Monday, November 30, 2009

No shrinking violet

Today is the final dance class before the gala. I'm mildly freaking out. I don't exactly have the choreography memorized. I know what moves go to what segments of music. I don't remember the order of the music segments, so after each one is done I have to pause to hear it. This is not good. I've been practicing in the living room like on of those joggers who jog on the spot, only with belly dance.

I also stayed up all night last night to correct what has been becoming a growing problem. Staying up just a wee bit later and sleeping in a little bit longer, over the course of time. This Sunday the Dude and I slept in until 1:00. It was unprecedented. I haven't done that since... actually I can't remember, though I know I often pulled it off in my teens.

I spent a large portion of the evening doing this. Oh yes. It's so nerdy I could die. But due to practice I can now name 150 countries out of 195. Have you heard of Benin? Slovenia? Nauru? Now you have.

I spend the rest of the evening making excellent headway on When Everything Changed. Seriously, holy shit. Now, I've always considered myself a feminist. I know it's not fashionable to call oneself that, but I don't care and I've never cared. A feminist is someone who believes in equal opportunities and rights for women. I've found it very difficult to understand why any woman would not openly express solidarity with that.

And reading this book and seeing in black and white the history of it all actually makes me mad that today's women don't want to own this title of feminist. It somehow seems like a way to appear more demure for the benefit of men. Because what woman in her right man would not be in favour of the rights she enjoys due to feminism?

Women cannot obtain credit without a male cosigner.
Women cannot obtain mortgage or apartment lease without male cosigner.
Women can legally be fired for getting married or pregnant.
Child support and alimony are not enforced laws.
Employers can legally pay women a fraction of what they pay men on the basis that they're not the breadwinner, even if they're widowed mothers or divorcees with children.
Employers can legally sexually harass their female employees.
Women can be denied entry to university programs for medicine, law, engineering and business.
Employers can post help wanted - male and legally discriminate against hiring women.
Funded sports programs in school for women don't exist.
Dress codes required girdles and high heels in many jobs that were female friendly, such as teaching and nursing. (I own a girdle, which I occasionally wear. They're wildly uncomfortable.)
Rape cases can be considered invalid if the woman was not a virgin prior to the assault.

And due to a strong fight for decades to bring about change, these are no longer our realities. I'm 27 and cohabiting, a college graduate, childless and working in a career I enjoy. I've obtained my own credit card, signed my own lease, wear what I want, have a sex life and practice birth control outside of marriage. I've been able to make these choices independently, based on my own ideas of what will bring me happiness and where I want my life to go.

Thanks to my mother's generation of amazing women. You're damn right I am a feminist.

And with that rant, I'm going to get back to practice my choreography-- which is a dance that would never have been available to me to learn without feminism opening the doors for female expression of their own sensuality.

PS: Latvia, Tonga, Lithuania, Malta.


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