Friday, October 31, 2008

My philosophy's pretty depressing for women...

The question was posed: Is it possible to honor women without honoring the patriarchy that created the concept of women also? (This is really philosophical, so to any men reading this DO NOT go out and start disrespecting women on account of my writing...its just food for thought) Ok, here it is:

It is difficult to accept that, philosophically, it is impossible to fully respect and honor women without also honoring patriarchy. I say this because as a woman and a feminist, I live my life in hopes of breaking down the constructs of patriarchy in my life and celebrating my femininity. But if the definition of a woman and all she encompasses is constructed by patriarchy, philosophically, she does not exist outside its barriers. So, now I ask myself the question: who and what could I possibly be, if not a “woman”?

A woman, by patriarchal standards, exemplifies weakness, emotionality, motherliness, apprehension, and submission. She exists exclusively as the binary opposite of the man. According to patriarchy, without man, there is no woman, simply because she has no purpose outside of male pleasure and satisfaction. As farfetched as these claims seem, our society has reinforced these ideals of female inferiority.

We, as women, live our lives in false consciousness. We believe we are freely choosing any and every decision we make, whether it be what man to marry, which outfit to wear, or what hairstyle to sport. The problem is that these decisions did not arise from our own biological conscience; they are constructs of androcentrism. As children, we are taught that a real woman desires and eventually marries a man. The first problem with this is that women are forced into heterosexuality before we can even conceptualize sex. As a result, any woman who cannot conform to the hetero expectation becomes an “Other” in society (I say “woman who cannot conform” because I do not believe heterosexuality is biological but is forced, therefore, it can inevitably be resisted by those who are biologically inclined to do so). She suffers, not only the plight of all women qua women, but an added barrier of oppression as well: heterosexism.

The second problem is that marriage in itself is oppressive to women. The concept of marriage originated as a way for men to officially own women. In fact, women were literally considered to be property once a marriage agreement was finalized. Today, women believe we have more freedom than our ancestral sisters, but this is our own false consciousness of the situation. It is still tabooed for two women to be in a committed sexual relationship and the marriage between two women (and two men) is outlawed in most states in the U.S.

The choosing of clothing, as minute as it may seem, generally is a result of patriarchy. Our society (male-dominated society) tells us what to wear in order to attract men. This goes for hairstyles as well. We dress ourselves in what we believe is most attractive to men; therefore we are not freely choosing what we wear. We paint ourselves in chemical-based cosmetics to cover our true beauty and create what is beautiful in the eyes of men. This is not freedom! We have all been forced into this way of thinking, believing, and living.

To answer my earlier question of what I am outside of being a woman, I say that I am whoever my Creator created me to be, and by “Creator”, I mean the High Power who created us all. It is my new belief that the Creator fashioned me with a vagina, uterus, and birthing capabilities, but it did not create a “woman”; I was assigned my role once I entered into this world. My womanhood is social, as is the womanhood of most women. So, by this logic, it would be impossible to honor “women” without honoring the patriarchal force which created the concept of “women”. This is a very philosophical way of viewing this topic; I acknowledge the difficulty in coming to these realizations, both for myself and any woman who reads these pages.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reporter switches up in 3 seconds...

Ok yall, this shyt is hilarious...I'm gonna need some feedback! (It has nothing to do with activism, it's just HELLA funny!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Religious Revelation

You know, I'm having a hard time figuring out how often I should write on this thing, and then it hit me...there's ALWAYS something to write about! So for all you followers, be prepared to get a new post everyday! (ok, maybe not everyday cuz I got shit to do but yall know what I mean,lol)...

