Saturday, December 31, 2011

To the Teeth

It's been a while since I've looked at this one. Ani Difranco singing To the Teeth. She is appears on a French television show. The very beginning is spoken over in French but her song is in English.

This one is brought to us by the ever so generous francoapple on YouTube.

To the Teeth by Ani Difranco 

the sun is setting on the century
and we are armed to the teeth
we're all working together now
to make our lives mercifully brief
and school kids keep trying to teach us
what guns are all about
confused liberty with weaponry
and watch your kids act it out
and every year now like christmas
some boy gets the milk fed suburban blues
reaches for the available arsenal
and saunters off to make the news
and the women in the middle
are learning what poor women have always known
that the edge is closer than you think
when the men bring the guns home
look at where the profits are
that's how you'll find the source
of the big lie that you and i both know so well
by the time it takes this cultural
death wish to run it's course
they're gonna to make a pretty penny
and then they're going to hell
he said the chickens all come home to roost
malcolm forecast the flood
are we really going to sleep through another century
while the rich profit off our blood
yeah it may take some doing
to see this undoing through
but in my humble opinion
here's what i suggest we do
open fire on hollywood
open fire on mtv
open fire on nbc and cbs and abc
open fire on the nra
and all the lies they told us along the way
open fire on each weapons manufacturer
while he's giving head to some republican senator
and if i hear one more time
about a fools right to his tools of rage
i'm gonna take all my friends
and i'm going to move to canada
and we're going to die of old age

Margarita Cupcakes from Pick Your Poison Bake Shop

If I drank alcohol I would eat it do. Aren't they pretty? Margarita Cupcakes from Pick Your Poison Bake Shop.

What's Miliant?

Photo by Patti Perret

"I've been called militant my whole life, which is fascinating to me, because I've never heard anyone in the military called militant. It's always the babes with the big mouths."
~Ani Difranco 4/3/08 panel discussion at The Hammer Forum

Graffiti War between Banksy and King Robbo

Banksy website FAQ

Did you paint over Robbo’s piece and have him beaten up?
His piece in Camden had been dogged for more than five years by the time I painted that spot. It’s a real shame about his accident and I hope he fully recovers. I would never deliberately cuss Robbo – he’s a graffiti legend.
And he’s bigger than me.

In 1985 King Robbo painted a graffiti piece called Robbo Incorporated on a wall beside Regent's Canal in Camden, London.Over the years it became people have sprayed a few small pieces of graffiti over it, but in 2009 Banksy, most of it with a stencil of a workman pasting wallpaper. Later that same year Robbo came out of retirement so as to respond by covering the work. When he was done the workman appeared to be painting King Robbo in silver letters. Three days later Banksy painted the letters Fuc before the King.

The back and forth cover paintings continued. Angered King Bobbo followers developed Team Robbo many Banksy pieces were altered.

Banksy vs. Robbo Graffiti War

1985 - King Robbo

2006 - King Robbo's piece is graffitied over by taggers

December 2009 Banksy paints a man wallpapering up the graffiti 

 Robbo takes it as a diss, comes out of retirement and paints his name 2 weeks later

 Months later Banksy adds FUC

Robbo paints over it

The wall is painted in black, presumably by Team Robbo. The words Team Robbo are sprayed next to the black paint.

In 2010 Robbo strikes again with "R.I.P. Banksy's Career"

The wall is painted black once again. It is unknown who painted it.

January 2011 Banksy paints it

Robbo has an accident and then falls into a coma

In January 2011 Banksy paints an outline replica of he original Robbo graffiti piece. It appears that this is a memorial piece of sorts as a spray can is statued in the middle of the piece with a candle flame flickering from it.

On April 2, 2011 King Robbo was inflicted by a head injury. It is believed the injury happened as a result of an accidental fall. On October 2011 King Robbo remained in an induced coma.
The beginning of the annimosity between the two artists began long ago.

