Monday, October 31, 2011

Little Twin Stars Tattoo


Little Twin Stars Nails

What it Feels Like

"Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short - wear shorts and boots because it's okay to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, because you think being a girl is degrading."
~Madonna (What it Feels Like)

Porn and Disney Are Responsible

For Every Girl Who Is Tired of Acting Weak When She Is Strong, There Is A Boy Tired Of Appearing Strong When He Feels Vulnerable..

Why I Am Myself

I have mixed feelings about Andrea Dworkin. Even as a feminist, I can admit she is a tough pill to swallow. Even so, there are some sentiments which she and I share. This is one of them.

“I have been asked, politely and not so politely, why I am myself. This is an accounting any woman will be called on to give if she asserts her will.”  
~Andrea Dworkin

Rebeca Arellano, Lesbian High School Student, Crowned Homecoming King

(photo credit: ABC News)

Student Rebeca Arellano of Patrick Henry High School on Friday, was crowned the school's first lesbian homecoming King . Arellano's girfriend, of two years, Haileigh Adams, was also nominated for homecoming queen.

What an incredible moment for these two. What an incredible moment of progress for the LGBTQI community. Let's keep this going! 

Side note: Arellano is one of the prettiest women I've ever seen. I think I've got a straight girl crush on her.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Hello Kitty Loves Hamburgers

Who Knew? Hello Kitty loves hamburgers.

Hello Kitty Hamburger

All items below can be found on ebay.

Hello Kitty Hamburger Coin Bank

Hello Kitty Hamburger Purse

Hello Kitty Hamburger Wallet

Hello Kitty Hamburger T-Shirt


When SlutWalk hit New York City many of us were flabbergasted when we caught the below image online. Since then SlutWalk has been discussing the issue of racism and SlutWalk. The below posting is a response article directly from SlutWalk Toronto.


In the past month there has been significant discussion, anger and sadness regarding an incident perpetrated by a white woman who participated in SlutWalk NYC. She carried a sign that read “Women are the [racial ‘N’ word] of the world.”

Some have used as an explanation and ‘defense’ that this quote is from a Yoko Ono and John Lennon song from the late 1960s when the intent was to draw attention to women’s maltreatment and oppression in the world. Having the ‘N’ word enmeshed in song lyrics did not make it ok then, and does not make it ok now.
When this song originally was released over 40 years ago, several women of colour and black feminists spoke out to challenge Yoko Ono and John Lennon. For instance, Pearl Cleage is cited as a black feminist who challenged this phrase as racist, saying, “If Woman is the “N” of the World, what does that make Black Women, the “N, N” of the World?” The challenges leveled at that problematic quotation then for racism still stand, and in fact, draw deep angst because that sign being displayed publicly by a white woman now makes the case that little has changed and the lack of awareness of racial oppression in protests, activism and radical statements then still permeate protest culture now.

SlutWalk Toronto does not support the actions or language of this SlutWalk participant. The ‘N’ word has been used historically, and still is used culturally today, as a racial slur that has been a weapon of degradation, oppression and violence. The word in question is connected to race because of the way it has been used against marginalized people of colour, namely black people, to perpetuate hate, disrespect and racism. A few further points on this particular sign and incident:

• This was racism then. It is racism now. We do not support any white people using this racial slur or any others, no matter what point they’re hoping to make.

• This protestor’s intention may have been coming from a good place, but her actions were misguided, and are not excusable, because they perpetuate racism, entitlement to using this word, and negating the experiences of black women.

• We understand the ‘N’ word as a word that was not this protester’s word to use (or ours if we are white women), because she is not a person who this word is used against, or has a history of being oppressed by.

• Not only is this word steeped in a history of racial oppression and violence, we must never forget that racial oppression and violence are still occurring. White women – and beyond that anyone that is not black, includingYoko Ono and John Lennon – are not the people who should be making the decisions on how to use this word or how to change its meaning if that is something that people want to do. Many black women have denounced any use of this word and we support them in this.

• It is not enough to refrain from using racist language. It is imperative to call out individuals who are doing so. Within and outside of SlutWalk protesting and organizing circles, if you are witness to this type of behaviour and you’re in a safe position to do something about it, don’t stand by. At SlutWalk Toronto we commit to address and, if need be, call attention to displays of racism that we see and that are brought to our attention.

This act of racism happened at a SlutWalk and we are truly sorry and deeply saddened that it did.


Some people have suggested that the ‘N’ word and ‘slut’ are similar because they are both insults thrown at people and both have been used in re-appropriated ways by various groups of people with various intents. However, these words are not the same and this is important to recognize. They may both be examples of harmful language that is used to degrade, oppress, damage and justify violence but this still does not make them the same. Here’s why:

• Sexism and gender-based violence are not racism. These things may be connected and overlap but they must be acknowledged as different for each to be addressed and taken to task.

• ‘Slut’ is a word that is predominantly used against girls and women, and many different women have experienced it in many different ways. The use of ‘slut’ is indeed contentious, but there are many different stakeholders. A racial slur and determination of its use belongs to the people that it has been used against exclusively. That’s how we’d suggest language be approached. If it’s not an epithet used against you, it’s not yours. For anyone else outside that group of people to use that kind of language is perpetuating the systems of oppression that slur created and entrenched in the first place.

