Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

photo (4)

In the Firefly universe, the crew of the Serenity was always trying to avoid Reavers, the ones that had an adverse reaction to their environment and lost their damn minds, giving in to hate and every vile impulse that comes with it.

It’s hard to avoid them in this world, though. They have jobs and pay taxes. They’re raising children. They hold rallies at our universities and on our town squares.

Oh…is that harsh? My bad. Full disclosure – if you need me to be gentle about this, you are not going to like what I have to say here.

I have tried. I have been reading the news and scrolling through social media and racking my brain to find a gentle way to say this, but I have come up empty.

Gentleness is just not an appropriate response.

I would find it curious if an outspoken white supremacist enjoyed reading my blog. Maybe we have the same taste in food? But if you are reading this and are a person who attends white supremacist rallies or sympathizes with those who do, then this post is for you. You wanted attention, and for the next few paragraphs, you have mine. Congratulations, I guess.

I know in my head that you are as fully human as I am, but I have a difficulty seeing any trace of humanity in how you think and act. You may have an endearing characteristic, but I cannot see it through the stinking fog of your white supremacist beliefs. This is not a difference of opinion. I will not agree to disagree. White supremacy is evil and detrimental to the world.

I believe in a God who can redeem anyone, but I also believe that God waits for people to turn their hearts in repentance before doing so. I harbor immense cynicism that you have the willingness or maybe even the capacity to repent.

I agree with Nelson Mandela that no one is born hating whole chunks of humanity. I also know from personal experience that viewpoints that are revealed to be false and bad behavioral habits can be unlearned. In order to have those experiences, however, I have to be open to them, and I don’t see that openness in you.

But just in case I am wrong (and I hope that I am), I have a little advice on how to begin.

[One of my limitations in this conversation is that I don’t know how to fix this without Jesus. So if atheist friends or friends of other faiths want to give advice on where to start, please feel welcome to do so in the comments.]

Since it seems that most outspoken white supremacists, particularly in the southern regions of my country, profess the Christian faith, let’s start there.

That you are wrong about this is not up for discussion. You are wrong. Period. Get on your face before the God you serve and repent. Ask God to help you change. Beg God to help you change. Do not let go until God answers you. Do this every day until you no longer hate the people you hate today.

Next, I know you are really good at being angry. Anger is not wrong, but it needs to be pointed in the right direction. Get angry at white supremacy. Get angry at how it invaded your mind and heart and warped your soul. At some point, were you forced to choose between outwardly embracing white supremacy and being disowned by your family? Doesn’t that make you furious? Lean into that fury. Turn your hate toward this mindset that poisoned your life and every relationship you have. When change seems hopeless – and there will come a time when it does – that anger may be the only fuel that keeps any hope of redemption alive.

I and many others have a lot of ideas on where to go from there, but frankly, I would be surprised if you ever bother to get to this point.

So that’s what I have to say to you. Change. Start to do so immediately. You want to be a person who deserves to be heard? Become a person who says and does worthwhile things.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Friday Five3

I really love my schedule this month. Tomorrow I am hosting a write-in for my writing group (DFW area writer friends – email or DM me for details if you want to come!), and next weekend I am reading all weekend, and the weekend after that I am hosting my Hemingway party. I don’t usually like to plan all my weekends, but I don’t mind so much when it looks like writing and reading and drinking.

Five things that go with July’s apparent theme:

  1. The reading weekend is in conjunction with 24in48 – basically, as it sounds, you pick 24 hours out of July 22 and 23 and read like crazy. I’M SO EXCITED. If you’re in the area and want to come wrap yourself up in a blanket and read (and not talk other than to ask “May I have more tea?” Or, you know what – just help yourself. The tea is there for the taking.), that’s cool. We can be (silently) excited and literate together.
  2. Shawn Smucker’s The Day the Angels Fell comes out on September 5, but it’s available for pre-order now. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy, so this is one of the books that I’ll be finishing during 24in48. From what I’ve read so far, I can attest that you will want this book. Go! Pre-order!
  3. My favorite thing I’ve read this year about modesty culture – refusal to accommodate uncontrolled men. I also appreciate her comment moderation instruction to “Be feisty but gracious!” Words to live by. Thinking of making that my mantra.
  4. An artist reimagined the 50 states as food puns. I think Alahama is my fave. Or Kenturkey.
  5. And just in case you’re curious – this is what I’m having for dinner tonight.