According to Sabotage Times, "The much told story goes, that having met at a party through mutual friends in the late 90s, a then unknown, bespectacled and apparently Ben Elton lookalikeBanksy had been on the receiving end of a backhander. “I was courteous, I even lied and said I’d heard of him but when he saw his mates saying it was a pleasure to meet me he decided to get cocky and say “I’ve never heard of you”, so I gave him a swift backhand and said “you may never have heard of me but you’ll never forget me” and that was that. Years later and my friend is doing a book on graffiti, London Handstyles, it was just as people were getting fired up about street art and so I was asked about that fall out. I’d been out the loop so unknown to me that story had become graff folklore. It wasn’t long after that book came out, that he went over the piece on Regents Canal.” The alteration was a distinctivelyBanksy -esque workman wallpapering up the now ancient original, Robbo’s riposte was simply to have the workman painting ‘King Robbo’, “it was actually pretty sloppy, I’d gone out Christmas morning, done it quickly and just thought ‘fuck it’. I didn’t even know how to post it on the Internet afterwards let alone think it would cause the fuss it did”.

According to Sabotage Times, King Robbo said in response to Banksy's cover up art: “He broke a graff code of conduct and for a lawless community we have a lot of laws, so I had to come back. What people don’t realise is that he’d already gone over loads of my stuff before and I hadn’t bothered retaliating but this time it was just so deliberate, so cowardly. If you’ve got the hump about something, you send a message and discuss it like gentlemen, you don’t wipe out a piece of graffiti history. But that’s what he does, never expresses his own opinion, he puts something out and lets people fool themselves, he’s smart in that respect”.

I'm an admirer of Banksy's work and I don't see that changing any time soon. Team Robbo is growing and they are continuing the turf wars. They are going beyond street art and are trying to get the public in on their efforts. Team Robbo has its own website and they are selling t-shirts that support the cause.

On 12/29/11 Across the Tracks posted the above photo. The original King Robbo design has been painted. The painting was restored on Christmas Eve.

My well wishes to King Robbo. I hope that he recovers.

For more information on Banksy visit the official website, here.
For more information on Team Robbo visit the official website, here.

Custom portrait stamps by Lilimandrill

Custom portrait stamps from Lilimandrill on etsy.

While this is a cute idea for stationary I also think this would be a cute idea for street art. To stamp this on concrete everywhere you go.

Raw Food Cookie Cupcake from Rawdorable

This is a raw food cupcake from blogger Rawdorable.

Cookie baked inside!

Strawberry Cupcake Tea from Adagio Teas! Others to Explore!

Those of you who read this blog, know that tea is one of my many obsessions. As big a tea fan as I am, I've never really branched out to gourmet teas. I'm always skeptical. Adagio Tea was selling a Strawberry Cupcakes Tea for a while that I knew I just had to try.

Unfortunately, I waited too long and it is no longer sold. I emailed the Adagio website last night, asking if it will return to stock.

I learned that the Strawberry Cupcakes Tea is actually a Signature Tea. Adagio allows consumers to create their own blended tea! You submit your idea for a blend and they may sell it! First you'll taste your own tea to make sure it actually tastes good. You also get to name your blend, add a picture of your choosing to the bag cover and add a background story. How wonderful is this? To check out information about how to create your own signature blend, click here.

When I discovered the Strawberry Cupcakes Tea, I also stumbled upon a Blackberry Ice Cream Tea.

This seemingly to good to be true tea is also gone and I don't think it'll be returning. I emailed Adagio about this tea as well.

Each tea comes with the types of tea used to blend. I decided I could mix my own tea! While this idea excites me, I don't know which percentage of tea to blend together. I don't want to end up with ghastly tasting teas and being that I am unaware of the formulas, the experiment might result in disaster. I'm going to try anyway.

The Strawberry Cupcakes Tea consists of Vanilla Tea, Strawberry Tea and Cream Tea. I'm seeing that the Cream Tea seems to be a favorite.

It is often used as a base for dessert tea blends.

The Blackberry Ice Cream Tea, consists of Blackberry Tea, Vanilla Tea and of course Cream Tea.

As I searched the website I discovered more enticing blends that are no longer in existence. I don't know why they leave the blends up on the website if they are retired. It's not fair to leave us yearning.

I saw a Black Forest Bliss Tea, that has me curious. Of course it's not available.

I've never had Chocolate Tea and the idea of chocolate and tea seems odd to me. The Black Forest Bliss tea consists of Chocolate Tea, Cherry Tea and Cream Tea.

