Tag Archives: words with friends

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

Having Fun Isn’t Always Fun and Games

I’m always up for sharing the work of those I know on the internet watercooler, and today I’m talking about the piece Lillian Cohen Moore wrote about Cards Against Humanity – a game which I love dearly, but always struggle with in some instances.

Cards Against Humanity is billed as Apples to Apples for Horrible People.

Sure, we’re all pretty terrible in my group of friends, but as Lillian explains – that can be a really big problem. Please read the article here: Save Vs. Sexism: Cards Against Humanity

So, I left a comment, but I’ll expand on it here:

Humor to cope with sadness is a major coping mechanism for me. In fact, I’m the person who makes her therapist laugh pretty frequently. But I think a lot of that. much like what’s hurtful, is in the eye of the beholder. The reason I find people being “PC” problematic sometimes is that we’re all going to have different issues, and we’re all going to get hurt in different ways. it can be hard to avoid every single hurtful thing ever – so we have to try. We have to strive to be better to one another – which is why the house rule I mentioned in my comment was instituted. I didn’t see the  South Park movie because I chose not to see a movie in which HIV/AIDS was a punchline. I sometimes struggle with listening to the ‘Book of Mormon” soundtrack because there are AIDS jokes that hit me where it hurts more often than not.

Giving me the AIDS cards is giving me the ability to choose whether or not to laugh at my pain. It would be significantly more difficult to change the deck to get rid of all the rape cards and give them to one person, or all the DV cards to one individual. And perhaps there’s a certain sense to avoiding this game if you really can’t handle certain jokes – I don’t suggest it to anyone who would be offended by violent imagery of Glenn Beck, for example. But I think this game can be a useful tool for those of us who do find hurt in some of the cards, and in this I think it’s useful. We can laugh at our pain, we can take the power away from our pain – and we can mock it into the ground.

So, play Cards Against Humanity thoughtfully – and don’t eat all the cookies at the AIDS bake sale.

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Filed under Feminism, Language, Sound Reflections

Going Other Places & Talking To People

Tonight at 8:15pm at HuffPost Live I’ll be talking about my article for XOJane “I’m Disabled But People Still Don’t Think I’m Blind Enough”.

Please join me tonight for a frank discussion about disability and living in a world where it’s okay to ask “Are you really blind?”

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In Defense of a Name

And to piggyback on the previous post – This is one of those news stories that is real, and therefore more ridiculous than parody!

A deaf three-year old in Nebraska is being told to change the way in which he signs his name because apparently, the hand signal looks too much like a gun and therefore violates their weapons policy.

Sign isn’t something you can just change for school policy. This is the way in which a child communicates with his WORLD. I’m not super familiar with sign language,  but I cannot imagine that it is easy to explain to a three-year old that the way he says his name scares his teachers.

I feel like this really sets up a problem for him early on in his schooling, already prioritizing the community over his needs as an individual with accommodations. To me, telling someone that the way in which they communicate violates a “policy” is ludicrous. It is also harmful – and it sets up the expectation to his peers (though they are not aware of it now) that his language is little more than a challenge to policy, and is not the avenue to communication.

I would hope that the school system will recognize how incredibly inappropriate this is, and in the future will prioritize his needs, and not create a situation in which he feels like an outcast in the future. Having been the outcast in school, both from my administrators and my peers, I hope his future is brighter and less frustrating.

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Proud Member of the “Word Police”!

“PSA: OCD stands for “obsessive-compulsive disorder.” It is not an adjective. You’re not “a little OCD” because you just picked a cat hair off your shirt or arrange your dvds alphabetically. You may think that’s cute or harmless, but it’s actually condescending to and dismissive of people like me who legitimately fight every day to function without being crippled by their illness. Five minutes in my head on one of my bad days and I guarantee you’d have a screaming meltdown.
Grow up, look that shit up on wikipedia and quit co-opting other people’s suffering to show everyone how ~quirky~ you are. I was going to apologise for wording this harshly, but honestly, I’m not sorry, and I’m not going to say anything that could possibly validate this behavior. Now get off my lawn, you damn kids.
/soapbox” – My friend Julie

Further down in the dialogue a man who we’ll call B says this:

“O, Word Police, I’ve always been taught that words may have multiple meanings with different layers of depth and gravity, i.e. someone can be “depressed” without actually suffering from clinical depression. By the same token, I would assume those who suffer from clinical depression do not get offended when a doctor uses a tongue depressor. Of course, slang continually adds new words and new definitions of old words to our vocabulary as language evolves. I just really want to know if I can continue to use the words “paralyzed” and “paralysis,” which both have meanings that are not associated with spinal injuries. I don’t think these mere words should cause people to get so bent out of shape*. * – not intended to be offensive to those who have suffered major bone damage.”

I think there’s a difference between saying that you’re paralyzed with fear versus saying that you’re deaf, or blind, or depressed, or having a nervous breakdown. There are OTHER WORDS and other ways of saying it. You didn’t see something, you couldn’t hear someone over the loud music. You’re SAD. You’re very upset. Language is a beautiful thing!

It didn’t bother me that the word “blind” is so overused until I really thought about it in graduate school. Why did perfectly sighted people call themselves blind and then laugh? Why did others say they were having a nervous breakdown over a piece of homework, but be perfectly capable of functioning in class 2 hours later?

The English language (and many other languages) provide us with so many opportunities to make use of words we don’t use often enough that I wonder why we have become so lax with our speech. I question the validity of calling people the word police, when indeed, they are simply trying to get you to use the correct words and language for what you are feeling. You are sad that you did not get to purchase a ticket to see Lady Gaga. It did not destroy your life. You are not suffering from clinical long form depression.

I have a friend who is schizophrenic, her least favorite use of that word?  “My air conditioner is being so schizophrenic today.”

Words have power. Words have meaning. Use them wisely and kindly and they will get you far in this world.

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