… So, uh, hi.

So, I’ve been MIA.  Welcome to college.  You wanted to do something other than go to class, go to work, and do your homework? Well, bub, you chose the wrong thing to do after high school, didn’t you?

Anywho.

Update on my life, I had to, for a couple of reasons, drop my German minor.  That isn’t to say that German is no longer part of my life, I just am not getting academic credit for it anymore.  C’est la vie.  Uhh, I dunno how much of my personal life I shared before, but since I’ve last posted I have broken up with my then-boyfriend and now have a new one.  This one’s long-distance.  It sucks.  Don’t do it.  Kidding, he’s totally worth it, I just miss him constantly.  And now we’ve gotten mushy.  Uhh, I sorta inadvertently came out as an atheist to my family, so that’s a thing.  Kinda awkward.  And I think I’m gonna try to write a novel, which should be interesting.

Anyway, for this post, I have a rant.  What else is new?

Below lies proof that it is possible to be a devout feminist and also defy so many of the stereotypes of feminism that people wonder whether you’re actually a serious feminist.

DISCLAIMER: Below also lies some unpopular opinions which very well may offend some people.  Know that my intention is not to offend, but rather to present my point of view.  I may come across as abrasive and rude while writing about other points of view, which is not really my intention, and know that I do respect others’ rights to feel differently than I do, but that doesn’t mean that I will shy away from expressing my thoughts on those views.  Nothing is stopping you from expressing your thoughts on my views as well.  Equality and whatnot.

Hi. I’m a serious, legitimate, strong feminist. I think a lot of our social norms are really stupid. I think it’s dumb that I’ve literally heard a man say that he feels emasculated when a woman holds the door for him (oh, get over yourself).  If you look back in my blog a bit, I talk about rape and how it’s a huge societal issue. And I think many, if not most, rape jokes and such things are in poor taste.  I want equal pay for men and women for equal work.  I want equality of the sexes, genders, races, etc.  I am feminist, hear me roar.

 

However.

 

The stereotype that feminists can’t take a joke is a bit ridiculous.  I’m a student manager at one of the dining services locations on my university’s campus.  I make “woman in the kitchen” jokes about myself all the damn time.  That is an industrial kitchen where we prepare massive amounts of food at once, and things get heavy. No, I don’t want one of my male coworkers to assume that I can’t handle carrying things on my own, but I am not opposed to asking for help and joking about being of the “weaker sex”.  Yeah, sure, I’m speaking from a privileged platform on the racial side of things, but I say this with the approval of many of my more ethnically underprivileged friends, racial jokes can be funny.

 

My stance, and the stance of many others with whom I’ve spoken, is this: as long as I know you’re joking, as long as I know there’s not a hint of belief behind the joke that you’re telling me, I’ll probably find it funny.  I used to joke that I was a failure as a woman, because I didn’t know how to cook, clean, sew, raise children, I don’t wear skirts and dresses much, I don’t wear makeup all that often… I’m not opposed to laughing at myself.  I’m not opposed to laughing at society through jokes about me.  I joked with my current boyfriend, because he was not my first, that he didn’t get to “deflower” me, and that society had already labeled me as a slut.

 

When I was younger and just getting into the feminist movement, my way of thinking very closely mirrored the way of thinking of feminists who have the idea that no jokes about potentially offensive topics should be told ever under any circumstances.  Pretty much everything that could be construed as offensive would offend me.  Since I’ve sort of grown up, I’ve been able to distinguish the subtleties of offensive jokes between what is okay and what crosses the line.  Of course the line is different for everyone and it differs according to the situation as well, but there are basic guidelines.  With rape jokes, it’s always best to joke about the rapist rather than the victim.  With sexist jokes, the line is a bit more vague, but for me it’s all about who’s telling the joke.  If I don’t know you at all and/or I can’t read whether you’re kidding or not, don’t tell it.  When I’m in a bad mood, air on the side of caution and don’t say it.  There’s also always the option, which I even use a lot, of saying something like “I’m trying so hard not to make the obvious offensive joke here,” and waiting for the other person to give you the go-ahead to tell it.  The deal here is that, like all comedians, you have to know your audience.  Personally, I think censorship is stupid, especially when laughter and happiness can be had.  Also, satire has been known throughout history to help bring about change.  Take Jonathan Swift, for example.  Gulliver’s Travels, a novel about the way that Irish society, specifically economics, was run.  Believe me, that’s not the only thing that brought about reform, but it certainly helped bring awareness to the issue.


