What Cardi B Taught me About Feminism and Racism

What Cardi B Taught me About Feminism and Racism

I used to not like Cardi B. She’s loud. Ostentatious. Overtly sexually suggestive in her lyrics. But what was it really? I didn’t like her because deep down, I felt as if she didn’t deserve to be where she was. She was just a stripper who happened to have one hit song and now, she was a mega-star. And then it all changed when I saw her in a live session. She talked about her haters. Especially the women. Women like me. She asked why did we hate her so much. She said instead of hating me for getting here, why don’t you see that if I can do it, you can do it, too? And that changed my whole perspective. She was right. Her words forced me to look introspectively and really examine why I disliked a woman who was simply trying to make it in a world that was not made for her. Why I couldn’t support someone who talked the way she did, dressed the way she did, and made money the way she did. I realized that I didn’t like her because subconsciously, I thought I was better than her.

Deep down, I thought I was better than her. I thought that since I didn’t strip, reveal my body, and sexualize myself through songs that I was somehow better than she was. And if I was better than she was, I deserved more than her. I felt it wasn’t fair that that someone like her could make it and I couldn’t, but her words made me realize my thinking was inherently wrong. I wasn’t better than her. I was simply different, but that didn’t mean I had to demonize her for how she portrayed herself. That’s the thing about feminism sometimes. Sometimes, we pigeonhole who we are and exclude those that don’t fit our view about who we believe is a successful woman. Megan Fox stated this as she said she didn’t feel welcomed by feminists and this resonates with me. Feminism is not just about fighting for women’s equality amongst men, but fighting against our own biases against other women. This freed me in a way that I never felt before. I could look at women like Cardi B and Megan Fox and just appreciate them for who they were instead of what my idea of a strong woman should be.

I then made the correlation between my sexism and racism that was profound. I realized that racists are racist because they also feel as if they are better than the minorities they hate. They are looking at successful minorities and angry that they themselves are not at that level because deep down, they feel as if they are better than them. This core belief of thinking that we are better than someone else is primal. It’s not only confined to sex, race, ethnicity, or sexual preference, but can include a multitude of things that we are not aware of it. It’s natural to assume that the group you belong to is the superior group because you belong to it and this belief causes us to segregate others and elevate ourselves in the process. What we need to do is to acknowledge that we can work through them. To deny these notions is to deny feelings that predate who we are. We need to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel resentful and angry, but the next step is to talk about them. Racism and sexism are never going to go away because they are a part of who we are, but to deny that we are no longer these things perpetuates the myth that there is no real problem.

I have so much more sympathy for Cardi B and women like her now. When I see her, I feel joy. When I confronted my own feelings of inadequacies, it allowed me to be able to support women that were different from me. I don’t always agree with everything she does, but it doesn’t affect my support of her. We are never quite done learning as long as we know we can keep an open mind. And in doing so, we also need to forgive ourselves for what we’ve condoned in the past. Change can be mercurial, but change is always bound to come our way. It’s just a matter of if we accept it or not.

The Secret to What Men Want: A Review of The Robber Bride

The Secret to What Men Want: A Review of The Robber Bride

Zenia, the title character in Margaret Atwood’s novel The Robber Bride, is a charismatic and beautiful woman who knows just what it takes to steal the hearts of taken men. The heroines of the book, Tony, Roz, and Charis, don’t quite understand what witchcraft she uses to cast a spell on their men and lure them to their deaths as a sea siren would to lovelorn shipmates. And because she remains enigmatic and elusive ’til the end, we know nothing of who she is either, as we are left to wonder what compels a woman to steal others and what does she possess that men willingly leave their loved ones for her? I have faced women like Zenia before, friends in sheep’s clothing, who are really wolves who bare their teeth when a man is introduced. This type of woman is broken, but also sure of who they are; so sure that they feel they can take whomever they want.

