“I’m not going to betray my heart and sacrifice myself on the fires of your expectation.” –C. Ara Campbell
Photo by Natalie Grono
“I’m not going to betray my heart and sacrifice myself on the fires of your expectation.” –C. Ara Campbell
Photo by Natalie Grono
[A response to this.]
Yesterday was the “Day Without A Woman” strike. The idea was that women were supposed to abandon their jobs, their families and their household duties for the day in order to protest how we elected a man to President who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and how even in 2017 women are still unequal in this country.
As was the case with the Women’s March in January, most of the people involved in this demonstration are VERY sure why they’re involved. They saw their country elect a man who said he could grab their genitals and get away with that, and it makes them feel unsafe, unrepresented, and just plain mad as hell. From my conversations with my fellow feminists who either supported or participated in this strike/boycott/it seems most of them KNOW that they’re speaking out against very real and lived INEQUALITY. When asked how they’re unequal, they are able to articulate very compelling reasons from their lived experiences of all the little ways every day in which they are marginalized, oppressed, ignored, abused, misrepresented, and devalued by modern society. So for once men have to pick up the slack for women instead of the other way around.
The organizers of this protest had concise, consistent, and articulate messages about what they aimed to accomplish yesterday and their goals for the future. Those goals are very connected to women’s issue’s because women’s rights are human rights.
The official unity principals, which serve as the foundation for yesterday’s strike, include a women’s right to access reproductive health care and have her and her doctor make decisions, not conservative asshats with a blog, LGBTQIA rights, immigrant and refugee rights, and environmental health. It’s clear why these issues were included in the Day Without Women platform because women are affected by every single one of these issues every.single.day.
A few thoughts on today:
Women do most of the unpaid work in this country, whether that’s raising families or caring for their aging Baby Boomer parents, and are expected to do that work with very little support from their male partners WHILE ALSO WORKING A FULL-TIME JOB. Because men have the option to opt-out of this work because they know the women in their lives will pick up the slack, ensuring their lives will continue on basically as normal for the most part. When you get the feminist mom demographic to go on strike, you really are grinding the social engine to a halt because feminist moms are raising their children, participating in activism, carrying the loads for their families, and working outside of the home, and boy howdy, do they know how to organize and get shit done.
Days like yesterday make me even more thankful for my husband, who grew up in a generation and religion steeped in patriarchal control and he still rejected gender roles and has chosen to be an egalitarian partner and committed father with great enthusiasm. My husband can’t even say the word “feminist” without feeling so grateful that he has was raised by a strong woman, was taught how to respect women by his father, is the brother to some strong-ass women, is married to a tough-as-nails woman, is raising two daughters to be strong women, and raising two sons to reject patriarchal control and respect the hell out of women.
When I asked him what he was doing to commemorate “A Day Without Women,” he told me he was going to wear red to work, support the women in his office who would like to participate in the action, and donate to causes that directly impact the lives of women. He’s far too much of a grown, mature, adult man, to denigrate women, to mock their protests for more rights, and not support every woman’s effort to gain more equality. And thank God for that.
My recommendation to any young woman discerning marriage: ask your prospective husband how he feels about modern feminism. If he laughs, RUN FOR THE HILLS. The last thing you want is to be married to a misogynist who expects you do all the emotional labor in your family, raise your children with little to no support, while he reaps all the benefits of your hard work and never has to lift a finger. Praise Jesus.
Fortunately in the education system, mature feminist Baby Boomers make up a significant percentage of the staff at many public schools, particularly on the east coast. That’s why some of the biggest school systems in America shut down yesterday to accommodate the hundreds of feminists who value their equality and know that fighting for their rights means they are fighting for the rights of their students as well. Again, women’s rights are human rights.
