pollychromatic

the world through rainbow eyes


Leave a comment

Stop Equivocating

Dear Trump voters, third party voters and non-voters, I get that you have not really been affected by what has happened and see all of politics as mostly theater. So it feels mostly inconsequential to you.

You’ve listened to media pundits who literally have made their living hyperbolizing that the media is unbalanced to such a degree that things like “Jade Helm” went beyond the tinfoil hat circuit and became an actionable item by a state government.
We have internet sites that hyperbolize from the left to the right, and hell, even in the middle.

It’s easy to get stuck in the middle and equate all of it as a big ball of bullshit that is impossible to detangle.
Critically analyzing information as being divorced from confirmation bias, peer reviewed, and reputable, is difficult in this time and age.

So what can be done is look at the actual history of people. Pence has a political history. It’s verifiable. Sure, people hyperbolize it, but honestly nobody needs to. His political actions have been disastrous for women, trans people, the disabled, the poverty stricken, and gay people in Indiana.

Trump has a recorded history as a political pundit and political financier. He also has a recorded history as a business person.

These are known quantities.

The campaign promises of both are ugly and dangerous. Nothing much may come of them, except for the SCOTUS appointment that Trump will assuredly make. Likely to be multiple SCOTUS appointments because of the current ages of the sitting SCOTUS, too.

Now, a lot of what a POTUS does is standard diplomacy mixed with some directional jazz for the country. The SCOTUS part is much farther reaching, though, because of the nature of the job.

We have a carefully balanced federal government that relies on the checks and balances of President, Congress, and SCOTUS keeping each from unbalancing the country into dictatorship and danger. With the terms of each position being a careful part of that balance.

Hyper politicizing the SCOTUS is an incredibly dangerous direction to go in. SCOTUS appointments are lifelong appointments, and the SCOTUS are supposed to be people dedicated to keeping the long term balance of civil rights and the rule of Constitution from overturning on the citizens of the US and our foreign relations (including immigration).

There can be no equivocation that the Republican party has absolutely opted out of that careful balance. They refused the process, and when faced with the possibility of an elected Democrat POTUS declared they would refuse the process for an entirely unprecedented four years (or longer).
There is not and has *never* been an equivalent on the Dem “side.”

So there’s no equivocation.

The Republican goal is absolute ownership of the country. Which is dictatorship. Their stated goals from *there* have been to enact the rule of Christian law (which upends the entire history of this country), and to deregulate all financial and business doings in this country. This is not hyperbole. This is their stated purpose. You can read it straight forward in their statements on actual published by them platforms. You can see the history of it in their actions.

They also intend to reverse Roe vs. Wade, which would similarly have very little historical precedent. There have been very few SCOTUS rulings that have been reversed. The Republican party as a whole has been driven to office over and over in the last 20 years on this promise alone. It’s why preachers and priests stood in front of their congregations on November 6th (and before that) and told their congregations that they would literally be committing a mortal sin and go to hell if they did not vote Republican in the recent election.

There’s no equivocation there. If equivocation is too hard a word, let me use a different one.
This is not a matter of sides that both have points of view that are favorable and unfavorable for people and everything mostly equals out so it’s kind of a wash.

This is a matter of a party that has a stated purpose of upending the careful balance that keeps the stable government of this country from descending into dictatorships and fiefdoms, and another party that likes for it’s citizens to have access to the rights and privileges of the Constitution that our government is founded on.

Those two things aren’t equal.

If you don’t like the direction that the government is going in, and it’s two party system, then you have a possibility of working on that. You have the ability to get involved and help steer us away from First Past the Post voting, and away from Winner Takes All Electoral College elections (and towards population proportional Electoral College appointed votes that create proportioned third party representation).
You can’t do any of that with a party in office that has literally gerrymandered districts so hard that it’s continued small voting pool has dominated US politics (because Trump got even less of the vote than Romney, and yet won the Electoral College). You can’t do that with a party in office that has as a stated purpose to refuse to act with any other party.
They don’t want balance.

And that’s dangerous.

It’s not equal.

Whether or not you combine that with their actions and their stated goals is up to you, but that alone shows that they are actually more dangerous than Dems. No equivocation.

That we keep pushing forward with the idea of media balance and “it’s all the same, why bother?” is ridiculous. Be a grown up and take a hard look.

Just because it hasn’t affected you yet doesn’t mean it won’t.

To paraphrase Neimoller, just because you aren’t trans, or gay, or muslim, or poor, or a woman, or whatever, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak out.

