Monday, January 21, 2008

why feminism?

Recently, feminism has been regarded with the same affinity as labor unions and tax levies. The question often asked is, “what has it done for me lately?” Is the job done? Have Third Wave feminists been left with nothing to do but flounder? Let's look at some feminist theories and respective goals, shall we?
Liberal Feminists are concerned with legal recourse to secure equity with men. As a result, a huge sticking point for this group is voting rights. Everywhere men can vote women can as well, except Kuwait.
However, most countries granted men the vote prior to endowing women with full rights as citizens, except Denmark.
Men in these countries had time to solidify themselves in the notion that women are unfit for politics and women also had time to internalize the same sentiment. In the United States, the vote was granted to men as citizens in 1870 and women in 1920. This gives men a fifty-year leg up on women in the political arena. Gendered voting gaps have the result of affecting the number of women contributing to government action. In Denmark, over 25% of elected officials are women. In America, only 5-14% of women participate in elected government positions. Therefore, Feminist-driven voter education is necessary to level the political playing field in countries with historically large gender gaps in voting rights.

Marxist feminists are concerned with capitalism. According to their world view, capitalism creates and perpetuates economic inequality. In this system, women and men are stratified and valued disproportionately to their worth as people. Ipso facto capitalism is the root cause of women's economic disempowerment. Globally, 70% of those in poverty are women. This is not random, this is Neo-Liberalism. When countries are in debt, they may be eligible to take out loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As terms to the loan the IMF scrutinizes the country’s economic structure and assigns SAPs in order to appeal to foreign investment dollars. Typically, this means cuts in social and health services, which are disproportionately patronized by women. If families farm, then subsistence crops must be partially, if not completely, replaced with cash crops. Subsistence farming is the primary source of income for most women in these areas. With diminished income and no outlet for governmental support women, whose burden it is to tend to the needs of the household, are forced to find other means of income. Feminist mobilization is necessary to get women on the Board. This will give women the opportunity to shape IMF policy which affects their lives most.

According to Existential thought, the goal of humanity is to take control of the present and shape the future. Existential Feminists seek to explain and undo the reasons women are impeded from achieving selfhood and ultimate autonomy. Women’s reliance upon men is a crucial element in hindering their realization of autonomy, especially considering the age at which women and men come to this union. It is common practice, among many culture, for parents to make decisions and care for their offspring until said offspring reaches the age of maturity. Some cultures include the selecting of life mates for their young daughters under this paternal umbrella. In Niger 70% of girls and 4% of boys get married between the ages 15-19 years old. In much of the world 16-25% of girls are getting married before 19. This means that girls, who are used to having decisions made by their guardians, are handed over to men, who will take over that duty, at an elevated rate in much of the world. Only in industrialized countries is the instance of this is below 5%. When women lack self-determination, autonomy becomes impossible. Feminists, especially those apart from industrialized nations, need to expand cultural awareness to include a vision of women marrying on their own terms, if they marry at all.

The goal of Feminism is to work itself out of a job. It looks like we're still accepting applications.

data came from:
Seager, Joni. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. New York: Penguin Group, 2003.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

i like my coffe like my social justice...

strong and black.

i've just started volunteering for grassroots organization, Justice Works!



Areas of Focus

Today was orientation. We went through the basic ins and outs. The organization is situated in a house on MLK and Union. Everyone there was so friendly. They made sure we had coffee and tried to tempt us with cookies. I abstained.

It looks like I'll be a foot soldier for clemency. Trying to undo the travesty we call the 13th Amendment.

p.s. this is the 1st day in awhile that I rode my bike. hooray!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seattle: let's caucus...

...and primary?

I'm not exactly sure how this works, but it looks like King county is having both a caucus AND a primary. It sounds screwy to me, too. I guess it's Washington's way of saying. "OK. We'll concede and do something new, but that doesn't mean we have to stop doing the old thing, too."

Anyway, if you're curious about where and when to caucus go to King County Democrats. Also, information regarding the primary can be found here: King County Elections
Happy voting season!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

should auld aquaintance be forgot

Yet another year has been swept under the rug and the time has come to wax retrospective, or wane if one should so fancy.
The past year paraded many disappointments under my nose. For instance, drinking red wine started giving me sniffles this year. This was a slap in the pants and not in the way I tend to enjoy. Quite the contrary.
What else? Oh, I've become a grump and that means everyone has managed to piss me off enough to make me not want to be friends any more. Luckily, I've managed by drinking heavily and venting to the people who aren't currently pissing me off. I foresee this biting me in the ass in the upcoming year. I blame it on stress-induced episodes and momentary lapses in judgement.
My ass has seen a lot more of my couch. subsequently, my pants are seeing a lot more of my ass. I blame it on stress-induced episodes and momentary lapses in judgement.
my grandma died. that really sucked. and the years of her being sick even more so.
i wasted time with yet another waste of a roommate. this one may have been the worst. she left fecal matter on the toilet seat on a regular basis--YUCK!!
the relief is that it's all over.
i discovered bloody marys, my mouth keeps my day planner from over flowing, i've caught up on a bunch of premium television, my grandma is finally resting, i have a good roommate for once who can drop a deuce without her ass exploding! and most importantly, I fell in love. this was quite a shock, because I was convinced that love was a cliche novelty that didn't go with any of my shoes. Fortunately, love brought shoes with him! my insecurity about relationships seems to be dissolved. and my disdain for man almost completely gone as well. this is a good feeling and Harpo is a good man.
So, what do I want from the upcoming year?
I want to be done with school (for now). and I will be in June (for now)!
I want to travel.
I want to lose weight and some moles.
I want more time for myself.
I want to tell people "no."
I want to be content.

the good news is, I think all of my wants for the year are attainable. I'll let you know how far I get on my list next year. for now, prospero ano y felicidad.