Category Archives: Feminism

Something is changing in how others see me…

Back in November I made a decision.  It was one that has changed my life in a lot of ways – in some ways I’m still uncovering.  The biggest unexpected change was the weightloss, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that.

I have had a long battle with both my physical and mental health.  With Fibromyalgia and it’s host of associated issues (IBS, TMJ, and others) my body has rarely allowed me the freedom I crave.  But it had gotten to the point where I had to do something.  It hurt to move, it still hurts to move…  but it hurt laboriously so.  I couldn’t keep up with my daughter, and I had far more bad moments than good.

Now!  It’s important to note, that while my body may not have FELT good physically, I loved my absolutely FLABulous self.  I loved my curves, my bends, my plump, fantastically round self.  I was glorious in my fatness. 

This was not about losing weight.  This was not about fitting into societies view of what can be considered PURDY.  In fact, my desire to do better for myself had NOTHING to do with how I looked.  In all honesty I was shocked when my clothes stopped fitting.

I don’t know what I expected…  honestly.  I mean.  I knew my body would change somewhat.  I figured my clothes would fit better and that I’d lose some weight.  But I figured I’d probably drop from my 188 lbs to about 160 and that things would just fit nicer.  The end. 

I was working out daily for 45 minutes to about an hour for several months and tracking what I was eating, making healthier choices.  I never cut out any foods.  If I wanted it I ate it (and still do).  But I don’t need to eat an entire bar of chocolate to get that marvelous high that comes from allowing a perfect square of chocolate to melt away in your mouth, it’s gooeyness spreading through every crevice filling your senses with it’s delectable self.  In fact, I eat between one and three squares of chocolate a day.  LOL  I love it – especially when it has something salty in it too, like a peanut or pretzel or popcorn.  Mmmmm….  so I’m not about to deny myself that pleasure.

Even now that I’ve moved into what I consider “maintenance” mode, I am still losing weight.  And I truly am not sure how I feel about it.  Like I mentioned.  I LOVED my fat self.  Fat is beautiful.  This body of mine now seems strange and odd, and I’m not entirely sure it’s mine or how to embrace it the way I did before.  I’m sure I’ll get there…  but I haven’t yet.

It’s an odd thing.  Being secure in yourself.  Loving yourself…  and then changing so much.  I’m still FLABulous on the inside – but people look at me differently now.  In the span of the 20 minutes it took me to drop the girl off at the library for book club until I walked home and started blogging I was checked out by two people.  And, okay…  I got checked out before too.  And it was the nice subtle “yeah she looks hot” nod I’d get, respectful, but with a little hint of the good kinda bad.  I got one of those today.  I like those, I think most people do.  But today I got checked out in the creepy way that makes you want to rush home, lock your door, and have a searing hot shower to wash the scary grossness away.

I didn’t worry for my safety or care how others saw me when I was bigger.  Now, someone like the guy in his classic car today…  who stops close enough to the curb that he could have hit you, and then drools over you, memorizing your body and the way it moves as you cross the street in front of him, locking you away in his horrifying spank bank?  Now people like that make me feel fear.  And that is SOOO not okay.

In a quest to get healthier, to keep up with my seven year old (yeah, she turned seven this July… mind-blowing, right?), to play and run, to go on hikes, and carry arms full of treasures, and backs full of growing girl…  and to do it all at the same time.  Somewhere in these awesome wonderful goals I have also opened myself up to those who leer, ogle, and make one feel small and afraid.  It’s a pretty shitty thing to realize about our society.  And I knew it all along.  I had just figured that things were getting better, but they aren’t.  They really aren’t.  They aren’t better at all.

So here I am, 45 pounds less of a person than I was before, feeling things I don’t remember how to feel.  And it’s time to walk back to the library to pick up my daughter from her book club.  I need time to process, but I’m a Mom… time to process is one thing I don’t have.  I’ll continue.  Because that’s what I do.  And I may not be as FLABulous as I once was, and people may have started looking at me differently, devaluing my personhood pushing me into a little spank-bank in their brain, but I’m still the same fabulous me.  I just need to learn how to live within this new body and appreciate her for what she is… because who she is hasn’t changed.

