Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bad Asses in Poetry: Poems of the Week

"And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face."
(Gwendolyn Brooks)

These have always been some of my favorite poems:

I read them when my soul needs some of that bad ass feminine nurturing. What are some of your favorite poems?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's on Your Bookshelf??

I live to read novels with feminist themes and/or novels with bad-ass female protagonists. I am currently reading "Memoirs of an Ex Prom Queen", which I will blog about when I am finished reading. It is an earlier feminist novel written in 1972 and so far it has discussed the following subjects: date rape, sexual harassment, abortion, marriage, female sexuality, menstruation, infidelity, education and career choices for women, and so on. The book is really bringing up some memories for me regarding boy-girl relations we have as children, as well as dating experience in high school.

Last week I received a ton of other feminist books and I am dying to read them as soon as I finish the prom-queen book. Some of the books I've read, while others I am re-reading because I read them years ago in college. I ordered:
I've also ordered others, but they aren't coming to mind at the moment. 

I asked the following question on twitter this morning, so I suppose that I will also pose it here as well:

What are your favorite feminist novels or novels that have a bad-ass female protagonist? They can be any genre, any time period...I'm interested in getting some suggestions for additional reading material! Leave your suggestions in the comment section below.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Reverse Sexism-How About a Little Male Objectification??

When I first started this blog, I wanted to write about bad ass women who have kicked ass and taken names, but I also wanted to feature a few men who love those bad ass women. Such men who can handle wild and unruly women are one of a kind and deserve a little air time, don't you think?! So my post today is all about a man who is near and dear to my cold, cruel heart.

The other day I mentioned on twitter that I was going out to dinner with my boyfriend, and a twitter friend (@cocosmalls) mentioned that she wanted a picture of him. I discussed the idea with my boyfriend, and he told me that I could take a picture of his muscle and post it online, but that was it. (He is very discreet because of his job, as am I myself regarding pictures). Needless to say, my lil friend wasn't happy with the idea of just a muscle.

Nonetheless, at dinner I tried to take a picture of his arm because he was wiggling around and wouldn't flex his muscle. He claimed that he felt like I was "objectifying" him:

His comment about feeling "objectified" started the wheels turning in this devious head of mine. Over the past couple of weeks, I've seen a number of commercials or advertisements that over-objectify women and are pretty sexist as far as I'm concerned. Take the Sprite commercial, for example, where the girl is giving a man a blow job and is shot in the face with a big burst of sprite. So, I started thinking and I came to the conclusion that if men can objectify women then we women should do it more often to men.

I sat down and explained to my boyfriend that I thought that it would be a really excellent idea for me to create some home-made advertisements where I treat him like a piece of meat. In the beginning he didn't want to take any pictures, but as soon as I began to explain my idea that I wanted to flip the script on objectification...then he was all game. Like I said, it takes a special man to deal with a crazy ass woman and her whims.

A large bottle of Cristal champagne fell out of the sky and into my lap this week in order to celebrate a couple of large scale work gigs that I've pulled off over the past two weeks.

So I figured I would use the bottle in my first series of male objectification advertisements. Check out my first advertisement:

What do you think my caption should be??

What a good sport, don't you think? Stay tuned for some additional male objectification advertisements. (Well, if the boyfriend continues to play along, that is!) Hats off to @cocosmalls for the creative inspiration.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We've Come a Long Way Baby!

It has always irked me when people act like there is something wrong with women who are independent and are comfortable with doing something on their own. I've lived by myself since I was 21 years old and I love to be alone, so I want to slap anyone who acts shocked when I state that I enjoy living by myself. I like to travel by myself. I do what I want when I want to do it and I don't wait for other people to join me. If no one is available or doesn't want to do something, I'll take my own happy ass off to do whatever I want because I want to.

As I grow older it becomes more and more irritating. I'm less and less likely to control my inner monologue and I start saying some crazy, obnoxious stuff. Over the years people have felt that they have the right to try to judge my relationship with my boyfriend, insinuating that there is something wrong with us if we don't enjoy traveling together. Or they just act as if there is something wrong with me because I choose to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and I am not so insecure that I wait until someone else wants to come along for the ride.

The other day, for example, I mentioned to a group of co-workers that I was planning on going on vacation to possibly Greece and Turkey. Everyone immediately asked who I would be going with. "No one!" I insisted. Everyone immediately got bent out of shape, whining and convincing me that I should take my boyfriend and suggested a number of other people for me to take if he would not be able to go. People were shocked and acted as if they actually felt sorry for me when I told them that I do not like to travel much with my boyfriend, or for anyone for that matter.

