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Main Entry: fem·i·nism
Pronunciation: \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
Function: noun
Date: 1895
1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
Merriam-Webster, Feminism

Why do so many people think of “feminist” and “feminism” as negative words? An unflattering description. Men AND women think this, and I am reminded of it often. Have you had this experience? Someone referred to me as a feminist in a conversation the other day, and then immediately took it back, clearly indicating that he didn’t mean to insult me, and added that he knows I’m not really “one of them.” Oh dear. I mean how can people be so ignorant? Educated, worldly people, but yet so skewed on this topic. I’m not red-in-the-face fuming over this… it has irritated me from time to time… I’m just mostly, well, bemused. I don’t mean that in an insulting or condescending way (well maybe just a little), but DUDE!

With that said, I guess I understand where the confusion comes from… extremists have slapped a negative connotation on the word/cause. It happens. It sucks. People who take something and run with it, tipping over the edge of reason, and twisting the original meaning and intent. I do not approve. Allowing others to manipulate our vocabulary and just go along with new definitions, distant versions of the origin… not until the dictionary concurs at least.

Though you do not have to be a woman to be a feminist, you’re better off accusing most straight men of being a flaming homosexual than being a feminist… or they take it as pretty much one in the same, a shocking insult. Oy. The word is feminist because it is the belief of equal rights for females, not feminist = a female. Certainly any man that I would be with damn sure is one… now he may not have a bumper sticker indicating such label, but as far as the actual definition (see above), yep, we would have a problem if he were not.

Now, I was born and raised and still live in the good ole south. I honestly like some old-fashioned customs, manners typical of the region, that may be gender biased… BUT just because I allow a fella to hold a building door for me or open my car door doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to vote, earn as much money as a man, have less independence in any way, shape, or form… any education level, driving privileges, political voice or position, influence in whatever area I shall choose.

And I use the word “chick” to refer to myself or other women occasionally, but I promise that doesn’t devalue or diminish any of the equalities that I or any chick has and is entitled to keep. I am not opposed to several traditional scenarios between men and women. I don’t talk smack about women who choose to not work outside of the home. Nor do I look down on women who have children and then work full-time. I do, however, appreciate a woman who can think for herself. That’s all I ask sisters. You know, to represent and all. That we have a brain and deserve to be equals, no matter in which capacity we choose to carry out and deliver our contributions to family, work, society.

Believing in feminism does not mean that one hates or devalues men in any way. That notion bugs the bejeezus outta me! It doesn’t mean that we think we are superior to men… that men need to be knocked down in some way. It means that we should have the same rights and opportunities and be able to pursue those things free from discrimination and gender suppression. The option needs to be there. All women do not have to want those things, but they should support equality for women who do. Furthermore, men nor women should insult a woman if she does NOT want to be a CEO, senator, or other job or post traditionally thought of as part of the boys club. The entire point is that we should have CHOICES. The right to choose what suits us best, as individuals. No different from men.
Contrary to popular opinion, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships…”
If you want to read more, the entire article is:
Feminism and Romance Go Hand and Hand
I happened upon the article and thought it fitting to share.
Okay, one more thing. If you find yourself being asked the question: “You’re not one of those feminists are you?”, don’t take the easy way out, just because it saves your breath and all. Nicely respond to the question with a question(s): “How can I be a woman and not believe in equal rights for women? I am a feminist. What rights do you think women should not have?” If you ask this in a non-pissy way, suppressing snarky attitude in tone and expression, it can be amusing to watch the person come up with an intelligent response… and you may just teach somebody something, or in the least make ’em think twice before piping up like that again. I suppose the above advice wouldn’t work well for you in the event that you are not a feminist. But in that case, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog anyway… because you won’t like it and stuff.
I invite you to share any related stories or thoughts that come to mind!
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I was hanging out with my fella and a couple of our friends the other night. They have known my man for 10 years (she) or 20 years (he). It doesn’t really matter what led up to this comment… and to be quite honest, I don’t exactly remember. The point is that the “she” friend said to me:
“Well at least they will always make us laugh… no matter what else,
we will always have fun with them!”

When we are younger, we are reminded by our elders how much personality matters and that it should be developed and valued over physical traits and appearance (if we were lucky enough to have smart elders around). With a little age and experience, one realizes how essential a stellar personality is in your other person… to find that person attractive and enjoyable day to day and year after more years. It has to work for you and only you… but no matter what keeps you smitten, laughing, interested, whatever, whatever, it always comes back to personality. Period.

