Not Everything is Everything.

So I’ve been thinking. And I came to a conclusion that no matter how much I share in common with feminists in the conventional definition, I don’t want to participate in much of any discussions in those regards. And when I say I’m a feminist, I feel like I have to explain that I mean it in the original and traditional sense of women having equal footing with men.

But if you are going to start discussing the patriarchy with me, I will shut down and walk away. Because the more I do so, the more I see that women, in a lot of ways, have themselves to blame for the definition of feminism shifting every which way. The women themselves are also to blame for the lack of unity that I often see develop in feminism-oriented community. Women themselves are also to blame for their own lack of cohesion, and lack of perspective of the longer view of feminism and the accomplishments related to that.
As someone who doesn’t relate to women and generally stays away from people, I get the perception of looking from the outside in. I see both sides of social behavior. And I can’t excuse either side from their own shortcomings, and must lay a sizable portion of the blame at the feet of the feminists themselves.

When I look at the progression of feminism in the US, I don’t see a progression. Not in the least. It’s nothing  more than fracturing and segmenting, with only a few examples of feminist leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton serving as reminders of what feminism had started out as: the idea that women and men should be on an equal footing. And I no longer see that in the feminism of this country. I see it broken up into…I can’t quite say sects, but it’s the only word that’ll suit…but those small groups and subdivisions tweak and adjust the original meaning of feminism to the degree that it makes me say, “What is this?!”

It goes to say something that, in the largely male-dominated world of jazz music, I’ve encountered problems with maybe – maybe! – three men, as opposed to a far greater number of women. In an earlier post, I detailed some of my grievances as a female photog: people think of me as a groupie, assume that I’m blowing someone to get free admission, assume I’m sleeping with an artist if they’re paying me for my work…the list goes on. I mentioned that if people see me looking cute in a black dress, the first assumption is that I’m banging someone, and someone tells me, “Well, I’d never wear a black dress to a concert” – so in a way saying that if I do dress that way, I’m inviting the assumption – and that comment came from another woman. That’s the part that gets me: I’d almost expect the men to be the ones making those assumptions, but they aren’t. The women, on the other hand, are much quicker with the presumptions.

And in nearly every cheating-husband situation, I see the wife blaming not the man who’s doing the cheating, but the woman he’s cheating with. Which is, to me, foolish at best. Your husband/boyfriend did not accidentally fall into the other woman’s vagina penis first. He made the choice, consciously, to fuck someone other than his wife, on his own. The other woman didn’t make the choice for him.

Why even go so far? Rihanna showed up at an awards show wearing a very see-through dress. A majority of people raised their eyebrows, and a number of people called it slut-shaming. I can see where some would consider it slut-shaming, but let’s look at the bigger picture here: why does Rihanna feel that wearing that dress to an awards show is appropriate? It’s not about denying her the right to wear it – she looks amazing and has the body for that dress. It’s not about “overexposing herself” – she has that right. But simply this: if you’re receiving an award, is this really the dress for the occasion? If she wanted attention, she certainly got it, but is this the kind of attention she wanted? If she wanted to channel Josephine Baker, then why not wear it onstage while performing?

And yet, if I were to put that opinion onto a feminist message board, I’d be accused of slut-shaming before you can blink.

All because I think that the dress was not appropriate for the occasion.

That’s malarkey.

And it’s a perfect illustration of why I’m very hesitant to call myself a feminist.

The thing that feminists today, especially those who are quick to jump down other women’s throats for not seeing a feminist issue in everything around them, need to understand is that changes aren’t wrought overnight. If over the past thirty years we’re still having women paid 77c to a man’s dollar, then we’ve not really accomplished much in the larger scope of things. If you want to fight for something, you have to pick which battle you’re going to fight first, and make sure, first of all, that you’re united in fighting it. If you’re jumping down other people for their opinion, all the while patting yourself on the back for “calling them out”, believe me when I say you accomplish nothing. You accomplish only making yourself look like you’re overreacting, which in turn makes people take you less seriously. And if you’re serious about feminism, you cannot afford to be not taken seriously. If you believe your philosophy is correct, teach it. Teach it in a way that people will absorb and take seriously. If you spend more time calling people out than you do on actually getting your message across, you’re accomplishing nothing, and you’re going to lose more people than you’ll gain.