Unfortunately because of lazy and sexist men and their harmful, non-family oriented policies, thousands of working mothers, many of them low income, will be forced to call out of work or shell out money for childcare. The women who would have liked to participate in yesterday’s events and who couldn’t afford to take part in them, will be the ones who pay the price, because men sure as hell won’t. The Patriarchy will keep humming along as normal, oppressing our nation’s women by enacting laws that take away women’s reproductive rights, marginalizing the already oppressed, taking away the rights of trans women to use the bathroom, paying women of color even less than they pay white women, refusing asylum to refugee women, failing to protect women who are currently experiencing domestic or sexual violence, manspreading and mansplaining, while misogynist, conservative men sit in their Ivory towers looking down at women complaining for not using their inside voices like the nice ladies to. As usual.
Many articles have been written over the past week explaining what men can do to support yesterday’s strike. As it turns out there was and is a lot they could/can do. They can pick up the slack with childcare. They can support the women in their office if management tries to punish them for their participation. They can march with them and provide security against the men who wish to enact violence to them. If they’re attorneys, they can provide their legal services for free to those women who were arrested for protesting. They can teach their sons and daughters about consent. They can not grab the genitals of other women just because president trump bragged about it. They can speak out whenever a sexist joke or story is told. They can listen to their wives when they tell them about their experiences with inequality AND BELIEVE THEM even if they have never experienced it themselves. These can and should be doing these things today and every day. Sadly, a depressingly low number of men will not do any of these things even though patriarchy hurts them as well. Even sadder, is when women denigrate the work of other women by criticizing their tone or tactics, etc. because women are the gatekeepers of patriarchy and the only real way to have power as a women is through soft power.
Mothers should be supported in self-care and filling up their own well so that they can continue to care for their families. This is called maternal feminism. If that means leaving their family for a whole day as a political statement, what a wonderful role model she is to her children in standing up for her rights. Workers usually go on strike because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that their employer is oppressing them. If you’re going on strike from your family, is that because your children and husband are oppressing you? PROBABLY. Why isn’t your husband supporting you more? Why are your children expecting you to do everything for them? Why isn’t every member of your household responsible for the upkeep of that household? Why isn’t your partner being a better parent to your shared children?
I’m so glad that my husband isn’t a Matt Walsh type. It makes me feel pangs of by-proxy-embarrassment for his wife for allowing their children and herself to be disrespected in this way.
What can a husband do for a wife who wants to go on strike from the family? PICK UP THE FREAKING SLACK. He can show that he is committed to being a better partner by being a leader in changing his actions to be more respectful, accommodating, and supportive of his wife. He can be a man, in other words.
Women need to absolutely and 100% protest for equal rights because they still do not have equal rights.
Feminism is the only thing that has ever offered help. This, perhaps more than any other reason, is why everyone should take feminism seriously. Especially today and every day thereafter until there is gender equality for every woman and girl.
Feminist are out there fighting for everyone’s equality. Please join us.
Trigger Warning: Mentions of Sexual Assault and Perpetrators of Sexual Assault
Recently I met with the best breast reconstruction plastic surgeon in Salt Lake City, Utah to discuss a breast reduction. She specializes in breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, so it’s pretty safe to say she knows boobs.
I have been contemplating a breast reduction for at least 10 years. I’ve always been well-endowed in the chestal region, and everyone assured me that after I stopped nursing babies, they would deflate like a balloon and I would be left with two wrinkled raisins on my chest. Only that didn’t happen. Like about a 1/3rd of all mothers, my breasts have only gotten larger as I’ve had more children. What started out as a 34 D in my first pregnancy has become a 34 FF. Yep, I just dropped my numbers on y’all.
My sister had a breast reduction the summer before her senior year in High School (sorely needed) and wasn’t able to exclusively nurse her babies because of it. Because of her experience I wanted to wait until I was completely done having children and done nursing them before I pursued this option. Since the hubs had a vasectomy and we have 4 little offspring ruling our lives, it’s safe to say this womb is now closed. The milk factories have shut down. It’s time to reduce the number.
The reasons why I would like a breast reduction are:
However, when my surgeon submitted the pre-authorization to my insurance it took them 3 weeks to get around to telling me that their doctor , who has no specialty in this area, and who is also a man who doesn’t have to deal with breasts, decided my surgery wasn’t medically necessary.