I do indeed have an experience from my past that vividly solidified this for me, at the age of 18. I went on two dates with a physical trainer who had the most muscular body I have ever hugged in real life. I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time, was bored, and this guy was really good looking. I thought, he’s different than other guys I have dated, but what the hell? Different may be better. Unfortunately, he had the personality and excitement of a doormat. Not a doormat with a clever quote or cute greeting… but rather one who found it necessary to worry about how many fat grams were in my bean burrito and nachos and cheese dip. (At the time I weighed about 112 lbs. at 5’7″.) If you know me at all, insulting my divine obsession for and enjoyment of authentic Mexican cuisine is a heinous act to commit. The only conversation he could participate in was telling me how many miles he had run that day, how much weight he had lifted, and how many calories he had not consumed by abstaining from beer, food that taste worth a damn, and any other indulgence that is usually normal for a 21 year old. It was enough for me to realize that I never cared to go on another date with anyone based on looks from that point forward and forever more.

I mean, you have to be attracted to someone… but again that brings you back around to personality, or at least it does for me. A magnetic personality can physically transform a person before your very eyes. It may sound cheesy and cliché, but it is the absolute truth. How else can women still get all googly over their men even after he has lost some or all of his hair, gained a lil or a lotta weight, and may not even be deemed attractive by the average woman? That’s what we all want though… not that we hope and pray that our men will fall apart over the years… but let’s face it, the aging process is not equally kind to everyone. It can be a little unpredictable at best, and basically I want to really like someone at their core, for the energy they exude and for their place in the world (not their career status or such but for their contributions to humanity on even the tiniest day-to-day scale). I want a man who can easily make me laugh, carry on an intellectual conversation, be open enough and secure with himself to learn from me, and be interesting enough to teach me new things or prompt new thought or debate… and be amusing, lively, and straight-up FUN!

When you’ve had a bad day, are struggling with stresses from work, children, parents or other family members, whomever the pains in your arse may be, it sure is nice to have someone to spend time with who just makes you giggle. And if you’re lucky, that person can help you forget the troubles of the world (when you need it most) and make you laugh your arse off!

ENDING NOTE: I previously thought I could only be physically attracted to a guy over 6 feet tall. I am a tall chick in heels and one of my superficial preferences was to have a guy who would always be taller than I, regardless of my foot attire. Well, my man is 5’11” and I look him square in the eyes while wearing pumps… but I couldn’t be more smitten. Personality baby! Don’t sell it short and don’t overlook the short(er). Dammit I’m cheesy today!

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This is a dreary, icky, melancholy day. It is the week of Thanksgiving and what is on my mind most is that I miss my Aunt Tammie. Her birthday is November 28th, and so she is on my mind. She died at the age of 37, car accident. My dad, her big brother, died when he was 27, car accident.

It felt strange when I outlived my father’s age, and it will be weird to live longer than my aunt did, unless something happens to me. I guess there is still plenty of time for something to take me out early… for what little bit of family I have left, I hope not.

I want to think about all of the fun and crazy times I shared with Tammie. She was a character! She was boisterous, animated, hysterical, and the list goes on and on. She was only 12 years older than I, so we did some really silly things to pass the time. When I was 11 or 12 and she was in her early twenties, we would stay up all night finding something to entertain us. We made videos pretending we were MTV VJs, made up dances, dressed in costumes… she taught me how to twirl a baton and how to do “The Bus Stop” and other dances from the late 70’s. She introduced me to music that was before my time. We watched countless 80’s movies over and over. She taught me how to play poker… and lots of other things. But most importantly, Tammie would tell me stories about my father… funny, silly stories… memories that would really give me a sense of what it was like to hang out with him. She painted pictures for me that I so desperately needed. No one else did that in my life.

Tammie was so loving and she just wanted to feel loved and appreciated in return. Unfortunately, people found a way to take advantage of her good nature and she did not have the best relationships with men in her life. She had the potential to do anything in the world she wanted to do. She was mad smart and could get any room rolling with laughter. She also had a multitude of talents. The thing is, she got bored really easy… so she tried out a variety of occupations. She was a passionate person. She loved animals and gave that to me. I looked up to her so much. Even though she was unstable a lot of the time… she was artistic, crafty, wrote poetry, painted, had a beautiful voice, could play the piano by ear, was a fabulous cook… and was also good at math, computer work, and interested in science. I thought she was amazing! I wish that she had felt amazing… I am certain that she never really did.

