What Will Fit in the Feminism Box?

Over the years since the initial feminist movement in America, some change has been occurred for the better. Women have suffrage. Huzzah!

There is still a lot that needs to happen, and three waves later, this is rather frustrating. Social, cultural, political, and legal inequalities abound. Most of these issues are so mind-bogglingly frustrating because they are so common sense. While America is ahead of the curve on a few issues, the nation falls short on so many others.

Give me a political system that notices that all people are people. Men, women, gender ambiguous individuals, children, and those of any sexuality, race, abilities, age, and religion. We all have needs that should not be shirked, should not be denied, and should not be tossed out like day old bread. Lame simile, but you get the point.

With so many issues bouncing around, I do feel like some should be prioritized. You have to pick your battles in this war for humanity. Although the small victories are still appealing and give us hope, other victories change lives.

We pick and choose which fights we want. Who pays for dinner? Are tampons anti-feminist? Are bras? Do I take my husband’s last name? Really, why isn’t it normal yet for a man to take a woman’s last name? Should I be allowed to have an abortion when my life is on the line? Do legal ambiguities and discriminations determine my life’s outcome?

Some of these issues might matter to you. Here, we are Feminism in a Bra, and we have chosen our battles. Sometimes, smaller issues do matter. For the most part, we want the basic human rights that should be common sense. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. When we aren’t free to make decisions for the benefit of our lives that don’t harm others, we must be brave and stand up for what we believe in. I find it a very American idea to be feminist.

People tend to seek out what they find important. This is why there is now a topless book club that meets in NYC’s Central Park. Being able to discuss literature whilst free-boobing may not be your battle of choice, but it can be the inclination of others. This made the cut for their feminism box. Go do you.

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I Don’t Care For Most Things: The George Zimmerman Verdict

George Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury of twelve people. Those twelve people are allowed to vote and drive cars and be a part of a jury.

So, you know, that was a disgusting bit of news. Florida was full of disgusting legal news, as a woman who fired warning shots to frighten off her abusive husband was sentenced to twenty years in prison for it, and not allowed to defend herself under the “Stand Your Ground” law that George Zimmerman used to defend himself.

Twenty years in prison for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Hell, if she’d shot her abusive husband in the face, I’d still want to give her an award instead of a prison sentence. Throw her a parade.

There were, apparently, some truly wretched people who set off fireworks when George Zimmerman was acquitted. Sometimes, people are the worst.

Please remember that even though Florida kind of ruins a lot of things, especially when it comes to elections and laws, there are magnificent creatures who live there and a lot of really good people who live there. These people deserve our sympathy, because Florida weather is the worst that I have ever experienced. The awful people can be fed to the local fauna, like Florida’s adorable alligators.

If you somehow don’t remember, Trayvon Martin was a teenager who, armed to the teeth with a bag of skittles, was walking through a neighborhood while wearing a hoodie. Um, I regularly walk to and from the grocery store late at night. I’m in a suburban neighborhood where most people walking anywhere are suburban moms power-walking in pairs or people walking their dogs.

The idea that the fact that I’m in a different place than he is and that I’m white are the two factors that make me unlikely to be stalked and shot by a creepy man is appalling. No one should have to live in fear that he or she might be stalked and shot for “looking suspicious.” No one should have a loved one—a minor, at that—murdered by a paranoid man and have the man get no legal penalization whatsoever. It’s an absolute nightmare.

All of this is really infuriating. I despise injustice.

I walk at night, and I am all too conscious of the fact that my male privilege is what makes me feel comfortable walking alone in the dark. I am also conscious of the fact that my white privilege is what makes me feel reasonably confident that no one is going to stalk and kill me on the off-chance that I might be some sort of criminal.

Some people are arguing that the story has nothing to do with race, which is, you know, nonsense. Even if George Zimmerman were magically blind to race but still convinced that Trayvon Martin was a threat to the neighborhood, the inexplicable verbal and financial support that he has received from lunatics around the US is clearly a product of the race of his victim.

And even if it had nothing to do with race, that does not explain the acquittal. If a white man saw a white teenager walking down a street, and so decided to stalk him from his vehicle, and then stalked him on foot and then, when confronted by the teenage boy whom he was stalking, fatally shot the boy (while he himself came away with a broken nose), I would agree that race would not be involved.

I would still believe that the murderer should not go free. Everything about this very simple case is confusing, honestly.

On the bright side, CNN published an image of the police report on the shooting of Trayvon Martin. This included George Zimmerman’s personal information. I won’t post the full version of it here, or link to it, but here is the redacted version:

If you’re like me, you’re so horrified that a man’s personal information would be leaked to the public just because he literally got away with murder. Specifically, stalking a teenage boy and then shooting him and then being acquitted. I mean, George Zimmerman’s had to endure so much because of that tiny mistake, and now his private information is public, and a simple Google search for “George Zimmerman CNN Dox” will reveal the uncensored image on the first page?

Oh no. Someone should do something.

None of that sympathy for George Zimmerman is sarcastic, obviously. Perish the thought.