What have you been doing/reading/eating lately?

Read Full Post »

Friday Five 4

My mother is one of my favorite people. She is tough and moody and full of both wonder and practicality. She is the reason I have such a soft place in my heart for Emily Gilmore, because some of Emily’s lines could have come straight from my mother’s mouth. Today, I am highlighting items from the Internet that reminded me of her when I read them.

  1. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Simone Biles. She does not abide foolishness, and that includes the foolishness of being told what to do with her face. When asked why she wasn’t smiling during the judges’ positive feedback, she replied, “Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.” I love her so hard.
  2. Mom Lesson #453: It’s okay to be mad; it is not okay to act like a banshee and pitch a fit on the floor when innocent people are just trying to get their grocery shopping done without incident. Kristen Bell and my mom would get along.
  3. While I’m not sure my mom would be comfortable with the idea of my attending Pride at all, she would insist that if I must that I at least Do. It. Right. If you’re going to try to be an ally, do the work of listening to what that means.
  4. I enjoyed and related a lot to this article on Gen X getting caught in the middle of Boomers and Millennials. My mother would respond with a combination of “Suck it up” and “Well, make them pay attention.” Yes, mother. I’m not sure why they call their generation the Silent Generation. That does not describe either of my parents accurately at all.
  5. I don’t know why this reminded me of Mom. I just can’t quite put my finger on it. This certainly doesn’t resemble her at all. Swear like a Mother.

Read Full Post »

Friday Five2

I didn’t strike on International Women’s Day, because reasons and also because today begins a series of days off to celebrate my birth month. I am getting my hair chopped today and treating myself to my favorite shampoo that I never buy because it’s hella expensive. But happy birthday to me. And so today I thought I’d bring you places I love/will love and recommend that you check them out, too, as well as a couple of gems from International Women’s Day that I particularly enjoyed.

[These are all Denton-y or Denton adjacent. Sorry, folks who live afar.]

  1. Salon LaPage – Everyone here is awesome, but I especially love Meredith. I’m picky about hair, so once I found her, I pretty much followed her wherever she went.
  2. I’m so excited about trying Kimzey’s Coffee. I am a sucker for a cute coffee shop. There may be a post about it if I loooove it.
  3. There will be brunch at Abbey Inn on the square. I think I want steak and eggs benedict. Or maybe chicken and waffles with bacon pepper gravy. Or maybe I just go multiple times so that I don’t have to choose just one.
  4. Karen Gonzalez via The Mudroom – My Single Life or Why I Love Women’s Day.
  5. And some ridiculous levity from the Reductress – 4 Men Named Kyle Who Have No Idea There’s A Women’s Strike.

Have a lovely weekend!

 

Read Full Post »

Friday Five2

I got sucked into the Internet this week, and I was not my best self. It will surprise no one here that I have many opinions with lots of passion and intensity, and that’s why I don’t Facebook actively because as it turns out, people are not so much persuaded by being overwhelmed as they are driven to drink and binge-watch on the Netflix while avoiding my texts.

Ahem.

To that end, the first two links I have are some tips on being in spaces with people who get your dander up (like me, perhaps) and how to do the work of getting past all of that and still have meaningful conversations.

  • How to Survive in Intersectional Feminist Spaces 101 via CrossKnit – This is a great place to start if you read the title of the post and said, “What do those words mean?” or if you have a negative view of what those words mean to you. It’s also a great refresher and reminder to those of us who think we know everything. Keeps us humble. Also, her follow-up post makes me howl with a weird mix of respect for her for owning up to things that people confronted her with, self-recognition, humility, glee, gratitude, and inspiration.
  • How to be a friend to the LGBTQIA+ community – from GLAAD and from Carlos Maza via the Washington Post archives. Absolutely engage in these behaviors yourself. But if you see other people engaging in these behaviors and your behavior gets called out as a result, know that it’s not really about you but rather their desire to support and defend people they see being mistreated.

