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Sweet Summertime

After a long and demanding second semester of law school, I am back! Grades are in, I made a trip back to Virginia to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day and I started my summer job at a law firm in Little Rock, AR. Where to begin with catching everyone up.

I meal prepped chicken stirfry, eggplant parmesan, and a mix of strawberries/blueberries/blackberries/raspberries.

Work

I am loving my job as a summer associate for Dover, Dixon, Horne in Little Rock. It is a sizable firm for Arkansas and my office is on the 37th floor of the tallest building in Arkansas. I have gotten to dabble in agriculture and construction law in my first week and am even getting used to rocking the suit and heels every day.

School

I finished my second semester which means my first year of law school is officially in the books! I have been looking forward to being able to pick my own classes for ages. I also finally have my transfer applications submitted so now I am just waiting to hear if I end up on the west coast or back home in Virginia. Arkansas has been really good to me, but I think it is time to move on to my next adventure.

Love Life

When I visited home, Ian got me a new ring for our fresh start. It is absolutely gorgeous and I am as in love with it as I am with him. As soon as I hear back about school transfers we are going to set a date. Another thing that we are finally going to embark on is premarital counseling. I am very excited to dive into that and see how it goes.

The other part of my love life aka Robert the Best Dog Ever is his wonderful doggy dog self. He is settled in to our new apartment for the summer and enjoying new bushes to relieve himself on. During our visit to West Virginia, he got to meet his stepbrother Bear and seeing the two of them together officially made me realize how old Robert acts.

Free Time

Now that finals are over I have had time to catch up on all of my podcasts. Currently I am listening to Dear Sugar, The Heart, CHOICE/LESS, Popaganda, Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure, and Democracy Now.

I am an official late comer to the party but I have been binge watching Gilmore Girls and am already into the third season. A new life goal is to have a mother-daughter relationship like Lorelai and Rory.

I have been to three used bookstores since I moved to Little Rock last week. I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed all in one sitting today while I was working on my sunburn at the pool. I am starting feminity by Susan Brownmiller next.

I am also incredibly excited to finally be able to get back to this blog! I can’t wait to share what I manage to get into in the big city this summer.

 

Playing Catch Up

What a busy few months! Spring break finally gives me an opportunity to catch up on some things that have been sitting on my to do list for ages such as this blog. So where are things at?

School

Second semester first year hit everyone like a ton of bricks. I feel like I have not taken a breath since school started back in January. This semester I am taking property, constitutional, legal research and writing II, and contracts. Finishing my appellate brief is high on my priority list for spring break as well as catching up some of my outlines and emails.

Work

I finished the on campus interview process with some law firms from Fayetteville, AR and Little Rock, AR. I will be working in Little Rock this summer (if anyone knows about good housing options for someone with a dog for 12 weeks- hit me up). I am really excited to check out a different part of the state and to get to work in the environment of a law firm. I am also psyched to have snagged a paid position. The best part of all of this has to be that I am done with wearing a suit and interviewing and at least I know where I will be this summer. Cheers to some sense of stability and finality.

Also the FBI is coming to present at our school in a few weeks. Out of curiosity  I looked up the entry requirements for fitness and whatnot. All I can say is yikes!

Love Life

I am currently taking a break from my engagement. Amicably. That’s really all there is to say about that. We are both sorting out what we want to do and where we want to live and I am glad we are taking the time now instead of later. With as crazy as this semester has been, this has given me some extra time to focus on my career path which has been much needed.

Fitness

I have not been doing a good job at all at keeping up with the gym or running this semester. I admit it. I have not been on a run in over a month and have not been to the gym in nearly as long. As the weather is starting to warm back up a little, I hope to get back out on some runs. I also will have a lot more free time once I turn in my appellate brief.

So what am I up to for spring break? I am in Charleston, SC visiting friends! I thought that it was going to be warmer here but it was 20 degrees warmer back in Arkansas yesterday. How typical. But, it is supposed to be in the 70’s and 80’s for the next two days here so I am going to carve out some time to find a beach. I hope everyone is enjoying the end of winter and the beginning of spring!