The other problem with feminists and other activist groups getting upset by words is that it makes the entire movement seem weak.  It makes us look like we’re just out to yell at people for every single word they say.  It makes us look like we have soft skin and can’t focus on actual issues.  If you can’t handle yourself around an offensive joke, grow some thicker skin.  I’m being blunt here, but seriously.  If every time someone makes a joke, you have to stop in your tracks and chew them out for saying such a thing, you need to re-evaluate yourself.  Get mad about the fact that there are women for whom it is illegal for them to get an education.  Get mad about the fact that there are women who are forced into Female Genital Mutilation.  Get mad about the fact that there are women who aren’t even recognized as such because they have male genitalia.  Get mad about the fact that there are men, who knows how many, who haven’t reported their rape because of the shame.  Get mad about the fact that male rape victims aren’t taken seriously.  Get mad about abuse.  Don’t get mad about a silly joke.  You don’t have to find it funny.  You don’t have to laugh.  But please.  Even if you were able to stop people from saying things like that, it’s still a societal attitude.  Why? Because women and men are still treated differently in society.  When we get women and men to be treated equally, I’m guessing that sexist jokes will decrease in frequency.  When we actually get the races to be treated equally, I’m sure racist jokes will decrease in frequency.  Or, at the very least, the jokes will honestly be just taken as jokes.  Humor is a valid way of dealing with things.  Please don’t invalidate it with your social justice warrioring.

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Amanda Bynes, Robin Williams, and the Spectacle of Mental Illness

Mental illness is not funny when it happens to your sister, your friend, your parents; why the french toast is it funny when it happens to celebrities?! Robin Williams was and is probably still being mourned, but Amanda Bynes? Well, for one thing we don’t know that she legitimately has been diagnosed with anything, and for two she’s not dead yet, so it’s funny, right? No. Wrong.

Let's Queer Things Up!

Internet, we need to have a talk.

I’ve had a number of readers ask why I’ve neglected to write about Amanda Bynes this last year. It’s simple, really. I don’t believe that celebrities are “fair game,” and that, when they have very human and very difficult struggles, I should capitalize on those things by writing an article, however well-intentioned. I believe they are deserving of privacy and respect, by virtue of their being people.

However, I’m making an exception here, because in the midst of the negative and callous press that Bynes has received, I think it’s time we had a chat about it from a different perspective. And then, after we’re done, I think it’s time we stop speculating about it altogether. Deal?

First and foremost, there is no way for us to know what, if anything, Bynes has been diagnosed with. The family has denied schizophrenia and bipolar…

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On Breaking Up

Okay, super personal story time because I need to get this all out, and that’s part of the point of me doing this blogging thing.  It’s like a diary that I can’t lose because it’s the internet, and my laptop is something I won’t lose.  Too expensive.  Internet does mean words have to be chosen more carefully though.

Names will be changed in this so that I don’t get sued or something.

So, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Yeah no. Two years ago, when I was a little baby college freshman, I met a boy.  We’ll call him Alex.  We were in the study room of our dorm building at the same time, and he was a TOTAL flirt, and I can never resist a good flirting session… anyway.  We hit it off quite well.  He had a girlfriend at another school, I had been single for three years and very much liked this boy, but I respected that he had a girlfriend and let our relationship be friendly.  I was kind of bummed, but it wasn’t my place to think that I was any better, to tell him he should break up with her for me, and I dislike people who do that because it’s super shady and not okay.  So anyway.  Then I realized that his girlfriend was incredibly controlling, jealous, and among other things, clinically depressed and suicidal but wouldn’t get professional help because he was “the only person she trusts besides her brother, and her brother is an adult with an adult job and life, so she feels bad bothering him.”  So the girl would call this kid at 3am sobbing and suicidal and he would have to talk her down.  Mind you, he had his own life, he had classes in the mornings, and he wasn’t sleeping well because this happened, but this was a perfect arrangement for her.  I guess.  Eventually his one roommate and I had the nerve to look at him one day and tell him how completely not okay this was, and that he really couldn’t continue this way.  He was constantly stressed, she was constantly yelling at him for something or another, and then she’d wake him up at 3am so he could talk her down from her suicidal episodes. There was no way of looking at this and thinking it was healthy for either of them.  Eventually our chats with him got through, because I got a text from him one day that said “Erin and I broke up”.  Secretly I was happy, but I went to his room as a friend, for comforting purposes (I promise!).  I even told him, in so many words, that I was glad that he had broken up with her, and that I thought he’d done the right thing, and not just for selfish purposes.

