12/20/14

mint jeans.







Today marked my two-year Blogiversary. It also marked a day where I decided to wear three pieces of statement attire.

Over a week marked by my absence in blogging I've actually done a lot of thinking about blogging. Having been part of this community for two years, I expected the blogging slump to hit sooner than this. It's puzzling, because I have so many ideas for posts but little to no urgent need to complete them. I've had quite a few people tell me that they enjoy my blog and I have certainly enjoyed creating a little space on the internet for me to blab about my feelings. 

I have no intention of stopping the blog but, on this day of musings, I've decided to branch out. I have been posting on my fashion, my food, and my feminism but only been frequenting fashion/music/beauty blogs. I want to be a better blogger and I'm making a commitment to find and comment on different blogs that cover all of what I yak about, and I want to do it more often.

           

Blogging has been quite the learning curve for me. It's given me a place to hone my photography skills and a sounding board for my developing ideas about women in society. I appreciate the support I have been shown for my ever-changing style and the right to express myself in colorful ways. 

Which brings me to the fashion-y part of my post: colored jeans. 






Mint jeans, to be exact.

If I were to momentarily give in to the ridiculous ways women feel they must apologize for their body size, I would say that I am a pear. I gather all my weight in my hips, thighs, and butt. As I'm starting to heal from my obsession with having a perfect body, I feel more comfortable covering my bottom half in things besides dark, slimming colors. Like a light green, loose-cute, almost-boyfriend jean. And then I put black on top of my already small top-half, so this outfit is like a double-middle-finger whammy to my body image issues. 

My three statement pieces are oddly harmonious. I expected them to be competing with each other but when I threw them on in the dim light of my bedroom, they worked strangely well. I almost feel like a vagabond artist in between showings. My shawl+vest (which I have lovingly nicknamed "shwest") was a gift from J and I wore it earlier this week with a turtleneck, feeling very much like a cozy art teacher. It's a perfect piece to add a feeling of whimsy in a light layer. 

My necklace has been showcased once before, earlier in the spring, and I brought it back for a work holiday party on Thursday night. It paired perfectly with my LBD (head over to my instagram @miss_decaf to see a picture) and I wanted to work it into a more casual look. The overall effect, I think, was just what I wanted for the weekend. 

love,
a

mint jeans -- thrifted!
black sweater -- thrifted!
shwest -- gift from J, Hot Topic.
yellow purse -- thrifted!
Statement drop necklace -- original piece from AlterEchos on Etsy! 

12/9/14

This is my body.






"One of the things I've learned about being small is to embrace it. A long time ago, around late elementary/middle school, I realized I could make myself miserable trying to make people like me based on my physical appearance, or I could just be myself and be happy. I chose the latter option and while it hasn't always been smooth going, I have been happy and I know the people I'm friends with are my friends because of who I am, not because I'm a certain height or have a certain hair color. 
While at time being has it difficulties, especially when my waist size isn't as small as clothing manufactures thank a short person's waist size should be or when I'm trying to find an adult-looking shoe and I don't fit into adult shoes, it all comes down to whether or not I'm happy with myself as a person. The time I feel the best about myself as a person, I feel great about how I look. The times I'm disappointed with myself, those are the times I get discouraged about how I look. Or even now, though I'm in my twenties, I still on occasions, get people telling me I should lose weight or do something new with my hair or that I should start wearing make-up every day, and that gets discouraging too. 
In the end, I'm the one living in this body, not the girl two tables, not my co-worker or the well-meaning lady at my church. This is my body and I have the right to be happy and feel beautiful in it even if it doesn't look like the perfect body society tells us we need to have.
Plus, being short has its perks. "
-- Demelza 







"When I was in high school I had a problem. My stomach. It wasn't flat enough. Even though I couldn't donate blood due to the 100 pound weight minimum I still felt too big when I looked in the mirror. I ate very little. There was no breakfast in my life, and my lunch was a bag of lettuce. I went to cheering practice on an empty stomach and would then shovel in whatever my mother had made for dinner. My six-pack wasn't enough and I would starve myself the next day because I had eaten so much dinner the night before. 
It wasn't until 3 years later when I met my husband that I learned to enjoy food. Now I cook and bake myself delicious meals and eat ice cream on the couch. Now I work out to maintain heart and lung health instead of a poor body image, so I can be around to eat ice cream with my husband for as long as possible."
-- Emily







