Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Flying

If I had to explain running in one word it would be flying. Or flight or simply to fly (guess that’s more than one word) or freedom. Ones mind, especially one who suffers from depression who’s mind can be a terrifying place filled with hatred and malice, but when I run I am synced. My mind no longer wages between self destruction and philosophical thought my mind and body are in harmony. I tell myself that I can do something instead of the reverse. I can feel my feet hit the street and I breathe: inhale-exhale at a steadying rate, and my pains are real but my mind tells me not to stop, but to check in at the next stop sign and see how I feel. The next stop sign or the next street and then the next. When I run I am at my most loved, because it is self love and is radical and powerful. But it hasn’t always been this way.

On Monday, March 23, 2015, I laced up my new running shoes (which are hideous by the way), donned my new running leggings, IU tee from college, a hoodie and gloves (March in Indy is still freezing) and ponytailed my hair. Off I set earbuds blasting almost matching my heart. It was my first run in years and it did not last long; I barely made it around the block. To be completely honest with you I thought I was dying. I did not die of course but after that I have taken allergies meds as needed and I quit smoking for over three months.

It is actually funny how badly I want(ed) to run to make so many life changes as I have and to crave out the time. My friend Julia Goodman, who’s been running for years, asked (or harassed me constantly...you know whichever) about running with her. She kept telling me to run with her and she would not be annoyed by my lack of endurance or whatever my excuses were. I kept responding I run alone and always had even in high school. I was a lone runner who ran to appease my deranged mind. She understood but that did not dissuade her...she refused to relent. Oh no she redoubled her efforts and got my husband to gang up on me. God bless both of them for that. That has changed my life, and I don’t mean losing weight, though I have or my physical, and mental health, which I am sure it has. It has given me this syncing ability that nothing, and I mean not yoga nor meditation has even given me. I am now out proving to myself and others that women run, that black women run, and that I, Tyne S. Swedish run. Back in Thursday, September 3, 2015, I had my first race. It was a 5K and it sucked due to the extremely insane heat, but damn it I count that as an accomplishment, and I am proud of it. No one in my family has ever ran a 5K before.

Now since it is heading into what is supposed to be the cold season here in Indy there really aren’t any races to train for and I wanted to keep up on my training so Julia and I are making up our own mini-races to keep us (mostly me) running all late fall and winter long. I am so excited for this because one running during the summer sucked and I imagine running during the winter would be drastically more enjoyable. Two I cannot run without a goal in mind. When I do not have an impending race I am lazy with my running. I don’t run frequently nor do I push myself. I run a mile then head home. I know I am lazy hence Julia created these mini-races for me to train towards and run. Our first is a 3 miler on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

Today I am going to run 3 miles at Eagle Creek Park. Like the postmen and women nothing not rain, snow or crazy dogs will stop me from getting out on that street in my hideous shoes and syncing up.

{Thanks for reading along. I know this post isn’t filled with feminist rage but it was important to me. If you liked it there will be more as I document running for me and hopefully other women will share their stories on running. To read about my awesome friend Julia and her experiences while running click HERE}

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

An attempt at being honest

Fuck.
Where to begin?
Well I don’t want to start at the beginning...not just yet.
I’ll start a bit more current....

My last Instagram bio read “Féministe♀, les Fauves, Bohémien, Sauvage”. These words confuse people which humors me. So Féministe means feminist. Easy, right? Les Fauves is from an artistic movement known as Fauvism and the les Fauves were the artist (such as Henry Matisse) which translates to the wild beast. This movement became a huge deal for me in my high school advanced art classes...courses really. I loved the blatant disregard for convention. Matisse painted a red room and it is titled the red room. I often did this with my artwork...make things colored they would never actually appear in real life. Bohémien...is bohemian or boho...which loosely translates to someone from Czech Republic or, and I cannot stress the importance of that or, a nonconformist. The definition actually states, "a person who has informal and unconventional social habits, especially an artist or writer."  This one word is the most slung at who I am both mentally and satoricaly. Well that and intimidating. People find me very intimidating. I am not sure why exactly...I do not tolerate stupidity and mendacity. I could say so much about this actually...I think people just don't like to face their bullshit and I refuse to put up with it. So I don't. I just scare people. Let's leave it at that. I'm intense. I ask why. Ugh...I'm odd. Okay? Lastly Sauvage which means untamed. My name Tyne is an old Anglican word River. I was born and named something provoking a free spirit and untam-ability. I mean look at the wonder and power of water.

I could also talk about all the amazing people but more so the amazing women I have drawn to myself this year. My only real New Years resolution was to be my authentic self and not to apologize about who that person is. Who I am. Amazingly enough as to my own self I've been true I have attracted these amazing women to myself. These strong brilliant talented beautiful women and it blows my mind that they actually want to spend time with me. I don't understand it but I'll be damned if I am going to turn them away. It's wakened this power within myself for my writing and that being me is okay. Better than okay because I have friends like I've never really had before. The once hard to bond with woman I was holding everyone at arms length now embraces people especially my fellow women in a way I’ve never experienced. I mean even the outrageous group texts are fantastic and overflowing with sarcasm, gifs, and love.

J often tells me that the woman I portray is not actually who I am...even if I disagree with him he claims he understands me in a way I don’t. See I enjoy being the bookworm that no one can really pin down. I enjoy that I am a brain and antisocial. I enjoy me time. So while I don’t feel my ‘I could give a flying fuck’ attitude is very ME I do understand how J could see a softer, sensitive, survivor girl that I guess does make up part of who I am as a whole. I also think that being honest with myself and opening myself up for people to really see has just attracted people to me who actually appreciate who I am. Sounds fucking obvious but it has taken me over twenty years to understand this. It could be due to the intense bullying I faced as a child...I’m not sure.

What I am sure about is that I am proud now to be myself. To openly share with people in a non-hostile way that I am a feminist, I am in a biracial marriage, I am sarcastic and very brilliant and hilariously funny. I am like no one else you’ve ever known and I am finally excited about that.

I’m the crazy bohemian who likes what she likes how she likes it........, and that’s okay!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

battle wounds

Two days ago J and I had a huge fight resulting in declarations of my emotional brick walls and the fact that I am cold. My emotional brick wall is a construction made and reinforced by years of needing to detach to survive. I do in fact care about things but I am not the type to yell and scream to get my point across. I often can be found cold due to my lack of crying and theatrics. I just don’t find them to be healthy or useful.

I understand however that this method can be viewed as frustrating and mockingly unloving by the one on the other side but to me words die on my tongue. I find my view useless as it will only fuel a fire already raging out of control. I understand J stating he does some of this to acquire an emotional reaction out of me and yet, almost ironically my reaction is always to close off even more. J has yet to grasp this. He says that he wishes I would be emotional just for him and since I love him so very deeply I will do my best to be ‘emotional’ for him.

What is almost even more ironic is this feminist that is J will often throw it in my face as if I am hiding behind this mask...hiding my true self behind equality. That is not the case...EVER! My demand for equality has nothing to do with my learned survival mechanism. My feminism is simply part of who i am. I cannot say for certain that it makes me strong by simply being.

I am strong out of all my mistakes, and need to survive horny boys and backstabbing girls and the shit of my childhood. The hot tempered curse word riddled defiance of my youth in college. I like everyone has times i wish I could take back or alter but that is not to be. I must live and learn from said past actions and try to be better in the future. That is strength. To walk with your head held high leaving the destruction of your past in the past. What feminism does for me and what I do for feminism is as unthinkable as breathing. Deathly important and yet I do it without thinking.

My wonderful friend Julia said to me that in long-lasting relationships forged in youth require growing within said relationship and with that growth comes pretty painful growing pains. I am not sure how true she knew that statement to be. J says we both have changed in our almost 10 years together and i suppose in some ways we have, but on a foundational level we are both who we have always been: emotionally detached, funny, cinephila(s), knowledge seekers, and more. We are both equally as obsessed with perfecting our crafts that we do not waste time with drama or trivialities.

