feminism, LGBTQ, Uncategorized

No More!

I’ve seen a lot of very well-intentioned people asking for those of us on the losing side to be calm and rational and kind. I want to take a moment to ask you to please stop.
After listening to a year of a hates spat in our ears we are now faced with the bleakest future in generations.

People are afraid with good reason.

Some are facing mandatory registration for their religious affiliation, loss of their marriage rights, loss of a dream of being able to have children/adopt, loss of identity. 

People you know and care about are in eminent danger.

The building is on fire! You cannot just love the fire away!

All of our hope for future has been snatched away and we are under absolutely no obligation to be nice.

Racists, sexists, transphobes, fatphobes, homophopes, ablist, xenophobes around us are emboldened to express their vile inhuman beliefs because now they are validated by the powers that be. People are going back into the closet and de-transitioning for the sake of their safety.

We do not need to be tone policed in this hour of crisis.

Positive thinking isn’t going to solve this situation. 

We do not need to turn the other cheek anymore. We need to stand side by side with all the people facing oppression under this new regime and say “NO MORE!”

NO MORE!


We need to roll up our sleeves and dive into the fray.

We need to scream out for those who cannot do so and if that scream is a snarl so be it!

If we sit back politely the tank treads will roll over our brethren and their blood will be on our hands, yours and mine, and I for one will not accept that stain on my soul.


For my part I am headed north, not simply to escape but with the determination to create a safe haven for those who may very well need it.


A white supremacist is heading into the white house. We cannot possibly overreact in this situation and anxiety quite often manifests as rage.

Please do not attempt to take people’s anger for you do them a disservice.

Anger is the backbone of healing. It is the motivator than is going make us realize we can’t simply love this situation into control. This is the moment to wake up! Many of us woke up months ago. For us our democracy has now been snatched away twice. 

When everything else has been taken from us please do not also take that one thing that can propel us forward.

In the words of King Arthur as written by William Nicholson

“I command you now all… to FIGHT! Fight like you’ve never fought before. Never Surrender! Never Surrender!”

We need to fight prejudice where we find it. Call it out wherever you are. Start a dialogue that is uncomfortable. Speak up whether it’s in the street or at your work or in a social setting.

This election was lost to the louder lies of hate and bigotry. Now is the time we have to speak up and louder than before. Drown out the ignorance around you. Hold people accountable for the unconscionable things they say.

Scream NO!

The road that got us here is paved with our being nice.

 

 

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feminism, Uncategorized

Destroying the Anti-porn Argument

The word feminist is so impossibly loaded for me because it comes with a list of restrictions I cannot possibly meet.

Here’s a few of the things I’ve run into:A good feminist has a career instead of a family or a good feminist stays home with her children or a good feminist nurses in public or a good feminist doesn’t shave or wear make up or have too much sex. She certainly doesn’t watch porn or read romance novels because they emphasize “strong” men and “weak” women and promote “gender norms”. Woman who write such things must then be the ultimate betrayers of our gender.

Oh and lest I forget, she always opens her own doors, doesn’t ask for help, she has to study instead of party, “slay the dragon” instead of aspiring to be “a pretty princess” because she couldn’t possibly do/be both.

I call Bullshit!

There is no good feminist or bad feminist. There’s only feminists and a feminist does whatever the FUCK she wants. Because choice is freedom and it’s not up to me or you to decide how a person should express their freedom.

As a writer of both “pornography” and romantic themes am I harming the movement? It’s a question that haunts me constantly and holds me back from sharing what I’ve crafted. How much sex is too much for the page? When do I cross the boundaries of what is acceptable to remain a “good” feminist? It stalls out my creative process and leaves me stuck holding imaginary conversations where I defend my lifestyle and my work and my motivations.

I shave my legs. Does that mean I don’t really believe in equality? How does my choice to shave or not impact the movement as a whole? Short answer: it doesn’t. The fact that I am making my own choice in the matter after weighing how I feel about the process and the result is extremely important. Literally I do it when I feel like it. My partner doesn’t demand it and I give zero fucks whether my legs meet any standard set by some unscrupulous retailer pedaling wares. I buy men’s razors because they’re cheaper and better and that is that and I really don’t need to be defending it here either but such is life.

