In our culture, the F word is a dirty dirty word. TV shows steer clear of it. You rarely hear it on Showtime or HBO. The only time we hear this word is while it’s being vilified on Fox News. I’m not talking about the f-bomb. I’m talking about feminism.
What I’m talking about, is how no one wants to be a feminist. When people hear the F word, their mental image is of pushy, antagonistic women who refuse to shave, and hate men. As a result of this image, even while speaking out for women’s rights, celebrities and public figures refuse to wear this term like the badge of honor their fore-mothers fought for. In 2009, Lady Gaga, who has made many statements in favor of women’s and gay rights, made the statement, “I’m not a feminist. I love men.” Sound familiar? It should. Madonna, Demi Moore, Angelina Jolie, and many other famous and influential entertainers have made statements starting with “I’m not a feminist but” – yet all these women make statements and live their life in accordance with many feminist ideals. This begs the obvious question, what is feminism, and why is it deemed so threatening?
Whenever I’m asked to define feminism, Rebecca West comes to mind. When asked the same question, West answered this way, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” Were I to take a stab at defining the movement, I would start with the understanding that throughout history; cultural, political, and religious factors have marginalized and maligned women, restraining us into a subordinate role in society. Feminism is the view seen from this lens, coupled with a commitment to lifting and resisting these forces holding women down.
So now that we understand what It is, why is feminism regarded as so threatening? A part of this comes from an incomplete understanding of 2nd wave feminism. The feminist movement in the United States is broken down into historical ‘ waves’. The first wave took place in the 19th and early 20th centuries. First wave feminism included the first convention of Women’s rights, in 1848, and lasted through the end of the suffragist movement in 1920. In the early 1920s feminism fell out of fashion as first wavers grew older and their daughters, tired of their mothers’ preaching, became flappers instead of activists. The movement lay dormant until 1953, when Betty Freidan published “The Feminine Mystique” speaking out about the widespread restlessness and despair felt by women struggling to find identity and purpose in the roles of perfect wife and perfect mother that society prescribed for them. Publication of this book sparked what came to be second wave feminism. The images in your head of bras burning and protest signs? You’re thinking of the second wave (although the bra-burning is a myth, but anyway…) This is the era known as man-hating-anti-family-ugly-angry-obnoxious-agitators. Are these accusations true? Sure they are, but not for the entire movement, and not all the time – But even if all the unflattering stereotypes are 100% accurate, I’m not writing off or apologizing for it. As author Susan. J. Douglas puts it, “Weren’t feminists these grim-faced, humorless, anti family, karate-chopping ninjas who were bitter because they couldn’t get a man?” Well, in fact the problem was that all too many of them HAD gotten a man, married him, had his kids, and then discovered that, as mothers, they were never supposed to have their own money, their own identity, their own aspirations, time to pee, or a brain. And yes, some women indeed became bad-tempered as a result. After all, no anger, no social change.”
Do you see her point? Society has trapped women by oppressing us and trying to dupe us into compliance- and when we fight back, they slap us in the face by insulting the one facet of our personalities we’re not only taught to, but shoved into obsessing over – attractiveness. After a history of oppression, we’re essentially told, “Don’t get angry- it isn’t cute.” See the issue here?
Like everything else, feminism has evolved. In the 1960’s & ‘70s, the movement was largely political. Their concerns were the Equal Pay Act, and reproductive rights. While those things are still a concern, today’s 3rd wave has a less governmental, and more cultural focus. Is feminism any less needed? No. 1 in 3 women are still sexually assaulted during their lifetime. Women still make 30% less than men in the same jobs. We are still taught that none of our qualities or accomplishments matters if men don’t find us attractive. So no matter how dirty it is, I’m still using the F word.
Ryan and I have moved our operation over to Capitol Hill Gang!
We plan on keeping up the posting so come by sometime and visit us! =)
Love you all,
Hey guys, it’s been awhile since I last blogged about something but I’m gonna try and get back into this thing because I miss it WAY too much. Anyway, let me get right into the issue of the day. Religion in today’s world. Regardless of whether you believe in a deity, a spirit, or the flying spaghetti monster, everyone has their own theory on how the world was created, why we are here, and where we are going.
Most of you know I goto a Christian liberal arts college and so, one would assume, I am a Christian; and this assumption is true. Therefore I, like many other Christians across the world, were “flabbergasted” to see how the media seemed to lump the likes of Harold Camping, our modern-day Nostradamus whose failed prediction of Judgment Day shook the paranoid realms of society last Saturday, with the rest of us Christians. In our current era of mass media, its pretty clear that our society has an affinity for the unusual; how often do you see superlative words like the “biggest”, the “worst”, or the “craziest” in our media? The problem is that when applied to religion, it shows the “crazies”; Middle Eastern terrorists, Fred Phelps, or even Glenn Beck.