As women who have experienced and been impacted by the damage and violence of the word ‘slut’, we wanted to interrogate its use. This word, and the degrading intent behind it, are too often used to justify treating women as less deserving of respect and safety, too often used casually, overlooked and accepted without question, or used as justification for the sexual violence and harassment we and so many others have experienced.

We acknowledge that we have received concerns from women of colour about SlutWalk and the word ‘slut’ outlining that this word can also be a part of the racism and violence they face or it can be a word that doesn’t represent their experiences of oppression. Some feel that for them this word cannot be discussed and utilized in the same ways as it can for many others in SlutWalks. This is something we take seriously and we are working to address these concerns by recognizing them, and taking on learning curves so we can understand them and include them in our efforts. We’re also seeking ways to learn from and be accountable to criticisms so that SlutWalk can make changes to become a safer space for more people as we continue and grow.

But Wait, I Still Don't Get Why We're Talking About Racism When This Is Supposed To Be About Sexual Assault And Gender Based Violence.

Let us draw you attention to...


t is reported that indigenous women and women with disabilities experience sexual violence at 2-3 times the rate of other women in Canada. Some reasons why these experiences differ are:

• A history of (and nation built on) colonization
• Discrimination based on race and ability
White privilege
• Able-bodied privilege

As many women of colour have said, they wake up women AND black (or brown, or Asian, or aboriginal, etc.) everyday and one does not override the other. There is no ‘choice’ to overlook and ‘get over’ racism because it is a built-in reality many people have to face as an inseparable part of their existence. This existence determines how the world, and all of these interlocking systems of oppression, including gender-based violence, treats them. Racism is everyone’s problem. People of colour are not solely responsible for fighting racism or educating about racism. White people need to be a part of the solution.

This understanding, background, or as you may hear it referred to, ‘framework’ is an important dimension of understanding the intersections of how people experience sexual violence and how and why we have to work to fight against it holistically.

Things to take away...

• When racism is an integral part of how some women (and some of any gender) experience sexuality, sexual violence and harassment, it must be discussed, acknowledged and part of the work we do.

• When ableism is an integral part of how some women (and some of any gender) experience their sexuality, sexual violence, being treated as more ‘justifiable’ to assault and treated as less able to consent it must be discussed, acknowledged and part of the work we do.

• This recognition is no different than how we acknowledge that women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence and we acknowledge sexual violence as a gender-based system of violence and oppression, though other genders are also affected. Recognizing oppression means recognizing oppression.

• No group of people are a monolith. Humans are not. Men are not. Women are not. Women of colour are not. We must acknowledge this and include the reality of experiences; which is the diversity of all of our experiences, wherein different factors intersect to create different histories of oppression for individuals and groups.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

• We want SlutWalks in general and SlutWalk Toronto to be a safer space for all women and people and we acknowledge that is not what is happening, with the above incident and with other issues around the messaging, construction and approaches used within many SlutWalks, and we need to be accountable to this. We are so sorry this is not a safer space for all people, all women and all survivors.

• SlutWalk was an idea that began in Toronto and has spread across the world at lightning speed, which has and does limit our reach and influence over other SlutWalks, especially since everything we do is volunteer-run. Each SlutWalk is independently based and organized. However, though we at SlutWalk Toronto may not be in other cities as organizers, decision-makers or participants, what happens under the SlutWalk label or idea connects us all, and we absolutely feel it is our responsibility to speak up more when racism and other forms of discrimination, whether intentional or not, are occurring.

• We also hope to do what we can, with help from others, to foster a culture throughout SlutWalks internationally where racism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated, where all participants and supporters are willing to work to understand that discrimination is their business beyond and not limited to discrimination that they feel affects them directly as individuals. Some things we have in the works are toolkits, modifications to messaging, and helpful resources for organizers and supporters.

• We will continue to strive to make this a safer space for all women and all people. One way we hope to be able to do this is by framing more of our work to be based in and understanding of anti-sexism, anti-racism and anti-classism. This is in understanding of the fact that gender, sex, race and class (or socio-economic level) are lived experiences that impact howsexual violence is justified, perpetrated and responded or not responded to. 

• Our first (but not only) step in these efforts is to engage directly with our community in Toronto to get feedback on what changes Toronto would like to see happen at SlutWalk Toronto. We are having a community open forum in Toronto on Sunday November 20th at The 519 and plan to work together to deconstruct what has happened, and work together towards making SlutWalk Toronto more aware, inclusive and safer. Grassroots organizing means that we need to start in our own backyard and work from the ground up.

