Friday, December 16, 2011

God's Vessel. . . Plays for the Denver Broncos

I am very thankful to be a part of the Feminism and Religion project. My blog this week is featured on their site and I wanted to showcase it on my own as well. I hope you enjoy it and please visit: www.feminismandreligion.com to comment and join in the discussion about the f-word in both religion and practice with me and other scholars.

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I have to admit, I am the last person that really cares about football. However, when every blog, tweet, and facebook post I read are stating that God is back and He has chosen Tim Tebow as his chosen vessel, I take notice.

For those who may not know, Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Before, he was the starting quarterback for the University of Florida and was the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy (the MVP award for college football). In recent weeks Tim Tebow has led his team to countless victories against innumerable odds while making sure to “Tebow” after every achievement.



“Tebowing” is an action that consists of Tim crouching on one knee, putting his fist to his forehead, and closing his eyes in prayer while he thanks God for everything he has been given. His constant annunciations of his Evangelical faith in the end zone, has created the orotundity in vast media and religious outlets that he is “The Chosen One,” born of a woman of pure faith and conviction because she chose the “right” path when she decided to give Tim life whether than exercising her right to a legal abortion.



“Tebowing” is not Tim’s first encounter with the public regarding his Evangelical faith. In 2010 Focus on the Family, a conservative Evangelical group with ties to anti-gay and anti-femininst campaigns, bought air time to show a controversial and much anticipated commercial where Tim Tebow’s mother talked about why he was her “miracle baby” and why that was a direct result of her choosing “life.”



The actual language of the commercial reads:

PAM TEBOW: I call him my miracle baby. He almost didn't make it into this world. I remember so many times when I almost lost him. It was so hard. Well he's all grown up now, and I still worry about his health. Everybody treats him like he's different, but to me, he's just my baby. He's my Timmy, and I love him

The slogan for Focus on the Family is “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life.” The language of both the commercial as well as the actual organization promotes a negative image to women who chose to have an abortion. Furthermore, the emphasis on life and its “amazing” possibilities, place women in precarious situations. If women choose the “right” path, as Focus on the Family would have you believe, the possibilities for women (read: mothers) are endless! Their tag line should read as: “Don’t Abort! You too could have a Heisman Trophy winning, All-American, quarterback son if you chose life!” However, if women do not buy into this idea and choose to exercise their constitutional right to abortion then they will just end up sad, alone, and without the perfect son.

Focus on the Family even stresses the importance of the gender of the child. Women are supposed to have SONS who will go on to do great things, unlike daughters who will, like their mothers have, produce and care for more children and families. Focus on the Family would not have paid the 1-2 million dollars that advertising space costs during the Super Bowl is Pam Tebow would have had a daughter who was an All-American Volleyball player who now played for the women’s national team resulting in a gold Olympic Games medal.

Focus on the Family creates a negative image for women who are contemplating abortion. In an attempt to undermine a woman’s personal agency, Focus on the Family would rather cloud a woman’s judgment into believing that they too could have the next “Tim Tebow.”

Although the commercial did not live up the media firestorm that preceded it, Tim Tebow’s recent resurgence into American popular culture as God’s “Chosen One,” ultimately reemphasizes the fact that women should choose life no matter what circumstances might be facing them. Whether or not a woman is choosing to carry a child to full term or exercising her constitutional right to have an abortion, Focus on the Family uses Pam Tebow and her son Tim Tebow as tools to drive their message in the hearts and homes of women and families everywhere.

However, the only question they are not asking is: “What happens when your son does not end up like Tim Tebow?”

The Problem(s) with Twilight

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank You Rick Perry


Dear Rick Perry,
You constantly amaze me. Especially when you do not realize that the jacket you are wearing is the exact jacket from the movie Brokeback Mountain. If you had gay attendants you would have been notified of this fact but alas, you refuse to grant them any credability and you end up looking even more like a fool.
Thank you for the humor! Can't wait until the next debate!
xoxo
John

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today, I'm Thankful


Today I was asked "What do you study?"

I was in a crowd of women who did not know much about women's studies but their answer, after I explained what both studied and was deeply involved in, was: "More men need to study that," brought me back to great place that I have not been back to in a while.

It helped to once again show me how to important it is to build bridges and allies across gender lines and how women's studies creates the change you want to see in the world.

That is what I am most thankful for on Thanksgiving this year.

That little twinge of acknowledgement from the universe that I am "on the right path."

Today, I am thankful.

xoxo
John


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reflections

I have to say, I am a lucky person.

It is about that time of year again when we start getting all mushy and thankful and I cannot help but become "one of them."

I am thankful to my friends and family who amaze and inspire me everyday. Without them, I would not be able to do the things I do.

I know there are horrible events going on in the world right now (when isn't there?) but sometimes we have to stop and reflect that life, in its small glory, can and is great.

xoxo
John



Monday, October 3, 2011

"I'm Going to Tell It to You 'Like it Is'"



The quote at the end of this man's speech says it all. "I'm going to tell it to you like it is!" Well Hank Williams Jr., I am going to "tell it to you like it is." You are a red-neck, racist, asshole. The only GOOD part about this video is that Fox News does "attempt" to say something back and they look offended that he said this horrible statement, for once.

