Not only am I a huge fan of this song, this video that the Seattle Children’s Hospital made takes it to a whole other level. It’s so moving I thought I would share it with all of you.
Watch this video and be inspired!
Not only am I a huge fan of this song, this video that the Seattle Children’s Hospital made takes it to a whole other level. It’s so moving I thought I would share it with all of you.
Watch this video and be inspired!
I am moving. After living in New York City for twenty-five years, I am moving. Where to, I don’t want to say just yet, just that in the last two or three weeks my world sort of turned upside down. Well, I turned it upside down, actually. So I can’t complain. It’s actually a good thing, a positive move, a choice, a decision landed upon, an adventure, new life, new land, a new civilization. I just wish it wasn’t so much hard work, risk and stress on the body/mind and spirit, but there is no way around those things. Change is change is change. It was my decision. Burp. Where’s the wine?
A friend of mine is also moving, from a house she lived in for many years, had children in, a career and a huge life, to another state where she also has a life, but a new life. A life with history, but not the same history as when her children were little and cakes were made and homework was checked. She knew I have moved a rather large amount in my life (literally about 27 times in 42 years) so I was pleased when she called me and asked, “How do you do it? How do you manage this moving thing?” She sounded really depressed, and understandably so.
Inundated with my own impending day of change, I decided to sit down and write her an e-mail. I had a lot of ideas rolling around in my head and sometimes, well most times, I write better than I speak. I don’t know why, my brain just stops sometimes and I can’t recall a certain name or very obvious word. I blame years of memorizing lines. So I wrote her an e-mail and then called her back.
She told me not only did my e-mail help her but that I should publish it. This was a very sweet thing to say. So here goes. If you are moving I hope it helps you. I may have to read it a few times myself to remind myself of what I know when the moving trucks come.
I do understand the pain of moving. All I can assure you is that it’s always hard, but it’s SO much harder if you’ve been living in one place for a long time.
Try to remember that all those good times are yours to keep forever in your heart, and now you are moving forward to build new happy memories. Thank god you have happy times to look back on. They will be a great comfort to you when you are old and gray!
I think we always have a dream for our lives when we move into a new place. A dream of who we will be and what will happen there. The fact is, our lives rarely are like those dreams, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t full and joyful. The dream is just the match that starts it all going in a certain direction.
There is no arguing that change, no matter how you look at it, sucks. But it’s an indisputable part of life. There’s nothing you can do about it but accept that change is going to happen. At least this change is one you are choosing, and that’s an important thing to remember. You made this decision and you can always change your mind. If you choose to see it through, remind yourself of the good reasons why: the freedom you will have, the new good times to come, etc. If you change your mind, look at other options!
Memories can sometimes be overwhelming when you are moving. It’s not good to linger over every dish or every box of toys, you’ll make yourself crazy! If you can’t get rid if it, get a storage facility and deal later. Sometimes its the only way. Try to remember the present is the most important thing, and you can’t take any object with you when you die. It’s just stuff. The memories live in your heart. If there are bad memories, try not to linger on them too long unless you are going for a therapeutic purge!
That’s the best wisdom I have for you right now. Try to look forward to the future and make new plans. When you look back, remember how well you have handled situations much more difficult than a few pieces of furniture! Don’t let the past OWN you!
Finally: Be kind to yourself and don’t overdo it. You’re only human and moving sucks.
Endometriosis. It’s a long word for what is in short, a painful and mysterious disease. No one knows what causes it, but approximately 6 MILLION women in the United States alone suffer from it.
“We now have staggering rates of endometriosis, fibroids, PID [Pelvic Inflammatory Disease], TSS and 1.7 million hysterectomies performed this past year–the most [ever],” she said. “Twenty-five years ago, these were rare illnesses for women.” Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, retired professor from San Diego State University and author of the recently released The Uterine Crisis.
Google “Endometriosis” and the first word that will jump out at you is INFERTILITY. Many women with this disease can be rendered infertile, and yet doctors are still not mentioning it when you are describing your so called “phantom pain.” Why is this? Are doctors simply ignoring the disease? Can 6 million women facing infertility really be that inconsequential?
Endometriosis is a disease where the cells from the lining of the inside of your uterus suddenly start appealing elsewhere in your body cavity. They usually appear around the lower half of your body, but it has been found as far up as the lungs.
What do theses cells do? They react just like your uterus. When you get PMS, they get PMS. When you get your period and bleed, so do they. There is an internal bleeding every month from these cells. So much so that over time the cells can form a cluster of blood, or a cyst, and attach to whatever is around. They call these cysts “chocolate cysts” because of their color. Yummy, right? Not really.
These cysts can become quite painful. In fact, even without a cyst the main symptom is PAIN. For some women, it’s awful pain akin to the cramps you have just before giving birth. It makes having sexual intercourse quite difficult, because if your partner hits one of those clusters of uterine cells, you are going to go through the roof.
You may have endometriosis and not even know it. Maybe you just thought you got “bruised” inside somehow, or maybe you think you just have rough periods. The disease doesn’t show on an ex-ray, the only way you can find out for sure is having bad enough pain that you need an operation to remove what they THINK is a cyst that shows on a sonogram, or surgery for a fibroid tumor. That’s how I found out I had it.