From the beginning of SlutWalk, this has been about fighting sexual violence and damaging ideas around victim-blaming and slut-shaming. We have supported an interrogation of the language used to address these issues and the idea that ‘slut’ can be, and has been in some instances (including years prior to any SlutWalks), reappropriated but this has never been something that everyone must agree with or support to participate in SlutWalk. People, sexuality and experiences ofsexual violence are not monolithic, nor should identity be monolithic. We have always respected that many people hate the word ‘slut’ and do not want it used upon themselves in any way. We try to acknowledge the privileges we do have (if we are white, able-bodied, cisgendered, heterosexual, class privileged, etc.) and the oppressions we may face and in what ways this affects our activism and identity. We also support critical reflection and discussion around SlutWalk, because criticism is necessary in continuing to grow, evolve and do better.

We hope that you will continue to have patience with us as an organization that is still only months old, and that you will approach us in the spirit of collaboration, even in disagreement, and the understanding that we are all working to end sexual-violence and victim-blaming.

Please stay tuned for our upcoming post about Privilege – what it is, how it works, why you maybe didn’t know you had it, and how it situates everyone’s experiences.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So true, so true

Tea and books are a great combination. Better than peanut butter and jelly if you ask me.

Handmade sterling silver necklace by Courtney Gifford, Fairport, NY. Quote by Christine Hanrahan. Image from Tea Appreciation Society.

Hadestown a Folk Opera

I am falling in love with Anais Mitchell all over again. Mitchell is a folk singer and folk music is dear to my heart. In 2010 she released an album entitled Hadestown. Hadestown was a genius idea. It is an album based on the myth of Orpheus but is set in the Depression Era. Mitchell does not act alone here. She is accompanied by profoundly talented musicians which take on characters from the mythology. My favorite artist of all time just so happens to be along for the ride.

Ani Difranco plays Persephone; Greg Brown plays Hades; Justin Vernon of Bon Iver plays Orpheus; Ben Knox Miller of Low Anthem plays Hermes; The Haden Triplets play Fates; and lastly Anais Mitchell plays Eurydice.

Below is directly from the website. A descriptive layout of Hadestown.

Hadestown the Libretto  
Hadestown begins in the open air, in a world of poverty. Eurydice asks her lover how he will provide for her in these dark times—Orpheus is sure that the world will provide {Wedding Song}. Orpheus sings, and his singing draws a crowd {Epic Part One}. An old train depot, and everyone’s talking about Hadestown, the walled city under the ground {Way Down Hadestown }. There’s Hermes, the hobo guide and messenger; Persephone, in transit, suitcases in tow; Eurydice, who is more than curious aboutHadestown ; and Orpheus, who wants no part. When Hades calls, Eurydice receives him {Hey, Little Songbird}. He seduces her: she should leave Orpheus and join him in the wealth and security of his underworld. Eurydice succumbs {Gone, I’m Gone}—was she pushed, or did she jump? The Fates provide an explanation {When the Chips Are Down}. Orpheus is determined to follow Eurydice, and Hermes gives directions {Wait For Me}. Meanwhile, in Hadestown, Hades indoctrinates his worker-citizens {Why We Build the Wall}. But when he turns his back, Persephone presents another side of the underworld, in a speakeasy where she plies her contraband and takes an interest in the newly arrived Orpheus {Our Lady of the Underground}. Eurydice, unaware that her lover is near, laments her decision {Flowers}. Orpheus moves toward her, but is intercepted by the Fates. The rules are the rules—there’s no going back for Eurydice—it’s better not to struggle {Nothing Changes}. Orpheus challenges the Fates {If It’s True}. A fight scene: Orpheus and the speakeasy are exposed {Papers}. In the royal bedroom, Persephone appeals to her husband on Orpheus’ behalf {How Long?}. Orpheus sings again, and this time, Hades hears him {Epic Part Two}. An uprising begins, inHadestown and in the heart of the king {Lover’s Desire}. Hades comes up with a plan: Orpheus can have Eurydice back if he can walk out of the underworld a few paces ahead of her and not turn around to make sure she’s there {His Kiss, The Riot}. Orpheus and Eurydice begin their ascent {Doubt Comes In}. Later, Eurydice and Persephone sing a reverse elegy for Orpheus {I Raise My Cup To Him}.

Now, let's take a trip to Hadestown shall we? Below are just two live numbers from the album. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy. You can do so, here.

"WHY WE BUILD THE WALL" - Anaïs Mitchell, Ani DiFranco, Martin Carthy, Ben Knox Miller, Iain Morrison,, Wallis Bird, Nuala Kennedy, Sharon Lewis, Mary Ann Kennedy, with Michael Chorney and the Hadestown Orchestra... performing Hadestown at The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow on 21 January 2010, as part of the Celtic Connections festival. They were joined on stage for this finale by Joy Kills Sorrow.

Why do we build the wall?
My children, my children
Why do we build the wall?

Why do we build the wall?
We build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free

How does the wall keep us free?
My children, my children
How does the wall keep us free?

How does the wall keep us free?
The wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free

Who do we call the enemy?
My children, my children
Who do we call the enemy?

Who do we call the enemy?
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free

Because we have and they have not!
My children, my children
Because they want what we have got!

Because we have and they have not!
Because they want what we have got!
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free

What do we have that they should want?
My children, my children
What do we have that they should want?

