Archive | Sex, Dating, and Everything Else RSS feed for this section

Nope, My Short Hair Cut Still Isn’t the Same as Rape Thought Catalog

18 Jun

So Thought Catalog published a post by resident asshat and all around terrible person Gavin McInnes back in March that I thankfully missed because my Facebook feed knows better than to recommend posts entitled “Hey, Ladies! Short Hair Is Rape”, “When Is It OK To Hit A Woman?”, and “Having Kids Turns You Into A Complete Fag”. McInnes relies on radically hateful language to bring in audiences. There is no nuance or thought to what he writes. He writes what he does for pure shock value, which I find funny for someone writing for a blog entitled “Thought Catalog”. He insults and rejects his critics by calling them uneducated plebes. It upsets me because I have seen some really interesting and funny content come from this site, but this has me wanting to leave them forever.

So the post, “Hey, Ladies! Short Hair Is Rape”, was offensive enough. The fact that Thought Catalog kept it up and allowed him to post a follow-up “No, Short Hair Is Not Literally Rape, You F#cking Idiots!” was just depressing. I don’t want to link the posts here because I don’t want this man getting any more attention than he has already received. It really doesn’t surprise me that he is a frequent guest on Fox News. Ugh.

Ok so back to the original post. It is the same type of patriarchal, woman hating, rape culture writing that has been blowing up the web and putting me in an all around bad mood over the past few months. Everyone remember the recent slough of bad posts on rape over at the Washington Post? Here’s a reminder. And here.

The title of the post alone suggests that McInnes has no idea what rape means.

So here, Mr. McInnes, is what I have to say to you.

As a survivor of rape who also has friends and loved ones that are survivors of rape let me just say McInnes, you have no idea what you are talking about. So please shut up. Your post was offensive to those of us who are still dealing with the trauma that we overcame. It undercuts and devalues our experience. And that alone should have been enough to warrant a withdrawal of the post, or at least an apology.

You state that when a woman gets her hair cut short that she is “Saying yes to yourself and no to us(men)” which is fine, according to you, if  “You want to check out of society for a year”. I really don’t even know where to begin with this one. As if saying yes to ourselves is a bad thing? Something that warrants hiding away from society? I myself have my hair shaved down at the moment, but that is neither here nor there. The point is women (and men) cut their hair for various reasons that may or may not have anything to do with what you Mr. McInnes, in your very limited world view find attractive. We are autonomous beings that exist outside of what you find attractive. I personally cut my hair because it’s hot as Hades in New Orleans right now and I am training for my second marathon. Short hair is cool hair.1382801_10152309050728957_652875986_n

Also, I feel sexy as hell.

But I don’t need to explain myself to you. That’s not the point. No one harasses you when you choose to cut your hair, grow it out, decide on a beard, opt in for a goatee. Whereas women and women’s bodies are constantly policed. If I decide not to shave my legs for a month I am making a statement. If I then decide to shave my legs I am making an equally powerful statement. I wear a skirt that is too short? I am a slut, I wear a one-piece bikini, I am a prude. I decide to cut off all of my hair and my upstairs neighbors assume my roommate and I are life-partners (true story). A woman cannot make a decision about her body without someone somewhere having something to say about it. Everything we do is valued only as much as men appreciate it. And that is the problem with a patriarchal culture. Well one of the problems. And only one of the problems with your piece McInnes.

You say that my short hair is “More than unattractive. Its rape” And then you follow up by saying “No, Short Hair Is Not Literally Rape, You F#cking Idiots!”. Well let me begin by saying if you really think your audience is that stupid maybe you should be more clear in your language. But also, yes I understood that you were trying to use rape as hyperbole, as a metaphor here. For what, I am not entirely sure. (By the way, when I said New Orleans is hot as Hades right now that was a simile. And a hyperbole. Just to be clear.)

In a culture where women’s bodies are constantly objectified, where men such as yourself seem to think that they have some kind of claim over them, a post such as this only serves to further the idea that consent is some silly slogan those “crazy feminists” throw around, rather than something that is essential for safe and healthy sexual encounters.

You say the definition of rape is being diluted. Rape is and always will be a lack of consent. Don’t forget that. Sometimes rape is coming home to a husband/boyfriend who believes that because you are his wife/girlfriend he is entitled to sex. Sometimes rape is waking up the next morning naked, bruised, and alone with only the haziest of memories of your assault. Sometimes rape is having a family member tell you that it’s your little secret. Sometimes rape is having your employer tell you no one will believe you. Sometimes rape is a group of men on a crowded train with no one intervening. Sometimes rape is an acquaintance, or friend taking advantage of you on a night out. Sometimes rape is the man your family hired to get you across the border assaulting you night after night because he knows that you can’t do anything. And yes sometimes rape is a stranger in a dark alley with a knife. Not to mention countless other scenarios.

