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What I Saw at the (Newish) Revolution

with a hearty “Fuck you” to Reagan apologist Peggy Noonan. Your crew put a lot of shit into motion that has effectively hamstrung the American middle class.

I participated in the Women’s March on January 21 as promised. I was at the Palm Beach, FL rally. They expected 1,500 people, got 3,000 RSVPs and the final estimate of the crowd was 7,000. Seems this happened at all rallies (except Antarctica. I think they got exactly  the number  they expected).

All 7 continents!

All 7 continents!

I’m hearing the same thing about all the Marches/Rallies: they were peaceful. Upwards of 3 million people assembling around the world and no arrests. In fact, a group of the marchers in DC sang “Happy Birthday” to a cop.

Peaceful, I tell ya.

Peaceful, I tell ya.

http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/womens-march-protesters-serenade-dc-police-officer/389951026

My group and I were heading home (actually, it was me, my friend, and three ladies we met on our way to the rally) before we were hassled. That was by a random man who decided he was going to lecture us on abortion because when women march obviously, that’s we’re planning to kill babies.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook from people telling us to “get over it” in terms of the election results

Oh yeah.

Oh yeah.

and just accept them. And posts from people condemning the marchers for wanting to kill babies.

You guys, this was so much more than that.

Women deserve respect.

Women deserve respect.

Yes, there were signs with coat hangers and Pro Choice messages. There were signs protesting the attempts to kill Planned Parenthood. “Aha!” you say, “So this was all about reproductive rights!”

Not even close.

There were signs for LGBTQ rights. Signs for immigration rights. Signs for equal pay and a higher minimum wage. Signs for mental health care. Signs about respect. Signs for veterans, Black Lives Matter, protecting Muslims from official harassment, climate change (Gaia is a female construct. MOTHER Earth)

The numbers of people hitting the streets and the diversity of issues presented said a lot about how the new President and his agenda is viewed. Inaugural speeches are usually upbeat, speak of unity and progress, and speak of a better future. “New Frontier.” “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” “With malice toward none, with charity for all…” are the kinds of classic phrases that have come from inaugural speeches. What did we get January 20th? “American carnage.” “radical Islamic terrorism.” That won’t do. I will not fear. I’d like to think that, if necessary, I would stand my ground against tyranny like this:

This is courage.

This is courage.

The message of fear was stopped by millions lacing up their sneakers, donning pussy hats (not me. And I’m not showing you pictures of me from Saturday because I look like a weird-looking old man), and hoisting signs demanding respect, equality, and services for better lives for all.

Hope. Love. Apply liberally

Hope. Love. Apply liberally

I’m going to sum up with another picture (it’s how I get you guys to read these things)

get used to it

Lacing up the Sneakers

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

I’m sure this will trigger a memory of high school civics (or American History) and the need to memorize the Declaration of Independence.

“…all men are created equal.”

Men. Got news, George, Thom, John, and Benny Boy: women are, too. And we’re going to marching this Saturday to drive home the point.  If you’re interested, you can find a march here:

Women's march poster

Women’s March on Washington

Nothing personal, but there are issues of personal sovereignty at stake here. It took from 1783, when Britain signed the Treaty of Paris acknowledging the sovereignty of the United States (and I have copious notes for a story about that. They’re 3,000 miles away. Please buy a shit ton of my books so I can use the royalties to go get them) to 1789 when the Constitution was ratified and became effective (By the way, all of you “State’s Rights!” junkies: we tried that under the Articles of Confederation from 1781 to 1789. Weak central government with strong regional government failed miserably. Really. It did) to figure out voting and representation and how the machinery of democracy would work. The Founding Fathers screwed up on a few points: slavery wasn’t outlawed, in fact enslaved people were counted at 3/5 of the number of white inhabitants, and neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights did not specify that gender could be used to deny the right to vote. That didn’t get straightened out until 1920. It didn’t say we couldn’t, but that’s the way the guys interpreted it, because God knows, they love their boys’ clubs.

It took until 1974  and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act before a woman could get a credit card or a mortgage in her own name.

Until 1978 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a woman could be fired for being pregnant.

The “boys will be boys” and sexual harassment of “Mad Men” was perfectly fine until 1977. Of course, in 1991, we saw that it didn’t stop because the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Clarence Thomas, was accused in graphically detailed testimony by Anita Hill of engaging in a pattern of sexual and hostile behavior WHILE HEADING THE OFFICE TASKED WITH ENFORCING EQUALITY. Didn’t stop his ascension to the United States Supreme Court (and he’s done zip minus while on the bench except to “me, too” everything Scalia wrote). And I can attest that that shit still goes down without much fear of reprisal unless the victim gets a lawyer and sues the employer.