A Fibroid tumor is a non-cancerous cluster of cells that latch onto your uterus. I am lucky, I only had one but it became symptomatic, causing me lower back pain, bladder problems and pain during intercourse. When they opened me up they found Stage 4 endometriosis. They weren’t expecting it. I was in surgery for 6 hours. That was five years ago. Now I have to go back in for another operation because it’s painful again. I know a woman who has had 6 operations for this disease. SIX. To me, that sounds abusive. Isn’t there something that can be done?
Here’s the skinny. They say they don’t know how you really get it, but there is a good chance you got it from three places:
1) you were genetically predispositioned
2) you have an immense deficiency, perhaps caused by stress, a medical or (possibly) environmental condition
3) the menstrual flow backed up somehow.
When I read number three, I almost fell over. Back up? I didn’t think my uterus was capable of backing up blood INTO my body. I thought the uterus was a contained system. How could the blood get out any other way than through my vagina? I was embarrassed to face my naiveté. There is clearly a place between the fallopian tube and the ovary where they egg has to pop out and get sucked up by the tube to be sent down into the uterus. What goes down… can go back up.
I’m not the only person thinking along these lines. Here’s a neat little quote from Vital Health.com
Here’s another little tid-bit about tampons. Your regular run-of the mill tampon contains DIOXIN. A chemical that is a bi-product of bleaching.
Here’s another bit from the same article:
“ In a 1993 case control study, Darrow et. al. compared tampon use in 104 women with laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis to 100 friends of the patients. Compared to their friends, women with endometriosis under the age of 30 were, on average, 3.6 times as likely to have a history of tampon use of greater than or equal to 14 years.”
Where else can you be exposed to Dioxin? How about these fun facts from Energy Justice:
The major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it bioaccumulates, climbing up the food chain. A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; the other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In fish, these toxins bioaccumulate up the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the surrounding environment.
You can find them all throughout our atmosphere and wherever bleaching agents are sold. Oh and BTW, YES. IT CAUSES CANCER.
Chart from EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 – Vol. 1, p. 37
(Figure II-5. Background TEQ exposures for North America by pathway)
Doesn’t that just THRILL you beyond end?
WHAT TO DO:
Go vegan. That’s it. No meat, dairy, caffeine or alcohol. No eggs, fish, butter, pork, poultry… SUSHI. No ICE CREAM??? When they told me I almost fell off my chair. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’m a steak eating one martini a day gal. What’s this shit? I had to take a moment.
It seems this is my fate, my destiny to change. If I want to live, if I want to have sex, if I want to not be in pain, not get worse (god knows what they are going to find when they open me up) I’ve got to give up all the foods I normally eat. I have to become one of “them,” those “healthy people” who eat at Vegan restaurants and take B-12 and don’t smoke or drink, I have to do Yoga and meditate to lower my stress level, I have to learn to live entirely differently than I do now.
Well, I don’t have to give up swearing. Thank christ.
Considering it’s becoming a world wide epidemic, I think I may just invest in a Vegan chain restaurant. It’s not just me saying “world wide epidemic” btw.
Endometriosis affects over one hundred million women worldwide and is more common than breast cancer and diabetes. Up to 10% of women in their reproductive years and a quarter to half of all women with infertility have been diagnosed with endometriosis
Then there is this:
The recent increase in the incidence of endometriosis coincides with the rapid increase of genetically modified (GM) foods in diets around the world. He goes onto say that herbicide, such as the commonly used “Roundup” can also create an environmental estrogen toxicity.
There is much more to discover, but it’s a disease that is here and we need to get talking about it. It’s changed my life already. The frustration and shame over having something that affects my ability to get pregnant is a blog unto itself, but suffice it to say, it sucks.
Please share this article with any woman you know who is suffering from this disease. All I want is for her to know she is not alone, and that there are people out there who care about how to help her get better.
A homemaker who is proficient at chauffeuring children to and from activities, baking cookies and giving blowjobs. “Who the hell does he think I am? SFH? I have a PhD for Chrissake!”
Hello. Today I’m Suzy Fucking Homemaker. I’m here to tell you that having a pretty house isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you are making it. Would it kill you to rinse off your dishes instead of leaving them crusty in the sink? Throwing your clothes at the hamper isn’t going to make them climb into the washing machine and it sure isn’t going to reduce that lovely smell of sweat sock that is proliferating throughout your tiny hell hole.
As I roll like a deflating kickball into my “Erma Bombeck” years, I realize that I have a few tips that might help y’all pull your shit together so you can make pretty without sacrificing your sense of hard won liberation from your folks. Let’s be clear: no matter how young and fabulous you are, you are still going to have to have a clean toilet when mister or miss hot stuff wants to hang out. So let’s get real.
Today we will start with one simple cure for the lonely and lovelorn: The House Party
BASIC TIP #1: When you have a get together, no matter how nice you have decorated your living room – everybody will want to hang out in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter if the living room is huge and the kitchen is a dark closet. As many people as can cram in there will do exactly that, challenging one and other on the rules of personal space. Why this is happens is a mystery, but I think it has something to do with people feeling more comfortable where action is occurring and less comfortable where face to face dialogue is the ultimate goal.