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Disney’s Frozen

Last night we took our daughter to see the new Disney animated movie, Frozen.  I had heard very little about it besides being an adaptation of The Snow Queen and having been heavily inspired by Norway.  The Snow Queen was never one of my favourites (so I’m happy to report it’s a VERY loose adaptation), but the idea of Norwegian princesses???  I was beyond excited for.  Damon’s family and mine both, coincidentally, hail from Norway…  and I very desperately want to make a pilgrimage there some day.  So this was a movie I knew we’d be seeing shortly after it came out.  Knowing what I know of both Disney AND it’s princesses?  Well…  I was nervous.  They don’t exactly have a history of strong female leads.

While Frozen has it’s issues, one cannot argue the absolute joy I found in both Anna and Elsa’s characters.  Both completely unique, strong, believable, awesome female roll models.  These are princesses I would be happy to have Lily-Ann look up to.  They are truly wonderful, and they are NEVER overshadowed by the male characters who are very much there to support their story vs take it over.  In fact, one of my favourite moments, that made the feminist me shout out with a WOOT, was when the romantic male lead actually ASKS if he can kiss Anna.  He doesn’t assume that his advance would be welcome, he doesn’t just put himself into her space, he is worried and concerned and ASKS – allowing her character to take the reins and remain an autonomous individual.  It looks to me like Disney may finally be listening and realizing that Women are vastly different from one another and we all have different goals and dreams…  but that we ALL deserve to be respected for those very things.

And yeah!  The girl is now absolutely tickled when I call her my little Norwegian princess.  😀  Because while she’s a princess who has enjoyed excavators, lego, and swordplay… she really has always been a fancy dress-up playing princess who happened to be Norwegian.

Disney's Frozen

I am Supermom!

Sing with me now:  “I am…  I am Supermom.  And I know what’s happening.  I am…  I am Supermom.  And I can do anything.”

I read a blog post today that I had to come share.  It started out saying:

Look, I know the areas in life where I excel.  It unfortunately doesn’t involve me being a size two and wearing the most. stylish. boots. you ever did see.  I will not be doing a triathlon, I’ll be the one over there handing out water and cheering you on while eating a muffin.  My house isn’t ever company ready.  Just move that pile of Legos, I will make dinner.  I can make you laugh, I can make you think.  I am a great friend.  I am amazing in bed.  I like the woman that I have become.  I can also throw a party like you wouldn’t believe.

My name is Michelle and I throw “Pinterest worthy” parties for my children.

I don’t think this makes me a shitty mom, a superior mom, or that I have too much time on my hands.  I assure you, I do not.

I also don’t think it makes you a shitty mom for NOT throwing parties like that for your children’s birthdays, having a spotless house, and working full time.

I encourage you to check it out here:  http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html

The whole point of the post was what I’ve always said, that our priorities and skills may be different, but that doesn’t make any one of us better at being a Mom than the rest of us.  That it’s time we supported one another, cut each other some slack, and honestly do the same for ourselves.

The author goes on to say that she is NOT Supermom.  But you know what?  She’s wrong.  She’s totally Supermom.  Just like you and I.

We are ALL Supermoms.  I mean honestly!  Think about it!

Today, I’ve already walked back and forth from my daughter’s school three times, and I’m going to do it one more time before the day is through.  And yes, one of those three times I seriously contemplated stripping down to my skivies and laying on a neighbour’s lawn because the heat was so freakin’ unbelievable (35 degrees, insane).  But taking the time to make my daughter feel safe and valued?  That makes me Supermom.  Does it make those Mom’s who’s kids are in daycare or who have to eat lunch at school less super?  Hell no.  It just means we’ve made different choices about how best to parent our individual families.  And that’s totally okay.  Being a Mom is tough.  It’s not for everyone (and kudos for those of you who recognize this is not the life for you BEFORE you end up in the middle of it).  There’s a whole lot of judgement out there for the things we do or don’t do… but come on.  At the very least we should be able to count on our fellow Supermoms for support and appreciation.  We all rock pretty freakin hard!

A Woman’s Razor, a Tool of Oppression?