"I grew up having pretty bad self-image issues, battling eating disorders for a good chunk of my life. One day I thought to myself, after hours of deep introspection, why do I have to adhere to any standard of "beauty"? Someday we're all going to be dead, in the grounds, just bones and dirt. Who cares what I look like right now? What matters more is that I'm healthy and that I'm comfortable with my aesthetic, whether it's "hard femme city slicker" or "soft butch coffeehouse rat." Screw what the rest of the world thinks."
-- Hallie






"Growing up in Maine, my brother and I were the only black kids in school for many years. All of my friends (including my family, we were adopted when we were babies) were white. And they had long, straight hair, and I thought that was beautiful and I wanted that too. So in 3rd grade I started putting relaxer in my hair. Relaxer is the opposite of a chemical perm; it's chemical straightening. I would do that every time my natural hair would grow in, so every six weeks or so. I did that from the 2nd grade up until my 2nd year in college! I wanted long, straight hair to feel beautiful.  
Two years ago I decided to stop damaging my hair because it was just BAD. As it grew in, half of my hair was curly and and the other half was straight. It was the transitioning process that drove my CRAZY! It got to the point where I cut off all the straight ends and had a little afro. The my natural hair grew out ... and I'm learning every day to appreciate my natural heritage. This is how I am and who I am. This is what I look like. Gotta embrace it. 
I have a muscular build. In Junior High I had big, muscular arms and legs. I HATED them. I was like, "no 13-year-old girl should look like this!" Girls around my age had cute little arms and legs and I felt like I looked like such a man. For a while, I even tried to gain weight to hide the muscles. But over time, I started to think, "alright, whatever I can do to make this work." and I started doing track and cross-country and I learned how exercise is not only good physically but also mentally. And I learned the appreciate the body I have. I want to keep it healthy. And I want to stay strong and healthy because it's an important part of life."
-- Jamie








A deep, dear part of me are my control issues. They can bring me joy or they can treat me foul. My eating disorder was an example of the time they brought me harm. 
 My obsession with food and body image began small, a realization that the thin body genetics gave me as a young child was largely represented in the media and held up as the ideal. I remember sitting out in the sun, reading, at the age of twelve, and noticing that my stomach was poking out more than usual. What was a normal part of growing up was seen, by me, as a betrayal. Puberty was terrifying and the eating disorder that I developed was as much of a cry for control as it was an attempt to stay thin. The disorder was a disgruntled pet and I imagined it as a dragon, cresting when I was stressed and slinking low when I was calm. It was at it's peak during high school graduation -- the expectation of college, the rocky relationship with J,  and the struggle to find independence despite still living at home all resulted in a body weight below 100 pounds. For someone who stands at 5'5, that was nowhere near a healthy number. 
Three days after my 21st birthday I work up to a face full of adult acne. My face has never been flawless but this. THIS was new-level shit. I was completely unhinged, having been basing my worth on my ability to portray physical perfection. Adult acne is a different beast altogether. No one blinks at acne in high school, but to be a 23-year-old woman with it is quite the confidence-shattering revelation. There is a direct correlation between when my anorexia strikes and when my skin rebels. I have to have one. I had to either have a beautiful body or an attractive face.
Until, that is, I learned to redefine beauty and recognise it's place.
Beauty is wonderful. It is inside art and love and kindness and all these things that make the world go round. Beauty has a place to inspire. But it has no place in my merry-go-round of a mind. It has no place inside my control panel. It has no bearing on my self-worth.
I am a woman of self-expression, so there will always be make-up and tattoos and clothes. I am a woman of health, so there will still be lots of exercise and vegetables in my future. But I am a free woman, and I try to do these things because I have an innate want to do them, not a misplaced need because I feel inadequate. 
This is my body. 

love,
a


12/7/14

Instagram and thoughts.




Life has been busy lately but it hasn't kept me from reflecting. 




Winter is always a rough time for me. At my last doctor's appointment she recommended a Happy Lamp (lamp with light that mimics the sun) to try and ease my restless and yet lethargic state. Winter, she said, is hard for a lot of people. She said the best thing is to stay focused on work and try to keep up with all my hobbies. It's important not to let the cold overwhelm you.




