Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sing It Sista: You Don't Own Me

Lately I've been looking back to when I was a wee little lass and thinking about some of the experiences that influenced me to become the woman that I am today. As a child I was always subjected to conflicting messages about the roles of women-my mother was a divorced, single mother who always told me that I didn't need a man to take care of me, but at other times she would chastise me for not acting "ladylike" and telling me that if I did [insert something "unladylike"], I would never find a man. I was always in a state of conflict with all of my divorced, single aunts who displayed the same contradictory behavior as well as my grandmother who married multiple men and threw them away whenever it suited her. I lived in a primarily immigrant neighborhood where many of the women didn't work and stayed home to take care of their men and families, while also often making fun of my mother and her single sisters for having "lost their men".

Apparently the rumor is that my father had an affair when I was three years old and my brother was only two weeks old. According to the family rumor (of course my mother will never talk about it), my mother threw all of my father's belongings in the front yard and set them on fire. I don't know if I can remember this happening, or if I have a memory of the rumors that my aunts have told me all of these years. I remember many similar occurrences over the years from my mother punching my father in the nose and giving him a bloody nose to my mother being arrested for doing something else to my father's new wife.

At the same time that all of this was happening, I also would see my mother lie around and cry over my father for having left her, even ten years after the fact. I grew up on reading my mother's notes that she would write to my father and leave all over the house, chastising him for having abandoned the family and begging him to come back. I can remember finding the notes even as late as when I was in high school. I also remember my mother lying on the floor crying for years and years, listening to sad music by women about their men having left them.

As I child I was so confused about the role of women. Are we supposed to pine away in misery when someone leaves us? Are we supposed to be self-sufficient, or do we need a man around? Everywhere I looked all I saw were women crying their hearts out over having been left by a man-in songs, in books, in real life, on television.

But then there were those ecstatic moments when I would see a different side of the strength and independence of women. I didn't see it often, but when I did I would suck it up as much as I could and I was never able to get enough of it. I can remember the first time that I heard Lesley Gore's 1964 hit "You Don't Own Me" and I couldn't stop listening to it throughout my childhood and adolescence:

I would have to say that this song has probably been one of the most influential songs for me in my life, and listening to it was like being in a safe haven away from the typical "why did you leave me, I can't live without your love" type of crap that is shoved down every little girl's throat starting at birth.

I just recently researched the life of the singer, Lesley Gore, and I found some interesting things about her. According to some reports she sacrificed her singing career so that she could go to college, which impacted her popularity and ability to perform. Over the years she has changed the lyrics to many songs when singing about gender pronouns; for example, on an album when she sang the song "You're the one that I want" (from the musical Greece), she changed "because I need a man" to "because I need a friend". In 2005 she came out as a lesbian and has been in a relationship with her partner for over twenty years.

Was this song ever significant for you? What were some of the other songs that have had an impact on your life?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Movie: Julie and Julia

Yesterday I watched the video Julie & Julia, a movie based on the book "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously". Interesting enough, I had never even heard about Julia Child until I watched the movie. I've told this to a couple of people over the past day and people are shocked that I have never heard of Julia Child, but I suppose this may be a cultural thing because my mother was always cooking her own home-cooked meals with a latin flavor and was never really interested in owning a cook book.

I haven't had a chance to read more about Julia Child, but I found the movie to be interesting because it details the adventure of a blogger who writes a blog about her challenge to cook over 500 of Julia Child's recipes in one year. While we watch the story of the blogger, we also see a parallel story about Julia Child as she struggled to write and publish her cookbook.

According to the movie, cooking was primarily a male dominated field in France and Julia Child struggled to get into a cooking school. After she attended school, she co-collaborated on a cookbook that would teach U.S. women how to cook french food. At the time she was turned down by numerous publishing companies because her book was too long and the publishers wanted her to condense the book. Julia stuck to her guns and eventually the book was published.

The storyline is an interesting storyline of struggling female writers who continue to persist in their writing until they get a big break. I thought that at times the storyline dragged on a bit too slowly, but nonetheless I enjoyed learning about Julia Child as well as watching a contemporary blogger develop her writing as a blogger.

What was especially fascinating to me though were the two male roles in the story, Julie the blogger's husband and Julia Child's husband. Both men were very supportive and encouraging to their wives and sometimes took a back seat to their wives' writing and career. Males who support successful women are often hard to come by and are near and dear to my heart, so the two male characters really jumped out at me.

