Archive for the ‘Feminishm’ Category

#YesAllWhiteWomen

May 31, 2014

Two separate but oddly similar issues have been converging for me recently. The whole #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen internet storm has been amazing to watch, though I haven’t had much to add to the conversation. I’ve loved seeing my friends share their stories, and seeing people struggle (and often succeed) to explain exactly why #YesAllWomen is important.

I wondered, though, how many men (nice men, men who really are #NotAllMen) were convinced. I wondered… until I realized that the lesson was one that I needed to absorb as well.

Gentrification is a very tender, but resonant, subject for me. About a year ago, Oakland Local (who still does great posts on the subject) and the Bold Italic ran an opinion series the topic, and I went back and forth on whether to add my own voice to the mix. In fact, there’s a blog post titled “Nothing New to Add to the Conversation” in my drafts, never published.

I realized this week that it’s more than the fact that I had nothing new to add — it was that my place in this debate is to listen, not to convince you that #NotAllWhiteWomen are gentrifiers. I had so many “buts” — but I was born in Oakland, but I was displaced myself, but I’m poorer than most of my neighbors, but, but, but…

Doesn’t matter. I’m still a white lady living in a historically black neighborhood, one that struggles with poverty and crime. I’m the privileged one in this situation, and I need to swallow all my “but”s and just listen. Just like #NotAllMen need to. Recognize your privilege, witness the pain on the other side, and speak only when spoken to. Or, you know, if you have to speak, do so without hijacking the conversation (like quietly on your own little blog where only your sister and one stranger in Ohio will see it 🙂 ).

sun setting behind skyscrapers, lake merritt in foreground

Home.

 

(PS: If you read only one of the posts in that above link, read this one. Although actually, you should read two, and add this one.)

Trust Everyone

February 3, 2014

I just had to get “Trust No One” off as the first post (especially since it’s been there for nearly a year)! 

But seriously, that’s closer to my feelings today. I just got back from an annual volunteer trip up to Bolinas, where I co-run a weekend workshop for teen girls aimed at redefining beauty. We do a slew of activities examining how beauty standards get imposed on us and either end up shaming us or trapping us in a struggle to be perfect that we will always, eventually, lose. We talk about other ways to define beauty, then I do a photoshoot with each girl as she portrays a particular beautiful quality. At the end of the weekend, I put together a little ‘beauty magazine’ that they get to take with them. It’s a gorgeous setting, on a farm in Bolinas, with winding paths in oak forests, horses on the property, and the a view of the lagoon down the hill. 

Image

And I hold in rolling my eyes, THE ENTIRE TIME. Because this is good work, and important practice. Because some nugget, somewhere, might stick with them and make them think. Because it can’t hurt to have a supportive group come together and tell you you’re beautiful, all weekend. 

When I was a teen? I would have been mocking this endlessly. I would have been rolling my eyes, and yawning. I’d heard all of it before. Yeah, yeah, it’s the media’s fault. Mmm hmm, impossible to achieve beauty standards. Whatever. You’re just saying this ‘cuz you’re ugly. 

This weekend reminded me of the importance of holding that snark in. I’m trusting those girls to take what they can from this workshop, to listen and bring in the important points, and to appreciate what we created together. And today, I feel dang good about that trust. 

I feel dang good about THIS, too!

Bad Ass Faeries: It's Elemental book cover Bad Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental is now available for pre-order! With a story by ME! Faerieland Local 2413 tells the story of a nickar water faerie on the railroad. I am so excited – I loved this story, and it actually kicked off more stories set in this world, some of which are still in my head, some of which may be popping up soon… 

That’s all for today. Trust everyone. You’re beautiful.

In preparation, on a foggy summer morning

June 4, 2010

In the interest of research and gettin’ ready for a summer more filled with dresses than I’ve ever seen (apparently getting older means I like skirts! Who knew! They’re even easier to slip on absentmindedly than jeans! I have 2 new short sundresses, and 3 short skirts! Someone hold me back!), I’ve been testing various leg hair options.

Option 1 is, of course, au natural, by far the simplest to maintain. Since the skirt thing is only happening from sheer over-heated laziness, and any removal takes, you know, work, option 1 gets a lot of play. There are a few problems with it; not only does hair = warmth (at least a little bit), but I can’t enjoy the weird transition of light to dark stubbly hair as I look down my legs. If it all matched, I’d be fine, but as it is… It feels like constantly wearing black shoes with a brown skirt. Which can be done, but not easily, and not without some pangs of “should I be doing this?”

Option 2: Shaving. Pretty obvious. I don’t have to say much about this, I think. Downsides (and the reasons I decided to pursue more options) include: almost instantaneous stubble growth, a fair bit of work, and the potential of razor burn if you forgot to prepare the night before and decide to just have at it dry 2 minutes before you run out the door.

Option 3: Defoliants. Depilatories. Over the years I’ve heard several people praise the fact that their hair grew back thinner, or lighter, their armpits didn’t smell, or something else magical happened post-veet. I decided it was finally worth a look-see. I’m not impressed. Since I was essentially waging chemical warfare on my legs, the very least I expected was total annihilation and a stunted recovery period. My legs are patchy and stubble, and the regrowth appears to be about the same tensile strength and darkness, and I have no idea if I’m less stinky (can anyone really smell themselves? If they could, I think we’d have far less smelly people in the world) but no one has said anything. It was fairly easy to do, and there was no weird sensitivity or burning issues, but I don’t think that merits chemical warfare.

