Usually I don’t do the Daily Post Prompts, the reason being that my brain runs across new ideas to write about every ten minutes or so, but this week their prompts have been awesome fun. I’ve also been putting a lot of my writing/creative energy towards a novel, and planning for the future of new and old segments on this site.
Anyway, the prompt today asks us to describe our ultimate escape plan and what we are escaping from. I have one of these! It’s kind of weird . . .
The town I grew up in is strange (I feel like I’ve said that before. . .) and one of the strange things about it is that sexual abuse and harassment seemed to be rather commonplace. What my mom describes as normal when she was younger is way worse than what I saw/heard in my day, but I still knew far too many people who had been victimized in their life (honestly, one is far too many, we really need a better discourse on this stuff).
Anyway, my parents have always felt that the best way to equip your child for the dangers in life is to be honest with them about those dangers. So, I knew not only to be careful of strangers, but of adults and older children in general, what behaviors to watch for, and why I should be careful of them. This helped tremendously because I was a friendly kid, and knowing what behavior to watch out for helped me discern between who was acting strangely in a dangerous way and who was not. This is important because threats in your child’s life do not always come from strangers–what was happening in the Catholic church is a glaring example of that.
Okay, that was a bit of a tangent. Anyway, as I got a little older and took some self-defense courses, I devised a strategy to escape an attacker in my head. I wasn’t necessarily afraid, but I had just found out that a friend of mine had sustained abuse from another student when she was younger and realized how right my parents were. I wanted to be prepared in case I needed to hurt someone badly enough to give myself a running head start in a dangerous situation.
My plan was to administer a swift kick to the nuts, while the person’s head came down as a reaction to pain I would bring my knee up into their face, probably breaking their nose. Then I would take a quick step back and bring my leg up to kick their head down, sending them sprawling to the ground. One swift kick to the ribs for good measure, then it would be time to run like hell.
Yeah, I had some violent tendencies and anger issues when I was a kid. I knew a lot of people who had been abused in various ways, and I think that’s where a lot of the anger came from. Actually, I know that’s where it came from because my temper triggers often revolved around feeling as though someone was messing with a person I loved, or feeling helpless to help someone in a bad situation.
Obviously, it’s really crappy that I thought like this at that age. This says more about our society than it does of me. My parents weren’t fear-mongering, I know too many people (some not from my hometown) who have been victimized. We have some incredibly strange and damaging notions on sexuality in this country, and I do think that it is creating what is being referred to as a “rape culture.”
And women are not the only people who need to worry about this. Men are victimized too. Men are also subject to the same negative effects of standardized ideals of body image, and many men are taught that to allow their sensitive side to affect who they are is tantamount to being a woman.
What in the hell is wrong with us?
Guess what: I fart, I belch, sometimes I speak in ways that are not ladylike. I have some violent tendencies, I have a mustache (yep, that’s right, it’s not big but it’s there). I’m still a woman. I know men who cry, who preen, who like to take longer in front of the mirror than would be considered normal: they are still men. There are differences between genders, physical and emotional, but they are not nearly so well-defined as we would like to pretend they are. Many of those differences have been exaggerated or created over time, and I really hate to see the idea of the manly man broken down as an advertising ploy to sell grooming products and not because it is good for the overall well-being of humanity. This isn’t going to solve anything, it’s just going to create more problems.
Those problems being that we oversexualize everything. Sex sells, and we buy it. We buy the products and we buy the notions, and all of us suffer for it. We cover the breasts on the statue representing the spirit of justice (journalists, think about the possible effect of what you do and not about how great that wiseacre photograph might be) while glorifying all sorts of lewd behavior in television shows and advertisements. We glorify an unobtainable body image for both sexes, then pump misinformation regarding nutrition out to the public which ensures that most people will not be able to maintain a healthy weight–unless, of course, you buy into the major weight loss programs offered on t.v. . . .
Houston, we have a problem.
The solution? We talk about it. So I’m talking, and I’m researching, and I’m partnering with people who have way more knowledge than myself so I can help. There is a lot of good and accurate information regarding nutrition and how the human body functions out there, and I will be bringing some of this to you every other Wednesday through Eating for Happiness. With the help of my Mother-in-law, who is very well educated when it comes to nutrition and how to create practical meal plans for your family (through both schooling and practice), I will be bringing you easily digestible information on how to live a healthier life. Twice a month the posts will deal specifically with nutrition, sometimes including recipes and practical plans for implementation. The other two Wednesdays a month I will be providing some thoughts on body image issues and how they affect society (with resources). I’m not the only one talking about either of these things, and I will always point you towards others who are because knowledge is power (yeah!).