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Do we have an internal voice anymore? An interior world that is our own? How many of us edit what is in our own journals so that we might project our best image, or a certain type of image, or please others, or not offend them with our real thoughts? When we have constant information and input flowing in (status updates, advertisements, music or muzak, tv, etc) how can we filter and develop an interior world?

And as women particularly is our interior world valued? Is it only valuable if other people like it? If we get so many 'likes' on Facebook, or some one pays us for our memoir? Our bodies are certainly picked apart. All of our parts must be approved by some external gaze - be it male or female. If a magazine tells us curvy is in then we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can defend our figures based on whatever health fad is in. Do we get to like our selves just because?

How can we embrace our bodies, our embodiedness (flesh, earthiness, corporeality, etc) without being only our bodies? Finding this blade thin balance feels impossible on days when I engage in mainstream media, but is only slightly more possible when I read philosophic or theological texts. Any wisdom gleaned is still problematic - all theory, all big words. And how do we find the razor thin line between personal and physical autonomy, still so necessary in our world, and communal participation, still so necessary in our world? Women especially still struggle in these areas. How can we embrace our desires and hopes, aspirations and ambitions, and also serve and care for others in a meaningful way?

The greatest mystery in life to me is finding the place of balance in all these questions. I think it is one of feminism's biggest challenges in the world. How do we embrace the myriad contradictions that make up our lives? To serve and be served? To love and be loved? To embrace power (such a problematic word in feminism) and yet not be crushed by it? To attain equality with men, but elevate that equality to something that provides freedom for women and men, for all people regardless of class, size, religion, sex, gender, race?

Ultimately, how do we become whole human beings?

Religiously and theologically I think the rise in paganisms and New Age movements speaks to many of these questions. I waver inbetween mono- and poly-theism. My personal practice is FAR more pagan than Christian. And yet to be honest I think that established religions, among them Christianity, have more tools, language, depth and nuance to tackle a lot of the questions. There is so much in the Christian tradition alone that is liberatory and radical, but church feels dead. How do we/I/you find personal meaning and depth and also have community?

The modern struggle of transience v permanence, individual v community, choice v duty, private and public, and so on. We never choose sides, it's always a negotiation. An ongoing negotiation until the day we die, I'm guessing.
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I'm feeling really disillusioned and a bit despairing this morning. Part of it is reading the news and following, even loosely, politics, particularly American politics. Part of it is the ongoing conversation with my cousin. It's like the conversation with my cousin is the microcosm of the macrocosm that is the news. Basically, people are stupid. People don't think. I'm pretty stupid and don't think in many areas of my life, so I'm not off the hook. My only saving grace is that I can think critically. I'm certainly no less judgmental than most, and maybe only a tad bit more compassionate, but this is a relatively recent development.

I am winding down the conversation with cousin. There's only so much a person can say. If a person doesn't have sound reasoning skills what can you do? And it's way too much work to read through his atrociously written responses. I am disappointed. Because my cousin is a Nice Guy, and I always liked him. But really, he's a sexist. Of course, he doesn't think he is, but he is. He doesn't see the consequences of his lines of reason. He has no excuse, either. It makes me think I'll never make it as a university professor. How do those of you who teach handle it? Do you cling to those students who are brilliant and/or really really try? I'm afraid my low bullshit tolerance will cause me to be rude and demeaning to the idiots. Teaching singing seems sooooo much easier.

I don't think that my cousin is all that unique. I think a lot of people are like him. For a variety of reasons. I recognize that I have a considerable position of privilege that I can sit around and study to such an advanced degree and challenge the status quo. There are a lot of people who have to work longer hours than I do, who have various other circumstances that prevent the navel-gazing I spend much of my time doing. But I also know that it's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. The powers that be offer us tastes of power and privilege in hopes that we won't challenge them any further. I find this glaringly obvious in feminist politics (and I don't mean political politics only). If I am officially Sexy then I'll go a hell of lot further than if I am not. Sarah Palin is a great example of this.

