Friday, October 10, 2014

On Being A White Feminist With A Son

My son is the only white boy in his class.

He is the minority in this one instance. And I think it hurts him, but I know that his status as a white man will never hurt him anywhere else in society. And it probably doesn't even hurt him now, But I'm his Mom, so I'm biased. But I get that.

But you know what I also see when I look at his group of male peers? I see such a beautiful diverse group of boys. Brown boys, black boys, native boys, asian boys, other kind of brown boys. I'm not going to comment on perceived nationalities or ethnicity here. The neighbourhood my son & his dad live in is full of immigrants from every part of the world, as well as some Canadians who are POC so I don't want to assume anything in terms of who came from where, and how they might identify.

And ultimately I know that every single boy in his class will probably experience some kind of racism, or discrimination based on his skin colour as he grows up. Some probably even experience it now, as no child lives in a vacuum and a 9 year is pretty observant to the things his parents and relatives experience. At least My Dude is.

And this breaks my heart. Why should these smart, creative, clever, artistic rascals be set back for something as superficial as their skin colour? I see each of them as I see My Dude. Learning about the world, about themselves, about their peers, about their place. And it is so stupid to think that they are automatically worse off than my socially awkward son because he is white and they are not. Ugh.

I see the colours because that is the world that I grew up in. I try not to, but I do. But I also see the personalities behind the colours. I have know some of these boys for their entire school life. I chat with them when I drop Dude off at school. They call me Mrs. Kercher or "Lucas' Mom" and I compliment them on their shoes, or ask them about school. I joke and I laugh, because ultimately they are just a pack of unruly 9-year old boys, and I've got a line on that! I smile at their Moms with the smile that says "I may not know your name, but I know you" and "sigh...boys" at the same time. We commiserate with our eyes, but we never chat. I'm just not good with people...a detriment to me and Dude I think in times like this.

I hope he always has this diverse cast of people around him. I hope he continues with these boys into junior high and high school. I hope he makes friends with them (heck, with anyone!). I hope he remembers these years, and takes this experience with him. I hope that it guides his choices, and his personality, and his outlook on the world.

Being a feminist, I recognize his privilege. Being a white feminist, I have to check my own. And I also have to recognize that I am going to FIGHT his privilege and educate him on it for his whole life. That's my job as his feminist mom.

But it also my job to listen to him. Answer his questions. Or just shuttup and listen. And from what I hear so far, these boys in his class are just other boys to him. They are not brown boys, or asian boys, or Arabic boys. They are just boys. I have high hopes for his generation, and so far so good.

Please note: I have been reading a lot of feminist literature online lately from writers of all backgrounds. I want to learn more and try my hand at contributing to their presence. Amateurishly for now, but we'll see right? Constructive criticism and comments always welcome!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

But What Would I Rather Have?

In this modern (first world) culture, we are inundated with MARKETING messages. Hell, I work in marketing..I get it! Buy more! BUY MORE! BUY BUY BUY!!!

I don't watch proper TV anymore, there are no commercials on Netflix, but I still see the billboards lining the streets, the ads on Facebook. I still get the emails and the sales flyers and all that jazz.

And I have to fight the feelings that those things stir up within me: "What you have is not enough. It is old, and dated, and no longer shiny. You don't need another pair of pants, but you should buy a pair or two anyway."

And it exhausts me.

So I have decided to be prepared for when I see these messages and start to get overwhelmed. A plan to head them off, so to speak. It's called, "But What Would I Rather Have?"

Essentially I have made a list of things I would rather spend my money on. Some of these are relatively inexpensive and simple to get. And some not so much. Some of these aren't even about the money, and are more the moment, the experience, the living life part of living life.

Backpacking through Iceland.
A new bra.
Fancy long-underwear for running.
A "tech" shirt. Also for running.
A trip somewhere fun, for just me and Dude.
Disney World 2015.
Pickling supplies.
Alpacas. (Three boys, named Tuco, Ferris & Hobart Bosworth. In case you were wondering)
A trampoline!
Plants for my garden.
Painting supplies.
A new bike.