 

 

 

 

A New Kind of March in Little Rock, AR

Today I went to the Women’s March in Little Rock, AR in solidarity with the march in D.C with around 7,000 other women. I got up at 6 a.m. to hit the road from Fayetteville with one of my friends from law school. The march was only two block to the capital steps and the warm weather made for an incredibly powerful day with other like-minded people.

I didn’t march to protest President Trump. I value the peaceful transfer of democratic power that happens in the United States every 4 or 8 years too much for that. I have been doing a lot of soul-searching over the electoral college and the popular vote and what type of system I would prefer to see for the United States in the future (ps the time to change that type of system is now- not right after an election).

So why did I protest? I marched because AR HB 1032 just flew through committee which is a ban on the safest method of second trimester abortion. I marched because there is not gender equality in wages or professional opportunities. I marched because I want everyone in every elected position everywhere all the way up to the President that there are problems that need attention. That I will be watching. I am hoping that he makes wise decisions that move our country forward in all respects including for women. But I am also watching if he doesn’t and I am fully prepared to use my voice to let him know. Elected officials represent the people so let the will of the people be heard.

 

Half Way Checkpoint- Resolutions for January

I broke my resolutions down this year into separate months (see the entire list here) to give myself a chance to renew every month instead of feeling like I failed for the whole year by the middle of January. I did decide that while I was packing and moving back to Arkansas to cut myself a little slack on my January resolutions. I am now back, unpacked, and ready to tackle them with a vengeance! Even with traveling several thousand miles in my car over the last month and celebrating the holidays with my east coast friends and family that I had not seen in months, I still managed to make a start towards my resolutions. Since the month is half way over, here is my update on what I have accomplished and what still needs some (or a lot) of work. I hope my honesty will help inspire you to recommit if you have already fallen off the wagon a bit or to continue if you are still going strong!

Resolution One- Complete a 52 Week Hike Challenge

I completed an 8 mile hike on New Years Day annnnnd have not been on another yet. To be fair, the second weekend it rained the whole time and this weekend I was driving the 20 hours back to Arkansas. I fully intend to catch up on my hikes (hopefully the weather is nice tomorrow and I can get one in at Devil’s Den State Park).

Develop a More Regular Yoga Practice

My internet in West Virginia just wouldn’t support youtubing any yoga videos. Today was my first full day in Arkansas and I completed my first 20 minute video. I hope to do one or two a day and, if I stay consistent at home, I will consider getting back into going to the studio. The video today was mostly gentle stretching but I was so excited just to roll out my mat. The dog thought about joining me for a minute but then he thought better of it and crawled back into his bed.

Run 50 Miles

Before I came home for the holidays I was up to running about 50 miles a month. With all of the snow and the single digit temps, my running got derailed over the holidays and I didn’t get many miles in. I think I might be currently around 8 miles for the month? Oops haha… There is still time to get some miles in and I would rather spend the rest of the month slowly working back up than pushing to hit 50 anyways and giving myself serious shin splints.

Discover the Gym at My Apartment Complex

That elusive, scary place. Maybe tomorrow… I have only been back one day… Right?

Sign Up for My First Half Marathon

Still have not done this. I did finally google some local 5ks I want to run this spring so I am going to sign up for a few of those and keep looking for a half marathon that I want to run.

That is my progress report for January so far. It is a little lackluster, but I am just now getting home from the holidays and can get back into my routine. I got groceries yesterday and bought stuff to meal prep my lunches all week so I won’t eat out. I also got a ton of fruits and vegetables to cook this week with my dinners. The first half of the month may be gone, but there is still the second half to go and I am excited to make some progress on some of my goals.

How are your resolutions going? Let me know!

Sex-Positivism Feminism- A Historical Explanation

Sex-positivism feminism (also called pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism) began in the 1980’s and was coined from Ellen Willis’s 1981 essay Lust Horizons: Is the Women’s Movement Pro-Sex?. The main tenant is that sexual freedom is essential to women’s freedom and is an avenue of pleasure for women. The sex-positive feminists were one of the two main players in the feminist sex wars of the early 1980’s.

