Women’s March

3 Generations Marching!

3 Generations Marching!

As the Women’s March came nearer, I felt more sure that I wanted to participate. But which one? We live in a small city (bigger than a town! Pop around 60k) in a very densely populated area, and there were two fairly large ones just a short BART (our local transit) ride away. So, Oakland or San Francisco? Both would be great. I still hadn’t decided, when Ted’s mom called and asked if we wanted to go to the one right here in our town. OK, I’m in. Easier than getting on BART even, and a shorter walk (Ted’s mom had hip surgery this summer, and I have arthritis that affects my feet somewhat unpredictably, so this sounded wise to me). I thought we would get a couple of hundred people at the most, waving at passing cars and so on, like most of the protests that we get in our city. Boy, was I wrong. Ted, Maya, his mom, and I went downtown, and we parked several blocks away. It turned out there were thousands of people there! Estimates say it may have been as many as 10,000 people, carrying signs, cheering each other on, chanting slogans, enjoying the community of being around like minded folks. We saw one of the moms from Maya’s old Girl Scout troop there, as well as the principal of her elementary school. I know a coworker of mine from 20 years ago was there. It was supposed to be small, staying on the sidewalks and marching the downtown area. But so many people showed up that they took over the streets. Our local police were extremely helpful in getting people around and diverting traffic. Overall it was a GREAT experience. It was also great to know that my dad and step mom, who were in Santa Barbara for the weekend, were marching there. My sisters and their families were marching in Portland. Later I looked online, and saw that 2,000 people marched in Fairbanks, Alaska! I relatively small town in a VERY red state, and it was 15 below zero! I have seldom felt so encouraged. It was a great day.

We must keep that spirit, and remember that this is a fight worth having. Yesterday, Trump issued an order banning Muslims from 7 countries from entering the United States. Today, a judge stayed that order, with help from the ACLU. We must resist and stay strong. Power to the people!


Clinton Cookies

Clinton Cookies*

These were supposed to be our victory cookies, based on a recipe from the 1992 Presidential election, when Hillary Clinton made a comment on the Today show that she supposed she could have stayed home and baked cookies, but instead she continued her law career.  She was slammed, with the assumption being that she held contempt for stay-at-home moms, that she thought their life was simply baking cookies and drinking tea.  She quickly fell in line, doing the politically expedient thing and entering a cookie recipe in the Family Circle baking contest, a First Lady challange that survives to this day.

I decided it would be symbolic of how far we’ve come to bake a batch of her cookie recipe.  I baked some on Saturday and sent them to my Grandma and Great Aunt, who were SO EXCITED about this victory.  I baked the rest for us yesterday.  I made one small change, in that I used butter instead of shortening.  I’m not enough of a baker to know how the shortening ones would have turned out, but I looked at both oatmeal and chocolate chip cookie recipes, and both seemed to generally call for butter.  

And now, here we are. President Trump. It sticks in my throat and gave me nightmares last night. I cannot believe we are here. I cannot believe our next President will be a man with zero political experience, who denies climate change in the face of all evidence, who says and does the things he says and does. It is a bitter pill to swallow.

Anyway, since I had it ready to post yesterday, here is Hillary Clinton’s recipe.

Hillary Clinton’s Chocolate Chips


  • 1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening (I used butter)
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (I used dark because we had it)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease baking sheets (I used parchment paper instead, so the cookies wouldn’t spread as much.
  2. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.
  3. Beat together shortening (butter, room temperature), sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add eggs, beating until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in flour mixture and rolled Oates.  Stir in chocolate chips.  (Add some nuts if you’re baking for Grandma and Aunt Flo, omit if you’re baking for Ted and Maya.  Life is a little complicated sometimes.)
  4. Drop batter by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.
  5. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 7 1/2 dozen cookies

* The Almond Joy is Maya’s superstitiouss move…she enjoyed an Almond Joy for Obama’s win in ’08

Harriet Tubman ~ Abolition Princess

Maya and I were talking about Disney the other night, and how, while the princesses are generally funny and clever and increasingly independent, the happy ending of most Disney movies is the ‘Happily Ever After’ wedding. When the protagonist of a Disney movie is female, the end is almost always a wedding. When the protagonist of a Disney movie is male (wait, are there any with a male protagonists in Disney movies, or are they mainly Pixar these days?), the happy ending is the success of whatever adventure or mission they have just experienced. They save the day, the end. Mulan saves the entire nation of China, but the end still has to have a romance for her. Blech. Maya did say that a very recent Disney movie has a female protagonist, and no romance involved, but she’s napping right now after taking the Literature Subject SAT, so I can’t ask her.

