Posts Tagged 'feminism'

Ride Peggy, Ride

About four and a half years ago, I bought myself a bicycle.  It didn’t take very long for me to fall in love with it, and with cycling in general.  I loved how I could hop on and glide through the streets of Oakland, getting almost anywhere I needed to go, without much concern for traffic or parking.  I didn’t have to worry about being harassed as I waited for the bus.   I loved that I could go, go, go without having to worry about refueling.   Flying down the bike lane was exciting, and I also felt like I was a part of a special club.   In short, it helped me feel independent and free.

And of course, I’m not alone in my sense of freedom upon a bicycle.  The bicycle is often held up as a key component of the changing culture in the 1890s.  Women took to bicycles as they were experiencing greater access to public life, and riding changed fashions of the days, as women began to dress to accomodate riding.   They were also affordable for many people, and “in 1897 alone, more than two million bicycles were sold in the United States , about one for every 30 inhabitants.”  I agree, that “cycling is inherently feminist.”  I’m proud to be a part of this tradition, just as I am proud when vote or support women owned business.

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.” ~ Susan B. Anthony, 1896

Suffragettes On Bicycles

Cycling has also been shown to be a great vehicle for improving physical and mental health.  (Pardon the pun)    I have always felt that cycling has been great for my personal health and wellbeing, even though at times it can be a harrowing experience.    It’s exhilarating, it’s fresh air, and it’s movement.  All good things for body and soul.

My bicycle has become very important to me.  It does feel like an extension of myself.

So, I was absolutely heartbroken when I found that my bike had been stolen on Monday night.     This is all that’s left of her.  I’m crushed.

Lock

So much so, that I went out and got myself a brand new bike right away.  I don’t want to live a bicycle-less life ever again.

photo (5)

I think she’s so beautiful.

 

 

In Case You Were Wondering, Facebook…

Yes!  This is totally misogynist!!

“Because, OMG, skinny bitches are gross!  Who would want to fuck that?  Amirite?”

People’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes.   You don’t have to be attracted to them all, but you sure as shit don’t need to do line-ups of one type against another and then post (or repost) some body policing shame-a-thon up on a social network in order to get high fives and ‘likes’.

And if you thought this was somehow empowering, think again.   Our body shape and size is largely determined by genetics, so how is this compare and contrast line-up supposed to make anyone feel better, when all it’s really doing is saying, “If you look more like the women on the top, well then it sucks to be you, because you’re scary!”  And the overwhelming majority of us look nothing like either of those two sets of women. “Real women have curves.” No, actually, not all women do, and it doesn’t make them any less fucking real if they don’t.

Also, and why isn’t this the most obvious fucking thing ever, but all the photos featured in the bottom row are obviously from fashion shoots, while the ones on the top are candid shots of celebrities who happened to be at the beach?   No one looks in real life like they do at a photo shoot!  Even before Photoshop, they would still pose them, and stitch them into swimsuits that would be most flattering, do tall their hair and makeup, so comparing a model shot of Elizabeth Taylor to a shot of Keira Knightly just hanging out at the beach is fucking ridiculous.

If you want to encourage acceptance of women’s bodies, you should find an image that is a positive portrayal of multiple shapes, colors, sizes, without imposing a hierarchy.   Something like, I dunno, This…

Source: naturalmodelsla

Source: naturalmodelsla Borrowed from - http://healthyisclassy.tumblr.com/ Click to visit!

Also, Keira Knightly’s abs are fucking ridiculously jacked.  Holy six pack!  God damn, girl, you buff!

Just sayin’.

More Thoughts on Street Harassment

So, my earlier post brought out an unexpected response from a close friend.   Basically, that I should feel lucky that strange men are yelling at me on the street based on my appearance.  That it’s a compliment.   And then there was mild chastisement for large sunglass wearing, texting “zombie” behavior.   Apparently, I should thank my lucky stars for having won the genetic lottery and smile big and purdy whenever some random dude on the street feels like he just can’t contain himself and has to make a comment to me about my body.  

Here’s the thing, and let there be no ambiguity in this, it is NOT OK for strange men to comment on a woman’s body or appearance while she’s going about her life.  It is NOT A COMPLIMENT.   It is HARASSMENT.   Plan and simple.    “Hey Baby!” is not a way to make a connection to another human being.  It’s INSULTING. 

