Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Call Me a Bitch

This quote is about the situations women face involving inappropriate behavior, such as catcalling, unwanted touching, and other forms of male aggression.

I posted this quote and received the following comment:
"But then people get on you for being a bitch and it becomes another problem. Gotta find a middle ground."

No. No women don't have to find middle ground when faced with sexism and misogyny. Finding middle ground requires respect. No one who calls me a bitch for standing up for myself is interested in finding middle ground. This comment also implies that when a man calls a woman a female dog, she should internalize that comment and adjust her behavior to his liking.

Some men have the audacity, as a result of growing up in a society that endows them with privilege, to believe that they can treat women any way they want without consequence. They believe that degrading women by calling them names or otherwise implying that a woman who commands or demands respect is undesirable is a legitimate way to empower themselves. When women talk about the issues we face, they come in to our spaces to argue against the importance or even the existence of these issues.

A friend of mine posted another quote shortly after I posted the one above.

It's not only the culture mired in patriarchy that contributes to the issues women face; it's a culture mired in ignorance. The same person who implied that being called a bitch is somehow a woman's problem later denied the existence of rape culture but doesn't understand the concept of date rape.

Anyone who is truly interested in furthering the cause of equality and in empowering men and women will take the responsibility to inform themselves seriously. Anyone who expects me to take them seriously will undertake that responsibility with respect. Otherwise, prepare to meet a bitch who doesn't care what you call her.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bathroom Things

While scrolling through my feed this week, I came across a post saying that talking about the "bathroom things" is not good political strategy in one person's opinion. That talking about it, "helps us lose."

In the words of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, "This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms. This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and a country, have enacted to protect them - indeed, to protect all of us. And it's about the founding ideals that have led this country - haltingly but inexorably - in the direction of fairness, inclusion, and equality for all Americans."

Republicans are using fear and discrimination to rally support from their base in order to increase their chances of winning in November. They are using the most vulnerable and marginalized among us as their pawns and not caring if they are sacrificed. To them, it's just a game.

We must ask ourselves, is this what we are? Are we merely opponents playing the same game? Are our actions just moves in an attempt to win a round?

Real people are hurt by the "bathroom things." They are hurt by  the bullying and discrimination that leads to depression and suicide and violence. There are people advocating carrying guns and even using pepper spray against transgender people who enter a bathroom. This is not a game.

The battles we've fought for civil rights in this country have never been easy. The victories that have led to expanded rights and opportunities for our neighbors have come from those with the courage to take a stand. They've come as a result of bloodshed and imprisonment. They have come at the expense of lost friendships, broken family bonds, and yes, even lost elections. They've not come instantly, but as a result of being patient and persistent. They've come from those who have had the strength to march on, even when what's right is not what's popular.

Now, our President has shown the courage to talk about the "bathroom things" and stand up for all public school students across the country. In doing this, President Obama has not only shown his willingness to fight against bullying and discrimination, but that he believes in all of us. He believes we will also demonstrate the courage of our convictions and stand up to those who refuse to acknowledge that a trans woman is a woman and a trans man is a man. He believes we will stand up whenever someone starts talking about "boys in the girls' bathroom." President Obama believes that we will march on.

Yes, the stakes in this election are high. We must do our part to elect representatives that will continue to protect and expand civil rights. But we must also look forward to the elections of the future. There was a time when people advocated segregated water fountains. Now, saying something like that in public is almost unheard of because enough people, over time, became members of the chorus of voices speaking out against those kinds of discriminatory actions and attitudes. It took time, but we changed the reality millions of Americans have to deal with in their daily lives, and it has been reflected in our politics.

Regardless of the outcome of this or any election, we will march on. It's not enough to say, "We are not this." We also have to define who we are.

Yes we can.