Come Back To Me…

…And listen to me rant a while.

Having that thing called Facebook is nothing short of exhausting. Removing the emotional obligation to be involved with actual friends with the never ending posts of break-ups and make-ups we all *must* be privy to and the psychological break-downs that are anything but, one must navigate the world of buzzwords, causes and politics.

It’s really not worth the payout.

This post is gonna be a long one…

This morning at five A.M. I read an opinion as fact about how two women in Oregon, Portland, a city known for food and drink diversity, have had to shut their business down because of backlash to what their business was about. See, these two women traveled to Mexico to learn to make a type of cuisine. Oh Heaven Forbid they bring some thing back they learned! Every one is calling it “appropriation” and “privilege”; two words with an enormous amount of buzz.

However, let’s be honest…

…Is it?

We live in a culture where “Mexican Cuisine” has been reduced to a chain of fast food restaurants, famous for late night drunken “Border Runs”, so much so it’s become a part of their advertising.

That’s ok… because we all like those tacos though. No one pretends it’s really Mexican Cuisine, but we call it that anyway.

I live in a metropolitan area with a section famously known for it’s high Mexican population and culture. Yet, not every one there cashing in on it is even Mexican. However, that’s ok somehow… Maybe because it’s quiet and the persons there making money off not being of Mexican heritage have been quiet about it, not so visible.

So now, enter two white females from Portland. Two women who cared enough to travel to another culture to learn and brought back their knowledge.

They are appropriating the culture with their privilege. However, I ask again, are they *really*?

If I travel to Italy and I take a pasta making class and I come home and make better ravioli than your already two-generations–in-North-American Nona, did I appropriate?  Or is it ok because I am ‘white’?

But let’s explore that….

Italians aren’t as ‘white’ as I am. Their skin is darker and olive and their culture is radically different than I have known in my traditions. I am, by no means, Mediterranean, though I do enjoy Italian cooking.  Italian people are more likely to be subject to diseases (example Sickle Cell) that I am not likely to be afflicted by.  This is NOT my culture. I can make a list of reason why I am “different” – but in general terms, I choose not to. However, If I came home from Italy with my words pronounced correctly and a killer pasta recipe, it is somehow perfectly fine (never mind the fact that my very statement is, in fact, stereotypical as I just reduced all of Italian cuisine and culture down to “pasta”).

So… two girls paler than those typically of Latin American descent learn to make burritos and they are “appropriating”?

I really don’t think so. Perhaps they had a food preference and wanted to learn about it and make it properly. (Side note: I LOVE Pad Thai, the most westernized of “Thai Cuisine” yet when I make it at home in a canned-sauce bastardized version, no one accuses me of stealing anything… why is that?).

In a culture, we grow because of the things we ADD. Adding good burritos makes the food scene better…. we all benefit. Burritos are delicious.

There are plenty of examples of this that don’t make the press. I know of a place not far from my home where they only sushi restaurant is run by a Midwestern, White American Male who went to a school in California to learn Japanese cookery. It got television time and press, yet… he’s NOT appropriating? (Just curious; is it because of his gender or are people just happy to have local sushi?)

Maybe, they are just burritos. Maybe it’s not politics or a cause. Geez, if people spent HALF as much energy on things that actually mattered, like holding politicians in check, this world may be a better place for us all!

Incidentally, the concept of burrito-type food isn’t unique to Mexico. My sandwiches I get from the local Mid-Eastern place look pretty much like, well, burritos. In fact, recently someone I know WAS eating a Mid-Eastern sandwich and a third party said “it’s basically a burrito”.

And… what of “fusion” places that call themselves a mash-up of two cultures and serve “Thai Tacos” and it’s somehow acceptable? Do we have to make the distinction or did these women mess up simply by their choice of words? Did they call themselves “authentic” but their eyes were too blue? (That really isn’t a litmus test: Pale skin and light hair and eyes are a mutation, a recessed gene. There are Mexican people who don’t look the way we expect them to look. There isn’t any proof these women AREN’T drawing upon what is their own heritage based on looks or geographic location alone… just sayin’…)

I got called out on appropriation when I was going to cover my head in a photo to represent an area with a large amount of women who choose to wear a hijab (note, I didn’t say Muslim women… for a valid reason, which should be obvious).

However, I grew up there, among these people and it would be appropriate, if I were to represent where I am from with one photograph, to display that as the area is known for it’s large Middle Eastern population. It’s known for it to a detriment. It IS a part of what is MY experience, so because I don’t look the part I shouldn’t be allowed to represent it as part of my  own story? I mean, I may have blonde hair and blue eyes, but um, so do several of the people I grew up with who identify as ‘Middle Eastern’. Furthermore; Slavic women (which I am) are known for head coverings (“Babushka”), it isn’t uniquely a “Middle Eastern” thing. Also, Catholic women (which I ALSO am) cover their heads… as do Italian and Mexican women. However, perhaps in recent times the “Arabic” woman has gotten the press for covering their head, so I guess that means no one else can do it without incorporating all that it has come to represent, both good and bad.

