Buffy, Bella, or Britney

26 11 2008

In my world, you’re a Buffy, a Bella, or a Britney.

Last night I saw the movie Twilight at my local delapidated movie theater. Contrary to my expectations, it was entertaining and fun, aside from the series of inside jokes so often invoked in film adaptations. Was it a film adaptation of the Manifesta? No. But, it had important shades of grey.

BuffyWhat struck me was not how sexist or anti-feminist it was, but rather how decidedly middle of the road it was. Or, better put – its message was as confused as its target audience.

The tweens and teens I grew up with, in the ancient 90s, were mostly spoiled white children of richer-than-average-yuppie-corporate-moms and reformed-hippies-turned-homemakers. In the Buffyverse, they would be known as Cordelias. There was a smattering of Willows, but most non-Cordelias more closely resembled Faith. In many cases our moms were sort-of feminists, with a pragmatic twist. For others, well, the battle was a little more up-hill. What many of these young women had in common, however, was an ambivalence about the world and their role in it. Was it a struggle? Was it a playground? Was it a stage? Was it a series of problems waiting to be tackled? Was it a wasteland of people lining up to betray you? Was it waiting to be conquered, or to be overcome?

Britney

The questions a young woman asks herself around this age are near the beginning of a powerful journey into adult life and all that comes with it. For those of us raised in suburban, conservative, corporate households, with varying degrees of family dysfunctionality, the choice to even question the world around us can be perilous for our family harmony. It isn’t a step to be taken lightly, especially without supportive peers. Chances are, if you’re questioning the world in which you were raised, you’re also questioning the world that your friends enjoy – a delicate balancing act, to say the least.

Bella

The first steps of any jouney may appear indistinguishable from the first steps of another. What Twilight illustrates – without judgement – is the muddiness in which these first steps are made. Not every step will be a wise one and not every part of the journey will showcase your inner strength. Despite that, we drag ourselves out of bed, onto the bus, into each class, trying to find the next vine in the jungle.

Some of us gravitate toward Britney Spears, others cling to Buffy Summers, but almost all of us have had our Bella Swan moments. Twilight may not pick up where Buffy the Vampire Slayer left off, but it leaves open the opportunity to explore a world different from the one in which we were raised. For the children of conservative suburbia, even the smallest window can turn into a portal of salvation. Every step counts.

That being said, adult women who cross my path are basically in the Buffy, Bella, or Britney categories. At least the Bellas have a chance.

“Everything is life or death when you’re a sixteen year old girl.” – Joyce Summers





Great, But Not Good Enough

22 11 2008

Have you seen the 1980s movie, Wildcats? I just bought a copy from the garage sale that is our local Circuit City and I was watching it tonight. In one scene, Goldie Hawn has to outlast every single guy in a race in order to be good enough. While it is in fact a work of fiction, it elegantly illustrates the unreasonable standard to which women are being held twenty years later. It isn’t enough that we’re as able as any – we are asked to be better than any other.

The sexism in our culture has become subtle, but distinct nevertheless. Instead of facing outright discrimination by being told a woman “cannot” do a job, we hear that she is not qualified “enough”. The ability to perform a job is the single greatest criteria to which any applicant should be judged. It is unfair to ask that a woman not only be able to do the job, but that she needs to do it better than any man who might want it – ever.

The thing is, if employers wait long enough, eventually will they find someone even more qualified to fill a position than the person they were going to hire. On a long enough time line, if the most qualified applicant is a man, eventually a woman will come along who is even more qualified – and vice versa. If an accomplished woman applies for a job, and no other applicant can boast better qualifications, shouldn’t she get the position? The answer is yes, but an employer can simply decide to continue searching – not just for a better applicant, but for a better applicant who is a man. This is the important distinction, which should not be confused for lowering standards or not choosing the most qualified applicant. What we are seeing is that employers are finding women who could do the job well, and better than any man who has applied, but the employer actually wants to wait to find a man. It is this desire to wait for a man rather than hire the adequately qualified woman that is most concerning, and testifies to the still present sexism in our culture. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

Women do not have higher morals than men, we do not have more intelligence than men, and we do not have better ideas than men. What we do have is high standards, intelligence, and good ideas. It is time, right here, right now, to end the fairy tale standards to which women are being held.





Hillary Clinton: Why She is Uniquely Qualified as Secretary of State

21 11 2008

THANK YOU Jennifer Donahue!

It’s like there is this glossing-over going on, and that somehow HRC is just barely qualified to even be in any elected office, instead of being an international figure and one of the most significant, living or dead, women’s rights leaders.

I know no one likes talking about sexism anymore, because clearly women are allowed to hold the jobs and offices of men, so sexism is over (insert sarcasm here). Though the strategy may take a more subtle tone (“I’ve got nothing against a woman, but She’s not *qualified*” – “Well, she isn’t less qualified…” – “Not good enough!”), it exists in many homes across our nation. Some women are having conversations with their men and discovering they don’t see eye-to-eye afterall. We’ve been resting on our Third Wave laurels, and it’s time to dig in our heels again. Whatever happens with Hillary Rodham Clinton next, the supporters around the world of women’s rights will be watching.
More on Hillary Clinton
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost





Reconciliation without Truth

21 11 2008

“Why not repeat the truth? Barack Obama’s election was a real breakthrough, without precedent–something he did by himself with the help of a million workers who were not working for Hillary Clinton.”

See, now when I read something like that I feel really pissed. The only reason (ok, the biggest reason) a lot of HRC supporters voted for BHO was because she encouraged it. Clinton asked them to support the Dem nominee and vote BHO – and a lot of supporters did. The vast majority, in fact, of former Hillary supporters swung hard right and voted Obama. This was out of loyalty to Clinton, not Democrats in general. Disregarding that voting block and saying, “Hey, we coulda done it without ya!” seems really stupid. If for no other reason, it fortifies that group of voters into looking for another candidate in 2012 and undermining Obama’s efforts in the years to come. And if he hadn’t needed them, he wouldn’t have bothered recruiting Hillary during the campaign.





Last-Minute Bush Abortion Move Sparks Protest Inside Government

20 11 2008

“Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, said that in recent years, “we have seen a variety of efforts to force Catholic and other health care providers to perform or refer for abortions and sterilizations.” … Pharmacies said the rule would allow their employees to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives and could “lead to Medicaid patients being turned away.” State officials said the rule could void state laws that require insurance plans to cover contraceptives and require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims…The Ohio Health Department said the rule “could force family planning providers to hire employees who may refuse to do their jobs”, a concern echoed by Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “

It isn’t about the doctor’s rights – it’s about the patient’s health. If you don’t want to be in the position of possibly performing an abortion, then be a veterinarian. Be an orthopedist. Be an orthodontist. Be a plastic surgeon. Be a brain surgeon. There is only one area of one type of job that you shouldn’t be in – and that’s an OB/GYN. If you don’t want to run the risk of shooting someone, don’t be a cop. If you don’t want to run the risk of being asked to perform an abortion, don’t be that KIND of doctor!





All You Need Is Love

14 11 2008

“This is about the human heart.”

Wow, I just became a fan of Keith Olbermann.





If You Are Pro-Life, You Should Love Same-Sex Couples

13 11 2008

“They’re not ‘pro-life’ – they’re Anti-Woman.”

“Who has less abortions than homosexuals?”

“Basically what they’re saying is that any woman who’s had more than one period is a serial killer.”

“Not every ejaculation deserves a name.”

George Carlin, in one of his most brilliant routines:

We miss you, Carlin. You paved the way.