Happy International Woman's Day! Go forth and GODDESS (or strike)!

I've been scouring the internet all night looking for that one pivotal piece of writing that would sum up what International Women's Day is, why we celebrate it, and why some women are going on strike tomorrow. 

I can't find anything that is working for me.

What I am finding is a lot of women asking who is going on strike? Are you doing it? How? When? What?

These updates and questions remind me of the day before a school dance in junior high. All the girls are asking each other if they will be wearing a skirt or not. No one wants to be the only one showing up in a skirt, and no one want to be the only one showing up not wearing a skirt. 

For anyone wondering... I am not wearing a skirt. Or in this case, going on strike. 

For one thing, I have a job now, one that I really like, and I want to go to work tomorrow. In three days we will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of my boss's fabulous fashion boutique at her current location and there is so much to do to get the store and ourselves all ready for a weekend of events. 

I can think of no better way to celebrate International Women's Day than supporting and working for a fellow woman, one who left the corporate world to live and work according to her own philosophy of consumerism and lifestyle. 

Sure, maybe I'll wear red too if that makes y'all feel better. You go ahead and wear whatever colour works for you and makes you feel like a bad ass! Be a Shelby and wear pink as your "signature colour." Coordinate the shit outta your outfit! I feel good in green. And blue too. Maybe I'll go with a nice red lippie tomorrow. 

The thing with this strike business, is that it feels a bit elitist. Maybe some of you don't HAVE to go to work and can afford to just not show up, but that is not the reality for the majority of women who are the sole breadwinners for their families, who live paycheck to paycheck, or who will get fired if they don't come in to work. So maybe don't be all in your face to other women about your privilege if that's the case, mkay? 

Now, about all that emotional labour we are often responsible for? Absolutely quit that shit for sure. And maybe not just for the day. Let's make a pact to try to cut down on this bullshit significantly this year. The guys who are working on my new house joke whenever I walk in the door, "Oh-oh, the boss is here." You know what? DAMN FUCKING STRAIGHT GUYS. I am not going to apologize for knowing what I want and telling them how and what to do. 

Ladies, be the fucking bosses in your lives. Support women-owned businesses. Don't let anyone tell you what to wear or not wear to be a "good" feminist. Take out the garbage, or not. Leave the house on Saturday and let everyone know that laundry needs to be done before you get home. Get yourself some sex toys and take care of yourself whenever you need to, with or without a partner. Drink good wine. Or coffee. Or scotch. Buy those shoes that you think are too much, but make your heart sing, AND DON'T HIDE THEM AT THE BACK OF THE CLOSET! 

Meet my new Stellas!

Meet my new Stellas!

Speak boldly and with conviction. Have all the confidence of a mediocre white man and go forth knowing that the world owes you.... 

EVERYTHING!

Now, I am off to paint with the blood of my menses and drink the tears of #notallmen from my sacred chalice made from the clay of Mother Earth. #feministtraditions

I LOVE ALL OF YOU!

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!

N~

P.S. Except for you Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.

 

#nomorecookiesforyou

I have made an observation of my life these past few months as I creep closer and closer to the "official" beginning of middle age. It seems my level of righteous indignation at the injustices of this world is increasing at a rate proportional to the amount that I am sweating at night. Which is to say - a whole damn lot!

One particular injustice or societal trend I keep seeing over and over, is something I call the fetishization of men who assume roles of caregiver/feminist/allies. I don't know if there is a technical phrase for this phenomenon, so I kind of made one up. I like to call it, #givingmenallthecookies.

This is why women can’t have nice things in this world. And by nice things, I obviously mean economic, political and societal equality. 

You know what I am talking about. You see the one man wearing a baby in a baby carrier at the playground or the mall, something women do all the damn time (while also doing many other things I would add), and he gets fawned over like he might actually be the ONLY man on the planet at that very moment. 

Or how about the man who got invited to the White House to talk about parental leave because he was denied leave from his employer when his child was born? A few years ago, I sat in a giant conference room full of American mothers, all of whom had zero leave when they had children, as they unironically applauded this man like he was some kind of parental-leave messiah. As one of the few Canadian women in the room (I actually had a full 52 weeks of parental leave - twice!!), I was very confused by this. Why is it that thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of women can fight for something for decades, but the minute it affects a man, and he has something to say about it, it becomes front page news and is White House invitation worthy? Why are the feels of this one new father so much more important than those of the countless mothers who have come before him and have been fighting, seemingly unseen and unheard, for maternity leave in the USA forever? 