This is how that happens. This is how it begins. When you complain about the whining of your countrypeople in speaking out you are advocating for them to be good Germans and sit down.

So either you don’t think you are in danger, or you believe you will be stepping in time with them.


2 Comments

When Men Speak For Feminism

Malcolm X is sort of one of my guiding heroes. He has been since I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X in my teenage years. Stuff like that tends to affect you in those years.

He was really hardline about white people staying out of the fight for civil rights for people of color during his Black Muslim years. He told them that what they could do, if they wanted to help, is sit down and not get in the way.

He changed that stance after he left the Black Muslims after making his pilgrimage to Mecca. He still wasn’t sure how to effectively incorporate white people in the fight, but he said it was one of his biggest regrets that he had shut white people out. :/

I think about this a lot with regards to men in feminism.

I agree that the first thing an ally must do is listen. But I’m not sure what action is next after that. This isn’t a rebuttal, by the way. Just a pause. I’m genuinely lost here.

I feel like… like sometimes this part of the movement.. this part where we shout for only women’s voices to be heard… that sometimes it’s really damaging. I mean, that’s part of what has happened to Michfest (and I’m not going to argue about Michfest here, a google search about Michfest should inform you of the issues).

Some of the best voices for Feminism I know have been male. Some of the most damaging and violent, female. Some of the worst voices I know have been male, some of the best, female. It’s such a mixed bag.

I know we can all agree that shutting down female voices for male voices to speak up for women is nonsensical at best. I know we can all agree that Feminism is about empowering all humans.

I know that many of us agree that Feminism has done a poor job of representing, and creating a safe space for, women of color. I know that many of us agree that Feminism has done a poor job of representing, and creating a safe space for, trans women.

I know that this whole thing is nuanced and treacherous waters abound as far as the eye can see. If white cis women do such a generally poor job of making a movement that is inclusive and safe for women of color and trans women, mostly because their own experience is not that experience then why do we think that men are going to do such a bang up job of speaking up?

Let’s maybe internalize that, too. If you’re not feeling it when male voices speak up and over female voices in regards to Feminism?  Then maybe that feeling you have is some of why women of color and trans women often feel disenfranchised by mainstream white, cis, Feminism. Even when it claims to be inclusive of them. 

I don’t know a solution to all of this that leads me to where one of my personal heroes told me I need to go. If you think you do, speak up. Because, I tell you, when we’ve gotten to the point where protecting male voices speaking for Feminism is creating an atmosphere of violence for women speaking for Feminism? Things are going wrong.

This was written as a direct response to Parentwin’s excellent write up of the PolicyMic “#AllMenCan project.


2 Comments

Clarity In the Checkout Lane

I was standing in the checkout line waiting my turn. Bored. Looking at the magazine covers rather than making eye contact with the other people in line.

As you do.

I was doing this, and something really clarified for me.

See, there was this horrible rag cover. Globe or National Enquirer, or Star, or something. It had the title of “Worst Beach Bodies.” There’s Kim Kardashian’s butt, front and center, titled “Double Wide.” Ha! Ha! Because Kim Kardashian has a butt that is wide, you see. Oh, and we all agree that big butts mean fat, and fat means ugly err, I mean not healthy. So we can all make fun of her butt being big because really we’re just concerned about her health and fuck if she doesn’t deserve it because what the hell is she doing thinking her big butt is okay to show off to the world as desirable! How dare she?! The nerve!

NEEEEEXT!

People I don’t know, people I don’t know, people I don’t know and… what? Is that the little person from that tv show? Amy Roloff? What in the actual fuck? They’re making fun of her? Because her body is different? And she dared to show it on the beach?

Are you fucking kidding me?

You know that point when your ears start to make that whooshing sound and your vision narrows, and you realize that you might just actually be one ragequit away from a for real stroke because you actually got that pissed off?

I was there. Right there.

And I want to use nicer language. I want to not use curse words, because I’d like for you to pass this around, and I know that using curse words makes that harder for you to do. I know that curse words are the retreat of a small vocabulary and that it takes finer skill and creates more power to write without them, but I am so enraged by this.

But it made something clear.

See, I’ve grown desensitized to the fat shaming. Every now and then it’ll get my ire up, but I have come to expect it. It’s what our media does. It’s what people in our culture do. It’s what our coworkers and friends and family do. Not all of them, sure, but enough. We can spread the body positivity from here to eternity, but the streak of shame and blame that we place on people, and ourselves, for fat, for daring to be fat? That’s wider than all the fat combined. It’s heavier, meatier, and I am here to tell you uglier.

