by Annalise Grueter, St. Lawrence University Nordic Ski Club/ Chi Omega (Epsilon Kappa chapter)
It’s about to get opinionated and controversial up in here, crossposting from designerchocolate.blogspot.com
Here’s the deal. I am SICK of stereotypes. We make them and enforce them everyday. Sure, part of that is human nature- we feel this need to categorize things to understand them. That’s fine- things are different. What bugs me is that we seem to forget how pervasive differences are. Diversity!
The above picture is a prayer flag. Hanging from an Adirondack Park lean-to. Can you spot the Greek letters?
So here’s the deal. I’m a foodie and focused on holistic health, getting rid of chemicals in sunscreen and food, all that. Anybody reading this blog is well aware of that fact. I also am a proud member of the Chi Omega Fraternity for women- a sorority founded in 1895. It’s a pretty common thing for me to encounter other environmentally-minded people who are extremely surprised that I am in a sorority. Understandable, I suppose, but the pigeon-holing gets wearing.
Let’s chill out on the pigeon-holing.
Next point: Occupy Wall Street. This movement is spreading and spreading and spreading, and all over the internetz there are derogatory comments about the lazy, entitled youth and dirty hippies. I will freely admit that a huge chunk of my generation has a general sense of entitlement. My argument is that everyone feels a sense of entitlement. Most Americans and members of Western society seem to feel entitled to things. There is a large portion of my generation (and X and older generations) that feels entitled to a healthy environment. How does that happen? We have to make it happen.
Full out disclosure here. I am employed. I have an on-campus job (though I’m off-campus this semester) and I work during winter and summer breaks from school. In a few weeks I’ll be starting my post-graduation job search. I’ve been through phases without a job…and during those phases I kept job-searching, and joined together with some of my friends and peers to hand out cards to look for employment.
I also am NOT a fan of welfare. I think society is naturally heterogeneous and ought to stay that way. Individuals should earn their own way and take care of themselves. If a high school kid is struggling in their classes, their parents should not start doing their homework. Screw that. Parents shouldn’t be arranging resume building activities. Ugh.
Those things said, this country’s economic system and governmental system are WAY beyond broken. Both are incredibly corrupt and standardized toward consumerism and a twisted failing feudalistic model. Some things that are hardly being taught anymore: personal responsibility. I’m sorry, if a kid breaks a toy, they should fix it themselves. If a person is hungry, they should know how to turn raw ingredients into something edible. Supermarkets are just one thing that eliminates personal responsibility. The oft-cited woman who sued McDonald’s because she was burned when she spilled their coffee on herself. It’s a hot beverage; it’s not McDonald’s fault that she is an idiot. Seriously?
My understanding of Occupy Wall Street is that it was not started by folks my age with overly-inflated senses of entitlement, or by bums. It was started by motivated people in their twenties who think their is something seriously wrong with the structure of this country. Who think that the disparity between rich and poor is SO large that society is starting to homogenize into just two categories. People trying to create a revolution to re-instill democracy into our society. Their meetings are organized. Meetings are also scheduled so that people who work 9-5 days are able to participate and share their participants; I’ve read articles by securely employed people who support the movement.
I’ve been preoccupied for several years with the worry of taking care of myself, paying off loans, affording a lifestyle. Combine that with my childhood grown-up dream: “When I grow up and have a family, I want to write, and go on hikes with the dogs and my kids, and bake a lot. I don’t ever ever ever want to work in a cubicle”. Not kidding, I legitimately had nightmares about cubicles as a child. Office Space times ten. In sixth grade I threw a bit of a fit when some of my female classmates presented me with a certificate labeled “Most Likely to be a Successful Business Woman”.
You can probably guess where this is going. I eventually came to the realization that my dream “job” had a label, and that label wasn’t “author”. That filthy H-word.
HOUSEWIFE. Sweet baby Jesus, I wanted to be a housewife.
And I still do. Raging feminists actually really bother me. Take some personal responsibility, ladies: it isn’t the fault of men that we wear make-up and shave our legs and armpits. Perhaps it started that way, or in the age of Marie Antoinette, what if some bored french woman invented a new aspect in style? Either way- men hardly enforce those standards. We impose them upon one another and upon ourselves. In middle school, I started shaving because A) I thought armpit hair was nasty and B) because other girls teased girls who didn’t start shaving soon enough. Not because of boys. This semester I had NO males expecting me to shave my legs or armpits; the other girls didn’t expect that either. I did it anyway. Because I prefer my legs clean-shaven. Women need to stop this self-victimization. It’s absolutely obnoxious.
Thanks to a very insightful guy on the Adirondack Semester- a brilliant young man who I’m thankful to now count as a friend- and the multiple arguments/discussions we had, I’ve come to realize that I am a feminist. Not of the usual mold, though. I feel entitled to the right to claim my womanhood. I love having doors opened for me, and when a guy pays for a meal. I am entitled to someday care for my own children, to be in the kitchen, and to birth and nurse those someday children without surgery or chemicals. I am entitled to not be pigeon-holed for those goals and opinions.
Let’s return to something. I also am a proponent of sustainable living and environmental consciousness. Wait…this sorority girl wants to grow up to be in the kitchen making sandwiches and taking care of the kids, but she cares about the planet? Huh?
Yes. That is correct. And I don’t know if these people were in sororities or even in fraternities (who knows), but a lot of people feel that way. Hence why Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes is on my To Read list. Homesteaders these days (and I’m not referring to the Amish) tend to be environmentally and community minded, with their political affiliations stretching across the board. They have greater control over their own money and their own health; they’re not depending on anybody else. And, as a side note, I’m pretty sure that the Amish have incredibly low carbon footprints. Just a thought.
I want to spend time outdoors. I want for there to be outdoors for recreation and for the fear and thrill of the unknown for my grandchildren and great-great grand-children…mountain tops and unpolluted skies. I want to keep finding communities of people who accept each others quirks and love one another as adopted family unconditionally… one such community is any given sorority. I want to be valued as and treated as a WOMAN because men and women are significantly different.
And our country is broken. Our economy and our government. So I support the Occupy Wall Street movement.
How about you??