Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Feminist"

Posted on the PreventConnect Listserv:
Q. You have stated that programs and campaigns involving men should be based on feminist principles. In a society that increasingly sees feminism as an 'F-word', how do you make these principles palatable for general consumption?

On this issue, I wrote the following in my report on violence prevention education in schools, now available here:
http://www.xyonline.net/content/respectful-relationships-education-violence-prevention-and-respectful-relationships-educatio

"Articulating an explicitly feminist understanding may be problematic among some audiences and stakeholders, as there is considerable ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, feminism in the community. While the inclusion of feminist content on gender inequality and sexism is widely seen as necessary for effective programs, there is evidence of resistance among teachers and schools (and students themselves) to feminist approaches. As a result, some programs adopt gender-neutral content and offer individualistic frameworks that neglect social and structural factors sanctioning boys' and men's violence. However, a feminist conceptual framework is essential both to reflect scholarship on violence in relationships and families and to anchor the political commitments of the program."

Best wishes,

michael flood.

I totally agree - embracing the feminist framework is the way that prevention works. Feminism is best practice. But the question asked how. How do we explicitly operate in best practice feminist contexts without losing the participation of those we're trying to reach. How do we challenge the perceptions of feminism, integrate the import of feminist theory and contextualization into prevention education, and not shut down the people who most need to hear the messages (particularly when those are most likely the ones opposed to feminism and clinging to patriarchal privilege)? It's scary to leave the only structure you've know and been socialized to and step into a new world view. How do we move people along as gently and with as much love as possible, without hesitation?

Update: awesome thoughts from another commenter on the list
How do we develop sexual abuse prevention programs that do not
perpetuate the backlash against feminism, women? And why not question, why
is it that feminist principles have to do the work of making it palatable
while being attacked for being feminist? - Danica Anderson

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do Whatever Funky Shit

Here’s the self-improvement book I wanna see: Fuck the Dominant Paradigm: Stop Viewing Yourself in Terms of Dudes, Politics, Religion, Culture, Celebrities, Porn, and Internet Feminists, and Just Do Whatever Funky Shit You Like.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fighting oppressions

CrissLCox and I are having an interesting conversation on twitter that I thought I'd bring here to continue.


So far it's gone like this (used with permission):
DancingGrapes: Why do people think "feminist" means "screw everyone non-woman that's oppressed, we got our own problems"??? feminist=anti-oppression
CrissLCox: Our history is against us. Feminism started as white woman's movement, screw female minorities. We need to work to change it
CrissLCox: For example, in this health care debate, feminists are focused on abortion only. Where are trans women's health care issues?
CrissLCox:We need to make an effort to look outside cis women's needs & actively work for all oppressed groups; change our track record
DancingGrapes: I think feminists already are doing this work! We can always do more but shouldn't be misrepresented as not doing it at all.
CrissLCox: When you're part of the oppressed group, "some" is not good enough, esp when some fem leaders have actively excluded them


I can't (and wouldn't want to) speak for Criss, but I'd like to think through my thoughts out loud a bit and would love to hear more comments.


My general sense of activism has always been: I can't do all, but I can do some. To expound; there are a lot of issues important to feminism and fighting oppression, these all intersect and intertwine - oppressed also oppress, privileged comes and goes, and some are marginalized over and over again. I think all oppression comes from Patriarchy (some would argue that all oppression comes from Class. I think Class is a strategy of the Patriarchy). Therefore, some Feminists are concerned with the Environment, some with Abortion, some with Ability-rights, some with Class, some with Race, some with Orientation, some with Gender, some with Violence, some with ...


All of those are real and important and people really suffer because of the oppression associated with all our -isms (all of which I would argue support the Patriarchy). I recognize this, and support, admire, applaud feminists working against all these things.


But I can't do everything, I can do some things. I still have to live in this world, in this society. I still have to use gas to get to work, and can't always afford organic, and I can't go to every rally. But I spend my day job working against Gender Violence. Specifically Domestic and Sexual Violence. I work really hard against Gender Violence, and I spend a lot of time thinking and learning about it - but I still don't understand everything even in my little segment of the movement. And I know I know less about trans rights and disability and race and orientation. I've had varying exposure to each, but I feel like my role is to realize how little I know about each and to respect those who know more to lead the way.


I don't know much, for example, about Trans Rights (which I mention here, to be clear, because I understand it to be a part of feminism, deserving of advocacy, and trans-women as women). There are others who know FAR more, and know it from experience. It would be inauthentic, and not helpful for me to think my privileged allows me to comment. But I can read what these people are writing. I can support them in inclusion to Health Care Reform. I can feel the loss when someone is brutalized because of their body.


I think these things are all feminism, I think that we're all working towards the same end (of Patriarchy), but I know I can't do it on my own - so I'm looking to all my compatriots to help out, and I'll recognize where it's time to support others from the background rather than stand always on the stage.


