Honestly, right now I'm pretty proud of my town, pretty proud of how we've come together so quickly on this...awfulness. So here's the (still developing) story. A friend of our's son was a soldier in Afghanistan and unfortunately he was killed during the last week or so. His funeral is tomorrow. Today we found out that we may have some very unwelcome guests. You may recognize them from their hateful website. Yep, that's right. Although it hasn't been completely confirmed (different sources saying different things), we have heard they may actually be flying up here to protest the funeral. I can't express all the feelings I had when I heard about this this morning. Hatred, disgust and sadness..nausea. Then I thought 'What are we going to do about this?' Luckily, some people were a few steps ahead of me.
Someone who worked at the office called a few of the most organized activists, who I know will get a lot of people there. My mum called the radio stations, who have promised to talk about all day if they do show up, as well as other media. In her own words, "The military wives and biker networks have been activated." They'll get a welcome they will never forget. I don't think they counted on my town being like this. Honestly? I didn't think something like this would happen either. I'm glad we can do this for one of our own and I'm glad that the family is feeling better about the memorial being more protected from the bigots. I'm so proud of my town for this. Even if they don't come, I'm glad that their will be people there to celebrate the life of this fallen soldier. I know the family very much appreciates it.
What these people do goes beyond political/religious/whathaveyou boundaries. It goes against human decency. I can't believe that America, for all it's troubles, can stand for this sort of hatred and intolerance (though that isn't a strong enough word for it). I am heartened to know that even in my very red state and town, we aren't going to.
[More to come later and tomorrow, as it happens. If they do show (I'm hoping not), there will be pictures and a post. Please link if you can, these people have fallen out of the spotlight for now, but they're still out there and I don't want people to forget. Thank you.]
Oh, that I looked like a model. Or even those pretty girls I see at Urban Outfitters or American Eagle. Tall, blonde, perfectly preportioned, skinny. Why do I feel this way? I've been told I'm pretty, hot, too thin even. You can see my hipbones and my ribs sometimes. I'm a size 0 in jeans. Why don't I believe anyone when they say that I'm beautiful and skinny and everything I want to be? Is it a side effect from years of dance in a non-dancer's body? Is it the depression? Is it the "cosmo culture"? Maybe it's all of those.
The thing is...it doesn't matter what caused it for us. The girls with the "problems." The ones who don't really "need" that meal, the ones who'll sigh over perfection we know we'll never achieve. We can look in the mirror for hours and never see ourselves as we are, for better or worse. I'm thirteen and I have a problem. The girls I know (and the girls I don't) who are like me have a problem. We don't care. We will keep doing this, keep harming ourselves with our disordered eating till we're skinny enough, pretty enough. And for us, that'll never happen. Because we'll never look like models or celebrities (even the ones who are deemed "ugly" by the gossip rags!).
For most girls, it's not that "bad." We aren't anorexics or bulemics, or at least not yet. This, this not-quite-eating disorder, can be almost worse. It's just as insidious, but you don't see the effects as much. A slight change in appetite, a marked interest in working out. But it's there. Inside our minds, worming it into out conciousness that we're not good enough.
I know that it's wrong for me to feel this way. I know that this image in my "head" won't happen, I know that I'm not going to reach that airbrushed perfection I see in magazines. I try to remind myself this every day. I try to remember that I'm a pretty cool person and that it honestly doesn't matter what I look because I'm a smart, talented, feminist, cool teenage girl. Sometimes I feel normal, sometimes I can look in the mirror without being disgusted. Then it just goes all down the drain. It doesn't matter to us girls what we think.
I've heard a theory that girls get eating disorders because they lack control on anything else. Honestly, who can blame them? For young women that are even a little aware of world events, it can be very overwhelming to see all the wrong going on and not be able to help. They can also be triggered (or at least exacerbated) by family situations that are less than perfect. Sometimes it feels as if we're lost in a world that doesn't care about our opinions, our voices, however loud we are. We cry out for help in any way we can, and this is one of them.
My point is this: watch the girls in your life. Raise them to be like Melissa, some of the women at Jezebel, the lovely feminists we see in our lives. Do all that you can to not let this happen to them. Oh, they'll have Seventeen and CosmoGIRL! to tell them that they're not lovely enough. Let them have their mags and makeup and fashion, but teach them to take it with a grain of salt. Give them Full-Frontal Feminism and bring them up on Shakesville. Let them have blogs and talk to them about important things. Value their opinion as individuals with voices. Make sure they know you can talk to them about everything. Above all, if they need help (whether it's a therapist or a slurpee) please it to them. Give them strength to pass on to the next generation, so they don't end up like this one, skinny as hell and with no self-image to speak of.
