“I mean, you’re only like a 6 or maybe a 7.” – Editor in Chief, Kelly Fitzharris Coody

As a woman, I’ve been on the receiving end of this indictment multiple times throughout my lifetime.

Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this type of “attractiveness” judgment that society thrusts upon young (and older) women can send most of us spiraling down into a shame cycle.

The quote that titles this letter, “I mean, you’re like a six or maybe a seven,” was actually said to me.

I was about to start college in the fall in a different state, at a place where I knew hardly anyone, so I was doing what everyone else did: I networked online and tried to meet some people before I went out there.

But when I sent a snapshot of my 17 year-old self, posing with a friend, perched against oak trees wearing matching red sweaters on Niceville High School’s campus, that wasn’t quite the response I figured that picture garnered. I wasn’t sending it with the intention of receiving any 1 – 10 rating of my appearance.

The only other person I knew going into UT was a friend I’d gone to theater camp with in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1999. I’d become particularly abhorrent to him in the interim as well, much to my surprise, as we rarely spoke or hung out–we are Facebook friends, now, though, HA! (So this must mean that by now we’re cool, right? Facebook friendships are totally legit. Wink, wink.)

Other peoples’ opinions do not define us.

Their viewpoints, their judgments, their ideas of who you are based on a few interactions or a few photos don’t define you. We live in an age where judgment follows us; critics are far louder than fans and they can get to us any where, any time through various social media outlets.

We talk SO MUCH about equality and freedom, yet at the same time corroborate misogynistic ideals and perpetuate sexist stereotypes against women.

She’s a whore. 

What a bitch!

Ugh, I bet she’s on her period. 

She’s so thin she looks gross. 

Any of these sound familiar? We need to stop shaming one another before we can truly work together toward breaking the glass ceiling and making a change in this world.

To the guy who called me a six or a seven: Fuck you.

To guys who rate women on a 1 to 10 scale: Fuck you.

You don’t own us; you don’t own our self-esteem. We do. And, guess what? You’re outnumbered. And we are stronger, faster, smarter and better than you ever estimated us to be.

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There’s my six or seven self from Niceville High School in the slideshow above. There’s the infamous photo of myself and my friend on the high school’s campus in our matching sweaters that elicited the comment.

Just because I was moving to Austin, Texas from Florida didn’t mean I was going to look like a swimsuit model – that’s like assuming that a person from Texas rides a horse to and from work (if there are people out there who still believe in this cowboy-Texas-everyone-rides-horses-stuff, then WAKE UP! YOU ARE CRAZY!)  every day.

Here lately with all of the media frenzy surrounding Donald Trump and his insanely sexist point of views on women and what women’s roles should be, I felt the need to say something. It’s 2016 and we still don’t make as much money as our male counterparts. This needs to change. As of yesterday.

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The other slideshow I posted above is when my family and I lived in Aschaffenburg, Germany in 1987; when it was still divided into East Germany and West Germany. I thought I’d share. I always talk about it and write about it, but just found the photo albums housing these precious gems last week.

This editorial note is more personal than it is work-related; but the point is that sexism exists in literature, too.

Let’s stop tolerating the way we’re treated. Let’s “get fucking hysterical,” as our contributor Steve Carr said to me this morning, until we see actual change on the horizon.

Cheers, SLM Team,

Kelly Fitzharis Coody

kellyphoto7

 

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FORGET FUCHSIA! ANTI-CATHOLICISM IS THE NEW BLACK.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

AM I BEING CONTROVERSIAL OR AM I RIGHTFULLY SHAMING YOU?

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I aim to be crystal clear: I will be unapologetic when it comes to defending my beliefs and everyone’s right to social justice.

And if you are one of the ones who can’t see past their own brainwashed, bigoted, cloudy lenses, then go spew your bullshit elsewhere.

I was recently attacked on my personal Facebook page for being raised Catholic and continuing to identify as such as an adult. Anti-Catholicism is absolutely one of the “last acceptable prejudices” in the US.

[ http://americamagazine.org/issue/281/article/last-acceptable-prejudice ]

The Ku Klux Klan is still teeming with Anti-Catholic sentiment.

In 1928, anti-Catholic hysteria led to Al Smith’s defeat for presidential candidacy. This mass-hysteria evolved from a rumor that if elected, the Pope would move into the White House and take American citizenship away from Protestants. Which is not only absolutely absurd, but false.

But that was in 1928, you might say. True. It was.

It’s nearly 2016–what’s changed, really? 