What do you think? Is it really all or nothing? How do you negotiate your role(s) in the world? How do you navigate all the forms of oppression and all the struggles that need voice? What am I missing? I just know that we have to do this together, because sacrificing some for the benefit of others doesn't eliminate the problem, only by all working together can we come to an end that actually changes the world.

Update: GenderBitch wrote a post in response to this on specialization vs intersection. Read the post (and my comment). This ended up being surprisingly emotional for me. I'm thinking about it more so this definitely won't be the end of the conversation (I hope). 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Feminist Thanksgiving



While the holiday itself may not be based in the most feminist of histories, I appreciate the opportunity to take pause and realize in the blur of every day all the wonderful people, places and things all around.

Danine, of Danine.net gave us in the Super Secret Feminist Blog Alliance (whom I'm SUPER thankful for!) the opportunity to give our feminist thanks. While mine is certainly not the most articulate, it's lovely to hear of inspiring feminists and feminism happening and inspiring from locally to globally.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Burning List

This may be my guiding list for the new year.

I would have added:
Another Roadside Attraction - Tom Robbins
The Little Prince - Antoine Saint-Exupery
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

What books do you recommend?

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's changed?

So often I'm struck hard in the face with how much work there's still to be done. People confusing exploitation with empowerment, victim blaming, slut shaming, hating on women (or any minority), for blaming "othered" religions for violence rather than institutions that train men to kill.....

It gets hard to think about all the accomplishments that are happening along side. So when The Undomestic Goddess asked readers to "describe one thing that has changed for women from 1960 to present and how it has affected you." I took it as an opportunity to reflect on something positive. So here's my response (and put out good vibes for me to win the raffle for Gail Collins new book When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to Present.)

My boyfriend woke up this morning to make me coffee and breakfast while I got ready for work. He's spending the day buying groceries and cleaning the house. I'm spending the day in an ALL female office. And I have no plans of marrying him.


So thanks to all the feminists that have vastly improved my ability to live. I hope my work will only continue the successes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gendered Halloween

So we know that Halloween and "slutty" have become synonymous for most girls. I know this, it hurts me, I refuse to participate, but I'm tired of reading about it. What else is new? So I tend to skip over articles re: gender dichotomy in Halloween costumes (tho there's much to be said in terms of bringing the socialization to light, and highlighting our "others"). If you're not familiar with this - it's perfectly described in the Mean Girls clip below.




However this comment which just came to me on a listserv sparked a bit of a lightbulb moment for me, and I was excited so I'm sharing:
Last night I noticed that very few of the young guys dressed up; they were in their usual garb of extra-wide, extra-long pants and t-shirts and jacket.
But I was amazed to see so many young women dressed and made up like prostitutes. There certainly wasn't much variety with the young women.
- Barbara Passero

The observation being not that all the boys are violent and all the girls are slutty, but that girls were the only ones dressing up at all! Are we at a point when creativity AT ALL is no longer masculine-acceptable?

Ballerina & Cat in the Hat

I went out this Halloween w/ boys(men) who were SO excited to get dressed up! One was thrilled for the opportunity to wear makeup and escape the "gay" slurs. Are younger boys now not even allowed the one night of the year where they can be expressive and creative instead of "cool"?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guest Post

“I’m an artist and a community organizer, and I believe in peace and love, and I believe we need to keep putting our stuff out there; it puts out the intention for a bigger reality.”
-Shannya Sollitt

I have a post up at Small Strokes for the October Salon: What Feminism means to me. Enjoy and comment!!

*Complements of the Super Secret Feminist Blogging Alliance!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Body Image, Vanity, and Privilege



I spend a good portion of my (white, privileged) day talking to young girls and women (mostly white, privileged) about how the world is only concerned with their bodies. How their bodies look - not what they can do. How their bodies are flawed, and what products and services (surgeries) they need to correct their bodies. How their bodies must be (as Twisty calls it) beauty2k compliant, which of course means their bodies must be attractive to men.

I spend a good portion of my day talking to girls and women about how they are more than what they look like. They are more than how their bodies are judged. I spend massive air time talking about how we could appreciate our bodies for what they are capable of. We could appreciate ourselves for what we're capable of. Advertising be damned, we could be human whether or not we're beauty2k compliant.

And then I read this post from Womanist Musings this morning; an open letter of sorts to the Jolie-Pitts (actually really just to Angelina, there didn't seem to be the sense that Brad should do the hair care for the girls) telling them that Zahara's hair is a mess, and that equals bad/racist/privileged/ignorant parenting. (She's not the only one - Google Zahara Jolie Pitt Hair)

So I read this post and I kept fluctuating between "I'm white and privileged so what do I know" and "maybe Zahara's family doesn't care about her hair because they care about her person instead." We're talking about a little girl. From what I hear an active, happy, engaging little girl. Maybe she doesn't want her hair done. Maybe she'd rather run around and play then worry about how she looks.

I have read (I couldn't know) that Black hair matters. I know that we live in a racist culture that politicizes and judges Black women by their hair. But we also live in a sexist culture, one that demands women (and girls) look a certain way (read: attractive to men). I can't help but think that to break free of the racist and sexist cultures must be liberating. Black or not - FUCK what people think about your hair, or your lips, boobs, ass. What if WE as a culture cared more about what girls (of any race) can or want to DO?

