Just What is a Feminist?


I chose my subject this evening because I read a social media comment which described a feminist as a woman somewhere between an angry alien and a rabid wild animal. Now, I did not respond to the individual because I continue to work for peace and compassion in the world and in my personal world.

 

In case you are not aware, I am proud to be a feminist. A feminist is a woman. Just like any other woman. There are some differences. Feminists are men and women who believe females are people just like any man is a person.

 

Feminists  also believe in equality. They believe that both sexes are born equal. Not every man can drive a race car at 100 mph, and not every woman can turn out a perfect Beef Wellington. Feminists do look at the world and see what is wrong and unjust. Some people look and turn away because what they see is horrific. For all of the wonderful people in this world of ours, there are many who are evil.

 

A feminist looks at what is wrong in the world and sees it and then begins to look at how it can be changed. Whether a feminist man or woman, they will not turn away from the ugliness but will work, speak out, write, protest to change the wrong.

 

We, as women, have the vote because of women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and hundreds of Suffragettes (feminists) worked to make Congress to give us the vote. They even went to the dire length of handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. They were arrested, and once in jail they went on a hunger strike and the media told the world and we got the vote. This is of course, a simplified version of the tale.

 

 

WeCon

I became a feminist in the seventies. Abuse was the issue that ignited my heart and passion. I do not believe that one person has the right to hit another. Women and children have the right to live without violence and fear. If a woman is the abuser, she needs to face the same consequences as any man who batters.

 

Women have the right to make their own decisions. To marry or not to. To pick her friends. Men have control over their bodies and the government would never think to tell them what to do with them. Even the man who hires the prostitute is usually protected from prosecution, while the woman is charged and will be in jail at least overnight. The government has repeatedly tried to control women’s bodies and how we choose to use them.

 

A feminist is a person who feels that women should receive equal pay for equal work. We have never had this in the USA. My sister found out she was making less than the men in her department. She was, justifiably, upset.  She was doing more work than literally anyone in the company (when she left, her duties had to be spread over 5 people), yet she still made less than men with less education. Was that right? No.

 

Some feminists are wonderful wives and mothers, both stay-at-home mothers and working mothers. It is what they choose to be and that is great. I, myself, have nine grandchildren. I have also marched for Hard Hatted Women. Women who wanted the right to work in construction. It is their right to choose how to support themselves and /or their families.

 

So, like black lives matter, so do women’s lives. And for those who disagree, perhaps a long look in a mirror would be a good thing to try. Hugs, Barbara

 

everynineseconds

Everyone Needs To Be Heard


I have been monitoring the murder of Freddie Gray and I was glad to see that the protests were peaceful, until yesterday.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:  “Violence is the language of the unheard.”

I want to share that I have personally marched and picketed up to 1995, when my husband died.  It was a very difficult time for me, after his loss, and I could no longer use my energy as I once did.  While protesting in Harrisburg, PA; Washington, DC; Cleveland, OH; and Erie, PA, as it happened, the marches and protests I participated in were peaceful.

 

 

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

 

As my readers know, I am a pacifist.  I believe in Peace, not war.  What does war get us?  Nothing.

I had a conversation last night with a very dear friend, and we were discussing Freddie Gray’s murder, and the protests that were beginning, at that time, to turn violent.  He made me realize that what Martin Luther King, Jr. said back in the 60’s, continues to be true:  If people are not heard; if their words and peaceful protests are not met with understanding and action, with changes for the betterment of all peoples, then there will be violence, there will be bloodshed.

This has been a very difficult time for me, because I do not believe in violence; and yet, I know that if people continue to go unheard, unheeded and undervalued by their city governments, state governments, federal government, there will be repercussions.

My friend is starting a list — he has found, so far, at least 1 young man has been killed by police everyday in the past year.  Not just black men, but hispanic men, asian men, white men; muslim men, Christian men, Jewish men.  Men from all races, religions and creeds.  It surprised and shocked me that so many young men are dying at the hands of our own police, here in the United States.

