America’s Next Bill Clinton!


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?



Feminist relationships.

Over at feministing.com, Jessiva Valenti posted the results of a study that suggested feminists, more often than not, are in more meaningful and satisfying relationships. My first reaction was: no shit – for us, the political is personal, and so our empathy, compassion and love in the political sense can translate into a person sense, thus we often treat our partners with with those traits.

But allow me to bring up another point. Sometimes, in a relationship in which we are both feminists, things can also be extremely frustrating, because we are aware of the political oppressions all around us. As feminists, we thrive to take personal actions that are consistent with our political beliefs, and as such, it can be frustrating sometimes. Because the personal is political and our world is still extremely gendered and patriarchy, and are based on gender roles and sexuality, most of our personal struggles are about relationships and sexuality.

But by no way am I bitching. The personal struggles we face and the questions we ask ourselves are nothing compared to the political struggles many have – especially the women of the Global South.

The following, then, are a list of question I’ve come up with when it comes to relationships and feminism; please feel free to add yours.
1) Is it for me to feel a sexual desire for a woman at the moment of meeting her, without first knowing her as a person? I actually thought of this last night while meeting with a woman at a bar and talking a lot about — nothing. I still felt strangely sexually attracted to her, caught myself and scolded myself.

2) Is it okay for me to buy flowers for a woman-of-interest, knowing the kinds of message flowers might send, and the reinforcement of gender roles and chivalry that it carries? Also – is it really the romantic and genuine gesture, knowing the plights of flower growers in South America (mostly women) where these flowers are shipped? Am I wrong for buying flowers?

3) At a pick-up joint, is it okay to feel like “the man” in having won the attention and affection of a beautiful woman, knowing that she is highly sought after, but is with me? I feel like it’s almost a trophy pick-up – and that is wrong.

4) Is it okay to fall deeply and dangerously in love with someone, knowing the implications of gender roles we might have to give in to, being so in love?

5) Just how adventuous and kinky can we afford to be in our sexual practices? What of roleplaying? Is it wrong to be turned on or to participate in consentual sexual practices, if said practices, in real life, are oppressive to women?

6) Whose names shall we take after the wedding? How do we go about doing this without appearing abnormal to families and friends? How do we remain true to our feminist values, yet remain “real” to the world at the same time?

7) Of diamonds, shall we even consider it for our wedding? Blood diamonds?

8) How do we juggle how much to fall in love, yet remain true to the feminist cause? How do we balance our devotion to each other and feminism at the same time?

9) How do we show our love and affection to each other, yet at the same, show the world that we are equals – and be the shining examples of what healthy relationships should be all about?

A book that doesn’t have all the answers – but rather highlights the struggles between the personal and the political of feminism is called, “To Be Real,” by Rebecca Walker. I highly recommend it to all feminists!



My friend is marrying a cheater. What would you do?
October 1, 2007, 12:36 pm
Filed under: cheating, DC, family, Feminism, feminists, friends, infidelity, love, marriage, relationships

So, what am I supposed to do?

I’ve never understood the cheating mentality. I am no saint, but I find the idea of cheating to be unethical and …just completely against everything that I believe love to be. How could one spend so much time wooing the person they want to spend a good portion of their lives with, and then go out and cheat on that person? How could one to love someone, and not have the discipline to say no to being with another person?

Maybe it’s because I have high standards when it comes to relationships and do not fall in love with just anyone, and thereby selfishly do not want to cheat, for fear I might lose that person. Or …maybe, just maybe it’s because I am not an asshole (although I’ve been told otherwise). In either cases, I neither condone nor understand cheating.

So, I beg the question: what do I do in this situation? Go to the wedding and pretend everything is fine? Or do I not attend the wedding at all and risk hurting a friend?



A pro-feminist male in love (with a feminist!)

I am very sorry for a most cheesy post! 

So, I think I’ve met the woman I would like – the person who is going to be the Hillary Clinton to my Bill Clinton. Some of you  have heard about her before – but I’d like to say this one more time – she is amazing. In the words of my favorite poet, “I don’t know if love conquers all, but I know it’s conquering me at an alarming rate.”

We met at a feminist conference; she interned this summer for a women’s rights organization; she’s spent time overseas to help poor people; she is not religious; she is active in progressive politics both on and off campus; she has a beautiful mind; and her greatest ambition is to one day win the Nobel Peace Prize. What more can a person ask for in a mate, right?

To be sure, we are not a couple – and I like it that way. But I feel this affinity and longing for her. Yet, the funny thing is that I am very much interested in women, in general, and I do go out with a lot of women – most of whom are feminists.

Some people have told me that doing so is inconsistent with my values, because I am “playing the field.” They’ve said that if I truly do feel good-and-love for her, that I should just try to be with her, and not go out to dinners and dates with any other women.

Here, the word “date” becomes one that needs to be defined: is going to dinner with a woman considered a date? Is it a date if you two are the only ones at the table at dinner and drinks? I certainly don’t think so, but others seem to. The thing is I am interested in the way women think – their minds, their thoughts, their experiences and the way they see things. That’s why I go out with women to dinners and cocktail bars. I like finding out about them. I expect nothing in return, and mean nothing by going out to dinner with them. Yet, some people don’t seem to understand that.

On another different note, I’ve been on two dates and a friendly dinner this week, and all of them were feminists. It’s funny because the two dates and the dinner friend broke gender roles, and paid for my dinner and drinks. I am a feminist,  but somehow, I felt uncomfortable with it – as if I owe them something for paying for my dinner and drinks. I don’t know how to take it when a woman pays for my dinner. The feminist in me tells me that it’s good for reversal of gender roles. The person in me tells me that I don’t want to burden them.

[one more note on the feminist I am interested in] She’s not ready for a relationship, and I understand that. And, in fact, I do appreciate her just as her – a person. I appreciate that she is in my life. If, in the end, nothing happens, she’d still be a great person for whom I am thankful to be in my life. I’d like to love her as America’s Next Hillary Clinton, but I already feel the world for her as just a person. I don’t need romance to appreciate her for who she is.

Thoughts?

 Also, I am driving up to DC for her birthday, which means I need to take a day off from work and drive up there at night. This song below popped into my mind. It’s called I-95, by Fountains of Wayne.

They sell posters of girls washing cars
And unicorns and stars
And Guns N’ Roses album covers
They’ve got most of the Barney DVDs
Coffe mugs and tees
That say Virginia is For Lovers
But it’s not
Round here it’s just for truckers who forgot
To fill up on gasoline
Back up near Aberdeen

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you

Hip-hop stations are fading in and out
All I’m receiving now
Is a kick drum mixed with static
Constellations are blinking in the sky
The road is open wide
And it feels so cinematic
‘Til a van
Driven by an elder gentleman
Cuts right in front of me
From then on that’s all I see

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you