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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

A Is For Alphabet...

In 2016 I'm going to try to Write More Often, and to that end, several things have occurred. One of those Things is that Rick got me a new Desk for Christmas, one at which I can actually sit and write and not feel encroached upon by Lots Of Clutter. Another Thing is that I have stolen an Idea from another writer (The Bug, I think), one which is so simple that even I, in my Sloth and Disinclination, can lean upon to yank up a blogpost from the depths of my Inertia.

I'm simply going to start alphabetically and grab a word--either from the News or my Life or Whatever--and write a weekly blogpost using that word as my subject. If more than one word comes to mind for that letter, then a List Post it shall be. (Rather than zip off the whole alphabetical list of topics at once ahead of time, though, I'll wait each day and see what comes to mind for that day's letter.) Let's On, then, shall we?

A Is For Anger: I overheard one of Sunday's talking heads chatting about this NBC poll in which they teamed up with Esquire magazine to gauge just how angry Americans are and how it breaks along gender, racial, and political lines. "American women are really angry!" one commentator observed with real surprise. According to the survey, women report a greater rise in anger than men over the past year. No one could get over it. I looked up from my newspaper, already simmering because of the eleventy billion times I had heard Trump's name on the two "news/politics" shows Rick had already watched. They were surprised that women were angry?

Every single Intelligent Woman should be Angry. I have my Anger on Emotional Speed-Dial when it comes to The Politics and The General State Of Things. I am Angry about men (and some women, to be fair) in government using Planned Parenthood funding as a whipping boy and bargaining chip when so many women rely on its services for health care (and, yes, pregnancy services including terminations, the latter being a legal and personal decision of the woman's, however unfortunate).  I am Angry that women still earn 78 cents on the dollar in relation to men among full-time workers in the U.S., and that this inequity in pay still exists, no matter how you sort the data. I am angry about the non-existent Equal Rights Amendment, introduced almost one hundred years ago and allowed to die a slow and humiliating death in 1982, thanks to political wrangling.

Those are just the Big Angries. Smaller Angries include the restrictions on liquids for air travel are more of a hassle for women than men; cash incentives for perfect attendance at a job automatically penalize women with kids; alterations cost extra for women, not for men; women are held to a higher standard of beauty more often than men; school dress codes target girls more than boys; that working women are still responsible for the lion's share of child-rearing and housework...oh, too many to enumerate without completely frosting my cupcakes and destroying my Zen.

(Oh, and may we add anyone--men especially--saying condescendingly, "Um, wow. Why don't you tell us how you really feel?" any time we express our anger about anything?)

So, yes, American women are angry. They have been for a long time; it's just that no one ever bothered to ask them until now.

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23 comments:

  1. A is for Amen Sister! All those things are up at the top of my list as well. When Mike & I went on our cruise last month, guess how many items he had in a zip lock bag? 0. Do you know what he packs in our toiletry bag for any trip? Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair brush. It's REALLY ANNOYING.

    I was the one who did the ABC thing one year, and I went back just now to see when it was. 2011!!! This was my A: Antidisestablishmentarianism. :)

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    1. Bug--How come I can remember you doing the ABC Thing in 2011, but I cannot for the life of me remember to shift a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer within ONE DAY? Or to take my phone out of its little holder thingy in the car when I go into the store? (To be fair, I forget where my phone is IN THE HOUSE on a regular basis.)

      Thanks for the Amen, Sister. I'm not Actively Angry most of the time, but for that Talking Male Head to be surprised made me erupt.

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  2. Ha! I came here to write "A is for amen, sister, amen," and The Bug beat me to it.

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    1. Diabetes is...Family--Well, thank you very much! I'll take a second amen.

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  3. Today I got a teensy bit upset with my husband when he chose the wrong freeway offramp, and he mentioned that I seem to always be angry when it rains. Or when it's sunny. Or hailing, or all of the other weather conditions that he and my son could think of. I'm simply expressing my displeasure of your actions, I'm not angry ;)

    I had a nun for my Honors English teacher in junior and senior year. At the beginning of every class, we had to write a short essay in one of those black marbled essay books (I'm sure you know the ones!). In the beginning of the year, our daily topic was of our own choosing, but we had to go through the entire alphabet. At first I did not like this particular exercise, but then I truly enjoyed it as the year progressed. She became one of my most beloved teachers of all time. Sigh. We still corresponded with each other for many years after she retired. I miss her.