While it's valid that the Jolie-Pitts may be lacking in some cultural understandings, this doesn't convince me that because something is culturally true that it's right. Musings may be right that Zahara may be faced in the future with judgment about her hair, which may be the fault of her white parents not understanding how to care for Black hair. But I would like to imagine that in those moments of Judgment Zahara would respond. FUCK what you think about my hair, I'm a whole person, and that would show me that perhaps her parents gave her more than styling cream.

*In related news, Chris Rock comes out with a documentary called Good Hair this week stemming from a conversation with his young daughter who wished she had her friends "good hair".

Update: Gender Across Borders saw Good Hair and has a review up raising some really pertinent points about authenticity (and privilege!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dating feminist

I posted awhile back on my thoughts about dating feminist. Or more specifically, what it meant to me to be dating a feminist - or not. Ultimately, I thought while feminism's important to me, this man was too and it wasn't something he was ready for. We've talked about it more, and for me it's really been about honoring his process, whether that lead to the word Feminist or not.

SO! Imagine my excitement when I flip to the latest in The UnDomestic 10 - a fellow feminist blogger's series of 10 questions on the status of women and girls. (My answers went up yesterday) and there's my shiny, happy boyfriend (wearing my favorite shirt which he stole and now takes insolent pictures of to torture me.) He's funny and honest and endearing - and he calls himself a feminist. I'm a lucky gal!

For more JonBeard awesomeness read some of his poetry.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Well look at me!

Takin' this show on the road. Check me out at the UndomesticGoddess answering her 10 questions on feminism! Leave love!

Another delight complements of the Super Secret Feminist Blogging Alliance!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick Hit

Hey! My first ever blogging guest post is up! Check out my thoughts on feminist blogging at Small Strokes and leave me some love in comments!

Brought to you by the super secret feminist blogging alliance!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let there be peace on earth...

Today is the International Day of Peace and for my part, I'm going to spend some time today thinking about how I can be more peaceful in my own life. What can I do to become more peaceful as I deal with roommates, colleagues, Northeastern telemarketers asking me for more money (I seriously wish we COULD give up first born children as payment).

I'm going to reflect today on all of the times and moments I spend - even just in my head - being violent or negative about myself or others. I'm going to think about ways to replace those with understanding and peace.

I'm going to think about the work I do and the movements I'm in and all the slogans ("if you're not angry you're not paying attention", describing the movement as "the fight")and how these phrases create thoughts and actions that do not stem from peace.

I'm going to think about how I can each day take the time to feel peaceful instead of frantic.

Let it begin with me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nice Guys

Kate Harding via Salon

Because we're taught to be polite, submissive, and generous even when men are making us uncomfortable, we automatically reach for the "nice guy, but..." out. Then the guys convince themselves that "nice" is a dirty word, and charlatans like Steele profit from telling men who hate, fear and objectify women, who feel entitled to women's bodies and enraged when they're denied access, that they just need to stop being so gosh darned nice to women. And then one of them snaps and starts killing women he describes as not even looking human to him, and we're all like, "Huh, didn't see that coming. "

As long as Pickup Artists keep conning insecure men into believing that hatred of women is the hallmark of a real man, and women still have reason to feel it's too risky "to completely and utterly shut down" men who make them uncomfortable, I guess all we can do is hope there aren't too many more "Nice Guys" out there with guns.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quoted

A vulva might have aspirations that rise above being photographed by some perv for public display on his perv web page. Aspirations, for example, that do not involve complicity in perpetual availability for pornsick voyeurism. A vulva might want to just hang around. Hit the links. Go to a museum. Menstruate. Enjoy a taco. Chillax on the chaise with a marg and a copy of I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew.

A photograph of a disembodied vulva is not, as is one of an elbow or a nostril, a politically or socially neutral concept. It is the graphic representation of the universal belief that women = sex, and a symbol of male dominance in a rape culture. And naturally it is customary, in the world of oppressive human endeavor, to imagine that beauty attends that endeavor, so that one may justify the oppression.


She gives me warm fuzzies!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Intersex

So in essence you'd like for people to think of sex in the same way that we think of hair color, or eye color, or other sorts of physiological traits.

Exactly. We might say two people have brown eyes but that doesn't mean that they're brown in exactly the same way, or what is seen through those eyes is the same.

In the book you argue that we need to think of sex as being fun -- and not just for reproduction. What does that have to do with the intersex?


We have mutilated thousands of children a year [through genital surgery], and parents and physicians have felt the drive to do that because their No. 1 goal is to maintain reproductive function. If we think the sole function of genitalia is reproduction, then nonreproductive genitalia is, in some sense, a bad thing and something needs to be done about it. If we think that genitals serve a lot of functions beyond reproduction, maybe we wouldn't feel like it was so necessary to try to make people look alike.


Full article here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I am a feminist.