What do we have that they should want?
We have a wall to work upon!
We have work and they have none
And our work is never done
My children, my children
And the war is never won
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free
We build the wall to keep us free

"WAY DOWN HADESTOWN" - Anaïs Mitchell, Ani DiFranco, Martin Carthy, Ben Knox Miller, Iain Morrison,, Wallis Bird, Nuala Kennedy, Sharon Lewis, Mary Ann Kennedy, with Michael Chorney and the Hadestown Orchestra... performing Hadestown at The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow on 21 January 2010, as part of the Celtic Connections festival. They were joined on stage for this finale by Joy Kills Sorrow.

Follow that dollar for a long way down
Far away from the poorhouse door
Either get to hell or to Hadestown
Ain’t no difference anymore
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground
Hound dog howl and the whistle blow
Train comes a-rollin’ clickety-clack
Nobody knows where that old train goes
Those who go they don’t come back
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground

Winter’s nigh and summer’s o’er
I hear that high and lonesome sound
Of my husband coming for
To bring me home to Hadestown
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground

Everybody dresses in clothes so fine
Everybody’s pockets are weighted down
Everybody sipping ambrosia wine
In a goldmine in Hadestown
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground

Everybody hungry, everybody tired
Everybody slaves by the sweat of his brow
The wage is nothing and the work is hard
It’s a graveyard in Hadestown
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground

Every little penny in the wishing well
Every little nickel on the drum
All them shiny little heads and tails
Where do you think they come from?
They come from way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground

Mister Hades is a mean old boss
With a silver whistle and a golden scale
An eye for an eye!
And he weighs the cost
A lie for a lie!
And your soul for sale
To the king on the chromium throne
To the bottom of a sing-sing cell
Where the little wheel squeal and the big wheel groan
And you better forget about your wishing well
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground

Mr. Hades is a mighty king
Must be making some mighty big deals
Seems like he owns everything
Kind of makes you wonder how it feels
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground
Way down Hadestown
Way down under the ground
Way down under the ground
Way down under the ground

Take a bow Ms. Mitchell; take a bow.

We South Paws

Currently 90% of the world wide population is right-handed. Over the years I've learned that animals are equally right and left-pawed, however, it is only humans who demonstrate a gaping difference. Generalized, basic knowledge, says that, left-handed folks function with a dominant right hemisphere brain. The right side of the brain is said to be the source of dreams, art, music, and feeling. Lefties are often thought to excel in areas of art and mathematics, while right-handed individuals are supposedly superior in areas of language and speech. Most of us know this.

A recent New York Times article, clarifies that, "for right-handed people, language activity is predominantly on the left side. Many left-handers also have left-side language dominance, but a significant number have language either more evenly distributed in both hemispheres or else predominantly on the right side of the brain." I think it's safe to say that one's environment and intelligence level can have an impact on one's brain functioning.

I am left-handed and I do not consider myself to be particularly artistic. I write poetry and I dance, but cannot draw, paint, or sculpt. I have never had any success with math, despite the use of equip math tutors in my Jr. High and High School years. Since then, I have not developed other artistic skills although I am drawn to artistic people and art itself. Music, film, paintings, sculpture and yes poetry and dance, are things that I am drawn to.

In my adulthood I have come across many who actually marvel at the fact that I am left-handed and have voiced that they too wished they were left-handed. I do not consider left handedness to signify uniqueness other than the fact that most of the world is right-handed and therefore I stand out. I can't even begin to tell you how often I've heard the words, "Oh, you're left-handed?" I'm sure most left-handers can tell you the same.

And really, being left-handed may not be so grand. According to International Children's Education, researchers have explored the idea that left-handedness is due to an abnormality in the brain. It is suggested that a neural defect, caused by a diminished blood supply to the left hemisphere occurs during fetal growth.
Research has suggested that left-handed individuals are more likely to be develop schizophrenia, alcoholism, dyslexia, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and mental disabilities. Left-handers supposedly die nine years earlier than the average Joe and Jane.

According to a new book entitled, The Puzzle of Left Handedness, the on going rumor that left-handers die early is most likely a myth. Author Rik Smits, asserts that if being left handed was truly a death sentence, doctors and patients alike would fear left-handedness as if it were a real affliction.

It was psychologist Sanley Coren and his 1992 book The Left Hander Syndrome, that insisted that lefties die early. I've read multiple science based articles which state that left handed people do indeed die early and many which say that this is not so. According to Coren's findings, lefties are at a disadvantage, largely due to the tribulations of existing within a right-handed world. Although it is a myth that left-handed people are clumsy, there is some data which suggests that left-handers are at risk due to the fact that we all function in a world which favors the right hand.

I grew up with right-handed scissors, right-handed notebooks, right-handed school desk tables, and right-handed students. There are conflicting studies which snowball on top of this by suggesting that it's not just the mechanics of a right-handed environment that gets lefties into trouble. There may be a difference in thought patterns that set off left-handers. The bottom line is that scientists have not arrived at any concrete conclusions.

