I gave up making New Year’s resolutions about ten years ago. What works best for me is to set the bar low, then pat myself on the back at year’s end for making it through another 365 days without having accidentally set myself on fire or slapping someone who tried to cut in line for coffee. Besides, with 61 years under my ever-expanding belt, I’m old enough to know better than to think I’ll stick to a diet, exercise every day, or collect all the dust bunnies from under my bed and set them free in the forest.
But it never hurts to have goals, especially if you choose some that you’re fairly certain you can accomplish. So I’ve evaluated my life in the past few years and decided that at the very least, I could achieve some feminist bumper stickers. Here then, are my New Year’s Bumperlutions:
Well-behaved women seldom make history
In high school, my nickname was “Goody Two-Shoes.” I didn’t think the name fit because I fancied myself a bit of a rebel. Once I “occupied” my principal’s front yard overnight because he refused to fund the Debate Club. And let’s not forget the time I walked out of World History class, telling the teacher I’d come back when we started learning about women. But I did get straight A’s, didn’t put out, and spent more time in the library than drinking behind a dumpster, so I guess some people saw me as a “well-behaved teen.”
Recently, I’ve dipped my toe into misbehaving. A few years ago, for example, I posed naked outside with 50 other women for a photo shoot. While getting undressed, one of my former grammar students saw the giant butterfly tramp stamp adorning my lower back, and said, “Cool tat, prof!” In 2019 I’m going to commit to so much misbehavior, I won’t be surprised if I earn the nickname “Bad Girl” or at least “Bad Post-Menopausal Woman Who Sometimes Forgets Her Age.” First on my list? I’m going to buy a can of spray paint and tag public buildings with radical thoughts like “Free estrogen for everyone!” and “Because I said so!”
Girls just want to have FUN-damental rights
I have this slogan on a t-shirt, but I haven’t really sat myself down and pondered what I consider to be my FUN-damental girl rights. Do I have a right to eco-friendly glitter? To wearing a see-through blouse with a colorful bra underneath? To intentionally embarrass 20-something men by pretending to flirt with them and then getting mad when they call me a cougar? I will use this coming year to decide what rights I want to claim for myself – besides equal pay, equal space on the bus, the right to speak without interruption, and the right to exist without harassment. Those are givens, right? Well, they’re not yet, but maybe if we covered them in eco-friendly glitter?
Truth be known, while my tongue can probably bench press my body weight, the rest of me could use some muscle. While I’m not going to promise to hit the gym and take the stage at the end of 2019 in the Middle-Aged Female Bodybuilders of the Pacific Northwest Competition, I can commit to lifting some weights around the house in my free time. In addition to 15-lb. dachshunds, I can hoist my cast-iron skillet, gallon jugs of spaghetti sauce, and the table saw I plan to buy myself for Christmas. Also, I bet I could build strength by moving my elliptical trainer from room to room in my house.
You don’t know history until you learn herstory
Since that day I walked out of history class decades ago, I have pushed myself to learn about women and their achievements throughout the ages. And I don’t mean just the women we hear about on the History Channel who are best known for marrying a pharaoh or giving birth to a prince.I’ve decided to dedicate 2019 to “helping” others learn herstory by interrupting conversations about famous male scientists or artists and yelling, “You realize he stole all his ideas from a woman named [fill-in-the-blank].” I’ve been watching men to see how to become an effective interrupter and, by jove, I think I’ve got it.
Smash the patriarchy
It is admittedly difficult for a peace-loving vegan to muster up the wherewithal to smash stuff, but I figure if I start small, maybe by the end of the year, I can smash important things that will bring down the white cisgender capitalist system that favors people with a penis. Perhaps I’ll begin by smashing crackers with the heavy end of a butter knife, and then move up to breaking up tiles with a hammer (which I can use to create a mosaic over my fireplace that reads “Bad-ass woman). If my ex shows up in my driveway unannounced again, I’m fairly certain I’ll be ready to smash his headlights with the baseball bat I keep by my bed in case someone needs me to pitch hit. It may not seem like much, but if we all smash small stuff, it adds up.
Yep, these seem like goals I can accomplish in 2019. And it sure beats eating nothing but kale and quinoa while doing bike pilates and herding dust bunnies.