I’m close minded and you probably are too.

So I’m taking this super cool, totally liberal artsy class called: Science, Skepticism and Weird Behavior. We’re supposed to learn about aliens and the existence of a supreme being and get all introspective and what not. Today, we explored what it meant to be an open-minded person.

My professor wanted us to watch a video, this video specifically, but before we did, he wanted us to jot down our understanding of what constitutes open mindedness. Here was my definition: IMO being open minded means that you are open to the ideas, beliefs, thoughts, opinions, and lifestyles of others and give them a fair chance before opening your mouth or casting judgement. 

I believe in aliens, I think astrology is groovy, sure, ghosts are fair game, why not believe in reincarnation?, I’ll eat anything that didn’t have a momma. I like to think of myself as an open-minded person…Well, I liked to think of myself as one. Until today.

Being open minded is essentially having the willingness to consider new ideas. While I thought I was open-minded because I believed in the existence of things like ghosts and aliens, I thought those who believed in God and Heaven were being perfectly ignorant and close-minded. How can you believe in God if you believe in Evolution? We have proof of Evolution, but you can’t prove that God was/is real. But here’s the thing. I can’t prove that ghosts or aliens are real, and I also can’t disprove that God or Heaven aren’t real. While there may not be any tangible evidence for me to put my hands on or wrap my head around as to the existence of God, it doesn’t make the person who believes he’s real, any less right. When you label an event as “supernatural” just because it doesn’t have any explanation that’s obvious to you, you eliminate any alternative explanations and make invalid causal connections.

By blaming the things I can’t explain on something like, aliens or karma, I’m claiming that I can explain them. Which is a contradiction. On the other hand, just because someone wants evidence before changing their opinions or views on an issue, doesn’t make them a close-minded person, it just makes them a curious one.

However, my belief in veganism isn’t a close-minded one. I have evidence that animals do in fact suffer so that we may eat them. People don’t have to accept this by way of faith or simply believe. We know that we regard animals as our slaves and to try to find a way to argue around that or turn the other cheek because it brings you down is the definition of close-minded, as well as ignorant.

While this post isn’t exactly about race, gender or the media, I wanted to admit that I am/was in fact a close-minded person even while chastising those who I believed were “close-minded” because they didn’t see things as I did. I hope this post will cause you to do a little soul searching and look at the areas in your life where you may be being close-minded and learn to accept others for their beliefs even if they don’t resonate with your own.

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Feminism and Sex: do it or don’t?

I feel like my blog posts keep having a recurring theme: controversy. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’m still sitting here typing so obviously I don’t care.

Once upon a time (in the late 70’s and early 80’s) there were debates among feminists regarding certain issues relating to sexuality and sexual activity. These were known as the Feminist Sex Wars. “Woah, that sounds scary, Blake. Women arguing about their sexuality!? Terrifying.”

I know, I know. This is how it went down.

Anti-pornography feminists believed that porn and the like degraded women and promoted violence against them.

Pro-sex Feminists on the other hand promoted sex as an avenue for female pleasure and saw the Anti-Porn Feminists as taking up arms for the political right-wing’s war on recreational sex and porn.

So. Who is right? Does it matter?

While many see feminists as asexual lesbians or man haters, the reality is, feminists look and act all kinds of ways. There are, of course, your asexual lesbian feminists. There are also your we-deserve-to-have-sex-like-a-man feminists. There are your radical man-hating feminists and there are your hey-we-just-wanna-be-paid-equally feminists. We come in all shapes and sizes.

Feminism by definition means: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. The term feminist doesn’t outright take a position on sex or porn or sexuality in general. What matters is how and what we believe we are entitled to as women.

If you feel you should be able to sleep around like a man does without being called a “slut” or “whore” then you’re a feminist. If you believe that no man is or should be entitled to your body, you are a feminist. If you think women should be paid the same as men for doing the same job, you my friend, are a feminist. And if you think a women’s place is in the house and the senate, you’re most definitely a feminist and probably someone I adore.

Tl;dr

Have allllll the sex. Or don’t. Just realize that as a woman, you should be able to do whatever the hell you want without society making you feeling guilty or shameful about it. WE ARE WOMAN.

The Latinos are Taking Over

Much like 89% of the white conservative population of Texas, I too once believed in strict immigration reform and deportation of undocumented immigrants, but after class yesterday…I’m really at a loss.

“They’re stealing our jobs, they’re mooching off our government, they’re dangerous, lazy, dirty,” insert stereotypical racial slur here. Even as my position changed on most issues, I never really stopped to rethink my position on immigration reform. They’re crossing our borders illegally!!! ILLEGALLY.

I never stopped to ask myself why they were willing to make the long, treacherous journey to cross our borders and live in constant fear of being deported. I never thought, “Hey maybe shit is really terrible in Mexico and they’re just trying to do what’s best for their families.” Instead of thinking about what their motives were, I thought “how dare they.” Instead of asking myself why they are willing to die to get to America, I thought “can’t you just come in the legal way!?!” I’d like to shove all the blame on Fox News aka Faux News, but really, it’s just because I failed to educate myself and relied on others opinions to guide my way of thinking.