So I've been spending my days on a schedule -- working out every other day, carving out time for songwriting and doodling, making sure J and I make the effort to get out of the house to go on dates and connect. It helps that J and I have had a lot to do lately; we've played a couple shows, thanksgiving gave us a lot of family time, and some changes at work have kept me busy on the weekends planning. I used to crave quiet time time and now I almost run from it. 



We've cold-proofed the house and stocked up on recipes that are full of comfort. I've thrifted sweaters and layered socks. The consensus is that, this year, instead of throwing down for a tree we will be celebrating with a trussed-up cactus.  So far, I'm keeping myself pretty jolly.



My blog is nearing it's two-year birthday and I'm thankful for all it's helped me do. What started out as a clumsy fashion blog (with some super-questionable choices, I might ad) has morphed into a safe space to share my feelings, my good and bad experiences, and, of course, my ever-evolving fashion sense. I never needed this blog to be famous, or a big deal. I just needed it to be me. 

And it has been, and it's been good. 




The blogging community has been, by far, some of the most kind and open-minded people I've ever interacted with. I LOVE reading your blogs and seeing how wonderful and different this great big world is. It's been a real treat and I hope to keep doing it for years to come. 

love,
a


11/29/14

winter maxi.








It's the time of year we've all been waiting for, folks; the season where A constantly bemoans the weathers. Oh well. At least I get some neat layering opportunities out of it. 

One thing I loved about summer was how you could throw on one piece of clothing, some statement jewelry heels, and be good to go. Approaching winter, it seems like you have to wear your entire closet just to keep the chill out of your chest. I started with tights and a tanktop, followed by yoga shorts, socks, my maxidress, and the chunky sweater. And yes, I was still cold. 

My long black skirt is actually a maxi dress that is held up only by thin straps, so obviously I couldn't wear the dress by itself. Both the dress and the sweater are on the comfy side and it's easy to get swallowed in so much fabric, but the slit on the sides brings balance. High-heeled boots and a studded purse gave me flavor. Like a modest flavor. We're talking salt at best. 

I never used to use scarves as a core part of an outfit but lately I'm loving the plethora of colors and textures you can create. I'm thinking they'll be featured a lot more. 

I want to take a moment to thank people for their support and kind words regarding the situation with J and I and money. Things are looking up, it's true. :)

love,
a

11/25/14

What it means to be thankful.




\



I'm sure this comes as an ENORMOUS surprise, but I am a complainer, and I do it loudly. 

Being as passive-aggressive as I am, I rarely take action when something hinders or hurts me. I find confrontation uncomfortable (which is why the internet appeals to me so much) and prefer to hide in my corner of secret loathing. I always use words to action. 

In my past post, I alluded to the fact that J and I have had a crazy couple of weeks. I made a conscious choice to keep my negative thoughts about our situation to myself -- and, of course, I slipped up a few times and posted a whiny facebook status about OH WOE IS ME, only to delete it when I realized, um, that was what I didn't want to do. There's is a peace that comes from the community seeing and recognizing your troubles. It's a salve that is used by a lot of people. 

The reaction to internet complaining is interesting. A lot of the time, especially from the older generation, I hear a lot of chastising when people express negative feelings on the internet. It's not only my parent's generation, though; I recently read on a blog I used to love that the blogger purposefully unfollows other bloggers who put negative things on their blog, because they felt it brought the world down and they didn't want to read that stuff. It was annoying, they said. 

Being someone who 1) is an introvert, so face-to-face emotion is not a picnic for me, 2) is a writer, so most of my emotions are better expressed in print or song lyrics, and 3) is prone to melancholy and drama, per my personality, that did sting a little. Most people don't realize that your reaction to situations is programmed into you, mostly beyond your control, an emotional flight or fight, if you will. One group can let things roll off their back and find comfort in pretending it didn't happen, it brings them healing to be happy. The other, however, has a harder time letting things go and needs to process, to live the event in their head until they have problem-solved what went wrong, and then they feel in control, and then they can heal. 

It's not a picnic being the second type of person, I can tell you that. 

