Friday, July 31, 2009

True man haters are NOT feminists

I was online and randomly came cross this image. It was coincidental since I had just finished posting about how feminists are not man haters. I suppose I should add that there are indeed people who claim to be feminists but are clearly not.





I decided to type the words "man hater" into google to see what came up. Here is an example of what I found.

(zazzle.com)
I saw this shirt from a site called Zazzle.com. I mention it here so you will know to stay clear of the site. The site not only sold several man-hating themed shirts but I also spotted a shirt that said, "not all feminists are man hating dykes!" So, not only is this website promoting sexism against men but also homophobia. They are not defending feminists but rather suggesting that lesbians are not merely gay but they are "dykes."

I also came across a website called Manhater.org The site claims it is aimed towards "ultra radical womyn united against phalloppresion." I was a bit confused as most of the site seems to be written in a language I do not understand. When I clicked on the "contact us" link I was directed to a message that read,

"If you are a hardcore feminist female, you are permitted to use this form to contact Man Hater. If you are not, DON'T BOTHER; you are inferior, and there is you could ever say or think or do – aside from mutilating your putrid genitals with a chainsaw – that is remotely interesting to us."

I noticed that the site's suggested mandatory..or rather "myndatory" reading included S.C.U.M (society for cutting up men) Manifesto by Valerie Solanas. Valerie Solanas was a woman who attempted to get her writings noticed, published and transformed into a play through Andy Warhol. Her story is brilliantly portrayed through the acting skills of Lili Taylor in the film I Shot Andy Warhol. Solanas worked as a prostitute but strived as a writer. In her book S.C.U.M she writes, "The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene, that is, it has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples."

Lastly I found this video on youtube. The clip is from a former Dr. Phil episode. If you read my post on Dick Masterson the self proclaimed male chauvenist you may have seen this woman as well.

Shirley - Self Proclaimed Man Hater

This woman shames male chuavenists but she is just as sexist towards men. I don't understand how she doesn't see her own contradiction. This woman's views are quite extreme and I feel pretty certain that these feelings come from hurt and fear. She reveals that she had been married twice. She obviously wanted to love and I can't help but wonder if she would continue to love if she found someone who she could connect with on a healthy and stable level.

While I am disappointed in Shirley's views I am not wildly upset with her. I very much sense fear and hurt behind her anger and I think that those are the key factors that lie behind the passion and anger of other man haters.

I do not accept sexist thought and behavior of any kind and believe that sexist men and women need to be educated. Unfortunately not all persons are open to such a dialogue. It is something that cannot be forced upon another. I encourage anyone who eagerly desires to enlighten another, to do so with patience, empathy and a gentle nature. I believe it is important to understand your own motives for wanting to educate. Do you simply want to be right? Or do you want that person to benefit? This is advice I give to myself.

Study reveals (GASP!) feminists are not man haters!



Here is the abstract from Psychology of Women Quarterly (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122352953/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0).

Despite the popular belief that feminists dislike men, few studies have actually examined the empirical accuracy of this stereotype. The present study examined self-identified feminists' and nonfeminists' attitudes toward men. An ethnically diverse sample (N = 488) of college students responded to statements from the Ambivalence toward Men Inventory (AMI; Glick & Fiske, 1999). Contrary to popular beliefs, feminists reported lower levels of hostility toward men than did nonfeminists. The persistence of the myth of the man-hating feminist is explored.

It is unclear to me as to why researchers felt the need to conduct a study to determine that feminists do not hate men. In fact, according to the study it has been determined that "'non-feminists believe in traditional gender roles such as men being breadwinners and women being caregivers. At the same time, these non-feminists actually appear to resent the confines of the traditional roles they advocate, which presents a paradox for women and men in traditional heterosexual relationships,' says researcher Melinda Kanner."

I give a warm nod and wink to Feministing.com for posting information on this study.

Cotton Candy Cupcakes!

I learned that there is a national cotton candy day. Man, is there are day designated for everything? Well, the day is officially on December 7th. Well, we've all got time to prepare don't we? I say let's do it cupcake style! I will use any excuse for cupcakes :) Here's some inspiration.





(hoosierhomemade.com)
Cupcakes topped with Cotton Candy Pop Rocks



Cotton Candy Peep Cupcakes by Retro Bakery in Las Vegas




Cotton Candy Cupcakes - Thing 1 and Thing 2 Cupcakes based on Dr. Seuss characters



Cotton Candy Cupcake by Retro Bakery in Las Vegas
Vanilla cake topped with pink cotton candybuttercream and blue glitter sugar!



Cotton Candy Cupcakes by CakeSpy

Wanna try to make the above cupakes? I think I might. Here's the recipe from Cakespy.com

Yellow Cupcakes (cake recipe only via foodnetwork.com):
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • cupcake liners

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixer with a whip attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs and mix in well. Sift together the dry ingredients; then mix into the butter mixture alternating with the milk. Pour batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and firm in the center and light golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool. (Freeze at this point, if necessary.)


Cotton Candy Buttercream Frosting (adapted from this recipe)

Makes enough frosting for 24 cupcakes
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups Confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 1 handful cotton candy (we used this prepackaged kind), broken into small pieces, plus another handful for garnish
  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla.
  3. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
  5. Add a few drops of red food coloring and mix thoroughly til it's a desired shade of pink.
  6. Stir in the small pieces of cotton candy, stirring until incorporated. It may melt a little bit into the frosting; this is ok.
  7. Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.
  8. Optional topping: tear off chunks of cotton candy and use as garnish; do this last step immediately before serving, because it will wilt if left out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Team Hoyt: The Ultimate Motivating Duo

Some of you may be familiar with this pair. At work this brief film was shown to offer general inspiration and motivation. It was very touching and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Take a look for yourself.


