Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

Every moment of your life is a gift. You can stack all those gifts on a shelf and save them for later, but the little gremlins of time and urgency will tear into them and do with them what they will, and then you will be left with cleanup duty. Or you can quit waiting on everyone else, everything else, and take each gift in your arms, each moment, as it arrives, open it up, live it with intention. You can answer the call with your own voice and actions – take full responsibility, full pleasure, full heartache, whatever it is – from each moment.

My song for Week 20 of #songaweek2016 reflects on the passivity I and many women learned by osmosis growing up in a fundamentalist environment, and the ongoing conversation I’ve had with my younger self to work through it. So that even those moments I passed on the first time have become precious to me, have shaped me, as I perform the aforementioned cleanup duty.

It’s all good. All shall be well. This I still believe.

Hey little girl with the starry eyes
falling in love for the very first time
you always keep your toes in line
you always keep your tongue so tied

don’t hold back the words you need to say

You should tell him
you should tell him ’cause the mystery haunts my dreams
or you should leave it
you should leave it ’cause the mystery inspires me
I just wish that you had known that it was all your call

You spend your afternoons in secret gardens
writing all your secret thoughts
waiting for the world to come and find you
waiting for permission to come alive

don’t hold back the moves you need to make

Get up and dance now
get up and dance because my memories could use more joy
or keep your quiet
keep your quiet ’cause my memories could hold more peace
I just wish that you had known that it was all your call

but i’d never go back
not for a minute
and I wouldn’t trade it
not for a million
’cause I’ve learned that every moment is my call
and that my life is ringing
off the hook

 

Read Full Post »

Here’s a solo album I recorded in 2005, that I re-released last month on Noisetrade where you can download it for free.

http://noisetrade.com/juliabloom/a-human-called-woman

folder_4page.indd

 

Read Full Post »

When I was young, I knew with certainty that abortion was wrong. It was a black-and-white issue. A baby is a baby is a baby. Life begins at conception, and abortion stops a beating heart. Abortion is murder. I couldn’t understand how anyone could see things otherwise. I was sure that anyone with a different opinion was godless and heartless.

In my young adulthood, I met a young man who was also an evangelical-striped Christian. But he voted Democrat and identified himself as pro-choice. He explained that even if abortion was a moral wrong, he didn’t think it was right for a mostly-male Congress to be making laws governing women’s choices about what was going on inside their own bodies.

My thought-evolution on this issue has continued. Currently, I would say that I am undecided.

Here is a random list of thoughts and things I have learned related to this issue. These are not points or arguments. Please don’t read them as such. I am thinking out loud:

Planned Parenthood is mostly about providing low-cost or free health care to women. I was always taught that this organization was pretty much pure evil, so even today when I know better, just the name “Planned Parenthood” still elicits a visceral negative reaction for me.

Medical technology has advanced so that surgery can be performed on babies in the womb, and babies can survive birth at earlier stages of development than ever.

The phrase “every child a wanted child” rings a little hollow to me. It has been used as a pro-choice argument that no child should be born to a mother who doesn’t want him or her. I agree with this sentiment, but I think a better solution is to build a world where people welcome and support children (and by extension, pregnant women and mothers of young children), not where unwanted children are denied existence.

I find the ideas on Feminists for Life‘s website intriguing, especially their FAQ answer regarding criminalizing abortion (though it seems a bit evasive).

Adoption is often held up as an alternative to abortion. But carrying a pregnancy to term is a major life disruptor in and of itself, especially if a woman already has young children (and most women who get abortions are already mothers of previously-birthed children).

It is possible to hold a pro-choice position concerning legislation and a pro-life position concerning morality. I suppose this would be a libertarian position, similar to positions on other issues such as drug use, alcohol consumption, sex, and religious beliefs.

This is a controversial issue for good reasons. The entire journey that an egg and a sperm make to become a newborn baby happens inside a woman’s body. Is it really good policy to dictate to her what she does about that activity going on inside of her? If we can make laws about whether women may terminate their pregnancies or not, can we also make laws about how they will treat the growing child inside their body? Can we make it illegal for pregnant women to smoke or drink?

Why are so many “pro-life” people also outspoken critics of welfare in any form? If you want to reduce abortions, wouldn’t you want to help build a world where children are cared for, no matter their household income – and where women have access to contraception to prevent pregnancy in the first place? But I understand that many people who are opposed to government-sponsored welfare think that churches and community groups should be the ones providing poverty relief. And that’s another non-black-and-white issue for another day . . .

According to recent demographic research, poverty – and the inadequate health care and lack of access to contraception that goes along with it – is a significant contributor to the choice to abort a pregnancy. This blog post and video discusses this information more.

Referring to his daughters, President Obama once said, “I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” Unfortunate choice of words, I’d say. Whatever he meant by that, I think it reflects the reality of our patriarchal society which marginalizes women and even more so marginalizes children (and the elderly, mentally/physically challenged, etc.) and the people – often women – who care for them. Once again, this raises for me the reminder that abortion must be understood in its larger context of social and systemic issues that de-value people who don’t “keep up” with the expected pace of American life – 16+ years of formal education, 40+weekly hours working a “real job,” etc.

That’s a long enough list for now.

Abortion, like life, is not a black-and-white issue. I’m weary of both pro-lifers and pro-choicers ignoring the complexities involved  (though of course not everyone from either perspective does so).

