Dress Code Dilemmas


This is a blog post I’ve been wanting to write for a while but it seems like another more pressing issue always takes precedence whenever I find time to write. However, I saw the below picture posted on social media recently & it inspired such conflicting feelings in me that I felt like I finally needed to make a go of it & delve into this complicated matter.

Before diving into the implications of the above picture, I’d like to first share some experiences that I gleaned from my own friends on social media this week. I’ll start with my own experiences & then paraphrase those of my friends.

I personally never got in trouble for a dress code violation. That’s principally because I would never have made it out of the house wearing anything that could have been a violation. My mom was a teacher so she knew the rules & wasn’t about to let me break them (which was wise of her). Secondly, because of how I was raised I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing anything that might have broken the dress code anyway. So for me it was effectively a non-issue. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it when I saw other people getting in trouble for dress code violations (some more egregious than others). And it certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it many times over the years since middle/high school, perhaps even more so now that I have my own daughter’s future to think about.

What I will share from my own experience that I think is pertinent to this matter is a certain situation that happened every spring or early summer at my church. Every year as the weather warmed up, the pastor’s &/or youth pastor’s wife would take us teenage girls aside & tell us how important it was to dress modestly because we didn’t want to tempt the boys. We didn’t want to be a “stumbling block” to them. They may have meant well & I can’t say I’m angry at them for doing what they were probably instructed to do by their own husbands- whom they were conditioned to obey- but I must confess that I always found these conversations bizarre & uncomfortable. Furthermore, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized exactly what kind of damaging messages these kinds of conversations sent. The underlying message was “Boys can’t control themselves. If they harass you or hurt you, it’s your fault. You tempted them. Just be modest & nothing bad will happen to you.” Even as a teenager I picked up on these messages a bit & found them disturbing. I read several books about Afghanistan in high school & found myself thinking “These women are literally covering every inch of their skin at all times in public. You can’t even really see their EYES. And yet they still get harassed & raped.” So I knew, even then, that these messages didn’t totally add up with what I was seeing in the real world.

Now here is a list of some of the experiences my friends reported. These come from women who are now late 20s to 40s & who grew up in various parts of the country, so these are not just covering folks my own age or from my hometown. By the way, I’m using the term girl in these bullet points because while these people are now women, they were still girls when these events happened & I think that bears considering.

  • Several girls reported getting in trouble any time they deigned to wear shorts, particularly if they were on the taller side. But even some who were shorter had trouble with this. Several pointed out how hypocritical this seemed since cheerleaders were allowed to wear their cheer uniforms to school on game days & these showed far more skin than shorts. And any other outfit that wasn’t a cheer uniform but was equally showy wouldn’t have been allowed. (No one mentioned this but it just occurred to me that the shorts girls’ volleyball teams usually wear probably wouldn’t fit the dress code either. And yet they are given these shorts as if a prerequisite for playing volleyball as a female is having your ass hanging out. Hmmmm….)
  • One mom reported that she took two children in her family to school recently, one child being a boy & one being a girl. They had on the same length of shorts but only the girl was made to change clothes. So yes, this crap is still happening even 15-20 years after most of us graduated! (Insert massive eye roll.)
  • One girl got in trouble because her shirt had shrunk a bit in the dryer & her abdomen showed just a tiny bit when she raised her hand in class.
  • One girl reported a dress code violation for wearing a sleeveless shirt. Despite the fact that the straps met the required “3 finger” rule, she still got in trouble & was made to change.
  • Many reported that Confederate flag clothing was allowed & was quite popular. Others reported that Confederate flag clothing was technically against the dress code but was generally tolerated anyway (interestingly, most of this clothing was worn by boys, not girls).
  • Several reported that dress codes seemed to unfairly target black (or Hispanic) students with prohibitions against doo-rags, bandanas, beads, chains, etc.
  • One student got in trouble for wearing jeans with holes in them despite the fact that she was wearing leggings underneath so no actual skin was showing.
  • Several girls pointed out that curvier, more busty girls or girls with more proverbial “junk in the trunk” were far more likely to get in trouble for dress code violations even when wearing the same thing as other girls with “skinnier” figures. However, one girl reported getting in trouble for wearing leggings with a long shirt when she was less than 100 lbs & flat chested, yet another far curvier girl wore the exact same outfit & DIDN’T get in trouble.
  • On the same token, many reported that dress codes were not enforced equally. Students who were “popular” or who were related to a teacher or other “important” person in town were less likely to get in trouble for the wearing the same things that other kids with lesser status were punished for wearing.
  • Lastly, at the time of the violations, many girls reported feeling angry, frustrated, & unfairly targeted, particularly if it was an outfit they’d worn before without problems or if other students were wearing the same thing & not getting in trouble. Some reported still second guessing their choices of attire even today because of some of these situations. Many reported feeling like the message that was sent by these dress codes, & perhaps more importantly how they were enforced, was that girls were responsible for how boys treated them & that their education wasn’t as important as not distracting the boys.