After our conversation, I saw this article, about an artist who finds the lens through which women are seen in Disney movies to be absurd, and he went on to render some of our female role models through this Disney lens. Click on over and see what you think. 1st, he’s right, it’s ridiculous. 2nd, he did a lovely job. I wonder if he could get a job at Disney and find a way to paint heroines in a more complex and varied light? And would the audience appreciate the change?

The Right to Choose

Never Again(image found here)

So there’s all of this fuss right now about Todd Akin’s asinine comment about how if a woman were ‘legitimately raped’ (vs. what, date raped? Raped by her husband? Asshat.), her body would put up its defenses, making pregnancy impossible, and thus, no need to feel badly for the poor woman who might be coming in for an abortion, because, clearly, she is a slut and needs to honor the life of the unborn child before her own. She was not raped. At least, not legitimately. This is a strawman that covers the main issue. The main issue is, can I get an abortion if I want one.

Make no mistake…that is the issue at hand. And we need to stop tiptoeing around it. We should stop saying, “If a woman gets pregnant because her birth control fails her, or she wasn’t using any, it’s all her fault, and she therefore doesn’t have the right to decide whether to have a baby or not, which she will then either have to give up for adoption or raise herself …because abortion is murder of an innocent life.  HOWEVER, if she had no say in the matter, if she were raped, then suddenly, it’s NOT the taking of an innocent life.” That’s bull. I say, make up your mind, and ignore idiots like Akin, who want to pull us into these side issues.

Either a woman has the right to decide to continue her pregnancy, no matter how it was conceived, or she doesn’t. For those who say she doesn’t, for those who see that abortion as murder plain and simple, then I don’t see why there should be exceptions. All in or all out. Me, I’m all out. I do admit, sadly, that abortion is the end of a life. Murder if you want to use that term. It’s just that we have to decide…whose rights are paramount?  Those of the unborn child, or those of the pregnant mother. To a woman who is faced with an unintended pregnancy, I cannot say, “Too bad, you had sex, have a baby. Too bad if you aren’t ready. Too bad if you have 5 children already. Too bad if the father is a guy you DO.NOT.WANT. in your life forever.” There are so many different reasons that people go through this. None of them are easy and pretty. In a perfect world, these women would be able to transfer their babies over into the body of a woman who wants one. But they’re not. I honestly do not believe that anyone should have to go through pregnancy if they don’t want to. It’s horrid. Or at least, it’s difficult.

Anyway, to get back to the meat of it…we have to decide…are we pro-choice, or not? If so, then it doesn’t matter how the baby got there. If not, then it doesn’t matter how the baby got there. Either way, rape isn’t the issue. It’s ugly and horrid and monstrous, and rapists should go to Hell (said the atheist who doesn’t believe in Hell), but it’s not a factor in abortion rights. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.

Body Image for Girls

Starshine wrote a post a little while ago about the hyper-sexualized advertising she sees at the local mall, and brought up her concerns about raising her sons to be respectful of women and not objectify them, when they are surrounded by these images. She brings up a good point, and it’s important to raise our boys to understand that this is just advertising, and that the majority of women and girls do not go around in their underwear, with ‘come get me’ looks permanently on their faces, bent into unnatural positions. It’s a fantasy, and not even one that’s very interesting or original.

As the mother of a daughter, my mind travels to what these ads teach our girls. There is SO much focus on how a girl looks, as if that’s the only important thing a girl can do. Look good. And as if the only way a girl can look good is to wear revealing clothes and be available to guys all the time. It’s important to teach our children, boys and girls, that they have a lot to offer the world, a lot more than their looks and charms. For some reason my mind goes to a pretty innocent movie, “Back to the Future”, where Marty is telling Doc Brown that he wants to get back to 1985 because his girlfriend is there. Doc’s first words? “Is she pretty?” And she is, and she isn’t much more, since the story isn’t about her or their relationship, so all the actress has to work with is being pretty. But what about the plain girls in the world? Are they not deserving of love and attention, of respect and acclaim? What if he had had an amazingly caring and smart girlfriend, or a talented and funny girlfriend, but one who wasn’t society’s idea of ‘pretty’. What then?  Shouldn’t he still be interested in getting back to her, and to his life in general?

