We thought it would be interesting to share with the readers some of the books we have read and really found valuable to us. Many of these books are written by women, for women and highlight various forms of issues that are relevant to women. The books about LGBTQ issues are important no matter gender and age.
Today’s guest post comes from Juli Myers, a middle-aged trans woman who lives west of Phoenix. Originally from the Amish Belt of central Pennsylvania, Juli is new to Arizona, new to writing, new to activism, and new to being a woman. Juli regularly blogs for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. In Juli’s opinion, Arizona is amazing; blog writing is as enjoyable as she thought it would be; activism is full of too many cranks; and she’s loving the hell out of transitioning.
This was supposed to be an essay about sexuality, and it was going to be until I read something this morning that discomfited me a little bit.
In one of the groups to which I belong, a rather long conversation thread was carried out regarding the objectification of women. A series of photographs which were done as part of a protest portrayed scantily clad women (as well as men), and these pictures were published with cutesy slogans. The pictures of overly attractive, under-dressed people were the hook, and the captions were the message. By about a 3:1 margin in this group discussion, this use of sex was seen as gratuitous and demeaning to the women in the photos and, presumably, to all women everywhere.
There was some give and take in the discussion. Interestingly, it seemed that the few who voiced the opinion that there was nothing wrong with the use of sex to make a point felt compelled to almost apologize for expressing their views. Indeed, while they were willing to be conciliatory about their side of the argument, the contrary point of view did not defend as much as aggressively pursue their side.
The argument for the anti-sexuality side appeared to boil down to a few key points: the use of a woman’s sexuality is sexist; any use of a woman’s body that appears to emphasize her sexuality is exploitative; a woman may not feel empowered by using her sexuality in such a way; if you disagree with any of this, you are not a feminist.
My problem with this argument? I disagree with every one of those arguments against the use of sexuality, and I DO consider myself a feminist. [Read more...]
Full disclosure: I really meant to listen to the speeches at SlutWalk D.C. The crowd was in high spirits, the speakers enthusiastic, and the weather beautiful … until all of a sudden the temperature dropped, the clouds gathered low overhead, and the thunder boomed at a eerily well-timed pause during the first speech. So I cursed myself for not owning an umbrella and biked home, spurred on by thoughts of dry clothes.
The walk itself was just as impressive as the downpour that followed. I’m horrible at estimating crowd size, but the chants of the marchers could be heard from two (very long) blocks away and the signs, outfits, and sheer numbers were enough to both draw double- and triple-takes and warrant an escort by the D.C. police. My personal favorite signs were “My dress is not a yes” and “Ask permission to gain admission,” as well as the very direct “Tube tops don’t cause rape, rapists do.”
“Bisexuality means I am free and I am as likely to want to love a woman as I am likely to want to love a man, and what about that? Isn’t that what freedom implies?”~June Jordan
June Jordan was born in Harlem in 1936. Jordan credits her parents with inspiring her love of literature. She attended Barnard College and eventually went on to teach at UC Berkeley. Jordan published 27 books during her lifetime, one was published shortly after her death in 2002, and two have been published posthumously since then. Jordan died from breast cancer in 2002 at the age of 65.
Jordan’s writing explores the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and politics – and her work has had an incredible impact on my thinking about coalition building, and what it means to be an ally. As a Women’s Studies major, I read one of Jordan’s essays called “A New Politics of Sexuality,” which was adapted from a speech that Jordan gave to to the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Student Association at Stanford University in 1991. In it, she says:
Last spring, at Berkeley, some students asked me to speak at a rally against racism. And I did. There were 400 or 500 people massed on Sproul Plaza, standing together against that evil. And, on the next day, on that same Plaza, there was a rally for bisexual and gay and lesbian rights, and students asked me to speak at that rally. And I did. There were fewer than seventy-five people stranded, pitiful, on that public space. And I said then what I say today: That was disgraceful! There should have been just one rally. One rally: Freedom is indivisible.
Artist and activist Hannah Neurotica is collaborating with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to produce a zine anthology book exploring all facets of sexuality, and has put out an open call for submissions.
Any zines and mini-comics related to sexuality are being considered. Some examples from the submission guidelines include: the story of your first period; did your family talk about sex?; your coming out story; do you feel comfortable discussing sex and relationships?; have you had an abortion?; do you have personal experiences with adoption?; do you feel your gender is fluid?; have you worried about STDs?
The deadline for submissions is April 1st, and knowing Hannah’s work this promises to be an awesome book. For more info, check out http://www.ppnnezine.com
I think it’s fair to describe myself as a pretty sexual person. Before I met my current partner, Jason, and got married, I identified my sexuality as bisexual because I thought it was the only “don’t really care” category of human sexuality. But since then I’ve learned a lot more about myself, gender and sex. If I were to define my sexuality today, I would identify as pansexual or omnisexual.
I say “if” because this thought recently occurred to me: Does defining my sexuality matter anymore? [Read more...]
Temporary Restraining Order Under Effect for Louisiana Abortion Laws. RH Reality Check.
New film explores the struggle for women to be ordained in the Catholic Church. Pink Smoke Over the Vatican.
Why Are We Often Terrified of Our Own Sexuality? Alternet.
What It’s Like to Have an Abortion in Texas: TV Shows Finally Grappling with Realities Women Face. Alternet.
Sex Facts to Bust Out at Tonight’s Party. The Frisky.
Guest blogger Paige Schilt is a dyke mama, a “low-femme” nerd, an activist, and a part-time professor of Feminist Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in English and Cultural Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and has published scholarly articles on queer culture at the intersections of race and class. She lives in Austin with her partner, Katy Koonce, and their son, who is named after a certain country music legend.
Before I became a mom, I knew—intellectually–that sexuality education in the United States was dominated by social conservatives. After all, I live in Texas, the “flagship state” of abstinence-only sex education.
But, as a lesbian mom in my mid-thirties, I have to admit that I thought of access to effective information about bodies and sexuality as an issue for teenagers and young adults. I hadn’t thought too much about how the religious right’s stranglehold on sex education was going to affect me.
Then my son, Waylon, turned 5. [Read more...]