Saturday, September 25, 2004

Switching Gears

Since it's been a while since I've had a chance to blog, and I don't know when I'll get another chance, I would like to switch gears a moment and talk about something else that's come up recently.

Yesterday, my little brother announced that he has acheived A+ certification.

This was no small feat for him, since he is border-line mentally retarded. I am overwhelmingly impressed, and very proud. I have come a long journey of learning to accept my brother and recognize his value in spite of his disability. And I realize now more than ever that he has many bright paths ahead of him, whether or not I had ever accepted him. I know our parents are thrilled. They're going to throw him a party.

He's like the tortise in the fable. He's exceeded expectations!

We are all connected

I just came from the memorial service of Katherine Kerns Elder. It was amazing how many lives she touched and the good work she did. As you can imagine (if you view the link), we had a few differences of opinion. But actually, I don't mean that in the way the term "differences of opinion" is usually meant. We never argued with each other about abortion; we knew where each other stood and we simply agreed to find common ground instead. And we had a lot of common ground; a lot of common vision. I feel very touched to have known her. She introduced me to many new religious concepts I had not explored much before. She was a role model and a kind and generous person who encouraged me. She listened compassionatly to me when I lost my job, and made me feel like I was still worthwhile. I admire her work, her love, her being.

I suppose this is why UU is so incredible sometimes. We can admire, encourage, and even love those who seem a world apart in some ways. We can encourage each other in our journeys. Katherine encouraged me and encourages me still to stand up for what I believe, to hold fast to what's right and true in my heart, to have compassion for others, and to believe in the future of this world. How can I feel supported in my own truth by someone who disagrees with me? This is the paradox and the miracle of Unitarian Universalism.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Ice Cream Store

Here's a little story I thought of. Much of it is loosely inspired from a long-ago conversation on soc.feminism. Scarily enough, the soc.feminism thing was much longer and drawn out!

First, here's the "key":

Vanilla = full-time homemaker role: "opting out of the rat race"
Chocolate = careerist role: "bringing home the bacon"
Swirl = some aspects of both roles: "a balanced life"

Felicia the Feminist says: It's great that women can have chocolate now. I'm really happy about my own bowl of chocolate here, but...

Charlie the Chauvanist says: Oh, no! Starting up with your feminist whining!

Felicia: Well, vanilla looks good too.

Charlie: Oh, I see. You're unhappy about your choice. Well, tough. That's life. Maybe you should re-think that whole feminist philosophy of yours which encouraged you to choose chocolate.

Felicia: Um... It's not that. I like chocolate. I just think it would be nice if I could have some vanilla too.

Charlie: Hah! You're saying you want both?! You can't have it all, sister. You only have so much time to eat it all.

F: I don't mean that I want two bowls of ice cream. I can't afford two, nor can I eat two whole servings.

C: I've seen a few women do it, though it's really rare.

F: I agree, and I'm not one of those women.

C: So you want something that's impossible.

F: No, I don't think it is impossible. Maybe there's a way to blend the two...

C: How selfish of you. You want everything handed to you. You can't afford two bowls of ice cream. Do you expect everyone else in the shop to foot the bill for your other bowl? And then only eat half of each?

F: No! That's not what I'm asking for.

C: That's what it sounds like to me.

F: What about altering the machine so the two flavors could mix together... a "swirl", perhaps? Do you have any ideas how to do this?

C: Look, there's no real answer to that. You'd be best off just accepting things the way they are. Life has tough choices. You're lucky you even have any choice. It used to be that women could only have vanilla and men chocolate. Now women can choose chocolate too.

F: But what if I like aspects of both flavors?

C: Sounds like your female hormones are giving you a craving for vanilla. You should have considered that possibility before you made your purchase. Feminists are pushing women too hard to choose chocolate, and this is the result. They're wreaking havoc on society because they're not considering hormonal differences!

F: I don't see how hormones are even relevant to this discussion.

C: Hardly irrelevant when you consider statistics ! On average, women have a very strong preference for vanilla & men for chocolate.

F: Hmm. Interesting how vanilla-eaters are so often disrespected.

C: Well, it takes a tough constitution to digest chocolate. In any case, people can't change the way they're hard-wired.

F: OK. Even if what you say is correct, I'd argue that both sexes have some degree of preference for both flavors. Why is it even relevant what people statistically choose? I know I would like a little of both and I know many other women who...