Instead of some knee-jerk reaction to a marketing campaign designed just for that, I have these well thought out items ready to pull out of my back pocket when the need arises.

This is a living list, where items will be deleted, or added, or deleted and then added back. And that's cool. And these things are far more important to me than impulse pants.

This also helps when I need to make a decision, because I am honest to goodness no good at that! It's no secret. I'm still having visions of that terrifying wall of toothbrushes.


Monday, September 29, 2014

No Room For Hateful Rhetoric

I woke up this morning and jumped on Facebook to end my two-day self-enforced social media ban. And I see this hateful bullshit on my wall. I don't know Jennifer Harris - the original poster - but the identity of the woman who posted it surprised me. I thought she was more open minded than this.

To me, this is hate speech.

And there are so many things WRONG with her "argument" I just want to scream. It really gets my blood boiling.

I almost just walked away from it, because it made me so mad. But I really feel the need to address it this morning, because it is viewpoints like this that poison our humanity. And aren't we all in this together?!

A few points I would like to make:
The labour movement is fighting for EVERYONE'S wages to go up! Better conditions for all, that's the point of the labour movement! No fast food worker is saying "more for me at the expense of everyone else." No fast food worker is saying "I don't think the military deserves to earn more." If you told a fast food worker how little a Private or a Sergeant makes, you know what they would probably say? "THAT SUCKS! You should be striking with us! In fact, why aren't you...?"

Yes, fast food workers deserve to make more money. If you are living below the poverty line and cannot support yourself or your family on your income, you deserve to make more money.

Her comment about "working in a job designed for a kid in high school who is...earning enough for gas"... What is this, 1972?

You want to know who works in fast food places? Single moms and dads. People who have only known poverty all their's a cycle that is practically impossible to escape from. Immigrants who come looking for a better life for their family, perhaps escaping persecution or terror in the land of their birth. They were architects, or engineers and now they sling burgers in the hopes that they'll make enough so their kids won't have to. They are very skilled, but not according to your immigration laws. And yes, teenagers work there as well. But I bet most of them are doing it to earn more than just gas money. They are paying for school, or they are helping to support their families.

This line really stings. "If you have chosen this as your life long profession, you have failed." (emphasis mine) This makes my heart so sad. No one chooses to live below the poverty line. Poverty makes your choices for you. A lot of those military boys that she is "honoring" with her post her, entered service because they were poor and they didn't think they had any better choice to support their family. They are dying overseas because they didn't want to work in a fast food joint. And they're still poor, and their families still on food stamps. Is that a fair choice to you?

Did you hear about the woman who died in her car from carbon monoxide poisoning because she was taking a nap in between shifts at one of her FOUR JOBS because she didn't have time to go home and sleep? And she needed the four jobs because she couldn't support her family on just the one (or two, or three). One guess what industry she worked in. She died for her shitty fast food job!

You know how much money the government would save by increasing the minimum wage? Loads! And you know why? Because all those services they pay for - you pay for - would disappear. Medicaid, welfare, food stamps could be a thing of the past because all of a sudden people could actually afford to buy stuff on their own! And not only that, they might have some left over money to spend on "luxuries" or saving for the future and that my friend helps the economy, yessirree!

And don't even get me started on the billionaires who lobby the government and convince them that raising the minimum wage would be a bad idea for everyone...that's BULLSHIT and they know it! What they really mean is that it would hurt their profits. Maybe they would only make 2 billion dollars next year instead of 10. Boo fricken hoo. And even though most of them complain about big government, and welfare programs, they benefit from all those government programs too, because that's their excuse for keeping their workers below the poverty line.

And if you want to educate someone, you don't call them names. "Baconator"...oh gosh. Wait, you aren't trying to educate anyone?! You're just ranting and spewing your hateful rhetoric all over the Facebooks where you can really get some back slapping from your buddies?! Right...thought so.

Before I removed it from my wall, my "friend's" post had received one like and one comment. I agreed with the commenter in saying that everyone including the military deserves a better wage. My "friend's" response to that: just eliminate the fast food positions....sigh....

I could go on and on. It is SHIT like this that made me take a break from Facebook. It makes me so fricken angry that there are still attitudes like this in our world.