TIP #2: Prepare yourself for kitchen action by making sure the kitchen is not a shit storm of preparation plates and garbage. Organize your chaos by having things for people to do: open bottles, slice tomatoes, take glasses to the living room. When guests are asked to be active they feel better about taking a smelly dump in your guest half bath or stubbing out their smoke in your planter – hey, they folded the napkins! The casual atmosphere of asking people to “pitch in” often leads to the women getting busy and the men talking, but don’t count the guys out. Just ask them. Unlike the cliché of the lazy dude, men are usually really happy to be asked to do something, especially if it’s something that makes them looks strong and sexy like moving the coffee table a few feet to the left.
TIP #3: It goes without saying that you will have vacuumed and dusted your entire apartment before inviting people over. I was young once, believe it or not, and I’ve been to parties where people haven’t. Bong water is disgusting and doesn’t make me want to hook up or be friends with anyone. It makes me want to vomit.
TIP #4: Don’t ask your guests to help you clean up. You invited them over to give them a gift. Your clean house to hang out in is part of that gift. Their gift is their presence and if they were properly raised, they will also bring flowers or a bottle of wine. People who come to a party empty handed are usually takers and have been raised in a barn.
TIP #5: DO NOT insist on party games or watching a certain program unless you have specifically stated in your invitation that is the point of the party.
TIP #6: Controlling hosts are THE WORST. SERVE THE FOOD AND POUR THE WINE THE MINUTE THE GUESTS ARRIVE. Hosts who make people wait to eat are to be strung up by their ankles and flogged with a greasy noodle while being forced to watch episode one of The Real Housewives of Staten Island over and over.
TIP #7: Conversation is an art. Invite people who know how to talk to one another. One secret of a good conversationalist is to be a good listener. Ask questions and listen to the answer. You could learn a lot about a person, which could be useful when you introduce them to other people at your party. “Hey, this is Jeff and he’s really into comic books, aren’t you a collector, too?” is a nice way to help people who don’t know one another to engage on some mutually appreciated level. People love to share their passions. Listen for them and for god’s sake don’t judge! “Yes, how interesting,” is delicious. “Oh, that’s ridiculous,” is a big fat buzz killer at parties, unless of course, Jane Doe is being a real asshole.
TIP #8: Douche bags at parties can’t be helped, but you have two options: show them the roof and invite them to jump or get them busy doing something so they don’t flap their stink yap all over your good time. Certain people belong at the grill with a beer in their hand. Others need to be in the kitchen “being helpful” because they simply have no social skills whatsoever. Your job as host is to know your guests and help them have a good time even if they are complete failures as a human beings. There is SOME reason you invited them, even if it is to get them to offer you their comp tickets to the Knicks game.
TIP #9: The hand written thank you note is NOT out of style. If you have been a guest at someone’s home, would it kill you to take two seconds to jot down “Thanks for the lovely evening, we had a blast,” and stick a stamp on it? Christallmighty you could send a postcard! E-mail is simply too quick and easy, and a text is (as we all know) so impersonal. Put on some lipstick and kiss the fucking postcard and stick a stamp on it, but for god’s sake send one. You will be AMAZED what an impact it will make. (You want those Knicks tix, don’t you??)
TIP #10: Don’t go there unless you are sure you wanna go there. Decide beforehand how you feel if people start getting drunk and making out. Have a plan. You could give them your room or politely suggest they get one. Either is socially acceptable, but don’t feel obliged to get your tits out just because other people are doing it. Then again, if you wanna shake your money makers in the privacy of your own home, that’s great. I might suggest making sure to collect all cameras and cell phones before things get going, however. Last nights naughty drunken pictures aren’t as fun when they hit the all too sober Internet. Prepare – that’s all I’m saying. Have condoms nearby and KNOW what you are getting into. It’s great to have sexy fun, but it’s an elective, not a requirement, got me? Anybody who pressures you is an asshole, pure and simple.
All that said, parties are a great way to make new friends as well as business connections. Plan ahead and use these tips (don’t forget some festive party garb) and you will be sure to be swinging from the chandelier with a bottle of champs singing “Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer” with a group of likeminded nut jobs before you know it.
Ain’t FUN the whole point?
I’ve been working on a theory. It is SURE to piss a lot of people off, but I am learning YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYBODY, and MOST PEOPLE LIKE TO USE THE INTERNET TO ATTACK, NOT TO CONNECT. This second fact makes me very sad, but also plays into my theory: WE ARE ALL ANIMALS FIRST, PEOPLE SECOND.
I’ve heard it called a variety of things: human nature, primitive instinct, the “natural self.” We are taught it is a good thing to be in touch with these feelings as sometimes they warn us when there is danger, and other times they drive us to compete, feed ourselves and survive if not thrive. I want to make it clear I AM NOT SAYING THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THESE INTERNAL DRIVES. Oy! What I am saying is that I recently became aware how much they drive every single person every single day, and it was an unsettling feeling.