C: There you go again. You feminists just can't stop complaining. Look, YOU CAN HAVE CHOCOLATE NOW, just like men, if that's what you really want. Though I suspect very few women really want it.

F: But consider that women still get dirty looks for choosing chocolate. Never mind the few men who dare to choose vanilla! Come to think of it, did you ever consider that a lot of men might like the "swirl" idea? I bet a lot of people would be happier if it were an option.

C: You mean you would be happier.

F: Well, yes, I would be happier. When I first came into this shop, I was sort-of expecting the "swirl" option, but I wasn't able to articulate it. But even if I could have explained it, it wasn't even there.

C: So, I was right. This is about your own life - your own bitterness. You can't stand the chocolate you chose, but now you're stuck.

F: Hold on a second. I said I like what I have now. Chocolate is very nice. I'm grateful I even have a bowl. But I see other women coming in the store who seem to have the same vague assumption I had that they could combine the two.

C: Selfish, selfish, SELFISH! Who's going to pay for the other bowls of ice cream for all you lovely ladies? Us men?

F: You're clearly not getting my point. Is anyone else in this shop interested in talking about how to modify the ice cream machine so it can make swirl?

C: Duh! You can't change the machine! Who do you think you are? It runs according to natural physical laws that can't be changed.

F: The same sort of engineering that went into the existing machine might be applied to this new idea...

C: You think you're a god or something. Like you can force women to suddenly like chocolate and men to like vanilla.

F: Arrrgh. Does anyone else want to talk about my actual idea?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Some thoughts about Jesus

I was thinking about the Bush vs. Jesus link that I posted below. A lot of people say that human beings distort the message of Jesus. Which is undoubtedly true, but they usually mean that in a bad way. IMHO, a lot of what we think of as "Jesus's message", both good and bad, is only what other people have made of it. It says more about human nature than it does about the actual person of Jesus. As a good UU, I really believe in the positive aspects of human nature, so I like to give people credit for Jesus. :o)

Train School

We learned on parent's night that each child in Kindergarten gets their own paper train stuck on the wall. If a child misbehaves, the train is turned a little to say that it's "going off-track". If the child misbehaves again, the train has to go to "train school". Bill & I sort-of chuckled at that. The next day when Callista came home, Bill asked her if anyone had to go to "train school". She looked at him with a suspicious look and said "how do YOU know about train school?" :o) :o)

A few days later, Bill found an old maid card under Callista's bed. Not just any card, but THE old maid card. He asked her why it was under there, away from all her other cards and she said "I don't want to play with THAT card." I guess you can sort-of play without it...

And just this morning, I found a napkin on it that said "I love you, From Mommy". She wrote it on her own napkin for lunch! Last week, I wrote her a similar note, and I guess she really liked it!

By the way, so far, my fears about her being bored in Kindergarten have not been realized. We're staying aware, though.

Cute stories

Now that I finally have a chance to sit down at the computer, I would like to quickly throw out a bunch of stories at once.

First, the cat story. Two mosquitoes flew into our door one night and one of our cats (Jiji) caught one of them right away. The other mosquito flew high up into a corner of the ceiling. It was no less than half an hour that our other cat (Jubei) watched it intensely, waiting for it to come down. When it finally did come down (on the other side of the wall), it came right down near Jiji and he quickly scarfed it up! We felt so bad for Jubei that we half considered opening the door to let in another mosquito...

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Controversy in UU

Last night I went to the RE (religious education) teacher's orientation at Buxmont. There was a moment when the conversation started to get a little heated. Can you guess what it was about?

Actually, it was about doughnuts, and whether or not they are an appropriate snack for the youngsters. This issue comes up every year, but this was the first I've seen it so tense! See, in a Christian church, when someone questions your doughnut policy, you just say "God decreed that it be so" and the argument is over. In UU, you have to actually talk it through, take into consideration the dissenters point of view, etc. Problem is, some people just don't understand that a doughnut is a "holey" food at Buxmont... If we had a communion-type ritual, I think it would be with doughnuts and coffee instead of bread and wine...

Anyway, I am teaching a class about heretics. It occurred to me that maybe UU should change their name to "Unitarian Universalist Heretic Heathens" in which case the acronym would be "Uuhh...." :o) :o)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Life's little ironies...

