Monthly Archives: July 2013

I still fight the reflex, from time to time, to judge another woman for how she enjoys and expresses her sexuality. I still wonder, when someone asks my number (even though it is clearly none of their business) if it is sufficiently low, or if I should try to adjust it. I still hesitate before I talk about things which have to do with sex and my body, because we learned that it’s not really a woman’s place to be revealing those things. They are skins we must shed, cocoons we must emerge from as much more evolved, compassionate human beings. And we are working actively on getting rid of the words that underscore them. We know what slut-shaming is, and why it’s bad. This is good, and a step in the right direction.

But the words are, at a certain point, just words. There are much more powerful concepts which lie beneath them, ideologies which make a woman her own harshest critic. Even if we can teach one another not to call another girl nasty names, or convince her that there is no such thing as having too much sex (as long as it’s healthy and consensual), how do we make her feel that she is in charge of her own body? Because the truth is that “slut” and the ideas that surround it only exist in girls who are insecure, at the end of the day, with themselves. When you hear the word hissed across a bar as another girl parades by in a red dress and full confidence, it is not really this woman that the speaker hates. It is herself. She was raised to believe that her worth is tied into that woman’s, and that wearing too tight of a dress or drinking one drink too many was going to erode it.

Getting women to see one another as free agents who can do whatever they like, as long as they aren’t hurting others, and be free of moral judgments is one thing. But the beginning of that really lies in getting women to see their bodies as something that is alive and vibrant and deserves every bit of happiness and pleasure that it wants to seek out. We must learn that sexuality and joy are not some finite quantities that we won’t have enough of if another woman takes too much. We can create our own, and transform it, and make enough for everyone we fall in love with (even for just one night). Seeing ourselves as the source of our own pleasure and guides of our own journey through sexual development is the start to the end of “slut,” because the word doesn’t mean anything if it is not used as a value judgment. When every woman is happy with what sex means to her, there will be no use for such a concept, but not before.

There is no way to not be a slut. There is only a way to embrace sex on your own terms, to the point where you are no longer offended by someone else choosing a different path. If I could go back today and talk to my 16-year-old self, terrified by sex and not sure of what could possibly be expected of her, I would tell her to forget about what boys want. I would tell her to forget about what other girls are going to say, because any who will talk are only unhappy about themselves (just as she is). I would tell her to focus on making strong friendships, and being closer with her family, and taking her time in anything she wants to do. Because the only cure to “being a slut” is happiness, and only because it makes us realize that such a silly thing doesn’t exist in the first place.

–Chelsea Fagan, of Thought Catalog

Dear God sex-positivity has such potential as a movement. I want a movement that talks about accepting what you don’t want as much as it does about accepting what you do. About “some people like sex just fine without orgasms, some people even prefer sex without orgasms, and that’s fine” as much as “learn how to have an orgasm! Now how to have a more intense orgasm!” About prude-shaming (internalized and externalized) as much as slut-shaming (internalized and externalized).

Why I Hate The Word “Sex-Positive” – Ozy Frantz’s Blog

(via The Sexual Intellectual)

The mannerisms that help define gender—the way in which people walk, swing their hips, gesture with their hands, move their mouths and eyes when they talk, take up space—are all based upon how non disabled people move…The construct of gender depends not only upon the male body and female body, but also on the non disabled body.

–Eli Clare, On Ableism within Queer Spaces, or, Queering the “Normal” 

(via Tips for Radicals)

Confession: I’m not very well-read on ableism. But this made me go WHOOOOOA. 

Since 9/11, Muslim American terrorism has killed 33 people, while politically motivated attacks from white supremacists and other right-wing extremists killed more than 200 people, according to a study from the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy. Since 2010, no one has been killed or injured by Muslim American terrorism. Why do so many Americans have the knee-jerk reaction that “it’s probably the Muslims?

Boston Marathon bombings: Breaking the pattern – Opinion – Al Jazeera English

(via Queering the Game of Life)

when I look back on what it was like growing up without the knowledge of black accomplishments; without knowing black inventors and black leaders and black writers; without a real education in history; without complex, varied depictions of black characters and narratives in media; without enough images of atypical beautiful smart successful black women in books and magazines and comics and on telly and billboards – compared to now, where I have access on the internet to an endless stream of information, stories and pictures to share and be shared, I’m strongly reminded of that scene in Tarzan where he discovers the other humans and asks the gorillas

why didn’t you tell me there were creatures who look like me?

betterhidethem

(via knowledge equals black power)

Yes, I have. I’ve suffered some personal difficulties. Number one, I’m a native of the state, lived here all my life, but in 1958, as I came from a regional meeting in North Carolina, I boarded the bus in Meridian, Miss., on the front seat where I sat and was told to move by the police. I, of course, refused. I refused to move to the back of the bus after being ordered to do so by the driver. And after I refused, of course-of course he got off the bus and went and called the police in Meridian and they conferred. And after having conferred with one another, two came on the bus and asked to see my identification. I showed them my identification. And after having done that, they asked me to get off the bus and come over to the police station with them-which was across the street. I went over there with them and they asked me what I was trying to do-stir up trouble? I told them, no, I was merely going home to my wife and children. Of course I had two children at the time. And they said, well, you know how things are done here. I said, yes, I was born 30 miles from here, which was Decatur, Miss. And after some 15 or 20 minutes of interrogation they permitted me to go back on the bus.

I went and got back in the bus and, of course, I sat back on the front seat. And having refused to move again, the bus driver pulled off. I heard as we moved away-a number of people say that, “We should go on and pull him off.” Of course I sat there and some three blocks from the bus terminal a white man boarded the bus and struck me in the face. This was about 3 o’clock in the morning. I was alone. Of course I refused to move and I came all the way to Jackson without any further incidents.

That along with many others-I’ve had a number of threatening called-people calling me saying they were going to kill me, saying they were going to blow my home up and saying that I only had a few hours to live. I remember distinctly one individual calling me with a pistol on the other end, and he hit the cylinder and of course you could hear that it was a revolver. He said,”This is for you.” And I said, “Well, whenever my time comes, I’m ready.” And, well, we get such pranks pretty frequently. But that does not deter us from our goal of first-class citizenship and getting more people registered to vote and doing the things here that a democracy certainly is supposed to espouse and provide for its citizenry.

–Medgar Evars, in response to the question, “In your work, Mr. Evers, in the state of Mississippi, have you personally been subjected to any difficulties or problems?”

“The Autobiography of Medgar Evers,”300-301

(via knowledge is black power)