Sunday, December 28, 2008

hip-hop songs for the Soul

This post is dedicated to the women, who are sick and tired of hearing radio stations, music television channels, and DJ's spinning in nightclubs main streaming hip-hop "top 40" songs that minimize women to their body parts that serve only to provide sexual pleasure for men.

I'm just sick and tired of hearing in our media how these main stream artists perceive their interactions with women, oversexualizing women and defining them by their round booty and nice breasts.

When I'm at the club I just want to jam and have a good time with the girl friends, but it can get a bit irritating in hearing about lil wayne's fantasy to be licked like a lollipop, then hear about Ludacris' attraction to a women with a "round butt and a pair of double D's" despite her "gapped tooth and a mean overbite" and to top it off, I don't really appreciate crowds of men, in unison with Birdman yelling"bitch if you can't swallow, shut up bitch gargle." and then there's Kanye who offers to put some "black inside you." and Pharrel who is interested in her "High maintenance, high fashion," and "high heels."

The problem is not necessarily the music, but the music that is chosen to be played by these institutions (clubs, radio stations, television channels). The message is clear, men are interested in what women can offer for them on an extremely sexual, shallow and superficial level.

So in this blog, instead of bashing on Nelly, Ludacris, Lil Wayne, T Pain, Birdman, Akon, etc I will highlight some personal favorite hip-hop artists that have created songs that you can jam to while simultaneously leaving you with feeling as if for once, as a women, it's not about your breast, your booty, or how much you want to get fucked cause they can "see the desire in your eyes," but instead, it's about you as a women with soul.

Inverse - HipHopSoul

Lupe Fiasco - Go Go Baby

Q-Tip - You

Theophilus London - Blues

Blue Scholars - Life & Debt

Common - The Light

The Roots feat. Erykah Badu - You Got Me

more to come....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

on a personal note. Happy Holidays

Sorry it's only been me updating our blog lately. Etheline is currently traveling the world. I know her clever wit and talented writing is missed, now you're just stuck with me. Jumbled thoughts that don't really make sense cause I usually write on impulse which is usually sparked by a reaction to something.

Anyway, so with the 7 inches of snow here in Seattle and not having enough plows to clear the roads I had some down time to do some reading.

I just finished Bell Hooks' "All About Love: New Visions"

I expected her to offer a critique on the ways in which our patriarchal society impacts heterosexual relationships. But instead she brought the discussion on love to a very personal level which I truly enjoyed. For example, she did expose how societal expectations influence men and women differently, but mainly to illustrate that it can sometimes interfere with the important role that honesty plays in true love.

On a personal note, I used to be one of those girls that thought if I were to admit that I bought into the Hollywood notion of Love, that is to be romantically swept off my feet by the man of my dreams, it would mean I was weak and incapable of living as an independent women. While that really isn't my ultimate romantic fantasy, I continued to allow others to perceive me as a woman who had no interest in a romantic pursuit. The desire for romance was there, but because I pretended as if it didn't exist, it entered my sub conscious affecting me in ways that I was completely unaware of. This "I don't need romance" was a very naive attitude and it led to very very naive decisions in terms of relationships and love. After reading Bell Hooks book, I feel as if I have a bit of a better understanding as to why I have felt a strong disconnection from how I thought I understood love to how love was being manifested in many of my previous relationships.

Using many examples from her own life Bell Hooks explores everything from how childhood experiences may influence our expectations during adult life relationships, the classic "why we often make irrational decisions when we feel that we are in love," and even the importance the role community plays in love. But most importantly she completely dispels the hollywood myth of romance while instilling a strong sense of hope for true love.

I'm beginning to acknowledge my own spark of hope of meeting another individual in which I can make a honest heart to heart connection with, connecting beyond all the layers of our complexities that exist within us all. But for now, the love I have for what I do, for my education, my passion and my dreams, and most importantly for my family and friends is more than enough for me.

"We should translate our beliefs about love into concrete action. Justice is what the language of love sounds like when it speaks in public." - Michael Eric Dyson

happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"ego - distant, salvaging what little masculine space I can forge in truth."

Sorry the posts have been so short lately. I think it's the holiday season, if you're in seattle, you'd know that we've received at least (maybe more) than 5 inches of snow. Anyway, I cruised on this youtube video from this you tube channel. I really have no idea who this guy is except his name is Nico and he's part of a spoken word group called ill-literacy... and the performance below is pretty damn amazing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tara Hardy

I actually had the extraordinary privilege to see Tara Hardy perform this poem live at the Seattle Women of the World Slam Finals.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nicole Kidman

(Taken from here)

Press Conference on Results of ‘Say No To Violence Against Women’ Campaign
November 25th, 2008

A total of 5,066,549 people had joined UNIFEM’s “Say NO to Violence against Women” campaign, adding their names to a call to make that issue a top priority for Governments worldwide, Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman said at a Headquarters press conference this afternoon.

“As long as one in three women and girls may be abused in their lifetimes, ending violence against women must be everybody’s business,” Ms. Kidman said, expressing her pride at having served as the campaign’s spokesperson.

“Together, we can do so much,” she said. That’s why on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, I have a message for our global team of goodwill ambassadors: please stay involved. Our Say NO network is a precious resource on which to build a formidable international movement that says NO to violence against women and girls, and really, really means it.”

Announcing the results of the campaign along with Ms. Kidman were the Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Inés Alberdi; Piet de Klerk, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations; and Marie Nyombo Zaina, grantee of the United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women.

Ms. Alberdi explained that, launched a year ago, “Say NO” was an awareness and advocacy initiative that UNIFEM had designed to feed into United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign on the issue. Through the campaign, she said, “we have built a large, new constituency with great potential for further mobilization in the years to come”.
The campaign also served as an effective platform for decision-makers to publicly express their political will, she explained. No fewer than 29 Heads of State and Government, and 188 ministers representing 60 Governments had added their names to it, as well as more than 600 parliamentarians from over 70 countries.

Atrocious crimes against women had made headlines in recent weeks, she continued. In Somalia, a brutally raped girl had been stoned to death for alleged adultery; in Afghanistan, a group of young girls had been attacked with acid, having provoked the Taliban by going to school.
Now, it was important to use the momentum achieved through the campaign to implement laws and policies already in place, she said, urging the adoption of accountability standards with minimal standards of protection and response. Among the actions needed, she listed prompt police response, health and legal services, shelters and safe options for victims, national around-the-clock hotlines, accountable judiciaries and national action plans.
She added that the new momentum on the issue was evident by the increase in resources. Through the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, which UNIFEM manages on behalf of the United Nations system, new grants amounting to more than $19 million would be provided this year –- more than the total disbursed since the Fund’s inception in 1996.

