Tag Archives: women

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.

That Girl is Cray?

This morning as I was getting ready for my day I had the radio on in the bathroom.  Our bathroom radio is always on 101.3 KDWB.  I’m not crazy about it but I’m also to lazy to change the station.  And once in a while they actually say funny things on the morning show.

This morning I became aware of a new segment on the show called “That Girl is Cray” (cray is short for crazy, I think it sounds kind of dumb.)  In this segment they share news stories in which a woman does something crazy and at the end of the news story everyone says “that girl is craaaay.”  Before I start in on my rant, I will say that the stuff they said women did seemed to be truly strange.

However, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not this segment could be an equal opportunity segment.  Surely they could report on guys doing crazy things too?  Oh wait… they already do.  Except this segment is called “You can’t make this stuff up,” where they share news stories of men (okay, usually men) doing weird things.  And at the end everyone just laughs, rather than publicly shaming the person (trying to sound like black people at the same time).

I think it’s time for another break from the Dave Ryan in the Morning Show.

Do we listen to women?

I recently had an experience which I feel epitomizes an epidemic in the United States.  This epidemic is not bacterial and it can’t be treated with medical means.

This epidemic is the disease of disrespect.  Specifically, it if the disrespect of women and their intellect. This epidemic insults the intelligence of every woman.  It makes it impossible for the culture at large to listen to us.  Think I’m being a little over the top?  Where are the women who should be on panels about contraception?  Where are the women who should be in Congress?  Where are the women who should be on our city councils?  Where are the women in our society?

Anyway, to this experience that I had last Monday.  My only on campus class in GNDR 365: “Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality.”  It’s being taught by Pattrice Jones, who is a famous ecofeminist and gay rights activist.

Last Monday, prior to class there was some kind of seminar going on in the usual classroom.  At about 5:50 (class starts at 6:00) Pattrice went in and asked if they were almost done because her class started in a few minutes. Luckily they were just wrapping up and the students filtered out.  The male instructor of this seminar asked her what the class was.  She replied with, “Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality.”

“Oh, what kind of class is that?  Psychology?” said the male instructor

“No, Gender Studies,” said Pattrice.

“So, Psychology?”

“No, Gender Studies,”

“Don’t you mean Psychology?”

“No, I mean Gender Studies.”

“Oh, there’s a Gender Studies department at Metro?”

“Yes, there is.  And I teach in it.”

“Well, I guess that’s why you kept repeating yourself, huh?”

“Yeah, that would be why.”

“Oh, well I just started in January and I’m still learning about the college.”

At this point, Pattrice just glowered at him and he made a rapid exit from the classroom.

Unfortunately I was unable to think about this more because class started and it was time to talk about trans individuals.  But the more I  thought about what I had witnessed, the more troubled I became.  So now I sit here a week later (and not going to class because it’s spring break) thinking about my own behavior and how others perceive me.  Am I as straight forward and plain spoken as Pattrice?  Maybe, I don’t know.  Have I ever had similar experiences?  Absolutely.

In conclusion, as you go out into this brand new week I would encourage you to listen to the women in your lives. You may be close to this person or you may just encounter a woman in the street. Either way, if you’re talking to her make sure to listen.

Plan B

Even since Plan B was introduced, I’ve been interested in it.  Over the last several week as it’s attempted to make it’s journey to an over-the-counter non-prescription medication I’ve been trying to keep an eye on it.  I say trying because my brain has not been wanting to cooperate very much.  I must say, it’s very annoying.

I have to say, in the years since I’ve been aware of the “morning after” pill the arguments against it have seriously frustrated me.  Some, such as Janet Woodcock, have told us that Plan B would cause “extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an ‘urban legend’ status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.”(emphasis mine.)

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not really aware of many teens forming sex-based cults surrounding this medication.  And if I’m really being honest, for me being a teen centered mostly around sex (and not being able to want it.)  So I’m not sure what Woodcock was imagining with these cults.  Satanic worship, perhaps?  Tribal dances where a package of Plan B is elevated to a position of honor? Because the lives of a lot of people I knew revolved around sex in some way, shape, or form.

