Saturday, June 20, 2009

Feminist Bloggers at NOW

I'm currently at the NOW conference in Indianapolis, learning from and engaging with other super feminists. Keep up with the coverage on Twitter with the #now09 hashtag.

Right now I'm prepping for the feminist blogging workshop I'm on the panel for. WOOT! Stop by if you're here (it's at 11:15 in the Plaza Ballroom), but don't worry if you're not because I'll be posting a recap here afterwards.

Friday, June 19, 2009

We Must Speak Our Truth

Every so often I come across a bit of news that takes me back to what I know I need to do. As a feminist lesbian scientist I run across some closed minds. It doesn’t happen often. I generally think it is because there is a certain sense of fear. People who disapprove of who I am are reluctant to say so. Honestly, I would prefer to hear what they have to say so I can respond. Society as a whole is never going to be on the same page on everything. Our job is to hear all the opinions so we can make the most educated decision for ourselves. Today I came across a fabulous article that reminds me of my responsibility to hear the other side.

Douglas Murray wrote what I find to be an amazing piece about how he chooses to have discourse with Muslim extremists. It can be found here:
Why we must debate the extremists: The oxygen of free societies is freedom of speech. Everything short of incitement has to be tolerated, even when it is wrong

Clearly I am not wading into this particular debate as I have no standing in it, but the following quote certainly brought me up short:
At events I regularly meet young Muslims and non-Muslims who have simply never heard arguments put for why liberal democracy is, though not perfect, our only achievable, messy, hope. I think it important that they hear someone speaking in defence of religious pluralism, women's rights, gay rights, and actual diversity in society. I also think it important that they hear religions critiqued, satirised and treated in the same robust manner in which the rest of us have our most cherished ideas treated.
I had such a visceral response this paragraph. It's true...we all need to hear the other side. Without all the information it isn't possible to stand as an intelligent individual. It made me want to speak out more than I do. While I know many people who don't approve of me remain silent out of fear of perceived repercussions, I know I also remain silent for many of the same reasons. I choose to not rock the boat. It is not a wise choice.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Remembering My Father of The Greatest Generation

I realize this post does not generally fall into The Feminist Underground themes, but I'm going with it anyway because it is on my mind. And sometimes a girl just has to speak her mind.

The 65th anniversary of D-Day is tomorrow. There has been all the uproar with the Queen not receiving an invitation until the last minute; so last minute that she can't pull together the security detail to get her there. Instead, the Prince gets to go, which makes me question his overall importance these days, but that is neither here nor there.

One of my wishes for my future is to make it to Normandy. My grand wish is to take my mother with me. I'm not sure how realistic either is, but it is there with me each year. My father, who passed away four years ago, was part of D-Day. He was in the U.S. Army Air Force, which existed at the time. He was one of the para-gliders sent behind the lines before the beach invasions. He never talked about his time in the WWII (he was also at Battle of the Bulge) and I never asked. And now as I am older and he is gone I feel the regret of never learning about the hero he was. The extent of what I know is that because of his time there he hated mutton and refused to ever set foot in Europe again. On occasion my mom would try to slip some lamb into a meal; he always caught her. And despite the several trips I took with my mom to Europe, he never returned again.

So, there is my story behind this post.

Today I am remembering my father, what he gave while he was there and what he kept giving up in his life as a result. I generally avoid military discussions as I find myself rather ambivalent. On this matter though, when it comes to what my father's generation gave I am not. Here is to remembering what was given and lost. May we some day learn how to live in peace so that 65 years from now another youngish feminist is not writing the same kind of post as I am now.