A Fear of Strong Women

It’s not really a secret: I regularly publish snippets of my CrossFit journey on Instagram. I’m having an absolute blast, and I recommend it to almost everyone.*

*Disclaimer: Unless you have a severe heart condition or pre-existing health condition that prevents you from rigorous physical activity, then I advise you to talk to your doctor first… AND THEN IF THAT DOC’S COOL WITH IT, I RECOMMEND IT TO YOU, TOO.

Anyway, I recently saw this quote that I haven’t been able to get off my mind. Part of me mentally shouted, “YASSS, I AGREE” but the other half of me didn’t feel right about it. So I decided that, if I share this quote with you, I make an important correction:

“The myth that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights is only perpetuated by women who fear hard work who are misled to believe that strength can only be found in an undesireable, manly body and men who fear strong women.”

My good friend Jan Dayleg (owner and head coach at a CrossFit gym in Curaçao called CrossFit 5 Triple 9) and I used to run a fitness blog together while I was in college (a blog which sadly no longer exists because it’s one of my many serial entrepreneurship adventures that bit the dust early). One of our biggest shared gripes was what has often been referred to as “Pink Dumbbell Syndrome.” It all boils down to this single, oft-heard phrase:

“I like to exercise, but I don’t like to lift heavy weights because I don’t want to get too big/bulky/manly/hefty/muscular.” 

(Presumably, this person seeks out the smaller, sometimes pink, often neon colored dumbbells, and does many reps with these weights in order to maintain their existing physique or helplessly pursue their dream physique).

I hate this sentiment more than I hate a lot of things, but that said, I also wholeheartedly understand why someone might say this phrase. There are literally centuries–no, millennia– of evolutionary behavior backing that sentiment, and it’s only now that we’re really starting to examine it.

A Lengthy History of Big Men & Small Women

When we think about our paleolithic ancestors, the male Homo erectus (our bipedal, hunter-gatherer great-grandpa’s) needed to be strong. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t hunt as well as their strong friends, and they wouldn’t bring back enough meat for the family. They literally would not be able to bring home bacon without strength. The male Homo erectus also needed strength to fight off potential aggressors, predators, and others vying for the alpha-male spot. So it’s natural that evolutionarily, they were selected to be stronger and muscular.

On the other hand, the female Homo erectus tended to be 25% smaller than their male counterparts. This is a significantly greater disparity than what is now found the sexual dimorphism in Homo sapiens, but could perhaps account why size is such a touchy subject for us. Up until recently, male humans always been vying for the top spot in physical strength & dominance, and men probably chose smaller women in the interest of being able to dominate them as well. It would be tough to dominate (and make babies) with a larger female human (UGH, rape-y and horrible dudes are not limited to our species). ANYWAY. You get the point. Strength would be counterproductive to this dichotomy. In short, women have been naturally selected to be a little bit weaker.

Fast-forward to 2000 AD, and we are now at a point in societal development in which it’s not biologically required for men to be physically stronger than women. Or stronger than one another. That said, we have been conditioned, for all of these THOUSANDS of years, that physical strength is something that men have in order to be better than each other. It has been attractive for a woman to be skinny, to have curves, to exhibit the capability to reproduce (via estrogen & strategically placed fat for nourishing fetuses and children) and maybe be genetically pre-disposed to being healthy without much exercise. Think about it: in the U.S. idolize models with tiny waists, and in 2013, we were literally the #1 country in the world when it comes to number of breast augmentations. But the skinny arms? The skinny legs? The constant jokes about opening jars for women? Men being regularly insulted by being called women? Society has essentially decided that women should be skinny, weak, and fragile, and need a man to help us. (Unfortunately.)

The point of this: it’s natural for women to think they need to fit some sort of mold to be attractive. Traditionally attractive women are probably not extremely muscular, so it’s easy to assume that traditionally attractive women aren’t competitive weightlifters.

EXCEPT THAT…

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Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet (Competitive CrossFit Athlete)
… ASSUMPTION…

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Christmas Abbott (Competitive CrossFit Athlete)
… IS FALSE.

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Morghan King (Rio 2016 Olympic Weightlifter)

Dispelling Women’s Fears

FEAR #1: “I won’t look attractive anymore.”

Being attractive in the eyes of men is completely understandable, but should really, honestly, only be a priority over your own happiness if you feel someone else has a say about what is important to you. You declaring your interest in being attractive to men is you saying that you want to prioritize their interests and desires of a woman’s appearance over your own desires. And if you wish to do that… well that’s fine.

