Tag Archives: feminism

Our Better Angels

I recently started a new job, and while there are some growing pains I’m finding it to be a generally fabulous experience. My new role has allowed me to look at some recent events in a lens that I haven’t exercised for a while.

I have been seeing so much in the news about the inflammatory behavior of Kathy Griffin, debates on NPR (which is where I get most of my news) about the place comedy has in the political landscape, and so much more. The theme I’m picking up – and I got this especially from a fabulous dialogue on NPR on my way home the other day – is that it really feels like a lot of folx out there are not appealing to their better sides. Jokes about children, the disabled, and other vulnerable populations are fair game. Behavior is designed to shock, and not in a good way. This is not a good thing, this is not okay, this is not normal.

We certainly can appeal to the best humanity has to offer. I think of the podcast I’ve started to listen to religiously – Stuff Mom Never Told You – and their recent episode on policing women’s speech (Mom, this is the one I was talking about the other day!). Bridget and Emilie talked about how women say “sorry” not just to apologize but also to express empathy. Maybe instead of apologizing about apologizing we should be saying to our male counterparts “Apologize more!” In this case, expressing empathy for our fellow human beings is a good thing.

CARING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE IS A GOOD THING!

This is a short post, so I just want to conclude by encouraging you to be the best version of yourself. Because, if you’ve been reading me for a while (if you haven’t, welcome! I’m glad you’re here) you know how strongly I subscribe to the notion that “we all do better when we all do better.”

June 16 Picture

Advertisements

Homeland is a Feminist Issue

If you have been reading for a while I’m about to confirm something you have probably noticed.

If you’re new here, welcome! I’m glad you’re here and I’m glad you’re about to learn something new about me.

Tackling current events is not something I normally do here, in a public space. It takes me so long to process them and come away with anything of substance that it doesn’t feel worthwhile. Here, in our 24-hour news cycle where tiny and insignificant details are rehashed at length and then forgotten.

But this time I must share something that I’m grappling with. I must so that I can make sense of it myself and hopefully so that you don’t feel alone if you’re grappling with the exact same thing.

What I’m talking about is not earth shattering. I know that. The fact that I am grappling with this is reflective of my extreme privilege.

I am talking about going to the theaters this evening, this weekend, maybe next week, to see Wonder Woman.

1491990205555-1

For weeks, I have been thrilled that an action movie with a female lead was coming to theaters. I have been determined, in my small way, to show movie studios that films with female leads can succeed in a huge way. Representation matters, and while I know there are lots of white women on the screen they’re not kicking literal ass and taking names

So when I saw this article in my Facebook news feed damning women who don’t care that Gal Gadot is a Zionist I was alarmed. That those who don’t care aren’t “real feminists.”

Here’s what I know about Zionism. Zionism, at its core, is the belief that the Jewish people are deserving of a homeland. I do not believe that this is wrong. There is not a single thing with longing for home.

There is something wrong with terrorizing women, children, families who already live there. The means the Israeli government uses to claim their homeland is not okay.

I am not a diplomat, but I believe there must be a way to for both groups to peacefully have their homes.

Maybe I am naive, but Gal Gadot’s use of #stopterror and #coexist means she is committed to working toward peace.

What is a “real feminist” supposed to do in a situation like this? Should such a person support the glimmers of more representation on the silver screen? Or is the better thing to boycott the film in solidarity with the people of Palestine?

There are no easy answers – not for me. Maybe there are for you and if there are, I envy you. I will see Wonder Woman, and probably walk away feeling empowered. And I will also do what I can to advocate for a peaceful solution so that both the Israelis and Palestinians can have their homeland.

The Mommy Tax

There is a podcast I’ve been aware of for some time, Stuff Mom Never Told You, that is fabulous but I’ve never been what you might call a religious listener. The amount of fabulous content created by the creators of the podcast was so immense that I felt overwhelmed and never really dove in. But, the show has two new hosts so I thought this would be a good time to start tuning in.

The Mommy Tax, which “aired” on May 19, 2017, was just excellent and I wanted to respond at length so I felt that my weekly post would be the best way to do that. Emilie and Bridget  do a really excellent job of giving the perspective we need to understand that women have been penalized professionally for having children for a really long time. Either we couldn’t have careers because we had to care for the children, or we can have careers but it’s not “a good move.” But, having children is a really solid career move for men, who enjoy higher rates of promotions and more raises particularly when they are working hard to be involved dads.

I will stop for a second here to say that I am a white, cis-gendered woman pursuing a M.A.. My husband already has a graduate level degree. We both have really good jobs (him in county administration, me in higher education) and our children reap the benefits associated with having college educated parents. I am not down on anyone for getting a promotion or a raise. Nor am I particularly concerned about my financial well-being as a result of my lower societal status as a woman. This is a very privileged place to be.

This is a very privileged place to be.

More than anything, and why I think it’s important to advocate for equal pay for equal work, flexible work schedules, subsidized quality child care, and a whole host of other things is for my sisters who are single parents or parenting in a same-sex relationship.

quote-paul-wellstone-we-all-do-better-when-we-all-217666

In the course of the podcast, and what I really wanted to talk about, is something Emilie asked. She asks, at one point, what would make the working day easier for working moms. I want to extend that to working parents, because increasingly we see new parents being more equal partners when it comes to parenting.

What would make my time as a working parent a whole lot easier in the short term would be a flexible working day. My dream day is six hours in the office, two hours at home. I bet you have some kind of combo that would make your day, or week, a lot easier. Something else that would make a ton of difference to me would be on-site daycare. I work at a university with an early childhood education program and it makes a whole lot of sense to me that we would capitalize (for lack of a better word) on that program to provide parents with child care and students with a required practicum experience. Heck, how awesome would it be if it was an option for parents who work there to pay for it through a payroll deduction? One less bill to have to worry about paying! Finally, what would help so much is if women who are already in those C-level positions and higher could let go of the mentality that because they got to where they were the hard way the rest of us have to as well. Women, support each other!

I just have to end by encouraging you to listen to Stuff Mom Never Told You. There is a lot of phenomenal content, you’ll learn something new and feel inspired with every episode.

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: More subtlety is needed

Roughly a week ago I read an article on Jezebel titled “There Is No Such Things as a ‘Pro-Life Feminist.” 

I’m more than willing to admit that I had a slight beef with the title of the article and I had a rough time shaking that impression as I read the article. Truly, I wanted to throw that out there as a disclaimer as I talk about why I have a problem with this idea.

As a self-identified feminist, I have a difficult time with the labels “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” The reason I have difficulty with those labels is because I don’t understand why you can’t be both. To me these labels say that if you respect a woman’s right to choose (read: pro-choice) then you are effectively running around in the streets telling every woman you see that she should immediately get an abortion. On the flip side, if you identify yourself as “pro-life” you completely disregard free choice and the need for some women to get an abortion for a wide variety of reasons. 

Truthfully, I think these labels are much too limiting to people of intelligence (and I do like to count myself among those people). They aren’t subtle enough to convey the feelings many of us have regarding this issue. Yes, I respect the right of everyone to have freedom over their reproductive rights. However, I think it’s more important to focus on teaching everyone about the importance of taking their reproduction into their own hands. Using condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, implants, or whatever. It’s also important for those things to be readily available so that you are less likely to find yourself with an accidental pregnancy that needs to be ended. 

I believe that most people are “pro-life” in some sense. For me, I am happy to be alive! If you do not believe that anyone should have an abortion then you should label yourself “anti-choice” in this argument.