Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Just saying hi.

I would like to introduce myself........i'm Em, just 30 and as English as could be with a little Irish thrown in. Shaken and stirred with equal measures of confidence, craziness, itchy travelling feet, desire for knowledge, down days, up days topped off with taking each one as it comes, well it works for me? Too often i try to run before i can walk, i guess you could put that down to an impatient soul but i'm working on it.
I spend my days working as a Sport Studies Technician although exactly how i fell into this career escapes me but its an enjoyable job with a great deal of freedom to pursue my MA in social sciences. Where i'm going isn't particulary important i never make life plans just immediate choices but i suppose that comes under my 'feet first, think later' personality trait.
I'm looking forward to joining in and following the adventures of Blogsisters along with posting on my own site boudoir along with contributing towards BadsamaritanNext. No harm in a little shameless plugging is there?
Hello to you all.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Our once a month or whenever we think of it call for blog sisters

Anyone we should list in the sister roll who's not already there? Let me know. Or any invites you'd like me to send out for fresh voices and views? Always looking for those too.

Going to bed now. The count down has begun. My tour of duty as single working mother (for the next three months) begins in 31 hours, when my husband jets off to Hong Kong, where he'll be staying and playing until July. He's been so busy finishing up this latest recording project, it's like he's already gone. And I hate it. After 16 years of marriage, I feel like I'm riding on one wheel without him.

Engineering Children *with* Disabilities?

This story leaves me in a quandry. I don't like genetically engineering children either way--wonderchild or physically challenged. I think that's where I come down on this issue. There are plenty of hearing children within deaf homes that learn the same kind of identity things this couple is hoping for. Kind of a mind bender, considering the whole family is deaf. But seeking out a deaf sperm donor? Wshew!

Time Travel

Dr. Mallett has a motive that's not unfamiliar to my own.

"Since his father, a heavy smoker, died at the age of 33 when Mallett was 10 years old, Mallett has longed for a way to travel back in time to warn him about the dangers of cigarettes."

Can you imagine going back, or going forward, through time, the things you would try to undo or not undo. Certainly sparks the imagination to think that it might be a possibility.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

An Oral History of Female Vietnam Vets

This is from 1999, but it is such a stunning trip through voice, womanhood, and trauma that I thought I'd give the link.

"For eight years, my husband didn't know I was a vet," says Agnes Feak, who participated in an air evacuation of Amerasian children called Operation Baby Lift. "I kept my mouth shut when I came home. He found a photo of me in fatigues and said, 'Who's that?' And I said, 'That's me.'"

A computer-generated poem based on Blogsisters.
Try doing one from your own blog by clicking here.

Blog sisters a Fractured Fairytale... Spending
the team who I agree with
my hands and
suddenly, I need to
the comment Hello! Wow!
I just found my own engine in
difficult Sometimes personal statement of people. she had a
freshman in blogging Is
nothing She was that, damned jar
open.
posted by Anita Bora at least
as I went to say,
Except Hello to women who
buy that? on your
self. and her
own but its to
change me.

Act 1, Scene 1

A great mother-daughter moment from Sharon O. over on wordwhores. Anyone who can *not* relate? I think she depicts the art of conversation control quite eloquently!

How Creepy Is This Shit?

Thanks to Pet Rock Star for this link, which is about as creepy as it gets--can you imagine your spouse fessing up one day that this is how he found you? eeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Pet Rock's Shannon Campbell says:

"This company will gather background information, then stalk, and then invent a 'coincidental' meeting between a man and the woman of his dreams. How much? The least you can expect to pay is $78,000. The won't accept 'missions' from ugly people or women, they won't talk to the media, and they won't disclose where their offices are located. You also can't tell anyone you used this company."

For that, I'm adding Ms. Campbell to the sister roll.

Hey, Sister, Go Sister, Go Sister, Go Sister

In honor of sisterhood...



A mascott of sorts. Sister Mary Blogger, Eh?

Thanks, ebay.

"she is in excellent condition as she has been kept in a glass display case." (haven't we all?)

Teenagers

I know that I blog about teenagers today a lot, but its only because I don't understand them, and I am one . I am watching MTV's Spring Break. I don't understand the obsession with drinking, and having "sexual relations" with total strangers. I would not like to go to a beach, hook up with some guy that I meet in a bar the night before and then not remember who he was the next day. I don't see how that even comes close to a good time. Sometimes I wonder if I really am a teenager. I understand that everyone needs to have their wild and crazy days when they are young, but there is such a thing as going a little to far with it.

I say all of this because I am currently on my spring break. I know people that are going to PC beach, and I know people that are having parties, but me...I am going to stay at home. I don't think you have to go get drunk and do drugs to have a good time. When I go on a trip I like to remember it, and I like to be able to remember what I did. (and who I did it with) There is no reason at all for anyone person to "hook up" with 5 people in the same night, with all of the STD's that are out there its just not a safe thing. Wakeing up for a whole week with some guy, and a hang over is not my idea of a good time.

Sometimes, I think I am the strangest teenager in the world. Then I wake up and realize that I am the luckiest teenager in the world. I know that I don't have to go out and party and get drunk to have a good time, and that I don't need to be with every guy in the world to be popular. I also know that I am a strong woman, and I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I am my own person, and nobody can change me.

That idiot dorkvak is at it again

And trying to be funny. It doesn't work. This time he even takes a jab at us. We're in good company though. He's messing with RageBoy too. The least he could have done is link. Fucker.

"5. Jargon. Pepper your text with words like screed, grok, gonzo, meme, and other bloggerisms to show that you are a hip and with-it blogger. Women bloggers should use the word sister a lot."

Dorkvak (I call him this so as not to boost search results on his actual last name) ought to be familiar with jargon. His writing is full of it. And so is he.


Friday, April 05, 2002

Teenaged girls and their weight

I was at school yesterday, and I noticed how skinny most of the girls in my school are. (at least those that are not with child) I don't understand the fact that they can think that looking sickly all the time is beautiful. I am not saying that all skinny people are sickly, but if you were to see the girls at my school you would wonder what was going on. I am not picking on skinny people here, this was just an observation that I made yesterday. I would put money on it, that if you were to ask every girl in my school if she has ever been on a diet or suffered from an eating disorder that way over 60% would say yes. I have a friend that was a healthy size 10....which is what I am...her parents, ok so her mother, thought that she was to big and that she should loose some weight. Her mother paid her $50 for every pound she lost. She is now a size 2. She was a really pretty girl before, and now she just looks sickly. Me being a teenaged girl myself if worried about all of this. Why are the girls today so obsessed with their looks? I just don't get it. I am the kind of person that if you don't like me for who I am on the inside then why do I want to talk to you anyways? I also don't get the fact that the guys like their girls skinny. I am not a big girl...but for the guys at my school I am. If you are not a size 2 to a size 5 then you are to big. I am very happy with the way I am, and I am not going to change it for anyone. I like the way I look. I will never understand the reason girls think they have to be small. I also hate going shopping. Its like to be a teenager you have to wear all this small tight fitting shirts and skirts, that are not really shirts at all....they are strings and zippers. Fashion today is something I really don't get. Its the smaller the better. I was shopping with my mother and we were looking at baby cloths...my mother wants a grandchild, from my married and older sister not me, anyways even the baby cloths are smaller and there were things that I would not put my child in it was too...old for a baby to be in. I will never understand that....the obsession with being older than you really are.(and when you get older don't most people wish to be younger??) Can anyone tell me why that is? And can anyone tell me why the youth of today is so obsessed with weight and how they look? Can anyone help me wiht any of this?

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Pot Calling Kettle

This is likely to be a long one. It is a day for breaking things. I broke my coffee maker. Then I slammed my coat in the car door, not realizing until I reached for a cigarette that I had actually slammed my coat *pocket* in the door, thereby shattering my cigarette filter. I spilled water all over the inside of my car. And that was before 11 a.m.

So lets see if I can break some more stuff.

In searching up blog sisters on google, I came across a couple of entries I had missed when they were originally posted. Shame.

This one by Ms. Yourish on 3/24 is a response to a post I made in blog sisters' first 24 hours of life (when we were jeered as much as linked to). One of our early critics was Brigitte of eaton web, whom Elaine refers to in this post, which elicited my intense emotion.

Meryl takes exception with what I feel was a valid defense of this blog in her critique on the debate, saying among other things:

-"The defensiveness, the perceived insult and lashing out at having one's intent questioned is what registers."

-"It is also important to note that Brigitte maintains the Eatonweb Portal, one of the most influential portals in Blogdom. I'm not saying she would refuse to list Blogsisters because of the above comment--I doubt she's even read it--but in one short, cutely-titled post, Jeneane Sessum manages to put down both a fellow Blogsister and a woman whose portal lists nearly 4,000 blogs--of which Blogsisters is not yet one. A short trip to look around Eatonweb instead of flinging insults might have been the more constructive thing to do."