So, I was in my Women and Sexuality class the other day (damn I love that class lol) and my professor (the amazingly intelligent woman that she is) raised the point that the book of Revelation in the Bible is NOT to be taken literally....(WHAT????!!!) yeah that was my reaction...well, that and I actually started crying lol. Not because I was upset, but for the first time in my life, I didn't have to be afraid of the "end times"! I mean, if anyone else has grown up SUPER conservative Christian like me, then this would be a pretty big f-ing deal to you too! My entire life has been based on the fear of being "left behind" after the rapture (which, btw, is NOT REAL!!!) God, just writing that statement gives me chills...How could something I've based my life on be a sham? I feel shiested! (that's pronounced shy-sted for anyone who knows the real way to spell that word)

So now, I gotta go through my entire belief system and shave away all the untruths. I mean, there is actually empirical evidence which proves that the way Evangelical Christians interpret the book of Revelation is FALSE! (I have to keep saying that over and over again, not for yall, but more for still hasn't settled with me yet) I mean, can you believe the amounts of oppression that stem from just the fear that Christ will come back some day and actually condemn people to Hell? OH! and HELL? The original Hebrew Bible does not even MENTION a Hell! WTF right? RIGHT! I KNOW! Ok I know for some, this may be any issue where you'd need more documentation than just my lil blog, so I'm gonna post the names of the books my prof gave me on all this stuff. Here's the list:

1. Revelation as Drama
by James Blevins
2. The God We Never Knew: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg
3. The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor
4. Process Theology: An Introduction by David Griffin & John Cobb

So, I'm gonna go out and find those books, read 'em, and let yall know what else I learn. I think it is very important for people to be given the entire picture with regard to religion and its history rather than what they were taught and told to believe...this is all very new to me...Wish me luck as I embark on this new journey in my life! (Cuz its scary!)

"I've left Bethlehem, and I feel free. I've left the girl I was supposed to be, and some day I'll be born." ~Paula Cole

P.S. I would love to hear anyone's responses to this entry because I know it's heavy for some...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tempe12 and an attempt at activism

Ok so I've just come up with my new number 1 rule of activism:

NEVER DRINK AND TRY TO DO ACTIVISM will fail miserably...

That's all I wanna say about last night and my attempt at making the head guy of Tempe 12 calendar aware that his work objectifies women.

You win some, and you lose some...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hasbro's Rose Petal Cottage for little girls

Hello all! So, I'm watching Heroes or something the other night and this commercial comes on (hopefully you've just watched it) pitching a make-believe cottage to little girls, calling it "A place where her imagination can grow". Now, if I had been 15 years younger, I'd have been the first one screaming "I want that, Mommy! For Christmas, pleeeeease!!!". But I'm 21....and can see through the bullshit (yes, that's what that commercial is...bull...shit) Here's why:

It is teaching our young girls that their place of true comfort, relaxation, and creativity is in the home. And not just anywhere in the home, but in the kitchen, laundry room, and nursery. First off, I was a little girl once and I can honestly say to yall that I hated the damn kitchen, AND the laundry room. Cuz I hated doing dishes and washing clothes and I'm pretty sure there are thousands of women today who would agree that doing housework does not equate to the growth of the imagination.

Ok, so about the commercial The entire f-ing thing is PINK! This in itself is suggesting that little girls are somehow connected to the color and all things pink...gross. But honestly, the part of the commercial that got me was when the little girl is putting on her PINK apron and pulling PINK-frosted cupcakes from the oven while the narrator claims that this playhouse is a "place where her dreams have room to grow"......UUGGH! How gross, right? I know!! First off, that statement paired with that scene is a set-up for ultimate brainwashing. Not only will it affect our little girls, but little boys will undoubtedly begin to believe that girls' places are in the kitchen baking cookies....for them. Notice how the little girl does not make the cupcakes for herself, but for her teddy bear. Women are expected to cook and clean for the household, leaving themselves as objects void of basic needs, such as EATING (I think I'm convinced this could be connected to the eating-disorders in young girls...but I dunno yet). I mean think about it! How often do you see a commercial where little girls are eating food......don't worry, I'll wait..............NONE, right? Even when the commercial is for a baking oven or something else disgustingly "feminine" and kitchen-like, the girls themselves are never portrayed actually eating the food. Ok, but this is all beside the point because this commercial is about a playhouse.