And then there's just plain ol' politics. Not that I ever thought Obama was the second coming, but I am officially over his administration. We had loads of hope in the beginning, but I've seen no change at all. Just standard Democrat politics. And the recent hoo-ha over the Sherrod firing is disgusting. Instead of really discussing race, it was knee-jerk political correctness. I am no longer convinced that America as a nation can have a debate about anything. It is nothing but sound bites, sensationalism, and status quo rhethoric. Fox News and their hosts are the worst of the worst. I am embarrassed that those entertainers get airspace called 'news' and I am appalled that millions of people (some of them I know to be very nice!) consider that actual reasoning and debate. Where did our critical thinking skills go?? And the 'liberal' media is only a teeny-tiny fraction better. Their bias is veiled but its there. And most people don't seem to worry about this. Most people will eat up anything that's delivered from 'on high'.

I'm tired of xenophobia masquerading as patriotism. Britain, though more moderate than the US in many ways, definitely has its share of racist xenophobes running around. If I hear any more 'mosque at ground zero' nonsense I think I'll hurt some one. (It's not a mosque, it's not at ground zero.) I'm tired of people who don't question the justice system and assume that because 'justice' is in the title it is, actually, just. Basically, I don't think I can handle the masses anymore. Even though I'm getting a little bored here in bucolic west Wales, maybe I can just convince my thinking, creative friends to come join me in a commune?

I'm ready for the anarcho-feminist revolution now. Thanks.

(But not all is lost. It's not raining this morning and I found out this morning, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bravenewcentury that Avatar:the Last Airbender is getting a series sequel. I will die of the squee and of anticipation. Gotta focus on the little things. Also, my son is deadly cute, and deadly whingey this morning, and covered in corn flakes.)
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Feminism: totally relevant. Theology: can be totally relevant. Christianity: certain parts and strains of it can be very relevant. But a lot of times, when I look through the journal articles out there and the books that get published, I just shake my head and think "What the hell does this have to do with anything? Who cares anymore?" Do we really need yet another Protestant take on the Gospel of Matthew? I'm going to say no. I think for my own motivation I need to figure out a way to make my own arcane studies relevant to the greater world or risk boring myself with inanity.
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It's a gorgeous summer day, solstice weekend, and I'm SICK. It's been a comatose day involving naps, zombie-esque football watching, and internet refreshing.

So, let me share some of the gems I have discovered:

Firstly, http://www.theseventeenmagazineproject.com/ is a great blog, by a young woman who graduated from high school this week. All the feminism you need when reading Seventeen magazine, with none of the theory and bitter snark that more experienced/older feminists throw around.

Secondly, what do you get when you cross music with fanfic? Snoop Dogg loves him some Sookie Stackhouse/Tru Blood. He has written a banal song called 'Oh Sookie' and you can watch the video here. I could only get through half the video, but the mere premise is highly amusing.
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I’m a little dismayed at how my last post (immigration and food politics) was derailed by the topic of abortion. However, all the big issues are intertwined and I’m sure we could find a link between abortion, food politics and immigration if we tried. All the comments, as well as another thread elsewhere, and my ‘at home’ reading got me thinking again about when ‘life begins.’

Two years ago I spent two days discussing abortion with tenth grade boys in a Catholic high school in California. It was a great experience – for everyone I think. I was 5 months pregnant at the time. In my preparation for the presentation I came across many differing ideas about when life begins. I think the discourse around this needs to be changed from ‘life’ to ‘personhood’, because we are not debating life, we are debating what makes a clump of cells – indisputably alive! - a sentient human entity. If life is what the abortion debate is about then the life of dividing cells, the life of a person-shaped squidlet with spine, eyes, heart and brain clump, is given a lot of weight and other creatures with similar characteristics need to be given the same consideration. This means no animal testing of any kind – rats and monkeys are easily more advanced beings than a fetus at 12 or 20 weeks gestation. This means that eating meat is murder of advanced forms of life. There are many anti-abortion* advocates who are vegetarians, but as a whole the movement needs to address the fact that what we are debating is personhood.

Personhood is more than about whether or not something is alive. Cancer cells are ‘alive,’ mosquitos are alive, that spider you squashed is alive, that chicken is alive. We are talking about placing a priority on human sentience. Now sentience is more than intelligence because I am not suggesting in any way, shape or form that the less intelligent, the developmentally disabled, the infirm, the insane, etc are less than human. So what exactly does being human mean? I would like to see the anti-abortion advocates address this issue. Is it potential for human life? In that case, male masturbation, female menstruation, birth control methods, and any sex that is not intended to procreate are hindering the potential for human life. (Hey! That’s the Roman Catholic position! At least they are consistent.) What about miscarriages? Approximately 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage – often women just experience a heavier period, not knowing that the egg had in fact been fertilized. What do we say to those women?** ‘Potential’ is such a tricky word.

