It’s difficult to do anything right now. It seems like we’ve been pushed down into the mud, and every time we look up, our faces get stepped on and shoved back in. I don’t mean this for any particular group of people; it’s been a tough year for everyone. Just waiting there for the next punishment, blaming a year because it’s the only thing we have to blame for the mass existential crisis the world has been going through. The whole world is a mess right now. Human rights violations, deaths, suicides, homicides, politics, divisions between family and friends and country… it keeps going.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2017, but it isn’t going to instantly fix what we’re going through. New years aren’t magical, and anyone who made a resolution can attest to that. We have to get back up and fight just as we always have, because our rights are just being tossed to the side and will be destroyed if we don’t keep speaking up. We’ve already made plans, we’re ready to march, we’re ready to save what we have, but I don’t know if we’re going to make any progress. But at least we can stand in place. We can push back. Coming from Indiana, I know what Mike Pence is ready and willing to do, and we fought him tooth and nail every step of the way until he somehow disappeared and became vice president.
Research. Pick your fights. Make sure you know what’s coming and what will be most dangerous to the world. If you’re good at organizing, get people together. If you’re good at writing, make sure others know what’s happening and write hope into your messages. If you’re good at standing strong and screaming for your rights, for fuck’s sake do it because sometimes one person standing alone is enough. Vote. Demand. Protest. Stay focused. And at the end of the day, be good to yourself, because there’s a very good chance of burnout in the coming year. Always know that you did what you could, whether it was joining a rally or giving money to a cause that you know needs it. Always give where you can. We deserve our rights, and we are going to keep them. People deserve to live, and they need help doing that. 2017 will be about survival. But let’s never forget what we learned from 2016. We will keep rising up.
Here’s some good news from 2016; feel free to add to the list if you like.
It’s only been a year since I’ve written on this blog. I think the last one I posted was about taking power away from Trump by trying to force the media to turn its eye away from him. It clearly didn’t work, and a lot of blame fell to fake news and news bias. I fell into the same trap as everyone else, although I voted differently. I think, now that I’ve finally come up from my depression just as everyone else has had to since November 8th, the only course of action I have is to write again.
There were many reasons that the democratic side fell, which I can’t entirely get into because I’m not sure which were real reasons and which were opinions. All I know is that Trump grew in power over the year. We laughed at first, thinking he never stood a chance against polished politicians. He was crude, he made fun of people publicly, and he never showed any signs of having actual plans. But the laughter stopped somewhere. People saw him as the way out of politics and a way back to people who didn’t see a political life as a career. The only problem is that they got what they wanted.
Trump was a name before he was ever a man, especially to my generation. We saw his name in cartoons, on buildings in New York and other “rich” places around the world. He was a cartoon character, the example of money. He’s a man now, and one we have to contend with seriously, because he doesn’t have a plan (at least a plan that’s feasible). He didn’t want to win for the job. He just wanted to win. That’s why he had a victory tour. He isn’t doing the preliminaries to his new position, he just keeps on “winning”. And then he blamed his own support base for getting him to where he was. He didn’t thank them. He blamed them. We have someone as president now who has a look of confusion and terror in his eyes whenever he’s seen even near his job. He’s scared, but he doesn’t want to look scared. So he picks stupid fights that mean nothing. He tweets like his words matter and don’t matter at the same time. Here’s to SNL being relevant again.
Meanwhile, part of his support base has seen his victory as a sign that racism, sexism, and homophobia are all okay again. Hate crimes are back on the rise, and I’ve personally read too many stories of hatred to count since he became president. Some people want the power back; they want the ability to hate again. People who honestly believe that Trump can get them their jobs back are in for a strange and awful surprise. Many factory jobs were on their way out anyway, and these people have to find a way to start over again with no other job skills and a serious age issue where people past a certain age just aren’t hired. Stopping trade with other countries would kill our economy, and there’s no incentive in the world that Trump could make cheaply enough to keep companies here.
