The Brave & The Bold: Melinda Tankard-Reist.

I have a great respect for those who go against the grain, who are strong enough in their convictions to stand up for what they believe in regardless of the cost. No one makes positive changes in the world without making some enemies or facing some discouraging attacks.

About two years ago (or around about) I was going through a break up with a guy who I truly had hoped was ‘the one.’ For a number of reasons, I can see now that he was not — but I was in a deep grief over the way that this person cruelly broke up with me. I was in the middle of a blame game because the person couldn’t do me the justice of ever giving me a real reason and release my heart in a normal and humane way.

There were a number of things in my mind that I could chalk up to the reason as to why he left me. And of course, I put all of those things on myself. Did I do something wrong? Was I not enough for him? Did I not love him enough? Was I not beautiful enough? Did he leave me because I wasn’t sure I could conceive? Perhaps things would have been different, had I not received a message from an ex of his early in our relationship, assuring me that he was cheating on her with me, among other things, so regardless of how much I wanted to love him, there was no trust in the beginning. I began thinking about other situations that took place in my relationship with him, as well as previous circumstances in past relationships.

I myself, have always been like a dog with a bone in certain areas of my life, and I don’t relent on something that I believe firmly in. Most of that pertains to how I demand to be treated. I am a firm believer in the idea that you teach people how to treat you. More so, I will be blunt in how I expect any future men to treat me based on my past (and apparently limited) experiences with the opposite sex. I did not ever want to be objectified again, I did not want to accept any boyfriend trying to coerce me in to sex or making me feel like I’m lesser of a woman for saying no. I did not want someone to leave me if it turns out that I can’t conceive. I’m a woman there is more to me than a uterus. I never ever wanted to accept the feeling of fear of the opposite sex, or mistrust because of what they would/could expect from me based on their stupid flirts in strip bars or other. If I chose to wait til marriage to have sex again — what of it? As long as I don’t spring it on someone mid-way through a relationship, then why should I be made to feel like I’ve done something wrong? I don’t want someone to treat me like their conquest — I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than let a single person conjure up all of those feelings again. And what a lonely thought…

And wow, didn’t these thoughts bring out the crazy when I jumped back in to the dating game…

I started reading Melinda Tankard-Reist’s blog in the middle of 2010 and read her book Defiant Birth which closely related to my own situations dealing with conception, pregnancy and more. Through reading her blogs, following her on twitter and reading about her campaigns, I started to realise that I was not the only one who saw degredation and misogyny in the way most men view/treat and hold expectations of women. I always felt like I was the only one who felt puzzled by females who accept any of the above treatment from men, or worse, emotional or physical abuse. Sometimes, I actually resolved that I was just being a prude or that there was something flawed in my thinking. But no, what I want/desire can be summed up in to one basic word;

Respect.

Melinda’s books and her blogs certainly helped me let go of this dizzying and false notion that my ex boyfriend was actually the one and that despite how much I pined for him, he was not who or what I wanted to accept in my life. Thus, I was able to (despite the heartache that doesn’t simply turn off) move on and deal with things a lot better. I would say that Melinda’s work was instrumental in helping me realise I could have never provided what that ex would have wanted or expected from me. And I am just one person, I can only imagine how many young women she has influenced in positive ways, how many girls who have seen themselves in victims of the things she campaigns against; porn, emotional/physical abuse, misogyny and more.

I wanted to write this post mostly about Melinda and less about me, but I wanted to point out that what Melinda Tankard-Reist is doing, is showing girls and young women (like myself) how to respect themselves. This doesn’t mean she’s pushing any views about saving yourself til marriage (apparently that’s just me!! lol) or telling girls what to do with their bodies or trying to push any such agenda. She is showing others the society for what it is — a deeply misogynistic one that, if recognised for what it is, can be fought against.

She campaigns against advertisers, corporations and popular culture media when they overstep their boundaries and put children or women at risk. In the past week and more I have seen the most disgusting and offensive things written about her by women and men alike, some of whom are supposed to be professional peers. I find it disturbing and upsetting the way people can be, but it just cements my belief that someone who is doing a good thing will always be met with road blocks and bumps along the way. Because Melinda and other feminists like herself stand up for women, it gives me a confidence to also stand up and share my thoughts and ideas (as controversial as I’ve come to realise they apparently are!) and I am surprised by just how many other women feel the same but have been previously too scared to say much as it is taboo to tell men how we really feel when they treat us certain ways.

Melinda Tankard-Reist, regardless of any beliefs she may or may not hold (Christian or other), is doing an amazing job at keeping many children (possibly yours) safe and free of sexualisation one campaign (sometimes many) at a time, along with many of her other amazing peers who support causes and campaigns that reach out to people like me who have had a very long history with being treated less-than and inferior by other people.

These people who have been saying nasty things, trolling, bleeding hatred from their nasty words with anonymous screen-names or even bold professional ones, need to be concerned with themselves. Disagreeing with her ideas or opinions is one thing, but public slander and bullying, threats of sexual abuse (something I encountered myself via twitter) is just proving every point about degredation she has ever endeavoured to make.

