Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My job sucks and I'm going to eat some worms

No, eating worms would be cruel. Cruel to me, cruel to the worms and not terribly nice to my b/f who would have to deal with the inevitable consequences.

Oh boy. I have a case of the Mondays on a Tuesday. (sigh) Here's the deal. See, I have decided to not torture myself with the Hollywood acting game for a while. I'm tired of playing. I'm taking my ball and going home! Truth be told, I'm just sick of being the oldest girl at the audition and obsessiong over every piece of food I stick in my mouth. This is no way to live. So now I'm going to school and working. Yeah, 'cause that's easier. I'm actually really enjoying being back in school, though. I wish I could take more classes and get to my area of interest sooner, but that's my fault for not doing this when I was 18 like normal people. Nope, I just had to run off to NYC. Ah, youth.

Anyway, so I'm at work doing all this really demeaning crap and all I want to do is go home and study for my anthropology test or work on my essay on Frankenstein, or read the NY Times. It's very hard to find fulfillment in scanning documents, ordering lunch for the grand high muckity-mucks and general paper pushing that I do all day.

I must remember that there are lots of unemployed people who would love to have this job. There are lots of people who would love to have the opportunity to work full time and go to school full time. It wasn't so long ago that I wouldn't have been able to get an education simply because I'm a girl, right? Come to think of it, there are still many places where girls are not taught to read or encouraged to think about anything but children and taking care of their husbands. So I'm really pretty lucky. Yeah...that's the ticket!

I still don't want to deal with the inane tasks awaiting my attention upon my rather cluttered glass desk. I'd still much rather be ...oh let's face it, just about anywhere else but under these fluorescent lights in this soulless corporation.

Maybe I'll go to the zoo this weekend. Monkeys always cheer me up.

Or maybe I'll just hide in the couch for a few days until this feeling goes away.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Is there really a "Mommy War?"

All right folks, when are we going to stop gawking at the manufactured cat fights in the media and start dealing with the real problems? I know it's much more fun to watch a bunch of ladies claw each other's eyes out over something as heated as parenting issues (i.e. Stay-at-home Moms vs. Working Mothers), but it's time to look at the real problems here.

First, lets take a look at the language used for these news stories, shall we? Stay at home moms; (read - fun, approachable, warm) vs. working mothers (read - cold, task master, unapproachable). They make it very clear that we are talking about two different kinds of parents here. Which one do you want to be raising the kids of America?

By using these supposed stories to pit women against each other, the news media is overlooking some real basic points. Such as, there is no such story. News Flash - the is no "Mommy War".
By creating these black and white, mutually exclusive "sides" the media is ignoring the fact that most women do not subscribe to one or the other method of child raising throughout their lives. The vast majority of mothers try both working and staying at home during their careers. If there is a conflict here it is within ourselves, not against each other. As long as the media makes it appear as though women accept that they are trapped in these rigid, unchanging roles, then businesses sure don't have to worry about things like, oh... providing adequate day care. It's the women's problem after all. We allow ourselves to be brain-washed by the idea that if we are not devoting our lives to baking cookies and wiping noses, then we are failures as women. The guilt heaped on us by these fake news stories (and detergent commercials, and sit-coms and Ladies Home Journal etc. ad nauseum....) is enough to give a girl a serious complex. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, huh? It actually reminds me a lot of the old high school dilemma when someone would ask you if you had 'done it' yet. Answer 'yes' and you're a slut, answer 'no' and you're a tease.

Which brings me to what really gets my undies in a bun about all this. I never see any stories about a so-called Daddy War. Men do not have to choose between working and being a dad. Aren't fathers just as important to a child's development as mothers? Men don't have to choose between work and family because it is still just accepted that it's Dad's job to go out and earn the living. Mom should not be earning her own money anyway. That leads to all sorts of terrible things like independence, thinking for yourself and having grown up conversations with people over three feet tall. We wouldn't want that.

I know I'm being a little pessimistic here. There are plenty of fathers that do their fair share around the house. There are lots of dads that pick the kids up from soccer and pack lunches. Unfortunately, these men are still seen as something of an exception. It is the American Mother that is charged with raising the future of our society. To these women fall the responsibility to raise happily adjusted little citizens. As long as this crushing responsibility falls on Mom, she will be scrutinized and caricatured in American media. We like things to be simple, easily defined and slightly entertaining. I'm afraid I expect to see the cat-fight-as-news-story for a very long time.

Wouldn't it be nice if we, as a society could take responsibility for some of this? Imagine a world where there was plenty of affordable day care that you could actually trust to care for and nurture your kids because the staff was educated and adequately paid. Imagine if both Mom and Dad were held equally responsible for what goes on in the home. Imagine if the government subsidized more after school programs and pre-schools.

