What About Us?

It’s been a while since I’ve felt the need to blog.

Last week, they announced the verdict of the Eric Garner case which resulted in the officer not being charged.  My heart sank, tears came to my eyes and my mind searched for a reason why this happened.  Just as Jon Stewart pointed out, unlike the ambiguities of the Ferguson case, this case had none, zero.  It was on video, filmed, the murder of this man by a police officer. Clear cut.  Not surprisingly, this proof did nothing.

Police brutality affects us all, however, minorities suffer a much greater impact, loss of life, assault.  The thought that my family could be pulled over for a DWH (driving while Hispanic) or worse…and that is a terrifying thought to me.  My skin is white, I don’t look mixed so I don’t have to be afraid.

There is another reason why I came here to blog.  Lately, NFL players have been voicing their protest of Eric Garner’s trial and Ferguson.  They have entered the field with their arms raised, they have worn shirts saying “I can’t breathe” and that same sentence has been written on their shoes, wrist bands and more.

I applaud their protest, I love that they are using their voice to speak up not only for minorities, but against police brutality, for the families who voices are so limited.  They made the choice to make a public statement, using their status to change our society and I love that.

At the same time though, it makes me want to scream at them in anger, it makes me want to cry, it makes me want to shake them and look them in the eye and say what about us!  Why weren’t there any players using their voice when a woman was knocked unconscious by her partner, why weren’t there players using their voice when a woman was raped, why weren’t their players using their voice when a child was beaten?

For decades, the NFL has harbored, supported and covered up domestic violence and sexual assault cases.  Finally, in 2014, something is being done about it.  Their own organization supports perpetrators of violent crimes, crimes of physical assaults and sexual assault, crimes that kill women and children.  Every day, it is estimated that 3 women are murdered in the United States by an intimate partner.

How many women can’t breathe because the man they love grabs their throat and tightens his grip? How many women can’t breathe because he broke her ribs? How many women can’t breathe because every day they are in fear for their lives?  How many children can’t breathe through their tears of pain? How many women and children can no longer breathe because their life has come to an end?

The video of a woman being assaulted and knocked unconscious brought attention to the problem that has been going on in the NFL for decades.  Since 2000 alone, there have been over 70 domestic violence related arrests….Players now have been asked to or forced into participating in Domestic Violence commercials and campaigns, but no player has voluntarily offered up his voice in this fight. Before this season, no player has voluntarily used his actions or clothing during a game or practice to say that what the NFL has done for decades is wrong, that the perpetrators of these crimes, the abusers, the rapists, the murders, should be in jail.

Again, while I can support their protest, I also have the right to feel angry at them for ignoring the abusers in their own organization.

Through my partner, a die-hard Chargers fan, I have a new-found appreciation and love for this sport.  I haven’t missed a Chargers game all season.  Even when I’m at work, I watch it on my phone.

However, as a woman, I feel that this sport, like so many others, is purely for men where women are reduced to the color pink, the amount of cleavage we show and how short our skirts are.  I can’t help but feel  ignored and marginalized knowing that higher ups in this organization would rather hide and protect these abusers for a profit then do anything about it.  Even the players don’t want to take a stand….

All I can hope for, as in most cases, is that things do change and maybe, eventually, these athletes will volunteer their voices for all of the women who have been harmed or killed.  I hope they will fight for a change.

♥ Meggie

Equality at the Races

Yesterday I went to the drag races. Growing up, that was the sport we watched in our house, not football, not baseball, I was the little girl who grew up with cars.

I love everything about it, speed, power, noise, nitro, the complete excitement of watching the cars run, the competition. People don’t realize what really goes into drag races.  It’s so much more than just running a straight quarter mile.

Unfortunately, one of the hardest things to deal with as a young girl and young woman is that it is a male sport so even attending the races, you will be faced with sexism.  To some (not all) a woman is meant to be in tiny shorts with a shirt that is about 5 sizes to small sitting atop a car to take pictures with or maybe hand you a free sample of something, maybe beer?  We are to be shouted at, we are to be gawked at.

