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Happy International Women’s Day and Feminist Coming Out Day!

March 8th is an exciting day! First of all, it’s my wonderful partner’s 28th birthday (Happy Birthday, Abe!). Second, it’s National Colon Cleansing Day (Remember! A clean colon is a happy colon).

And then, it’s International Women’s Day and Feminist Coming Out Day!

As much as I love Abe and colons, this post is going to focus on the latter two.

Image via Macaulay.cuny.eduWhen I first “came out” as a feminist about a year ago, I got a lot of responses. Some positive, some discouraging. But, I think, by far the most popular response I’ve received is this:

“Well, women are equal now. Why do we need feminism anymore?”

At first, I struggled to explain my answer to this question. A lot of sexism is so subtle and ingrained in our minds that it’s hard to get people to notice it unless they’ve had an experience that brought it to light.

My experience was when a Sunday School teacher looked me in the eye and told me I shouldn’t be going to college because it was selfish of me to waste money on a degree if I wanted children someday. He told me I couldn’t be a good mother and have a career. After that in-yo-face encounter with sexism, I began to notice other ways that patriarchal Christianity holds women down. And then I began to realize that such behavior wasn’t confined to the church.

Now-a-days, I don’t get this question as often, however. You only have to turn on the news for five minutes, or scroll through your Facebook timeline to experience some in-yo-face sexism. I think a lot of us are starting to realize that feminism is, indeed, still a necessity.

If feminism is dead, then we feminists need to start our own zombie apocalypse, because patriarchy and sexism and other forces that keep women down are very much alive.

The events we’re hearing about on the news and on our radios and in our churches and Christian blogospheres may be awful, but they’re waking us up.

But feminism is still a word with baggage–some of it earned, much of it loaded on by defensive patriarchy.

So, this International Women’s Day, I want us to redeem feminism. I want us to redeem the idea of women identifying with each other, sticking up for one another, investing our time and energies and relationships to one another, fighting for our rights. I want us to redeem the idea of women (and men too!) working toward a world of gender equality.

So, if you’re a closeted feminist, consider taking advantage of National Feminist Coming Out day to share your feelings about feminism with family and friends!

If you’ve considered feminism but are hesitant because of the past mistakes of the feminist movement (mistakes which you are right not to ignore!) or because of the stereotypes, I encourage you to read Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks for a strong defense of feminism (and an enjoyable read–hooks is a fabulous writer). It’s cheap on Amazon and only about 100 pages long, and reminds us that, “A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving…”

And, if you still don’t want to identify with feminism because of it’s baggage, but still want to fight for the rights of women, awesome! It doesn’t matter what you call yourself–you can still stand up for the rights of women this International Women’s Day!

That’s what it’s all about, really. Patriarchy tries to divide us all. Men vs. women. Feminist vs. non-feminist. Black vs. white vs. Asian vs. Hispanic. Housewives vs. “career women.” Straight women vs. lesbians. Rich vs. poor.

But there’s so much to be done. We can’t do it unless we’re willing to work together in the areas in which our needs intersect, and unless we’re willing to be supporters and allies to other “groups” who have different needs than us.

So, this March 8th, let’s cleanse our colons of feces and toxins, and let’s cleanse the world of forces that hurt women!

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I’m pro-life. I’m pro-choice. I’m pro-woman.

Can we do both?

I’m pro-choice.

Therefore, I am pro-life.

I’m pro-life.

Therefore, I am pro-choice.

I couldn’t be one without being the other and my support for each side strengthens the other.

Let me ‘splain….No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I’ll start with this–even though the exact point at which human life begins cannot be pin-pointed by science, I still feel uncomfortable with the concept of abortion. I’d like to think that I, personally, would never get an abortion (though, the way I reacted to the pregnancy scare I had while I was dating my abusive ex-boyfriend is enough to remind me that life is not always that simple).

Basically, I believe even a fetus is a human who deserves the right to be born.

So, I’m pro-life.

And, if life were simple and if everything were black and white, I might be okay with voting for politicians who want to restrict abortions.

But…

Life’s not simple and most of it is grey, and making abortion illegal doesn’t stop abortion. It doesn’t save unborn babies. Making abortion illegal does, however, hurt women.

I can’t, in good conscious, leave those struggling single mothers, hurting rape victims, frightened teenagers, and other women with unplanned pregnancies to coat hangers and dangerous drugs. That’s not being pro-life. It’s just not.

So, I’m pro-choice.

And, if life were simple and if everything were black and white, I might be okay with fighting to legalize all abortion, and then calling it a day.

But, again, life doesn’t work like that. Legalizing abortion doesn’t necessarily protect choice.

Let’s just pretend for a moment that abortion restrictions have been lifted and abortions are affordable and accessible…

What if a woman who has been trying for months to escape an abusive relationship finds out she is pregnant?

What if a single mother, already struggling to make ends meet, barely able to afford to put her child in daycare, finds out she’s got another child on the way?

What if one of the one in four women who will be sexually assaulted in their lives finds herself pregnant due to the rape that she is already struggling to cope with?

Even assuming that these women are able to get abortions, that doesn’t sound like choice to me. In a world that is so hostile toward women, an unplanned pregnancy can put a woman in nearly impossible situation.

So, I’m pro-woman.

No matter your stance on the abortion issue, we all need to strive toward making the world a better place for women. I believe that, if both sides would put aside their picket signs and politics, and work together to free and empower women, I believe we’d see the abortion rates drop.

