Health Quiz!

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The above picture makes me feel:

(check all that apply)

1. Pretty good

2. Appalled

3. Proud

4. Enraged

5. Neutral

6. Disturbed

7. Sexy

8. Horrified

9. Awesome

10. Vomitus

Even-numbered answers = 1 point.

Odd-numbered answers = 0 points.

Analyzing your score:

If you scored exactly 5 points, we are one.

If you scored fewer than 5 points, please don’t read this.

 

Musings on the Eve of the Next Women’s March

To all the intrepid women and principled men who will march tomorrow, I applaud you. I respect and admire you. However, I won’t be joining you.

Why I’m Not Marching

I know what you’re thinking. My choice to opt-out smacks of apathy, even to my own ears, even as I write this. In my heart of hearts, I know I am not apathetic. Sisters, I am weary.

My earliest childhood memories involve injustice, specifically in terms of gender. As an active, athletic kid growing up in the sixties, I resisted the strictures of girlhood, refused to be boxed in. I became a feminist in my late teens, have made a conscious effort to live my values, word and deed, with intellectual rigor and compassion.

First March

In the fallout of the 2016 election, I flew to Los Angeles to join my two sisters, (and one courageous man) in one of the largest crowds of the global women’s march. One sister created a magnificent quilt, which we proudly carried as our banner. Hundreds of diverse, caring people, approached us to sign the quilt. It was incredibly moving and uplifting to be a small part of this massive outpouring of hope.

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Second One

Last year I joined the spirited crowd in our local Courthouse Square, for solidarity.Friends gathered to make posters the night before.

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The event was enlivening and fun. Still, in the back of my mind, the label women’s march left me disquieted. The Me-Too movement had just caught fire — another so-called women’s issue.

Traditionally, the notion of “women’s,” domain, has suggested lessened or diminished worth. Women’s stuff — make-up and magazines, perfume and everything pink. Mops, vacuums, toilet brushes.

In a personal example, the arbitrary genre of “women’s fiction,” has been invoked to pigeonhole my writing. Oh, yes, dearie — head pat — isn’t that sweet?Categories such as women’s fiction, cousin of the oft-maligned chick-lit, impose limits. Women’s books? Women’s movies? What the hell does it mean? Soft? Unthreatening? Less than?

This term implies an unspoken comparison to “men’s fiction,” the original, or prototype.

These days, it’s easy to point out examples of glaring misogyny, blatant racism and intellectual lassitude. We open the newspaper or glance at a screen and are confronted with baffling narratives: intentional cruelty, gleeful flouting of reason, erosion of civility.

Rhetoric yells. It screams in our ears. It’s busy and noisy and LOUD!

Our cranial capacity is so crowded and overtaxed, we struggle to detect the subtle notes, the whispers of racism and sexism that permeate our hearts and minds.

It’s getting harder to hear, to pinpoint the quieter, more systemic lexicon. Language is often deeply unconscious; we are rarely attuned to the “other.” Nevertheless, words are potent, insidious. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling queasy these days. I believe our elected leader, whose name I shall not utter, has poisoned the well. With each bitter swallow, I am weakened. Words and images, like toxins, are in my bloodstream now.

Maybe next year I’ll be ready to march and yell, but this year I will reflect in silence.

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