Now, let’s examine the implications of that photo from the beginning of the post. I agree with almost everything in it. But when you get to the last line is where I run into trouble. Obviously I agree that we should be teaching boys not to view girls as sexual OBJECTS, & we absolutely should be teaching them that just because a girl is dressed a certain way does NOT mean that they are entitled to touch or harass her in any way. HOWEVER, the fact remains that we ARE sexual creatures- & that includes teenagers. While nowadays most of us agree that most teenagers are too immature to really handle the consequences of sex, the fact remains that for most of human history they weren’t regarded that way. It is biologically programmed into us- part of our DNA you could say- that we are inherently sexual creatures, just like any other mammal. And for most of human history that has started during the teenage years- & frankly still does for most, even if it’s under very different circumstances.

What I’m getting at is that in an ideal world women could wear however little (or much) they wanted in any situation & it would never change how they were perceived. But for better or worse we DON’T live in such a world & I’m not sure how realistic it is to say that women should be able to wear really provocative clothing in every situation in life. I’m not sure that the person who created that meme was saying that either. But I have certainly seen such arguments elsewhere. To be clear, I am in no way saying women are responsible for men’s bad behavior- no one gets raped because “she was asking for it, being dressed that way.” Absolutely not. Furthermore, I can definitely speak to situations in my own life when I received unwanted attention/harassment from men when I was NOT wearing anything particularly provocative at all. At the end of the day, much of this behavior isn’t about the women- it’s about the men & their own control/aggression issues.

Having said all that, I think it would be remiss not to mention that the way humans have evolved women are undoubtedly more often viewed as the objects of sexual desire. In many animal species, men are the more “interesting” gender visually- think about birds or lions for example. It is the males who have the brilliant colors or the mane. But in humans, men are much more visually stimulated by women’s bodies. That is not to say that women don’t enjoy looking at men- clearly we do- but there are far more magazines, porn, movies, strip clubs, etc with men as the intended audience than women. What I’m trying to get at is that women’s bodies ARE sexual, whether we like it or not. And as much as we might not like it, we are all selling ourselves in this world, both men & women. What I mean by that is that for better or worse the clothes we wear do send signals to those around us &- fair or not- this is particularly true for us women.

