God’s Gifts Should Come With Gift Receipts

24 Jan

There have been many things I’ve seen in the past month or two that made me think, “I should write about that,” but I knew it would just take one really provocative headline to piss me off enough to help me break this silence and get back to blogging. Well people of the web – here’s the headline that pushed me over the edge:

“Rick  Santorum On Opposition To Abortion In Cases of Rape: ‘Make The Best Out Of A Bad Situation.'”

At first, I thought maybe this was a joke headline, a sort of Onion type piece. As soon as I started reading it I realized that I was sadly mistaken.

This man is in a position where he could possibly be the next President of the United States and he has the audacity to say that if a woman who was raped becomes pregnant as a result of that rape, that the fetus is a “gift from God.” Where the heck was god when she was getting raped? Where was he while this man was using and abusing her body against her will? This is a major issue I have with religion, God seems to never be held accountable for the tragic things that happen. Or if he is – he’s said to have some great plan and that our terrible tragedy is  just a part of the puzzle. Forgive me father, but I call bullshit. 

What does Rick Santorum not understand about the sick nature of being raped, then forced against your will to carry and give birth to your rapist’s offspring? He then says,

“it was still a gift from God, even if given in a broken way.”

Calling it “broken” is just a very nice way of saying raped.

Santorum also goes on to say that Obama’s support of women’s reproductive rights are “radical and extreme.” This came in response to the following statement released from President Obama on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade:

“As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue — no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

Radical and Extreme? Really? What scares me the most is that people are actually buying this crap that Santorum is spewing (no pun intended).

Any woman who votes for Rick Santorum is directly voting against her own interests. How is it possible, that in 2012, there are still women out there who don’t realize this?

To any woman out there who votes for Rick Santorum, make sure you start carrying a condom on the same keychain as your pepper spray or your rape whistle. In the event that you are ever raped, it can’t hurt to ask your rapist to put it on. Oh wait, I forgot . . . Santorum doesn’t believe in contraception either. Damn, looks like you better just cross your fingers and hope that God doesn’t pick that moment to give you one of his wonderful gifts.

It’s getting to the point where I can’t even look at Rick Santorum without getting sick to my stomach. Ugh.

Healthy Is The New Skinny

19 Sep

Love this message from Healthy is the New Skinny. Check them out if you haven’t already!

 

 

Check out their new promo piece HERE! It’s awesome! Or watch it below!

Perception

7 Sep

I received the following story this morning in one of those “forward to 10 people and something good will happen to you” emails. After reading it I realized that this story needed to be shared with way more than 10 people. Feel free to share it with your friends, the message really moved me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SITUATION

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man (above) with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
  After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged USD 200 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito (not being recognised) in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:


  • In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? 
  • If so, do we stop to appreciate it? 
  • Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?


One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:


If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Bubba The Love Sponge & Spice are Feminists at Heart

25 Aug

[this is a cross post from SlutWalkTampa.com]

Just got back from an incredible radio interview on the Bubba The Love Sponge show on 102.5. I was slightly nervous at first because I know of their reputation for being jokers. This is such a serious cause and I didn’t want it portrayed in any kind of bad light. I felt like I had the weight of the whole movement on my shoulders and I didn’t want to let everyone down.

Come to find out, I had absolutely NO reason to worry. They were fantastic! 

I’d like to point out that they are the ONLY radio show that has invited us on and offered to promote the cause, let alone make a HUGE and crucial $500 donation! So, yes, they may be just like high school boys, full of testosterone and ready to go “6 to midnight” at the drop of a hat, but they are a group of men who deserve the utmost respect for their generosity and ability to bring serious issues to the table in a way that makes them fun and titillating. THEN – to add even more excitement, Shawn M. from Friends and Family Support Center called in and donated an additional $500! I was on cloud nine!

If you didn’t hear the interview you can listen to it below!

Thank you again to Bubba the Love Sponge, Spice and the rest of their crew. There’s now a whole bunch of SlutWalk love that’s been soaked up in the Bubba sponge!

Click HERE to Listen to the SlutWalk on Bubba The Love Sponge Interview!

FYI Congressman West: us feminists have no interest in neutering your gender.

