Women's Issues

Isn't Everyday International Women's Day?

IWD

Yesterday was International Women's Day, did you do anything?  I must admit I didn't do much, except work - yes I worked.  Honestly, it was not a date I had engraved in my mind as a plan of action, it never was.  I shared some tweets, that's about it.  It's not that I don't care, of course I do!  There are just SO many calls to action now, my head is spinning.  It's kind of like "Earth Day", I don't need a day to remind me that the planet is changing and we all need to do our part to take care of it, it's a part of who I am.  

I do want to acknowledge those of you who did take a stand, marched, wore red, and made a statement. It's great to see the momentum of the Women's March still going strong.  It's important to keep pushing for equality for women and non-binary people in the workforce, education, and right to life.   I guess my problem is wishing we didn't need annual dates as a reminder to be better people, you know?   But I get it, some people are hard to educate or they'll say something stupid like "When is International Men's Day?"  Ignorant people can try to blow it off as fluff, but they can't ignore the issue forever.

So the answer to my question in this blog post is - no, not every day is International Women's Day. We need dates like International Women's Day as a reminder, a history lesson in progress and a measuring stick of how far we still need to go.

More Reading

Follow on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal and Like on Facebook @inkandcoffee

Don't Worry, Your 40s Will Be Awesome!

Don't worry, your 40s will be awesome

I remember when turning 40 seemed way off.  When my mom turned 40, it was the first time I thought "Oh no, my mom is getting old!" Mind you, she's still alive and kicking 34 years later. 

I have friends in their 30s and are like "Aaaaaah!!! I'll be 40 soon!" I even had a friend who did not want to tell me their age at first, only to find out I'm older than them!  What is it about 40 that freaks people out so much anyway? I will be 42 later this year so I've had some time to let this settle and I'm here to tell you, it's okay, it's actually pretty cool!  

I didn't freak out too much when I turned 40 and I'm totally cool sharing my age. Maybe it helps that I started to go gray in High School?  The only thing I really reflected on was how I let my 30s pass me by. I wrote about that in my old blog.  I just worked too damn much and didn't enjoy myself as much as I should have, it was all just work, work, work. When I turned 40, it was a good time to change my thinking and do things I want and enjoy the little things that make me happy. I don't want to think about how much time I have left. I'm pretty sure I suffer from Thanatophobia so to quote Return of the Living Dead, "I try not to think about dying too much."

ROTLD

When you're younger, you swear that you'll never become lame like older folks. You are gonna party, stay out late, and always be super cool.  I was never gonna be uncool.  What did The Who sing? Hope I die before I get old.   How did that work out for them?

I stopped being cool before I even got to 40. =/

Things started to turn when the Warped Tour would come around and I had no idea who these bands were. Then all these newer bands started to suck.  There is so much bad music out there now! It was so much better when I was younger, I'll just stick to listening to MY bands.  Holy crap, it happened! I got "old." 

  • I traded hanging out at a bar to being at a coffee shop.  
  • I've turned into a morning person - I never thought that would happen!  
  • I don't need to go out Friday or Saturday night - I'm content staying in and watching a movie and have a nice meal.
  • I'm listening to "older" music (depending on what's old to you). I don't know much "new" music.
  • There are a shit ton of apps and internet acronyms I know nothing about.
  • I listen to my music now at a respectable volume because I can't handle loud volume, I like loud music, just not played loud lol!
  • I can't eat what I want, when I want and not expect to feel like garbage the next day.  You can slow down your body aging but you can't deny that the older you get, the less reckless you should be with your body.

Despite what I said earlier, I'm not old.  Some days I feel old physically, especially when I first wake up, ugh. Here's what's cool though...  

Being in your 40s now is not the same as it was forty years ago.  You can still be silly, go to concerts, play video games, read comic books, wear ironic t-shirts, get tattoos and piercings, color your hair crazy colors, and have quirky interests.  Most of my friends are quirky and unique and I love them for that.  We're all smarter now to make better decisions on how to have fun, enjoy that fun, and remember how much fun we had the following morning.  You may even finding yourself appreciating the smaller things more than you have before - like treating yourself to flowers, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper Sunday morning, or listening to some records over dinner <---this has becoming a thing in my home. :)

Since you're in your 40s, you can also say FUCK ALL to anyone who tries to make fun of you because by now, you should feel comfortable enough with yourself to not have to worry about peer pressure. Let's face it, peer pressure continues way after high school.  It becomes easier to cut people out of your life who just suck energy out of you.  You don't need to impress anyone anymore.  Sure, 40 is a big number and you can view it as a turning point, but it doesn't have to be the start of the second-half of your life. 