I was scrolling through Could You Date a Man Who Didn't Call Himself a Feminist?. The article itself was disappointing, but I was excited to see it because I am dating a man who doesn't call himself a feminist. He is a feminist. He just doesn't use the word. And it bothers me. Just like it bothers me that people working in feminist organizations, literally devoting their lives to feminism (almost hostilely) reject "feminist". Just like it bothers me when I hear their justifications, like this comment from the article: "I would never attach the feminist label to myself, people already do enough labeling to each other so why do it to yourself."

Here's the thing. Labels are powerful. People place labels on others because it works. And it's powerful to subvert the meaning - make it dirty - in order to shame people away from their work. If no one wants to be labeled a feminist then patriarchy can continue on it's happily oppressive ways. It is powerful to label yourself in the ways in which the world will see you. And feminism is powerful - but it's being co-opted and "re-branded" by people who are not feminist. Of course it has a bad rap and it happens because of 3 things:
1. Feminists are too afraid of the backlash to take on the label.
2. Non-feminists get to then articulate the definition. Then it becomes not what it is (the theory that women are human beings in their own right) but what it isn't (women who are humorless/loud/bitchy/man-haters/home wreakers/ugly....).
3. Women who are not feminist take the label and further pervert the theory. (You can not be feminist and be anti-choice. If you think women are not capable of agency in their body then you do not believe in their inherent human-ness.)

I can't do a lot about what anti-feminists do to smear the label, but I can own it, wear it proudly, and demonstrate that THIS is what a feminist looks like. And if there's a backlash, that is part of my responsibility to the movement to take on.

I am a feminist. More specifically a Radical, Anti-porn Feminist. So bring on the backlash.

*Image from OneAngryGirl.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Resolutions 09

Six month update!
Some of these probably only other people can respond to...

Have more patience and lower expectations of people
I've had several great opportunities to address conflict and (I think, at least) have been really successful at engaging with patience, compassion and a focus on addressing the issue, not winning.
Assume the positive
I've been trying to moderate better. Deciding to engage based on what the outcome might be (a fight or a conversation). When I do engage, I've really been working at more ethical communication, learning opportunities, articulating clearly, etc.
Be more proactive and dedicated
Go camping at least 5 times

Have gone camping once. I might make the argument it should count for more...I can't believe I didn't blog about our winter camping experience!
Pay down debt
It won't happen as quickly as I'd like, but I still have no credit card debt, and have upped the monthly payment on one student loan.
Grow an herb garden
I have 3 tomatoes, 2 peppers, an onion, mixed greens, 6 basil, chives and parsley. These were all starters from Molly. I have not been successful in any herbs from seed (which Liz later demanded). They sprout, then die, then sprout. I may try one more time.
Read one book a month
Female Chauvinist Pigs, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Villa Incognito, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Never Let You Go, Woman's Diaries of the Westward Journey, and various unfinished attempts. (on track!)
Expand social circle
We tend to find then lose people. At least we're trying.
Write (and follow) a budget
so far this year I am ~$200 in the red. This may be from one of my unfortunate interactions with the Man giving me tickets, from unexpected tooth extraction...LOVE pearbudget
Stop buying crap-
yea...still a work in progress. clothes, mostly. But it is in progress.
Work on my picture face

Not great, but I've been more willing to try. I feel as though this is half the battle.
Talk less
right.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quoted

"According to PP, my PP does not have any STDs...so i'm gonna go running, finish your CD, maybe go look for a tie, and praise my penis for being so clean"

Clean AND clever! I'm so proud of my boyfriend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pot: a brief history

Work email from colleague

Subject Line: FW: How Online Pornography Affects Your Marriage

Text: Something that came in the garbage mail; but thought that with your interest in pornography you might want to see.

Attached image:


To clarify - I do not have an interest in pornography as a consumer, but as an anti-porn feminist. See Dworkin, Twisty, Jensen, etc.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

__ like me



"The youngster wanted to see if the President's haircut felt like his own." From The White House Flickr

Because when we do that -- when we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe -- that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.
Commencement Address to Notre Dame 2009

Important Questions

Judi sent you a message.

Subject: boyfriend?

"boyfriend? WHAT boyfriend? I don't know about a BOYFRIEND! What is going on????? THIS sounds GREAT. I like this story, but I need to know more. What is his name? Where/how did you meet? Does he go to Burning Man? Is he a Feminist? Can he eat as much as you? Where does he live? Where did he grow up? More....How long has this been going on? Where have I been? I miss all the good stuff."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Groupies

Snakes in the Toilet!

When I was a kid this literally was my biggest fear - that either a snake or bees would be in the toilet when I went at night and would get me. Interestingly this was never a fear for me when peeing outside...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Feminist Men

Marc via the Feministing Community illustrates in 10 (not so) easy steps how (and why) to be a good feminist man.