-"If bloggers want to be taken more seriously--if bloggers think they should be treated with the same respect as professionals--then they need to start thinking about applying some simple rules of logic and civility to the debates that can rage across blogs."

breaatheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

First of all, I defended this blog and my effort at making it happen and ensuring its successful lanch. Absolutely. Guilty on the "defensive" count. Cop to it. Wouldn't change a thing if I had it to do over again.

Second all, I have looked at the eaton web portal, quite extensively in fact, before, during, and after my response to Brigitte's initial critique. Just so we're straight, I don't temper my voice or my thoughts based on the popularity or influence of the person I'm challenging. Nice that she spends so much time on the portal. Couldn't care less what she thinks of me. Don't know why she has an issue with me, but some of what I've seen after that initial post makes me think she does. And for the record, I don't care.

A response to Meryl's third comment, ya give respect, ya get respect. You mess with my family--online or offline--you get a mess back.

And for the record....

What Meryl doesn't mention is that eaton web posted more on 2/28. Try this on for size:

"...when you follow a link from a good weblog and the content is less than desireable, you feel that you've wasted 5 minutes and have a right to complain about that waste. usually in the form of commentary about the content or poor writing. if i had followed that blog sisters link from doc searls website, i would have been considerably more irritated at the time waste. each weblog has a certain trash factor, the better the weblog and the more your interests coincide with the author's, the lower the trash factor."

And more:

"oh wait, nevermind. i have my explanation. it's the 'it's' in a popular weblog so it must be interesting, important, exciting, new, attention worthy, ' phenomenon. Doc Searls linked to blog sisters. presumably for the catchy tag line. sigh. 2 days of reading weblogs again has made me realize why i cut back so drastically in the first place."

Now let's remember, the blog's like a day and a half old at this point, having zoomed to number 3 on daypop. I'm working like hell to get everyone on the team who wants to be, to fix the template, to add all the links, to hurry hurry, to thank those who linked to us. And some of the first WOMAN blogged feedback I read was eaton web's initial jab:

"I look at Blog Sisters. at first, i thought it's purpose was to link to all the current female webloggers. but, i couldn't believe that someone would be attempting to list ten's of thousands, if not hundred's of thousands, of people. so i spent the next 15 minutes scanning through all the posts trying to figure out the purpose of the site. all i could gather was that it was a weblog devoted to women's issues. why is this so highly linked? there's 2 day's worth of content. half of which are posts about who linked to them and how high they are on daypop. what am i missing?"

How would you feel? How would you react? And be honest.



love/hate relationship with technology

How's your computer situation working out, Elaine? I guess if you respond to this, we'll know the answer. I ran into my own trouble last night -- some members of a youth group with which I work had just finished creating a newsletter last night, and we hit the satisfied "save"...only to have the computer crash and lose all our work. Revelation: I love blogging and the benefits the Internet brings, but I hate computers. Hate them hate them hate them. I want to stomp them into plastic bits and throw them out the window.

Sorry (sheepishly), just had to vent...

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Rage, Blame, and Voice, and the Dark Side of Femininity

I have no TV right now, and it's driving me crazy. But that's a digression, or an introduction, because it has to do with my point. So anyway, I'm watching these old X-Files episodes I've taped to keep myself from snapping (I know, I need help), and this one came on that I've always liked, because it (to me) sort of captures what the X-Files was meant to be about, which is human nature and its mysteries, not really aliens or the supernatural.

So in this episode, there are a bunch of mysterious deaths, involving ravens, broken mirrors, and vicious claw marks. Something primal is scaring people in reflections and killing others in a quiet small town. Turns out the killer is really a meek little housewife, taking notes from Martha Stewart, cooking eggs benedict for breakfast. Her husband has been wanting out of the marriage for several years, and has begun to sleep around, but she clings to the marriage and lives in denial, repressing her rage at her husband's infidelity and unwillingness to stay. She physically transforms into a horrible figure, perhaps suggesting a manifestation of Cathubodva or the Morrigan, accompanied by ravens, horrible to look at. She is the dark, destructive, feminine force. But she can't stand to see her own dark side (hence all the broken mirrors, which spontaneously burst as her image slides across them), it drives her insane. Mulder says something about this at the end of the episode (I can't remember the exact words) to the effect of, "It [her anger] had to come out somehow."

Women today, in much of Western culture, are not allowed to have a dark, destructive voice that is healthy. We live in denial, we hide our dark sides. (And here I'm not attempting to say, by excluding mention of men, that they are or aren't allowed to have dark sides. In some ways, this is true for both genders as we become more "civilized" in the worst sense of the word, but I especially think it true for women.) We are allowed to be birth, but not death; healers and nurturers, but not warriors or defenders; we are the "gentle" sex, we are quiet, subdued. Somewhere inside, rage bottles up, and pops out in ways that are unhealthy to us and those around us.

To tie in something that probably doesn't fit, it always seems to me that it's angry mothers who start ridiculous lawsuits. That's a huge generalization, but I read this article today sent by a friend. It's very anti-gaming in tone, which bothers me, because even though I'm not currently an active gamer, I am an avid one. The article describes a lawsuit of a woman against the makers of the game EverQuest, blaming the game for her son's suicide. It's the age-old argument about the "evils" of fantasy-- people are unhappy with their real lives, so they burrow into fantasy as some sort of wish fulfillment to hide from reality. Obviously, I don't agree with that assessment, but I want to get back to my main point, because I could go on and on about what I think fantasy really is. ;-)

Utlimately, when I read this article, for me it begs the question: what is really this woman's goal? Does she think that warning labels about a game's addictiveness will really solve anything? What got left out of the story? This woman is in battle mode, she's raging, angry (and right to be angry about her son's death), but to me her need for a scapegoat seems like a stretch (I don't really see how the game is specifically at fault, people can use anything as a tool for their addictive behavior). In what ways is she in denial? In what ways did she try to be the good nurturing mom and fail? Is she embittered that her son turned to an online game instead of her? Has she become something she can no longer bear to look at objectively?
Techiesisters -- I need your help!
OK, this is where you find out what an total idiot I am when it comes to these stupid machines. I don't know what I did to my computer, but here's what's happening (and I hope one of you might be able to tell me if there's something I can do to fix it before I haul it ito the shop and have to be offline for a week. urrggh). I have Windows 98 and a pretty hefty Athlon processor.

When it's booting up, I get a message that it can't find a file needed to run a windows application -- SYSTEM.INI -- that it's no longer listed and I should try uninstalling the associated application and then reinstalling it. And a couple of lines down it says "vesecp.vxd." I have no idea what the "associated application is or what I did to mess it up. Then it says I can click on any key to continue booting up without that application, so that's what I do.

And then as the desktop is coming into view, there's a little window with a searchlight that says it's looking for E_SRDVO3.exe. Huh? Of course, it can't find it, so I cancel out of that window. And things boot up.

I know that, whatever it is, it's affecting my ability to use my printers. I went and dowloaded (again) the drivers I need, but that wasn't the solution. I'm not really sure how to uninstall and reinstall my Epson printer/scanner software program -- that's how clueless I am. If anyone has any suggestions, can you just email me directly???? I am sooooo frustrated! Sigh. Thanks.

mid-twenties crisis

I am so glad that Esta mentioned the mid-twenties crisis. (Maybe for some it comes at a different time). I recently had my 25th birthday. This was very hard for me. Before, each birthday meant a keg party with tequila shots and gal pals. This year was my first "grown-up" birthday. I don't know why, but I felt like I couldn't have a kegger again. Also, I am having purse issues. Am I a hippy or am I a professional woman? I don't know. How come which purse I choose has to say so much about me. Am I making such a personal statement of who I am by the purse I carry? I'm trying to choose what car to buy after graduation... am I a Mini Cooper or a Jetta? These may be bad examples. Finding the courage to think an talk is extremely difficult. Sometimes I am so overpowered by fear that I don't even try to ask myself how I feel or what I think. Too afraid to think! As for finding my voice, I agree that blogging is highly beneficial! I am going into a profession, the law, where being able to speak up is very important. However, currently I am not very confident with what I have to say. Whenever I post a thought and someone posts a comment, it's sad but its almost validating... Incidentally, I am very excited about now being a part of the Blogsisters conversation! Maybe I will become closer to finding my voice!

Women and voice continued

Esta, yes this is just what I am going through. I too started writing with poetry, first published at the age of 12, albiet a poem about my horse (who was then my four-legged safehouse). But it was the beginning of a journey that has taken me until my near 40th year to come to grips with and just begin to understand. (I guess I am a late bloomer).

And it has taken the Internet to rekindle this voice that I buried for so long. Now that it has been unleashed, I am changing physically, emotionally, and spriritually on so many levels it's frightening to me. Who am I? I thought I knew. Happy to remain in the background. Anxious of the unknown. Secure with my own fears. These things were familiar, if not healthy. And suddenly, I find myself staring into an abyss that was me, and my heart is broken, my head is spinning, I am liberated and terrified at once. I write, I change. I change, I write. Blogging is the tool this day--setting free prose and poetry and words and emotions I had lost touch with, thought better left untouched.

In some ways, this is all so uncomfortable, and in other ways, it's so natural.