Did Fox News do something right? You be the judge!?!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hands Off (Special Post on FeminismandReligion.com)

I am honored to be a part of the blog I wrote this blog entry, in cooperation with the course Feminist Ethics that I am currently taking. This post will go live tomorrow and in honor of Mary Daly, the word radical might not sum it up. It is not my intention to essentialize gender here and my attempt to say "certain men (and women" is an attempt to defend against that essentialization.

Enjoy

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I find it little ironic that I am writing about Mary Daly’s formidable “anti-male” book Gyn/Ecology. I remember reading the book when I was a sophomore in college and I owe much to Daly and her opus because they helped me to identify as a radical.
I know my position in feminism is sometimes misunderstood. I have often found myself on the defensive end when someone asks me the question: “Why are you a feminist?” However, although my identification as a feminist is always changing and growing, the label “RADICAL” is one I proudly wear on my chest everyday.

If you were to ask some of my closest friends to describe me, I’m sure they would start off by telling you that I speak my mind and oftentimes have opinions that tick people off. More specifically, they will tell you that I have “radical” opinions and that I am not afraid to say them aloud.

Although I have many “radical” opinions, I am often involved in heated conversations/debates/ and sometimes arguments when it comes to my stance on abortion.

It is here, in which Daly and I begin to have some common ground and common opinion.

No matter what, I strictly believe that men should have no say when it comes to a woman’s body before, during, or after a pregnancy (if she so chooses to have the fetus or invoke her constitutional right to get an abortion.) I also do not believe that he should have any say whether he is her partner, spouse, husband, boyfriend, hook-up, or whatever symbolic term men often use to make a woman feel like she is suppose to ask for his opinion or guilt her into going through with a pregnancy even though she may not want to.

Daly states that “men have been lamenting for centuries, [their] immortality is out of [their] own control,” because they are not in charge during a woman’s pregnancy. I could not agree more with Daly. Men are not the ones “carrying” the fetus. Men are not sacrificing their bodies to bring a new being into the world. Men are not equal in this participation. Men are secondary in terms of pregnancy and women’s bodies and as we have seen in terms of recent political debate over Roe v. Wade or even with women gaining better access to birth control or health care during their pregnancy, men (and some very lost women in my opinion) love to inflict the control and power they do have in other ways. They do this not because “they care about the unborn ‘child’” growing inside the woman but rather to get back a piece, no matter how small, of the power and control they lose to women throughout a pregnancy.

As we have seen via the Robert Byrn incident that Daly writes about, certain men (and women) love to go to congress in the name of “women’s bodies and un-born children” everywhere. They love to pass laws making it practically impossible for a woman to obtain an abortion or counseling for one. They love to pass out literature showing the remains of a deceased fetus or plant it on your car windshield while you are at the mall. More specifically, certain men (and women) love to infiltrate women’s bodies by passing laws that force women to have penetrative ultrasounds and listen to the fetus’ heartbeat before choosing to have an abortion

(For more information about this, please read: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/us/28abortion.html)

It is usually around this point that men (and women) like to start giving me these “hypothetical” scenarios for me to ponder in relation to my “radical” opinion and hopefully force me to change or stagger in my opinion. Many of these scenarios are too lavish to write down in accuracy in this short amount of space but the overall point is that no matter what, people do not share my same opinion. People like to challenge me on this issue because they feel uncomfortable and I strike a chord at some of their core ethical, moral, and religious beliefs. When we bring these outside factors into the question, I believe that we get further away from the truth of the matter at hand. At the end of the day, the issue comes down to choice and the choice a woman has over HER body.

My simple answer to many of these scenarios is: “When you force a woman to have a penetrative ultrasound (without knowing the background as to why or how she became pregnant) to determine whether or not she wants to go through with an abortion, give the child up for adoption, or carry the fetus to full term and care for it, you inflict upon her a double rape scenario. You not only inflict a sociopolitical rape over her body but also a medical one as well when you “force” her to have a penetrative ultrasound.

My retort back to the individual (or group) I am talking with is then: “How does it make you feel to medically force a penetrative rape upon a woman’s body in order to gain a fraction of control back over a woman’s choice to have an abortion?” While some do not answer, and most cannot bring themselves to, few walk away labeling me as a person who is “too radical” to have a conversation with and I couldn’t be more proud of that.
Upon reflection, maybe this is the point. Maybe members of society have to start being seen, heard, and viewed as “too radical” in order to change public discourse. Maybe, in order to gain back control over an individual’s body, one has to rustle a few feathers.

I am proud to call myself a radical. I am proud to call myself a feminist. I’m a radical feminist in the making and I am proud to call Mary Daly the Goddess I look up to for wisdom and inspiration.

Daly is the radical hag who rustled some feathers, ticked people off, and changed the world because of it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Teachers Unions



I know this does make some jokes, but I love Teachers Unions and Teachers!

Fresh Voice in Feminism

I just wanted to make a shout out to my good friend Katie who started a blog.

An East Coast Academic Feminist meets the West Coast Academic Feminist World.

It's about time :)


stompingoneggshells.wordpress.com


Check her out!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years...