As some of you know, I live in New York City. Here it is easy to be a witness to human nature – you just have to step out the door and keep your eyes open: people pushing and shoving one another to get down the sidewalk, annoyed by those moving too slow, is a common enough site. Aggressive competition is the name of the game here and that is the ONE instinct in particular I want to talk about. The aggression. The hatred of “the other who is different.” The fear of the one that stands out. The desire to claim and keep ones piece of hard won territory.
I feel like this aggression has become endemic. I see it everywhere these days: from neighbors to strangers, in TV, films and theater productions, and ALL OVER politics, the news and media outlets. Everywhere the story under the story seems to be the same: this person is angry; that one is afraid; this group wants something and that group feels they will crush another person before letting them have it.
We live in a civilized country, but you wouldn’t know it from the way so many people talk to one another, and if you suggest anything different, anything like “hey lets talk it out, lets try to understand one another” the tendency, even in the most civilized of company, is to mock, ridicule, slander or humiliate – some form of aggressive competition designed for one person to win and the other to lose.
So why TRY to be civil? Why not just accept that we are ALL ANIMALS, operating from our basest nature and go from there? I have been seriously thinking of switching my worldview radically. “We are all the same at heart and need understanding” isn’t really doing a hell of a lot for me, so I’ve been thinking about coming from the viewpoint that everyone is like my dog: scared and snappy when he doesn’t feel protected; defensive around those larger or different from him; unable to survive without love and companionship; territorial of his space and with a strong instinct to pee where other’s have peed before.
I think I am going to go with this because it makes more sense. All the neurosis and emotional drives pale in comparison to animal instinct, and as a society I think we are being driven to extremes for some reason. It’s as if nothing less than high adrenaline, high risk, base entertainment and social interaction will do to satisfy.
What’s the matter with us? Are we missing passion or some kind of satisfaction in our lives? Is that why we attack one another?
Sometimes, if I didn’t believe in the possibility of good that entertainment, social discourse and the Internet can do, I would unplug from it all, because these days it’s beginning to feel like a relationship with an abusive lover. Crazy, dramatic, and soul sapping. But I do believe. I believe that writing this right now is bridging some kind of gap with somebody, somewhere who feels as confused and sad about the world they are looking at today as I do.
So what is the solution other than going back to what is usually labeled the “idiotic liberal socialist dogma” of loving acceptance and care for all? CAN we as a society find a middle ground where we accept our aggressive nature without indulging it? Does it have to be all one way or another?
What I find myself falling back into is politeness. Learned social behavior that allows me to walk certain territory with some grace. Saying “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me” allows me to feel good about the way I navigate my life.
Wouldn’t it be nice if more people practiced some of these old fashioned basics? Maybe it’s like putting a coat on a dog (for SOME people) but at least the dog still has to take the trouble to unzip before he can pee on you.
I would like to invite you to share your feelings about my theory, but please, try not to prove me right.
I am much appreciative of the time and effort put in by those who have read my thoughts and expanded upon them, adding links to interesting and insightful articles and quotes. I am very grateful for your support. I am glad to know I am not alone in my concerns.
I consider myself to be a pretty loving and accepting person. I have never felt the need to defend or explain myself because I figured anyone who took the time to read my blogs would find, over and over again, that I am a proponent of love, forgiveness, understanding and acceptance of others. It appears there are some who don’t see that in me, and who in fact, see me as intolerant, judgmental and ignorant.
I allow them their opinion. Much as I don’t enjoy being called an asshole, I wish them the best.
What I have asked for is a frank investigation as to the effect of what is basically a sub-culture on the mainstream culture- mainstream meaning pop culture, or anything that you might be able to find easily within a few clicks on your computer or television. Children are affected by mainstream culture, as are young adults. It is where they look to figure out what the world is all about.
Many college students and some high school students know about the Marquis de Sade, or have read The Second Sex. I suggest these students are the exception and not the rule.
I can only speak from my experience, and I do not claim to be an expert in S and M. I have stated several times in my comments I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little consensual slap and tickle between adults. I do have to question, as I think anyone would, why a man and woman might want to go further. I think it’s a fair question. I think it’s fair to say that the culture of S and M is not the norm for most people. If it is normal for you and your partner, I hope it brings you joy. I do, however, question why some of the commenters feel the need to attack me on such a strong and personal level. It belies an impatience with others and an internal rage that also concerns me.
I also am concerned with comments that state women are better than men. I don’t think that’s right or fair.
On another note: just because there are a lot of abused men and women out there doesn’t make it normal or right. I suggest considering each and every persons basic human dignity in order to try to elicit compassion for each and every person- even the one that attacks you. That doesn’t make me better than anyone – it makes me able to live in the world with my heart open.
I have no desire to hate anyone, or fight anyone or make anyone feel worse than they may already do. If my comments about finding certain humiliations in S and M practices disturbing have made you feel like I am judging you as a human being I am deeply regretful. I remain unconvinced that it is a practice that should be made available to children and people under eighteen as a usual sexual practice between adults.
