Monday, March 5, 2012

Show me your teeth

I really hate my teeth.

I mean seriously. No bones about it, my teeth are my least favorite part of my whole body. I have a grin that comes straight out of the Big Book of British Smiles and I hate it.

Most of the hatred comes out of the aesthetics of it, of course. A certain amount of crookedness is fine—can even be cute in a quirky way—but you reach a level where that loses its appeal. Where the overjet and overbite and space between the teeth lend themselves more easily to comparisons with Cletus (of slack-jawed yokel fame).* It doesn't help that I'm missing a molar, since I was born without two permanent teeth and lost one of the baby teeth.

I'm fairly certain my teeth counted against me in interviews, as they don't exactly lend themselves to the polished professionalism a lawyer is supposed to present or whatever. At any rate they don't help, and it's one more thing to be worried about when I'm in the midst of being awkward as fuck trying to sell myself. As for dating, forget about it; see the above confidence thing, but I've also had people tell me to my face I'd be cute if not for my teeth. It was a WTF moment not because I didn't believe it, but because I didn't expect anyone to be so gauche as to actually say that to me.

So, Lisa** needs braces. Unfortunately my folks couldn't afford them when I was younger and the dental plan (which we do have) would've covered some of it. Now, I could wait until I have a paying job to start orthodontic work, which means waiting that long to replace that missing molar too. That was my original plan, but lately I've been doubting its feasibility. I've been getting impatient and feeling the limitations I thought my teeth placed on me more keenly.

I could also mature and come to accept my teeth as they are, buuuut...

Fuck that noise.*** Started with the top teeth this morning before class. And I'm not even going to lie: I was so much more excited for this than I was for my New Orleans trip last week.****

*I'm really pulling out the Simpsons references today, aren't I? Also, I wish I could whittle the future.

**I'm stretching with this one to keep the joke going. I could totally go by Lisa, so it counts.

***This is my "fuck that noise" face. Or the best I could do while still showing my teeth.

****That was hella fun though. Might do a post on it later, once I can steal borrow Jacki's pictures.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Matter of Identity

Yesterday in my Legislation & Regulation class, we were discussing the case of Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983),* where the Court upheld the IRS's determination that BJU and other racially discriminatory educational institutions would lose their tax-exempt status. As law professors often do, Professor Bagley posed a hypothetical—should women-only schools also be denied tax-exempt status as being discriminatory? Behind me, I could hear my friends Katie & Matt having a very fierce whispered conversation. As I learned after class, Matt was saying that maybe such schools should if one day we get to the point of true gender equality. Katie (who for full disclosure did go to Barnard) made the argument that even if that day did come, women's schools should still be ok for the same reason HBCUs will always be ok: because it's a matter of identity.

For what it's worth on that point, I agree with Katie. I usually do, she's pretty smart. However, the conversation got me thinking about the matter of identity. See, one of the questions I get asked a lot is why I've never joined the Women Law Students' Association (sometimes by Katie, sometimes by other people I know who are on the WLSA board). I care about many of the issues women law students face, being one myself (I know, how shocking). I'm on the board of Law Students for Reproductive Justice and we often co-sponsor events. I even danced in the WLSA act for the law school's culture show last November (starting at about 24:15; speaking of Katie, she's the awesome soloist). 

However, I've never joined WLSA or any of the other “affinity” law student groups I could. I don't really have a good reason. Like I said above, I agree with a lot of what they do. WLSA offers a support network for a group of people that, while we make up a good proportion of the law school population, still faces huge occupational challenges. It's not the dues either. I think it has more to do with the question of identity.

By that I don't mean that I don't view myself or identify as a woman. I'm pretty happy with that most of the time, all things considered. (Even if I didn't, it's not like only women who identify solely 100% as women are allowed in WLSA or anything, and it doesn't explain my avoidance of other affinity groups.) However, I do tend to reject that as a view of my identity. I've always been irrationally annoyed when approached for my view on something “as a woman,” or even when someone compliments me for doing something not stereotypically expected of women, like a friend once making a grrl power comment when she saw me carrying lumber. I feel the same sort of annoyance when people act like it's exceptional that a woman knows how to use power tools, whether they're referring to me, a third party, or even to themselves. Hell, I'm not even particularly fond of “girls' nights" on a regular basis.

I know that's not all what affinity groups are about, but it sort of touches on the other reason. I just don't know how I feel about the idea that just because we are women, we should feel affinity for each other for that reason. And that applies to anything that could be part of my identity that I didn't have a part in creating myself,** but it also only matters personally. I appreciate the important role they play, but for so long I've rejected that as an important part of my personal identity and I don't know that I have a problem with that. I'll continue to support WLSA and other such groups in all the work they do (especially if it means I get to dance on stage), but I'll probably continue to find excuses to avoid joining. It may not make sense or matter in the end, but I'm more comfortable that way.

*I just dropped a case cite in a blog post. This is why I'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes. 

**Except for the ginger supremacy movement, but that's a given.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Vote Ginger: It's Not Like Politicians Have Souls Anyway

My fellow South Carolinians, aren't you sick of politicians caring about silly things like lightbulbs? I'm here today to tell you why you should vote for me to be your Representative of the Fourth Congressional District of South Carolina this November. I promise I won't tweet pictures of myself in my underwear. Probably.

It's time the Fourth District had a representative that cared about the issues our residents face. Someone who is on the ground there every single day, tirelessly working to improve your lives. Someone who only cackled for five minutes at Clemson's recent devastating Orange Bowl loss. As I sit here this evening in my apartment in Michigan, I can't help but think I am that person.

As someone who was born* and raised right here in Greenville, I know what we need in Congress. We need someone who can push for the needs of South Carolina. Someone who will reject the special interests and lobbying efforts of companies (unless they are currently based in or planning to move to our district, in which case contact me about sponsorship deals (I'm looking at you, BMW)). Someone who will ensure our district's dominance of the state, including demanding tribute and territory from lesser districts. Someone who can do her damnedest to step to the current Congress Crazy-Eyes Champion, Rep. Bachmann.

Now I know what you're saying. You think I'm too young, but the Founding Fathers disagree. See, a little document called the Constitution says I'll be old enough to run well before the election itself. Clearly that's all the authority you need. You might think I won't know what I'm doing, but do the current members of the House? In order to promote a more transparent government, I promise not to pretend I have any clue what's going on.

So remember: a vote for me is a vote for a better tomorrow, because hell, it's not like it can get much worse.

*Note: Tragically, my birth certificate was lost in a very small fire. No other copies are available anywhere, so you'll have to trust me on this.