Category: Culture

Feminist Friday: Women And Words, or, Don’t Ho Me Before You Know Me (Guest Post)

Today’s Feminist Friday comes from Caroline, the woman some of us know. She’s a real spitfire and all around awesome person. Enjoy!

As a graduate with a B.S. in English, words are really important to me. More than a form of communication, their nuances and intonations weave more than our accents or speech patterns; they tell a story of how we feel about ourselves and about those whom we’re relating to. In a world where the English language is becoming butchered, abbreviated and wholly bastardized on an alarming basis (Thanks YOLO!), I find though we may not be able to control the world of words around us, but we can certainly keep in check the way that we speak to or about the people we surround ourselves with.

This brings me to my biggest pet peeve and total turn off when meeting new lady-friends: Referring to each other as “bitches” (or any other derogatory term). Just typing the word spikes my blood pressure and hearing it out of someone’s mouth whom I respect, or am just meeting for the first time, is a total turn off, three strikes and you’re out offense. My only way to understand the flippant use of this totally disrespectful word when referring to someone who’s your friend, your sister, or just another lady like you trying to do her best, is that those who rely on vocabulary like this don’t hold themselves in high esteem.
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Am I Not Worrying Enough?

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So, today on the ol’ Facespace, a friend of mine posted that she’d witnessed at Target a woman who left her 8-ish-year-old-daughter alone in the girls’ department while she went to go, presumably, take a leak. My friend posed a question essentially asking if she was paranoid, or was there a crack in the woman’s judgment? After reading the comments responding to this post, I have to ask: What the fuck is wrong with people? The majority of people commenting said something to the effect of, “No! You’re not paranoid! I never let my children out of my sight ever because bad people!” Which, okay. I don’t agree, but you do you, and you know your kids better than I do! BUT! One person responded that he thought the mother should have her “uterus revoked” for committing such a heinous act of terrible parenting, clearly on par with Joan Crawford or Michael Lohan. This poor woman who NONE OF US KNOW at Target is now being judged, like, way harsh, Tai. Clearly, I don’t think this was my friend’s intent in posing this question on Facebook. Sometimes parents like to gauge where they stand. And, for the record, I don’t think my friend is paranoid for not considering this sort of thing whilst shopping for facewash, Oxiclean, a dvd copy of Meatballs, and a new sundress. If someone doesn’t feel that his or her child is ready to be alone in Target, then that’s that. But was the woman who went pee really deserving of all this bullshit? (Hint: NO.)

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Your Morning Mixtape – Punk Rock Love Letter

It’s been a long time since I made a legitimately sappy mix CD for someone. You know, the kind that has intentions? YOU KNOW. Sadly, now that I’m married, the time to make mix CDs for boys with the express intention of inviting them over to “watch a movie” are loooooong gone. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it was fun to have that breathless excitement and hopeful expectation that something awesome was going to happen. Even if it ended up being terrible with a capital T. The anticipation was heady. On the other hand, dating is THE WORST and I was terrible at it. There’s a good chance I have incredibly thick rose-colored glasses about the whole thing.

ANYWAYS.

Ross and I have a wedding to attend this afternoon. Some good friends are saying good-bye to the swinging single life and tying the knot. To each other. I’m so excited for them to try out this whole marriage thing, and I wish them the very best in their new adventure. (blah blah blah wedding blah blah blah) I got them an actual gift and wrapped it up really pretty, but the whole event got me thinking about punk rock love songs, and how much I love them. So, in honor of Tony and Jodi’s wedding, I created the Punk Rock Love Letter mix. It wasn’t easy. There are about as many songs about love as there are sub-genres of punk. I had the hardest time not putting a bunch of ska or emo-y stuff on there. I think what made it is pretty solid, though. Some songs are obvious, some aren’t so much.

