When I Think About Love

There are a lot of accusations flying around blaming tv, movies, books, and even fairy tales for giving people an unrealistic view of love.  It’s probably true, there are a lot of people I know who live in a fantasy land that love is easy and no one is ever disappointed or hurt when they’re in love.

But, I think the true problem isn’t any form of media, but that these people weren’t raised by my parents.  My parents love one another very deeply.  They’ve been married over 30 years and have been through hell and back, and then for some reason decided to take the trip a few more times.

My parents’ relationship has withstood many things that lesser people would have divorced over, and as such, I was raised to understand that a marriage is hard work, but it’s worth the investment.  I think that’s one of the many reasons I took my relationship with The Boy so slowly, because I understood the importance and value of it.

That’s why this picture is my favorite picture in the world of my parents.  It was taken a decade and a halfish ago, on my mother’s 50th and my Sweet 16 celebration in NYC. We’d both had those milestone birthdays within a month of one another.

 

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My mother probably hates this picture, and will  be upset that I’ve posted it online, but I don’t care.  I adore it.  I just rediscovered it while sorting things that had been boxed and stowed away when we moved and knew I had to frame it.  So, it sits on a place of honor right by my desk.  It’s actually the only family photo framed on my desk, or even in my office for that matter.

I look at it, and I see my parents’ relationship.  I see love.  I don’t remember what made my mother laugh so much, but I can almost guarantee my father said something ridiculous.  That has been their standby during the natural ebbs and flows of marriage –  a laughing embrace.

To me, movies and romance novels, and all the gushy things in the world don’t depict love as eloquently as this image.  This is love, holding onto one another while you laugh so hard you can’t open your eyes.

I just hope that The Boy and I can live up to this example in our years together.

Happy Banned Books Week!

Did you know there are people out there still trying to ban books from schools and libraries?  Have you noticed how there is always someone trying to infringe upon the freedom of others because they are afraid?  I’m not just talking about books, but pretty much we’re always trying to prevent people from doing something that makes us uncomfortable.  Human beings suck.

 

But, let’s get back to the primary topic here.  It’s time to celebrate your freedom and stick it to the man (or in this case, more likely soccer moms, which, in many ways, are sooooo much worse than “the man”).  This one week a year, libraries and schools nationwide celebrate the freedom to read and learn by encouraging people to read banned books.  This also is a way of drawing attention to the problems that banning knowledge can cause.

 

Did you know Harry Potter has been banned, or at least several requests have been made for the popular and amazingly awesome series to be banned (go, Ravenclaw!).  I shit you not.  The primary reason?  People claim that it encourages the Occult.  Seriously.  I’m not even going to get into the fact that there are people who honestly still believe in the occult and magic because it’s ridiculous, and sadly true.  A friend of my first college roommate once lectured me because I had a book of “magic” – it was a souvenir I’d gotten from Salem, Mass.  She genuinely believed it was evil because she genuinely believed in magic.

 

But, more importantly than the ignorance and intolerance of those who refuse to read Harry Potter, there is actual science that shows that kids who have indeed read the series grew up to be better people.  Shit you not, it has been studied that those who read Harry Potter have a stronger moral ground, and are more accepting of those that are different from them.    Scientific American published the results, so you can pretty well trust this as an accurate source.

 

The reasons people ban books are preposterous.  Typically, what it boils down to, is a bunch of parents who are afraid to be invested in their children’s lives.  They don’t want to have to discuss something difficult, or keep up with what the child is studying, so they try to prevent all children from being exposed to reading and learning to broaden their perspective.  Things like, “offensive language” (which can be something as innocuous as “underpants”), “violence”, and “homosexuality” are some of the top reasons books get banned.  Parents say their children aren’t ready to learn of such things, but here is something I have learned from being around education my whole life (my parents were both teachers, and I too taught for a while) – children are sponges, they are eager to learn and figure things out on their own.

