Over the past few days, I have been working frantically to complete and submit all my graduate school applications. It has been a very daunting task. More than that, however, it has been a very frightening one. Depending on if or where I get in, the next few years of my life are going to be based on that choice. I sincerely hope I get in to a program because it will enable me to spend the rest of my life doing what I want to do. Regardless, I do have back-up plans in place. I have my plans and my dreams, but God has His own ideas. It still remains to be seen whether my ideas are going to match up with His, or if He’s going to take me on a completely different path altogether. I appreciate all thoughts and well-wishes sent my way during this time of uncertainty.
Ok, so I looked ahead, and saddest character death is coming up later on the list. With that in mind, I will not put Phil’s death down here. Instead, the saddest moment for me is probably when Steve basically tells Tony that he’s worthless outside the suit, and Tony responds that Steve is nothing without the super soldier serum. They’re both so wrong about it each other and chose extremely hurtful things to say. It just goes to show that you can miss a lot of important things about someone, maybe even the most important things about them, when you only take them at face value.
I am so bad at things like this, I swear. Just ask me questions about the movie! I’m looking through some right now, and so far several of them have been funny.
I think this one is pretty great. Chris Evans makes some of the best, excuse my language, bitchy facial expressions ever. Especially in the Avengers. It’s hilarious.
Also this one. But for an entirely different reason haha.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Maria Hill. I know that some people actually love her character, but I am not that person. I like her just fine based on her appearance in the one movie so far. However, I wasn’t overly impressed with her. Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot of character development for her apart from “competent military/secret government agent woman in a jumpsuit.” Maybe in the next one I will like her more?
Who is even considered underrated? I don’t even know. In the “Avengers” movie or the Avengers universe? In the “Avengers” movie, maybe Dr. Selvig is the most underrated character. I mean, yes, he got brainwashed. But he still managed to build in an emergency off-switch for the tesseract wormhole machine. Without his genius, the world might not have been saved, and I don’t think many people acknowledge that. So I guess I’d say him.
On my last full day in Vancouver, Marija and I got up and decided to go exploring! Many businesses in Vancouver still close on Sundays or close early on Sundays, which makes it the perfect day to spend outside enjoying God’s creation. So with that in mind, we got up, got dressed, and took the seabus to Lynn Valley!
Lynn Valley is a beautiful park with a famous suspension bridge. Fortunately, we got there early enough that Marija and I were able to walk across it and take pictures virtually alone. Later in the day when we were returning, it was a lot more crowded on the bridge and there was a line to go across it. We were very fortunate… in several aspects that day. We hiked for a little while until we found a small rocky island in the middle of the river/stream. Marija and I hopped over to it and claimed it as our own. We then took our time exploring the area and taking pictures of each other’s explorations as well as the beautiful flora all around us. The water in the stream was so clear and unpolluted! However, it was extremely cold, a reminder that we were in Vancouver, after all.
After spending not nearly long enough in our spot, Marija and I ventured forth on our hike to a new spot. We found a pool in the forest where the water was 30 feet deep, but you could see straight to the bottom. The water is that clear! Marija and I clilmbed up along one side of it and took pictures. Other people were there climbing onto the rocks and jumping down into the water. They were nuts! That water was absolutely frigid!
After exploring through Lynn Valley more, we went for sushi at a lovely little restaurant. Though I had had sushi before, I had never actually had the kind with raw fish inside it. I was brave and tried it with Marija. I got smoked salmon and salmon rolls, and it was really good! And I got no food poisoning! A great day! We also went back to Steveston for more ice cream, and then we spent our last few hours together hanging out in the room, doing facials, and talking about anything and everything.