It means that I have to particular proclivity to wallow in self-pity. This is not a result of being pathetic or lazy -- I am a problem solver by nature, extremely stubborn, and I live to accomplish tasks and accomplish them well. It means that I don't enjoy bad stuff happening, so when bad stuff happens, it means it was out of my control. When things are out of my control, I feel unsafe. When I feel unsafe, re-live it in my head to find out when went wrong. When I re-live it in my head, it comes out of my mouth in the form of complaining. It's a relief to say words into air that are rattling around in my brain. 

About three weeks ago, J was laid off from his full-time job. Another employee was fired, without that employee they couldn't keep J's particular station open, so he was let go. November turned out to be the month where our mortgage on the house went up almost 300 dollars that month, a monstrous oil bill was due, and we got a few surprise charges on the already dwindling bank account when the loan ran out without warning. J had to go to walk-in care with his dismal insurance, our water bill spiked almost 50 dollars, we just purchased our second car and, yes Christmas is right around the corner with almost 40 people to buy gifts for. 

At first, I was livid. Can someone please, please, PLEASE tell me who lays off their employees six weeks from Christmas? Winter is an expensive time for Mainers: we pay to heat our homes, our water, our cars use more gas when it's cold, we need coats and mittens and hats and shovels and winter tires because no one closes when it storms. The house requires J and I to both have a full-time job to sustain it. We knew that when we took the house. We weren't planning for one of us to be laid off for a ridiculous reason. I thought all of this and as I watched the money drain from the savings account, I knew it was out my control.

And I was afraid. 

I don't know what prompted the choice to take a positive approach to this situation. I've always been a person of faith but, being the control freak that I am, I've always kept God in the back of mind, a nice little cushion to reward my responsibility with money. I thought nothing could go wrong when I worked my ass off to earn my paycheck and budgeted out our bills every week, setting aside money for savings, packing lunch from home, saying no to dinner dates. I had control.

I finally figured out it was hard to be thankful when you feel like you have earned everything by yourself. 

Luckily for J and I (and yes, I'll say it, with no thanks to his old job. I still spit my tongue out at them.), he found another job, part-time, but better pay and so far he has had chances to earn more shifts every day. Our roommate Mr. T's rent has helped supplement some of the lost income. There are still moments where it's frightening -- my monthly paycheck just barely scrapes us by and I haven't had spending money since J got laid off -- but it appears we are out of the woods for now. We're still in the last-check-from-old-job-waiting-for-first-paycheck-from-new-job limbo. 

Yes, it's hard to be thankful when you feel like you have earned everything by yourself. It's easier to be thankful when you realize that you have had help with many things along the way that you didn't realize before. Yes, I work hard at my job, but I am thankful to have great coworkers and understanding supervisors who make it easy to stay there. Yes, I had built up a great savings account, but I am thankful for parents who instilled that responsibility within me and a lot of kids my age didn't get that. Yes, I turned down trips to save gas money, but I am thankful to be living so close to all the things that are important to me so I don't have to drive far. Yes, I pack my own lunches, but I am thankful to have access to healthy food and a fridge to store it. 

I don't think being thankful means you have to pretend that you didn't put forth effort into things and blindly roll the word off your tongue. I think being thankful means you recognize that you may have what others don't. I think being thankful means you open your eyes to the world around you and acknowledge your stepping stones. I think being thankful means practicing a gracious heart that, though prone to cynicism, should always remind itself that what we have is more than enough. 

Even for a melancholy, dramatic,  pessimistic control-freak like me.

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving, everyone. 

love,
a


11/22/14

Overdone.






WHEW! I've been out of the blogging game for about two weeks now and it's good to be back. There's been ups and downs in my life and I can't wait to share all the excitement/hardship with you in later posts, but today, I'm finally getting back to fashion and telling you a story. 

So first, Fashion-y stuff:

I know, I know, the mustache craze is over and everyone has had their full of the facial hair, but when I stumbled across this little gem in a Downtown Portland thrift store called Little Ghost, I couldn't say no. The color is one of my favorites, the print is cheeky, and (not that you can tell in this outfit) the back is asymmetrical. It commands attention whether it's with jeans or a statement skirt.  

