What’s in a name?

Over the last week or so, feminism has been on my mind.  Rather, it’s been on my mind slightly more forcefully than it normally is.  It all started with this post by Bella last Saturday and has been continued by this post by Clarissa.

The question, for me, has been “What is feminism?”  What does it mean to me in my every day life?  How does actively identifying as a feminist influence what I do?  How does it influence how I relate to others?

To answer the first question.  To me, feminism is an ideal in which both women and men (and everyone in-between) has equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities.  Where everyone is free to make decisions for themselves, rather than allowing society at large to define you fully.  To me, this means that you may choose to do something that is the norm.  The point is, you’re choosing it for yourself.  I believe that everyone has a responsibility to make their corner of the world a better place.  I believe in equal pay for equal work.  It doesn’t matter what biological sex or gender identity you have.

I realize, of course, that society does influence what we do.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re thinking critically about the decisions that you’re making.

In everyday life  feminism means that I’m actively thinking about what I’m doing (most of the time) and trying to be better every day.  My yard stick is myself, nobody else.  When I say things like “I have the wrong body” (which was actually said by me this week when I tried on every single shirt in the women’s clothing section at Target in several sizes and none of them looked good on me, it was a low point) I try to think about it and realize that this statement is not true.  I have the right body, it’s just the wrong one for today’s fashions (which is certainly not my fault.  It just means I need to get better at sewing, haha.)

I have to admit, often identifying as a feminist makes interacting with others awkward (although, I was pretty awkward before, so maybe it’s just me).  When my co-workers announce they’re on a new diet I have to fight the urge to tell them that dieting usually just makes you fat.  Instead I congratulate them on working toward being more healthy.  It’s really hard, but I think I’m getting better.

What does feminism mean for you?

 

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Independence Day for Scotland?

As a person fairly proud of my Scottish heritage, I take interest in what’s going on in what I consider to be one of my “home” countries (the other two are Denmark and the U.S.)  However, I have to admit that recently I’ve not been paying attention to Scotland as much as I should have.  It’s really simply because of time constraints.  I want to know what’s going on at home (the U.S.) before I pay attention to abroad.

That said, there is something going on in Scotland that I’m actually pretty excited about.  In 2014 (yeah, I’ll be excited for a while) Scotland will be voting on a referendum to leave the United Kingdom!  You can find the BBC article here.

I have to admit, I have very mixed feelings.  As someone also of English AND Welsh heritage I’m glad that they’ve been (semi) peacefully cohabitation for the last 300 years.  However, as a born and bred American I also love liberty and I think that people should have it if they want it.   That also means that the Scots (who have had a fairly long history of being persecuted by the Brits) should be their own country if they want.

Now, according to the BBC article (and the video clip attached to it) Scotland is tired of the special conditions that are being tied to specific pieces of legislation, such as this referendum for example.  First Minister Salmond talks about a “Westminster Power Grab.”  In essence, the central government in London is trying to determine if this referendum is legal.

Again, I have mixed feelings about this.  To be perfectly honest, the United States was not created totally legally.   Maybe the British have finally learned their lesson?

What do you think about Scottish Independence Day?

Six Sentence Sunday

If you want to keep up with Rebecca’s story, the last two weeks of Six Sentence Sunday are here and here.  And if you don’t want to wait to get the story six sentences a week you can read the whole thing for the Kindle or on paperback.

Okay, done with the shameless self promotion, haha.  This week you’ll get a glimpse of Big Dan and get to know Stephen just a little better.

“Hey Stephen, the usual today?” I inquired with my usual cheery demeanor.

“Yeah, I think so. Thanks.” This is Stephens’ usual reply.

I walked away to give his order to our excellent chef, Big Dan. Big Dan is famous for his speed and seven and a half minutes later I was walking back toward Stephen’s table with his meal in hand.

“Stephen, are you in an advice giving mood today?” I asked with some trepidation. Sometimes he won’t give me photography advice.”

Tune in next week to see Rebecca’s great idea!  You never know what it might be :).

The best of intentions

I started out this New Year with a new blogging schedule as my “resolution.”  Sunday was going to be the day I blogged about my writing (published works, works in progress, etc).  Tuesday was going to be the day when I talked about my opinion on some recent news item.  Thursday was going to be my free-for-all day.

Well, I started out strong on Sunday with “Six Sentence Sunday“, but I quickly fell flat on my face when I accidentally skipped Tuesday.  But on Wednesday I talked about my opinion on Legos  (I know, strong news stuff right there, haha.)  But I’m trying to redeem myself by starting back up today with my free-for-all.

Over this past week I’ve been seriously debating what to talk about in for my “personal day.”  Do I talk about coping with a serious shortage of sleep, dealing with the stress of possibly being unemployed in two weeks, SAD, or my challenges in writing?  I also have to talk about my prefered form of meditation, Yoga Nidra.  The list is endless!

After careful consideration I’ve decided to talk about challenges in writing.  Paisley is seriously enjoying her 9th grade year.  She loves her classes, is enjoying the speech team, and there may be a play coming up in the near future (but she doesn’t know that yet.) 

She also went on her first date recently, enjoyed her first kiss (while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”), and now has her first boyfriend.

This boyfriend business is where my challenge lies.  Do I really want to contribute more to our heteronormative society?   Just another literary work out there saying “this is what’s normal and acceptable”?  Because that’s not what I think in real life.  In real life I think that everyone should be loves and cherrished for what they are.  That most varieties of sexuality are acceptable (I say most because I think some people would count things like pedophilia in with sexuality.  And that’s definitely not okay.)

I’ve wresteled with maybe making one of Paisley’s friends gay.  A friend coming out to you would definitely be something you’d write about in your journal. At least, I would write about it in my journal, haha.  I really want to be inclusive of all types of people.  If for no other reason than because that’s the type of story that I’d want to read.

I’ve also thought about possibly making Paisley bisexual, or even a lesbian.  The problem with that is that I don’t know enough about what it’s like to be bisexual or lesbian to actually do justice to the story.  I want to include everyone, not turn them away because they can’t find someone they like in my story.

Ultimately, you have to write what you know.  I can only hope that what I know is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Playing with Legos

Legos have been part of my life landscape since before I can remember.  Once every six years my family would get a huge selection of legos.  Lego sets were not part of our upbringing, we had to use our immaginations to build things.

Nonetheless, this article about the stereotyping of legos caught my attention.  The author of this particular article is talking about a new line of legos being created specifically for girls.  This world is called HeartLake City and (according to the author of the article) consists of a beauty parlor, cafe, bakery, clothing design school, vets office, and an inventors workshop.  I have to say, this seems like a fine variety of things for me (although I do have a small beef with the clothing design school.  Why not just a school?)

The “friends” in this lego set come with a purse, a hair dryer, four lipsticks, two barretts, spatula, electric mixer, two cupcakes, a puppy, and a pink notebook with butterflies on it.  This seems more like they’re trying to give a specific message to girls.  “You have to have an electric mixer on your person at all times.  You have to be prepared for a bake-off at a moment’s notice!”

However, the biggest problem I have with this lego set is the fact that you don’t actually have to build anything!  It comes ready to go.  They’re not real legos!  Or something, haha.

As I said in the beginning, the idea of lego sets is totally foreign to me.  Give me a bucket of legos and I’m happy as a clam.  However, I know that sets have a great place.  They teach spacial skills, instruction following, and help people to have a quantifiable goals to work toward.  There’s also a sense of accomplishment at knowing when you’re actually done.

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Motherhood in a larger context

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