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    1. Gina--That's another thing that Irks me: men honestly expect us never to be Angry. It's like, "What do you have to be Angry about? You have a nice home, a car, yada yada yada...". Lots of men act as if we don't ever think about Anything beyond the remotest of spheres. And we also have to be aware that, in many cases, men do not care to use a huge vocabulary to express themselves. Your husband used the word Angry when he could have used a more specific word, such as "crabby" or "snarky" or "irritated" or well, you get it.

      Lovely memory of your Honors English teacher and the composition notebook. Journaling was a big fad in English classes for eons, then fell out of favour. I never did it because I didn't want to have to grade it--so time-consuming. My colleagues that did it simply paged through it and stamped each page or made a check mark, never reading any of it. I thought that was horrible and sad. All student writing should be read and commented upon, in my opinion, since journaling especially is thoughtful writing.

      I'm glad that you enjoyed it in the end. Sometimes, forced writing teaches kids to hate writing. And I am even more tickled that you love (and miss!) an English teacher. Thank you for sharing that memory with me. It means a great deal.

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    2. She read each and every one of our essays! For most of them, she either had a comment or a question. The question was when she liked your essay and was trying to expand upon it, the comment was when she disagreed! She sadly passed away a few years ago, and you would not believe it, but I began the year hating her! It felt wrong to hate a nun, but there you go. Turns out she was having some personal difficulties that were very wearing on her, and it was coming out as meanness to her students. She was truly was one of the most wonderful and wise people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

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    3. Gina--Thank you for sharing such personal memories of your favourite English teacher with me. I'm always glad to learn of a fellow educator in the Subject who inspired a student so profoundly. You also bring up a very important point that so often gets lost: Teachers are Human. They cannot help but sometimes bring their private struggles into their classrooms, mightily though they try otherwise. Teaching is such a personal and all-consuming task that it can be difficult to always be your best. I'm glad you understood and retain fond memories of her.

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  4. A is for Agree. Totally. Completely. I have noticed a low grade rage in myself that has been growing for years. Now that I am retired I have way too much time to watch the political circus on TV, and way too little time left in this life to spend it on all the crap going on in this country. From Trump to the jamokes in Oregon, I am fed up. Central America is looking pretty good these days.

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    1. Karen--Thank you. Please do not waste and sully your valuable leisure time with watching all of The Politics on TV and listening intently to so much garbage. It will desecrate your Zen. I do not have television on at all during the day. Ever. I highly recommend it. And I gave up cable ages ago, the 24-hour News Availability a crippling obsession.

      Certainly you should Run Away for some time when you can, but those of us who are intelligent and a Balancing Force Against Rampant Idiocy should remain in This Country. We dare not abandon ship.

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  5. Do you happen to remember the story I wrote about being angry at my husband when I was living with him and four children under the age of 6 in a row house on a tiny street in Philadelphia? I was angry because every evening when he came in from work he would say "Hi, Hon, what did you do all day?"

    Usually when he got home, dinner was started and the kids were all shined up and so was the house, so it made me crazy when he asked that question. I had to stop him from saying that, but how? Here's what I did.

    The next night when he came home the breakfast dishes were still on the kitchen table with the eggs glued to the plates.
    There were crusts from the Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches I had served the kids for lunch. Yesterday's newspaper was still on the sofa and the chip bags and soda bottles from the night before still sat on the coffee table. The kids looked like ragamuffins with dirty faces and there was NO dinner in sight.

    When he walked in I said "Do not say a word. Every night you ask me what I did all day. Well, just to let you know what I do all day, TODAY I DIDN'T DO IT"

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    1. Nancy--Oh, that story bears repeating.

      Since retirement, I am a Pleasant Housewife, but there are times when Rick comes home and utters the same question. Mostly, I recite a few things, but never The Basics. What really gets me is that when I am sick or down with a migraine, all the stuff I do stays pretty much Undone. Unless I ask, it's there for me to do when I'm feeling better.

      I guess he wants to make sure I don't get too bored.

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  6. You must be my soul sister, no, wait, my good friend's soul sister! Love, love, love what you wrote even more than all the other posts you've written that I love! A is for admiration!

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    1. Rose--Oh...well, say hi to my soul sister next time you see your good friend...? Hee hee. No matter! I love being admired, no matter who I am related to by Soul or otherwise. Thank you.

