Quotation Tuesdays-Zero Tolerance

“When Rudy Giuliani became mayor of New York in 1993, his belief in the ‘Broken Windows’ theory led him to implement the ‘Zero Tolerance’ crime policy. Crime dropped dramatically, significantly, and continued to for the next ten years.
Personally, I feel the time has come for women to introduce their own Zero Tolerance policy on the Broken Windows issues in our lives – I want a Zero Tolerance policy on ‘All The Patriarchal Bull@#$%’.”
― Caitlin MoranHow to Be a Woman

In an environment where every micro-aggression makes the larger aggressions seem less important, we have an obligation to keep fighting even the smallest issues.  On one hand, we cannot change every opinion, vanquish every troll, or banish all sexism.  What we can do is create expectations for dialogue and try to convince others to do the same.  While fighting the small incidents, we have to keep focusing on larger issues, policies that will make lasting changes.

Let’s face it.  This is a generation of multi-taskers.  We can establish boundaries and work to change national policies simultaneously.  Let’s do it.

Leave your advice for eliminating micro-aggressions without detracting from larger causes in the comments.

Motivational Mondays-Reverse Psychology

I’m amazed by this.  As someone who loves libraries and public literacy, this project is awesome.

Words to Ignore

Have I mentioned how much I love Rosie of Make Me a Sammich?  Last week, I reblogged one of Rosie’s posts about   how to change behavior in a social setting.

This post is also fabulous; it reminds you that you can be an ally, an activist.  These words are silencing mechanisms, not actual criticisms of what you’re saying.  This post was intended for women and feminists especially, but there are many other brands of activism that are silenced by shaming words.

Words that other readers suggested include

  • Sexist
  • Intolerant
  • Misandrist
  • You’re taking this too personally!
  • Slut/Whore
  • Whiny
  • Any diminutive word for women, (Princess, pet, love)
  • Typical
  • White Knighting

Non-gendered silencing words include

  • Bleeding heart liberal
  • White guilt
  • Stereotypical
  • Reverse Racism
  • Virgin
  • Neckbeard
  • Naiive
  • Loser
  • Do-gooder

Are there any other words that are used as silencing mechanisms rather than attempts to discuss problems?

List the ones you’ve heard in the comments.

From the Readers-Solving Problems

Reader Maurice Barry of Duck?  Starfish?…23 commented under an older piece about advice for the men in our lives.  In his comment, he reminded me not to stereotype all men, and that he  appreciated the reminder to mind his manners.

He has actually written a related piece, in an effort to comment about male and female friendships, familial loyalty, and men’s tendency to problem solve.

The post begins with

“One of the things that women find most annoying about men is our desire to fix things that, maybe, do not need to be fixed.”
and includes
“Because we [men] often obtain our ‘power’ from our ability to effect change we figure that is the best response, namely to actually do something; to fix whatever is wrong. What we fail to realize is that what is sought is not a solution. Frequently the solution is known and other times one is not required. What is needed instead is support and understanding.”
This is simple and beautiful.  I love that Maurice understands this, and I’m glad that he posted it where other men can learn from his wisdom.

Here is the link to the rest of the post.  Check it out.  It involves Ireland, the War, and some awesome relatives.

Got a Pocketful of Sunshine (Award)

First of all, a huge thank you to Sara of Project Sara for nominating me for this award.  I love Sara’s blog and want to meet her in real life.  She reminds me of my roommate, with her funny anecdotes and sharp social commentary.  On the subject, thank you roommate, for being awesome and helping me deal with numerous blog induced panics.  Because my roommate is awesome.  Also, if you’re reading this, I will replace the soy milk I borrowed to put in my coffee.  Sara, if you’re ever in the Philadelphia area, I will gladly take you out for beverages of your choice.

Anyway, back to the blog and blog awards.  The Sunshine award is an award given to bloggers who inspire other bloggers.  It’s so easy to get frustrated, and I’m flattered to be a ray of sunshine in someone else’s day.  That’s actually one of the reasons I started this blog; I was frustrated and reading about feminism and inequality made me angry.  I wanted to change, and I didn’t know how.  So I decided to start profiling awesome people who were inspiring, or to show people easy activism, “social justice to go,” if you will.

I”m thrilled to receive this award, now to fulfill the requirements of the award, I’ll answer the questions about me and nominate ten other bloggers who inspire me.

