I’ve been bad about tweeting and blogging about good articles and blog posts to you all this year – particularly in the past month – and for that I apologize. Between trying to get Equality101.net off the ground, writing a thesis, giving up coffee, and trying to untangle my brain from the theory of rhetoric, I’ve frequently been left without words. Literally. No words left. Which is also why I haven’t been posting a whole lot here, either. But that will all change very soon! My classes end on May 19, and then I am totally and completely finished with grad school. (Does a little happy dance.)
So, where was I? Oh yea, I’ve been a bad feminist blogger lately, and it’s time for me to make amends. What follows is, what I hope to be, a more regular feature on this blog… some recommended reading! Some of this stuff goes back to February and early March, but it’s all still good and relevant, so check it out! And don’t forget to leave what you’ve been reading and writing in the comments!
From Amanda at The Undomestic Goddess:
Last night I participated in a Girl’s Night Out Twitter chat aimed to raise awareness to end domestic violence for women worldwide. It was hosted by Jyl Johnson Pattee of the blog MomItForward (on Twitter @MomItForward), and as Avon recently made a grant of $1.5 million to the Avon Center for Women and Justice to help combat violence against women internationally, they partnered up to help spread information and incite action. There were over 40 participants – take a look here to check out some of the names. The chat addressed topics such as teen dating violence, resources for domestic violence victims, human trafficking, and how to educate men to end violence against women. While the talk didn’t focus so much on international issues, it nonetheless raised important awareness about this harrowing experience that surrounds us on a daily basis. Below are some choice tweets from the chat (tweets are my own unless another user is specified; note: #vaw = Violence Against Women, #dv = Domestic Violence). To follow the entire conversation on Twitter, see here.
An interesting trend coinciding with more and more women in more powerful government positions is the burgeoning of social media as a communications tool between politicians and their respective constituencies. The following is a short list of powerful women in politics with a strong web presence who’ve availed themselves of new technology to reach out to the people they represent in revolutionary ways. Each politician’s name links to their Twitter profile.
From Criss at Criss Writes:
You see, according to Dr. Laura, when women work outside the home, they lose respect for their husbands. Because the MAN is supposed to be the PROTECTOR, the HERO. And how can Freddy be a hero if I’m out there working, just like he is?
So, yeah, I have lots of privilege. I am aware of some of it, and I try to stay aware of it.
Having privilege doesn’t make me evil, though, nor does it mean my opinions are not valid. It means I have a limited view of things, and I need to watch it to make sure I don’t stick my privileged foot in my privileged mouth.
It doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to speak about certain things, even if, egads, you disagree with me. The fact that I have not lived that particular situation my own very self does not mean I am wholly ignorant of it; I may not be an expert, I may not be able to speak from personal experience, but I may have taken the time to listen to someone who has lived through that experience. And if that person isn’t there at that particular point in time, and that point of view needs to be shared, then I have a right — and many would say a responsibility — to speak up.
From Danine at danine.net:
While Lange’s work is famous, not much is known about her personal life. She had a difficult childhood. She contracted polio when she was seven, leaving her with an obvious limp. The neighborhood children shunned her and even her mother acted embarrassed by her “crippled” child. Lange’s father left the family when she was 12 years old.
Our disability frightens people. They don’t want to think that is something which could happen to them. So we become separated from our common humanity, treated as fundamentally different and alien. Having put up clear barriers between us and them, non- disabled people further they hide their fear and discomfort by turning us into objects of pity, comforting themselves by their own kindness and generosity. (Morris 1991: 192)
From Gender Across Borders:
The more and more I learn about feminism, I realize (that many of you probably know) that there is no one definition of feminism. My definition of feminism might be different from yours–and that’s okay. More specifically, though, in terms of fashion and beauty, as long as I’ve understood the historical and societal implications of beauty and fashion and how they’ve shaped how women are “supposed” to look, then it’s more than okay for me to wear heels.
Many women see forgiveness as a means of survival; they need to forgive in order to get to the day-to-day business of caring for children, finding food for their families, and rebuilding their communities. I think it is important to acknowledge and emulate women’s capacity for forgiveness, yet it is equally as important to not over-simplify it.
From Ileana at Feminist Teacher:
It wasn’t until seventh grade that I had an inspiring and challenging Latina teacher for my honors history class. I always strove for an A and always came up with an A-. Even the students rallied behind me and said,”Why don’t you give Ileana an A?” She would always say: “There’s room for improvement!” I strove and strove and finally got that A at the end of the year. I wanted to impress her not only because she was my teacher but also because she was one of my own.
From Womanist Musings:
I feel the need to say that blogging is hard work. I know it may simply seem like bloggers are living the life of Riley, but I am here to tell you first hand, that some days my stress level is incredibly high. From the hate mail, to the drive to always find interesting subjects to write about, each day brings a lot of stress. This is not to say that I don’t like what I do, but that it is very unrecognized and often filled with conflict.
I know that people believe that because there are ads on my blog, that I am making a significant amount of money, but don’t let that fool you. Advertisement does not come close to offering me equitable reward for what I do. Like many women before me, I have had to find separate ways to finance my urge to communicate and explore this world through the written word.
From the New York Times:
But this panic is a hoax. We have examined every major index of crime on which the authorities rely. None show a recent increase in girls’ violence; in fact, every reliable measure shows that violence by girls has been plummeting for years. Major offenses like murder and robbery by girls are at their lowest levels in four decades. Fights, weapons possession, assaults and violent injuries by and toward girls have been plunging for at least a decade.
Jonathan Gottschall, who has written extensively about using evolutionary theory to explain fiction, said “it’s a new moment of hope” in an era when everyone is talking about “the death of the humanities.” To Mr. Gottschall a scientific approach can rescue literature departments from the malaise that has embraced them over the last decade and a half. Zealous enthusiasm for the politically charged and frequently arcane theories that energized departments in the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s — Marxism, structuralism, psychoanalysis — has faded. Since then a new generation of scholars have been casting about for The Next Big Thing.
I didn’t stop saying “lame” or any other word like it because I had a light bulb moment and realized the social connections between the different meanings of the word, and how there really is a reason that “lame” doesn’t just mean bad but uniquely and pathetically bad, when people with disabilities are so commonly portrayed as pathetic. In the end, I’m not entirely sure that it matters when or even if I started believing that. Because it’s not why I stopped.
I stopped because I didn’t want to hurt people. I stopped because I didn’t want to engage in what I claim to advocate against. I stopped because people told me that it was doing them harm when I did it, and because it hurt me to realize that that hadn’t initially been enough. I stopped saying the word because I realized that it was enough.
Look, the bottom line is this. It is undeniable fact that 15% of undergrads drop out. Or at least I assume my prof would not actively stoop to lying about statistics, so we’ll take it as true for the moment. If this is the case, shouldn’t we be looking at the reasons for that? Don’t judge those who drop out–they have reasons to do so. Let’s focus on improving the university environment so that it works for all students. Lower fees so people can afford to take their time. Change structure so people who don’t fit into the current model can function. Accommodate. It’s the only way.