Personhood is about more than ability or potential. Whatever definition of personhood we choose says something about what we believe about humanity and its/our role in the greater picture. Many theologians who delve into this issue of personhood (theological anthropology – an area I love) talk about dignity, particularly the Catholic theologians. I think this is also a murky word. If Catholics and Evangelical and other forms of Protestants (though, again, not all) believe that life begins at conception (a belief that is enabled by modern science!) what do others believe?

Muslims (broadly, as with any large group there are bound to be many exceptions) tend to see personhood as beginning at the first sign of quickening (the first movement felt by the mother). According to David Abrams in The Spell of the Sensuous, Australian Aboriginal cultures believe that the spirit of the baby is inserted into the womb at the first quickening as well. What’s interesting is that this is usually between the 4th and 5th month of pregnancy – after the risk of miscarriage, once pregnancy has firmly taken root. This makes so much sense to me. Some Jewish traditions do not consider the baby a person until its head is outside the womb. Until that moment it has the potential (that word again!) for personhood but isn’t considered a full member of humanity until it is born.

This makes sense in a less scientific world, with less advanced medical care. So why shouldn’t we advance our standards with science? Because I don’t think our lived human experience aligns with that of science. So we can now see a baby-shaped squidlet at 8 weeks. I admit, seeing that is deeply mysterious and profound. But it is a disembodied experience: my mostly still flat belly is rubbed around with a cold instrument (or at this early stage a desexualized dildo is inserted) that produces a blurry black and white digital image. But I still can’t feel the baby. It is still experientially abstract. Our brains know, but our lived experience doesn’t. Women still miscarry – something that is considered shameful. The older I get the more I realize how many women have miscarried and how few of them speak about it. Obviously there is something shameful about this experience if we cannot speak openly about it and comfort one another.


*I have just decided to quit using the term pro-life because I think it is a misnomer. The issue isn’t life – it’s personhood. Most ‘pro-life’ advocates eat meat and are in favor of the death penalty, both of these would fall under ‘against life’ in my logic. ‘Anti-abortion’ states clearly what the group is about. Pro-choice however is more an accurate fit as it indicates that this group is in favor of… choice. I personally would never choose to abort and I feel that I share some of the reasons and emotions of the anti-abortionists, but I believe very strongly in defending this choice.

**I would be really really sad if I thought I was pregnant and miscarried. Those who are trying to have a baby are (usually) saddened no matter when the miscarriage occurs – 3 weeks or 13 weeks. But miscarriages happen for all sorts of reasons, usually ones that do in fact support life. I firmly believe that life wants to perpetuate itself so if a pregnancy miscarries there is most likely a very good natural reason for it.
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I've been asked my thoughts on the Arizona immigration law. It's impressive how well informed people are about US news. Of course, after living in the US my standards for informed people are pretty low. I have to say that I don't know much about it. [livejournal.com profile] snowcalla is basically my only source at this point! And the Daily Show. Hee. I figure the Economist will clue me in next week too. It's hard to get too worked up about it, even though I think it's a terrible law. But, of course, I do have some opinions!

Firstly, I'm wary of spouting off on Arizona. I think this law is a reaction to specific issues in the state. I have always been wary of people spouting off about Alaska and it's issues, including opening ANWR and wolf culling. Most people get all worked up, but don't really understand the complexities of the issues. (And do not get me started on the idea of 'untouched wilderness.') So I'm going to ignore Arizona, since I don't know anything about it.

Secondly, and I'm not defending the law, mind, but if the US as a whole won't deal with the issue of immigration, then I guess the citizens of Arizona have to take the lead. Even if Congress start debating this issue I can't see any real change occurring. It will be like health care - a start. But as we've seen, even though everyone will get health care, but it's still at the mercy of the insurance business and the medical-industrial complex. I see the same thing happening in immigration issues: band-aid beginnings. Unless the US is willing to pay the REAL COST of food corporate farms, producers, meat packers, restaurants, etc will continue to hire (and in many cases BUS IN) illegal immigrants to do the work that US citizens refuse to do for such low pay in such abysmal conditions. Are you willing to pick produce in the California sun for less than a dollar a boxful? Yeah, I didn't think so. And are you willing to pay $9 for strawberries? Or $11/lb for sustainably raised, ethically slaughtered, grass fed beef? No? Then chances are good you won't want to pay that much for feedlot fed, mechanically slaughtered meat when US citizens are working the cattle yard.

