Women’s March

A protest, in cross-stitch

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I marched with millions of women, men, and children all across the world on all 7 continents to stand in support of women’s rights. Independence Ave in Washington D.C. was so packed with people that the March really began as a shuffle. Everyone there had different, personal reasons for being there. Some were disabled or had children with special needs and wanted the Trump administration to view them and treat them as people of value, worth of respect. Others were marching as part of the LGBTQ community or an ally, demanding to be treated as equal under the law. I saw women proudly wearing colorful head scarves and hijabs, once again reminding our government that they and thousands of refugees are not to be feared, simply because terrorists falsely claim the same religion of Islam. So many women carried signs that declared their bodies to be their own. The decisions made for their bodies should be their own. Having healthcare they choose for their bodies should be a right. Their bodies are not for men to do with what they please. When men do decide to legislate and do what they will with these women’s bodies, they had better believe these women, with their powerful pussies, will fight back!  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
I saw black women and white women. Latina women and Asian women. Palestinian women and Indian women. Gay women. Straight women. Trans women. Married and single women. I saw old women in need of wheelchairs and canes and I saw tiny babies harnessed closely to their mother’s bosoms. I saw Christian women, Muslim women, and women for whom religion did not matter. I encountered some assholes, but for every 1 of them, there were 10 incredibly nice and considerate persons. I saw so many men there, supporting their wives, girlfriends, and friends.  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
So many different people with so many different reasons to march. But we were all unified by one thing: We are nasty women, and we will fight for our rights. We will fight for our rights, even though we shouldn’t have to fight for them- they’re rights most men certainly don’t have to fight for. We will fight for our rights, even as other women try to tear us down by telling us that they don’t feel like their rights are being assaulted, that women in other countries have it worse, that we’re just complaining, and that we’re all in charge of our own destinies. 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 Record scratch– So I have to address the last bit of nonsense up there.
Why do you feel the need to tear down those of us who marched? How does it ruin your life or your day to know that millions of women either feel disenfranchised or are marching in support of disenfranchised women? Do you feel threatened? Do you feel like, perhaps these women are causing you to examine your life and the lives of others and it makes you uncomfortable, so you have to shut it down? Have you tried listening to women outside of your white, upper-middle class, suburban bubble, without pre-judgment or talking points already loaded, waiting to shoot down and invalidate their experiences?

Did you actually give a shit about female genital mutilation before Saturday? What about honor killings- I mean, beyond reading about them, being upset by them, and then pinning a good crock pot recipe on Pinterest? What have you done to address all the horrible injustices perpetrated upon women in other countries? Did you know that child brides and forced marriages in the US are also large problems? Why the need for a false dichotomy? How does the problem of women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia invalidate the problem that women in the US are paid less than men for equal work? Or that the very private and painful decision of a late-term abortion is not accurately characterized so it can be used as a political football?

Tell me, were Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth nothing more than whiners and complainers when they fought for a woman’s right to vote, (which was only afforded to us less than 100 years ago?) What about women who learned to drive during World War I, even though it wasn’t lady-like? Or the women who were so scandalous as to reveal ankles or wear slacks? And the women who demanded to work outside the home and be treated equally there? (Of course poor women have always worked.) Have you asked your husband for permission to have birth control, for whatever reason, lately? No? You can thank the women who fought for that, too. 

It’s pretty easy to forget about all the rights we have as women today because women who came before us were maligned, outcast, jailed, tortured, and killed because they fought, protested, and marched for them, isn’t it? But, in doing so they took their destinies into their own hands, and on Saturday, so did we! 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
By the time I got home, I was hurting. Badly. The only time I sat down from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm was when I sat down for 30 seconds to pee. I hadn’t eaten a meal since breakfast, so as I scarfed down my bacon cheeseburger I was cranky, exhausted, and in a fuck ton of pain. The streets were so crowded, (and I must have been a crowd traffic magnet) that I experienced what popcorn in a popper must feel like and my butt got a lot of action. But, as I fell asleep to pictures of the crowds from all over the world, I felt so gratified that I had been a part of it. I felt privileged to have a husband who supports me and that I had the choice and ability to make my voice heard. This is the beginning of me fighting for myself, my girls, and other women. I marched in 2017 with the hope that my daughters won’t have to march for the same things in 2027.
Check out Megan Rei Photography

Carrie Fisher was valuable as Princess Leia


Rachael: Mom, why are you crying?

