Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is there any GOOD news for women anymore?!??!?

I have just been wanting to scream with exhaustion due to the workload at my day-job and the emotional workload that is building upon reading what might very well be the worldly re-institutionalization of sexism:

1. First thing yesterday I read was this four-page masterpiece (or should I say mistresspiece?) by my new SHEro, Mona Eltahawy. "Why Do They Hate Us?" takes us where Eltahawy convincingly labels as the epicenter of the war on women: the Middle East. There's no argument coming from me; for one, I've never been to the Middle East (I really, really wanted to when I first saw the riot footage but retracted once I heard about all the sexual assaults female protesters had to endure not only from riot police but from male protesters as well), and secondly, I trust Ms. Eltahawy's journalism as a reliable source of information about how women and minorities are being treated, their rights remaining intact (or reporting when they are not). 

A final thought on her article is that I hope "We are more than our headscarves and our hymens" becomes a chant for women alongside with, "Keep your rosaries off of my ovaries."

I had actually seen her as a guest on Democracy Now a few months back during Egypt's turmoil over voting. She had been featured a few times prior, but this interview from last November still brings tears to my eyes that as a protester she had to endure so much police abuse -- and, as a woman, she had to endure such irreversible torture.

2. In trying to keep up with the latest national politics, all I seem to hear about is how [White male] Republican Presidential nominees want in on what I do with my lady-parts. Bills are being passed in Arizona and Kansas granting doctors the right to withhold information about the health of an unborn fetus, and the [mostly dude] news journalists and [predominantly male] talking heads are littering the airways with debate over whether contraceptives should be covered by one's health care, who should pay for it, etc.

Is there ANY good news for women anymore? Well, for one thing, I know what yarn-bombing projects I'm going to endorse myself in this summer:

It's a CLIToria!

3. The latest cover of Newsweek

and its accompanying article, written by a woman, that catches reader's eyes by claiming that "surrender is a feminist dream."

First of all, and most importantly, this is commensurate to exposing working men who like to be dominated (shaming and claiming that they are somehow less of a man), and therefore violating their right to privacy. A more abstract perspective would only conclude that people in places of power have so much of it that they can decide when they are in control or not. Why should it make any difference if a woman happens to be making that call? (Answer: Because it makes for a kinky Newsweek cover. This brings me to my next point.)

Secondly, the objectification of women portrayed in the cover (it makes me feel vulnerable, doesn't it you?) is a far cry from the content of the featured article, which is more like an observation on the growing popularity on topics of successful women getting off on being dominated. 

Though, I never would have imagined the feminist breakthroughs experienced by the release of Secretary would warrant an HBO episode of Girls where a main character fantasized about contracting AIDS as a means of alleviating herself from today's harrowing responsibilities of womanhood. Maggie Gyllenhaal's character in the '02 indie film overcomes personal issues of social anxiety and even though on the surface she appears to be taken control of by her boss (James Spader), in the end she comes out on top. It's a very submissive top, but a "top," nonetheless!

It is the content of the modern shows Shades of Grey and Girls -- not the content of the NW article -- that I feel are misinterpreting a woman's right to determine how she wants to be treated in the privacy of her (or someone else's) bedroom for generalizing the way ALL women want/need to be treated. Regardless of whether or not they think they want it.

4. Weeks back, this cracked.com article was brought to my attention -- "5 Ways Modern Men are Trained to Hate Women." I tried discussing it with a coworker today but then I realized that my blind hatred towards men who hate women probably skewed my overall impression of the article. My brain needs to marinate on it a bit more. 

Or, is it really necessary? When, and by what means, are we going to calibrate our perceptions to that of equality for every person?

How has this issue of feminism -- or even this blog entry -- been reduced from global women's issues to bedroom activity (or inactivity)? We are more than our headscarves and hymens and you must remove your rosaries from my ovaries!!!

I'm having an Angry Feminist Day... c'mon, somebody needed to say it!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Good math teachers always find a home."

And so someone told me. The 27th year of one's existence brings big changes. This equally scares and excites me. For the past four years I've been working with teenaged students while secretly wishing I was working with adults, only to find that what I discovered at my first job (dog kennel attendant at an animal hospital) remains the same: adults suck and animals/young 'uns rule. They will just let you know how they feel without sugar-coating or covering anything up. For the majority of my life I've gotten in trouble for speaking my mind or acting strangely when I feel like I've been living truthfully every moment of my existence. And it's always boggled my mind that others look up to it rather than dare to live it.

Not to say that teenagers are animals... because we all are. I think in a lot of ways adult humans clog up so much of their instincts with etiquette and formalities that sometimes we forget to listen to nature, each other, and even ourselves. What follows is that we forget to be there for each other and we also forget the weight a simple hug or greeting bears when we are in the middle of chaos.

There have been so many occasions in the past, that have seen me fearful of how others will take to my honesty. There's nothing like being afraid of the person you live with -- what will be thrown, what will be said, and what excuses will be made on their behalf from you. It's something that until recently has stirred up overwhelming negative emotions in me; however, the change brought on by Year 27 seems to have brought indifferent feelings in me with regards to those who have made me feel unsafe in my past. Within the last 3 days I've felt completely relaxed and separated from feeling of fear that once consumed my nights and caused me to worry if it would or could ever happen again.

It's important for me to be able to "drop the waterline," as they say, and learn to trust more. This is a huge change for me as I've felt abandoned or even betrayed by those I love in the past. Right now I can't believe how in love I am and the trust, like magic, has come naturally. I want to write more about it but the only word to describe it is Wonderful.
I am in love with my Reality.