Again: the feminist ideas and ideology that had precipitated the fight for women’s rights did not get accomplished overnight, nor did it get accomplished with discord within its own ranks.

It’s foolish to assume that if everyone just accepted everything that it’ll all be fine and dandy. That is flat out wrong. You won’t get there with 7 billion people in the world and 7 billion different opinions. It’s just not realistic, and it’s just not the way that life works. You can’t force someone to like or accept something they fundamentally disagree with. And what goes for you does not go for everyone else. You can’t get to the first portion your expectation list if the very last and bottom thing on it isn’t even remotely addressed. And I don’t see how women can, in all essence, claim that they are more than their gender if, so far, they’ve yet to show unity in their endeavor to do so.

I see women jumping on other women for their different opinion a lot more than I see women acknowledging that yes, difference of opinion does exist, and sometimes with very good reason. Nonetheless, it is wholly possible to agree on some very basic things without discord, and the one thing that feminism strives to accomplish, the only thing, really, is that women are people and should be treated as such.  When that message is muddled in the current feminism movements, then what, really, is it trying to achieve?

The original feminist movement had the following aims to accomplish the above:

– Right to vote and work

– Pay equal to men

– Not being shackled by biology (in other words, the right to birth control and abortion).

Right now, I’m not seeing the second or the third getting accomplished, but instead I’m seeing a lot of discussion on what is and isn’t patriarchal culture and how a different opinion is wrong. If that’s the case, can someone please explain to me how we can hope to accomplish the second and third items of the list?

Of course, you know, maybe it’s just me, and I’m a pod person or something. But right now, I just don’t see exactly what feminism is, especially in light of what it has become.

K.G.

On “Settling” and Expectations

When I woke one fine morning last week, I knew that I had a thought or two, or twenty, about a people topic.

You know I’ve gone there when I waxed personal on Michael Baisden’s relationship commentary. That post still gets hits, and it rings true for a lot of folks, and as it is, I feel that another topic needs to be addressed as a correlation to this: the concept of settling, expecting, and accepting certain things from people.

I’ve done the settling thing once before, and I have two words: never again.

But the relationship aspect of things aside, lately I got to thinking about what treatment I accept from people overall, in everyday life. Friends, family, total strangers. This is a matter of respect, first and foremost, and manners secondly. I’ll spare you the entire schtick on manners in the current generation; the closer I get to the big three-oh, the more I feel that I’m the odd girl out by virtue of having manners. I give up my seat for an elderly person on the public transit system. I know which fork to use when (hey, you will need to know basic etiquette at least once in your life), and I still use please  and thank you in everyday conversation. But that’s just basic manners, and let’s not bemoan the steady decline thereof. The basic tenet of all of the above is that I treat people, even complete strangers, with a certain modicum of respect just as a whole. Moreover, I expect the same of people, and you’d be amazed just how infrequently I get the same.

Honestly, the most recent experience I had recently when it comes to respect was at one of my local music spots. Some guy next to me was trying to give away a ticket to the show at the bar, and when I told him I don’t go to a show without my camera (truth), he proceeded to sneeringly ask me if I put pictures up on Instagram and if that’s what I believe makes me a photographer. Considering that you guys know what my photography and my portfolio looks like, I find that insulting; I’ve built up my rep on turning out photos that are certain calibers above Instagram. I don’t know whether it was the fact that I was in a bar, I was female, I told him no, or what, but really: if someone tells you they’re a photographer, minimizing their abilities just because you got told no is not the best way to make yourself endearing. Kudos to the bartender for diffusing it, but come on.

Conversely, I got offered a guest-list spot because I’m a photographer. I’ve not asked for it. I never ask for these things. But to me, it’s a sign that the person offering respects my abilities and skills.

