Blogging “Yes” Day 20: Men in Feminist Spaces

25 04 2010

For day twenty of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read Cristina Meztli Tzintzún’s essay, “Killing Misogyny: A Personal Story of Love, Violence, and Strategies for Survival.”  Tzintzún tells the story of her struggles with the cycle of abuse, cheating, and STDs, and I wanted to particularly focus on an issue she brings up towards the end of the essay, which is how the feminist movement and other progressive movements can address the involvement of abusive and oppressive men.

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Blogging “Yes” Day 14: Envisioning a World of Enthusiastic Consent

19 04 2010

This is day fourteen of the Blogging “Yes” project, and today I decided to read two essays back-to-back because they have a common theme.  One was “Reclaiming Touch: Rape Culture, Explicit Verbal Consent, and Body Sovereignty,” by trans feminist activist Hazel/Cedar Troost.  The other was “An Immodest Proposal” by Heather Corinna, the founder of Scarleteen.com.  I picked these two essays to blog together because they both carry the idea of enthusiastic consent out to a not-yet-commonly-realized conclusion and consider what a world with normalized enthusiastic consent might look like.

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Blogging “Yes” Day 10: Female Interrogators and Sexual Liberation

14 04 2010

For day ten of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read “Invasion of Space by a Female,” which is actually an excerpt from Coco Fusco’s book, A Field Guide for Female Interrogators. The excerpt is interesting in that it looks at the difference between interrogation techniques used by female soldiers and the famous Abu Ghraib photos with female soldiers shown posing with detainees, as well as the implications of using “sexually liberated” female interrogators as a weapon to tempt, soothe, or humiliate detainees.

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Blogging “Yes” Day 9: Submissive Sexuality and Fantasy

13 04 2010

Today, day nine of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read “The Fantasy of Acceptable “Non-Consent”: Why the Female Sexual Submissive Scares Us (and Why She Shouldn’t)” by Stacey May Fowles.  I had mixed feelings about this essay, because on the one hand I definitely agree with the main point that BDSM-style negotiation can be far more liberated, far more feminist, and far less contributory to rape culture than vanilla sex.  On the other hand, I felt that there was a confusion in the essay between submission generally and con non-con scenes or fantasies specifically and that the heterosexual perspective wasn’t really explicitly pointed out enough.

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Blogging “Yes” Day 4: Defining Empowerment

8 04 2010

For the fourth day of the Blogging “Yes” project I read “A Woman’s Worth” by Javacia N. Harris.  Harris, a feminist journalist, talks mostly about raunch culture and different trends that tend to be linked by some with feminism and empowerment: female pro wrestlers, the Pussycat Dolls, restaurants with scantily clad waitresses, and equally unclad women in rap videos, namely.  I didn’t agree with Harris on every point, but I do think her essay raised some interesting questions about empowerment and what that word means for women.

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Blogging “Yes” Day 1: Sexual Assault, Abortion, and Entitlement

5 04 2010

April, as you probably know, is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Instead of doing a post about sexual assault, I’ve decided to do a little project.  One of my favorite books is the phenomenal anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape edited by Jacyln Friedman and Jessica Valenti.  I read this book when it came out in 2008 and it had a profound impact on how I understand rape and sexual assault and also how I came into my late-blooming (but enthusiastic) feminism.  So for Sexual Assault Awareness Month this year, two years later, I’m going to be blogging day-by-day about the essays in the book.  There are 26 days left in April and 27 essays in the book, so I’ll do one a day except for one doubling-up.  I’ll use cut tags so it won’t clog your RSS feed reader up too much, but I’ll try to identify the topic of each post clearly in the title so you know whether you’re interested.  I won’t be blogging about the entire essay most days, but I’ll share my thoughts or vibe off of a topic brought up in the essay.  So, without further ado, it’s time for Day One, reading “Offensive Feminism: The Conservative Gender Norms That Perpetuate Rape Culture, and How Feminists Can Fight Back” by Jill Filipovic.

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International Women’s Day

9 03 2010

I don’t actually have much to say specifically this year for International Women’s Day, but here are some suggestions of easy things you can do to advance the rights of women.

  • Arm yourself with information.  Read a book about a group of women you’re not familiar with, or about a particular area of women’s rights, or read up on an activist organization working to advance the rights of women.
  • Volunteer with a local organization. Planned Parenthood often does phonebanking or needs volunteers to serve as escorts.  Women’s shelters are always looking for folks to serve food, clean up, or serve in more long-term capacities.  If you have some extra time, consider a long-term volunteer gig or unpaid internship where you can develop skills and contribute simultaneously.
  • Get creative with activism. Identify an a cause you can get behind at school, at your workplace, or in your community.  Maybe it’s raising money to get clean birthing kits for refugees through the Marie Stopes Foundation.  Maybe it’s lobbying for unisex bathrooms to support transgendered individuals at work or on campus.  Maybe it’s distributing information about safe sex.
  • Talk to your family. Speak up about women’s rights issues with your loved ones.  If someone says something sexist and doesn’t know, call them on it.  If you’re a parent, teach your children (male and female) about consent and sexuality.  Defeating rape culture starts at home.