For future reference.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I do a weekly round-up of what I like to call "Feminsit Fare" on Fridays. I post interesting and thought provoking articles I have read, videos I have seen, and information I think you will like or that will further our conversations about feminism and motherhood and life. Today, I am collecting posts together in this space for another reason. These pieces are about feminism, misogyny, terrorism, murder, derailing important conversations, and hashtag activism. I have been sharing most of these posts on my Facebook pages and if you haven't figured it out already, they are pieces that have been written or recorded in response to the murderous attack planned and executed by Elliot Rodger in the Isla Vista community in Santa Barbara, California.

And I am saving them all here, because here is the hard truth...

We will need to refer to them again in the future. 

Violence against women is a systematic problem in our world and until and unless a MUCH larger majority of us are willing to DRASTICALLY change that system, this violence will continue. I hate to write this, but there are other Elliot Rodgers out there, just like Elliot Rodger was another George Sodini and George Sodini was another Marc Lepine. Young men growing up in a world of toxic masculinity believing that they are entitled to their prize - a hot woman to have sex with. And denied this prize, they resort to violence to "prove themselves" to the world or to exhort a kind of retribution for being slighted.

Today in a separate Twitter conversation with another young man on the topic of breastfeeding in public, I was called a "relentless feminist". I am 100% sure he meant it as an insult. I did not take it as one.

Because I AM relentless in this. I will never stop trying to change this system. I will never be quiet in the face of oppression and misogyny and violence against women and women's rights. I will amplify the voices of my peers, female and male, who are speaking larger truths that we all need to really listen to and I will keep a chronicle of them all here...

For future reference.

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Jessica Valenti writing for The Guardian about how yes, misogyny does indeed kill.

If we need to talk about this tragic shooting in terms of illness, though, let's start with talking about our cultural sickness – a sickness that refuses to see misogyny as anything other than inevitable

Jenni Chui writing at Mommy Nani Booboo about the #YESALLWOMEN hashtag.

Though Elliot Rodgers is an extreme case, the entitlement he expresses mirrors a large societal ill, and has spurred women by the hundreds of thousands to speak up about how it affects them and yes, all women.

Chuck Wendig writing at terribleminds that while it is of course, not all men, it still if far too many.

Show them by cleaning the dogshit out of your ears and listening to their stories — and recognize that while no, it’s not “all men,” it’s still “way too many men.” Consider actually reading the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter not to look for places to interject and defend your fellow men, but as a place to gain insight and understanding into the experiences women have. 

Harris O'Malley writing at Paging Dr. Nerdlove about the price of toxic masculinity.

This is what happens when we grow up in a culture that teaches men that hypermasculinity is what defines them. It tells them that they’re only as good as the sex that they’re having or the ass that they’re kicking. It teaches them that being rejected isn’t a sign of a lack of compatibility or a need to improve but a referendum on their value as a man. That they’re being robbed of what they’re owed.

Laci Green's video about this culture of angry, entitled men is quite powerful and worth a watch.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPFcspwbrq8&feature=share&list=PLTXiNEUzXWKTfNYKThSk-kmJdf7AJRP5K[/youtube]

Phil Plate writing at Slate discussing how and why derailing this potentially system-changing conversation occurs and how unhelpful it is.

Instead of being defensive and distracting from the topic at hand, try staying quiet for a while and actually listening to what the thousands upon thousands of women discussing this are saying.

Lindsay Beyerstein writing at Duly Noted about why Elliot Rodger is in fact a terrorist fighting a War on Women.

By any meaningful standard, Rodger planned and executed a terrorist attack. He orchestrated the violence for maximum symbolic impact and took steps to disseminate his message through the mass media.

(updated on May 29, 2014)

Jeopardy Champion Arthur Chu writing at The Daily Beast discussing the "script" that most nerdy boys grow up with.

...the overall problem is one of a culture where instead of seeing women as, you know, people, protagonists of their own stories just like we are of ours, men are taught that women are things to “earn,” to “win.” That if we try hard enough and persist long enough, we’ll get the girl in the end. Like life is a video game and women, like money and status, are just part of the reward we get for doing well.

Madeleine Davies at Jezebel writing about being not an angry feminist, but a furious one.

And I'm still angry, still furious. I'm furious that growing up, I wasn't allowed to do the same things that my brother did because it wasn't safe for me. I'm furious that my parents ingrained in me from a very young age that I should never wear heels because I should always be ready to run at a moment's notice. I'm furious that walking alone at night feels more like an act of rebellion than a simple act of transit.

(updated, June 1, 2014)

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville writing about "the geek guys Elliot Rodgers think pieces" and how they are still getting it wrong.

And one of the things I'm seeing over and over in these pieces, despite their ostensibly being about how acknowledging women's humanity and agency is important, is a distinct failure to acknowledge women as anything but the sex class. That is, there is very little discussion about how straight men should and do have other reasons for interacting with women than trying to have sex with them.

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I know more will be written about this in the days to come and I will continue to add to this list. If you have read something that you think needs to be here please post the link in the comments.

Relentlessly,

natasha~

How to be a proper "mommy blogger".

I have just finished watching all three first seasons of Downton Abbey. It took about three episodes of season one to hook me, but after that I was a goner. It really is a very well written, acted and produced show and I am looking forward to season 4.

