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Posts from the Women Category

- By Jill Greenwood

First off, I have no idea if this will publish on time because I’m writing it on Sunday morning. With all the hubbub about Hurricane Sandy, I figured I’d rather be safe than sorry and schedule this bitch in advance. Second, in a month of women, I’m coming up short with my final post. We’ve already covered all the topics that I care about, most of which were far more eloquent than I ever could hope to be. So I’m going with a topic that rattles around in my brain every once and a while when I’m thinking about the women who have gone before me. I’m playing make believe today and figuring out which women I would invite over for some wine and cheese and conversation.

Years ago, when my daughters and I were stranded in a train station in London (there are worst places to be stranded, for sure), I picked up a book on the sublime Eleanor of Aquitaine and was smitten within the first few pages. She was the original bad-ass. Duchess in her own right – no need for a husband. Queen of France until she tired of being the king’s arm candy . . . so she sought divorce and regained her lands and money and kept her kids legitimate, which was no small feat back in the day. Eleanor must have had a thing for kings (actually, her money and lands made her very desirable by men) because then she married Henry II of England. Eventually, she fell out of favor with him, so he locked her up in a nunnery for over a decade. Eleanor was smart, wily, and shrewd . . . plus she had a thing for red shoes. Is it any wonder that my girls once said, “If you were a time-traveling lesbian, you’d totally go back and marry Eleanor of Aquitaine.” Smart, my kids.

Anne Boleyn also gets an invite. Seriously, how could she not? I’m of the mindset that Anne gets a bad rap when you think about powerful women in history. She was used as a pawn by her family members who really only wanted to secure a spot in the English monarchy; at one point, it really didn’t matter who took one for the team – Anne or her sister, Mary – as long as her father got what he wanted: access to the king. People have long misrepresented Anne, claiming that she broke up the Catholic church in England. But the sad fact is, her boyfriend did that for her . . . all for the desire of a little tail (all hail the V, indeed). After it became apparent that Anne couldn’t produce a son (hello, science! It was all Henry’s fault), the palace began scheming for ways to get rid of its little problem, ahem Anne, and they decided that since she wouldn’t go quietly, they’d just restrict access to her mouth a la a French sword.  Since Anne is dropping by this little party, she’s more than welcome to bring along Lady Jane Grey, another woman used cruelly by her family for their own material gain, and Elizabeth I, who could tell them what it was like to have power on her own.

This one is a given, but Mary Dyer is coming around for a few cocktails. Growing up with a name that everyone butchered, it was a welcome surprise when all of a sudden people started asking about my “long lost cousin” in class. Here’s a woman who stands up for her convictions believing that all people – men and women – had the right to read the Bible. Who gave birth to a stillborn child and later had to listen to people say that its deformities were the result of its wicked mother. Who was banished from her home for refusing to give up her religious freedom. Who continued to preach against the wishes of her family. Who ultimately was hung for all of the above.

Elizabeth Zimmerman, please come to my dinner party. Bring your knitting. Bring your voice. Bring your wit. As a knitter, I owe you a debt that can never be repaid. But I have a ton of questions . . . like why can’t your directions be a little easier to follow and why must you go on and on and on about geese when I am just getting a pattern. Plus, I’d like to figure out the Greenwood connection.

On the invite list . . . any of the women who transported their families across the harsh realities of their lands in search of a better place. Any of the women who kept their families together during war and strife. Any of the women who started businesses to make their lives better.  Any of the women who scraped and scrounged and scrapped to make a difference. Wonder Woman is coming. So’s my mom. My mother-in-law. My grandmothers. My aunts. My daughters. My sisters. My nieces. My O + U compatriots.

And you. You’re invited, too . . . who is going to be your “plus one” to this epic party?

 

 

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Kristen at Becky’s birth.  She is one of the most kick-ass woman’s woman I know.  So kick-ass that we looked for houses in her neighborhood which was completely out of our comfort zone.  Are you in the Columbus, OH area and in need of a doula?  Are you in need of some kick-ass wisdom and info?  Check her out here and here

I grew up in a house full of women.

A house full. A shit ton house full, even.

Sure, there were men in my home: my dad (who worked a lot), a grandpa, and an older brother (who had already graduated high school by the time I was eight years old).

But I also had my mom, my grandma, an older sister (who lived in Wisconsin with her mom most of the year), and two younger sisters.