Q&A:

  1. Who is your favorite philosopher?  Whoever I’m not reading for class this week.  Sorry, I’m not much for philosophy.  Ask me about my favorite author, my general worldview, etc, and I’ll write you a novel.
  2. What is your favorite number? 42.  It’s a nerd thing.
  3. What is your favorite animal? -Owls.  I’m a night owl and they’re beautiful, powerful, and strong creatures.  Plus, the owl was the pet of ancient Greek goddess Athena, goddess of wisdom.
  4. What is your favorite time of day?-Nightime.  I love the contrast between soft lights and stars.
  5. What are your Facebook and Twitter?  I use Facebook to see pictures of my cousin’s really adorable kids, and to check up on my old classmates.  A surprising number of them have babies, and I wonder if I’m getting old.  My twitter account is affiliated with the blog, and that’s pretty much all I use it for.  Not much of a fan of Twitter, honestly.  I just don’t have the time.  Plus, the format is #annoying.  I am on Pinterest though.  Check me out.
  6. What is your favorite holiday?-Hands down Halloween.  I love costumes, dressing up, creativity, and free candy.  I was a bat as a child, I’ve been a gypsy, a stewardess, Pokerface (out of cards), sixties girl, and when I was little a ballerina/fairy/princess.  In my defense, i was five and liked all the pieces so I wore them together.
  7. What is your physical favorite activity?-Kayaking.  I’m terrible at it, but I love the feeling of being close to the water, powerful and one with nature.  I’ve kayaked on lakes, rivers, and in the ocean.  It’s so much fun, especially ocean kayaking.    I’d love to learn to surf, but i can’t balance to save my life.  I also love ice skating and wish that I hadn’t quit gymnastics before I learned who to do handsprings and tucks.
  8. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?-Coffee. (You couldn’t tell from my blogger ID is cafeaulait (coffee with milk) or my blog’s name; Confessions of a Latte Liberal?)   Slit my wrists open and I will bleed coffee.
  9. What is your passion?-reading, feminism, writing, drawing stick figures, and historical fashion.  Fun fact, when I was younger, i wanted to be a costume designer for the BBC period dramas.
  10. What is your favorite flower?-Sunflowers.  They’re tall, proud and strong.

I’m honored to receive this awesome award.  So I’d like to pass the award on to:

    • Reasonable Conversations -the author describes issues well.
    • The Dancing Professor– an academic mix of history, privilege and real life.  Plus, she teaches at the University I attend, so I especially get her posts.  Full disclosure, I’ve never taken her class.
    • Make Me a Sammich: Rosie, you are awesome beyond words.  I love this blog, its design, content, and style.  It has serious discussions of feminist issues, complete with Rosie the Riverter imagery.   Nothing says we can do it like Rosie the Riveter.
    • Online Dating-While I’ll Soon Be a Crazy Cat Lady: This woman is hilariously chronicling her exploits in online dating.  I read her blog just to laugh at all the crazy people in the world.  Especially when I blog a lot about serious issues, it’s always nice to have a funny anecdote to read to brighten your day.
    • End Rape Culture: Exactly what it sounds, and it profiles people who are fighting and tells about what they do.
    • Captain Awkward -Love the advice style format.
    • BroadBlogs: Broadblogs has a really good combination of serious theory with real life examples.  I like her links and she doesn’t despair or rant.  She explores the issues with a critical eye and is definitely worth reading.
    • Small Girl, Big City-Blogmistress Meg is delightful, and has been really supportive of me.  She is really cheerful and writes about living in Paris.  Remind me to catch the next plain to Paris, so I can have un cafe au lait, sil vows plait.
    • Damn Right I’m a Feminist: This blog is amazing.  Although the blog mistress swears, she has great feminist songs of the day, feminist quotes of the day, and is always to the point and inspiring.  She finds the best material.
    • Shakesville-for anyone who doesn’t know the magic of Shakesville, I’d highly suggest reading it.  It’s a safe space with clearly written articles that articulate all the little things that bother you..   Best of all, it includes suggestions for activist men, and a healthy community for discussions.
Not a nominee for the award, but I just want to also recommend Prego and the Loon.  I love her blog, about escaping an abusive relationship and as a survivor, I emphasize with her.  She is a powerful writer, and I want to share her strength.  Warning: her writing is gritty, real, and sometimes dark.  It’s well worth the read, but not a sunshine inspiring blog.  Sorry, Prego, I really do love you.
Other shout outs include: The Human Rights Warrior, who profiles international efforts for justice.  She always has new issues to learn about and is a role model.
Happy blogging, and check out the awesome work these bloggers have already done.

Motivational Mondays-Keep Faith in Feminism

From Gloria Steinem’s “Halfway into a Feminst Century,” available in this month’s Ms, Steinem wrote an inspirational piece on the eve of the election to inspire women.  The article isn’t available publicly online yet, but I wrote down the key parts of the article, for your speed reading pleasure.

