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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Ember of Rage, Revisited (Guest Post by Neal)

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This post has taken me a long time to write. I “promised” it to Jennifer and Lisa over a month ago—which was at least over a month after I had initially started it.

For a long time, I was in that awkward place of, “here’s this thing I want to write about—” this thing that is very important to me. But that’s all it remained—a thing at the back of my mind.

Backtrack.

A month before graduation, I found work as a social worker (or, as I said to the myriads in shock, ‘a job in my field, thankyouverymuch’). My company works with individuals with intellectual disabilities; I quickly found my “niche” in the autism department.

The description of my job duties is intense, to say the least. My clients are all male, and between the ages of six and sixteen. My day is broken into any number of 3-4 hour sessions spent with individual clients both in their homes and in the community. Each of my clients has a “Lifestyle Plan” which is tailored to their needs, abilities, and target areas of learning. Broadly, I work on language and communication, fine and gross motor skills, and general socialization/social skills. It requires intent, creativity, and no end of energy.

In previous drafts, I have wanted to talk about many things: (A) being a gay male and the problems it can present modeling “masculinity” for my clients (this draft was called, “Do They Pee Standing Up?”); (B) being a male in general accompanying small children into the community (titled, “Is That Your Brother?”) or (C) the interactions I’ve had with other parents telling me how to do my job (called, “Thanks for the Suggestion, but I Know Why He’s Crying”).

The post that will hopefully follow is actually (D) all of the above. It also contains a bit of (E), a topic Jennifer earlier broached as “The Ember of Rage,” which is the only title I can really put on it.

Story time. Read the rest of this entry

Congress and the Patriarchal Tension over “Saving Face”

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This will be a quick post, but I wanted to write something to let our readers know that we are still here, we have a lot of great posts in mind, and they are coming soon.

Today the New York Times announced that the government shutdown may be solved by the efforts of three female Republican Congress members. It’s so important to read this, as it gives me hope that our political parties are not completely dominated by intractable “face savers.” It’s a moment to turn to feminist theory, particularly Care-Focused feminism, which focuses on compromise and care-taking as qualities that our patriarchal society considers feminine,  weak, and unworthy for those in powerful positions. Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire), are leading the conversation that needs to happen, and it’s because they are eschewing the typical patriarchal methods.

It’s an important moment because it demonstrates not only the rising importance of female leadership, but also the need for leadership that doesn’t function solely under the patriarchal umbrella of dominance, refusal to compromise, and war analogies. It gives me hope on a dreary day that Care-Focused feminism is demonstrating another way to lead – through true democracy.

Pictures and a terrific video of Senator Collins are available on the New York Times site: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/us/senate-women-lead-in-effort-to-find-accord.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0