In addition to traveling, I enjoy eating alone at times, going to the movies and all sorts of other activities that I feel like doing at any given moment. Yesterday I just wanted to be alone and decided to head over for a quick dinner at a favorite thai restaurant on my way home from my mother's restaurant.

While I was sitting there and looking over the menu, a lady walked up to the front counter and stared at me as she was ordering take-out. She finally said, "I can't find it in me to eat out alone. That's why I am getting some take out". She continued to stare at me and stare at me and stare at me until I almost wanted to stick my tongue out at her. Even the lady and the man, as well as two ladies across the room kept staring at me.

Get a grip. So I decided that I would take some pictures of my solo evening out, since it is so fucking amazing to everyone. So, here's a picture of my non-dinner-date:

And I actually even paid for the check on my own, if you can believe it!

I even drove myself home! Yes, yes I really did!

We've come a long way, baby, since women got the right to vote! Stay tuned for my next pictures that I'll upload as soon as I learn how to wipe my ass without having someone else hold my hand!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Unrepentant SLUT Series: Darlin Nikki

I remember as a child the first time I heard about a sexually liberated woman was when I heard Prince's song "Darlin Nikki". For the life of me I couldn't quite figure out what Prince was talking about when he said that "Nikki started to grind". Although I didn't understand the entire song, I pretty much got the jist of the storyline. As a child, I always wondered why she woke up and left him in her big ole castle. I'm all grown up and I still ask myself the same question. Come on, now, I'm most definitely not leaving some joe blow to sleep in my house! Now that I'm a big girl, in my head Nikki has all kinds of whips, chains, and bdsm torture devices, too! And all sorts of outfits to crossdress Prince (although it's not like he needs a lot of help).

Here's a little flashback of the song.

Did anyone else ever think that it was crazy that Nikki left him sleeping in her bed, alone?

I heart Prince.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Have Begun My Own Quiet War...

My favorite poet, hands down, is Sandra Cisneros. I do enjoy some of her short stories that have that bad ass little twist to them. In this excerpt, she reads her story "Beautiful and Cruel" from her book, "The House on Mango Street":

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Unrepentant SLUT Series: The Rule of Three

I've decided to continue on with my slutty slut series because I am having such a fabulous time by brining up some really great memories! Here goes:

I once told a "feminist" friend about my dilemma when my ex-boyfriend dumped me because I told him how many men I had sex with. You know, the guy that I wrote about in my last post?

My former friend was about ten years older than me and she thought that it was about time that she would school me on the sexual differences between men and women.

"You see, it's called the rule of three. Men always take the actual number of women and multiply by three, and that's the number that they tell people regarding the amount of women that they have slept with. Women, on the other hand, take the actual number of men that they've slept with and divide it by three, and that's the number of men that they claim that they've slept with. Women never tell the exact number of men that they've been with!"

I was just a young twenty-one years of age at the time and a bit perplexed as to why anyone would divide the number of men they'd slept with by three. I didn't feel that there was anything wrong with sleeping with as many men (or women) as you damn well please.

"Why on Earth would a woman want to divide her number by three?" I asked.

"Because you don't want anyone to think that you are a slut, including your friends!" she clarified.

I'm sorry, I thought that we were in the day and age that we are, um, supposed to be honest to our partners about our sexual habits as well as how many partners that we have been with? You know, considering that people can get HIV and other sexually transmitted disease! Oh, silly me!

It's strange, sad and unfortunate that women feel that they have to lie about the number of partners that they have been with. If you have friends or loved ones who are that damn judgmental, then I suggest you find yourself some new friends-that's what any self-respecting bad ass would do!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Unrepentant SLUT Series: Absolutely No Regrets

Yesterday I kicked off my Unrepentant SLUT series. Today I've decided to take a walk down memory lane and explore how the term "slut" has played out in my life. Here it goes:

I lost my virginity when I was fourteen to a boy named Jesus* over a superbowl bet. No, seriously. When the boys found out about it at school, they ran my name through the mud and created a derivation of my name, which included the word "slut". It wasn't long after that when the girls at school jumped on the bandwagon and isolated me. 

