Saturday, January 13, 2007

Of sacrifice and moron pride

I've had a lot to talk about, but haven't known how to blog it. Last year, L'Ailee was bothered because on a cold day, she wrapped her fuzzy little head in a scarf and cap--in other words, she looked "Muslim". On Wednesday, it happened to me, when I decided to twist up my long, damp hair under a silk scarf. (I swim before work sometimes.) Hats tend to make my hair either limp, staticky, or an odd combination of both. I got the most hostile looks, and a man on the bus decided to express his moron pride and tell me I should be ashamed of myself for converting to Islam. Later on, I went to lunch with my big, bad Vera Bradley scarf tying my now-dry hair back in a ponytail. I got a much warmer reception. I ranted about it to Yahoo! Answers. It was very distressing.

I uploaded two new essays to Talk2Action this week. The first is about how the Liberty Counsel, a right-wing group that I'm ashamed to say is from my hometown of Orlando, is misusing Valentine's Day for their ends. (That's one of my favorite holidays, incidentally.) They also believe that it is "madness" to give young women Gardasil. After all, HPV is such a great way to scare young women into keeping their legs shut! The other is about Christian Nationalists misusing bi lives as an argument against gay (and bi) rights. Both subjects seem rantworthy to me.

So basically, I've been talking in every other online venue. Sorry! No insult was intended.

The main thing on my mind has been sacrifice, and just how goddamned easy it becomes when you ask others to do it. At AlterNet, a female author tried persuading women not to hurt ourselves for beauty. It was realistic and well-done. Using the name "BazookaTooth" (from Aesop Rock's lyrics; I try new handles on little-used forums sometimes), I agreed with her, and teasingly suggested that the at-home waxing kits she disliked are fun and effective when you have help. Another woman was offended by both our thoughts. How dare we wax at *all*, instead of just opining that hot wax near your eyeballs is a stupid idea? Why aren't we challenging ideals of female beauty altogether? "Dare to be ugly," she urged me.

Excuse the hell out of me?! I thought that kind of "feminism" went out with the Pinto. I know full well that I don't have to wax my chocha or thread my eyebrows to please anyone else, and I have the right to choose not to. Conversely, I don't have to have eyebrows like Jimmie Johnson or feel embarrassed in the pool to please anyone else, either. (Thick, fast-growing hair on the head means thick, fast-growing hair everywhere else, and L'Ailee and I both deal with it. Between us, we're familiar with every razor, hair-removal technique, and drain unclogger ever invented.) "Dare to be ugly," she said. Well, she can dare to be "ugly" all she wants, and so can any other woman, and I'd totally support them in it. After all, one of the places I help my wife remove hair is her head, because that's how she feels most comfortable. But I have a right to do what I want with my body and be what I want, too. Isn't that what feminism is *for*, to secure and support those rights? I say, make your own sacrifices instead of choosing sacrifices for others.

Y'all may recall the little surfing accident I got into about a month ago. This week, I got into discussions of same-gender marriage, both online and ITRW, with antis who were intelligent and thoughtful. I brought up the drama at the hospital, how if I hadn't been awake enough to scream and cry and generally make a scene, L'Ailee wouldn't have been able to make any decisions for me. I have had nightmares since, of one or the other of us being forced apart just when we needed to be together most. The nightmares are based in fact.

The other people listened. They seemed genuinely moved. Then both of them said the same awful thing: "Why don't you just stop surfing?"

Both times, I sputtered. I guess when you're controlling enough to think you actually get a say in whether other citizens can and can't marry, it's not a real far leap to think you also get to tell them what sports they can and can't engage in. They thought I could "just" go straight, or give up L'Ailee, or accept that my marriage isn't a real one and we don't deserve the rights they have. It's not them who have to deal with the consequences. Whether same-gender marriages are legal or not, whether same-gender couples are taken seriously at the hospital or not, they won't be required to give up a thing in their daily lives. They made it sound like they thought it was easy, and of course it is, for them. They don't surf or have any desire to surf, any more than they want a same-gender partner. So it's easy for them to give up something they don't want or understand. It's easy for them because it's not them. I'm the one who, if I listened to them, would be downright miserable.

In both cases, I stopped the debates shortly after that, after I told them how I felt. They probably think I'm "too emotional," but I think their problem is that they're not emotional enough about it. This isn't an academic exercise. They were asking me to "just" give up a lot, and they honestly couldn't see it. They honestly could not see what arrogant and entitled mindsets they came from. I dearly wish they could make their own sacrifices, instead of choosing sacrifices for others.

Of course, the ultimate in arrogance and entitlement sits in our White House right now. Other people have been much more forceful and eloquent against GWB's idea to send out 21,500 more soldiers than myself, so I don't hope to improve on that. But my anger stems from my feeling that for him, again, it was much too easy. It's not him. It's not his kids, either. It's a whole bunch of other people who have to sacrifice something for his misguided agenda, because he doesn't know "enough already" when it's staring him in the face.