 

They pick things up from everywhere, so you can’t in any way protect them from everything.  Further, you can’t protect them their entire lives.  They need to learn the world, and they should be exposed to these very difficult topics while they have a trusted adult to help them understand it.  Seriously.  Ever seen a sheltered kid in college?  Buck, fucking, wild.  Compare that to a kid whose parents didn’t shy away from life, and you see someone who may enjoy some of the wilder things, but has a firm grasp on how to cope with them.  If you don’t talk to your kids about these things, they will experiment and figure it out on their own – without you there to help.

 

Which is worse?  I suppose that’s up to you.  But, my advice?  Even though I have no children, and cannot, in any way understand what a parent goes through, I can say, as a human being raised by a mother and father who hid nothing from me, that I always appreciated being treated like a human rather than a porcelain doll.  My parents trusted me to listen to them and understand that some things are important, but, ultimately, they knew that I would need to make my own decisions about difficult topics, even at a young age.

 

Now, I’m not saying you should go out and scar your children or subscribe them to Playboy, but if a kid stumbles upon something in life, or is exposed to a difficult topic earlier than you’d hoped, talk to him or her about it.  Don’t pretend like it didn’t happen, or punish him or her for questions, openly discuss it.  Ask and answer questions and encourage your child to think.  Hand him or her a banned book – maybe not 50 Shades of Grey, but something like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie would be a great start.

 

Remember, just because you aren’t ready to talk about something, doesn’t mean your child isn’t ready to understand it.  Adults tend to cling to childhood longer than children do.  Trust your child to be the good human being you are raising him or her to be.

 

Want some more information on Banned Books Week?

 

The official page is bannedbooksweek.org

 

And here’s an awesome page for the American Library Association that has some Top 10 Lists for the Most Frequently Challenged Books.

 

Here is my own personal Top 10 Favorite Banned Books.  I’ve linked them to Amazon in case you’re interested in reading any of them.

 

10. Blood and Chocolate – Annette Curtis Klause

This was banned no doubt for the sexual content – but also as being “anti-family”.  This clearly shows that the people demanding this be banned never read the damn book.  Granted, this is something more tuned to older children due to the many sex scenes, but it is a great book about family and the conflicts of love and family that every teenage will go through at some point.

 

9. Fallen Angels – Walter Dean Myers

Based on his preferred writing topics, I’m not surprised that people are requesting Walter Dean Myers’s books be banned.  However, I have also never seen a writer so in tune with young men and their reading interests.  Yes, there is violence and racism (it’s a freaking period piece about the Vietnam “conflict”, for christ’s sake).  But, all of his books were big hits with my students when I’d recommend him.  Even now, young black men don’t really have a voice in adolescent literature, but Walter Dean Myers gives them that voice.  Talk about a way to understand others – I highly suggest you go find all of his books and read them.  Immediately.

 

8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Are you fucking kidding me?  This book is on the lists?  UGH.  If you haven’t actually read Twain, go out and do so before you ever talk to me again (no, movies don’t count).  He’s an amazing author, and was one of the first to truely put American Literature on the map globally.  Yes, there is nasty racist language in this book, but remember, it was a product of its time.  I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the saying: “those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

 

7. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler

If I see another complaint for “anti-family” in an adolescent novel, I’m going to cut someone.  First, the obvious, there is nothing more “anti-family” than adolescence.  Seriously.  Teenagers are assholes. They’re thrust into this awkward point in their lives where they’re too old to do some things, but too young to really set out on their own.  It creates angst and frustration, generally pointed at the family.  Not reading a book that shows compassion and understanding for those feelings won’t make them not happen.  Sorry, you’re teenager is going to hate you at some point, but he or she will get over it as long as you’re not a jackass about it.  More importantly than your insecurity as a parent is the fact that this book tackles body image issues, which every human being could use a little compassion on.

 

6. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Eyeroll.  Have you read this?  Or is this something you say you’ve read so you sound like you’re well-read on the classics?  Be honest with yourself, and then go read this book.  Again, movies/plays don’t count.  The books we deem classics are important, they show us honest reflections of times past, and teach us how to be good human beings.  Typically, as with Of Mice and Men, these books ask a seriously difficult moral question.  I’m not going to answer it for you here.  That’s kind of the point.  Go read this book.

