Minneapolis Slut Walk

As the days get closer and closer to the Minneapolis Slut Walk I’ve been considering if I’m going to go.

When I first heard about it I knew that I was going to go.  Anything to end victim-blaming is something that is very easy for me to get on board with.  When I first heard about it I was blogging over on Hub Pages, and these are my original thoughts.  As you can tell by the date at this point, it was not held on August 6th.  And the last few months have really given me the opportunity for some introspection.  The big question being, am I going to go?  Because I think this is a really important movement I did donate to the cause.  But do I want to do more than just give (limited) financial support?

Yesterday, CBS Minnesota reported on Slut Walk and the comments were extremely disheartening to me.  As is often the case, commenters only read the headline before commenting.  As a result the majority of comments were blatantly ignorant, sexist, and just plain stupid.  To be honest, it was the comments that were both sexist and stupid (although, do I really need to add those qualifiers?) that really put fear into my heart.  The question “am I going to go?” became slightly bigger.  “Do I feel safe going?” and “I can accept that there will be people around calling participants sluts.  Is that something I can deal with?”  These are questions that I’m going to be battling over the next few days.  And to be honest, my personal emotional state on Saturday will probably be the biggest determining factor as to my participation. 

If you’ve gone to a Slut Walk or are thinking about going to one, what are some of the thoughts that you’ve had prior to your participation?

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Women voting in Saudi Arabia

Neil MacFarquhar from the New York Times reported this morning that women in Saudi Arabia will have the right to run and vote in municiapl elections starting in 2015.  While this is an extremely exciting development for women in that nation, many feel that it isn’t enough.

Yes, women have the right to vote and run in local election.  However, they don’t have the right to drive or leave the house without a male chaperone (in most cases.) I feel that it will be interesting to see what happens when a woman does win a local position, specifically because society is strictly segregated by gender.

Sabria Jawhar of the Huffinton Post says, “It’s a proud moment for Saudi women to win this victory. However, this isn’t the end. We must have municipal councils that are open to the public, encourage citizen participation, and be responsive to the public’s wants and needs. We are not anywhere near that since we have little transparency in local government. We must also tighten the rules in the electoral process to eliminate cross-district voting. We must also stop efforts to subvert elections with so-called “Golden Lists” that give the religious conservatives voter clout by again exploiting Saudis’ eagerness to elect “good” Muslims.”

What are your thoughts on this move by the king of Saudi Arabia?

Wedding memories

I recently got in touch with a friend I had in high school who is getting married at some point in the relatively near future.  Talking to him about it made me think about my own wedding which took place 9 months ago.

*please feel free to keep your pregnancy jokes to yourself*

Last October I was working the midnight shift as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and I hardly ever saw my boyfriend.  We had lunch every Monday, just for the chance to see each other.  One chilly Monday afternoon last November we were sitting in our usual booth at McDonalds and my sweet man said to me, “So, I think we should get married by the end of the year.”

I was so excited!  We had been living together (and yes, never seeing each other) for five months and I had made it clear that if we lived together we needed to be married within a year.

We decided to get married at our local courthouse.  Part of the reason was because we didn’t have any money (we’re still not exactly raking it in). The other part was because having a big wedding seemed like a massive hassle and we really didn’t want to deal with it.  Having a wedding is way better when you’re relaxed about the whole thing.

Despite our relaxed attitude toward spending the rest of our lives together, there were some major stressors.  At least there were for me, I’m not really sure about  my sweet man.

The main one was that everyone felt like they owned my wedding.  A friend of my mom’s gave me my wedding dress and I needed to get it altered.  My mom’s friend is a size 14 and I’m a size 8.  As I was at the alterations shop for the initial pinning of the dress.  As I was leaving another alteration customer asked me if I was getting married and after I confirmed that I was she went all stary eyed and talked about how beautiful a “Christmas wedding” would be.  After I told her we were getting married in the courthouse I got chewed out for not having her ideal wedding.   And this wasn’t the only experience I had that was like that.

