Few things lead me to sad contemplation like hearing another woman say that women should not be trusted with roles of leadership. In that moment, I suddenly see us both as little girls clutching our Barbie dolls; she wants us to play house.
In her house, she tidies, primps, hangs out with friends and raises kids while Ken is off at work. She greets him with a warm meal and hug at the end of the day. They sleep, and begin again. Most of her friends play just like that.
I don’t want to play with her.
I’d rather be a sorceress who escapes from a castle prison. In the wilds, I build a home. I tame beasts with kindness and gain their loyalty. Together, we plot to storm the castle and free the city caught in the crown’s oppressive clutches.
There is nothing wrong with her game. I just get bored playing it.
She could be a sorceress too.
Filed under: beliefs, Journaling, journalism, opinion, writing | Tags: Cat-calling, journaling, journalism, women's issues
I recently read a rant by a
young man who thinks it’s pretty silly that women get offended when random men whistle after them as they walk by, or lewdly inform her that she looks like a good sex partner. He went on to posit that most men would enjoy these sorts of “animalistic shows of support” from women.
First, let me distinguish that there is a big difference between compliments and cat-calls. There certainly is a way for a man to give a woman who is otherwise a stranger a compliment and/or express interest without being sleazy or creepy. In general, it does not involve: Yelling at her so everyone in proximity can hear, staring her down, saying “nice (body part)”, pickup lines, or making animal noises. The fact is, receiving a cat-call is pretty weird and awkward.
I want the men in the audience to imagine this with me: You’re being hit on by loud, obnoxious and largely unattractive women most of whom, if they wanted to, could drag you into the nearest alley and rape you with a strap-on… That’s a little bit more what it is like to be a woman cat-called by men. Don’t complain. It’s a compliment!
Recently, British journalist Leah Green took to the streets to see how random men would respond to some of the tactics used on women. She asked male bartenders for lap dances, asked pairs of men if they had ever kissed, and told them their pants would better on her floor. It turns out, most of them did not, in fact, seem to enjoy it.
Filed under: beliefs, emotions, love, poetry, writing | Tags: emotions, Love, poetry, relationships, writing
Love is neither desperate nor disinterested;
there are no pedestals involved.
It does not beg for change and cry
when it does not come.
It (mostly) does not dwell on angry words
or spit them back.
It strives to be patient, attentive, and kind.
It focuses on passions and talents
and watches them grow.
Love is a dynamic work of art,
ending only when both put down the brush.
Filed under: beliefs, body image, journalism, Weight Issues, writing | Tags: advertisement, beauty, body acceptance, body image, body shaming, weight, women's issues
Jezebel featured an article almost a year ago which bluntly sums up the below ad in two sentences. “The message: your wife, though she’s clearly gone to some effort to look sexy and seduce you, is too fat. Solution: adultery.” Since then, the ad for the website Ashley Madison has been periodically resurfacing on blogs and Facebook pages, stirring outrage. Most recently, Volup2., an online magazine geared toward female body acceptance, posted it to their Facebook page.
What I find most appalling about this ad is my initial reaction. While after regarding it for a moment I can dismiss it as just another hateful ad, my first thoughts are clearly influenced by being inundated with these sorts of images and ideas about what a woman can look like and still be considered beautiful.
In actuality, I admire all women who are brave enough to put themselves out there like this and am envious of their self-confidence. I am especially impressed with women who are working to make the public idea of female beauty more inclusive such as Jacqueline aka “Juicy Jackie,” the plus sized model who was featured in this ad without her knowledge.
But, for just a split second after seeing these women (particularly in the context of this ad) I am momentarily glad that I am smaller than the plus sized woman, and I hate the woman who is thin yet buxom. This is clearly sick thinking.
So what is going on here? I consider both of these women attractive, and don’t mean either of them disrespect. If I think about it, the hate I have for the thin model isn’t actually directed at her, but rather that I don’t have a body like hers…something ads like this suggest I should have. In this ad, the message to women is pretty transparent. Unless your body looks like this (possibly airbrushed) model, you shouldn’t necessarily expect your mate to be sexually attracted to you.
Women, and men to growing, but admittedly lesser, extent are overwhelmed with similar images on advertisements like these, as well as in television and movies that not only push certain ideals of beauty, but also actively shame those who do not fit it.