Good for you. I’m so glad a man with no expertise who gets paid a lot of money to deny claims has decided whether my quality of life is worth paying for. I’m glad he decided that the immense back/shoulder/neck pain I feel every day isn’t worth solving.
In 2011 the hubs had a bone impingement in his right hip. He wasn’t in excruciating pain all the time, but it was uncomfortable. The square joint was causing tears in his labrum and severely lessening his flexibility in his joint. The insurance didn’t even think twice about covering that surgery or his 6 weeks of physical therapy. It would have worsened and he would have had to have it addressed sooner or later, but it wasn’t a surgery he had been contemplating for over 10 years. No one ever stopped in the street to catcall him over his square hip joints. He didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on comfortable pants. No one assumed he was a slut because of his square joints.
BUT I guess when it comes to a man’s comfort, well the insurance will just bend over backwards to make sure that’s taken care of. We can’t have a man suffer, while women are just expected to suffer. I mean, we push babies out of us sometimes with little to no medication, so what’s constant neck and shoulder pain for a woman? Nothing.
However, I’m not going down without a fight. I’ve already contacted the necessary doctors who are going to do their part in appealing this decision. I’ve already called my insurance and wrung ever little bit of information out of them that I can. I know my rights and they are hoping that I don’t and that I won’t raise a fuss. They don’t know me at all. They will rue the day a man with no expertise decided my breasts weren’t uncomfortable enough for me to live with a little less of.
Thing is, I pay over $500 a month for the privilege of having this insurance. Shouldn’t I get something out of it? Shouldn’t I say if this is bothering me my word should be good enough? Especially when uneducated people are making medical decisions for someone like me who deals with this every day.
I will have this surgery. I will get out of pain. And no one is going to stop me.
They will rue the day.
They don’t know ’bout me.
I will not go gentle into this good night.
Eff the Patriachy that has men making medical decisions for women. Eff it.
If a man’s testicles hung down to his knees, the insurance would approve in a heartbeat to get that taken care of. Why is it any different for a woman?
Because misogyny in the Health Care System.
Brace yourselves for a rant.
I’m really tired of being accused of being a lazy mother because I medicate my children who have ADHD. I’m really tired of being told I just don’t want to deal with them, so I choose to drug them.
I’m sorry, but no. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a real thing and it’s not always solved with some extra playtime. It is a real psychiatric disorder of the neutrodevelopmental type and is recognized by the DSM-IV. Two of my children have been tested and observed extensively and they are in the clinical range. Their behavior and symptoms are not typical for their age group. Their parents, teachers, and doctor didn’t make up this disorder just because we like drugging children into mindless drooling drones.
Trust me, I wasn’t real thrilled with the thought of my daughter going on medication when she was first diagnosed with ADHD 7 years ago. I was in deep denial. I did not see the behaviors her teacher saw because, her being my first child, her behaviors were normal to me. I thought this was how all six year olds acted. I thought all six year olds could only do their homework for a few minutes at a time before they needed to go run around. I thought all six year olds stole items with little or no value because of impulse control problems. I thought all six year olds lost interest in an activity within minutes. I thought all six year olds had trouble concentrating, daydreamed, were excessively concerned with what others were doing, and had trouble listening and remembering what they were told. I excused her behavior with saying her beloved grandmother just died and so this is why she was distracted in school. I excused it by saying I was pregnant and there many changes in the household with a new baby coming and this is why she acted antsy. It wasn’t until her teacher told me that she missed 80% of what went on in class each day before I got out of my denial and allowed her to be tested for ADHD. And it was even harder to accept that my child was two standard deviations from the typical behavior of six year olds.
