March192012
February202012

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby.

Let’s talk about sex, baby.
Safe sex that is.  Okay, so most of us know about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and what causes one to become pregnant, but there are many people who are currently against the allowing of insurance companies to provide contraceptives to women through their insurance for discounted or no cost.  My question is why is this a big deal?  Those people who don’t want to use contraceptives or “don’t believe” in the use of contraceptives, don’t have to use them.  It’s that simple.  You don’t want to use birth control?  You don’t have to, but no one should disallow another from getting contraceptives at an affordable or free cost when they are available. 
Every woman is different, and every woman should be allowed to make her choice in the matter of contraceptive use.  I cannot think of one good reason why contraceptives shouldn’t be affordable or  free.  Many of the same people who are against this plan to make contraceptives cheap or free are the same people who are against abortion and against welfare.  No offense to anyone out there, but if you’re against all three of these things, you’re common sense is lacking.  If all women in the world stopped using contraceptives, there would be myriad problems: extreme overpopulation, tons of STDs, more unwanted children who may never get adopted or who may suffer horrible lives, and more people getting government assistance than ever before.   
Most of the people who are against the contraceptive deal, are also against much government assistance, food stamps, etc.  Well, I’m sure if you think logically about it, you’ll find that most people don’t want to have 5 kids, and most people cannot really afford to provide for that many kids, either.  Does that mean that if I were to marry someone, I should stop having sex with him to prevent having kids? I think not – we can all see how ridiculous that statement is.
 
I would also like to point out that many of those against this motion are men.  Why should men have a say? Men are not held accountable for a child if the woman gets pregnant, especially if the couple is unmarried.  Men are allowed to walk away at any time –ring or no ring. Why do men have a say in this at all?  Most STDs affect women in worse ways than they do men.  If we should think to limit contraception, we should also add into law that the father of the child must provide healthcare for the child.  A friend told me about a male politician (democrat) who said if we are going to limit contraception, defined as the prohibition of allowing life to be created, then ejaculate that doesn’t enter a woman after a sexual act (i.e. if a man uses the pullout method, or a hand job by a woman, or a blowjob) that should be considered contraception as well.  I like the way he thinks, ladies and gentleman.
I would like to point out the fact that 1 out of 4 people has an STD before they reach the age of 21.  1 in 4 Americans has herpes.  Over 70% of women have experienced at least one strand of HPV by the time they are 30 years old.  The U.S.A. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the entire world, including countries where contraceptives are not available, and the people are far less educated and a lot poorer.  We need affordable contraceptives.
I would be willing to bet that if we polled the women of this country anonymously, majority of them would be in favor of contraception being either free or available at discounted cost.  Honestly, I also think that most men would be in favor of this motion, too.  One last thought to ponder: where do  they find these people who are against contraception? Against what others who do use contraception (and then judge when that person has 5 kids, is on welfare, and is pregnant again)? I think these people and politicians who are against the providing of contraception at lower cost through insurance are out of touch with the American people and what they want and need.
Much (safe) Love  

- Sonya
P.S. I also think that public schools should be required to have sex education in schools, but we’ll save that topic for another rainy day.
February162012
3AM

Illusions of Identity

While I was reading Judith Butler’s “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution” for my Feminist Theory class I couldn’t help but focus on her thesis statement. In her piece which focuses heavily on how we perform gender she states “…identity is a compelling illusion, an object of belief.” This statement makes me think a lot about the things that comprise my identity. As a single black feminist who lived in the Southern United States for the majority of my life, my identity is comprised of all of these facts—as well as the things I project to the public (independent woman, fierce, confident, happy etc.). It strikes me as interesting to think about this, because indeed my gender is an illusion. Therefore, it would be logical to say that my (as well as any) identity is an illusion.