And I still don't think most men bloggers are going through this same thing. I would love to understand their journeys but few tap into where they have been in relation to where they are headed. Mike Golby does. And Marek does, to name two. And to me, their journeys are different from ours. They speak in more global terms--they seek to fix the world, while I seek to fix myself; they carry into their blogging global burdens and prescriptions for the future, while I focus on personal burdens, mainly from the past. Their release is often violent and outwardly chaotic. My release is one of inner turmoil, and my journey stems from the inside outward.

The cultural and gender implications in blogging and burgeoining voice--that I once thought were bull--may in fact be astounding.

No wonder my head is spinning.

learning to talk cont'd

I started this as a comment to Jeneane's message, but it got too involved, so here we are. Jeneane, I think you've tapped into what is for many of us the core of why we blog...I know I've talked at length about voice on my site (I think "found my voice" was even my tagline, briefly). Personally, I've been drawn/driven by Toni Morrison's writings -- she deals with this topic quite frequently. For many women, finding voice may not be as obvious as finding a consciousness of self and the reality of choice. I feel like I only really started to think coherently about what I was doing with my life until my mid-twenties (aided by supportive sister-friends and therapy -- has anyone else been through the mid-twenties crisis?). The pressure of going through life without thinking, of doing what I thought I "should" do, created a profound depression. Finding the courage to think and talk -- and not just that, but to rant, angrily or cheerfully about anything and everything -- is a drug, and it (along with friends, faith, family, and lots of practice) is changing my life. And yes, Elaine, blogging helps...

Monday, April 01, 2002

woman and blogging role

Lately, I've been thinking about women's roles--as wives, mothers, workers, and so on. All of the recent discussion here has me thinking. And when I think, I start to write things down, which I'm doing here without much forethought or planning. I've said I'm not a feminist. I don't believe in generalized pro-woman speak. But still...

I'm thinking about women and blogging, especially thanks to the discussions we've been having here. We got flack in the beginning of this excursion called blog sisters from some not wishing to be 'defined' by gender, which is not what I think we are doing here. Still, women bloggers are different, aren't we? I think we are, in some very important ways, ways that I see connected specifically to voice and the release of voice.

As women, the historically the more repressed sex (at least in American history), blogging offers us something special. A chance to experiment with voice, to define voice, and finally to release voice.

Repression undone.

Having come from a family where chatty girl children were reminded they should be seen and not heard, where male children were cherished, given free rein, given the benefit of the doubt, "believed" above all else, I'm coming to grips with the meaning behind the evolution of my own personal voice during my first four decades on this earth. What is happening--has happened--to me through blogging is very significant in my personal journey to find and release my own voice. In fact, I don't think I had my own voice until I started blogging.

Is it different for men? I think so. I think, on the net, until now at least, men have been the default. They have an inherent credibility here, their voices found an immediate home here. I don't think we as women had it so easy. We had to work a little harder, speak a little louder, yell some, maybe stamp our feet, take risks, and say to our online neighbors: We're here. And we're not just talking about weight loss, and we're not just chatting about parenting, and we're not just here to shop. We are thinking, we are shaping, we are creating, we are catalysts.

We are changing and we are change.

Repression comes in many forms, steming from the universal, the global, the local, even the familial.

Voice repressed is at the root, I think, of much unhealth. Much distress. And I think women, and with them other minorities, stand to risk and gain more from blogging--from the discovery and release of voice--than we have even yet imagined. We've only just scratched the surface.

Such is my journey anyway. You?

Plan your April fools jokes....

Since my now boyfriend and I have been talking, my pastor who set us up has been pushing marriage. So, today...I played a little joke on my pastor. I called him, all excited and told him that Wesley and I were going to get married. He just about fell out! He knew after about 5 seconds that it was a joke, because Wesley had called him all upset and told him that I had broken his heart. So, needless to say he knew that it was an april fools joke. I just felt that it was really funny....I guess next year I am going to have to plan things a little better.
Another giggle for the formerly married.
The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interviews, and testing were done there were three finalists; two men and a woman.

For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a .45 Revolver. "We must know that you will follow your instructions, no matter what the circumstances. Inside the room, you will find you wife sitting in a chair. Kill her!"

The man said, "You can't be serious. I could never shoot my wife. The agent said, "Then you're not the right man for this job."

The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes. Then the man came out with tears in his eyes. "I tried, but I can't kill my wife."

The agent said, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."

Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same instructions to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Six shots were heard, one shot after another. The agents heard screaming, crashing, and banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow, and said, "This gun is loaded with blanks. I had to beat him to death with the chair.”

Sunday, March 31, 2002

Blind dates....

I have only been set up by three people in my life, and for once it has worked. The first two ended up being well...jerks. This one is different. I need to call and thank my pastor for setting me up. Who knew a pastor and his wife would make such a wonderful match maker?? I have never connected with someone like I have with this person. Now, I am not talking marriage any time soon, or even ever...I don't know, but I am happy with a guy for the first time in a long time, which is a good thing.

Now, with my peace said on that, why I am blogging. I was the kind of person who did not think that a blind date could lead anywhere..but hey look at me. Not to mention that my bestfriend has also been set up on a blind date, and is now in a happy relationship. So, now I believe that blind dates are much more than good television.

Marriage Material

I think it's dangerous to make sweeping generalizations, about anything, and regard them as absolutes. Of course there are relationships and marriages where both the husband and wife contribute equitably to the union. Of course there are marriages where each partner is satisfied with the other's level of contribution (whether it is, from an outsider's view, equitable or not). I think that by writing "all husbands" and "all wives" Maushart discredits her point of view.

With that said, however, based on my experience and that of many of my friends, even the most independent-minded women are surprised, and confused, when traditional marital roles sneak, surreptitiously, into their marriage. I am in my early thirties. I am divorced after a pretty-good, but not completely satisfying, 6-year marriage. My parents had a "traditional" marriage. They got married while at university. Mom didn't finish her degree because she had a child. Dad did. Dad was the primary breadwinner. Mom stayed home with the children until we started school then she worked part time. Even though I saw this as a model, I was told, by both my parents, and by outside influences, "You can have it all. You can have a satisfying career. You can travel. You can find a partner who will respect all these things, help with the housework, be kind, sensitive, and present for your emotional needs." This may be possible. I didn't find that person.

Both my husband and I automatically fell into roles we had seen our parents perform (even though we consciously tried not to). The role of "wife" was new to me. Though I had been told one thing, I had seen another. Many times, the role I had observed was the role I took on. So maybe marriages in which division of labor is more equitable will be more common in the future, where young women and men will have had role models for this behavior.

In hindsight, however, I wonder, hmmmmmm. I was told about all the benefits I would derive from a wonderful, modern-day marriage. Yet, I wasn't told about the sacrifices I would need to make (because there are many). I wasn't told how much work our relationship would take. I wasn't taught how to compromise. How many people (women and men) are taught these things? How realistic are our expectations? How hard are we willing to work to accomplish them?

Elevating from the comments

I'm elevating this discussion of marriage/men/women from the comment box to post level for further noodling. The conversation spawned from Anita's post that discussed the book Wife Work by Susan Maushart, which was reviewed in Salon. The book is also available and reviewed on Amazon.

In the Publisher's Weekley editorial review on Amazon, we read this about the book: "Wifework, 'the care and maintenance of men's bodies, minds and egos' is a one-way street, says Maushart, something wives do for husbands at great cost to their mental and physical health, with minimal reciprocation. According to her, even fully employed wives do a disproportionate amount of housework, in addition to 'child-care drudgework,' 'monitoring His physical well-being,' "deferring to His agenda in day-to-day conversation,' maintaining 'His extended family relationships,' etc. Maushart (The Mask of Motherhood) counters that he, in contrast, is merely a 'volunteer' in the marriage; apart from providing an income, he's really only expected to 'turn up" at family events.' "

I agree with the comments by fellow blog sisters that said we all bring our own unique perspective to our interpretations of messages like this. But still. It bothers me too. This isn't what being a husband or a wife is about. It seems she has an axe to grind against men. And in reading all the reviews and comments, it's clear that Maushart, having her way, would do away with marriage. I might buy the book--but more than likely I'll wait until I can get it at the library. It wouldn't bother me as much if she had said, "my marriage..." or "inadequate husbands..." or "wives who have had their self-confidence ripped away at the hands of damaging husbands." It's more her approach of Wives are this, and husbands are that. Men do nothing. Women do everything. P-u-h-l-e-a-s-e. Am I the only one who doesn't buy that?

Comic Relief
With envious {{{hugs}}} to the happily married, here's a great one liner from the "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip in today's paper:
Do you realize that the phrase "Married for Life" and "Marred for Life" are separated by just one letter?