Here’s a little-known fact about the majority of Catholics: It’s part of our heritage, you dickheads. I am a 4th generation Irish-Catholic American. My great-great-grandparents emigrated here from Northern Ireland during the potato famine.

I shouldn’t even HAVE to explain that.

To gang up on someone, anyone, and openly harass them solely based on that individual’s religious beliefs is, in fact, bigotry. No matter what their religion is. No matter what you’ve heard about it on late-night TV. No matter how funny it may seem to you to.

This behavior has become so accepted that it’s now trendy to “Catholic-bash.” I’ve been present at many a dinner table, full of people who know I’m Catholic, who still just cannot help themselves.

Let me ask you something: Would we do this to someone who was, say, Jewish? Or Muslim? Or a Jehovah Witness?

Then why in the hell are you doing it to us?

It’s a topic that’s been “burning a hole in my notebook,” so to speak, since it’s been happening MY ENTIRE LIFE.

It’s fucking UNACCEPTABLE and it needs to STOP.

Why do you care if I accept every facet of my religion? Do you ask the same of someone who’s Protestant or Muslim? How is it your business if I don’t believe in confession or in the church’s beliefs on contraception?

I didn’t have to search for long, for two minutes to be exact, before I found over 25 web sites dedicated to their hatred of Catholics. These included forums, blogs and not surprisingly, other religious web sites. (And just so I’m clear, I’m a huge supporter of Pope Francis. My parents raised me to be open-minded and accepting, and loving, much like Pope Francis preaches.)

The most disturbing thing I ran across was a sermon by Pastor Deacon Fred from Iowa named, “Why Do Catholics Worship Mary?” And within this sermon were quotes like:

“Catholics are so darn stupid.”

“Catholics are mentally sick.”

“They are so dad gum ignorant.”

“Sooner or later we’re bound to bump into a hell-bound Catholic.”

Other sites had names such as, “God Hates the Catholic Church!” and “50 Reasons to Boycott the Catholic Church.”

I realize that I’m breaking my “journalism code” in these letters. However, when I only have one other staffer here at SLM, it’s simply a side effect. Lines get blurred. I’m not afraid of anyone. I want to shake things up. I want to challenge people to look at things from a new perspective and realize their own failings. This article is MEANT to shame certain people. 

I have to say that I warned you with the title that I was going to get controversial. My husband just asked me, “Why are you letting this bother you? Type in any group with the word HATE after it and you will find a myriad of web sites dedicated to it.”

My response?  “Yes. But people are aware of racists and racism, anti-Semites and Antisemitism along with anti-Islam or anti-Muslim sentiments; but is the mass public aware of the extent to which anti-Catholicism occurs? Probably not.”

My husband then went on to ask, “Don’t you think that the Catholic Church deserves to be ridiculed for the way that they handled the child molestation issue?

How am I to respond to this? Do I agree with or condone what happened?

FUCK. NO.

Do you know how it felt and still feels to be a Catholic when the news broke about this? We were embarrassed, ashamed, mortified, disgusted—shall I go on?

I responded, “Would you ask a Muslim friend of yours if they felt that their church deserved to be ridiculed for the extremist groups out there, like ISIS?

My husband: “It’s not the same thing.”

And our conversation ended there.

Islamic extremists are killing people and raping women and I don’t feel that their ENTIRE church ought to be ridiculed or denigrated for an extremist group’s behavior.  I guess the difference lies in the fact that with the Catholic-molestation scandal, these things were happening IN THE CHURCH and then covered up by members of the clergy.

My Parish was not among one of the ones that this behavior occurred in.

We are always taught to be sensitive and helpful and careful when speaking about the Muslim/Islam community, as well as other religions that aren’t exactly the norm over here in the US.

But Catholics?

::CHIRP…CHIRP:: (Those are crickets.)

There are frequent vandalism attacks on Catholic Cathedrals—defacement, graffiti, etc. I would consider that to be a hate crime. But it seems that I’m alone in this.

I would NEVER, EVER, get up in someone’s face and demand that they quote scripture to me and then go on to make outlandish attacks on their religion.

Sit back and remember how many Catholic people you’ve probably offended recently. And, in all honesty, shame on you.  Go join a neo-Nazi party where you belong. (And in case you don’t “history, bro,” one of the items on Hitler’s To-Do list was to assassinate the Pope. Along with murdering 6 million Jews, he also murdered 3 million Polish Christians and Catholics, with a total tally of 11 million. The Catholic Church was considered to be one of Hitler’s most pernicious opponents during WWII.)

Peace and love,

SLM Editor in Chief,

Kelly FITZHARRIS Coody

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