wildfeministappears

A feminist perspective about the feminist perspective

Month: September, 2012

There Must Be Cute

Hey everybody!  I’ve been swamped between my five classes and my internship, so I haven’t posted this week.  So here’s a special wildfeminist Saturday blog: Bad news offset by cute animals edition!

Anyone following politics knows Republicans are launching a full out war on women. But you may not know how many anti-women votes the Republicans cast since January 2011. Well, a report released last week by Rep. Henry Waxman (D – Ca.) has the answer: 55! That’s right, Republicans voted to take away women’s rights or make their lives miserable 55 times.

http://feministing.com/2012/09/13/55-ways-republicans-hate-women/

My my my, that is surprising… sort of.

“We are dismayed that the court expressly refused to consider the interests of women who are seeking lawful prescription medication and essentially held that the religious practice of individuals trumps women’s health care,” said ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka. “We think the court could not be more wrong.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/21/us-usa-illinois-contraception-idUSBRE88K1D120120921

We are disappoint.

 

In Tennessee, a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls explicitly excludes student IDs.

In Wisconsin, college students are newly disallowed from using university-provided housing lists or corroboration from other students to verify their residence.

Florida’s reduction in early voting days is expected to reduce the number of young and first-time voters there.

And Pennsylvania’s voter identification bill, still on the books for now, disallows many student IDs and non-Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, which means out-of-state students may be turned away at the polls.

Huffington Post

 

This is what republicans would like students to do.

Indiana law bars same-sex marriage, but lawmakers are set to write that ban into the state constitution in the next two years.

The Pence campaign cites research from the conservative Washington-based think tank, the Heritage Foundation, showing children raised in two-parent parent households perform better as adults. The campaign said in its issue paper released Tuesday the state would be the first in the nation to use marriage and “the success equation” as the basis for combating poverty.

Courier Press

Exxxxcelllent.

Yep, that’s all I’ve got for now.  Must rush off to do capstone things.

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For Those With Disorders and Those Who Love Them

I suppose I should start this post with a confession: I have ADHD and Major Depressive Disorder, a combination that lets me think really fast about what I hate about myself, want to sleep for the entire day while being unable to stop blinking, and at certain points cry and giggle uncontrollably.

I’ve had a lot of hard years dealing with this, and my darling husband has had to suffer through it with me.  It was really bad the first few years after the breakup with my abusive boyfriend.  I was unmedicated and stumbling through the days, failing school and unable to hold down a job.  I went through fits of rage and depression, and even though I was beginning to accept what had happened to me, I was still completely out of it.

Things have gotten better, but I have to admit, I’m still ashamed of how I used to act, especially toward my husband.  And even now, when I forget my meds, I get to a point that I can’t even handle myself.

I suppose it’s not fair to those who love us with mental disorders.  They try to comfort us, to take care of us, and often times they get no love back.  Oftentimes, we’re angry at them when they can’t handle the situation, like that was what they were put on this earth to do and that they are failing us.  We can’t handle the fact that they get angry or upset or want to have some space.

What I mean to say is, we all have a responsibility to mitigate these disorders.  It is our responsibility to try our damnedest to take our pills, go to therapy, and understand which situations we can’t handle.  We should also try to comfort those who comfort us.  We’re all part of the human experience, and we all deserve comfort and love.

I understand the anger.  I often feel as though I’ve lost control of my life, and that I’m just a walking mess.  I hate my pills.  Sometimes I throw them, and sometimes I neglect to take them just so I can be in control.  I hate therapy sometimes.  I hate that I need it.  What right does my therapist have to talk to me about my problems?  And sometimes I’m angry at my husband for not  having these problems.  How the hell did he get so lucky?  Why is he able to go everyday without pills or great sweeps of emotion and physical backlash?  Why is it that even when I take my damn pills, I still have problems?

It’s not easy.  I’m scared of losing my mind completely.  And my fear comes out in ways that I don’t mean.  But I try… so hard… not to take it out on my loved ones.  I try to do my best everyday.  Because it isn’t their fault that I’m sick.  Their only fault is loving me and wanting to help take care of me.

