Tag Archives: women

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Leading Lady

What a week it’s been! I was privileged to be the recipient of the “Metromorphosis” Award at work for leading with patience, perseverance, and good humor in the midst of change. Suddenly I find myself being reminded almost daily that I’m the most senior member of the team and it is both gratifying and uncomfortable. I guess you just rub long with these two feelings as well as you can.

The semester ends next week and I am excited to be sharing one of my projects! We are traveling to Utah to visit my family, so next week will probably be another quote and then you’ll get a “real” post.

I’d also like to invite you over to The Relationship Blogger to talk about spoons.

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.