My liberal compatriots in the United States are all up in arms over this Arizona bill - and my conservative friends want stricter enforcement - but if they/we are serious about creating immigration reform then we've got to look at the much bigger and more uncomfortable picture.
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[livejournal.com profile] erinya commented on my last post and got me thinking. Bennett is discovering male and female. Erinya liked that I asked if he wanted to be a woman when he shook his head no when I told him he was going to be a man. I realize that gender is something we're not supposed to play around with. I mean, I know this in grown up life. If you're gender-queer or a cross-dresser or transgender or just plain don't conform then you're in Big Trouble. But for kids gender continues to be Serious Business. Of course there's the whole pink/blue nonsense and I would probably die of a brain aneurysm if I had to watch children's advertising. But how is it bold to suggest to my toddler that he could be a woman? We play pretend all the time. Kids pretend to be fire trucks, dogs, lions, ghosts, monsters, etc and we don't bat an eye. But to let a boy play girl or a girl play boy... well, that's radical.

I suppose the radical part is that I seriously believe my son can be anything he wants to be. And if he grows up to be a woman, so be it. I admit that my heart would break (and heal up) if he felt so disembodied that he needed to surgically and hormonally alter it - since I love every pore on his little body, every hair and curve and crease. I have had a loved one go through that before and it was deeply difficult. But, ultimately, I want my son to be happy. I don't care if he's male or female, gay or straight or bi or poly or monogamous or asexual. I just want him to not be a jackass and to be happy with healthy relationships.

So far, he seems very boyish: trucks, cars, ka-pow, hitting, wands, and penises (which we call penne). But whatever.
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I finished Mircea Eliade's Patterns in Comparative Religion today. I wish I had known of Eliade when I was in junior high and high school. It is possible that my academic trajectory would have been slightly different. I am also nearly done with Karen Jo Torjesen's When Women Were Priests. I think there are several readers here who would like this book. It's not overly academic but it is both a great overview and full of detail about women in the early church and how attitudes in the wider world undermined women's place in the church. Whilst reading about Hellenistic symposiums I got a little sick to my stomach - metaphorically, that is, which is unusual for me. The view of women in the Greco-Roman world was thoroughly disgusting. ....Oh who am I kidding? The general view of women has generally always been disgusting.

Adam invited a couple over for dinner tonight. Grumble grumble. I'm really not in the mood to entertain. I want to curl up with a book and some tea or play with B. I don't want to vacuum, sweep, and cook. Usually I'm happy to entertain. I enjoy conversation and playing host. But for the last few days I'm just disgruntled at the thought of it. Tonight's dinner could be fascinating or awkward. The couple are Nigerian Muslims and they have a one year old boy. The little boy doesn't do much. The woman is gorgeous and a real bright spirit, but I've only met her husband once in passing. The menu is curried lentil with spinach and brown rice, wine-free, and a cheese cake (store bought I hate to say) for dessert.

I've been SO uninspired with cooking lately. At least once a week I feel like asking for recipe spam, but even then I think "I'd eat that if some one made it for me, but I don't want to cook it." Blah.
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I'm feeling just better enough to get up off the floor/couch/bed, but not well enough to actually do anything. Can you tell? I figure I'll finally get around to a few things I've been meaning to post all week.

Breastfeeding Matters by Maureen Minchin review: Read more... )

My refried bean recipe )

Excellent inexpensive bath scrub )
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Sarah Haskins and Target Women

Want to mock advertising aimed at women? You know you do. These short videos are FABULOUS.

ETA: It's past noon. I MUST leave the house. Hilarity and the internets conspire against me. And tea and bacon sandwiches.
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It's easy to get all judgmental about women who 'choose' to use formula. But the more I read the less inclined I am to see this as the appropriate place for blame. Nor do I think that women have as much choice as we're led to believe.