The one thing that aggravated me the most, however, is when a female, whom I didn’t know from Adam, Eve, or their children, whom I got into a casual conversation with at a bar, started telling me how I should be looking for a man to settle down with. Because I was alone in a watering hole around the block from my job. First of all, I never ask for someone else’s opinion on my solo lifestyle, and secondly, there’s no higher disrespect than telling someone, “you should” when it comes to their opinions, life, and thoughts. Few things show less respect for someone than telling them what they should be living like.

We always discuss things, and we’re all guilty of “you should”-ing people in one form or another, but the truth is, that wins you no points, and it only succeeds in demonstrating your lack of respect for that person. Instructions are one thing, but forcing your opinions unto others is something else. You can always give your perspective, but the words “you should” in regards to someone else’s opinion will succeed only in showing just what your regard for them and their opinions is. You’re not the other person. You don’t have their experience, mentality, or train of thoughts. You’re not their parent, you’re not their keeper, you’re not them. And after a while, I asked myself a simple question: why in the hell would I consider the opinions of someone who obviously can’t respect me for myself?

The answer, of course, is that I wouldn’t.

The thing is, though, I don’t like confrontation. Never have and never will; I confront people only when I absolutely have to: to protect my business, or to protect myself or people close to me. But as of late, I’ve had to ask myself: what am I willing to tolerate, and why am I tolerating what I don’t want from the people in my life?

I’m still learning the answers to these two, mind you. But the number-one thing I learned so far is that people will push you as far as they can if they don’t know where the boundary is. If you don’t set a boundary and enforce it, you can expect at least one person, minimum, to take full advantage of the fact. And you can resent them, yes, be dissatisfied, yes, but know this: because you didn’t enforce your boundaries from the beginning, you’ll be stuck with the treatment you get. But we tend to settle – yes, settle – with the treatment that we receive from people, and not once do we think that yes, that treatment can change, and that we, as basic human beings, deserve better than what we get.

This in turn begets the questions, how do you know if you settled for getting less than you want or deserve in your everyday treatment? And second of all, how are you willing to fix it, if you are?

I’m only now starting to realize the sort of treatment I want to receive from people I’m surrounded by. My luck is, I already receive it. The few instances where I don’t, I have to make the choice: do I confront the person and salvage whatever relationship that can be there, or do I jettison them and cut my losses? About 90% of the time, though, I jettison, and I will explain why: because I know that the person in question will likely never change, and that confronting and trying to change their treatment of me will be a wasted effort. With my experience with people thus far, I find that it’s far less difficult for me to simply remove the person from my day-to-day life and put them – and their treatment of me – into the past.

Primarily, though, it’s all because of one simple tenet that I adopted: if I won’t tolerate it out of my family and friends, then why should I ever tolerate it out of people I’m not close to? It’s a matter of standards, and what I feel – for myself, in any case – is that people have grown very lax in what they expect in others’ treatment of them. Or maybe it’s that I lived in NYC for too long.

This is brought to you by air conditioning, and much humidity, and not enough homemade iced coffee.

K.G.

On Relationships – and why I refuse to start one.

I just came across a piece of commentary on Facebook that was so incredibly well-put as to why people are and remain single that I have to 1. share it, and 2. sound off on it.

Michael Baisden Commentary: Relationships: Do We Really Know What We’re Getting Into?

Recently, I shared with my listeners that I am single. In that Facebook post I stated, “I’m not at a point in my life where I am ready to share my hectic life and ever changing schedule with another person. To have a successful relationship you must be willing to make that special person a priority. Right now my career is my priority.”

The response was a reflection of how difficult it can be for people to accept honesty. Some women accused me of being afraid of commitment and making excuses for not settling down. Others said I was being selfish because I was not sharing my success. And the most humorous of all was that I’m gay. Excuse me for a second while I slap myself on the forehead…. unbelievable!!!!

So, let me get this right, if a man or woman chooses not to be in a committed relationship or get married they are either irresponsible, selfish, or gay…really? I’m going to say this loud and clear and don’t ever forget it, a relationship is a HUGE responsibility! It’s an investment of time, money, energy, emotions, and you must be accountable for your comings and goings. And that’s just the beginning.