Lastly, I will be attempted to blend a Peach Muffin Tea. Another tea that is no longer available.

 The Peach Muffin Tea consists of Vanilla Tea, Cream Tea and Peach Tea. I'm not sure how that translates into a muffin.

As it seems I am dipping into the world of gourmet teas. Hopefully I'll come out okay on the other side!

Photo Credits
Photo 1: Katy's Kitchen
Photo 2: Use Real Butter
Photo 3: Adagio
Photo 4: Foody Recipe
Photo 5: In Sock Monkey Slippers

Christmas Tree Coffee Art

Light Blue Macaroons with Pink Sprinkles

raspberry macaroons just for show

bunny nails


What makes these cute and tacky nails even more wonderful is the apples.

Lime Crime's Carousel Lip Gloss is tempting me

I haven't worn makeup since the year 2000 and I haven't worn lipstick since 1997. Even so, every now and then I find myself admiring the sight of a bright red lipstick. Every now and again I curiously peruse a makeup website called Lime Crime. The website sells extremely bright and creative makeup which come from the mastermind of Doe Deere.

When I was in high school, I tried wearing red lipstick in attempts to look like Courtney Love. Back then Courtney was my Kurt. Hole was my Nirvana. In other words, although I loved Nirvana, I idolized Courtney Love and her music. She was one of the prettiest women I had ever seen and I loved her lips. I could never find the right red and I eventually gave up the search. Wearing lipstick and having to reapply became a nusense and eventually I felt that I looked better without it.

I wore three shades of blue and purple along with black eye liner and glitter, that I found to be quite artful. I gave it up at the age of 20. Haven't worn makeup since.

For the first time in 12 years I am considering purchasing lipstick. Who knows if I'll actually do it, but I'm tempted.

Below is the Carousel Lip Gloss collection that debuted on November 28th.

It is the advertising posted that drew me in immediately.

The first two colors I display here are the gloss tubes I'm considering purchasing. Where and when I would wear them is a question. I think wearing lipstick would feel too foreign to me, being that it's been so long. I might feel like a clown. But get a load of these great pigments!

Candy Apple

A great crimson with glitter. There was a time when I wore eye glitter every day. But again, that was in high school and college. Even so, I don't think I'll ever stop being a fan of glitter.

Cherry on Top

I've never done pink, but this is very appealing. It's like candy!


I love the name of this color. Pretty, but I won't be buying this one.

Golden Ticket

Golden Ticket is the perfect name for this gloss. It reminds me very much of a Willy Wonka golden ticket.


I'm not sure how this color screams Loop-de-loop, but I dig the name.

If you like what you see here, visit Lime Crime. The website sells other lipsticks and eye shadows.

To learn about the creative force behind Lime Crime, visit the official Doe Deere blogsite, click here.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tonight's yummy etsy purchases

Vanilla birthday cake slice necklace with pink rosettes and vanilla frosting. This jewelry piece is from Zinicolas on etsy.

Yellow cake on the inside. This would go perfect with a spot o' tea.

My second purchase is a TV Dinner necklace by Inedible Jewelry on etsy.

I worried that the necklace would be too large however, the below photos was available on the website. The tackiness that is this pendant, sits daintily on the neck. The model below wears it nicely.

edible cupcake pearls

Edible pearls to put atop cupcakes! From Etsy seller TWOSWEETCAKES.

Cupcake on a Rock

Street art in Washington D.C.

"Under the Bridge" by Daquella manera via Cupcakes Take the Take.

Red Velvet Holiday Cupcakes Wrapped in Ivory Bows

Red velvet cupcakes wrapped in bows by Ontario, California bakery MyDelight Cupcakery, via their Facebook page. Get more information at

Polish blog posts recipe for cupcakes with stars and heart designs on the inside

These fun cupcakes were posted by Polish blog Cukrowa Wróżka czaruje. If you want the recipe, visit the blogsite. The site can be translated into English.

Vibrant pink stars. The bring pink reminds me of my hair in high school. Heh.

Scissors on the icing instruct you to cut the cupcake in the middle!

Waalaa! Pink heart. I'll be making the star design cupcakes for sure.

More Thoughts on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Was the brutality of the film meant to teach us? Is the aesthetic of "the girl" poignant or insulting?

