Bees in My Bonnet: Before the Holiday

Bee in the Lavender

Enjoy another great installment of “Bees in my Bonnet” and for those of you in the US have a great Thanksgiving! 

A dad examines the message that telling jokes about buying a shotgun when his daughter starts dating send.

One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill. And nothing is more logical than trying to survive.”  It is so easy to judge others, criticize what have not experienced and do not understand.

Over at Defeating the Dragons the author is doing a series called “learning the words.”  One of her posts is about consent and how she, and others in fundamental, or overly conservative cultures, can take back the word. 

Another Defeating the Dragons post about what Twilight and the movie Fireproof have in common and how they contribute to, and possibly even encourage abuse.

The myths about domestic violence, abuse, rape, and other forms of gender-based violence are becoming increasingly visible.  What isn’t being discussed as much is how supposedly safe and progressive spaces can also harbor abusive individuals and how to deal with that.

A woman struggles with purity culture, feminism, and the concept of virginity.

The anti-domestic violence movement is still fairly new, relatively speaking.  And it is mainly focused on hetero couples.  This does a great disservice to the experiences of those in same-sex relationships that are abusive.  Domestic violence does not discriminate based on sex, gender, race, economic status, or education.  This article does a great job of addressing the silent epidemic of abuse in same-sex relationships.

The Male Privilege Checklist, compiled by Barry Deutsch, is an adaptation of Peggy McIntosh’s The Invisible Knapsack written about white privilege.  Both challenge privileged groups (men and white people respectively) to not only open their eyes to the privileges they enjoy but to acknowledge them.  For example, I as a white woman can go to the store and by a flesh-colored band-aid knowing that it is my flesh color, but my driving ability may be questioned because of my gender.

An awesome post about some amazing men who are standing against misogyny and sexism.

“Being an ally isn’t a title you claim. It’s not who you are – it’s what you do…”  Another great post about male privilege in relation to feminism.

For (cringe worthy) fun 25 super inappropriate ads that somehow made is past marketing into our magazines.

“This short doc [It Gets Messy in Here] challenges gender assumptions and gender identities of all kinds by delving into the bathroom experiences of masculine identified queer women and transgendered men of color…”

via YouTube

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“There is no woman in the world who needs you to cut her down”

This is a reblogged post from Esther Emery’s site.  It showed up in my news feed yesterday and I’ve reposted it with her permission.

Check out her website, she’s got a lot of great posts, including another one of my favorites, “The Really Scary Thing About Gay Marriage.”

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Letter to a Woman Called to Leadership

I don’t know exactly who you are. Maybe a young woman, just now stepping out into your life. Maybe a mother or a crone, entering a new phase of your authority. Maybe just my beautiful dominant four-year-old, who is ready right now to start setting the world to rights.

But I know something. I know this. You are called.

You are called to stand up, speak up, use your voice. You are called to the front of the room. You are named. And you are called.

Rise up.

The darkness does not want you to use your voice. You are so full of light. The darkness will tell you that you are too much.

Too loud.
Too greedy.
Too masculine.
Too angry.
Too emotional.

Sometimes you will believe this. Sometimes you will try to make yourself small, and quiet. Sometimes you will hurt yourself trying to be small and quiet.

Do this with me. Walk outside and look up to the sky. Reach your hands up to the wide, expansive sky, far above the crowdedness and the jostling. There is room for you up there. There is room for every bit of you up there.

That place is yours.

There is enough space for all of you. I swear there is, I promise. Even or all your noise, opinions, intelligence, even for the pure size of your frame. Even fir your passion and force of will and love of justice.

This fight, to claim your right to be, is on the inside. But when you are a woman who leads, the world will try to tell you otherwise.

Oh, sweet girl…I could wish for you an easier path than this.

You will not often be the pretty one. Pretty is one part what you actually look like and two parts not being a threat. Learn to wear your beauty like a lion, or a tall tree. Learn to wear boots, and jackets. Learn to wear whatever you want.