More Reading

Follow on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal and Like on Facebook @inkandcoffee

Change Of Heart and Thoughts on the Women's March

If you actually read this whole thing, THANK YOU!!  I wanted to lay out this transition I have been going through in the last year, it's been awkward and I feel like a hypocrite sometimes.  I'm still trying to finding my place in what I can do.

Heartmarch
At this time, eight years ago, I was not a happy camper.  I thought this country was going to go down the toilet. All the Liberal Hipsters got their way, wouldn't shut up about it, and I wanted to hibernate until it was all over.  People placed the Obamas on a pedestal before doing anything and I was just rolling my eyes the whole time.  I was a big skeptic.   Society became TOO Politically Correct and it bugged me, I blamed Obama. I blamed Obama for a lot of things I didn't like about society, even as I write this, I think I partially blame him for Trump becoming President (there's a bunch of factors there, not just him). 

Anyway, throughout those years I talked my shit, criticized President Obama, and felt like not enough "Change" was happening. Sometimes I came across as a real dick.  In 2012, I was not going to vote for him, I was going to vote for Mitt Romney, even though he was a Mormon and I was concerned about him pushing his Conservative views, he was the Governor of Massachusetts, how bad could he be? I did not feel threatened or disgusted by him.  I changed my mind in the voting booth.  I don't know why I did, maybe I felt like voting for Romney was a waste, that the country wasn't in the position for a shift? I honestly don't know.  Meanwhile, throughout all of this, I remained Pro-Choice and supported Equal Rights. I continue to have both liberal social views and conservative fiscal/foreign views.  This is why I am a registered Independent because I have a hard time following either party to the T.

Once his second term began, Republicans started prepping for 2016 and there were 34,694,842 people running for the Republican ticket, Trump was the joke of the bunch - which isn't easy to pull off because there were a few.  Hillary Clinton was picking up momentum and once again I was thinking "UGGGGGHHHH! Am I even gonna bother voting next time??"  Mitt Romney and John McCain were both weak candidates.  I was hoping for a better Republican candidate because there was no fucking way I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton! bleech! 

Fast forward to the home stretch and it's coming down to Trump & Clinton, this is really happening. Trump doesn't stand a chance, right? I mean the Obamalovers will come out in full force, and then Bernie Sanders happened and threw a monkey wrench in the whole machine (I also blame him but I give him credit for trying to be different).  Early on, I actually agreed with Trump on issues about better border control and the economy and then he started talking about a "wall" and registering Muslims and my gut started to tighten, this ain't right.  And his insults! The childishness!  I watch Clinton take it all and remain professional, I respected that.  I know politics gets ugly and smear campaigns are a regular thing, but Trumps behavior was not what I look for in a President but almost half the country didn't care and elected him anyway.  I sure didn't, I voted for Clinton. Donald Trump made me fucking vote for Hillary Clinton!

The sense of dread I felt Election night was just too overwhelming, I hated it. I never felt this way over a new President before, not for Obama, not even for George W. Bush!  My heart was changing. I'm older, I see things differently.   Are my rights threatened? Personally?  I don't think so but I can see how they are for others, and that's not cool. 

I did not attend any of the Women's Marches that happened on January 21st but I followed closely the news coverage on TV and online, mostly through Facebook Live.  I was so happy to see so many of my friends filling my feed who did march in various places, or from others who also could not attend but still shared their support.  Overall, I am lucky to know such great people. While I bitch about how annoying Facebook can get, my feed was full of a lot positivity over the weekend and I felt hopeful.   That march was HUGE! Or as Trump says, "YUGE!"  I felt it was a little unfair that Pro-Life Feminists were not allowed to march (yes I really said that).  This march should have been as inclusive as possible.  But the images don't lie Press Secretary Spicer, the people came out!  Maybe even more people came out after hearing that horrible Inauguration speech? 

Just because you didn't march does not mean you care less. There is still much that can be done.  One step is to check out 10 Actions for the first 100 Days, which is a new campaign hosted by Women's March. It includes prompts of what you can do now that the work begins now in your communities.

More Reading

 

Follow on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal and Like on Facebook @inkandcoffee

Protecting Planned Parenthood

I love Planned Parenthood and support them 1000%. I am so fortunate to live in a state like New York and not Texas where I can easily access their services if needed.  It is so frustrating when Conservatives and ignorant, religious folks try to box Planned Parenthood in as a one-stop abortion drive-thru. They share pictures of aborted fetuses for shock value without regard for how many lives Planned Parenthood saves.  With Congress returning to work this week, I have some concerns.

