Category Archives: feminism

Expecting

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via allthecolor on Flickr

For Maggie, making a trip to the store for baby supplies wasn’t all the other new mothers cracked it up to be. Finding a place to park was easy enough, as at least two front rows were reserved for expectant mothers. Wise marketers made access simple to lure women in and tempt them to buy the same old, same old.

Inside the double glass doors, Maggie may have stepped back into the ‘50s for all she could tell. A cotton candy machine could’ve exploded, splashing the clothing with saccharine pink and sky blue. “Here we go again,” she said. “Why is everything for babies sold as such a stereotype?”

She didn’t want to select clothes by gender … lace and frills for little girls or animals and mechanical motifs for the boys. Maggie resisted making her selections based on such a backward categorization. Lady bugs and footballs in abundance. She just wanted to get some cute baby things. Registering for gifts here meant “snips and snails and puppy dog tails,” all the old tripe from the past.

Guilty feelings crossed her mind at being so greedy as to hand-pick what friends and relatives should buy the baby. Much like begging for shower gifts. She felt a tinge of shame at taking advantage of their generosity.

An electronic scanner clutched in her clammy palm, Maggie half-heartedly waved the device at random objects. A hooded bath towel here, burp pads there, all with the same themes decorating the garb. Her heart just wasn’t in it.

Maggie considered going the generic green and yellow route. “Better to stay on the safe side,” she thought. She and her husband refused to find out the baby’s sex via a sonogram or answer intrusive inquiries about it. People were surprised at their own lack of curiosity. She wanted to tell the busy-bodies to go work for the Big Baby Boootie business chain and help put every newborn into a feminine or masculine pigeon hole.

She rounded the corner to the aisle with the registry kiosk and had a mild moment of panic. What would they name the child? Jordan, Taylor, Jayden, Morgan – a list of androgynous choices came to mind. The registry monitor loomed large in front of her, vaguely representing the first choices she’d make for her progeny in a world where so much was determined by arbitrary X and Y chromosomes.

The moment had come to enter her choices for “Baby Thompson” into the computer, but she had only a few measly items scanned into the system – some plain white onsies and drab cream-colored sleepers that would leave nosy people guessing. She felt helpless against the force of how society pits “girls against boys” from birth. Maggie nodded her head and resolved, “Luvs and Huggies it is.”

*A prompt from Studio 30+ this week was, “Here we go again.” Studio30

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The Mission

A large group of people assemble in a meeting hall for a long-overdue gathering. Through forces unknown and inexplicable, I am granted the supernatural power of omniscient feminist influence by which to reach closed-minded naysayers and misogynists throughout the world, win them over with magical eloquence, and change their previously mislead ways of thinking.

(greeting via loudspeaker)

The mentoring program will commence in just a few minutes. Today’s plan of action is to overwhelming implant knowledge and understanding of feminism, heretofore considered by some a “dirty word,” to the doubtful and mainly conservative minority. While we’ll be here for two hours, there is much ground to be covered. All negative stereotypes will be overcome, and an all-encompassing compassion for humanist issues will be accomplished here forward.

Our mission:

We will convince otherwise misguided people of the innate equality of females.

Points of discussion:

1) Feminism is about equality and autonomy. Women should be valued as highly for their efforts and abilities and have ultimate control over their own bodies.

2) Female sexuality is okay, just like it is for males. Humans are sexual beings who deserve pleasure without being slut-shamed.

3) Our bodies all differ, and that doesn’t mean one is any better than another.

4) We are individual people, not simply objects meant for men’s pleasure.

5) Women should support other women. Everyone needs a little help now and then, and who better to give it than other sisters, mothers, friends, and colleagues?

6) Equal pay for equal work. It’s that simple.

7) That is all.

A few special guests in attendance are:

Sophie Hasty, the 13-year old Hasting Middle School activist who rebelled against the Evansville, IL administration’s initiating a dress code against girls wearing leggings, as they felt doing so “distracted the boys.”

Olive Bowers, another 13-year old who challenged a surfer magazine for misrepresentation of females only through bikini shots and no sports coverage.

Andie Fox of blue milk, a smart feminist writer/blogger who approaches parenting, gender equality/stereotypes, pop culture, politics, and many other things about which she is very savvy.