Anyway, so maybe 3 weeks later, we kind of decided to call ourselves official (although I spent enough time with him that one could argue that we were unofficially pseudo-official before the breakup, but whatever.  Nothing happened between us, so it’s not like there was cheating involved.  We were friends.  Not even with any benefits involved.).  Things were going great, we’d been dating for like nearly two years, and then this Sunday happened.  Okay, more backstory, because it isn’t really clear without the backstory.  So, for the past few months, Alex and I have been kind of more on edge with each other, meaner to each other, more resentful of each other, and there was a retaliation loop going on there as well.  I don’t know or care who started this loop, but one of us would do something that made the other angry, the other person would retaliate, and it was an endless cycle.  I am not innocent in this; I was immature just as much as he was in that respect.  But he was also pretty manipulative.  I’m not sure how to really explain this, but he would play the victim and then project the victim act upon me, so he’d say was the one playing the victim.  He’d guilt-trip me into buying him food or whatever because “he pays for most of my food,” which is only partially true.  Yes, he bought a lot of my food, but with his parents’ money.  I was buying with MY money.  My parents give me money for food, and I use that for buying food on campus, but when we would eat on campus together he would usually buy because he has a meal plan, and I don’t anymore.  So when I was buying food, I was off-campus, and using money I earned from my real-life job.  So he’d guilt-trip me into buying things, he expected birthday presents and not once for the two birthdays that I had with him did he get me a present (I’m not materialistic at all, but like, I’m a believer in reciprocation.  If you expect birthday presents or Christmas presents, so do I.), he was kind of just… I wasn’t happy.  I had started to dread weekends (which I would spend at his place) because I knew there would be an argument at least once every day.  Sometimes it was a small argument, other times it was an argument which ended in me packing up and leaving and spending the rest of the weekend at my own place.  This past Sunday was one such argument, but it was also the last straw for me.  We had just gotten back from dinner with his parents, and he had the nerve to look at me and say, completely seriously, “Clean my room.”  No please, no “Will you clean my room for me?” Nothing.  Did I react childishly? Yes. Was it justified? I believe so. I took all of the things that were his (I got a little corner of his room.  To be fair, it’s his room, but my backpack and all of my clothes were piled in one small area.  His were everywhere.) and piled them outside his door.  (I should clarify, the layout of this dorm is that there are two separate bedrooms with a connecting hallway to a shared closet space and a shared bathroom.  So his things were in the hallway shared between him and his roommate, not the big hallway shared with the entire floor.)  I then told him, “Your room is clean.” To which he responded by LITERALLY throwing all of my things (backpack with computer inside. He’s lucky it’s okay.) out into the same hallway space.  So when he was done I packed up all of my things into my backpack and work bag and told him that was it.  We’re done here.  “Have a nice life.”  I finally got all of the things I had stored there back on Thursday, courtesy of his roommate (who is awesome. And has been texting me stories of Alex being manipulative to him now that he doesn’t have me to manipulate. Poor roommate).

There was going to be a moral to this story… I kind of forget what it was.  I guess it’s sort of that I know I have a lot of growing up to do yet. For the love of pasta I’m 21 years old.  I still enjoy acting like I’m 4.  I still enjoy naps and eating Goldfish for dinner and playing video games instead of doing my homework and I’m bad at keeping my room clean and keeping myself organized and making myself go to class sometimes.  I’m still figuring out who I am.  But I know one thing: I’m not one to be manipulated.  I think that might be why he was always pissed at me, because he couldn’t always get me to do what he wanted.  He called it immaturity, I call it being my own person and not bending to the will of others without a damn good reason.  Maybe the moral of this story is that if you start getting a shady vibe from someone you’re dating, drop them right then.  It’s hard.  I tried to do it and couldn’t, months ago.  He convinced me that we could work it out.  That never happened and it just got worse.  I don’t really know what the moral of the story is, but those two thoughts are decent ones that came out of this whole mess.  All I know is that I’m pretty glad it’s over, although it’s still kind of difficult to say that when I’m feeling lonely.

Maybe the moral of the story later will be that sometimes you can grow with a person and find out who you are through them, and other times that person is just holding you back from the person that you want to be/ were meant to be.  And relationships are all about finding the person who will allow you to grow and become the best version of you, and will grow and mature with you.

Whoa.  That just got deep.

OMG, Time Magazine- You’re So Cray Cray

Beautifully said.

Drifting Through

I can't believe...

