get that children have developmental milestones they reach at different times, including indication that ‘blue is for boys’ and (in this case) ‘purple is for girls’. Yeah. I get that. They gender divide. BUT belittling the little boy for the purple crayon? Throwing it away in the trash? THAT is NOT a milestone. That is hateful, mean, and spiteful. I don’t blame the little girl. She did not know that it was hateful, mean, or spiteful, she only knows that is something an adult in her life would never tolerate.

05
Mar
12

Vaginaphobia

Due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s been quite awhile since the last post. Still dealing with said circumstances, but I just have too much wandering about inside my little head.
V-Day having just passed, I feel the need to comment. For those non-feminists in my reading public, V-Day as mentioned here refers no to WWII, but rather to the day(s) devoted to bringing awareness of issues relating to violence (sexual and physical) against women worldwide. As part of the V-Day movement, The Vagina Monologues (VMs) is a collection of theatrical monologues performed to both educate and to raise funds for local violence shelters. So, having provided a short background, I will get on with my random thoughts…

This year there was a great deal of backlash about the VMs. As promotion, our group of young (and not quite so young) women went out and “chalked” our university campus, writing various bits of vagina information, including the dates of the show, some statistics and “Until the violence stops,” among others. One of those with which we were the most impressed was the section on the library steps, ”Vagina words: What do YOU call it?” Here there was a wonderful list written in various colors, many of which offered by passersby who were entertained by the fervor with which our chalk was flying. Some even asked to draw chalk vaginas on the sidewalk and we gratefully granted the chalk for the artistry.

The next day, as the young (and not so young) women involved in the chalking wandered campus, they listened with pride as people commented on the drawings, dates, and yes…the vagina euphemisms. It wasn’t until later in the day that things went awry. Our vaginas were disappearing. Not the drawings, not the FABULOUS euphemisms (which admittedly were the most likely to offend, so we thought), but the actual word: VAGINA.

I received a slightly intriguing email from a professor informing me of the disappearing vaginas. Said that appeared to be the only thing missing. Sure enough, on further inspection, the vaginas were the only thing missing. Someone or someones were removing “vagina” from every chalk tag within a 50 foot radius of one particular building of campus (the other side of campus was left untouched). Reluctant facilities services workers were dragging wet mops across the letters, removing them as though they were some form of profanity. A professor (who shall remain nameless here) was seen removing the word from a large tag stating “The Vagina Monologues 2012, Until the violence stops!” Yes, it was not the euphemisms that were found offensive (beef curtain was a personal favorite, as was the snack that smiles back), but the actual word “vagina”.

That same night, the young women (and not so young and a couple of male assistants) showed up in force with a great deal more chalk than before, and covered the section of campus that had been carefully censored. Also, there was hairspray involved for the purposes of sealing against future mopping. The next day, the same facilities service workers, as reluctant as before, began the work of removing the freshly restored vaginas. At this point, the head librarian stepped out and informed them that they were not to touch any of the work within her area, as that was her domain and it was done with her permission (which is only about half true, but that’s not the point).

It was wonderful to know that we had support. It was amazing to see people standing together for a cause so important. It was disappointing to see that people were so disturbed by such a simple word.

Had the word been “arm” or “leg” or “heart”, I am fairly confident that it would have remained untouched. I am saddened that the words “sideways clam” and “fish sandwich” remained, while “vagina” was removed. Why?

Why is vagina thought to be such a dirty word? Why was something as simple as a body part offensive, while negative euphemisms were left behind? Why, in an arena of free thought and advanced learning, is VAGINA thought so disgusting that it must be censored?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do understand now, more than ever, why it is of the utmost importance that Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues be presented time and time again. We must, MUST begin to realize that vagina is not a dirty word, that it is a body part like any other while being a part like no other. To quote Ensler:

“THE HEART IS CAPABLE OF SACRIFICE.
SO IS THE VAGINA.
THE HEART IS ABLE TO FORGIVE AND REPAIR.
IT CAN CHANGE ITS SHAPE TO LET US IN.
IT CAN EXPAND TO LET US OUT.
SO CAN THE VAGINA.
IT CAN ACHE FOR US AND STRETCH FOR US,
AND DIE FOR US.
AND BLEED AND BLEED US INTO THIS DIFFICULT…
WONDROUS WORLD.”