The Abbreviated:
1.) Look for your internal sexism (it's there)
2.) Feminism is personal AND political
3.) "Don't expect a cookie" (LOVE it!)
4.) Give up your privilege (it's there)
5.) Listen to women without agenda (not to formulate a counter argument)
6.) Walk a mile
7.) Your sex matters
8.) Down in front
9.) You're doing something because it's right, not because you're a hero
10.) Work with men

Your sister's sturdy vagina

Went to a cake decorating class last week. Learned how to work with gum paste. Made gum paste vulva (complete with clitoral flower representation and anatomically correct layers). Instructor less than impressed with vulval gum paste.

Giving gum paste vulva to sister. Showed boyfriend. Boyfriend spends day talking about "your sister's vagina". :/

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Letter to Twisty

Readers know my intellectual, one-sided love affair with Twisty Faster. I fantasize about eating tacos with her and Robert Jensen and listening to the master of patriarchy blame. Today the blaming got to be too much for me to do alone, and regular sympathizers in my physical realm are not sympathizing. So I wrote Twisty an email.

Dear Twisty,
My full time job is talking about the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence, raising awareness of the rape culture, insisting that men's violence against women isn't a myth (like unicorns), and desperately trying to convince children to blame the patriarchy. I do this in middle schools, high schools, universities, community forums, employers, health fairs, conferences, coalitions...

[...]College is the only college within my catchment area.

The Assistant Director of the Center for Women and Gender, and the Sexual Assault Awareness Program Coordinator at [...] College moonlight on the weekends as (self described) "Promo Girls". You know - the ladies who are paid to use their sexualized bodies to pass out light sticks that advertise alcohol. You know, alcohol - the number one drug used to facilitate sexual assault. Sexual Assault - the crime that never gets prosecuted because people will just want to know why you were drinking and dressed like a whore/sex object in the public sphere in the first place.

The A.D. informed me of this when on this fifth of May I was presenting to a group of 8th graders at the college on the sexualized images of women in the media and how we as girls have minimal direction in how to grow up as anything other than sexualized objects perpetuated by society at large and alcohol ads in particular. A.D. then wondered if I may see her out later celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Jose Cuervo.

HOW are girls supposed to grow up not fucked?

Also I'm reading Robert Jensen and if you ever flip through Pornography and the End of Masculinity in the bathroom I'd love to hear your review!

Love,
Kate

Caulking out Patriachy

You know that thing you really enjoy doing? The thing that gives you the illusion that your life has meaning? With me, it’s sitting around looking at bugs with their butts stuck together. With you, it’s probably weaving god’s eyes out of rainbow yarn or something. Well, whatever it is, do it all the time, and with a sort of vengeance. Because the more you focus your lobe on shit that has actual philosophic value, the fewer the lobal chinks through which New York Times Bestselling Authors can slither.
-Twisty

The Rubber Rose Circus

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Feeling Famous

PreventConnect just RT (retweeted) me!!

preventconnect: instead on "engaging men & boys" should we consider "addressing masculiniities" instead? This opens opportunities to be inclusive
DancingGrapes: @preventconnect: exactly - masculinity is the problem, not individual boys and men!
preventconnect: RT @DancingGrapes: @preventconnect: exactly - masculinity is the problem, not individual boys and men!

So excited!

Women's Health Hero - VOTE!

So I mentioned my friend Julie nominating me as her Women's Health Hero. I did not realize what a big deal this thing is! There are some mad awesome women that have been nominated, including Feministing! I'm again so blown away to be listed in the same space as these warriors for the cause(s)!

I also did not realize there is a voting system - so while I do not have the readership of my incredible contemporaries, please go vote so I don't get shut out! And then take some time to appreciate all the incredible work going on out there!

Update: Winners are announced! What awesome things are happening in the world!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Women's Health Hero

My friend Julie - one of the most energetic and good hearted people I've met - nominated me as her Women's Health Hero for Our Bodies, Ourselves. Below is the video interview she sent that made me tear up. I feel really lucky and honored that a woman who's been such an inspiration and awesome experience to me felt the same!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Quoted

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
- James Thurber

Saturday, April 4, 2009

BurningMan

My home village at the burn was Entheon which planned and built the temple shown in this slideshow. My crew and I help build, put together crystals, and guide burners through the space.



Cool thing to be a part of, however if you notice toward the end the center lotus with the Machu Picchu crystal, picture Dianna declaring "this feels a little like 'get your own crystal, White Man!'"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This is Rape

Hey y'all! Most know I work on sexual and partner violence prevention in my real life. I also have a blog about it, and while I try to separate the content of the two blogs - this general and that specific - I encourage all to check out both. I'm making an effort to update more frequently and will try not to always cross-post, but I really think (selfishly!) that they're worth browsing. Besides, what else are you going to do?! Work??

Peace!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3.29.09

You may feel as if Destiny is calling today, even if you already have other plans on your schedule. You might be resistant to making major changes in your life now, especially if it's currently holding together well. But you can feel the pressure from within and know that you must eventually follow your heart. There's no need to turn everything upside down right away; work to maintain the structures that support you while you also explore new and meaningful avenues of expression.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quoted

The radical feminist lesbian aliens are so mighty-mighty that they’re all “Fuck all yall rapist motherfuckers!” And off they biff to Earth — which, you remember, is barely more than a smouldering radioactive rock — where they fix the biosphere and live for a couple of centuries in an idyllic paradise with sentient bungalows, giant technicolor butterflies, margarita-mixing robots, talking dogs, and free healthcare.

