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Archive for January, 2012

Recently, the actress Cynthia Nixon, from Sex and the City, made the comment that she has chosen to be gay.  She said:

“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”

This has predictably angered many gay rights activists, who believe that being gay is not at all matter of choice; that it’s an inborn trait.  Reactions from the gay community pointed out that Ms Nixon’s comments played into the hands of right-wing anti-gay activists, who believe that being gay is always a choice — and that it’s a choice that a person can and should “correct”.  Some have made the observation that after having been in relationships with both men and women that Ms Nixon is actually bisexual.

This all may be so, and I’m inclined to agree with the notion that being gay is largely inborn, but it’s beside the point of this blog entry.

I believe that in putting the focus on the idea that being gay is inborn, gay rights activists are operating from a defensive position and that they are allowing the right to frame the terms of the issue.  They are offering a reason to justify why they are gay, when they really don’t owe anyone an explanation at all in order to deserve equal rights in our society.

Let’s compare it to religion.  What one believes, if they choose to believe in anything at all, is completely a choice, and the right to this choice is guaranteed in this country.  No one has to justify why they chose one religion over another, or not to believe; it’s a private matter.

So it should be with sexual orientation.  It’s a private matter that does not affect the rights of others to do differently.

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While idly surfing the net just a little while ago, I came upon an article by Match.com about what some men say about what they must have in a relationship.  The article listed the top five “must haves”.

Naturally, the number one requirement is:

“She must be attractive”

That’s even if he looks like Jabba the Hutt.  It’s OK for him not to be attractive — but she better be.

Interestingly enough, the next requirement was:

“I want to be loved for who I am, not what I can provide”

I’ve got news for such men — We women want to be loved for who we are, not what we look like.

Enough said.

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The Long and Short of It

Today, I thought I’d go ahead and write about something I’ve always wondered about.

I’ve always been curious about why the hemlines of women’s skirts and dresses rose from floor/ankle length to knee length in approximately a decade.   Hems began slowly creeping up in the 1910s until they reached a modern knee length in the 1920s.

Women in 1910

1915 fashions -- notice rising hemlines

1920s -- Big difference from 1910

I’ve wondered why and how this happened at that particular time when women had never worn short skirts before, and why they’ve remained short ever since (with minor brief aberrations, such at the maxi skirt of the late 60s, early 70s that never quite caught on).   Some might say it was World War I; because of the more active roles women played during that war.  I’m sure that’s part of it, but I’m thinking there must be more to it than that.

I’ve also thought of how adult women at that time, who had worn skirts long enough to cover their shoe tops their entire lives felt about it and how many took  to short skirts like a duck to water and how many resisted it and continued to wear long skirts.   Surely, there had to be quite a few, especially those past a certain age, who had been brought up to believe that showing one’s legs in public to be scandalous.

I’ve googled about this and haven’t really come up with anything.

As for myself, born in the late 50s, I’ve always felt exposed when wearing a dress, especially when minis were the fashion.  With my bare legs hanging out — and even in nylons, they were “bare” to me — I felt vulnerable and self-conscious.  There was never any way for me to be able to relax when in a skirt or a dress.

There was even something faintly juvenile about wearing  a skirt of knee length or shorter.   Remember, that in the 19th century, grown women wore long dresses, while young girls wore shorter ones.   Similarly, for a few decades into the 20th century, boys wore short pants (at least in England, they did), while men wore long pants.

Now, as an adult, on the very few times I’ve needed to wear a dress, I’ve always chosen one mid calf length so as not to feel so exposed, and I wear a pair of shorts underneath, rather than a slip.

Not too long ago, I acquired an eighteenth century gown (the word “dress” was not used for a particular type of women’s clothing then, so “gown” does not necessarily mean formal attire), because I’m interested in becoming a reenactor at some point.  Unlike 19th century dresses, many 18th century gowns are actually comfortable.  And, best of all, I don’t feel exposed when wearing it, despite the low neckline.  The 18th century also had comfortable jacket/skirt combos that I like pretty well,too.

It made me wish that it was more common to wear long skirts for everyday wear nowadays, and not have it be associated with religious orthodoxy or fundamentalism.

Sometimes, being liberated is not having to let it all hang out.

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So, here I am starting a blog along with the new year.  To anyone reading this post, don’t think it is motivated by any notion of a New Year’s resolution, because I don’t make such promises.  Rather, my purpose in starting this blog is to have a place to express my opinions and observations uncensored and at the length I need to make them.

I’ve been using Facebook for a few years now and though I enjoy it, I find myself avoiding certain topics and censoring others because my main reason for using Facebook is as a place to relax, have fun, and to keep up with family and people I’ve known over the years since childhood.   Because these various people have a wide variety of opinions and beliefs about everything and because I don’t want my Facebook profile to be a place of argument and dissension, I have limited myself in what and how I post.  I also don’t necessarily want my family knowing all my business, either.

I cannot promise how regularly I will add new posts, as there are things going on in my life that I expect will be of an ongoing nature.  I’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

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