bfcd-2013Today is National Blog for Choice Day, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. There are plenty of reasons why I’m pro-choice that I could blog about. I could talk about how it’s my body, my choice, abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor, just like any other medical procedure. I could talk about how a fetus isn’t a fully formed human being, although then we’d get into semantics and murky scientific waters, and to some extent pure personal opinion. I could tell horror stories of what happened to women when abortions were illegal, what happens still today when women don’t have access to them. I could debate that no rape victim should be forced to carry her rapist’s child to term, let alone raise it. I could talk about the hypocrisy of the “pro-life” movement, how most of them only care about the woman and her unborn child up until she gives birth, how most of those people don’t support government programs like Obamacare that directly benefit many women who have children they did not or could not plan for. I could talk about how we can’t condemn birth control and restrict access to it if we really want to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the world.

I could talk about all of that, and to me, any one of those points is a valid reason in and of itself to support a woman’s right to choose and to have full access to abortions. However, I feel like all of those points have been talked about plenty before, and by much better writers and researchers than myself. Instead, I’d like to share some personal experiences that might help shed some light on what it really means to be pro-choice, which will hopefully address the mentality of the anti-abortion crowd concerning how they view women and their reasons for getting abortions.

One thing I hear a lot from the anti-abortion crowd is how irresponsible we liberal women are, and that we all just want to kill our children. The first thing I will say is that this post will be based off the assumption that having pre-marital sex is not inherently irresponsible or wrong. Plus, while plenty of married women have abortions for a variety of reasons (such as lack of financial resources, abusive husbands, medical complications, etc), that is also not my focus for today.

The idea that women today have such loose morals and don’t care about having children is one of the most baffling and offensive pieces of rhetoric that comes from the anti-abortion side. Many pro-choicers will say that it doesn’t matter what they think about us, the point is that abortion should be legal, hands down. Yes, this is true, but I think we do both sides a favor when we actually try to discuss each others’ misconceptions. One of which is to understand who gets abortions, and also, who doesn’t.

I grew up in a very white, upper-middle class suburb in NJ. It was the type of town where many things got swept under the rug because people could throw money at problems to make them go away. But even still, I know quite a few young women who had babies that were not planned, and chose to keep and raise them. Most of these women were not overtly religious and anti-abortion. They were not un-informed about where or how to have an abortion, nor were they unable to afford the procedure (obviously, since raising a child is much, much more). They got pregnant unintentionally and made the very conscious, rational choices to carry their pregnancies to term and give birth to their babies. In fact, one girl I know particularly well has gotten a lot of negative reaction from her peers, as if she threw her 20’s away. She loves her child and couldn’t be happier, and doesn’t understand why her choice is being criticized. No choice should be.

I graduated college almost 4 years ago and am still at my first “real” job, doing IT work in corporate America in the NYC area. One of the first things I noticed when I started, and whenever I meet new people at work, is that I’m always asked if I have children. At first I thought it was because I was one of the youngest people at the company (of about the 400 in my office), but I realized that there are lots of college interns, as well as a fair number of young adults under 30. I would explain that no, I don’t have any kids, I’m only 23 (now 26). I would still get looks of confusion. I would then explain that I just graduated college, and then I’d get some more nods of understanding.

Last year, I was gifted a framed picture of my boyfriend of 3 years. This picture however, is of him as a 6-year-old. It’s an adorable picture, so I thought it would be cute to put at my desk. Understandably, many people have asked if it’s my son. I’ll joke and say, “Well he is a child sometimes…” but then explain. However, my coworkers all know I have a serious boyfriend, not a fiance or a husband. Their questions about the picture don’t have a judgmental tone, but more of a simple inquiry, or even adoration for such a cute child. Many think that people in the Northeast, and NYC especially, have such loose morals and tons of abortions, yet in my office it’s quite normal and acceptable for women to have out-of-wedlock children. Surprisingly, I think I’m one of only a handful of women in the office who don’t have kids.

I feel that these examples from my life highlight that not only are women choosing to keep their children conceived unintentionally, but that even in a “sin-ridden” place like NYC, liberal, feminist women’s choices are favoring that of carrying their babies to term. Even in the face of the scrutiny that can often come with having a child so young and out of wedlock, women are choosing not to have abortions. Yes I’m sure there are people from my hometown and my work who’ve had abortions. It’s not something that usually ever comes up in conversation, and it’s easier to keep secret than a child. But to say that we don’t care about life, or that we don’t care about children, is beyond absurd. The point of being pro-choice is just that, to have the choice. These women didn’t want to choose abortion, and they would have been heart broken had someone forced them to. The same goes for women who don’t have the choice to abort if their situation deems it necessary, or want to but don’t have the ability. All we want is the power to choose for ourselves, and the resources to act upon those choices, whatever they may be. Trust that women can make their own choices about life.