I know there are women who choose of their own accord to use formula, women who have perfectly functioning breasts and access to health care and support. But I think that formula use is much like the c-section divide between women. I think these 'mommy wars' are encouraged by The Powers That Be (like media and corporations, et al) to keep women at each others' throats in order to divert that energy from the actual issues.

Many women have to go back to work shortly after giving birth. Pumping can be hard and demoralizing. The US has no maternity leave plan, lactation support is generally hard to come by. Even in my former workplace, an organization that was as family friendly as I could ever hope a place to be, I ended up pumping in the bathroom. Basically, US law, business, and social life don't encourage breastfeeding, or family life for that matter. If WIC and other sources provide it for free, why wouldn't you use it?

It's just like the cascade of interventions that often lead to c-sections. I have read articles on women who schedule c-sections, and it's always a judgmental screed about how those women don't have their priorities straight. If you are a career woman, trying to do it all, high powered business may not wait for you to birth when the baby's ready. But I'm guessing that those women are the tiny minority. The rise in c-sections has a strong correlation to medical practices and attitudes. But the Medical-Industrial Complex doesn't want the boat rocked, or their bottom lines challenged, or their subsidies from formula companies taken away.

In the end, keeping women blaming each other is just a divide and conquer technique keeping us from the issues that really matter. C-sections and formula aren't evil in and of themselves; it's the much larger and much more insidious practices of our governments and big business that places women and families in positions where they think they have a choice, but do we? Really? An isle of 36 different shampoo choices isn't really a choice. 10 different kinds of formula isn't a choice.

I also think that because of the lack of power and authentic choice in the lives of most women (and here I also want to add families of color and low-economic status), excoriating other choices is a way for them to feel safe and like they made the Right decision. In a world of uncertainty, well, at least I didn't use formula, so my kid won't be diabetic/obese/stupid/insert fear here. I would never put my baby at risk, unlike those dirty hippies who have home births, so my baby will just fine.

We're all just trying to do the best by ourselves and our families, but damn, the deck is stacked against us. This also relates back to the rape post. Women/other marginalized people blaming other women/marginalized people. This only divides us and prevents us from making actual positive change.
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I'm 2/3 of the way through The Politics of Breastfeeding. The author is at her best when discussing the social history of breastfeeding and the rise of the formula companies. The snark present when talking about women and choices is absent. It's worth reading these chapters. The back of the book has a quote comparing this book to Fast Food Nation at al, and this is where I can see the comparison.

If a mother has a healthy baby, adequate sanitation, access to clean water and reliable refrigeration, using formula is relatively fine. I think anyone reading this knows that. However, the vast majority of the profit of formula companies comes from the developing world, where women do not have the last three very important components for making formula. The evidence the author documents is HORRIFYING. For example, Nestle, until the 80s had a practice of dressing up saleswomen in Africa as nurses and sending them round hospitals and clinics encouraging women who had just given birth to use Nestle formula. The women believed that medical professionals had given them advice based on their personal situations. In Nigeria, which had had a good/low infant mortality rate thanks to a history of breastfeeding, medical professionals had to come up with a new name for the formula-induced diarhhea that started killing babies en masse. The aggressive ad campaigns used in Africa were deliberately misleading - particularly if you were a relatively uneducated woman in a developing country.

It makes me ILL to think that I supported this industry, albeit in a small way. I will work doubly hard to not need even the slightest amount of formula next time around.* More and more I really believe that the Medical-Industrial Complex** hates women and children. How else could formula companies so blatantly disregard the lives of these babies? Another example: between 1978-79 a formula brand took out all the salt from its recipe, causing many babies to suffer from problems brought on by lack of sodium chloride. After the case went to court in the US, the company won approval from the USFDA to 'donate' the recalled formula to the Third World.

So.... Hi. A happy, uplifting post to start your weekend.


*I hope by now everyone knows that I feel very differently about mothers who cannot breastfeed, and I recognize that your politics may not be my politics.