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  7. Nance,

    So you are in the same "Hi, Hon, what did you do all day" boat that almost did me in. I hated hearing the same thing almost every day.

    It's like at this time of year. Everybody wishing you a happy 2016.. over and over..I took care of that little annoyance,too. It goes in one year and out the other.....

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  8. I think that your approach to weekly blogging [a la alphabet] and your anger are clever and justified. I've read that same drivel about how surprised men are that women are angry. No kidding! This is going to be one very long presidential election year if that kind of obviousness is considered news. All things considered I don't how long I'll be able to not start swearing on social media... because WTF?

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    1. Ally Bean--Thanks. You bring up a good point in that this election year (or YEARS, as it seems) has served to highlight the gaps in Understanding between a lot of groups. Politics has always been divisive; it's not News, as the media would trumpet it (no pun intended), hence the two party system and their separate platforms.

      Retirement, and its subsequent Lowering Of My Stress, has greatly diminished my swearing. That, and practice out of deference to my husband's sensibilities overall. But I know exactly how you feel; it's disappointing, isn't it?

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  9. Long ago, Ted and I went to the same hairdresser. He was the boyfriend of a coworker friend of mine, and very talented. This being the late 80s, my hair was quite short, and Ted's was long. I remember my friend scolding the hairdresser/boyfriend because I was charged more. He said, "Why? Because she has more hair? What?" (The story seems maybe a bit pointless if you are thinking of how Ted is bald now, but he wasn't then. He had a ton of hair.)

    I particularly hate how women have to be carful not to appear angry in public, because they just seem too emotional, whereas Men are applauded for it.

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    1. J@jj--Oh, yes. Haircuts. And the Emotion Thing, which cuts both ways. If we show emotion, it's Our Time Of The Month. Or it's a byproduct of Our Gender. But, if we don't show a suitable amount of emotion, then we're Frigid Bitches.

      But, as we all know, One Thing can set us right--all we need is a good lay. Sigh. Hate that old chestnut of wisdom the most. Ugh.

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  10. The thing that makes me most angry is another "A" word...apathy. The apathy of the American people in general. Those who accept that it's all right for political candidates to lie unchecked (because all politicians lie); who can't seem to be bothered about the environment or their own contributions to polluting it; who do not stand up when their fellowmen/women are being oppressed; who don't even know the names of their own Senators and Representatives, much less contact them with their concerns. And most especially, the apathy toward anything happening to people outside the United States.

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    1. NCmountainwoman--Good one! Apathy angers me, too. I completely understand when some people feel frustrated or helpless about The Politics, especially in light of the Supreme Court decision allowing tons of special interest and big corporation money to flow into elections. I do. But to simply give up and refuse to be part of the process infuriates and baffles me. Willful ignorance also incenses me, especially in women, who in this patriarchal society need to be as smart as possible to make sure they are getting a fair shake and not settling.

      I'm not sure that apathy--in its purest definition--is entirely what's at work with the Americans' overall disinterest with things happening outside the U.S. A lot of Americans are very provincial and limited in their worldview; they merely do not have a whit of interest in things outside the USA, period. It's not patriotism or jingoism, either. They are merely Not Interested because It's Not Them. Like, "Why should I care about France or Australia or Kenya? I'm not going to go there, and I don't know anyone there, so what ever could be The Point?" Unless there is a celebrity-driven charity telethon or a facebook page to click "like" on, most Americans probably don't shift themselves to get really concerned. It's not in their sphere.

      Look at a few of the current republican candidates' platforms, if you can stand to. Very America-centric. Isolationist, almost. So, I don't think it's a lack of human compassion or feeling as much as it's a lack of worldliness and the ability to see the people of the world as connected and common to one another. This latest crop of republican presidential candidates has brought out a very ugly, very selfish side of Americans, and it's very, very disheartening.

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  11. I am angry at women like Carly Fiorina, particularly after her unbelievable comments on Planned Parenthood. Why is it that all the republican women in politics are just as hateful, stupid and biased as the men?

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    1. Ortizzle--I am so disappointed by so many of the women in that party. Sometimes I wonder if they really do believe that what they espouse should apply to All Women, or just the Ones They Don't Like, such as lazy poor women, or certain ethnicities, or maybe the cashier who was snotty to them at Starbucks or something. Sometimes, it seems like even very successful republican women, smart, capable, career women, don't want any other women to do likewise. It's confounding.

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Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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