This morning as I was coming in to work, I got behind an old guy in a fancy-looking convertible. Wouldn't you know it - his blinker was on the whole time!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Thinking about eating meat

A long time ago, I meditated on the idea of whether humans eating meat was morally acceptable and I concluded that it was, so long as the animal was still respected as a living being. I hate hearing how animals are so badly mistreated on "factory farms". I mean, it's true that they're going to die, but is that any reason to treat them as if they have no intrinsic value other than for food, completely oblivious to any pain they might feel during their lifetime?

I think that animals should be treated with respect, even from a legal perspective. Maybe not given rights as a full human being, but something. For example, I think it should be illegal to shoot your dog one day, just because you feel like it. Severe mistreatment or neglect of pets should also be illegal.

Yesterday I was talking to someone about this subject, and he (a vegetarian) was asking "what moral authority do we have to kill animals?" I'm still pondering this, actually. My first thought is that it's not a matter of moral authority as much as an issue of moral boundaries. Saying an animal is of "less value" than a human being is not necessarily saying this fact comes from any source of authority as much as saying this being is "not human". If you went really far with it, you could ask what gives the moral authority to kill plants? I would say that plants are nothing like a human being, so there's no dilemma whatsoever. On the other hand, it is dangerous to our moral sensiblities to allow the wanton killing &/or mistreatment of creatures we see as near human. In U.S. culture, there's a tendency to humanize animals in literature and media while simultaneously depriving the real beings of even the slightest respect for their intrinsic life. That seems really messed up.

What's my point here? I don't have one really, because I'm still trying to think this through.

Friday, September 10, 2004

This is why I love MAD Magazine!

Yikes! Am I a hypocrite???

I don't want another kid. But what if I became accidentally pregnant? How does this mesh with my "pro-abortion restriction" philosophy? Would that possibly change how I feel & think about abortion? I don't think so. First of all, I'm taking fairly stringent precautions right now to prevent pregnancy. But I recognize that pregnancy is one of the risks of sexual intercourse. If for some reason, the precautions I'm taking don't work, I am fully prepared to take on the responsibility for the child that results. (And I'd expect my spouse to fully accept responsibility in the same manner.)

In my personal situation, that would probably involve keeping (and fully loving & accepting) the child. If I truly didn't think I could handle that possibility, I would plan to put the child up for adoption. If I thought I simply couldn't handle a pregnancy at all, I would either a) refrain from sex, b) get sterilized, or c) only have sex with men who are sterilized (i.e. ask my husband to get a vasectomy). All the while pushing even harder for development of temporary birth control that's as reliable as sterilization. Unfortunately, with our current technology, penile/vaginal sex carries the risk of bringing a new life into the world. The life in question is not, IMHO, the mother's personal property. There may be reasons to end the life, but they need justification.

When I was young, before I decided to engage in sexual intercourse, I very carefully considered how I would handle the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. Knowing the risk, I decided that adoption was the way I'd go. In college, I had a pregnancy scare. It really made me understand what it might feel like to have an unwanted pregnancy. The experience is a major source of the sympathy I feel for women facing this. At the time, as I pondered the possibility, I felt a *tremendous* pull to have an abortion, as much as I had already decided against it. I feared facing the world as an "inappropriately" pregnant woman, and abortion seemed like the magical solution to all of that.

In the end, that experience girded me even more strongly against a powerful cultural force: abortion as a solution to the messy fact of women's reproductive capacity, without having to change any fundamental social structures. This trend seems to be worsening as more and more Republicans are becoming pro-choice: "Hey, you're pregnant but you can't afford it? Well, we're certainly not going to help pay, or provide any social support. But we're very happy to grant you the right to kill the kid! And now we can completely wash our hands of the matter! What? You don't want an abortion? What's your hangup?"

Anyway, I realize that an unplanned pregnacy would be easier to handle now than when I was in college. Certainly it would be smiled upon more. It wouldn't be my choice, but it would be like anything in life that can't be controlled. Say I wanted a child, but it turned out to be a disabled child. Not my choice, but I would do everything in my power not to resent him or her for that fact.

One and only one

Lately, I've been getting all sorts of subtle and overt messages that I should be having another kid (from relatives, aquaintances, etc.) I'd always comforted myself with the notion that by having only one child, at least I'm not contributing to overpopulation.

Well, this article rips that security blanket right off me!

You'd think this guy never heard of pollution or scarcity of resources! At least he made a point not to blame "selfish women".