I have found over time and experimentation that I care about my appearance even though I’ve been on a beauty media fast for nearly a decade. Putting time into my hair and sometimes makeup makes me feel like I care about myself. It’s the time invested and not so much the result that matters to me. For me that is respecting myself. For someone else the conclusion could be different and that’s also extremely important. Putting time into your appearance does not determine your self worth but I have learned that I personally need to put in that effort to demonstrate to myself by looking at myself in the mirror and embellishing my strong points that I am worthy of looking good.

Allow me some shameless soapboxing here.

This will of course vary from woman to woman because regardless of gender no two people are alike. This variance, just like all diversity of thought, intent etc is what enriches our sex as a whole. In living out our truths, whatever they may be and accepting everyone else’s right to do so, we validate shall I say, even elevate each other.

I know this. I believe this so why is it so different when it comes to pornography?

I would dare to theorize that our attitude toward porn is driven by feelings of jealousy, inadaquacy and therefore sex shaming of other women.

This is why I feel it is waspish and outdated.

The assumption I think, is that all sex work must be exploitation because it boggles the minds of many that such an activity would be entered into willingly. Well that’s just rude. Is there exploitation? Do some women turn to prostitution, porn and stripping for lack of other options? Certainly but in my book that gives us even less right to judge them. If we were willing to listen to sex workers and there are many that are vocal on the subject, their reasons for entering the profession are varied.

Furthermore whether mainstream “good” feminists want to admit it our not exhibitionists exist. That is to say for some people sexual performance comes naturally and may even be a dream come true. We all find fulfillment in different ways and some people are natural born performers in one way or another. Some women genuinely love it. Obviously not everyone does but I’m always shocked when people in my profession love being bank tellers. I find that to be unfathomable madness but I can’t deny it’s true and more power to them.

Why is it different if a woman chooses to put on heels and get down on her knees and suck cock in front of a camera. By saying that the only way for her to get there is force is to undermine her power to choose. It also reinforces the archaic notion that some very basic vanilla sex acts are taboo. I must meet this the way I do all things I find utterly preposterous, with a hearty “Are you fucking kidding me?” followed quickly by a “what fucking year is this anyway?”

Another factor lurking behind all this is the assumption that “good girls” don’t really enjoy sex or watching sex or have any sort of lust at all. Clearly we haven’t come that far from the attitude that a woman should “lie back and think of England.” I suppose a hundred or so years is a blink of an eye in terms of evolution but for those of us ahead of the curve it feels like an age.

At the root of it the attitudes are based on the flawed idea that there is a right way and a wrong way to be a woman and whether you’re a professed feminist or a total misogynist limiting woman’s behavior based on a standard of appropriateness has the same ugly result, shame for the woman in one category and smugness for the woman in the other. I just want to mention that even the woman who fit the “good” category are harmed because they can see how easy it is to fall from grace and are less likely to exercise choices that would banish them from that little box.

All of it sets us at each other’s throats and thus is not helpful to say the least. You could even say that it serves the purposes of people who want to oppress woman, so maybe we should cut it out just out of spite for them. I mean whatever get’s you out of bed in the morning right?

I used to think porn, masturbation etc who wrong and it has taken me a long time to earn my mental freedom and I will goddamned if anyone is going to put me back in the prison. I am not saying that you must enjoy porn or masturbate furiously or make porn in order to be a liberated woman, only that it must be an option for those who want it. I’m not simply satisfied that woman are no longer “treated for the vapours” or lobotomized for having sexuality. I believe we need to remove the sanctimonious puritanism that unknowingly poisons our every action.

In my book “You can suck all the dick you want and still be a feminist, Mary” and enjoy it and be filmed doing and get paid for it etc etc.

Give me orgasm or give me death!

Chanson de Tempête 24/09/2016

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feminism, Uncategorized

Are ya scared? I mean really. Are ya?

So apparently there are still people who have a problem with trans women using the same bathroom as cis women as if a trans woman touching up her make up at the next mirror over from you is a signal of the coming apocalypse or something. I think you can guess what side of the argument I’m on. From all I can tell it’s just a platform for reaffirming hateful stereotypes in the name of fear. It seems to me, parts of the cis population are using it as an opportunity to perpetuate hate while cowering behind their ignorance and claiming victimhood.

