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Taking the Bad With the Good November 14, 2016

Filed under: Opinions No One Asked For — Meghan Hamilton @ 5:31 am
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You may have heard that the U.S.A. has a new President Elect. What shocks me the most about this election isn’t that he won, but that many of the people who voted for him are shocked by the behavior they are seeing in the wake of the election. There have been numerous reports of vandalism, assault, and other threatening behavior towards people who are not white males. They invariably say something to the effect of, “Trump is our new president. It’s my right!”

“But I’m not racist!” say the very people who voted this man into office.

But you voted for this man. You voted for the person who has been turning people in this country against one another. I know you weren’t thrilled with the alternative. I know you wanted to go against “The Establishment.” But when you vote for a man who thinks it’s great to grab women by the pussy because he’s famous and the same man fails to apologize for that statement, you vote for a misogynist. When you vote for a man who claims that Mexicans are coming to our country to rape our women, you vote for a racist. When you vote for a man who chooses an outspoken anti-LGBTQ government official to be his Vice President, you vote for a man who doesn’t care to recognize the human rights of your neighbors and possibly your own family members.

You have to take the bad with the good and own up to voting for this man. Given how horribly he has spoken about approximately half of our population simply by speaking ill of women, I highly doubt he has any genuine concern for the shrinking middle class or the growing lower class. He is likely more concerned about growing his own bank accounts and his continuing ability to avoid paying taxes. That cabinet he’s putting together? It’s made up of staunch members of The Establishment, some of whom come highly praised by the KKK.

Congratulations, Trump supporters! You got yourself an evil tyrant.

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Be nice! October 12, 2015

Filed under: Opinions No One Asked For — Meghan Hamilton @ 6:00 am
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If you are on social media, you’ve probably seen the memes poking fun at people in different ways. Mostly what shows up in my feeds are comments on appearance, usually clothing related. Sometimes I still catch myself laughing at them. I used to share them freely. Then one day, a friend pointed out that we should be building one another up, not tearing one another down. It made me think. A lot of other things made me think as well. But there was a turning point for me.

Remember the old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This applies to much of life. When we laugh at and pass around pictures in order to make fun of people, what are we saying? It is certainly nothing nice. Does it directly hurt the people in the photos? Sometimes it does. Even if it doesn’t, that doesn’t make it right.

What does this teach our children? When my kid is mean to another kid, I tell him to stop. I try to teach him how to be nice. So how then can I turn around and poke fun at someone in the same vein?

This has other implications as well. As I stated above, there are a lot of photos out there of people who aren’t dressed the way we have decided is attractive. Take this one for example: 887513_1692438084320710_1795201232666483244_o

It is none of my business how these women wish to dress. I highly doubt that they thought, “Gosh, I sure hope Meghan approves of my clothing choices today.” They are not on Earth for my viewing pleasure, or yours. It is not their job to please your delicate fashion sensibilities any more than your job is to please them. If someone wants my opinion about their clothing, they can ask. Until such time, I will keep my opinion to myself. Even then, I don’t really care what you pick. It’s your body. Dress it how you want to.

Lastly, given how these photos were taken from the back, I’m guessing none of the subjects were aware of the photo being taken. That’s just creepy. If you want to be nice, then mind your own business.

Be nice.

Don’t be a creep.

 

Stop the Maybes October 1, 2015

Filed under: Opinions No One Asked For,Thoughts — Meghan Hamilton @ 5:06 pm
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Yes. I am on another rant. I am coming to have strong feelings about the word “maybe.” The more maybes I encounter, the less I use that word myself. People like to hid behind it as a way of avoiding hurting or disappointing others. They use it as an excuse to avoid confrontation. How do I know? I’ve been guilty of it myself.

As I look back on my life, I realize that I’ve come to more disappointment by way of someone giving me a “maybe” as opposed to a “no.” When you tell me maybe, I have my hopes up that you will tell me yes. But more often than not, you simply don’t show up or follow through. If you had just said no in the first place, I would have gotten over my disappointment quickly and moved on. But you strung me along with your maybe.

This bothers me more than ever because you are often hurting my son’s feelings in the process. As a homeschooling mom to a seven year old, a lot of things I invite people to are for him. When four people tell me maybe they’ll be at the playground, I feel obligated to show up because I am the one who suggested it. At this point, Alex isn’t interested in playing there by himself. Neither is he particularly interested in playing with the preschoolers that are normally there. So, when you don’t turn your maybe into a concrete answer, we’re left with a fruitless trip and a disappointed kid. If you’d said no in the first place, I’d have found something else for us to do that would have been more fun than wondering if anyone was coming. Being left hanging is a far worse feeling than being told “no.”

