Monthly Archives: January 2010
I have had many fathers in my life–my own being but one of them. I admire good dads–kids take a lot of patience, myself included. Having not known any of these men before they became fathers, I cannot say for sure whether they were any different before they had kids–but I can hazard a guess that that is the case.
My own father has had a massive impact on my life–not limited to the fact that he provided 23 of my chromosomes, including the X that made me female. That’s just where it started. I’ve seen the pictures of him playing with me as a baby–there is a lot of love apparent in them. And there are a lot of pictures, since I am the eldest child. He was the one who taught me how to build model cars, and will still volunteer to help if I want to build one now. I was the one he taught all the things that traditionally one would teach to boys–fixing the roof when it rained, changing the oil, filters, and tires on a car (I know a lot of guys who never learned this), building, and the painting that comes with, as well as helping me with my math and science homework, especially when we got past my mom’s level of education on those subjects. He and my mom both taught me that there’s nothing I couldn’t do and to not be restricted in what I do or think just because I’m female.
My father told me once that he only really started to see and recognize my sister and I as fully intelligent persons at about seven or eight years old–because that’s when we were intelligent enough to start debating and discussing abstract things with him. Not that we weren’t human beings to him before that point, just that we could be recognized as independent, as separate from our parents.
Now, this is not to say that I agree with my father all the time. That is by far, not the case. He believes that you can’t love adopted kids in the same way you’d love your own biological children–not that he has any experience with this, since both my sister and I, his only kids, are biologically his kids. I believe that adopting kids is a responsible way to have children especially if one does not feel a biological imperative to give birth or partner a person who can give birth. On some issues I stand much further to the left than he does–birth control (including extramarital sex), the environment, and pre-21 alcohol consumption, just to name a few. He does not identify as feminist or even pro-feminist, but the beliefs he holds and the way he helped raise my sister and I puts him squarely in that camp.
Now, I will never be a father–that second X chromosome, the one my dad gave me precludes any genetic possibility of that and I believe that my body matches my mind, gender-wise, so no changing of that. I am content, in a way, to watch the fathers in my life and how they act towards their children, how they raise them, what values they instill in their progeny as they grow from babies to adults. I look at them and see active paternal involvement in the lives of their children–both minors and adults–which is something that was rare as few as two generations ago. We are the children of one of the first generations where a father was expected to have a hand in raising their kids–we are still dealing with the traditionally culturally ingrained idea that fathers don’t have to do this, but it is showing up in small ways.
I, for one, am glad I had my father in my life–I feel sorry for those who haven’t, or had one that was not a decent human being.
Question: What does “Trust Women” mean to you?
“Trust Women” means that we should trust women to make the choice that’s right for them, their bodies, their families, and their situations–even if we disagree with them. It means that we should trust the women who may have an accidental pregnancy and choose to carry to term even if others would say that there is no way that things will turn out well. It also means that even if a woman and her family can afford (in ways financial and otherwise) to carry a pregnancy to term, that she doesn’t need to. This means that our bodies are ours, and it is not up to anyone else to tell us what we must do with them–whether that be friends, family, doctors, strangers, or the government. They can offer suggestions, but it is up to the woman in question to make the final decision.
But it also means that we need to trust people, in general.
It is also relevant when it comes to sex and birth control. It is hard for us in this country to understand that teenagers will and do have sex–hence the widespread teaching of abstinence only sexual education. We need to understand that safe sex is especially crucial when one starts having sex and studies have shown that people are more likely to use one or more forms of contraception/STD control when they know what exists and how effective they are. We are more likely to be able to trust people when we know that they are making an educated decision–which sometimes will include sexual activities without the use of contraceptives and/or barrier methods. So why not educate all the people possible, so we know that no matter what decision they make about their reproductive health, it is an educated one, based on knowing the facts about birth/STD control and mitigating them with the facts of the situation?
