Category Archives: Feminism

Why I am a Feminist

As I was cruising through Twitter as I do instead of writing like I should be, I found a retweet from Chuck Wendig: HeforShe: Yes, I am a Feminist. His post is amazingly apt and I left a couple comments on his blog, but I thought it important to clean things up a bit and post it on my blog as well.

I just recently declared myself a feminist. Despite being a woman for thirty-six years, I only started calling myself a feminist in the twilight of 2014.

It took listening to other feminists speak for nearly two years via Twitter to convince me that not all feminists were man-hating, non-shaving, militant lesbians who wanted men to be ground under their boot. With feminists saying other feminists were faux-minists, it was the same kind of crap that led me to throw my hands up. Nobody is happy with the advancements made by other feminists, no matter how big or how small. Women are our competition. We tear each other down instead of build each other up. And it’s bullshit.

It wasn’t until I witnessed a conversation via twitter by the lovely Feminista Jones that I really took a look at why I’d resisted feminism for so many years. Her response to my rather spiteful comment was simply, “Nah.” And she followed with a couple of tweets about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t a feminist because of all the shit other feminists have told us we have to be. And it forced me to  take a look at why I resisted being a feminist.

I was so leery to don the cape of feminism. Like many people, I was taught feminism was “Up with women! Down with men!” I saw many issues affecting men like the pressure to be the breadwinner and the “men don’t cry” rhetoric. My father was my best bud until I hit pre-teen years and then he just… disappeared. Because he didn’t feel, as a man, that he should be involved like he was in his daughter’s life. I watched male friends be beaten in parking lots for being “gay” or “girly”. Sensitive was thrown around like some kind of insult and still is. We have to walk around with these masks of perfection and invulnerability and it’s complete horseshit. I saw women with unshaven bodies and no makeup burning bras and American flags. I watched so called feminists tell men they were worth nothing more than genetic material donation. I saw women tearing down other women in the name of a cause that I now understand they knew NOTHING about. Until this year, feminism was a dirty word and still is in a lot of circles. I threw the baby out with the bath water because of horrible examples of humanity donning the title and ruining what feminism truly is.

I have never understood why women would chastise women for doing what is in their hearts to do. If a woman wants to become a stay at home mom and raise her kids, AWESOME. If that’s what works for her, then that’s what’s best for her and her family. Friends of mine in the workplace were coerced into coming back from maternity leave with the horrible sword of Damocles that they couldn’t ever come back like their husbands were going to chain them to the house with a chain a’la Black Snake Moan. There is nothing wrong with being a career woman. If you want to be the breadwinner of the family, that’s amazing! If your husband wants to be a stay at home dad? GREAT! I am not cut out for the role of domestic majesty. If I were left at home with my offspring, I might be the kind of mother to chew off their heads. My son’s dad? He’s a great dad. My son used to make mother’s day cards for his dad and make father’s day cards for me. Why? Because we didn’t fit traditional roles and still don’t and really never will.

It is important for men to speak up about being feminists so that other men don’t feel/think/believe/whatever that they’re alone or the only one or the single guy standing with the cheer squad while the football players and the band kids make fun of them. Every man who steps forward and says, “I’m not perfect, but I’m sure as hell trying and, damnit, this shitting on women and making men be some weird machismo stereotype is wrong!” is one more voice saying “No, dudebro. Not cool, man. Not cool.” when someone sells a shirt that says something as incredibly damaging as, “It’s not rape, it’s a snuggle with a struggle”. (Yes, unfortunately, that DID happen.) Men who are likely to assault women are more likely to listen to another man than to any women who dare be heard instead of merely prettily seen.

I’ve run into the women against women thing more times than I care to count. I get sick of my coworker saying things like, “I make decisions about people and if I don’t like them, they WON’T stay.” It’s like the thought never crossed her mind that diversity is a good thing and maybe SHE needed to open her mind a little. She’s STILL trying to figure me out. I’m a woman who rarely wears makeup, my hair is almost always in a ponytail. I don’t shave every day or sometimes even every week. I wear jeans and tank tops year round. I don’t give a damn about fashion or makeup or television. I don’t like rom coms like she does. Yet I wear Victoria’s Secret and support her in her decision to be a super girly girl who doesn’t leave the house without makeup and who shaves every day, sometimes twice a day. We have a right to be who we are. All of us.

We all need to be excellent to each other. (Wow. Just dated myself there…)

Sometimes it feels like cheating to call myself a feminist, even for me as a woman. I don’t face the myriad of issues other women face. But, more importantly and more scary to a lot of people, is hearing a sexist joke and saying, “Not cool.” When you see a woman who is being street harassed, walking up and simply saying, “You okay, sis?” Putting yourself in the line of fire is a scary, scary thing. And anyone who is willing to take up that mantle, anyone willing to say there is an injustice? That’s a good thing. Male, female, transgender, inter-sex, gender fluid… whatever your orientation, whatever your gender… you want equality.

