(Finally) making sense of marriage(s)

(Finally) making sense of marriage(s)

This piece by The Atlantic:

How to Save Marriage in America

Traditional matrimony—he brings home the bacon, she cooks it—is dying. But college-educated couples are pointing toward a new model with children at the heart of the union.

…is so kick ass and full of duhisms that I almost did happy dances yesterday on St. Valentine’s Day.

I have a lot more mental rumination over coffee and laundry today, but I would encourage you to read this…before I write a deluge of blog posts on the subject.


What is your favorite quote from this piece?

Sex trafficking and big money, but maybe not the way you think

In the last several years I have heard a lot of Christian ministries and others working to end the trafficking of sex slaves–women, girls and boys, often to areas with high male concentrations: man camps for the pipeline or fracking industry in North Dakota and possibly soon in South Dakota, South Dakota hunting cabins during pheasant and other hunting seasons or in more urban areas like this Rapid City sting operation by South Dakota law enforcement.

Watching the DVR’d ‘ “Super Bowl” episode of Melissa Harris-Perry last night, she first briefed us on this issue and then had a panel of those who are concerned for the rights and concerns of the sex worker industry and have delved into the statistics of the large events that some are saying bring in thousands of sex slaves for the markets of say, the Republican National Convention, Super Bowl’s, and other large sporting events.

To my surprise, they critiqued some of this focus on sex trafficking as a trojan horse for further criminalization of sex work and a way of building the prison industry.

I happen to agree with one of the panelists, Dave Zirin of The Nation, that says, that sex work should be legalized so that workers can unionize and have better protections (see video below at about 4:24 mark but watch the hole video for comment from the women on the panel).

Deon Hayward of Women With a Vision also brings up the issue that hyper-vigilance during these high-focus alerts by law enforcement, the end result is that poor and minority women get picked up and arrested, just for being in the wrong place and merely having condoms in their purse (proof to police that they’re a prostitute).

That this high-profile work can backfire and further harass already marginalized women (who aren’t even sex workers!).

All of this nonsense does nothing to protect those who have been forced into sex slavery.

Decriminalizing sex work so that it would be like any other occupation would force the implementation of labor laws and obviously create guidelines to keep minors from work that would not be safe for them. It would also allow sex workers to report to law enforcement those who commit violent crimes against sex workers, without fear that they themselves will be prosecuted.

live in one of the highest states in the union for rape. In a state, where 1 in 3 American Indian women will be raped in her lifetime, and apparently, the statistics for her white sisters aren’t much better, I think our relationship to sex work and our relationship to the sex industry must find new ground.

So, back to sex trafficking versus sex work.

While I applaud the police forces doing stings to pick up child predators, I do hope this is not just a new ‘industry’ to ‘save’ those who don’t want saving, just respect.

And that we forget to save the children in the process of further criminalizing sex.

I would like to say I also support sex workers in becoming a legalized profession. They are going to do the work anyway, so why shouldn’t we afford them, in a high-risk industry, the benefits of protection by the law?

Isn’t the Christian thing to do is provide them safety, whether we agree with their choices or not?

Or are we left to throw stones?

I am concerned at all the non-profits and Christians becoming involved in this campaign if it is indeed a Trojan horse.

I think it is evil to use this concern for our children to further criminalize female sexuality and the men who seek their company.

For more information, follow hashtag #notyourrescueproject for the opinions and experiences of sex workers themselves.

[The original version of this post had a family story that I have been informed I remember incorrectly. While I am not certain I do, I removed it for the sake of the concerned family member. It doesn't change the gist of this post anyways.]

What being an aspiring entrepreneur has taught me about marriage

When I talk about having an overwhelming need to be married, I am not bashing single people.

Trust me when I say I have not always viewed marriage favorably either, or even necessary, but as I continue to see the simple truth that humans need each other and that all cultures have a version of marriage as a domestic role within the larger society, I would most definitely say I am pro-marriage.

However, you might as well know now that I’m not pro conventional marriage, whatever that might be anyways. I am not even especially pro nuclear families, but see the usefulness of a measure of social pride being part of being good at marriage within a larger family context within society.