(I want to look hot too, I’m not gonna front.)

BUT! You have to acknowledge that physical strength is not something that men may not be looking for in a woman, and for you to want it, you must want it for yourself. 

Also, looking hot for men isn’t everything. Those women I listed are objectively attractive – and admittedly I feel a little skeezy for pointing out hot weightlifting women at all – but despite them being aesthetically #blessed, that’s really not what I admire about them most. I admire their tenacity, their hard work, and their accomplishments. To assume they lift and did all that for the eyes of men is an insult to their hard work.

Looking hot is a priority that arose through a patriarchal society – as in, a world where men were typically in charge and their opinions mattered more than women’s. Obviously, we’re moving away from that, but not without some significant struggles. The first step to moving away from a patriarchal society is to admit that the world doesn’t revolve around men & their opinions. #SorryNotSorry

FEAR #2: “I will get bulky”

If you feel that lifting heavy weights once, twice, even repeatedly for years, is going to cause you to bulge like a lumpy wet sponge, you are essentially operating under the assumption that muscles and strength are things that are sometimes accidentally obtained. Sure, there are cases of genetic predisposition to high musculature, but not everywhere, and it spits in the face of athletes who do work hard, who strive to accomplish those physiques. You can’t look like Arnold Schwarzeneggar overnight, or even over years. You need supplements, weird isolation exercises, and probably a lot of steroids to ever get so big that you become grotesque. You have to TRY to look like him.

Trust me. Touching heavy weights won’t morph you into a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Another fact that’s important to emphasize: not only does lifting heavy weights not really make you big, but lifting light weights almost guarantees you will not significantly change your physique (unless you have a great diet, but even then, diet and fitness go hand in hand). After all, how can your body get stronger if you don’t challenge it to get stronger with progressions of weight? It won’t. You’ll just be really good at lifting little weights. And you don’t need much muscle or fat burn to do that.

FEAR #3: “I don’t want to hurt myself.”

The last fear of heavy weights that I’ve heard about is that women are simply afraid they will hurt themselves. This is a notion that’s also conditioned into us over time. Ladies, think about the last time you handled power tools, or were told to get out of the mud so you don’t get dirty, or were told to leave the heavy lifting to the men so that you don’t hurt yourself. We are conditioned, from childhood to adulthood, that we are too fragile and should avoid pain. That we are dainty people (… or things?) to be protected. (I got a lot of feelings about that, but we’ll save that for another time…)

Fact: Weights that are lifted improperly are just as harmful to men as they are to women. So regardless of gender: PEOPLE, WATCH YOUR FORM.

Honestly, while Fears #1 and #2 are often common with women (and probably related to sentiments that have been echoed over and over after some DoucheBro’s ranted about being grossed out [read: intimidated] by a strong woman), those fears don’t run as deeply and viscerally as Fear #3. Fear of getting hurt is often what holds back women the most; the fear of the unknown – of not being sure how to move forward with being stronger, especially after being told for years not to hurt themselves. That is, indeed, a legitimate and deeply-rooted fear for women.

And perhaps the best solution I’ve ever seen to this? An informed, passionate, encouraging, and involved coach.

… and then CrossFit happened.

Okay, I won’t get TOO preachy about CrossFit, but it bears mentioning, because CrossFit did something that a lot of fitness programs have failed to do: focus on functional movements (i.e. movements you may use in real life), maintain variety, and do so with a supportive and encouraging community, all while challenging EVERYONE, male and female, to do something that will make them suffer a little in the present in the interest of measurable, visible “gains” in the future.

There have been a number of articles identifying CrossFit as a virtually “genderless” sport — as in, there is a nearly equal ratio of men and women at every “box” (CrossFit jargon for gym). Which is INCREDIBLE, and brings me lots of joy. This is a feminist’s dream, brought to life.

And (contrary to popular belief) there is a strict focus on form and on getting the basics right. As a result, there is often high coach involvement, and that enables women in particular, who might be newer to weightlifting, to get more comfortable with weights that they would mentally be too anxious to lift on their own.

…get to the point, Therese?