10 years ago today, I was at the DMV getting my drivers permit. I had just turned 16. The night before my best friend Abril has said: "So help me God, something bad is going to happening tomorrow when they say "You've passed!

That day was September 10th, 2001. The next day was September 11, 2011.

I'll never forget where I was that day. At the DMV, watching on the TV, as the towers fell.

Remember, remember, the 11th of September.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Says it All

This clip says everything to me about what I want out of life and of course, it is via my favorite show, Friday Night Lights. I'm a sucker for a good montage but thankfully this one is done by the professionals.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Didn't Want to Say I Told You So



People in politics know how grave the Citizens United case will affect the election in 2012 but now with Mitt Romney's mysterious "contribution" from a group that no longer exists really stresses the gravity of the political world we are now all living in.

I didn't want to say I told you so, but I wonder who the money really is coming from? (INSERT SARCASM HERE) I am sure this is the first "mysterious contributions" of many to come for Mr. Romney and his political and personal causes.

To read more about this scandal, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3hm44cn

Friday, July 29, 2011

The House vs. The Senate

I got frustrated this morning watching the daily news. I like to switch back between MSNBC and Fox (don't ask me why). Upon seeing both sides I have come to the conclusion that there really is a big difference between the House and the Senate.

It just seems to me that the House, these days, is extremely unintelligent. Freshman representatives do not know the "order of things" or simply do not understand how Congress actually works. I cannot recall how many times I heard a Republican (Tea-Party) Representative state that the Senate has not sent them any bills about the "Debt Ceiling."

Well, maybe it is because there is a proper order. The House, to the Senate, and then to the President's desk.

I know that things have maybe been altered at times in the past but right now, the "debt ceiling" (and I put it in quotes because I believe it is a made up crisis) needs to go through the proper channels.

House representatives change so easily, and the Senate seems to keep people for quite some time (i.e. John McCain). Is there a reason for this? Should we go to just the Senate for our answers?

I know there are a lot of class issues at hand here and educational competency but in a time when no one can agree on anything and the only people that seem to grasp what politics is really about are in the Senate, I have to ask the question: What is the point of the House anymore?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mitt Romney Should Not Be President... For a Lot of Reasons

I have to thank my friend Kirsten for showing me the link to CNN Religion blog where Tricia Erickson's new book, Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? and Dr. Richard Bushman's great, but expected response to it.

First off, let me state that I have great respect for Dr. Bushman but frankly, he is to apologetic for me. Mormonism has become a big interest of mine in the past year and although I have never taken a class with Dr. Bushman (because of personal and academic reasons) I must say that I already knew what he was going to state.

His comments: "Mormonism has become this in the recent years.." or "Mormonism is gaining more respect than just being seen as 'that weird religion with rituals and such.." but more importantly, his comment:

"Both Dekker and Erikson are one-time Mormons who became disillusioned, and instead of walking away felt an obligation to discredit their former faith" -Dr. Richard Bushman

was what I expected.

It always comes down to the issue of if you have faith or not; whether you are a faithful Mormon or not. Frankly, it's all bullshit.

It is not about faith and it is not about whether Mitt Romney is a faithful and symbolic Mormon in the 21st century. The real issue is in the second part of Erickson's title: "The Mormon Church and the Office of the President of the United States of America."

Mitt Romney shouldn't be President for a NUMBER of reasons and one of them is YES, he is a Mormon but also another one is because he is a conservative with no hint of a progressive side.

Big money for the rich, big money for the Church that he serves are all a big flashing "NO!"

Mitt Romney being President is scary, plain and simple. He is George W. Bush II, but worse. Instead of having Dick Cheney and his corporate cronies to answer to, Mitt has the Mormon Church and the GOP.

Now this is where my liberal, left-winged brain comes out and the barrier between my brain and mouth does not stop me from saying certain things. Mitt Romney should be President because he is a part of a Religion that has taken pleasure and set principles around ostracizing specific groups. From African Americans to homosexuals, the Mormon Church is not a friend to "othered" communities. (And I don't want to hear ANYTHING about how "they are changing," I don't believe it.)


When it comes to any type of progressive issue if Romney was President, the Republicans will have a say and then the Mormon Church will as well. There is just no way around it. Frankly, to any one with a liberal or progressive brain, it is a scary to think of Romney EVER being President of the United States.

Have we forgotten what the United States would have looked like if Joseph Smith had been elected President when he ran in 1844?

I hate sounding like this, like a big bigot who is "hating" upon another religion. We have freedom of religion and speech in this country for a reason but sometimes, it's that freedom that scares me the most. It scares me the most when a religion now has the power, that they once didn't have, to drastically change the lives of minority communities around the world.

I know we can say this about MOST religions, so lets call this a rant AGAINST Mormonism and Romney for the time being. I don't have the energy to write about the cruelty of religion and frankly scholars are already doing this.

I have to say that I am very afraid for what will happen if he is elected President of the United States. I do not think he can serve his "two masters" and I think the country, just like when George Bush II was President, will suffer greatly.

More importantly, while the country will suffer, "othered" communities will face a double-edged sword that never seems to go away.

Now, one can say: "Well John, you shouldn't be President because you're gay!"