Oddly enough, though probably also quite natural if we think about it, I see that marriage as a set of lovers choosing a domestic set of laws, rights, guarantees and tax considerations which is basically the domestic version of a business partnership. There might be various types of business partnerships, but the idea is that you’re doing this rather huge thing and not by oneself.

That you are not alone shouldering the burdens of creation, unexpected pitfalls, success, or anything else that comes along.

While a married couple without children is surely yet a family, I do think it is correct to place special significance for marriage on those who choose to bring up children.

Parenting is hard, and even the best coparenting relationship feels unsteady at times.

Here’s a few facts about me that shapes my views on marriage:

  • I have an autoimmune disease that threatens me with death regularly enough to make me fear dying and leaving my children without a parent
  • I have a co-parent who is my exhusband
  • We live together and aren’t married
  • We aren’t even engaged
  • I, for many reasons, am horribly embarrassed to be a single mom because I am a Christian and I dare write about various ethical issues. I take hypocrisy seriously.
  • Two of our children were born out of wedlock after our divorce
  • My oldest son I had in college, so I was young and impressionable when evangelicals treated me like I needed a husband to amount to anything
  • I’m ferociously competitive and driven to succeed and feel not having my home in order (Biblical mandate for Christians seeking to lead) necessarily holds me back.
  • I seriously was considering some form of seminary or church service a couple years ago, so I’m having an identity crisis of sorts.

So, I believe in marriage for pragmatic reasons, philosophical reasons, spiritual reasons, religious reasons and at some point, out of sheer pride.

I mean, come on, what man wouldn’t want a wife like me? ;)

If I’m brave enough, I will go into what I think of plural marriages, polyamory and other deviations from what Americans think of, because I think we need to explore all the options if we are to decide as a society what marriage means to us.

We are in a brave new world.

I thank those fighting for same-sex marriage, actually, for reminding me why marriage is important. I have said it before on Facebook, but it is so easy to disregard and minimize and negate something you have a legal right to, but when you watch others without the same right, to marry another consenting adult that they love, you should let it force you to sit up, take notice and slap you in the face if need be.

Marriage is the contract that allows our communities to reach out in support, to bolster an endeavor that is meant to sustain healthy and happy families and children, to build community and society in ways that we can’t seem to fully embrace any longer.

If I may ask a favor, too, I am quite tired of people seeing how my family lives, and how my co-parent and I work together, slogging through each day of dirty diapers, endless ‘what to make for supper’s and the like, and insist to us that we are married or call the other person to us as a spousal name.

No. Do not minimize the people who really are married and slogging along, but hoping to build something great.

I know not many people are as intentional as I am, but more people ought to be. We don’t get married for some fairy tale ending, we marry to better ourselves, our lovers, our children and the pets and service people who depend on us to have our shit together and move our society along.

Until next time…

Sustainable Dakota goes 2.0!

Sustainable Dakota goes 2.0!

Join us on Facebook, Youtube and ESPECIALLY our brand spanking-new website. Just click the photo to get there and then BOOKMARK it. This is not the fake-sounding green living crap you have been getting shoved down your throat the last few years or so. We aren’t cool. We’re real. And real women (and men!) eat gravy.

PS Sorry I’ve been so quiet over here. A lot of thinking that I probably shouldn’t add to my blog. ;) Will when it makes sense to do so.

Humans take care of themselves

I think if more women identified as humans rather than women, we’d have a lot fewer martyrs and on-the-path-to-martyrdom people out there.

Recently I had to write a bio of who I am and what I’m frustrated by for a life coaching webinar I’m taking. 

I could have puked after I reread what I wrote. I sent it anyways, but oh, I hated the way I sounded on paper!

Maybe if people worried about being human more, and female (or male) less, we would learn to take better care of ourselves. From there we would maybe wake up to the crisis of the environment. We definitely would be better able to take care of each other foster interdependence rather than the dichotomy of rugged individualism versus utter dependence on our partners and families and, yes, even work.