Gabourey Sidibe can make her speeches about living past the hate and finding her own beauty, but at the end, we know, we all know, there are a world of comments that will come after about how she should still lose a few pounds. At the least, “for her health.”

And we’ve come to expect that, if not accept that. We don’t, as a culture, accept that fat is a genetic difference, we don’t, as a culture, accept that fat is just another one of the facets of beauty that exists in our species.

But.

I did not expect that to be put on a little person. I didn’t expect the highly critical eye of the media to turn to a person who was born with the genes that express themselves through one of the many varieties of drawfism. Amy Roloff is a little person. Her body is different. Making fun of her body for being different makes as much sense as making fun of Stephen Hawking because he’s in a wheelchair.

Here’s another horrible part of this. They cropped the picture carefully. They didn’t make fun of her husband for daring to be a little person on the beach. All the hate was reserved for her. Because that’s what we do.

And I really should have known better. Because we know better, don’t we? Of course the media is going to make fun of Amy Roloff. Just like they make fun of Gabourey Sidibhe. And it really is all the same. And it isn’t about a focused set of standards of beauty. It isn’t about the overuse of photoshop. It isn’t about fashion. It isn’t even about attraction, or health.
It’s about being bullies.

We’ve accepted a culture that bullies, especially, women. We take part in it. We consume it and regurgitate it and spread it far and wide on Tumblr and Pinterest and blogs and Instagram.

And god. I sort of want to thank that horrible magazine for clarifying it for me. Because damn if another picture dissecting what parts of whichever actress they took apart this week for being too fat was going to get through to me.

If you are a woman, you are less than. You are a consumable product. Here are your array of products and services to purchase so that you can be consumed. And you will consume it. $20 billion a year on the diet industry. $34 billion a year on beauty products and services  (I’m sure there’s some overlap there on beauty services/products and the diet industry, but you get the idea). There’s a lot of money to be made by telling you that you look like crap. And when you get fed up and feel down and depressed about it, there’ll be a whole row of magazines at the grocery store, and entire blogs dedicated to ripping apart actresses and female celebrities who didn’t live up to the expectations that you haven’t been able to live up to either. And maybe you’ll rip them apart, too. So you can feel better about how shitty you feel about yourself, inevitably.

And maybe it’s time that we see that we feel like shit because we have been consumed and processed through a machine that digests us to turn us into ready consumers for their products and services. Maybe it’s time we realize that this media machine is not celebrating the beautiful life, but the impossible life, simply so we will consume it and be consumed by it. That the reason will feel like shit is because we have been shat.

And maybe we need to step away from the bullies and stop giving them our voices and ears to use. We need to stop consuming this. There’s just no world where it is acceptable to make fun of people’s bodies for being different. We need to turn it around on ourselves. There’s just no world where it is acceptable to make fun of our own body for being different.

Dammit, we are the expression of a beautiful conglomeration of millennia of evolution. We are life. We are living, breathing, thinking, dancing, rolling, wrinkling, jiggling, taut, stretched, bunched up, beautiful life. In myriad forms. We are life.

And that is beautiful.


Leave a comment

GoldieBlox Vs. What, Exactly?

GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys. What a freaking mess. Right in the heart of the intersectionality between feminism and parenting. Add in copyright legalities. Add in free speech. Add in artistic expression. Add in the free market.

Really, what a mess.

So where do I start?

I’ll start with who came first. The Beasties. Hey there Beasties. Oh how I love you.

I was 14 when Licensed to Ill came out. I loved it unashamedly. It was probably the very first hip hop that hit me in the suburbs of Northern California. I mean, there was the stray shot of rap that was White Lines, but really. It was all about the Beastie Boys when it comes to bringing hip hop to most of white America. That’s what started it.

I loved “Girls.” I don’t even cringe at it nowadays because that love is so strong. We shook our teenage asses to that song because it was freaking fun. Because. Because reasons. Because, listen.

It’s hard not to shake to that.

It does not even matter how horrible the lyrics are. Sometimes we just like horrible things.  Let’s be real, though. When I was 14 I did not know how horrible it was. It was just catchy, and I was just dancing.

That love continued, too, even though the Beasties evolved so much over time. I loved their new stuff (hey, if you don’t think Paul’s Boutique is one of the most perfect albums to ever come out, you don’t know music), I loved their old stuff. On the run up to getting the scan done to find out the sexes of my twins, “Girls” was one of the ringtones that I had one my phone for a solid week.