Four girls in the family. Four sisters. And a grandma and a mom.

That’s a whole lot of women.

I’ve heard people say that the more Oganowski women you put in a room–the more Oganowski sisters, that is–the more intimidating that room gets. Everyone else shrinks to the periphery as we start to dominate the space.

We are loud. We are opinionated. We are very sweet and very sassy. We are smart. We are strong-willed. We are wildly inappropriate. We often laugh until we cry. And sometimes, it’s almost as if we speak a different language with one another–one that is uniquely ours.

One that is defined by us as sisters. All four of us, sisters. Grizzly bear sisters, magical sisters, obnoxious, brilliant, eternally-loving sisters.

My sisters.

And then there are my mother and my grandmother, both with whom I am exceptionally close. My grandmother and her briskets, the homemade french fries she’d make for me late at night when I was a melodramatic teenager, the quiet conversations at the kitchen counter, the saccharine sarcasm that I didn’t learn to detect until I was an adult. My mother and her spectacular pies, her patience, her heart that is soft and her strength that is superhuman, her deft maneuvering that has made her both an exceptional parent and friend to me.

Out of all the lineages I can trace back in my family lines, I identify most with my maternal line: the one that goes back to my mother, and her mother, and her mother before her. The line traces to a great-grandmother who escaped Eastern Europe just before Hitler invaded and all hell broke loose. It traces to her mother, who died in the Holocaust. It traces to Jewish roots whose rituals I may not practice but whose history and beauty and mystery I adore.

And it traces all the way forward to me, and to my sisters.

I grew up in a house full of women, and my own identity is bound up in these women.

And now–now that I am a mother, now that I have children who are sassy and smart and strong-willed–I am the only woman in the house.

There are no women, plural, in my house. I have a husband. I have three sons. And there will only ever be one woman in this house: me.

A woman whose identity is bound up with all the women in her family, only to find herself the only woman in her own home.

I know that lots of people think that I must be disappointed not to have had a daughter, what with all of the closeness I feel to my sisters and my mother and my grandmother and that good old maternal line. That I must feel as if I am daughterless. Pining away for my own little girl, wishing to fill some girl/woman-shaped void in my life.

And I’ll admit: there was a time when I really, really hoped for a daughter.

This hope wasn’t ever about possessing some strange anti-feminist, super-gendered wish for a girly-girl daughter who’d wear pink tutus and play pretty pretty princess all day. No, my hope looked a whole lot different from that.

I’d raise this imaginary daughter to be a kickass feminist. I’d someday bequeath to her my Fender Stratocaster and my Marshall stack. I’d teach her all the family recipes. We’d paint our nails. We’d share secrets over coffee, laughs over margaritas. We’d go on trips and get in trouble and talk politics and poetry. And okay, okay I’d also get to buy some of those ridiculously cute dresses that I see on the racks in the kids’ clothing stores. But I’d also see in her that maternal line, tracing through her to me to my mother to her mother to all of the mothers that came before us.

She’d be part of that line right along with me.

I’d say that with three sons (and no plans whatsoever for another child) , I don’t have this. I won’t have this.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a whole hell of a lot of what I’d ever want in a daughter.

Because the kickass feminism? You’re darn straight I’m raising all three of my boys to be kickass feminists.

My guitar and amp? You’d better believe I’d well with pride to hear one of my sons say some day to his friends, “Nope, I didn’t get these from my dad. They’re from my mom. “

The nail painting and the family recipes? I already have a son who loves to get his nails painted and who counts “helping Mommy in the kitchen” as one of his favorite things to do.

The coffee and margaritas and trips and trouble and talks? Who says that they can’t happen with my three boys?

And the cute girl clothes? Well, that’s what my nieces are for.

I love the reality of an all-boy family. Love it. And everything I’d ever want to do with a daughter I can and will do with my sons.

All except for the part about having women in the house, just like I once did.

All except for that old maternal line.

If you were to look at my mitochondrial DNA–the DNA located in my cells’ mitochondria, DNA that was inherited exclusively from my mother–you’d be able to track the DNA ancestry of my maternal line for potentially hundreds of generations. My mother, her mother, her mother, her mother before her. Their DNA is etched into my cells.

My sons have inherited their mitochondrial DNA from me, but if they procreate, their children’s mitochondrial DNA will come from their mother. So, basically, as far as my whole maternal line obsession goes, the buck stops with me. No more passing on of my mitochondrial DNA.