In the book, Zenia tells tall tales of what her past may have been, making the heroines feel as if they must defend and protect her, but what really is the past of a woman such as this? Women like Zenia steal their friend’s husbands because they crave love and acceptance and get a rush when a man leaves his wife/girlfriend for her because they feel it must mean they are better than them. These women feel as if they are just as good or better than them if they are chosen by the man, which is a false equivalency, but one they believe nonetheless. Typically, they know their worth because the outside world and men constantly barrage them with these things. They know their strengths lie in their beauty and their presence, so they use these tools to their advantage. However, they have no sense of worth internally, so they try to fill this chasm up with things that don’t belong to them. To take another woman’s man is to take her sense of worth and in it, boost hers; but it never lasts long because that chasm opened when they were young and is a separate issue. These women were hurt by the absence or neglect of their fathers, and as such, they seek a forbidden love when they grow up to try to replace it.

I know those girls didn’t really want my boyfriend. They wanted the promise of getting him, which entailed becoming someone who was loved, but because they didn’t love themselves, they could scarcely accept that same love in return. That is why Zenia never loved any of the men she stole, because she was never looking for love. She wanted to be loved, but she didn’t want to love. To love means to be vulnerable, and she knew she would never be vulnerable again because she’d been hurt so much in the past. And then the real question rears its head: What did she have that all these men wanted? What was her secret? She knew how to have them best fulfill their role as protector, which made them feel good about themselves. When you make a person feel as if they have succeeded in their role, they will adore you.

What is the role of a man in a hetero-normative relationship? Is it always to be the protector? Isn’t that misogynistic? It definitely is. Unfortunately, society has bequeathed the role of provider and protector unto men and nurturer unto women and this is something that we still need to contend with, but we also need to acknowledge that it deeply affects who we are as of today. Among study participants, the divorce rate was 21 percent for seriously ill women and 3 percent for seriously ill men. In one case, of study participants, the divorce rate was 21 percent for seriously ill women and 3 percent for seriously ill men. I don’t think men have any less compassion than women. The issue here is that men have been conditioned to be protectors and when their wives are dying of cancer, they feel helpless as if they have failed their jobs, so they leave. It’s easier to be alone than it is to be reminded of your failures when you look at your sick wife. This is not a condemnation of men, but of what society has ingrained into who we should be and what our purpose is.

Zenia, and women like her, know this. Perhaps they know more because they saw their fathers leave. Or they know that most people want to love, but they don’t care about being loved back. Because of their unique position where they can’t accept love, they can cater to the whims of their beloved without being beholden to them. They understand that their worth lies in how they make men and others feel about themselves. Zenia not only plays men, but also the women, making them feel worthy of tending to her. In the end, it’s simply not about what men want, but what everyone wants. The secret is to know what exactly it is that each person is looking for to feel better about themselves, and that is what Zenia knows.



Read more: https://www.oprah.com/relationships/why-men-leave-sick-wives-facing-illness-alone-couples-and-cancer/all#ixzz6nsRI1lKn

Traditions vs Culture

Traditions vs Culture

I’ve heard a lot of talk of what it means to carry on traditions and how that relates to our culture, but I think a lot of people are confusing the two. Traditions mean acts, words, ceremonies, and more that have occurred regularly throughout our history. Culture is an ever evolving way of how we view ourselves and doesn’t necessarily need to be rooted in our past. I am a second generation Hmong refugee, who was born in America, and really dealt with two separate cultures: my ethnic, Asian heritage and the current mid-western landscape that I live in. Being a fish out of water is already an experience in and of itself, and some find themselves gravitating to one side or the other, which results in confusion and a murky reflection of who we see ourselves as in the future.

But I digress. What concerns me is how we hold on to old traditions because we think if we don’t, we are losing our culture and what it means to be who we are. If we no longer practice Shamanism, steal brides, buy our brides, or shun our women, does this mean we aren’t Hmong anymore? The bride price is an especially sticky issue because some argue that it is not a price on the girl’s head, but a debt of gratitude paid to her parents to honor them for raising her. And that may well be the case in many situations, but that does not end up happening when tensions arise. Husbands and their families use the bride price to manipulate and accost their brides, for they know it would cause her irreprehensible harm if she were labeled a bad wife and returned. Yes, there are some Hmong people who don’t do this, but the fact of the matter is that the bride price is a patriarchal tool that can be used to control women.