And what of the constant pressure to have a ‘perfect body’?  What does that do to a girl’s self esteem?  How much energy and time are lost by girls obsessing about how their thighs look?  I remember two separate articles on Yahoo that covered this issue.

Running in Skorts

One was a girls’ track team in Washington DC, where the coach noticed that the team members seemed to be spending a lot of effort obsessing about how they look.  Since high school is the age when women’s bodies start changing, and some girls are more likely to get cellulite than others (even runners), I’m sure they were worried about their butts and thighs, and did they look OK.  His solution was to have a runners skort designed that would allow a full range of motion for the girls, and yet still cover them up enough that they felt more comfortable and could focus on their running. The result?  A marked improvement in their running times.  They’re kicking butt.


The second story, from last fall, was about cheerleaders in Connecticut, who were embarrassed because they couldn’t raise their arms without their midriffs showing while wearing their uniforms.  Perhaps some of the girls were fine with letting it all hang out, but others were not, and didn’t want to feel self conscious when standing up to do their cheers.  There’s a perception out there that high school girls are hyper sexualized and want to wear sexy clothes, tight sweaters and short skirts, and certainly, that is how some girls explore this age and their sexuality.  But not all girls feel this way, and putting them in sexy outfits as cheerleaders makes things more difficult for them.  The solution was to buy them body suits to wear under their uniforms.   I hope they have new uniforms this year, because the last thing you want to add to your uniform on a hot fall afternoon is a black body suit.  Maybe they don’t have hot weather in Connecticut at the beginning of the football season, but I remember last year when Maya was cheering, there were some games that were up in the mid to high 90s.

The answer, I suspect, is to treat children like children.  I know that a teenager is not the same as a child, and yet, a 17 year old senior is not the same as a 14 year old freshman in so many ways.  But if we can just understand that kids mature and grow up at different rates, and that not all of us want our butts or tummies hanging out while we’re trying to perform a sport like cheer or running races or whatever, then maybe we can stop pushing our daughters and sons into becoming adults far before they’re ready.  And we need to understand the pressure that this idea of a perfect body is doing to our children.  It is almost unattainable, and the struggle is heart wrenching.   And hell, even kids who are born with that ‘perfect body’  have their problems in the world as well.  No one has a perfect life.  So this pressure, every time you turn around, to have a diet plan, count your steps and calories, watch the fat content in your milk, and try to figure out how many minutes of cardio you have to do to to counteract the sandwich you had for lunch.  It’s exhausting, a waste of time, and horrific.  I’m not saying that all of the ads at the mall have to be prudish, or that girls can’t wear a short skirt if they want to.  But I wish that there were more ads at the mall and in magazines that didn’t show under aged women waiting breathlessly for the opportunity to have sex, and that uniforms didn’t make girls feel uncomfortable about the shape of their legs or their stomachs.

What’s Wrong in this Marriage?


I saw this video the other day, and I was horrified.  Here’s the story:  A family with a husband, wife, and daughter.  The husband was laid off, and hasn’t been able to find work.   His wife increased her hours at work to compensate for their lost income.  So he’s staying home and caring for the home and their child, and she’s working.  Guess what?  They both resent the hell out of each other.  She has lost respect for him, because he’s not working, and because she doesn’t feel like a woman in this roll.  He doesn’t feel like she respects what he does around the house, and wants to be accepted and loved for who he is, not how much money he brings home.  She doesn’t feel like he understands what she has given up and how hard she is working, and he feels just about the same.

Whatever happened to teamwork?  To being a team in a marriage?  To supporting each other, no matter what?  To “for better or for worse”? The couple doesn’t sit close to each other, doesn’t sleep in the same bed, and I get the feeling they don’t talk to each other much.  I would hate to think that this could be the majority of marriages in America.  That so many marriages might be based on such a flimsy foundation, that a change in circumstances could derail their marriage to such a severe extent.