29 Jun

Sometimes I hear politicians say things, and I wonder how anyone can actually believe the shit that comes out of their mouths. I realize this video is from April, but I just saw it for the first time last weekend at the NOW National Conference and I had to respond.

In this video, Congressmen Allen West (R-FL) urges his female supporters to come together to tell the “Planned Parenthood Women” and “Code Pink Women who have been neutering American men”, that the Women for West are “not going to have their men become subservient”. He tells them that if they don’t come together to stop the Liberal Women that the “debt will continue to grow”. I swear I’m not making this up, have a look for yourself:

 

 

First, he makes these wild accusations, bashing “liberal women” for neutering men then turns right back around and calls on “his” women to “lock shields and come together to strengthen the men that will go in to the fight” for them. Wow – great game strategy Mr. West – what a way to enabling that “mean girl” mentality and pit women against other women.

And what is this 1910? Why are us women supposed to just sit around in our “Women for West” t-shirts, strengthening up the men so they can “go in to the fight” for us? Frankly, I don’t want you anywhere near my fight with that kind of attitude.

When I posted this link on facebook, a friend of mine, Hugo Schwyzer – an amazing feminst, women’s studies professor, and blogger (definitely check out his site) – commented this:

“How the hell do I still have my balls after all these years as a male feminist? **checks scrotum** **checks politics**”

We need more men like him in this world. He reassuringly said, “men like him are a dying breed, just taking a long time to go extinct.”

Obviously, Congressmen Allen West knows nothing about feminists and the feminist movement. The very last thing we want to do is to neuter men. I don’t want my men to be subservient, but I don’t want them to be dominant either. I want my men to stand with me – next to me – by my side as my equal.

I’ve got news for you Mr. West – real men don’t have to denigrate women in order to make themselves look better or to win elections.

Since When Are Pedophile Rape Jokes Funny?

28 Jun

I ref men’s league hockey games at a few of the nearby rinks. I’ve heard some pretty shitty stuff on the ice. Everything from insulting me because I’m a female official – to sexist jokes about players skills on the ice. Last night what I heard was, by far, the worst, most disturbing and disgusting thing I’ve ever heard – not just while officiating either. It pretty much takes the cake for one of the sickest comments ever.

This guy (who’s lucky that I don’t know his name and that he can only be identified by his jersey that read HPPB in bright pink letters. He told me it stood for Hot Pink Panda Bears) skates over to the bench in between plays. Behind their bench were two little girls, one maybe 6 the other about 10. The younger one was sleeping in the bleachers, wrapped up from head to toe in a blanket. I said to the guys on the bench, “Well, someone’s kids are out past their bedtime!” It was an 11:15pm game.

The guy in the HPPB jersey says, “Oh those are my kids.”

He was really young – like maybe 25 so I replied, “No they’re not – are they really?”

He says, “Yea, I have 6 kids.” I don’t believe him, and he offers to show me pictures.

Now I can tell he’s full of shit and making all this up cause him and his teammates are all starting to giggle like little boys. I jokingly said to him, “Haven’t you heard of birth control?” At this point, play was going the other direction so I had to skate away.

He waits till the next face-off and skates over to tell me this story. This is where it goes from funny to sick REAL fast.

He goes, “Let me tell you what happened. So, I took my 7 year old daughter to the doctor. Everything was great – the doctor said she was fine. And I asked him, ‘Hey doc, do you think I can get her some birth control?’ and the doctor said ‘What?! For you daughter? She’s only 7 years old, you mean to tell me she’s already sexually active?’ and I looked at the doctor and said, ‘No way, are you kidding? She just lays there . . . just like her mother does.'”

I had absolutely NO idea what to say to him. I think what came out of my mouth was something like, “Your fucking sick. I should give you a penalty just for telling that joke.” (Which was a totally lame response, but come on I was shocked.)

He actively sought me out, half way across the ice, to come tell me a sick joke about him having sex with his 7 year old daughter. He honestly thought I would think it was funny!