Imagine what could happen if we actually asked for some of these things from our representatives in the upcoming fall elections.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fun with the computer

I went hiking last weekend.
I brought my camera.
I got bored at work today and played with the fun buttons on the Kodak pictures website thingy.

P.S. If you click on the pics you can see the larger image with all the texture and nifty stuff. :)

Friday, February 17, 2006

I want to throw something at my television

I just need to start keeping a basket full of Nerf toys in my living room to throw at my television. I am usually prepared for the infuriating stupidity of prime time viewing. Commercials for The Bachelor, for instance make me want to hurl objects at the screen all by themselves. I don't think I could actually watch the entire program. Desperate Housewives and Tide commercials also make my fingers itch for something to heave at my t.v. These instances are usually brief and restricted to evening viewing.

So, imagine my surprise when I hear a story on Good Morning America today about the winter Olympics and female ski jumpers. As I wandered around the house in my usual morning stupor, I heard Diane Sawyer say that women are not allowed to compete in the ski jump. I thought I must have heard her wrong. I mean I've only been awake for a half hour and I've not had any coffee yet. Perhaps she was speaking of a rule from back in 1954. This is 2006 after all. Women can do everything men can do (except serve in the U.S. Navy on a submarine, but I think that's more about their safety from their fellow sailors than their exclusion..ahem.)

Nope, apparently it's just not lady-like for girls to leap off of a ski jump. According to the International Ski Federation's president, Gian Franco Kasper, "It's like jumping down from, let's say, about two meters on the ground about a thousand times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view,"

Let's take a look at the last part of that sentence. "seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view." Who is this guy? I don't see an "M.D." after his name. Where is he getting this pseudo-scientific opinion? This sounds a lot like the general thinking back in the 60s and 70s when women were not allowed to officially run marathons, specifically and most noticeably, the Boston Marathon. It was thought that our poor reproductive systems might be damaged by such activities. It amazes me how women are deemed strong enough to carry and deliver babies, but too fragile to run 26 miles or hit the ground after a ski jump.

You see, back in 1966, Roberta Louise Gibb or Bobbi Gibb as she was known, was a long distance runner. She did not have a trainer or a track team. She ran because it made her feel balanced with nature and her world. She ran because she loved to run. She had lived in Boston and dreamed of running in the marathon there but there was a strict 'no girls allowed' policy. So, after much training and thought she decided to run anyway. She hid out in the bushes near the starting line and began the marathon with the other runners when the starting shot was fired. She merged into the group and ran the race. She was supported by the men who ran around her and by the people on the side-lines as she ran by. However, when she finished the race she found the doors to the after marathon banquet firmly closed to her. She ran in the Boston marathon two more times, proving that it was not dangerous for women to run long distances. She is a lawyer and a mother.

Then in 1968 Katherine Switzer, another female runner, turned in her application for the Boston Marathon. She only wrote her initials in the name box and since it never occurred to the officials that a mere woman would want to run, they assumed she was a man and sent her an official number. She began the race wearing a hooded sweatshirt and running with her boyfriend, a 235 lb former All-American football player. She was idealistic, not stupid. Once it was discovered that a "girl" was running with numbers on there was an uproar. Word of this unprecedented event sprinted down the street faster than the runners. Many people along the sidelines cheered, but officials were not pleased. One official in the press truck tried to physically remove Switzer from 'his' marathon but her boyfriend body-checked the man and Switzer finished the race.

I can somewhat understand women meeting with this kind of resistance 30 or 40 years ago. We were still mired in the ideals of the 'feminine mystique'. Women had not had the opportunity to express themselves and break down some of these ridiculous barriers. It boggles my mind that in 2006 people still believe these archaic and chauvinist stereotypes. In Italy right now there are a brother and sister attending the Olympics, Alissa (19) and Anders (16) Johnson from Park City, Utah. Anders will be competing in the Olympic ski jump. His sister, Alissa will be watching. Even though she is one of the world's top ranked ski jumpers, she cannot compete because she has a uterus. Not only is the Olympic committee wrong about their policy on women ski jumping, they are alone. Women are allowed to compete for world titles in other competitions, just not the ever-so-lofty Olympics.

ABC News mentioned that this rule is going to be examined this spring and perhaps overturned. If that happens then Alissa and others like her will be able to compete in four years at the next Winter Olympics. Until then, these talented young women will just have to wait and watch from the sidelines, secure in the knowledge that they are just as good, if not better than the boys who will be allowed to "go for the gold."

Here is a link to Bobbi Gibb's story. Go there. Read her account. Try not to get all misty eyed.

Katherine Switzer trying to officially

run in The Boston Marathon in 1968.

Some of the world class female Ski Jumpers who will not be competing at the Olympics this year.