Archive for March, 2008

27
Mar
08

What I needed from Hillary…

Tonight marks the first moment where I am seriously considering becoming an Obama supporter. Sure, I looked enviously at my peers who seemed enamored by the boy-wonder and wished, every now and then, to feel the same for HRC. But for the most part, I was ok with the fact that she didn’t really rile me up, she just felt like a good, solid choice.

But something has changed. Hillary, what happened?

What’s with the dirty tactics? The snide remarks? The we’re-really-not-that-different-but-I’m-better-and-besides-it’s-my-turn? I was ok with not being ecstatic or enamored with your campaign, but when I started to get that queasy sinking feeling I had to question things a bit deeper.

When the campaigns first started I was excited about the prospect of a heated battle. And then, I was enraged. I found it infuriating how you were treated differently and unfairly because of your gender. How it was simply a-ok to air a woman calling you a “bitch” (it came from another WOMAN, much to the TV network’s delights!) and to have people completely discount your accomplishments as simply a way to catch up to your hubby. I looked on admiringly and thought about how well you had kept your composure (throughout all of those messes), how you’d raised a successful and confident daughter, and how (I’ll admit it was a bit delightful) men seemed to fear you. I thought, here it is, we are finally ready, we can finally do this. Women deserve this.

But then…

The articles and op-ed pieces trickled in. Obama is the preferred candidate overseas…Obama presents a clear economic plan…Obama has the power to bring people to the polls…and, even as the commentary started pouring in I thought, meh, O-blah-ma.

But dammit I want to feel excited. I want to feel that my interpretation of patriotism is taking hold. I want to feel that something NEW and exciting is happening in our country, that we are getting out of the rut of the same-ol-same-ol. I’m not naive enough to think that Obama is a complete 180, I know better than that. He has, after all, been successful in a very flawed system, no doubt by figuring out how to use that system to his advantage. I needed to see that in you.

And no, I’m not talking about how I needed you to be a more “personable” and “soft” woman. I find it tremendously convoluted that you’ve had to simultaneously denounce your femininity, project your masculinity, embrace your femininity, and deny your masculinity all at once. It’s exhausting to be a powerful woman, clearly. But Hil, I think I wanted you to just come out and say it. I think I wanted you to fearlessly have a heart-to-heart with us, I wanted you to say, “You know what, this is bullshit.” “I’m a woman, a mother, a politician, a wife, a hard-worker, an upper class Manhattanite, and a ball-buster.” “If you elect me, this is what you get.” Hil, I didn’t want to see you revert to the old tactics. Don’t you know? This is a new campaign, a new generation of voters, that stuff just won’t fly.

Of course, I want to honor the hard-working feminist women who came before me, those who worked tirelessly so that I can sit here and freely blog about these topics, advocate for emergency contraception, attend any school I want and, hell, even vote! And I thought to myself, how could I not vote for you? How could I slap my foremothers in the face like that? But you know what? I expect more from our first woman president, perhaps more than I expect from any male president. Maybe that’s not fair, I don’t know. But I want her to be someone I can really be proud of, someone who has put up with years of shit (as I know you have) and says “I’m not gonna play that way.” Someone with the ovaries to really risk it all for what she believes in. Someone who was willing to have faith in a country who, clearly, was not ready for her.

Was that too much to ask?

The reality is that it doesn’t much matter what I think (in terms of votes). My voting days in the primaries are long past, and I get to just watch as things unfold. No matter who wins, I’ll support them. I’m certainly not foolish enough to think that somehow 4 years of McCain is any sort of viable alternative. And the truth is, I’m not sure I’m at a point where I can get ecstatic for Obama (I often felt shamed by the Obamanites and just can’t shake that). I guess I feel left out in the cold. And I’m wondering how many other intelligent, hard-working, loving, emotional, firebrand, battle-axe, what-have-you women are out there feeling the same way…?

~LRC

(ps. yes, the image is supposed to be ironic, mkay?)

(pps. i’d also like to add that i think it is truly incredible that this election has caused this much strife over who to support. maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad. i don’t know. but in the past it has just felt like we all voted for the least evil and then went about our business. at least this has been exciting. and tremendously thought provoking. that’s what we’ve been waiting for, ya?)

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26
Mar
08

Women’s History Month

…and I haven’t done my part.