-Twisty Faster. Sci-Fi author!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Clumsy Art

I look forward to reading PostSecret every Sunday. While it feels a little voyeuristic, it also makes us all seem a little more human. Using a medium which allows such layers of distance between us to own our secret vulnerabilities seems really honest to me. I also like to take the opportunity to connect with the experiences and honor the feelings that people keep secret, recognizing them resonating, appreciating the creativity and catharsis that people put in to letting go of their secrets and then clearing each week to be replaced with new. Anyway, these are two I've especially liked recently.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm alone because I'm comfortable in my skin.

I either get asked or told all the time why I don't date. My answer every day might be a little bit different, but it always feels like for some reason because I'm young and because I'm a girl I have to defend why I don't have a date on Saturday nights. While this list is by a woman at a different stage in life, I like the mix of answers from insecurities to independence, and I like to think that I'm in good company. Single but not alone.

Why I'm Alone
Lea Lane

People have asked me why, eight years after my husband died I'm still alone. Here are a few reasons I can come up with.

I'm alone because unlike men, when a woman reaches a certain age, no matter the packaging, she seems to pass her shelf date.

I'm alone because I find myself sitting in front of the computer, and three hours later I look up and the sun is down and it's too late to ask someone to go out to dinner, so I spread some cream cheese and mild salsa on wheat crackers and watch Olbermann. And I'm fine with it.

I'm alone because I married a special man twelve years older than I and he died and I'm told it's off-putting to be a widow who loved a special man.

I'm alone because I can stand it and even sometimes like it, so I won't go out and beat the bushes for some nice enough fellow who votes Republican and belches so loud I jump, but who doesn't make me smile enough to put up with strange noises and smells.

I'm alone because I 'm now used to getting up when I want and drinking from the juice bottles and not shaving my legs and leaving dishes from the night before on my bed and getting up at 3am and seeing a movie and going back to bed at 5am and not hearing a word of scorn.

I'm alone because I don't want a bikini wax.

I'm alone because I had an aunt I admired when I was a child. Her name was Hilda, and she drove a pink Caddy with fins and carried a pistol and had blonde hair and was a Harlem slumlord. She lived alone after my Uncle Arty died. She ate out at the Jaeger House in Yorkville and the waiter knew she liked Pinch neat and a veal chop, and she traveled by herself to Bermuda and it all seemed so glamorous.

I'm alone because no one wants to hang out with somebody who might take off at any minute for Zanzibar and leave them to take care of the cat.

I'm alone because that cat rubs against me and sits next to me and and follows my around all day and sleeps with me all night, and feels like a small furry man when she spoons my legs. So I don't feel alone.

I'm alone because I have friends who laugh and go out to concerts and play Scrabble and keep me occupied when I want to go out and we seem to laugh more than our married friends and we even look happier, even if we aren't, but I suspect we might be, at least more so than many.

I'm alone because I like movies and I can now get them in my home and I don't even have to see a movie at the Multiplex anymore, which I hated to do.

I'm alone because I had cancer and I don't think it's fair to me or a date because if I like someone I can understand why he won't want to take a chance yet, so I avoid dating.

I'm alone because I'm independent and outspoken and most men don't much care for women who debate them and who don't hope to get married and cook for them.

I'm alone because my libido doesn't itch much lately. And if it does, I can scratch it myself, thank you very much.

I'm alone because I have an iPhone that I can play with anywhere I go to keep me company.

I'm alone because grandchildren provide the passion, and I long for them like I longed for a lover.

I'm alone because Huffpost gives me a place to vent anytime, day or night, and the company is better than I'd find in a bar.

I'm alone because I'm satisfied that I've sowed enough oats to make oatmeal for the New York Yankees and the Knicks and still have some left over to feed the Miami Chamber Orchestra and the waitstaff at Joe's Stone Crab, with a few spoonfuls to spare.

I'm alone because I don't want to be nurse for the men who still run after me, who can't even run.

I'm alone because I don't want my heart broken again.

I'm alone because I don't find it easy to trust.

I'm alone because I choose not to get on the Internet because it's humiliating to be turned down by someone I have no interest in when ten years ago I wouldn't have been turned down by that person, or even one I did have interest in.

I'm alone because I have exceptional memories and dreams that I return to when I want a thrill, and some of the memories are X-rated.

I'm alone because I'm comfortable in my skin.

I'm alone because I have a website called sololady and if I wasn't solo I'd have to get another domain name.

I'm alone because my friends don't introduce me to anyone anymore because they know that unlike some women my age who will settle for a male mammal with white whiskers, I want a bit more.

I'm alone because life doesn't always wind up the way you expect it to, and it wound up this way for me, and I roll with it.