A few days ago I made the statement to a friend of mine, “I don’t know how to act like a girl” and while I realize that this statement assumes that there are set gender roles; I also realize that there is a set way society expects women to act (and I feel like I fail at this so many times). My personality is very direct, somewhat confrontational, take charge and not afraid to speak my mind. These are not things that are usually associated with women. I often find myself worrying “how to perform” to others, so it gets across that I am a female. With the recent passing of Valentine’s Day , I am constantly reminded of the illusion that all women want chocolate and flowers—-as it is tradition and somehow proves that a man (God forbid we talk about homosexual love) loves you! This “gender” identity that has been projected on women prevents our significant others from actually asking what does this “person” want versus what do “women” want. And those are two very different questions to think about. 

The question of “What do women want?” brings together a conclusion that “women” are a group who are similar and have similar wants. And while this premise may very well be true, it assumes that having that one thing in common is enough for women to want the same things. As humans we have a lot in common, but our sexual reproductive organs should not be enough for society to assume we want the same things. I am a woman who doesn’t want to change my last name if I choose to get married, yet I also know a woman who does want to change her last name if she chooses to get married. This example is another thing that shows our sexual organs are not enough for us to be necessarily grouped into one major category of wants or desires. We should instead work toward finding the individual inside, instead of the “norm” of that particular group.

The question of” What does a person want?” brings about a question of individuality. It makes the assumption that what one person wants can be different or similar to what another person wants. Let us look at the example of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day stresses that women should be showered with gifts. Yet, I think it would be beneficial for us to all take into account that the majority of people would want to be showered with gifts. In fact, let us say that men and women would like to be showered with gifts. Therefore, why is there one holiday that not only emphasize sex differences to the point that women are the only ones who are expected to be showered with gifts—-but are told what gifts they are suppose to receive. I have several problems with the premise that I am being given a gift, when I was never asked if that was something I wanted. The entire Holiday seems to be filled with “rules” that must be followed, instead of actually focusing on love.

I wish I could say I know what Valentine’s Day means, but all I know is the illusion that has been projected on me. I know that I am supposed to receive flowers, candy, and a nice card—I only received a card (from my parents). So what is the message that has been sent—that I am not loved? That I should work harder to project the illusion that I should be showered with gifts because of my gender? I am not sure. I have no idea what this holiday is trying to teach us, and I don’t think anyone has really taken the time to critically think about the implications that come from these “illusions” that society and individuals project.

So my challenge to you all is to take the time to think about the identity you perform every day. Think about the implications of the things you do, even when no one is watching (because you are) and how the performance is solidifying an identity. Does the identity you perform accurately reflect the person you want to be? Or the person you are trying to be? Or the person you were meant to be? This piece in itself is but another performance, I am performing what it means to be a feminist who uses activism to change social processes. This is a performance I am  willingly participating in and a part I have auditioned my entire life for. Was I meant to do this? I think so, but what is even more important is that I love doing this.

