America’s Next Bill Clinton!


I am not a feminist, but …

Really, why are some young women so reluctant to identify themselves as feminists?

We met in a women’s bathroom at a gay club. A few friends and I had gone to an AIDS fundraiser earlier that night, and decided to drop by the Wave for drinks. Having to go to the bathroom and a bit sloshed, I announced that I had to pee. Someone suggested that I used the women bathroom instead, because I was considered “fresh meat” for one reason or another in the men’s bathroom.

A friend was nice enough to walk me into the women’s bathroom, and there I met and shook hands (after we both washed of course) with a nice young woman from VCU. After about an hour of meeting and talking to her in the bathroom, I ran into her again. She was extremely attractive, so I continued our conversation.

Upon minding out I am a women’s studies major and feminist, she said, “I am not a feminist, but …” and started listing a long list of reasons for women’s rights.

In my extremely fogged up mind, I recalled an article I’d read as a freshman in my women’s studies class called, “Feminism: Why Young Women Get the Willies.”

If I can recall correctly, the reason for it is that young women are afraid of the stigma that comes with feminism – the image of bra-burning, man-hating, armpit-non-shaving, head-shaving, dyke. They were, as the article said, also afraid that they had to give up their sexuality for feminism – that, somehow, calling oneself a feminist means that one could no longer love a member of the opposite sex.

So, why is it, I still wonder, that so many young college women are afraid of being labelled as feminists? I contend that it’s because of the above false image of feminists – that somehow feminists are strange creatures; we hate sex; we hate men (I do, anyway); and we hate anything that’s normal.

While I hold these beliefs to be false, my question is this: even if they were true, so what?

Take away those actions and behaviors and feminism is left with love, compassion, empathy, equality and a sense of responsibility, in making the world a better place. What’s so bad about it?

Yet, time and time again, I run across women (and men) who take feminist positions, but never want to describe themselves as feminists for fear of shame.

The truth is you should never be ashamed of your work in trying to make the world a better place. You should never have to apologize for the desire to work toward equality and social justice. In fact, you ought to be very proud of it. I am proud of you for it.

The next time the conversation comes up, proudly and emphatically claim yourself as a feminist – and answer with a loud and resounding “Yes,” if anyone ever asked you whether you are a feminist.

Bill Clinton was right when he said, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what’s right with America.” You are everything that’s right with America.

On that note – I want a “This Is What A I-Am-Not-A-Feminist But looks like” t-shirt. 😀



Feminist relationships.

Over at feministing.com, Jessiva Valenti posted the results of a study that suggested feminists, more often than not, are in more meaningful and satisfying relationships. My first reaction was: no shit – for us, the political is personal, and so our empathy, compassion and love in the political sense can translate into a person sense, thus we often treat our partners with with those traits.

But allow me to bring up another point. Sometimes, in a relationship in which we are both feminists, things can also be extremely frustrating, because we are aware of the political oppressions all around us. As feminists, we thrive to take personal actions that are consistent with our political beliefs, and as such, it can be frustrating sometimes. Because the personal is political and our world is still extremely gendered and patriarchy, and are based on gender roles and sexuality, most of our personal struggles are about relationships and sexuality.

But by no way am I bitching. The personal struggles we face and the questions we ask ourselves are nothing compared to the political struggles many have – especially the women of the Global South.

The following, then, are a list of question I’ve come up with when it comes to relationships and feminism; please feel free to add yours.
1) Is it for me to feel a sexual desire for a woman at the moment of meeting her, without first knowing her as a person? I actually thought of this last night while meeting with a woman at a bar and talking a lot about — nothing. I still felt strangely sexually attracted to her, caught myself and scolded myself.

2) Is it okay for me to buy flowers for a woman-of-interest, knowing the kinds of message flowers might send, and the reinforcement of gender roles and chivalry that it carries? Also – is it really the romantic and genuine gesture, knowing the plights of flower growers in South America (mostly women) where these flowers are shipped? Am I wrong for buying flowers?

3) At a pick-up joint, is it okay to feel like “the man” in having won the attention and affection of a beautiful woman, knowing that she is highly sought after, but is with me? I feel like it’s almost a trophy pick-up – and that is wrong.