Anyway, right now is not a time I would choose to have a child, but I wrestle with all sorts of guilt over this choice. If I don't ever have another child, my daughter will have to live with the fact that not only does she not have siblings, she doesn't even have cousins (I have about a zillion cousins, so I can't imagine this). And like the parents who decide to have another kid to get bone marrow to save their eldest, I'm thinking of it only in terms of what's best for her. Here's what each part of me says:

Mind: Duh. You don't want another kid. You don't want to contribute to overpopulation. As much as your first child strengthened your relationship with your SO, a second kid would probably weaken it. You need freedom and time to yourself. There's nothing even remotely selfish about not reproducing. Probably the opposite is true. It's both immoral and ridiculous to bring another child into the world just for Callista's sake.

Heart: Am I hurting my daughter? What if I change my mind later and my daughter is too old to be really close to her sibling? Or worse, that I wait too long and have infertility problems? What if I'm old and I look back on my life wishing I had more kids? How will I feel if my daughter dies? (I know, this is extremely morbid.) What if my SO and I become sick and feeble or die early and my daughter has to take care of us alone or live a life with no immediate family?

Soul: I have no desire for another child.

Mind & soul agree against... heart? Two out of three would easily close the book on this subject, right? Wrong. For some reason, that's not the way it works. My heart is very sensitive to outside pressure, especially around subjects related to Callista. So I've been riding an emotional roller coaster on this one.

IRONIC TWIST: My staunchly pro-choice mom is the main person pressuring me to "have another" (though, to her credit, it hasn't come up lately). I'd love to know what she'd think if I got pregnant and decided to abort...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was Callista's first day of Kindergarten. She was all about proving that she knew everything already. The sad thing is that probably already does know most of the academics. I'd much rather she felt she was average or even slightly below the other students so that her overconfidence wouldn't turn to laziness and then into boredom. I want her to be excited about learning and not think that being smart is an end in itself. Unfortunately, I get caught up in that mentality myself.

But she had fun. We'll see how the year goes.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Weekend Thoughts

Saturday we went up to visit my grandmother in Staten Island. I had a good time, though Callista (and Bill for that matter) were getting rather bored. I think part of the reason I enjoyed myself more is a) she's part of my family, so I have history to talk about (unlike Bill) b) I like talking generally and c) I get along better with old people than most.
On, thay have an interesting little game. On the ageism one, I actually rated as having a bias in favor of older people (in terms of their competence and benevolence). It was weird because I think the typical reaction is to have a bias in favor of young people. Well, it's hardly super-scientific, IMHO. It's just interesting.

Sunday I led a song at my fellowship called "Step by Step". I love this song! I like singing it as a duet better, but I need to find someone who will sing it with me.

Step by step the longest march
Can be won, can be won
Many stones to form an arch
Singly none, singly none
And by union what we will
Can be accomplished still
Drops of water turn a mill
Singly none, singly none

Well, I've had a good weekend so far. Kindergarten is coming up tomorrow!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Could I be a moderate?

Some of my opinions just ride the fence:

1) Guns: The right to own a gun is an important one. But I'm not at all into "gun culture" and I support certain types of (IMHO) reasonable restrictions on gun ownership.

2) Environment:
- Animal rights (Treat animals with respect, factory farms are bad, mistreating pets should be illegal)
- But...Animal rights not equal to human rights
- Protection of environment is extremely important
- But...Should always be for the sake of humans and their livelihoods (both short and long-term).

3) Freedom of Speech: There are good reasons to restrict certain types of speech in pubic arenas. Primarily when it's hate speech, or violent/sexual content that might disturb children. Sometimes that puts me in the liberal camp; sometimes the conservative. Chalk this one up to becoming a parent... (BTW, when I say "restrict", I don't always mean "ban".)

4) Health Care in the U.S.: OK - something needs to change. Just please do not try to impose any idealized agenda (whether insanely free market or socialist) on this one. A pragmatic approach is the only reasonable one here!

5) Outsourcing/Globalization: Not a bad thing IF citizens and world leaders have as their *primary* goal to improve the lives of all human beings on this planet. And they are regularly assessing the impact of each and every globalizing policy toward this end.

6) Lifestyle includes:
- middle class income (actually, high, but in a high-priced area)
- a "normal" car (Mazda 6) - not a Volvo or a hybrid, not a gas-guzzling SUV
- "normal", boring clothes
- like (and dislike) all different sorts of films, from independent/artsy to mass-culture blockbusters
- like most types of music. Especially enjoy classical; don't like country or rap (with a few exceptions)
- many boring "suburban" activities (like shopping at Target)
- watching "The Simpsons"
- a modest townhome
- reading "Newsweek"
- appreciating the work and dedication of our politicians, no matter what party
- moderate/independent friends

Thus I conclude that "radical moderate" is the only reasonable description of my politics...

