don’t trump us women, again

img_0912

A silver lining of Trump as the republican nominee was that he boasted and embodied the inky underbelly of our United States: bigotry, lies, racism, homophobia and sexism.

With the latter, he exposed what is often invisible to men (and some women, too): a deep hatred of women. Leading up to the election, many male friends (in life and on FB) registered how often they’ve heard or witnessed similar Trump-like sentiments usually when women aren’t present. Many sympathized. Some even admitted to long ago participation, and apologized. Apologized for things they hadn’t quite recognized because it’s so prevalent and praised in how we raise males, and: they’re not on the other side of it—unless they’re gay, that is. Homophobia has everything to do with not being ‘manly.’ It has everything to do with misogyny. What’s the primary painful pejorative for boys/men? You pussy! Fighting words!

Some of us (both genders) did vote for Hillary because she has a vagina even if she was not our valentine. Why? Because the world has been sorely out of balance since the Neolithic Era in terms of male/female energies. It’s long past time. White males have had infinity to do it ‘right’ and yet…

We just wanted a turn. We weren’t even asking for 50/50, more like a slight tip toward the feminine at—hopefully—30/70.

I knew that ANY male who ran against Clinton would beat her. ANY male. This piece I wrote in 2011 discusses race vs. gender in politics:  in the USA, black men got the vote before white women. Sexism always surpasses racism because of its insidious invisible ubiquity eclipsing all nations/races; women live everywhere.

So I believed that any man could win EXCEPT Trump. Because he didn’t just admit to his venom—fill in his dirty laundry list of intolerance and his conclusion that women’s only value is sexual—he bragged about it! He bombasted the shit out of it. He said he could shoot somebody ! and not lose any voters. And he was right.

Yet…none of us are going away, to whatever imagined place ‘away’ would be. Not happening. Sorry/not sorry! The right-wingers may have helped divide us with the Bernie/Hillary/third-party click-bait but I believe we have each others’ backs now no matter who we voted for. Divisiveness won’t win today.

But…less than three days after the election, I again see and hear commentary from defensive white dudes: “not ALL men” and “could we ease up on blaming white males.”

We can’t change any issue—within or without—unless we can identify and name the cause. [see: men can ‘hate’ patriarchy, too] Both women and men are naming it:

  • The world is in this state due to the imbalance of female to male energies.
  • White men are the primary drivers of this lopsidedness.
  • It’s not a criticism; it’s an accurate observation, and a fact.

So men—a plea. We could use your help like you’ve had and still have ours for: labor movements, civil rights demonstrations, LGBT rights, DAPL pipeline. [men have rarely worked for ‘women’s’ causes: ERA, abortion rights, equal pay for equal work on par to us women supporting other social justice issues]

Don’t make us do it without you. We like you and want you as allies. We may be mad at the global mess y’all have made—and keep making—but in most cases it’s not personal. It is however essential to safeguard the earth, to save ourselves.

If you’re not doing “it,” then don’t take it personally; take ACTION. Please stand with us and don’t retreat, returning to the white male whine of “not ALL men” as an excuse not to show up for us. We need the rest & best of you—now—like never before.

catcalling 101

cartoonAll around the planet, females have to fend off catcalling from when we’re toddlers, topsy-turvy teenagers, ‘hot moms,’ middle aged, finally slowing at matron until we’re almost invisible at ‘peri-crone.’

If we’re smirked at, whistled to, insulted, kissed at, patted, pinched, grabbed, sang to, leered at, winked at, had lewd gestures performed in front of us, yelled at, scolded or called names even once a week—after 20 years of that—it’d be overwhelming. For some of us who regularly walk in cities, it’s outside of 10 times a day. Check out this comic strip by Ursa Eyer and especially this 2-minute video of a woman who walked around the NYC for 10 hours (in jeans and a tee-shirt) and was catcalled 10.8 times an hour!! plus, creepily, had one guy silently walk next to her for five minutes!! (exclamation points extremely necessary here)

Besides the obvious intrusions written above, this stuff starts with saying ‘cute’ comments to children, like: S/he’ll be a heart-breaker or You’ll have to beat them off with a stick, are despiritingly objectifying. Kids don’t like it and they feel uncomfortable.

Then there’s the ‘nice harassments’ women endure: You pretty Baby, Don’t you wanna talk? Niiiiicce or the ubiquitous, Smile. This is still harassment. Feeling uneasy while out walking, riding the bus/subway or getting into a store or work makes it that much easier to decide to drive, but if you live in big cities, you often don’t have that choice. Frankly, I’ve even gotten this obnoxious bedeviling while biking.