I'm alone. I'm a solo lady. Alone, but not lonely.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Love

To read on a bad day.
And now, so long since that fateful night, looking across the dinner table at my wife, or seeing her across the room at a party, the hopeless crush I have on her is as wonderfully out of control as when I first saw her more than four decades ago through the screen door. I still get excited after work when I pull in the driveway and know that I’ll soon get to see the sexy, beautiful, very funny person I live with. And, later on, snuggle up to her in bed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I <3 Twisty

One of the lights of my life is Twisty Faster Knowing that she exists in the world helps me sleep at night. Just a few of my favorite lines from her latest:

Am I glad that my mother didn’t think I was a blastocyst and a parasitic growth that she had to suffer through? Well, Lonni, I’m afraid my mother did think that I was a blastocyst and a parasitic growth that she had to suffer through. She still does. But the larger point is that, had she elected to excise the clump of cells that would eventually become the low-status, subhuman spinster aunt you see before you, I would have had no views on the subject either way, for the simple reason that I would not have existed. Neither parasitic growths nor non-existent spinster aunts possess the capacity for opinion.

Am I moved by “the pictures of an aborted baby”? Because it is so cute and tiny? And its cute tininess should be all the evidence necessary to rationalize the annexation of my uterus and the subjugation of my person?

No, I am not moved. As several blamers pointed out yesterday, even if you call the body-snatcher a baby, if it is leeching off my personal internal organs, and if having it there displeases me for any reason whatsoever, and the only way to get it out is to kill it, then kill it I will. When another entity appropriates sovereignty over my person, what am I but a slave? As a human being, I object unconditionally to enslavement, for me or for anyone else.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Boys and Abortion

It's been a source of lingering shock to me that when we talk about abortion we NEVER talk about boys. Hello - girls don't knock themselves up, it takes two to tango so why does the abortion-drama happen entirely in womanland? The only men I see actively involved are the ones protesting outside the clinic (a conversation for another day)or the ones crying "but doesn't the father get a choice!?! (even writing that gets me sort of heated up). But I found this article Roe vs. Wade vs. My Boyfriend and it makes a little more sense. Not more sense that we don't talk about the boys involved, but more sense about why it's not always safe to take the convo out of womanland. Some lack of empathy, some disconnect between saying the words "I believe it's a woman's choice" (or not) and actually dealing with the physical and emotional reality of an abortion. It's like the difference between knowing that girls get their period and seeing the actual uterine lining.

It was simply something that happened to me, and I shared it with my friends like I would've shared any other story. It would have felt wrong not to. My female friends laughed when I laughed, commiserated when I needed it and treated the procedure as lightheartedly as I did. That's all I wanted. To be able to define my own experience, not the other way around.

But there was a palpable discomfort when I had the same conversation with men. For the guys I was dating, the idea of a vacuum-like apparatus being the last visitor in my vagina was more troubling than if it had been, say, Stalin's penis. Even die-hard liberals who would wax on about a woman's right to choose were downright uncomfortable when actually presented with a woman who chose.

My friend Allie was warned. When she'd had an abortion a year before me, she was treated by a sweet, tattooed, hippie nurse practitioner who provided her with some advice: "Do you have a boyfriend? Maybe don't tell boys. Sometimes boys don't know how to deal with this."


Jezebel's Megan wonders if it's not the maturity that comes from the experience of being in an actual long term relationship that privy's men to the inner workings of our female pipes, but I wonder if it's only in the best of relationships that the honest, open, communication gets to the point of seeing used tampons. I wonder if unfortunately (seriously - unfortunately)far too many men don't get enough of an education about "icky girl stuff". I wonder if men don't need to do some more research.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Barefeet


I just went outside barefoot for the first time this year. Someone told me they saw a robin.


I think spring's coming :)

Update: The window at the gym was open!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A short reading list

The personal is political. The choices you make affect others in the world. But when something happens to you - when someone makes a choice that affects you it's ok to choose what's best for you above everything else. I think that in cases of domestic and sexual violence it is not the responsibility of the victim to take on the weight of the world. Sometimes it is up to us who have been lucky to be political while those who haven't take time to heal. My Sexual Assault is Not Your Political Issue

It is our responsibility, us who have been lucky, to take on systems that traumatize victims. To advocate those who have been silenced. It takes all of us to fight systems of our nation that are unjust. Change is slow so it is also our responsibility to be honest to victims (Open Letter to Rihanna)about what comes next (a different perspective)

An older article about domestic violencewithin and without of hip hop

Annual national census on domestic violence.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saint Valentine's Day

I really like Valentine's day and related festivities so I'm trying to revel in them without letting those Valentine nay-sayers bring me down (difficult task for a pisces!) People who hate Valentine's are lame. So lame they can only repeat the same three excuses which I now intent to eviscerate now.

1. "Valentine's is just a consumerist ploy based purely on the marketing evil-geniuses at Hallmark, Russel Stover and 1-800-flower."
Get a life. You can boycott consumerism and still make special effort to be grateful for all the love in your life - romantic or otherwise. Its a consumerist holiday because y'all are too damn lazy to be imaginative and creative to come up with an original and thoughtful gift that you make yourself. Dumbass.