Saturday, March 30, 2002

Blogsticker Thomas

Could you spare $19.00 (U.S.) to help a kid raise money to battle his cancer (and others', if he has a lot of success), in a way that illustrates the power of the Web? If so, visit Thomas Pacheco's site (which just went live yesterday) and Blogsticker Thomas! If not, definitely give him a link. Also, see Gary Turner's due diligence about the whole endeavor.
He, She It.
While it didn't get great reviews, I really liked Marge Piercy's sci-fi novel that intertwines the myth of the Jewish "golem" with the contruction of a cyborg that winds up being every woman's dream man (or at least as close to it as the main female character/scientist can get him to be). Since we've been posting about our struggles with men in relationship to us I thought I'd mention He, She, It. What if we could build and program our own?
A Book for Couples
This post sort of deals with issues raised by the previous two. While I admit that my experience tends to validate Mushart's findings (see previous post), I am not without hope that things can be different.

A Book for Couples by Hugh and Gayle Prather is one I wish I had read early in my marriage. Of course, it wouldn't have done much good unless my husband had read and internalized it as well. But since then, I've given it to my daughter and her husband (they both have read it and it continues to inspire and inform the way they relate in difficult times). Last month I loaned my copy to a friend who recently ended a relationship that she had high hopes for. After reading only a part of it, she went out and bought four more copies for people she knows who are stuggling to find ways to make their marriages do more than just survive. A marriage becomes a third entity: there's him, her, and the marriage; both people have to give equal attention to that third entity. So, that's my recommendation for your reading "pleasure" after you read the Salon article mentioned by Anita in the previous post.

Why do women wed?

For your reading pleasure over the weekend.

A new book "argues that women put much more work into marriage than men do, and asks why they bother." Called Wifework, the book by Susan Maushart has been reviewed by Ann Marlowe of Salon.

An excerpt: "Maushart tells us that men think they are doing a favor by ineptly "helping out" around the house; men do the fun child-care tasks like playing and avoid the diapering, bathing and disciplining. Men trivialize the work they don't like, including cleaning, but are happy to enjoy its fruits. They won't "do intimacy" but require constant emotional stroking. They impose their food preferences on the whole family. They forget about foreplay as soon as they're married. They put their children to bed in their day clothes and wash dishes without detergent. It's a sorry litany, but also an old one, of which the most original part is Maushart's indictment of men's inability to reciprocate the emotional care they receive from their wives."

Read the whole article here.

Friday, March 29, 2002

Movies

I went to the movies tonight and saw "The Rookie". (Go see it, its long, but really good) The lead character's wife, said something in the movie that just made me think of all of my blog sisters.

"I'm a Texas woman, I don't need a man to take care of me" Which goes back to my whole, I don't need a man in my life right now. (and I don't need to get married) When she said it, every woman in the place was like, yeah that is so true....I just found it funny. I guess it was the fact that when she said it the only thing I thought about was, blog sisters.

I Made It

After 2 of the almost longest weeks of my life, I am finally all moved to my new funky apartment in Bellingham. It's in an older building, maybe an old hotel from the 20's or 30's? Hardwood floors, lots of original architecture. Brand new appliances in the kitchen, new sink and tub in the bathroom. A tiny bedroom that pretty much only can contain my bed. Boxes everywhere. Can't get my satellite dish to work, so I'm watching Adult Swim cartoons that I've recorded. Boxes are everywhere. I can't find anything. My hands are all beat up and my muscles are sore from carrying all my junk. Why do I own so much junk? I'm tempted to swear off all earthly possessions. Except for my laptop, so I can still blog.

Happy thought

I had the most amazing day so far, and the fact that I am about to leave to go shopping makes it even better! (Georgia is tax free today and tomorrow!! How cool is that??) I just wanted to say something that would make all the sisters out there as happy as I am. I just can't think of it. Oh wait! There it is!!

I hope that all of you out there have a wonderful weekend!! Smile and everyone will think you have done something.....and it makes things more fun!! Have a good time with what ever you do! =o)

Ok, so I am a little giddy for the fact that my doctor gave me an almost clean bill of health today! (and I had a good time at school for the first time in a long time)

So, just smile, smile, smile and be happy!!

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Original Blogger

What follows is a transcription of an answering machine message received last night from my 92-year old grandmother, who for as long as I can remember (and longer, obviously) has kept a "little plaid book" where she chronicles milestones and minutiae. She frequently reminds me that "on this day in 19__, you [graduated high school : knocked out your front teeth on the back fence : etc.]."

-Denis-ee, it's Nani. Are you there? No. Ok...
-Well, I just wanted to tell you I was looking in my little plaid book and on March 27, 1965, you were one week old, and I was there taking care of you and your mother.
-I was talking to you all the time, and your mother said to me: "Why are you talking to the baby all the time? She can't understand you." And I told her, "Denisee understands, she understands everything."
-So, just wanted to let you know. Ok honey? Ok. Give a big hug to Rich. Ok? Bye, honey.

I have a digital answering machine with no tape, no way to save or transfer the messages. But now Nani's here with the rest of us, who well appreciate the importance of the milestones and minutiae.

-P.S.: On her own answering machine, Nani continues to wish us all "A Saint Paddy's Day" on March 17.

Strange things...

18 is such a strange age. I know that I don't have that many years under my belt, but still I have a voice, things to say and my own thoughts. I am at an age where I think, I need to find the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with. Hey, I am 18, I have a long time before I need to start thinking about getting hitched. Right? My older sister who has been married for 2 years, has been with her husban since she was a freshman in high school. He was her first "real" boyfriend, and he was her first love. I think its wonderful for her that she fell in love then and is still in love now.

Now try to explain that to my parents, and my pastor, who both think I am never going to be married, and will be an old maid. There are so many people out there who don't find the love of their lives until later on in life. I don't get why eveyone wants me married. I have been doing just fine with out any guys in my life for a long time. Yet....for some strange reason everyone wants me married. My pastor has even gone as far as hooking me up with one of his friends. (my pastor is really young) The guy he set me up with is really nice, but then again garbage would be nice after the last guy I was with. Two days after I have even talked to the guy my pastor is talking about my wedding. I have a life to live alone right now....so back off. They just don't get the fact that I am happy alone. Don't get me wrong the guy is really sweet, and very nice looking, but I am not at the point I want to think about spending the rest of my life with someone.

I have friends who are married, and who are engaged....and I think its wonderful for them, but its just not for me right now. I also don't want ot have a child. There are so may girls in my school who either have kids or are expecting. Why?? You are just a child your self. I understand that its a blessing from God, but I mean come on.....at least get out of high school before you do things like that. I know its to each his own, but that is just something I feel strongly about. It all goes back to when I was in the 8th grade and there was a girl who was with child. She already had one, then after she came back from having the second she was already preg. with the third. That was a real eye opener for me. (the baby's all had different fathers as well) I know that the youth of today does things that they should not do,and that we all have to pay the price, but you would think after the first two she would know what to do to keep it from happening again. I am not bashing anyone who has children who are not married, my sister was born before my parents were married. They waited to see if they were really in love before they did it. I know that when the time comes for me to get married (if that time does come) I will know it. Or at least I like to think I will know it.

I think that is all I have to say...yep...thats all folks! =o)
Why ARE we so quiet???
I was wondering that myself, Anita. Maybe BSers are commenting but our comment feature keeps coming and going?

Maybe because we save all the good stuff for our own blogs? Maybe we've run out of things to say?

I've been ruminating about all of that myself because we starting out sharing all kinds of interesting and sometimes personal stuff. And I liked that because we weren't dealing with discussing the technology itself -- which is what many other blogs I read do. We were demonstrating how that very technology can be used to form a dynamic community that could never exist anywhere else.

So where is everyone? Watching the A&E "Biography" program on Mary Magdalene that they taped on Tuesday? (Just a reminder that Salome is featured tonight.) If I had access to the comments, I would look back at one (of course, I can't remember who posted the comment) recommending a novel based on the female in question's take on biblical events. What I wanted to say was that, while I find those kinds of fictionalized histories great and affirming reads, what I'm really interested in is what the "whole" history really is -- that is the history that hasn't been told because the original tellers were men and therefore writing from their perspective and for the purpose of promoting their own agendas. I'm not talking about "revising" history; I talking about expanding the perspective (through more inclusive research) of what we have accepted (and are accepting) as accurate history.

So, in that vein, I'm very curious to see what "Biography" does with Adam and Eve, as well, which was scheduled for Friday but has been replaced with Dudley Moore, who recently passed away (at an age only four years older than I am now.) I would imagine that they will be doing Milton Berle next week. Uncle Miltie was a weekly staple on our black and white miniature TV back in Yonkers, New York in 1948. He brought transvestitism into our very living rooms and we loved it. He is the icon of Drag Queens. He played right to the camera with his zany "off-side" remarks, and we laughed and loud and loved every minute of his stap-stick antics. Good-bye Uncle Miltie.

So that's what I'm thinking about. What are you thinking about???? Huh?? Huh??

all's quiet on the BS front...

it's amazingly quiet in here... has everyone gone for lunch?

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Blog Benefit No. ___.

It helps you remember things. Like the fact that a month ago this night, Jeneane was frantically selecting templates, sorting out code glitches, and wondering what would happen when she sent out invites the next fateful morning. Happy Anniversary, Blog Sisters!!

