Respect should be a two-way street

Now, the Jon and Kate soap opera is admittedly disgusting on both sides, and watching the media and two parents assist in tearing a family apart is repulsive. But I just came across a comment that was truly infuriating.

Jon, who seemed to regress into childish behaviors before recently appearing apologetic, offers up this explanation for his actions:

“It’s hard for a man to stay home for two years and change diapers and make meals and deal with doctor’s appointments and all the stuff that you expect your wife to do.”

Huh? And it's not hard for a woman to do all of those things? Family frustrations are universal for any sex. Why did he agree to have children at all if he wasn't prepared for a burden? To expect for his wife to take care of kids jointly created by the two of them is selfish and sexist.

Our Bodies

When I usually think about sexism I put it in terms of human rights. The rights we have lost or gained. The amount of respect we receive. I however rarely think about the toll that sexism puts on our physical bodies. Or the way in which men use our bodies to get out their frustrations.

Whether it is a woman being raped by her husband or by a soldier in a conflict zone or a woman who is being hit by her husband who lost his job or the woman is denied prenatal care during her pregnancy, our bodies are the first victims of sexism.

I see how my own body has been the victim of sexism. Short, thin, bruised, burned, scared. Starved, stressed, beaten, forced, burdened.

Still a "Boys Club"

So as you can tell my my new profile update a LOT has changed since my last blog post. Well really, my insides have not changed, but I found a different voice, a strong voice and came out and started to speak out about my experiences in the military. This "enlightenment" our "outlet", as I think of it has become one of the things I draw my greatest strength from, but suffer my deepest sadness from sharing.
I blog here under a different name because originally I was scared of the military finding out that I was giving them any negative press. BUT.....Fuck them anyway. Not the people though, just the system in which they are just cogs in the greater machine of oppression, greed, and capitol. That said... I can get on with the boys club reference.

Mad Men Sexism 2009 Style

I've been reading lots of feminist criticism and praise for Mad Men. While most of the blogs have been about how far we have come since the 1960's when men, along with sexism ruled the world. I cannot help but feel like we have not come that far at all. Maybe it is the area I am living in or the roles I have chosen or my place in society. Either way the issue that keeps coming up is sexual harassment and how it no longer happens in the work place Mad Men style. Men in our society now simply do not pull an act like I saw in one of the Mad Men commercials. That is staring a woman up and down, commenting on each element of the woman's outfit and her body. How each little thing, from the color of a woman's hair to the buckles on her boots turn on her male co-worker or boss. Such sexism in our society is dead.

Women meeting Women

Today was an interesting day, to say the least. One of my classes at school is all about learning how to communicate with each other, it's almost like group counselling for student nurses, and today was our first session for that class. My group is mostly Women; in fact out of 150 students there are only 3 men in the whole course, which means I get to hang out with a group of very cool women every day at school, which is always a plus.

So, today my small group (which is about 20 of us) piled into a little class room to learn how to communicate with each other. At first, I must admit I was prepared to dismiss the whole effing thing as lame and intended on staring blankly out of the window for the entire two hours that I was required to sit there. Apparently this was not going to be okay. And yes, I do know that that is a terrible attitude to have, but I close off very easily with any mention of sitting in a circle with strangers and sharing my feelings, my personal life, Jesus, it took me months to figure out counselling with only one other person in the room. To begin the class we all had to go around the group and tell the class what our weaknesses were in communicating with people, and much to my surprise many of the girl's there voiced that they have a much harder time communicating with Women than they do with Men upon first meeting someone.

I Hate Cal Thomas

I'm not the type of person to read the paper. I prefer my media to come filtered through the liberal lens of feministing, NPR or google. However I got into the habit of reading the local paper after one of my co-workers kept leaving it on the breakroom table. Of course I was drawn to the opinion section.

If negative stuff about Obama written by locals did not bother me enough I just had to read the opinion of a conservative nut job Cal Thomas. The first article I read was how Democrats are pushing away "faith voters". Voters of course who are of the Catholic faith and are also pro-life.

Missing Marine

I keep meaning to write an article about the election and my opinion on Sen. Clinton. I will get around to it, too. In the meantime, there's this:

Grave of Pregnant Marine Found

The North Carolina police found what they believe to be the body of a female marine that had gone missing in Deccember - shortly after reporting that she had been raped by a fellow Marine. Who is now, to the surprise of no one, the prime suspect for her murder.

What I found even more disgusting (and what, curiously, isn't discussed in the article) is that, after reporting the rape, Marines scratched up her car, called her names, and one even punched her in the face. Got that from the CNN news on TV just now.

YR Gender Binary Roles

I've been getting really into spoken word lately, So heres one of my new pieces. And I hope you enjoy it.

YR Gender Binary Roles:

YR gender binary roles, they control me like no other, just because I have a vagina doesn’t mean I should be a mother. It’s like the moment I stand up, and I shout my beliefs from the rooftops. YR first response isn’t listening to what I have to say. It’s putting me down, Figuring out some reason for you not to listen, for YR ears not to hear me, for YR heart not to feel me. But that isn’t going to happen anymore….Nah….. .Its time to open up, for YR heart to really feel me…Cause I know who I am. And as bell hooks said “Aint I a woman?!” and my response is for sure I am a WOMYN, That is with a Y instead of a E to the N....and I am my own beautiful human being. And this womyn is proud to be a womyn. But not proud to be put in a place where YR gender roles say I should stay. You say I should stay in the kitchen; I should cook, clean and take care of the kids. Well all I can say is fuck YR ways. I will choose to do what I want, and be who I want. Don’t stereotype me and throw me in the kitchen because I am a womyn. Let me be who I am and choose where I stay….Let my soul and creative being be whatever the energy wants me to be. YR ways, And YR thoughts need to be changed. Change YR mind and frame, and listen to me. Believe for once that it doesn’t matter that I have a vagina or breast…Believe…What matters is what I am saying, what you are saying, what this world is saying. The gender of one, the orientation or the race of one, has no matter in any thing we say, our speech or our words should be allowed to flow…. Flow through the pen as I write this down, free from hate or judgment that is just based on the author’s sex. Lets let everyone be free to be, who they choose to be…

The Case of Marco W.