For women, it seems these ideals are especially narrow in media representation. Think about the sort of woman most often featured in advertisements, catalogues, television, and movies. Not only should a woman be smaller than a size 6, (or size 12 for plus sized models) but she should have an hourglass figure, not too much muscle tone, an angular face, and professionally done hair and make up. While these standards don’t always carry into the real world, body shaming certainly does.
A thin woman might hear “eat a cheeseburger” which implies that she must be thin because she doesn’t eat enough. A plus sized woman might hear, “like she needs that” implying she must be fat because she eats constantly. A woman with defined abs and arms might be called “manly” or even told, “Stop working out so much and have some icecream,” implying that well toned bodies aren’t feminine. Of course, not everyone engages in this sort of behavior, but just a few comments can be damaging. The worst part is, sometimes people aren’t even aware they are doing it.
Once, while sharing my body insecurity woes (for the umpteenth time) with a past boyfriend, he told me, “You’re no Natalie Portman, but you’re acceptable.” He went on to say something along the lines of, “just like I’m no Johnny Depp.” I realize this response was not meant to be hurtful, but the wording certainly compares both of us to people famous for their good looks..and finds us lacking. For you guys who are wondering, the correct response to a woman shaming herself would have been: “I think you look great, and there are more important things to me than just how you look. I feel like you should stop talking down to yourself.”
Jacqueline said of the ad she was featured in, “Not all women are necessarily insecure, but it’s no secret that body insecurity is endemic, regardless of size. This kind of message is extremely damaging to self worth…A size 2 woman who sees this ad sees the message: ‘If I don’t stay small, he will cheat.’ A size 12 woman might see this ad and think ‘if I don’t lose 30lbs, he will cheat.’ A size 32 woman could see this ad, and feel ‘I will never find love.’ It’s horrific.”
She said the photograph was taken before she began her modeling career, and she was unaware the photographer would sell it as a stock photo without regard to its usage. “I am a size 32. I am beautiful..Beauty is not and has never been one-size-fits-all. I do not appreciate my image being used, without notice or permission, to tell women I have never met otherwise.”
Filed under: beliefs, Divination, emotions, essays, tarot, Theraphy, writing
When dealing with tarot, and the world of divination in general, there are two basic schools of thought. One of these believes the process is magic, direct contact with a spiritual entity, or communication with God. The other, held by skeptics and most scientific minds, asserts that such practices are merely superstition. Many who adhere to the second way of thinking believe that logic and common sense necessarily cannot enter into the process of divination. As a reader myself, I state that both of these beliefs are largely wrong, but contain granules of truth. Divination, as well as magical practice, is a spiritual practice much in the same way that meditation is a spiritual practice. It is not simply superstition, and both logic and common sense are necessary for accurate readings.
So then, what exactly is divination? According to Merriam Webster, it is “1: the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge, usually by interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers” and “2: unusual insight: intuitive perception.” Neither of these definitions is particularly accurate; although, with charlatans and those seeking fame or attention, it is easy to see why there is such dissonance regarding public understanding. A more accurate definition of divination is: to seek insight regarding a specific situation via a standardized ritual or process. It is important to note that this is what many people seek when seeing a therapist.
Good therapists giving their clients advice basically act as an interpreter, facilitating the client’s communication with his/herself as well as attempting to get the client to do some self-reflection. In Tarot, an ethical reader is doing the same thing! It is nearly impossible to give and accurate reading for strangers or even acquaintances unless they volunteer information. When information is volunteered, the person receiving the reading is engaging in self reflection, while the reader merely guides them using the cards in much the same way as Rorschach tests work. As in the case of therapy, there is room for error, usually due to lack of pertinent information or the personal beliefs and emotions of the reader.
However, this does not mean that all readers who say the process is magic are frauds. First, many readers have a less than conventional definition of magic; for instance, a spell cast without follow up action is not going to yield results. Second, not all capable readers have a clear understanding of how it works, but still know that it works. Third, an ethical reader will tell a person what the reader believes that person needs to hear. A majority of people who seek readings want to believe that the process is magic, may be hard-pressed to understand it if it was not, and may even reject the whole process if they were aware of how it works. A skeptic might ask, “Well, if this is true, then why the mumbo-jumbo with candles and such?” The answer: to create an air of respect, both for the person receiving the reading, and to remind the reader that what they are doing is serious business.
The truth about tarot is simply this: Tarot is a tool to gain understanding regarding the best course of action.
Please post any questions or comments below.