So no Mr. McInnes, we are not diluting the definition of rape, we are trying to help survivors understand that what happened to them is not and never will be ok. We are trying to help them receive the support and help that they deserve without being ostracized or blamed by the very institutions put in place to keep them safe.

Rape is not having sex with a girl with short hair. Don’t disparage this very real issue for the sake of getting hits on your half-wit post. It’s not responsible and it’s not funny. I’m not even going to touch on your horific use of the word tranny or your statement that “(men) aren’t intimidated by anything that has a vagina”. I mean, not right now anyway.

Here are some rape jokes, rape satire that work in case you are interested. Maybe you can learn to be funny? I doubt it.

Krew de Lune’s Lunar Lagniappe Party

22 Jan

Friday, January 27, 7pm-11pm

The Rusty Nail Map

This is Fundraiser for Eden House, a two-year residential program designed for women who have been commercially and sexually exploited. The fundraising goal for the second annual Lunar Lagniappe Party is $5,000.

There will be live music by Les Autres, DJ Ann Heatwave: New Orleans, as well as a performance by The Star-Steppin’ Cosmonaughties, and raffle prizes. Advance tickets are available for only $10. Get there early for some complimentary Moon shooters, the specialty mixed shots.

Tickets can be purchased via PayPal by sending $10.00 per ticket to the email krewedelunepayments@gmail.com. Please put your name for will call in the comment section.

Here’s the Facebook event page

Bar Curious: Who REALLY Benefits From Girl-on-Girl Action?

16 Jan

I’ve flipped flopped around this trend again and again over the past few years. The more I read, the more often I change my mind. The trend I’m discussing is straight girls kissing other straight girls.

I used to defend these antics wholeheartedly, freedom of sexual expression and all that. To some degree I still do. There are some very positive repercussions that result from the sexual freedom women feel nowadays. Out are the days of prim and proper behavior expected of young women in Western society (well, for the most part), and in are a new set of standards that allow us to explore our sexuality more openly.

This does two things. One, it allows us to develop our sexuality, to become more comfortable and confident with it. And two, it allows us to explore our sexuality in ways we might not have before. For most women who go to bars or parties and kiss or make out with each other it may be harmless fun, but for others they could be exploring a same-sex interest that they might have been too nervous to sample otherwise. The lighthearted way in which girl-on-girl kissing is treated now allows women to explore this facet of their sexuality in a safe environment that doesn’t necessarily mean a commitment to any kind of label.

Girls KissingIn a study conducted by Verta Taylor and Leila J. Rupp of the University of California, Santa Barbara, the two colleagues discussed what they believed to be the three main reasons girls kiss one another in this fashion. According to Taylor and Rupp, girls kiss one another for attention, out of experimentation, or out of legitimate same-sex desires. This idea is supported by data collected from the National Health and Social Life Survey, which found that less than two percent of women identified as being lesbian or bisexual, but more than eight percent had experienced same-sex desire or participated in a same-sex act.

These results are important, especially when you consider that results for men were almost entirely the opposite. The results suggest a phenomenon that has been coined as “heteroflexibility” among women. The idea is that women are more flexible in their sexuality than men are, and a self-identified straight woman can have a girlfriend for a few years and then go back to dating men — Anne Heche being a perfect example — or vice versa. Sexuality for women is beginning to be understood as more of a situational construct than a rigid one.

So the fact that girls kissing other girls is now accepted so casually is good, at least in this sense. It allows women to explore this “heteroflexibility” in a safe place. Yes, women may be subjecting themselves to the male gaze in order to achieve this expression, but the fact that their kissing is so sexualized by men is what makes it so acceptable. Two straight men kissing one another is never done for “the female gaze.” In fact, it isn’t really done at all. So women are allowed more leeway when it comes to their sexuality, the trade being that they become eroticized images for male viewing pleasure. It’s s a tough patriarchal world in which we live.

Being able to kiss other women without fear of stigmatization can be great and have some wonderful results. Writer Stephanie Gilbert of UCLA’s OutWrite wrote about her own experience kissing straight girls before she chose to come out, “And when she pulled me into the bathroom and closed the door, the realization that our public straight-girl kissing was now private lesbian sex made every drop of degradation worth it.” Experiences like these can be very powerful. Discovering a part of your sexuality that you were unaware of or afraid of in this way can be liberating.