Riots. Flash mobs. Vioelnt protests. Beatings of innocent bystanders.

WTF is wrong with people? And I don’t mean it in a “Double you tee eff, mate?” kind of way. I mean it in a “What the FUCK is going on in this country?” kind of way.

None of this news of violent youth and civil unrest is new lately, and city after city in the US is making headlines now since the spark of the UK violence. Maybe the US attacks would have happened anyways. Or maybe the angsty youth got their inspiration from their British brethren. You’ll have to ask them. And while you’re at it, ask them why they’re doing the things that they’re doing. Ask them why they’re beating up innocent people at state fairs in Milwaukee. Ask them why they’re starting riots in Philadelphia for which they need to be treated like children and have curfews. Ask them why they’re flash robbing a 7-11 in Maryland. Please ask them, because I have absolutely no idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about protesting injustice and standing up for what you believe in, rising up against the man and civil disobedience. But let’s put the emphasis on the word “civil.” If I have a problem with the way something’s run, if I’m in a class that’s being put down and kept down, if I see social injustice and I want to do something about it, stealing a Big Gulp is the last way I’d go about doing it. (In fact, one of the ways I recently voiced my discontent was by writing and article to the local paper, and it got more productive attention than any flash mob could have.) Look at all the successful peaceful protestors in history, like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The entire Civil Rights movement in the United States was based on standing up to injustice in a peaceful, and ultimately successful, manner.

Some equally outraged people tell me, “Yea these riots are stupid, but they’re just dumb teenagers, of course they want to incite violence.” Of course? As in, that’s supposed to be obvious? Personally, I can’t even fathom that desire. Maybe that’s one of my shortcomings, but I honestly have never felt the need or want to destroy something in my community. I have never felt the desire to physically hurt someone, to cause damage to personal property, or to steal something.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. When I was 3 I stole a pack of stickers. My mom made me return them.

But these kids aren’t 3. These kids have hit puberty, they know right from wrong, they know how adults should act. Sure they have a whole swarm of hormones flowing around that they don’t know what to do with, but why the inclination towards destruction? It’s counter intuitive to our entire evolution. You should want to preserve your community, both the physical surroundings and the people within it, to ensure survival. So I repeat: What the fuck are they thinking?

When I read stories about wrongful deaths at the hands of trigger happy police officers, I feel enraged. But when peaceful protests turn awry and then there’s talk about banning cell service and social networking sites, a whole new level of ire surfaces. Do these people not know what cause and effect is? Do they not know what their actions entail? In San Francisco and other cities they’re cutting cell phone service in certain areas so people can’t get texts about where the flash mob should meet. There’s talk in every city of censoring social media websites so that people can’t communicate via Twitter or Facebook. If there’s anything I hate more than violence, it’s censorship.

As the brilliant Ben Franklin once said, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

When I lived in Tunisia during Ben Ali’s rule, I learned that the reason why half the Internet was blocked by the government was for our protection, to keep the extremists out and to protect the citizens from violence, obscenity, and radical ideas. Look how well that turned out for them. Living in that restrictive society has made me value my freedoms so much more, and why anyone would ever do something to compromise that is beyond me.

The next step to uncontrollable violence is always censorship. Both the police and the people participating in the flash mobs realize that the citizens outnumber the police force. So when a good ‘ol crack down doesn’t do the trick, instead of actually reflecting on the underlying issues behind the unrest (such as lack of jobs, racism, rising food costs, disappointment in leadership, etc), those in power will choose to point the fingers at our essential 1st Amendment rights.  Why? Well that I at least know the answer to: because it’s easier than pointing the finger at themselves. When UK Prime Minister Cameron blamed his country’s riots on the “moral collapse” and lack of personal responsibility and accountability of its citizens, I felt like the same could be said of the government and those in charge.

