So it has recently come to my attention that there’s an anti-feminist Tumblr out there solely dedicated to pictures of women holding up signs about why they don’t need feminism. At first, this made me become SHE-HULK AND SHE-HULK SMASH THINGS. Thankfully it’s rare when I let things on the internet make me this angry. But after awhile, my anger subsided and instead it was replaced with sadness. Hurt. Heartbreak. I want to hug each of these lost women and hand them a copy of The Feminine Mystique and enlighten them. But I suppose, in the end, that’s what feminism is attempting to do. Not just reform the “equality” of men and women. But also to educate. We just need to keep trying. Anyway, I took to Facebook to voice my thoughts and I figured I’d share them here as well.

“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.”
– Madeleine K. Albright.

I actually debated on whether or not I wanted to share this. Normally, when I read something that makes me this angry, I don’t share it because I try to keep this place as positive as I can. But this. THIS. I’m making an exception because this is important. These women think that they are above feminism. That they don’t need it because they aren’t victims. Because they don’t want to devalue men. GIRLS! YOU ARE DEVALUING YOURSELVES. How do you think the rights of women got as far as it has? Right now, you are using your voices, posting pictures of yourselves online, acting as strong women with opinions – BECAUSE OF FEMINISM. Because women continue to fight for our – FOR YOUR – rights. Feminism isn’t about playing the victim. It’s not about victimizing women AT ALL. It’s the damn opposite of that. And it’s certainly not about devaluing men – it’s about being treated as equals. It’s about getting paid as much, it’s about being able to have our say on an equal platform, it’s about owning our own bodies and being proud to have a voice. Which you have because of the feminists fighting for you.

feminism
print by dothandmade

Your ignorance isn’t just shameful, it’s hurtful and detrimental to women everywhere. It’s a slap in the face to women in other countries who don’t have your rights – who are forced to succumb to the will of a man every day in more ways than one simply because they are seen as inferior. Those women are not allowed to speak up. You can and you do. You’re showing that right now. But your message is extremely misguided. Just because we are lucky enough to have been born into a country where women have as much power as we do, does not mean that our job is done. Women are still paid less than men in the work place simply because of our gender. The opinions of women in many male-dominated industries are not taken into consideration… simply because of what’s (not) between our legs. Even in our society, women are still not seen as equals by the government. But we could be. If we keep fighting. If we keep working for a better world. If we continue to educate others and welcome people – women and men and every variation – into the fold of feminism. Don’t shut it out. It’s why you’re able to do what you’re doing now.

This tumblr and these girls are doing far more damage to the cause than they realize. And their ignorance is so… heartbreaking. They have no idea. Their eyes are closed. And that is why feminism will continue to be needed for a long time.

Anyway. There’s my two cents. I’m going to go watch some kick-ass feminist Sailor Moon because I can.

Second Inauguration & Happy MLK Day!

Patriotic Nikki - Photo by Ashley Niels
Nikki on the National Mall – Photo by Ashley Niels

Four years ago I was on the national mall with millions of other people watching Obama be sworn in as our president. It was the most thrilling & inspiring event I’ve ever witnessed and I’m so thankful we got that opportunity to be there. I still hold that day in my heart – not just for the historical moment itself, but because out of all those millions of people, there was only one rude person. The rest were downright amazing. It’s incredible the things that bring complete strangers together and how, even on the coldest day of the year when everyone is cramped and freezing and uncomfortable, strangers will open their hearts to each other and go out of their way to help those who need it. I know where I wish I could be right now. I think Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud to share this day.

Happy MLK Day and Happy Inauguration Day, everyone!

Today is Voting Day here in the US. A lot is riding on this election. A LOT. From finances, to medical bills, to gender equality to civil rights. It’s an important election. Here are a few thoughts I jotted down last night before going to sleep.

“The closer we get to tomorrow, the meaner and more cruel people on Facebook become – on both sides. I’ve started blocking quite a few people from my News Feed because I’m sick of the hatred being thrown around. Stop talking and act. Go out and Vote. Stand up for what you believe in. Do good, live your life well. That’s what counts. Don’t get mean. Love.

As for me, I’ve just had to stop thinking about tomorrow. You all know my side. You all know who I voted for. You all know who I love and what I stand for. Regardless of who wins, the aftermath is going to be filled with angry, hateful people. Regardless of who wins, remember this. We’re all humans. We all have responsibility. We all have a commitment to this earth and to our fellow people to put as much good into this world as we are able. We are all still Americans. We are citizens of Earth. We are pieces of the same universal stardust that make up our existence. We are the SAME.

Just remember that.”


Me in January 2009 on the National Mall waiting for the inauguration of Barack Obama.

No matter what happens, I will continue to fight for what I believe in.

Happy Memorial Day!

Keeping you in hearts and minds on this day. Happy Memorial Day!

Lesbian War-Hero?

“Servicemen continue to be fierce believers in the idea that diversity equals strength, yet during the Clinton effort on gay troops most of us rejected analogies to racial integration. The homosexual threat to good order and discipline was behavioral, we argued, not physiological, and therefore unrelated.

