This week's Five Star Friday is brought to you by a woman roaring, social contracts and the internet, the importance of being well-rounded, the perils of parenting, the loss of a father, a portrait of real men, Amanda Todd and sexism, and more on sexism, weathering the middle-sized hurdles, and F. Scott Fitzgerald:
photo credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-54231]
Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
Most women bloggers who happen to have children bristle at being called a mummyblogger. I don't mind it, except when it's used in a tone that drips with derision and disdain. Underestimate "mummybloggers" at your peril, for the collective online power they can wield is immense, and only just being recognised in Australia.
So we are, in our day to day interactions as humans in the 21st century, constantly trying to establish and operate within the terms of unspoken and often hugely divergent social contracts. We are no longer just entering into an implicit deal with the powers-that-be. We are each others' powers-that-be.
And we need to learn to navigate those negotiations openly and explicitly; to own the power we have and not wait for the big and mighty to make it all better for us.
Frankly, if all I felt allowed to publicly discuss were my Bedazzler or my kid or my wedding or a television character, I would not be able to stop myself from poking my own eyes out with those cute striped straws everyone is using to drink everything.
Not only that, but I consider the discussion of those topics, and only those topics, to be a disservice to society in the same way that displaying photos of skinny women, and only skinny women, is a disservice to society. The world needs to know that even you, with your glossy hair and enviable job, have flaws that aren't so funny, that are more destructive and terrifying than a love of cupcakes or an occasionally easygoing approach to your children's supervision.
I tackled her and sat on her legs while Astrid sat on her other arm and people on the path stared, wondering why this white woman and her Asian underling were torturing this adorable black child. Splinter removed, we walked on.
It occurred to me that the day we die is no less significant than the day we are born, and so I would, in fact, acknowledge the day in his honor. I bought shampoo and conditioner from the gift shop and washed my hair. I picked out clean clothes that matched, and I put on makeup. The last face he saw, I was determined, would not be that of a haggard daughter who’d been sleeping on pull-out chairs in a waiting room.
I’ve been on testosterone for 16 months. After the muscles bloomed, after my beard began to appear, after my calves widened and my jaw squared, after I mastered the politics of the men's room, after I learned not to take personally the newly cool greetings of women strangers; a pattern began to emerge. The elephant was real, trumpeting its answer to what makes a man? Here I was, becoming one, forming at bars and backyard barbecues and work meetings; confronted at every turn with an expectation and whether or not I would meet it.
What makes a man? Here I was, not the question but the answer.
at Hook & Eye:
Adolescence is awful. It's a time of separation from our childhood and the various kinds of security it offered us. We are meant to rethink who we are, to take social risks, to experiment with identity at that time. This shouldn't kill us.
Let me tell you about the battle I know, what I see. I live in a world where it is typical for men on the internet to call me fat, stupid, slutty, and angry. Men I know in real life will often try to tell me the wage gap is a lie, that women are naturally more nurturing and meant to stay home, make jokes that I am too much for most men to handle, that I should simmer down. Strangers on the street feel they can harass me, comment on my body, and one time, even stroke my hair on metro.
I am holding the sticks together while he ties them with strings. I am tying the tightest knots that I can but I don't know if we're going to float. Today I sat there helplessly, on my hands, untying, and sometimes that's all I can do. Breathe deeply with them, trying to let go. Because the point is not to fix it all and make them comfortable all the time. It turns out quick fixes and constant comfort will steal the messy and beautiful grit of life that builds them up and that's the last thing they need.
Please come back and share good writing with us over the coming week to be featured on the next Five Star Friday. If you have read a really good piece on someone else's weblog, submit it by Thursday at midnight CST to have it featured on Five Star Friday.
And because you are a fan of finding good new writing on the internet: