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Saturday, April 22, 2017

me, tomboys and transgender. . .

Ok, so this has nothing to do with transgender issues as far as I can tell. I want to make sure it's known though, that I do support trans people and will support however you identify and do what I can to help keep you safe and protect your rights. This post and article aren't really about that. This is more about expanding society's definition of what a girl "is" and is "supposed" to look and act like.

My Daughter Is Not Transgender. She’s a Tomboy.

I loved reading this because I felt I was this girl when I was little. There are a few differences though. Transgender issues weren't a thing yet in my story - or no one spoke about it. Ever. I was never asked how I wanted to identify. This little girl had a short haircut and picked out her own clothes- I had long hair so the part about being mistaken for a boy really wasn't there and I really can't remember if I picked out my own clothes. I'm pretty sure my mom made sure I matched, though I fought hard not to wear dresses if at all possible. She developed an affinity for ties and blazers, while my uniform then, as now is jeans and a t- shirt. I wore some amazing shoes- I must've won a concession on dress shoes at some point. In at least one photograph, I'm wearing some very brown, chunky, possibly E.T. themed shoes with my pink frilly dress. If I can find a photo, maybe I'll post it.

I'd refuse anything pink with ruffles, ricrac, frills or any other itchy, confining flowery detail. All my friends were boys and we ran around the playground pretending to be animals or making up He Man or superhero themed games (I wasn't a fan of the latter as I'd always get stuck with a lady part and that was always a let down) that involved climbing monkey bars, swinging and jumping off at the highest point and performing pathetic feats of gymnastics that felt like flying to us. Do THAT in a dress! Plus, they'd sing that song" I see London, I see France. . ." and I didn't want to be consumed all day with keeping my underwear covered in a garment that kind of seems DESIGNED to show all your business. I just wanted to play soccer, kickball or this other kicking game I think they called 500 for some reason. Who cared about clothes anyway??

I also loved the part that said the little girl wanted to be the pet or police officer in a game of family- I also tried to get the part as the family pet if I got stuck playing family. Mostly my friend and I would abandon the family part and just be cats for the entire indoor recess period. 

Which brings me to the other element of this which nearly intersects somewhat but still misses the transgender issue. One day on the walk out to the playground of my Christian school, an older kid (I assume, I can't remember who now) asked me if I wanted a sex change operation, they can do that now, you know. (The year is 1986 or 1987?) Shock. I had no idea. I was maybe 3rd grade or younger and lived a pretty sheltered and conservative existence up to now. Well. What about that. I'm sure I paused a bit and imagined being a boy because I still entertain funny scenarios while people are talking if something strikes me, but I answered (possibly silently) the same way I answered any question like that about changing myself- do you wish you were taller? why don't you talk? don't you have anything to say? I told them I was fine with what I had, most likely. It's equally likely I didn't say a word, but my mind was going 100mph and I knew what I thought. This was before puberty, so there was a lot less self doubt! But I guess they assumed what that teacher in the article assumed, that because I dressed and played how they thought boys dressed and played and played with mostly boys that I must be unhappy with who I am and want to look like the group I chose. It was the first time I became partially almost aware that I'm playing a game I didn't know existed and I don't know what the rules are- I couldn't articulate that til much later of course- but suffice it to say, I was made aware of a difference. My thinking was obviously that I already play with boys and wear jeans and t-shirts, so why would I want to be a boy, what's to be gained? It's not necessary. Maybe that question would have been difficult if I'd been strictly forbidden to do the things I was most interested in- or if for instance I felt I WAS a boy.

While I appreciate that teacher's sensitivity in the article, I really do, I'm progressive too- my assessment is that people are still, in general wholly devoid of imagination and stuck in some really antiquated ridiculously narrow binary gender stereotypes.

**I want to make it extra clear that this is not to say all transgender people are just tomboys or that I would in any way support the position that how you "should" identify is only determined by your physical genitalia- as though I have any idea what you feel or any authority to tell you who you are. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day Without A Woman, March 8, 2017

Photos in this post are mine taken at CCB Plaza, Durham, North Carolina.

