America’s Next Bill Clinton!


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!

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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?



Career vs. matters of the heart (as a feminist)

Lately, I’ve discovered (or rediscovered) a softer, tender side of me that embraces love and emotions and, to be perfectly honest, it disturbs me.

For a long time – since I’ve moved here to Virginia and started what is sure to be a bright and promising political career, I’ve brushed aside emotions and love in favor of focusing on my career. After all, that was the reason I ended my previous 2.5-year relationship in the first place – because I thought there were more important things in the world than relationships.

Since being here, I’d go to events on and off campus, meet and impress someone, and we’d “hang out” for a week or two, I’d get bored, or she’d get bored, and we’d move on. I liked it that way. I liked having the ability to making others swoon with the wagging of my finger and the waving of my wine glass.

But lately, I’ve been preoccupied by emotions and that the “affinity” I’d feel for another being. I’ve found that I, the person who is more interested in solutions than feelings, am changing. I am starting to think that, just like everyone else in life, I’d be better off with someone with whom to share the limits of my existence.

I hate that feeling because it distracts me. I sit here writing a news article and I am staring blankly at the screen. I am beginning to have bad dreams about …things. I am sitting at the coffeeshop and reading poetry instead of my feminist texts. I am showing my softer side to people, and that makes me vunerable. I am starting to reject attention and affection received by some females …and the political career all the sudden doesn’t seem so important anymore. I’d be happy as a civil rights/women’s rights attorney …

What the fuck is wrong with me? I can embrace emotions just fine …but now, I am starting to give it more thoughts, and incoporating it into the big decisions I have in life. I am an intellectual, not a cheesy, full-of-emotion weakling. I am set out to change the world – not to fall for people. My life will be chronicled on this History Channel – not Lifetime.

The most disturbing part? I am actually happy with these changes, and I fully embrace them.

Maybe I am growing up. Maybe I’ve lost my magical, political touch.



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?



Feminism and sex.
August 30, 2007, 7:56 pm
Filed under: equality, erotica, feminist, love, rape, relationships, sex, sexuality

A feminist friend and I had a conversation a few days ago, and the conversation of feminism and sex came up …and the conversation was pretty interesting, as we’re both aware of each other’s penchant for certain sexual practices, and I’d like to get some of your opinions on sex and feminists.As feminists, we stand for equality, justice, and all those things, to include non-oppression.

But as humans, we’re sexual beings and our degrees of sexual practices vary.

Said friend confided in me that while she is against sexual crimes and works at a women’s shelter, she sometimes still gets turned on by fantasies of force and such, especially hearing stories from these women.

While I cannot relate to that, personally, for me, as a feminist, it’s a struggle because on one hand, I am still a red-blooded American male, and on the other hand …I’ve got some adventurous practices and preferences when it comes to intimate relationships (sex and love are different agencies, by the way).

In a recent feminist thought class, the point was made that we are primates and animals when it comes to sex, thus having various thoughts and fantasies and acting them out in consensual fantasies is acceptable.

But then the argument was also made that we have to draw the line somewhere, because there is a slippery slope.

My feeling on that is a confusing one: the personal is political, thus what we do in the bedroom extends to how we treat people in the world. But at the same time, we’re also smart enough people to separate sex from politics and equality, so long as the sex is consensual.

One can still separate one’s sexual fantasies and practices and bed room habits, no matter how “adventurous” from being a feminist, one girl I met argues; I think otherwise. But I also think that we shouldn’t be hypocrites. At the same time, we shouldn’t deny ourselves of what pleasures us, if it’s consensual and a mutual understanding between two people who understand what they’re doing is just “in their head” and confined to their private lives.

Thoughts?????



It’s just sex …

Reading one of the Campus Progress web logs this morning, I ran across an interesting statistic – that just about or more than 50 percent of college students are “still virgins.” My question: why do we care? Why is it that, as a society, we treat losing one’s virginity as sort of a rite of passage in which a new person is born and the old, less mature person is gone? It’s to say, as if, a person’s accomplishment in life is based on whether or not that person has engaged in sex. With rite-of-passage teen movies like “American Pie” being a part of the popular culture, it seems the message we’re sending teens is: your worth and dignity is based on whether you’ve “done it.” Yet, they also get messages from the Christian-right about remain “pure” and “untouched” until marriage. The result is a clash of culture, in which, on one hand, the message is about the importance of having sex. On the other hand, the message is about “saving” oneself until marriage. What’s a kid to do, really, in that situation? If virginity is so special, how come the majority of us aren’t even in touch with the person to whom we “lost” it? The truth is when it comes to virginity, there is nothing lost, and nothing gained.

Besides, what’s the exact definition of a virgin anyhow? One who’s pure in both thoughts and mind? One who’s never orgasmed? One who’s never had intercourse? One who’s had intercourse but never orgasm? Does oral sex count? What about priest sex? It’s all confusing, really — yet we’re still obsessed with the idea of virginity.

The fact of the matter is that there are more important things to worry about in one’s lifelong accomplishment than sex and “virginity.” We see movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” but we don’t see movies like, “The 40-Year-Old Bum Who Hasn’t Done a Damned Thing to Make the World Better.”

Sometimes, I wonder why. Why can’t we just teach kids, from both the left and the right that sex is something amazing and wonderful that should only be had with responsibility, respect and readiness? Isn’t that a much better message than: if you aren’t having sex, you’re a loser or if you’re having sex, you’re a slut?

Wouldn’t it make the whole abstinence education debate much easier to digest? Wouldn’t it make birth control much more easily gotten? Wouldn’t it strike down patriarchy and society’s ideal of a family at its root? It certainly would. Just by changing our personal outlooks on virginity and sex, we can certainly make move the world in the right political direction.

Second point: why does society put such a strong emphasis on the act of sex? It is, after all, only sex. I don’t mean to sound like a frat boy here, but sex is just an act. It’s neither holy nor God’s gift. It’s neither divine nor special. It’s purely biological, just like any other activity that we engage in as humans. Sure, sex is certainly not making love, but it’s got a quality of its own. Just like going for a walk, having dinner or spending the afternoon with someone, sex is just an act. It only becomes special when the person with whom we are sharing it is special. Other than that, sex is just – sex. Why make things any complicated than life already is? To be sure, one should always be monogamous in a relationship, but let’s not treat sex anymore special than just a kiss. A kiss, after all, without any emotions put into it, is just a kiss.

 Kind of funny, too, how “virginity” never seems to be an issue discussed when it comes to the LGBT community. I guess to the right, “virginity” is only important when baby-making is involved.