I’m always hesitant to make generalizations based on my own experiences because I realize they don’t necessarily represent the experiences of everyone else, but I’d be blind if I didn’t admit that the women I’ve known who’ve consistently dressed provocatively attracted a very different type of man than those who dressed a bit less provocatively. Do I think that’s “fair” or ideal? No, but it’s what I’ve observed & I think it would be unwise not to consider what this means. Again, I am not advocating for actual LAWS regarding what women can or can’t wear or that any woman should be shamed or looked down upon for her choice of attire. Nor should women be made to feel like harassment or rape are natural consequences of their own clothing. Absolutely not. Do I in fact wear things now as an adult that I wouldn’t have been allowed to wear to school or in my parents’ house? Yes, I do (though not to work of course). [For example, I wear shorter shorts than I’d have worn at home, & I wear tank tops or old cut up T shirts that sometimes show my bra straps. And while I don’t wear intentionally low cut shirts my figure is such that a lot of things become a bit low cut that weren’t necessarily intended to be. And had I had the same figure in high school maybe I’d have gotten in trouble then too. Anyway, I don’t feel uncomfortable or like I’m being overtly sexy in any of these outfits. I mean, none of my neighbors or men at Wal-Mart have yet prepositioned me.] Do I think that teenage boys or adult men are incapable of controlling themselves? No, we ARE animals but we are also MORE than animals. However, does that mean I will be encouraging my daughter to wear booty shorts & extremely low cut shirts on the daily? Absolutely not. But I will NOT be phrasing it as “You shouldn’t tempt the boys by dressing like that.” I will be saying something more like this instead: “Do you want the boys to notice you for your personality or just your body? They’re probably going to notice your body regardless of what you wear, but you can increase the odds of catching the attention of more decent boys (or girls) who actually care about you as a person if you avoid certain clothes.” My hope is that kind of phrasing won’t send any kind of damaging messages but will still be preparing her for the real world.

Now does any of this mean we should be punishing 6 year old girls for wearing short shorts? Absolutely not. They are CHILDREN. But when it comes to teenagers, biologically speaking they really AREN’T children anymore. So is there a place for dress codes in schools? I’m inclined to say yes, largely because it’s an environment meant for LEARNING & is basically the teenager’s equivalent of a job. And as adults most of us don’t wear provocative clothing to work because it’s just not the place for that, right? The question of course is where do we draw the lines? And how we do it in such a manner than we aren’t sending damaging messages to girls that their education isn’t as important as not distracting boys? How do we teach boys (& girls) that girls are more than their various “assets”? How do we raise boys to respect girls regardless of their choice of clothing? And whatever rules we agree on, how do we make sure that they are enforced equitably? (Also, can we make sure that we aren’t issuing uniforms for girls sports that would violate the dress code? Because that’s sending incredibly mixed messages.)

I don’t have the answers. I’m just trying to start a discussion here because this is a subject that is really difficult for me. I feel so conflicted because I can see good points on both “sides” of the issue (as with most things). I definitely got angry reading about many of my friends’ experiences as teenagers & getting in trouble for things that to me seem completely ridiculous. It’s not like any of them showed up to school in a bikini or a tube top & a miniskirt a la Britney Spears! It’s certainly disturbing to think that Confederate flags were often ignored- despite the fact that they were worn at least partly to intimidate black students- but girls’ legs were frequently deemed too sexy for school. Please. Let’s get our priorities straight here.

So what do you think? Does any of this make sense? Am I being sexist against my own gender? I’m really trying not to be but I’m also trying to be realistic & not fight biology here. Thoughts?

Do We Owe Our Spouses Sex?


At some point over the past few years since becoming a mom, I became a subscriber to the popular Mommy blog Scary Mommy. By subscriber I mean I’m on their email list- I’m certainly not paying them. Anyway, here lately I’ve noticed a preponderance of posts about how women do not owe their husbands sex. Now this is a very complicated issue that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, probably largely because most of the posts I’ve seen on this matter strike me as particularly one-sided. In other words, they all seem to come from angry, bitter women who are over-worked, over-stressed, & appear to have a bit of a chip on their shoulders. But even that is too simple of a summarization of such a complex topic. So I thought I’d create a space where we can have a frank discussion about something that really is incredibly important both to individuals as well as to society as a whole.

Before I go any further, I recommend reading these articles so you will better understand the context for why I’m writing this. As you will discover, I am much more inclined to agree with the Huff Post article.