So then we ask what do we do with this tradition? Do we let it die like the words our children no longer know to speak? Who are we if we are not our traditions? Traditions are rooted in the past, but culture does not have to be. We can choose to change who we are and what our children experience. Our culture is what we expect of our young boys when they date our young girls. It shouldn’t be turning a blind eye when your older uncle goes to Thailand to marry a barely legal girl. It shouldn’t be telling our women to stay in troubled marriages simply because they will be ostracized. It shouldn’t be letting others think it’s okay to beat their wives because they were paid for. That’s what happened recently, when a Hmong wife went live to the act of her husband beating her. The most reprehensible thing that happened afterwards was that one of the husband’s female relatives said they should be allowed to hit her up to 10 times because they bought her.

This is currently what our culture is, but it doesn’t have to be what it can be. I was part of a Hmong women’s group where countless women poured their hearts out about how they were mistreated by their husbands and their families and it broke my heart that we are still tied to the very traditions that our mothers and our mother’s mothers were. They had no agency in their lives and relied on the social support of their husbands. They were shunned if they were divorced or their husbands died. Their children could be taken away from them if the other side wanted. I always thought that these were things of a bygone era, but the group forced me to realize that we are no different than our past. My mother’s mother was a second wife, tricked into marrying my grandfather by his first wife. When he died, he left his family in shambles because they no longer had a man protecting them. Because of this, my mother longed for legitimacy and a family, willing to undergo all sorts of trauma at any cost to be a wife.

My mother was always an angry woman. Someone who was short with us and didn’t show us affection. I always knew she didn’t love us, but I now understand why. She had to reduce who she was to please her husband and the society she lived in. In doing so, she killed her own happiness and who she was. To change our culture, we must recognize that our society was set up to benefit only the men. They are the only ones with any real sense of agency and ability to change their lives without impunity. We must understand that this cannot continue. We can accept that these were our traditions, but we don’t have to accept that they will continue to be a part of our future. And so I ask, what does it mean to be Hmong? Who are we if we are not our traditions? We can be kind. We can be understanding. We can be inclusive. We will always remain Hmong, but we can be better.

The Power of Unwinding Down

The Power of Unwinding Down

Perhaps it is because we think we are too important or not important enough, but we have forgotten the power of what it means to unwind. What is unwinding? It simply is deflating. Powering down. Relaxing. It is a forgotten artform because we’ve been so focused on trying to achieve success that we forget to breath. To simply be. Unwinding down from a long day looks like taking a few minutes for yourself and simply vegging out without any electronics or distractions. It means unpacking what has happened to you that day and what it means to you. Unwinding means connecting with yourself for a moment before you slip into your other life. Why is it important? It’s important because it’s the time we reserve for our own mind’s sake. We go through so much trauma without processing it that we don’t know how to process every day transgressions. They matter, too and we matter.

What happens if we don’t unwind? If we don’t unwind, it all simply builds up and suddenly, we find ourselves behind a wall of denial, believing we are okay when we’re not. We don’t know how to process what happens to us, so we simply don’t. No one was taught us what it means to process and we can’t even comprehend what it means to even do it. If we don’t even know how, who do we become but these shells of people who hold in all their hurt and pain and break at a moment’s glance simply because we don’t know where the pain goes. It may be too big of a mountain to climb to tackle extremely traumatic events, but if we don’t even have the tools to focus on the small ones, we’ll never even get to the big ones.

So how do you start? Recognize that your experiences are valid and you are worthy of retrospection. When you run through the day, ask yourself how it made you feel and how it affected you. If you did something that you weren’t supposed to do, learn to forgive yourself. Once you start seeing how this affects your well-being, you’ll be able to recognize that taking a moment for yourself is not selfish, but needed. Take a moment to be present in your life and acknowledge who you are and where you are at. We spend so much time focusing on getting somewhere else or being someone different that we forget to nourish who we are right at this very moment. Unwinding simply means spending a second with yourself and enjoying it.