In case you’re wondering, there isn’t really any kind of a point to this article.  I just like throwing things out there so you can get to know me.  I like to know a little something about authors as I’m reading their work and I assume others are the same.

So, peace out and create a great day for yourself.

What’s your favorite memory?

Every Wednesday my one of my favorite feminist bloggers over at Feministing does a feature called the Wednesday Weight-In. This week Maya Dusenberry asked us about our favorite memories.

Usually I just say something in the comments, but I felt that my thoughts for today were a little bit bigger than just a comment.  I would also like to invite you to share your favorite memory, or even just think about it.  Wrap yourself up in it like a blanket.

The first memory that came to my mind is an experience I had when I was about 6 years old.  My mom was pregnant with my sister, S.  I’m guessing that she was probably about 6 months along, because this experience was right before school started and S was born in November.  My mom promised my sister M and I a picnic to celebrate the last day before I started school (I was the only one old enough to be in school at that point.)  On the day of the picnic it was pouring outside.  There’s no way we could have a picnic.  M and I were crushed, we thought our fun day with mom was ruined.   Instead my mom rallied us together, spread out a blanket in our living room and we had the picnic right there.  I can’t remember what we ate, I just remember feeling so lucky to have a mom that would take me on a picnic in the living room.

Now it’s your turn?  What’s your favorite memory.  Make sure not to taint it with a negative thought.  Just hug it to yourself and let it brighten your day.

Body Love

I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently about loving your body.  The bulk of these posts have been about not engaging in fat shamming and things of that nature.  This really made me think about my own body story and what parts of I would want to write about here. 

January – May 2011 I took a sociology class called “Body Politics” that really made me think about my own body. I thought a lot about how I see my body and how other people see my body.  I also thought a lot about behaviors that I do and don’t do that contribute to my body image. 

I grew up in a home where the body was an integral part of the life experience.  Obviously this is true for most people.  It’s difficult to experience life outside your body unless you’re really good at constant meditation or you’re a ghost.  In my experience, a lot of my life revolved around my mom’s body.  As the oldest of six children my mom was pregnant a lot.  If I zoom through highlights of my young life my mom is pregnant in most of those memories. 

Like most women my mom gained weight during her pregnancy and consequently spend a fairly significant amount of time focusing on loosing that weight. That’s definitely had an impact on how I view myself.  I’ve also spent a lot of time hearing prengnant woman refer to themselves exclusively as “fat.” 

In my mind I think “No, you’re not fat. You’re just growing a human being.” Which is pretty amazing, in my opinion. But still, it’s taken it’s toll.  And while I’m not pregnant right now I hope to be within the next 3 years, so that’s something that I know I’ll need to watch out for.

Ironically, it’s the desire to not have a desirable looking body that plagues me the most.  If you’ve read my introductory post you’ll know that I’m a sexual assault victim.  Just for a little background on that. . .

At the time I was very physically active.  I did cardio and weight lifting every day of the week.  At that time I had a very toned physique.  My boyfriend/assailant made that comment very frequently.  That he wouldn’t “want” me if I didn’t work out.  After I ended our “relationship” I also ended my working out regime.  Recently I started wanting to exercise again, but I would not lift weights.  That body is not one that I want back. At first I was swimming, but after I couldn’t afford my gym membership anymore I started walking.

The problem is, I know that lifting weights is an important part to a healthy lifestyle. It helps to prevent osteoperosis (something of a problem in my family) and increases heart health and stamina.  Believe me, I need all the stamina I can get.

How does this fit into the title “Body Love”? I know this has been somewhat rambling, so I’ll attempt to bring it back together.

Despite these two things that I’ve brought up in my own life, I still strive to love my body.  I love my body for what I hope it will someday create.  I love my body for doing what I need it to do now.  Despite some significant road blocks I try to maintain habits that will show my body how grateful I am for all it does.  Most of all, I honor and respect other people’s bodies regardless of how they look. Our bodies do amazing things and they require all the respect we can give them.

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Motherhood in a larger context

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