Archive for September, 2011

I’m a feminist/ I’m not a feminist

The house that I grew up in was an extremely conservative one,where the word “feminist” was said with a sneer if it was said at all. It was synonymous with words like “communist,fascist and in fact it was usually said in the phrase coined by Rush Limbaugh-“Feminazi”. As a teenager the only feminist that I really knew existed was Hillary Clinton and …..well those descriptions,in the realm of worldviews,were pretty close to accurate-given a few more liberties and minus a few genocides.

  I only knew two things about feminism,one that it was started as a movement by women for the right to vote,and two, that it evolved into the monster that is the proponent for abortion or “a womans right to choose”. Feminist were loud,mean and they didn’t like being women. Or so that’s what the stereo types said. I heard preachers and even my mother once said that there was no such thing as a “Christian feminist.” A whole culture war has become of something that should have been unifying and the reasons are unfounded,unproven and ill researched on both sides. 
     The religious and conservative women claim they are not feminist (as I have done) however many of those same women hold jobs and want to hold jobs and would not like to be told they were not getting the same pay as their male counterparts. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was only signed in 2009 and the Paycheck Fairness Act is still being stalled in the Senate. I am sure that these conservative women also would not want to have to prove that they were not instigators in sexual discrimination in the work place or a rape anywhere in the their world. I also believe that these same women would want to be taken seriously if they had something to say. If any of those issues apply to a woman and her reality then by definition that woman is a feminist.
    However,according to Gloria Steinem, a woman cannot be a conservative and a feminist. I guess Susan B. Anthony was arrested so only one political party to have voters…..
     In the past few years I have actually self studied women’s issues and feminism writings and I find it is as varied as any writings on Christianity itself. Feminism was founded for truly one purpose:women’s equality in the home,work place and society and that is not something that Jesus looked down on nor is it something should be so severed from religion. We are all created in His image correct? There is also nothing I have found in the Bible that says women are to be condemned to a lower class,a lower intelligence or even the kitchen. The Proverbs 31 woman is not a humble servant like so many try to portray her   She works hard,makes business decisions and has wisdom (which means that she thinks). So I am thinking that God is pro woman here. Several times in the Bible, prostitutes were used by God to fulfill a purpose, (hiding spies) forgiven by Jesus and not stoned, and even in the Old Testament (Genesis 38) God punished the man who did not take care of his daughter in law by giving her to his remaining son in marriage and caused her to prostitute herself ( the options for women at the time). Jesus visited and discipled women in their homes (Mary and Martha…no mention of their husbands so the argument of looking holy lest someone think you are a whore is irrelevant here) Jael killed an enemy of the state per se’ when she called him into her tent and when he went to sleep drove a nail through his head-and Debra (a  Judge in Israel prophesied this. ) So in reality the “Christian God is anti woman” argument does not work for either side of the feminism culture clash. I think that the feminism cause,at its core is open to all women,even though Ms. Steinem may not agree.

    I recently read a book by a third wave feminist (Jessica Valenti) called “Full Frontal Feminism”,and though it was like reading a liberal version of Anne Coulter (insulting and un informative and thus only enjoyed by those who agree with every word said) I did learn a few things about what is never ever discussed about feminism and women’s issues. She talked about a women’s meeting that was held by feminist organizations and there was a pro-life speaker attending. The speaker was not pushing her pro-life stance, she was there to give an account of something that had happened to her. In her story she told about planning to have her child naturally at her home. She had become dehydrated and had to go to the hospital for fluids,because she had a C-section in the past the hospital was not going to allow her to leave and tried to pressure her into having another c-section there. When she left anyway the authorities came to her house,she wa shackled and taken back to the hospital and forced to have another c-section. She tried to sue the hospital and could not because of laws protecting the rights of the unborn. She came to this meeting to discuss,even though their views on abortion differed,she understood that they were united in their concerns reproductive health issues and rights. What if a woman does not want to induce labor? Have an epidural? For readers concerned….this woman went on to have more children-in home-with no problems derived from her past c-section.

     So maybe the true feminism issues effect all women-when women are aware of it. So many of us are not because we hear one side,or because of our upbringing we only see the fight against Roe vs. Wade. Personally I think that if Roe were overturned it would cause on all out civil war….but thats another blog. One thing I noticed in all my surfing of feminist websites such as Ms. Magazine and is the whole hearted push for legislation. Feminism has become a special interest group and it shouldn’t be. On any feminist website I can find upcoming legislation that in some way is anti-woman and a list of conservative politicians that are for it. Some of these did disappoint me.  Then I can go to a Christian activist website and find the exact opposite-legislation that threatens the nuclear family and or essential freedom and the list of liberal politicians that are for it. My whole life I have heard about all the liberal causes that our tax money  funds. Guns for anti-Israel groups. Advertisers that support gay agendas. Tax money that goes to abortion agendas etc. That being said I was not exactly pleased to find that our tax money also goes to “purity balls” and since we do keep the public schools going,it also funds crappy sex ed. Abstinence only is always taught in one particular way ( I know I have always been an avid pupil) that at some point will fail in some arena of life). The reality is morality cannot be legislated and maybe as religious people we should not be an annoying special interest group. Just as feminism shouldn’t we all need to realize that a politician is just that-a politician. Just because he promises to overturn Roe does not mean all Christians should vote for him and just because he promises a whole lot of said Pro Woman legislation-does not mean he will forget all his other buddies.

   That being said.