No more passing on of my maternal line–that line of women to whom I am so deeply bound.

In fact, if you could trace this very maternal line all the way back through the generations, you’d find that I was the first in this line that runs all the way through me not to have a daughter. That’s thousands of years, and in this one specific line of mothers, I am the first not to have a daughter.

I am the first to be the only woman in the house.

As someone who grew up in a house full of women, as someone who has a house full of sons, as someone who is smart and sassy, as someone who likes to think of herself as a kickass feminist, I’ll just say this: maybe this line of women stops with me because I (and all of the other mothers with houses full of sons out there) simply broke the mold when it came to being women.

by jess “votes with her uterus and her brain” lewis

here’s the deal.
i’m sitting here and i’m not exactly sure where i’m going to go with this post. it’s probably not going to be eloquent, it’s likely to be jumbled, and to be honest, i’ll be satisfied if it’s semi-coherent. so, i’m just going to dive in and hope for the best.

my original intent was to come here and lay out my reasons for calling bullshit on the meme that the war on women is a political fabrication, a distraction from the “real” issues. but, i don’t think i’m going to go that route (at least not entirely). i believe the proof  is on my side. the center for reproductive rights says that it “is hard-pressed to cite a time in the last twenty years that can rival – in volume and in severity – this most recent period of anti-woman, anti-child, and anti-health legislative action in the united states.”.
i can not stand behind a party that overwhelmingly wants to limit or deny a woman’s access to healthcare, contraception, and abortion while they simultaneously advocate abstinence-only education in schools. (don’t think that is part of the plan? look it up, it’s in the republican party platform.)  in the first 3 months of 2011, 49 states introduced 916 measures related to reproductive issues. over half of those measures sought to restrict abortion access. how does this make sense?   in their world, it seems to make some kind of (insane) sense to them to limit/deny education, birth control, healthcare, abortion (and then on top of that get rid of assistance programs). do they think these issues will go away? should we all buy stock in that aspirin they think we’re going to hold between our knees?    the answer is to take rights away? seems to me that education and teaching people to make wiser choices would be a better solution. please, someone explain it to me, because this is beyond my comprehension.

there is only one party where the vice presidential nominee co-sponsored 38 measures to restrict abortion. there is only one party that is  trying to introduce laws that require women to tell their employers why they need birth control. they want to let employers decide if the sluts who want it for responsible sex deserve birth control coverage under their insurance  or just the ladies who need it for medical reasons (and if you give the wrong answer you may be fired). party of freedom my ass. we have leaders of one party trying to redefine rape (forcible rape, legitimate rape, easy rape, rape lemonade, rape gifts from god, honest rape, etc.),  they want women to prove they were raped in order to receive care and benefits (if they receive any at all).  i, in no way will support a politician/party that believes somehow a pregnancy as the result of rape is god’s will. talk about establishing religion! i live in a state where in 2011, an elected wack-afucking-doo introduced a bill that wanted any woman who suffered from a miscarriage to prove that it happened naturally (without intervention) or possibly face felony charges. what the fuck is going on? the crazy train needs to be stopped.

this stuff makes my head spin and my stomach turn.  this may be shocking, but i consider my rights and having bodily autonomy more important than your religion, and i hope i’m not alone in that belief. i don’t believe in the pro-life argument.  i believe in choice, and if you don’t believe that i, or any other woman or family has a right to that choice, then i consider you to be anti-choice. i’m fine with you personally being against abortion, but i am not okay with you saying that we  have no choice. that choice is about equality, it is about economics, it’s about quality of life, and it is about freedom. and you better believe i will be voting for the people who grasp these concepts.

“we should all have compassion for rape survivors who need abortions. and we should have that compassion for others who need them too.” – irin carmon

 

 

- by Jill Greenwood

When you were born, I wasn’t too sure how everything would play out. Things were looking pretty bleak in the world as they were on the home front. But then you came along, and things started to brighten day by day. The world was still a fairly shitty place, but I was 90% sure that things would be okay because if there was one thing that I knew it was how to be a girl.

