Monthly Archives: October 2006

The philosophy of the Great Pumpkin

Leave it to my husband to wax philosophical about a Charlie Brown cartoon. In his latest post, Jerry talks about the difference between “sincerity” and “faith.” I particularly like it when he quotes the Wiki article on the cartoon:

“Stressing the importance of faith in the Great Pumpkin, Linus states that one must never say “If the Great Pumpkin comes”, but rather, “When the Great Pumpkin comes”; a lack of sufficient faith, he avers, might cause the Great Pumpkin to pass one by at the critical time.”

and then he says:

In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief!” But maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on Linus. He has a psychological need for various “security blankets,” a phrase coined by the Charlie Brown strip.

Read the rest of what he says about the cartoon here.

Happy Hallowe’en

Rather than facing a scary bunch of students this morning, I’d rather be watching this in my jammies:

“I got a rock.”
Happy Hallowe’en! This year, I’m going as a cranky pregnant woman. What are you dressing up as?

she keeps growing, and growing…

she keeps growing, and growing…
Originally uploaded by becky b..

A date for December 8th

Ron Sexsmith is coming back to Saskatoon in December — specifically, the Broadway Theatre. I was introduced to him a year or two ago, and since then, I’m hooked. There’s something about his melancholy voice and simple melodies that win me over every time.

December 8th is also the day I give my final exam for my classes. Hmmm, stay home and mark student exam papers, or go to a concert? No competition. (it’s a good thing I have a week to get them marked and submitted!)

Last time he came into town, Sarah Slean was the opening act — I wonder who’ll open for him this time?

Five things Feminism has done for me

Earlier this week I was tagged by SkylarkD to participate in the “5 things Feminism has done for me” meme, in reaction to the Prime Minister’s cut back of funding for the Status of Women Canada organization. For some background on the SWC, here’s a bit from their website:

Status of Women Canada (SWC) is the federal government agency which promotes gender equality, and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. SWC focuses its work in three areas: improving women’s economic autonomy and well-being, eliminating systemic violence against women and children, and advancing women’s human rights.

Now that definitely sounds like some pork-barreling funding that needs to be cut by an assertive Conservative government [/sarcasm].

But enough of that, onto my list! I am a self-avowed, proud feminist — it’s one label I don’t shy away from, and it’s also a concept that needs defending today. Of course, looking at what I typically post about probably reveals my leanings, but that’s that.

What has Feminism done for me? Let’s see:

  1. Feminism helped me establish my career. At 28 years old, I’m on the faculty in a professional (primarily male-dominated) college, as a contributing member of a larger academic environment. Not too shabby. If I ever want to be reminded of where I could be, I could just look at the testosterone-filled portraits of past engineering graduates in the hallway to my office to the estrogen-filled portraits of past “home economics” degree holders found in another building (yes! there was a 4 year college home ec degree for women to take). I’m appreciative of the opportunities I have today, thanks to the hard work of women who came before me — while there’s still room for improvement in the employment arena of today, we have indeed come a long way.
  2. Speaking of which, Feminism helped me overcome the (mis)teachings of a lot of the biblical passages I was exposed to, growing up. Hey, Apostle Paul? Remember saying: “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent”? — guess what? Every day I have authority over classrooms full of men. I remember going to my Sunday school classes, and from high school onwards, women weren’t allowed to teach mixed-sex classes — unless, of course, they were aided by their husband. Women couldn’t even work as an usher or speak from the pulpit. Feminism includes a radical concept that women have the same footing as their male counterparts — even when it comes to matters of spirituality.
  3. Feminism gives me the ability to decide when (or if) I want to become pregnant. Speaking of religious extremism, there are many out there who would rather women not have access to forms of contraception — stating that sex’s sole purpose is for procreation, and that women are biblically subjected to their reproductive cycles. I’m thankful that women for the past 100+ years have been fighting to ensure we can control our baby-outputting, and choose whether or not we bear children.
  4. Feminism taught me that I have the abilities to play/compete/work alongside the guys, from an early age onward. Growing up, I was often the only girl on a boys’ soccer team (or league), and was the first certified female referee in Savannah. I knew that I could do it, and my favorite thing to hear yelled from the sidelines was “you let a GIRL take the ball away from you” — damn right. Nowadays I’m passing on the same type of empowerment to the little girls of my Brownie troop — and, should I have a little grrrl of my own, I’ll pass it on to her, too.
  5. Most of all, though, Feminism teaches me that women aren’t necessarily better than men — but we are equal to them. Feminist philosophy has been degraded into a dirty “f” word these days, unjustly maligned by many into an ideology that solely debases men in order to exalt women. That’s not true feminism. Feminism is about making the ways equal for all — men, women, citizen, immigrant, red and yellow, black and white. Extremist ideologies aside, that should be something we all go for — true equality of opportunity, wage, and employment.

Rather than tagging others to join in on the fun, leave some reasons of what Feminism has done for you in the comments below.

What’s worse?

A President who says “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” — or — a President who is actively redefining his use of the word “torture”?

At his photo op, Bush said, “This country doesn’t torture, we’re not going to torture. We will interrogate people we pick up off the battlefield to determine whether or not they’ve got information that will be helpful to protect the country.”

Why do I get the feeling that Bush’s version of “interrogation” breaks several of the standards of the Geneva Convention?

I just hope we have a different Congress in session in a week and a half.

Dear Abby takes on parental notification laws (again!)

In today’s column, a parent writes in about a young girl who was beaten and miscarried, as result of telling her parents of her pregnancy.

Abby’s response:

DEAR SHOCKED: Please stop being so hard on yourself. You advised your daughter’s friend to do what most other parents would have. What you failed to take into consideration was the fact that many teens live in homes where there is violence, abuse, drug problems and incest.

A year ago here in California, there was an attempt to legislate “parental notification” into law. Fortunately, it was voted down. It’s teens like your daughter’s friend who would have been harmed by this kind of law. They certainly cannot go to their parents — and I have never believed that the law can successfully force this kind of communication with the home.

Of course parents want their children — regardless of age — to come to them if there is a crisis. And I am told that seven out of 10 teens who find themselves pregnant do exactly that. However, those who don’t usually have a good reason for not doing so. Teens like the girl in your letter need counseling and care, not laws forcing them to face abusive parents. I’m glad you wrote to me. Your sad story is a lesson for other well-meaning adults. [link]

This is the second time (that I can remember) that Abby’s taken on the issue of parental notificication — here’s the first letter of hers I caught. I’m glad she’s out there in the mainstream media, putting some additional perspective on a side of an issue many won’t consider.