When I was fifteen years old, my date – a guy one year older than me – took me to the local university to a movie. It was “A Clockwork Orange.” I was deeply shaken by the experience and did not want to kiss the boy afterwords, but be taken straight home. I refused to date him again after that. Watching the horror and violence in that film at that age scared the heck out of me. I didn’t find it funny, or sexy or brilliant. I found it frightening and I could not understand why my date would want to take me to see that film.
I will point out that Stanley Kubrick, the director of the film, and staunch defender of free speech, had the film banned in the UK as a reaction to copycat gang rapes and attacks on innocent civilians that came about after the release of the film.
I think my reaction as a fifteen year old was “normal.” I think most fifteen year old girls would feel the same way. I don’t think allowing them to see extreme sexual acts as commonplace is a healthy thing for their developing psyches. Do we really need to rip away young people’s innocence so soon? They are going to learn about it all at least by the time they are twenty. Can’t we allow them to have fifteen to twenty years of innocence and a gentler introduction into the complexities of human nature? What is so wrong about that?
Like it or not, pornography is a part of our culture. Almost everyone wants to have sex, and frankly, why not? Sex can be a holy event or an animalistic release or a worship of the body, male or female but however you look at it, sex is a part of our nature and our nature is to be creative. Pornography can be an expression of sexual creativity – a beautiful homage to the human form or a way of reflecting on desires buried deep beneath the subconscious. Generally, exploring one’s sexuality is a healthy thing – at least you are taking a moment to not judge your desire for pleasure or your need for connection to another, but looking deeper.
However, some pornography can take things into a sociological territory where desire is so perverted that what is really happening is a form of violence and what is really being expressed is rage about former abuse and a re-enactment of that abuse. This is true for both men and women.
I witnessed two examples of this type of porn while watching a documentary called, “The Price of Pleasure.” Every once in a while, I watch porn; watching other people have consensual intercourse can be sexy and sometimes make a good situation better. Enough said. But watching sex is not having sex. And exposure to a million types of fetish makes me wonder if we’ve become a culture who has found indulgence of our every whim commonplace. I can hear the shouting: “We have a right to have a choice!” And, “We have a right to have as many things to choose from as possible!” O-kaaaay. Shop yourself out. But lately I find myself having to “click away” more often than not. This is not only because of what is left of my inbred shame, but more often because of the huge amount of violent situations I am suddenly seeing enacted. It seems to be endemic, in all kinds of porn and in all kinds of media, whether professional or amateur. This really, really concerns me. I’m not the only one.
When interviewed for the “The Price of Pleasure” and asked, “Didn’t porn performers choose to do the job and get paid?” scholar Noam Chompsky replied, “The fact that people agreed to it and are paid, is about as convincing as the fact that we should be in favor of sweat shops in China- where women are locked into a factory and work 15 hours a day and then the factory burns down and they all die. They were paid and they consented but it doesn’t make me in favor of it.”
It concerns me even more when I realize all of this sexual violence is accessible on the Internet to kids with only the click of a button. Gone are the days of backrooms and Adults Only video parlors. On some of the most obscene sites, children only have to swear they are over 18 and that they don’t find it degrading or abusive, that’s all (I say that ironically). Sometimes it’s only one click of a button and their lie is legal. That’s not a contract, that’s a scam that takes advantage of a child’s curiosity, not to mention an adult’s. I should not have to swear away my human rights while a porn site gets to express its first amendment rights.
Here’s a link to a new film premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival that is investigating this important phenomenon of the mainstreaming of porn and the effect on today’s youth. SEXY BABY THE FILM and a really interesting interview with the filmmakers on Huff Post, discussing the mainstreaming of porn and its varying effects on young women. The bottom line is- young women are looking to porn more and more to create their sexual identity. This concerns me because of the violence that is becoming endemic in mainstream porn. Clicking the photo below will take you to The Times of India. Because of the global reach of the Internet, children’s access to pornography is becoming a world wide concern.
One disturbing example of accessible violent porn I saw (on the documentary and on the Internet, but I can’t tell you where) was a series of scenes enacting various S&M scenarios, suddenly quite popular these days with the release of the novel, “50 Shades of Gray.” I had to look to find out what all this sex play in the novel was referring to. In the hundreds of scenes I saw posted in small boxes on my screen, beautiful young women were shown being choked, gagged, hung upside down, whipped, screamed at, and beaten and not always softly. They were being f-ked (not made love to, there is a big difference) hard and what looked like, painfully. It was difficult to imagine they were enjoying themselves when they appeared to be experiencing degradation and humiliation.
I understand S&M has a long and glorious history, and has sex-positive practitioners; however one must wonder how many practitioners are simply allowing themselves to be abused – that’s certainly the message from these particular porn movies. One person agrees to be the “powerless one” or “submissive,” while being provoked by the “powerful one” or “dominant.” It’s a sexualized power play. On a certain twisted intellectual level, you could justify it by saying S&M is a way to mock your own attraction towards power by allowing yourself to be abused by it and if that’s your mind kink I say whatever, go for it, but that’s not what these particular porn movies are showing. They are showing young, beautiful women being violated in a really ugly way by men and sometimes other women. What kind of message is this for young women, not to mention young men?
