I Am Not a Victim


Yesterday evening I came across a quote that resonated very strongly with me.  The quote is from an interview with former Guns & Roses & current Sixx A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba.  Ashba grew up with an extremely abusive father & when asked what advice he would give to kids growing up in difficult situations, he responded:

“No matter what you’ve been through in life, you must remind yourself that this is YOUR life. There’s nothing in life you can’t have if you want it bad enough. You just have to be willing to work as hard as it takes to get it.

You have two choices. You can sit around & feel sorry for yourself, or you can get up, dust yourself off, & never lose focus on your goals. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you & stand in your way. Use the negativity as motivation to fuel the fire inside you. Follow your heart, never doubt yourself, & always remember, the hardest part about reaching your dreams is never giving up.”  

(You can read more of that interview here.)dj-ashba

Now the rest of this post might be a little controversial but I’m going forward with it anyway because it’s something I’ve been needing to get off my chest lately.

Yes, I am a feminist in the sense that I absolutely support women having equal rights under the law & generally being treated as the capable human beings that we are.  As long as there are places in the world like Saudi Arabia where women are treated basically like cattle I absolutely believe that feminism is still a needed cause.alan-ball-quote

HOWEVER, I must go on record to say that there have been very few times in my life that I have ever felt that I have suffered or been mistreated because of my gender.  I read all the time  how girls suffer in American schools, particularly in the STEM fields, & how we women make less money than men, etc, etc.  I am not denying that there are some cases in which girls & women still face discrimination (particularly women who are also a racial/ethnic minority, which, to be clear, I am not).  However, I must say that from my own experience in school, all the way from kindergarten through high school, it was BOYS who I felt suffered.  I don’t know about the rest of y’all but when I was a kid it wasn’t exactly cool to be smart or get good grades.  But it was ok for girls.  To be clear, you weren’t going to win any popularity contests for being a nerdy girl but at the same time you could excel academically & not be sneered by most of your classmates.  On the other hand boys who excelled in the classroom, regardless of subject, were frequently subject to intense teasing & general disregard by other students, both male & female alike.  In my school there were very few males in any of the advanced learning programs.  I fail to believe this was because of a dearth of academically advanced boys.  Rather I think it was a symptom of the greater problem that being smart was considered especially uncool for boys so many male students chose to suppress their abilities in order to “save face.”victimhood-cartoon

I am not so naive as to think that my experience alone represents that of all women, even of my own age & demographic.  However, having spoken to many women of my generation from a great variety of areas throughout the US it seems to me that for the most part we have not faced a great deal of serious systematic discrimination, especially in the academic world.  Hell, women have been attending & graduating college at a greater rate than men for years now.  I’ve also read multiple times that women of my generation are, on average, actually making MORE money than our male counterparts.  In light of this, I think it’s time we dropped the victimhood game.

tammy-bruce-quote

Ironic, isn’t it?

Are there ways in which our society could improve to further help women?  Certainly.  Greater maternity leave would be a great one.  But so would greater paternity leave.  On that subject, fathers in this country have been systematically demeaned for decades now, & it’s obvious to me that we are now suffering the consequences.  Do a quick Google search & you will quickly find that children, regardless of gender, who grow up without a father are much more likely to suffer from pretty much every bad outcome (more likely to become teen parents, drop out of school, have behavioral issues, end up in jail or using drugs, etc).  fathers

All you have to do is turn on the TV to see that our society does not value fathers.  Fathers are consistently depicted, both in TV shows/movies & commercials, as bumbling idiots who are basically oversized children.  Maybe this is true for some men . . . But then one wonders if some men are like that because that’s the image that’s been shown to them for so many years now.  Don’t feminists often argue that women typically pursue more traditionally feminine careers such as nursing & teaching because those are the kinds of roles in which they see women depicted?  Feminists have argued for years that we need more female doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers, etc so that little girls will see that they can become anything they want.  In theory I completely agree with this statement.  However, I find it interesting that no one seems to be arguing that we need more male teachers & nurses & other such traditionally feminine roles.  It’s my opinion that all fields could benefit from a more balanced gender ratio.  But it’s intriguing to me that it’s so easy to find scholarships for women seeking to enter traditionally masculine fields whereas you are hard pressed to find scholarships for men seeking to enter traditionally feminine fields, even if they face similar challenges in so doing.male-nurses

At the same time, I understand that there may never be as many female lawyers, politicians, or CEOs because most women simply don’t want to do that kind of work.  Or at least they don’t want to deal with the long hours & high demands of such careers, especially if they are also moms.  And I for one don’t see anything wrong with that.  Just as I don’t see anything wrong with the fact that we will probably never see as many stay at home dads as we see stay at home moms.

Call me insensitive, brainwashed, or stupid, but I for one think all of the recent focus on women’s rights in the US would be better spent focusing on parts of the world where women truly do not have basic human rights.  And just to be clear, having the government pay for your birth control is NOT a basic human right.  After all if we women are as strong & independent as men, why do we need the government to take care of us?  And if we’re truly such equals, why aren’t we eligible for the draft?  Funny how most feminists love to dodge that subject!  [To be clear, I’m not saying men are superior to women.  But I’m also not ignoring basic biology that makes it obvious that women are less suited to combat & thus shouldn’t be eligible for the draft (& probably shouldn’t be involved in combat at all, in my opinion).]  There are parts of the world where female babies are routinely aborted for being the “wrong” gender.  There are parts of the world where female rape victims are stoned or otherwise killed because of what a man forced on them.  And yet modern American feminists are bitching about men sitting on the subway with their legs spread too widely?  Get a damn life, y’all!
feminism-birthcontrol

I wrote all that to say this: yes, there have been a few times in my life when I wished I were male because I knew it would have made my life easier.  But those times have been few & far between.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky.  But my instinct tells me that most women, of my generation & in the US anyway, have had similar experiences.  At the end of the day I do not feel like a victim because I’m a woman.  I simply do not see myself that way, nor do I view my fellow females as such.  And I for one will not be raising my daughter to view herself as a victim.  I will be raising her to pursue her dreams, just as DJ Ashba encouraged us to do in the quote that started this post.