I do have to give the guys on his team credit though, the ones that heard him tell it all made remarks about how they thought it was sick. A few minutes later in the game my partner called a penalty on him and as I skated by him in the box I told him it was karma for telling sick pedophile rape jokes. Then I told him he needed to change the HPPB on his jersey to HPDB for douche-bag.

I guess maybe I’m less offended by sexist or racist jokes, because we hear them so much more often. And I guess I should be just as offended by those too. But what could possibly make ANYONE think a joke about having sex with your 7 year old daughter is even the slightest bit funny. I don’t understand that.

He told that joke to the wrong feminist . . .

I Support the SlutWalk Movement Because I Believe

24 Jun

If you’ve read any of my last few posts, you already know that I’m really involved with and excited about the Tampa SlutWalk. Before I offered to get the ball rolling in Tampa, I thought long and hard about what my personal beliefs were regarding SlutWalk. I know that Tampa is a slightly conservative area, and that we might come up against a lot of criticism. What I also know, is this is a cause I believe in and personally know many women and men who’ve been affected by sexual assault. That alone, was enough for me to offer to take on such a huge project.

When I first heard about SlutWalk I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about it. I tend to be someone who watches and listens to put the pieces together before I jump in. And before I jumped in with my thought’s on the SlutWalks I wanted to make absolutely sure I had a good grasp on the idea of the movement as well as my own feelings and thoughts about it. I wanted to have the knowledge to articulate exactly why I’m supporting the SlutWalk movement. After tons of reading and lots of discussions with many people, here’s what I now know.

What’s in a Name

I have a background in and a love for marketing and creative design. And I know, better than most, the best way to make your product stand out is to be different. In todays world, of intense, non-stop advertising, sometimes the only way to stand out is to shock people. I believe one of the reasons SlutWalk has been such an amazing, world-wide movement is because of it’s name. If it take’s a slightly confrontational, shocking word, to get people to listen to the message – then so be it. I’d be willing to bet this movement wouldn’t have gained half the momentum it has, had it been called, “women stand united” or something similarly passive. (Plus, “slut” is exactly the word that the police officer used and it was just as shocking when it came out of his mouth.) Our generation is rooted in extreme ideas. We enjoy making waves and we like to feel that we helped create change. We tend to have a cult-like mentality and we feel good about belonging to a community that we can identify with. I would expect nothing less from our generation, than this shocking, powerful, global movement that SlutWalk has become.

The Definition of ‘slut’

Slut – noun
1. a dirty, slovenly (untidy or unclean) woman.
2. an immoral (not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted) or dissolute (indifferent to moral restraints) woman

When I read this I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment. If ‘slut’ is partly described as being immoral and not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted – and part of the SlutWalk movement is to change the way we think about women and sexuality, then if we were successful in changing that mentality, ‘slut’ would have a completely different meaning. When did ‘slut’ become synonymous with women who have a fulfulling and abundant sex life. Oh, right, when society deemed it conduct that wasn’t acceptable. Go figure . . .

Gail Dines, an anti-porn activist wrote in a an article for the Guardian:

The term slut is so deeply rooted in the patriarchal “madonna/whore” view of women’s sexuality that it is beyond redemption. The word is so saturated with the ideology that female sexual energy deserves punishment that trying to change its meaning is a waste of precious feminist resources.

Wait, what? Isn’t that exactly what our feminist resources should be used for? What if they had said that about women fighting for their right to vote? Or about women being in the military. Or about Title IX. Those are all so rooted in patriarchal views and yet women fought for and overcame them too. Our fight for sexual autonomy deserves every bit of strength our feminist resources have to offer.

Gail Dines believes that encouraging women to be more “sluttish” will not change the reality that there are people that are still “blaming [women] for their own victimisation no matter what they do.”

I don’t believe the goal of SlutWalk is to encourage women to be more “sluttish.” The goal, at least from my perspective, is to encourage our society to embrace and accept  women’s healthy sexuality, to not shame them or make them feel guilty about the fact that they are sexual beings, and to do all of this free of negative judgement. Then, stemming from that mentality, if a woman IS sexually assaulted, her sexual history and sexual choices she makes for herself are never to blame for why she was assaulted.

