Archive for August, 2006

More on lists and routines

I’ve written about lists before and now Rob is writing about lists too.

After reading Rob’s post (based on a conversation with Jeff) there’s an advantage to making a list that I think he hasn’t realized. I know that when I see another person’s list, I know how I can best help them. I’m a helper. This is where my passion for social justice originates. I like to work for causes, and whether the cause be sexism or a cluttered basement I come at them with passion. Sometimes I do better with the basements because I know I can really make a difference there. I also take pride in results. When I can see my efforts have made a difference I know I am valuable. So you see, it’s all about me. Your list has the potential to raise my self-esteem.

I come from a family of list-makers. My parents kept a (very short and ever completed) list on the fridge. My dad worked a lot and so it was my mother’s eyes that identified a lot of the things that needed attention. Since she worked part-time and was and is a thorough (very thorough) housekeeper, she noticed things in need of maintenance and repair before the damage was ever too serious. The list allowed them to prioritze jobs and because they worked together they motivated each other. It also helped that they had the same goals: to keep their house in shape.

I have had lists on my fridge, in between the artwork, receipts, and event notices, and somehow friends notice them from time to time. Several times this sharing of lists has turned into offers of help with tasks that were too big for me to do on my own. Once it turned into a referral to someone who replaces windows well and for cheap. It can serve as an indirect way for people who are uncomfortable asking for help to let their needs be known. If a helper comes along, they’ll have an opportunity to offer. Other people won’t even notice the list.

Personally though, I’m changing my way of tackling list-type jobs. Instead of itemizing things that need to be done in lists that are beyond my time and energy, I’m trying to add routines to my life. I’m already decent at keeping up the laundry (washing and folding anyway). But wiping down the bathroom daily is becoming instinctive. It’s not the same as a thorough cleaning, but it’s manageable and keeps it tidy. For now I sweep the centre of the room which makes the kitchen look much cleaner and I hope to add the edges one day soon, as soon as I get the ‘important stuff’ picked up from where it lines the walls. The more times I sweep the more I want to deal with the clutter so that my kitchen is returned. It does look better. It’s not as good as sweeping and washing and scrubbing down the cupboards might be, but I don’t have time for that right now. Sweeping is acceptable – and much better than doing nothing. Vaccuuming will be added one day when I get a decent vaccuum that can handle the hair 3 people with long hair shed plus the hair of my cats. I figure that once I get used to doing these little things on a regular basis I’ll have more energy to tackle the big things. Becuase the things that used to seem like big tasks will be ordinary routines I won’t notice them anymore.

Hello Kitty has something to say

Hello Kitty has something to say – I’m sure she does – we all do. She’s a busy kitty, getting around, all over back packs, pencil cases, running shoes, t-shirts, pajamas, carpets, toothbrushes… I know lots of little girls (and one professor) who think Hello Kitty is great and own HK gear, but what message are they picking up from this quiet puss with no mouth?

Where is Hello Kitty’s mouth?

The message here is loud and clear (unlike HK’s voice): don’t just be quiet and passive, be Silent. You have nothing to say – you are forbidden from speaking. Stop thinking and feeling too.

I propose an artistic endeavour where people who are tired of women being told to stay out of the way and keep quiet put the mouth back on Hello Kitty. I invite you to “Take Back the Mouth”. Leave a comment with a link to where we can find your creations.

I am kitty cat – hear me roar!

hello kitty image with mouths drawn on

New site: Heroine Content

I added the feed from Heroine Content to my collection recently. This is from the site’s first post and welcome:

Heroine Content is a feminist and anti-racist blog about women kicking ass. More specifically, we write about women kicking ass in action films, with a side order of television and video game commentary as things catch our eye.

I’m not a frequent watcher of action films or tv (though I do play video games). I’m reading this site in preparation for a new course I’m taking this fall called “Tough Chicks” which is supposed to be about women, media representations, anger, power, etc – but I’m not really sure I have the background for it. I blunder through anything remotely referencing pop culture, haven’t seen much television or many films since the 80s. Generally I gravitate towards books about history – not shows about super heroes or assassins. I think I’m going to be at a supreme disadvantage. Last semester I ended up renting a season’s worth of Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I could participate in the Third Wave Feminisms class discussion about whether or not BVS is a feminist character/show. Many people found it shocking that I had made it this far without ever having seen Buffy or Xena (or anything much since Green Acres– definitely not a feminist show).

I appreciate that Heroine Content’s rating system include a category for pieces that are “setting us back 20 years”. ooooh yeah. I’m going to find this site very very helpful when I’m trying to sort through which (if any) films are worth watching and which ones I can just skip right over. Thank you so very much.