And yet, we fight. Whether it is a fight to simply be heard or to stay together I cannot say but fighting occurs nonetheless. And I hate it. In my perfect world J would simply understand me and I him. There would be no need for this stupid petty and rather weak sense of ‘I love you but sometimes I just want to wack you with a steel pipe!’ I mistakenly thought that after 10 years we would become telepathic. We are not. And I am not sure if we learn and grow. We just seem to maintain this frustrated space of he demanding I be emotional and my failing to figure out exactly how to do that. Or rather how to pretend to do that.

Basically it, like everything else in life, is a long difficult soul shredding process. Not a piece of instant gratification to be seem. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Depressed Feminist

If you have never felt the effects/affects then you may think that the sufferer is just crazy or  lazy or seeking attention, but that is not it. I can only speak for me and for me depression is something i have always felt. It may contribute to my sleeping for hours growing up and not having friends. Thinking back I was a very lonely misunderstood child and teen. There is this voice in my head which tells me I am fat, unattractive, and a failure. Along with a host of other words flashing through my mind screaming at me and other times insults are whispered slicing at my soul with a dirty razor blade. My life has not been an easy one regardless of how it may appear on the outside.

And naturally admitting any of this is like chopping my arm off. I have this manic need to chop my fingers off and cut out my tongue to stop myself from revealing that, well to be frank, I. Need. Help. That is the worst thing ever and I cannot believe that while I am sinking deeper and deeper into this despair contemplating the pros/cons trying to rationalize the easiest way to end it all and reassuring myself that I will in fact not be missed.

This all leads to my ultimate fault which is trying to understand how me, a person viewed by some as a justice fighter and a heroine who won’t back down and will stand up for anyone who cannot stand for themselves...how does that woman, that person, ask for help? "A hero doesn’t need help. The hero is the helper.” I heard that on the documentary on Kathleen Hanna and it struck me as one of the truest statement I had ever heard. Not many things are simple truths anymore so that simple slice of black/white capital T truth was refreshing. And yet I saw in blatant display the irony...for I find it exhausting to require help. I cannot discuss emotions for I find the words literally die on my tongue or deep within my chest or gaging me in my throat. My desire to be understood utterly demolished and I am left being seen as the ice queen. The frozen hearted bitch when in fact I am crying and going insane inside. To compensate I never listen to my heart and go solely with my head or my gut never trusting my heart for it is constantly too weak to vocally utter a syllable.

As time goes on I find myself unable to admit this weakness for as a black woman I am constantly under attack be it in real life or social media or police brutality or racial/gender stereotypes which insists I am loud, angry, sex crazed, and belittle black men to man a few. How does someone dealing with all that and trust me so much more admit weakness or worse illness? How do I see that look on my husbands face of worry and helpless while the voice inside my own head twist that image into his desiring someone normal? I am left crying and motionless in the bed all day helpless to at times only clutch my own head with my fist trying to desperately will the voice(s) away.

The more weight compresses down upon me I feel that that warm bath and sharp blade become all the more tantalizing. No one is aware however of how unlikely that is to happen at this current time but the idea of release and of relief is never too far from my mind. With all of this I have a loving husband, the sweetest dog and the most amazing friends. I am not sure exactly what they all see when they think of me or shift their respective gazes my direction but I am grateful for it. Though that blackness that spreads as a lava heated ink throughout my body all but completely replacing any blood finds them as a colossal roadblock to my after mentioned release/relief.

After writing all of this the fact that I daily wake at 8am and make J and I coffee, clean our home, feed the dog, work on my novel and chat with friends seems all but impossible. Meeting friends for photos or a coffeehouses or at bars....completely impossible and yet I do it. I am currently training for my first (and then quickly second) 5k races. I am runner and yet the depression remains. I do not foresee it ever leaving me but I deal with it. As Jared Padalecki says #AlwaysKeepFighting and I like to think that most days I do. Most days are just regular life filled with paying bills and drinks with friends and Netflix marathons. Most days are completely normal and I think that may be why those low days are so difficult because it reminds me just how different I am. So if we know each other or if we ever meet please know that I am not withdrawn or quiet or being a cold icy hearted bitch out of some negative place...I’m just not feeling well.

But I am trying and I am Fighting not just little and big battles for others but for myself. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mad Max

My husband and I have this obsessive love for film. An average week for us finds us at our local theater seeing some film that either one or both of us voted for and we spend hours after analyzing each aspect of the visual story. That is just us. At our core the foundation of our relationship with cinema: the experience, the smells, the comfortable familiar.

On the particular Sunday which we saw Mad Max Fury Road I was battling my depression a bit. Nothing pulled me out of my peculiar funk that I try to shake off but it follows me step by step. I actually had gone to bed incredibly early because I simply could not think. I could not escape the melancholy. When into the bedroom burst J with all this energy saying we had a dinner appointment at Canal Bistro in Broad Ripple Village or we would go to see Mad Max. I had no desire to see Mad Max exactly other than my love of cinema…and Tom Hardy {1}. In the end a coin was flipped and we ate dinner at a local place called Yats who has a location near a Michaels, where I ran into quickly to purchase a few bundles of yarn because I love to knit then around the corner (literally) to see the film.

I would like to admit right now hand to Bible I have never seen any of the original Mad Max films. I really only heard of this current one because I love everything about Zoë Kravitz. My first thought was “This film has zero plot…” which continued as “This entire film is like a handful of very long action sequences…” to “This film has nothing to do with Mad Max…” to “Oh that’s supposed to be a plot…” all mixed with heart pumping drumming and electric guitar. When asked what I thought of the film i stated “Provocative cinematography and erotic pacing.” That’s all I could really say. I had no clue this was a “FEMINIST” film.

After the film let out I saw my Instagram was blowing up. Prior to the film I had uploaded a photo with the comments saying I was seeing Mad Max for J and in marriage we make compromises and at least Tom Hardy is in it…so you know I could drool over him for a while. I received all this questions on IG and text inquiring to how feminist it was or whatever. I was so pissed over the lack of a real plot I didn’t notice it. It was a horrible place filled with women being milked like cows and younger women being locked away and raped. I just saw people behaving like people.

Flash forward a week and I am at an instant with friends drinking when my pal Julia asks me about Mad Max. I told her about it and how if there was a feminist story it was so blended it as to have not stood out. She said that is probably actually very good since it shows everyone equally and that is when it hit me. Mad Max Fury Road does not make any grande statements or manifestos. What is does is show feminism at its definitive level. It is simply feminism by definition. Equality. Girls, women, men, boys, everyone is shown as a person. Their was nothing proactive to J or myself about the women and Max…they were just using each other to reach a common purpose.

Then of course all the manist, who by the way have not seen said film, are hating on it and to them I say a jolly FUCK OFF!!!! From what my husband says Max is always a side character and each film outside of the original feature strong women in dominate roles. I think today we hear from them more due to the internet and yay democracy gives everyone for better or worse a voice.

Now to the big question: Should you see Mad Max Fury Road. Sure, why not? Will it be the best film you’ve ever seen? No. But it is visually striking if nothing else. For all the brilliance and disgust this film is sure to stir within you it is an interesting film…especially if you have never seen the originals. I had not so the style was completely new to me. I actually am thinking of seeing it again because the cinematography was such that I feel it may have distracted me. And yet it is beautiful on the screen. This film really pushes and uses film for its full purpose…outside of a plot that is. It is what I call action without plot. The plot is so fine it is like taking a hike in the woods in the summer and walking into a spiders web. You would not have ever seen the web and your like where did that come from? That is the plot it is so sheer and fine that you stumble upon it and think that’s it? What?



1: I don’t care if I am taller than Tom he is fucking HOT! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

So…who are you?

My legal name is Tyne Sherice Swedish and I was born December 3, 1986 in Indianapolis, Indianapolis, United States of America. My parents names are Giselle Motley and Michael Swedish. I have three older siblings Danielle, Corey and Erica. I have eight nephews and one niece. Growing up I was the only child at family gatherings, then I was the only tween/teen sandwiched between adults and children….in a weird way I still am.

