Archive for the 'Race, class, & gender' Category

12
Mar
09

M.A.S., Inc.

Yep, it’s been awhile.  My new blog home takes all my time and energy. (And why aren’t you a member yet???)

But things have been happening in RL too.  I got engaged last week – yippee!! 🙂  Good stuff.  We’re finally taking the M.A.S. public!  (Who’s the b-school grad?) lol

I’ve been thinking about my own wedding for the last decade or so (not, as pop culture would insist, since I was a little girl, nor do I subscribe to the idea that it will be the best or most important day of my life [so far]…that will be my MIT graduation!  Dr. Redstar…someday…).  I have attended probably 30 weddings, and been in a slew of them as a bridesmaid or reader and even minister.  (That was my personal best on the wedding circuit.  They say that day was really about my friends who married, but I was like, whee!  All these people are here to see me up on this altar!  I do love the pulpit!)  My mind wanders from the finer details of dresses and venues to the broader issues of feminism, materialism, and equality.

So I’m pleased to see these concurrent posts on weddings at Shakesville and Feministing, concerning LGBTQI inclusive weddings and feminist ceremonies.  At least now you know what I’m thinking about, even if I’m not around these parts much anymore.

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25
Jan
09

Lace-curtain Striving

This is the word that I have come to believe epitomizes my family‘s working-class ethos.  Though we’re firmly middle-class, the lot of us, in fact some quite well off (in the top 10% of wage earners), the reality is that we’ll never shed this sense of wanting to do better.  Better than what, at this point, you ask?  I’m not sure.  Most of my cousins are better off than their parents, I think.  Most of us could probably keep up with the proverbial Jones, whoever they are.

But there’s this feeling, best summed up by my godfather once talking about his daughter getting a promotion at work because “she was looking to do more” and her higher-ups noticed.  This is a good example of how the intangible becomes tangible.  How trying to prove oneself pays off.

Yet, striving includes determination fueled in part by insecurity – am I cut out for MIT?  How did I get here?  Will people find out I don’t really belong?  That I’m faking it?  There’s also how we measure success: for some of my cousins, it’s the size of the house or the paycheck or even the clothing brands they bring home.  Some of those matter to me too, but clearly I’ve chosen to prove myself through education, by going where no one in my family has gone before.

In choosing an adulthood of more or less continuous graduate school, my income has fluctuated dramatically over the years, and I often find myself filled with self-recrimination because money is tight and the future’s uncertain and I am definitely not financially secure like a responsible adult in my family should be.  This post is spurred by the fact that I had to put plastic up over my living room windows tonight to keep out the draft, leaving me feeling ashamed that I am worrying about my heating bill and embarrassed that I’ve had resort to crude and unattractive measures when my parents clearly would not want their only child to be worrying about her utility costs like they did long ago.  I should be beyond this, I scold myself silently.

Seriously, somebody call me a wahhhh-bulance, I know.  But my family’s version of making it is always having enough disposable income for shopping or dining out, and then talking about our purchases (look at us! We can buy what we want!).  And here I am wondering how I’m going to pay my household bills come June.  (Any other debt payments have already been slashed to the bone.)

I’ve started to resign myself to that reality that I will probably not outearn my parents in my lifetime.  In exchange I am trying to figure out the bourgie trappings of academia, to demonstrate a different version of, a slight twist on “making it.” I am a quick study, at least.  I only need to get around my own working-class chip to embrace the intelligentsia lifestyle.  We’ll see.  Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to learn a whole new language out here.  And I need some (lace-) curtains stat, so no one can see my plastic window.

09
Jan
09

Support the Lilly Ledbetter and Paycheck Fairness Acts

All the details and links to contact your reps are up at my place at Change.org.  Don’t miss the extremely depressing wage gap calculator, provided in my comment there at 9:51 a.m.  Ack.  (Links to bill content summaries are also in comments.)

Here’s a post I wrote last night about unequal pay and unequal work.  Here’s some AP coverage of the House bills introduced this morning.

Support equal pay and end wage discrimination!!

07
Jan
09

Sasha Goes To School

H/t to Echidne, I was moved by Hecate’s photo montage.

Michelle takes Sasha to school!  So cute!  (Is Malia too old/cool to have her mom walk her to the door?  Somehow I doubt it; I guess no one got that pic?)

28
Dec
08

Obama Cabinet Round-Up: Wives & Mothers

Courtesy of FDL, I see the Charlotte Observer has an interactive graph of Obama’s Cabinet nominees.  It’s a handy little summary of professional and personal info on the 15 nominees, who are listed in order of presidential succession.  Here’s a summary of a fairly well-rounded Cabinet:

Obama has nominated three women: Clinton, Solis (Labor), and Napolitano (Homeland Security).

Obama has nominated:

  • one African-American (Holder for Justice; Holder is also Caribbean-American),
  • one Mexican-American (Solis),
  • one Arab-American (LaHood – Transportation),
  • two Hispanics (Salazar – Interior, Richardson – Commerce),
  • one Japanese-American (Shinseki – Vet Affairs), and
  • one Chinese-American (Chu – Energy).