I was so excited to start my time at the races. My idol, the first woman of drag racing, Shirley Muldowney was signing. She still has records that haven’t been beat. I’ve met her once before but any time you can meet your hero is amazing.

In line I was with my partner and an older man in front of us turned around, looked at me and said “I bet he (pointing at my partner) dragged you into this line and you don’t know you you’re going to see”. Then he laughed.  He wasn’t trying to be mean or anything, he was trying to start an innocent conversation.  He was older and typically older generations assume genders still fall into the stereotypes they grew up with.

I wasn’t angry, but I was frustrated. I smiled back and laughed saying “I was the one who dragged him to the races.  My dad taught my baby sister and I everything about drag racing. Mukdowney is my idol. You shouldn’t assume a woman doesn’t know what she’s taking about.”  Then I laughed, I wanted to correct his incorrect assumption, but I didn’t want to be mean about it.  I knew he really wasn’t trying to be hurtful, but it still did hurt.

The next experience was when I was looking at car products with my dad.  The salesman came up and stood next to me, saw me picking up products reading about them. Several minutes went by and he didn’t ask if he could help me at all. Once dad walked over to the stand I was next to, the sales man immediately asked him if he needed help and if he could be of any assistance. It goes without saying that women typically experience this lack of service when dealing with mechanic shops, car dealerships and other car related retail shops. Again, another frustrating moment, so I left. I told my partner I see how much I’m valued here, let’s go.

The final moment was leaving the drag races, walking though the parking lot at night.  Men were shouting things out windows, one guy was screaming how he wanted ‘boobs’.  As I walked by an R.V., a man knocked on the window. First, my partner looked up and I heard the man say “Not you, the girl” and then he said something unintelligible. That type of street harassment and cat calling is so hurtful to me. I hate it. I hate having to worry about what I’m wearing or the location in at.   It’s not like I have any particularly raunchy clothing or I’m dressed in something revealing, I’m not at all, but I still have to be careful.  I hate having to be near my partner or my father to avoid this harassment.  It makes me feel like nothing

I don’t think my partner really understand how hurtful those things are to me, or to most women. I don’t think a lot of men really understand how humiliating and upsetting these things are. I think some believe it’s innocent fun or a joke.

I know it shouldn’t affect me, I mean it’s a bunch of men and that shouldn’t bother me, it’s just words. Just like parents tell their children about bullies, let it go, their words can’t hurt you, but you know your child is still hurting.

What bothers me too is that, last year at the races I was walking with my mom and sister and a man shouted incredibly lewd things to me and no one said anything, they just looked. My mother though (in a mother’s fury) whipped around and said “She is young enough to be your daughter, you’re disgusting!”  That was very true, he looked twice my age (or more) and it felt good that someone said something.  I wasn’t alone.

This year I did find my voice though.  I refuse to remain silent when I’m treated like this and never again will my mouth stay shut, especially when the phrases directed at me are aggressive, lewd or disrespectful.  I always hope for the future to change, I think we all do, but it would be nice to live in a time where that hurtful behavior (the cat calling, not the first man) will be unacceptable and bystanders refuse to remain silent about that.

Also, I hope that maybe one day my partner will understand what it’s like to be a woman and to be accosted like that.  He does see a variety of behaviors as completely unacceptable and will stand by me and any decision I make, any reaction I have to a situation.  He will support me and that is always the best place to start, I just don’t think he always gets it, like my male friends, it kinda just goes over their head sometimes.

Have any of you ever been frustrated or hurt by street harassment or sexism?  Both men and women feel free to answer, this topic is definitely not limited to women.

♥ Meggie

You Need to Stop….

You need to stop making everything a gender issues

You need to stop acting like women have it so much harder in life

You need to stop with these feminist ideas, it’s just because you were hurt in the past by men, you need to just let it go and move on.

I’ve had all of these things told to me before, even very recently and I’ve been thinking about it more and more after watching the most amazing sketch on The Daily Show.  Jessica Williams tackled the topic of college campus assault.  She points out the differences that men and women face when entering various situations.

I know I bring up gender issues, but it’s not in a way that is over blown or “man hating”.  I think there are very negative gender separations with regards to male stereotype which I’ve written about before and I know there are very real and dangerous problems when it comes to being a woman in a patriarchal society.

