December 6, 2012 § 2 Comments
One day a woman was walking to work when she saw a man drinking coffee. The woman was absolutely scandalized. She went right up to the man and demanded, “Excuse me, but what do you think you’re doing?”
The man blinked and said, “Drinking coffee?”
“Exactly,” the woman said. “That is incredibly offensive to me and I need you to stop right this instant.”
“I – I don’t understand,” the man said.
“You see,” the woman told the man, “drinking coffee is against my religious beliefs. My religion forbids drinking coffee. That’s why I am so offended and horrified.”
The coffee-drinker stared at the woman, confused. “I’m so sorry that you took offense at my drinking coffee, but I still don’t understand what this has to do with me,” he said, frowning.
“You are violating my religious beliefs when you drink that coffee,” the woman said. “This is America, and we have freedom of religion here. You are not allowed to drink that coffee because that is against my religious freedom.”
The man looked bewildered. “Well,” he said, “I’m sorry if my drinking coffee is offensive to you, ma’am, but you are not allowed to impose your religious beliefs on me and call it your rights.”
“No, no, you don’t understand,” the woman replied. “My religious book – the doctrine that expressively forbids coffee drinking – is here, and I am going to quote it to you so you can see just how wrong it is.”
“That’s all well and fine,” the coffee-drinker told her, “but that is your book that guides your religion and your life. But I don’t belong to that religion, and so it does not run my life. Sorry.”
“So!” the woman said, “You drink that coffee because you hate my people and want to start a war on my religion?”
“No,” the man said, “I drink this coffee because this is America, and I have freedom of religion, too.”
And so the man went on his way, leaving the angry woman behind. And he drank his coffee because he lived in America and he had freedom of religion, too.
July 9, 2012 § 2 Comments
This morning as I was browsing the web for petition ideas for ForceChange, I happened to click on Yahoo! in the hopes of finding something decent to write about. I came across an article called “Best first date moves for men”. Against my better judgment, I clicked on it and was immediately disgusted, so disgusted, in fact, that I actually took the time to write out a response and post it for all of the blogworld to see:
“Q: Does it matter where a man takes you? Or whether he pays for the date?
“Kelsey: Paying for the meal is a must. On the first date, never let the woman pay. If you’re not willing to pay her way on a date, don’t ask her out in the first place. But it’s nice if she offers to pay for, say, parking — even though I think we don’t want you to really take us up on that offer!
“Moira: Whether or not he pays for my part of the bill shows how the relationship will go if we keep seeing each other. I hate it when a guy’s like, “Why don’t we split this check?” College students are like that, and I am not trying to re-live those days.”
This is complete bullshit. It makes me angry that women have risen beyond (most) barriers and restrictions that kept us from being equal to men less than a hundred years ago, and yet some still display an amazing amount of sexism when it comes to men. Why should the man pay for dinner? Because it’s just the Right Thing To Do? Because it’s chivalrous? Who is to say that a woman shouldn’t pay for dinner the first time, as thanks for being asked out and picked up and driven around and doted upon? How is this okay?
My boyfriend and I – as anyone who knows me or has read the About page for this blog should know – are college students, and yes, on the rare occasions we go out to eat, we pay for our own food. We’re both struggling with bills and school expenses. So why on earth would I expect to be treated like a freaking princess when we’re both in the same boat? Yes, every now and then my boyfriend will insist on paying for my food, and every now and then I’ll insist on paying for his. It’s a tradeoff, but it is a tradeoff that should be applicable for every couple, not just college student couples. Why does that principal not apply to other people? Why is it always, always the man who has to pay for it all?
“Q: And the restaurant choice: Does it make a big difference to you?
“Rachel: I had a man take me to a five-star restaurant on our third date — I was like, you don’t take someone here this soon!”
Why the hell not? What’s so intimidating about a five-star restaurant? Are you expecting him to drop on one knee between the main course and desert and propose? If so, you have watched way too many chick flicks and need a healthy dose of reality. Five-star restaurants make for awesome dates, or so I would think. Be grateful that you guys get to enjoy awesome food and have a ball. Don’t throw a fit on his choice of restaurant. And hey, if he’s the one paying (as you insist he should), he should be the one to pick it in the first place.