So as for the whole scene where the little girl (who I will now call Betty) is moving furniture and "decorating" her space, I say WTF. This again perpetuates that the only things women enjoy is anything having to do with our precious homes...well, I think not! Yes, it is fun to rearrange furniture to best fit one's own comfort, but when the hell are we gonna see Little Timmy doin' that shit? Because, I guarantee there are a plethora of men who love to interior decorate...I know a few myself.

Next, the laundry. Can you believe they have a little girl actually doing laundry on a commercial and calling it "entertaining her imagination"???? What absolute cockamamie bullshit!!! Who imagines doing laundry?! (Raise your hand if you do, I won't judge)....NOBODY, right? RIGHT!
Little girls are getting the impression that housework is all that's out there for them, and I for one am outraged. And not only is this commercial pushing the housework package, but the "motherhood" package on top of it. Little Betty pulls her doll wrapped like Baby Jesus out of a yellow and PINK crib and places it in a bassinet....disgusting only because it feeds into the image of the always-happy-and-passive housewife we so often push onto our women and young girls. There is nothing wrong with mothering, mind you, but there is something fundamentally wrong if it is the only thing Little Betty can look forward to in life. (Does anyone think it's funny that they never portray little girls with screaming and hungry babies on commercials? Cuz that would just be too accurate, right? And it would completely squash the fantasy of being the perfect mother with the perfect silent baby...which doesn't exist).

Ok well I think I'm gonna end this one since one of my critiques about blogging was "shorter entries" lol...But please respond if you are convicted in any way by this commercial. I'd love some feedback!

"Women belong in the house... and the Senate." ~Author Unknown

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My first Blog

Today, I was asked to start a blog of my activism as a here it is! But first, let me introduce myself. Hi, I'm Randa. I'm a Black woman living in a town where 1% of the population looks like me (but that's a whole nother topic). I'm a musician/vocalist and a poet (all of which I need to get back on top of) and I am extremely passionate about women's issues. OK, so that's me! Now to why I started this damn thing in the first place :)

I LOVE making people feel awkward...but more importantly, I love making people think about why it is we do the things we do. I mean, it can be pretty dangerous, but its fun! So anyways, my first big activism event was in Winter '08 when I was one of two Outreach/Activism Coordinators at Oregon State University's Women's Center (is women's not spelled right? I keep getting the red line). I, in my infinite Randa-ness, decided to create awareness about the Darfur genocide and the countless rapes of women and children that were going unreported by (get this) laying in the middle of campus (in the rain, mind you) for four hours. I got maybe 19 other people involved and we laid out in the rain as "dead Darfurians" for a whole four hours. Crazy, right? RIGHT! But it was an experience and it really did raise awareness about the issue. Actually, now that I remember, we held a week's worth of events for Darfur awareness. We held a poetry open mic and had a letter-writing drive at the door; I made "Darfur Awareness Week" buttons for people to where on their whatevers (backpacks, hats, coats, etc.); we handed out cups of Starbucks hot chocolate in the MU Quad with extremely controversial and eye-opening facts about the genocide written on the cups; and we hosted a viewing/discussion of an intense documentary of the genocide at the Women's Center. Wow, that's actually alot of stuff now that I think about it lol. So anyways, that was the beginning.

NEXT, I was coordinator of a Walk Against THIS was fun! A group of 7 women spent an entire school day walking around Corvallis with giant posters of rape statistics (the really ugly ones). I have to say, that was one experience I am extremely proud to have been a part of. In fact, I'll post the video we created of the footage during the Walk. (BTW, we will be holding another one sometime this fall if anyone wants to be a part of it)

So, about the Walk.....

We got alot of stares and people telling us that rape was the woman's fault because women wear tight clothes nowadays (THAT pissed me off and you can see my response to that lil incident in the video). But we also had some GREAT responses. Alot of older men shared their experiences as partners of rape victims who had never really dealt with it. We also got a mom who told us her college-aged daughter was raped at school and she really appreciated our activism. What else? OH! One of our participants nearly got her ass ran over by some outraged man in his car! WTF, right? yeah that's what I said when I heard lol. Overall, that was one good day. We women bonded and even shared our own experiences as survivors of rape and child molestation. See, these are the reasons I do this kind of brings women together! And we need to do anything and everything in our power to continue to bring women together.

