Friday, May 26, 2017

What is MisBehaving?

I want to say something about MisBehaving Women, that perhaps I should have said from the beginning… I have posted a lot of political stuff here, there and everywhere and I think that people have gotten the wrong idea as to what I think that feminism really is…

The stay at home mom who advocates for her child is a MisBehaving woman.

The waitress who serves you at your favorite eatery is a MisBehaving woman.

The women who serve in the state houses and in Congress, regardless of political party, are MisBehaving women.

Women who follow their religious and cultural beliefs and wear a hijab, are MisBehaved women.

We are ALL MisBehaved women.

Why? Because we all enjoy the freedoms that have been won for us by the women that have come before us. The women who were force feed to gain us the right to vote, the women who stood silently outside of the White House, day after day, in early 1900’s, dressed in white. The women who went to jail trying to pass on information about family planning, because it was deemed to be pornographic information. Women who helped to organize unions, after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in 1911. The women who worked on the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, and then backed down when it was deemed too controversial to include women’s suffrage in the 15th Amendment.

We women are our own worst enemies, you know. We are taught from an early age to be ashamed. Ashamed of our bodies and how they work. Ashamed of how our bodies look. Ashamed to speak up and to speak out. Ashamed of asking for help, and when we do, of getting that help. Ashamed of our sexuality or lack thereof. Ashamed wanting to succeed. Ashamed of wanting to stay home or of going back to work after having children.

And we are taught to police ourselves and each other. To judge each other in the harshest of terms. We are terrified that when we look at another woman, we may be reflected in what we see.
There is no privilege in being a woman. I hear all about the “privilege of white women”, and I have yet to see it. Other than white women making a few pennies more, a single white woman with kids is still working 50+ hours a week trying to make it in this world, still being denied food stamps, still being denied AFDC and medical assistance. The highest incidence of poverty is in the white population. So… where is that privilege again?

As a group, we need to stick together. Quit letting them split us apart. Black, white, Asian, Latina, Christian, Muslim, Pagan or Jew, Gay, Straight or Multi, peach, purple or deep, right brown…. Why should we let them define our rights for us? Why should we let them define our children’s rights? Our rights are clearly defined by the Constitution. Everyone should read it, at least once in their lives. Personally, I have a copy on my e-reader, and a soft bound copy on my desk. I also have a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers (this was the “message boards” [editorials], how the Founding Fathers literally debated the Constitution, in the newspapers).

We NEED to know these things. We NEED to know where we came from to understand where we are going. We need more MisBehaved Women to understand that they are truly MisBehaved and stand up and be counted. To shout from the roof tops that they are not going to take it anymore, that they are no longer going to let a room full of men tell them that their bodies are up for grabs (literally and figuratively). That the health of their children Is more important than whether or not the Navy gets another aircraft carrier that they keep telling Congress that they don’t want. (They want money to spend on their people and training…) That funding for the Center for Disease Control is more important than the “Southern White House” and golfing trips every weekend at a million dollars a pop. That clean water and air is more important than any oil pipeline that gives only temporary jobs.
This is what feminism and MisBehaving is all about. This is what we do, collectively. This is being pro-life and pro-choice and Democrat and Republican. It does not matter. What matters is that we, as women are working together, as a group. Because this is how change is made.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Facebook Answer

