Since I discovered that I was with child I have not gone back to the club. I haven’t gone to work or even to visit. I’ll be honest I actually really miss the club, and some of the people I’ve been able to work with over the past two years. I’ll never forget the first time I stepped onto that stage….I was petrified. ‘In ‘da club’ by 50 Cent was blaring and I was stumbling blind on stage in flip flops and a bikini. Looking back that bikini was the furthest thing from sexy. (I also can’t dance to hip hop— a rock girl for sure) The strangest thing to me was that people were actually tipping me. I’ll also never forget giving a dance for the first time…..the song that would never end (probably because it was actually 3 and 1/2 songs). That’s quite embarrassing to think about now…beginners mistake. The club that I first worked at had some of the meanest women I had the misfortune of meeting….I distinctly remember crying almost every night I worked. However after three months I switched to a club that I stayed at for the next two years. It was at this club I met some of the most awesome women ever, learned to dance, and get out of my shell.
I remember promising myself that I would dance until I was good at it. I never really learned how to use the pole correctly, but I did learn how to be seductive. For anyone that knows me…this is an extreme accomplishment as I spent most of my life trying to avoid my body or any attention to it. Working at the club opened up my mind to feminism and sex workers. I believe that without the experience I would have remained very narrow minded and judgmental toward a group of women that I didn’t even know. I’ve never considered myself any better or worse then any of the women I have worked with and consider everyone of them extraordinary in their own way. The women at this club taught me how to move to music, how to hustle, and how to stand my ground. Some may be skeptical still about the environment of a strip club and who enters, but I would have to say don’t knock it until you try it. I realize in saying that there are plenty of people who have zero interest in taking part in this subculture whether it be as a customer or as a employee. To those people I pass no judgement, but would caution them on passing judgement onto others who may be dancers or patrons.
I don’t wish to sugar coat the environment or people entirely. There were some patrons I would never go near, and there were some employees that I was not very fond of. However every work environment has it’s own quirks. I remember never making that much money dancing (with the exception of the weekend I made $1,200), but it became a great form of exercise for me and a way to release anger/ tension. Even though this post is entitled ‘Hanging up heels’ I have no way to tell the future. I may very well put my stilettos back on someday. No matter what I’ll always be happy that I was able to experience the club while I did. However I can say that while I pregnant wearing heels is far from my mind.
Sorry for such a long absence from my writing. I wanted to write about an instance I had at the club a couple of weeks ago.
I hadn’t worked in about two weeks, and so I made the decision to get back out there and work out. However as I was changing into my heels and outfit I noticed something odd about my appearance. (I had a muffin top). I broke down crying shortly after claiming I had let myself go (needless to say I didn’t work that night). My partner tried to concol me telling me we could work out together and get me back to where I wanted to be. However a week after that we found out why I was having a muffin top. An embryo, turning fetus,turning baby was growing inside of me (still is).
That’s right I’m pregnant and it’s still very new to me but I’m excited. I’m surprised I’m not really sure how I’d react, but I’m very confident in this. Besides now I know that my mini breakdown was because of my raging hormones. I’m not sure if I’ll be dancing anytime soon considering my bedtime is now 6:30. However if I had not been pregnant I would be very concerned with my strong reaction. Especially how much I talk about positive body image and really dislike people (women especially) talk about what they need to change about themselves. It just made me realize that even if you consider yourself very aware of all of the different shaming and negative thinking out there you may not be immune to thinking it about yourself. Trying to keep that on my mind.
The displays I’m talking about here are the anti choice fetus artwork that’s been displayed all over Albuquerque as of late. So why are the anti-choice people harassing the UNM campus and Albuquerque as a whole? This coming Monday there is a vote for a late term abortion ban in ABQ. I’m really not even sure how much I’ll be able to write on this topic. I always try to make a point to do research on the topics that I write about. The reason I do this is that I want to give my readers both sides of the coin. However the anti choice arguments that have been surrounding this ban are too much. On campus there have been chalking everywhere about ‘save the women’ and ‘save the child’. Obviously these people know nothing about late term abortions and their ignorance is maddening.