When I was young, I shaved my legs every day; EVERY day.  Spring, Summer, Autumn, AND Winter; every day.  The media told me that having smooth, moisturized, soft legs was an important part of being pretty – and as a teenager and young person I bought into it.  I believed the myth of beauty society fed me.

As I came into adulthood, I still shaved – though not with the same frequency.  I spent a great deal of my time as a young adult sick and in pain… pretty just wasn’t as important when you hurt so bad that you can’t get up and down stairs without dissolving into tears.  But I still shaved and moisturized.  It was part of being a girl.  We couldn’t have people thinking I actually grew hair on my legs.

Then I became a Mom.  And yes, even then I shaved my legs.  By then it was just one of those chores you do.  Going swimming?  Better shave.  Wearing shorts or a skirt?  Better shave.  Just part of the self-grooming routine.  Something I didn’t think about.  Something I did in a rather robotic fashion, another member of the trained masses.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing these things are choices – even if we don’t always feel they are.  Not all Women shave.  In some parts of the world it would seem odd to do so.  My daughter believed this until she was three.  Then one day she laughed, astonished, at the ridiculous notion that a Woman could choose not to shave.  That was the day I stopped shaving my legs.

Lily-Ann has other Women in her life who are non-shavers, my sister for one.  But clearly this was something she needed to see with more frequency.  It may seem like a small thing, but I needed her to know that we have a choice.  We don’t have to shave.  We don’t have to buy into the view of beauty that the media is selling, we can choose something different.

I may be the odd Woman out here in North America, sporting hairy legs all year long – without shame and, quite frankly, with a little pride.  And yes, it may seem like a strange thing to take a stand on…  but I couldn’t let my daughter grow up thinking she has no choice, that she has to go along with whatever ideals society sets before her.

She has options and choices.  We all do.

Sure, I could have kept on shaving – but she shocked me out of it.  Sometimes, that’s what we need.  Something to shock us out of that robotic state we get lulled into.  Something to bring us back into personhood.  A sudden splash of cold water, a bucketfull dumped on us while we lay half asleep, lounging in the sun.  Something to remind us we’re alive, and we have the right to make these seemingly small, seemingly insignificant, choices for ourselves.  And sometimes, those small choices end up being some of the biggest.

my hairy leg out in the sun

Out working in the yard, clearing away the Winter ick. My hairy leg enjoying the Spring sunshine.

The Power of SHe on FB

As of yesterday afternoon, my Power of SHe project has made it’s way onto facebook.  This?  This is your official invitation.  🙂

For those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time know all about the Power of SHe, for those who don’t, here’s the press bio for my little art instillation:  The Power of SHe is about how we, as self-identified Women, define ourselves in light of how society and the media seek to define and confine us.

I’ve been working on the Power of SHe for some time now.  It’s been exhibited twice, and continues to grow.  I believe it is a very important body of work, and something we desperately need.  So I hope you’ll join us as the journey continues.  The more the merrier.  Let’s force a shift from art project to movement.  We can make change happen!

http://facebook.com/PowerofSHe

Misadventures of a snowbound photographer

Tonight I have to direct you towards another url.  As I’ve already chronicled this particular misadventure on my photography website.  I do promise though, the many photographs of our frosty day are well worth the visit.  I know you’ll laugh as much as we did as we battled the environment to get these important shots.

http://tdphotography.me/2013/an-unexpected-snow-filled-adventure/

Hip deep, completely stuck, immobilized in the snow and ice.

Hip deep, completely stuck, immobilized by the snow and ice.

 

And a big thank you to Jamie for not only volunteering as my assistant today, but for capturing the entire thing with her iPhone.  LMAO

Be careful, don’t get raped!

We live in a culture of rape, and it’s truly ridiculous.  We teach our daughters how to avoid being raped, when we should be teaching our sons not to rape people.  Men should be seriously offended that society views their natural state as rapist, after all…  Women and girls are the ones who need to change their behaviour least they provoke some dormant rapist to the surface of that fine gentleman who lives in their dorm.

I would have hit the “reblog” button if there had been one, but there wasn’t.  So here’s a diatribe to read.  Go.  Read.  Follow her links.  Comment.  Share.  And for f#%ks sake, lets change the freakin’ landscape.  Rapist is not the inherent truth of man.