What were the feminist sex wars?

During the early 1980’s the main players (the sex-positive feminists and the anti-pornography feminists) debated issues surrounding sexuality and sexual activity such as pornography, erotica, prostitution, lesbian sexual practices, and the role of trans women. Sex-positive feminists were concerned that anti-pornography positions aligned too closely with the oppressive right-wing war on recreational sex and pornography.

Key Player- Ellen Willis

Willis was a journalist and music critic known for her involvement in the feminist movement and her membership in New York Radical Women. She co-founded Redstockings (a feminist group focused on the Pro Woman Line) and No More Nice Girls (a pro-choice street theater and protest group).

Key Player- Gayle Rubin

Some of Rubin’s earliest activism was at the University of Michigan where she organized groups on campus and wrote on feminist topics. Her essay The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economic of Sex was one of the first to propose a difference between gender and sex. She then moved to San Francisco where she co-founded the Samois.

Key Player- Pat Califia

Califia is a bisexual trans man who writes non-fiction about sexuality as well as erotic fiction and poetry. Prior to transitioning, he identified as a lesbian which many of his writings reflect. He was a co-founder of Samois and contributed heavily to group publications.

Key Organization- Redstockings

Founded by Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone in 1969, the Redstockings are well known for storming the February 13, 1969 New York State Joint Legislature Committee on Public Health hearing which, at the time, was considering abortion law reform. One month later, Redstockings hosted a public forum where 12 women spoke about their experiences with illegal abortion.

Their main tenant is the Pro-Woman Line which is the idea that women’s submission to male supremacy is a matter of their need to adapt to the patriarchy rather than brainwashing. Their proposed solution is for men to take responsibility to give up their supremacy rather than women changing.

Key Organization- Samois

Named after the fictional estate of Anne-Marie (a lesbian character in Story of O), Samois was a lesbian-feminist BDSM organization in San Francisco from 1978-1983. Practitioners fended off opposition from conservative and puritanical groups arguing that their method of practicing BDSM was consistent with feminist ideals. The group split in 1983 due to infighting.

Key Organization- Lesbian Sex Mafia

Founded by Dorothy Allison and Jo Arnone, the Lesbian Sex Mafia was founded in 1981 in New York City to provide support to lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, and transsexual women. The group did this through promotion of uninhibited sexual expression through exploration of fantasy role playing, fetishes, and alternate gender identities.

Stayed tuned for more bits of feminist history!

Another Day Another Pipeline- Sabal Trail Transmission

With the Dakota Access Pipeline still fresh in many of our minds, it is important to build on the momentum of the #NoDAPL movement and educate people about other pipelines currently being built in the United States. One such pipeline is the Sabal Trail pipeline in Florida. It is a 515 mile natural gas pipeline that will transport 1 billion cubic feet per day of pressurized natural gas in steel pipes up to 48 inches in diameter beginning in June 2017. The major players are NextEra Energy, Inc.; Duke Energy; and Spectra Energy Corp.

There are currently 4 interstate natural gas pipelines in Florida:

  • Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC- the largest pipeline in the state with a 3.1 billion cubic feet per day capacity
  • Gulfstream Natural Gas System, LLC- the second largest pipeline in the state with a 1.3 billion cubic feet per day capacity according to the Sabal website however the Gulf South Pipeline website noted that they have a throughput of 2.8 billion cubic feet per day
  • Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP- 2.8 billion cubic feet per day
  • Southern Natural Gas Company, LLC

What is natural gas?

It is important to discuss what exactly will be transported in these pipes. Natural gas is mainly methane and small amounts of hydrocarbons gas liquids and non hydrocarbon gases. It formed over millions of years from the remains of plants and animals that were compressed and heated.

How do we extract natural gas?

Geologists locate rock that is likely to contain natural gas (either on land or offshore) by using seismic surveys. After a survey is conducted, an exploratory well is drilled and, if there is sufficient natural gas present, one or more development wells are drilled. To remove the natural gas the rock formation is fractured by forcing water, chemicals, and sand down the development well (aka fracking).