We know what happens when the people can’t control themselves; the government controls us instead. Is that what we really want? Since these dumbass kids obviously don’t understand the immediate consequences of their reckless actions, I’d be hard pressed to think they understand the devastating long term effects they’re creating. For a generation who grew up with a mouse or smart phone permanently attached to their hands, I’d hope that they will soon come to appreciate how rare that freedom is, and how quickly it can be taken away if they don’t stop their collective temper tantrum.

Kids, you’re not being cool, you’re not starting a movement of reform, you’re not making a good name for yourself, and you’re certainly not above the law. For the love of everything good in the world, grow up already.

I was recently told that because of who I am and where I grew up, I had no right to defend anti-racism arguments. Given that it is the last day of Black History Month (11 pm Feb 28, even though the post says March 1), I felt it appropriate to discuss my experience with race in my lifetime.

I grew up in the whitest of white suburbs, Mendham, NJ. Of the approximately 5,000 people, 97% are white. There was one black girl in my Catholic grammar school, and she didn’t even live in my town. My Catholic high school had a little more diversity, but again, they did not live near me. My college, Wheaton College in MA, was 78% white, which was less than I was used to but still not very impressive in the context of the actual demographics of the US. I have also lived in Newport, RI (84% white), Boston (56% white), and have now been living in Jersey City for the last year, which is 34% white (compared to our neighbor across the Hudson, New York City, which is 45% white).

Despite my current immersion in racial diversity, my college education which was very often focused on analysis of racial issues, and my personal interest and research in the topic, my coworkers thought that wasn’t enough.

Now, this wasn’t the type of conversation where they were trying to one-up me on who’s a better anti-racist activist (although I admittedly am no expert on the topic, nor do I think it’s necessarily something one needs to brag about).  In fact, quite the contrary: our conversation had touched upon topics of political correctness and affirmative action, both of which I was the sole defender. Apparently my lack of long term personal experience with racial diversity made me not only unqualified to defend racial justice, but unable to have an informed opinion on it. However, since my coworkers did grow up in more diverse communities, they were apparently more qualified to hold their views against racial equality and inclusion. Yup, actually defending their racism.

Usually in discussions on race with various people, it always comes down to, “I have nothing against people of color, I just don’t think they should get jobs/college admission spots/any other benefits that they’re not qualified for or don’t deserve.” Granted, the college admission that they received due to a legacy that started when a relative attended in a time when blacks weren’t allowed, that was deserved. Or the job interview they got because of connections their family has starting back when the company didn’t hire blacks, that was deserved. Or the spot they received because of a generous family contribution, which was possible due to the wealth accumulated through years of blatant racist oppression and undeserved white privilege, that was deserved.

Sure, picking the “best qualified” person sounds like a good idea (although what those qualifications are can be debated). But if so, why is it then that job applicants with white sounding names are 50% more likely to get called for an interview than those applicants with black sounding names, according to a 2004 University of Chicago and  MIT study? According to other studies by  Devah Pager from Northwestern University and Princeton, even white job applicants who have been incarcerated are more likely to be called back than blacks with no criminal background. This is really a fair scale of qualification?

I’m not going to go into the details of why affirmative action is not only necessary in theory but also ineffective in practice despite so-called claims of the mythic “reverse-discrimination.” Not only am I under-qualified to discuss it, but one of my favorite anti-racist authors and activists, Tim Wise, can say it much more eloquently than I can. Thus, I will refer you to this article for more information.

However, I think one important piece of the argument stems from our nation’s history of racial oppression and current state of inequality. If all organizations were at one point run solely by white men, making decisions only for other white men to benefit white men and their families, then how can one think that a group run by mostly white men today can still make the best decisions for an integrated and diverse world? E.g. How can a white man accurately write a policy on workplace harassment when he has never been cat called, judged solely for his looks, touched inappropriately or called a derogatory name? In order to best represent a company or organization or even a state that consists of a diverse array of people, those in charge need to accurately represent those they are representing.

For example, no matter how much education and experience I could ever attain, I would never think myself the most qualified to run an anti-racist organization because I have never experienced racism, or any adversity or oppression due to my race. I would not expect men to make decisions regarding my reproductive health since they do not have breasts, a vagina or a uterus, nor have they ever experienced the world through the eyes of a woman. And yet, men do this every day. I would never expect the top 2% wealthiest Americans to make decisions on tax cuts and benefits for low-income families if they have never lived their lives through their eyes either. And yet, that top 2% does this every day.

Sure degrees and good resumes matter and in theory contribute to your qualifications. But identity matters, too.