Love It Or Leave It
OK. I went for the t-shirt.
Since I already drink my tea from a Geekforce mug, I just ordered a BlogSisters t-shirt. Can't wait to wear it around out in the real world. Maybe I'd better do a little hand-out to explain what it is.
My cup runneth over...

My Blog Sisters mug arrived yesterday and I can tell that my husband is envious of it.

“Wow… what’s this?” he said, picking it up from the kitchen counter. He turned it all around and read the words on it.

“My new Blog Sisters mug; you know… that collaborative journal I told you about.”

“Ooooh, yeah. That girls’ writing club kinda thing you joined. So I guess this is a special, magic cup for drinking cranberry juice from when you get a bladder infection, right? Or for holding your stash of chocolate kisses during PMS week?” he chuckled.
He then nudged me and smiled teasingly.

You know, it would have bugged me if another guy had said that. However, my husband looked so darn cute standing at the sink with big yellow rubber gloves on, suds up to his elbows, admiring that new mug… how could I get miffed?

Yes, yes… the official Blog Sisters Mug. Men can wash it, but they can’t drink from it.

Get yours today! :)

Men....

Ok, I know that blog sisters is not set up to be a place for "men bashing" but....sometimes, you just have to bash. I don't like to be lied to. What person does? Yet, I always seem to find men who lie to get everything they want. They just don't lie to me, they will lie to anyone who has what they want. I am not going to sit here and say that I never lie...I do, but its never to get something. Ok, I'm sorry, but I think I just have this banner on me that only sleezy men can see....not that all men are sleezy. (The ones that I know that are not sleezy are my best friends) I think that is my problem with men. All of the men in my life think of me as "one of the boys." I guess the fact that I am a female that can change a tire and re-bulid her own engine in her truck, means I am not a girly girl. I can be. Its just that I enjoy working with my hands and I am not worried about getting dirty. Oh well...life will go on. I have plenty of time to get in and out of relationships with men. I just need to grow out of my "tom-boy" part of my life...and one day I just might.
Does anyone know if this is for real?
I got the following email from a friend. Has anyone else heard this? If it's true, we should publicize it; if not, I'll let my friend know so that she can communicate the truth back to whoever sent the mail to her.

This is something from the State Police -- Please read this "very carefully"...then send it out to all the people online that you know.

Something like this is nothing to take casually; this is something you DO want to pay attention to. Think of it as a bit of advice too. If a person with the screen-name of SweetCaliGuy4evr contacts you, do not reply. DO not talk to this person; do not answer any of his/her instant Messages or e-mail. Whoever this person may be, he/she is a suspect for murder in the death of 56 women (so far) contacted through the Internet.

Please send this to all the women on your buddy list and ask them to pass this on, as well. This screen-name was seen on Yahoo, AOL, and Excite, so far. This is not a joke! Please send this to men too...just in case!


????

Monday, March 25, 2002

History is the story told from the perspective of the teller (or writer).
I just watched a "biography" of Jezebel on the A&E channel. Later tonight, I will post something on my own blog related to "herstory." Meanwhile, Jezebel's story will be repeated this Sunday at 7 p.m. Bios of Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Adam and Eve air during this week at 8 p.m. The schedule's on the web site. Not to be missed for women who are tired of having history told by some "men of faith" who have skewed the telling of it for their own purposes. And if you're really interested in hearing a well documented "other side of the story," you might want to read the very scholarly book: The Feminist Guide to Mythology edited by Carolyn Larrington. For more accessible writing on similar topics, check out Barbara Walker's books -- Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and The Women's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects. These books are bound to broaden your perspective on the things we have been taught about the place of women in the spiritual (and political) development of the human race.

vast bunch of linkssssssssssss

Lots of women-and-net related Links I've just begun exploring. (p.s., I emailed and asked them to consider adding Blog Sisters.) Warning: Time kind of slips by as you get lost in this web of resources!

-j.
At My Age, This Is Hilarious
A 75-year-old man went to his doctor's office to get a sperm count. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, "Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow." The next day the 75-year-old man reappeared at the doctor's office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. The doctor asked what happened and the man explained, "Well, doc, it's like this: First I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, still nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, and then her left, still nothing. She even tried with her mouth; first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing. We even called up Earleen, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeez'n it between her knees, but still nothing. The doctor was shocked! "You asked your neighbor?" The old man replied, "Yep, but no matter what we tried, we still couldn't get that damned jar open."

"This is for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance" -- Halle Berry

Did you see it? Did you watch? Washington, Berry, Poitier...something that has been very wrong with America was set straight last night.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

A Blog Sister at Least

Finally I've managed to get myself on as an official blog sister. A funny story today from Tish. A male friend in the midst of a divorce was talking to Tish and her sister Jane. After his endless stories of how rotten his first wife was, he said he really hoped to find an independent woman. Jane turned around and said, "Oh, someone like Tish maybe." Jeneane, you remember Tish, the queen of independent women. The guy stopped dead in mid sentence and didn't know what to say. Suddenly he was looking at a living definition of "independent woman" and maybe reconsidering. Be careful what you wish for. I am new at this blogging thing, but in awe of its power to connect people and give voice to our thoughts. I will attempt to put a link in to my blog, Writing Workshop
Hello! Wow! I feel very special today for the fact that I, a young southern girl, can be in this wonderful setting with all of these brillant women. I am in such shock right now that I don't know what else to say! Except Hello to all my sisters!

Friday, March 22, 2002

A Fractured Fairytale...

Spending my afternoons watching old movies probably wasn't a good thing. They reminded me how impossibly high my standards were set when it came time to find a significant other. I can't blame it all on the old movies, though. I am a woman after all adn I was a little girl at one time and don't all little girls dream about Mr. Right at some point? I'm not a romantic, per se - too damn cynical for that, un hunh. I can be an idealist, though, and on certain days, especially rainy afternoon/playing hooky/phone off the hook kind of days, I can spend the afternoon watching old movies and crying like a baby for what I think I missed out on.
Anway, it got me thinking (between Kleenex) and it spawned this....just thought my sisters might be able to relate.

Wonder Woman Lives
At least in olde time postcards.
I'll teach these hounds of Hades what it costs to insult an Amazon! SMASH!

The Kindness of Sisters

I posted this on my own blog.

Why Blogsisters Flock Together...

"Friends are much more important to women than men, and they talk about highly personal topics," said Dr Michael Argyle, psychology professor at Oxford University.

"Men don't have friends like that."

This research might explain to an extent why women flock together. Check out what else the good Dr Argyle has to say.

Now, we also have research to back us!!

This other report should be even more encouraging: "Women know what they want from the internet and spend less time than men getting it, according to analyst firm Jupiter MMXI."

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Let's get on with it!

I posted this as a comment, but decided to blog it too.

You're so right Andrea. I think like a lot of terms, feminism has been abused, twisted and contorted, thus creating so much confusion, cynicism and disapproval from segments of people. Whichever side of the fence you're on, there's a problem. And to top it all, its really uncomfortable sitting on top of it!

It has different connotations for everyone and rather than agree or disagree with people, as long as we know what we are all about, 'they' can't really do much damage. The minute we 'label' ourselves as something, there's bound to be trouble and controversy.

Since we've resolved (and know) what we're here together for, maybe we should now get on with whatever we want to do. Y'know, exchange recipes, talk about relationships, and be ourselves, just like in the ladies room!

I don't see why a bunch of women yakking together should create so much of a ruckus anyway. But maybe, it's a good sign too ;)

Defining Feminism

A little post-blog-sisters-political-bashing reflection.

A few posts back, Jeneane made the remark that she didn't really consider herself a feminist. I threw in my little comment to that post, mentioning that I didn't particularly consider myself one either. Then this person named Deb Gussman followed up with this comment:
I'm new to reading Blogsisters, and I'd be interested in hearing more about why you don't consider yourself a feminist. It seems to me that nothing that goes on here could be considered "anti-feminist," at any rate.

Excellent comment, and though that may perhaps have been directed at Jeneane, I'm going to respond to it anyway.

Yesterday, I was reading something on Anita's blog, and she had a quote from the estimable Burningbird:
Anyone who believes that women should have equal opportunity for work, equal pay for said work, equal opportunity of religion, equal opportunity to education, equal opportunity to medical care, equal opportunity to speak, equal opportunity to vote, control over what happens with her body, equal say with what happens to her family and her children is a feminist.

I think that is probably the most positive definition of feminism. Now go watch a flick like I Shot Andy Warhol and tell me what the definition of feminism there is. ;-) Even better, you can read this manifesto online.

"Feminist" is a political word. Just like "Democrat" or "Republican", it implies a particular political agenda, an approach to society, economics, and governmental ideology. Unfortunately, all those three words do not contain any absolutes. You can have Democrats ranging all over the political spectrum on different issues, Republicans that believe that, say, abortion should be legal and Republicans that believe it shouldn't. The same with feminists (it's not a perfect analogy-- feminists aren't necessarily a "political party" like the other two). Some feminists believe that men are disgusting pigs and should be wiped off the face of the earth, some are like Shelley and genuinely want equal treatment. Some claim they want to be treated like equals, but then still want the door held open for them, too.