You will not always know what you are doing. You will lead in the dark, with your eyes closed. Sometimes your mistakes will cause harm, and that will make you question your calling. Don’t. Don’t question the calling. Question your skill. Get better. Work harder. Learn to do your work well.

You will have trouble with friends. Sometimes this will be your fault. You will practice power instead of leadership. This is a trick of the darkness. You will have to learn to trust without controlling.

Sometimes it will not be your fault. A strong woman will be threatened by you. A weaker woman will betray you. Someone that you care about will tell you that you are being selfish. This will hurt like hell, and there is not a darn thing that I can do about it.

Baby, I am so sorry.

But it will help you to understand this, and this is maybe the most important thing of all. There is no woman in the world – I don’t care how brave, how beautiful, how wildly fortunate, or how questionable her values – There is no woman in the world who needs you to cut her down.

Please, lean in to other women. We have heard that we women aren’t very nice to each other, that it is our nature to cut and compete. If so, it is only from living in too-small boxes, and competing for too-small parcels of air. It doesn’t have to be that way. Make it not that way.

It will happen, too, that a man is at your side to help you. Look for that. He might be there when you are just about to lose control of the wheel and you are also trying to hold a crying baby. Listen to me, now, this is important.

It is okay to ask the man to hold the baby. 

Listen to this, too. You may find that someday you need to leave your babies in someone else’s arms. Probably this will hurt you. But beyond the hurting there is a darkness, too, that tells you this is wrong. It tells you that you should feel ashamed. Resist it. Don’t let that darkness drown out your call. Like the Buddha, turn your hand to the earth. They are all your children.

And you will see your own children soon. Again and again, you will be called back home, like Ulysses, in your time. There will be time for Sabbath, when the call is quiet and the task is rest. You can rest from the world. But you can’t rest from yourself.

Be true to yourself.

And, women, there may be a hard thing about food. If you are a woman who leads (or any other woman…or some men), you may find it hard to feed yourself. If that happens to you, please, look for the friend. She is the friend who shares her French fries with you when you won’t order food of your own. He is the assistant, or the husband, who rolls his eyes and says, “She never eats when she’s working.” She is the midwife who brings you peanut butter toast after you have given birth. She is your sister, your mother. She will save you. Please, let her feed you.

Sweet girl, I will not tell you that this road is easy.

But one day you will slip into your skin like it fits you, and you’ll look around and you won’t know what you were fighting all those years. I can’t wait to see it. I’m going to be so proud.

via Letter to a Woman Called to Leadership

What is the Feminist Label Doing for You?

The following article was written by Abigail Rine, a professor at the university I went to.  I almost took a class from her.  Now I’m sad I didn’t.

The Pros and Cons of Abandoning the Word ‘Feminist’

“The term is great for rallying the converted. For everyone else, though, it’s a PR liability.”

By Abigail Rine

“When I was a senior in college and a recent convert to feminism, I bought one of those “This is What a FEMINIST Looks Like!” t-shirts, and it quickly became my favorite item of clothing. The lettering was pink—ironically pink, of course—and I liked to push that irony further by pairing the shirt with a skirt, and maybe even some knee-high boots with flowers embroidered around the top.

When I got married a year after graduation, I wore the shirt proudly on the first day of my honeymoon, while holding the hand of my new husband, our flea-market wedding bands gleaming. I enjoyed the confused looks from people who would stare at my shirt and then at me; I could almost see their brains whirring, trying to process the mismatch between the person in front of them and the shrill, angry, neo-Amazon that a feminist is supposed to be. I loved challenging that misconception, with almost evangelistic zeal.

Seven years later, I still have the t-shirt, but it now lives in a box of old clothes in the attic. I can’t bring myself to give it away, but I also can’t remember the last time I wore it. We are at an impasse, the shirt and I, and this stalemate mirrors another growing ambivalence of mine, one I have only recently admitted harboring: an ambivalence about the word “feminism” itself…”

Read the rest of the article here

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ABIGAIL RINE teaches literature and gender studies at George Fox University. She is the author of the forthcoming book Irigaray, Incarnation and Contemporary Women’s Fiction. She writes regularly at Mama Unabridged.