You must also be willing to compromise and put someone else’s needs before your own. You must be willing to accept everything about them from their children to their financial situation, their habits, issues with their health, and put up with their friends and family.

But here’s the most important reality about relationships, you will be impacted by every issue your partner has experienced from birth until the day they met you, whether it’s abandonment issues, baggage from previous relationships, abuse, diseases, and bad credit.

You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the person to love…it’s all or nothing! Relationship by definition means to connect to another human being. That means connecting to your partner’s dreams and aspirations but also to their unresolved issues.

As you mature you learn what you want, but most importantly, what you don’t want! Right now I don’t want that responsibility, not because of selfishness or fear…but because I’ve learned to take the RESPONSE-ABILITY of being in a relationship more seriously. And at this point in my life, I’m not ABLE to RESPOND to another person’s needs! Some of you can related because of your focus on your education, your children, your career, sick parents, etc.

Relationships require a lot of time and energy, especially as people become more attached, and they will…it’s only natural. No matter what people tell you about being cool with you having your space or seeing other people, once sex is added into the equation all bets are off. Next thing you know the expectations and possessiveness begins and the understanding you thought you had goes right out the window. That goes for men as well as women.

My reason for writing this article is in the hopes that you will think twice before crossing the line from friendship to intimacy and intimacy to marriage. Relationships are more than having sex, going out to dinner, and holding hands strolling down the street, you’re merging lives…not just kickin’ it!

But if you’re mature and “RESPONSE-ABLE” enough to go down that road, I wish you the best. The right relationship can be fulfilling and take your life to a higher level. Just be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re ready! This is not a game; you’re messing with another person’s life! Many of us had to learn this lesson the hard way… hopefully you won’t have to.

—–

This is a perfect explanation of why some people remain single. Myself included.

I’ve not been in a relationship for years. My divorce has little to do with it at this point in time, and my life has everything to do with it. In case you’ve not noticed, I am extremely busy in my day-to-day life. I work 9-10 hours a day at my day job. I’m attending class, albeit online. I write books. I photograph, and travel for it. I design. And, as time is going on, I’m also taking over the responsibilities for caring for my apartment, and taking care of my mom more and more too. I barely see my friends. I have no idea how anyone expects me to carve out time for dating.

I’ve been told already that oh, you’ll meet your Prince Charming, and blah blah blah. Really? You still believe in fairy tales? Nice. I haven’t believed in fairy tales since I was a child. And being an adult, I have a hell of a lot of responsibility that doesn’t leave time for the Prince Charmings, or anyone who thinks they’re one. I don’t have money that would allow me to relax, breathe, and get a little more comfortable, and maybe consider bringing someone into my life. I have to take care of myself, my mom, and my home. That occupies everything I do at the present point. And can I really, reasonably bring someone into this kind of a life? If I ever get it into my head that I can handle a relationship, I want something to offer that person. Something that’s more than me being behind a computer trying to hustle out an extra couple of hundreds to keep my phone bill paid up, or running off to another city to photograph something or other.

I refuse to start a half-assed relationship where I can contribute neither time nor patience nor effort to the other person. It’s just dishonest to them. They will never be a priority in my life if I’m focusing that hard on other priorities. No man is ever going to be okay with taking second place, and I am not okay with having my own life take second place to a relationship. Been there, done that, and found out the hard way that it’s just not worth it.

Does that make me selfish? Possibly, and if it does, then I’ll own the label with pride. I’m selfish. I actually want to take care of myself and make sure I have a decent life before I consider bringing someone else in it. I actually want to get what I want before I have someone else sharing it. Know what else it makes me? A very harsh realist. Remember, there’s no shortage of casual sex if all you want is to get your rocks off, but if you are thinking about actually bringing another person into your life on a more regular basis and investing in them emotionally, then think before you go there. Think very, very carefully about whether or not you can, realistically, take on the responsibilities of being in a relationship with another person, and taking care of your own needs and theirs at the same time.

I’ve done that analysis, more than once, and each time has been a no. And while it’s a no, I’ll continue to take care of myself and mine.

K.G.

Some people should never be in charge.

Like this guy, the Mississippi governor, who insists that liberals want abortions left and right. 