 

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

There is a reason this book is so popular – it’s funny, and real, and makes you feel less awkward about your own life.  It’s a cult classic, that is bound to become a modern classic as it will only continue to remain popular as its original audience ages and passes it on.  Life sucks, and it’s difficult, and no matter what anyone says, no one has any idea what the fuck is going on, much less on what they are doing.  Books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower let you know that all of that is ok.  I don’t understand why that would be viewed as an invaluable lesson.

 

4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Shut up.  Maya Angelou is really the only answer you need as to why you should read this book.  Seriously, you’ve never read something to beautiful and poignant.  The fact of the matter is, this is a memoir, which makes it even more important because it’s not “inspired by true events”, it is true events.  Read it, grow compassion, and fall in love with a book.

 

3. Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan

I cannot say enough how much I love this book.  It is delightful, and fantastic, and well-written.  But, it is, as the title so clearly states, about love between to teenage boys.  What makes this book so special?  Well, the fact that these boys are gay is not the primary topic of the book.  It’s a love story, it just so happens to be about a same-gendered couple.  They crush, they fall in love, they fight, just like every other teenage relationship.  It’s a great way to show how normal homosexual relationships are.   It tackles more difficult topics about being young and gay too, but in a way that shows that support and understanding are the best ways to help someone.  No tragic ending, no didactic lessons about life or love, just a normal romance.  Plus, there’s Infinite Darlene (we’re besties).

 

2. Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling

You’re probably surprised that I put this at number 2, but only because my absolute favorite book of all time was also on a banned books list.  We’ll get there.  I put the link on why Harry Potter makes you a better human being, but there is something more.  Harry Potter has a habit of turning young people into book lovers.  And, let’s be honest, book lovers are the best kinds of people out there.

 

1. To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee

Yes, this is legitimately my favorite book of all time.  I have 4 copies because they occasionally release a special edition, and I can’t help myself.  I legitimately love classic literature, which is why I don’t always list my favorite books, because I end up looking like a snob who wants people to think she’s smarter than she is.  But, that isn’t true.  Like I said before, classics are typically classics for a reason.  In this case, we have a wonderful story about small town America, overcoming prejudice, growing up, and finding your own voice.  This story enraptures me every time I read it.  If you haven’t read it before, or haven’t read it in a while, go back and do so.  It’s what I’m reading in celebration of Banned Books Week this year.

 

I have some honorable mentions (because I can never just pick 10 books):

 

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins

And Tango Makes Three – Peter Parnell & Justin Richardson

The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier

Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradberry (a book that shows the dangers of book censorship)

His Dark Materials Trilogy – Philip Pullman

 

Do you have a favorite banned book?  Why should I read it?  I’m always looking for new ways to piss people off.

 

Sriracha Braised Brisket

Brisket1

 

I dedicate this post to my friend Robert, at work, also known as Number 2, whose love of Sriracha and meat knows no bounds.  Thanks for always fixing the things I break.

If you don’t get that reference, this is probably not the blog for you.  Because I primarily talk about 3 things, The Boy, food, and the nerdy things I’m into.

However, if you do get that reference, welcome, and prepare for the best brisket recipe you’ll ever try.

Side note: this recipe is not for the faint of heart.  Or mouth.  But, it is probably my favorite brisket recipe because SRIRACHA.

This recipe comes about from The Oatmeal’s post.  You know how sometimes you’re really into something, but you don’t act like you’re really into it, because, I mean, who loves hot sauce that much.  But, then you end up in one of those crazy hot sauce stores, or you see something online and realize there’s a cult of people just like you, who seemingly love hot sauce way too much and you feel like your life is finally coming the fuck together?  That’s basically the story of this recipe.

Cooking with Sriracha = best. food. ever.

Included in this recipe is a Sriracha BBQ sauce.  It’s made from the juices of the brisket and peppers and that makes it amazing.  However, if all you want is the BBQ sauce, I’ll explain how to make that so it tastes kinda as good, but not really because there’s no dead cow involved.