I donned black tights and my high-heeled boots to deal with the cold front that's been hitting us this week. The colder it gets, the more I'm forced to layer, using my creativity but losing it quickly. There's only so many ways I can jazz up a sweater with out spending a lot of money (which we don't have right now, but that's a story for another post). 

Now that you've had time to marvel at my thrifted goodness, I have a story for you about neighbors. 

Odds are, a high percentage of the people who skim my blog know what it's like to have a bad neighbor. Friends have told me horror stories of terrible roommates or disastrous condo partners but I'm the first one in our circle to add a story about the crazy person who lives in the house next to you. 

Last night, J, Mr. T (my new nickname for our roommate), C ( the brand-spanking-new girlfriend of Mr. T), and I were getting ready to head to a show for The Royal Bones. It was a chilly night, with air so sharp the cold rattled your teeth as you breathed in. J and Mr.T had moved my clunky piano out to the car and started it, not only to let the engine warm up but to protect the instruments. 

I was standing in the kitchen, makeup brush in one hand and mirror in the other, waiting for my tea to boil so I could put it in a travel mug for the road. I braced myself as J and Mr.T came back inside, the door allowing some autumn chill to sneak into the house. We chatted for a few minutes when there were three loud bangs -- sharp, piercing, seeming to throb from the inside of the house. We paused.

"Did you hear that?" I asked. 

J looked over our sink, out the two twin windows. "Oh, God." He said, exasperated. "It's Crazy Santa Man."

Our neighbor's name is obviously not Crazy Santa Man. I just, surprisingly, feel bad about putting his name on the internet. His nickname isn't that creative. He looks like santa, and he is crazy. He had lived in the house next to us when J was a child, and used to pull passive-aggressive stunts on my in-laws, even going so far as to force them rip up and replace their side-of-the-house steps because they extended a few inches into the grass that ran between the houses. 

He was standing on the sidewalk in front of our front steps, armed with a towel and black turtleneck, screaming so hard his face turned into a tomato. In between the high-pitched insistence that we "TURN THAT F*CKING CAR OFF" and his excessive hand-waving, I deduced that he wanted us to turn the car off because it was (and I need to exact-quote this) "GETTING CO2 IN MY HOUSE."

Now, in case you have a brain that has adapted to the ways of modern science, you'll recognize CO2 being the oh-so-dangerous chemical that you breathe out into the universe. According to several extremely macabre websites (that I'm sure will be great to explain in my search history), the average time of death someone can suffocate from CO2 in a 6ft-by-6ft coffin is a little over five hours. Mr.T's car had been running a little over seven minutes at this point. 

Crazy Santa Man continued to yell at the four of us crowded on the steps, ignoring Mr. T's assurances that, yes, he was going to turn the car off, and to chill out, and my asking him to calm down. Our white-bearded neighbor escalated, brandishing his scary towel, telling us "DON'T MAKE ME MAD YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE ME MAD YOU DON'T WANNA DO THAT." 

I proceeded to ask him if he had windows open or cracks in his house that could possibly be letting the perceived chemicals into his home, to which he responded, "NO. MY WINDOWS ARE SHUT. YOU CAN'T SMELL THAT? ARE YOU DESENSITIZED?" 

"No." I said. "I have insulation in my walls." 

J, with a vein now protruding in his neck, rose his voice to match Crazy Santa Man as our bearded neighborhood repeatedly told us to "SHUT UP" and "F*CK OFF" all while being very close to our faces. Mr. T finally shut the car off and our neighborhood strode off in a huff, his temper tantrum done, upset that I refused to entertain his fantasy of our car putting CO2 through the walls and closed windows of his house. 

The next day our in-laws contacted the police for us, revealing that Crazy Santa Man had never been that aggressive with them and that he was only that threatening with us because he thought we were just kids who he could bully. We found out through the police that since his problems with neighbors extended back a long time, we could call them whenever he decides to be a bully again. 

* * * * * * * *

So there ya go. Hopefully this week I'll be back on my blogging game and be able to keep up with all your awesome thoughts. :D

love,
a

skirt -- thrifted!
sweater -- thrifted!
boots -- thrifted!

11/19/14

I'm glad you don't need feminism, but the rest of us aren't so lucky.