Seriously? Do I really have to explain this shit?

Let me, again and with feeling, explain the concept of pro-choice. See the word choice. It does not mean to abort the ever-loving hell out of every pregnancy. It means exactly what it is: choice. As in, a woman has the choice as to whether or not she wants to keep a pregnancy. If she does – that’s her choice. See that word again? But if she doesn’t and makes the choice to abort, then that is her choice. Funny little word, right?

Now, look at what I just wrote. And now ask me this: where does it get implied, even remotely, that every pregnant woman would traipse into a doctor’s office and ask to terminate a pregnancy like it’s the easiest choice ever? Where is it implied that there’s an abortions-for-all concept here?

I’ll wait.

No answer? Fabulous. I’ll go on, then.

Let’s be frank and call a spade a spade: none of this anti-choice, anti-birth control BS is about babies. NONE. Zip. Zero. This is basically men getting their britches in a bunch over the fact that, now that women have control over their biology and don’t have to be shackled to house, home, kids, and uterus, they are creating viable competition for the men in the workplace and in life. This is all about control. It has absolutely nothing to do with babies, because the same people who would see abortion outlawed are the very same people who would eliminate any and all social safety nets as the next step. They don’t give a damn about babies. They don’t give a damn about women, because they can and will and have imprisoned women for not giving birth the way they want (google the case of a FL woman who was imprisoned because she wanted a natural birth after a C-section with her first child). They only want one thing: to shoehorn women right back into the 19th Century, where there was little choice for a woman but to marry and reproduce, man was the king of the castle, and everyone around him was to worship him.

This is what it’s about. Make no mistake. And lest you believe otherwise, think of this: the Republicans have proposed next to nothing to create jobs. They have, however, proposed – and in some cases, passed – over four hundred anti-choice bills.

This right here is a perfect demonstration of their priorities. None of this is about “saving” anything except their egos.

On a national scale.

And they’re not in the least bit ashamed that they would use women and women’s rights as political bargaining chips and blame “radical feminism” for their own misogyny. Feminism is this superbly radical idea that women are people. You know, human beings.

The Republicans have to lose and lose HARD in November.

K.G.

*cracks knuckles*

OK. I think it’s time to make my keyboard beg for mercy again.

So, you guys and gals know who Rush Limbaugh is, right? In case you don’t, he’s a teabagger with an ax to grind against, effectively, anyone with a pulse who’s not a rich white Republican male. You may have heard his asinine remarks on a syndicated radio show or two, and why the FCC allows this sort of virulence is beyond me.

You may also remember Roger Ebert putting an open letter up suggesting that Limbaugh be horsewhipped. Oh, Mr. Ebert, how I agree.

In fact, I will now suggest that Rush Limbaugh be horsewhipped publicly, on live national television.

Because he crossed the line.

You may have known of the mess that was the Republican hearing on contraception, wherein they barred Sandra Fluke, eventually-to-be-Esq., from testifying as to why it’s necessary for insurances to cover. Sandra had recorded her testimony and released it to the public on YouTube, where it had promptly gone viral. The Republicans, of course, were less than pleased.

Click here and read a quote from that Xanax-addled windbag.

That’s right, he’s suggesting that women who use contraceptives post sex videos of themselves in exchange for insurance covering contraception.

Pissed off doesn’t even begin to cover it. I don’t use the word hate lightly, but I truly hate this waste of skin. I. Hate. Rush. Limbaugh. He is a waste of flesh who doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air as the rest of the human beings. He is not worth the ground he walks on, and whatever money that he had amassed by being a professional douchebag should be removed from his possession immediately; money shouldn’t be wasted in this egregious a fashion. Roger Ebert was beyond right. Limbaugh should be horsewhipped in public for these comments, repeatedly, as was the fashion in the 16th Century. Two sides can play this game, people; if that idiot thinks that he can push people back into that mentality, then he better be prepared to deal with the punishment contemporary with the mindset.