When Ted was out of work, I didn’t think any less of him.  I will admit to being a bit jealous when Maya was a baby, and he was home working on his dissertation, and was thus able to spend more time with her than I was.  I suspect that at that same time, he was probably jealous of my ability to go to work and focus on my job, rather than the million distractions a baby bring into the equation.  But we still loved and supported each other, and we made those decisions together.  I respected him for all that he did with Maya, for what an amazing and wonderful father he was to her (and still is, of course).  I wish this couple could come to such a place, where they respect each other again, without it having to be so much on her terms of what she expects from him financially.

Personhood vs. Parenthood

I heard the other day about an amendment on the Colorado ballot that would define Personhood as beginning at the moment of conception.  This is clearly a pro-life effort, working to determine a concrete definition of when life begins, which would eventually lead to outlawing abortion by defining abortion as the murder of an unborn child.

I’m not willing to go so far as to use the word murder, but at the same time, I’m not willing to say that a fetus isn’t a living being either.  And really, what this all comes down to is parsing words in a battle over rights.  The rights of the unborn child vs. the rights of the unwilling mother.  To parse words and say “in cases of rape or incest it’s OK, but not otherwise” is disingenuous.  If it’s the taking of a life, it’s the taking of a life, no matter how that life came to be.  It’s not the baby’s fault that it was conceived due to rape or incest.

My thought on this matter is, yes, it is a life.  It is a potential life, because if it were allowed to continue on, it would result in a baby.  And babies are people.  But sometimes the rights of the mother and the rights of the child are at odds with each other, and a decision has to be made, as to whether the mother’s rights or the child’s rights take priority.  The mother, being the sentient being, has the rights, until the baby is born.  The baby’s rights are secondary to hers.  Is it pretty?  No.  It’s an ugly reality.  The mother has the right to determine whether she will or will not give birth to a child, period.  Because we cannot take the child out of her, and give it that opportunity to survive elsewhere, her rights supersede those of the child.

Does this suck?  Indeed, it does.  But at some level, I wish we could all get beyond the legal arguing over when life begins or doesn’t begin, and move on to making abortion as rare as we possibly can.  We can do that by supporting women when they become pregnant.  We can give them health care and child care, so that an unplanned baby doesn’t signal a death sentence to their dreams.  We can do this by providing free contraception to anyone who wants it.  It’s cheaper than providing abortions, and it’s a lot cheaper than providing health care for a pregnancy and a child.  We can do this by providing age appropriate sex education to children and teenagers.  Give them the information that they need, so that they can decide for themselves what chances they’re willing to take.

Making abortion illegal will not stop them from occurring.  Women had abortions before they were legalized, and desperate women will take desperate measures.  Abortion needs to be available and legal to anyone who needs one.  We cannot go back to the days of illegal and unsafe abortions.  But if both sides on this issue would stop parsing words and fighting about the moment when life begins, and spend their money, efforts, and time on preventing as many unwanted pregnancies as we can, perhaps we can truly make it rare.

Vote Early, Vote Often


I kid!  Only vote once.  But some of you can vote early if you want to.  Long lines and long waits are predicted on election day, so if you have the option to vote early, you might want to think about it.  Could save you time, and take a bit of the crunch off of the poll workers on November 4th.  Also, less chance of any shenanigans occurring with your ballot. 😉

The video is for the ladies, and a reminder to all of us that we should never take any of our rights for granted. They can all be taken away.  Fight for them, and get out and VOTE.

HPV for Boys

We’ve all seen the commercials, right?  The ones that say, “I want to be one less”, the girls who don’t want to become a statistic, to get cervical cancer.  The HPV vaccine prevents a few varieties of the virus that causes cervical cancer, so while it isn’t a cure, it could be a step in the right direction.