I've done some very pro-feminine things. I've been a part of women's discussion groups, I've been in Take Back the Night Marches, I've lived in a Christian women's community in college. But I don't like the "feminist" label. For me, I don't consider myself a Democrat, just like I don't consider myself a feminist. I do consider myself politically liberal/left-leaning. I do consider myself interested in women's issues in politcal and other arenas. I shy away from the labeling words, however, because it's so nebulous. I don't want to describe myself to other people in a way that has so many conflicting definitions, especially in such a divisive way.

Like Anita, I like to think of myself as a humanist. If I make the mental distinction of feminist, I find myself slipping into the trap of everything being "women this and women that" or "men blah, men blah blah." I've schooled myself to think "person" instead; not because I think that gender should be completely ignored, but because I don't want it to necessarily be the significant defining characteristic when I first look at someone.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

The Hyperlinked Mom

I wrote this a while back and don't know if I ever shared it. It's kind of a birdseye view of my crazy life that mixes telecommuting, motherhood, wifery, and, um, other stuff I forget right now. Wish I could get it to an editor at a pub that would p-a-y. Ah well, this place makes the effort worth while. gotta sleep now sisterssssssssssss.



A Different Kind Of Wired

Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau were interviewed on Fresh Air recently about their book Uplift: The Bra In America. Talk about your support systems. They touch (no pun) on things like '50's bullet-bras, and how when bras first came about they were a liberating relief from the forty-some pounds of corsetry and petticoats they usurped. I guess the logical question is, what's next? Perhaps this forward-looking group could spearhead some sophisticated and even more freeing MagLev system...

a few days late and you don't want to know how many dollars short

Geeze, I don't read for a few days and all hell breaks loose. Going back to earlier topics: I'm glad, in a way, that this site has been challenged. Personally, I needed to look more closely at why I blog and how I blog, which these challenges and insults have made me do. Reading everyone else's whys and wherefors has been illuminating. I agree, this site is a conversation, and as my sister-in-law says, conversation is a lost art. Perhaps the immediacy of the Internet has exacerbated that loss. I've blogged about this, and please forgive me for not wanting to write it out twice...but like I said, whoever joins this site does so because of who she is, not what she feels like discussing at the present moment. Jeneane (or someone -- sorry, couldn't find the reference) asked awhile back for us to share what makes us angry. More than anything else these days, what makes me grind my teeth with rage are people who expect women to only be reactive. To our partners, current, past or potential. To criticism. To categorization. "You're a woman, so you should only talk about X, X and X." "I'm a woman, so whenever I have a chance to hang with my girls, we're going to talk about sex." I am who I am (am I channeling the divine or Popeye? never sure), and I will continue to seek out that person as I grow, and will seek out the company of others on that same quest. We'll talk about racist language and foreign affairs and our homes and sex drives and friends and fears. And that's as much time as I'm going to spend defending this endeavor, which will merrily go on irregardless of anyone's approval or bitter condemnation.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Heehee

Fishrush dubbed us the "blognunnery." Heh! Fishrush rules. And I'm not just saying that because he links to me. ;)

Aussie Gov OK's the N-Word

I found this article from my hopefully soon to be country-of-residence kind of interesting: http://www.smh.com.au/news/0203/20/national/national18.html

Personally, I think this never would have happened in the U.S. The n-word is way too verboten. I don't agree with the idea of completely eliminating the word from the language by banning books which contain it. One of my most favorite, influential novels contains it: The Enormous Room, by e e cummings. However, I disagree that it's "not necessarily racist." It has so many roots in racism, that I find it hard to disentangle it from racial issues altogether.

The sign in question, which contains the inflammatory N-word (for those who don't want to read the whole article), contains the nickname of a certain rugby player, who was quite caucasian-looking, but happened to use a certain brand of shoe polish called "Nigger Brown." The thing is, while the sign isn't there to be racist, the name of the shoe polish has undeniable racist connotations. Right there, deep roots in racism, even though the moniker wasn't intended as a racist one.

I think that the fair thing to do here, would just be to replace the sign with the rugby player's given names instead of a nickname. Odd that that wasn't a satisfactory compromise.
Why Christine is Here
Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I echo Jeneane's welcome blog.

Blog Sisters Adds News Page

To keep our members and readers "in the know," we now have a News page, which will be our spot for sisterly news, happenings, events, and/or whatever else we all think should be there. Currently, the page houses our first press release discussing our organizational restructuring.

We aim to serve.

Why I am glad you are here, Christine

Because your voice is genuine and beautiful.
Because your concerns are heart-felt and noble.
Because you have examined your relationships with others.
Because you aren't afraid to share what you've learned from those relationships.
Because you understand this blog.
Because you have a sense of humor.
And because you told people to stop writing their posts in the comment boxes.

For these reasons and more, I am so glad you are here.
Why I am here...

I’m not a writer; I’m a visual artist.
I’m not a feminist; in fact, I heartily disagree with much of what contemporary feminism stands for.
I’m not a techie; I barely know enough HTML to keep from screwing up my own weblog on a daily basis.
I’m not politically correct or on the cutting edge, I’ve tried to be and it just isn’t me.

The reason why I wanted to join BlogSisters is because for the first time in my life, I felt like I found a good opportunity to belong within a group of women, even if it is at a distance. Over the years I have built several wonderful, enduring friendships with men, however I have avoided or ended friendships with women because of what I repeatedly observed when some females got together in groups. They had a tendency to belittle one another, gossip, and generally act catty. They often indulged in male bashing. They could not disagree on issues without things becoming personal. That kind of atmosphere just doesn’t appeal to me.

What does appeal to me, however, is genuine expression from a genuine soul, whether eloquent or not so eloquent. If I can sense authenticity in another person’s words, I’ll listen to them no matter what the topic may be. What I would like BlogSisters to be is a place where all women can be whomever they are and say whatever is on their mind at the time. I’d like to see everything from parenting tips to commentary surrounding current events. I also enjoy reading good-natured ribbing between friends and jokes seen from a female’s perspective. In short, I guess I am looking for a sense of community among women here that I have never been able to find elsewhere.

One other thing on my wish list while we’re at it: can we all stop writing in the commentary box so much? I’ve read some wonderful “comments” that would have made great entries on the main page and would stimulate some lively conversation. Simply put a “Re:” in front of the entry and respond to the topic you wish to discuss. Don't be shy, ok? :)

Anyway, that's my two cents for the day. ::plink plink::
More to follow, I'm sure!

Monday, March 18, 2002

Now there's one of the good guys
We've gotten a rousing cheer from b!X. I should damn well hope so. Everything I know about the web and blogging I learned from him. He continues to be my hero.

More on what we're doing

Elaine uses an important word more than once below: Conversation. Blog Sisters is a conversation; it's not a club. It's not the weight watchers site or an adult children of alcoholics forum, where, to draw an analogy, we hug and support our way through or specific challenges of BEING women. (By the way, I am not dissing those sites--I'd bet some of us have homes in those places too). Those types of communities are very useful and amazing groups of people gather there for a shared purpose. And certainly here, we can and should support one another rather than lapsing into the "heavy handed verbal sparring" Elaine mentions below. I agree that constructive debate and disagreement are positive things and will do my best to tow the line.

The difference with Blog Sisters is that we *feature* women. We are not necessarily *about* all things women. This is a conversation among women, not a conversation about women necessarily. As for our members--those who have accepted the invite to post if and when they feel like it--we have an amazing range of ladies here. Our youngest, Emily, is 15, and the eldest I'm aware of (she shared her age on her blog recently) is Elaine at 62.

Think of it! Think of the possibilities for learning and growing from shared conversation among this group. Imagine. I've learned so much already.

For the record, and I've said this before, I don't consider myself a feminist. And I'm sure we can debate what that means. I believe there are significant differences between men and women; I've been married to a wonderful man for 16 years and I consider him the head of our household; and women who whimper about being women drive me crazy. At the same time, I have noticed that the posts of women bloggers are often overlooked when it comes to linking and discussion in the greater world of blogging. And I think that's wrong. We do have something to say. And thanks to the net we have many places where we can have our say. Blog Sisters is one of them.

In number, let our voices resound.

Even more on focus and freedom
In a Comment, burningbird asks if we are doing women a service if we "tone down" blog discussions the way that some teachers "tone down" math with the mistaken assumption that girls can't compete in math on the same level with boys.

Again, rather than only Comment to her Comment, I'm putting my response here:
I guess I don't see why we can't have it both ways: play equally with boys when we're out there and still have a place where just "us girls" can come and schmooze. (I guess I must have really liked those one-sex dorms.) We learn to join the pissing contests out there because that's the rules that the male majority set up. (I'm not talking about "majority" in terms of general population; I'm taking about the various power places, including the internet.) Most men can deal with pissing just about anywhere, but most women seem to prefer a Ladies Room. Maybe that's how we should bill Blogsisters -- "A Ladies Room for Bloggers."