Given that I can’t count on changing you, I think that I will change my attitude and reaction when receiving “Maybe” as an answer to an invitation.

  1. I will continue working on being a good example and stop using it as an answer. I want to give a concrete answer that means something.
  2. I will not be afraid to ask for a concrete answer. Don’t be surprised if I ask, “Does that mean yes or no? I don’t really want to be left hanging.”
  3. If I can’t get a concrete answer, I will assume you mean no. I am done showing up to things that need other people to make work and being the only one to show up. Don’t worry, I’ll probably let you know ahead that I won’t be there after all.

What about you? Does this word irritate you? How do you deal with “Maybe” as an answer?

 

Booty Shorts, Bikinis, and Body Shaming July 14, 2015

Filed under: Opinions No One Asked For — Meghan Hamilton @ 12:58 am
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beachparty-ckoi-2010-016

I’m guessing that most of these people are trying to stay cool on a hot summer day.

Recently I have been a part of some conversations about the state of tween and teen fashion. All involved mothers discussing either their own children’s tastes and preferences or those of others they’d recently seen. The first conversation involved our town fair. Some women were commenting on how the teen girls, and those even younger, showed up with their butt cheeks hanging out of their shorts. The next conversation that got me thinking happened at the beach and a mom friend mentioned how her 11 year old daughter doesn’t fit into the children’s bathing suits anymore due to her height. Yet many of the women’s styles aren’t appropriate and she didn’t want her wearing a bikini.

One of the differences between the conversations was that the first one took a tone that these girls ought to be ashamed of themselves for showing so much skin. The second one took a tone of concern that an 11 year old isn’t emotionally ready for the attention that her changing body is going to attract if she bares it all.

Several thoughts are going through my mind right now. Firstly, in my ideal world, people could go naked if they so desired. It gets very hot and humid in the summer and it seems silly to wear any clothes at all on some days. Baring skin should not be an automatic invitation for sex.

My second thought is, we still live in a society where bare skin sends the message that we are inviting sexual attention. It’s not right. It’s not ok. But it is the current reality. We live in a society that tells overweight people they are gross if they aren’t covered from head to toe. We live in a society where we tell thin people they need to eat a burger. Collectively, we don’t really know what normal looks like and we are quick to jump on a person who doesn’t fit our individual image of normal.

So what are we supposed to do? STOP COMMENTING ON PEOPLE’S BODIES!

Did you get that? Just stop! It is none of your business what I wear or don’t wear. It is none of my business what you wear or don’t wear. I would hope that you wear something comfortable and appropriate for the activities you engage in, but if you don’t, I’m fine with that. Build an igloo in the buff, but realize that you risk hypothermia. Wear a parka to the fair on a hot summer night, but realize that you risk hyperthermia. Beyond that sort of thinking, I don’t care and I have nothing to say about your bikini, your sack-like dress, or your booty shorts.

Do you have children? I do. I need to help my son navigate this world where the culture is telling him that he has the right to comment on people’s looks and is supposed to assume that a girl whose butt cheeks are hanging out of her shorts or whose breasts aren’t completely covered wants sex. There are girls I care about that need to know that even though their minimal clothing shouldn’t inherently send a message about wanting sex, it probably does and are they prepared to deal with that?

How can adults help? STOP COMMENTING ON PEOPLE’S BODIES!

Celebrate accomplishments. Realize that a female in minimal clothing is probably just trying to deal with the temperature. Inform your children that the clothing a person wears may not be sending the message that is being received and it’s really best to get to know a person before deciding if they want sex or not.

And for the love of humanity, STOP COMMENTING ON PEOPLE’S BODIES!

 

Pet Peeves: Social Media Guilt Posts March 5, 2015

Filed under: Opinions No One Asked For,Thoughts — Meghan Hamilton @ 1:59 am
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If you’re on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter long enough, you’ll see them.  The Guilt Posts.  Here’s one I saw today:

guilt post

There are others like this:

Put this as your status if you or somebody you know has suffered BABY LOSS or INFERTILITY. The majority won’t put it on, because unlike cancer, baby loss/infertility is a taboo. Break the silence. In Memory of all the ~Angel~ babies gone too soon but never forgotten, and the babies who were not possible but are so loved.