Ok, next activism incident....BARACK OBAMA, hehe (I'm crazy for this one)
So Barack Obama held a campaign rally in Eugene, OR last Spring (which would be Spring '08). During that time, I was taking a Women's Studies course called "Sex, Lies, and Motherhood". Well, as you can expect, I had motherhood on the brain and I was pretty pissed about how moms are treated (and how we're ALL expected to become passive stay-at-home moms someday). Soooo, at the rally, when all was silent, I yelled to Obama at the top of my lungs: "PAY OUR MOTHERS!!!!!"
Ok, so I know yall are thinkin' "This b**** is crazy..." But hey, he needed to know that women need to be payed for the work we do in the home!
I bet you wanna know the reaction lol.....well, it kinda stunned him,lol. He brought the mic down and started laughing and looked around the arena for whoever had yelled it. Of course, my entire section knew it was me and I was a tad bit mortified. But shoooot, I'm glad I did it...Its Activism!

So this brings me to my current bit of activism that I'm participating in. I'm taking Women and Sexuality right now (fun fun FUN!) and two days ago, I had an eye-opening realization: I am being lesbian-bated! I've been missing out on the simple pleasures of holding another woman's hand, giving bear hugs to women, and cuddling with women for fear of being called a lesbian! I KNOW, WTF, RIGHT?!! Ok but the surprising thing is that most women are guilty of the same. And so once I realized that I was missin' out on somthin' jus' cuz it might make people feel awkward...shooooot...I was like f*** that! I'll be damned if I don't hold a woman's hand now lol.

So, after class, I held hands through campus with another woman while a third woman acted as our "eyes". Man.....I have never felt so awkward in my life! I felt like an alien.
People were bumpin' into each other trying to get around us for fear of touching the "lesbians". Older women shook their heads, groups of men stared and sneered, and fellow women tried to ignore us. But it gets worse. We walked through campus all the way to Subway on Monroe (yall know bout Subway on Monroe). Once inside, all tact was out the door for these mo-fos. Groups of people literally stood up just to see if we were really holding hands. The sandwich guy tried to ignore our "situation" when I asked him how he felt about it...the whole damn thing was kinda twilight zone-ish. And on top of that, I was having like extreme levels of anxiety the whole time. It felt so weird to hold her hand so long...and the disgusting thing is that if it had been my partner or even another man, there would've been zero anxiety. So the whole time now I'M pissed for not having realized this untapped area of oppression in myself. I mean, it was a really f-ing big deal for me! I couldn't believe that we as women were being robbed of something SO simple! I mean, my damn cats and dog experience non-sexual touching everyday! Why can't we? UUUGHHH!! (this is me being angry)

So yea, it really surprised me that so-called civilized people could all of a sudden switch up and become super-ultra-turbo idiotic. (that's right, I said it lol) Oh, so this takes me to the point of: Lesbians...what's the big deal if they wanna hold hands?? I mean, I don't identify as a lesbian and have no understanding of their struggle, but I have to sucked being glared at and I'm sure it's even more sucky for women who have to experience the real thing day in and day out (in case you were wondering, angry Randa loses her academic way of speech, hence the term "sucky")

Patriarchy has created and instilled this ginormous amount of fear in women and men alike. The LGBTTQQAIIOP... (hehe, alphabet soup) community doesn't get to express affection publicly for fear of ridicule AND the strait crowd doesn't get to do anything that looks remotely close to homosexuality! IT'S ALL SO, for lack of a better term, SUCKY! Well people, it doesn't have to be anymore! We can do something about it. I'll be damned if my future children internalize the same shit I just figured out I had for the last 21 years! So, I implore you all to begin with the little things in our steps. We can all be activists in some way or other. Together, we can make a difference, people! (Wow, how motivational speaker of me to end this way...I'm jus gonna do it)