This was all a really lengthy blog post, but it all boils down to this one thought that I’ve held in all month. Whether you do CrossFit or some other exercise regimen (to include or not include weightlifting) consider the goal in your process, and what brings you the most joy in it. It would be a blatant lie to pretend people don’t care about looking hot, because we all want to look hot. But being upset and working out in the interest of becoming someone or something else (… any Arrow fans here?) is a very dangerous, unhealthy, and self-deprecating cycle that will either make you fail at your workout routine, or will make you do your workouts with sadness, anger, and resentment. That’s not a fun way to live.

Acknowledge your interest to look hot, but reprioritize a little. Put your happiness and healthiness first. Are you competitive at heart, and get invigorated by challenge and being better than others? (I am, haha.) Find a sport or exercise that allows you to one-up someone. Are you trying to balance stress? Do some yoga. Hike. Cycle. There are thousands of ways you can exercise and find wellness, physically and mentally. Keep your mind open. Don’t let some douchey people stuck in the Stone Age tell you otherwise!

As for CrossFit…

It works for me. I have a serious Napoleon / little-dog complex and feel like I need to one-up people around me. (It’s not the greatest trait to have, but hey, I have it.) But more importantly, CrossFit helps me turn away from my insecurities and focus on channeling my energy toward my abilities.

It gives me peace…. admittedly, post-workout, because of the hell and heartbeats that come with a metabolic conditioning (METCON) workout.

It gives me trust, in my body and in myself; especially in times of stress.

It gives me a renewed love of challenge.

It gives me a community of like-minded people: people who want to support each other, help each other grow, and push each other during times of struggle.

…and sometimes, when I work hard enough, it gives me reminders of my mental & physical growth over time: beautiful, sculpted muscles.

International Women’s Day: An Open Letter

Hello, I am a feminist. A half white, half Asian feminist.

But I beg you, non-feminists, not to be so sensitive to words that you refuse to keep reading. This is for you, too.

I’m writing to you today, on International Women’s Day, to ask you to do three things. Only three.

  1. Be a feminist.
  2. Be intersectional.
  3. Let those with less privilege speak, uninterrupted.

First, be a feminist. This might seem ridiculously hard if you’re a dude, but contrary to the popular myth, feminism is not a celebration of the plight of men. Instead, it is a celebration of women, and, as it’s been recently defined, “the radical notion that women are people.” So I ask you, man, woman, or someone in between, that you celebrate women and champion along side them for their cause.

To answer the common question, “But why can’t we call it gender equality?” I propose that feminism is the appropriate word. Currently, the Western world exists with a highly patriarchal structure — that is, people who are heterosexual and male often have more privilege than those who are not heterosexual or male. In this context, by privilege, I mean, “an advantage granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.” There have been countless studies on privilege, and it has been proven time and time again that (white) male people have more systemic power than non-(white) male people. For a better illustration on privilege, watch this short video below:

While it might be tempting to argue that women have had “equal rights” for quite a long time, women only got full voting rights in 1920, which was 96 years ago. Some women are alive who were at one point not eligible to vote because of their genitalia. Not only that, but even now, with women HAVING voting rights, many decisions are made regarding the legality of their bodies and the accessibility of their health care, and these decisions are made by people who tend greatly toward being male. By titling our cause “feminism” we are claiming that patriarchal structures put disproportional disadvantage on non-heterosexual, non-male people, and that a non-patriarchal structure would ideally fulfill the goals of gender equality. Not the existing system.

I want to draw attention to what is being blamed, not the who, per se. Yes, there is male privilege. Yes, there is white privilege. Yes, we acknowledge that there are some white male people who have less privilege than other people. However, the vast majority of privilege does not lie with non-male and non-white groups because of societal norms and structures that perpetuate white male privilege. So no, we don’t blame “all white men” but we blame the system that gives white men disproportionate power, and the consequence of dismantling this system will inevitably result in power distribution to other people who are not white, male, or heterosexual, and inevitably as well, result in a shift in power away from white men. Thus is the nature of power.

Next, be intersectional. Being a feminist, as “radical” as that may be, is not enough. As pointed out (helpfully, ironically!) by many men’s rights activists (MRAs*), there are thousands of villages in the world where women have acid thrown upon them, and there are other places where violence against women is a serious problem (FYI the US does have a significant problem with violence against women). There are also women in minority groups who are strongly disadvantaged in the workplace because of the way their hair is textured, because of the color of the skin, or because of the sound of their names. These groups, more than white female groups, suffer the disadvantages of being both female and non-white.