4) Is it okay to fall deeply and dangerously in love with someone, knowing the implications of gender roles we might have to give in to, being so in love?

5) Just how adventuous and kinky can we afford to be in our sexual practices? What of roleplaying? Is it wrong to be turned on or to participate in consentual sexual practices, if said practices, in real life, are oppressive to women?

6) Whose names shall we take after the wedding? How do we go about doing this without appearing abnormal to families and friends? How do we remain true to our feminist values, yet remain “real” to the world at the same time?

7) Of diamonds, shall we even consider it for our wedding? Blood diamonds?

8) How do we juggle how much to fall in love, yet remain true to the feminist cause? How do we balance our devotion to each other and feminism at the same time?

9) How do we show our love and affection to each other, yet at the same, show the world that we are equals – and be the shining examples of what healthy relationships should be all about?

A book that doesn’t have all the answers – but rather highlights the struggles between the personal and the political of feminism is called, “To Be Real,” by Rebecca Walker. I highly recommend it to all feminists!



Sex toys for $10,000????!?!?

Over at Jessica Valenti’s feministing.com, a discussion regarding Charlie Sheen and Real Life dolls are taking place – and I couldn’t help but do it as well. 

I found this both amusing and a little creepy – so I thought I’d share it, since it is Friday and things ought to be lighthearted.

Now, I am all for sex aide or sex toys or whatever you want to use to enhance your sex lives, but this is pretty weird (www.realdoll.com). It’s a life-size doll made of silicon and latex and crap that feels real, and is used as sex partners for (mostly men) who otherwise wouldn’t be getting any action.

It comes with a built-in skeleton as to allow the owner to put it into any position desired. There’s also an MP3 player that’ll make the doll moan and such …I guess in this case, the only “button” to push to turn her on is …well, the “on” button. It also comes with a heating system that’ll bring the doll’s temperature up to 98.6 degrees.

The intent of this, for many men, of course is to get the perfect partner without having to do the leg work. It’s all the “sex” you want without ever hearing no, or having to hear her talk or negotiate mutually pleasurable activities.

Nevermind the fact that every person has some sort of a short-coming and no one is perfect. In this fantasy world for these men, women will behave whoever they want, look as good as they want, without any of the reality of what a woman really is.

As one man says of the dolls: “For the most part, it’s just like sex with an organic woman…who doesn’t say anything and is brimful of Quaaludes.” I don’t know what the rest of the quote meant, but one can stop after the word “anything” and know what kinds of people these men are.

But it gets worst! Some of these dolls are made into the shapes of teenagers or sometimes even younger. What’s going to be included in the MP3 player, a soundbite of the doll singing the Barney song?

From a feminist perspective, it’s probably a good thing, because so long as they have their robotic lovers, these men won’t be going out and trying to mate with women. Results? No babies! Honestly, because people like these shouldn’t be raising kids.

Another point, too, is that this quite effectively ends the debate of whether women are golddiggers and will only have sex with rich men. If these guys are shelling out $10,000 for a doll, they’re pretty rich, okay? So, why are they having to buy a doll instead of just courting one of those “golddiggers?” Oh, yeah, because golddigers don’t exist – only men using that idea as an excuse for not getting laid.

Thoughts?



Loser, possesive men

One of the signs the guy you’re dating is a loser? He’s possessive!

Last night, I had a girl I had a thing with this summer come over to watch “The Death of a President” with a couple of friends, and she brought the guy she’s dating over. At first, he seemed pretty cool, and we drank wine and hung out and all until the movie was over.

He was on the couch, she was laying on the floor and I was sitting on the floor. So, bored, I started tossing a bottle cap at her face and we started playing catch with it. I then started very platonically stroking her face and the back of her hand (I do that to all my close female friends and former objects of affections).

The next thing I knew, he stormed out of the house. She called him to see what was going on, and he was screaming on the phone, telling her that I was flirting with her and was afraid I might take her away from him.

WTF! My God, she’s now a friend and I was only showing her affection and entertaining her! This dude thought, for some reason, we were going to jump on the couch and have sex like rabbits or something. This is even despite the fact that I spoke about having interest in other girl!