(I rarely refer to this party as ‘pro-life’)
For information on late term abortions check out this article that was written in the Albuquerque Alibi http://bit.ly/17zeYP1
If you have clicked on that link and read it you’ll see that late term abortions are really rare and only happen for medical emergencies for either the fetus or the mother. It’s not as if women carry a fetus for four months and think to themselves ‘I really don’t want to do this any more’. So when these people are saying they’re pro-child they’re really saying they’re pro-birth because they don’t actually care about the fetus just as long as it’s carried to term. Missing organs, being a vegetable, or the mother’s life doesn’t matter as long as the fetus comes out a child. There really are such things as fates worse then death.
There is something seriously fucked up about this illustration. Again the idea that women look down one day and say ‘I’m done being pregnant’ so flippantly is disrespectful and gross.
I have to wonder where these people’s compassion is hiding. Then we have that damn fetus truck driving around town. Talk about inappropriate. One of my co-workers told me how she had to try to explain to her 4 year old what the picture meant.
(The truck that’s been driving around ABQ).
Fear tacts, grotesque imagery, and lurking around campus. I literally had to avoid the main part of campus to keep away from their yelling and pamphlets. All of their negativity is what makes me ill. It’s so toxic and I don’t even like writing about it because it plays on my emotions (which is their goal). These people use the words save baby and save women and instead terrorize women instead. If a women wants an abortion she will get one. Making all of these laws and restrictions is not making abortions go away its putting women at risk. Putting them at risk and for what? Women don’t just walk into get an abortion because ‘gee that sounds like a lot of fun’. It’s an extremely personal decision, and these people should butt the hell out of these women’s lives. The late term abortion ban is helping no one and taking away women’s freedom to choose what is right for them.
Is it possible for me to remain calm about this topic….sometimes. This backlash against women is ridiculous and I can only cross my fingers that this ban doesn’t go through in ABQ.
(Unless they’re transmen).
There is obviously much much more that I could write about with this topic, but that’s all I want to go into right now. It was more of a rant of my own. Please do research about this topic and form your own opinions.
(It’s a little like wearing a Scarlet Letter).
As most sexually active cis women with male bodied partners I have had a couple pregnacy scares. That feeling of ‘Oh shit! When was the first day of my last period?’ All of them have turned out to be just my over reaction and have not resulted in any pregnacies, luck?–most likely. I’m in that boat again. I’m not really worried, and attribute my worry to my over reaction habits. (I could go into detail of why my worry is not as bad as it could be, but it’s personal and is not the point of this post). I just wanted to paint the readers a picture for what I’m about to discuss in this post.
The act of buying a pregancy test.
There is nothing wrong about purchasing a pregancy test, but I felt an intense feeling of shame in purchasing one. Perhaps it was because the pharmacy was the size of a box and there were four other people close to me, not to mention blocking my way to the pregancy tests, and I could only stand there akwardly waiting for them to move. By the time I was able to grab one of them the people had shifted to the checkout line. This forced me to hold the box, and it was as if the box was getting heavier by the second. This could be something of my youth, and might go away with time. However it is also a reflection of this sex negitive society.
I shouldn’t have felt shame for purchasing a pregancy test, but I did and that made me a little angry. I was a little angry at myself and angry at all of the things that had been drilled into my head about women taking responsablity. Granted I could have just used a condom and/or birth control. However how do we say ‘shit happens’. The reason that I talked about shame steming from society was the glances and the the ’tisk-tisk’ looks I recieved. The phamisist (who was a woman) rang me up asked me if I was late, and I told her not yet. She looked at me a little odd for purchasing one, but was empithteic to my jumping the gun and being worried.
After I purchased the test for the life of me I couldn’t figure out where my guilt and shame were coming from. The more I thought about it the more I wondered if it was just embarresment about the whole thing. I should have known better, I should have used a condom, and all the other self blaming things I could think of. (Again I still don’t know if I’m pregnent). If this all turns out to be for nothing (which is highly likely) it’s still extermly stressful. I haven’t encountered much liturature talking about this particular shame/ or uncomfortable experience. I suppose it’s almost like the embaressment of buying condoms. The joys of Western Society.
Some may wonder why I would post something so personal. I think it’s important to share things that make us vunerable. Doing so allows others to know they aren’t alone, and opens it to discussion. That’s what all of this is really about. The question why should women feel shame for buying a pregancy test. It’s a very vaild purchase and yet is very emotional . So I would invite others to read this either being in my boat or been in it before. Also to ask why shame would come up instead of just panic and/or excitment.
