Start Doing Things the Way You Want Them Done

This is a bold statement, I realize that, and you have excuses why you “can’t” but I assure you, anything you want to do, you Can do.

Are you one of the people in your organization at work who deals with who is paid what amount? Go in and look at whether there are male and female employees there who are doing the same work. Even-out the pay between them.

Do you want to read books where the default pronoun is ‘she’? As in, “when any human feels they are capable of a task, she will complete that task with confidence” or myriad other examples. So write those books. Write those blog posts.

Do you want to fight rape on a real and personal level? Take reasonable precautions; Don’t invite people over until you know them really well, avoid getting completely intoxicated, and when your friends mention ideas of theirs that you think might put them or you in a dangerous situation, speak up and tell them so! Respect your instincts. Practice speaking up for yourself on all kinds of things, so that you make it a practice of making your needs and intentions clear.

And then my favorite: Do you want to see media that *respects* women? Create it. Create movies that don’t question female power and agency; they exhibit it. Create advertisements (even unofficial ones!) that show healthy women whose features aren’t obscured by makeup and don’t bother to call attention to the fact. Calling attention to something makes it increase, as it is the focus. So create the world as you’d like it. Show these strong and beautiful ideas of yours with confidence and abandon!

And keep it positive.

Agreeing with Hubby

I’d like to propose a tweet:  A #strong married #woman agrees with her husband because she chose a husband who has similar #values to her own. #feelinggoodfeminism

Make it go viral.

I recently have read some things stating that women ought to agree with their husbands out of respect for their marriage, and ought to cede to her husband’s decisions because he has the final word. Aside from suddenly needing to vomit, I feel that there is something inherently dangerous about this idea of unconditional support based on convention rather than based on intelligent agreement and trust.

I would choose to marry someone who upholds the same values I do, both in words and actions. I hope that my fellow women feel the same about choosing a partner; that partnership is based on similar values, trust, respect, and intellectual interest in one another’s ideas and projects. I believe in equal cooperation.

I would hope that men can do the same, seeking a partner who is similar to you intellectually and morally, so that you trust in her decisions. Choose the path of strength; be honest with your partner, tell her how you really feel about things so that you both make informed decisions about your continued partnership.

I can say these things all day long, and the most important portion remains that I must continue to practice making good intelligent decisions for myself, learning who I am and expressing my personality in everything I do, and speaking my story to those whom I come to trust will treasure it.

I’m Not ‘Picky’, I’m Selective!

Choose your words with intention!

Let’s sing a positive tune, today, friends. I’ve had a LOT of practice turning negative statements into positive ones due to my work on this blog. This practice has definitely been worth the effort! I feel happier and more positive, and it’s become easier to see solutions instead of problems.

I can see this having all sort of practical applications! If you’re an engineer, you’re looking for something which will work, not something that will fall apart, right? It’s all about focusing on what you would like to attract into your life.

Focus on positive statements, and positive statements will come your way. And that will bring lots of positive energy your way. Try it and see!

Blessings and love for you.

Healing The Feminist Movement

Feminism doesn’t need :yelling as much as it needs nourishment, healing, and soulfulness

:boldness as much as it needs safety, security, and sanity

:rebellion as much as it needs a simple release from dogma and a movement toward an equal and high level of responsibility, respect, and concern for the well-being of all.

photo by Mia Enns

photo by Mia Enns

I have compassion for those who violently lash out, speaking ‘change’ and effecting backlash. I have love for those who have been hurt, and act in ways society cannot understand, because of that deep hurt they do not yet truly acknowledge. Women and men need safe spaces to speak to their hurt and pain, to feel it, to notice its true effect on our lives and relationships, and to accept it. We all need safe space to heal from the raw wounds of living with others who have been harmed, who then harm others because they know how to, and also do not know how to tolerate their emotions.

I encourage you, today, to seek safe space for yourself. This can be wherever You feel safe and nourished. Do you have a space among friends or on your own? Within your family or a nourishing community? Do you know of a public space that brings you out of your thoughts and into complete presence in the present moment?

If all of this seems too much for you, or even if it doesn’t, I invite you to listen to some of these: http://www.tarabrach.com/audioarchives-guided-meditations.html

One per day could heal a soul. One per day could radically heal the feminist movement, one person at a time.

This is what I’m feeling good about today.

~M

Where Have You Been??

Where have I been, you ask?

Well, I’ve been focusing my attention on my spirituality and on learning to love myself. I’m finding that the best way to change the world, as well as my perception of it, is to focus on the positive things. It would seem that I had been doing that all along through writing this blog, wouldn’t it? And yet, while my original goal was to promote good things women are doing and positive things being done for women, I ended up mired in so much negativity; negative things being done to women and by women. I could not continue to focus on those issues and be happy and true to myself. I became angry and found it difficult not to lash out at those around me. I was constantly on the defensive. That’s not a side of myself that I wish to encourage.