Then there are the snarky ones:

PLEASE put this as your status if you know someone (or are related to someone) who has been eaten by penguins. Penguins are nearly unstoppable, and when hungry, also breathe fire. 71% of people won’t copy this into their status because they have already been eaten by penguins, 28% are hiding in their showers with fire extinguishers awaiting the coming penguinocalypse, another 3% can’t do math, and the remaining 1% are awesome and will re-post.

So, what is my opinion?  Thank you for asking!  I would certainly miss the person who posted the first one.  I know and love people to whom the second one applies.  I may have reposted the third one at one point.  In general, you won’t find me reposting or doing whatever the instructions say to do.

If I am your friend, you know it.  If you are my friend I know it.  If you’re not my friend and would like to be, maybe you could try communicating with me directly so we could actually get to know one another.  Then we might become friends and that would be great!  If you find yourself needing validation from these sorts of social media tests, then perhaps it’s time to rethink how you form friendships and what you expect of your relationships.

I feel very deeply for people suffering from illnesses, ailments, and the sucky things that life throws at us.  I will not repost a status out of the misguided belief that it will better show my compassion.  If a person tells me or writes about a difficult situation they are dealing with, they will receive a dose of compassion and love in whatever form seems appropriate (hugs, kind words, etc…).  If you have a helpful and informative article about a sucky thing like baby loss or cancer, I will probably share that on my Facebook timeline.  I will not, however, go on your guilt trip.

I will not repost these either:

I Asked Jesus, “How Much Do You Love Me?” Jesus Replied, “This Much” And Strenched His Arms On The Cross And Died. If You Believed In God, Put This On Your Status. 97% Of You Won’t Put This In Your Status. What Jesus Did On The Cross Was Because He Was Thinking Of You. 3% Of You Will Stand Up For Him And Put This In Your Status.

It’s not that I don’t believe that Jesus loves me that much.  It’s not that I am afraid to let people know about my faith.  It’s that Jesus came to relieve us of sin and guilt.  I don’t need to add to the tremendous guilt people feel in the name of my religion.  And these numbers are made up as far as I can tell.  I’m not interested in statistics someone pulled out of their butt to try and make themselves look great.  Elevating yourself also goes against what Jesus said.

I do love humor and snark and will repost  things about ridiculous situations like getting eaten by a penguin.  It also helps if the thing you want me to repost is reasonably free of grammatical errors.  I’m not asking for perfection, but the one about Jesus hurts my head to look at.

 

Feminism? Yes Please! February 19, 2015

Filed under: Opinions No One Asked For,Thoughts — Meghan Hamilton @ 1:32 am

Let me start by telling you what feminism is not.  It is not hating men.  It is not telling women who enjoy being housewives and stay at home moms that they are worthless.  So what is feminism?  According to Merriam Webster, it is:

the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

After many years of women not getting to choose whether they pursue a career or stay home and take care of the house and children, some women are upset when they see a woman choosing that life.  I prefer to celebrate the fact that anyone gets that choice.  I enjoy staying at home with my son (most days).  I enjoy the fact that I’m not required to.  I could wake up tomorrow and start applying for jobs and leave him with a public school, daycare, etc… if that is what will work best for all of us.  Why do I have that choice?  Because women before me stood up and said, “We deserve the same choices men get!  We are people too!”

Education?  Yes!  I had the privilege to learn to read and write and choose higher education.  As little as 80 years ago, women going to college was controversial.  Today’s American women don’t have to fight to go to college based on their gender.  We can base that decision on the same criteria as men do – ability and money.  If you are female and can read this, you have earlier feminists to thank for that skill.  As few as 150 years ago, girls didn’t regularly learn to read.  They had to hope that the classes weren’t too full of boys in order to obtain a seat in school.  And then they had to hope that their fathers deemed their academic education worth their time away from housekeeping and demonstrating what wonderful wives they would make.

I got to choose my husband.  If ever I deem him not right for me, I have the option to divorce him without everyone wondering what I did wrong.  In many places, we still arrange marriages and even expect women to stay in abusive relationships because marriage trumps spinsterhood.  In many places, men are still considered superior to women.  Women are treated as slaves and used for baby making with little to no thought of their dreams and desires.  Because of feminism, I wasn’t forced into my marriage.  I truly appreciate that.