More things for your reading enjoyment/thought provocation/action-taking:

  • Obama via The New England Journal of Medicine discusses the dangers and irresponsibility of repealing the ACA without something workable to replace it.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates via The Atlantic – My President was Black.
  • DeVos is not a suitable candidate for Secretary of Education. Here are a list of Senators who are key in making a decision on DeVos on Tuesday (first numbers are their local offices; 202 numbers are their D.C. offices). If your senator is listed, give them a call, but if not, call one of the others:Susan Collins (ME) 207.622.8414; 202.224.2523
    Lamar Alexander (TN) 615.736.5129; 202.224.4944
    Lisa Murkowski (AK) 907.586.7277; 202.224.6665
    Johnny Isakson (GA) 770.661.0999; 202.224.3643
    Orrin Hatch (UT) 801.524.4380; 202.224.5251
    Richard Burr (NC) 336.631.5125; 202.224.3154; 910.251.1058; 828.350.2437
    Michael Enzi (WY) 202.224.3424
    Dr. Bill Cassidy (LA) 202.224.5824
    Pat Roberts (KS) 202.224.4774
    Tim Scott (SC) 202.224.6121
    Rand Paul (KY) 202.224.4343

And a bonus post for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, including a remembrance of how it all started.

Read Full Post »

photo-2-12

Saturday was awesome. I’m not generally a march person. I don’t do crowds well; I get panicky. But it was local (so, familiar) and I went with friends who would have understood if I’d needed to run away for a bit. I attended the women’s rally in Denton, had lunch with some friends afterward to talk about it, and then met for decadent waffles and coffee with another friend who had her reasons not to attend but was eager to hear the reasons I did.

Yesterday, however, was one of the days I had to get off Facebook to retain my sanity.

It wasn’t all bad. I had several friends who posted why they chose not to march. While wow, we’ve had very different life experiences and disagree about a lot of things, I respect that, just like I do, they do not shy away from the responsibilty of acting according to their convictions. I even clicked “like” on a couple that were particularly well reasoned and eloquently stated. I’m thankful that they shared.

Then there were the others – some original, some reposted from another source. They listed lots of reasons they didn’t march, but they also listed many disrespectful assumptions about us marchers. And most of them ended with some version of the condescending sentiment, “Oh, but go ahead and have your little march if it will make you feel better. Bless your hearts.”

 

Incredibly, many of the people posting these messages are some of the same people I see calling for unity. Hmm. Maybe it would be more unifying if they listened and tried to understand the positions of others instead of automatically dismissing them as stupid and whiny. Just a thought.

More to the point, I get that people feel compelled to explain why they didn’t march. After all, I often feel compelled to explain why I don’t do something others see as important. It’s very human to want to be understood and to feel defensive when we’re not. As one who marched, let me assure those of you who didn’t that you don’t owe me an explanation. We all have different work to do, and if this march wasn’t part of your work, then that’s your decision. I am happy to listen if you want to explain anyway, but you owe me nothing.

[Aside – your other friends who marched may feel differently. Don’t assume I speak for everyone, because I do not.]

If you do explain, however, be careful. There is a thin line between “This is why I didn’t,” and “This is why people who march are stupid.” And most of the posts I saw in my feed crossed that line from disagreement right into disrespect. I understand the draw. I’m certainly not innocent of it. Acting petty is super gratifying – cathartic, even. Some of my favorite people are petty by default. And it is a whole lot easier to dismiss people who disagree as unintelligent or uninformed or just plain unlikable without going to the trouble to listen long enough to discern if those things are true.

The problem is that when we choose to take the low road by insulting whole groups of people, there are probably going to be people who read or hear it whom we would claim to love and respect as individuals and who also happen to fall within that group. It lands on them just as if we had said it to their faces. If you are fine with this, well…you do you. On some level, I get that, too. I’m certainly working through some of my own feelings of betrayal and anger, and I hope Jesus and I work through them soon, because they are hella stressful. I want you to have space to work through it, too.