How do I know this? because I’ve experienced them.  I know what it’s like to be afraid at night, to be cat-called and told it’s just men being ‘honest’ and giving me a compliment.  I know that more women are assaulted or kill than men and most of the times the perpetrator is a man.  I know that in our world, it is more common for a woman to be a prostitute, typically sold by a man and men are more likely to purchase them (and purchase from the sex industry in general), purchasing another human being like an animal to use and let go.  Keep in mind, before anyone freaks out with men are abused too and women purchase from the sex industry! Yes I am completely aware of it and I focus a lot of my education on men’s rights in regards to abuse & the sex industry.  These facts I’m stating are statistics and the majority of the instances women are the victims.

Though this may seem incredibly harsh, I think it is exceptionally ignorant to ignore these gender differences in society and to accept behavior that supports them, support behavior like cat calling or purchasing human beings or not speaking out when you see someone treated like this.  I will continue to speak out about all of the topics that I feel strongly about.

My biggest pet peeve is when people attribute my past negative experience with men to my current opinions or when they act like I hate men because that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I’m not damaged goods, I’m not broken because of my past.  I am a perfectly capable and intelligent young woman  who has formulated opinions based on what I know & learn, what I’ve seen and yes my own personal experience.  I form opinions just like everyone else in this world so do not act as though I am broken and incapable of intelligent thought.  It’s not only frustrating, but it is hurtful to be looked at as broken.

I wish, in a perfect world, each gender could switch for a day.  Women then can experience the ridiculous expectation of masculinity and inability to express themselves that men face, we could see what it’s like for men who are dealing with issues like sexual assault or difficult topics like those.  Men can experience the harassment and fear women face going into situations at night, alone, with alcohol, being cat called, touched, groped, masturbated at and more.

Unfortunately, that can’t happen, but our society is becoming increasingly more aware of what we all go through.  As we continue to open our eyes, opinions will change, behaviors will change and I hope society will move in a more positive, accepting and understanding direction.

♥ Meggie

Let’s Clear Some Things Up

http://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/confessions-that-prove-being-a-feminist-is-a-complicated+

The link above is a link to probably one of the worst articles I have ever read in my life.  It is called 23 Confessions That Prove Being A Feminist Is A Complicated Identity when really, the title should be title People Who Are Slightly Confused as to What Feminism Is. As you can see by most of the comments below this article, there are many who agree.

Feminism isn’t this idea that a man can’t take care of a woman, that a woman has to be this totally man hating, independent, masculine lady.  Feminism is about making your own choices. We see these radical feminists who are so extreme that they convey a very sexist message, ordering women to not do what they want (like be a stay at home mom) and spewing hateful words toward men.

If a woman wants to be a stay at home mom, she is a feminist.  If she wants to work, she is a feminist.  If she wants to cook for her partner, she is a feminist.  If she and her partner decide he will be a stay at home dad, she is a feminist.  If she likes to be dominated in intimate situations, she is a feminist.  If she chooses to submissive in intimate situations, she is a feminist.  If she is looking for her prince charming to take car of her, she is a feminist.  If she is not looking for her prince charming, she is a feminist.  Do you see where I’m going here?

Feminism was created because women didn’t have a choice. Women didn’t have rights, we didn’t have the ability to make our own decisions about our own life.  Those decisions were dictated by our partners and our society.  We have the feminist movement so we can choose whatever we want.  There is no difference in a man telling a woman what to do or a woman telling another woman what to do. Feminists make their own choices as to how they wish to live their lives.

I am a feminist.  I’ve written about this so many times.  I will pay for a date, the entire thing.  My partner will not pay for every single date.  He knows I am a strong, independent woman who can do anything he can.  He knows I spend the majority of my time fighting for my rights as a woman through all of my work.  I will be dominant, I will think for myself and I will stand my ground when I have a strong opinion about something.