Ambassador de Klerk emphasized that promoting equal rights and opportunities and combating violence against women were priorities for the Government of the Netherlands, which had contributed about $8 million to the Trust Fund. Nationally, increasing attention was being paid to domestic violence, which was not just a family affair. Bilateral programmes were carried out in 16 countries, and support was being provided to some 20 international non-governmental organizations.

Altogether, the Netherlands would invest approximately €60 million in the fight against gender violence over a period of three years, he said. Next March, the country would host an international conference on violence against girls. Furthermore, it had put forward several General Assembly resolutions on violence against women. Most recently, the Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) had approved, by consensus, a draft presented by the Netherlands, together with Belgium, on combating impunity for violence against women. More than 100 Member States had co-sponsored the resolution, but it was not only States that should act. “We all have to act together: men, women, communities, civil society organizations, the private sector and international organizations. Everybody can make a contribution,” he said.
Ms. Zaina said that she was herself a victim of violence, having been forced into a polygamous marriage. She had later obtained a degree and created an association in defence of children and women. In 2002, she had spearheaded the creation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the “National Network of NGOs for Women’s Development”.

Thanks to the grant from the Trust Fund, her organization could provide a range of services to survivors of violence, she said. One of them was a woman who had been gang-raped by armed men in front of her husband and four children. The father and sons had later been shot dead, and her daughters had been raped and taken away from her. In order to help women survivors like her, it was important to fight impunity, train legal personnel, provide treatment and care for victims of sexual violence, and set up refuges and shelters. Most importantly, however, was to end the war, especially against women and children. She urgently appealed to the international community to help support the Congolese people in their peace negotiations.

Ms. Kidman, replying to several questions regarding her year as a spokesperson for the Say NO campaign and the initiative itself, said that this year the focus had been on creating public awareness and overcoming the stigma attached to the issue. Part of the problem was that perpetrators were often not prosecuted. One reason the initiative had targeted decision-makers was that “that’s where laws are upheld, or laws get changed”. Trying to make violence against women part of the public vernacular, the campaign had actively used the Internet and created discussion.

“And I am here to act as a voice,” she said, adding: “I do not have the answers; I’m willing to do as much as I can and work with these people who are quietly doing such an enormous job. These are the people that do the work, and I am out here because I can use my voice to help their voices be heard.”

Responding to a 10-year-old girl, who is running a school paper, she said that girls and women often did not know what was considered a violent act or abuse, and it was important to discuss that issue, both within families and at schools. Both young girls and young boys needed to be educated in that regard.

Asked about the reasons for her personal involvement, Ms. Kidman said: “I think, in some ways, I have always been heading towards wanting to put some meaning into my life. The reason I chose this subject was because I was raised by a mother who was very passionate to have her daughters educated and wanted her daughters to have equal opportunities, and I am the product of that. So now I am hoping to pass on to the next generation and work in a greater capacity than just as an actress”.
* *** *

Friday, December 5, 2008

my response to a blog in response to my post that was in response to a comment..

Keeping an open and honest dialogue is important, even if my past couple of posts maybe have suggested otherwise.

So first off, my blog post in response to this comment which led to this response which has led to this post..... I feel there may have been a bit of a misunderstanding from the beginning. First off, my own personal approach to this blog, and I speak for myself not for both Etheline and myself, is that this blog, for me, is not an Academic Blog. I have not taken any Women Studies courses, I haven't studied and/or researched feminist theories in academic settings. This blog is simply about my own personal interpretations of feminism as it relates to my day to day life with the idea that any woman can choose to relate to feminism with or without academic knowledge.

I apologize from my strong reaction, but found it difficult to openly accept the criticism that most feminist views are anti-intellectual being placed on this blog, I felt like that comment alone was not offering much for dialogue. At this point, I feel as if myself and Christian are in a different place with our understandings of feminism.

With that said I do plan to respond to Christian's response, in reading his response I still disagree with the idea of most mainline feminism being anti-intellectual, but I may have to do a little research on my own before I can offer a well thought out response.

But for now, thank you Christian for offering your insights on our blog, although it may not have seem like it, it's much appreciated.

In the Mean time... who picked up Q-Tip's newest album "The Renaissance" ? I was never big on A tribe Called Quest, never really got into hip-hop till a couple years ago, and I still wouldn't consider myself a hip-hop head cause I don't live and breathe it. But hip-hop makes up a large part of the songs on my itunes and I have mad respect for it's culture and the music that comes from it. Anyway, I hardly fall for celebrities, but I first fell for Q-Tip, with out really knowing who he was when I watched one of Spike Lee's worst films "She Hates Me."


I think it was the black framed glasses that got to me haha. Anyway, I'm really enjoying his newest album, "The Renaissance."
We Fight/We Love ft. Raqhael Saadiq - Q--Tip

In other news:


"The chief executives of Ford and GM have even offered to work for $1 a year if Congress approves the emergency aid."

Are you kidding me? That's so ridiculous. How big of them, they are such sacrificing individuals. I'm sure it'd be really hard for them to survive on the meager millions of dollars in their savings accounts. Hahaha. No sarcasm, that article realy made me laugh.

Now who was it who said we live in a country where we criticize the poor for being on welfare and not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps while we give billions of dollars of bailout money to the people who got the economy into trouble? To the richest of the rich to get them out of trouble? Oh yeah, Michael Erick Dyson. Pull yourselves up car execs! This is America!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The anti-intellectual feminist, part 2

So Olives and I were texting one another about her recent post "the anti-intellectual feminist" and she suggested I add my point of view to the discussion. So let's see...

So far the history seems to be: Olives says she understands where I'm coming from with my coworker and discusses her frustrations with the tendencies of many to trivialize and mock feminist critiques. In response commenter Christian calls feminism "Extremely anti-intellectual" and says that "a lot of what's being said on behalf of feminism sounds like a lot of whining." Not perhaps an extremely intellectual critique of feminism in itself. Also, the comment doesn't seem to address exactly what Olives what talking about (which was the difficulty in expressing feminist views and getting brushed off or laughed at); to me Christian's comment seems more like an opportunistic attack on feminism that found a target one day. On the other hand, Christian has made many comments on our blog before and since then, and I find it useful to have an unsympathetic regular reader. Anyway, I've digressed substantially from giving a history of "the anti-intellectual feminist" discussion. Part 3 is Olives' response: efficiently breaking down the anti-intellectual-because-it's-only-feuled-by-passion argument (a point which Christian has since conceded), questioning the existence of the entire discipline of women's studies if feminism is anti-intellectual (people seemed distracted by her use of the university as an example, but given the existence of thousands of books and scholars I'm going to go out on a limb and say her point still stands strong), and finally critiquing the notion that it is necessary to separate emotion and intellect in order to have a respectable argument. And she threw some humor in there. Now, I don't know that I can defend Olives' choice to fight fire with fire (i.e. when she called our unfriendly commenter awkward and called him out on the whole Neil Strauss thing), but she took that stuff out so she's clearly self-editing. And that part aside (because hey, you'd be fuckin pissed, too) I want to applaud Olives for her to the point take down of the unfriendly commenter. Olives, you are a testament to the intellect of feminism! And let us not forget that without passion our intellectual ideas wouldn't start many movements. I betcha the unfriendly commenter voted for Obama, right?