I’ve been told that the novel “50 Shades of Gray” investigates the issues of a desirable but complicated guy and the woman who is equally complicated and attracted to him. Fair enough, but I want to ask you to take a moment for me and imagine a sexy, masculine but complicated man, perhaps imagine a God figure like Thor, someone who perhaps many heterosexual women might find hot. Can you imagine Thor wanting his girlfriend to put on a ball gag and crawl on her hands and knees while he fisted her? So why are fantasies like this being twisted to become romanticized but coercive acts in both our fiction and pornography?
In another series of scenes from the movie I witnessed a possibly worse humiliation than S&M can dole out. Again, young, pretty, powerless women – and let’s be honest, more and more of them look like teenagers – are being f-ked hard (again NOT made love to, there is a difference) orally and vaginally while their heads are in the toilet. Then the guy reaches over and as he cums on her, HE FLUSHES HER HEAD IN THE TOILET. Sometimes he does it so her face is sucked into the hole by the valves and the bowl fills up, making drowning a real potential. Can you imagine Spiderman, another sexy but conflicted “Super Hero/God figure” flushing MaryAnn’s head in the toilet while he came on her face? No! That’s disgusting! Our heroes don’t do things like that! So why are some of our men finding this attractive and being told it’s socially acceptable?
Now you may want to tell me, “Hey, she agreed to do it, she wanted it, she liked it,” and I will tell you, sorry, that’s BS. Let me share a word Chompsky mentioned, a word most people don’t really respect the power of: COERSION. To clarify: if you tell a young person, a powerless person, and perhaps a sexually or physically or mentally abused person who just wants love and attention and some money to survive, that such and such a thing will get them the things they want, that it gives them power even, some of them are going to listen to you. It’s as simple as that. No matter what they say, they aren’t being super savvy and “using” the system, they are being used by it. They aren’t becoming empowered by choosing to play the role of the victim. Whether madam, prostitute, porn star or stripper, no matter what they say to her face, the men who take their pleasure and pay up are laughing behind her back.
Now let’s get on to the deeper issue, and it all goes much, much deeper than, “Well, some guys are really messed up, their mom’s were jerks and some girls were really messed up by their dad’s and this is how they work it out and what can you do?” Although I have enormous compassion for the complexities of abuse, I believe it goes even deeper into the roots of our society as a whole. We have to look into the issue of equality. Why, in our modern society, do we still tend to see men as being more important, more valuable than women?
I believe we can look to patriarchal religions for one part of the answer: in a society where the god we worship is male, and the most popular religions state women are only an extension of a man- women hold no value. Period. Without the acceptance that the female divine is as holy as the male, human women will never fully take their place alongside men in terms of respect. We will still be objects to f-ck and vessels for a man’s sperm, owned by men, dominated by men, abused by men, and flushed down the toilet at will. Valueless.
I want to make it clear I am not saying that women should be held above a man in terms of her value. I am also not saying that all women are goddesses and should be worshipped as such. I am saying that without a healthy, socially accepted construct for a feminine divine equal to the masculine divine, we are a society out of balance, leaving women vulnerable to be blamed and attacked whenever something goes wrong.
It is important to remember that women are as human as men in their need for sex. Just because I am saying there is a divinity to women does not mean that all women need to be in touch with that divinity at all times and get up on a pedestal to be worshipped. Women can be just as wild and sexual as any man, and frankly I see this as a good thing.
However, when you see women being attacked sexually on film like I have described, it is exploiting a perversion and fear that has been allowed to fester, grow and develop. I believe this visual, visceral form of abuse of young women where the man dominates and violates the precious, fertile female form for all to see exploits a fear of women’s power.
What’s so scary? Women are not here to create a culture of Amazons to enslave and humiliate men. Most women, like most men, are not out for revenge. Like many men, many of us are naturally nurturers and even in our rage, even in our greatest sexual and intellectual strength we still love, we still have the ability to be compassionate. If you are deeply wounded person, we want you to heal, as a male would.
Ladies, please don’t let ANYONE convince you it’s fun to be humiliated. As a survivor of childhood molestation, I personally know it’s a complex issue. I’ve been there. I have tried to convince myself I was in control when I wasn’t. I went into denial for years about certain situations, trying to believe that I put myself in a bad position so I must have deserved what I got. I had to deny what happened in order to survive it. I know I am not alone.
Young girls are constantly being broken sexually, forced into being unwitting submissives before they even understand what they are submitting to. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit being attracted to men who were just like the man who abused me, so if you have a similar situation you have all my compassion. It’s taken me years to understand my own sexual power, to accept it, to enjoy it and years more to find a man worth sharing it with.
What I am trying to tell you is that recognizing your divine grace within, and taking the time to value your higher nature as well as your sexual side is worth every bit of the struggle.
The empowered sexual female is a powerful symbol of feminine equality. Perhaps this is what frightens certain men, and why the violence in pornography is beginning to escalate.