To end this post I’d like to share some quotes that I believe are relevant to this vicious cycle of victimhood that modern feminism seeks to perpetrate.victim-quote

“The rest of us have never embraced your victim mentality; we are not victims. We are people, the same way that men are. We are equal, yet different. We, unlike you, realize that is not mutually exclusive.”  ~ Lori Ziganto

“Stop bitching about everybody else & what they’ve done to you & start cleaning up your own shit yourself.  The only person who can make you a victim is you.”  ~ Max Patrick

“You cannot be happy if your primary identity is that of a victim, even if you really are one.”  ~ Dennis Prager

“Women’s liberation fought for the right of women to leave the home & become involved in the public sphere; feminists now want to convert this realm into a series of safe spaces & censored zones. If you don’t like what someone says to you on the street, say something back, put your headphones on, or just laugh – it’s really not that bad.”  ~ Ella Whelan

Can I get an AMEN?!

Monday Morning Musings


I’ve got a lot of random thoughts swimming around my head right now.  And no, they aren’t ALL about pregnancy, babies, or children.  In case you’re wondering, this isn’t going to turn into a “mommy blog,” although I’m sure I will have more posts about that subject than I did before, but I assure you it won’t be the main theme.

Anyway, some of these topics may evolve into their own blog posts later this week, but for now I’ll just do a brief visit on each subject as a means of clearing my mind.pregnancy boob cartoon

  • On Saturday I went to one of the local malls to look for new bras. Yes, I’m not even finished with the first trimester (getting close though), & already my old bras have gotten too tight to be comfortable.  Woohoo!  Haha!  Anyway, there I am in Motherhood Maternity trying on bras when the saleswoman starts going on & on to me about how horrible her pregnancies were & how she desperately hopes she isn’t pregnant again.  As if that weren’t bizarre enough, she then goes on to say that I better hope my baby isn’t a girl because “girls are so much harder.”  (Did I mention I was trying on bras during all of this?!)  Unfortunately this isn’t the first time I’ve been told this.  As early as last year when I was just talking about having kids several women told me to hope for boys because “they’re easier.”  I’ve always found such comments incredibly rude & obnoxious, & I think the fact that they’ve always come from women makes them even worse.  How do these women not realize that they are perpetuating negative stereotypes against their own gender?  It’s very obvious to me that it all boils down to parents being afraid that their daughters will get pregnant & become a burden on them.  I understand this is a legitimate fear, but if we raised our kids in such a way that sex wasn’t completely off the table for discussion or always regarded as something dirty to which they can’t have access, maybe we wouldn’t have to worry so much about such things.  And shouldn’t parents of boys be equally worried that their sons will impregnate someone at an early age or disadvantageous time?  If I have sons I sure as hell will be.  And maybe we wouldn’t have to worry so much about our daughters getting hurt by men if we as a society raised better men.  Hmm, just a thought . . . No matter what your thoughts are on the subject, I just think it is unacceptable to make such comments, especially to a complete stranger!  Additionally, I just can’t help but wonder if women who make such comments treat their daughters differently than their sons.  I certainly am incredibly grateful that my mom (& dad) never once made me feel like I was more difficult or a greater burden to them because I was a girl.  Also next time someone makes such a comment to me (because sadly I’m sure it will happen again) I sincerely hope that instead of just being flabbergasted & saying nothing at all I will have the courage to tell them exactly where to get off.  In a relatively polite way of course.tony porter quote boy girl
  • The next subject actually deals with gender as well. Living in NC naturally there are all kinds of memes floating around the internet about the whole transgender bathroom issue.  I understand that some people have legitimate concerns that sexual predators will start using the women’s bathroom as a way to target females.  However, in my opinion the likelihood of this happening is no greater now than it ever has been.  I certainly have trouble believing that a cisgender heterosexual male is going to pretend to be transgender, one of the most misunderstood & generally disliked groups of people in our society, & dress up as a woman just to get into the women’s bathroom & have a chance of harassing someone.  But that’s not really what I want to discuss today.  What really bothers me about this whole issue is the complete lack of empathy I’m seeing over & over again in regard to the transgender community.  And a lot of this is coming from people I genuinely love & respect!  I just don’t understand how otherwise decent people can have so little empathy for someone who identifies with the opposite gender.  Do these people really think someone would CHOOSE to feel that way with all of the difficulties it entails just for the hell of it?  That’s absurd.  Besides which, if you really think about it, a person who is biologically a male but identifies as a woman & chooses to live as a woman is quite likely actually attracted to men & probably has no sexual interest in women anyway.  But that’s really all beside the point.  It’s the total lack of empathy surrounding this issue that just makes me want to pull out my hair & throw up my hands in defeat. empathy
  • Is it bizarre that the idea of potty-training my kids scares me more than teaching them about sex or death or other such traditionally “difficult” subjects? I was awake at 0500 today pondering such things as how to teach my kids fractions & basic math.  Somehow this seems more intimidating than teaching them all the “hard” stuff, which is kind of ironic considering I’ve always been really good at math anyway.  I just have this irrational fear that I won’t be able to figure out the “easy,” basic stuff like potty-training or teaching my kids to tie their shoes.  I know it’s irrational but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about these things sometimes.  Overall though I am extremely proud of myself for how relaxed I’ve been throughout this pregnancy so far.