Have you seen or heard about the movie? If so, what do you think about it?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Become an Official Member of Team Bah-Humbug Today!

I hate the Christmas season. I know that I am not the only one out there who I know who really hates it, but so many people out there are just chickenshits and won't admit it! I hate the holiday music, I hate the obligation that you should give people gifts, I hate the Christmas decorations. I hate that I can't even go to the store to buy nylons without having to stand in a line that is too long for my impatient sensibilities. I hate that my family wants me to go over to their house, and I can't even barely stand them. I can go on and on, but you get the drift.

Yesterday on twitter I declared a new official group, Team Bah-Humbug, for those of us grinches who can't stand the season. The official bylaws are as follows:
  • Members will feel the insane need to pull their hair out when they have to listen to Christmas music, unless it is obnoxious Christmas music like "The Twelve Pains of Christmas"
  • Members will try to avoid the store in any way during the month of December and will be pissed when they have to stand in any line if they do have to go to the store
  • Members will be irritated that they are being expected to spend their precious money on people that they might not really care about or people who already have all that they need and don't need another stupid gift
  • Members might decide to just give a big fuck you to the gift giving problem and not give anyone a gift at all
  • Members might decide that instead of all the stupid crap that so many other people might be doing, they choose to do something nice for other people, like work in a homeless shelter kitchen or something
  • Any member caught wearing Christmas shirts, socks or other apparel will have their membership immediately revoked
We've already established that I am the Queen President, and we also have a vice president, secretary and parlamentarian on twitter, as well as two official members.  If you love Christmas then more power to you, but if you don't then become an official member of Team Bah-humbug today!

P.S. Don't forget that our theme songs, and our mascot and idol is:

Can anyone relate to what I'm talking about?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Exclusive Inteview With the Woman Behind Santa

Today my exclusive interview that I had with Twitter's very own obnoxious and sassy "I Am Mrs. Claus" was published on Associated Content. I'm so tired of hearing about Santa, Santa, Santa and it's about damn time that we start learning more about the head bitch in charge who is actually running the show up there in the North Pole! You can find the exclusive interview by clicking here.

While you are at it, check out "I May or May Not Have Applied for a Job at Hooters" over on the Healthy Hip Parenting Blog. I think that it is so funny! You can find the blog post by clicking here.

If you have recently written something funny, scandalous or outrageous on your blog, please feel free to tell us about it here in the comments section!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Idiocracy of a NON Bad-Ass

I just found a video online that literally made me want to vomit. I could barely sit through it and listen to the "go ahead and treat me like shit but it's okay because I love you and want to have your baby" crap. It's so irritating to me because this is the crap that so many young girls grow up on and this is why they are socialized at a young age to just take the crap that some men throw at them. I wish I could rewrite the song to include lyrics to the effect of, "You don't even deserve for me to give birth to your child, jackass". Check out the video and try not to puke:

If any of you tell me that you like this song, please meet me for coffee this weekend so that I can slap the crap out of you!

An Unconventional Love Poem

I've mentioned in the past that I am in a poly relationship with two men. I have two great loves in my life and tonight is my secondary partner's birthday. I'm posting his very favorite love letter that I wrote years ago so that he can get warm fuzzy feelings when he looks at it right on my blog before he goes to sleep (as he's ordered to do each day!):


You bring out the Bitch in Me
when you tell lies about insignificant bullshit
prey on unsuspecting women
without a blink of the eye
This Bitch bestowed upon you
the NAME
for a very good reason
your lies
rub My mind sore
a reminder for Me
to just say NO
to sex with liars

Bizarre? Well, you know me!

Brainstorming and Envisioning

I've been thinking back as to why I started this blog back in November (although it was actually not even written on until November). I can remember at the time that I finally turned to the internet to help me scratch my itch for wild and scandalous women. I initially started reading many feminist blogs online, which are fabulous, but I still felt that they covered women's issues and not necessarily exactly what I was looking for.

I turned to Scandalous Woman, which is mainly a website devoted to "scandalous women" of history. I am not criticizing the site, because I think it is great, but once again I felt that there was something missing that I have been searching for my whole life. Something that I haven't quite yet put my finger on. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that many of the women covered are European women, white women, or many of the common women of color that are always discussed. There is nothing wrong with the women covered on the blog, because as I said I am a blog reader and enjoy it, but it doesn't fill a need that I have been searching for.