* As an aside to that, MRAs parade banners of men’s plight without proposing any substantial solutions, and use these arguments as a means to silence feminist rhetoric as opposed to providing any substantial initiatives for change — if you have proof of situations in which this does not happen, please send them to me because I’ve heard so many issues and no concrete solutions, that I have no reason to believe otherwise. They cite bias as the primary reason to discount and question the legitimacy of studies on privilege but rarely take responsibility for the sexist comments that follow the supposedly “objective” perspective they hold. MRAs are, frankly, bigots who use the guise of objectivity to mask their subjective and unfounded sexism. Case closed. Next.

One example of a lack of intersectionality, as relevant to the current primary elections, is the anger and outrage that many had over Bernie Sanders’ tone with his statement “Excuse me, I’m talking,” and the simultaneous blind eye that people turned to Hillary Clinton’s speech and her terse, security-escorted ejection of  a female Black Lives Matter activist who was attempting to voice her concerns. Neither of these statements were good for either candidate to make in the eyes of the press, but the way each was treated is a clear symptom of the race issues our country has.

It is important that minority voices are augmented, because as seen over countless incidents, non-white folks are still not taken seriously, are questioned for their legitimacy, and are still demonized for their actions. Even if you believe “Slavery happened so long ago,” here is an accurate picture of how long we have actually not had slaves (keep in mind, slavery also exists outside of the U.S., and our business leaders regularly take advantage of them for cost savings)

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Image by Zerflin Web & Graphic Design

 

Minorities are also disproportionately incarcerated. Black women are more than 6 times as likely to be incarcerated as white women; Latina women, more than twice as likely. So in addition to the existing plight of women, minority women have the added pressure to overcome the odds of their own races’ disadvantages.

sKd8SMS

Finally, let those with less privilege speak, uninterrupted. It is phenomenal that you are still reading, and that you are still interested in celebrating International Women’s Day with us. I urge you to post your favorite badass woman, or celebrate the achievements of your female peers. I urge you to bring to light the many great things that women have done, and use your existing social status to bring to light the suffering and struggling of others who are less privileged than you.

But more importantly, don’t use your status to overshadow those with lower privilege. If someone steps up to speak about their struggles, let them speak, uninterrupted. If someone opens their mouth to speak, and tears flood their faces, let them cry, uninterrupted. If someone screams and their faces turn red with anger, let them scream, uninterrupted. When someone, for their entire life, has been discounted, decried as sinful, harassed, oppressed by actual laws, been physically and verbally assaulted, and time and time again looked over as biased, irrational, or criminal before ever having done a wrong, all due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and/or socioeconomic class, they will be angry. Very angry. And they deserve every second of that anger. They deserve every breath that is exhaled for the purpose of exposing their experience. They deserve to speak every unpleasant word and sound that flows from their lips, because we, as a society, have failed them.

They are entitled to have emotions about their opinions because it is a subject of their lives, and not merely a matter of trivial philosophical chatter. The benefit of privilege is that you can look at a situation like oppression “objectively,” because it has not influenced your life in any way.

They will beat their chests, raise their fists, shout to the heavens and back, and sometimes they may cry and scream. Thus, it is our duty to listen, take notes, and change our world for the better; so that screaming isn’t needed, so that fear isn’t needed, so that all people may feel that for once, their voices are recognized, and that they are recognized, as human.

Happy International Women’s Day.

 

 

Skin Deep, And Then Some: The Insidious Nature of Body Image

I generally consider myself a confident person. But I had a really weird body image day a few days ago. Some of my closest friends uploaded pictures of our amazing reunion in Chicago. I wore a makeshift crop top because it was hot as hell, and my friends encouraged me to do what is now trendy. While most of the pictures were great, I could not get over the huge belly I had after eating a large lunch. I also couldn’t get over the fact it was enhanced by the huge milkshake I was drinking. I felt like the biggest fatass on the face of the Earth. I bet if you hadn’t known me, you would’ve asked me when the due date was. I know my friends didn’t think much of it until I drew attention to it, but it was something that stuck with me for the days after.

Me and awesome silly friends
This is said picture. My friends are also silly.

Often when I talk to men about women and their issues with body image, I tend to hear the same consensus in responses, “Okay, come on, you can’t seriously be telling me that adult women somehow think that magazine people actually look like this in real life? Everyone knows it’s ‘shopped. The real issue is with children. Children may think it’s real. But come one, everyone knows they’re fake. If you want to turn yourself into that, you’re either dumb, or crazy, or both.”