Team Hoyt - The story of Dick and Rick Hoyt

For more information visit http://www.teamhoyt.com

From the website...

Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races. And if they’re not in a marathon they are in a triathlon — that daunting, almost superhuman, combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.

It’s a remarkable record of exertion — all the more so when you consider that Rick can't walk or talk.

For the past twenty five years or more Dick, who is 65, has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines. When Dick runs, Rick is in a wheelchair that Dick is pushing. When Dick cycles, Rick is in the seat-pod from his wheelchair, attached to the front of the bike. When Dick swims, Rick is in a small but heavy, firmly stabilized boat being pulled by Dick.

At Rick’s birth in 1962 the umbilical cord coiled around his neck and cut off oxygen to his brain. Dick and his wife, Judy, were told that there would be no hope for their child’s development.

"It’s been a story of exclusion ever since he was born," Dick told me. "When he was eight months old the doctors told us we should just put him away — he’d be a vegetable all his life, that sort of thing. Well those doctors are not alive any more, but I would like them to be able to see Rick now."

Sex Toy Art by Sarah Sharp

The images below are part of an art exhibit that is being held at Toys in Babeland in New York City, New York. I live in California so I cannot attend.

In a previous post I wrote a bit about the Babeland toy store. It is a women friendly, sex educating toy store that not only sells toys but hosts workshops. The staff are super friendly and the stores are clean, attractive and inviting.

I enjoy the photos below as I think it is valuable to see the art, beauty and humor in our bodies.
Here Sarah Sharp uses imagery that is often perceived as sexual but transforms it into something silly and even cute. I think this is actually a concept of great importance.

For instance. Rather than viewing the penis as a power tool which is often the way our culture markets it...I think here we see an image that is much more humble. Rather than promoting power, control, ego and dominance these images seem are inviting rather than threatening. I have no idea if that is what the artists attempted to do with her pieces but it is what I am getting out of them.

For more information on Toys In Babeland, go to http://www.babeland.com


Hugs the Curve by Sarah Sharp



Cockblocking by Sarah Sharp

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama and Cupcakes!

News article from The News & Reporter (newsobserver.com)

Cupcake shop owner introduces Obama



Raleigh businesswoman Sara Coleman introduced President Barack Obama Wednesday.

Coleman left Johnson & Johnson to start the Cupcake Shoppe Bakery on Glenwood Avenue, not far from Broughton High School, where the town hall meeting was taking place.

The business has 10 employees and cannot provide health care insurance to them because she can't afford it. She said it's difficult to compete for employees against businesses that do offer health insurance.

Obama thanked Coleman for the introduction and told the audience that she gave him a T-shirt from her shop, but no cupcakes.

"I know I've been talking about health care a lot, but I think cupcakes are good for your health," Obama said to laughter.

According to a liveblog at USA Today, , Obama said tax cuts are helping people buy "cupcakes and other necessities of life."


Since we're on the subject of Obama and cupcakes I thought I'd add a photo of an Obama cupcake. :)


Made by Trophy Cakes in Seattle, WA

Monday, July 27, 2009

Men that want dolls not women


Guys and Dolls Documentary

I saw a documentary that was posted on AppetiteForEqualRights.blogspot.com entitled Guys and Dolls. The documentary features men who engage in relationship with life like sex dolls. A strange and disappointing phenomenon to say the least.

The doll website allows an individual to create their ideal "woman". Pubic hair costs extra and can be made of actual donated pubic hair. While many of the men in the documentary speak more so about their need for companionship than sex, the website itself features its dolls posed in erotic and stereotypically enticing positions. The site looks very much like something from a porn website or magazine. Some of the dolls are quite frightening in that they are ill proportioned with teeny waists and HUGE breasts. But of course men are able to modify what they like.

One of the men in the documentary makes a comment that speaks to one of the reasons why I think pornography is unhealthy. He mentions that if he is aroused he can simply take out one of his dolls and have sex with it. He acknowledges that this cannot happen with a woman as she "has a brain" and one must ask her if she would like to have sex. Part of the appeal of pornography and these dolls is that the man has complete control. It's about dominance not just about fear of rejection or inadequacy. So, what happens is that the man forge confidence by trading a healthy social life with a solitary one with his doll. I'm not sure how many men are aware that their are objectifying women through this practice. Those who are aware seem to ignore that fact and go on with it as their desire and loneliness takes over.

I find it interesting to watch the men paint lipstick on the woman and dress them. It's an activity that many of us think is reserved for small children. I also find it interesting to hear some of the names the men give their dolls. The only occasions I've ever really heard men speak of female names they enjoy is when they are considering a name for a soon to be daughter.

The doll website sells male dolls as well. I think it would be interesting if the documentary featured women that are interested in male dolls, men that are interested in male dolls and women that are interested in women dolls.

To be honest I have some sympathy for these men. While I do not agree with their behaviors and I do think that they need to understand that this practice is unhealthy, I do think that they must be in a lot of pain. I don't think most people start out with the desire to engage with a synthetic toy. I think that most people desire human contact, human acceptance, human love, and human compassion. These men have felt so lonely that they not only have sex with the dolls but they attempt to have some sort of relationship with them.

When I saw this documentary I was reminded of a great movie, Lars and the Real Girl. The movie stars Ryan Gosling, an actor who's work I greatly admire. In the film Gosling plays a young man who is quirky, kind and shy. He begins dating a sex doll, however there is no mention or insinuation of sex being had in the film. The doll actually does not believe in pre-marital sex. Gosling's character "dates" his new "girlfriend" and does so in response to some inner turmoil. In an attempt to appease him, the entire town decides to pretend that this doll is real.