As you may know if you’ve followed my blog or know me in person, I spent a total of 7 months in an Arab-Muslim country in North Africa, Tunisia. Once was a study abroad experience to study Arabic, and then I went back last summer to teach English. Given all the religious debate and Islamaphobia in the country lately, I’d like to take a moment to just share some stories.

My first week in Tunis, our director and his two assistants were more than kind to us and made sure that we were safe at all times. Our teachers gave us lessons in basic Arabic so we wouldn’t be totally helpless, and we were escorted around the city.

My first host family was awesome. A divorcee and her two teenage sons, they took me in and literally treated me like family. She even called me her binti, or daughter, to her friends (which, needless to say, got some strange reactions since we definitely do not look related). She even drove me into the city every morning for class for the first few weeks because she was scared of me taking the bus on my own in an unfamiliar place (not that it wasn’t safe, but she was just overprotective). The other Americans in my group had very similar experiences.

Every Tunisian I met welcomed me into their homes with open arms. They fed (and overfed) me, made sure I was comfortable, and gave me the utmost hospitality. They know that many Americans don’t like Muslims, yet they didn’t let that taint their view of me. I couldn’t even communicate with some of them and yet they still went out of their way to show me that they weren’t like the crazy Muslims I see on TV back home. They were thrilled to be able to break that stereotype to at least one American.

One time we went to the house of a friend of my host mom. I’m not sure her exact position, but she was some religious figure in the local mosque. My host mom was joking about how I have such a small appetite (especially compared to her 2 boys), so I tried to say in Arabic, “No, I like to eat!” Instead I said, “I would like to eat,” nheb nakol. This woman jumped out of her seat to go and make me dinner, even after I insisted that’s not what I meant and she didn’t have to.

The many people my age that I met were eager to talk about American culture: movies, music, Michael Jackson, and even politics (especially in the spring of 2008 during the Presidential primary). They showed me the best cafes and clubs to go to, and were eager to take me out and introduce me to people.

Last summer, I needed to find a place to stay last minute. Both of my bosses immediately jumped at the chance to host me, and my old director also helped me find a house and more teaching opportunities.

Two of my host moms were very religious, but it took me weeks to even find out, as they would pray in their rooms with the doors closed while the kids and I watched TV or did homework. When discussing their religious devotion, they said that it was a very personal thing, their personal connection between them and God. They were not about to impose it on anyone, not even their children (which is more than I can say of most Christian parents in the US). In fact, the only time I debated religion or was pressured to convert was with my American Christian friends who tried to get me to “see the light.”

My real mother, who took some convincing to let me go in the first place, came to visit for a week and absolutely loved it. Everyone treated her the same as me: with open arms, extreme hospitality, and plenty of food. All of the other Americans I met loved their experiences there and want to go back to visit. All of the Tunisians I met were the most open-minded, friendly people ever, eager to learn as much as they could. That’s not to say there weren’t a few assholes I met, but that will be anywhere. Some of my friends observed Ramadan, some merely abstained from drinking during Ramadan. Some never drank, while others rivaled the alcohol tolerance of my college friends. Some considered themselves moderate Muslims, others said they were simply agnostic and didn’t care at all for Islam or any religion. They were laid back (especially due to the heat), and I love them all and still stay in touch with many.

Now, does this sound like the type of people who want to kill us? Do my friends, my 2nd and 3rd families, do they sound like the type of people who hate Americans and want us all killed? Who want Islam to rule the world?

People ask me why I care so much about the Park51 community center in lower Manhattan. As an atheist, and someone who doesn’t particularly care for organized religion in general, I still believe in the freedom to worship. After living in a Muslim country for 7 months, I simply cannot understand why people hate them. I have never felt LESS pressured to convert to a religion as when I was over there. I have never felt LESS unwelcome or judged as when I was over there. I understand that there are extremists in every religion or group, but that has nothing to do with my friends.

Muslims as a group aren’t out to kill us. They want everything that all other Americans want for them and their families, and they shouldn’t feel pressured to sacrifice any of it due to a small fringe group. How many stories must I tell about my Muslim friends until this is clear?

I’m going to tell a story, a story I hope most of you already know, and I want you to pay close attention.