Let’s start this discussion with the difference between race and culture. Race, as defined by the FreeDictionary:
A group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of supposed physical or genetic traits shared by the group. Most biologists and anthropologists do not recognize race as a biologically valid classification, in part because there is more genetic variation within groups than between them.
Bolding is mine. And there is a reason for that… which is obvious. Scientists don’t recognize race, because as humans, there is only one race. The human race. We are all genetically related, as humans. Now, are there some adaptations, stemming from where our ancestors developing originally? Yes, of course. Form follows function. Africans developed an immense amount of melanin in their skin to compensate for sun that they were exposed to. The same can be said to the Aborigine tribes of Australia. The emphatic folds to the eyes that are shared by the Asian people and the People of the tribes in America, speak to the fact that they are related.
BUT – what separates all of them, is… CULTURE. Each of these groups of people have separate and distinct cultures. Culture, in this case, the beliefs, habits, and traditions of a people, place, or time are all different, depending on the people, place of time. Even if a group of people live near another group of people (say two tribes of Peoples) live near each other, their cultures may be similar, but different.
OK… we’ve defined race and culture. Let’s talk about war. People go to war, usually, over four things – greed, revenge, resources or land. Now, you could say that resources, greed and land are all rolled into one, but that’s not necessarily so. You could want the oil/gold/uranium UNDER the land, but not want the land itself (resources), because if you take the land, then you must take the people that live on it. Greed figures into it, because you want the resources, yes, but again, there are some mitigating forces – how to get to the resources, how far are you willing to go, how long are you willing to fight, et cetera.
But revenge? Revenge is an incredibly motivating reason for a war! Someone brought up the Tutsi-Hutu war. That was a revenge war. Culturally, the two tribes were the same. Literally, the same people. “The Tutsis, also known as Watutsis, were a nomadic people who began arriving in the Great Lakes region from Ethiopia some four hundred years ago. Eventually, the Tutsis settled amongst the Hutus – adopting their language, beliefs and customs.” (PBSNewsHour, 1999)
“In Rwanda, the Tutsi and the Hutu are the same people. They are all people–large grouping or communities which go from seven regions of Cameroon to Uganda–all the way to South Africa, in the same culture,” Izangola said. “People used to be Tutsi or Hutu, depending on the proximity to the king. If you were close to the king, you owned wealth, you owned a lot of cattle, you are a Tutsi. If you are far away from the king, you are a cultivator, you don’t own much cattle, you are a Hutu.” (2)
But the power vacuum left behind by the Belgians, when they left Rwanda/Burundi/Uganda in 1963, left the majority Hutus hating on the Tutsis, because they were given preferential treatment by the Belgians. And…. You get revenge wars…. Get it?
Or the war between the Muslims and the Christians in Bosnia. Centuries of anger and hatred boil over, and WHAM! Ethnic cleansing.
The United States waged war on the indigenous peoples. Manifest Destiny, anyone? What do you think that was? A picnic? Happy days? A ride west? For the American Indian that was genocide. That is what the Indian Wars was all about.
OK… war covered.
On to headgear –
Someone mentioned that going to Iran meant that her sister-in-law was forced to wear a head scarf – The laws in Iran are specific. It is a THEOCRACY. the government is run by the Ayatollah, a priest. Therefore, the law says that women MUST wear a head covering. Now, if you go a country and the law says that you MUST wear a Mickey Mouse shirt, are you going to NOT wear a Mickey Mouse shirt? Or are you going to follow the law? I mean, let’s get real here. Yes, I get it about the “purity police”, and the beatings. But again, that IS the law. And these laws aren’t any harsher than the laws that they replaced under the Shah, when the Secret Police was arresting dissidents.
Now, do women feel oppressed about wearing a hijab, niqab or burqa? Well, I suppose that all depends on who you are asking. If you are asking women who don’t wear one, the answer seems to be an unequivocal yes.
But the women that I have talked to personally, on campus, where across the street is a beautiful mosque, in London, where I stayed in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, complete with a Halal sushi bar (yeah, that threw me too!), or anywhere else in my travels, I should say, not really. They wear them mostly out of respect for their religion, out of respect for their culture, because of modesty, because it makes them feel closer to God, or many other reasons.
“While some women might choose not to wear the hijab, most Muslim women agree that it is a woman’s choice whether she wears the hijab. Many Muslim and Arab women who have chosen not to wear the hijab are often staunch advocates of a woman’s right to choose to veil.” (What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it?, n.d.)
So, let’s explore some more…
There are women who chose to wear it, but take it off, because there are way too many hassles, in today’s society,  in wearing one . And then there are those who feel pressured by their family to wear the veil. There are women who have been attacked for wear a veil who are not Muslim, because there are other religions and cultures that expect women to cover their heads. There are men who have been attacked and killed because they “look like Muslims” (whatever that means).
But one thing that I have noticed throughout this entire conversation… is that most of the people that object to the hijab… are male. Funny, that.
So, here’s my take on the whole thing – As a feminist… I firmly believe that if a woman wishes to express her belief in her Deity by wearing a hijab, a burqa, or giant ostrich feathers…. More power to her. It is not my place to tell her that she is being oppressed, until she herself tells me that she feels oppressed. Not anyone else.
Oh… and before I forget…
To the gentleperson quoting the Bible and “Jesus said…”
1.     The Bible was written 60-100 years AFTER Jesus was killed. Those aren’t direst quotes.
2.     Deuteronomy is the OLD TESTAMENT.
3.     2Peter, Thessalonians, Galatians and Timothy? Those were letters, written by Paul to various churches – they have nothing to do with Jesus.
But nice try.

Works Cited
PBSNewsHour. (1999, October 8). Retrieved from PBS:

What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it? (n.d.). Retrieved from Arabs in America:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Rule XIX

Rule 19 is an interesting thing. It was created as a result of the senior Senator from South Carolina saying that the junior Senator from South Carolina had fallen prey to "treacherous and improper influences", during a debate over whether or not to annex the Philippines, in 1902. This led to an all out brawl on the Senate floor, when the junior Senator called the accusations a "willful, malicious, and deliberate lie.” Apparently, the junior Senator took a swing at the senior Senator and missed, and connected with a colleague... the rest, as they say, is history.