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Last night CBS broadcasted the Victoria's Secret fashion show, and of course I have something to say about it. Now I admit that my intentions in watching it in the first place were to criticize it. And I know that's a flawed method, but I've seen the show in past years, read the catalogue, and been to the store so please excuse my poor research tacticts. Let's say I went into it with a hypothesis, because yes I think my guess about the content was educated. And if they had wanted to prove me wrong that would have been great, but guess what? They didn't.

This years theme seemed to be bondage and fairies. The same confusing message our society has been sending women for a long time now: to be sexually attractive you must somehow appear innocent and virginal as well as extremely sexual at the same time. Furthermore, many of the models looked packaged with strands of fabric, jewels, and belts. Packaged commodoties for the consumption of the audience and tv viewers.
The show also had various "backstage moments" before and after commercial breaks in which you could watch the models run from place to place in their heels and underwear or short pink robes. Viewers could see Karlina Kurkova dancing around and singing to the song being played and every model who walked by blew kisses to the camera or gave a sexy wink. One of these interludes was a "comedy skit" in which a model brandishing a pink riding crop with which to threaten the other models instructs them on a map which way to walk on the runway (up and down, that is). Here again we see the same mixed messages as well as the encouragement of stereotypes about the anti-intellectual nature of models. In another one of these interludes they show the bleeding ankle of a model who sustained her injury while walking the runway in her heels. They aren't taking the heels off of her, though, just wiping up the unsightly blood with a tissue so she can walk in them attractively once again. Wow.
Usher was the musical guest this year and had the privilege of singing tunes fully clothed from head to foot in the middle of the runway while models in their underwear flirted with, kissed, and held hands with him.
Yep, the models walked up and down the runway all night, and despite any pain they were enduring, fulfilled their purpose as objects of the fashion industry to display robotic comfort and to be "sexy."


Guess who's getting featured in one of SU's student run newspapers! yours truly. ;) (etheline and olives) Check out our first story in the Participator,since we have a new outlet to hopefully increase the traffic of our blog, definitely expect more updates. =)

Olives and Etheline are feminist bloggers and undergraduate students at Seattle University. They like to address broad issues of feminism, but particularly issues in the Seattle community. Their blog can be found at The following is a dialogue between Olives and Etheline:

Olives: Where does the name Robot doves come from?

Etheline: Our blog deals a lot with confronting and challenging culturally enforced notions of femininity. Sometimes juxtaposing stereotyped symbols of femininity can be a useful way to engage in a discussion about the ways in which these stereotypes fail to hold up to reality. That's what the title Robot Doves is about.

Etheline: One of my favorite quotes that you posted on our blog is the one by Jessica Valenti (founder of "When you're a feminist, day-to-day life is better. You make better decisions. You have better sex."

54% of college age women say they have had sex that they regret. According to a study done at Standford University, women in college orgasm less than half as often as college males during hook-ups. Olives, what do you think is the reason behind these statistics?

Olives: Well the next quote from that study explains it: there is a social focus of sexual activity on male pleasure. There's a culturally embedded notion in our society that if you're a woman and you're open about your sexuality, or you enjoy casual sex, you're not meeting the societal standards of purity, in other words you're dirty, you've "been around." On a socially subconscious level, men tend to be more attracted to women who are "pure," and "virgin like." I think your blog post about dictionary definitions truly speaks to the lopsided expectations of women and men when it comes to sexual standards. Could you speak a little bit about that?

Etheline: Well, when I wrote that post I was interested in getting at the true meaning and power of words. For example, people throw words like 'slut' around all the time to describe pretty much anyone (or specifically, any woman) they want to put into that category, but very few people can give an exact definition of what makes a slut. Because their purpose is to define words, I looked at what dictionaries have to say about the word slut as well as a few others. As it turns out, the dictionaries' definition of these words are just as broad as the ways in which people use them. These descriptions show how subjective these terms are but fail even once to describe them as derogatory or insulting. But of course the frequent use of these words has a profound influence on establishing the exact standards you were talking about. What's your view on refuting messages like these?

Olives: I think it's important for women to understand that it is ok to be as sexual as they desire, to experience pleasure and embrace their sexuality. It's oppressive when a woman can't freely enjoy their sexual nature.

Etheline: So why do you think feminists have better sex?

Olives: Usually feminists are more conscious of the ways society enforces cultural norms. It's empowering to reach a consciousness in which you can separate what society has defined you to be and how you choose to define yourself to be. As Jean Kilborne points out so well, our culture is oversaturated with sexualized images of women. But this truly is only one side of a bigger societal ill. Men face extraordinary pressure to live up to unrealistic standards of masculinity. But there's more of that on our blog as well…

Robot Doves further explores these issues and represents the continuous dialogue between Olives and Etheline. Anyone is welcome to contribute their voice to the conversation.

the anit-intellectual feminist movement

After going through older entries, I cam across this comment from this post:

i think, in my opinion, why people cannot take most feminist views with any seriousness is because (to me) it's EXTREMELY anti-intellectual. to put it even more bluntly, a lot of what's being said on behalf of feminism sounds like a lot of whining, not well thought out argumentation.i personally can't take any position seriously when logic is replaced with pure passion and citations from "authority."

this comment is almost laughable. Anti-intellectual? Pure passion?...what I think he was really trying to say was that feminists were too emotional about how they were victimized which inhibits all their ability to think on any rational or logic level. basically a lot of women got pissed and created a movement out of it. I never thought I'd ever be quoting Dinesh D'Souza, but as he would say, I think the train has left that station. Most that currently criticize the feminist movement don't use that sort of naive and uneducated criticisms anymore. Cause, like I said, it's straight up laughable.

Most universities, that is, a hub for people to engage in intellectual thought, HAVE a women studies department. SO is it really "rational" and "logical" to claim that a university would spend money on an academic department that was thought to be "anti-intellectual?" and even looking at the bigger picture of feminism, I don't really see how breaking down the systemic ways that women have been historically oppressed in this country is anti-intellectual. This requires connecting complex theories with empricial data to make sense of the fucked up social fabrication of this culture. Oops, I said "fucked up," is that an illustration of my emotions inhibiting my ability to articulate myself, forcing me to resort to elementary curse words.