Photo by Nadi Whatisdelirium on Unsplash

American Monster

American Monster

I just finished Netflix’s American Murder: The Family Next Door, which tells the story of the murder of Shannan Watts and her two children by her husband, Chris Watts. The documentary is told through Shannan’s own voice as we see old Facebook videos of her and text messages that were provided by her family. The opening scene is especially heartbreaking as you are there in the shoes of a police officer who is initially performing a welfare check, knowing she is dead as an audience member. We see Chris Watts rush home and play the part of concerned dad and this time, we know for sure he is the killer. How can a man kill his wife and strangle his children whom he had just tucked into bed the night before?

At the end of the documentary, it states that the suspect who kills their spouse and children is usually male and it is almost always premediated. Chris cheated on his wife and was in love with another woman, so he decided to kill his family to start a new life, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Some people believe Shannan was bossy or ‘bitchy’ and she herself states she wore the pants in the relationship, leading some to think she caused Chris to cheat on her. I would say otherwise. Chris decided to cheat with another woman who also seemed very strong-willed, so I think he is attracted to ‘bossy’ women, so it wasn’t that aspect that led him to cheat and devise a plan to kill her.

It seemed he did love his mistress and refused to have sex with his wife or call his children when they were on vacation. So why not just divorce them? He was leading a dual life, but he wasn’t dual in nature. This was a man who prided himself as being honest, hard-working, and a good citizen. That is why he agreed to talk to the police, take polygraphs, and talk to the news. He believes himself to be a good person, and that’s what good people do. Good people also don’t cheat, so he could never admit it to his wife no matter how many times he asked. That is the reason why he killed her and the kids: to assuage the guilt he felt as he was not a good person. However, if they simply disappeared, he would never have to answer those questions.

Instead of being honest with his wife, he lied to her time and time again because he could not be honest with himself. He could not admit to himself that he was a cheater and a bad parent. He could not see himself as the person who tore apart his family, so he did everything he could do to make the problem go away. He randomly asked why he couldn’t save his own kids, but the moment he put them in the back of his truck with his wife’s body, he no longer saw them as children. You place children in the backseat in their car seats, and he did not. He had already distanced himself from them. He knew exactly what he was doing when he drove to that site.

You could see in his demeanor and his words that he was not a good actor. Even his neighbor noted that he was not his usual self. He was in the process of distancing himself from the murders so he wouldn’t have to reckon with the idea that he was not a good person. His whole identity rested on the notion that he believed he would always do the right thing and he didn’t have the strength to admit that he had made a mistake. He didn’t want to see or acknowledge his mistakes, so he brushed them under a rug where he didn’t have to deal with them.

He was a person who was eager to please and perhaps because his mother was controlling, he sought out women like her and did not voice his opinion when he was unhappy. This led him to suppress his true desires and needs. When he met his mistress, it all came to the surface and he finally felt alive again. He felt seen. Acknowledged. And still, he knew what he was doing would devastate his wife, so he lied. Not because he didn’t want her to find out about the cheating, but because he didn’t want his facade of being the perfect husband and father to come crumbling down. He just couldn’t live with that idea. Instead, he choose to do the unthinkable.

In murdering his family, Chris did what he never wanted to happen: let the world know that he was a terrible person. It didn’t matter how much he acquiesced to the police or reporters anymore, because they all knew who he really was. And why are we so fascinated with him? Because we never expect the all-American family man to commit such a heinous act? If we can’t believe that, it will be harder to believe the victims of such crimes and what has been perpetrated upon them. There are no monsters walking among us, only broken people who are afraid of the truth and it’s time we realize this can happen anywhere.

An Asian Reviews Mulan: The Live-Action One

An Asian Reviews Mulan: The Live-Action One

As an Asian person who lives in America, I am always excited to see big-screen movies that come out with an Asian-led cast.  Representation matters because minorities should be able to see themselves as leads in movies.  When there is little representation and we are sidelined as sidekicks, we see that our narratives are not as measured as important as others are.  When Mulan was announced, many that I knew were excited about the prospect of a live-action movie with characters that looked like them.  We can actually see ourselves in them as Doua Moua is of Hmong descent.  Simply based on this, this movie helps to celebrate who we are and how we fit into the realm of American movies.  However, the movie falls flat of actually empowering Asians through its narrative.