It comes as an ABSOLUTE shock to the millions of minorities who are used to seeing the Majority-in-power people conquer and kill and crusade, but somewhere in the internet a white woman wrote an article about why feminism is bad because she has two sons.  Feminism has come a long way in the past few years but, as always, there are people who will do anything to stop the social tide from turning. After seeing this article shared three times in my facebook newsfeed (all from men, so, I'll just let you construe that in your own way), I knew I had to do something. She weakly waded through her four cherry-picked issues, displaying an incredible lack of knowledge about feminist theory and facts. I felt like I left an abstinence-only class with a leaflet warning about the dangers of floozie women. The article not only misses the entire core point of feminism but it fails to address where the problems actually arose, as well as pinning the terrible behavior of extremists on an entire belief system. 

It's become popular to say that "everyone needs feminism", and while I personally think it's true, I'm convinced that the better way to say it is "feminism can benefit everyone." 

Because while being a feminist can better the lives of everyone around us, it's a fallacy to say everyone needs it. Clearly, some people don't desperately need the message of feminism. The truth is some people are so disillusioned that they are shut in the highest room of the tallest tower guarded by a flaming dragon of just-under-the-surface sexism. They're wrapped in layers of indoctrination and gender roles. They haven't left the swamp of Privilege in years. The patriarchy serves them well. So no, they don't need feminism. But here's why everyone else does. 


Shrek metaphors. He's hairy, smelly, and hates everyone, just like those dang tootin' feminists. AM I RIGHT OR WHAT?


1)We need Feminism because gender roles still exist and, if they are forced upon people who can't fit the mold, they are extremely damaging. 

I noticed right away that our dear author tried to introduce herself as "one of the guys" by claiming she liked things those other silly women didn't, as if beer, sports, and being a business owner have a gender and she was somehow super special for being into them. The implication was, of course, that we were supposed to gasp and wring our hands, surprised at how someone who liked such "male" pastimes could be anti-feminist. I don't know about you, guys, but her pastimes have nothing to do with her gender because, oh yeah, THINGS DON'T HAVE GENDER. 

A quick skimming of the rest of her article led me to see that she expects her boys to be able to carry heavy loads and open doors and shell out money, because more gender roles you guys. Didn't you know that a man is always stronger and way more rich? Duh. 

This ball of sport actually has a penis and a wallet hidden in the back. You know, guy stuff. 


She goes on to say how there's really nothing wrong with the gender roles we humans have been assuming for thousands of years, saying "I want my sons to choose a partner who honors their manliness, strength, valor, chivalry and masculinity,".

In case you missed it, yes, she did just describe a typical hero-saves-the-damsel-in-distress storybook character and yes, she did just ascribe those particular personality traits to a particular set of genitals. She goes on to admit that she wants her sons to admire those personality traits in their partner, "even if those qualities include being maternal, ladylike, demure, and feminine."

One of the big no-no's of feminism is putting people into boxes they don't want to be put in. You want to be a quiet, sweet, dresses-in-long-skirts-and-turtlenecks chick who wants the door to be held open for you? Awesome! You want to be a sassy, opinionated women in a pair of ripped jeans who works out three times a week so you can get your own damn door, even open the door for your dude? Awesome! But what nobody wants is to have the dude ASSUME you need him/want him to open the door. That implies that he thinks he is inherently stronger and more capable than you.

Do people mean it this way? Absolutely not. No one opens the door for me, thinking, "YES LONG LIVE THE PATRIARCHY LOOK AT THIS FEEBLE WOMEN BWAAHAHAAAA". But we as a society have been bred to see women as less capable. This is unfair to girls and puts a lot of pressure on the guys. What about the guy in a wheelchair? Or a guy who has his hands full carrying your heavy shit and can't get the door? Are we supposed to support a system that can make others feel bad for just being themselves?


2)We need feminism because women's bodies are still used as a measure of their worth and their appearance is used to justify bad treatment. 

I found it superbly interesting that one of the first paragraphs has this woman claiming she is raising her boys to love people for their insides and then right away she jumps in to judging other women for what they wear. 