Since gender neutral bathrooms have been a thing for at least a decade in other more civilized areas of the globe, I think this so called debate is just another indicator of how backward and ignorant we are but it does provide an excellent excuse to explore something that I’ve turned over and over in my head for a while, the use of the term phobia.

To me a phobia is a fear and I don’t think the things we label as social phobias, ie transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia are really fears at all. I think there must be a different suffix or Latin root that deals with the real feeling behind this king of thinking, so let’s break it down and see.

A little research shows that phobia is an intense often irrational fear, just like I thought. Examples of this include acrophobia, the fear of heights; agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces; and claustrophobia, the fear of small spaces. These are fears. I am so petrified of heights that a two foot stepladder has me convinced I will fall and smash my head open. I’m not afraid of flying so much as I am intensely aware that my ass is suspended tens of thousands of feet in the air. The plane might as well be an illusion for all the comfort it gives me. You know this picture of a  rubiks cube falling away painted on a bathroom floor? Yeah it terrifies me. I’m not sure I could walk into that room even though I know the floor is there and it’s only paint.

Here’s a better example. Think of the Boo Box from the movie Hook. You are crammed into a tiny box into which scorpions are dropped onto your face. Now imaging that the box is suspended a hundred feet in the air and I think it’s probable that most people will identify with at least one of the phobias involved. These are true phobias meaning they stem from a fear and no other emotion but fear.

Now let’s see if my other suspicion is correct and there is a difference between the roots for fear and hate. I have to admit that I did not take Latin in school but this being the internet era it wasn’t hard to find the Latin roots for fear and hate and guess what? They’re different.

Miso is not just a delicious soup. Miso, mis, misa is the root that translates to hate or disgust. An example of this is logomisia, the hatred for specific words. Miso is also where we get words like misanthrope, a person who harbours an intense hatred or mistrust of people. Don’t forget misandry, the hatred of men and misogyny, the hatred of women.

Now let us examine what I consider to be misnomers in common use, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia. Ask yourself does a true fear of homosexuals really exist? Does a homophobe shit his pants in fear when he sees two men kissing? No really does he? or is he filled with disgust? I think if we’re honest we will admit it is the latter.

Are you truly afraid of a trans woman using the same bathroom as you? Remember the bar I’ve set for phobia. Does it send you into a wave of panic so intense that it will leaver you cowering under the sink or are you covering your disgust at someone else with the guise of fear because that is socially acceptable? Again, if we are honest I think we will admit it is disgust and not fear.

If you truly shit a brick when you see someone who does not conform to your understanding of the gender binary then you do have a true phobia and I feel sorry for you. Personally I don’t make a habit of scrutinizing the gender presentation of the people around me or even really acknowledging strangers in general. Maybe this is an area where my social anxiety give me an edge??

I believe what homophobes, xenophobes, transphobes are actually suffering from is misia, an intense hate born of disgust. Can you be afraid of these things? I suppose so. You can be afraid of strangers, homosexuals and trans individuals but I still think behind that fear is hate.

When you act or speak violently on that fear it is definitely motivated by hate. We don’t call these fear crimes. We call them hate crimes and there’s a reason for that. If I suddenly went from fearing tight spaces to setting fire to every cupboard I saw, I think we could easily conclude that I had switched from claustrophobia to claustromisia, or how ever that word would be correctly formed based on the rules of Latin.

Changing what we call these attitudes switches them from socially acceptable to contemptible. It also acknowledges that it is an attitude and not some uncontrollable mental condition. An attitude can be controlled and changed. A phobia makes you a victim. You are not a victim of how someone presents their gender or who someone else shows affection to in public. In fact they are more likely to be victimized by your overwhelming misia but that’s another subject for another day.

Being homomisic or transmisic is not a medical condition born of irrational fear. It is an irrational hatred for things you do not understand and the language we use on the subject is important because it strips away the victim role that people with privilege love to hide behind when they feel threatened by the prospect of equality.

My point is that we should call things what they are and stop giving haters the benefit of the doubt. Face it you’re not afraid for your life when you see two men kissing. You are revolted and it’s not appropriate to call it a fear. Calling these things phobias lets people off the hook, making them out to be terrified little innocents in a world of scary people who are out to get them by exercising their right to live on this planet. How very dare they! Let’s not actively give these assholes comfortable language to hide behind.