The movie itself lacks candor, strong relationships, and character growth.  They decide not to include any humor, songs, and magicality in the movie, leaving behind a mostly dramatic movie that lacks any of the charms of the original.  And to add insult to injury, they do not develop Mulan or her relationships with anyone, leaving the audience to not care for her struggle.  In the new movie, she is already a force to be reckoned with at a young age and must shed her lies to reveal her true self, meaning there was no character development.  We do not see her overcome anything and there is no dramatic weight to the film because we are never made to feel as if she has a strong relationship with the romantic lead or her father.  Even the coterie of soldiers do not feel like a band of friends because they do not do anything together.  Although all the actors were Asian, behind the scenes, many of the decisions were made by a mostly White crew, which I felt did not do the movie justice.

The movie had four White writers, and this may have been a reason why the movie didn’t have a strong Asian feel to it.  Does every ethnic movie need to have an ethnic writer behind it?  No, but if there are four writers, why is not at least one Asian?  I think the writers failed to really embellish on what an Asian fantasy movie could be.  They did away with the ancestors and Mushu of the original, but opted for a phoenix that only Mulan could see instead, which held little cultural significance.  There is a lot of wonderful mysticism that is deeply embedded in many Asian cultures and none of this was brought out.  Instead, we got a white-washed version of honor, family, and truth.  The music that is supposed to imbue us with feeling is painfully non-Asian, showing that this movie was really made by White people for White people.  When the writers, the costume designer, the music composer, most of the producers, and the director are all white in a movie that is supposed to celebrate Asianess , how can I see myself in it?

The New White Americans Are Proud

The New White Americans Are Proud

There’s a new breed of White Americans in town who do not want to be labeled as racists and are also zealously proud of their whiteness.  America has come to terms with a new landscape since the shootings by police of George Floyd in Minnesota and Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, resulting in days of rioting, protesting, and destruction.  All these acts then further divide the nation as we try grapple with what we perceive is right and wrong and ardently argue for our rights.  What has emerged is a new set of White Americans who may condemn the shootings, but still wholeheartedly support the police, condemn the ensuing violence, and also refute the movement of Black people, who are trying to change things.  In the landscape of the Midwest of Minnesota nice, how is that the these very people who smile at strangers can’t have compassion for the minorities who are being killed in their backyard?  What is happening in the heartland that race relations and communication between the police and the community have broken down?  Well, the New Proud American may assert that the fault lies with the criminals and those who break laws and not anyone else.

While the Midwest is supposed to be known for being overly nice, is that what minorities have encountered?  I have heard stories of New Yorkers who are unused to the ways of the Midwest, where we say hello to strangers in the street and hold doors for others.  This is mostly true for most of the Midwest, but there is also another layer when you are a minority.  As a minority, I’ve been told to go back to my own country, mocked for speaking my own language, and physically threatened all for being Asian.  When I relate this to my white counterparts, they believe me, but some of them do not believe it is a prevalent or systematic issue.  As most of them have grown up in a mostly white community, they have never encountered what it means to be “other” so they can only rely on what they hear and if they do not have many minority acquaintances, the voices in their community will not be as diverse.  Instead, they rely on Fox News talking points and listen to Black Republicans such as Candace Owen, using her words so that they are speaking through a minority and they do not feel as if they are treading over other minorities because a Black woman said so.

Who are these Proud, white Americans and how did they get to be that way?  Proud Americans are almost exclusively Republicans and typically grew up in a society where they felt blamed for crimes they never committed.  They are made to feel as if it is their personal fault that slavery ravaged this country when their ancestors never owned slaves.  They feel as if they are losing out on opportunities to minorities through Affirmative Action and fear those that are invading their land.  They feel as if their rights are being taken away such as their guns, and they feel it is unfair that Black people can use the “N” word when they can’t.  Far-right news meida then uses these things to stoke fear and anger in them, urging them to agitate for change and to fight for their right to also be proud of who they are.  When they talk about white privilege, they are indignant and state that they were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, so anyone else of any other race should be able to as well, ignoring systematic racism.  To counter systematic racism, some of them believe it simply does not exist, because if it did exist, they would have to reckon with how they have been helped because of it, and they simply can’t.

