Identity

Before beginning, I’ll mention that this is not JUST ‘feminist’. It’s humanist. It’s personal. I read this article and I had to join the conversation: https://medium.com/@jen.margulies/white-supremacy-is-bad-for-the-jews-lets-be-bad-for-white-supremacy-f8abf374353d

 

I am a cis-woman. My heritage is Norwegian, French, German, Scots-Irish, and some other nationalities in smaller amounts. I am an immigrant. I am married and childless. I have a chronic illness that has made life difficult in many ways over the years, including depriving me of consistent employment. I consider myself a proud American, from a beautiful land where there are many amazingly-cool people and a wealth of cultural experiences. This is a land that I want to protect. I advocate for the environment, eat organic when I can, and reduce consumption of goods in my own corner of it all.

I grew up surrounded by Jews whom I love, as well as wonderful people of many other backgrounds. Many of my friends over the years have been gay, trans, adopted, or had a mental or emotional illness. I am a freedom fighter in that I stand up for the marginalized, for goodness, for what is right. I was also the target of bullying for many years, not by my Jewish friends nor Thai nor Jamaican, but by the kids who attended a mostly-“white” “Catholic” school. I put Catholic in quotes there for a reason, because their behavior was anything-but Christian, and actually many of them did not even identify as Catholic nor attend church. I don’t demonize “white” people either, because I’ve known so many good ones, especially my grandparents and my parents. My grandfathers were both loving, progressive-minded men who fought for the Allies in World War 2, one of whom lived with PTSD for the rest of his life. My grandmothers were both strong, loving women who lived with chronic physical illness while raising children and doing other amazing things.

Accepting people as they are is the essence of Love, and Love, as I was taught, is the essence of God. That brings me to another important identity; I’m a Christian. But there’s no faith that is based on Love that I reject. In other words, all faiths that are based on Love, I consider myself part of. In that sense, I am also Jewish, Buddhist, Wiccan, Taoist, Yogic, Muslim, and more. If you ask me what I know about each of these, the answer would vary. But I have faith that they are good. Yet as with any faith, there are those who misuse it to ill-purpose and unfortunately prejudice some people in the process. Sadly, some people choose to set a bad example of what it means to be Christian, or otherwise.

Hate is the primary evil in the world. I was taught growing up that our mission as Christians is to rout out hate and spread love, sewing the Kingdom of God (which is to treat others with love and goodness) in the hearts of everyone we meet.

I’m not trying to lead a movement. I’m sharing who I am, what I believe, and Love as I understand it. I hope that Love takes root in your heart.

Dispelling Self-Doubt, Disrupting the myth of ‘other’

I’d like for you to watch this Tara Brach talk:

Healing Self-Doubt

What I take from her talk at this moment is that we have find a new way to think, to heal from thinking of men and people who disagree with us as being ‘other’. Because, they are human. When we can all hear each other, we can bring peace into situations. Relentless effort, unfathomable peace. It takes commitment to bring about peace and it takes acknowledging humanity in everyone.

Fear engenders only fear. And the extreme manifestation of fear is hate. We are more powerful than that today, and more humble. It is a sad conceit to believe that one is truly better than others. I intend to be humble today, and stronger because of it. I challenge you to put away your anger, fear, or whatever is tying you to the belief of there being ‘others’ today. We are all human, at our deepest levels.

Look into each other’s eyes. Drop the walls in your heart. Walls there only make us more vulnerable anyway, and we are as a movement committed to showing we are strong.

Please listen to the talk at the link I posted. It will begin to heal you if you let it. It’s helping me.

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.

How to block numbers from calling your phone….

So this post is not exactly what it advertises, because in order to block the numbers, you have to have done this First. So read carefully.

Go to:  https://www.google.com/voice

If you have a gmail account and are signed in, this will be much easier. Follow the prompts to sign up for Google Voice and ask for a New number. When it asks for “area, zip code, or city…” type in a real area-code. It took me a while to understand what it was asking. For example: “920”

If you have any reason to be giving out your phone number to strangers (for example, you own a business and receive calls from clients) this is a great way to be able to block numbers if necessary, but also have texts and calls forwarded to your phone.

BE SAFE, women! Just because we’re awesome doesn’t mean we’re invincible!!

Emma Watson Introduces He For She Solidarity Movement

UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson speaks eloquently and powerfully on unifying the gender equality movement.

