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.

October 12, 2008

40 years after the Miss America Protest and the creation of the "bra burning" myth

An ode to my foremothers!

As more and more women, from all social locations (age, race, class), pursue unrealistic and dangerous standards of beauty and a cultural era that reinforces the rewards of achieving this beauty ideal  throughout the cultural landscape, I give a proud nod to the women of the New York Radical Women that publicly challenged the prevailing beauty norms.

As more and more young women are seized by the collective amnesia of their generation, it becomes imperative to promote the learning of women’s history.  In the words and actions of the women that form the continuous lineage we are part of, we find sources of inspiration, empowerment, and examples we can utilize in our current challenges and issues.

While the stereotype of feminist “bra-burning” is a myth, there is no doubt that this event and its protest left an indelible impression, for better or worse (depending on who you ask), on the nation.

NPR interviews: Miss America 1968, Debra Barnes Snodgrass, Alix Kates Schulman, Carol Hanisch and Kathie Sarachild. Listen here.

As a small group of feminists prepared to launch their emerging women’s liberation movement onto the national stage by protesting the 1968 Miss America pageant, they had no idea that the media was about to give them a new moniker: “bra burners.”

In reality, no bras were actually burned on the boardwalk in front of the Atlantic City convention hall that hosted the Miss America pageant, says Carol Hanisch, one of the organizers of the protest.

“We had intended to burn it, but the police department, since we were on the boardwalk, wouldn’t let us do the burning,” says Hanisch. A New York Post story on the protest included a reference to bra burning as a way to link the movement to war protesters burning draft cards.

Women threw bras, mops, girdles, pots and pans, and Playboy magazines — items they called “instruments of female torture” — into a big garbage can.

“The media picked up on the bra part,” Hanisch says. “I often say that if they had called us ‘girdle burners,’ every woman in America would have run to join us.”

Read the full story here.

October 10, 2008

Guest post: Nina on last week's rally in Carson, CA

Filed under: Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 7:55 pm

I have only been to three protests in the duration of my life. Considering my age (19) and the current state of the majority of my generation, that is saying a lot. For the most, part my experiences have been extremely positive. My first protest was guided by an old hippie couple who had been protesting since they were my age in the 70’s. They taught me the ins and outs of protesting – bring a bandanna, a tangerine, water, and some comfy shoes. The opposition had always been minuscule in comparison to the masses gathered for the said cause (against the war, keeping a wommin’s right to chose, etc.) and the police had always been a looming, often racist, gathering on the sidelines that was and is difficult to ignore.

The protest against Sarah Palin in Carson, California this past Saturday, October 4th was the first time I had been within close proximity to hardcore Republicans supporting the McCain/Palin ticket. Sure, my Aunt and Uncle are conservative Republicans from Fresno who support that ticket, but when I see them they often hug me and buy me dinner. They don’t call me a whore. It was very different to see the opposition as a visible, violent force and the police as a support and protector of that force and not those protesting.

I  have been in the area surrounding the Home Depot Center in Carson many many times.  I used to go to band practice literally blocks away. The place was always very quiet and devoid of any inkling of political uprising such as the wheatpastings you will see in Santa Monica or Los Angeles. To see the intersection hugged by protesters and passing motorists honking furiously in support was overwhelming and amazing. I  parked in the designated parking structure amongst the Republicans attending the event and what immediately caught my eye was a father and his young daughter. Someone had meticulously painted a sign (much larger than her) in big hot pink sparkling letters that said, “Girl Power” and she didn’t look too thrilled to hold the damn thing. They were obviously attending to support Palin and it broke my heart.

I walked down the boulevard to where the protesters were gathered to meet up with my friends from CSULB who, like myself, run a Feminist Alliance on campus.

We demonstrated on the corner, encouraging people to join us and reveling in the support of people passing by. One thing I  noticed in Carson was that it was not just rabble rousing, but actual progression. People were networking, signing up to phone bank for candidates or propositions, exchanging numbers, and organizing further events. It was wonderful to see so many different kinds of people from all walks of life gathered on the street working together.

Eventually, we began to proceed up the walkway into the actual Home Depot Center to demonstrate nearby the line of Republicans entering the stadium. This is where, just earlier, John Voight stood in support of Sarah Palin and ordered his bodyguards to cover the signs of Democratic demonstrators so that their message would not be seen on TV. Don’t you just love him?

We all gathered along the line, “welcoming” those attending the event with posters, chants, and our presence. For the most part it was like many other demonstrations, with the Republicans not saying much. Those who had yelled profanities and flipped us off from their cars on the boulevard simply walked by, flipping us off once more or not looking at us whatsoever. But as more and more people began to show up, you could feel the tension from the opposition. There were many womyn Union Workers at the event, and you could feel their disgust as womyn walked by wearing the Rosie the Riveter icon on her t-shirt with Sarah Palin’s face superimposed on top.

A woman next to me, a union worker said, “I want to rip that shirt off that wommin. Palin is no Rosie the Riveter. I  am Rosie the Riveter!” As we shouted, talked to one another, and held our signs, two young womyn walked by with an open container of homemade cookies. They offered them to the crowd, and I assumed they were from Food Not Bombs, a vegan-friendly organization that cooks food for the homeless and often brings water and sandwiches to protests for demonstrators. As I placed the cookie in my mouth, however, I  was overcome with the distinct taste of Raid and immediately spit it out and crushed it with my food. As the girls proceeded onward I realize they were wearing McCain buttons. The first instance physical of violence I saw, however, was against none other than Jesus Christ.