It’s just a solid riff, and as much as I am a staunch feminist who completely rejects the message of “Girls,” I’m also the girl who shakes her ass to it.

So there’s that.

Then there’s GoldieBlox.

Dammit, GoldieBlox. I grew up in a family that completely supported STEM for girls (and boys). When the GoldieBlox Kickstarter happened, my whole family ate it up. My daughter has one of the original Kickstarter sets. You know, it’s a pretty good toy, too. Both my son and daughter like it.

The box is orange and yellow, with multi-colored dots and the blonde tool-belt sporting “Goldie” on top. The toy inside consists of pieces that are blue, purple, lavender, red, and yellow. With a long peachy-pink ribbon, and five character figures to manipulate. Each of the figures are internet-nerd friendly. A sloth, a hound dog, a grumpy looking cat, a tutu wearing dolphin and a koala in a business suit. A book that tells their story while giving you building instructions, and then alternate building instructions for ideas for free-play.

Pretty okay. Very tinker-toy with it’s spools and sticks and connector bits, but also kitschy in a way that has a lot of wink to the parent, and a lot of play for the kids who don’t get that it’s kitschy. Not quite enough toy, but a good starter set. For those of us who are raising boys and girls, and are kind of horrified by the gendered changes in marketing of toys in the last couple decades, we were willing to buy in and get the company off the ground.

Company founder and inventor Debbie Sterling is from the Bay Area, too, so that was an extra selling point for my family.

Then came this.


A great little Rube Goldberg machine built out of princess girl toys backed by three little girls running around to the song “Girls,” but with new lyrics that say girls really want a change.

And this.  GoldieBlox are one of four finalists for ad space for a small business to get aired during the Superbowl.

This was sort of a slam dunk for me. Even with these good arguments in the mix.

I liked the subversive message of taking a song that had lyrics that are pretty backwards, and all the pink princess toys, and turning it all into an anthem that says NOPE. Admittedly, I was also pretty happy that the Beasties had signed onto this. Because of course they would have had to. Right?

Oh. Wait. Nope.  The remaining Beasties make it clear that they accuse GoldieBlox of using their song in an ad. Something that MCA specifically requested in his will to never be done. They didn’t sue, they simply accused. It seemed to be upsetting to them, too, because they specifically like the mission statement of GoldieBlox. The guys grew up a lot, you know.

What was even more brass balls for GoldieBlox than using a song they didn’t even get permission to use, was that they had preemptively sued the Beasties for the right to do it under the label of free speech parody. Something that at least one expert in fair use legalities said was likely a legally tight case. At least tight enough to hold legal water, that is.

My ass stopped shaking to the new “Girls” for a second. Now I’m not sure what the hell I feel. I think I support GoldieBlox. Right? Feminism? STEM for girls? The right to free speech? Wait. Where do I stand?

It’s a bit harder to dance to that music.

The next shot out of this mess is a needle scratching across the record for me, though. The Beastie Boys didn’t even sue GoldieBlox. Whhhhhut?

Dammit, Debbie. Dammit.


Leave a comment

Parents Aren’t Causing Autism. Quit It.

You want a rant? I’ve got one.

This was shared on my feed and I pretty much had my brain spasm all over the place. Here’s what I said, try to ignore the twitching anger:

I can’t with this. I mean, I can’t even read it. I mean, I can’t read it and continue to not be seriously heated. 

You want to celebrate diversity? Here’s one for you: people on the Autism Spectrum? They’re people. 
Here’s another shocker: not all of them are “difficult to reach.” 
Autism is a spectrum “disorder.” It’s a collection of learning disabilities, and neurological conditions. Not all of them present, or at the same levels with all people on that Spectrum. 

We haven’t really delved very far into where ASD comes from as much as we have a new scare every month about what’s causing it, and how we’re being bad mothers if our children are affected by it. As though, somehow, we are the sole gatekeepers to our children. As though they are our possessions, and everything that happens with them, or everything they are is a reflection on us. 
This is a tool that has been used to beat women for centuries. It is a tool that women use to beat other women. It is a tool that women use to beat themselves. 

Early in the history of ASD as a disorder it was believed to be caused by mothers who were too cold to their children. Not surprisingly this was during much of the early 2nd wave Feminism when women were beginning to discover identities outside of only being mothers. 
You want to have a career, or a life outside of the home? You’ll cause your child to be irreparably damaged. Now take off those shoes, get back in the kitchen, and do your duty to your family, or else your children will suffer, and it will be your fault. 