Jessica Valenti, an intelligent feminist author, speaker and columnist for The Guardian US and formerly The Nation, who tackles tough issues like abortion and rape culture. She’s pretty damn funny, to boot.

  valenti tweet.JPG

Zooey Deschanel who, even through her sweetheart persona, is trying harder than most young American actresses to counter the common notions of perfection via her media presence and collaborative Hello Giggles website.

also inspiredbycharm.com

via inspiredbycharm.com

Jennifer Lawrence, another American actress, who is a vocal advocate of positive body image. She is invited because I trust the public image of her being a down-to-earth awesome role model. Simply stated, she must be awesome.

sheknows.com

via sheknows.com

 

And the keynote speaker will be:

The irrepressible bell hooks, feminist scholar and author of Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Outlaw Culture and Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, among others, who will further elucidate those who need to know, as well as we who already know, about the “white supremist capitalist patriarchy.”

via goodreads

via goodreads

 

Through my cosmically granted and omniscient feminist influence, everyone reached through my superpower of mental telepathy realizes what feminists have known since the beginning of time – all women and men deserve to be treated equally.


*The above-listed Indie Chick Lit scenario and love Studio 30+ writing prompt both instigated this post.   I’d love to know who you think should be on the invitation list. Please comment!

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Flying – a love story

I’d been there dozens of times within a pensive and longing crowd of kindred souls, but a cloudy memory blends it all together.  We waited in gleeful expectation — a blissful mob.

My senses took over and made my skin involuntarily ripple as she launched from the stage, and my brain willed itself to freeze the next two hours for clearer future recall. With fierce admiration, I swiped at a tear during the piano solo and internally vowed to carry the moment away with me. We left with spirits renewed in a universal sisterhood, our ears ringing and hearts temporarily lightened.

Image

That is the truth about love.

*writing prompts tear & ripple from Studio30Plus

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2013 Women Challenge

Women ChallengeA blogging friend, Valentina, at Peek a Book has issued a new 2013 Women’s Challenge.  She says:

Checking the books I have read in the last year I noticed that I have read a lot of authors who are men and far fewer women writers.
There is no real reason because, of course, I don’t choose books based on the author’s sex, but this intrigued me and I decided to create a challenge called the “Women Challenge.”

This challenge will make us want to read more books of any kind written by women, so choose whatever you like and get involved!

Set your level and, if you like, leave me a comment on this post listing your three favourite women writers, in order to suggest new names to other participants as well.

Here are mine (they are just the first ones coming to my mind):

* Isabel Allende
* Marcela Serrano
* Kathy Reichs

Rules:
 * anyone can join;
* you don’t need a blog to participate: if you are a non-blogger please leave a comment with a link (if you review elsewhere) to your review or with the list of the books you read and the level you choose;
* audio, e-books, bound books and re-reads are ok;
* create a sign up post on your blog and post the link in the linky below (scroll down please, it’s at the end of the italian translation);
* challenge goes from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013
Levels:
Level 1: BABY GIRL – read 1 to 5 books written by a woman author
Level 2: GIRLS POWER – read 6 to 10 books written by a woman author
Level 3: SUPER GIRL – read 11 to 15 books written by a woman author
Level 4: WONDER WOMAN – read 16+ books written by a woman author
Some of my favorite authors are Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, and Octavia E. Butler.  Valentina’s challenge sounds very worthwhile, and I am now aware how few books I read are written by women.  So I’ve accepted the “Wonder Woman” level of the challenge and dare you to do so, too!

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Why I blog – “The Addictive Blog” award

Image I think it’s okay to have healthy little addictions, so having someone supposedly addicted to your blog seems pretty healthy to me!  It was great to be nominated for an “Addictive Blog” award by Paula at Paula’s Pontifications.  Her blog is relatively new to me, but I’m glad to have found it.  She is also an indie writer and fellow yoga enthusiast who has some great insight.

Award Rules:

  1. Thank the person awarding you.
  2. Share a little about why you blog and how the journey started.
  3. Paste the blog award on your page.
  4. Nominate 10 other bloggers you feel deserve the award.

Why I Blog:

My first blog entry on Blogger was back in June of last year after a narcissistic co-worker wanted to share her world with everyone. That act spurred me to ask myself in a self-centered inner voice, “Why not?” There were only a few friends who ever read my writing there, specifically the few who encouraged me to pursue it. That blog remains active, but I save it for my more personal rants. I usually comment on absurdities around me such as gender discrimination, especially as represented through various media, and other women’s issues. It is also a place to follow suggestions of the writers at MissRepresentation.com who promote women supporting each other instead of breaking one another down, which helped me create my weekly gratitude meme.

