Yet another post about feminism

Note: This post does not attempt to convince you to vote for any particular person.

Over the last few weeks the political circus has reached a pace so fast and loud that it is dizzying.  Attack ads on the television, blog posts and newspaper articles online, friends talking and arguing with each other. . . it’s all starting to make my head hurt.  I love following politics, especially during presidential election years.  I love listening to the different points of view, considering what kind of people (not class, kind) would vote for which candidates.  I almost always know exactly who I will be voting for within a hot second of candidates announcing themselves, and it only takes me a few minutes longer than that to make my reasons coherent.

I love reading about this stuff, watching the news, listening to NPR coverage of events and results.  I enjoy conversations with people about their points of view, whether or not they align with mine.  I think dialogue is integral to both democracy and true understanding of the issues.  I usually care more about the respect involved in the conversation than the actual point of view shared (with a few exceptions.  Basic human decency and a lack of bigotry are required).  I was raised to have points of view of my own, to discuss them openly, to ask questions, and to try to make the most informed decision that I can.

All this brings me to the point of this post, and the reason that my blood has been boiling more often than not for the last week: feminism.

Yeah, ok, this is yet another post-Steinem and Albright feminist post.

Part of what has prompted me to seriously consider feminism and what it means to me were the horribly badly planned and misguided comments by these two incredible women.  They proved that even the most idealistic and determined advocates make mistakes.  I am terribly disappointed in them, but I also do not believe that they are forever discredited.  This situation is not what really started me thinking though.  What started me contemplating feminism, and how rife with conflict the whole movement is, is Hillary Clinton.

Since the beginning of primary season, let’s say since last summer, I have been trying to understand why people are so anti-Hillary.  While I understand certain reservations about her, the most constant complaint has been “She’s so sleazy.  I don’t trust her.  How could I, after those emails and Benghazi and ohmygoodness I can’t trust a woman who would stay with her husband after a situation like that!”  Instead of listing actual problems with her stance on issues, like they would with a male candidate (and I hear an awful lot on that front about Bernie), people bring up her personal life and actions that have been proven to be in the public sphere because the far right wanted to discredit her.  I don’t know about you, but those don’t seem like real reasons.  In fact, they have nothing to do with policy or qualifications.

They have to do with how people view women.

When, in 2007, it was announced that the Bush administration had used email accounts through the RNC (a probably misguided but not illegal thing to do), there was no big scandal.  The news hit the cycle, and people basically shrugged it off.  They had used the wrong email accounts, emails were lost, and it was in conjunction with the surprise firing of U.S. Attorneys.  There was no major media backlash.  Sure, it was 2007 and the great internet machine had not fully reached the roar that it is at today, but just looking at the coverage from major media outlets and newspapers is proof enough.  It was given a nod, it was a minor hiccup, and it was done.

Now, compare that to how people responded to the Clinton email issues.  As the article I linked to above points out, the brewhaha surrounding Clinton was not about legality.  It was a political stunt aimed at discrediting her.  And as much as I would like to think that people can and would see through that, it appears I am wrong.

People, both men and women, feminists and not, are eager to dismiss Clinton as “scary” and “untrustworthy” and “fake” because of actions totally typical in American politics.  Not that political wordplay is ok, but when men do it it’s not hauled out on the mat for a beating.  When men pander they are rebuked for it, people dismiss them, but that’s that.  The only pandering I have seen that caused anything close to this sort of commotion was Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, when he couldn’t keep track of what he believed in.  And even then it was more comical than a breach of trust.

While trying to process all of this I have witnessed friends falling into the sexism inherent in the anti-Hillary camp.  I don’t care if you agree with her or not, if you would vote for her or not touch her with a ten foot pole.  All I care about is that people treat her with the same respect they would treat a man.  The fact that she is where she is today is incredible.  She is of an age where her accomplishments are extraordinary.  As much as women my age feel like we have to work hard to scramble through life because of men ignoring us, women Hillary’s age had to fight even more.  She is an impressive figure, and I applaud her tenacity and persistence.  The people shouting anti-Hillary rhetoric the loudest are the people who base their opinion in sexism.  Instead of realizing that they don’t trust her because we as a society do not trust outspoken, strong, “ambitious” women, they claim they don’t trust her because of emails.  Instead of acknowledging that her thorough entrenchment in DC politics is because she is excellent at politics as it is done in America, people say she is terribly untrustworthy simply because she is a politician.  And yes, politicians have a penchant for not saying what they actually mean and not following through, but that is a common problem.  She is no worse than the rest for that.