In addition to concerning neurobiological implications there is also the issue of stigma. There are plenty of left-handed children who start out feeling like outcasts. Some cultures frown upon left-handed sons and daughters and some are forced to write with their right hands. I am lucky enough that I never felt the effects of stigma. Even so, I did feel different. One can't help but notice the array of right handed folks in comparison to the left-handed.

Ask almost any lefty and they will most likely tell you that at some point or another they have researched famous individuals or individuals of note who are also left-handed. It is a vain attempt at feeling less abnormal. In the past I too have sought out such a list, however, I have never taken it too seriously. There are indeed public figures whom I admire that are also left-handed, but there are also some whom I do not admire who are left-handed as well.

In the end left handedness remains mysterious. The notion that left-handers may die early does unnerves me but I am not investing too much into it. I suppose, instead of spending so much time in a state of nervousness, all we can do as a left-handed minority is wait for more definitive data. Oh yeah - and we can live our lives to the fullest. We can do that too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Hate Candy Corn but I Don't Hate Candy Corn Cupcakes

I hate candy corn candy. Halloween is upon us and candy corn will no doubt be raining down on all of us. I avoid the ucky treat at all costs, however, when I saw these cupcakes I was in awe.

These candy corn cupcakes by My Delight Cupcakery. They are double Madagascar vanilla cake, topped with a ring of orange, yellow and white double Madagascar vanilla buttercream. Learn more at their Facebook.

These cupcakes definately resemble candy corn but I find that even more so, they resemble rainbows. Delightful.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tokidoki Barbie Fails

An unfortunate surprise from Tokidoki. Tokidoki Barbie. 


What is Tokidoki? Tokidoki translates to, "sometimes", in Japanese. Created by Italy born, Simone Legno -- Tokidoki is a brand of purses, t-shirts, hoodies, day planners, toys and other clothing and accessory items. Tokidoki products feature cute characters such as playful unicorns, funky bears, skeleton kids and more. Even random accented characters like diamonds, birds, flowers, coffee cups and rain clouds, have adorable facial expressions. Tokidoki often collaborates with Hello Kitty which makes the brand exceptionally exciting for me.

Until now, Tokidoki did not disappoint. Although, the Tokidoki Barbie comes with some key differences from the average Barbie -- it is not without the usual boatload of sexism.


This Barbie has pretty pink cotton candy hair and rockin' tattoos. I don't doubt that many will leap at the chance to purchase this "alternative" doll. As if this doll is meant for the rest of us. "The rest of us", meaning, those who can identify with the doll's hair and ink and/or those who prefer this aesthetic, to the traditional blonde haired, blue eyed, stereotype of femininity.

Offering young girls a variety is great, but there is still an essential evil that remains. This doll is just as rail thin as all the other Barbies.


The Tokidoki Barbie is meant for adults. Sort of. It's not being sold on the shelves and it is meant to be a collectors item. But how much do you want to bet that adults will be handing these dolls off to their children?

Over the years, Barbie has expanded her horizons, as allowed by Mattel. She's been tagged with various career choices, such as doctor; nurse; athlete; astronaut; airplane pilot, President and more. She has also come in a variety of ethnicities; although, every non-white Barbie only vaguely resembles the designated cultural background (Have you seen Asian Barbie? Her slanted eyes are not slanted. As if Asian women have not been bombarded enough with the false notion that it is creased eyelids that some how produce brains and beauty).

Again, I applaud variety, but the central truism remains. Barbie offers an unobtainable ideal which many, many women aspire to. Barbie was put out on the shelves in 1959. She lived the high life, with fancy clothes and decked out cars. She was a doll of privilege. She was and remains to be a doll of frightening measurement.

According to Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll, the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, once reported that any girl as thin as Barbie would be missing 17 - 22% body fat. Without this, a girl would be unable to menstruate. According to, in 1965, Slumber Party Barbie came with a book entitled "How to Lose Weight", which advised girls -- "Don't eat." In 1997 Barbie was given a thicker waist. I'm not sure how much thicker but I haven't noticed too much of an increase. Barbie's original measurements were 36 by 18 by 33. Yikes.

There are some who take the Barbie ideal to extremes. Plastic surgery addict and Body Dismorphic Disorder sufferer, Jenny Lee is a good example.


Lee, openly admits that she strives to look as Barbie does. According to Cosmetic Surgery Guru, by 2009 Lee had gone under the knife at least 30 times. 

Reality TV star, Heidi Montag created a buzz when she announced that she underwent 10 surgeries in one fell swoop, in 2010. Montag has explained in interviews that she had no desire to come out looking like Barbie. Even so, it is difficult not to notice the resemblance.

As I said, these are extremes. And although not every girl wishes to be Barbie or actively seeks to look like her, most girls have their own idea of what an ideal body looks like. My personal experience in former roles as a foster care social worker; group home social worker, and youth shelter social worker, have exposed me to the yearnings of young girls to look like anything but themselves. 

Being a friend to women with children, I have witnessed young girls beg for Barbie dolls or Barbie-like dolls. All of this brings me pain -- pain for young girls and pain for women everywhere. I am of course including myself in this lot.

In the end, the same women who have been oppressed by non-realistic standards are the same who must rebel in order to find acceptance. Women must rebel because; not doing so, means that we accept what is. What is -- is dangerous.