Hearing the dictum, Smile, arouses anger in me and others. I used to call my regular face “neutral mad face” because if I walked along any street, some wanker would tell me to smile. Why must I smile when I’m out? Lots of men don’t smile while walking and us women don’t command them to show their teeth. There’s a 2 1/2 minute faux public service announcement that gently ‘advises’ us how to view women wearing a “resting bitch face.”

Contrary to media driven messages, my life purpose is NOT to make men happy. None of us are here for your entertainment. I didn’t wear my skirt/shorts/top/yoga pants/jeans/swimsuit for you. I don’t have to smile if I’m not feeling it no matter how much “prettier” I’ll look to you. If you’re male, I’M NOT HERE FOR YOU; it’s not about you. Please leave us be. Say hello to us as you’d talk to a child, a grandmother, a dude, a nun. Wouldn’t talk to them? Then don’t talk to us.

Erin McKean succintly said:

“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.'”

And neither is smiling.

orgasm smorgasm

three-bacchante

You who regularly read this blog know that the Rant-ress is a longtime, happy-to-be-one feminist which is often mistaken for a person who hates men—mostly by men—instead of someone who yearns for justice & parity. Yet—somehow, amazingly—she manages to write critiques about women as well. See: i like a woman who takes “care” of herself or spandex with a side of breasts or you stink!

That said, could we speak about female orgasm* for a few minutes without the specter of “porn-orgasm” that informs many women’s sex lives and fabricates dramatic moments of moaning and panting that are rarely real?

About 10% of females experience Anorgasmia, the inability to ever reach orgasm, but many women who can orgasm only climax about 50 – 70%  of the time, so says the Mayo Clinic, often choosing not to. Or they would choose that if they felt it wouldn’t create insecurity or cognitively disturb their partners.

A recent study illuminated the main reasons women lie:

1. Altruistic deceit (faking out of concern for a partner’s feelings)
2. Fear and insecurity (faking to avoid negative emotions associated with the sexual experience)
3. Elevated arousal (attempting increase one’s own arousal)
4. Sexual adjournment (faking orgasm to end sex)

Women’s sexuality often feels like a barren wasteland of lasciviousness with little sensual delights. Mainly because our erotic life is primarily defined by male sexual tastes, male psychology. And why wouldn’t it be? Until very recently, 97% of ALL MEDIA was male written, produced, directed so most female parts didn’t come from female brains.

Not everyone likes asparagus, wine or even dark chocolate, nor should they, so why should we expect every sexual encounter to be as sumptuous and exceptional as a holiday dinner? Must every meal have a decadent dessert?

Once again, allow things, experiences, people, animals be what they are without enhancement, expectation or disappointment.

So, ladies. It’s crucial that you stop faking and start requesting. If your man can’t/won’t hear you in something as lovely and fun as  lovemaking, he’s not going to listen to you anywhere else. Vacate now. And besides, you’re ruining sex for the rest of us, not just yourself.

You’re inadvertently creating a bunch of clueless men who are already overly indoctrinated by movies, internet and porn into thinking their selfish lovemaking is effective, that all women cum in two minutes, that we moan and writhe and call them “King.” The truth? Some of us like it like this and not that. Some want it smooth or fast or both, take longer or prefer to take longer, and most of us like what we like. One “size” does NOT fit all.

So, you men? Don’t be dimwitted. Admit you don’t know and ask; each women is unique. There’s no ONE technique and no matter who you are, none of you are “King.” Women? Speak. Please! Most of us would like to get our sexual needs met without having to do it ourselves later in the bathroom, and men won’t learn unless we teach them. Stop lying and start laying it out.

*the post is only discussing heterosexual sexuality

if men had to do it…it wouldn’t be being done

If men had to do it

Lately this photo has been circling around social networks. As nice looking as these men are, it could be assumed they’re holding these postures only because they’re comedians; the photo’s amusing and something comedians would do for laughs. But because Carell, Stewart and Colbert are politically minded, they’re illuminating and mocking how women are arranged, twisted and bent to sell things. This photo’s entitled: If Men Had to Do It.

What’s “IT”?

IT is this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

http://www.realbeer.com/blog/images/20060314-stpauli.jpg

And even more disturbing, this:

http://www.mimifroufrou.com/scentedsalamander/images/Dolce-Gabbana-Ad-Sexist.jpg

In most ads, women pose in half-naked, stilted and misshapened positions for others—i.e. men—to eyeball while the male models are usually accomplishing something, are mostly clothed, engaged in an activity, “taking charge” (maybe like the dick above) or working.

Women instead, introspectively gaze off in the distance with almost exposed breasts, maybe unzipped jeans and are often dreamily reclined and arched about on a bed, divan or floor like throw pillows waiting for someone to use them. Or turned into items like the ‘woman-as-beer’ pic above. Urgent alert: women are actually human (see: women aren’t food); we do things, too.