Tammie never recovered from losing her big brother, my dad. I didn’t realize to what extent until I went to her funeral. I won’t go into details here, but she carried that broken heart around her entire adult life. I later learned that she spent a significant amount of time at his grave site. When we buried her, she was placed beside him.

Back to the fun stuff… she used to dress me up like I was her doll. I was 5 and she would paint my face with make-up, complete with a beauty mark – always – and curl my blonde hair into ringlets with shiny ribbons tied in bows. She taught me how to roller skate and we would go to the rink in the middle of the day and skate under the disco balls and flashing lights until dinner time.

One of my fondest memories is being on a cruise ship docked in Mexico… it was incredibly windy, and the band played “American Pie” and “Brown-Eyed Girl”… Tammie, my sister, and I twirled around and ran around dancing for what seemed like forever. It was one of those magical moments in time. We had a blast! I am so thankful for that. You couldn’t be around Tammie and not have fun!

Okay, now I am ecstatic! I just stepped away from the computer to try and find a picture of the two of us… and I found one from the night in Mexico!!!

One summer at camp I went by her name instead of my own. It wasn’t on purpose exactly, but I played along. I had an old t-shirt of hers that was black with gold sparkly letters that spelled her name. I wore it to camp one day and the girls I met there called me “Tammie” for the next couple of weeks. I never told her that.

She took me to the beach several times while I was a pre-teen. We would take our floats out past the wave break and float and talk all day long. She took me to my first Bon Jovi concert. I was 10 and obsessed with the band. She stood outside in the rain in line for hours so we would get good seats. She also drove me an hour away and stood in line so that I could have my picture taken with Kirk Cameron (you know, the kid from “Growing Pains” back when he was cute and before he went crazy).

I wish that I also had a picture of her before my father passed away, back when she took better care of herself and still had her dreams alive for a bright future. When I think about it, I carry on a lot of things I picked up from her. She absolutely loved Halloween, made a big deal out of birthdays, always wanted to learn something new, and she treated her pets like her children. I hope that she recognized, even a little, that she gave me so much and influenced me in some pretty damn cool ways!

I just had to get out the mixture of thoughts and memories swimming around in my noggin today. I miss my big “sister”… I always will.

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Okay, so one thing I really want from people… is for them to say what they mean and mean what they say. Is that too much to ask? Gheesh. I appreciate a brutally direct person more than one sugar-coating bullshit any day of the week. Now, I realize this goes against my Southern upbringing. I was surrounded by women who were sweet as brown sugar pie to people around them, and then bash them to bits as soon as they were out of earshot. Especially at church. What the hell? Being polite when called for and having basic manners is one thing… but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.

Men do it too. My ex used to commit to plans with friends all of the time, just to blow them off and not follow through. He did this over and over. It pissed me off so much! Why not at least tell me that you have no interest in going to that dinner, to that party, etc.

I know I am all over the place here.

My family, though I love them, have always been that stereotypical Southern family that looks all peachy fine on the outside while there is an astronomical mess about to explode on the inside. But shhhhh, don’t talk about it. Damn sure don’t mention anything to someone outside of the family circle. Hell, be in denial within the family. I have still not figured out how this helps anything or anyone. You know why? Because it doesn’t. How could it? Don’t get me wrong, I love my Southern roots for many reasons. But I have to say that I have had a green eye on occasion for those boisterous Italian or Jewish families who just let it all hang out, speaking their mind and rolling with it. It just seems easier that way. I would rather a person tell me they hate me to my face than tell me they love me only to be lying. 

This entire issue is why I have had few close friends in my life… lack of authenticity. Who is real? Who will turn around and stab you in the back, talk rubbish behind your back, or just use you for their best interest while providing nothing in return? What I call a “one-way friendship.”

I realize that this could be easily divided into two different topics… maybe I will write more later and it will be more focused.

I like real people. I want to know what I am dealing with, and then I can decide if I want you around. ;o)

So, “say what you mean and mean what you say!” If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you say something, mean it!

This concludes my rant for the day. =)

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