With love and equality -V

February132012
“Guys seem to get so confused when girls don’t give a fuck.”
2AM

Feminist V. Classically Feminine

The question is can you be a feminist and still be classically feminine? Most men and people born in the south would say, “no.” I am here to tell you that these people are incorrect. I know for a fact that you can be both. You see, both my highly-intelligent, beautiful friend (and co-blogger) Vicci and I are both extremely feminine, and we are also feminists. You can judge for yourself. Take a look at our pictures under the “about the author” section.
People of the world today seem to confuse feminism with things that it is not. Let me just give you a few examples of what I am talking about: Dyke. Lesbian. Man-hater. Ugly. Causing the destruction of the “institution of marriage” (oh yes, someone has said this to me). I think you get the point. Here’s my point –these people all think that being a feminist is a negative thing. They think we all sit around, man-bashing, drinking tea, burning bras, refusing to wear makeup, listening to Fiona Apple, and reading, cross-legged on the floor while discussing how to take over the world. Maybe, in a perfect world, we would! (Or maybe we could just take a look at the 1960s).
Feminism is not any of these things. Sure, there are some people who are feminists who may partake in things like that, but feminism is about equality. Of course there can never be 100% equality since men can never feel the pain of childbirth, among other things. Equality does mean things like the same amount of pay for the same amount of work experience and education. It can also mean that men and women take turns doing the dishes, or whoever cooks, the other person cleans. These ideas are not new, but people who are trying to revert back to the days where women were virtually slaves to their men are scary. It is not cute, and you should RUN in the other direction, as fast as you can if you encounter someone like this!
Many people think that in order to be “classically” feminine, you have to be frail and submissive like women were back in the day. Hmm, I’m pretty sure women were never frail. Have you forgotten? It was the women of “back then” who fought for the right to vote! It was these ladies who backed the idea of women’s education – not women going to finishing school to become homemakers. Who took over the factory work when the men went off to wars?Who fought in wars and sometimes disguised themselves as men in order to be able to fight? It was the WOMEN of the past. So I say that we should applaud these ladies and the men who supported them.
Feminism is for everyone! Not just women, not just men. Men should want a woman that they can consider their equal beside them. NOTE: A MAN CAN BE A FEMINIST! Men who believe in gender equality are feminists…duh. I have this Uncle. He is always criticizing my “feminist”ways. He’s one of those men who doesn’t understand. He works, his wife doesn’t. He wants someone to care for him and all that jazz, but he’s the one that is caring for her. He claims that feminism is a big hoax “because the biggest feminist of all went and got married, so all she ever wanted was a husband, which makes her a phony.” WRONG. Where in the land of equality does it say that if a woman wants a husband she can’t be a feminist? If a man doesn’t want to get married, he’s a “bachelor” and is “too cool,” but if a woman doesn’t want to get married, she must be “broken” or be a “lesbian.” Uh, hello! Wake up, this is 2012, not 1912. It’s simple. If a feminist wants to get married, he/she can. If a feminist doesn’t want to, he/she doesn’t have to.The thing people forget is than men can be feminists too. They’re out there ladies. They may be hard to find, but I won’t settle for a man who doesn’t consider me his equal. And that’s enough right there, ladies and gentlemen, to make me classically beautiful and feminine. 
January222012

I’m Worth IT

I had a recent discussion with my one of my best friends about how you know someone is “The ONE.” It got me thinking about the entire concept of “The ONE” along with many song lyrics that suggest that we will one day find the perfect one for us. My thought process bought me to two concepts: (1) How can there just be one person who we should spend our entire life waiting for? and (2) What if “The One” is us, trying to reach our full potential for ourselves.

The first concept arises from my belief that we are all different people at different points in our lives. In other words I believe you have to meet someone at the right time for the person to have an effect on your life. So I could meet the one and I may not be ready, so was that person really the one? We live intertwine our paths once more to bring us together again?

The problem with there being one person who we were meant to be with is that we may never know if that person is “The One”. We would have to take a leap of faith and trust our instincts? And to do this goes against the notion that we are fated to be with one person. When you consciously make a choice to be with someone, then you take fate out of it. It becomes about choice. So do I believe that there is one person who I am meant to be with or do I believe that there is one person who I will choose to be with?

The second problem that I have with the concept of “The One” is that people never know their true worth and this is the notion that makes me the saddest. The notion of the one has people constantly waiting on someone to tell them they are the perfect person for them. Waiting for someone to say you complete me. But how many people will say they are “The One” and they are worth it.

I will. I am the one. I am worth it.

I will be that person who will stand by your side offering support. I will hold your hand when you are down.

I will let you know the real me. I will tell you the truth. I will share my life with you.

I will care for you. I will love you. I will tell you when you are getting on my nerves.

I will kiss you good-bye every time we part—-as I whisper the words, “I love you.”

I will give you a part of myself that no one will ever have. I will share my hopes and dreams with you.

I will love you for everything you are and everything you aren’t.

I won’t back down when I know I am right, but I also won’t rub minor victories in your face. Because that isn’t important.

