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