Well, Maya is 12 now, and not really acting interested in boys.  We’ve been deciding whether to vaccinate her now or later.  It’s not a matter of whether to vaccinate her or not…if we can protect her from the possibility of dying from cancer, wouldn’t we want to do so?  And HPV is SO prevalent in Humans, your best chance of preventing it is to vaccinate before your child becomes sexually active.  So they recommend vaccination between the ages of 10 and 12, to cover the ‘early bloomers’ in the crowd.  The only problem is, for us, that the vaccination is so new.  We want to wait a few years, just to make sure it’s safe.  We did the same thing with chicken pox.  We waited.  One thing I like about Maya’s pediatrician is that she has a daughter about 9 months older than Maya.  So when we were trying to decide if we wanted to vaccinate against chicken pox, we asked her, and she said, “The Jury’s still out in our household”.  Meaning, she was for it, her husband wasn’t yet comfortable, and she waited until he was.  Once they were comfortable vaccinating their daughter, we felt safer about giving that same shot to Maya.   It’s the same now.  So this year, when I talked to her pediatrician, she said, “It’s whether your daughter is 12 going on 30, or 12 going on 13.  If she’s trying really hard to be grown up, really interested in boys, etc., you might not feel safe waiting.  And if she’s not in a hurry, you can feel safe waiting a bit longer.”  Her daughter just turned 13, and they’re waiting until she’s 14.  That made me feel better.  More like I didn’t have to decide TODAY.  (Sometimes I wish we had waited maybe 5 more years to have Maya, so she wouldn’t always be on the front end of these vaccinations.)

ANYWAY, my whole point here was to talk to you parents of boys.  Did you know that the vaccination is effective in boys as well?  Why, you might ask, would I need to subject my son to a vaccination that won’t help him?  Think of it this way.  If it can prevent him from passing on a disease to a woman he loves, isn’t that a good thing?  If your son can not watch his wife or lover die or suffer from a horrible disease, wouldn’t that be worthwhile?  Are you going to bet some girl’s life on your son being a virgin until he marries, and her being a virgin as well, and them staying together forever?  That’s a mighty risky gamble, and if it worked, people wouldn’t die from this disease now.  I am not so sure that it’s available for boys yet, though.  Maya’s doctor told me it’s effective for boys, but the article I linked to, above, suggests that it isn’t even available for them yet.  Why? Very strange, in my book.

My further 2 cents.  People who say that giving your child this vaccination encourages promiscuity are delusional.  Maya has had a ton of shots throughout the years, and she NEVER asks what they’re for.  She just hates having them, and is glad when they’re over. So if I’m not comfortable talking to her about it YET, I don’t have to.  I can indeed talk to her about it in a few years, and tell her what it protects against, and what it doesn’t protect against, and why she should still be mighty careful, if she doesn’t want to end up like Jamie Lynn Spears or Bristol Palin.  And one mighty good option is to wait.  Some kids do.  But I wouldn’t risk her life on it.

Blog for Choice Day

Blog for Choice Day

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the 3rd annual ‘Blog for Choice Day’. I participated last year, when the writing prompt was, “Why you’re pro choice“, as well as in 2006, when I declared that I think that the rights of the pregnant woman supersede those of the unborn child, and that the answer to the abortion question shouldn’t be to outlaw it, but rather, to improve medical care, education, and family planning access so that fewer and fewer women find themselves having to make this difficult decision.

The writing prompt this year is ‘why it’s important to vote pro-choice’. In an election year, especially an election year like this one, I think that it is more important than ever to consider this issue. With so many of the Republican candidates being firmly in the anti-choice camp, it becomes more important than ever to stand up and be counted, to let your elected (or hoping to be elected) officials know where you stand on this issue.

If you consider yourself pro-choice, if you believe that a woman has the right to decide whether to carry her pregnancy to term or not, then you must vote pro-choice. President Bush has had the opportunity to appoint Supreme Court justices who adhere to his anti-choice beliefs, and the Court is close to becoming an anti-choice court.

If you consider yourself pro-choice, you must vote pro-choice at every level, at the very least, at the state and federal levels. If the court does overturn Roe v. Wade, that will not make abortion illegal, but will leave it in the hands of the states. So make sure the people you vote for in your state will reflect your beliefs.

If you consider yourself pro-choice, you must vote for candidates who will improve access to providers. Too many counties (41% of California’s counties, and California is a pretty red state, even though our Governator is blue) have no providers where a woman can go if she needs to have an abortion. If you’re middle class or wealthy, this isn’t such a big deal. But if you’re young and broke, or just plain broke, driving a few hundred miles might be out of the question for you.

If you consider yourself pro-choice, or even if you consider yourself pro-life, electing candidates who will vote for prevention legislation, including accurate and age appropriate sex education (what is age appropriate? BEFORE they need it. When and after is too late.) and access to free birth control, will decrease the demand for abortions.