Along this vein, I have a pale, sandy-haired friend from South Africa who gets slack when he refers to himself as “African”. However, his passport says ‘South Africa’ as does his native tongue as he was born on the continent of “Africa”. But, he isn’t BLACK so he’s told he’s not allowed to say that, that he isn’t “African-American”, even though, more than anyone else I know, he ACTUALLY IS. When does “African” only mean one thing when it is a VAST place with many countries and cultures and yes, very many pale people carry those passports too? Is perception of culture more valid than the actual fact of culture?

Speaking of facebook pissing me off…

The next topic… the female warrior…

Listen, I am ok with your feminism…. to a point. Let me point out that as a person with a vagina, I have an opinion of this, even though I get told I don’t if I am not ‘fighting’ some perceived oppression (and if I don’t see the oppression, I am privileged – wow, so many buzz words we have!).

I am not going to say that there isn’t instances of excuses and enablers for rape. There most CERTAINLY are. However, I am also NOT going to say that everything is rape culture, because it isn’t. If a man says to me “your hair looks nice dyed red, but I prefer you as a blonde”, THAT IS NOT RAPE CULTURE – that is someone expressing an opinion. Even if he says “I think you look prettier as a blonde”, again NOT RAPE CULTURE, it’s an opinion and he’s allowed to have it – it doesn’t mean I am going to change my hair from a choice I made because of what he said unless I am of weak mind. I am not. That’s his opinion. I still feel pretty and sexy as a redhead and this is what I chose; and YES, because I am in the world, people are allowed to have opinions on my appearance. Rather I agree with or like those opinions, people are going to and are allowed to have them. Also, again, people’s opinion of my decisions really shouldn’t be influencing my choices.

So, today on the “bookface” I saw an article about a woman who’s pasturing feminine hygiene products around her home town in Germany with anti-rape messages. Apparently, I am supposed to applaud this… (?)

I am not.

Let me explain why…

One: It’s littering and influencing the environment. Those things don’t bio-degrade easily and to waste them causes more production and you are littering in leaving them about. Wild life should not be subject to sticky plastic with bleached cotton. It’s not just about YOU and YOUR message; you are impacting the life around you (negatively) – and ultimately, speaking of that, someone who’s job it is to clean the city and dump the trash cans about the city, will have to unstick them and clean them up (just as they have to clean up the flyers and posters people post).

Two: It’s been done before. No, seriously, a few years ago someone else did this… in fact, a few times it’s been done…  It’s not original. It’s tired. See point “one”.

Three: One of the phrases is “Imagine if men were as disgusted by rape as they are by periods”. Ok, Child, let me explain what you did wrong here….

First of all, a man isn’t. Never once have I been with a man who has been put off or not wanted to be with me because I was having my period. Never once was he not accepting of my natural function nor have I been shunned by a man for it – I have NEVER been told it’s disgusting – not when I’ve needed comfort or help or provisions. If you are old enough to have menstruation, you shouldn’t have people around you disgusted by it… because if they are, they are boys and too immature to handle the means of a woman so, why should you share that with them anyway?

YES, I understand that to a degree culture plays into this, but… again, a man who’s been with a woman and enjoyed her as a woman quickly gets over that hang up. Also, it isn’t related to intimacy; I have plenty of male friends who have no desire to be with a woman but they are mature and understand biology and are supportive.

Coincidentally, if a man happens to be put off by the ‘things of a woman’, if he sees your maxi-pad on a sign post, he’s not likely to read your message. That man is JUST going to avert his eyes and walk away… so for whom did you *really* do this?

On that point: WAY TO BE DIVISIVE and make it an “us verse them'” thing – women against men! Men are not all inherently rapists nor are all rapes committed by men. In fact, this point in the conversation is where I usually get told I am supporting rape culture because I am saying this (or you know, pointing out logic and fact).  Fact is, as pointed out the last several times this stunt was done, men ARE disgusted by rape. Men do not sit around discussing how rape is a wonderful thing. No (healthy) man wants his wife, girlfriend, friend, daughter, son, sister or bother raped. The only people NOT disgusted by the violence that is a rape attack are, in fact, rapists (and they aren’t reading your maxi-pads either…).

Perhaps I just need to stay off social media for a while.. a long while.  It’s the same damn thing over and over, and then again. With every re-post, people think they’ve discovered something new with a witty way to say it…

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