Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rant O’Clock

Why so seriousI’ve been a little on edge all weekend due to a few things: I’m still not 100%, and it really bugs me to have to move so carefully...I’ve got shit to do, people!; a story over the weekend about a measles outbreak in New York due to anti-vaxxers...I have HAD it with those idiots; another story about some tool of an Indiana lawmaker contacting the president of my alma mater, Ball State University, saying that the university’s policy of banning the teaching of creationism in science classrooms is religious persecution, and he and some of his tool buddies are thinking about filing a lawsuit against the university.

Right. Because not allowing the teaching of a religious belief in a science classroom is religious persecution. Then there were the subsequent comments from the local yokels saying that creationism should be taught, that you can’t prove evolution because no one was there, and that hoary ol’ nugget, “Evolution is just a theory.” GAHHHH! My head was about ready to explode!

However, that didn’t stop me from having fun with family and friends last night. A fun dinner at Chicory Cafe (gumbo and a muffuletta, YUM) and then “The Million Dollar Quartet” at the Morris. Great time, great show, great people. How many times are our good friends and families the last saving grace in the world? I get by with a little help from my friends. Truth.

Well, today the fourth shoe dropped. Or whatever analogy would work better. Fourth and final straw? I don’t know. Anyway, a friend on Facebook posted something about how her local library had a feminism display up, and one of the books displayed was one by Phyllis Schlafly. She said she questioned the addition of that book, and mentioned it to someone at the counter, who said they would talk to the librarian about it. I left a comment, and one of her friends responded:
Me: Good for you. That old broad [Schlafly] is a feminist like I'm an anti-vaxxer.
Her: Or a feminist. 
Well, I don’t know this friend personally, but I respect her, and I wasn’t about to get into it with one of her friends on her page. That’s not cool. What a serendipitous thing to have this blog, though! I kind of figured what she was getting at, but I wasn’t going to respond. She didn’t stop there, though, and I responded to that:
Her: A feminist doesn't dismiss a woman - *even a Schlafly* - by calling her an old broad.
Me: Well, consider me appropriately chastised. LOL
And then...and then...this response:
Her: What's funny?
[falling over laughing] Oh, boy. Where should I start?

First of all, I call myself a broad sometimes, for Pete’s sake. If “broad” is a totally pejorative term in your world, then you need to lighten up a little bit. There are plenty of worse terms I could have used, believe me. Calling her an “old broad” was me pulling my punch significantly, and just slinging a mild insult her (Schlafly’s) way. Sometimes my friends and I use the term in an affectionate and joking way, as in “a couple of broads like us.” Years back, I referred to myself as a “divorced broad.” I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of hating myself or of hating other women.

Secondly, I don’t call people I respect names or sling even slight insults their way. I do not respect Phyllis Schlafly in any way, shape, or form, and as a public figure, she is open to criticism. Simply being a woman does not entitle someone to respect from every woman, anymore than every man deserves respect from other men. Gender is not an issue for me; kindness, decency, and tolerance IS. Schlafly advocates for subservience to men based on biblical teachings and was active in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment. So she deserves my respect how?

Thirdly, anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I don’t put up with bullshit from anyone, especially condescension because of my gender. Point a finger in my face and call me a “little lady” in a derogatory tone, and you’re going to pull back a bloody stump. I don’t go around beating people over the head and yelling “Respect mah authoritah ‘cause I AM WOMAN!”, though. I always just did my job—and although I made my share of mistakes over the years, I was pretty good at my job—and did my best to treat people fairly and with kindness, no matter who they were or what they believed. Do I advocate for equal pay and equal rights? Yes. Do I support Planned Parenthood and push for reproductive rights and for getting male legislators out of our bedrooms and our ladybits? Yes, I do. If you want to tell me that I’m not a feminist because I called Phyllis Schlafly an “old broad,” then fuck you. I’ll keep on doing what I do, and I don’t feel the need to be a part of the card-carrying Feminist Club. You don’t sound like you’re much fun to hang around with, anyway.

Finally, lighten the fuck up. I laugh at just about anything, and I appreciate a good—and weird—sense of humor, as well as a sense of the absurd. I’ll poke fun at just about anything. If you are so touchy that the word “broad” sets you off, then you need to get laid or something. It would be like me getting my panties in a wad every time I heard a short joke. If that were the case, I’d have that wad o’ panties so far up my ass I’d be walking on tiptoes.

There. I feel better now. I need a drink, though.