PPP

Planned Parenthood is one of the nation's leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation's largest provider of sex education. Planned Parenthood also works with partner organizations worldwide to improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals and families everywhere.

The reality is, abortions are just 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides. The bulk of their work is to provide STD & HIV testing, Pap tests, breast Cancer screenings, educational programs to prevent pregnancies, assist with birth control, and so much more.

Why is Planned Parenthood such a threat?!?! The bigger question is, why are women seen as such a threat?  Women are not trying to take over, they just want to be treated equally and live a life of liberty and pursuit of happiness, you know, from the Declaration of Independence.  It is the 21st Century and men are still trying to control what a woman can do with her body, what the fuck?!?

The next administration looks to have a bunch of old, white, men who want to restrict or remove services that could potentially SAVE lives.  In addition to our next Vice President, Mike Pence, the next Secretary of Health & Human Services, Tom Price, wants to end funding for Planned Parenthood.  He's also got some pretty fucked up views about birth control.  He believes life begins at conception (!!!!), so birth control=murder.  While in Congress, he opposed a law that would prevent employers in DC from discriminating against women on birth control or have had an abortion. Face it, the man hates birth control.

From Planned Parenthood's Action Fund blog

Even if you don't need it for yourself, think about your family, friends, and stand up for Women's rights and help Planned Parenthood keep their doors open.

Follow on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal and Like on Facebook @inkandcoffee

Don't You Want To Be A Mom??

I recently read an article on viralwomen.com, I Would Rather Travel The World Than EVER Have Kids. Being childfree, I identified with this SO MUCH. Only I wish I got to travel as much as the author does. I don't think I ever wrote about choosing not to have children. Not here or my previous blog.  It wasn't a secret, I'm pretty open about it, everyone that knows me knows that I don't plan on having children. 

No_mom

I can't remember when I decided I was not interested in being a mother.  It happened after I started dating Mike but I don't recall a moment or an awakening.  Even before that I was wishy washy about having kids.  I was never good with kids and I have low tolerance for crying and nagging. I would get annoyed hearing a loud kid at the grocery store, restaurant, or just out and about.  Nothing about being a parent ever appealed to me.  I don't have a biological clock and there is not a drop of maternal instinct in me.

When I see a dog, I lose it - Awwww! Look at that dog! He looks soooo sweet!  Oh I want a dog sooooo bad!!!

Some women react this way when they see a baby, not me! Not ever ever ever.  I like babies, babies are cute, but they're not my thing.  Thankfully, my brother has two girls so there goes the pressure of giving my parents grandchildren.  My parents never asked me about having kids and I don't think I've ever actually told them that I am not having kids, but they know.   

Luckily, when I accepted that I will not be a mother, Mike was okay with it and sorta feels the same. He can take it or leave it, but he will never pressure me into changing my mind.  I worry that he will resent me for taking fatherhood away from him, it makes me really sad if I think about it too long.

The truth is, I am selfish, there are things I just want to do for myself.  I want to be able to come and go as I please.  I'm very selfish, and I'm okay with that.  I also believe that not everyone is cut out to be a parent (men and women) and there should be more awareness and talk about this to help them realize that.  It doesn't make us bad people, it doesn't make us less of a person, or some kind of weird social pariah.  

There is a downside to choosing this life.  The older you get, the less friends you have because everyone else is having kids, they don't have time to spend with you, they connect with other moms  to talk about mom-stuff and you're just left on your own.  There's also the issue of who will take care of you when you're old? Well, I plan on staying independent for as long as possible and I don't think having kids just so they can wipe MY ass when I'm old is fair.  These are not good enough reasons to change my mind. 

Traditionally, becoming a Mom is a right of passage, it's part of being a Woman.  If you do not want this, there's something wrong with you!  While there has been a shift of attitude and more couples are choosing to live childfree, the stigma is still there.  Adele said the following about being a mother in the December issue of Vanity Fair

“I think it’s the bravest thing not to have a child; all my friends and I felt pressurized into having kids, because that’s what adults do,” she says. “I love my son more than anything, but on a daily basis, if I have a minute or two, I wish I could do whatever the fuck I wanted, whenever I want. Every single day I feel like that.”