The most recent example of #givingmenallthecookies that had me all hot and bothered, was at a recent blogging and social media awards presentation. The list of nominees was impressive. New faces and established bloggers alike, and included many women changing the world through their words, businesses, and online presence. These awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of many in making these spaces for themselves and others, and at THIS conference, which is primarily targeted at women in the parent blogging community, we celebrate our own. Or so I thought.

Continue reading here....

 

Where have I been before today? Reflections on the #WomensMarch.

where have you been? Where have y’all been? Why is this your first protest? I cannot put into words how heartbreaking it is to see grown adults that I know and love decide only now to take to the streets. I’m glad you’re there. I’m glad you’re doing something. But weren’t we enough? Weren’t we worth it before? Why weren’t we reason enough?

Where have you been? And where will you be once this doesn’t impact you directly anymore?
— Ijeoma Oluo on Facebook

 

Today, Eight and I went to the local Women's March on Washington in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, along with about 4000 other folks in our chilly, weird zombie-fogged-over city. And here is the truth. This was not only my 8-year-old daughter's first real rally/protest/march, it was mine as well. 

So when Ijeoma asked the above on Facebook (and Twitter) tonight, I had to sit my privileged, cis, white-lady butt down and really think about this. Why am I a 45-year-old, loud and proud FEMINIST who carried out my first real, in-life, tangible act of defiance and activism today?

I hate to admit this, but I don't have a good answer for her. 

I think for many people of privilege, "the wall" is already there. Separating us from those who are not US. Oh, we see you, we see your struggles, the injustices and inequality, and we talk a good talk (or write a good blog post or FB status), but our activism ends when we close the tab, or get enough likes to make us feel good about ourselves. We look over the wall, but we rarely climb over it. 

It's easy to sympathize with people from afar. It is much harder is to empathize with them. To put yourself right next to them or right in their shoes, and REALLY know what it's like to be truly marginalized and dehumanized. To bear witness and feel the pain of black and brown mothers losing their babies to police brutality. To step in (online or IRL) when a trans sister or brother or non-binary person is being attacked for the mere fact of existing. To send that email or make that phone call to our elected officials demanding action for our Indigenous people living in third-world-like conditions in our country. It's easy to say, who am I to say or do anything? It's not MY issue. 

I guess what I am trying to say, and what Ijeoma's post made me realize is; why have I been choosing easy? 

All week I have seen post after post from the Women of Colour on my timelines saying that they were not going to go to the Women's Marches. That they were TIRED. TIRED of doing SO MUCH WORK, and being attacked time and time again for standing up for the rest OF US. SO tired of showing up, only to be upstaged by white women, taking the credit (and all the selfies) for their work. 

Photo credit: Angela Peoples and Kevin Banette

Photo credit: Angela Peoples and Kevin Banette

This is when I knew I had to go. Because it is WAY PAST time that I step up and into the fray, and let my black and brown and indigenous and LGBTQi+ and disabled sestras take a GOTDAMB break. Time to let them be the ones at home, safe with their loved ones, watching the Live feeds on social media. IT WAS time to PUT UP or SHUT UP.  Hell, it was SO way past that time and I am ashamed it took me this long to put my body and my being on the front line. I am sorry it took so long for me to use my privilege to protect you. To be the RIGHT KIND OF WALL that stops the bigots and racists and xenophobes and sexists from getting to you. I am sorry it has taken me this long to physically lock arms with you and say to all the people with hate and ignorance in their hearts and minds, NOT ON MY WATCH MOTHERFUCKERS!

I know these words are not enough. I know me showing up today is not enough. I know being in the echo chambers I curate online or the "barred rooms" I visit with fellow feminists and friends (as one of our local speakers called them today) preaching to the choir, is NOT ENOUGH. 

I wrote a post a few years ago saying our world needed a revolution. Well... here we are. It's been a while since most of North America has been this OPENLY divided. It is time for us, FOR ME, to make some choices about what side we are on and if we really are who and what we say we are. 

So... Ijeoma, Addye, Kelly, Elisa, Stepha, Aja, Syreeta, Asha, Marni, AJ, Janelle, Amanda, TJ, Jenny, Alexandra, Eight, Ten and SO MANY MORE...

Please accept my apology for not being a TRUE ally until today. My pledge and promise to you is that from this day forward, I am with you, beside you, in front of you (if you need me) and behind you when you don't. 

I promise to do better. You have always been worth it, I was just too shortsighted and walled in my own privileged world to see it and do something REAL about it. I own that. No excuses.  

Love and solidarity AND ACTION.

Eight's protest sign. 

Eight's protest sign. 

Natasha~