And if a guy proposes on a third date, well, you’re better off without him.
“Kelsey: It’s also down to how he behaves in the restaurant. If you don’t open a door, you don’t know how to be a gentleman.”
Ah, the who-opens-the-door rule. You, reader, should hear the laughable debates I have with my own poor boyfriend on this subject. He thinks I should walk through doors first. I think whoever is nearest to the door should walk through first. It’s not a matter of gender. It’s a matter of practicality and common sense. If my boyfriend happens to open a door for me and then has to side step or otherwise go out of his way to make sure I go before him, I’m going to laugh and tell him to walk through already (after, of course, telling him that he is adorable).
Can somebody please explain to me why such an emphasis on sex is placed on this issue? Oober-feminists scream and shout when men hold doors open for them (read more about my reaction to that kind of behavior here) and other women, like this Kelsey person, take personal offense when they don’t. My reaction? Who cares? Holding a door for someone is a nice thing to do, but if great lengths have to be taken in order to ensure that a specific somebody walks through first (with the exception being a handicapped person), then I am going to roll my eyes and insist that everybody in the vicinity please – please – use their common sense.
“Q: What about his behavior during the date?
“Kelsey: If a guy’s not going to go out of his way to focus on you for the night, that’s a deal-breaker. I expect to be the center of attention. It’s like going to a job interview, except both people are nervous.”
Egotistical much? And why should you be the center of attention? Because you were born with boobs and reproductive organs? Why don’t you ask some questions of your date? Ask him what he likes to do. Ask him what his favorite music is. Don’t sit there and expect the world to revolve around you. Yes, your date should give you attention, but you should return it.
“Q: OK, so the man doesn’t meet your standards on your first date together. What do you do next?
“Moira: Phase it out. Let it die. After two or three dates, you don’t owe him an explanation. After a year, maybe you can tell him the truth if you have mutual friends.”
A year?? Beg pardon? Whatever happened to a simple “Thank you very much, but I’m not interested,” after receiving a phone call the next day after a bad date? You owe it to a guy who took the time to ask you out to tell him the truth immediately. Don’t make him wait around for an answer. That’s rude, irritating, and more than a little cruel.
“Kelsey: You have to make excuses sometimes.”
No, you don’t. You have to be polite at all times, but never make excuses. Middle schoolers make excuses to get out of things they don’t want to do, not adults.
I humbly think these ladies put way too much thought into what makes a perfect date and have unrealistic expectations of potential men who ask them out. I’m sorry, but it’s a date. You’re not there to abide by outdated, sexist, unwritten rules. You’re there to learn about one another and have fun. That’s not going to happen you are expecting men to be their slaves.
Maybe this is just the college-student side of me speaking… but what happened to dates that didn’t involve buying things for one another? Sitting on the couch and watching movies still counts as spending time together, right? Going grocery shopping together? Laughing over South Park episodes together? Well, that last one was a bit more student-oriented. But you get the idea. Dates can happen without age old standards hanging in the foreground. I think it’s time people learned this simple fact.
June 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Years and years ago, I knew someone who declared herself to be an “anti-feminist”. I was so completely and utterly shocked by her statement that I have not forgotten it to this day. Why on earth would anybody say that he or she was an anti-feminist?
Well, it occurred to me, the person I knew must not have understood what being a true feminist is all about. And looking back on that day knowing what I know now, I’ve realized that not a lot of people do.
If there is one thing in the world I cannot and do not stand for under any circumstances, it is when people misuse the term “feminist”. People who don’t understand it. People who laugh and make jokes about it. People who look me up and down with disgust when I say I am one. In other words, I cannot stand it when people have no idea what the feminist movement was really about and what it still is about. And those people who say “feminazi”? They make me want to punch a wall. I have personally managed to cut every single utterer of the word I used to know out of my life, and I do not intend to have anything to do with people who use such a term. As a great bumper sticker put it, “Feminazi – because wanting to be treated like human beings is just like invading Poland.”