Men At BarHowever, as great as all of that is for exploration and self-discovery, I will say that for the most part I feel like making out between two straight women is generally done for the benefit of the men within viewing distance. I myself am guilty of this. I have kissed or made out with most of my female friends at bars and parties, and I can say that all of these instances have exactly two things in common: The first is that we were always drinking, and the second was that it was always in front of an audience of men. Most of the time we did this to garner free drinks for ourselves. I’m not proud of this, but I was a poor undergrad, and it was a cheap way to get served.

It’s only recently that I have begun to fully understand the concept of the male gaze. I’ve realized that as much I tried to defend my behavior, really all I was doing was demoting myself to a subject for male viewing. I objectified myself in this process, stripping myself of my own autonomy and transforming into a subject solely present for the pleasure of men. Yes, I got some free drinks, but at what other cost?

Also, there is the question of what effect this behavior has on legitimate lesbian couples. Rather than existing as two individuals showing affection toward one another, lesbian couples kissing at bars also become the subjects for male viewing pleasure. And by participating in this behavior, straight women kissing for the male gaze essentially serves to perpetuate this “erotication” and strip lesbian couples of their legitimacy.

In fact, in Taylor and Rupp’s study they found that girls kissing girls was acceptable — up to a point. The women they interviewed seemed to think it was okay for two straight girls to kiss, to even have fun with it, but if the two began to enjoy it in any real way or seem to show any kind of emotional connection beyond the simple physical aspect of the kiss, then the kiss crossed the line from innocent fun to real same-sex tendencies. At this point the kissing left the safe space established for heterosexual participants and ventured into new territory.

One bisexual woman interviewed for the study had this to say about her experience of kissing her girlfriend at a party: “Some guy came up and poured a beer on us and said something like ‘stop kissing her you bitch.’” When the kissing is done for a woman’s own pleasure, it somehow leaves the space of safe experimentation and moves to a place where it represents a threat to male heterosexuality, and that is dangerous. The same woman spoke of how sick she and her girlfriend grew of having men stare at them in bars as they kissed, either cheering them on or wanting to join in. “It gets pretty old.”

Every couple should have the same freedom to express their affection without being denigrated to the level of a lame male fantasy, and I feel like by making out with my friends just to get some free drinks, I am aiding in stripping this right from same-sex couples.

I understand that this behavior is often done simply for fun, but I also think its important for us to understand the repercussions it might have for other women and for ourselves. I am all for exploring one’s sexuality and being okay with it, but I feel that the fact that we have to objectify ourselves in order to establish this safe space is not the way to go about it. If we want to experience real empowerment, we need to be able to explore our sexuality on our own terms without men. It’s a tough issue, one that I think has no clear solution. But at least for me, I feel like I have no business swapping spit with my friends just to get some free drinks or some extra attention.

Hooking Up: Good, Bad, or Something In-Between

1 Jan

My Take on Media’s New Obsession

Ok so let me preface this by stating, I am no PhD. I have never done any sociological studies, or scholarly research. This is just my take on “new” cultural “phenomena”- Hooking up has been around forever, whether today’s boomers want to admit it or not.

I will say, I have read a bit on the issue, which has helped me form some of my beliefs some. By far the most relevant bit I’ve read thus far was one written by Armstrong et al. entitled “Is hooking up bad for young women?”

http://contexts.org/articles/summer-2010/is-hooking-up-bad-for-young-women/

Succinct and to the point this article got closer to my own struggles between dating and hooking up that I faced in college. Also I should probably just for clarity let you know that by “dating” I mean a long term, monogamous (or mostly so) relationships, and by hooking up I mean some kind of casual sexual encounter, including but not limited to friends-with-benefits, fuck buddies, one-night stands, etc.

In college I attempted one actual relationship by my own definition. It ended badly. I personally found that I didn’t have time for it, not that I was willing to admit that at the time. He was a fuck buddy turned boyfriend, with whom I had nothing in common. Feelings can surface when you see someone, even casually, long term. That doesn’t mean you need to date that person.

Anyway, this relationship didn’t work out. I also didn’t take it well. I am woman enough to admit that I was a bit hysterical (I hate that word) after this breakup. But, I got over it. And after I got over it, I returned to the causal sex culture that permeated my campus. And honestly, I was much happier. That’s not to say I never developed feelings for anyone I was involved with after that, that’s also not to say there was never drama. There was, oh boy was there. But it was all at a safe distance emotionally speaking. I recovered quickly, I stayed focused on school, I developed wonderful friendships, and I graduated.