 

http://www.laughmom.com/2013/03/i-am-so-fucking-sick-of-teaching-our-daughters-not-to-get-raped/

 

The Art of Drag – TNG

I’ve posted before about the glorious art form that is DRAG, so consider this post The Art of Drag – The Next Generation.

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of being the official photographer at a rather phenomenal event here in Saskatoon.  It was the True Colours Drag Show hosted by the Avenue Community Center.  All sorts of performers, from current Drag Superstars to those who are the future of the art, all performing together in a grand spectacle.  It really was a brilliant night, and I am so thrilled to have played a part – even just a small one.  So here are a few names to remember:

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Seek no more

On Thursday, February 28th I felt a sudden need to light a candle and to send love out into the universe.  I didn’t know why I needed to, I just knew that I had to.  So at 4:30 I let my daughter choose a candle and we lit it together.  Shortly after that things became all to clear.

Bran Everseeking, who was known to some as Thomas Dunbar, was a treasured friend.  At 4:15 his wife, Naomi, had posted to FB that he was having a heart attack.  It wasn’t until later that evening I would learn of it…  after seeing another post she made at 6:04.  Bran had left this world for the next.  Gratefully I didn’t learn the news until after Lily-Ann had gone to sleep as with it came a slurry of tears.  It honestly felt like some cruel joke.

The last couple of days have been absolutely draining, and I really have no words – which is why this post is more dry facts than anything else.  I’m simply trying to relay information without breaking down again.  For now all I can share are images, something I believe Bran (as a fellow photographer) would appreciate.

The candle I lit at about 4:30 on Thursday, burned until 4:54 Saturday morning.  I know this, because the change in light woke me from a troubled sleep and I saw the last ember go out.

Goodnight my dear, dear friend.  Know that love follows you from this life into the next.  Seek no more.

Dwarf Eye Candy?!?

Okay, one last post on the new Hobbit movie.  I just can’t let this slide.  I actually found this completely insulting and fairly disgusting to tell the truth.

The fact that movie moguls assumed The Hobbit wouldn’t be marketable to a certain segment of the population without eye candy is completely degrading.  When I watch a movie, especially one with a literary foundation like The Hobbit, I’m not watching it looking out for hot men or sexy women.  I’m watching it for the story.  The notion that I, or anyone attracted to men, wouldn’t be interested in seeing the film if it were lacking in sex appeal is pretty revolting.

Every time I saw one of these “sexy” dwarves it pissed me off.

There was a lot in The Hobbit that left me feeling less than satisfied, but this whole thing with the dwarves?  Not cool.  Not at all.  Can someone explain to me exactly how we go from this:

thorin oakenshield

A beautiful rendition of Thorin by artist Turner Mohan.

To this:

a very non-dwarfish Thorin.

While yummy, totally undwarf-like in every way.

…because frankly?  Besides attempting to sex-up The Hobbit (which is supposed to be a light hearted children’s story) I can’t see any reason for the change.  And for anyone who loved the book, not only is the movie Thorin uncharacteristically good looking he’s also uncharacteristically noble and self-sacrificing with a voice as smooth as silk.  Movie Thorin would be welcome many places (and in many beds), but in this movie?  Not so much.

Of all the things wrong with the new hobbit movie (and despite the long list I AM trying desperately to like it still) this one is the worst.  It is insulting, degrading, and someone – perhaps many someones – really deserve to be slapped upside the head over their misogynistic attitudes.  Because truly, there is something wrong with the person who believes we must be tricked into a theater with the promise of eye candy.  Seriously, eye candy not required or requested.

For more reading on what exactly went wrong with what should have been a wonderful romp of a movie, visit http://whatculture.com/film/the-hobbit-20-blunders-that-ruined-an-unexpected-journey.php

And, just because I am concerned that some may lay blame with Armitage (the actor portraying Thorin),  I feel the need to note; Armitage does a beautiful job portraying this non-dwarf version of Thorin.  The fault for this offense does not lie with him.  He’s not the one who chose to change a character to appease some warped view of the movie going public.

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