Thursday, September 18, 2014

My 10-Year Anniversary As A Blogger

Sadly, I didn't catch this until it was a few months too late. But this, technically, was my first-ever blog post, from way, waaaaay back in the days:

Who would have guessed that that post would be the genesis for whatever this mess you're currently reading is :p

2014 Cherokee National Holiday and Pow-wow

Steph (who is one-quarter Cherokee, herself) invited me to this year's Cherokee National Holiday celebration in Talequah, OK. No way I was going to pass that up :p

CLICK HERE for the full photo album.

We started by visiting a museum and several exhibits about what life was like for the Cherokees a couple hundred years ago (and farther back).

One of the coolest parts was a walking tour of a recreated small Cherokee village, with all sorts of examples of the different types of housing they used, of how they made pottery and wove baskets and whatnot:

A couple people were playing stickball, a Cherokee sport that evolved into lacrosse:

Apparently, the Cherokee would use this sport to settle differences whenever possible instead of going to war (even if the game's lack of rules meant that a few players died each game anyway).

The object was to use the two netted spoon-like sticks to fling the ball through the goal at the top of the pole. The game continued until either team reached 21 points.

One of the few rules in place was that on the occasions where women were allowed to play, they were allowed to be as aggressive and violent toward the male players as they want, but the male players were never allowed to fight back or defend themselves under any circumstances.

(In other words, the Cherokees invented the most feminist sport ever :p )

But my favorite part of the tour was the archery demonstration:

He even gave us a demonstration of how they chipped the rocks to make sharp arrowheads.

After the tour, we went to the big, open field where the actual pow-wow would be taking place:

The pow-wow itself was pretty cool, too. It started with all the performers walking and dancing onto the field. After that, the first of the actual dances was the one where anyone who wanted to participate was welcome, Cherokee or not. Then came the "tiny tots" dance, where the Cherokee children all danced (or waddled :p ) on the field. And after that, they started with the more professional, traditional Cherokee dances and music.

All in all, I'd really put the experience pretty much on par with seeing a full-blown Italian/Catholic wedding in Italy. Very cool!

My souvenir of the day was an authentic Cherokee blow gun:

(Judging from the new holes in my apartment wall, I'd say it works pretty well.)


Liberal as I am, I've really never considered myself a feminist, because I've always known that the need for gender equality is a two-way street. When feminists toss around the word "privilege", it's usually because they're trying to shut men down and blow off our points of view - which is just another form of gender inequality.

I consider myself an egalitarian: I simply want a level playing field for everyone.

Ray and Janay Rice

A couple final notes on this one:

On whether abusers are all "expert manipulators", my point was that manipulation often winds up being a part of domestic abuse, but that's not necessarily deliberate on the abuser's part. In many cases, the abuser has a somewhat infantile grasp on their emotions, which is what makes them so volatile. Calling them "expert manipulators" implies (to me, at least) that they're thinking their actions through carefully, even if those actions are malicious - but often, it's actually that they're reacting, without thinking, in a way that gets them what they want, whether it's through violence or through degrading insults.

Second, I'm really not shooting from the hip here. I've known far too many women, including some of my best friends, who have had firsthand experience with domestic abuse. So I'm extremely familiar with the reality that nobody really has a handle on every aspect of the problem, because it's so immensely complex and often counterintuitive. But the difficulty of grappling with the issues does go in more than one direction: while I understand where the people who lose sympathy for some of the victims are coming from, I'm also well aware that leaving once the abuse has started is almost never simple; buy on the other hand, feminists who speak about domestic violence should understand that many, many women are actually attracted (sometimes exclusively) to the type of men who display hyper-aggressive, ultra-dominant behavior; it's not always merely that they're doe-eyed, blameless victims of tragic happenstance. It's an ugly reality, but a reality nonetheless.