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 
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