Could I be a conservative?

OK - here's why I'm not really *so* liberal.

1) Abortion: I do not agree in the "right to choose" philosophy related to abortion. While I wouldn't want an abortion ban, I do support certain types of legal restrictions. I'm not an extremist as far as the law is concerned. I even think the "morning after" pill should be available OTC. (And I wouldn't cut funding to overseas family planning groups if I were president.) But I am aghast at the rhetoric which seems to pit mother against fetus, assuming the fetus has no rights whatsoever, or that it is just a "thing". Morally, I am really quite opposed to abortions which occur after the first couple of months of pregnancy. My husband agrees with me, but very few in my family or circle of friends does (including in-laws!). This is a hard opinion to maintain in such an environment.

2) Death Penalty: Sometimes it's the only option that makes sense. It is always a tradgedy and should be seen as a failure of society, but there are crimes like torturing and/or murdering children where I can see no other option. It needs to be rarely, carefully, and justly applied, as much as this is humanly possible.
This may seem hypocritical given my opinion about abortion, but here's how I would lay it out:
- Human life is valuable.
- But sometimes the existence of certain lives weighs unbearably on others.
- When lives are taken, there had better be a really good reason, and it should happen rarely.
This is what I apply to any question about the right to kill other human beings.

3) School Choice: I like the idea, if only the agenda behind it were not a religious one. Not that religious schools should necessarily be exempt; I just wish that there was more to the issue than promoting Catholicism (or preventing that promotion).

4) Big Business: Most businesses and business leaders (even global conglomerates) are doing activities that are a net benefit to humanity. And this is at least a part of their intention (beyond pure profit).

5) Taxes/Economic Policy: Many rich people are deserving of what they have, because they worked very hard for it and planned, saved, etc.. Society should make extra-sure it rewards this kind of behavior. Also, many rich people are very kind and generous and do a great deal of good in the world, just like many poor and middle-class people.

6) Sexual issues: As much as I believe in acceptance of homosexuality, I can see how it could *very easily* lead to acceptance of things like polyamory and consensual incest between adults. I have concerns about both of these types of arrangements, while not outright rejecting or hating those who practice them.

7) Lifestyle:
- Very little alcohol consumption
- No cigarettes or illegal drug use *ever*
- Only have had sexual intercourse with one person (spouse) in lifetime (without feeling guilty about it)
- Know a LOT about NASCAR (including various trivial facts)
- Know a LOT about the Bible (including various trivial facts)
- Would never dream of disrespecting an American flag (but don't get me started about const. amendments!)
- Enjoy reading "Reader's Digest"
- Occasionally bemoan what I see as a "moral decline" in society. ("Where am I going, and why am I in this handbasket?!!?") Though to clarify: I don't believe in making laws about it.
- conservative friends

So I have views and attributes that are just all over the map... But wait! There's more...

Could I be a liberal?

Here's where I agree with liberal politics (at least what I think are typical liberal beliefs):

1) International relations: I see myself as a world citizen, not only as a citizen of the U.S.

2) War: You don't just go around declaring war on other countries and killing scads of innocents (let alone your own soldiers) without a *really good reason*. (Note: There aren't that many good reasons.) You certainly don't give passionate speeches about "the sanctity of human life" once you've done this!

3) The Downtrodden: I very much want to end (or at least reduce) oppression of all forms, and I want to create equal opportunities for all people as much as possible.
I'm especially concerned about:
- Institutionalized &/or "subtle-but-deadly" sexism.
- Institutionalized &/or "subtle-but-deadly" racism.
- The deep hostility in U.S. culture against homosexuals. (Also, I support same-sex marriage.)
- The deep hostility in U.S. culture against other marginalized groups: fat people, mentally ill, physically/mentally disabled
- Children growing up in poverty (people in general, also, of course, but especially children)

4) Economic Policy: Should primarily focus on creating the foundation for people to live decent, productive lives, and to provide equal opportunities. It should NOT focus primarily on GDP growth or efficiency for its own sake.