This past July I attended the NOW annual conference that was held in Chicago. This was the first time that I had ever attended a national conference for any organization. When my university told me that I was going to be sent there one of the first things was that it was just going to be a bunch of old white ladies. It was no joke though…the majority were older white women. As you’re reading this you may be thinking to yourself, “Why are you surprised it’s NOW after all.” I was surprised to see the lack of women my mother’s age. The youngest women there aside from myself and a few straggling attendees were the NOW interns. I’m not saying that there are no middle aged women who identify as feminists. I’m simply saying that NOW is the oldest Women’s organizations and there was a huge gap with the ages of the attendees.
The student organization that I’m in charge of is affiliated with NOW as well as the Feminist Majority Foundation. The one thing that I’ve learned while working with these organizations is that they are definitely rooted in second wave feminism. Which is a little difficult to be on board with. They take third wave feminism as a bit of a joke, and claiming that nothing gets done. I will say that they have a point to some extent. There aren’t as many marches in the streets, and male bodied individuals are being included into conversation. Instead of attacking people (male bodied individuals specifically) third wavers have begun attacking patriarchy and misogyny as systems. This also leads for the movement to become a little more individualized as feminists have many different areas of interest which are all important to address. In that respect it could be very easy to read that the ‘sisterhood’ element of the feminist movement is gone. I would argue that even in the hay day of the second wave it was never really there. Non white women were left out of the equation as well as queer women, and transgender people. My personal take on the third wave movement is that everyone has a story to tell and a reason to be included in the conversation of feminism. Even the hyper-masculine, straight cis men have stories, and might relate..they just take a lot more work and patience. Society as a whole has to communicate to improve the social conditions. *stepping off soap box now*
Getting back to the age gap. I do not think the grass roots ideas of feminism are rooted in second wave, but I can speak from working with my group that the stereotypes and negative ideas about feminism stem from parts of the second wave. This discussion could go on for a very long time, but I can only talk about it so much by myself. Basically the national feminist organizations need a way to get young people involved in the conversation (not just as interns) and pass the torch eventually. Being progressive doesn’t happen overnight, but it has to happen eventually.
This past week I’ve been really stuck on this idea of identity, how they’re formed, their importance, and who they benefit. I actually got into a big argument with one of my good friends about the whole concept. We were discussing what we find empowering. I made the comment that finding my niche in feminism and where I belong in the queer community made me feel empowered. I explained that I was so enthralled with exploring my different identities and what made me, me. I’ll call my friend Z for the sake of privacy and what not. When I asked Z what empowered her she replied being a part of the trans* community. However they went on to explain that they wished there was no need for a trans* community and that we could all just be men or women…and even then it wouldn’t matter. Their idea was that maybe in the future identities and queer communities won’t be needed because we’ll all just be people.
This conversation happened a couple days ago and I couldn’t figure out why it had gotten me so worked up. Wouldn’t it be nice to not need ‘feminism’ ‘gay bars’ and ‘pride festivals’ or the need to be a ‘trans man/woman’. A part of me really wanted to agree with them and say “That would be awesome”. However another part of me got kind of pissed off. For myself personally I’d spent so long trying to figure out who the hell I am and search for people similar to me that the idea of those communities not existing was a little upsetting. I can understand where they’re coming from a little, but I then started thinking of other trans* friends I have or people in the larger trans* community. Would it be better if there was no trans* in front of the man/woman? I’m not really sure and do not wish to make those kind of assumptions. These are just my thoughts. *Disclaimer: If I’m saying anything offensive I’m really not trying to…I don’t believe on stepping on people’s toes or being purposefully offensive. * (I would also like to add that Z’s vision for the removal of trans* was in the far future. My thoughts about the topic are very much in the present and nearer future).
*= An umbrella use of trans (In case anyone was confused).
The point of this post was not to analyse the trans* community nor to speak for Z. However I found it useful to paint a picture and get people thinking of the complexities of identity concerning gender. For myself personally my struggle with identity does not stem from qualms with gender, but rather sexuality and sexual orientation.