I agree that we get into a slippery slope when we start classifying why certain people should or should not be President. However, we have to classify the people that would say certain things like what I have said or what I just mentioned above.

Would a progressive or democrat say that a gay individual shouldn't be President? Would a Republican say that Mitt Romney shouldn't be President?"

When thinking about these issues I find myself thinking about the latter question and coming to the conclusion that "Yes, a Republican would say Mitt Romney shouldn't be President" for many of the same reasons I have stated here. However, while I have a problem with his politics and religion, a Republican from Texas or any other Red State, would be citing his religious beliefs before his political ones.

Religion is a slippery slope. Once we start going down the path of criticizing someone's religion we find ourselves falling into a tumble and unable to stop the downward fall. However, the trouble with my rant is that not just a "liberal" is stating this about Romney, it is his own political base as well.

And that, my friends, to me is a big, symbolic, "No, No!" In a time when a two party system cannot agree on anything except Mitt Romney's religious beliefs and the trouble it would bring to the office of the President, is quite scary but all to real.

In a post Citizens United world, what type of campaign contributions will we see to Romney's Presidential campaign to propel him into the White House? More importantly, where will Romney succeed where Smith and Young failed?

Part of me hopes I never have to find out.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Remember, Remember, the 23rd of July.

A year ago yesterday, I lost my hero.

Gladys Mae Hritsko (Jolly) was both my hero and inspiration. I dreaded the day but the thing I remember now, after a year has gone by, is that she taught me that time is like a road you don't always want to travel down, but we have too.

Although I didn't want to go down and throughout life without her, I realized something today that I think would make her proud. I can go on without my grandmother because she gave me the strength I need to always face life, chin up and with a smile.

I miss you Grandma. More than anything, I just miss talking to you. It didn't matter if you said anything or just sat there quietly, just being able to talk to you, about anything, always relieved my stress and made me feel better.

I dreaded the day that I would lose you but now that a year has come and gone since I did, I realize that I can go on. I can move on with my life happily and its all because of you.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Blog Post for Feminism and Religion

I am very excited and honored to be a contributor for the blog: Feminism and Religion

Please take the time to click on the link and read the amazing posts from other guest authors and contributors. These are some amazing and upcoming scholars and activists in the study of feminism and religion. I am honored and blessed to know them!

My latest blog post is titled:

“It’s About Power”:

Reflecting Upon and Pondering About Men in Feminism and Religion

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Gay Community....or is the the Queer Community, or the Lesbian community? What Is It?!

A good friend and fellow blogger of mine posed these questions at the end of his post, "Singing the Post-Pride Blues":

From this, I extend the questions I’ve been asking myself to you. How can we overcome divisions in the LGBTQ community? What does this mean for the movement’s growth? How can we be more honest to ourselves and each other in the future?


Before I start I need to state that I do not define or situate myself in the same way that Kyle does. Where as he identifies as Queer, I identify myself as Gay. My coming out story and life experiences are in no way the same or fit into the same categorization that Kyle classifies and writes about in his writings.

I found myself puzzled when thinking about Kyle recent blog post. How can we overcome divisions in the LGBTQ community? What divisions are there and how did they get there? What historical linkages can be made from the LGBTQ (which isn't even the "latest" acronym out there in academic and activist circles) to other social movements as feminism or the civil rights movement?

The problem with inclusion, diversity, and social movements are that they serve many purposes: some good and some bad. The more freedom you give to people regarding how to identify or how to classify oneself (if you even go that far), the more factions and different individuals you have and ultimately have to satisfy.

However, within this diversity comes the reason why there is so many "inclusion" problems within the LGBTQ community.

Diversity is, in my opinion, the ultimate paradox.

Not everyone can be satisfied by a central movement. Specific groups and people can never identify the same way as the majority and then therefore become mad because their voices are not being heard and not taken seriously.

If we examine the ways the HRC and Transgendered rights have played out over the last couple of years (or just history in general) we can get a good picture in our minds about how the voices of the many outweigh the voices of the few.

While PRIDE is a time to celebrate and be happy for our diversity, I wonder if it is that exact diversity that will be our (as well as other social movements) downfall in the end?

How can we be honest to ourselves and in the future? Well that question, as my friend Kyle posed, is to me unanswerable. No one can answer that question because in today's pop-culture, academic, individualized, diverse crazy culture that we live in, no one can be ULTIMATELY pleased.

However, does that mean all social movements are left to fail? If this is the case then what are we fighting for? While its great to be a part of an organization and a movements, are we really only in it for ourselves?

I, like many people, do not know the answers to these questions, but as a person who is speaking from a privileged viewpoint, I have to ask if we will ever be able to answer or begin to answer these tough questions that could ultimately help push our movement (as well as others) forward into the 21st century.

So while we take pleasure in our post-Pride bliss and happiness, ask yourself the question: What are YOU fighting for?



Oh Hey, That Was Fast....

So I was very excited to start my job with the Fund for Public Interest in New Haven. I got there on the 27th and worked a full day and really enjoyed doing the office work, meeting with a team, and of course getting to know the in's and out's of the organization.

Needless to say, I was overexcited to have a job. It was great timing, but as usual, the path in life towards the right direction takes time.

