glitter path

she was ruled by suggestion
rising to meet pre-summer light

photo capture from the Museum of Things (Berlin, Oct 2017)

he suggested we advance an aesthetic education¹ to get what we want
types of promises full and drawn from expansive inhibitions
scattering chaos beyond an endlessly deferred absent presence²

suspended in seductive panics
we are nothing but restless territories

within this gossip of change
she spins out a series of poems about mirrors

in pursuit she hunts for theoretical pleasures
positioning against as something for
glittering distorted at its apex

___________________

1. Roberto Bedoya, Oakland Cultural Affairs Manager
2. Ben Anderson in Modulating the Excess of Affect, a reference to morale as the horizon of governance

reduction

News cycles are dominated by Russian dramas.
No one mentions rape in context anymore.
We’ve taken solace by decoding mass rhetoric.

I can imagine you beautiful and calm.
Our wandering like scrolling.
This landscape so literal.

Receipts as evidence as expressions.
Fisted conclusions neglect.
A rote search for light in darkness.

Time stretches into manufactured units.
By heart standards, this feels eternal.
Populist hyperbole interpreted as desire feels

dangerous

Some argue identity is residual.
You know it by its attributes.
These compulsory dreams are viral transfers.

Motives unmoored as debts to consent bloom.
Layered political pontifications soothe like lullabies.
I dare you to find love in this absence.

Liberation aside, how does this make you feel?
Inductive reasoning seduces. It penetrates.
Yes, this conversation is a calculated intermission.

Wait. This is my understanding of your manipulations.
A respite of obviousness – of borders unarmed.
Let us, both, reductively fade into this capture.

normalization

you got no fear of the underdog / that’s why you will not survive – Spoon, The Underdog

Artist: Beth Cavener. Trapped, 37 in. (94 cm) in length, stoneware, paint, 18k gold, rope, wood, 2015.
Artist: Beth Cavener. Trapped, 37 in. (94 cm) in length, stoneware, paint, 18k gold, rope, wood, 2015.

This violence looks good on you. Fitted. Proper. My opinion, of course.
All apologies have been returned to sender. Transparency is seasonal.
No stability is guaranteed. Can we at least agree it is sacred territory?

This is a good-bye letter. My reasons rolling out like smoke from fire.

satori

“So (re)invent us, still weeping the solutions we came from, imagining ‘things’ would be fine if only a single interpretation could be shared, meaning enforced.”
Laura Mullen, Complicated Grief

Golden fur and morning light warms calmly.
Energies, swirling, occasionally oppressive
as unconscious as the way we sell love.

The mural reflected a range of fruits found in this region,
geographic signifiers, orbs of light and juice. Positive
transformations expressed through practice, ritualized execution.

Repeat, forcing action. Asking for it, suppressing.
The real economics of what we dream, imagine, and desire
divided, found between centuries of exclusion, forced space.

Think about how resistance is holding what remains.

excelsis

We are taught someone has to lose.
Perpetual calculations of how much we allow
in contrast to what we can’t take anymore.
Revery forbidden, outwardly.

I feel nothing but desire to keep myself whole.

Our collective resentments (cultural backlash)
form dysphoric protests, an occupation of complexities.
Mass wish fulfillment to move beyond fear, imagined and not.
In excelsis, suspended.

vox

Artist: Larry Towel
Artist: Larry Towel

Last week, I took Saturn to get to work. I was transported through early morning light filtered between fast-moving fog. Patches of light illuminated an awakening city and a groggy thought: having money is relative, class is not.

Lately my days have been consumed with centering my sense of self in a world that does not hear my voice, no matter how loud or assimilated. I seek expressions that are creative, diverse, and evolved – not conditional.

When my mind wanders, it finds you. These willful transactions have underscored learning, consent, and discovery through exploration. I trust this voice; its cadence is drawn from failure.

I know what I want.

riot: pussy

Why have we added so many categories of justice: economic, social, racial, gender?

artist: Max Yavno

It is October, 2012. So many tomes have been written about Pussy Riot that googling “pussy” has yielded new results. Was fantasy interrupted or were horizons broadened?

Vaginas, and the bodies that accompany them, have never been more marginalized as a trendy topic.

Sex Wars

"No smut shop here!!"

I dropped the F bomb (feminism) at work which resulted in some collateral damage of assumptions.  The axiom that feminism was an operating principle was incorrect. I was immediately sanctioned and corralled into the old folks home for such an outdated belief. Ultimately the conversation went down the lonely road of semantics and neatly buried with other land mines I am sure to step on in the future.

Good Vibrations wants to open a store in my neighborhood (see welcome wagon message in photo). It’s a small business not wanted by some who react viscerally to life or pleasure.

SlutWalks are a legitimate strategy of feminist praxis, whether you are comfortable with the word “slut” or not.

We march because we’re all “sluts” in a patriarchal culture that devalues us on the basis of being sexual, or sexualized by others. And hell, I am a sexual being, but from now on I am a sexual being on my own terms. I don’t view the word “slut” as something to take back, but rather, something to vomit onto the streets of New York. As if to say, go ahead, call me a fucking slut. I fucking dare you. … But I have an entire movement, a whole big fucking army of others just like me who aren’t taking your shit anymore.

standpoint

found via demighoul.tumblr

Where I came from, it was the lack of choices that overwhelmed you. It should be no surprise that my birth state has maintained this oppression*.

There is one lonely clinic in South Dakota that provides abortions. There are no doctors in the state to perform them; they are flown in from Minnesota. South Dakota has one of the lowest abortion rates in the nation with the most restrictive laws against access to legal abortions (causal effect anyone?).  Starting in July you will have to, after waiting 72 hours, sit through a counseling session at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). There are no exceptions, not even if you were raped or a victim of incest, unless it’s a medical emergency. That is worth repeating: not even if you were raped or a victim of incest.

If you’re not familiar, Crisis Pregnancy Centers love to lie to women. They are experts at coercion. They are unregulated. They were established to deceive. They are legal. They have received tens of millions of dollars in federal funding.

What to do?

I suggest that because Crisis Pregnancy Centers apparently can be anything they want, create them with the intent to actually help women and the communities within which they operate. If the law states that you must visit a Center for counseling, then appropriate this trojan horse.  There are no doubt good people fighting this obscene law in corrupt courts (the same courts that allow these laws to exist) and they should continue to do so. But clearly this strategy is not working.

This is a crisis and I see no reason why we can’t take their model and scale it for good.  There are plenty of empty store fronts in downtown Sioux Falls, SD.  Rent this space and counsel women on their reproductive justice options. Because as Leslee Unruh so eloquently states, “What are they so afraid of? That women might change their minds?”

____

* “Being oppressed means the absence of choices.” bell hooks Feminist Theory: from margin to center

D.I.F.Y.

photographer: bobby whigham

Do It For Yourself

It’s a new philosophy*. DIY has old roots that have been appropriated in the most unholy ways. (Sorry Etsy, I love you but you’ve perpetuated DIY masquerading as capitalism on an unprecedented scale).

I’m taking it back, demanding to differ, and making it my own like it’s supposed to be.

*thank you Andrea

out classed

 

presidential view

 

I’m feeling the tension of transparency. Talking points are not on a spectrum of disclosure.

Sometimes I wish I had the luxury of ignorance but that sounds incredibly pretentious.

I fear the (inevitable) numbness of privilege that’s associated with moving up a class. There are doubts tangled around every conversation and the heavy dread of diminishing self-confidence is illogical but still it lingers.

Assumptions of belonging are dangerous.

Watching those with privilege and wealth access opportunity and exercise their option of choices while ignoring the reality of the majority is a melancholy pursuit. Do you spy what I spy?

Did you feel your heart sink when the rich white man uprocked the evening designed to honor women? The crowd cheered; some even had tears. The injustice was ignored because of the $100k donation and the women danced on the sacrifices of those who had come before them.

Perhaps what I’m really feeling is the tension of working within a broken system where hope is a commodified ideology. Or it could be the looming holiday season of forced consumption. Or it’s the slow realization of not fitting into a place that was never designed to accommodate you in the first place.  There are many hypotheses to consider for the sadness of consciousness.

Intelligence: Fail

artist: roberto fabra, found via unurth

Who gets to determine the pace of progress?

After reading this article about passing as stupid results in prestigious job,I would use this as Exhibit A that patriarchy, does in fact, still exist. Despite the rhetoric that education is the bootstrap on the American dream boot, not all are welcome to pull themselves up.

Diane Ravitch’s recent post on stripping the joy from education and the buzzkill of measurement solidified a belief that there has always been class war in the school rooms of America.

If being clever means being diabolical in a culture that sucks all joy out of learning and continues to structure a patriarchal society, then I will never play dumb.

Ulzzang!

artist: amandine alessanda, found via uppercasemagazine.tumblr

According to the New York Times, contacts that make your eyes look larger are both a dangerous fashion craze and a fad that’s already over. The article outlines an apparent global aesthetic for “huge eyes” and women’s willingness to stick medically unnecessary contacts in their eyes and believe it’s just like other make-up enhancements.

The article continues on with a hegemonic medical reminder that if a doctor doesn’t prescribe it, it could be dangerous. Because we all know that tummy tucks, hymen reconstructions, and other beauty regimes performed by licensed medical professionals aren’t dangerous and come with “grave concerns.”  A blip about “circle lenses are not just for Asian people” successfully  equalizes the multi-cultural phenomenon.

The male voices, the “experts,” are authoritatively paternalistic. The female voices, the consumers, are simply stating that looking good makes them feel good and happy. They get compliments from …. from who?

Can we assume these are all heterosexual women? Can we assume this hetero-normative gendered groupthink is because men told them they look desirable? The male gaze is seemingly lacking or absent so it’s difficult to conclude that answer.

What to make of these women who have a regressive belief that child-like is attractive? Why am I regressively assuming that they are wearing circle lenses for hidden sexual agendas? I’ve been reading Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and I can’t stop thinking about gender performance and how that informs sexuality. Sometimes the obvious is the hardest to see. Or when you’re not looking for the signs, you’re likely to miss them even as they are staring right at you.

Wearing circle lenses isn’t any different from other forms of beauty regimes women subject themselves to (bleach douches anyone?) and they certainly won’t be the last.  Exposing the dynamic nature of beauty fads and their intersections of race, consumer culture, sexuality, class, and gender norms is fascinating to me. Thank you Mattilda and contributing authors for keeping my eyes open and huge.

pattern recognition

she always gives this look; love or melancholy?
urban forest sun breaks
extreme modesty

week in recap:

A dream of violence against a midget who was after my box of pastries; translation: feelings of insignificance with fantasized empowerment.

Wealth and parody walk a fine line. Attending a day long meeting whose purpose was to inspire and champion the cause is exponentially more difficult to engage in as I learn more about philanthropy, funders, social justice, and nonprofits.  Peacocking wealth in a fabricated slum hut was probably the worst part of the spectacle followed closely by a professionally produced montage of employees set to the song, “Proud” (aka the Biggest Loser theme song). I was the only one in the crowd who understood the tragic irony.

Random street encounter results in confessions that were bold but true.

Cocooning can mean ready to pounce.

Precision is as precision does

I’ve been finding myself in spaces that are out of my comfort zone, the slippery slope of trying out new things and new ways of thinking.  Yesterday was no exception. The irony of sitting through a precision workshop for eight hours was not lost on me.  It was noted that I think out loud which pretty much takes me off the executive track or even the ability to meet with the executives.  [Note to self: celebrate and honor this.]  Learning the language of Power was the hidden subtext of the day’s activities.

The workshop was an immersion into a hyper-masculine way of thinking and ultimately practice of precision. Learning how to answer concisely is not a bad thing and learning how to ask questions that are more direct isn’t either.  It’s the big picture of how these techniques are used to influence conversation and potentially alienate those who don’t think this way (i.e. non-executives or people who are not in positions of Power) that left me drained, drained of hope and creativity. It also left me with a new-found skill of listening for this technique so that I may either avoid or engage. Fight or flight.

Now I wish I didn’t hear it all around me.

Serious business

I’m not surprised that with the masculine tsunami that is about to hit the southeastern United States that this is the image that most fascinates me.

There has been much typed about women in the workforce which may explain the graphic representation of the “economic recovery.”

This year’s Super Bowl has been dominated by the concept of choice and the extremes that entail.  And the game hasn’t even been played yet.  It’s a classic tale of against-all-odds-I-will-survive.

I’m not sure who will win but as Dinosaur Jr wails, “I’m over it.”

If you’d like to subject yourself to even more hyper images of masculine femininity, go here.

Squeak and Tickle

Femidoms rub the right way
Mail & Guardian ~ 20 Aug 2009 ~ OP/Ed: Bridget Hilton-Barber

“Have you seen the Femidoms?” asked my travel mate. We were at Platjan border post, between Botswana and South Africa, returning from a road trip. “Nah,” I replied, “but I once saw Femi Kuti the Nigerian muso, you know, son of the famous Fela …” “Female condoms, you idiot,” he said, “right there, next to the male ones, in the big box that says For Free.”

I must confess I had only ever heard of female condoms, or Femidoms as some are branded, but never actually seen one or used one and certainly didn’t expect my first encounter to be at an unassuming little border post under an acacia tree along the banks of the Limpopo River.

It was also a bit embarrassing to have a man point out the free Femidoms. But to be fair, he’s a tour operator and comes through here once a month with Dutch and German groups, mainly women.

They take them as souvenirs, he says. I took the last two left in the free Femidom box. “The gals they like them,” said the Botswana border post official, stamping me out of Botswana with a resounding thump.

I have found out some interesting things about Femidoms since, even though mine lie sadly unused in the office drawer. Like the fact that you’re actually more likely to encounter one under an acacia tree in Africa than under a statue, say, in Europe or the United States.

I also found, with some delight, that African women seem to have subverted disdainful Western notions about the female condom and have instead popularised it and given it street cred.

Femidoms were pioneered in the United States in 1993 by the New York-based Female Health Company (FHC), but whereas they were slammed in the West, they have caught on in Third World areas with a high HIV prevalence, where men are traditionally recalcitrant in their own condom department.

Female condoms are distributed for free by Aids NGOs mainly in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ghana, parts of Southern Africa and some Southeast Asian countries.

“Is that an amoeba between your legs?’’ ran a famous British newspaper headline slamming the Femidom’s debut. “It looks like a cross between a pair of diaphragms and a male condom that might have been used as a water bomb,” said another report.

European women complained that the Femidom was baggy and that it “squeaked” during use. They never really took off in Europe or the US and are pricy there and inconsistently available. In the streets of Senegal, however, it’s a different story.

The sisters there, apparently, have turned the squeak into a novelty. In some hot spots the female condom comes with a free bine bine bead necklace, worn around the hips and designed to complement the squeak erotically with its click. Mmm. Must be that old African rhythm thing.

It is also rumoured that Senegalese women boast that the Femidom is so large because their men are so large. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, sex workers use the Femidom as a sex toy, allowing the client to insert it — a special thrill because seeing or touching a vagina close up is still taboo there.

Prostitutes are apparently now charging more for sex with a female condom.

Zimbabwean women, too, are tantalising their men with female condoms. They say that when a man’s penis rubs up against the inside ring of the Femidom during sex, it causes a pleasant tickle that intensifies his orgasm.

In Zimbabwe a new word — katekenyedze — has been coined to describe this tickle. In the late 1990s, Mary Ann Leeper, president of the FHC, got a call from a woman named Daisy at the Zimbabwean health ministry who said she had a petition signed by 30 000 women wanting to bring the female condom to Zimbabwe.

According to one report, the FHC has since struck a deal with the World Health Organisation to sell the female condom at a discount to education programmes in more than 80 developing countries, mainly those hit hardest by Aids.

In South Africa local television has started screening advertisements for a female condom under the brand name Care at R5 for two.

Recently an as-yet unpublished study in South Africa found that 80% of men liked the female condom and the same percentage of women agreed.

The men said it didn’t reduce sensation as much as a male condom and the women said they could use it without male knowledge, insert it hours ahead of sex and it didn’t kill the moment of passion. It may be time, sisters, to check out the squeak and tickle.”

[emphasis mine]

NOW v NEW

In a rumble that is sure to shake the very foundations of the struggling feminist movement, a group of privileged college women seek to challenge the feminist status quo.

The feminist as liberal-man-hating-child-killing-dyke status quo.

The Network of Enlightened Women (NEW) was established a year ago at the University of Virginia and seeks to foster the “education and leadership of conservative University women.”

They want to influence the women’s studies department’s “agenda” (last time I checked, most women’s studies department’s agendas were to stay viable) and introduce a persecuted conservative perspective that has been ignored on college campuses. The viewpoint of “a strong conservative woman” has been silenced for too long according to NEW.

Women like Ann Coulter?

Agness said. “The feminists are brainwashing us that their viewpoint is [the only] viewpoint, and this isn’t true.”

The group sponsors speakers such as Christina Hoff Sommers and Steven Rhoades. Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and author of Who Stole Feminism? Sommers advocates for “equity” rather than “victim” feminism. Steven Rhoades is author of Taking Sex Differences Seriously, a book that claims scientific evidence supersedes the fluff of socially constructed gender roles. Denial of sexual differences has created a society of “fatherless families” and is even responsible for the sexual revolution!

NEW advocates that women’s success includes a home bustling with children and normative heterosexual relationships, something that eludes the feminist gestalt. Women should not assume that success equals the cold sterile boardroom of major corporations. NEW demands that the heterosexual couple raising the American Dream is not dead but instead should be heralded as ideal, or at least obtainable.

While there is a valid argument that academic feminism and liberal feminism lacks a diversified perspective, couching conservative ideology in the blanket of women’s lib is not “NEW.”

NEW and NOW are not very different. They both want to work within corrupt power structures that are designed to favor a certain group of people, which is not very enlightening or empowering.

Ford, Moms, and Gay Rights

The One Million Moms organization (a project of the American Family Association) has decided to suspend their boycott of Ford Motor Company for six months – in less than a week’s notice of announcing their latest threat on America’s moral fabric. They met with a group of Ford dealers on June 5th and decided that the dealers were making a “good faith effort” in addressing Ford’s support of homosexuality.

So go ahead and buy that Ford Explorer or the Super Duty Beast (their terminology, not mine).

No need to worry that Toby Keith’s, “Ford: King of the Mountain,” jingle is full of subliminal homosexual agendas. For now, America revels in the awesome boycotting power of a million angry moms.

My Hemi Is Bigger Than Your Hemi

An experiment in gender or a no-brain look at how advertising shapes our consumer desires?

Forbes magazine recently listed the top selling masculine and feminine cars.

“Women buy cars that are affordable, practical and safe, and with a dash of design flair. Men, on the other hand, appear to love luxurious, high-performance cars.”
The Most Masculine Brands
Ranking Brand Percentage Of Male Registrants This Year
1 Dodge 85.2%
2 Lincoln 84.3%
3 Jaguar 79.8%
4 Porsche 78.2%
5 Infiniti 78.1%

 

The Most Feminine Brands
Ranking Brand Percentage Of Female Registrants This Year
1 Pontiac 53.0%
2 Hyundai 47.3%
3 Toyota 47.3%
4 Volkswagen 46.9%
5 Suzuki 45.8%

Dodge winning the masculinity war doesn’t have anything to do their recently commissioned survey by Harris Interactive, does it?

Commenting on the significance of gender stereotypes and the utopian ideal of static gender roles, Carrie Lukas, director of policy with the Independent Women’s Forum states:

“It just shows that there are some things that you can’t change and that, while feminism for a long time has been pushing us towards androgyny with little girls with trucks and guys with dolls, women tend to have feministic traits and guys the opposite. If anything, it shows what feminism hasn’t been able to accomplish.”

_________________________________________________________________
In honor of Danica Patrick – the first woman to ever lead the Indy 500, holding the lead for 19 of 200 laps.

Lust for Life

Ohio Governor, Bob Taft, signed HB 129 authorizing the sale of “Pro-Life” license plates this week. For a mere $30 more, you can get your own Pro-Life plate. It will take 90 days for the bill to take effect.

The majority of the proceeds, approximately $20, will be deposited into the Choose Life Fund. (Choose Death Fund was already taken by the committee dedicated to slashing social service programs.) The money will be distributed to nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to counseling pregnant women about the obscure notion of adoption.

I can’t wait to see what creativity will be garnered from personalized Pro-Life plates.

We need to appropriate their lust for life.

The ideology of such lust is paralyzing. Savvy in their unrelenting worship of dichotomy, it can feel hard to argue against such a mantra.

Living in a world that is white/black, heterosexual/deviant, man/woman, and good/evil makes it easy to understand distinctions and deny what’s in between. All variables that do not fit into these tidy boxes are constructed as less valuable and made invisible.

To see life as it truly exists for most people would mean acknowledging that our systems, institutions, and hegemony favors certain groups over others. Usually the ones on the left of the dichotomy: white, male, and heterosexual.

As we continue to survive in these cultural dark ages, we need to remember that if life is defined for us, it is not worth living. Knowledge is power. And if power produces, we need to fight what the majority produces as knowledge. What is produced as truth is not. Perspective is in the eye of the beholder.

Wag the Dog

The Kitten Moment:

The heartbroken Marine mom, Janet Norwood, lost her son in Iraq.

An Iraqi woman, Safia Taleb al-Suhail, who just voted in her first democratic election. Subplot: her father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime 11 years ago.

Marine mom sits behind Safia Taleb al-Suhail by sheer coincidence. (Never mind that Laura Bush invited Safia to the event and she is leader of the Iraqi Women’s Political Council. Safia was also signaled out during the President’s speech as a symbol for Iraqi freedom.)

Spontaneous embrace. Hug. Tears.

President Bush chokes back the tears but is steadfast and resolute in his determination for world peace/domination.

Brilliant.

————-

Purple is the new power color. Purple stained fingers are the sign of freedom, of victory.

It seems like only yesterday when the delegates at the Republican National Convention wore Purple Heart bandaids to ridicule John Kerry’s Vietnam service.

Purple ties and lavender dresses were worn by those in-the-know. Some even held up their own purple stained finger (an ink pad had been passed around as they entered the chamber).

How do you make purple? Combine blue and red. The Democrats are scrambling to become Republicans. Homogeny rules.

"A New Kind of War"

Interesting account of a little hero named tampon:
Houston Marine Moms save lives with tampons

Posted By: David Benzion on http://www.lonestartimes.com

Here is the email discussed during Dan Patrick’s interview of Becky Williams, a Houston area Marine mom.

(post is edited for length)

He told me how wonderful the care packages were and wanted me to tell everyone thank you.

He said that one guy we’ll call “Marine X” did get a girl care package and everyone was giving him a hard time. My son said, “Marine X got some really nice smelling lotion and everyone really likes it, so everytime he goes to sleep they steal it from him.”

I told my son I was really sorry about the mistake, and if he wanted I would send Marine X another package. He told me not to worry aboutMarine X because everytime I send something to him Marine X thinks it’s for him too.

My son said they had the most fun with Marine X’s package.

Then of course, they had the tampons. When he brought this up my imagination was just running wild, but I let him continue. My son said they had to go on a mission and Marine X wanted the chapstick and lotion for the trip. He grabbed a bunch of the items out of his care package and got in the humvee.

As luck would have it he grabbed the tampons, and my son said everyone was teasing him about “not forgetting his feminine hygiene products.” My son said things were going well, and then the convoy was ambushed. He said a Marine in the convoy was shot.

He said the wound was pretty clean, but that it was deep. He said they were administering first aid but couldn’t get the bleeding to slow down, and someone said, “Hey use Marine X’s tampons.” My son said they put the tampon in the wound.

At this point my son profoundly told me, “Mom did you know that tampons expand?” “Well, yeah!” They successfully slowed the bleeding and got the guy medical attention. When they went to check on him later the surgeon told them, “You guys saved his life.” If you hadn’t stopped that bleeding he would have bled to death.

My son said, “Mom, the tampons sent by the Marine Moms by mistake saved a Marines life.” At this point I asked him, “Well what did you do with the rest of the tampons?” He said, “Oh, we divided them up and we all have them in our flak jackets, and I kept two for our first aid kit.”