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.
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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.

Dating While Feminist-The Notebook and Romantic Gestures

Film poster for The Notebook (film) Note: This...

I’m a woman who hates The Notebook

Yes, I exist.

No, I’m not trying to falsely portray myself as a mythical being, and attract millions of dates by downplaying my love of Ryan Gosling and downplaying romantic expectations.

My hatred of the Nicholas Sparks film has nothing to do with my dating life.  In many ways, I am traditionally feminine.  But I hate the movie The Notebook. I hate Titanic, Twilight, and anything with the name Nicholas Sparks on the cover.  And yet, I am a woman.

I guess that I’ve never been a fan of romantic gestures, or big mushy romances.  I tend to be loving, but I’m not good at displaying positive emotions.  I’m too much of a pragmatist and a feminist to be swept away by Noah writing Allie a letter every day.  If it were me, I would have stopped after three months of no responses.  And if I were Allie, I would be upset over the fact that he wrote to me every single day.

Does he really have nothing better to do?

The best celluloid love story, as far as this cynic is concerned is a tie between Colnel Brandon’s love for Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility.  (Alan Rickman is unbelievable in this role.) and Carl and Ellie, the adventure-loving couple in UP.  Their romance is understated, and does not consume their lives.  (Marianne, initially allows her dreams of romance to consume her, but she matures throughout the course of the film.)

Real life romance is sweeter.  My grandfather walked an extra half an hour to walk his future wife home the first night he met her.  (They knew each other through mutual friends, so it wasn’t inappropriate.)  My father brings coffee to my mother in bed on special occasions.  He makes the coffee so she doesn’t have to, and for me, he puts my favorite mug in front of the coffee pot when I go home.  It’s the sweetest gesture that shows that you’re taking care of the other person.  (And yes, my family is obsessed with coffee.)

I don’t like romantic poems or public proposals.   And I must thoroughly confuse the Hallmark marketing team because I hate heart shaped jewelry, teddy bears, anything pink and covered in hearts, diamond necklaces, diamond jewelry in general, romantic poems, dozen roses, and candlelit dinners with violins playing.  (However, I do enjoy champagne, chocolates, and warm fluffy robes).  That’s about as romantic as I get.  My idea of an ideal romantic gift is inspired by the TV show Gilmore Girls– a coffee cart to follow me around all day and make whatever I wanted, free of charge?  Now, that’s a gift!

I wrote this piece, not to solicit gifts, or to find a date, but to explain my frustration that every single relationship article I have ever read suggests that your girlfriend wants a night in with the Notebook.  That every girl will just adore that diamond necklace you bought for her.  That every girl wants rose-petals and romance.  That’s ridiculous and unoriginal.   Most of us are happy if you pick your socks up off the floor and make dinner every once in a while.  As for romance, it’s a highly individual thing.

Women’s mags are guilty of the same thing, assuring women that your man wants tools and you in a new sexy set of underwear by Victoria’s Secret, whose advertisers are paying for four full page ads, so they’d better see revenue.  Women of non photogenic appearances, sizes, trans-women, and women dating women don’t exist, apparently.

Basically, the articles would be more helpful if they identified different types of personalities and general guidelines for gifts and romantic displays for different types of people.   These articles are, of course, needlessly heteronormative and gender-conforming.

I don’t speak for all women when I write this, of course.  Women are not monolithic entities who all respond the same way to gifts and situations.   This notion of women as different from each other expands to many notions, including but not limited to:

the bedroom, her birthday, relationships, flirting, fashion, political affiliation, level of expressiveness, communication styles, favorite TV shows, levels of self-confidence, amount of fearlessness, responsiveness to emotional stiumlii, culinary skills, level of fitness, attitudes toward money, enthusiasm for fantasy football, favorite sports team, and attraction to you.

Women are not the same.  We are human beings, with diverse interests and personalities, and you should treat us as such.  Just because we are women, does not mean that we understand the behavior of other women.  There is no “Women Code of Behavior.”  There is no “Woman Speak.”  There is only, “what does this specific women mean in this context?”

Yes, I’m a woman who hates The Notebook. Because not all women like The Notebook.  Not all women have vaginas.  Not all women wear bras.  Not all women have children or want children.  There is no definition of what makes a woman, so there is no definition of “all women.”  So stop assuming that “all women like x.”  You know what they say about you when you assume something.  Women are not a monolithic entity but a group of individuals bound together by the use of a common label-women.  What that means is entirely up to the individual woman.

What stereotypes about dating really frustrate you?  Let me know in the comments.

Author’s Note.

Just because I don’t like movie, does not mean that I am writing that all women do not like that movie.  We are individuals, and all specific dislikes and likes in this article are mine and mine alone.

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