I know this all sounds depressing, but as I’ve said before and will always say, there is no good reason to run. Leaving the country won’t stop this problem. We have to stay and fight for our country and take it back. The only problem is, we’re fighting something stronger than we have before. I think we’re ready for it if we do it right. We used to fight politicians and laws. What we’re fighting now is plain, unfiltered ignorance. We have to spread the truth, fighting through Trump’s boisterous lack of plans, fighting those who believe that others different from them deserve punishment, fighting through the bog of fake news, fighting against ourselves when we indulge in less than reputable news. We have to check our sources and teach our children to do the same before they end up in the same situation as us. We can’t lie to them about what’s happening. We can’t hide it any longer. Everyone has to know the truth. It’s all we have left. Those gaining power can only be brought down by the truth. The majority of the United States still has the tolerance and even sometimes love to accept people as they are, and we want to keep it that way. We have to take elections seriously (and I fucking mean it). We have to go to every election and made our voices heard. We are not alone. You are not alone, and you have the resources to do what’s right. Raise the truth.
Today I want to talk about feminism and human rights. Not the common sense kinds of rights feminists inherently believe they understand, but the actual human rights of the world and where we are failing.
The UN’s Declaration of Human Rights isn’t complicated, but is never followed by any country. Somewhere, we all fail. But let me help you to understand what we’re dealing with.
The first line of the preamble for this declaration is as follows:
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,”
Let’s stop right there for now. Does not sound like the underpinnings of what feminism should be about? That we, as a group, should recognize the “inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family,”? There is no better place to start. We should do it ourselves before we demand it of others. Ask yourself essential questions about your own feminist beliefs. Do you truly recognize it as the basis for “freedom, justice, and peace in the world,”? Do you dignify everyone you meet, or do you degrade human beings, as groups and even as individuals? Are you mocking others for their beliefs to their face or behind their back? Can you meet them as equals, or do you pity them or even rage against them?
I don’t think there’s one of us who doesn’t think someone is beneath us for their beliefs. There’s a name in your head right now that you want to never think of again, someone who has pissed you off for their addition to the barbaric acts we’re dealing with. Someone who doesn’t treat others with dignity and respect inherent to all of us. Someone you could never reach or change; a person who has power and is wielding it , one who has “outraged the conscious” of your mind. Can you ever look at them as an equal? Can you ask for equality, true, pure equality?
Don’t feel bad about it. None of us are perfect. This Declaration is asking the impossible and isn’t meant for individuals, but for nations. It’s why we have elections, trials that specifically bring people to justice for “crimes against mankind”, prisons for actual, violent offenders. The system isn’t perfect, and we all know it. What I’m asking you is, as a person, when you meet another person, are you judging them? Are you degrading them in your head? Do you turn your head from the homeless, judge others openly on social media to rally others to your judgments, or say things that you know aren’t in line with what should be your beliefs? Do you even make those terrible jokes that you know you shouldn’t but get a great response and make you feel good anyway? I do. And I want to stop.
But let’s end on a high note with some of the articles that are just common sense for all of us.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
There are thirty articles in this declaration, and I think each of us know or can easily find an instance where these weren’t upheld by our nation. Maybe it’s because it’s too systematic at this point and we have a long way to go. But we can fight for these basic human rights everyday just by making others aware, signing petitions, or taking a stand where others won’t or just don’t. I’ll get to the rest of it later, but in (late) honor of human rights day, I want to start with you. I want to start with me. Let’s be better feminists.
What’s terrifying about Trump is that he’s somehow gaining power despite having even less of it than he used to. We’ve exposed his secrets and lies, caught him on everything, and are disgusted with him when he does terrible acts. He’s shamed on television, radio, and in real life. But somehow this isn’t bringing him down. Somehow, he says morally reprehensible, ugly, and shocking things that are causing people to start frothing for his vision to work, including taking his words into their own hands and attacking people we didn’t have this level of issue with.
I’m not saying we didn’t have problems with racism, religious backlash, and homophobia before. We have and still do. We’re working on it. But his words are throwing the entire nation into such a disgusting pool of degradation that now there is no going forward. It’s a fight against a minority that’s so loud that it’s taking lives, or dehumanizing those lives, or attacking those lives, that we’ve lost control of the minority. They (including those we elected, not just normal people) are just ripping through whoever disagrees with them, disregarding law and plain sensibility.