I know this is really, really, REALLY hard to grasp,  but people wear what they want for their own enjoyment, everyone's mode of expression is different, and their appearance does not define them in any way. For example, in summer it gets hot. When it's hot, I wear short shorts and short skirts. If I'm wearing them at work, I put on bicycle shorts underneath for function's sake, but out on the town , hello thigh city. If our lovely author had her way, I would be the "easy" girl that her boys need to stay away from, probably cause I'm infected with worms and satan or whatever. 

Pictured: Satan, probably. 


As some of my readers know, I was a virgin until I got married. Both me and my husband were. If we're using the vastly wrong social scale to determine who was a "good woman", then my virginity would have put me on the top of the list. But man, those short shorts and tank tops and midriff baring clothes that obviously screamed I was easy. So easy. Except that I was the poster child for the opposite of that. 

The point is that not only does a person's appearance not define who they are, but it's usually got nothing to do with the people around them. Am I cruising looking for some extra tail in my short shorts? Um, no, I'm a monogamous married Asexual. I'm the antithesis of someone looking for sex. And yet if the author had had it her way, we would be judging people up and down for their appearances. 

But not people. Not men. Women. Other women. The author has yet to complain about that hot lifeguard with the six-pack abs strolling down the sidewalk in front of her sons. Which brings us to our next point --

3)We need feminism because heteronormativity is causing us to flat-out ignore the experiences of others.

What is heteronormativity? I try to describe it as only looking at the world as if straight people have vanilla sex, ascribe perfectly to gender roles, and everything else is either devient or made up. Not the best way to describe it, but for our purposes let's roll with it.

The author makes a point to say "partner" in her article but seems to only be upset with easy women who she'll have to talk to her sons about. But if her son was gay, that easy woman wouldn't even register on his radar.  It's almost like she can't fathom being in a universe where women aren't shamed for how they dress and what kind of sex life they allegedly have.

Heteronormativity says that there is, and should only be, straight vanilla sex where the woman is feminine, submissive and passive. Reality says, hey, guys, different people look different and like different things. Feminism is a huge advocate for all types of people of all gender expressions and all sexualities. Instead of shaming women for dressing they way they do (and assuming her sons are attracted to and curious about breasts), a feminist mom would say, "Look, son, there are a lot of different people in the world and they all want different things from a partner. You need to decide what you are comfortable with and communicate this. And remember, someone elses' body is not your business. "


Intolerant feminist parents, fighting for their son's right to love another man. So much man-hating going on in this picture. 

Heteronormativity robs us of having a diverse world view. When I came out as Asexual in a blog post of mine, I learned that my sexuality became a discussion around the dinner table of a friend, where they promptly decided Aseuxality didn't exist. Why didn't it exist? Well, because THEY liked sex so how could someone else possible not? I need feminism specifically because I have heard at least four people say that my sexuality didn't exist, and one person suggest I leave my husband because I was OBVIOUSLY lying and had the hots for another dude. 

Assuming that the appearance and alleged sexual life of others as imaginary or distasteful or needs-to-be-shamed is wrong. Feminists fight for the right of the LGBTQA people to be seen, heard, and respected. 

4)We need feminism because rape culture exists and it is terrifying. 

The thing that stopped me in my tracks was this:

"The FCKH8 Campaign would have girls tell my sons to “fuck off” if they called them pretty or reached for their hand without permission."
Yes. Yes they would. And yes they should.  I'm going to say this once: *inhales once to prepare herself for being loud, obnoxious, unfeminine, man-hating, whatever else people are going to say about feminists*

MY BODY IS NOT YOUR PROPERTY. I DON'T AUTOMATICALLY WANT YOUR TOUCH. TOUCHING ME WITHOUT CONSENT IS ASSUALT. IT IS NOT ROMANTIC, SWEET, ENDEARING, OR GENTLEMANLY TO ASSUME THAT I WANT TO BE TOUCHED. IT DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTES TO RAPE CULTURE.
I made this picture extra-large so you could imagine my big voice. 


What is rape culture? If you say it doesn't exist, you're wrong. Rape culture is the thoughts surrounding rape and how victim-blaming is so deeply built into our society that it encourages people to take advantage of others and makes excuses for the aggressor. 

