June 8, 2011

“Slut” Can Mean A Lot of Things, But “No” Is Always “No” (trigger alert)

I feel his body against mine, and then I feel his erect penis on the small of my back. I squirm, pressing myself against the wall, but he puts a hand over my mouth, hissing into my ear to be quiet so no one hears. He pulls my underwear down and struggles to align his penis with my vagina as I try to push him away and utter muffled cries. He penetrates me.

He flips me onto my stomach, repositioning himself on top of me. He pushes my face down, his weight crushing the breath from me. I struggle to say, “No,” and he growls, “Quiet bitch,” as he yanks my arms back.

“Aw fuck – red! Red!

“Oh god, I’m so sorry! Are you all right?”

I sit up, immediately released from his hold, and roll my shoulders. “Yeah, you just grabbed me sort of weird and it hurt…and not in a good way.”

He apologizes again and I assure him it’s all right.

I shower, dress, and kiss him on the cheek as I depart for SlutWalk LA.

December 14, 2010

The Santa Monica College Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance Enables Students to Speak to the 2010 Candidates

The SMC FMLA gives students at Santa Monica College an opportunity to speak to the 2010 candidates by setting up the “photobooth of change” on campus during Club Row. See what college students had to say weeks before the November 2010 election.


November 6, 2008

Space for merging mind and heart in politics

I really enjoyed piece by Russell Bishop in yesterday’s Huffington Post that follows below.

It strikes me as a clear example of new visions of power, politics and interpersonal relationships.  The emotional realm that includes compassion, caring, and empathy has long been regarded as “feminine” and subsequently devalued.  The realm of the rational, linear, calculated and methodical has been deemed “masculine” and consistently valued over the weaker realm of feminine characteristics listed above. This has been a disservice for both men and women in our culture as each is encouraged to disconnect from the full spectrum of human characteristics and qualities.  Simultaneously, in a patriarchal culture that values masculinity and the social constructions correlated to the masculine realm, we have culturally suppressed important and under emphasized qualities that would serve our aggressive, competitive, and, often, ruthless hypermasculine culture in a myraid of positive ways.

As Bishop implies, Barack Obama’s style and grace is a departure from business and politics as usual.  And, it’s about time.  As a culture mired in cut throat competition and a paradigm of power that stresses “power over,” a political leader that is balanced on the socially constructed gender continuum and demonstrates deep wisdom and compassion serves as an inspiring role model.

Last night we witnessed a graciousness that belies the apparent animus that oozed through much of the last several weeks of the campaign.

Last night, John McCain evidenced a grace and essence in his concession speech that helped me considerably. As much as I have disagreed with the Republican campaign rhetoric, I have tried my best to look past the unseemly smears and expressions of anger to see the person, the human being that lies more deeply within.

My sense is that had Senator McCain campaigned with the same grace and elegance as he evidenced in his concession speech, he just might have won.

As I wrote earlier this week in Election Anxiety articles about Lincoln and what to do if the other side wins, I hold to the notion that both Barack Obama and John McCain care, and care deeply. They certainly disagree about how to demonstrate and act on their caring, but care they do.

The anger that often flares around John McCain is something I recognize inside of me. It comes out most frequently when I care deeply about something and feel frustrated and ineffective in my ability to communicate that caring.

Barack Obama cares and cares deeply as well. One of his great blessings is the ability to stay in touch with his caring and to communicate from that place of caring, even at those times when he, too, must be feeling frustrated, even angry.

As an educational psychologist by training, I recognize the difference between denial or suppression of deeply held feelings, and the channeling of that deeply held feeling into positive resourcefulness. Throughout the campaign, I witnessed times when Barack Obama found himself tested, angry, and otherwise mistreated. However, I also witnessed him channel those tests and discomforting feelings into a resourcefulness that allowed his caring to be communicated even more profoundly.

Like John McCain, Barack Obama demonstrated graciousness and a profound elegance in his election night speech. In particular, he evidenced a confidence unencumbered by hubris, an ability to assess the challenges that lie ahead, a conviction in his and our ability to address those challenges, and a willingness to embrace his opponents in discovering solutions to the challenges we face.

After Barack Obama gave his speech, the CNN panel tossed around ideas about how the President-Elect might lead going forward. As suggestions were made that he might govern from the left, or perhaps claim Reagan era centrist turf, David Gergen reminded everyone that Obama’s victory was not one of simply left or liberal proportions; rather, Barack Obama claimed vast numbers of voters from all across the nation, and from just about every demographic subset CNN could find to post on the wall.

As the govern-from-the-left vs. govern-from-the-right debate ensued, my wife offered a profound insight: Barack Obama has the opportunity to govern from the heart.

That struck me in a very resonant chord. What is it about Barack Obama that has penetrated so many different people from so many different walks of life? Sure, he has some brilliant campaign strategists and ran an amazing campaign over the past 20 months. However, there have been brilliant strategists and effective campaigns in the past. This one seems different.

The difference to me is that President-Elect Barack Obama cares, is willing to share that he cares, and has the amazing ability to connect his heart to his considerable intellect. By connecting heartfelt concern to reasoned problem solving, he represents an opportunity to bring about the change that was the theme of his campaign.