Why separate your mind and heart? Why not have an emotional concern about what intellectual thought your mind takes in?

Here is an example of Intellectual thought at it's finest, Erykah Badu breakin it down on how to make it in the music business as a women. I know I already put up this video but it's just ooooo gooooooodddd

Monday, October 27, 2008

The small victories in a feminist's life

Olives' quote a couple of weeks ago about the perks of feminism got me thinking about the benefits of feminism in my own life. I had a couple this week that made me realize that just living life in a way that is atune to the various injustices placed on women has at least had a small influence on the world. Often Olives and I talk about the frustating tendency of people to reject our criticisms of culture on the basis of our womanhood, or the frenquency with which people think our views are funny and not to be taken seriously. This week, though, I realized that beyond people's initial reactions to my comments and their propensity to laugh at yet another piece of feminism, I might actually be getting my point across.

First there was the friend who I was hanging out with when I got Olives' email about Hustler's latest porn movie "Nailin Palin." I was horrified and told my friend all about it. He listened and tried to mask the humor he found in "Nailin Palin" while I showed him the promotional materials for it and tried to get over my shock. Of course I was frustrated that he just thought the issue was funny and didn't seem upset at all that it was happening, the most he agreed to at the time was that it was kind of messed up. But then, magically, a few days later he brought it up again and told me he had discussed it with his roommate and that she had also been upset by it. Then we talked about it more and it seemed he saw how messed up it was. Or at least, me expressing my views had planted something in his brain which then caused him to spread the message further and engage in dialogue about it.

A similar thing happened with my roommate the next day. She's not really "into" feminism and seems to harbor a benevolent tolerance for my usual commentary about news media, advertising, etc. But while we were doing our homework on Sunday she turned her head up to look at me and said, "This picture in my textbook is perfect material for one of your feminist criticism things." I laughed because, although she was not saying "This picture is cleary sexist, offensive, and damaging to the perception of women in our society," she also kind of was. She was acknowledging the fact that I would have a problem with it, which is in a way acknowledging that there is a problem with it--a problem which she recognized and paid attention to because she has a feminist in her face all the time.

I'm not trying to blow myself up into some kind of feminist hero opening people's minds. I'm just saying that maybe the things that we often find discouraging might actually mask a bit of the positive influence we have. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Latte Liberal Seattle

I don't think I really understand the culture of Seattle. The gentrified city of rich "intellectual" liberals that kicked out those living in supposedly old run down apartment complexes to build "cool," "hip" and urban condo's. Local coffee shops and boutiques exist alongside these condo's making what we call "urban villages." No one likes suburbia anymore. I get a lot of dirty looks when I say I'm from Bellevue, the subrban neighborhood that Bill Gates lives in. Bellevue actually has it's own problems of racial tensions, but what city doesn't? anyway...

So we have a local newspaper called "The Stranger." I personally don't know too much about this newspaper (in terms of its popularity and if anyone really reads it. I guess as a nation we don't really read mainstream newspapers anyway.) however it's free in practically every coffee shop in Seattle AND it's free at our school, alongside the Seattle Times, the New York Times, and the Seattle Post Intelliger. So my guess is that this newspaper has some sort of importance in terms of it's role in the Seattle Culture...

So as I was strolling out of the library the other day, a pretty strong image caught my attention, and it was the so called "cover art" of last week's edition of the Stranger... which is linked below from ...

Then of course right below the "cover art," in bold it says:. THE OLD SOUTH'S NEW RACISM. So my first reaction, (not knowing that The Stranger has a habit of displaying "cover art" that has no relevance to what might be the "cover story.. ) is wow, perhaps they are addressing the ways in which this country uses native culture to sexualize native women (i.e. pochahontas). Even though that would have nothing to to do with the old south... but anyway.. so this women on the cover is a "i'm not sure what race" but she's wearing an igloo type eskimo hat thing so maybe some Alaskan indigenous tribe? (yeah i know that language in itself is coming from my own ignorance, but I guess it makes my interpretation of this photo a better depiction of how the common American would interpret it..) Then of course there is her "club" which I think just looks like a baseball bat that's supposed to be covered in blood? So she's a warrior? and historically as a nation we have associated warriors and "Savageness" with native Americans.. BUT of course she's a sexy warrior cause she's topless and you can see her breast, you just can't see her nipple.. and you can just about look up her skirt as well. AND she has dark hair and heavy make up.

So anyway, I open The Stranger to see what the cover art is all about and instead I find pages of escort ads.. personal ads.. etc. some writing in there.. but nothing of relevance to the cover. I look back at the cover and read the title "THE OLD SOUTH'S NEW RACISM" and realize that right underneath it is written "what I learned when I called my relatives to talk about Obama. p. 22" Ironic isn't it? Finally it has come to my senses that the cover art has abosolutely no relevance to any of the newspaper's content!

One of my biggest pet peeves is when there is art that objectifies women for no reason! and we call it is the freedom of artistic expression. So they decided to put this "photograph" of a sexy naked women, purposely making her race a mystery, exotifying her with stereotypical native accessories (that doesn't sound like the right word but I don't know what else to put..) for absolutely no reason but it's artistic contribution!!!! bul shit.

SO I took a picture of the cover on my phone and showed it to Etheline, and she had quite the same reaction telling me "i'm going to go kill myself now."

So after knowing that I'm not being oversensitive and overly critical, as many like to say I am, I look for The Stranger's website online, thinking that maybe I could find more information about this newspaper. Maybe I was taking this newspaper too seriously?? but instead, what I found, was a gallery of the cover art of every single issue since 2004. and look what I found!

(note: of course I picked and choosed which ones I wanted to put on here..)

and this is, by far, my favorite:

are you fucking serious? While it's not explicit, it's pretty obvious that this women is giving a man a blow job AND he's using her body has a leg rest at the same time. WTF. do I really need to go into detail about why this piece of "cover art" is fucked up? I think not, Jean Kilbourne does it better.

Not to go election crazy but...

This article is beyond messed up:

Some key quotes from this amazing piece of news media:

"Predujice lingers, but there’s evidence it’s becoming a thing of the past."

"For at least four decades now, it’s been socially unacceptable to be overtly racist."

"People may be more willing to vote for a minority now because the country is doing so badly."

Really? Overt racism has been socially unacceptable since 1968? And more importantly, what about the underlying implications of that statement in realtion to the title of the article? That overt racism is the only legitimate problem. That because people may be more inclined now to hide their racism than they were before the civil rights movement, that racism is less of a problem. That the prejudice millions of people hold on the inside that influences their every day actions doesn't matter if they don't say it out loud. That private and public racism aren't the same thing and don't share similar importance. What the heck?

