Feminist Friday: Numero Uno

England feminism

Alright! So I’m starting a series that I’ll be calling Feminist Friday. I’ve been pondering this little turn on the blog for a while now, mostly due to the fact that sometimes I don’t’ think I do a good job of accurately portraying myself and the things I care/think about, and the amount of time that I spend in real life talking about social justice and feminism and issues of equality is just….huge. Very very large. So I’ll be posting links or short essays in order to, ideally, prompt a dialogue (which would be nice) or even just to get those of you who deign to visit me on the internetz to maybe check out some other things that I find of infinite interest. Broadening horizons and all that. The issue of feminism and what it means to be a feminist and how important what happens to women means for all of us, men and women and human, is dear to my heart and really, the more voices out there talking about issues of equality, the better. So let’s just start, shall we? Baby steps, on this first momentous Friday.

Ashley Judd puts the smack down. She is amazing, and my respect for her just grows and grows as I hear more about her. In this piece that she wrote on the Daily Beast in response to media speculation about her “puffy face”, Judd discusses how the conversation about women’s bodies exists publicly and privately and works as a tool to define and control us. Calling to task the media and those who participate in this misogynistic assault on women in the public eye (so, like, everyone and I include myself in that although I TRY try try not to), Judd says it all better than I ever could. I particularly like this bit:  “Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.” I encourage everyone to read it if you haven’t already! Superb. More here.

A Mighty Girl. This fun website is something that I hope to remember to peruse when I have small girl children of my own someday. Their tagline is “the world’s largest collection of books and movies for smart, confident, courageous girls”. I have actually had several conversations with like-minded friends (and Jon!) about how I would feel really uncomfortable showing a small daughter of mine many of the Disney movies out there, or a lot of the toys and tv shows that exist for young girls, because they either portray girls as damsels in distress, unwilling/unable to help themselves, or they perpetuate stiff binaries that show boys as rough and tumble, dirty, sports loving fiends, while little girls can/should only be playing with dolls/in fake kitchens/wearing frilly dresses and being pretty and delicate. I just don’t think it’s as solid as that, and I think all children should feel free and unencumbered by these gender roles that society puts on them.  Boys cooking-hell yeah! Girls playing baseball-yep yep! (Female role models that I think are awesome and would love to show any little ones, including my awesome niece: Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, Pippy Longstocking, the mom and daughter in the Incredibles, Beauty from Beauty and the Beast, the chick from Tangled, Mulan. Definite ones I dislike: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella (but yes to Ella Enchanted!), Ariel (watching the Little Mermaid as an adult is beyond frustrating. Girl, you are 16 and you saw that guy’s face once! Don’t give up your voice and your home for that shit!). *I would like to point out that I personally love Disney movies, and I support parents making whatever decisions they see fit for their children. These are just issues that, I myself, struggle with in terms of thinking of movies and books as possible tools of encouragement and modeling for young people if there’s no one there to explain what’s going on to them. I mean, Sleeping Beauty was my favorite growing up and I turned into a crazy feminist, so….yeah. Grain of salt and all that.

-CNN pundit Hilary Rosen says that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life, shit storm ensues. I find this whole conversation really interesting, if not incredibly problematic, because it’s taking the focus off of Mitt Romney and his whole…thing…but I digress. So to sum it up: Mitt says he gets his views on women’s experience and what they care about from his wife, Ann. Rosen goes on tv and points out that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life, so what can she know about working women’s issues? Ann Romney is pissed because she raised 5 boys and considers that work-which, of course it is, but it is by no means the same as a job that one must take in order to support one’s family. So now what? Can a multi-millionairess really believe that her experiences in making the choice to stay in one of her 9 homes and raise children have anything at ALL in common with the experiences of millions of women all over America who don’t get to make the “choice” to work outside the home or stay home with their offspring, because America is a country that does not, by law at least, respect the needs of families and child-rearing, and therefore these women MUST work outside the home in order to pay rent and take care of their children?  Are we supposed to believe Ann Romney when she says “I know what it’s like to struggle”? Because I don’t. Not for a second. Especially not coming from the wife of a candidate whose whole platform is based on taking the choices away from women, thereby limiting their economic choices. More on this story can be found here and here.

So I think that’s enough for today! I look forward to writing more of these, and honing the space into something that works for me-and you, out there, if you want to be involved. And if you don’t like this series, you can always just skip my blog on Fridays, although I hope you don’t! Have a good weekend!

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