Later I found some sex-positive feminist blogs, as well as adult-oriented blogs that discussed issues of dominant females and similar themes. I became a reader and blog contributor on the sex-positive site "Scandalous Women". Later I fell in love with the edginess of Bitch Magazine's blogs and many other blogs. But I am still out there searching for something that I can't quite put my finger on yet. I'd have to say that of all the blogs, Bitch Magazine is my favorite.

So here you are, listening to me ramble on, trying to articulate exactly what it is that I want to find in the online community, or perhaps create something new from the ground up that I haven't been able to find.

I want to create a space where a variety of different types of women are brought together, a space where we can learn together about one another. I want a space where we discuss the well-known white women that are so frequently discussed, but I also want inclusion of women of color, lesbian/bisexual/transgendered women, politically radical women, sex workers, dominant women, self-proclaimed whores, women with bad reputations, femme fatales, misunderstood women and anyone else who I might not be including. I want a space where readers feel comfortable interacting with one another in order to share their opinions and perspectives with one another. I want a space where I also learn from your stories and about the amazing women that you admire.

To those of you who have been reading and contributing your ideas, thanks for joining me on my journey!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Suheir Hammad: "Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic"

I am a HUGE fan of the political activist and spoken word poet, Suheir Hammad. She is so talented and amazing! This is one of my favorite poems that she has performed, which talks about how women of color are eroticized and exoticized.

Can anyone else relate to this spoken word?

Related Resources:
Opening the Gates: An Anthology of Arab Feminist Writing

Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists
women's literature, feminist poetry, feminist literature, suheir hammad, women of color, feminism, feminist poets, arab women writers

Hang on Tight!

We have started a facebook page for those of you who are on facebook and would like to receive updates about Bad Ass Femmes on your facebook account. You can find the facebook badge to join on the right side of the blog a few scrolls down. Please feel free to join, make comments, and post information about your favorite bad ass women!

I also just recently created a twitter account specifically for updates from the Bad Ass Femmes blog. I am sure that some of my readers follow my personal account on twitter, but as many of you know I am sometimes a tad bit over the top sometimes so I wanted to create a twitter page specifically for the blog and not so much about my personal thoughts. Feel free to join the twitter page by clicking here.

I've been sporadically updating the blog over the past six months or so and I've decided that starting now I am going to make a commitment to update the blog on a consistent basis. I've had a life-long love affair with chasing after the stories of phenomenal and renegade women and now I'm ready to immerse myself in my passion. So sit tight and hang on for the ride because at times it might be a little wild! There might be times that I write about feminists or famous women, but other times I might write about whores, prostitutes, dominant women, sexuality or tell my (or your!) personal stories.

Thank you for joining me on my journey!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bad Ass Finds: Frida Kahlo Christmas Ornaments

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I am going to blog about some special finds for that bad-ass-take-no-prisoners woman in your life or for yourself! Today online I was searching online and I found some cute Frida Kahlo ornaments to hang on the tree. It's almost Christmas time and so I don't know if they will come in time for Christmas (if I don't decide to speed order them), but what the heck-I've always been known for being unconventional so I'll hang them up all over my house until after the new year. Why not?

If you don't know who Frida Kahlo is, then I suggest that you need to get your rear end in gear and learn about what a fabulous woman she was!!

You can purchase Frida Kahlo ornaments at Cafepress by clicking here.

You Also Might Like:
Feminist ornaments
Sonia Sotomayor ornaments-our first Latina Supreme Court Justice
Strong Women ornaments
Femdom ornaments
frida kahlo, frida kahlo artist, frida kahlo art, feminist, women artists, frida kahlo accessories, frida

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two Ruthless Books That All Ambitious Women Should Read

Many women who enter the workforce and wish to attain influential positions are often ill prepared for the political power plays that encompass high-level positions. As women we have often been taught as children that we should "get along" with others and not be too overly assertive. While we most definitely do not need to act like men in order to achieve high levels of success in our careers, it would certainly behoove us to learn the tools and tricks of the trade when it comes to power, persuasion and influence. The following two books are excellent resources for women who wish to master the art of power:

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: Women are underpaid and under represented in the management workforce as well as in other high-power careers. When we do eventually attain a high-level position, we often face a workplace environment wrought with sexism, sexual harassment, and male privilege. Women aren't raised as to how to play the power games with the big boys, but this book will give you all the tools that you will need to take over your own empire. Many of the laws are completely ruthless, but it's important for women to sometimes utilize some of the rules as well as recognize when other people may be using the laws of power against them. The historical vignettes included in each chapter are indispensable to those who wish to learn more about the power plays of historical figures. This book is the best out there for people who need to learn more about office and work politics, as well as earning and maintaining powerful positions.