But yesterday, while lecturing in class, I asked my students how many knew who Gloria Steinem was. Out of a class of 50 undergrads, 2 raised their hands. In a moment of exasperation I lowered my head and said “this is the disconnect the first wavers are talking about!” — that was met with blank stares. Anyway, while spending a few days lecturing on whether Freud was dead, I found myself walking home and thinking, is feminism dead? Between the recent articles pronouncing the end of women’s studies, and the battle for existing women’s studies departments to retain their autonomy, it seems as though the importance of feminism and women’s studies is being missed. The ironic part of it is that we are also in a historical moment where a woman and black man are the leading candidates for president and it is becoming increasingly clear that gender bias is somehow more tacitly accepted than race bias.

Feminism, and women’s studies, opened the gates for a variety of other disciplines that problematize the myriad of other “-isms” we face: queer studies, race studies, critical theory, and feminist tons of feminist (re)interpretations and (re)presentations of theories and fields conceptuatlized by men/patriarchy (ahem, Freud).

So, I came across this video, posted on Salon.com’s Broadsheet. It is a new promo video for the Feminist Majority Foundation. I think it’s funny that part of making feminism “ok” or “cool” is to make sure we say that feminists have good sex. But whatever. I suppose we are, after all, a society fairly obsessed with sex, even though we know that feminists have better relationships.

Oh, and this video provides yet another reason for loving Ugly Betty and its cast.

And you know how after a YouTube video plays it always shrinks down and has along the bottom a series of other related videos? Well, I found this next one which was inspiring and led me to the parent site “Antigone Magazine

Enjoy!

25
Mar
08

Yeah, I know people…

It’s nice to know famous people…or in this case, people with famous hands.

Through only one degree of separation, I know Colleen, a fantastically creative gal who works in the publishing biz. Colleen was bored at work and made a video about one of Roaring Brook’s new books, ABC3D by Marion Bataille. The video was picked up by a typography blog and from there it got lots of hits via YouTube. On Tuesday, the video was featured on all MySpace user’s homepages. Now, thanks to Colleen’s fancy hand(wo)manship and fab selection of a soundtrack, the video has launched advanced sales of the new book (that doesn’t come out until October) so much so that it is now ranked #41 on Amazon.com’s bestseller list (for ALL books, not just kids books!).

Anyway, it looks like just about the damn coolest way to learn the alphabet EVER.

Wahoo, Colleen!

13
Mar
08

KEXP is coming to NYC!

And I am oh-so excited! See this page for more info.

09
Mar
08

International Women’s Day

…was yesterday. But you know, I always like belated birthday presents because they sort of extend the holiday a bit, so let’s think of belated blog posts as serving the same purpose.

The following summary is from the official IWD web-page:

2000 – 2007
IWD is now an official holiday in Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

(Sure would be nice to have it as an official holiday in the US)

I don’t have a whole lot to say about IWD, except that I’m glad it exists and look forward to a day when we can simply celebrate women’s achievements rather than hope for more (you know, when all the -ism struggles are out the window). I’m not sure if that’ll happen in my lifetime. But when I feel a bit downtrodden I love to watch this speech by Isabelle Allende (I think I may have posted it before, but I’m not sure, apologies if I did). So, in honor of IWD and women everywhere, enjoy this video (and many others on “Ted”):

08
Mar
08

A picture worth at least 1,000 words

Because I’m an ardent fan of Dan McAdam’s “Life Story” approach to research, my first thought when I saw this flyer was to create a story or caricature of the individual behind it. I so desperately want to know who posted this, the intrigue is overwhelming. Anyway, JPR pointed this sign out to me while we were in Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville. Those of you who are creative-writing types in need of a little inspiration might find it here. Imagine the character!

08
Mar
08

Grrrl Rock

“Girls Rock! The movie” was released yesterday. I’m VERY excited about this movie. Reviews have been so-so, but the trailer moved me to tears. And, of course, Carrie from S-K is involved, so I’ve got to see it.

The movie is basically a documentary following the Rock Camp for Girls in the Northwest. A number of other camps exist around the nation and the website has tons more information.
Advanced tix can be purchased on their website: http://www.girlsrockmovie.com/

I love the trailer, and I’m now inspired to name my daughter Palace. Because any girl of mine needs to be fierce indeed!




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