Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yes, THIS

Ask and ye shall receive. An article from RH Reality Check detailing just how difficult it is for women to get family leave to have a baby.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that businesses with fifty or more employees provide up to 12 weeks of "job protected, unpaid leave" to employees who have worked for at least twelve months minimum for said employer.

For businesses with less than 50 employees, there are no federal mandates of any kind. As the article states, in this case, "Employees do not need to be given leave to care for a sick child, after the birth of a child, to care for a sick or dying parent; they don't even need to be given a minimum number of paid sick days."

I know there are some women who are able to work right up until their water breaks, and we all hear the stories of women giving birth and then getting on their laptops an hour later while still lying in the hospital bed. But just because *some* women are able to do this, doesn't mean this is ideal or even possible for the majority of women. In fact, I'm willing to go so far as to say that if you DO think all women should and are able to work right up until their water breaks and should be able to get back to work no sweat... then you are being classist.

Women who are able to do this (and hey, good for them) are usually high level female managers,executives, or politicians.

Do you think most women who work retail or in the service industry can work on their feet for 40 hours a week, drive to work and back every day during the last few weeks of pregnancy? Oh, and how much time are employers willing to give off for all the prenatal appointments required?

I've never been pregnant but here is what I know: being pregnant is extremely hard on your body. Your body changes in every single way possible - it's a whole lot more than "aw, my stomach is getting bigger!" and these changes are not comfortable in any way whatsoever and would probably make working on your feet for long periods of time very very miserable or next to impossible.

This is all BEFORE the baby is born. Women need time to establish a breast feeding relationship with their baby. And from what I hear, babies need to nurse what, every three hours?? (If anyone who has been pregnant before is reading this & I'm saying anything wrong, please feel free to correct me). Yet having to go back to work 2 days after giving birth would make this kind of hard. No, not everyone chooses breast feeding but a multitude of studies have shown that in most cases this is best for both baby and mom (unless the mom can't breastfeed for some reason). Yes, I know you can pump too. But women who are "on the clock" often face hostile employers who don't allow breaks for this. Plus I heard it hurts like hell to pump especially if you have small breasts (YIKES!).

Also, as I've said before in another post, most day cares don't accept infants until they are six weeks old, so where is that six weeks of time off going to come from if you haven't worked full time at a company with 50 or more employees for at least 12 months?

I have also heard that some recovery time is often needed when women pass a 5-10 pound human through the birth canal (Shocking!) And if a woman has had a C section - which is almost 1 in 3 women here in the US - I've heard it can take up to 6 weeks for the body to heal and recover. All the more reason why maternity leave is desperately needed.

According to the Washington Post, "One hundred and seventy-seven nations -- including Djibouti, Haiti and Afghanistan -- have laws on the books requiring that all women, and in some cases men, receive both income and job-protected time off after the birth of a child." Women who get paid leave here in the US are rare. Women who get unpaid leave are lucky. But with this economy, who can even afford to take 12 weeks unpaid leave??

I don't think you have to identify as feminist to think that something is wrong when many, many other industrialized nations give women (and men!) paid family leave and women here are lucky to get unpaid leave, if they get leave at all. Especially when 80% of American women give birth by the time they're 40.

I'm excited for female politicians being able to influence policy regarding this, no matter what side of the aisle they're on. However, it's my hope that the conservative women who have been in the news lately support the policies that help women.

"Lawyer, blogger and suburban city council member in Northeast Ohio, Jill Zimon, calls this case "critical" and " a "real test" for conservative, female political candidates around the country"

"It's exactly these kinds of cases that right-of-center female political candidates must address and come down on the side of the pregnant worker if they want to be seen as women who support women. If [Meg] Whitman, [Nikki] Haley et al cannot express outrage at such decisions, then they absolutely do not deserve the support of women who are genuinely interested in having more women in political office."

If you read this blog, then you probably have figured out by now that I don't agree with fighting for legislation that would make abortion illegal and force women to give childbirth against their will. I'm not tagging this post as abortion though because that's not what this post is about. However, I do want to add that if you ARE fighting for that legislation, I would hope that you are also a strong supporter of policies like expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act that help women to have children AND be able to care for them and financially support them.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dear Internet,

I would like to read LESS articles on feminism as it relates to the following: Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, "hook-up culture", Miley Cyrus.

I would like to read MORE articles on feminism as it relates to the following: work-life balance (and the legislation needed to improve it), international women's rights, reproductive rights (there's a fair amount of coverage on this one, but I'd like to see less pro-abortion/anti-abortion viewpoints, and more on birth control education and accessibility - and more language about how birth control is an essential component of health care as opposed to a separate aside or merely a convenience).