Beyond a mere campaign slogan, my sense is that this man cares enough and knows enough to realize that he must stay focused on the outcome, while be willing to adapt to the inevitable changes that will arise. He signaled clearly that solving the problems before us and creating real change will require far more than he can accomplish alone, and far more than can be accomplished in his first 100 days.

Perhaps his first 100 days will be characterized by the bridging of differences, connecting heartfelt concerns with practical realities. Perhaps we will focus on building like-minded communities of people willing to lead from the heart while slogging through difficult times of rebuilding our broken economic, social and political systems. Perhaps the common tie that will bind people of different backgrounds and disparate points of view about the way forward, will be a common bond of caring, commitment, and compassion.

Surely the nation could use greater caring and compassion. We already know that the President-Elect has the commitment to go with his caring and compassion.

The real question will not be what he can or will do as President, but what we and and will do as individuals. Are we willing to demonstrate the graciousness that both Senator McCain and President-Elect Obama showed us last night? Are we willing to take up the challenge to repair and rebuild with our own combination of caring, commitment and compassion.

Yes We Can.

October 7, 2008

Highlights at the Huffinton Post

Whoa!  Really?  Is this a political campaign in the United States in 2008?  “Kill him” as in the “terrorist” Obama at McCain-Palin rally in New Mexico. Read here.

Palin claims that Obama is “palling around” with terrorists.  Read here.

The women at The View continue to hash it out. Read here.

Olberman to Palin:

September 26, 2008

Who is free speech for?

Check out this article at the Utne Reader.

“Three weeks after the Republican National Convention came to St. Paul, Mayor Chris Coleman announced that the city will drop charges of unlawful assembly against journalists stemming from protests outside of the Xcel Energy Center. The Associated Press quoted Coleman’s prepared statement: “This decision reflects the values we have in St. Paul to protect and promote our First Amendment rights to freedom of the press.”

In the weeks leading to this decision, journalists across the country have shared outrage, disappointment, and anger at the sheer number of their own arrested throughout the four-day event. And yet, in decrying the treatment of their credentialed peers, journalists fail to recognize that every citizen has a First Amendment right to record events taking place on a public street, including police actions…

…Notably absent from the panel was a representative of alternative media, although as the conversation ensued, concerned citizens and journalists from alternative media outlets took their turn at the microphone. Charlie Underwood, who was a street medic during the protests, disputed the focus on journalists. “Are you trying to reserve a special category of citizen that does not get pepper sprayed, that does not get arrested, that does not have the same punitive things happen to them under these situations of police brutality that the rest of us do?” he asked…

…“All of us have a right to be on the streets. Journalism has gone through a tremendous revolution in the last 10 years. It’s no longer the two or three corporations that control the television networks or the newspapers. There’s no longer this concentration of power that has a monopoly on all the news. There’s a lot of stuff happening on the Internet, there’s a lot of stuff happening on YouTube and so on, that has much more validity for people than whatever Rupert Murdoch thinks is news. I think Charlie’s point is absolutely to the point. I’m not a member of that media, I’m a member of a different, alternative media, and I have absolute rights to witness what’s happening and a responsibility to communicate that.”..

…When Tompkins confronted panelists with the question of how to define a journalist, they displayed clear reluctance to give a definition. Gottfried seemed the least willing to answer the question, simply responding with, “I don’t know.” Deputy Mayor Mulholland said that she believed the mayor was referring to anyone who was there to tell a story and called themselves a journalist, but went on to say, “I have no idea how to define a journalist, and I don’t know that all of us in the room really know how to define journalist. I therefore ask the question, how are law enforcement officials supposed to answer that question while in the midst of a public safety scene?”

September 14, 2008

Sarah Palin and Barbie

Suzi Parker at Alternet offered an explanation for the supposed increase in support among women for Sarah Palin.

“Sarah, as she’s called by her female fans, is a 21st century walking, talking, breathing brunette Barbie. Women long to be her friend and have her as a confidante — the very role Barbie played during childhood. Naturally, women won’t admit that Sarah is like Barbie because to do so seems unsupportively shallow and well, sexist, toward the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket.”

Read the full article here.

September 12, 2008

Gina Gershon is Sarah Palin

See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die

Feminism is acceptable as long as it wears a skirt

Filed under: Body Image,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 11:38 am

Nina passed along a post from the folks at JezebelDonny Deutsch reiterates  what I posted in an earlier post from September 11, “America the Beautiful,” that feminism can be tolerated and embraced as long as that feminist is attractive and is showing off her gams in a skirt.

I guess people forget that feminism sought and continues to seek new areas of expression, leadership and opportunity beyond the narrow confines of a dictated and oppressive beauty standard.  I celebrate women’s beauty in all forms.  I am not oppossed to wearing lipstick.  I DON’T feel that our physical appearance should be the sole measure of our worth or our capabilities as aleader, a mother or a lover.

This is just another ludicrous example of the watered down “feminism” the right is trying to offer women.

The future is now

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 9:35 am

This election means more to me than any other political event in my life and, as a woman that is expecting her first child in February, I think about the kind of world that I want my child to grow up in.  The latest Rock the Vote advertisement summed up my own personal sentiments and the stakes we all face.