One of the main issues with DAPL was the impact on crossing bodies of water- so how will the Sabal Trail Pipeline cross bodies of water?

  • Open-Cut Wet-Ditch Method: digging an open trench on a stream bottom, lay the pipe, and backfill over it
  • Open-Cut Dry-Ditch Method: using flume pipes to redirect the stream through the disturbed area, using sandbags to create dams both upstream and downstream of the work site, and excavate under the flume pipe
  • Dam and Pump Around Method: using sandbags to construct dams upstream and downstream from the work area and then diverting stream flow around the work area using pumps and hoses

Where does radon come into the picture?

There is talk that natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region (in Pennsylvania) has unhealthy amounts of radon. According to the Sabal Trail website, radon is a naturally-occurring gas and there there has always been some level in all gas supplies.

John Hopkins researchers found that levels of radon in Pennsylvania homes have been on the rise since 2004, around the time that the fracking industry began drilling natural gas wells in the state. According to the study, 42 percent of radon readings in homes surpass what the U.S. government considers safe (which seems like a direct contradiction to the Sabal Trial website).

Can the Sabal Trail survey private land in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida without permission of the land owners?

The short answer is yes. The specific codes are:

  • Alabama Code Section 18-1A-50 and 18-1A-51
  • Georgia Statute O.C.G.A. 22-3-88
  • Florida Statutes 472.029, 471.027, and 361.05

Mud Leak in South Georgia

In November of 2016, WFSU- a public media source for Northern Florida and Southern Georgia- reported that drilling was leaking mud into the Withlacoochee River which is a tributary to the Floridan aquifer. Mud seems innocuous enough in a river right? Problematically, the mud was described as a mixture of bentonite clay and water, but WWAL notes that bentonite can reduce oxygen in water which can threaten fish and other aquatic species.

Perspective of Andrea Grover- Sabal Trail Pipeline Representative

Grover notes that Sabal Trail will provide natural gas to Duke Energy’s new natural gas plant, which will allow Duke Energy to retire half of its coal-fired fleet in Florida in 2018.

She also notes that natural is lighter than air, so in the “unlikely event that it escapes from the pipeline” the gas would travel through the soil into the atmosphere and dissipate instead of traveling down through soils to water supplies. Unfortunately, this would only apply to the processed natural gas. Before the gas is processed there would be unprocessed gas transported which has the potential to pollute air and water.

Find Out More

If you are looking to find more information about the movement against the pipeline check out these resources and events.

 

Facebook Group Against the Sabal Trail

https://www.facebook.com/StopSabalTrail/

 

Gulf Restoration Network

http://www.healthygulf.org/our-work/energy-climate-change/stop-sabal-trail-pipeline

 

Events in Florida

January 4th Jacksonville: https://www.facebook.com/events/1726891530959495/

January 4th St. Petersburg: https://www.facebook.com/events/1152663088182886/

January 5th Orlando: https://www.facebook.com/events/1227935277288761/

January 8th Orlando: https://www.facebook.com/events/1242274395865928/

January 10th High Springs: https://www.facebook.com/events/170364943439416/

January 13th Orlando: https://www.facebook.com/events/976474695818760/

January 14th and 15th Suwannee River State Park: https://www.facebook.com/events/1764465233879461/

January 20th: Statewide Day of Action Everywhere

January 23rd Tallahassee: https://www.facebook.com/events/1824996774404546/

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Ode to New Year Bloggers

All of the people that are year round gym enthusiasts bemoan the influx of people to the gym in January. They complain that there is no parking, people don’t understand machine etiquette, and so on and so forth. I do understand where these people are coming from in a sense. I can never feel all that sympathetic towards them, however, because I cannot ever wish for people who are trying to better themselves to fail. I cannot wish that each of those people that got a gym membership and a new pair of sneakers- that want to increase their health and their confidence- will quickly fail and discontinue their pursuit of their goals. I cannot wish that those people who see 2017 as their year, the year they are finally going to accomplish their fitness goals, will fail simply for my convenience.