Back in the day in the Southern United States, a lot of white people didn’t like the blacks. They thought they were dirty, unethical, stupid and uneducated, incapable of being educated, and that they were all murderers and criminals. They felt uncomfortable being near them, and they certainly didn’t want their children to be around them, in case their bad influence rubbed off. Even though blacks technically had the same legal rights as whites did, many stores, restaurants, and other such establishments still did not cater to blacks. Blacks and whites had their own separate schools, their separate communities where they lived, and even their separate churches where they worshiped, even though they all believed in the same God. Many blacks had to fight off violence against them, such as burning crosses in their yards, lynchings by the KKK, and an unjust court system.

Then one day a law passed that said blacks had to go to the same schools as white children, and that business owners had to allow blacks equal entrance and service to their businesses. Many whites did not like this, and thought it was an invasion of their space. They thought, “We were here first!” and that these uneducated, dirty, barbaric black people were going to ruin their society. They thought it was insensitive for the blacks to force themselves upon the white community, especially because the white community wasn’t ready for them. Heck, the majority of the popular vote even said they didn’t want integration! The whites were even more pissed off that their government wasn’t listening to them! (Little did they know that many blacks, if not most, were in fact quite smart, and were good, moral people, and just wanted to have a good life for themselves and their families without doing harm to anyone else.)

Some white people didn’t just hate the blacks for no good reason (although many did). Some had very good reasons to hate black people, such as, maybe a black person killed one of their friends or family members, or maybe a black person did them wrong in some other way. Therefore, they thought, if you allow ANY blacks into schools with young, impressionable white children, the entire American way of life will just go to hell. Sure they can legally go to the same schools, but because the whites just weren’t ready for an integrated school system, it was insensitive for the blacks to force their rights upon the white people, to shove black culture in their faces, and they should just step back and wait. Wait another 100 years, maybe more, until the community was ready to let them exercise their Constitutional rights.

I hope you all vehemently disagree with that story, and if you don’t then don’t bother to continue reading. If, however, you realize how utterly ridiculous that story was, yet how true it is, let’s look at the same story but just change around a few key words (which are in bold):

Today in the United States, a lot of people don’t like the Muslims. They thought they were dirty, unethical, stupid and uneducated, incapable of being educated, and that they were all murderers and criminals. They felt uncomfortable being near them, and they certainly didn’t want their children to be around them, in case they tried to convert them to be terrorists. Even though Muslims technically had the same legal rights as non-Muslims did, many stores, restaurants, and other such establishments still did not cater to Muslims. Muslims and non-Muslims had their own separate schools, their separate communities where they lived, and even their separate centers where they worshiped, even though they all believed in the same God. Many Muslims had to fight off violence against them, such as harassment at work, attacks at home, and even crazy cab riders who stabbed them.

Then one day a law passed that said Muslims were allowed to build a mosque in the non-Muslim community. Many non-Muslims did not like this, and thought it was an invasion of their space. They thought, “We were here first!” and that these uneducated, dirty, barbaric Muslim people were going to ruin their society. They thought it was insensitive for the Muslims to force themselves upon the non-Muslim community, especially because the non-Muslim community wasn’t ready for them. Heck, the majority of the popular vote even said they didn’t want a mosque in downtown Manhattan! The non-Muslims were even more pissed off that their government wasn’t listening to them! (Little did they know that many Muslims, if not most, were in fact quite smart, and were good, moral people, and just wanted to have a good life for themselves and their families without doing harm to anyone else.)

Some non-Muslim people didn’t just hate the Muslims for no good reason (although many did). Some had very good reasons to hate Muslims, such as, maybe an extremist, terrorist Muslim killed one of their friends or family members on 9/11. Therefore, they thought, if you allow ANY Muslims to worship near the 9/1 site, the entire American way of life will just go to hell. Sure they can legally go build a mosque wherever they want, but because the non-Muslims just weren’t ready for an integrated system, it was insensitive for the Muslims to force their rights upon the non-Muslim people, to shove Muslim culture in their faces, and they should just step back and wait. Wait another 100 years, maybe more, until the community was ready to let them exercise their Constitutional rights.

Can we see the parallel yet? Can we open our eyes and our minds just a teeny, tiny bit and see the relationship between what happened with the blacks during the Civil Rights movement, and even after that, and what’s happening with Muslims now? They are a minority group, and prejudiced people don’t like them and don’t want them in certain areas of this country. One of those areas happens to be a few blocks away from the site of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, but others include Tennessee, Kentucky, and even Staten Island. Most opponents of the Muslim community center near the “ground zero” site, formally called Park51, say that it is simply too close to where Muslim terrorists attacked our country, and that it’s insensitive for them to build there, they’d be happy if they just built it somewhere else. Tennessee and Kentucky are too close, too? All the other mosques in the middle of Manhattan that haven’t caused terrorists to spark up after decades, they’re fine, but the middle of the country is too close, too? Where CAN Muslims exercise their 1st Amendment Rights then? Why don’t we let the majority once again horde the people they want to oppress into a specific area and tell them what they can and cannot do and where they can do it?

