Welcome to my new blog! The purpose of this blog is to explore issues of vital importance to girls and women, and thus all humans, from my personal perspective. I feel as though the blogosphere while massive with millions of contributors only has limited voices coming from women like me–well-educated, middle-aged, with teenagers. Instead, we moms are faced with an endless stream of media that speaks primarily to male dominated viewpoints. The voices we do hear that are from women largely come from younger women. While the voices of all women are important and valuable (we do make up about half of the population after all), much of what I hear from younger women and girls is very troubling to me as a middle-aged mom and feminist.
Since I have a background as an attorney and have always been a political junkie and history buff, was a psychology major in college, am a stage III colorectal cancer survivor, and am an avid reader of a wide array of Internet content, I have felt a growing urge develop inside me. First, I want to speak out on behalf of women who in many ways are like me yet for whatever reason have not been able or willing to do so in a public way. Secondly, I want to inform women and give them the tools they need to understand that they have political power and interests that do not coincide completely with the men in their lives–fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, and sons–as much as they may love and respect them.
My name says it all. First and foremost, I am a mom. I take that job and responsibility very seriously. Not only am I a mom, but I also have both a girl and a boy. I feel strongly that it is part of my job to teach both of my kids right from wrong, how to have a strong work ethic, that they should care about others and the world around them, that they should value people as individuals even if they are “different” in some way, etc. What I have discovered is that while I have no doubt that moms have the best of intentions towards their children, they perhaps too often assume that their kids will know these things instinctively, and that of course they are “good” kids. One needs only read what the moms of teens who have committed murder, such as the Columbine shootings or the Slender Man stabbing case, thought about their kids prior to these horrific, unimaginable killings–to realize that we may not know our kids as well as we think we do. These are extreme examples, but ask yourself–do you monitor your teen’s online life–their Instagram or Snapchat accounts, for instance? If someone complains to you about your child’s conduct, do you rationalize it away or do you explain to your child why his or her behavior is wrong and make sure there are consequences?
The rest of my name reflects that I am not here to focus on all issues that impact women as mothers. Instead, I want to explore and educate others about issues relating to feminism. For many reasons, feminism is an emotionally and politically charged term, but that is all the more reason to examine it. Just because we don’t discuss sexism in this country in any meaningful way, hardly ever, doesn’t mean it does not exist. When women ignore sexism, it is a problem for everybody because men certainly aren’t going to raise it as an issue–why should they? So, it is dangerous for women to ignore their own needs (don’t we always have a way of doing that anyway?) but when a mom ignores sexism, she is sending all sorts of ambiguous messages to not only her daughters but also her sons. Silence is golden but it does not effect change in a meaningful way and leaves the messages received by our kids to a warped culture and what they see and hear on TV, in movies, and yes, on the Internet. This blog will hopefully not only get at the reasons why we are a sexist society even in 2016 but also how women–moms–can start to turn things around.
Now you may be thinking to yourself–what can I do, really? Or you might be thinking–why should I go out on a limb and speak out when so many others are not? This brings me to the third thing you should notice about my name–it’s not a name at all, it’s a pseudonym. After years of writing posts about feminist issues, such as the importance of exercising our right to vote for candidates who care about women’s rights, tackling issues such as equal pay for equal work, and combating the appalling rape culture in this country, to a relatively small audience of men and women–my Facebook friends–I have decided with the support of many of them to expand my reach by going public. But because I am a woman in 2016, I do not feel comfortable disclosing my identity. Why? I am genuinely concerned about the safety of me and my family for one thing. Between Bernie Bros and die-hard Trump supporters, ultra-conservative religious men and women, misogynists, and more, I want to get my voice out there to the people who need it most–other women–and not be intimidated myself.
There are a lot of bullies out there–mostly men but women as well–who troll around on the Internet. Supposedly progressive white males can be surprisingly misogynistic as one recent article made clear. And as Samantha Bee pointed out on her outstanding show, Full Frontal on TBS, attacks on female elected officials (in that case the Seattle city council) can be particularly ruthless. Let’s be honest about what these Internet bullies do: they have a chilling effect on one of the most basic of American rights–the freedom of speech. When (mostly) men rail against women who deign to be feminists and vocal about their opinions, calling them the worst possible names, and threatening them with rape and other bodily harm, this makes our country a less safe place to have our own opinions and to share those opinions with others.
So this blog is going to be a safe place–a place where you can come to listen to a feminist mom/attorney talk about articles I have read and synthesized, to discover videos and explore current events that expose hypocrisy from within the broader progressive movement, and the danger of electing many members of the Republican party (such as Donald Trump) to public office vis-a-vis the rights of women and girls. Moreover, if we can all speak in a calm, rational and respectful manner, perhaps we can even discuss and debate these things. I hope you will join me and spread the word about this blog. The future of our children, and grandchildren, and beyond depends on us moms. They need us for more than just cooking, and driving carpool.
With love and kindness,