Much has evolved since then, and we have come to learn more, but so much of that knowledge is a chaos of continued blame sourcing that seems to end nowhere other than hocus pocus faux scientific “medical” quackery. 

What do we know? There seems to be a genetic link for Autism. It runs in families. 
We know that the numbers of those with ASD have likely been underreported for decades. So many people lay in the wings of Autism Spectrum and were so “lightly” affected that they simply were never reported. They were considered late talkers. Exceptionally picky eaters. Late bloomers. Shy. “Weird.” Etc. Parents simply never understood what they were seeing and never reported it if they did suspect. Perhaps fear of the stigma of a diagnosis that would follow their child around for life gave them caution. More likely that they just truly did not know what they were seeing. “Uncle so-and-so was a late talker, and then he went on to be successful,” went family legend and the friendly advice of neighbors. And so they put their suspicions on hold. 
Lord knows the backlash that I incurred when I put my son in Early Intervention at age 2 was bad enough. I can not imagine how bad it would have been if I had not had the wherewithal of my own knowledge and the courage to listen to my own inner voice AND the luxury of time that comes with being decidedly upper middle class to back me up. If I had been fighting the daily grind of a 9-5 (or a 3-11 for that matter), and trying to put food on the table, keep the gas turned on and water running, and the kids in clothes? Would I have fought so hard? 
It’s pretty hard to say. 

I’m pretty insulted by this whole essay and it’s tone. I’m being frenetic and chaotic in my refutation of it. 

What I have to say? 

ASD isn’t the end of your child if your child has it. Not all ASD looks alike (my son could not be more sweet, more open, more funny, more loving, or more empathetic toward others). Mothers aren’t “causing” Autism. 

Continuing to feed any of the three beasts I have named right there? Not. Very. Awesome.


5 Comments

One Size Fits Some

Kelly Rose Pflug-Back wrote this piece that appeared on The Feminist Wire. Then it appeared on Huffpo. Then it appeared within my social media.

Then I went crazy.

So here’s where I present my creds, right? Here’s where I state that I’m part of the estimated one out of every four women who have been sexually assaulted. And yes, it’s true.  Multiple times, in multiple ways, and with multiple accompanying levels of other trauma that were inflicted at the same time.

It’s also true that that does not define me. Nor does it define my sexuality. Nor does it define my ability to have a healthy sexuality. And frankly, I’m kind of getting sick of this presumption that it does, or that it should. Or that there’s something wrong about me if it doesn’t.

The assumption that all women should be treated as victims of sexual assault, or even that all women who have been victimized by sexual assault want to be labeled as victims of sexual assault forever and ever is a pretty big assumption.

It’s not all of me, and it seems part and parcel of the kyriarchal worldview that the actions of those in oppressive power positions leave no option for those who aren’t in those power positions to be nothing else but receiving vessels of the oppression. As I said angrily after reading this article, I am more than the sculpture that was left behind after the wax and mold of  the assaults have been removed. I resent the implication that it was a molding act at all for me. I don’t resent it if it was such to someone else, but for me, I resent it.

Culturally we do not expect a man who has been held up at gunpoint and robbed to feel defined by that forever. Nor do we expect them to always live in fear. Or to always need to be approached with caution. Or expect them to want to be called victims of gun violence forever. Yet we do so with women who have lived through sexual assault. We expect them to feel broken. To feel as though all sex is suspect. To have flashbacks if touched wrong, perhaps, and then we give them the title sexual assault survivor forever.

That doesn’t really work for everyone. It certainly doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to be treated with kid gloves like I am a wounded creature ready to bolt at the first sign of a trigger warning. There’s a level of condescension in the assumption that you know how I feel that is pretty intolerable for me.

I caution that I do not feel it is wrong to feel any of these large spectrum of things, from the man who was held up at gunpoint having flashbacks to the woman (or man, because hey, it happens to men too) who was sexually assaulted to feel however they feel about it.

Maybe instead of assuming that there is one right way to behave, we treat people as the individuals we all are. There definitely is a universality in the spectrum that is the human existence, and common experiences often tie us together, but our actions and reactions are so much larger than a simple narrative gives room for. Let’s start actually asking people how they feel and how they want to be treated, and give room for any answer to be acceptable, even if it doesn’t fall within what we can personally do. There’s a few billion people on this planet. We don’t need everybody to treat everybody like lovers, best friends, family, co-workers, or even acquaintances. There’s this concept of boundaries within psychology wherein we expect different levels of deference and awareness from different people. Boundaries are often some of the first things to blur when we start having any sort of trauma or tough time, mentally. This is sort of my plea to get back to some level of them.