I was constantly bullied growing up due to my skin color and my families money, which wasn’t like old New England families…my family simply worked really hard and young Tyne reaped the benefits. Don’t worry a post later on will explain who I try to admit my privilege. Growing up I was very selective about how I appeared and who I was accepted by. I very much clung to fashion then (in junior high especially) as an outlet. I had zero true friends and a few associates. For the most part I remember everyone hating me and yet not completely excluding me. Shunned and yet in the “it” group of girls in our grade/junior high school.

High school I was still very different. Never been on a date. Never found any guys who after talking to for extended periods of time I did not find revolting. I had never been on a date and much like in junior high I was the odd one in the okay kids grouping. Though to be honest my school was so large I didn’t worry about completely blending in (or which my attitude and different way of thinking was of no help) and nor being Ms. Popular (going to school with kids who's families had real money saw to that…also I was not interested in fucking just anybody). My life was spent alone. I read and slept a great deal of time and the remainder was spent questioning everyone around me: teachers, adults, peers, nephews, etc… I was never satisfied. I had to know the reason behind the words people spoke. I had to know the truth. Often what I have found is that people are not interested in the truth. They prefer the lie of face value and my seeking value from real understanding was invalid. I had failed some basic human test that normal humans understood and that I failed miserably.

College was not as grande as I had imagined. I worked multiple jobs that varied by semester and was the film chair then the vice president of the Student Activities Programing Board. I made superficial friendships because if life had taught me anything it was that I was never meant to have lifelong friends (I have been cured of this and that comes later). I made okay grades and remained at home for far too long. The only actually great thing that happened in my late teens/early twenties was I fell in love with Jason C. Druley (now Dubois). Jason and I met at my first job ever. I was eighteen and a freshman in college and had just broken up with a violet and abusive boyfriend (he and I had dated the last semester of high school. He was a funny and great guy but then his mother was sick out of no where and she died during our senior spring break. He was a different guy after that. I hope he has found peace). Jason and I spent every shift after work together and through many difficulties and one breakup we are still us…nine years later.

After college my insomnia hit hard without college to ensure I was constantly exhausted. I was also unemployed for like the first time ever—Well in four years. After months of depression and exhaustion I found employment at a yoga studio I once frequented with my eldest sister. I was horrible but I met plenty of amazing people, some of which I am still friends with to this day. The great things to come out of this job (aside from the friends—obviously) was this adult I had bloomed into. This professional lady who could handle her own while working hard and efficient (two things i was in college). I would like to give credit to plenty of bogus ideologies and ideals but what really made me grow up in the workforce was the fact that I had bills to pay. This was no longer college where semester to semester I had a different job. My job had to aide Jason in providing, which my yoga job did very little of but in those four years I grew. I also had a fling with graduate school and lets just say I love academia but she doesn’t love me back. She broke my heart but I’ll never be able to forget her.

So that leaves now (to think a generalized and big picture view of my life basically fits onto one page. I guess I am only twenty-eight years old so I will take that as it is) and write now I am seated at my dining room table because my office needs work done. I am looking at running leggings I need to exchange at Target that I would have realized pre-run didn’t fit had my husband slowed his role and given me time to try them on. I am being haunted by Sophia Amoruso as she stares me down from her #GIRLBOSS book cover as I finish off a glass of red wine (not expensive because I am broke) and drinking water because I am roughly two liters behind where I should have consumed today. Oh and I am about to stand up and go into my kitchen to prepare my coffee (yes I had one earlier but due to some events it went cold before I could finish and had to drain the horrid cold coffee).

But wait theres more!

Never forget how this started a post ago. The internal depression of my mind plaguing me with questions remains constant. Am I black enough? Am I feminist enough? These are legitimate questions. I went natural but I straighten my hair. I don’t go around pontificating on the african diaspora. I wear makeup and enjoy a few fashion blogs. I am a dichotomy of traditional women clothing and menswear. I refuse to racially vilify people and have to internally smack myself for making board generalizations. I sometimes think I should be parading in four inch heels and starving myself to be a proper model size. Then I look at the beautiful Tara Lynn, Robyn Lawley, Ashley Graham, and Marquita Pring and realize I am beautiful just how I am.

But through all my mental ramblings I need to dissect my questions individually to gain proper understanding so I am not misunderstood as a form of pathos and the telos of my thoughts could be misconstrued into an abstract instead of a manifesto. So, upward and onward. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beat Writer

I wonder sometimes if I should stop writing. Who am I to stand on my soapbox? Furthermore why should anyone give a shit? At this moment I want to abandon my glass of wine for fresh coffee, a cigarette and a walk in the rain. It is raining today in Indianapolis and I feel a pull to walk the streets of downtown and listen to the city. I taught myself at nineteen to listen to the city. The city has since taught me a great deal and though it all but ignores me outright I follow it around like a good lapdog. Begging for attention. Begging to simply be allowed to follow at masters heels. That cigarette is tempting. I was never a serious smoker and since I started running again a month ago I haven't touched a cigarette. But the perfect image of a write is crazy hair, messy desk with Hemingway approved typewriter and a hot large coffee...cigarette burning nearby. Right? That hectic beat writer image.

I do not feel like a writer but maybe that is because of Indianapolis. Maybe if I was in New York I would feel authentic and proper. Maybe then I'd feel real. Like my voice mattered and wasn't simply background noise at best or at dead electric hum at worst.

The craziest part of me being equated to a writer is that somehow I've been able to manipulate others into believing I have talent in this sacred field. This unforgiving passionate lover who I believe is trying to kill me in some Vincent Price macabre way. I read my work and sometimes I dig it but I still feel like a phony and a fool. But then I think as I've been trained to from my sentence in American school systems "if not me then who, if not now then when?"  Which is total bullshit because I am just a black girl from Indianapolis, Indiana...right? I'm just me. But then again there is no one like me and I've always gotten bullied and been the outsider...the different other who doesn't belong and who thinks and says weird things. Who questions everyone and doesn't simply go with the follow and blend it. I wish I could blend in but just like when I wear horrible business causal office clothes I feel disgusting and count down the seconds until I can strip them from my body content to be nude if I must but free.

Regardless of the praise I've been given in my life on my writing be it fiction or A papers I struggle with my voice. My voice is too dominate and strong. My voice is exact and non yielding. My voice is powerful and seductive. My writing voice is hell because I suffer from horrible depression and I feel worthless and useless and tormented by voices in my head forcing their will on me until I write their stories down. I feel more insane than a talented writer.

But in the end of my melancholy and insanity lies words on the page and me not knowing what to do with the page. I didn't know what to do with the words so I placed them on paper and now I am stuck because literally what know? And that, I am sorry to say is where you, the reader comes into play. For you see my work must be read and I am just arrogant enough to believe you will read it. Not out of coolness or the bonds of feminism but because I have a voice I've doubt you've heard before and I will say things about myself and the world that you wouldn't believe.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Supernatural

Let’s be honest shall we? When we hear and talk about feminism the first thought in our minds is a woman of some sort, because feminism equates immediately with feminine and by feminine we mean a human being with XX chromosomes. So when feminism actually defines as the equality of the sexes (XX & XY) where do men feature? Some might argue in fighting with women for justice and equality, by joining the conversation, by speaking up and out about sexism. That’s all awesome but what we are missing in todays world is the complete polarization of men and exactly, if anything, what it means to be masculine. Is it to eat dry chicken and rice twelve times a day and pump iron to look like Chris Evan’s in Captain America? Is it to never drink out of a straw and absolutely no crying ever? Is it to completely reject everything that makes us human? If one were to look at the culture of today, then yes. There is no room for “masculine” in the definition of human. Actually a male (XY) must completely become a generalized stereotype of what is masculine.