I am also a feminist because I love to cook for him.  I love to take care of him.  I’ll go grocery shopping for him, make dinner for him and his friends, I’ll clean his kitchen for him.  I know this isn’t a required part of our relationship, but I love doing it.  I love taking care of him.  If I am ever married one day, no matter how much I work, I will want to cook for my husband because that is something I love.  I also love when he comes up behind me and grabs my butt.  I love that he takes care of me.  I love that he protects me.  I love when he introduces me as ‘his girl’.  These are all things people don’t think are part of feminism, but guess what?? They are because they are my choice.

I am a strong, independent woman who is quite capable of making my own choices with how I wish to live my life and that is exactly what feminism is.  So if you want to be a stay at home mom, if you want to cook for your partner, if you want to work, if you want to propose to your man, go for it!  As long it is your choice, that is feminism, there is nothing confusing or conflicting about it.  This is why that article is absolutely ridiculous.  Everything those women said are part of feminism because it is their choice.

What are your thoughts on this article? I’d love to hear.

♥ Meggie

Wedding Crashers – Stop Laughing at Rape

How would you feel if you were watching a movie and a scene opens with a man sitting on top of a woman.  She wakes up to see him there and then notices that her hands and feet our bound, tied to each bed post.  She looks nervous, asking what he is doing and as he reassures her he only wants to be adventurous,.  She tells him to let her go, stop, beginning to struggle, pulling at the ropes, only to be gagged with a piece of cloth and duct tape.  Then the scene cuts. 

How would you feel watching that?  Would you think, oh that’s funny or oh my gosh, why did he just rape her?  She looked scared, she told him no, she was bound and gagged, why is that funny??  Would you feel angry? Uncomfortable?  A man just took advantage of a woman, violated her and she had no way to get out, no way to make him stop, he didn’t listen to her.

Over the weekend I just watched the movie Wedding Crashers for the first time and this exact same scene happened, except a woman violated a man.  In the movie, Vince Vaughn’s character, Jeremy, is pursued by a woman named Gloria, who he titles a “Stage 5 Clinger” meaning she is obsessed with him.  However, he is forced to be around her because Owen Wilson’s character, John, is interested in her sister so they go to their family’s house for a trip.  

The first time she assaults him is at the dinner table, where she begins touching him and give him a hand job under the table even though he tells her no, protests and keeps trying to move her hand.  She blatantly ignores him and continues to grope him, making him uncomfortable and violating him, ignoring his requests because he didn’t give consent.

That night he is woken up to her on top of him, tied down and as he protests, she puts a sock in his mouth then duct tapes it shut.  Then the scene cuts.  The next morning, Jeremy even makes a joke about being raped.  As the movie continues, they ignore the fact that she raped him and he ends up marrying his rapist.

I fail to see how this is funny.  We can joke about men being raped because we don’t see it as rape, we don’t see it as a violation of a man becauseOBVIOUSLY men always want sex.  The entire point of Jeremy and John crashing wedding was for the purpose of having sex, Jeremy and Gloria already had sex so we can make that a joke.  I looked up the summary of the movie on Wikipedia, just out of curiosity to see how they described that scene and this is what it said “Later that night, Gloria ties up Jeremy and proceeds to have sex with him, saying she is being “adventurous” and is fulfilling fantasies”. No she proceeds to rape him.

He said no, he did not give her consent and therefore she is a rapist.  If they filmed that exact same scene but Jeremy tied up Gloria as she was saying no and telling him to stop, people would be furious!  Watching that scene we would feel upset, uncomfortable, angry, but we laugh instead.

The fact that this entire event is treated as a non-issue is incredibly disturbing to me and once again perpetuates the idea that men cannot be raped by women, that it isn’t something serious.  It’s an extremely sexist point of view as we join together to destroy the ideas that surround female sexual assault, accepting the facts that a woman can be raped by an intimate partner, that what a woman wears or the amount she drank has NOTHING to do with her being raped, but we collectively laugh at a man facing the same violation?  Why is that ok?

I cannot tell you how many times I have been ask, “A man can be raped by a woman? How is that possible?”  Men can be raped by a woman the same ways women can be raped by a men, except our society laughs as we labor under the delusion that this is ok, that men always want sex and men are strong, there is no way they this could possibly happen.