Stop Making Married Women Feel Bad About Not Having Sex (scarymommy.com)

Married Women Don’t Owe Sex To Their Spouse (scarymommy.com)

Do We Owe Our Spouses Sex? | HuffPost Life

Sex in America is a strange beast. One the one hand, sex is everywhere. “Sex sells,” as the old saying goes- & it’s true. Sex is either implicitly or explicitly involved in so many aspects of our culture- everything from movies to music to advertisements to video games. It’s everywhere- & yet it’s not. Because when it comes to actually TALKING about sex we are curiously silent. As parents we are so afraid of awkward discussions that we often let our kids learn about sex from everyone & everything but us- a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Our society frequently depicts sex as both wonderful & horrible all at the same time, so is it any wonder teenagers are rushing to do it to figure out what they’re missing? Furthermore, our society often depicts sex as something that magically vanishes once a couple gets married or generally settles down together. I realize that IS the case for some couples & there are very valid & legitimate reasons for this, but at the end of the day we are animals- albeit very different from other species of course. But the fact remains that sex is a biological need. It serves both physiological & psychological purposes for us- both men & women- so to act like it’s healthy or normal for sex to disappear once you’re married (or generally committed to someone long term) is, in my opinion, an extremely unhealthy concept to encourage.

Don’t marry a man like this

Now one thing I do agree with the Scary Mommy articles about is that men absolutely need to step up to help their wives around the house, especially once children come into the picture. I truly believe one reason that my husband & I have maintained such a great sex life is because he consistently does his part around the house- WITHOUT BEING ASKED. Which is exactly how it should be. Sure, once in a while I might ask him to help with something but the vast majority of the time, he just does it. And frankly I doubt I’d have married him if he weren’t like that. I for one did not get married to take care of a man child. No way, no sir, no how. That life is not for me! I married someone who is my life partner, not someone to take care of like a child. That dynamic might work for some people but it would NOT work for me. And I absolutely believe we need to do a better job of raising our boys to know that housework is not just for women. If more men stepped up to help with the laundry, dishes, etc, I can almost guarantee American sex lives would be in a better spot.

Furthermore, I 100% agree that husbands should be invested in their wives’ pleasure. If your man doesn’t care if you’re orgasming or not, you’re with the wrong man. If your husband/partner is only interested in sex for his own pleasure, trust me when I say, he ain’t “the one.” End of story.

But where I disagree with these articles is on the idea that spouses don’t owe each other sex at all. Now I’ll admit I don’t like putting it in those terms but I’m not sure how else to say it. And this whole idea that “when I got married I didn’t sign up to meet his sexual needs” just makes zero sense to me. Um, yes- yes, you did. And he signed up to meet your needs too- both sexually & otherwise! Now by NO MEANS am I saying that women should be sex slaves to their husbands who have to say yes every single time. But when you marry someone, you’re promising to meet their physical & emotional needs, & yes, sex is part of that! We are animals after all! So if you’re going months or even years without sex, something is wrong- very, very wrong (unless of course both of you are truly ok with that- but I have a hard time imagining anyone, male or female, not wanting sex for that long- but maybe that’s just me). Anyway, the point is that while I very much believe that each person owns their own body & should not be FORCED into anything, at the same time, being married DOES mean you’ve promised to meet each other’s needs. This obviously applies to men too. I have read posts & articles with wives complaining that their husbands never want sex anymore & how hurtful that is to them. So for sure this goes BOTH ways.

Anyone who has analyzed divorce data even a tiny bit knows that a lack of sex is almost always involved. Have you ever wondered why that is? I suspect it’s because a lack of sex is usually symptomatic of a greater problem in a marriage. If you aren’t having sex, I have to wonder if you’re really emotionally close to one another. Now obviously there are exceptions here- people undergoing chemotherapy, women who’ve endured very traumatic childbirth, etc. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. My husband & I have always said that one reason we prioritize sex is because we can never be but so mad at each other if we’re having sex regularly. I know we are very different than a lot of people but I suspect that is true for most folks. Sex is an emotional experience for everyone, not just women, so it’s hard to do it regularly with someone & not have a good emotional connection with that person.

Lastly, when I read these Scary Mommy articles & ones like it, I can’t help but feel that these women are saying “men are so selfish & only care about themselves & their desires.” (Now I’m sure that’s true for some men- don’t marry that type!) BUT it also feels to me like these authors are also being quite selfish & saying they only care about their own needs & desires. Maybe I’m old school but two wrongs don’t make a right. As far as I’m concerned it is not healthy for anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, to consistently deny their partner sex for ages on end (exceptional circumstances notwithstanding of course). That’s just setting your relationship up to fail, if you ask me. It’s setting both of you up to be miserable, to communicate poorly, & to resent each other.