Tokidoki has made a marginal improvement in expanding the idea that is Barbie -- but not much.

PS22 Chorus sings "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

PS22 Chorus sings "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

For more videos visit their YouTube page, here. To visit their official website, click here.

Get Born

My favorite music video of all time. Why here? Why now? Just cuz - and becuz' sometimes we all need a reminder of just how good this is.

Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" video, from D. A. Pennebaker's 1967 Documentary, Don't Look Back. (Note, that poet Allen Ginsberg is just kickin' it in the background. Makes me happy.)

Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he's got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It's somethin' you did
God knows when
But you're doin' it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin' for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
In the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin' that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone's tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D. A.
Look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail
Look out kid
You're gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Six-time users
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin' for a new fool
Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters

Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don't steal, don't lift
Twenty years of schoolin'
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don't work
'Cause the vandals took the handles

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Complexities of Pink

 “I fell off my pink cloud with a thud”
~Elizabeth Taylor
I think it is safe to say women have their own herstory with the color pink. From a young age I rebelled against the color pink as I found that it confined me. As a child in Elementary School I didn’t have the acquired language to articulate how I felt. As all kids do in their own way, I certainly had the power of visual observance.  For those of us who have been blessed with sight, we are able to make distinctions on that level.

I had a brief love affair with pink before I developed a distaste for it. I no longer puke at the sight of pink but I don’t fully embrace it either. I will get into that a little later.

In my Pre-school and Kindergarten years I enjoyed pink and purple. They were my favorite colors. I cannot recall how often I incorporated pink and purple into my life, but I do remember liking Hello Kitty, Popples, She-Ra,  Jem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite, and Strawberry Shortcake.  I think with the exception of Rainbow Brite all of these figures exhibited shades of pink.
My brief affinity for pink in my very early years coincided with my admiration of Barbie. Barbie was the only dress up toy I had and although Barbie is a terrible image to appreciate, I do think she served a purpose. I not only dressed up my Barbies, but I used them to “play pretend”. I took them shopping, I used them to interact with other toys, and I acted out fun scenarios which came from my imagination. All good stuff if you ask me.
By the time I hit Elementary school, there was a shift. I did away with the pink. My mother, for so long had dressed me in foofy, frilly, lacy clothing and she loved the compliments she received from teachers, friends and relatives. The only thing that mattered to me was that my dresses had enough “swish”.  I would stand in front of a mirror and rapidly twist my hips in attempts to see how much free flow the dress allowed me. My mother found this irritating and I found it irritating that I couldn’t pick out my own clothes.
When I entered the first grade, for whatever reasons, my mother allowed me to make some decisions about my outward appearance. I still claimed that pink and purple were my favorite colors but I didn’t utilize them in anyway.
I began spending time with a girl who considered herself to be a “Tomboy”. This was my first exposure to an alternative - to the traditional “girlie” presentation. I preferred it. We ran around and played “pretend.” I didn’t give myself the label of "Tomboy", as my understanding was that a "Tomboy" loved sports as my friend did. I had no interest in sports, nor did I have the confidence to play sports. Although, "Tomboy" was just another label, it was a different viewpoint than the one I originally had.
After school my friend and I would race home, change into our “play clothes” and romp around without any hint or thought of pink. Whenever we were confronted with pink we turned the other direction. Pink was "girlie". "Girlie" we were not. We rebelled from an early age.

Eventually, I maneuvered through the rough terrain of Jr. High and then High School. When I entered High School, I continued to despise pink -  except when it landed on my head. I dyed my hair magenta and I fell in love with the color.  Before I discovered other colors like midnight blue, purple, chili pepper red, and others, I stuck with various shades of pink.
For the most part I didn’t like pink and I didn’t like what I thought it stood for. Pink continued to represent "girlie", "girlie" meant a box, and a box meant no way out. Sporting a pink hair-do was definitely not traditional. Although, I didn’t consider it to be an act of rebellion, I suppose it was.
Throughout High School and College my ensembles went from thrift shop punk to goth-esque. I wore dark clothes, and pink was not in my vocabulary.
It isn’t until now, at age 30, that pink has thinly slithered its way into my sights again. I am obsessed with cupcakes and more so as an aesthetic than anything else. Pink is a common colored frosting and I do enjoy it. And after all these years, my obsession with Hello Kitty has not dissipated, but has actually intensified. Ms. Kitty is definitely a pink lovin’ gal. Lastly, I have a fondness for pastels which include mint green (my  favorite color), lavender and as of late, variations of pink. 