What’s wrong with these men who are so possesive of the women they’re dating that they’re not allowed to have other guy friends? It’s fucking crazy! Jesus freaking Christ!

And you know what else? They’re not really officially an item and this guy is already acting like this. I don’t understand it. Some men think that just because they’re dating a girl means that they’re supposed to cut off contact with all their guy friends.

I don’t know — maybe I intimidate some men, making them think I am going to steal their women! But you know what, there’s a reason she’s a thing of the past — and it’s that she didn’t make the check list! So, why would I want her again? She’s a good friend, just like all the women in my past, and that’s it!

Why, God, why do these guys get so possesive?



So, I am a misogynist. Huh!

Friday night, I was out with a few friends and was totally blitzed. After last call, we wandered around to find food when we ran into a girl – also a college student – who had been left by her friends in the parking lot. She was drunk, not in a familiar neighborhood and didn’t have a cell phone.

She used a pay phone to call some other friends to pick her up. Her plan was to stay there until her friends came, although she wasn’t even sure if her friends got the message.

So I offered her a place to stay in my apartment. “Look, my roommate is gay, and I am a feminist. It makes no sense for you to stay here alone until someone comes to get you. It’s not safe.”

She called her friends back with my contact info, and followed us home …only to be picked up a few minutes later.

The next day, she called to thank me, and suggested that we go out for drinks.

A friend who was with me at the time of the incident looked at me and said, “Marc, I am onto you. You’re just like the rest of them, with the feminist cover. You’re a wolf in  sheep skin.”

I took that personally. As a pro-feminist male, I shouldn’t get a fucking cookie for being such, but I don’t like my integrity and convictions questioned, either — especially by my friend, who is quite the objectifyer of women.

Just because I offered a pretty girl a place to stay doesn’t mean I am trying to fuck her. I don’t need a girl to be drunk to earn her affection and attention. I don’t need to lie to a girl to get laid. I don’t need to take advantage of a situation to get a girl to jump my bone.

If I were accused of having hidden motives by women, I’d totally understand …when one group has been oppressed by other group for their entire lives, they have the right to be cynical of unlikely allies. But when another guy, who often sees women as nothing but potential fuck objects, questions my intentions, I have a problem with that.

Has anyone had similar experiences? Should I kick this guy in the head?



My friend is marrying a cheater. What would you do?
October 1, 2007, 12:36 pm
Filed under: cheating, DC, family, Feminism, feminists, friends, infidelity, love, marriage, relationships

So, what am I supposed to do?

I’ve never understood the cheating mentality. I am no saint, but I find the idea of cheating to be unethical and …just completely against everything that I believe love to be. How could one spend so much time wooing the person they want to spend a good portion of their lives with, and then go out and cheat on that person? How could one to love someone, and not have the discipline to say no to being with another person?

Maybe it’s because I have high standards when it comes to relationships and do not fall in love with just anyone, and thereby selfishly do not want to cheat, for fear I might lose that person. Or …maybe, just maybe it’s because I am not an asshole (although I’ve been told otherwise). In either cases, I neither condone nor understand cheating.

So, I beg the question: what do I do in this situation? Go to the wedding and pretend everything is fine? Or do I not attend the wedding at all and risk hurting a friend?



Misogyny at its best.

Browsing through the news this morning, I ran across this story http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2007/09/man-urinates-on.html

It’s extremely sad that in the patriarchy, entertainment to men seems to take priority over the life of a woman. This goes to further show that women aren’t seen as people – but rather objects. Their lives are valued less than that of man. So long as someone is entertained, all is good. So long as someone is satisfied with entertainment, no one gives a damn about women’s lives. After all, in the patriarchy, women are seen as the objects of pleasure (and not just sexually) to men.

More upsetting? The fact that some posters to the story aren’t outrage. “There are bigger things going on in the world,” one poster writes.

Only if that poster can see the connection between misogyny and its abundance in our culture.

Watersports can be hot – depending on how kinky you are, but this is assault. I hope the guy gets his ass kicked in jail.

 Marc