First off I'd just like to say I'm not much of a writer, but after I got the email below, i felt like i needed to say something. Being a forward, this email was sent to me by four different people. I really don't blame them to be honest, most of them probably just thought, "Well, this email means abortions are wrong." Most don't realize how disturbing it can be. I don't claim to be "pro-life" or "pro-choice", but it really upsets me to see how this scenario was showed (or wasn't showed). First of all, they don't give any details from the mother's point of view. How did she GET pregnant? How old is she? What is her situation? The email doesn't bother to cover any of these questions. Second off, this email is supposedly from the baby's point of view. A baby is not able to thinking these thoughts, and they use them to make you feel guilty. Last but not least, at the end it says if you don't forward this, "it will show how cold hearted you are." Cold hearted? They want to talk cold hearted? They mock this situation by not giving all sides! Again, I'd like to say I don't consider myself "pro-life" or "pro-choice", but this email is upsetting to anyone who supports either opinion because of the way it's portrayed.
Hi Mommy! I am only 3/4 of an inch long but I have all my organs. I love the sound of your voice. Every time I hear it I wave my arms and legs. The sound of your heart beat is my favorite lullaby.
Mommy today I learned how to suck my thumb. If you could see me you could definitely tell that I am a baby. I'm not big enough to survive outside my home though. It's so nice and warm in here.
You know what Mommy I'm a boy!! I hope that makes you happy. I always want you to be happy. I don't like it when you cry. You sound so sad. It makes me sad too and I cry with you even though you can't hear me.
Mommy my hair is starting to grow. It is very short and fine but I will have a lot of it. I spend a lot of my time exercising. I can turn my head and curl my fingers and toes and stretch my arms and legs. I am becoming quite good at it too.
You went to the doctor today. Mommy, he lied to you. He said that I'm not a baby. I am a baby Mommy, your baby. I think and feel. Mommy, what's abortion?
I can hear that doctor again. I don't like him. He seems cold and heartless. Something is intruding my home. The doctor called it a needle. Mommy what is it? It burns! Please make him stop! I can't get away from it! Mommy! HELP me!
Mommy I am okay. I am in Jesus's arms. He is holding me. He told me about abortion. Why didn't you want me Mommy? Every Abortion Is Just . . .One more heart that was stopped. Two more eyes that will never see. Two more hands that will never touch. Two more legs that will never run. One more mouth that will never speak. If you're against Abortion forward this to all your friends!
[If you don't, no one will come and kill you but it will show how cold hearted you are.]
And I'm feelin' good.
I've been gone for a long time. What's up with me?
- I GRADUATED. Well, only eighth grade. It's still a big deal though...Next stop, high school.
- I'm headed to Minnesota in thirteen days.
- My mum has told me that it's almost official that we're going to the Democratic National Convention...with press passes.
- I've grown up a lot, in my opinion.
I haven't had much blogging inspiration in the past weeks, but it's summer now and there's nothing to do but get mad at all sorts of heinous news items. I'm definitely going to exercise my writing skills...maybe I'll get better just in time for English 9 Honors.
We had to cut out fifty words out of headlines in the newspaper, then write a poem using only those words. And okay, I just did the list of words at the end so I'd make my 35 word quota, but anyway...here's mine...
boost backfield quota.
Defense strategies scare.
This year, boys are stupid. And not for the normal reasons, like them going girl-crazy and throwing things down my shirt. This year, they've been making jokes. Disgusting jokes. Violent jokes. Rape jokes. I wasn't really bothered at first, but that was before I was on blogs, before I learned about feminism and the true nature of rape. I look back now, and I ask myself why I ever thought these were right or acceptable in any way. What's the statistic, one in four women will get raped or sexually harassed? One, two, three, four. That's me and three friends. Which one will it be? And why the hell (sorry, mom) should we be joking about that? I just want to rage and storm and curse and get violent on those boys, who don't even know that they are perpetuating a culture that says that it's acceptable to demean their mothers, sisters, friends, girlfriends. What should I do? Should I shove a picture of Melissa McEwan, who is a hero of mine, in their faces? Is there anything I can do? All that'll happen is that I'll be labled "touchy" and a "bitch." Maybe it's worth it though. There's no way I can keep my dignity and my pride when someone says "Oh, come on, if he raped you, you'd love it!" and I do nothing.
This is my promise to myself, to any woman who has had to go through that experience, to any future girls of the world. I'm not going to stand for it anymore. Why should I? It's my right to fight the rape culture of America, as a woman and a human being. There's no excuse for my ignoring it till now and I intend to make amends with that as soon as I can. One, two, three, four. It's not going to be me, or my friends. I will die before I let that happen.