Bees in My Bonnet: Identifying Privilege

A seminary student questions the phrase “Let’s agree to disagree” especially in relation to the issues around same-sex relationships.   “…there are times when justice requires us to stop “agreeing to disagree”. Inaction and complacency can in themselves become forms of violence.”

An eye-opening article on how the ability to vocally identify as a feminist is a privilege.  “The fact that I don’t feel safe saying the F-word doesn’t make me a C-word. Coward, that is.”

Coy Mathis, a six-year-old in Colorado, was told that she could no longer use the girls restroom at school because she was born a male.  According to the parents this decision was made out of the blue after a previously positive response from the school, faculty, and other students.  The school states the decision was made due to the fact that in the future it will cause others to be uncomfortable.  Rosie over at “Make Me a Sammich” has also written an excellent response.

A mom makes an important distinction between teaching children about free will and consent versus danger.  Not all dangers come in the form of a stranger on the street.  It important to teach children about good touch versus bad touch, and acknowledging when a situation or a person, even a person they know, is making them uncomfortable.

Dianna Anderson talks about the link between modesty and rape culture.  “The principle that caused my roommate to carry a spoon into museums and galleries is the same one that produced the sexist ridiculousness that was Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” song that opened the Academy Awards this week.  That principle? That nudity is only ever erotic.”

17 celebrity GIFs before and after being photoshoped.  No wonder we have body issues…

In case you haven’t seen it the following picture of two curvy mannequins is causing quite an uproar (mostly in a good way) online.

Curvy Mannequins?

100 Unladylike Posts: A Look into the Past

Well, I did it.  I reached 100 posts.

When I started this blog I had no idea what to expect.  I was a year out of college and missing the intellectual discussions and stimulation that it provided me with.  I wanted a space to just be me, and to process without driving all my Facebook friends crazy.

I look back at my life a year ago (nearly) and I remember thinking at the time, is this it, is this really who I want to be?  I was five months into a job that was slowly sucking the life out of me, literally.  I developed chronic pain issues and though they continue to this day I believe that job was a part of the trigger.  I left work overwhelmed and crying nearly every day.  I lived in a small town where I saw people who had wounded me deeply everyday.  I felt suffocated and like there was no space for me to heal, or to grow.  I felt unable to flourish and change into the person I knew I was becoming but that so few around me could see.  I didn’t belong there and I didn’t fit in, though I sure tried.

A month after I started this blog I left most of that life behind.  I quite my job, left that town, and moved to the city (that’s something only a small town kid would really say, isn’t it?).  I knew I needed something different.  I needed to be some place where no one knew me, where I could be free to flourish and learn about the person I was becoming.  That was, and still is, one of the best life decisions I have made to date.

Through this blog I was able to find my voice.  I started being vocal about opinions I had and things I believed that would not have been understood or welcomed by many in the place I left.  I fell into easy community with a group of feminist, sociologically minded bloggers; people who had just as many questions as I did and were okay with not having the answers.  People whose writing challenged me and whose comments intrigued me.  While this blog didn’t necessarily serve as the catalyst for my “awakening” it became a great outlet for me to reveal it.  In writing I started becoming more confident in myself, my opinions, and my beliefs.  I was able to bounce from one extreme to the other.  It was there that I found the other extreme was just as broken.  I broke out of being a living stereotype of either side and can now be comfortable with being a little bit of both.  I by no means have it all figured out but I am having a lot more fun learning.