I wanted to write this blog because before even starting my job, I did research into the Fund or PIRGs. Needless to say, the reviews were quite scathing. Job firings, quotas, long hours, etc.

I wanted to say, as a person who on their first day saw 2 people get fired for not making quota, the scathing results are not wrong, but with everything, there is a twist.

The twist is that depending on the office you work in and the Directors you have, the people who are on their "third day" of not making quota can be quite aware of what will happen if they do not raise enough money by the end of the night. In the New Haven office, I was happy to find out that the people that we had to fire KNEW what was coming LONG before. I am not excusing it or saying that they were right for having that stipulation but from all the scathing reviews, people were not just fired without knowing it would happen. The people that were interviewed that came in for an "Observation Day" were either invited back or not. It depended on how good their Field Managers thought they would be at fundraising out on their own, which they did the next day.

The next thing I want to talk about is the hours. You have to know what you are signing up for before the job. Yes, it is a 12 hour day, yes they are long. I was an Assistant Director, so I was able to be in the office for 12 hours the first day. They were long but the amount of work that they make the Directors and Assistant Directors is insane. The Fund at a corporate level is POORLY run and that, in the case of the smaller offices (unless your Directors aren't morons) makes the working environment very HARD.

I have to say I loved my first day. I loved working in the office, doing the paper work, making phone calls, talking to the Regional manger, everything. I went home, even after a LONG DAY, and really enjoyed my time. I loved the office part but I knew the next day I would have to go out into the field and do the other part: the canvassing.

I want to be honest. I went into this with the most OPEN MIND that I could have. I went out with my Director and went door to door (even Michelle Bachman's brothers door to be exact) and gave the "Rap," that I have committed to memory the night before. I knew it but I will say that if you don't know it or have a hard time committing things to memory, this job will not be for you. I am lucky enough to be able to "think on my feet" and therefore while I was out canvassing and talking to people who were not the nicest nor the happiest that I was knocking on their door and then asking them for money, I was able to quickly respond to their quips and questions that they had that did not relate to my overall purpose.

I kept hearing from my director that "Connecticut is the best place to canvass," and the truth of the matter is that from what I understand, it really is. People were bring in hundreds of dollars and our office was the second highest in the nation. People just GAVE money to these random strangers on their doorsteps who gave them the "rap." That's it. It was insane. But honestly, as the blogs and other reports have questioned, "where does the money actually go" is a big question I still have and had at the end of the night.

I knew I hated the canvassing part of the job around 6:00p.m. when we had to go back to houses that had either not been home or ones that had "lights on." My director was very sweet but frankly, it takes a different type of person to mercilessly go back just because you want to "get another 20 dollars."

I wondered, as my director waved like a trained monkey at every person who came to the door, how this actually works. Needless to say, I tried to disguise my true feelings until I went back to the office that night. I was quite unhappy. I was torn because I loved the office part of the job but absolutely HATED the canvassing aspect.

To be absolutely honest, I felt like I needed to walk around with a clump of dirt to throw on people's carpets or floors the moment they opened the door to try and sell them a vaccuum that they did not want nor need. The looks on people's faces, as they drove by us in our Conn-PIRG shirts, was to say the least, one of the main reasons I did not go back.

That point leads me to comment on how they recruit. Basically, they poster and post jobs on Craigslist to try and get "New Canvassers" every day. These people, not knowing the organization that well, call because they promise $15-20 dollars an hour, which as we all know in today's economy can help a lot of people. The FUND takes everyone. That part the blogs and scathing results cannot lie about. They TAKE EVERYONE who comes in and interviews and sends them out because you never know who will be a "good or bad canvasser."

There is a sad reality to all of this though. Canvassing in Connecticut does have some connotations to it and they are mostly ones of color. As my Director said, after she had to fire the one Black male canvasser, "He has been getting a lot of racist comments at the doors." Apparently, the rich Connecticut people did not like a large black man walking their streets and coming up to their doors. It was sad and hard to see and I didn't know what to say. I had to bite my tongue because all of the men that I had talked to on the phone and then interviewed the next day were black and they were all going to fall victim to this scam. It was hard to see because racism is still VERY PRESENT in this country and it victimizes at the earliest levels.

With all of this aside, I came home after a LONG and SWEATY day completely distraught. I wanted to stay with the job for longer than just two days but I honestly couldn't go back the next day and go out canvassing by myself to raise the quota of $130 bucks.

I couldn't be by myself ALL DAY and have people stare and me and look at me like I am garbage. I am not and will not ever do that to myself because I have worked too hard and done too much to further myself.

I talked with my Director and the "other me" at the end of the night and told them exactly everything I have written here. They said that they too "hated canvassing" when they first started and that I shouldn't just quit right now and to "stick it out." I honestly felt like they wanted and needed another warm body in there and that was it.

I came home defeated. I stayed up all night and talked with several people but by the end of the night I knew what I was going to do.

I called my Director the next morning, because I honestly could not get out of bed to go back and degrade myself like that again. I quit the job after two days of highs and extreme lows.

I knew that I was essentially "rolling the dice" with this move. What was I going to do next? Where was I going to turn? and what job could or should I get?