**Patriarchal in general, for though there are doubtless women who work for these companies, it is historically the work of men who created and continue these practices. And I don't think that all men are complicit in this.
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Women say some rape victims should take the blame

WHAT? I don't even need to read this entire article to know that women have internalized the hateful misogony of the patriarchy and suffer from self-loathing ideology. Why do women hate each other like this? Rape is NEVER the victim's fault. Even if you're comatose from drinking or you're walking naked down the street. Women make loads of stupid decisions all the time. And there are other consequences of the above actions: alcohol poisoning and the flu, perhaps. But rape? It is not a man's duty to 'punish' me for my stupid actions. Women and men may judge women who make stupid choices and think 'they got what they deserved', but that's not what it is about is it? No. It's about men thinking women are sex objects, that any woman who is passive enough is theirs for taking, that women are sub-human and do not have the dignity that men have. In cases of rape the blame is ALWAYS on the assailant. It is the perpetrator who cannot keep his hands (and other bits) to himself. It is HIS lack of self-control and his lack of honor for other living creatures.

I was date raped when I was 20. I take responsibility for my stupidness. I acknowledge that I was weak and had poor boundaries. I did not report it because it was so.... murky. I was up for fooling around. I was not up for sex. I said no. He didn't listen. We were in my bed. Am I to blame? If you say yes, defriend me right now.
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*One of the reasons I love Adam so much is that he makes me a better person. Often I hate this about him, but sometimes he knows my intentions better than I do. Tonight we were discussing the Twilight phenomenon. On Sunday, two people in the church choir I sing with, both students, were discussing the books and movies, and tried to engage me in conversation. I told them I needed to avoid talking about it, because I was sure to offend them with my loathing. Off the cuff I come across like I think everyone who loves the books and movies are stupid. And I suppose there is something in that gut reaction. I don't put much faith in the mass market.

But do you want to know why I really hate Twilight? What really makes me so upset? It's that millions of American women are swooning over a semi-abusive relationship and want to be Bella, who has no agency. Millions of American women think that this is as good as it gets. Millions of American women are selling themselves short. And it kills me.

*Entirely unrelated, Adam, Bennett and I watched Julie and Julia tonight. I am completely sucked into the charm of Julia Child. I want to cook! Fancy French dishes! I want to try meringues! Boning a duck! I want to eat delicious food and drink excellent wine.

Adam and I are also contemplating working our way through Meryl Streep's oeuvre. Adam looked at me tonight and said "I'm totally gay for Meryl." I think I might be too.

*It is cold here. The heat is on and we're still chilly. It's been clear the last two days and nights. I hope it lasts for the next few days. The moon is nearly full and it's so beautiful. I can actually see stars here.

*Even though the doctor's have told me twice that my ears and throat look perfectly healthy, my left ear still hurts when I swallow. And it waxes and wanes through the day. I don't understand. I really hope it's not psychosomatic.
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I went to the Freshers' Fayre today to check out what clubs the uni has. I joined the music club - it's geared toward classical musicians and people who play instruments. I met the founder at choir practice last night.* I noticed the uni has several re-enactment type of groups, battle groups, a war games group, etc. Again, this is a nerd's paradise. But there is also a pole dancing fitness club (insert massive eye roll here).

The women's society stopped me. Oh cool, I thought. I asked if this was the local feminist group. Oh, we're not feminists, they said. To which I replied, well, why would I want to join a women's group that wasn't feminist? One girl said that if by feminist I meant they worked for equality, then yes, they were. And the other said but they weren't radical or extremist or anything. I wish I had replied what came to mind: too bad, I am.

It chaps my hide something awful when women -especially the president of the women's society- won't call themselves feminist and can't see that they've swallowed the poison of mainstream patriarchy, which equates feminism with stupid stereotypes of "radical," hairy men-hating lesbians. Or that "equality" is the only thing women should aim for. ARGH. I'm thinking I should join their group and go to meetings and stir shit up.

*St. David's Chapel, the uni's Church of Wales post. It's a nice small chapel. I was not in best form having not sung since B was born and recovering from a cold. I would say right now it's about where my abilities are at, but that won't last for long. Eesh. The choir learns their parts by the director hitting a tuning fork and singing our parts to us, which we then sing back. This is problematic when the sopranos can't make a leap. Ay yi yi. I'm not so keen on attending boring ol' Church of Wales services every week. But, we shall see.
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I just finished watching the two part interview with Mike Huckabee on The Daily Show. While I don't want him to be president and I don't quite agree with the way he framed his perspective on pro-life, I have to say that I really love Gov. Huckabee. No really, I do. I think he is thoughtful, articulate, patient, slow to inflame and has a great sense of humor. While no new ground was covered in this interview (which was all about pro-life), it's a great example that not all pro-lifers or Public Christians or politicians or Republicans etc etc are nutjobs.