In my view, the film has more to do with emotional and psychological needs than some odd fetish. I think that this is the case with the men in the Guys and Dolls documentary.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Judith Leiber Cupcake Purses


Like this? Well if you are willing to pay over $4,000 for it, it's yours. This creation is from purse designer Judith Leiber.


If it looks familiar you may have seen it in the 2008 film Sex and the City: The Movie


Chocolate?


Or how about Vanilla frosting with a flower?

Cupcake Furniture for you and yours


Cupcake Chair for your pet from Petfavors.net


If you head over to http://www.jellio.com you'll find some interesting cupcake themed items. Here is a cupcake coffee table. It comes in many different colors and costs $750! Too expensive for me and as much as I love cupcakes I don't know if this is for me. But this is fun so I thought I'd post it.


At the same website you can purchase a cupcake chair for $900. It also comes in a variety of colors.

Coldstone Ice Cream Cupcakes


Ice Cream Cupcakes

It's been a long time since I've been to Cold Stone Creamery but I just learned about their ice cream cupcakes. They look incredibly rich and I think my teeth are rotting just be looking at this advertisement. If anyone wants to split one, I'm game!

What is happiness? What Place Does it Have in Therapy Practices? What Place Does it Have in Our Lives?

Are you happy? How happy are you? How would you define happiness?

As a person in the mental health profession these are some questions I have asked myself. In therapy today most professionals focus on the pain and pathology of the client. It is rare that a therapist will blatantly put the pursuit of happiness on the agenda. However, there is a relatively knew movement in the psychology world that focuses on positivity. "Positive therapists" focus on the strengths of a client. For example if a person is an alcoholic the therapist will focus on their resiliency rather than their short comings or set backs. A very strength based approach.

Now, while strength based practice isn't anything new for us social workers - whether you are a clinical social worker or a medical social worker, etc., it isn't always readily practiced in all areas of mental health.

For example. According to a 2007 Harvard Magazine article, The Science of Happiness,
"the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, the clinical “bible” of psychiatry and clinical psychology, “has 500,000 lines of text. There are thousands of lines on anxiety and depression, and hundreds of lines on terror, shame, guilt, anger, and fear. But there are only five lines on hope, one line on joy, and not a single line on compassion, forgiveness, or love."

Psychiatrists are often stereotyped as doctors that do not provide good therapy. Some do not provide therapy at all. Initially this was a surprise to me as they undergo so much schooling. Be that as it may, many clients visit a therapist for their emotional needs and a psychiatrist for their pharmaceutical needs. I think that shrinks could benefit from offering positive therapy.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if a client could be weaned off of their medications? This is not always possible but I think positive therapy could assist in that pursuit.

Our forefathers and mothers of psychology often told us that we are subject to stimuli and innate drives. Freud for example (or "Sigy" as one of my grad school professors once referred to him) believed that we humans are slaves to two drives. Sex and aggression. That's limiting if you ask me. Not to mention depressing.

I was recently re-reading some of the Dalai Lama's, Art of Happiness. He says that the desire for happiness is actually an innate drive. Should we take the word of a Buddhist teacher who has not expertise in the field of psychology? We can make up our own minds but his belief sparks some bigger questions. As humans do we desire happiness consistently? Perhaps if we don't have enough of it?

In the 2007 Harvard Magazine article, Psychologist Daniel Gilbert says, “Well, of course we don’t get as much of it as we want. But we’re not supposed to be happy all the time. We want that, but nature designed us to have emotions for a reason. Emotions are a primitive signaling system. They’re how your brain tells you if you’re doing things that enhance—or diminish—your survival chances. What good is a compass if it’s always stuck on north? It must be able to fluctuate. You’re supposed to be moving through these emotional states. If someone offers you a pill that makes you happy 100 percent of the time, you should run fast in the other direction. It’s not good to feel happy in a dark alley at night. Happiness is a noun, so we think it’s something we can own. But happiness is a place to visit, not a place to live. It’s like the child’s idea that if you drive far and fast enough you can get to the horizon—no, the horizon’s not a place you get to.”

So, what makes us happy? I think most of us have heard or know from personal experiences that wealth doesn't always make us happy. Rich people may seem to have it all but that isn't always the case. Many studies say that friendship and companionship is higher on the list than anything else.

But we are not all the same. What about the clinically depressed? Statistics on depression are always rising. What makes so many so sad? Genetics? Environment? I'd say often both. It is also important to note that those who may have not started off unhappy can become clinically depressed if they are in an environment that is persistently negative or emotionally harmful. Chemicals in the brain can actually change.

Depression is laid out on a spectrum. Behaviorists measure happiness by simply asking their clients. While it seems too easy the answers are usually valid. For those who suffer from deep depression, or even mild depresion (Dysthymia) that persists, life is often seen through a shade of grey.

Family and friends may become frustrated and encourage their loved ones to "snap out of it," or "keep your chin up" or utter the oh so common, "this too shall pass." But what is important to understand is that what may uplift or encourage a non-depressive may not reach someone who is depressed.

In my experience in working with adults with depression I have witnessed the vast difference between an individual who feels "stuck" and one who is on their way to recovery. A person is able to notice how they were once merely surviving but are now on their way to living.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a method that encourages clients to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. A simple concept but a difficult practice. A practice that often produces positive results.

Well, what about those who claim to be happy or content? These days aren't we seeing more and more people pursue peace, zen, spirituality and other relaxing calming practices such as meditation and yoga? Wellness practices are on the rise and people are getting to be quite creative in the way that they choose to do it. Why reach out to a mind, body and spirit retreat if you are happy?

