In Honor of Father’s Day

My Dad, Me (baby on the right), and my cousin Krista
What Is A Dad?

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail… –Unknown

Thank you, Dad, for coming to every piano recital, choir concert, and Awards program, even though you would have rather been at home watching the game. Thank you for getting up early and going to work each day to support our family, even when we were ungrateful. Thank you for your steadfastness and example. Thank you for always being proud of me. Thank you for participating in things you didn’t always understand, but were important to us. Thank you for never acting like you owned me and always encouraging me to be my own person. Thank you for accepting me for the person I am. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for treating my husband like your son. Thank you for being a WONDERFUL grandpa. My children adore you. Thank you for being the kind, gentle, decent man you are. I’m proud to be your daughter.

I love you, Dadoo! Happy Father’s Day!

Why I AM a Feminist

This post is a long time in coming. I started it on March 3, 2010 and then abandoned it when I felt like I couldn’t accurately convey my thoughts and feelings on the subject. I’ve grown a lot in the past 15 months and thought maybe I should tackle this subject again.
This is how the original post started:

Recently the notorious blogger cjane wrote a post about why she is NOT a feminist. If you’re scared of self-identifying as a feminist, girl, that’s fine by me. But what seriously had me snorting Mountain Dew out of my nose is when she said that equality has never done a thing for her.

Here is a list of reasons why I’m a feminist:
The End. That’s about how far I got. Not that inspired.
Recently I was featured on my favorite blog where I was asked what feminism means to me. Simply put: Feminism is the radical notion that women are people too (famously said by Gloria Steinem).
I know it’s hard to comprehend for women in the 21st century affluent America to realize that at one time, women were chattel, women were property, WOMEN WERE NOT PEOPLE! You were owned by your father and then your husband and they could use and abuse you and it was legal and culturally sanctioned. Even in my own mother’s lifetime, she was not allowed to rent an apartment or have a credit card or have a checking account solely in her name. She either had to have a father or husband attached to those things. And she was only 33 years older than me.
What’s incredibly sad to me about cjane’s article is that it is written by a privileged woman living a privileged life. It’s real easy to say equality never did a thing for you when you live in an affluent country, where your immediate person is not in constant danger, and all your needs are met. Try being a woman in the DR Congo where 1,000 women are raped a day as a weapon of war. Not just raped, but gang-raped, tortured, killed, for their gender. I bet having some equality in your life would be a lot different if that were your every day reality.
So, when I think of my feminist sheroes like Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, I want to weep in gratitude. If you have not seen the movie, “Iron Jawed Angels,” run, don’t walk, to the video store (or whatever the 21st century equivalent to that is). Paul and Burns agitated for women’s rights in the early part of the 20th century and were jailed for months because of it. They protested in front of Woodrow Wilson’s white house for the right to vote (a perfectly accepted and celebrated American past time) and were put in jail for months where they were tortured, beaten, alternately starved then force fed rotten food, etc. For having the audacity to demand their American rights as a human being!
This was reaffirmed to me recently when I attended the American Woman exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. When we got to the Suffragette room, I was literally brought to tears. Those women worked tirelessly, suffered great indignities, so that I could walk into a voting booth and not be hassled. That I could perform the most basic function as an American citizen. Astounding.
As I said in the fMh post, I think of myself as a human being first and a woman second. As a human being I am entitled to the same rights and opportunities as every other human being. That means I should not be told to shut up and get in the kitchen because I’m a woman. Or I can’t handle a position of authority because I’m a woman. Or that I can’t sell a computer to a customer because as a woman I’m less credible than a man. All of these things have been said to me. My genitalia does not define who I am as a person or my capabilities and talents as as a human being.
It’s funny because recently a very good friend had the epiphany that she was a feminist because of me. It was because she was always told that feminists were man-hating family destroying lesbians. Not true.
Feminism does not mean that I hate men.
I love men. Well, let me qualify that – I love decent men that treat everyone with respect.
Feminism does not mean I’m out to destroy the family.
Family is the basic unit of society. Family means everything to me. I live for my family. I’ve dedicated my life to building families. Being an equal in my marriage and a co-head of my family only strengthens it as it shows an example to my children that, again, women are people too.
Feminism does not mean that I think men are inconsequential and I want an all female society.
On the contrary, I gave a talk in church last Father’s day on the importance of fathers. Men are very important. My life has been greatly blessed by the wonderful men who have impacted it. I regularly gush over the hubs, the best man that has ever lived. And anyone who knows me know that I’ve been boy crazy since 2 years old. I would not be able to survive an all female society.
Feminism does not mean I want to burn my bra.
Actually I pay big money for good support for my, ah, blessings.
So, why am I a Feminist?
-Because 1 out of 4 women is still sexually abused/raped/molested etc. in her lifetime.
-Because I live in a culture that continually tries to sell me the lie that my only worth is in my body.
-Because people are still killed all over this world for being women.
-Because women are not allowed to drive in Saudia Arabia.
-Because the number one cause of death for pregnant women is being killed by their significant other.
-Because women still make 80 cents on the dollar to men.
-Because I am my own person, not my husband’s property.
-Because women and girls are still under-represented in Congress, cartoons, books, super heroes, movies, etc.
-Because I don’t believe in the Cult of True Womanhood.
-Because some people still believe that because I am a woman my only appropriate life course is that of servitude to my children or a man.
-Because I want my daughter to know she is so much more than what she is told she should be. She is smart and strong and capable and can become anything she wants in this life, whether that’s a stay-at-home Mom or a doctor, and they’ll both be fine with me as long as SHE chooses her own life course.
-Because I am a child of God.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the post that took me 15 months to write.

Book Review: "A thousand splendid suns"

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wanted to read this after “The Kite Runner” because it was such an amazing book. I liked this one better because it gave me the female perspective of living in Afghanistan, especially under the Taliban. People, this is why we need feminism. It’s unthinkable to me that I would be worth less than a cow, or other farm animal. Women in some countries are still chattel, owned by their father’s first and their husband’s after that. The abuse was hard to read, but so real. I loved the indomitable spirit of the two women in this book. It was definitely a book that I couldn’t put down and am a better person for reading.

Run for Congo

I am doing this 5K on Saturday.

I’m really excited for it because helping women in the Congo has been a cause I’ve supported for a while. I can’t believe the horrific human atrocities that have gone on and continue to go on there. If you think Rwanda was awful, the Congo is worse.
My favorite quote from Martin Luther King, Jr is, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to just every where.” How can I sit in my cushy house, typing this on my laptop, with no threat to my person or family, having every type of food available to me at a moment’s notice, when there are women in the Congo who are being routinely gang-raped as a weapon of war? Fourty-eight women an hour are raped in the Congo. 48! How are these women’s lives less valuable than mine by simple virtue of our location and where we were born?
Eve Ensler wrote a haunting piece about her multiple trips to the Congo in Glamour Magazine a few years ago. It was so sick, and disturbing that to remember it would bring me nightmares. Literally. I was reading the magazine, read her account, and then threw the magazine across the room. It was more horrifying than any horror movie any sicko in Hollywood could ever make.
So though it isn’t much, I’m going to run for these brave women, these survivors, these refugees now living in Utah. The run is cool because you don’t have to pay money to register, they just ask you to solicit donations or make a donation when you get there. I haven’t solicited donations because I don’t want to annoy people. But if this is a cause you support and would like to lend a foot or a dollar to, either come on down to Wheeler Farm if you’re in Utah or get in touch with me. I will making my own donation, but welcome all others.
May those of you reading this never have to experience this in your lifetimes:

God bless the women of the Congo.