Tag Archives: feminist blogger

Feminist Vogue Summer 2012

28 Jun

To introduce our new vintage online clothing store- Outside the Box Vintage– Maria and I decided to explore the vast urban jungle of my backyard.  Using found objects as props we decided to play dress up on one of the hottest days of the year so far this summer.  We were melting, sweating, and oh so shiny.  Why didn’t we wait another day?  We had finally shaken our procrastinating ways and were in determined work mode.  This is our feminist take on Vogue fashion shoots.

Uh, I Work Out? What Really Happened At Chicago’s SELF Workout In The Park

18 Jun

I have a confession to make…I don’t own any tennis shoes.  Not a single pair.  So how did I find myself at Self’s Workout in the Park?  I volunteered to go and write about it.  I was swayed by the thought of exercising outdoors downtown surrounded by Chicago’s beautiful skyscrapers.  So, I headed to the event in cut off jean shorts, a casual shirt, and flats.  I was going to document other people working out, be an observer of this phenomenon of working out.  I could immediately identify who was also going to event as soon as I got off the train.  These women were decked out in their lycra and sports bras and power walking as though they were on a mission.  They were ready to work out and I was ready to photograph them.

It’s not as if I’m opposed to working out.  It just comes in phases or cycles for me.  The last time I owned a pair of tennis shoes was in 2009 when I was a coach for Girls on the Run.  Twice a week I would  meet up with my group of girls at their school and try to get them to run, to move.  It was a challenge and I’m worried for kids.  Before that college was the prime of my gym time.  When a gym membership is included with your tuition and it’s within walking distance it seems more reasonable to go work out.  When you live in Chicago and the nearest gym within walking distance is a mile and you have to pay for the gym membership it’s not exactly convenient to go work out.

Instead I just make physical activity part of my routine.  I walk to the grocery store and ride my bike as much as I can.  I don’t think women should feel  pressured to work out so they can achieve a certain look.  Working out should be about moving your body for health, because it’s not healthy to be too sedentary.  The women at Self’s Workout were there because they wanted to be.  They were super excited to be working out.  Everything was fun and upbeat.  The Laughing  Cow and I started a friendship.

Ladies could indulge in facials.

I signed up for a facial dermascan so I could see how much the sun has damaged my skin.

The left side shows blood vessels and growths.  The right side show all the sun spots that could pop up.  I was advised to protect my eyelids and lips more.  I do generally avoid putting sunblock on my eyelids because if I sweat, which I do cause I bike, it burns my eyes.

And I found the lone male that was working out at the park with the ladies.

Maybe next year I’ll own a pair of sneakers and attempt to work out.

Guest Post by Adam & Eve-Masturbation: Not Just For Men

12 Jun

For whatever reason, there is a slight misconception in public opinions that masturbation is more of a male activity than a female one. This perception comes from everything from movies and television, to music and literature, and even people’s personal experience. Unfortunately, however this leads to the indirect but still improper suggestion that while men can and do get themselves off whenever they choose, women rely more on their sexual partner to get off. This simply isn’t true. Female masturbation may not be as popular of a topic in pop culture and entertainment, but that doesn’t mean women aren’t doing it. In fact, you may be surprised at a number of studies that indicate that a huge proportion of women admit to getting themselves off on a regular basis – and really, why shouldn’t they?

Look, as you know, having a partner in bed is great. It opens up the possibility of all kinds of sexual sensations and activities that you just can’t gain on your own, whether you’re a man or a woman. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still generate a great deal of pleasure by yourself. Chances are, you know your body better than anybody, and that also means that you know what kinds of touches and movements get you off best. This is something that you should certainly take advantage of, because women everywhere are doing just that – and because masturbation, while pleasurable and fun, is also proven to be very healthy and relaxing.

Another perk of satisfying yourself now and then is that you can try some things that might be harder or more uncomfortable to try with a partner. For instance, you might consider heading to a sex shop like Adam & Eve, and looking into the various toys and accessories they have available to help you with getting yourself off. Many of these toys can actually be fun with a partner as well, but the majority of them are meant somewhat for personal pleasure.

Again, there is no substitute for the satisfaction of having a good partner in bed. But at the same time you shouldn’t limit yourself sexually, and you are not dependent on anyone for pleasure. Try experimenting with yourself, and try out a few sex toys designed to help you maximize your pleasure. You may be surprised at how much fun you can have getting yourself off, and again, you may find that it both relaxes you and increases your sexual appetite. Pay no attention to the false assumption that masturbation is for men – women everywhere will tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Join Me At Chicago’s SELF Workout In The Park June 2

30 May

This is the 19th year SELF magazine has been putting on their workout in the park.  It is suppose to be a fun filled day of building community with other ladies.  A ton of activities will be on hand such as the newest workouts.  Ahh, that’s the key word in this activity WORKOUT.  I’m not exactly a consistent workout person.  I don’t have a daily fitness routine.  My workout is made up of walking or riding my bike.  I’ve always wanted to find an enjoyable fitness class that I would be able to attend consistently.  A class where I could make new friends and look forward to going to.  A workout that would help to feel good mentally and physically.  I’m sure it exists maybe I’ll find it at the workout in the park.

I’m not a person that likes fast exercise so cardio is out for me.  I once attended a ballet boot camp class and almost died. Of course that’s an exaggeration, but that is how I felt during that class.  It was the arm and ab exercises that really killed me.  I was just not capable of doing half of them so I would just take a break when I needed to.  I think that it’s really important to listen to your body and stop when it tells you to instead of feeling pressure to continue because other people may be watching you.

The classes I will definitely not be taking part in at this event are the Rock Bottom, Ab Attack, and Tabura.  What is Tabura?    The description actually completely terrifies  me and assures that it is an exercise I will never take part in. “Inspired by Swahili military endurance and strength training, this class uses kickboxing combos and basic West African dance moves.”  Excuse me, but no even though I am curious about the dancing part.  I think I will make sure to be an observer, but gladly not a particpator in Tabura.

Dance to me is the perfect workout though!  There will be plenty of dancing going on at the park.  I want to check out Fly Girls inspired by those girls from In Living Color, it will be bumping to 90s pop music.

There will also be Masala Bhangra inspired by Bollywood and La Blast created by Louis Van Amstel of “Dancing With The Stars”.

Since a balance is necessary to working out there is the Quiet Zone.  These classes focus on yoga and pilates.  There will be stretching and sculpting.  I will be taking the path of least resistance and that means more relaxing and stretching for me.  I plan on taking part in Sunrise Salutations since I want to maintain flexibility and increase my strength.  Hippie Yoga will be going on, but not that kind of hippie yoga.  This is yoga designed to open up your hip area.

What I’m most looking forward to is the pampering and the food samples.  Working out is nice and all, but after I like to treat myself.  There will be beauty consultations and style workshops.  Spa services will be provided-perhaps a mini facial?!  And of course there will be give aways and who doesn’t like free things.

If you’re in Chicago this Saturday you should come check it out.  It will be held downtown at Grant Park from 11-3.  All the details can be found here.  What could be more fabulous than working out downtown outside in a park making friends with other fabulous ladies?

Ladies, What You Need To Know About Vaginal Ultrasounds And Abortion

24 May

So there’s a hot debate going on about vaginal ultrasounds being mandated by the government for any woman seeking an abortion.  Here’s the thing that no one has bothered to tell you: vaginal ultrasounds are a routine part of the abortion procedure.  Yes, this type of ultrasound is performed at most abortion clinics already.  It’s just that Republican politicians are trying to be even bigger jerks by making it seem like they are forcing you to get a “medically unneccessary procedure”.

In reality, an ultrasound before an abortion is a medically necessary procedure.  The doctor needs to have the most accurate reading of how far along the pregnancy is.  And most doctors get this reading with a vaginal ultrasound.  This is standard practice at Planned Parenthood of Illinois.  All medication and surgical abortion patients will receive a vaginal ultrasound before their abortion procedure.  The pregnancy has to be visible on the ultrasound machine for an abortion to be performed.

Here’s another thing no one has bothered to tell you: ultrasounds are really just guesstimates and approximations on how far along the pregnancy is.  They cannot 100% determine how pregnant a woman actually is.

And one more thing you should know.  If you choose to do a medication abortion you are required to return for a follow up appointment where another vaginal ultrasound will be performed to make sure the pregnancy has passed.  This is the most accurate way to determine that.

I want to share this excerpt from lifenews.com, yes those pro-life people that would call me a pro-abortionist(?).  What they have to say here is valid and I always admire intelligence:

“Yet, while abortion backers say having an ultrasound is like getting raped, a 2003 study shows 99% of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities do them beforehand.

Published in the medical journal Contraception in 2003, researchers with the pro-abortion group IPAS, the University of North Carolina, a consortium of Planned Parenthood clinics and the National Abortion Federation surveyed staff at 113 Planned Parenthood affiliates and independent abortion businesses between February and April 2000.

The study specifically concerned the use of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 (mifepristone) and the survey indicated the drug could be given to women at Planned Parenthood centers and abortion clinics because of vaginal ultrasounds.

Surveying 72 of the abortion businesses that sold the abortion pill to women, the researchers found abortion facilities frequently use vaginal ultrasounds before an abortion to determine the gestational age of the baby or afterwards to determine if the abortion was complete. In fact 99 percent of the abortion facilities surveyed always or sometimes performed an ultrasound in association with the surgical abortion — while just one percent did not.”

So the real question is what are they trying to take our attention away from?  The government is trying to pass a law on a medical procedure that almost all doctors already follow…

Where Can You Get A Happy Abortion Card and A Happy Mother’s Day Card?

8 May

Snarky Cards! “Brutally Honest Greeting Cards that will crack you the fuck up”.   They are hand painted postcards with typewritten sayings.  I discovered these awesome cards about a year ago when I was searching Etsy for feminist art work.  I was sending out interviews and sadly did not do one with Alisa the creator of Snarky Cards.

What other company makes an abortion card?  She’s on to something.  I mean what do you really say to a friend?  Why not have a little laugh courtesy of snarky card.  After your girlfriend’s abortion and at the after party you can present you friend with this.  High fives all around-it’ll be a hit.

There are 22 different mother’s day cards.  You’re sure to find the right one for your mom.  She’s got one for the crazy mom, the bitchy mom, the overprotective mom, the woman who is like a mom to you, the baby mama, and the deceased mom.  And I’m sure I missed  a few.  Check them out they are delightful.

This is definitely the card I would give my mom.  This card speaks the truth.  I was a lunatic as a child, wild and stubborn.  I’m so grateful for my mother and so sorry about what I put her through.  I wonder if she would appreciate this card…

This card cracks me up.  It seems so sweet with the rose and then bam.

I would not want to be the mom to get this card.

The name of the card is “I love my Dead Gay Son“-so good, adore Heathers.  If you’re a gay who has something they want to get off their chest this card may help you achieve that.  Put the blame where it rightly belongs.

A touch of whimsy for the enjoyable and delightful mom.

And as an added bonus she’s got a card for marijuana lovers!  This is the best card company ever.

Where Is The Clitoris?

27 Apr

You don’t know?! Well, here is an awesome shirt to wear to introduce people to the clitoris. Many, many people don’t know so don’t be ashamed if you’re amongst them (be ashamed, be very ashamed). You know you’ll be wearing this all summer and men will be staring so give them an edumacation lesson. Think of it as doing a good deed, helping your women friends out.  Just scoop up this tank being sold on Etsy here.

They are even available in different color combos and tank styles.  If you’ve got it flaunt it.  Now for some life advice and inspiration from the fabulous woman who created these awesome shirts.

An Interview with the Artiste

*Can you give us a lil intro to yourself and your products/designs?

My name is Kaibrina Sky Buck. I’m a textile artist, fashion designer and costumer. I like to make clothes that allow people to transform physically and also transform consciousness.

*What inspired your creation?

I grew up with a mother who was a midwife. I watched babies being born before I could speak. The vagina is an amazing thing. I’m happy to have one and I want to celebrate it and help others to celebrate it. There are a lot of vag haters in the world who need skooling.

*What got you motivated to actually do it?

I was printing menstrual panties with the same image on the crotch and a uterus on the belly. I just got inspired to blow it up real big and have it “in your face.” The tangles come from the pubic hair and also from Freud’s theory that all great inventions came from men, except weaving. According to him, women only got the idea about weaving from looking at the tangle of their pubic hair. My design work all has the name, “Tangle.”

*Would you call yourself a feminist? Is there a word you like better?

For sure. I actually got a BA in Women’s Studies before I went to art school. It was the early 90’s and I did a lot of feminist performance work. I have mellowed with age, but my core values are still very gynocentric.

*How would you describe a feminist/what constitutes a feminist?

I leave it up to people to claim or not claim that title. But for me, it is about recognizing the ways that feminine energies have been supressed in the world and then working to create space for those energies to flow freely. I say ‘feminine energies’ because I think that men and women have to claim their right to both masculine and feminine energies. It’s not just about women being oppressed. We all suffer because of sexism.

*Why do you think there is so much women hating going on right now?

I actually see a lot of positive shifts in consciousness happening these days. I think women are finding their voices in all kinds of ways and fighting the good fight against oppression in many arenas. But things like cuts to funding for planned parenthood are a real bummer. It’s a bit like two steps forward, one step back.

*What would you say are the worst things in our culture? The best things?

Worst: Consumerism, Wastefulness and Environmental Devastation, Ignorance, Self-Centered Ego Masturbation, Xenophobia.
Best: Cultural Diversity, Access to anything and everything, flourishing art worlds, radical political movements.

*Wanna share a personal story of the worst and best encounters you’ve had with random people?

I love interactions with random people. Usually they are quite friendly and amusing. But I’ve yelled at strangers too..that’s fun.

*Do you have a “real” job? If so, what is it?

I’ve done lots of jobs but I’ve never had a 9-5. Right now I do freelance costume design and textiles printing. I’m also a single mom of a three year old boy. I have found creative ways to support us.

*What changes do you think should be made to make our society more equal?

I think we need some radical changes. I am not sure how to sum it up. But I think if we don’t get it together soon, we are going to suffer greater and greater consequences. There is a great momentum building against the dominant paridigms.

*Favorite quote/s and/or inspirational?
“And like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.” Toni Morrison

*What do you do when you feel depressed/knocked down to feel better?

Dance, stretch, yoga, get outside, play with my kid, listen to good music, partake of herbal medicine.

*Why do you think people try to control others w/laws about marriage and abortion?
Fear and a profound lack of empathy. When people embrace love and loving consciousness, they will cease to act like assholes.

*What do you think are the most sexist things going on in our current culture?

I think the thing that disturbs me the most is violence against women and children. Sexual violence, physical violence and emotional abuse are so rampant. I get sick to my stomach thinking about the horrible ways people treat one another. I long for a day when women will feel safe walking outside at night and when all children grow up feeling totally secure.

*Any last words of advice/wisdom?

Love what you got.

What Can You Do To Support Women? Save The Date April 28

24 Apr

Women across the nation are starting to wake up and upon waking up their first exclamation is WTF?!  What is going on in this country?  Why is everybody obsessing over women’s bodies and trying to dictate what women can and cannot do with their own bodies?  Why shouldn’t birth control be covered by insurance?  Why are women still being paid less than men?  Have we entered some strange women hating Twilight Zone?

Since many women were feeling this way, but unsure of what to do, 2 women took it upon themselves to start the rallying cry.  They created UniteWomen.Org  with the intention of uniting women nationwide.  The motivation is for equality amongst women and men.  Along with defending women from attacks on their reproductive health rights.

I come from a generation that has always had access to birth control and access to a safe abortion if needed.  Never did any of us think that this could possibly be taken away from us.  Other women had fought hard for my generation to have this access, to have autonomy of our bodies.

Maybe it was too naive to think these battles had been won.  To actually think that we as women have control over our own bodies.  To think that we could make decisions about our bodies without government intrusion.  To think that we were coming closer to being seen as equals.  Apparently we were being naive in our thinking.  Now the battles are starting again and it’s time to start fighting back.

Enough is Enough!  Women and men are tired of this ****!   Unite Women has organized marches and/or rallies to occur across the nation on April 28.  Almost every state will have an event.  You can check for your state’s event here.  I will be attending and volunteering at the Chicago event.

More information can be found here.  Sign up and come help to.  Be involved in your community.  Be a part of a change.  Let’s start supporting each other and refuse to be divided.

Remember, we aren’t little girls who need to be told what to do.  And not only is name calling not nice, it’s whole point is to put you down and make you afraid.  Don’t let anyone silence your voice.

The Virginity Game

16 Apr

What is society’s obsession with virginity about?  If you look closer at the subject, it’s specifically an obsession with female virginity.  Why is female virginity deemed so sacred and important?  The documentary How to Lose Your Virginity sets out to explore virginity, the hype and the myths surrounding it.

Losing your virginity has always been a hot topic. Having sex for the first time has been built up to be this wonderful thing that should be shared with someone you love or at least care about or at the very least someone you are dating.  Once you give it up you can’t get it back so make sure it’s special!  This is what we are told, this is what is ingrained in our culture.  What is your story?  Did you follow along or did you break the rules?

The term “losing your virginity” has always puzzled me.  To me losing something means there is a possibility that you can find it and reclaim it.  How can you do this with virginity?  It isn’t a tangible thing.  Unless we are specifically talking about the hymen which in actuality is not a good indicator of virginity.  Some women are born without a hymen and others tear theirs way before sex due to physical activity.  And then there are people who claim to be born again virgins. Which means they’ve obviously had intercourse, but now choose to be abstinent and can now declare themselves virgins once again.  Sounds like hocus pocus to me.

Most people associate virginity within heterosexual terms, with vaginal penetration.  Why is female virginity to be preserved or sold to the highest bidder?  Why are purity balls only for girls?  What I find creepy about purity balls is that it is the father that pledges to protect his daughter’s purity.  Why don’t the moms get in on this?  Wouldn’t a daughter rather talk to her mom about sex questions?  Oh that’s right…there isn’t suppose to be conversations about sex.  That’s why it’s a father daughter thing.  Dad says no don’t have sex, wait til marriage, end of discussion.  When are they gonna start purity balls for boys?  Where is the grand ceremony where the boy wears a white tux and is given a ring by his mom to wear to remind him that he pledged to save himself for marriage?

I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school for most of my school years.  Of course we were taught we should wait until marriage to have sex.  How many of us do you think actually complied with that?  Around 16 I started seriously thinking about the issue.  Do I want to declare myself a virgin until marriage?  How important or sacred do I think sex is? I mulled this over in my head.  My ultimate conclusion was that I would not wait until marriage because 1- I  figured marriage was many years away and 2- I did not know if I would ever get married because I wasn’t sure I believed in marriage.

This however didn’t mean I went out and started having sex.  I wasn’t in any rush and I’ve never been a relationship kind of person.  I waited until college.  People were fascinated that I was still a virgin.  If people would ask, I would tell them I hadn’t had sex and then I would be inundated with questions.  Why?  How come?  Are you religious?  You’re pretty how can you still be a virgin?  I experienced first hand people’s obsession with virginity.  No I’m not religious, no I’m not waiting for that special someone, and no I don’t think sex is dirty.

When I chose to have sex it was on my terms.  I was curious and just wanted to have sex.  So, I chose the cutest boy and I didn’t tell him I was a virgin because I didn’t want it to turn into a big deal.  Because it wasn’t a big deal to me.  It was sex.  And I’ve never felt like I’ve been missing something since then.  In fact, I’m grateful that I didn’t have illusions about romance and sex because I think people equate one with the other and that leads to a whole lot of pain and heartbreak.  Especially since our society is so obsessed with teaching young girls and women that sex should only be had if you are in love.

It’s time to disspell the virginity myths and teach women that it is ok to embrace and enjoy their sexuality.  Please support “How to Lose Your Virginity” by visiting their kickstarter page and making a donation.  Help get this documentary made!

Vintage Fashion Inspiration & Feminist Icon- Gloria Steinem

10 Apr

If you know who Gloria Steinem is you probably associate her with the feminist movement and not with fashion.  However, she has always been one well dressed lady.  I like her style because it is simple yet flattering.  She dresses in form-fitting shirts  paired with a skirt or jeans.  Her signature look is a straight center part with her hair hanging around her face her eyes framed with large glasses.  As flattering as this look is on her, the reason it was created by her is because she felt she had fat cheeks and this was her way of hiding them.  We can all identify with insecurities, even if we are strong women.

*all images found via a google image search

My interest in Gloria was renewed recently after watching the HBO documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words.

I cannot stress how important I think it is to watch this film.  History repeats itself if the current generation does not educate itself.  I fear this may happen with women’s rights.  The reproductive and abortion rights that were fought for so hard in the 1960s and into the 1970s, are in present day in jeopardy and under constant attack.  How can we be moving backwards as a society on equal rights issues?

What surprised me most were the vintage clips of men very vehemently not wanting women in their work place.  These men were angry and they didn’t think women were smart enough to do the jobs they were doing.  Does this seem like a recurrent theme?  Why are women still having to fight to get equal pay for the same job?

The hardest thing to watch was a Larry King clip from 1990.  Gloria was being interviewed by Larry and a woman called into the show.  What initially seemed like a woman calling in to thank Gloria turned into a slap in the face.  The caller “thanked” Gloria for causing the collapse of the traditional family structure of America and ended by telling her to rot in hell.  Devastating, but I think it should be pointed out that for every woman who felt liberated by the women’s movement there were and are women who think it was the worst thing to ever happen.  There were and are women who are happy to be homemakers, and did and do not want to be told that they should want more or that they need to work outside of the home.  Change makes life more challenging, more unpredictable and people like to feel secure.  Women should not be judging and fighting with one another about this.  Women should be supporting one another’s freedom to choose to stay at home or to have a career.

Watching this film for me was such an inspiration.  After I felt like I wasn’t doing enough in my life.  Oh motivation, the things you do to me.  I’ve been motivated into being an organizer for Chicago’s Slut Walk because it is important to me that women have autonomy over their bodies and be allowed to embrace their femininity instead of being accused of being sluts.

As great as a quote that is, it was not used in its entirety.  The last lines are “That’s their natural and first weapon.  She will need her sisterhood.”  I dream of a sisterhood consisting of women and men-the one’s that get it- supporting and nurturing each other, working towards an equal, kind world.

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” ~Gloria Steinem

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