So just take the time to understand how hard it is for the people who love us to see us go through the pain that we do, to have no way to help us.  They are scared and angry too!  They want to fix everything and have no way!  It’s fucking miserable for all of us!

But also understand that they are there because they love us and there is something about us that they are seeing beyond the disorder.  We have lives and talents that they appreciate.  They want to be with us, despite the suck-tastic days where we can’t handle where our minds go.

Be happy we’re so lucky that we have people strong and loving enough to stick by us.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Abstain from Voting

Many people are disenchanted with the idea of voting or involving themselves in politics.  It’s been a hard year, and as always with presidential election years, the media has nothing else it wants to talk about.  Unfortunately, people are more likely not to vote when they are bombarded with information.

We’re also dealing with very left and right candidates, which makes sense because usually only the hard core supporters vote during the primaries, picking the person the rest of us are left with.  I would say vote in the primaries, but we are way past that.

With all the social and economical issues at stake, we really need to get in gear and make sure that people we know vote, and know why they are voting.  Many people don’t see the point.  They think their vote doesn’t count, or that the outcome won’t effect them, and if it does, well, they can just live with it until the next election because it can’t possibly be that bad.

My wordpress community knows better, and I think we can all agree that a vote is always important.

So what’s at stake?

  • Reproductive rights
  • Gay rights
  • New and old wars
  • Diplomacy with other countries
  • Fair pay
  • Medicare and welfare
  • Social security
  • Religious freedom (particularly not being forced to take on the morals of a religion)
  • Censorship
  • Insurance costs
  • Taxes
  • Education
  • Privacy
  • Right to protest

I could keep going, but I think you get the point.  The stakes are too high, and we have to be informed, and we have to care.

I have until October 8th to make sure that people are registered to vote.  Check to see when your cutoff date is, and let people know how dangerous it is not to vote.

Voting registration information:

http://www.rockthevote.com/rtv_voter_registration.html?source=

http://unitewomen.info/page.php?28

http://registertovote.org/index.html

This link will ask you about most of the issues and how you feel about them: http://www.isidewith.com/presidential-election-quiz

And this video is from 2008 (and Myspace, my God!), but it’s still relevant: http://www.myspace.com/video/vid/43877316

This election, something you care about is being voted on.  And if you don’t register or vote, someone else is going to decide for you.  Do you really want to give away your power, your voice?  Are you really that confident that you’ll come out okay on the other side?

I’m not taking that chance.  And neither should you, or your friends.

Help someone register.  It’s an act of love.

The Problem with Indifference

“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” -Boondock Saints

This could probably be my favorite quote ever.  It rings so true, no matter the time period.  There may be evil in the world, but there is no way for us to defeat evil if people keep turning blind eyes to the trouble.

What do people say about rapists and pedophiles, traffickers and murders?  That they’re rare, that they aren’t in my neighborhood, that their crimes couldn’t effect me.  And yet we hear about it everyday.  The victim is blamed.  Surely they did something, because there is no way that just happens to the average person!  No way that could happen to me!

And so, crime goes on because the general public is too afraid to even admit that evil is there.  We become apathetic to the troubles of others, fearing the world outside of our volunteered ignorance.

But I’ll tell you something.  If we all admitted that things were wrong, the majority of us would be in the fight against these evil people.  We would quickly take charge of situations where someone was in danger.  No longer would people stand by and watch, but they would get involved and save the victim.

If evil can’t hide behind our apathy, then evil has no where to hide.  So call the cops when you see a crime being committed, defend people who are being hurt, and be aware of the cruelty in your world.  We can stop it if we stop denying it.

Gender Norms: Creating New Instructions

I wish there were a way for me to be an expert in everything that I write about, but given that I’m 26, I don’t think I’ve had the time.  So, feel free to start the conversation about this when you want to!

Ah, the need to conform to gender norms.  I’m sure we’ve all struggled with this at some point, feeling constrained by what society tells us is right for us to feel, do, wear.  In feminism, I feel like we’ve reached an impasse on what is right.  On the one hand, some of us feel that we can be perfectly happy sticking to gender norms, as long as it is our choice.  On the other hand, some of us feel as though we’ve taken a step back and are objectifying ourselves through being what society considers attractive.

