Sexual harassment has been a constant in my adult life, but if I’m being honest, it didn’t start with adulthood. As a child I would walk home from school along a busy street, and men would hang out of their cars as they drove by, wolfing obscenities at me. I was 14. I was still colouring in my colouring books and wearing fleece tops with kittens on them.
I wasn’t naive however. That same year, I was walking home from the mall, after having seen a movie with a friend, and a car literally pulled over to the sidewalk as I passed. The man behind the wheel called me over. I thought he was going to ask me for directions…
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This is a brief diversion from DIY talk and recipe testing, but not at all, unfortunately, irrelevant to the Army family. As the #yesallwomen and #notallmen battle rages, opening up a much needed, if hotly contested, conversation in our society, I have some thoughts I cannot keep to myself. Although many military spouses feel some pressure from somewhere to keep controversial or political opinions to ourselves so our service members are not affected negatively by those who disagree with us, this ambivalence that often leads to cautious silence has fed the beasts of domestic abuse and sexual assault. They need to hear our voices, they need to be reminded this is personal, it isn’t about a character in an overdramatized video or feminist politics, it is the safety of the women they care about. And women they don’t even know. The freedom of women and all Americans to not live…
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I’ve been thinking about this for quite a long time now. I’ve searched my soul, watched countless speeches, talked to close friends, done my research, and have decided to announce myself to the world. Yes, I’m a feminist.
Why is this such a big deal, though? Why do we continue to ask female celebrities whether they consider themselves a feminist? Why is there still a need for a headline when a character like Katniss Everdeen emerges as a “strong female protagonist?” Why is there such negativity and misunderstanding surrounding the #YesAllWomen hashtag currently trending on Twitter? And the biggest question of all: WHY did I feel so nervous about declaring myself an advocate for the equality of women and men?
I was a fair mix of mud-under-the-nails and Disney princess growing up. My day was filled with equal parts dress-up and Barbie as it was with baseball and football…
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What society has done
Ever since I heard about the shooting at UC Santa Barbara late on Saturday night I have been engrossed in the social media discourse which has arisen from it. I originally planned to write my own blog post, but by this afternoon I had already encountered four people who had said much of what I wanted to say, and likely better than I would if I hastily mashed something together for this space. So rather than reiterate what has already been said beautifully by others, I have curated them here in a list for you, with my own commentary.
The conversation that is emerging from this tragedy is not new, but it is more widespread than I’ve ever seen it. But for me, something is missing… and has been missing for a while. I hope the next five bits will help you see what I mean.
The first three things I will show you constitute
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What society has come to- beautifully written- women need to stand up #YesAllWomen
Because all women have walked to their car in the dark, keys clutched tight in hand, one poking out between two fingers.
Because when I go out to bars or clubs, I have to think about whether what I’m wearing is too suggestive, instead of putting on whatever I please.
Because I feel the need to apologize when I’m not wearing makeup or my hair hasn’t been washed, or when I’m generally looking anything other than flawless.
Because there was nothing I could do about the man who touched me inappropriately in the middle of Gillette Stadium as I waited for my then-boyfriend to come out of the bathroom. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STADIUM.
Because there was also nothing I could do when a man touched me inappropriately in the middle of a crowded street, his arm around his girlfriend. Because retaliating in the way I wanted to…
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