Tag Archives: Violence

If I Am Not For Others, What Am I?

20151221_210233It’s a horrifying, gut-wrenching time to be human. I suppose it always is, and always has been, and maybe none of the staggering hate-motivated events are new, just our ubiquitous recording capabilities and 24-hour news cycle are. We’re sick with hate. Sick from hate. I’m starting to hate humanity. But before I seek refuge in my dark feeling that the sooner humanity is wiped off the planet, the better, I return to an adaptation of a Hillel quote I once saw on the front of a Seattle synagogue that makes me do the work. Continue reading

If This Isn’t The Line, What Is?

gunI’ve posed this question both to myself and others, usually when harm has been done. It’s important to draw the line and hold it, otherwise we run the risk of allowing others to damage us, entering into a cycle of abuse. Now I’m posing this question to the nation, as we face the worst mass shooting in recent history.  Continue reading

This Isn’t About Safety

safetyReading the news today about convicted rapist Brock Turner, the accounts of his crime, and the extraordinary lenience of his (six month!) sentence have me reaching for my throat. My gag reflex activated by another miscarriage of justice, I stand here staring at the screen wondering if women have any value in society at all. Continue reading

Why The Villain Is A Stronger Role Model Than The Princess

villainOn our most recent girls’ nights, my buddies and I decided to re-watch some of the Disney classics (both the 1950s and 1990s era) to see how they hold up in modern times. We selected “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) for our most recent hang out and snuggled into the couch under blankets like six year-olds. None of us had seen this particular movie since we were very young, and we were eager to see how it played to our adult sensibilities. Would we long to be princesses?

By the end of the movie, I felt a stronger connection to Maleficent, the evil fairy than I did to Aurora, the title princess. I remembered then that I had always found Maleficent captivating, even as a child. And why wouldn’t I, when she holds all the power while Aurora/Briar Rose has no personality and makes no choices of her own? Continue reading

The Interview Series: Daily Baby

She’d given birth to her first child–a daughter–the year before, and I wanted to take an intergenerational look at the conflict and difficulty that seems to exist in the mother-daughter dynamic. I’d been privy to her struggles in her relationship with her mother, the pain and angst it caused her, and hoped she’d be willing to have a conversation about how she grew up, and what she’d like to do differently with her daughter.

Perhaps the most verbose, rapidly-speaking person I know (a court reporter once asked her to slow down during a testimony), we joked that I was lucky to be getting our interview in after she’d been down with the flu and bronchitis for a week. She began to take me through her early childhood, leading me from the picture of an idyllic family toward the tense, guilt-ridden, sometimes self-esteem-crippling snapshot of today’s relationship with her mother. Continue reading

Gaslit

gaslitMy perceptions of reality became so wholly dependent on external validation that I pretty much stopped having them. Or maybe I had them, but couldn’t access them. It was as though what I was sensing had to be passed through the filter of someone else’s perception. I had to get someone’s opinion on whatever was before me in order to even sense it sometimes, that’s how far outside myself I was living. Continue reading

The Doll Evolves

evolvesSo what do you guys think of the new Barbie Mattel has rolled out this week? That’s right, after about, oh, thirty or so years of pressure from feminist groups, Mattel has designed three new dolls to better and more accurately represent women. Joining the classically, completely unrealistically-proportioned original are tall, curvy and petite models. It’s almost good, except that tall and petite retain the mini-waist, massive thigh gap, and big tits. Only curvy has an (unnaturally) pointed toe dipped in reality. Are we getting somewhere, though?  Continue reading

I Felt Nothing.

nothingIn the full daylight of 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I slept the deep, tunneled in, wake-me-and-die sleep of the depressed. My mom’s voice began to come through my bedroom door, joined by that of my boyfriend’s–a surprise since he had no car and rarely showed up of his own volition. They knocked, then walked right in as I struggled to gain consciousness and go back to sleep all at once. Sleeping my activity of choice when I wasn’t working or at school, I resented the intrusion and bristled, scowling at them from my cozy den. I wasn’t a morning person, and they both knew it. I was not friendly or even really coherent before my first cup of coffee, preferring silence for the first hour or so of wakefulness before the more reasonable hour of 10 a.m.

“Ryan’s here,” my mom, Captain Obvious, began, her brow furrowed, manner grave. “New York has been attacked, it’s all over the news. Why don’t you get up and watch with us.” Ryan towered over her in my doorway, wringing his hands, face ashen. “I ran all the way here,” he said. “I told him he should come over immediately,” my mom continued, “because we don’t know what’s going on yet, or if something more will happen.” Continue reading

The Interview Series: The Shame Game

IMG_20150220_170714

“When it went down originally, people wanted to push it under the rug. I lost a lot of friends,” she told me, as we began our conversation about her experience of being raped during her junior year of college. She had been describing the reaction of a recent long-term boyfriend, and how his response wasn’t unlike that of her social circle at the time of the trauma. After dating for over a year, she had finally worked up the nerve to disclose to him that she had been raped, an important step for relationships with men that appeared to have long term potential. “It’s a pretty defining moment from my life. It creates trust issues for me. If you want to know me, you need to know this.” They were on a ski trip together, and one night after they had some drinks, she ventured into her past. No sooner had she spoken the words than he became angry, visibly upset and uncomfortable. She dropped the subject for the time being, bringing it up again the next day. He became defensive, informing her in no uncertain terms that he didn’t want to hear about it, or talk about it. He wasn’t the one who had raped her, so why should he have to confront her truth?

As she and I spoke we returned to the theme of silence, again and again, brought on by forces internal, social and cultural. Continue reading