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.