Forgotten Feminism

Feminism has been in the news quite a lot lately. Women on both sides of the political spectrum have come out swinging and news services have been lapping it up like cream. Candace Cameron-Bure was recently lambasted by the media and others for stating her choice to be an at home mom and a “submissive” wife. She was labeled a ‘housewife’, that despicable term so denigrated by the feminists and those that believe in the girl-power agenda. Other women who have come forward and declared their choice to eschew a career and raise a family have received equal treatment by these self styled feminists. That is a deplorable way to treat anyone let alone someone who made a life choice.

Feminism did have a downside, whether you want to believe it or not, practical problems arose from women flooding the workforce. One of those problems is a breakdown in the family unit and what used to be known as latchkey kids. Those children who came home to an empty house until their parents came home from work. While they used to be an exception, forced by necessity of single parent homes, they no longer have a name other than normal.The breakdown comes due to parental involvement parents are busy working, when they get home domestic duties need to be done, supper, homework finished then its bedtime. Not much time left for family, we now have family time, family game-night, family movie night, and other ways to try and compensate.

What the feminists forgot however was that the fight is for equal rights for women, the ability to vote, make decisions, own property, equal protection under the law, equal pay, and to be able to choose our destinies for ourselves. The fight was not about whether you  chose to work or stay home, it never was. Those who stay home are not somehow less than those who choose a career. And no, those who choose to stay home do not believe that men are superior and that they must stay home and pregnant and acquiesce to every decision of ‘the man’. This is not an all or nothing stance. Marriage is a partnership, always has been. This is the case whether the partner is the same sex or not. And like it or not one partner is usually dominant, now by dominant I don’t mean always in charge and laying down the law. Just like Candace Cameron-Bure did not mean submissive as oppressed and in chains never able to choose for herself. I don’t see anyone heckling those dominant career women in the media whose husbands are lapdogs.

Almost all relationships, and in this I include friendships, parent-child, siblings, and marriages, one half is more dominant, it may be a 45/55 split but it is there. That is how relationships work, and trust me, this is okay. We all know people that are naturally more inclined to take the lead, and those who are more inclined to follow. Again, this is okay, all part of the human experience. What I am opposing is the ‘if you don’t agree with me 100% then you must be against me 100%’ mentality of the detractors. Mrs. Cameron-Bure did not single-handedly set back Women’s Rights by 80 years. She made a life-choice for herself. she seems happy with her decision, she did not force anyone to make the same decision, let it go.

When our son was small, I chose to stay home with him, our life worked at the time that I was able to do this. During the day while my husband worked outside the home, I worked inside the home. All of those domestic duties, you know, washing clothes, cleaning the bathroom, dishes, preparing meals, chasing the little guy (and lots of playtime with him) were done by the time my husband came home from work. When he got home we ate and then we had time to spend together as a family, hours together no rushing to get stuff finished. Unfortunately all too soon, I had to go to work too, as one income is rarely enough to get by on. We had to join the ranks of the majority and when I got home from work, we rushed to get housework, homework, and supper done just to have a half an hour before bedtime to just spend together. Thankfully my husband began working from home and he was able to be there when our son came home from school, he was available to pick him up from school when he wasn’t feeling well, and yes he did some of the housework when he had time (I respected his decision to work from home, I must have been submissive).

The point is we all make choices for ourselves, whether that choice is to be submissive (or dominant), to stay at home or have a career, to love who we love to marry whom we choose. I am thankful for the feminist movement that gave me the choice to work and vote and enjoy all rights and privileges. Now that we have a choice, let us choose how we will, not necessarily how you want. If we choose how others wanted we really would set the movement back 100 years.


I would never let my child…

Don’t ever say these words to someone. These are hurtful words that imply they just let their child do whatever it was that raised your hackles and insulted your sensibilities. Chances are they did not just let, abet, or aide their child into doing the crime. Raising children is like standing in the middle of the road dodging traffic. Your job is to prepare them to be able to stand on their own two feet and dodge traffic when the time comes.

I think that we try to be the parent that we needed growing up, right or wrong, that’s how it turns out. Parents, like children come in all shapes and sizes. Children come equipped with their own personality whether we like it or not. We are all in the great freeway of life struggling to get by, just sometimes we get run over. Parents make tons of mistakes, just like everyone else their hindsight is 20/20. Children make tons of mistakes, your job is to teach them about hindsight so that they can improve their foresight.

Some children acquiesce to every command uttered by their parents…”Please stop…yes Mommy” and they actually stop. Other children …”Please stop…Why? It’s fun…I will in a minute…Okay Okay yes Mommy…You said to stop it then, I did, now is another time!” and they stop, they feel bad for disappointing you, they do it again…then it begins all over again. If you are a parent then you know which child is yours. We would like to believe that all of them are the first , but most are the second. Parenting is a challenge that no one is ready for. You read all the books, you think you know all there is, firm redirection, guidance, talking it out, time-outs, you ready? Yes you think…I got this! Then you end up with a child who starts to cry if you look at them harshly, and you are back to square one just as clueless as when you began. You give your sister the books since this didn’t work with your child and you realize again your child is unique. Your sister’s child arrives and she thinks she knows it all, firm redirection, guidance, time-outs, blah blah blah she thinks her bases are covered, she’s got the books AND your experience to guide her. Her child fights her with every breath looks at her and tells her to put herself in time out! She gets desperate, she tries anything people tell her worked with their kid, yet she realizes she doesn’t have a clue how to handle this situation. In the end we all come to this realization, every child is a learning curve. Every child is different and we wonder why the same advice doesn’t work with every child.

