Feminism….it’s not what you think

Some of you may have seen a recent video of Aziz Ansari, a hugely popular male comic, professing himself as a feminist on the Late Show with David Letterman. When I first saw the video I thought to myself ‘Wow! This is great! A man saying outright on public television that he supports feminism! This is great!” And then I started to think about what he had actually said.

He mentions Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Two of the most influential members of the entertainment community. Aziz also mentions equal pay and voting rights and women’s rights. But feminism is so much more.

While I believe (or want to believe) that Jay-Z and Beyoncé are definitely feminists, I hate that those are who we think of to demonstrate feminism. If you are going to their concerts, the idea of Beyoncé cooking is not going to cross your mind. And if it does it will quickly be replaced by an image of their chef. Who you are probably imagining as a man. And that, I believe is what feminism is about.

Yes, equal pay and rights are very important to us (feminists) but the perception of women in society is equally important. The fact that many people (male and female) believe that I, as a twenty-something woman, am expected to marry and have children by the time I am thirty means that society has not progressed. IT means that people still view me as someone’s sister or daughter instead of a human being with thoughts of my own.

While I am very happy that men are recognizing women and their rights, I think that many need to look in depth at what feminism is to many women around the world. It is an important movement that is gaining massive support and the world needs to be educated on what it is.

Start Loving You For You

So I did begin this whole blog idea with the premise that I was going to date. And then that fell apart as my life moved on and decided to through different things at me. In response this turned into a reaction blog about my life. Which seems to be going fairly well.

However, on this particular sunny, but slightly chilly, Saturday morning in Missoula I find myself reflecting on two things. One, how dreadful I am at dating and Two, the young man I recently had two dates with.

The young man in particular is someone I connected with through (of all things) Tinder. If you don’t know or have been living under a rock (which I had till my friend suggested it), Tinder is a online “dating” site. It’s main purpose, however, is to lure you into a one-night stand. Now I’ve had a couple of responses simply to this idea of a one-night stand, but for the most part I’ve managed to navigate the muddy waters of online dating and avoid creeps and psycho serial killers.

So when I got a message that said “Hello, I like your hair and think you have a beautiful smile”, I knew that this guy was going to be different. How I am still not sure, but I went with my gut and set up a date. Seconds later I started to panic. It was like fifty different alarm bells went off inside my head (sirens, fire bells, school bells, church bells, you name it it was there). My mind went through a series of scenarios where I was being catfished, pranked, and set up for humiliation. I googled “Catfished on Tinder” and I found too many situations where people had set up fake Facebook’s for the situation or had stolen money from people or kidnapped them or murdered them!! Okay I didn’t actually find murder but it could have happened. But the night of the date came anyway, even though I was using all my witchy October magic to make it stop.

Now to set the scene, it’s me, mind numbingly average brunette waiting at a restaurant for a young man I’m not sure even exists. Bleep! My phone goes off with a new message from J—–. He’s given me his phone number so I can reach him if something goes wrong. Panic once again wells up in me. But in through the door strolls a mild mannered man with a Batman t-shirt. We make eye contact and he walks up to me.

‘Andi?” he asks at the same time I manage to spit out “J—–?”

He smiles and sits down.

And from there it’s just an absolute train wreck. At least in my mind. I leave and get a text from him when I reach my apartment that says “I had fun. You have a great personality! When can we hang out again?”

Now I don’t know what happens in my brain to make me react as though it’s the end of the world but something inside me is triggered when people say they like me, they think I’m funny. I still have no idea why you people follow my blog, when it’s literally just me spouting my thoughts on shit that I’m probably wrong about. It follows my insecurity about my body, my writing, and my life in general. I have the hardest time believing anybody about anything about me. I have received a lot of negative feedback in my life from teachers, peers, and even family occasionally.

It’s something I need to work on. I know it and I know that it’s not just me. Everyone has something they wish they could change. For example I am terrified that I annoy people when I text them. I know I probably don’t because they text back but I have an uncanny ability to make it sound annoyed when I read their response. It could be “You are the most beautiful person on the planet and I am completely wholly unabashedly in love with you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you” and I will find a way to make it sound as though want me to die in a hole. Like I said, it’s a problem.

So my new goal in life (since I made all my plans to move to Prague right now) are to start to love myself and my personality. I will stop apologizing for being me (even if that means I apologize for things that aren’t my fault. That’s part of who I am. Deal with it.) I am going to stop (or at least try to stop) thinking that I am this annoying being that no one wants around. I am going to start loving me. That’s the cusp of it. I will start loving me and being me, unabashedly, unashamedly me. Wholly and truly me. I challenge you to all do the same.

Love you all, all my lovely followers, And even if you don’t follow me, I love you too! Because there isn’t enough love in the world.

~Andi

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar

The Miss America Pageant showed last weekend and while I am a huge supporter of women doing what they want with their bodies when they want, the pageant seems a little backwards thinking.

If you were to call the Miss America Pageant headquarters you would receive a message about how they are the largest giver of women’s only scholarships. (Although I recommend donating to some of these scholarship programs as well: rankinfoundation.org, societyofwomenengineers.swe.org, and patsyminkfoundation.org). I definitely recommend watching John Oliver’s take on the organization on his show Last Week Tonight. (Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDPCmmZifE8)

Oliver makes some amazing points in the segment including how backwards the Miss America Pageant is. If the largest women’s scholarship program is presenting women as objects instead of people with brains then how are men to respond?

We live in the largest rape culture in the world and it’s helped along by the media. Rape culture is presented everywhere (from YouTube comments, to music, to television) and has become normalized in our society. This can be seen in victim shaming (the idea that the victim was “asking for it” or “wanted it”). The idea of this can be seen in two very recent events: The first is the Ray Rice scandal and the second is Sam Pepper’s extremely offensive video of harassing women. Yes both incidents had a huge outcry but they also had men and women in positions of influence defending them. Both incidents leave me wondering whether or not our society can come out of this if these two events have become normalized.

However there is change happening. Emma Watson has recently launched a campaign through the United Nations in order to promote women’s rights around the world. Check out her campaign http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/emma-watson-gender-equality-is-your-issue-too.

I believe that women’s rights are so important and are completely worth fighting for. We can’t move forward if half the population is held back is what Malala Yousafzai said and it’s completely true. We need to fight to protect women’s rights.

(I do apologize for the random order of this and if it’s all over the place, but I hope you enjoy it!)

Just Be You…Everyone Else is Taken

It’s taken me a long time to be able to formulate my thoughts on this topic. Mainly because I didn’t want to offend anyone on the Internet (but it’s the Internet so I probably still will). But stick with me. I think it’s important.

I have this friend, for posterity’s sake, let’s call him ‘Greg’. Greg is generally a good guy; he’s got his ups and downs, pessimistic moments, busy days. For the most part he is a good, normal, likeable guy. So one day I happen to drop by Facebook and I see that Greg has posted this long, rambling, slightly interesting post about that top 99 inspiring quotes thing that was going around. (Here’s one that I found interesting (mostly because I couldn’t find the original one): http://all-that-is-interesting.com/interesting-quotes#1 ).

I got through the post and began to think about it. Sure we as a society probably shouldn’t put as much stock in famous quotes by famous people. But they’re interesting. I think it’s important to see that people can make a difference.

However, my biggest problem with this was the idea that Greg was presenting. He is presenting the idea that many cynical Americans are starting to believe. And that idea is that “Perhaps reality is right and I am nothing special.”

Which is utter bullshit. You are a beautiful wonderful snowflake and I love you!

And cue the Internet chiming in: Reality is a bitch, you shouldn’t perpetuate the idea that everyone is going to make something of themselves, blah blah blah.

Here’s my response to those people. FUCK OFF.