I think Melinda Tankard-Reist is an amazing woman, admirable, articulate, brave and courageous for being able to stand up and fight for what she believes in and what is right. She stands up for her convictions even if it is going against the grain. She deserves to be given more credit and more respect than is currently being afforded.

Thank you, Melinda, for all that you do.

Top 5 Important Life Lessons

 

Hi, it’s been almost a month since my last blog (this sounds like an opening for A.A) but that’s because I’m busy being absolutely freaking amazing. (Did I mention the amazing victory of a 100% mark on an essay? … Hey, the marker may or may not have been drunk, but whatever… it’s going on my transcript. I win.) I just wanted to instill some very important life lessons that I have learned over the span of the time that I’ve been gone. I know, I know, you’re absolutely welcome and it’s so kind of me, etc, etc…
Let’s start.
1. Men still think it’s okay to be extremely inappropriate with female strangers because most women are too stupid to tell them it’s not okay.
Sometimes I really do think women are ridiculous for the kinds of things they allow in their lives and for the way they allow men to treat them. Men are not blameless, but I am a firm believer that you teach people how to treat you. A lot of women base their self-worth around the attention from the opposite sex, (just an observation) and in essence, accept a lot of things that is not okay by the standards of others. I can’t stand sexual innuendo, connotations, overtones, undertones from men that I have just met, or of whom I don’t consider myself to be close enough to, to speak like that. In fact, I can’t think of one male friend who I would think it was acceptable from. I find it disrespectful, rude and also presumtueous. Do men actually think that this kind of talk excites women? Because honestly, for the most part, I am pretty sure that it does not save for those few who as I mentioned, base their self-esteem on the rule of ‘any attention is good attention’.
I don’t consider myself to be by any means a beauty queen, but I encounter it in my daily life and it pisses me off and not only that but it makes me super uncomfortable when men make “joking” passes regarding sex to me. What happened to chivalry? What happened to treating a lady like a lady? I don’t even expect that someone I’ve just met would swear in front of me, let alone allude to some kind of sexual situation. Foul. Go away, you’re disgusting and I won’t even look back twice.
2. People are extremely stupid and bigoted and they don’t even realise it.
If I have to read one more twitter message or status about how Australia needs to be tougher on immigrants, I will puke. You can bet your life that with these “opinions” there are racist overtones because they are usually posted by bogans who don’t know anything about anything, who still believe the ridiculous myth that Australia will be an Islam nation within the next generation (this has been proven to be a myth, unless of course Islamic families produce about 30 kids per family for the next 15 yrs) and the same ones who will start crying out that we are a “Christian Nation!” (um do you go to church? no. Neither do the larger population of Australia …so…) Those people will sport Southern cross tattoos and stickers on their car saying “Aussie Pryyyyde” and probably rioted in Cronulla a few years back… Unless you’re a native to the land, it wasn’t your country to begin with, and it was OK for England to go in and occupy Africa, India and the Middle East for years too many to count, so why can’t people go where they want to go? And live where they want to live?
I would like to expand on this later because I’ve read some super doozy posts regarding this.
3. Some people in life just can’t be happy unless they are complaining. 
I hate these people, they make me angry. I don’t want to be friends with them, I don’t want to be around them, and after awhile I start losing all my pity for them. I don’t want to bother wasting my time, energy or breath trying to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. We all have our childish, emo moments, sure — but life is a struggle, everyone struggles, just get over yourself. Sometimes I feel like slapping people when they start whinging about stupid things that can be fixed if they just got off their arse and were willing to actually put some effort in to something. But oh no, they can’t because the whole world is against them and it’s sooooo unfair. Get lost. Life is hard, take responsibility for yourself and don’t expect opportunities to fall in to your lap.
4. People don’t keep pictures of ex’s for ‘memory’ sake. 
I joked about this with a friend the other day. A couple of my friends showed me some pictures of their first boyfriends or ex’s that had really ‘hurt’. I had a few photos of two ex’s that I kept up until just a few months ago on the pretense of having memories…. and we all agreed that the only reason why one never throws out photos is because they are having a hard time letting go and that in fact, memory has nothing at all to do with it.  In fact, the only other reason one would keep pictures besides not being ‘over it’ would be to have a target during your next darts match. I remember when I dated my very first boyfriend back when I was about 15, we broke up intermittently and I cut him out of all of our photos that I kept in frames and put myself back in them without him… and then I think I burned them. I no longer keep any photos of any ex, probably a good sign that I’m over them which is a good thing. My friend also threw out her photos too… What’s the point, you don’t look back when moving forward. Next!

5. Reading books is more exciting than leaving the house and doing social things.

Well, this is just a very important lesson. I went out two weeks ago and was bored out of my mind. This week I have stayed home every day this week and have enjoyed reading many of my 932034234 books and it has been interesting, exciting, adventuous, funny and educational. I have learned many an interesting thing and I’ve not felt uncomfortable, put out, disrespected, annoyed or upset. I like being a wallflower, and with that said; the next book I plan on reading (after Choke by Chuck Palaniuk) is going to be, “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”
Look out for my next blog, 5 things I have learned from watching X-Factor.