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Your Morning Mixtape: Procrastination Station

So, I’ve been incredibly unmotivated lately. Pretty much sloth-like, if we’re being honest with each other. Sometimes, when I’m under immense pressure, I rise to the occaision and do my best super-hero impersonation. Other times, I crawl under the covers and hide, in hopes that everything will pass over without too much fuss. Sadly, this is one of the latter times. I have to be a grown-up and replace my stupid car, which insists on requiring at least $400 worth of work every time I get the oil changed. At the rate that we’ve been funneling money into that thing, it should be running like a brand new car and every single employee of our mechanic should be sending their kids to Ivy League schools. I was really motivated for the first day but now that motivation has devolved into Harry Potter marathons, eating chocolate chips out of the bag, and looking at incredibly expensive cars with the Carmax app on my phone. (It’s so convenient!)

But I digress. I needed motivation. My house is a wreck. I am a wreck. My kid is getting all of the molars at once. So instead of mopping the floors and folding the mountain of laundry sitting on my bed, I made you guys this mixtape of awesome ladies who motivate me to do awesome stuff. There is a little bit of everything on there, mostly. I like to dance around and sing into a hairbrush/mop/breadstick and make up choreography, but that’s just me. OR IS IT? DANCE PARTY???

As usual, you can follow my playlists and make fun of how often I listen to Dashboard Confessional on Spotify.

 

Feminist Friday: The Horror of the Mundane

Wow, it’s been a really awful week in woman news, right? Obviously there’s the case in Cleveland that has just been the worst. On top of that, the Pentagon study on sexual assault in the military seems to have finally brought some attention to an issue that’s been widely discussed in feminist circles. These two stories have dominated the news cycle; cable news has particularly been obsessed with Cleveland. Charles Ramsey has been lauded as a hero, rightly so, and Castro is becoming the embodiment of evil, which seems pretty accurate to me. Hearing and reading about Cleveland and the Pentagon nearly non-stop all week highlights some of the major problems in our country when it comes to domestic and sexual violence against women – it’s pervasive to the point of commonness and we only care when it’s particularly gruesome.

When the Cleveland story broke, after the initial “Ho. Ly. Crap.” reaction, I felt an air of familiarity. The kidnapped, kept in captivity, sex slave/torture victim is a pretty common story line. I know I’ve read books by authors such as James Patterson and John Sanford, I’ve seen it on shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order: SVU. We’ve seen it in real life as well – Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard; the more you think about it, the more you realize it’s everywhere. I’m not pointing this out to reduce the experiences of the women in Cleveland. I am saying these types of things happen, get sensationalized by the news media, get retold by our entertainment media over and over until it is a part of our culture. Abduction, rape and torture – our fascination teeters on, and often falls over, the line of decency.
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On Bullshit Holidays

Ah, here we are. Nearing the second weekend in May, which means we are nearing the second bullshit Hallmark holiday of the year: Mother’s Day. (The first, clearly, is Valentine’s Day, which is The Worst, without question.) (And, obviously, the third is Father’s Day.) Here, on this day, we are to honor our mothers by “letting” her take a break and giving her some flowers that are going to wilt within days and bring her breakfast in bed and maybe some chocolate, too. The OTHER 364 days in the year (or 365, if we’re celebrating Leap Year), your mom can suck it.
Before you start thinking that I’m some party-pooping-holiday-hater, let me assure that I am not. Real holidays are my fucking JAM. Halloween? DRESS UP AND CANDY! Thanksgiving? CAN I PLEASE MAKE THE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE? Christmas? FOOD AND PRESENTS OMG. New Years? DRESS UP AND CHAMPAGNE! 4th of July? LET ME STAY INSIDE BECAUSE AIR CONDITIONING AND AMERICA. Is it my birthday? GIMME ALL DAT CAKE. So what’s my deal? Let me explain. Continue reading

Feminist Friday: Guilt.0

Being a feminist can be exhausting. Every news story, every new show or movie, every walk down the street is fraught with misogyny and anger. There was a time when I didn’t really pay attention to things. I identified as feminist but was not actively engaged. I could get by with an eye roll and my name on an online petition, then back to whatever young, carefree thoughts I had at that time.