One of the things that can help to take down Rape Culture is more knowledge and passion about consent. You know, consent is sexy? Well, no, CONSENT IS F*CKING NECESSARY. Consent is not the absence of no but a flat-out, plain-as-day, YES. Reaching for a girl's hand without your consent? Maybe her hand hurts. Maybe she doesn't like you like that. Maybe she's the type that needs space when she is hurting. Maybe she's warm. Maybe her religion prohibits hand-holding and she's devoted to her faith. Maybe the sky is green and the grass is red. Maybe her reason doesn't matter because you should ask, and she should give consent. But Rape Culture has taught her --- like the original article, funny how that plays out --- that she should appreciate someone feeling like they have a right to hold her hand and that she is a bitch for wanting to control everything that happens to her body. 

The author laments that feminists are making little girls think that anyone with a penis is 100% evil. Not only is that ignoring the non-binary gender/gender expression community, but the author chooses to ignore rape statistics because they might make certain people feel bad. 

STATISTIC TIME!
  • 1 in 5 women are raped.
  • that's 20% in a nationwide 2011 study.
  • Only 1 in 7 rapes are reported, so holy crap that percentage should be even higher.
  • Rape is officially recognized as a weapon of terror in war-torn countries.
  • 60% of rapes are acquaintances.
  • 32% of rapes are partners.
  • 98% of all documented rape is male-on-female.
I am not sharing these statistics to make men feel ashamed of being men. I am not saying this stuff to imply that little boys are destined to be rapists. I work with a classroom of mostly little boys and I love them all like my own children. I am married to a man. I can think of 50 men right off the top of my head who have never assaulted a woman and who would never dream of doing so.

What these figures should do is not scare little girls into hating men, but educate women about reality and educate men about what their gender is doing and hope the good ones can stand with us to stop it. 


Remember when we talked about gender roles and how they really stink? We're going to bring it back there and combine it with Rape Culture. And that combination tells us that men can't be raped, because women are obviously weaker and less capable of violence. 1 in 71 men have been raped. It's not as high as the woman's statistic, but it's still too high. Feminism works to stop Rape Culture so we can heal all the victims and prevent all the violence. 


I don't have a funny caption for this one. This is serious stuff.


Feminism is for women and for men. Which brings me to my next point:


5)We need feminism because people don't understand what it actually means and think that "Equalist" and "Humanist" are synonyms.

Something I hear a lot is that people refuse to use the term Feminist because it is sexist. Or because they think feminists are crazy and they don't want to be lumped in with that crowd. Or because the term makes them uncomfortable to have the prefix "fem" and they think it's shameful to be lumped in with women. Actually, I just made that last one up cause that's what it all sounds like to me.

As this video artfully explains, the three terms have vastly different meanings. Ascribing to equalism means you think men and women are completely equal and have been since the dawn of time, and that women can be equal by acting like men. Humanism isn't a political movement, it's a rejection of a possible divine and supernatural using reason and logic; it's an anti-religion movement, not an social justice parade (though many feminists are humanists). Saying you are a feminist means that you recognize that, for ages, women have been specifically targeted and oppressed for their gender and are still suffering from institutionalized sexism to this very day. Saying you are a feminist means you are aware of the ramifications of injustice, not only to women, but to any minority that isn't part of the heteronormative patriarchy. Feminism specifically says that you, as a human, pledge to work to remove barriers for all people so we can be truly equal without having to modify their behavior to a certain standard. 

Feminism takes a stand against sexism, racism, ableism, classism, ageism, expressionism, homophobia, and transphobia. Feminism is for everyone. You want to be a stay-at-home-mom? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. You want to be a stay-at-home-dad? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. You identify as a woman and you have a penis? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. You a young boy who wants to take ballet? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. 

Feminism.


and, lastly.....


6)We need feminism because people who think like Tara Kennedy-Kline exist. 

They do. They are out there right now, running our courts, teaching our children, sitting in the pew next to us, voting in elections. Are they terrible people? No, They are people whose life views have given them different opinions, and if we want to help educate them about what's going on with real feminism, we need to be active in keeping it alive. I'm pretty open about the faith that I have faith in God and even though Westboro Baptist exists, I am unafraid to have the same title and be the example to change some people's minds. I feel the same way about Feminism. You heard about feminist extremist who acted like assholes? Then you be the difference. 

If we let the only voice on feminism be people who know nothing about it, we cannot change the world. 

which is why it matters. To me. 

love,
a