Not only so that women have equal rights Everywhere in the world, yet also so that men can be free to be sensitive and all can respect ourselves for who we are. She says it beautifully. Please do watch and leave a comment here or on her twitter: @EmWatson

Support the movement by your actions. Be one of the ‘inadvertent feminists’ she speaks of. Take action here via the #HeForShe website, as well.

Why do you care if you’re ‘on trend’?

Why do you care if you’re ‘on trend’?

What does it matter to you? It doesn’t matter to me. I have my own style and feel no need to follow the ‘fashions’, plunging money into cheaply-made ridiculously-priced clothing that will fall apart by the time I’m no longer sure why ‘orange and blue go so well together!’

Honestly? Why do we follow it?

Confidence sets the standard of beauty, not some entity or fashionista. Prices skyrocket because there is such a high demand for fashionable ‘on-trend’ clothing. When enough people quit buying this crazily-priced cheaply-made nonsense, prices will drop. And when enough of us speak up, the quality of garments may improve as well.

The problem today is that people continue to tolerate it. Buying uncomfortable shoes and clothes, necklaces that hurt our necks or smell bad, rings that impair the movement of our fingers… why? Because of some pretty photograph on the internet, and a precious little word or phrase like “bespoke” or “oxblood” or “mint green”.

By the way, this is the color of mint:

The plant commonly referred to as ‘mint’.

So what can I do, as a smart person? I find these measures to be quite an ‘innocent rebellion’:

  • Trade clothes with friends. Surely just because you don’t like this shirt anymore doesn’t mean it goes in the trash! Maybe a friend of yours would enjoy wearing it.
  • Buy clothes at a thrift store or consignment store or on ebay. There is well-made clothing with high-quality fabric for sale everywhere if you just look.
  • Make your own. Learn to sew! Use a pattern! You’ll find how very freeing and empowering this can be.
  • Settle on the idea that your wardrobe will last a long time, contain shapes and cuts and fabrics that look good on You, and will potentially not be ‘on-trend’. But lucky you! You’ll look much cooler than anybody else who is screaming ‘how high??’ when the fashion blogs command them to jump.

You are so much smarter than marketers give you credit for. I’m increasing my wage just by refusing to sink money into disposable uncomfortable clothing that I truly don’t need.

#StabilityInFlats : your prerogative and mine

The Little-Heard History of High Heels…

I would like to share a link, calling particular attention to this portion of the article linked to:

‘Fashion’s Victims’ through the centuries

The return of women’s high heels in the late 1850s and early ’60s served a different social purpose: a form of censure for women at a time the sex was becoming outspoken in the abolitionist movement. The heel had been banned for most of the century due to its association with debauched French aristocracy. Its revival was intended to summon similar negative associations, says Semmelhack: “It was called the ‘Louis heel’ to make sure everyone knew it was a reclamation of the 18th century. It was intended to be highly destabilizing.”

The high heel was intended to destabilize women, and to shut us up when we were speaking out against slavery!

For those interested in intersectionality, this is a keen opportunity for you to make a statement: Women were speaking out in support of the rights of those in slavery, and were silenced by being associated with loose morals via high heels. I am boycotting high heels to show my stability, my right to speak, my right to support whatever causes and people I choose to. Join me!

#StabilityInFlats  : because women are capable of being sensible, intelligent, seeing through tricks and illusions, and flat shoes are safer and healthier for our bodies!!

Say no to the control measures of corporations. I don’t need heels to know I’m attractive. I’m #notbuyingit and #notwearingit

Unify

I believe there is a dangerous trend going on right now. “Us vs. Them” is all about fear. Twitter is rife with hostility and antagonism, pitting men and women against one another…. and telling people to “STFU” if they hold different views than you do… it’s not helpful to anyone’s agenda.

I’m not going to tell you not to feel angry. Anyone who feels angry has a right to; it doesn’t depend on whether it’s justified, because feelings just ARE. And then they pass.

What I’m saying here is let’s not get carried away on this current of negativity. WHO WANTS TO JOIN A MOVEMENT THAT’S MIRED IN GLOOM???

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No one, I’m sure. I’m having fun with standing up for myself. You can make it your own; you can laugh, you can cry, you can make really good points as long as you say them out loud, and you can even stay angry if you want to. I’m sure there are a lot of women who have anger they’ve held onto a long time that’s waiting to be transformed. I know I have, and am having a successful transformation. I’m also sure that talking about negativity and all the stuff we dislike about how people are treated is NOT talking about solutions and peace and the joy we’d like to welcome into our lives.