Secondly, females are dismembered components: lips, legs, breasts, butts or headless trunks in a delusional torso type only representative of 3-5% of the female population: non-existent  hips, ample and often artificial breasts, long computer enhanced legs and hairless bodies (see: i like a woman who takes “care” of herself) measured in ounces instead of pounds. Barely joking on that last one.

This faux female image has become the ridiculous ideal for adolescent girls whose brains are just emerging out of the chief childhood Theta brainwave state and aren’t yet capable of decent discernment. That “womanly” depiction lingers long into adulthood primarily because 97% of all media we see is male driven creating this kind of dysfunction: 75% of normal-weight women feel they are overweight, while 80% of 4th graders have done fad diets. See: ‘weighty’ women & “little petty places.”

If we want female reality displayed, we’ll need more gender balance in all aspects and channels of media.

Sometimes, in order to see what’s so ubiquitous and so obvious that IT becomes invisible, we’ll need to reverse IT, like the comics above did.

Next time you leaf through a magazine, watch a beer commercial, view a mannequin, check out a movie, see a billboard, play a video game, and the image of a woman is shown—in whatever distorted or partially clothed state—mentally replace that woman with a male figure.

Go ahead, take your time. What do you see? Sophomoric male fantasies exposed? Women as busty perfumed chattel? Absurdly embarrassing isn’t IT?

For more detailed information see The Gender Ads Project.

UPDATE: Just found this Canadian school project. A short illuminating film. At 2:50, you get to see this gender role reversal played out extremely well: Representation of Gender in Advertising.

UPDATE 2: Men on motorcycles—ooo la la

love, sad, love, sad, love, sad, sad love

Banksy

Valentines Day can be such a pain.

Not because I don’t have a sweetheart (I do), not because I dislike marketing holidays (gawd, I do) and not because I have an aversion to the pudgy winged moppet with a weapon as it’s mascot (yup). It’s because this holiday causes such angst, agony and loneliness—maybe more than being homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. During those holidays, others compassionately invite the forsaken in, churches & charities prepare turkey dinners and gift giving trees for the indigent and the lonely. Everyone—if they want it—has somewhere to go.

On Valentine’s day? Niente, nada, nothing. No Valentine’s philanthropy for the loveless, no support groups for the lost-to-love crowd. Maybe a therapist?

When I teach creative writing in middle or high school, I watch how this lack of a bf creates such distress. The days leading up to Valentine’s, it’s what most girls are discussing and there’s a covert, schizoid scramble to get coupled before the dreaded day hits so you’re not shamefully solo. But it doesn’t end there. Afterwards, the competition is fierce as to who’s boyfriend was better, what he gave, said, sacrificed.

This sends those poor boys who are ofttimes are out of practice when it comes to gifts and shopping running a deranged, commonly last minute dash to get the ‘perfect’ present, do the ideal over the top thing.

Doesn’t differ that much in adults. If I had a nickel for the times I’ve heard men and women feel satisfied about how this holiday panned out—I’m in my 50s—I’d have about 70 cents.

Before this was a marketing holiday, its power to seriously wound was small. Indeed, it was fun, especially as a child. Even if Mary got seven valentines and I got three, it wasn’t sheer devastation though we all knew who the class cootie was. Most of us constructed simple hearts adorned with doilies, glitter and a glued-on desiccated candy hearts professing, “Be Mine” and bestowed them to best friends, family, teachers.

Now, it’s often a contest of size, swank, hip, yuppie-mom-made, dollar store duds or Disney given-equally-to-all. Merchandised ‘love’ is force fed to us continuously from every conceivable outlet weeks ahead. Adults steal every holiday and ruin it. Sigh.

When my kids were little, we’d all make valentine’s for each other—some with poems, some not—all customized. As a kid, my parents did small things, if any, for each other but my mamma would compose a personalized poem for each of my brothers and me, paste them onto red hearts she’d cut out of construction paper and doilies and place them on our plates at the breakfast table before school.

That felt like real love…because it was.

There’s more to loving than just the smitten sort. See help me, I think I’m falling…in “distraction” again for further discussion of the disruption that romantic love causes when elevated above the other three loves.

Maybe cherishing yourself, along with honoring all manner of intimacy might be a better way to venerate love than filling a ‘slot’ with just any person, or turning affection into a competition.

you stink!

Back when I used to puff on two American Spirits a day—and enjoyed every inhalation—I hated second hand smoke and I didn’t particularly care to hug others who smoked. The stink of tobacco in someone’s hair and clothing was/is off-putting. Others must agree or there wouldn’t be so much legislation banning smoking in bars, restaurants, enclosed public spaces and even some parks.