Being committed and concerned parents, her father and I immediately scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician. She had us do additional testing just to make sure. That test also came back with her showing signs in the clinical range. She prescribed her a very low dose of an ADHD medicine and waited to see results. We barely saw any and I doubted that my child had what everyone said she had. Luckily for me at the time I worked with a lot of therapists and child psychologists and I sought their opinions. They pointed me toward a different medication, that is not a stimulant and not addictive, to see if that worked better. She was seven years old and deep into 2nd grade before she finally got on the right medication and her entire world (and our entire world) changed. I’m sure her 2nd grade teacher can tell you the exact day she started medication because she went from a child who literally could not sit down in her chair, so her teacher put her in a spot in the classroom where she could stand beside her desk, to a child her could sit for longer periods of time and concentrate.
Do you know what ADHD did to my child in the meantime before we got the right medication figured out? It destroyed her self-esteem. Because she could not focus and concentrate she was way behind her peers in their knowledge. She could barely read a few sight words at the end of 1st grade. She thought she was dumb. Do you know what it’s like to have your 7 year old daughter feel so dumb and worthless she threatens to kill herself? I was lucky I knew therapists and I was able to get her treatment with therapists who taught her behavioral techniques that would help her concentrate and who also helped build her self-esteem. We were lucky to move to a school that had a phenomenal special education teacher who fought for her, with us, to get her into some resource classes so she could catch up with the kids in her grade.
And finally in 7th grade my precious daughter is finally on grade level for reading and I consider it a miracle. I thank my God above that there is a medication out there that helps her focus and concentrate. She is old enough to know the difference between the days she doesn’t take the medication and she prefers to take it because she knows school is easier to deal with when she does. And she is thriving in Junior High in a way I never dreamed possible. She has wonderful grades and has even been on the Honor Roll. She has taken great strides to become more independent and responsible and she is doing so well. Me withholding medication from my daughter for a real psychiatric disorder would be as dumb as my parents withholding asthma medication from me as a child just because they didn’t want to “over medicate their child.” I don’t think the strides she has made would have been possible without the help of her medication.
I don’t know why we as a society treat illnesses of the brain as imaginary and it’s shameful to treat them when we don’t do that for any other part of the body. If my child had diabetes there is no question that she would be given insulin. If she had asthma like me, there is no way I would deprive her of a rescue inhaler. All my wishing away her ADHD didn’t work and the strides she has made in the last 7 years are because her medication suppresses her ADHD symptoms and allows her to learn.
I’m not saying every child with ADHD needs to be medicated. I’m just say my kids do and I refuse to be ashamed because of it. So, those of you who think you know better than me, the woman who gave birth to my daughter and my son with ADHD; who think they know more than their father who has devoted his life to raising these children; who think you know better than the doctor who has treated them since the first days of their lives; who think you know better than the child psychologists I took my daughter to to learn behavioral techniques to help her cope, I’m here to say, you think you know better BUT YOU DON’T. When it comes to my children and their medication this is a MYOB issue. I have dealt with this for almost a decade. I have spent countless hours reading research and books. I have talked to many therapists. And you? You read ONE article and you think you know more than me about ADHD? Laughable. Keep your uniformed opinions to yourself.
To learn what it’s like to be in the mind of a person with ADHD, read this.
I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the song “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen because it encourages rebellion and “anti-obedience.” The woman in the movie who sings it, Elsa, has the power to make it snow and turn things to ice. Instead of teaching her to control this, her parents lock her in a room and allow her no contact with her beloved sister. They tell her to conceal her feelings and to not feel them at all. The song is about her breaking free of that. I feel that some things are supposed to be rebelled against, unless locking children in rooms forever and not allowing them contact with the outside world is now considered a normal parenting decision. Not all rules are good just because they are rules and some rules need to be broken. Elsa learned to control her powers through love instead of suppressing her emotions. Concealing and not feeling your feelings only lends to emotional stuntedness. Obedience for obedience sake is not a virtue.
