(Cross posted at THE CONFLUENCE)
I try not to show it much but being recognized as a PUMA is very important to me.
I imagine myself standing in a room filled with PUMA women of all ages, colors and backgrounds. We are a circle of sisters who will not be treated like shit. A moral and intellectual force and we have all just been through hell.
I step forward and say.
My name is Afrocity and I am a Republican (there I said it) and I want to be a PUMA.
It is March 2009 and I was thinking this scene out for sometime as I awaited surgery at a local women’s hospital. I had uterine polyps. I was bleeding and in pain. Nevertheless, I felt special because it was a women’s specialty hospital- only us girls and everything was trimmed in breast cancer awareness -pink. I saw an older woman being wheeled into the OR, her daughter behind her with an OBAMA tote bag. Hmmm I did not vote for the man but matter what, we are still women. No one can change that. She pees sitting down and so do I.
I put my Ipod on. I have a PUMA playlist you know. It is all Riot Grrl music. The third wave feminist girl bands. Bratmobile, April March, Jack Off Jill… The drugs they gave to me were kicking in. The nurse looked at me and smiled. I wondered if she would still smile at me if she knew I was conservative. The last song I remembered before they wheeled me into surgery was April March’s “Chick Habit”.
hang up the chick habit
hang it up, daddy,
a girl’s not a tonic or a pill
hang up the chick habit
hang it up, daddy,
you’re just jonesing for a spill
oh, how your bubble’s gonna burst
when you meet another nurse
she’ll be driving in a hearse
you’re gonna see the reason why
when they’re spitting in your eye
they’ll be spitting in your eye
I thought yes we need to hang up the chick habits, all get along and PUMA will be spitting your eye.
You may have noticed that I have been absent from The Confluence.
After a long and stressful election year I needed some time to myself.
I was tired of the Rasmussen polls and Obamabots. I felt overloaded by the imagery of sexism, race baiting and misogyny. I lost my race, my color, my gender. The thread I hung by was PUMA and that thread was breaking I felt, because I was a conservative.
During the election I really had no where to turn. I frequented Jake Tapper’s Political Punch Blog at ABCNEWS.com. There I experience a daily forced fed diet of Kool Aid and Hillary Hate Bars, full of energy with hope and change, packed with the extra fiber of racial pandering and humiliation. Hillary lost the primary. I felt personally defeated.
What was I going to do? Vote for McCain? It was almost impossible to comprehend. I had been a Democrat my entire life. I was an African American woman- it was craziness. I wanted to vote for John McCain. I had always admired his service to his country, his time as a POW, his maverick stance. It did not help that the left had fallen from grace in my eyes. For some time they had metamorphosed from dutiful donkeys to hypocritical assholes. “Hmmm which voting block will we pimp this time?” I’d had enough. Hillary was my last hope in the DNC and now she was gone. I wanted to go Republican but all the force of my racial sensibility told me not to. The only thing liberal about me was my pro-choice position. How could I? I would sit out the election.
One day, I went to the blog to pass the time away. Expecting the same ol’ Obamabutt garbage. Quick! Here come the sheeple. Get the Kool Aid! Fetch and Carry.
Today I was wrong.
JUST SAY NO DEAL!!!! PUMA. NOBAMA,
Catchy phrase I thought. Just like the Howie Mandel game show. A week went by and I saw it again and again.
One lone poster: PUMA PUMA PUMA PUMA
I Googled it and saw sneakers…athletic gear…then a gem…It was Riverdaughter. THE CONFLUENCE.
At first I lurked and laughed. It was the epitome of estrogen and political snark.
Dare I post? I put a toe into the pool, then a leg, a body.
Afrocity was in, AngieNC grabbed my hand SOD was there, Madamab. Hi there Mr. Clown and Fuzzy, Simonfish. The water was refreshing and clear of Kool Aid.
Through PUMA, I gained unlikely acquaintances. Women I would never meet in real life. Along the way the wounds were terrible. Gotcha interviews, pigs with lipstick, Sarah Palin open debate threads, our PUMA eyes wide and keyboards tapping to her defense. We were like dolls in a museum, stripping off our gingham and corsets. We would no longer allow ourselves to be political ornamentation.
We were honing a message. Whispers from “Camp Chosen One” turned into threats and slurs. We were demonized as Menopausal Mollies who hated Obama. We were called the “R word”. Yes even me… We marched together on Election Day and cast our ballots. Many votes were in protest, others in earnest, a few mentally at home. The un-vote. Still, no matter how we voted, no matter how difficult it was that the vote was not for SHE, there was an undeniable bond of unity and we all found ourselves NOT VOTING FOR OBAMA.
I am a Republican but to me and the many other conservative and independent voting women that I know- we admire the PUMA cause as we lurk here. We watch with much interest as the PUMA question is answered. What is your mission. Will it include us?
Women of all political parties need to look for ways to simultaneously embrace women’s rights. Defiant political posture is a means to an end in the face of rising discrimination on the basis of our sex.
What happened during the election happened to both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
We should come together and avail ourselves of liberal and conservative tools- every divisive tool of patriarchic propaganda. Let’s widen our base and broaden our message.
Ceilings must shatter at the White House. As women, we should challenge the concept of the executive branch as ONLY masculine and the congressional branch as tolerably feminine.
We need collaboration to overcome the current divide. This past election told us much as ourselves not only as conservatives or democrats, blacks, whites, gays or straight but as women. Together we can advance in parallel directions. We can combat the horizontal fraternization between the patriarchy and the media. We can unburden ourselves of critical surveillance and revisionist History i.e. SHE IS STUPID, ONLY A ROOM WHERE HE COMES OUT, SHE IS PERIODICALLY DOWN.
Otherwise our work is in vain. Hidden in plain sight and the gendered assaults will continue.
Please lets hang up the chick habits. Let’s RIOT GRRLS
Then my operation is over and I have opened my eyes.
Autographed Letter Signed,