Looking around at the world today, and more specifically, the U.S., I see three different types of women when it comes to this feminism business. (Men can certainly fall under these categories, too.) And let me tell you, each and every type pisses me off.
1) The screamers. These women are so unbearably hardcore in their activism that they scream at men who politely open doors for them and take personal offense to any offer made by a man to pay for dinner. These women scoff at stay-at-home moms and write threatening letters Cosmo magazine on the grounds that any woman who wears a feminine dress should be shot. Screamers usually don’t want anything to do with men; this is perfectly fine, but screamers turn around and trash them. They insist that anyone with a penis needs to be locked up and caged whereas they, the girls, know how to run the world.
2) The whimperers. These women don’t want any say. These women flinch at women parading up streets in mini-skirts and shake their heads at women who have multiple degrees but aren’t married. They want to stay at home with their babies and be housewives. Now, that is all fine and dandy, but the mark of a whimperer is that they want every woman to be like that. Whimperers, I have noticed, seem to think that women need to learn their places. They don’t want to vote and they don’t like women who raise their voices to speak. They actually want to see the progress of the feminist movement backfire on the grounds that life was much easier when men paid for everything and they got to stay home all day.
(NOTE: There is a special kind of person that doesn’t want women to have a voice that happen to be men and not women. These people are called assholes.)
3) The shruggers. These women just don’t care. As far as they’re concerned, they have just as much of a right to do anything as men do, and they’re more concerned about pursuing hobbies or taking care of families or earning degrees than they are about fighting for equality. These are the women who tell the feminists in this country to stop being ungrateful for their rights that other women around the world are denied. These are the women who are convinced that everything is okey-dokie and that protests made by feminists are just a waste of time. They are far less annoying than the screamers and the whimperers, but their lack of knowledge of women’s rights issues is still irritating.
Now, I have a reality check for these types of women and for the rest of the world: feminism is not the idea that women are superior or better than men. It is certainly not the idea that men are weaker or less worthy. It is not beating other people over the head with your personal or religious beliefs nor is it hiding in your kitchen and letting men walk all over you.
Being a feminist implies that one believes that women should be equal to men. Nothing more, nothing less. Equal.
True feminism is about choice. It is believing that every person – male or female – has the right to choose what is best for his or her mind, body, and/or soul. Lifestyle preference, personal decisions, beliefs or ideals… it doesn’t matter. Feminism is the belief that everybody has the right to determine what he or she wants out of life.
Being a feminist, girls, does not mean that we should scream at men who open doors for us. News flash: it is a common courtesy. I hold doors for men and women alike all the time; I don’t treat others differently based on their gender. And when men (or women!) hold doors open for me, do you know what I do? I smile and say, “Thank you,” Doing so does not mean that I’m weak or that I’m submitting to authority. It means I’m being a polite freaking person.
In addition, being a feminist means that you do not need to cook all the meals for your family or do all the cleaning purely because you are a woman. It does not mean that you have to tolerate any sort of abuse from anybody. You can wear short skirts. You can wear low-cut shirts. You’re allowed to be girly every now and then, but you don’t always have to look like Donna Reed.
Here is another cold truth that extremists have a hard time accepting: if a woman wants to be a housewife and raise children all her life, for God’s sake, let her. We need more women at home raising strong and mentally-healthy kids. My mom, as an example, quit her job to raise my autistic little brother and I, and I can only imagine how I might have turned out if she had just sat me in front of a TV all day or herded me from daycare to daycare. And women who identify as whimperers need to understand that if a woman wants to be a career woman and run multiple corporations and never settle down, they need to let her. It makes her happy, and she and her businesses are probably making the world a better place. Look at all the influential women helping to run the country today! How on earth would we be where we are at without them?
As a feminist, I accept the fact that I have no control over anybody other than myself, and I accept the fact that I do not have the right to judge anybody – male or female – based on the decisions he or she has made or continue to make. We are all bound to one another and it is our duty to love and accept each other even if we don’t personally agree with decisions that are made. We’re all in this together. It’s that simple.