I was drawn to the show for a few different reasons. One, EVERYONE and their well-bred dogs kept going on and on about it and so I had to see what all the fuss was about. Two, I have a secret obsession with all kinds of historical dramas set in England (I am a quarter British BTW). I have seen the Elizabeth movies about five times each, I am a huge fan of The Tudors, and this just seemed to fit in with the whole genre. And three, my maternal grandmother (the British part of me) was a governess for a very wealthy French family in the 1930-40s in and a glimpse into this kind of life, albeit an earlier version, was very eye-opening for me and somehow has made me feel close to her again.

The show also gave me chills at times, especially with regard to the way that women of that era where regarded. I grew up with MANY lessons from my grandmother on how to be a proper lady, on how to act properly and to know and show proper etiquette at all times. At quite an early age, I could have told you what all of the forks, spoons and knives where for in a formal dinner setting. Also, a lady never crosses her legs, a lady sits up straight and a lady has a dainty and ladylike laugh. My grandmother had a full set of the large sized Encyclopedia Britannica and would make me do laps in the house with one on my head, for proper posture of course. She used to brush my hair one hundred times a night. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. And then we would say the Lord's prayer and at least one Hail Mary, in French, before going to sleep. I was on my way to being a good and proper little lady! Oh Helene (what we called my granny) if you only knew!

It may not come as a surprise that I have ended up relating most to Lady Edith Grantham as a character. She is not the overtly rebellious one like Sybil or the super-traditionalist, doing her duty for the family, Mary. She constantly gets overlooked by everyone and eventually comes into her own, by her own devices and finds a way for her voice to be heard, if not by her family, then by a much wider audience as a writer for a London magazine. Go Edith!!

Why all this Downton Abbey talk?

Well, it has been an interesting week in the "mommy blogger" world. Let me just check my calendar... yup, it has been about three months since anyone took a good swing at the bloggers/writers/business women who are also mothers. And swing they did.

The Wall Street Journal published the incredibly condescending article about "The Mommy Business Trip" and, well... you can imagine the fallout. Or if you can't, you can go read all about it HERE, and HERE and HERE and oh, just Google it, you'll see.... Hell hath no fury like a belittled blogger and mother!

I admit that I too was rather upset about the article. I am not a blogging conference expert or anything, but I have attended a few and in my former career, I have also attended multiple large medical conferences, as both a sponsor and an attendee. For the medical conferences, I left my husband for 2-4 days at a time, I stayed in fancy hotels, I ate at 4 and 5 star restaurants-sometimes on my dime, sometimes on someone else's and I attended sessions that were of interest to me and my profession. I also attended the sponsored cocktail parties and mingled and met with, and was awe-stricken by people whose names I had only ever seen in the British Medical Journal or the Lancet on papers that listed them as lead authors and researchers!

For the blogging conferences, I left my husband and children for 2-4 days, I stayed at a fancy hotel, I ate at 4 and 5 star restaurants-sometimes on my dime, sometimes on someone else's and I attended sessions that were of interest to me and my profession. I also attended the sponsored cocktail parties and mingled and met with, and was awe-stricken by people whose names I had only ever seen on Twitter or on their VERY successful blogs!

Anyone spot the MAJOR difference between these two scenarios?

Children. That's about it really. But that seems to be the crux of it. In the WS article, there is no mention of the men attending blogging conferences, no mention of the childless attendees, themselves also eating ten dollar bags of chips of the floors of hotel rooms. Nope, just the mommies, the ones not living up to some archaic notion of what a proper mother should be and do with her time (and from the implications in the article, with her husband's money as well).

Yes, I started blogging after I had children. My writing before then was of a very different kind. It was scientific and was about proposals and presentations and such. Those business trips and conferences were seen as an integral part of my job and it was expected that I attend them to keep up to date with the most current research, to keep my face and expertise in front of important clients from all over the world and to enhance my knowledge in my field.

My conundrum this past week has been this. Why is this so hard for everyone to understand about blogging conferences? Are the people who attend these conferences, YES, even the "mommy bloggers", not doing the exact same thing? Keeping up to date with the current (and VERY fast moving) pace of online publishing, getting those crucial face-to-face meetings with clients/potential partners and meeting the ever important "connectors" and "mavens" of the blogging world. And most of all, to enhance their knowledge in their chosen field of work, be it SEO, working with brands, finding writing inspiration, being a better photographer/vlogger, etc....

I made the mistake of reading the comment section of the WSJ article and what hit me the most, and what brings me back to Downton Abbey, is that, from the incredibly condescending lede, to the overall tone of the article (which, by the way, was written by a woman), the one major impression I got from it, and what I feel from a lot of these "mommy blogger", click-bait, page-view hungry articles, published mostly in old-school mainstream media outlets, is the incredible misogynistic tone taken against women and especially mothers. There is an overbearing feeling of someone reminding us to "know our proper place in the world". Of us being scolded and reminded of how to be the proper lady and the proper mother and the proper hobbyist. God forbid that we all decide, just like Lady Edith does, to use our brains and voice our opinions to a larger audience. To start businesses and be successful at them and then need to stay up to date with the world and work that we are doing through conferences and meetings.

It seems ridiculous that I have to point this out in 2013, but just like post-war 1920s in England, the times they are-a-changing people. It's a business trip. NOT a "MOMMY" anything.

End of story!!

Now, do please excuse me. I am off to brush my hair. 1, 2, 3, 4....

Natasha~