obstruuuuctionism! (rant)

Posted in politics with tags , , on Monday 2 August 2010 by amanda

Nan Hunter has a great breakdown of judicial nominations gone through here.  And please don’t bullshit me about how “the dems do it too, so it’s only fair!”  As indicated by the numbers, it was fairly evenly split b/t R & D when twice as many nominations were going through under Bush.  They’re just being jackasses and the problem is getting progressively worse.  We can revisit this issue of obstructionism if the R’s retake the houses and the Dem’s start obstructing.  However, let’s also remember that when the R’s are obstructing and the Dem’s make concessions, the R’s are just coming back with a big “fuck you, no.  we will not compromise, we will tell you to fuck off until we get exactly what we want.”

Everything being passed is so watered down that even though the Republicans won’t stop bitching about it, it’s certainly not worthy of being called a liberal agenda.

child hatred, parent policing, and the end of my patience.

Posted in family with tags , on Friday 30 July 2010 by amanda

So – you may be aware that there have, over the past several months, several blog posts that have elicited positively vitriolic 600+ comment threads over kids and public spaces.  On Feministe, there were 2, here and here.  Renee at Womanist Musings posted a response here.   Jezebel re-posted the Feministe post that led to a horrifying thread that I am NOT going to link to.  There are also been other conversations lately, all of which seem to devolve in to an “I hate kids and they all suck!” v. “kids should always be allowed anywhere!” shouting match that ignores the needs and issues of most parents and children, as well as child-free adults.   And now, in my own personal space, I would like to lay out some of my thoughts on these conversations.

1.  Feminists.  Hm.  I’ve always considered myself a feminist, but as a largely privileged white cis lady, I’ve never been faced personally with many of the issues that have driven so many away from feminism as an idea/institution.  I was aware of the exclusions and seriously bothered by them, but I have to say that having some of these exclusions directed at me because of who I am (a mother) is a whole new experience.  This is really the subject for another post, because I could go on, but I certainly got a first hand experience at some of the seriously privileged exclusion that feminism directs at people who don’t fit the “right profile”.

2. Children as people.  For me this is a no-brainer.  However, I’ve seen several comments that seem to be asserting that if children are equal to adults, they should have the same responsibilities – getting a job, same jail time and criminal justice system for the same crime, etc.  I cannot fathom what short-sighted non-rational person thinks that this would be a good idea.  Children are human beings who do not yet have the capacity to rationalize, reason, look ahead to consequences, etc. that adults have.  Children are NOT the same as adults, that does not mean that they are LESS than adults.

3.  Children are already undervalued in society.  Kids aren’t able to lobby or advocate for their education or well-being if the adults around them don’t take care of it.

4.  Socialization.  How are kids supposed to learn how to interact in positive ways if they aren’t supposed to be in public?  What do you think that kids learn when you glare at them?  They learn that they are bad and people don’t like them.  What a great way for kids to grow up!

5.  Don’t confuse parents that don’t know when an upset child needs to leave a venue to calm down with thinking that children are bad.  If you’re irritated with a child’s behavior, look to the adult.  Are they TRYING to remedy the situation?  Attend to the child’s needs?  Are they in a position where the adult CAN remove the child?  Are you in a place/situation that it’s appropriate to have that expectation?  There ARE parents who think their kids can do no wrong and they are freaking annoying.  But there are also a lot of adults that just don’t want to accept that fully able, privileged adults sometimes need to share public space with kids.

6.  In a feminist/womanist space, I think it’s a little narcissistic to expect a pat on the back for choosing not to have children/remain childfree.  I think that being childfree is a totally valid choice that not enough people are comfortable making.  I do think that many people end up with children (for a variety of reasons, I’m not trying to make this a judgment) who if they really got to choose, probably would not.  But in a space that actively supports those kids of choices, and, as I’ve learned over the past week, often puts up with derision and dismissal of women who DO choose to keep/have children, I fail to see how things like “my vagina is a child-free space!” really furthers the conversation.  (mentioning you don’t want kids or that you are child-free does not fall under this criticism, just seeming to want a medal for it; same goes for parents – mentioning that you have kids is fine – acting like you should get an award for it is another situation).

Queer women: this was not a seriously addressed issue in the posts/threads, but there did seem to be a lot of exclusion of queer bodies in this conversation.  I feel like a lot of queer folk get shut out of a lot of feminist discussions, esp with motherhood – it gets so gendered, and I’ve seen active exclusion of women because they cannot themselves bear children (and other things too).

