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Friday, May 29, 2009
I mean 'isms' (like feminism, communism etc.) are supposed to reflect some kind of politicizing of life experiences. I would not place fashion in this same realm. I'm not trying to say that fashion is totally evil and that any woman who is fashionable (what ever that may mean) cannot be a feminist. But, it is undeniable that some warped version of feminism is parading around in a "less threatening", sanitized way. I believe that this connection between consumerism and empowerment has knocked feminist progress in North America back 20 paces from where it should be today. Yes, there are activists and feminists out there today who are trying to do something constructive, and who are keeping the "spirit" of feminism alive, but the consensus today seems to be that feminism is a thing of the past. Women are supposedly equal to men. This is hardly the case!
To all of you out there who are blogging, reading, writing, talking etc. in the name of feminism, keep it up! We need to re-politicize the various struggles that women all over the world are facing today. We continue to struggle, and our voices must be heard! Feminism is not dead, and it is a valuable tool today!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
This is the story of my abortion. If you're against abortion or you are easily grossed out by talk of graphic surgical procedures, don't read. :)
I had an abortion last month. It was probably the hardest choice I've ever had to make. I love children and I want to be a mother SO badly. Call me unfeminist if you will, but my dream is to have that white picket fenced house in the suburbs with a pack of kids, a husband, and a bunch of pets. I'm 21 years old, I don't have a steady job or a car or my own house, my boyfriend and I have only been together for 6 months, my health is crap, I'm a borderline alcoholic, yada yada yada. So really, bad time to have a baby. I am not a fan of adoption - I've heard far too many horror stories, and I couldn't send my baby out in the world to be raised by someone else who might not be a good parent. If anyone's going to fuck up my kids, it's going to be me!, and given my health and drinking, it would have been likely that I and/or my child would have been seriously damaged by the pregnancy.
So the choice was clear: abortion was the way to go. Even though deep down I knew that I just couldn't have a child right now, it really hurt to admit it, and I was terrified (irrationally so) that maybe the pro-lifers were right - I WOULD regret it forever, I WOULD have "post-abortion syndrome", I WOULD be smote by God, I would become infertile and get breast cancer and DIE, or something. I was also scared that it would hurt too much, physically, and I would die from blood loss or something. Surgery scares me, and considering I found out I was pregnant quite late due to my irregular periods (14 weeks) and wasn't able to get an appointment until nearly 16 weeks, it was a more invasive and risky procedure than if I had found out at say, 6 weeks and had it terminated at 8 weeks.
So, I went in to the clinic with my boyfriend, filled out a few forms, and went in to the "counseling room" with a kind young woman who explained the procedure and asked if I had any questions. I had checked the boxes on the form for birth control prescription (obviously the pill wasn't doing it for me, so I wanted to try something new) and pap smear, so she also explained a few different types of birth control and we settled on the nuvaring, which she wrote me a prescription for on the spot. I was a little shaky, so she gave me a hug as well.
After that, I continued on to the exam room, where the tech did a quick ultrasound and gave me a muscle relaxant and some sort of white, sharp sided pill (cytotec?) to put up my vagina to soften the cervix. Ick! This was the worst part of the procedure by far. The feeling just grossed me out. But somehow I survived, and after an hour of listening to White Snake in the "comfort room", I was led to the OR and I cracked grammar jokes with the nurse while she hooked me up to an IV. I honestly don't remember much after that, but apparently the procedure took a mere 5 minutes, and it didn't hurt at all. The nurse led me out to another waiting room and fed me juice and cookies, and I was allowed to rest for as long as I needed.
And....that's it! I felt pretty crappy for about 2 weeks afterward - I bled like a stuck pig for almost a week, my breasts were swollen to painful proportions, and my emotions were a total rollercoaster, but...it got better. I'm sitting here now feeling 100% okay with my choice. My abortion went totally by the book, I haven't been smote by a vengeful god, I'm not wracked with guilt, and my boyfriend and I are still together and happier than ever.
That's my happy abortion story. Does anyone else have one to share?
Click here to check out the blog for shameless magazine.
Shameless is Canada’s independent voice for smart, strong, sassy young women. It’s a fresh alternative to typical teen magazines, for girls who know there’s more to life than makeup and diet tips. Packed with articles about arts, culture and current events, Shameless reaches out to readers who are often ignored by mainstream media: freethinkers, queer youth, young women of colour, punk rockers, feminists, intellectuals, artists, activists — people just like you! We tackle teen life with wit and wisdom.
Proudly independent, Shameless is a grassroots magazine produced by a team of volunteer staff members, with content guided by a teen advisory board.
Each issue of Shameless entertains and inspires with profiles of amazing women, discussion of the hot topics that concern you most, DIY guides to crafty activities, sports dispatches, the latest in technology, columns on food politics, health & sexuality, advice and more.
