Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I know my mind is made of matter

I am attending a lecture tonight (FOR FREE) by Peggy Orenstein who among other books wrote Cinderella Ate My Daughter. 

I have been enamored with gender and media studies since about the winter of 2001 when I took a class at Kansas State University from a brilliant and outspoken feminist: Melissa Divine. 

The course was fantastically diverse due in part to the fact that the University's football coach Bill Snyder required his football players to take a women's studies class at some point in their college career (Kudos coach Snyder!), also some of the diversity was probably due to the draw of being able to watch cinema and TV for homework rather than to avoid homework.  I literally was supposed to watch Ally McBeal and Buffy and Working Girl.

Since having a daughter of my own I have been acutely aware of media of all kinds and it's effect on girls.  A lot of my class was based around the sexualization of women in TV as well as the violence of print ads and the pressure to be thin.  It has been 11 years since this course and there are not only been any forward mobility in this movement it is the opposite.  Reality TV has brought us so much more to worry about.  Now girls believe that having a relationship with a guy is utmost important to their self worth and that these relationships will involve fighting and possibly competing with other girls to get said guy.  This competition with other girls is catty and rude in nature (The Girl Scout Research Institute 2011).  Reality TV personalities like Snooki show my daughter that she doesn't need education, self-worth or any sort of class at all to be well-known, rich and famous.

And before they may be interested in Reality TV it seems to be Disney's modus operandi to snag them in preschool and marinate them in glitter and all things "wait for your prince to come".  Who cares what happens to our daughter's brains when they are making a cool more than 4 BILLION dollars a year worldwide in products 2.6 more billion at the box office (Disney Consumer Products Research).   

I think Disney says it best when they tell me: "Little girls never forget their first encounter with a Disney Princess. Even long after they're all grown up, they continue to pass along their love for these heroines, introducing them to their own daughters."  (Disney Consumer Products Research). 

As for passing things on to my own daughter, here is what from my youth I intend to pass on. 

My mother was the first woman at her college to be inducted as an athlete into their Hall of Fame.  She still holds the record for most points scored in a basketball game (40 pts) and even since adding the 3 point line no one has surpassed it. 
My dad and mom told me I could be anything, and meant it.  They encouraged me academically and especially fostered my love of questions and answers. 
We played games together as a family, my mother and father love the newspaper and would talk to us about current events and get our opinions on them. 
My mother did not allow us to call boys (or my brother to call girls until age 16).  You may think that sounds sexist.  It was not.  She did not want us worrying about "relationships" when we should be free to think about other things.
My mother did not wear much make up in front of me and never expressed disdain for her body parts. 
We were not called "princess" or "daddy's girl" or any nicknames that were gender specific.  She called all of us (my brother, sister and myself) "babe" as her only term of endearment, otherwise we had nicknames derived from our names. 
My brother was never discouraged from crying, playing dolls alongside of us or being sensitive, in fact he was encouraged to be sweet, kind and loving.   
I never heard my dad make a sexist remark. 
My brother was punished thoroughly the time he dared to tell my sister she "threw like a girl", by my mother who reminded him that she could out throw him and that he never (and hasn't to this day) ever scored 40 points in a basketball game. 

My parents weren't perfect but in these ways they were.  My parents thinking that I was a hard worker, smart and kind were the highest accolades I could think of as a child.

This is what is important for me.  Society will continue to come up with new ways to entice my daughter into believing that how she looks is more important than what she thinks, and that her "heroines" should wear tulle and glitter.  It's up to me to not be the passive female consumer they expect me to be. My daughter's self-worth depends on it.

title courtesy of ani difranco: rain check

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I finally drove out to where the sky is dark enough to see the stars

There's nothing like peer pressure in your own family to get you motivated. My poor mother is going to have an eventful 2012. My sister Taylor is having a baby boy in May, surprise! Because of her due date being about a week away from Keenan and my original wedding date we moved the wedding. I didn't want to compromise on the outside location so that moved us in to fall for sure (being in a tent in Kansas in May-August is a form of torture, not a celebration). My step-sister Heidi is having a destination wedding on August 11th and my brother Matt and his fiancee Maddy (yep Matt & Maddy, how cute, right?!) are having their wedding in early September. So this left October and November. I don't really obsess over bad luck but I didn't want another November wedding.

We decided awhile ago that we wanted to wed on a Friday evening. Luck would have it that the day we met 6 years prior is the first Friday night in October of 2012. So...that became the new and improved-my sister won't be pregnant and all of my other siblings weddings will be over date. I have a lot of siblings so I have put out an unofficial memo-- if you decide to be pregnant or be wed that is more than fine, just try not to pop or say your "i do's" on October 5th.