No single news item has dominated the German media landscape over the past few months like the case of Marco W. The 17-year-old was detained in Turkey in April on the charge of statuatory rape. The charges had been brought force by the mother of the 13-year-old Britisn girl, Charlotte, who had apparently spent a night with Marco.

The story didn't make the news until around June, but then it hit with a vengeance. Though Marco was at that point charged with statuatory rape, it didn't come across that way on the news and in the papers. The reason for that is the relative ignorance of Germans regarding the concept of Age of Consent. Though we do have them, legally, few if any teens are aware of them and they are rarely enforced. Consequently, it soon became public opinion that Marco was charged with sexual abuse and attempted rape.

The Stereotype Lives

Out of interest, curiosity and just a plain old need for money, I briefly returned to modeling last week. From the 15th to the 23rd, I worked as a hostess for a company exhibiting at the IAA in Frankfurt (an automobile fair, sort of like the Auto Show in Detroit). My job description sounded fairly innocuous: Show up on time, wear the prescribed outfit (consisting of a short, black skirt, high-heeled boots and a shirt with the company logo) and be friendly to the customers at all times. The reality was that I spent 10 hours out of every day standing around on those obscenly high heels, smiling politely at everyone and observing the people walking past.

Eye of the Beholder ...

Today, as I was walking across the parking lot to the mall, a man who was cruising for a parking spot looked out of the window of his car and followed me with his eyes. I noticed and grinned at him. When the car had passed us I turned and said to my mother, "This is one of those things I sometimes miss when I'm in Germany. No one ever stares at me". She asked, "Why only sometimes?" and I told her, "There are times when it crossed the border from somewhat cute to downright offensive".

I don't know if it is really a cultural difference and if yes, what the reasons for it are, but while I turn heads almost everywhere I go when I am in Italy, hardly anyone gives me second glance in Germany. It was literally the first thing I noticed when we moved to Italy: we were standing in line to cross the Swiss-Italian border at Como-Chiasso and a car full of (male) Italian soccer fans in their 20s kept passing us. Every time they came level with us, they hooted and honked and winked at me. During the half hour we stood in that line, I went from feeling surprised and incredulous to feeling flattered to feeling mildly annoyed.

La Spiaggia Rosa

The other day I read an article about a beach in Italy, in Riccione, that is for women only. There were pictures of women sitting happily together, wearing skimpy bikinis and expensive sunglasses, sipping colourful drinks and reading glossy magazines. The tone of the article suggested that the women of that region had demanded a beach of their own, where they could spend time enjoying the sun away from the lustful gazes of males.

The article went on to list the services the beach offered: you can get massages and facials and manicures; you can even get your hair done for the night on the town to follow the day at the beach. All these services were provided by women, even the bar was run by women. No men allowed.

Still Taking Back the Night

After that enthusiastic last paragraph of my previous post, I feel more than a little annoyed to report that the empowered feeling lasted less than 24 hours.

In an older book, Alice Schwarzer described her dream of a utopian society: one where a woman can walk by herself after dark and not shudder at every noise. I hear her on that one. We're very far away from that.

I visited friends on Saturday afternoon and took the train back at 10pm. By the time I was on my train, it was dark, and my compartment was nearly empty. I hoped it would stay that way, but was disappointed: with about 45 minutes left to go, two obviously drunk young men got on the train and sat down close to me. Their conversation was loud and though I tried to concentrate on my book, I couldn't help but listen.

Shut up, And let the men talk.

I went to this protest on May 1st as many of you know that was the day their was protest nation wide for immigration rights. So I of course attended the local protest where I saw one of those guys with a sign in big letters saying “Abortionist, murderers, church gossipers and HOMOSEXUALS will go to hell, repent for your sins now” I laughed at first, I mean people like that are just ignorant and the fact that homosexuals had to be in huge letters just made me more amused.
I decided to sit near this man so I could listen to the people debate him and just hear what he was saying to them, Well sitting didn’t last long and finally my debating side got the best of me and a buddy and I joined in on the debate. It was going well for the first 30 minutes, I told him to mind his own uterus and then I laughed and said oh wait you don’t have one so I guess that means you just need to keep your mouth shut. (I was being very nice cant you tell?)

Sexism is Funny

It's nothing new to me that people tend to not see a need for a continuation of a feminst movement. Just the other day I overheard a conversation between a few fellow students. A male exchange student complained about the content of the assigned reading, saying that he didn't need "[...]all of that feminist crap. It's so pointless, you know?". The three female students sitting at the table with him were eager to agree.

What I'm starting to see, though, is that people are drawing the logical conclusion of this faulty assumption. If feminism is finished, then there is no more reason to be politically correct and make an effort to promote equality. If the equality of males and females has been established and accepted as fact, then we can now go back to making jokes about gender stereotypes because, c'mon, it's all in good humour and you know we don't mean anything by it!

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