    Gee, how long does it take to litter train one of these?

    Too funny!

  • I have never been the jealous type but there is this one girl who goes to my gym who is just so beautiful & in such perfect shape that I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy every time I see her. Her face is beautiful, her hair is gorgeous, her skin is flawless, & she has the perfect amount of nicely defined muscles while still having plenty of curves.  But when I saw her yesterday it occurred to me that no matter how “perfect” she may seem to me, I have no idea how she actually feels about herself.  For all I know she could be jealous of girls like me who have considerably bigger boobs!  The point is we all have our own “hang-ups,” our own insecurities about our so-called “flaws” that in reality most other people probably never even notice.insecurity quote

Well, those are my thoughts for today.  As I said, some of these topics may evolve into separate blog posts later this week, but for now I hope these discussions were both humorous & thought-provoking.  Happy Monday, everyone!

On Gender Roles in the Modern Era


When it comes to gender roles, whether in relationships or society in general, I often find myself in a bit of quandary.  Despite the many negative connotations that the word tends to bring these days, I do still consider myself a feminist, mainly because there are countries & societies in our world in which women still have very few, if any, rights (e.g. Saudi Arabia).  However, much more importantly I consider myself a humanist because I see value in all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other such factor, & I truly believe in our ability to better ourselves as individuals & the human species as a whole (although I’ll admit we are woefully bad at this much of the time, but that’s a topic for another day).  I also have no difficulty recognizing & no problem admitting that men face their own unique challenges in this world in which we inhabit, particularly perhaps in modern America (& other similar societies).  I’ve touched on that subject before on this blog & will certainly revisit it again someday, hopefully in the not too distant future.gender scales

Anyway, one of my greatest strengths (& weaknesses, at times) in life is that I’m a great analyzer.  I’m constantly observing the world around me & the people in it.  Even as a kid, I quickly realized that I was considerably more analytical than the average person.  In any case, one of the many things I find fascinating to observe is how other couples handle gender roles in relationshipsgender role

For context, I grew up with parents who on the surface held fairly traditional gender roles in that my mom did most of the traditionally feminine housework like cooking & laundry while my dad did most of the traditionally masculine chores like mowing the yard & taking out the trash.  However, one of the things I’ve always admired about my parents is the flexibility they modeled in their relationship.  For example, my parents almost always did the dishes together every night (bizarrely, they to this day do not have an automatic dishwasher).  Furthermore, in some cases my mom actually took on a more traditionally masculine role; for example, she was more of the disciplinarian between the two of them, while my dad was the softer-spoken one who in some ways could be considered more nurturing, which is of course generally considered a more feminine trait.gender-marriage-couples

The other couple whose gender roles I observed a lot as a child/teen was of course my grandparents.  In their case, they had much more strictly defined gender roles, & even as a child I couldn’t help but notice that this seemed (to me) to create some friction between them at times.  I’m in no way questioning their love for each other; I’m just saying that like almost anything else in life, a lack of flexibility often leads to resentment & a lack of understanding between parties.  Hell, you can even observe this in old TV shows like I Love Lucy (a show I watched religiously growing up) in which the characters have very strict gender roles.I love Lucy

As it turns out, I intentionally married a man who has a very different personality than my dad (& is perhaps more similar to my grandfather, now that I stop & think about it) while still maintaining a strong work ethic & commitment to our relationship, like my dad has towards my mom.  This is not meant as any offense to my dad; I just knew even at a young age that I needed someone with a much “stronger” (for lack of a better word at the moment) personality than my dad.  I was a pretty damn insightful teenager, let me tell you that!

Now that I’ve tooted my own horn a bit, I can get down to the real point of this post, which is this:

When it comes to gender roles, particularly in romantic relationships, the best advice I can give anyone is just do what comes naturally to you.  If in 90% of relationships this means the woman does more of the cooking & laundry & the man does more of the yard-work & car maintenance, so be it. teamwork marriage

The point is that you work together as a TEAM to get the needed work done & that you have a flexible attitude so that no one ever says “I can’t do that.  That’s YOUR job.”  Yes, I do more dishes & laundry than my husband, while he mows the yard & handles the taxes, but the point is that none of this stuff is set in stone.  If I’m working three nights in a row (those are 12-hr shifts, mind you) & my husband sees that the dishes & laundry are piling up, he’ll start them without even being asked.  And you better believe I love & appreciate him so much for that, just as he appreciates when I take out the trash or pitch in with some of the other chores that he typically handles when he’s busy at work or out of town.dishes cartoon

When it comes to raising kids, I’m probably going to be a lot more traditionally feminine than perhaps I want to admit.  There is a part of me that cringes at the idea of being a stay at home mom, yet there is a larger part of me that cringes at the idea of trying to raise babies & toddlers while also working full time.  (I’m thinking working part time is the best solution to this dilemma.)  I just can’t wrap my brain around trying to stretch myself that thin, especially since our family is in another state.  Plus there is a huge part of me that feels like if I’m going to invest so much of myself into being pregnant & going through labor, then why the hell would I let a daycare raise that child?  To be even more blunt, why would I bring life into this world & then not spend as much time with it as humanly possible?

