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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.

My Word for 2013 is Freedom!

I’m giving myself a gift in 2013.  This year, my choices, my path, will be based on the idea of freedom.  I am giving myself freedom.  Freedom to do as I will, feel what I will, experience how I will anything and everything that happens – good or bad.

Have you chosen a word or made a resolution for 2013 yet?  Got any big plans or hopes?  I have a feeling we’re in for a doozy of a year and I plan to experience it fully.  So bring it on!  I’m ready.  😀

Good Night!

It has been a long and exhausting day, so I do hope you’ll all forgive me for such a short blog post.  I’m just online for a moment or two to wish you all well.  Hold your loved ones close, and tell them how deeply important they are in your life.  Give yourself the freedom to feel – deeply and fully – every day.  Be gentle with yourself and with others.

Night all!

A2Z – Gender Creative

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Gender Creative

 

The very first time I’d heard the term “Gender Creative” I was in a board meeting for Breaking the Silence (which was held in March).  Fran Forsberg, an amazing woman and dedicated volunteer, had used it to describe two of her children, and it clicked with me instantly.  Gender Creative – could there be a more perfect or beautiful way to describe a child who is, well… creative when it comes to gender?  I absolutely love the term, and hope it catches on like wildfire.  Having such a beautiful way to describe children who don’t necessarily fit into their assigned gender.

Children are too young to know how their sexual identities and desires will eventually shape them, but they often know right from the get go if their assigned gender fits or not.  Some children easily play in one or both binary gender roles.  Others feel at home solidly in one camp or the other (and it may or may not match their assigned gender).  Describing these children as Gender Creative allows them the freedom to experiment and play with their identities – as we should allow all children.

We should actively encourage our children to try on different roles, to play different parts.  We do this with little boys by encouraging them to pretend to be firemen, policemen, doctors, and race car drivers.  With little girls we encourage them to dress up as princesses, home makers, nurses, and ballerinas.  When we should be encouraging all our children to try on these different roles – regardless of their assigned gender or assigned sex.  I know I am equally thrilled when Lily-Ann dresses up as a cowboy, or tells me how she wants to grow up to play for the Blue Jays as when she wears a tutu and wings to school, announcing that she has decided to be Tinkerbell.  We play cars and My Little Ponies.

The point is that children SHOULD be Gender Creative.  It shouldn’t be the odd kid out who plays with gender, and finds it fluid and easily adaptable.  All children should have the freedom to find themselves without society forcing binary roles onto them.  It actually makes me sick to my stomach when I hear a parent tell a child “No, you can’t have that, it’s a girl toy” or “I’m not buying that for you, girls don’t play with action figures.”  It’s when the I’m-gonna-fix-the-world me comes out, and I can’t help but do a little educating – and I’m not always as polite as I should be.  Oh, I try to be…  but there are times when the beastly me comes out, and it’s pretty much always when I see a little kid just being their genuine self, and having that self squashed by a parent who so clearly doesn’t get it.

So, until we get to the point where society is able to allow ALL children to just be children – without forcing gender binaries on them.  Until then?  I like the term Gender Creative.  What a beautiful way to express how all kids should be free to be.

Gender Creative and Proud to be a part of the Pink Revolution

the april a to z blog challenge

“Aggravated Homosexuality” may be punishable by death in Uganda.

amnesty international rainbow

 

I’m still out sick, officially, but this couldn’t wait:

The Ugandan Parliament is currently looking at a bill that would allow the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality”.  Sexual Minority and Gender Variant people in Uganda already face a dangerous rode, as Uganda is one of the few nations where homosexuality is illegal.  Please take a minute to write to the Prime Minister, urging him to NOT pass this bill during their upcoming session.

Action must be taken immediately, with a deadline of April 2nd.  So please, please take a moment to write a brief email or to send (with guaranteed delivery prior to the second) a letter to the Hon. Amama Mbabzi.

Facing judicial punishment for simply BEING is a human rights travesty, but the idea that an individual could be put to death for love?  There are no words that are adequate.