I initially posted When Rated “R” Isn’t Enough, onto a public forum and received several responses. One of the commenters was a friend of mine. He stated that he felt it insulting that in order for the character of Lisbeth to be understood by public audiences as insane; she was presented with tattoos, piercings and dark clothing. Or, Hot Topic gear” as he put it. He believed that Lisbeth’s appearance unfairly served as an explanation as to why she had problems. Her appearance was meant to separate her from those who are considered normal. He went on to say that he believed the problems she endures are not rarities and her character would be interesting enough, without the dark and mysterious aesthetic.

When I was watching the film in the theater, all of the concerns he mentioned were actually worming away in my head. When I later read his response to my blog post, it didn’t surprise me that someone from my generation -- my tribe, would have similar musings. If you're not considered mainstream, or at the very least you were not at one time; most likely you will see a character like Lisbeth and know that she’s not “weird”, but familiar.  

When I was in high school and college I wore dark clothing and bright colored hair. I didn’t think that I was aesthetically “different” because I knew there were many out there like me. What I was doing wasn’t fresh and new and if there was anything special and unique about me it wasn’t my clothing. I bought what I liked, I wore what I liked. The end.

My issues of depression and traumatizing issues with family didn’t make me unique either. I had those issues before I started dying my hair magenta.

I explained to my friend that although he and I shared the same concerns, I was able to look at the film in a different way. Lisbeth does not represent the typical heroine. I find her to be quite pretty and she is certainly not a woman whom you’d fine walking a red carpet, or modeling on a runway. She’s an non-conventional beauty. And although she is a heroine, she is not a typical heroine. She has emotional issues that go beyond what we usually see and because of her issues she is not completely idolized. I think this is a good thing. I don’t need my heroes and heroines to be perfect. Yes she kicks ass, but she’s vulnerable as well. She is resilient, yet awkward. She's brilliant, yet guarded. She's determined, yet struggling to keep her head above water. She's marching forward, yet she is weathered.

There is a lot of nudity in the film and a lot of sex. Some consensual and some not. Although, I can always do without nudity in films, it was a bit refreshing to see a woman of her “type” considered attractive and interesting. Again she’s not the typical bombshell we are used to seeing and I love that. 

The consensual sex in the film is incredibly vivid. There is no holding back. Most of the nudity belongs to Lisbeth. That’s not a shocker as it is often a woman’s nudity that is emphasized on screen.

There is also no holding back when it comes to the rape scenes. I have never seen rape like this on film. Or rather, I had never seen rape like this as I was hiding behind my knees and clenching my vaginal muscles.

As I was peeking through my knees I remember wanting to immediately know what was going on through the writers’ heads when they planned this out. I hadn’t read the book, but asked others who had, after I had seen the film. They informed me that the books are equally as violent. I did some digging and learned some things about the late author Steig Larsson.  

It seems that as a boy, Larsson had witnessed a gang rape and did not intervene. According to ABC news, he had asked the girl to forgive him but she refused. Her name was Lisbeth and that of course is the main character of the film.

Larson also wrote two follow up books entitled, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Both books feature Lisbeth as the central character. The trilogy is known as The Millennium Trilogy. The witnessed rape had a deep effect on him and ultimately influenced his novels. 

Larsson was definitely a man of conscience and morality. He was a feminist and a political activist. According to the easy breezy access of Wikipedia, Larsson was politically involved with the Kommunistiska Arbetareförbundet (Communist Workers League). In 1977 He worked as a photographer and journalist for various political publications. He also conducted independent research of right-wing extremism in Sweden. Larsson died in 2004 of a heart attack. He was 50 years old. 

Larsson’s stories are interesting ways to spread awareness. We are not just witnessing a rape on screen but we are witnessing something that happens every day. In other words, this is not an isolated event that disappears once the scene has passed. It’s easier to be a voyeur than to admit that this is a real problem. It’s easier to ignore the fact that rape occurs as frequently as it does. After all, who wants to think about rape? It’s not fun. It’s a downer; it’s exhausting; it can damper one’s day. But know that those who have been raped are thinking about it and it is putting a damper on their LIVES. 

