How many camels are you worth?

“We took this family trip to Morocco when I was 12 and we were walking down the street and this man saw my older sister and stopped my parents and said, “Your daughter’s the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. I will give you 1,000 camels for her.”

And my parents were like “No, thank you.” And then he looked at me and he said, “Hmmm. I’ll give you 100 camels for that one.” And I thought, “What?” 900 camels? There’s a 900 camel difference between my sister and me?” And I can honestly say the rest of my life has been this pursuit to be worth more camels.”

-Elna Baker, “I Thought Losing 85 Pounds Would Make Me Feel Beautiful — It Didn’t

I came across an article a little while ago. These two paragraphs really struck home. I was an ex-patriot for all of high-school. I was in a country where women are second class citizens. There was evidence of this everywhere. (The exact country is not important. But I will say it was not Morocco as in the above quote. It is my experiences and how those experiences had an impact on me is what I wish discuss.)

I was followed home from school by creeps on bicycles that hissed in my ear and asked if I wanted to fuck so often it was like listening to cicadas in the summer. As a young female foreigner I was a walking meat passport. If I was shopping with my family, the most eligible male of a shop owner’s family would suddenly be following me around the store asking why I wasn’t smiling. Strangers would regularly offer to buy me or my sister or both of us from our parents. The usual currency was camels. And what weirded me out more than anything was the fact that these men seemed to think they were paying us a complement by offering to buy us, or demanding that we smile. They just wanted us to show we were having a good time. If we didn’t smile, we were called rude (usually by our father). If we did smile, it was encouragement to the creeps and they became even harder to ditch.

Being treated like a piece of meat to be exchanged for a camel, even 100 or 1000 camels was beyond insulting. Yet layered within the insult was also the feeling of inadequacy when I was often worth fewer camels than other girls as in Elna Baker’s experience. The thin blonds with blue eyes tended to be worth 5000 to 10000 camels. Fat? Brunette? You are worth between 500-1000. (I guess camel inflation was a big thing here compared to Morocco.) How fucked up is that? I mean no female should be able to indicate their worth in camels as dictated by strange men that follow underage girls down the street, yet here we are.

Even worse than these strangers thinking they were entitled to our smiles or that it was ok for them to surround me in a store and stare at me (separating me from my family), was that my father wasn’t much better. When we told him that we were verbally harassed and complained about men offering to buy us, my father said that we were just claiming that to get attention, or because we didn’t like the country, or those guys where just trying to give a compliment and we were the problem for not being able to accept compliments. (You see, the hissing and fuck requests did not happen when I was next to my father and therefore already under the control of a man so he never witnessed them. Therefore his daughters must be liers.) Whenever my father said something like that I would go silent. I knew he was wrong. I knew he was a a sexist dick and a shitty parent for saying that to us. But I never felt like I had the right words or tools to point out how fucked up the situation was. I was also afraid to stand up for myself. After all, I was repeatedly held responsible for other people’s poor behaviour.

Discovering feminist blogs in the last few years has been such a relief. I still struggle to find all the words I need to fully define the source of my anger for all the negative “women are worthless” and “you are worthless” messages I have received in my life. But I feel like I am getting closer everytime I read the reasoned arguments from my faviorite bloggers. It is good to know that I am not the only one who thinks there are some serious issues that need to be addressed regarding the treatment of women and girls.

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Fitness challenge fail

My gym usually posts a fitness challenge every month. Up until now these fit challenges have typically taken the form of a one size fits all list of exercises to be done as quick as possible. Participants then listed their name and time to completion on the challenge sign-up sheet. That is all good. The challenges seem to be reasonably popular and many people find this sort thing motivating.

The June challenge however has some serious issues. Every time I look at one of the posters for this June’s challenge I have fantasized about taking a fat red marker and drawing a giant frowning face on the poster with the words “Why so sexist?” underneath.

The June challenge was a maximum rep pull-up challenge. This was awesome until I looked past the title. When I read the directions I discovered that it is not in fact a pull-up challenge for everyone. It is a pull-up challenge if you are male. If you are female you get a separate sign-up column for longest dead hang.

Why is gym management assuming that all women can’t do pull-ups? What about the women that can do pull-ups? They exist. Where do they sign up?

Why is gym management assuming that all men can do pull-ups? What about the men who can’t do pull-ups? They also exist. Where do they sign up?

I have been working towards be being able to do unassited pull-ups. I am not there yet, but I can sure as hell can do more than a dead hang. Personally, I don’t find getting automatically stuffed into the “weaker” category based on my gender to be very motivating.

The most annoying this about this challenge is that it could be so easily fixed to not perpetuate the ridiculous myths like that all women can’t do pull-ups or that women have less upper body strength. All the gym has to do to fix this is to eliminate gender completely and post: Maximum pull-up OR longest dead hang challenge (The winner in each category gets a new water bottle!). Anyone that wants to participate can then just select the exercise the works best for them regardless of their gender. They could even go a step further to accomodate people of intermediate fitness levels by adding a third category for band assisted pullups.

Put on your pants! Or not. It’s about choice…

I remember once while traveling and sight seeing I was forbidden to enter a small chapel because I was a female wearing pants. I was not impressed😒.

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

Top 7 Reasons to Wear Pants June 11 for Girls Rights

Why wear pants on June 11? Because there is STILL debate about “Should Women Wear Pants?” For girls and women, it’s not a universal freedom.

New Moon Girls invented Wear The Pants Day five years ago because we want everyone to say yes  to  Should Women Wear Pants?  Every year we rally allies to continue the fight for females still denied that right, right here at home and around the world.

The girls we know are often baffled that female pants-wearing is even an issue. What is so terrible about females donning the same type of garments that males routinely wear? The answer is, there’s nothing wrong with girls and women wearing pants, or yoga pants, leggings, or shorts!

And yet, the sexist headlines keep coming. At graduation ceremoniesthis year, even as speakers tell young grads to soar for the sky, female grads got the message that their…

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What is with the double take? I don’t get it.

A little while ago I was hanging out with freinds. We were playing fibbage and chatting. I don’t remember how it came up in conversation, but at one point I let the words “feminist” and “I am” slip out of my mouth in the same sentence. The look on my friend’s face would have been more suitable for my having slapped him across the face. He asked me “Really? You?!” I am not sure what he found so surprising. Did I do something or act in a way that indicated I was not feminist? I know I don’t own a “not a feminist” t-shirt. Or is it really that horrible of a word?

I don’t get it.

AzizAnsari_feminist

All-in-One (Kill Yourself Before the Holidays) Workout

Three compound exercises. Twenty reps per exercise. Repeat three to five times depending how dead you want to be at the end. (Do the same number of sets for each exercise.) Rest as little as possible.

I suggest timing yourself to see how long it takes to complete the workout. Aim to complete it a bit faster the next time you do the workout.

3-5 sets per exercise:
1) 20x full burpee (with a push-up at the bottom and a jump at the top)
2) 20x squat & press (with barbell or dumbbells – keep weight moderate so you can finish all the reps)
3) 20x dead lift row (with barbell or dumbbells-again moderate weight so you can finish)

You’re welcome.