I don’t know if I agree with the quote from Amira Sa’id on today’s entry that the Princess Leia costume from Return of the Jedi could be empowering to women. I did some surfing around looking for more info about the costume and found (but have since lost) a convention that encouraged female attendees to wear the “slave costume” to increase their chances of photo opps. The conference was hoping to snag some photos to put on their website, not likely for a gallery of empowered women – methinks they wanted a flesh gallery of unpaid models. Note that the request wasn’t to wear a “Princess Leia Bikini of Power” – I doubt the person who posted this was thinking there main audience would be a whole lot of empowered female attendees. I think that what they were hoping for was a whole lotta flesh. Something like E3’s booth babes, only the scantilly clad women are paying to be there. How is this empowering????

I don’t know a whole lot about Star Wars but I’m pretty sure that Princess Leia was the main female character and that there weren’t a whole lot of other female characters in the series. It’s not surprising then that Amira Sa’id was thrilled by her! Given the choice of robots, blobs, monsters, and Darth Vader, I’m sure that it was a joy to identify with Leia! That alone doesn’t make her an empowering or empowered female character, but I’m not eager to sit through the hours and hours and hours of Star Wars movies that have been made since 1977 to find out (unless I have to for this course.)
This comment at the end of the Leia post:

the costume designer who created the bikini was a woman!

has me confused. What are they saying? I just keep thinking that women have created and perpetuated all sorts of cruel tortures for each other (genital cutting and foot binding are two examples). Just because the costume was designed by a woman doesn’t change what it is: objectifying. That the designer was a woman seems a betrayal even! This is a slave costume, intended to represent women as submissive and as property. The women dressed in the costume for ‘fun’, with lengths of chain around their neck makes me sad that this is the best we have for role models and female representation in film.
I really hope Heroine Content helps me learn more about action films and television. So far I’m happy just to read the feed.  I have no desire to see any movies yet but my interest is definitely piqued. It’s great to have a feminist reviewer going ahead of me.

Not a mommyblogger, not a Jane

I’m on my way home from BlogHer 2006 and realizing that there are a lot of things I am not. Mostly today I know I’m not a mommyblogger.

Mommy/parent blogging does have incredible potential to support new parents in what can be overwhelming isolation and a shocking discovery that babies are not all crisp cotton, cute bunny flannel, and eyelet lace. But there was a sense that BlogHer 2006 was a mommyblog love-in. I know mommy bloggers are plentiful and organized into communities and websites and it makes sense that many would want to attend BlogHer to meet their blog crushes, friends, etc., but… they’re a tough clique to crack – and not all women desire these things. I felt like I was crashing a party or like Hermie the wanna-be dentist elf who just didn’t fit in.

I don’t think I’ve made enough of an effort to really find a place in any blogging community in particular. I’ve been a blog hermit and a blog transient: I read daily, I write occasionally, but mostly I keep to myself. I can make a conscious effort to try to break out of my hermit ways but what about the many other non-mommybloggers there this weekend? I wish someone had organized a session that would have taken on some of the heavier issues that were only brushed upon this weekend. I thought the feminist blogger birds of a feather session might have done this but it was over before it really got going. Maybe had I attended the post BlogHer Woolfcamp…

It takes a certain amount of confidence to walk up to someone and start talking. It takes a belief that you have something worthwhile to share and/or enough courage to say ftw if no one cares. BlogHer was just too big for me. I would have done better with some smaller break-out sessions – though maybe these happened in other sessions and I missed them. How many other bloggers are introverted and have a hard time jumping in to large group discussions? The long days with back-to-back sessions wore me out. I know that many, many bloggers are insightful and intelligent and I would have loved to talk to more of them.

I also know that I’m not a Jane. I’ve done home repairs (and foresee many more in my future) but I get sweaty and I swear when it gets rough. Which, at my house happens quickly. My tools are crummy because many of them used to live outside on my grandparents’ farm. The house really should have fallen down at least a generation ago. Keeping it standing is not an exciting weekend project, it’s an ongoing struggle that I’d rather not think about. It’s far from a girls’ night pajama party but maybe that’s because I’m not staining my driveway or hanging a shelf, I’m dealing with a rotting foundation. A rotting foundation that I’m very happy to have considering the stats for single mothers in Canada.

BlogHer highlights for me: drinks on the patio Friday night and finding out Saturday morning that one of those awesome women writes arse poetica (one of the first feeds I ever grabbed!!!) and meeting the great and multiblogous Sour Duck at the Day 2 welcome.