Archive for ‘families’

February 28, 2011

Tearing at the Roots/ Dec. 2006

by feyruhan
Dust bunnies

Image via Wikipedia

Breathe.  Stop.  Let it sink in.

My room is a mess of small clutters.  Papers, cables, boxes filled to the brim but not yet sealed; never sealed. Could I ever seal them? I’m getting whiny and should stop.

Move-out is in eight and a half hours. Dad will come by with a truck from the store and give me an encouraging hug before getting to work.  I can’t expect much from him, but I can expect something, and it’s more than Mom will offer.

The walls are bare; painted a dusty light-blue, the wall along my bed–at my back–cluttered with small cards, a poster, train tickets.  I should take these down, but I won’t, not yet, not until the very last hour.  I will carry them with me, and these walls, and this dust, and this oppressive air, and the sourness between the woman who is my mother and myself.

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February 22, 2011

A question of freedom

by f

Flickr, via Jim Linwood

My friend S’s hit a rough patch. On our way home from the city today, we talked a little about it. Then, she asked me a startling question:

“Which would you rather have,” she asked, “personal freedom, or financial freedom?”

I asked her what she meant by that.

“I have financial freedom,” she said, “and you have a certain degree of personal freedom. You can go and do what you like during the day when your folks aren’t around to interfere.”

“I guess I do,” I said, staring out into the highway abyss.

S has financial freedom, but work eats up her time. She’s on call throughout. I don’t have those constraints. I can tell work to fuck off. And often, I do.

But I don’t have any money. I am always at my parents’ beck and call. They can trash me, my things, denigrate me in public, and use me as a whipping post. They interrupt me constantly. On weekends and the days that I are home, I feel so miserable I can’t think. I have to beg for permission to do anything.

Often, my privileges are taken away on a whim. I am subject to an insane level of scrutiny because I live at home. I earn enough to have small bursts of spending money, but not enough even to afford a small room to myself, and that is how I fund my daily activities. Anything beyond that, I can’t help myself.

So what kind of life do I prefer? Uncertainty but day-to-day contentment? Or security and general dissatisfaction?

I often thought to myself that I’d trade the small bursts of free happiness for a life of security. Now, I’m just not sure what I want. I have no idea how to answer that question.

However, it’s made me think a lot about my daily activities and how I live my life. I know I’m unusual. I fill my time with people that I like and do things I want, but I have very little material freedom.

*

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February 21, 2011

Planned Parenthood is not synonymous with abortion

by d
Picture Of Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral contraceptive...

Image via Wikipedia

Planned Parenthood has a really descriptive name. It does exactly what the name implies. We don’t talk much about “family planning” these days, and we should.

Before modern science kicked in, conception was, for the most part, a game of roulette. Folk remedies and leather condoms weren’t nearly as effective as people wanted them to be, but they kept trying. All it took was some observation and life experience to see how inconvenient–and dangerous–the lack of control could be.

When a woman gives birth too young, she and the child suffer. (18 is the minimum recommended.) If she has children too close together, she and both children can suffer. Doctors and midwives knew these things; parents knew them. But what do you say to a couple who have had the number of children they want? Spend the rest of your lives together in separate beds? More babies happened.

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s first president, was a remarkable woman who saw the effect this had on people, particularly poor people and women. She also saw this suffering as, at best, unnecessary. At worst, it was a deliberate means of keeping women in subjugation.

In 1912, after a fire destroyed the home that William designed, the Sanger family moved back to New York City, where Margaret went to work in the East Side slums of Manhattan. That same year, she also started writing a column for the New York Call entitled “What Every Girl Should Know.” Distributing a pamphlet, Family Limitation, to women, Sanger repeatedly caused scandal and risked imprisonment by acting in defiance of the Comstock Law of 1873, which outlawed as obscene the dissemination of contraceptive information and devices.

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January 7, 2011

Pretty Little Liars: New Years Fireworks

by d

NOTE: Hard to keep a secret in a photo booth.

Subterfuge reviews ABC Family‘s Pretty Little Liars, complete with actresses too old to be high schoolers. Season 2, episode 1, “Moments Later.”

It’s back, and they started with a bang! Technically, last season ended with a bang, too–Hannah being hit by a car.

Here is what is relevant for our feminist readers:

1) Emily told her father she’s gay.

Her father, who has been on active duty for ages and just returned home a few weeks ago, could be a hard-line military man. He goes in to ask her what’s bothering her, thinking it’s to do with a boy who’s gotten himself into trouble. Because he won’t leave her alone, gotta protect his little girl, he can see that she’s afraid of something… she tells him. He sits down on her bed, clearly shocked, and the scene cuts.

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January 6, 2011

Femme Funnies: The Little Adventures of Penis & Vagina

by d

Some really adorable cartoons to enjoy! Click Read More to see another two.

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December 24, 2010

This has to be fake.

by f

courtesy Postsecret Favorites via Flickr

Read: “I want an Arranged Marriage”.

No, you don’t.

No, you don’t want an arranged marriage.

(I understand it’s an emotional argument to make. I also understand that I can’t make blanket statements. I am going to violate every cardinal rule of argument or political correctness — you know, that convention that prevents us social anthropologists from saying that one tradition is inherently better than the other.)

The writer has chosen not to reveal her name. This is smart. She is clearly confused and her thoughts are badly organized. If she gave her real name, she would have been pilloried across the internet.

This story was a mishmash of disjointed orientalist stereotypes, and it should not have been run. I love the Frisky’s GirlTalk segments as a rule, but this is awful. I hope against hope that this doesn’t turn into a farce of Gilbert-style proportions.

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December 22, 2010

Sex Tapes

by f

After it gets around to Princess that I am fucking her brother, she starts to tell me things in confidence.