It’s only insensitive to have anything to do with Islam near the 9/11 attack site in NYC because the majority of the public apparently still think that all Muslims are terrorists. (Bigoted whites thought it was insensitive for blacks to “infringe” on their territory, too, but did we let them win?) People think  that all Muslims have some connection with the 9/11 attacks. If that’s true, then I say that every Christian in America is responsible for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, for the Oklahoma City bombing, and for Waco, Texas, just to name a few. Just read my other blog post about how there are plenty of white, Christian terrorists in our own country that we don’t bat an eye over.

I lived in a Muslim country. I am friends with many Arab-Muslims. Many of them don’t even practice their religion, just as many Christians don’t ever go to church or have never read the Bible, let alone follow it strictly (although Evangelicalism is drastically rising in this country). My Muslim friends are nice people, nicer than many Christians I know. I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but it really needs to be emphasized: all Muslims are not terrorists. Terrorists come in all shapes, sizes, creeds and colors. We want to be able to target one specific group to scapegoat, to say, “Yes they are the problem, we see them, they’re a small group and easy to target, now let’s get rid of them so we can be safe!” It’s much easier than facing reality, which is that we don’t know who a terrorist is, it could be your wholesome Christian neighbor who one day decides to go on a killing spree for Jesus. The world’s a scary place, and infringing on the rights of a particular group so that you can feign a sense of security doesn’t make you more American. It just makes you less human.

(Warning: The following piece, while based on true events, is meant to be satirical. I have seen way too many examples of people taking satire the wrong way, so I just want to mark it for the record before going any further.)

A new fatwa (or scholarly religious opinion) was issued recently in Saudi Arabia, that in order to bypass the Islamic law that forbids non-related men and women from mixing, women should give their male colleagues and acquaintances their breast milk. This way, a man can establish “maternal relations” with the woman and become her relative. “The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman,” said Sheikh Al Obeikan. “He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”

(Seriously, I’m not kidding about that part. Check out the links.)

There are a few things I take away from this latest revelation and scientific discovery. First off, I should always have some breast milk handy, in case I want to establish maternal relations with my boss, a friend, or a random guy on the street, because you never know when you’ll need it. This means I should constantly be popping out babies, since women typically only lactate after giving birth. But this should be nothing new to anyone, since woman’s job is and has always been to produce as many children as possible since the world is suffering from a human under-population problem. What other purpose do we serve in society anyways?

Second, I thinks this sheikh, among whoever else issued the fatwa, should receive Nobel Prizes for their scientific discovery in genetics. I was taught that being related to someone meant you shared DNA (or a marriage certificate with someone who shares their DNA). Apparently they’ve isolated the gene in breast milk that can actually alter a man’s DNA to be in sync with the woman’s! (Either that or my teacher’s lied to me, and they never do that about things like the story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans…) So forget about blood brothers. I want a boob brother.

Not only is a man’s DNA changed after drinking the breast milk, but the hormones in the mammary secretion also affect the man’s own hormone production. The mere sight of the woman post-breast feeding makes the man physically impotent, as well as mentally uninterested in sexual relations. (Sort of like walking in on your parents having sex. NOT as great as porn.) This claim is further supported by the fact that men never EVER rape their sisters, daughters, nieces or cousins, and certainly never marry them.

The premise of this fatwa is based on the undeniable fact that all humans are raging sex maniacs. Any time a man sees a woman he is not related to, he HAS to bone her. And obviously it’s her fault for leading him on (i.e. having a vagina), so she’s just as guilty if not more so. We humans are completely incapable of controlling any of our urges, especially our sexual desires. This is proven by the fact that men and women can never be “just friends.” Give them the chance, and they’ll screw. So instead of being caged up like animals, or having a sex-segregated society, we just need to drink breast milk!

I never knew that my tit held such power as to subdue the overpowering male drive to reproduce! I should just start handing out my breast milk to every man on the street, just to make sure I cover all my bases. Sort of like a lemonade stand, only a mammary milk market.