I can remember sitting in class and listening to the teacher lecture about Hester Prynne in "The Scarlet Letter". I remember being angry because Hester was isolated, punished and humiliated for having had an extramarital affair while the man who she had an affair with walked away with his reputation intact. "The Scarlet Letter" was the turning point for me, the moment when I decided that I would never let anyone make me feel ashamed of my sexuality.
Over the years it's not as if people haven't tried to denigrate me for my sexuality. When my own mother found out that I had lost my virginity, she locked me in my room for two straight weeks. When I came out to get water one night, she looked at me with hate on her face and said, "You disgust me. You make me sick. You're nothing but a slut". I can go on and on about examples from ex-friends, co-workers, people in the online community, non-sex-positive feminists and so on. And I've decided that people can kiss my ass if they don't like it. 

I'd have to say that the most slut defining moment for me was when at the age of twenty I dated a guy named Orlando*. At one point Orlando asked me how many men I had slept with and I told him twelve. He immediately dumped me. A day later he called to explain his actions. 

"I just can't date a woman who doesn't know how to keep her legs shut. I want to give you a word of advice. If you want a man to get serious with you, then you need to lie to guys in the future and tell them that you are a virgin. Later after they fall in love with you, you can tell him that you were with a few guys before but you didn't want him to think that you were a slut", he explained. 

I kid you not. I wrote down a summary of what he said as soon as I got off the phone with him.

I told him, "I will NEVER lie about how many men I have slept with. If a man doesn't like it, he can kiss my ass".  And then I called his uncle, asked him out on a couple of dates and fucked the shit out of him. And later the same with his best friend. 

I will never allow anyone to make me feel bad for my sexuality. I will never make myself feel bad or regret any of my sexual experiences, even if I have made poor decisions regarding certain partners throughout my life. 

So, here's to you, Orlando~thirteen years later and I'm still slutting around while you are stuck in a miserable marriage. Oh, and by the way, since I've been with you, I've actually lost track of how many partners I've had so I guess I won't ever have to give another man an exact number of my sexual partners. 

Absolutely, absolutely no regrets. 

*Maybe, just maybe it's a real name.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Who You Callin' a SLUT!?

Any woman in power or woman who has thumbed her nose at convention has probably been called a SLUT. Been there, done that, used to hate it, and now I just laugh my ass off. 

As if there is something wrong with a sexually active woman? Ha, and people lament the plight of women in the Middle East (sarcasm intended). 

I've been thinking about this "slut" issue for quite a while now, ever since I read the book "Loose Girl: A Tale of Promiscuity". I've been meaning to read the book  "Slut! Growing Up Female With a Bad Reputation" for a while now and I have just gotten around to recently ordering it.  I look forward to hearing the personal stories in the book as well as stories of any woman with big enough ovaries to leave a comment here. Confess, repent, let it all out, sista!

So I'd like to take a little stroll down memory lane and examine this "slut" issue and how it has played out in my life-the good, the scandalous, and the ugly. I would have to honestly say that it has had a significant impact on my life. I've prepared a couple of posts that I'll be uploading over the next couple of days about my personal experiences. In the meantime, I want to pose the following questions:
  • Have you ever been called a slut? 
  • Who is your favorite woman who has expressed absolute lack of remorse regarding being promiscuous? 
  • Are you a slut-say it loud and say it proud?
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Zora Neale Hurston: Bad Ass Lil Adventuress

I just started reading a biography about Zora Neale Hurston called "Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston". For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hurston, she was a novelist, folklorist and anthropologist who is well-known for having written the novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God".

On the first page of the biography, the author, Valerie Boyd, tells a story of Zora Neale Hurston when she was about nine years old. Boyd tells about the time when Hurston tried to convince one of her female classmates to go on an adventure with her to discover the end of the world by walking out to the horizon.

The two school girls decided that they would meet by the palmettos near Zora's house before they embarked on their journey. Before setting off, Zora's friend arrived and told her that she would not be able to go with her because she didn't want to get into trouble. The two friends fought, and Zora was heartbroken that she didn't have a companion to accompany her.

Later in life Zora stated, "I did not give up the idea of my journey. I was merely lonesome for someone brave enough to undertake it with me".

Story of my life!! You have no idea how frustrated I can get sometimes when I walk around in a world of chicken-shits who are too afraid to break any boundaries or go outside of their comfort zone! I'll set out on the road alone if I have to, but sometimes it is so much more delightfully fun when you have a partner in crime conquering the world with you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Every Bad Ass Needs Her Very Own Ass Kickin' Socks!

