Happy International Women’s Day! (and happy anniversary to The Populist Farmer)

Three years ago today I finally got up the courage to start my own blog about politics and agriculture.   And as they say…thus was born The Populist Farmer.   I meant to write every day, and the Goddess said “Ha!” but I have managed to keep this small avenue for expressing my joys, fears, frustrations, paranoia and triumphs alive through over 200 posts.    So there!

This particular post is going to be a rambling stream of consciousness set of musings on women, politics, life, the universe and everything.

Lets start with GOOGLE.   Since their little movie on their home page today is what inspired me to write this.   I have a new Chromebook which my wonderful children bought for me when my old laptop died and as much as I was reluctant to give this little machine any credit it has proved to be very useful in the activist work that I do and even in the work I am doing with two friends in developing a worker owned co-op.   So although it is evil in many regards (can’t be used without an internet hook up, won’t let you use other company’s products in many cases, no expectation of any privacy since everything you work on is “in the cloud”) it is a good tool in many ways.    We just need to remember that the interwebs and computers and smartphones and all the other ubiquitous devices with which we populate our days are just that TOOLS!!!   I use them for work and for organizing and try very hard not to have them use me.

I am having some logging done on my land.   Well, to be more specific, I have just fired the logger who was cutting trees on my land because he obviously did not understand me (or chose not to) when I said I wanted to do a light selective harvest.   Once again reinforcing to me the need to follow my instincts.   There were valid reasons not to want skidders on my land.   Now I remember them.  Unfortunately my forest suffered in the meantime.  But the reason this is pertinent today is because I really believe this guy thought I was some timid little old gray-haired woman that he could push around, lie to and rip off.    Not so.   But the perception is understandable.   He is a product of his machismo culture.   I feel badly that he is going to have such struggles in his business dealings because of his poor attitude. Or maybe not.

Which brings me to my next (and most important) point.   I have just read this great essay called Men Explain Things to Me, Facts Didn’t Get in Their Way” By Rebecca Solnit.   Here is a snippet, go read the whole essay as your celebration of International Women’s Day.   “So I opened an essay for the Nation with this interchange, in part as a shout-out to one of the more unpleasant men who have explained things to me: Dude, if you’re reading this, you’re a carbuncle on the face of humanity and an obstacle to civilization. Feel the shame.”  This essay is pithy, funny, sad, and spot on!

Finally, yesterday, I spent the day in Augusta, again.   About raw milk, again.   And we lost, again.   I mean we didn’t really lose.   But the bill that got voted out of committee is a mess.   It has just enough to make everyone unhappy (which several of the men in the room seemed to think was the goal of the day.)   Piss everyone off just a little.   But at one point the lawyer, who was trying to take this piece of sausage and turn it into something that was at least understandable, and the Senate chair, both of whom happen to be women, were trying to sort through the hash that the bill had become.   My friend Heather Retberg murmured, “thank god there are women in the room!”   And that is too true.  The women in the room, at least those not totally co-opted by the dominant masculine paradigm, were the only ones trying to reach a compromise that made sense.   Not one that just sought to make everyone equally miserable.  We were even nice to each other and not excessively condescending.   It, once again, reaffirmed my belief that the world will be a better place when women run it.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by OldStone50 on May 20, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Regarding your “most important point”, I thought back on my own experiences with mansplaining. I know just what you’re referring to – I seem to get it all the time and it doesn’t seem to matter if we’re talking about how to get a piece of junk up the cellar stairs or how to get a more equitable set of societal institutions. In situations where “authority” is a viable social strategy, I’m constantly running into men who authoritatively tell me how it is and seemingly ignore without a thought any ideas I’m able to fit in edgewise.

    Of course, I get a different side of the same coin from more than a few women: there it tends to be a OMG roll of the eyes, scorn, and/or a scolding for being so ignorant, foolish, impractical, wild-eyed, and unsupportive of established norms – dismissals that are also often delivered with a gentle, motherly, and correcting smile. Perhaps this is something that might be called womangling?

    In any case, it just seems that many persons are prone to not hearing – and not accepting – other voices, especially if those other voices don’t express convention and are not perceived as being sufficiently authoritative and appropriately high status.

    Reply

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