Raising two girls was going to be a piece of cake. There would be no Barbies in our house. You could have a doll as long as there were trucks, too. Fairy tales were going to be nontraditional. You’d play soccer and enjoy it. In my revisionist history, this makes perfect sense. But let’s be honest. You had more Barbies than most toy stores. Your doll house was epic. And I couldn’t have made it through the week without at least two Disney fairy tales. Soccer? God, I hated those games. Besides, you both looked far cuter in a tutu than you did in cleats. Some strong, feminist mother I turned out to be, right?

I’ll let you in on a little secret: moms are fucked up. Go ahead. Let that percolate in your brains. Chat with each other. You done? I’ll say it again . . . we’re fucked up. Who was I kidding about not letting Barbies in the house? I yearned for the neon pink boxes before you were born. Hell, I think I had more fun with your doll house than you two might have. I even justified dance lessons with teaching you how to walk into a room with more confidence. All dance lessons ever did for you was have your asthma confirmed faster than it would have been without.

Last night, just for shits and giggles, I watched the video I put together for your 20th birthday even though I knew the outcome in advance. At some point during the course of the video – probably around the three minute mark – I’d start to tear up. And then, slowly slowly slowly, a tear would fall and then another and then another until I was a blithering idiot again. But last night was the first night I figured out why it happens at that point every time. That’s the time where you begin to resemble who you are today.

Independent. Beautiful. Opinionated. Smart. Funny. Stubborn. United. Bad ass . . . women.

The tears don’t actually flow until 5:38. That frame of one of you scowling sets it off because the next two are utter and complete joy. And in that joy, I see all the promise that your futures hold. Whatever you want out of life, seize it. Make it yours. Blaze your own trail and run with it. I can guarantee you this – there’s a family of women (genetic and adopted) who will share in your struggles and revel in your accomplishments. These are the women from far and wide who will back you up to the point of insanity. Who will take your side in a fight. Who will run to WaWa at 3 AM for an egg salad sandwich. Who will tell you what an asshole he was. Who will hold your hand waiting those three minutes to see if there is a plus sign or not. Who will laugh about your grade school crush and then stalk him on Facebook. Who will encourage you to be the best you can be.

How can I guarantee this? Because these women were there for me . . . they will be there for you, too.

Love,

Madre

Today’s guest blogger used to call me up every snow day and whisper the three little words most teachers love to hear: No school today. And for the longest time, I had no clue who she was since her Caller ID didn’t match the name on the weather tree. Turns out she was living in sin back in the day, and twelve years later, I’m happy to say that she is one of my best friends. She’s also child free, which means she brings something new to our month of women. But I’ll let Mary Burke explain why she made that choice.

I am super selfish . . . I always have been . . . and I don’t think it’s such a terrible character flaw when one is aware of their selfishness. And when it comes to recognizing that one is too selfish to have children, is that a bad thing to know your own limits? I think not! At this point in my life, I am absolutely confident I made the right choice not to have children. Actually I was pretty confident all along that this was the right choice for me. This is a very good thing because at this point my eggs have expired. Some people talk about a biological clock. I am convinced I wasn’t born with one. I never heard ticking, and the older I got, I found babies and small humans less and less appealing. Ironically, I am a teacher, and I choose to work with children everyday. I love my job and I love (for the most part) my daily interactions with kids. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Well, except being a stay at home dog mom . . . but that’s just not in the cards right now!

I grew up with a fairly large, close extended family. I’m the oldest of four children and the oldest of 22 grandchildren. There were always lots of babies around. I loved taking care of my younger cousins at family functions, and once I was old enough, I babysat. I have many wonderful female role models in my family with my mother leading the way. She was nothing short of amazing while we were growing up, and she still is tireless in her efforts to care for our family. It’s almost like she set the bar too high! Despite early positive experiences and being raised by supermom, sometime in my early 20s, I had a shift in my perspective. I don’t remember an actual defining moment, but thinking back I can easily remember the time in my life when this happened. I was in college when I realized I wanted to work with children, but I didn’t want to have children. I began to understand what an absolute CHORE it would be to have to care for another human being for the rest of my life. Also, I can’t do throw up or diapers. Don’t tell me I’d feel differently if it’s my kid; that’s just BS. I have nieces and nephews, and I always enjoyed holding them as babies, but as soon as a diaper change was needed, I passed that kid off as fast as I could! I recall a time holding my nephew and as he was throwing up, I almost dropped him trying to get rid of that little spewing alien. I think my tubes spontaneously tied themselves! I guess I just don’t really have any maternal instincts. I also find that I have an absolute lack of patience outside of the school setting. It’s like I have an off switch when I leave work. However, I am the kind of aunt that loves to sugar those kids up, spoil them rotten, whip them into a frenzy and send them home with my sisters. Remember . . . I am the oldest and I have a long history of sibling torture! I love family get-togethers, but I am always thankful that I get the fun part of spending time with the kids and not the daily hassles and never-ending work. I am simply in awe of the work that goes in to being a parent (if you’re doing it right, because believe me, I see way too many examples of poor parenting choices . . . but that’s another story for another day).