Why? Because life is tough. I believe that it is not meant to be easy. We all deal with daily stressors and being that we are human and not perfect we all have our own emotional and intellectual issues to face.

In my own life I have met some damn happy people. But I think all attitudes of happiness are not the same. For instance, I once new a woman in college who was always smiling, always giggling. Her positivity was not irritating or obnoxious but rather quite infectious. Being around her was definitely inspiring and uplifting. 

She once told me that she couldn't ever imagine not being happy. Years later she told me that she had experienced some brief periods of depression in her life and that was a first for her. She said that her happiness now is much more authentic, deeper and genuine. She is not giggly all of the time but because she experienced obstacles and over came them she is able to empathize with others who are happy and sad. She has more gratitude and now makes an effort to practice happiness.

Practicing happiness is a concept that intrigues me. I think we have all heard that happiness is a state of mind. So, how do we reach this state? It comes by bringing positivity into our lives. For some of us this may be hard to do. I know for myself it can be difficult as I admit I am a pessimist. So, basically I am attempting to rewire my little pea brain. Changing old habits is hard especially if you have been actually practicing them.I find it quite motivating when I understand that to maintain pessimism one must actually practice it. Eeesh!

We can pursue happiness and practice it by being good to ourselves. By reading, writing, discussing, perhaps keeping a gratitude journal.  We can learn to accept sadness and other seemingly negative emotions rather than shaming ourselves for it. Participate in activities you enjoy and be patient with yourself. Clear out obstacles to your own happiness.

Any negative thinking that I may harbor are a hindrance. For those of us who are pessimists we most likely have been pessimists for a very long time. If this is the case it is even more difficult to stretch our limbs away from our little miserable nitch. 

Through my minimal efforts I have come to learn that it is impossible to think positively and negatively at the same time. With this in mind we can reframe our attitudes towards difficulty. We are blessed with obstacles before us.

Ms. Pacman - Feminist Hero



This is cute.

This was originally posted in 2006 in honor of breast cancer awareness month by short film makers Mark & Ari.

Ann J Simonton - I Am Miss America

Ann J. Simonton is a feminist, writer, lecturer, and anti-pornography activist, and former model. She founded and coordinates the non-profit group "Media Watch" which challenges sexism, violence and racism in the media.



http://www.mediawatch.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still waiting on Dead Man's Bones


(pitchfork.com)
Dead Man's Bones with the Silverlake Conservatory Choir

Dead Man's Bones is a band featuring actor Ryan Gosling and actor Zach Shields. They have yet to put out an album but I can tell you I am quite eager. Their myspace page says, "soon". But soon was a long time ago. But all good things come to those who wait ay?

Ryan has a very good voice. Somewhat crooners style, somewhat folk and somewhat haunting. The two have a love of zombies and monsters and have incorporated that love into their music. Zach's voice compliments very well. I'm not going to write a music review here I am just going to let you judge for yourself.


Name In Stone by Dead Man's Bones (released April 2009)



In The Room Where You Sleep by Dead Man's Bones (released December 2008)

For more information go to www.myspace.com/deadmansbones or www.facebook.com/pages/Dead-Mans-Bones

Tales of Mere Existence

Lev Yilmaz is the creator of Tales of Mere Existence comic series. Lev draws his cartoons on paper attached to glass and places the camera on the other side. The paper is back lit to make the cartoons show through. This allows the audience to see the comic appear without seeing Lev's hand or pen. Well sort of. I have been able to see hits of his hand. Lev got the idea for the technique from the 1956 movie “The Mystery Of Picasso”. In this film Picasso's paintings appear from the other side. Lev writes, draws, films, edits, and narrates his videos. The themes often touch on various aspects of his life. Some are somewhat bleak but he offers a gentle humor.


How To Cope With Depression


How I Found Out About Girls


Conversation

For more information go to http://www.ingredientx.com

Know Your Chicken



One of my favorite bands...that sadly no longer exists...
Know Your Chicken by Cibo Matto

This fits in nicely with my love of random, funny, food! The former band often sang songs that were food themed!

Whether you are spiritual or not, political or not...Rick Warren offers good insight to the meaning of stewardship

A few years ago there was a short time when I was living in Orange County. It was the worst experience of my life. I decided that I should try getting back to church. Despite my practice of Christianity I hadn't been in church for quite a while. I found Saddleback Church founded by Pastor and author of Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren.

It is often referred to as a "mega church" and it certainly is. One the way up to it there is a hill and big boulders and flags marked along the way. Kinda makes it seem like you're on your way to an amusement park. It is a very pretty church though and I think they give a good message. I love that it is a very casual church as well. Rick Warren often gives his sermons in Hawaiian t-shirts. Love it!



Aside from his duties within his home church he continues to work on his global P.E.A.C.E. plan (Promote reconciliation; equip servant leaders; assist the poor; care for the sick; educate the next generation) in which he connects with churches all over the world in attempts to offer assitance for poor communities and to connect with church leaders of various cultures. Although Warren has received some criticism for his efforts, he admits that this is aproxmiately a 50 year plan as well as a work in progress. I think his efforts are admirable.

Whether you are a person of Christian faith or not I believe that most people can benefit from what Rick Warren says here. Here he is speaking about "stewardship". I think this is something we can attribute to our politicians in Washington. Sure, he is speaking about how we as individuals can address our "world view" but as I listened to him (and I viewed this video in 2008) I very much thought about President Obama.