Hey, there is a lot of truth in this . . .

Hey, there is a lot of truth in this . . .

Believe me, I understand that most families cannot afford to have a stay at home mom (or dad).  And I fully anticipate that I will end up working part time when we do start a family because, if for no other reason, I don’t want to lose my nursing skills by leaving the workforce entirely, even just for a few years.  I also think all adults need a certain amount of adult interaction to maintain their sanity . . . Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that while I’ve only in the past year or two really embraced the idea of motherhood, I’ve quickly found myself anticipating a more traditional mom role than perhaps I’d have predicted in years past.

And the greater point is that while many, if not most, women will agree with me on this subject, some may not, & that’s ok.  On the same token, most men will not want to be stay at home dads, no matter how much they love their kids.  But some may.  And that’s ok too.labels

The final point here is that while we can make generalities about both genders & the roles each tends to fulfill & the personalities each tends to model, at the end of the day we are all human beings & as such our commonalities are much greater than our differences.  Furthermore each person, regardless of gender, should be evaluated on his or her own merits & not forced to fit any particular mold, whatever that may be.  I’m a bit of a rebel myself in some ways so there is a part of me that always loves those who buck trends & say “screw you” to stereotypes, but I’m also smart enough to realize that there is nothing wrong with fulfilling traditional gender roles, as long as you’re doing so out of your own natural desire & inclination.

Lzzy Hale is definitely a role model for me in some ways. She's gorgeous & feminine in some ways but also a total badass.

Lzzy Hale is definitely a role model for me as a modern woman. She’s gorgeous & feminine in some ways but also a total badass.

In conclusion, I’ll never be the girl who wears a lot of pink, frilly dresses, stilettos, or tons of makeup.  Hell, at 26 I still can’t even put on eyeliner competently.  I swear too much & talk too loud to be lady-like, & I listen to lots of heavy music that could definitely be considered masculine.  When it comes to exercise, I hate running, yet I love lifting weights.  But I also play the flute & piano, perhaps the two most quintessentially feminine instruments on Earth, & I chose to become a nurse, one of the most quintessentially feminine careers on the planet.  Even as an adult I collect stuffed animals, & if/when I become a mom someday I sincerely hope I’ll always place my children above my career.  The point is I like to think I embody a fair amount of both traditionally feminine & traditionally masculine ideals, & I also like to think I’m better off because of it. gender bird

And the greater point is that regardless of our gender it shouldn’t define us or enslave us.  If we choose to embrace the more traditional roles of our given gender, that’s fine.  And if we choose to do the opposite, that’s fine too.  Neither choice is right or wrong, only different.  When it comes to gender roles & relationships, each couple just needs to figure out what works for them & make the best of it.  As I’ve stated many times before, there is no one prescription for success in life.  If someone else’s journey looks different than yours, that doesn’t mean theirs is wrong & yours is right or vice versa.  Dalai lama quote

As my final conclusion, if there’s anything I hope to convey in this post today, it’s this:

Be real.  Be human.  Be you. 

And walk away from anyone who can’t handle any or all of the above.

In Defense of Marriage


Let me just preface this post by saying that this is NOT a post in favor of “traditional marriage” & against gay/lesbian marriage, in case anyone reads the title, assumes so, & thus decides to forego the rest of what I have to say.  I’ve made it quite clear on this blog that I100% support gay/lesbian marriage & have no problem with “alternative” sexualities (homosexuality, transgender, bisexual, etc).

Now that that’s out of the way, I can get to the meat of the subject at hand: marriage.  My husband & I just got back from vacationing in Asheville, NC where we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary.  I guess four years really isn’t that much, but when you consider that we were together for almost a decade prior to marriage, I think you can understand why we feel like we’ve been married for a lot longer than “just” four years.

Our wedding rings with my bouquet . . . Photo credit to Emily Sibitzky of Triskay Photography

Our wedding rings with my bouquet . . . Photo credit to Emily Sibitzky of Triskay Photography

In any case, it’s occurred to me many times in my life, but especially so lately, that modern society has some pretty warped ideas about marriage.  Actually, I think that’s probably always been the case.  After all, if there’s one thing I resent in life, it’s people who go around proclaiming that the world is “going to hell in a handbasket” & everything is so much worse than it used to be.  Not only do I think that’s BS, even if it were true, whining about it isn’t changing a damn thing.

ANYWAY, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not surprised that a number of people of my generation have a lot of qualms about marriage.  Between many of us growing up with parents who ended up divorced (or in some cases with parents who probably would have been better off divorced) & the multitude of negative depictions of marriage showcased in the media, it’s really no wonder that some of us have a very skeptical view on marriage.real act of marriage

I’ve read recently that the statistics aren’t as bad as we’ve been told for years now, but consider that the divorce rate in the US is generally accepted to be hovering somewhere around 50%.  Then consider that the media (everything from TV shows to commercials to movies) often depicts marriage as a milestone that magically causes women to gain 50 lbs, stop having sex, & become psychotically obsessed with having a perfect house while men become disgusting Neanderthals who can’t be bothered to lift a finger around the house or generally be anything more than overgrown teenagers.

No, no, no!!  It doesn't have to be like this.  It SHOULDN'T be like this.

No, no, no!! It doesn’t have to be like this. It SHOULDN’T be like this.