I appreciate her saying this.  This is the part of parenting people don't want to talk about.In "It's a Wonderful Life" one of the lines that makes me laugh is when George Bailey is having his meltdown and he says to his wife "You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?"  It is not always perfect, no matter how much they try to show it is on Facebook and Instagram.  Parents should be more open about the hardships of being a parent. I know it's not easy.  You're also not a horrible parent if there are some days where you wish you didn't have kids, it's OKAY!!  

Suggested Reading

Follow on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal and Like on Facebook @inkandcoffee

You're Not A Feminist??

For a very long time, I've said that I wasn't a Feminist, I didn't like the label.  I didn't understand what it meant.  Turns out, I wasn't alone in my Feminist misunderstanding.  

F_word

I generalized being a Feminist as a bunch of angry, hairy armpit, no makeup wearing, man-haters. In my mind, it was normal to think women and men should be treated equally.  I'm not gonna make a stink about it.  Plus, I LOVE MEN!  I also love Gentlemen and chivalry.  Mike always opens car doors for me, and most doors for that matter. If I'm in an elevator and a man walks out before me or another woman, I think "What an asshole!"  I like the idea of a man taking care of his woman, I am not gonna spell it "Womyn" and stop saying words like "Mailman." Call me old-fashion, just don't call me a Feminist, right???

When I was younger I hung out with a lot of guys.  I was used to "guy humor" and wouldn't get uptight when they would say raunchy things. I loved all the Hair Metal bands and all of their music videos included almost naked chicks dancing around - that didn't bother me.  I grew up watching Pro-Wrestling where women where considered a joke, especially in the WWE, the worst was in the mid to late 90s. I'm talking "Bra & Panty" matches, wrestling in pig slop, food fights, a lot of them posed for Playboy, most of the women in the WWE practically "wrestled" in thongs and were paraded around in stripper outfits.  In ECW, you pretty much HAD to wear a thong before a guy slams you through a table. I thought it was stupid, but I kept watching. 

You know what else I love? Strong women.  Women who can go into a man's world and not be intimidated, who can take charge, kick ass, and take names. I always admired that too.  Back to pro-wrestling for a second (bear with me), there has been a shift in how women are treated.  There is a difference between "Pro-Wrestling" and "WWE."  The WWE is a spectacle with advertisers to cater to.   When I was little, I wanted to see women fight with the men but that hardly happened.  WWE tried it for a little bit with Chyna and Beth Phoenix, but these were BIG, muscular women.  They still won't allow it, however, other wrestling promotions like Chikara and PWG, to name a few, allow intergender fighting and I love it!  Sometimes the women win, sometimes they don't, but it's all done right and tells a good story.   

So I got older, and my feelings started to change. I found myself getting more angry watching the news.  More assaults, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, Bill Cosby, yet everything was the woman's fault.  Why did she wait so long? What was she doing there? What was she wearing? Who told her to get stupid-drunk?  Okay, I admit, I've asked these questions too.   Maybe this is where other women will disagree with me but I feel like as long as some men will continue to think that they can be as predatory as they want, women should stay alert and have their wits about them.  I don't have much faith that this behavior from these types of men will go away.  Sure you can go out and party, drink, smoke, but when you let your guard down, you're unfortunately putting yourself in danger and making yourself vulnerable, especially if you are some place not familiar with strangers. Consider it a part of self-defense, don't lose your judgment!  I hate that I even need to say this at all.

Then there are stories about privileged college boys getting off easy by a crusty old judge for sexually assaulting a woman on campus, even after getting caught red-handed.  Of course, there's all the Trump bullshit too.  Yeah, very angry.   Then the election happened and I yelled out "WHAT IN THE LIVING FUCK IS HAPPENING?!?!?!?!!"  I mentioned previously how scared I am.  Many rights of women, Muslims, and the LGBT community could be taken away. This is not right.

I think a woman should be able to do whatever she wants, if she wants to run Yahoo, be a Mom, be a Stripper, it's all good!  Women should not be limited in their reproductive rights or any other rights.  I am still a little hung up with the "Feminist" label, but I have a better understanding of it.  Being a Feminist comes in all shapes and sizes and can mean many things.  You can make it just about putting women first, or make it about equality and fairness for men and women. No one should try to make another group feel inferior. Everyone can be a Feminist, in a perfect world, everyone would be.

Recommended Reading

  • Bridging the Gap Between White Feminist and Women of Color - The Mary Sue
  • 4 Reasons Anti-Feminist Women Hate Feminism (And What They’re Missing) - Everyday Feminism
  • Follow on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal and Like on Facebook @inkandcoffee