And so, once I got over the hurdle of adolescence being only partially self-loathing, I thought to myself, “I made it! I made it past that age when stupid teenaged girls do stupid things for beauty and love!”

Except I didn’t.

In fact, I didn’t even hit the age when I’d be so heavily assaulted by horrible body image standards. I never read magazines outside of Dog Fancy, Scientific American, or Time (yeah,I know… I was a weird kid) so I never had to deal with the constant barrage of half naked, tanned, airbrushed, and hairless women.

I went to college, then started working, and in that period of time, started reading Cosmopolitan and Fitness (don’t even go there), and started shopping at Victoria’s Secret for my bras because I am a fully grown adult and need to feel it inside and out. I started staring at various athletic apparel ads and looking at every possible athletic brand because I wanted to be strong and capable. I desperately wanted to be “in” with the fit and capable community (and still do to be honest.)

But it all started a downward spiral. That’s the funny thing about marketing. You don’t have a demand until you make a gaping, ugly, can’t-stand-to-look-at-it need in your customer. Picture after picture after picture of tall, glistening, tan blonde extremely thin and “athletic” women became my steady fuel of media imagery as I shopped for clothes and perused for ways to be more fit, more sexy. And not even for other people, just for myself.

I attempted to motivate myself with fitspiration or fitspo, for short hand. pinned on Pinterest, bought a FitBit, got back into CrossFit. Nothing really “worked” for me though. These women in pictures got steadily skinnier and skinnier and before I knew it, they were just really skinny women in sports apparel, and not actually “fit” by the definitions I work with. Not that they were bad or evil or should be criticized. They’re model’s for God’s sake! But their body type was not mine, and it hurt to realize that no amount of running or lifting or eating right would make me tall, blonde, and beautiful.

They say if you work hard enough, anything is possible. But this is a problem when you’re 5’2″ with wide-set hips and a flat chest, and you’re trying to be 5’10” with tiny hips and size C cups. That is something I will never be, no matter what I will myself to do. Overall, I got more fit. In fact, I surpassed my goals far beyond what I set, numerically. But I wasn’t happy. I still felt weak. I still felt short and thick. I still felt pale, dark haired, pimply, and hairy. If I could best sum up how I felt on my worst days in two words, I would say “Troll doll.”

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Me and my silly, awesome friends.

They say that we need to encourage girls to feel better, and raise them up rather than put them down. And I think that’s true. But the biggest victims of these horrible eating disorders and depression and any unhealthy habit is women in their adolescent and young adult years. They’re not dumb women. They’re not crazy women. They’re old enough to know the difference between real people and photoshopped models. They’re normal, every day women, and they do shit like I do every single day, sometimes even more intensely.

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Me reflecting on some questionable life choices. Should I have eaten those nachos with weird beer?

This picture was taken by my friend Sandra. She thought it was a great picture, despite me looking down at the water. The first thing I thought when I looked at it was “Man look how huge my butt looks. My posture is terrible. My back looks ugly and rippled. But at least it’s not a picture of my flabby belly.” Mind you, I know how ridiculous this sounds because when I laugh I look like this:

All of this has been a lesson in self-worth, and appreciating the human form for what it does rather than what it looks like on its on or off days. My body looks the way it does because I have a generations of wider-set hips and the legacy of those strong ladies lives on in me. My back can lift things; it gets sore, but it gets work done, and hard work never looks attractive. And hell, I’m not consistent with my habits, but if I am in the future, I can count on my body deciding to grow and wane however it wants to so I can best do my job as a strong, short human. And chances are I won’t agree with it.

It is no easy task, at all. Simply directing women to “Love yourselves!” will not result in better self-esteem. But I will agree that comparison is the devil of all happiness. It’s going to be a challenge for me, and for everyone else in my boat, but trying to focus on what I can do for the world will make me a far more useful human (and enjoyable to be around).

So drop your Fitness magazine, it’s filled with lies (really, don’t even bother with 2000 calorie diets, you’ll starve and hate yourself and probably get fatter). Drop your Cosmopolitan, because life isn’t all about sex, money, and beauty. Pick up a Real Simple (shameless brand promotion and I’m not even being paid for it) and learn some wisdom from real, on-this-earth, not-actually-famous, women. Work out, or don’t work out. You are most beautiful (in the truest sense of the word) when you are happy and doing the things you love with the people you love.