It was a flawed argument.”

From the article “An About-Face on Gay Troups”. It is increasingly easier to see acceptance rising in the ranks of former opponents – more so now than any other time. Under the guidance of rainbow lovers recently added to the White House (including Obama himself), it looks promising that even those who were initially against gay rights and gays serving in the armed forces are starting to take another look at their original arguments. And acknowledging that perhaps gays do not join the army to check out their barrack buddies in the showers (because, you know, losing an arm or getting shot through the head is totally worth it just to get a glimpse of a man (not) in uniform).

Not that I have any plans at all on joining the troops in good ol’ Sam’s war. But it’s good to know that if I fall and break my head and suffer from amnesia and someone tells me I’m a purple heart war-hero lesbian, well, at least I can tell the world I’m a purple heart war-hero lesbian and not have to hide it.

Do you think we’re heading in the right direction?

The Political Lesbian.

This is probably some of the most exciting news I have heard yet (undoubtedly for personal reasons which I feel I don’t really have to say – my biased point of view is most likely well-known to those of you who are reading).

“Obama Picks Lesbian To Be White House Associate Counsel.”

Of course her orientation doesn’t have anything to do with why she was picked, but it does give reason for celebration by the GLBT community for finally being given some limelight in the White House. Alison Nathan has a big job to do when it comes to legal matters, but I feel like this is yet another HUGE step in terms of civil rights. All of a sudden, the ball is in our court and things might actually start getting done. She’s been working for Obama for awhile (being the head of his Gay Advisory Committee) and his decision in picking her is an unspoken promise that everything is going in the right direction.

(See? Sometimes I can be like a good, little, political lesbian.)

Me being Patriotic.

And just to prove that I was, in fact, on the National Mall (in case you didn’t believe me), have a photo.

Me

Me, waiting for the inauguration to start. I didn’t know Ash was taking this picture, otherwise you would have gotten more of a smile from me. It was a cold day, but I was warm for the most part and the day was sunny and blue and beautiful. Yes, it was worth it. (Note the red, white, and blue scarf – see, I was patriotic!)

The Inauguration Experience.

Lots of people

I was there. Actually, we were on the right side of the mall where this picture was taken, near the Natural History museum. The number of people there was absolutely incredible. And, predictably, it was chaotic.

We left Crossville, TN at around 7pm on Monday and drove 9 hours throughout the night, arriving at the metro station in Fairfax, VA at about 4 in the morning. Actually, we arrived to the exit ramp for the metro at 4 and it took us an hour and a half to actually get a parking spot, it was that backed up (at 4 am!). We stood in line for awhile to get into the station and even longer while waiting for a train. When we did finally get onto our train, it broke down two stops later and everyone had to get off and wait for another train. Despite it being so ungodly early in the morning, everyone on our car was so excited and happy and willing to help each other. We all joked about the train and when we got back on our train car, people broke out into the Star Spangled Banner and cheered.

We got off our train just off of Virginia Avenue in DC and walked the couple of miles to the National Mall. There were so many people everywhere and the energy everyone gave off was one of excitement and hope and pride for the changes that were coming. Ash and I walked down the center of Independence Avenue holding hands with no fear, and I was just in awe of all the historic architecture and museums and impressive buildings. People looked at each other excitedly, strangers became friends with just a smile, and there were pictures of Obama around every corner.

The national mall was packed even with two hours to go before the inauguration started. Two million people were milling around the mall, talking and screaming and shouting and beaming happily, and cheering every time Obama’s face appeared on one of the many Jumbotrons. After much tramping around to get a good spot, we found a clear space off to the side by some trees just outside of the Natural History Museum. It wasn’t long after this that the event was kicked off by the US Marine Band and the San Fransisco Girls and Boys Choirs and Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Rick Warren gave the invocation after the senator spoke, and I went into that speech with every bone in my body ready to hate it. Surprisingly, I was impressed and found myself really appreciating what he was saying. I can’t help but wish that he would take his own words to heart when he so passionately spoke about equality for all citizens, but maybe his relationship with Obama will help change his mind, and his heart. I thought it was a very moving speech. Aretha Franklin sang after that, beautifully, and and then Joe Biden was sworn into office. A large cheer went up over the crowd after that and the positive tension rose as the crowd knew that we were getting closer to the big moment. Only minutes until we had a new president.

The anticipation grew as Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill performed a soul-inspiring song composed by John Williams (the man!) called “Air and Simple Gifts.” It was beautiful and there were people all around me with tears in their eyes.

And then the big moment. The president elect stood up before the citizens of America and recited these words:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The President

After Obama said that last word, the crying and applause rang out over Washington DC and a million tiny American flags were waved in the air as every single person there celebrated the new president of the United States (okay, so maybe those weren’t the exact words he spoke – but that’s not his fault and he did say them right later). I’m pretty sure that after this, not many people payed attention to what anybody else said into the microphone after Obama gave his inauguration address (which, while it wasn’t his best speech, it was still a good one). Elizabeth Alexander read a poem (rather badly) and Joseph Lowery gave the benediction. The event ended with the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters singing the National Anthem. By that time though, we were trying to get off the mall.