Just know that, if you posted one of those messages, it landed on people you call friends. It landed on me and my friends (which frankly, is more offensive than it landing on me. How dare you. My friends are awesome, and you would be lucky to know them).

If that’s the message you meant to send me – that you neither like nor respect me – then okay. Not everyone does. So…why are you here? Stop torturing yourself. Unfriend me, unfollow me, and stop reading. Life is too short, and the steady rise of your blood pressure with every word you read is making yours even shorter. Save yourself. Just go.

If, however, that isn’t the message you intended to send, let’s see if I can help us work our way back from it.

First, full disclosure – those calls for unity? I’m not even close to there yet. Before you get judgy, I want you to reflect on our time in the Obama administration. Think of how long it took you to say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s our President, and it’s still our country, so I’m going to make peace with it.” How long did it take you to get rid of the opposing candidate’s yard sign and take your “I didn’t vote for this Obama-nation” bumper sticker off your car? How long did it take for you to stop posting snarky and often hateful memes poking fun at the First Family on social media, and how long after that did it take for you to stop liking those memes or finding them funny? When voicing your opposition to Obama’s healthcare plan (which is an opinion you have every right to voice), how long did it take you to stop calling it Obamacare and refer to it by its actual name, the Affordable Care Act?

Was it two months? Six months? A year? Eight years? Be honest.

Take that measure of time, add it to January 20, 2017, put it on your calendar, and mark it as the first day you have any moral ground whatsoever to ask me for unity. You may get it well before then, on account of my annoying, stubborn idealism and the inconvenient fact that achieving the goals we marched for – freedom for all – will ultimately require some semblance of an all. But in the meantime, stop asking people to do what you yourself could not.

Second, while I don’t owe you an explanation either, if you are still reading (and good on you – this is a long one), I’d like to tell you why I marched. It’s possible that you might even find something here to agree with, and I suppose that’s a start.

The equal rights we allegedly all have on paper are not fully practiced in reality. Equality is not just a legal issue; even more than that, it is a heart and attitude issue. Lack of a heart and attitude for equality is still a big problem in our country. I marched to protest that reality.

We just swore in a man who, through all his years in the limelight and throughout his campaign, actively displayed a heart and attitude of inequality. He has disparaged women, people of color, military veterans, people with disabilities – basically, anyone who has ever appeared to disagree with him. And he’s not dumb. He has been in the public eye his whole life, and he knew exactly what he was doing and exactly the effect it would have. He knew his open ridicule would embolden other people to act out their similar hateful biases in more extreme ways which he could then publicly denounce, passing himself off as reasonable by comparison. He will make promises and tell people he is on their side, and then betray them to get what he wants. Then he will turn around and ask them to be friends again and pout (or tweet) when they understandably decline. As long as I’ve known who he is, these have been his signature moves. This is not friendship or leadership; it is a cycle of abuse that he has, to date, shown no intention of breaking. I protest that.

If he were to want to show intention to turn over a new leaf, I’d be happy to see it. A good way to do that would be to enforce the equal rights we are supposedly guaranteed by law. You know, instead of threatening to repeal those laws or to cut funding/defund agencies that exist to protect them. I protest that, too.

I marched to be part of an audio-visual reminder to the president and the country that, while he may have been elected by a different group of people, upon taking that oath, he works for all of us now. An across-party-lines calling for that is a unity I could maybe think about starting to get on board with.

Barring that far-fetched possibility, the march also served as a not-so-subtle reminder that those who oppose inequality, particularly the inequality that laces the president’s words and actions, are not the small, docile, silent minority he would like to believe we are.

