We spend a lot of time in the handful of decades that we exist in this world being told things and telling things. But there are comparitively very few moments when we allow our pretenses to drop and we come together to share something honest, and complex, and for many of us a little (or a lot) scary. That's a transformative thing.
What would happen if Melissa from Shakesville, Garland from Tiger Beatdown (and the Bitch blogs!), and Jessica from scATX joined forces and created a Super Site, like when the Transformers would combine and make a Super Robot? It sounds like the stuff of feminist blogosphere fanfic, but it's actually happening! Introducing: Flyover Feminism.
Kerry A. Gunther, bear management biologist at Yellowstone National Park explains in her information paper "Bears and Menstruating Women," "The objective of this paper is to present the data available on this subject so that [campers] can make an informed choice when deciding whether or not to hike and/or camp in bear country during their menstrual period." In the end, the author concludes that, "There is no evidence that grizzly and black bears are overly attracted to menstrual odors more than any other odor." However, those of us who menstruate should take the recommended precautions that include using tampons instead of pads, and packing out used tampons and pads out in a double baggie. I can see the headline now in a million women's magazines: "Could Your Tampons Get You Mauled to Death!?"
Oh, Bitch readers. My time with the Bridal Party series is nearing its end. For my penultimate post, I thought I'd share with you something I never knew existed prior to this series. Something so amazing (read: absurd) that I'm not even sure I can develop a critical thought framework around it. That is a lie. I could develop a critital thought framework about a slice of pie if I tried.
Sound familiar? You don't have to be Nigerian to recognize the challenge of traditional gender roles—and women being pigeon-holed into caregiving. Some of us have these roles upheld through political systems or religious faiths. However, in my case, the gendered role (of caring for everyone else and sacrificing my needs, constantly, for the betterment of my family and community) happens to be dictated by my culture. Still, my Nigerian/African heritage is a very central part of my identity; our family values, community-centric approach to everything, and the strong sense of duty that comes with both of those things have guided me for as long as I can remember. Thus, even with the heightened awareness that perhaps an unusual amount of self-sacrifice came with my name, I was reluctant to deviate from this for a very long time.
As a tomboy bride, I BARELY wanted to wear a dress, let alone something that looked like to me like a cupcake.
The wedding industry, and pop culture in general, is so bossy about what everyone's experience of gender is. Hey, Wedding Crap Culture! Not everyone is a pile of princess fantasies! And stop telling all humans to lose weight! Stop counseling us all on up-dos!
"What will your wedding day hair be, Michael?" It will just be my hair. It's short and sits there on my head quite well.
I had felt unsafe in that space. The night had represented every micro aggression I'd ever experienced from straight people: cab drivers that kicked me out in the middle of the night because they wouldn't tolerate "that" at the back of their cabs, store managers who kept insisting I'd find better clothing in the women's section, every gay boy that looked me up and down with disdain because I wasn't conforming to their inherited fucked up view on what a woman should look like or wear to be "fabulous," straight women who blatantly ignored me because I didn't fit in the coop, and femme girls that ranted on and on about masculine privilege, but hardly ever acknowledged that their pretty privilege made their worlds so much bigger than mine. That my girl could mindlessly shimmy onto a dance floor even as a gay woman and enjoy the simple pleasure of a dance, go out with her straight friends to bars and not be stared at or called names, etc., while everything about the landscape, from the "Ladies free before 11PM" sign to the man-woman dance partner pairings made me so angry all of a sudden. And, I didn't know how to handle it.
Last week was Ida B. Wells' 150th birthday. To recognize the occasion, the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee hosted a reception in Bronzeville, IL to honor her and pitch for donations for a monument to be designed by Chicago sculptor Richard Hunt. A monument is a great idea, but here's the catch:
The 20-foot granite and bronze piece will be installed at 37th and Langley, the site of the old Ida B. Wells Homes, the public housing development erected a decade after her death.
So many people dream about having the kind of partner I have; the kind of person that will support you through thick and thin because they actually believe in you; the kind of woman who will deny herself the right to look and feel "pretty"—skip out on getting her hair cut, even when the ends are sleeping, and you're too much of a jackass to notice her non-answers when you tease her about it—just so she can support you. In the (many) moments when I doubted if I was choosing the right path/career for myself, and would talk about getting a "real" job, her assurance and unconditional support gave me so much gratitude; she was my rock, the pillar of our household, and our relationship. So, every single time some "boi" makes a sexist joke about bringing in the bacon for "my woman" or a straight dude presumes to know who "wears the pants" in the relationship, or a waiter assumes I'm the one that's paying the bill (even after she asks for it), I flip the f**k out.