I admit I hesitate to explore the avenues of pink with both feet in. Pink still represents stereotypical femininity and it is a color that women are often expected to enjoy. Not only is this confining and insulting, but it is unfair to men. Sexist norms expect women to enjoy pink and expect men to want to nothing to do with it.
Even with this stigma; over recent years I have noticed some allowing for men in pink. It seems that in some cases pink is a distinguished color for daring high powered men. I am a psychiatric social worker and I continue to witness psychiatrists, medical doctors, nurse practitioners, and other male clinicians wearing pink dress shirts. Whenever I see a man in a pink dress shirt, I often wish I could interview the guy and find out why he chose pink; if he truly feels comfortable with it; and what it was that brought him that place. I am intrigued because high levels of wretched machismo tells us that pink is more often than not, off limits for men.
I am curious if the men who wear pink are only comfortable wearing pink in a certain way. Would the man in the professional pink dress shirt wear a pink polo on his off days? Is a pink undershirt out of the question? I imagine that men who purchase pink shirts, cannot help but be aware that pink is often a color reserved for women. 
For the most part I avoid pink in my wardrobe. This is partly because I am not remarkably in love with the color and I only appreciate dabs of it. I also avoid it because of its stereotypical implications. I suppose in some respects this means that I am adhering to the stereotype. And what sense does it make if I concede that pink for women =  a stereotypical boxing-in, and yet pink for men = daring and feminist. If one is truly feminist, can’t both be? A woman who is fully aware of the pink stereotype and yet decides to wear pink is not anti-feminist.  In fact, perhaps she is the true she-ro.  

A woman who wishes to avoid the societal trapping of pink, but yet, wears pink is truly exceptional. In other words, a woman of this kind does not give a damn as to what others think of her. I am not this woman. I suppose I have a lot of growing up to do. If I ever change my mind and decide that pink is a color I enjoy more than I do now; I hope that I will have the - oh so pink ovaries, to wear it.

Million Dollar Halloween Cupcakes by Amanda Cupcake

Million Dollar Halloween Cupcakes. Sparkly ghosts with pink bows and glittery spiders on pink swirls. I hate spiders but glittery spiders are more tolerable. These friendly ghost cupcakes are from the amazingly talented, Amanda Cupcake.

Rethink Breast Cancer Presents: Your Man Reminder

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Canadian organization, Rethink Breast Cancer, has put out a male objectifying video which promotes the, Your Man Reminder app.

The website describes the app's features:
  • Customize – Update the App to fit your personal liking, with features that let you chose your man, his pose and more.
  • Hot Messages – You’ll love the attention your man gives to you, with messages like “Any guy would be lucky to have you” and “Give your breasts some TLC.”
  • Reminders - Tailor your calendar schedule with settings for weekly, monthly or surprise reminders directed by a sexy man of your choice.
  • Education - The App includes a special “signs and symptoms” tab to hone in on the importance of early detection.
  • Get Checked – Use a variety of scheduling options such as doctors’ appointments and many more.
I am bothered when the sex sells motto targets women and I am also bothered when it targets men. Two wrongs don't make a right.

The video reaches for a heterosexual female audience and does so in a very generalized and stereotypical way. As if all women desire a man who looks like the men in this ad. No offense to the chiseled men out there, but, I personally prefer a simple body
. Defined abs usually cause me to feel overwhelmed. I find it to be too much and the look doesn't always look natural. Fine. Don't believe me.

In all seriousness, I do not wish to offend men who work hard to maintain a built appearance. There is no shame in reaching certain fitness goals or feeling good about one's body. While a great many may crave a Men's Health Magazine aesthetic, I do not.

While there are women who certainly admire the type of physique featured in the above video; the video makes great assumptions about what women want. I'm all for a reminder for at home breast checks but isn't it possible to get a person's attention without exploiting others in the process? It seems to be what so many resort to.

Toys in Babelands' Sexy Jack-o-Lantern Contest

Toys in Babeland got its start in Seattle in 1993. It has since sprouted stores in Brooklyn, New York; Soho, New York; and Lower East Side, New York. Once upon a time it came to Los Angeles and I was thrilled. I visited it once and when I went for my second visit it was no longer there. It didn't thrive in L.A. Sad.

So, for those in New York...and NOT L.A. - you can enter a submission to the Sexy Jack-o-Lantern Concest at all Babeland stores from Saturday, October 29 through Monday, October 31.

Hello Kitty Cupcake Tins With Cupcake Shaped Candy Inside

Cupcakes and Hello Kitty! I never get tired of this combination! I look forward to it.

Purchase these Hello Kitty cupcake tins with cupcake shaped candy inside! Find them at Neato Shop. They are sold for $3.95 each.

Loose Vaginas vs. Tight Vaginas: Debunking Myths

When it comes to heterosexual sex, patriarchy often enters the bedroom. It starts with the common place idea that a man is dominant and a woman is submissive.  This concept may not always be overt and may not be within the consciousness of the parties engaged in sexual activity. The reason couples may not be conscious of the problem is because of the heavy influence patriarchy has. 