Everything kind of went downhill from there. Really, the problem was completely caused by the lack of organization that the cops and volunteers at the inauguration had. Most of the streets had been shut down for security and the parade (which we didn’t see at all), and the few exits they had were packed. Two million people wandered aimlessly around the mall and the streets and under bridges and on top of overpasses and nobody knew where they were going. The sun was going down and it was getting colder and for almost five hours we looked at maps and streets and tried desperately to find a metro station to get out of the city. They closed down many stations because they were packed or just not working and when we finally found the station we had arrived on, we waited in line for over three hours. It was cold, we hadn’t slept or had any food for over 24 hours, and we were miserable.

But throughout it all, every person we met and talked to remained in good spirits. Everyone, no matter who they were, was willing to put themselves out there to help a complete stranger. At one point, my Social Anxiety Disorder kicked in and I had a nervous breakdown in the middle of a plaza while being shoved from all sides. I lost it and couldn’t think straight and the next thing I knew, a woman had grabbed my arm and was quite literally line-backing people out of the way to get me to an opening. She kept asking me if I was okay and waited until Ash and Winnie and her mom found me again. It was scary, but everyone was so nice and calm and trying to make sure everyone else was okay. The spirit of the day had filled every person there and it was truly inspiring.

After we got into the metro station, we got onto a train relatively fast (though Ash nearly got smashed as the doors closed because we jumped on at the last minute) and ended back in Virginia where we started. It was almost unreal getting into our car and driving home – had we really just gone through all of that? Where we really there with all those people? It was insane, chaotic, and amazing. I switched back and forth for a long time whether it was worth it or not, but you know what, how could it not be when we actually got to be there to witness history in the making?

Barack Obama is our new president and already he is coming through on so many of his promises. Check out this site that Ash found earlier: Politifact Truth-o-Meter. It keeps you up-to-date with Obama’s promises and what he is continuing to do for our country. I’ve never really been that patriotic, but for the first time, I actually see a reason to be excited for where America is going. We can do this and we will. Things are going to be better than ever.

At Work

Of course, not all is good and we still have a lot of improvements to make. I was vastly disappointed when I read this blog article about the trash left on the mall. I mean, come on people. Clean up after yourself – isn’t that one of the biggest things we are suppose to be working for? Jeez.

There’s always tomorrow.

You are so Envious.

I apologize for the lack of posts this week, but it’s been a pretty busy week with hiking, a new puppy, lots of cleaning and laundry, and good food in big towns. But the biggest news is this. You all know what Tuesday is correct?

Good. Now guess where I’m gonna be Tuesday. Yes! That’s correct. Ash, me, and her mom and sister are piling into the car tomorrow and driving the ten hours to Washington D.C. to sit for hours on the National Mall to hear Obama speak and be sworn in as our new President. I am beyond stoked for this and absolutely thrilled that I’ll get to say that I WAS THERE. Seriously. Okay, so I won’t actually see Obama (or the parade, or any cool people, or the White House really), but I’ll be THERE. And that’s what counts.

So tonight we’re gonna pack and get everything planned out and pulled together so we’re ready in the morning. Right now I’m tired because of our crazy weekend out in the mountains (beautiful, beautiful mountains) and I’m gonna go eat.

Yay for crazy last-minute historic, life-changing plans!

Give us the Change.

Oh man, everyone in the house is sick with some kind of cold/sinus thing. My throat and ears hurt like all get out and all I want to do lately is sleep. It’s a very miserable feeling. Ash and I did get out and play badminton today, but after awhile I just couldn’t take it anymore and we came inside. I’m ready for a nap now.

The inauguration of Barack Obama is coming up fast. The last few days, we’ve been watching a bunch of different documentaries. One was on what people in different countries think about America’s foreign policy called Internationally Speaking and I highly recommend it. It’s got some really great insight from both in and out of the country. Another one was on Coming Out in different countries, which nearly brought me to tears. Sometimes I take for granted that our country is so much more accepting than most others. Which is sad considering all the things people still say and believe here. Anyway, my point is that I can’t help but feel this overwhelming burden of hopelessness sometimes, but things are gonna change, if Obama keeps his many promises.

“The important thing in life is to try to live and do the best you can,” he says. “We done had it bad. Let us help give our children a better life, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren. Let’s try to give them a better life than we had. But anyway, just keep the good work going, is all I say.”

There was an interesting article over at CNN called “Obama is our Moses”, and if you overlook the flowering descriptions and sickening over-the-top empathy that CNN always pushes onto its readers, it really is inspiring that the man they interviewed has such strong beliefs because of the way he grew up. He’s a man that doesn’t take voting for granted. While I hope Obama keeps his promises for my own selfish reasons, it’s for people like this that I pray even more Obama doesn’t go back on his word. It’s people like this that really need and deserve to experience change more than anyone else. They believe it the most.

On a different note (and back to being selfish and talking about my own interests), I was interviewed by Sylvie at Fuel My Blog about blogging (what else?) and everything it entails. You can find the complete interview on their blog. Check it out!

One more step towards internet stardom.