 

 

Black Lives are Important to America

Black Lives are Important to America

 

 

It is difficult to comprehend that the police have gotten to a place where they feel they have the right to take a life because they run away, or because they mouth off.  It has been a while since the police have been seen in such a bad light, but the time is here again, when police departments across the nation are losing the confidence of the citizens whom they are supposed to “serve and protect”.

My concept of “serve and protect” is to be able to maturely come to a valid assessment of a situation and to react to that situation with the best of your ability for what is within the law and what is in the best interests of the community.

I live in a suburb of Cleveland, OH, as many of you know, and a short time ago, we had a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was playing in a park.  Someone called in a 911 call to say that there was someone acting suspiciously in the park.  A police cruiser was sent to the scene and the two officers killed this child because he was playing with a toy gun.

My heart breaks for this child and his family.  His death is something that they will never recover from, completely.

The arrival of the police and the fatal shots were videoed by a by-stander, and so much was found wrong with the behavior of the police officers, that even in my idealism, I can find no excuse for such terrible behavior.  They shot Tamir within 12 seconds of arriving on the scene.  There was no discussion, no evaluation, no attempt to diffuse the situation.  There was only immediate, permanent death.

 

 

Peaceful protests show that people want to be heard.

Peaceful protests show that people want to be heard.

 

 

In Baltimore, the protests have become violent and unfortunately no one listened to the people during the peaceful protests which occurred first.  I read a quote once that it takes war to bring about change.

I understand why this was said, but I have to believe that if we just listen to what people are saying, to their honest, peaceful words for peace and change, we can solve this together with all Americans equally voicing their opinions.

 

 

UnnecessaryViolence1Unheard people will resort to violence

 

If the unheard voices do not become heard, we could end up in a revolution within our shores, or another civil war; not state against state, not north against south, but the poor against the privileged, and the disenfranchised against those with power.

I have 9 grandchildren.  I do not want them to have to live through a civil war, or a revolution.

Right now, the majority of the protesters are black and they are protesting the unnecessary death of Freddie Gray.

 

 

Anger erupts as people feel they have no other options for their anger.

Anger erupts as people feel they have no other options for their anger.

 

 

If police tactics and brutality do not end, there will be protests among every racial, religious and other disenfranchised group in America.  This is never going to go away without Justice; police officers must be held accountable and responsible for their bad choices, and for the murder of people they are supposed to protect.

I want to say how badly I feel for all the young lives which have been taken for no good reason.  I want to say the police are brutalizing American citizens and should be punished for their crimes against the citizens of the United States.

In general, I believe that the police will be given the amount of respect that they give to the people they are attempting to arrest, but even if they are not, it is not right to kill those people.

My message, therefore, to community leaders across this country — to police commissioners and their officers — is to Stop Killing Young People.

If we forget the importance and sacredness of life, then we will become the barbarians that human beings once were.

Black Lives Matter.

Hispanic Lives Matter.

Asian Lives Matter.

Native American Lives Matter.

European Lives Matter.

Middle-Eastern Lives Matter.

Muslim Lives Matter.

Christian Lives Matter.

Jewish Lives Matter.

LGBT Lives Matter.

Straight Lives Matter.

Criminal’s Lives Matter.

Police’s Lives Matter.

ALL LIVES MATTER.

We need to start acting like it.

An Artist and A Feminist


This Young Woman Walked Through Kabul Wearing Metal Armor To Protest Street Harassment

Artist-activist Kubra Khademi took to Kabul’s streets in a metal jacket in a defiant protest against sexual harassment.

Gun violence in America


5-year-old boy finds gun, shoots baby brother in head

The Long Term Effects of Violence


We are now living in a coarse society filled with violence, intolerance and hatred. Can we live with these influences without harm to our psyche? I think not. Must we always agree? No. Can we speak our truth? Yes.

 

It is important that we as individuals talk about our issues and points of disagreement. Is there damage from a violent society? Yes. I know this because there is damage left from violence in families and homes. I worked in Domestic Violence for over two score years, and counseled at Rape Crisis. I worked as a psych nurse for years. I am going to share a story of how long the effects can last.