I knew the republican party was becoming more extremist; we all did. But for their front runner to be such a loathsome, over the top enemy to our values that we can compare him to ISIS and have no problem with the comparison… They are bringing the United States down. Somehow, they’ve created a monster so insidious that it’s already starting to affect who we are as a nation. Don’t laugh at them. Don’t just be angry at them. Trump has this power because the media is on him. I know what I’m about to ask is hard. We all want to be disgusted so that our rage will carry us to the election, but the election is too far away and too much damage has already been done.
I think it’s time for a media blackout on Donald Trump. Find something in the infinite amount of news that isn’t him. If he can’t get our attention, then he can’t get to the others. He may be the most interesting, horrifying thing you’ve ever seen, the greatest train wreck ever to watch, but that train wreck is becoming us.
So, I turned 27 on Monday. It wasn’t a big event; I enjoyed myself, but it certainly isn’t a major milestone. But it did make me think about my life. I started really considering my age. Not just “Oh, I’m getting older!” but really where I am, and how I’m changing.
I came to the realization that there is no point in your life when you have it all together. While I have two feet solidly on the ground, my head out of the clouds, my head managed to end up in a fog, where realism meets still not knowing what life is.
My body has crinkles in it that I now know aren’t going away. My hips are solidly hippy, curved into that womanly form that’s ready to carry the weight of my struggles. I have to take better care of my skin, and bouncing back from eating 15 pizza rolls just isn’t going to happen.
My favorite clothes are getting smaller, and I continue glancing over towards the women’s section in stores, dreading leaving my junior section. The women’s section is adulthood. The bright colors are gone, the clothes don’t cling, and there’s certainly no pictures. It’s like leaving the children’s books section as a preteen, where you discover it’s all words.
I know what I want from life but I don’t have the skills to achieve those goals. There is this gap of experience that I didn’t know I had, or at least I thought I could fake the experience. But there is no faking! There is no pretending at this age! I’m too old now to be clumsy or nervous. Somehow, I should know better, and I don’t.
I don’t mean to say that I won’t enjoy this age. I enjoy having experience in life, having the ability to skip over misunderstandings that just don’t happen with adults. I enjoy my relationships, my hobbies, my opinions. I have strong opinions, and they won’t be shaken like they might have when I was younger. I love myself and accept myself. I don’t think I’m at a precipice of anything huge anymore; I’m settled. But I’m settled into the middle of woman and… well… woman.
It isn’t a question anymore of who I am; it’s a question of how to compromise how adult I can be while still being me.
I feel something deep in the pit of my soul. Usually, such anxiety comes from knowing a large storm is coming, but I’m out of the way of the storm, so I know it’s something else. The earth moving, perhaps. Such large successes that I fear are going to be followed by larger retaliations. Opportunities lost, or missed entirely. I’m not sure. I just feel certain that something is going to happen. I sense the cry for blood, and I know there will be destruction.
Can you sense the stillness, the expectant charge in the air just waiting to crash down? What’s coming? Why do I feel darkness hanging heavily over us?
I’m standing with Wendy! She’s my hero.
And the link takes you to the live video. It is interesting to watch Wendy Davis live. Slow and steady.
I am not ashamed of my vagina. I am not ashamed of my clitoris, my labia, my breasts, or my nipples. They are not pornographic, and I will not have them censored, nor will I stand by quietly as women’s body parts are considered “filthy” or “wrong”. To suggest that using these medically correct terms is subject to censorship is to suggest that we stay immature and ignorant of ourselves, and to be ashamed of what we are. In order for our society to become stronger, to have the knowledge to understand that women are not sex objects, we must first get over the idea that certain body parts are not to be discussed or spoken about.
Not being able to say medically correct terms is detrimental to our society. We are censoring pride by saying we should be disgusted with our own body parts. We are censoring education. We are censoring shared knowledge and experiences. We are destroying our worth. We become more ignorant the more we stay immature about our own bodies.
Acceptance is the first move towards change.
Inspiration for this piece: http://trib.al/fN7G0nD
Rape culture is a culture in which people who have survived a violent crime are asked to laugh about it because other people think it’s funny.
TRIGGER WARNING for the images below the fold, these are examples of the sexism and misogyny men display with impunity, often under their real name and with their picture attached, on social media.
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