Wednesday, May 28, 2014

i am a woman, therefore i have been harassed, followed by strangers, sexually assaulted, and belittled.

there is a lot of traffic in my mind tonight.

like the rest of the country, i've been reading and hearing a lot about the shootings in isla vista last week. i've read the debates about patriarchy's effect vs mental illness, heard terrible things said blaming women for teasing guys and leading them on, blah blah blah, the whole nine yards internet thing. 

i've also been on a ted talks kick, listening to my favorite topics, women, gender, gay rights, sexuality, feminism. ya know, just exposing remington to the good stuff. 

it's been a lot of information to consider. i've heard stories of women who have been abused by their partners, gang raped, women who rescue children from the sex trade, and women who've undergone genital mutilation. 

then of course, the recent, shocking news of the shootings. 

one of my friends posted this story about a sundanese woman sentenced to death for refusing tore renounce her christianity, with a caption saying something like, it's 2014, how are these things still happening? 

i feel so angry. 

how the hell are these things still happening? 

how have we not all agreed on what the problem is. how have we not all come together and decided to change the way we think about women. how have we not educated our sons, brothers, fathers on what patriarchy does. 

how is it that just a few years ago when i was at the fire station, the topic was about if a woman teases  a man sexually, that she isn't allowed to change her mind about having sex with him. 

literally, a man said to me, "if she is going to be a tease about it, she can't go back. when we're at the point of actually having sex, it's too late for her to change her mind." 

a grown man, a firefighter, a father, a respected part of the community, hell, a person i liked

how are we raising generation after generation of boys to feel entitled to women. to think it's acceptable to hit, grope, harass, rape, assault, and even shoot women. (and other men.) 

or even the smaller things, that are still an enormous part of the problem. 

like when an older man driving by while i was out for a run stopped in the middle of the road, asked for my number, and when i wouldn't give it to him, he followed me for several blocks. i was too scared to run home, for fear he'd know where i lived and stalk me (or worse) so i kept running and running and tried to ignore his catcalls. 

like when a man working at a version wireless booth in the mall asked me to go out to his car and give him a blow job in his backseat. this was a man i didn't know, who i was talking to for the first time. 

like when my boss while i was working for a newspaper waited until we were alone and then remarked on how my big my breasts were. 

like how the youth program in my church taught me that my modesty determined the self control of the boy. 

like the way i'm nervous to walk to my car in the dark when i'm leaving the gym, and i keep my keys clutched in my hands if i need to stab an assailant. 

like how in high school, groups of boys would ask me to show them my breasts on a weekly basis. inside the actual high school. and when i wouldn't let one of them feel me up at a track meet, he made up a story about "getting some from me" and told everyone. 

like when i was being assessed by a male psychiatrist and he was asking me about my sexual assault. he asked who he was, and i told him an older boy who i'd had a crush on. he condescendingly asked, "how could you like someone who was assaulting you?" 

speaking of the sexual assault, how did a boy feel like he had a right to my body, no matter what i said? how did he feel it was acceptable to tell me afterwards that my friend had nicer breasts than me. how did his friends allow him to take me behind closed doors, when they were standing right outside and knew what he was going to do to me, knew it was against my will. 

i have enough of these stories to fill a book. i know that you do, too. 

people will talk, say things like, "that shooter was a psychopath. he had a mental illness. we need better gun control." 