With 162 followers, 8,806 views, and 200 comments this blog has become something bigger than I could have possibly imagined when I started.  With that being said, and this being my 100th post I thought I’d journey through the archives a bit.  Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Top five viewed posts:

  1. The Kickass Woman’s Manifesto
  2. How to Aid a Rapist
  3. Celebrating Womanhood: How I discovered I was a Feminist
  4. Remember to Give Yourself Some TLC…From a Hot Guy
  5. Breast Cancer Is Not A Pink Ribbon

Top five most commented on posts (skipping the duplicates):

  1. Rude Men and Rape Culture
  2. The Flip Side of the Impossible Beauty Standard
  3. The Darker Side of Pink: Part 2
  4. Need Help Little Lady?
  5. Bees in My Bonnet: The Mythological Female Body and Homophobic Language

My Favorite Posts:

  1. You Are Now A Woman
  2. Where Have All My Single Ladies Gone?
  3. Mandating Good Parenting?
  4. Girls Night!
  5. Beauty and Makeup: Mary Kay Hosts a Party for Survivors of Domestic Violence
  6. A Letter to My Nephew
  7. Replacing Hate With Love: A Father Writes a Letter to His Hypothetically Gay Son

Guest Posts:

  1. Guest Post: Choosing Not To Be A Feminist
  2. Guest Post: Cancer and Strong Women, My Heritage

Six under appreciated posts:

  1. Unbreakable
  2. Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  3. The Shock Value in Advertising
  4. “Ask Amy” on Loving Your Body
  5. To Protect the Men…
  6. “Same Love:” A Rapper Tackles Gay Marriage

Bees in My Bonnet: Objectification, Misunderstandings, and Serial Rapists Identified

Bee in the Lavender

Cameron Diaz tells the Sunday Times that every woman wants to be objectified, not only that, but it’s healthy.

The author of “The War on Men” backpedals, saying she was misunderstood, she wasn’t talking about men and women, but rather husbands and wives.  Like this makes it any better…

A man explains why he needs feminism too.  “I need to be a feminist, because in the event that I have a daughter, I want her, as I would want for a son, to grow up in an environment where she can play with whatever toys she prefers, study whatever degree she wants, be with whoever she loves, aspire to become whatever she desires – I want her to feel free to be who she is, without antiquated norms, traditions, customs, and gender roles getting in the way. This, I would want for any and all individuals regardless of sex or gender identification. This freedom is what can create richness and greatness in our societies.”

Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy has identified 21 serial rapists and is looking to keep going as she goes through backlogged rape kits.  Rock on Ms. Worthy!

“…for those judgmental ladies who hide behind the name of Feminism, you are putting feminists to shame. I’ll wear makeup and take burlesque classes if I want to.

And in case you are having a rough day join me in some (slightly guilty) laughter.

Awesome quote of the week!

“For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; that we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious–or whatever we please; we are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution.”  ― Naomi Wolf

What have you been reading this week?

Bees in My Bonnet: Blogtastic!

Bee in the Lavender

In between study sessions I’ve been perusing the blogosphere, like any other skilled procrastinator, and have been finding a good deal of great distractions.  The list is getting long enough that it’s time for a “Bees in My Bonnet” lest I overwhelm you later.  So, please enable my procrastinating and enjoy these wonderful blog posts I’ve found over the past couple of weeks!

In honor of LGBT month a student points out that when people are taught to fear gays they are more likely to hate.

A blogger’s brother questions privilege.  “We’re not smarter. We’re not harder working. We’re not more virtuous.We’re luckier.”

Is a “lipstick feminist” the black sheep of the group and does being feminine make you a bad feminist?

When being Pro-Life really means being Anti-Sex…  Think about it.

Cleverly disguised fat shaming and why asking someone if they lost weight may do more damage than good.

How to look at feminism and privilege holistically.

When being “culturally sensitive” becomes victim blaming.

Read the ridiculous things politicians have to say about women’s bodies and rights.

A survivor learns about rape culture and victim blaming way in a way that makes my heart hurt.

A male passenger’s intentions are questioned when he sits next to an unattended child on an airplane.  Have a look at how “the man box” plays out.

Why the idea of “limited abortions” is a problematic one for survivors of rape and sexual assault.

“Melting away the fat won’t melt away all your problems. Being thin doesn’t meant you no longer have room for all the self-hatred you seem to carry around. It just means you’ll be unhappy and hungry — and who wants that?”  The truth is: I am a fatty. Hear me roar.

