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.


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.


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." 


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.


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.

Happy Friday everyone!



Feminist Fare Friday: The Day 7 of NaBloPoMo Edition.

It is Friday, I have read some really, really good shit on the web this week.

And you know how I like to share...


In response to the now viral Hollaback catcalling video, Elon James White, the CEO of This Week in Blackness responded in the best way... By creating the #DudesGreetingDudes Twitter hashtag. And even with some of the absolute hilarity of some of the tweets, there was a strong point to be made about the very nature of catcalling and street harassment...

“To me this is about basic decency,” White added. “And the fact that men don’t do this to other men is proof positive that this is a gendered attack, whether the men who do it consider it to be one or not. And we have to speak up to stop it.” 


And speaking of that catcalling video... The eye gymnastics that Amanda Seales had to perform in her CNN interview with her fellow "mansplaining" guest was seriously Olympic status worthy! She recalls that particularly trying routine for us at XOJane this week...

I am the one with all the faces and all the side-eyes and all the eye rolls. Faces contorted into completely genuine reactions to my fellow guest’s emphatic defense of behavior that daily imposes upon the serenity and vulnerability of myself and women the world over. 


Also this week, excerpts from Lena Dunham's new memoir have thrown everyone for another really, REALLY, uncomfortable loop. I have an upcoming post that will address some of the issues arising from this in more depth, but for now, I want you all to read what Elan Morgan had to say about it. Because it is powerful and made me really take a step back and think. AS WE ALL SHOULD in these situations.

Reading about childhood bodily exploration through Dunham's poorly worded, too-adult lens might feel uncomfortable, especially if in light of one's own circumstantial discomfort, but we are looking at a broader sexist sexual panic erroneously applied to the particular here more than we are looking at a particular instance of actual pedophilic abuse. We are looking at the demonization and shaming of natural female childhood curiosity.  


There is a conversation that needs to be happening more in the parenting world and it is one that goes far beyond normalizing breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public. It is one about mothering and race. Because as this past week has shown, a white woman breastfeeding in her cap and gown is "adorable", while a few months ago, a black women breastfeeding in her cap and gown is "ratchett and ghetto".  Yup, we really are such an enlightened bunch. LE GRAND SIGH... come on people, we can do so much better than this!


And finally, this video.

Because, OH MY GO....


Happy Friday Everyone!




Feminist Fare Friday: Edition #25

I have that damn Friday song in my head! Which is a good and bad thing. It's good because, YAY! IT'S FRIDAY and bad because, OMG! that song. Either way, here's some of what I read this week that made me think. (Which is not what that damn song does!)


1. Ready for another round of which Hollywood starlet wants you to know that she is definitely NOT a feminist and LOVES all the mens? Yeah, me neither, but you know, stupid sells. With some notable NOT stupid feminist actresses stepping up to the plate.

The actress Amy Poehler, 42, told Elle earlier this year: “Some big actors and musicians feel like they have to speak to their audience and that word is confusing to their audience. But I don’t get it. That’s like someone being like, ‘I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it.’ ”


2. Get into any kind of conversation about rape culture or feminism/anti-feminism or sexism or misogyny and you are going to hear from at least ONE person (usually male) tell you that NOT ALL MEN think/act/believe THAT way. For a brief history of every dudes favourite argument (and perhaps it's signalling of some kind of positive shift for SOME men), please read the following from Jess Zimmerman at TIME.

It’s true that previous derailment favorites like “patriarchy hurts men too” were paraphrases in a way that “not all men” is not. The demand is the same — “please move me to the center of your discussion” — but “not all men” is, in many cases, straight from the horse’s mouth; even an amateur Reddit spelunker can turn up plenty of sulky or defensive uses of the phrase.


3. When Hip Mama magazine tried to publish it's latest edition with a photo of artist Ana Alvarez-Errecalde's breastfeeding her son on it's cover, the backlash was swift. It showed us just how far we have NOT come in our efforts to normalize images of breasts performing their primary function - breastfeeding. Vendors refused to carry the magazine in their stores and (not surprisingly) Facebook banned the photo multiple times from multiple accounts. Please read the following from Ariel Gore, the editor of Hip Mama, about what happened next.

Violence towards women begins with the repression of sexuality, the appropriation of childbirth, the interference with all vital cycles and the creation of manipulative roles. A negated mother will also negate her body and her presence to her children, so they will all ultimately conform to our unattended, unloved, and unnourished society. 


4. Last Thursday was the end of this season's Grey Anatomy and the end of the era of Cristina Yang. I have watched this show since its beginning and have always been invested in the lives of these characters and the choices that they make for themselves. And it wasn't until Cristina uttered those final lines to Meredith last week that the full scope of what this show has done for women (and perhaps even for me) really hit me.

"Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need;

He's very dreamy, but he's not the sun.

You are the sun."

I just loved these lines; they perfectly define the secondary roles we adopt because we have been conditioned to think this is normal, natural. Women are malleable, and so, we sacrifice because we think we want to. It's easier, isn't it, to just go along with the unspoken rules?


4. And finally, the video "Hugs" by JC Little is pretty much the best thing on the internet this week!



"HUGS" everyone!

Have a great weekend.