America’s Next Bill Clinton!


A sincere apology …

I know I said I won’t be posting much, but the fact is that I need to apologize. It’s been less than a week since school is back in session, and I’ve already been challenged to look at my world from a different lense. For that, I am thankful. The apology note is below.  

I feel the need to apologize to all who’ve been on this blog during the past few months. It’s all my fault.

 I am not making any excuses for it, but I will say this: I failed to see things from your perspetives and paradigms, and I am wrong for it. I wasn’t wrong because I didn’t see it, but because I refused to take the time to see it.

Instead of being critical at myself and my own belief systems, I became critical of the knowlege and claims of radical feminism. I held my “truth” and “values” as the only ones that could be correct, and as a privileged male, doing so only furthered my patriarchy. I took the advice to “listen to women” as meaning “submit to women,” while all along, it simply means to learn from women’s voices and experiences.

 In doing so, I leaned further to the other side of the line – the one that I’d been a part of all my life. In doing so, I moved further from feminism, and deeper into the patriarchy. For that, I apologize.

 The words I use and the jobs I take, while I can justify them with the way I view the world, take on a whole different meaning for women. Rather than trying to see things from women’s perspectives, I was defiant and defended my own perspective. My shots at radical feminism was based on my lack of understanding of untapped knowlege and experiences. My attack on radical feminsm was based on on the male lense, the lense of the oppressor, rather than the oppressed.

From my vantage point, I don’t see everything. I see very little because in belonging to the class that rules, rather than the one being subjugated, I DID NOT need to see a lot. I was wrong.

To truly be effective in feminism, I must not only have the values and the convictions, but also the knowlege of women’s experiences. Too often, I’ve neglected those stories and experiences when they are told to me, because in my world, individual stories are written off as meaningless. They are written off as being useless in the fight for power and control.

Know that while my convictions and values were there, my practice was not, and most of the time, it was an unconscious decision. Most of the time, it was based on my “intuition” and “instincts,” the majority of which was socially constructed based on male power.

As such, I strive to do better in the future …to share less and listen more. The paths to social activism starts with the values and convictions that all are equal, but without the knowlege of what or how to best serve women, then said values and convictions are useless.

 I am working on that knowlege and I will continue to do so. Sometimes, all I need is a dose of reality – a talking-to by a feminist mentor, for me to see what I’ve done wrong.

Perhaps that’s what scares me the most …what the hell do I do when I am out of college and there are no professors for me to call and ask the critical questions? What the hell do I do when I don’t know what’s best for women? Do my professors hold all the answers, or do individual experiences of individual women matter more? Those are the questions I am still trying to answer, and in coming back to the women’s studies program this semester, I hope to answer those questions.

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Taking the time off …
January 12, 2008, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yeah – class starts again on Monday, and with working and going to school from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., this blog, as well as any un0fficial emails, take a break for a while.

Good luck to ya’ll in whatever you’re doing …



Feminist dilemma and MAXIM-like magazines.
January 11, 2008, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Feminism, feminist, journalism, men's magazine, objectification, rape, third-wave feminism
I have a dilemma about feminism and the job I just got last night – and sleeping on it didn’t help any.

First of all – let’s get the first thing out of the way: I am the shit. I get out of the military in three months, and people have been scaring me left and right, telling me there are no job opportunities.

Last night, I went to a job interview with a magazine (name withheld) and about an hour into it (it was mostly of me asking THEM questions and talking about my visions), the interviewer and I went outside for a smoke break and the next thing I knew I was sitting in their editorial meetings. The job is now mine.

It pays well, and I can sustain myself, but here lies the problem: it’s a men’s magazine. Imagine it to be sort of like MAXIM or one of the other men’s magazines.

The whole staff is consisted of men, with the exception of one women; looking at their planning/dummy sheets, I became concerned because the content seems a bit objectifying of women’s bodies. That, coupled with the fact that there are articles that seem a bit patriarchal, I kind of cringed.

The lone woman on the staff, sensing my discomfort, told me that it’s okay for me to work such a job being a feminist (she found out I am a women’s studies major through introductions) and at the same time work for a men’s magazine, just as she does …

But I am still uncomfortable with the idea of making money off women’s bodies – no matter how willing these women are willing to pose for this magazine. Wouldn’t I be contributing to the objectification of women by doing this? Does it go hand-on-hand with my feminist values?

But the person who hired me has given me free range to do whatever I want – he said he isn’t attached to the content, but rather, the money made from the magazine. This gives me an opportunity to bring in feminist thoughts and philosophies to the magazine. For this month, I am doing a few article, one focusing on STDs and safer sex practices. The other on the dilemma of it being two in the morning, and the girl is drunk – but you and her have been talking, and you want to take her home, and whether it’d be the right thing to do. There are more articles I am working on, but the fact is I can sneak my feminist views into these articles.