05
Feb
12

Assailed by the Christian Right (or should I say ‘rite’?)

I’m not sure exactly when the attack on women’s reproductive rights took such a dramatic turn. I think, perhaps it was with the sudden rise in the popularity of the Tea Party and the realization that the Church was beginning to lose some of its political hold. Well, they managed to nip that in the bud and now they push on to reverse the freedoms women have achieved to decide what can and can’t go on inside their own bodies. Alas, those in high religious and monetary places feel the need to tell women that they are not able to choose parenthood, whether that be through abortion, the morning after pill, or even affordable birth control of any sort provided b Planned Parenthood. Ah, but there are condoms! Well, men control that, now don’t they. I prefer to take responsibility for myself and not expect someone else to do it for me. That all being said, I am offering a much shared breakdown of the services provided by Planned Parenthood. Educate, learn, and fight for those who need it.

05
Jan
12

The truth about nobama…

Each of the following items is TRUE. Check them for yourself if you don’t believe it.
1. Obama requests personal information before accessing the Whitehouse website. This is a PUBLIC, GOVERNMENT WEBSITE!

2. Obama makes a statement of “shared history and shared values” with people from the Middle East! REALLY!!?? I am NOT a Muslim, thank you very much!

3. More than 180,000 were in Afghanistan and Iraq within the first year of Obama being in the Whitehouse. OUR soldiers are over there fighting for THEIR safety and he sits around talking about “hating war”? Yeah. Anything to get a vote from the stupid commies.

4. Obama Care legislates federal dollars to perform abortions. This one pretty much says it all for itself.

5. Obama Care forces American companies to dole out endless payments to people who don’t even work! If somebody is too lazy to work, why do hard working Americans have to pay for their laziness!

6. Obama supports the ‘marriage’ of Adam and Steve. That’s right. He said (and I quote) “the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples”.

7. Obama is seen dining with a group that frequently lobbies Washington on behalf of illegals and gays. That’s right folks. Cozying up to the lobbyists.
So next time you hear a liberal talking about how great Nobama is…Show them this! Share away friends, and SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!

14
Sep
11

Spawned by FFC

In response to http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-a-feminist-but

I am a feminist. I love men. I love women. I love myself. Why are ANY of these statements mutually exclusive?

Secondly, on what planet (and perhaps this is the masculinity theorist in me) do all men enjoy the security of walking alone at night? Or freedom from sexual harassment? Or the freedom from the ‘unique burden’ of keeping their bodies looking a certain way? And while the author of this piece may be considered ‘too emotional’ as a woman, she herself states that a man must defend his outward show of emotion.

She will never know what it means to be policed by every other child on the playground (both male and female) as to whether or not she is accurately portraying her feminine role appropriately. She will not know what it is like to be silenced by her peers for the sexual harassment she receives. She will not understand, despite the difficulties women as rape victims face, the consequences a man faces when raped. Google “sexy woman” and then “sexy man”. Are the images of both not stereotypical and harmful? She must be thin and busty, but he must be buff and strong (and rich, too I might add).

Something that I think she completely misses the mark on here (and maybe that is only because that is not the point of the piece) is that it is also OK to be MASCULINE women. Why must I, as a feminist proclaim my femininity in high heels and a dress? Why CAN’T I wear my jeans and t-shirts and combat boots, and that be OK too? So yeah, I’m a granola eatin’, boot wearin’, make-up burnin’, Feminist. Deal with it.
I understand that this all relates to the degradation of women and the horrors associated with femininity as a whole (that last part was sarcasm), but the source does not justify the action. Yes, we as feminists need to stand up and support Feminism as a study, as a social science, and as movement, but we CAN NOT do that without discourse. Without discourse, we become a cult of crazy people wandering around the compound agreeing with each other, never stepping out among the non believers.