The next morning, we got up, got ready, and took our time getting to the airport. Once I got all checked in, we got a Starbucks tea together and took our last picture in Vancouver together. It was so hard to say goodbye to my friend. Even though I hadn’t seen her for years before that weekend, we had such a good time that it was really sad to leave. However, we both started making plans to see each other again soon. Our current plan involves me going to Latvia this summer to spend some time with her. I really hope that happens! 🙂
In the airport, I met the nicest hairdresser. He was from Vancouver, but he was going to visit his boyfriend in L.A. before the two of them went on a vacation to Russia! We got to talking and he didn’t think that I was American (much less Southern) until I told him so. I was so flattered that he didn’t perceive me with much of an accent or assume that I was American by my behavior. That is one of the biggest compliments I have ever received! He thought I was Canadian until I told him otherwise, and then he assumed I had been living in Canada for years. Wrong on both counts, but I really loved my stay in Vancouver. I would love to visit Vancouver again one day, but I would also love to explore more of the Great White North one day! It’s such a beautiful place and there are so many nice people there. It was certainly a fantastic way to spend Labor Day weekend!
In other words, the time has come, my little friends, to discuss feminist issues. I promise this blog will be relatively brief and mostly painless. While I do consider myself a feminist, I certainly don’t consider myself a liberal one. I think the feminist movement can and does go too far in some areas, but those areas aren’t the focus of this blog. Instead, this blog is going to focus on a quote from Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” an essay about women and fiction/literature.
Woolf (1882-1941) obviously lived in a time when women’s rights were just beginning to be discussed in a larger arena. True, other women wrote about women’s issues earlier than Virginia Woolf and even before groups of women began campaigning for civil liberties, specifically the right to vote and be educated equally. I’m thinking of certain authors like Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman specifically to discuss these issues. Woolf, however, was living in an age where women held more liberties than ever before, but Woolf was still able to see the lack in true equality.
In a fascinating passage, she researches what the lives of women were like in the Elizabethan Era, or even earlier. Very little is written about the actual lives of actual women during that time, particularly about the lives of working class women. What was written about them proved that they were nothing more than property of men. It was not frowned upon for men to beat their wives or daughters. It was common for women to be forced into marriages with men they didn’t love. Most women were not educated or allowed opportunities to travel or even to really leave the home. The Elizabethan Era, however, was full of plays and sonnets dedicated to the idea of romance and ideal women. With what does this leave the modern reader? It leaves one with the disparity between the woman presented in the fiction and the woman who really lived. To paraphrase Woolf, women cover the pages of poems and plays from that time period but are almost entirely absent from history books. They are put on pedestals in these works of romance, while they are ignored or seen as inferior in real life.
How could women let themselves be treated this way? Woolf wonders why her ancestors didn’t earn money and fund scholarships for future women in the universities. Woolf discovers two reasons why not: women could not work, and, if they did, their earnings belonged to their husband. This created an environment of dependence and subordination for women. It is for this reason that Woolf states women require money and a room of their own in order to write fiction, or (I would argue) to do anything.
My mother, who was and is a working mom, has always raised me to be independent. She has always encouraged me to learn to take care of myself, whether it’s paying my own bills or changing my own tire or living on my own. Without knowing it, my mother has the mindset of Virginia Woolf, and she imparted that same mind set on me. Every woman needs her own money and her own space if she wants to be sane and successful. End of story. My parents (married for almost 29 years) both work, have their own bank accounts in addition to a joint account, and give each other space in their own home. And it works for them.
A thought struck me the last time I watched a sitcom. The traditional American sitcom portrays a two-parent household in which the father works and the mother is a homemaker. There are certain inevitable jokes that always arise around that situation. The first? That the woman doesn’t have a “real job” or that she does nothing all day. I will be the first to say that being a stay-at-home mom would be an exceedingly difficult job. I could never do it, but I would also never want to do it. However, it is insulting for the women who choose to do it to be looked down upon, especially by their own husbands. The second joke? That the family’s money is “his money” because the husband earned it, to which the wife always responds in the negative. In my opinion, a married couple should share some funds, but the husband is completely correct. It is HIS money because HE worked for it, which places the wife in a position of dependence and subordination. She has less power in financial decisions because she is not directly involved in wage-earning. Watching instances like this (even in a “humorous” setting on tv) only serves to reinforce my decision to never be a stay-at-home mom.