And the "thing of the past comment," I mean... what is there to say? It's funny, right? Well, kind of.

The last quote. I mean, shit, the last quote. That one is actually a quote by someone they interviewed for the article which the journalist uses to back up their own claims, not to discuss or question. Even the choice to include it in this article is messed up. I know it's the christian science monitor, but people read this shit.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

Best moment of Colin Powell's life. I'm so happy! His statements about the criticisms of Obama as a Muslim echo everything I've been thinking about that issue. That was so awesome of him. You have to watch it for yourself:

Who else has stopped to say "wait a minute, it is wrong that people think it would be so bad if Obama was muslim" instead of "it's so terrible people keep saying that about him"

In the words of a friend "This kind of makes up for him lying about all of that Iraq war WMD stuff"

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Honestly, the world would be a better place if every individual held the value of "acccountability" close to their heart. I truly believe that being human means you will have flaws. I have yet to meet an individual that has a perfect morality, they've never cheated, made a hypocritical statement, or attempted to put down another individual. That is why accountability would improve the quality of our society, if we, as human beings, knew how to hold other human beings accountable for their flaws, because having flaws is just a part of human life.

How is this relevant to the content of our blog? Well I've been reading some work by Bell Hooks. Prior to reading her work, as some of my previous blog may have illustrated, I had an aggressive attitude towards the ignorance that men are constructed to live by. It was very hurtful for me to see men put down women in such a comfortable manner. I reacted to this sort of behavior in a very divisive way. and after reading some of the work of Bell Hooks I realized the importance of relationships among men and women. Healthy friendships among men and women are a way to heal from our sexist society. Healthy relationships does not mean you're cool with that one dude even though he tries to sleep with you every other week. Healthy relationships as in a man and woman are able to respect one another as equals, as in he doesn't perceive you as a sexual conquest and pressure you to have phone sex or reveal some intimate details about your sexual life...

Accountability is incredibly important. Men who grow up in a society like the one that exists in the United States are being conditioned to desire the idea of sexually objectifying a woman. Looking at Jean Kilbourne's work it's easy to see that wherever you look in the media, the objectification of woman exists. This gives the general public the acceptance of putting woman on this level of objectification. It affects woman and men in a different way. It affects woman in that it confuses their role about their own interactions with men. Often times you see women dehumanizing themselves because they believe it's their role to interact with men in that manner. You see men bringing out the worst of woman by placing sexual expectation on them, whether jokingly or not, it's still an expectation that has the potentional to feed into a women's confusion.

Why is it so difficult to live our lives freely as we please?

Friday, October 10, 2008

full frontal feminism

"When you're a feminist, day-to-day life is better. You make better decisions. You have better sex."
-Jessica Valenti, founder of

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Secret Life of the Bees

I'm so excited for this film, it looks like it's one of Alicia Keys' biggest role in film. Did I mention I'm going to see her perform in September!!! =)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's good to be back

On Sunday I watched a horrifying BBC documentary about the rising popularity of vaginal cosmetic surgery called "The Perfect Vagina". I had previously read an article about hymen replacement surgery gaining popularity in the muslim community due to the pressure for brides to bleed on their wedding nights. The article focused on young muslim women in Europe dealing with the dichotomy of living within two cultures and when I read it I was heartbroken. This BBC documentary went much further, though. It profiled English women (one in particular was 21 years old) who find their vaginas ugly and go to doctors (all of whom profiled were men) who perform procedures such as cutting off parts of women's inner labia or clitoral hood. The documentary showed where images of "ideal vaginas" come from: from porn, obviously, and showed the experiences of women who served as models for an artist in Brighton. This artist created a giant vagina mural by making moulds of women volunteers' vaginas and stacking them up into a wall. The women's main reaction when they saw the wall was "Wow, they all look so different!" They all seemed to have the perception that there was some kind of "normal" or "standard" vagina that most women had and many of the women were initially nervous to compare. What an interesting perspective!
Moving onto the part of the documentary which disgusted me right to my bones: the doctors. They focused on two male doctors, both of whom are extremely convinced that they are doing these women a service by mutilating their cunts and telling them that they are improving them. One of them talked about one of his patients who was 16! I told my step mother about the documentary and she brought up her fear of the long term physical and psychological effects on these young women. Will they be able to experience pleasure in the same way? And what message is being delivered?
This is a new trend apparently that is growing quickly in popularity. Is that not horrifying? Women are now being chopped up all the way to the part of us that delivers life and we're being told that our vaginas can be ugly and imperfect and that a doctor cutting off half of our labia will make us more beautiful?
I really don't think I can keep discussing this right now...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

welcome back my good friend!

Hello Etheline! Welcome back! I don't think I was holding up too well being the only blogger on this blog for a month or so. As you saw, I received 0 comments. Our limited readers (being me, and you, and sometimes sara, and matt when I force him to read, but now we broke up, so it's just me, you and sometimes sara.) missed your humor, just in that little paragraph that you wrote I was laughing for quite awhile.

anyway! so back to business....

so this co-worker of yours huh? I know it must be frustrating cause I've entered a stage of my life where I expect every female to support the actions of another female, to unify together in the struggle against oppression!!!! But of course this is a very naive lense to perceive the united states of america by. But i'm in beginning stages of my feminist identity. Anyway... I would say it's honestly no surprise this co-worker of yours responds in such "militant opposition" to your ideas. As a society, this culture is irritated and annoyed by the feminist voice, they don't take feminism seriously, and it'll be awhile until they do. So to counter such absurd ideas I feel like many times individuals like to make a mockery of what we stand for. "You think females are oversexualized and objectified? well it's not different than men, have you seen the commercial from axe??? they totally oversexualize the man and make the woman seem like some goddess that the man is obssessed about." You have no idea how many times I find people mocking my ideals. Namely my no ex-boyfriend did it ALL THE TIME. I just laughed along at the time, but now looking back on it he never really understood the ideas I tried to share with him, he just thought my righteous -ness and passion for these issues was "cute" and "funny." No wonder that relationship didn't work out.. Anyway.. so back to this co-worker of yours. Yeah well she's just irritated by anything that relates to feminism just as any other individual of this country that bought into the medias oversaturated images of what they want us to think.

i'm sorry you were so frustrated at work! To share some of the frustration, I work in retail. I can't even count HOW MANY TIMES a co-worker and/or manager will tell me they aren't racist right before they tell me a story of when a black person came in and tried to steal. It's very interesting and complex and I plan to write more on it later!

good to have you back etheline!

<3 Olives

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I'm still around!