This negative portrayal of marriage in the media is not a new phenomenon.  Going back as far as the 1950s, marriage has often been portrayed in less than stellar fashion, usually for the sake of laughs of course.  Consider the classic I Love Lucy in which Lucy & Ethel, but especially Lucy, are depicted as incapable of balancing a checkbook & generally in need of a man to watch over their every move, meanwhile Ricky & Fred are buffoons who couldn’t iron a pair of pants or cook a pot of rice to save their lives.  Negative jokes about marriage were a regular part of the show’s routine, & I seriously doubt that the average viewer found this unusual or offensive.  It was just standard operating procedure.  And frankly I don’t think a hell of a lot has changed.  For example, a year or so ago I tried to watch a modern TV show (can’t remember the name right now) about which I’d heard a lot of good things.  However, I never made it past the first episode in which a recently engaged couple suddenly morphed into these bizarrely different versions of each other.  I just couldn’t take it.

I know a lot of people probably think “Oh, it’s all in good fun” but I think such depictions of marriage reveal a more sinister problem.  Or at least perpetuate negative stereotypes that, while sometimes reflected in real life, certainly are not inevitable consequences of marriage.ML BS

As a side note, it boggles my mind when I hear people say they’re so shocked that a celebrity couple like Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton are getting divorced.  I’m not surprised at all.  Hell, I’m a lot more shocked when such celebrity couples DON’T get divorced!  Why is it surprising that two people with a lot of money/fame/power who spend a lot of time on the road away from each other would not achieve lifetime marital bliss?  Get real, people.

I just finished reading Corey Taylor’s latest book, as I mentioned in last week’s blog post, & I’ve been inspired by his bluntness to be a bit more blunt myself.  Now remember I’m not some relationship guru or expert, & I’m under no illusions that I’m Jesus or Buddha or some kind of divine messenger or any such nonsense, so you can take everything I say with a lump of salt.  I’m just a 26 year old woman with an opinion & the desire to share it.  So you can like it or lump it as far as I’m concerned.wedding-spoons

With that disclaimer in mind, allow me to put it this way:

If getting engaged means your partner takes this as a license to become obsessed with every detail of the wedding to the point that you don’t even feel like he/she is the same person anymore . . . you’re doing it wrong.

If getting married means you no longer have sex on a regular basis . . .  you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re legitimately surprised that your fiancé proposed to you . . . you’re doing it wrong, & you probably shouldn’t be getting married because if you’ve never even discussed marriage before, you obviously have crappy communication skills.alimony

If getting married means you think you’re entitled to that person’s money for the rest of your life, even if you get divorced . . . you’re doing it wrong.  Allow me to go on a short rant here: alimony makes absolutely zero sense to me.  The whole idea of having access to another person’s money/time/body/life is dependent on the fact that you’re married to that person.  So if you get divorced & are thus no longer married, what makes you think you’re entitled to his/her money anymore?  Argh.  Feminism takes a step backwards every time a woman accepts an alimony check.  To be fair, if a recent divorcee is a stay-at-home mom (or dad), I can see how she might need a year or two to get back on her feet & into the workforce & able to support herself.  But there’s got to be a limit on these things.  Otherwise, how can we claim to be equal partners in marriage?  We can’t have it both ways, ladies. 

I understand that people change as they grow & mature, but if marriage means you don’t even recognize your spouse anymore . . . you’re doing it wrong.long-lasting-marriage

If marriage means you think you have a free license to gain a ton of weight or generally no longer care about your appearance at all . . . you’re doing it wrong!  Here’s another rant: nobody wants to be the a$$hole who says it, but just because you love someone that doesn’t mean you’re going to be sexually attracted to them if they morph into some completely different creature than the person with whom you fell in love & married.  You can call me whatever horrible names you like, but I think it’s just part of having self-respect, not to mention respect for your partner, that you continue to keep up your physical appearance no matter how long you’ve been together.  Trust me, I’m not saying we all need to traipse around the house in lingerie 24/7 or that every man has to have a 6-pack or he’s failing in life . . . I’m just saying let’s have some common sense & stay attractive, not to mention healthy, for our mates as best we can.  End rant.

One of my inspirations in life

One of my inspirations in life

In conclusion, I understand that not every marriage is going to work out.  But I do think a lot of divorces are precipitated by the fact that many couples have less than stellar communication skills, not to mention the fact that many couples rush into marriage for a variety of reasons.  And to be perfectly honest I don’t think getting divorced should be viewed as some kind of grand failure in life.  It happens.  It’s just a part of life like everything else.

Also, let me be clear in saying that I understand there are some couples who are fully committed to each other but have no desire to actually get legally married.  And I have no problem with that.

T-shirts like this, & the message they send, make me so angry!  It doesn't have to be this way!!

T-shirts like this, & the message they send, make me so angry! It doesn’t have to be this way!!

What really bothers me is seeing marriage portrayed as some kind of trap or the “end of the party.”  I can’t remember who has said this to me, but more than once in my life I’ve had people ask me how I could possibly get married so young (22, which isn’t even that young in my family/culture) & didn’t I feel like I was missing out on a lot of fun.  Aside from the fact that I find such questions incredibly rude, it saddens me that so many people think of marriage as an inevitable damper on life. 

Perhaps the best way to sum it up is this: yes, life is hard & even the best relationships aren’t always a cake-walk, but if your marriage doesn’t add to the quality of your life, if it doesn’t make you a better, happier, more fulfilled person . . . you guessed it, you’re doing it wrong!