How difficult can it be for someone to attempt to enter gym culture in the first place. Not knowing how to use the machines, feeling uncomfortable in the new work out clothes, embarrassed when you think you are going to knock out an easy 30 minutes on the elliptical only to discover that you are ready to pass out after 10 (you begin to wonder if anyone will notice if you get off the machine after 10 minutes). What if instead of giving that person the looks like they are an idiot for even showing up, people showed the person with improper form when lifting some techniques to prevent injury? What if instead of being upset when someone interrupts your circuits, you show them what you are doing and ask if they want to join in? This is the point where many of you might be wondering why I am still talking about the gym. I promise there is an analogy.

In January, I see all of the complaints about crowding at the gym but I do not see posts bemoaning the new years bloggers (thankfully). I like to think that the writing community is more supportive and inclusive than many other communities. There is one question that keeps coming to mind over and over this week while I come back to my writing after the holidays. I wonder what the writing community would look like if we took the next step. Instead of just allowing these new blogs to exist without constantly belittling them and hoping that they drop their pursuits quickly, what if we gave these people some extra support?

Starting a new blog is a difficult decision for most people. Most people write in their first post about how long they thought about it before beginning one. Or they didn’t know how to start. Or they thought it would be pointless because no one would read it. Or they worry they are an awful writer. So how wonderful would some positive affirmation be right from the beginning? How incredible would it be from the very first post people felt that their voice was reaching someone? I wonder how many more people would stick with their resolutions to blog  in the new year if they felt this immediate support from the writing community.

So how long would it take to help smooth the transition into blogging for someone that is breaking out on their own in 2017? Think back to the very first post you ever wrote. If you are anything like me, you checked all of your likes and comments and were thrilled which each and every one. It amazed me that anyone was interested in reading what I had to say. Taking two seconds to read and provide some kind of feedback on a post can be such a small sacrifice on your part that pays huge dividends in the life of a new blogger.

My call to action for all veteran (and new bloggers) is to break out of your comfort zone of the normal people you follow just for 5-10 minutes a day. Read one or two new blogs per day and leave some feedback. It is such a small sacrifice for such a potentially large impact. To all of the new 2017 bloggers, I wish each and every one of you all of the luck as you embark on one of the most difficult but most rewarding efforts (hopefully) that you will undertake this year!

 

52 Hike Challenge: Week 1- McAfee’s Knob

One of my resolutions for the new year was to attempt a 52 hike challenge and tell you guys about them to keep myself accountable. These challenges requires 52 hikes in one year (one per week but you can play catch up in a different week if you miss one). I decided there was no time like the present to get started especially since Ian had a rare day off work and was willing to come hike with me. We did 8 miles at McAfee’s Knob in Catawba, VA. I have hiked it a few times before but never in winter and Ian had never done such this hike. It was a pretty tough since I have not been on the trails as much since starting law school, but we made it! It also gave us a few hours to unplug, catch up with each other, and enjoy some fresh air on a mild winter day.

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The most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail.
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Taking in the view to start the new year.
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How lucky am I?

My 2017 Happiness Project- Thanks Gretchen Rubin

When I skim over my journals from elementary school that were kept with the same irregularity that one would expect of a third grader, the thing that stands out to me is that most years I remembered to write down some resolutions for the upcoming year. In November of this year I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project and knew that my resolutions this year would be different. After I finished this book I texted my best friend and fiance and told them I had something that they were required to read. I also discovered Rubin’s podcast after finishing the book and now listen to Happier with Gretchen Rubin in the car.

Rubin broke her project in months with up to five resolutions per month. Each month she added the new resolutions to all of the old ones from previous months. Her months broke down into:

January- Boost Energy (Vitality)

February- Remember Love (Marriage)

March- Aim Higher (Work)

April- Lighten Up (Parenthood)

May- Be Serious About Play (Leisure)

June- Make Time for Friends (Friendship)

July- Buy Some Happiness (Money)

August- Contemplate the Heavens (Eternity)

September- Pursue a Passion (Books)

November- Keep a Contented Heart (Attitude)

December- Boot Camp Perfect (Happiness)

With this as my model, and some of her resolutions as a starting point for coming up with my own, I have determined that my resolutions will be based on the following categories:

January- Get Up and Move (Fitness)

In the month of January, it seemed appropriate to set the tone for my entire year of building my fitness routine. I started a running routine last fall that I hope to continue into the new year as well as adding a few other types of exercise.