Jesus had been visibly peaceful during the event, hugging people, chanting, and doing his thing. One wommin (wearing a cross), however, was visibly upset at him dressing as such, and began cursing profanities at him from the sidelines. He began to film her as she did this, and she punched his camera into his face. As the man began to yell at her why she would do such a thing, she continuously smacked his camera and pushed her way towards him. I  found it ironic that the wommin’s husband went to go get the authorities even though she instigated it. This obviously angered the crowd because he had done nothing wrong, but this often happens at demonstrations. Because those protesting are seen are “more radical” the police often push them back or force them to disperse because it is assumed they “started it.”

The next instance of blatant hatred was toward the two men pictured above, who were Iraqi veterans protesting both Palin and the war. An older man broke from the Republican line and began shouting, “Faggots! You are a disgrace! You will burn in hell!” The two men tried to talk to him, stating their reasons for being here but all he could do was shout until another man pulled him back into the crowd. More and more men began to break from the crowd, shouting at us, calling us “faggots” and a “disgrace.” One man in particular came to scream at all the young womyn ad said that we had dead babies smeared on his face. He was gripping the hand of his young son, who looked confused and scared. He was wearing, like his father, a shirt that said “NoBama” with the community hammer and sickle in the “O.” It broke my heart because his son was smiling at us and visibly fearful of his father. We shouted back, “great thing to teach your son!” But it doesn’t end here.

Comments were directed several times to the African American crowd protesting, just a few of these clever outbursts being, “Go home and drink your Kool-Aid” or “Go back to Africa!” At this point, many of the demonstrators had had enough and you could feel the tension in the air. The young womyn dressed as the polar bear and Sarah Palin began to do a skit in which Sarah Palin chased the polar bear with a small machine gun, killed her, and took her ears as a trophy.

Then there was the obvious way to make a statement on their hateful comments, which rose applause and smiles from the protesters. During this process I  was violently grabbed by an older wommin, who shouted in my ear, “Baby Killer! Whore! You will get what’s coming to you!” People chanted “show your face! show your face!” and an older man attempted to pull the bandanna from my face as he passed.

A few people were wearing bandannas because we have been photographed before at larger protests and as a result, have been harassed by the police for being “communists, anarchists, terrorists,” etc. Covering your face conceals your identity, and if the police see you otherwise they would have no idea you even attended such an event. Several police officers began threatening those with covered faces, claiming that the Home Depot Center had a policy that you could not be on their grounds if you covered your face. The police came up to me, grabbed my arm, and told me they would have to escort me out if I would not uncover my face. I told them I would escort myself out, and went back to the boulevard to join the other protesters.

Despite the media coverage of the stadium “overflowing” with supporters, it has to be taken into consideration that they were filling the smaller stadium of the Home Depot Center, and not the larger one used for concerts and such.

You could liken its size to the stadium where Shamu does his flips and tricks, which is not saying much. As everyone knows, this is the event where Palin made her inflammatory statements about Obama “palling around with terrorists.” After a few hours of demonstrating people began to disperse because it was rumored that there would be another demonstration in Costa Mesa near the Performing Arts Center, where Palin would be fundraising.

It was unclear whether Palin was at the fundraising event or whether it was a leak to keep protesters away from where she was speaking in Carson. Aside from a few people walking by in suits and formal attire, she was m.i.a., and so after a few hours the crowd began to leave. For the most part my friends and I sat on the floor with our signs, overwhelmed by the division at this event. People began to take photos of us, taking our like circle of friends on the floor as a statement, when we simply were tired. Our spirits were risen by a few other students from CSULB who were dressed as McCain, Obama, and Clinton. They held these signs beneath them, and often danced around with gay-pride flags.

The protest ended with a man and his young daughter playing the bongos and cowbell and as the man dressed as McCain did a striptease to the counter-protestors on the other side. After this, everyone left the premises, going home to flip through the channels to see if we got any coverage. It’s obvious we didn’t.

And so that is my summation of the protests last Saturday. Carson, I felt, was much more spirited and progressive than the demonstration in Costa Mesa. There was too much inner argument in Costa Mesa and the circular space where everyone was standing made it so that many people were hidden in the back and could not be seen. It was wonderful, however, to see so many small children running around in Costa Mesa in their heely shoes, shouting, “I think she’s here! Grab your sign, Billy!”

And I will leave you with this, a picture of a dancing vagina and the previously mentioned Sarah Palin look-a-like, both wommin from feminist organizations at CSULB.

Peace, Love, and Pie –
Nina, the babykiller whore who no one will sleep with

September 30, 2008

Anti-Palin Rally in Costa Mesa

Filed under: Event,Gender,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 6:30 pm

Thanks for the update, Justine.

Update: Sarah Palin will be at the Home Depot Center in Carson earlier in the day on 10/4 for a rally for her volunteers. Please attend and rally outside against her anti-woman policies and show your support for Obama and Biden.

We’re told that she still intends to be at Segerstrom at 4:30:Orange County Performing Arts Center, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa 92626

Join the crowd at the event at 3:30.