On Sexual Harassment From Strangers


I decided to go to the gym this afternoon & on the way there I realized my gas tank was on E, so I stopped to fill it.  There I was, innocently pumping gas, when some nitwit comes up behind me & calls out to me.  Naturally I turned around thinking maybe the man needed directions or something.  Instead he proceeds to leer at me & say “Does your husband know how lucky he is?  If not, there’s a bunch of men who could get you.”  I was so completely taken by surprise that my only response was to flippantly say “Have a nice day” & walk (read: run) away.'BOY that REALLY makes my skin crawl when MEN undress you with their eyes!...'

I spent the next 5-10 minutes hyperventilating & driving a somewhat circuitous route to the gym just to ensure that I wasn’t being followed (thankfully I wasn’t).  When I parked at the gym, I sat in my car in tears wondering once again if I have a sign on my forehead, of which I’m blissfully unaware, which reads something along the lines of “I’m so innocent & trusting.  Please take advantage of me!”  But the fact of the matter is crap like this happens all the time to women all over the world.  My female friends who are reading this are surely nodding along in agreement because many, nay, most of them, have told me similar stories of creepy strangers who have made similar disturbing remarks to them.  And worse yet, some have even been physically assaulted.

When stories like this are told, many jump to asking “Well, what were you wearing?” as if that were somehow relevant.  Let me be the first to say that such information isn’t the least bit germane to the conversation at hand, considering Channing Tatum could be pumping gas in nothing but his boxers & 99.99% of women would never dream of coming up to him & asking “Does your wife know how lucky she is?  If not there are plenty of women who could get you.”  The point is no matter what a woman (or man) is wearing (or not wearing), no one has the right to treat her (or him) with disrespect.

And just in case anyone reading this feels like railing against the younger generation & saying we have no respect for anyone, let me be clear in stating that today’s creeper, along most every other man who’s ever harassed me in a similar fashion, was at least in his 40s, if not considerably older.respect 1

Let me also be clear in saying that I am not one of these women who thinks every man who says hello to them or touches them in any way is harassing them.  Indeed, I once got asked out at the gym, but I in no way found that intimidating or rude because it was done in a nice, respectful manner.  I’ll admit it made me a little uncomfortable but only because it reminded me that I am in fact not invisible at the gym as I usually wish I were.

Now that all of that is out of the way, let me move on with my narrative . . .enough is enough

This isn’t a treatise against men.  Indeed I’m incredibly thankful for the many wonderful men in my life, from my loving husband to my father, grandfather, & many other male friends & family members whom I feel blessed to know.  But I can’t let something like this happen to me without saying something.  I refuse to live my life thinking of every man as a potential rapist or harasser, & yet I know that men like the one I unfortunately encountered today take advantage of the fact that so many women like me operate under the assumption “innocent until proven guilty.”  (This is not to say I invite strange men into my house.  Indeed, I almost never open the door to solicitors when my husband isn’t home.  I just mean that I generally assume the best of people until shown otherwise.)  And sadly most women placed in situations like mine today react in much the same way I did: we’re too flabbergasted to come up with a response that sufficiently puts the creeper in his place.  While we should be telling them we’re not pieces of meat to be acquired, most of us are too stunned to say much of anything at all.

This is mostly a joke, but there's some truth in it too.

This is mostly a joke, but there’s some truth in it too.

I consider myself to be a fairly strong, independent woman.  I have a good career, financial stability (even without my husband’s salary), & a good head on my shoulders.  And yet situations like today make me acutely aware of just how vulnerable I really am.  Despite the fact that I work out quite a bit & am definitely stronger than the average woman, the simple truth is that even guys half my age could easily beat me up if they really wanted to.  It happens much more often than I like to admit that I get off a machine at the gym thinking how awesome it is that I was able to do 50 lbs or whatever when I used to only be able to do 20 lbs, only to watch some scrawny thirteen year old boy hop on the machine & pop out 75 or 100 lbs like it’s nothing.  It’s just biology, that’s all.men-vs-women1

If you’re a man who is reading this post, you’re probably already the type who is far too respectful to ever consider approaching a woman the way this man approached me today.  Yet I can’t help but ask that men consider what it’s like for us as women in a world in which we are clearly the more vulnerable half of the population.

Let me be clear: this is not a pity party I’m throwing.  I’m not asking for your sympathy.  Only for your empathy.  Situations like today make me realize how difficult it must be for all the good men in the world because the creepers of the world are giving your gender a bad name.  If I’m capable of being empathetic towards men even after being so unceremoniously harassed today, I think it’s not too much to ask that we raise our sons to respect women & treat us like the human beings we are.empathy

Here’s what I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say to the asshole who felt it necessary to intimidate me today:
“Yes, my husband knows exactly how lucky he is to be with me, just as I know how lucky I am to be with him.  Additionally, I am not some piece of meat or object to be acquired.  My husband did not “get” me.  I chose to be with him because I wanted to be with him just as much as he wanted to be with me.  On behalf of the other innocent women of the world whom I’m sure you’ve similarly disrespected, let me be clear in saying you’re a miserable, disgusting wanker who needs to get the hell out of my way . . . On that note, have a nice day!”

Stupid Girls: The Kardashian Phenomenon & How It’s Ruining Modern Women


While eating lunch with a friend at work last night, we had the bad luck to catch about three minutes of the Kardashian show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or whatever the heck the name of that show is.  In any case, we both agreed that our IQs had been lowered just in those few short minutes.  Thankfully we had the good sense to cut off the TV before any more brain cells were lost. Kim Kardashian

I’ve railed against what I call the Kardashian Phenomenon on this blog before, but today I feel like I must address it again, this time as a central theme.