Sunday, March 17, 2002

More on focus and freedom
I was going to add this as a comment on Jeanene's previous post, but I think that it's better to post it up front, and I encourage any any continuing conversations about the current issue to also be posted rather than commented.

While it has to be OK for people to disagree on this weblog, I hope, as well, that the disagreements among ourselves would be respectful and care-full. I say this because I, personally, see this blog as a place where some of the less assertive female bloggers might feel comfortable entering into a conversation -- perhaps for the first time. So there has to be some kind of balance between healthy, strong debate and providing a positive and supportive environment in which the non Alpha Females can feel comfortable participating. See my post on my own blog tonight. I guess it's just my cybermom/teacher tendencies coming out. There's plenty of opportunities for heavy handed verbal sparring out in the larger blogworld. Do we have to/want to do it here as well? If we want to wrestle each other to the ground, can we do it through our individual blogs -- maybe with an invitation to join extended through this one? I'm really asking these questions because Meryl made some very valid points in her comment. Yet I know that there are women who need to feel that this is a safe place to express themselves. We can't be all things to all people. Personally, I'd like to err on the safe side right now.

As focused as we want to be.

Meryl says this about the Blog Sisters blog over at Shelley's place: "It turns out that Blogsisters' problems are exactly as I feared: It lacks focus and coherence, and there are too many authors--who probably don't have a lot of time to spend outside their own blogs. If I had my druthers, I'd rather see a women's issues-oriented version of Metafilter, where women AND men could post links to a wide variety of such issues and create comment threads to discuss them. And not feel guilty about lurking for long periods of time. But I think you need the Metafilter format, not Blogger, for something like that. And frankly, most men head for the hills when a discussion about women's issues is raised. So I'm not going to hold my breath."

Meryl goes on to say some good things about what we're doing here, and she has participated--there is a comment below by her of recent. But I look at it this way: Conversations are not mutually exclusive. You can discuss women's issues over on metafilter AND post on blogsisters, or another team blog, or make a second blog of your own. And if some folks take a breather here on Blog Sisters and don't post for a while, then step in and SAY something. Passive aggression will not do. And I've seen way too much of it online lately.

As for the "lack of focus and coherence," in the last few days we've shared links and opinions on the rights of gay adoptive parents, women in education, blogging, women and sex, online relationships, and more. Do these strike anyone as unfocused and incoherent? This is the kind of comment that makes others reluctant to post, for fear they will be perceived as incoherent. Or won't be good enough. And I won't have that. Not here. Anyone who posts here has the perfect right to say what she thinks, to invent as she goes, to wish she'd said something differently and try again, and to do so without repercussion.

I made Elaine co-administrator of this blog earlier today, before I read any of the negative posts out there. Elaine, hope you still want the job. :-)

in defense of this blog

Thank you Burning Bird for standing up for the Blog Sisters in light of Jonathon's rip on Blog Sisters. Jonathon says this about us:

You and I both know, Dave, that the breathtaking hypocrisy of "Where Men Can Link, But They Can't Touch" isn't going to get "looked at" any time soon, not by the BlogSisters nor by anyone else in the blogging universe.

His was a response to this post by Dave Winer.

Well shit. Bird says it well enough in her post, but I feel a RageBoy coming on. Jonathon, have you ever heard of having FUN? That's what we're here to do. And in the mean time, we hope to learn some, grow some, help some--you know, those little womanly tasks men like you give us credit for. I can hear him now, "I wasn't making it personal..." Yah, well, it *is* personal. It takes a lot of juice to make this thing hum. I resent your comments. And I resent you.

Men are free to comment here, but posting privileges are reserved for the women of the blog universe. And I'll say it loud and clear to you: We are too often overlooked in the witty posts and link exchanges between and among the men of the blogs. I'm one of the fortunate few, but there are plenty great women bloggers out there who get overlooked because they're not writing about code or how they impressed their girlfriends.

You know, this tops the email I got the other day from someone I had listed in our sister roll asking to be removed. "I didn't agree to participate," she said, and went on to say she didn't like the notion of defining herself by gender.

LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE!

No woman here is making Blog Sisters her halfway house. We all have other blogs. We all have real world lives. And we *are* getting "looked at" and linked to, which is why we hit number 3 on daypop our first day out, and why there are 27 comments over on Shelley's blog discussing the topic.

We're not lame dolts with nothing better to do. This isn't a male-bashing forum. But you make me want to turn it into one. Trust me Jonathon, you don't want to take me on. Not this month. And not today. I'll rip you apart.

I'm pretty sure you posted what you did so that you could pump up your own standings. Hope it works, whimp.






Comment on Comment
Marenoire commented this on my previous post:
I can do *hugs* only so often but there are times where I find my voice isn't exactly a common one. I know that I like reading about what other women are thinking, especially if they are in a place where I aspire to be. Sane. Heh, kidding. This is a diverse entity, I hope we acknowledge, appreciate, and respect the voices especially if it isn't ours.

I replay it here because this is just the kind of conversation I hope to get going, and I also hope that she doesn't mind my calling attention to what she said. I know that it's easier to comment than log on with an actual blogpost, but I also know that some readers never get to the comments. So, it might be possible that Blogsisters will do away with the Comment feature so that nothing important gets missed.

And what Mare said is important. I think we all aspire to what she hopes for -- to acknowledge and appreciate all voices, even those that aren't ours. Now, I'll state my biases right up front: I'm a staunch political leftist, and I am not open to conservative rhetoric. So, the best I can do when some surfaces is keep my mouth shut. I am also a "nurturer," and happy giving comfort and support when it seems to be needed, so *hugs* are sure OK with me. They just need to be balanced with constructive and thoughtful ideas, perspectives, and questions. So, in the black sea out there, I hope Blogsisters can be a beacon.
Another Where
Once upon a time, there was a clever young blogger whose address was www.opinebovine.com. She's disappeared off the web as far as any of us know, and she disappeared purposely. She made herself disappear because, as she explained before she packed up her bags and blogs and moved on, that she was being cyberharrassed and didn't know how to make it stop. It makes me so mad to think that all of that pain is following us here. Is there so safe place for women?

I ask because I believe that Jeneane saw Blogspot's Blogsisters as a space where web-savvy women (or, in my case, aspiring web-savvy women) could share what they have in common and explore, together, what they don't have in common.

I can't help wishing that more of you would share, in both real and web life, what makes you angry ? What drives you crazy? What drives you to Prozac? What do you wish there were more of? Can we, collectively, become a force on the web?

Here's an example of what we might blogjam on:
I happened to stumble on this as I was looking at some stuff about gender differences in learning:
We've had an interesting experience with a listserv here. The listserv services a computing subject with a mixture of students - young, old, internal, distance education, male dominated but some female. A mature female de student sent a friendly "hello, I'm so and so, I have x kids and a dog", sort of message and got FLAMED by two younger (we think) males who rubbished her and said who cares etc etc and complained that a listserv should only be used for content not social things.
Interesting sociological research potential. If women arguably need the chatty, supportive side to their learning, will being flamed by young males result in dropout?


On the other hand, I dropped out of a listserv of all women that had no intellectual content whatever. It was more "supportive" (virtual hugs) than any actual support group I've ever seen.

Research shows that women, generally, learn, communicate, and solve problems differently than men. Not necessarily better or worse; just differently.

We each have our own strong blogvoice. Blogsisters gives us a chance to make some really jazzy music together. I thoroughly enjoy solo performances. But there's nothing more energizing than a good blogjam!

Friday, March 15, 2002

Where
Oh, where will Thompson go now? I'm so mean, when she's on tv, I count how many mistakes she's made. She doesn't seem to care that they're pretty much live and acts like it's no big deal if she reads something wrong.

Maybe she's going back to acting?

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Re: Let Him Stay!
i think the boy should be allowed to be adopted by the two men who have raised him since infancy. to remove him from the only family he has ever known would be an outrageously cruel act.

however, i also think that Rosie O'Donnell needs to stay the hell out of all of this. if i have read things correctly, she is using this particular circumstance to advocate that the entire ban against gay couples adopting should be lifted. that's just as ridiculous as someone saying that all straight couples should be eligible to adopt kids, too. we all know how ignorant a generalization like that is.

in my opinion, the ideal situation is for a child to be adopted in families with a woman and man who are married. i realize this isn't always possible, though, so we need more options. why can't we go by the standard that sane, healthy and responsible couples should be the people eligible to adopt children and leave it at that? the fact is, things like this need to be decided on a case by case basis. if the couple has proven over a certain amount of time that they can handle being a parent, that they can provide a safe home for a child, and that they honestly want to love and share their life with a child, more power to them. let them adopt as many as they feel they are capable of raising properly.

that is all that any adoption should be based upon.

i, for one, am sick of celebrities promoting their veiled agendas. in this instance, i believe what Ms. Rosie wants is more rights for gays and lesbians, not children. i don't care what she says; i know a political mouthpiece when i hear one yapping.

Let Him Stay!
Florida does not allow gay couples to adopt children, although they do let them take them in as foster kids. This couple has several foster children, one of whom is now, I believe, 14, has been in their care since he was nine days old. They would love to adopt him, but Florida says no,and is actively seeking other families to adopt this boy -- essentially taking him away from the only family he has even known.

