there might be another way: sexuality, spirituality, mothering, feminism, environmentalism

Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

In Honor of Our Mothers and Our Mother Earth

It’s not that I’m not grateful for my maternal line.
It’s not that, as a mother, I don’t want to be appreciated.
It’s just the irony of Mother’s Day – It’s So. Damned. Patronizing.

Don’t buy me flowers.
Plant me a garden.
And in the interest of our Mother, Earth,
make sure it’s GMO and Monsanto-free!

There is no perfect greeting card to quantify all I do.
So save some fucking trees
And pen a thank you note in the dirt
And a love poem…across my back.

Don’t take me out to an extravagant brunch.
Help me make a simple dinner every night.
And for heaven and earth’s sake,
Let’s minimize or eliminate meat from our diet.

Don’t subject me to the movies.
Most of them won’t appeal to me.
Agree to boycott media that objectifies and
Sensationalizes violence against women.

Forget the salon or a spa.
There’s freedom in my unkempt mane and unpainted nails.
May we teach our children the beauty of the natural world.

I don’t want this day off.
And tomorrow, I don’t want to do it alone.
Let’s raise this family and change this world together.

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I just humanized you. You’re welcome.

I just googled “women standing up to men.” Every search result is of men standing up for women (which is awesome btw), but this is the virtual equivalent of “DID I STUTTER!?”

I expected to see search results including Malala Yousafzai, the Gulabi Gang, and the Badass in this video that went viral a few years ago. You see the look on that woman’s face? YES. You see the look on that guy’s face? THAT is what happens when men are publicly called out.

Woman calls out subway flasher

Clearly, we need to provide the world (and thus, google) with more references!

Lately, I’ve taken to publicly humiliating/calling out men that are behaving badly. I reciprocate cat-calls with vomit sound effects. I will shoot daggers at any man caught leering, raise my voice, and order them to “STOP.”

It works.

The slime on their face hits the floor. My internal dialogue is “You can’t objectify me any more because I just humanized you. You’re welcome.”

You know how gentrification happened when white people stopped being afraid of brown people? It’s like that! (Not that that’s entirely a good thing.)

THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR.

As soon as women stop fearing men, then true fraternity can happen – fraternity as in Germaine Greer’s quote, “The opposite to patriarchy is not matriarchy but fraternity, yet I think it’s women who are going to have to break this spiral of power and find the trick of cooperation.”

This is my solemn vow to defend myself, my daughters, my sisters, my mothers. This is my solemn vow to humanize every man that dares objectify me. This is my solemn vow to do everything in my power to break this spiral of power and seek the magic of cooperation.

My Abortion Story

Las week when the call went out to send more abortion stories to fuel Wendy Davis’ filibuster, I thought that since I never had an abortion, I didn’t have a story. But I do.

Freshman year at MIT and the condom broke. The morning after pill did not yet exist. When the pregnancy test came back positive, I consulted with my mentor and my doctor. They didn’t judge me. They weren’t even phased. My devastation was treated as par for the (college) course. No big deal. Have an abortion, duh. That’s what college women do. The baby’s biological father, another MIT student, emphatically agreed. So emphatically, he would have put a gun to my head to make me have an abortion if he could have. So emphatically, he threatened to abduct the baby after birth and send it to be raised by his mother outside the country.

Young and naïve as I was, I convinced myself that I could appeal to the church to allow an abortion in this one instance. (Pause for laughter.) Hispanic teen moms were abundant and embarrassing. I was a rarity – a promising, proud, double-minority at the world’s top engineering school. I was always in the top academic percent. I did not belong in the common teen mom column.

Too embarrassed to consult with the priest on MIT’s campus, I walked the long mile to Harvard’s Catholic Church and spilled my guts. Again with the “no big deal” bit. The priest listened with great compassion but little affect. And then…I didn’t ask my religion’s permission. The priest’s ear, his presence, his tranquility calmed my terrified heart. In an instant, I grew the fierce and fearless fortitude necessary to defend my baby, defend my life, defend my choice. I made up my own mind, in that very moment, to have the baby. In an instant, I fell boundlessly in love with my child.

With my newfound strength and bravery, I defied the bullies that were my boyfriend and mentor and doctor, and I CHOSE life.

I CHOSE. I CHOSE. I CHOSE. I CHOSE.