In 1949 Simone De Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex. Within said work De Beauvoir argues that, “one is not born, but rather, becomes a woman”[1]. Basically gals this “becoming” is tied to the way men see themselves as human selves and see women as “Other.” The expectations of how this “Other” is, in contradiction to how men should be, become socialized realities [via compulsory heterosexuality] for female humans; as they adopt these socialized expectations [or anticipation of gender roles], they become women [2]. However, if we identify exactly what makes one human (like emotions for example) we find that somewhere along the way it became unmanly to be human. In fact one could argue (as I am about to in this essay so fucking enjoy) men have become the second sex. Now I know you are asking yourself “Tyne on what do you ground this claim?” Okay well I am going to use a very magical tool plenty of feminist before me have used to gauge the world...popular culture. I am actually going to use a pretty popular television show with a HUGE fandom: SUPERNATURAL!

The show is at its core based on two brothers Dean and Sam. Everything and everyone else just further tells their story and are in essence of no real importance which can be seen because most characters die off and are never heard from again. This show has thousands of tumblr accounts and fan fiction stories about it and boy do they range from all sorts of avenues I am going to generalize the hell out of this shit so buckle up [3]. Now in said program Sam begins and remains a pretty well balanced human being who is mature enough to deal with his and others emotions and problems while Dean begins the show as a polarized macho man. During the course of what has now been ten years Dean has dealt with a great deal and one sees through interactions with various characters and events exactly how human Dean is. Hell his worst enemy is himself in a brilliant mirror nightmare. The weight he bares is eminence and it is not all ego. However Dean is by far the most complex character of the show [4] he is not without his faults [5].

 Speaking of faults let’s talk about how Dean has sex with a fallen angel Hannah who has to find her lost ‘grace’ but somehow sex with Cas (a different angel) is repulsive to Dean because he is an All-American heterosexual male and how dare you assume otherwise. The thing is angels have no sex nor do they have a gender. They are at once male and female or if you’ve seen Dogma they have nothing like a Barbie doll. Cas states his true form, which can burn your eyes out, is as tall as the Chrysler Building [6]. Yet Cas consistently engages in sexual acts with women. WHAT THE FUCK?

Let’s talk about anticipation of gender really quick...

The anticipation of gender comes from Cas’ vessel...it’s a guy named Mr. Novak. In plenty of scenes such as Dean going to the then ...or Empire State building...I can never remember post apocalyptic future 2014 and Cas is a fallen angel with zero grace engaging in orgies with women. Now this is strange since Cas has no gender. He is neither male nor female and yet by simply being in a  mans form this angel decides to be heterosexual. Not bisexual or asexual but heterosexual; yes this makes zero sense and is almost the visual definition of compulsory heterosexuality.

Also Dean and Cas have a very deep and profound connection or friendship or whatever and yet it is filled with a huge amount of homoerotic overtones only to tell fans it is purely platonic; which is fine by the way! My problem is rooted in the issue some have with that: men engaging in an emotional relationship with one another falls into two categories in todays world: gay or gay. Men cannot, in todays standards, have an emotional relationship with each other like women can. Oh no...men must be closed off and nonemotional and everything non feminine. Because somehow having an emotional tie to someone is feminine. So Cas and Dean must be gay lovers, because men would never say or behave with one another the way they do [7]. One could also argue because John (Dean and Sam’s father) raised them, especially Dean, to be a solider the thought of bisexualism maybe never crossed Dean’s mind before and throughout the show with everything taken into account Dean could be and forever remain heterosexual. That’s cool...even with most men today identifying as “mostly” straight...it’s all cool. That’s part of the amazing piece of being part of the world today. Acceptance is in abundance.

I have to end here because I could direct this for many more hundreds of words. I shall simply end with the question: What do you think? Have you seen the show? Do you completely disagree with me? I will continue to state I have no answers...only questions. I question everything and my television programs, when I watch television which I will admit is a rarity.

1) found in the 1973 edition page 301.
2) Klassen, Religion and Popular Culture pg 96
3) I actually love Supernatural fan fictions stories and truly love how well written, creative, and passionate they are on discussing real life issues of homophobia, sexism, violence, rape, and so much more. I stick with Archive of our Own but I also enjoy random fandom on Instagram and Pinterest. The fans are some of the funniest people you might every interact with and they do everything for free and with oh so much heart.
4) I actually firmly believe the show is all about Dean.
5) The entire show has huge loopholes and faults mind you that anyone could pick up on case in point: Angels are killed...where do they go? They literally just die while God is no where to be found and all demons are killed return to hell and vampires (and etc...because duh right?) go to purgatory. But the angels do not just go back to heaven? Seriously?
6) ...or Empire State building...I can never remember
7) Disclaimers: I ship the hell out of Dean/Cas...like you have zero clue dudes! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Virginity

vir·gin·i·ty (vərˈjinədē/)
noun
  1. the state of never having had sexual intercourse.
    "he lost his virginity in college"
    synonyms:chastitymaidenhoodmaidenheadhonorpurityinnocence;
  • the state of being naive, innocent, or inexperienced in a particular context.

I have this friend....we will call her Sunshine*. A few days ago Sunshine and I were out to lunch in Broad Ripple Village catching up and celebrating her upcoming birthday. While walking to our second destination for coffee Sunshine spotted a penis someone had drawn in marker on a power box much like one would find in an elementary textbook. Sunshine, in her great childlike wonder shouted “PENIS!!!!”** I shook my head and stated, “I don’t have much experience with those. Only one.” To which Sunshine “awww’d” and “That’s so awesome” and “That’s how it should be” finally concluding with “I’ve sadly had experience with a few.” 

Then I had to push and push to finally joke it out of her “What’s a large number nowadays? Twenty plus?” To which she laughed and stated she very much was still on her hands. It turned out she was still on her hand. I then got the details of each encounter/guy. She did not seem happy about her sex life and granted we all make mistakes but it saddened me that my friend could not celebrate her sexuality. She’d had sex when she wanted to. Done and done...right? Why did Sunshine hate that it had been more than one guy? Why was she not pleased with her decisions? And how many women view their sexuality in this way? 

I have a firm view on sex with J: we were young, fell in love and it has been fulfilling work for nine years. Also I love sex with J...so gratifying and satisfying. I however often question myself on my single sexual partner status. Have I missed out? Did I miss life-lessons? Did he? I have no regrets sexually. But how many of those “regrets” are culturally patriarchally leaning? Have I been trained to think my sexuality and life is better because I have only empaled myself on one penis? 

I have a firm view that the patriarchy has us all pretty brainwashed with this idea of virginity. That it can only be ’taken’ by a penis. That for boys it is a curse to rid oneself of immediately and for girls to hold onto until a certain penis that, ‘locks it down forever’ says to part with it. Now I will state that I do not believe in our cultural view of virginity. I think virginity is a male idea of the penis changing a girl life forever and along with the period is supposed to usher us into womanhood. 

And to that I say FUCK THAT SHIT. A penis does not make me a woman. Sex is just a new activity I do much like how I started drinking coffee every morning and running. It was just a new activity I began engaging in; simple, just as the definition above. I don’t think a penis need be involved but can be. Hell most people begin having sex with themselves so a penis isn’t needed but maybe a hand is? 

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Tyne, who are you to say that? To completely disregard a cultural marker like that?” Well, I am me...so theres that. But also I have lived life for twenty...something...years now and one phrase I have heard every girl state on an infinite loop is “I don’t feel any different.” This post first sexual encounter is reported back to friends constantly. It is almost expected but that isn’t the part we want to hear. The after isn’t even important. Girls gush on all the details leading up to it: Did he bring your favorite flower? Did he take you on the most magical date ever? What did you wear? All of these are valid questions because the lackluster sex and the “I don’t feel any different.” Aren’t interesting. Right? 

We all know the sex has to be all amazing from her on out and nine times out of ten we are just happy to have the weightful burden of virginity off of our chest. Because it is crushing and we are to protect it but if we get too old we turn into spinsters and are bombarded with the questions “Why haven’t you had sex yet?” As if it is a secret time you should have been fucking and missed the memo. 