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Even if you look like this while you’re doing it.

Yup. #stillbeautiful

Today, the Constitution won, but women lost, big time.

Today is a sad day for America. Congratulations to the companies that will now have the ability choose whether or not to support birth control. I hope you are thrilled with your new power.

I get it though, you’re morally opposed with granting people accessibility, via your sponsored funds, to do something you don’t believe in. It would be the equivalent of being vegan and being forced to buy bacon for everyone. Or being opposed to animal testing, but forced to fund it because the government said so. I understand you don’t believe in promoting sex that is not intended to make children. You want that to be on their dime, on their own watch. Not your lawn, not your problem. Why be obligated by the government to do something that is morally against your beliefs? I understand that this will never be the place for government to decide.

I do, however, still see a loss today. That loss is in how we listen to women for their voice on women’s issues.

Ruth Ginsburg had an excellent dissent that I highly recommend you reading or listening to, but in it, she says this:

Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?

This introduces a slippery slope of issues and makes me sincerely fear for the well-being of all women. While there may be a slippery slope toward forcing corporations to comply with something against moral obligations, it also makes me worried that we are trivializing women’s issues as casual social phenomena rather than real, life-altering health issues.

For now, though, we can’t do much until they reverse the ruling.

So for those who do morally oppose to birth control, I ask you to consider a few things. Consider the vast numbers of women who use contraceptives for health reasons (PS – Is pregnancy not enough of a health reason, considering the enormous tax it places on your body?). Consider the effect that good family planning has on raising people out of poverty. Consider the number of abortions that wouldn’t have to happen, had they had access to contraceptives in the first place; because abortions and unwanted pregnancies are avoidable. Consider that the number of homeless children will decrease, because they’re born at the time and place when a family can take care of them. Consider that millions of low-income women can finally save up money for college, for themselves and for their future children. Consider all of these things, and realize that you have a choice in changing the world for better. I beseech you to be morally obligated not to enforcing religious creed upon others, but to the service of helping others, and know that you are making a huge difference in their lives if you do choose to be an employer that provides birth control to their employees.

I won’t rob a company of their ability to run an honest business, but this still demonstrates a very real cultural oppression. It doesn’t account for real health concerns that come from NOT taking oral contraceptives. It doesn’t account for women who want to double up on both condoms and hormonal birth control to make sure they don’t get pregnant. It doesn’t account for the women who are so poor that they can’t afford a child OR contraception, and can only hope they don’t get raped between the time they are poor and the time they are a little less than poor. It doesn’t account for the fact that condoms are provided for free at certain health clinics (so if that’s the reasoning for not providing oral contraceptives, they should consider keeping those out of the insurance company’s system of providers). It doesn’t account for women who are married, but don’t want anymore children, and still have religiously sanctioned sex. Most infuriatingly, it doesn’t seem to render any changes to existing coverage of vasectomies.

Maybe it’s demanding to expect people to tolerate non-aligned religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Actually, it is demanding, because it’s not easy. It takes every ounce of willpower from me to not badmouth the people who knock on my door telling me to become a Jehovah’s witness, but I don’t. Because I know they are human beings entitled to their own opinions on faith. It is their right to believe what they want to believe, and say what they want to say. It will never be my place to tell them what is right, for them. However, with that in mind, I only hope other extremely religious people have it in them to realize that their actions as a business will dictate the tone of how they treat their employees and their respective personal views. More specifically, how they want to treat women and their real issues.

I will feel tolerated when we stop letting men decide the fate of women’s contraception availability. I will feel tolerated when the amount of employment opportunities for women increases rather than decreases (because now, women will also have to factor in whether their religious beliefs align with their employers’… a problem that men will never have to experience or understand). I will feel tolerated when women’s sexual preferences, health benefits, & family planning are provided by moral obligation, and not given a price that’s unaffordable to other equally-created humans with lower incomes. I will feel tolerated when my interests as a human being are protected against a corporation’s interests.

I just hope that you, as an employer, truly understand the magnitude of your decision when you make it.

 

Good reads related to Hobby Lobby:

NY TIMES: How Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Limit Access to Birth Control

JEZEBEL: Why Women Aren’t People (But Corporations Are)

WSJ: Hobby Lobby Contraceptive Ruling: Key Excerpts from Ginsburg’s Dissent