Concerning my sexuality I was very wrapped up in the idea of being a ‘virgin’ and holding onto this ‘precious gift’ I type that almost in disgust with how I put so much pressure on myself and my worth being wrapped up in sex. One could speculate that it was because of the sexual abuse I suffered when I was growing up, but I wouldn’t put too much behind that. The reason I say that is because while researching women’s sexuality this is a very common thought process and is more of a reflection of society.
For this reason I had never really put much thought into sex as an act nor trying to explore my desires. When I arrived at college I just thought of myself as straight, just because really. I hadn’t cared to explore myself or question anything about sex.
(Question everything ^_^)
Once I became a dancer though I began to question myself, my desires, and wondering if maybe I hadn’t given myself enough credit. So I went in search of answers about sexuality and sexual orientation. What I found were endless possibilities, groups of people, and vast amounts of information. I discovered the term sex positive and have been fascinated ever since. It’s all still a bit over whelming, but it’s been marvelous. I believe there is a certain excitement that comes along with endless possibilities. The fact that sexuality/ sexual orientation are so fluid and have the potential to change is awesome. Pushing myself in the path of self discovery has been quite liberating not just in the areas I’ve mentioned, but in the realm of my identity as a feminist as well.
This post was really just meant to give perspective and let people in on the inner workings of my journey of self discovery. I believe it was important to share because in the feminist movement “The personal is political” and gender/ sexuality are extremely personal. I also hope this gave people some food for thought.
I believe that in reinventing yourself often you’ll learn to love yourself more. It’s working for me.
This post spurs from a Facebook page called ‘Anti-Feminism’. I was intrigued so I clicked the page to see why the page had been created. Here’s is an excerpt from the about page. http://on.fb.me/15tdsAi
For all who Oppose the double standards and hypocrisy of feminism, and are for Equal Treatment, Gender Neutral Laws, Individual Liberty of People, and True Equality!
When you look further on the page you will find news stories about women hurting men and you may even come across pictures of women on the page. I would be hesitant to click and read the comments though as you may find comments such as “Time to go kill this cunt” and other gross misogynist statements. For a page claiming to want gender equality the people in charge don’t manage it very well. I manage a page for the feminist group on my campus and if anything were to come up on my page that was harmful toward a women or man I would delete it immediately. Are there double standards in society, yes. (One commonly portrayed in media being women going to bars expecting men to buy them a drink. Buy your own or split the tab). Perhaps I’m ‘too independent’ but I would never expect a date to pay for everything. I remember a couple years ago I went on a movie date the guy dropped me off at the door to park the car, I went and bought the movie tickets while waiting for him, and when I handed him the ticket he looked at me as if I was crazy. (Apparently he had already purchased the tickets online). He told me he’d never had a girl try and buy the tickets before.
Were/are there some feminists that loathe and possibly hate men yes. However to say that the whole movement hate men is false. I came across another page talking about hating feminists because they’re a ‘hate group’ http://bit.ly/bdTXai All of the quotes that were collected to support this notion were taken from second wave feminists. The reason I mention that is because times and notions change. We don’t have the same opinions as our grandparents so how can people in this generation call feminists man haters and then use quotes from second wave feminists? Some of the women they pulled quotes from were radical feminists who are notorious for despising men (but they also are the feminists that find sex work oppressive). Needless to say that I’m not a radical feminist. Another example is when Christians don’t like being compared to the Westboro Baptists Church. They’re all Christians so don’t they all hate homosexuals and thank God for IEDs? I can safely say no to that. Shouldn’t it be the same for feminism? Not sure these people have cracked open any third wave feminist lit ever or clicked on a feminist blog recently. Which I also find irritating. I mean if you’re going to critique a whole movement shouldn’t you at least do some research about the modern day movement?
I’m currently reading ‘Yes means Yes‘ it’s an anthology of essays centred around the idea of positive female sexuality and a world with out rape. In her essay Jill Filpovic cites that women have overwhelmingly been depicted as the only victims of sexual assault and Filpovic points out that this notion is false and that approximately 1 in 33 men will experience some sort of sexual assault in their lifetime. People relate sexual assault with women more so because 1 in 4 women will experience sexual assault in their life. I bring this up because going back to the ‘Anti-feminist’ group on Facebook it centrers around the idea that feminists always claim that men are never the victims and always the perpetrators. Feminists are some of the leading researchers in studies about masculinities and tight confides that society places men in. My question is why would feminists waste their time if they we’re all ‘man haters’?