I would like to advocate calling people out not as phobes but as misians.

“Hey sounds like you’ve got a bad case of irrational hatred there. You might want to examine your misia. Also take a two looks at your privilege and call me when you’re interested in being a decent human being.”

PS I have attempted to make this as sensitive as possible while making a point. If you feel there are areas that could be improved to handle the subject matter more tactfully I would welcome your feedback. My privilege as a cis woman and my ability to pass in the heterosexual world should not and will not be used as excuses for insensitive language choices or other missteps.

PPS Advice on how to properly replace these phobias with misias would be appreciated. Conjugation isn’t my strong suit in my own language.

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feminism, Uncategorized

Sisterhood Part II: I promise this is the last

******Disclaimer ******

I took so much pleasure in printing this out highlighting it in pink and scribbling “girly”, “immature”, internet babble on it that I can’t even deal right now! If I could have written this all in emogi I would have.

This is a line by line reaction to an article. It is long.

I have copied and pasted Camille Paglia’s article into this document and have attempted to differentiate my comments so they are obvious. This was made difficult by the constant embedded links back to the article. You can check my work by comparing it to the original.

Let’s read and react together. I found it was more fun to do this while listening to a Taylor Swift google play station.

Begin Article

“Girl squads were a hashtag summer craze that may have staying power. Blogs and magazines featured intricate star charts of the constellations of celebrity gal pals clustering around Taylor Swift, Cameron Diaz, Lena Dunham or Tina Fey. [ok if you’re gonna have problem with the feminism bomb that is Tina Fey this isn’t going to go well.]

Names appearing on the shifting roster of girl squads include Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Selena Gomez, Willow Smith, Kendall Jenner, Sofia Richie, Chloe Sevigny and Karlie Kloss. Hot models Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne bob and weave through several groups. Adele joined the club in November when she dined out in New York with Emma Stone and varsity squad player Jennifer Lawrence. [Please tell me you’re not going to find fault with, Jennifer Lawrence, the woman who busted wide open the unequal pay in hollywood issue.]

“Squad” as a pop term emerged from 1990s hip-hop (Hit Squad, Def Squad). It once had a hard, combative street edge, but today it’s gone girly and a bit bourgeois. [Is is bad that it is now more feminine?] Social media are its primary engine. Perhaps the first star to use stylish Instagrams to advertise her tight female alliances was Rihanna, with moody snaps of herself and bestie Melissa Forde out and about in Los Angeles or lolling seaside on Barbados. [is this a bad thing?]

Do girl squads signal the blossoming of an idealistic new feminism, where empowering solidarity will replace mean-girl competitiveness? [foreshadowing?] Hollywood has always shrewdly known that catfighting makes great box office. In classic films such as The Women, All About Eve, The Group and Valley of the Dolls, all-star female casts romped in claws-out bitchfests. That flamboyant, fur-flying formula remains vital today in Bravo TV’s boffo Real Housewives series, with its avid global following. [I agree that this is not a good thing.]

A warmer model of female friendship was embodied in Aaron Spelling’s blockbuster Charlie’s Angels TV show, which was denounced by feminists as a “tits-and-ass” parade but was in fact an effervescent action-adventure showing smart, bold women working side by side in fruitful collaboration. A similar dynamic of affectionate intimacy animated HBO’s Sex and the City, whose four feisty, mutually supportive professional women prefigured today’s fun-loving but rawly ambitious girl squads. [This bodes well. Sex & the City also examined women’s sexuality in new and interesting ways.]

The entertainment industry has seen feminist spurts come and go. Helen Reddy’s 1972 smash hit “I Am Woman” became the worldwide anthem of second-wave feminism. In 1985, Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox did the slamming duet “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.” The Spice Girls encapsulated sex-positive third-wave feminism with their 1997 manifesto Girl Power! Performing at the 2014 Video Music Awards, Beyonce flashed “FEMINIST” in giant letters behind her, but questions were raised about the appropriation of that word by a superstar whose career has always been managed by others, first her parents and now her domineering husband, Jay Z. [ok so her word isn’t good enough for us?]