Anything to success is a bad thing, especially religion since it is such a powerful and illogical force. I can tell you from experience that my faith is not logical; there are very few things about Christianity that are completely logical; but that does not mean that all the good that it can bring is for naught. People like Harold Camping destroy the very fabric of what being a Christ-follower means. We cannot know what God plans for this world; it is our job to do our best to love God and love others because, in the end, that is all we can do.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Rob Bell, a prolific, “postmodern” Christian writer puts it best when he says that “you rarely defend the things you love. You enjoy them and tell others about them and invite others to enjoy them with you.” I suggest that Camping, and many other Christian “apologetics”, or “defenders”, take a step back and use their time, money, and energy, for things that can help bring the kingdom of God here to Earth. CBS News reported that Family Radio, the company that Camping is a part of, spent over $1 Million on billboards all over the world, and that is a conservative estimate. Think about how many charities could have benefited from all that money? Its sickening.
Regardless, the only way to truly be “Christ-like” is to extend His love to all around you. Don’t be arrogant, judgmental, or fake; instead, act like a true messenger of God by helping others. Be the new, the true Christian for the world.
Muammar Gaddafi is one of the most interesting despotic rulers in the world today and has been for the past several decades. I mean, let’s face it; if you take Rebecca Black out of the picture, Gaddafi is currently the world’s most talked about person. Gaddafi dresses in classic dictator chic; from the aviators and beret down to the obnoxious military uniform with unnecessary war awards. If that wasn’t enough, the strongman surrounds himself with an all-female entourage known as the “Revolutionary Nuns” who are trained in marksmanship and martial arts. This guy has the image most dictators would kill for. Nonetheless, Gaddafi has put his image on the line by enraging the West once against with his borderline insane antics.
The background of the current conflict we find ourselves in is rooted in the recent Arab world protests. Gaddafi, rather than watch his regime crumble like that of Ben Ali’s Tunisia and Mubarak’s Egypt, took a rather proactive approach and disallowed the protesters the right to assemble through his typical forceful methods. This has led to a virtual civil war between the rebel strongholds in the eastern portion of the country and the pro-Gaddafi strongholds in the west. The question now is, why are we involved in yet another desolate desert country?
Gaddafi is accused of using his air force to terrorize protesters and those who sympathize with the rebels. Recently, France and Britain have called for a coalition of Western nations to disallow the Libyan Air Force the right to terrorize civilians by instituting a no-fly-zone over the nation. The United States has joined this coalition and has launched several missiles and flown planes over the nation. Though American statesmen have consistently regarded this as a limited-time engagement, Gaddafi vows to fight to the death.
One issue with the conflict that has consistently been brought up in the United States government involves the endgame in regards to the conflict. Is it human rights? Is it to kill Gaddafi? Is it to secure oil? The answer has not been clarified.
This conflict is rapidly changing by the day. Recently, there are reports that Al-Qaeda is fighting alongside the Libyan rebels. The rebels that the West support are being influenced by so many contradicting ideologies that a positive outcome for the rebels could lead to a prolonged civil war between fighting factions dominated by pro-Western liberals and pro-Islamist radicals.
Regardless of all of the questions raised by the conflict one thing is for sure; in a post-Gaddafi world, his crazy fashion antics will surely be missed.
- Gadhafi son toured US in weeks before uprising (sfgate.com)
- Libyan rebels regain key city after airstrikes (boston.com)
- Libyan rebels seize back key eastern city (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Airstrikes force Gadhafi retreat; rebels clinch hold on east with fall of Ajdabiya (thestar.com)
- Libyan rebels rout Gadhafi forces in strategic town (calgaryherald.com)
I wrote a post on a different site and am linking back to it here! Please check it out and make any comments you want!
Well I’m back by popular demand after a small hiatus and a lot has happened in the world since the last time I wrote a post. The political climate of the Middle East is fascinating to watch from an outsider’s perspective; however, as Americans, we need to watch very closely. As we can all attest to, sometimes the peoples’ choice is hardly the most beneficial to the world. I think there are three possibilities as to what kinds of revolutions can take place in the Arab nations currently handling the riots.
They are going to party like its 1789
You’ve heard about it since second grade; the early American patriots triumphing over the British juggernaut in 1783. Obviously, the young American nation was not completely founded until 1789 with the signing of the Constitution but this example clearly illustrates how a revolution can lead to freedom for the people it claims to represent. Should the dominoes of the Middle East fall this way, America’s fortunes would clearly dodge a bullet. Something interesting to note is that the Iraqi government has not seen the kinds of protesting seen in many other Muslim nations; this could be interpreted as a sign that the fragile notions of democracy are possible in this new Arab world. Unfortunately, this scenario is not as likely as the second possibility.