Shameless has been making waves since its launch in June 2004. That year, Shameless was named Best New Magazine by Toronto alt-weekly NOW and nominated for two Utne Independent Press Awards (Best New Title and Best Design). In 2005, Shameless won an Utne award for Best Personal Life Writing. We were nominated again in 2006, for Lifestyle coverage. In 2005, cover story “Making The Cut” was nominated for a National Magazine Award.
Published three times a year, Shameless is available in independent bookstores and Chapters/Indigo locations across Canada and select locations in the United States.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
There are two really great exhibits going on at The Harbourfront Center right now, Close Distance and Swallowing Ice, both part of the Contact Photography Festival going all this month. Swallowing Ice is the MFA thesis work of Artist and Curator Jennifer Long. It is an elegant and beautifully put together work that brings to light the decision making processes and inner dialogue that women experience when deciding whether or not to have children. The images are on her website but if you're going to be near The Harbourfront Center anytime this month i highly encourage you to go check it out.
"My artwork parallels my life experiences, and as a woman in my mid-thirties, I currently find myself surrounded by discussions of parenthood. Conversations with friends rarely get ten minutes in before the topic is raised. Originally the dialogues focused on fear and debate, but quickly turned to expectations, techniques, and experiences. Between 2007 and 2008, I had seven close friends give birth, two desperately “trying” to conceive, and a remaining group feeling overwhelmed and confused by this incredible shift. This experience inspired the creation of Swallowing Ice, an exploration of the decision-making process involved in a woman’s choice to have or not have children."
Sunday, May 17, 2009
From February 11 - September 7th, the Textile Museum of Canada is presenting the work of Judy Chicago. Click her for more information!
Living legend of feminist art, Judy Chicago’s place on the landscape of contemporary textile practice is a significant one. Best known for her groundbreaking sculptural installation, The Dinner Party (1974-1979), Chicago has spent decades exploring the possibilities of “thread as brushstroke.” This exhibition surveys some of Chicago’s most important contributions in cloth, highlighting both key and lesser-known works dating from 1971 to present. From macramé to needle point to airbrushed quilts, Chicago employs “technique as content” in her major projects selected for this survey exhibition including the Birth Project (1980-1985), the Holocaust Project (1993) and Resolutions: A Stitch in Time (1994 to present). This exhibition centralizes the labour-intensive nature of Chicago’s textile work as a metaphor for investing in the ideas, values, histories and provocations in her artwork.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I came across this information from about.com which outlines ways to make sex/masturbation easier for persons with disabilities:
To give you a place to start, there are two general kinds of sex toy adaptations. There is the kind where you take a toy and change some aspect of it. You can build up a handle, change the switch, or attach the toy to something else that lets you use it. The other kind of adaptation is where you find a toy that may be intended for an entirely different purpose, but actually suits your needs.
Homemade adaptations (using grab bars, reachers, foam, tape, gloves, etc.) can be a great way to adapt a toy, and you don’t need to wait for an OT! If you stick to inexpensive toys, the adaptations will probably outlast the toy.
On the other hand, finding a toy that doesn’t need to be adapted at all can be good. For that you mostly need to be creative. A good example of this kind of adaptation is really long sex toys. At first you might think buying a vibrator that’s 14 inches long would be ridiculous. But if you’re someone who needs to get a complete firm grasp on a toy, and you have big hands, then your hand ends up covering most of the toy. You need those extra 5 inches just to get a good grip. There are other toys that are made as rings to wear around the penis, but work really well when strapped to hands and fingers. And then there are a thousand things you can do with remote control toys.
The benefit of not making a major adaptation to a toy is that you don’t usually need to rely on someone else to adapt it, it doesn’t cost you anything, and you only need to worry about the toy breaking, not the adaptation.
Image taken from acsexxxable.ca
Here's a post on femininsting.com called "Why Glorifying Virginity is Bad for Women".
Please don't interpret this as a form of "virgin" or "chastity" bashing. Choosing to abstain from sex (in its various forms) is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the sexual double standard (virgin/whore) that women face when it comes to having/not having sex is an issue that must be taken seriously.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Pretty Pushers is a company based in the US that is selling a birthing kit that includes lip gloss, a mirror, a dress, a lemon-water towelette, and heated massage oil. Can we find anymore ways to place even more pressure on women to "look their best" in every aspect of their lives? I mean, socially it's expected that women hide their bodily "troubles" like menstruation, passing gas, pooping, sexuality and now during childbirth (when it's arguably one of the most painful moments of one's life) one must repress any expression of discomfort in an effort to be presentable. As if child birth wasn't hard enough!
