Lo tengo.

Hola, todos! I’ve been stretching my Spanglish legs, trying to get back in the bilingual groove. So I look forward to sharing some poetry and such with you that I’ve been working on. In the meantime though, I have thoughts I need to dispell. It may very well be a little coherent, as I have the campus sickness (Fourth Week Flu) and I’m doing my best to stay on top of my responsibilities all while sleeping and medicating and well, living.

In catch-up news, I made excellent headway on my future. I’ve got a list of law schools I’m applying to, I’ve tracked down all of my recommenders and given them the required stuffs and am working on that (which is fantastic). I’m also in the revision stage of my project (the one to combat rape culture on college campuses) and I’ve even managed to secure an advisor! It is that singular piece of information which is my post today.

No one can doubt my dedication to ending rape culture. In fact, it’s what wakes me up in the morning and keeps me up at night. I want to protect survivors, seek justice, the whole gambit. And the advisor that I met with last week does research on sexual assault-but on the perps not the survivors. And while I was reading her research to prepare for our meeting, I realized I have a large bias in this topic. I don’t understand what makes someone turn to sexual violence. I only know the other side-the victim side. And how is it that I could possibly prevent something when I don’t even have all of the tools to do so? So I’ll be working with her closely to prepare for this project’s inception (should it be chosen) and I will be reducing my bias-which will help me in the future, to be sure.

Being an anthropology major has prepared me for this life in so many ways. The most obvious of those is my understanding of social norms, and my realization of biases. I have an internal battle quite often about wanting to change the world and feeling too insignificant to matter. I know I’m not the first to feel that way, and most definitely not the last. I think it’s very similar to the struggle many people face with depression and mental illnesses as a whole. I try to keep my head afloat, and there’s this one quote that’s been popping up all over my life this past week, which I will post here for you.

the cure.jpg

 

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A Bias

In anthropology, it is important to understand and work around your biases.They can stop you from being honest, from doing your best work and a whole host of other things. But I think it’s equally as important to understand your flaws. And I will admit: I found one of mine.

You see, I cannot seem to understand why there is so much aggression against people with spiritual beliefs other than your own. It makes no sense to me, and I obviously do not condone it. I have been on the receiving end of some heat, but that’s kinda my point.

If I were to classify myself under a spiritual belief system, I would pick first Paganism. I’m leaning towards Hoodoo currently, but I have lots to learn and miles to go before I sleep.Those two relate to each other in the same way that Baptists relate to Christianity as a whole: it’s just one facet of a bigger category. But that’s not really my point.

My point is that I have friends who are Pagan like me, Atheist, Agnostic, Lutheran, Catholic, Protestant and others. I have meaningful conversations with them, I encourage them and I value their insight. And when I was asked about it this week, I was really kind of…shocked.

I send encouragement to all my friends, if I see and am aware that they need it. It doesn’t matter if you think differently than I do, if you believe in a different story, a different way of life. If I am taking the time to seek you out and interact with you, it is because I value you as a person. That’s my bigger point.

So, when I say I have a bias I guess what I’m saying is that I have an inability to relate to people who are so convinced that they must isolate themselves into just one group of thought, one ethnicity, one place and never value the meaningful connections out there for them to tap into.

And for all of my friends who aren’t exactly copied from the same threads I am: thank you. Because if I speak only of my ability to have a relationship with each of you, it is only half of the story. You are there as well, giving an outsider a chance to be part of your connections.

Why the Kesha Ruling Matters

This week has been one hellacious week, as far as my reaction to court cases and life in general. You could say my faith in humanity wavered for a moment in time. But I write to you today from the perspective from someone who found the passion to pull herself from the depths of a hell-like depression into a full blown fighter. I have always been a fighter and now I’ve found my purpose.

Pocahontus Compass

I can no longer sit idly by and let our society, which I have endeavored to learn about and discover seek to oppress me by legislation which forces me to conceal that which is most basic to my existence: my biological sex.

I was born a female, and that is what I will stay, as feels right for me. But for whatever reason, that has been enough to condemn me. Michelle, are you talking about yourself personally or as a generality? Well, reader, I have to say both. And I can think of no more a potent case than the one recently involving Kesha. Kesha is a pop singer signed to the Sony label. She is known for song like “Tik-Tok” and “Crazy Kids”. And earlier this past week, a judge (more specifically Justice Shirley Kornreich of the Manhattan-New York Supreme Court) ruled that Kesha would continue to be legally obligated to fulfill her contract with the man whom Kesha has accused of sexually assaulting and raping her.

Michelle, you don’t even KNOW Kesha, nor anyone even remotely close to that case. How could it POSSIBLY affect you? Well, reader, pull up a chair and let me tell you a story.

—-Before I begin, I actually started this post 4 days ago, and had to stop because it emotionally drained me to the point of insanity. I would now like to finish what I started.

Womens-rights-are-human-rights

If the law says that a woman must stand by her accused rapist (or alleged assaulter, or abuser) for the sake of upholding a piece of paper, on which words are printed and names were signed, you are doing two things. First, you are saying that a contract is more important than a woman’s safety. Second, you are saying that women are not to be respected or believed if they come forward with accusations of assault, abuse or rape. You are saying that a women is expected to be grateful for the opportunities she has and that any reason she may have to want to remove herself from that opportunity is not good enough, and that maybe she shouldn’t have brought it on herself.

I was in class yesterday, and as I usually get there a couple minutes early, I found myself in a super emotional conversation about this very topic. I promise I didn’t start it, but I can proudly say I did pitch in. But because it pertains, I will record the pertinent parts.