Me: Carrie Fisher, the woman who played Princess Leia, died. 

Zoë: No more Princess Leia?

Me: No more Princess Leia.

I’ve been reading posts and tributes to Carrie Fisher on social media, and I’ve noticed something that’s beginning to bother me. 
There seem to be 3 types of posts:

1) Remembering her as Princess Leia

2) Remembering Carrie Fisher as a whole person, including her writing and battle with mental illness

3) Posts which imply that, if Princess Leia is the only reason Carrie Fisher is important to you, then you are a shallow fan who doesn’t really understand how important she was 

Even when something this serious happens, it seems geeks feel the need to engage in one-upsmanship- to be the supreme, everlasting know-it-all. For those not in the know, it’s the way geeks establish social hierarchy and feel better about themselves after being put down and excluded from other social groups for so long.  While Carrie hated being relegated to sex symbol status, she had no problem with fans loving her for being a badass space princess. In fact, I have a feeling that if Carrie were to witness the dumbfuckery people are engaging in on her behalf, she’d tell them to fuck off and go suck on a bag of dicks in a corner. 

Look, I think the openness with which Carrie lived her life helped so many people. She made it okay to be honest and fucked up and mentally ill. She made it okay to laugh, both in spite of your pain and because of it. Anyone familiar with her work and life beyond Star Wars should absolutely share it and how it has been important to them, just so long as it is not at the expense of how Carrie Fisher was important to others. You don’t get to decide how someone impacts another person’s life. You also don’t get to assign value to that impact.

I don’t really remember the first time I saw Princess Leia Organa on screen and how her character affected me. I was around 8, and a lot of my memories are inaccessible to me because of repression. Thanks childhood abuse!  But I do remember the first time I had an incredibly strong reaction to Leia. Return of the Jedi, rescuing Han, and Leia is all alone in that “Gee, I wonder which man made that creepy costume decision” bikini, with space slug mobster, Jabba. Once stuff started going down at the sarlacc pit, bitch didn’t wait around for someone to come get her. She jumped up and strangled that slug to death with the very chain that made her captive. I remember thinking, “Holy shit!  That is so badass!”  

For a long time, until rather recently, that’s who Carrie Fisher was to me. She was the actress who didn’t wait for anyone to come save her and was every bit as important as the boys. I also feel fortunate to have seen Wishful Drinking and to hear her speak candidly, with all the acerbic wit she could muster, about living with Bipolar disorder. And of course her service dog, Gary, is a gift to the world.

Via radiotimes.com

My girls, 5 and 8, still only know Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. At age 4, she was the first princess that Rachael really saw take matters into her own hands. She inspired for Rachael a love of independent, kickass women, which led to the radical notion that women are just as strong and valuable as men.  Just the other night as I read the introduction from her new Women in Science book, and how horribly and unequally they were treated, Rachael declared that when she grows up, she wants to do something to make sure that everyone knows men and women are equal and that women are able to enjoy equal rights. If that’s what comes of only knowing Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, I’d say that’s pretty fucking valuable.

MAN is women’s hero!

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Recently a man posted a notice for all the ladies on the Facebook page for my friend’s community. I really want to share his public service announcement, exactly as it was written, because I think it’s something we all need to know.