I have read several articles about feminism and Hillary Clinton today, but two of them resonated with me.  One is pro-Hillary, one is pro-Bernie.  Both are respectful, pertinent, and fervently feminist.  Both understand that not everyone agrees with that point of view, yet both refuse to back down from their stance.  But, most importantly, both amplify just how ridiculous it is to be anti-Hillary because she isn’t trustworthy.  She comes across as not trustworthy because she is good at what she does.  Good for her.  She is incredibly successful.

It makes me sad when I see people declaring they will never support Hillary Clinton for reasons that are so quantifiably not reasons.  Say you don’t like that she supported the Patriot Act, say you don’t like the Iran sanctions, say you don’t think her plan for making college affordable is feasible.

But please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t say it’s because of the damn emails.



Remember me? A new year with a continuing me

Oh my goodness, where to start.

Hey guys, if you’re out there. I’m not dead. In fact, I’m very much the opposite. It’s been an absolutely insane few months though, and at points in there I felt like I was drowning.

Grad school is hard, man. No, I’m not surprised by that, but it’s staggering how much energy it takes. But, here I am on the other side of the semester, grades in hand, and another three weeks of vacation before the new semester starts.

And I already have a to-do list for the new semester, on top of my lists for life. Oh, and wedding planning? Apparently I need to do that too. Hah.

Excuse me while I go panic in a box somewhere. Maybe I’ll run away with the Doctor and save the universe instead. That would be less stressful than life these days.

While I was gone from this here blog thing so many things happened. I continued fife and drum, kept up teaching the munchkins (sort of, that tapered off there), went to school, celebrated my roommate’s birthday, celebrated my Dad’s birthday, dealt with every day relationship stuff while the lovely fiancé worked full time and also went to school….

**He’s my hero. He works so hard, doesn’t complain about it, and gets basically no sleep. I admire him so much.**

Anyway, lots of stuff went on. And now it’s a new year! I’m so excited for 2016, I can’t wait to see how it tops 2015. And, let’s face it, 2015 was a pretty epic year for me.

I learned how to say no and change my mind, despite pressure to stay the course. I went on tour with MCV, and connected more with reenacting as a hobby. I started a new grad school program, I freaking got engaged! I feel more a person as a whole than I ever have. I’m more sure of myself, my opinions, and my direction than I ever have been.

So, for 2016, I’m actually making 1 resolution: make goals for myself.

Yes, my resolution – a type of goal – is to make goals.

I’ve never been one for making goals, and when I do I swiftly drop them. I don’t follow through, or find a better way of achieving what I want (or I decide what I wanted doesn’t actually matter and settle for laziness). This time is different. I’m going to create goals that allow me to grow and enjoy myself as a person. For accountability’s sake I’m going to post them here, so that at least I can look back and see how things go.

So, in no particular order: Beff’s goals for 2016

  1. I am going to follow the Tone It Up New Year’s challenge. I’m going to devote the next 8 weeks to working out and clean eating. I’m going to nourish myself with sweat and veggies, and maybe even lose the weight I’ve put on since beginning the whole grad school fiasco 1.5 years ago
  2. I am going to read more. I used to read all the time, but as school has become more demanding I have read less. By the end of high school I hadn’t read a book for fun, start to finish, for over a year. But I love reading. I love how I can lose myself in different sorts of stories. So this year I am going to read at least 20 books for fun.
  3. I am going to keep my living space tidier. For my fiancé’s sake and my own, we need more organization and space in our room. I can learn to better do my part and put my stuff away!
  4. I will write blog posts more frequently. While writing a blog is not integral to any of the things I do in my life right now, I do enjoy having an outlet. I missed writing these last four months! Why should I neglect to keep up with something I enjoy??
  5. I am going to actually complete my master’s degree.