And finally, I marched in repentance for white feminism. White feminism is a larger discussion but for our purposes here includes all supposed freedom work that pursues one group’s freedom at the expense and exclusion of the freedom of others, particularly the freedom of women of color. I can believe we still have to protest this shit, because we cannot free and oppress at the same time, and that’s what a lot of the work of white feminists has done. It has tried to take a step forward by pushing others back. Freedom and oppression are opposing forces. No wonder progress has been slow, because much of it simply has not been progress.

On Saturday, I know we did a whole lot of getting things right. The rally in Denton seemed peaceful and inclusive. Having said that, if someone told me that they were excluded from it, I would believe them, because with its roots in white supremacy, white feminism is pervasive as hell. I marched in recognition that we still have so much work to do and that a lot of that work was created by our own selfishness.

Marching isn’t the only thing we’re doing, or even the most effective. Of course it isn’t. I know a lot of people who didn’t march because they were doing important work elsewhere at the time. That’s great – more power to them!

The march did spark hope in me again. If you are one of the people calling for unity, and you truly want it, this should give you hope that one day I’ll get there, too.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

photo (5)

Really, this is just an excuse to show off my new floor.

“If you lost about fifty pounds, you’d have guys lining up to date you. Heck, I might even be one of them.”

 I looked at the slice of pizza in my hand as I tried to pick my chin up off the floor. Had he really just said that? I decided to give him a chance to recant. I raised a warning eyebrow. “What?”

 He didn’t get the hint. “Yeah. If you lost some weight, you’d be the perfect girl. Totally date-able.”

 I performed a quick mental search of the backlog of our conversation up to that point. Had I asked his opinion on how I could be more attractive? No. Had I inquired as to why the guy I was interested in wasn’t going for me? Nope. Had I accidentally hit on him, inspiring him to make it clear that he wasn’t interested in being my next crush? Definitely not.

 I suppose I could have returned the attack. I could have pointed out that it certainly wouldn’t have hurt him – skeletally and scientifically speaking, of course – to drop 50+ pounds himself and that doing so might just be the answer to the knee and back problems he was always complaining about. You know, since we had entered into the unsolicited advice portion of our dialogue. Apparently.

 But this was not random street harassment that could be dealt with and dismissed with a stunning display of pettiness. This was my friend, who allegedly cared about me. He probably thought he was being helpful. He probably even thought he was paying me a compliment about what an awesome human I was.

 It was not helpful. It was not a compliment. And unlike comments from strangers who could be dismissed because they didn’t know me, coming from a friend, it was personal.

 I was so appalled, however, that I was unable to completely remove all the sass from my reply. “No, what I need to lose are the misogynistic jerks in my life who think a girl has to be thin to be lovable.”

 The conversation got really awkward after that.

 This is one of the stories I like to tell when people ask where I get my confidence. They usually aren’t looking for the real answer, particularly if the question is part of a conversation about beauty or dating. They’re not really interviewing me about my greatest strengths. They don’t want to hear that I love my intelligence and my wit and my loyalty, or the fact that my cooking has brought tears to people’s eyes (because they enjoyed it, to be clear). They don’t even really want to know how much I’m obsessed with my adorable feet or how I’m really growing to love my arms. They want to know how I – a fat girl – could possibly think so highly of myself, particularly in a society that does not statistically share that opinion about the rotund.

 Where do I get my confidence? By standing up for myself. By calling a lie a lie, particularly when it was a lie that – until I heard it spoken aloud and realized how awful and wrong it sounded – I had secretly believed myself.

 I get confidence from friends who remind me to fight the lies. Since I have been trying to lose weight (19 pounds down, btw), I have had several concerned friends affirming their love for me and making sure I remember what the changes I’m making in order to work toward this goal will do for me (lower my blood pressure/calm my blood sugar levels down/allow me to run without snapping my small-boned twig ankles) and what it will not do for me (make me even more fantastic and worthy of the space that I take up in the world, because according to us – and really, who else’s opinion even matters at all? – I’m already there). I have good friends.

 I also get confidence from reading books like Shrill. Lindy West is hilarious. I particularly liked her chapter on how she answers the confidence question. This is a book I’ll be buying so that I can read it aloud at parties. I highly recommend it for people of all shapes and sizes.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: