Friday, December 28, 2007

Present in Form Only

Some days I seek silence the way I seek cupcakes with buttercream icing on others. On the days I want to live solely in my head, the quiet is sweet and always fleeting. My mind fills with words, ideas, and I keep them all to myself, selfishly, delightedly savoring them, toying with them until they bore me. I fear there isn't enough to share, never enough to go around.

Today, I meandered through my morning routine and wandered out into the dark and mist, all without saying a word. The swish of the tires on wet pavement was the only music allowed in the car, while my thoughts floated free elsewhere. The lights were still off when I arrived at the office. Those are my favorite moments in cube city, sipping hot green tea, basking in the absence of noises other than those of my own creation.

When the Others arrived, I put on my headphones and found the stillness between the compact lines of a Smiths song.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Things I don't want to see

"Things I don't want to see" may become a semi-regular segment...

This morning I don't have a lot to do at work (I'm saving up for those two days next week when I will be working and no one else will). So, I found myself surfing the 'Space, looking at other people's friends lists like the dork I am. Then I ran across this: a MySpace avatar of someone breastfeeding her infant. I think I've already expressed my distaste for pregnancy pictures; you know, the sideways shots of giant growing bellies and, worse yet, those straight-on shots of naked, belly button-free stomachs. Ick. But this was way over the top. Seriously, it was an overhead shot of a baby face and some woman's boob. I don't need to see that...EVER.

Does it make me a terrible feminist that I find breast-feeding a little gross? I suppose one has the right to do whatever they feel comfortable with, but really, I don't want to watch. When I was a hostess, I once saw a woman whip out her breast in the middle of a busy restaurant waiting area and start feeding her screaming kid. Part of me was glad the child shut up, but the rest of me wanted to vomit. It's not that I have a problem with boobs or looking at them. I was not one of the offended when Timberlake ripped off Janet Jackson's top. Boobs are beautiful. But when they show up unexpectedly and get shoved in baby mouths, I get a little uncomfortable. The women who don't mind this behavior are quick to point out that it's a natural function, blah, blah, blah. My body performs many necessary and natural functions, but I don't take pictures of them and post them online or perform them in the middle of public places. People usually get arrested for that sort of thing. Hmm, there's an idea.

The moral of the story? Take all the schmoopy pictures you want of your pets, your significant other, your children. Hell, I don't even get offended if I happen across a porn-ish photo of anonymous boobs. But, for the love of god, keep your breastfeeding photos to yourself!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Woman Vote

Last weekend at a party, a good female friend of mine informed me that she'd taken the time to watch the most recent Republican debate on televison, "because I know you are into that sort of thing," she said. I am into "that sort of thing." And even though, I would rather she had watched the Democratic debate, I was glad she took the time to become an informed voter for the party of her choice, even though it's not necessarily her "thing."

In the last election more than 20,000 women failed to vote. Most weren't even registered. If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me she didn't "get" politics or didn't care about the process, I could retire. You just don't hear that excuse from men. Most of them appear to step up and do their civic duty without question. Maybe that's why there are so few women in political offices. When we as a group so segregate ourselves from the polticial process, we are making it the domain of men. The domain of old, white men. And then we wonder why it seems like our leaders don't understand what we need or want.

So, why can't we, whether we enjoy politics or not, take the time to think about our beliefs and priorities for our country? Is that so strange? Would you work in your job aimlessly without thinking about where you hope to see the company and yourself go? Would you be in a relationship in which you never thought about the future? Would you buy a new car without thinking about your driving needs? So, why not consider where the country is going?

The second step is to find a candidate who supports causes and national priorities you hold dear. This means more than finding out who friends, significant others, or other social leaders are voting for. I've known too many women who have copied their political views from their husbands like math homework. Like I used to tell my students, grow an opinion, an informed one! If we don't help make decisions, other people will make them for us. And, I don't know about you, but that's not good enough for me. This is about how lucky we are to live in a country where we are free to fully participate and be a visible, functioning part of our society.

But thousands of women won't be. Take a minute to watch the video above. Can you imagine what 20,000 more votes might have done in the last two elections? Can you imagine that your vote might be the one that puts the first female or minority in the White House instead of the same old white guy? You've got the better part of a year to figure out how you are going to make a difference. Do it already!