If not me, who? If not now, when? [transcript]

And, since I’ve talked about some heavy shit (and I love this girl for real): a moment of humor from the lovely Laci Green.

 

Silent No More

Trigger warning: street harassment, fat shaming

When I was in my early twenties, I worked on an overnight team at a department store. I arrived to the store early every night to have a cigarette before I clocked in for my shift. I stood at the far end of the building near the employee parking. The building was not well lit in the employee lot. Most employees left during daylight hours or left in large groups.

I had never feared for my safety going to and from my car. I’d never been bothered while I was smoking. I also wore all black, my skin was white as snow and I dyed my hair black #1. Most people in my small town didn’t come near me. They were scared of me because of my appearance.

That didn’t stop the man who pulled up to the stop sign at the corner of the building and rolled down his window.

“How much?” he called at me. I couldn’t have heard him right. There’s no way someone would stop their car and say something like that. I scanned the lot. No one else was anywhere around.

“Excuse me?”

“I said ‘how much’.”

I gaped at the car. I couldn’t see the guy’s face. He was in some kind of Lincoln or Impala. Pale grey or dirty white. The light reflected off his forehead. He was light complected. That was all I could have told the cops. I turned away, hoping he would just leave if I didn’t answer him. I took another long drag off my cigarette.

“Hey! I said ‘how much’!”

I roll my eyes. I don’t make eye contact. Go the fuck away.

“More than you got, honey.” PLEASE let someone walk up and scare this guy off. Someone come out of the fucking building.

“No, seriously. How much?”

“Seriously. More than you got.”

“How much for you to come over here and put that cigarette out on my dick?”

For an instant, I considered doing it. I would do it for free just to hurt the mother fucker. I pushed away from the wall. Then common sense kicked in. If I reached in through the passenger side of his car, he could grab my wrist, drag me into his car and drive off with me. No.

“Fuck off.” Maybe that would get it through to him. I scanned the parking lot again. Please let someone. ANYONE. Park their car and get out.

One of my coworkers opened the door of his beat up Lancer.

“JASON!” I picked up my arm and waved. The guy swiveled over his shoulder and peeled out when he saw my well over six foot tall coworker with broad shoulders and shaved head. Jason looked at me like I was nuts. I ran across the parking lot to meet him in case the guy came back.

The guy left because another man walked up. Jason told me if he would have realized that’s what was happening, he would have gotten out of his car sooner.

I sat and shook for the first half hour I was in the building. I never stood at the far end of the buildings again. I stood at my car for a cigarette. In the parking lot where customers parked. Under a street light. In a small town with 40,000 people that you couldn’t swing a bat without hitting someone you knew.

The second instance, I was leaving goth night at one of the area bars. I’d come with a couple of friends and we always left the bar after last call. We avoided a lot of the drunks on the way to our cars. That night, however, the drunks spilled out of the other bars on the strip and shoved one another over the sidewalks. They congregated on the corners and in the alleyways between the brick buildings. I never walked the narrow alleys on the way to my car. I stuck with the main entrances and exits. Streetlights. Wide passages I couldn’t be shoved against. Places where a lot of people were.

As I jaunted along with my friends, a gaggle of guys eyed me. I was wearing a skirt slightly shorter than I’d ever worn before. It was a pink and white plaid and black pleated skirt. Tiny little thumb cuffs linked through the belt loops. I hadn’t worn fishnets that night. My boots were chafing my calves. This short little blonde shit broke off from the gang and skipped along behind me.

“Hey, so you like that kind of thing, huh?”

I ignore him. He’s got to be talking to somebody else. I’m a chubby chick. Nobody hits on chubby chicks.

“Hey, I’m talking to you! So you’re into that kind of thing, huh?”

I keep walking, but I’m walking a little faster. My friends are three or four steps ahead of me. My heart beats in my chest. The street fights after the bars close down are notorious. Girls whisper of sexual assaults that happen all the time. There are often police in the area when the bars let out because they know they’re going to arrest someone. Unfortunately there weren’t any cars in the area we were in, which was probably why the guy was hanging around there with his friends.

“You like that kinky stuff, huh. Whips, chains and lingerie. Don’t you WALK AWAY from ME!”

I feel him coming up on me fast. I bolt to my car. I’ve practiced running in these boots to get away from someone like him. He’s drunk and doesn’t run as fast as he could. I shoot past my friends and unlock my car.

He’s stopped chasing me, instead yelling insults. “Whatever you fat fuck! I was just being nice to you anyway! Dial back on the fucking french fries, fatass!