2. "I'm loving and awesome all the time why should I be peer pressured into doing anything nice on this particular day?"
It is not an excuse that you show love other times of the year. Like Thanksgiving, you should be thankful all year, or mothers day, you should love your mom all year, but there's one day designated to make sure we take pause in our busy lives and make sure that those who matter to us know it and feel it, whether you show it with flowers and chocolate or a handmade card and a kiss. Plus - if that's your line of bullshit then I would wager you in fact are not as nice and sweet as you claim but are instead a prick.

3. "Valentine's day is lame because I have no mans"
LOVE is all around. You just can't see it because you're so focused on one kind.

4. The bottom line is that if it matters to your parter it should matter to you because S/HE matters. So whether or not you think flowers symbolize your feelings, you should take into consideration if s/he thinks flowers symbolize your feelings and do it for the sole fact that it will make her happy. Stop complaining and being selfish and annoying and do something for someone else. Or at least don't do it around me.

Happy Valentine's!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kate the Great is no more

This is a sad story. You may recall a defeated yet optimistic post 6 months ago. Optimistic because it was a mere 6 months until the next release of the worlds (second) best and fantastically named beer and this time I would be prepared. I had my spies on the prowl, and I had determination in my heart. Unfortunately my spies took a new job in Manchester last month and refused to take a day off to stand in line and get me a pint of the world's greatest birthday present. And so my life remains incomplete.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

UVScene!

My first official post is up on the UVScene. I'm on Thirsty Thursdays this month. Check it out!

thank god you're old

The Phyllis Schlafly Report on NEA Resolutions. As my friend said “at least she’s closer to death than youth”. It’s old but the definitions are amazing!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Resolutions 09

It's 10am on January 30th. I'm already $2.03 over my February drinking budget. ($1.65 over in Jan). While not entirely my fault - these tend to be the result of picking up group tabs - I may have under-budgeted for alcohol...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Poop

I'm pretty sure my roommate's don't stop having fun when I'm not around. This makes it difficult to get things done. I yelled in to Liz this evening about the "cleanliness" of her bathroom. She was talking to her parents on Skype. Apparently her father appreciates my sense of humor but Bill's right. I should stop talking about poop.

PS I love you...

I found a card that is funny and have a person in mind to send it to. But I can't figure out how to sign it.
less than "love"
more than "sincerely"
hearts and xo's seem foolish

Why is there no middle ground of affection in signatures?? Post suggestions in comments...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Collected Links

Porn Industry needs a bail out because apparently congress has "a responsibility to restore sexual health" to America. Thru porn. No thanks. Admittedly a clever publicity stunt, and perhaps some cultural satire. None the less, these men make me feel ill about the state of the world.

Walmart taking over an animated chart of the US Walmart explosion.

Interesting article on a capitalist movementaway from ownership and towards access, where we will no longer own, but pay to have access to "communal" digital commodities. I may be verging on radical enough to disagree with the theoretical concept of ownership - especially as it mutates to include people and relationships as property - but see what you think.

Finally, you may be aware of my issues with the marketing scheme of Gardasil brand vaccine, and the larger issue of contraception and STI protection being primarily the responsibility of the woman. Apparently there's now a request into the FDA to make the vaccine approved for men. I'll be interested to see what kind of cancer they use in that commercial. I sense that penile, anal or throat cancer are going to be less tasteful than cervical cancer. Think they'll come right out and say it stops warts???

Ridin in your car feelin like a star

Friday night pattycake

matching hats
drying the drool




It was Friday night and we're young and single. So we went cosmic bowling at the place attached to the strip joint. They wouldn't let us drink in the candlepin lanes because that's the family friendly space.

Made a visit to Salt Hill, helped a lady find her black shirt.

But I have to say, by far the highlight of the night, for me at least, was sitting in our laundry room/bathroom on the floor playing patty cake, trying to remember the words to Miss Susie, and throwing back some Pepto.

miss susie had a steamboat
the steamboat had a bell
miss susie went to heaven
the steamboat went to
hello operater
give me number nine
if you dissconect me
ill cut off your
behind the frigerator
there was a peice of glass
miss susie sat upon it and broke her big fat
ask me no more questions
tell me no more lies
the boys were in the bathroom
zipping up there
flys are in the meadow
and the bees r in there hives.
miss susie and her boyfriend
were kissing in the
d.a.r.k d.a.r.k.
dark dark dark
darker than the ocean
darker than the sea
darker then the underwear
my mother gave to me

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dad on his underpants


"I don't wear tighty-whities. I wear wild, colorful, exciting, chic, flamboyant, dazzling, glamorous, luxurious, ostentatious drawers that reflect my personality."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Resolutions 09

9 Methods for Mastering Your Money in 2009
Research for resolution #s 5, 9 and 10...Also the PearBudget spreadsheet linked at the bottom is what I've used to set up my budget and it's awesome! I'm keeping track just to see all the equations work!