For those of you who may not have been familiar with Rick Warren before perhaps watched him speak at Barrack Obama's presidential ignauguration. If not, maybe you saw him as he mediated a debate between Obama and McCain at his church during the presidential election.


Pastor, philanthropist and author Rick Warren reflects on how the success of his book The Purpose-Driven Life triggered his own crisis of purpose. What should he do with this unanticipated wealth and attention? Warren uses his own story to explain the central tenet of his teaching: that the antidote to spiritual emptiness is recognizing what we have been given -- wealth, creativity, talent -- and using those gifts to make the world a better place.

on my koolaid


Red Flag
Judy Chicago, 1971
Judy Chicago donated this print to the Museum of Menstruation in 1998

"Sanitary napkins"..."hygeine pads"..."flower scented douche sprays"...um..what are they trying to tell us? Are our periods unsanitary? Is menses blood a kin to feces?

Let me be clear...
I do not think that I am a goddess simply because I bleed. I do not necessarily feel enlightened every time I am riding the crimson waves..
However, I do think that the concept of having a menstrual cycle is quite interesting and quite powerful.

Having a period does come with inconveniences.
Having to pay for pads or tampons. Sitting on my blood during the day, or pulling out what looks like a dead rat when it's time to change products.
Cramps..oh the cramps..
Having to constantly be aware of what position I'm sitting in, standing in and when it may be time to change another menstrual product discretely...we sure have come a long way from menstrual pad belts..


Or..

The Menstrual Blood Extractor..saw this on a website..don't know if it was ever manufactured but this is how it worked...the inventor instructed the woman to squeeze the "trigger", insert it into the vagina and then release the grip. It supposedly would suck out the blood and loose tissue from the uterus.

Now women use a variety of products including "The Keeper"



Yes, it is a hassle, but I love what my period represents. Am I always so excited about my period? No. But sometimes I really do see how there is this barely mentioned culture surrounding periods. Ever ask a complete stranger if she had a tampon you could use? Have any embarrassing period stories? Ever live with a bunch a women and realize that all your cycles have lined up together? (Just be glad we are not living in cultures where women were separated in huts to bleed together)

I think that period blood is beautiful, I think that the ability to give birth if we choose is amazing, and I think that it takes a certain kind of grace to deal with a monthly cycle.
I do not worship my period...but I certainly give it and GOD my respect..


"Alter"
1995 by Mayra Alpizar


"10 Tablespoons a Month"
Quiara Z. Escobar

P.S. Ok, fellas I can't speak for each of you. I've met men who really don't mind the idea of a woman's period, men who cringe at the thought, men who roll their eyes, men who make sexist jokes...
It's part of life...I hope ya'll can give it a certain level of understanding..

(All Images from the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health - mum.org)

This ain't no bumpersticker!

For those of you who are not familiar with Salvation Mountain here is a little glimpse. Some of you may have witnessed it's greatness in the film Into The Wild.

Salvation Mountain is located in the lower desert of Southern California in Imperial County just east of the Salton Sea and about a hour and a half from Palm Springs.

The Man Himself..

Leonard painting in the Museum

Leonard Knight was born on November 1, 1931 just outside of Burlington, Vermont.
Leonard's "house" of 20 years, is built on the back of an old 1939 White fire truck decorated as ornately as his mountain. He has no electricity, gas, running water, phone, heating, air conditioning, or any of the other things that so many of us take for granted.

The 1st Mountain

One day after about four years of work, with the instability of all of that sand undermining it's structure, the mountain fell down into a heap of rubble, sand, and weak cement. Instead of being discouraged, Leonard thanked the Lord for showing him that the mountain wasn't safe. He vowed to start once again and to "do it with more smarts."

Mountain 2

Leonard had been experimenting with the native adobe clay and had been using it on other parts of the mountain. Over the next several years, he rebuilt his mountain using adobe mixed with straw to hold it all together. It evolved into what it is today. As he fashions one part or another with clay, he coats it with paint. This keeps the wind and the rain from eroding it away. The more paint, the thicker the coat, the better and stronger it becomes. People come from all over with donations of paint. He uses it very liberally. Leonard estimates that he has put well over 100,000 gallons of paint on his mountain.

At one point The county petitioned the state of California for funds to tear down the mountain and haul it away to a toxic waste disposal dumpsite in Nevada.
Residents signed a petition and Leonard took samples of the surrounding soil and sent them off to a lab. The results were negative in terms of toxicity.

Currently

Leonard is now working on a "museum".

"I let my mountain do the talking" says Leonard. I am truly impressed by this man. I think anyone can get a sense of his determination by simply viewing his work.
Regardless of one's creed, I would think that his mountain would bring forth a sense of inspiration.

Even as a Christian woman I have had issue with certain ways that people express their faith. Whether it has to do with spirituality, politics or general sentiment...I have never understood why people display their views on bumper stickers, keychains, t-shirts, etc.
I personally do not feel it is constructive. I think my irritation lies in the motive behind these things. I think most people are hoping to persuade others to join in on their beliefs. A bumper sticker is not going to get you to believe what I believe. A t-shirt will not influence you to believe in God or to study feminist theory.

This however I feel is Leonard's way of simply sharing. If you want to come aboard do so, if not it was nice seein' ya! Despite the fact that his mountain is quite large...it is out of the way of anyone who does not wish to take a gander at the spectacle.

For more info visit salvationmountain.us

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against American Apparel

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against American Apparel's CEO Dov Dov Charney. Charney has admitted that he frequently drops his pants to show people his new product. However the three women who have filed the claim against him are upset about much more than that. They claim Charney would frequently make offensive sexual comments and gestures in the work place. She also claims she was fired after she confronted him and complained about his offensive behavior.

