Middle-Aged Feminism

Are you like me when it comes to dealing with (most) men these days?

HI. Hi.

Instead of that 24/7, I'm trying to channel that energy into more positive, productive messages. But these men make it DIFFICULT.

All day every day, I see little things men do and say to women that are awful. To varying degrees, the harassing comments, leering looks, disrespectful interruptions, the mansplaining, the WELL ACTUALLYs, the sighing or rolling of the eyes if a woman dare interject that she feels like she's not being taken seriously. It all adds up to the reason so many women are SICK OF THIS BULLSHIT. I see it in AA meetings, I see it at work, I see it on the train, I see it in my neighborhood, I see it at school pick up and drop off, I see it in our families.

I don't want my girl to have to fight so hard to be heard/seen/listened to/respected and I don't want my boy to be the one mansplaining to her and it's on their father and I to watch this ever so carefully and interject when we see it happening. I want my girl to feel like she can say and do whatever the eff she wants to with no fear of being thought of as an angry feminist.  Because yeah, I am an angry feminist, but that doesn't mean I hate men - that is too easy. I just want them to be better. And if you haven't experienced a man treating you less than respectfully - maybe even in your own family - well good on you. All too many of us have. Just because an experience hasn't happened to you directly, DOES NOT MEAN IT ISN'T HAPPENING ALL AROUND YOU.

I call out bad behavior in front of my kids because I want them to recognize what is ok and what is not ok. I also call out kind, respectful, loving behavior because that should be encouraged. I make sure they hear me apologize when it's necessary. We argue and make up in front of them so they see how that works. How you treat a person and in turn, how you are treated, make all the difference in the world. Kindness is not politeness. Being a good person doesn't mean being "nice". Beware the "nice" folks.

This notion that we need to act politely at all times to all people has gotten me in a lot of trouble. It's hurt me enormously and made me feel less than. I needed to realize that not everybody was raised the way I was - couple that with being a woman and it doesn't serve us well.

We all want our daughters to be fierce and strong - a friend told me how strong I was and that the world needs more strong women like me, well I don't want to be so strong all the time. I want men to behave better and act with respect. GOD DAMMIT. WHY IS IT ALWAYS ON THE WOMAN. I want my boy to be fierce and strong and also encouraging of women behaving exactly the same way.

Men who can hear what I am saying here and not be all offended, good on you.

There are many of you that will say, well I've always done this or behaved this way or taught my children to be strong and stand up for themselves and not put up with this bullshit - Great! Good! Not everyone has. Not everyone can be strong. There can be repercussions and not everyone has the luxury of standing up for themselves in a way that may impact their job or their life.

I am 45 and just now feeling like I can. It takes a long time to unlearn a lifetime of learned behaviors. I won't ever shame anyone for not being stronger. I get it. all in due time, or possibly never. I am holding space for you. We want to be strong. We want to have the guts. But sometimes we just don't, and that's not to be shamed.

Listen. This is my whole gig - love and light and being open to helping others -  kindness - you know that. Being open to feeling all the feelings. But sometimes feelings include anger, and I gotta feel that too. I get to be full of rage too and have a right to express that sometimes just like everybody else. What I am worth, what you are worth, it is all the same.

Asking for my worth at work is making me feel all the feelings. All I've ever done is work I don’t know how not to. I've had to ask for a raise at work recently and it was scary as hell. I've never asked for a raise in my life. Coincidentally, a friend has started this fantastic podcast - Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Workplace. Because yes, your workplace is sexist.

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This podcast is helpful and honest and has great guests and hosts, if you are a woman in the workplace, I recommend a listen. It gave me more confidence and tactics with which to arm myself when speaking with folks about my worth. My happiness and general fulfillment and respect at work are all good, but I need to be paid accordingly. I am always preaching self worth and believe I am worthy of so much until I have to ask for what I'm worth. It speaks of Imposter Syndrome and I relate. LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST. You won't regret it.