Since it has been two weeks, here are two amazing videos to top you off.

Eve Ensler’s short film, One Billion Rising.  Check out the website here.

My Country, My Choice

It’s a lot, I know.  Seriously though, click, click, click!  It’s so good!

And don’t forget to “Like” me on Facebook  Have a great week!

Bees in My Bonnet: The Saturday Synopsis

Bee in the Lavender

I’ve decided to start a “what I’m reading” weekly post called “Bees in My Bonnet.”  These posts will be dedicated to sharing the things I found intriguing but didn’t have time to post about.  There will also be those things that I really want to share but don’t necessarily have anything to add other than, that’s interesting.  It may include articles, news stories, other blog posts, and every once in a while I may link back to one of my own posts that has been popular.

Here are some things that have been buzzing around in my head this week.  Enjoy!

Quote of the week:

“Feminism does not come to destroy men. If anything, it comes to save men from imprisonment by the system that cramps the human development of men all the while it purports to give them power. Feminists are not asking men to be less than manly. Feminists are asking both women and men not to buy into patriarchal systems that destroy them both. Feminism comes to bring both men and women to the fullness of life, and the wholeness of soul, for which we were all made in the image and likeness of God” ~ Joan D. Chittister

Feel free to sound off below with thoughts, comments, or what you’ve been reading this week!

Guest Post: Choosing Not To Be A Feminist

I was born in the late 1960s and as such was a daughter of America’s feminism movement of the 1970s.  Probably not literally, though.  Like Lindley, I don’t think I have ever actually had a conversation with my mom about her self-identification — or not — as a feminist.  Regardless, I was definitely surrounded by feminist ideals as I came of age in the 1980s.  As I went off to college at a university that made Berkeley look conservative, I took with me my self-attached FEMINIST label and convictions to be strong, self-directed, self-determinate, independent, and successful in any profession I chose.  I had grown up being told — by my parents and society — that the world should be open to me regardless of my gender.  I believed it and I was going to take full advantage of it.

Interesting, though, the choice thing.  While it was clear I was “allowed” to choose any profession I wanted, society was also telling me that that was the only decision I had to make.  The rest…well, I could have it all!  It was the era of the Super Mom, where women brought home the bacon, fried it up in a pan, colored their hair because they were worth it, and baked their kids cupcakes and lead Girl Scout troops after work.  There was so much excitement and empowerment and cheering from the feminists blazing the trail ahead of me.  No longer was I just expected to be a housewife.  Now I could have a career AND a family!  YAY ME!  YAY US!

Behind the fanfare, though, I saw something else.  While it was awesome that women now had a choice, instead of choosing, most women seemed to be adding.  Very counter to everything that surrounded me, I distinctly remember deciding before I left my teens that I would do things differently.  I was going to choose.  Career or family but not both, not at the same time.  I did not want to have it all because, frankly, it looked exhausting.  Feminism was about having choices, right?  So making a choice still allowed me to call myself a feminist, right?

Apparently not.

It became clear to me pretty quickly that my decision to either have a career OR a family was not an acceptable one.  Well, at least not a feminist one.  Somehow I was still being oppressed by choosing one over the other?  So I learned to keep my family plans to myself.  A number of working moms, trail blazers a couple decades my senior, got huffy when I suggested I would stop working if I ever had kids.  I got the distinct impression that that was NOT what all their hard work had been for.  Suddenly I was ungrateful and selfish.  And definitely not a feminist.  So I dropped their banner and haven’t picked it up since.

Sadly,  the times I grew up in have resulted in “feminist” having a less than desirable connation for me.  I am as eager to call myself a feminist as I am to own being a Christian.  But the truth is, at their core, their foundation, I am both.  But both terms can drag along such baggage and so quickly sort me into an assumed category of beliefs that may or may not be true about me.  And so today, at 44, married, and having chosen career instead of children, I am simply, happily, Toni.

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Toni is a dear friend of mine and an avid blogger.  Check out her blog Woodhaven Ramblings.