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#Me too: Aziz Ansari Pt 1

30 Jan

Disclaimer: Even though I have been an anti-rape culture activist for nearly 7 years, I still don’t understand some things. I have a LONG way to go before I get it and I know a lot of people are like me. So I encourage an honest discussion because that is the only way we will get through this.

When the The Young Turks reported this story, I initially agreed with Cenk and Ana. I thought, “Yeah! That sounds like #metoo gone too far.” I decided to look up “Grace’s” post and read her account anyway. I’m glad I took the time to read it. As I read it, I responded with “Oh, that’s kind of a bummer..” and then

“Oh.. “ ….

“Oh.. dear…”

“Oh no.. “

The more I read, the less I could deny he had not wanted to believe her body language or her statements. It was clear he understood she did not want to have sex. After he verbally confirmed she didn’t want to have sex, he paused.. but then continued to attempt to convince her.

I know many cisgendered men are used to this.

I know many of them think it’s okay.. and so far, it has been accepted.

But I think that time is over.

I don’t believe Aziz is a bad person. It is true if you are aware of problems in the world, you are less likely to contribute to those issues but it doesn’t mean you won’t cross lines. Just because Aziz is a feminist doesn’t mean he won’t cause sexual harm to someone. And that’s what I’m going to call it for now until I know what to call it (please feel free to leave comments and discuss). Technically, in WA state law, this constitutes as rape because he used his fingers orally and she felt pressured to have oral sex with him. But still, it feels like it’s too strong a term to associate with this.

When a person, sexual partner, continues to ask you to perform sexual acts even though you have stated you don’t want to have sex.. That is troubling issue. And it’s also an accepted trouble.

Aziz, despite his “woke feminism”, is still conditioned to go persuade his partner to have sex even if they are not enthusiastic or are unwilling. This is common in around the world. It’s accepted as “male behavior.” Let me be very clear; I do not think Aziz is a bad person. I think he’s a person who does his best to be a better human being every day and chose to ignore her signals and gave into a default.

I also have to give you a bit of grain of salt to pair with that opinion: I have had a few abusive relationships and I have had a difficult time letting go of some of my thoughts/beliefs that allowed me to stay in those situations. I always want to see the best in people. I don’t know if that’s my conditioning as a woman or if that’s my personality.

I can tell you from experience that it sucks to deal with a scenario like what Aziz gave “Grace” on a regular basis. It …. depletes you over time. Even for someone with a healthy sex drive and great relationship with sex. I have experienced this in a long term relationship. The constantly moving down the couch, the inching away in bed, saying “I’m not up to this” and then STILL having your partner continue attempt to persuade you. Over time, it is a coercive, abusive, manipulative thing to do.. to continually ignore your partner’s wishes.

So when I read that this is a part of a one night stand with Aziz, I have to wonder.. is that how he always is? If that is how you begin an encounter with someone, how is it on a long term basis?



World AIDS Day and More

1 Dec

Today is World AIDS Day to promote awareness. It’s likely you’ve seen a few mentions about it before viewing my post. It’s 2011 and I’m grateful for our attitude toward people with AIDs and for all the work people have done over the last few decades to get here. We have a long way to go but today I am grateful we are more compassionate and understanding. AIDs scares me. Thinking about it terrifies me. I know and fully understand that anyone can get it. Disease does not discriminate. Sometimes I think about the things people with AIDs have to face. The drugs they need to take, how ill they (can) become, and worst of all, how much they face from their community.

I read this CNN article about Crystal, who is HIV positive and homeless in Atlanta. She asks, “What am I gonna do if I don’t use? Who am I gonna be if I’m not an addict?” She says it’s scary to have all of this space, of not knowing who she’ll be if she’s not addict, because people do dangerous things when they have too much space. My first thought was, “What could be scarier than having AIDs?” But like most things in life, what we fear is actually manageable. It’s scary but it isn’t so bad that alone is holding her back. For me, it was a welcomed reminder to not be afraid of even your scariest fears. Even if it turns out to be true, life will continue. Inspiration happens where you cannot predict.

