I've been asked before if I consider myself a feminist, and the answer has always been yes. I get two different reactions: either the questioner cringes and slowly inches away, or they grin and say “good for you!” I always find this pretty entertaining, but for the purpose of my blog, I thought I would define what I believe to be true when I call myself a feminist.
First and foremost, the belief that women should be advocated for at the expense of men is wrong and does that align with core values of feminism. To put it simply, we believe that all people should be treated and respected equally, regardless of gender. The numerous ways women are objectified is also protested. We fight for emphasis on the whole person rather than her physical attributes or her inherently 'female' functions.
Now, many of you may be saying that there are feminists out there that hate men, and I will not disagree with you. Sadly, this type of feeling can be directly compared to racism- hate comes in all forms. These women are taking the stereotypical attributes of a misogynistic, undesirable man, and projecting it onto every man they ever encounter. They use these characteristics to shame, insult, and bring down the male gender, instead of bringing up women. Needless to say this is wrong, and makes more barriers than it breaks down. Just like there are bad apples in every group of individuals, the feminist movement is no different. We need to use love and positive rhetoric, not generalized statements against an entire gender.
We believe that men and women are equal, simple as that. I usually like to take it a step further and say that every person is equal, regardless of gender, since I believe that gender and gender identity is a spectrum. That is a subject for an entirely different post. Now, stereo-typically, are women better at certain things than men? And men better at certain things than women? Of course. Generally speaking, women are less physically strong than men, and we are more nurturing. Note the word- generally. The idea that we are all equal is accepting the fact that there are many exceptions to societal gender norms. Ever watch American Ninja Warrior? There was a woman on there that was five feet tall and conquered physical challenges my brother could never dream of at 6'5.
I enjoyed watching that episode, because the crowd and commentators were cheering and focused on her physicality and strength. They weren't sitting there analyzing the fact that her face was flushed and her hair was coming undone. This is another issue I feel very strongly about- the objectification of women- specifically our looks. There is this unspoken rule in society that in order to be taken seriously, you must be beautiful. You must dress sexy, and paint your face. If you don't wear makeup, suddenly you are considered unprofessional. If you are not “pretty”, then you are deemed less-than, the ugly duckling, something to feel sorry for and throw a bag of makeup at.
Of course, society's definition of beauty is very specific, and one that ever only applies to a small minority of women. I would say about three years ago, it was 'in' to be tall and super thin, like Taylor Swift. My tall frame could get down with that, except I have the curves of an Arab lady, and frankly, don't want to be that thin. Now I would say we are in the phase of big butts and boobs, overly curvy with a teeny-tiny waist. I know a few women that look like that naturally, but for most of us that is unattainable except by plastic surgery. Not only is beauty being defined very specifically and with the exclusion of everyone else, it is constantly changing! No wonder its considered normal for women to have self-esteem issues.
All of this- defining what a woman should be and what she should look like, is what I stand against as a feminist. This also includes the objectification of women when it comes to our function in the world. It is changing slowly now, but for a long time a woman who didn't have kids was somehow supposed to feel unfulfilled...as if her entire purpose on earth was to bear children! This makes me chuckle. We are such strong and diverse creatures. There are already so many children on this world that need love and help, so if a woman decides not to pop out another, that is her own choice, and she should not be made to feel guilty about it. That same woman could start numerous non-profit organizations, be an author, or a teacher. Just because she doesn't want children doesn't make her a cold-hearted person.
We must look beyond what society tells us women are supposed to be and do and look like, and observe the individual human we see before us. When you approach something with a bias and expectation, you will always be disappointed, because no one will ever fit a mold perfectly. Only when we remove these barriers can we truly see clearly. Then we can embrace people for their strengths and faults that exist because of who they are, not because of their gender.
You don't have to be pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not your co-workers, especially not random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female"
I made this super simple dish last night for dinner, and it was so delicious I had to share!
It has long been said that mushrooms are a super food, so I've been trying to incorporate more of them into my diet. The problem here is that unless they are floating in an Asian noodle bowl with kick-ass broth, or cooked together with some beans in a veggie burger, I rarely actually like mushrooms. This recipe changed my view, and made the mushrooms the main dish.
First, start with some standard white button mushrooms, fresh is highly recommended. (Rubbery canned mushrooms are what made me hate them in the first place)
Slice them up, keeping it fairly chunky. This is a hearty meal. Crush some fresh garlic (or use powder), and throw it all in a pan with some olive oil, and start to saute.
As you stir, sprinkle on paprika, red pepper (I like mine spicy!) salt, pepper, and curry powder. Keep cooking the mushrooms till they feel almost tender.
At this point in the cooking last night, I decided that some acid would make the dish ten times better, and I added a big dollop of tangy greek yogurt. This made the dish.
Keep stirring till the yogurt evenly coats the mushrooms and its heated all the way through. The mushrooms should be completely cooked now.
That's it! I ate mine with pita bread, but these mushrooms would be super good with rice, quinoa, or even mashed potatoes.
On the side I had some slice avocado, tomatoes, and little piece of chicken for extra protein. A healthy meal, not too painful! Enjoy :)
We are just two days away from the Michigan primary election. To me, the choice has always been clear. Bernie Sanders is the ONLY candidate running for office that didn't accept money from large corporations or a Super Pac. The campaign system we have now essentially legalizes bribery. I don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, corruption happens in every part of the government, and in every party. I personally identify myself politically with Democrats, simply because of my liberal views, however I firmly believe that money corrupts all.
Let's scale it down to size. Often the sum of money being passed around is so large we can't even comprehend it. In the most simpleton explanation possible: let's say your friend decides to give you $50, just out of the blue. You accept, go about your business. The next day your friend asks you to borrow your car. Are you more willing to lend them your car because of that $50 they gave you? Of course! This is exactly how politics works in the United States and all around the world, except the thing being lent is not a car, but something much more important: votes.
Take a look at the campaign contributors for Hillary Clinton. One of them is Time Warner, who donated over half a million dollars to the campaign. I would say this is a large investment, one they hope would pan out. It just so happens that Time Warner owns CNN, the news broadcasting station that seems to be ever so blatantly pro-Hillary. Since the start of the presidential race, CNN has consistently ignored and laughed off Bernie Sanders and his message. It's clear- their parent company is heavily invested in the other candidate, the one who is already in their pocket and awaiting more instruction.
Some of her other contributors include Goldman Sachs (bank) at $830,000, Citigroup Inc (bank) at $890,000, JP Morgan (bank) at $780,000....the list goes on. Under no circumstance will anyone be able to convince me that when the time comes she will not place her vote on policies in favor of the banks and large corporations. It's just like the analogy about the fifty bucks and lending a car, except on a much larger and more dangerous scale.
Sadly, this is how every campaign has been run since the ruling of Citizens United, which states that corporations are considered individuals under the law. Now, these multi-trillion dollar companies are allowed to make unlimited financial contributions to the candidate of their choice. From the perspective of a broke college graduate paying off student loans, that's a whole lot of money and influence I don't have. It makes me feel powerless....which is exactly how they want you to feel, so they can continue to suck the economy dry while the rest of us work ourselves into the ground trying to make ends meet.
That's why I am voting for Bernie Sanders. Almost all my shoes have holes in them now. I could have bought a new pair of kicks, but instead I donated that $30 to his campaign, because I believe in his message.
Take a long hard look at how our country is running. Put aside all the hate and drama between parties. What corrupts all? Money. Once that is regulated, we will be one step closer to achieving the Democracy people have died for, and one step further from the capitalistic oligarchy we have become.
I observe & write about society & culture.