I can vote!  Ok, I’m pretty jaded by the current political system.  But at least I can go to a voting booth and choose the options that make sense to me without worrying about being barred from entry or having to vote the same way as my husband.  American women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920.

Why do we ask pregnant women what they plan to do about work but often assume that the child’s father will continue to work?  My husband was a stay at home dad for the first few months of Alex’s life and I worked outside of the home because it made more sense at the time.  But people asked me what the plan was.  I see this over and over again as other women become pregnant.  Can we change the question?  Maybe ask, “Are you folks looking for daycare?  I have a recommendation.”  Or maybe, “Is one of you staying home with the baby?  I have some fun things to do.”  Take the gender based assumptions out of your line of questioning.

And what about single mothers?  Thanks to feminism, it’s okay to be a single mother.  Some mothers are single by choice, some by circumstance, but single mothers are no longer hidden away and forced to put their babies up for adoption if they wish to raise their children themselves.

Having children is a choice.  I enjoy that!  I can go to my doctor to get on birth control, or require my husband to use a condom, or choose to abstain from sex if I don’t want another baby.  Some women don’t have the choice of telling their husbands “no.”  They don’t have access to birth control.   If I want a large family, I can choose that as well.  It’s my body!  Thank you, feminists, for allowing me to choose how to use it.

In conclusion, I enjoy having choices.  I enjoy what freedoms and strides towards equality that women have made in America.  This isn’t exactly an exhaustive list, but it hits some major points.  Are we 100% equal?  Sadly, no.  But we have far more than some of our sisters in other parts of the world.  I do believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.  So, I am a proud feminist.

 

Words to Rethink: Gal February 9, 2015

Filed under: Opinions No One Asked For,Thoughts,Words to Rethink — Meghan Hamilton @ 9:19 pm
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imagesThere are certain words that bother me.  I wish they would disappear from our working lexicon.  Today I would like to talk about the word, “gal.”  It’s bothered me for a long time.  Over the weekend I finally figured out why.

Let’s start with a definition.  www.dictionary.com defines it as:

noun, Informal: Sometimes Offensive.

1. a term used to refer to a girl or woman.

They have some other information about its usage in science and it’s history.  But this is the common usage and the one that bothers me.  I realize that some people just see it as the opposite of “guy.”  However, guy has evolved over the years to include females and doesn’t carry the connotation of naivete that gal does.  When I hear women referred to as gals, I think of a bunch of airheaded children in adult bodies.  I don’t think of grown women with the maturity and experience that the word woman suggests.  I can’t think of a single time that I have heard female children referred to as gals.  They are usually called girls.

The situation that clarified this for me was a Facebook post a friend shared.  A church is trying to organize a mission trip to bring counselors to Iraq that can minister to women and girls who have been enslaved by ISIS.  This is a noble cause and I hope that they are able to do some good.  What bothered me was that the person who wrote the original post referred to these women and girls as gals.  In this particular situation, it just seemed to diminish the horror that these people have been through.  That sort of abuse more than deserves the most formal terminology.  Why?  Because in our culture, proper terminology indicates a certain level of seriousness.  (Thank you, Mark!)  When we use slang, we detract from the seriousness and gravity of a situation.

Ok, but what is wrong with the word?  Why would I have a problem with using gal when referring to my female friends?  Is it just too old fashioned?  NO!  I think that too often we needlessly separate genders.  There are very few instances when we need to differentiate between men and women.  Our language doesn’t have many gender neutral pronouns.  Guy is becoming one of them.  Though it has its origins in referring to males, it’s often used to refer to a group of people of any gender makeup.  When we separate people, it’s often to compare them in a way that makes someone look better and someone look worse.  There is a long history of making women look worse.

So when is it ok to use gender based wording?  It can be ok when you are directing someone to a specific person.  “Give this book to that woman in the blue shirt.”  It’s a descriptive term akin to blue shirt so that the right person gets the book.  Or if you are dealing with a medical issue, your doctor certainly needs to know what parts your body has.

We’ve made great strides towards treating women as equals to men here in America.  I realize that compared to how women are treated in some other parts of the world, my annoyance with this word is not a huge issue.  But I am here in America.  I would like us to take more steps towards seeing people as people and not defining everyone based on their genitalia and making assumptions about them based on what’s between their legs.  Our words can help that process or hinder it.  Please, do me a favor.  If gal is a word you like to use, consider referring to women as women.  Better yet, ask yourself if you even need to refer to women in particular or if the word people would work just fine in the situation.