Chances are you know a rape victim. If you don’t, you certainly know women who understand the importance of caution. Men, certainly need to be cautious in their own lives but not in the same way that women do.

When I'm at a party I find myself checking my surroundings for the simple joy of observation, but I also do it for safety precaution. If I'm drinking something, I keep my drink in my hands at all times. Luckily, I don't drink alcohol, so I don't need to worry myself about assuring myself of a designated driver. I always check the backseat of my car before I enter it. I watch for shadows behind me when I walk at night, and if I can, I walk with others. I catch myself scanning an area to make sure that other women have people around them as well.

Safety is always a concern and I don't think that men always have safety on their minds. Men are not bad people but rapists are; and rapist are almost always men.

In the film Lisbeth gets the ultimate revenge against her rapist. It’s brutal, it’s grotesque and in many ways clever. I did not enjoy this scene either. I again was hiding behind my knees as the scene unfolded. I’m sure many were rooting her on but I’m not a fan of violence unless it is out of self defense. This act of revenge occurred much later, after Lisbeth’s rape. I imagine though, if I were raped I would want my rapist to understand the pain he caused. And of course, no amount of revenge could truly convey what his actions had done or how they would affect my future.

I think there are many reasons as to why the books are so popular and why this film is getting attention. No doubt, word of the violence within this film has gotten around. I think the violence may be a draw for some people. I think people want to know just how violent, violent can be. I also, think that violence intrigues people on a level that humor and romance do not. Violence is all around us, and yet some crave more of it. Some of us want to see how creative and artful violence can be depicted on screen and some just want their fill of shooting, stabbing, and killing.  
I hope that Larsson’s attempts to wisen us all up aren’t lost on audiences. It took me a while to absorb what was happening on screen. I walked to my car and spoke to my companion about the film. When I was on my own I continued to think about the film. 
I tried to get a handle on the importance of the rape scenes. Rape is never positive and I would imagine that a thinking novelist would not want to glorify rape and nor would movie makers who are bringing someone else’s work to life. I didn’t know what the script writers meant to capture and I had hoped that they understood as I did, that the rape revealed a sickness within our world that needs to be dealt with. That is part of the reason why I rushed to a computer to do some research about the film, the book and the author. 
Not everyone is going to do the same, so what others are left with is what is on screen. The film should speak for itself, without the use of the internet for backup. So, I cannot predict what others will get from the film. I am particularly interested in what men think of the film. I don’t know how men react when they watch sexual violence. I don’t know if some cringe as many of us ladies do, I don’t know if they feel sadness or anger. I don’t know if they feel that rape is an issue that needs addressing.  
I’ve spoken with a few male friends, but the men in my life are a small number compared to the larger population. Rape is not just a women’s issue. That is what I am stressing. 
I am considering reading one of Larsson’s books from The Millennium Trilogy. I find myself curious as to how Larsson continues to build upon the story of Lisbeth. I am curious if the issue of rape continues to be presented in ways that will educate others. Others have warned me that violence exists within the other novels and I really don’t know if I’ll put myself through that. I am curious though; but sometimes curiosity kills the cat.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Are You Doing New Years Eve? by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

We all knew that actress Zooey Deschanel has a velvet voice but not actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And for those of you who did know; why didn't you tell me? I've got a beef with you now. These two make magic.

I first saw these two work together when they performed in the 2001 indie film Manic. In the film Gordon-Levitt plays the part of  Lyle Jensen who has a history of anger and violence. He is sent to the juvenile wing of the Northwood Mental Institution other troubled youths are treated. It is a profound film that I enjoy to this day.

The two united once again when they appeared opposite each other in the 2009 "romantic-comedy", 500 Days of Summer.

If you've watched Elf aka one of the most joyous Christmas films ever, you've heard the smooth vocal stylings of Miss Deschanel.

She also has her own band, She & Him. The "him" in She & Him is M. Ward. A man who has certainly been around the musical block. He's often a solo act but has played with many other indie and no so indie musicians that I favor. He was a part of Conor OBerst's Monsters of Folk project and has guested on albums by Cat Power, Neko Case, Bright Eyes and more.