There are tons of anti- feminist memes out there. I realize some will tell me to lighten up it’s a joke.It’s worrisome to me though.
Domestic violence is not okay against anyone. We should put our efforts in fighting the system (the isms; sexism, racism, etc.) and work on improving ourselves. The ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ model is not helpful and will end up hurting everyone further in the future.
*Going a bit off topic now*Recently a cousin of mine posted a photo encouraging war and there was a woman who’s eyes and mouth were taped over in the photo.
I commented that the photo concerned me. He replied “I don’t much care if it’s 2 giraffes fucking, I like the words”. In turn he completely ignored everything I had written, dismissing it as fluff, and irrelevant. This may seem a bit off topic, but it was concerning to me that he didn’t even acknowledge the concern dismissing it like it didn’t matter what was in the picture. The photo was a (supposedly) piece of street art from Berlin. I have no evidence either way. In saying that I can respect political art, but I can still analyse and critique it. I suppose I shouldn’t expect others to be so willing to question things.
I’ve been asked why I’m not just a humanist instead of a feminist. To simply be a humanist would be to not examine and critique the system, namely misogyny. Without examining and attacking the system the problems would not be solved. We also need to examine male privilege which some (dare I say most) men do not think about as they go through life. Much like white privilege it’s not bad nor easy to change, but people can become more aware of this in their lives. This will all help to consider things differently in one’s daily life (at least it did for me).
I suppose this post was mostly just to rant about ill informed people and me wishing people would be more critical and use up to date information before damning an entire social movement. I realize it’s much easier to laugh at feminism and say it’s just a bunch of uppity women, but that’s not fair to anyone. Don’t live under a rock people. Research and then critique please. Misogyny is damning for both men and women and the sooner people realize that the better.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the title it’s a book by Jessica Valenti. I’m not even half way through the book and already I’m moved to write my thoughts. As with anything when writing about a topic there is always a bit of a back story. It seems choice to me that I would finally get around to cracking open the book this week. (I’ve wanted to read it for months, but got distracted). This week in my medieval lit class entitled ‘Uppity Medieval Women’ we were discussing female purity and probably will be doing all semester. We also touched on this topic in my ‘Gender, and Race after Hitler’ class. The word ‘purity’ has always pissed me off to tell you the truth. This idea that a women’s worth is all wrapped up in being pure, a vigin, a good girl. Not in whether she’s a good person, her accomplishments, or any other factors. *Anger* Anyway all of these terms are relative and mostly used to oppress women specifically. Ever notice how men have the pressure of being sexually active and women should remain chaste to be a good person? I say men being pressured because I don’t wish to exclude the oppressive nature that society places on men either. However my main focus is on women.
The idea of ‘purity’ is so incredibly sex negative that I don’t even know where to really begin critiquing it. I would like to say that to me one does not need to have had sex to be sex positive. I know some of my readers may be virgins and I do not want these individuals to think that I’m labelling them as sex negative. Even though the idea of what it is to be a virgin for women is relative as well. The mainstream definition of what it is to be a virgin for women relies solely on the hymen. Let me just say that sex and women are so much more then just a hymen breaking. Here’s a link to learn a little bit about the hymen and the role it plays in proving if a women is a virgin. http://bit.ly/4rTlfd
As you may have read this idea of virginity is very much an emotional one then biological. Perhaps instead of women getting their hymens restored they should learn more about their bodies in general. Let me just say this people –We are not in the middle ages any more!! We have science and the knowledge about women’s bodies– let’s use it. Pick up a copy of ‘Our Bodies Our Selves’ and learn about a women’s bodies. P’s and Q’s.