Perhaps some men want to retain their sense of entitlement to control society, their “god given right” to be the leaders, dominate the land and control a woman’s body. Perhaps some men are angry about what they perceive to be a loss of power, and are acting out that anger on the women who are the most vulnerable – the young.
I hope considering the holy within both men and women might be a way to ease some of this anger and focus on ideals we both share: the value of love, fairness and personal dignity.
I am thrilled to share this blog post was chosen to be re-posted at www.policymic.com
It was January of 1995. My mother was at home, dying of cancer, but I had to work. I remember standing in the hair and makeup room at All My Children watching the O.J. trial pre-empt all the effort we had made to put a show on air that day, hard work that would not be rerun elsewhere or ever again. It was a very defeating moment. We all knew that the constant interruption of our daily story would mean the loss of viewers. I remember an actor standing next to me (I think it was Michael Nader) saying, “Well, this is it. This is the death of soaps.”
It’s taken me a long while to figure out what that person really meant, but I think I may have a grasp of it. Of course, I am only one person and one opinion. I always want to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to comment below and add whatever you think I may have missed, or share whatever thoughts you’d like.
What O.J. did that day, or rather, what the media did with O.J.’s behavior, changed our tastes in entertainment. It may be sad to say, but in that moment we became a bit more like the spectators in the Roman Coliseum, watching real gladiators fight to the death and less like the Greeks watching reenactments of killings (although they had their share of real sacrifices, or so I’ve read.) The point is, watching a real man who was once a great American hero melt down to the lowest common denominator of human experience was riveting.
The TV Networks have had a huge part to play in what some might call our “moral demise.” I would like to refer (again, for those of you who follow me on Twitter) to the movie “Network” by Paddy Chayefsky. You know, the one where they shout out the window, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”? In the film, an ambitious producer focuses on sensationalizing real stories in order to grab the audiences attention and therefore raise ratings. This movie was way, way ahead of it’s time.
The O.J. Simpson trial was the beginning of the “news” story becoming more relevant than anything a soap could deliver at that time. One major factor in it’s draw was the fact that O.J. was not only a national hero, but an African American man. The very color of his skin dragged back into the light the whole huge history of “black” men in America. This conversation was difficult to address on soap operas, although the writers tried many times to do so. To this day, issues of race dominates our American social consciousness. Trayvon Martin is a tragic example.
So O.J. was probably pissed about the prejudice he no doubt encountered in his life, but he was also a handsome, really successful man. Many men looked up to him, admired his ability and his life. Why else was he so angry?
He was getting a divorce.
I have never seen such rage as in a man who is getting divorced. It seems to shake him to the core. When a man defines himself by his role as a husband and father, this cutting of ties can bring out a lot of anger. I think the feelings of shame and failure that are brought up are difficult for most men to deal with.
I also think it’s quite possible that a lot of men at the time were not so thrilled about women demanding equal rights, equal pay, equal treatment. Add to this women’s developing sexual liberation, and you’ve got a lot of control issues that are going to have to be dealt with in the general male consciousness. O.J. became the focal point for all this emotion. Throughout O.J.’s trial the unasked questions pulsing in many people’s consciousness were not just, “did a black man kill a white woman?” but also “did a husband and father kill his wife and the mother of his children because she was leaving him for a younger man with whom she was having a sexual relationship?” and the worst, “Did Nicole bring on the violence because she demanded liberation from her husband?” which is akin to saying “She asked for it.”
Right or wrong, the tensions under the O.J. Simpson trial were so much more truthful and relevant to our current state of social awareness that, although still charming and entertaining and well made, soap operas were instantly seen as irrelevant and hopelessly out of date. This wasn’t always the case:
Check out some of the flashbacks from the 20th Anniversary and the wonderful, potent conversations between Gillian Spencer’s “Daisy” and James Mitchell’s “Palmer” in the 1970′s/early 80′s:
It wasn’t the daytime writers fault there wasn’t as much edge cutting material in 1995 as there was in 1980. As corporations began to acquire soap operas as a product, it became more and more difficult for daytime writers to tell stories that might outrage a percentage of the audience. Every ratings point counted to the ad-centric culture of Network Television. Instead of being able to tell the more risky stories that might have kept all kinds of audiences interested, corporatized soaps were forced create more general story lines that often became ridiculous in their attempt to avoid being offensive.
No wonder people stopped watching in droves.
The story of O.J. and Nicole was also REAL. They weren’t actors with scripts, they were real people with dramas as big as any soap could manufacture. O.J.’s need for attention, even love from the media was another way in which he reflected something very true in American lives. Many people wanted a little bit of fame to experience for themselves. Others were riveted by the risk of others. Either way, the audience was becoming the star.
Next essay: “How The Internet and The Culture of Choice Killed Television”
If life has taught me anything, it is that feeling close to another human being is the greatest feeling there is. To feel connected, understood, accepted for who you are is what we are all looking for, what we all yearn for. What gets in the way are the experiences we have had where others have treated us wrongly, hurt us or rejected us or shamed us.
How to recover that sense of trust? How does one embrace the vulnerability required to allow another person to really know you- your fears, your insecurities, your dreams and desires? It’s all very risky and requires two things: discernment and courage.