Because of that, I feel I am justified with this job. But I am still not happy with it.

I know I am the shit and I can walk into any newspaper or magazine, just throw down my resume, talk for a few minutes, and get a job …and I don’t NEED this job, but I feel as though I can contribute to turning this magazine into a better one instead of one like MAXIM, which is clearly misogynistic.

Thoughts?



Hillary Clinton’s “break down” and an asshole …

I want to focus on Clinton’s so-called “melt down” last night and how assertions from the media – and mostly the conservatives, are that she set feminism back about 20 years.

But first, look at this video and tell me it doesn’t piss you off. If I were there, I’d kick him in the chest: http://www.breitbart.tv/html/25784.html

For those who don’t know, at a recent roundtable discussion, Senator Clinton showed emotions in talking about her visions for America, and what are, to be sure, the struggles her campaign has faced.

“This is very personal for me,” she said. “It’s not just political. It’s not just public. I see what’s happening and we have to reverse it.

“Some people think that elections are a game, it’s about who’s up or who’s down. It’s about our country and it’s about our kids’ future.

Because she somewhat teared-up during that discussion, some critics are now labelling her as “weak,” and making women seem emotional and unable to control their feelings.

She wasn’t being a “woman.” She was being a human being. She was showing the side that matters and what guys like Edwards have advocated and asked for in politics – genuine feelings. Isn’t it time we get away from corporate politics and get back to what really matters – truly loving and caring for our fellow Americans as well as our nation?

It’s funny, because I know that if Obama or Edwards broke down, there would be no talk of them being a “woman.” They would look like they’re sensitive and are in touch with their feelings – and critics would say that is the exact change America needs. But because this is Hillary Clinton, people are viewing her as a woman and not a politician. I can’t help but get a little ticked off.

I am sorry that Clinton didn’t act like “one of the boys.” I am sorry that she showed she had feelings. She is not supposed to be a man. She doesn’t want to be a man. She is a human being with emotions and with a geniune love for America – as the majority of politicians – Republicans or Democrats – do.

The bottom line is Clinton has no obligation to act “accordingly.” She is an accomplished woman who has many things to offer America – and if in the course of her campaign, she happens to show her human side, what’s wrong with that?

Furthermore – why do people write off her emotions as fake? Why not give Clinton the benefit of the doubt? Why not TRUST women? Sure, Edwards can talk about his personal life and growing up poor, and Obama can talk about his journey to finding faith, and no one finds it to be fake, but Clinton does it and they do? Why? Because she’s a woman.

I also heard something yesterday that made me frown. Someone told me that he questioned Clinton’s motives. Well, I’ll tell you her motives: she wants to make America a better place. She wants to see progress. She wants to ensure the American Dream is securely fastened in the hands of every man, woman and child.

How and why else would a person run for political office? Why else would someone have political aspiration? The majority of politicians have paid their debt to society to get where they are, while they could have taken the easy way out. Public life is not fun. Travelling to campaign is not a walk in the park – but they’re committed to doing it because they’re committed to America. Let’s give them, and in this case, Clinton, some credit, huh?

I could crawl in a hole – I could be taking the easy life at school, I could have a damn easy school schedule, and I could just turn a blind eye, but I don’t. Why? Because I care about America and believe with the right education, I have what it takes to change America. I am busting my ass to build a political future, and when I do run for office, I’ll be damned if anyone questions my “motive.”



Women willing to go to jail to lose weight

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2008-01-06-diet-confessions_N.htm

Because one of the classes I am taking this semester is “Women’s Ways of Knowing” (A class on feminist epistemology and women’s experiences), I am focusing a lot of the notes on body image issues – at least for the next few days anyway.

I ran into this story just reading the news last night, and realized that weight issues and body image is another one of my male privileges – and what’s a male privilege is also a check for women’s plight. The summary of the article is below.

Nearly a quarter (23%) would spend a week in jail; 23% would shave their head; 22% would wear a bikini on TV; and 21% would trade 10 years of life, according to the survey of 1,000 women 18 and older. Most (85%) would rather have an extra toe than 50 extra pounds.

How is it that women have gone through such great lengths just to look the way they’re “supposed” to? Health issues aside – this has nothing to do with health, but rather, the media representation of what a woman is supposed to look like, and it bothers me.