In his depostion Charney claims he called women sluts at work and would often have just underwear on at work. Charney even posted a video of himself in underwear on the company website but has since taken it down. Charney also claims that he allows his employees to engage in sexual behavior at work as long as they do so in private. Former employees of American Apparel have made claims that Dov Charney was almost always talking about sex.

One reporter from Jane Magazine was interviewing Charney at his apartment when he pulled his pants down and masterbated in front of her. At another point during an interview he had one of his assistants perform oral sex on him.




Not only am I disgusted by the claims made against Dov Charney but I am disgusted with his advertisements.








I found a photo of porn actress Sasha Grey modeling clothing for Americal Apparel. I am not sure what she is modeling exactly as she is completely naked except for what I THINK are thigh high socks. I decided not to post the photo though.

American Apparel is supposedly a fair trade company. However, they charge a lot of money for their products. Not only that they feel quite comfortable in exploiting women to sell their products.

If you care to take some action against the company go to Boycottamericanapparel.com

Larry Flynt Hustles Noam Chomsky



The below information is directly from HustlingTheLeft.com

Think Chomsky supports Hustler? Think again!

Hustler interviews Noam Chomsky in their September 2005 issue as an intellectual visionary. If you think he did this with informed consent, read on.

When Noam Chomsky appears in Hustler under the headline "Rage Against the Machine" he is being exploited by Larry Flynt to appear to be endorsing the machine of corporate power that promotes the sexual abuse of women and children. Larry Flynt lies, he misleads, he does everything he can to look as if he has more support from the Left than he unfortunately has. It is clear that he misled Noam Chomsky about the nature of his publication in order to include an interview with Chomsky in Hustler. Chomsky was deceived and manipulated in order to gain his "consent" to appear in the pages of Hustler. Should we be surprised that Flynt cares so little about meaningful consent? No. However we are seriously concerned about the political ramifications of Chomsky's appearance in Hustler.

Chomsky's appearance in Hustler steals his tremendous legitimacy thus masking a corporate entity that profits from racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and misogynistic imagery.

While we continue to respect Chomsky for the good work he's done, and while we mean to expose the sleazy methods that Hustler used to gain his meaningless consent, we also want to deepen the conversation with Chomsky, regarding pornography and other forms of oppression against women. Until we found out about the fraud that took place we were deeply dismayed to find him in Hustler. Now we want to explore in dialog with Chomsky how he and the Left can critique and expose the corporate pornography industry's politics.

It's shocking to feminist activists that the man who wrote Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies has never heard of what was once (and was for some time) the third top selling men's magazine in mainstream America. Chomsky's lack of initiative in actively combating the misogyny of the porn industry, is alarming. It's time to wake up.

We ask Noam Chomsky to understand that betrayals, however inadvertent, must be avoided and that trust must be repaired through meaningful dialog and to take more responsibility for where his work appears by being more deliberate.

We hope to hear more from him in the near future about his expanding understanding of pornography's harm. Further, we ask him to educate himself by reading serious feminist analysis of this harm together with a class analysis of the corporate power structure that grows ever richer and more powerful by profiting from the exploitation of women through the trafficking of women's lives.

We are counting on Chomsky to be the scholar and activist that he has always been. --Nikki Craft


Below, the text of my email exchanges with Noam Chomsky.

To: Noam Chomsky
From: Nikki Craft
Subject: Your interview in Hustler Magazine

Hello,
I'm going to be writing an article about Hustler, Democracy Now and what happened to Aura Bogado. I've heard you did an interview in the current issue of Hustler. I want to make sure I have all information correct in what I publish. I do plan on getting the issue to see for myself as I am still having a hard time believing this is true. In the meantime can you please tell me how this came about, why you would make such a decision, and how much you got paid for the interview and what your contract with Hustler detailed during your "employment"? I would appreciate any other information that you would consider relevant.

Thank you, Nikki Craft


To: Nikki Craft
From: Noam Chomsky
Subject: Re: Your interview in Hustler Magazine

I think you may be misled about interviews. I give 100s of them, but the idea of payment for them has never arisen, and their are no contracts or other arrangements.

I was asked by Znet whether there is an interview in Hustler, and if so, how it came about, and will simply send to you the response I wrote to them, which I presume they will post if there is indeed an interview.

Noam Chomsky


[Noam Chomsky's explanation of how his article came to be published in the September issue of Hustler Magazine. This was cced in his first email [left] to Nikki Craft]

I give 100s of interviews. I received a letter from someone named Sinclair, requesting an interview for a journal that she described as "the most politically progressive, outspoken entertainment magazine today. We regularly feature exposés and articles from such writers as Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston; Greg Palast, the BBC reporter who broke the 2000 Election scandal in Florida; and Susie Bright, the famed feminist, author and activist. In the last year, we‚ve exposed war profiteers, the Bush/Saudi royal family connections, election fraud, a nuclear waste
cover-up scandal in Colorado, and the dirty secrets of the beef industry." I had never heard of the journal, but that is normal.

I wrote the usual form response asking her to contact my office to see if she could arrange an interview. There apparently was an interview, routine I suppose. I don't remember anything about it. That's the last I heard. I never got a transcript to look at, as is the normal procedure, so I assumed they had dropped the plan.

When I was informed that Hustler was planning to publish something -- what, I do not know, since they never contacted me with their proposed version -- and was told what the journal was, I had a letter sent to Sinclair insisting that they withdraw whatever they are planning to publish because they had completely misrepresented themselves, and also making it clear that I never would have agreed if I had known what the journal was; and that aside, they were not authorized to publish anything. There was no response.