Ladies…Id like a moment or two of your time, if I may, to inform you of things many of you are doing and probably aren’t aware of.
Countless times, I’ve been standing behind you (“you” is a general term for all the women I’ve observed) in the checkout line at Publix as you pay for your purchases. In almost all of the cases….(Bravo to those of you who I’ve seen doing it right) I’ve watched you pull out your big-ole’ wallet from your overly stuffed purse/bag of bottomless pits. In frightening regularity, you lay your wallet on the counter or on the check writing tables in clear and open view as you search for whatever it is you are searching for…Pen, Cell Phone, etc…
OK, so what’s the big deal?…..The big deal is, if I were an Evil Doer (I assure you, I’m not…{insert Evil Grin, here}), I had visual access to your Full Names, your addresses, Credit Card Numbers…Checking account Routing numbers just to name a few of the biggies. I’ve even been able to see one woman’s Concealed Carry Permit. Good for you, by the way!! Without much effort, I can tell if you are Married or not (in most cases) and I can surmise what type of vehicle you drive by the huge bundle of Keys you place on the counter or fumble with as you conduct your business.
You need to be more aware of your surroundings. That nice young man or woman standing behind you could end up being your worst nightmares come true. When you go into the store, take only what you need in order to conduct business. Identification, Credit/Debit Card or Checkbook…BUT, at the same time, don’t leave your purse lying in the seat of your car. You could come out missing your purse and a Window. If you know you are going to be writing a check for you purchases, you could even take just one check with you. Yes, I know…it seems strange not to take the entire Checkbook with Register, but you’ll have the Receipt with you and you can easily update your checkbook once you are back home…safe and sound. Sometime, I have gone out of my way to make it as obvious as I can that I am looking at your wallet…No one has EVER asked me a question or removed their personal information from view.
Listen, I have six sisters a wife and a daughter. To say woman are an important aspect of my life would be an understatement. Ladies, don’t make yourself a Soft-Target for the Evil Doers out there. Keep your personal information away from prying eyes. I’m just scratching the surface of ways in which you can keep yourself and loved ones safe and secure.
If you want to add more tips and techniques to this…PLEASE DO SO! I didn’t have time to list them all.

Now, I know some of you are really mad right now. You’re thinking, Why are all the good one’s taken? I wish I had someone like that in my neighborhood, watching out for all of us silly women. I had no idea I was paying for groceries wrong all. this. time.

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Ladies, I couldn’t agree with you more! Here I was, thinking I was paying for groceries just like any other person, and it turns out that I was making the person behind me in line victimize me! Seriously, guys! We might as well just go ahead and flash everyone a look at our vag, or business of vag for the plural, while we’re at it. I mean, how could we not realize that during our frantic searches to find what we need in our ridiculously-sized purses, (frantic, because we don’t want to hold up the line and inconvenience anyone) we are, in reality, inconveniencing them by making them look into our purses and at our IDs!

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Ladies, if we want to earn the respect of this MAN, (that’s literally what his profile picture says, so you know it’s true.  Just in case you had any doubts about his masculinity) we really need to heed his warning and follow his advice.

First things first: get a concealed carry permit, even if you have no intention of ever getting a gun, just to prove how badass you are. This ensures that the person collecting your personal information will, at least, respect you.

Secondly, you should really stop carrying a purse that fits everything you need or acquire on a daily basis. I mean, yes, it would be nice if we could continue to carry our wallets, cell phones, pens, lip balms, snacks, kid’s snacks, entertainment for the kids, forms for school, forms from the doctor, sunglasses, eye drops, (if you wear contacts) key rings with the clickers and keys to both cars, keys for the house, scan tags for the grocery store, library, or local dessert shop where we need to buy something chocolate each month while we’re PMSing, tissues, and whatever else ridiculous, unnecessary item we think we need in one comfortable bag that fits over our shoulder. But we really should start carrying things inside our pockets, since they are absolutely impenetrable to pickpockets. And the next time the man in your life asks to store something in your purse, you can just roll your eyes and marvel at how impractical he is. You may also feel free to scoff if he tells you that most identity theft occurs online, and then drift off and dream about the MAN who really cares about you.

Finally, make sure that you let everyone know that you’re aware of your surroundings and not at all paranoid. If there is a creepy person in line behind you, staring at you and getting up in your personal space, immediately stop feeling creeped out and intimidated. Next, turn and face this creepy person and yell, I’m aware of you! Be sure to speak slowly and use big, animated gestures. This will set the creepy person at ease, now that you have removed all doubt of you knowing that they are standing too close and not averting their gaze toward the tabloids. (Jen Aniston is pregnant and dumped again!?!?! Erhmahgah! She deserves love, you assholes! Oooh, lose 30 pounds a day, eating nothing but chocolate doughnuts? Ch’yah!)