During my undergraduate years, this way of life kept me happy. However, I can’t argue that the hook up culture is right for everyone. I can’t even argue that it is something that would be right for me anymore- but it was at the time. I have friends who didn’t really involve themselves with men (or women) sexually at all in college, and were perfectly happy. I have other friends who dated monogamously long term who were equally as happy. And I have still other friends who were constantly bouncing from one monogamous boyfriend to another. My point is, it’s different for everyone.

That’s the one piece of advice I have continuously given my friends. I had more than one person in undergrad tell me that they admired my blasé attitude towards men and relationships. To them I say- I often admired your relationships. Those relationships just were not things that I could manage at the time. Similarly, some friends attempted to be reckless and wild, and pursue their own casual sexual experiences. I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to experiment, but I think it is important to know yourself before you do so.

Male or female, the hook up culture is not right or healthy for everyone. I have seen more than one friend attempt it only to be crushed later when they realized they weren’t capable of sex without commitment, and couldn’t handle not getting a phone call the next day.

And that’s the hard truth of it. In the casual sex universe, the one rule is- there are no rules. And that’s not for everyone. Sure you can call your beau the next day, but you cannot be sure they will respond. That’s the bitch of it. They might want to canoodle with you again. Then again, they might not. And unless you discussed it beforehand, there really is no ensuring that they will. And you need to brace yourself for this possibility.

Casual sex can be empowering. It can also be lonely. It can be a wonderful way to find yourself and what you like in and out of the bedroom. It can also be awkward and sometimes even dangerous. Assuming your safe in your pursuits, it can be somewhat of an adventure. Sexual encounters with people that you just don’t give a shit about leave you with more freedom to step outside the box, and try some kinky shit. It can be fun. It can sadly also for women leave somewhat to be desired in the orgasm department

It’s pretty well established that its easier for a woman to have an orgasm with someone she cares for, who cares for her, or who at the very least knows her body and what she likes. More often than not, a one-night stand will not meet any of these criteria. The same freedom that leaves you more willing to try some new and adventurous things, leaves your partner less likely to give two-shits whether or not you come to fruition. It’s not a perfect arrangement.

121

But, as was my experience, an ending hook up is a hell of a lot easier to get over than a full blown break-up. They also, at least in theory, take up less time. I never had any friends complaining that I was blowing them off constantly for a guy. I never had to choose between a date and studying. I could blow someone off easily without regret. It can be great.

But once again, it’s all about knowing yourself, knowing your limits, and knowing your needs. For me, that was the best part. I learned what I needed in a relationship. I kissed a whole lot of frogs during my time as an undergrad. It left me with more experience, and let me consider what I would really want and need in an actual relationship.

I’m far from fully developed emotionally in my relationships, but I think after kissing so many frogs I am far better equipped at spotting the good ones- the good ones for me anyway. This casual dating environment let me explore myself without risking too much heartbreak. And while I have left those hazy-crazy nights behind, I don’t’ regret them. I’m not ashamed of them. I understand love and sex more because of them. I understand myself more because of them.

Further Reading

http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/08/28/are-friends-with-benefits-really-friends/

http://lisawadedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/wade-heldman-2012-hooking-up-and-opting-out2.pdf

http://jezebel.com/5959165/researchers-shocked-to-find-that-hookup-culture-is-bullshit

http://www.amazon.com/Unhooked-Young-Women-Pursue-Delay/dp/1594482845

cycpyper

"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations"

Serenity's Ashrama

"Our inner hankering is for satisfaction, happiness, sweetness, love, beauty and mercy." Swami B.R.Sridhar maharaja.

The Ms. Education of Shelby Knox

Musings of a girl revolutionary.

Unsettling America

Decolonization in Theory & Practice

Appalachian Trail Girl

A How-To for Hiker Girls

Mary Griggs

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Dilly Tante

Doing an okay job at lots of things

FatFemPinUp

Always Speak Your Mind, Always Flaunt Your Curves!

Call Me Keira

I'm beginning to accept myself as Transsexual. With this blog I plan to explore what that means for me.

The Fickle Heartbeat

A blog about love or lack thereof

Uncle Tree's House

Putting music to words, and words to pictures ~

APENYO

How she makes her beer money.

Roof Beam Reader

A Place of Books and the Thoughts They Inspire