Tag Archives: society

Sound Reflection: Tell a Feminist Thank You

Cheers and thanks to you all!

Cheers and thanks to you all!

Today there’s a hashtag on twitter #tellafeministthankyou – so I’m going to say a few thank you’s to people who’ve taught me, or who keep me writing.

Thanks to my mom, Paula, for raising me as a feminist.

Thanks to MTR, because talking about feminism in his office made me better at what I do.

Thanks to Kenna and Lillian, for editing me, for talking theory and genuinely helping me learn more about what I think.

Thanks to my husband for being more of a feminist than he thinks he is.

Thanks to Jo Jo, Sailor, Jenn, Amelia, and all the other feminist burlesque ladies in my life.

Thanks to Orli, Kate, and Mary for discussions of feminist theology on a range of religious backgrounds.

Of course, thanks to my readers – because without you I’d just be writing into the void.

Being a feminist is more than just holding beliefs on your own, but about constantly interrogating your own thought processes and challenging the things you think in order to further your understanding of gender dynamics in society. I think all feminists are served best by the communities they involve themselves in, and the conversations they start within their communities.

Who are you thankful for? Who has helped you become a feminist?

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Filed under Feminism, Personal, Sound Reflections, Uncategorized

LGBT News Bites

I remember being very little and going to a few meetings of what was called the “Daisy Scouts”. I don’t remember why I stopped going, but I do remember being very uncomfortable with the idea that we had prayer circles.

When people returned or refused their Eagle Scout medals I payed attention, recognizing that the Boy Scouts of America were not an equal opportunity group.

Today I can be proud that someone is challenging that. A Brooklyn Dad has founded a gender neutral scouting troop, welcoming girls, boys, gay kids, and likely trans (though the story doesn’t say). I really appreciate that he is creating his own thing, and refusing to put money towards an organization which he finds to be discriminatory in it’s policies. Which they are.

The second awesome thing is that the National Cathedral is going to have its first ever same sex marriage! I am so glad that the National Cathedral will be welcoming and open to all people when they celebrate in marriage – not just those whom the law recognizes as equal. It is lovely to see a religious organization recognizing all love publicly.

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My heart is breaking today. I have no way to stop the pain happening in Connecticut right now. No way to give comfort to those who will need it most.

I remember when it was Columbine I was in school; everyone terrified it might happen to us too.
I remember when it was Virginia Tech. I was in college; the same age as many involved.
Today, all I can say is murdering, no, executing, children seems so far past the pale, that finally perhaps something will be done.  Perhaps people will listen.

Gun control needs to be taken seriously. Children were killed today. Children were murdered in their school. A place they should be safe.

Watching the journalists praise children for having survived, for being tough – this doesn’t happen in America. 8 year olds shouldn’t be praised for their bravery in the face of gunfire. They shouldn’t have to experience that in the first place. This cannot be allowed to stand.

We can no longer give in to sacrificing lives for some kind of liberty. There is no kind of liberty that allows someone to shoot children. We have put off this conversation time and again. After Columbine. After Virginia Tech. After Aurora. The question is not “If not now, when?” No. Now is the time. Now is the time to give future generations a safe country.

I will no longer stand by. Please join me in standing up and saying no.

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December 14, 2012 · 3:25 pm

Owning My Body

Yesterday I was waiting to cross the street and a woman grabbed my arm. “Are you trying to cross the street?” she says to me. It is the physical touch of a stranger to which I respond. ‘Please don’t touch me” I say in a polite voice.  It was also a weird kind of grab, she didn’t go for my elbow, but for my left hand, trying to lace her fingers between mine to guide me across the street like a child. And instead of reacting politely and apologizing for the invasion of my space…

She yelled at me for not letting her touch my arm saying I was “ungrateful”. As though my polite rejection of her invasion was rude.  It was rude to grab me without asking.

I want to remind people that they own themselves because so often we forget.

Socially we need to accept that we do not own one another. We own ourselves.

Women’s bodies especially are consistently given up to society without a thought. Young girls are taught to give hugs when asked – because feelings will get hurt if they don’t offer up their bodies to appease people they do not know. Women are encouraged to be pure, yet we’re also told simultaneously that we have to put out in order to keep our partners happy. Physicality becomes a currency by which we can trade for emotional happiness.

It isn’t rude to own your body. It isn’t rude to say you don’t wish to be touched. It IS rude to force people to interact with you physically.

Social situations often demand physical affection – but we shouldn’t be forced into it because of social obligation – we should be able to give physical affection because we want to.

Physical touch should not be currency. End of story.

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Filed under Disability Issues, Feminism

To Assume the Worst

I don’t have children. Maybe I will someday. Or maybe I won’t. That’s not the point of this article.

Have you ever been in a class discussion about motherhood, and suddenly a classmate directly questions not only your capability to be a parent, but the physiological possibility of bearing a child? I have.

Has your ability to be a parent ever been questioned merely because you can’t see out of one eye, or because you use a chair, or because you live life with an illness, either mental or physical? I know many.

I think every woman experiences opinions with regard to both their capability as a mother, but also their practice in bearing their child. Judgements over breastfeeding, diet, choice of gender normativity, any of the above are commented on by relatives and strangers alike. But the process of judgement when one is disabled seems insidious and hurtful in another way.

It’s not just that people ask “do you think that’s wise?” when someone says they want to bear a child. It isn’t the perception that yuo’re incapable that hurts. It’s the notion that no matter where your disability lies – in my case, in my eyeballs- that your uterus is affected.

Our society is built on assumptions. The assumption that it’s okay to ask a disabled person if they can have sex. The assumption that we NEED to be told “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have a baby….” These assumptions are hardly acceptable.

The assumption that a disabled woman can’t have children is just as hurtful as the assumption that a woman who looks perfectly healthy can. Fertility shouldn’t be up for discussion. Neither should parenthood.

In my classroom, it was suggested that I couldn’t have a baby. In my classroom it was suggested that I wouldn’t be a good mother. The question was asked, and the entire classroom went silent, as though nobody could quite believe that the question had been asked, but at the same time, many people thought the exact same thing. The reality is, I’ve worked with children before. I have spent time and energy teaching autistic children not to eat rocks, I have spent time helping children learn how to play tag nicely. I am good with children.

But every time I say that I can babysit, or that I can nanny, or that I’d like to apply to run an afterschool program for kids, the look comes into the able bodied persons eyes, and you can hear the skepticism of “can you?

 

 

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