We can’t go throwing our love at just anyone and expect them to be able to handle it. That is what kids do (and they should) with their parents. When parents are screwed up, they leave the kids with all kinds of unfulfilled needs for connection. Trust me, I know all about this. Later, as a struggling adult, discernment helps you choose who you will trust with your fragility, your tenderness, your needs. It took me a long, long time to gain this and I have had to make a lot of mistakes, trust a lot of the wrong people to learn just how important it is. What I am suggesting is that you can CHOOSE who you will love. In fact, I think it is one of the most important and powerful things you can ever do in your life.
Then comes courage. To allow this person that you have carefully vetted to be close to you, to know you, is a courageous act. It is so much easier to hide, to present a false idea of who you are or how you feel to another. Most people when asked, “How are you,” will simply state, “Fine! How are you?” It’s pretty normal to not want to go there with your true feelings. The thing is, if you don’t, you will skip that moment when a real connection can be made. It feels so good to get a hug when you are down from someone who you know really cares about you, doesn’t it?
This is my wish for 2012, for myself and for you: that we let in the people we choose to trust. That we allow the goodness of life outweigh the sorrow. That we forgive those who have hurt us, but we don’t forget. That we move towards those who will cradle our hearts with tenderness and gracefully and allow those who cannot or will not understand our needs- to carry on elsewhere without worry or concern. Everyone is on the path that they need to be on. Finally, to feel, really feel the love that others have for us. It’s the best feeling there is.
No one is more surprised than me at the incredible response my comments on PP garnered. 99.9% of them positive. I think I touched a nerve. A nerve that goes deep into what we are experiencing together culturally. The average person feels as if they are losing out to those with more power, and that there is little they can do to regain control of their own lives. It’s a serious issue.
It is certainly a troubling time we live in. How to make the exploding internet profitable is of serious concern, as is the blatant union busting and the high rate of unemployment, spurred on by many corporations need to show more and more profitability during a time of rampant wall street fraud. The average citizen is getting screwed, and we can no longer bury our heads in the sand and shop our way out of our fear and confusion of what the future might bring. What to do, what to do…
There are a few suggestions I can make, but I think what really has to happen is for the average person to make ethics and morality a requirement when it comes to big business. By ethics and morality, I mean honest, transparent business practices and fair treatment towards their workers. Those who state that “it’s a dog eat dog world” have a right to their opinion, but guess what? I don’t want to work for them or buy their products. And that’s what I am suggesting. If you don’t like what a company stands for, refuse to participate in their greed. Don’t give them your money or time. It really is as simple as that. Demand fairness and quality and when you work, and be fair to others and give your absolute best. Sounds simple, no? Perhaps it’s not, but this is where our American innovation and willingness to work hard comes in handy. We need to start and/or support new companies that stand for not just “better business” but “moral, ethical business.” I think there are a lot of really smart people out there who are already thinking this way. I want to encourage them and shout, “GO GO GO!!” If other corporations want to change their ways, I want to forgive them and say, “GREAT! Thanks for remembering what it means to be a human being!” I know there are good business people are out there who want to do the right thing, I just know it, they just might need a little PUSH in the right direction. Supporting the ethical business with your hard earned dollar is a great way to do that. Money talks, BS walks. Let’s make GOODNESS a POPULAR TREND that STICKS.
I also want to suggest that we stay hopeful. Things can turn around. Optimism is as contagious as pessimism, although it sometimes is a harder choice. I want to suggest that we try to believe in the good in others as much as we can clearly see the bad. I don’t suffer fools gladly, but I also don’t abuse others out of my own hurt. I like straight talk, with a dose of love and caring that never forgets how tough life can be. If you think I am just some spoiled soap actress… ha, ha, ha! That cracks me up. Think again. I’ve had it pretty damn tough myself and worked my butt off. And yet I rise… I rise… and I want to help others rise, too. That is a quality I have that I am the most proud of- this willingness to look hard at my own pain and grow softly through it. I believe it is an American quality, inherent in our very birth as a nation. We took a hard look at our circumstances and didn’t like what we saw, so we did something about it. And we learned, and grew, and changed, and continue to do so.
America is an incredible country. We are capable of amazing acts of courage, kindness and innovation. Times are indeed changing, but if we dig deep we will find many good things in our everyday lives to give us hope, even if we may have less than we used to. If we give the best of ourselves, and demand that others do the same, we can and will reinvent our American identity all over again. An identity that we can be proud of. I think that is what we need most in this time- to look to the incredible heroism of the everyday man and woman, to witness and celebrate the simple goodness that can be found in the lives of so many of our friends and neighbors, and remember that it is part and parcel of what it means to live in America. It’s why so many people all over the world still dream of coming here- opportunity, education, freedom and acceptance for all. We are a nation of individuals, and proud of it.
We are not our greed. I refuse to allow that quality to be the prevailing characteristic of this country. We are better than that.
We are our ability to forgive, to be generous, to innovate, to expand and grow and accept those who are different from ourselves. We are NOT our greed. We are our smart, tough, kind… goodness.
Let’s support that quality in every way we can. That’s a revolution I can get behind.