So let’s be pro-life.

Let’s be pro-choice.

And let’s be pro-woman!


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Crisis Alert! Men are doomed!

Note: Some people have spoken to me about being confused about my intent in this blog post. I would like to clarify that this is not an attack on the legitimate struggles that men face because of inequality. This is an expression of my frustration toward a culture that claims female advancement must be suppressed because it is contributing to the “downfall of men.” For more information, read my latest blog post. Thank you, and I’m sorry for any lack of clarity! 

CRISIS ALERT!

That’s right. We’ve got a crisis on our hands–one which threatens to shake the very foundations of our society. Which could mean an end to life as we know it!:

Women are becoming less and less dependent on men.

As this cover of The Atlantic, July/August 2010 suggests, ambitious, liberated women don't turn men on

Women are earning more college degrees than men. Their making up the majority of the work force. They’re making more money than ever–they already make 79 cents per every dollar that the hard-working, all-American men make! If we don’t stop this madness, those numbers could rise! They might even eventually start making the same amount of money as men!

The consequences of this “rise of the women” have been severe.

For instance, women now make up 3% of all the top CEO positions in the United States. Women are no longer on the ground, holding the corporate ladders steady as their valiant men climb them. Now, women are climbing the ladders themselves, and kicking deserving men down a few rungs on their way up.

It’s women like these who are at fault for the high divorce rates in this country. They complain about women’s rights, but where are men’s rights? Men in this country can’t even have a good old fashioned affair anymore without their wives filing for divorce! And men in this country used to be able to exercise their role as disciplinarian and smack their women around when their women stepped out of line. Now, if men do that, society will tell their women that they should break the holy, sanctified marriage covenant! Next thing you know, they’ll be telling fathers that they can’t hit their kids because children have rights too!

Some women are using birth control so that they can pretend to be men! They think they can have sex without having to worry as much about pregnancy. Some of them are even starting to enjoy sex! What happened to the days when women were ladies–chaste, and naive, childish? Now women are starting to act like men, and by that, of course, I mean they are starting to act like adults.

Some of these women even go so far as to get abortions. How selfish! I mean, you make 79 cents for every male dollar–don’t tell me you can’t afford to take care of the child that you’re carrying because you were raped. Wearing a mini skirt has consequences, and now you need to own up to them. That fetus is a human and has rights, until, of course, it grows up to become a woman. Then she shouldn’t even have the right to get an abortion when carrying her pregnancy to term would kill her.

Perhaps we should take away these abortion rights and go back to the days of our good founding fathers, where women died early due to complications with child birth, since, now-a-days men, on average, die much earlier than women. Where’s the equality in that? This just proves that feminists don’t want equality! They want superiority!

Photo via singlemindedwomen.com

Even the media has been taken over by women. That’s why our sitcoms are filled with stupid men. This is obviously not a byproduct of a patriarchy that insists that men are the heads of the households, even if they are lazy and incompetent. Nor it is a byproduct of a rape culture that tries to alleviate men from responsibility for their actions. It’s obviously a sign that feminists control the media. Why else would the majority of leads in television shows and movies be males? Why else would these shows be followed by commercials featuring air-brushed, photo-shopped women whose sexuality is being used to sell products to men?

We need to put a stop to this. The women have gotten a taste of freedom and now they’re out of control. Pretty soon, they’ll be equals.

Yes, men are doomed (and by men, we mean, of course, patriarchy).

And feminists say women don’t have equal rights. Psh.

I tried my hand at satire (which I’ve never actually written before so sorry if it just sounds like sarcasm!). I hope it wasn’t too angry-sounding, but, you know, sometimes you just gotta get it all out there. I’m tired of hearing about the “end of men.” The rise of women does not equal the downfall of men. The rise of women helps men. It is something to be celebrated, not feared! And we women still have a long way to go. Anyways, read this great article on Forbes if you’d like to know more about why we should stop “bemoaning the end of men.” 


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Here’s to the men!

Picture from BGSU's Organization for Women's Issues facebook page (click for link)

Last week, I participated in my university’s “Take Back the Night” event.

We held a rally and a march in which we spoke out against rape and violence against women. Then, we held a speak out in which women shared their stories and their reasons for participating in “Take Back the Night.”

It was a poignant, sobering, empowering, comforting, enlightening, beautiful night.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed marching through fraternity row carrying signs and shouting, “Stop the silence, end the violence,” I think my favorite part of the night took place during the rally. After a few women gave a speech explaining the history and purpose of “Take Back the Night,” a group of men took the stage.

Picture from BGSU's Organization for Women's Issues facebook page (click for link)

They gave a pledge–a pledge acknowledging that they were completely against trends in society that tried to tell them that to be “masculine” is to be dominating.  To stand up for us and fight for women’s rights along side us. To treat women as human, even if the rest of the world treats them as objects.

I’ll admit it–I teared up a bit.

So, here’s to the men!

Here’s to all you men who refuse to rape or hurt or belittle, even in the face of society’s glorification of rape culture.

Here’s to all you men out there who treat us women like humans, even though some people may think less of you for that.

We women appreciate you.

This fight is NOT about men vs. women.

This fight is about humans vs. inhumanity.

So, thank you for being willing to stand along side us as equals and as fellow humans. We love you guys!