I am of the belief that everyone, no matter what their level of self-esteem or mental health, should do these every once in a while. That said, mine are affirming that these are okay in moderation–nothing to extremes.
- I can and will feel a wide range of emotions, positive, negative, and neutral–from sadness, to anger, to boredom, to happiness–and that’s okay.
- I can and will express a wide range of emotions–and, as long as I recognize them for what they are, that’s okay.
- There will be some days in which I will dislike or hate all of humankind for the actions of a few–and as long as this isn’t every day, that’s okay.
- I can be mean, spiteful, and jealous–and that’s okay.
- I can be sweet, kind, and loving–and as long as I don’t let people walk over me because of that, that’s okay.
- I will sometimes and in some circumstances, express feelings and opinions that aren’t in line with current feminist thinking (i.e. aren’t feminist), even though that’s how I identify–and that’s okay.
- I will sometimes be a hypocrite–and as long as I recognize that within myself, that’s okay.
- I will sometimes pass judgment on people because of their actions, whether I know the person or not–and, as long as I don’t treat them as lesser because of these actions, that’s okay.
- Sometimes I want to be left alone by people and animals alike–and that’s okay.
- Sometimes I crave the attention of people–and that’s okay.
- There will be some days in which I will just want to feel loved–and that’s okay.
- Sometimes I will lack patience for certain people in my life for things that they cannot really control–and as long as I don’t act like an ass to them because of this, that’s okay.
- There will be some days I will like the cat(s) better than humans–and that’s okay.
- I can and will use my privilege in my favor sometimes. This includes being straight-appearing when I am out in public, especially with my partner, identifying as queer in certain spaces where I know identifying as bi will be seen in a less than positive light, being female, being young, and being raised and living middle-class as well as being intelligent–and, as long as I recognize these privileges within myself, and know that I need to combat them and others in our society–that’s okay.
- I have sex for many reasons: because I’m horny, because I’m feeling especially attractive that day, because I’m feeling especially attracted to my partner, because I’m bored, because I’m seeking validation of myself as a sexually attractive human being, because I want to make sure my birth control is worth the money I pay for it, because I just want to–and that’s okay.
- I read erotica and watch pornography–and, as long as I recognize what impact the pornography industry has on the world and actively seek out porn that is made by feminist people/organizations, or, lacking that, amateur porn that appears to have participants that have given full and enthusiastic consent to both the sex and the filming of it–that’s okay.
- There are some days in which I feel like I need external validation for my beliefs and opinions–and that’s okay.
- Some meals I will eat on my bed–and, as long as I’m careful about spillage, that’s okay.
- Some times I will do things the easy way rather than the hard way, even though it might be more fulfilling–and that’s okay.
- I am not a particularly organized person–and that’s okay.
- Some days I feel like I should wear make-up to feel beautiful–and that’s okay.
- Most days, however, I don’t wear make-up because I know I look just fine without it–and that’s okay.
- Some days I feel particularly femme, so I wear make-up, skirts, heels, and shirts that show off my cleavage. Some days I feel butch, so I just wear jeans and a moderately baggy t-shirt and only wash my face. Some days I will feel right in the middle and I’ll do some combination of the above. No matter how I express myself–that’s okay.
- Sometimes I feel mad or sad at someone or something for no apparent reason–and that’s okay.
- Sometimes I am more attracted to women than men. Sometimes I feel more attracted to men than women. These are both okay.
- Some days I will be lazy, whether because of mood or sickness–and that’s okay.
- Sometimes I will not be the best poly person I can be–jealous, pushing to be somewhere where a partner or metamour may not be comfortable being, complaining about circumstances that are beyond the control of my partner, not really feeling communicative–and, as long as I can recognize these behaviors in myself, that’s okay.
- Sometimes I will be feeling very apolitical and uninspired by our political system–and that’s okay.
- There will be days where I feel like the world is conspiring against me–and that’s okay.
Quite an extensive list there, huh? I’m sure there’s more, I’m just ready to be finished with this.