Monday, November 19, 2007

Contradictions, or not?

Am I woman if my hair is long
Am I not a woman if I don’t do anything with it
Am I woman if I shave all hair off my body
Am I not a woman if I wear no makeup
Am I woman if I carefully trim my nails
Am I not a woman if I wash with no fragrance
Am I woman if I worry about what I eat
Am I not a woman if I lift weights
Am I a woman if I wear thong panties
Am I not a woman if I wear athletic socks
Am I a woman if I sometimes show cleavage
Am I not a woman if I often wear beater tanks
Am I a woman if I care
Am I not a woman if I cuss
Am I am woman if I read gossip news
Am I not a woman if I read intellectual studies
Am I a woman if I listen to soft, slow songs – fluttering
Am I not a woman if I enjoy hard and heavy music – thumping
Am I a woman if I like to cry during films
Am I not a woman if I enjoy comic book adaptations
Am I a woman if care about family and friends
Am I not a woman if I don’t want kids
Am I a woman if I enjoy luxury
Am I not a woman if I choose Monte Carlos over Lamborghinis
Am I a woman if I stop before I’m too drunk
Am I not a woman if I prefer a good beer
Am I a woman if I like to shop
Am I not a woman if most of that shopping is on the Internet
Am I a woman if I am getting educated in a helping field
Am I not a woman if I want to change the world
Am I a woman if I want to take it slow
Am I not a woman if I just want to have sex
Am I a woman if I love women
Am I not a woman because I love women

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Media Eliminating Bisexuality?

An interesting question was recently posed via email in regards to a new song/video by a mainstream artist:

Have you heard the song by Ray Lavender, 'My girl has a girlfriend?' Its a pretty track about how he says his girl has a girlfriend and its ok because having two girlfriends is better than having no friends so if she calls her girlfriend he's going to show here how he do what he do. Anyway I wanted to ask you that because a lot of radios play a different version but I just saw the video and they changed it to my girl has a best friend. I don't understand why his girl can't have a girlfriend. why did they change it to best friend?

And my response...

No, I have not heard that song, but that is an interesting question. There could be a couple of reasons:

1. Committing to the girlfriend version means that the powers-that-be have to commit to the idea that bisexuality is a real orientation. And in some ways, this could equate to the (scary!) notion that women can actually be in power -- because in this situation she would play the "traditionally masculine" role of sort of being in control of others.

2. Having a best friend, on the other hand, would first off eliminate any idea that bisexuality is a real orientation (because as you know, many-a-folk would love to say that heterosexuality is the only path in life). In today's world instilling heterosexuality is vital to the powers-that-be because they may feel it is the only way to perpetuate economic power (capitalism is associated with heteronormativity because marriage + kids = stability and power). More, there are a lot of people benefiting from patriarchy, which is why it is common to women being objectified and marginalized...society needs to make sure that women are not gaining on the men...keep them full of self-loathing! Therefore, they may have made her have a best friend because this eliminates her power role -- she is no longer controlling two separate intimate relationships, instead he is controlling her (and the best friend) as the designated boyfriend.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Genderizing the O-word

A new research study shows that men are having orgasms two and a half times the rate of women, thereby broadening the gender-gap debate to a new level: the bedroom.

First, one has to consider the ways in which patriarchy has seeped in to this phenomenon. Orgasms may not be be purely physical -- and if a woman is not comfortable in her body, in her intellect or feel second class because this is what mainstream society still perpetuates, her emotional confidence may not allow for an orgasm either. Think about it, a woman is told to look sexy, feel sexy and to, often, please their men (we are talking about heterosexual statistics here) in all areas of life, including during intercourse. Men have the luxury of not having to examine who they are at every second of an interaction. I can think of numerous times I have stood in line in a grocery store and noticed Cosmopolitan Magazine covers that give a step-by-step guide on how to look hot while having an orgasm. We wouldn't the woman to be concerned with her own happiness here, would we? Instead, we shove the idea of perfection down their throats -- that even in a time of pure, blissful self-love, women still need to look good for their man. No wonder the stats are low.

Another note of interest from the Stanford article compares heterosexual orgasm rates to that of same-sex rates.

"The women in England's study who reported on a same-sex hookup that included oral sex had an orgasm 62 percent of the time, while women reporting on an opposite sex hookup of the same variety had an orgasm just 39 percent of the time."

One has to wonder how much of this is related to the overarching patriarchal themes as well. Particularly because the article points out that: "men often didn't’t know if their female partner had had an orgasm. England compared men and women’s reports of the woman’s orgasm in heterosexual hookups. The women themselves reported an orgasm 25 percent of the time, while the men thought their partners orgasmed 60 percent of the time."

Hmm. I would say that if one is in a relationship where their partner is clueless about who got their rocks off, and who didn't, that will definitely play a role the next time around (if there is one), when intercourse takes place.

The article's author has a couple of awful indications such as women should BECOME lesbians -- as if it is a choice -- and also that instead of "take back the night," which is an anti-violence event, women should be demanding "take back the orgasm" rallies; however, the author does make a good point about the need to shift societal dynamics:

"To close the gap, societal attitudes need to shift toward valuing female pleasure in hookups and enabling women to understand their own sexual response."