1 in 4 women. that's how many will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. 
and i'd be willing to bet my life that you can't find a single woman who has never felt harassed or afraid in the presence of a man. 
why is it so hard for us to address the real issue here, that misogyny and patriarchy are the culprits.
could this all have something to do with the way women are sexualized and objectified? the way women are portrayed as the prize you win in movies, music, video games? how men are expected to be tough and solve problems with their fists. 

i'm not trying to man bash. i am lucky to have many great men in my life, and i'm sure you are too. patriarchy also harms men. men aren't just violent with women, they are violent to other men. they rape other men. patriarchy tells men they don't have self control. that they are entitled. that they can't show emotion or weakness. don't be a girl. these don't have to be truths for men. 
(and yes i know that women can rape and abuse others, too.) 

stop teaching boys and girls that the girl's modesty is in charge of the boy's self control. 
stop saying "you throw like a girl." "don't be a girl." "you're crying like a little girl." why is it the worst thing for a little boy to be anything like a girl? what does that say about what it means to be a girl? 
stop saying that boys will be boys. 
if someone makes a joke belittling women, speak up. tell them why you don't like that. 
teach your sons how important it is to have empathy and that it's okay to show your feelings, to have feelings. 

the isla vista shooter didn't just wake up one morning and feel like killing people. 
basically just read this article.  and if you haven't, check out the #yesallwomen hashtag. also this article hit home for me. 

also, this is really awful. 

now that i have destroyed all your hope in humanity and now that you are as angry as i am, listen to this ted talk and i promise you will be filled with hope again. and know that if we all speak up, talk about our experiences, and have those uncomfortable but important conversations with everyone we know, like the argument i had with those firefighters about rape, which they finally ended up understanding, (but only when their captain came in and told them he'd eff up any man who did that to his daughter, but at least the point got across, even if it did have to come from another man in authority, because my opinion meant nothing) things will change. 

things have to change. 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

in which i complain about my relatively great life.

i fell off the blogging train.
well actually i had a sucky month and i didn't really feel like talking about it.
not all of it was bad, but for the most part last month i have just felt really sad. not going to get into the dirty details, but travis and i have been having an epically long fight, like the longest ever about whether or not he is going to join the national guard. i'm not trying to travis-bash here for the record. it's not his fault i have issues with the people i love leaving me and that his wanting to join makes me think he wants to leave me and is bored with me. anyway, we are in a good place now and probably exciting things will be happening pretty soon here. i'm sure once they are all figured out i'll write it all down.

also, sex heals many marital wounds. it's magical. holding sex grudges isn't worth it.

anyway, here are the past month's phone pictures.

on rem's birthday i put out all the toys from his party so that when he woke up, they would be waiting for him. he was pretty amazed.


on travis's 26th birthday. he was in hazmat school all day but we spoiled him the rest of the time.

remy got his first ear infection! amazing that his ears have been so good because trav and i both had to have tubes.

sunday nappers.

another sucky thing last month, my kitty of 15 years had to be put down. i said goodbye to my friend who was there for all the good and tough parts of my life. if i keep going, i'll probably cry all over the keyboard, so i'm going to move on and explain that this picture shows us picking out a new kitten. (to live at my mom's house.) we ended up picking another black and white that looks a lot like pepper did. every time i see him at my parents, for a split second, i think it's my kitty.
remy likes having a new fluffy friend though.

this winter we finished our basement so that my friend and old roommate could move in. she is just as badass in person as she is in this picture. roxanne miller, phd student at byu. it's been really nice to have another adult in the house, especially with how much travis is gone.

our gardener hard at work.

i'm growing my hair back out. i googled a butt ton of stuff about how to grow out a pixie cut without too much grief, but i think no matter what you just have to hunker down and embrace the mullet. it's actually not so bad with my naturally curly hair; i mostly look like i have an afro. which i've always wished to have. we'll see how awkward it all gets.

remington melts my heart. he has a very sensitive personality. he cries if you wrestle in front of him. he hugs little kids who are upset. he loves to kiss and snuggle his stuffed animals. and lately he really likes taking care of "babies."

my son has several dolls.
when we sing nursery rhymes, we switch up the words so that they are gender neutral and so that remy gets the idea that boys and girls are equal.
(seriously some nursery rhymes are pretty disturbing. who knew?)
it's incredible how we assign gender roles to these tiny humans. i hear it all the time from family, from strangers at walmart, from neighbors.