Steinem argues that we’ve gotten much further than we believe.  She reminds us, that you can’t have a backlash without a front lash.  I was moved by the lines, “Only if we get discouraged and give up our power as the major-to act, speak out and use our dollars, and votes, can the clock be turned back,”
and “But we’re not crazy- the system is crazy-and knowing that it is one of the deepest gifts of feminism.”

Steinem provides a list of the next campaigns that feminists need to wage:
  • Reproductive freedom as a human right.
  • Make reproductive freedom as a basic freedom
  • Women will only support revolution who don’t treat them as disposable and actually support their goals.
  • We will eroticize equality, with women being portrayed as equals not as sex objects.
  • Women’s movement will take up gun control.
  • Women will no longer be perceived as moral, but will promote peace
Steinem concludes her piece with this compelling argument,
“The very force of the opposition, especially to our control of reproduction should tell us how powerful we are.”
We are powerful.  And only if we surrender and cease to fight will we lose.

Bears, Sharks and Vodka Tampons, Oh My!

It’s Not Rocket Science: Unless Your Name is Todd Akin

For my non United States readers, Todd Akin was the conservative Republican Senator who sits on the science committee, who proudly professed the belief that women cannot get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because the body has mechanisms to shut down unwanted pregnancies.

Todd Akin was, of course, wrong about pregnancies resulting from rape.  In the United States, 32,000 pregnancies a year result from rape.  But Todd Akin is far from alone in his ignorant beliefs about the female reproductive system.  I’m not going to go into great detail of all the ignorant things that have been said about rape in the US Election cycle, because that’s three posts on its own, and Todd Akin lost his re-election bid.

Instead, I shall talk about the other demonstrations of ignorance about women’s bodies.

  • Stephen King: The Infamous Locker Room Scene in Carrie.
    • Nobody bleeds that much.  Unless you’re miscarrying a baby, having your internal organs sliced to pieces, or in a Stephen King horror movie.  Who came up with this notion that women bleed buckets and buckets of blood?
  • If you’re emotional, it’s because you’re PMSing so you’re clearly “on the rag.”
    • PMS means PRE, pre as in before.  Before your period, you are not using “the rag.”  Semantics, people.
  • Shark Attacks:
    • Seriously, we can’t swim in the ocean because the shark will smell the blood on our tampons and eat us?  Who comes up with this?
  • Bear Attacks.
    • So we can’t swim because of Jaws, but we can’t go camping either, because our periods might attract a bear.  Why leave the kitchen?
  • Vodka Tampons
    • This had to be designed by a man.  Because whoever designed this has no understanding of how tampons actually work.  Tampons expand when they absorb liquid.  If they have absorbed liquid, they are too big and lose their insertability.  Also, alcohol burns.  Who wants to burn one of their most sensitive organs?
  • PMS and Mood Swings:
    • No we wont’ kill you.  We’ll just be a bit more moody than usual, although whether or not PMS is real is the subject of academic debate.
  • Women don’t poop or fart.
    • Sorry to bust your illusions, but we’re human beings first, women second.
  • HPV/Plan B makes women, especially teen girls, sex addicts, hosting orgies.
    • High on fantasy fodder, but low on evidence.
  • Women only take oral contraceptives because they’re having sex and don’t want to get pregnant.
    • Ovarian cysts, irregular bleeding, acne, …there are a myriad of reasons women take birth control, none of which are your business.
  • Asprin between the knees works as a contraceptive.  (Seriously?)

It’s not just women’s health that many people fail to comprehend.  Many people conflate statistics to justify fears about autism and vaccines, call evolution a “theory,” not understanding that the scientific and vernacular uses are different.  A large proportion of the United States population believes that President Obama is not a United States citizen.

Where is this culture of ignorance coming from?  Why is innumeracy and illiteracy so common?  Shouldn’t it be a source of shame, rather than pride?  I read somewhere that in business, there is such a stigma on not knowing something that people are compelled to make up information, sometimes with disastrous results.  But this doesn’t seem to be the case in politics.

This culture of ignorance is especially tragic when the resources to gain this knowledge are so ubiquitous.  I understand that not everyone has the abilities to spend hours pouring over Machiavelli and mathematical theories.  However, when these ignorant statements come out of those with platforms of speech, platforms where people take their word as truth, and have the ability to get the correct information, this ignorance is just sad.

Seriously, it’s not rocket science.  Unless you’re Todd Akin.  In which case, you really should resign from the House Science Committee.

Tell me, Readers, what other baseless beliefs have you heard?