This blog was instigated by the release of my first novella, Contained, last year in my wee attempt at self-promotion. I also wanted a venue through which to talk about reading and writing in general, two of my great passions. While it’s nice to have other people react to my writing, it’s also fun to interact with other avid readers and indie authors who share my challenges and help encourage me to continue writing.

I’m Addicted to these Blogs:

The Solipsistic Me

blue milk

Peggy Isaacs

Melanie Crutchfield

Whimsically Yours

A Day Without Sushi

MasculinityU

Views from the Couch

Left at the Lights

Synthesist Chronicles

(notifications to be sent later)

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Say it loud, say it proud!

This young lady makes a whole lotta sense!  I can’t wait for the day when all women proudly embrace being feminists.

Nonsense Party

So, I think I’m a feminist. Maybe. Kinda. Probably a lot. I’m not sure. Honestly, I’m not terribly schooled in women’s studies or the feminist movement, so I’m kinda wingin’ it here. So, I think I should do what I always do when I’m unsure about something: ask Google.

Asking Google: Am I a feminist?

Google, in its omniscience, directed me to Wikipedia, which says that

A feminist is “an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women.”[3]

and also that

Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

and

They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women.

By those parameters, I’d absolutely say I’m a feminist. Why do I have this lingering feeling that “feminist” is a dirty word? Where did I get that from? Because, really, I can’t…

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Good Books Every Woman Should Read

Thanks to Megan at love, literature art & reason for inspiring this post (from the article at Huff Post).  There are so many young women out there who would have no idea what some of these books are about.

1. I totally agree with the nomination for The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and call it a “cautionary tale.”  My previous review:

Women who believe in the so-called “traditional” roles of females in society need to read this book. Fatalistic, yes, but scary enough to imagine even in modern times. We should appreciate our freedoms in the U.S. It was a very interesting and important read.

2. An outstanding personal story that has stuck with me for years is Warriors Don’t Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High by Melba Patillo Beals.  What amazing strength this young woman showed through her involvement in the America’s 1954 school desegregation process.  No matter what age, women young and old can fight for what’s right!

3. If you ever think you are/were downtrodden as an American woman, read Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker.  If women don’t support each other, who will?

4. Another more modern example of “Geez, I don’t have it so bad” is offered through The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  My previous review:

Disturbing but in a watching-a-train-wreck kind of way. You feel for the kids and can’t stand the parents but almost feel like they are loving in a very twisted sort of way. This a very good book, quick and easy to read, although some situations are hard to fathom.  I’m glad it was recommended to me.

5. Another intriguing fictional “what if” scenario is presented through A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.  True, some women in America are subservient to their husbands and made to cater to their every whim.  Unfortunately, some are beaten into submission.  This story of polygamist torture is so unnerving you feel the pain while reading about it.  We should all experience the vicarious agony these women withstand in order to empathize with them and work for a world in which women are treated fairly as human beings with equal rights.  My previous thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hate to make the comparison, but I liked it even more than The Kite Runner. These characters were drawn so well and are so memorable to me, I rated it as high as my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The tale of what these two women endured is an incredible statement about the injustice still happening to females in the world today.

I honestly hope young women (and mature ones, too, for that matter) don’t settle for stories of love-struck wonder and fantasy.  Those titles serve their escapist purpose I suppose, but let’s hope they also strive for reaching their intellectual and creative best while nurturing their own self-respect and self-reliance along the way.

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Five movie characters who changed my view

This concept was “borrowed” from an article at 5 Movie Characters.  The subject of actors/characters in these big roles are all playing parts I admire for a variety of reasons.  They may not have actually changed my view, but this is a list of people who stood out in my mind and portrayed unique female examples of independence and compassion.  All of them are tough in the face of adversity while maintaining family bonds and compassion.

Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird – For it’s time, the maturity and insight embodied in Scout and her questioning of life shed a light on issues of the day and present times.  We should all ask the same things Scout did about society and humankind’s inhumanity to humankind.

Lesson Learned:  Even the youngest girls can serve as the best role models.

Sorhya in The Stoning of Soraya M.  What modern woman in a first-world country can imagine such horrific conditions as chattel?

Lesson Learned:  We may not have it as bad here as we thought.