Person A: My theater class was talking about the Steubenville rape today and Kesha got brought up. There are 4 women including myself in that class and I’ve never been so emotional in a class before.

Person B: What happened?

Person A: The men in the class all grouped up to say that Kesha should have had the wherewithal to know that she was being given date rape drugs instead of sleeping pills and that she deserved to face the consequences. Then one of the 4 women took their side and said that Kesha getting raped was like a person standing in front of a mass shooter and asking to be shot.

Now, I’m gonna stop my relay of the conversation there, because Person A and the rest of the class were getting into the problems of rape culture (some of which I will bring up in a moment) and because I made my point. Person A was physically shaking, and by the end of the conversation, more than just them was of that same response.

So when I say “rape culture” what is it that I mean? According to the Women Against Violence Against Women, here’s the backstory:

“Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.”

rapeculturegraphic

Uh-oh! Did I just say feminists? YES I DID. And the Google definition of feminism is:

Feminism: noun: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Feminists are simply people who think that all people should be equal, and have equal rights. That’s it. Not men-hating crazy people. Just equality. It says nothing about what job is “appropriate” or what fashion a person wears or beliefs or anything. Just equality. Seriously. SO MANY people use it the wrong way and have no idea what it is. Educate yourselves!

gender_balance

Anyway, back to my point.

If we as a society are telling one young woman that she cannot escape her alleged attacker, then we are telling ALL women that they are stuck in the cycles of inferiority because of the sex they were born as. We are saying that women do not have the right to feel safe, or to expect to be protected by the laws which seek to govern them. We are telling women that their voice is to be muted, so that no one is to ever pay attention to it because all women are doing is seeking attention without having anything worthwhile to say.

And yes, it IS possible for women to be awful people and just make stuff up for attention. But one bad person is NOT justification enough to punish all women and oppress their needs just as it is not justification enough to punish all of MANkind for the actions of Hitler or John Wilkes Booth.

I try to keep my blogs from being overrun by politics. My husband is the political one and in fact, I think he may eventually come around to the idea of going into politics as a career. I’ve always seen myself as the justice keeper type. But I want to also welcome discussion. I don’t want to exclude views just because they are not my own. I want to know why people think what they think.

This topic is so personal for me. Not because of who is involved, or what happened, but because I am a woman. My husband and I have decided that kids would be great-one day in the distant future. The thought of having a kid now TERRIFIES me. I’m not ready, I’m not financially stable enough, I still go to college and that’s reason enough for me.

Why am I bringing up kids in my blog about the Kesha case? Because I need you all to see the pressures on women. And part of being a woman is being pressured about your biological clock.

I had a professor who told me that my experiences were not correct because they seemed to him to be wrong. He had asked about the pressures of having children on married women. I offered my story because I thought it would help the class understand. Here’s the transcript.

Him: I don’t know. Do any of you married women feel that there is pressure on you to have children?

Me: I had people asking me if I was ready to have a kid five minutes after I got married. And some of the congratulatory Facebook posts also contained questions about it.

Him: I don’t think that happens.

Another woman came to my defense, saying that it does happen and that people also force their ideas of how many children you are supposed to have on you. But the point is, I was told that my experiences were invalid because he didn’t believe them. How am I supposed to combat that?

The CDC recently released a report about women drinking and pregnancy. If you took health class seriously, you know that alcohol and babies do not mix. It’s bad for the babies. But I personally think the CDC is taking it a little too far. Yes, I think that baby health should be at utmost priority. But I also think that if women who are of “sexually reproductive” age and not on birth control have to have their alcohol consumption monitored, then maybe so should men. After all, men are more likely to become alcoholics and if we’re really so concerned about baby health, then why would we want to be unconcerned about alcoholic dads?

The state of Ohio (in which I live) has recently passed a bill stating that abortions will not be funded unless it is necessary for health or in instances of reported rape or incest. Michelle, you just said you weren’t going to get political-what’s this? This is me showing you why Kesha matters.

So let me list this out for you.

ALL THE THINGS WRONG ABOUT THE KESHA RULING AND RAPE CULTURE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY

(The consequences spelled out for you by: a woman.)*

-Women are not to be believed in the event that they accuse someone of rape or assault because they are probably just seeking a better opportunity.

-Women are not to be believed about their experiences because they are probably lying.

-Women are not to consume alcohol because they are going to damage their unplanned children. (There is, to-date, no regulation on men though.)

-Women are not allowed to get an abortion (in several states now, not just my own) unless they have poor health, have been the victim of incest or have been the victim of a rape that they probably just want because they had the opportunity to have “consensual” sex and not worry about the consequences (and they probably lied about being raped anyway).

_________________________________________________________________

And now, you maybe see why the Kesha case is so important. It isn’t about Dr. Luke, Kesha or even Sony. It isn’t about Hollywood’s biases, intolerance, injustice (well, it kinda is) or anything like that. It is about the implications of a ruling based on sexism and oppression in a land where being a woman is already treated like a bad thing. I’ll be graduating Spring 2017 with a degree in Anthropology and then in 2020 with a degree in law. And I’m aiming for the laws which limit women’s rights. That will be my legacy.

female-power-anyn-rand.jpg*This explanation does NOT reflect my personal beliefs. I believe that the scenario I have explained is how the facts are being interpreted. I believe that ALL accusations of rape and assault should be looked into with respect and integrity, and am looking into a career in rape prosecution. The explanation I give is NOT how I believe the world should work and is in fact, just the opposite of how I want society to  be.