I moved back home to face my family and my community. MY CHOICE meant that I had to hold my head up high when my parents cried, my friends gossiped, and my doctor shook her head in seeming disgust and disappointment. MY CHOICE meant I had to hold my head up high at the welfare office. MY CHOICE meant I had to take full responsibility for my life and the well-being of my child. MY CHOICE meant taking accountability for my nutrition and emotional well-being to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth. MY CHOICE empowered me to be the mother I am today. I can’t imagine the devastating emotional and psychic consequences of a forced pregnancy as much as I can’t imagine a forced abortion or forced adoption.

You who would defy my right to choose are no better than the people who tried to force me to have an abortion. I DEFIED THEM. I DEFY YOU.

I DEFEND my right to choose life or abortion because MOTHERS must go CONSCIOUSLY AND OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL into the decision to nurture and raise a human life. Their effectiveness as a loving, protective mother DEPENDS ON IT. And unwilling WOMEN ARE NOT INCUBATORS for adoptive parents.

BEWARE Right-to-Lifers. At present, the GOP’s observation of the 6th Commandment is selective and hypocritical; consider the death penalty! Granting the government dominion over women’s bodies can not be selective. If the government can FORCE you to incubate a baby, they can also FORCE you to abort a baby. Pro-Life legislation equates to INVOLUNTARILY INCUBATION. Does the government then get to legislate your prenatal nutrition and medical treatment? It is said that it takes great love to put a child up for adoption. What if an unfit mother doesn’t choose adoption? What of them? Shall we take away that choice too!?

Conversation with Goddess

My Goddess! Why have you forsaken me?! She:

Men are not to blame for taking
their rightful position as Children of God.

Woman
You forget
You are of Me

Allow him his God
Then
Remember

I am your Goddess
And it’s time you assume your OWN divinity.

Viral ‘Sexual Assault Prevention Tips’ Poster

My first impression of the Sexual Assault Prevention Tips poster confused me. I read it quickly, in extreme discomfort and distaste, then unconsciously pondered why this message appealed to the beloved friend who posted it. I’m forgiving to a fault, if such a thing exists, so I dismissed it from memory. (Perhaps I’m not forgiving at all – rather, forgetful to a fault.)

(scroll past poster)

Next day, there it is again, posted by yet another brilliant, beautiful woman. O.k. What am I missing? Again, quick to dismiss.

A sleepless night
riddled with disturbing dreams
A too early morning
pervaded by this f***ing poster

Now I suck at forgiving AND forgetting. And I remember – as long as I can remember – the sexual assault prevention tips I grew up with:

  1. You are responsible for not letting anyone drug your drink. Never let it out of your sight. Cue horror stories.
  2. Strangers are NOT to be trusted. Translate “I need directions” to “I’m going to assault you (if you LET me).” Cue horror stories.
  3. Keep your vehicle in excellent maintenance. If you’re ever stranded, the person who offers to help might hurt you. Cue horror stories.
  4. Keep your doors locked. Not locking them is as good as inviting in villains. Cue horror stories.
  5. Elevator etiquette: This is no time be friendly. No eye contact. It’s awkward. They’re either friendlies or not. What can you do but cue horror stories.
  6. It isn’t safe to be alone, outside at night. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM. If you don’t, you’re just asking for it. Cue horror stories.
  7. Acquaintances and dates can’t be trusted. They just can’t help themselves to raping you. Cue horror stories.
  8. If you drink to excess and pass out, people will help themselves to your body. Cue horror stories.
  9. Arm yourself (like a girl) with a whistle. They scare away the bad guys.

And I remember. Not believing, not heeding, breaking rule #7. Living the horror that the stories didn’t do justice.

Imagine unimaginable pain
of the physical
and emotional
variety

Some of it lasts
a year
Some of it lasts
forever

Oh, there’s always a temporary forgiving
A temporary forgetting
Until someone posts a f***ing poster
And I have to forgive and forget all over again

How to effect
a lasting forgiving?
How to reject
a lasting forgetting?

In the end
and every beginning
I only know how to pray
and advocate for education

Out of my shadow, out of hiding
Out of shame, out of fear
Into my light, into exposure
Into honor, into love

So this poster is absurd, no doubt – as absurd as the rules girls grow up with. Women’s sexual assault prevention tips are the western world’s burkas. How presumptuous, how primitive, how pot calling the burka black are we? These men’s sexual assault prevention tips are the light on our collective shadow, exposing our hidden secrets, honoring women’s shame, loving the hell OUT of fear.