Going back to ‘purity’ being sex negative and oppressive. Can I just say that it’s concentrated solely on women? The rings, the balls, the pledges, and not to mention the abstinence only teachings. Valenti cites in her book one exercise used in abstinence only education. It goes something like this…The teacher would call two male students up in front of the class. They would get a piece of scotch tape and ask to the class to think of the tape as a female. They would then place the tape on one of the boys arm to signify the two having sex. After letting that sink in they proceed to rip the tape off the male student’s arm. The teacher then attempts to place the same piece of tape on the second male student’s arm. The piece of tape won’t stick because the first student’s arm hair is on it. The teacher then allows the student to sit down. Basically if you’re a female and you have sex with one man you will be dirty and unable to be with anyone else. If that isn’t sex negative and oppressive toward women I don’t know what is.
Back in May Jezebel ran an article entitled ‘Female Purity is Bullshit’ http://bit.ly/10EtpfC
I was so intrigued by this article and from the moment I read it my critical thinking was suddenly intune to any and everything to deal with female purity, virginity, and moral.
I’m sure I will have more on this subject later I just wanted to share my thoughts thus far on the topic.
Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream. -Rush Limbaugh
The idea for this post came to me yesterday while I was watching a documentary called Miss Representation. The film featured a segment about Conservative Radio hosts and of course Rush Limbaugh was featured. I remembered having to listen to talk radio in the car when I was younger. I always remember hearing Rush Limbaugh, but I tuned it out because it put me to sleep. As I’ve gotten older the thought of having to listen to him makes me ill and angry all at the same time. Even the few snippets in the film that featured him and Glen Beck got me a bit heated. I know some people can listen to these guys and think they’re speaking like true ‘MERICANS. However if that’s being a true American can I please be a new nationality?
I’m not sure what I really wanted to say in this post aside from the fact I was very unsettled remembering that I learned about the world from Fox News and LImbaugh growing up. The idea of listening to a man that believes feminism is just a bunch of “unattractive” women vying for attention is just showing more reason not to listen to him. To listen to someone who believes that in order for women to speak they should be ‘attractive’ (a relative term) and then if they meet his standards simply talk about their looks (Sarah Palin) and not what they’re doing in their work. I realize trying to reach out to conservative republicans is like beating a dead horse, but here I am. Also seeing that this is my blog I can have little rants if I’d like.
For those of you who may not know school is back in session.As such I’ll probably be better at writing in my blog now (i hope).
This week in two of my classes the topic of prostitution came up. One of these classes is Philosophy (It’s 101 so there are a lot of freshman in the class) However even if the class was a bunch of freshman I still don’t think they should be let off the hook for the natural reaction that they gave when the subject of buying prostitutes and doing what you want with them came up. The class laughed. Something about purchasing a prostitute was hilarious to them. At the end of class I rose my hand and addressed the class about being offended by their laughter. I informed them that you don’t ‘buy’ a prostitute you buy their services. Buying humans is known as slavery. I also informed them that I didn’t believe there was anything wrong with being a prostitute if the individual is doing it of their own free will. The professor thanked me for my input and told me that he shared my beliefs. None of my classmates challenged what I had said.
Perhaps they’re immature and still laugh when they see condoms. Therefore the idea of sex work is treated as a joke and something to make fun of, patronize, and of course to be stigmatized. Which I find sad and wish they could take the time and gain new perspective.
Moving on to my next class that talked about prostitution….Gender and Race after Hitler aka post war ’45. One of the readings we had to do this week was about US army relations with French prostitutes and the spread of VD. I could probably do a whole post on all my thoughts about the article, but this is not that post. In class we were discussing the reading a classmate shared with the class that the article had offended him because his grandfathers were stationed in France at this time, and they would never have slept with prostitutes. I immediately mumbled to myself “How do you know?” The girl in front of me heard me and chuckled. I was serious though how did he know his grandfathers didn’t sleep with any women while over in France? That’s not even the part that is most worrisome to me…it’s the fact that he was so upset at the thought of it. So what if he slept with prostitutes in France. These women needed money to put food on their tables and survive. I was more pissed off at the US for destroying the regulated sex trade that France had set up just to save public face. That’s just me though.
Was this classmate upset at the article or the thought of men sleeping with prostitutes? If it was the latter it begs the question of why? The stigma surrounding prostitutes is so high I would be very interested in what people think of when they picture a prostitute…
All of this just furthers my desire to break stigmas and get the people around me to truly think about why they’ve attached certain negative concatenations to certain people.
Those are my thoughts for the moment. I’ll try and post more since a couple of people actually read this now . As always feel free to let me know what you think.