Let’s just think about this all for a second.

If you’re a permanent resident (you have a green card) of the United States, you cannot vote.

“Wait, you’re saying that if you have permanent residency in the U.S., you don’t have the right to vote?”

Why, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Unless it’s a local or state election that doesn’t require you to be a U.S. citizen, you cannot vote. Actually, voting at the national, state or local level where you are required to be a U.S. citizen is actually punishable by deportation. You can and will be deported. So all you folks who say these undocumented immigrants are just going to vote Democrat so they can get handouts, are full of shit. These people can’t vote, therefore, they have no political voice. Speaking of handouts…..

I always hear how these immigrants are just living off the government and collecting Welfare, yada yada bullshit, but that’s just not so. If these people are crossing the border illegally, do you think they’re going to ring up the government to ask for assistance? No, because they will be deported. If anything, these undocumented people have it so much harder than we know. They are much less likely to report crime such as robberies, rape and murder because they cannot go to our justice system. They can’t attain regular jobs like you and I and must make their money under-the-table doing things like manual labor or construction. They die en route to the U.S. of starvation, dehydration and exposure. These people will have zero rights to the “American Dream” when they get here. Their children may become citizens and enjoy the same rights as us, but they will not.

If you wanted a better life for your children that the one you knew, wouldn’t you do whatever you had to do to give it to them?

You’re a Liberal and I hate you.

When I was in high school, I was a Republican. Of course I couldn’t vote or have any say in actual policy making, but growing up listening to adults go on and on about how Liberals are all money grubbers trying to get handouts, I developed a general distaste for those who identified that way.

This is why I was wrong and you should consider being wrong too.

Living in Texas, the biggest insult you can throw at someone is calling them a Liberal or a Democrat. It’s like you slapped their mother or accused them of thievery. “How dare you call me someone who believes in social justice! How dare you accuse me of challenging traditional ways of thinking!” Martin Luther King Jr. and Susan B. Anthony believed in social justice and equality and we consider them to be heros of the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Suffrage Movement, respectively. Liberal is actually defined as “A political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.” By any definition, these two incredible humans were also Liberals.

I respect and love my family, but any time I challenge traditional ways of thinking, they blame it on my “liberal” education. I go to “liberal college” aka a place that challenges you to think for yourself and consequently, I now think for myself. I question authority and what we have come to believe are societal norms. Seeing the world as it is and questioning if there can’t be another way should not be seen as a character flaw or something to make fun of. Seeing the world as it is and not questioning if there could be a better way should be seen as a great injustice to human capabilities.

Growing up, we’re told ridiculous things. Santa Claus is real, the Tooth Fairy exists, the Pilgrims and the Indians were such good friends that they sat down and gave thanks for each other over turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving. We’re also told aspirational things. “You can be an astronaut, you could be a doctor, you could be President of the United States of America!!!” Telling your kids that they can make a difference in the lives of the socially oppressed should be on that list of aspirational goals.

We’re just trying to give people rights. Now a days, you see controversial bills and amendments all over the news. Why are they controversial? Because they are trying to take, restrict or generally place limits on the rights of a group. Ag-gag laws are trying to prohibit whistleblowers from exposing cruelty on factory farms. Religious Freedom acts are trying to make it to where it is perfectly legal to discriminate against others on the basis of their sexual orientation or identification. Anti-marijuana legalization efforts are being backed by those who would financially take a hit (no pun intended) if it were to become legal. All these things are being done in the name of keeping or taking away rights from others because they don’t agree with them or because it’s profitable to not agree with them without regard for the oppression of the people within these particular groups.

The other day a boy…..most definitely not a man, told me that I should win the award for the biggest Liberal. My initial reaction was to be offended, but then I realized that he probably isn’t trying to make the world a better place. 

If you’re not really having an orgasm, stop f*cking faking it, ladies.

Tonight I attended Michael Kimmel’s talk about his book Guyland: The Perilous World where Boys become Men. That shit was enlightening. I learned so much and I feel like if I don’t write this blog right now, I’m doing his talk a disservice.

We think we’ve made a lot of progress in the area of women’s rights and while that’s in part true, we still have a looong ass way to go if I learned anything tonight. *I didn’t realize how long this blog was going to be so I didn’t include all the other things we still need to work on. It’s late and I’m tired, but that blog will come soon.

First of all, masturbation is really taboo. I didn’t realize just how taboo it is until he started talking about it and how people don’t feel comfortable talking about it and the entire room went quiet. He talked about how females reported rates of masturbation have increased to about 90% of the US population, up from 40% 50 years ago. He said it’s because as females, we feel we have a fundamental right to pleasure.

However, when asked if their partners orgasmed during intercourse, this is how people responded. When the numbers were compared with men’s, the women were almost spot on in knowing when/if their male partners had an orgasm. When males were asked, they reported that their female partners were having far more orgasms than the females actually reported having. If I haven’t totally confused you and you’re still here, this disparity is not because males suck at knowing when a female has an orgasm (kind of though), but because the females are faking it (gulity). They actually admitted to it, citing reasons such as: “I felt sorry for him” or “It totally was not going to happen, but I wanted to make him feel better.”