The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene
: This excellent book is a perfect companion to The 48 Laws of Power and should be on every career woman's reading list. The book demystifies the art of persuasion and influence by outlining ten different types of persuasive or anti-persuasive personality archetypes. Many readers will refine their understanding as to which type of seductive personality they may have, or will discover what it may be about their personality that is anti-seductive. The book also summarizes eighteen personality types and explains the ways in which each personality type is most likely to be influenced by another person. In addition, the author details the phases of the seductive process and outlines how to strategically seduce, persuade and influence other people. Women who read this book will begin to immediately recognize various personality types in order to determine the tools and strategies that should be employed in order to persuade and influence others.

If you purchase these books, read them diligently, and perfect the techniques contained within each book, you will rule the world in no time at all.

Purchase the books:

Would you be interested in reading these books in an online reading group? I've read them over and over and I would love to read them and chat about them with other women. I'm certain that I can get my partner in crime, FeminaPrudentia, to run an online book discussion of the books with me. If you are interested, please let me know!

You Might Also Like:

The Corporate Dominatrix: Six Roles to Play to Get Your Way at Work

The 50th Law

Ambition Is Not a Dirty Word: A Woman's Guide to Earning Her Worth and Achieving Her Dreams

Read the original article written by yours truly on Associated Content.
feminist books, leadership books for women, women leaders, women in the workplace, women and power, feminism, the 48 laws of power, the art of seduction, power and persuasion, female leaders

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bad Ass Finds: Sassy Calendars for Women (and the Men Who Can't Get Enough of Us)

It's that holiday time of the year where some of us are scrambling to find gifts for others because some of us waited until the last minute. I've decided that every day until Christmas that I am going to blog about special finds that I think would be really great for that bad-ass-take-no-prisoner woman in your life. Hell, or maybe you should just buy stuff for yourself. Why not-be unconventional and spoil yourself a little!

The first gift that I will of course be buying myself is "The Daily Bitch" 2010 calendar. The "includes your daily dose of recommended bitching" tagline caught my eye. The Amazon description says that it has sassy and witty comments that we wish we could all say. I have a suspicion that I am going to LOVE it! Click here to purchase "The Daily Bitch" on Amazon.

Or perhaps you or someone who you know has not yet unleashed their inner bad ass? In this case maybe the "Bad Girl's 2010 Calendar" would be a great pick. The calendar includes daily reflections and to-do lists and suggestions in order to "rage against the good-girl machine, every single day". LOVE IT! I definitely think that I am going to buy it for one of my timid friends who has been living vicariously through me for too long! Click here to purchase "The Daily Bitch" on Amazon.

I love Ann Taintor paintings and I bet this calendar is going to be a hoot. Ann Taintor has some really obnoxious and witty sayings on her drawings, yet it is done in such a subtle way. If you don't know who she is, you definitely need to find out. Her calendar is just one part of her larger empire of books, postcards, magnets, cups, and the list goes on and on. She is so feminist and sex-positive in a conservative 1950s sort of way. Click here to purchase the Ann Taintor 2010 Wall Calendar from Amazon.

Check out some other calendars with similar themes in the Bad Ass Femmes store!
gifts for women, feminist gifts, christmas gifts for women, calendars for women, feminist calendars

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On My BookShelf: "The Robber Bride"

I've always had Margaret Atwood's "The Robber Bride" on my bookshelf but I've never got around to actually picking it up until just yesterday. I've only read a couple of chapters so far, but I was immediately sucked into the book when I read about a conniving femme fatale who steals all of her friends' husbands and lovers. The theme of it somewhat reminds me of Toni Morrison's book "Sula", where her friend steals her husband. I'm excited to see if the plot develops and if Atwood makes the character sympathetic or whether she is just a complete bitch. Check out the book for yourself by clicking here.