The key to making brisket, regardless of recipe, is to cook it nice and slow, simmering in some kind of liquid.  In this case, delicious sriracha.  I mean, there’s other stuff in there too, but let’s not get carried away about what’s important.  The easiest way to achieve this, is in a crock pot, as the recipe states.  However, if you don’t have one, you can cook it in a covered pan in the oven at 225 for 8 hours, or 275 for 6.

 

 

Brisket8

 

1. Pat the meat dry and let it come to room temperature.

This is a practice you should take with all your meats, prior to cooking them.  It will get the juices flowing before you add the heat and will give you a better tasting, and more tender meal.  Turn the meat on a platter so the fattier of the two sides is down.  You may want to trim some of that fatty layer off if the butcher didn’t do it for you.  Season the non, or rather less, fatty side generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Montreal Steak Spice (I live by McCormick’s).  The spices will settle into the meat as it comes to room temperature.

 

 

Seasoned and waiting for glory.

Seasoned and waiting for glory.

 

 

2. Garlicify that mother.

This is a garlic lover’s trade secret.  You’re going to put the garlic IN the meat.  First, flip it over, so the spices are down and the fat is up.  Then take a sharp and pointy knife and cut some slashes perpendicular to the grain of the meat.  (Don’t make them too big, you’re just putting some sliced garlic in there.  Then, hold the slits open and jam that garlic in the meat.

3. Time for the crock pot.

Put the brisket fatty garlic side up, then combine the broth ingredients (beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, sliced shallot, and soy sauce).   Pour that mixture over the beef, but don’t let it submerge it.  You want it about 2/3rds of the way up the meat.  This is the braising liquid.  Discard the leftovers, or heat it up for an au jus for people afraid of the glory of sriracha.

 

 

Crock Potted!

Crock Potted!

 

 

4. Make the paste of dreams.

Combine the sriracha, Thai garlic chili paste, minced garlic, diced shallot, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, sugar and teriyaki sauce in a bowl and mix until it becomes a firey wonder.

 

 

Mmmm, my mouth is full of regrets and joy already.

Mmmm, my mouth is full of regrets and joy already.

 

 

5. Glaze the meat!

Pour the paste over the meat (some will slide into the broth, and that’s ok).  You just want to make sure the entire brisket is covered.  I was going to put a picture in of that stage, but it looks almost identical to the above picture.  Reserve any leftovers to add to the BBQ sauce.  Though, I rarely allow leftovers of this.

6.  Cook it!

You’ll cook it on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 8-10.  Depends on your cooker.   It will be done when you can pull it apart with your fork.  Scrape the remaining paste from the meat into the broth and stir it, this can be served as is for au jus, or used to make a BBQ sauce.  Once the meat has cooled for 10-20 minutes, take a knife and cut off the top layer of fat.  Shred it with a fork.

 

 

Tender spicy awesomeness

Tender spicy awesomeness

 

 

6. While the meat is resting, make the sauce.

The BBQ sauce is going to be made in a separate pan on medium low.  Combine a small can of tomato paste (2-3 tablespoons ish), 2 cups of the drippings (the stuff you mixed – paste and broth), 3 tbs. white vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce, and 3 more tablespoons of sriracha.  Let that heat until bubbly, then add to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  You can serve this warm, or keep it in a container in the fridge.  I’ve no idea how long this officially lasts, but we found it good a few months later.

7. Revel in the glory of meat!

This is by far my favorite part.

 

 

Majestic.

Majestic.

 

Recipe and PDF follow:

Sriracha Braised Brisket

Ingredients

Brisket @least 2lbs, but it can go up to 8lbs without adjusting the recipe

1 tbsp. salt

3 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tbsp. Monterey Steak Spice (I use McCormik’s)

2 cloves garlic, sliced

For the Broth:

½ cup low sodium beef stock

3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

½ shallot, thinly sliced

3 tbsp. soy sauce

For the Paste:

½ cup sriracha

2 tbsp. garlic chili paste

2 cloves minced garlic

½ shallot, diced

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 ½ tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. oyster sauce

2 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. teriyaki sauce

For the BBQ Sauce:

1 small can tomato paste

2 cups drippings from cooked brisket

3 tbs. white vinegar

2 cloves minced garlic

3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup sugar

3 tbsp. teriyaki sauce (Kinkoman’s)

3 tbsp. sriracha

 

 

Directions:         

  1. Pat the brisket dry and coat the non—fatty (or less fatty) side with salt, granulated garlic, and Monterey Steak Spice and let the meat rest to room temperature.
  2. Once the brisket has warmed, flip it over, and using a knife, cut 5-6 slits perpendicular to the grain of the meat. Insert the slices of garlic.
  3. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the broth, and stir to combine.
  4. Place the brisket, fatty side up, in the crock pot and pour the broth over it. *It should NOT cover the brisket over the top. It should fill ½ – ¾ of the way to the top of the brisket.   Discard any remaining broth.
  5. Combine all ingredients for the paste in a separate bowl. Cover the brisket in the paste and reserve the remaining for the BBQ sauce.
  6. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-12.
  7. Once cooked (you can tell because it will fall apart with a fork), use a spatula to remove the paste from the beef and add to a pot.
  8. On medium high heat, combine all ingredients for the BBQ sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes or until thick.
  9. Server over the brisket and try not to faint with joy.

Fictional Men Are So Irritating

I think I’ve said this a couple hundred times, but I am a fan of the written word.  I grew up around it, as both of my parents were avid readers.  My office is just a desk and some curtains and walls of books because I like to feel surrounded by them.  (Ok, admittedly, there is a gun display case in my office full of guns and geeky figurines from my Loot Crate subscription, which I highly recommend, but that’s only until I can move it out of here for the Boy.)

 

Anyhow, back to my point.  I like to read.  I’m a nerd, and that’s fine by me, because I can survive anything as long as I have a few good books.

 

My current read is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I am quite enjoying.  My mother listened to it on cd when I was younger, and there are some parts I recall from riding in the car with her.  You can actually buy it on Amazon on paperback or for your Kindle.  I guess you’d describe the book as a romance, because it’s centers around the relationship of the main characters, Claire an English nurse from the late 1940s (which should be enough to tell you she was involved in the war) and her husband Jaime, a Scottish lord from the 18th century (I know, right?)  There’s time travel, and violence, and love, and LOTS of boom boom.

 

But, fear not, it’s not your standard smutty harlequin sex scenes, don’t think I’m not in favor of those, but it’s presented in a more subtle way.  No throbbing members get inserted into trembling orifices.  But, it’s still quite a lusty read.  Not my usual stuff, but I dig it.  I was drawn in by the time travel.  Fantasy and history smashed together? Yes, please!

 

I swear I have a point, that leads to the title.  I’m just setting the scene.

 

Gabaldon creates a wonderful relationship between Claire and Jaime and that, I think, is why I enjoy it so much.  Most romance (the kind that is really more erotica than anything) misses that point.  The relationship doesn’t ring true.  It’s too fast or all lust.  But, Claire and Jaime feel real, they laugh when they’re trying to make love, they tease each other, they worry for one another, and they fight like there’s no tomorrow.  While Jaime often says things no man would say, but every woman longs to hear, the overall feel of their relationship is quite real.

 

So real, in fact, that Jaime often reminds me of The Boy.  Except, of course, when he eloquently expresses his feelings.  That is so not The Boy.  But, he is brave, caring, stubborn, protective, strong, witty, and clueless to the ways of women, much like The Boy.

 

As a matter of fact, Jaime reminds me so much of The Boy, that sometimes when Jaime does something stupid or annoying, or refuses to listen, I get mad at The Boy.  I wish I could say that this irrational behavior is new and not something that happens to me with every story I read or movie I see, or television show I watch, but it’s not.  It’s pretty frequent.  The Boy is just used to getting smacked if he sits too near me at any time.

 

In my defense, the smacks aren’t always because someone’s done something dumb, but I also smack him when I’m happy.  It’s enthusiasm.  I’m not crazy, and I know I can’t be the only person who does that.

 

Long story short, fictional characters are ruining my marriage.  Or, I need therapy.  One or the other.

A Whole New Blog!