The answers to all these questions, like with most things, are still up in the air. For right now I still know what is important to me but I need to make sure that the job I do or what I study is something I am passionate about. I need to make sure that I am happy and in order to do that I need to get back on track with the overall end goal: PhD

So that's where I am. Waiting, wondering, and hoping that all will work out and if my life has told me anything up until now its that it does and I always seem to find a way back onto the right path.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Goodbye NYU

Today was my last day at the Margaret Sanger Papers Project. It was an interesting experience and even though I was only here for a short while, I learned a lot. It's interesting to think about Margaret Sanger, her role in history, and the controversy that seems to follow her around.

She is, to say the least, one sassy woman. She worked her ass off to get women, and yes I am essentializing here, I've been handling the documents and reading them so I can, and if you are taking birth control, have been on birth control, used a condom, can freely buy the morning after pill, buy condoms, use a dental dam, or any other device to prevent pregnancy then you should be writing out a big thank you card right now!

I know people are concerned with her so-called involvement in the eugenics movement (which is a whole other blog post) but she really did change the world for everyone, especially women.

We owe her a big thank you. Regardless of how you identify or what color you are.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rights

I had a dream last night about being an elected official and watching as the conservative base defunded Planned Parenthood and all the services it offered to both men and women from all walks of life.

In the dream, I was enraged. I became so mad and if my memory serves me right, Harry Reid (who was sitting next to me) expressed the sentiment: "This is only the beginning."

I became scared and woke up and found myself wondering, what did this all mean? Was this only the beginning?

The sad reality that progressive minds are facing these days are the removal of our rights to affordable health care or simply put, a better and healthier way of life at the hands of the rich and powerful.

Upon reading this article: http://www.theonion.com/articles/planned-parenthood-opens-8-billion-abortionplex,20476/ I found myself laughing uncontrollably because there are actually people in the world who believe that all Planned Parenthood provides are abortions. Specifically, there are people that believe that the Federal money they get is actually being used to build an 8 million "Abortionplex!" What is the world coming to when common sense no longer plays any factor in our decision making processes?

I got to thinking about rights and the lack of them in today's conservative political and ideological climate. If you're from Wisconsin, your rights are being taken away at the hands of big corporations that bought the elections for the rich, thanks in due part to the Citizen's United decision, and if you are from the multitude of other states where conservative minds are taking over, one has to ask the question when is and when will "enough, be enough?"

It's scary but I keep going back to my dream and only being able to sit there and watch as the rights of individuals were taken away. I could only sit there and watch as men (and yes, I know I am a man as well) dictated the way women could use their bodies before, during, and after pregnancy.

On the issue of a woman's right to choose and abortion, I am an ardent supporter of a woman's right to choose NO MATTER WHAT! Upon talking with friends who are Pro-Life and after they have given me paradoxical scenarios such as "what if this.." and "what if that," I find myself realizing that no matter how logical or solid your points, the issue always comes back to personhood.

Yes, I believe that there should be drop off locations for women to leave their babies instead of aborting them but that is only if they so choose to do so. I do not believe that men should have ANY say over a woman's body, no matter if he is the father or not. Call me a radical or simply call me crazy, if it's inside a woman's body, it is her BUSINESS and her's ALONE!

Especially now, with new legislation being introduced regarding a man's foreskin, I highly doubt men would appreciate women or the populous being able to tell them what to do with their bodies!

I find myself going back to my dream and watching as men decided what women should do with their bodies, where and how women should seek medical treatment, and how women should be treated as merely vessels for men.

The rights of individuals are slowly dwindling and the public is blindsided to the actual affect this will have on our lives. However, in the battle for rights, when will the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wisconsin, Don't Ya Know?

There is something about being back home that just makes me happy to be alive.

I must say, being back in Wisconsin, no matter how short the time, makes me thankful to have the good friends and family that I do. No matter what is going on in mine or their lives or where I or they have been, we always pick right back up like no time has elapsed since our last visit.

I am so thankful to my best friends Sarah and Katie. I have been gone a lot this last year and minus the phone dates, sitting next to them in a car while we cruise around our old home town makes me thankful that I met them long ago in high school.

I got to thinking the other day about my friendships, both past and present, and have realized that I have some of the best friends in the world. I know this is said a lot of various blogs, facebook posts, and twitter accounts, but my friends blow every one out of the water.

This last year was really hard. The friends I thought I had weren't there and the friends I was not or did not know that well became staples in my life. It's funny, life plays little tricks on you but you always seem to get to where you are going no matter what.

From making pasta in my mom's kitchen and talking about current relationships or drinking 1.00 beers at a bar, the memories from the past make the future that we are all suppose to have. I am truly blessed. I never thought I would have been saying that at certain times in the past, but realizing it now, and seeing the faces of my friends, family, and future loved ones come into my life make me realize that I, am one of the lucky ones.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And Now the Goodbyes...For There Will Be Many

The Trinity
(The now official one, because the other has disbanded)

Lisa- Words cannot express how much I will miss you. I remember coming to CGU on my first day as a M.A. student and feeling so lonely and now leaving it, after everything, I cannot remember what that felt like because I have you. Your laughter, support, strength, and above all, your friendship have proven to me that I have true friends at Claremont and not the fake trinity, I mean holy saints, that I thought I was once close to. You remind me every day why friends and friendship are the most important thing to me. I will never and could never forget you and above else, you and I both know that I won't really "be gone," because I'll still know all the hot gossip before anyone else and have you to tell it to!

