Feminist Fare Friday: the Neil's Mom ROCKs! edition.

BlackandWhite Somehow it is Friday yet again. I swear this week started super slow and then BAM! Friday, just like that. For the record, I am not complaining, just perhaps noticing the passing of time going way faster. Maybe that's what happens as we age, time seems to move differently.

Anywhooo... that's perhaps an existential discussion for another time.

Let's get to it.

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1. Neil Kramer is a fellow writer, Instagrammer and sometimes tweeter who asked his mom this past week if she is a feminist. He recorded this conversation and shared it on his blog, Citizen of the Month and over at The Broad Side. Here is a snippet for you.... Please go read the rest. I officially love Neil's Mom and look forward to meeting her one day.

Me:   Will you vote for a woman president?

Mom:    Sure. Like Hillary Clinton. But it’s not like I’m going to vote for that Kardashian woman just because she’s a woman.

Me:  Do you think a feminist should look a certain way?  Like not wear lipstick or shave her legs?

Mom:  She could do what she wants.   I mean, eventually, she’ll probably have to shave her legs at least once.  If she wants to date.  Or before her wedding.

Me:   And what do you think about the different roles of mothers and fathers?

Mom:    Well, I do believe that a parent should stay at home with a young child.

Me:   Aha!  Gotcha!  So, you think a mother should stay at home?

Mom:    No, it could be the father.

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2. Oh Barbie. Trying so hard to be whatever she wants to be and show girls that they can be that too, but still managing to somehow fuck it all up. In the latest instalment of Mattel trying to get us to believe that  Barbie is actually a good role model for girls, comes the incredibly disappointing "Barbie, I can be a computer engineer" book.

This book, released last June, was paired with another career-minded book called Barbie: I Can Be an Actress. All five reviews for the two-book set on Amazon are from baffled parents wondering why a story called I Can Be a Computer Engineer is sending the opposite message. In fact, according to the site's only three-star review (the others each give one star), it might more accurately be called "I Can Manipulate Boys Into Programming While I Sit Back and Take Credit." 

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3. Kim Kardashian was all over the internet last week trying to break it with her beautiful butt. But as any breastfeeding mom who has ever posted a picture on social media knows, you just have to be a woman being a woman to do that! Jessica Martin-Weber breaks it down for us in her HuffPo Parents piece this week:

There are those who think breastfeeding photos and Kim's shinny derrière are equally unsettling and inappropriate. There are also those who think women should be covered head to toe to leave the house and would pass out burkas to every woman. These reactions are all part of the ongoing conversation about what women can show of their bodies and why. From bikini selfies to breastfeeding selfies, from Kim Kardashian on the cover of Paper to Olivia Wilde breastfeeding in Glamour , people love to freak out over what women do with their bodies, how they dress them, how they share them, how many children they do or don't have with them, how they enjoy them, who they share them with -- you name it.

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4. I've been thinking about the whole #Shirtstorm thing all week and trying to wrap my head around it. I mean in the grand scheme of things, ie: landing a spacecraft on a moving comet, it really did seem like it shouldn't have been such a big deal. And then I read the line below in a post on the blog Women in Astronomy and two things became very clear to me... 1) It was not and never has been about the damn shirt! and 2) I still have so much ingrained sexism to unlearn in this life.

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Happy Friday everyone!

N~

 

Measuring

The list of my city's Top 40 under 40 came out this month and I know about eight people on the list. Young, ambitious, go-getters, doing good things for our city and for the world, and all that jazz. And as I read the write ups on all of them, all I could feel was, "SHIT! Most of these folks are 10 years younger than me, what the heck have I done with my life?" I had to stop for a minute and think of what I have done with my life.

I put myself through university, paid off my student loans (eventually), had a successful career in the Pharmaceutical industry, jointly saved up and paid for our destination wedding, designed and built THREE houses in the past 10 years, birthed two children, started my own business, helped to create a community of and for like-minded parents online, (re)discovered my love of writing and embraced my feminist self.  And all of this life experience, I am using to continue to write and opine and educate (myself and others) through my blog and on social media. It's really not that bad of a list... so far.

So much of what we do and see and say these days is so outwardly focused. We are online throughout our days seeing what other people are saying and doing, waiting to find out what the "right" response should be about world events and news, what charity to support, whose bandwagon to jump on this week, what new fandangle all the cool kids are doing (um... hello Ello!). It can get a bit overwhelming and sometimes even depressing, especially when we start feeling like we don't measure up to the these standards of success or status or "coolness" that we have given credence to.