With gender issues like pay equity for women actors and writers coming increasingly to the fore, girl squads can be seen as a positive step toward expanding female power in Hollywood, where ownership has been overwhelmingly male since the silent film era. For all its dictatorial overcontrol, however, the early studio system also provided paternalistic protection and nurturance for young women under contract. Marilyn Monroe was a tragic victim of the slow breakdown of that system: The studio made her, but in the end it could not save her from callous predators, including the Kennedys. [So things were better when we were more under the thumb of male run studios? I’m confused.]

Young women performers are now at the mercy of a swarming, intrusive paparazzi culture, intensified by the hypersexualization of our flesh-baring fashions. The girl squad phenomenon has certainly been magnified by how isolated and exposed young women feel in negotiating the piranha shoals of the industry. A dramatic example of their vulnerability was the long-lens pap photo of Swift sitting painfully sad and prim on a Virgin Islands taxi boat after her tumultuous 2013 holiday breakup with pop star Harry Styles. [I sure hope we’re not also going to prey on women already encountering people judging their every move.]

Given the professional stakes, girl squads must not slide into a cozy, cliquish retreat from romantic fiascoes or communication problems with men, whom feminist rhetoric too often rashly stereotypes as oafish pigs. [uh oh. We’re not about to engage in feminist rhetoric ourselves are we?] If many women feel lonely or overwhelmed these days, it’s not due to male malice. [really? Not at all? Not ever?] Women have lost the natural solidarity and companionship they enjoyed for thousands of years in the preindustrial agrarian world, where multiple generations chatted through the day as they shared chores, cooking and child care. [ok even if I buy the idea that we were better off so far back in time that it’s impossible to fact check I’m concerned. we’re not going to further damage our solidarity, right?]

In our wide-open modern era of independent careers, girl squads can help women advance if they avoid presenting a silly, regressive public image — as in the tittering, tongues-out mugging of Swift’s bear-hugging posse.[oh shit here we go.] Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props, an exhibitionistic overkill that Lara Marie Schoenhals brilliantly parodied in her scathing viral video “Please Welcome to the Stage.” [Yep sex shaming at it’s best. Thanks for that.]

Girl squads ought to be about mentoring, exchanging advice and experience and launching exciting and innovative joint projects. [ok. so women can only form groups if they are going to use them the way you find productive or relevant to the cause.] Women need to study the immensely productive dynamic of male bonding in history. With their results-oriented teamwork, men largely have escaped the sexual jealousy, emotionalism and spiteful turf wars that sometimes dog women. [woah!! what? WTF? WHAT? Stop being a woman and start being a man? What? The male experience has something to teach us about being a better more productive woman? I can’t…]

If women in Hollywood seek a broad audience, they must aim higher and transcend a narrow gender factionalism that thrives on grievance. Girl squads are only an early learning stage of female development. For women to leave a lasting mark on culture, they need to cut down on the socializing and focus like a laser on their own creative gifts. [Translation: if you want to be good feminists do it the way I say to do it. Forget being yourselves, forget having fun. You don’t get to have fun. You’re a woman. In case you forgot for a second let’s just remind you that you exist only to please other people.]

Camille Paglia, 68, remains one of the world’s leading cultural critics and is a frequent contributor to THR, where she has written about the intersection of pop culture, politics and religion. “Writing about Taylor Swift is a horrific ordeal for me because her twinkly persona is such a scary flashback to the fascist blondes who ruled the social scene during my youth,” she says of analyzing the pop star and her entourage.”

End article.

OK so here is where I can no longer keep my hair on! This entire build up of asking probing questions on whether women behaving as “feminine” women and enjoying themselves is good for the movement is answered with “No you need to be more like men”?

Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? I am filled with so much rage I haven’t been able to think about much else since I read this.

Again I would like to ask “Highly Educated Feminist Lady are you really saying women need to learn how to be better at being women from MEN?” *thumps forehead in manner learned from her father* Are you for real? Is this a cruel joke?

This woman is an educator and this article is making me glad I never took classes on this subject.

Tell me this isn’t so. Someone please make me cup of tea and rock me gently and make it all go away.

This is something I will not accept. ONLY I GET TO DECIDE HOW TO BE A WOMAN. You are not the boss of my underpants. You are not the boss of Taylor Swift’s underpants. Only she gets to decide in what way she contributes to the movement. Call me whatever label you want, I believe we contribute as best we can based on our gifts and talents and god forbid our needs as a person.