I for one feel good about my gender lines and don’t mind how other people view me.  I’ve already shed my shame about what I wear and do, and I certainly don’t owe apologies to people who consider me trashy.  So why does it matter to other people?

Research has time and again told us that people will stick to gender norms.  People tend to feel positive when they adhere to the social norms that they see and mimic.  Gender norms allow us to comprehend “normal”, and when we succeed in reaching the coveted “normal”, even for a moment, we’re pleased to think that we are more socially acceptable and therefore more lovable. (Gendering the Self: Selective Magazine Reading and Reinforcement of Gender Conformity by Sylvia Knobloch-Westerwick and Gregory Haplamazian)

In fact, when we find materials like magazines that reinforce those stereotypes and we engage in them, we tend to feel more like the gender that we are influenced to be. (Same reference as before)

So why wouldn’t women, even feminists, feel better about themselves when they adhere to social norms?  Feminists may feel an inner guilt for giving in, but the reward system is so strong that we can’t argue with how it makes us feel.

Guidelines and rules are important to human beings, and even if those rules constrain us, it’s a comfort to have them there.  How overwhelming is a model of a plane or a car if there are no instructions?  How much more slowly do we have to build and contemplate what to do?  The stress is more intense!  What if we’re doing something wrong right now, and the model can’t be salvaged?

Likewise, we base our personalities on models of people we grow up around, and what culture tells us our gender is supposed to do.  While some of us break away from these gender norms and rules, many people struggle with the idea that maybe they are doing something wrong, even if they do break away from the norms.  There are no instructions for people who don’t fall into a neat little place in the “normal” scale!  (Conformity to Gender Norms Among Female Student-Athletes: Implications for Body Image by Jessie Steinfeldt, Hailee Carter, Rebecca Zakrajsek, and Matthew Steinfeldt)

This lack of instructions can cause us more stress in all life situations.  Female athletes, for example, can’t grow their strength to their full potential for fear that it will ruin the femininity of their bodies.  They still strive to fit in the gender and sexual norms despite doing what they love to do, and it hinders them.  It may seem as though a woman can’t be as physically strong as a man because they appear to be naturally smaller, but in truth women limit the way their bodies grow in order to stay within the norms. (Same reference as before)

Gender norms also force us to have personalities that are on the opposite spectrum of the opposite sex.  Researchers found that women who tended to be more gender normal were far more different from men than women who moved away from the gender norm.

Together, these results clearly indicate that the social learning of gender, operationalized as the level of conformity to gender norms, plays an important role in personality styles. This would mean that greater or lower compliance to a given set of gender norms leads to differences in personality, and that, regardless of sex, the degree of conformity to these norms establishes differences between people, even within the same sex. Furthermore, those women who adopt and are more identified with what is traditionally expected from them regarding what they should do, think, or feel have personality styles that differ more from those found in men, and those women who comply less with the expectations and feminine norms differ less from men regarding personality styles. Thus, we can state that our data suggest that gender socialization plays an important role in personality differences between men and women, because, when the degree of adherence to gender norms in women is taken into account, the differences with respect to men decrease.

(M. Pilar Sánchez-López, Isabel Cuéllar-Flores, Rosa Limiñana and Javier Corbalán  Differential Personality Styles in Men and Women : The Modulating Effect of Gender Conformity)

Just imagine what kind of lives we could lead and what kind of stereotypes we could crush if we moved away from what society told us gender should be.  Women and men don’t have to be so different from each other, and identifying yourself as a man or a woman despite your genitalia should be no special issue.  Society is dictating our personalities and confining us to being a certain way just because of the way we were born.

The temptation to stay with gender norms is a strong one, and we all struggle with it.  But we can make instructions for other ways of life!  We can learn about different choices and because we would be able to understand them, we could respect them.  Education first, people.  Create instructions for your gender lifestyle, and let other people know that it’s okay to be the way that they are.  The reward system to be happy with yourself will follow.

Resolving Hate… Through Pictures!

So, I realize my last post was full of things people wouldn’t want to hear from a feminist because they dedicate themselves to ignoring what feminists say.  So this supplementary post is filled with pictures with quotes from other people!