One of the major lessons that I have learned in my life, and to be honest, probably just in the last few years (so, that would be AFTER 40) is that making a difference in the world or in someone's life, is not about doing the "volunteer all your time, give all your money, go to al the GALAs and do all the FLASHY things" stuff. It is about finding what speaks to your heart, being true to yourself, setting healthy boundaries and not living within a framework of fear, shame, and scarcity - which too often seem to be the default settings for many in our world.

It's the scarcity one that gets me all the time though. You may be more familiar with it as, " I am not ___________ enough.". And it is statements like these that can send me into a tailspin of self-doubt and negative self-talk faster than a room full of toddlers an hour after eating red-icing covered cupcakes. It is what happened as I was reading all the Top 40 nominees and their long lists of accomplishments. It's what happens when I read bios for other bloggers and presenters at social media conferences and yes, it even happens on the playground or school yard when I start hearing about all the extra curricular activities and programs other families have their kids enrolled in. I get out my imaginary measuring stick and it all goes downhill from there.

I sometimes feel like the scarcity issue is a double-edged sword too. One doesn't want to seem too cocky about oneself either and be all, I am enough, I have enough, I DO enough. Especially if there are those around you who actually don't have enough. There's this feeling that lurks around telling us that if we are TOO happy, then there must something wrong with us. This results in conversations that turn into a competition for who can out-misery the other. "Your kids won't eat their lunches? Well, that's nothing, MINE will only eat peanut butter, from the jar, with a special spoon."  "You think you are busy with your two kids in hockey? HA! I have to balance hockey, piano lessons, KUMON classes AND gymnastics for three kids." In the end, there really are no winners in a misery war.

The thing with these imaginary measuring sticks is this. One - they are IMAGINARY! And two - there is no standard length for them. Everyone's is different and all of these things that we feel the need to measure: happiness, success, business, balance, etc..., they are subjective. Someone having a REALLY good day and saying so on Facebook, doesn't mean that your day is bad. Someone getting a writing gig with a magazine, while you still trudge away writing on your little blog doesn't mean that your writing sucks. And someone whose kids do ALL THE THINGS, doesn't mean that their kids are any happier than or are "getting an edge over", your kids. What all of this means is simply, different strokes for different folks.

I am sitting here looking over the Top 40 list again and doing so from a slightly different angle. One where I am not in the picture. One where I can be proud of the young, vibrant voices of the women and men that live and work in my community and my city and that are putting it on the map for the world to see.

Avenue Top 40 Under 40

 

I am putting away my measuring stick. Or repurposing it. I think I'll make it into my new walking stick and I'll take it with me along this path that is MY life. One in which I really am enough. One where I will walk beside my fellow humans, who also have their own walkings sticks. Some taller than mine, some made of a different wood, some decorated with fancy inlayed beads. And all the while, while we may admire each other's sticks, I'll know that my own stick is the one that keeps me upright, helps me navigate my footing in this world and is the one that is perfect, that is ENOUGH, for me.

 

 

 n~

 

 

 

 

Midway

At the beginning of the month, I had this strong urge to do all the daily things. Writing, picture taking, meditation, yoga-ing.

I signed up for my first official #NaBloPoMo, found a lovely little daily photo challenge on Instagram called #thedailybon and made a promise to myself to get at least one 15-20 minute session of meditation in each day.

So, how's it going you ask? Because I know you're all just sitting around waiting for me to hit publish every day, right. RIGHT??!

Well, it's day 15 of #NaBloPoMo and I missed days 9, 10 and 11. I have to chalk that up to the disappointing cancelled mountain getaway weekend and then frantically trying to make up for it by doing ALL THE THINGS with my family over three days. Movies, dinners out, a trip to Toys R Us.... Oh, yes, the guilt was strong in those few days. I swear I have a couple of heavier pieces in the works and a guest post coming up this week.

I am really enjoying #thedailybon photo challenge over on Instagram. I am pushing myself artistically with my iPhoneography and trying to remember all the things that I learned from @motherbumper at Blissdom Canada this year. I case you are wondering, I take most of my shots with Camera+ and then edit with Snapseed.

Here are my faves so far:

#thedailybon

Follow me on Instagram at @StayAtHomeFeminist.

Daily blogging is tough, some days you just really don't want to, others you literally have nothing to write, and sometimes, yes, you get posts that don't have much substance to them. This thing is about more than just churning out words on the screen just because, it's about sifting through the words in our heads and turning them into something with meaning. It's about practice. For me it's about making a conscious effort to carve out my "writing time", and really explore different ideas about writing and actually getting good at this thing.

Thank you for tagging along with me this month.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I haven't meditated yet today.

Namaste,

natasha~