Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On Being Pro-Woman

In my last non-link up post, I was talking about some things that I had seen that were inspiring me. To build off that, I have been thinking about all the ways the new way of feminism can be pro woman. There is a great deal of focus on abortion and the devastating effects it often has for women, but I wanted to address some of the other important aspects of being pro woman.

It is increasingly difficult to find ways to unite with other types of feminists in common interests. So much so, that often we forget all that we could achieve together. It is as though hate is the preferred way of dealing, and this doesn't sit well with me. While some issues are naturally of greater value or importance in this re-branding of sorts, let us not pretend one issue alone is our cause.

Education: I can sit here and regurgitate the statistics for you. I can analyze the trends of women in higher education all day, but that is simply not the point I want to make. Every last political, feminist, or societal debate I enter into, leads me back to the same conclusion: we have forgotten how to educate ourselves. As a woman that earned not only an undergraduate degree but a graduate degree, I absolutely believe in the value of higher education. I am not saying there are not problems with the system, but there is wealth of knowledge there. However, I am speaking of education on a more basic level. Somewhere along the way, I believe our generation lost touch with some common sense educational principals. This includes (but is not limited to) the following:

- Thorough research
- Analysis of statistics and reports (not just taking the media’s word for it)
- Household finances (budgeting, tracking spending, saving, knowing the         difference between a need and a want)
- Knowledge of how our government works

I mention these things specifically, because YouTube is filled to brim of videos of people that do not seem to have base knowledge in these areas, and I am particularly disturbed by the trend that has us knowing more about a reality TV show than real life. The women that stood up for their right to vote and to be treated as equals did not always have the opportunities we have today. Higher education was not always open to them. Their own financial information was not always open to them. They helped open many doors for us, yet we have forgotten how they did so: self-educating. You do not have to end up with 4-6 years of student loan debt to self-educate. We have tools such as libraries and the internet (believe it or not, there is more than Facebook and porn out there!) at our disposal. (There are also many hot shot universities offering their post popular classes for free via the internet.) All it takes is drive and motivation. This is of vital importance to the new feminist movement because of things like this book review. While we know we are more than females just chained to a stove, popping out babies, there is nothing wrong with brushing up on a few things once in a while to back it up.

Career: Believe me. I use this term loosely. I am not talking just about equal pay for equal work. I am not just talking about the need for true merit-based work environments. There is more to life than a career, but we cannot escape this world without the need to purchase some things, like food, clothing, shelter… I will try to side-step my “Where has the Family Unit Gone?” rant for the sake of this post, and speak directly to the need for women to stop the bickering. I have written previously about the SAHM vs. Working Mom Debate and the ridiculousness of it all. New feminism means the true acceptance of the many ways women choose to show their womanhood. There is no ‘one size fits all’ career and home life balance. Every woman has unique skills and talents. Why don’t we give each other the room to figure this out and support one another?

Violence: If you are not well informed about domestic and sexual violence, you need to be. If we ourselves are not educated on this issue, then how can we expect our leaders and elected officials to be? It is not enough to take a self-defense course. It is not okay to assume women that have been attacked did not take the same course, or were somehow dressed in a way that was “asking for it”. It is not okay to assume that intimate partner violence is mutually combative, or that she “stays because she likes it.” It is not okay to chalk it up to the “for better or worse” vow and look the other way. Sexual and domestic violence is about power and control. I will say it again: If you are not well informed about domestic and sexual violence, you need to be.

Support: We need organizations that take a more holistic approach to supporting women from all walks of life. We all have different needs: counseling, fertility support and knowledge, medical, parenting… you name it, and there are women that need it. Not in a way that makes them dependent on someone or something else, but in a way that builds community. Women are amazing creatures, as if you didn't know! I have heard enough derogatory comments made about women by women to last me a life time. It is time we begin building communities that support one another. (Warning: this link is a shameless plug for GSP!)

New feminism, the new wave of feminism, Cathofeminism…. Whatever you want to call it is more than a pro-life movement. It is more than anti-hormonal birth control, and it is more than anti-abortion. It is pro-woman. A reality that is pro-woman does not seek to manipulate her by pills, devices or unnecessary surgeries. It does not seek to make her seem like or behave like a man. It seeks to recognize that women are equal to men in their own right, and do not need to contort themselves to meet someone else’s expectations. It also does not seek to tear down men. New feminism is pro-woman and pro-man.

Friday, November 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes

So, I am trying not to jump directly from Thanksgiving into Christmas as Advent has not even started, but I have been seeing some really great things this year for kids. As I have written in the past, I have a big problem with the way we market to our children. I have a son and a daughter, and while their interests vary, we work hard to make sure that they can play with what they want to. My daughter loves to play with her brother's Hot Wheels and my son likes the My Little Ponies. (Why they though a show about horses had to be specific to girls, I will never know. He likes animals too!) So, I thought I would use my Quick Takes contribution this week to talk about toys I have seen that are really great for kids, not just girls or boys.