I want 100 comments- ok let me clarify that- ONE HUNDRED RESPECTFUL SINCERE COMMENTS about something GOOD you would like to welcome into your life.

Retweet this post like wildfire until I have 100 comments. Please. Thank you. #IncreasetheGood

I have Hope for the End of Street Harassment

The work of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, artist and activist, is incredibly inspiring. She is combating street harassment using only her art and her mind, and the stories of volunteers!

Read what she’s doing and why: http://www.tlynnfaz.com/Stop-Telling-Women-to-Smile

Check out the Official website of Stop Telling Women to Smile.

And follow STWTS on Twitter: @STWTSmile

I agree with what she posted on her Tumblr, that telling women to smile is akin to asking us not to express our full range of human emotions. You could say that ‘it’s nice, I want you to be happy,’ but no one’s happiness other than your own is under your control. As well, having other emotions is an integral part of experiencing happiness eventually, and of feeling safe. Honestly, I hope that lots of people smile, because it’s a joyful activity. However, I know from my experience as a woman that I feel afraid to smile or make eye contact with people when I’m out in public, for fear they will take my smile as an invitation to harass me. Personally, I have hope for the end of street harassment.

Are you wondering what you can do to help end street harassment? I hope you are! Here’s an article that gives great points to start from, called ‘Three Ways Straight Dudes Can Help End Street Harassment.’

Caught Sleeping?

From the perspective of relaxed and interested audience, I liked While You Were Sleeping. However, from the perspective of ‘Woman who cares what I think about myself and what other women think about themselves’, there were a few things about it that bothered me.

Do you realize how good your life is? Just take a moment and think about it. You have a place to live? Clothes? Food? Job? Luxury of owning a pet?

Me and my adorable luxury pet

Me and my adorable luxury pet

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of those, you are at least as blessed as the main character (Sandra Bullock’s character, to be exact) and really, you can probably relax! Nothing’s that bad! 🙂 Good news, eh?

So the lead in ‘Sleeping’ is unhappy because she’s un-partnered and she develops this fantasy that she’s going to marry one of the patrons of the subway system where she works. The whole film has to do with marriage and the search for the right marriage, because ‘that’s what she’s missing; a family’. I completely understand. I, too, pine and yearn for partnership. I also recognize that if I’m not happy on my own, partnership won’t fix that. I can be happy on my own without a husband, and not be any ‘less’ of a woman.

She also allows people to believe a lie about her, which is based on a misunderstanding, but would be easily corrected all the same. Her explanation of this is that she didn’t want to hurt them, but also that she so desperately wanted a family. So here we have a heroine who bravely saved a man’s life but doesn’t have the courage to continue to live as a single woman when she’s given the opportunity to have a deceptive relationship instead. Not exactly role-model material, though I will admit it’s a change from the deceptive role in films always being played by men. It’s sort of like the male lead in Penelope; he has some decent motives for his not-great behavior. Despite the faulty archetype being the same (liar gets to win in the end) I almost like that Sandra gets to play a character whose behavior is more traditionally masculine, at least from a filmmaker’s perspective.

Another conundrum the film does not satisfactorily resolve is that she accepts a marriage proposal from a guy who is not necessarily nice to her… he kind of harasses her repeatedly. I wish I could say I didn’t buy it, but the problem here is that I’ve seen it repeatedly, and not just in movie-land. When a person is starved for attention, it can be a real challenge to deny negative attention any berth in your life. It can be hard to say ‘no’ to an offer that you know isn’t quite good enough. There is even a scene where his character points out that he hasn’t treated her that well, and she proceeds to ignore this acknowledgment. There’s forgiveness and then there’s denial; I see her stance in this film as more of the latter, which reflects a certain desperation that plays off the ‘lack of husband’ issue.

So while this film was easy to watch, I could also see where it would be so easy to be ‘caught sleeping,’ and fail to notice the dangerous messages provided in the subtext of the film. In balance, I’d like to encourage women to keep your standards high and accept only treatment that is worthy of you. If other people can’t seem to treat you well, that is THEIR problem and NOT yours. Leave them in your dust. Love yourself. You are worthy.