I’ve been using my Facebook wall as a place to post commentary on the world, as well as work through many of the emotional struggles I’ve been having not only over the past few years, but some of the ones I’ve developed over my lifetime.
Call it navel-gazing if you have to have a descriptor for it.
And, I’ll admit, I’ve had numerous people ask me to start a blog about some of these things. Oh, it’s not about them not wanting to see it on their news feed, it’s about their ability to share something I’ve said without worrying about my privacy settings.
And since I have chosen in the last year to become somewhat transparent about living my life, I had been giving it quite a bit of thought. The reality comes down to the fact that I am not, by even the loosest definition of the word, mainstream in many of my choices, behaviors or simply who/what I am.
I’m part of a number of “sub-cultures” (who gets to decide if something is a sub-culture, a movement, a cult or a political stance? And who gave them the authority to do so?) whose stereotypes are exceedingly damaging. Most of these stereotypes are ways for others to demonize the people who are part of those groups.
Demonization is a tactic used to dehumanize and otherwise socially undermine an individual, a group or a larger society. It has been used as governmental propaganda to whip up support for a war or excuse the damage done to a sub-group within their nation. It is used by individuals to explain an unreasonable hatred for everything that individual feels is different or other or to justify abusing someone else.
Knowing all that, let me describe some o the ways that I am considered “other:”
- Strong-willed, opinionated, and bluntly out-spoken. In American society, even today, women like myself are considered “less feminine.” We are described as harridan, bitch, ball-buster, battle axe, she-male, and a host of other negative descriptors.Add to that the fact that I am honest, and tend to “tell it like it is,” I’m often accused of worse than that.
- Feminist who not only believes in, but fights for, a true balance between men and women, and anyone else who lies in between the two ends of the spectrum. I’ve struggled over the past year to decide whether or not I want to call myself a “feminist.” For many years, I absolutely refused to do so, because far too many of this “third-wave” feminism (and some of the more fringe of “second-wave” feminism that led to some of the more separatist types of third-wave) are unhealthy.I believe I’m somewhere in between what I would call a “centrist feminist” (as opposed to liberal or conservative) and a “libertarian feminist” (with some strong leanings towards the libertarian).
I consider “radical feminism” (aka radfem), and other “separatist” movements to be a continuation of the previously unhealthy trends from second-wave feminism.
Additionally, I DO believe that there are differences in the aims and needs of ethnic feminists that your average “white woman” does not have to deal with. There has been an attitude that feminism is this monolithic issue that is the same across all ethnicities and all nationalities. To my mind, nothing could be further from the truth. Why? Because of the same issue that has surfaced in the so-called “post-colonialism” era. Just because a white, American, upper-middle class feminist living in New York believes one way, does not mean that a poor Muslim woman living in Yemen has the same issues, or even that a lower middle-class African-American woman living in Detroit has the exact same issues.
To me, the perfect example of this is the hoo-hah over the wearing of the hijab. Or even choosing to be a sex worker of some sort. What another woman does, or chooses to do, with her body and clothing (or lack thereof) is NOT something that any other woman should have any say over, any more than a man should have a say over it. It is only the woman herself who can judge what she chooses to wear or not wear.
- An unabashedly fat woman. Yes, I’ve said that out loud. I’m fat. Deal with it.You cannot judge MY health based on my weight. Nor can you judge the health of the woman down the street who is so thin that her ribs stick out.
I’m not JUST about “fat acceptance.” I’m about HUMAN BODY acceptance. It doesn’t matter to me if you are thin, thick, BBW/BHM (Big, Beautiful Woman or Big, Handsome Man), SSBBW (Super-Sized, Big, Beautiful Woman), “scrawny,” “undersized,” or even if you are what society thinks of as the “norm.”
What I want to see is people being willing to accept and even love the body they were given by the Divine.
Do we have a responsibility to be healthy? Yes, I believe we do. But health is NOT shown by body-weight. I know people who are considered “morbidly obese” by medical standards who have absolutely NONE of the so-called “weight related illnesses” and who are grandmothers and grandfathers. I know people who would be considered not only thin, but malnourished if you went by the look of their body alone. And I know people who reflect the “norm” who are barely 20, and have every single “weight related illness” in the book.
- A happily polyamorous woman. Yes, I believe that love is not limited to “the one.” And I believe that ANY relationship (no matter its type) can be a healthy one.
- An older woman. To me, this isn’t just about me being over the age of 40. It’s about the fact that I’m a FEMALE who is over the age of 40. For a lot of people, this is a sin. I should hide myself from humanity because I had the gall to allow myself to get older.
- A Wiccan who is well-versed in Christian theology. I am a Christian pastor’s daughter, and I have been a Wiccan now for 20 years. But that does NOT mean that I don’t still know my Christian theology. I believe that education is the only way to persuade someone to try to understand someone who is different. That means I need to be able to communicate in a way that my listener understands. And given that over 70% of America is Christian, more often than not my listener or questioner is going to be Christian.I get demonized by my own fellow Neo-Pagans as well, because I will NOT tar all Christians with the same brush as the so-called Christians who have abused their position as “Elders” over someone. Just as not all Neo-Pagans think or act the same, not all Christians do either. If you expect to be accepted as you are, you had damned well accept others as they are.
- A sexually positive woman. Yes, I enjoy sex. And at least all of my recent lovers have told me that I’m pretty darned good at it. The Divine gave us this not only for procreation, but for the sharing of love and caring. And it is MY choice as to who I wish to share it with. And, I don’t care what kind of sexual antics someone else is into – as long as it is safe, sane AND consensual.That last means that no, I do NOT agree with or approve of bestiality, because an animal CANNOT consent. And a child CANNOT consent either.
So yes, these are who I am. And yes, I am fully prepared for the troll-fest that I am likely to receive due to the subject matter of my blog.