Please make that happen.

Love,

Kim

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fireproof

Greg: Are you watching the God channel? (TBN)
Me: Nooo...
Greg: Are you watching Fireproof?
Me: Nooo...

I was totally watching Fireproof. Here's the thing about Fireproof - a bunch of our relatives tried to get us to watch it when it first came out. We took one look at the previews, saw Kirk Cameron was in it, and immediately decided we were way too cool for that. I mean, we do have movie standards to uphold.

Backing up for a second, Fireproof is a movie that was produced by a church in Georgia that is about marriage, but also presents a gospel message. Also, it stars Kirk Cameroon, better known as Mike Seaver from Growing Pains. It was released briefly in theaters (didn't do very well) but also had success in church screenings. It's probably well known in most Christian circles.

Last night, I watched it. I maybe missed the first 5 minutes but I saw the rest of it all the way through. Here's my synopsis: (SPOILER ALERT!)

30 something couple with great careers (fire dept. captain & PR manager at a hospital) and big house in McSuburb, Somewhere are Having Problems. They aren't in love any more and want to get divorced. There's a big fight scene where you think Kirk Cameron is going to slap his wife, but he really just yells stuff about respect. (It's a Christian movie so there's no swearing) Wife wants out, husband wants out. KC talks to his parents, mostly his Dad who challenges him with The Love Dare. The Love Dare is basically be nice to your wife, and don't be an Asshole for 40 days. There's different little gestures you're supposed to do each day. Also, each day has a Bible verse.

KC tries the Love Dare, and the first 20 days are TERRIBLE. Wife rejects all gestures and also flirts with McSteamy at her hospital (Christian movie, so no kissing or consummating - just flirting). KC is about to give up, and says to his dad "why should I love someone who rejects me." This conversation is taking place in front of a giant 50 foot cross. :::Camera cues to giant 50 foot cross:::

KC: This isn't about religion; that's not what I'm doing!
KC's Dad: Isn't it?

And then it happens. All of a sudden KC realized why his marriage is so crappy. He doesn't have JESUS. KC accepts Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and now his heart is REALLY in the love dare (first 20 days he was just going through the motions).

There are some firefighting scenes: KC is a hero. His second in command is a Christian too. KC and his lieutenant bond when KC says "I'M IN." There are some comedy scene with newbie firefighters, and we're back to the wife.

Wife find the Love Dare book and is still skeptical, but slowly comes around. We're not entirely sure she's going to come around until the big moment when she realizes that KC spent his boat fund (24K!!) on needed wheel chairs and health equipment for her ailing mom. KC's wife (I think her name was Katherine) - ok, Katherine has the revelation that she wants to save the marriage too, and also wants "what he has" (HINT - Rhymes with Jeebus). What I found most amusing was after her Epiphany she doesn't run over to the firestation to reclaim her love. No, she starts putting on lipstick and styling her hair and puts on a fire engine red dress (get it?!) to prepare for the big speech in which she decides she wants to save the marriage too. Also, "SHE'S IN."

Confession - despite the cheesiness and despite my sarcasm... I kinda liked Fireproof. Also, I cried at the end. Like, a lot. Even while wondering why wife felt the need to get dolled up before telling her husband she doesn't want a divorce.

Here's the thing. I like the concept of the Love Dare. I'm all for the idea of being the change you want to see in your spouse. Like, if you don't want him to be a selfish jerk, then you should probably refrain from being a selfish jerk also. And you should love even when it's hard. All good things. What I didn't like though is that the movie seemed to be giving the idea that their marriage was bad because they didn't have Jesus, and then they found Jesus, and everything was ALL BETTER. I just don't think that the common denominator between all good marriages is Jesus, or that the common denominator between bad marriages is NOT having Jesus. Also, Christians have divorce rates just as high as non believers. Plus, there are people of other faiths or people of no particular faith who have great marriages.

I know it's kind of dumb to say "well I liked the message on marriage but I could've done without the Jesus stuff" because that was clearly the point of the movie. It was meant to evangelize, and that's fine.

Greg did not watch the movie with me; I'm pretty sure he was preoccupied with Starcraft. He did kind of chuckle when I told him I watched it. The next day I did something nice for him (made him a sandwich, even though I was pissed he slept in till 3:30pm due to staying up till 6am playing Starcraft). He said thanks, and I said "no problem babe. After all, it is what Kirk Cameron would do."