Rather, I am nourishing the loving side. The past few months have seen much growth as a person and individual. If you follow my spiritual blog: http://goddesslightning.wordpress.com/ you may see that I am still thinking and still writing. I still promote the best possible actions and thoughts regarding women. Personally I have had to take a strong stance on making it my top priority to heal my body and spirit. I believe that this healing is possible for all of us, and I encourage you to seek a path of healing for yourself. If the first way you choose does not benefit you, try another. Keep trying to heal and eventually you will.

A commitment to love is all that is required by most great movements. I’m turning more of my attention and energy toward healing the Earth in every possible way (water, air, living beings, picking up trash). The rest of my energy is spent making art, and building confidence. (hmm, the part I wrote next apparently didn’t post. Sorry, email-followers!)

So I may continue to post here occasionally, and I may re-blog posts from my spiritual blog, if they pertain to positivity about women.

Keep spreading positive energy and tolerance!

Love, and Strength

This may be the third post I’ve written in one day (I love the scheduling feature on WordPress…) on the topic of ‘love’. I read this article by Jeff Jarvis, featuring Amanda Palmer, and it got me thinking about writing this post. Yes, this very one you’re reading!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about love and the reality of it, and how to pass it on effectively. Many of us know that to keep something, one must give it away. It’s like teaching; you learn what you don’t know by attempting to teach a student, and you also learn what you do know, and remember it more clearly for recalling and practicing it. The same works with love; the more we practice it, the stronger the love we have in us becomes.

Love does not mean allowing ourselves to be trampled. After all,

When you love someone, you treat them well” -Tippi Hedren

This relates to feeling good about feminism because supporting and promoting women’s rights has nothing to do with hating men, and naturally has nothing to do with allowing women to be treated poorly. There’s something for everyone to feel good about! Men can be loved, and women can be treated well, all with successful accomplishment of equal rights, opportunities, and freedoms for women.

Love means standing up for ourselves in the face of injustice, with compassion and understanding while explaining to those who do not yet understand our position, for one day we do want them to be our allies and must by necessity treat them well today.

Like attracts like, so show love and respect to those whom you wish to have love and respect from.

I’m feeling good about love, and strength.

Missing the point… and how not to. (2)

I’d prefer to change the dialogue from ‘war on women’ and ‘war on men’, to ‘conversation for peace’. War means one side loses, and that’s not right. We all can win. We all need to win.

The dialogue coming out of social media lately is full of ‘men vs. women‘, when the core issues are actually ‘misogyny vs. respect’ and ‘compliance vs. integrity’. It seems the struggle to see women’s rights from a perspective of respect and love is one that applies to women and men alike.

Part 2: Respect and Integrity
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy,[1] in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.” (wikipedia)

Feminism does not equate to women behaving any way they want without consequences. Taking responsibility for my actions is part of growing up… as a feminist I am responsible for what I do, say, and think. I still need to consider how I affect people around me. If I say that I deserve to be treated with respect, then I must treat people with respect, in order to live with integrity.

To be responsible human beings, in touch with nature and the way human beings function, women must understand that men become sexually aroused sometimes. For women to insist that we ‘ought’ to be able to dress in very little clothing and never receive undesired attention from men is ignorant. I’m not preaching morality nor laying blame; I’m mentioning the irrationality of the concept that all men would consistently and perfectly override their biological impulses. It’s statistically improbable. Besides which, what is the point of wearing skimpy clothing? Competition? To get attention? There are sports to play for competition, or talents to nurture. If you want attention, ask someone who cares about you. All men and women can attempt to live with integrity, and learn to accept that no one will do so perfectly.

Eggplant flowers

Accepting biology and imperfection is Not a free pass for men to disregard social mores. I hope that in our culture it is increasingly viewed as repulsive and inappropriate, even embarrassing, to make even slight suggestions of sexual advances toward women who are unknown to you. To act with integrity, men must treat women with kindness, if they expect women to treat them with kindness. Part of that kindness is helping women feel safe. Hollering and whistling at women makes many of us feel unsafe. Giving us plenty of space in line or on the bus, not asking our name or where we live, and helping us if someone is bothering us all can help women feel safe.

What does it mean to be a person of integrity? If you are a woman or a man who wishes to support women (our mental, physical, and spiritual health; our rights, privileges, and freedoms; our souls and expression of self), then you will refrain from making comments which are insulting to any woman, and you will speak out against comments which are made about women in your presence. “Please don’t say that,” or “I find that disrespectful” are enough.

Strong Woman

You will respect women you meet, honor that we have interesting life stories, power, and capability to create wonderful things (architecture, art, systems, mathematical concepts, fantastic inventions, marketing strategies, dreams and visions) and treat us as such. Picture how you’d treat the person whom you hold in the highest respect and treat all women that way.

