22 October 2008
It has recently occurred to me that some women have a problem with Sarah Palin. This problem stems not from the fact that she is a woman, per se. It stems from the fact that she is a pro-life, pro-gun, Republican women who lives her life traditionally. Some women feel that she is less of a woman because of the beliefs that she holds. Some of these women calls themselves feminists. How is treating a woman like any less than a woman because of the beliefs that she holds as less than a woman being feminist? How is saying that an intelligent woman is less than a woman for refusing to emasculate her husband, her running mate, and other male constituents feminist?
It seems to me that these women are threatened of Sarah Palin. It seems that these women fear the type of woman that Sarah Palin is. She is traditional in that she doesn't see the need to throw off her femininity to live the life of a woman pretending to emulate masculinity. I mean, isn't that the point of feminism? The very fact that she CAN be a governor, vice-presidental candidate, NRA member, Republican, AND remain true to her feminity is the ultimate in feminism, the goal of feminism.
I consider myself a feminist. I think that women should be treated equally and fairly. I believe that a woman shouldn't be seen or treated as less than human simply because she is a woman. I think that women should be allowed to voice their opinions without being referred to as "bitches." I believe that women should have the right not to be taken advantage of simply because they are not men. I believe that women have the right to be treated fairly in the workplace and recieve equal pay for doing the same work as a man does. I believe that no human being should be seen as merely a sexual being. Sexual harrassment should NOT be tolerated. These are all the basic tennets of feminism.
Where I differ in opinion with other "feminists" is that I also believe that being a woman means embracing the fact that you are a woman, every part of being a woman, not merely those characteristics we have in common with men. To embrace, not cast off your womanhood is to be a true feminist. In casting off womanhood and femininity, you are attempting to fill the role of a man. Trying to do this only plays into the hand of sexists and genderists in that it says to society and the world that being a woman is simply not good enough, that being a woman and having power are mutually exclusive. This leads to the conclusion that being a "feminist" in the way in which most people refer actually is being a MASCULIST, meaning wanting women to be more like men, the very opposite of what feminism should mean.
To me, being a feminist means fighting for the right for a woman, ANY woman, to be able to gain office based upon her intelligence, experience, characteristics, and patriotism without being seen as less than human, without being treated as less simply because she is a woman. It also means RESPECTING women who are in power, DESPITE differences from your point-of-view. It is amazing to me that most of these women who call themselves feminists fight for the right for their views to be respected without respect for any view other than theirs. They believe that woman who are pro-life and republican need to be shown the error of their ways, that we are ignorant and need to be taught how to be more open-minded and educated.
The fear felt by extreme feminists when viewing Sarah Palin is not that she is misrepresenting women...it's that she is representing us, and showing the world what a real woman can do. It is a threat to them to have an educated person represent the conservative woman and be a positive role model. It scares them because it shows feminism in its truest form: what feminism should be. It removes their argument that conservative women are ill-educated and un-informed.
I consider myself an open-minded person. I am also a Republican, a Catholic, a pro-lifer, an NRA member, a woman, a sister, a daughter, a grand-daughter, an aunt, and a Godmother. I vote in line with what I believe is right. I can thank my parents for that. They taught me to embrace who I am and what I believe. They taught me to be respectful and considerate of others. I have never been "not good enough," and I don't ever intend to fit that description in any way. Having someone who says that being a woman IS good enough and you can be powerful, beautiful, compassionate, intelligent, and feminine is a welcome change from all the magazines and tv shows that tell us that we are not good enough.
The fact that Sarah Palin is a governor, a mother, a vice-presidential candidate, a soon-to-be grandmother, and true to her self as a woman is why she is the ultimate feminist and partially why I want her as my next Vice President.
13 October 2008
This past weekend I had the pleasure of driving down to Louisiana for a wedding. The wedding was the uniting of a dear friend of mine with whom I have been friends since before we started kindergarten. While I am very happy for her and her husband, I was surprised at how upset I got on the drive home. I was thinking about how she is now a Mrs., something which I didn't think would have the reverberating effect that it had with me. I started thinking about several things that happened when we were little and about some of the things that we had done throughout our lives together and I started getting teary-eyed. It got so bad that I could bearly see where I was going on I-55 and had to momentarily stop to pull myself together.