What, you may ask, is the Kardashian Phenomenon?  It is, in my mind, the phenomenon in the modern world in which certain people have become celebrities for no apparent reason whatsoever, other than being wealthy.  Since Kim Kardashian is easily the best example of this phenomenon, I’ve named it after her, although Paris Hilton certainly gives her a run for her money. Kim K marriage cartoon

For years I’ve been trying to figure out why anyone gives two hoots about what these “women” are doing with their pathetic lives, & I’ve yet to unravel the mystery.  As one of my favorite rock stars, Rick DeJesus (lead singer of Adelita’s Way) so eloquently stated in an interview a few years ago, “You’ve got these amazing rock singers, & the reality TV stars have now become more famous than the biggest rock stars in the world.  It boggles my mind that America is letting that happen to rock music.  It boggles my mind that Kim Kardashian, who has no talent at all, is more famous than Brent Smith, one of the best singers probably ever to live . . . You’ve got someone like Kim Kardashian — these people, they do nothing!  There’s no talent.  What’s their talent?  Getting f***ed?” (for the entire interview, see  http://www.rockedition.com/interviews/artist-interviews/interview-with-rick-dejesus-of-adelitas-way/)  Forgive me if that sounds crude, but it is truly the reality of the matter, & the world needs to face it!

Rick DeJesus, lead singer of Adelita's Way & author of the brilliant quote above

Rick DeJesus, lead singer of Adelita’s Way & author of the brilliant quote above

This entire phenomenon makes me cherish even more a certain P!nk song called “Stupid Girls.”  I actually didn’t know the song when it was released back in 2006, but a friend of mine introduced me to it sometime in the past year or two, & I instantly fell in love because it seems as relevant now as it was when it debuted. pink stupid girls

[As an aside, one could argue that P!nk might not be the ideal role model for young women, but she’s certainly a hell of a lot better than any other female pop star of the past two decades (other than perhaps Taylor Swift who has sadly crossed firmly into the pop arena).  I particularly like P!nk’s songs about female empowerment such as “So What,” “U & Ur Hand,” (although it kills me that she didn’t just name it “You & Your Hand”!!!) & of course “Stupid Girls.”  In a world where most female pop stars make themselves out to be little (if anything) more than sexual objects, P!nk has certainly taken a different approach.  To this day when a “man” makes me feel uncomfortable by staring at me or making indiscreet remarks, the words of “U & Ur Hand” run through my mind & make me feel just a little bit less marginalized.]p!nk

If you don’t know “Stupid Girls”, here’s a sample of some of my favorite lyrics from the song:

What happened to the dreams of a girl president?
She’s dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies & their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?

Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
Porno Paparazzi girl, I don’t wanna be a stupid girl
Maybe if I act like that, flipping my blond hair back
Push up my bra like that, I don’t wanna be a stupid girl

I’m so glad that I’ll never fit in
That will never be me
Outcasts & girls with ambition
That’s what I wanna see

Disasters all around
World in despair
Your only concern
“Will it f*** up my hair?”dumb blonde

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t think all women need to be CEOs, doctors, lawyers, or anything like that in order to avoid being “stupid girls” or part of the despicable Kardashian Phenomenon.  Clearly not everyone is meant to have such a career.  It’s really not about a career anyway; it’s about a mentality, a mentality that worships women who are famous for doing absolutely nothing, other than being wealthy.  And it’s not even like these women are wealthy because of something interesting THEY didlike writing a novel, becoming an athlete, or running a company.  No, girls like Kim Kardashian & Paris Hilton are wealthy because they inherited their money from their fathers!  Yes, they may have expanded their wealth based on their ridiculous TV shows, sex tapes, & other “ventures,” but I dare someone to tell me how any of these things has added any real value to the world.  You’re kidding yourself if you think they have. commander-in-chief

I consider myself a feminist, but I’m not so worried about having a female president, although that would be nice (but I’m not about to vote for someone just because she’s a woman), as I am about what the Kardashian Phenomenon is teaching girls & young women about our society.  Little girls who grow up seeing their moms, aunts, friends, & other role models watching the Kardashian show or other such trash are surely being sent some rather screwed up messages about the definition of success, especially as someone of the female persuasion. feminism-is-not-a-dirty-word

When I was growing up, all the way until I went to college, I was very sheltered which definitely has its advantages & disadvantages, & I do plan to raise my kids a bit differently in some ways (& not so differently in others).  But I will say I am so glad that I did not grow up in the era of the Kardashian Phenomenon, although Britney Spears was certainly bad enough.  Indeed when I was a little girl I dreamed of being a writer, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, & traveling the world as a National Geographic photographer.  Sure I wanted to be pretty, & trust me, especially as a teen, I spent hours agonizing over my appearance sometimes, & I honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  After all, we think nothing of guys spending hours in the gym honing their physique in an attempt to attract girls’ attention.  (For the record, it is often very obvious which guys are kicking ass at the gym just for the sake of the ladies & which ones are there because they truly care about looking good & being healthy for their own sake as well.  And the latter are far more attractive!) little girls with dreams

But the point is my greatest goals were never about becoming rich or famous, marrying a millionaire (or even marriage at all), or becoming some kind of sex symbol for America.  It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with being rich or famous or even with being a sex symbol in some way.  After all, if you do become rich & famous for whatever reason, as long as you’re not Godzilla, you’re probably going to become some kind of sex symbol whether you like it or not.  It’s just the way the world works & that’s not necessarily bad; it’s just human nature.