The last time it was invoked, in 1979, was when Republican Senator Lowell Wieker called Republican Senator John Heinz “an idiot and devious”. Rather than fisticuffs erupting on the Senate floor, then Senate Majority Leader, Robert Byrd got both men to apologize to each other, shake hands, and make nice.

In other words, actually calling names, saying something specious, telling outright lies, and in doing so, doing irrefutable harm to someone’s reputation. 

Last night, during the debate on the nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the Senator from the state of South Carolina and nominee for Attorney General of the United States of America, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who invoked Rule XIX to silence her in the debate, censured Senator Elizabeth Warren. At the time, she was reading into the Senate record a letter that had been written in 1989 by Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

The letter in question, written in 1989, was a statement by Mrs. King, asking the Senate to think long and hard about approving then, State Attorney Sessions for a seat on the Federal bench. That his brand of justice was not the kind of justice that was good for the country.

Now, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is the Attorney General of this great nation. The phrase BOHICA* comes to mind. And I can’t help but wonder which of the civil rights that he is going to start to dismantle first.

And this all starts with an obscure rule….

*BOHICA – Bend Over Here It Comes Again

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I Call Bull

Ida 'Big Momma' Pollitt: I'm talking in Big Daddy's language now. I'm his wife, not his widow. I'm still his wife!
Gooper Pollitt: What we've got here...
Mae Pollitt: What Gooper's saying is just a plan, a basis.
Ida 'Big Momma' Pollitt: I'll tell you what your plan is. Margaret, what is it Big Daddy always says when he's disgusted?
Margaret "Maggie" Pollitt: He says bull when he's disgusted.
Ida 'Big Momma' Pollitt: Yes, that's right. I say bull too, like Big Daddy.
Mae Pollitt: Well, coarse language don't seem called for to me.
Ida 'Big Momma' Pollitt: Bull!
~ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams

Senator Mitch McConnell announced on Thursday that the American people would not sit idly by and allow Senate Democrats to block any Supreme Court nominations sent to the Senate by the incoming president, Donald Trump. 

Uh… Wait… you mean like the Senate Republicans did for the last nine months, with Merritt Garland, President Obama’s final pick to fill Justice Scalia’s seat following his untimely death?

I call bullshit. 

I mean, how much hypocrisy are we really going to have to deal with, the next four years? (That was a rhetorical question… I think) this boils down to the fact that we are a nation that has a set of rules that are supposed to govern how our government works. And those rules, while they may seem archaic to some, have served this country well for over two hundred years. 

How the House, the Senate, the Judiciary and the Executive branches all are supposed to work are all spelled out in one document. Oh, yes, my fellow Americans. And if you take the time to read it, it is fascinating stuff! 

But what we are getting for not having read this wonderful document for ourselves is re-electing the same people who feed us the same line of bullshit – “I’m going to Washington to take on the government and change it!” No, no they aren’t.

Harvey 'Big Daddy' Pollitt: What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it, Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?
~ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams

In polite terms, its called mendacity, but we all know that it’s bullshit. Term limits aren’t the answer. Here’s the thing about those – Washington is all about relationships. You want your Congress Critters to have those relationships with other Congress Critters. You do! You want them to be friends with the Congress Critters from neighboring states and districts. Do you know why? Because legislation that affects your neighbors affects you too. And you want your neighbors to work with your Congress Critter and your Congress Critter to work with your neighbor. 

You also want a Congress Critter that puts YOU before his party. You want a Congress Critter who is an American first, then a Democrat, Republican or Independent (or whatever political party you happen to elect). 

Now, I know that the election is over. And this is nowhere near sour grapes. Mr. Trump will be sworn in, later this month as the president of these United States of America. And no, I’m not happy about this. But…

But, I also know that in 2018 there is going to be an election that will determine how the second half of his tenure as president will go. And that is not too far in the future. 

For those who are beginning to see the writing on the wall, with Senator McConnell’s pronouncement that the American people not standing with the idea of Democrats blocking a Supreme Court appointment, remember the nine months that Republicans have done the same thing.

Remember how much you like the ACA, but hate Obamacare. (I have really bad news for you there, though – It’s the same thing). 

Remember that our incoming president thinks that our intelligence community is stupid. That they don’t know that they are doing. That he “knows things that they don’t”. And that he seems to be far more worried about the ratings of his reality television show, than he is about the safety, wellbeing and security of this country that you have voted him in to lead.

Remember that the Republican Senate, should they use the “nuclear option”, it will be in place to have it used against them should the Democrats take the lead in the Senate. 

Remember all these things, and get out there and support your local candidates. All politics are local. ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL! If you are going to support the party, then do so. Support them with all your heart. But if you are going to support this nation… do so with the same conviction. This country needs people who will support it, completely. Because we are on the precipice. And we are about to be pushed off.