 

One night, I was passing meds on my forty-two-bed lock down unit. I was in the hallway when I heard crying and indistinct words. I went into the room and both patients were in their beds and no one else was there. One woman was crying and screaming. Sobbing is more accurate. I was surprised because this woman had been in a catatonic state for many years. She never spoke.

 

I walked to her bed and said her name softly. She was in the middle of a dream. She was crying and saying, ” No, stop. I won’t do it.” “Don’t let them do it.” I lowered her bed rail and climbed up into her bed. I held her in my arms and crooned that she was safe and no one would hurt her now. I gently rocked as I held her and let her cry out her pain and fear. I listened carefully and was shocked at what I heard.

 

Slowly, she stopped crying and talking. I gently placed her back on her mattress. I was the one crying now. I wiped my tears quickly away, while putting the side rail back up. She appeared to be sleeping normally now. I could still feel the warmth of her body on my arms. Her tears were on my arms also.

 

I breathed deeply and finished passing meds. I was quiet and replaying her words over and over in my head. When I was done, I locked up the med cart in the med room and went back to her room where I found her sound asleep and quiet.

 

I returned to the nurse’s desk and pulled her chart to document the incident but first I read her social history. She had been married, not a surprise. Her husband was a long distance truck driver. According to the social workers’ notes, he had physically abused her and he had made her have sex with other men while he watched.

 

I felt sick. She had had a life full of violence, humiliation and sexual abuse. I was glad that I had been outside of her room when she was having the nightmare. I am glad that I had held her and comforted her because it seemed she hadn’t had much comfort in her life. Catatonic. She was at a better place than this world had been to her.

 

Checking dates and doing the math, these horrible experiences had happened about thirty years prior. I was sure this wasn’t the first nightmare she had had. It was just the first one I had witnessed.

 

Thirty years later, there was still enough painful damage to give her nightmares. To make her cry and talk. To beg not to let the men hurt her. This is an example of the damage done to a human psyche. Damage that destroyed this woman and left her very scarred.

 

I am sharing this story because we harm each other. We cause pain and suffering. There are long lasting effects for all of us. This is why we need to think of others. We need to create love, kindness, and acceptance in this world. We need compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We need to change us and our worlds. We need to put the positive energy into the world.

 

We need to expect the positive to come to our lives. We need to accept the positive and to be grateful for it. We need to breathe, open our hearts and let all the positive goodness flow out from us into the world. It will change our lives for the better and we will not be victim to the pain.

 

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We are all part of one human family.

We are all part of one human family.

 

May Peace Prevail

May Peace Prevail

 

The parts of a happy life.

The parts of a happy life.

 

Focus on the positive

Focus on the positive

We Are Going Into the Future – With Positive Energy


I have been listening to people, what they write and what they say. I have looked around me at the people in my life and the acquaintances. When people talk, there is a flow of negativity. If one person does not make themselves clear, the other assumes the worst.

Now, it occurs to me that these threads of negative thought and speech are influencing more and more of the energy of our communities. People hurt others’ feelings, there is a lack of respect of others, of the elderly. Everyone seems to be on a hair-trigger. This trigger seems ready to go off and escalation is the result. My confusion comes from the fact that many of the angriest people have everything they could want. Yet it isn’t enough. Then I began thinking about how if friends and neighbors can’t have conversations without hurt feelings, there is something going on.

Times are changing. There is a lot of negativity in our cities, our country and all the countries of the world.  There is an outcry across the world by the people who have been living under dictators, who live amidst bombs and fear. We human beings are committing terrible crimes against each other. Racism, sexism, greed and power are bringing out the worst in humanity.  Not that we historically have had any difficulty torturing or causing pain to our fellow sentient beings.

Genocide is happening yet again. We have made it a purpose  in life to try to wipe out races of people who are different. Their skin color, religion, education, natural abilities all have worked together to sound the battle cry to kill…the “others”. Some countries are keeping women and girls from receiving an education. This leaves them in perpetual poverty and controlled by the males in their families. They are owned by fathers, brothers, and husbands. They never even have a chance to figure out who they are. They never get to experience themselves as a child of the Universe. They are stuck having to always do what they are told. They don’t know how to protect their daughters because no one protected them.

