A little help from my friends?

April 1, 2009

One of the hardest parts of being one of those crazy lesbian feminist sometimes is remembering that I am, in fact, being one of those crazy lesbian feminists. I never have any problem being myself online, but I have lived in hostile environments in meatspace for so long that the suppression of myself becomes not just second nature, but first nature, so that if I spend too much time without the internet, it leaves me scratching my head wondering if I made a mistake about the whole “gay” thing.

It feels wrong that my identity, my basic sense of self, can go away, let alone that it does. It leaves me wondering even after I’ve returned to myself (i.e., the internet) if itsĀ impermanenceĀ is a sign of its incorrectness.

It’s not an identity crisis that lasts long, because then I just go, “Sure, I’m a straight girl, who is totally repulsed by penises and flat, manly chests. Worst straight girl ever.”

There are ways in which I am also the Worst Lesbian Ever (mostly just to do with the fact that I’ve dated more guys than girls, though if you took out the gay guys it would be even) but I am at least a lesbian. It’s part of my identity, and it’s not changing.

It just takes so much energy to remember that I am a lesbian, and a feminist, and to refuse to accept the eleventy-bajillion messages I get every day telling me that I am wrong and abnormal, and it’s so often just not safe enough to do anything but hide it, that sometimes… I forget.

I hate this, and I want it to stop. It is unacceptable to me that I find myself acquiescing to the patriarchy in almost every aspect of my external life. I need to be someplace where I can remember to be me.

Which is why I need a little help from my friends! I might be transferring schools in the future, away from my small-town conservative school of Young Republicans, and I’m trying to get a feel for what places might make me happier, and freer to be myself. So! If you know what it’s like to be at any of the following schools (which I have applied to), and especially if you know what it’s like to be one of those crazy lesbian feminists on campus, please tell me what your experience has been like!

  • University of Texas – Austin
  • UNC – Chapel Hill
  • Columbia
  • Carleton College
  • NYU
  • University of Vermont

Please just let me know in the comments, or if you have a lot to say (or it’s private), email me! My address is eloriane (at) gmail (dot) com, and I am looking forward to hearing you!


Some hope still left in the world…

February 8, 2009

A friend of mine who is on-campus at my university sent me a picture of this flier:

feminist-front-flyer

(click to embiggen.)

A transcript for the embiggening-impaired:

Dear Maxwell House,

We have noticed that while you are not the only group on campus that throws parties with sexist and offensive themes, your parties consistently promote themes that objectify and dehumanize women in general and [University] Women particularly. We recognize that as a social group, you cater to ideas that you think will draw the biggest crowds, and we also recognize that some of your parties have become “traditions” in your group. We are specifically thinking of your annual “St. Maxwell’s School for Girls” and the recent “Red Light District” parties, among many others.

So we are speaking up.

We feel strongly that the casual attitude you have towards these serious issues, only serves to make our campus a more inequitable and unsafe place for women (and men who support them).

We strongly urge you to reconsider throwing these types of themed parties and advertising your parties with sexist or degrading messages. If you are a member who agrees with us, or a member who wants to continue this discussion, we strongly urge you to voice your opinions to your fellow members.

Talk about it.

Sincerely,

The Feminist Front

thefeministfront@gmail.com

I would like to add a little detail from my personal experience freshman year. The sexist advertisements were not restricted to fliers, no! They slipped tiny pieces of paper under students’ doors bearing their asinine exhortations. I remember the invitation for the “St. Maxwell’s School for Girls” even had a photograph of a busty woman in a “sexy schoolgirl” outfit, as if to demonstrate the expected dress code for female attendees.

Yes, that is right: against my will, pictures of half-clad women were put in my room. There was no opt-out. There was only returning from class to find heaving bosoms staring up at you from the floor. It felt more than a little like a violation of my space. I hadn’t started this blog yet (or even quite figured out the whole feminism thing), or else you surely would have heard about it at the time, but it bothered me. I couldn’t even keep my own room a sexism-free space. And as far as I knew nobody else even cared, so I couldn’t even complain. I was just “overreacting.”

So I am THRILLED to see that others were also upset by the terrible party themes and inappropriate advertising. And kudos to them for not only speaking up, but publishing an email address! I think it’s saldy quite likely that they’ll be getting a lot of hatemail in the next little while; would you be a dear and send them a nice message? Just a line or two to say, “good for you!”

I’m certainly going to.


Yo, college students!

September 24, 2008

Check out this site to figure out if you should vote in your school’s state, or your home state!

College students can vote in either, as long as they register on time (and the deadlines are approaching!) but this site will compare the margins of victory from the last election and from current polling, to let you know where your vote will have the most effect.

Go pick a state, and register!