Water

Ask anyone who’s seen the wild ocean and they’ll tell you: the water you see in Boston and New York is not that. The ocean is blue, grey, foaming white, green, black, even purple sometimes, but never brown. I was never more than a few minutes away from the waves at home. I spent all summer in them.

It’s a strangely spiritual experience, bobbing in the waves. You can feel the power, the energy wash over you, through you, and there’s nothing you can do if it decides it wants to take you. I have never felt more alive than when I am in the ocean. At home, if I wanted to get away, I used to find the place on the shore where the waves crashed the loudest, find myself a comfortable place to sit, and lose myself in the endless patterns of foam and different shades of blue. I scared the hell out of the supervisors on our DofE trip because I had had enough of airheaded people talking nonstop about body lotion and wandered off to do this. I ended up sitting there for hours and to my surprise people had realized I had gone.

That, I think is the thing I miss most about home. I’m at university in Boston, and I walk down to the Charles River sometimes, but it’s not nearly the same. The water is dead; there’s barely a current and it’s this nasty muddy greenish colour. Sure, the walk by the river is pretty, and now that it’s getting sunnier I’m definitely going to be spending more time down there, but the water makes me kind of sad sometimes, because of how much crap this city has dumped in it. At one point it was blue and roaring and foaming and alive, and the city killed it.

Conclusion: I should not live anywhere permanently that doesn’t have any bodies of water that are alive.

To Mr. John Boehner

What on earth do you think you are doing?

Your job is to represent the American people, is it not? Where does holding the entire country to ransom with a host of absolutely ridiculous demands crop up in that job description? And they are ridiculous. You know that. They’ve been turned down before. And you think that you will be able to get them through by acting like a spoilt child and endangering not only America’s economy but the economy of the rest of the world. Do you honestly expect the people to support this childish grandstanding? Most of us learned that shit doesn’t fly at age ten. 

My first reaction when I saw the news was “Are they really pulling that crap AGAIN?” You and the hardliners of your party are behaving like children having a temper tantrum. “Give me what I want or else!” You don’t seem to have considered the effects your “or else” will have. You don’t seem to have thought at all.

“No Congress before this one has ever, ever, in history been irresponsible enough to threaten default, to threaten an economic shutdown, to suggest America not pay its bills, just to try to blackmail a president into giving them some concessions on issues that have nothing to do with a budget.” – President Obama. 

D’you want to hazard a guess as to why? Because previous Congresses have all been composed of adults who actually think before they speak and had the foresight not to throw potentially disastrous temper tantrums. You, sir, are being selfish and idiotic, when it is in your job description not to be.

Think about the fact that you are holding not just “those damn liberals” to ransom, but yourself and your voters as well. Think about the fact that threatening to let the US government default would plunge the country back into the depths of recession, and damage the rest of the world’s recovery significantly. 

Perhaps you should reevaluate your chosen profession. You don’t seem to have the intellectual capacity for it. 

Overview: Feminism and Why We Need It.

The sentiment that feminism is unnecessary in today’s society is a disturbing one, especially when so many facets of that society are geared in some way to the oppression and repression of women, to the point that it has become normal. This is more of an introduction than anything: there will be far more in depth coverage of all the facets of this very serious problem. Domestic violence statistics, the link to homophobia, the continuous attempts at infringement on women’s right to do what they wish with their own bodies, the double standard of sexuality…the list goes on. It can all be gathered in one umbrella term: rape culture. Our society is steeped in it (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/steubenville-rape-case and other cases). We teach our boys that they have a right to harass women, that they have to be macho and take control. We teach our girls that they need to be wallflowers, always considering their attractiveness to the male half of society: they need to dress for them, put on makeup for them, walk for them, talk for them, think for them. We teach girls they need to cover up: that boys cannot control their impulses. The stereotype of a “red blooded American male” is often brought up by the American Republican (conservative) party as the reason for their victim blaming: that he absolutely cannot control himself if a woman wears something revealing. The idea of women as objects, passive, easily controlled, submissive sources of titillation for males is antique and obsolete, but is somehow still accepted as canon.

Our society has ingrained this idea into our collective minds so well that even women are advocates for this kind of culture. Mothers who pride themselves on being “good parents” freak out when their daughters go out wearing short shorts, or crop tops. They fret over push up bras and high heels. Why? Because they fear it will attract inappropriate attention from men, who, according to societal strictures, cannot be expected to control themselves when confronted with preteen to teenage sexuality. They must cover up! The exposure of flesh is unacceptable, because men have no control. This brings up the major problem of victim blaming, something highlighted in the recent Steubenville Ohio rape case, and, to a lesser extent, in the case of Melissa Nelson and her former employer Dr. James Knight. (http://houston.culturemap.com/news/city_life/07-16-13-firing-a-woman-for-being-too-attractive-and-irresistible-is-perfectly-legal-only-in-iowa/) You may recall a similar case in which a female business banker was fired because she was “too distracting” (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/debrahlee-lorenzana-sues-citigroup-claims-bank-fired-sexy-article-1.178086)

Yet somehow these creatures with no control over themselves when it comes to women’s bodies have control over our entire world, with very few exceptions. The “record high” of female CEOs controlling Fortune 500 Companies in 2011 was 18. That that was the record high just two years ago is pathetic. (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/story/2011-10-26/women-ceos-fortune-500-companies/50933224/1) We pride ourselves on being an advanced civilisation, we call our era the ‘Post Modern Age’. Yet our politics and our business remain predominantly male, while our female businesspeople and politicians are constantly criticised for their looks, their age, the way they dress, their mothering skills, everything but their ability and success in their career of choice. They are often labelled as bitches (the conservative stance on Hilary Clinton, anyone?) because they do not sit comfortably with male stereotypes and expectations. We have taught our men to feel emasculated when a women sits on the same board as they do, when a woman does her job as well as they do theirs. So we come up with the idea that women should not be allowed to hold that much power because we are fragile and delicate, unstable, prone to mood swings, etc: not suited for big responsibility. We should stay in the kitchen and have babies and raise them (which, by the way, is one of the biggest responsibilities on earth), out of harm’s way, and let the men do the talking.

I for one have a problem with this worldview. I am a woman. I have a mind and identity of my own. I am not a convenience. And I refuse to be corralled into the roles of cook, mother, and sex object. This is why feminism is necessary today: so that this generation of girls and women and those to come can be free to be, do, and say what they like, without fear of repercussion and with a guarantee that they are equal citizens under the law.