If you are a woman, you have definitely been called a slut at least once in your life. (actually, I’d be shocked if it was only once) Maybe you were called this as an insult, as a joke, or maybe you don’t even know it was said about you. Whatever the reason, I guarantee every woman has been called a slut before, and the majority of the time it’s meant to hurt. Every step we take toward women having accepting, shameless, healthy sexuality (even if it’s just a baby step), forces the word ‘slut’ to lose a little bit of it’s power. Then what’s expected and accepted of women will change, in turn, leaving ‘slut’ with a completely different meaning.

I can’t think of another effort, from my generation, that has had as much force as the SlutWalk movement, to take those steps in the right direction for women. For that reason, I am supporting SlutWalk.

We’re Not Promoting ‘Bad’ Fashion

I’ve really wanted to address this part of the SlutWalk movement for a while now, but until now, I’ve struggled with how to write it effectively. When I first blogged about the remarks that the Toronto Police officer said, someone responded by asking me if I would encourage my daughter (if I ever have one) to dress ‘slutty’. Here lies another problem with our definition of the word ‘slut’ and telling women not to dress like one.

What is considered ‘slutty’ and who gets to decide what clothes are too ‘slutty’. A mini-skirt and a halter top? Jeans and a t-shirt? Tight yoga pants and a tank-top? It’s all culturally constructed and so very much tied to personal opinion and taste, that trying to define what ‘slutty’ looks like is absolutely absurd.

When I was younger, my mom took me to a Brittany Spears concert. It was right about the time Brittany had made her debut and ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ was a huge hit. This was the time in my adolescence, that all young girls go through – the “I want to be sexy” stage (no thanks to girls like Brittany Spears) where you sneak clothes to school and put make-up on in the school bathroom so your parents won’t know (we thought we were so rebellious). I remember two girls walking up the stairs to their seats and my mom said to me, “Can you see the difference in their outfits?” Honestly, I can’t remember exactly what they were wearing, but the idea was that one girl was in a really skimpy,”slutty” little outfit and the other was in a really pretty, “sexy” outfit. The point she was trying to make, is that there is a way to look hot and attractive without looking trashy. BUT – if you choose to look trashy that’s up to you and you don’t have to look trashy/slutty to look sexy. (On the other hand, even trashy has a sexual connotation and is open to judgment just like slutty.)

I don’t think anyone would argue with the fact that we see fashion disasters every day. We see sexy gone terribly trashy, and weird and unique go totally sexy and even trashy has gone sexy (look at Lady GaGa, she shocks us every time she puts something new on). Part of the beauty about living in 2011 is that we get to experiment and express ourselves in a variety of different ways. If you choose to go with what’s considered “slutty”, you should still be able to expect the same level of personal safety as someone who went with a burka (which I guess in some cultures may even be considered sexy).

My mom commented on an awesome vlog about this topic. (I highly recommend watching it.) This is what she said,

“If I AM dressing to look hot and possibly attract a man, the choice of man is MINE, and limited to the men who have a MUTUAL (meaning reciprocal or shared) attraction to me. It doesn’t mean that all men think I’m hot or vice versa.”

So, in response to the original question, if my daughter wanted to go somewhere looking ‘slutty’, I would do my best to show her the difference between dressing ‘classy’ and dressing ‘trashy’. But only because it’s good fashion sense and not because she should fear for her safety if she chooses to dress ‘trashy’/’slutty’.

Because I Believe that Crimes of Fashion are not Punishable by Rape 

I’m supporting SlutWalk because I believe in healthy, positive sexual autonomy for all people. Because I believe in freedom of fashion without the fear of sexual assault. I believe in a world where the only people we blame for sexual assault, are the people committing the assault. Because I believe that men are much better than the standard that victim-blaming and rape apologists set for them. Because I believe in the power our feminist resources have to change the world. I know that too many men and women are being sexually assaulted on a daily basis and that makes me sick, sad and angry. Because I believe that as a culture we can do better. I believe that we can come together, despite our differences, to create a movement that will improve the way we think and forever change the victim-blaming, slut-shaming mentality of the culture we live in. And because I believe the SlutWalk movement has the potential to create a better world for ourselves, our sisters, our daughters and even our daughter’s daughters. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.