A Women’s Strike Reader

There is a lot to process in thinking about the day, it's effectiveness and how different segments of the population reacted to it. 

At first blush, I thought well, isn't that what the men want? Then they can joke, have their locker room talk and not have to bother with equality. Maybe they'll decide they like it better that way and won't help right the system. On the other hand, when some teachers announced their intent to observe the day, even in our "right to work" state, a few school systems chose to close for the day. Some people recognized the impact and prepared for it. And if mothers who take kids to school, cook, clean, buy groceries, do laundry, whether or not they also have full time jobs outside the home were able to pull off striking completely in all work at least men might notice and even be compelled to switch up or divide labor differently than before the strike. This second example wasn't as widespread it seems, I even failed on several counts. Was it a failure then?

I considered striking as a privilege, though the history of strikes would negate that, some still maintain that. I did consider that those women who can strike might make more work for those who can't, though this might happen in other strikes, that you hurt the group you try and help.
This might help muddle through this point:
And what about this ability to strike? Is it that some of us are actually unable- or is it unique to women, unique to this strike - that we've been conditioned to not be disagreeable, to be too polite even when it means hurting ourselves hence we don't feel confident we can all walk out like in a predominantly male profession.

And there was this perspective. . . 
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What to make of it- I don't think it's about the percent who participated in one particular way or evaluating your own self worth, as some have insinuated. It's a call to action to some, an education to others, or maybe a renewal of the commitment to anti-capitalism and the forces that perpetuate the patriarchy.

On Radio Dispatch coverage of the Women's Strike, there were two great articles detailing the history of the strike and movement:

Here are the two podcast episodes:
Analyzing Women’s Strike Coverage  March 10, 2017

  • Breaking down a NYT piece about the "failure" of the strike
  • Feminism for the 99% what it means
  • Clara Zetkin, the movement's roots in socialism and the origin of the strike
  • Dangers of lean in feminism- it can't be solely about arguing for higher pay, that marginalizes others, the pay gap is still an issue but leaves out a large portion, such as the trans women killed in February
  • Be explicit in our politics (see Bryce Covert's piece, New Republic)-  woman president, women CEO, like Sandberg at Facebook is not victory for ALL women, it's a victory for some- read wealthy white women
  • Name capitalism as the enemy, it'll reinforce misogyny, patriarchy-- think Clara Zetkin, reordering society 

Anyway, do yourself a favor and listen!


 Trust women, get it??


And some more examples of why we need feminism:

Ok, so this below is why I have gotten angry in some of my Twitler voter posts. Yes, I believe I can be friends with Cheeto's fans and yes I know we can differ on budget or health care plans and not be outrageously offended, BUT when it comes to racism and sexism or denying someone rights because they don't agree with your religious views, this should be UNACCEPTABLE. It should be unacceptable NOT because you have a black friend, a daughter or a wife, it is unacceptable because another human being is being treated as LESS. That absolutely should be offensive to you and outrage is justified. If you are not offended by people being treated as less that human beings on the basis of race or gender or religion, perhaps YOU should re-evaluate YOUR position and stop your complaining about hateful libtards and feminazis.
"The rest of the page's members, it appears, just looked the other way. They probably shrugged their shoulders and said to themselves, "It's just locker room talk." If that defense worked for the president of the United States, it'll probably work for a bunch of patriotic Marines."



Discusses the disparity, but breaks down a bit on the solution. I think we need more than just to clean up our own house. Maybe it should start there, I can see that- how can you help anyone else if you can't stand up for yourself. But I don't know if that's the only thing holding us back.


Women Held To Higher Ethical Standard Than Men, Study Shows

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Obama Farewell

A little late, but I wanted to record a few fun things, accomplishments and odds and ends. . .