"oh he doesn't hold still. he's definitely a boy."
"oh he is playing with dirt. definitely a boy."

other things like that. shirts for boys tend to say things like, "tough like daddy."

i don't want to teach remy that because he's a boy he has to be tough. that because he's a boy he has to be anything. i want him to feel comfortable being any way that he is, whether it's a star athlete straight-as-an-arrow football star, or a boy who likes other boys, or a sensitive guy who writes poems.   i'm way too tired to go on about this very interesting topic, so google it if you want more about gender roles in children. also this was a cool article.

*stepping off soapbox and moving on

his favorite game to play right now, cooking and letting you taste it. and making a mess of every room in the house.

what a treat it's been to play outside every day.

visiting daddy at the fire station.

keepin' it real. for mother's day, i treated myself to a fancy in-office teeth whitening. i figured i'd earned it with the whole pregnancy ruining my teeth thing. they sent me home with some do it yourself whitening as well, so trav gets some pretty sexy pictures of my nightly brightening ritual.
isn't he lucky to come home to this.

some pretty spectacular men's shorts.

for mother's day, travis and remy got me a climbing harness! best gift ever.

my mama opening her gift from us kids, a fancy fossil purse and wallet.

mother's day.
i'm going to be totally honest and tell you that mother's day was kind of a let down.
trav was at the station, and he got switched to a different station at the last minute and they weren't doing any kind of mother's day dinner or anything like the station where he was supposed to be. so mother's day was pretty much like every other day being a single parent. more poops for you, no sleeping in.

trav definitely did his best by taking me for a massage saturday morning, and taking me to dinner and the fun gift.

basically i was a huge whiner in my head all day on mother's day.

yes i know i should just be thankful i am a mother.
yes i tried to make it all about my mother and travs mom.

sometimes being married to a firefighter just blows.
mostly i am so damn idealistic, so i pictured breakfast in bed and remington bringing me flowers he picked for me and travis waiting on me hand and foot.

maybe next year right?

the other day as i was pulling out of the driveway, two deer were standing there on the hill behind our house! if you look really hard in the middle of this picture right on the strip of yellow grass, you can see one of them running away. love where we live.

repotting our avocado tree. remy loves to "help."


roxanne and remington have become best pals. he runs to her every time she comes home and as you can see from this picture, she enjoys being around him too.

at the library for wiggle worm time. oh mommyland. :)

double fist mowing action.

love the cuddles. the older he gets, the more he likes to snuggle me.

sweet pot belly.

i bought this beauty at the daybreak garage sale. $30 in quarters and dimes. i sat on the cement with remy counting change and i'm pretty sure everyone thought i was loony. a couple of young boys came up and asked, "wow! how do you have so much money!" my piles of quarters were impressive, i guess.

another sucky month event, catching some kind of terrible virus and spending a few nights in the ER.
completely losing it and thinking i was pregnant again. i'll probably write a post about this some time soon.

self medicating. these bad boys are each a quart. when the sales person rang me up, she said, "well these will last you at least a month!"
yeah, it's been five days and i'm almost done with one of them. ...

love this stinker.

baby brother zane played a set at art's fest so we went to watch. remy was entranced with the orchestra. (he may have been the only one.)

finally my dining room is coming together.

 bike rides every day.

remy petting slapping his new friend sebastian.

my big DIY project. (the new turquoise knobs i bought last night, not pictured.) all together, cost $50 for the furniture, paint and supplies, and new hardware.

ER croup visit with remington last week. we racked up some awesome ER bills with 3 visits in a week. also, remy and i fell down the stairs the day before this and the fire department came to our rescue. we had a medical filled week.

easily the best part of the month, finding remy's bike seat on ksl classifieds and going for daily rides. he loves "driving" the bike and i love that my legs are going to be pure muscle in a month.

a tough month, but it's over now.
i've probably whined about it long enough.

maybe in the next few days i will find time to post something that has actual writing in it, instead of a flimsy overview and low quality phone pictures.

love, the whiner weiner.


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