So, my choice to be childfree is not typical, and it’s especially not typical in my family (did I mention large? and Catholic? Breeders, those people are). My husband and I lived together (SINNERS!) for eight years before we got married. We had the “kids” conversation a couple of times, each time completely agreeing that no, kids just weren’t for us. Pretty serendipitous, huh? Of course, this is much to the dismay of my ever-growing family . . . there are now 19 great-grandchildren . . . breeders, I tell ya! My husband and I jokingly came up with reason # (insert any large number here) why we don’t want children. One funny, with a wee bit of truth, reason I have is not wanting to procreate with my husband: because when he was in school, he needed a custom made football helmet for his giant melon.

I have come across many people in my life who simply don’t understand my choice. And that’s OK. I love the life my husband and I have. We have independence, time to enjoy things together, and less of a financial burden than our friends with children have . . . kids are EXPENSIVE and not always the best investment. I’ve had people ask who will take care of my husband and me when we’re old . . . and I tell them I’m counting on other people’s children to go into the health care field to take care of us! I even have one friend who still holds out hope that I will come around. Honestly, that ship has sailed, and I’m pretty sure it sank!

I once had this conversation with my mom at an age when my eggs were not past the expiration date: ME: Mom, you know that feeling people get when they hold a baby, and they just need to have one and that’s all they can think about? MOM: (Holding her breath with anticipation) Yes! ME: I had that feeling today . . . I was holding a puppy and it had the sweetest puppy breath and my heart ached because I just knew . . . I need to get a puppy! MOM: Mary, that is NOT funny! True story, I think it’s the closest I’ve come to having ”that feeling,” and I really do love me some puppy breath! I have a soft spot for dogs. I don’t think my childfree life would be complete if it wasn’t for my dog. Dogs love you unconditionally, and they don’t ask for anything in return. My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first baby, and I really am so happy for them, but I did tell my brother I would be way more excited if he was expecting a pile of puppies. (BAD SISTER!)

By Tiffani Michele

I was just in New England for a week with my oldest daughter, 16, who I dropped off to stay in Cape Cod for a month of writing and general teenage messing around. Before she started the program we spent some time sightseeing, eating, and exploring in the Boston area. My god, it was enjoyable! Once kids stop being needy selfish assholes on roadtrips, it’s amazing how much fun you can have with them!

We maximized the history of the area by taking every ghost tour available. Being Halloween time, there were lots of stories of witches hung on gallows. The first witch hung in Salem was a woman by the name of Bridget Bishop.

She publicly fought with all of her husbands, dressed flamboyantly (although for Puritans, that just meant she liked to wear big hats and a red bodice with her black dress), and was the mistress not one but two taverns. She developed a reputation for entertaining into the wee hours of the night, playing forbidden games such as shuffle board, and generally being the target of much speculation and gossip. In other words, Bridget Bishop didn’t seem to care what society thought of her – and because of that, she became a likely target when the accusations began.

Bridget Bishop was robbed. If she were born a couple hundred years later she would probably have her own reality TV show and be paid money to go get parties started in Vegas. If her ghost is still haunting around, then I’m sure she’s thinking, “What the fuck, people?! Do you know I was hanged for the kind of shit you all do as families on the weekend?!”

But also, it dawned on me that the witch hunt never really ended. The idea of targeting someone because of their lifestyle, sexuality, and choices. It just changed names and is going on and on…especially this election year. Led by Rush Limbaugh and the Republican party under a new improved name, “Whore Hunt 2012″. Sure, we may have invented cars, the internet and jet planes, and harnessed nuclear power and electricity since Bridget Bishop was killed, but women’s rights are still being held hostage to a primitive standard of a third party trying to dictate the who/what/when/where/why of our bodies. For real, this election year is killing me. KILLING ME, PEOPLE! Being banned from saying “Vagina” on the House floor when talking about abortion? Bullshit. The idea of “legitimate rape” being conditional on the woman’s body response? Bullfuckingshit!