Amanda - If there is one thing I am sad about it is that I did not really get to know you until the summer after our first year as M.A. students. I want you to know that during the second semester and into the summer I felt so alone. I didn't have anyone to call and I didn't really know what to do with my time until I met you (and Nick, but this post is about you :) ). Your laughter, smile, and above all the love you have for everyone and everything transforms me from my pessimistic/realist self and back into the believer I want to be. Over the course of this last year, when stuff went down, you believed in me and in who I was. Your un-staggering friendship has been and will always be a beacon I measure everything to. Always remember my age old words: "This ain't my first time at the rodeo," when the haters be hatin' because they don't and could never understand the true and beautiful person you really are. I'm so happy that I have you in my life because I could not honestly imagine it without you. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife!

Nick - Who would have ever thought I would have so much in common with a man from the South and Georgia of all places? From Buffy to Religion, your friendship and knowledge inspires me. I will never forget when we first met, it was at "she who must not be named's" (because everything is about children's literature remember) house and you were telling ghost stories about your mother's house. From that moment on, I knew you were someone special and I cannot tell you how much your friendship has meant to me. From moving, to carrying a couch all the way across Pomona's campus, you have always been there for me. You are always there to tell me what I need to hear, regardless of the subject matter, and to help keep me grounded and guide me. I cannot wait to say I "knew him when," because I know you are going to be a HUGE scholar one day and I am so happy I am able to be a part of your life. Keep Lisa in line for me while I'm gone, you know how much she likes to party!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Singin' for Suffrage

I still remember when my first blog post was going to be about this video for my Media Studies class!

Memories...

A Republican Motto: "Pick a Little, TALK A LOT!"

I am mostly drawn to Palin's comment: "That was real American pizza!" when referring to her recent lunch date with Donald Trump at Familigia Pizzeria in Times Square. I feel like every time you turn on a TV or open your twitter feed or even talk to your Uncle, all you hear about is how Republicans are so mad because "our jobs are being taken away to foreign countries," "illegal immigrants are taking over," or how "Obama is the devil!"

Yet, when they want to do something that makes them look like liars and a bunch of crooks, Fox News and other Republican pundits praise them as "true Americans!"

That's the Republican motto these days it seems. Pick on the policies and actions Democrats do to help fix the messes Bush and his fools enacted in the last 8 ears and criticize them! But when they contradict yourself, they pick their battles and then are praised from their fellow cronies and charlatans.

Nevertheless, Jon Stewart says and does it best of course, when calling Trump, Palin, and the rest of the Tea Baggers what hypocrites they really are!


Whether It's SlutWalk, FagWalk, or QueerWalk: We All Should Walk

I have debated writing this post regarding Aura Bogado's (@zapallita) blog post: "Slut Walk: A Stroll Through White Supremacy." I don't know where to begin. I want to be respectful but on the other hand I am deeply troubled by the demeanor, use, and overall post. I want to respect other people's opinions but I feel like I am being faced with yet another person who likes to throw around words like "hegemony," "white supremacy," "rape," or "sluts" without knowing the true and long lasting ripple her words have on those on the front lines fighting for equality for all and not just for "white privileged women."

What scares me more is that we, as a equality movement, feminist movement, or if you just want to simply say "women's movement" have not learned anything from the past or more importantly will never learn. Aura's statements, although well intentioned, remind me of the rantings of a girl in my one of my graduate school classes who liked to rant about things and issues she tried to understand but in the end, never truly understood or got.

Let me just begin by examining Aura's final points:

"Whether white supremacist hegemony was SlutWalk’s intent or not is beyond my concern – because it has certainly been so in effect. This event will not stop the criminalization of black women in New Orleans, nor will it stop one woman from being potentially deported after she calls the police subsequent to being raped. SlutWalk completely ignores the way institutional violence is leveled against women of color. The event highlights its origins from a privileged position of relative power, replete with an entitlement of assumed safety that women of color would never even dream of. We do not come from communities in which it feels at all harmless to call ourselves “sluts.” Aside from that, our skin color, not our style of dress, often signifies slut-hood to the white gaze.

If SlutWalk has proven anything, it is that liberal white women are perfectly comfortable parading their privilege, absorbing every speck of airtime celebrating their audacity, and ignoring women of color. Despite decades of work from women of color on the margins to assert an equitable space, SlutWalk has grown into an international movement that has effectively silenced the voices of women of color and re-centered the conversation to consist of a topic by, of, and for white women only. More than 30 years ago, Gloria Anzaldúa wrote, “I write to record what others erase when I speak.” Unfortunately, SlutWalk’s leadership obliterated Anzaldúa’s voice, and the marvelous work she produced theorizing what it means to be a queer woman of color. They might do us all a favor now and stop erasing the rest of us for once."