That completes the series of events.

Of course, it is inconceivable to carry out investigations of the innumerable journals, radio programs, documentary producers, etc., that ask for interviews. Sometimes that naturally leads to errors. For example, very recently, I had an interview with a leading neo-Nazi journal in Germany that I'd never heard of, and that had presented itself to me as a mainstream journal of political affairs. Neo-Nazism, needless to say, is no small matter, particularly in Germany. They did send me a transcript to edit, in the normal fashion. When the interview appeared, I received a number of letters from people in Germany who were quite surprised. I described the facts, and that ended the matter.


To: Noam Chomsky
From: Nikki Craft
[With his reply interspersed]
Subject: Re: Your interview in Hustler Magazine

Dear Professor Chomsky:

Thank you for your prompt response to my first email. I am certain that it will be a relief to many people to know that you attempted to stop the publication of your interview in Hustler. Just a couple quick clarifications: did the interviewer identify the Hustler name to you or did she use a fake name?

Chomsky Replies: I don't recall whether the name was mentioned, but it wouldn't have mattered, since I'd never heard of the journal.

Could you explain why you did not want your interview to appear in Hustler? I have noticed that the trenchant class analysis utilized by many leftists seems to melt away when the object of concern is the multi-billion dollar pornography industry that profits from racist and violent sexual imagery. I hope you might comment on this.

Chomsky Replies: I've already explained. This request was no different from innumerable others I receive, and agree to. I'll repeat what I wrote. It has nothing to do with the pornography industry. To repeat, I had never heard of Hustler.

I give 100s of interviews. I received a letter from someone named Sinclair, requesting an interview for a journal that she described as "the most politically progressive, outspoken entertainment magazine today. We regularly feature exposés and articles from such writers as Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston; Greg Palast, the BBC reporter who broke the 2000 Election scandal in Florida; and Susie Bright, the famed feminist, author and activist. In the last year, we‚ve exposed war profiteers, the Bush/Saudi royal family connections, election fraud, a nuclear waste cover-up scandal in Colorado, and the dirty secrets of the beef industry."

As I also wrote, this practice -- which is unavoidable, if I decide to remain accessible to activists -- can and does lead to occasional very serious mistakes, predictably, as in the neo-Nazi case I mentioned.

Aura Bogado wrote an article entitled "Hustling the Left" that discusses the cooptation of the left by pornographers. For exercising her free speech rights, she was rewarded by having her name featured in Hustler next to images of women bound in rope and tied down on top of cars like hood ornaments or shot deer. Given that Hustler has recently declared a "war on feminists," I am quite concerned.

Chomsky Replies: You should be. As the letter to Hustler clearly explained, I would never have agreed to the interview if they had not so grossly misrepresented themselves, and if I had any idea what they were.

Thank you for your time,
Nikki Craft

P.S. I am not "misled" about Hustler paying for interviews. Larry Flynt has bragged publicly in his interview with Amy Goodman that he pays for interviews. The "follow the money" rule applies to Hustler, as it does elsewhere else in corporate America. It is good to hear that you did not take money from Hustler for the interview, nor do you get paid for your interviews elsewhere.


Clip from anti-porn documentary The Price of Pleasure: Noam Chomsky speaks out against Porn

You think you know Larry Flynt?

Hustler Magazine. We all know this name. We know who Larry Flynt is and perhaps many of us have seen the film The People Vs Larry Flynt. How much do we really know about Larry and his empire? Well, what I'm about to show you may not be news to some. But if horrified me.

DISCLAIMER: WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE IS SEXUALLY GRAPHIC!!!
SEND THE KIDDIES OUT OF THE ROOM!

All images from HustlingTheLeft.com







From "The Birth of A Nation" to "Black Studs"

Theorists such as Wiegman (1993) and Snead (1994) have traced the beginnings of the image of the black man as sexual monster back to the late nineteenth century, as the product of a white supremacist ideology which saw the end of slavery as bringing about an unleashing of animalistic, brute violence inherent in African-American men. D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), was, without question, the first major mass circulation of this image in film and was to become the blueprint for how contemporary mass media depicts black males.

The notion of the black male as sexual monster has been linked to the economic vulnerability that white working-class men feel in the face of a capitalist economy over which they have little power. Guerrero (1993), in his discussion of the emergence of this new stereotype in the novels of Thomas Dixon, suggests that the economic turmoil of the postbellum South served to undermine the white southern male's role as provider for his family; thus he sought to inflate his depreciated sense of manhood by taking up the honorific task of protecting White Womanhood against the newly constructed specter of the "brute Negro" (p. 12).

Hard-core pornography similarly depicts black men as more sexually dehumanized than white men. This would seem surprising since in pornography all participants, men and women, are reduced to a series of body parts and orifices. However, studies that compare the representation of white men and black men in pornography (Cowan & Campbell, 1994; Mayall amd Russell, 1993), have found that it is black male characters who are granted the least humanity and are most lacking in ability to be intimate. Moreover, in movies and magazines which feature black men, the focus of the camera and plot is often the size of his penis and his alleged insatiable sexual appetite for white women. Movies with titles such as Big Bad Black Dicks, Black Stallions on Top, Black Pricks..White Pussy, and Black Studs, draw attention to the black male body and in particular the penis, a rare occurrence in pornography targeted at heterosexual men. Movies such as The Adventures of Mr. Tootsie Pole (Bo Entertainment Groups) feature a black male and white female on the cover. The text beneath the picture says "he's puttin his prodigious pole to the test in tight white pussy." In Black Studs (Glitz Entertainment), three white women are shown having sex with three Black men. Above the pictures, the text reads, "These girls can't get enough of that long black dick." The penis becomes the defining feature of the black man and his wholeness as a human being is thus rendered invisible.