Girls are being married off at as young as 10 years old. Their bodies are not even completely formed yet. In my mind, only a pedophile could or would do something like this. IN some cultures, if a man wants a woman and she doesn’t want him, he has the right to throw acid in her face. This is done to save his family shame. Also no one will ever want her. I have seen such horrible pictures of young beautiful women who are scarred so much their families are shocked. Little girls disappear. Mothers cry and pray, but the girls are gone and have been sold into sexual slavery. Their life is essentially over. Very few governments will search for them, so they are used until they commit suicide or are thrown away like garbage. In many countries, when girls reach puberty and their menses begin, the mother takes her to the midwife for genital mutilation. This practice is what will make them marriageable. It is done to decrease sexual pleasure and to ensure virginity. Some men have their wives sewn closed while they are away on business so their labia is sewn together to prevent sexual intercourse. A small opening is left so they can pee.

All of this adds to the negativity which is swirling around our world.  Every time a girl or woman is saved and educated, we decrease the negative energy. It takes getting involved and understanding that every woman who is injured, is a sister.

Here in America, Domestic Violence is not stopping but increasing according to the FBI statistics. A woman who is married is not owned. She is not required to obey. She is not the reason he hits her. We  started building Domestic  Violence shelters and giving hope to abused women and their children in the 1970’s. We taught them to do the Activities of Daily Living so they could escape and survive in the world. Legal advice and assistance was provided. We saved lives. In those days, we were grass-roots organizations. Hard work, prayers and tenacity is what we lived on while we counseled, loved, fed and sheltered millions of women and their children. We just saw a need and began to do something to change lives.

This is exactly what we need to do to go forward into the future. We need to form grass-roots groups of dedicated men and women to stop the violence and negativity, of all kinds. Righting wrongs is an important aspect of our journey here on our World. Stopping negative energy and gut reactions is necessary to take us forward into the future. Caring is good, it is important. Volunteering a few hours a month would do much to create  positive energy. People need to just think and act positively. Get out and give the Universe a few of the hours of your life and we will feel the energy brighten and we will feel joy within us. This must be a present and the future and we all can participate.

Bloggers 4 Peace

Bob Marley said it so well. One World, One God, One life. Do what you can do to add positive energy to our world.

Is Gratitude Trivial?


I saw the Neurologist this morning. We had an unusual conversation. We talked about gratitude. I learned some interesting facts. Most of our conversation was taking place around the concepts of past, present and future. They are doing more and more research on the way the mind works.

 

I think this is a very important direction for neurology  to go into. So little is really known about how our minds work. How do each of us learn best?  How do we survive trauma and violence? What can we learn about how to deal with mental illness and the part it plays in violence in our world? Why are some people drawn to violence and some completely repulsed.

 

They know some victims of violence, have a brain that rewrites itself. It goes around the areas damaged by the pain, trauma and fear in the past. But do they all rewrite the same? Probably not, because some abused children become serial killers and some are good citizens who care about others.

 

Writing is one thing that scientists suggest as a way to deal with the traumas in our lives. When you sit down to write and put pen to paper, what comes out is the real truth and sometimes what we aren’t aware of on a conscious level. Free writing is putting pen to paper and just write without stopping. Write for thirty minutes. If you hit a block, write stuck, stuck, stuck until the words begin to flow again.

 

Scientists are doing case studies about going back to basics. To start at the very beginning. To go into a meditative state. Breathe in and out slowly and put your awareness on how the breath flows, how your heart is beating and how your lungs are taking in air and pushing used air out. As you finish the outbreath and are beginning to take your next in breath say thank you with an open heart. The thank you is for the fact that your body works. There may be parts that are not working right, but the basics work. Your body will take you where you need to go. Even if it constantly hurts, it is still working and you are here. So thank you is all that is required from you. It is pretty easy, yet it effects your mind and how your subconscious works.

 

The subconscious mind lets go of pain, trauma and fear. The future becomes brighter and manageable. The scientists have determined that chromosomes elongate and we begin to feel younger. I don’t think any of us would mind feeling younger.

Namaste to everyone.

 

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Feeling a little bit younger is good.

Feeling a little bit younger is good.