I'll just stop here and see what kind of comments I get, if any. I would love to hear your opinion on this! Unless it's full of hate, because I get enough of that out there on the rest of the Internet. I don't have to tolerate it on my blog.


Book Review - I got this

I can't seem to get anything right lately! I've got a whole post started about how much of a giant arsehole I've been lately, but I thought I would at least work on my writing with a little book review.

This graphic novel is amazing! I remember reading parts of this epic poem back in Religion 101 in University and really falling in love with the characters and the story. Essentially, this is illustrated, layman's guide to one part of the tale. The illustrations are amazing, and beautiful and also adorable! Please do a Google Image search - you won't be disappointed! I have started reading it to Lucas, and he loves it just as much as I do. There is adventure, love, brotherly devotion, gods, and a ten headed demon!

Highly recommended!

As for the next one...sigh... I am SO SICK AND TIRED of the following story line: average girl gets thrown into a strange and unique world/chain of events. And there is a boy (urgh...) who is really annoying and not at all interesting or attractive, or is he? And she is just so out of her element that she requires his help, even though she doesn't want his help and is just so frustrated when he helps her in his condescending, handsome, boyish manner...etc.

The protagonist of this book has no agency. Stuff happens to her, and she just watches it instead of participating. And when something strange, or scary happens she just panics and complains. Woe is me, and all that jazz. She is curious when it is safe to be, but when it might actually help her she just fumes. Her right hand lady is more exciting, and her crazy aunt. And her cousin that has only made an appearance once and is alluded to often so at least she's going to play a bigger role as the books continue.

Gywneth is part of a kind of secret time travel club, and you only get to enter it if you have the gene for it. And she didn't think she would have the gene for it, as her cousin has been groomed for the role since she was born. She is wholly unprepared for this new life! (Gosh just typing this is making me roll my eyes). And girls are allowed to be in the club, but not actually make any decisions about it or run it or anything. Cause girls are stupid. And yes I understand the author is possibly trying to make a social comment about that, but she does a piss-poor job of it. More "woe is me".

I had high hopes for this series - time travel and all - but I have been sorely disappointed by book one and don't think I will search out the remainder. Oh look, it was made into a movie. Of course it German?! That might actually be worth watching ;)

 Not recommended.

Another amazing graphic novel! Very "Canadian" without beating you over the head with hockey references. Although there are some of those in here! This volume includes three separate but connected stories about a group of individuals living in Essex county at various times in the past. It's a beautiful commentary on life in a small community where everyone knows each other - or thinks they know each other. And how ghosts of your past are always with you, haunting or just hanging around. It felt very special and I could feel the connections between the characters form and grow, and then get ripped away or change - for better or worse - even with so few words, as befits a graphic novel of this kind.  I lent it to BFF because this is definitely the kind of book that he can get behind. Highly recommended
(I hate formatting blog posts.....)

In closing, always and forever, a little reminder:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Autumn Falls Once Again

I love this time of year. But this year I feel I am looking at it through a fog.

To be honest folks, I have really been struggling these past few months. Struggling to find a rhythm to my life. Struggling to feel good, to feel satisfied, to not feel like shit every moment of every day.

And that is all I am using from the first draft of this post.

It was really angry, and came from a bitter and sad place. But it taught me that only I can change the attitude that wrote that post. Russel & I continue to try and teach Lucas that he can't blame us for "making him mad", because he has to control his reaction to our actions (and not our actions themselves). And I just need to practice what I preach.

And continually remind myself of it as well.

My parents got me a free trial to a gym for my birthday. I can't wait till that damn card comes in the mail, cause I need it. That's step one....

Anyhoo. That's all for now. I am feeling very very very very very bleak right now, and the future looks stupid and I hate it and I hate everything and I'm mad and sad and depressed (depression lies) and feeling very left out and left behind. But I know it and I'm working on it.

Stupid brain.

On a side note, do not even think of asking me to make any decisions right now cause that's just a major gong show. It took me two separate trips to the store and about 30 minutes in total to pick out a new toothbrush. I. Just. Can't. Even.

real life
xo lisa