If you believe that abortion is not for you, don’t have one. If it goes against the morals that you believe your child should have, then teach your children what your morals are, and why you hold them close to your heart. Not all teens are sexually active. Not all teens who get pregnant have abortions. Not all (female) teens who are sexually active get pregnant. Not all abortions are procured by teens who didn’t have information or access to birth control. Our right to decide what to do, or not to do, with our bodies, should be left with the individual, and the state has no right to get in the way of that choice.

If you consider yourself to be pro-choice, it is vital that you remember that on election day. Not just this November, but in every election.

UPDATE: For a great read on this topic, check out this article on Salon.com. Many different voices discussing their own rememberences around Roe v. Wade. Some women who remember life before, others who have grown up assuming it would always stand strong, and still others who wish to remind us that the pro-lifers are disingenuous when they claim to want to prevent abortion, but vote to disallow sex education classes. All very well written. If you’re not a premium member of Salon, you will see a page advertising something or another. Just wait a minute, and you can go to the full article.

Hold the Door…

This post, by Deb over at Punctuality Rules!, has had me thinking for a few weeks about holding the door. Back in July, I wrote a post about women who eschew the term feminist, because to them it divides us as women, or because they don’t like the stereotype of women who are unfeminine man haters, and wish to distance themselves from that idea altogether. I’m not sure why Deb’s post got me thinking again about my previous post, and the comments in that post, but it did. Whenever the issue of feminism comes up, the issue of holding the door open comes up. Some men were raised to believe that to hold a door open for a lady is a sign of respect, and some women were raised to believe the same thing, and thus they see a man holding the door open for them as a recognition of that same respect. Some women feel that for a man to hold a door open for her means that he doesn’t feel that she is capable of holding the door open for herself, and that she somehow needs special treatment to function in the world. Special not being a compliment in this case. My mom raised me to be a feminist, raised me in the 70s and 80s, and to believe that not only could I hold a door for myself, I could also change the oil in my car if I so chose, balance my own checkbook, live wherever I wanted, get whatever education I wanted, etc. In none of these lessons did she say that by doing these things, I was losing my femininity. In none of these lessons did she teach me that men are the enemy. In none of these lessons did she teach me to be strident or angry if a man chose to open a door for me. Indeed, I was taught that it is good manners to hold the door open for anyone coming behind you, be they male or female, and bad manners to close the door in a person’s face.

Over the years, I have worked with many men, especially those a generation ahead of me, who hold the door for women. It’s never bothered me one way or another. I always found it to be polite, always said “Thank you”, and always opened doors for them if I reached the door first. Some of them will take the door from you and allow you to go in first anyway, which again, I’ll just say “Thank you”, and go in, though I find it a bit strange.

A few years ago, I worked with a man who was insistent about opening the doors for women…annoyingly so. If I reached a door first, meaning, a good 10 steps ahead of him, I was supposed to wait for him to run and catch up and open the door for me. If I opened the door for myself, I got an exasperated sigh and an eye roll as he took the door from me, and held it until I went through. So wait, I’m supposed to stand there like an idiot, pretending like my arms don’t work, because you’re a gentleman? I don’t think so. I was brought up with better manners than to just open the door for myself and go on through and let it hit him in the face, which is what I often wanted to do. Now, perhaps he thought it charming to chide me in this way. Perhaps he was trying to be playful and tease me, and I’m just uppity in letting it bother me. And perhaps, if it had only happened once, it would not have bothered me at all. But it was every time I happened to get there first, and opened the door. Every. Time.

So I’m sorry…I’ll hold the door for you if you’re coming behind me, and I’ll say thank you if you hold the door for me, but if letting go of the custom of men holding doors open for women is the price to be paid to not be condescended to by assholes? It’s a cheap price to pay.

Oh, and by the way…when I went looking for a little graphic to go with this post, because I love the graphics, I found a post from a poor bewildered man who asks about women who give him the exasperated sigh and the eye roll if he doesn’t hold the door for them. I guess the polite rule should be, hold the door for anyone coming behind you, if they’re within a reasonable distance, and if someone does so for you, say “Thank you”. The end.

