March 8th, 2003

planet

Happy International Women's Day

cross posted on spacefem.com. no, I don't cross-post often, but I haven't had a public journal entry in a while and felt good about writing this.

I know that most of us celebrate feminism and the progress of women every day, but just because everyone loves a party, March 8 is International Women's Day. This holiday began around 1908 to bring exposure to issues women were facing at the time, specifically with trying to earn the right to vote. Well, we can vote now of course, and there are more women in the workforce now than ever. But Feminism is still important, and celebrating women is still important, and I'm going to talk a little bit about why because honestly, it's been a while since I really stated the facts about it. Whats a better way to celebrate the day?

Our enemies around the world are constantly trying to portray feminism as a selfish, whiny, useless movement that should have died a long time ago. They've always said this. In the 30s, when we had the right to vote, people didn't understand what more we could possibly want. In the 40s, when we got to work in factories to support the war, people didn't understand why we'd possibly want to stay in the workforce after the men came home. Throughout the century women have trudged along to gain a place in society, and just like 50 years ago, people are saying we should have everything we want now.

But we don't. And I'm sorry if that's considered "whining".

There are countries in this world where it's still perfectly legal for a man to rape his wife. There are places where women are stoned to death for wanting to leave their abusive husbands, because only a man is allowed to initiate a divorce. Women are arrested and sexually tortured for political beliefs, and countless crimes against women go unpunished every week.

We were shocked last year when we learned that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan prevented women from going to any kind of school or doing work, but those laws had been in effect for several years with no action from the United States. It was only when they started harboring terrorists who commited violence against our nation that we did something.

Now who's being selfish?

Women do great things everywhere. We're mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and spouses. We're teachers, nurses, engineers, accountants and politicians. There are 14 women senators today, more than there ever have been. We've come a very long way, especially in the United States, and we should be proud. But we also have some work to do. So don't give up on Feminism. Don't feel ashamed to celebrate womanhood just because someone points a finger at you for pushing a "dead" movement. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

Happy International Women's Day to everyone here, male or female. Go make things happen! And call your mother, too.
hug tree

Cleaning, spending, concert

My promise to myself about curbing spending is going quite well, I must say! The rule is, I can't buy anything unless my apartment is spotlessly clean. At first I thought it would just work because my apartment is hardly ever clean, but there's another reason it works too: no more impulse spending. While I'm cleaning I'm thinking about how I really don't need any more stuff, so I talk myself out of all sorts of things. Today I cleaned like crazy, even got the bird aquarium done and ran the vacuum on the steps, and when I was done I went to K-mart and purchased four things: a wire wisk, an egg slicer, a small cutting board, and a package of six votive candles. Then I went to the petstore and bought some things for the birds. Overall, I spent less than $40. I have had only two non-necessity charges on my credit card this month, and the other one was only $30 (and was for bras, which are kind of a necessity anyway, yes?)

It was a gloriously beautiful God-given day today. The sun was out and it was 60°. I drove with the windows down and cleaned with the windows open, and the birds talked to the birds outside, and the heater didn't kick on. Then it got cold, we had that typical Kansas 30f° drop in like an hour thing happen, so it was freezing cold after sunset.

But it didn't matter because the Joan Baez concert was tonight! So awesome... I've been looking forward to this for weeks, I adore Joan Baez. It's funny because when I picture her I always see this young long-haired protest singer, but she doesn't really look like that, because that was in the 60s (earth to spacefem!) But she has the same eyes. Same posture and expression. Still a protest singer.

She actually did two whole songs before she said, "Okay, now I'm going to sing an anti-war song." I was surprised she made it that far. She had lots of great lines, but my favorite was when she said, "I know that some of you in the audience tonight may not agree with my views. Just remember: I was right 35 years ago." (knew you'd love that, Dad)

Many songs. Many of her songs, many of other people's songs, from Bob Dylan to Natalie Merchant. We sang along to The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (fantastic!) and Gracias a la Vida. She didn't do Diamonds and Rust, which was interesting, or I Shall Be Released, which is my favorite Dylan cover of hers, but whatever. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts was just as satisfying... she even sung half a verse in Dylan mode (which is basically not singing... I've always been of the opinion that Dylan is definately better when other people are singing his stuff) and we loved it.

So that was that. Came home and here I am.

I got to thinking... I'm not strongly anti-war now, in fact I tend to play whichever side is opposite the people I'm talking to. I guess that means that, had I been born 60 years ago, I wouldn't have been a hippy. And how sad. It's so free and glamourous and spiritual. I'm an engineer. In the 60's, I probably would have been... oh, some kind of professional. The man. The enemy. Curse this conservative midwestern upbringing of mine!