I walked around with my girl, thinking about how life would be for us if we lived back with the Puritans. Would we be witches? This is not such a stretch, because quite honestly the religion we recently left has a strong connection to Puritan ethics, beliefs and bloodlines.

I thought about what growing up as a women meant to me: being chaste, virtuous, modest in word, thought, dress and action. My sexuality wasn’t my own…it was put away until I found a husband. I remember going in to interviews where 60 year old men would ask me about sex…if I’d had it, if I’d been close to having it, if I thought about it. If there’s one thing more fucked up than a teenage girl being alone in a room with an older man asking questions on if she’s masturbated or not, then it’s this: the fact that it happened and she (me!) didn’t think it was fucked up at all. It was my normal. My sex, my body, my thoughts, my voice, my self…I gave up control over all of it to a religion that used God to take it away from me. If I obeyed then I was labeled good, moral, worthy, righteous, special, choice. If I disobeyed and embraced my own sexual being, then I was wicked, immoral, bad, punishable, unworthy.

People ask me why I left a church after belonging to it my whole life, and I think it happened mostly because my daughter was going to start in the program of having her womanhood defined in that way. Fuck that. After a lifetime of propaganda I’m afraid I’ll always feel a burden of guilt and shame for my sexuality. My redemption is that my daughters won’t.

Feminism to me is that each woman has the right to define herself in whatever way she feels empowered. That each woman has authority over her own self, inside and out.

Does that make us the modern day equivalent of witches? Whores?

Women’s rights, like gay rights, are important because at the end of the day, it comes down to a human issue. Witch hunts, whore hunts…they may start with a targeted persecution but eventually extend much further and wider than can be controlled. By the end of the witch hunt even the most pious and respectable women were being hanged. Men were being hanged. It comes down to hysteria. Control. Politics. Someone else’s personal interests. And if left unchecked it doesn’t stop with the intended target audience. Anyone who tries to force discriminatory public policy based on their own opinion is called a bigot, and they just don’t stop.

I thought a lot about all this while walking around Boston with my daughter. She isn’t a baby, toddler, or even young woman anymore. She’s a woman. I can’t control what labels other people use for her. I can’t control what other people think of her. I can’t control her, either. All I can do is empower her. Embrace her. Accept and love her. Advise her. Respect her for finding her authentic voice, even if it means she’ll go down paths that I never would. And in this election season I can use my brain to vote for the people who make the policies that do the same.

Another great post from a fantastic woman.  Please welcome Ms. Emily Robinson.  Show her some love, folks.

Sisters, let us rejoice in the one thing we all have in common – a vagina.

Say the word aloud.

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.

There. Wasn’t that amazing?

Now I’d like to share with you my thoughts on our collective Vagina, in a four-part haiku.

 A seasonal story of the vagina

By Emily Robinson

Springtime Vagina

new cotton panties

pervies wanna get in it

high school vag is hot

Summer Vagina

frat party romance

too many experiments

I am sorry, vag

Autumn Vagina

planning for baby

unshaved before it arrives

mom vag is sacred

Winter Vagina

leave it alone, please

no longer moist with pleasure

but wet when I sneeze

Photo Credit: Zoey Rodriguez

-Linda Silva Palleshci

When Erika asked me to write a piece for this month’s theme “women” I was so honored and I thought it was going to be easy peasy. I have been a woman for 61 years and should know a lot about being one. But I would start to write about the way it is for women — in the past and now, and I found myself getting angrier and angrier. Not that I am angry all the time. I’m not. I am a very agreeable person, for the most part — don’t ask Carl! But when I start thinking about the injustices it makes me a little crazy. And I am not talking about just the other parts around the globe where it is obvious that our sex is deemed inferior. I’m talking right here in river city (old reference, anyone got it?).

 
Not worthy in so many other areas — not the same pay, not the same chance for promotions, not the same respect. Even in religion — not the same. And things aren’t better on the old abortion scene either — a huge fight so hard won now in jeopardy?
 
And I am a feminist but that never excludes men, I don’t hate men, I hate ignorance in all people. All men are not created equal, most of them are absolutely marvelous and know our value and delight in our minds, our strength, our hearts and well, other things. They know we are their partners; we are travelling this road with them together. I married a feminist. I married a man who knows the worth of a person–a humanist.
 
