Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why Yes, I Am Awesome

There's a meme of sorts (not a meme. a movement.) going about the Internet that women should not be afraid to Own Our Awesome

And here's why:

Because I’m a woman, and I have accordingly been taught my entire life to view myself as lesser-than, to devalue my own accomplishments, to accept it when other people treat me as lesser-than and devalue me, which they (if they are men, especially) have been taught to do.


Well, my turn: I am awesome. I. Am. Awesome.

In 1993 I spent my summer teaching myself FORTRAN as a research assistant to the high-energy astrophysics department at UC Irvine and debugging a piece of computer code used to process data from black hole candidates. Figured out the iterative solution required, and implemented it properly. I rocked.

In 1996, I and 5 other women founded Web, by Women, for Women, a feminist anti-censorship website in direct response to the Communications Decency Act, and, a few years later, founded The 3rd WWWave of Feminism, another even more overtly feminist site talking about our experience as wired feminists. We got invited to speak at the Journalism and Women Symposium in 1998. We got mentioned in A Woman's Guide to Sex on the Web. We rocked the 'Net before most of the rest of the world got on board, and we still rock as individuals.

I write. I write well. I teach legal research and writing and am a published fiction author. Winner of the Writers of the Future contest. Know what? That fucking rocks. I fucking rock.

Last summer, in Alaska, I sang for the first time in about 25 years for my family, and the first time ever for some of the younger members of my extended family. And rocked 'em *back*, baby. (For the record, I sing every day, just not publicly. Any more. It just happened that way. People in Alaska cannot hear me singing in Boston.) 'Walking After Midnight' is my signature piece, and I killed 'em.

After being sworn in as an attorney, I represented, with my co-counsel, 26 residents of two towns south of Boston in fighting a proposed power plant in their area before the state licensing board that almost never says no...and obtained a critical 'no' to one aspect of the permitting request that may ultimately defeat the project entirely. GO US! GO ME!

The list goes on and I expect it to continue to go on.

So, Kate Harding asked, what's your power? What makes you Firstname Fucking Lastname?

I'll tell you.

You know, one time I was chatting with a friend about...something...oh, I forget, presumably some new thing I was learning or planning to, and she looked at me for a second and said, "Sidra, is there anything you *can't* do?"

And I thought about it, because it seemed like a serious question warranting a thoughtful answer, and answered, "No." There is nothing I cannot do. I may lack the talent or interest to develop genuine artistry at something, like line drawing, but anything that requires study and practice to accumulate a competency in, well, yes, yes I can. I can do that. Because I learn things, and then I build things using that knowledge. At my most fundamental, I analyse and build systems, it's a metapower, and I'm fucking good at it.

I am Sidra Fucking Vitale, and I can do anything.

Friday, May 14, 2010

For The Record - Not All Men Are Like That! - Yeah, We Know

Dear Men,

If you ever feel like saying to a woman, "not all men are like that!", I suggest you reflect on the fact that women, being well accustomed to resisting a world that insists all women be part of a monolithic bloc of pink, perfumed femininity in an attempt to express our own selves as individual human beings, we really, really, know that already.

It would be far more productive for you to instead say, in response to whatever it is you feel the driving need to distance yourself as a man from, "what a [sexist] asshole!" and actually criticize the behavior of another man instead of being so damned namby-pamby that you can't stand up to another man. Until you do, you condone men who are "like that", you demand we consume valuable time and attention soothing your ego saying "yes, yes, we know", and, in the process, you make yourself precious little better than being "like that" yourself.

HT: The Pursuit of Harpyness (awesome blog title), "Don't Tell Us."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just a Note to Say I Love Alluringly Short

Just a quick rec for those of you who love words: Alluringly Short, by E. Mena, is an oasis. Drink deep and be refreshed, with links to work like Love Call, by Croatian poet Dubravko Deton (trans. by MiloŇ° Djurdjevic):

I will clothe myself in your voice, in your voice, and invisibly I will go out into the street. I will stand there with your voice, with your voice inside me, and houses will pass me by like tired, half-sunken steamships. And it will last a hundred years, a hundred years, until birds take over your voice, your voice, to remind me I have to move on.


Marvelous words.