They are going to party like its 1979
In 1979, the Iranian monarchy was overthrown by a radical Shi’a Muslim group. It instituted a theocracy which was antagonistic towards the West. To put it simply, this type of revolution would be really bad for most parties involved. It would be bad for the United States, it would be bad for Israel, it would be bad for Arab Christians, it would be bad for international businesses, and it would be bad for the emerging class of secular Arabs. Unfortunately, two of the places most heavily affected by the riots, Tunisia and Egypt, had situations much akin to that of pre-revolutionary Iran. The most likely government to take control in Egypt in this scenario is the radical Muslim Brotherhood. If this type of revolution occurs, Israel will go to the proverbial DEFCON 1.
They are going to party like its 1849
For those of you history majors, you will note the revolutions of 1848 and remember the failures that they were. While they did sow the seeds of liberalism, the status quo prevailed. Analogy aside, in this situation, the Mubarek administration in Egypt and Ben Ali regime in Tunisia may die, but the spirit of their rule will continue past their time in office. The authoritarian spirit will remain and potential get better or worse but there will not be much deviation from the current status quo. As hard it is to say this as a freedom loving American, there are sometimes in foreign policy where we need dictators to be our minions, as awful as that is to say. This scenario would not be the best outcome for us or the people but, it would further protect our interests in the region.
The 2011 revolutions in the Arab world have the potential to truly change geopolitics for the rest of history. That being said, a change in the status quo is not always beneficial. In certain cases, the status quo is beneficial to more people. If the Arabs wish to create a Western-based republic that respects civil rights that would obviously be the best of both worlds. However, most foreign policy analysts would say that it would be in America’s best interests to have a secular, authoritarian leader than a radical Muslim cleric. As President FDR is believed to have said, “He may be a son of a b****, but he’s our son of a b****.”
We are on the cusp of the rise of the crescent moon in Arabia. The question is, what will the morning look like?
UPDATE!!!: The Muslim Brotherhood have thrown their support to secular opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei. This is an interesting development in the political landscape for a post-revolutionary Egypt. Also, the March of Millions is planned for tomorrow, and updates of this will be tweeted via @rryand35. Keep looking at the news, keep informed, and keep praying for the Egyptian people! (or meditate or whatever you feel best doing to support the people of Egypt)
Recently, protests in Egypt have shaken the Arab world as a second North African country is threatening to overthrow its government. Tunisia recently overthrew Ben Ali in what is being called the Jasmine Revolution. Now, Egypt is turning against it’s leader, President Mubarak.
The “Arab street,” as many commentators are calling the people protestors in Tunisia, Egypt, and beyond, are becoming emboldened against a regime that governs in an authoritarian fashion against the backdrop of democracy. The history of Mubarak’s rule has been fraught with undemocratic policies, such as the outlawing of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood party and his declaration of rule for life. A full history of Mubarak’s regime can be found here.
How does America play in all of this? Well, Mubarak has been a vital ally of America, according to Wikileaks cables. However, there are many problems with supporting a dictator, especially in a region that is inclined to have anti-American sentiments. Israel also has been a supporter of Mubarak because of his staunch anti-terrorist activities. Israel even has faith that Mubarak will remain in power. On top of all of this, Egypt is one of the top recipients of foreign aid from America, totaling $3 billion.
What are we to do in the face of these protests? President Obama has only offered cautious, unclear statements. Fair, because we do not want to anger the protestors, while we also do not want to alienate our ally Mubarak. However, the situation may be beyond our control, all-out intervention not withstanding. We have supported a dictator in the face of blatant human rights abuses, and in many ways deserve the reputation we are given. By supporting Mubarak, we have alienated the people. By alienating the people, we face an unpopular government if Mubarak and the military do indeed abdicate.
The situation in Egypt is not isolated. Protests have broken out in Yemen, Algeria’s opposition party is organizing protests for tomorrow, and other countries may soon follow. We may even see a rebirth of the Green Movement in Iran! (Protests that America may well support.)
These revolutions across the Arabic world bring with it two possible outcomes if they succeed: widespread democratic reform, or the advent of radical Islamic governments. While there may be some middle ground, these are the two most likely outcomes. America should work to ensure that democracy thrives in the Middle East and promote the interests of all the people, not just the dictatorships.
In Egypt, the revolution may not go the way protestors hope. The Egyptian military essentially controls political power, as stated by former UN Ambassador John Bolton. As the military is rolling out more and more troops to counter the protests, and more protestors are coming out at the urging of the Muslim Brotherhood, this situation could very well devolve into a bloody civil war/massacre of protestors. This very sad scenario would in no way stop the revolution, but it would cause a considerable problem for American policy towards Egypt. My favorite scenario is that urged by Marco Vicenzino, who states in his piece for CNN that Mubarak should prepare to leave the country and declare that he is not running for reelection. In his stead, democratic, fair elections monitored by the U.N. should be used for establishing a stable government. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen. But one can hope!
What do you think? Are these uprisings a good thing? Or are they dangerous for Israel, America, and the Middle East?