I have fought, in my own way, for women. I am proud to be a woman. My mother always told me, and still does, that I take everything to heart. That I worry about too much. But how can one not? How can we not worry and be angry or saddened by the plight of women? How can we not see that our state is always a fragile one — unlike us, we are anything but!
 
The fact that I am invisible to a large part of the population is disturbing. And since that has happened, since I began not to matter to society at large, I am really noticing the very few really old people who come into Boston–and when I see an older person I think “hurray for you getting out here amongst the young who don’t want you here.” Not all young people, of course, that would be horrible, but there is a shame in being older. “You let that happen to you!” if one eats better, exercises more, stands on the left foot for four hours every other Tuesday — you wouldn’t get old! I don’t want to be ashamed of what is natural.
And as I have gotten older I have seen a very positive shift in myself and other women: we get stronger, we get far more pragmatic, and we are often the ones that are depended on. We, while aware that we have lost our “juice” in society, don’t take as much guff as we might have earlier. My feeling is this: as we age we get a little more in touch with our masculine side and men get a little more in touch with their feminine side. This brings me great joy because, at some point in everyone’s lives they are touched by a loving hand and they know, in their heart of hearts, the utter humanity of that touch–that there is ultimately no difference in gender–it is only when we are very young and very old that this is obvious.  Or if we are wicked smart, like me–cause I am not really super old yet!!! How’s that for a little humor!!!
 
And I know while I am stronger in so many ways. I am still a little girl in others, unsure, insecure, but I can do the job. And I am blessed with knowing a wonderful group of women friends, old and young, who make me hopeful.
 
 
We are so thrilled to have Linda dole out some truth!  Go visit her blog and try not to fall in love with her beloved Carl.  He’s breaking hearts all over the place.

- Erika Ray

I’ve had a few female friends tell me they weren’t feminist.  I was left speechless.  “You’re a woman and you aren’t a feminist?” I asked befuddled and wounded.  I forget the answer because I was in shock.  My sister explains that for younger women they’ve nevered faced sexism, so that could explain it.  I agreed for years, but now I call bullshit.  When I was 21, I didn’t blatantly face sexism.  I lived with 5 guys and wasn’t fucking one of them.  I was equally experiencing life being a woman on campus.  No one said to me, “No sweetie.  Learn how to type instead.”  At 21, I’d probably say, “Yeah, we’re equal.”  Deep down though, I knew I wasn’t on the same playing level, but I didn’t give a fuck because I’d face sexism head on if I had to.  But fifteen years later, I can smack my 21 year-old self in the face.  Our unequal ways have always been a steady simmer for me.  And at 36, I feel that my disgust is at a boiling point.

Women and Feminism should go hand in hand.  It’s like Burt Reynolds and his moustache.  Adele and heartbreak.  Laverne and Shirley.  If you’re a woman you should be a feminist.  Being a feminist is very simple: one believes women should be treated as equals.  Plain and simple.  Want something more formal?  Want something crude: my lack of dick doesn’t make me inferior or dumb.  It makes me a woman.

According to “How to be a Woman” (a fantastic book), Caitlin Moran gives a disturbing statistic: only 29% of American woman (42% British women) would describe themselves feminist.  Ladies, WHY?  Do you think you aren’t facing sexism and you don’t need to stand up any longer?  You’re wrong.  I was asked about an overseas work trip and my rep wasn’t sure if I wanted to go because of my family.  He has children and called me while I was driving back from a hotel I visit four times a month.  Would he worry about a male counterpart’s family?  I doubt it.  I was talking about the fuss over the men’s Olympic basketball team.  Why the fuss when the women’s team is better?  Their record of gold beats the men’s record.  A man said, “Well, they should play each and we’ll see that the Men’s team is the better team.”  I wanted to say, “Let’s impregnate you and watch you push a baby through your dickhole.  It won’t happen.”  These men aren’t sexist.  We’ve all been raised to accept certain sexist notions.  Have you followed the healthcare debate in America?  Then you know that it’s an attack on women’s health.  Telling a woman they can’t manage their own sexual health and reproductive needs is sexist and frightening.  We can no longer be treated like nice, polite, lady-like second class citizens.  It’s time to stand up and own our Feminist titles.