Lzzy Hale has certainly become a sex symbol in the rock community & one can easily see why.  But that isn't why she's famous.  She's famous b/c she is an insanely talented singer & guitarist . . . who just happens to be pretty hot too. :)

Lzzy Hale has certainly become a sex symbol in the rock community & one can easily see why. But that isn’t why she’s famous. She’s famous b/c she is an insanely talented singer & guitarist . . . who just happens to be pretty hot too. 🙂

Again, the point is that girls (& boys) need to grow up with greater ambitions than becoming the next Kim Kardashian or owning countless designer purses that cost more than some people’s monthly wages.

So, ladies, I beg of you, if you want a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, stop watching the Kardashians.  Stop spending a thousand dollars on a purse (unless you REALLY have that kind of money to blow & nothing better to do with it).  Wear as much or as little make-up as you like, but either way do it because it makes YOU happy, not because of who it will attract.  And if you own Paris Hilton’s book or any of the countless magazines featuring her or Kim or any other such idiots, kindly throw them in the fire or the paper shredder & watch your IQ soar.'Hello, how can I offend you?'

If by chance I’ve offended you, I’m sorry but I’m not sorry.

**P.S. Here’s the link to P!nk’s “Stupid Girls”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR4yQFZK9YM

This is Why You’re an Asshole


Let me preface this rant by saying that I am NOT one of those annoying women who think all men are evil or out to get them.  I’ve known far too many truly decent caring men in my life to write off the whole gender as sick & depraved.  My husband & many of my male friends & family members are proof positive to me that plenty of truly good men do exist in this world.  But to that certain segment of the male population who do NOT fit that description, this letter is for you.  (To clarify, this post was inspired by events that have happened to me or to friends of mine who have described those events to me.)women not pieces of meat

Dear Sir,

I know you are probably nowhere near self-aware enough to wonder why so many women think all men are assholes.  Or why you might in fact actually deserve that title, but I’ll take the time to try to enlighten you today anyway.

You, sir, are an asshole because you greeted me, a potential customer in your restaurant, with the singularly annoying phrase “Hey, girl.”  Now if I knew you personally, or even if I were just a frequent customer whose face you recognized (meaning I too would recognize you), I can assure you I wouldn’t think twice about this greeting.  But when we are both strangers to each other, far be it from you to assume such a level of familiarity with me where none such exists.self respect

You, sir, are an asshole because the moment I walked into the room I felt your gaze upon me, undressing me with your eyes without even trying to hide it.  I’m fully aware that I cannot control what goes on in your mind, just as you cannot control what goes on in mine, but you CAN control your eyes & they do not have to continually stare at me or at any other woman just because we were unfortunate enough to cross your path today.  I’m sure you’re not self-aware enough to realize it, but your staring & the knowing glances shared with your equally disgusting peers are really quite intimidating, not to mention annoying.  Perhaps you DO realize it & that is one reason you partake in such behavior . . . You’re an asshole either way.'BOY that REALLY makes my skin crawl when MEN undress you with their eyes!...'

You, sir, are an asshole because although you probably don’t even know my name, the minute I said hello you felt it necessary to make a joke that implied that I was desperate to sleep with you.  There was never any chance of such a thing, but even if there had been, you’d have erased it all now anyway.  Get over yourself.  There is nothing more unattractive than a man who thinks he’s God’s gift to women.

You, sir, are an asshole because I heard you making comments about my body as I was leaving the room.  As my manager & someone who’s never even been nice to me at all, you do NOT have such privileges.  And I WILL call you out on it, & if that makes me a bitch in your eyes, trust me, I couldn’t care less.

You, sir, are an asshole because I heard you call the last girl you hooked up with a slut, but you slept with her too, so what does that say about you?

You, sir, are an asshole because you think it’s your God-given right to touch every woman who crosses your path.  Newsflash: it’s not.respect

Just to be clear, if you are friends with a woman & for some reason you should find yourself fantasizing or otherwise thinking about having sex with her, that does not automatically make you an asshole.  That just makes you a human being.  (Trust me, women think about sex a lot more than most of us would care to admit.)  I think it’s only natural to feel a certain amount of chemistry with your friends of the opposite sex because relationships really are just friendships “on steroids” so to speak.  As with anything in life, it’s all about what you do with those thoughts & feelings.

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, here’s the underlying theme: any time you assume too much familiarity with a woman you really don’t know that well, you’re probably being an asshole.  As much as I hate to admit it, although mentally I know we are equals, physically I know I am not a match for you.  Trust me, I don’t live my life thinking of all men as potential rapists & murderers or anything so absurd as all that.  BUT I cannot change the fact that biology has made you bigger & stronger than me, & thus I expect a certain level of respect because of that.  (Actually it has more to do with just being a fellow HUMAN BEING) . . . In other words, if you’re my friend, if you have proven to me over time that I can trust you, then our interactions can assume a level of familiarity that would make me uncomfortable if we were strangers.  (Just to be clear, it’s really not all that different with other women.  After all I don’t mind a bit if my female friends ask me questions about sex or their bodies or whatever, but I’d be pretty horrified if a woman I don’t know at all asked me such things.)not all men are jerks

A side note to any ladies who are reading this:

For the love of logic, please let’s stop tolerating such indecent behavior from those select men who behave in such ways as I’ve described today.  And please let’s stop whining that all men are evil & only interested in sex when most of us who say such things do everything in our power to attract only the worst sort of men.  And I’m calling myself out on this one, but please let’s have the guts to stand up for ourselves when we do encounter a true asshole.

At the end of the day it all comes down to self-respect.  I for one have far too much of it to tolerate this bullshit.

Good day.