I'm a fan Deschenel and Gordon-Levitt but it wasn't until tonight that I learned of their websites. Deschenel's website, Hello Giggles is a women's interest website of sorts. It claims to be a women friendy website that features articles of various topics. Gordon Levitt's website is hitRECord which is an open collaborative production company that invites writers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers and illustrators.

Perhaps we'll see more from these two. Perhaps on the screen or in song.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Riley on Marketing

A lil' feminsit in the making. Good for you Riley.


A Poignant piece from Yashar Ali, posted at The Huffington Post on 9/12/11. I am reposting the article below in its entirety. I am bolding the passages that I find particularly meaningful.

By Yashar Ali

You're so sensitive. You're so emotional. You're defensive. You're overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You're crazy! I was just joking, don't you have a sense of humor? You're so dramatic. Just get over it already!

Sound familiar?

If you're a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it's not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling -- that's inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, "Calm down, you're overreacting," after you just addressed someone else's bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It's patently false and unfair.

I think it's time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation, and we need to use a word not found in our normal vocabulary.

I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a term often used by mental health professionals (I am not one) to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they're crazy.

The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman's husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry. He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution. To pull of this task, he intentionally sets the gaslights in their home to flicker off and on, and every time Bergman's character reacts to it, he tells her she's just seeing things. In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim's perception of him or herself.

Today, when the term is referenced, it's usually because the perpetrator says things like, "You're so stupid," or "No one will ever want you," to the victim. This is an intentional, pre-meditated form of gaslighting, much like the actions of Charles Boyer's character in Gaslight, where he strategically plots to confuse Ingrid Bergman's character into believing herself unhinged.

The form of gaslighting I'm addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction -- whether it's anger, frustration, sadness -- in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren't rational or normal.

The form of gaslighting I'm addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction -- whether it's anger, frustration, sadness -- in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren't rational or normal.

My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, "You're so sensitive. I'm just joking."

My friend Abbie works for a man who finds a way, almost daily, to unnecessarily shoot down her performance and her work product. Comments like, "Can't you do something right?" or "Why did I hire you?" are regular occurrences for her. Her boss has no problem firing people (he does it regularly), so you wouldn't know from these comments that Abbie has worked for him for six years. But every time she stands up for herself and says, "It doesn't help me when you say these things," she gets the same reaction: "Relax; you're overreacting."

Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it's exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.

But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, "You're so sensitive," to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.

While dealing with gaslighting isn't a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.

And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.


Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men. 

It's a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don't refuse our burdens as easily. It's the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: It renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren't able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can't tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can't tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, "Forget it, it's okay."

That "forget it" isn't just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It's heartbreaking.

No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

They say, "I'm sorry," before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.
You know how it looks: 

"You're late :)"

These are the same women who stay in relationships they don't belong in, who don't follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live.

Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life and in the lives of the women I know, this concept of women as "crazy" has really emerged as a major issue in society at large and an equally major frustration for the women in my life, in general.

From the way women are portrayed on reality shows, to how we condition boys and girls to see women, we have come to accept the idea that women are unbalanced, irrational individuals, especially in times of anger and frustration.

Just the other day, on a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a flight attendant who had come to recognize me from my many trips asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I write mainly about women, she immediately laughed and asked, "Oh, about how crazy we are?"

Her gut reaction to my work made me really depressed. While she made her response in jest, her question nonetheless makes visible a pattern of sexist commentary that travels through all facets of society on how men view women, which also greatly impacts how women may view themselves.

As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face. Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice. This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.

I don't think this idea that women are "crazy," is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it's connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as "crazy."

I recognize that I've been guilty of gaslighting my women friends in the past (but never my male friends--surprise, surprise). It's shameful, but I'm glad I realized that I did it on occasion and put a stop to it.
While I take total responsibility for my actions, I do believe that I, along with many men, am a byproduct of our conditioning. It's about the general insight our conditioning gives us into admitting fault and exposing any emotion.

When we are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion, it causes many of us to remain steadfast in our refusal to express regret when we see someone in pain from our actions.

When I was writing this piece, I was reminded of one of my favorite Gloria Steinem quotes, "The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn."

So for many of us, it's first about unlearning how to flicker those gaslights and learning how to acknowledge and understand the feelings, opinions, and positions of the women in our lives.