These are just some opening thoughts to a conversation I hope we can have here. Let’s talk. What do you think? Or feel? Or wonder? Or what have you experienced? Or learned? Or considered? I’m looking for a thoughtful and respectful conversation about an often-heated topic. So it may be a good idea to read your comment over one extra time before you make that final click.

*Update: Recently I heard this OnBeing podcast  with David Gushee and Frances Kissling about abortion. I highly recommend it as a model of thoughtful conversation on this issue.

Read Full Post »

Epiphany passed me by recently, dressed like a Somali woman. It occurred to me that with her cultural requirement to wear a head covering in public, she is free from stressing about hairstyles. And with her long and shapeless body covering, she is immune from fashion police and probably never wonders if she missed a spot when shaving her legs. For the first time I saw comfort and freedom in her clothing rather than only repression.

Growing up fundamentalist, my textile signs of repression included long skirts, culottes, and nylon stockings. To prove I was free from this bondage, I spent many of my early adult years wearing blue jeans or shorts just about everywhere. I avoided nylon stockings and knee-length skirts, sure that would be the same as wearing a sandwich sign entreating, “Blow me a kiss, I’m a fundamentalist.”

Then came the hippie feminist years, when makeup and shaving were the symbols of my captivity to The Man. To declare my independence, I dumped the mascara and left alone the leg hair, though I was still chained to the need for smooth armpits.

Somewhere along the way life normalized and my statements and declarations morphed into nothing more than habits, some of which I continued and some of which I changed, without attaching much of a larger meaning to them.

photo courtesy djcodrin, freedigitalphotos.net

It goes without saying, in my estimation, that women just about everywhere and throughout all time are repressed. My Somali neighbor must dress as she does to be accepted in her community. In mainstream western culture, where women have been liberated from stringent dress codes, they have been subjected to ever more ruthless standards of slender bodies, large breasts, firm smooth ageless skin, perfect hair, etc.

I’m not done thinking about it, speaking out against it, trying to pass on to my daughter – and my son – some sense of healthy female body image and gender equality. But I marvel regularly at the resilience of the human spirit that is alive and well in women everywhere, who play by the patriarchal rules, or don’t, but still manage to do what needs to be done, day in and day out, and add their own strength and spark to this shattered, shining world.

Read Full Post »

I answered four questions over the phone recently, for a political survey. Question 1: Do you support domestic drilling for oil? My answer: No. Question 2: Do you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice? My answer: pro-life. Question 3: Do you believe the current economic crisis would be better handled by cutting spending or raising taxes? My answer: cutting spending. Question 4: Do you consider yourself more in alignment with Democrats or Republicans? My answer: Democrats.

But I don’t exactly sound like a Democrat. Better get my ducks in a row and toe the line. Except I don’t want to be a Democrat. Or a Republican.

Labels get us stuck. If I know that you are an “evangelical Christian,” whatever I have learned to attach to that label gets stuck to you too. Therefore in my unfiltered thoughts you probably are a political conservative and an anti-intellectual, have rather poor taste in music and books, and scoff at or at least feel suspicious of efforts towards care of the earth and social justice.

I know better, of course, but my familiarity with evangelicalism (having spent many years under that label) has bred contempt. It’s become all too easy for me to remember well my disagreements with the subculture of my youth and ignore the many digressions from these negative stereotypes.

Then, to escape the negative side of the “evangelical” label, I want to stick a new label on me. “Liberal” sounds good, or maybe “Democrat,” though I want to be more radical than that, so maybe “revolutionary,” but that can be a bit off-putting so maybe I’ll go for “postmodern” because that’s more open to interpretation, but I also hate sounding too uppity, want to have at least a touch of “down-to-earth”-ness, so . . .

Off I go searching for the perfect label, unthinkingly assuming that there is a platform or agenda out there that perfectly suits me, a pre-fab perspective on life where I will be right at home. Once I’ve chosen my new label, I will all-too-quickly stop thinking things through on my own terms and begin making intellectual excuses to accept everything that goes along with my new label. I’ll dive into the subculture under the label, suck up the energy and life, friendship and inspiration I need, but then after a while, familiarity will again begin to breed contempt, as I reach a threshold of living inconsistently with my soul, that deep inner self that Parker Palmer calls a shy, wild creature.

A friend recently told me she is finished with labels, and I’m beginning to feel I quite agree. Classify this – I homeschool my children; think evolution is the best explanation for the origin of the species; believe God is the beginning and the end of everything and love Jesus who is God with us and the rightful ruler of the universe; think it’s ludicrous that my nation’s constitution still does not contain an Equal Rights Amendment; oppose abortion; oppose the death penalty; oppose war for any reason; oppose killing or oppressing animals for food and will gratefully eat a burger if you are sharing it with me; dream of a world without gasoline-powered transportation and love motorcycle rides; find it shocking that our ‘superpower’ nation can build superhighways and start wars it hasn’t budgeted for but still hasn’t made health care a universal right for its citizens; think my nation’s government is bloated, corrupt and ineffective; denounce blind faith and am attempting to authentically live in the question.

In Labelese, I may be something like a Christian agnostic pro-life feminist environmentalist libertarian Democrat evolutionist conservative vegan freegan . . . and that’s a silly mouthful, so instead, call me human and let’s talk over coffee. My list above is a sampling of the opinions I currently hold, but they are like rocks in a riverbed, continually being reshaped by the flow of thoughts, conversations, information and experiences running over them. It’s my own riverbed, completely unique and just too sloppy with life to keep any label stuck to it.

Read Full Post »