Category: Feminism for the Real Woman

Who are you with?

 

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It takes a lot to get me to quit procrastinating… That explains why I haven’t blogged in over a year. So what was it that finally kicked my butt back into gear? Any guesses?

If you said the disgusting, misogynistic, xenophobic racist Donald Trump, give yourself a star! I’ve been thinking about what future, 70 year old Lauren will tell her grandkids about the year 2016, and I don’t want it to be that I stayed quiet while people I cared about voted for a man who will surely have a place in our history books in the chapter on narcissistic sociopaths with a penchant for sexual violence.

There are so many reasons not to vote for Donald Trump, that I can’t begin to list them all. But, I’ll make an attempt. If you weren’t swayed by his xenophobic attitude towards Muslims and Mexicans, or his racist history of denying apartments to black applicants and railroading the innocent Central Park Five, I’m disappointed. If you didn’t budge after you heard the way he talks to and about women, I’m disappointed. If you weren’t convinced by his confession that he has sexually assaulted women, and the many reports that he, in fact, has, I’m disgusted. And even if you ignored everything he said up until the point he advocated grabbing women by the genitals because you realized that you have women in your life that you love, or that you’re a woman yourself, and finally disavowed him, I’m still pretty upset with you. And, as an important aside – has the man articulated any practical policy plans? A country is not a business, despite what that shady businessman would like you to think.

Here’s the thing… so many people are framing this election as a “lesser of two evils” situation. Both candidates are terrible, they say. So they’ll either choose the less terrible one, or throw a vote away on a third party candidate. I’m not sure if this attitude is ignorance, sexism, or an unwillingness to change party affiliation, but it’s simply untrue. Hillary Clinton is an imperfect person, but she is well-qualified to be our president. She’s spent the majority of her life as public servant, which I’m inclined to believe she did in the interest of the public good. There are many other lucrative paths a woman with her education and intelligence could have chosen, let’s not pretend she’s selfish for spending a lifetime in the public sector. Because she has spent her life in the public eye, we are aware of the mistakes she has made. We are also well aware of the good she has done, as a lifelong advocate for women, children, and families. Hillary knows how our political system works, and she has the connections and know-how to enact real political change. Let’s not pretend that a candidate with no political experience could get anything done in the House or Senate.

Although Hillary’s campaign has purposely avoided focusing on this point, I can’t neglect to mention that having a female president will improve the lives of women and girls for generations to come, until men and women truly are equal. Even if you refuse to recognize sexism in your own country, you know that women are not treated equally around the world. If the most powerful nation in the world elects a woman as our leader, what kind of message will that send to countries who treat women as second-class citizens, or worse?

I spent some time at the start of of the school year teaching my students about empathy. We communicate through screens so often, now, that I worry empathy is going out of style. People who are still willing to vote for Trump after everything he has said and done may need a refresher course: empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s position and recognize their experience as their truth, even if you don’t agree with it. Instead of saying, “Racism doesn’t exist in America,” or “Men and women are already equal,” or “Undocumented immigrants are cheating the system,” how about trying an empathetic response? Do you experience racism directed at you? I’m a white woman in America, so I don’t, but I understand that some people in our country do. We need a president who recognizes that racism is alive and well in America, and that we need to work together to end it. That’s enough to secure my vote for Hillary. Do you experience sexism in any aspect of your life? I’m a woman in America, so I do. And I recognize that some women have had experiences much worse than mine. We need a president who understands the danger that sexist rhetoric creates for women. That’s enough to secure my vote for Hillary. Am I an undocumented immigrant? No, but my grandfather came to America from Ireland through Ellis Island. He moved here for the opportunity this country provides, and I’d like to think that those who come to this country illegally, risking their life and freedom and leaving their families behind, do so for the same reason as my grandfather. We need a president who recognizes the humanity in all humans. That’s enough to secure my vote for Hillary.