  • 52 Week Hike Challenge
  • Develop a more regular yoga practice
  • Run 50 miles
  • Discover the gym at my apartment complex
  • Sign up for first half marathon

February- *Almost* Wedded Bliss (Engagement)

After being engaged for a full year now, it is finally time to get down to the nitty gritty wedding planning details. The only thing I have accomplished so far is a dress that I picked up earlier this week.

  • Pick a date and send save the dates
  • Book vendors
  • Pick out Bridesmaid dresses and suits for Groomsmen
  • Plan honeymoon
  • Work through a premarital workbook together

March- Hit the Books (Law School)

My second semester of law school promises to be as busy as the first. With a strong first semester out of the gate, no time to slack in round two!

  • Network with guest speakers
  • Become more involved in Women’s Law Organization
  • Continue study habits from first semester

April- In Other News (Blogging)

This blog is brand new and there are a million things that I want to spend time doing and changing and tweaking. I tried to narrow it down as best as I could to the main things I want to focus on with my blog this year.

  • 3-5 *quality* posts per week
  • An original image for each post
  • Using social media to promote my blog
  • 1,000 blog followers by the end of the year

May- School’s Out for Summer (Leisure)

With exams ending by the middle of May, I will hopefully have some down time between school and beginning my summer internship. I have very few summers left where I will get school breaks so I want to make the most of it!

  • Go see one movie per month
  • Go see live music at least once per month
  • Hit the used book store
  • Start an apartment herb garden

June- All My Friends Say (Friendship)

Let me start off my saying I have some incredible people in my life that I get to call friends. It is difficult sometimes to keep in touch as well as I would like because we are so far flung across the country. I want to put in place some systems that make it easier to keep in touch.

  • Buy an address book and fill it out
  • Send hand written letters once per month to three friends
  • Text your bridesmaids once per week
  • Remember birthdays
  • Make two new friends per month

July- Adventure Awaits (Travel)

Since I will be interning (hopefully in a different part of the country) I should have a whole new place to explore! I absolutely love to travel and cannot wait to see where I end up.

  • Get a passport (Ian too)
  • Get a card that has frequent flyer rewards
  • Hike two new state peaks (already finished AR and WV)
  • Take a road trip
  • Start a conversations with locals
  • One overnight backpacking trip

August- Reconnect (Religious Eternity)

I was raised Christian and still identify as such, however, I am always curious about deepening my understanding of my own religion as well as the religions of others.

  • One domestic service project
  • Do a bible study
  • Attend church once a month even when away from home
  • Read at least one book on Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism

September- Life Long Learning

One of the main reasons I started this blog is that I am one of the biggest nerds that ever lived. I love to research things that I know nothing about so I figured why not share what I find with other people. I also hope that someday, enough people will read this that they can give me different perspectives to even further expand my own. Even though this will be the start of my second year of law school, I want to make time for some learning goals that don’t have to do directly with the law.

  • Volunteer at a women’s shelter
  • Continue to read opposition news coverage
  • Pitch to an independent journalism source
  • Volunteer with a child advocacy organization

October- Mind Over Matter (Mindfulness)

October is the last month before the holiday crunch where people can usually still carve out free time for themselves. I want to use my free time for some self-development.

  • Meditate
  • Start a food journal
  • Learn a new skill
  • Find 5 new recipes that are worth adding to your cook book

November- Share Positive Vibes (Positivity)

After almost a full year of cultivating positivity for myself, I hope to share some with others!

  • Write book reviews
  • Smile
  • Listen with all of your attention
  • Compliment genuinely
  • Ask how you can help

December- Bringing it all Together (Boot Camp)

The month where I see if I can make all of those resolutions from the year stick.