If you didn’t sing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin just now when you saw that title, I’m afraid we can’t be friends anymore.
If you did, welcome back, we’re besties.  I’m sorry for you, but you’ll get used to it.  Or become driven insane.  Something like that.

 

I had to redo the blog because it wasn’t responsive, so when you’d check it on a mobile device (phone or tablet) it looked different and was very difficult to navigate, and Christi, the designer who’s always helped me with the blog when I break something, was nagging me about that.

 

I very easily could have kept the layout of the blog as it was and just gone in and recoded everything.  As a matter of fact, I had been doing a lot of testing on that on a separate page.  It. Took. Forever.  So, I evaluated what I loved and wanted to change about the blog and realized the easiest way to do this would be to update to a different theme and just replace some of the simple CSS changes.  (My old theme had A LOT of added CSSl.)

 

So, I went from seriously months of work that still wasn’t completed, to 90 minutes of work and a new look.  Which I love.  Do you love it?  I don’t care, you have to tell me you love it.  I’m a princess, and that is how this blog works.

 

I really hope you love it.

 

I swear to you, I’ll find something more interesting to talk about on my next post.  Probably.  But, don’t hold your breath, I’m not really all that interesting.

This entry was posted in Musings.

I like big words

I’d follow that up with “and I cannot lie,” but, I feel like that’s been played out.  But, just so you know, the song is now stuck in my head:

God. Damnit.

 

At least there’s an orchestra.  That makes it classy, right?

 

So, I’ve been studying vocabulary.  Because I want to take the GREs, not because I’m just super nerdy.  Even though I am totally super nerdy. (According to The Boy.  Thanks, honey.) ::cough:: jackass.

 

I just started, so I’m at the start of the A’s, and I’ve been learning quite a bit despite the fact that of the 10 words I’m starting with, only 1 was brand new to me.  “Abstemious”  (aab stee me uhs).  It’s also my favorite word.  It’s fun to say.  It means “moderate in appetite”.  Not just hunger, but appetite for anything.  I felt like I should clear that up because when I was talking to The Boy about it, I said, “Some people feel that after marriage a couple’s passion becomes abstemious,” and he thought abstemious just meant boom boom.  It could also be used as, “The Boy and I have little in common as his taste for reading and my taste for the great outdoors are both abstemious.”

 

It’s a good word.

 

I did learn that “abscond” does NOT mean to steal.  It means “to leave secretly”.  Which, totally makes more sense, because you abscond with something, you don’t abscond something.  I kinda felt dumb after that.  29 years and the lightbulb for that word just now goes off.

 

There was a definition I don’t agree with.  Their description of abyss is “an extremely deep hole”.  Am I the only one who thinks that description is a bit oversimplified and does not truly depict the meaning of the word abyss?  An abyss is nothingness.  It is devoid of life and light, and that’s what gives that particular word power.  Would you call the Grand Canyon (we won’t get into my opinions on the creativity of that word at this time.) an abyss?  According to that definition, you would.  I feel like “abyss” has a more solemn and lonely.  Maybe it’s just me.  It’s probably just  me.

 

So, there you have it, my most boring post ever because it’s essentially a vocabulary lesson.  But, hey, at least I’m back.  I’ve had a rough few months at work, and because it’s unprofessional to air things like that for the world to see, I won’t.  Instead of ranty words and frustrations, you get vocabulary.  Lucky you.

 

Also, apparently, some nudie pics of celebrities were leaked and people are mad at the celebrities?!?  Hello, 1954, good to see you again.  Seriously, can’t we all be pissed at the hacker and all the media outlets being disrespectful and sharing clearly private pictures.  Be honest with yourself, if you’ve never taken a nude pic, you’re either really boring, or lying, and quite frankly, I’m not interested in associating with you.   Let’s not blame these ladies for being human, or even say it’s their fault for having weak passwords.  Let’s blame the asshole who assumed those images had a right to be viewed by anyone without their owner’s permission.  The real indecencies here are the people demonizing, manipulating, and gaining profit and notoriety from these women’s bodies.

 

See?  You did get ranty words.  Bonus!