My son was a biter when he was little, he bit everything, he was a non-discriminate biter. Unprovoked he bit his stroller, his mother (he drew blood), his baby cousin, long distance cousins, older cousins, his father, the cat, his toys, the car door panel, animal, mineral, vegetable he bit everything. For a year and a half he bit everything and nothing we tried worked. People would tell us about how when their child bit, they bit them back and that stopped that (I’m not proud but I left teeth marks in my toddler’s arm). Ignore him and pay attention to who he bit, talk to him about the pain he is inflicting, hot pepper sauce, time-outs, loss of play time, put to bed, re-direction, star charts, you name it we tried it. Then one day, he suddenly stopped. Nothing happened to precipitate the cease-biting, it just did. I don’t know what happened, other than he got it into his head that he didn’t want to bite anymore.

This episode pretty well sums up his personality, he will do whatever he becomes determined to do and damn the consequences. He is a very loving and compassionate person, he never got in trouble for being mean or hateful, and really he has never done anything ( to date) with malicious intent. He is however guilty of not thinking things through, thoughtlessness is the bane of his existence.  As a teenager, he pierced his ears and then stretched the earlobes (gauging they call it). He did this without consent, and dealt with the consequences, each time they arose. He never wore his gauges in the house, I never saw earrings in his ears, he sneaked around and wore them to school, after he went to bed, and damned if we could find them during room searches (the ones we found were immediately pitched in the trash). We explained the long term consequences, we grounded, took away the game console, everything you could think of to get him to see the error of his ways, to no avail. He’s 18 now and his ears are gauged.

So don’t ever tell me I would never let my child get away with that because I will round on you in a heartbeat and ask you just how the hell you think you could put a stop to it! I think I have finally reached the point where the best thing to do is to just give up. Realizing that my son as always will do as he sees fit. I will always sympathize though with the parents out there that struggle every day and are so very blessed with a headstrong, willful child. The sad thing is I know that in reality, our son’s personality traits that have given us fits and starts ( more than a few headaches and apologizing profusely )trying to get him through the public school system will serve him very well as an adult. He is tenacious and will see things through, be damned the naysayers. He is smart and funny and good hearted and I love him unbelievably. So don’t ever say “I would never…” despite your best intentions you may be in a situation where you would.