Hello limited readers of this blog, just thought I'd toss in a post to establish my continued presence here. I had a bit of limited internet access and now I'm across the antlantic for awhile. Hopefully soon I'll be able to provide some of my cross cultural comparisons or something akin to Olives' LA insights. For now I'm just recovering from the last of my jet lag and planning some more exciting adventures than staying in watching films and reading all day.
I just finished working a short summer job and one of my coworkers got me thinking. When I (often) challenged the comments my coworkers would make that tended toward sexism she seemed to always feel it necessary to say things like "well I objectify men!" as if to say that her views of some men as sexual objects somehow overshadows, and thus nullifies, the larger gender imbalanced social forces at play. Why? Why such a militant opposition to my point of view from another woman? At first I thought she was trying to seem cool infront of our male coworkers, but when we were alone she made the same statements and seemed really threatened by what I was saying. Maybe the things we have yet to overcome are intimidating and it's nicer to ignore them? Or maybe her statements are her way of trying to empower herself?
Any thoughts Olives?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the view

thank you barbara walters for helping Elizabeth Hasselback understand that having polish and italian cultural roots is different than having african american cultural roots..."it may be hard for you to understand as a white mother"

my favorite quote by Elizabeth Hasselback "I don't see race, I don't see gender...i'm a happy liberal and all i see are rainbows."

The whole reverand Wright and Obama ordeal is getting oldddd. that's all I have to say. I know these videos are old though. haha.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Received this in my email today. So I guess Ellender High School wants to preserve white people tradition by having only native english speaking students be qualified for valedictorian.

JACL disappointed over proposed policy to discriminate against bilingual student speakers

Washington, DC – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is disappointed over the recent decision by the Terrebonne Parish school board in New Orleans, Louisiana, to consider a policy that would require commencement speakers to speak solely in English.

The proposed policy arose after two Vietnamese American co-valedictorians at Ellender High School each incorporated a few sentences of Vietnamese into their commencement speeches at graduation. The students thanked their first-generation immigrant parents for their hard work and translated the words for fellow students to hear.

“It is deeply concerning that a school would think to censor students for their bilingual abilities,” said Floyd Mori, JACL National Director. “Their multicultural roots should be celebrated, not punished, and moreover we believe the school should embrace the values of these students who publicly stated a profound respect for their parents in a way that they could clearly understand.”

The JACL urges the Terrebonne Parish to strike down such a discriminatory policy and encourage tolerance of diversity and multiculturalism.

Dove is Amazing

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Disneys tries to do good

*Quick update about Etheline.* Where is Etheline? I'm sure her fabulous writing and humor is greatly missed by our non-existent audience. She doesn't currently have internet at her home and she will be back shortly! I promise!!

anyway, Wall-E is a must see!

Wall-E is a big surprise considering Disney's history of racist films. While Disney is known for their over sexualized female characters, hyper masculine male characters and lack of visible characters of colors, Wall-E escapes gender stereotypes with gender neutral characters "Wall-E" and "Eva." Below is a preview of the romance that occurs between "Wall-E" and "Eva."

with very little dialogue between Wall-E and Eva, the viewer can decide how they choose to perceive the existing love between the two. There are no distinguishing society defined features that makes one robot obviously one gender. Children who see this movie can still feel the romantic chemistry with out being told what this romantic chemistry has to look like in order for it to exist (i.e. it has to exist between a slim waisted woman and a buff man with arms bigger than his face.) With hardly any dialogue, our imaginations let us decided how we want to perceive Wall-E and Eva.

As it was noted earlier in this blog, this movie and how the romantic chemistry is portrayed is a lot different from the types of films disney has been known to make.

Think I'm crazy? Or an overly sensitive woman? You must be blinded by your nostalgic love for Disney. Watch the following video with an open mind, Please.

The part that was most disturbing for me was when Tinkerbell clearly thought her thights were too big... this is an image of a female fairy that has the waist the size of her neck complain about the size of her thighs. Are you fuckin kidding me?

the good news is that there are corporations out there that are actively working in the media against the distorted reality of beauty. such as Dove. I'm only buying Dove products from now on. You have power as a consumer!! (as I have learned from Inga)

There is hope, there should always be hope.


Monday, July 7, 2008

the courage to heal

1 in 3 girls are sexually abused by the time they reach the age of 18.

(The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Lauren Davis)

One of the worst effects of child sexual abuse is knowing that those around you don't support you and don't understand you because our culture neglects the issues and encourages survivors to stay silenced. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to heal a survivor.

Ladies First

Monday, June 30, 2008

Los Angeles!

A glimpse through Olives' eyes as she walks through City Walk (June 2008)

"Oh Andy! My hot tub overflooded and ruined my cell phone, my non-fat cappucino maker exploded and ruined my pretty hair and expensive clothes, then the top of my convertible that you bought for me is stuck shut! and now I have a head ache. this is the worst day ever because that's all I do during the day is go in my hot tub, drink cappucino's and drive my convertible. As a helpless and dependent woman I don't have the emotional strength to take conflict like a man and so now I'm drenched in my own tears and self pity. but don't worry Andy I was still able to cook you dinner!"

And of course, if you're a woman and you want to be a super hero you have to have size D breasts, a nice ass and a size zero waist because as a super hero you'll be wearing skimpy out fits and you want to be sure that you look appropriate in them. Men also have to be able to sexualize you in their fantasy in order for you to have any 'super hero' worth because men who enjoy comics are insecure perverted superficial low lifes that fantasize about sexy woman with super powers. Okay maybe not men who enjoy comics, but those old white men who owns Marvel does.

and nothing beats a scary movie than a scary movie with a naked women in it.

and last but not least naked woman magnets with bottle openers as heads.

Jean Kilbourne speaks of our society's tolerance and what will lead later to acceptace of the objectification of women.
ex/ "hahah that's so funny! naked woman magnets with heads as bottle openers"
placing humor on this frightening image and idea accepts it, it accepts the idea and image of a woman in which her body is sexualized on a bottle opener which is an object. I'm no jean kilbourne so I don't make sense go to and get your knowledge on!!!

but overall i had a blast in LA!! =)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Why Sexism is a myth.......


My political science professor spoke of our country being inable to participate in intellectual political dialogue.....

I mean how much more intellectual can you get then "Clinton's nagging voice looses the male vote."

I need to watch more TV....

<3 olives

the male race and superficial machismo

I have a tendency to use nights of heavy intoxication as an outlet in dealing with bigger societal oppressors such as racism and sexism.

I would intentionally find a way to start some sort of heated argument in a social setting (clubs, parties, bars), while heavily intoxicated. (My friends are very loyal as they stood by me for years through the instances in which I expressed my self while intoxicated) Some examples are things like hip hop and snoop dog, the concept of a tramp stamp, jokes about domestic violence ("your girl's going to get a beat down tonight! hahahha!!!" can you believe it? someone actually said that shit to my friends boyfriend) and whether women could be competent leaders (yes, some douche bag at a party actually told me he thought there was a reason why there are more male leaders than female leaders in this did we get to this topic? okay fine, I may have badgered him a bit to get that opnion out, but still.) etc.

