Thursday, August 21

How Active Do We Want To Be?

Since I was a little kid, I've always befriended and stood up for the underdog. I've become an outcast on many occasions due to defending others. I regret not one moment of helping anyone though; it’s always been a genuine expression of compassion for my fellow human. There was a brief moment of time when I withdrew from what came natural because I’d grown tired of helping people who turned out to be ingrates. Had to remind myself that helping others isn't about ME so when unappreciative people pop up, it should be considered part of the territory. Instead of allowing that to deter me from helping, reflecting on all of the grateful people kept me wanting to give/help when I can, as much as I can.
A friend mockingly started calling me The Activist 7 years ago. Their reasoning behind the nickname was “you’re always standing up for someone else and attempting to defend people’s rights”. Every time they called me The Activist, it angered me; not because I consider activism to be something negative but because actively choosing to care about others interests as much as my own was being joked about. 
This wasn't the first time I was “made fun of” for giving a shit about other people whose voice wasn't as loud as mine, was terrified to speak up, or just didn't have faith that saying anything would make a difference. Any person I've taken the time to acquire knowledge about that assisted in liberating groups of people, all possessed this inherent trait of wanting to be of service to others, whether they knew them personally or not. So it confused me that these same people claiming to appreciate what leaders of the past have done, tell people today that they’re wasting their time to care about other people this much. 
It made me understand why we don’t have VISIBLE leaders today fighting for our human rights, that we can acknowledge on a global scale. People ask why there are no Dr. King’s, Malcolm X’s, Rosa Park’s, Shirley Chisholm’s, Angela Davis’, etc. My questions are, what do we think these people are supposed to look like? Are we so intoxicated by the glamour of what people are supposed to look like that we’re missing what people actually ARE? Because there ARE people in the world who are doing more than the average person to get others involved and interested in being better humans. There ARE people who want to rally others to give a bigger fuck about our rights that our government clearly states we are allowed to have but oddly try to prevent us from having. Those people helping each other in Ferguson are a great example of actively caring enough to defend and be of service to others. 
Instead of making fun of those who stand up and say something, arguing about how people contribute and what they’re contributing, being pessimistic and saying none of this really matters, would it hurt to think and do the opposite? Enough of the same people doing the right thing WILL make a difference and cause movement that only seems like a dream, right now. 
All of our past leaders started out with an ideal they chose to fight for and gained the respect and support of others. Their beliefs grew on a vast scale and it got national attention. It took some truly awful things happening before the government took notice and said something HAD to be done in order for us to move forward in a positive manner or things were going to continue to get worse. We’re back in that same situation today and it’s going to take some people who are willing to fight, stand up to our government, and suffer moments of unrest and lack of peace. Pretending this stuff isn’t happening to retain temporary sanity and peace of mind is a band-aid. 
But what do I know? I’m “The Activist”, remember?

Monday, July 14

Dear Boys and Men:

Imagine a world where you fell in love with the girl/woman of your dreams and had a beautiful child. That child was a little girl that captivated your heart with so much ease, you swore to protect her at any cost. You fell even more in love with her mother because she also made this child possible.

Imagine that in this world, there are men who aren't concerned in the least bit with how much you love that woman or child. As soon as your daughter begins to physically blossom into a woman, those same types of men feel entitled to that same precious child's body, whether she gives consent or not. That same child you hold dear to your heart. 

So when her and her mother walk down the street, whether they are together, by themselves, or with others, there is no guarantee that they won't be called a bitch because they have no desire to give out their phone number. They have to remember not to wear certain types of attire, even in their own homes because male humans are allowed to use lack of self-control as a reason to rape others. 

Imagine in this world there are also male humans that you are friends with, work next to everyday, and actually share the same blood with that put all the responsibility of controlling their sexual urges, off on women who don't even know they exist. If they're interested in your sister, female cousin, or female best friend and the feeling isn't mutual, she is a whore, slut, or stuck up. 

Imagine that in this same world the women you value are also called whore, slut, and bitch because they decide to have sex. It doesn't matter if it is her first, fifth, or fifteenth time. There are men that you associate with that label your female counterparts negatively, whether they are chaste or promiscuous.

In this same world, it is expected that female humans have above novice level of sexual knowledge but there is a limit placed on how many people she should experience before she makes it to whatever male human decides he wants to date or spend the rest of his life with her. That limit changes for every male human, even though their perspective is, the more partners they have, it makes them a better lover, as men. Their belief in regards to women is, the more lovers, the less worthy of being loved. Sexually experienced women are more likely to be viewed as unclean, whereas lots of men look up to men who are sexually experienced.

Imagine that in this world, any male human who insists that other men treat women as fellow human beings versus possessions, is shunned by his brethren. He is called a pussy, soft, "just agreeing with women to get some ass", and other things that indicate he is viewed as a traitor to other men. Unless he gives some notion that he views women as lesser beings than men, some men view him as even less than the women he stands up for. 

Imagine a little girl/teenager/woman experiencing all of this in one day. 

Open your eyes. Call several of the closest women you know. Ask them if any of this is just in their imagination. 

The world so many male humans think we as female humans just imagine, is actually a real thing. Please remember that the next time you hear/see a woman you don't know make mention of rape, street harassment, unwanted advances, etc. Then realize that it has become such a societal norm that it's easier to NOT talk about it than to attempt to get ALL men to understand it isn't an imagined world. It's actually happening and every woman has experienced one of the above...and unfortunately, more. Your wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, mother, cousin, aunt, best friend is not imagining subtle or aggressive attacks simply because she has a vagina.

Now, imagine a world where none of the above is the norm for anyone. THAT IS actually WHAT girls and women imagine.

Tuesday, May 20

What's Going On With Women in Position's of Power?

Anne Baldassari devoted 23 years of her life to the Picasso Museum, ran it for 9 of those years but was fired last week. She was responsible for the museums growth since she was brought on board. Her influence and work speaks for itself as The Guardian states that she "is renowned as a Picasso expert and has been the driving force behind the upgrading of the museum and its collection [of 5,000 paintings]". However, the staff accused her of "brutal management and [running a] regime of fear".

The Editor of Le Monde, Natalie Nougayrède, resigned last week after a little over a year as Editor in Chief. The New York Times reports that she was "criticized by her staff for a top-down management style and an inability to build consensus" even though their issue was with them being resistant to changes she was making to get Le Monde up to speed with the digital world. She was the first woman to be Editor in Chief and Director.

Jill Abramson was fired from her role as Executive Director at The New York Times last week. NBC News reported her as having "a pattern of behavior including "arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues". She was the first female Executive Editor in The New York Time's 160 year history.

I'm of the opinion that the complaints formed against these pioneers in art and journalism, are not coincidental. Had these firings and resignation taken place farther apart, it might have been a stretch to connect the dots. However, all of these occurrences happened in the last week so it begs for us to pay attention.

Women in positions of power often face being called bossy, difficult, and a bitch for operating no different than their male counterparts. All while still not receiving equal pay for equal work. The situations of the three women above force everyone to acknowledge that this problem is far more prevalent and real than a lot of people choose to admit. The pink elephant in the room just grew bigger. How much larger does it have to become before corrective action is implemented?

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