I might be a human that does dishes

After reading and thinking about Manning, the Wikileaking soldier, I am taken by this question:

What would you do different if you identified as human, rather than a man or woman?
So, Manning is female-identified, but it made me think about a genderless society.
I wonder if Manning will feel better about herself once she can live as a woman, or if regulating gender as we do has caused her to feel she must choose one or the other. I was reading a piece on bisexuality and a critique of the sexuality spectrum and how it forces people to somehow choose between homo or hetero, when some just are attracted to and love people of whatever gender and feel no tension in that, except the tension society forces onto them.
So it made me wonder about those with alternate gender experiences from the ‘normal’ I’m accustomed to.
I couldn’t help but take it a step further and think, what if I could stop trying to be a [good] woman. Or even stop trying to be a woman, of whatever sort. What does that mean for motherhood. I’m currently breastfeeding, so that also adds a curiosity to that.
I have to admit though, I think we would all be better off to focus on being good humans, biological humans for sure with our hormones and physical realities protected (speaking of birthing more humans and caring for them here), but humans in general.
On Facebook today, the issue of gender nouns and pronouns in English was brought up by someone much more aware of the LGBTQ community than I am. I said I was sure something would pop up that would stick, though probably nothing being put out there.
So, of course, as I pondered our humanity, I thought, why not just human and hue? ‘Man’ could even remind us how far we’ve come. I don’t know how human breaks down as a derivation of probably Latin or something, but I could comfortably say, regularly, “Did you see that human with the cool back pack? Hue must love hue’s books.”
Throwing an ‘e’ at the end of ‘hu,’ can remind us of the rainbow of colors that humanity is, not that we’re trying to find some bland, santized androgynous ‘higher’ humanity, but instead embrace humanity’s variations.
Anyways, for this week, I’m going to focus on my humanity instead of being a heterosexual female.
It has even occurred to me that I might just do the dishes because they’re dirty and not because I’m a woman or refuse to do them because I’m a feminist. Wouldn’t it just be refreshing to act, without thought to your gender? I didn’t realize how much I think about myself like that, but I do, and I think a week will show me even more.
If you want to join me in attempting to capture your gender-identity speak in your mind or your feelings of gender as your week progresses and acting human beyond that, let me know in the comments below.
We will check in each day (Friday, August 23 through Thursday, August 29, 2013) and explore what comes up.

I’m not the [Indian, Christian, woman, whatever] you are looking for.

Flannel Friday

I’m not a good Indian. I’m not a good Christian. I’m not a good woman.

I’m just me.

I’m an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. My mother is white, and my dad’s mom was white, and we have been mixed blood since right before Wounded Knee happened. I’m not even sure how many of my dad’s kids are enrolled.

Many conservative (bet you didn’t know there was such a thing, huh) Lakota (and I don’t mean Republican) don’t think that you ARE Lakota unless all your bloodlines are traced through the men. Damn. I guess the fact one of my Lakota ancestors was shot at the Little Big Horn doesn’t count for anything. I’m not a ‘real’ Indian, if you’re looking for one, and I’m sure as hell not the last of anything. Sorry, Chase.

I love Jesus and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thinking about that. But, I’m also not a good Christian. Man, for this I have so many reasons that I can’t even begin to delineate them all. I’m not married to the man I sleep (and live) with. I cuss. Often. I get angry. I would rather play in dirt than sit in a pew. I can’t stand most other Christians. I can’t remember the last time I sat down with my Bible.

I love being a woman. But I’m not a good woman. I don’t love my man more than anything else. I love my children, but with my focus on work, I probably won’t win any mother of the year awards. I’m not a good daughter, and I’m sure I’m a terrible sister. I’m a recovering woman hater. I get angry. I’m not forever nurturing, pot of soup on the stove, never challenge a man sort of woman.

So, I’m sorry to dissapoint so many of you. Recently had the pleasure of a run in with Madville Times, a blog I enjoy until its readers piss me off. Just a reminder that a lot of men out there want the Indians, Christians and women quiet, meek and subservient, so they can figure out what is best for everyone.

Have fun with that.

PS I’m also rather poor. Lowest middle class for sure and that’s only because I don’t live alone and homes with working dads do definitely fare better than single-mom households. However, all my ‘solidarity with the poor’ peeps would be sad to know that I’m a terrible poor person. I hate being poor. I think about money a lot. Sure, I’m not going to make it by selling out the triple-bottom-line I believe in, but I’m not going to lie any more that money isn’t important. Someone has to bring home the organic produce or local market fare, or at least own some dirt to grow this shit in, and NONE of that happens without money.