We have to stop this.  Male sexual assaults are under reported because men typically don’t want to admit they have been assaulted because of these cultural stigmas.  It’s even harder if the perpetrator is a woman.  Instead of laughing, we should be furious!!  We should yell and question!!  Why is this funny??  Male survivors need as much support as female survivors and, at times, they need it in a different way.  We have to rid our society of these gender stereotypes and stop laughing at rape.

Meggie

Pit Bull Prejudice

I was just having a conversation with someone the other day and they mentioned that there was a man who was attacked by a Pit Bull in their neighborhood.  They said no one should have a Pit Bull because they are just aggressive violent dogs and we should get rid of them.

I couldn’t really believe that someone would say that about a dog and I realize that a lot of people hate Pit Bulls and similar dogs like Rottweilers, laboring under the misconception that they are just naturally mean, aggressive, violent dogs out to kill.  That is so far from the truth.

First of all, I know people see Pit Bulls and dogs like that always getting rescued from dog fighting operations and then they have to put the animal down because they are too mean.  If you are trained to kill, then you will kill, simple as that. The owner has ruined them by training them to be like this and abusing them.  They are beaten and live in horrible conditions.  That’s not the dog’s fault.

Not only that, I believe one of the reasons you see Pit Bulls and Rottweilers and Dobermans in dog fighting operations is because they are a very scary looking dog.   They are stocky and hard muscle and look very intimidating!  The building manager at my office used to have a Rottweiler and I swear, it was the size of a horse and solid muscle.  It was absolutely terrifying to look at.  Can you imagine being afraid of a Collie or Yorkie or a Labrador in a dog fighting ring?  Those dogs don’t look as intimidating.

Pit Bulls might be genetically more likely to be a more aggressive however, you can say the same about people.  It is now believe that you can be genetically predisposed to addictions or violence, so do those people not deserve to be loved because of their genetic predisposition?  Let’s say there is a child whose family has a predisposition to violence, whether that is domestic abuse or a temper.  Theoretically, that child should have same tendency to violent behavior, but if he/she is taken out of that environment and raised in a loving one, they will most likely be loving.  Same with a dog, if the owner raises the dog right, teaches him/her what and what not to do, and love them, then the dog will be loving.  Don’t think that an entire breed of dog is useless and doesn’t deserve any love because people raise them to be violent.

This is also just creating stereotypes.  That’s like saying well all Puerto Ricans carry knives and stab people, so then naturally you should stay away from me and all other Puerto Ricans because we’ll stab you or like saying all Irish people are angry drunks, so once again stay away from me since I’m Irish and Puerto Rican.  Reading these statements, you’re probably thinking, “That is so ridiculous!”  Why is judging a person different from judging an animal?  You can’t just hate an entire group of people OR animals based on stereotypes or no one in this world would like each other.

I have also just learned that some people believe that they have the ability to lock their jaw so you can’t get them off if they bite.  That cannot be farther from the trust.  Why would Pit Bulls be the only dog with this ability?  Not only that, if ANY dog bites you, good luck in prying its jaws open.  If a Labrador or Great Dane or any medium to large dog decides to bite you, the bite force is something your hands can’t compete with.  You might have a chance if it’s a little dog, but no way with a medium/large one.

Click here for a fantastic article on Pit Bulls.  They were actually ranked second on a temperance scale.  They explain more about that in this article.  Just as we teach our children not to judge people by their background or what they look like or stereotypes associated with them, we should listen to what we say and not judge an animal for, in most cases, the faults of their owner.  These misconceptions are one reason that Pit Bulls are less likely to be adopted and more likely to be euthanized.  So don’t judge a book by its cover, there will always be dogs of any breed that are bad dogs just like there are bad people.  I mentioned that Rottweiler that the building manager owes, the one that is terrifying to look at, she was the sweetest dog in the world.  She was never on a leash because she was so well trained she’d sit outside of the office doors until the manager came out and they continued their rounds.  This dog couldn’t even kill a squirrel.

It just breaks my heart to think that so many of these beautiful dogs who are loving never find a home because of these fears that aren’t always true.  If you are looking for a dog to adopt, don’t completely turn away from a Pit Bull.  If you love them, they’ll love you back.