This morning when I was reading Time magazine while eating breakfast I came across this little blurb.

“A policy change that would expand access to emergency contraception has hit a snag. In a surprise move, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overrode the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation to remove age restrictions on the morning-after pill Plan B Once-Step, which would have made the drug available without a prescription to all women. (Those under 17  currently need a perscription.) In rejecting the advice, HHS cited concerns about putting weighty reproductive decisions in the hands of girls as young as 11.” (emphasis mine.)

I have to admit, this is not a surprise move to me.  Concerns about young women becoming “promiscuous” have been touted since before Plan B was available.  I would even feel confident in saying that almost every reproductive control technology that has ever been developed has come with the “concern” that young women will sleep around.  While completely ignoring the fact that people have sex and it would be wise to make it safe for everyone involved.

What was honestly disappointing to me was the fact that HHS said that they didn’t want to approve it for non-prescription status because they were afraid 11-year-old girls were going to use it accidentally.  That they were simply going to pick it up off the shelf and possibly start a sex-based cult.  Indeed, this argument completely ignores the fact that 15% of rape & sexual assault victims are under 12.  And while those children probably have someone to talk to, obtaining emergency contraceptive should not be a problem.

In short, the fact that young women (who seem to be getting younger every day) are under so much scrutiny is ridiculous. When are we going to live in a society where women are trusted to make their own decisions?  When are they going to be supported in those decisions?


A smattering of thoughts

I always spend my time in between blog entries deciding what to write about next.  Comments have a lot to do with it, daily life, current events, and just randomness spewing out into the atmosphere influence what I have to say.

But today, there’s just so much randomness that I’m just going to throw it all (okay, most of it) out there and try to make some sense of it.  So I will start with a disclaimer.  This may not make a lot of sense, and you may wonder why you’re reading this.  If this sounds like a waste of your time, stop now.  If not, please feel free to continue :).

The first day of class registration was today

First, today was the first day of course registration at my place of employment.  It’s been a pretty exciting day, as students realize that they need to start thinking about spring semester classes in January.  Luckily, all the students have been really awesome and understanding that if they’re not sure what classes they should sign up for they’ll have to wait about a week and a half to talk to a counselor.  It’s also a not so gentle nudge to me that I should have registered for my own classes on Friday.  Oh well, I’m guessing “Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality” isn’t going to fill up super fast. Although. . . there are only 11 seats left.  I really need to get on registering!

**Side note: I stopped writing to register.  Registration success!**

    I’ve also been thinking a lot about how girls and women are friends with each other.  Part of the reasoning behind that is because Paisley is starting to talk about her friends in her diary.  At first she was mentioning Shana a lot because Shana is her close friend on the volleyball team.  So I’ve been thinking a lot about that dynamic.  More specifically, how did me and my friends interact in high school?  For me, 9th grade was a really stressful time.  My dad just started a new job about three years of unemployment.  My mom developed a very serious case of cellulitis in her leg and was unable to walk for months.  As the oldest daughter, I felt like a lot fell to me.  I depended on my friends a lot.  Really, I even depended a lot on other girls in my grade to not make fun of me to much.  Unfortunately,going to the bathroom during lunch earned me a lot of teasing (why?).  “I can hear you pee” was a regular taunt for my lunch hour.  For whatever reason, I thought that was the worst thing ever.  The bathroom is supposed to be a safe space, right?  One thing that solidified my thoughts about female friends was this blog entry about the space between being enemies and friends.

The third big thought that has consumed me of the last few days has simply been “Man, I am so tired.”  I know, nothing profound.  I’m simply tired of school, my job, being a housewife, being a responsible adult, being ambitious, and the list goes on. 

So yes, nothing profound.  I just wanted to throw it out there.  Hopefully some of it resonated with you.