Sharing poetry and feminist thought

(dedicated to our lonely 1957 Vauxhall Victor)

My dear Vauxy, I know how you feel

I remember the excitement in his eyes when he brought you home,
Those many, many years ago

The determination at the thought of picking up the pieces,
And making you whole again – just like a man – such a problem solver.

The hours toiling away carefully tinkering beneath your hood,
Gently caressing all your curves, welding new steel to replace the rusted and neglected frame of your body.

My dear Vauxy, I know how you feel

The man hours, the emotional and physical investment,
Night after night, for months on end.

You became his obsession,
And I could not help but feel a twinge of jealousy.

But like all passionate love affairs, the exploration, the investment and excitement of the newness,
All good things come to an end.

He became distracted with a new venture, a new love,
Here we are a fine English import and a Middle Eastern refugee,

The epitome of neglected first loves that novels are written about,
Two peas in a very lonely dusty pod.

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Feminism = Equality for our Fathers

I wanted to share the link to an article I ran across on Yahoo. It is a picture of a father, Doyin Richards, brushing his daughter’s hair while holding his infant in a carrier. This is an image that is the norm in so many homes, however our society fails to accept it as such. So much so, that it went viral. (http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/awesome-dad-styles-daughter-39-hair-breaks-internet-204400163.html)

What does this have to do with feminism? This is exactly what feminism is striving for. Men, like women should have equal opportunities to parent and bond with their children. When we as women and mothers, fight for a healthy work/life balance in our careers it does not just benefit us. When we ask for equal pay as our male counterparts, it does not just benefit us. It benefits the men in our lives whom we chose to have our children with, to share our lives with.

If work/life balance is allowed for men and fathers, they can be home on time to contribute more fully to their children’s lives. They can leave work midday to make it to a parent/teacher conferences without being looked upon by their boss or colleagues as a someone who does not work as hard. When women gain equal pay, then it takes the pressure off men to work longer hours to either be the primary or sole breadwinners.

It is unfair that we put this pressure on our men. They deserve to be a part of their children’s lives in equal measure. A working mother allows for opportunities for working fathers to pursue their dreams as well, without the added pressures of being the primary/sole breadwinners. It allows them to take the risks to allow them to “follow their bliss,” because their wives are making a decent living.  This whole idea that our society equates the hours clocked in the grind with how valuable an employee is, is complete and utter nonsense. Ask any working mother how she manages to complete the same work in eight hours successfully and many times even better than her childless counterparts (both men and women), how it can be done? Oh yeah that is right, working mothers are not viewed as valuable as their childless counterparts, because they prioritize their children over their careers and put boundaries to protect their work/life balance 😉

When we allow our men the same luxury of being able to see their children’s plays, or make it home in time to take them to their after school sports they end up with much more fulfilling lives and relationships with their children. When women/mothers entered the workforce we wanted to have the same opportunities and be equally valued. We want our children to know that anything is possible by being the example. I am more than certain that fathers want to be that example as well.

In their book Getting to 50/50, authors Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober cite a study done by the U.S. Department of Education in 1996. “The DOE found that “fathers” involvement in their children’s school had a distinct and independent influence” even after controlling for parental education, income, and maternal involvement. “In two-parent families, involvement of both parents in school significantly associated with a greater likelihood that their children in first through twelfth grade get mostly A’s and they enjoy school and a reduced likelihood that they have ever repeated a grade. Fathers’ involvement has a stronger influence on the children getting mostly A’s than does a mother’s involvement.” (p. 29).

The same opinions that scrutinize and criticize men for taking advantage of their parental duties also ask successful working women, “how do you do it all?” The answer is, “we have men in our lives who want to share in the responsibility of being good and available fathers.” You will never catch those same narrow sighted individuals asking successful working fathers the same question. The question at its core is sexist. In order to gain pure equality, society has to be open to men being nurturing just as equally as women. No man has a child and dreams of being absent from their lives. Men, just like women have an ideal of what it is to be an available and loving father, but our society squashes that out of them with the same bashing it inflicts on working mothers. We have to love and be open to our men to be the fathers they dream to be and stop putting a magnifying glass on them when they are. Winning this battle is a step in the right direction.

Beautiful Inspiration

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyQVBkNeN8U&w=560&h=315%5D

Baby, just hold me,
Simply control me,
Because your arms they keep away the lonelies…

Alicia Keys
Never felt this way before (Interlude)

me

Me

The “me” that once was vulnerable, tender, naked,
You have forgotten how to love that “me”.

You have broken “me” with your carelessness,
“Me” found a home in the dark corners of her soul.

Tormented by the loneliness,
“Me” built a fortress of discontent and sadness to keep her safe.

As the years escape us,
“Me” comes out to seek your love less and less often, at times lashing out in anger, desperate for love from “you”.

The purest and most innocent of loves that used to surround “me”, is now soiled and tainted

Delicate, petals of a flower, “me” crumbled when you closed your calloused hands

Pure as the carbon that creates the most radiant diamonds, “me” was contaminated by your sharp tongue

Glass pieces of “me” lie broken, hopeless, waiting for the moment that “you” would make “me” whole again

But alas, “me” eternally lingers in her fortress, slowly decaying, waiting for “you” to awaken her with the simplest act of love, wondering why “you” have abandoned her.

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I truly cannot comprehend when given a gift so beautiful, pure and fragile, how one can squander it so carelessly…it defies all logic and reason.

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“Sticks and stones are hard on bones. Aimed with angry art, words can sting like anything. But silence breaks the heart.”  –Phyllis McGinley

My Beloved Esther

Image

“When they are young they step on your toes,

When they are grown they step on your heart.”

You crossed my mind this evening, my Beloved Esther as I was watching my very own. I was caught up in the moment thinking fondly of you. Then just like a flash, World War III broke out in my living room. Why animals eat their young became perfectly clear.

I miss your wisdom and your innocence.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Envisioning a life that will never be

Living your life, living mine

Going through the motions of the day to day

Overwhelmed with the monotony

 

The mundane, a reality

Like the instructions on a shampoo bottle

Lather, rinse, repeat….

Lather, rinse, repeat…

Only a matter of time before there is nothing to lather, rinse, repeat

 

Clinging to any spark of life

Whatever exists, slowly fading

Grasping on to anything, to awaken something

Feeling alive, needing to feel like a woman again

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiywFDZvnYY&w=560&h=315%5D

I know what you are thinking, “what does this ad have to do with Pantene hair products?” The answer is, “do not think about the product, but the message.” I have to applaud Pantene for bringing one issue to the forefront. As women in the workplace, we are still seen in a negative light no matter how equally successful we are to our male counterparts. In 2003, two professors one from Columbia University and another from New York University, put their heads together and experimented. Their result is now famously called the “Heidi/Howard” study.

The two professors split their classes in half and distributed a case study, which was the story of successful venture capitalist Heidi Roizen. The name in the story was changed to Howard in half of the case studies. The students agreed that both Heidi and Howard (who did not exist) were equally impressive and competent. However, the students “were less likely to hire or work for Heidi”. The conclusion: success in the workplace has a negative correlation for women, where it has a positive correlation for men.

Gender inequality still exists. Sexism is global. It is very unfortunate that half of the world’s population is still viewed “less than” the other half simply because they are women.