So – what do I as a mom want?  It seems that there should be some constructive feedback here after all the complaining :)

Can’t we women support each other in the choices we make?  for better or worse, isn’t the feminist movement supposed to be about women’s right to choices about our lives?  Those choices sometimes include children, and throwing us out of the club because we make that choice is hypocritical.  (also, see above for the fact that it is not always a choice)

Second, who do you think that these kids grow up to be?  Adults.  Adults who have been told that they are not valued.  Fabulous.

Third, I can only speak for myself here, but generally I don’t need a whole bunch of help and support.  I would appreciate, though, if you choose to interact with my kids, please be positive.  If you need to ask them to stop a behavior, ask them in a polite way, understanding that children don’t usually react well to being yelled at and that positive reinforcement of good behavior is much healthier and more effective than negative reinforcement of “bad” behavior.  If you don’t want to interact with my kids, don’t.

Finally, please don’t assume that I had kids and got stupid.  I know what’s dangerous.  I know what’s annoying.  I bend over backwards to try to NOT annoy all of the adults going about their day around us.  If Kieran throws a fit in the middle of the grocery store and is laying in the middle of the floor screaming, please be aware that I did not know that he was going to do that.  I wish he would stop.  I did not arrange it for your personal irritation.  If I had known/thought he’d do that, we never would have gone to the grocery store.

nike ad.

Posted in Life in general with tags , , on Sunday 25 July 2010 by amanda

I’m not quite sure what I think of this.  Very mixed about it for sure.  Thoughts?

sense of self

Posted in Life in general with tags , , on Tuesday 20 July 2010 by amanda

There is this fantastic new post up at Below the Belt, called Boy or girl? I think neither. It reminds me a little of a few other queer individuals that I know who have struggled, and are still struggling, with society’s binary view of sex and gender.  I don’t have a lot of commentary on the piece, I just wanted to promote it because I think it’s awesome to see that there are spaces, communities and individuals who 1) are ABLE to defy binary spaces, and 2) support people who are queer and not cis-gendered, despite all of the hurdles and injuries that stand in the way.

Horrified at Northern Iowa right now

Posted in racism with tags , , , , on Wednesday 14 July 2010 by amanda

mason city is comparing Obama to Hitler – on a billboard.  See here for the local story, and here for the coverage in the Atlantic.

This is devastating to me on two levels:

1) That this would happen at all – you’d think that somewhere along the process of making a billboard somebody would have realized that this is an inappropriate comparison (to say the least).

2) Deep disappointment that there are apparently enough people in the area that feel this way to support such an awful thing.

Update: the sign was taken down today.  I remain angry, however.

Apparently Hillary couldn’t be a good leader until she got all emotional

Posted in Life in general on Tuesday 4 May 2010 by amanda

This article from the Washington Post really pissed me off.  

“Although she had that driven, strong-willed, focused side, she also had a human side, a capacity to be vulnerable with others. In New Hampshire, this other expression of Hillary enabled her to truly connect with the audience, which was made up primarily of women.

Whether this emotional moment was due to extreme fatigue from the grueling campaign schedule as some have suggested, or whether Hillary simply revealed her heartfelt feelings about her commitment to making this country a better place, her personal reaction created a new perception of her among women throughout the country. Suddenly, they saw that inside this tough-as-nails political candidate was a real person with the same vulnerabilities that they had. Soon after the New Hampshire incident, polls indicated that Hillary had gained a majority of the women’s vote, primarily because women could now identify with her more than they could with the other candidates.

When Hillary allowed herself to be vulnerable and express her true emotions, people could connect with her, which led to her increased popularity in the polls.”

I read this, and the rest of the article, and think to myself that the lesson here is that women aren’t supposed to be tough, badass, or kick ass.  We’re supposed to lead, but emotionally, connecting with our feeeeeelings, and making sure that other women identify with us.  Because we are SO FUCKING brainwashed to think that when other women are hardasses or committed to their jobs or good leaders or don’t cry all the damn time or don’t constantly talk about their kids or their husbands jobs or GODFORBID don’t want kids or a husband or don’t wear heels or makeup or their hair just so or work-out-all-the-time-but-still-eat-pizza or don’t think it’s funny when assholes like Rush Limbaugh and the Republican party make jokes about Hillary Clinton as a “nutcracker” and sell a product of that name, then well.  Those kinds of women just aren’t good women.

back? maybe.

Posted in Life in general on Monday 12 April 2010 by amanda

I realize that it’s been nearly a year since I wrote on this blog.  I’m not sure if I’m back. It’s been a long, busy and crazy year.  I’ve had a lot of ups and downs.  I’m unsure how much I want to be sharing, identified, on a blog at this point.  I think I’m set to tentatively give it a try and at least see where I end up.

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