And here’s why. The woman who is a stay-at-home is giving something up. She gives up the part of herself that would be discovered and fulfilled by engaging in a career. She gives up her autonomy, her independence, her ability to be the equal of her husband. A woman who is financially dependent on her husband has, by the rules of logic, less freedom than he does. She cannot spend his money without permission or explanation. She does not have an equal vote in financial decisions. A woman’s ability to actually own property in her own name, to keep wages in her own name, is relatively new. In my opinion, that right should be appreciated. I never want to ask my husband for money so that I can go out and get a haircut or a sandwich or buy my kids clothes. I want the freedom to do these things for myself. If I don’t have that freedom, the relationship suffers for it. Thanks to the women who have come before me, I have the ability to go to university, to develop my intelligence and knowledge, to excel in academia and the workforce. I don’t want to waste any of those opportunities. When I become my best self, I have more to offer in a relationship and to the world at large.
In the words of Virginia Woolf, “I need not hate any man; he cannot hurt me. I need not flatter any man; he has nothing to give me.” There! In those few words, Virginia Woolf captures the essence of this dilemma! Only a woman who is financially independent can truly love her husband as a free woman. She is with him, not because she needs him, but because she wants him. And if she doesn’t want him, she needn’t be with him. When women cease to be reliant on men, there is no longer any need for “man-hating feminists.” Why hate something that has no control over you? As trite as it sounds, money is power. However, a woman does not need to be rich in order to have power. The simple state of financial independence is powerful enough to free her from the control of men, no matter how loving those men may be. Until a woman is free NOT to love a man, she won’t really be able to truly love a man.
The other half of Woolf’s requirements is that a woman needs a room of her own. In other words, she needs space. For Woolf, that meant space to write, to create. Ultimately and universally, it means that women need space to think, to grow, to be themselves. A woman can’t spend her whole life serving her husband, her children, or her boss. She needs space to breathe. Even if she is the boss, taking time for herself is important and essential. A woman can’t simply be the “looking-glass” for a man. She needs to be her own person, not just the image of the man in her life. What better place for her to discover herself than in a moment of solitude or the time spent not in a relationship? One must be daring enough to risk those moments of loneliness in order to truly know and learn to be content with one’s self.
The ability for a woman to be free to be alone is relatively new. Cherish it, ladies. You have choices that aren’t marriage or a convent. Don’t waste them and don’t take them for granted. No matter what path you choose in life, don’t do it without serious consideration of all your options and all your freedoms. And don’t define yourself only by your relationships. Don’t be a looking-glass. Be your own person, first and foremost. Appreciate all the freedoms that you have and don’t be afraid to ask or demand more freedom in order to achieve true equality.
On my second day in Vancouver, Marija and I got up and headed to the Vancouver Art Gallery. We got a bit turned around looking for it, but we eventually got where we needed to go. It was a beautiful morning and a wonderful opportunity to see some more of Downtown anyway!
The art gallery was wonderful, but there isn’t much photographic evidence from our time there since photos weren’t allowed. There was a great exhibit of the collection of art owned by two sisters from Baltimore. They lived together and never married and spent years collecting all sorts of art, statues, collectibles, etc. All of which they kept in their apartments with them! I don’t know how they ever relaxed with all those valuables on every shelf and wall! One of them was also a medical doctor, which was very rare for a woman in the 1800s. Fascinating stuff.
Marija and I also went biking along the sea wall in the afternoon. It was such a wonderful park and a lovely afternoon. Marija has most of the pictures from that part of the day because she is a far more proficient bike rider than I am haha. Until that day, I probably hadn’t ridden a bike in at least 10 years. I managed not to fall off and kill myself, but only barely. To be fair, after the first 15 or 20 minutes, I got the hang of it and was doing quite nicely! Marija was very understanding, thankfully.
The rest of our day was spent outdoors enjoying the wonderful (and, we were told, rare) Vancouver weather for that time of year. We went to Grouse Mountain, which is absolutely gorgeous! When you get there, you ride the ski lift up to the top of the mountain where there are several over-looks, a restaurant, etc. They also have two bears in an enclosure on the mountain, and they are so adorable! While there, we met a very nice German exchange student named Annie. She was from Frankfurt and living with a host family for a time. I hope she’s still doing well in Vancouver!