Your responsibility as an American citizen is to vote. Vote for the candidate who will do the most good for the most people – Hillary Clinton. If you don’t like her, I don’t care. Put on your big kid pants, scrounge up whatever empathy you can muster, and drag your butt to the polls on November 8th. Or, if you’re still voting for Trump, November 28th.

(Image of Hillary Clinton via Flickr.)

What have you been up to?

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It’s been a while since I last posted, and things are looking different around here.  The leaves are changing, so it’s the 1% of the year when it’s actually pleasant to live in New England, I’ve painted my room so I feel like a productive adult, and I’ve settled into life as a non-college student.  What does that make me?  A real person?

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve missed me and I’m happy to fill you in on what I’ve been up to lately.  Besides job-searching (which is hard!) and substitute teaching (which is fun!) here’s what’s happening in the Life of La: (more…)

Why men are so important to feminism…

A longer return post is coming soon, but take twenty minutes out of your evening to watch this TED Talk.  Show it to the men (and women) in your life – the fight against sexism and misogyny is not a battle between the sexes, but rather one that men and women should take on together.

It’s interesting to think of this in relation to the #YesAllWomen movement, which you can learn about here and here. (In short, it argues that while it’s true that “Not All Men” are violent or demeaning towards women, “Yes All Women” have had to deal with at least one encounter with such a man.)

There’s a lot going on in terms of feminism and gender relations at the moment!  Thoughts?

Can you believe it’s already May?

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So I’ve taken a long hiatus from blogging, in part because of finals at school and in part because of this, but I’m back!  I’d love to share a few things from around the web that have captured my interest in the past couple of weeks.

My brother showed my mom and I this awesome TED Talk by Joshua Foer (this guy‘s brother) about memory.  Foer explains the right way to memorize, and it actually seems pretty fun!  Definitely worth twenty minutes of your time.

Lots of interesting material to think about here for any True Detective fans still befuddled by the entire series. (Start at the bottom for the beginning of a six part article.)

Ever been hit on and pulled the “I have a boyfriend” excuse to get someone to go away?  You’ll think twice after you read this, a really fascinating feminist perspective on how we define ourselves. (Thanks to my lovely friend Molly for sending me this!)

On a similar note, have you heard of gaslighting?  If you’ve ever been called “crazy” for saying something that someone else didn’t agree with, then it’s happened to you.  It’s a great concept to be aware of the next time you have a disagreement.

One of my favorite blogs, Humans of New York, did a piece for Vogue covering the Met Gala.

As always I’d love to hear any thoughts you have to share!  Enjoy the sunshine!

“I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”

I love this new campaign by the Girl Scouts and Sheryl Sandberg’s non-profit Lean In that seeks to #BanBossy.  According to the website, young girls shy away from leadership roles once they discover that instead of being called a “leader,” like boys are, they’ll be branded “bossy” because of their gender.

Here are some fascinating facts from the campaign that might make you think twice before you use the “b-word”:

  • Between elementary and high school, girls’ self–esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.
  • Girls are twice as likely as boys to worry that leadership roles will make them seem “bossy.”
  • Girls get less airtime in class.  They are called on less and interrupted more.

Check out what some of my favorite women have to say about banning bossy:

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Chelsea Handler Handles Sexism

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To appreciate Chelsea Handler, you have to have what some might call an “inappropriate” sense of humor.  Thankfully, I do.  As the only woman on television right now with her own late night show (Chelsea Lately, on E!), Chelsea is someone I look up to professionally (although we have different opinions on what a reasonable serving of vodka is).  So, I’m proud to hear of her sticking up for herself as a woman in a male-dominated field. (more…)

Some Valentine’s Day Insight

What does it mean to be a feminist today?

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This isn’t one of those posts where I present a question in the title then provide you with a neat answer once you read along.  In fact, the answer is far from neat – I can hardly begin to tackle it.  Let’s start with a quick definition before I lose any readers.  To me, a feminist is a person who believes in the equality of women and men and one who doesn’t shy away from addressing or recognizing the instances of inequality that regularly affect our society. (more…)