Tuesday Tidbits

Slightly more Americans are “pro-life” than “pro-choice” according to a recent Gallup poll, reversing a trend that held constant throughout the years 1995-2008. The shift occurred among Republicans and Independents, who (in my opinion) appear to become more conservative during times of national stress.

The French Postal Service has issued a 12-stamp booklet concerning the issue of violence against women. The stamps were designed in recognition of V-Day, a global movement started in 1998 by Eve Ensler to put an end to all forms of violence against women and girls.

The American Academy of Pediatricians has  proposed  “nicking”  newborn girls to “satisfy” parents intent on female circumcision (otherwise known as FGM for “female genital mutilation”). I’m with Swampfoot at Daily Kos on this one: WTF? More information and reactions here and here.

Am I the only one who thinks Miley Cyrus just might be getting out of control? I’ve tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, but if she was my daughter…

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill Tuesday that bans ethnic studies classes in the state’s public schools. The new law (see PDF) bans classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” Source: Feminist Majority Foundation’s Feminist News Digest

Happy Birthday to Me

Photo by Jessica Diamond

I’m more excited about my birthday than I normally am, perhaps because I’m still around to celebrate it. No, nothing is wrong with me. I don’t have a terminal disease (unless you consider life to be a terminal disease, which in a way, it is). But I am getting older, and I’m aware of the fact that many people who are almost 60 are in poor health for one reason or another. I don’t have any complaints, and that makes me hopeful. You see, I’m hoping to make it to one hundred. That would give me another 42 years on this earth. When you look at it that way, 58 doesn’t seem so bad.

But of course I’m not likely to live to be a hundred. The average life span for someone like me is around 85. Which gives me 27 more years. Still a good chunk of time, but then you have to consider that the last ten at least won’t be spent running marathons. But then I don’t run marathons now, so what would I be losing?

Normally, birthdays don’t mean much to me.  I make an effort to remember others,’ but I honestly don’t care if anyone remembers mine. Oh, I don’t mind a phone call, but gifts are strictly optional. I’m the same way at Christmas. Sometimes my children have been too strapped for money to get me a present and I can’t even tell you who or when that was, just that it has happened at times.

My husband, on the other hand, loves birthdays. That’s partly the German in him; apparently birthdays are a very big deal in Germany. You’re treated special for the entire day, from breakfast right through dinner. I have had to adapt myself to that mentality if only for the sake of other people, but it just makes me uncomfortable to be fussed over on my birthday. It’s not like I did anything to deserve it. I’m just still alive, that’s all.

My reluctance to be recognized on my birthday might date back to the year I turned sixteen. No one even mentioned it was my birthday until dinner that night, and it wasn’t because they had a party planned for me or anything. It was just an “ordinary” birthday. Maybe I’m afraid of being disappointed again, so I’ve trained myself to not expect anything.

I’m writing this at 2:30 in the morning of my birthday–the day is yet to unfold.  I’ll let you know how this birthday panned out. I’m not expecting anything, but I have a feeling this is going to be a good one.

NOTE: I had a great birthday, mainly because my family was all around me (except for one of my daughters who lives too far away) and I had many happy birthday wishes by email and phone. I also ate till I was stuffed, on pizza and cheesecake (not together). My youngest daughter spent hours–literally–making the cheesecake, which was stupendous, my third daughter hosted the party and my oldest daughter drove from a couple of hours away to be there with my grandson. My in-laws in Germany sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers and my wonderful husband made me feel special from the start of the day to its end.  Thanks to all for making my birthday memorable in the very best way.

What I Know

I just finished reading Alice Eve Cohen’s What I Thought I Knew which is a memoir about her late-in-life, unexpected pregnancy. Sprinkled throughout the book are lists that Cohen titles “What I Know.” The items change over time to the point where Cohen apparently decides that she never really knew what she thought she knew.

Using her lists as inspiration, I thought I’d write one myself, keeping in mind that what I know today may not be what I know tomorrow. So here it is:

What I Know

  • I love being a woman.
  • It’s hard to be a woman.
  • I thought I would be a perfect mother.
  • I failed, but my children survived anyway.
  • I loved having all daughters.
  • My grandson made me love boys.
  • The first time I married I wasn’t really ready.
  • The two marriages I rushed into turned out horribly.
  • The two I waited for were much better.
  • Marriage is all about expectations, failed and fulfilled.
  • Divorce isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.
  • Death of a loved one is.
  • Getting older is disheartening and scary.
  • It is also liberating.
  • Being a woman isn’t about youth and beauty.
  • It’s about survival and wisdom.

Valentine’s Day

I remember making valentines for my mother when I was in grade school. (Funny how we never made them for our dads.) I also remember making out valentines for every kid in my class. And getting one from every kid in the class. And I remember aching for valentines from the boys I loved. One in particular. All through grade school I loved Larry Heckner. In the sixth grade I wrote VO-CAB-U-LARY on the front of my vocabulary notebook as a kind of code. Only my best friend knew why I’d written it that way. (Do you remember that, Martha?)

But these days I could care less about valentines. And it’s not sour grapes; I have romance in my life, thank you very much. My kids think that my husband and I are weird because we never do anything to celebrate our relationship. We never go on dates; we barely even celebrate our anniversary. (One year we celebrated our anniversary by rearranging the furniture in our living room. And we were quite pleased with ourselves afterwards, too.)

I would rather have someone tell me they love me every day than get a card or gift on Valentine’s Day. And my husband does that to a “T.” He’s always kissing and hugging me and saying he loves me and thinks I’m beautiful. (He laughs at my jokes, too.) I’ve had other husbands who never  forgot a special occasion, but they were also never affectionate (unless they wanted sex). I wouldn’t trade the attention I get daily for a Valentine any time.

In other words, for me, every day is Valentine’s Day.

Resolutions For Feminists

Feminist New Year Resolutions

The New Year is officially here and I thought I would try to come up with a list of resolutions that every feminist should subscribe to.

These are the personal resolutions:

  1. I will take charge of my own life.
  2. I will pursue my dreams.
  3. I will make time for myself.
  4. I will not let myself be intimidated by authority.
  5. I will clearly state my opinions.
  6. I will accept myself as I am.

These are  interpersonal resolutions:

  1. I will not assume that I know what others need and want.
  2. I will seek solidarity with all women.
  3. I will not look down on other “categories” of feminists.
  4. I will listen to what others are really saying.
  5. I will not generalize or stereotype.
  6. I will not hate those with different ideologies.

These are the “public” resolutions:

  1. I will keep up with the news.
  2. I will research women’s issues.
  3. I will make my views known.
  4. I will support feminist causes.
  5. I will educate myself about feminism.
  6. I will call myself a feminist.

Do you agree with these resolutions? Which ones would you change? What would you add?

Tuesday Tidbits


Update: Feministing reports on the new female condom which is finally available in the U.S.

On She-Power: “25 Fast Facts About Women Around the World.”

Even though International Women’s Day was March 8th, it’s worth visiting this site at any time of the year.

One story that illustrates the need for health care reform on Hip Mama.

For comic book fans: look up Promethea, a series with a woman protagonist by the author of Watchmen. Here’s a review from BUST Magazine.