“Done, done, on to the next one

Done I’m done and I’m on to the next one”

-Foo Fighers, All My Life

Oh, Time Mag. You’re like, literally, so smart. I read your annual word banishment poll yesterday and I can’t even…

I love your witty and oh so patronizing list you publish every year. You’re so hip and cutting edge. I wait with bated breath every year to hear what the bastion of cool-ness has to say about words that no respectable Chick Fil A manager would ever utter again. Like, ever.

‘Cept this year you kinda ‘effed up. This year you (spoiler alert) added FEMINIST to the list.

And every intelligent equality-loving non-hater was like “Whaaat???”

I mean, for seriously, WTF Time Magazine.

Lemme clue you in. Equality. Bam. ‘Nuff said.

Imma quote you here “Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like…

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Broken Crayons Still Color

A thing I needed to hear this semester.

A thing I needed to hear in elementary school, in junior high, in high school. And now, in college.

Broken crayons still color.

I read it somewhere on Facebook (Look, Facebook has its merits) today, and I was baffled by how beautifully simple– and true– it was.  And now I keep thinking about it, hours later, and I’m still amazed.  Maybe it’s just been that kind of day/week/semester, but it just keeps muddling around my mind like a mantra.  And it’s beautiful, and the truth in the words is comforting.

Broken crayons– and broken people– can still function.  They can still serve a purpose.  They still have value… They’re still just as bright, just as beautiful, just as useful, helpful, worthy of love.  Do you love your crayons? I love my crayons.

Because maybe John Green is wrong– maybe we can be irreparably broken, but why the hell should that mean that we’re hopeless?

Maybe my grade in German this semester is going to suck. Maybe your significant other left you. Maybe you lost a loved one recently. Maybe you lost your job, your pet, your home, the approval of someone you care about deeply.  And of course, those things are liable to break a person. My GPA is rather important to me.  The fact that it’s not going to be the best this semester is breaking me.  I’m a grade snob.  I don’t fail.  I don’t do C’s, for the love of goodness.  That doesn’t mean I’m worthless, valueless, hopeless.  It means shit hit the fan this semester. It means let’s try to never get bronchitis and sleep all the time ever again.  Because that throws everything off. But it doesn’t mean that I’m worthless.  I am a beautiful, albeit broken, crayon, and I still color.

Tampon Commercials Offend Me

Ugh. Tampon commercials. I AM NEVER EVER THAT HAPPY WHEN MY LADY AREA IS BLEEDING. NEVER EVER. SHUT UP. I AM BLEEDING. AND CRAMPING. THIS ISN’T THE TIME FOR HAPPINESS. This has been a PSA. Thank you for your attention.

Girl on the Contrary

Warning: This post talks about tampons and menstruation. I hope it’s funny. If you’re not interested in taking a chance on a maybe funny post about periods then I will give you another topic to discuss in the comments section: Reality TV is it hilarious or horrific? 

vintage tampon ad

Guess what? I’m a young woman and that means I menstruate. Shocker! It’s really not that big of a deal except it means I’m capable of bringing new life into the world and that’s pretty freaking awesome. Unfortunately, when it comes to periods (and I’m not talking punctuation) people tend to focus on the monthly hemorrhaging that takes places. And yes, that aspect of it is unpleasant. Luckily for women today, we have an entire artillery of products to help make those periods just the slightest bit less unpleasant. One of those products is tampons. Yay tampons! If you’re a woman you know…

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To the Male Population: Don’t like seeing my knickers? Don’t look up my skirt!

“Ain’t I a woman?” is such a fantastic speech. Honestly, I can’t believe that women are still, to this day, in 2014, being treated like sex objects. I am a woman, yes, but I can hear, and work, and take a freaking beating if I have to. For the love of goodness, I have horrible cramps and bleeding every month, and still go about my day. If that isn’t strength more than a man has to show, I don’t know what y’all want from women.

Abstractions of Life

Image Me in Bruges, on discussed day, in discussed outfit.

Last week I was in Bruges, Belgium. As one does in Bruges, I knew I wanted to go up the Belfrey Tower. The Belfrey is one of the oldest attractions in Bruges, and there is fantastic view from the top. To get to the top there are steps. A lot of steps.

As myself and my cousin, my travelling partner, had arrived in Bruges from Paris, we had already climbed quite a few stairs. Numerous attractions, not to mention the metro, run off of steps in Paris, (which is fine for my escalator-phobia). My cousin was therefore lacking the physical motivation to climb up yet more; deciding instead to enjoy the view of the tower from beneath it, tucking in to some tasty Belgian waffles.

Result? I was going it alone.

Which was fine. For me, this was fine.

That morning I had…

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