George Zimmerman has supporters. And now he has been acquitted, and we have no legal means of recourse—unless you SIGN THIS PETITION. Please and thank you.

I’m going to fix myself a drink and continue fuming about injustice.

PS: Why these particular pictures? Because they convey my feelings on the subject. And because I wanted to use images like complex emoticons rather than include more pictures of a murdered teenage boy and the man who killed him.

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In Case Any Of My Posts Have Taken An Odd Turn: About Me

I feel like people who are just getting to know me are probably surprised by some of my political views. I know that sometimes acquaintances and friends who read my Zelda Lily posts are taken aback as they suddenly go from agreeing to disagreeing with me (or from disagreeing to agreeing).

It happens, because not everyone’s political views fit into a tidy political box. And they can’t all be identified based upon demographic information about the person in question. Obviously.

Like, I’m a gay man, a feminist, part of a minority religion. I’m big on public education, environmental protections, civil rights (including for women and gay people! Even children! Surprise!).

I love plurality of beliefs and cultures. I’m against prohibition of most drugs–basically, unless you’re negatively impacting other people, what you do with your own body is your business.

But I also want one massive supergovernment.

Not to meddle in what people eat or what colors they paint their houses. But one government for all, with no states’ rights or national sovereignty. No more situations of one nation declaring war on a portion of its own population while the rest of the world watches and “hopes for the best.” No more taking a cruise with your spouse and being arrested at a port because gay sex is illegal in another country. No more having to drive somewhere else to preserve your reproductive autonomy.

I don’t want a government micromanaging your life . . . up until that government needs to protect other citizens from you. That includes your children, because they are people too. And if the government needs to find new parents for them to protect them from being homeschooled, or neglected, or being the victims of violence at your hands, then that is the government’s job.

I am horrified by abuse of power by anyone in authority, especially violence, but I am pro-police. I wish that drones were more accurate (I want collateral damage reduced to zero), but I support the use of drones. I absolutely support the use of monitoring drones domestically; drones are EXACTLY what I want in the air ten minutes after a child is reported missing.

And, though I think that many things about how it is practiced are completely backwards, I am a firm believer in the death penalty. If you’re coked out and you kill your neighbor for cash, you should go to prison–probably forever. If you are a child-abuser or a rapist, or your murder victim is someone under your care (like a family member or student), then your actions are not only evil, but so overwhelmingly reprehensible that you cannot be allowed to exist.

And, while I support the death penalty for purposes of justice rather than to satisfy survivors, the families of victims, or public demand, and rather than as merely a deterrent, I think that, if it works as a deterrent, that’s even better. I want to live in a world where women are not afraid to walk home alone at midnight—not in their neighborhoods and not anywhere. I want a world where children are not afraid to go home, for fear that they may be the victims of violence. I want a world where would-be rapists and would-be domestic abusers are too afraid to act on their evil impulses. A world where innocent people can live in peace and speak and dress how they like, and where the only people who have anything to fear are the very worst among us. And, in many cases, that fear will keep them in line.

I oppose democracy–not because “people don’t know what’s good for them,” though that is sometimes true, but because democracy on its own is the tyranny of the majority. Fareed Zacharia has pointed out (quite correctly) that a strong constitution that guarantees the rights of the people is more important for human rights than how leaders are chosen. So we could have a monarchy or some sort of ruling council or a senate, and so long as the constitution was powerful and had strong protections for all citizens, everyone’s rights would be fairly safe.

Unless there’s some sort of madman going around, stealing treasured government documents.

I hope that this post clarifies things a bit.

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A Victory For Marriage Equality And A Long Road Ahead

The historic Supreme Court decision last week to overturn the ironically named Defense Of Marriage Act was a significant win for human rights. While it does not exactly bring marriage equality to the entire US, the ruling does set a wonderful human rights precedent. It will also have a very real impact on a lot of married couples who will now have the federal government recognize their spousal rights . . . if they are legally married within an equality state.

Unfortunately, while the number of Marriage States is still growing, the majority of the states are still dragging their heels. That includes my state, where same-sex marriage is still off the table. The knowledge that things will get better is only a small comfort, since there are people being denied their fundamental rights right now.

Still, this is a win. DOMA is dead, and couples all over the country will benefit, even if many of those benefits are mundane things—like filing taxes jointly.

The Supreme Court made a narrow ruling on Prop 8 (California’s now-dead ban on same-sex marriage), ruling that the case technically should not have come before them rather than ruling that they found fault with a voter referendum on whether or not fellow American citizens get all of their rights or not. It seems like a distant victory to many of us, but California is a populous state and people can resume having their rights to legally recognized marriages.

Which is really wonderful. Both were, for many Americans, largely symbolic victories. But while the Obama administration figures out exactly how to best recognize marriages on a federal level (there’s a lot involved and they’ll have to figure out how some things work), we’re all celebrating—and we should. Because this was a good thing. And we should celebrate now, because we have a lot more civil rights ground to cover for the LGBT community.

Also, here’s my favorite response to the ruling, which came from Logo’s own blog on Tumblr (as a gifset, but I’ve screencapped it to show you, here). It’s just . . . perfect.

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