And often times, while heavily inoxicated, I would intentionally search out a man in a social setting with the intention of confirming my own views about sexism.

For example:

me: "hey let me buy you a drink!!"

random guy at the club: "really? okay!!"

me: "Do you like Lil Wayne?!?!?!?!?"

random guy at the club: "yea... why?"

me: "You sexist bastard how can you support someone who says 'shut up bitch swallow.' ?"

With no academic background in sexism as a socially constructed oppressor, I had no way to transcend my own anger of some of the experiences I've had. There was a lot of anger boiling inside of me that I did not understand and the only way I felt I could provide an outlet was by getting heavily intoxicated and verbally attacking every man I saw in sight. Yeah, I know. My behavior was incredibily divisive, which came to my realization thanks to Obama, and I could have used my experience and passion in a more constructive manner.

Anyway, that was a long tangent of what this blog is really supposed to be.

But the truth is, I spent too long placing blame on the wrong person. It's not the individual man's fault for how male culture influences men to be the way they are.

While sexism undoubtedly puts the women of this country at a huge disadvantage, and one of the reason is due to the systematic ways this country gives power and privilege to the men of this country. However, men, as well as women but in a different way, have it pretty damn hard.

There's this societal expectation for men to live up to unrealistic standards of masculinity. Men are encouraged to participate in overly sexualized behavior, aggression and homophobia. And often when they exhibit such behavior they are praised by our culture. and this is different than you hanging with your homies and your pissed cause you got kicked out of your club cause your homie started a fight. This is a bigger societal issues where our society and culture is telling men that they should embrace their masculinity by living up to this machismo.

Why do men fall into this temptation of hyper masculinity so easily? What about our culture encourages and praises this type of behavior? I mean, why do men feel they have the authority to grab a women's ass at the club? Why do they feel they have the authority to continue to attempt to dance intimately (aka freak dance) with another woman in the club even when she given him the cold shoulder more than once.

There are probably many different things that cause the perpetuation of that sort of behavior. But one thing for sure is how the media sexualizes and objectifies women. (Source)

I went to see Jean Kilbourne speak a year ago about the images of women in the media and it has changed the way I've looked at the media forever.

that's only 6 minutes of her entire lecture.

but anyway, so basically our culture is oversaturated with these sexualized images of women, sending a message to the men of this country that the degradation of these women is a way to further satisfy your masculinity.

But this is only one aspect of the whole picture. I'll add more on later, because this is a pretty big issue. Especially when you start intersecting gender roles and race. For example, do men of color of this country have different expectations of masculinity that they are told to live up to? Which brings the conversation back to the blog about hip-hop. The documentary posted in that blog talks about the hypermasculine behavior in main stream hip-hop.

I guess the point of this blog is to say, men, you guys got it hard. Being encouraged to be sexually aggressive and demean women while living in a box of homophobic attitudes is incredibly unhealthy for the mental and emotional health. I'm not saying that all men are like that, but our culture tells men that that is what they should be like. And it's hard, to live so detached from your emotions in order to embrace the superficial machismo. But without it, can men get what they want in this society? Do they actually taste over the power and privilege this country was designed to give "masculine" men.

but this conversation isn't possible with out acknowledging the degradation that women have to experience when everything around them (I mean that is what the media is, everything around you) is telling you that you need to sexualize yourself without actually having sexual desire. Hmm.. so how do you get sexualized if you can't have sexual desire, cause according to this blog our culture does not encourage women to explore themselves sexually.

hmm.. things just don't line up quite well. I just think we live in a country that thrives on contradictions. I won't even get started with that..
<3 olives.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Who is running things?

Who is writing history? Who is writing text books? Who is composing legal documents? Who is writing our dictionaries?

Well let's just see...

The 2nd definition of colonialism in the Oxford English Dictionary:

2. The colonial system or principle. Now freq. used in the derogatory sense of an alleged policy of exploitation of backward or weak peoples by a large power.

Also, Olives' entry about having exoctic dancer/stripper in the definition disturbed me, but I thought "hey, it's" so I consulted Webster, the all-american dictionary, well lo and behold!

Main Entry:
Latin exoticus, from Greek exōtikos, from exō
1: introduced from another country : not native to the place where found 2archaic : foreign, alien3: strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual 4: of or relating to striptease
— ex·ot·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
— ex·ot·ic·ness \-tik-nəs\ noun

Well I never, of or relating to striptease? Well that is just stated in such an articulate manner, I dare not question it.

Let's continue this journey of the dictionary. What else has webster got for us?

Main Entry:
\ˈhȯr, ˈhu̇r\
Middle English hore, from Old English hōre; akin to Old Norse hōra whore, hōrr adulterer, Latin carus dear — more at charity
before 12th century
1: a woman who engages in sexual acts for money : prostitute; also : a promiscuous or immoral woman2: a male who engages in sexual acts for money3: a venal or unscrupulous person

Oh I seeee, whores are whores because they are immoral. And unscrupulous? Well they define that as unprincipled. Wow, I'm learning so much. It's really good for my conscience to know that whores are immoral and have no principles because now I don't feel bad at all for blaming them for being in their situation and not questioning the societal forces that put them there. Oh but wait, there are no societal forces, they were destined to become whores because they have no morals. Funny there is no common use word for the people that visit whores. Hmm. Also, aparently only the female whores are immoral, that "also" addition seems to be missing from entry 2.

Anyway, moving briskly along.

Main Entry:
Middle English slutte
15th century
1chiefly British : a slovenly woman2 a: a promiscuous woman; especially : prostitute b: a saucy girl : minx
— slut·tish \ˈslə-tish\ adjective
— slut·tish·ly adverb
— slut·tish·ness noun
— slut·ty \ˈslə-tē\ adjective

Wow, nowhere does is call this word unacceptable, insulting, or even derogatory. And did you know webster is "The common type of english language dictionary in the united states."? "The phrase Webster's has become a genericized trademark for dictionaries." Good, so this is in all of our dictionaries.

Let's revisit Oxford shall we. The dictionary of the intellectuals. THE DICTONARY really. I mean, ask any english professor, they worship this thing. But what does the OED have to say about sluts?

1. a. A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern. b. A kitchen-maid; a drudge. rare. c. A troublesome or awkward creature. Obs.1

2. a. A woman of a low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade. b. In playful use, or without serious imputation of bad qualities.

3. A female dog; a bitch. Also attrib., as slut-pup. ?orig. U.S.

4. a. A piece of rag dipped in lard or fat and used as a light.