Great Gallant This mostly verbal harassment involves excessive compliments and personal comments that focus on appearance and gender, and are out of place or embarrassing to the recipient. Such comments are sometimes accompanied by leering looks. The “wolf whistles” of a street harasser are one example of this.

Wikipedia 

Even the “you’re so pretty,” “you’ve got pretty eyes,” and “I like your hair” variety is still offensive.   Why?  Because IT IS objectifying.   They don’t like me.  They’re not interested in me.    They’re interested in my body, my eyes, and my hair, which are parts of the whole, but not the whole of the person.   Also, these are usually just ins to continue with some other line or to get more foul.    Heaven forbid you ENGAGE, because then they could start FOLLOWING you.   

On a personal level, I am NOT OBLIGATED to look you in the eye nor smile at you if you are a strange (unknown to me) man.   It’ll be a cold day in HELL when I start smiling at random strange men.    Why?   Because I have a strong Self-Preservation Instinct.  I’ve been told since I was a very young girl NOT TO TALK TO STRANGERS.

You may feel like I’m over-reacting, but I’d say that that’s because you haven’t experienced much of this.  It is a real problem.   And these interactions can be very dangerous.  For instance, this last May, 18 year old Mildred Beaubrun was shot and later died in Orlando after refusing to give a stranger her phone number.  

The first time it ever happened to me, I hadn’t even begun puberty.   I was eleven years old, and a grown man yelled something at me as I walked down the street.    Two men on a public bus also looked me up and down, and one turned to another and said, “you can tell when they wear shorts like that that they want it.”  You can’t tell me that that was a compliment.   It was gross intimidation, clear and simple, not to mention pedophilia, except that I just did.    And as a child, it was scary, because how was I to know how far that man would take it.  

And the thing is, it’s exactly the same today as it was then.    The men are still using the same words, sounds, and looks.    So, why shouldn’t I still feel like it’s wrong?   Why is it supposed to be different just because I’m an adult?   

So, yeah, I do the iPod thing.   Anywhere I’m walking, unless it’s after dark, I have my headphones in, so that I don’t hear this crap.   I stare at my phone when I walk down the street, hoping that if I’m occupied, they’ll leave me alone.   And I wear my sunglasses on BART, even when it’s dark, because I don’t want anyone thinking I’m making eye contact and taking that as encouragement.   

And apparently I’m not alone – Elizabeth’s Story

 

 

And I got a whole lot of linkage:

http://feministing.com/archives/007244.html

http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_hate.jsp?id=542

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Zone_(film)

http://www.thevillager.com/villager_118/justlookingaviewof.html

 

 

 

So, sorry Uncle Samurai, but you really got my blood boiling.   I still consider you a good friend, but I hope you’ll think a little more carefully about my perspective.

 

Just sayin’.

Growing Up with Strong Women

I think, if you’ve read my blog much, you probably realize that I’m an independent type of person. And by independent, I mean feminist. That’s how I was raised. Above and beyond the lessons my mother taught me, and the examples of my grandmothers, though, at a certain age I looked around at the world, and thought to myself, “Yeah, that makes the most sense.” Some of the other things parents and grandparents tried to teach didn’t make it through the filter.

Another influence on my young mind was Judy Blume. I *loved* her books Superfudge and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. So, when I saw a write up for the site YA for Obama on Salon:Broadsheet, I had to check it out.

Here’s a letter from Ms. Blume, posted on the site:

Why I Support Obama

The first time I was old enough to vote in a presidential election John Kennedy was running against Richard Nixon. I was 22, married, expecting my first child and living in suburban New Jersey. My husband, a lawyer, belonged to the Young Republicans club. He expected me to help his cause by making phone calls urging people to vote for Nixon.

I never made those calls. And on election day I was thrilled to pull the lever, casting my vote for Kennedy. I’ve never responded well to being told what to do. I prefer to make up my own mind.

Like so many others, I was inspired by John Kennedy and excited about the possibilities for our country. Coming out of the sleepy, complacent fifties, he made me believe that change was possible. I believed in him the way my parents believed in Roosevelt. I remember the night Roosevelt died in April, 1945. I was seven years old and just recovering from chicken pox. When my parents heard the news on the radio, they fell into each other’s arms, crying. I cried, too, although I didn’t have a clue.