Right now, I can’t bear to watch the screamers and whimperers go at it, nor can I stand to watch the indifference that is shown by plenty of people. It is my hope that someday, true feminism will come to light again, and that these people will realize that their viewpoints on women’s rights, when conflicted, accomplish nothing besides extending a giant catfight.
And so, I leave you with a few quotes worth thinking about:
“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” ~ Roseanne Barr
“You don’t have to be anti-man to be pro-woman.” ~ Jane Galvin Lewis
“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” ~ Madonna
And my favorite…
“To tell a woman everything she may not do is to tell her what she can do.” ~ Spanish Proverb
Thoughts? Questions? Ideas? Post them below.
April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
Written in July 2010
Due to a turn of interesting events, I was at work today with nothing to do for several hours, so rather than sitting at my desk and staring at the wall for two hours, I decided to surf the web instead. (That sounds bad, I know, but my actions were justified, believe me.) I thus had time to write this.
Anyway, as I was reading daily news on msnbc.com, I kept coming across article after article involving Tea Partiers and racism and the federal budget and Democrats and the government and politics in general. And seriously, guys, as I was reading these biased pieces of work (from both sides of the political spectrum), a web of confusion started weaving itself over every word I took in. Even the articles that were written by those who supposedly agreed with what my personal beliefs were took me by surprise. I mean, I was rather reminded of high school. Snippy comments, cliques clumping together, fingers pointed, bad words said . . . I half expected someone to step into these sneakily written pieces of work and start handing out detentions or something.
Long story short, I clicked out of msnbc.com and decided to spend the rest of my free hour or so writing my own article — an article as unbiased as I could possibly make it. Because the wanderings of my mind were still settled on immigration due to a political discussion I partook in previously, I filled my notebook with thus:
Here is my logic.
Tea Partiers, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, and independents all think that their beliefs are correct and are what is best for this country. Forget the world for a brief moment. Let us speak of our glorious United States of America.
All of these people who make up our country and who are apart of these different groups are all thinking of this country and are trying to do what is best for it with every action they make. However, “what is best” is the reason we are all divided — no one can agree what is best for the United States of America. Despite the fact that everyone has their country’s best interests at heart, we are all up in arms over many things. Ironic how we all call ourselves “United,” isn’t it?
Now, let’s take immigration into consideration. Not the law recently passed in Arizona, not the ideas or the support or the arguments behind it, but immigration itself. Ask yourself, is the immigration system a problem here in this country? If you believe it is, keep reading. If you do not, perhaps you should find something better to do than read the ramblings of an eighteen year old college student.
Immigration exists purely because a person or persons decide to leave their country of origin and move to another. Remember, we have forgotten about the world momentarily and are focusing on the U.S., so when I say “immigrants,” let us refer to the Mexicans who live directly below us. Immigration thus exists in our country because Mexicans have decided to leave their country and come to ours.
It is my greatest fear that there are people in the U.S. (and Mexico, for that matter) who have not questioned as to why that is. Why people could get up and leave their country is a feat that not many of us living in the grand country of America have considered. Therefore, let us take the time to question Mexicans’ actions.
Why would a person leave his or her country and go to another?
As I have not made the treacherous journey over a national and federal border, I could not possibly presume to know the truthful answers to this question. If, however, you are interested in reading my logical guesses, please read on:
- because they are unhappy with their own country for a number of reasons including:
- general poverty
- lack of food
- lack of good health due to lack of medicine
- lack of work (which provides a family with finances to pay for food and shelter and medicine and frisbees for children to play with)
- lack of clean water
- lack of leadership (that would otherwise provide citizens with a good and happy country to live in)
- they fear for their lives (this includes fearing any physical, verbal, and/or sexual abuse and/or death threats these potential immigrants may have undergone)
- they believe that the country they are immigrating to (in this case, America) can provide them and their families with the following:
- food, shelter, water, good health, and a steady income
- a clean environment to live in
- contentment and hope (and while I’m still at it — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as our forefathers so beautifully put it)
Assuming that my bold presumptions are correct, let us now observe the number of immigrants who are currently sneaking across the U.S./Mexico border or are now living in the U.S., having sacrificed the fear of getting caught and deported/arrested for the chance to live in our country. Different political groups everywhere can agree that the number is quite high, am I right? Thousands and thousands of men, women, and children from Mexico have come to the United States of America over the past few decades, and more are probably on their way in as I write this.