5. Special collocations, as slut's corner, a corner left uncleaned by a sluttish person; also fig.; slut-, slut's-hole, a place or receptacle for rubbish; also fig.; slut's-pennies, hard pieces in a loaf due to imperfect kneading of the dough; slut's wool, the fluff or dust left on the floor, etc., by a sluttish servant or person.

Well that is...thorough. These old English men sure do respect and admire women. I love that in definition 2 when they talk about a woman of "low or loose character" they have that it is playful. Nobody better be using that word "playfully" with me.

I feel like I'm digressing from my original point. After all, I gave you a lot of definitions. And I think my point is obvious: the books defining the words that make up all the books we read and the conversations we have are bringing women down.

But what about that first definition?

The 2nd definition of colonialism in the Oxford English Dictionary says that colonialism is now used in a "derogatory" manner to talk about "an alleged policy of exploitation of a backward or weak peoples by a large power." Damn! So it is colonialism that is a foul, insulting, and derogatory word, not slut or whore. Because you know, colonialism should be used in a positive sense since it is only alleged and the people who were colonized were "backward" and "weak" anyway. Well that's lovely coming from the English who colonized freaking everyone and have killed countless millions with their diseases and weapons and "civilization." Good for the English.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

are feminists asexual?

Are feminists asexual? Well, under the assumption that only women identify themselves as feminists. Cause men could never be asexual. Men are sexual animals....and that sort of behavior is completely appropriate. right? A feminist, that is a former straight women that has a bitter and intense resentment towards the male race. I mean feminists are the ones that are challenging the society's definition of what it means to be a women. They are the ones that have fully embraced what it means to them personally to be a women, breaking free from how this culture defines who they are supposed to be, what they are supposed to look like, and how they are supposed to feel. (source)

"In a recent survey of more than 4,000 college students across the country, a sociology professor at Stanford University found that women in college orgasm less than half as often as college males during hook-ups." (source)

"There is a social focus of sexual activity on male pleasure. In almost half of oral sex reports, only men received it, and women were the sole receivers 16 percent of the time. Minnie-Bruce Pratt, a women's studies professor, said this inequity is due to the double standard that teaches women to resist expressing their sexuality and for men to enjoy it. "I think that women not being able to ask for what they want in sex, that is, show they have desire, comes from a very embedded notion in this culture that if you're a woman and you like sex, there's something dirty and wrong with you," she said. (Keep in mind this is a bigger societal issue with our culture sending a message to young women that they should not sexually express themselves. This is not about a man and women in a bedroom along, and the men telling the women he'll do anything to please her.) Because of this societal pressure, women may be less likely to explore themselves sexually." (source)

Now back to the original question, are feminists' asexual? Well using common sense and logical rationale, the answer is no. Our society pressures young women to be sexually pure. They are not allowed to have sexual desire and drive with out being placed in a box of negative labels like slut and easy. As I mentioned before, feminists are actively fighting against the bigger societal oppressors that keep the women of this country from fully embracing themselves as a woman. If anything. feminists are often fully aware of the importance of embracing their sexual freedom.

As a woman you DESERVE to COME just as much, if not more, than the man you're sleeping. You won't regret it, trust me.

source Christa Bell
<3 Olives

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sexual violence in Native American and Alaska Native communities

Native American women. Yeah, we've suffered. I'd say most of the women in my family have survived sexual violence and all the people in my family have been affected by it.

I was supposed to provide some resources demonstrating how sexual violence affects indigenous women in our country for an event that Olives put on a few days ago. Unfortunately, I was unable to speak with anyone or find the kinds of resources I wanted to on this issue in time for the event. Now that I have found some things, I'll share them here.

"Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the United States in general. More than one in three Native women will be raped in their lifetimes. In at least 86% of reported cases of rape or sexual assault against Native American and Alaska Native women, the perpetrators are non-native men. The US government has created a complex maze of tribal, state, and federal jurisdictions that often allow perpetrators to rape with impunity. Sexual violence against indigenous women is also the result of a history of human rights violations against Indigenus people in the US. Indigenous women were raped by settlers and soldiers as a tool of conquest and colonization. Impunity for perpetrators and indifference toward survivors contribute to a climate where sexual violence is seen as normal and inescapable. Native American and Alaska Native women's organizations and tribal authorities have brought forward proposals to help stop sexual violence against Indigenous women--but the federal government has failed to act. In failing to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence, the US is violating women's human rights."

(Source: Amnesty International USA)

The above text came from a slideshow at that shows Native American and Alaska Native women who have survived sexual violence. It's a really amazing webpage with a lot of information about the issue. You can watch videos made by the advocates, press conferences, and read survivors' stories.

One statistic that many people find surprising is the fact that over 86% of the perpetrators are non-native men. This is probably due to the problems with federal law and sovereignty that prevent tribal police and courts from detaining and prosecuting non-tribal members. That means, crimes committed on the reservation, including rape, by non-native people cannot be prosecuted. How is that for justice?

What also greatly disturbs me about this information is the fact that there seems to be a direct corrolation bewteen the high rate of sexual violence toward Indian women and the fact that nothing is being done to stop it. To me this means our main failure as a society is in not educating people enough around the issues of sexual violence. If the only thing stopping rape and sexual violence is the law, we are not doing enough. If men don't sexually violate women only out of fear of the legal consequences, we are failing. The laws around tribal jurisdiction need to be changed so that Indigenous women get justice. Our education needs to change so that Indigenous women and all women get justice. Women need to be empowered from a young age and educated about the options that face survivors. Women and men also need to be educated about the history of sexual violence, why it is unacceptable, why we all need to be advocates for ending this violence, and what we can do to stop it. What a revolution it would be to include this in our K-12 sex-ed programs!

That message aside, Indigenous women are still suffering sexual assualt in horrifying numbers. And I don't think that jurisdiction is the only problem. When women do survive sexual assault and can't get any justice in court, they have nowhere to turn. There are frighteningly few resources for survivors on reservations or in Urban Indian communities. I read about a place in Alaska where there is only one safe house for 500 miles in an area where not only is more than one house needed, but women do not have even the means to get to this safe house. One more quote from "The Indian Health Service (IHS) is the principle and in some areas, sole provider of health services for these women. However, despite its prevalence, IHS continues to lack consistent protocols and resources for treating sexual assault survivors."

So, I filled out one of the pre-written letters on the website to the director of IHS just because it was such a simple step. After reading all of this information I wonder how I can do more. I work in the same building as the Seattle Indian Health Board and don't even know what kind of resources they provide for sexual assault. Maybe I can get involved with the issue in Seattle and get more people involved...thanks Olives for encouraging me to look up this information for your event, sorry I didn't bring it to the actual event!