Further, as someone who has been involved with theater let me explain the excellent bonding experience of putting on a show with people. All the weeks of work and the pressure of performing perfectly the lines, notes etc that you have learned pay off with a huge euphoria when everything goes right.

That final bow is an amazing feeling. For just one moment even if you have had beefs with a member of the cast, all is forgotten in the thrill of communal and individual achievement.

Theater can transcend gender. The post show high was just as great with male cast members as it was without. Team work is paramount and for just a few moments you’re all part of something special and exciting.

If Taylor Swift wants to share her performance euphoria with her friends that is completely natural. I think bringing her friends up on stage proves she knows all she needs to about bonding.

No only does this article ultimately peddle in the catty female competitiveness the author herself references but I believe at its climax this piece amounts to tone policing. Taylor Swift and co. are not being “the right kind of feminist” for Paglia and she feels they must be corrected.

Let me make this very clear. Tone policing is the same regardless of the source and still hurts “the movement” whether it is said by a man or a woman. Repression is repression.

We need to elevate women who are brave enough to put themselves out in the spotlight, not tear them down. As Camille points out there is plenty of that already.

In summation thank you Camille for pointing out how ugly our internal opinions of other women can be. I have so much work to do myself in this area. I am revitalized and committed to being a more empowering influence on my sisters.

Taylor Swift:

Thank you for being you. We need more of that.

I haven’t always been your biggest fan but I’ve always secretly loved “I knew you were trouble”.

Thank you for writing songs that girls who don’t fit in can relate to.

Thank you for putting your feelings out there for us all to experience with you.

Now I’m gonna go attempt to “shake it off”.

PS And while we’re on the subject why is she the only one who takes shit for writing break up songs when half of songs written fit that mold?

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feminism, Uncategorized

“What happened to sisterhood?”

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I could not find a credit for this but feel it captures the spirit of this very well.

*******Disclaimer*******

This is a first response to Camille Paglia calling Taylor swift a bunch of nasty things. It has been edited to remove any personal attacks on Ms Paglia. If you find any please call me out and I will find a more neutral way to express the sentiment.

I will not quote Camille Paglia because I will not give her words further reach. Suffice to say she had some inflammatory things to say about a woman in the spotlight and until I have had time to read her entire essay and prepare a piece by piece rebuttal, I’m not going to quote her. It’s been touted enough.

I will only say that speaking to my personal experience, words and ideas such as those espoused in her article, focusing on ripping down another woman, are what drives me away from calling myself a feminist.

Begin Rant

We must not sink to the level of insulting each other if we want to accomplish anything. We must not constrain each other if we ever expect to have actual sisterhood. Competing with each other is integral keeping us enslaved. We don’t need jailers if we will just do their work for them. I don’t believe in a male conspiracy. We don’t need one. I believe in that these attitudes are so ingrained and so pervasive in both gender groups that it perpetuates itself. We fuel it with every cruel thing we say. We advance it every time we judge someone and say they’re not our sister for whatever reason. “They don’t know what being a woman is. They’re not a real woman.”

Any time we define a “real woman” we cut away a slice of the female population that doesn’t fit that definition. For example saying “real women have curves” alienates women without curves. Who are we to decide who’s real and who isn’t? Who are we to decide what a “real woman” does with her life or her body or her style of dress? No wonder they’re so close to banning abortion in this country! We’re shooting ourselves in the foot constantly. We need to stop shaming each other. Stop slut shaming. Stop fat shaming. Stop skinny shaming. Stop religious shaming. Stop saying trans woman aren’t women. Who are we to even think that? A cis woman has no idea what a trans woman has been through. Who are we to judge anyone but ourselves.

If we don’t have room for a freedom of choice then what are we even doing? Who cares if someone’s skirt is too short or someone is have “too much fun” with their friends. Does that short skirt diminish us? No it doesn’t. We need to stop telling each other that being “slutty” or whatever we don’t approve of as “appropriate” female behavior is harming the movement. I put forward that being competitive, mean and nasty is what hurts the movement because it hurts members of that movement.

I think we have to choose if we are going to have a sisterhood or if we are going to be judgers. Everyone one of us has that decision every day, every minute. We choose by how we treat each other every single time we interact.  Every time we DON’T entertain the thought that another woman’s skirt is too short this is micro win. Every time we say something empowering instead that is a positive contribution to the world we want to see. Call them micro-acts of empowerment if you will.