#yesallwomen

#yesallwomen

 

Who’s sick of hearing the “#yesallwomen” tweets and updates that have swept social media since the tragedy in Santa Barbara?

Newsflash, you’re part of the problem. A big part.

Sorry to hit you with some tough love there, but you may as well get used to it, because the love in this post isn’t going to get any easier. Just be grateful that the above didn’t say:

Newsflash, you’re part of the problem, asshat.

I typically avoid conversations on hot button topics on my blog. Truthfully, this is a release for me and it is supposed to be a place of entertainment, so I keep my personal opinions to myself generally. I don’t want this to become a soap box. Occasionally, something slips through, and I just can’t keep quiet anymore. This is one of those moments.

Socially, we tend to view women’s issues as a thing of the past. This occurs in the same misguided idea that racism and religious prejudice are things of the past. Things that went away once women got the right to vote and own land, or segregation, or the Spanish inquisition. But, let me explain to those of you fortunate enough to live your life without ever being maligned: just because it isn’t as bad as it was (or still is in some parts of the world) doesn’t mean it’s not still a major problem.

Just ask any victim of the any prejudice. I guarantee that it happens so much more frequently than you have the luxury of having to imagine.

The fact of the matter is, we have adapted to protect ourselves from it in so many ways. We just try to act a certain way in mixed company to avoid offending the offensive, just to prevent those hateful words, and threats of violence from those around us. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done or said anything in the past, the fact of the matter is that it has happened so frequently to us that we have no choice but to be on high alert with every new person we meet.

You think this is an exaggeration or excessive? I guarantee it’s not. Ask a young black man if he speaks differently to a white woman he randomly encounters in public, or a woman how differently she walks when alone versus with a group of people. I bet every single time he or she will tell you that there is a difference.

What’s excessive is that we have to do this.

Where does this come from? Easy, we allow it to happen. We allow these prejudices to happen. For example, “bitch” is a totally acceptable word in our society. I hate it. HATE IT. It implies two things, 1. The person (typically a woman) is at the level of a dog, and 2. The person is subservient to the speaker. Can’t stand that word. I don’t care who uses it, it promotes the degeneration of women and should not be considered acceptable.

Another example that seems so innocuous: the “nice guy syndrome”. We’ve all heard of this, probably even laughed about it. The idea that women only date assholes. And I’m not arguing that a lot of women date assholes, but the premise behind this “syndrome” is that it’s not fair that the nice guy doesn’t get the girl.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Why is it presumed that a woman is required to be interested in a guy who shows her interest? Nice or otherwise. The reason she doesn’t like you, homeskillet, isn’t because you’re nice. It’s likely something else. You may be ugly as sin. Sorry, suck it up, you don’t attract her, get over it. Maybe you smell. Maybe you’re so desperate you make her uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter the reason, she’s not into you. Move the fuck on.

Moreover, you’re so busy mooning over this girl who’s not interested in you, you’re probably missing the girl who is mooning over you. You, in essence, are treating that girl the same way your crush is treating you. (Feel free to insert, “asshat” anywhere in the above.)

I have read several things online that generally state the reasoning behind a lot of these differences. Why others don’t understand how major a problem all of this is. I found instances of conversations or interviews with both men and women. Men were asked why they were threatened of women – the answer? Typically something as innocuous as a woman’s opinion threatens a man’s ideal of masculinity. When the same question was asked to women about men, the answer was quite different. Death, violence, rape.

Why?

Why are these answers so different. A lot of people boil it down to the simple fact that by their nature, most men can overpower most women and the same is rarely true vice versa. That’s likely a factor, but it’s deeper than “boys are stronger than girls”.

As a woman, I am accustomed to having my ideals threatened. I have lived with the emotional abuse that comes from everyone around me for being a woman my whole life. “You can’t do that, you’re a girl,” “you’d be so much prettier if…” unwanted advance? “you shouldn’t have…”, “girls don’t do that,” “you’re being so emotional,” “man up,”.   All of this and more, catcalls, comments on my figure, my weight, my hair, my clothes. These are things I just am used to as a woman. What else can a man do to me emotionally that society hasn’t already?