 

Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi

Office of the Prime Minister

P.O. Box 341, Kampala, Uganda

E-mail: opm@imul.com

For more information on this bill, and other human rights issues, please visit Amnesty International at http://www.amnesty.org/ and http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR59/001/2012/en/fa2f38d6-dc7e-44cc-b295-5016f57154c5/afr590012012en.html

Nothin’ but Love!

Yesterday I found my thoughts turning to the new year.  2012 hits in a matter of days – and yes, like many folk, I can’t say or think “twenty twelve” without thinking of all the doomsday prophecies.  It’s become so ingrained into our thought processes that it’s there, in the darker parts of our brains…  dwelling in a perverse little cave crammed away with the conspiracy theories and abduction stories from the history channel.  So, for the time being, I’m going to stuff that whole thing back into it’s dank little dwelling place and completely ignore it.

Twenty eleven was all about personal joy for me.  It was a roller coaster of a year – with three quarters of it being nothing but up, up, up followed by a real quick down.  Throw your hands in the air and scream!!!!  Then it started making it’s way up again.

I actually found it really hard to settle on a word or theme for this past year.  Right down to the last minute I was in a state of utter confuddlement (yep, another of those made up words of mine).  But I won’t bore you with that story.  It’s on my blog already, back from when it was fresh and new.  No point in rehashing.

Anyway…

After last years struggles for a word, the fact that a word came to me instantly was to my complete and utter amazement and shock.  It was very literally instantaneous.  The moment I thought to myself “guess it’s time to come up with a new word” I had my new word:  Love.  It came so easily that I actually began second guessing myself.  But honestly?  It’s a perfect fit.

2011 was about joy.  2012 will be about love.

Loving one self.  Loving others.  Allowing one self to love.  Loving without reservation.  Loving without second guessing.  Loving without embarrassment.  Yep.  I’m giving myself permission to feel things completely and fully, without holding back.  …so watch out!  😉  This one could get a little messy.

I can’t imagine giving up my focus on joy.  It’s changed my life in such a hugely positive way.  Focusing on love will merely be an extension of that.  I think it’s gonna be great!

So?  What’s your word for 2012?  Don’t do a word?  What’s your theme?  Or if you’re a little old fashioned, what’s your resolution? I don’t like resolutions, they’re just ideas that lack action…  but if they work for you, more power to ya!

the felt heart from my soon-to-be-released scrapbook kit "Sew Storm"

For all the gender-variant and sexual-minority youth…

For my campers, the Alumflies of Camp fYrefly 2011 (both Saskatoon and Edmonton), and for all the gender-variant and sexual-minority youth heading back to school.  Hold your heads high.  Be proud of the incredible, beautiful people you are.  Shine a light in dark places for all those who have none.  Know you are loved, you are treasured.  Build a community around yourself.  Find safe spaces.  Identify the supports in your school or on your campus, and if there aren’t any, then come find adults like us who will support you in the greater community.  Know that IT GETS BETTER!

Be brave!  Be strong!  Be safe!

 

For my fYreflies:

*jumping up, arms thrown wide over my head, tossing glitter far and wide*

TA DA!!!!

 

 


 

They may take our lives, but they can’t take our Threedom!

Tonight, as my wee girlie lay beside me, falling asleep, she said to me “Mommy, what if I miss being three?”.  So we had a quiet talk about aging, and how when you leave one time behind there is always something new and exciting on the horizon.  You may sometimes look back and miss something you used to do, but there is always so much joy to be had that it makes sense to keep looking forward.

Today was a good day.  We enjoyed every last bit of the wee girlie’s threedom.  Three really was awesome, but four?  I know it’s going to be all that and more.  She’s grown and changed so much, and while she drives me absolutely batty at times, she really is my everything.  She’s my inspiration, and my driving force.  It is for her that I do all these crazy, time consuming things.  It is for her that I need to believe.  People can make a difference, and for her I do my very best.

Lily-Ann, enjoying her threedom:

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