Now I’m no expert, no sex therapist or guru or what have you. I’m just a normal 30-something wife & mom who enjoys dissecting difficult topics & discussing things most people would rather sweep under the rug. I in no way think that I’m a perfect wife, that my husband is perfect, that our relationship is perfect, or that I/we have all the answers. But I am saddened to see that the narrative on this subject seems to be mostly dominated by women who seem to have such a negative view of sex. I have to wonder if they just haven’t had good sex… Was that a sexist statement? Hmmm… Now I’m not saying there haven’t been times in my life, mostly in the first year or so of our daughter’s life when I was breastfeeding, that I didn’t feel particularly in the mood. Certainly there have been. But you know what? We found ways to make it work. I value my own sexuality, I value my husband & our relationship, & like anything else in life worth having, our sex life was/is worth fighting for.

The purpose of this post is not to make anyone feel guilty. And the purpose is certainly not to brag about my own sex life. But I think this is a very important subject that usually either isn’t addressed or is only addressed very one-sidedly. Of course the women writing those Scary Mommy articles probably argue that this subject used to only be addressed with men’s needs/desires in mind. And that is probably true. But again, two wrongs don’t make a right. We aren’t going to better our society by treating men like trash. That just isn’t the path to progress. We need to have an open dialogue about touchy subjects like this (pun very much intended). We need to communicate clearly with our spouses about everything, including of course sex. And that kind of open dialogue needs to happen long before someone becomes your spouse! I personally think sex before marriage is quite necessary to ensure that people are compatible. I know that goes against everything I was taught growing up, but nonetheless I truly believe it. Now I also believe that if people have a strong emotional connection the chances are very good that they will have a strong physical connection too. But sex is way too important to leave to chance, if you ask me.

I’m sure there’s an angry feminist somewhere reading this & screaming that I’m condoning marital rape. Let me assure you that I am not. But I also think we need to be honest with ourselves & admit that denying a partner sex consistently is not healthy. When it comes down to it, you’re denying YOURSELF pleasure too. Ask any sex “expert” & they’ll tell you that “sex begets sex.” There are times when it may not be perfect or the most romantic experience of your life, but if you stay off the horse forever you’ll never get back to the great rides you remember from the past (pun intended once again).

So, did I answer the question in the title of this post? I’m not sure. Even if I did, I suspect the answer will be different for everyone- & that’s fine. But it’s something you better be sure to communicate clearly with your own partner.

I’d love to hear others’ opinions on this matter. It’s always possible I’m just crazy. But I truly believe this is an important discussion that needs to be addressed from all angles- which in my experience is not being done.

Disclosure: if you’ve experienced rape or sexual assault, I realize your experiences may be vastly different, & this post may not be very relevant for you. I can only speak to my own experiences. If this article feels tone deaf, I apologize.

P.S. Feel free to private message me your thoughts if you aren’t comfortable discussing this in a public forum. I totally understand that.

P.P.S. I just looked at my phone & I had a notification from YouTube that one of my favorite country singers (Gary Allan) just posted a song called Sex. And yes, it is about sex. It even addresses the fact that our society is obsessed with sex & yet we don’t like to talk about it. Talk about timing….

On Teenage Sex & the “Good for him” Narrative


I overheard a conversation between two men yesterday that sparked a lot of discussion in my own brain, & almost as soon as it happened I knew it would end up being a blog post. I cannot share many details of the conversation for a variety of reasons but I’m going to sum it up as best as I can below.

Man #1. “So this 16 year old boy is making racist statements towards me & also regaling everyone with tales of his sexual escapades from years ago.”

Man #2: “From years ago? And he’s only 16 now?”

Man #1: “Yep.”

Man #2: “Well, good for him!”