The image of the black male as sexually aggressive is a regular cartoon feature in Hustler, one of the best-selling hard-core porn magazines in the world (Osanka, 1989). Cartoons which have as their theme the sexual abuse of white women by black men began appearing in the late 1970s and by the mid-1980s, Hustler was running an average of 2-3 such cartoons an issue. Hustler was by no means the first to produce such as image but it is probably the first mass-distributed cultural product (albeit in caricatured form) to visually depict an enormous black penis actually doing severe physical damage to the vagina of a small white women.

Flynt regularly stresses that the cartoons' boldness is not limited to sexual themes but rather also to their political content. Indeed in his editorials, Flynt regularly stresses that, "We are a political journal as well as a sex publication" (Flynt, 1983: 5). In an editorial responding to critics of Hustler cartoons -- titled, "Fuck You if You Can't Take a Joke " Ð Flynt tells his readers that his critics are not upset with the sexual content of the magazine but rather with his satire which carries "the sting of truth itself" (Flynt, July 1988: 7). Flynt continues by arguing that he will not allow his critics to censor what is in effect the political content of his magazine since "satire, both written and visual, has ... been the only alternative to express political dissent" (ibid).

Article from http://www.hustlingtheleft.com/CRAPP_E_LIB/dines.html


In Addition....





Dwayne Tinsley, close personal friend to Flynt, and the creator of the Hustler cartoon "Chester the Molester," which depicted pre-teen girls of all races being molested, was convicted in 1990 of sexually abusing his daughter. When he was released from prison, after serving his time, Flynt hired him back on at Huster. In February 1996, Hustler publisher Joe Theron was arrested in Britain with 400 videos imported from South Africa, many of them depicting child pornography.

Lastly.....

Tonya Flynt Speaks Out

My name is Tonya Flynt. I am here to tell you that the portrayal of my father, Larry Flynt, in Oliver Stone and Milos Forman's movie is a pack of lies. My father, the founder and publisher of Hustler Magazine, is not a hero who has sacrificed everything to fight censorship and protect freedom of speech. He doesn't give a damn about freedom of speech. All he cares about is making millions of dollars out of the sexual exploitation of women and children.

My father is a pornographer, a pimp, and a molester of children. I say this with pain and sorrow because in spite of everything he has done, I still love my father. I also say this with fear, because my father has threatened me and my daughter. But I feel I have a responsibility to expose the truth about my father. Making Larry Flynt a hero justifies and makes invisible the harm he has done to women and children. It silences their voices and muffles their cries of pain. This is exactly what Oliver Stone's movie has done.

This is the real story behind Hustler. Before my father owned his first bar, he was a small-time pimp with a string of women. That's how he got the money to open his first bar and strip club. During the time he owned strip clubs, my father continued to pimp the women who worked in the clubs. He would make the women have sex with customers and give him a cut of the proceeds. That's how he made so much money so quickly.

Why does the movie ignore the connections between my father's financial empire and the prostituting of women and girls? Why doesn't it say that Althea was a child prostitute? Why doesn't it say that my father made his early money pimping? I guess it's easier to glorify a pornographer than pimp?

To my father, women have always been objects to dominate and control. He showed his power through sexual use and abuse. One of my father's favorite sayings was, "The man who controls pussy controls the world."

My father used his power against me when I was a little girl. I worshiped my father. Part of that worship grew out of the fact that he lived in unimaginable luxury while my mother, my sister, and I lived in dire poverty. He didn't feel any obligation to support us. We were always one step from destitution. We would go visit him at his mansions and have a taste of wealth and privilege. Then we would be back at home, worrying about how to pay the rent. The movie doesn't talk about that.

My father used his power against me in another way too. He sexually abused me. On one occasion, my Dad was angry because I wouldn't stop crying. He came in, out of control with rage, and beat me over and over again with a belt. That night he came into my room and sexually molested me. He penetrated me with his fingers. He made me touch his penis. He had oral sex with me and made me have oral sex with him. I hadn't celebrated my thirteenth birthday when he did this to me.

On many occasions, he would touch my breasts or grab me between the legs. One time he came into my bedroom, took my panties off, and fondled me.

When my sister and I visited my father, he made no effort to shield us from any of the brutal and humiliating pictures. He was proud of them. Twice he sent me pornographic Christmas cards stuffed with money. At 8 or 9, my father made me and my sister go into a go-go bar, dress up in revealing outfits, and dance for him on the stage like strippers. I can't tell you the damage these experiences did to my feelings about my body and to my sexuality. These are issues I will struggle with for the rest of my life.

My father wasn't content just to molest me. I have been told by a close relative that he makes trips to Bangkok and buys little girls there. I was also told he brought back videotapes of child pornography from Bangkok . It causes me so much pain to realize that what he was doing to me he does to little girls pushed into prostitution by poverty.

Pornography and prostitution turned my father's heart stone cold. It made him see even his own daughter as an object to use for his sexual gratification. I am the mother of a nine-year-old daughter. And when I look at her I thank God that I have been able to protect her from the abuse I was subjected to.

Hustler says it's funny and sexy to molest little girls like my daughter. And Oliver Stone says Hustler is about freedom and liberation. That's a dangerous message.

I ask you to look at these pictures and ask yourself: who benefits from them and who is harmed? Is this freedom?

Copyright Off Our Backs, Inc. Apr 1997
All rights Reserved

[Larry Flynt has publicly denied allegations that he molested his daughter however there is a tape that refutes his claim that was made by his wife that documents her confrontation of him about it.]