I work in a male dominated field. I have to prove things that my male counterparts don’t. I have to do twice as much to prove the value of my skills. I’m used to this, truthfully, it’s part of life at this point. As a women, I walk into most meetings with my guard up, because it’s very likely that my male counterparts will do what so many males do when someone the deem as weaker disagrees – try to bully them into agreement. I just go in assuming this will happen so I’m ready if and when it does.

This is not gender related, but it is prejudice related. Before I continue, you need to understand how big a fucking deal it is that I am saying this. It’s not something I necessarily hide, but it’s also not something that I advertise. Not even my in-laws really know this about me, so to post this on the internet means a lot to me.

I’m not a Christian.

Seems so small and so easy, right? Well, I have a lot of devout friends and family who will not find the above statement acceptable. I used to think I kept it to myself out of respect for the beliefs of others, but honestly, it was self-preservation. Remember, I was born and raised in the Bible belt, and I have learned to defend myself from those who think they can convert me or those that tell me I’m going to go to hell. Or worse, those that just drop me from their lives entirely.

I don’t need to be saved. As a matter of fact, I tend to believe that those trying to save me are the ones who need to be saved from wickedness. Not all, but a lot.

I have amazing friends who know this about me and don’t care. For example, my best friend, Grit McGrit, is a very religious woman. She knows that I do not hold to the same beliefs, and still accepts me for who I am. We often have religious discussions and we learn from and challenge each other. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m fairly certain she prays for my soul because she’s convinced I’m gonna end up in hell based on her beliefs, and quite frankly, I’m grateful for that. She doesn’t think that maliciously, and her prayers for my soul are genuine. While prayer isn’t important to me, it is to her. For her, a prayer in my honor is a gift of love, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. (For the record, I keep her in my thoughts and wish her nothing but the happiness and the best of everything too.)

What all this boils down to is I have been raised to protect myself. To keep my keys ready, to know how to use pepper spray, to dress a certain way, to know how to handle my drink at a party or bar, to say the phrases that will keep me off the radar of those who think they can change my head and heart in a single conversation. I was raised constantly on the defensive from men, other women, and nasty zealots.

Just because these threats aren’t present from every member of the above groups, doesn’t mean that this isn’t an issue. It won’t be an issue, when it stops. When it’s no longer “cute” to make disparaging comments at women. When a woman can walk into a room without feeling threatened by judgmental women and predatory men. When “boys will be boys” is not an excuse for males to treat others poorly or demean women. When young boys are raised to understand that girls are just as important and worthy of respect as their fellow males.

Note:

I am perfectly aware that this is not an issue every man causes, so the bullshit response of #notallmen pisses me off even more.  I married a great man, he’s wonderful, but even him I have had to give some perspective to.  You, as a man, may not have tormented a woman to her face, but how many times have you joked with your friends in private?  How many times have you witnessed other men be misogynistic and done nothing?  You may not have done anything, but by not standing up to stop it (then and now) you may as well have.

Everyone, even me, is guilty of doing something like I mentioned in this post. No one is perfect, and that’s not what is expected. I know that there are times when insensitive things are done or said because the person doesn’t realize they’re insensitive (I’ve totally done this – sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me and others are inadvertently offended). However, until we stop putting the blame on the victims of these prejudices, this will remain an issue.

#yesallwomen

It’s not just about women, it’s about the underbelly of our society that finds prejudice and mistreatment of others as acceptable.

So, keep hashtagging the hell out of that. Hashtag your own stories, show empathy and solidarity for women and understand that we are maligned as frequently as others. Don’t let, “because she’s a woman,” be an excuse for mistreatment of another human being.

Here are some of mine, feel free to add to them and keep the tag going.

 

Because my gender is not a factor in my intelligence. #yesallwomen

Until men have to walk at night on the phone with someone to prevent an attack. #yesallwomen

Because I am judged on my looks as much if not more than my skills, experience, and work. #yesallwomen

Until I don’t have to worry about what may have happened when I set my drink down at a bar. #yesallwomen