I can’t wait to update everyone on how my journey is going. Hopefully this blog will hold me accountable. If you have not made your resolutions yet don’t worry, you still have some time! Any resolutions that you would like to share? Maybe I will adopt them!

Happy New Year everyone- be safe and careful out tonight!

A Book in Review: We Should All Be Feminists

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Genre: Nonfiction

Published: Anchor Books

Other Works By this Author: Americanah, The Thing Around Your Neck, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Purple Hibiscus

This short, powerful read is a modified version of a talk that Adichie presented at TEDxEuston in the UK in 2012 which is a conference focused on Africa. I was skeptical when I bought the book that something so short (48 pages) could provide substantive insight on a movement shrouded by so much controversy and so rich in history. I can say with confidence after reading it, that this book that it is by far the most accessible I have ever read on the topic and serves as an inspiring introduction to the importance of feminism in today’s society.

I have been working my way through many of the “classical” feminist texts after being inspired in my first semester of law school by the subject matter and my peers. Even as a law student, I find some of the books that are touted as being essential to my understanding of the material to be difficult to get through. They provide interesting insight and each one deepens my understanding and brings new perspective. However, none of them lit exactly the same fire under my ass that this book did. I started tabbing all of the pages with quotes I wanted to use until I realized that I was tabbing every page. I began excitedly telling my friends they needed to pick up a copy because it is simply so accessible. It highlights in colorful stories the ways that people have tried to lessen the impact of feminism through stereotyping.

One of the stereotypes that stuck out to me was the story of the man from Nigeria.

“He told me that people were saying my novel was feminist, and his advice to me – he was shaking his head sadly as he spoke – was that I should never call myself a feminist, since feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands.”

I immediately was interested to know why this man thought that a woman’s happiness depended upon her finding a husband.

Another stereotype was that of Adichie’s friend.

“…a dear friend told me that calling myself a feminist meant that I hated men.”

Why does advocating for women’s rights have to mean that I hate men? The two don’t appear mutually exclusive to me, and I would love to hear why she thought that they were.

Adichie then goes on to summarize many of the stereotypes in a sentence to illustrate how the word feminist carries so much heavy baggage with this explanation:

“… you hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don’t wear make-up, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humor, you don’t use deodorant.”

People mistake the idea that feminists don’t think women should do these things. In my opinion, the movement is more interested in the why behind women doing these things. If the women are wearing bras and make-up and deodorant and shaving because it is required of them by society then I think we have a problem. I do not think we have a problem with girls that enjoy these activities for themselves. We cannot shame women who enjoy wearing lipstick and heels when they do it for their own enjoyment and self-care. It is not fair to tell women that they must look like the bra-burners of the 1960’s because that is just what feminists “do.” That seems to me to be the equivalent of the patriarchy telling women that they must wear make-up and bras. They seem equally suspicious in a quest towards gender equality. The idea of gender equality to me means that women should have the right to think and dress and act how they want to without being told to modify their behavior to assimilate into the patriarchy OR the feminist movement. I also know that personally I hate wearing bras and putting on make-up (just ask my fiance) but that doesn’t mean it is my place to tell other women what to do with their bodies.

Adichie then proceeds to a discussion about women in the workplace and the problems that they face. She traces the root of the problem back to how we raise our young children.

“We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently. We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put the boys inside this cage.”

What powerful imagery. I let this passage soak in for a while. This passage is exactly the problem with the education of our young boys. What if we were to re-imagine this and reform how we teach our boys. To allow them to not only have emotions, but to express them. To allow them to not only have diverse interests, but to pursue them even if they are not traditionally “male.” To allow them to see that their self-worth is not contingent on the suppression of females, but to instead show them that gender equality is beneficial for everyone including themselves.

I could continue on and on about the wonderful insights this book provided me with, however I will leave the rest of the gems for you to discover when you pick up your own copy. Please leave me feedback about how you felt about both the book, and my personal interpretations of some of the passages! I love to hear both supportive and critical views because my own views are ever-changing.