My chosen path in life is to make me happy. If that upsets other people it’s not their business. I love writing, reading, being a generally good person, helping out that fellow who doesn’t have quite enough cash to cover the milk he’s buying. I have an actual job, it’s a pretty decent job. But it’s also the job that “reality” wants me to have. It’s not what I want to do, but it’ll help me get there. I believe that every single person can do what they want, no matter what. If you start to listen to those people that are going to tell you that you can’t because of the “hundred, a thousand, a million souls who failed” it’ll really take it’s toll on you. You can only hear “Oh You’re gonna fail” so many times before you start to believe it and then succumb to the life that may not make you entirely happy but will keep you safe.

If it’s important enough to you, then you’ll find a way to make it happen. The Internet is a great resource for that. Look at John and Hank Green. The VlogBrothers. They are a prime example of doing something they love and becoming successful. Just because they did what they love and made them happy, not because they wanted to be famous. I can list hundreds of people who do what they love because they love it, not looking for the limelight or the paparazzi.

Isn’t that what is really important in life? To be happy?

And if anyone tells you that you are wrong or that something is wrong with what you want, tell them to fuck off. Because guess what? The only person that will truly understand what you are feeling is you, you are the only person who is ever going to experience your experiences. And I’m not trying to be inspirational. I’m the person who has people tell me constantly that I won’t make it, it’s not worth it, just get a job, you need to support yourself. And to be truly honest, the whole-real-world-job-thing never felt comfortable. Sitting in a cubical? Not my thing! Math? Please, God, no. But I’m still a smart person. I just don’t fit in in mathematical, business driven, crazy capitalistic world we live in. My mind and my heart are more attuned to the more creative side of things. And let’s face it, reality, doesn’t like those things.

This idea that “Reality and this real world is inspiring” is not my ideal world. That sounds painful. Take a hard look at reality. People die, people lose things (life, love, friendship), there’s war, heartache, terrorists. If I want to create a reality for myself that makes me happy, what’s so wrong with that? I wouldn’t blame people for trying not to focus on reality, or even better change it. As long as you don’t complain about the way the world is and then do nothing.

Obviousy there’s people that still have hardship and pain and there’s very little most of are going to be able to do about it. But isn’t just complaining about how bad it is just as bad? Didn’t the Dali Lama say if you can’t help, at least don’t hurt the world. That’s what I want to do. Help the world, change the culture. So that other people can find what makes them happy.

And if it’s your dream to be a mom and live a normal life and have a job and a husband, that’s fantastic! We need moms in this world! They’re some of the best people in the world. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my mom. If your dream is to live a normal life, and it makes you happy, do it. But don’t tell other people they are wrong for taking the risks that they take.

And right now I’m two months from making either the biggest mistake of my life or the best decision in the world. And you know what?

It feels pretty fucking good to be able to take this big of a risk and live a wholly unusual, fantastic life because I know what makes me happy and it doesn’t matter if they disagree or disapprove because I don’t care. I’ll be doing what I love, and what makes me happy, and they will still be sitting where they are criticizing me and wishing their life were better because they don’t know how to make themselves happy.

So go be you! And what ever that entails, whether it’s becoming famous or being the best fucking mom in the world!!

Why I Shouldn’t Be Allowed Out of The House

BECAUSE I CAN’T FUNCTION IN NORMAL SOCIETY!!!! 

Okay maybe I can but not with normal people. I am a very strange person who, while can be very interesting can also be a very strange weirdo. Like for example online dating.

Now those of you that have followed my blog (however pitifully sad and small it is) know that I’ve been attempting to navigate the terrifying world of internet dating. Just call me the intrepid explorer. So I’ve been messaging people here and there, those that I find interesting, any who respond to me, and one who seems to be a very fascinating character named Tuna (more details as I receive them). However on one such occasion, I made a fool of myself. 

Now making a fool of myself isn’t something that is particularly new, I’ve done it many, many times before but this time I particularly crashed and burned. 