I’m still shocked when I hear that a woman is physically abused. I’m angered when a hear a woman still gets raped in this society. I was shocked when I was touched at one of my jobs. I was stunned when I realized I was being discriminated against at one of my jobs and it was ignored because I wouldn’t deal with the situation by transferring. I was stunned again years later when,at yet another job, I was told I couldn’t be openly relied upon  at because “people might think something” (obviously if your boss depends upon his female employee then he is sleeping with her right?) I hate it when I spoken to as if I were a teenager because it happens to be a man doing the speaking.  I’m shocked daily when just in conversation with male friends I find their cold hard judgement is swift and based on the way a girl dresses,speaks and what her dad does for a living. Sometimes I am shocked that we were all raised in the same decade. The sad thing is, I am the most shocked when what I hear from a young man is profound,educated and forward thinking on women…..I guess that is when I realize that maybe I am feminist after all.

 “Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother”-Susan B. Anthony

“What you should say to outsiders that a Christian has neither more nor less rights in our Association than an atheist. When our platform becomes too narrow for people of all creeds and of no creeds, I myself shall not stand upon it”-Susan B. Anthony

  It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union…. Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.  ~Susan B. Anthony

“If women are expected to do the same work as men,we must teach them the same things”-Plato

“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman”.  ~Anaïs Nin

and then there is this….

I listen to feminists and all these radical gals – most of them are failures.  They’ve blown it.  Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom.  These women just need a man in the house.  That’s all they need.  Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home.  And they blew it and they’re mad at all men.  Feminists hate men.  They’re sexist.  They hate men – that’s their problem.  ~Jerry Falwell-,



The Tenth Year….

It is the tenth anniversary of 9/11….the day that terrorist attacks were brought to the United States of America…it is amazing that an event can essentially be named a date…that nothing else about that date will ever matter or resonate. Just one year. One date.
It does not feel like a decade has passed. Time does fly. Then I remember that this is only for me. In my life. Through my eyes. Today I was watching ‘History Remembers 9/11′ and found that I was just as disturbed as I would have been if I were watching it a week after the attacks. The same sick feeling was in my stomach. The same thick knot in my throat. I was about to turn the channel thinking to my self that I really didn’t need to watch this. It’s not like I had not seen it before… After all we all saw it. It is too difficult. Then the thought came that while ,yes,we ALL remember and yes we ALL were witnesses-no, we ALL were not affected the same way. My life did not ultimately change. I did not go on to do great things for someone my age. I was stunned watching the news for the next week-then the next year. I had thoughts on what I could do. I thought of being an EMT. I thought of joining the army and before 9/11 had talked to an Air Force recruiter. I didn’t act on anything though. In the following years I got married,then divorced. I went to college for a semester or two before moving to Ohio for a vocational school, afterwards I had another plan of joining the military. Once again I didn’t.
All the while people who lived in New York or had family who worked in the Pentagon were going through therapy for PTSD,or getting treatment for illnesses that were a result from breathing the air on ground zero. People my age enlisted in different military branches.Many died shortly going into the war in Iraq. I had a friend in Ohio who was a marine. He probably joined after 9/11. We were about the same age and he had been in for five years before getting his discharge. He also was recon which adds another year for training, give or take. He was the most supportive when I was going in and gave the most sound advice. I never asked him for stories and he never offered them. We didn’t talk about why he joined and we didn’t talk about politics. He was a partier and he was wild but he was proud and it resonated. I still didn’t go.
So sitting here watching the History channel show some taped footage that I have not seen before and interviews that I haven’t heard before, because ten years ago the fog of high emotions and tragedy was so thick not everyone could be heard or even speak,should not be difficult. Listening to Condi Rice talk about so many people being jammed in a WWII Bunker and there not be enough oxygen and security going around the room telling certain faculty that they were not priority enough to stay in the bunker,is not a sacrifice for me.
     I have lost no one. I have lost nothing but a lot of time,and maybe I have learned and grown. One thing on this day that I can say is,that it really doesn’t matter what our opinions are,even if they stem from close held beliefs. Even if we are right. If every conspiracy theory I have ever heard is right,even if history from beginning to end is already written,that wont hold back someone with a sense of duty or keep them from answering what they feel is a calling. It wont lift the grief of a nation or a nations people. It wont rebuild buildings or heal wounds. It wont stop every battle from this point on. There will always be wars and people to fight them. There will always be politics and opinions and people who want power. The most damaging thing that was said in order to “protect” me,were the words, “I’m a patriot too,and if I thought it would do any good I would join tomorrow but it wont!”. Those words changed me. They made me feel defeated and in turn made me a defeatist for the next few years. I’ll be damned if I ever repeat those words as a means to “enlighten” someone.

      People in high places with too much power holds no bearing on the kind of person I am,or the kind of people the marines I met in Ohio are,or the integrity of my cousin who is a Captain in the Army. It doesn’t change what the American ideal is. America is not represented in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party and its not represented  in Anne Coulters’ books or Joyce Behars’ HLN talk show.  It’s not represented on Alex Jones radio show. All of those representations are divisive and only continue to stir a pot of discontent and give us reasons to hate each other and hold on to war or anti-war stances.  America is an ideal that is held to and believed in and keeps people believing that things will be better,and people will be more free tomorrow then they may be today. It keeps us believing that righteousness and freedom will continue to win over adversity and oppression. I know that it keeps me feeling sane. A few years ago I was a combative republican with a feeling that I was always right and if a person did not agree then that person was wrong. Then I was ready to live as hobo awaiting the apocalypse that inevitably was going to happen as a result of years of war and nation building and Obama being in office. Now if I call myself a political title ,it’s a libertarian,but that doesn’t mean come election year I am going to brow beat everyone with blogs about Ron Paul. Because at the end of the day I am an American,and so are you,and what ever decision we make we have to make it based on that and nothing else. It took me ten years to just be at peace with that thought.

Today as we remember 9/11,the one day in this generations recollected History where we were all Americans,let’s be that. Lets all be Americans.

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