I wish she wouldn’t (it’s pretty clear what I feel about her, and that feeling can be summed up in a few unprintable names) but it is a late night at the old Indian homestead. The lizards hump the fluorescent lightbulbs in the damp evening as we begin to talk. Our parents are already either sleeping or watching television so it’s just the two of us after dinner, disinterested in bombastic serials.

Princess is beautiful. I’ve mentioned it before, but I have to keep mentioning it. I say this as someone who is not a very visual person; her beauty is so profound that I get struck dumb by it. I understand what it means when otherwise strong men declare beauty as their point of weakness. For me it is an anchor that allows me to look past the voice and the affected mannerisms, that makes me eager to hear what she has to say. She is like Ernie’s enigmatic Lola from Hey Arnold, standing on the street corner in her pristine dress, looking into the horizon with liquid eyes.

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December 21, 2010

Dear Mr. Right,

by d
One more love ticket (Lovers Project)

Lovers Project at the Yohohama Landmark Tower SkyGarden. A huge heart made of love tickets put together by lovers. lovers-project.com/

How are you doing? How is your health? Are you meeting the goals you set for yourself or has life got you mired down, too?

I am well, for the most part.

This week has me thinking. My parents will have been married for 34 years come the weekend. That’s a helluva long time. They got married when they were younger than I am now, which is how they’ve achieved this amazing feat. I have no doubt they will make it to 50, which will be in the year 2026.

In the year 2026, I will be forty. In the next sixteen years, I want to find you, Mr. Right, settle ourselves somewhere we love, and have babies. (Not a lot of them, Just Enough. And maybe we’ll adopt, but I want one of my very own–one of you.) In 2016, our kids could be anywhere from preschool-ish (pleasegawdno) to preteens. It’ll be a great party, with all of us and my parents together.

You will love them, I promise. (My parents, not the babies. You’re obligated by biology to love the babies.) And they will love you. I couldn’t love a man who wouldn’t fit into our existing unit. So don’t worry, you’re going to love them and they will love you.

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December 5, 2010

Some “Enchanted” Evening

by d
Enchanted (film)

Image via Wikipedia

Disney’s Enchanted made a huge splash in 2007 because it did what we’ve all been wanting to do: ridicule classic Disney princesses.

F and I watched the film together one Saturday night recently, a happy little indulgence over takeout. The last time I watched it I was still in the dewey-eyed “This is SO COOL” phase, but this time I was able to see into it a bit more.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Enchanted is the movie about a cartoon fairy tale princess whose evil step-mother-in-law-to-be throws her through a magic portal into modern New York City, the real one. Giselle (Amy Adams) is sweetness and light, she sings to animals who do her bidding, and she’s totally in love with that prince she’s known for less than 24 hours who will surely rescue her in no time. Patrick Dempsey‘s Robert is her less than enthusiastic handler here in the real world, a man who looks on the dark side of life and discourages fantasy in his six year old daughter. Of course, little Morgan is thrilled to meet a real princess, and wouldn’t you know it? They end up a happy family at the end of the film.

Enchanted is both a loving tribute tipping its hat to the classic films of the past, and a sorely needed parody poking holes in all those standards. Giselle washes the bathroom floor with the exact same motions and bubbles as Cinderella, and when she breaks into song with half of Central Park following along, poor Robert cries, “He knows the song, too? I’ve never heard this song! How does everyone know this? Were there rehearsals?!”

Yes, all those stupid princess tropes get a jolly whack upside the head. Giselle can sing the creatures of her forest home out to help her, but in New York she gets rats, pigeons, and cockroaches. She doesn’t know how to be angry, she’s only heard of it. True love is the best thing in the world and cures all ills.

While Enchanted makes one feel justified in all your complaints about the classics, and nostalgic for a time when you thought those tropes were the be-all and end-all, its own story doesn’t quite measure up–except in one way.

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November 17, 2010

A Royal Rush to the Altar

by d
The Badge of the House of Windsor (the ruling ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s finally been made official: Kate Middleton and Prince William of Wales are getting married. You know what that means, don’t you?

WEDDING FEVER!

Even better:

PRINCESS WEDDING FEVER!

I can see it coming on the horizon, and I want it to stop before it even starts.

When Prince Charles of Wales became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer, the world swooned. The crown prince, marrying a might-as-well-be commoner! And wasn’t she just so beautiful and gracious? What a kind heart! She became a media darling, and their wedding–a lavish affair by any standard–was watched by 750 million people worldwide. It was a fairy tale come true.

Well, we all know how that turned out. It was essentially a marriage built on rocky ground that went against Charles’ prior affection for another woman, and the marriage ended in divorce–SCANDAL! The world was so terribly sad–but they did so love Diana! That adoration didn’t do much to help Diana herself, though. And it all ended in tragedy, the princess dying in a car crash in France. (Conspiracy theories abound, but it was probably just alcohol.)

Everyone loves a good story, and we love to romanticize anything with a hint of fairy tale. We turned Diana into Cinderella though true love evaded her. What will we do with Kate Middleton, who has had eight years of love and friendship to solidify her match with William and decide for herself whether or not she is ready to take on the role of princess–perhaps someday queen.

The wedding will be this coming spring or summer and already people are speculating. What will Kate wear? Where will it be held? How big will it be? What flowers? How much will it all cost? Will her shoes be a gift from a designer? Will she wear jewels from the royal collection? (Her engagement ring was Diana’s engagement ring and jewelers are already inundated with orders.)

You know what? I DON’T CARE (that much). I’m interested, I admit. I will look for the wedding photos after the event and ooh and aah with everyone else. But I DO NOT CARE enough(!) to spend the next 6+ months daydreaming, obsessing, and hunting down every tidbit of rumor the internet has to offer.

And you know the internet and the mainstream media will provide.

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