Posts tagged feminism
Posts tagged feminism
A sneak peek of our new band, the She*Riffs. Band lineup: Alice Bag, guitar and vocals, Dana Stern, lead guitar and vocals, Chela Mischke, bass and vocals, Miss Amy Young, drums and screams.
No Means No!
Words and music Alice Bag
She wears stilettos and a tight, tight skirt
She smiles at you, she’s such a flirt
Still no, no, no means no!
You paid for dinner, she made dessert
Those tender kisses, how they made you hurt
But no, no, no means no!
You were both drinking, you walked her home
She let you in, you were alone
She passed out
You pressed your luck
But she pressed charges when she woke up, YOU STUPID FUCK!
No means no!
YOU STUPID FUCK!
No means no!
Now in the courtroom the judge walks in
She wears stilettos, ironic spin
You beg for mercy and leniency
But she responds “That could be me!”
Then she says “no, no, no means no!”
“If Jesus himself, or Mohammed, or Buddha spoke to me personally and said that women are inferior to men, I would still reject that as false dogma because I know with every ounce of my being that this is not true.” - Alice Bag, Interview with SF Chronicle 2012.
Photo of Pat Bag and Alice Bag by Louis Jacinto.
A short snippet of Balaclavas, performed by Allison Wolfe, Drew Denny, and some weird old bag in a pink dress. Video by Angie Skull, from the LA ZineFest. #FreePussyRiot
I can’t tell you how insanely happy this makes me. #AllINeedAreMindsForMolding #BagRevolution
More specifically, this is what a Chicana punk feminist looks like.
“I always felt connected to the eastside. I think people had low expectations of me because I was a non-English speaker and they assumed that I was less intelligent because I didn’t understand them. I have to confess that I wasn’t always out to prove them wrong, I often didn’t care what people thought of me because I was sure that they were idiots and not worth my time. Outsiders’ expectations of me didn’t have much of an effect on me because my father used to tell me everyday that I was beautiful and really smart; this message penetrated my skin and bones and there is no part of me that ever feels like I’m not at least as good as the next person. - Alice Bag, November 2012 interview.
Photo by Carlos Uribe, 1991 Univision pilot taping.
If you haven’t seen this new video from Pussy Riot yet, watch it now. Start the Pussy Riot and never stop. Please re-post.
Now that the London Olympics have concluded and school is back in session, I find myself basking in the afterglow of the empowering bonding experience that the Games provided for me and my daughter. I also have time to ponder the significance of the increased participation of women.
For two weeks, my daughter and I made a daily habit of selecting a few events to watch from the hours and hours of Olympic programming we’d recorded. “What shall we watch today?” I asked one day, to which she responded, “I like watching the events with women in them.” I smiled inwardly, thinking that I felt the very same way. My husband jokingly accused us of watching swimming events to ogle the scantily clad male swimmers but those events were really not the main attraction. It was much more interesting to watch women who had pursued their dreams and reached the height of excellence in their chosen sport. It was inspiring.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, athletic but I know how to swim, I’ve played volleyball before and I can (or maybe could) do a pretty good cartwheel. Suddenly, I could imagine myself on the U.S volleyball team, or swimming a lap in a relay or doing cartwheels while twirling a ribbon around. I know my daughter had the same experience because on the days when rhythmic gymnastics were on TV, I had to take a circuitous route through the den to avoid bumping into her as she worked her way across the room, hula-hooping, or throwing and catching a small ball in imitation of the gymnasts.
It was exciting to learn that this was the first year in which every country participating had sent females athletes to compete; we felt like we were witnessing history in the making and in fact, we were. We watched Sarah Attar of Saudi Arabia wear traditional Muslim head covering during her race. She proudly represented her country; her presence there not only helped to dispel myths about women and Muslims, it also prompted the TV commentator to point out that Saudi Arabia is a country which still denies women the right to drive. Like many people who followed #Women2Drive on Twitter, I was already aware of their struggle but for millions of TV watchers this was new information. Perhaps the dissemination of that information will gain Saudi women additional supporters and expedite their inevitable triumph. Maybe that’s why it took so long for Saudi Arabia to send female athletes. Perhaps it was this very thing they feared: the Olympic spotlight can bring glory to a country but it can also attract scrutiny.
At the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government did not escape the scrutiny of human rights advocates. Although the IOC asks host countries to remedy human rights violations, it is the public who must ultimately monitor and exert political and economic pressure on those who do not comply. I wonder how Russia will fare under that type of scrutiny as they prepare to welcome the world to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics? I wonder if Putin has given any thought to how his country and his administration will be perceived by the world if they choose to suppress dissenting views with trials that make the Russian judicial system the laughing stock of the rational world - why else would the judge in the Pussy Riot trial feel compelled to prohibit laughing? It would be funny if it weren’t so sad because these young women are being tried by what might as well be called the Russian Inquisition.
Get ready for your close up, Mr. Putin.
I want to clarify that I am not advocating that women allow themselves to be labeled in terms they find offensive. Nor do I seek validation in the form of another person’s sexual attraction to me.
A human being is a complex thing, but we don’t always need to relate to all aspects of an individual. A casual sexual relationship does not necessitate a relationship with the total me. To quote Camille Paglia, “Perhaps eroticism has a right to live without intimacy and may in fact be most free in that state.” I am a multifaceted individual, but when I teach, I don’t expect my students to relate to my sexuality. By the same token, when I fuck I don’t always expect emotional or spiritual intimacy, or even an acknowledgement that there’s anything more to me than sexuality. In fact, I am not concerned with my partner’s thoughts at all during that time because I would rather focus on our desire and pleasure than on whether there is respect involved in what we’re doing.
My sexuality is not an inferior trait that needs to be chaperoned by emotionalism or morality; nor does it need to be intellectualized. Sure, love and sex are great together, but sex for the sake of sex is good too. Sex is not a reward I hold out for those who understand me or who agree with my ideology.
“Are you a Good Lover?”
“Ten Raging Sexual Fantasies”
“What Real Orgasms Feel Like”
“Facts and Fallacies about Love-Making”
These are just a few of the articles that were featured in Cosmopolitan when I was growing up. It was a magazine that would shape my views on sexuality more than anything else.
Even though the Catholic church opposed any artificial method of birth control, thanks to the Pill, many Catholic women were enjoying sex without the worry of an undesired pregnancy. I hoped to one day be one of them; unfortunately, with my hormones raging and my thirst for sexual knowledge growing, I was living in an information desert. My mother couldn’t even name any body part below the waist and above the thighs. She simply used the expression “down there” as in, “Do you have cramps, down there?” The idea of my mom explaining anything about sex was unimaginable. At school, even the progressive nuns avoided the subject. All I had was my rock magazines, where rock stars sometimes mentioned a sexual escapade in passing, and Cosmo, where you could read a whole article written by what I imagined were sophisticated, sexually liberated women.
The more I read Cosmopolitan, the more I understood that everything I knew was wrong. I had grown up with the message from my community, church, television and movies that nice girls waited to have sex until after marriage. Despite the fact that my mother was eight months pregnant with me when she married my father, she had told me that virginity was important. It was different for her because she had been married before and had children from a previous marriage. I’m not sure what she meant by that, but I gathered that sex was like smoking marijuana: once you tried it, you became addicted. My mother sent out some confusing messages. When I decided that I wanted to switch from sanitary pads to tampons, she became alarmed.
“Tampons are only for married women,” she warned, “you will damage yourself if you try to use them.” That scared me for a long time. Virginity, as my mother defined it, had everything to do with having an immaculate hymen. A girl without a hymen was simply not marriage material unless she was a widow, like my mom had been when she met my dad, and then — woo-hoo! — everything was okay.
Cosmo filled in the gaps in my sexual education. Helen Gurley Brown, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, had made her mark in a post-pill world as the author of the bestselling book, Sex and the Single Girl. Even the title was scandalous! The book’s main character is a sexually liberated, single woman who many people believed was based on Helen herself. If you were to pick this book up today, some of the passages might seem dated, but to appreciate a cultural phenomenon, you have to try to understand it in the context in which it occurred. Helen was a maverick who ensured that her readers had up-to-date information about the little-discussed subject of female sexuality, and she provided women with the inspiration to advocate for themselves in the bedroom as well as in the workplace.
It was from Cosmo that I first learned what an orgasm was, what oral sex was, and much, much more. It was from reading Cosmo that I finally came to understand that touching myself down there had a name; it was masturbation, and no, I wouldn’t go to hell for doing it; in fact it was common, normal and…hallelujah, I had permission to do it again! I guess Cosmopolitan may have also been responsible for my increased interest in sex and in losing my virginity. It had taught me that sex and marriage didn’t necessarily have to go together, and, if I understood correctly, that meant there was no reason to marry for a long, long time. It made me question the double standard which labels a sexually active man “a stud” and a sexually active woman “a whore.” I remember, later in life, one guy telling me, “I won’t think less of you if you sleep with me on the first date,” to which I replied, “I won’t think less of you, either.” The nerve, assuming that I needed his approval to do what I wanted to do.
I thought my definition of promiscuity around that time was very progressive. It had less to do with the number of sexual partners you had and everything to do with your reasons for sleeping with people. I don’t know if it had been influenced by a Cosmopolitan article, or if I finally just synthesized Cosmo’s values. In my book, a woman could have as many different sex partners as she wanted without necessarily being promiscuous, because women are different and have a wide range of sexual appetites; however, sleeping with someone as a means to get something other than sexual pleasure seemed like promiscuity to me, because it meant you were not motivated by an honest desire for sex but were having sex because you felt there was no better way to get what you were really after. This bothered me, mostly because I’d known so many girls who had been looking for a love relationship and thought they could get it by giving in to a sexual relationship that they didn’t want. That, to me, seemed promiscuous. I wished they’d read Cosmo.
Over the years, my views have changed but I think Helen Gurley Brown would still approve. I don’t label people “promiscuous” anymore, even if they want something other than sex from sexual encounters. I just think of the word as a term by which society tries to regulate and suppress human sexuality.
From Violence Girl
PS: Thank you, Helen - Alice