If I have learned anything from undergrad to graduate school, specifically dealing with feminism in both white and communities of color feminists and activists, is that it all comes down to one thing: power. People get mad if they don't have it, people get mad if the ones that do don't use it the way THEY want them to, and so on. What' more disheartening is that when people are trying to do a brave and courageous thing, like #SlutWalk, and are using their power for good (regardless of how people see it) they get the short end of the stick.

Would we rather have them do nothing? Would we rather have the #Slutwalkers go home, hide in their rooms and not fight back injustice, inequality, and rape!?

If Aura's post proves anything to me it is that she would rather stay home during #SlutWalk and voice her opinion behind the shield of her computer screen than go out and vocally oppose the #SlutWalkers on that day. I have to ask, if you believe that #SlutWalk is such an injustice and symbol of white supremacist hegemonic power, than why don't you fly to L.A. and hold your sign high and proud. I am sure there will be TONS of women and men there not to cruelly "put you in your place" but work together with you to see why they are marching and if at the end of the day if you still don't agree, well then that is your decision.

This leads me to my last and final point: Aura's RUDE and maliciously directed comments at
Hugo Schwyzer's (@hugoschwyzer) ardent and passionate support of not only feminism, gender and social justice, and #SlutWalk.

Instead of talking with him, you like to threaten him with comments that you have "proof of him telling his students to dress like sluts." You like to throw mean, disrespectful, and hurtful comments at him for wanting to march with the #Slutwalkers? What does that say about you and your blog post? More importantly, what does it say about your character and blog when you throw out derogatory statements to an ally who is walking to change the world not JUST for WHITE people but for ALL!?

If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is! Nevertheless, Aura's final statement: "They [Slutwalkers] might do us all a favor now and stop erasing the rest of us for once"
does have a twinge of importance to it.

It reminds us all who fight for gender and social justice to fight even harder and longer to make sure that even people who are suppose to be our allies don't ruin the beautiful and reaffirmed world we are trying to create for ALL COMMUNITITES!

I am reminded of something Hugo told me once that I still think and use today that might apply to this situation. "Step Up and Step Back." This statement is useful for Aura's post, for mine, and for others that will come from her. However, while Aura writes more blog posts and continues to throw out slanderous and hurtful words at those she claims are doing the same thing, maybe what she really should do is "Step up, step back, and sit down."

{For Aura's original post, please see: http://tothecurb.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/slutwalk-a-stroll-through-white-supremacy/}

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why I Love Comedy




This clip says it all. I must say, I am afraid of the Jersey Shore, but I love the Jersey Floor!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Consuming Women: Meat Eating and Female Identity

video

I've been meaning to write this blog entry for a long time and create this short video. Ever since I attended a LGBTQIA Conference at Berkeley the thought of meat eating and women's studies has intrigued my curiosity. What are the intersections of masculinity and meat eating? To be considered a man, do you have to eat meat?

I attended a panel on the intersectionality of meat eating, masculinity, and the ramifications this had on women. Essentially the panel suggested that because meat eating came from such a masculine discourse, the more meat you eat, the more of a man you are. However, with the recent sexualization of food (as you will see in the video before) with female imagery, eating meat ultimately meant consuming women.

Because food is sexualized and presented to men in ways that have big breasted, hyper-sexual women devouring greasy burgers and licking their fingers, women have become synonymous with meat consumption. Ultimately, "eating out" takes on a whole new range of meaning and the ways in which men "eat" food is directly related to the way they eat actual food and the way they sexually "eat" women.

Society needs to reexamine the ways in which we present "meat eating" to younger culture. Instead of recapitulating the idea that to eat meat is to be more manly, we need to explore other options of food consumptions that does not come with women's identities attached to the price tag. Although I do eat meat, vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters need to explore the ways in which we present different eating options to larger culture in order to change dominate social discourse that links meat and women together.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Katie's Baby Shower

Sweet Stripes Boy Baby Shower Invitation
Browse unique bridal shower invitations by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh; There You Are!

I've been looking for the usual sign,
like the ones you used to give me.
I saw it today while peering into the stars
and feel in love with you all over again.
I've been waiting for it.
I've been wondering where you were.
And now I realize,
that you never left.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

YES, YES, YES!!!



A good motto to live by :)

What is this funny feeling?

I cannot seem to shake what I shall no call: "Graditis"

I find myself writing and doing tons of things but I cannot stop looking at my calender and waiting for May 14th to come. I want to know what the future holds, where Nick and I are going to be and more importantly, if I got into a school!!! I feel like I have 50lbs on each of my shoulders and I cannot shake it off.

Oh future, when will you get here?

xoxo
Gossip Girl

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hipster Love

I must say I am a little obsessed with the concept of being known as "hipster."

This new "Hipster Shore" parody had my me laughing for a long time. I think MTV needs to invest in this show rather than the CRAZY Jersey Shore!

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Been a While

Ok, so I know it's been a LONG time but this last semester REALLY took it out of me. Between all my classes, T.A'ing for two, being the R.A. for two, conferences, publishing articles, getting a book deal for my M.A. thesis and applying to 8 PhD programs, I had a FULL PLATE!!

I cannot seem to leave my slumber of the Midwest/East Coast Vacation I find myself on until Jan 17th, when I am on a plane back to California and the real stress begins. Although I am excited this break has really helped me relax, read and realize that I needed time to just decompress.




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