I think that one of the reasons why this song is so popular and so many covers of this song have been done (This, this, and this being my favorites) is because the theme resonates with so many people. Whether it’s letting go of the past, insecurities, abuse, or the expectations our culture places on all of us, there is something in this song that speaks to all of us who have had to let something go. I think all of us have things that hold us back that can make us less than who we could be. Sometimes the best thing to do with that baggage is to let it go and not let it control us anymore. This is what the song means. Sometimes rebellion and not being obedient are crucial to our emotional well-being and growing into the person we were meant to be.
I leave you with this because I’m a huge Idina Menzel fan. She is the one true Elphaba and the voice of Elsa in Frozen.
I’m really, really tired of the fact that being called a girl or a woman is the worst insult you can throw at a boy or a man. There is nothing shameful about being a girl and a woman, so why is it so insulting to be called one?
I was thinking about this recently when I was watching “The Sandlot” with my kids. I triple love that movie and part of it was filmed in my hometown. I’ve loved that movie for 20 years, but there is one part that has always bothered me. When Ham is trading insults back and forth with the rival baseball team his penultimate insult is to tell the other player that, “you play ball like a girl!” Everyone is shocked! How dare he go there? THAT WAS THE WORST DIS IN THE HISTORY OF TIME!!!
What does that even mean? This movie is set in the 1950s during a time where America had a professional girl’s baseball team. Shouldn’t playing ball like a girl be a compliment since back then there were professional female ball players and they were just kids in a sandlot?
There is a company in Salt Lake called Pick n’ Pull and they have rather annoying radio commercials. In one of their commercials the two guys in the ad are arguing over telling each other’s secrets. One of them shouts out at the end the other guy used to ride a girl’s bicycle that was pink. So what? What about him riding a “girl’s” bicycle as a child should be embarrassing or shaming? He got to ride a bike as a child. Congratulations, you’re richer than 90% of the world’s population.
Speaking of bikes, my son rode his sister’s bike to school the 2nd day of school because his scooter is broken and he didn’t want to walk. He was mercilessly teased on the way home. He came home bawling his face off because people were so mean to him about riding a “girl’s” bike. My daughter’s bike is black and just has a tiny butterfly sticker on it. Why the hell does it matter so much what bike he rode to school? Why is supposed to be so humiliating for a boy to ride or have anything remotely feminine? The sickening thing was that the child who teased him the most was a girl. It makes me sad that at a young age she is internalized the message that being a girl is wrong and shameful and she should attempt to humiliate any boy who does anything remotely feminine. It makes me so angry.
I’m still trying to figure out what “like a girl” even means! One time this kid told me I ran like a girl. My response? “Good because I AM a girl, dumbass.” Why was this kid trying to insult me by saying that something I was doing was feminine? What is so wrong with being feminine? What is wrong with being a girl? What is wrong with being a woman?
So, dear culture at large: stop trying to insult boys and men by saying they are girls. It’s not an insult to be a girl. Stop calling them names like the p-word that rhymes with wussy and all the other “delightful” euphemisms for female reproductive parts. There is NOTHING wrong with being a girl. There is nothing wrong with being feminine. There is nothing weak about being a girl. There is nothing shameful about being a girl. There is nothing wrong with having a vagina and the ability to bring forth life. That, my dear, is the very essence of strength. (Pop 4 kids out of your reproductive parts and we’ll talk about whether you can use the p-word as another word for being weak, bucko).
So boys and men, next time you’re insulted by being called a girl or a woman, think about why. Think about it. Sit with it for a minute. Is it because our culture has sold you the lie that it is shameful to be feminine? That it is shameful to be a woman? The culture is wrong. The culture is misogynistic and hates women, otherwise being called one wouldn’t be such an insult to you. Just like being a more masculine woman is not insulting. One gender is not better than the other (I’m totally aware of intersexed and transsexual people, but I’m talking generally here and I could write a whole other post about why transwomen are more likely to be killed and/or hurt because of transitioning to a female).
Next time someone tries to insult you by saying you’re “like a girl” in some respect, turn around and say “thank you!’ Because there it nothing wrong with being a girl. Nothing. And I refuse to let my children grow up in a world where being half the population is considered an insult.