“The male counterpart of misogyny is misandry, the hatred or dislike of men; its antonym is philogyny, the love or fondness of women.”

Whether you’re male or female, dating a male or female, please treat your partner or girlfriend/boyfriend with love and respect. It’s not ok for women to treat men badly ‘because they’ve done it to us!’ and it’s not ok for women to treat women badly because ‘Of course I love women, I’m dating one’, just as it’s not ok for men to treat women badly.

I’m feeling good about feminist integrity and respect.

Missing the point… and how not to.

The dialogue coming out of social media lately is full of ‘men vs. women‘, when the core issues are actually ‘misogyny vs. respect’ and ‘compliance vs. integrity’. It seems the struggle to see women’s rights from a perspective of respect and love is one that applies to women and men alike.

Part 1: Misogyny and Compliance
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Misogyny (play /mɪˈsɒɪni/) is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. According to feminist theory, misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.” (wikipedia)

Michael Flood defines misogyny as the hatred of women, and notes:

“Though most common in men, misogyny also exists in and is practiced by women against other women or even themselves. Misogyny functions as an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years and continues to place women in subordinate positions with limited access to power and decision making.”
In our cultural history, both women and men have practiced misogyny. Why would women, especially, allow and perpetuate misogyny? Misogyny positions us poorly- to receive lower status and fewer human rights. To achieve high status and full rights, women must believe that we deserve the best. Speaking negatively about ourselves destroys self-respect and love. Self-respect and true self-love are how women win, and will buoy women’s rights to the very highest height. What can women do for each other, to respect and love one another? What can we do for women who are not yet sure how to love themselves?
8DSC_0807_edlog

According to sociologist Allan G. Johnson, “misogyny is a cultural attitude of hatred for females because they are female.” Johnson argues that:

“Misogyny …. is a central part of sexist prejudice and ideology and, as such, is [the] basis for the oppression of females in male-dominated societies. Misogyny is manifested in many different ways, from jokes to pornography to violence to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel toward their own bodies.””
Brave men speak out in situations where hateful and denigrating comments are made about women. There are polite ways to do that, such as saying “I find that offensive.” A strong man stands up for his beliefs. A man who values women (any women; a wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter…) stands up for women.
Anyone, when participating in sexually-objectifying jokes or comments (ones in which women are portrayed as sexual objects) is exhibiting, condoning, and promoting misogynistic behavior. When women participate, it does not become ‘ok’ because we’re women, it becomes compliance with what harms us. Hateful comments made by women are also misogyny! Objectifying ‘jokes’ are not ok ‘jokes’ to tell. In order not to participate, it is necessary to speak out against such ‘jokes’. Saying “Please don’t tell those kind of jokes around me,” is a change anyone can make in their own life.
Say it with your head held high! You deserve the best. Without even knowing you, I assert that you are worthy of respect and love.
I’m feeling good about taking a stand against misogyny and compliance!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post.

Love & Marriage (& Responsibility)

So, sometimes people think feminists are against marriage. I am not. I am against “marriage-for-the-wrong-reasons“.

What is this? Marriage for the… what?

Do you want to have sex? Do you want someone else to take care of you and buy you jewelry and houses and dogs and clothes and expensive, etc, etc, etc? Do you want to raise children?

The above are all insufficient reasons to get married.

Marriage is a good idea in this current financially-unstable society when two people who can independently financially support themselves know one another well-enough (does zie have a criminal record? does zie bathe every day? does zie take out the trash or wait for maggots and roaches to materialize and then blame the landlord?) to conclude that their mutual enjoyment of each other’s company will not be destroyed by harmful behavior or destitute poverty.

Because harmful behavior causes harm and stress (no kidding?), and destitute poverty can be just a credit-card swipe away. Financial stress is often quoted as the primary factor which causes divorce, and certain behaviors like unclean-living can cause such destruction to a home as to require thousands of dollars worth of repair. Think before you launch into an a-cappella rendition of ‘Fools Rush In’. Your sanity (and hir’s) is worth it.

This link is a pretty sweet corroboration to my post, but In List Form (I love lists!).

Mazel tov, my loving and responsible friends!

I’m feeling good about Marriage for the Right Reasons.

Mighty Girl Art!

I found out about Wendy Cook’s fantastic group through the International Women’s Day website. Self-described “Mighty Girl Art™ empowers young girls to feel good about themselves through a series of projects that fosters creativity and nurtures self-esteem.”

http://mightygirlart.blogspot.com/

I love the Eve Ensler quote they use on their page:

“Women are the primary resource of the planet. They give birth, we come from them.
They are mothers, they are visionaries, they are the future.
If we can figure out how to make women feel safe and honor women,
it would be parallel or equal to honoring life itself.”
– Eve Ensler