If anyone is interested in participating (or if you know of someone who might want to participate) please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Today, I was at my new apartment. My fiance was coming home so I filled the apartment with candles and put on some sexy music. When he came up to my door, I answered the door, naked. What I didn't know was that he was bringing his dad to see the new apartment. FML
Today, I was having cybersex via webcam with my boyfriend. Trying to be as sexy as I could, I started sucking on my finger. Judging by the look on my boyfriend's face, he was getting really into it. As I started getting into it too, I shoved my finger too far down and puked all over my laptop. FML
Today, I was having sex with my girlfriend. She started panting harder and going, "AH, AH, AH..." and I thought she was about to come. Next thing I know, there's snot splattered all over my face and neck. Turns out it was a sneeze. FML
Today, I was flirting via text with a coworker. Things started getting heated, and I wanted to send her a sexy picture. I asked if she had any suggestions. She said, "Your nuts!" She meant, "YOU'RE nuts." I sent her a photo of my junk. I offended a co-worker with incriminating evidence. FML
Saturday, May 2, 2009
I was checking out feministing.com when I came across this new weekly column where individuals can ask questions about sexuality. Here's one that I find useful:
Dear Professor Foxy,
I just want to start off with the fact that I am a virgin who practices abstinence. I practice because I choose to, not because I think it makes me morally better or something (it doesn't). I started masturbating a couple of years ago, and recently I've been trying to make a habit of it. I feel there is a lot of validity in discovering myself sexually and I personally think that a virgin can be sexual. But I'm also very confused about masturbatory techniques.
Currently, my technique is to stimulate the clitoris until it results in an orgasm. It's very effective and it works nearly every time. I've recently discovered that my inner labia likes being rubbed as well. This is the extent of how I masturbate. I mean, it works and everything but I don't know if it's enough. I thought that sexual discovery would be more work. I feel like I'm missing out on something.
What my question is, what are other techniques can I employ for sexual discovery and orgasming? Or is what I'm doing enough? Should I buy some toys? How can I help myself become more sexual?
Hi Sincerely -
Virgins are sexual people too and finding out what feels good for you before you start having sex with other people is one way of having great sex with other people.
Sexual discovery can be as much work and fun as we like it to be. Becoming more sexual is a process of discovering what we like. People masturbate in many, many ways (I am sure the readers can suggest a bunch). Here are some ideas from me to get you started:
1. The shower or tub head: If you are lucky enough to have a detachable shower head, apply it to your vulva. You can also position your vulva underneath the tub head.
2. Other parts of the body: Do you touch your nipples when you masturbate? Rub your neck? Pull on your ears?
3. Penetration: You can start off easy with fingers in vagina or anus or both. Use lube for anal penetration and for all penetration make sure your nails are short and smooth. A good test is to run them across your palm. If they hurt there they may hurt when inside you. You can even do the two handed method with one hand penetrating and one rubbing your clit.
4. Watching yourself: Position a mirror at the end of the bed while you masturbate or just use it to explore your vulva. Way too few people (especially women) know what their genitals look like.
5. Toys: you can buy a vibrator or dildo or anal beads to try out.
Happy Sexing! - Alice
Check out hollabackto.blogspot.com.
"HollabackTO.com is a place for Toronto to sound off on street harassers. Because you have the right to walk down the street, go to work, and go about your day without worrying what some perv is gonna say or do."
This blog is amazing! Making the perpetrators of sexual assault/harassment/rape visible is the first step towards prevention!
"Archibishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of the coastal city of Recife announced that the Vatican was excommunicating the family of a local girl who had been raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, because they had chosen to have the girl undergo an abortion. The Church excommunicated the doctors who performed the procedure as well."
Friday, May 1, 2009
Our tabling event on Monday was a success! It was great to engage with the student community, and it was very interesting to see some of the students' reactions. Some students just couldn't believe that we were talking about menstruation in public. Some giggled as they took the pad/tampon packages that we were handing out, others were completely shocked and mortified. We have been talking about the stigma associated with menstruation for a long time, but it wasn't until I was confronted with these reactions that I really understood how important it was to make menstruation visible. To be frank, menstruation has been constructed as a problem that needs to be avoided at all costs. Corporations capitalize on ideologies of uncleanliness to sell a myriad of products that will help women "cope" with their "feminine troubles". And so the process of menstruation itself fades into the background. For instance the pad/tampon commercials that I've seen on tv are so ambiguous. I don't know whether they're trying to sell me a box of flowers or a box of tampons.
Although we were met with some resistance, there were many students who were very interested in what we had to offer. They were surprised to see alternative options/products, and also to find out that the products that they have been using for so many years were toxic. One individual asked, "Aren't these products FDA approved? If they weren't safe, then why would they be on the market?". The truth is that mainstream pads and tampons don't usually cause immediate harm (although some individuals may experience irration on the skin surface), but they do contain chemicals/dioxins that are carcinogenic. This means that they can cause cancer. So the question is: do you really feel safe inserting a toxic tampon into your body, or having a bleached maxipad rubbing against your skin?
We'd like to thank natracare for donating the samples of safe/chemical-free pads and tampons to us, and Divacup for donating the demo poducts. The York student community really appreciates it!