1. Today is work, of course, plus the contractor is coming to fix a few things…
2. Get back in the swing of things with Gilad and a 4 mile walk in the morning

Kool Thing

Some song on the radio reminded me for a brief moment of this song, from way back in 1990, Kool Thing, by Sonic Youth. There’s a bit in the middle when they get all political, and Kim asks Chuck D what he’s going to do for the ladies…is he going to free them from white-male-corporate-oppression? He’s all supportive and kool, saying things like “Yeah…tell it like it is”, that kind of thing.

I always liked that song, but here’s the thing. I don’t want a big strong man to save women from white-male-corporate-oppression. I want us to save ourselves. Men can work along with us, but not as our saviors, as our equals. I want the work to be done by women, for women. Which is why, damn it, I want to vote for Hillary Clinton. Because as much as she is clearly an equivocating member of the old boy’s club, and her stance on Iraq and Iran clearly mean we should NOT vote for her, she is still a woman. And having a woman president is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl. Men may or may not understand why it feels important to me, to many of us, to have a face of power that looks a bit more like mine. With a woman President would (one hopes) come more women in powerful offices, more women in the cabinet, more female advisers, more women all around. And with women in positions of power, perhaps some of the men in power might realize that the world isn’t going to end just because she might get PMS or something stupid like that. It could open so many doors, especially in the imaginations of young girls. They could know that their sex no longer holds them back quite as far as it once did. That’s an important thing to know. Damn it, it would be history. So. I admit it. I want a woman president, and it pisses me off that I feel so strongly the desire to defend myself for wanting to vote for her.

And of course, I do feel the need to defend myself, because I don’t really LIKE her, and I’m not sure what kind of a president she would be, and after these last 8 stupid years, we really need a good, strong president. Someone who is in touch with the people, and can relinquish some of the executive powers stolen by BushCo., someone who is willing to stand up for what is right again.

Then, god, if I can’t get behind Hillary, I want to get behind Obama. He’s smart, he’s black, he’s dedicated, and he’s a Democrat. I want a brown face in the Oval Office almost as much as I want a female face. But honestly, Oprah or no, I can’t get all excited about him. I’m not sure why, but he has thus far failed to capture my imagination.

I heart Kucinich, even if he does hang out with Shirley Maclaine. I voted for him in the primaries last time, and I might do so again. But he doesn’t have a chance, it seems, any more than he did last time.

And then there’s Edwards. I love his wife (not enough of a reason to vote for a person, but hell, she seems to be just an awesome woman), and he seems to be willing to stand up to the Republicans, and he seems to want to champion the cause of poverty in this nation, which is a cause that has been ignored as of late. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I’m falling for him.

So…here I find myself, in a race with a black man and a white woman, leaning toward white men as my first two choices. It’s truly pissing me off. I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do.  And just yesterday, Starshine linked me to an election calculator meant to give me all of my answers, and guess what?  I apparantly really like Mike Gravel.  Though I must admit I don’t know the guy from Adam’s off ox.   Next is Kucinich (no shock there, since I heart him), Biden, and Obama.  Edwards still comes out above Hillary.  They didn’t ask me, however, how I felt about having more women in positions of power in our Executive Branch, so I don’t know.  I guess I have until February to figure it out…that’s the CA primaries.


What’s in a name?

I was shocked, SHOCKED I’ll tell you, to read over at Bite My Cookie that she does not consider herself a feminist. She said she wouldn’t make a good feminist, because her husband is the breadwinner, while she is at home with the kids, and cooking up an idea for a cookie business, which will be funded at first from money saved from her husband’s job. So, because she loves her husband, she needs him, and doesn’t want to do away with him and do it all on her own, she doesn’t think she would make a good feminist. She’s smart, articulate, well educated, strong willed, opinionated, loving, entrepenurial, motivated as hell, liberal, funny, and so many things that I’m missing…what’s not feminist about all of that? I left a comment saying I was a bit surprised, and moved on. (Her post wasn’t ABOUT feminism, by the way…it was a little quip she made in a post about BlogHer.) I moved on to a post by Tiny Cat Pants, which coincidentally was discussing feminism, in its more radical form. She linked to the blog of a stripper, who is tired of feminists and is walking away from that title in her own life.