I know I know! What about the hymen Tyne? What about the dear sweet bloody maidenhead? Well, I honestly think...no matter what Tampax writes inside the Tampax Pearl leaflet with directions and information about how the hymen can break easily during a period with use of tampons and that does not make you not a virgin anymore. Well, someone alert the Geisha’s and all the other cultures who think the intact hymen equates virginity. They’ve been fucking up for centuries now. Also someone should alert all those women obtaining surgery for rehymenization. That’s right, it turns out Tampax already decided that your hymen has nothing to do with virginity. 

To all of this I say ladies...have sex if you want to. Be safe. Be smart. And have fun. I hate on a deep profound level that Sunshine has any feelings of burden in regard to her sex life. I would not have my sex life looked to as proper or as it should be. Your twenty...my one...her five...it is all okay. Now to some they will question how a catholic woman just typed that. Well, I am no one to judge anyone else. God made us all different and gave us all different lives. My life led me to J at the age of eighteen and I haven’t regretted it once. I would hope none of you had serious regrets regarding sex but our lives our filled with regrets, maybes, and what-ifs. That’s normal...just, for me okay, just enjoy yourself. 

*This is not a Harlem Nights joke...oh who am I kidding it totally is! Ha! 
**The !’s designate exactly how loudly this was shouted to both myself and the general public. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My journey to feminism

Written by Heather Part Two.... {read Part One HERE}

It was a sweet breath, that first thought. When it came, exactly, I have no way of remembering, although I will never forget it’s effects. It was the simple, but irrevocable thought,

“I am enough.”

And with that thought came another, swiftly on it’s heels,

“I am valuable.”

These thoughts were so new, so unexpected. I gazed at them with no small amount of scepticism. Perhaps they were a bit too revolutionary. Too bold. To presumptuous.

That merely being born, being a human was enough? That it meant I could have words to say, ideas to present, and decisions to make regarding my existence?

I could say ‘yes’.

I could  say ‘no’.

I could say, ‘I don’t know.’

Merely because I was. I existed. I was autonomous. Not because I was “better than”, or “more than”. But because I “was”.

So, my first touch with feminism was really my awakening to my human-ness. Apart from my gender, understanding and wondering at everything that made me, me.

My gifts, my talents, the way I processed dilemmas and approached life. The more I got to know the “me” in the mirror, the more amazed I was at how much I hated myself. And how much I really , really wanted that to change. I was supposed to be comforted with the idea of finding my identity in God, but the god I was subjected to was one of a man’s imagining. A god obsessed with creating convoluted systems of subjugation and slavery. A system quite convenient for a religion obsessed more with order than beauty, and control instead of mutual love.

Of course, as a married woman, I was nervous about how this awakening would be received. There was a lot at stake as I stepped out into this new realm of thought. I learned that you can tell a lot about a person when they find they are key in your equation of growth. Gladly, that part of my story has a good ending. I know for many, it isn’t so. Their struggle is, in the end, punctuated with the loss of a partner, friend, lover.

In every way imaginable, I gained all of the above in spades. I woke up and found that in my pursuit of my own humanity, I was discovering the humanity of others around me. That if I knew myself to be lovable, worthy, and grand, those around me possessed the same value. I could relax into this new structure and in finding my feet, I could aid those around me to see and love themselves.

The fight for control isn’t necessary when humans value one another. A secret trump card held by only one gender for the purpose of keeping things all tidy is just simply not needed when you can set aside the need for the last word and simply, love.

As this awareness grew inside me I became uncomfortably aware that it was clashing with 30 years of teaching that I was permanently situated as less dependable than the males around me. It bounced around and the adjustments were agonizing at times. It was two steps forward, one step back as I mastered the dance of human value and as I began living the consequences both positive and negative of this decision to see myself as equal.

It has changed how I make decisions, how I approach my relationships, how I view the age-old constructs of our society. All because I owned up to being fully human. Complete, in myself. The term “feminist” was a late arrival on the scene. I avoided it as long as I possibly could until I couldn’t avoid it anymore. To believe myself to be fully equal to all the humans around me meant I believed myself to be equal to men in particular. So, in the simplest of forms, my feminism wasn’t something pursued or even understood as such for quite awhile. It was a logical ownership of something I already understood deep in my soul.

It means that I cherish me. I cherish the humans around me and their autonomy. And it also means I more deeply appreciate men than I ever have. Feminism, to me, means that this glorious state of being human, with all it’s mystery, is something to hold close and cherish in myself as well as others.

Interestingly, I didn’t deconvert from my Christian faith. I believe I found a deeper, more truthful understanding of my faith, inside of this idea that God is love. The deeper I dug and the more I threw off the handy, but fictional god that had been created for me, the more reverently I held myself inside of that.

Feminism, is, quite simply, a wonderful, practical distillation of love.

Because it is merely echoing the declaration that all that is created is good, valuable, and equal. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Their misogyny is leaking

"Their patriarchy is leaking. 
Their misogyny is leaking. 
We will not be censored.”
Wise words typed up and shared with the world via Tumblr by artist Rupi Kaur.  She shared a beautiful portrait of herself with a menstrual leak in bed and I have to say I find it to be both beautiful and relaxing. I mean, ladies, we have all been there...with the either wakes you up in the early morning hours to clean up or when your alarm blasts. I have to say that I am often at my most comfortable when my period first starts. It is as if my entire body relaxes while the internal reboot happens. But this photo and the polarizing view of woman is not relaxing. It is detrimental to us.


Above is said photo that on Instagram stopped me in my tracks. I loved it immediately. I thought how honest is this woman that she would share what others of us wouldn’t dare. Partly out of disgust or revulsion but also out of shame. We are taught in society to be ashamed of something that one we cannot control but two is healthy and supposed to happen to us month after month year after year for most of our lives. The thing that truly everything else aside makes us women. 

Yesterday on Facebook a gal pal tagged me in a post stating the following, 
"I know I'm a working progress, however we as women and girls have completely lost our shyness. It is REALLY ok to cover up and leave some form of curiosity. We must respect ourselves and others.” 
Now my pal read this and responded and tagged me, however, since I am not friends with said anonymous gal I could not so I shared this in a post of my own, 
“Pearl* hey I read what you tagged me in but it won’t allow me to comment. I don't think the term she meant was shyness...that isn't what women need. We need to be more vocal and dominate and present. Shyness is beyond a step backward.
Now maybe she meant modesty. Now I dress and do not mind modesty. I personally prefer it rather than seeing everything and yet that is that woman's business not my own. Too often we impose our views on women: ie: I wouldn't sleep with those many men so she's a slut or I wouldn't show off my breasts that much so she's wrong. No she is doing what she wants and that is her right to do. Also trying to force modesty is horrible and constricts ones independence and culture (ie: Saudi Arabia).
People just need to stop being so judgmental and focus on themselves more. Be The Change You Want To See In The World. Gandhi did not say judge others and force them to conform to “your” views."
Following this statement Pearl and I had a nice conversation but it struck me just how polarizing our views are; not only that but how conflicting. It reminds me of this cartoon

 via

Women (and men) are so critical but we do not stop to think those ideas through. For example if one starts to tell women to cover up when do you stop? Where is the line? Is the woman on the image above not what the girl meant in her Facebook post because that is what happens when you regulate what women can and cannot do? Now I am not saying the gal on the left of the cartoon has more power for she too suffers from a dominate voice telling her how to look but these women could also be dressed this way because they chose to. And that is the real thing here is a woman’s free choice absent men and media polarizing view of us. Without anyone telling the bleeding woman above she is violating their terms and conditions**or by telling women they need to cover their bodies. Women do not have to do what you say. Women actually do have brains and can make up their own minds absent your opinion. Women do not need to be “modest” or “shy” women need to be who they really are...regular people. 