Rather than focusing on healthy lifestyles, women are made out to be Wonder People who are supposed to be everything that’s of the male fantasy. Companies are selling diet pills, gym memberships, and alternative foods just so women could lose weight – and are these women’s health ever taken into account? – of course not. Their goal is to firstly make money off these women, and secondly, setting unrealistic standards for women – standards that few will ever meet. Both the corporations and the media are responsible for this.

What bothers me even more about this article is the fact that one of the survey questions finds that women would rather be the “friendly chubby girl” than the “pretty witch.”

What the hell does that even mean? Why was the question even asked? As if women have to fall into one or the other category. I tell you what it does – it divides women. It divides them into “thin little bitches”, and “fat housewives.” That bothers me, too, because it pits women against one another and the solidarity of the feminist movement and puts it at a stall.

The fact is I know plenty of women – both thin and heavy, whose significant others love them, and who are my dearest friends. The worth of a woman is not based on her weight.

Of course, we ask how the women surveyed could ever got to the point that they’d be willing to lose these things to lose weight …the answer? The patriarchy. One you’ve been socialized that your body is all you’re worth, it kind of feels that way after a while.

It gets to the point where it’s sickening – that no matter how a woman looks, she suffers from it. Ever since they are little girls, pretty women have been sexualized and in some cases, assaulted. “Ugly” women, though, are seen as the outcasts of the world and are forced to go through diets and bizarre ways of losing weight.

In short, they’re fucked either way. If you’re pretty, you get treated/viewed as a slut and piece of meat, and if you’re not, you’re treated like you’re not worth anything …

I once dated a girl who said for a period of time in her life, she gained a lot of weight because she didn’t want to risk being sexually assaulted – but then she was known as the fat bitch.

That’s not a fair trade. Being human and loving one’s body shouldn’t be a trade.



“Because a woman’s worth is based on her breasts and thighs …”

I was deciding between Clinton and Obama, and this did it for it. Look at it, here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/02/whillary102.xml

 A staffer on Obama’s campaign has the now popularized Hillary Meal picture on his desk top. For those who cannot get the link, it says “Hillary Meal Deal: Two large thighs, two small breasts and a bunch of left wings. $666.”

Right, because the worth of a woman’s leadership is in how big her breasts or small her thighs are, right? Nevermind the fact that she is a senator or has experience with working in both national and international politics …she’s a woman, and thus is reduced down to what she her body offers.

So apparently a woman can be as power as ever, and still, the judgment of her worth is her body …but funny, when was the last time we saw an ad for a man as having a small cock? I don’t see ads for Dennis Kuncinich’s Meal Deal, with a small cock and a bunch of nuts anywhere …

Why? Because he is a man. Rather than focusing on real campaign issues, this staffer is playing tongue-in-cheek politics based at devaluing a woman based on her body. Great.

 The fact that this is in a published report means that Obama is aware of it. The fact that he does nothing to take it back means he’s not the right candidate for me. It’s official. I am casting my vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008.



Man kills pregnant daughter.

Courtesy of CNN: “The India native told police he disliked his son-in-law because he belonged to a lower caste and had married his daughter without his consent.”

Someone confirm this for me, this is America, in 2008, right? If that’s the case, then why are stories like these still happening?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/01/01/family.dead.ap/index.html

I logged on to CNN this morning to get some stories on the Iowa Cacus, and what do I run across? A story about a father who burned down his daughter’s house because her husband did not ask his permission to marry her.

What the fuck? Firstly, let’s address the crime in itself: since when did it become okay to burn a person because that person upset you? Have we taken domestic violence a step up? Going from beating women to burning them? We’ve talked a lot as of late about how masculinity harms us all – and I disagree. Society’s perception of what masculinity is, is harming women more than they do men. Until a father is burning his son because his daughter did not ask to marry him, then it’s a different story.

Secondly – this guy got upset because, well, his son-in-law did not ask permission to marry his daughter? Are we living in the fucking 1800s? This is a fine example of how the patriarchy and the objectification of women can lead to violence to women. After all, if you see a woman not as a complete person with her own autonomy, but something of an object, to be bought, sold and bartered for, then you can treat them however you want.

The question I have is: if his daughter is so special to him, that he needed to be asked permission to marry her off, then why did he kill her? Isn’t this a case of “if I can’t have you, no one can?”

Thirdly, I’ll tread this lightly: the man who has been charged with this crime is Indian. I’ve said this many times before: it’s not the skin color, but let’s face it, some cultures are more sexist than others. Being of the culture does not automatically make a person sexist, but for certain, the culture does certain promote the practice …

Time and time again – we’ve heard about transnational feminism, and that we have to tread lightly when it comes to people’s cultures. But how the hell do we stand idle and pretend that this shit is okay?