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Friday, 16 March 2012

A Bit of a Feminist Rant for a Friday, and Why I Now Feel Better



For David, Marc, Marsha, and Tracy...and Phil Rockstroh

A Very Good Day


In many ways, yesterday was a very good day.

The business that I've just opened, Running Steps, (http://www.runningsteps.ca/) is being very well-received. I got some very positive feedback yesterday on my website, and I may already have a small writing job. Talking about my business on Facebook has put me in touch with some old friends to whom I haven't spoken in years, and doing some other marketing has brought some new friends into my life.

I had a very enjoyable lunch with my father and I got some adorable pictures from my sister of my now seven-month-old niece, Gillian. I know that I'm biased, but I think that she might just possibly be the most adorable baby ever:


And Yet... (Here Comes the Feminist Rant)


I did get myself good and upset, however, about some of what's going on in America (from a feminist standpoint).  Romney's sudden decision this week that he would get rid of Planned Parenthood as President, coupled with a bill in Arizona proposing that employers have the right to require female employees to prove that they're not using birth control for sex before covering it under health plans, left me feeling sad and angry and...raw. It seems like a feminist nightmare. I don't want my niece and the young girls that I've worked with in my career worked with growing up in a world where the most powerful nation in the world feels that women's sexuality is something to be controlled, and where their bodies are war zones. I don't want that trend spreading to Canada. Like the commentary I wrote on Britain's Welfare Benefit Reform legislation, none of this affects me as a Canadian - except that it does.

Thankfully, I have friends, both male and female, that eventually talked me down from the shaking, teary mess that threatened to overwhelm me several times during the day.

And eventually I found something, from brilliant essayist Phil Rockstroh, that spoke to me as disability advocate, a feminist...and just as a person:

https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/14-6#.T2EvdphYajI.facebook

My take-away from this essay was the following, and it's something that I think I'll come back to again and again...especially on days where I feel powerless, or where I feel like my small efforts to make a difference in this world make no difference at all:

"How then is it possible to withstand feelings of powerlessness? Put one foot in front of the other. Write one word after the next on your protest sign. Make your life a flaming arrow aimed at the dry and rotted heart of the system or make your own heart a warm hearth of compassion for its victims, as you negotiate its cold realities. Thus, hope becomes a process of engagement, not a comforting lie; not the stuff of public relations hustlers and political hacks but a quality of honest conviction and persistent labor; and not a cynical marketing tool."

Thank you, Mr. Rockstroh. I needed that.

Happy Friday

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