Today @willingthrall on twitter sent me this pic of some "Bad Ass" socks that he saw in a store while he was on vacation. 

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Prisoner of Words Unsaid

I've decided that I'll stay with the topic of freedom of speech that I've been obsessing over during this Independence Day weekend. So, I'll piggyback off of my last post about the Dixie Chicks and how their bad ass little country selves spoke out against president Bush. 

This spoken word video by Alicia Keys is about how we oppress ourselves by not speaking up and/or speaking out. It's called POW:

I've never been one to bite my tongue or hold anything back. It's my life long mission to empower other women who might hold themselves back from really saying what they want to say. Just say what's on your mind, ladies!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Speak Your Mind-Whatever the Cost

I'm not a fan of country music and I most definitely know that the Dixie Chicks incident happened many years ago, but I figured that it would be relevant to rehash the incident this fourth of July weekend. So, I'll be sitting here thinking about free speech issues while the majority of the population is out partying and shooting off annoying fireworks.

For those of you who don't know, a number of years ago Natalie Maines stated at a Dixie Chicks concert that she was ashamed that the president of the United States (i.e., Bush) was from Texas. I remember being at work in the teacher's lounge at the time that the news hit. My immediate reaction was to think "Who the hell are the Dixie Chicks?" and then "Right on, Dixie Chicks". I was really impressed that they had said it considering that the country music scene pretty much includes a bunch of redneck-red-state type of folk. 

The reactions from other teachers were not similar to mine. I can remember clearly hearing other teachers say, "I'm never going to buy an album again from them!"  and all such nonsense. I also remember hearing, "Now is not the time to criticize the president because the US in under attack". All the while I was thinking, "Shit, I don't like country music, but I think I'll by their album now!"

After the comment was made, the media and small right-wing groups went wild with hate. Here's a disgusting clip from their documentary "Shut Up and Sing" about some of the media comments by some of those annoying hate mongers:

The Dixie Chicks were slammed in the media, death threats were made against them, and radio stations refused to play their music. Handfuls of djs across the country were fired for playing their music. After the fact, the Dixie Chicks stated that they lost half of their fan base as well as millions and millions of dollars. Throughout the ordeal those little bad asses refused to back down:

I haven't really bought a lot of music from them, but now that I'm thinking about it again I think I will check out what type of music they have online. I also plan on buying their documentary "Shut Up and Sing" about the debacle as well. It's been on my netflix list for a while, but I figure that I'll just buy it for myself since it seems to be an interesting documentary of freedom of expression. 

One song I'll be buying off of itunes that they made after the debacle is "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice". You can check out the video here. 

I hope you are thinking about the rights that this country was founded on during this fourth of July weekend!

The Lone Woman of San Nicolás Island

When I was a young girl, I really loved the book Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, a story of a little native American girl's survival on an island after being left behind by the Spanish. I remember that I really admired the little girl for her ability to survive under such harsh circumstances.

It wasn't until I became a teacher and taught fourth grade California history that I realized that the book was based on a true story of a native American woman who had been abandoned on San Nicolás Island, one of the Channel Islands off of the coast of California.

There are many versions of the story, but they all begin during the era that the Russian fur trappers were brutally raiding the Channel Islands and killing the otter for their fur.  A bloody massacre between the fur trappers and island inhabitants occurred, with the island population dramatically decreasing from approximately 300 to almost 20 inhabitants. In 1835, Spanish missionaries arrived on San Nicolás Island upon hearing of the massacre, loaded up all of the "Nicoleños" and took them back to the Santa Barbara mission.  

Myth has it that a lone woman could not find her child on the schooner and jumped overboard in order to search for her child on the island. Other stories describe that the schooner hastily left the island due to a storm. Whatever the reason as to why she remained on the island, the woman remained alone on the island until when she was rescued eighteen years later.

In 1853, the woman was discovered alone on San Nicolás Island. When she was brought back to the Santa Barbara mission, she was unable to communicate with the other native Americans due to dialectical variations.  She died approximately seven weeks after being brought to the mainland.

I've often wondered what obstacles she faced being on an island by herself for over eighteen years. Although we will never know all that she went through, it's obvious that it takes amazing strength and perseverance in order to survive such an ordeal. She's one bad-ass survivor!