Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Retroflective: Gay Rights, the Mommy Wars and an Opossum Massage

Photo Credit: Morguefile by kahanaboy

It's time again for the Friday Retroflective, a long tradition at Faith in Ambiguity, which is now in its second week. This is a chance to round up all the best stuff that was thought, found and heard from you guys over the week and to shove all my links down your throats one last time before the weekend. It was, in case you don't know, a particularly great week for critical thought here at FIA.

When I was a student in elementary school, there was another student who let slip that her mother was a lesbian. She told one friend who told another and soon the whole class knew. That afternoon found that girl's desk an island away from the others in her cluster of four, as they pushed their desks and chairs away, telling her that her mother was a lesbian and so she was a lesbian. This condition, apparently, was catching. Whatever her family was to her, it was not going to be allowed to have the trappings of a real family–consigning her to a life of secrets and sideways explanations, a life cast with a shame.

In high school, nothing was funnier than a faggot. Although, by then, friends often tolerated actual adult gay people, the notion of gayness was still a taunt, a form of slander, the splashing of pig's blood onto a fellow teenager. This was, of course, in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area. I cannot really imagine what it was like elsewhere. Even there, it was no picnic to grow up gay. At the time, it was hard to imagine that we could come so far.

I was raised to believe that nothing is more necessary than ensuring the rights of a minority, when hate and fear threaten to take them away. I was raised not to tolerate a bully. And so I spoke out and lambasted friends with their casual homophobic slurs, until I stopped hearing them in my presence. I realize that not everyone who reads my blog will agree with me that it is a wonderful thing that Wednesday President Obama openly declared his support for gay marriage, but it is too important a thing to my heart for me to leave unsaid. I still believe nothing is more important than to stand behind those whose rights are being denied.

In elementary school, that girl was alone in her classroom. Yesterday, the president stood behind her and said that the time for hate is over. If you have not read Glennon Melton's seminal blog post on the subject, you need to. Also, this post: I'm Christian, unless you're gay and the even more moving response from a teenage boy and his mother. Comment below if you have any thoughts.

I told the story of my first real love and a bunch of people apparently cried about it, which made me feel both honored and oddly uncomfortable. I posted a lame video of my pet duck attacking my dog and updated my blog roll, which felt better than you could imagine, as it gave me an excuse to really poke around everyone's blogs and reflect on what makes you all unique and wonderful bloggers. (If I missed you, send me an email!) Then, I gave you all capes and tights and told you we were going to re-invent thought and discourse, and, of course, you all said, "Fabulous." and showed up with the most brilliant ideas and commentary a girl could wish for. I am basically overcome with gratitude at how well this idea panned out.

If you go and read that post for the first time, what you really need to do is read the comments. That's where all the action is. Next, my mom, very sweetly guest posted the tale of how she ended up with seventeen cats for my Things You Should Know About Pet Ownership series. And I ended the week lowering the discourse with a bunch of veiled porn references in a parody blog on...blogging.

Kelly at Southern Fried Children posted this snort-coffee-out-your nose piece on possums. And then, later, I found this. Please watch the whole thing. It is hilarious beyond belief.

On a less bizarre note, another one of my favorites finds this week was Lazy W's post American Honey, which evoked a warm breeze and quiet buzzing and made me feel patriotic.

Links on the Latest Blitzkrieg in the Mommy Wars I Didn't Know Were Still On Until Last Week
Also, in case you missed them in comments, here are some other responses to Elizabeth Badinter's commentary:

Sustainable Parenting by Dr. Lee E. Skallerup

When did attachment parenting go mainstream and why was I not told? at Raising WEG

Attachment Parenting vs. Feminism at Feministe (from the perspective that most of us here did not take)

And some other fodder for thought on the topic we were hashing over this week:

Sandy D.'s book review of "Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World" by Linda Hirschman, an author in the same vein as Elizabeth Badinter.

Sandy D.'s book review of Judith Warner's "Perfect Madness", another critique of modern motherhood.

My husband Mike's article A Woman's Worth, on how value is assigned (or not) along gender lines.

Happy reading. (Or if you don't want to read, you can look for this woman's other opossum videos. She has lots. Did you know they like pedicures?) Have a great weekend!


  1. I didn't know I could massage my opossum! Maybe that's why he's so cranky all the time- hissing and snapping at the kids. Sheesh. I clearly need to sweep out his aura.
    You had a pretty good week here, I'd say!

    1. I think I will try this on my dog. I think it WAS a pretty good week. Thanks for playing along!

  2. Tara:
    In elementary school, that girl was alone in her classroom. Yesterday, the president stood behind her and said that the time for hate is over.

    Beautifully articulated & such an important point!

    1. Thanks, I think it is important to remember that it comes down to moments like that, and, ultimately, to the moment where two loving people get a shot at marriage like the rest of us, to see if they can make it work.

    2. Agreed. And very very special that Mike came here to say so. Bravo to you both!

  3. Excellent long-standing tradition :)

    1. Thanks. On week it's an experiment. Next, a hallowed tradition. Our ideas grow up so quickly.

  4. It has been a great week here, hasn't it? Kudos. Do you remember those granola bars? And the possum! I could watch that forever.
    You are a powerful writer and you are doing such great things in this space. Keep it up!

    1. Thanks. I love that opossum. And I love that woman. She is so damn sure she is doing the right thing. It makes me stop and wonder...The opossum looks very happy.

  5. I never understood why some people were unwilling to accept the homosexual community. According to the Kinsey Report, very few individuals are %100 heterosexual. Many heterosexuals practice homosexual sex. As a matter of fact, many men have had sexual relations with other males while married to a woman, but do not consider that infidelity because they are straight.

    1. Yeah, I definitely think it's not so black and white. Wow! How's that for a surprising statement coming from me? But, my major feeling is–who cares? I cannot see how it is harming anyone for two willing, free, adult individuals to marry or for any individual to have a homosexual sexual orientation. It's not really anyone's business.

  6. Thank you for acknowledging an important revelation by our nation's leader. It is worth pointing out, especially for folks who support states' rights over the Fed, that he said he is totally okay with gay marriage AND that he still thinks the states should be in charge of legislating it. Just having an important, articulate man express his personal support for gay marriage, and the thought process that led him to it, is ... well, it sort of makes me speechless. So it's good you said something about it because you're always ALWAYS more articulate than I.

    As TL said above, Kudos (yes I remember the granola bars!) to you.

    1. Thank you very much. You nailed it. And I will have to remember if I liked Kudos...;)


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