I hope Crystal realizes, one day, that she is more than an addict; she is a person who deserves a good life.

Anyway, Planned Parenthood (as usual) is doing something marvelous for the community. They are offering a 50% discount for HIV testing until December 16th. Thank you, thank you, thank you Planned Parenthood.

Sometimes I don’t know what to write about on this blog. Every time I read something and want to write about it, I ask myself is this relevant to “sex culture.” Technically AIDs is a disease and though we can get it from having unprotected sex it shouldn’t be related to sex; but it’s something we associate it with.

Gay couples shouldn’t be roped in with sex culture (it should be a part of relationship or family associated) but.. they are. I wanted to share this video, here, on this blog. I’m just smiling thinking about what he says to counter the argument that gay people cannot, or should not, have children because it will corrupt them. He’s a young, successful person; son of a gay couple and thriving. I just love him for standing up to talk about family values. I wish I could give him a hug.

Anyway, it’s late. My post is a little all over the place and I apologize for that. I just wanted to write these thoughts down rather than wait and never post.


The Price of Pleasure

13 Oct

Objectification. Porn. Are women really equal because they’re taking a conscious, active role in it? Are they more powerful than the men who purchase it because they’re making money off of it? Are we more powerful because we see it as an option rather than something that is forced on us? Does porn and the media make us less in control because of sexual pressure?

I just finished watching The Price of Pleasure on instant Netflix. It’s only an hour and if adult material doesn’t offend you, I suggest watching it. It’s obviously against porn but I think it questions more than it rallies.

My generation has grown up with sexual suggestions all over the t.v., commercials, billboards, the internet, etc. When I first went into a dance club as an adult, I got into serious trouble because the last time I went dancing was in high school where bumping and grinding was innocent. I forgot it now meant something else. Being in dance clubs can be such an awful experience because men grab you like they own you. It’s expected to be able to grab my boobs and ass simply because I’m there dancing and shaking it.

This documentary attributes a lot of the perspectives toward women and a lot of the mental attitude men have about sexuality to porn.

I think going to clubs as an adult was a huge eye opener for me. I had always been open about sex, my sexuality and discussing sexuality in general. I’ve been open to talking and exploring since I was a teenager. It never felt like anyone had a right to me. I never felt like people were taking advantage of me but in the last year there it feels like there has been a huge shift in attitude. I’m not sure why this is. Is it because I moved to a “big city?” Maybe. I never had this issue before, at least not that I can remember. Is it simply getting worse as time goes on? I don’t know. Possibly it’s just because I’ve been forced to open my eyes. It’s likely a combination of many things.

I never felt that porn was harmful. It was always fun and simply a fantasy. I never found BDSM porn to be upsetting either. Just strange, different and then FUN! It was an exploration. I think even this extreme side of sexuality can be a healthy exploration though I’m not sure how to explain that quite yet and I’m not ready to tackle it.

But porn just doesn’t “do it” for me anymore. As this documentary points out, it’s pretty violent and now disgusting. There is so.. much.. name calling. It’s something I used to be “into” as well but at this point in my life I’ve had too many bad experiences where it was clear this kind of verbal playing around left the fantasy/psychological world and became an act they wanted to force on me.

Man, there are so many topics here. This is why books are written on the subject. I can’t possibly fit all of this into a blog post. Honestly, I’m just typing out my thoughts and probably won’t edit very much. I’m thinking.

I want you to think with me.

I don’t have any solid conclusions.

Except that I don’t think porn is bad. I don’t think exploring sexuality and showing people how it is being explored, is bad. I don’t think making money off of it is bad. I don’t think it needs to be all that private (as the documentary says, “Women are baring their most intimate parts for money.” You can’t decide what is or is not intimate for someone else. Some people are perfectly find showing their naked bodies and their sexuality and it doesn’t compromise them). I do think women are more empowered by being able to choose this path if they want to. It’s great money and frees up a lot of time. *shrugs* By all means, if that’s your thing, go for it.