In a nut shell, Proud Americans do not think things are fair.  If Affirmative Action benefits minorities solely on the basis of their skin color, that is not fair to them, even though it is trying to correct years of oppression for minorities.  If they can’t say the “N” word, no one should be able to, even though Black people are taking aback a word that White people used as a slur.  If Black people are able to say they are proud of their skin color, they should also be able to say it, even though Black people have been told they are ugly just because of their skin color and White people have never been told the same thing.  Proud Americans are tired of being told to feel sorry for slavery, systematic racism, and more, so they now choose to not feel sorry and to not feel sorry, they must deny that racism is real.  They may believe me when I tell them about the things that have happened to me because they know who I am and would never be racist to me, but they cannot comprehend that this happens to the majority of minorities on a daily basis , which is also racist, but they do not see that.  They do not see it because they would never be racist to a minority, so they don’t think it applies to them, but when they deny systematic racism on a grander scale, it is racist. 

The new Proud Americans may never call you a slur or burn a cross in your yard, but they definitely do not fight for minorities if they cling on to the idea that they are being oppressed when others tell them racism is real.  To white people: you don’t have to feel guilty for any of these things.  They are not your doing and they do not mean your personal struggle is any less real than a minority’s struggle, but please do not continue to deny that systematic racism exists, because it hurts the very minority people who you claim are your friends.  To Black people: the majority of non-Black people who don’t fight for you do  not hate you.  The majority of them simply don’t care because it doesn’t affect them.  It is not hatred that is killing you but apathy.  It is sad to see other minorities who have experienced racism also deny your struggle because we simply aren’t Black.  The reality is that many non-Blacks care about the Black people they know and trust in their lives, but many of us do not care about Black people as a whole and that’s where the real problem is.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Why Everyone Loves Conspiracy Theories

Why Everyone Loves Conspiracy Theories

There are a proliferation of conspiracy out there from Pizzagate to the Sandy Hook mass shooting and even to the usefulness of vaccinations, but why do people keep buying into them?  History shows that we’ve always bought into them and even with the ability to fact-check via the internet at our fingertips, we will continue believing in far-fetched ideas.  In 68 AD, conspiracy theories abounded when the Roman emperor, Nero, committed suicide, with many believing he faked his own death and was still secretly alive.  And today, many people believe Tupac Shakur is alive and well somewhere despite pictures of his dead body on a slab.  Conspiracies have always been a part of who we are and we enjoy partaking in them because we feel as we are privy to something that is forbidden.  So why do we forgo logic to believe things that have no proof? 

One of the most recent conspiracy theories is the Save the Children movement that is spreading like wildfire on the internet and in the hearts of parents everywhere with little regard to the truth.  The conspiracy theory states that there is a cabal of powerful individuals who are abducting and trafficking our children into sex-slavery.  That would be enough to strike fear into any mother, but where is the proof?  While any child can be targeted by traffickers, research has shown that abductors actually target children with increased vulnerabilities such as those who are runaways, those who have experienced previous sexual abuse or rape, or those who have been stigmatized by their family.  However, when you bring up these facts, those who ardently argue against you say it doesn’t matter because children are still being trafficked.  While it is true that this is happening, the likelihood that this will happen to your child are slim, but it doesn’t stop people from protecting the conspiracy theory.

When confronted with statistics such as an estimated 460,000 children are reported missing every year and 49% are kidnappings by family members, 27% are by acquaintances, and 27% are by strangers, those who strongly believe in the validity of the conspiracy theories then attack the other side and accuse them of not caring about the children who are kidnapped.  In actuality, they are now living in fear of something that will most likely never happen.  Fear-mongering can lead to devastating outcomes as a recent post advocated for not wearing masks during the pandemic in order to protect children against trafficking.  Children are more at risk of being molested by family members than they are to be abducted and sold into sexual slavery.  These are facts.  The issue is that when you argue with someone who believes in a conspiracy theory, they don’t deal in facts.  They deal in emotions.  And people believe in their emotions over actual facts because they feel so strongly about then.  They may feel so strongly that they may break into a pizza store with a gun demanding to see the children.  Facts are nuggets of truth, but rather or not people believe them is something different.  Their beliefs are predicated on how they feel about the situation, not actual facts.  If they feel strongly, they will ignore facts to bolster their cause.