I started thinking about how although she will still be the same person, she won't. It's a strange paradox. Although nothing really will change - she'll still be the same old lovable, fun girl that I know and love - things will change, her life will change. There'll never be another night out on the town as single gals having a good time. She has been joined as one to her (might I add) wonderful husband. It's just so strange that in a 20 minute ceremony, so much can change. What's even more strange is how jarring it is when the immensity of that 20-minute ceremony hits you. As an 'outsider,' so to speak, it was immense for me, too. I can't image how it was compounded for her.
She called me that morning after I had sent her a text. Apparently, all the feelings from the day hit her all at once as she was driving on her way to get ready. It was the first time that she had been alone in awhile, allowing all those thoughts and realisations to come all at once. She was crying hysterically and requested that I tell her a story to calm her down! I was completely taken off guard and all I could say was..."Ummm...ok, what kind of story?" We started talking and she definitely got calm after we had a little conversation. When she related the events to our other friends that night, she lightly put in not to ever call me when you need to be calm because apparently I stink at improvising.
At the wedding, I saw several of my friends there. We were talking about weddings, and I told my friend, Mindy, "All these people getting married...geez, I feel so old!!" To which Mindy replied, "that's cause we are!" Who knew the ripe old age of 24 was old, right? In a sense, it IS old...comparatively old. Apparently, we've all of us matured without knowing it...excepting a few old reliables who probably won't ever mature. Someone needs to keep us young, right?
Anyway, the ceremony was lovely, the bride was beautiful, and the newly married couple were glowing with happiness. All-in-all after all the evening was a special and pleasing one. It was a beautiful beginning of the rest of forever for them, and I couldn't be happier.
23 August 2008
On the trip home, I also celebrated my Aunt's birthday! These are the beautiful ladies in my family--on my mom's side! The center in front is my mom's mom and her sister. My mom is on the far right. Next to her is my Aunt who's birthday it was. My mom's other sister is on the left. We had a great time eating some seafood and a little hole-in-the-wall place we grew up eating at. It was a wonderful visit home!
I recently made a trip down to my hometown in South Louisiana for a few days. My grandmother turned 100 years old! Can you believe it? She's seen the Titanic sink, the coming of electricity, the First and Second World Wars, the Great Depression, the Roaring 20's, the first flight, the electronic revolution, the Civil Rights era, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the assassination of JFK, the Cold War, and the fall of the Soviet Union, just to name a few.
Her life has been a picture of fulfillment with her marriage to my grandfather to the birth of twelve children. She has 118 direct descendants, including children, grandchildren, great-grand children, and great-great-grand children.
Her 100th birthday was on 10 August, which happened to be a Sunday. There was a special mass said for her at the local church and just about all of the family was there. The church was full. At the end of mass, Father said a special blessing over her, and he attended the party afterward. There were tents and fans set up outside in the 100-degree heat. Food and desserts and beverages abounded. When it was time for the birthday cake, the children and grandchildren crowded into the kitchen and sang happy birthday followed by the blowing out of the candles. My cousin wrote an article about her in the local paper, and, in it, she cited Proverbs 31:10-31:
"When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands. Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar. She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household. She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms. She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed. She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing. Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land. She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts. She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel. She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness. Her children rise up and praise her, her husband, too, extols her: 'Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.' Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a reward of her labours, and let her works praise her at the city gates."
My grandmother's life has epitomized that passage. She has remained strong through difficult times, has endured the birth of 12 children, the loss of all her brothers and sisters, the loss of her husband, the loss of one child, the loss of a grandchild, and the loss of two great-grandchildren. She has met each challenge with faith and strength. She has maintained her faith and increased her devotion to the Lord throughout her life, offering prayer and devotions for those in need. She has been a wonderful example for me to follow and I aspire to have her depth of faith and love for my family. It has been fulfilling simply to be a part of the life of such a wonderful woman. She is a remarkable woman, indeed, and I have been very blessed to call her my grandmother.