it is no secret that our greater community and world, the united states in the forefront of my thoughts in particular, as it is the center of the focus of this post, is in a time of turmoil. a time of growth and expansion, a time of struggle in communication and demandment of equal and human rights, racial rights, women’s rights, gay rights- the whole lot. from scenes of the black lives matter movement and the killings of trayvon martin and michael brown, to the current presidential race and the arguments of blatent xenophobia, fear and anxiety of foreign people and muslims, to the shootings that have occured in recent weeks and months- orlando, dallas. it seems our country has reconfigured itself with images from the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the first and second wave feminist movements of the early 1900s and 1960s respectively, and slavery, oppression, and racism that has been a central component of the maintenance of power and dominance of societies for centuries, debatabtly, though i am no anthropologist, as long as humans have walked this earth. the question that stands – is this human nature, it is human nature to take others’ fundamental rights through the implementations of racism, oppression, slavery, and the endless lists of controlling methods that so deeply violate people, their lives, their identities?
so, in this post, i posit not only the question that i cannot seem to answer, that no one can seem to answer – why in any right, civilized, resptable world (and nation/country, as i am talking directly about the united states) are any of these immensely dangerous, destructive power structures a component?
though this is, quite obviously, a deeply challenging question to even begin addressing (unless, of course, you are a politics and government scholar/student or an international relations lover and argue the simplest of answers: power, for the love – and maintenance – of power!), this is a concept i have asked myself repeatedly throughout my life and have come to only very, very superficially understand.
this also very superficial dialogue will be my meager attempt to open up this question and offer a tiny bit of solace, if i am so fortunate.
i would like to commence by providing a small amount of my own background; as these issues are so deeply rooted in identities, it is quite essential to include this in any kind of input, as we see life and the world through our own lenses, shaped by our lives, shaped by our identities. to restate, we each formulate our opinions and outlooks on life through the lives we lead, through the places we are raised and currently live, the jobs we have, the people we meet, our families, our communities. it is grossly unfair and disempowering and undermining to deny any person this point of view and life experience because one simply has not, and may never, lived it. in order to solve any of these systemic issues, we all must learn to find compassion and take ourselves out of our own, subjective lives and place ourselves in another’s shoes, another’s daily reality, fears, struggles.
so here is me: i am a 23 year old white female from idaho, i went to college in washington state, i moved to san francisco a year ago, many of my friends are very much like me in that we have similar backgrounds, interests, passions, i am rather liberal at this point in my life, though my family is rather libretarian, i love to be outside, i love food and wine and dogs, i am not a starbucks fan, as their coffee just downright sucks, but i do love love love coffee – as well as chocolate – i have never in my life lived anywhere that was not predominately white, i love to read and work, and with any luck, i hope to change the world for good.
i try each moment to live my life with positivity, love, appreciation, gratitude, patience, compassion.
this is one reason this meta dialogue is such a challenge for me; i find it so difficult to understand why it is even, at its heart, an issue.
so, here is, in its simplest, my two cents, thought they may be the most idealist two cents you have ever heard:
in my very, very humble opinion, i believe that if we each, all of us on this planet, took a moment (together possibly? if that mirable could ever even occur) to just take one simple breath to step back from ourselves, our history, our emotions, our habits, on sheer unconsciousness to just relax, just for one silent moment. if we could all chill out during these conversations, bring compassion, consciousness, understanding, room to be responsive into our dialogues i truly think we could make great progress.
to me, these issues seem so incredibly elementary in their nature, it is, in many moments, just deeply challenging for me to even begin to comprehend why they are even issues, especially ones that are persisting. how could they be anyone’s true nature? how could anyone live their life with so much misunderstanding, projection, ignorance, hate, pain in their hearts and constantly in their lives?
every time i have this conversation, these are the questions that plague my mind. we as a world wake anew each day and our choice, the world’s choice, is to continue persisting these hateful, hurtful, deeply descrutive patterns?! it is until we come to the realization that these patterns of oppression are utterly useless, that we should instead appraoch each situation like this with love and openness and consciousness will we ever begin to conquer these deep-seeded issues.
which do you choose?
in the same vein, though on an unrelated note, there is the question of sexuality, of females’ autonomy, independence of choice in how we not use our bodies, implying that our bodies are not ours to control within our society, but how we, how females simply live our lives.
this is yet another issue that i am in sheer disbelief that it is even an issue, in fact. contraception, for one, is not a women’s issue. who the hell do you think is getting women pregnant? not women! so if men are in the picture at all, it is not just a women’s and men’s issue, meaning that contraception and sexual responsability is both an issue for anyone having sex. period. end of discussion. the available contraception to men, as well as and in addition to women, should grow exponentially, especially considering the damn century we are in. can we even begin to claim that we are an equal society, with equal rights, pay, opportunity to men and women, for starters (just trying to catch up on past inequalities and not yet beginning the discussion of transgender, transexual, other genders, etc gender, any gender and any sexuality rights)?
take just one moment and think about just the issue of contraception. men have one: the condom, which, in reality, is rather undependable, as it can break easily (in my personal experience), doesn’t exactly allow for great intimacy in relation to sex without condoms, and may not be available if one doesn’t have one.
women, on the other hand, have multitudes of choices and have the sole responsability of choosing, maintaining, implementing this contraception, which can be an extremely painful experience (any of you women out there endure the iud insertion? ya, i’m right there with ya, although my second iud procedure was just joyous, mainly due to the fact that i was prescribed oxycodone due to the miserable nature of my first iud experience… which is not particularly helpful). taking oral contraception daily, at the same time, with possibly dependable results (92% – double check that) is a simple pain the ass. getting a shot every 6 months? inplanting a bar in your arm as birth control? shall i continue? or could we simply and make equal the forms of birth control available to both men and women? doesn’t that sound, um, like a whole fucking lot simpler?
- option one: take the approach of trying to solve a sympton and ignoring the fact that we could, in reality, ‘disable’ sperm and solve the whole god damn issue. pregnancy not a problem.
- option two: continue to pretend that women need to bear the burden of this task and protect themselves from getting pregnant. hmm… does that sound extremely outdated, very victorian era- esque, and based in the notion that women are prude and are property or what?
to dive deeper into this particular conversation, this ted talk is extremely interesting and completely challenges the ideas of normality and what we consider to be sexually normal. i highly urge you to check it out!
i also highly urge you to relax and listen and take a breather when any of these issues arise! this shit is controversial for a reason, and, as i see, the only way to work through any of it is to derail your own defensive position and open to consciousness, change, and love.