I had never been so thankful to be locked in my car. As his friends passed the vehicle, one of them pounded hard enough on my window to make me jump. Another one pulled the passenger door handle. I wasn’t stupid. I locked the fucking car behind me. They were laughing as they walked away.

“Did you see her fucking thighs jiggle when she ran? Fucking hippo.”

It took me half an hour to start my car. They were sitting on the hood of his car when I pulled away. One of them chucked an empty beer bottle at my back window.

Street harassment happens to many women every day. Catcalling, following, unwanted physical contact, violence and rape. Women have very real cause to fear that a man will harm them, even if they politely decline or ignore the behaviour. I have two instances of street harassment that, to this day, make me feel anxious when I think back on them. I’m not a pretty girl. I’m chubby. I never wear low cut shirts or short skirts. I don’t flirt. I wear no makeup. I rarely even talk to people for fear of giving them the wrong ideas. My hair is pulled back in a pony tail. I do everything society tells rape victims they should do to avoid sexual assault.

And when it isn’t harassment, it’s fat shaming.

I would have cried tears of absolute fucking joy if any ONE of the people walking to their cars would have walked up to my car and asked me if I was okay. I would have been fucking ecstatic if my coworker would have gotten out of his fucking car and asked me if I was okay. I had to go through both instances alone. I rarely talk about it, just like I don’t talk about surviving domestic violence or marital rape.

I’m tired of being silent.

Under Armour settles whether ballet is a sport in new breathtaking ad

Ballet is just as difficult as any other sport. The muscles of their calves, thighs and feet are incredible and I have to do a lot of work to get through their muscle to work on the underlying tissue. There is no doubt it is a sport and, given the body type and age limits given, incredibly difficult to get into.

I LOVE the push a lot of companies are going for right now with the empowerment of those rejected. I love the push for beauty in all forms. I’m glad someone is finally catching on.

For The Win

It’s a frequently debated topic: Is ballet a sport?

Under Armour settles it in just under a minute with the help of Misty Copeland of the American Ballet Theatre.

Exhibit A …

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Fuel to Fire: deluge on verbal abuse

I believe this post needs trigger warnings for domestic violence and verbal abuse.

I was involved in a relationship for three or so years that could be described as classic verbal abuse and probably marital rape. I am always afraid to talk about my experience because I’m afraid it will piss my ex off again and he’ll start a smear campaign against me. Every book I ever write will get horrible reviews from he and his friends who will descend upon me like a pack of jackals. Everyone will believe him and what he says about me. All the work I have done to bring myself up and make a good name for myself will be besmirched by half truths and lies. Not only that, he’ll start a private message campaign to email bomb me with all the terrible things he can think to say to me. If it’s like the last one, he will blame it on his wife or girlfriend, saying she’s the one who said it to me.

A friend of mine posted this video to Youtube. I tried to leave them just a simple little note, which is the first paragraph. And then the anxiety takes over and it becomes a deluge. I didn’t stop. I let it all roll out. Then I posted it here.

If you are at all triggered by verbal abuse, please do not watch this video. I think that’s what happened to me. I thought I could handle it. I couldn’t. Too many memories came flooding back.

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Never without my permission

I read twitter when I’m procrastinating. Rather it be writing, re-writing, revisions or edits, I procrastinate on twitter. Most of the time it’s full of book promotions and other writers like me procrastinating. But sometimes things cross my feed that set me off.

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Sexual assault is still prevalent and completely misunderstood as being an offense. Earlier today I was so pissed off I was in tears because a woman I follow on Twitter was sexually assaulted and then questioned rather or not she really was assaulted because sexual assault has happened to her twice in 48 hours and five times in the last 18 months. Worse, the assault happened at a Pride celebration, a place where queer people of whatever gender and orientation should feel comfortable and accepted.

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An open letter to “big mike”:

Years ago, I wrote erotic shorts years ago for Literotica. None of the stories up there are particularly good but, like amateur porn, there are some decent stories with a lot of passion and not a lot of talent. I sometimes get feedback from those stories or personal letters because they clicked a link to my profile.

A lot of these letters are generally talking about how hot the story is or how they enjoyed what I wrote. I’m perfectly fine with these letters, even when I’m objectified with the obligatory “you must be” + insert-thing-here. (ex. You must be a really kinky ferret in the sack.)

Then there are letters like the following.

This message contains feedback for:  darkgoddess
This feedback was sent by: [redacted]@yahoo.com
Comments:
hi darkgoddess– always wondered why all the very good looking women were gay –i know i can lick pussy just as good as most women–also love the taste of a nice leaking pussy–sorry for my rambling about it –send e-mail if you get time –lol big mike

In the words of George Takei, “Ohh myy.” Where to start?