Ree in Winter’s Bone  Daniel Woodrell is awesome, too  A seemingly fearless young woman, even as a fictitious character, literally brings home the bacon (or squirrel, if you will) fries it up in a pan, and got up-close-and-personal with her father’s corpse.  And a native daughter to boot.  It’s funny, though, how male writers sometimes do such a great job at female characterization.  I also love to see an Ozarkian author do so well and have their book made into a successful indie film.

Lesson Learned:  You’re stronger than you think.

Samantha Caine, aka Charley in Long Kiss Goodnight – Kicks ass!  I thought I heard a sound one night when my roommate was away and stood behind my locked bedroom door trembling for awhile.  Ultimately, I asked myself, “What would Geena Davis do?”  Somehow I had the courage to crack the door and fortunately peer out at nothing and nobody in our apartment.

Lesson Learned:  Even in Hollywood, whoever seems to be a “well-mannered single mother” may surprise you with her superhuman abilities.

The Black Mamba in, sorry to say it, but Kill Bill –  Uma Thurman is awesome  The scenes in both Vol. I and Vol. II are violently ugly and over-the-top, but I still love to see the so-called Bride seeking her vengeance for a change.  It’s trippy to watch her literally climb from the grave, yet it’s a newer kind of surrealism.  She is no damsel-in-distress waiting for rescue.  She is the protagonist, ala Bruce Lee, who fights for her daughter and wins in the end.  Momma didn’t pay for those karate lessons for nothin’!

Lesson Learned:  You are all you need.  

The ages here don’t matter … the smarts, strength and heart do.

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Purple Friday

Last Friday was Purple Day at our five-year-old’s preschool.  They do fun themes like that from time to time where they talk about things that are a certain color and where you find them in the world.  I have to admit, it’s hard to find something for a little boy to wear on Polka dot Day.  Purple, not so much.

My cynical little one professed that purple is a “girl color,” and he didn’t want to participate in the festivities.  I am always taken aback when I find out how predisposed he already is to such a gender-specific way of thinking and work to thwart the budding sexism of public school exposure.  When I told him that purple is indeed not a “girl color” but more a color of royalty, he was nonplussed when I gave examples of Kings, Queens, Princes, et al who wear their regal violet robes.  Hello … how about Guppy Goe Bee from Bubble Guppies?
Call me a bad mom, but I harangued him so much about being a Purple Party Pooper that he put a purple-headed monster tattoo on his arm instead.  He wanted to participate at the risk of my reverse teasing.  I’ll openly admit to that bit of shamed-based parenting.  🙂

I’m trying to ease him into being a mini-feminist.  He has some sexist uncles and classmates already, and their influence is counter-productive to my own.  The incredible stereotyping happens too early and so often!  My initial reaction was that purple is NOT a girl color, and there’s nothing the matter with it it was or anything else was associated with being a girl.
Even if it is a part of kids’ maturation to go through this sort of phase based on what other kids say, I never want my son to sound like his uncles.  His dad knows it’s forbidden in our house to say anything derogatory about throwing, sounding or acting like a girl.  There is no such thing in our home, and I used to be a girl myself.  Those statements are so negative and destructive, and the only place I can control this language is under my own roof.  Plus, they otherwise get to hear me break into my rendition of:
“Anything you can do, I can do better.  I can do anything better than you.  No, you can’t … yes, I can.  No, you can’t … yes, I can.  Yes, I can!  Yes, I can.  Yes, I ca-a-a-a-a-a-n!”
My big finish is awesome.  The best part of it all was when I picked up his artistic interpretation of Things that are purple from his hook at school today.  The pictures are all cut from magazines, and it has a very regal rice-krispie treat spider, a little cell from a health ad about diabetes, a violet-colored wicker basket, and a pail with purple paint being dumped from it.  The final item is a line of text from a magazine advertisement set on a lavender background that reads, “A better understanding of better intimate care.”  I assume it’s from a tampon ad.  How very apropos.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I went straight to good ol’ google.  It is the registered trademark for “Cosmetics For Feminine Use, Namely, Foams, Lotions * , * and Powders Pharmaceuticals For Feminine Use, Namely, Creams [, ] For the Relief of Feminine Itching and Irritation, and * of * Other Skin Discomforts” by Combe Incorporated.

His purple poster had hung there all the weekend … or maybe his dad was embarrassed and left it there on purpose.  I chalked it up to serendipity, albeit very ironic indeed.

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Recent Obsessions

Recent Obsessions.  (photo – crazywickedworld.blogspot.com)

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