What shit is that?! We feel we have a fundamental right to pleasure, yet we do something like fake it for a man’s sake? We’re essentially saying that our pleasure doesn’t matter or isn’t very important and putting ourselves into a position of inferiority by taking care of our men’s pride. By trying to make him feel like he “did his job.” Or by helping to reassure that he is in fact, a manly man.

Enough with the bullshit ladies. If a guy isn’t doing it for you, don’t fake it for the sake of him feeling like he’s a total bro. God forbid he would actually have to improve upon something.

p.s. check out Guyland and read up on Michael Kimmel’s work. He’s like Gloria Steinem, but a dude.

Why Women, African Americans and LGBTQ’s should care about Animal Rights.

If you know me. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a vegan. I make sure that people know. I love the meme that goes….well, I’ll just put it below. I don’t do this because I feel superior (which I get allllll the time) or because I want to make you feel guilty about not being one. I do it to normalize veganism. To tell people, “Hey, I’m a vegan, we’re not all hippies, we’re actually pretty cool and you can be one too.” I do it to let people know I’m a resource if they have questions about the lifestyle or why or how or whatever.

I wonder if Tracy will get in trouble for this “F -bomb.”

I feel it’s so important to spread the message because how else can or will it be spread? Women, African Americans and the LGBTQ community know a thing or two about being oppressed. We once enslaved black people because their skin color was different from our own, women were once and still are, by some, considered to be inferior to men and gays have had to and are still fighting for their right to be equal in the eyes of the law. I want to make it clear that I’m not saying that one group’s struggles were/are more or less important or difficult than the others, but I think we can all come to the conclusion that this was unjust oppression. Because of this, we saw to it that African Americans were granted their unalienable right to equality, that women were allowed to vote and have titles other than “homemaker” and we continue to make progress towards marriage equality.

The one advantage these groups did have, was their ability to speak. They were able speak up against the injustices they faced.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that animals don’t have the ability to speak up for or defend themselves against the injustices they face every day. I can only imagine the grievances they would have. Hens sentenced to a life of laying eggs in small wire cages that cut into their feet, with birds dying all around them. Then being sent to slaughter when they become “spent.” Dairy cows being repeatedly artificially inseminated (rape, anyone?), giving birth and then having their babies ripped away from them so that we can steal the milk. Male calves spending their short lives in small pens, never developing their muscles so that they will be “tender” veal. Cows being packed tightly into trailers and transported in freezing temperatures to slaughterhouses where they might or might not have a slow and painful death. Dogs chained up outside in the elements, left to die. Sharks, fish and dolphins being caught in giant fishing nets, suffocating (yeah, that happens) and thrown back as by catch. Sadly, the list goes on and on.

The horrors are unimaginable and we are literally funding it, every day, with our dollars. We are not monsters, we just simply haven’t evolved our thinking to consider the oppression of animals to be equally as horrific and unjust as the oppression of mankind. Until we begin to see all life as important, there will be people who simply disregard or trivialize it.

“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” – Leo Tolstoy

Why “Jupiter Ascending” made us feel bad about being women.

Some people spent their Valentine’s Day on romantic dates with their significant others, presumably eating spaghetti Lady and The Tramp style, some spent it on blind dates, trying desperately not to be alone and some spent their nights eating chocolate alone…. possibly with their cats. I however, decided to spend my special day with my guy and the latest hottest movie in theaters. No, not 50 Shades of Grey, but Jupiter Ascending. 

A movie about space starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum? Yeah, why not. I knew she, Jupiter Jones, was going to be some kind of space princess and Channing Tatum, Caine Wise, was going to be the hero, but I had no idea how ruffled my feminist feathers were going to get.

The whole movie basically goes like this: Jupiter, a mere human, is the reincarnation of a dead queen from Jupiter. The dead queen’s three children all want Jupiter dead because, as a reincarnation of their mother, she can reclaim the Earth. They want to inherit the Earth because it’s super valuable or something, so they all go back and forth stealing her, trying to marry her and trying to kill her. Caine, played by hunky actor Channing Tatum, turns out to be her likely hero, saving her every other minute from likely doom/death.

What pissed me off wasn’t the fact that Jupiter needed a little help from a man, but that she was so helpless, that she needed constant saving by him. Literally every other scene was her being defiant, telling Caine that something wasn’t his decision (acting independent), walking into a death trap and then him risking his life to save her. Jupiter is the main character in this movie, but Caine ends up stealing the show.

Every aspect of Caine’s character was brave, daring and valiant. If I was a dude, I would have felt pretty macho leaving that theater. But as a woman, my reaction was more, “what the fuck?” Sure, the graphics were cool and the premise of the movie was kind of interesting, but my take away from the movie was that women are powerless, weak and basically dependent on men. Before taking this class, I don’t think I would have so harshly criticized this movie, but as a woman watching that, I don’t think there’s any other way I could’ve felt.

As women, we have to demand the strong female characters we want to see. Otherwise, Hollywood will keep pushing out films that make us look weak, helpless and all around less than our males counterparts.