First off, “big” Mike… I can tell you from experience if we were to be at the club at the same time, in the same place, one of three things would happen.

  1. You wouldn’t talk to me. You wouldn’t say a single word. You would look at me, see me there and go the other way. You would stand on the other side of the club and watch me from a distance. You “weren’t sure it was me” or I “didn’t look like your picture” or any other lame excuse I’ve ever been offered. That’s only if we were chatting beforehand, mind you. If not, I’d never know you were even there.
  2. You would get the balls to come near me. You’d lean up against me at the bar because it’s crowded and you’d look at me out of the corner of your eye. You wouldn’t make eye contact when I’d look back at you, however. Your buddy would hit on someone else and then tell you to “go for the redhead”. You’d look at me, your eyes would go wide as though you’d seen your grandmother naked in a snowstorm and move to your buddy’s other side.
  3. You would actually say something! Go you! I’d be honestly impressed you’d managed to come up to me. I know better than to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you’d offer me a drink first. Instead you’d whip out something like, “I bet you have a beautiful pussy and I’d love to suck you all night.”

Yes, that line was actually used on me by the only man drunk enough to talk to me. All of the above were instances from my life in dating situations. Most people fall into categories one and two.

Let’s now talk a little bit about why all the “beautiful women are all gay” thing. Lesbian women are not any more beautiful than every other woman on the planet, regardless of their sexuality. All women are beautiful. The reason lesbian women seem so much more beautiful (and I’m talking about the more lipstick variety because you obviously wouldn’t find a butch woman sexy) is because they’re unattainable. You can’t have them, so of course they’re more beautiful. That decent used car on the corner car lot looks absolutely gorgeous to me right now. Once I had cash in hand to settle on one, my opinion might change.

Speaking of changing opinions, I know a lot of men who can suck dick just as good as most women. There are plenty of damned handsome, sexy gay men who will suck your dick like Nina Hartley with a Hoover. I bet they love the taste of a fat weeping cock. You still game, Mikey?

Didn’t think so.

You’re not sorry for rambling about it. You’re hoping it will entice me to write you. You’re hoping it will sway me into considering sex with you because, deep down, all lesbians really want cock. It can’t possibly mean we’re attracted to the same things you are: a beautiful woman with a sexy body who touches you in all the right ways. You, like a lot of men, seem to be of the opinion that lesbians just need a “big strong daddy to pull your hair and fuck you gently”. Yes, that’s an actual line someone used on me. Like that’s going to change me. Lesbians just “haven’t gotten it good” before. I suppose you’re just the man to give it to me good and magically change me to a straight woman.

Let me tell you what would happen. If I were straight, it would be just like all the other straight women in the world. You would see her, pick apart every goddamned thing about her and say it in such a way she would hate herself.

  • I would be too fat for you. I’m not a Victoria’s Secret model, honey. Not many women are. But that’s the idealistic version of a woman men seem to want.
  • I don’t often wear makeup. I don’t wear it every day. It’s how I can be ready to leave my house in half an hour, tops.
  • I don’t do more than wash and comb my hair, either. I don’t spent hours getting highlights and lowlights. I don’t blow dry, straighten and curl. I have better things to do with my time.
  • I wear comfortable clothes. I wear what I want to wear. If I like it, I wear it. You would probably say it gives me “muffin tops” and it’s “too tight” for my body type.
  • You wouldn’t take me smiling and then walking away when you complimented me. It would be a sign of disinterest. I would immediately become “frigid” and a “bitch”.
  • I know men think it’s sexy when a woman walks up to them and tells them all the dirty things they want to do to them. Women get scared. If we look up and engage you in conversation, we’re “leading you on”. If we turn our heads and ignore you, we’re a frigid bitch. We usually walk very quickly away. Why? Because we’re trying to get away before you think you have the right to lay hands on us or, worse, rape us because you feel justified to teach us some kind of lesson.

The reason I’m a lesbian is because I am attracted to women. The reason any woman is a lesbian is because they are sexually attracted to women. It’s not negotiable. We don’t just decide to become lesbians because we hate men. If that was the case, there would be a LOT more of us. Straight men hitting on lesbian women is just as thoughtless as a straight woman hitting on a gay man. You’re not getting anywhere. You won’t get anywhere. Move on. You aren’t going to change me.

Thank you for thinking I am a beautiful woman. I will take the compliment at face value. I appreciate someone thinking I am sexy. Because you were at least not a complete creep, let me give you some advice. Before you send another letter like this to someone, stop and think. If a gay man were to send a letter like this to you, what would your reaction be? Think about it. Really think hard, now. Do you still want to send that letter?

You’re welcome.

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