Being the person I am I couldn’t help but butt into the conversation to say “Just imagine if the genders were reversed. You would NOT be saying that.” Neither man acknowledged my remark in the least, which is fine. I wasn’t really part of the conversation but because of our physical proximity at the time I couldn’t help but overhear it. But I do think it’s interesting that neither of them so much as looked at me to acknowledge my remark. Not sure if that means they immediately dismissed it as irrelevant or if they realized I’d actually made a good point! Whatever. I’m certainly not going to report either man for having the conversation because they didn’t offend me. They didn’t intimidate me. And they certainly didn’t harass me. But I do think the second man’s remark is indicative of some greater problems within our society. Let me explain further.

Now let me preface this by saying that I do not consider myself a modern feminist. I did not march on Washington wearing a vagina hat- & I’m never going to. You won’t find me screaming about abortion rights or a gender pay gap. I do not identify with those sorts of women. As a friend of mine recently said to me, unfortunately modern feminism has largely been taken over by people who are in reality misandrists. They aren’t calling for equal rights for women so much as they hate men & are trying to tear them down. I hate that this has happened because they have turned feminism into a dirty word when it absolutely should not be.

Having said all that, I am bothered by the conversation above for several reasons. First, the second man’s comment implies that sex is by default good for males. I can almost guarantee that he would not have made the same comment if they’d been discussing a teenage girl who’d already been having sex for years. No way! (And that’s why I couldn’t resist saying what I did.) So the implication here is that sex is good for males but bad for females. Now I’m not an idiot- I am not in denial of biology. Obviously sex is inherently more dangerous for women because of the chance of pregnancy. Furthermore, some STIs can be more dangerous for women (or at least have more damaging long-term effects). Not to mention rape of course. So yes, I understand & acknowledge all of that. But danger (or the potential for danger) does not have to equal bad or wrong.

I’ve never actually seen this movie, but it seems appropriate for this post.

Second, I do not think that sex is healthy for young teenagers, regardless of gender. Neither teen boys nor girls are emotionally mature enough to handle the potential emotional consequences of sex, much less pregnancy or STIs. Therefore it is not a healthy thing for our society to joke about teenage boys having sex like they’re winning at life. You see & hear these same types of comments whenever a female teacher is on the news for having sex with a student. There are always men coming out of the woodwork saying “Oh man, I wish the teachers had been like that when I was in school” or “Good for him.” Have I laughed at such comments myself at times? Sure. But in the end I realize they’re really very unhealthy. No one says those things when a male teacher is caught having sex with a female student. In both cases, quite often the student was more than willing. But that isn’t the point! The point is that regardless of gender, an adult- much less a teacher or someone in authority over a teenager- should never be exploiting an underage person because teenagers just do not possess the capability of making such decisions.

A case of a female teacher having sex with an underage male student was in our local news a month or two ago. And it did not receive nearly the same attention it probably would have if the genders were reversed. People just do not view female sex offenders as dangerous in the same way they do male sex offenders. In a way I understand this because biology dictates that a woman grabbing a random man off the street & raping him is nigh impossible. But that does not necessarily make female sex offenders any less dangerous. Considering that the average teenage boy is itching to lose his virginity to just about anyone, an adult woman who exploits that, particularly a teacher or someone in a position of authority, is just as disgusting as a man who does the same thing with a teenage girl. Why does our society act like boys cannot be emotionally scarred or damaged by sex that happens in bad situations just as much as girls can be? Of course they can’t get pregnant, but that isn’t the only issue at hand here. It’s like we’ve forgotten- or are in denial- that sex is an emotional experience for men just as it is for women. (And any man who argues otherwise is clearly having bad sex.)

I don’t believe in censoring art but this song is pretty disturbing when you think about it.

Here are a couple of metaphors for the “sex is good for men but bad for women” trope. Imagine a couple won the Olympic gold medal for pairs figure skating but only the man was actually awarded. Or suppose a football team won the Superbowl but only the offense was considered the winners & only they got the rings. Sure, the offense has the more glamorous job that usually results in scoring all (or most) of the points (don’t men love saying they “scored” with a woman?), but they still can’t do their job without the defense. It takes a team to win (or lose) a game. And when it comes to sex, it takes two to tango, as the proverbial saying goes. So it’s just plain inconsistent & illogical to say that sex is good for one person & bad for another when they are quite literally doing the same thing.

