Tag Archives: politics

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.


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


Comic Monday: Faith Not Fear

It’s good to be back on the bandwagon with Comic Monday! This weeks comic is slightly more serious in that it briefly discusses the impending “fiscal cliff.” But hopefully this will help you to cheer up about it a little bit.

The other thing I wanted to address with this comic is the way I look at the world. While my religious upbringing shapes the way I see the world I rarely discuss it on here. I am hesitant to alienate anyone or risk seeming like a complete “nut job.” But the fact of the matter is, Christian religious texts have played a deep role in making me the person I am today. And as I like the person I am today I owe the lessons I learned from these texts a huge debt of gratitude.

And so, without further ado I would like to introduce “Faith Not Fear.”

Shorter Days

Autumn is officially upon us! The leaves are turning brilliant colors, the nursery that is my view has fields full of mums, the presidential election is in full swing, and the days are getting shorter.

I’m not sure which of these last two I have more difficulty with. Election season is negative, messy, and sometimes just downright depressing. In 2008 there was so much hope, why can’t this go around be more like that? Why can’t citizens be excited about the prospect of moving their country forward? Unfortunately, it’s business as usual and that is downright depressing.

And shorter days . . . Even those of you who do not have a history of depression feel the effects of less sunlight upon how you feel. For me, suffering from SAD seems to begin earlier and earlier each year. Why this is, I have no idea. Usually I can deal effectively with my depression by eating healthfully and exercising. Working on projects can be helpful if I can bring myself to actually do it. Poor Paisley is still waiting for school to start, comics are unwritten, and the load of laundry in the dryer is waiting to be put away.

The darker seasons are always harder for me. How do you cope with the difficulties associated with less sunlight and the barrage of negative political campaign ads?

Canning and Feminism

Man, it has been a while since I’ve written anything “for fun.” I recently turned in my last ever undergraduate paper for my Gender Studies degree and I am acclimating to being done with school. It’s a weird sensation and I could probably talk about it for quite some time.

However, today I have something specific that I want to talk about. This has nothing to do with school (although I will mention that I am almost officially graduated!), my new job (again, I will mention that it is going phenomenally well), or how weird I feel that Nathan is starting school on Saturday and I am not.

What I actually want to talk about relates to what I did on August 11th. I spent this particular Saturday in the great north woods of Minnesota with my mom. Some friends of ours were in Canada for a powwow and they generously allowed my mom and I to come out, pick all their ripe green beans, can them, and take them home. I also made my first jar of pickles! (I’ll let you know how they taste after I open the jar, hehe.)

The reason I want to talk about this is because of a conversation we had while we were standing there at the sink. I was rinsing the green beans and my mom was stuffing them in jars, waiting to be processed. I made the comment that canning was such a uniquely womanly thing and I really loved being able to do it with her. My mom responded by saying that this is what she though feminists were really missing out on. As I thought about this, I carefully considered what I would say.  After all, I am a feminist and I am also really enjoying canning with my mom.

Throughout the day up to this point we had been talking about how second wave feminism seemed to be filled with anger toward “the man.” While much of this anger was completely justified the movement also alienated a lot of women who were proud of the work they were doing at home as mothers. In many ways, second wave feminism hurt the very women it sought to help. And while it also did a lot of great things (I really appreciate being able to open my own checking account) it also did some less great things.

My response was that while I agreed with her about what she was saying earlier in the day, I thought that the women’s movement was constantly changing. Today, there are all different types of women speaking their piece about feminism. Part of that is due to the internet where everyone can have their voices heard. Part of that is because many women who many not have been empowered to say anything were empowered because of the women’s movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. And that a huge part of that change is that today, women can identify as feminists and enjoy canning because we realized that feminism is truly about choice. If you feel strongly about staying home and have that ability you should be able to do so. If you feel strongly, or need, to work outside the home you should be able to do so. These choices, and many others, need to be accommodated by society through equality all around. Women who work outside the home receive a child care tax credit. I feel that women who stay home with their children should receive the same tax credit.

These are just examples. To sum it all up, I am grateful that feminism has changed to accommodate the needs of many people and not simply a select group. I know we still have a long way to go but I feel we are making progress in the right direction.

Woman Identified Woman

Several months ago I read The Woman Identified Woman by the Radicalesbians.  You can find the complete text here.  It was written in 1970 by this group Radicalesbians.  We don’t know who specifically wrote it.  A huge part of this is because it was a group effort.  Another part was because many members of the group values their anonymity.

There has been a particular passage from this piece that has been on my mind lately and was really brought into focus when I read this article by Hugo Schwyzer.  Schwyzer is talking about the need for male plus-sized models.  In The Woman Identified Woman the passage I have been thinking about is this,

It should first be understood that lesbianism, like male homosexuality, is a category of behavior possible only in a sexist society characterized by rigid sex roles and dominated by male supremacy. Those sex roles dehumanize women by defining us as a supportive/serving caste in relation to the master caste of men, and emotionally cripple men by demanding that they be alienated from their own bodies and emotions in order to perform their economic/political/military functions effectively.

When we read this in class my comment was that I appreciated that the Radicalesbians had identified that these rigid sex roles hurt men too.  We often talk about how harmful patriarchy is to women but not about how it is harmful to men as well.  The reaction of my instructor was, in essence, why should we care about men?  Why do the men always have to be included?  Can’t we only talk about women for a while?  Men have been dominating for hundreds of years.

I have been considering these questions for the last several months.  Why do the men always have to be included?  Finally I realized that the answer was actually quite simple.  Men need to be included in the “women’s movement” because we are all being hurt by the same things. Patriarchy is great for the head honcho’s out there.  It is basically horrible for everyone else.  Women are not trying to elevate themselves at the expense of men. We are trying to be partners!  But we can’t be partners if we’re not in it together from the beginning.

So, let’s stop contributing to the system that is emotionally crippling men and women.  Let’s stop talking about who has it worse.  We need to work together for a better world.  This isn’t a pissing contest, this is a partnership.