The Division Bellwether

The old adage, a house divided against itself cannot stand, has proven very true in recent years. Creating an, “us against them environment” is a tactical maneuver employed time and again by those wishing to create an advantage. Whenever a group is divided, the two divisions will begin to compare and contrast each other quickly devolving into petty squabbling and name-calling.
While studying psychology in college, one of the tenant experiments that we learned about focused exclusively on division of a group. A large group of children that had previously been harmonious were arbitrarily divided into two groups. One group were named the Falcons, the other group were called the Eagles. In a short time, the groups began to behave with animosity towards each other even though they had previously gotten along quite well. The act of dividing the groups, assigning a name to the group, and separating the groups effectively ended the prior cohesion of the group as a whole. They had gone from being, “Mrs. Smith’s class”, where a feeling of unity and pride permeated the group, into two separate groups vying for superiority.
As a teaching assistant for a psychology 101 class my undergraduate senior year of college, I demonstrated this principle to the class. I asked each of the students to look down at their feet, if their shoes had laces I had them move to the left side of the class, those without laces were to move to the right side of the class. As this was April, and we live in a warm climate, this approximately split the class in half. I then asked each group to create a list of the 10 reasons they believed the other group had laces in their shoes, or no laces in their shoes. For the first one or two reasons, they were civil. The reasons included: the shoes without laces are more comfortable, the shoes with laces feel more secure on their feet, they just like tennis shoes, they just prefer flip-flops. At this point, the reasons became petty and mean, such as: they are too stupid to tie shoes; they have ugly feet and don’t want people to see them. With this short lesson, the entire class learned how easy it was to divide a group, stir up animosity, and create an uncivil atmosphere with something as arbitrary as whether or not their shoes had laces.
In America today, this is the atmosphere of our current political environment. The great, “Uniter”, has successfully become the great, “Divider”. He has pitted one side against the other, instead of overlooking different points of view and getting us to believe that we are all Americans. If you read nearly any blog, news article, or commentary online that allows comments to be added by the public, you can easily see this division. Each side uses this article as proof that the other side is either right, or horribly, horribly wrong, each group carries its flag, and name-calling begins shortly. And yes, media is biased. If you are on site with a decidedly liberal slant, or an obvious Republican slant then you can expect the writing to be slanted. Personal belief creeps in, there are very few truly objective pieces written. It is once again the, “us against them” mentality. We are no longer Americans, we are liberal Americans, we are conservative Americans, we are black, we are white, we are rich, we are poor, we are northern, we are southern, but we are no longer Americans. Group identity is an important part of our own self-image. We no longer identify ourselves as Americans; we identify ourselves as a subgroup.
It is possible to have a different opinion, a different viewpoint, and a different belief without necessarily being opposed to something. We may both see the necessity of building a box, we agree the box is needed, the box would be best for everyone. However, the way the box is built is up for debate. You may believe that the box should be built from wood, while I may think the box should be built from metal. This does not mean that I hate you because I disagree with you. We could have a civil discussion, about the virtues of wood and the virtues of metal. Our argument may even become heated. In a rational, adult world, the practical solution is to compromise. Perhaps our experts agree, the sturdiest most stable box would be part metal and part wood, taking the best part from each proposal and merging them. This is what our founding fathers had in mind while setting up our government. To bring to the table different ideas, different points of view, different expertise in order to build the most stable of countries.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a rational adult world. We are living in a world where hatred and vitriol are used to show just how stupid the opposing side truly is. Before the health care law, the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 (without any Republican support), we would all agree that the health-insurance industry in America needed work. We disagreed upon how to complete this work, it became ugly fast. The Democrats ran commercials of Republicans throwing old people off of cliffs, said Republicans wanted old people and those with developmental disabilities to die, and of course Republicans hate women. The Republicans shot back, called Democrats socialists, said that Democrats one of the takeover 1/6 of the economy, and the idea of a “Death Panel” was sure to strike fear into everyone’s hearts. Both sides claimed that the other side was filled with bad intention with the desire to maim, decimate, and bring to utter ruination the healthcare system of our country. We forgot however, that we agree. We agree the healthcare system was not perfect, that the health insurance system was much worse; in short we agreed the box must be repaired. This is nothing new in this country, the divide and conquer game has been going on for eons. The ACA was passed with one party power, the metal box proponents won, they had the majority votes and input from the wooden box proponents was ignored. Consequently the box is not right, the law is severely flawed, and problems abound. We have forgotten our history, where we learned that you cannot see all sides of a problem alone.
We need to remember what Barack Obama said in 2004, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America–there is the United States of America”. If only he practiced now what he preached then. It is unfortunate that he did not heed his advice and instead has chosen to divide the country even further. If you want to heal race relations, stop dividing races. If you want the two-party system to work, then you need to realize whether you are an eagle, or a falcon you are an avian masterpiece. If you want the Congress to move forward and actually legislate, then we have to stop referring to each other as “demoncrats” and “obstructicans”. Hopefully sanity will return to this nation. In time, perhaps we will elect a leader who leads, that can put aside party politics and unite. There was a public service campaign not long ago, the main theme of which was to stop, “labeling”. They had the right idea, when we label ourselves as one or the other we enhance and deepen the “us against them” mentality fostered by politicians garnering for votes. President Barack Obama became president, by running on a theme of uniting, and thus received many Republican and independent votes. As soon as he was in office however, he began dividing. He has incited black against white, white against brown, brown against yellow, rich against poor, left against right, and religion against religion. In his refusal to compromise, the greatest disservice has been done to this country. A difference of opinion on the way to solve a problem is not a personal attack.
There will always be different groups of people; however the ability to manipulate group solidarity needs to be limited. We need to remember, whether your shoes have laces or not, we all have shoes. We need to be able to recognize when division politics is harming the country, and we need a leader to point it out.

Start-Up Blog

I have finally broken down and decided to add my voice to the world at large! After years of people telling me I should take my views to the next step, here I am. 

To start with I thought I should explain what this blog will be about. Politics, my world view, parenting, psychology, and in general my view from the bottom. When I say I am on the bottom, I mean it. I am an unemployed, full time college student with one degree under my belt and headed for the next. I have a son who just turned 18 and a husband I have been utterly devoted to since I was 15 years old. We are poor, and have been poor our entire lives, I don’t mean the third world definition of poor, I am referring to the modern American poor. We face shut off notices on our utilities because we rob Peter to pay Paul, we have debt and very little income, without government assistance we would be third world poor. 

I am concerned with the state of my family, my town, my state, my country, and my world, I would hasten to say I am a concerned citizen. I watch the news, read the news, discuss the news, and occasionally argue the news. My first reaction to a dubious blurb is to research and find out for myself. I am not partisan, my friends include the gamut of parties, red, blue, green whatever. I judge people, we all do, I just try to base my judgement on more than the superfluous attributes, I wait until they open their mouths! As the proverb goes, better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Opinionated, yes, humorous, occasionally, intelligent, always. I can guarantee that I will research fully before I opine and will provide sources for my info. I am not an ideologue and i refuse to “toe the line” of any other than my own. I strive to be guided by the morals instilled in me and can easily put myself in someone else’s shoes. 

With that cleared up, I will try to figure out the technical aspects of blogging, and please forgive me if my ineptitude causes confusion or technical issues.