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts on this matter. It’s always possible I’m just overreacting. But I think it’s very important that we consider the underlying messages we send to our society as a whole by even our most “off hand” comments. One could argue such comments reveal our true, underlying values, even if we aren’t fully cognizant of them.

Moral of the story: watch what you say around me. You might end up in a blog post!

Why We Shouldn’t Believe All Women


In case you haven’t heard there is currently a lawsuit in Pennsylvania regarding a teenage boy who was falsely accused of sexual assault.  Because of the false accusations, he was fired from his job, spent over a week in juvenile detention, was bullied endlessly, & was subjected to home electronic monitoring.  All based on accusations that later turned out to be complete lies!  If that’s not horrifying enough, the five girls who started all this have not been punished at all.  I don’t know about you but that makes me see about a thousand shades of red.  Which is another way of saying it makes me not just angry but downright irate.  If I had a son, I would probably be even more upset because I would be terrified this could happen to him someday.innocent

Here’s the thing that I don’t understand about modern feminism (actually there’s a lot of things I don’t understand about it but this is the main one): why are we so quick to dispense with innocent until proven guilty when a man is accused of something?  Why do we assume that women are inherently moral & truth-telling while men are inherently evil liars?  Why do we think it’s right to “believe all women” simply because they are women?  That’s just as absurd as believing all men simply because they are men, which is how the world used to operate.  There is no justice in turning things upside down to try to make up for history.  That’s just not how civilized society works, folks.constitution

Furthermore why are men held accountable for their actions- sometimes one they didn’t even commit, like in this case- while women frequently are not?  A perfect example is cases where both a man & woman are drunk & the man is charged with rape but the woman isn’t.  That makes no sense to me.  If they were both drunk, neither could truly consent!  So basically they “raped” each other.  It’s called poor choices, people, not actual rape/sexual assault.  If you don’t like that, sorry, I’m not sorry.  Clearly it’s a whole other story if someone spikes your drink or unwittingly gives you drugs & then takes advantage of your intoxicated state.  That is undoubtedly evil & should most definitely be punished.

feminism

I laughed…. but it’s true…

But these girls in Pennsylvania who have lied about sexual assault & ruined a boy’s life are getting off scot free.  That’s absurd!  In my mind that is not only beyond unfair but it is basically saying women aren’t responsible for their own actions- which is essentially saying we are not equal to men before the law!  I don’t know about you, but that does NOT sit well with me at all.  Is that not completely contradictory to the whole point of feminism?  I thought the whole point of feminism is that men & women are intellectual equals & should thus have equal rights & responsibilities.  evidence

[As an aside, the people for whom I have the most sympathy right now are those who truly have been raped or sexually assaulted.  They are having to hear about all these issues constantly in the media, as well as social media, which must be a horrible reminder of the trauma they have endured.  I have not experienced these things but I have certainly been sexually harassed on plenty of occasions (sometimes by men in power over me) & all this talk has brought back some less than fond memories that I’d rather not think about.  So I can only imagine how much worse it must be for those who have actually experienced sexual violence.]

christina hoff sommers

Sad but true

There is no doubt that statistically more women have been raped or sexually assaulted & that a woman’s chances of experiencing these horrifying events is significantly greater than that of a man’s.  But that does NOT mean we should dispense with innocent until proven guilty.  That does NOT mean we should automatically believe all women even without a shred of evidence.  That is just not how civilized society works, people. duke lacrosse

With the Duke lacrosse case, the UVA case in Rolling Stone, the Brian Banks case (an NFL player who spent years in prison due to a false rape charge), the Jemma Beale case, & this current case in PA, among others, I am seriously worried that we are going to end up raising a generation of men who DON’T believe ANY women.  And to me that is truly horrifying.  As far as I’m concerned, any woman who falsely accuses a man of sexual assault or rape should be punished the same way the man would have been punished if he actually had committed that crime.  Such women are only making things harder for the real victims out there which is truly tragic.  And yes, I realize the number of fake rape charges is overall fairly small.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to address this issue.  Just because something is rare doesn’t make it less serious.brian banks

Sexual assault & rape are horrifying.  And there are definitely dozens of legitimate reasons why they are often unreported.  But the current climate of “believe all women” & dispensing with innocent until proven guilty isn’t helping anything either.  If anything it’s just antagonizing men & women against each other.  And that is the last thing we need if we truly want to tackle these issues & make some headway in the fight against sexual violence.

feminism modern

Thank goodness for the old school feminists who helped get us the right to vote & own property, etc.  But these modern hard core feminists have lost all sense of reason.