First of all, let’s make it clear: insurance companies are privately owned. Is Limbaugh saying that the people who own those companies are the taxpayers? Because that’s not the case. Unless he’s referring to the healthcare reform plan, which is still very raw, and few provisions have been made as far as what taxpayer funds do cover. One thing is for sure: preventative care is guaranteed under the Obama plan, but most insurances are not taxpayer-funded. Private corporations and all of that.

And guess what: contraception is preventative care. It prevents not just pregnancy, but endometriosis, and staves off breast cancer, all of which were scientifically proven. And yes, insurance should cover it, and private insurance did, right up until the point that the teabaggers got a taste of power and the insurance companies realized that hey, why should they do such a pesky thing like give a damn and even such a sacrilege like save money? Because what’s more expensive, shelling out a little every month for a prescription or shelling out about ten grand for childbirth? Or, what’s worse, to take a pill once a month or risk death? Because childbirth still kills 1 in every 13,000 women. Complications can be lifelong. And what’s more expensive: cancer treatments for breast cancer or a pill once a month that may very well prevent it?

Ohhhh, right, I forgot. Insurance companies aren’t known for compassion or common sense if they routinely drop cancer patients. No longer the fact after Obama signed the healthcare law, thankfully, but yeah, that’s the norm du jour, because cancer is a pre-existing condition, you see.

And, for anyone who may want to think on a pro-lifer slant on this: you can’t abort what you don’t conceive. More contraception = less abortion. Common sense, right?

No, that actually involves thinking, and the GOP’s top hot-air blowhard cannot possibly be bothered with something like science. 

But wait, let’s go back a minute and analyze what just happened here. For the high crime of daring to suggest that the insurance companies actually do their damn jobs and do right by the people paying their premiums, Sandra Fluke gets called a slut, has her statement skewed wildly out of proportion, and on top of that, gets told to post sex videos online so that the GOP can get their shriveled nutsacks off? Wow. Virulent misogyny just hit a whole new low, when here I was thinking that the GOP penile superiority brigade can’t go any lower.

Why the fuck is it that whenever I think that someone can’t go any lower, shovels enter the picture?

Brilliant post by Jeff Winbush contains more of what he said. Jeff Winbush kicks ass in general, by the by.

But you know what? I always thought that the Tea Party were a bunch of old men who couldn’t get it up anymore and who are envious of any sex that anyone other than themselves may be having, so they do their best to invade the privacy of people’s bedrooms out of their own spite. This is proof positive that I’m right. Those sons of bitches are sex-obsessed enough to give Freud’s descendants work for three more generations to come. They’re pushing their own agenda on the rest of us because they cannot stand the fact that someone, anyone, may actually want to have this little thing called privacy, and this other little thing called intimacy without risk of conception. Heaven forfend that insurance companies actually listen to science and reason! Why let a woman directly affected by contraception regulations testify when you can just slut-shame her instead?

Does it make you feel like a big man, Rush? To victimize and bully a college student, whom your ilk had barred from testifying regarding something that affects her directly? Does that get your rocks off? I bet it does, you virulent, disgusting sociopath. I bet you get yourself off thinking about the number of people whom you’ve pissed off in recent years. Did you harm animals as a kid too? Because you know, the science you detest earmarks you as a potential serial killer; that and your drug abuse. Or is it just because you took too much Xanax in the morning? Or do you go off on women because no one touches drug-addicted bigoted assholes who aren’t hung well enough to please a rock? Pick one. But don’t you dare, don’t you fucking dare insult someone for expressing an opinion that’s contrary to yours and that is actually based on logic and facts, as opposed to virulent ideology. Your rights to free speech end where Sandra Fluke’s rights not to be insulted by the likes of you begin. Take a few clonazepam and check yourself into the first mental institution you find, because your sort of an irrational response and ideology tells me some very disturbing things about your personality disorder spectrum.

And yeah, I’m a “Feminazi”. I believe that I’m not a second-class citizen and that no body of government has the right to dictate what goes on in my bedroom or my uterus. Imagine that, the crazy idea that my body isn’t public property up for legislature! Eminent domain doesn’t extend to bodies, last time I checked.

Yeah, I signed the petition to get this fuckbag off the air. You should too. Enough is enough.

K.G.