So I was talking to this guy and he asked me what I was passionate about, so naturally I exclaimed “HISTORY!!” (okay maybe not that excitedly). He asked what specifically, so I naturally said “Oh I’m really interested in Middle Eastern history and of course eastern European. My favorite person in history is Elizabeth Bathory.”

Now if any of you know who Elizabeth Bathory is, you probably also know that she is not exactly the most romantic icons of history. She had a very bloody and disturbing life as well as a vampiric legend that followed her around. It’s really interesting fascinating stuff. It’s just not….pretty. 

He seemed unphased.

So I guess we’ll see. Gotta love a good ol’ fashioned vampire story on a first date!

You Can Have Your “Friend Zone”

So I might be a smidge obsessed with television. Mostly reality television. Especially bad reality television. I don’t get it. I don’t want to get it. I want people to look at this and see that it’s what is wrong with society today but they won’t and part of me is okay with that. Take Big Brother for example. IT’s a television show for those who are interested in social experimentation. Basically they take a bunch of different people, stick them in a house with lots of alcohol and let the cameras roll. Shit happens. Lots of shit. So much shit.

And some of this shit involves romantic relationships amongst the people in the house. They call them showmances. And sometimes these showmances are….let us say unrequited? Currently on Big Brother, there are these two people…..a young woman and a young man who have been being nice to each other. However, there is huge issue with this. The young man is very very interested in the young woman. The young woman has clearly told him no. Over and over and over again. And yet this young man continues to say “She’s my girl” and “I’ll win her over”. It brings a bigger issue up.

The idea that a man has more control of a woman’s body that she does. Which is not true. And I’m not going to give a long description or explanation on why that it is. It just is not true. And vice versa. A woman doesn’t have control of a man’s body. No one has control of anyone’s body.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s chat. This idea of being “friend zoned” by someone has become extremely popular. In social media, in everyday life, and even in television. It’s a very popular saying that has permeated into our culture with this idea that someone can control your emotions and that you just haven’t been “won over yet”. It’s absurd, ridiculous, and offensive. To everyone involved. If you think that you can change someone’s mind or opinion about you, that’s offensive to that person. It says “Hi I see that you are a person but I don’t think that you are capable of making your own choices or decisions”.

I think Daniel Radcliff sums it up perfectly when he says “I think friendzone is just guys saying this girl won’t sleep with me”. Besides what is so wrong about being friends? Have we become this society that actually believes that men and women can’t be friends without sex?

Does anyone else have some thoughts to give here?

The Fake Geek Girl

Are you fucking kidding me?

This has been on my mind lately is people who think that being a nerd or being a geek or being engaged in something is reserved for men only. It’s not. That is total bullshit. I’ve always been interested in something (comic books, books, television shows, music, etc. etc). So why is it whenever I express my love of something (comics, books, music, television) there is someone there to criticize and question my fervent love of the thing.

One of my dreams has always been to go to Comic Con in San Diego. My dad has always been supportive (mostly because he wants to go to!) but the point is that I’ve never had any negative male in my life. From my brother to my uncles. They’ve always been supportive of what I wanted to do and the things I’ve loved.

However when I went to college I found myself having to explain my love for things. No matter what it was. There was quizing and smirks and laughing if I was unsure of one detail. It made me mad, furious!

But if I ever tried to say something to defend myself it was “Don’t be such a feminist!” and “Chill! It’s just a joke!”

All I wanted to say was “What the hell?! Why can’t I love something just to love something?”

When I entered into the real world I realized that this wasn’t an isolated incident. It was a constant thing that women have to deal with EVERY DAMN DAY! No matter what it is we like (unless it’s housework) we are constantly harangued. If it’s cooking we are forced to compete with male top chefs. If it’s art we are compared male artists, or authors. No matter what it is, women are never taken seriously?

So why not just let people love what they love, when they love it. Don’t harass people for loving things. Just let them be. Just let people love things!