Not so much this...

Not so much this…

as this

as this

The biggie…

1973, Roe v. Wade. Wherein the Supreme Court said that a woman’s right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy was legal.

Right now, we are a day away from swearing in as President of the United States a man who has a track record of contempt and disrespect for women. Never mind that he’s cool with sexual assault, that he makes comments about his daughter that leads me to believe he has actually had inappropriate relations with her. He has said he thinks women should be punished for getting an abortion. He’s in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. Since the rise of The Consecrated Con Man, Jerry Falwell,  and his “Moral Majority” (which was neither), a woman’s right to choose has been under focused, high-powered, relentless assault. Personally, if a woman I’ve never met wants an abortion, it’s none of my business. I had a friend tell me he was “morally opposed to his tax dollars paying for abortions.” Thanks to that shithead Henry Hyde, and the Hyde Amendment of 1976 (which keeps getting polished and renewed), they don’t. And the maker of the statement was shitting his diapers when it passed. I’m morally opposed to war, and I don’t want my tax dollars paying for that. However, I don’t get a say in the matter. Even Henry Thoreau couldn’t get away with not paying taxes because he objected to the Mexican War. The incoming President, on the other hand,…not as a moral objection but because it was “smart” and “good business” for him to carry forward a $900,000,000 loss and legally avoid paying taxes for years. (The $900,000,000 loss being a mark of “good business”? Not so much).

I’m not sitting this out. I may be beyond reproductive age and I have no daughters, but I see a big picture here. Women ARE the majority in this country and we should not have our gains rolled back. Read “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood sometime.

Handmaid's Tale

Thus the march.

No reason resistance can't be fashionable

No reason resistance can’t be fashionable

I figured this would be a peaceful thing. However, I was given information on recording police violence, what to bring in case of tear gas and arrest; who knows what’s going to happen. But it’s important enough to take the risk.

I urge you to also lace up your sneakers, RSVP to your local event, and make it known that we, the majority of Americans, will not stand for our rights, our personal sovereignty, to be eroded or taken away.

Now watch this video. And share the hell out of it.

New Guards

Free Range Woman *

(I’m trademarking that sucker)

Tis Mother’s Day weekend and  I am not a participant. I have no children and my own mother passed on in 2013. (She wasn’t crazy about the holiday. I pointed out to her once that she seemed to be as far away from her children as possible when it rolled around. She didn’t deny it)

I am not, nor ever have been, married. I’m not alone. (And I’m not defective, either. Let’s be clear) I’m also well past my twenties, which is the traditional age range for marrying and starting a family (although, that seems to be stretching on the back end onto one’s thirties). The labels women of my situation have had to endure are such quaint terms as “spinster” and “old maid.” Men get to be bachelors all their lives. I know; it’s an old complaint, but I suspect men are the ones who made the naming rules. 

Without the task of bearing and raising children, I’ve been free to, quite literally, move around the country, as wanted (or needed. I’ve been in that situation), pursue a career that I wanted as a child (without much success, but I pursued it), and go through some serious shit without worrying about dependents and what would happen to them. 

I propose that, in the 21st century, we shed the old, rather derogatory terms and replace them with a new one:

  

The Free Range Woman is just that: she is able to pursue her own path (which may lead to marriage and family even in middle/old age) and does so.

With the advent of animal rights, locavore, farm to table, food-related movements, “free range chicken” has become part of the lexicon. These hens are allowed room to be chickens rather than penned into a tiny space. 

“Spinster” and “old maid” are terms that have been around at least 200-250 years. They’re antiquated and carrying the baggage of patriarchal expectations that girls would grow into wives and mothers or be on the fringe of society because they didn’t find a way into the acceptable status. Think of Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations”: not being married wasn’t her fault, but the shame and humiliation of having been jilted left her mentally and emotionally stranded at that moment for decades. She had one job…

“Unmarried woman” brings up images of a Jill Clayburgh movie from the 70s and a line from “Private Benjamin” where Goldie Hawn, the newly widowed and unhappy about being single Judy Benjamin, wails “I would have been Mrs. Alan Bates in a heartbeat.” 

Free Range Woman also looks good on a T shirt. And may have mathematic meaning. (I didn’t do well in algebra and math, and my mathematic consultant passed away 12 years ago). 

The next time some dipshit asks me why I’ve never gotten married (A more subtle version of “What’s wrong with you?”), I shall smile and answer, “Because I’m free range, Baby.” 