SO here I am. 2016 is going to be a great year!!

Feminist Fatigue

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess

atentdeadYou may have noticed that blogday has been missing for a couple of weeks. I have no excuse for this – I wasn’t moving house (thank goodness – I’ve already done that 5 times since starting this blog) or on holiday or ill or anything special at all.  Well, I had a few exams and was prioritising revision, but if I am brutally honest with myself the revision was a blessed excuse not to write.

I didn’t write because…I had nothing to say.

Not that there wasn’t anything going on in the world that I could have written about, or that nothing made me angry, or that nothing happened, or either that I didn’t have any ideas to write about. I just couldn’t get my brain in the right space to sit down and write. It all felt too huge, too complicated, too pointless, too much of a struggle. With…

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Repeat after me: Athleticism is beauty. Athleticism is beauty. Athleticism is beauty. Athleticism is beauty…


Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, just won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon.


For the sixth time, actually.

That’s like, five times. And then again. For a total of six times.


Serena Williams is one of the great athletes of our time, and one of the greatest tennis players ever. But alongside the story of her win, what else does the New York Times– the paper of record—see fit to print? This story.

In this story ,“Tennis’s Top Women Balance Body Image with Ambition”, many of the world’s top women players interviewed said, in effect, that having the muscular world-class athletic bodies they have makes them feel “unfeminine”, as 14th-ranked Andrea Petkovic said.

“People say, ‘Oh, you’re so skinny, I always thought you were huge,’ ” she said. “And then I feel like there are 80 million people in Germany who…

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5 Things Cis People Can Actually Do For Trans People (Now That You Care About Us)

The (Trans)cendental Tourist

It’s been a weird year for trans people.

Allow me to be more specific: It’s been a heated, daring, tumultuous, graphic, specularizing, aggressive, pointed,contentious, highlyfatal, and really, really complicated year for trans people.

Here are a few examples: Kristina Gomez Reinwald, Ty Underwood, Lamia Beard, and many othertranswomen of color have been brutally murdered at the hands of lovers, family members, and strangers.Meanwhile,Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have come to fame and exhibited incrediblefeats of grace, articulation, and poignancy under the gaze ofan eager media. Blake Brockington, Leelah Alcorn, Taylor Alesana, and many other transgender youth have committed suicide afterenduring endless bullying and systematic brutality. Meanwhile, Jazz Jennings became the new face of Clean & Clear and published a children’s picture book about her life, and teen trans couple Arin Andrews and KatieHill (best known for “Can You Even Believe They’re Trans?!” types of headlines) wrote and published individual books…

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Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess’s 9 super sex tips

Yes to this. All of this. These are possibly the best sex tips and illustrations I have ever seen. Yeeesssssss!

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess

So someone sent me a link to this article, based on a book, about sex tips written for men by a gay woman. As much as I see that it’s well meant, and well intentioned, something about it really bugged me – and it’s similar to something I discussed a few weeks ago.

Women are not all the same.

Women are complex individuals, just like men are complex individuals. Women have as different desires, wishes, kinks, bugbears, irritations and dislikes from each other as men do. I get profoundly irritated by statements such as “women like X” or “it feels good when you touch a woman like Y on her Z” because you simply can’t make sweeping statements about all women based on what you think, or on what your experience of women in your life is, or if you’re a woman, on what you like.  While you…

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man-brain smash!

I love everything about this. Also, go look at this blog. Right now.

Lemon Peel

So I’m going to keep this brief. I’ve already spent too much of my life arguing against the utter crock of shit that generally exudes from Simon Baron-Cohen’s person. If you want to read arguments about autism and empathy, I literally would like you to just Google “autistic,” “blog,” and “empathy” (not “autism and empathy,” because we all know what happens when you do that). You can also look for posts on Diary Of A Mom that contain the word “empathy,” and those will also help. Now that that’s been said, I can get on with things.

IMG_1892  IMG_1893

Caption: The pictures are of the front and back covers of Simon Baron-Cohen’s most recent book, The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty (Yes, I’m serious). The front cover has the title, the author, and a blurb from (of course) the New York Times that reads “A simple…

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