Still worried about being a Feminist?  Let me tell you what one is or isn’t:

  • A feminist can shave her legs and armpits every single day.  Perhaps she likes that look.  Or she can be lazy and counted the days until winter when she can throw her razor away for 5 months.
  • A feminist can be a SAHM and love it.  A feminist can work outside of the home and not apologize for it.  But if you really want to work, find a way to do it.  If you really want to stay home, find a way to do it.  And do it proudly because you have that option.
  • A feminist can love and respect men.  You don’t need to make out with women or bash men around your feminist friends.
  • A feminist can believe that men and women are different.  Genetically we are.  I think it’s incredibly important to realize that each sex has their own gender differences.  But my differences don’t make me weaker or define me.  It means I’m wired differently than a man.
  • A feminist doesn’t need to burp or fart in public.  It’s good manners, I suppose.  But if my husband can explain away his fart in the family room, you can believe that I will blast one out and not apologize.  Women have gas too.  Women get the Shits too.  Hide it if you want.  But so should men.  If they don’t, I won’t blush and say “sorry.”
  • A feminist doesn’t need to love and support everything a woman does only because we have t commonality of ovaries.  In general, I’m a big fan of supporting women.  However some women are assholes.  It’s ok to clash.  Men don’t get called catty/bitchy  when they disagree.  I’m sorry, but if you make a dumb move I won’t support you just because you have boobs.
  • A feminist can enjoy having the door held open for her.  Read polite manners again.
  • A feminist can enjoy cooking her family dinners.
  • A man can be a feminist.
  • A feminist can wear make-up and enjoy feeling pretty in it.
  • A feminist doesn’t need to constantly fight The Man.  It is what it is.  But you don’t need to be quiet because it’s lady-like.  You can tell someone to fuck off because they’re rude.
  • A feminist is… <insert>

A feminist does all of these things because she wants to.  Not because she is being told to do these things.  Not because she thinks a good woman does certain things.  Not because she was raised to behave a particular way.  Only she can control her fate.  You hate constantly messing with your long hair, but your boyfriend loves it?  Cut it or teach him how to do a great blow-out.

A feminist is a person who believes women should be given the same respect and rights as a man.

Have I convinced you?  Can you say it?  Stand up, Ladies.  Declare it.  Tell people you aren’t taking their shit any longer.  Tell the world, you are a feminist.  And demand respect.  Show the world “Feminist” isn’t a dirty title.  It’s a title we must wear proudly.  Perhaps one day we won’t need it and I will gladly sit down and burn my shirt.

If you’re ready, post a photo on our FB wall.  It’s not hard.  Take a pen.  Write it boldly.  Snap a photo.  Send your pride viral.

Want something more formal?  Get yours here!

During the month of October, the month where we celebrate women of all ages and backgrounds, we’ve asked a few women to take a turn on the blog to give you a different point of view. And today our guest poster is talking about sex on her terms.

“Just remember, you’re a lady ; )” says the guy I had recently seen.  Gross emoticons aside, what is that supposed to even mean?  As it turns out, it meant, “Just remember, you’re a lady, and we slept together that one time, so please please don’t shatter this weird thing I have where I think that sex is indicative of a relationship because only non-ladies would do otherwise- wait, you really don’t want to date me?”

Yeah, no, no I do not.  I like sex.  I am also not extremely interested in a strictly monogamous relationship – and I’m very upfront about that with the people I choose to sleep with.  At times, it’s kind of tiring not having that personal choice taken at face value. And that’s the most common reaction.  I haven’t had to deal much with the inevitable list of names:  slut, whore, bitch – take your pick, and deal with your hang-ups without me, please. But as with that guy, it just doesn’t register to some people that, as a lady, I don’t feel compelled to have sex within a relationship.

This decision suits me well.  I’ve developed close relationships with people that were once just sex friends (“friends with benefits” – don’t even), gotten closer to existing friends, and casually seen people in between.  Always responsible, never involved with someone who’s not on board with a non-monogamous partner, it’s why I’m honest with people about my choices.  It’s something I’m perfectly willing to talk about and frankly, and something that needs to be talked about.  There’s some aspect of surprise that I’m a lady and talking so candidly about my sex life, but in that kind of relationship, honesty is more helpful than judgment.

And if you’re going to judge my lady-self for enjoying sex how I want to, I don’t want to be having sex with you anyway.

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