5) Political Correctness: So often and easily maligned, but usually one could substitute the phrase with "politeness" or "consideration for others". Not saying outrageous examples of political correctness don't exist. But often something that seems silly to one person makes sense to someone else, or the thought behind the "politically correct" idea is not well known or understood. (I read something once which listed the word "chairperson" as an example of out-of-control political correctness. But "chairperson" sounds perfectly normal and reasonable to me.) Sometimes simply agreeing to terms someone else would prefer, out of kindness, makes the most sense on many levels. If it seems difficult to use "politically correct" terms (whether they're offensive in themselves or cause undue hardship with little obvious benefit), it's a good occasion to discuss this with the person making the request. Not just dismiss their concerns while feeling smug and satisfied with yourself!

6) Crime: I'd like to see crime prevented with money spent on community development rather than prisons. I'm horrified by the imprisonment rate in the U.S, especially when compared to other countries.

7) Lifestyle (these are meant to be silly):
- low meat diet
- shop at "Whole Foods" market
- enjoy sushi
- cohabitation before marriage (without feeling guilty about it)
- UU as a religion
- teach a jr. high sex-ed class (not abstinence-only) at my UU congregation
- split household chores evenly with spouse (we are equally lazy...)
- kept birth name upon marriage (among many other "card-carrying feminist" lifestyle choices)
- watch (and enjoy) "The Daily Show"
- lots of reading (I could be viewed as an intellectual if one squints hard enough)
- long, "hippie" hair style
- liberal friends

I sure seem liberal! But then, see the next post.


What am I? who am I?

One would assume from my previous posts that I must be a super-left wing liberal. After all, my religious views are so unconventional, I'm such a strong feminist, etc. But I don't identify as a "Liberal". I call myself "radical moderate".

Usually, when people say "radical", they mean passionate. Well, I am passionate, but that's not what I mean. The root of the word "radical" is..."root". Radicals want to change society at it's roots, or to "uproot" things and replace it with a new structure.

I see myself as a radical, because I see so many things that need to change on a very deep level. But I am a moderate because I don't fall into group thinking about what those specific changes should be. Rather, my ideas fall somewhere in the MIDDLE (root meaning of the word moderate) of the current political spectrum. Probably the left side of middle, but with plenty of room to swing in either direction.

Some might wonder how I expect to have any influence in all the profound changes I want without allying myself to a big group. First of all, the "big groups" out there always seem happy to accept my monetary donations, regardless of my other opinions. They also accept my volunteer efforts in a similar, non-questioning manner. Second, the most effective political change IMHO, involves just talking to people, treating them well, influencing them to vote (hopefully in favor of your ideas) and of course, voting regularly oneself. Often I wish I could devote more of my "workday" time to various "good causes". But with family responsiblities and the general need to earn a living, I struggle to content myself with donations, volunteer efforts, and, um... writing in a web log.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More on Motherhood

I don't know whether or not Callista will follow in my feminist footsteps or not. One day about a year ago, she piped up that "girls can't be doctors". I wasn't 100% sure where she got this, but I suspect a kid at daycare may have said something. The incredible irony of this is that there are two women in our four-person pediatrician's group who she's seen just as often as the men. Amazingly, the messages she gets from culture about things are actually more powerful than *reality*!

I have since "proven" to her that women can in fact be doctors (and that there are many women doctors and even men nurses). She's also learned a couple of other lessons:

1) Girls and boys can like any colors (i.e. don't make fun of boys about pink)
2) Girls can be anything they want to when they grow up (except Dads)
3) It's good to grow big and *strong* (so far, she's never questioned this one)

I do think she's coming around. Possibly even turning into a little feminist. Once I found a paper in her room which said "For Boys" on it in red crayon. I asked her what it meant, and she said "boys at her daycare said girls can't like red, so this is for them."

Also, she once came running happily proclaiming "Mommy, I got fuzzies on my legs, JUST LIKE YOU!" I'm pretty lackadasical about shaving my legs. Not that it *never* happens. It's just not a priority. In any case, I felt a tender regard for her sweet innocence. I reacted by saying "That's great! You're really becoming a BIG girl!"

So we'll see. Whether or not she's feminist isn't something I can truly control. My hope for her would be that she a) has a happy life, b) uses just means to acheive said happiness and c) knows how to think critically so that she doesn't fall into traps that promise long-term happiness, but fail to deliver. Thinking critically in
life is like knowing how to steer your boat in an ocean - you'll inevitably be tossed around in ways you can't control, but you need to be able to navigate somewhat so you can keep yourself afloat. That's all I truly want for her. I'm crossing my fingers...