Feminist Problems.


Love Me Some Annie Sakamoto!!

Being a feminist is hard sometimes.  Particularly, I’ve been troubled lately with instances of  discrimination and distinguishing between whole institutions or single individuals who happen to participate in those institutions.  For example, I love CrossFit and I know the specific crossfit boxes where I’ve worked as places that are welcoming and empowering for their female members and distinguish between skill levels of each member rather than gender distinctions.  Coach Glassman (CF founder) has been outspoken about the important roles women have played in the founding and expansion of CF, but his demeanor is at times chauvinist and flat out offensive.  In addition to this confusion at the official institutional level, ignorant individual CF bloggers and owners and athletes alike joke about how a hot woman receptionist can set you apart from other local CF gyms.  Or they make shirts that say stupid essentializing shit like “real women do burpees” or not even clever and just obnoxious bro-ed out nonsense like “cheat on your girlfriend not your workout” or “WODslut: I give it up for the WOD.” These things trouble me because I’m wondering how we counteract or respond to this kind of ignorance or discrimination depending on the different potential sources (institutions or individuals).  Also, these a-hole individuals could be alienating women and potentially deterring them from trying or joining CF, a community and activity I have known to be incredibly empowering.

My friends are married

Hilarious (possibly exclusionary?) Tumblr

Another important issue I’ve been trying to navigate is woman on woman or girl on girl judgments and prejudices.  I’ve noticed some real tensions between women in a lot of the pop culture-y places and things I frequent.  How can we constructively or conscientiously critique our lives or other women’s lives without betraying or defaming one another and without perpetuating stereotypical depictions of women as hen-pecking, nagging, bitchy, jealous blah blah blah?  I know that I too can be incredibly (at times unfairly) judgmental of other women.  For example, I feel a little bit disappointed that Liz Lemon sells out, gets married, and has a kid at the end of 30Rock.  I also find it hilarious that in one episode Liz Lemon lumps stay-at-home-moms into one of her many tirades against idiocy  (and I kind of agree that that particular life decision sounds horrible to me).  But in reality, I’ve known, respected, and loved several women who have been stay at home moms.  Similarly, I love the Tumblr website myfriendsaremarried (and I’m just 25 and drunk) [the parenthetical tagline is my favorite part], but I recognize that its daily installments probably unfairly discriminate against women who choose to (or simply happen to) marry young. I’ve also recently discovered a burgeoning set of online blogposts and articles that debate the feminist or antifeminist qualities of Taylor Swift’s career (a blog post for another day); this set of posts opens up another important seeming inconsistency in feminist discourses: one woman’s role model is another woman’s perpetuation of patriarchy.

The underlying issue here is that I refuse to endorse a wholly relativist approach; I want to place value judgments, and I want to see and participate in a critical discourse that places meaningful value judgments on different representations of womanhood and on real life women and their lifestyle choices. So how do feminist discourses allow us to place value judgments without attacking one another or without misplacing blame on individuals or institutions?

Paleo-Crossfit FAIL

I sucked at paleo-ing and crossfitting all semester.  For people who don’t know what those things are, they are the diet and exercise things I try to follow (and have recently been failing miserably at).  In this post I will first do lots of whining, complaining, and making excuses. Then, I will address why each of these complaints really is just an excuse, and show why I need to get over myself. By publicly shaming myself here, I am hoping to motivate myself to get it together while I’m home in Maryland for the next few weeks and then hopefully keep up with it all when I get back to school/work/Michigan.

To begin with,

  •   CF is hard, but I worked at it consistently enough to see gains in the past, and I can definitely get back to those times and weights and even do better in the future with even just a low level of consistency (like showing up three times a week).
  • I usually like Crossfit because it is fun and social, but I haven’t found any friends who would want to CF with me in Michigan. Crossfit gyms are full of young professionals, 20-somethings with similar interests as mine (like CF and paleo). Maybe I could set aside my social awkwardness and make some friends there. Or just become friends with other socially awkward, crossfitty people.
  • I miss my boyfriend (who was my first CF coach) and CFing without him just makes me popeyesadder that he’s not around.  Whenever I actually do CF I get to call him and tell him how I’m doing and how the WOD went for me. It’s fun chatting and catching up time. This worked when we lived apart for the last two years, and it should work again now.
  • The CF gym near my house in Michigan is super intense and intimidating with a warmup, lift, and metcon every class. It makes me tired.  I’ve always worked out at excellent CF gyms and have always been surrounded by more experienced, better athletes than myself. This has always intimidated me, but I can show up anyway and measure myself only against my own abilities. Maybe I could even be excited to have such excellent examples of commitment and consistency surrounding me for each WOD.
  • I have too much going on with school and teaching, and I’m tired by the end of the day.  I worked out consistently all last year while getting my MA and teaching. Oh yeah, and they have these magical things called morning workouts that you can get up and do before the rest of life has tired you ropeclimbout that day, dummy.

Paleo is also not easy, though I tend to do better keeping up with eating paleo than with showing up to the gym.

  • Eating paleo requires making meals ahead of time and lots of planning and prep time. When eating paleo in the past, this “extra time spent prepping” nonsense never bothered me before because I love to cook and I love to feel like I’m at my best health and wellness wise.
  • Eating paleo is expensive(ish). Buying high quality foods is no more expensive than paying for an unlimited CF membership and only showing up less than once a week, like I’ve been doing for the last three months. Also, it’s no more expensive than packaged, processed foods that suck the life right out of you and make CF wods nearly impossible to complete.  Buying and preparing Paleo foods is no more bella cfexpensive than going to a cafe for a breakfast sandwich several times a week, in fact Paleo is probably cheaper.
  • I really like pumpkin bread, and I make it at home, so really, how bad could it be? I really like lots of PALEO foods that I make at home, and pumpkin bread is really a seasonal treat, not a make a loaf every weekend and finish it by Wednesday on your own treat.
  • ICE CREAM! This point stands. Even if I do CF and paleo regularly, there will always be a carton of Breyer’s vanilla/chocolate ice cream in my freezer. Because life without ice cream is not a life worth living, and Breyer’s ice cream has the least amount of terrible crap in it, and it’s delicious. Especially with coffee grounds sprinkled on top. On a related note, I know that I drink entirely too much caffeine and this messes with my sleep schedule, but eliminating coffee and tea from my daily routine is just not an option until I’ve finished with grad school.

So, this is my health and fitness manifesto to myself.  I know that I’m generally a happier, nicer, more relaxed person when I do all these things that I’m currently bitching about and avoiding. So, why am I avoiding them?