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White House photographer's favorite photos of Obama:

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Obama/ Biden BROTUS memes! Some mentioned another Biden go at the presidency (please blog no) but we sure do love him here:

even cnn:

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This was a look at how the Obama White House handled letters from the public and how mail in general is handled, which given my particular interest in postcrossing and snail mail, I found fascinating:

To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation

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Five times Obama went viral:

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The Meaning Of Sasha And Malia Obama

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Obama and books!
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The early voting video:
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From President Obama's Farewell Address:

Word cloud of his speech:

Hard not to quote the whole thing but here are some favorite parts---

This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.
It's the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.

(On inequality )
After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.

(He had good advice for many groups in the context, but this hit home because I've heard people I know say these things in the course of my life and I know they are untrue and unjust and those things make me angry. Injustice makes me angry like few things do.)
For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn't suddenly vanish in the '60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they're not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they're not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.

(The key. And here he begins talking to everyone as in both parties, saying hard things, but necessary, where before he was talking everyone as in the nation.)
So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

(Hitting the nail on the head)
This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we'll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we'll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.

(So many good points, stressing participation, we need that right now.)
And all of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.

Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it's really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power - with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.

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Response that made the rounds- shared, copy/paste- what to say when someone says "I survived Obama!"

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Obama accomplishments and legacy

Friday, February 17, 2017

Women's March - Raleigh, NC - January 21, 2017

There were said to be 17,000 people in attendance!

These photos featured are my own from the actual event in Raleigh, but there are links to many more at the end!

Here's some local coverage for the Raleigh event:

Marches on every continent, here are some photos of that:

Many Congressmen bowed out of inauguration attendance and a few stood with the women marching the next day, notably Gutierrez: 
Here are some more not attending, though it may not reference the Women's March. Some 70 Democrats boycotted.

A week before the March, Trump made a claim, then some evidence to the contrary was presented. . . 
I wrote at the time- didn't the Cheeto elect just say formal wear in DC is sold out :p
". . .to retail shop owners saying they’ve never seen less demand for formal party wear. ."
D.C. official: We've received 200 bus parking applications for inauguration, 1,200 for Women's March

This below may not be credible, but certainly is true to his character. There was a Rogue POTUS staff account that we all were hoping was legit in the early days that likely isn't. In the spirit of the time capsule, I'll keep it in the mix.

Insider: Donald Trump, exasperated by protesters, yells “Don’t they know I’m the f—ing president?”

Lard being sent to office of NC senator who knocked women’s marchers

What did she say??
“Message to crazies @ Women’s March - If Brains were lard, you couldn’t grease a small skillet. You know who you are,” Krawiec’s tweet said.

Read more here:

One of the leaders of the Washington, DC March, Linda Sarsour, was accused of terrorism by the right leaning tabloids simply for being a Muslim Palestinian American- or rather- excuse me- for holding up her index finger?! (because that's an ISIS sign???)

Since the election, I've seen many activist groups spring up, some very good, some less good in dealing with diversity, or intersectionality. I've read comments from people of color feeling unwelcome and alienated, some were all white to begin with, in the women's groups. I struggle myself with how best to use my privilege to help, how the majority can show up and support (as in being there in such numbers to prevent police violence) but not take over and tell them how to run a movement a minority is leading (such as Black Lives Matter). I feel clumsy talking about it, I certainly am no expert, but we all need to do better listening to each other to do the most good.  

What every White Person Attending the Women's March Needs to Know:

Or, as feminist icon Gloria Steinem told the New YorkTimes, “Sexism is always made worse by racism — and vice versa.”

Two articles I found helpful in parsing the difficulties of race within sexism:


There was an anti-choice rally very near the Women's March event on the same day and there was a sign war near the end. I hope the pictures show some of it. 

In the Women's March Washington, DC, The pro-choice and anti-choice groups butted heads but decided to march together.

A post march confrontation of sorts?

 Not so for the Women's March in Raleigh, I believe- they had their own rally:

Note the creeping in of the giant fetus sign of anti-choicers trying to be visible from the front near the stage and the dedicated effort of other sign holders to block them out. I have a hard time calling them pro-life with the disregard for education, birth control, welfare, peace, healthcare and other programs that help once you're outside the womb.

Other signs from the Women's Marches: