Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book club has a listserv

For those of you interested in being a part of the radical feminist reading group, please sign up for our listserv by going here:


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Being a Woman at odds with Femininity

While watching a Beyonce video tonight I was struck by Beyonce's emphasis of her femininity. On the one hand, I know that women in mainstream music have to work with their femininity because that is what sells. If Beyonce didn't shake her ass and wear bright red lipstick then she wouldn't be as popular. I guess I am surprised by how easily her femininity comes to her. If I wanted to look feminine I would need to try really hard at it. An old ex told me once that when I talked about wearing heels it was like I was "trying too hard".

I don't wear makeup and have not worn a skirt or carried a purse in a couple of years. My haircut is longer than it has been in awhile, but it is still really short and when I wore it longer it didn't seem to suit me or be extremely feminine. Now that I am teaching I have been trying to update my wardrobe because I am essentially performing for 40 hours a week now.

I don't feel comfortable with extreme femininity, it doesn't seem to fit. I feel like a football player wearing a tutu when I try to wear a face full of makeup and carry a purse. Dainty is not how I carry myself. I wish it were as simple as "being ok with the in between" but it isn't. There is a part of me that watches those Beyonce videos and is sad because I don't see a reflection of my type of woman.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Street Harrassment

This is a real problem, and it happens everywhere. I prefer the definition of street harassment provided by the amazing women at Incite

An interaction in a public space that:

makes you feel sexualized, intimidated,embarrassed,objectified, violated, attacked, or unsafe.

An interaction in a public space that:

restricts your movement or makes you modify your behavior in an attempt to avoid the possibility of being verbally and/or physically harassed.

Some of the of the behaviors that represent street harassment are:

Whistling, kissing noises, psssst noises
Comments like “Give me a smile!” and “Hey baby!”
Yelling from a distance
Blocking a woman’s path
Grabbing, groping, touching
Following (on foot, in a vehicle)

What are your experiences with street harassment in Lexington? Where were you when it happened? How did you respond?

Also, I've printed a ton of anti-street violence brocures from Incite's action page that I intend to distribute around town. They're AMAZING. They define street harassment, talk about why it's dangerous, and list things you can do if you're being harassed on the street, as well as things men can do to educate other men about street harassment (not that men are the only ones who harass people on the street).

If you'd like some brochures to give to friends, leave at your school, doctors office, grocery store, etc. you can download the PDF from the above link, or get in touch with me and I'll give you some. My email is



Monday, February 15, 2010

Does cleverness excuse racism?

Check out John Mayer's apology during one of his concerts. I'm not sure if his apology makes me feel better about what he said in his playboy interview. He called his penis a "white supremacist" and even dropped the N word.

Many blogs have already talked about this. I was wondering what gender has to do with his comments. He is a great guitar player. How does his privilege affect his trying to be "witty"?

EDIT: Jay Smooth puts it perfectly in this next clip. Let's focus on the bigger issues and systemic racism found in this country. Operation, ignore John Mayer.

Male strippers?

Do strippers who are men get less flack than female ones? What do you all think?

Check out this clip about Channing Tatum showing Ellen how he used to dance when he was a stripper. It is kinda funny.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

(Gender)Role Models

As I was skimming through some Sleater-Kinney music videos this evening, I was reminded of something I had almost forgotten about. Not that I ever really forgot the impact Carrie Brownstein had on me as a 15 year old girl with a mere 3 years of guitar playing under my belt, but I almost forgot that feeling that comes with admiration - the special kind - that we hold for folks who inspire us and point us down a path we hadn't come to see on our own.

I thought, " that's how you hold an electric guitar."

Though it would be years before I fully appreciated riot grrrl in the capacity of womens' movements or even paid attention to the lyrics in Bikini Kill songs, I never forgot Carrie's swagger, or her infamous kick. I never forgot the serious look on her face that told me, "Look kid, it was a long hard road to get here, what the Fuck are you looking at? Now move out of the way, I'm about to solo." I'm sure this isn't what she means for her face to say, but that's the way it burned in my memory. She was the kind of sexy that I had been looking for and did not know existed. With the likes of the Spice Girls all over mainstream radio and my in depth familiarity of "alternative music" being saturated in Tori Amos, Bjork, and Natalie Merchant (and I still love these artist!), I was therefore only accustomed to the idea of having to wear crazy ass make-up and/or sashes and play acoustic guitar if I was going to really make it as a female musician.

So, tonight I got to thinking in terms of my new gender identity and could not help but wonder: Had I been born male, would I have looked up to Carrie Brownstein? Ever? Would I have settled for Jimmy Page instead? Would I have even picked up the guitar? Maybe I would have been pushed into sports and become enamoured with Dan Marino instead (I grew up in South Florida and he was all the rage back then).

Regardless, I was born with a vagina, took a liking to the guitar, was grounded a lot (hence a good deal of practice), and eventually felt like the locked up female I was and found some badass women to look up to.

Obviously, once I transition, my herstory is not going to change. Ten years from now I hope someone asks me, "So, who inspired you the most when you were young?" And in my burly man-voice I will say, "Carrie Brownstein. She taught me how to hold a guitar like a real woman."

Before I close this out - I'd like to hear who your first role model was and why!!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Art of Manliness Blog

Check out this blog. This post is about Hustling. I agree with the writer, having had someone on a softball team tell me that "What you lack in talent, Mervin, you make up in effort."

How do you Hustle? What are dreams you have been putting on the back burner? I would like to start a Vegan bakery. Maybe I should hustle it out.