Option 4: Wax. Okay, I didn’t even go here, and I’m not going to. This must be the most labor-intensive, pain-intensive, cost-intensive way to remove leg hair EVER. Forget it. I do, however, use the little strips for my delicate, feminine, barely there ‘stache. Or did, until I found…

Option 5: Smooth Away! Yes, when I get drunk and watch TV I tend to order things. That’s why I own 2 turbie twists (bought when I had chin-length hair, mind you) and a Soulful Christmas (with the bonus MERRY Soulful Christmas) CD. But hey, I love those turbans, I’ve never heard a better rendition of Rudolph, and these things work for me too! And actually I bought them on a whim at Walmart, thus saving myself the completely exorbitant shipping and handling costs they charge.

But does it work? YES! On me. I get the feeling these are very hit or miss, in regards to skin type and sensitivity. In case you haven’t seen this, it is essentially sandpaper for your skin. Which can cause some irritation. As does rubbing your face on to the pavement. Luckily for me, just a little bit of light pressure erased my ‘stache, leaving skin as smooth as a baby’s butt, with no lingering redness or soreness. Rock ON!

It even works wonders on my legs; no reactions, quick and easy to do after you’ve put your skirt on and looked down in horror, and I think it even lasts longer than shaving.

So the winner by a mile? Sandpaper! Who’da thunk it?

Also, I feel a little ridiculous composing an entire post about skirts, shaving legs and shopping. It’s true, but not precisely a balanced picture of me. I feel like I need to rev up a power tool, or burp. If it helps, today I’m wearing a Western States Enduro 5000 t-shirt and old jeans. I’m not sure why I feel a blog post has to be ‘balanced.’ Maybe I’m just sensitive because I’ve been reading feminist blogs and avoiding SITC incessantly for the past few weeks.

Ex-cuuse me, hip knitters?

April 1, 2010

Okay, the prosecco is kicking in. I felt bubbly and happy, and I was cruising through Twist Collective’s new issue, drooling over several patterns (Timpani, I’m coming for you, I swear).

Then I ran into this.

Are they serious? There’s no tongue-in-cheek thing going on here? I know Twist is not Bust or anything, but I thought it was a little hipper than to put in a big ol’ side panel of generalizations. Almost all of which I fail, making me feel like maybe I shouldn’t be reading them, if I am, apparently, such a piss-poor knitter (who am I kidding, I haven’t finished a scarf in a year, I’m not finishing that gorgeous jacket) AND a piss-poor female.

Women love to impress, stand out in a crowd.

Um… no. I don’t even blog for notoriety;  my best friends have called me screaming because I hid this blog from them for many, many months.

Women love to shop and are looking for what’s in style today.

Again, that doesn’t put me in with these “women.” I have been known to suffer “shopper’s overload,” a syndrome that basically means I leave full carts in the middle of aisles as I run screaming for the exit, in malls, Ikeas, K-Marts, whatever. I have a critical breaking point in regards to shopping. As for what’s in style today… I still bemoan the fact that the PERFECT pair of jeans that fit me like they used my hips for the model went out of production eight years ago. I’d sure as s*#t buy them today if they were still out there.

A woman will dress up for any occasion.

I realized last week that the jeans I wore to work, and for cocktails afterwards, were so old that they had a hole in the crotch. I could be wrong, since I’m apparently from a different planet as this author, but I don’t think that’s dressing up.

Women wear socks below their ankles with fuzzy balls on them.

This is the one that truly enraged me. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I have a THING about socks. It’s kind of an obsession. In fact, it’s the single shopping obsession that I can cop to. I have one full dresser drawer, overflowing with socks, broken into 4 sections: Halloween themed socks, knee and thigh-high socks (many of which have Halloween themes as well), hand-knit socks, and boring white athletic socks. I’ll let you guess which section is smallest.

Needless to say, not a single pair of those socks falls below the ankles or has fuzzy balls on them.

I’m not sure how that assumption offends me on a feminist level… More like on a sock connoisseur level.

Women know what colors go well together.

Well, okay. Maybe. Except for a certain seagull-ish lady I know who chooses to wear perfectly matching outfits every day rather than put together colors. We call her the the Monotone Queen.

Women will skip lunch to afford a new outfit.

I think my thighs are all the rebuttal (hey, and my butt too!) that I need to offer here.

Women like clothing to look cute.

Well, yeah. But I don’t stress if instead of “cute” I get “disturbing.” Or just “nondescript.”

So I got 1 1/2 out of 7. If anyone’s counting, that’s approximately 21%. Pretty firmly in the F area. Twist, what are you telling me? Am I not woman enough to read your magazine?

Edit April 2nd
In the cold, sober light of day, I should probably mention that I was giggling last night when I wrote all that, and that the article itself was a cute little bit talking about a book that I in no way mean to pan. I just resented the sidebar. In a giggly way.