But isn't the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women's opinions don't hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn't quite as legitimate?

Yashar will be soon releasing his first short e-book, entitled, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not Crazy -- How We Teach Men That Women Are Crazy and How We Convince Women To Ignore Their Instincts. If you are interested and want to be notified when the book is released, please click here to sign-up.

Monday, December 26, 2011

When "rated R" isn't enough

This past weekend I saw the American adaptation of the Swedish film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The film was good, let me get that out of the way. The actors did a superb job and Rooney Mara who played "the girl" impressed me very much. She's also one of the prettiest women I've ever seen.

I had no idea what the film was about when I walked into it. I had seen the book on book shelves throughout the years but never thought of pursuing it. I only just learned that the book is the first part of a trilogy by the late author Steig Larsson.

 The story starts off with a journalist who retreats to a remote island in Sweden where he works towards solving a 40 year old unsolved murder of a young girl. The girl's uncle has convinced the journalist to assist him to which the journalist utilizes the assistance of a 23 year old, tattooed and pierced Lisbeth Salander. A computer hacker with a photographic memory. A young woman who is a ward of the state and lives a life of independence and dependence.

Although, I enjoyed the film it its majority, I was not at all prepared for the brutal rape scenes. The film has an "R" rating however, not everyone pays attention to ratings. This film needed something more.

Feminist blogs that have made mention of the film are careful to offer a disclaimer. "Trigger Alert" or "This May Trigger" has been plastered onto sites so as to warn viewers who have experienced sexual violence or who are sensitive to the thought of sexual violence.

I am fortunate enough that I have never been raped and it is a sad thing indeed when escaping violation is a sign of good fortune. In other words, rape is too common place. I pray that I will live the end of my days without such an experience. If you are born female, the statistics are against you. Patriarchy is not going anywhere anytime soon. So, when I watched the brutality upon the screen through half shut eyes, as I hid behind my knees; I instantly became upset with the promoters of the film.

Rape scenes stick with me. There is one scene in particular from 1999 film that haunts me til' this day. For those who have actually been through it, I imagine witnessing a rape on film can be excruciatingly painful.

Why should it be only feminist websites that think to the sensitivities of rape victims?

Sensitivity seems to come very naturally for feminists. Why is that? My guess is that sexual violence is considered by many to be a woman's issue. This hurts my feelings. Sexual violence against women is most often caused by men. So, why is rape only a woman's issue?

When men have daughters, I imagine the first thing that pops into their mind about their baby's future is not the possibility of rape. As an only child, I remember witnessing a difference between the way parents would treat daughters vs. sons. My female friends often felt they needed to compete with their brothers as their brothers were allowed to do things that they were not. For instance; their brothers were permitted to stay out later than they were. Their parents seemed to think that their sons would not be in any danger if they spent a late night out, but it was a different situation entirely for their daughters. I don't completely disagree with this.

So, what is it that changes when a woman is of age? How is it any different if a girl is living at home with her parents at the age of 16 or if she is living alone at the age of 30? Why is the danger any less? Women can certainly find ways to protect themselves, but that's not the point. The point is that there are men out there that wish to harm women and these men will attempt to do so.

This is not to say that boys and men aren't victims of sexual violence. Boys and men must be careful as well. It is not as if men are invincible and that there aren't lunatics out there who want to harm. Most men however, have the luxury of maneuvering through life without as much concern about sexual assault. This is their privilege.

It is frustrating that so many men do not know or acknowledge that they have this privilege. Privilege is the norm and therefore ignorance is bliss. Privilege is not the norm for women so it is often women who attempt to educate men. Not all men listen. In fact if I were a man writing this post, I think more men would pay attention to these words. Because then a male audience might understand more clearly that rape is not just a woman's issue.

A lot of the things that invade our lives will end up on screen. This is not a bad thing, as film often captures real events that require an attempt at authenticity. My belief is that this film should have come with a trigger warning. A warning that went beyond the traditional "R" rating. I also believe that if certain individuals were more concerned with its audience; if they were in tune to the fact that sexual assault is a human issue, we wouldn't have this problem.

1st photo:

2nd photo: beyond hollywood
3rd photo: screen rant
4th photo: the void
5th photo: beyond hollywood