Here is where I fear we arrive at a crossroad. It is my belief (and yours, too, if you’ve read this far) that our immigration system is problematic. All problems require solutions in order for said problems to cease to exist — therefore, our immigration system needs a solution. It’s simple logic. Like one plus one equals two.
Before I trot off to the solution to this problem, allow me to bore you all with a very brief description of a weed. We all know weeds (yes, Arizonians have them, too). We all know that if you pull the leaves and the vines and thorns and stuff from the plant so that you can’t see it, the damn thing will just grow back (oftentimes worse than before) and make our yards look like pollen mating grounds. Why? Because the unfortunate person responsible for getting rid of the weed did not remove it correctly — that is to say, he or she did not rip it up by its roots to get rid of it all together.
Now that we are all pleasantly reminded of the proper disposal of a weed, look back upon the immigration problem, and put that in the weed’s place, thorns and all. This immigration system problem (or rather, the lack of an immigration system), like the weed, requires a solution so that it does not spread and cause more conundrums to foundations and the like. Also like the weed, the problem of our immigration system must be ripped up by the roots in order for it to be removed. It must be solved directly at the core of the dilemma in order for it to go away completely.
Here is where all of the Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, Independents, Tea Partiers, Crisp Chewers, and Gum Blowers insert their own ideas as to how we can go about solving this problem (or, in case you haven’t been hammered enough by my metaphor, how we can go about ripping up the roots of this weed). Here is where we offer ideas such as walls and more enforcement and new laws that will take out the leaves, vines, and roots of this weed, but NOT THE ROOTS.
If you would now do me the courtesy of reading back over my list of reasons the immigrants (Mexicans) would consider leaving their country for another (the United States), please do so now.
Now that we all have officially questioned why people choose to immigrate, why don’t we consider this for roots: if people did not want to leave their countries, there would be no immigration. And without immigration, there would be no immigration system problems. Simple logic again, but this time it is rather like one plus two equals three.
The fact remains, however, that people still want to leave their countries, hence the immigration system problem. Therefore, we can agree that the logical thing to do would not be to set up walls or pay millions of dollars we don’t necessarily have to hire extra look-out men for the border or create new laws enforcing consequences to illegals — in order to solve this problem, we must make it so that these immigrants do not want to leave their country. How do we go about doing this? Well, we don’t let our country go to hell, for starters, so that Mexico will look better by comparison. We start by offering our support to Mexico, we start by earning the country’s trust. We work on projects together, we educate citizens and leaders alike about matters of concern to both countries’ people. We work together to discus proper consequences for people living off of America’s finances illegally and proper rewards to those who are legal and are helping America’s economy. And we build on that trust so that day by day, the leadership of Mexico grows stronger so that living conditions improve for its citizens. Granted, we will not be the only factor in this change — Mexico must show effort in wanting to improve as well. If we do not get that guarantee from them, then we must allow people into our country with open arms. That last sentence is certainly up for debate, but that is another topic for another day.
Now, is all of that more work than pointing guns at illegals who are trying to sneak over the border or passing laws that call for a police officer to ask for identification from anyone who looks suspicious? Absolutely. But remember this: the United States of America was not founded by men and women who took the simple way out. The rare people in this world who are determined to make their countries a better place to live in live by doing what is right, and not what is easy.
Think of all the romantic songs and poems like Pocahontas’s, “Just Around the Riverbend,” or Robert Frost’s, “The Road Less Traveled,” — works or art whose messages we have followed for years. People of the world, we still have that ability to follow those messages, those messages of hope and promise that we subconsciously still believe in.
Every person on the face of the earth has choices to make, and everyone is entitled to take the road he or she chooses. But solutions do not come wrapped up like presents ready for distribution. They take time and effort and passion for them to be carried out. And while the true solution to the United States of America’s lack of an immigration system problem is a tough path to follow, it is not one that we, in the many years to come, will not regret taking.