If we are coming to a place of acceptance that beauty is a spectrum, can we also come to a place of acceptance that sexuality is a spectrum, and that also the sexuality and psyche of those who have lived through sexual assault is also a spectrum?

If the point of feminism is to open the door of possible expressions of human existence, rather than closing them, should we not also leave this door open?


9 Comments

Be Brave, Be Heard

Something sort of weird happened on the way to sharing a picture for the #WeStandWithWendy campaign.

A couple years ago my friend Lady Katza from Peanut Butter Macramé took a picture of her daughter. She had made a gorgeous Little Red Riding Hood costume for her daughter, and completed the costume with a bloodied axe and a wolf’s head.

Her daughter was 8 in the picture; unmistakably prepubescent. There was little question of context for herself, her husband, or for me. In this storytelling, Red had saved herself with a Huntsman’s axe. She did not need saving. The girl in the picture was wide eyed, with her innocence still visibly intact. She did not look menaced or menacing. She looked determined, and young. It was, ultimately, a picture of female innocence that was capable, and not the least bit helpless.

It was the kind of story-in-a-picture that upends paradigms, in short.

red1
We loved it.

A few years passed. Years full of assault to women’s rights and women’s autonomy. Steubenville. The Paycheck Fairness Act being rejected by every single Republican representative. State after state falling down in upholding Roe vs. Wade.

Texas front and center.

State Senator Wendy Davis’s now famous filibuster blew our minds. We stayed up late into the night, completely riveted.

We watched as the Texas State Senate ended Ms. Davis’s filibuster on technicalities. We watched as other Senators picked up Senator Davis’s mantle and continued her filibuster. We watched  as the Texas State Senate closed them down, too. Then we watched as the outrage filled the Senate, and the people in the gallery picked up the mantle and ran the final minutes of the clock down. Then we watched the complete disregard for their own State’s Law with which they took the vote anyway, and passed the bill that would deny not only the rights that had been established with Roe vs. Wade, but also general healthcare for women in Texas. We watched as the record was fraudulently changed to show that the vote had happened within the time limit. Then we watched the bill dissolve under the world’s scrutiny.
Then we watched Texas Governor Rick Perry do what all knew he would, and schedule a second special session to again pass a bill that had been denied passage by the people of Texas.

This isn’t really about that, though. I mean, all of that matters, but that’s not even what I’m talking about here.

Orange was the new color. We donned orange to stand with Wendy Davis. Lady Katza mentioned the picture she had of her daughter and thought it would be an interesting picture to submit, were the color to change from red to orange. It was a picture of a girl with courage, determination, strength and no fear. She did not need to be saved. She was saving herself.

I agreed. It was late, though, and she had to go to sleep, so I turned to Laura Ross at @laurarossdesign.com to help turn Red’s clothes orange for us. Laura obliged happily. Red was now orange, and some subtle highlighting  was added.

I sent the result to Lady Katza, and in the morning she tested the waters by posting the original pic to her FB feed.

Then the weirdness started. The photo was picked apart. Red was recast as Lizzie Borden. Lady Katza was unsure whether it would be a good idea or not to post the picture at all, let alone with orange and text. Was this actually a strong picture, as we thought?

See, the thing is, there’s no context for this picture in our culture. This fits no archetype. A woman who violently defends herself is sexualized and fetishized into Lara Croft type tits-and-ass caricatures. We, as a culture, slut-shame away her frightening power.

That just wasn’t possible with this picture. This picture shows a little girl who is not menacing or menaced. She is competent, unafraid, and still in full possession of her innocence. The only other example we could even come up with was Hit-Girl from Kick Ass. That was kind of startling.

Of course people were going to create a menacing context for the picture, there was no other available context with which to view it.

Well then. We just need to change that. We need to create stories where the girl saves herself. We need people like Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte to be strong examples for us. We need Brave’s Merida, and no, thanks, we don’t want her slimmed down, given bigger boobs, a tinier waist, and made into a simpering Disney Princess that needs her complementary Prince. We need a Little Red Riding Hood that doesn’t wait for a Woodsman to save her, but saves herself.

We are ready to stand, and we will not sit down, and our daughters are ready, too. We will be brave. We will be heard. We will stand.

standwithwendytext