Rosie O'Donnel has made a big stink of this on her show and encourages everyone to visit this site, read the story, and "Take action" -- which will send a letter to the Governer's office putting pressure on them to change the laws. Time to push the envelope a little more. Go to the the "take action" page and click a little poke in Dubya's brother's eye.

Push My Button


cover



Thank you RageBoy for helping us to bridge that gender gap.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Hey, Henry Jenkins Gets It.

Yah, okay, I hate the "gets it" thing too already, but there isn't a better way to explain this article by Henry Jenkins (let's all use his name and push him up the daypop top 40 list) on what bloggers are doing and how important it is, especially today when mainstream media is homogenized beyond repair. This sister thanks RageBoy for the link.
Hey! It Ain’t the New York Times
In my younger days, I used to be a big fan of Cosmopolitan magazine. The condensed novels and short stories were just the things to skim in that lazy pre-yawn hour. Simple plots, sexy men – just the thing to switch mental gears and prepare me for pleasant dreams.

And then, after I finished the fiction, there were still those dozens of glossy pages of fashions, horoscopes – and all of that sex advice. Except, as it turns out, it wasn’t only the short stories that were fiction.

Meryl Yourish pointed me to an online article by Liza Featherstone, Faking It: Sex, Lies, and Women's Magazines, that reports, according to various women’s magazine editors,
…many of the people discussed in these [sex advice] stories simply do not exist. The former Cosmo editor says that when the qualifier "Names have been changed" appeared, the characters in the story were composites. But a fact-checker at another top-circulation women's magazine says, "'Composite' gives it too much credit. It's much more invented than that. 'Names have been changed' can mean anything, including 'Totally made up…."Hey, it ain't The New York Times," the Cosmo loyalist says in her former employer's defense. "We should not be in the business of misinforming people, but we are publishing an entertaining, popular magazine that people want to read."

The comments reported by Featherstone took place at a
….cocktail-hour panel of women's magazine editors, hosted by Mediabistro.com, a media networking organization, and held at Obeca Li, a trendy nouvelle Asian restaurant in lower Manhattan. Audience members, mostly senior-level editors and writers for women's magazines, joined the panelists in voicing many familiar complaints about the industry: too many skinny models, even more emaciated feature stories, and too much advertiser influence on editorial content. Laurie Abraham, executive editor of Elle magazine, however, had something else on her mind. The worst thing about women's magazines, she asserted during the panel discussion, is how much "we lie about sex."

Even more oddly,
Once, discussing a prospective personal essay with a Marie Claire editor, a writer was asked to change a reference to a female lover -- turning her into a man. "Women's magazines have a very specific idea of what's 'normal,'" says a Glamour writer. "Anything that deviates threatens the stability of the universe.

Apparently, writers of these columns and articles did just what I probably would have considered doing: They sat round with their friends, concocted interesting salacious anecdotes -- some spun off the actual experiences of these friends – and then attributed them to fictional women of the age appropriate to the magazine’s readership.

Imagine all of the young competitive women who felt inadequate as they measured their sex lives against the myths of magazine lore – or, even worse, who used these columns as a guide to fulfilling sexual behavior and relationships.

One recent Marie Claire headline, Featherstone writes in conclusion, stood out from the newsstand's usual breathlessness: the truth about women and sex. A bit ambitious, perhaps, but emphatically worth a try.

From what I have read so far, Blogsisters tell the truth! Right? Right?

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Stop me if you've heard this before.
This is a laugh for all those women out there who so look forward to that wonderful time, once a year, when they get to be "intimate" with their OB/GYN doctor! In Sydney, Australia one of the radio stations pays money ($1000-$5000) for people to tell their most embarrassing stories. This one netted the winning $5000........

"I had an appointment later in the week with the gynecologist. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for early that morning - 9:30 a.m. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45 a.m. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare. As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort.

I rushed upstairs, threw off my dressing gown, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in "that area" to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment. I was in the waiting room only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away.

I was a little surprised when the doctor said, "My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven't we?" But I didn't respond.

When the appointment was over, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal - some shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. After school, while my six-year-old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, "Mum, where's my washcloth?"

I told her to get another one from the cupboard. "No!", she replied. "I need the one that was here by the sink. It had all my glitter and sparkles in it."

Monday, March 11, 2002

Virtual Love

I was going to post a comment to Valerie's online relationship post, but then I realized I just had way too much to say on the subject in the form of useless background information and other kinds of silly babbling to squish it all into a comment.

I'm definitely coming from the perspective of "TheNewerVal" in Valerie's sample conversations. I learned to socialize online, and gained a lot of self-confidence through my online friendships. I also made some bad choices with people online. They weren't any worse than bad choices others have made in meeting people in meatspace. But those bad experiences also give me a perverse little bit of cynicism about online relationships. I don't see them as a replacement for "real life" friends, but I do see them as a great way to meet new people and augment my current social life.

I don't think I ever suffered from a disorder that kept me from socializing-- my problem wasn't chemical. When you grow up on a sail boat and then move around a whole bunch before age eight, when you're a pretty intelligent kid with a weird imagination and more skill at talking to adults than people your own age, it's kind of hard to make friends with your peers. I was skinny, precocious, outspoken, I dressed funny, and I didn't let other people's opinions make me change who I was. But I still wanted to be liked for who I was, and that led to a lot of emotional suffering during most of my formative years.

Flash forward to 1996. It's my senior year of high school, I've already been playing around with that BBS stuff, downloading games. My friend Jeff and I have been mailing floppy disks back and forth containing bootleg games and little programs written in BASIC. My family has just started dialing into an ISP and downloading web pages from the WWW at something like a 9600 baud rate. Then, a classmate of mine says to me, "You should get AOL! It's great! You can chat with people in real time!" and I begged with my parents and we signed up for what turned out to be overpriced per minute charges at slow speeds and constant busy signals with access numbers. But in the midst of all that, I started hanging out with a bunch of people who did online roleplaying.

I know what you might be thinking. Online friends and roleplaying? How much further can you sink yourself into the Kingdom of Loservania? For me it was a big step up. The roleplaying was good for the creative writer in me. It allowed me to put myself inside another personality, to play with traits and impulses in me that had been subsumed by shyness and isolation. Unlike the opinions of idiots like these (warning, scary site ahead, which can be thoroughly debunked by this site), roleplaying can be a pretty healthy activity. And for the record, I've never participated in murder-suicides or been possessed by any demons, to my knowledge.

During that time, I made some really good friends, one of which became one of the closest friends I've probably ever had. Those friendships gave me the confidence to start interacting more with folks IRL. It clued me in that I could be a relatively likeable person when I wasn't trying too hard, and it got me used to dealing with and relating to people from all different kinds of backgrounds (believe it or not, 14 year olds are not the only people who roleplay-- two of the people who ran a particular game were a married couple with a son in high school).

I won't say that my online friendships (and subsequent romantic relationships) were the solution to my shyness. But they gave me a relatively pressure-free training ground to work some serious stuff out. If things got too dicey for me, I could always log off and write an email after I calmed down. And there's also something about online interaction that encourages a kind of honesty and intimacy that's hard to reproduce in the real world. Those kind of experiences later lent depth to my real world friendships.

Yes, there are people who lie online (and not all of them are marketing jerks creating blinking banner ads). I've had some scary experiences with that. A college friend got involved with a guy she'd met online over spring break and decided she was going to marry him after a week. She went to visit him and ended up being pushed into having sex against her will. Did this happen only because it was an online romance? No, of course not, take out the "she met him online" part and you have a pretty typical story about a girl with low self-esteem who just wanted somebody to love her and threw her common sense out the window. I've had experiences of my own that were fairly similar (though, fortunately, didn't result in rape). In retrospect, you can spot an online liar pretty much as easily as you can spot a liar face-to-face. All you need is a good lack of naiveté and a wariness when someone is telling you exactly what you want to hear.

After a lot of experience, I developed a few personal rules for my online interactions. I don't expect these to be universal rules, but they've worked well so far for me. One is that I hardly ever turn away anyone who wants to chat with me (one of the few exceptions is people who are obviously trying way to hard to get into cybersex-- those, I just mess with their heads. I've met some really interesting people from random ICQ messages.

My second rule is that if I'm going to meet someone from online in person, I need to have an escape route or a backup plan, in case things go incredibly awry one way or another. It doesn't even necessarily have to mean that the person is questionably trustworthy; it's a good general long-distance-travel rule as well. My final rule is that if things take a romantic turn, I definitely meet that person as soon as I possibly can. With that kind of relationship, nothing replaces the gut feeling you get when you see the other person eye to eye. My first "boyfriend" was a guy who lived on the other side of the country that I never met for two years. That ended up in a miserable mess that I won't get into because this damn post is already too long. My current boyfriend is one I met online as well. We met in person a few months after we decided we were interested, and when I first saw him at Heathrow airport, sparks flew, and they've been sparkling since.