In the busy lives we lead, it is easy to forget about some of the things that make us actually smile or laugh out loud. At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, I have found just the key. The Intersections Festival is an amalgamation of dance, theater, music, creativity and audience participation that pulls together artists from around the world to around the corner. The festival performances questions the bounds of many of issues in society, from racial issue to gender to norms about passion and compassion. Moreover, there are several sessions either before or after performances in which the audience can talk and participate in workshops led by the artists.
Happy New Year everyone! I love this time of year because despite the fact that many beginnings may end – that promise to go to the gym or give up sweets – some promises and ideals stick. I think there may be something magical, not so much with the first of the year, which in actuality is like any other day, but the idea of a beginning. A beginning is an adventure, an opportunity. So it gives me great pleasure to share with you a beginning that will hopefully touch each of us soon. This beginning is being initiated by this awesome lady who has decided to invoke on a physical and intellectual journey across America to ask a question that is near and dear to this blog: What is feminism? I love this, and other kinds of questions of this nature, because I can be sure that my answer may not match the person’s next to me, which gives the answer to a question like “what is feminism” depth and life and purpose.
So without further a due, I will let the words of this awesome lady speak for herself about her project.
This holiday season, it is very easy to get caught up in the materiality of all the shopping centers and online bargains and forget about the point of the holiday: giving. As a Christmas celebrator, recently I have been struggling with what to give my sister, what to get my patents, younger cousins and family and also what to get my friends. I am definitively not the most well-endowed with funds this year, but I do want to show the people I love that I care. So for all of you readers that are struggling along with me, I have thought of one wonderful, priceless and irreplaceable gift to give. Time.
I am a freak of nature: I am an American woman who actually feels satisfied with her body. And its not like I’ve really “worked” on having positive body-image either. I have always felt more-or-less satisfied with my body. In fact, I am so incredibly not-concerned with my body, that I typically don’t think about it at all! But recently I HAVE started thinking about the phenomenon of my positive body-image. Mainly I’ve been thinking: “ How the fuck did that happen?”
So how did I get to be this way? When I stop to think about it, there were about three major factors that played into my ability to “naturally” learn to love my body, all involving messages I received in my childhood and early adulthood.
Content note: discussion and graphic description of a rape
He goes by the name Mateo now, but his full name is Matthew Maldonado. He is a MMA fighter and last year he spent ten months in jail because he and another man allegedly raped their inebriated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) teammate in a parking garage after offering her a ride home. They left her unconscious on the cement ground in the middle of a Washington DC winter. The account was caught on a security camera and the endeavor shook the entire BJJ community. Continue reading
There are many types of relationships that people build and experience throughout their lives. Friends, family, pets, locations, pictures…and bras. Just as dogs are a man’s best friends, bras could be said to be a woman’s closest companion. And I don’t only mean that literally. Now I can’t speak for all women, but I feel confident saying that I love my bra. It’s going on 13 years, and since my first training bra to my newly fitted Vera Wang, my bra has given me a sense of security and sexiness throughout.
History has seen the many transformations of the bra. It is clear that its many changes are a result of not only increased diversity of materials and changes in fashion, but also because of the shift in how the female body is viewed and the power women have gained in society. The bra is the descendent of the corset, though images have been found as early as the 3rd century of women playing sports with bound breasts. The corset entered into society in the 17th century and continued, bindingly, up until World War I when the need for steel brought the end of the corset. Up until the 1930s, a rough version of the bra was circulated, but there was no sizing. Then in 1928 a couple, Mr. William and Mrs. Ida Rosenthal, invented the familiar system of bra measurement, which included the circumference of the waist along with a cup size. The National Geographic video clip below gives a concise history of the bra and how the Camp measurement of bra sizes was created. It’s quite an interesting little clip…I am only being a little bit sarcastic. You won’t believe what cups are actually measuring.
The funny part of the history of bras doesn’t arise until the 1970s with an alternative inventor for the bra by the name of Otto Titzling. Humorist Wallace Reyborn wrote a book, Bust-up: the Uplifting Story of Otto Titzling to introduce the urban legend that Otto was the real inventor of the bra. In fact, the name is a pun: Otto Titzling = “a-two tit-sling”. In the book, it describes Otto’s journey to invent the bra and the stealing of the idea by his nemesis Phillip de Brassiere or “fill up the brassiere”. In the 1980s movie Beaches, Bette Midler gives a hilarious rendition of this tragic tale.
Despite how bras may be represented now in society, I know I am grateful for the number of occasions from which my bra has saved me from either embarrassment or the inability to do an activity. For instance when the strap to the halter of my senior year prom dress snapped mid dance and the stick on bra I was wearing saved me from flashing the school. Do you have a bra story? Do you love or hate your bra?
Content Note: this post is about personal experiences of self-harm and suicidal thoughts & urges, including detailed descriptions. Style independently similar to “Please Don’t Call Me Ma’am.”
Please don’t make that gesture.
You know, the exaggerated one where you pretend you’re cutting your wrists.* At best, it’s tasteless. At worst, it’s hella triggering.
Let me tell you about my personal relationship to self-harm and suicidal thoughts so you can understand where I’m coming from.
– typical Lenten for-swearing and goals
Next week is Lent, a very important Christian holiday that begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Holy Thursday or the day before Easter. Traditionally, in western denominations of Christianity, it is viewed as a period of time during which Christians pray and do penance, in order to cleanse themselves and feel closer to God. Additionally, the crucial aspect of selflessness is involved, in which Christians practice almsgiving or other acts of community service in order to help others. While there is a lot more to Lent religiously, spiritually and culturally, I have come to understand Lent as a time of meditation, reflection and empowerment.
Once upon a time there was a girl who loved too much.
Too much to be “normal,” that is. As a child, she made “little while friends” on vacation and floated between cliques, welcome in all but never really one of them. Sometimes she was part of a group of three or four girls, but she never had a “best” friend – or if she did, it didn’t matter if the best friend had another friend who was best to them. When she was friends with someone, though, she meant it, and was generous and helpful and loyal. And she was all right by herself, sneaking off at recess with a library book to see her friends within the pages.
The girl who loved too much grew up, and started noticing boys. One day the boy she liked called her, asked her to work on a project for the school play with him. He was older, and had a girlfriend, but it was nice just to talk to him and create something together. It was enough, to just feel the warmth and happiness that came from love. She almost wanted to keep him at a distance, so that nothing would happen to the love.
The boy graduated; the girl’s parents moved away. In the new city was a new boy, who played the upright bass with his arms wrapped around it like a lover. She was jealous of that bass. What a silly feeling, jealousy! As though arms could be used to hold only one thing; as if he were supposed to stop making that wonderful music just because she was there now. Eventually, he did wrap his arms around her, and the warmth returned, and this time she didn’t have to hold him at a distance. They explored each other’s bodies together, silently, and for the first time there was a bit of pain, but still the feeling of love, and it was wonderful.
The boy graduated, went to college, got a new college girlfriend. The girl who loved too much was sad that he couldn’t just tell the new girlfriend about her, so they could keep having sex on his visits home. She wouldn’t have minded sharing him. But she knew that you just couldn’t ask about these things.
Hello, my loves!
Happy National Coming Out Day!
As someone who has had the enormous privilege of being out as bisexual and queer for the entirety of my adult life, I am spending today basking in gratitude for the support, acceptance and celebration I have received from all of my family and friends.
I am also wishing happiness, comfort and support to anyone who is struggling right now with whether or how or how much to come out to the people in their lives, with whatever aspect of their identities they feel they have to hide. It’s such a hard and lonely place to be.
It is in support of those who still have to hide that I am announcing and celebrating my sexuality on this National Coming Out Day. No-one who knows me will be shocked or surprised; I am not revealing any secrets. But I am increasing my visibility as a functional, happy, successful bisexual woman. I am increasing my visibility as a bisexual feminist activist, with a place in the LGBTQ community. And visibility – visibility is important.