Friday, January 17, 2014

On un-doing narrow gender assumptions that hurt our kids, one action at a time.

So I'm still doing that take-down of Mike Pence's State of the State address. I'm going through that regurgitated abortion of a speech one line at a time, and it wasn't a short speech, so... sorry it's a bit belated, but this weekend I'm planning to get it done.

Also, this Sunday is my birthday! YAY! I'm down to only one year left to be in my 20's!

I also had some daddy/abandonment issues triggered yesterday by some bad news a friend got, so I might work through that by writing some things as well.

But right now we're going to talk about a repeated event that STILL pisses me off, from my brief stint working at a Children's Place location in a mall.

 The ridiculous levels of gender segregation and stereotyping that happen in that damnable store are bad enough. But there were these adorable pink Western style boots on the girls' side, right? I mean, I'd totally wear them if they came me-sized, and I haven't worn cowgirl boots since I was 15.

And the little boys who came into that shop LOVED those boots. They just wanted to try them on and/or carry them around. So many little boys, all between the ages of 2 and 4. Here they were in a store trying so hard to beat the norms into them, and they just don't know differently. Who knows at that age whether a boy's going to grow up to be macho as a horde of lumberjacks, or if he's going to be a drag queen some day? It's precious. It's not a teaching opportunity, it's not really anything. Just let the kid try on the boots and be happy for a minute.

Those kids' parents acted like they'd tried to pick up a rattlesnake. Every single one of them. "No, you don't want those. Look, here's a shirt with a firetruck on it."

Screw you. First of all, little girls like firetrucks and dinosaurs and trains too! Especially dinosaurs, who the hell doesn't like dinosaurs? Secondly, your two year old isn't going to catch the gay from a pair of cute shoes. Just let him be happy for a couple of minutes.

I thought of this again because a couple of days ago, Allen sent me a photo of some shoes he'd bought for his two year old son. They're hot-pink. They're glittery. I'd SO wear them if they came in a women's size 8.

He didn't just let his boy try on the pink shoes, he actually bought them when they fit and the kid was clearly in love with them. He let his kid be happy.  He didn't question his child's judgment in a time when it's frankly pretty important *not* to teach them to mistrust themselves.

You see yet why I'm so in love with this guy?

Similar shoes, but not *the* shoes. The actual photo Allen sent me is private, y'all. You'll notice that when the little boy put these shoes on, nobody was harmed and the Apocalypse did not come.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Post Links: What to do with the Unsmiling Woman?

Hi, Internet.

So, my old internet-friend-and-sometimes-IRL-friend Bil was browsing a thrift store in Washington, D.C. and made an outstanding discovery. A huge collection of over 150 photos of a mysterious, blonde woman.
She was fashionably dressed and the casual snapshots of her spoke to a natural grace and beauty that immediately captivated me. I bought a photo of her on vacation and another one of her and someone I assumed was her husband sitting under a Christmas tree. She wasn't smiling in either picture and the clerk mentioned that she was in several photos; the staff had nicknamed her "The Unsmiling Woman.
The lady had totally killer fashion sense. I won't post any of the photos without Bil's consent, but you can click through to see them here. The photos are a chronicle of her and her husband's life together, from the 1950's to their deaths in the 1990's. Their entire estate, including these photos, was sold or donated.
She had a fascinating life that has really resonated with me. I put the photos in order from 1950 to 1996; when confronted with the entirety of her recorded history, watching her age in the space of time it takes to flip through them all is surprisingly emotional. Knowing that her husband was put in a nursing home for Alzheimer's and watching him deteriorate in the photos, it's heartbreaking when he disappears. He was the main photographer in the family. Once he leaves, there's only one more photo of Barbara. Her grief is beautifully understated and would reduce the most hardhearted person to tears.
So now Bil is on a labor of love for this lady he never got to meet. He's done some research, tried to find more about their identities, considered writing a biography of her life. He's tried to find people who knew her that may want the photos. He thought about frivolous artistic pursuits with the photos, but decided this would be disrespectful.

Guys, just looking at the goofy photo of her and her husband, in their home shortly after their wedding. It's really giving me the feelings. I, too, feel like she deserves some kind of tribute.

Please chime in to the comments, tweet him at @bilerico, or discuss below and I can pass your comments on. Thank you.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hate is not a Hoosier value: Down with HJR-3!


Update: Hundreds of marriage equality advocates have PACKED the Indiana Statehouse. 

FINAL UPDATE FOR TODAY: Hearing has ended, no vote today. I surmise it has something to do with the fact they don't want to deal with voting pro-hate in a room where they have to look into the faces of so many people who want this awful amendment to die in committee. Will be watching VERY closely, and as soon as we at Indy Feminists know when the vote will be, we will pass the word on to you. Please click here to like us on Facebook :)


So, we're within 2 hours of the Indiana House Judicial Committee's hearing and vote on House Joint Resolution 3, which was formerly known as House Joint Resolution 6. Apparently the catchy "Nix 6" slogan was just too intimidating for the GOP of Indiana? But then we're used to them dodging rules, changing rules, changing bill names, and generally just trying as much as they can to operate under cover of obfuscation.

Because they know that Indiana is not as red as our reputation would claim.

Many of us know that using religion as a cudgel isn't a Hoosier value. It may have worked in the past, but the beautiful thing about evolving in your faith is that... well, you evolve. No fewer than 17 religious denominations in Indiana affirm marriage equality. Not only does HJR-3 harm families, it is actually a harmful bill for the religious freedom of all these groups.

Indiana has a lot of faithful people, and the "silent majority" among Christians who believe God hates same sex couples and wants to curtail their natural rights, is not truly a majority. Nor are they silent. We've heard their PR campaigns loud and clear to "protect traditional marriage" etc, loud and clear, and though they don't like to acknowledge it because it's bad for PR, they know what this is really about. It's about enforcing a second-class citizen status for anyone who isn't like them.

Not even to get started on the many folks in the state who follow Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, another faith, or no faith at all. We ignore these voices to our own detriment.

The standard lines used by pro marriage equality advocates who want a swift end to HJR-3 use arguments about business development in the state, the backward image it would project on us, and the redundancy of seeking a constitutional amendment when same-sex marriage is already illegal here! Nothing yet on the repeal of our existing law, but I trust that day will come. I mean, even Utah has seen over a thousand same-sex marriages at this point. If that isn't truth that anything is possible and that our day is coming...

Which is exactly what scares the haters. They know our day is coming. Somewhere down, I'm sure most of them know they're on the losing side of history, that our children and grandchildren will see them with the same shock as we see the way our grandparents' generation treated... well, not just the Black community, but that is the most prominent example.

Our nation, and definitely our state, has a checkered past in terms of civil rights and basic human decency. We've got a chance today to stand up for better. We absolutely deserve better.

The vote is at 10:00 a.m. Eastern today. It's almost 8:30 right now. I'm hearing from the Indy Feminists Twitter account that the Statehouse is already filling. If you can, please go be there. People are coming in from all over the state. If you can't be there, wherever you are in the country, you can follow on Twitter via the hashtags #hjr3 and #inlegis. Freedom Indiana, Indy Feminists, and several other folks will be livetweeting everything.

Fellow Hoosiers, you can still click here to send your congresspeople a letter opposing the resolution. If you can't be at the statehouse today or the rally at the Artsgarden at 6pm tonight, you can still send letters, tweet #inlegis and @ingop, and most importantly, talk about it. Choose red today if you're still picking out your work clothes. That's the color anti-HJR3 activists are wearing at the Statehouse.

If you're outside of the state, we appreciate your love and support as well! You don't need to be a Hoosier to go over to Facebook and "like" Indy Feminists, Nix 6, and Freedom Indiana.

EDIT: I'll be updating the Resources link below as I get more over the course of today. I'm also compiling a list of Twitter users who are at the Statehouse. You can follow me on Twitter at @circlecitystyle

A few more resources:

Sheila Kennedy: "Clarifying" HJR-3
Indiana Forefront: Chickens Pecking Over HJR-3
Political analyst Doug Masson's analysis of the House Resolution's name change.
Indy Star article on today's hearing
Shakesville's always-good analysis of what's at stake in today's vote.
Shakesville: Indiana's Republican-controlled legislator isn't listening to Hoosiers on marriage equality
Michigan City News-Dispatch: Gay marriage ban a "waste of time" distraction from Hoosiers' real problems
Howey Politics: House GOP seeks "Clarification" to marriage amendment