I know… calm down Alyssa, they’re still not going to read this.  Oh well.  I have quotes for my feminist friends too, down at the bottom!  But I believe the top quotes are good for anybody fighting for a cause!

Anyway, I think it’s important for us all to take stock of what we’re really doing with our lives.  Strong beliefs are great!  But if you believe that people should be good and decent people, and spend your days being hateful, then you’ve completely missed the point of what you yourself teach!

When you spend time hating other people, you take time away from your own cause.  How are people going to know what you believe when all you say is how someone else is wrong for what they believe?

What good does hate do anyway?  Does it further your cause?  Does it make the world more like you want it to be?  If it does, you need to seriously reconsider your morals!  The world is never better with hate!

 

And hate certainly don’t help you as a person.  In fact, it empties your life of joy that you seriously need!

Now, I know some people join in on a cause because their friends and family are firmly into that cause.  That will hurt you too!  You spend your days acting like someone who isn’t you, and taking on morals you know to be against your own world views!  How does that help?

Some of you are legitimately worried that if change happens, it will effect you in a negative way.  I understand your fear.  But hating and worrying about change that doesn’t effect you at all is no way to live your life!

Now, for those of you who feel you are being hated on, keep hope!  Anger always stems from another emotion.

Learn from the mistakes of those who hate, because it will help you in the long run.  You don’t want to be like that person, do you?  Of course not!

Don’t let them wear you down!  They may attack you, even personally, but they don’t have the power to make you feel their hate.  If you know what you’re doing is right, then nothing they say should be able to affect you.

Always consider legitimate arguments.  However, many times in angry blogs there is no argument, especially not a legitimate one.  So just let them go.

If it does start to bother you, and I understand it will (it happens to me), take a break and reflect on how awesome you are!  We all have struggles, and the best of us take on a lot of struggles we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say!  I hope this helps someone to have a better day, or to consider being a better, happier person!

Calm Down and Stop Hating

Okay, I can’t keep to myself anymore.  It’s time for a good old fashioned rant.

 

Hey anti-feminists.  How’s it going?  Seething in your hate for me right now because I have a different opinion from you?  I wish I could say that I’m sorry, but I’m not.  I’ve spent this past week looking at nothing but hate for feminists.

How proud you are to hate us.

How you wish we would just let men take back their rightful place.

How selfish we are for wanting to join in on national conversations.

I hear you.  Sort of.  It’s kind of hard to get past all the base insults you keep throwing around.  You keep saying that all we do is throw around insults, while you yourselves keep calling us sheep, bitches, worthless…

You mock us and ask others to join in the hate.  Not two weeks ago I saw a post that was laughing at feminists for sending their support to others who were going to a rally.  What was there to be mocked?

I particularly cringe at the stories that start with, “As we all know”, like everyone has the same exact experience and opinion as you, and feminists are just some creepy sub-species that works to devour reason.

I don’t know why you think it’s okay to tell feminists to shut our mouths while you spew hate.  Why is your opinion the only good one?  How all-knowing could you possibly be?  Do you see yourself as perfect, as God-like?  You must be right because that is the opinion in your head?

That’s pretty damn arrogant.

I know I’m not perfect.  Sometimes I miss parts of conversations, or I confuse statistics.  But I correct myself.  I let other people talk and have their opinions.  I understand that people have different viewpoints from me.

All I ask is that people don’t live life to hurt other people.  But that’s all I’ve seen this week.  People just hating other people, trying to hurt them because they’re different.

Where has the love gone in your life?  Why are you so angry?

Let me tell you why I’m a feminist.  I want to help people.  I want to help the poor get the health care that they need to make their lives better.  I want to expose human trafficking so that it can be stopped.  I want to help create a world where people can walk out onto the streets without being beaten, harassed, raped, kidnapped, killed, or bullied for being a certain gender or living a certain way.  I want safety for future generations.  I want happiness for the people that I love, and people I don’t even know.

It all starts with education and understanding.  It continues with healthy conversations and actions.  I don’t mind that you have a different opinion than me; I just wish that you wouldn’t do it with hate and anger.

So, and I say this with all seriousness, calm down.  I know there is some common ground that we can land on.

/endrant

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