I am fully aware that writing this will possibly cost me some friends.  I am fully aware that some women will probably call me sexist against my own gender.  But frankly I don’t care anymore.  This is way too important of an issue for me to remain silent & if that costs me some “friends,” so be it.   

Dear Feminists, You’ve Got Some Explaining to Do


Dear Feminists,

You’ve got some explaining to do.  Just a few days ago it came to my attention that due to your efforts so-called “manspreading” has been banned on public transit in Madrid.  I had to stop myself from laughing in public when I first read this news.  Pray tell me, are you next going to campaign for a ban on obese people or people with luggage who also take up “too much space” on public transit?  It’s really the only logical conclusion at this point, yet somehow I doubt I’ll see you picketing for this.manspreading

Furthermore, in the past few months it’s become common practice for feminists to campaign for Sharia law (Linda Sarsour, anyone?).  Honestly just writing that sentence makes me want to puke. It’s full of such cognitive dissonance that I truly do not see how you can sleep with yourselves.  Feminists by definition are supposed to support equal rights & fair treatment of women, & yet here you are supporting a culture that continually tramples on women’s rights & treats them worse than cattle.

sharia law

And yet feminists are supporting this?!

For the life of me I cannot comprehend how anyone, much less an avowed feminist, could support a system that condones domestic abuse, child brides, & the killing of those guilty of such “crimes” as adultery, being raped, or simply being homosexual.  I thought modern feminists were all about tolerance of “alternative” lifestyles, yet here you are promoting a religious/cultural system that is about as far from tolerant as one can get.

rape culture

Say what?  You have got to be kidding me!

Before you get all self-righteous, yes, I know there are plenty of Christian & Jewish groups who are also guilty of all kinds of misdeeds against women (not to mention homosexuals) as well.  I am by no means excusing their behavior.  It’s just curious to me how those groups so quickly fall under your judgment while Muslims, even fundamentalist jihadist ones, have somehow morphed into a modern sacred cow that cannot be questioned.

And no, I am not naive enough to believe that all Muslims are terrible people.  Of course not.  But far be it from me to promote or ignore segments of Islamic (or any other) culture that so obviously disregard basic human rights for women.

womens rights

I think these women would be ashamed of what modern Feminism has become.

Modern feminists, it seems to me that your real goal is avoiding offending anyone, or at least anyone who you consider worthy (i.e. you couldn’t care less about offending white men of course).  Well, I’ve got news for you.  The world is offensive.  It’s heinous even, at times.  And much of that is never going to change.  But if you want to make the world a better place, stop focusing on non issues like “manspreading” & focus on things that are actually hurting women.  By all means campaign for better maternity leave in the U.S.  I’ll gladly join you on that one.  But let us not forget our sisters around the globe who don’t even have the luxury of campaigning for such things.  Let us not be so cowardly that we tolerate the mistreatment of women & other disenfranchised groups in the name of being inoffensive.offended meme

While horrific honor killings are becoming increasingly more common in European countries such as Germany, not to mention in Middle Eastern countries like Pakistan, you’re focused on how men sit on public transportation.  If this weren’t such a serious issue where lives are literally at stake it would be laughable.

So feminists, once again I say to you, you’ve got some explaining to do.

Sincerely,

A woman who is increasingly ashamed to call herself a feministhonor killings

[P.S. I’m not saying manspreading doesn’t exist or isn’t a problem.  But making it illegal is just plain silly.  If you’re such an independent strong woman, why don’t you just ask the guilty party to adjust his position a bit to make room for you?  Duh.]

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!”