Every day, I pray that they in particular could learn to make their own sacrifices, instead of choosing sacrifices for others.


Jaded said...

Just stop surfing? That has NOTHING to do with it! We each have the basic human right to choose our own partners, the ones in whom we place our trust to make decisions for us when we can't, because they know us best. I don't see why that should ever be an issue, for any reason. Ignorance like that makes me crazy.

Oh, and Mr. Jaded and I have watched a couple of specials about the Pandas in DC, and Tai Shan's first year. He is the cutest thing ever!

LeLo in NoPo said...

Sigh. Thank you for the thoughtful post.
Just stop surfing my ass.

Zanne said...

Well said! I find it so frustrating to have those kind of conversations where others are so quick to let you make the sacrifice and they maintain the status quo. Props to you for being willing to engage.

Have you been watching all the panda programs on Animal Planet lately? Just wanted to make sure you knew...

alan said...

I so don't want to believe they said that...

but watching some of the other b-s that goes on it doesn't surprise me!

My wife and I did DPOA's and living wills because we were afraid one of my sons might try to overide our wishes, and until she went in the nursing home my mother as well. That's bad enough, but to have complete outsiders think they have that right as well "takes the cake"!

I had thought the stone age would be over by now...


Kelley Bell said...

The solution to the Civil Rights issue of Gay Marriage:

"Give up Surfing."

Oh dear dog! I can't even grasp the thickness of the molasis within that kind of brain.

-Hang in there babies, we (and by "we" I mean legion) are out there fighting for you, in every city and every State, all over the world.

The Fat Lady Sings said...

I do not understand how some people think. What has your surfing to do with the problems all same-sex couples encounter when dealing with bureaucracy? Were they trying to say just don't get put in the hospital again? How is that possible? What maroons! Laws have to change – not your activity level. And I hadn’t thought about idiots mistaking head scarf’s for proof of religion. Every time I see a woman in a scarf I think she’s going through chemotherapy. The reaction you received means some poor woman not wanting to advertise her cancer is going to get hassled by dick heads whilst walking down the street. I’m appalled. All this is happening because Bush and his cabal have made prejudice and overt bigotry OK in America. They have codified hate and intolerance – and I wish like hell they could pay a substantial price for destroying this country.

Lotuslander said...

Hello Cracker Girl, I can't believe the flak you got for wearing a scarf around your head, and so what if you had converted to Islam. And yes, the extreme feminist police, I've had lesbian friends ostracized by the community simply for wearing lipstick, or leaving their hair long or god forbid shaving their legs! I never swallowed the gay koolaid that I had to be or dress a certain way and I'm glad you haven't either. Happy New Year, and I'm happy to see you and L'Aillee are still together. Watch out for the Seven year mark though, so many of my lesbian friends seem to split at that time, which I don't understand.

Barbara said...

Gee, I must be way out of the loop. I thought the granola-girl-plaid-wearing look died out in the early 90s. That the braid-your-pit-hairs-as-a-social-statement
was passé.

I thought we had evolved somewhat to at least the point that women were confident enough to define their own beauty. Please tell me that all the consciousness-raising groups, Take Back the Night marches and lesbian mothers meetings of my youth we not all for naught. Sigh...

PS. Don't worry about the 7 year itch. Lise and I will be celebrating 12 years this spring and I'd still do her in a heartbeat! LOL

The Fat Lady Sings said...

By the way - I tagged you for the Arts MEME. The details are available at my site if you're interested. I hope things are looking a little better for you, my dear.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

So well put.

Trudy Booty Scooty said...

Wow Crackers...that was a GREAT post.

Things will change because...well...they HAVE to.

I can't believe it is taking so long for people to wake up to equality....and for predjudice to stop.

I live in an area with a high Muslim population. So a scarf wouldn't raise any eyebrows here, nor would same sex couples for that matter. Most communities have domestic partner rights and benefits here, so it always throws me when I have to face that it is NOT the same everywhere else in this country.

I hope one day soon it will be. Not that it's perfect here either. It isn't. Hey, but we do get some good waves around this time of year. Surf's up! :)

dondon009 said...

Well my dear, this is the third time I read this post and continue to find it very powerful and thought provoking.

All I can think of to say at this time, and I've said it before is "stop the world, I want to get off"; although that is not at all realistic.

I guess I'll stick around and see if I can at least help bring about change.

Which brings me to the next subject. You know I worry when I don't see a new post on a regular basis. I hope you are both doing well!

OH.... and keep on surfing!


Jon-Marc said...

Where have you gone? You are missed!

Keep surfing,