Then end the date.

Who Needs Feminism? You Do.

Want to see me in person? Sure you do: this Saturday at the Burbank Public Library Buena Vista branch, I will be there, signing books, selling books. There will be a bunch of other great local authors of different genres. Come on down.

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A few months ago, Facebook and other social media blew up over a Tumblr account of young women holding up signs declaring that they don’t need feminism:

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Yeah. What this smugster doesn’t realize is that her gender has already been politicized whether she likes it or not.

This group reminds me of young, wealthy and privileged, like Paris Hilton or the Kardashians. They are enjoying the benefits that a parent or a grandparent sweated blood, fought, fell back, fought some more, and sacrificed to secure. They don’t see a need for others to fight and struggle because they themselves don’t need it.

They’re not thinking about things like Title IX as they go out for a college soccer or field hockey team. Or these women:

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Because of their sacrifice, these young women are free to go vote for men (or women) who want to restrict access to birth control because it offends their religious sensibilities or outlaw abortion for the same reasons.

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Know this woman? No? Do you young anti-feminists use birth control? She did a lot of fighting and sweating to lay the groundwork for that.

“I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay for birth control and abortion.” Hey, I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay a salary to a Congress that’s been sitting on its ass for 2 years and wasting taxpayer dollars on 50 plus show votes to repeal a law that’s working. I’m morally opposed to churches getting involved in politics and not having to pay taxes. I’m morally opposed to paying for war. I’d prefer the money went to supporting women in controlling their own destinies.

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The young women in the Tumblr feed were not on the planet when the bitch shown on the left almost single-handedly sank the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made gender equality a part of the Constitution. Know who she is? Someone dug up her nasty old ass and stuck a microphone in front of it. She’s running her trap again on topics as diverse as birth control, women’s rights (again. Jesus. Everything old is new again) and that she thinks the President is responsible for Ebola in the US. Phyllis Schlafly is an older edition of the spoiled rich kid who doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices that were made in order to allow her to publicly be a stupid shit. Seriously, though I generally do not wish I’ll on people, I want her to die soon and in the most embarrassing way possible.

Young Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism (especially THIS one):

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Do you want to make your own decisions? Like whether or not to shave? (I’m a feminist and I shave. I have the choice) If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy, how many choices do you want available as you chart your course? Just one? How about reading? Getting an education? Think it’s not necessary to fight that fight?

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Malala Yousefzai

This girl was shot in the head because she said she thought girls getting an education was a good thing and should be a right.

Got a job? You got to choose that rather than having your father choose a husband for you (sometimes based on what kind of stuff your prospective husband was willing to trade for you. Goats, camels, land, a title (Consuelo Vanderbilt), cash, a corporate merger, building a political/Royal dynasty (Catherine of Aragon). Women stopped putting up with that shit. That’s feminism.

Earn money from that job? Do you enjoy getting to decide how you use it? Want to buy a house or rent an apartment? Get a car loan? Not so long ago, you couldn’t have done those things without a man getting involved, whether you were married or not.

Feminism, my dear, spoiled young ladies, is not about shaving body hair, or allowing a man to open a door for you. Remember telling someone “You’re not the boss of me”? That’s what feminism is about; fighting for and protecting the right of women to be their own bosses.

Respect is an earned thing, not a freebie. Feminism is not only about us making our own decisions, it’s about them being respected. See this guy? And the woman?

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He’s now a US Supreme Court justice whose confirmation hit a major snag when he was accused of sexual harassment by the woman in blue. The hearings lasted days and the details were unflattering to an an educated man who would be making decisions affecting women. I suspect part of the reason that Justice Thomas does as little as possible on the bench is payback for being exposed. Know all the sexual sensitivity training that is now part of orientation? That came about because a woman came forward and said, “This is the shit I was subjected to as part of my employment. No one should have to deal with a hostile work environment.” That was over twenty years ago; two decades and four Presidents. Want to see what’s outside the HR Manager’s office where I work?

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She doesn’t think we need feminism, either. And she’s in charge of enforcing the policies that prevent this kind of inappropriate shit.

And we have to deal with this kind of shit:

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The reason we need feminism is because these battles from twenty, forty, fifty, and ninety years ago have not been won. People with means who don’t think that the American ideal of equal rights for all have been buying legislators on the state and Federal levels to undo this progress. Women are the majority in this country yet we are underrepresented in government at all levels. Do you honestly think the freedoms you enjoy now are going to be protected if women stop fighting for them?

You do need feminism, you spoiled little shits, even if you don’t want to mess up your manicure fighting for your rights.