As I’ve gotten older, the shit the world throws at us has become worse, or more constant, or maybe I just have less energy to ignore it. Whatever the reason, I can get tired of awareness. Yelling at the television and ranting about the patriarchy is a full-time occupation and I already have too much to do. So, I’ll purposefully not think about all of the things currently pissing me off. I have little escapes and watch decidedly anti-feminist tv. I’m referring specifically to Tosh.0 on Comedy Central, my guilty pleasure.
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Jumping Hoops

It’s endless, it seems, the hoops that we continually have to jump through as a gay couple.  Adding children to that mix it gets even more treacherous.

In some places it’s relatively simple for same sex couples to have kids together.  I’d have a baby, Virginia would adopt the baby.  We’d both share parental rights.

In some places, like the one where we live, this is illegal for same sex couples.  In order for Virginia to go through the second parent adoption process I would have to legally give up my rights to our kids.  Instead we get to draw up a series of documents, that are all at the liberty of some Baptist judge to honor.

A Co-Parenting Agreement.

A Domestic Partnership Agreement.

Hospital Visitation Authorization. Continue reading

Your Morning Mix Tape: Songs From Old Lovers

Actual mix cds from dudes who liked me at one point.

Actual mix cds from dudes who liked me at one point.

There is not a whole lot I miss about dating. Really, since I am one of the most awkward people alive, dating was an exercise in torture. However, I loved loved LOVED the part of dating where you made each other mix tapes/mix cds. I often wonder what kids these days do now. Do they make youtube playlists? Did sexting replace the mix tape? Ugh. Anyways. I was the lucky recipient of many a mix tape, most of which I still have because I am kind of a hoarganizer. (hoarder with OCD organizing tendencies) My favorites were the ones that came complete with album artwork and track listings. I would listen to them and try to figure out all of the hidden messages imparted in the chosen songs. I also made a few criminally awesome mix tapes for boys, some of which make me cringe with embarrassment when I think of what I put on them. (Sorry, most guys I ever dated…)

I miss the process of putting songs together, listening to them to make sure that everything tracked together and made sense when played together. I miss the effort and love that went into them. In the spirit of that, I made you guys a mix CD of sorts, in this completely impersonal digital age. I went through all the mixes I recieved in the last 12 or so years and picked out some gems for your listening pleasure. I’m not lying when I say that might have been the most fun thing I’ve done all week. It was like listening to time capsules and I could picture every boy and how I felt and where I was at that particular moment of time. It was a musical scrapbook of failed relationships, but in the best possible way. (It’s way less depressing than it sounds. I swear.) I should point out that my husband never made me a mix tape, and I married him anyways. (AHEM, ROSS….) Continue reading

Feminist Friday: Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Pretty is one of my least favorite words/ideals/concepts. It’s a little word that brings so much grief, I wish I could banish it. It’s usually given as a compliment, as a word to value and cherish, as a point of pride, but it’s actually condescending and limiting. It’s a way to damage a girl’s self-esteem, one tiny “compliment” at a time.

I know there are people out there reading this and shaking their heads, tut-tutting silently, thinking “goddamn feminists, are you every happy? Can you ever take something at face value instead of shoving your hang-ups into everything? Quit your whining, be happy someone calls you pretty.” But that’s why it’s so insidious. It’s not big and scary and violent, so you don’t complain.

Pretty is a word used as a compliment almost exclusively for women. Call a man pretty and its an insult – you’re saying he’s feminine, delicate, fragile, ornamental, and probably not all that smart. Here’s the thing – you’re saying THE SAME THING when you use it to describe a woman. But we’re supposed to be proud of those things, because…vaginas? Pretty doesn’t carry the gravitas of beautiful, it’s a couple rungs down on the attractive scale. It has no power, no strength, no use beyond “I like the way your face/body looks.” And it’s given to girls as an accomplishment.
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