Browse Category by politics
politics

#YesAllWomen

IMG_1566

Of late, I have been avoiding the news. My respite from depression is fragile, and I protect it where I can. But I pulled my head out of the sand for a little while this afternoon to get a little more context on the #YesAllWomen hashtag. And then I remembered.

When I was a senior in high school, during lunch period, a boy I didn’t know slapped my ass and scampered away. My favorite teacher saw and reported it. Today I am immeasurably grateful for her contribution to justice in the world, but at the time I was mortified. I was called to the office to confirm what had happened, but other than saying “yes that happened, no I didn’t recognize him,” I wasn’t involved in any proceedings or punishments. I do know he suffered some sort of consequence, because I spent considerable time over the next few weeks defending myself to classmates who wanted me to know “he was just playing” and “you shouldn’t have gotten him in trouble.”

I was fat and ashamed of my body. I was seventeen years old and in a constant state of humiliation and loneliness, and instead of saying “Your friend should have kept his damn hands to himself” I could only try to fend off their anger with a response of “I didn’t even say anything.” As far as I was concerned I had done everything right. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t complain, but I was still at fault because I had a female body, and an imperfect one at that. Hell, I suspected I should just have been grateful for the attention.

And I am without doubt one of the luckiest women I know. I live in an area where I feel safe 90% of the time, in a state where I can identify as a liberal and a feminist without fear of violent reprisal, in a country where my having sex before marriage was unlikely to have me killed by my own family. On top of having a feminist for a father, and another for a husband, I get to work in an organization that has empowering women as part of its foundation. Other than my (male, white) college professor who dismissed another (female, black) student’s questions about the possibility of dealing with racist or sexist patients, saying “We live in a post-racist, post-sexist society,” the above story is my personal worst in this area.

But.

My friend M. who was held down and nearly raped in her own bed because her mother thought his persistence was an attractive quality. My friend T. who lost her virginity at fourteen to a neighborhood boy who said he’d kill her little sister if T. didn’t let him fuck her in the abandoned house down the street. My friend R. who at fifteen had to sit on the lap of the creepy grown man next door because she knew if she complained her mom would call her a slut. My friend J. who married a man she didn’t love because he could protect her from the man who’d started beating her after he got her pregnant. My sister, who was told last month at a job interview that she’d look great in a bikini on the interviewer’s boat. Listening from the next room as L.’s husband slapped her around for wearing shorts he deemed inappropriate. S., who awoke from anesthesia to find herself being groped by the dentist, and was too ashamed to tell anyone until she was in her fifties.

I don’t have a conclusion here. We are half of the human race, yet our needs, opinions, desires are treated as a special category. We are expected to “keep sweet,” smile, let him down easy. I can’t object when someone calls me an angry feminist, because yeah, we have a lot to be angry about.

To those guys who get offended at talk of the patriarchy, of women being afraid, who say “we’re not all like that,” I have an invitation for you. Stand over here on our side. We’d be happy for the help. If you aren’t in solidarity with the men being assholes, how about you expend your energy on shutting them down instead of us?

Oh, and thanks, Dr. Harrison, wherever you are.

politics, random photo

A Favorite Thing

Obama 2012 victory

This.  Right now, this is my favorite thing.

I’m usually a Twitter agnostic, but this evening my feed was really exhilarating.  Following all of the conversations as results started to come in made me feel like I was really a part of something much bigger than myself.  Not quite as much fun as the actual election party at Kate’s house four years ago, but really cool in a different way.

~~~

(I didn’t do the @fatmumslim post yesterday because I was at work at 5 o’clock, but I’ll try to make up for it later this week.)

days, politics

WNBA

image

image

I’m at my first basketball game, and my first professional-anything game. Apparently the Lynx are the only Minnesota team doing well this year, so they’re getting more attention than usual.

I will spare you my rage-rant at the 100 times higher salary cap difference between NBA and WNBA. You can probably infer.

P. S.  Did Amazon kill Steve Jobs with the Kindle Fire announcement? Discuss.

Minnesota, politics

SlutWalk

image

Michael and I went to Minneapolis for SlutWalk on Saturday. Nearly two miles of women and men and a six-year-old girl in a princess costume chanting “No means no! Yes means yes!”  It was great. My only regret is that we didn’t have the cash on us to buy a bright red hoodie.

angst, body, Clothing, politics

I’m Wearing A Dress

DSCN0967It’s kind of freaking me out.

Gender is a performance, and I do not play my part well.  I’m not inherently anti dress, and I’m well aware that femininity is not fundamentally better or worse than masculinity.  What I am is profoundly lazy, and I find any kind of performance to require, you know, work.

80% of my clothes are in storage, and I don’t have anything for warmer weather except a couple of t-shirts.  I discovered an inexpensive dress at Target the other day, and decided that maybe it would be more practical (and cheaper) than my usual summer uniform of denim shorts and tshirt.  So I’ve been wearing this all day, and I’m simultaneously really comfy and ardently uneasy.  Physically, I’ll admit that this is a really comfortable garment; mentally, I can’t stop checking to be sure my ass isn’t hanging out.

(I will also be the first to acknowledge my massive thighs.  This is a statement of fact not a value judgement; my thighs do their necessary job of supporting my body and connecting it to my knees, so I’m not out to insult them.)

DSCN0985

Michael said I should post the pretty picture, not just the awkward one.  Act as if, you know.

friends, knitting, politics

Stitch ‘n Bitch/Calling

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I love Tuesday night Stitch ‘n Bitch.

IMG_0009

Without fail, I get to see some of my favorite people in the world every week.  I know there are knitting groups in Minnesota, and I’ll probably find one that I can click with, but it will never replace this one.

~~~

I hate Hate HATE talking on the phone, so I expect extra points for the volunteer work I did this afternoon.  I called a bunch of Planned Parenthood clinics as a “Mystery Shopper” to critique their phone manners and how well they followed their script.  I made a bunch of fake appointments for different reasons, as assigned; making the abortion “appointment” was extremely surreal.  I don’t think anyone is more pro-choice than I am, but it still felt really…odd.

It gave me freaky flashbacks to a pregnancy scare Michael and I had back in 1999.  I’d switched birth control and my already-irregular period was super late.  I spent a few weeks trying to get up the nerve to buy a pregnancy test, but I was too freaked out to even let Michael do it.  An actual purchase would have made it real, you know?  When I finally broke down and bought one, I got my period the next day.  (This has been the pattern every scare since.  Magical pee sticks!)  And now, here we are, more than a decade later, finally at a place where the discovery of a pregnancy wouldn’t be a bad thing, and I’m making that appointment.  Bizarre.