What is important is that I made a choice to share my life with you. And the only way that could have happened was if I became “The One”

If I became the one person I was destined to be. If I allowed myself to be the best me, that I could ever be. If I allowed myself to be selfish enough to take care of my problems first. If I learned to love me, before I even thought about loving you. If I learned how to live with the notion that I am important, with or without a significant other in my life.

I’m not sure if you are “The One”, but I am. I’m worth it.

I’m worth the walls you will have to tear down. I’m worth the headaches. I’m worth the petty fights.

I’m worth the late night requests for chocolate. I’m worth the many, “I’m not going to eat THAT”(‘s) you will hear.

I’m worth the late night study sessions that will keep me from seeing you. I’m worth the week long trips I will take with my best friends.

I’m worth the many breakdowns I will have due to stress. I’m worth the crazy family you will have to put up with (and they are crazy).

 I’m worth the days I will get lost in my work, and forget to meet you for lunch. I’m worth the many causes I will convince you to give to.

I’m worth the many tears you will see me shed over the world’s lack of compassion for others.

I’m worth the Saturdays I won’t be able to talk to you, because the Georgia Southern Eagles are playing. I’m worth the traditions you may have to give up because I’m a modern girl.

I’m worthy of my love—but are you? What will you bring to the table?

January112012
 For all of the awful s**t that has occurred during our lifetime, I’m glad that this was able to happen while I am still living. Freedom should not come with restrictions. We are making strides everyday :)
 For all of the awful s**t that has occurred during our lifetime, I’m glad that this was able to happen while I am still living. Freedom should not come with restrictions. We are making strides everyday :)
January102012

One of THOSE….

“You are turning into one of those….one of those FEMINIST” says my brother after he reads my shirt.

I turn around and say “Look at the back of my shirt…I was like this before I left for California.”

The shirt I am wearing is not only a feminist shirt, but a shirt I designed. The shirt is a greenish teal color and the phrase “No One Is Truly Free When Others Are Oppressed” in white writing with the feminist symbol below the words.

The back of my shirt says, “Georgia Southern University National Organization for Women 2010-201”  in white writing at the very top of the shirt and the following phrase is located in the center of the shirt with the same white writing, “Advocating For Change …Join The Movement N.O.W.”

I am putting an emphasis on the word “Georgia.” You see California didn’t make me into a feminist, nor did drastically change me. It only enhanced the person that I was.

I moved to California in early August for to escape comments such as the one my brother made. I am a graduate student and assistant at CSUS (Sac State). The question that has most frequently been asked when people find out I moved to Sacramento from a small town in Georgia is, “Why did you decide to go to Sac State?”

My response, “I didn’t choose the school, I choose the location.” My personal and political beliefs DO NOT ALIGN with the South. AT ALL. Some people belief that they were born in the wrong decade, but I on the contrary believe that we as are born exactly where we are suppose to be. We may believe that it is the wrong place, but it is really a chance for us to learn something that will allow us to make a difference.

I have learned a few things while growing up in the South.

1. Oppression comes in many forms and self-oppression is one of the most prominent.

2. My destiny is far greater than I could ever imagine.

3. Without suffering there would be no compassion, and compassion has made all the difference in my life.

4. Be aware of problems. Search for solutions. And remember we all play a part in change.

So you ask yourself what is the difference I hope to make? What do I hope to change?

I hope to make a difference in my life, thus creating a chain reaction in the people I encounter in my daily life. The person I become will determine how I interact with people – for better or worse. It has been said all that is needed to make change is a small group of committed citizens. We already have two…so let the reaction began.

Every experience is but a chance to reflect on it and use it to become a better person.

I hope to change me. After all I am the only person that stares back at me in the mirror.

-V

12AM
““I am passionate about everything in my life—first and foremost, passionate about ideas. And that’s a dangerous person to be in this society, not just because I’m a woman, but because it’s such a fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society.” —bell hooks”
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