This is the world we want to see isn’t it? A world where women are respected and feel safe to be who they are is what we all wish for right? Don’t we aim for a climate where a woman can do or be anything she sets out to be?

If we oppress each other, news flash, it’s still oppression! I think we all have areas where we can improve on how sisterly we behave. I have only within the last few years learned what slut shaming is or how I played into it. Even now that I realize that these aren’t beliefs I agree with, the jibes and the learned behaviors are still there and rear their ugly heads every so often. This stuff is insidious and it is real work to stamp it out of our thinking and our words. We may not even recognize where we are doing harm but it starts with a choice of how we behave.

To me the movement IS choice. I validate and protect your choice. You validate and protect mine. We thrive on the idea that we can be different and equally important. Come on if we can’t overcome our differences within our own gender how are we going to overcome gender inequalities? If we refuse to recognize the value of each others differences then we are doomed to fail.

There are two parts to equality. I am no better than you and you are no better than me. I only have control over myself. I can only start with the space between my ears. In order for there to be harmony in my own head I must believe both halves. I cannot just go around saying “you are no better than me” but that’s what we do. This is incomplete and it accomplishes little but make us feel slightly better about ourselves temporarily.

You know how I learned this? The hard way by being a self righteous bitch and getting called on my bullshit! My mom sat me down and said “hey, I don’t love you any more than your sister just cause you don’t smoke pot.” Now I have humility and I smoke pot. Win!

“I am woman hear me-” NOT define what it is to be a woman.

I will not go bra-less. This does not mean that I do not believe woman should be constrained. I believe women should wear what THEY want. If you want to go bra-less I will support your right to do so. I WILL shave my legs. This does not mean that I bow to the whims of the fashion machine. I just prefer my legs smooth, sometimes. I WILL wear makeup if I choose. I WON’T wear it if I choose.

I am a heretic, daughter of a heretic. I can do anything I want regardless of what anyone says I should or should not do. I will stand with other woman in their choices whether they are popular ones or not. I say anyone who says they identify as a woman is a woman. I BELIEVE you. Come on in!

What about individuals who identify as “gender queer” or gender neutral? Are we going to leave them out of the discussion? What if they can add a perspective that none of the rest of us can possibly contribute? What if we are losing out every day by excluding people with our ever narrowing definition of a feminist?

I say you can be a sister and be a stay at home mom or a career woman or not a mom at all. I say you can be a feminist sister and [insert anything here that you believe makes you a “bad” feminist.] I will BELIEVE that you have the power to make your own choices. I will NOT try to classify your level of “realness”.

It is not up to Camille P to judge based on what she sees Taylor Swift doing, whether she is vapid or if she is being genuine or not and calling someone a Nazi is something we do far too often. I think perhaps we need to be reminded just how big an allegation this really is. At first glance I suspect this is simply someone who is being triggered by Taylor Swift’s looks and for whatever reason is taking it out on the trigger.

This woman does not speak for me. I don’t care how many books she has published on the subject of feminism. I feel it is likely that she does not speak for most women. Thus I feel that when we mention Camille P and women who write and say similar things that we point out that they may not be a representative voice for women and that they may not be expressing the spirit of sisterhood at that moment. They may come around if they choose to. In the mean time they’re just women like the rest of us. Their word shouldn’t carry any more weight than any other among us.

Let’s “woman up” and stop the pettiness, stop the bullying, stop being part of the problem! I long to see this nastiness fade away in my life time. My hope is that eventually we will no longer need this type of behavior to make ourselves feel better but it’s a choice. It’s a choice and we have to make it ourselves.

My piano teacher taught me something valuable. During my competitions I had to write down one thing that each of my competitors did well in their performances. Maybe we should try that collectively.

I’ll start.

I promise not to bash other women.

Say it with me.

I promise not to bash other women.

Now go out and do it.

If we want to go one better decide that we will actively empower other women in their choices no matter whether we agree with them or not. Say something nice to each other instead.

Then and only then we will have a sisterhood that we all WANT to belong to.

 

Post Script this could relate to some nastiness come from Rose McGowan at this point too. Come on y’all we can do better.

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