But it is very, very clear we have a serious problem. I’m pretty porn is a major contributor to this grabbiness action/mentality I see in clubs. It happens elsewhere too. Did you read the article about the stripper who felt a guy push a dollar bill inside of her, to tip her? It is a horrific, heartbreaking story to read. It doesn’t just happen to strippers, or women, it happens to children, it happens to straight men, homosexual men..

Women do it too.

I talk about men being aggressors because mostly, it’s men doing it.

This is partly biology right? Yeah. I think so. I think it’s sometimes pretty freaking awesome too. I love that partner (male) is naturally more aggressive (more testosterone) than I am and I love that I am a little less aggressive and more come hither. It’s fun playing the roles of males and females.

It’s still a problem. The barrier, for whatever reason, breaks down. In the documentary, a young guy attending college talks about his thought process when physically interacting with women. He said he watched a lot of porn when he was younger and now associates kissing with the question, “Does she want to have sex with me?”

He said, “I’m just being honest.”
I’m really glad he is (I also don’t think porn is the instigator so much as it encourages what is already naturally there but who knows?).

On the one hand, yay porn! Yay for expression and capitalism and choices and fantasy and for some, a career path. Scoff if you like, but it is one and I take it seriously. It’s just a shame they’re so looked down on for it.

And at the same time I’m wondering if this contributes to something.. very bad? Maybe it does. I don’t think we should stop it. There is a college aged girl in the documentary who talks about feeling like this is what normal people did when she found her father’s Playboys. She said it also made her feel like her mother wasn’t enough for her dad. I never felt that way when I found my Dad’s porn. I thought “Oooh! Wait, what? Weird.” Of course, this was in the 80s and porn was different. Yeah, I was pretty young. I was a child. Children always find the things you wish they wouldn’t.

Once in the 7th grade, I watched one of my friend’s mother’s porno she had stashed away. We were very excited about watching it. It was at her birthday party when we were supposed to be sleeping. All I remember is that it was definitely a porno from the ’70s and a naked guy running through the field, his penis flopping, and then him rubbing this woman who was also “styled” in ’70s fashion, shall we say.

That experience did not make me feel bad. It’s kind of a funny, silly memory. It was sweet because I didn’t really understand anything. It was innocent. I didn’t have the experience this girl on the documentary had.

Doesn’t so much of it come down to experiences?

I never felt bad about cat calls until after I was raped. I mean, I didn’t care for them before. They were annoying but they didn’t make me seethe with rage.  I never had a problem with being open about sex/sexuality (my personality naturally exudes it; i am pretty unaware of it but have learned to be more conscious) until I moved to Seattle and experienced immense aggression from men. I’ve had to fight to be my old self (freer, uninhibited).. even before being raped and molested (within a few months of each other).

Since that happened though, I have been able to recognize that look.. Anyone who has ever been attacked knows exactly what I’m talking about. There is a look that reveals greed and a lack of consideration for anyone else’s well being.

That greed (sexual lust) is rampant and if it isn’t controlled, it is dangerous.

Like the college male said, “When she’s kissing me, I wonder if she wants to have sex with me.”

*sigh* So much to say about this topic. I’ve always been for porn and I still am but I do not know how to bring the balance. Perhaps it’s simply through talking. *smiles*

I Love You, Jamey Rodemeyer

23 Sep

“People were really cruel to me, bullied a lot, beat up, thrown against the walls, lockers, windows, stuffed into bathroom stalls, people shit on my car, people scratched my car, broke my windows.. and my parents went in to talk to the school administrators about the harassment I was getting in school. One of them basically said ‘If you look that way, talk that way, walk that way, act that way, then there’s nothing we can do to help your son.'” Terry, the partner of Dan Savage (founder of the It Gets Better Project), said these words in the video above. I chose to highlight these words because it highlights the fundamental problem in the way human beings think about sexuality that lead to further bullying and supporting sexual assault.

Today I read about Jamey Rodemeyer’s death. Reading about it broke my heart, man.. It really did.. He was so young. I watched his video for the It Gets Better Project (Yes, he made a video encouraging hope months before he took his life). It was obvious he was sweet, sensitive and conscious. We really needed more people like him. Lets not waste the impact of his death because each and every one of us is a special, ordinary person that matters. I am thankful that he had a supportive community to balance evil he faced from his peers. I want to say thank you to the people who stood by him. I hope none of his supporters are blaming themselves for this. You did more than you will ever know. I’m so, so sorry his life ended this way.

I used to think suicide was selfish. The first time someone very close to me in my family attempted suicide, I was angry for years. I thought this person was inconsiderate to the people around them and weak. It took me 5 or 6 years to understand how much grief comes over someone to consider suicide. That person is so far gone into hopelessness, so far gone.. I can hardly imagine. The second time someone else in my family attempted suicide, I was full of rage at the people I felt pushed him to it. Yeah, this person chose to attempt suicide but those people.. pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. Eventually, a person will break down, no matter how strong willed they are.

When someone is in this kind of aching, it is important to be compassionate. The world has already been brutal enough toward them.

Terry’s words in the video above struck home with me. If he had been different, if he had done something different, then he could receive help. Lets place the blame where it belongs: on the one bullying, shaming and being an inconsiderate evil little monster. As much anger as I have toward these people that pushed this kid this far, I know that the way to beat anything is to be the thing it is not. What they offered was hate; we can offer love. I don’t mean being soft. I mean being challenging and educating. I mean, stretching the boundaries of the heart and finding a way past our anger to kick this kind of thing to the curb. Enough.

It was enough a long time ago but goddamnit, no more. Be kind to each other. Please, for the love of this kid, be kind. Whatever your actions are it is your thoughts that fuel the energy behind them. Pay attention; they matter.

She Strips, So What?

15 Sep

A fabulous article on the abuse, outlandish criticism (not to mention, outdated) and shaming so called “progressive” women push onto each other. I can’t stand behind feminism if it doesn’t respect a woman’s choice to work where she wants to work. I couldn’t agree more with this author’s thoughts.

To pursue a freer, safer sexual society, we need to educate and remember to respect each other; no matter their career paths.

Old School Feminists Need to Respect Women’s Choices

What’s All the Fuss About?

15 Sep

Rape Analogy: What it's like to report a rape

I read a lot of comments about the Slutwalk move happening across the world. Many people said, “Well who is for rape?! No one except rapists! Who would ever blame a woman for her own rape?”

Perhaps I have a dark sense of humor (I do) but this was hysterically funny to me because this is exactly what it’s like.

I’ve just read someone’s post on that made a good point. When someone is different from the rest of society, people feel an urge to ask invasive questions. Like, if someone is transgendered they asked about their genitals. “Have you had surgery?” and anything that stems off of that (I’m trying not to be crass here). If someone is gay they ask about their sex life. As a straight woman, no one ever comes out and asks me, “Hey April, by the way, how many partners have you had? Why didn’t you go for girls? You don’t like the cooch, eh?” Oy.

Especially when someone is bisexual, people assume a lot of things. Jokes are funny. We tell jokes to ease tension but also jokes reveal a nugget of truth about the way people think. Often people say, “Oh bisexual people can’t make up their mind! They get everything don’t they?” Or they assume they’re slutty.

Not that there is anything wrong with being slutty (i.e. completely comfortable with exploring people sexually) but we know what negative connotations that comes with…

To me, bisexuality means an individual is attracted to men and women and also has, or is, willing to pursue a relationship with either a man or woman. That’s all it means.

Ah, you know, it’s good to make jokes. I make inappropriate jokes and stereotype too, all I’m suggesting is, let’s not take it too far, shall we? I mean, lets behave respectfully toward each other. It’s fine to ask questions. I think it’s great! Just show you care about their privacy and value them as a person. It’s so easy, kindly say, “I have some questions but I don’t want to intrude on you. Is it okay to ask?” Something like that. So simple.

Manners, people. It ain’t for the old.

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