Unfortunately the only thing I had done for the wedding was the Save the Date Cards (known creepily in Internet-wedding-blogspeak as "STDs"). I had also chosen the colors Tiffany blue and cherry. The simplest thing to do was go with the same color palette and just darken the hues to peacock blue and cranberry. And to redo those save the date cards.

save the date-- take 2

In order to keep me going as I only have 9 months left to prepare and a dinner conversation with the two other brides in my family (they already have their dresses, the bridesmaid dresses, the location, photographers--panicvomit is rising inside me) left me feeling ill-prepared at best I have decided to dedicate Wednesdays as Wedding Wednesdays. Since I abhor doing wedding planning I think it will help to only ruin one day of the week.

So this Wednesday I got those STDs (really people?! some acronyms are not ok) redesigned. Yay me.

Next Wednesday start project get skinnier for the wedding (I have to do this everyday not just Weds. but I plan to start on Weds Feb 1). Plus start one of my DIY projects that I plan to do. And I will make one phone call (most likely the tent-- I want a striped one, a la JFK and Jackie)


title courtesy of ani difranco: swim

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

give me your green eyes

Here's a quick and dirty little frame job I did for an etsy print I ordered awhile ago.  I got this little beauty at a Kansas City thrift store for 99 cents.  The frame is solid wood and heavy.  It says 1979 on the canvas under the artists name, which I cannot really make out. 

I never liked the ship and always intended to alter it, I just didn't know how I would do it.  Then inspiration arrived: our light grey and emerald green bathroom! 

A little double sided tape and I have my lino print on a canvas that matches the colors in my bathroom.  Quick and easy.  The whole project cost me about 7.00 (with shipping). I love that I can see the message (albeit transposed) behind me as I try to tame my cowlick and pluck out invading grey hairs each day. It inspires me that my messy pony tail and dry shampoo are really something to be embraced rather than eschewed. 

tempest tossed ship

new piece <3

title courtesy of the counting crows (really, who else?): have you seen me lately?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

surprise surprise, another pair of lips and eyes

My sister is due in early May and she had a sonogram where she found out the gender in December.  She wanted to reveal it to our big family at the same time, so we came up with this idea, using a couple of ideas from the net. We all got together on Christmas eve and she did the reveal then. 

Everyone had to wear a ribbon indicating their guess.  Pink for girl, blue for boy-- a little dated I know but easy to interpret. 

I think I subconsciously thought it was a girl as the pink ribbons far outnumber the blue

my mama made these cupcakes so we could all take a bite and reveal the surprise at the same time

It's a boy!  Hooray!
Mom made the cupcakes by reserving one third of the batter and dying it blue.  Then you use a small cookie scoop to place a small dollop of the colored batter in the middle of the white batter.  Then frost as usual. 

So excited for a nephew!  Let the nursery painting and decorating begin.

title courtesy of lyrics from Carriage by Counting Crows

Monday, January 23, 2012

this time of year

image credit
Resolutions.  Do you make them?  We do, but we give them a slightly different moniker, as if to trick ourselves into keeping them.

Every year when Keenan and I make our new goals we write on the side of our write-on/wipe-off kitchen planner what we are going to do.  The list is titled with a single word "resolved". I simply like this-- it seems like an act of congress rather than a simple grocery list of wishes. 

This year it was resolved to read more, specifically 55 books this year (not counting the books I read to Sloane each night).  I am doing well so far.  I placed a little widget in the side bar, hopefully to keep me accountable. 

Also, I must get to the movie theatre more than once this year.  That was truly abysmal.  I am already tied with last year, following this weekend's viewing of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

The other thing I want to do is to write more.  I am still trying to work out what that means, and how to accomplish it. I vascillate between wanting to throw myself into my blog and do it every day to not having a blog any more at all.  Although I am not deluded enough to really think it matters to others much it does matter to me.  I think the important thing is to not worry about who is reading anymore, in a sense.  Of course I am aware that the blog is public and therefore should not discuss themes that I don't want known by any number of people who may come across it in any number of places where I may link myself.  What I really mean is that I don't know what I really mean.  Sometimes I ask myself "where is this (blog) really going?".

Reading, seeing more films and writing more.  That's 2012, resolved (in a nutshell). 

Keenan wants to learn to play his guitar better.

title courtesy of song by the same name by Better Than Ezra