Fortitude

This year was hard for more reasons than the ones mainstream media chose to shine its spotlight on, but you already know that. Anyway, it’s over now and 2017 couldn’t possibly be any worse, which brings me an air of optimism for the upcoming 365 days.

I love the end of the year, because it gives me the opportunity to look back on my previous resolutions (if I remember them) and measure just how badly I failed. AND THEN I get to set new ones for the next year. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

In all seriousness, though, I love the concept of a clean slate. I love setting new goals. It makes me feel motivated and revved up to do some serious, lasting self-renovation.

I couldn’t even tell you what my resolutions were last year, so I obviously didn’t accomplish them, but this is a CLEAN SLATE, remember? If I had to guess, though, I’d say it was your typical “I want to lose 15 pounds” or quit sugar or something fitness related.

I weigh the same weight as I have since I graduated high school, and I most certainly did not quit sugar because sugar is awesome and I like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Cadbury Mini Eggs. A lot.

New year’s resolution #1: Stick to my new year’s resolutions.

All joking aside, 2017 is going to be my year. Because I am in control of me. I’m choosing to focus my energy on lasting changes that will result in me becoming a more balanced, healthy, strong, independent individual.

I esteem myself as an extremely ambitious individual who just so happens to have an anxiety problem. Anxiety victims can tell you just how severely it can hinder your progress in any and every facet of your life. If I am to realize my academic an professional goals, I need to minimize and eliminate as many obstacles as necessary.

So, I have resolved first and foremost to adjust my lifestyle to one that is as anti-anxiety producing as possible. I have already gotten a jump start on this goal by adopting my trusted feline friend. leo

Meet Leo, which is short for Leonardo. He was named after our favorite cinema star and recent Oscar winner, Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s a tuxedo cat, so I often call him Mr. Sir. He has successfully prevented numerous panic attacks, binge/purge episodes, and been a phenomenal dance partner to Katy Perry jams around our quaint, cozy apartment. He is my light and my life, and I love him very much.

So already, I’ve made significant changes that have made my anxiety more manageable. However, my final semester of my undergraduate program is upon us, so I’m expecting a bumpy ride for these next 4 months, but I assure you it’s nothing Leo and I can’t handle together.

In addition to improving myself as an individual, I’d really like to take this year and focus on making a difference in the lives of those around me.

This year, I’ve resolved to do one simple thing per day to build up a fellow woman. Because frankly, being a woman is, in my experience, no walk in the park, and I’m sick and tired of the way in which society has turned us against each other. I’m done being a pawn in the game of female competition.

Women are not my competition, and treating them as such does nothing but hinder our progress toward gender equality. I am officially pledging myself to the pro-woman team. Instead of glaring jealously at a girl’s outfit in passing, I’m going to compliment her shoes, her blouse, or her hair. If she needs a night to vent about her day at work, her relationship with her family/spouse/significant other, I’ll head on over with my good friends Ben and Jerry and one hell of a pep talk. I’m here to help.

Obviously I’ll gladly help people of all genders in any capacity that I can, but I really want to focus on helping my fellow women this year, because I have had many hard experiences in my life and I really could have used some encouragement, a listening ear, or a confidence boost. So this is me returning the favor to those who have assisted me in these ways.

May we all learn to see each other as allies, not enemies.

Happy  New Year’s, loves. I hope that together, we can help each other build ourselves back up from last year, and live happier, healthier, and stronger this year and for the rest to come.

 

M.

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Feminists Can Like Flowers, Too.

I am very open about the fact that I identify as a feminist. I love talking about my philosophies on the matter of equality, and I DON’T like people opening my doors for me.

Because feminism is such a huge part of who I am, I think I give off the impression that I don’t want to be taken care of. People tend to think that ALL feminists are bra-burning, anti-chivalry, prideful people. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I do not fall under any of the aforementioned categories. (Well, I might be a little prideful, but I think that we can attribute that to my German-ness more so than to my feminist attitudes.)

I LOVE chick flicks. I would literally melt if someone gave me flowers and/or chocolates. I’m soft and love polka dots and bows. Sometimes, I want somebody to take care of me. I want to be wined-and-dined as much as the next girl, and no, none of that invalidates my membership in the feminist community.

What it does, though, is make me feminine, and that’s not a bad thing.

And maybe that’s the problem-we tend to think that feminism and femininity are contradictions. By my understanding, however, the whole point of feminism is to put femininity on an equal playing ground as masculinity. To eliminate the stigma that feminine traits are less desirable than masculine traits.

Wanting to be taken care of and “swept off my feet,” so to speak, does not make me anything but human. The need to be taken care of is a basic human need, and one that man and womankind alike spend their lives pursuing. Wanting romantic gestures all that jazz in no way undermines my desire and belief that I should be treated as an equal.

It goes both ways. In order for a dating relationship of any sort to work, that romance thing has got to be going on. Both partners are equally responsible for keeping that “spark” alive, and co-dependence should be the desired outcome.

I am obviously capable of taking care of myself 100%. An ideal romantic interest would be able to take care of himself 100%. The co-dependence thing comes voluntarily. If people are interested in one another, they will do cute, cheesy, romantic gestures because they want to make the other person happy. Not because they are so inclined to fulfill certain roles. And I definitely don’t believe that allowing a man to court you puts you in a submissive position, especially if the both of you are putting in equal work to date each other.

The other day, I was discussing this topic with a friend of mine, and she presented me with an ultimatum. Either I put down my equality guns and let some knight in shining armor place me on a pedestal, or I keep my “independent woman” front. Why can’t a girl have something in the middle? I understand that it’s a delicate balance, but I don’t believe that it’s unattainable.