So, so what if you are leaking or if you have body hair or if you are breast feeding your child...it is all normal. Women have to stand up and say we will not go quietly and we will not be censored because we are people and we have value. Our voice and story matter because over half of the population shares these same experiences. 


*[named changed for privacy]
**smooth move Instagram 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

sex symbols

A few Sunday’s ago a few gal pals and I went to brunch at a local diner called Good Morning Mama’s. At brunch it was brought to my attention that a friend of mine had never been to the Art’s District here in Indianapolis so off we went. Parking was free so we parked and since it was the Sunday before Saint Patrick’s Day we proceeded to drink our way bar to bar along Mass Ave. We even walked all the way to the WholeSale District to try a coffeehouse.

But this post however is not about the beauty of friendships with women. That is a different post that someone should write for me because I have spoken to many female friends state how easier it is to befriend women as women and not as teenagers. But as I stated this is not that post; oh no! This post is about how pop culture shows women how they are merely used to sex something up. We have no other use or function.

Now I know you are thinking, “How the hell does the barhopping with a gal pal have to do to sexualized images of women?” Well, one hold on because i’m totally getting there...Jesus! You’re so pushy. Two, here it is: While barhopping my pal and I stopped to drink at a place called Bakersfield. It was in Bakersfield when I headed to use the bathroom I saw it. A chalkboard drawing of a headless women with breasts so huge they couldn’t fit into a bikini top with hands on hips. It bothered me. I went to the restroom and walked back to my spot at the bar and asked my friend if she saw it. She said yeah and she couldn’t believe it. Upon my second trip to the restroom* I decided I couldn’t just do nothing. The words of Edmund Burke coursed through my blood
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
So I picked up the chalk and wrote this over the drawing of the headless woman
SHOW RESPECT. WOMEN ARE MORE THAN THIS.
A few women stopped to watch me but no one said anything to me. The bar was packed so I am not sure if anyone wanted me to leave or not. Not sure if anyone noticed really. My pal and I then closed out and left so I have no clue if any man going toward the mens restroom wrote anything. Or any women for that matter.

Now fast forward to this past Sunday when my husband and I went to the cinema, which for us was a huge deal because that is a firm foundation of our relationship. We had not be able to attend since Christmas so this was a huge deal for us since we used to attend weekly. Upon acquiring out tickets and finding seats we prepared for the huge thrill of the cinema for me: the trailers. I have been know to attend a later showing if I miss the trailers. I was horrified. There women were...barley in any film and when a woman was shown it was merely her ass in a shot of her swimming, or removing clothing. No stories of women or women shown as equals; oh no! It was the headless chalk drawing all over again. I was repulsed and my husband held my hand, because naturally he understands...after nine years with me how could he not understand really. He tells me constantly how being with me has made him see racial issues and women rights issues completely differently or what he really means is “I never knew it was this bad for black people and women in America!” He grew up understanding poverty and how it effects everyone, but again different post.

Then at the conclusion of our films climax** our hero is rushing to save the world and finds a missing Scandinavian Princess and she screams asking to be released. She then offers anal sex if he will release her from he Posh cell. The hero swears to return and the almost last scene is the Princess’ ass and viagina which repulsed me. As a woman I am supposed to sit in the film which is clearly meant for guys and deal with it. I am supposed to accept that instead of all the gentlemen talk throughout the entire film it ends with anal sex and a nude woman. A women who feels she has to barter to be released from a prison cell after being kidnapped.

Also why is it a huge deal in Sex and the City film we see Dante’s dick for mere flitting seconds and yet I am constantly bombarded with images of sex, women’s bodies, and women enacting sex and I am supposed to sit down shut up and take it. Hell if I demand to see more than a man’s chest. I want him nude just as nude as the women are. Either we are all sexualized images, which are so naturalized in American Culture it often goes over peoples heads, and is seen to simply being normal.

I scream no more. I want more than chalk to demand respect over these images. I do not want to be told I am not the audience the film is for because all films do it in someway. Very few stories are for women or even consider a female audience member. Everything is becoming so hyper masculine that everyone is suffering. Nothing about our culture today is okay; Nothing!

Now I am by no way shaming anyones preferred sexual positions and whatever. You do you homie. But that was completely misplaced for that film so it bothered me even more because it was completely unnecessary. Also the women in the trailer already had me on edge when one considers the fraternities who took photos of nude women without their consent and everything else that is happening to women in todays culture and here we are...sexualized objects and nothing more. It makes Kerry Washington’s speech at the GLAAD awards so important
In the real world, being an "other" is the norm." In the real world, the only norm is uniqueness, and our media must reflect that.
Our “media”, our “Pop Culture”,  must reflect us. Not all black men fighting during World War II were cooks. Not all female stories are overly emotional and only for fellow female audiences. I want to live in a world where black and female stories are told as something other than sex and poverty.

One of my life-long hero is Geena Davis and she once said something that has since stuck with me and had a massive effect on how I view media

*We drank there for like two hours.
** We saw The Kingsmen by the way.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Patricia Arquette Problem

It all starts with an actress winning an award on a stage televised to millions. Just a simple golden statue measuring 13½ inches tall and weighs in at a robust 8½ pounds. What is said on stage causes the actress Meryl Streep and actress/singer/dancer Jennifer Lopez to jump from their seats cheering. What happens backstage however, causes an outrage of millions.

Patricia Arquette’s Oscar Speech on stage:
"Okay, Jesus. Thank you to the Academy, to my beautiful, powerful nominees. To IFC, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland, Molly Madden, David DeCamillo, our whole cast and our crew. My Boyhood family, who I love and admire. Our brilliant director Richard Linklater. The impeccable Ethan Hawke. My lovelies, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater. Thomas and Paul, thank you for giving me my beautiful children. Enzo and Harlow, you’re the deepest people that I know. 
My friends who all work so hard to make this world a better place. To my parents, Rosanna, Richmond, Alexis and David. To my favorite painter in the world, Eric White, for the inspiration of living with a genius. To my heroes, volunteers and experts who have helped me bring ecological sanitation to the developing world with GiveLove.org. 
To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Patricia Arquette’s backstage Oscar comment:
"So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”
Patricia went from brilliant trailblazer to old white second wave feminist stereotype very quickly but that is why Dr Roxane Gay said in Bad Feminist to not place people on pedestals. For no quicker did we stand up on her shoulders and praise her then we began to distance ourselves from her and shame her. Gloria Steinem, the brilliant feminist icon from the second wave of feminism who founded Ms. Magazine said,
“A pedestal is as much prison as any small, confined space."
However the line “...all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.” That is the hurdle I cannot condone no matter how much I want to make excuses for her, because it sounds as if she means White Feminist and not Feminist or Women’s Rights in general. I am sure she meant, ‘just as Jane Fonda marched for Civil Rights and for all who are heterosexual and spoke for gay rights we now need everyone to speak up for women no matter whether they are a woman or not.’ See in America white people did not need to stand up and march or go on freedom rides but many did. Straight people could ignore the inequality that effects gay citizens but many of us shout out about how wrong it is.

Naturally as feminist we want some of that love reflected back in our fight so it is not just a white middle class second wave feminist fight. However, she is forgetting that women like myself have to fight a fight of racism and sexism. Neither of my fights are over. They are on going. I think she meant well and if she could speak again she would realize anti-racist feminism from the third wave of feminism.

I sure she also meant that more women of color need to identify as feminist and speak out on feminism. As I comment here in America we [black community] generally do not self identify as feminist, though we are basically a matrilineal community due to slavery. Also I think she [Patricia] desperately wants people of all groupings to unite for equality for women and not their own groups fight. It's a complex system we wade through here in America daily but we are naturalized to it. We have to wake up and fight the good fight, which means, for me, racism and sexism. And, to be honest, it should be your fight too.

This all caused me to remember the great quote by the legend June Jordan:
“I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.” 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The F-Word

What is sad yet hilarious to me is that women would view feminism and, as a side effect themselves, in such limited terms as to think there is only one kind. The F-Word is as diverse as we are and yet we [women] constantly try to force ourselves to conform to this monolithic idea of what feminism is and if we do not or cannot fit that polarizing image of what a feminist is then we are not a feminist. No dear, that is wrong and a false way of thinking. You are in fact a feminist. We just have to figure out what kind of feminist you are. Here come all the beautiful ‘ism’s’!

Liberalism Feminism

        A form of feminism that fights for women’s equality to men under the law and social policy.

Radical Feminism

        A form of feminism that focuses on liberation from current patriarchal structures (such as marriage) to free women from bondage.

Cultural Feminism

        A form of feminism which suggests that women and men have different needs and thus must have separate cultural, including religious, spaces.

Socialist Feminism

        A form of feminism that emphasizes the connections between class and gender divisions.

Anti-Racist Feminism

        A branch of feminism that highlights and theorizes about the intersectionality of different types of oppression such as (but not limited to) racialization, gender, and class. Further, it takes issue with the gender blindness of traditional anti-racist work. 

Transnational Feminism

        A form of feminism that acknowledges the differing experiences and needs of women in the various cultural and geographical contexts of the world. Transnational feminist focus on global support and interaction while emphasizing local needs and voices.


DIY Feminism

        Is an umbrella term fusing together different types of feminism. Drawing on genealogies of punk cultures, grassroots movements, and the technologies of late capitalism, this movement meshes lifestyle politics with counter-cultural networking. It takes as its focus everyday acts of resistance and power.     

Post Feminism Feminism

        Is a reaction against some perceived contradictions and absences of second-wave feminism. The term post-feminism is ill-defined and is used in inconsistent ways. It was historically used to pose a contrast with a prevailing or preceding feminism.


And there you have it...oh but once again you were about to limit yourself! Please stop with that! Seriously! STOP! This is by no means an exhaustive listing. These are but a few types of feminism placed here and defined to wake you up. To show you that Feminism is not a dirty word. It is positive and it is as diverse as we are. You may find that you are a Transnational-Anti-Racist-Socialist Feminist and you know what? That’s awesome! You may find a piece of yourself in each type of f-word you discover. You may find that you are fine working within the established system and are a Liberalism Feminist through and through. Awesome!

The point of this post was to awaken you and myself to the box we place every piece of ourselves into. You do not have to place yourself into such tight confines unless you want to. I am the type of person who doesn’t need everything about me in a box but I like them to be labeled. If that makes sense? I enjoy being labeled Catholic. I enjoy being labeled American. I enjoy being labeled a Woman. I enjoy being labeled Sister/Aunt/Friend. I enjoy discovering where I stand on key and not key issues/ideologies/political theories. I enjoy labels for myself but I by no means force myself into small boxes. Some of my labels contradict one another and thats fine. I am perfectly comfortable with making up labels for myself that the world does not acknowledge such as Catholic-Communist-Militant-Transnational-Anti-Racist-Socialist Feminist (and more) to explain myself to the world. And that’s awesome!

Now to hear from you! Did you know there are so many types of feminism? Which do you think you fall into? Do you fall into any of them? Is there a type not mentioned that we all need to know about? Do you find yourself over labeled or too boxed in? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Music Monday

Purity Ring are a Canadian electronic music duo originally from Edmonton, formed in 2010. The band consists of Megan James (vocals) and Corin Roddick (instrumentals). (via Wikipedia)

I first found Purity Ring via the blog Trop Rouge who was playing their song Obedear and I loved it. So please enjoy! And yes I am aware that this band features a man but like a little under half of the worlds population men are present and as long as they are not misogynistic pigs they are completely welcome here. 


Hey! Know any talented female artist you think we all should have on our radar? Drop her name in the comments and we'll feature her! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

feminist literature

Whether you think it was Lean-In or BossyPants one must admit to the beauty that is the neo fem-lit movement right now. I mean why doesn’t ever bookstore simply start a shelf because by the looks of Instagram we are all reading the same books! Be them memoirs, essays or humor women are writing and reading books about the lives of women. Scare us, make us laugh, cause us to think and/or feel. We can’t get enough!

I have read Lean In, BossyPants, Bad Feminist, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, Man Repeller,  and Brain on Fire. I am currently reading Full Frontal Feminism. Then I will conquer my ever growing stack of Feminist works: GirlBoss, Seriously...I’m Kidding, Not That Kind Of Girl, The End of Men, and Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History. I’m all Women’s Studies and Social Sciences over here, but why shouldn’t I be?

Sure reading those young adult dystopian sagas are fun and quick and open us to discussions; but it isn’t enough. And I am not the only one who seems to agree. I mean look at all the reading being done and money being spent to obtain and devour these Feminist writings. I hope these books are being read and are not simply being props to photos of Instagram. That would be the ultimate travesty because these books are as brilliant as the women who have written them.

But none of me listening my current reading situation is discussing or even attempting to answer the question of what is happening right now in feminism? Seriously WHAT THE FUCK is happening? Is it social peer pressure of wanting to be included on social networking sites? Do you feel that if Man Repeller is reading something so should you? Is it [social networking] simply a tool in spreading books to the masses who may not obsess over Oprah or the New York Times Book Review/Best-Sellers Listing? What is going on here? How are all these books all being published at the same time? Are we now in a fourth wave of feminism? Are we Millennials doing something different but extremely right?

Sure we Millennials are all very educated college graduates who cannot find jobs thus take crappy part-time jobs which gives us plenty of time to read and become urban explores on Instagram. Sure this is a huge over generalization but there is plenty of truth to it. Sure our grandmothers  had the Feminine Mystique and The Second Sex but our mothers had anti-Vietnam protest and bra burnings. The women of the 1980s-1990s America were dominating in business* but what are we?

This reading generation of women who grew up with Emma Watson and who obsess over anything and everything MK and Ash. I guess it is far to say that we are watching videos and dominating social media [social networking, youtube, blogs, etc...] with information but is still small. We need to do so much more and more in real life. You posting that Huffington Post Women’s article is fantastic, but how do you carry it into the coffeehouse or job or instameet? How are going out into the world as well read and educated women to change its misogynistic ways?

I have no answers! I really don’t so do not think this post or blog is magical and can fix the world or even your mind. I think of questions constantly. I have a friend who once was my Fine Arts teacher sophomore year of high school and Heather wrote in my senior book that she loves that I question everything. I question authority. I question myself. I question the world. I question constantly. That may be why I love to read, write, and obsess over film. It is all a method or attempt at answering a question or a set of questions. When we try to understand the world we are filled with questions and that is a very good thing. We should never observe the status quo. We should never allow the world to pressure us into becoming the polarizing figures they deem suitable.

That being said there is something going on. My copy of Full Frontal Feminism is a second edition and the introduction is very fascinating. Jessica Valenti states how far women have come in the last five years and by “how far” she is talking about these books we are reading and discussing over social media. She is talking about all the Emma Watson’s of this new age standing up and proclaiming ourselves feminist. She is talking about us choosing to have amazing sex with our partners and simultaneously picking up the torch and running full speed ahead. Of us taking back the ‘f-word’ and loving it.

All of this being said I would love to hear from you...yes you reading this. What books by women authors have you been reading or Instagramming or seen on your social networks?

Sidenote: Here on le blog we will feature a book review a month on First Friday. I’m calling it Fem-Lit Friday. Call me lame but I think that sounds so cool! These book reviews for the most part will be written by other women and not myself. I think that will be so much fun. If you would like to share a book review you have written please email me at tsswedish@me.com.

*At least in comparison to early women work place ratios. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gender Trouble

“Gender ought not to be constructed as a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts follow; rather, gender is an identity tenuously constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space though a stylized repetition of acts. The effect of gender is produced through the stylized of the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements, and styles of various kinds of constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self.” Gender Trouble by Judith Butler*
Performing ones gender is actually very interesting and is something every single person on this planet male and female does. Believer it or not there is no such thing as feminine or masculine so you can stop teaching your sons to act like men and not cry when they fall off their bicycles and stop calling your daughters princess and pushing pink on them.

Dr. Judith Butler argues that not only is gender constructed, but it is constructed through the very anticipation of gender. This anticipation is related to compulsory heterosexuality which is the expectation that everyone is naturally heterosexual or that everyone must live a heterosexual life.** This is interesting because no one today would say when they think of sex they think of reproduction. They think of pleasure. The thought of reproduction forces us into two groups: Male and Female. If we are only concerned with pleasure then the local characteristics of masculine and feminine do not matter. Butler states that we performing our gender repetitively and we become naturalized to it. This causes us to perform our sex as well.***

In The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvior states, “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” This is social constructionism at its base level. This “becoming” is tied to the way men see themselves as human selves and see women as “Other”. The expectations of how this “Other” is, in contradiction to how men should be, become socialized realities for female humans; as they adopt these socialized expectation, they become women.****

Now this may sound insane but when we look at drag...and I mean seriously consider drag. For anyone out there reading this that is unfamiliar with drag it is an act when males dress up as women or when women dress up as men and act out those gender roles. Now this is different from what many comedians do because they are simply out of a laugh and seem to think keeping the body hair and etc help remind us that they are in fact a dude in a dress. Drag is serious and the those who perform it are performing the gender. When we look at it from that point of view we can analyze exactly how we perform our genders daily: from prep (hair removal, etc.) to clothing choices, to how we walk. It is all there and all there naturally and yet on purpose. If in that dress and high heels the man does not walk a certain way then he is not performing that gender accurately. This may turn his performance into a joke or cause some to be offended, as if their gender is being made fun of.

We are so naturalized to our performance that I do not even think of swaying my hips when I walk because that is how I was taught to walk. I clearly remember being four or five walking around in my eldest sisters high heels and her and my mother teaching me how to walk in them because I refused to take them off. They taught me how to walk the walk if you will. I still walk this way. I do not think twice about applying makeup before I leave the house. In my family that is simply what women do...so it is what I do. Now I also am drawn to mens clothing and have a semi-androgynous style to me but against my better mind I still perform my gender without thought.

This is an interesting slop to slide because it rings true also for men and many men and women cannot handle the roles society thinks they should still be filling. Most people are not feminine or masculine. We are our own unique mixup or thoughts and preferences and the denying those to strive an external pressure of conformity is dangerous. Telling a little boy men do not cry is dangerous. Telling a girl women should never be smarter than a man and if she is to lie about it is dangerous. To suggest as a woman I have to wear skintight dresses and high heels when I want to wear denim and a flannel is dangerous...for you not for me. I’m going to dress as I damn well please, but you may receive a black eye.

We polarize men so harshly and when they crack we shame them for behaving weirdly or for not be strong enough. We call women lesbians because they prefer mens clothing or haircuts. We are pushing the polarization past the 1950s American elitist threshold and soon we will pay the consequences. One cannot view men showing what is otherwise considered human emotions and call them gay but when a woman does it is normal or she is overly emotional. This is a dangerous game we play daily without consent because it is normal to us. We might even fight to continue to engage in this horrible system of oppression and control. Instead of dealing in an outdated world on an outdated system because seriously we update iTunes more than our archaic attitudes on sexuality in America we need to begin a process of accepting people as people.



*Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay pg. 70.
**Religion and Pop Culture pg. 78.
***Religion and Pop Culture pg. 80.
****Religion and Pop Culture pg. 96.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Music Monday

"Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos; August 22, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and composer. She is a classically-trained musician and has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. She has been nominated eight times for a Grammy Award.

Having already begun composing instrumental pieces on piano, Amos won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, the youngest person ever to have been admitted, at age five. She was expelled at age eleven for, in her own words, insisting on playing by ear and because of her interest in popular rock music. Amos originally served as the lead singer of short-lived 1980s pop group Y Kant Tori Read before achieving her breakthrough as a solo artist at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s. She has since become one of the world’s most prominent female singer-songwriters whose songs have discussed a broad range of topics from sexuality, feminism, politics and religion. She was also noteworthy early in her solo career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument. Some of her charting singles include "Crucify", "Silent All These Years", "God", "Cornflake Girl", "Caught a Lite Sneeze", "Professional Widow", "Spark", "1000 Oceans", "Flavor", and "A Sorta Fairytale", her most commercially successful single in the U.S. to date. Amos has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide. She has been nominated for and won several awards in different genres, ranging from MTV VMAs to classical music with an Echo award in 2012.” (via Wikipedia)

Just as a random: I love Tori’s song “Winter”! It is fabulous and really speaks to me for reasons I don’t even want to think of. Enjoy the playlist! It should keep y’all busy for a few hours...I mean it features 249(ish) songs.


Hey! Know any talented female artist you think we all should have on our radar? Drop her name in the comments and we'll feature her!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fem-Lit Fridays

{This is a new feature. Book reviews of books written by women, which will featured on the First Friday monthly. Some will be fiction...other non. Enjoy! Also if you know of a book written by a female  author you love please drop me a message in the comments. I would love to have various book reviews once a month written by different women on books they enjoy.}

A Review of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan 
written by Nicole Mathew 

On a rainy summer Saturday afternoon, I was cruising the shelves at our local bookstore and stumbled upon Susannah Cahalan’s memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. I admit I was drawn to it by the haunting image of the author and the book’s title on the front cover, but once I read the summary on the back, I was sold. I took it home and I couldn’t put it down.
Cahalan is a young, twenty-something woman with a bright career ahead of her as a journalist with one of New York’s most famous publications. She has a wonderful boyfriend, with whom she recently entered a serious relationship. She’s healthy and ready to take on the world. Life is great. Not much later, she wakes up in a hospital unsure why she is strapped down with wires hooked to her body that are traced back to monitors and machines.
While the precise point of when her illness began is hard to pin down, she realized in the time leading up to her diagnosis some of her symptoms: migraines, light/color sensitivity, difficulty controlling emotion, seizures, numbness in her left hand, hallucinations, and intense paranoia.
With her paranoia, it started with a bug bite that prompted her to fumigate her apartment to rid it of the bed bugs she thought she saw. She suddenly had the urge to read through her boyfriend’s emails – something she never would normally do. She started to feel like she was slipping into a deep darkness.
Doctors continually asked her how much she drank or smoked, if she was taking drugs and partying, as her symptoms raised suspicions toward that direction. Conversations with friends and family turned into her hearing things they weren’t really saying. Cahalan knew there was something else wrong – this couldn’t be the cause of her decent into madness.
After her stay in the hospital, visiting with various doctors/medical professionals, and receiving multiple scans and tests, she finally found a neurologist (who was also an epileptologist/neuropathologist) who helped her get closer to finding the cause of her breakdown. After conducting a simple pencil and paper test on Cahalan, which lead him to the diagnosis.
“Her brain is on fire…
her brain is under attack
by her own body.”
In her attempt to recollect the events leading up to her diagnosis, Cahalan uses her exceptional journalistic skill to carefully craft her story while she puts the puzzle back together. She was lucky to have hospital records, interviews, notes from journals she and her family members kept during the time she was in the dark, videos from when she was in the hospital, and wonderful doctors who were dedicated to finding the cause of ailment.
Calahan’s memoir provides readers a brave account of how a very rare illness took part of her life away and left her scrambling to put the pieces back together, without any recollection of how it started or how she ended up in the hospital with an illness with the cause basically unknown. Her boyfriend and parents never gave up hope that she would find herself again, and fought hard to make sure she had the best treatment possible.

Though heavy with medical jargon, this book is very informative; Cahalan shares her experience in the hopes of regaining her memory and helping others who find themselves in a similar situation. Don’t let the terminology discourage you from reading her story; she has the unique advantage of explaining these terms to her audience as she learned them, making it easy to comprehend. She’s become an advocate for the sufferers of this illness, prompting people suffering to ask more questions and explore all possible causes and solutions in trying to get their lives (and memories) back.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...