My generation wept the same way when we lost John Kennedy. Then Martin Luther King. Then Bobby Kennedy. We mourned what might have been. In the dark days that followed, those of us who were young and idealistic were forced to grow up fast. I watched the Vietnam war unfold on TV as I played on the floor with my two small children. I became a skeptic about politics and politicians. Yet there was never an election when I didn’t vote. For me, voting was both obligation and privilege.

I’ve never spoken publicly about my politics. But I’m speaking out now because at last we have a candidate who makes me believe again. A candidate who I see as America’s best hope, a candidate who inspires not just my grandson’s generation, but my own, and my children’s.

Whoever is elected in November is going to face a daunting challenge. No one person can clean up the mess it took 7 and ½ years to create. That’s why I want the calm, thoughtful candidate I believe will surround himself with the best and the brightest. I believe the decisions Obama makes will be made based on what’s best for this country.

I want a president who can make us proud as Americans. How great would it be after 7 and ½ years to have an articulate leader, an eloquent speaker, one who is not only willing to talk, but to listen? I believe Obama will be that kind of president. Plus, he has a sense of humor. He has two young daughters and a working wife. He’s smart. And let’s not forget the magic. Nothing wrong with having the ability to connect with people around the world –young, old, and in-between.

In some ways an election is like life – a lot of muck comes your way. It’s hard sometimes to slog through it. It’s exhausting. It can be scary. You can feel like you’re drowning in it. You’ve got to work hard to pull yourself up and out of it, then to rise above it. We need a leader who can help us do that. That’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama.

All I ask is that you make an informed decision. It’s about the issues. It’s about health care, the economy, education, the environment, a woman’s right to choose, equal pay for equal work — it’s about who will be appointed to the Supreme Court, and it’s about never rushing into war again – not without all the facts, not without trying everything we can to prevent war first. This election is too important for all of us to decide in any other way.

Tell your parents, tell your grandparents, it’s not just about them this time. It’s about you and your future. It’s about my grandson’s future. That’s why I’m speaking out.

Thanks,
Judy

“Are you there, Judy? It’s me, PeggyLuWho. I just wanted to say ‘thanks’.”

Yesterday I got my absentee ballot in the mail. I filled it out. I mailed it back today.

Go out and vote people.

If you’re in California, and you’re not registered, you have until the 20th.

Register To Vote

HELL YEAH!!!!

I have to send some appreciation to my Rep. from Oakland, Ms. Barbara Lee.

The House yesterday passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 1338, by a vote of 247-178, strengthening the Equal Pay Act, to help women earn the same wage as their male counterparts.

Thank you!   Thank you!  It’s not often that I get to feel like the person I voted for is actually doing something that directly effects my life.

The only thing is, there’s no effing way that Bush is gonna sign it.

For more information, check out Feministing, as well as The Gavel.

Thank you Feministing for posting the YouTube that I so lazily lifted.

Oh Snap. You Got Me Steve Colbert

In addition to reading more and writing more, I am also watching way too much fucking TV. It’s not all bad. Some of it is really bad though.

And then there’s Comedy Central. There’s the Daily Show. And there’s the Colbert Report.

So, in case you weren’t watching last night, Colbert did this whole thing on water. It was all about how America is too dependent on water.

The best part was a graphic that was to explain how “the scientists say” the water cycle works. I would love to have found the graphic on-line, and I probably would if I waited a week to write this, but let’s face it, I’d forget.

Here’s the synopsis of the slide from NoFactZone.com:

First, the sun causes ground water to evaporate which then condenses into clouds; then Feminists and taxes make God cry and the ocean gets replenished.

Emphasis mine. I guffawed. So, to those of you out there who think feminists have no sense of humor, I’d like to counter that you’re not funny; the Colbert Report is. This is how you make funny about feminism.

Thanks Steve. I needed the laugh.

Quote of the Day

I can’t believe I never ran across this before. I probably have, but just looked at it and thought, “that’s it exactly!” and probably said something similar a few times myself.

Anyway – here it is:

“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler


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