It’s been a strange time at our house. I’m training for my new position and working 8-4:30 M-F. Being off work on the weekends is really weird for me. Last weekend, we went to Kerr Lake with a couple of friends who have a house there. When we came back, we found out about the Charlottesville debacle.
There were posts on FB about vigils in support of the protesters and I went to the one in our county seat. Our state senator and representative were there. There were half a dozen speakers who talked about supporting each other and caring for everyone in our community for an hour. And they had us introduce ourselves to the people around us, with the intention that we would discuss what we intend to do going forward.
When we were dispersing, someone announced that they hoped we would show up at the Orange County School Board meeting on Monday where the Board was expected to make a decision about Confederate flags on campus grounds. I didn’t go back to check the time because I expected that I would be able to find it online. I was wrong. So, we just went out for dinner and I didn’t have to try to get my fumbling thoughts arranged into something coherent.
I found out on Tuesday that they have banned Nazi, Confederate and KKK symbols on school property. Hallelujah. Why did this even need to be discussed?
I despise Donald Trump and I am enraged that our political system allowed that buffoon to be elected to the highest office in our country. I kept waiting for someone to put a stop to this farce and they haven’t yet. Instead, things get worse and worse. How far down do we have to go before people say “Enough! Too much! This has to stop!” loudly enough, with enough conviction, to be heard?
I keep thinking of Maya Angelou Tweeting “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” These people are saying “I hate you and I am dangerous.”
“‘[Gender violence issues] affect women at every level, but I am here to say that the very fact of just calling these issues ‘women’s issues’ is in itself part of the problem.'”
I have been unhappy with the word “feminism” for as long as I have known there was a gender-caused imbalance in the world. In my mind it makes issues related to gender only the problem of women. And men are as constrained by gender stereotypes as women. It usually (often? sometimes?) expressed differently, though.
It is expected that women will be raped and the victims of domestic violence. Men who are raped or beaten by a domestic partner become feminized by the very fact of having the act perpetrated on them. And “feminized” means weakened. Particularly in this context. So, they may be less likely to do something about it. You know, something like report it and get it prosecuted.
Parents doing childcare is a whole other bag of worms. Women are asked if they intend to come back to work after giving birth. Staying home to tend to children is a valid option for us (as a group, not necessarily individually.) Men who choose to be the one giving up a paycheck to do the homefront heavy lifting are often (usually?) required to justify it. Men who actually participate in parenting are praised, as though that isn’t something that should be expected. Who would say to a woman “Aren’t you a good mom bringing the kids to the playground?” Or to a man “Does your wife help with the kids?”
That’s not fair to anybody. Everyone should be allowed to care for their family, Everyone should be allowed to feel safe and to speak up if they aren’t. And language matters.
Racist, homophobic and sexist language is hurtful. Reducing someone to a body part is hurtful. Words like Nigger and Bitch and Dick are slap-in-the-face verbal violence. They all say very clearly “You are less than human. You are a lesser creature than me.” Those are obvious and easy to call out. There are more subtle microaggressions in our language that need consideration and adjustment, too.
I am a gender communist. From each according to their abilities to each accord to their needs. This, until a better word is devised, is what a feminist looks like.