Mike Huckabee can come have dinner at my house any day of the week.


....and Bennett just dumped out a box of matches. Whee!
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I am applying to be an Adopt-a-Mom breastfeeding mentor. It's a community on LJ that pairs up experienced mamas with new mamas in an effort to support them. My aam, [livejournal.com profile] said_by_me, was incredibly patient and supportive of me during a time where I felt overwhelmed and uncertain. Part of the requirement is that I publicly post my breastfeeding story.

Cut for those who don't care! )

Dr. Tiller

Jun. 2nd, 2009 08:16 pm
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I'm having a hard time with Dr. Tiller's murder. I have missed it on the news cycles, thankfully, but it is all over the internet. Having built and birthed my own child I am more sensitive to this issue than I was 2 years ago. I have heard from thoughtful, though dogmatic, individuals that a person cannot be both pro-life and pro-choice, but I think these politicized terms are a false dichotomy. I claim both. Maybe out of a desire to piss off each side. I hate the abortion debate with the power of a thousand white hot suns. It in no way addresses the issues at hand. Yes, abortion is killing the unborn. But an eight week old fetus is not the same entity as a 29 week baby. If you mourn the passing of a first trimester fetus, then I think you ought to be vegetarian. Squid are more intelligent than a fetus. If it's the potential for human life you are concerned for, then why aren't you doing more to support the lives that exist here and now? Approximately 25% of all pregnancies spontaneously miscarry in the first trimester. Are these women murderers or culpable in some way?

And yet, I would weep if one of my close friends chose to abort. I have had a good friend, pregnant, wonder if she should keep her baby, and I have talked with Adam about offering to adopt the baby if she would consent to carry it to term.

Abortion sucks. It is something that I wish no woman ever had to choose. Sure, there are some stupid women out there who are careless and use it as birth control. Sure. But I'll take them as collateral damage to protect the rights of women who are raped, who have no health insurance and are told their child will have severe disabilities, whose partners are abusive and know that her home is no place for a child, who are starting out in life and are partnerless, who didn't have access to birth control to begin with.

There are plenty of professions I don't agree with, plenty of individuals whose morals and choices disgust me. Do I think they deserve to die? No, I do not. Those who rejoice in Dr. Tiller's murder are misguided and cruel. They are as cruel as the man they claimed deserve to die.

ETA: Because of the murder issue, I am coming down hard on the "pro-life" side of things, but I also am not a fan of the "pro-choice" side of politics. When NOW or other sorts of "feminist" organizations start branching out and doing more for women's health in general then perhaps I'll be inclined to give them money. Women's health includes more than just the right to abort. It includes advocating for pre- and post-natal care for women, it involves pressing for the rights of midwives and homebirth, it involves working for access to birth control and education. Etcetera.
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Facebook has exploded with all kinds of nonsense since the California Supreme Court handed down their decision regarding Prop 8 - they upheld it, so that means no more gay marriages.

I feel like such a curmudgeon, but GAH. I will not sign stupid internet proclamations like "One Million for Marriage" or "Repeal 2010". At this point, I am bored and frustrated with California's system of initiatives and court battles. There is no legitimate reason to keep gay people from getting married. Argue as you wish, but no. Your reason? Not a good one. But California's political system is a gigantic ball of FAIL. It warrants its own post, I think. So much time and money gets wasted with the initiative system.

What I REALLY want to hear people talking about is to separate marriage entirely from the government. Civil unions for all! Want to legally partner with someone? Civil union. Want a spouse? Civil union. Are you a spinster who wants to legally partner with your sister? Civil union. Three men want to legally bind together? Civil union. Want your religious community to recognize your union as a marriage? Then go to your church/synagogue/temple/etc. Let spiritual communities decide the marriage and let the government decide unions.

I think it is weird and legally hazy that in order to officiate the wedding of my two non-religious friends I have to get ordained. How stupid is that! And the state doesn't care how I'm ordained - it's important enough to have an ordination, but I can sign up through an internet Universal Life "Church" and voila! Legally binding! What hypocritical nonsense.

GAH. This curmudgeon is off to make tea and stomp around her apartment.

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