I pretty much despise perfume & “scents” and I’d like similar legislation in place, or at least common sense. I find fragrances just as noxious as smoking, actually more so, since some odoriferous substance glazes most everyone, most everywhere.

Many of the 500 harmful chemicals in perfume are the same chemicals in cigarette smoke, and yet there is no regulation in the fragrance industry. Recent reports suggest that perfumed products affect our health, causing allergies, asthma, headaches & migraines, joint aches, irritability, hormone disruption and interference with sexual desire. Then there’s ‘contact’ allergies where perfumes and scented products trigger eczema and dermatitis when they touch our skin.

Fragrance is used in most cleaning, laundry, and hygiene products along with cat litter, liners, candles, plug-in air “fresheners.” These chemicals go directly into the bloodstream when applied, we absorb them from our clothing, counter tops, etc. and inhale them directly to the brain.

In July of this year, the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety asked perfume manufacturers to list potential allergens in their products. No such regulation in the U.S. but the state of New Hampshire has considered banning state workers from wearing scents to work.

Let’s just leave toxicity aside for the moment. What might smell good to you smells like sweetened death to me, especially if I’m eating. I find a scarce few things more obnoxious than being in a restaurant with epicurean food in front of me and having a woman come in with her date.

Yes women, you are way more guilty of muddling the air than men. I can detect a perfumed person 19 feet before ‘she’ gets near my table. Who can taste their dinner enclosed in a cloud of eau de toilette?

And then: I’m doing Body Pump at the gym with the woman next to me reeking of stale baby powder-like perfume. Who’s she dousing herself for? Between hairspray/gel, deodorant, facial/body creams, makeup, lipstick, laundry residue, ad nauseum, do you really need to add perfume on top of it? Jeezus!

Not many things smell better to me than the organic smell of a baby’s head or a cat who’s just come in from outside in the Fall. Conversely, I’ve never liked leaving a bar smelling like an full ashtray and I sure don’t want to breathe your artificial smell in my hair and in my house after you’ve left.

Be as a child. Be as an animal and bring me delicious ions, ozone or geosmin. Smell as you were born and leave it there. Discontinue poisoning yourself and the rest of us on this ailing earth.

women aren’t food

Alison Bechdel notices a pin-up calendar of a naked woman kneeling provocatively—in her book, Fun Home, Bechdel’s childhood autobiographical graphic novel—and suddenly her 10-ish child self alters. She asks her brother to call her Albert instead of Alison (she looks like a boy) while at the shop because—I believe—she feels exposed and objectified in a way she’d never experienced before. I, too, remember when I became aware of this indelicate difference—at age four—and came home asking my mamma if I could change out of my sundress into pants.

I grew up in the late 50s–60s (think Mad Men) where ogling women and making crude, rude remarks were common place. While married to my ex, he didn’t gawk at women in my presence but I heard from my kids—after we’d divorced—that he “drooled” over women in theirs. The kids mildly heckled him for it until they were older and then told him to stop outright.

What’s the big deal, you ask? He wasn’t really hurting anyone, right? Boys will be boys and all that. “Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t read the menu,” right? Wrong. Girls get the message—reinforced repeatedly and subliminally throughout society and the media—that their true and maybe only power is in being sexy bait instead of the all-encompassing empowered lesson boys receive.

Appreciating beauty, physiques, pecs & six-packs, breasts, art, architecture, nature, food, etc. is normal. But those things are not extensions of you; they’re just things you admire. Like cute kids or cuddly kittens. They exist in their own right. You don’t get to possess or minimize their existence because you desire them.

And speaking of animals, they aren’t just food. They could be food and are in certain circumstances but that’s not who they are intrinsically; they have their own lives and thoughts. If humans only recognize them for this one “service,” then we get heinous CAFOs, chicken “farms” and euphemistically labeled foods: veal, paté.

To perceive females as something one wants to consume suggests we’re commodities not humans. If men only see women in relation to their personal “needs” or desires then we women are spammed up as the main course in sicko porn.

Sexuality, sensuality, eroticism are things I love to participate in, be it “sex with one” or embraces with another. Lecherousness is a whole further level of puke. Who exists as a full being there? We live in an obsessive culture that over-praises sex to the exclusion of other joys or demonizes it to the level of “sin.”

Couldn’t sexuality have it’s own lovely, ordinary, human place? Couldn’t all beings/things on this planet be allowed their own beautiful value without looking for their utility in relation to us?

Begin with women. Practice not ogling; practice not wanting to. Men, if you’re over the age of 25 (maturation of prefrontal cortex), you’ve no excuse. Outgrow it like most men outgrow wanting to party all night, beer guzzling hats, fart jokes, and 20-hour gaming marathons.

In other words, grow the f@#k up.