Lastly, I was a bit concerned once I realized the number of men who’ve suckled from my bosom before. Granted, I haven’t had children yet, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of producing milk. With enough stimulation (and trust me, I’ve had plenty), a woman can actually secrete the life-giving liquid without having been pregnant. This means that there’s a high probability that all of my past (and current) lovers have established maternal relations with me. (Maybe that’s why some never called me back…) Does this mean I’ve committed incest?

However, I like to look at things on the bright side, and I take comfort in the fact that no one’s ever filed incest charges against me. I’ve decided that instead of classifying myself as a pervert and a criminal, I’m just the BEST MOM EVER!

Most people think “sexism” or “sexist” and they think of women being denied certain jobs simply because they’re a woman. They think unequal pay for equal work. They think of preferential treatment towards men in all aspects of society, from jobs to laws on protection to everyday life. They think of a stereotypical man who thinks that all women belong in the house and that their sole purpose is to make babies and pleasure men. They think of a man who makes derogatory comments to his female coworkers and make inappropriate gestures towards them. They think of someone who cat calls to a woman as she walks down the street. And while all of these things do in fact still exist in varying degrees in today’s society whether we want to believe it or not, this is not what today’s sexism is about.

Today’s sexism is much more subtle. Any semi-intelligent person can tell that the above examples are blatant sexual discrimination, and that it’s wrong. Generally, sexism is no longer condoned in American society. But that by no means implies that it no longer exists. Quite the contrary. Because the new sexism is much more subtle, people continue to perpetuate it without even realizing it. People will become angry and object when called a sexist because they don’t fit the old definition, therefore they don’t think they fit any definition of sexist. But that is also why the new sexism is so powerful and so prevalent: because so many people think it’s okay.

Example: The popular website, Texts From Last Night, publishes supposed text messages that typically represent a person’s debauchery from the evening before. This was published the other day: “i fell off the bed in the middle of it, and he yelled “5 second rule” and kept fucking me. i think im in love.” While imagining this situation, I literally laughed out loud, especially given that I have also fallen off the bed during such activities before. However, I then wondered why, in that situation where his girlfriend (or hook up buddy or one night stand or whatever) has fallen and could possibly be in pain, why was his first thought about a reference to food (the “5 second rule” referring to the fact that if a piece of food has fallen on the floor for less than 5 seconds, it’s still safe to eat)? Why was it that he basically compares this woman to a piece of food, and not only that but implies that after “5 seconds” she would no longer be suitable?

I realize that this was in no way this man’s intention, and he may in fact have utmost respect for women by today’s standards. He meant to make a joke, to make this woman feel less embarrassed about being uncoordinated enough to fall off the bed in the first place. But it’s not his intentions that are the problem. The problem is his unconscious association with women and food, inanimate objects to be consumed. (This is very reminiscent of the controversial Hustler issue of June 1978 which depicted a woman in a meat grinder, as well many other depictions of women as food.)

Another example is the way in which so many people, men and women, refer to someone who is weak as a “pussy,” inferring that female genitalia is inherently weak. Some may counter argue that to call someone a “dick” is also derogatory, but when you compare the full list of nicknames for male and female genitalia (as I mentioned in my post about language and gender), it is clear that female genitalia is made to look gross (cum dumpster, penis parking, bearded axe wound), whereas the penis is a powerful symbol (the sword, the rod, Russell the one-eyed wonder muscle).

These are all very subtle, even subconscious ways in which both men and women perpetuate sexism in today’s society. It’s no longer the blatant ideas that men and women are different and should serve different roles in society: sexism has evolved to be the almost unnoticeable derogatory references to women by all people, even those who claim to be for women’s rights. Not only that, but when people like myself point out the sexism in such comments, we are yelled at and told that we’re over-analyzing everything, that the person’s intention wasn’t sexist therefore the comment or action itself wasn’t sexist. This not only helps perpetuate these sexist ideals, but it also builds resentment towards feminists and the woman’s rights movement.

People don’t think they’re being sexist, and not only that, but they resent being called sexist because of what they think of themselves. But who’s to say what’s sexist and what’s not? The person telling stupid “jokes” to make people laugh, or the women who are thoroughly offended by such comments, who feel targeted and made to feel inferior? Should we “get over it”? But how exactly does one “get over” discrimination? Or rather, shouldn’t those perpetuating sexism “get over it” and admit what they’re doing and take steps to stop it, instead of deny it?

I vote for the latter.