So. Here we have smart, successful women, turning away from the term feminist. That made me think, what are they rejecting? Renegade Evolution, the woman walking away from the title, says she’s tired of it because she’s tired of women judging each other, more specifically tired of them judging her, and that deep down, she doesn’t want to become one of them, doesn’t want to start judging others. Well, I don’t either. Certainly the so called “mommy wars” are evidence of some of that judgment, and how hurtful it can be. So, I went looking for a non-biased, third person type definition of feminist. I found myself at Wikipedia, and found a lot, including this:

One of the difficulties in defining and circumscribing a complex and heterogeneous concept such as feminism is the extent to which women have rejected the term from a variety of semantic and political standpoints. Many women engaged in activities intimately grounded in feminism have not considered themselves feminists. Likewise, it is assumed that only women can be feminists. However, feminism is not grounded in the basis of one’s gender, but in rejecting and refuting sexist oppression politically, socially, privately, linguistically, and otherwise. (Though there are people – both men and women – who claim feminism itself can be biased in its approach to gender relations.) Redefining feminism in this way illustrates and reflects today’s reality of both men and women openly supporting feminism and also openly adhering to sexist ideals. From a political vantage, the term “feminism” has been rejected both because of fears of labeling, and because of its innate ability to attract broad misogyny. Historically Virginia Woolf was one of the more prominent women to reject the term early in its history in 1938, although it would be easy to overstate Woolf’s position, considering that she is regarded as an icon of feminism. However Betty Friedan would revisit this concern in 1981 in The Second Stage. Nevertheless, defining ideas does not necessarily imply tagging the individual. Ann Taylor, for instance, offers the following definition of a feminist, after Karen Offen: Any person who recognizes “the validity of women’s own interpretation of their lived experiences and needs,” protests against the institutionalized injustice perpetrated by men as a group against women as a group, and advocates the elimination of that injustice by challenging the various structures of authority or power that legitimate male prerogatives in a given society. Another way of expressing this concept is that a primary goal is to correct androcentric bias.

OK, so, let me start by telling you what the term Feminism means to me. What it means to me, to be a feminist, is that men and women are equal. End of story. I have a lot of other opinions, about working, staying home, childcare, child labor, marriage, divorce, pornography, childrens’ rights, unions, drugs, gambling, polygamy, on and on and on. And I have formed these opinions over the years, based on experiences of my own and those of others. They are none of them set in stone. If someone were to convince me that my opinion of any of these things were wrong, I would change my opinion. And none, NONE of these opinions have anything whatsoever to do with my considering myself a feminist. I consider myself a feminist, because I don’t think another person is better than me based solely upon their genitalia. Everything else is me, not feminism.

That may not be how you think about it. So, I’m wondering, especially those of you women who are smart, sassy, and strong willed….what is YOUR definition of a feminist? Do you consider yourself to be one? Why, or why not? (Let’s not leave the men out of this…all of the sexiest men are feminists, too…)

Updated to add that Aunt B. over at Tiny Cat Pants linked to this post, with her own definition: “To me, feminism is the radical notion that women are human and that being human is not equivalent to suffering.”

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is traditionally a day for honoring our mothers, our grandmothers, our wives if they are mothers. We do this by taking them to lunch or dinner, giving them flowers and gifts, making sure we understand how special they are to us, how important they are, and that we appreciate all of the things that they have given us, and what they do for us.

It was interesting for me to find that the original purpose of Mother’s Day had nothing to do with Hallmark or FTD, crowded restaurants and long buffet lines…it had to do with searching for peace. Julia Ward Howe (hey, that’s almost my maiden name!) first sought to bring about a “Mother’s Day for Peace” in response to the Civil War and the terrible toll that it took on our country, a day for women to “rise up and oppose war in all its forms. She wanted women to come together across national lines, to recognize what we hold in common above what divides us, and commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts.” In her quest, she issued an impassioned and thoughtful declaration:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

I’m not sure how this idea, the idea of a holiday seeking an end to war and carnage, a holiday allowing women to become more involved in the political process and have some small say (remember, this is before women could vote in the U.S.), turned into a commercial holiday on the level of Valentine’s Day or Christmas (the secular part of it, at least). I enjoy the flowers and extra hugs as much as the next person, but I think I would prefer that no mother’s children have to lose their lives in such a horrid way.