I need to move mountains. But I just want to move to the mountains. Honestly. That's my dream, to pick up these kids and move to the mountains. But in the meantime until I'm independently wealthy, I am here - and working every day - in this city full of all kinds of people. As many wonderful and magical and kind and funny people as there are rotten and rude and entitled. I have as many interactions each day with folks who build me up and inspire hope as I do with folks who make me rage and want to burn it all down.

My mom is writing down stories of her life for my brother and I. It is the most incredible gift.  It’s so telling of who she was and is and of relatives I’ve never known. It tells of all women have to ask for, fight for, stand for, give up. It’s inspiring and sad and I’m so so thankful she’s writing it all out. No question where I get that from. The things she gave up. Her mom too. What they quietly and stoically endure during their lifetimes.

I say I am for women because I am. I am 45 years old and god dammit, it is about time I am for myself and for you. I also happen to be raising a little boy who I want to be for women. Because he is a white skinned male, he will have the world at his fingertips. I don't ever want him to take that for granted. Because we are for girls and women in no way takes away from wanting to raise up kind, respectful, empathetic, courageous boys and men. I want him to see his twin sister, his other half, and know that he needs to be for her. And he absolutely is. We talk of it often. We talk of how things used to be and how people of color didn't have the same rights as we white people have. How they are still discriminated against. How women have to work twice as hard to prove themselves as men and don't get paid accordingly. My girl asked the other day why there isn't a girls baseball league. WHY ISN'T THERE.  Why there are women's marches and why we need to fight for women's healthcare and our right to make decisions about our own gd bodies. Why his sister has shirts that say, "This girl can" and "girls will change the world"  and there aren't these shirts for boys. It's his little version of saying #alllivesmatter and I am not here for it. But we talk about it all because these kids are five and they understand far more than I ever dreamed they could. We talk of boys marrying boys and adopting babies if they choose to because my boy is pretty set on marrying his bff from Pre-k this year. We speak of all this because they understand and these are the beliefs that will shape who they are as people and I want more than anything for them to be kind and loving and inclusive, but also to take no shit.

This is my middle-aged feminism. At work and at home, in my neighborhood and in our kids schools, at AA meetings and on the street, I am finally at a point where I can use my voice. If there's any benefit to the dumpster fire we are living in currently, it's that so many of us have found our voices and aren't turning them off any time soon.

Anyway.....to the fun part.

We were at the zoo last week and I was gobsmacked by all the t-shirts and hats and bags and pins that I saw so many people - particularly women - wearing. THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS and made me realize I need to up our game. I went up to every single woman and child I saw with these messages of unity and solidarity and feminism and smashing the patriarchy and IT STARTED SOME GREAT CONVERSATIONS.  It's all about connection, right? We had some great ones. I SEE YOU OUT HERE. We are not going quietly into the madness around us. We are just getting MORE BOLD AND SUPPORTIVE OF EACH OTHER.

Yeah yeah I know that how we live our lives is far more important than what we wear, but still, we can have some fun and get our message across in some fun ways, right?

I went shopping (some bought, some waiting in my cart for the next windfall of extra cash) this morning because We (Feminist) Women Love to Shop! (links included) -

this gorgeous don't tell me to smile pin. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?

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This bangin' Feminist Mama t-shirt

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I'm not a ballcap kind of gal but boy am I looking forward to this one! Paired with some dark glasses, it will be the perfect!

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Can't forget the kids! 2 please!

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For The on-board men in our lives!

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BLING!

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IntersectionalALL or Nothing. Period.

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This popped into my "things I may be interested in" section on Amazon and it's like they don't know me at all. SO I'm buying in bulk for all my friends.

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Now look, don't wear all this shit at once. You gotta be selective for impact. Or what the hell, wear it all at once and shake up the damn neighborhood. I am gonna ROCK Kindergarten drop off and pick up next month.

Show me your stuff!

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