A persistent idea exists; that what penetrates is dominant and what envelops is submissive. What penetrates is doing something TO another and what is penetrated is being DONE. Those who subscribe to this philosophy may not have paused to consider anything else.  The truth of the matter is that when a man and woman are engaged in intercourse, BOTH are giving and BOTH are receiving. 
There is often pressure placed upon men to MAKE a woman climax. So much, that many women also believe that the task it is up to men.  The men who believe that they are to take charge of a woman’s pleasure, will most likely feel quite satisfied with themselves for accomplishing this goal. This feeling of satisfaction has more to do with their own supposed prowess and it is self-congratulating.  This level of pride has nothing (or very little) to do with a humble empathetic satisfaction of knowing his female partner has experienced pleasure and connection to him. It short; it’s all about ego.
Not only do these men receive an ego boost from the women they supposedly please but also the men whom they believe will pat them on the back for achieving this goal. “Whew! Got the approval of my peers! Now, that I’ve accomplished this I have the right to insist that those who have not done the same, are weak!”
Those who insist that this philosophy is correct, may also belong to the group who believe that size matters - to the point where anything less than their ideal penis, is also weak.  All of this makes sex unappealing to me. I understand that men fall victim to societal pressures just as women do. I am not completely unsympathetic. I am however, a woman who refuses to enter into a relationship with a man who does not recognize that the dominant viewpoints described above, are oppressive and unnecessary.
The sexist focus upon a man’s penis size often overshadows the complexity of female desire and ability (or lack of ability) to experience pleasure. Men of this nature are likely to want not only for their penis to be revered as “big” but they also expect the vagina they are entering to exist in a particular form as well.
Haven’t we all heard (some) men state that virgins are “tight” and promiscuous women are “loose”? Just as penises come in various makes and models, so do vaginas.  Is this really a shocker? For some, it is indeed. For those of us who know, we have certainly encountered those who don’t know. No shame in not knowing, but there is something to say about the reasons so many do not know.  Patriarchy focuses on all things male.
When a woman is aroused, her body prepares for penetration by relaxing and lubricating. If a woman is too tight it may be because she is not fully relaxed, comfortable or aroused (If a woman experiences a decrease in estrogen she may experience vaginal dryness or tightness. This commonly occurs with age). It is also important to note that when a woman relaxes enough so that a penis may enter; her vagina also tightens around the penis once it has entered. It is important to understand that a penis is not so much responsible for loosening a woman.
So, is there ANYTHING that causes looseness? Yes, but it has nothing to do with penises. I have plenty of friends who have given birth and a few of them have discussed their experiences of not only the birthing process but their experiences of sex post-birth. Giving birth temporarily affects vaginal elasticity. As one might imagine, giving birth to a baby is a lot different than being entered by a penis.
Increased age can also contribute to a lack of elasticity.  For the purpose of this post I began surfing the internet and decided that a good resource that many people trust is the advice of Dr. Mehmet Oz. Below is information taken directly from an article entitled, Sex After 40: How Aging Affects Your Vagina”.
Treatment for thinning of the vaginal walls includes estrogen creams or tablets that can be inserted directly into the vagina; an estrogen patch you can change weekly; or a vaginal estrogen ring made of rubber or silicone, which can be kept in the vagina for 3 months. For an alternative to estrogen therapy, try moisturizing the vagina with a little olive oil.

Vaginal Atrophy
Reduced estrogen levels can also cause shrinkage of the vaginal mucosa, which results in narrowing of the vaginal opening called the vestibule. In this case, pain can occur during initial penetration but often subsides once the penis is deeper inside. About 90% of vaginal pain occurs in the vestibule region.

Vaginal atrophy can be treated with vaginal dilators – available in different widths and sizes – to help improve the elasticity and pliability of the vagina. Treatment usually involves 5 minutes of daily use with a lubricant. Be sure to discuss with your gynecologist before trying this treatment.

Your pelvic floor – just like your biceps – is made of muscle. Sex on a regular basis actually helps keep your vagina in shape. Kegel muscle exercises help, too.

Medication and Its Side Effects
Many common medications such as birth control pills, antihistamines and anti-depressants can cause vaginal dryness, which is already an issue after age 40, again due to lower estrogen. As a rule of thumb, medications that list dry mouth as a side effect also cause vaginal dryness.  Low libido is another common side effect associated with hormonal change and/or certain medications, especially anti-depressants in the SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) category.

A variety of lubricants – oil-, water- and silicone-based – effectively combat vaginal dryness. Talk to your gynecologist to see what brand they recommend. Saliva also works well as a lubricant and can enhance foreplay. 

For those who choose the kegel method, Mayo Clinic suggests beginning kegel exercises by; “inserting a finger inside your vagina and trying to squeeze the surrounding muscles. You should feel your vagina tighten and your pelvic floor move upward. Then relax your muscles and feel your pelvic floor return to the starting position.”
The Mayo Clinic staff goes onto suggest that; “Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and sit or lie down. Contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. You might make a practice of fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as checking email, commuting to work, preparing meals or watching TV.”
If you want to take kegels a step further, kegel toys are available. Although, I have never used these specific products myself, I trust products sold by sex toy shop, Toys in Babeland. Babeland sells various PC muscles exercise toys to help you out.  Below I will show you two of them. Visit the website to explore all variations.

The Je Joue Ami is sold for $49


The Double Silicone Smart Balls are sold for $30. The Single Smart Ball is sold for $26

Learn how to use your new exercise toys at the Toys in Babeland website, here.

Spread the love. Share what you've learned with others! Here's to happy and healthy vaginas!


The Bacon Craze

From Natalie Dee