Think the 6 white guys can handle all this diversity?  😉

Two GOP nominees (Gates at Defense and LaHood), two House Reps (LaHood and Solis), two Democratic Senators (Clinton and Salazar), and two Democratic governors (Richardson and Napolitano) have been nominated.  Richardson, Geithner, Holder and Donovan all worked in the Clinton Administration.  Solis and Vilsack supported Sen. Clinton during the primaries.

State/regional representation includes:

  • New York (Clinton, Donovan at HUD and Geithner is from the NY Fed),
  • the West (Salazar from CO, Napolitano from AZ, Richardson from NM, and Solis and Chu are from CA),
  • Illinois (Duncan at Education is from Chicago, and LaHood) and the North Midwest (Daschle at HHS is from SD and Vilsack at Agriculture is from Iowa).

Dr. Chu (Energy) is from academia, and a Nobel Prize winner.  Donovan is an architect.  Clinton, Napolitano, Vilsack, Holder and Salazar are lawyers.  Daschle was in the Air Force.  Shinseki graduated from the U.S. Military Academy.  Gates was career CIA.  Duncan, Donovan, Clinton and Holder are Ivy League alums (Harvard, Harvard, Yale Law, and Columbia).

Donovan is the youngest Cabinet member at 42; Shinseki is the oldest at 66.  The average age is 56 (54 for the women, 56 for the men).

Of the three women candidates, Clinton is married with one child, Solis is married without children, and Napolitano is never married and has no children.  Three working women = 2 husbands = 1 mother = 1 child.

All the men are married.  Richardson has no children and Holder has one.  LaHood has four kids, Daschle has three.  The remaining eight men have two children each.  12 working men = 12 wives = 12 dads = 24 kids.

19
Dec
08

If you read one piece…

…about Bush’s horrendous HHS ruling, read Amanda at Pandagon. She nails it. Dirty girl!!

(h/t Astraea)

19
Dec
08

Fav’s Style

I’m so relieved to hear WaPo isn’t letting grope-gate go!!

What’s that, now? I should read the actual article?  What?  Say that again? They called the whole incident “silly?”

Oh.

At least he isn’t the Bostonian of the Year.

As Red Queen notes, it’s all about the straight dudez – hope and change, bitchez!!

Welcome to the Obama White House, where boyz will b boyz, don’cha know it!  Excuse my edits and snips, I just want to accurately re-cap the WaPo piece for ya.

Three months ago, Favreau lived in a group house with six friends in Chicago, where he rarely shaved, never cooked and sometimes stayed up to play video games until early morning. Now, he has transformed into what one friend called a “Washington political force” — a minor celebrity with a down payment on a Dupont Circle condo, whose silly Facebook photos with a Hillary Rodham Clinton cutout created what passes for controversy in Obama’s so far drama-free transition. …

He listens to Obama tell stories in his office and spins them into developed metaphors, rich in [patriarchal] historical context. …

“The president-elect understands that Jon is a rare talent. He knows what he’s got,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, who also worked in the Senate office. “There’s a mutual respect and appreciation between them, and the president-elect trusts Jon’s instincts and ability. It’s a partnership.” [Man hug!  Chest bump!  I bet Favs can totally crush more beer cans against his forehead in a row than Obama.]

“A speech can broaden the circle of people who care about this stuff,” Favreau said. “How do you say to the average person that’s been hurting: ‘I hear you. I’m there. Even though you’ve been so disappointed and cynical about politics in the past, and with good reason, we can move in the right direction. Just give me a chance.’ “[Relax!  You just might enjoy it!]

“I think this is going to work,” Obama said.  [Bros before hos!]

Friends joke that Favreau suddenly turned 40 this year — but he still shows flashes of 27.  [Boyz Kids today!]

At a party at his parents’ house over Thanksgiving vacation, he danced and posed awkwardly next to a cardboard cutout of Clinton. A buddy uploaded photos onto Facebook, reporters discovered them, and suddenly experts were debating Favreau’s maturity on television. Favreau called Clinton and Obama to apologize. They told him not to worry, but he still does. [So thoughtful!  So glad he managed to laugh and smile through those “awkward” moments!  Seriously, can’t we cut him a break already?]

When the pressure wore on Favreau, he unwound like a 27-year-old, sending prank e-mails to friends at the Obama offices or playing the video game Rock Band in the Lincoln Park group house he shared with six campaign staffers [or mimicking sexual assault on senior women colleagues].

How is this supposed to work, anyway? Do Favreau and the rest of Obama’s young staffers transform to meet the formalities of the White House, or does the White House change to accommodate them?  [Duh, obviously it’s the latter.]

“We know that we’re going to have to approach the White House our way and have some fun with it,” Favreau said, “because that kind of attitude is what made us successful.”  [My point exactly.]

Favreau said. “You had a bunch of kids working on this campaign together, and it was such a mix of the serious and momentous and just the silly ways that we are. For people in my generation, it was an unbelievable way to grow up.” [Wait a minute, I thought you were still just an innocent, misunderstood, impish 27 year old.  My lady-brain is confused….]