Ladies, it is your responsibility not to be victimized. MAN is just concerned about us, and is in no way trying to make himself feel better about looking at our personal information. And we know he only has our best interest in mind because he has so many women in his life. He’s an expert at protecting women and making sure they don’t do anything stupid. He has worked so hard to make sure he maintains his masculinity among so many estrogen-filled females who desperately need him to take care of them and protect them from real creeps, not just the ones who are creepy for the sake of research.

MAN says “Bravo!” to the women who handle their transactions discreetly and don’t force him to look at their personal information. But I say, bravo to you, sir! Without you, we wouldn’t know how to pay for groceries correctly. Nor would we know exactly what sort of asshole we are looking for.

* Special shoutout to the Facebook page admin, as he protected our protector from my friend by deleting her response to MAN. Apparently she told MAN that he was victim blaming, being condescending, and paternalistic. Honestly, I don’t know where she gets off, spewing such feminist nonsense. I guess there’s really only one explanation for her response to MAN.

Bitches be crazy.

“Move! I’m trying to get somewhere….real!”

I’ll start off by saying that I’m pretty irritated that I’m even writing this post. I never intended to throw my hat into the ring on Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. But after I read a piece on CNN about her recent Vogue interview and photo shoot, I became too aggravated to leave it alone.
Many are criticizing Mayer for taking a “provocative” picture, (um, check out them sexy ankles?) for the Vogue spread. It seems as though women are angry with her because it was an inappropriate picture to take as a smart, powerful, female CEO. Plenty of stories have also been written about her only taking two weeks of maternity leave and no longer allowing telecommuting.

The thing that aggravates me is that none, NONE of this would be at the forefront of national news if she weren’t a woman. As to the picture in Vogue, she is perfectly entitled to let the photographer take a picture which highlights her femininity and the fact that she’s *GASP* pretty. I’m not sure why there is an insistence that if a woman is smart and powerful, she must also check her femaleness at the door.

It's pi plus C, of course.
http://xkcd.com/385/

With regard to her maternity leave…..WHY DO YOU FREAKIN’ CARE?!?!?!? (I guess the mommy wars extend on up the corporate ladder.) This is her family, her job, and her choice. (Also, pretty sure she didn’t leave her child alone in front of the tv to watch porn with a bottle full of bourbon.) Why not focus on the US’s abysmal family leave laws instead? The focus should be on the fact that many women don’t get any sort of choice when it comes to how much maternity leave they take. And paternity leave? Pthttttt! Why not talk about the inherent sexism in most company’s allowances for the fathers. My husband received two whole days! Any other time he took was vacation days.
As to Ms. Mayer’s decision to end telecommuting, I am in no position to judge the rightness or wrongness of that decision. I am not at the helm of a floundering technology company. I don’t know the specific and behind the scenes challenges Yahoo is facing, and am in no way qualified to comment on them. What I do know is that much of the indignation about the decision seems to stem from the fact that she’s a woman. She just had a baby! She should get it! This is nothing more than the opposite side of the “thinking with your uterus” coin. In this case, she’s catching crap for NOT making a decision with her uterus.

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Rather than spending all our energy on what Ms. Mayer is doing, why not focus on something that matters? Perhaps:

– Girls in Afghanistan who have to worry for their lives because they want to go to school or have the gall to speak their minds

– The rampant rapes and murders of women in Sudan and the Congo

Sexual slavery in Asia

– The virtually unchecked rape and murder of women and little girls in India

– The problem of femicide in Italy and Latin America

– The fact that women are prevented from being in positions of authority in many evangelical churches

– The fact that equal pay and work conditions in the US is still something we’re fighting for

– Calling women like Sandra Fluke a slut and a whore because she testified before Congress on behalf of a friend’s medical need for contraception, (or the choice to use it for any reason)

– And while we’re on Congress, the fact that there are people who write laws which control women’s bodies and their medical decisions and also use terms like “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape”

– That the first questions people still ask when they hear a woman was raped are: How drunk was she? What was she wearing? Did she really say no?

Women have had to fight for our right to vote. Women have had to fight for the right to control our own bodies and make private medical decisions. Women have had to fight for workplace equality. With all these real fights going on, I would hope that we’d be too tired to worry about something like a picture in Vogue.