A person, a friend who made what was wrongfully done to him, right. He stubbornly fought until he was heard. Super proud of him.
You’ve discovered the magic of ASL.
You’re the teacher’s pet in your class.
You watch ASL videos on YouTube like a fiend.
You even go to an occasional Deaf event.
(Well, no one said you actually had to go in and meet people…)
You know you’ve found your life calling.
But it hasn’t always been this way. You’ve paid your dues and survived the life cycle of an ASL student. It’s been a hard road getting here.
Remember your first day of class, when you looked like this…
And facial expressions didn’t come easily…
…No matter how hard you tried.
Two hours into your class’s “Deaf Day”, you resorted to writing everything down just to achieve basic communication.
Remember the first time a Deaf person signed to you…
…and uncontrolled panic took over…
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“Oppressed majority” takes place in an alternate reality where women jog half naked and work while the men take care of the kids and endure daily sexual harassment.
“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you…it means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. It means being able to say, with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: “I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.
“Responsibility to yourself means that you don’t fall for shallow and easy solutions–predigested books and ideas…marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short…and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be “different”…The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.”
― Adrienne Rich
Adrienne Rich on the word Feminism
1. Few things are more important than your health. Schedule regular physicals and gyno appointments. Learn how to do a breast exam. Never be afraid to talk to a doctor if you suspect something is wrong, no matter how embarrassing. They’ve seen it all before and they will not be alarmed.
– Its good to have a doctor friend in your phone book. You never know when you may have a question or when you have no insurance, your health should be priority.
2. You don’t have to want your own kids. That’s not to say that knowing you do want children is bad — of course, it’s not! But opting out of motherhood or choosing adoption are also a completely valid choices.
3. You don’t need to apologize for everything. As ohmycat points out, “It’s only two words but saying it 10 times a day every day will start to affect how you view yourself and others around you. “
4. “Feminist” is not a dirty word, contrary to what some celebrities would have you believe. We agree with zombiekittiez on this one: “If something isn’t fair or isn’t right, you don’t have to keep quiet and act like a ‘lady.’ You are a person before you are a woman.”
5. ‘Your actions speak louder than the pattern you chose to wear.’ -esmichelesreflection.
If anyone says anything. . .look at it like this-
ridiculous. . . right? So don’t allow anyone to dress you how they want you to look. Its their own insecurities projected onto you.
From Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”
“Take a chance. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. And don’t fall in love with Plan A.”
–Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, reflecting on what her mother told her.
“Take criticism seriously, but not personally”.
–Hillary Rodham Clinton
“I was never given any advice. I had to figure it out for myself….But my best advice is to let your passion lead your purpose. There is a seed of desire inside of every person, and if you get still enough, you can feel it. You can’t feel it if you allow your mother, friends, school or everybody else to tell you who it is you’re supposed to be. But there is a seed of heart’s desire that burns in every person, and your real job on earth is to figure out what that thing feels like and then spend the rest of your life following it. That thing has led me all the way here, to this stage….I’ve allowed myself to listen to that thing. And everybody has it. So my best advice is to follow that.”
“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”
“You just need to have a love for what you’re doing. It’s not about thinking that it’s the cool thing; it’s about really believing in it. I was brought up to believe absolutely in the importance of journalism and communication and to have a real love for the printed word. I have so much respect for all the talented people I work with, because they’re the best in their field and they care about what they do.”
“If you do please everyone, you are not making enough progress.”
To always trust my instincts, to always believe I have something to offer — no matter how meaningless or stupid it may be — and to never listen to anyone who tells you ‘no’.”
A list poem for working-class girls trying to grow up and into themselves
1. It is okay to leave anyone and anything and anyplace that makes you feel like shit. It’s hard, but it’s okay. And bump explaining anything to anyone, unless you want to. Let them wonder.
2. Know who you are. Not just on some touchy-feely fuzzy pretty-on-the-inside tip, but knowing who you are racially, culturally, in relationship to your sexuality, gender and your class- is a source of your power. You define that for you. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you who you are. This may change in time, as you grow and learn more. That’s okay. Manage any shame or guilt you may feel through acts of accountability.
3. Be accountable for what you do. This means owning up to how you mess up, just as much as it means owning and defending the contested space you fill. You will mess up, and only you can seek atonement for this. You will need to defend yourself, and rarely will anyone do that work for you. Acknowledging both your mistakes and your rights as equally important.
4. They will call you crazy. You are a woman. There is no way of going through the world in the moment we live in and not get called crazy by someone, often someone you wish would see you as deeply sane. You are not crazy. The world is crazy. If you are affected by this imbalanced,unjust world, it only proves that you are a sentient being with some sense of empathy.
5. Empathy is built. You need to learn to really listen. This means listening without thinking about how it relates to you, or planning the next thing you are going to say. This means seeing everyone, regardless of who they are, as a human being. You cannot really be a human being unless you regard everyone as such, even your greatest nemeses and the gravest perpetrators. All of our damage comes from somewhere. Yours and everyone else’s. Learn to listen to others. Learn to listen to yourself. Empathy cannot exist without really, deeply listening first.
6. You are going to have moments of unbearable pain. It takes time to learn how to heal yourself. And healing sometimes still leaves scars. Healing is sometimes incomplete. Think of your scars as battle-wounds – evidence of how much wiser you are now- maps of where not to return. Cherish these scars and honor them. There will come times when they are the only reminder of where you have been, and how much you still need to grow.
7. You are going to have moments of unbearable loneliness. You need to learn how to love being with yourself, because ultimately, no one has the potential to love you like you can. It is beautiful to love and be loved, but these are just hints as to how to regard yourself. If you regard yourself highly, and learn to turn loneliness into soothing solitude, you will be capable of giving and receiving truly transformative love.
8. Find something that makes you feel like the world makes sense, even if you can’t justify it intellectually to yourself or anyone else. Personally, if I don’t rock a wall, get up, get laid, get down on a dancefloor, read a good book, write a poem, listen to a mind-blowing record or have a soul-shaking, satisfying conversation at least once a week, the world doesn’t make sense to me and I am unmoored. If I don’t get these things for a month, I become a total, inconsolable, incomprehensible wreck. This wreck can easily snowball into all kinds of self-destruction. Find what works for you and be loyal to it as a loyalty to yourself.
9. The world you live in is sick. This sickness creeps into all of us, and in many it manifests as an inability to love oneself, let alone others. Some of those afflicted with a parasitic strain of this illness will latch onto you as a host. You may believe it is part of your nature to nurture and support endlessly. These people will eat your love whole, and you with it, and leave you as a husk. You can grow again from your husk, but it will be hard, and it takes time and the training of betrayal and heartbreak to learn to trust yourself enough to determine who is worthy of your trust. Do not let anyone ride you. Only walk with those who will walk side by side with you, as an equal.
10. Do not mess with lovers that don’t prioritize your pleasure. That can look like a lot of different things, and you’re probably still figuring it out. Don’t put up with lovers that don’t give you room to explore, to express, and above all – if a lover is only focused on using you as a vessel to reach their plateau –be out. This doesn’t mean to ignore your partner’s pleasure, but rather to see yours as of equal worth.
11. You are not responsible for the actions of those who hated themselves so much that they hurt you.
12. Collectivism is a beautiful concept, and something worth constantly striving toward and building. Collectivism has radically changed and challenged unjust structures and institutions. But if you sacrifice your own survival for the benefit of the whole, you will find yourself wringing your hands and questioning the meaning of your life and doubting the worth of others in light of their unabashed self-interest. Find a balance.
13. Do not carry broken people who are not in the process of rebuilding themselves.
14. You are not your job. Your job is simply a paycheck, and you are probably not compensated what you are worth and it is not your fault- you inherited a broken economic system, and you will not be the first generation to fight for your right to live. But you need to fight for your right to live, in solidarity, with those around you who are also struggling.
15. Going to college is an accomplishment. It does not, however, make you better than anyone else. It doesn’t make you essentially more intelligent. You never really make it “out” of the class you came from, and you never really make it “in” to the class you aspired to.
16. If you cannot translate what you have learned from whatever access you’ve had back to wherever you came from, then you have not gained anything- you have changed. Assimilation is a choice. Seek to be a translator. Seek to share your access to those who you may have left behind. Seek to disrupt the structures that taught those of us who gained more access that we are worth more than where we left, and less than what we found ourselves among.
17. Never take validation too deeply to heart. This is especially true of those who came up entrenched in the age of social media. The gaze of hegemony is always on us. Find validation in the ratio between how positively you impact yourself and others versus how you mess up and hurt others. You will hurt others. Be accountable for this, when you need to be, and always be mindful of how often that happens in relation to those you help grow. None of us can be saints, but we can be salient and sentient.
18. Take your struggle to your community, and find community in those whose struggles intersect. It is only within one another that we will make any sense of this destroyed world and it’s corrupt ideology that we’ve inherited. Fight. Fight. Fight.
19. You are inherently valuable. You have worth. Ask no one for permission.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit or fashion-model size.
When I start to tell them,
They think I’m tellin’ lies.
I say, “It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride in my steps,
The curl of my lips.”
I’m a woman Phenomenal woman.
I’m a woman. Baby, that’s me.
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please
And to a man they will stand
And fall down on their knees.
When they swarm around me
Like a hive of honey bees,
I say, “It’s in the fire in my eyes,
The flash of my teeth,
The swing of my waist,
The joy in my feet.”
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breast,
The grace of my style.
Now you understand Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passin’, It oughta make you proud.
I say, “It’s in click of my heels, The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand, The need for my care.”
‘Cause I’m a woman Phenomenal woman.
I’m a woman. Baby, that’s me.
Lyrics by Maya Angelo
reflection: What a song. . . absolutely love her expression and she did it so beautifully. This song for you! -esmichele
Did you know the American Library Association has a Feminist Task Force? Of course they do. Each year, a group of people from this task force undertake a mission called the Amelia Bloomer Project where they name the best feminist books of the year for young readers.
On Sunday, January 26, the Amelia Bloomer Project released their top ten picks from 2013. The list is a resource for libraries stocking up on new books, but it’s also a handy guide for parents or anyone looking to buy good books for kids.
Determining what counts as a feminist book for readers ages zero to 18 is certainly complicated. The Amelia Bloomer Project explains that the books they highlight don’t just focus on tough girls, but have some emphasis on the big systemic problems that create inequality:
“Feminist books for young readers must move beyond merely ‘spunky’ and ‘feisty’ young women, beyond characters and people who fight to protect themselves without furthering rights for other women. Feminist books show women overcoming the obstacles of intersecting forces of race, gender, and class, actively shaping their destinies. They break bonds forced by society as they defy stereotypical expectations and show resilience in the face of societal strictures.”
The selection committee reads through dozens of books from the year while asking questions like, “Does the book show an awareness of gender-based inequalities with action to change these inequalities?” and “Do descriptions show the character of the person, or do they concentrate on attractive personal appearances?” If you’re interested in the selection process, read up more on the Amelia Bloomer Project.
Here is their list of 10 great feminist books from the past year:
Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America’s Heart by Julie Cummins and illustrated by Malene R. Laugesen
Rookie Yearbook Two Edited by Tavi Gevinson
Global Baby Girls by the Global Fund for Children
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph by Aimee Molloy
Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War IIby Cheryl Mullenbach
The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich
What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? by Marianne Schnall
Profiles: Freedom Heroines by Frieda Wishinsky
I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
Reflection: I have some catching up to do. Looking forward to learning more about myself through these women. -esmichele