08 March 2016

I Don't Wanna Be A Product Of My Environment. I Want My Environment To Be A Product Of Me.

Today I'd like to lead you on a little guided look at our planet . . . our environment. As with most guided tours, we'll have a quiz or two. 

I am a seriously dedicated Mad Men fan . . . and I've only seen Season One. Am I offended by the roles of women in the show? No, I am not. It is a snap-shot into the 1960s in the United States. And frankly, the women working on Madison Avenue were probably afforded more opportunities than women working in Texas or Mississippi, which still isn't saying much about those opportunities. I'll compare Mad Men to a 1704 map of the Middle East. Am I offended that Israel isn't present on that map? No, because it is merely a snap-shot into the Middle East environment of the early 18th century. Do either of these examples indicate that I approve of the environment captured in such a snap-shot? Of course not. 

Now let's move along on our little tour of the environment that presently exists across the globe. But first, are you a feminist? Let’s take a little quiz.

  1. Do you believe in the radical notion that women are people?
  2. Do you believe in the insane idea that women should be afforded equal opportunities? Crazy things like equal access to education, the right to drive a car, the right to equal pay for equal work?

If you answered Yes, then you, my friend, are a feminist.
Here's another quiz. What's wrong with this image? You know . . . oh, yes . . . you know.

So today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. This is a big deal to me, and it should be to you, too . . . particularly if you have daughters, nieces, or know any women at all. In many countries it is a national holiday. Wait, I’ll go further, even in many developing countries it is a national holiday. So why not in the United States? You know why. 

Our world has far to go on the gender parity issue. Why even at Mil Colinas, despite my attempts to train and his sincere willingness to learn, Rusty still can't use our washing machine. So guess who does laundry. Still, I will not be defeated by a complicated European-style washer, nor will Rusty. 

So am I a male-bashing, brassiere-burning radical? Hardly. In fact, this morning I'm baking cupcakes. Now that may sound too June Cleaver (another snap-shot into a parity-lacking past); but it is not; and I will tell you why, my friend. The cupcakes are for my hard-working friend, Janet, who lives in a male-dominated culture. Janet probably doesn't know that it's International Women's Day, but should; and she will. Janet has probably never been treated to strawberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting made solely for Janet and not also for her husband and male children. Janet may not be familiar with the concept of equal opportunity . . . yet today's English lesson will, hopefully, begin to make Janet's environment a product of her, and not vice versa. These cupcakes are just for Janet, and I expect to see her eat at least two or three.

I joke a great deal about the Rusty way, the Kathy way, and the Rusty I-told-you-so way. But in reality, you may never find another man who believes so strongly in parity for women. In fact, it's often difficult because I'd love to feign the dainty little woman incapable of making that recycling-run alone. Anyway, without further delay, I’d like to mention a few of the amazing women that I know who have greatly and personally influenced my life for the better. In no particular order:
Alison, Becky, Cynthia, Danice, DeeDee, Donna, Emma, Halley, Hil, Jonita, Joyce, Judy, Katie, Lauren, Maggie, Marina, Rasheeda, Sally, Satia, and Stacey. I wish that I could thank each of you personally on this day. 

I should add that I know plenty of extraordinary men who are supporters of women (from my brilliant husband to Yaya). But you didn’t come here to read about my extraordinary friends and family. You came to read something humorous, or at least to see some great photos of Costa Rica. So as a tribute to my talented friend Rob, who is absolutely a feminist, let’s view some more of his amazing photographs from his stay with us. I believe that the photos speak for themselves, beginning with his charming sister, Jenny.