--- 1 ---
For younger kids: Just B. Toys
My kids LOVE these toys. They come in all kinds of crazy colors, and I am so glad we invested in some of the bigger ticket items early on, because they hold up and are durable. Here is my favorite thing we have: the block sets.
Photo: Barnes&

--- 2 ---
Coolest Packaging: Laser Pegs
How cool is it that the right there on the package it states "The Ultimate toy for kids"?! I love that someone recognizes that girls like thing that light up and appreciate colors other than pink. I think these things are pretty cool.

--- 3 ---
Books I want to read with my kids: Babylit
These are also for younger kids, but they have classics like Moby Dick in board book form. I really like the illustrations also. As someone that loved the book Great Expectations from a very young age, I am holding out that they add it to the collection!

--- 4 ---
Amazing Personalization: Child's Own Studio
This site takes one of your child's drawings and converts it into doll form. SO COOL. I can't even begin to describe it to you. I love looking through all the transformations. It is a bit pricey, but just such a great idea.

--- 5 ---
Best Christmas Purchase: Little People Christmas Nativity Set
I bought ours last year at Target and the kids play with it year around. I love that I have a kid-friendly nativity to display and that we can talk about all the characters. It really is awesome.

--- 6 ---
Best thing I have seen as a new feminist: Goldie Blox
Engineering toys geared towards getting girls interested in engineering. Brilliant. I want one.

--- 7 ---
Coolest Catho gift: Courtney & Cassidy's Creations
Not only are you supporting a small business owner, you get a great Catholic figure! There are so many cool dolls on this site. Check them out!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Post is All Over the Place.

Sometimes we generalize people. Sometimes it is easier to find comfort in not agreeing with them if we can group all those that contradict our beliefs into an easy package with an oversimplified label.
We are all guilty of this in one way or another. Sometimes we generalize out of fear. Other times it is because we do not understand others or do not want to understand them.  I will admit I have spent most of my time since the election in a state of incredulousness. I really cannot believe the results and I am anxious about the future of this nation and my family’s future as practicing Catholics in this nation. I am overwhelmed by the hate and negativity I am seeing from people that voted for the winning candidate. I am overwhelmed by the hate and negativity from those that voted against the winning candidate. I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of registered and unregistered voters that chose not to vote in this election, which was perhaps one of the most important elections of our time.
This week, I have been focused on combating my state of incredulousness. My children are the greatest distraction, but I have also rediscovered my sense of awe in all that women are capable of accomplishing. I wanted to share a few examples with you.
1.       The post “I’ve startedtelling my daughters I’m beautiful” was recently passed along to me.  It made me smile. I did not look at other posts by this individual, and I really do not care if I agree with everything she has to say in life, because I have yet to meet a person with whom I do agree with 100%. Her post is spot on, regardless. There is a renewed sense of confidence that every mother experiences when she begins to look at herself from the eyes of her child. My children are impressed with me always and sometimes I forget that. They love me the same before I have showered as they do after.  They have love in their eyes when they look at me always, and as if I needed a reason to love myself the same way, my children are definitely that reason.
2.       Last night, I shared the post “The Bombshell” with the Cathofeminism Facebook community. While words cannot describe receiving this kind of news, I am just in awe at the raw honesty in which the author was able to write. The pro-life community is mocked often for the imagined lack of care for those that have been born. There is often a perception that those who are against abortion see everything through the Miraculous Rose Colored Lenses that prevent you from having to experience reality. To paraphrase Nate Ruess: Woman, you won’t believe, the most amazing things, they can come from some terrible, awful experiences.
These are just two examples of inspiration. Now that the election is over, I am returning to my main focus. The only way we will lift ourselves out of the atrocities and injustices of this world is if we focus on one another. Parents: raise your children to be contributing members of society. Enjoy the sunshine and rainy days. Look at yourselves through the eyes of your children and see how amazing you are! Is that too frou-frou for you? Yeah I sort of want to gag also, but it is still true. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Voted: A Link Up

Today, I voted.

I would like to write about how I stood in line thinking of the early activists that fought for women to have this right, and how I ran home to watch Iron Jawed Angels in celebration of my right to vote.(Totally wish I owned that movie.) The truth is less glamorous: I stood in line for 20 minutes trying to review the billion amendments I needed to vote on while entertaining my two sugar hangovers as they played outside amid the fire ants and then just tried to keep them out of the way as I flipped through the three pages of double-sided sheets. We then loaded my vote into the machine, collected our stickers, and posed by the car to commemorate the event. I will walk around wearing my early voter sticker all day, and then transfer it to my church clothes when I go to Mass tonight, because I am proud to be an informed voter.

Rules for the Link Up:

1. You must mention in your post that the link up is hosted by yours truly complete with a link back to

2. Feel free to use the "I Voted" button in your post.

3. Link up ends in a week!