Just thinking.

M.

Why Chivalry Is Dead From A Woman’s Perspective

I follow a shit ton of Feminist groups on Facebook (Surprise!), which is probably not the best idea on my part, because my news feed trends posts predominately pointing out instances in which the patriarchy effs up situations.

I was scrolling through my news feed during church today, and stumbled upon a post that linked me to this article: Why Chivalry Is Dead, From a Man’s Perspective. I’ve provided a link, for your convenience. Feel free to follow along with me as I dissect one fatuous author’s theory for the death of Chivalry.

The article begins innocently enough. The author opens his article by identifying the oh-so-modern “hook-up” culture that we singles are all too familiar with as a contributing factor to chivalry’s termination. I found myself nodding my head as I read this, as the author does make some good points.

I concur with his notion that PEOPLE (not just men), are really slacking when it comes to chivalrous acts, and that nowadays, single people tend to be more interested in a short-term hookup than an actual courtship. And the reason for that is technology. (i.e. TINDER) The author states, “Where did we lose the chivalrous touch? When did it become acceptable to just text a girl, inviting her to come bang? Well said, old chap.

The article continues, but his sound logic does not. This dunce wraps up his article by blaming women for the modern man’s unchivalrous behavior. He says that it’s the woman’s fault because our gender has become complacent with the “bare minimum” and that we’ve stopped demanding what we deserve. Scoff!

So not only is it my fault if a guy rapes me, (because, well, my skirt was a little short) but I am also to blame for his lack of desire to court me properly. Damn my gender’s “complacency.”

I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose a good place to start would be the 21st century definition of Chivalry. According to some dude from ChivalryToday.com (seems legit), Chivalry can be defined as “the choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times.” I like this definition because it completely takes gender out of the equation.

I am incapable of forcing a suitor to be a good guy for the sake of being a good guy. Complacent or not, I do not possess the power to alter one’s intentions and personal values. I have no influence on whether or not a guy wants to be chivalrous.

Not only does chivalry mean doing the right things, but doing them for the right reasons. If a person is chivalrous, it’s because he/she has made the conscious decision to do so, not because the person they are courting is demanding chivalry from them. Besides, if I suddenly start demanding that every boy I romantically encounter behave in a chivalrous manner, I’ll be labeled “high maintenance.”

Our little idiot closes his article by calling all women to “wise up and start asking for the things they deserve” (meaning have boys open doors and pull out chairs for us because apparently these behaviors are chivalrous even though they insult my ability to use my own limbs?)

His conclusion? “Until then, men are going to get away with putting in the bare minimum and receiving what we ultimately want anyway – sex. It’s pretty obvious that women own the cards, and when they start acting like it, they’ll finally start getting dinner from places that don’t deliver.”

And here, we face yet another double-standard. Ladies, you heard the guy. Let’s start demanding the things we deserve, dammit! And once we’ve done that, let’s see how high our chances are of earning date #2!

In all honesty, though, let’s face it. Chivalry is dead because people don’t care about anyone but themselves.

The end.

M.

That’s Hot.

MEN: This may come as a surprise, but I just thought i’d casually bring to your attention that NOT EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE IS INTENDED TO PLEASE YOU.

Ready for my real-life example?

The other day, I was discussing my career plans with a man friend. I told him I was considering a career in English teaching or journalism, to which he bluntly responded, “That’s hot.”

Umm, okay?

What’s hot about my aspiration to become an English professor? Or a newspaper journalist? Is that some kind of joke? Or do people really have fetishes for those with a fondness for language arts?

This sort of makes me feel as though my man friend wasn’t taking my career plan seriously.

If this conversation had been an intelligent, two-sided conversation in which both participants were genuinely interested in what one participant was expressing, it would have gone a little more like this:

Me: “I’m thinking I want to be an English professor.”

Man friend: “Oh, really? What made you decide that career path?”

Me: “Well, I love to write and learn about literature, and I think it’d be a fun, challenging career to teach students how to write.”

Man friend: “Well that sounds like a great choice for you, then!”

And then it could continue in the same manner.

But, this was indeed not a two-sided conversation in which both participants were genuinely interested in what one participant was expressing. It was a boy belittling a woman’s intelligence and ambition.

I wasn’t trying to be hot. I was trying to answer his inquiry of what I would like to become when I grow up. Did it ever occur to him that maybe it isn’t my constant goal to impress him and gain his approval when we talk? That maybe I was trying to have a person-to-person conversation and express what my aspirations were?

It all comes back to shallow, physical attraction, doesn’t it?

Because Heaven forbid some guy would actually want to know what my passions and interests were, just for the sake of getting to know me better.

Another lad and I were having a similar discussion earlier today. In an effort to flatter me, he asked if i’d ever considered modeling as a career. I told him that I hadn’t because I do not advocate the fashion industry and media’s glorification of physical beauty and skinny-ness.

His response? “Well, maybe you could try acting then?”

Arg. Another point completely missed.

He thinks I have the looks to be displayed and manipulated in the media as an icon of what “ideal beauty” is. Which, frankly, I don’t take as a compliment at all. He hadn’t even considered the possibility that maybe I had no interest in a career in the media.

This is just a prime example of the objectification of women. The belief that my physical beauty should be used as a commodity to promote and sell physical items, as well as a skewed and artificial icon of what a beautiful woman is.

There is way more to a woman than her physical appearance. I have far more to offer than my looks, thank you. And I intend to pursue a career that suits my interests and puts my intellectuality to good use.

M.