We love conspiracy theories not because we are uneducated, but because we choose to ignore facts.  Conspiracy theories allow us to take up the perceived mantle of a cause that we feel strongly about.  We believe it because belief is not about facts, but ideas.  If you can believe in God without any proof, you can see how others may believe in conspiracy theories without proof.  When we live in a society where we feel as if we have little power and no voice, the idea of a conspiracy theory lends credence to our small voice that echoes in a chamber.  When we find others like us, we feel as if we are a movement because we may have no real agency in our lives.  This gives us the courage to advocate for change for things that don’t exist.  In the end, it makes us feel powerful.  We feel as if we are in on a big secret that others are not aware of and we are privileged because of it.  We forgo facts because they risk toppling our house of cards. 

So how does one go about disarming these conspiracy theories if the believers are ready to pounce on you?  With compassion.  If you come with facts, they will try to shout over you and become indignant in their rage, but if you move with kindness, it dispels their ideas of who the opposition is.  Compassion cannot be shown in every situation, but when you can, it will make a big difference in your interactions with people who choose to remain misinformed.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

https://www.missingkids.org/theissues/trafficking

https://globalmissingkids.org/awareness/missing-children-statistics/#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20an,a%20snapshot%20of%20the%20problem.

https://www.parents.com/kids/safety/stranger-safety/child-abduction-facts/

Why We Hate the Other Woman

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If you’ve ever been cheated on, you know how painful that feels to have the one person you’ve entrusted your life secrets and commitments to simply just throw it all way for a fling.  If you’ve ever went through it, you know how deep the rage runs for what they did to you, but some of us transfer that rage from our boyfriend/husband to the other woman.  Are we allowed to be angry at them?  Of course we should be angry at them if they knew the person they were seeing had a mate, but we should never be angrier at them than we are at our own mate.  They are not the ones who agreed to be in a relationship with us and were supposed to honor the terms of that agreement.  They weren’t the ones that lied to us day in and day out and continued on as if nothing happened.  The other woman is not responsible for keeping our relationship afloat, so why do we blame her as if she were?

We ask why women can be such homewreckers and whores when we don’t ask why our men can’t be faithful to us.  We wonder why women are so often scapegoated except when we’re the ones doing it.  Then, we ask why our fellow women don’t have standards when we should in fact be wondering where our standards are.  If we allow men to continually cheat on us and continually blame women, how do we view ourselves?  We are both victims and abusers at the same time while we don’t demand that men are held to the same standards.  This is not an issue of the patriarchy holding us down, but something that we as women must deal with ourselves.

So why do we blame the other woman and not our men?  In cases where we actually leave our men, we understand the relationship is no longer tenable, but for those of us who chose to stay, we sometimes shift the blame to the other woman so that we don’t have to blame our husband or boyfriend.  Because if we do, we would have to reckon with actually doing something about our pain and anger towards him, and that may mean leaving him, so we don’t blame him.  Instead, we blame an easy target who is not in our home everyday and whom we see every morning when we wake up so that we can continue living with them.  And what happens to this misplaced anger and pain?  Not only do we end up hating a woman that has no relation to us, but we invite the anger and pain into our household, creating an uneasy tension that our children can feel.

Can we stay with a person who has cheated?  Of course we can, but that requires a great deal of work.  We must work through our own hurt and pain, forgive the other person, and have assurances for the future, but if we falter on any of those steps, the hurt and anger never subsides.  It is always there like a cancer to remind us of what happened to us.  If we can overcome it, we can go on to experience a healthy and loving relationship, but if we cannot, it would be best to sever ties and move on.  And some of us are not yet ready to move on, but we also can’t deal with the pain, so we shift the blame and focus our energy on the other woman.  If we can learn to forgive the ones who cheated on us, why can’t we learn to forgive the one he cheated on us with?  For the only one who is getting destroyed by all the anger is ourselves in the end.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash